Emigration Canyon community activist Karen Crompton says the Salt Lake County Commission has degenerated into a bunch of naysayers who squabble among themselves and fritter away any chance to improve the lot of county residents.
The Democrat therefore has decided to run for Mary Callaghan's commission seat. Republican Callaghan is seeking re-election."I think we need a commission that works together instead of fights together," Crompton said. "I think I can create a credibility there."
Crompton, 48, served for seven years on the Emigration Canyon Community Council and pushed hard for the area's short-lived township and subsequent downshift to a planning district. As a member of the community council, she joined in a suit against the county over a a proposed subdivision in Emigration Canyon. (It ended in a settlement to maintain the status quo). Observers describe her as a fighter.
Crompton says Callaghan hasn't done what she was elected to do. Until recently, Crompton says, Callaghan was silent on almost every decision the commission made, merely duplicating Commissioner Brent Overson's vote.
Recently, Callaghan has voted contrary to Overson and Commissioner Randy Horiuchi on some issues, such as last December's decision whether to raise taxes. (Callaghan opposed it). But Crompton accuses Callaghan of only doing so after making sure her vote wouldn't change the result.
"It's not an honest approach," Crompton said. "(In contrast), I plan to be very open in my discussions."
Crompton says the most important issues facing the county are growth, land-use planning, transportation planning, loss of the county's tax base to incorporations and annexations, and change of county government.
She supports a change to an executive/county council form of government as more representative. A nine-member council would better reflect voters' preferences than a three-member commission, she says.
"Government works best with citizen participation," she said.
For a County Commission candidate, Crompton is surprisingly anti-commission. She also advocates taking the commission out of the loop regarding Planning Commission decisions unless the Planning Commission abuses its discretion.
Crompton says she comes down firmly on the side of residents with regard to planning issues. She would control growth and repeal the commission's recent relaxation of billboard regulations.
The Salt Lake County Democratic Party officially blessed Crompton as its candidate choice in a press conference Monday. Party Chairman Joseph Hatch echoed Crompton's views on the state of internal government affairs.
"The worst aspect of the last three years of Republican rule in Salt Lake County . . . is the constant backstabbing, hair pulling and temper tantrum fights among the elected Republican officials," he said.
Hatch used the press conference to trumpet Crompton and other Democratic candidates for county offices. Those are: Bob Adams, assessor; Leiann Bathemess, auditor; incumbent Sherrie Swensen, clerk; Crompton; Mike Reberg, County Commission; David Yocom, district attorney; Jan Johnson, recorder; Scott Miller, sheriff; Carl Larsen, surveyor; and Gary Pratt, treasurer.
Hatch also noted the candidacy of Paulina Flint, who is contesting Reberg for Randy Horiuchi's commission seat. Flint was not at the press conference and is clearly not the party's preferred candidate, as she is on the outs with party brass.