Logan council candidates debate government’s role in business practices

Appropriate grass length and proper government involvement in businesses were hot topics at a meet-the-candidates event Tuesday at the Logan Library. Organized by Ben Nilson, the event allowed business owners and concerned citizens to ask questions of a panel of

<a href=”http://loganutah.org/elections2011/candidates/index.cfm”>Logan City Council candidates</a>

. Nilson, who is a candidate himself, was joined by Nick Ball, Jeannie Simmonds, Steven Stokes, Robert Horning, Ken Cox, and former Logan Mayor Doug Thompson for the panel. Those who attended the event expressed their dislike of the city’s Land Development Code, which Cox said gets so specific as to mandating how tall a resident’s grass can reach. None of the candidates were as outspoken on the issue as Cox, who called the code “over-reaching, all encompassing and draconian.” Cox said, “For some reason, our city council has seen fit with the stroke of a pen to take away our civil rights.” Audience members expressed their concern that the code gave local government too much control over residents’ private property. Simmonds, who is a member of the Logan City Planning Commission, said the code is put together little by little over time and said citizens need to pay attention to what the city council is doing and become involved from the start. Public input is the way to ensure the council knows what is best for residents. “You can’t not pay attention now and 10 years later get upset. We have to be crafting a city now that we’ll be happy with in 10 years,” she said. Besides the code, the group discussed how much a government should be involved in business development. The majority of the group agreed government involvement should be minimal and a free market should be allowed to foster economic growth on its own. Government involvement and requirements cause business owners to not want to deal with Logan, resulting in the economic growth of towns around Logan, like Providence, where small business offices continue to be built in order to avoid Logan, Cox said. Nilson said, “If Logan government got out of the (businesses’) way, we’d be the haven in Utah, attracting more businesses.” Agreeing that the candidates in the room have the power to change how the council affects business, the last thing for the group to discuss was how to get more than 13 percent of residents to vote in the election. While national elections get higher voter turnouts, Horning said, citizens should be more concerned about local elections, since local elections affect the citizens’ pocket books more directly. “The decisions we make in the next couple of years will have lasting generational impacts. That’s why this election is important,” Horning said. The panel participants were six of the 13 candidates running in this year’s election. The primary election takes place Tuesday, Sept. 13. Listen to Jennie Christensen’s ongoing series of

<a href=”http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/audio-on-demand/crosstalk”>interviews</a>

with the candidates on KVNU’s Crosstalk show. – rachel@cvdaily.com

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