Caution Utah 3rd Congressional District: The Republican Platform is still worth voting for

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The Republican Platform is worth voting for, and the voters deserve a candidate that not only says he believes in it, but has the record to prove it.  If you live in the 3rd Congressional District, you may have received your mail-in ballot already to select your first choice to replace Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who vacated it to take a position at Fox News.

Before you send that ballot in, I hope you will review this research and that it will be useful in helping you make a wise decision.  It is well-cited and as accurate as possible.

In spite of the frustrations toward the two major parties, they are still the two parties through which we can best influence the outcome.  If you have been disappointed that some candidates that call themselves Republican have not been true to their promises after elected, you deserve a candidate that can be trusted.

Many who know Chris Herrod know he is that trusted candidate.  They have watched him while serving in the Republican Party’s highest deliberative body, standing fearlessly against the Establishment and for the people’s right to have a voice in the process.  He has supported legislation to put this country, its workers and families first.  I am among those that have watched him and supported him.  I can describe him with two adjectives:  passionate and courageous.

Unfortunately, one candidate running against Herrod has a record showing he does not believe in Republican principles.  He is the former Provo Mayor.  After reviewing this information, please ask yourself:  Do the people of Utah’s 3rd Congressional District who believe in Republican principles deserve this kind or representation in Washington DC?  

This sums it up.

Please help us take our party and platform back.  Vote for a Republican who has walked the walk for its principles.  Chris Herrod.  Donate and get involved now!  www.HerrodforCongress.com 

19 reasons why John Curtis should not be running as a Republican and why he should not get your vote:

Affiliation with the Democratic Party

Backed by Far-Leftist Groups

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Covering Up a Sex Assault after a Questionable Hiring

Economic Development Failures

Illegal/Unethical Use of City Resources

Intimidation Tactics

iProvo

Parking: Convention Center and Downtown

Parking: Neighborhoods

Property Taxes

Proposition One

RAP Tax

Spending Increases

Tax Increases

Transparency

Utah Transit Authority (UTA)

Utility Fee Increases

Zoning Enforcement

1. Affiliation with the Democratic Party

John Curtis was Unaffiliated for a long time, then he registered Democrat in 1998: http://imgur.com/a/K6dUV

John Curtis ran for state senate against Curt Bramble in 2000. Here was his website that year: http://imgur.com/a/RIpOa

John Curtis lost in a landslide to Bramble, but he stayed active in the Democratic Party and was elected Utah County Democratic Party Chairman for one term in 2002: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/975560/Utah-County-Democrats-pick-a-chief.html

In 2007, Jeff Alexander resigned his seat in the legislature. John Curtis went in to the county clerk and switched his affiliation to Republican. He ran against several other candidates, and the Republican delegates gave him a one-vote victory over Chris Herrod, but at that time the state party chair got to make the final choice, and Chairwoman Enid Greene chose Chris Herrod: http://archive.sltrib.com/story.php?ref=/news/ci_8375983

Curtis then ran for Mayor in 2009, but of course that’s a non-partisan race. He won, and then won reelection in 2013.

Nevertheless, Curtis continues to keep close ties to Utah Democrats. He donated to far-left liberal Ralph Becker’s reelection campaign in 2015: http://imgur.com/a/SddvD

According to Aimee Winder Newton, Curtis also donated to the campaign on her Democratic opponent, Dan Snarr, in 2014. However, I do not have access to an original source to back up that claim (though it is highly likely to be true because Snarr is Curtis’s brother-in-law).

2. Backed by Far-Leftist Groups

John Curtis is backed by several far-left groups and individuals. These people are encouraging Democrats to register as Republicans in order to vote in the Republican primary for John Curtis. Here is a small sampling of how these liberal groups are campaigning for John Curtis: http://imgur.com/a/3R8Wn

3. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

John Curtis is the biggest proponent there is of the controversial $150 million Bus Rapid Transit project. This video explains some of the problems with the BRT project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qFIZNHW-fg

He once said, “We want bus rapid transit, we want it to move forward.” Source: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865598005/Provo-City-Council-pushes-to-advance-bus-rapid-transit.html

Even though citizens successfully collected the required number of signatures for a referendum on BRT, Curtis blocked the proposal from going onto the ballot: http://www.sltrib.com/home/3991954-155/provo-orem-petitioners-push-forward-on

Even the Salt Lake Tribune, which seemingly supports BRT, said he should let the project be put on the ballot: http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/3978974-155/let-them-drive

Ten BRT facts:

  1. The Provo-Orem Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is a $150 million transit project that will replace UTA’s already existing 830 bus route.
  2. This particular 10.5-mile long route was chosen because it is the only one that qualifies for federal funding, and without those funds the project will not move forward. Even proponents of the project agree that the proposed route was not chosen because it was the best route. Rather, the proposed route was chosen because it qualifies for federal funds.
  3. Funding for the Provo-Orem BRT construction project will come from several different sources. President Obama and UTA have proposed that $75 million come from the federal government, $65 million from Utah County, and $10 million from the cities of Provo and Orem.
  4. The Provo-Orem BRT project will cost approximately $14.3 million per mile to build.
  5. The Provo-Orem BRT road construction project will require the tearing out of two (and in some cases more) lanes of traffic so that bus-only lanes (called “dedicated lanes”) and loading stations can be constructed down the middle of the roads along the BRT route. This construction will occur on major thoroughfares throughout Orem and Provo, including University Parkway, University Avenue, and Provo’s 900 East.
  6. No left turns will be permitted along the Provo-Orem BRT route except at certain traffic lights.
  7. Rather than resolve traffic problems, the Provo-Orem BRT project will create additional traffic problems. Traffic along the construction route will result in more congestion, greater frustration for motorists, longer travel times, and more pollution.
  8. Lanes for car, truck, and bus traffic will be much narrower in areas where dedicated Provo-Orem BRT lanes are installed. Some lanes will be eliminated. Skinnier lanes will also make for more difficult transit for emergency and other larger vehicles.
  9. The Provo-Orem BRT project threatens to divert critical funding from other much-needed road construction and maintenance projects throughout Utah County. (John Curtis’s solution: just raise taxes! That’s why he supported Proposition One.)
  10. The buses running along UTA’s already existing 830 route, which will be replaced by the Provo-Orem BRT system, are running at only a tiny fraction of their capacity: an average of 3,600 daily riders. UTA claims that number will jump to 12,900 riders per day once BRT is built. It is difficult to validate UTA’s claim that ridership will increase simply by adding more buses, exclusive bus-only lanes, and spending $150 million to do so. There is no justification for UTA’s claim that “If you build it, they will come”—especially in light of the low ridership numbers that currently exist along the route.

4. Covering Up a Sex Assault after a Questionable Hiring

Utah’s media has covered this story rather extensively, but there’s a line (bolded below) from this KSL article that juxtaposes the statement Curtis made when the story first broke with differing information that came out a little while later. Here is the article: https://www.ksl.com/?sid=44476085&nid=148

Newly released police records shed light on sexual assault allegations against Provo’s former police chief that forced him to resign in March.

John King said he had consensual sex four times with a volunteer at his department, according to Unified police documents released Tuesday.

The woman reporting a series of assaults by King said otherwise in interviews with investigators. …

… “(The woman) walked into the Utah County Attorney’s Office and disclosed she was raped by the chief of police in Provo,” a Unified police report dated Feb. 9 states.

The woman said she told Provo Mayor John Curtis “brief details” about what happened.

Curtis asked King to step down in March. The mayor and King at the time said the chief was leaving because of family issues and did not mention the sexual misconduct allegations. Later that week, news of the allegations surfaced.

Curtis said King’s reputation was damaged but no policies or laws had been broken. He said he and King agreed it was in the best interest of the city that King resign.

It is quite obvious that Curtis tried to cover up the sex assault allegation when he originally announced King’s resignation. Why did Curtis not just come clean at that time? Even if the allegations against King were false, Curtis should have known that the information would come out through police reports, so why lie initially about the reason for the resignation? Curtis should have either said nothing when King resigned or told the truth rather than make up a false reason for King’s resignation.

Shortly after King’s resignation, the media discovered that King had recently been investigated for sexual assault. Curtis then held a press conference, and it’s pretty funny to watch the media basically call him out for lying initially about why King had resigned. The press conference is available here: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/mayor-says-former-police-chief-resigned-due-to-totality-of/article_524de990-f8cd-58b6-9935-054cfedec595.html

King never should have been hired to begin with. After Provo Police Chief Richard Gregory resigned in 2013, Mayor Curtis did an extensive search. He took over six months to find a new Chief of Police, and had over sixty applicants. Source: http://www.heraldextra.com/provo-names-new-police-chief/article_483109c0-51ef-11e3-a0e8-0019bb2963f4.html

Out of those applicants, Mayor Curtis selected John King, who had a questionable employment history. King worked 25 years in Montgomery County MD, rising to the position of Asst. Chief and there seem to have been no problems there. In 2002 he was promoted to Asst. Chief. Then in 2007 he retired from the county, and took the job of police chief in Gaithersburg MD. King was investigated for claiming a disability pension from Montgomery County, but the investigation was resolved and it was determined he hadn’t broken any laws. Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/08/AR2009030801777.html

King was Chief of Police in Gaithersburg for two-and-a-half years, but In January 2010 the town council met in private to discuss a “personnel matter,” after which they immediately brought in an interim police chief and two days later announced Chief King was leaving “to pursue other opportunities in the private sector.” Source: http://towncourier.com/2010/G3/pdf/TCGThree0110Web.pdf

Then he seems to have been out of work until Dec 2011 when he was hired as Training Director in the Baltimore PD. But he only lasted six months and then he was apparently asked to resign, even being “escorted from his office.” King’s public statement was that the acting Police Commissioner “wants to go in a different direction.” The police spokesman said only that King’s departure was a “personnel matter.”

Sources: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-06-27/news/bal-city-police-training-director-resigns-amid-misconduct-complaints-20120627_1_overtime-slips-king-commanders and http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2012/06/27/head-of-baltimore-police-training-division-resigns/

Despite King’s less than desirable history, in Jan 2014, he was hired to be Provo police chief by John Curtis.

5. Economic Development Failures

A quote from a recent newspaper article mentioning the current Administration’s abject failure to bring new retail to Provo to broaden the tax base (that’s on Mayor Curtis’ watch):

As part of the presentation there was open discussion about the retail gap in the city and how much sales tax revenue the city is losing in various categories. The numbers are surprising.

An exported taxes report shows Provo is losing $24 million a year in restaurant sales tax, $27 million in pharmaceuticals, $16 million to home centers, $32 million in hardware sales, and the greatest net loss in a year is $53 million in groceries.

Curtis said the administration is willing to shift some of its focus away from places like downtown to answer the residents’ call for retail.

“Be careful what you ask for,” he said. “We hear you. We’ll look at incentives, but you will need to be patient, be engaged and you must shop in Provo.”

Source: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/central/provo/provo-mayor-talks-retail-with-residents-at-town-hall-meeting/article_2c780522-d569-5ca4-a9b2-bc313417f9e9.html

6. Illegal/Unethical Use of City Resources

EXAMPLE ONE:

John Curtis’s top political appointee is Corey Norman, who holds the title of “Provo Deputy Mayor.” In 2016, Norman was fined $250 for violating a state law that prohibits “using the email of a public entity to advocate for or against a ballot proposition.” Source: http://www.sltrib.com/news/3960425-155/provo-orem-officials-fined-for-illegally

Here’s the exact wording of the law:

Utah Code 20A-11-1203 “…a public entity may not make an expenditure from public funds for political purposes or to influence a ballot proposition…” (violation results in a Class B misdemeanor)

Utah Code 20A-11-1205 “…a person may not send an email using the email of a public entity: (a) for a political purpose; (b) to advocate for or against a ballot proposition…”

Curtis refused to reprimand Corey Norman for breaking this law. In fact, he responded by threatening to sue Utah County Clerk-Auditor Bryan Thompson for imposing the law. (Norman has also stated that he sent out the email under the direction of Curtis.)

EXAMPLE TWO:

This anecdote comes from a longtime Provo resident:

Mayor Curtis is very very good at some things. One is marketing – his PR and media budget is massive, and he “sells” not just Provo City, but himself.

A city employee tells me that when the Mayor came on board, there were three people in Public Relations. He let one go as part of the 2008 cost saving measures made necessary by the Recession. But since then he has hired 8-10 more people. They do a great job of filming videos, doing contests, giving away ice cream and tee shirts, making a splash on social media. Provology. The Rooftop Concerts. No question they are good at what they do, and John Curtis is too. He’s a great ambassador for John Curtis.

EXAMPLE THREE:

Provo City holds a monthly concert during warm weather months called “The Rooftop Concert Series,” which is funded by the city. On June 2, 2017, John Curtis showed up and hijacked the concert by going on stage and having his supporters go through the audience to gather signatures for his congressional campaign. Perhaps this was not illegal (or perhaps it is), but it definitely raises eyebrows and is an ethical use of city funds.

7. Intimidation Tactics

John Curtis’s Provo City employees used intimidation tactics to prevent BRT petitioners from gathering signatures in public areas. Source: http://www.sltrib.com/home/3932939-155/rolly-memo-to-signature-gatherers-beware

Here is an anecdote sent to me by a Provo citizen and activist:

Connected with the BRT saga were two well-publicized instances of Mayor Curtis getting squarely in the way of the rights of the people – his own constituents. This is an obvious concern for anyone who wants to feel their federal elected official is going to actually represent them instead of yanking away their rights.

The first time I heard of someone being removed it was Sharon Anderson, a petition organizer. She called me to tell me she had been ordered to leave the Rec Center by an employee. In her account, “…about 8:30 a young man came out and stood nearby as I was speaking with one of the citizens.  When we were through talking, he came over and said I would have to leave because no soliciting was allowed on city property which he said included the whole block.  I asked him ‘What about free speech?’ and he repeated soliciting was not allowed.  I said I wasn’t selling anything, but he still said I would have to leave…”

The second instance was when Mayor Curtis instructed the Police Dept. to remove people who were collecting signatures on the referendum petition from two places: the grounds of the Rec Center and the grounds of the County Building.

Soon after an 80-year-old petition circulator named Philip Hinckley told me he had been at the County Building, and two city policemen came out of the building and told him he couldn’t stand so near the door. It was a hot day and Philip asked them if he could just stay under the building overhang for the shade, many feet from the door. They responded he would have to stand in the sun, about 20 feet from the door. He complied, but the sun started to bother him and he went home before long.

At that point I spoke to Bryan Thompson, County Clerk-Auditor and Bill Lee, County Commissioner, and they both verified that signature gatherers could be on public property. So the city policemen left our people alone after that, on county property. But the battle on city property at the Rec center heated up, and Philip Hinckley, in addition to four other people at various times, were escorted off the property by between two and four officers, several times.

This got the attention of the Tribune, the ACLU, and Libertas. Sources: https://www.facebook.com/libertasutah/videos/1199233813443607/?fallback=1 and http://www.sltrib.com/news/3960425-155/provo-orem-officials-fined-for-illegally

8. iProvo

iProvo was “a financially distressed fiber Internet service in Provo.” In 2013, it was “sold to Google — for a whole dollar. The city, meanwhile, will have to pay millions to close the deal and to pay off bonds used to build the network in the first place.” Source: https://venturebeat.com/2013/04/24/iprovo-sad/

In 2011, John Curtis raised utilities to pay for the iProvo bond: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/central/provo/provo-s-utility-rate-increase-fee-set/article_45ae703b-1480-5923-89c5-683397046899.html

9. Parking: Convention Center and Downtown

John Curtis put Provo City at significant liability by breaking the city’s 2009 contract with Utah County to provide parking in exchange for the county building its convention center in downtown Provo. Utah County is suing Provo for at least $4 million in damages: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/utah-county-sues-provo-for-millions-over-convention-center-parking/article_194fad5e-bc40-56b3-b409-ec9dc6a46ad6.html

From the Herald article above:

The county, the city and the redevelopment agency entered an interlocal agreement in 2009 outlining the responsibilities of each entity for building the convention center, which has been operational since 2012.

That agreement stated Provo and the Provo Redevelopment Agency will “Provide, at their expense, all parking spaces, parking facilities, parking lots, parking structures, and related real property, easements and appurtenances, as required to both meet Provo City’s requirements and to adequately serve Phase One of the Convention Center … at such locations and in such a manner as approved by Utah County.”

According to the complaint, neither Provo nor the redevelopment agency have kept up that part of the agreement.

The Utah Valley Convention Center is a huge tourism draw for downtown Provo. However, the Convention Center is losing a ton of business over the lack of parking, which in turn hurts Provo downtown businesses.

Here’s another article that provides more context on the parking issue: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/central/provo/utah-county-and-provo-spar-over-parking-for-the-utah/article_640cb46c-2ca4-52dc-8b7c-9256a2175974.html

10. Parking: Neighborhoods

Provo has a parking crisis in certain neighborhoods in the city because Planning & Development for years pushed higher density and lower parking ratios, assuming that people would magically stop using cars. They didn’t. That’s on Mayor Curtis’ watch. Source: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/central/provo/provo-in-the-slow-lane-on-parking-problems/article_c93ebe61-87ed-5988-b57b-7bbb7e603a82.html

11. Property Taxes

Curtis raised property taxes by 2.28% in 2015, and he proposed raising them by another 3% in 2016: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=40077694

12. Proposition One

Proposition One was a controversial 2015 ballot proposal to increase sales taxes permanently for roads and UTA: 60% of the money would have gone to cities and counties for roads, and 40% would have gone to UTA as a blank check for UTA to use however it wanted.

John Curtis didn’t just support Proposition One; he actually wrote the pro-Proposition One argument: https://vote.utah.gov/vote/profile/viewPDF.html?id=251250502

Proposition One failed in Utah County by a total of 59.18% against, and only 40.82% in favor: http://www.utahcounty.gov/dept/clerkaud/Elections/documents/SProp1Canvass.pdf

13. RAP Tax

John Curtis campaigned in favor of Provo City’s RAP tax, which was placed on the ballot in 2015. Source: http://www.provo.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=6045

He spent $2,600 promoting the RAP tax: http://imgur.com/a/t9MmY

The RAP tax will cost Provo residents $1.2 million annually.

14. Spending Increases

Larry Walters, a member of the Provo City Council’s Budget Advisory Committee, is running for Provo City Mayor. He wrote this on his 2017 campaign website:

Recent spending trends cannot be maintained. … [S]ince 2008, the per person cost of Provo City government has increased at twice the rate of inflation. We are now spending more per person than at any point in the past 15 years, after adjusting for inflation. We cannot support this rate of spending growth into the future.

15. Tax Increases

This graphic outlines Curtis’s love affair with raising taxes: http://imgur.com/a/ftx5D

16. Transparency

John Curtis doesn’t post his campaign financial information on Provo City’s website: http://www.sltrib.com/news/5332737-155/gehrke-for-all-the-hoopla-signature

17. Utah Transit Authority (UTA)

John Curtis maintains a close relationship with the corrupt Utah Transit Authority (UTA). He pushed for the appointment of Sherrie Hall Everett to UTA’s Board of Trustees. Ms. Everett is perhaps UTA’s biggest apologist and defender, even in the midst of all of UTA’s well-documented corruption.

Sherrie went on a tirade recently against Brent Taylor, the one reformer on UTA’s Board:

http://fox13now.com/2017/05/02/uta-trustee-brent-taylor-reacts-to-vice-chair-everett-facebook-post/

http://www.standard.net/Government/2017/05/03/North-Ogden-mayor-calls-for-UTA-board-leadership-to-step-down.html

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865679032/UTA-trustee-calls-for-chairman-vice-chairwoman-to-step-down-over-personal-attack-on-Facebook.html

http://www.sltrib.com/home/5240810-155/attacked-online-new-uta-board-member

18. Utility Fee Increases

John Curtis loves to hide tax increases through utility fee hikes. It is difficult to track all of the utility fee increases that he has imposed over the years. Here is what Senator Howard Stephenson said about this practice in an email to state delegates on June 14, 2017: “Provo Mayor John Curtis has a history of promoting new taxes, fees, and bond obligations.  That is a non-starter for me. He perfected the art of hiding tax increases in utility bill fees by tacking on fees unrelated to the cost of the utility.  With that practice, he has opened a Pandora’s box that the legislature will now have to close before other cities duplicate it.”

According to Provo City, “Transfers from Enterprise utility funds provide a transfer of 11% of utility sales to the General Fund each fiscal year.” In other words, Provo is billing Provo residents for utilities costs that don’t actually exist, and then the city takes that extra revenue and puts it into its general fund, which can be used to pay for all kinds of other expenses that have nothing to do with utilities. Source: http://www.provo.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=5764

19. Zoning Enforcement

Zoning compliance is poor, because John Curtis said at the beginning of his first term he wouldn’t aggressively enforce zoning violations. As a result, some neighborhoods (Provost South, for instance) have passed the tipping point, are now at 80% rentals, and are no longer healthy viable neighborhoods. The Provo City Council made zoning compliance their No. 1 priority for two years in a row. But the Curtis Administration dragged their feet because of a power struggle about the budget. That’s on Mayor Curtis’ watch. Source: http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/central/provo/provo-municipal-council-city-administration-disagree-on-who-rules-the/article_5a95e01f-f20b-5873-98eb-ba326135f598.html

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