Mayoral candidate stresses transportation, public safety

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    By Rachel Nelson

    Transportation and public safety are the two most important issues facing Provo this year, said a former Provo firefighter who announced Friday he will oppose incumbent Mayor Lewis Billings in Provo?s Nov. 8 election.

    Dave Bailey said Provo?s police force, Utah County?s lack of mass transit, and iProvo will all be focuses of his upcoming campaign.

    ?How can we entice businesses to come to Provo if we can?t control crime? The truth is, we can?t,? Bailey said. ?Burying our head in the sand doesn?t solve these problems.?

    Bailey said Billings has pushed aside last month?s FBI report stating Provo?s crime rate rose 27 percent last year, and has not raised the number of city police officers, though the money would be available to do so through federal grants.

    Bailey also criticized the local government for its inaction in local mass transit.

    ?No transportation consensus exists in Utah County,? Bailey said. ?I will be taking a proactive approach to transportation.?

    Bailey said that includes creating an intermodal transportation zone, where residents can use and transfer to different types of mass transit. He said the Utah Transit Authority is eager to learn how Utah County wants to expand its mass transit system, but cannot get specifics from local government leaders.

    ?If the mayor of Provo isn?t taking the leadership role, no one else will,? Bailey said.

    However, city officials cannot know what residents want if they do not vote, Bailey said.

    This will be Bailey?s second shot at Provo?s executive office, after losing to Billings in 2001 by only 362 votes.

    Bailey invited the few dozen supporters at his luncheon and campaign drive Friday to join his ?363 club,? encouraging those present to rally more voters for local elections.

    ?We want you to get 10 people who did not vote in the last election to vote this time,? Bailey told a small crowd at White Willow Reception Center.

    Provo?s 2001 mayoral election attracted only 25 percent of the registered voters in Provo, while less than 1 percent turned out for the primary election the previous October.

    Bailey said BYU will be a prime target for collecting prospective voters.

    ?We?ll be going to BYU and encouraging students to register,? Bailey said. According to Bailey, only about 10,000 people voted in 2001. There are 40,000 active registered voters in the city.

    ?If BYU could get organized they could put anyone they want in at mayor or city council,? Bailey said.

    But most students at BYU don?t vote in the community because they are not Utah residents. According to University Communications, only 28 percent of BYU students last fall declared a Utah community as their hometown. And according to Provo elections specialist Fran Lagiglia, this means approximately 24,000 BYU students can?t participate in local politics.

    ?If these kids are only coming for the school year, it?s not fair to allow them to vote here,? Lagiglia said.

    Lagiglia said this has become a problem ? people registering to vote where they are not official residents. Being able to vote for mayor and other representatives in Utah means having a Utah driver license, registering one?s car in Utah, paying income taxes and declaring the state as one?s primary residence.

    Bailey?s supporters hope the students who are Utah residents will vote in this year?s local elections.

    ?If more BYU students voted, we could have our own councilman,? said Megan, Bailey?s daughter and a junior majoring in physiology at BYU, adding that her father could help to make that happen if elected.

    ?He?s more for the students than Billings ever will be,? she said.

    In addition to Bailey?s family members, a few city officials and local leaders attended his campaign announcement.

    ?I?m just here to listen,? said city councilman Dave Knecht. ?If Lewis (Billings) were doing this I?d be here too. I think it?s the right thing to do to see what he has to offer the city.?

    Members of the state?s Democratic party were also in Provo to support Bailey?s bid for mayor.

    Susie McHugh, treasurer for the Salt Lake County Democratic Party and a former Provo resident said West Valley City, once much smaller, now has a larger population than Provo.

    ?Provo has slipped and Dave would help bring it back as the city,? McHugh said. ?I think that means it?s time for new leadership.?

    Pete Ashdown, who is running for U.S. Senate against Orrin Hatch in 2006, said, ?I think part of Democrats winning in Utah starts with local support, even though this is a non-partisan race. All tickets need to be filled with members of both parties.?

    Although Bailey grew up in California, he said he knew when he moved to Provo to attend BYU he would make it his home.

    ?I came to the Y and fell in love with the place,? he said.

    Before graduating from BYU in accounting, Bailey served a church mission in Montevideo, Uruguay. He began working as a firefighter for the city during his senior year, and stayed with the fire department for 30 years. He retired Feb. 1, 2005.

    ?Being an insider, I saw what was going on,? Bailey said. ?Government is here to provide services for people who can?t provide them for themselves.?

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