As municipal election season nears, three men have set out to promote their vision for Provo as they run for mayor against the heavy favorite, incumbent John Curtis.
“The four of us are friends. We’ve all agreed to a gentlemen’s race,” Jason Christensen said. “John Curtis is a good man and friend. And while I like some of the things John’s done as mayor, I disagree with a lot of others.”
Christensen disagrees with Curtis’ plan to increase taxes to pay off the deficit. Instead of raising taxes and burdening residents, Christensen would emplace zero-based budgeting and control spending. He hopes that in such a process, the city will have extra money that will go to fund other projects.
Christensen also wants to charter the city to “protect the citizen from intrusive government.”
He said his vision for Provo is that it will soon rival Salt Lake City.
“(I hope) that people would flock here for protection of the law, for low taxes,” Christensen said.
Christensen also said his original motivation for running for mayor was religious.
“I am very religious in my faith so I went to the Lord with the question of whether to file for mayor candidacy or not,” he said. “I was prompted ‘yes.’ … I’m not in this to be a politician. All I want to do is to tell the truth and teach what’s proper and just.”
Meanwhile, Timothy Spencer’s main agenda items are to improve air quality and to decrease property taxes.
“The air quality in Provo is abominable, especially in the winter. I’ve lived in LA before and have experienced smog, and Provo is approaching that stage,” Spencer said. “If you don’t have quality air, you don’t have quality life.”
His proposed solution is to create a partnership between the community, the City and local businesses to push for less reliance on coal and to cut emissions generated by carbon compounds. Spencer wants to see more electric and hybrid cars, carpooling and a cooperation between scientists and the government working to change the quality of gasoline.
Spencer said he has no criticism of John Curtis, but he believes Provo needs to shift its focus from business to the citizen.
“Government and business should be separate,” Spencer said.
There is “no doubt that John is popular,” but Spencer says he is running as a voice of the common man.
The third challenger to Curtis, Howard Stone, is also running as an anti-establishment candidate. One of his main rallying cries, Stone said, is, “History repeats itself.”
He encouraged Provo citizens to know their political history in order to be more informed voters.
“If you look at who has been on city council and connections to it, you’ll soon realize the same names pop up,” Stone said, mentioning Chris Cannon, Ryan Frandsen and Cory Norman. “If people are not paying attention, they are going to end up with the same group of people controlling the city, term after term.”
Stone’s take is simple: politics in Provo are corrupt.
“This is the premise upon which I have run all my campaigns,” Stone said. “We can do better.”
Regarding iProvo, Stone criticizes the fact that the largely expensive network was eventually sold to Google for $1 million.
He believes Provo’s successes in recent years should be credited with the people rather than city government.
“Provo has always been a shining city on a hill. People come here for the place that it is. Mayor Curtis took credit for things that would have naturally happened,” Stone said. “I only hope that by going back to the basics, I will allow Provo to progress naturally.”
The City of Provo will hold a primary election Tuesday, Aug. 13.