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Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Mia Love's axing of programs good or bad for image?

Published: Sunday, July 15 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Pignanelli: For several years, a number of politicos and I have been screaming many of the same thoughts that Huntsman is now articulating (but he is saying it with better hair and less profanity). This nation's economics and demographics are changing, and both major political parties are not responding. To his credit, Huntsman is pushing the GOP to embrace Americans beyond the typical white conservatives who are clueless outside their comfort zone (we call them "LaVarrs"). If he can push the GOP to modify stands on immigration, same-sex relationships and reasonable environmental protection, Huntsman will have a home. Otherwise, he may be leading a new party.

Ben McAdams vs. Mark Crockett for Salt Lake County mayor. What's ahead in this race?

Pignanelli: McAdams and Crockett share similarities — graduates of prestigious law schools, active LDS members, impressive spouses, beautiful children. But the difference of how each approaches county government is intriguing — and highlighted in their respective websites. Crockett advertises: business experience, BYU graduate, conservative values, budget reform and government efficiency. McAdams promotes: legislative experience, air quality, canyon preservation, public safety, urban farming and human rights.

Webb: It's going to be a great race, one of the few chances Democrats have to win a major office this year. Crockett has the advantage of being a Republican in a big Republican year in Utah, with Mitt Romney at the top of the ticket.

An advantage for McAdams is the grumbling I hear among downtown business leaders that Crockett opposes every big project that would make Salt Lake County a world-class county with a great quality of life. They point to Crockett's opposition to big, community-building projects that most community leaders want, such as the proposed downtown convention hotel and the Broadway-style theater. If McAdams is viewed as more of a fiscally-prudent but progressive community-builder, he will raise more money and make the race very interesting.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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