Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

I'm writing this to voice my dissatisfaction with Orem City. Every two years I sponsor a town hall debate for candidates running for mayor and City Council. I do this because I feel Orem has not provided a decent forum for citizens to get to know the candidates.

This year the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce set up a "meet the candidates" during the primary. No questions were allowed.

Let's define my town hall debate. It's open to all citizens of Orem. All the candidates are invited.

This town hall debate is set up in the evening. Two years ago it was at Lakeridge Junior High and over 150 people attended.

I asked Orem City if they would publish this year's event on their website and Facebook page. The next day an email was sent confirming that it was published.

Surprise, 30 minutes later I received a phone call informing me that they would not publish any information about this event because none of the incumbent candidates were going to attend.

The real concern is for the citizens of Orem. Candidates basically are sales people trying to convince us they have the best product. Orem City is and should remain neutral.

I just don't feel the city should be alienating the very citizens that decide who governs the city. Should Orem City be seen protecting certain candidates? Orem has many issues. Elections should not be a popularity contest and should not be decided through mailings, yard signs or door hangers. A town hall is where candidates are questioned about their vision and ideas. Just checking a box on a ballot is akin to voting for someone without knowing what they stand for. We have eight fine candidates, but do we really know where they stand and how they will solve pressing problems that face our fine city?

As ballots are being mailed, make sure to listen to the candidates and vote.

Mark Tippets

Orem