Tag Archives: mayor

Mayor Kaufusi Is Listening, So Please Speak Up!

Provo’s mayor Michelle Kaufusi plans to embark upon a “listening tour” around Provo this autumn. As part of this tour, she will welcome input from residents during meetings at the following times in the following places:

While she’s listening more intently than usual, this may be a prime time for us liberty-lovin’ Provoans to speak up about various things that are concerning us, such as our growing array of city-run businesses, increased central economic planning, multiplying municipal ordinances (and city employees) along with increased business regulation, subsidies for startups, overpriced underused public transit, and an official vision for our city’s future that includes a variety of statist goals.  These are items that our blog has highlighted since this year began, while many additional concerns are outlined on our website.  We shouldn’t be upholding such statist policies in our city, or even acquiescing to them, but actively seeking to thwart them—not through threats or condemnation but through effectively persuading others (whether our neighbors or our elected politicians) to change their hearts/minds for the better.

Perhaps our passionate reason will never persuade Mayor Kaufusi (or our city council) to implement any major course-changes, but we should at least try.  And also try to help our neighbors to vote more wisely in 2019.  In fact, if you’re not already knocking on your neighbors’ doors regularly to try to build passionate well-informed support among them for better local government, then there’s no time like the present to formulate such plans, especially while the weather remains favorable.


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Provo’s Mayor and Central Planning

Provo’s newest mayor, Michelle Kaufusi, is simultaneously serving as a columnist for the Provo Daily Herald, which is helping to extend the reach of her “bully pulpit” to expound her views.  It’ll be nice to know what she’s thinking and intending over time.

In her first column yesterday, she wrote about how to preserve Provo’s “unique, family-friendly, close-knit feel” as it grows, and proposed three solutions, about which we’d like to comment briefly.

Firstly, she proposed “a neighborhood-first city.”  The details of what this phrase means are not obvious but remain somewhat debatable—but, in any case, although it’s a fine thing to maintain distinct neighborhoods within a city, there’s one political unit that’s always even more important than any neighborhood.  And that unit is the family, which is the basic unit of any society, including of any church or state.  In fact, each individual household constitutes the Earthly source from which all political power is delegated to public officers.  And each political system should not only respect the equal God-given rights of its constituents, but it should also help defend those rights, even when doing so contradicts the special interests of certain groups.  Like neighborhood majorities.  So, it would be better to propose a family-first city.

Secondly, she proposed “smart urban planning.”  Although it’s alright for the city to plan some things like public streets, the rest is best planned by the many rather than the few.  No small oligarchy of central economic planners, now matter how expert, can plan a city better than its residents interacting contractually within a genuinely-free market.  The people should decide what gets built where, not their city councilors and definitely not their mayor.  The purpose of a city’s mayor should not be to direct his/her constituents’ efforts like a monarch, but rather to defend their rights as a servant, while allowing them to work out the rest amongst themselves as free people.  Free people, when guided by virtue, can accomplish amazing things—in fact, they always work best as free men and women rather than as slaves.

Thirdly, she proposed “an aggressive plan to increase economic development in our city.”  Again, it’s free people who should freely develop their economy, while their public officers should simply help defend their rights to do so, rather than dictate those efforts.  It shouldn’t be a mayor’s responsibility to make a “shopping list” of specific businesses to bring into town, and then devise strategies to finagle them into doing so via subsidies or tax-breaks or other special favors, all for the purpose of increasing the city’s tax revenue so that it can control everyone better.  Instead, public officers should simply help defend everyone’s equal God-given rights, and equally welcome ALL legitimate businesses into town by maintaining a genuine free market—a market in which entrepreneurs naturally thrive according to how well they serve residents (NOT how well they curry political favor), and in which they are equally free (including from burdensome regulations) to figure out how best to do this, as long as they don’t overstep their own God-given rights to violate the equal rights of others.  Economies always perform best when they’re kept free, not when they’re whooped into submission to serve political objectives.

Either we the people rule our public officers, or they rule us.  A controlling state makes a weak citizenry, but a strong populace makes a strong city.  And that’s the “Provo Strong” that we should want—a strong community in which residents fully respect each other’s equal rights, while learning to exercise their own rights well within their proper limits, and freely loving/serving each other to do likewise.  This characterizes the virtuous free society that will help Provo to remain a thriving place to live.  By contrast, our city will dwindle if we persist along our present collectivistic course toward well-funded central planning that will run our municipal economy and direct its growth.

So, let’s work together for a freer Provo, including by upholding more city officers who will respect our rights NOT reign over our lives.  Which includes preparing for our city’s next round of elections in 2019.  We invite you to please visit our Free Provo website for both ideas and resources, and we hope that you’ll encourage your fellow liberty-lovin’ Provoans to do likewise.


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Provo’s State-of-the-City in 2018

Provo officially inaugurated Michelle Kaufusi this January 3rd as its newest (and first female) mayor.  She delivered her first state-of-the-city address this January 18th, which proposed both good and bad for Provo’s near-future.

As for the good, Mayor Kaufusi encouraged both community spirit and volunteerism, which is always commendable.  She also proposed a new wastewater treatment facility, which sounds like a fine idea, as long as it’s genuinely needed.  And she proposed a newly-consolidated customer-service department to better help patrons of the city’s growing array of business ventures.  So far, so good.

It’s this latter item that introduces the bad, though, because no city should ever need a customer-service department.  This department has become necessary only because our city officers have followed our federal government’s bad example by running so many businesses.  In fact, for all practical purposes, our city’s mayor currently doubles as C.E.O. of over a dozen city-run business ventures, which now include a redevelopment agency, a power company, an airport, a television channel, a library, a money-losing performing arts center, a thriving recreation center, a fitness center, a golf course, an ice rink, a water park, a park service, a gun range, a garbage-collection service, a recycling service, and a cemetery.  And, by the way, our city officers have shown interest in expanding this list to include both a museum and a beach.

Altogether, this diverse array of at least 16 businesses arguably constitutes far too much responsibility for a single conglomerate to manage effectively, especially a conglomerate that’s entirely led/managed by politicians.  Whenever such public businesses perform well (as Provo’s new recreation center has been doing), it’s always a rare-and-fleeting exception to the timeless universal rule, which is one reason why we would do well to fully spin-off all such businesses into the private sector.  Another reason for such spin-offs is that our public sector should avoid distracting itself from its core responsibilities (and proper role) of expertly helping us to defend our God-given rights.

And our politicians should definitely only defend rights and never violate them!  Sadly, our city officers have already been infringing upon our equal God-given rights by trying to centrally-plan development in west Provo, while cracking down on landlords’ private property rights, which are two other sad items that Mayor Kaufusi mentioned in these remarks.  If she continues to exert ever-more political control over our now-thriving city economy, then such control will ultimately devastate it, much as Detroit governed itself to death in 2011.

So, altogether, Mayor Kaufusi seems poised to perpetuate the relatively-statist policies of her predecessor, sadly, and to fulfill her campaign slogan of wanting a “strong” Provo—which, as best as I can tell, includes rendering our city government strong enough to control the local economy and even decree grocery stores into existence at will.  This means that we’ll need to remain vigilant, and prepare ourselves to mobilize our like-minded neighbors to oppose such bad policies—and to help them to choose better in 2021.  If you haven’t already done so, then please peruse our website to learn more about what’s wrong with Provo, along with how we might solve those problems together.

Do you agree with this analysis?  Why or why not?  What more can or should we be doing to foster a freer Provo?   Please leave your feedback below.


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Provo’s General Election Results for 2017

America’s general election was held yesterday and, in Provo, that included elections for both mayor and three councilors.  Election results are not yet finalized, since our county clerk has not yet counted all ballots cast; but, if present trends continue, then here are this year’s election results…

For mayor, Establishment candidate Michelle Kaufusi, who seemingly wants a municipal government “strong” enough to decree grocery stores into existence, has defeated both fellow Establishment candidate Sherrie Hall Everett, who apparently wants to keep Provo “moving forward” toward the statist Vision 2030 future that she helped plan for it, and write-in candidate Odell Miner, who didn’t seem especially likely to either continue or reverse such trends.

For city council, Provoans re-elected incumbents David Sewell and David Harding, plus seemingly-like-minded newcomer George Handley.

These candidates were elected by only about 8,000 participating voters, who together constitute about 19% of Provo’s 42,000-ish registered voters, as well as less than 7% of all 117,000-ish current Provo residents.  This is an unusually large turnout for an odd-year election in Provo, but such high turnout likely resulted entirely from this year’s special election for U. S. Representative.  Altogether, these 8,000 participants, by majority vote, upheld Provo’s increasingly-statist status quo of higher taxes, deeper debts, increased spending, multiplied ordinances, disrespected rights, et cetera, which is tragic for one of America’s most “conservative” cities.

We Provoans who value our rightful liberty can do no more for it in this election, but can only start preparing for our next one.  We need to engage our neighbors in conversation, identify and/or proselytize like-minded ones, educate them, inform them, activate them, and organize them for perpetual victory.  And also actively seek out worthy candidates whom we can encourage to seek public office, and then uphold in doing so.  Which will hopefully avert a bleak future like Detroit’s and perhaps render Provo’s best days yet-to-be again.  Will you commit to engage in such political activism over these next two years—and beyond?


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Provo Mayor 2017: Miscounts and Write-Ins

For those who haven’t already learned about it, Utah County’s clerk has discovered that at least 150 Provoan’s votes for mayor this year were never counted; also, Odell Miner (who placed third in this year’s primary election for Provo mayor) has now officially filed as a write-in candidate in this year’s general election to provide an alternative to statists Kaufusi and Everett.  We still favor Miner best of these three, but not enough to endorse him at present.


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Provo Mayor 2017: Kaufusi versus Everett

Provo’s primary election (whose results were mostly certified this week) has determined that Provo voters will choose between Michelle Kaufusi and Sherrie Hall Everett for their next mayor in this year’s general election on November 7th.

Michelle Kaufusi was asked by Provo’s political/economic elites to run for office, and advocates a “strong” Provo—so strong, some might say, that it can wrangle our municipal economy into submission such that, when she says “dance,” it will dance, when she says “jump,” it will ask how high, and when she says “let there be a grocery store in west Provo,” it will produce a grocery store according to her will.

Sherrie Hall Everett wants to keep Provo “moving forward,” which presumably means moving in the statist direction that she helped to expound in Vision 2030—a vision that includes “sustainable development,” “Smart Growth,” homeowner subsidies, restrictions on rental housing, mandatory neighborhood diversity, city-run business monopolies, business subsidies, Internet censorship, socialized medicine, health regulation, and an expanding array of city-run recreation facilities.

Between empowering the state and subjugating the economy, there aren’t any good mayoral options this year for Provoans who cherish America’s wonderful political heritage of rightful liberty under Constitutional law.  Which means that we’ll need to work hard over these next four years to produce such options in 2021.  If you’re both willing and able to help with this task, then please visit our website for a proposed gameplan of what to do between now and then.

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Provo’s Mayoral Candidates for 2017 (Part 2 of 2)

Provo requires all residents seeking city office to register their candidacy between June 1st and June 7th, and so (as we post this blog entry) it’s been clear for 20 days now what this year’s electoral options will be for us Provoans.

Provoans campaigning in 2017 for mayor (now that John Curtis is retiring after two terms) include an unusually-large group of nine.  The initial four to enter this year’s mayoral race were featured in a previous blog entry, of whom one (Stephen Cope) has since withdrawn.  The latter six are as follows:

  1. Edwin Odell Miner, who served as a Provo city commissioner during the 1970s before Provo adopted its current mayor-council system during 1982.  He hasn’t yet shown much interest in significantly changing Provo’s current status quo (which, as Ronald Reagan once quipped, is Latin for “the mess we’re in”),
  2. Larry Walters, who is a passionate public servant/manager who wants to balance Provo’s budget while renewing its infrastructure, and who seems poised to highly-competently maintain Provo’s present status quo—except that we need a principled champion of rightful liberty instead.
  3. Kevin Wing, who believes in wielding political power beyond simply defending rights to actively foster both prosperity and happiness, and who wants to expand Provo’s current array of city-run businesses to include both an events center and a veterans’ center—which are all fine goals but NOT for political systems.
  4. Elliot Craig, whose views are not widely known yet.
  5. John Fenley, who is an intelligent futurist whose views go beyond libertarianism into anarchism, which is why he is interested in completely disincorporating Provo. We at Free Provo view anarchy as an unwise overreaction to tyranny, and instead prefer rightful liberty under Constitutional law, and perhaps also a revised city charter for Provo.
  6. Howard Stone, a humble-but-tenacious serial candidate who isn’t especially interested in ruling over others, but expresses relatively libertarian / Constitutional views instead.  We presently believe that, despite any arguable inadequacies that he may possess, he’s the best choice overall for Provo—and, as such, we endorse him in this election.

Whether you agree with our assessment of these 9 candidates or not, we nevertheless urge you to identify the best champion of rightful liberty under Constitutional law who runs among them, and then to uphold that candidate as best as possible for as long as he/she remains in this race, including by activating like-minded neighbors.

If we liberty-lovin’ Provoans can build our ranks to become at least as numerous and/or effective as our statist adversaries, then we can help a rights-defending champion to achieve electoral victory, both in Provo’s primary election this August 15th and in Provo’s general election this November 7th.  Which is one reason why Facebook ads began inviting Provoans to this website yesterday, and will continue to do so for the next 7 weeks.  So, what are you waiting for?  Let’s get to work…


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