Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pioneer Crossing to be completed ahead of schedule

Great news for Eagle Mountain residents!!

December 16th, 2009 @ 3:45pm
By Sam Penrod
AMERICAN FORK -- A new highway that will add a direct route from Interstate 15 to Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain has reached the halfway point. But a popular new restaurant in the middle of the construction zone has the Utah Department of Transportation concerned about gridlock.

In 2008, 20,185 daily commuters traveled on Lehi's Main Street. In comparison 15,915 daily commuters used Redwood Road between Lehi Main Street and the Bangerter Highway. -UDOTFor nearly a year now, crews have been working on Pioneer Crossing -- a brand new highway to bring direct freeway access to the growing communities on the west side of Utah Lake.

"We hope to have this all open by September [2010], which will be a couple of months ahead of schedule," UDOT spokesman Scott Thompson said Wednesday. "We will continue to work through the winter; and once the weather warms up, you will see a lot of work on this road to get it finished."

Crews are making progress on a bridge spanning the Jordan River. It's not far from where Pioneer Crossing will connect to Redwood Road.

There will be two lanes in both directions; and because it is close to some residential areas, the speed limit will be just 40 miles per hour, but nonstop.

What is… Pioneer Crossing?
Pioneer Crossing will be a new five-lane east-west connector from Redwood Road in Saratoga Springs to 300 East in Lehi. The project also includes improvements to the I-15 interchange at American Fork Main Street and a new 60-inch water main. -UDOT"We're excited to give people more mobility and a quicker commute back and forth from the interstate to Redwood Road, and the folks in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain another route to where they want to go," Thompson said.
A rendering provided by UDOT shows how the new diverging diamond interchange will work. It will connect Pioneer Crossing to I-15.

First, UDOT is bracing for the popular In and Out Burger opening in the midst of all of the construction on American Fork's Main Street.

"Right now, we have that down to one lane in each direction. And if traffic is backed up on American Fork's Main Street, we would encourage customers to come back, because we don't want to back up Main Street or the on and off-ramps to I-15 as well," Thompson said.

The new diverging diamond interchange is about halfway done. It is scheduled to be finished next fall with the rest of Pioneer Crossing.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Money well spent?

Last night at the Eagle Mountain city council meeting a request to purchase a $215,000 bronze statue of a horse and rider, i.e. Pony Express, named “Special Delivery” was presented to the City Council by Mayor Jackson. The intent is to place the statue in Mid Valley Park along the Pony Express Trail. This was not a budgeted item; therefore money used for this purchase comes from somewhere else in the city. What exactly will be sacrificed is not yet clear, but one can imagine how many neighborhood parks could be built or improved with $215,000 or perhaps the four years of an aquatic center subsidy that the city is unwilling to commit to that $215,000 would cover. It turns out that because of the absence of Ochsenhirt at the time of voting, Mayor Jackson was able to vote on her own request. Lifferth and Cieslak voted in favor and Burnham and Ireland voted against, thus Mayor Jackson needed to vote as a tie breaker. It is the hope that much if not all of the necessary funds will come from grants, but at the time we make the commitment to purchase, we don’t have the money. That philosophy, buy now and figure out how to pay later, is troubling to say the least. It’s the philosophy that significantly contributed to much of the economic troubles experienced today by many who are in homes they can’t afford. Rising credit card debt is another symptom of this philosophy. Aside from the unknown payment plan, I question whether this statue is the best way to spend $215,000 of our limited money.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What the media is saying...

Daily Herald - by Joe Pyrah
" David Lifferth in Eagle Mountain is still trying to figure out what he did to lose his council seat."
"The winners --John Painter and Nathan Ochsenhirt-- beat Lifferth handily."
"They campaigned really hard. They really worked hard," he said."

Deseret News -by Abigail Shaha, Sara Lenz and Rodger L. Hardy
"In Eagle Mountain's City Council race, incumbent City Councilman David Lifferth was defeated with only 782 votes against fellow incumbent Nathan Ochsenhirt with 1,238 votes and newcomer John Painter with 1,271."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We did it, THANKS!!!

The results are in and with 1271 votes you have elected me to the Eagle Mountain City Council. Nate Ochsenhirt will join me for the next 4 years. I appreciate the service rendered by Dave Lifferth over the last few years and look forward to building on the positive momentum we have in the city.

There are too many people who helped my campaign to thank them individually, but I will acknowledge Deborah, my wife, for all her patience and hard work. She and my kids have contributed a lot and without them this would not have been possible. And thanks to my parents for flying out to share in this experience with us. Thanks to all of you who passed out fliers, placed signs in your yards, held signs and honked your horns. And especially thanks for voting.

We had a great time today, and the last several weeks. Thanks again for your help and votes of confidence.

Link to Eagle Mountain City website for election results

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tomorrow we vote, so remember...

I have many people to thank for helping over these past several weeks. Campaigning has been a lot of work but very rewarding to better understand our city. I have been to hundreds of doors, if not a thousand, and have thoroughly enjoyed discussing Eagle Mountain with each of you. And if I missed you, I am sorry and hope to meet your acquaintance over the next 4 years.
Eagle Mountain is a wonderful place to call home; it is full of talent in our residents and full of opportunity in our city. I hope to be able to serve on the City Council and contribute through study, work and vote to improve our city.
What needs to improve?
1) Where are all the businesses? The incumbents have had their time and little has really been accomplished to bring businesses here. We continually hear about plans and what's in the works, but nothing ever comes. More can be accomplished, Economic Development can be improved.
2) The city code still maintains multiple chapters than need to be updated and corrected. Those few residents that have businesses in Eagle Mountain know the difficulty of setting up shop and then the stress of staying open. They can't advertise along Ranches Parkway like the home builders can. The sign ordinance can be changed and improved.
3) The city is 13 years old and it is still illegal for anyone to ride their ATV's and dirt bikes to the hills. The city has taken minimal, if any, steps to drive this effort to identify trail heads, negotiate easements and mark pathways for off-road vehicles. I am already in contact with both the BLM and the OHV Committee for Utah to start progressing this effort. OHV trails and pathways need to be accomplished and this can be improved.
4) Everyone loves parks and open spaces, but these areas must be well placed and well kept. City owned land needs to set the standard for how residents are required to maintain our land. It is inconsistent for the city to fine a resident for a non-landscaped yard, while across the street city land has foot high weeds and tumble weeds growing. We deserve to have the city enforce the same code on themselves that they enforce on us. The city code enforcement on open spaces needs to be improved, especially on the city.

Eagle Mountain needs to transition into tomorrow and move beyond yesterday's embarrassment. We need new leadership with fresh ideas and the ability to do more than maintain status quo and not commit crimes. Eagle Mountain is our town and we can do more to enrich our community, the place we call home. Vote John Painter for City Council on Tuesday.

Harry Potter themed Halloween in Chilton Circle

We passed out 6 gallons of Hot Chocolate, lots of candy & talked with lots of residents. Special Thanks to Kerri and Troy Enniss for hosting the Harry Potter Block Party. Thank you Eagle Mountain Residents for allowing me to get to know you all better. Remember on Tues Nov. 3rd VOTE JOHN PAINTER!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How'd I get that money?

A very busy 48 hours has passed. I have received emails and phone calls. I wasn't aware of how critically the financial contributions would be analyzed. Perhaps somewhat due to being relatively unaware of the impact of certain contributors on the city in the past and somewhat due to continually looking for the best in others. I want to share some thoughts regarding this topic.

I've lived in Eagle Mountain for over 3 years. I've heard stories of our cities past and read the embarrassing news articles written by local media. Hoping and wanting to be a part of transitioning Eagle Mountain beyond "those days" is part of the reason I am running for city council. I am not naive or stupid regarding certain individuals and the impact they've had on the city, although I am certain I have heard some embellishments as well as I am certain I haven't heard all the truths. I had no one ask me to run for council nor have I counseled with or received recommendations from anyone who financially contributed to my campaign, except of course my father and wife.

When I began my contribution seeking, I went to the city recorder and submitted a GRAMA request to pull the last 2 elections financial disclosures. I wrote down the names of those who had contributed significantly, >$200 and it was my intention to contact them on my behalf. It was through this process that I contacted my contributors, as well as many others who weren't in a financial position to contribute to this election as they had in the past. In addition I solicited funds from my dentist, my insurance agent, my family, my in-laws, my friends and neighbors. If there are questions about any relationships I have with any developers in Eagle Mountain I will answer them. Basically, I went to them because they had contributed in the past.

I have tried to run an honest and truthful campaign. I believe the city, the candidates and I have all benefited from focusing and discussing on the issues of Eagle Mountain. I will not be a puppet nor will I be pressured into doing things bad for the city or against my personal belief. I truly believe that Eagle Mountain has a great future full of opportunity. I want to be a part of transitioning into that future. I have prepared myself academically and professionally to contribute on many levels and look forward to the being able to represent the residents of Eagle Mountain.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Campaign Financial Disclosure

On Tuesday, Oct 27th all candidates were legally required to disclose all campaign contributions and expenditures. In order to be forthright and transparent let me be clear about who has contributed to my campaign and what that contribution may mean. Because I am not running for Mayor I won't be discussing their contributions.

I received $500 from Eagle Mountain Properties. To put this into perspective, Nate Ochsenhirt received $1250 Eagle Mountain Development in his 2007 campaign and Dave Lifferth received $1000 from Bigg Homes in his 2005 campaign. Although I received significantly less, I guess we all received contributions from major Eagle Mountain Developer.

DAI currently has an annexation proposal before the council. A proposal that has already incurred significant cost for the developer and would significantly increase the value of their land. I approached DAI and asked for contributions and received $500. Again, to put that in perspective, Ochsenhirt and Lifferth both received $1000.

Unlike the other candidates, nobody contributed more to my campaign than I did, both in time and money. I believe in government officials who are committed to doing the right thing, those things that need and should happen and have the best interest of the city in mind. Unlike the other candidates I have received contributions from businesses, family and friends both in and out of Eagle Mountain. Dave Lifferth's entire campaign is being funded by developers, Dave contributed "zero, zip, zilch, nada" to his own campaign. Nate Ochsenhirt only contributed $78.74 to his campaign.

Attached is a link to the city website where all candidate's disclosure forms are available.

Campaign Financial Disclosures

In addition I have included those who contributed to my campaign and what relationship I have with them.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Economic Development

Not surprisingly, each candidate is discussing economic development as part of their platforms. However, as I evaluate what I see as and how I define economic development and compare that to the ideas of the other candidates,differences can be seen. I don't believe that our economic development plan needs to be intertwined with our transportation needs. (Our transportation needs are significant and critical) The idea that better transportation will inherently bring more businesses that will significantly contribute to the tax base of Eagle Mountain and provide jobs for our residents is insufficient. In reality, Utah is a state whose main commerce is achieved through phones and computers, not boat, rail or road. Thus we are surrounded with businesses who are capable of coming to Eagle Mountain and thriving immediately. These service based businesses don't require hundreds of trucks delivering supplies each day. They require affordable land, a capable labor pool and an internet connection. Each of these things we can provide today. What is being done and what more should be done to make Eagle Mountain more commercially attractive? How are we better positioned to benefit from a recovering and expanding economy tomorrow than we were yesterday? Are there additional opportunities that haven't yet been investigated?
Over the last several weeks, residents have shared with me that they want to have economic development that allows them to work in Eagle Mountain, shop in Eagle Mountain and play in Eagle Mountain. I share these desires. Accomplishing these goals require the cooperation of many people beyond the City Council, however we can and should ensure that every line in the city code is carefully written to entice and suggest business growth. When I visit with local business owners and they share with me the difficult experiences they had in establishing their business due to the required navigation of bureaucratic red-tape, it makes we wonder what the other candidates really mean when they say economic development. They have already had 4 years. For me, we need to identify our competitive advantage, identify what measures we can and should (both short and long-term) use for business incentives and then target those businesses and industries who can come to Eagle Mountain today, not in 5-10 years when we have 6 lane highways through city center.

News Articles for Eagle Mountain Debate

Daily Herald

Deseret News

Meet the Candidate Debate

On Wednesday night we participated in the Meet the Candidate Debate hosted by Hidden Hollow PTA. In anticipation of a 2 vs. 1 type of debate, (the incumbents are campaigning together) I spent several hours documenting voting records, motions made and meetings missed that demonstrated a lack of vision, lack of consistency or lack of resident input. I felt very prepared walking into a debate in which the subject matter nor questions were given in advance. In turns out the questions prompted a very civil debate that focused more on future needs and individual character. With only 1 1/2 minutes to respond it only makes sense to highlight yourself rather than attack your opponents, thus a very civil and professional debate.

After brief 2 minute introductions, the questions were 1) As part of Economic Development, what types of businesses do we need in Eagle Mountain and what needs to be done to bring them? 2) There are extensive transportation plans, beside those already planned or being worked on, what are Eagle Mountain's biggest transportation needs? and 3) In light of Eagle Mountain's rocky political past, what are you doing to gain public trust?

Attached is link to the city's website for the audio file with the entire debate, also some news articles reporting on it. The sitting order was Heather Jackson, Regan Bolli, Dave Lifferth, John Painter and Nate Ochsenhirt. The first to answer was random but then the responses follow that order.

Eagle Mountain Debate

I will discuss each of these in further detail later this weekend in another blog.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Ark of Eagle Mountain

It has been interesting to observe this project evolve over the past several months. The Ark of Eagle Mountain is a mental health and drug recovery facility that is being established in City Center. On March 17, 2009, an open public comment forum was held regarding resident’s thoughts for this proposal. On that night 100% of the public comments shared were NOT in favor of the project as proposed. No vote was necessary by the Council at that time. At the next City Council meeting on April 7, 2009, there were 17 people who publicly spoke in favor of the proposal, but not one of them a resident of Eagle Mountain. However, there were many others who spoke in opposition to the facility, who indeed were residents of Eagle Mountain. In all, 14 of 15 public comments in opposition were by Eagle Mountain residents. These residents expressed concerns of location, safety and aesthetic fit of the facility. At that April 7th meeting, Councilman Lifferth took special measure to ensure that the violation schedule was clearly outlined and when the motion to approve was presented a specific landscape design was approved, including a 6 ft fence, and to be installed within 6 months. The landscape plan was to help appease concerns regarding the aesthetic fit of the facility, ensuring that the facility would not be an eye-sore to the neighborhood. However, with time running out, a request for additional time for landscaping was made on behalf of the Ark facility at the October 6th City Council meeting. Despite taking previous measures to clarify the consequences for not meeting the requirements, Councilman Lifferth made an extremely liberal motion to grant the Ark another 8 months to complete their requirements, without penalty. For Councilman Lifferth to verbally express disapproval of the facility but yet create such liberal opportunities is disappointing. As a result, the residents get to enjoy 8 more months of eye-sore landscaping, for a facility they never wanted and even legally fought. I applaud Councilman Ochsenhirt for not voting in favor of this time extension. He expressed his concerns and then voted Nay according to his conscience; being honest to himself and us as residents and not playing political games.
Moving forward, I’d like to see Eagle Mountain do better at holding those who make promises accountable, whether it’s promised parks, future developmental plans or simply landscape implementation.

Crossroads Journal Flier

In Thursday's edition of the Crossroads journal, we placed this flier. The quotes were given to me from associates on both academic and civic levels.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Utah Lake Crossing Project

Tonight at the city council meeting, I made a statement of support for the Utah Lake Crossing Project. This is a proposal from a private group of investors and developers, Utah Crossing Inc., to build, own and maintain a toll bridge across Utah Lake. The bridge would span 6 miles from Vineyard Lake Rd in Orem (near Geneva Steel) on the east to Pelican Bay in Saratoga Springs on the west. This is an excellent example of private industry stepping up to provide a more timely and profitable solution that what is likely capable from UDOT. In the recent crossroads journal interview I stated, “In general, governments have a very difficult time running businesses more effectively or more profitable than private firms.” Consistent with that philosophy, I made the following statement at the city council meeting tonight.
“ Increased transportation is consistent with and will enhance our opportunities of economic development in Eagle Mountain. We are seeing some successes with our transportation and will need to realize continued projects to meet our current and projected needs. I have read about the Utah Lake Project online, I have listened to their presentation earlier, and I believe that a privately funded bridge would be an asset to both residents and businesses. To the extent that the project is consistent with the landscape of the area and creates minimal environmental impact, I state my support for the Utah Lake Crossing Project. As a candidate for city council, I believe it’s important that the residents understand where both the current and potentially future council members stand on this issue.”
More information regarding this project can be found at

Friday, October 2, 2009

Crossroads Journal Article - 10/01/09

A desire to have "more than just a voice" in the community led John Painter to decide to run for city council. Painter has lived here for three years and is ready to be more involved. "I am running for city council because I believe strongly in being more than just a voice, but to contribute and serve in a capacity that allows me to become intricately involved in the growth, development and maturity of the city I live in and plan to raise my children in," said Painter. Painter draws on his experience as both a supervisor at work as well as a former board member of an HOA in Provo. He has felt the support of many individuals around him in his decision to run for office. "The decision to run for city council is one that my wife and family are very supportive of. I believe that it speaks highly of an individual when those who know him best are his biggest supporters, and not just close family but friends, neighbors and colleagues," Painter acknowledges.

If elected to the city council Painter would like to focus on economic development as well as improved transportation. "I am working with the World Trade Center Utah and the governor’s office of economic development, GOED, to create a map for Eagle Mountain to design and develop a location that is extremely attractive for business expansion and relocation," he explains. Painter believes Eagle Mountain has economic potential. "Eagle Mountain is capable of being strategically developed to be a major hub for central Utah trade commerce; from service centers to manufacturing and production. I also want to create more visibility to the 300+ local businesses in Eagle Mountain. Advertising is critical for these small businesses," Painter expounds.

Painter would like to see some changes in the city including the preexisting city owned utilities. "I don’t believe that city owned utilities is a positive for Eagle Mountain. In general, governments have a very difficult time running businesses more effectively or more profitable than private firms. The city has been very vocal recently about not being in the golf course business, and I add that we should not be in the utility business," said Painter. He says that the discussions and subsequent contract with the Central Utah Water Conservancy regarding Eagle Mountain water supply is critical to sustainability and future growth. Painter would like open communication with residents and city council members. "Residents need to become more involved and have greater confidence in their elected officials. And elected officials need to become more involved with the residents to earn that confidence and respect," he said.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Who works with the Parks & Recreation Board?

I believe strongly that once elected, civic officials accept a level of commitment and responsibility to their constituents. There are many ways for this commitment to be demonstrated, one of which is meeting participation on assigned boards. Each city council member is assigned the role as liaison to a specific board. One of the most active boards during the last several months was the Parks & Recreation Board. They have been the driving force behind our numerous city parks and green space improvements. They were also tasked with the work associated with the recently failed city recreation center proposal, from public opinion surveys to project design. Their work is significant and appreciated. As City council liaison, Nathan Ochsenhirt's participation and meeting attendance to the Parks & Recreation Board has been very poor . I wonder if this absence and lack of city involvement with the Parks & Recreation board played any role in the rejected proposal for a recreation center? Eagle Mountain needs better involvement and participation from us. I will attend the meetings assigned to me because that is the commitment I have for the position I am asking to be elected for.