Orem City Council approves resolution encouraging yes vote on Proposition 2
Tuesday evening, during its regular city council meeting, members of the Orem City Council voted on a resolution encouraging members of the community “to consider carefully this important matter when they cast their vote regarding Orem Proposition 2.”
Mayor David Young, in introducing and reading the resolution, said, “the resolution is outlining the city’s support for a new school district.”
The vote was 4-3 in favor of the resolution. Those opposed to the wording and concept of the politically relevant resolution included council members Tom Macdonald, Debby Lauret and Jeff Lambson. Those favoring the resolution included council members Terry Peterson, LaNae Millett and David Spencer, along with Young.
For the second time, Young opted to black out the public open mic period, along with the portion of the meeting spent voting on the resolution. Only those in the chambers were able to see and hear comments from the council.
On Oct. 4, the Orem City Council shut down the live feed for a portion of the city council meeting. The move was rare and for some — including the lieutenant governor’s office — it appeared close to a misdemeanor. Orem City Attorney Steven Earl advised Young to black out that portion of the meeting. The advice to stop the livestream was to avoid any potential violation of Utah Code Section 20A-11-1203 which prohibits publishing argument for or against a ballot proposition on the city’s website.
At that meeting, Young moved the public open mic portion to the end of the meeting, prior to a resolution encouraging a no vote on the Alpine School District’s $595 million bond. The two resolutions passed along the same lines.
During that meeting, president of Vivint Smart Homes and a proponent for passing Proposition 2, Alex Dunn, was holding a citywide dinner at his home and discussed the virtues of voting for Proposition 2.
This Tuesday, it was Todd Pederson, former president of Vivint Smart Homes, hosting a catered dinner for residents to discuss Proposition 2 at the same time as the city council meeting.
Pederson started a political issues committee in support of passing Proposition 2. The group’s only donor is Dunn, who contributed $100,000.
The resolution passed Tuesday touches heavily on points made in the Orem School District Feasibility Study completed by DEC LLC.
The resolution also refers to the potential Alpine School District bond seeking $595 million and an “inevitable” split between Orem and ASD.
The notion of having Vineyard and Lindon added into an Orem district is also presented in three paragraphs of the resolution. Proposition 2, however, speaks specifically to a district only within the contiguous boarders of Orem.
Neither Vineyard nor Lindon leaders are seeking to be a part of a new school district at this time. According to Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer, she has only had one visit on the subject and is in an “observation mode.” Residents of Vineyard and Lindon will not vote on Proposition 2.
During the discussion period, Lambson said he felt it was not proper for an elected body to take a stand. He voted no.
Peterson shared several opinions, noting that if the city continued with bonds from ASD, “it will be hard for Orem to leave and it will be saddled in debt.”
“As a council we can’t stand by and listen to the rhetoric,” Millett said. She also spoke of her desire to have neighborhood schools before voting in favor of the resolution.
“I don’t think long speeches from the city council will change anyone’s opinion in this room,” Macdonald said. “I will be voting no on this resolution in an attempt to stay clear of any hint or perception of impropriety or circumvention of established best practices.”
“I was concerned with our resolution against the bond. But this resolution heightens my concern. The resolution is bringing discord to our council. Let’s get out of the promoting business and let the people decide,” Lauret said.