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Letter: Officials should serve the public, not themselves

By Staff | Sep 22, 2022

STK- letter to the editor

Trust in government is lost when officials are more interested in pursuing personal agendas than in serving the best interests of citizens.  When this happens, we no longer have a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  We’re used to that on the national level.  

Unfortunately, the same kind of thing is happening in Orem.  The elected officials in question have surrounded themselves with those of like opinion so they can achieve personal agendas. This leads to a phenomenon known as groupthink.  Psychologist Irving Janis said groupthink is “a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment …” The Code of Ordinances for Orem says that all seven members of the City Council (Mayor plus the six council members), shall have an equal vote on matters coming before the City Council.  If four of those seven people have agreed to vote a certain way, then the dissenting votes of the other three members are not equally valued — they become irrelevant.  

One of their agendas involves restricting development. The rollback of the State Street Master Plan eradicated high-density housing developments along State Street.  Recently they deferred approval of the Economic Development Plan so they could make “adjustments” to assure that no high-and medium-density housing was included in the plan.  In response, they were told that Orem must obey Utah Code to provide moderate income housing or suffer the consequences — loss of state funding for a variety of projects. Their no-development agenda will have disastrous economic consequences resulting in higher property taxes. Adequate housing opportunities and promotion of business interests are necessary to build a thriving community.  

Another of their agenda items is the proposal to split Orem schools away from Alpine School District, which will also result in higher property taxes. Higher taxes from an Orem-only school district plus higher taxes caused by economic stagnation equals bad news for Orem taxpayers.  Is this what we really want for Orem?

Virginia Sokolowsky, Orem

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