The Write Man for the Job?

The Write Man for the Job?

Mason McCloud

If you or your parents are registered voters in the city of Provo, then you’ve received at least one flier in the mail propagating Odell Miner.  A Write-In Candidate for Provo City Mayor, Odell Miner was overlooked in the last issue of the Thunderbolt, where only two of the three candidates—Everett and Kaufusi—were interviewed, but Miner was not.

However, the overwhelming majority of Timpview students cannot vote, so why should they care about the race in the first place?  Without just cause, most of the student population in this school doesn’t care about politics on the local level.

“I think high school is a great time to figure out that we live in the greatest country in the world, because of our Constitutional structure,” Miner said.  “That’s how government should be built: strong families make strong neighborhoods, strong neighborhoods make a strong city, a strong city makes a strong state, strong states—and Utah is way up high in terms of its overall strengthening of this great Constitutional structure—form a strong country.  That’s how we get to be who we are as Americans.  It’s the greatest system of governance that has ever existed in the history of this world.”

Odell, who holds a Doctorate in Political Science, served as Assistant City Manager in Scottsdale, AZ and in Orem, UT.  Odell was elected and served as Provo’s City Commissioner from 1974-78.  He served as a member of the Professional Faculty at Utah Valley University.

Miner also worked as Director of Research and Training of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, Director of Admissions at Provo Canyon School, and was Executive Director of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service at the University of Tennessee.  When he returned to Utah, Miner served as Executive Vice President and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute of Public Affairs, a consultancy which he established.

With all that experience, all that education, it seems almost contradictory to better judgement to run as a Write-In Candidate for Mayor.

“This decision is not about gender, this decision is about experience, training, education and qualifications,” Miner said.  “One of the candidates served on the Provo City Council.  That gives some exposure to city policies and procedures, and what the city is all about.  But that individual has never had any executive-level assignments outside of running her own small business.  Neither [candidate] has the experience to take on the complexities of a $230 million budget, with some 1,500 employees, with 65 different departments and divisions of governance in the city.”

Regardless of the personal reasons why, the public reasons for Miner’s candidacy are more than apparent.  In his lifetime serving in the public eye, Odell is committed to streamlining city services and improving Provo’s fiscal health.  These are major issues in Miner’s opinion.

“The number one role of government is public safety.  That’s number one on my agenda: to make sure the people of Provo are safe and secure, and that certainly includes every citizen,” Miner said.  “I’m just big into this because all through my life, I’ve seen so many stories that start like this: ‘Thanks to the tip of an alert citizen, this criminal was apprehended.’  So, we start with that.”

“I think we need to be really cautious about building too much high-density housing.  People are drawn to Provo because of Provo’s neighborhoods,” Miner said.  “We need to be cautious we don’t overbuild in the name of providing something for everybody, and that we [don’t] lose sight of fundamental environmental and cultural realities make Provo, Provo: that’s ownership of property.  It’s fundamental to the Constitutional that we have the right and control of private property.”

A substantial part of the protection against encroaching urbanization is, in Odell’s eyes, a thoughtful, methodical, and carefully managed approach to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).  

“It seems well established that BRT was not authorized with certifiable data.  Unsubstantiated levels of ridership were used to justify this project,” Miner said.  “It would have been wise to start with much lower [rider] projections, with less of these double-buses; utilizing smaller buses and growing the system as the demand increased would have given BRT a better premise.  It’s just built on false premises, and now it’s over budget, it’s too costly, it’s probably 20 years ahead of its time,” Miner postulated.

Whether or not you agree with him on everything, Odell Miner is providing another option to the citizens of Provo through his Write-In Campaign for Mayor.  

“My goal as Mayor is to provide Provo city government with a very open, very accessible, and very transparent administration,” Miner said.