Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Meet the Candidate: Michael L. Deamer

If my discussion with Mike Deamer tonight had been a debate, and the winner was decided based upon their popularity, then I would have lost. Let me start by running over my biases, for those who don't already know them. I am a fiscal conservative which opposes government spending for what I consider to be non-core functions. I expect responsible spending on core functions, and no spending when possible. This can put one like myself out in the cold when in the company of those with a softer, fuzzier view of the world. Now, on to the bullet points.


Deamer began well. He layed out a well reasoned criticism of the Wasatch Intergrated Waste Management, a waste burning facility that is operated under Davis County Government. He says, (and I believe it) that he has been after the entity to lower rates for years. They finally did so, to a small degree. I think I'm saving about fifty cents a month on my garbage bill now.

Jail expansion

The Candidate outlined his opposition to the handling of the Jail expansion. He felt that the cost to the taxpayer was too high, and lumped the difficulty of the Jail in with the failed attempt to raise taxes 138%.

South Davis Recreation Center

He openly supported the funding and building of the Center. Why wouldn't he since he sits on the Board, you ask? Well, for one thing, he sits on the Waste Board as well, yet he's been critical of them. He spoke highly of the Davis School District, the County, and Bountiful for the additional contribution they made when the costs escalated. (Fact check: How much did the School District contribute?)

Why Commissioner?

Deamer said that the job of Mayor of Centerville did not pay that well for a full-time job. He was running for Commissioner because it paid well and he thought he could make a difference in the County. I don't think I'm twisting words here. It was a bold admission that Commissioners earn good money. I don't think Deamer's ashamed of it.


I asked him if he had studied whether the Recreation Center would ever turn a profit. He went through a litany of other facilities and pools that they had visited which they thought, as a group, were just fantastic. I pressed on the question of a profitable facility. He admitted, eventually, that it would probably always be subsidized by the government. He also confessed that the planners did not consider the financial aspects of the Rec Center when it was being considered.

I mentioned that the center would be a multiple-purpose facility, and that they could have kept things to a pool and a ice-rink. Why build a climbing wall, three pools of such large purportions, and a rink? The argument was presented that the Center would not compete with the private sector since nobody in the private sector had built such a facility. I said that businesses may never try to compete, now that the building was almost finished.

Now it get's interesting.

When I questioned Deamer on how he could oppose the Jail expansion, but support the Rec Center, he said, 'the main difference between the two issues are that the Rec Center was brought to a public vote while the Jail never was'. What was that?

I informed Deamer that the Jail expansion was brought to a vote of the public. But, I let him off too easy. I should have re-asked the question. What is the difference between the Rec Center and the Jail? When pressed Deamer said that he thought that the building of a Rec Center was a core function of government. If that's true, then Deamer is a Fiscal Conservative.

Losing the Delegates

As it turns out there were a whole bunch of people in favor of a Rec Center. One told me a story about how when she was a child she had to travel miles to swim in the Deseret Gym. Another told me that without the government, we may not have mountains to climb (responding to my expression that anyone wanting a climbing wall ought to look to the mountains. I do enjoy rock climbing in the mountains). Yet, this delegate actually said, we may not have mountains without the government! I think he meant that we would have leveled them all to build houses, but I responded that God gave us the mountains, not the government. One person said it all, "I like the Rec Center"! It should be clear to me at this point that I have lost these people, but I continued in my futile attempts at persuasion for another few minutes.


If you believe that the Rec Center deserved less financial scrutiny than our Jail, or our Waste Management facilities then you should give Mike Deamer your full support. If you want Deamer pinching pennies on our Jails while he doles out dollars for our climbing wall, then jump aboard the Deamer campaign.