(Photo Credit: Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News)
Remember when Republican Dave Buhler claimed he was "nice guy?" Well, now that it has been a little over two weeks since he made it into the runoff with Democrat Ralph Becker, it seems Buhler's attacks have started.
Calling himself a doer, not a dreamer, Buhler stood in the shadow of the Utah Capitol to outline a "to-do list" of reforms he needs state help to tackle, if elected.I guess that argument would make sense if you forgot that Buhler was in the Republican leadership in the Utah state legislure and Becker was in the Democratic leadership in the state legislature. Since the Republicans have a super majority in the state legislature, why would they let someone like Becker pass any bills and look good? In fact, it wasn't until Becker was practically gone on the campaign trail that they passed an ethics bill, something Becker has introduced year and after year.
Buhler also assailed the legislative record of his opponent Ralph Becker, whom he questioned for passing just 15 bills during 11 years in the Utah House.
"Some years he didn't seem to make much of an effort," the Republican Buhler said about his Democratic opponent. "The race is between two nice guys," but "one's focus is on results. The other is focused on planning and blueprints."
Becker could not immediately be reached for reaction.
Buhler, a two-term city councilman who finished 11 percentage points behind Becker in the Sept. 11 primary, says he relishes the role of the underdog.
Suggesting Becker has been ineffective on Capitol Hill, Buhler pointed to his four-year Utah Senate term (when he passed 36 bills) and eight years at City Hall as tenures more full of results.
In fact, one of the main reasons Becker probably decided to run for mayor was that he was tired of being stymied by the Republicans in the legislature. With the blue tilt of Salt Lake, he knew he would finally be able to get stuff done as mayor rather than as minority leader.
While we are comparing records of what each candidate has done in the state legislature, many of the things Buhler did weren't good for cities.
As a state senator, he repeatedly tried to limit the power of cities to govern themselves. In the Senate, Buhler tacked a rider onto a bill governing city incorporation. It allowed businesses that owned land in newly formed cities Kearns and Magna to opt out, escaping from new taxes. One company benefiting from Buhler’s changes was Kennecott Copper. Also, as state senator, he limited the power of cities in Utah to regulate rental units.Maybe Buhler should more careful about throwing rocks out of his glass house.
UPDATE: Becker responds.
"My role is to help formulate and present the Democratic position on state policy and on the state budget, to work to make sure I represent my constituents well, to help our caucus be successful with its legislation," he said.
Becker also touted his perfect attendance record in legislative sessions for the past 11 years — "I've never missed a day," he said.
As for being labeled a dreamer by the Buhler campaign, Becker said he doesn't have a problem with that.
"I don't apologize for thinking about the future or working toward the future, engaging the community and achieving the community that we want," he said. "I think it's important that the mayor not only be someone who's managing city government well but develops and leads this city toward the future we want as a community."