Monday, May 19, 2008

Greg "conflicts of interest" Curtis

Our state House Speaker.
Curtis, an attorney, has had great success in battling opponents of his clients' development plans in [Sandy] City Hall and some wonder if it's due to his negotiating skills, the merits of his causes or who he is and the powerful position he holds as speaker of the House of Representatives.
I don't wonder, do you? It's because he gets to create development deals (like approve state money to build a road near a piece of property owned by a client, or contributor, or buy/sell land via the state or the county for inflated profits to his patrons) via his power on Utah' Capitol Hill. He gets to set out the limits of municipal powers as well, something people working in city halls in Utah care about. Rolly gives us some details...
Now, I've learned Curtis got his way with the all-Republican Salt Lake County Commission eight years ago, just before the county changed its government to a mayor-council form. That was before he was speaker, but he was a member of the Legislature who shortly thereafter would become chief counsel to then-County Mayor Nancy Workman.
In that case, his family members had applied for a zoning variance to build a duplex on the 1600 East block of Creek Road in Sandy. The Little Cottonwood Community Council obtained signatures on a petition opposing the variance and the Planning and Zoning Commission denied it, ruling the size of the lot was not conducive to a duplex. The matter was appealed to the County Commission and the lot was approved.
That's right, he was Nacy Workman's "chief counsel." He got to draw two salaries (one from the County, one from the State) and he really did a great job of looking out for County tax payers, making sure County employees didn't buy lots of unnecessary SUVs and fill them (and their personal cars) up with abandon...oh wait.

Nancy Workman was tossed out of office (she did not seek another term out of pressure from GOP leaders that knew she could not win) for presiding over a corrupt County government, and Curtis was her right hand man, her partner in crime.

In short, Speaker Curtis is the poster boy for what is wrong with the state legislature. He exemplifies the lack of transparancy, the lack of concern about ...conflicts of intrest, and un-righeous indignation by legislators that accompanies any complaint about the first two things. Voting Curtis out of office won't solve all our problems, but it will rid us of a big one, and send a message to those smaller-time crooks that they will be held accountable by the voters.

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