Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for August 24, 2011
Kanab City Council candidate James West
We asked the following questions of the eight remaining Kanab City Council candidates. After a random drawing, these candidates were chosen this week. The other four candidates’ responses will be in next week’s paper. Beth Kampschror and Charley Wright have dropped out of the race.
1) Give us a little background on yourself.
2) Why do you want to run for city council?
3) What are your thoughts on the coal gasification plant and the process taken until now?
4) What’s your vision for Kanab in the next 10 years?
5) Name one thing that you want to accomplish if elected.
1) I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri. I moved to southern Utah in 2002 to attend Southern Utah University, where I earned a BS in Hotel, Resort and Hospitality Management. During my time there, I quickly became involved with the community through running a competitive paintball tournament series that brought teams from around the west to compete in Cedar. I was also a part of introducing the sport of paintball and organizing the event in the Utah Summer Games for three years.
I was privileged to meet my wife during my time in Cedar and we had our first son just prior to graduating. After finishing my degree, I accepted a job here in Kanab as the assistant manager of the Holiday Inn Express. Nine months later, I was promoted to the general manager. As a GM of the newest hotel in town, I felt a need to be involved in the community where I could and quickly took a position on the Kane County Tourism Tax Advisory Board, where I currently serve as chairman. My wife and I have had two more sons in our three years here in Kanab, and love raising our family here.
2) Living in Kanab the past years years, I have seen a serious lacking in focus and involvement in youth activities by the city. Outside of what the school district does, everything else is volunteer base with little to no city coordination or involvement.
Having a young family myself, and looking to the future, I want there to be a certainty that youth summer sports will happen and not be dependent on volunteers to organize and run it. This is what began my thoughts of running for city council. Also being heavily involved in the tourism industry of the city, I feel that tourism is treated as a “necessary evil” by some that have previously served on the council, so this also has brought my thoughts to running.
I feel that if the city focuses on three main ideas then it can accomplish things that some big cities wish they could, and those are; safety, cleanliness, and productivity. The safety and cleanliness I think are well organized and are headed in the right direction. Productivity however I feel is lacking the most and would be the focus of my time spent on the council.
3) I am a big believer in landowner rights and that if someone wants to build something on the land they own then they should have the right to do so, as long as it does not affect the lives of the other property owners around them. By affect, I mean physically, in health and safety, I don’t mean visually appealing. That being said, I also believe in the right of the people to vote and the majority should have the right to say what is good for their community.
So in regards to the coal gasification plant, here is my stance. I have not read anything or been shown anything that would make me feel that my health or the health and safety of my family would be put in harms way by this being built. I feel that the city has done what is required of them to inform the public, but not necessarily done enough to be considered due diligence on their behalf. I would have liked to receive better information produced in more avenues than just the local paper.
4) My vision for Kanab over the next 10 years is to have more city run organized activities for all ages, and to see Kanab become a destination spot and not just a gateway to the parks.
5) If elected, I would push for two main things; the city to have a full-time recreation director and a full-time events planner/organizer. I feel if we have these two positions on staff, then the taxes we as citizens are paying would be more justified and would increase productivity for our citizens and our visitors. I also feel that we can have both positions paying for themselves in returned tax revenues from people coming to our area from outside and spending money at our local businesses.