Letter: Developer-driven Utah Legislature

First Published      Last Updated Feb 25 2016 01:27 am

Recent events have compelled me to write about a subject that has weighed on me for some time. I am convinced that real estate developers should not be allowed to hold local, county or statewide elective office that has any influence on monetary decisions.

The prison relocation decision fueled my concern, and the recent meddling by legislator Brad Wilson (a developer) in what is purely a neighborhood matter, the historic designation of a few blocks in Salt Lake City's Yalecrest district, pushed me over the line.

I cannot help but note that both the speaker of the House and the president of the Senate and some 10 others in the Legislature are developers. That is a lot influence concentrated in a very critical small space. I believe our governor also has a background in real estate. We all saw what happened when Greg Hughes and Terry Diehl teamed up on the UTA board of directors. They have a built in conflict of interest the moment they sit down at the table.

I noted in one of your recent articles that 22 percent of all bills originating in the Utah Legislature are sponsored by people with a vested interest in their passage. I have also noted your reporting about developers' lobbyist activities and contributions.

I realize barring them all is as quixotic as the public lands lawsuit, but it should be a concern to the governed.

Glen Elkins

Salt Lake City