Wednesday, November 9, 2011

SLC Elections: Out with the Old--Except for Becker and Garrott

Posted By on November 9, 2011, 9:34 AM

The results of last night’s elections are in, and incumbent Salt Lake City Council members J.T. Martin and Van Turner have been ousted. Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker coasted—nay--glided casually into a second-term victory.---

Becker, who faced a dark-horse challenger in J. Allen Kimball, a 79-year-old former small businessman, garnered 74 percent of the vote without breaking a sweat, according to election results. Despite controversy over the initial site choice of the “cop shop” Public Safety Complex to be located on Library Square and a dustup over dog parks in the city, Becker couldn’t find an opponent ready to mount a serious campaign and will go into a second term ready to push more major projects such as a downtown performing-arts theatre.

In the east bench’s District 6 race, lobbyist and Planning Commissioner Charlie Luke bested hot-headed district incumbent J.T. Martin by taking 61 percent of the vote compared to Martin’s 38.47 percent. The no-holds-barred race got ugly early on when Luke cast Martin as a grouch living off his rich developer father-in-law, while Martin considered Luke a lobbyist ready to cash in with former clients by gaining a seat of power on the council.

A friendlier race on the west side found the laid-back but energetic People’s Market founder Kyle Lamalfa defeating 12-year incumbent Van Turner by 57 percent to Turner’s 42 percent.While Turner touted past success in helping reduce crime in the Poplar Grove and Glendale neighborhoods with his anti-graffiti program and his small-business credentials -- he runs three businesses on California Avenue -- Lamalfa won out by arguing for calls for community engagement and getting more west-side representation on the Salt Lake School Board.

District 4 councilman Luke Garrott was the other contender in the municipal election for the downtown and central-city portion of Salt Lake City. If Becker didn’t even break a sweat for his win, Garrott may not even realized he had an opponent in Jack Gray, a challenger with ties to a Neo-Nazi group. Garrott won the race with 77 percent of the vote compared to Gray’s 21 percent of the vote in the city race with the lowest voter turnout.

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