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News Blog

SLC Council Election Race: More Punches and Counterpunches

by Eric S. Peterson
- Posted // 2011-11-07 -

This week’s City Weekly cover story on Salt Lake City’s Council races profiled the councilmen and their challengers in the campaign element, giving them the chance to show what goes into running an election race while at the same time talking city issues. Here are some of the points and counterpoints that didn’t make it into this week’s print article.

(Election Day is Tomorrow, Tuesday Nov. 8. Click here for information on where to vote for Salt Lake City’s municipal election.)

District 2: A showdown on the west side between laid-back statistical analyst and founder of the People’s Market Kyle Lamalfa, and three-term incumbent small businessman Van Turner.

Punch: Community Engagement

Kyle Lamalfa says the city is keeping west-side residents out of the loop on city business. He criticizes the city’s decision to stop funding a newsletter to residents and instead relying on an e-newsletter. “Internet penetration isn’t that great in our area,” Lamalfa says “It’s like we’ve been cut off from communication with the city.” He says that with community councils being the only pipeline to city business, many residents are left in the dark.

Counter:

Van Turner says that even if attendance at community councils is sporadic, that’s only because the attendance at such meetings is dependent on looming issues. Plus, he says that even without funded community mailers, word of city business and proposals spreads well by word of mouth on the west side.

“The thing about community councils is that one person who shows up probably knows 10 other people. If you got 15 people who show up, they’re going to talk to 150 people,” Turner says.

District 6: A grudge match between J.T. Martin, the intense -- and some say brusque -- councilman squares off against Charlie Luke, a planning commissioner and private lobbyist.

Punch: Public Safety

Challenger Luke has netted the endorsement of the police union by saying that he would seek to find funding for an east-side police precinct. Despite low crime rates, Luke says that a precinct would help deter crime. He would also seek to give police the ability to use a gas card to refuel so that east-side patrol cars stay on the east-side longer instead of having to fuel up at the city’s fleet service station on the west side. “I think a brick-and-mortar precinct is important for residents to see that there is a police presence,” Luke says.

Counter:

Martin, however, says Luke is campaigning on fear and says the precinct would be an unnecessary expense to taxpayers. He even notes various officials in the city, including Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank, saying the precinct isn’t needed. “My opinion of it and the opinion of the Mayor, the police chief and the former city prosecutor is that it’s [unnecessary]. It’s just a ploy to scare old women,” Martin says of the issue. “It was pretty shady.”

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