Looks like there will be some real choices in the next Salt Lake City mayoral election—old and new. But the "old" could make things interesting. Former Mayor Rocky Anderson is looking at another run, mainly because he's dissatisfied with Ralph Becker's leadership. Let's talk air pollution: Anderson says the city needs the vigor and innovativeness he provided. Summer youth programs? They're gone. Expanding open spaces? Oops, Becker wants more development, and remember when he proposed losing open space around the library? Parking issues are big, too, and Anderson says recent changes have been disastrous for local businesses. Move over, Luke Garrott and other potential candidates: Rocky is in the wings.
Speaking of Rocky, he was up front with some 200 protesters demonstrating against police brutality—more specifically, police killings in the wake of Ferguson. The Trib reported that Utah police killings outpaced deaths by gangs or domestic partners, and President Obama has called for more body cameras, a task force on police practices, a report on police militarization, and has issued an order for guidelines on the use of military equipment. But body cams can't take the place of good police training. "I also think that, instead of Ferguson (where the shooting circumstances are a much closer call), the focus should be on Saratoga Springs," Anderson says. "The video makes it all so outrageous—a young man running from police officers shot six times in the back!"
Count Your Vote
No surprise here: Utah was third lowest in the nation in voter turnout. Commenters on The Salt Lake Tribune website seemed to know why: "With the most gerrymandered districts in the country, the most autocratic state government in the country, a theocracy controlling every aspect of the election and with the outcomes pre-ordained, WHY BOTHER?" OK, this sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy—or an excuse. Contested races seem to draw the most voters, but Utah is a state where civility is prized over dialogue. And it's not all about Democrats, many of whom seem unmotivated or uninterested in the system. Republicans aren't voting, either. It's really about numbers. Races have been lost by as little as one vote. The issue is how to make voters believe they count.