Off to the Races | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
DONATE

October 13, 2021 News » Cover Story

Off to the Races 

Meet the 19 Salt Lakers hoping to represent you on the City Council

Pin It
Favorite
DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle

Compiled by Benjamin Wood

November's municipal election in Salt Lake City is, objectively, big. In addition to five of the City Council's seven seats being up for grabs, residents will for the first time select their local representation through ranked-choice voting, an intuitive—albeit complicated—process in which votes for a losing candidate are redistributed based on ballot preference until a majority winner is secured.

This changes things in interesting ways. Voters can feel assured that their ballot is not "wasted," as their second-, third- or even fourth-favorite candidate could be helped across the line by their support. And whoever emerges victorious is mathematically guaranteed to be the person with the highest support among the largest number of constituents.

But it also means one big, honkin' ballot and an expectation that voters educate themselves beyond the typical A vs. B dichotomy of American politics. To aid in that homework, City Weekly asked each council candidate to explain why voters should rank them No. 1, and to respond to their pick of five questions on the environment, crime, quality of life, housing and data-driven government.

The following responses—arranged in the order they will appear on ballots—were received via email and edited for length and clarity.

District 1

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Blake Perez
Neighborhood: Rose Park
Favorite Restaurant: All Chay
Campaign website: voteblakeperez.com

As the former chairman of the Rose Park Community Council, I have a track record of delivering results that have helped to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. And as a former transportation planner for Salt Lake City, I know why a keen eye on our budget matters.

Salt Lake City must invest to quickly implement the frequent transit network and provide an alternative to personal vehicles. Having an attractive, convenient transit system will help SLC residents reduce their automobile use. Also, incentivizing homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient will reduce emissions.

All of our neighborhoods are growing and evolving. I believe that through thoughtful zoning policies, we can strike a balance between providing more housing—particularly affordable housing—and preserving neighborhood environments. We can implement more inclusionary and form-based zoning in our neighborhoods that supports missing middle-income housing.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Victoria Petro-Eschler
Neighborhood: Jordan Meadows
Favorite Restaurant: Sabor Latino
Campaign website: VoteVictoriaSLC.com

I have lived here since 2013, running a music-based nonprofit that gives kids a safe place to be after school. As our district's Historic Landmarks representative since 2017, I effectively use my master's degree in political science and refined experience advocating for the people and neighborhood I love.

A comprehensive assessment of the police force needs, followed by a comprehensive action plan, is a first step to address crime rates. A police force that is well-trained and accountable is central to crime reduction. A post-COVID reenergizing around things like community watches and resident-led initiatives with public education also will help.

Preserving character is important to me—as is wisely planning for densification. Small area plans can help with strategic growth. We should deepen relationships with local developers who prioritize city goals so that as we grow, we do so in a way that respects our history and protects our future.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Richard D. M. Barnes
Neighborhood: Rose Park
Favorite Restaurant: Chubby's
Campaign website: No Response

I was born in LDS Hospital, with pioneer ancestors in the state since 1853. I have a bachelor's degree in geology from the U. I'm a Rose Park homeowner, an Eagle Scout, a long time conservative Libertarian and a Utah GOP district chairman. I married my wife, Brenda, in the Salt Lake temple in 1998, and I'm a conservationist who backs the blue.

Voters should elect me so I can listen to and represent them effectively. Our often-forgotten district includes Fairpark, the airport, a National Guard base, a sewage plant, the new state prison and the inland port.

Salt Lake City must back the blue. Long before riots and de-funding the police decimated our Police Department, many non-violent calls in District 1 went unanswered and criminals were quickly released from jail to make room for more. We all need to help with crime prevention.

District 2

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Alejandro "Ale" Puy
Neighborhood: Fairpark
Favorite Restaurant: Sabor Latino
Campaign website: alejandropuy.com

The west side has been forgotten for too long—our city should have a west-side focus. I will be a strong voice to advocate for those in my neighborhood who feel our city doesn't care for them. I am running because we need things to happen—not promises or excuses.

Living near the inland port, I know it is our city's duty to make a strong effort to protect kids and families of the growing west side. Our city also needs to incentivize green, efficient and net-zero-emission development in all corners of SLC and be smart about walkable communities.

Salt Lake City must stop excusing itself for the lack of resources that always disproportionately affect the west side. We need a city that shakes the trees to make things happen. Our city has forgotten somewhat that it is the closest level of government to a working-class, mostly minority district that feels neglected.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Billy Palmer
Neighborhood: Glendale
Favorite Restaurant: Red Iguana
Campaign website: billypalmerSLC.com

As a lifelong Westsider, my history is rooted in our community. For more than 25 years, I've worked to empower people and to produce results for our neighborhoods. I've also made a career of lifting others and amplifying west-side voices. Experience and community relationships position me to best represent our neighborhoods.

Conflicts between evidence and constituent interests involve a lack of communication, outreach and engagement with the community. My approach will always be to ensure the city hears our voices and concerns while pressing the city to conduct better outreach and engagement on the west side.

Our city's values should guide our development decisions. Inclusionary housing will allow us to offer greater options for people and families at all income levels. Equity also means we cannot pack all the city's high-density, low-income housing projects on the west side. Every neighborhood must share in the solution.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Nigel Swaby
Neighborhood: Fairpark
Favorite Restaurant: Takashi
Campaign website: nigelforsaltlake.com

I have experience. I grew up here, attended school here and understand people who live here. I've spent time in council sessions learning how members think, and I've been a tireless advocate for west-side issues as a community council member and chairman of a business chamber.

Salt Lake City must rebuild its police force through compensation and support, by expanding the ambassador program in number and location to get more uniforms on the street, hiring private security to protect public assets and waging a public information campaign to tell criminals and residents the city is no longer a safe place for crime.

We have to get people to accept incremental density. Whether that's an accessory dwelling unit in a single family home or upzoning to have live/work units is up to residents. We can employ design overlays to make the aesthetic of the new construction resemble the existing.

COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Dennis Faris (Incumbent)
Neighborhood: Poplar Grove
Favorite Restaurant: Chunga's
Campaign website: VoteDennisSLC.com

I possess a breadth and depth of experience on a large range of issues that sets me apart as a member of the City Council. I have been working for the last 18 years on critical issues like homelessness and affordable housing, public greenspace, and public safety.

As a newly appointed member of the Utah Inland Port Authority Board, I will fight for Salt Lake City to continue with its efforts to ensure an environmentally sustainable port, while also advocating for improved east/west connectivity through changes in our existing rail corridors.

After being appointed to the City Council in May, I immediately worked to successfully raise the wages of our emergency first responders, including police officers, firefighters and 911 dispatch. I also advocated strongly to quickly develop an alternate response model team that can reduce response times in SLC.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Daniel Tuutau
Neighborhood: Poplar Grove
Favorite Restaurant: Olive Garden
Campaign website: tuutau.com

I'm not a career politician—I'm not even really a politician. I'm your neighbor, a citizen who wants to improve my community. When you live somewhere, make it the best it can be. I believe Salt Lake is a great place to live, but together we can make it better.

I think the city needs to find a balance between incentivizing and regulating in dealing with our air-quality issues. Don't create regulations unless we can actually enforce them. I think the city needs to consider more incentives for cleaner practices in order to create more community buy-in.

Supporting our police force, including increasing the number of competent officers, is a necessary step to address our city's crime. But it's also important to fund other resources to deal with issues that do not require a police force. There isn't a single answer to fix this problem.

District 3

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Chris Wharton (Incumbent)
Neighborhood: Marmalade
Favorite Restaurant: Avenues Proper
Campaign website: votechriswharton.com

I've helped make unprecedented investments in affordable housing, fought for air quality and green infrastructure, supported arts and parks and championed equity and police-reform initiatives. I want to continue to advocate for these critical issues for another four years.

Salt Lake City leads the state in affordable housing because we value economic diversity. At the same time, I've crafted policies that preserve the historic character of our oldest neighborhoods through careful planning and resident input. Finding that balance takes collaboration and a love for what makes our city unique.

I want to make public transit and active transportation easier, reach the City's Climate Positive 2040 goals ahead of schedule, invest more in renewable energy sources with our public utility providers and support businesses that share Salt Lake City's sustainability efforts and best practices.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

David Berg
Neighborhood: The Avenues
Favorite Restaurant: Mark of the Bistro/
Mi Ranchito Grill
Campaign website: DavidForSLC.com

I represent the much-needed change that residents are demanding. I stand for "People and Community First," and will work to remove money and its influence from politics. I have a record of fighting for our community and will bring my passion and determination to the Salt Lake City Council.

Stopping the polluting port is critical. As are building a plan to move the refineries out of our airshed, promoting and expanding cycling and pedestrian transit, getting rid of our prohibitive mass transit fare and making it free to ride—as it is in Logan and Park City—and promoting renewable energy.

We must make the historic Utah Pantages Theater a SLC landmark to protect it and put it on the path to full restoration and reopening. Doing so would create an international theater district. It would invest in our arts and artists, fulfill a promise and rebuild our greatest community space for decades ahead.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Casey O'Brien McDonough
Neighborhood: The Avenues
Favorite Restaurant: No response
Campaign website: caseyforslc.com

People must always come first, not money or special interests. My campaign is the result of thousands of conversations I've had with residents in front of the Utah Pantages Theater downtown. When I talk with people about the theater, the conversations always expand beyond the theater and to our problematic Redevelopment Agency (RDA).

Salt Lake City faces issues like homelessness, truly affordable housing, public safety, historic preservation, unrestrained development, campaign finance and more. All the conversations have one thing in common—the mayor and City Council aren't listening to the people. They are great at talking about what they think they are doing right, but that is, at best, a half-truth.

Voters tell me they see far too much going wrong, far too many things getting worse and that the city isn't listening. If you agree and want someone who will listen, vote Casey for City Council District 3.

District 7

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Ben Raskin
Neighborhood: Sugar House
Favorite Restaurant: Stratford Proper
Campaign website: VoteRaskin.com

I want to serve as a responsive, engaged leader. We need to focus on improving and expanding our Police Department, reducing the number of un-housed residents in the city, fighting to protect and preserve our open spaces, streamlining business licensing to support local entrepreneurs and expanding community events throughout the district.

Salt Lake doesn't have enough police officers to effectively patrol our community. I'll increase the number of uniformed officers, triple the number of social workers, and increase foot and bike patrols. We need to recruit and retain talented veteran officers and modernize technology for quicker response time and better outcomes.

We need to accelerate the inventory of affordable housing. We're not building enough units, and prices are skyrocketing due to demand. I support rezoning for higher density units, accelerated building license reviews and lower impact fees. People make neighborhoods—folks should be able to live and recreate where they work.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Amy Fowler (Incumbent)
Neighborhood: Sugar House
Favorite Restaurant: Trolley Wing Co.
Campaign website: electamyfowler.com

I am passionate about our city and advocate for it. Over the past four years, I have fought for our public safety, better roads and the preservation of open space. I believe that as the city continues to grow, we must protect the values of our communities while embracing growth.

With our population expected to double in the next 30 years, the city must prioritize making public transit more accessible and easier to use. There are also building standards I've advocated for that will help reduce greenhouse emissions during construction and over the lifetime of the structures.

Salt Lake must require certain design standards for new developments that complement the city's neighborhoods and create policies that preserve the current housing stock. As a current councilmember, I have advocated for both of these policies and will continue to do so.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Rainer Huck
Neighborhood: Highland Park
Favorite Restaurant: No response

Campaign website: votehuck.net

The City Council lacks diversity of thought and, thus, it does not represent the interests of many constituents. Mayor Mendenhall and the Council declared "racism" a "public health crisis." It's become fashionable to blame everything on racism, but for a government to make such a declaration indicates they might have a tenuous connection with reality.

When I ran for mayor in 2019, I had the solution for the homeless—a campus where all the needs of these unfortunate people could be met. The tiny home plan under consideration will be a failure, as have been the current shelters.

Further investments in mass transit would be a waste of money. We are no more than five years away from a majority of commuter traffic being autonomous, electric cars. They won't need any parking as they will be immediately off to find a new rider. This will also solve our air-pollution problem.

District 5

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Sarah Reale
Neighborhood: Ballpark
Favorite Restaurant: Gaetano's Sub Shop/Veggie House
Campaign website: votereale.com

I'm running to be an advocate for our community. As your advocate, I will prioritize listening, responding, communicating and engaging. With an engaged community, we can plan for growth with purpose, tackle complex issues and find creative solutions—together. I'm running to truly represent you.

I would push for 100% clean electricity by 2030. We are in a climate crisis. Research shows moving to renewable energy isn't only possible, it is economically feasible. We must also change the way we build. Greener, sustainable buildings and a clean electric grid are essential to addressing air quality.

We are facing a housing shortage, but we must plan with purpose. We need to be cognizant of how new developments will impact neighborhoods and property owners. We should focus on incentive-based zoning, where developers are asked to support the neighborhood in which they build to preserve these environments.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

George Chapman
Neighborhood: East Liberty Park
Favorite Restaurant: Kentucky Fried Chicken
Campaign website: georgechapman.net

I want to focus on basic services: full police funding; fighting drugs; full road maintenance; providing a safe camping and parking area; opening up to housing the 80% of SLC that doesn't allow it; and stopping road changes that increase pollution and increase speeding on adjacent streets.

All road changes should ensure that pollution isn't increased, and UTA should be forced to implement $1 bus fares and stop spending money on projects. Protect single-family areas to stop families from driving to the suburbs. Don't insult the poor by offering just a bathroom or a kitchen.

Stop defunding the police, which resulted recently in 50 calls on hold and 97 positions not available for patrol. Focus on fighting drugs, which are abused and sold in shelters, parks and near schools. There are 10,000 callers to 911 each month who want a police response and the city should provide that.

COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Darin Mano (Incumbent)
Neighborhood: Ballpark
Favorite Restaurant: Pizza Nono
Campaign website: darinmano.com

As an architect, educator, small-business owner and minority, I have a diverse set of skills and perspectives that help me serve District 5. I focus on solutions rather than problems. I understand the importance of urban planning, economic development, building relationships and meaningful engagement with my constituents.

To improve air quality, I will fund projects in our 2015 Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan; amend zoning to encourage mixed-use neighborhoods; require city-funded buildings to be emission-free and energy efficient; support the Community Renewable Energy Program; protect and expand our city parks, green spaces, natural lands and urban forest; and expand high-frequency public transit.

Adding housing compatible in scale with historic neighborhoods includes allowing ADUs, townhomes, sideways row houses, cottages and small apartments. Urban infill and alley-facing developments take advantage of disused land within neighborhoods. Historic preservation incentives and requirements help maintain the character and charm we love about our communities.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Amy J. Hawkins
Neighborhood: Ballpark
Favorite Restaurant: HSL
Campaign website: amyjhawkins.com

I have a proven record of strong public service: securing $500,000 from the city budget for safer street crossings and sidewalks in our district; fighting drug addiction through obtaining $150,000 of state funding for opioid education; and leading the Ballpark Community Council for three years during a spike in violent crime.

The city should work with the county to immediately provide for a mental health receiving center like what has been piloted and successful in Davis County. The center would function as a mental health emergency room and an alternative to incarceration with behavioral health and addiction treatment services.

We must rebuild our Police Department. The city should have hired an outside entity to conduct exit interviews examining why more than 100 officers left the department. It wasn't strictly a matter of salaries—our police officers haven't felt supported, and our city must take steps to repair these relationships.

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • courtesy photo

Vance Hansen
Neighborhood: Liberty Wells
Favorite Restaurant: Chuck-A-Rama
Campaign website: No response

I do not just say I will do something to gain favor, popularity or some other benefit. I mean what I say, even if I have difficulty or give the wrong impression. The city could improve the lives of residents by trying to keep its word to the very best of its ability even if it means losing an election.

People have got to realize that evidence and data can be interpreted and or manipulated in different ways to meet an individual's, religion's, business' or government's purposes and/or goals. All parties involved have got to be willing to give and take. In short, a computer is only as good as its programmer.

City Weekly, thank you for the opportunity and for the education that printing the newspaper has provided. Also, my sincere thanks to the public in spite of whatever shortcomings I might have.

Pin It
Favorite

Tags:

About The Author

Benjamin Wood

More by Benjamin Wood

  • When it's Reyes, it pours

    If it's true that there's no such thing as bad publicity...
    • Oct 20, 2021
  • Ranky Panky

    A new way to vote creates options for residents, obstacles for campaigns and headaches for election officials.
    • Oct 13, 2021
  • Memory Lanes

    Pilot program works with residents to rehabilitate alleyways
    • Sep 29, 2021
  • More »

Latest in Cover Story

  • Funny Money

    Utah's Operation Underground Railroad donations look odd.
    • Oct 20, 2021
  • If These Walls Could Talk

    Richard Kletting's buildings define Salt Lake City. They're also vanishing.
    • Oct 6, 2021
  • Block by Block

    A field guide to experiencing Salt Lake City on foot.
    • Sep 29, 2021
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • China Girl

    A DNA test connected a Utah teenager to her mother—and to a story that was almost too tragic to bear.
    • Mar 4, 2020
  • Viral Verses

    Our readers' poetic reflections of pandemic life
    • Apr 22, 2020

© 2021 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation