Salt Lake City Council Races | News | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Salt Lake City Council Races 

Facts & Fortunes: Snapshots, analysis and Chinese fortunes for Salt Lake City Council races.

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Unlike a presidential or gubernatorial race, one vote actually has a huge impact in municipal elections. Mayors and council representatives have far more direct impact on the lives of their constituents, because these individuals levy most of the taxes, determine which roads get paved and which potholes get fixed and choose areas for redevelopment funding.

On Nov. 3, Salt Lake City voters will decide on four city council seats as well as a bond for a public-safety building. City Weekly has compiled a snapshot of each Salt Lake City Council candidate, culled from campaign literature and candidate Websites (where available) as well as some of their notable donors. As a bonus, each candidate has been given a random fortune generated by

Rose Park, Fairpark, Jordan Meadows, Westpointe


Age: 43

Most important issues: Light rail, Jordan River parkway, sustainability, parks, public safety, gang violence

Experience, political or otherwise: City councilman since 1997 and lifelong resident of area. Works as a community development officer for Zions Bank.

A few big supporters: Scott Anderson, Zions Bank CEO ($1,500); Zions Bank ($1,000); Romney Lumber ($1,000); Gardiner Properties ($1,000).

Random fortune: “He who hurries cannot walk with dignity.”


Age: 68

Most important issues: Fighting prostitution along North Temple and other public safety issues; civil rights.

Experience, political or otherwise: Active within the community and has led various beautification and public-safety campaigns. Drug and alcohol counselor who understands the cultural diversity of the district.

A few big supporters: Gay activist Bruce Bastian, $1,000; Salt Lake County Councilman Jim Bradley, $200.

Random fortune: “Opportunity will soon knock. When it does, answer the door!”

Our take: Why does Christensen do so well in city council races yet he floundered when he ran for the Legislature? Not needing to spend his entire war chest in this race, Christensen continues to raise money for, more likely, another shot at higher office. The primary was likely a preview of the general election: Christensen received 68 percent of the vote to Reynolds-Benns’ 26 percent.

Avenues/Capitol Hill


Age: 65

Most important issues: Open space preservation; protecting historic neighborhoods from overdevelopment.

Experience, political or otherwise: Active in community issues for 25 years or more, from traffic to zoning. President of Community Housing Services, Inc.

A few big supporters: Salt Lake Board of Realtors ($647), L.R. Gardiner, lawyer ($500); John Sittner, former Salt Lake City Olympic planning chief ($500).

Random fortune: “Curiosity kills boredom. Nothing can kill curiousity.”


Age: 52

Most important issues: Proactive zoning to preserve neighborhood character; transportation planning that reduces need for cars.

Experience, political or otherwise: Active in community issues, including one term as chairman of the Greater Avenues Community Council. Executive director of the Utah AIDS foundation.

A few big supporters: BWB Properties, owned by Bruce Bastian, noted gay activist ($1,500); Luana Chilelli, Human Rights Campaign board member ($1,500); Salt Lake Board of Realtors ($868) Random fortune: “A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.”

Our take: Both candidates have extensive community involvement, the type of grass-roots experience that pulled them through a tight primary. However, for many, this race was decided at the primary, when Democratic Party insider Lisa Allcott and entrepreneur Jennifer Johnson were eliminated. That is evident in the fund-raising, where Penfold has outpaced Carroll by a more than 2-to-1 margin. More than likely, the results at the ballot box will reflect that support for Penfold.

Liberty Park area

Jill Remington Love (incumbent and running unopposed)

Age: 47

Most important issues: Small-business development, neighborhood preservation, civil and gay rights.

Experience, political or otherwise: City council member for eight years.

A few big supporters: Dave Buhler, former councilman ($1,000); Kem Gardner, developer ($1,000); lobbyist Doug Foxley ($500).

Random fortune: “Many a false step is made by standing still.”

Our take: The lack of a challenger to Remington Love speaks to her popularity in the culturally and financially diverse district. She has built on that goodwill by asking supporters to volunteer to help low-income families and donate books to elementary students. At some point, it seems logical that Remington- Love will run for a higher office, and she continued to raise money, even without a challenger. But in the short-term, she will receive about the strongest mandate for a politician, especially one trying to implement gay rights initiatives in the city : nearly unanimous support.

Sugar House

SOREN SIMONSEN (incumbent)

Age: 41

Most important issues: Public safety, transportation planning to reduce vehicle use.

Experience: Council member for four years. Architect and urban planner specializing in green-building practices. Resident of city for 16 years.

A few big supporters: Salt Lake City Firefighters Local 1645 ($500); Big D Construction ($500); Salt Lake County Board of Realtors ($1,000).

Random fortune: “The greatest precept is continual awareness.”


Age: 51

Most important issues: Education, economic development, public safety.

Experience: Attorney trained in mediation, which would prove valuable in a political setting. Lifelong resident of Salt Lake City. Very active with Parent-Teacher Associations and school advisory boards.

A few big supporters: Dave Buhler ($1,200); Walter Plumb III, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch’s former law partner ($1,000); Steve Mahas, general contractor ($600).

Random fortune: “Hard words break no bones, fine words butter no parsnips.”

Our take: This is the closest thing to a partisan race the city will see. Adams has raised more money than Simonsen, although Simonsen is garnering support from noted county Democrats while Adams has nabbed big donations from some Republican activists. Gender also plays a role, as Adams reminds voters that the council is dominated by men. Considering Simonsen’s credentials as an urban planner with a liberal bent—which seems to be exactly what Sugar House residents and business owners want—Simonsen should win another term, although buzz in political circles is hinting that this could be a lot closer than expected.

To find early voting location or your polling place on Election Day, visit

Correction: Jennifer J. Johnson, a candidate in the Sept. 15 primary race for Salt Lake City Council District 3, is a high-technology marketing entrepeneur. She is also heterosexual. Her occupation and sexual orientation were misstated in the print edition of “Facts & Fortunes” [Oct. 29, City Weekly]. City Weekly deeply regrets the error.

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