Questions for Mayoral Candidates

On April 12th, I emailed/submitted/Facebooked every declared Salt Lake City Mayoral candidate a list of questions regarding issues that are important to me. As of May 14th, I have received three responses, which I have posted below, but as of today, no mayoral candidate has answered a single question. I will continue to update this blog post along with Reddit if I receive any actual answers.

  1. It is commonly known, and felt, that Salt Lake City has an air quality problem. Especially in the winters when the inversion takes effect. What concrete, specific plans do you have to address this? How will you motivate the state legislature to support your goals?
  2. The Inland Port and the new prison are good examples of the state legislature railroading over city interests while ignoring environmental impact. Do you believe anything can be done to reverse these projects, and how will you prevent these kinds of actions from taking place in the future?
  3. How can the city humanely help the homeless, 24 hours a day? Should libraries double as day shelters for the indigent? How can the city treat mental illness and drug addiction properly?
  4. Many cities are abandoning plastic recycling due to Chinese recyclers refusing exports. How can Salt Lake City lead on recycling? How can the city best deal with non-recyclable waste? Do you believe in regulating the use of single-use plastics?
  5. Can climate change can be addressed on a city level? If so, how?
  6. Was the elimination of “Big Trash” days in exchange for “Call and Haul” a positive change?
  7. Is the 300 South bike-lane a work of planning art, or a disaster? How can streets be apportioned safely between cars, bikes, parking, and first-responder services?
  8. The city has owned the historic Utah Theater (formerly Pantages) at 140 Main Street since 2010. Do you believe Salt Lake City needs a grand 70mm-capable movie theater, and if so, where do you place it, if not the Utah Theater? What do you believe should be done with this property?
  9. What is your opinion of The Leonardo? Do you have plans for Library Square?
  10. Are city parking meters intuitive and functional? Do you think paid street parking is viable in the long-term?
  11. Do you believe a vibrant and functioning downtown is vital to Salt Lake City? How will you prevent institutions like Lambs and Cinegrill from closing in the future? How will you encourage local businesses to locate downtown?
  12. I believe the Ben McAdams (while working for Mayor Becker) $100M+ financing of the Eccles Theater should have gone to vote. What project threshold do you believe requires voter approval?
  13. Is historic preservation important for retaining the character of a city? When does historic preservation override development?
  14. Is the drive for residential density with six-storey apartment complexes good for the long-term health of Salt Lake City? What will you do to make housing affordable?
  15. What incentives are appropriate for property developers to conduct business in Salt Lake City? What will you do to prevent development disasters like the Granite Furniture hole and the stalled structure on 253 S State Street?
  16. How independent of the city should the Redevelopment Agency be? Should they retain their own coffers separate from city budgets?
  17. Mayor Becker heralded the arrival of Google Fiber to Salt Lake City in 2015. Four years on, coverage is poor, expansion is slow, and Google is pulling resources from other cities. How can Salt Lake City get to 100% fiber-optic coverage that allows robust competition between Internet Service Providers?
  18. Mayor Biskupski has not responded to my questions regarding signing onto the Open Internet Pledge. Until there is robust ISP competition, do you believe in protecting Net-Neutrality?
  19. Recently, a major snowstorm knocked out power for much of the city due stringing lines overhead. How can we protect this necessary infrastructure?
  20. What is an appropriate limit, of their own money, for a candidate to spend in this mayoral race? What is the appropriate contribution limit for individuals to give to a candidate? Do you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United?
  21. While Stan Penfold represented my council district, I emailed him a number of times on city issues. He never responded. Many of you do not have email addresses on your campaign websites, instead relying on a restrictive form for input, or nothing at all. How will you utilize technology to stay in contact with city residents?
  22. Penfold, Dabakis, Garbett, and Ibarra all thought enough of their campaigns to subscribe me to their email lists without asking first. What is your opinion of unsolicited email sent by political campaigns? Have you ever used political robocalls? Are you working with consultants or agencies who have ever used political robocalls or unsolicited email?

April 18th, Erin Mendenhall:
Hi Pete! I’m working on typing my answers and I’ll get back to you soon. Thanks for reaching out!

April 22nd, David Ibara:

Thank you for your questionnaire. Over the last three months, I started my campaign meeting with community leaders and residents. I have attended at least one of each of the community council meetings. I have met with most of the community council chairs and walk their neighborhoods to listen and learn. We have knock on 44,000 homes and had 10,000 conversations. I believe good solutions start with meeting as many people as possible and asking what issues are important to them. As a leader and problem solver it is important to me – to gain an understanding before developing a course of action and plan. This rule has served me well in my performance improvement work in the hundreds of companies that have engaged my services to fix and/or improve the performance of their companies.

I am able to answer most of the questions you have asked but there are several that I simply cannot at this time. And there are a couple that I would not, by design, complete to a “concrete specific plan” stage without enlisting the specialize knowledge Team Leader to help complete the how and when details. It has been my practice to create the purpose (Why or Goal) and then develop the Specialize Talent Team and then create the “concrete specific plans”. I believe it is important for every leader to know what specialize skills/talent are needed in order to create and finalize their action plan and path. I have spent a career doing just that. One could take my belief as me side stepping an answer but I firmly believe it is a good leadership characteristic.

I am working 70 plus hours a week campaigning and developing my platform. I have resigned from 90% of my duties from the four companies I own. Offering my leadership skills and talent to improve Salt Lake City (my home town) is my top priority. I look forward to answering you questionnaire as soon a I can.

Pete – my personal cell number is [deleted] and my personal email is [deleted]. Please feel free to call me anytime between 7:00 AM and 11:00 PM.

May 10th, Jim Dabakis:
Hi Pete,

Thanks for the thoughtful questions.

While this link won’t answer all of your questions Jim has published a series of white papers on many of the topics you listed:

He is doing a regular podcast that goes into some of these issues and will be posting video addressing these issues as well. In addition, he will be on Facebook Live over the next few weeks, speaking topic by topic, taking questions, and going deep on solutions.

Jim (and his team) are working to understand and craft solutions to the varied issues addressing Salt Lake citizens. We’d love to have your support. If you’d like to meet with Jim, let me know and I’ll line something up.

Sara Urquhart
Campaign Manager