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Editorial: County Mayor McAdams has earned another term

First Published      Last Updated Nov 03 2016 10:01 pm

Many real problems that have faced local government in Salt Lake County over the years never really reached the level of full-blown controversy because they were just, so, well, boring. And complex. But still important.

Setting permanent boundaries for cities and townships in ways that preserve local control but maximize efficiencies. Bringing many different interest groups together to work out a plan to manage and preserve the canyons of the Wasatch Mountains. Finding ways to expand services to at-risk children and to adults who need help lifting themselves out of homelessness, or the criminal justice system.

All of these issues aren't particularly sexy because dealing with them properly involves lots of details, lots of meetings, lots of divergent interests to be accommodated, multiple levels of government to be brought onto the same page.



So the county has been fortunate for the past four years to have Ben McAdams serving as its mayor. He thrives on this stuff. And the voters should give him another term in office.

The Democrat — who once worked for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and once served in the Utah Legislature — last year convinced the Republican-dominated Legislature to pass a law allowing the residents of various Salt Lake County townships to vote on their futures — to become cities or remain townships — all with an eye to settling the borders and areas of responsibilities more or less permanently. Those options were ratified by the affected voters at the polls last November.

McAdams has also been one of the prime movers behind the Mountain Accord process. That's another long series of meetings with many different stakeholders, which finally came up a deal that brings in the ski resorts, other private property owners and the U. S. Forest Service in on a plan to protect the forests and the watershed that serves the whole valley. Enough has been worked out that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, has introduced legislation ratifying the various land-swaps and other limits and restrictions set on the property.

The mayor has also been a leader in bringing various players together to win state money for plans, including new shelters and transitional housing facilities, to finally face the growing homelessness problem in the community.

None of these issues is settled. All have been significantly moved forward by a process that remains in place.

Challenging McAdams' re-election is Republican businessman and activist Dave Robinson. He objects to many of McAdams' plans as too expensive, too bureaucratic and, in the case of Mountain Accord, too empowering of the federal government (which just happens to own most of the land.)

Robinson is smart and involved and worried that McAdams is spending too much and relying on the private sector too little. But he has not come up with a reason that's nearly strong enough to oust the incumbent mayor, who has only served one term and has so much more to do.

 

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