Voters get a clear choice in District 7 race
By Christopher smart
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Oct 20 2013 04:46PM
The choice for voters in Salt Lake City’s Council District 7 around Sugar House Park could hardly be more stark: Lisa Ramsey Adams is a community activist of moderate political stripe; Kevin Paulson is a right-leaning libertarian, an engineer by training.
Salt Lake City’s political races are nonpartisan. Adams describes herself as a fiscal conservative who wants city government to work for residents.
By contrast, Paulson believes city government should be pared back to just public safety and streets maintenance. Beyond that, he would downsize City Hall activities.
Zoning would be relaxed and the city Redevelopment Agency would not have taxing power, if Paulson had his way. "Any time you give money to a private developer, it’s hard to make it fair. It shouldn’t happen."
And he would not have voted for the recent property tax hike. "It’s amazing the mayor is pinching pennies on police and spending money on things people don’t want."
For Adams, public safety is the top priority. She wants to see a larger police presence in Salt Lake City’s neighborhoods and would engage the public to report all crimes, even "the little stuff."
Unlike her opponent, she wants Utah Transit Authority to broaden its service in Salt Lake City. But she does not favor the 1100 East alignment of the Sugar House Streetcar. "The city needs to listen to its residents," she said, noting that most people in District 7 oppose the route.
She may have favored a property tax increase to deal with deferred infrastructure maintenance, but not the 13.8 percent hike the City Council adopted. "We need to prioritize and look at what things cost, and then determine what should be fixed first."
Also in contrast to Paulson, she favors the planned $116 million Utah Performing Arts Center. "I didn’t want Sandy to have the big theater we need downtown," she said. "The bonds have been issued and there are no new taxes."
Paulson would rather have such projects driven by the private sector. If elected, he would work to halt the project. "Until it’s built, it’s not a done deal."
Further, he would open mass transit in Salt Lake City to the private sector to "break the UTA monopoly." He cited mass transit in Venezuela, where private vans — called jitneys — make up a significant portion of mass transit. "Why spend city money on mass transit?"
And parks should be owned by residents surrounding them, operated by something like a homeowners association.
Paulson conceded many of his views aren’t shared by the city council or mayor. But, he added, that’s why he should be elected.
But Adams maintained city government should operate parks and make contributions to the arts, in addition to keeping potholes filled and streetlights fixed. She would not reduce the size of city government.
"Presently, the city does about the right amount," she said. "I don’t see privatizing everything under the sun."