The race for Salt Lake City Council District 7 offers high contrast. One candidate is a political outsider with a libertarian streak. The other is an insider who is a member of the city's planning commission and has served on school and civic boards.
Kevin Paulson, a mechanical engineer, wants to take the city back to just basic services (fire, police) while leaving everything from transportation to economic development to the private sector and neighborhood groups. He opposes the Sugar House streetcar on 1100 East, and he opposed the city's recent tax increase. He supports higher pay for public safety workers, and that has earned him the endorsement of the Salt Lake Police Association.
Paulson wants to deregulate public transportation, allowing private companies to offer bus or cab service. He wants to dismantle the city's planning and zoning department and allow neighborhoods to manage planning closer to the citizenry. He also wants to turn city parks over to neighborhoods to manage.
And, in what he acknowledges is a long-term view, he wants to move the city to localized alternative energy sources including solar, geothermal and even "micro" nuclear power plants. (Honest.)
Lisa Ramsey Adams is the insider. She ran for this office four years ago, narrowly losing to Soren Simonsen, who is not running for re-election. In addition to the planning commission, she has been active in PTA and currently chairs the advisory board for public television station KUED. Her endorsements include the city firefighters' union, Mayor Ralph Becker and several city and county council members and state legislators.
Adams puts transportation and public safety issues at the forefront. She believes the city should get a better sense from the neighborhood before proceeding further with the 1100 East streetcar. She wants the city to work with the Utah Transit Authority to develop a collector bus system. She also voiced concern that making the city less car friendly will make residents shop in the suburbs, and she said Mayor Becker has "gone too far with bike friendliness."
She thought the city's recent tax increase was too high, but she would have supported a smaller increase. She wants more police, and she believes the city's impact fees for new businesses are too high. She wants to increase some services and keep taxes low, but she would not identify what could be cut to balance the budget.
Despite that politician's dance, Adams gets the nod in this race. We hope Paulson maintains his willingness to challenge conventional thinking. But the city council needs practical advocates who can build solutions on common ground. For that Adams is the choice for District 7.