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SLC brain drain: Christensen, Love and Simonsen depart

Christensen, Love and Simonsen provided stability and expertise.

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Simonsen » Simonsen agreed. "It’s a big commitment," he said. "When I thought about running for a second term, I had to stop and think. I didn’t know if I could keep up the pace."

Simonsen, whose District 7 encompasses Sugar House, has long been a community booster. And he looks at the new Sugar House Streetcar, the upcoming completion of Parleys Trail and the renewal of Sugar House, in general, with a bit of pride.

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"That’s been rewarding," he said. "The Sugar House metamorphosis will continue for 30 years."

Along with his penchant for planning, Simonsen is seen by colleagues as the one who can "imagine the future," LaMalfa said. "His commitment to high-quality design and the urban experience fits together. ... That will be difficult to replace on the council."

Although City Council meetings have a reputation as being somewhat dry, Simonsen and Love provided periodic relief by jousting over topics from how to spend the budget to where the Sugar House Streetcar line should go next.

"Debate is healthy. I actually like that we don’t agree on everything," Simonsen said. "The council has behaved in a very respectful way. But it can be frustrating when you don’t get your way."

Nonetheless, Simonsen said he is leaving office a happy man. "I feel the weight of the city lifting from my shoulders," he said. "I won’t have to worry as much. That will be nice."

But Love, the mother of three school-age kids, fears departing her post of 12 years may leave an empty place in an otherwise-busy life. "I have been cautioned by so many people that it will be terrible for me," she said. "I leave with mixed emotions. It will be bittersweet."

By contrast, Christensen’s new job at Salt Lake County may satisfy his appetite for local government.

"Some people wondered whether I would ever quit," he said. "I think I will miss the decision-making aspect of government [at the council]. But my job at the county is pretty intense."

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