A week or two ago, I got an email from Erin Mendenhall’s campaign titled “Under attack.”
I thought, What is this? Is the campaign suddenly turning negative? I had been pleasantly surprised at how clean the present mayoral campaign has been. Seems like at least the candidates have sticking to the issues.
Imagine my surprise to open The Salt Lake Tribune last week to the headline that ex-candidate Jim Dabakis, while vacationing in South America, decided to grant an anti-endorsement/hit job to Mendenhall because of the inland port. What is an anti-endorsement, other than another one of Jim’s attention getting stunts?
It might have been valid if it had been accurate. But it was a series of half truths, selective reading of the facts and innuendo. For a good synopsis of the history of the inland port, see Robert Gehrke’s Oct. 21 commentary. To try and hang this around Erin’s neck is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst.
Then I opened up the paper on Saturday to see George Chapman doing another hit job on Erin. Again, his commentary, in addition to the series of half truths, selective reading of the facts, innuendo, also contained, in my opinion, some outright lies. I wish I could go into detail and refute all of these, but these commentaries are limited to 600 words.
Having said that, let’s look at a couple of the most egregious comments. He implied that Erin participated in “secret meetings" concerning the placement of the Homeless Resource Centers. This is an outright lie. The site selections process was done primarily done by the mayor’s office, with the state heavily breathing down their necks with a very short timeline. Remember, the state funded all of this.
Chapman is implying that if it had been an open process such as, “Come on Salt Lake City neighborhoods, please volunteer to host one of these,” that somehow the process would have been easier.
Chapman also implies that Erin is responsible for numerous tax increases that have recently been enacted. Seriously, this is Erin’s fault? Somehow I remember that we the residents voted in favor of the Funding our Futures bond, and the rest of the City Council and mayor’s office supported it too! ! Why? Because our infrastructure is in a serious state of deterioration.
I’ve been more involved than the usual person in public policy in Salt Lake City. I got to know Erin by running against her for the open seat in District 5 in 2013. Since then, I have gotten to know her even better by working closely with her on many issues, particularly in District 5. I have found her to be focused, passionate, effective, informed on the issues and willing to make tough decisions.
There are lots of reasons besides these to vote for her. Primarily, myself and many residents share similar values, plus she has extensive experience in city government and will be able to hit the deck running.
I suppose it was inevitable that the campaign would devolve into this type of behavior, i.e. Monday morning quarterbacking by two failed Salt Lake City mayoral candidates. I have confidence that the voters can see through this negativity and make an informed decision.
Bill Davis, Salt Lake City, is the current chair of the 3rd West Merchants Association and vice chair of Liberty Wells Community Council. He is the past chair of Liberty Wells, Ballpark, Downtown and Rio Grande community councils.