Dan Dugan: Let’s take care of our people and our planet, Salt Lake City

When we do this well, all else will fall into place.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City Council members Dan Dugan helps plant shrubs for the new Three Creeks Confluence as it opens on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in the Glendale neighborhood.

It seems fear rules our current political climate, not just in our national politics but right here in Salt Lake City. With so many social media posts, flyers and text messages, it’s hard to filter out the misinformation and find the truth. That is part of the reason people have such a low opinion of politicians.

I never imagined becoming a politician but in 2019, when the Inland Port was scheduled to be built with limited environmental protections, it became a “put up or shut up” moment for me. I took office in January of 2020 promising to work on stopping, or at least containing, the Inland Port while having a productive relationship between the City Council and mayor. I am happy to report major progress on both fronts.

My message to Salt Lake City as the District 6 council member running for re-election is simple: I will repeat what I said four years ago — let’s take care of our people and our planet. When we do this well, all else will fall into place.

2020′s pandemic was certainly an intense study on taking care of our people. It tested the entire world and changed us in so many ways. I know we are all happy to have that experience in our rear-view mirror and while we are moving ahead, taking care of our people has become an even larger challenge.

When I say, “Take care of our people,” I mean all people. Let’s stay focused on our city and work with surrounding cities to improve public safety, mental health and our housing and living needs across the city and county. Taking care of people means increasing affordable housing, permanent supportive housing, sanctioned shelters, increasing detox center beds, increasing youth beds, building the Other Side Village, supporting Sandy’s Medically Vulnerable People housing, supporting the county’s mental illness receiving center and the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and diversifying our response to critical needs across the city.

When I say, “Take care of our planet,” I mean take care of our air and water. We need to focus on building community nodes so people can easily walk or bike and gather without driving. We need to focus on changing our landscape from Kentucky bluegrass lawns to desert natural scape. We need to focus on our infrastructure and building designs to be energy efficient. It means passing an ordinance restricting industrial water usage with new permits. It means working with the Utah Transit Authority and the University of Utah on getting a transit hub for buses and TRAX in Research Park and getting TRAX to go straight from Research Park to the airport. And it means working with UTA to increase the frequency of buses along Foothill.

When we focus on taking care of our people and planet, we can grow in a healthy and sustainable manner. This requires us to remove fear from our language, stick to the facts and communicate on multiple paths. It requires support from the state, the county, business leaders and neighborhoods. It requires collaboration and compromise. And most importantly, it requires you vote this year and make an informed decision with the planet and our people in mind.

In speaking to residents during this campaign, it is clear we are all nervous about the growth along the Wasatch Front. While no one can stop growth our job is to manage it and have a big picture view. Fear is not part of my big picture view. While some might view this as a challenge, I see it as an opportunity for all of us to grow.

Dan Dugan

Dan Dugan is a Salt Lake City District 6 council member and running for re-election. He took office in January 2020 with a focus to take care of the people and planet.