Incumbent, seven newcomers advance in Salt Lake City Council races

saltLakeCity

Primary » 3 of 4 incumbents weren’t seeking re-election; lone incumbent Penfold takes 71% in quest for 2nd term.

The Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake City voters selected eight finalists for four City Council seats in Tuesday’s primary.

Erin Mendenhall, a young civic leader in the East Liberty neighborhood, emerged as the clear front-runner for the District 5 seat being vacated by veteran Councilwoman Jill Remington Love.

Mendenhall racked up 71 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns. She’ll face Bill Davis, who finished with 17 percent, in November.

James M. Rogers finished on top in District 1 (Rose Park) with 42 percent of the vote. He’ll square off against Kevin Parke (23 percent) in the general election to see who succeeds outgoing Councilman Carlton Christensen.

Meanwhile, Lisa Ramsey Adams bested a crowded District 7 field for Councilman Soren Simonsen’s seat representing Sugar House, Brickyard Plaza and Country Club with 32 percent of the vote. A lawyer who has advocated for children, Adams narrowly lost to Simonsen four years ago when she was a political unknown. Since then, she has been appointed to the city’s Planning Commission.

She believes the recent 13.8 percent tax hike was too big and is concerned about the impacts of the proposed 1100 East streetcar extension.

“We need to do a better job of educating people on the process on that,” said Adams. “I would actually like to see better bus service. You can improve it without tearing up streets.”

For the November showdown, Adams will face with Kevin Paulson, who barely defeated Deb Henry, Amy Barry, Topher Horman for the second spot. Only 51 votes separated second and fifth place in that race.

Paulson is far more strident in his opposition to the 1100 East streetcar than Adams, as well as other plans to decrease traffic lanes in Sugar House.

“It’s self-defeating. The goal was to be a more environmentally friendly city, but it’s more pollution, more road rage and less safe,” said the engineer who lives near Canyon Rim. “I stand for more local control of zoning decisions and local development.”

He also opposes multimillion-dollar projects without voter approval.

In District 3 (Avenues, Capitol Hill, Federal Heights), Councilman Stan Penfold, executive director of the Utah AIDS Foundation, took 71 percent in his quest for a second term, far ahead of challenger Sherman W. Clow, who edged Aaron Johnson for the second spot by 18 votes.

At 17 percent, turnout was highest in District 1.

Council seats in Districts 2, 4 and 6 — along with the mayor’s post — were not up for election this year.

Out with old, in with new in Murray, one of many cities to pick candidates

1301086160WildePrimaries » Four incumbent mayors survive challenges in their bids for another term.

The Salt Lake Tribune

Murray residents said Tuesday they want someone new.

Looking to replace retiring Dan Snarr after his 16 years as Murray’s mayor, residents bypassed two current city councilmen in Tuesday’s municipal primary election, advancing political newcomer Ted Eyre and longtime Salt Lake County Council member David Wilde to November’s general election.

City councilman Jim Brass came closest to making the move up to mayor, but he finished about four dozen votes behind Wilde, who was a distant second behind Eyre. Another Murray councilman, Darren Stam, finished fourth.

Murray was one of six Salt Lake Valley cities that held primaries in their searches for new mayors. In four other cities, incumbent mayors survived primary challenges and will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Four-term Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini far outdistanced two rivals in Tuesday’s primary, with David Fair holding a comfortable edge over Olga de la Cruz for the second spot on the ballot.

In South Salt Lake, Mayor Cherie Wood easily outdistanced her four competitors in a bid for a second term. A three-way logjam for the second spot apparently was won in the unofficial vote by Derk Pehrson, who finished two votes ahead of former councilman Shane Siwik and eight ahead of Nick Gosdis. With deficits that small, both results would be eligible for recounts.

Taylorsville provided one of the night’s most interesting races. Voters will decide in November between Jerry Rechtenbach, a former city councilman who was elevated to mayor in January when Russ Wall resigned to become Salt Lake County’s public works director, and Larry Johnson, another councilman who had cast the one vote against Rechtenbach’s appointment.

Johnson captured the most votes in a close primary, finishing about 150 votes ahead of Rechtenbach.

Another mayor appointed to fill a mid-term vacancy, South Jordan’s Scott Osborne, easily advanced to the general election. He finished first in a field of six candidates. Dave Alvord came in second, far ahead of third-place finisher Mark Woolley.

Interest in becoming a mayor was particularly high in West Jordan. Earlier this year, the council raised the position’s pay to $89,500 from the $18,000 received by outgoing Mayor Melissa Johnson

Consequently, nine candidates filed for the open position.

Unofficial results Tuesday night showed City Councilman Ben Southworth emerging on top with about 28 percent of the vote and Kim Rolfe also advancing with close to 20 percent.

In Draper, councilman Troy Walker finished first in the race to replace retiring Mayor Darrell Smith. Phillip Shell will join him on the ballot after outpolling John Dismuke.

Herriman voters, seeking to fill the mayoral position currently held by Joshua Mills, who is not running again, advanced Carmen Freeman and Michelle Baguley to the November election, eliminating Anthony DiConza and Teddy Hedges.

The race to replace Dennis Webb as Holladay mayor was boiled down to D. Blaine Anderson and Robert Dahle, who finished one-two in the four-way primary. Helen Redd and Holli Dunn were eliminated.

Primary elections: Lang, Bigelow go on in West Valley City mayoral race

In the council race, it’s a math teacher against a city planner.

The Salt Lake Tribune

Unofficial returns in a Tuesday primary put former Utah state budget director Ron Bigelow and West Valley City Council member Karen Lang in a contest to become mayor of the state’s second-largest city.

The results also put Lang in a position to become West Valley’s first female mayor if she wins in the Nov. 5 general election.

Bigelow came out ahead in a group of seven candidates running for mayor and Lang came in second, just a handful of votes ahead of City Council member Don Christensen.

In the battle for an at-large City Council seat, math teacher Lars Nordfelt, 45, and West Valley City Planning Commission Chairman Phil Conder, 47, advanced to the general election.

The primary winners will face off in the Nov. 5 general election.

Restoring trust in the West Valley City police Department was a priority of candidates running for office this year in the 133,000-population community.

Bigelow, 64, said he believes residents felt his background, which includes 16 years representing West Valley City in the Utah Legislature, would help him resolve the police situation and other issues.

Lang, 53, owner of Oakbridge Greenhouse, said she thinks voters recognize that she is invested in the community. “I hope it’s my business sense and community involvement that has gotten their confidence,” she said.

The incumbents did not run for a second term. Mayor Mike Winder cited the need for a full-time job to support his family; the at-large seat was held by Christensen.

Other candidates for mayor were current council member Tom Huynh, former council member Margaret Peterson, businessman Jeffrey Mackay and Alex Segura, an electrical controls engineer and co-founder of the Utah Minutemen. Joe Garcia, a member of the West Valley City Planning Commission, was the third candidate in the council race.

Two other council seats are up for election but there was no primary for them because just two candidates filed in each race. The contenders for the District 2 seat are incumbent Steve Buhler and Jeff White; in District 4, incumbent Steve Vincent and Mary Jayne Newton-Davis will face off in the general election.

The vote on Tuesday was residents’ first chance to begin stepping out from under the shadow of controversy over some police officers’ conduct and look ahead to their city’s future.

On Thursday, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced that the use of deadly force by two West Valley police detectives who shot and killed an unarmed woman was not justified. Gill’s office is screening possible criminal charges against the officers, who deny any wrongdoing in the November shooting of 21-year-old Danielle Willard.

The police department also has been criticized for alleged mishandling of evidence that led to the dismissal of 125 drug cases and its handling of the case of missing West Valley mother Susan Powell.

Longtime police chief Thayle “Buzz” Nielsen retired in March; West Valley officials conducted a nationwide search for his replacement and say they are close to hiring someone for the job.

In addition to restoring community trust in law enforcement, the candidates have focused on other issues, including business recruitment; the budget and taxes; the crime rate; improving neighborhoods; code enforcement and protecting property owner rights; streamlining operations; and government openness.

Bigelow said getting a new chief will help restore confidence in the police. He also said he will boost economic development and use his budgeting background to make the city stronger.

Lang wants to streamline city operations and said she will plan responsibly for growth.

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