The West View

The West View

Photos by David Ricketts

Among recent improvements to Glendale Park located at 1250 W. 1700 S., colorful portraits by mural artist Chuck Landvatter celebrate 16 Glendale community members.

Published in Spring 2022

The Fairpark International Market is open at the Utah State Fairgrounds monthly from 2-8 p.m on July 16, August 6, and October 26. Approximately 20 businesses are offering food, jewelry, clothing, specialty items, and arts and crafts, and an outdoor stage features live music and performances.

https://www.utahstatefair.com/p/international-market

Published in Summer 2022

Photos by David Ricketts

When Beto Conejo attended the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) grassroots activism retreat in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, he knew that he needed to paint this landscape for the community to enjoy on city streets. So Beto painted the Protect Wild Utah mural which stands brightly above the Love N.T. Café (former Der Weinerschnitzel) parking lot at 805 W. North Temple. The purpose of the mural is to empower residents to reflect on their connection to the natural world, the benefits these lands give to our community and cultural health, and to claim Utah’s redrock landscapes as part of their heritage and cultural roots. The mural completion was celebrated in October 2021, where 50 community members came to take photos with the mural, enjoy champurrado, and listen to remarks from Beto Conejo, Mayra Cedano of Comunidades Unidas, Dr. Armando Solórzano of the University of Utah, and Olivia Juarez of SUWA.

Published in Spring 2022

SHE’S A GRAND NEW FLAG!

Last Memorial Day, Rose Park residents Angela Morgan and Kent Mayberry gathered support on social media to replace a small, tattered flag on the community flagpole at 1000 N. 900 West in the Park ‘n Ride lot. They pushed for the Rose Park Community Council to regain guardianship of the flag from the city, because it wasn’t being maintained well.

On July 3, 2021, just in time for the Fourth of July holiday, community members gathered for a rededication of the flagpole, and the installment of a new, large flag paid for with donations from community members.

The flagpole contains a plaque honoring the late VerDon Rodger Parker, who served as RPCC chair at the time the flagpole was originally installed over 30 years ago. Corky Reeser with RPCC said that the city pledged to install a new light to illuminate the flag at night.

Published in Fall 2021

What qualifies you to represent your district?

I am a doer. As a new American, I understand equity. I crafted municipal policy as a former employee of the SL County Council. I found resources to fund training and officers as a former civilian employee of the Unified Police. I am well-rounded and solve issues. I match our district's needs.

Identify two key issues that you are concerned about. As a city council member, what specific actions will you take to address those issues? Homelessness & Affordable Housing

Homelessness / Affordable Housing: Right now, the city's passivity is pitting neighbors against the homeless and each other. We are stalling and not doing anything meaningful. We push the homeless from one corner of the Westside to the other. That is not leadership. Short term: We need small legal camping zones created all over the city (other cities create partnerships with churches to host them). Protected camping would provide some sort of order so we can help unsheltered people while making sure our citizens can enjoy their own neighborhoods. Long-term: allocate a sufficient amount of the coming one-time federal money to tackle homelessness. I know there are many priorities to which this money can be allocated, but this is the most serious crisis we have, and we need to demonstrate it is by investing strategically and heavily. 

Crime & Safety: Even in safer areas of District 2 people are wary of the stress we are under. Public safety must be a priority for our kids, our seniors, and all our families. We have too many family calls for high-priority calls that take far too long to answer. It is a serious matter. The Westside has a harsh reputation, and the city exacerbates our stress by not putting the resources we need to address the issues we face.  The other side of public safety we need to address, are the issues with our roads, streetlights (or lack thereof), and crosswalks (or lack thereof). We've seen a disproportionate number of kids run over. We see unaddressed speeding in residential neighborhoods. Our sidewalks are impassible in areas. As a council member, I will be on top of this because this is what affects our quality of life.

What is your background, and what motivated you to run?

As an immigrant, I recognize the debt I owe to this country. I am eager to engage in public service that enhances all the wonderful things that made me want to become a citizen here, while helping fix those things that will make us even better. I decided to run because I asked the city to provide a stop sign and traffic light near my house, which is located alongside an elementary school. I've repeatedly heard refusals and excuses. I know the city can do better and my neighbors deserve more. So, I am standing up for us all.

Identify an example where you had to make a choice between doing what was right and what was popular/politically expedient.

When I was a student at BYU, I served as the international student president. There was a moment when we had to re-charter the club that gave a voice to students from all backgrounds and nationalities. We noticed that the standard anti-discrimination clause didn't include sexual orientation or identity. We all felt we needed to include it. My partners in the project understood the need to stand up for those, like me, that didn't fit in the boxes that were listed. Our group became a conduit between students and the university, helping them to understand the different needs on campus. Because we understood this unmet need in our student body, even though it was a risk to bring it up with the administration, it was the right thing to do. We were able to build consensus and understanding that protected students and demonstrated responsiveness to our university’s standards. Years later, BYU added those words as standard for all anti-discrimination clauses for all clubs – a sign that our work AND the approach we took were valuable and valued. 

If you are elected, how will you engage with your constituents to know their needs/concerns?

I am intimately connected to my community. I speak the same language, literally, as the largest constituency in my district. My dog, Petunia is a well-known feature for the local school children and their families. I show up at the Sunday Market at Jordan Park in the summer and support local nonprofit events during the winter. My communication plan is rooted in my general connection to the community.

Outside of this natural strength, I bring to the table, I also run a consulting firm that manages communication forums. I am well versed in the newest and most effective communication strategies and will be using them to stay connected to my neighbors. I know that communication in my area needs to meet many needs. My neighbors work hard, often at several jobs. Their plates are full keeping up with the changing city and their families' needs. By using my well-earned skill in creating diverse communication strategies, I will be sure to engage as many people as possible. As a sign of good faith that I will follow through on this, everyone I meet during my campaign has received my personal cell phone number and I will always answer for them. 

During the month of October, masks created by different local artists will be on exhibit at the Urban Arts Gallery, just in time for Halloween.

Located in The Gateway near downtown Salt Lake City, the gallery has been showing the works of local artists since 2013. Its mission is “to foster the arts in all forms in order to create an aware, empowered and connected community,” said gallery Manager Scott Tuckfield, noting that the gallery is under the non-profit umbrella of the Utah Arts Alliance.

Westside resident and West View newspaper staff writer Sheena Wolfe will be one of 15 featured artists in the “Spirit in Disguise” exhibit, showcasing masks in all forms. Wolfe is an award-winning artist and has been making kiln-formed glass masks for more than 20 years. She makes her own molds using actual people’s faces and fires in cycles that create three-dimensional layers. She is the only glass artist in the show.

 “Working with glass has always been therapeutic for me and fused glass is especially inspiring because the finished product stays a surprise until the kiln is cool enough to open –sometimes this can be two or three days,” Wolfe said. “It is my hope that each person who sees my creations feels that added sparkle that only glass can create. Each mask I design is uniquely different and has a distinct personality.”

Other artists in the October show are Anthony Siciliano, Chris Madsen, Desarae Lee, Essie Shaw, Frank McEntire, Garnett Wyatt, Grant Fuhst, Ivan Ramos, Jenna Rogan, Kelsie Mower, Roxanna Barco, Vincent Mattina, Vivian Arthus and Zane Anderson.

A public reception for these artists will be held during the Friday SLC Gallery Stroll on Oct. 15 from 6-9 p.m. The gallery stroll takes place on the third Friday of each month (except December when it’s on the first Friday of the month). Participating art galleries all over the city open their doors after hours to welcome art enthusiasts as they travel from gallery to gallery viewing visual art and meeting artists. This free event has been happening in Salt Lake City since 1983. Due to COVID-19, masks and social distancing is required at this time. Check the website at www.gallerystroll.org, or call (801)870-0956 to find out more information about participating galleries, which vary from month to month.

Published in Fall 2021

Your vote matters.

Salt Lake City’s Westside historically has a very low voter turnout. That is especially true for municipal elections, even though these local elections have a more direct impact on our lives. For example, our city council makes decisions about our police and fire departments, our streets and parks, our public utilities – virtually every aspect of our communities.

Normally, city council members are up for election every four years. However, this year, voters in City Council District 2 (Glendale, Poplar Grove, and Fairpark) will vote on a special city council race due to the resignation last April of former Council Member Andrew Johnston, who is now working in the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office as the Director of Homelessness Policy and Outreach. Whoever is elected in District 2 will only serve a two-year term.

Voters in Rose Park, Westpointe, and Jordan Meadows will elect a new District 1 City Council member this November, since former Council Member James Rogers resigned in early October. The City Council will appoint a replacement for Rogers in November, after the election. The appointee will fill the remainder of Roger’s term through December, after which the winner of the election will take over. It is likely that the city council will appoint the candidate who was elected.

The West View posed the following questions to each of the city council candidates to help inform voters:

  • What qualifies you to represent your council district?
  • Identify two crucial issues facing your district. As a city council member, what specific actions will you take to address those issues?
  • What is your background, and what motivated you to run?
  • Identify an example where you had to make a choice between doing what was right and was popular/politically expedient.
  • How will you know the needs of your constituents?

For more election info, including how to register to vote, visit the Salt Lake County Clerk’s website.

 

Published in Fall 2021

What qualifies you to represent your district?

I’m a Polynesian-American resident of Poplar Grove. Being a resident here for the past decade, I understand the need for representation of our diverse population. I come with a fresh perspective and am excited for the good we can do together.

Identify two key issues that you are concerned about. As a city council member, what specific actions will you take to address those issues?

A - We need to create better ways to engage our community members. The Westside has been neglected for so long that many of its residents feel that civic engagement is futile. Also, the problems of the day-to-day grind make it difficult for our citizens to feel like their participation is worthwhile. When government officials see that apathy, they continue that neglect as status quo. That’s a tough cycle to break, but we can do it. The more voices that are represented, the better the outcomes will be in our city’s development. I think fostering a better sense of ownership will also increase involvement, and that will come as we continue to improve our Westside and make it a place we are even more proud to call home. 

B - I think economic development is another key issue for our district. A lot of focus is put on Covid-19 recovery, but I think our neighborhoods need to do more than just recover to pre-Covid-19 status. We need real economic growth that will translate to everything else improving in our community. The more we can keep our wealth in our district, or even better to attract outside wealth, will improve the quality of life by helping to provide the funding for projects and programs needed to facilitate that. If we can generate that kind of economic power, by encouraging more businesses to start or move to our area, we will also see improvements in other areas as well. 

What is your background, and what motivated you to run?

Originally from inner-city Los Angeles, I moved to Utah to complete my doctoral studies in music at the University of Utah and I have been a resident of the community since 2012. When you live somewhere, it’s up to you to make it the best it can be. I decided to run to contribute to that ideal. I believe Salt Lake is a great place to live, but it can be better. All I can promise is a sharp mind and high integrity, someone who will stand firm for what is best for our neighborhood. 

Identify an example where you had to make a choice between doing what was right and what was popular/politically expedient.

The beauty of not being a career-oriented politician is not needing to worry about doing what’s politically expedient. I wish I could say I had some major defining moment when my integrity was put to the test, but ultimately my entire life is an example of the type of decision maker I will be. It’s in the little things: paying my share of taxes, driving the speed limit, keeping my commitments to my family, my church, and my community. Choosing to do what you consider to be right, despite the outcomes, is a cumulative quality that comes with the buildup of all those small decisions. I don’t have any aspirations that are worth sacrificing my integrity.   

If you are elected, how will you engage with your constituents to know their needs/concerns?

If elected I will do my best to provide many ways for my constituents to be in contact with me. Whether formally or informally, I want to provide as much facetime as possible with those in my district. I think one of my best traits is my ability to communicate, where it is just as important to understand as it is to be understood. I will do my best to understand those who I represent (even if I can’t promise to make them all happy all the time). I strongly believe that our neighborhood needs a bigger buy-in from more of its members, and I think more events that encourage us to come together will be a key element to achieving that goal. With that said, I don’t think it’s only up to the elected leadership to do all the work, it’s a team effort with everyone in our community doing what they can. I do hope that if you are reading this, remember that whoever gets elected to this city council position will not be able to do it alone. 

What qualifies you to represent your district?

In a word, experience. I grew up here. I went to school here.

I understand the people who live here. I've spent tons of time in city council work sessions learning how council members think and work and I've been a tireless advocate for Westside issues as a community council member and chair of a business chamber.

Identify two key issues that you are concerned about. As a city council member, what specific actions will you take to address those issues?

Residents tell me public safety and homelessness top the list of challenges to the city. To me, public safety includes crime, fire and auto/pedestrian safety. We have an officer shortage in Salt Lake City and a problem with both jail space and prosecutions. The first step is to rebuild our police force. Salt Lake City should lead when it comes to salaries and that should help with recruiting experienced officers from other departments. We should expand the Ambassador program to get more uniforms on the streets where we need them the most. We should hire private security to protect public property like parks and other real estate assets. The latter two steps will reduce calls to police, reduce fires and send a message to criminals that Salt Lake is no longer a good place to do business. Once this is in place, then we can address the criminal element in public camps better while we enforce existing laws and provide resources to the most shelter-resistant homeless people. 

We need to work on reducing systemic barriers to the homeless like identification requirements and requiring shelter stays to access other types of housing aid. I would also revisit zoning for single room occupancy throughout the city. SROs are a viable and effective means of providing housing for the most vulnerable, but they need to have onsite case management. Salt Lake also needs to investigate raising the city's minimum wage because of the high cost of living. State law doesn't currently limit municipalities from doing this. We can't lower the cost of housing significantly, nor can we lower the cost of living. Creating a higher minimum wage in SLC, supporting entrepreneurism and recruiting businesses with higher average wages are all steps to make housing more attainable to residents.

What is your background, and what motivated you to run?

My family moved to Salt Lake from Jamaica when I was six. I grew up on the Westside. Six years ago, I moved back. I saw potential. I saw the eyes on the Westside and wanted to be part of it. I started showing up. I started learning. I followed through. I started with the Fairpark Community Council, becoming a board member and now serving as chair. I did that with the River District Chamber (now River District Business Alliance) serving as its chair for three years. All of that has led me here, seeking to represent the neighborhood I grew up in.

Identify an example where you had to make a choice between doing what was right and what was popular/politically expedient.

As Chair of the River District Chamber, reducing crime and creating business opportunities was one of our goals. I was tasked with raising the profile of the chamber and fulfilling the North Temple goal. When crime increased, I reached out to the media to get greater police presence from the city. Some members of the chamber board thought calling attention to the problem would be bad for business. I submit unwalkable sidewalks, rampant theft, and murders outside of businesses are bad for business. I didn't back down on telling that story as often as I could. The result was getting a temporary police station established and the Gateway Inn sold to a more reasonable owner who has a better vision for the property.

If you are elected, how will you engage with your constituents to know their needs/concerns?

I like social media as a way to connect with residents. I would continue to make brief recaps of city council meetings. Attending community council meetings is another way to stay connected. My phone is public and I talk to a lot of people that way as well. As a marketer, I believe the best way to communicate is the platform the resident wants to use and feels most comfortable. I currently use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email, Telephone, in person, Zoom and carrier pigeon.

What qualifies you to represent your district?

I have lived here since 2013 and run a music-based nonprofit that gives our community’s kids a safe place to be after school. As our district’s Historic Landmarks Representative since 2017, I effectively use my master’s in political science and refined experience advocating for the people and places I love.

Identify two key issues that you are concerned about. As a city council member, what specific actions will you take to address those issues?

Homelessness - I propose we implement a three-year crisis management plan that focuses on bringing order to the current situation, offering hope to those who are homeless and security to the residents of our communities. We need to conduct a clear needs assessment, gathering data on the actual state of the crisis, and generate a comprehensive plan for addressing it. As part of the plan, the city needs to outline the issues that are within the city’s purview and capacity to address and clearly outline the work the county and state will need to supplement. During this crisis management stage, the infrastructure must be developed to address the various constituencies within our homeless community. Once the crisis is stabilized and infrastructure is built, the following timeframe needs to be marked by a sustainable action plan and specific MOU’s between the county, state, and city to ensure future management of the issue.

Economic Development - We are home to the most innovative (and often most delicious) entrepreneurs in the city. The tamales from the Smith’s parking lot alone deserve their own storefront. I want to work for an economic development strategy that creates abundant opportunity for local business owners to grow their ideas to prosperity. Equitable opportunities should be the norm for our district. As a Westside council member, I will ensure that the RDA and Economic Development department invests in us, rather than trying to fix us or save us, as can be the default. I am excited at the idea that the growth of our neighborhood could mean walkable eateries and coffee shops and boutiques. I am determined to ensure that our residents can be part of the growth and see a sustainable future for themselves here!

What is your background, and what motivated you to run?

I am from New York, but grew up as an Army brat in Europe. Shortly after moving here in 2013, I realized I wanted to put down roots in SLC. I’ve been devoting myself to community building since then. I decided to run after the bridge fire earlier this year. When the bridge burned and creosote fell from the sky and neighbors wondered why their asthma was acting up, there was a notable void in communication from the city. I am running for this position to make sure our voice is not just heard, but listened to and responded to.

Identify an example where you had to make a choice between doing what was right and what was popular/politically expedient.

As the executive director of a small nonprofit, messaging is so important. As our program grew, there was the pressure to “get to the point” and rely on stereotypes as the basis for asking for money. This accepted practice paints the Westside families we serve as coming from poverty or being disadvantaged. Other nonprofits who work in Westside schools talk about our kids as being “disadvantaged” or “underserved.” It is a popular and accepted practice, but I always knew it was not right.

Early on, I recognized my privilege to do the work I do, serving the most amazing young people and their families on the Westside through afterschool music programs. I chose not to define them by deficits - rather by the promise they hold. I talk about how we remove the barriers to their success. The result is that my grant applications require more explanation and I need to sometimes clarify with funders, but the kids I work with and their families and our community are never painted as charity cases. Instead, I get to let everyone know our greatness, leading from our promise and inviting investment to our area.

If you are elected, how will you engage with your constituents to know their needs/concerns?

Responsiveness to my neighbors is the single most important promise I make to them. I give my personal cell phone number to everyone I meet - it’s on all my literature, my website, and my social media. Beyond that, I have created wonderful relationships with the community councils. Though imperfect, the community council system has served us faithfully and will factor heavily into remaining responsive to the community. I will have regular community meeting opportunities and email / postcard distributions to keep constituents informed as well.

Beyond anything formal, I am still going to be a mom to three kids who attend elementary school here. I will still be running my nonprofit organization that will continue to serve your students. I will still be running into Smith’s with no makeup on and harried because I have no milk for my kids’ cereal. I am running because I am us; and that will not change just because I add a new job title to my résumé. I will always make myself available to my neighbors.

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