Midvale's political candidates haven't had a bad word to say about each other, but don't get them started on UTA or the EPA.
The proposed light-rail system and the Sharon Steel tailings are two hot topics in this campaign. Yet all the candidates share the same view: The Utah Transit Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency have played fast with their city on these issues.
Incumbent Everett Dahl, 765 Columbia Drive, already has gone on record against the light-rail mass-transit system as it is presently proposed. A train cutting across 72nd South and 78th South every five minutes during rush hour will create substantial traffic jams on those streets, he said.
Dahl, an attorney with a private practice in Midvale, is seeking a second term as mayor. He is critical of UTA for proceeding with light-rail plans without keeping the city apprised.
"They bought property out here already, and they are clearing it up. We haven't the faintest idea what they are going to do nor have they asked the city. They are an entity unto themselves, it seems like," he said.
Dahl wants a monorail that runs above Midvale's streets as the freeway does.
His opponent, Troy Staker, would rather see a rail system built underground. Staker also thinks the pres-ent proposal fails to solve traffic problems.
"Right now we already have a massive problem with east-west traffic. The light rail would just complicate it," Staker said.
Staker is a University of Utah junior majoring in sociology.
David A. Nicol, 158 Wilson, is a vocational coordinator at Granite High School. This is his first bid for a council seat. He is very concerned about the impact of a light-rail system on Midvale.
He criticizes UTA for not working more closely with the city on its proposal. UTA has purchased several parcels of land in Midvale. It has cleared a small lot on 78th South and approximately 750 East.
"They are kind of doing it behind the scenes," Nicols said.
Two schools would be impacted, yet UTA has not offered any guarantees about students' safety, he said. "If I'm elected, I would get some guarantees from UTA. Are they going to build pedestrian overpasses for our children to get to school?"
JoAnn B. Seghini, 170 E. Pioneer, is an incumbent councilwoman seeking a second term. She, too, is unhappy with UTA's purchase and clearing of land.
The authority also is telling some people living in the area of the purchased land that they will have to relocate, Seghini said. She isn't sure UTA has a right to do that.
She said UTA has not sufficiently assured the city that a light-rail systemwould not interfere with pedestrian, vehicular or emergency traffic running east and west.
"They haven't been really responsive in answering questions," she said.
Incumbent George Deneris' and contender Kurt Green's feelings on UTA and the light-rail system ring like "next verse same as the first."
UTA bought its parcels at fair-market price and is holding them until it sees what happens with light rail, UTA General Manager John Pingree said.
Two of the parcels were cleared because an old swimming pool, junk cars and heavy undergrowth on the sites were a public nuisance, he said.
UTA has no plans to begin any construction on the sites. "All we are doing is sitting on it," Pingree said.
The authority is not telling people they will have to move. "We are not trying to push people around down there," he said. When the light-rail proposal reaches the public hearing stage, people in Midvale will have ample opportunity to comment on the two rail proposals.
If Midvale does not want a light-rail station, it doesn't have to have one, Pingree said.
There is also a strong unanimity among the four council candidates and two mayoral candidates about the Sharon Steel tailings.
"My motto is, `We need a clean-up, not a cover-up," Deneris said.
George Deneris, 7530 S. State, is seeking a second term on the council. He is retired from Kennecott, where he worked in management.
Deneris rejects the EPA's proposal to cap the 260-acre tailings site with clay. He would rather see a private company process the contaminated dust.
"Several outfits have said they can do that," he said.
Kurt Green, president of Life Seminars, wants the tailings "removed at any cost."
After the tailings are removed, Midvale has a responsibility to help the land be developed, he said. "The city needs to work with the owners to develop that land."
The cleaned site could become an extension of the Jordan River Parkway, an industrial park or a golf course.
All other candidates also said the tailings must be removed or processed on the site until they are safe.