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S.L. Council to see another shake-up

The Salt Lake City Council is about to be shaken up for the second time in less than a year.

Former Councilmen Stuart Reid and Sam Souvall resigned in March and were replaced by Lee Martinez and Mary Mark in June. But Martinez and Mark both lost their election bids in the Oct. 7 primary.Four candidates vying for Reid's and Souvall's seats - District 1 and District 3, respectively - in the Nov. 4 general election were among the 44 applicants for the jobs last spring.

With longtime District 5 councilman Tom Godfrey bowing out this year, that means a total of at least three new people on the council come January, whatever the outcome of the election.

One-term District 7 Councilman Keith Christensen is the sole incumbent left in the race.

This past year has been a tumultuous one for the council, primarily because of the controversy sur-rounding Mayor Deedee Corradi-ni's acceptance of $231,000 in gifts and loans. The council undertook its own investigation of the matter, and that frosted mayor-council relations.

While the council and mayor have continued to work together on other issues, some say the controversy lessened their effectiveness. Council Chairwoman Deeda Seed, however, insists city business was not adversely impacted.

Most of the eight candidates mentioned crime and growth - with its related problems such as traffic and housing - as the most important issues in the race. While most advocate residents' involvement as the most effective weapon against crime, their ideas vary as to how to handle growth. The issue tends to bring out each candidate's particular area of expertise or interest, but many expressed a desire to mix expensive housing with cheaper housing by, say, dispersing apartments within single-family communities.

Many candidates also pledged to monitor, as much as possible, the financial side of preparations for the 2002 Winter Games.

DISTRICT 1

Carlton Christensen

Address: 830 N. 1500 West

Age: 31

Occupation: Accountant with Zions Securities

Experience: Member of the Planning Commission, vice chairman of Rose Park Community Council, fund raiser for the Day-Riverside branch of the Salt Lake City Library, coordinated 300-volunteer effort to landscape the library branch.

Why running: Economic expertise garnered from his professional training, as well as a vision for the future. City officials currently make too many decisions with only the short-term consequences in mind. "I want to make the kinds of decisions that will have a payback 30 years from now."

Most important issues: Police officers who are sick or on vacation should have replacements - which isn't always being done - to keep up the number of officers on the street. The police force and neighborhood watch programs should be expanded. Salt Lake has a lot of undeveloped land, especially west of the international center, which can be used for moderate-income housing. More retail stores should be wooed in the Rose Park and Glendale areas, and Central City can have more mixed-use development. The northwest quadrant needs a new long-range plan, and water and sewer infrastructure improvement should be a priority throughout the city. "We're paying for the short-term planning that's been going on."

Relationship between council and mayor: "I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the continuing level of antagonism. There needs to be a stronger level of trust." Christensen didn't approve of the City Council's investigation of Corradini - the money was "a little bit of a waste."

Tidbit: As a boy, Christensen always wanted to be a kangaroo for Halloween, so two years ago his sister sewed him a costume. At 6 feet 10 inches, Christensen makes for an imposing marsupial. "I actually considered doing a honk-and-wave with it, but I thought I'd lose a little bit of credibility."

Ronald Whitehead

Address: 1089 Garnette Circle

Age: 54

Occupation: Retired, was a partner of Bailey's Moving and Storage

Experience: Three-time city councilman (1980-82, 1982-86, 1990-94), erstwhile chairman of both Rose Park Community Council and Northwest Community Council (now Fairpark Community Council).

Why running: "I'm involved in the community very much - I care about the community, and I have the time now since I'm retired." Whitehead left the council the first time to have more time with his family and the second time to serve a mission for the LDS Church.

Most important issues: Crime, maintaining the downtown area and business community and preventing Jordan River bank erosion.

Crime: Mobile watch is the single most effective way to reduce crime in city neighborhoods. "It would be nice to have more police officers, but a police officer costs $50,000 and you need three shifts (a day) - it takes a lot of police officers to even make an impact. . . . It's not a big deal if everyone gets involved." Whitehead wants to increase mobile watch volunteers in District 1 from 60 to 1,000.

Growth: Most of the growth in Salt Lake is happening in District 1, since that's where the open space is. Especially in the open land west of the airport, growth should be planned as a mix of apartments (25 percent) and owner-occupied homes (75 percent), and airport encroachment must be avoided. "We can't just build great big apartment complexes and leave them out there by themselves."

Relationship between council and mayor: "It's very poor - I think there's a witch hunt going on to further the individual agendas of council members. . . . I hope I can come in and bring some leadership in that area."

Tidbit: Whitehead owns a condo at Wolf Lodge in Eden where he likes to go for a day or a weekend to lie around, ponder things and recharge his batteries.

DISTRICT 3

Polly Hart

Address: 355 N. Quince St.

Age: 37

Occupation: Historic preservation consultant, jewelry designer.

Experience: Hart has been active in the Capitol Hill Community Council and in historic landmark preservation, but has no other government experience. "I consider my lack of government experience to be an asset in this race. I don't think our political leaders should have government backgrounds. . . . I am coming into this without bias."

Why running: "I am concerned about the city's attitude about development in this district. The city continues to zone historic districts for high-density housing." Hart started thinking about running during the controversy surrounding a proposed con-dom-inium development on Almond Street.

Most important issues: Development, growth, traffic and crime. Much has been made of Hart's high level of campaign spending, but she points out that even though she outpaces all contenders in this election, other candidates have spent more than her in the past.

Crime: "I see a dramatic increase in gang activity, and I see that activity traveling outside of its own neighborhoods and into neighborhoods where gang members don't live." The answer is increased neighborhood participation, particularly neighborhood and mobile watches, and an expanded police force.

Growth: With more people packing into the Salt Lake Valley, more cities besides Salt Lake need to provide medium- and high-density housing. A first step would be to encourage cities to decrease lot sizes."There needs to be a mix of medium/low/high density everywhere." Alternative traffic solutions should also be explored to take the burden off of surface streets.

Relationship between council and mayor: "I don't think it's as bad as the press makes it out to be. I think the council has continued to work with the mayor through it all and I see things getting better."

Tidbit: Hart is addicted to "Nick at Night." "I'm a member of the TV generation."

Tom Rogan

Address: 1112 Third Ave.

Age: 53

Occupation: Real estate attorney

Experience: Outgoing chairman of Greater Avenues Community Council, two terms as chairman and involved many years before that, in which capacity he dealt with various city agencies on a regular basis.

Why running: "I think the community and city would be better served if it had someone with the background I have."

Most important issues: With regard to Salt Lake City as a whole: affordable housing, Olympics accountability and campaign finance reform (Rogan's opponent, Polly Hart, has spent heavily). With regard to his district: traffic, crime and helping senior citizens with fixed incomes as regards tax. "It's become clear to me that that's an issue that needs to be addressed."

Crime: Neighborhood watch and mobile watch programs are effective and should be encouraged. Pedestrian lighting should be im-proved to improve safety from criminal acts, safety in walking and esthetics. The recent audit of the police department should be followed up, and the overall scheme of where to assign officers should be examined to see if more officers can be placed in more troublesome areas.

Growth: The city should obtain 1,200 new affordable housing units in the next four years to combat rising housing prices, and longer-range housing goals should be established. All cities in Salt Lake County need to cooperate in planning to relieve Salt Lake from sole responsibility of some of the negatives of growth, such as home-lessness. Housing in the downtown and Gateway areas should be encouraged.

Relationship between council and mayor: "I think the council did absolutely the right thing" undertaking an independent investigation of the mayor. "I thought that was sensible and appropriate and I think the council handled it honorably. . . . Now they need to put it behind them."

Tidbit: Rogan has been a long-distance runner for years. He has run 12 marathons since 1991. On average, he runs 45 miles per week.

DISTRICT 5

Jackie Biskupski

Address: 753 E. Roosevelt Ave.

Age: 31

Occupation: Insurance adjuster

Experience: Member of board of local YWCA, member of Salt Lake County Democratic Party, has worked on a number of campaigns.

Why running: "I felt we needed a good strong Democratic candidate. I feel like the district is fairly liberal and the majority of people are Democrats, and they need to be represented. . . . I'm a hard-working individual - the people want someone who will respond to their issues and their concerns."

Most important issues: District 5 suffers from a poor zoning, with many areas zoned inappropriately. The district also is getting increased traffic and crime - even truancy is of concern to residents. Regarding the city as a whole, "We really need to keep our eye on the Olympics committee and what their expectations are for Salt Lake City. When they want us to be partners it's usually because they want us to fund something. The City Council needs to make sure the people of Salt Lake City aren't left holding the bag."

Crime: Fighting increased crime revolves around getting rid of drug houses, which have proved to be a problem in District 5. "That's a huge concern from east to west in the district." Neighborhood watch programs should be increased and the new nuisance law designed to give police more power against drugs enforced. "If people will get involved a little more and take responsibility, we can do it."

Growth: "I don't think there's any way to stop growth, (but) it's important that the city recognize the need for green space." Traffic calming ideas should be researched to keep motorists from using surface streets. "We should make certain routes not so wide open. If we can at least slow it down that would be my goal."

Relationship between council and mayor: "It appears there's a lot of tension going on. It would be my goal to improve that relationship."

Tidbit: Biskupski loves sushi.

Roger Thompson

Address: 1487 Harvard Ave.

Age: 57

Occupation: Attorney, executive vice president and general counsel of a real estate management and investment firm.

Experience: Was born in District 5 and has been a resident there 48 years; former member of Salt Lake City Board of Education; member of a nominating panel for state school board candidates and various municipal committees, president of East High School PTA ("That was tough - I went to a statewide convention in Provo and I was the only male there.")i

Why running: "Every citizen has a responsibility to do some public service."

Most important issues: Crime, maintaining the vitality of neighborhoods, Olympics oversight and the relationship between the council and the mayor.

Crime: Recent local crime statistics are "very disturbing," especially compared to cities like Boston and New York which have been able to reduce crime by finding summer jobs for youths, putting responsibility on lower-level police officers to keep statistics at a certain level, and strictly enforcing ordinances dealing with property appearances.

Growth: The city should improve curbs, gutters, sidewalks, lights and other things impacting neighborhoods as more people squish into Salt Lake, and should consider low-interest loans so more residents can own their homes. There should be more beautification and more attempts to get people out of their cars. The homeless should be dispersed throughout the city and county, and more attention should be paid to middle-income housing.

Relationship between council and mayor: The council needs to pay more attention to what's going on with the Olympics and other business instead of being "preoccupied" by the mayor.

Tidbit: Thompson has a penchant for puns.

DISTRICT 7

Keith Christensen

Address: 2610 E. Maywood Drive

Age: 46

Occupation: Owner of Micro Industries, which builds precision equipment for airlines and the medical and automotive in-dustries.

Experience: Incumbent city councilman (one term), chairman of the Utah Air Travel Commission for six years

Why running: "The most important decisions are made on the local level. Most of us can't do too much about what's going on in the White House, but we can make a difference here."

Most important issues: Transportation, crime and infrastructure, such as roads and water and sewer lines. Infrastructure isn't as glamorous as other issues, but "we can't forget to invest in the infrastructure of the city just because it's not as politically (visible)." The City Council has given the Public Works Department more freedom to improve the water system. Christensen, however, feels strongly about not bonding for improvements.

Crime: The city should focus on property crimes, which are serious because they often lead to more dangerous crimes. Neighborhood and mobile watches are critical. "We don't have enough resources in this city to stop crime without citizen involvement. It doesn't take a lot of time, but it does take an awareness." High technology, such as computers in patrol cars, should also be pursued.

Growth: "Balance is important - a balance between good business development and good neighborhood development." Residential neighborhoods should be anchored with businesses that bring in property tax dollars. Master planning is imperative, and housing types - multi-family, single-family - should be mixed. "We don't want mobility, we want longevity."

Relationship between council and mayor: "It's not always perfect - it's a balance-of-power relationship. We can and should differ from time to time, though we can do it with dignity."

Tidbit: Christensen has been a licensed pilot since he was 16. He recently sold his corporate-quality plane and plans to buy another.

Karen Nielsen

Address: 2580 S. Elizabeth St. No. 6

Age: 55

Occupation: Office manager for the AFL/CIO.

Experience: Chairwoman of the

Salt Lake County Democratic Party for five years and a state Democratic Party officer. She has worked on numerous campaigns including those of Ted Wilson, Karen Shepherd and Wayne Owens.

Why running: Nielsen has lived in the district since 1968 and "a lot of my friends have been encouraging me for a long long time." When she saw that no one had filed and the deadline was nearing, she decided now was the time.

Most important issues: Nielsen is most concerned about issues impacting her district, such as the proposed new I-80 on and off ramps that would send more traffic into Sugar House. Tall office buildings should be avoided in Sugar House. Open spaces and walking spaces should be preserved, particularly Fairmont and Sugarhouse parks, to give seniors a place to walk and recreate.

Crime: Nielsen noted that crime in Sugar House is generally low. "I am absolutely thrilled beyond words that we have bicycle patrol there now." The police department should replace officers who are sick or on vacation, even if it means paying overtime, instead of just running a short staff.

Growth: Neighborhoods with older homes need to be taken care of instead of being allowed to decay, even if it means the city buying the structures. Traffic on surface streets, not just highways, needs to be addressed, and there should be more ingress/egress to and from the city from the highways to make people want to shop downtown. "I would really like to see it the way it used to be without the congestion."

Relationship between council and mayor: The City Council investigation was warranted and appropriate, and even during the in-ves-ti-gation the council and mayor have worked well together.

Tidbit: Nielsen has a cockatiel, Tootles, whom she has taught a few phrases. "My favorite thing is to go home and slam the door and talk to him."