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Diversity rally backs Rocky

There is a diversity of opinion within the minority communities about the Salt Lake City mayoral race.

Thursday evening, more than 50 people, representing a half-dozen cultures, gathered to support incumbent Rocky Anderson's bid for a second term as the city's mayor. Under his guidance, speakers said, minority employment and business ownership have increased, youth programs have been expanded, administrative boards have become more diverse and the focus on improving the city's west side has improved.

"It is important that we elect a mayor . . . who understands diversity," said speaker Josie Valdez.

The rally was organized, in large part, because of recent close and disputed decisions by the Hispanic and African-American Democratic caucuses to endorse challenger Frank Pignanelli, as well as subsequent news reports about the decisions. Almost all of the speakers emphasized that, despite the reports and the caucus decisions, the opinions about all three mayoral candidates — Molonai Hola is the third candidate — vary greatly.

"Our community is too large to be painted with the a single stroke of a brush," said Alex Gallegos, president of the board for Centro Civico Mexicano, which hosted the rally.

Along with criticizing the media, the speakers also complimented Anderson's record in handling minority affairs. Paul Price said that, most importantly, he has helped youth through the Youth City Program and at the Sorenson Center.

"Rocky Anderson is great for the youth," he said. "That's why we're here, for the youth."

Every speaker, which included members of the Hispanic, Persian, African-American, Navajo and Tongan communities, urged the crowd to proudly and loudly voice their opinion in the mayoral race.

"I am here to express my independent, minority voice," speaker Cal Nez said. "It is premature to assume that the minority community supports one candidate."


E-mail: jloftin@desnews.com