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6 candidates vie for single City Council position

With respected incumbent City Councilman Dale Lambert not running again, District 7 — dominated by the city's Sugar House neighborhood — is up for grabs.

The six candidates vying for the open seat met for a debate at the City Library downtown Wednesday. An audio recording of the debate, sponsored by KCPW radio, can be found at

All six candidates have also responded to a Deseret Morning News questionnaire. A full text of the questionnaire responses can be viewed by clicking on the links at left.

The Morning News asked questions including: whether candidates favored tax increases to add 90 more police officers to the city's force by 2010, how they would help revitalize downtown, how they feel about monster home building and if they favor developing the city's Northwest Quadrant (a massive tract of developable land west of the Salt Lake City International Airport).

The following is look at the candidates and their issues.

Matt Dalton, 35, married with three kids. He works as a commercial floor salesman and has a degree in finance from the University of Utah. As an avid runner he's interested in preserving open space and trails, likes walk-able communities and wants to keep the city's neighborhoods safe. He says "an investment in our police force would pay dividends to the residents of Salt Lake City in the long term." He supports high density housing as a way to revitalize downtown. Updating current zoning standards would help stop monster home building. Dalton prefers higher density urban housing before developing the city's Northwest Quadrant.

Amy Jordan, 30, married, stay-at-home mom who tutors students in statistics classes. She has degrees in political science and sociology both from the U. As the only mother running she says women and children need a stronger voice in the city — a voice she says she will provide. She says 90 officers by 2010 may be a little much but "if more officers are needed, a tax increase is also needed." Downtown is headed in the right direction and she favors continued redevelopment. Some sort of mediation process would be helpful in solving monster home building issues. She wants further study of Northwest Quadrant development before she signs off on development.

Gordon Poulson, 39, married with four kids. He graduated from East High School and is a self-employed businessman doing landscaping and handyman work. He wants more police officers but wants to pay for them though increased fines for speeding and illegal parking. To revitalize downtown the city needs to piggyback on new developments coming from other entities to the central business district. Property owners should be allowed to remodel their homes but "homes that are clearly inappropriate for the rest of the neighborhood will only depress property values and create conflict in our neighborhoods." He favors developing the city's remaining land so long as development is financially viable and adequate open space is preserved.

Gary Riehle, 39, married with three kids. He's a construction worker with a degree in business administration from Salt Lake Community College. He supports the city's recent efforts to offer health care benefits to a wider range of dependants. He supports adding more police officers but "would not consider raising taxes to meet the cost of adding officers." He thinks moving the central business district south from the LDS Church's campus could spur economic development. He wants new or remodeled homes to match the existing feel of surrounding housing. As for the Northwest Quadrant he wants to put a limit on how far the city can "sprawl out."

Soren Simonsen, 37, architect who's married with two kids. He has a degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. He's been on the city's Historic Landmarks Commission for several years and is a historic preservation advocate. He wants to explore a county-wide police force as a way to increase police officers for the city while keeping costs low. "All players" downtown need to be engaged in a collaborative process to develop a plan to revitalize the city's core. He is advocating the completion of a city-wide neighborhood preservation plan that would curb monster home building. He wants any development of the Northwest Quadrant to be carefully considered.

"There is so much at stake and only one chance to get it right."

Danny Walz, 33, is a former staff member of the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency who now works at the Midvale Redevelopment Agency. He's married and has one daughter. He has a bachelors degree in finance from the U. Given his nine-year stint with the city's RDA he says he has a keen understanding of City Hall and could jump in with a good grasp of the issues. He supports more police officers but only wants a tax increase as a last resort. The key to downtown redevelopment is more housing and the city needs more pro-housing policies. He favors some guidelines on monster home building but doesn't want to be overly restrictive so as to discourage remodeling. He sees the Northwest Quadrant as an "incredible opportunity" to make a master planned community that will attract families to the city.