Four mayoral candidates discuss how they will lead Salt Lake City

Aug 12, 2019, 5:24 PM
The Salt Lake City and County Building on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — Four candidates seeking to become the 36th mayor of Salt Lake City joined KSL NewsRadio on Monday afternoon. They shared what they offer to Salt Lake City residents.

Each candidate joined Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson one at a time to discuss their concerns for Utah’s capital.

The following summaries are offered in the order that each candidate appeared on Inside Sources.

Jim Dabakis

Jim Dabakis, the former senator, wonders if the current election format is best for voters. He refers to a system that causes candidates to ask for money from individuals who will do business with the government that the candidate is seeking to lead.

“It’s distasteful, actually. I just think it’s a bad system,” Dabakis says.

He is concerned about the place of political action committees, or PACs.

“These PACs come along, and they’re supposed to register with the city, and most of them don’t,” Dabakis says.

“And they come along and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and nobody knows who they are.”

Legally, these PACs cannot work in coordination with political campaigns. Dabakis expressed doubt that every PACs abide by that law.

Dabakis also expressed his opinion that Salt Lake City needs to cooperate with Utah’s governor to solve problems such as homelessness.

David Ibarra

Mayoral candidate David Ibarra told Deseret News opinion editor Boyd Matheson that Salt Lake City needs a leader.

He says there is a desire among residents to “not have career politicians. [Residents] are tired of people pointing out problems without giving up solutions.”

David Ibarra joins Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson on Monday, August 12, 2019. (Matthew Brooks / KSL NewsRadio)

He expresses his concerns over what he sees as a gap between the mayor’s chair, the city council, and the state.

“We’re not together. We are not in sync. We’re not in harmony. I think folks are looking for a different kind of leadership.”

Ibarra says that he knows what is missing.

“Most people can point out what’s wrong, but there’s a lack of big ideas.”

One big idea he offered was to help people be able to live in the same city where they work. This idea would decrease traffic congestion and improve the environment, Ibarra says.

Luz Escamilla

Mayoral candidate Luz Escamilla considers herself a bridge builder.

She has a focus on youth and family.

Luz Escamilla (Photo: Escamilla for Mayor)

Escamilla tells KSL NewsRadio that she wants the future of Salt Lake City to be healthy families, safe children who attend good schools, and parents who are productive members of society.

She says that throughout the city there are residents who are excited to collaborate with the mayor to build sustainable communities.

“Sustainability in every angle beyond environmental issues. It’s really about sustainable communities, about engaging communities,” Escamilla says.

“There is a hunger for that,” she says.

Escamilla says solving issues such as air quality, homelessness, affordable housing, and the inland port needs a mayor and city that works together.

“It is a critical time for Salt Lake City,” Escamilla says.

Erin Mendenhall

Salt Lake City mayoral candidate Erin Mendenhall recognizes that there are many conversations yet to have.

She has served on the city council for Salt Lake City. She finds hope for the city in a electorate that is looking for inventive ideas and leaders who know how to get things done.

Erin Mendenhall joins Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson on Monday, August 12, 2019. (Matthew Brooks / KSL NewsRadio)

“I’ve been actually able to negotiate with the state to win things for Salt Lake City residents,” Mendenhall says.

Mendenhall calls herself an environmentalist. She has a master’s in science and technology in environmental focus from the University of Utah. She chairs the state air quality board.

“That’s a piece of work that’s not easy,” Mendenhall says. “There are no silver bullets, people say.”

She also speaks on the temperament of a leader.

“The way our mayor conducts herself … will determine a lot what we get or we don’t get as Salt Lake City residents,” Mendenhall says.

She says she knows how to get things done.

“It is time we had a mayor who actually knows how to run Salt Lake City, whose been doing that work,” Mendenhall says.

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Four mayoral candidates discuss how they will lead Salt Lake City