Rocky Anderson announces candidacy for mayor of Salt Lake City

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson said the Utah capital has been in a state of ruin since he left office in 2008, but he could fix it if voters give him another chance at City Hall next year give.

In a transcript of prepared remarks delivered at a State Street saloon Wednesday afternoon, Anderson formally announced his bid for a third term more than a decade after leaving office.

Anderson said he tried — and failed — to get the mayor and certain city council members to solve the city’s problems.

“Because of their do-nothing attitude, because of the mayor’s lack of openness and approachability, and because of our city’s degradation resulting from a lack of effective leadership,” Anderson said, “I have found this with the support of many conscientious people in the community.” community, I am running to serve again as mayor of this city.”

Anderson said he originally ran for office in 1999 because he was passionate about the changes he could make in the areas of the environment, policing, housing, long-term planning, diversity, youth programs, restorative justice and tackling urban sprawl, pollution and corruption.

During his tenure, he achieved much of what he set out to do, he said, but added that the city has deteriorated since his resignation.

“Now our city is run down, crime ridden, dangerous, dirty in many areas and cruel to members of the homeless community,” he said, “without even a coherent plan from our mayor.”

Anderson said he has a proven track record of leading the city’s executive branch, citing his work in which he has significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, implemented programs to restore justice, diversified the city’s workforce, and provided housing and services for chronically homeless Utahans , invested in the infrastructure and campaigned for the expansion of local public transport.

And unlike Mayor Erin Mendenhall, he said, he did it all without raising property taxes.

If voters reinstated him, Anderson said he would improve transparency by holding monthly meetings with the public, revitalizing the International Jazz Festival, repairing and reopening the Seven Canyons Fountain in Liberty Park, and restoring the once-popular roadside sweeping service, which was discontinued years ago.

He also promised to take better care of the city’s most serious problems.

Anderson berated the Salt Lake City Police Department for poor response times and rising violent crime under Mendenhall’s leadership.

“When I’m Mayor again, with better leadership in the Salt Lake City Police Department, we will again set a goal of an average of 6 minutes or less for the police to respond to a Priority 1 call – and we will meet it.” like we used to do.”

Anderson said the policing advances he made as mayor have been reversed since leaving office, citing two controversial encounters — one in January when a 40-year-old woman died after being pinned down by officers and another from 2020, when police shot a 13-year-old boy with autism (the nonfatal shooting resulted in a $3 million settlement).

Anderson accused Mendenhall and Police Chief Mike Brown of misleading reporters and the public about violent crime statistics during a press conference in October, saying the data they used was singled out to paint a picture rosier than reality.

“Soaring violent crime combined with outrageously slow police response times,” he said, “means an increasingly dangerous, scary city for everyone.”

Anderson pledged to restore the city’s attorney general’s office and implement initiatives to restore justice if elected.

He noted the frustration of a business owner tired of the city not responding to problems arising from homelessness.

Anderson said he opposes incarcerating or incarcerating people who may benefit from programs, but doesn’t want the city to “turn a blind eye to destructive, dangerous, illegal behaviors and allow them to continue.”

The former mayor called for an end to “cruel, inhumane, repeated police raids and evictions of homeless people from their camps” until there are other options for them.

Late Tuesday morning — just over an hour before Anderson’s announcement — Mendenhall and others from the city, county and state gathered to brief reporters on a trip elected officials made to Miami to fight a successful program investigating homelessness.

If voters send him back to City Hall, Anderson said he would set up one or more legal homeless camps to prevent makeshift camps from springing up across the city.

A legal homeless camp was touted by two sitting West Side councilors and was one of the highlights of a plan to tackle homelessness released by the Pioneer Park Coalition in October. Anderson attended the unveiling of this plan but did not speak during the press conference. Rocky Anderson announces candidacy for mayor of Salt Lake City

Justin Scacco

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