Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Salt Lake Voters Buy A New $125 Million Cop Shop; Proposition 1 Easily Passes With Over 65 Percent Of The Vote, Ralph Becker May Compromise On Site

Despite controversy over the proposed location of the new public safety building and even some dissatisfaction over Police Chief Chris Burbank's refusal to consider responding to SB81, Salt Lake City voters were even more concerned over the deteriorating conditions of the present public safety facility, and manifested it by voting authoritatively to approve Proposition 1, which would authorize $125 million of taxpayer money to construct the new facility. The bond's passage means property owners will see an increase in property taxes; a home valued at $260,000 will see an increase of $6 a month, while a business valued at $1 million will see a jump of $43 a month. Passage wasn't really a big surprise; several pre-election polls showed a consistent 60+ percent support rate.

With 100 percent of the votes counted, 12,432 people voted in favor of Prop 1 (65.74 percent), while 6,479 people voted against it (34.26 percent). In gratitude, Mayor Ralph Becker said he would reopen the site selection process after the bond's passage; at least eight other sites were previously considered. Completion of the project is still at least three years away, and Becker said he hopes to include state and county officials in the project.

Results of all Utah elections statewide can be found at the following links (between the two links, the whole state should be covered):

-- Most results now available via the Deseret News.
-- Some other results available via the State website

Other election stories of note:

-- In Stockton, irate voters punished incumbent Mayor Dan Rydalch for his abuse of Police Cpl. Josh Rowell by replacing him with Councilman Mark Whitney, giving Whitney over 75 percent of the vote.

-- Saratoga Springs elects its first black mayor. Councilwoman Mia Love defeated challenger Jeff Francom in the contest to replace outgoing Mayor Timothy Parker. In becoming just the city's second mayor, Love ran on a platform of growing the city's commercial base in a way that preserves its quality of life. Love also touted her experience serving on the council during a budget crisis, which she said gives her the experience and ability to guide the city through uncertain economic times. The question: Will she be another Condollezza Rice, or another Maxine Waters?

-- In Logan, incumbent Mayor Randy Watts withstood a stiff challenge from Mike Morrill, defeating him by just over 5 percent of the vote. Watts' victory was uncertain not only because of his awkward handling of the Gary Jensen controversy, but also because the city of Logan appeared to equivocate after the lethal Logan landslide earlier this year. There was a pronounced geographical split in the voting; Morrill virtually owned the west side, although his victory margins were shallow. In contrast, Watts owned the east side, where Utah State University is located, but his victory margins were wider, so he prevailed overall. Ironically, Watts won the precinct in the east side neighborhood where the landslide occurred. Read post-election story in the Logan Herald-Journal.

-- In Payson, Councilman Scott Phillips was handily re-elected. He became the center of controversy in May 2008 when he caught a couple of teenage punks vandalizing his truck and physically detained them. A vindictive district attorney chose to prosecute him for misdemeanor assault, and deliberately dragged it out until Phillips pleaded no contest to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in March 2009, merely paying $100 in court costs. The council and community were solidly behind him, and proved it in this election.

No comments: