ARTS & CULTURE
We are so fortunate to live in Salt Lake City. We have an incredible wealth of arts and culture organizations. From the ballet to the symphony; from Plan B Theater Company, to Pioneer Memorial and Capitol Theaters; we have the Film Center, the Film Society, UMFA, UMOCA, A-Gallery, Modern West Gallery, Jazz Arts of the Mountain West . . . the list goes on and on.
I could use up my entire time listing off the incredible cultural and artistic organizations.
When I talk to people who are planning a visit and I start telling them about all the many things there are to do, they are surprised.
I want to make sure they are no longer surprised. We have the opportunity to create a true arts destination--a Lincoln Center, if you will. I will partner with the arts & culture community to help promote our organizations and the artistic opportunities we provide.
We’re not fully realizing the potential of existing resources like The Leonardo and Library Square, vacant properties along Main Street that are a natural fit for arts & culture development. We should be utilizing these resources better to create a vibrant arts and culture hub.
Several organizations need to find a permanent home, like the Film Center that has been looking for a place with a theater and educational space. We have supporters who have invested significant amounts of money to pay for studies regarding the need for a Film and Digital Media Arts Center, yet our city won’t put it on the council agenda.
There are organizations that need better advocates in the city, like UMOCA, SpyHop, Discovery Gateway, and The Leonardo, to name a few. We need to help our organizations succeed rather than ignore or create obstacles that add to their challenges.
Having a mayor who is focused on the needs in our city, and who will work with the County and our arts & culture community, will lead us to the right solutions. We’ve heard for too long that we’re planning. We’re analyzing. We’re coming up with a blueprint. People have invested time and money and it's been going on for nearly a decade. It takes a strong, collaborative leader who is truly committed to the arts community to turn a plan into action. It is a priority of mine that we move forward with this in my first year as mayor.
We must improve basic bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in neighborhood activity nodes beyond the Downtown and work more cooperatively with the County and neighboring municipalities to extend these systems beyond our city boundaries. Many of our local business nodes, schools, parks and recreation facilities are easily within walking distance, but lack basic infrastructure to make them accessible on foot or by bike.
Excerpt from Cycling Utah's 2015 Mayoral Election Candidate Survey
Q. What is your vision for cycling (both road and mountain biking) in Salt Lake City? What would you do to make that vision happen (planning, budget, infrastructure, education, safety, economy, etc.)?
A. As mayor, I will focus on cooperation and coordination with bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers. I want to create a city where bicyclists feel safe, where those that live and work in the city are encouraged to bike to work, where plans are made with the input of all stakeholders, and where other environmentally-friendly types of transportation (transit, carpooling, etc.) are available and accessible.
Q. What will you do to grow the cycling economy of Salt Lake City (i.e. bicycle based business and industry, as well as communities that benefit from bike improvements)?
A. As part of my plan to revitalize the west side of Salt Lake City, I plan to extend the GreenBike program west as well as into high-use areas such as parks and other key public locations. Cyclists and the businesses that support them are innovative and forward thinking–the kind of business we should be trying to attract. I have a strong small-business plan that includes fostering a startup and small business friendly environment. Small businesses in Salt Lake are negatively impacted by too much bureaucratic red tape the needlessly wastes their valuable resources. For example, Salt Lake City currently has an employee fee, a fee charged to employers each time they hire a new employee. I believe we should encourage hiring not penalize it and will work to eliminate this fee. We must also streamline our planning and zoning departments to ensure more efficient and effective service. I will stop the wild growth of city fees, by freezing annual automatic fee increases, and increase transparency around fees by publishing, annually, a list of changes to fees. Read the full Cycling Utah survey ->
Jackie has been endorsed by the local advocacy group FIDOS (Friends Interested in Dogs and Open Spaces). Below is an excerpt from their 2015 Candidate Survey.
Q. Do you consider us a viable user group that deserves open space to recreate with our animals off-leash?
A. Absolutely. Off-leash recreational opportunities are very important for dogs and their humans. In addition to socialization, it also provides better exercise, especially for more active and working breeds. Also, having a group like FIDOS that can advocate for the needs of dogs and their companions ensures this important voice is heard by the cities and municipalities where we live and recreate.
Q. There are two types of dog parks- large open spaces where people can exercise with their dogs (Parley's, Memory Grove), and small neighborhood fences areas where people tend to stand around while their dogs play with other dogs (Pioneer Park, Herm Franks). Do you understand the need for both types and when each is appropriate?
A. I believe they are both important to serve the recreational and exercise needs of dogs and their companions. In smaller, neighborhood parks, the fenced areas provide space for dogs while also allowing other activities in the unfenced areas such as playgrounds, sports fields, etc. Off-leash hours in larger nature areas provide for roaming and exercise for people and their active dogs. It’s important that we both types of off-leash areas so people and their dogs can access these areas regardless of the location of their residence and ability to travel. People will always have dogs for companions and they need and deserve recreational opportunities in our city.
Q. According to the Trust for Public Lands, nationally during the last few years dog parks were developed at a rate of 34% as opposed to all other parks which stood at 3%. In direct contradiction to the growing need, over the last seven years, Salt Lake City has reduced off leash space by around 80%. In light of the fast growing needs of this user group this makes little sense and causes increased discontent, what do you promise to do to develop more space for off-leash use of both kinds (particularly large, recreational open space) that are well distributed throughout the Salt Lake City?
A. I commit to taking the interests of pets and their companions into account in all parks and recreation planning and decision making. More time and space in Salt Lake City should be dedicated to both fenced off-leash space and larger natural areas for roaming and exercise for people and their dogs. We specifically need recreational space for people and their dogs who live west of the freeway and I will make that part of my West Side development plan.
One of the reasons I entered this race was my concern that not all Salt Lake City children have the same access to achieving academic success. I believe the Mayor has a moral obligation to support programs that enhance education and put our kids on the path to success.
I will be a partner with the Salt Lake City School Board to create strategic educational opportunities that benefit all of our children and I will advocate with the Utah State Legislature for much-needed increases in funding.
Early Childhood Education
Utah is one of 11 states that does not provide funding for Pre-K education. A quality education is the key to providing every child with the opportunity to be successful. We can improve access to Pre-K education by partnering with United Way and other organizations that are creating public/private partnerships.
After school Programs
Our after school programs are an opportunity to build skills necessary for our youth to succeed. The current mayor cut funding for after school programs by 50% and eliminated the City’s after-school arts program. As Mayor, I will prioritize after-school education funding to help contribute to lasting solutions for our children’s education and will be a strong advocate for the creation of additional programs that assess the needs of every child and create after-school programs that provide mentoring and tutoring opportunities.
I will work with the Salt Lake School District to create an education program with measurable outcomes that starts with the assessment of needs for every child. When we identify an achievement gap for a student we will provide that student with a tutor/mentor to help them achieve grade level understanding. I will also create assessment opportunities for the parents so we can understand all obstacles that are in the way of a child’s success as well as the parent's. If parents are successful, it creates a greater ability for their children to succeed.
I have grave concern about the schools-to-prison pipeline. The fact that 80% of our minority children are coming in contact with law enforcement is shocking.
I will work in schools to get more community resources to families with at-risk kids, and I will work with the school district to limit the need for School Resource Officers (SROs) and to reduce the police presence at our schools.
GOLF COURSE CLOSURE
The golf issue is only partly about golf. It shows a huge difference between the current mayor and me. I understand that even if I am not a golfer, I need to be mayor to those who are. The sad state of the golf program is a result of six years of apathy and neglect, followed by a year in which “leadership” consisted of calling for course closures.
Why? Because this mayor doesn’t golf and the people he pays attention to don’t golf – at least not on public courses – so he does not care about golf.
Golf courses are an amenity and an attraction; they are open spaces that also generate revenue. From what I can tell, the mayor’s office has expended zero effort in trying to fix the golf problem.
Bonneville is a perfect example. It was clear at a recent meeting of concerned residents that city staff had almost no interaction with, or direction from, the mayor, while adjacent neighbors felt they had been excluded from decisions that will severely impact their properties. Planned changes will negatively affect both their neighborhood and the quality of play on the course.
This is typical of too many decisions made unilaterally under this mayor – it is hardly the first time we’ve heard it.
For the past decade, city residents have endured property tax increases, escalating fees for services and fines, and we’ve been unable to sustain any kind of economic development effort.
We are anticipating significant growth in the next 20-30 years and we must act now to adequately manage the increase in population, traffic, and businesses. Salt Lake City has nearly $400 million in unfunded infrastructure needs. From aging sewer system to roads and street lights, long-deferred maintenance projects are piling up. We are going to have to make a significant investment in the upkeep of our city.
I will prioritize economic development in our city so we can generate the revenue we need to keep up with the expense of running our city.
Jackie has been endorsed by LGBTQ advocacy groups Equality Utah, Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, LPAC, Restore our Humanity, Salt Lake County Stonewall Democrats Caucus, and Utah Stonewall Democrats State Caucus.
Being the first, openly gay elected official in Utah—and fighting hard to get a seat at the table—instilled in Jackie a commitment to be a voice for change and diversity whenever she had the opportunity. For 13-years on Capitol Hill, Jackie fulfilled that promise by standing up for LGBT families on issues like adoption, the fight for anti-gay bullying legislation to protect students in Utah schools, the battle over Amendment 3, and by being a strong voice for minorities in every committee meeting she was in.
Below is an excerpt from Equality Utah's 2015 Candidate Survey.
Q. Do you support the passage of legislation that would extend public accommodations protections for sexual orientation and gender identity?
A. Yes. I not only support this but when I am mayor I will prioritize passage of a public accommodations ordinance. As the capital city we must lead the way.
Q. Do you support passage of legislation that will extend health insurance benefits to transgender employees and/or their family members, if an employer provides health insurance coverage to its employees?
A. I unequivocally support providing our transgender employees full medical coverage. As a city, we will ensure that as we negotiate medical coverage for our employees, that transitional related care is covered in our medical benefits package. We will require and confirm that everyone we consider for city contracts is providing full medical benefits for all employees without exception. I will also speak in favor of any proposed state legislation. I will also be an outspoken opponent of anything other than full equal coverage for ALL Utahns.
Q. Do you support enumeration of existing hate crimes laws to provide better protections for LGBT Utahns?
A. Enumerating classes would provide for a stronger hate crimes law; it would allow for the enhancement of offenses (e.g., a third degree felony to a second degree felony). It should reflect civil rights legislation, enumerating protected classes such as race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability. The bill I supported in the 2005 session, HB0050, with the addition of gender identity, would have provided the enumerated classes. Unfortunately, that was not successful considering the adverse political climate.
The bill we passed in 2006 allows for the consideration of bias/hate crime as an aggravating factor which did not necessitate enumerating the classes, but does not include an enhancement. It was not the strongest law, but it was what we could accomplish at the time
Q. Utah currently forbids teachers from discussing gay and transgender issues (including sexual health and HIV/AIDS awareness). Do you support the repeal of such laws?
A. Yes. Our current sex education, if you can even call it that, is woefully lacking. The requirement for abstinence-only education is directly related to skyrocketing rates of STIs and teen pregnancy. We must set aside our head-in-the-sand approach to this crucial health care issue. I fully support and will proactively advocate for teaching sexual health and HIV/AIDS awareness.
The cost to park downtown rose dramatically under Mayor Becker. First, the hourly fee doubled from $1 to $2 per hour. Second, the hours of enforcement extended from 6 to 8 pm. Finally, the Mayor's new budget, adopted by the City Council, increases from $15 to $25 the fine for an expired meter and adds a $50 fine for failing to pay at a parking meter. Considering how frequently the parking meters fail to function properly a $50 fine is excessive.
The malfunctioning of the City's parking meters, the increased cost to park, and the extended enforcement hours all serve to deter people from spending time downtown in the evenings. I support returning to 6 pm as the end of parking enforcement at the parking meters. I support slowing the increase in parking fees. And I support implementing a quality-control program to monitor the performance of the parking meters. If the meters aren’t working then the city shouldn’t be issuing parking tickets. It simply is not ethical to penalize drivers for the technical failure of the parking meters and that practice will not continue under my leadership.
I am honored to be endorsed by Utah’s Planned Parenthood Action Council. Planned Parenthood provides crucial reproductive health services to people in Utah, including over 22,000 people in Salt Lake City in 2014. As a woman, mother, and candidate to be the next mayor of Salt Lake City, I was honored to attend last month’s rally at the Capitol Building for all those who rely on Planned Parenthood to ensure their sexual and reproductive health. During my 13 years in the Utah State Legislature, I was unwavering in my support for women's reproductive health and voted against any efforts to limit or reduce access. I am confident the latest controversy will resolve itself in time but until then and always I stand with Planned Parenthood and am grateful for the services they provide to people in our city and state
Jackie Biskupski responds to the announcement by the Prison Relocation Commission’s selection of Salt Lake City as the new prison location:
I am extremely disappointed in the selection of Salt Lake City as the location for the new prison, and the culpability of Mayor Becker in this process is especially disappointing.
This is a decision that will shape this city's future for generations to come. Our west side has been ignored by this administration, so it should come as no surprise that Mayor Becker would sell them out in his negotiations for a sales tax in this city.
In addition to the lack of concern for residents of the west side, the environmental impacts and the shortage of water resources in this part of the valley should be more than reason for the commission to look elsewhere.
As mayor, I will continue to oppose the prison relocation, and will pursue every option available to keep it from being built in the west side of Salt Lake City.
We are moving toward a diverse transportation system inclusive of pedestrians, bicycles, automobiles, buses and trains. The City has benefited from many regional transit infrastructure improvements, which succeeded with improving transit ridership to major employment centers Downtown and at the University of Utah. Many of our neighborhoods, however, have seen reductions in service, connectivity, and convenience over the same period. We can reverse this trend to not only make transit a viable local option, but also better connect our residents and businesses across the region as well. As Mayor, I will:
● The Salt Lake City Council recently initiated a process to create a Transit Master Plan. With public input, I will prioritize completion and implementation of this plan, to create a better system for meeting our local transit needs and improving strategies for accessing our neighborhoods and community business districts.
● Coordinate the efforts of multiple transit agencies in Salt Lake City—UTA, school district, and University of Utah—to maximize the capabilities and interconnectedness of these systems
● Restore and expand bus service to under-served areas
● Improve convenience of public transit through expanded routes, reduced transfers and point-to-point connections in the city, increased frequency, and extended hours of service in key employment and hospitality centers
● Expand amenities for transit riders, including bike lockers, bus stop shelters, lighting, and benches
● Explore a city-wide circulator bus system that better serves intra-city transit needs
● Expand affordable transit passes for our small business community; businesses with less than 35 employees make up over two-thirds of our city workforce, but these businesses do not have an available option—the UTA EcoPass is restricted to businesses with 35 or more employees, and the Hive Pass is restricted to city residents, making affordable transit out of reach.
Salt Lake City is a young western city and fully acknowledges that our society is aging. Already those 65 years and older comprise 13.3 percent of our city’s population, with this number expected to double in the near future.
We will create policies, procedures and services for those 65 years and older to encourage their greatest participation in our community’s life. Everything that Salt Lake City government does will be inclusive of the needs of our aging population in our neighborhoods and business sectors. Housing, transportation, education, health and lifestyle options will be enhanced in Salt Lake City through an inclusive approach to planning and implementation for and with seniors. We will base our outreach and inclusion of seniors in fact-based and credible “aging-in-place” authorities including the US Administration on Aging and the United Nations Age-Friendly World initiative.
WEST SIDE DEVELOPMENT
We are a divided city. The economic growth and educational opportunities on the west side of the city are not equal to those in the rest of the city. The current mayor has promised to help the west side but has done little.
I am committed to unifying our city and devoting city resources to growing the economy and improving educational opportunities in all neighborhoods. It's time for equality between the east and west sides of our city. As Mayor I will work for ALL people of every background and neighborhood.
- No homeless shelter or prison moved to the west side
- Expand open space and make Glendale and Rose Park golf courses financially sustainable and water-wise
- Work with west side residents to create development strategies for our neighborhoods
- Build public/private partnerships for quality and affordable Pre-K education for every child
- Restore funding for after-school arts education
Economic Development and Job Growth
- No sales tax increase
- Economic growth that builds on cultural, ethnic diversity and history of west side
- Deliver redevelopment agency resources
- Increase bus services and improve bus stops
- Add a park n' ride to the North Temple TRAX line
- Repair roads and add street lights
- Expand bike share program west of I-15