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Yocom sees stable transition for Miller into DA's office
Gill says he's glad he didn't run a negative campaign, although the media gave him a shot
By Heather May
The Salt Lake Tribune
Published November 9, 2006 3:47 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
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Republican Lohra Miller is celebrating her victory in the Salt Lake County district attorney's race in Disneyland.

And defeated Democratic challenger Sim Gill doesn't plan to take a vacation from politics.

According to unofficial returns, Miller edged Gill 50 percent to 46 percent. She will replace Democrat David Yocom, who decided against seeking a fifth term.

Once she returns from a family vacation, Miller plans to huddle with Yocom, who called the DA-elect on Wednesday to talk transition. She also will meet with Democratic County Mayor Peter Corroon, who also phoned her Wednesday.

While Yocom endorsed Gill, Miller doesn't anticipate any hard feelings.

"He's bigger than that," she said. "He will understand we need to put the safety of our community first."

In fact, Yocom already has invited Miller to a series of meetings, including a budget hearing next week and an attorney round table in St. George, to make the move smoother.

The transition ought to be stable, says Yocom, noting the majority of the DA office consists of merit employees.

"It doesn't matter how many cases you've tried, or whether they're felonies or misdemeanors," he said. "It's management. You're managing people."

So does Yocom have any trade secrets for his successor?

"Don't get crosswise with the County Council," he said, "or the county mayor."

Longtime Deputy District Attorney Gavin Anderson doesn't expect to see much turnover in the office.

"They'll continue to do their jobs after January the first the same as they did before January the first," the 27-year veteran said. "As to the actual functioning, providing of DA services, I wouldn't think it would even miss a step."

That uninterrupted service will continue, Anderson said, despite Miller's lack of experience in prosecuting felonies. Anderson noted he couldn't say the following before the election:

"It's administrative duties. It's managing a large law office. The elected DA doesn't go into court that often. To the extent Lohra will be willing to listen to advice from her experienced prosecutors . . . there shouldn't be any trouble."

As for Gill, he will continue in his appointed post as Salt Lake City prosecutor, hoping to remain there even under a new mayor after Rocky Anderson leaves office next year. And while it's too soon to say whether he will seek the DA post in four years, Gill is positive he will stay involved.

"My future goal really is to continue to be involved and to serve this community, and I'm excited about that. I will explore every possibility."

Despite losing, Gill said he has few regrets. He had vowed against running a "negative" campaign and was glad he didn't go there, although he said the news media gave him opportunities to attack because of allegations that Miller accepted proxy donations.

Gill attributed his loss to some last-minute attack mailers sent by the GOP. One flier linked him to the liberal Salt Lake City mayor, and Gill said that may have turned off some voters.

He allowed that his race may have played a factor, too. Gill is Indian and he recalled how some questioned his ethnicity early on, but they couched it in polite terms of "electability."

"I'm sure there are people in our community for whom race is an issue. I don't think it's indicative of our community."

Still, the upbeat Gill is quick to point out the fun he had campaigning. And he quoted the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. "What does not destroy me only makes me stronger. This was one of the most positive experiences that I've had."

hmay@sltrib.com

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* Tribune reporter DEREK P. JENSEN contributed to this story.



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