West Valley City councilman to run for mayor
Don Christensen • Retired educator, 68. says government accountability is his priority.
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West Valley City Councilman Don Christensen announced Tuesday that he is running for mayor of the state's second-largest city and said he wants to improve accountability in government, including in the police department.

Christensen, 68, who is completing his first four-year term as an at-large member of the West Valley City Council, said his other priorities are continued business recruitment and the creation of volunteer opportunities for residents to help foster clean and safe neighborhoods.

"Every day is our chance to make the city a little better," he said.

As mayor, Christensen said, he would have the city manager report regularly to the City Council about problems so its members could be more accountable to the public. In addition, he supports putting a council member on the citizen review board as a nonvoting liaison who would report back to fellow elected officials, he said.

The West Valley City Police Department has been the center of controversy because of allegations of mishandled evidence in scores of narcotics cases and the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Danielle Willard during a drug bust.

The decision by Mayor Mike Winder not to run for a second term spurred his decision, Christensen said. Winder made his announcement last week, citing the need to find a full-time job to support his family.

Christensen, a retired educator and school administrator, is a 1963 graduate of Granger High School and has been involved in numerous civic and community activities.

He is the second candidate to throw his hat in the ring. Margaret Peterson, 66, who served as an at-large City Council member for 17 years before choosing not to seek a sixth term in 2007, also has announced her candidacy.

"The issues facing our city require that we continue pushing forward," Christensen said on KSL's Doug Wright Show, where he announced his candidacy.

He added that he is "completely up to speed on what it will take to meet the challenges we face today in West Valley City."

pmanson@sltrib.com

Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC