This is an archived article that was published on in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Full text of Mayor Ross C. Rocky Anderson's State of the City Speech Delivered to the City Council and the People of Salt Lake City January 11, 2005

Great wisdom - and a reminder of our tremendous, sacred responsibility - is reflected in the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy, which declares: In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.

Over the last five years in Salt Lake City, enormous progress has been made in creating a city that is livable and sustainable. Sustainability - economically, environmentally, and as it relates to the public health and quality of life - is achieved only when those who propose, advocate for, make, and implement public policy keep in focus the best interests of residents and visitors - now and far into the future.

A livable, sustainable city is one in which leaders and citizens hold as fundamentally important the provision of clean air and water, the protection and conservation of natural resources, and the enhancement of human capital. Leaders and citizens of a livable, sustainable city recognize and value the worth of every human being, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, religion, level of ability or disability, economic status, age, geographic location, and sexual orientation. A livable and sustainable city is a just and safe community, with a government that is accountable and accessible to all the people it serves. And, leaders and citizens of a sustainable city conscientiously take into account the impact of their decisions on future generations.

Our governance is only as good as our impact on those who come after us.

Salt Lake City, along with cities across our nation and throughout the world, stands at the brink of environmental catastrophe from global warming. I say this without hyperbole. And I say this consistently with the great weight of scientific evidence and opinion. As elected officials, we have the immense responsibility to inform ourselves of the facts and take effective action now to avoid this catastrophe in the future.

The terrifying signs of global warming include the melting of the polar ice caps, the increase in the intensity of hurricanes, such as those we witnessed last year in Florida, as well as recent heat waves and droughts. Over the last century, the temperature around the world increased an average of 1° Fahrenheit. The 1990s were the hottest decade on record. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects a 3-10° Fahrenheit increase by the end of this century.

If the prospect of future vast floods, droughts, wars over limited resources, mass starvation, and stifling temperatures are not enough to grab the attention of governmental, business, religious, and civic leaders, perhaps a specific local impact will be enough to shake some people from their complacency. Before long, global warming may spell the end of much of the ski industry. According to a recent CBS report, downhill skiing could disappear altogether at some resorts, while at others a retreating snow line will cut off base villages from their ski runs as soon as 2030 - in 25 years.

The vast majority of scientists agree that the damage being inflicted on human populations and eco-systems due to global warming will continue to dramatically increase unless we take effective action now to stop it. If we don t, as soon as fifty years from now, our planet may be irreversibly damaged. All of us have a responsibility as members of the human family to take measures to reverse the trend toward disastrous global climate change. Every step we take to conserve energy and to use clean, renewable energy sources is a step toward a sustainable city and planet.

One hundred thirty-two nations have signed on to the Kyoto Protocol, which becomes effective on February 16. In stark contrast, there is, and for four years there has been, a complete lack of national leadership in the United States regarding global warming. In the face of the failure of national leadership in the United States on this issue, local and state governments throughout our nation have an especially important role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to reverse the dangerous trend toward global warming.

In recognition of our responsibility to take action to protect the future, our Administration committed in early 2002 to abide by the greenhouse gas reduction goals of the Kyoto Protocol in our city operations, which means reducing greenhouse gas emissions 21% from 2000 levels by 2012. We have implemented effective measures, including the use of low-energy lighting in the City & County Building and in traffic lights, the substantial purchase of wind power from Utah Power, the conversion of part of our fleet to alternative fuel vehicles and the downsizing of our fleet wherever possible, an 87% increase in recycled materials, the recovery of methane (which has 21 times the greenhouse effect as carbon dioxide) from our landfill, and the production of much of the electricity used at our wastewater treatment facility by fueling a co-generation plant with recovered methane. By taking these steps, some of which have saved taxpayers many thousands of dollars, we have already achieved 81% of our Kyoto goal - and are striving to reach that 2012 goal during the coming year - seven years early. We will work to achieve these same kinds of results city-wide and will continue to work with leaders from other municipalities, as I have during the United Nations conferences on global warming in New Delhi and Buenos Aires, to encourage the replication of Salt Lake City s ground-breaking greenhouse gas reduction programs.

In Salt Lake City our commitment to a livable and sustainable city comes with the understanding that we are a part of the larger global and regional community and that actions we take to improve the quality of our environment have significance beyond the borders of our city. Our commitment to a livable and sustainable city requires that we ask important questions with regard to sustainability whenever we consider new projects - and when we determine whether to accept the status quo or seek changes that promote greater sustainability.

For example, several years ago we were asked to approve the Grand Salt Lake Mall, a 1.2 million square foot mega-mall off Interstate 80 west of the Airport. The nearest residential community was 40 blocks away and the only way to get to this sprawl mall was by car. In spite of pleas to approve it due to the potential for short-term increased sales tax revenues, it became clear that the project would not contribute to the sustainability of our community - and in fact would undermine it - because it was an automobile-dependent project, which would further deteriorate our air quality; because the national chain stores slated to operate in the mall would siphon a tremendous amount of business away from our existing local retailers; and because those national businesses do not re-generate their revenues in our local economy like the local businesses they would have undermined. The sprawl mall was the epitome of the sprawl- and pollution-inducing development that has undermined public health, the environment, and the quality of life in many communities across the United States.

We now know there is a far better, healthier, more sustainable way. Cities are recognizing the importance of attractive, unique, identifiable downtowns, of transit-oriented development, of neighborhood retailers, and mixed use development that brings together housing, retail, restaurants, entertainment, open spaces, and public and private gathering places.

Our investment choices as a city reflect our commitment to sustainability. Quick-fix, big-box development solutions often seem powerfully attractive to communities looking for more money in the form of sales tax revenue, but, in the long-run, the diminished air and water quality, the destruction of open spaces, the soullessness of look-alike chains that often undermine, and sometimes even destroy, locally-owned businesses, and the dependence upon the automobile that is reinforced by the outmoded model of development are destructive to our communities and to their future.

While some nearby communities are attempting to use public moneys to attract Wal-Marts, and as one city is even threatening to condemn several homes and local businesses to clear the way for another Wal-Mart, we can honor and sustain our long-term loyal local businesses and continue to build the kind of community where people want to live and visit. We will do all we can to support the interests of our local businesses, working people, and taxpayers, now and into the future, rather than spend public money on Wal-Marts. We must all understand the damage the Wal-Marts of our nation have done to local communities and their locally-owned businesses - and the ways in which taxpayers often end up subsidizing their low wages and lack of decent benefits, including health care coverage.

A recent California study found that Wal-Mart workers in California are paid 31% less than workers employed in large retail as a whole and 23% fewer Wal-Mart workers are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance than in large retail as a whole. At these low wages, many Wal-Mart workers rely on government safety-net programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing. Reliance by Wal-Mart employees on government assistance programs costs California taxpayers an estimated $86 million annually. It is all a lose-lose proposition. Workers are not paid living wages and many are provided poor health care benefits. The interests of responsible local businesses that pay fair wages and provide decent benefits are undermined to the point that many of those local businesses are destroyed. And taxpayers subsidize the low wages, constituting another type of corporate welfare. Wal-Mart s exploitation of this unique kind of taxpayer supported welfare makes it nearly impossible for local employers who pay fair wages, provide health care benefits, and contribute to the local community to compete. These are all elements of unsustainability, which we, as public servants, should reject. Action by local governments can be very effective. For instance, a planned Wal-Mart in Chicago cancelled its opening after an ordinance was passed that would have required the retailer to pay workers a living wage. Salt Lake City workers and taxpayers are entitled to the same protections.

The economic health of our community is directly linked to how livable and environmentally sustainable our community is. No one wants to locate a new business in a community with air unfit to breathe. Business leaders and their employees want to live and work in communities that are healthy and safe, which recognize the importance of protecting air and water, which welcome diversity, and which nurture art, culture and creativity. A community that maintains a healthy, creative environment, hospitable to all sorts of people, is also more likely to be an economically healthy community.

Salt Lake City is committed to providing support to small businesses in our community and to increasing their economic and environmental sustainability. To this end, we launched the e2 Business program. We work with local businesses, showing them how they can become both more environmentally and economically sustainable. For instance, we provide assistance in saving money and conserving electricity through the use of high-performance lighting, heating, and air conditioning. Conservation of electricity is vitally important in a region where almost all of our electricity is produced at coal burning plants that contribute enormously to air pollution and global warming. In the e2 program, we also provide information and research on recycling, cleaner transportation choices, water use, and waste disposal. So far, 13 Salt Lake City businesses participate in the e2 Business program. The success of that program, as well as our other innovative, effective environmental initiatives, has been due to the tenacity, creativity, and dedication of our amazing environmental professionals, Lisa Romney, Stephanie Duer and Vickie Bennett.

Over the last year we made 42 loans to small businesses in our city, totaling 2.6 million dollars. In addition, we created the position of Small Business Ombudsman, which was filled by Ed Butterfield, who has done an outstanding job assisting over 100 business owners in a variety of ways, including helping them to navigate city permitting processes, translating English into Spanish and vice versa, and connecting small businesses to resources. We have also contributed financial and other support to the Vest Pocket Business Coalition s Local First Campaign.

The reorganization of our economic development efforts, under the creative and highly-capable direction of Alison McFarlane, has honed our focus on downtown development, as well as business retention and recruitment throughout the city. Last year, 20 new businesses moved into our Downtown, several of which were attracted by tools and resources offered by the City. Particularly effective has been the RDA grant program for locally owned businesses on Main Street.

Over the next year, our Downtown will be humming with new major construction projects. Along with more construction cranes in our skyline comes more good jobs, more economic development, more attractiveness for more businesses, and more people moving into or near our Downtown. Currently, more than 850 housing units are in the planning or construction phase within the Central Business District and Central City boundaries. Hamilton Partners will build a 22-story office tower on Main Street with a 1,000 stall parking garage. The Salt Palace is slated to expand to 175,000 square feet of exhibit space and 55,000 square feet of meeting space by the summer of 2006. In addition, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is planning a 20 acre mixed-use renovation of the ZCMI and Crossroads Malls, which will include retail, housing, office space, and underground parking. My hope is that there is less mall and more authentic downtown, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly streetscape. We should all keep in mind that much of our historic Downtown was virtually destroyed when the two malls were built across from one another on the north end of Main Street, felling numerous local Downtown businesses to the south like dominoes.

Among other exciting changes for Downtown, BYU Salt Lake City and the LDS Business College are moving to the Triad Center, with over 5,000 students and faculty expected to use the facility. We are hopeful that housing near light rail can be created Downtown for students, who will bring tremendous energy and vitality to the area.

While this development activity is welcomed, it also brings with it a need to work closely with the developers to insure minimal disruption of existing downtown businesses.

Additional projects which we would like to see commence in the Downtown area over the next few years include the renovation of the Utah Theater, as well as development of a Major League Soccer stadium complex. Renovation of the magnificent, historic Utah Theater will bring with it further exciting development of our Downtown entertainment district. If located Downtown, the soccer stadium will be a mixed-use project, including retail, entertainment, and restaurants, with nearby new housing and parking.

A component of building a sustainable community is understanding the role of technological advances. The power of internet and computer technology, in general, has changed the array of possibilities available to us in terms of how and where we work and communicate with each other. Currently we are working with the innovative local internet provider, Xmission, to provide wireless internet access to much of the Downtown area.

Clearly, positive, exciting change is taking place in many parts of our city. City-wide over the last year we issued nearly 15,000 building permits, representing approximately 282 million dollars worth of new construction, an almost 40% increase over 2003.

Sustaining what we have

An essential component of sustaining our city is our need to take care of the infrastructure that already exists. Over the years, political leaders have been attracted, and frequently have succumbed, to the allure of big new development projects, without thinking through how these projects divert resources from existing infrastructure and, through the process of construction, further deplete natural resources. In Salt Lake City we are balancing new development with the need to take care of what already exists.

For example, through our housing rehabilitation program, the outstanding staff in Housing and Neighborhood Development, led so ably by LuAnn Clark, completed the renovation of 155 homes throughout the city, improving their energy efficiency and water conservation, as well as the neighborhoods in which they are located.

We continue to make improvements to our parks so they are attractive to city residents of all ages. Last year we completed the reconstruction of the North Shelter and Tennis House at Liberty Park, and opened a new skate park at Fairmont Park. The Jordan River Parkway is a fabulous resource in Salt Lake City and throughout this region. We will work to complete improvements to the Jordan River Parkway, which offers tremendous potential for recreation, learning and exploration.

We enjoy our spectacular parks in large part because of the wisdom and foresight of those who came before us. In like spirit, we can transform Pioneer Park from the vastly underutilized park it is now - a place that is welcoming and an attraction to the public only a relatively few hours each year - to a major destination urban park, with a variety of amenities that, like Liberty Park, will be enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Parks provide an important element of sustainability for communities. A renovated Pioneer Park, with a large outdoor ice rink; off-leash dog park; an exciting playground area; a stage for concerts, plays, and other performances; a history garden; a cafe; and more will be a major community-building gathering place, day and night, twelve months a year. I urge the Council: With the significant investment we have made in planning the renovation of Pioneer Park, with the recent appropriation by Congress of half a million dollars in federal funds for the renovation, and with the tremendous public process that has reflected great support by the people of our City for this renovation, let us move forward with the conversion of Pioneer Park without further delay and make it the exciting, well-used, safe, hospitable place it has the potential to be, for our entire community, now and far into the future.

With the collaboration between the City Council and the Administration, we now have an Open Space Ordinance to help us protect more open spaces within our city and our watershed. The ordinance and the $5 million dollar bond approved by Salt Lake City voters for the preservation of open space, are vital tools we will use to preserve these significant resources.

Currently, we are doing everything we can to preserve 80 acres of open space within Salt Lake City and owned by North Salt Lake. Our hope is that leadership can be found in North Salt Lake that understands that the value of open space is far greater than the monetary price that can be obtained from developers. Money paid for the destruction of open spaces will mean nothing to later generations, yet the perpetual preservation of open space will be valued more and more over the years.

Preserving what we have also means taking care of our air and water. Air quality in our region is notoriously bad. The recently declared red air day warnings are ample evidence of the problem, which is caused primarily by emissions from motor vehicles. In order to improve our air quality, we will continue to right-size our city fleet and convert it to alternative fuel vehicles. Over the past five years, we have eliminated 36 SUVs from the City fleet, six in the last year. Also in the last year, we purchased three hybrid electric/gas vehicles. Presently, we have 89 natural gas vehicles in the city s fleet, including 75 at the Airport. As fleet vehicles need to be replaced, we will continue to replace them with hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles until these energy-efficient vehicles make up our entire fleet.

Those who are advocating a new highway, such as the so-called Legacy Parkway, have a responsibility to determine how we will improve, rather than further undermine, air quality, and the health and quality of life throughout this region. Instead of simply resigning ourselves to the trend of more vehicle miles traveled per person, we can take a transit-first approach, which will provide more affordable transportation opportunities for everyone, reduce the number of cars on the road, and help clean up our air. Those who complain about congested traffic during their commutes have the personal responsibility to help solve the problems of congestion, poor air quality, the public health problems caused by automobile pollution, and our nation s dependence on foreign oil. Carpooling and the use of cleaner, alternative fuel vehicles, as well as utilizing mass transit whenever possible, should be a prerequisite to anyone even suggesting that taxpayers foot the bill for the many millions of dollars it will cost to build new sprawl-, congestion-, and pollution-inducing highways by laying asphalt over precious, rapidly-diminishing open spaces. Just consider: If every commuter carpooled with just one other person, we would have about half as many cars on the road. For sustainability, a new way of approaching our transportation problems is required - and all of us must assume the responsibility to do our share. Let us learn from the mistakes that have caused health- and life-endangering pollution, traffic congestion, and the loss of most of our open spaces, rather than simply repeating and exacerbating those mistakes.

For those who say, Why does Salt Lake City care about Legacy Highway?, we respond that the negative impacts of this highway, including more air pollution, a greater incidence of respiratory and cardiac diseases and cancers, increased sprawl development, more one-person-per-car traffic, greater traffic congestion in the long run, and the destruction of precious open spaces, will be sustained by the people of Salt Lake City, as well as others throughout this region. The choices of those who have decided to commute long distances, mostly as they drive one-person-per-automobile, and to foul our air, clog our roads, and increase our nation s dependence upon foreign oil, should not be encouraged and further accommodated by asphalting over open spaces and exacerbating those enormous problems these people have already created. We want our friends from the north to come to Salt Lake City; we just don t want them to increase our City s traffic, further foul our air, undermine the quality of our lives, and make us sick simply because of the choices they make about where they live and how they get around.

Taking care of our precious water resources means conserving and protecting the quality of our water. Last year was the first full year of billing under our new three-tiered rate structure designed to encourage water conservation. During 2004, water use was down 16.4 percent from 2000. More and more city residents are choosing drought-tolerant landscaping for their yards and parking strips. Not only is this landscaping attractive, but using drought-tolerant plants in a desert environment epitomizes sustainability. We are also aggressively working to preserve open space in our watershed areas through conservation easements, thus forever protecting the source of our drinking water, while preserving the pristine nature of these beautiful places. As others are destroying our open spaces, and seeking to destroy more - depriving those who come after us of so much of what was preserved for us to enjoy - LeRoy Hooton, Jeff Niermeyer and others in the Department of Public Utilities have systematically, over the course of many years, worked effectively to protect open spaces in our watershed. Their work has been a model of good stewardship, leaving a legacy for which later generations will be grateful.

Another vital aspect of our urban environment is our urban forest. Trees in our city help to clean our air, keep our city cool in the hot months, help to slow traffic, and provide beauty to our City. We maintain 93,300 trees on public property throughout Salt Lake City. In the last year, our City forestry staff, under the zealous leadership of Bill Rutherford, provided maintenance to 7,600 trees and planted 483 new trees.

Sustainable Transportation Options

The options available to people to move through our city are critically important elements of its livability and sustainability. Over the last five years we have focused on making Salt Lake City a city that is comfortable, safe, and welcoming to those who travel on foot, by bicycle, or mass transit.

The importance of walking is widely recognized. Walking is healthy for walkers, and beneficial for the entire community. Pedestrians do not contribute to the pollution of our air, but do contribute to the safety of our streets. As the great urbanist Jane Jacobs pointed out over 40 years ago, eyes on the street, in the form of pedestrians and shop owners, are a major deterrent to criminal activity.

Over the last five years we have worked diligently to improve the safety of pedestrians in Salt Lake City through our Pedestrian Safety Initiatives. Our work has paid off by a 31% reduction in the number of accidents involving pedestrians, as well as adoption by other communities of many of our methods, including the notorious orange pedestrian flags. We have also received national recognition in the Surface Transportation Policy Project s Mean Streets 2004 report, which cited Salt Lake City as the most improved city in the nation for pedestrian safety. Lives have been saved, and many serious injuries have been prevented. This tremendous accomplishment is due, in large part, to the effective, enthusiastic, innovative leadership by Tim Harpst and Dan Bergenthal, along with the committed work and creativity of many throughout Salt Lake City government, including our Pedestrian Safety Committee.

Tonight, we look forward to the Council s vote in support of the walkable communities ordinance, which is designed to bring the entrances of businesses up to the sidewalk, to enliven the streetscapes, encourage pedestrian access, and make our streets safer. This has been a four-year effort, with excellent leadership by two foresighted visionary City Planners, Stephen Goldsmith and Louis Zunguze, and a staff that has worked long and hard to develop a walkable communities ordinance that will promote a far better designed urban landscape. I appreciate the collaboration of representatives of the business and development community, who worked closely with us to resolve the objections raised initially to this ordinance. In the end, we have reached a consensus that our goal to live in a city with safe, interesting streets, full of people walking, requires that we make the pedestrian experience pleasant and safe.

Another component of our work to encourage pedestrian activity is our SLC Gets Fit Together project. Currently 640 city employees are participating in a 13-week pilot program, during which we wear pedometers and count the number of the steps we take daily, with a goal of 10,000 steps per day. In May we will take this program city-wide, challenging local businesses, schools, civic organizations, and others to organize teams to compete for the most steps walked in Salt Lake City.

Biking is also a sustainable form of transportation. The Bicycle Master Plan adopted last year is an important tool in our effort to promote bicycling. In the past five years, the number of bike lanes in Salt Lake City has increased by 40% - from 36.5 to 51 miles. In the coming year we will explore ways to test bike lanes separated from the roadway in some neighborhoods, and implement other aspects of the master plan.

We recognize the importance of connectivity between sustainable transportation options. In February or March, the first phase of our Intermodal Hub will open, with Greyhound and UTA buses and bike facilities located there. The next phase, expected to be completed by the end of 2007, will add commuter rail, light rail, and Amtrak to the mix. In addition to promoting sustainable forms of transportation, the Intermodal Hub is being built to meet design standards of LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. This means the building is designed with sustainability in mind, including water and energy efficiency, the conservation of materials and resources in construction, a high level of indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design.

This year we will bring to the Council a proposed ordinance requiring that all buildings built with city funds meet high-performance standards developed by a broad-based local committee. When Salt Lake City is the project developer or assists in the financing of developments, we have a great opportunity to provide leadership in demonstrating how to build sustainable, high-performance, environmentally sensitive buildings.

The need for a variety of transit options can also be factored into every decision we make to support new development. For example, we will be asking for your support this year to develop a master plan for the Northwest Quadrant of our city. To promote sustainability, that plan will require that the North West community be connected to the rest of Salt Lake City by mass transit. We will have a tremendous opportunity, by looking ahead many years, to learn lessons from the past and provide for effective, efficient mass transit opportunities that are far cleaner and healthier than focusing solely on the automobile for transportation needs.

The livability, sustainability, and economic health of our city is significantly enhanced by our well-run, efficient Airport. Ranking seventh in the world for customer satisfaction in a recent JD Powers customer service survey, the Salt Lake City International Airport is an institution of which we can all be proud. That remarkable world-class ranking was achieved through the dedicated, highly-competent work of many who work under the extraordinary leadership of our Airport Director, Tim Campbell. Last year Delta Airlines announced it would maintain, and expand, its hub operation in Salt Lake City. Our Airport is now stronger, more sustainable, than ever before.

Another major effort that relates to transportation, the environment, open spaces, and quality of life is the outstanding, diligent work of D.J. Baxter and Len Simon to secure the funds to re-configure Union Pacific s railroad line at Grant Tower. Accomplishing this will result in Union Pacific taking its trains off the 900 South line and allow us to move forward with plans for day-lighting City Creek, thus creating another remarkable west side urban water amenity.

Civic Participation

We encourage all community members, including City Council members, to participate in civic dialogue with regard to important issues, as well as community celebrations. Over the last year, due largely to the creativity and enthusiasm of Deeda Seed and many diverse members of our community, we have dramatically increased the number of opportunities for people to participate in these community- building activities. Examples include Salt Lake City Reads Together, our city-wide book club, the Freedom Forums that bring people together to talk about significant community issues, and our Bridging the Religious Divide project, designed to help people with different beliefs become better acquainted with each other and promote greater unity through the valuing of our differences. The dialogue stimulated during these events is often poignant and transformative, building upon the foundation to bring us closer together as a community.

Through our community forums we are also re-invigorating Channel 17, which broadcasts tapes of many of these events.

Sustainable communities celebrate diversity and creativity through art and culture. This year we will celebrate the 20th year of the Living Traditions Festival, which showcases the art, culture and musical traditions of diverse populations living in our city. Successful events like this require hard work by a lot of people. I thank Nancy Boskoff and Casey Jarman, and the rest of the staff and board, for their consistently terrific work with the Living Traditions Festival, the Twilight Concert Series at Gallivan Center, and the other good work of the Salt Lake City Arts Council.

In July, we will celebrate the fifth year of the Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival. This spectacular free destination festival attracts thousands of Utahns, as well as visitors from throughout the county to our downtown for a celebration of some of the best jazz in the world. I m grateful for the amazing work done year after year by Jerry Floor and everyone who works with Jazz Arts of the Mountainwest, who have helped place Salt Lake City on the map as host of one of the world s best jazz festivals. This year, we are excited to kick off the jazz festival with a performance by the Utah Symphony Orchestra, featuring an astounding composition by Dave Brubeck, with Dave Brubeck s sons joining in the performance. Other artists during the festival will include the legendary Freddie Hubbard, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Spryo Gyra, three of the world s greatest jazz musicians - clarinetist Eddie Daniels, trumpet player Chuck Findley, and trombonist Ira Nepus - who have become family with the Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival, Manhattan Transfer, and, in my view, the best rhythm and blues band of all time, Cold Blood.

Events like these build common spirit among people with all sorts of differences as they come together to enjoy great music, laugh together, and gain a greater sense of the strength so many different people bring to our community.

Sustainable communities also nurture young people. A sustainable community recognizes that young people inherit the legacy of those who came before them, and that they should have the tools and resources to carry on, including opportunities for learning and productive engagement in their community. After five years of hard work by many dedicated people, under the fervent, devoted, courageous leadership of Janet Wolf, Salt Lake City offers state of the art after-school, summer and youth employment programs.

Our YouthCity program is now operating at capacity in Fairmont and Liberty Parks in a first of its kind collaboration with Salt Lake County, the Boys & Girls Club, Tracy Aviary, the Folk Arts Museum, Utah Tennis, and the Salt Lake City School District. The YouthCity programs in the parks are designed to maximize the resources within the parks, as well as invigorating them with the presence of so many young people. YouthCity also provides programming for young people at the Central City Community Center, and soon, thanks to a generous contribution from the Salt Lake Rotary Club, will be providing YouthCity programming at the newly renovated Ottinger Hall.

Thanks to the vision and commitment of James Sorenson, its primary benefactor, and to Rosanita Cespedes, who has brought such joyful, professional, and devoted leadership as Director, the Sorenson Multi-Cultural Center continues to provide high-quality recreation, arts, and learning programs for young people, including a nationally recognized computer literacy program at the Intel Computer Club House. Those programs, and the Sorenson Center, are bursting at the seams because of their tremendous success and the highly favorable response of so many people throughout the area.

Also in the realm of community building, we have made good progress toward ground breaking for the Unity Center at the Sorenson Multi-Ethnic Campus. The Unity Center, and other additions to the Sorenson Multi-Ethnic Campus, will provide a unique combination of services and programs at one location, made possible because of yet another tremendously generous contribution from James Sorenson, as well as the dedicated work of the Alliance for Unity, which raised four million dollars for the project. The types of services and programs to be offered at the Unity Center and the other additions to the Sorensen Multi-Ethnic Campus were determined after a comprehensive series of meetings where community members were asked to identify what they saw as the community s priorities and needs. As a result of this input, we are likely see an incredible synergy between the existing programs at the Sorenson Multi-Ethnic Center and a high quality fitness center, facilities for adult education and performing arts, preschool programs, an English-as-a-second-language program, donated dental services, business and legal consulting, applied technology education, and other services and programs for the community. We have forged very promising partnerships with Salt Lake County, Salt Lake Community College, The Utah College of Applied Technology, the University of Utah, several arts organizations, Donated Dental, and the Guadalupe School. Rick Graham, Kay Christensen, Janet Wolf, and many others have moved this project forward, deftly handling a number of complex challenges.

A just and safe community

A sustainable community is also one that is just and safe. The investment that we have made as a city in the establishment of our Salt Lake City Justice Court is paying off, both in terms of more efficient adjudication of misdemeanors, as well as in our ability to apply the principles of restorative justice to the prosecution of offenders. Restorative justice is an approach to responding to wrongdoing that seeks to restore - to make things better - for the offender, for victims, and for the community, including taxpayers. Restorative justice focuses on transforming wrongdoing by healing the harmful behavior that caused it and by allowing offenders to make reparations directly to the community and any victims they may have harmed. Last year we added a pilot DUI Court Project to our remarkable array of restorative justice programs. In the DUI Court Project, the focus is on both accountability and treatment for the defendants by providing intensive treatment, supervision, and interaction with a community review board.

Our Police and Fire Departments continue to provide the citizens of Salt Lake City with high quality professional service. In Salt Lake City during 2004, Part I crimes were down by approximately 2.1%. The Police Department continues to improve efficiency through the use of technology and is also using advanced technology to solve cold cases. The Fire Department maintains its high standard of excellence, with its average response time being 4 minutes and 19 seconds, much faster than the national average of five minutes. On behalf of all the residents of Salt Lake City, I express gratitude to our outstanding firefighters and police officers for all they do to make our city safe and secure - and thank Chief Chuck Querry of the Salt Lake City Fire Department and Chief Rick Dinse of the Salt Lake City Police Department for their steady and outstanding leadership, often under very trying circumstances.

A sustainable city is governed by people who are fully accountable and accessible to the people they represent. In Salt Lake City, we recognize the tremendous importance of accountability and accessibility to the citizens we serve. All of us in city government, elected officials and other employees, are not in a privileged position - except that we are privileged to serve. We are in positions of immense public trust, with the responsibility to do what is best, in the short-term and the long-term, for our City and its people, now and in the future. For egos, for politics, for self-interest, for vendettas to get in the way of doing the right thing for our City is a betrayal of that tremendous responsibility. We must - all of us - do what we can to make this a safe, healthy, enjoyable place to live and to visit. Those elected officials, whether on a state, county or local level, who pursue the destruction, rather than the preservation, of open spaces betray the responsibility they have as stewards for the future. Those elected officials who pander to those who would divide us on the basis of differences in sexual orientation or religious affiliation betray the trust imposed on us to lead toward a fairer, more compassionate and just society. And those who, through their public policy decisions, support and accommodate greater dependence on the automobile are directly accountable for our poor air quality, the resulting cardiac and respiratory illnesses, the cancers, the worsening physical fitness, the social isolation, and the deterioration in the quality of life that accompanies the increase in miles traveled in single-occupant automobiles.

Accountability in Salt Lake City government reached a new high during 2004, which marked the first year of operation for the Police Civilian Review Board. Citizens of this city can now be assured that an independent panel, staffed by an independent investigator, is thoroughly examining all complaints of excessive use of force by police officers and certain other complaints with regard to police conduct.

Another way in which we are accountable and accessible to the residents of our city is through a wide variety of community meetings we host. These meetings give those of us from the administration in attendance extra insight into the issues impacting neighborhoods throughout Salt Lake City.

The problem we hear about most often in our public meetings is speeding by motorists through neighborhoods and the frequency of red-light running. In order to address this significant public safety issue, we are asking the Legislature to repeal the prohibition on the ability of local government to implement photo and radar enforcement and deterrence as an effective, sorely-needed tool to enhance traffic safety. Our proposal addresses the legitimate concerns expressed in the past by legislators and provides a reasonable balancing of fairness, due process, and public safety enhancement.

In order to help everyone in our city understand the way city government works, and learn about available resources, last year we published the Good Neighbor Guide, which is also available on our web site. The Good Neighbor Guide provides information, in Spanish and English, about city ordinances, services, and community resources. The Guide has been tremendously popular. We are grateful for the assistance of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, which sponsored the Guide, and which in many ways demonstrates the commitment of its members to community-building.

In Salt Lake City we are maximizing the power of the internet as a means of communicating with citizens, business people and visitors. Through our award-winning web site, we provide comprehensive, easy-to-access information about every aspect of city life. Over the last year we have expanded the availability of on-line city services. We will continue to explore creative ways to use our web page to strengthen our community.

The Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency s role in creating a sustainable city

Redevelopment Agencies provide useful, and sometimes vital, tools to the communities in which they work. In parts of Utah, we have witnessed examples of RDAs using those tools to assist projects that do not contribute to the livability or sustainability of a community. Fortunately, in almost all instances, Salt Lake City s Redevelopment Agency does not fall in this category. Instead, our RDA has been instrumental - even crucial - in increasing the livability and sustainability of Salt Lake City. Examples include the RDA s role in developing light rail, support for pedestrian-friendly and transit-oriented development, support for small locally-owned businesses, support for innovative housing developments, and a myriad of Central Business District developments, not the least of which is the Gallivan Center. In the coming year we will be working with the RDA on many projects important to the economic and environmental health of our city. We appreciate the hard work and cooperation of the taxing entities that worked with us toward a win-win approach to extending the Central Business RDA district. I also appreciate the great work of David Oka and Valda Tarbet in achieving the extension of that RDA district, which will vastly benefit the future of Salt Lake City and the entire state.


Salt Lake City is a highly livable and sustainable community. The support of sustainability principles by many in the community has been crucial in our work to create an environmentally and economically healthy city that takes care of what it has; provides sustainable transportation options; encourages and nurtures citizen participation; provides for greater health and safety, now and in the future; and is welcoming and just to everyone.

In Salt Lake City, we have the commitment and the resources to implement policies and programs that promote sustainability, and we have the opportunity to demonstrate to other communities, locally, nationally and around the world, how to do so.

The good work happening in Salt Lake City is not going without notice. In addition to the recognitions already mentioned, this year we have been the recipients of a Green Power Leadership Award from the EPA; an award from the Association for Commuter Transportation Leadership for our work to encourage and develop alternatives to automobile commuting; an Envision Utah Quality Growth Award for water conservation and watershed protection planning; the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies 2004 Platinum Award for Sustained Competitive Achievement; and a Pollution Prevention Award from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality for our fleet facility implementation of environmentally friendly fleet management procedures.

We appreciate the good work of those members of the City Council and our city employees who have contributed enormously to the progress Salt Lake City has made toward greater livability and sustainability.

Working together, we can achieve sustainability in a way that comports with the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy, making life better in Salt Lake City now and for many generations into the future.