Jennifer Johnson: My Endorsement for District Three City Council Race

District Three – that would be my neighborhood – covers Capitol Hill, the Avenues and Federal Heights. Eric Jergensen surprised a lot of folks when he dropped out, throwing the race suddenly wide open – in fact Jergensen had Mayor Becker’s support before dropping out. I still have their fund and support raising letter somewhere around the house.

Before getting down to cases, I have done some research, I have a couple observations.

Stan Penfold – who has Ralph Becker’s support – is literally rerunning Becker’s campaign from two years ago, lots of door knocking and mailers; Penfold is mimicking Becker’s strategy – even down to the design of his website. With good reason – it’s a successful model.

By contrast, Lisa Allcott is running a high level campaign. She is running a campaign much like the one that did in Jenny Wilson two years ago.

Yossof Sharifi seems to be using the similar tactics – yard signs in strategic spots.

That leaves – of the candidates with websites – Jennifer Johnson. Phil Carroll and Edward Aho are both running as well but I haven’t found websites for them.

Penfold and Allcott are orthodox Democratic pols; their positions are largely indistinguishable from each other. Both are safe candidates for Avenues voters. In the interest of full disclosure, Stan Penfold is a sentimental favorite for me – his years of work in Utah’s progressive community and at the AIDS foundation demonstrate to me a long-term vision and willingness to dedicate himself to meaningful work and causes. Lisa Allcott strikes me as a well-meaning opportunist (not that that’s a bad thing).

Sharifi is an interesting, dark-horse candidate – he describes himself as a “new kind of conservative.” His positions seem to me non-crazy Republican. I suspect he’s hoping for a replay of ’07 – in which a group of democratic candidates divide the vote sufficiently to get him past the primary and into the general.

So, about Jennifer Johnson – JJJ. I like her approach – funky, slightly off-center- her site, her campaign both reveal a personality that is intelligent, shrewd, and quirky. Rather than staking out positions on issues she set up some tent poles – Green City, Smart City, Hip City, Safe City – and is working on those things. She’s not the traditional pol and I like that (while at the same time possessing immense admiration for Ralph Becker who is a very traditional pol). JJJ talks about why she believes what she believes – I like that in a candidate. She isn’t following the usual campaign script. I have some reservations about JJJ – America’s great urban centers have long taken the lead on important social issues yet her campaign seems silent on those issues. OTOH, her site demonstrates a shrewd, technocratic insight into green issues, technology and city life.

So for what it is worth, there you have my endorsement for Salt Lake City Council District Three.

  1. #1 by Mike Fife on September 3, 2009 - 6:54 am

    I would not characterize Lisa Allcott’s campaign as “high level”. She is out there every day walking the district which she has already covered once, and will have walked twice by the Primary, so she is out there getting it done. She’s also running a focused campaign much like we saw with Ralph’s campaign. In addition, I like that fact that she was willing to take on Eric (who did a good job) when she thought he was running which shows desire and chutzpah. And, as you mentioned, she is a firm progressive and mirrors my positions on the issues much better than Eric ever could have. So that’s why I’m supporting Lisa and I encourage you and your readers to give her a look as well!

    • #2 by Glenden Brown on September 3, 2009 - 8:04 am

      Hey Mike,

      My take on Lisa’s campaign was based on what I’ve seen – I’ve been contacted at my house by Jennifer Johnson (personally) and Stan Penfold (I wasn’t home so I got a flyer with a note on it). By contrast, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of any other candidates.

      I agree with you that Lisa’s far more progressive than Eric Jergensen and a much better fit for the district than he has been (though he has not been a bad council member).

  2. #3 by Heather on September 9, 2009 - 10:58 am

    Mike,

    I enjoyed your perspective on those who are running for District 3. As for Mike I would like to encourage you to vote for someone else. I attended the debate the other night where Lisa was present and was quite turned off by her. From my perspective she has no business running for City Council! Lisa should, however, be running in a partisan race such as State Rep. where she could pull her party through. From what I observed she has no intentions of helping anyone but Democrats.

    As for my two sense, I have met each of the contenders and my order from first to last for the City Coucil post would be….

    Stan- An advocate for everyone and a long time district three advocate

    Phil- Has served in the area and knows the area

    Yossof- Although a Republican he could be trusted to make quality decisions

    Jennifer- In the PR field I hear she wont stop until she gets her way. Could be considered a good or bad thing. Personally she pushed me too far when trying to place a sign in my yard.

    Lisa- Too political. Only experience has been through campaigning. An advocate for democrats not for the neighborhood. A plus is she works hard, but so do the others!

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