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.