Rocky Anderson: The End of an Era….

….but the beginning of more good things to come, I’m sure. 

Various items in the news about Rocky Anderson’s last day(s):

A collection of comments from Salt Lake City’s 33rd mayor

“I started out like a lot of people thinking that Merrill Cook was a nice, sort of bumbling guy (who) wanted to be elected to public office. By the end, I learned that he is truly as unscrupulous a person as I’ve ever known in my life.” — November 1996, a few weeks after losing to Cook in the 2nd Congressional District race.

 · · · · · 

“My approach (to the job of mayor) would be entirely different (from Deedee Corradini). I’m going to stay in this city and do the business of the city.” — Nov. 24, 1998, announcing his intentions to run for mayor.

 · · · · · 

“If I have to, I’ll go paint and clean the restrooms in Liberty Park myself.” — Nov. 3, 1999, the day after being elected mayor, on maintaining Salt Lake City’s infrastructure.

 · · · · · 

“Acting together — diligently, cooperatively and in good faith — we can achieve far greater security, far greater dignity and far greater freedom for ourselves, our families and our fellow citizens.” — Jan. 3, 2000, at his inauguration.

“DARE is clearly not the answer, and we need to face up to it.” — July 11, 2000, announcing that he has pulled the plug on the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

 · · · · · 

“I have no apologies to the Salt Lake City taxpayers for working to find the best people.” — March 2001, responding to questions about the termination of 10 key staffers during his first year in office.

 · · · · · 

“Gays and lesbians have suffered a tremendous amount of prejudices and biases on account of individuals and communities as a whole and too often have been pushed to the outside. We want to make sure that they, that everybody in this community, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation, knows they are an integral part of this community and will always be welcomed.” — June 9, 2001, a day before serving as grand marshal of the Utah Pride Day parade.

 · · · · · 

“It’s interesting how this issue is being perceived in the community, almost the LDS camp vs. the non-LDS camp. It should be anything but that. It was a real estate transaction.” — Nov. 23, 2002, talking about the Main Street Plaza controversy.

 · · · · · 

“Unfortunately, the Utah Legislature refuses to step into the 21st century by repealing antiquated and bizarre laws related to the consumption of alcohol.” — July 22, 2004, calling for the loosening of liquor laws as part of his “seven freedoms.”

 · · · · · 

“There’s so little of the truth being told to our public either locally or nationally.” — October 2004, speaking about the press.

 · · · · · 

“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.” — Jan. 11, 2005, referring to Davis County residents, in his state of the city address.

 · · · · · 

“Stewardship of this land does not mean taking publicly owned land and selling it to the highest bidder, thus forever denying the public the opportunity to experience it in its natural state. Protecting and caring for this land means leaving it as pristine open space, and that is what we intend to do.” — June 15, 2005, speaking during a rally against North Salt Lake’s plans to develop foothill open space.

 · · · · · 

“We are here today to let the world know that even in the reddest of red states, where George W. Bush enjoyed the greatest margin of victory in both his presidential elections, there is enormous concern about the dangerous, irresponsible and deceitful public policies being pursued by President Bush and his administration. And we will continue to speak out, with the growing ranks of people in this country finally willing to stand up and say, ‘We’re not going to take it anymore.”‘ — Aug. 22, 2005, protesting President Bush’s visit to Salt Lake City, during an anti-war rally at Pioneer Park.

 · · · · · 

“Let us each embrace our moral authority, let us each embrace our humanity, let us each embrace our responsibility — and insist in every way within our means: No more human and civil rights violations; no more hatred and inhumane treatment toward hard-working immigrants and their families; no more killing and maiming. No more Iraq war.” — April 29, 2006, speaking at an anti-war rally at the Salt Lake City-County Building.

 · · · · · 

“We won’t be quiet. We will continue to resist the lies, the deception, the outrages of the Bush administration and this complacent, complicit, go-along Congress. We will insist that peace be pursued, and that, as a nation, we help those in need. We must break the cycle of hatred, of intolerance, of exploitation. We must pursue peace as vigorously as the Bush administration has pursued war. It’s up to every single one of us to do our part.” — Aug. 30, 2006, during the “We the People for Peace and Justice” rally at Washington Square.

 · · · · · 

“Unless city residents have access to clean air and water and are protected from potential environmental catastrophes like global warming, our other efforts as a city count for little over the long term.” — Jan. 16, 2007, during his final State of the City address.

 · · · · · 

“As mayor of the capital city of the reddest state in the nation, I am proud to join with millions of good, patriotic Americans who are standing up and willing to raise their voices against this madness. We are here today to say, ‘No more!’ No more Iraq war!” — Jan. 27, 2007, speaking during an anti-war demonstration at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

 · · · · · 

“Never before has there been such a compelling case for impeachment and removal from office of the president of the United States.” — March 1, speaking to Washington state lawmakers.

 · · · · · 

“As patriots, we love and support our country, and we will not support a president who harms our nation and its people. Our love for our nation, our regard for our Constitution, brings us here today to call for the impeachment of a president who has done, and continues to do, such tremendous harm to our country.” — March 17, 2007, speaking at the Pentagon during a rally for impeachment of President Bush.

 · · · · · 

“President Bush is a war criminal. He has blatantly violated relevant treaties and constitutional provisions in leading the U.S. to a so-called ‘pre-emptive’ war against Iraq, without any justification in law or in fact. He must be held accountable, through impeachment and removal from office, or the many violated treaties and constitutional provisions are nothing more than paper and pretense.” — March 19, 2007, speaking at a Salt Lake City rally marking the four-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

 · · · · · 

“It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for many years. The more I read about failures in public policy, the clearer it is to me that the lack of an organizing mechanism to bring people together and allow people to have an effective voice is the core of why we’ve seen so little done in these areas.” — Nov. 1, 2007, speaking about his startup nonprofit organization, HumanKind Education Fund Inc., for the education and advocacy of human rights and climate-change issues.

Rocky Anderson’s Last Words As Salt Lake’s Mayor

Written by: Doug G. Ware
Email: dware@kutv2.com

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson speaks to KUTV anchor Mark Koelbel in an interview shortly before he left office in 2008.

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson speaks to KUTV anchor Mark Koelbel in an interview shortly before he left office in 2008.

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s difficult to write a brief summation about Rocky Anderson’s eight years as as Salt Lake City’s mayor — a time that was marked by brash flamboyance, an international sports gala and bold battles with President George W. Bush about the war in Iraq.

Sunday was Anderson’s last full day as the city’s chief.  Monday, he will hand over the keys to his office to fellow Democrat Ralph Becker.

So, how’s the view on the way out?  In an interview broadcast on 2News Sunday night, Anderson discussed it all with KUTV anchor Mark Koelbel.

“I approach this as having done my very best, worked really hard, worked with an incredible group of people,” he said.  “To tell you the truth… it’s probably been tougher than I ever thought it would be.”

First elected in 1999, Anderson made the transition from a private law practice to running one of the largest cities in the nation.  He also faced the prospect of being a very liberal leader, in one of the nation’s most liberal cities, surrounded by the rest of the state that is largely conservative.

A lot has happened on Anderson’s watch — more than any other Salt Lake mayor has had to deal with:  The 2002 Winter Olympic Games, development of the Gateway, construction and operation of TRAX light rail, beautification of downtown Salt Lake City, and high profile disputes with the U.S. president over what he calls an “immoral” war in Iraq.

“Are there any major memories that… sticks in your mind over those eight years?” Koelbel asked.

“Of course the Elizabeth Smart Case. The Destiny Norton case [was] very tragic. I felt like part of their family by the end of both of those cases,” he said.  “And, of course, the Trolley Square shooting. That was really tough.”

Though he says there aren’t many, Anderson said one of his major regrets is not implementing more bicycling improvements in the city.

“I would like to see segregated bicycle lanes. I remember talking about this when I first ran for mayor.  I think just as we have segregated lanes for pedestrians, we could do that throughout much of the city for bicyclists as well,” he said.

Known for his environmentalist approach, Anderson drew harsh criticism in the years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq for staging public protests and attending high profile rallies that blast the Bush Administration.  Some believe that as Salt Lake City’s public representative, Anderson should not have taken such an active and clear political position.

Anderson, 57, was born in Logan and attended high school in Ogden.  He graduated from the University of Utah in 1978 before attending George Washington University Law School.  Anderson practiced law in Salt Lake City for more than two decades, specializing in civil litigation.  He was also affiliated with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) during this time.

Anderson is also responsible for creating the Salt Lake City International Jazz festival, now in its seventh year.

After handing the city’s responsibilities over to Becker, Anderson will continue to work for a number of human causes.  Working with a nationwide project called “Human Kind,” Anderson will focus on issues like genocide in Europe and Africa and human trafficking.

“It has been a failure in public policy because we all expect our elected officials are going to provide the leadership and they almost never do,” he added.

Anderson’s tenure in the City & County Building saw its fair share of controversy.  A near physical altercation with a developer following a city council meeting made headlines last year.  A public spat with the Fox News Channel after the network abruptly canceled an appearance on the political program “Hannity and Colmes” — apparently for no reason — also generated interest among the media.

In 2000, Anderson effectively killed the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program in the Salt Lake City Police Department — calling it “an absolute fraud on the people of this country.”

In 2005, Anderson came under scrutiny when he paid for more than $600 in meals and alcoholic beverages with public money during the Salt Lake Jazz Festival.  He acknowledged that he violated city policy with the purchases and subsequently changed that policy.

Anderson has also developed a reputation of being a hard person to work for.  During his eight years as mayor, he went through multiple spokespersons — starting with former TV news anchor Phil Reisen and ending with Harvard-educated youngster Patrick Thronson.

Through it all, however, Anderson believes he did the best job that he could and that it was all worth it.

“All in all, I am very pleased and will always look back on these eight years as the best of my life,” he said.

Quotable: What is Rocky’s legacy?

I think Mayor Anderson will be remembered as someone who brought Salt Lake City into a new era. He’ll be known for his advocacy for social justice, for environmental issues and climate change, and for reaching out across the country in a way that I think changed the perception of Salt Lake City. I also think he has changed politics, not just for Salt Lake City but in Utah. He’s shown that you can be a fierce advocate for principles that may not be mainstream by Utah standards, but that people respect, and be successful.” — Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City mayor-elect.

 · · · · · 

“Whether it was revitalizing downtown or hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, Rocky approached every issue with passion and fortitude in an effort to make Salt Lake City ever better.” — Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

 · · · · · 

“As his term draws to a close, we wish Mayor Anderson well. We have enjoyed our working relationship with him over the past few years and appreciate his enthusiasm and vision for making Salt Lake City a great place to live and conduct business. We share his love for this great city and its residents.” — Bishop H. David Burton, presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“I think his legacy will be in the environmental area. He has done a great job in raising awareness of what cities can do in the area of global warming.” — Deedee Corradini, former Salt Lake City mayor

 · · · · · 

“I think his legacy will be one that he really believed in opening people’s eyes to allowing diversity in our community.” — Lane Beattie, president and CEO, Salt Lake Chamber

 · · · · · 

“When you talk to people (about Anderson’s legacy), the first thing out of their mouths is that we now have orange flags (at crosswalks). It’s an interesting legacy.” — Carlton Christensen, Salt Lake City Council member

 · · · · · 

“He heightened the community’s awareness of many things, not the least of which is the environment and the importance of it in our time and for the next generation.” — Keith Christensen, former Salt Lake City Council member

 · · · · · 

“These have been controversial years. I think his management style, his leadership style and his interaction with others has been very divisive in our city. I think it’s left a legacy of anger, of polarization, and frankly that’s something we’re going to have to deal with for years now.” — Eric Jergensen, Salt Lake City Council member

 · · · · · 

“The legacy that we have is probably the heightened awareness and implementation of environmental issues. Generally, Utah would lag behind on those kinds of things. I think that because of the emphasis of this administration and this council on environmental issues, Utah is destined to, if not lead, at least stay up with the flow of environmental issues.” — Nancy Saxton, Salt Lake City Council member

 · · · · · 

“I think his biggest legacy will probably be his polarizing work, which certainly has been a challenge in working with other cities and the state. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have those kind of contrasts. The state Legislature has not agreed with everything the city has done and in some instances has tried to thwart what we’ve done. … I think those sorts of debates make people look carefully at policies, and looking carefully at policies is not a bad thing.” — Soren Simonson, Salt Lake City Council member

 · · · · · 

“I think part of (his legacy) will be putting on the best Olympics. People don’t realize the amount of time the Olympics took. Another thing would be his dedication to light rail.” — Van Turner, Salt Lake City Council member

Rocky Anderson by the numbers

0 — Cost for “green” cars to park at any city meter; cost of parking during the holiday season.

1st — Homeless overflow shelter facilitated by an Olympic host city.

2nd — Congressional district seat he ran for in 1996 as the Democratic nominee, losing to Republican Merrill Cook.

5 — Number of chiefs of staff during his administration.

7 — “Freedoms from unreasonable public policies restricting personal choices and harming public heath,” according to Anderson: juvenile gun offenses too lenient; wages too low; liquor laws too strict; unmarried partners should be able to adopt; sex education should be taught; late-night dancing should be allowed; air quality should be valued and improved.

7 — Number of years the Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival has been held.

9 — Number of people to serve as his media spokesman.

15 — Percent Salt Lake City reduced water use from 2000 to 2006.

15 — Miles of bicycle lanes added.

41 — Number of SUVs he got rid of from Salt Lake City’s fleet.

31 — Percent global warming pollution emissions have been reduced from municipal operations.

31 — Percent of appointments to city boards and commissions from the ethnic minority community.

33rd — Mayor of Salt Lake City.

37 — Percent increase of ethnic minorities in the city’s work force since December 1999.

48 — Percent increase of city officials and administrators from ethnic minority community since December 1999.

52 — Percent of the airport’s light vehicle fleet — and 100 percent of its shuttle buses — that operate using compressed natural gas.

58 — Percent increase of ethnic minority employees in the mayor’s office since December 1999.

62 — Percent the city’s fund balance increased by from 1999 to 2007 — from $20.3 million to $32.6 million.

65 — New bike racks installed downtown.

73 — Days the mayor was out of town between mid-March 2005 to March 2006, including 10 trips for environmental conferences or meetings.

87 — Percent recycling has increased since the city launched a curbside recycling program in 2001.

89 — Percent increase in scheduled airport departures.

89 — Number of city vehicles that run on natural gas.

100 — Units in the Salt Lake City-partnered Sunrise Apartments for chronically homeless.

101 — Percent the Capital Improve ment Program (CIP) funds in creased as a proportion of revenue.

120 — Percent increase in nonstop destinations from Salt Lake City Internaional Airport.

250 — Center-of-the-street parking stalls added to Broadway Boulevard and 300 East.

485 — Salt Lake City tax dollars Anderson used to pay a “bar tab” in July 9, 2005.

530 — Number of acres acquired or converted to open space during his administration.

900 — South railroad line removed, and railroad quiet zone established.

2002 — The year Salt Lake City hosted the world during the Winter Olympics.

10,000 — Number of pedestrian reflector strips distributed as part of street-safety initiatives.

$7.5 million — Amount of donation secured from Real Salt Lake for an Athletics Complex.

$10 million — Amount of bond secured for The Leonardo.

$46 million — Amount spent on affordable housing during his administration.

$220 million — Estimated cost to taxpayers from legal battle delaying construction of the Legacy Parkway.


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