David Garbett on SLC Mayoral Race
David Garbett, who ran in the SLC mayoral primary on a platform focused on the environment and endorses Luz Escamilla in the general election, shared this commentary he submitted for publication. Unfortunately, it was not selected for publication so we decided to share it here.
Luz Escamilla Is the Best Choice for Salt Lake’s Next Mayor
by David Garbett
I’m voting for Luz Escamilla as Salt Lake City’s next mayor because we need her temperament, administrative knowledge, and policy for our city.
One of my favorite things about being a candidate in the primary election for Salt Lake City mayor was participating in forums and debates. It was fun getting to talk about the important issues our city faces with my fellow candidates and with voters.
Sometimes, these events could feel a little more like type 2 fun--the kind that is enjoyable in retrospect but grueling in the moment. It was not always easy to respond on the spot to difficult and diverse questions in front of a live audience. As I am reminded watching the Democratic presidential debates, being poked and prodded on stage can be unpleasant.
One clear memory I have from these forums and debates is that Luz Escamilla always came prepared and that she kept her cool during the ups and downs. This did not change whether we were discussing housing, gun violence, the environment, or education. She could take the poking and prodding.
Luz comes prepared and she does not get flustered--contrast that with too many unfortunate examples from our current political leaders.
I believe this may be the most important characteristic of our next mayor.
The city is too large and diverse for a mayor to know all its issues. A good leader must do her homework and be able to listen dispassionately. Luz has demonstrated this time and again.
Next, a good mayor must know how to move a large institution in the right direction. Good ideas require good systems and coordination to implement. Luz is well prepared here.
Not only does Luz have a Masters in Public Administration, she has experience at the State and in business leading in large organizations. She understands the institutional dynamics and pitfalls that determine the fate of good policy.
These traits are more important than whether she is currently working in City Hall. She can adapt to the venue on the job.
If anything, her fresh perspective at the City is another reason to vote for her. She will not have to unlearn the bad habits that have developed in our current mayor/council relations.
Finally, if Escamilla’s policy inclinations were not good, none of this would matter. But Luz gets this right too. I am passionate about having Salt Lake City lead in addressing climate change, air quality, and water resources. So is Luz Escamilla; we share a common vision for Salt Lake City on those issues.
In particular, I am excited about her commitment to get Salt Lake City to 100 percent renewable power within the next four years. Luz also knows that it is unfair for city residents to subsidize the water use at the State Capitol, among other places, and is committed to reforming how we pay for water. This is the kind of bold leadership we need!
For a better Salt Lake, please join me in voting for Luz Escamilla.
David Garbett is former attorney for Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and ran for Salt Lake City Mayor in this year's primary election.