Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker uses veto to put leash back on dogs

Published: Monday, Dec. 27 2010 10:14 p.m. MST

Jack Arnott, a member of Millcreek FIDOS (Friends Interested in Dogs and Open Spaces), says he doesn't see the mayor's veto as a "death knell." The City Council still has time to come up with something that's veto-proof, he said.

"The council has been very conscientious about trying to do the right thing," Arnott said. "I still think there's a good chance they'll come to some common ground."

Councilman Carlton Christensen, who, like Martin, was on the losing end of last month's vote, said he'd be surprised if the council can come up with a compromise to override the veto.

That said, the City Council could come back with a revised management plan — perhaps as soon as the end of January — that at least five members of the council can agree upon, Christensen said.

"I wasn't on the prevailing side, so I don't think it's my place to go out and get a compromise," he said. If that's something the majority of the council wants to do, however, "I certainly would be productive in trying to find a solution."

Becker threatened to used his veto power once before but ultimately decided against it.

In June 2009, Becker considered a veto of the 2010 city library budget, which included a property tax increase to fund two new west-side branches. The mayor had concerns that the administration didn't have time to conduct an analysis on the projects' impact on the overall city budget.

The City Council had approved the library budget by a 5-2 vote, making it likely that it would have overridden the veto anyway.

The last time a Salt Lake City mayor used the office's veto power was in May 2006, when then-Mayor Rocky Anderson tried to stop construction of a skybridge as part of the City Creek Center project.

In April 2007, the City Council amended the downtown master plan, allowing for skybridges under some circumstances. Following a challenge by Mayor Anderson, the council reaffirmed that decision by a 6-1 overriding vote.

A search of the Deseret News archives indicates the last time a veto by a Salt Lake City mayor was upheld was in 1988, when Palmer DePaulis' vetoed the council's $79 million budget containing across-the-board cuts to fund $600,000 in employee raises.

e-mail: jpage@desnews.com

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