Turner, Martin say farewell to Salt Lake City Council

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 13 2011 8:49 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The City Council said goodbye to two of its own Tuesday night.

Van Turner, a steady and straightforward voice of Salt Lake City's west side, and JT Martin, an intense and animated advocate for District 6, sat at the council dais and cast their votes for the final time.

For Turner, it was the culmination of a dozen years of work. His final vote as District 2's representative on the council was to authorize the purchase of property for a library in Glendale.

"I started my first campaign with a desire for a new library in Glendale," Turner said. "That's 12 years ago."

The vote was unanimous, and a fitting reward for Turner's three terms of City Council service.

Council Chairwoman Jill Remington Love described Turner as a trusted and dependable colleague who was able to use "common sense when the rest of us couldn't see through the trees."

"He would not surprise us by changing his vote, but he sometimes surprised us by his insight," Love said.

Turner said he will continue to be a neighborhood activist, and he hopes to make a return to the community council, where he got his political start.

"This is not a sad time but a time to celebrate our great city," he said during a prepared speech Tuesday night. "It's been an honor to represent Salt Lake City."

Martin made the most of his one term in office, Love said, calling him "a quick student who learned how to effectively represent District 6."

She also thanked Martin for his passion and sense of humor, making it "fun … to sit through 14-hour meetings."

Mayor Ralph Becker praised Martin for his "dedication and intensity in everything he gets involved in."

"Always, as a result of his participation, we as a city ended up in a better place," Becker said.

Martin expressed gratitude to his family for allowing him to serve on the council. He also thanked his City Council colleagues and city staff for their efforts and friendship.

"You have all become family to me and my family," Martin said. "At this moment, I don't feel failure. I feel gratitude."

Martin, a former small-business owner, also made one final plea for local businesses, calling them "a gift and a blessing to our city."

"Protect them and appreciate them," he said.

In January, Kyle LaMalfa and Charlie Luke will replace Turner and Martin on the City Council, having ousted the incumbents in November.

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com

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