Name: J. Michael Clara
Previous political experience: (Civic service) Glendale Middle School PTA president, Boy Scouts of America unit commissioner, Poplar Grove Community Council secretary, Utah Hispanic Legislative Task Force chairman, Glendale Middle School Community Council chairman, Poplar Grove Community Council board of directors, Multi-Ethnic Advisory Committee/SLC District 2 chairman, Utah State Office of Education's MESA Review Committee, Search Committee for Salt Lake City Municipal Court Judges, CMAC (advisory committee to the State Board of Education) chairman, search committee for new principal for Glendale Middle School, search committee for director of equity for Granite School District, Community Development Advisory Committee to Mayor Anderson, Gov. Huntsman's Working Group on Student Achievement, Utah State Office of Education's Teacher ESL Endorsement Standards Committee.
• Why do you want to represent District 2 on the Salt Lake City Council?
I am a candidate for City Council because I want to stop the slum formation of the west side.
• What do you see as the largest issue for District 2 and how do you propose to tackle it?
The largest issue facing District 2 is the inequity in which City Hall dispenses city services and resources on the west side. I intend to help the administration and fellow council members understand that the west side is an integral part of the city and not an appendage to it; the health of the west side will impact the well-being of the entire city.
• What can be done to encourage retail development within the district?
Continue to improve our west-side schools and give the police department more resources to address the growing gang activity and violence in our community.
• Salt Lake City voters will decide whether to approve bonding for up to $192 million to pay for new public safety facilities. Do you support this bond, and why or why not?
I do support the bond because our police and fire department will not be able to operate without having these new facilities. I do, however, feel that the citizens of Salt Lake are having to bail out the police and fire department because current city elected officials did not address this growing problem over the last eight years.
• Plans for the LDS Church's City Creek Center development call for a skybridge across Main Street to connect shopping areas on the second level of the outdoor mall. The City Council amended the city's master plan to allow for such projects to be considered. What is your opinion of skybridges in general and specifically for the City Creek project? If elected, will you support the skybridge being built?
If elected, I would support the skybridge over Main Street. I foresee the skybridge on Main Street working in the same way they do at the Gateway. People know where they want to go and will use the most direct path. Funneling everyone onto Main Street to cross the street and tracks is not the safest and most efficient path to get from one building to the other.
• The City Creek Center development is seen as a significant step toward the revitalization of downtown Salt Lake City. What other steps need to be taken to achieve that goal?
Other steps that need to be taken are to ensure that the improvements of our downtown move into west Salt Lake City. We achieve that goal by looking at the west side as an integral part of the city, not an appendage to it.
• A Dan Jones & Associates survey commissioned by Salt Lake City showed that 78 percent of city residents say Pioneer Park should be renovated to become a more welcoming place. How do you propose to accomplish that?
Before implementing the cosmetic solutions currently being touted, I believe that the community around Pioneer Park would be better served if, as a city, we redouble our efforts to tackle the social ills that cause homelessness.
• Why should voters choose you over your opponent to represent District 2 on the Salt Lake City Council?
If voters in District 2 want business as usual for the west side, they should vote for the incumbent. If they want change and someone who will advocate and give voice to the community, they should vote for me.