Name: John Todd (JT) Martin
Occupation: Owner of Emigration Market
• Why do you want to represent District 6 on the Salt Lake City Council?
I am seeking this office because I want to make a difference in the lives of the people who live and work in District 6 and this city. Over a lifetime, my wife and I have gained a deep appreciation for the quality of life in this community. We are committed to raising our children here, just as my grandparents were 80 years ago when they chose to raise my parents in District 6.
That commitment goes beyond the spirit of community we have found in living here; it extends to our business as well. Eight years ago, Kimberly and I bought the Emigration Market at a moment when this neighborhood landmark might have closed. We felt the market was an opportunity to build a business while staying connected to the community we love.
Over the past eight years, I have gained knowledge about the relationship between small businesses and the communities they serve. I want to build on that knowledge, to unite the community on critical issues such as health, public safety, the environment and open space. It is my sincere desire to serve on the Salt Lake City Council.
• What do you see as the largest issue for District 6, and how do you propose to tackle it?
The largest issue before us is how to balance the pressures from growth in this district and throughout the city with the need to preserve the character and quality of life that draws people here. Every day we see a steady increase in traffic, crime and an aging infrastructure that threatens basic municipal service.
Growth is the core issue that finds its way into every discussion about the city. There is no area of municipal policy that does not intersect with the consequences of growth. Traffic through our neighborhoods must be managed and controlled. The use of varied traffic-calming techniques throughout the city have been effective and in some cases aesthetically pleasing. We need to focus on the least invasive techniques for slowing traffic in our neighborhoods. I support flashing speed indicator signs because they are the least expensive and most effective way to address this problem.
Property crime is becoming a significant issue as well. In order to battle property crime, I will increase participation in Neighborhood Watch programs through training and funding. I will also initiate mobile watch units powered by natural-gas vehicles, funded by private donations and staffed by volunteers to support law enforcement. I will also establish education-based programs to increase the dialogue we have on drug and alcohol abuse since the majority of criminal activity has a direct link to drugs and alcohol. I have the endorsement of Firefighters Local 1645, as well as the Salt Lake City Police Union, which represents the public safety officers whom I will actively engage in this fight.
These steps will be taken in my first 180 days in office because combating crime and traffic in our neighborhoods is critical to ensuring the quality of life we have in District 6.
I will also take action to reinvest in the infrastructure of the city. I will work to ensure there is appropriate funding for the resurfacing of streets, support for our public safety officials to diminish response times and workable zoning permits to ensure walkable, livable neighborhoods.
• 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 support this bonding because funding for infrastructure is critical to the future of this city, but it is important that we not write a blank check. I would propose strict oversight on the expenditure of the dollars from this bond to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent effectively and appropriately so we are not coming back later asking for more money because of overruns.
• 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 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 sky bridge being built?
I did not initially support the skybridge aspect of this project because it is inconsistent with the long-standing policy of the city with respect to other proposed developments. That said, given the decisions that will be made by the time I assume office, if elected, I would support the skybridge because it is now necessary to make the project a success. Again, I would have preferred another solution to that matter, such as not creating a second level of retail, but the current plan is not mine to change.
If elected, I will insist on more public input in the planning process, so these types of problems do not reoccur.
• 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?
We need to reflect back on the Olympic Games when Salt Lake City witnessed the unique blend of people that comprise our city. Our civic pride brought us together and made Salt Lake City the best city it could be. We need to re-energize that pride by weaving the fabric of our city together to offer visitors our well-known hospitality on Main Street. A village within a city, if you will. This can be done through a mix of shops, restaurants, galleries and boutique establishments that characterize the city's culture.
• 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 so you propose to accomplish that?
With the addition of new housing in the downtown area, Pioneer Park becomes increasingly important as a resource for that emerging urban community. Unlike other parks in the city, Pioneer Park has never really been viewed as the asset to the neighborhoods that it could be.
We need to change that perspective by turning it into a walkable, livable park that people want to visit. I support the redoubling of efforts on the part of (Salt Lake Police Chief Chris) Burbank to increase line officers who can address the crime and vagrancy issues. I will continue the dialogue with residents and officials about the redevelopment of the park, but we need to solve the violence and drug trade problems first.
• Why should voters choose you over you opponent to represent District 6 on the Salt Lake City Council?
This district needs someone who can protect the quality of life we all expect in our neighborhoods. This guardianship will take more than just a weekly council meeting. It takes someone with the ability, the energy and the time to devote to the critical issues facing all of us. I have the ability, gained from eight years as owner and operator of Emigration Market. I have the energy and optimism from the support I receive from my neighbors. And I have the time to dedicate to serving this district because I am a small-business owner with a capable staff to run the store when I am needed on council business. I will work tirelessly and effectively for the betterment of Salt Lake City and its residents. My only agenda is District 6. I am accessible. As residents in this area already know, I am in the district all day, every day!