Rocky addresses problems facing city

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Andersonsaid downtown Salt Lake isturning into a melting pot wherepeople from all parts of the valleycome to do commerce and diversifythe city.Also, Salt Lake City is a “majorresettlement community,” havinghad the second-fastest growingHispanic population in the UnitedStates as well as the fourth-largestper capita Pacific Islander population,according to Anderson.”That kind of enrichment iswhat’s offered by a downtown,”Anderson said before an audienceof U students and communitymembers Thursday in the HinckleyCaucus Room.Because the U is a great place forlearning and a safe-harbor for theLDS population, all students areintegrated to the university, addedTed Wilson, former Salt Lake Mayorand past director of the HinckleyInstitute of Politics.”We all need our safe place, butwe also need to step across the linewhere the greater world teaches ushow to act,” Wilson said. “Being theMormon capital is a great thing, butwe need to realize that less than 50percent of our population has beenMormons since 1885.”He added that BYU doesn’t offeras much of an opportunity tobe “in the community, but notof the community.”Environmental protectionDespite the strides SaltLake City has made towardincreasing its diversity, Andersonsaid a large challengeahead of the city is sprawl development,or the expansionof built-up areas. Andersonsaid confronting the problemwould help Salt Lake Citysave open space and cut downdeteriorating air quality.”Air quality goes handin-hand with good development,and we have got to doeverything we can to clean upthe air,” Anderson said uponhis return from internationalconferences in New Delhiand Europe with heads of theG8 regarding the Kyoto Protocol-an environmentallyfriendly initiative that neitherthe United States nor Austra -lia signed. Both were the onlyindustrialized countries in theworld not to, he added.He said t he city must movetoward building mass transitinstead of more la nes of traf-fic, which is “conducive to increasingthe same problem wenow face.” However, he addedthat the city’s recent efforts,such as shifting city vehiclesto natural gas and placing LEDlights in traffic signals havehelped Salt Lake City becomeamong the more environmentallyfriendly U.S. cities.In 2000, Salt Lake Citycommitted to a 21 percentreduction of greenhouse gasemission by 2012 and are already76 percent of the way toreaching that goal, which ledthe Bush administration tohonor Salt Lake City with theClimate Protection A ward,Anderson said.Equity in fundingSalt Lake City projectsWith high-rise buildings,surrounding neighborhoods,a downtown area, a flourishingreligion, a professionalbasketball team and an intellectualcomponent-of whichthe University of Utah is thecenter-Wilson called SaltLake City an internationalcity. A common misconceptionamong state legislators,he added, is that all goodthings in Utah come directlyto Salt Lake City. As a result,the state comes after SaltLake residents’ pocketbooksto fund various projects.He said the state is overlookingcommuters who travelto Salt Lake City and bene-fit from its development, thuspaying little in return.Wilson said Salt Lake City’spopulation is double theresident population in thedaytime. “At high noon, wedouble the midnight population,”he said. “Commuters,you’re wonderful, but you’realso freeloaders who comeuse what Salt Lake residentspay for.”Anderson said he has beenworking with Gov. Jon HuntsmanJr. and legislators tobridge the gap between thestate and the Mayor’s Office.”We need a lot of communitydiscussion and input aboutwhere we’re headed with ourdowntown,” he [email protected]