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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Rocky Anderson: friend or foe?

By Christina Coloroso and Jessie Fawson

Fawson: There is no one in Salt Lake City who causes such a stir every time he opens his mouth like Mayor Rocky Anderson.

Whether it’s buying alcohol, calling the Deseret News “talibanesque” or firing his staff faster than the weather changes, he’s always good for a scandal.

Since he’s been mayor, he’s pandered to specialized minority groups and forgotten the majority. It is high time he is removed from office.

Coloroso: While Mayor Rocky Anderson has had his share of problems, as every mayor has, he certainly serves his citizens and community well. It is unfortunate how so many people highlight only the negatives, failing to recognize the positive improvements made in Salt Lake City since he took office five years ago.

One of Anderson’s greatest strengths is his personality. While it may seem polarizing at first glance, his sometimes-radical statements energize his followers, call attention to problems and make people think about what they envision for the future of Salt Lake City.

Fawson: You hit the nail on the head. The mayor is radical. Instead of helping everyone, he helps his far left-wing special interest groups. His blatant disregard for ordinances that he himself signed-such as those regarding the purchase of alcohol-shows that he really doesn’t care and will do whatever he wants, regardless of what is best for the people.

How is it in the public’s best interest for him to use taxpayer dollars to take himself and his inner circle to Italy?

Coloroso: The mayor is no more radical than the people he was elected to serve. Salt Lake City has a strong Democratic tradition, and it is a mistake to call his leadership a failure because he does not fit the traditional mold of a Utah politician. Since he happens to represent a minority opinion, he has greater liberty and ability to honestly express his views while remaining unencumbered or oppressed by a larger political force. Anderson is highly popular with his supporters-for good reason.

As for the allegation of misconduct, Anderson has admitted he may have made some minor mistakes in the past and like a mature adult, has tried to move on. It is the unforgiving, conservative media who will not allow these exaggerated stories to fade away, making the problems seem more substantial than facts would allow.

Fawson: Let’s not forget-he didn’t have just one misstep.

He committed several acts of misconduct, including making Salt Lake City pay for a monument and his personal trip to Italy, his purchasing of alcohol on taxpayer money and his subsequent denial that such a law ever existed. On top of all this, he called a major newspaper the Taliban when it pointed out that he himself signed it into law. You cannot blame the media for all of his egregious acts against the people he is supposed to represent.

Coloroso: Anderson is a good mayor for this city, even if he has made some personal mistakes in the past. Under his administration, Salt Lake City has built a beautiful new library, renovated an entire public transit system and added life-saving affordable-housing units downtown. He has reaffirmed Salt Lake City’s commitments to after-school youth programs, public safety and economic growth.

The “Salt Lake City Green” environmental initiatives are internationally heralded for their dedication to sustainable development and climate control. Rocky has time and time again reiterated his goals for a diverse Salt Lake community, free of discrimination and hatred. His visionary leadership and never ending desire for progress are what Salt Lake City really needs from a leader.

Fawson: Salt Lake City wants a leader who listens. Instead, the mayor only does things based on appearances. A strong leader should appeal to a majority of the people, the majority of the time. With Anderson, most people disagree with him most of the time.

Not all districts in Salt Lake City are Democratic. Some of them are highly Republican and all should be represented. Even areas that were highly supportive during his election campaign, like Rose Park, are beginning to feel neglected as the mayor focuses on specific areas and issues in the Avenues and forgets that he is a mayor for the whole city.

Coloroso: The bottom line is that Rocky does what Rocky thinks is in the long-term interests of all of the people he serves. Sometimes his decisions are controversial, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong. The uninformed, apathetic citizen does not always understand the intricacies of zoning laws, for example, adequately enough to make a proper judgment on its development. The mayor does.

The mayor isn’t afraid to make hard decisions because it may lose him some friends. If he were a Republican, he would be portrayed as a freedom fighter, a truth teller and a defender of the weak. But since he is a Democrat, he is seen as a divider, not a uniter. That’s an unfair rap.

And even if much of Salt Lake City is Republican, so what? You die-hards only have to deal with ONE Democrat. Get over it-you get almost everyone else.

Fawson: If Rocky were truly concerned about the people who elected him and did his job instead of just trying to get his name in the paper, there would not be so much controversy. Rocky is the mayor for the glory of being the mayor. He is not in it to help the city or because he feels the need to give back. He does it for himself, and that is what makes him a poor leader. I hope he recognizes that so that he decides not to run again.

Coloroso: Rocky represents the best kind of Democrat-an honest and vocal member of his party who strives to represent his constituents in the best way he knows how. Sure, there have been mistakes-he is human. But he’s also done good things for the city.

Rocky may not always deserve support, but he deserves a fair shot. He deserves constituents with open minds who will listen for truth and not partisanship, who will look for leadership no matter the controversy, who will look for the future and not only at the mistakes of the past.

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