HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html No Rocky III
Pubdate: Sat, 29 Jul 2006
Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Copyright: 2006 The Salt Lake Tribune
Author: Heather May
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Second Term Is The Last, Mayor Says

Rocky Anderson - the maverick mayor who defied stereotypes about Utah 
and conventional wisdom about what a city leader is supposed to do - 
will not seek a third term.

Anderson made the announcement Friday at Salt Lake City's Main 
Library, surrounded by a crowd of supporters and employees.

"Although it saddens me in many ways, I have decided I will not seek 
a third term as Salt Lake City mayor," an emotional Anderson said.

After finishing his term in 17 months, he plans to tweak the 
establishment - or "make more noise," as he put it - organizing a 
grass-roots group to lobby on human rights and climate-change issues. 
"Our elected officials are generally not leaders. They respond to 
what the polls say or what we the people demand - so long as we 
demand it effectively and in large enough numbers."

The mayor doesn't know if he will remain in Utah to do the work, but 
says he hasn't been offered another job.

Anderson finished his half-hour remarks - thanking virtually every 
city department, listing his accomplishments and ripping the City 
Council - by saying, "I love you and I love our great city."

The crowd showed its love in return with a sustained and deafening 
standing ovation. Anderson wiped a tear and put his hand to his 
heart. "I'm very sad," said Dex Kiltz, a resident who attended the 
event, which also included Anderson's presentation Related 
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combating global warming. "I'm worried about the future, but I 
respect his decision. I just hope we can continue to have good 
leadership." About a dozen politicos now may vie to be that leader. 
Only one candidate - City Councilwoman Nancy Saxton - is officially 
in the race. Anderson reaffirmed Friday he will endorse former 
Councilman Keith Christensen, a Republican who attended the 
announcement and said he and Anderson would hold a news conference Monday.

County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson said she is more likely to enter the 
race without an incumbent to challenge. "The dynamic without Mayor 
Anderson in the race changes dramatically."

Another potential candidate, and longtime Anderson foe, is glad to 
see Anderson go. "I'm in 100 percent agreement with his decision," 
said former state Sen. James Evans.

Anderson didn't tell his closest staff until Friday. While he may 
have had a tumultuous relationship with city employees - he's had 
more turnover than his immediate predecessor, including nine 
communications directors - several top aides were at Friday's 
announcement and praised their boss.

"He has been a tremendous partner," police Chief Chris Burbank said.

Anderson's frequent environmental trips of late fueled speculation he 
didn't plan to run. It also angered council members, some of whom 
considered him an absentee mayor.

"He's been passionate and controversial  and difficult and stubborn 
and smart. At times he's shined," Councilwoman Jill Remington Love 
said. "At other times, he was, using his word, outrageous."

After losing to Republican rebel Merrill Cook in a 1996 congressional 
race, Anderson coasted to a mayoral victory in 1999 after 
scandal-tainted Deedee Corradini opted against a third term. He won 
re-election in 2003.

An activist mayor from the beginning - issuing a veto, signing three 
executive orders and hampering Gateway development within three 
months of taking office - Anderson, who seems to have an opinion on 
everything, spoke out about genocide in Sudan, nuclear-waste storage, 
marijuana laws, the Iraq war, President Bush, "Brokeback Mountain," 
HIV testing, health care, abstinence-only education, gay marriage, 
living wages, sprawl. He even chased down a speeder on Interstate 15 in 2002.

Anderson clearly sees his environmental accomplishments as a legacy. 
So while the timing of Friday's announcement may make governing 
difficult - he will be a lame duck for 17 months but vows to work 
"full-speed ahead" - the venue made sense. The town hall meeting was 
packed by like-minded environmentalists, who cheered and laughed in 
all the right spots during Anderson's Gore-esque slide show on how 
the city reduced its greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 20,000 tons.

It was accomplished by eliminating some SUVs and stoking the 
alternative-fuel fleet; adding TRAX; promoting high-density housing; 
purchasing wind power; expanding recycling; and requiring future city 
buildings to conserve.

Anderson's role as iconoclast won't escape the history books either.

His supporters have loved him for living up to his nickname, rocking 
Utah's homogenous boat and emerging as an anti-establishment 
spokesman. His disdain for polite politics was evident whenever he 
lambasted lawmakers for "bizarre" liquor laws, Legacy Highway or 
anti-gay regulations, and City Council members for analysis-paralysis 
and "cowardly" stands.

He was a champion to gay-rights groups, using a State of the City 
address to decry their second-class status; signing executive orders 
on their behalf; advocating for gay marriage.

Taking on the establishment occasionally included the LDS Church, 
which declined to comment on his announcement. In one of the most 
memorable times of Anderson's tenure, the mayor and church initially 
battled for control of the Main Street Plaza. The church eventually 
won after Anderson brokered a compromise, but many Mormons have 
harbored resentment ever since.

Dani Eyer fought the mayor on the Main Street Plaza issue as 
executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. But she 
said Friday he "did the best he could."

"Time and again, Rocky honored basic constitutional principles even 
when it would not translate into personal  political gain," Eyer said.

The mayor's outspokenness also made him a star - outside Utah. 
Outsiders are baffled that such a true-blue liberal could be elected 
in such a deep-red state, not realizing Mormons are in the minority 
in the city, which has long leaned left.

But the mayor's politics riled conservative power brokers within Utah 
and hampered his effectiveness at the Legislature and City Hall.

City Councilman Dave Buhler once told Anderson: "You're more than a 
crusader; you're elected to represent the city . . . not just pursue 
your own agenda."

Anderson clearly didn't take the advice: He protested Bush last year 
and plans to do it again next month.

He has work to do to finish his campaign promise to revitalize downtown.

He devised the Main Street grants, added parking downtown, welcomed a 
TV station and oversaw a handful of housing projects. But momentum 
didn't pick up until the LDS Church announced it would renovate its 
Main Street malls. Anderson would significantly change the landscape 
if he succeeds in gaining support for a performing arts center with a 
Broadway theater.

But even his sometime critics were conciliatory. "If everybody was as 
committed to their issues as Mayor Anderson, the world would be a 
different place," said Salt Lake Chamber President Lane Beattie.

The tears were gone by night's end. Anderson and a crowd of 15 
employees and supporters capped the evening at The Tavernacle bar, 
drinking, laughing and snapping pictures.

"We're celebrating Rocky's success," said Talitha Day, events manager 
for the Gallivan Center. --- Tribune staffers Derek P. Jensen, MarA-a 
VillaseA+/-or, Patty Henetz and Ana Daraban contributed to this report.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman