Democracy Now

_MG_1383Cohesive communities make decisions together. SLC residents deserve a truly open, transparent, and vibrant Democracy. With innovative reforms to renew the public’s trust in the process, we can reignite our Democracy in SLC.

Residents and neighborhoods will stand equal to powerful institutions and monied interests. Not only do residents deserve inclusive and responsive city government, they should have access to policy-making and a say in spending priorities.

Luke listens, cares, and knows how to bring people together through community dialogue and collective decision-making.

These policy areas include:

•  Integrity in Our Democracy             •  Participatory Budgeting 

•  Collective Decision-Making             •  Community Policing, Redefined

Integrity in Our Democracy

LG-Skyline-FinalOur democracy at the national level has been hijacked by big money. We need to make sure this doesn’t happen in our local system. Make no mistake, big money is playing a role in our local elections.

Luke is the only candidate who is doing something about it, limiting campaign contributions to $1,000 per individual or local business (the legal limit is $7,500).

Collective Decision Making

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What if we made our biggest decisions together? Investments in the tens of millions of dollars deserve community discussion, deliberation, and decision-making. Luke proposes a new process, where the community will decide what the city’s main investments will be.

Luke envisions a “futures congress” convened every three years, where a group of SLC residents randomly selected discuss changes in city investment priorities and ordinances. These discussions would lead to a city-wide vote where every resident would have a say in deciding the city’s budget and policy direction. A Garrott administration would then make those items--chosen by the voters--the basis for budget and policy proposals to the city council. The alternative is what we have today, where the mayor’s pet projects are able to sail through without a vote by the people, and council members dilute and sometimes distort what people want. We can do better. Democracy can be reborn in SLC.

Participatory Budgeting

photo (19)Hundreds of cities worldwide have adopted a process where part of the city’s capital budget (for roads, sidewalks, parks, lighting and other infrastructure) is decided by people in neighborhoods.

Existing community and neighborhood councils can serve as the site of these discussions, giving them renewed life after malign neglect during the Becker Administration. People in neighborhoods are the best judges of their needs and should be trusted with decision-making responsibility.

Luke is the only candidate who will reform the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to make it accessible and accountable to the people.

Community Policing, Redefined

We need to redefine what we mean by “community policing”, because it can describe very different policing strategies. Building trust between the police and the community is the goal. How to best get there? For the past nine years, SLC has under former Chief Burbank adopted progressive and humanistic policies in regards to immigration, civil rights, and homelessness. The police department in a Garrott administration will continue in this direction.

Yet Luke’s policing philosophy will make changes in how much time police officers spend in neighborhoods. “Community-based policing” has to involve feet on the street, where walking (or biking) beats is a main activity for police in the patrol unit. The sight of police officers deters crime, and people feel safer with police in the area. The need for rapid response that has justified a policy of all-patrol-in-cars can still be met, while making sure that officers are based in neighborhoods and get to know the people who live and work there.

The recent disturbing revelations of the mayor and police chief failing to act on sexual harassment and retaliation findings in the police department evidence a need for a mayor who actually leads and stronger policies for department heads to act. The example set by the mayor and chief signal that sexual harassment will be tolerated in city departments. To the contrary, we need a close look at our city departments to make sure that equality and non-discrimination are included in their core mission and practices.

 

More on Luke's vision for SLC:

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