A VISION FOR OUR CITY
Luz Escamilla's vision for Salt Lake City focuses on the issues that affect the lives of residents and prepares our city for a sustainable future that benefits everyone.
"Salt Lake City is at a pivotal moment. Our population is growing rapidly, we're becoming a more diverse city, our business community is thriving and we are known as a recreational and innovation center in the intermountain region. However, for us to take full advantage of this moment, we must find solutions to a number of issues, such as: how we grow and develop in a smart and sustainable way; how we improve our air quality and protect our environment for future generations; how we ensure affordable housing across our city; how we address homelessness; and how we do more for the safety, education and welfare of our children. My vision for the Salt Lake City is one where we bring people together to solve our most pressing challenges. When you look at my record, my experience and my reputation, you'll see that I am ready to lead our city and make real progress on the issues that matter for Salt Lake City."
ISSUES THAT MATTER
EMPOWERING SALT LAKE CITY
Youth & Families
Youth and families are the backbone of Salt Lake City and one of the mayor's responsibilities is to ensure the welfare of Salt Lake City residents. Luz will focus on our children and our families to empower our city and its people.
To begin, our city should invest in prenatal and early childhood care to provide a healthy beginning for many Salt Lake City families. Affordable, high-quality child care is critical for working parents and, as Mayor, Luz will introduce a childcare program for city employees to help our families maintain structure in their busy lives. Luz will also further education programs for parents and further the city's community learning center model to advance adult learning opportunities and make our families stronger.
On education, the mayor has an important leadership role to play. Luz has a long record of advocacy and action on early childhood education, after school programs, child healthcare, and anti-bullying measures. As mayor, Luz wants to provide counselors, nurses, and access to healthcare in our Salt Lake City schools, which can be done through public-private partnerships. Luz will also enhance our current evidence-based, high-quality, after school programs to ensure the welfare and education of our children outside of school hours.
Our city must also improve public safety to ensure students have safe spaces throughout our city, which includes protecting students in our schools and on our college campuses.
Luz has the record of fighting for children, students, women and families. She has the experience building coalitions to get things done. Luz is the champion our youth and families need in Salt Lake City.
Working in SLC
Working families across Salt Lake City need a champion. With higher costs of housing, healthcare, childcare and transportation, many workers struggle to make ends meet. Luz knows government can play a crucial role in improving the lives of everyday residents and has a record of fighting for the rights of workers.
As mayor, Luz will work to ensure that the collective voice of workers is heard. While the state legislature prohibited cities from creating a higher minimum wage, Salt Lake City can lead by example and press for higher wages from those businesses that locate their operations in the city. Those wages must also be equitable. Luz has the record of working on pay equity for women and will continue to press businesses to close the gender gap in wages.
An Escamilla administration will also ensure that all managers have adequate training and oversight to ensure that discrimination and harassment in the workplace have no place in Salt Lake City government. Again, Luz would have our city lead by example and press the business community to follow that lead. Luz is the champion that SLC workers need.
People experiencing homelessness are a part of our city. Their situations must be our concern not just as a public health and safety issue, but as a moral issue.
The next mayor will be immediately confronted with a shortage of shelter beds during our winter months. We must make our resource centers more robust, increase the number of beds available, and develop active outreach and wrap-around services to assist those individuals who refuse to enter shelters due to trauma.
We must also address children experiencing homelessness to ensure not only their health and welfare, but also provide stability in their education as many have their school year interrupted, shortened or otherwise impeded.
Extending resources and services requires our city work with a number of stakeholders, including the state, Salt Lake County, nonprofits, and residents, to find new ways of addressing this longstanding issue. As mayor, Luz will convene a coalition of public-private partnerships to work on solutions that will have a meaningful impact.
It's also important to collect adequate and accurate data from shelters, resource centers and service providers to properly track the outcomes and our progress.
Luz has a record of securing funding for wider services from nonprofits and passing legislation in the State Senate to help individuals experiencing homelessness. She has the experience bringing people together to work on complicated and multi-faceted problems like homelessness. Luz is the champion Salt Lake City needs.
Ready for Business SLC
For Salt Lake City to remain competitive in developing and attracting businesses, we must change the culture around how our city works with businesses. The business community should consider City Hall a resource and a partner. At the same time, our city should work with businesses to ensure our values are reflected in workplaces around Salt Lake City.
Our economic development efforts should be focused around helping entrepreneurs navigate the complicated web of zoning, ordinances, permitting, and licensing to make starting or growing a business in Salt Lake City a streamlined and pain-free process. Working in community development for Zions Bank, Luz has assisted hundreds of businesses in their growth and development. This is a perspective vital to making SLC ready for business.
Luz will remove the red tape and improve the management and morale of our city departments so that SLC runs efficiently and smoothly. She has the executive branch experience from her time leading a state division under then Governor Jon Huntsman. She also has the professional experience empowering business owners and building partnerships to ensure businesses contribute to the community as responsible stakeholders. Luz is the champion Salt Lake City needs to move forward.
A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
As a mother whose daughter suffers from asthma and has developed asthma herself, the issue of air quality is a personal one for Luz. She also knows air quality is an issue that extends beyond our city and affects Utahns across our state.
We know the sources of these health-related pollutants are primarily tailpipes and buildings, which requires multiple actions to meaningfully reduce emissions.
First, we must focus on active transportation (see our "Active Transportation" issue) that includes greater mass transit ridership, alternative modes of transportation, and making our neighborhoods more walkable.
Second, as buildings will outpace motor vehicles as the top producer of harmful emissions in the coming years, we must focus on our building efficiency standards and identify ways to have older buildings renovated to reduce those emissions. We can begin with city-owned buildings and ensuring that new buildings are designed to be sustainable for the life of the building without retrofitting.
Luz has a solid record on air quality. She sponsored and passed legislation to penalize those who fail to meet car emission standards (H.B. 139). She also sponsored and passed a bill to establish and maintain monitoring facilities to measure and report the environmental impact of inland port development (S.B. 144). Luz also negotiated the ongoing appropriation of $100,000 to fund the air quality observation project, which places monitoring systems on TRAX so air quality data can be gathered across the city and valley (S.B. 3).
Luz is an effective leader that knows how to build bridges on complicated issues. She knows that Salt Lake City needs to work together with the state, Salt Lake County, and neighboring cities to address this critical issue. Luz has the relationships, the reputation and the record to build consensus and make real progress on air quality.
We all love living in Salt Lake City, but doing so has become more and more expensive and made it out of reach for many individuals and families in a range of different situations. This is not only an issue for low-income individuals and families, it also affects our seniors, working families and our young professionals. We must use all the tools in the city's toolbox to make housing more affordable for several segments of our population.
The city has several entities that play a role in affordable housing, including city's Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City (HASLC). We need to coordinate the city's collective efforts and collaborate with the state and county to effectively address the issue of affordable housing.
The city released its housing goals in a report called Growing Salt Lake City, which proposes several strategic goals that would improve affordable housing across the city. First, it targets low-income renters, particularly those under 40 percent of area median income, and seeks to provide increased housing opportunities by funding and developing new housing units, stabilizing very low-income renters, and work with landlords to improve their housing stock available.
Next, the plan seeks to review and modify land-use and zoning regulations to reflect affordability needs and removing impediments to encourage housing development. Lastly, the plan focuses on housing discrimination and programs to increase homeownership and rental opportunities.
Public-private partnerships and a working relationship with the state and Salt Lake County will be necessary for the next mayor to make progress on affordable housing and other large-scale issues. Luz has the record, the experience and the reputation as a bridge-builder who gets things done.
Our efforts to reduce tailpipe emissions and develop our city sustainably require a long-term vision on transportation.
The city's 2017 Transportation Master Plan is a great start and Luz will continue to see the plan is fully implemented. That involves partnering with UDOT, UTA, Salt Lake County and the state to ensure plans are comprehensive and well funded.
Luz will also work to ensure that our public transportation system is affordable, accessible, equitable and convenient. To increase ridership and offer services equitably, we must fill in the gaps in our transportation system.
Transportation planning also goes along with our overall city planning and zoning to make our neighborhoods more walkable and ensure that our roads work for everyone who uses them. A basic issue is maintenance. Whether it's potholes, faded lane markers, or clogged storm drains, our city needs to ensure our roads, curbs, sidewalks and gutters are well maintained.
The more we can do to get people out of their cars and using alternative modes of transportation, the better our air quality will be.
The Inland Port
The Inland Port will reside in the senate district Luz represents. She was opposed to the state takeover, she was highly critical of the lack of process and transparency, and she voted against both bills authorizing its creation. Luz also supports the city's lawsuit against the Inland Port Authority. Luz believes the lawsuit will send a message and ultimately bring some closure by defining the relationship between the Inland Port Authority, the state and the city.
It's critical that the next mayor stands ready to defend the best interests of Salt Lake City. Luz has a record of standing up for Salt Lake City and westside residents on this issue and will continue to do so as your mayor.
While she will stand against the Inland Port, Luz believes it's important to remain engaged and has the working relationships at the legislature to best advocate for the best possible outcome for our city.
It was Luz who pushed for monitoring so that we would have a baseline to evaluate air and water pollution levels going forward. It's these efforts that show the thoughtfulness and foresight Luz brings to our planning and sustainable development. It's these qualities that make Luz an effective leader and the champion Salt Lake City needs.
Real Action on Air Quality
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: