Redevelopment Agency Meeting
The board gave approval for releasing funding towards final designs for the Folsom Trail. They have conducted a survey regarding which amenities to prioritize along the trail. This is good. What is bad is that we cannot secure land to complete the trail between 10th West and the Jordan River. Thus, the trail will on only run from Gateway as far as 10th west. From what we were told today, accessing Dominion Energy land would be cost prohibitive to make it connect. Union pacific will not entertain selling land to the city or granting an easement for the trail to continue. If you know anyone at UP, please reach out and help us find a solution.
University Research Park Master Plan
The university has been working with the RDA in developing a long-term plan for the park east of Foothill, north of Sunnyside. From my eye the plans look great. Though still in a rough conceptual phase, it adds denser housing with cultivated open space, expanded transit and multi-modal transportation to the 13,000 jobs already in that park. And all of this so close to the foothill trails and canyons. The biggest issue I saw was still no defined plan to address the pedestrian/bicycle chasm that is foothill boulevard. We were reassured that the west village college housing is being master planned along with the research park. They reported still working on creating better connections with the other surrounding residential neighborhoods and the city.
City Council Work Session
Police Department Budget
As most people are aware, the PD have dominated our agendas the last couple of weeks. And for good reason. We are hearing from a very high number of people, a high percentage who are advocating for defunding of the department. I am trying to understand how we move to a healthier community. That is also safer by design. How much law enforcement do we need as a city? How do I reconcile good police officers with whom I have worked with a clear pattern of racial profiling and disproportional prosecution and incarceration of people of color? If the system is not working for so many how can we not move for systemic change?
I do believe we need to rethink the role of law enforcement in our city. This is a broad. To not repeat the mistakes of other cities we must plan to shift mental health, substance use and homeless interventions to better services. I endorse the mayor’s proposal of a commission to make recommendations within a few months. But the scope of their review and composition of their membership will be critical. Too narrow and we might settle for ideas that won’t move us forward in meaningful ways. Some have moved to county-based systems of public safety for consistency. I don’t know that this would be better here as we have seen the struggles at Unified Police as multiple cities have split off in the past several years. And the struggle of federal, state, county and city govt’s to synchronize funding and planning. But systemic change requires us to tackle these challenges.
Learn more about the City budget here.