Dana Williams served three terms as Park City Mayor, taking office just days before the opening of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Even though he declared in 2013 that he was ready to transition out of office, he says certain events have made him want to return. Carolyn Murray has more.
Dana Williams, one of three candidates for mayor, says the Park City trademark incident last year inspired him to return to politics and public service. He's running for Mayor in the primary election on August 15th, along with Andy Beerman and Roger Armstrong. The top two vote-getters will move onto the general election in November. In some areas, Williams agrees with the direction of the city.
"With some things, the idea that we are even looking at being a zero-carbon city, huge amounts of affordable housing, that we've added some amazing new open space -- Bonanza Flat -- those are all extensions of how the government shifted from the time that I was in office. I'm not there to challenge anybody, I'm there to add another voice from someone that history matters, institutional memory matters, and so I'm just trying to add another voice to that."
Williams is pretty much in agreement with the city's posture on traffic, affordable housing, sustainability, growth, and development. But, he says, there's a segment of the population who are not served. He thinks the city needs a Latino advisory committee.
"You go to bed worrying about the people having the toughest time in your town, you try to champion, maybe, people that don't have as much of a voice. So, I think during my tenure in office, there were groups like Arts Kids, Peace House, or the People's Health Center, that we made sure we tried to help those areas of town that people might not have a voice. We still have those issues, but they've shifted a bit. Probably one of the number-one issues is the 30% of our community that, right now, doesn't know what their disposition over the next several years is going to be, in terms of the Latino community."
He has concerns about the efforts of the federal administration regarding J1 visas and what it would do to the local businesses. And he is concerned about the communities of Latinos who are threatened by deportation.
Williams says he was very active during the turn of the 20th century and suggests so much of that work brought about changes to Summit County and Park City Municipal. He says it showed what citizens can do to affect change.
"I think one of the things that is actually most important was, during the period of the 90s, I helped form the Summit Land Conservancy, and was an early member of Utah Open Lands, and also started an organization called the Citizens Allied for Responsible Growth, which at that time, the development community referred to us as CAVE -- Citizens Against Virtually Everything. 'Citizens' became very powerful during that decade of the 90s, and I think that's one of the -- we'll get to one of the reasons I'm running now, is that that time period changed the whole paradigm of both Park City and Summit County government. So all of those things that we were working for, that we were so frustrated about, because we weren't making any change, they did change."
Williams was part of the KPCW candidate forum on the morning of Friday, August 4.