Candidate pleased with City Hall |

Candidate pleased with City Hall

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Saying she likes Park City and wants to assist as it advances, Liza Simpson will compete for a spot on the City Council, putting her in front of voters who have frequently rewarded activism like hers.

Simpson says her time in Park City has been rewarding and she wants to help guide City Hall as the local government grapples with growth-related issues like traffic and the environment.

"This town’s nurtured me through a lot of life changes," she says. "It means I’d like to help nurture it through its changes."

Simpson says she is pleased with City Hall’s efforts and her campaign will not target the local government. Instead she wants to press issues that have been widely discussed locally for years.

"I don’t feel the town’s headed in a bad direction," she says, adding that the current elected officials are doing a "very good job."

Still, Simpson expects to put issues like reducing traffic and building affordable housing into her platform, which she has not finalized.

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She calls housing prices and rents, which soar above the rest of Utah, the worst trend in Park City. Simpson wants to continue City Hall’s efforts to build restricted affordable housing.

Simpson prefers that the housing City Hall builds be available for sale to people who qualify rather than be put into rental pools. That, she says, makes people more apt to be community minded.

"I think people take care of things they own and gives them more of a grounding in the city," Simpson says.

She acknowledges she has not finished details about her affordable-housing plank and she is unwilling to talk about ideas she has about the topic.

Meanwhile, Simpson says she wants more people to ride buses but she does not provide details how she will encourage people to do so. She says she wants to "continue to look at ways to put more bodies on the buses."

She says future studies could show whether changes are needed to the bus system, which is anchored at the Old Town transit center and stretches through Park City and to the Snyderville Basin.

Simpson is known in several circles and she has campaigned for others in past elections, including for Mayor Dana Williams when he won the office in 2001 and in winning City Council campaigns for Candy Erickson, Fred Jones and Hugh Daniels.

She is 45 years old, lives in Old Town and has lived in Park City for most of the time since 1989. She serves on City Hall’s Recreation Advisory Board, which holds some duties as the local government considers recreation facilities and policies. The board is a key player as officials search for a place to build a dog park, for instance. Simpson runs Java Cow Cafe & Bakery and Cow’s on Main Street.

"I believe we benefit from a regular change of faces and ideas. I will bring some unique ideas and as a renter, dog owner, Main Street worker (and manager), I will bring a different demographic to the Council," Simpson says in a prepared statement announcing her candidacy.

She talks broadly about growth but is still crafting that plank of her platform. She declines to discuss Treasure Hill, a controversial proposal to build on the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort, just west of Old Town. She says she will listen to the arguments about the Sweeney family project.

"Development can be good but it just has to be done well and planned well," Simpson says.

Others who have said they plan to seek a City Council spot in 2007 are Candy Erickson and Joe Kernan, who are both incumbents. Marianne Cone holds the third City Council seat on the 2007 ballot but she has not declared whether she will seek re-election.

Candidates must file July 2-16. If more than six people become candidates, a primary will be scheduled Sept. 11 to narrow the field to six. Election Day is Nov. 6.