Record editorial: Parkites face difficult task in choosing among qualified mayoral, City Council candidates
Park City voters are in a fortunate position.
There are five qualified, passionate candidates running this election season to represent them at the Marsac Building — two competing for the mayor’s office and three vying for one of two seats on the City Council. Each has proven worthy of the position they seek and capable of suitably serving the residents of Park City.
Nonetheless, three of the candidates have set themselves apart from their opponents.
In the mayoral race, it’s tough to imagine someone as well prepared to succeed in the job as Nann Worel. Her background speaks for itself, from previously leading one of the community’s vital nonprofits to her time on the Park City Planning Commission to her current role on the City Council, where she has been a strong voice and a thoughtful decision-maker for nearly six years.
More than her resume, though, Worel’s inclusive leadership style would be an asset at the Marsac Building. She is respected by those who know her as someone who seeks out opposing viewpoints, brings diverse perspectives to the table and aims to build consensus on difficult topics. Those attributes will be crucial over the next four years as City Hall continues to confront a web of complicated issues at a time when larger forces are changing our community.
That is not to say incumbent Andy Beerman has performed poorly in his term as mayor. On the contrary, he and his supporters have rightly pointed to a number of successes during his term, from the acquisition of the Treasure land overlooking Old Town to helping shepherd the community through the first year and a half of the coronavirus pandemic.
The endorsements he has received from regional leaders such as Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and former Congressman Ben McAdams, meanwhile, have been particularly impressive and speak to his ability to forge partnerships beyond Summit County’s borders in service of Park City’s interests.
Worel has strong ties with officials at the County Courthouse, Park City’s most important regional partner, but it will be crucial for her, if elected, to devote significant time and energy into developing ties elsewhere in the region and state.
As strong as Beerman’s regional relationships are, though, he has not been as successful in building cohesion at home. A significant portion of Parkites see the city government as having become more insular during his term, and contend that their input increasingly falls on deaf ears at the Marsac Building.
Some of the criticism is justified, though it’s clear Beerman has attempted in good faith to represent the will of Parkites.
Regardless, Worel is particularly well suited to bridge the existing divides, foster community and ensure City Hall is in lockstep with the people it serves, both in substance and style. In a race with two good candidates, that’s ultimately why Parkites should send her to the mayor’s office.
As difficult of a choice as voters face in the mayoral race, deciding among the City Council candidates isn’t any easier. Incumbent Tim Henney and challengers Tana Toly and Jeremy Rubell each offer significant strengths that would serve them — and the community — well over the next four years.
Henney, for one, brings nearly eight years of experience on the City Council, where he has never shied from digging into the difficult issues and voicing his opinions on them. He is familiar with the inner workings of City Hall as well as the role of elected officials in both shaping the government’s agenda and pushing it forward. Voters would be wise to retain his wisdom, particularly given the possibility of a significant amount of turnover on the City Council should Worel ascend to the mayor’s office.
Rubell is a newcomer to City Hall politics but has proven to be a quick study, demonstrating an understanding of the issues and a desire to earn Parkites’ trust on the campaign trail. His work experience in project management and as a high-level business consultant would benefit City Hall as it pursues buy-in from residents who hold a diverse range of opinions and interests.
That leaves Toly, a multi-generation Parkite who has a long background of community involvement, including leadership positions in the Historic Park City Alliance, Historic Preservation Board and other organizations. She also co-owns a Main Street business, Red Banjo Pizza Parlour, giving her keen insight into many of the issues facing the city.
The perspective she offers, though, is already represented on the City Council, in Max Doilney, a lifelong Parkite who owns a business, and Becca Gerber, who also largely grew up in Park City.
Toly is certainly qualified to serve, but she is edged by her two competitors, who each offer something vital that the City Council would otherwise lack.
The margins are narrow, as they are in the mayoral contest. In both races, Park City voters have a challenging task. As they labor over their ballots, however, they can be assured that, no matter who is elected, Parkites will be represented well at City Hall over the next four years.
Election Day is Nov. 2. Ballots in the vote-by-mail election must be postmarked on or before Nov. 1. Voters can also return ballots at several drop-box locations. For more information, visit parkcity.org/government/election-information.
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