Aug 9, 2022 - Politics

Rocky Anderson wants to be Salt Lake City's mayor again

Rocky Anderson in a suit.

Brewvies Cinema Pub lawyer Rocky Anderson speaks with reporters outside the federal courthouse Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Salt Lake City.

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson recently announced he plans to run against incumbent Erin Mendenhall in next year's mayoral race.

Background: Anderson served as Salt Lake City mayor from 2000 to 2008.

What he's saying: In an interview with Axios, Anderson said he's witnessed "a complete failure" during Mendenhall's administration.

  • He said he's grown concerned with the city's lack of solutions when it comes to affordable housing, crime and homelessness.
  • "Those issues have absolutely transformed the city into being in the worst shape the city's ever been in," said Anderson, who said he is no longer a Democrat.

State of play: The city is currently facing an influx of new residents moving in and a critical affordable housing shortage that is driving low-income families out.

Go deeper: Anderson played an active role as the city hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and has been an attorney in high-profile lawsuits in Salt Lake City.

  • In 2016, he was accused of sexism by two former female employees who worked for his law firm.
  • He denied the allegations, calling them "preposterous."

The other side: During her first year in office, Mendenhall dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake and a windstorm that caused millions of dollars in damages.

  • "It’s easy to snipe and second-guess on Twitter, but Mayor Mendenhall is doing the hard work of governing every day in service to the people of Salt Lake City," Ian Koski, Mendenhall's political advisor, said in a statement. "She has delivered real results for the city through unprecedented crises and challenges."
  • Her council-approved 2022-23 budget this year allotted about $104 million toward the Salt Lake City Police Department, a 25% increase compared to last year's budget.

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