Community-Led City Council Candidate Forum Highlights Differences Before August 10th Primary
The community group Future Park City hosted a city council candidate forum this week ahead of the August 10th primary.
There are eight candidates vying for two city council seats in Park City this year. That field will be reduced to four after a primary on August 10th. With so many names -- some well-known in the community, and others new -- Tuesday’s community candidate forum was a chance for the hopefuls to introduce themselves to the public in their own words.
The event was hosted at The Mustang restaurant on lower Main Street by Future Park City founders Angela Moschetta and Sarah Berry. Moschetta said the duo has not decided whether they will publicly endorse any candidates for either city council or mayor.
“We fancy ourselves more connectors than anything, connectors of information and stakeholders,” Moschetta said. “We do sometimes take positions and we have endorsed candidates in the past, but we really just try to be facilitators, and because this is a deep field … we felt that it was important to kind of give everyone an opportunity to share a little bit about themselves.”
Seven out of the eight city council candidates attended the forum: consultant Jeremy Rubell, local business owners Tana Toly and John Greenfield, service industry worker Jamison Brandi, nonprofit worker Daniel Lewis, incumbent Councilor Tim Henney, and entrepreneur Michael Franchek. High school basketball coach Thomas Purcell could not attend.
Questions ranged from straightforward information-gathering about each candidate’s history in Park City, to more pointed asks, like whether candidates support the process behind last summer’s controversial Main Street social equity murals, and moving the traditional Fourth of July parade to July 2nd.
Henney was the only candidate who supported both, and only Lewis joined him in support for moving the parade.
Franchek was involved in an altercation with Park City police in 2019 where he claimed to be harassed and falsely arrested. He was asked about the incident and clarified his position on local police.
“We all know that police violence against individuals of color, and of any color is real,” said Franchek. “All you have to do is turn on and see the public sentiment has turned against police. I’m not a de-funder, I believe the police should be paid well, I believe they should be trained well. In this case I don’t think these officers were.”
Candidates were asked individualized questions about a range of topics relevant to Park City, including affordable housing, transportation and traffic problems, and mask mandates as COVID-19 rates rise and the school year approaches.
Greenfield runs a grocery delivery business and owns an affordable housing unit in Park City Heights on the eastern edge of the city. He said Park City should encourage more opportunities for first-time home buyers like his family as a way to build community instead of a model focused on rentals.
“I wouldn’t be here anymore if we had to rent a house, we would have moved away from the city years ago,” he said. “I consider myself lucky to own an affordable unit, and so does everyone else I know in Park City Heights. I think affordable units should be focused in a different way.”
Park City’s primary will be for both the city council and mayoral races. Voting will be conducted via mail. Ballots must be postmarked by Monday, August 9th, or deposited in ballot dropboxes by the 10th. The municipal election is scheduled for November 2nd.