"I was born and raised in Glendale. I've raised my family here on the Westside. I have devoted more than 20 years working to make our neighborhoods better. Experience tells us that the policy issues we face today can only be solved with a deep understanding of the Westside and our history, plans that are data-driven and community-based, relationships that are rooted in our neighborhoods and across our city, and a genuine passion for the Westside and all its residents. I am running for City Council to share a vision for our Westside and our city, where opportunity empowers our community, where relationships build bridges across our city, and where access and equity amplifies our Westside voices. Most importantly, we will do this together."
— Billy Palmer
Scroll through Billy Palmer's platform or use the menu to navigate to a particular issue.
YOUTH, ELDERS, AND FAMILIES
Our Westside accounts for half of our city’s children and boasts one of the younger demographics across our city. We also have many multigenerational families where grandparents and grandchildren live in the same home or nearby. To empower our community, Billy Palmer will work to keep our youth, our elders, and our families central to our city’s focus and policies.
To begin, our city should invest in prenatal and early childhood care to provide a healthy beginning for many Salt Lake City families. Affordable, high-quality childcare is critical for working parents. Billy will seek to introduce a childcare program for city employees to help our families maintain structure in their busy lives and model what we hope other employers will do. Billy will also seek to further education programs for parents, senior mentorship programs, and further the city's Community Learning Center model to advance adult learning opportunities and make our families stronger.
Billy will pursue developing stronger partnerships and collaboration among our city’s school district and nonprofits to focus on early childhood education, after school programs, and child healthcare. Billy will explore the city taking a role in leveraging public-private partnerships to provide counselors, nurses, and access to healthcare in our Salt Lake City schools.
Lastly, for our older Westsiders, Billy will seek to reinvigorate the city’s Aging in Place Initiative, press that future developments include Age-Friendly considerations, and partner with the county to further our city’s support for our elder community and their caregivers.
With multigenerational families living on the Westside, our policies must be centered around youth, elders, and families.
To empower our community, Billy Palmer will work to keep our youth, our elders, and our families central to our city's focus and policies.
PUBLIC SAFETY & POLICE REFORM
Empowering our community requires safe neighborhoods and some meaningful reforms to ensure both public safety and respect for our Westside communities. As a lifelong Westsider, as a father of three, and as a Black man, Billy Palmer understands the issues surrounding public safety and police reform in many ways. From this, Billy sees some common ground. Every Westsider deserves safe streets and dignity when it comes to our police department. Both will require that we invest in a community policing model that will allow us to: recruit and retain quality officers, provide them with improved training, and ensure equitable service across the city.
For community policing to work, we must work to build trust between the police and the community—and that’s a two-way street. We must work together so that our police officers come home safe after every shift and that our police department remains accountable. Effective oversight requires community engagement and good faith on all sides.
Residents and our local businesses also have been expressing many concerns about the recent trends of rising violence and crime, continued drug use, and criminal elements exploiting large homeless encampments. These complex problems do not have any singular or easy solution. In addition to long-term plans underway, Billy will continue the conversation to find innovative, data-driven, and effective solutions to these issues that impact everyone in our community.
Billy has spent years building bridges on all sides of these issues. Whether it’s police oversight or crime reduction, neighborhood safety requires community engagement. Billy is the City Council candidate that can best bring all parties to the table to make progress on our common goals.
Billy Palmer sits in on a SLC Police Department outreach meeting with leaders from the Westside's Latino community.
Whether it's police oversight or crime reduction, neighborhood safety requires community engagement.
People experiencing homelessness are a part of our city and our community. Their situations must be our concern not just as a public health and safety issue, but as a moral issue. At the same time, large encampments throughout our Westside neighborhoods do present some real challenges we must face, particularly when exploited by criminal elements. Billy Palmer approaches this issue having experienced evictions and periods of homelessness as a child and later as an advocate against poverty and hunger.
Key to addressing homelessness is understanding the many layers of complex causes and individual situations that overlap to form this heart-wrenching issue. And as we look at the negative impacts and multitude of policies and programs, we must keep our focus on the human side of the issue and the equity of our solutions.
This is a citywide and statewide issue that requires our city working together and alongside our county and state to truly address the crisis. We must continue to make our resource centers more robust, increase the number of beds available, improve coordination among service providers, and develop further outreach and wrap-around services to assist those individuals who refuse to enter shelters due to trauma.
We must also address children experiencing homelessness to ensure not only their health and welfare, but also provide stability in their education as many have their school year interrupted, shortened, or otherwise impeded by their family’s homelessness.
Extending resources and services requires our city work with several stakeholders, including the state, Salt Lake County, nonprofits, and residents, to find new ways of addressing this longstanding issue. It's also important to collect adequate and accurate data from shelters, resource centers, and service providers to properly track the outcomes and our progress.
Homelessness is a painfully visible issue across our city and on the Westside.
Key to addressing homelessness is understanding the many layers of complex causes and individual situations that overlap to form this heart-wrenching issue.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING OPTIONS & INCLUSIONARY ZONING
We all love living on the Westside and in Salt Lake City, but doing so has become so expensive that it has become out of reach for many individuals and families in a range of different financial situations. This is not only an issue for low-income individuals and families, it also affects people at every income level and age group. Whether it’s young professionals looking for a starter home, working families looking to upgrade, or retirees looking to scale down, our housing stock is not serving our city or our Westside community. Through his years working with NeighborWorks, Billy Palmer has found purpose in providing housing and home ownership opportunities and will continue this work on the City Council.
At the same time, our Westside cannot become the city’s place for concentrated low-income housing as it will hinder our ability to share in economic development opportunities. Ultimately, we must use all the resources in the city's toolbox to make housing more affordable for people at every income.
The city has several entities that play a role in affordable housing, including the city's Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and the Housing Authority of Salt Lake City (HASLC). We need to coordinate the city's collective efforts, collaborate with the state and county, deepen partnerships with nonprofits in the field (such as NeighborWorks), and negotiate with developers to effectively address the issue of affordable housing.
The city released its housing goals in a report called Growing Salt Lake City, which proposes several strategic goals that would improve affordable housing across the city. First, it targets low-income renters (particularly those under 40 percent of area median income) by providing increased housing opportunities through funding and developing new units, stabilizing low-income renters, and working with landlords to improve their housing stock availability.
Next, the plan seeks to review and modify land-use and zoning regulations to reflect affordability needs and removing impediments to encourage housing development. Lastly, the plan focuses on housing discrimination and programs to increase homeownership and rental opportunities.
Public-private partnerships and a working relationship with the state and Salt Lake County will be critical and Billy’s experience and relationships make him the bridge builder to help the City Council make much needed progress.
North Temple construction underway.
Whether it's young professionals looking for a starter home, working families looking to upgrade, or retirees looking to scale down, our housing stock is not serving our city or our Westside community.
AN ECONOMY FOR ALL
To ensure our Westside shares in the benefits of our city’s economic growth, our city must competitively attract business to the Westside. Perhaps more importantly, our city must empower our Westside community to develop its own local businesses to develop the nodes envisioned in the Westside Master Plan. Billy Palmer worked to develop the Westside Master Plan and will continue working on the City Council to see those plans become a reality for our Westside neighborhoods.
Our business community and entrepreneurs should consider City Hall a resource and a partner. To empower our community, we must foster the ability of Westside residents to develop businesses, raise startup capital, and grow their operations. At the same time, our city should work with businesses to ensure our city’s values are reflected in workplaces throughout Salt Lake City. These values include living wages, pay equity, and inclusiveness.
Our economic development efforts should be focused on the business nodes that were a critical component to our Westside Master Plan and vital to harnessing the opportunities our Westside holds. These nodes include: revitalizing North Temple as the grand boulevard into our capital city, growing Poplar Grove's 9th & 9th area, and attracting anchor businesses to Redwood Road. Perhaps more importantly, Billy wants our city to develop new nodes fueled by local Westside businesses. That will require our city to focus on helping entrepreneurs navigate the complicated web of zoning, ordinances, permitting, and licensing. We must also work with various private and nonprofit organizations, such as the Salt Lake Chamber and Suazo Business Center, to leverage our combined resources to these efforts.
Billy knows that our Westside must also offer a viable consumer base that can foster and attract businesses. That requires a comprehensive and inclusionary housing policy to ensure affordable housing options for all income levels. Beyond low-income housing, we must also add mixed-income developments so our median income level can support new retail shops and restaurants on the Westside (see our Affordable Housing section).
These priorities will empower our Westside community by fostering the creation of new businesses, growing a stronger consumer base to support those businesses, and making our Westside economy more prosperous for everyone.
A Salt Lake City icon, Red Iguana serves as a model for how our local Westside businesses can empower our community.
Our city should work with businesses to ensure our city's values are reflected in workplaces throughout Salt Lake City.
THE INLAND PORT
The Inland Port will impact our Westside neighborhoods, our city, and the whole Salt Lake Valley. Billy Palmer was opposed to the state’s takeover of the project, he was highly critical of the lack of process and transparency, and stood with other Westside and clean air advocates in protesting against the Inland Port. Billy supports the city's current lawsuit against the Inland Port Authority and believes the lawsuit will ultimately bring some closure by defining the relationship between the Inland Port Authority, the state, and the city.
Barring some unforeseen events, the reality remains that the Inland Port will be developed. As such, Billy will focus on making sure that proper oversight and accountability ensure that some key promises are kept. Those promises include: good-paying jobs, environmental impact studies, data collection on pollution levels, mitigation efforts to reduce the impact of pollution, and funding for affordable housing.
The Inland Port is not an ideal development, but by working together we can focus on the opportunities it may offer and find some silver linings for our city and our Westside residents.
By working together, we can find some opportunities and silver linings for our city and the Westside.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
Our efforts to reduce tailpipe emissions and develop a sustainable city requires a long-term vision on transportation and infrastructure. Billy Palmer will work to make our public transportation system more affordable, accessible, equitable, and convenient. To increase ridership and offer services equitably, we must fill in the gaps in our transportation system, particularly those on the Westside.
Transportation planning also goes along with our overall city planning and zoning to make our neighborhoods more walkable and ensure that our roads work for everyone who uses them. A basic issue is maintenance. Whether it's potholes, faded lane markers, or clogged storm drains, our city needs to ensure our roads, curbs, sidewalks, and gutters are well maintained. This is an area where the Westside has a long history of being underserved and Billy will fight to ensure greater equity in these city services.
The city's 2017 Transportation Master Plan is a great start and Billy wants to focus on the development of the components that impact our Westside. That involves partnering with UDOT, UTA, Salt Lake County and the state to ensure plans are comprehensive and well-funded. This bridge building is something Billy can help the City Council and Mayor facilitate.
Our city must also invest in our infrastructure, which includes our roads, bridges, power grid, Internet access, sewer system, sidewalks, curbs and gutters. These investments, along with other capital improvements to our parks and public buildings, must be done equitably. With Billy's experience on the city's capital improvements board, he knows how our City Council can allocate resources more equitably across our city.
Lastly, to ensure that our city makes the right investments on the Westside, we need our community at the table. That involves ensuring Westside representation on city boards and commissions, fostering greater participation in our community councils, and working with city agencies to be more inclusive. Ultimately, as our Westside grows and develops, it's our Westside voices that should be heard. That requires better outreach programs and communication to hear the priorities of our Westside neighborhoods. Billy has been amplifying Westside voices for much of his 20 years working for our community and will always continue to do so on the City Council.
From transportation to infrastructure, our city's investments on the Westside must be more equitable. This requires a city council member who will engage our community and amplify our Westside voices in City Hall. Billy Palmer is the candidate with the experience and the relationships to get this job done.
SAFE STREETS & WALKABLE NEIGHBORHOODS
Many of our Westside neighbors express frustration and concern about the safety of our city streets--and for good reason. District 2’s heavy traffic stems from our proximity to industrial areas, freeway access, and a major entry point into our capital city. Tragically, this creates repeated stories of accidents impacting residents across the Westside.
Our unique conditions in District 2 require tailored solutions to our Westside neighborhoods. Not every street initiative that works in other parts of the city will work in our Fairpark, Poplar Grove, and Glendale neighborhoods. Some solutions, like road diets, require additional mitigation measures, like bump-outs and center medians, to effectively improve conditions. Westsiders also know the impact of trains on our neighborhoods and traffic, which sometimes leads to unexpected stops and fender benders.
When Billy worked on the Westside Master Plan, dangerous streets were specifically highlighted to be addressed and several solutions were offered. Some of those solutions have been put into action and many others were left planned but unfinished, leaving it to Westsiders to once again fight for equity when it comes to resources and to advocate for each project, one-by-one.
We need a stronger voice in City Hall.
Billy Palmer will press for equitable consideration from the City Council and recruit Westsiders to ensure District 2 has full representation on city boards and commissions. Most directly, Billy will work with our city’s Transportation Division to focus on equity, address longstanding areas of concern, and expedite projects to make our streets safer throughout the Westside.
Billy Palmer will work with our city's Transportation Division to focus on equity, address longstanding areas of concern, and expedite projects to make our streets safer throughout the Westside.
Our Westside neighborhoods deserve safer streets for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles.