PARK CITY, Utah – Jody Whitesides, a dedicated resident of Park City, is running for City Council with a clear vision in mind. In an interview with Townlift, Whitesides shared his background, campaign goals, and ambitions if elected.
On September 5, Park City will hold its primary elections for the City Council, and on November 21, the general elections. The top vote-getters will move on to the primary elections in November, which will reduce the field of candidates from nine to six. Following Gov. Spencer Cox’s declaration that a special election would be held to fill Congressman Chris Stewart’s seat, statewide municipal elections were recently postponed a few weeks.
Whitesides is a long time Park City resident, and has lived in Old Town since 1979. Originally from New York City, Whitesides and his parents moved here when he was in elementary school. He is a member of the first graduating class of Treasure Mountain Middle School, and he graduated from Park City High School in 1987.
Whitesides is a self-proclaimed ‘recreation nut’, and he has an extensive athletic career, beginning during his time at PCHS. While in high school, he was a member of the varsity tennis, cross-country, and track and field teams. He also adapted to Park City well, and took up freestyle skiing and BMX riding, competing on the national level in both sports throughout his early twenties.
Besides being an accomplished athlete, Whitesides is also a career musician, originally playing the guitar, and then eventually learning to sing and play a variety of other instruments. Whitesides is best known for his song “Live Like I’m Rich,” and creating several songs for different NFL teams, including “Do You Want to Play- Cincinnati Bengals.”
Whitesides believes his career as a performer could help him in a position such as City Council, “I am not afraid to open my mouth and speak my mind. And I think part of that comes from the job that I’ve had for a long time, being a performer, and that kind of thing, getting up and speaking in front of people, is not an issue for me.”
Whitesides has his own home studio here in Park City, and while he continues to make music, he also still has time to serve the community. Whitesides has served on the Park City Recreation Advisory Board since 2021, and is also one of the founding members of the Park City Pickle ball Club. He was recently reappointed to serve another 3 years on the Rec. Board, a position he would have to resign from if elected to City Council.
While sitting on the Rec. Board, Whitesides has been a proponent in accomplishing several projects, all of which are focused on increasing accessibility of various sports.
“We originally worked on the new City Community Center at City Park,” Whitesides said of his time on the Rec. Board. “We also updated MARC aquatics, renovated some spots on the MARC, and worked on trail management and on other recreation maintenance that was needed. In addition to all that, we expanded sports at Quinn’s Junction, including pickle ball and creating pickle ball facilities and new courts.”
Besides recreation, Whitesides also has some initiatives he would like to introduce if elected to City Council. As Whitesides has been a resident of Park City for over 40 years, he provides a unique insight into some of the challenges facing the city today.
“When I was a kid, Deer Valley was empty, and it was just dirt trails up there. In Old Town, everything north of Heber street was all grasses and swamplands.” Whitesides said. “One of the biggest changes in my time here has been overdevelopment. There’s a lot of people with second homes and I can’t begrudge them of it, but at the same time, it forces people out that actually want to live here full time.”
Whitesides understands there is a problem with both overdevelopment and lack of affordable housing in Park City, and has a different approach to resolve the issue.
“It’s not necessarily my platform to sit and talk about second home problems and overdevelopment more than I would rather see proper building code and forceful changes to the land management code introduced. Land management code needs to change to mitigate issues like dust, and other things that it now allows such as building homes with a setback of only three feet.”
“My house is eight feet back because that’s what it used to be, but now people with money are changing the laws so they can build these ridiculous homes. We got a five bedroom home with a one car garage. That’s not designed for a family, that’s designed for rentals,” Whitesides explained.
In addition to changing development and management codes if elected, Whitesides will also focus on introducing high-capacity network internet throughout Park City, specifically fiber internet.
“We do not get the benefit of being able to have fiber Internet here. There are a few places that the city controls that has fiber internet, mainly the city building, but we in Park City cannot get fiber internet,” Whitesides said. “I don’t want to slack the previous council, but they decided they wanted to foster internet competition. It’s not working out so well, and we should be having 10 gigabit fiber internet that is symmetrical meaning 10 gigabit down 10 gigabit up for 40 bucks a month.”
While Whitesides will be focusing on increasing fiber internet accessibility and reintroducing land development codes, he will also be advocating for different ways to curb traffic and promote the use of public transportation throughout his campaign.
“I’m probably the one candidate that rides the bus more than anyone else,” Whitesides said. “I’ve had multiple people who have come to me since I’ve announced that I’m running for council, tell me they would ride the bus if it was more often because most routes are only every half hour. If you want to get the locals to ride, it needs to run on a ten minute schedule or less.”
“I would also love to see traffic reduced in town by using methods such as a a daily drive into town tax,” Whiteside continued. “If we give people an incentive who are coming into town to park out at a park ride and have buses running every 10 minutes or less, people would probably less be less inclined to pay to come in with their car parked out there knowing they’re going to have a shuttle in and out of town running like clockwork.”
Whitesides is hoping to implement these ideas if elected onto City Council, and will begin campaigning by knocking on doors and speaking with residents about himself and his ideas.