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Paul Rolly: Is 'moderate' a dirty word in Heber City politics?

Published October 30, 2013 10:02 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I wrote in Monday's column about how partisan politics has crept into the officially nonpartisan Holladay mayor's race and have been getting examples of party participation in other city contests as well.

In Heber City, residents take it even further. You not only have to be a Republican to secure certain endorsements, you also have to be a "special" Republican.

The tea party has taken an active role in the City Council races there, with questions during the debates and in online forums consistent with tea party values.

Questions for council candidates include these doozies: "Do you align yourself more with Orrin Hatch or Mike Lee?" "Do you believe our government is a democracy or a republic?" "Do you consider yourself a moderate?" (That, apparently, is a bad thing.) "Do you support consensus?" (Another bad thing.)

One active group is "The Cornerstone of Freedom," which is aligned with the Eagle Forum and has training seminars for mostly home-schooling moms to fight for certain causes — the passionate one of late is the battle against the Common Core.

Politics in biblical terms • Another nonpartisan mayor's race, this one in South Jordan, has turned to the Ten Commandments.

David Alvord, running against incumbent Scott Osborne, is taking on Mormon women seeking ordination to the LDS Church's all-male priesthood.

"Dear women who want the priesthood," began a comment Alvord posted on his Facebook page. "While you're at the negotiating table with God, can you ask him to let us men live as long as women and do something about male pattern baldness? Also, home teaching once a quarter would be cool. Oh, and the Ten Commandments. Can you negotiate them down to eight commandments? Start at five and he'll counter at nine and then you can settle at seven or eight. The commandment that we have to cross off the list is 'thou shalt not covet.' As in thou shalt not covet the priesthood."

After encountering some criticism for that post (wonder why?), he deleted it. But a few observers took a screen shot of it first. It has led some critics to question the candidate's temperament.

Speaking of South Jordan • City Councilman Mark Seethaler has been criticized on the Transparent South Jordan Facebook page, run by former Councilwoman Kathy Johnson, for sending a comment about a council race to another councilman from his work email. Seethaler is employed by the LDS Church and his comment was sent from his lds.org address.

Seethaler said he has several email accounts and tries to use his personal account for political conversations, but his office building has a firewall, which prevents him from using a different account. Once in a while, he said, if he needs to send a message out during the day, he'll do it from his office email, but tries not to.

"If the worst thing they can find about me is I used my office account for an email to another councilman," he said, "I plead guilty."

Speaking of emails • Seethaler sent out an endorsement for council candidate Chris Rogers, who is running against incumbent Larry Short. Seethaler wanted Short to know beforehand, so he sent him an email containing the endorsement statement.

Short thanked him, but replied that "GRAMA already beat you." Apparently, someone already had passed along information obtained through Utah's Government Records Access and Management Act that showed whom Seethaler was backing.

Seethaler wrote back: "That GRAMA is a quick whippersnapper."

Power of advertising • Steve Owens, a Salt Lake City attorney, posted on his Facebook page what he said was a true story from his LDS ward. A Primary teacher asked the young class members if they knew the meaning of resurrection. One child replied, "If it lasts more than four hours, you are to seek immediate medical attention."

prolly@sltrib.com —






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