Paul Rolly: Democratic chairman Dabakis staying in Utah
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

State Democratic Chairman Jim Dabakis says he would rather be the party chairman in Utah for free than head the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C., for close to a half-million dollars a year.

"I am flattered and honored to have my name mentioned together with the Human Rights Campaign, Dabakis said in a prepared statement Tuesday. "However, the last six months of being the chair of the Utah Democratic Party have been the most interesting, challenging and rewarding time of my life. The association with so many Democrats across our beautiful state has been a singular honor, and I will not leave my job half done. I would rather work for free in Utah than pile up cash in D.C."

I wrote last week that Dabakis was on the short list to replace the retiring Joe Solmonese as president of Washington, D.C.-based HRC, the largest gay and lesbian rights organization in the country.

While the HRC job pays about $470,000 a year, Dabakis is a successful business entrepreneur in his private life.

City punished for saving tax dollars • The citizens of Saratoga Springs wanted a public library, but the city didn't have the money to build one.

So they built it themselves, with residents' contributions and labor, donated books and volunteer library staff.

And for that effort, the city is being punished by the State Library Board, which has withheld certification because the library is not funded by at least 65 percent in taxpayer money.

Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, who led the volunteer effort, says by not being certified, the library cannot benefit from the discount book prices offered to certified libraries and cannot share resources with other Utah County libraries.

State Librarian Donna Jones Morris enters into a partnership with the local libraries and must be sure those libraries are committed to the cause. Therefore, it requires the libraries receive at least 65 percent of its funding from government sources over a three-year period.

The Saratoga Springs Library, housed on a renovated floor of the city government building, has 14,000 books, all donated, and a bevy of volunteers staffing it four hours a day, six days a week.

"This is crazy," said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, who is president of the Utah Taxpayers Association. "They find an innovative way to provide a service without using taxpayer dollars and for that they can't be certified? They should be commended, not punished."

Stephenson said he will try to have the Library Board policy changed either by administrative rule or legislation.

How to hoodwink a tourist • I wanted to take my son, his wife and their 1-year-old son to dinner Saturday before my son and I went to the Jazz game and friends wanted to meet us at the Beer Hive, a pub in downtown Salt Lake City. But when I called to check, I was told the baby, by law, could not enter that establishment. Nobody under 21 allowed.

So we went to Squatters, a brew pub in downtown Salt Lake City, where the baby was allowed to join us. Both places serve alcohol. Both places serve food. Both places have televisions strategically placed throughout their premises that air sporting events.

But one allows children and the other doesn't.

The difference? The Beer Hive has a social club license, meaning patrons can get a drink without ordering food, and Squatters has a dining club license, meaning patrons must order food with their drinks. So the baby can be in the dining club, around alcohol, but not the social club, around alcohol.

Explain that to a tourist visiting our fair state, especially since officials say they would like to bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.