George Zinn is well-known in Utah Republican circles. He holds no party positions and has no real clout. But for decades he has attended just about every Republican meeting, rally, lecture you name it. George is always there, wearing an old pair of Levis, a well-worn sweatshirt and sneakers.
He even shows up at Republican national conventions without credentials. At the 1988 national convention, as the story goes, T.H. Bell, Ronald Reagan's secretary of Education, let George, who has no visible means of support, sleep on the floor of his hotel room in New Orleans because George had nowhere else to go.
But George has disappeared. He hasn't been seen for a month.
It turns out, he was arrested and booked into the Davis County jail for failing to pay the fines he accrued by getting caught on TRAX and Frontrunner without buying a ticket. That's how he gets to all those meetings.
George has been ordered to serve six months or pay the $1,700 in outstanding fines.
So Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove, a former state Republican chairman, has issued a plea on the Utah Republican Party Facebook to get George out of jail. He has begun a collection for George and, so far, has raised $180 in credit-card pledges. Snelgrove says the cards won't be charged until the entire $1,700 is collected.
Dick Cheney would be proud • The Utah Legislature might have its Patrick Henry Caucus, but Wyoming could lay claim to Aaron Burr Thomas Jefferson's vice president who fled the United States and tried to form his own country after fatally wounding Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804.
The Wyoming Legislature is not proposing to form a country, but a bill before lawmakers there would fund a study to determine how Wyoming would become self-sustaining in the event the federal government collapses.
It would set up a task force that would, among other things, study the feasibility of Wyoming issuing its own currency.
The original bill also would have looked at Wyoming raising its own standing army and acquiring strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier. But that language was taken out when the bill passed its second reading in the Wyoming House.
Too bad. I was picturing what it would be like to have an aircraft carrier on the Platte River.
Government waste? • For self-proclaimed federal budget protector Sen. Mike Lee, when it comes to feeding his own ego, the sky's the limit.
When Lee visited the Utah Legislature last week, he delivered to each of the 104 lawmakers his "2011 Annual Report to the Legislature," a 2-inch-thick, several-pound binder that is all about him.
The document contains the bills he has introduced, his press briefings, transcripts of his speeches, his blogs, his tweets, his YouTube logs and pictures of himself in color, of course.
Described by one legislator as "shameless self-promotion," another said the book will make a "good doorstop."
An afterthought • The First Presidency of the LDS Church had ward leaders read a letter to congregations Feb. 19 that encouraged members to participate in their political parties and attend their neighborhood caucuses in March. It also asked ward leaders not to schedule church meetings on the evenings of March 13 and 15 to avoid conflict with political caucuses.
But after the letter was read in a Cottonwood Heights ward that day, women attending a Relief Society meeting learned it was optional. They were told the bishop said it was OK to still have their monthly women's meeting on the evening of March 13. That's the night the Democrats are having their neighborhood caucuses. The Republicans caucus on the 15th.
But wiser minds prevailed. After some complaints, the meeting was rescheduled.