This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In one corner is Sen. Jani Iwamoto, a Democrat who represents Holladay in Salt Lake County.
In the other is Rep. Curt Webb, a Republican who represents Logan and whose party holds 63 of the 75 House seats and 24 of the 29 Senate seats.
So, under that scenario, who do you think wins in this pretty, great state, regardless of the issue, which in this battle involves access and safety for those who live and recreate at Bear Lake?
The two have competing bills, Iwamoto's SB49 and Webb's HB140, both of which address constituent concerns and are backed by compelling arguments from passionate advocates.
They share many of the same aims, save for one governing use of the lake in which the two bills are polar opposites.
Iwamoto's measure allows vehicular traffic only along designated traffic lanes going down to the beach and only for the purpose of launching watercraft and dropping off whatever equipment and toys the lake user plans to employ while there. It prohibits parallel driving along the shore a critical detail for beachfront homeowners who worry about the safety of children playing near the lake and for those town officials who fear the traffic will destroy the pristine nature of the beaches.
Webb's bill allows parallel driving along the beach, limited to a half mile in either direction, to give recreationists who don't have shoreline homes an opportunity to find a spot to spend the day without having to carry on foot their coolers, lawn chairs and beach toys. Backers also have testified that elderly relatives or those with disabilities need to be transported along the beach in a vehicle.
Webb's measure breezed through a House committee and then the full chamber, 63-5, with the only nay votes coming from Democrats. It currently is in the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee, where it was heard Thursday but held without a vote.
Iwamoto's bill sailed through that same Senate committee earlier and is awaiting a final Senate vote.
Those who supported her bill in committee include some of her Salt Lake County constituents, who have beachfront property, as well as Garden City officials, although Garden City Mayor John Spuhler's stand seemed a bit confused.
Spuhler, who has since left the country on business, sent a letter to Webb, which the representative has shared with his colleagues, that signed off on a compromise allowing parallel driving up to a half-mile.
In a follow-up letter to Iwamoto, which she also shared, Spuhler said he agreed to the compromise because "it was very clear that the majority of the minds of the [House] committee members related to [Webb's bill] were made up before any testimony took place and the majority would have voted in favor no matter what."
He complained to Iwamoto "instead of gleaning information from those of us on the front lines, legislators draw conclusion from a relatively small number of vocal people."
The mayor also wrote that he had agreed to a parallel-driving distance of 500 yards, instead of the half-mile. That was reiterated in Thursday's Senate committee hearing by Garden City Town Council member Darin Pugmire.
Among the vocal supporters of Webb's bill were three well-connected lobbyists: Candace Daly, Todd Bingham and Kate Bradshaw.
Those ties, plus Spuhler's impression that Webb's bill is a done deal, have backers of Iwamoto's measure suspecting that the Republican fix is in.