This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Kim Lawson should pick on someone his own size.
Kanab's mayor took offense when a 17-year-old Eagle Scout and local newspaper intern had the guts to write "Mayor Lawson, I'm callin' you out," in his Southern Utah News column. But the mayor didn't have the nerve to face the young man down in public, or to address the issues raised in print.
Instead, Lawson dashed off a couple of ill-considered letters to the local school superintendent and LDS stake president suggesting that they take the young man in hand or, at least, disassociate themselves from his "diatribes."
The writer in question is Matt Livingston. He is, according to the mayor, out of line and needs some "mid-course guidance" from church officials so that he will, in future, agree with the mayor.
Like any good newspaper opinion writer, Livingston sees it as his purpose to point out what he perceives to be the errors of those in authority and offer his own guidance as to a better course of action. Like any 17-year-old, his impact is likely to be limited.
Livingston's audience, however, was greatly expanded by the fact that, in adding his voice to those who oppose the Kanab City Council's approval of its absurd Natural Family Resolution, he raised the ire of a public official who was probably looking for a way to punch back at reams of bad publicity.
The mayor could have ignored Livingston's criticism, or he could have taken it seriously and answered in kind. He could have defended, again, the action that puts the government of Kanab on record as favoring one sort of "family" - working father, fecund mother and a "quiver" of children - over all the others.
Livingston, like many others locally and nationally, wrote that such a resolution is hurtful and far out of bounds for any government official to proclaim.
The mayor obviously disagrees, and he has every right to say why he thinks his beliefs are correct. But it was extremely small of the mayor to try - unsuccessfully, as it turns out - to sic church and school officials on Livingston, or on anyone else, for the simple act of disagreeing with those in authority.
Clearly, even at his tender age, Matt Livingston knows more about being a newspaper writer than Kim Lawson knows about being a mayor.