As the ACLU carries forward its lawsuit against free speech restrictions in the “Little Bit O’ Paris” LDS park where Main Street used to be, the administration of Mayor Rocky Anderson has been conspicuous by its absence.
During the mayoral campaign of 1999, candidate Anderson said the street wouldn’t have been sold to the LDS church had he been mayor. Anderson’s chief of staff, Deeda Seed, was a vocal opponent of sale when she sat on the City Council during that period. But we haven’t heard peep one out of either of them on the deal since Anderson replaced the evil Deedster, Deedee Corradini—until recently, that is.
Privately, Anderson doesn’t think the ACLU suit stands a chance because the City Council signed off on the $8.1 million sale, even though new language was slipped into the deal unbeknownst to some council members who didn’t bother to read the fine print. Terms defining an open park on the block were removed and restrictions against free speech, smoking cigarettes and heavy petting were added.
Recently, Rebecca Walsh, The Salt Lake Tribune’s bare-knuckled City Hall reporter, reprised the saga and the shenanigans along with a quote from Seed, saying, “Can’t we all just get along?” Isn’t Deeda sweet? She looks even sweeter next to the mayor.
The architects of the deal and last-minute contract change were City Attorney Roger Cutler and Marc Mascaro, a lawyer hired by the LDS church. In a strange turn of events, Mascaro died recently, leaving Cutler as perhaps one of the only—if not the only—person who knows exactly how the bait-and-switch occurred. But a federal magistrate has ruled that ACLU attorneys cannot question Cutler on the matter. The judge reasoned that if attorneys were allowed to question each other, life would become too ridiculously complicated. Maybe he has a point there.
Meantime, LDS attorneys bawled to the magistrate that the ACLU was attempting to try its lawsuit in the press, rather than in court. We here at Smartbomb have learned that a rumor in the Tower of Power near the LDS Temple is that church attorneys may be planning a public relations coup to neutralize the negative media coverage. Rumor has it that the new plaza will be named “The Little Bit O’ Paris Plaza” to help stem the tide of criticism. We have been unable to confirm that rumor, however.
In a somewhat related matter, word circulating around City Hall is that Roger Cutler is trying to patch up his stormy relationship with the mayor following their public spat about what executive orders the mayor can or cannot issue. To make up, Cutler reportedly will provide the mayor with a red jumpsuit—much like the one Deedee wore at the Nagano Olympics—so Rocky can close out the Games in Sydney swinging the Olympic flag just like Deedee. Now there’s an image.