Happy Holly (Mullen) Days | Private Eye | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Private Eye

Happy Holly (Mullen) Days

City Weekly's supposed to be critical of politicians, and we will be.



Last week, Holly Mullen announced to her Facebook friends that she is considering a run for the Salt Lake County Council. The seat she may seek is the one being vacated by Jenny Wilson, daughter of former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson. Ted Wilson and Mullen are married, which makes Jenny Mullen’s stepdaughter. Most Salt Lakers are aware of that connection.

What some are not aware of is that for nearly two years, Mullen was editor of this newspaper. If we thought that would be a feather in her cap, we’d brag about that. However, given that our first take on this subject is that we think she would make an admirable council member, we don’t want to handicap her chances by her having to claim any affinity for us, past or present. The future is a given: She’s not going to like us. Few politicians do, let alone politicians who once walked our hallways.

Working here cannot be seen as an advantage for Mullen. Indeed, when The Salt Lake Tribune reported that announcement, one online poster code-named “theharv” pretty much disqualified Mullen, based on her association with City Weekly: “I think having worked for the City Weekly should discredit Holly and render her completely unfit to win an election. What a crap-hole of a publication—and I’m a lib,” he or she wrote.

It’s clear that we have finally succeeded in alienating everyone in town when a selfproclaimed “lib” thinks so poorly of us. That’s no badge of shame around here, by the way, because as a general rule, we have as much use for “libs” as we do right-wing nut jobs. That’s patently unfair for “lib” to hold Mullen to our low standards. Heck, you take the emotion out of it, and it boils down to us having to pay Mullen to hang out with us. Under that circumstance, “lib” would take the money, too.

It’s never fun when an employee leaves a company, especially a well-liked employee. OK, I lie. Sometimes it’s fun. But neither is it fun when a former employee sticks a claw in you. When Mullen left, I was interviewed by a reporter for a local paper as to her departure. I told the reporter that we don’t comment on personnel matters, and that we, in fact, are contractually obligated not to. I was asked if there were any bad blood, and I told the reporter there was not, that I liked Mullen, had recruited Mullen and wished the best for Mullen. That was about all I could say. I told the reporter that, just days prior, I had responded to Mullen’s Facebook friend request and had made her a friend on Facebook.

That’s how I came to know she didn’t like hanging out with us. Among other things, she wrote on Facebook following her departure words to the effect that she didn’t fit into our “drinking culture.” Whatever. I’m stupid, but I’m not blind.

At that time, her Facebook profile listed her religious views as something like “sabbatical from LDS.” Now, her profile lists her simply as LDS. That spiritual rebirth might not have occurred if she were still working at City Weekly. Many think the mailbox for the devil’s workshop sits in front of our office at 248 S. Main. But there have always been a good number of righteous souls here, representing many faiths. Some were drinkers. Some were LDS. Some were LDS drinkers. Some were neither.

But, politically, being on sabbatical from any religion around these parts isn’t a good thing. Just look at Rocky Anderson. He forever danced around his religious roots. One week, he’d proclaim to be a wine sipper. The next week, he’d be spotted with a scotch and water. One week, he was publicly proud of his LDS heritage. The next week, he would make some crack about the local culture. Soon enough, he was getting it from both sides. If that happens with Mullen, she can’t claim she didn’t see it coming.

I’d send her a Facebook message, but I’m no longer listed as a friend. In fairness, and in deference to all the troubles that have beset Facebook, maybe I was never there in the first place, or maybe it was a Facebook glitch. Maybe. I doubt City Weekly publisher Jim Rizzi was ever there to start with. Given a recent Mullen Twitter tweet about him, it’s clear some animosities die hard. It’s a good thing he doesn’t write this column.

But I do. I think the silence restrictions in the documents signed by Rizzi and Mullen nearly a year ago when they reached their “mutual decision to part ways” have expired, so I can say this: Good luck, Holly Mullen. You’ll be a worthy addition to the Salt Lake County Council should you decide to run. You have the chops and the passion. If this is indeed your “ninth life,” then it’s because you are not withering here with us in your eighth. Time to be grateful, eh? In the final chapter, we all end up where we’re supposed to be. Journos are supposed to be critical of politicians. We will be.

From a former mayor of Dallas, Texas, (Laura Miller) to a U.S congressman from Kentucky (John Yarmuth), alumni from newspapers like this one in the alternative press comprise a surprising number of lawmakers and elected government officials. It would be nice to see Mullen join those ranks, despite the fact that we remain a blot on her resume. There’s only one thing I’d ever ask of her, anyway: What’s with all the bike lanes?