BEST DEMOCRAT Readers’ Choice
nttYeah, a lot of people get up in this man’s grill for voting like a Republican more often than a Democrat. But this is Utah, where we call that an “independent” political mind-set and “reaching across the aisle” more often than “traitorous, opportunistic bait-and-switch” politics. And what would you rather have instead? A Republican in both word and deed? Nah. Take this 2nd Congressional District U.S. Rep. for what he is and, more importantly, may yet become if more Democrats take power in coming years. And here’s a shout-out to Matheson’s gnarly communications director Alyson Heyrend: Someday you, too, will return City Weekly’s press call.
nt2. Peter Corroon
nt3. Pete Ashdown
BEST MORMON ARTIST
nttWhen Annie Kennedy isn’t teaching art to school kids at the Kimball Art Center in Park City, she’s making extraordinary pieces exploring her relationship with the LDS Church. Her exhibition last October and November showcased her use of traditional Utahn imagery such as the sego lily, the beehive and the angel Moroni using various textiles, fabrics and surfaces such as Veil (pictured above) which is salt crystals grown on felt. At times celebratory, at others ambiguous, Kennedy brings a sharp, fresh eye and a vivacity to her belief system that makes Mormonism so much more accessible than any number of trips to Temple Square. AnnieKennedy.ShawnRossiter.com
BEST BILLABLE HOURS
ntttHutchings, Baird & Jones
nttHiring the law firm that House Speaker Greg Curtis recently joined turned out to be money well spent for developers. The Legislature gave easy passage to a slew of laws to smooth the way for Curtis’ private legal clients, particularly Anderson Development. Anderson, gearing up to build homes on land once home to Geneva Steel, won passage of a law that lets it out of costs of cleaning up the old Geneva site (costs that may be borne by the public thanks to another Anderson-friendly bill), as well as laws that strip Park City of power to stand in the way of Anderson’s plans to pave over Summit County wetlands. It’s good to have friends in high places.
BEST PROPOSED HABITRAIL
ntttMain Street Skybridge
nttTo protect views of the mountains from downtown, Salt Lake City planners years ago imposed a ban on skybridges across Main Street. But when mall developers proposed just such a bridge, the city decided it didn’t really mean it. The reversal may have something to do with the facts that one of the partners in the planned bridge-linked mall connecting either side of Main is the LDS Church and that city leaders are beside themselves with glee that anyone is willing to invest in a downtown on the brink. Mall developers have promised a raised people mover everyone will love except, of course, the poor, who will have to use the sidewalk.
BEST REASON TO CUT UTAH’S BIRTHRATE
nttt4th Congressional Seat
nttIt’s the idea that just refuses to die: Like we need to send yet another yahoo from the sticks to Washington, D.C., and give him or her a say in how the nation’s business should be run. Proponents of a 4th Congressional District are mainly bitter over the fact that missionaries living abroad during the 2000 census weren’t granted special status and counted as if they were living here instead. Still, a fourth seat seems inevitable after the 2010 Census, unless we drastically cut the birthrate now. Sure, it’s a high price to pay, but it could avert the national disaster that would surely result if we were, for instance, to give somebody named LeVona LeBaron a controlling vote on the Judiciary Committee.
BEST NEWSPAPER REPORTER Readers’ Choice
ntttHeather May (Salt Lake Tribune)
nttSince Heather May will be switching story beats after her baby’s birth in July, it’s fitting that she caps her fifth year covering Salt Lake City with exclusives like RSL stadium going to Sandy, which she co-penned with Derek Jensen. May is the epitome of a nose-to-the-ground, well-connected journo. Whether it’s Rocky’s latest antics or the LDS Church’s ongoing bouts with City Hall, she’s kept their feet to the fire with admirable aplomb. Whoever is taking over for her has some big boots to fill.
t2. Ben Winslow (Deseret Morning News)
t3. Thomas Burr (Salt Lake Tribune)
BEST SELF-CONGRATULATORY PLUG OF UTAH’S SLOGAN
ntttGov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s post-flight debriefing
nttDuring the dedication of a hang-gliding flight park at Point of the Mountain, Huntsman took an impromptu flight with paraglider pilot Mark Gaskill. Upon touching down, the Guv mugged for the cameras and said, “Now that’s life elevated!” That kind of smug, cornball goofiness is becoming scarcer each year, even among Utah Republicans who practically invented it. Still, not to be outdone, Natural Resources Department Director Michael Styler followed up with a Star Trek reference: “I can safely say he has gone where no other governor has gone before.”
BEST POLITICAL CAUSE Readers’ Choice
nttWee almost hed to rubb our eyes in disbeleef when Guv. Jon Huntsman Jr. and the Legisleechur said they reelly reelly cared about edukation of Utah kids by writing the largest chek ever'$460 million!'for public scools and stuff. Man, it was like a wit dreem! Where we actuallee in Utah? Yep, urine in Utah, al right! It did warm the heart and mind quit good. Edukation, as every intelligant person now nows, is second only to Middal est wars against muslin terrists. But maybe there mistake wil be realized next yeer, when our decripate roads we’ll get the dollars they truly dessert.
nt2. Global warming
nt3. Animal rights
BEST PORN STAR/CONGRESSMAN
nttYou’re probably all-too-familiar with the work of Utah 3rd District Congressman Chris Cannon, but it’s entirely possible that you didn’t know there’s a porn star named Chris Cannon. His well-endowed oeuvre of nearly 1,000 adult films includes Asswoman: The Rebirth, Cotton Panties Half Off, Fluff & Fold, Pimped by an Angel, Sodomania, Wetter the Better and many other fine selections. Far as we can tell, he’s actually accomplished a greater body of work than our Chris.
BEST POLITICAL PROTEST
nttPrecipitated by a wave of anti-immigrant hysteria, the peaceful April 9, 2006, march (which happened only days after the publication of last year’s Best of Utah issue) filled State Street with thousands of Latinos and sympathizers'and a few indignant Minutemen. The fact that the self-described “silent majority” of anti-immigrant people were outnumbered 66 to 1 didn’t seem to faze them, but it did show that Latinos in Utah are a political force to be contended with'especially if get-out-the-vote efforts by organizers like Tony Yapias prove successful.
BEST CONSTRUCTION-WORKER HUMOR
ntttEnergySolutions Arena sign
nttLike Rome, the EnergySolutions Arena sign wasn’t built in a day. While changing it over from the old Delta Center sign, workers made it halfway through the middle word before punching the clock and going home for the day, having painstakingly placed the letters S, L, U and T in the word “Solutions.” Inspiring dozens of cell-phone photographers, the gesture obviously was a loving tribute to S(alt) L(ake) C(ity), UT(ah) … or was it?
BEST POLITICAL JOKE Readers’ Choice
ntttSen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan
nttYou pretty much know any politician, not just a minor lawmaker in Utah, has touched bottom'excuse the pun'when he starts bothering himself about what consenting adults do to each other’s, ahem, anuses. True, Sen. Chris Buttars wasn’t first to raise the topic of Utah’s sodomy law, already unconstitutional since a 2003 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. That was raised by Sen. Scott McCoy, someone Buttars once affectionately called “the gay.” But the fact that Buttars would join other state lawmakers in blocking a public hearing of McCoy’s bill to remove sodomy laws from the books reveals his silly nature. This is, lest we forget, a man who likened evolutionary theory to cats, dogs and the “dat.”
nt2. Rocky Anderson
nt3. Chris Cannon
BEST BIG LOVE ANTIDOTE
ntttTapestry Against Polygamy
nttOne-time polygamy refugees turned anti-polygamy advocates, Vicky Prunty and Rowenna Erickson have had a patchy year. A long-anticipated state raid on a well-known polygamist family fizzled into nothing. Paperwork issues were exposed by Brooke Adams in The Salt Lake City Tribune. And then there was HBO’s Big Love doing more PR for the pro-polygamists than a thousand rallies of earnest children speaking up for their parents’ choices could ever do. Yet just by TAP’s continued presence, by Prunty and Erickson speaking out, they’ve ensured that the other side of polygamy'the child brides, the sexual abuse, the darkness attendant to this particular set of religious beliefs'is not forgotten. And for that they should be enshrined as local heroes. 259-5200, polygamy.org
BEST SEPARATION OF CHURCH & STATE
ntttBramble’s Reluctance to Bow His Head
nttSenate Majority Leader Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, had a rocky start to this year’s legislative session in the form of a week’s stay in the hospital. His health problems, however, brought out the caring side of low-income advocates. Throughout the session, advocates, including two Holy Cross Ministry’s nuns, offered to kneel with Bramble and pray for his future good health. Despite the printed prayers handed out each week by concerned advocates, Bramble was sadly not persuaded to put knee to floor outside the Senate chambers.
BEST NAME CHANGE
ntttUtah Pride Center
nttFor the most part, acronyms are great time savers. Why clog your e-mails, snail mail or even verbal conversations with lengthy words (Taking Care of Business) when just a few simple letters will do (TCB)? Of course, there are limits to their usefulness. Take the organization formerly known as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Utah. While more concise, GLBTCCU is still a mouthful. That’s why we jumped for joy (JFJ) when the local nonprofit morphed into Utah Pride Center, a shift in name only. Representatives wisely changed the center’s name in conjunction with National Coming Out Day to better reflect'possibly even brand'the GLBT movement’s battle cry. Simple and recognizable, Utah Pride Center is on its way to becoming synonymous with equality, connectivity and progress. 361 N. 300 West, 539-8800, UtahPrideCenter.org
BEST AMBASSADOR FOR CATHOLIC CHURCH TOLERANCE
ntttMsgr. Robert Bussen
nttHeaven knows the Roman Catholic Church has taken a beating in recent years for actions that suggest more concern about its public image than about ministering to its members. Park City pastor Robert Bussen took action in support of a more inclusive approach, launching a monthly service at St. Mary of the Assumption intended to welcome gays and lesbians. Not surprisingly, pressure from unappreciative parishioners and higher-ups led to the cancellation of the program after only three months, but it was a rare attempt by a church organization to say something to queer people besides, “You’re going to hell.”