Half the people in Utah think the Mormon church runs things around here. The other half knows it does.
Polls say that about 70 percent of Utahns identify themselves as Latter-day Saints. Just between you and us beer guzzlers over here at Smartbomb, we also know that about half of that 70 percent sometimes drink but haven’t been spotted down at the ward for awhile.
Most of the time, the 35 percent who don’t visit church regularly don’t mind that the other 35 percent—the tithe payers—run the show in Utah. But sometimes they do mind. When half of the Jack Mormons team with the 30 percent who aren’t Mormon, Jack or otherwise, then there’s a ruckus with a split of about 50/50. (Call it fuzzy math, whatever.)
• When the Salt Lake Tribune pulled the covers back on what’s being called the “Mormon Olympics,” there were a lot of ‘I-told-you-sos’ passed around. It seems that the Utah Travel Council—you know, the one supported by tax dollars, rather than tithing—is directed by one Spence Kinard, the former voice of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. When visiting journalists were referred to the Travel Council recently by the Salt Lake (Olympic) Organizing Committee, Kinard set them up with a public relations crew from the LDS tower of power.
Some of the visiting journalists were non-plused, calling it a bait and switch that held them hostage to a two-day-long spin on all things Mormon. A lot of ducking and finger-pointing followed. The episode miffed Mitt Romney, who had ironically been making public toasts with orange juice in Champagne flutes in an effort to prove that these will not be the Mormon Games. Romney is, of course, LDS. True to form, Kinard insisted that since the LDS religion is the biggest one in Utah, there was no issue of separation of church and state.
That about said it all. If a conflict of interest fell on Mormon leaders who didn’t recognize it, would it still be a conflict? Some places, perhaps—but not here.
• Mayor Rocky Anderson called recently to say he didn’t like being called a “Boy Scout,” which City Weekly did in our March 15 “Hits & Misses” column. The mayor insisted that he was doing something good by designating Pioneer Park as a protest zone during the 2002 Winter Games. We’re unsure why the mayor doesn’t like Boy Scouts. The downside for protesters: Beer cannot be sold in parks, according to state law.
The mayor also is in a spat with David Greer, the president of the Salt Lake City police union. Rocky said he doesn’t want to deal with Greer anymore when negotiating a contract for police officers because the long-time union representative has been throwing his weight around and saying abusive things. Some of Rocky’s former employees might find the comments ironic. Here at Smartbomb we considered broaching the irony to the mayor, but in the end thought better of it.