I was amused recently by my friend Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, commenting on his experience while on a business trip to Oregon.
During his “Red Meat Radio” program on K-TALK, the conservative legislator noted Oregon is one of the more liberal states in the West and relayed a conversation he had with a woman he met there. After he told her he was a Republican legislator from Utah, she looked around furtively, then whispered she was a Republican, too. She couldn’t let anyone hear her say that for fear of reprisal or social rebuke.
Hughes then went on to talk about the liberal tyranny of intolerance and compared Oregon to occupied France.
Well, I have friends and sources in Utah County who live in constant fear that their peers might find out they talk to me. They also share with me political views they never would utter out loud in their community for fear they and their families would be shunned.
So if Oregon is occupied France, Provo is East Berlin.
Meanwhile, I hope I haven’t damaged Hughes’ political career by calling him my friend.
The ambush on 17th East • I’m beginning to believe Salt Lake City Parking Enforcement officers look at the calendar of events in the city, then wait in hiding for the people going to those events to park their cars so they can swoop in and write tickets.
I wrote about the parking enforcers writing tickets precisely at the curfew hour of 11 p.m. during last weekend’s Utah Arts Festival, which ended at 11 p.m.
Now, I’m told that on Wednesday evening, a couple hundred parents and grandparents parked on 1700 East to watch a swimming meet at the Salt Lake Swimming and Tennis Club.
As soon as they left their cars and went to the event, about two dozen tickets were written for parking in the bicycle lane.
Mistaken identity • I have come to hate Sterling Rasmussen.
It’s not his fault, mind you. In fact, I’ve never met Sterling Rasmussen. But during April, May and June, I came to hate him.
That’s because Rasmussen was a Republican state delegate, and my home telephone number was erroneously listed next to his name on the delegate list.
Consequently, leading up to the county and state GOP conventions in April, I was getting as many as a dozen calls a night from various Republican campaigns wanting to woo me. I would tell them all that I was not Sterling and they had the wrong number and they would apologize. Then they would call again the next day. Those were the live calls. The robo calls were worse.
After the state convention, the calls stopped for a while, but then picked up as the primary election neared.
Now that the primary is over and the calls are done, I’m sure my animus for Sterling will subside. Maybe I’ll even meet him someday.
Wait for the visiting teachers • Because of my Sterling Rasmussen experience, I can empathize with Kristen Robinson, of Park City.
She sent me an email Friday because she needed to complain to someone.
Robinson has tried desperately to be taken off Mitt Romney’s robo-call list. “In spite of my attempt to notify them that I am a registered Democrat and I do not want to receive their calls during dinnertime, anytime,” the calls keep coming.
“I do not know how to get them to stop calling me each time President Obama makes a decision that I support. This is bullying and harassment.”
A touch of class • When Merrill Nelson was a legislator 20 years ago, I wrote about him getting upset at a page because he didn’t get one of the cupcakes a lobbying group brought to the Legislature. Nelson is running this year to rejoin the House, and I brought that incident up again just before the Republican primary where he was taking on incumbent Bill Wright.
It might have been unfair to bring up a 20-year-old trifling incident like that just before the primary election, but I thought it was funny.
Well, Nelson won the primary and the next day a cupcake, topped with about 2 inches of chocolate frosting, was delivered to me at The Tribune. The note Nelson wrote on the card said: “Calling for a truce in the cupcake scandal.”
You’ve got it, sir. I’m laying down my poison pen.