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Rolly: Utah bureaucrats with too much time on their hands

Published September 19, 2013 8:46 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Patrice Boor has rented out a duplex on the same lot as her home in Ogden since 1971 and has never had a problem with the city. That ended recently when she learned she is violating at least two ordinances and could face a $125 fine.

Boor had the audacity to put a sign in her next-door neighbor's yard, with his permission, advertising the duplex for rent. Her neighbor lives on a corner lot so her sign is more visible to potential renters.

That, it turns out, is illegal.

When Boor complained to the city about the notice that claimed she was in violation, she was told that it was against the law to put a sign on one property directing people to another property.

Wonder who thought that one up?

She also was in violation because her sign wasn't at least 8 feet from the curb.

That seems strange to Boor, since many City Council campaign signs are closer to the curb than 8 feet.

But, hey, they're politicians so it's OK.

When Boor asked how she could change the ordinance, she was told she could fill out an application for an ordinance change and pay a $220 fee to process the application. Or, she could appear before the City Council during the public comment period and talk for free — but had to keep it to three minutes.

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Going on the cheap? • First there was the case of the disappearing license plate decals. Several folks received tickets in Salt Lake City for improper registration because a faulty dye caused the decal to fade, making it unreadable.

Now, according to Eric Wilson, there is the case of the faulty glue, so registration stickers fall off when you wash your car.

I wrote in 2012 about certain batches of registration stickers for 2013 fading and the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles offering new stickers to those who complained, although Salt Lake City Parking Enforcement still issued tickets for the faded decals.

Wilson was a victim of the fading sticker. Now, he says, the new sticker he received when he registered his license for another year fell off at the first washing.

When he called the DMV, he said he was told to reapply and pay for a new sticker. After complaining to a supervisor, however, his sticker was replaced without having to pay for it twice.

DMV spokesman Charlie Roberts says the division's customer service department has recorded just one complaint about a sticker falling off. He says if customers lose the registration decal through no fault of their own, it is DMV policy to replace it at no cost.

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The ins and outs • I wrote in Wednesday's column about the two Republican events going on at the same time Friday evening: the $500-per-plate Governor's Gala for Gov. Gary Herbert's campaign PAC, and the Salt Lake County Republican Party Constitution Day picnic in West Valley City.

I pointed out the differences between the two events: The Governor's Gala is a black -tie affair and very expensive. The picnic is free, and you can wear shorts and T-shirts.

One commenter brought up another difference. He encouraged the picnicgoers to bring their guns and carry them in the open to show their defiance toward Herbert, who vetoed a controversial gun-rights bill earlier this year.

That should be fun.

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Exceptions to the rule • I noted in Wednesday's column that Republican congressional candidate Mia Love listed Gov. Gary Herbert, Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch and Congressmen Chris Stewart and Rob Bishop as the honorary co-chairmen of an upcoming fundraising event, with the glaring omission of Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

And I quoted Chaffetz as telling me that as a rule he doesn't endorse candidates who may have challenges within the party until they secure the nomination.

Except for that time he endorsed Mitt Romney over other Republican presidential candidates, including his one-time boss, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

prolly@sltrib.com