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Rolly: Orem has its own version of FDR's lend-lease

Published September 26, 2013 9:08 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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Orem City is nestled in the middle of conservative, Republican-dominated Utah County. Its leaders, however, seem to appreciate the wisdom of iconic liberal Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt, specifically his WWII-era lend-lease program to get around an isolationist Congress and help Great Britain's struggle against Germany.

In Orem, it's the leaflet leasing program.

Orem has an ordinance that limits University Mall's usage of its large electronic billboard. It can only advertise tenants of the mall.

But recently, some have noticed the sign, which has a rotating flash system that promotes different businesses throughout the day, has been advertising businesses not in the mall.

The sign is owned by Woodbury sign company, whose owners also run the development company that manages the mall.

When City Councilman Hans Andersen questioned the practice during a council meeting recently, he was told that the businesses in question have placed leaflets on counter spaces inside the mall, which qualifies them as tenants.

The generous interpretation of "tenant" may just be coincidental to the $4,000 City Council members have received in campaign contributions from the University Mall, Woodbury Corp. and other outdoor advertising interests.

Meanwhile • Brenda Birrell has a small scrapbooking business on State Street in Orem and has been notified by the city that the banner she has displayed in the front of her business and on her property violates Orem's sign ordinance.

No banners are allowed on State Street, although larger businesses such as R.C. Willey and automobile sellers are allowed to have banners advertising their businesses along 1300 East.

Birrell still has her sign up but has been warned if she doesn't take it down, she will be fined.

One observer suggested she put a thumbtack on the sign that is attached to a string leading inside her business where there is a leaflet about scrapbooking. She could call it the thumbtack leasing exception.

The plot thickens • The latest fundraiser for House Speaker Becky Lockhart was held earlier this week at the headquarters of former Sen. Bob Bennett's Bennett Group in downtown Salt Lake City. The Bennett Group is a lobbyist for the Utah Restaurant Association, which sponsored the event that brought in several thousand dollars for Lockhart.

What's interesting is that Lockhart has already publicly announced she is not running for re-election next year, so why the fundraisers.

The speaker already has about $150,000 in the Speaker's Victory Fund and Utah House Republican Election Committee PACs, and another $66,000 in her personal campaign fund.

She told me she uses some of that money to go to town hall meetings around the state with other Republican legislators to learn the concerns of Utahns.

She has already done 10, where she shares the floor with the legislators representing the area. She has about a half dozen more scheduled in coming weeks.

So she's meeting folks and raising money.

And there is that nagging rumor that she will run for governor in 2016.

Profiling? • A legislative lobbyist was on his way to a luncheon at EnergySolutions Arena Tuesday when he was nabbed for jaywalking on South Temple.

He took the ticket and put it in his pocket, then went to the lunch. Later, when he pulled out the ticket, he noticed it was written in Spanish.

He had no idea why the police officer assumed that was his native tongue.

prolly@sltrib.com