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Paul Rolly: Could the Utah attorney general's office just be consistent?

Published October 8, 2013 10:36 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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Bobbie Coray — former economic development director and Chamber of Commerce president for Cache County, former state liquor commissioner and one-time congressional candidate — finally decided to get into an honest profession seven years ago.

She became a journalist, juggling numerous civic minded-projects with that noble First Amendment endeavor in her newly adopted home town of Garden City on the shores of Bear Lake, just to stay busy in semi-retirement.

Having a history as a Democrat in Republican northern Utah, she quickly made waves.

After years as a bureaucrat and policymaker, she found herself on the other side of the ledger, trying to find out what our stellar elected leaders are doing.

But, alas, the eager cub reporter for the Rich County Times weekly newspaper found that she and other probing journalists were locked out of staff meetings that preceded the public County Commission meetings, even though all three Rich County commissioners, all the other county elected officials and their paid aides were present.

She filed a formal complaint, alleging county officials were violating Utah's open-meetings laws.

She won.

The Utah attorney general's office compelled the Rich County Commission to open those meetings.

A few months later, though, the Rich County attorney's office convinced the attorney general's office that Rich was too small to be required to open staff meetings — even though Garden City's even smaller meetings strictly follow the law and let in reporters and the public.

So for the past six years, Coray and her little band of First Amendment backers have sat outside the closed Rich County meetings.

Then, about a month ago, the attorney general's office sent two attorneys to the Rich County Commission to discuss a water issue. When they asked the reporters why they were sitting outside the staff meeting and were told the media and the public couldn't attend because they were closed sessions, the attorney general's lawyers lectured the journalists on the law and said they had every right to be inside.

The attorneys were aghast that the reporters didn't know that — until they were told it was the attorney general's office's ruling that kept them out.

Coray is considering another complaint to the attorney general to see if that office gets it right this time.

Mike Lee's echo chamber • Sen. Mike "Shut Down the Government" Lee sends "alerts" out every few days to his supporters letting them know that the United States will be destroyed if they don't send him money right away.

His latest is a gem. It's a survey that he wants the recipients to fill out and send back.

The survey asks who is responsible for the shutdown, the Republicans or the Democrats; should Republicans "cave" to Obama and let him fund anything he wants, or should they stand tough and force the Democrats to defund Obamacare.

I have a prediction. Since these surveys are sent to people on Lee's contribution list, the responses will be overwhelmingly in his favor.

Then he'll send out a news release showing how Americans have spoken and they want the Democrats and Obama to capitulate.

And he still won't get it.

Speaking of mailers • Salt Lake City Avenues resident Gerald Elias recently received a survey from a tea party group that begins: "Barack Hussein Obama is mounting an all-out assault on our nation … "

It asks several questions — which include the premise that Obama has declared martial law to put all government clout in his hands, has engineered a takeover of the health care system and has launched a power grab rivaling that of the Bolsheviks.

It then asks for money.

prolly@sltrib.com