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Paul Rolly: Lunch patron gets bounced by Herbert's henchman

Published November 20, 2013 11:40 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Sandra Sweetland couldn't believe her luck when she was meeting a friend for lunch at Cafe Trio at noon Monday and noticed an empty parking space in front of the restaurant on 900 East near 700 South.

She was heading northbound on 900 East and Trio is on the west side of the street, so she waited for traffic to pass and then turned left into the angled parking stall.

Suddenly, a man in a black suit jumped to the front of the stall, holding his hand up. He told her she couldn't park there because he was holding the space for Gov. Gary Herbert, who was being driven to lunch by his security team.

The problem: Sweetland now was stuck out in the lane of traffic while cars were having to veer around her. She asked the governor's guard to move so she could pull into the stall and then back out when the coast was clear.

Instead of being accommodating, she said, the governor's guard was rude and confrontational, accusing her of trying to run him down.

She should be thankful he wasn't a West Valley City drug cop.

The stall, by the way, remained guarded and unused for 45 minutes, she says, before the governor arrived for lunch.

Money laundering • It should come as no surprise that when Sen. Mike Lee held a rally in South Jordan's Riverfront West Park, the attendees also were asked to donate money.

After all, anyone on Lee's email list knows he never brings up his noble fight against Obamacare without asking for cash.

The enthusiastic pro-Lee crowd pitched in about $1,500, organizers say. But where is the money supposed to go?

It can't go to Lee because of the anonymity and lack of accountability of the donations.

So Utah County Republican officials hope it goes to them.

Utah County GOP boss Casey Voeks said the rally was organized by Amelia Powers, the volunteer coordinator for the county party, and the passing of the hat was mostly to recoup organizers' expenses.

They raised a tad more than their costs, however, and Voeks says the county GOP is applying to funnel it into its coffers.

The irony here is that Utah County Republican activists were peeved a few years ago when the Utah County Republican Legislative PAC tapped some money it raised to help GOP legislative candidates in neighboring Salt Lake County.

Now, it's Utah County Republicans hoping to benefit from a Salt Lake County event.

Double duty • Viewers of Saturday's Class 3A state championship football game between Judge Memorial and Manti spotted a surprising pitchman while watching the game on CentraCom, a digital network serving mostly rural Utah.

Among the ads were commercials for the provider itself, CentraCom. The pitchman? New Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, making some viewers wonder if Herbert's administration was endorsing this communications company.

Ally Isom, spokeswoman for Herbert, tells me that Cox, who resigned from his position as CentraCom vice president when he became lieutenant governor last month, had taped those ads months ago and was not aware they still were airing.

prolly@sltrib.com