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Paul Rolly: You can outlaw discrimination, but not stupidity

Published June 16, 2014 12:15 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Holladay has an anti-discrimination ordinance that protects minority groups, including gays and lesbians, from housing and employment discrimination.

City officials are proud of that statute and have mentioned it publicly many times to indicate how progressive Holladay has become.

Now, they need to pass an anti-idiot ordinance.

Charles Henderson, who is black, posted on his Facebook page an experience he had in Holladay recently. He had stopped in at Meier's Country Fried Chicken on Holladay Boulevard to pick up dinner after a long day of skiing.

"Started to walk out and overheard a man ask the clerk, 'What? They don't cook their own?' Then as I approached my car, another fine citizen shouted across the street from his black GMC Yukon SUV, 'Hey, y'all better lock up. You can't be too safe. You don't know who might be in the neighborhood.' I was the only one visible on the street."

Yep. You can pass ordinances and enforce fair housing and job practices, but you can't regulate stupidity.

African woman beats the system • The nine-year immigration nightmare suffered by Victoria Sethunya because of a technical mistake by Weber State University appears to be over — finally.

Since 2005, Sethunya has lived under the threat of deportation after she lost her student visa status due to a clerical error that left her legal status in doubt.

During that time, she was arrested by immigration agents, had her passport confiscated and actually was ordered by a judge to be deported back to her war-torn African country of Lesotho, where she fears she would be killed.

Meanwhile, she has picked up supporters who have seen the injustice and tried to help.

One supporter is immigration attorney Mark Carter Williams, who informed her that immigration Judge David Anderson had signed an order dismissing her deportation case.

Her ordeal began when Weber State discontinued her student status because a clerical error made it appear she had not enrolled for a previous semester, which is a violation of the foreign-student agreement. Actually, she had always been enrolled and maintained a 3.0 grade-point average.

Then, Weber put the wrong year of her graduation on her diploma, so her timeline as a student didn't line up. That attracted the attention of immigration agents.

She now has the correct diploma and the cloud of deportation has lifted. According to Williams, he just is waiting for her work permit to arrive.

UTA should do homework • With the completion of the Utah Transit Authority's streetcar line, which connects TRAX to Sugar House, a plaque was installed at the Sugar House station extolling the history of that part of Salt Lake City and profiling the area's earliest business leaders.

One plaque honors Samuel Rockwood, born in 1870, founder of Rockwood Furniture. It then profiles Julius Rockwood, noting he was born in 1878. It says he was Samuel's son from his fourth wife.

So according to UTA's historical plaque, Samuel Rockwood had four wives and became the father of Julius at the ripe old age of 8.

Actually, they were brothers.

prolly@sltrib.com