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Rolly: Schuss or shush? Alta Ski Area silences women’s protest

First Published      Last Updated Jan 31 2017 12:37 am

Avalanches in Little Cottonwood Canyon prevented folks in Alta from joining the women's march at the Utah Capitol on the first day of the 2017 legislative session.

So they organized their own protest the next day at the base of Alta Ski Area's Collins Lift, where they planned to ride up with their signs and ski down the mountain. But when they arrived, they were met by resort officials who demanded they turn over their signs or give up their ski passes.

The reason, said Julie Bauer, who witnessed the confrontation, was that skiers were not allowed to carry loose items on the lift for safety reasons. When demonstrators offered to fold up their signs and put them in their pockets or backpacks, they still were refused.

After Bauer revealed what had happened on a women's group Facebook page, Alta responded on its webpage stating that some of the signs were not family friendly and that protesters were given other options. Bauer insists no options were offered.

Another Alta area women's march has been organized for Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Grizzly Gulch, just outside the resort.

They don't hear you • Monday's march attracted more than 6,000 participants and was the largest protest at the Capitol in memory. While some Democratic legislators addressed the crowd, no Republican lawmaker spoke.

A legislative intern from Utah County later talked with several women on the shuttle bus leaving the Capitol for the downtown area.

The following account is from Salt Lake City resident Lesa Ellis, who was part of the chatter:

When asked if he thought his legislative bosses were influenced by such protests, the intern said no, "They just annoy us."

Ellis asked if lawmakers would be more influenced by 10,000 phone calls or emails. "We pretty much ignore them," he said, adding that constituents should just come and meet with their representatives.

Ellis: "All 10,000 of us?"

Intern: "Of course not; just a few."

Ellis: "With 10,000 signatures on a petition?"

Intern: "Really, you should just hire a lobbyist."

There you have it. Representative democracy in action.

Off with their heads • It seems the Legislature's Republican supermajority wants to eradicate Democrats altogether — like unwanted rodents.

Last year, the GOP-led Legislature passed a bill doing away with the bipartisan requirement for membership on the Legislative Audit Subcommittee and the Legislative Management Committee, so only Republicans conceivably could be appointed to those key panels.

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