Man warns City Council of possible zombie attack

Published April 6, 2008 12:50 am
Notebook nuggets from local government and campaigns
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It started as insightful and articulate, especially compared to most public-comment hokum.

Georgia transplant Wesley Wyndham-Price calmly stood before the City Council, cautioning members about downtown's derelict emergency-preparedness plan. City elders are "insouciantly" unaware of risks to City Creek Center, he warned.

Wyndham-Price even paused to joke that Georgia's saltwater taffy is better than Utah's. "I hope that is not an ad hominem," he shrugged.

Then he got specific and all reason helicoptered into the ether.

City Creek needs an emergency-preparedness plan, he demanded, against zombies.

"Zombies are fierce," he said as a crammed council chamber laughed nervously. "They are going to catch us in there."

Wyndham-Price admitted he never has seen a zombie attack but is sure one is coming. And shoppers could be sitting ducks in a sky bridge.

No word on whether monster man is related to campy horror-flick comedian Vincent Price. Actually, it appears the April 1 speech was a well-delivered April Fools' joke. After all, Wesley Wyndham-Price is a fictional character created for the TV series' "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel."

After the performance, the Avenues resident briefly plopped in the front row next to City Creek-LDS Church straight-man Dale Bills, then bolted.

Playing along, Councilman Luke Garrott declared that he would forward the zombie recommendation to the appropriate emergency committee posthaste.

But given the surge of Mormon minions anticipated at City Creek and the church's downtown BYU campus, Wyndham-Price clearly was off target.

He probably meant zoobies, not zombies.

Sandy elevated?

Marketing guru Mark Hurst led the team that launched the Utah Office of Tourism's "Life Elevated" campaign. Now, he's helping pump up Sandy as the "new cultural hub of Utah."

Hurst is directing public relations for developer Scott McQuarrie's proposed 2 million-square-foot Proscenium, a mixed-use project reaching lofty 30-story heights and boasting a Broadway-style theater and other arts amenities.

So maybe it was just "spin" that Proscenium marketing materials claim a Sandy-commissioned study found a Broadway stage would be "just as successful in Sandy" as in Salt Lake City - which also is hoping to land a 2,400-plus-seat playhouse.

In fact, Sandy's study found that the Salt Lake area market could support a mega-theater and it "could be successful" in a southern suburb "like Sandy." There was no comparison of how a large hall would fare downtown versus in Sandy - that's information that is expected in a Salt Lake County study due out this summer.

The Proscenium "fact sheet" also maintains that, unlike a potential Salt Lake City theater, the Sandy playhouse "won't cost taxpayers a dime." True, the project is being built with private funds, but Sandy has agreed to purchase the $50 million-plus theater over a 30-year period, using public funds. And it's still unknown how a downtown playhouse would be financed, though most expect a public subsidy of some kind.

Hurst told Sandy's City Council that "The Proscenium" is "too exciting . . . to keep quiet." To that end, Hurst and his team mailed a glossy, full-color booklet to every household in Sandy last week.

It's scarce on details, but you can cut out any one of four vibrant, Greek-themed masks and "have fun."

A little bit country

Normally, one would expect Freedom Festival officials to be above childish pranks, but having a news conference on April Fools' Day was too strong a temptation.

Brad Pelo, senior executive producer of the Stadium of Fire, started a video presentation to announce the headliner for this year's Independence Day extravaganza. The video started with a montage of country acts that have frequented the event.

"Over the past eight years, Stadium of Fire has hosted some of the hottest acts in country music," said an announcer with a Hank Williams-esque drawl. "This year, come join us for a country-music extravaganza like you've never seen before."

Just then, the music quit and the words "April Fools" flashed on the screen, followed by the announcement that tween pop sensation Miley Cyrus would be the main attraction. But then, Cyrus is the daughter of country music star Billy Ray Cyrus, of "Achy-Breaky Heart" fame, so maybe the joke's on Pelo.

With Stadium of Fire's announcement that Miley Cyrus was headlining the July Fourth show, Paul Warner finally could breathe easier.

Warner - executive director of America's Freedom Foundation, which oversees America's Freedom Festival at Provo and Stadium of Fire - had been nervous for the better part of March because there was no final agreement with a headline act in place, and he feared he would have nothing to say at the April 1 news conference.

While Brad Pelo, the show's executive producer was confident, Warner could not relax until a signed contract was in hand. That happened March 31 at 5 p.m., less than a day before he was to announce the star attraction.


"All those things coming together took away my nervousness," Warner said afterward.

Smoke break

It came as no surprise recently when Draper's City Council banned smoking in public outdoor areas.

What wasn't expected was the lone "no" vote.

Councilman Alan Summerhays elicited a few light chuckles and curious expressions from his colleagues when he sided against the prohibition.

Later in the meeting, Summerhays let off some smoke of his own - scolding a contractor for overspending by nearly half-a-million dollars on construction of the SunCrest Fire Station. Summerhays said he would rather have had higher bids than be blindsided by surprise overages.

Fellow Councilman Troy Walker tried to calm Summerhays by asking if he needed to take a smoke break and "chill."

Summerhays, a nonsmoker, simply responded with a forced raspy cough.

Sex and violence

Salt Lake City Weekly is out with its Best of Utah 2008 and sex and violence appear to dominate City Hall.

New City Councilman J.T. Martin snagged best political bounce with his rubber-penis quote when he protested the relocation of adult-novelty shop Blue Boutique before he even took office. The Sugar House boutique also finished second for best local scandal.

"Gayborhood," outed during the mayor's chase to describe the Marmalade district, won best new word; while The Leonardo took home best tease.

Best macho display went to former Mayor Rocky Anderson and developer Dell Loy Hansen, whose City Hall sashay included a chest bump followed by Rocky's declaration: "I'll kick your a--."

Rocky also snatched best activist honors, while new Mayor Ralph Becker beat his predecessor and the guv for best elected official.

"He's Rocky without the rockiness," the Weekly wrote.


* Have a tip for Off the Agenda? Contact DEREK P. JENSEN at djensen@sltrib.com, 801-257-8785; ROSEMARY WINTERS at rwinters@sltrib.com, 801-257-8737; KRISTEN MOULTON at kmoulton@sltrib.com, 801-831-0467; JEREMIAH STETTLER at jstettler@sltrib.com, 801-257-8755; STEVE GEHRKE at sgehrke@sltrib.com, 801-257-8717; MARK HAVNES at mhavnes@sltrib.com, 801-647-2731; DONALD W. MEYERS at dmeyers@sltrib.com, 801-440-2859; MARĂȘA VILLASE OR at mariav@sltrib.com, 801-257-8790.

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
comments powered by Disqus