Rep. Mia Love’s town-hall alternative in which she met with small groups in her office last week was formulated for safety reasons, the Utah congresswoman has said.
She has cited the incivility and high emotions members of Congress have faced at town halls, the recent shooting of a Republican congressman at a baseball practice and concerns about safety in her own Utah County neighborhood.
But some constituents, who have complained on social media that they were never notified of her invitations for the smaller meetings, suggest she wanted to control who could talk to her as well.
Dozens of people voiced that concern on the closed Facebook page of the CD4 Coalition, an activist group associated with the Indivisible Movement formed out of concerns about Donald Trump’s presidential victory.
The news media were notified the night before the meetings. The Salt Lake Tribune received an email about the Tuesday meetings late Monday night, giving enough notice to cover the event when it occurred but not enough time to inform readers in advance.
Love’s office sent 220,000 emails and 50,000 mailers districtwide to advertise the event, but a congressional district has about 750,000 people, so critics on the CD4 Coalition page wondered if only known supporters of Love were notified in advance.
The CD4 Coalition shot emails to its members the night before, alerting them to the event, and several of that group attended and were allowed into the discussions with Love. But they say they didn’t learn about it from her office.
Love’s spokesman, Rich Piatt, said advanced notices were sent to folks with a solid record of voting. He said the list was comprised of 4th District residents who had cast ballots in the past four general elections.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee scolded Love recently for allegedly lacking transparency. The group, which lobbed similar accusations at about two dozen other Republicans, said Love hadn’t spoken to a large group of constituents since 2015.
Members of a senior citizen group taking a University of Utah continuing-education class complained in 2016 that while on a trip to Washington, D.C., Love skipped a scheduled meeting with them after they met with the other members of Utah’s congressional delegation.
They said Love’s office insisted on getting their questions in advance and that she would take no political queries.
Her office responded that she had to be on the House floor for votes when the group showed up, then had to catch a scheduled flight to Salt Lake City. Members of her staff huddled with the visitors and answered their questions.
Politics in sheriff’s race • With the Salt Lake County Democratic Central Committee poised to nominate a new sheriff to replace Democrat Jim Winder, some have questioned whether County Council members already have a favorite.
The Central Committee, comprised of more than 1,170 delegates and party officers, will make the recommendation that will be sent to the County Council for approval. But should it be a purely party decision from the Democratic infrastructure, or should the council have a say before a name is sent to it for the final nod?
All five official candidates have impressive law enforcement credentials, but the county sheriff is a partisan position and, since voters elected a Democrat to that job, the political factor is relevant.
Hence, those doing the selecting are elected Democratic Party officers and delegates.
The four Democrats on the nine-member council have weighed in, to a degree. Councilman Sam Granato has endorsed Steve Anjewierden, who recently retired from the Unified Police Department, and Councilwoman Jenny Wilson encouraged Anjewierden to consider running for sheriff if Winder didn’t seek another term next year.
The other two Democratic council members, Jim Bradley and Arlyn Bradshaw, have remained neutral. But the council’s Democratic caucus had Anjewierden in for a meeting last week. After word got out of that meeting, the Democrats invited the other candidates in for individual conferences this week.
The council knows Anjewierden well because he served as the UPD’s chief of police services for the Kearns and Magna areas. Wilson says she is remaining neutral because she is the Democratic national committeewoman for Utah and cannot endorse one Democrat over another. She likes Anjewierden’s experience on the county’s west side because of that area’s “unique needs.”
During candidate Ken Hansen’s 40-year law enforcement career, he started the Metro Gang Unit and helped develop the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Rosie Rivera worked in several capacities for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, helped Taylorsville develop its own police department and currently is deputy chief of police services for the Riverton area. Fred Ross was a deputy chief and executive officer for the Salt Lake City Police Department and was named National Community Policing Officer of the Year. He currently is chief of the Utah Transit Authority’s police. Levi Hughes has been with the UPD since 2003 and currently runs the department’s ankle-monitoring program.
The eligibility of a sixth candidate, Matani Manatau, has been questioned. His 20-year law enforcement career includes working as a correctionsofficer at the Utah State Prison, as a Salt Lake County constable and asa West Valley City police officer.
One charge for the Central Committee will be to pick a Democrat who can win in the general election in 2018.