Rolly: Gov. Herbert enjoys the perks of incumbency
Soon you will see thousands of campaign signs and billboards throughout the state as the election season shifts into high gear.
There will be allegations from all political camps of rivals stealing their campaign signs, which happens every election year.
But one candidate gets to have his smiling face and his message on view to the public, insulated inside government buildings where the signs will be safe from vandals, and not even have to charge it to his campaign because the state picked up the tab.
I wrote previously about signs appearing on the walls of the State Office Building, in areas exclusive to employees, that displayed a picture of Gov. Gary Herbert and described the four cornerstones of his vision for Utah: education, energy, jobs and self-determination.
Now those signs are plastered all over government buildings where the public voters mingle to do business with the state.
Spokeswoman Ally Isom said the 2-foot-by-3-foot signs were produced to serve as a reminder to state employees what the state's vision includes. She said 185 posters were ordered at a cost of $5,000, paid for out of the governor's budget, with 25 kept by the governor's office and 160 distributed to state agencies to display them at their discretion.
So if you venture into a state office to renew your driver license, register your vehicle or have dealings with the Tax Commission, the Department of Workforce Services or Social Services, chances are you will see the governor smiling at you and reminding you why you should vote for him.
The price is right? • After months of haggling with the Legislature's Office of Research and General Council for records pertaining to last year's redistricting process, the Utah Democratic Party agreed to pay $5,000 and was presented with an option reminiscent of an old game show: Pick door number one, door number two or door number three.
The legislative researchers responding to the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) request had prepared tens of thousands of pages of documents relating to legislators' communications regarding redistricting and had placed them in more than three boxes, with about 15,000 pages in each box.
The $5,000 committed by the party covered one box. If they wanted the other boxes, they would have to pay $5,000 more for each box.
Democratic Chairman Jim Dabakis agreed to pay for one box worth of documents but wondered if "the good stuff" is in the other boxes.
The State Republican Party had filed a much narrower GRAMA request, was charged $2,000 and received documents months ago. What the GOP found in those documents gave them ammunition to blast Democrats and citizens groups for communications that seemed to indicate collusion to tilt the process in favor of certain Democratic legislators.
Legislative Research and General Council Director John Fellows said the Democrats' request, basically for all communications involving redistricting, was so voluminous it took up the time of every researcher in the office for more than a week.
He said the Democrats were told from the onset the $5,000 was a down payment toward the full cost of the project.
Fellows said the boxes were filled with the documents as they were produced and there was no effort to discriminate the types of documents for each box. He said the office will keep the remaining records on hand in case the party wants to pay for their cost at a later date.
Cheap politicians • During the grand opening of the new Los Cucos restaurant in Draper last Monday, Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan, Draper Mayor Darrell Smith and other honchos sat at one table where the meals, provided on the house, were specially prepared.
One patron enjoying the festivities, Bob Lesitsky, noticed that after devouring their free lunch, the dignitaries departed, leaving a "measly" $5 tip for the waiter.
He noticed that "lower minions" who worked for those cities and who sat at a different table also got the free lunch, but they left a $20 tip.