Opinionated @ CFE

Paul Rolly Misses the Real Steve Turley Story


Apparently Paul Rolly isn’t as good of a political gossip columnist as he claims to be. On Tuesday, he had a small blurb in his column about animosity between Provo Municipal Council members Steve Turley and Cindy Richards, the latter of which was recently voted out of office in a very dirty smear campaign. What he failed to miss, though, is why Cindy would have a beef with Steve. One of the comments on the story claims that Turley was involved in the StopCindy campaign headed by Utah County Republican Party Chairman Taylor Oldroyd. That would certainly explain why Richards has no desire to be anywhere near Turley and it fits perfectly with his MO.

You see, Steve Turley is an ambitious politician and a bit of an opportunist. I’ve watched the way he calculates and postures for votes, and he does it so that if things go south, he’s covered his bases. During the various votes on the fate of iProvo, he voted No both times knowing that the measures would pass so that if things went south, he could claim to not have been responsible for it. (Think Jim Matheson voting No on issues to cover his bases at home knowing full well that the House as a whole is going to hand out a Yes vote.) It wouldn’t surprise me in the least that he would throw a fellow member of the council under the bus to curry favor with party leadership, no doubt in the hope that he will get party support when (not if) he attempts to go for higher office.

And herein lies the real story: Steve Turley sacrificed Cindy Richards to further his own political career. Maybe Paul Rolly should try writing that one up instead of the meaningless blurb he came up with.

Finding True Common Ground


I’ve maintained pretty staunchly that many of the right that same-sex couples are seeking can be easily obtained via existing contract law. This includes rights such as inheritance, hospital visitation, and power of attorney. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I read a very thoughtful comment on the subject (on the Salt Lake Tribune’s comments board no less) that obtaining these rights often requires the services of a very expensive lawyer. A marriage license, on the other hand, is a scant $50, an amount that wouldn’t even cover exchanging pleasantries with your typical legalista. This isn’t to say that I am changing my mind one bit on who we extend marriage to, but this pricing differential must be addressed.


Blatant Hypocrisy


If there’s one thing most of us can agree on, it’s that double standards are bad. We expect to be held to the same rules and laws as everyone else. Unfortunately, too many will happily apply differing standards when it suits their purposes. This week’s endorsement by the LDS Church of Salt Lake City’s anti-discrimination ordinance is one such instance where the standard changed depending on which side of the issue the player was supporting.

Rewind your brain to last year. Do you recall some of the statements being made regarding the LDS Church and Prop 8? There was a loud group shrilly crying that churches had no place in the political process whatsoever. So what did these same people do when the LDS Church once again involved itself in the political process with its public endorsement of this new ordinance? Were there calls to get out the political process? In-your-face demonstrations at places of worship? Petition drives topped out with hyperbolic appropriation of historical emblems?

No, it was silence. Deafening silence. Not a discernible peep of protest that the mean old nasty Church was trying to mix politics and religion yet again.

Apparently, it’s just fine for churches to be involved in the political process so long as they are on the “right” side of the issue. (I noted the same hypocrisy when churches were demonstrating in favor of President Obama’s proposed healthcare legislation.) This kind of blatant hypocrisy has no place in the political process. You can either claim that churches have no right to participate in the political process or you can accept their endorsements of issues you support, but not both.

(Now before you start thinking that the former of these two is the better option, I would remind you that churches played significant roles in the American Revolution, abolition, and the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

A Reality Check for the Matheson Haters


Hey Democrat Matheson haters? I know you’re angry. I understand it. No really, I do. You don’t like it that he won’t support your pet issues like the current healthcare bill, overturning DOMA, and the FISA junk. (Believe it or not, I’m with you on the last one.) That said, do you really think you’ll be better off if you take him down in the convention or a primary? Not bloody likely.

Here’s the reality: Jim lives in a district that contains a lot of Republicans and independents. By most accounts, he shouldn’t even still be in elected office. Remember that narrow victory of 1600 votes back in 2002? Given how badly gerrymandered his district is, it’s a wonder he’s still there. Since then, he’s widened his lead to 28 points in the most recent election. Given that a Republican should hold a 15-point advantage, that’s quite a feat.

So what, then, would you hope to accomplish by putting a more liberal candidate into the general election? Anyone you put in Matheson’s place that isn’t about as conservative as he is would get creamed in the general election. It also sends a message that moderates and conservatives had better get the heck out of your party or you’ll force them out. As Ethan pointed out so well, it’s hypocritical to demonize Republicans for demanding acquiescence to the party line when you’re all too willing to to it yourself.

I’m not saying you have to love Matheson or excuse him when he doesn’t vote your way. I’ve happily voted for another candidate when I thought they were better-suited to the task. But you have to ask yourself a simple question: is it more important to have the seat in your camp or feel good about pushing out anyone who doesn’t push the party line? You can’t have both.

Inverted Election Priorities


Quick: name the level of government with the most impact on your day-to-day life. If you said local, give yourself a gold star. From garbage collection to water to streets, your city or county have the most impact on your quality of life. Today, most voters in Utah (excluding county-dwellers like yours truly) have the opportunity to shape those decisions for the next four years. Many of the elections can be swayed with just a handful of votes.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t even bother to show up to pick our mayor and city council. Turnouts for municipal elections can be down in the teens. Of those that show up, too many will make their decision based on campaign signs and personalities rather than important questions of city services and taxation. With the impact you can have on your local elections and therefore your day-to-day life, you have a responsibility to research the candidates and make your choice at the ballot box. That also comes with the responsibility to talk to your neighbors and make sure they are doing the same.

Too many of us get caught up in the highly visible state and federal elections and ignore what’s happening in our own backyards. Let’s do our best to change this.

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