Tapestry Against Polygamy
One-time polygamy refugees turned anti-polygamy advocates, Vicky Prunty and Rowenna Erickson have had a patchy year. A long-anticipated state raid on a well-known polygamist family fizzled into nothing. Paperwork issues were exposed by Brooke Adams in The Salt Lake City Tribune. And then there was HBO’s Big Love doing more PR for the pro-polygamists than a thousand rallies of earnest children speaking up for their parents’ choices could ever do. Yet just by TAP’s continued presence, by Prunty and Erickson speaking out, they’ve ensured that the other side of polygamy—the child brides, the sexual abuse, the darkness attendant to this particular set of religious beliefs—is not forgotten. And for that they should be enshrined as local heroes. 259-5200, polygamy.org
BEST SEPARATION OF CHURCH & STATE
Bramble’s Reluctance to Bow His Head
Senate Majority Leader Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, had a rocky start to this year’s legislative session in the form of a week’s stay in the hospital. His health problems, however, brought out the caring side of low-income advocates. Throughout the session, advocates, including two Holy Cross Ministry’s nuns, offered to kneel with Bramble and pray for his future good health. Despite the printed prayers handed out each week by concerned advocates, Bramble was sadly not persuaded to put knee to floor outside the Senate chambers.
BEST NAME CHANGE
Utah Pride Center
For the most part, acronyms are great time savers. Why clog your e-mails, snail mail or even verbal conversations with lengthy words (Taking Care of Business) when just a few simple letters will do (TCB)? Of course, there are limits to their usefulness. Take the organization formerly known as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Utah. While more concise, GLBTCCU is still a mouthful. That’s why we jumped for joy (JFJ) when the local nonprofit morphed into Utah Pride Center, a shift in name only. Representatives wisely changed the center’s name in conjunction with National Coming Out Day to better reflect—possibly even brand—the GLBT movement’s battle cry. Simple and recognizable, Utah Pride Center is on its way to becoming synonymous with equality, connectivity and progress. 361 N. 300 West, 539-8800, UtahPrideCenter.org
BEST AMBASSADOR FOR CATHOLIC CHURCH TOLERANCE
Msgr. Robert Bussen
Heaven knows the Roman Catholic Church has taken a beating in recent years for actions that suggest more concern about its public image than about ministering to its members. Park City pastor Robert Bussen took action in support of a more inclusive approach, launching a monthly service at St. Mary of the Assumption intended to welcome gays and lesbians. Not surprisingly, pressure from unappreciative parishioners and higher-ups led to the cancellation of the program after only three months, but it was a rare attempt by a church organization to say something to queer people besides, “You’re going to hell.”
BEST NARROW ESCAPE FROM ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE
Delta Air Lines SLC hub
It was looking pretty dicey for Salt Lake City’s largest air carrier this past December and January, as US Airways launched a hostile takeover bid that would have left the future of the local hub in question. But creditors rejected the takeover attempt, and in February, a bankruptcy judge approved Delta’s own reorganization plan for exiting bankruptcy. For the moment the hub appears not only safe but is actually increasing direct flights.
BEST CIVIL SERVANT PROTEST
Ogden Police Officer Matthew Jones
Freedom of speech: Don’t think it applies to you if you draw a government paycheck. When Ogden police officer Matthew Jones questioned whether the number of traffic citations written should be part of an officer’s pay-raise evaluations, he didn’t do so quietly. “Welcome to Ogden City, home of [Ogden Mayor Matthew] Godfrey’s Ticket Quota,” read a sign on a moving van driven around town by Jones’ wife. The fact that Jones was placed on administrative leave that same day for an “unrelated matter”? Purely coincidental, of course.
BEST REPUBLICAN Readers’ Choice
Jon Huntsman Jr.
Handsome in that toothy, all-American way that goes so well with slogans and pin buttons, and a master of spin and tactics when it comes to getting his way with the Legislature, the Guv seems to land on his feet in most endeavors. Although his passion for multiple overseas adoptions might strike some as odd, somehow it works into the packaging of a progressive, caring Republican that seems to be the way forward for the GOP, if last year’s election results were any indication.
2. Orrin Hatch
3. Keith Christensen
BEST LOW-INCOME ADVOCATE
Anti-Hunger Action Committee Director Bill Tibbitts
Advocacy is all about the voice. Listen to Bill Tibbitts talk about the impact of bus fare hikes on the poor or discuss the Republican agenda when it comes to the future of Medicaid, and there seems no room for argument or debate. The quiet, constant passion of his tones leaves you convinced this is the only problem and this, the only solution. His penchant for slightly geeky dress—a bulky yellow jacket stood out in the Capitol during the legislative session like a beacon—seems only to add to his beguiling humility. His is a determination that seems unstoppable in its quest to give voice to the voiceless.
BEST REASON TO VOTE DEMOCRAT
State Sen. Scott McCoy
In the run-up to the November 2006 election, The Salt Lake Tribune’s endorsement of health insurance guru Dr. Joe Jarvis over Democrat incumbent Sen. Scott McCoy for Utah Senate District 2 suggested to some he was in danger of not holding on to his seat. Underpinning Jarvis’ universal health-care platform was the long-held argument that a vote for Democrats in a Republican-dominated Legislature was a wasted one. Voters, however, didn’t agree and returned McCoy. In the last legislative session, McCoy fought the straight-gay club ban, sponsored a constitutional amendment for basic, affordable health care, and got five pieces of legislation passed. His political confidence and the respect he earned in the Legislature underscore that a vote for Democrats like McCoy is far from wasted.
BEST USE OF THE WORD “SYCOPHANT”
Rocky Anderson’s War Protest Speech
Whatever your qualms are about Salt Lake City’s roving Mayor Ross “Rocky” Anderson, the controversial politician deserves mad props for sticking to his guns during an anti-war protest last August. Disgusted with the administration and its misguided policies, Anderson more or less called President Bush a fawning parasite. That’s not to say his speech relied on schoolyard taunts—far from it. Anderson shouted, in meticulous fashion, what many believe but are too afraid to articulate.