Is Karl Rove in town for the summer? Because there's some dirty doin's in the District 2 race for Salt Lake City Council that could have been ripped from the Rovian playbook.
So far, three men have thrown in their hats for the west-side council seat: Incumbent Van Turner, Michael Clara and Kyle LaMalfa. In early August, the postcard pictured above was mailed out to voters under LaMalfa's logo, calling the other candidates "Mormon Republicans. Enough said."
Even though LaMalfa vehemently denies mailing the card or having it mailed on his behalf, LaMalfa's opponents are equally adamant that they had no hand in mailing it.
In reaction to the postcard, another resident named "Diamond Jim" Davis, purporting to be a Mormon Democrat, wrote a letter to residents. Without naming LaMalfa by name, he cites the postcard and condemns its religious intolerance.
Davis then goes on to quote LaMalfa (without naming him) from a 2008 post written by City Weekly blogger Gavin Sheehan about the origin of the west-side Sunday farmers market, known as the Peoples Market. He writes:
When asked by a City Weekly reporter why the Peoples Market meets on Sunday this candidate responded: "The choice for Sunday ... was the desires of the organizing committee ... who have felt outcast by the dominant Utah culture ... little did we know that almost every farmer comes from a long line of pioneer farmers who don't do business on Sunday ..."
But if you take a moment to actually look at Sheehan's blog, the quote should gone like this (the italic phrases were the ones cherry-picked for Davis' letter):
Gavin: Why did you choose the Peace Gardens as the location, and also why Sunday as the day for it?
Kyle: After the first market season, we had an organizing committee put together. Organizing for the second year happened on Saturday nights while hanging out. We wanted the venue to be a park in our neighborhood that was big enough to support a growing enterprise and that stayed true to our mission of economic development and building community in our west-side neighborhood. The International Peace Gardens was a perfect fit. There were a few reasons for the Sunday choice. First, nobody wants to go head-to-head with the big dog on the Farmer's Market scene, the Downtown Farmer's Market. The choice for Sunday was in part a hope of attracting those downtown farmers to stay another day. Also, it was the desires of the organizing committee (some who have felt outcast by the dominant Utah culture) to go big and bold. They pushed hard for Sunday. Little did we know that almost every farmer comes from a long-line of pioneer farmers who don't do business on Sunday. The rest of the farmers get only one day off each week - Sunday. So, nearly every farmer we have at the People's Market is one we have 'cultivated' on our own. Most of our farmers are folks who have a knack for producing high-quality food and happen to live in a house with a large urban lot.
Very creative quote "sculpting," wouldn't you say? And I'm being kind. You oughta hear what Gavin Sheehan, the writer who interviewed LaMalfa, has to say about Diamond Jim's quote grope.
If the original postcard mailing were done by a LaMalfa opponent to paint LaMalfa as an anti-LDS liberal, it was a fail, since most voters can see through the ruse. What serious candidate in Utah politics would bash both Mormons and Republicans in a non-partisan race? (Well, OK, maybe Rocky Anderson. But, may I say, respectfully, LaMalfa's no Rocky Anderson.)
Or if it were done, as Michael Clara has suggested in other media interviews, by LaMalfa to boost LaMalfa's name recognition, that objective seems to have been achieved. But, hey, it also brought attention to all of the candidates and the race; it has activated their bases, so it will be positive for them in the long run.
Since mischief is afoot, we best keep an eye on District 2. Karl? You out there?