As a kid, I wondered at the perception of how idealistic communities were in Utah, because I didn’t experience that friendliness. I saw neighbors who could smile to your face and drive the knife into your back.
It didn’t matter if your father served in the U.S. Air Force and your mother served in the U.S. Navy. It didn’t matter if your father was the quintessential working-class hero. My father, August Steiner, worked for the phone company before he retired. Only now, the man I saw as immortal has grown weary. At 73, he and my 74-year-old mother can’t go out to do yard work. They’ve lived in their west-side home since 1979, before Taylorsville was a city.
Then Taylorsville and Bennion became one city. With that came the Taylorsville-Bennion “Improvement District” and the beautification jihad. It lets your most unfriendly of neighbors initiate grudge matches using officials of government and city ordinances to hassle you without incurring harassment charges from the police. Instead, the police are made the unfortunate pawns in the neighbors’ emotional chess match.
Then the badgering neighbor makes an ally of members on the Taylorsville-Bennion City Council. Like vultures, the council senses weakness in my aging and ailing parents and begins circling. My sister and I stepped up to get my parents’ home back into compliance with city ordinances. We hoped the work we put in to answer Vulture Hall’s frivolous and abusive fines would convince the prosecutor and the judge to consider dropping the fines. But that wasn’t good enough for the vultures in City Hall. Now they’ve levied a fine they know my parents can’t pay and want to take their home from them.
I will fight the Vulture Hall of Taylorsville-Bennion. The Olympus of my childhood needs defending, so I must set aside my simple living to turn back Vulture Hall’s own hideousness against them.