Even during a winter freeze in Logan, there are many places that offer adult beverages within a bearable walking distance of the LDS Tabernacle. That’s because the Tabernacle is the centerpiece of Logan’s downtown district, where people come to shop, study, eat, go to a movie or get a drink. Yet, for some reason, the LDS Church, who did not return calls for comment, has decided to refuse to grant a waiver for a liquor license to the owners of the new Iron Gate Grill, which will be less than 600 feet from the tabernacle—if a person jaywalks. The grill will be next door to a bar and across the street from a Italian restaurant and a coffee shop, and if it were to be granted a waiver, it would join the many other restaurants that have previously been granted a waiver by the LDS Church. Finally, city leaders and the business community support the grill owners, who already operate their original Iron Gate Grill in nearby Providence. Yet it is all for naught unless the LDS Church, which essentially has veto power over state liquor commissioners, acquiesces.
Want free advertising in this state? Develop an ad that crosses the sensitivity line for the Deseret News, get it rejected by MediaOne, the business arm of the News and The Salt Lake Tribune, and then tell everyone about it. Voila! Free advertising.. That’s exactly what a group holding a memorial for gay Mormons who had committed suicide did, and it worked. Whether they intended to have the ad quashed by the Mormon-owned newspaper is irrelevant, because their rejected ad likely received a lot more attention last week than if it had actually run and, more importantly, they got to talk about their event in news stories. And it was all done without costing the group a penny.
Rep. Kory Holdaway, R-Taylorsville, a legislator who often leads the fight for education, will become the top lobbyist for the Utah Education Association next month. Thankfully, he will resign his seat—which is not actually required just because he is a lobbyist—but he will be using the connections and influence he built while serving (and being paid by) the public. Even more disappointingly, UEA is one of the primary supporters of the so-called ethics-reform initiative that would require former legislators to wait two years before becoming lobbyists.