The LDS Church is now making it clear that its Little Bit of Paris, the previously publicly owned Church Plaza on Main Street, is more like the Forbidden Palace after church officials put up signs clarifying their private property rights. They now are reserving the right to refuse access to anyone not following their rules. The best part? They won’t tell anyone the rules, except for the long-standing ban on smoking, bicycles, and skateboards. No signs that say, for instance, “No gay kissing.” The best advice to anyone pushing the line: either get to know your gospel, or walk up State Street.
This week, a congressional committee will hear a proposal to create 9.2 million acres of wilderness in southern Utah. It’s a bill being run by “East Coast liberals,” as Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, says. The Utah delegation plans a unified opposition which, in this case, is warranted since state leaders should be involved in such a sweeping wilderness designation. But the fact this bill is being discussed means that, just maybe, Utah leaders will take more seriously the need to protect some of the most spectacular, and most fragile, landscapes in America instead of wanting to scrape every drop of oil, every ounce of water and every chunk of uranium they can from them.
In July, Krystal Flores was shot and killed in her Glendale home. Initially, Salt Lake City police said it was a neighborhood dispute, although they soon figured out that the shooting was gang related. Problem was, they never really said that publicly until Glendale resident Michael Clara, who is on the Salt Lake City Gang Reduction Program Steering Committee, pushed them. Last week, the police clarified that it was a gang shooting gone wrong, and that Flores herself was not a gang member. They also chided Clara, in their news release, for basically challenging their authority. This is an instance where the facts matter less than perception. The end result is that the secrecy of the investigation and the public spanking of an activist undermine the credibility and respect for the police in a community where everyone needs to work together.