By BRYAN GRAY
The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.
nly one month after I offered a suitable nomination for the Cyclops Dumb Quote of the Year Award, several other worthy contestants have entered the competition.
One of them, a school board candidate in Davis County, has already been nominated. This time, however, she has outdone herself by maintaining that “compared to other states” Utah schools have a lot of money. This is a hilarious comment since even the most conservative Republican legislators agree that Utah is last in the nation in per-pupil spending for education. (Maybe our educational system is failing Р if we’re turning out school board candidates like this!)
But the silliest comment comes from an elected official in the small upscale Utah County suburb of Highland. If you are a newcomer to Utah, you have to understand that Utah County is humorously labeled “Happy Valley” for good reason. Whereas Iron County still claims agricultural and independent roots and Davis County is an urban bedroom community with strong ties to the military and oil refining, Utah County can best be defined as a place where everyone sniffs too much Jello. In fact, Utah County residents won’t purchase a can of mixed nuts because it contains too much diversity.
So it’s no surprise that the big ballot issue in the city of Highland this election is whether businesses should be allowed to open on Sunday. Those in favor of opening say the Sunday closing law prevents large chain stores from entering the city and expanding the tax base for road repairs. Those opposing Sunday openings say it’s a city’s right to establish a certain environment and maintain its own moral standards.
The mayor, Lynn Ritchie, told a reporter last week that, “it is a community value issue.” I beg to differ with the good mayor; in a free enterprise system, it should be a property rights issue. If a restaurant or store can attract enough customers on a Sunday, the owner will likely stay open. That’s “real” citizen input reflecting the values of a community, instead of a ballot referendum.
But Ritchie went further. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, he said, “This is not a religious issue, it’s an ideological issue.”
C’mon, Mr. Mayor. Closing on Monday may not be a religious issue, but forbidding businesses to open on the Sabbath is indeed a religious issue. Banning a convenience store from selling Cheetos on Sunday has nothing to do with protecting the health and safety of the citizens. Why not be honest, Mayor Ritchie, and simply say, “Since I don’t believe in shopping on Sunday, I don’t want anyone else to either! And if a Catholic family wants to eat dinner in a restaurant after attending Sunday Mass, they should drive to one of those satanic cities like Cedar City or Bountiful and leave us spiritually advanced people in peace.”
That’s what he should say. Of course, maybe if he wins the Dumb Quote of the Year Award, he won’t open his mouth for some time.
That would be refreshing.