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Lighten up on S.L. night life

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Many, if not most, of the people who decide to make the Salt Lake Valley their home do so because of what it has, not because of what it lacks. Salt Lake City will never be confused with New Orleans or Las Vegas. Its reputation is that of a good, clean place to raise a family. It is doubtful it will ever be known as a city that never sleeps.

And that's why the current attempt by some to make it a city noted for its night life seems odd. Part of the rationale given by those in city government advocating the change is that by emphasizing night life, Salt Lake City will have a better chance to attract businesses. Mayor Rocky Anderson believes that a tech firm from San Francisco decided not to move its headquarters to Salt Lake City because their representatives had such a "boring" time while visiting Salt Lake.

Salt Lake City should not have to change its character to attract businesses. What business would require that a city have night clubs and discos that stay open until 3 or 4 in the morning in order for its employees to be happy?

This, of course, does not keep the city from being diverse. Salt Lake City, by far Utah's largest city and the home of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, needs to the have the kind of atmosphere that makes people of different faiths and origins feel welcome.

The city made diversity a selling point when it won the bid not only to get February's Winter Olympics but March's Paralympic Games, as well. That diversity will be crucial when the city hosts the world for those two events.

But the city should not attempt to abandon its character. The attempts to try to make Salt Lake something it isn't by liberalizing its liquor laws during the Olympics, for example, go against its basic character.

And that basic character has given Salt Lake City its well-deserved reputation as a city that's clean, safe and calm. That's what attracts out-of-state businesses and residents who are looking for such a place to locate firms and to raise children.

Part of the role of city officials is to fine-tune different aspects of their municipalities to make them more attractive to both long-term residents and newcomers.

Caution needs to be exercised when a major overhaul is contemplated. Some fine-tuning in Salt Lake's night-life scene may be warranted; a major overhaul, isn't.