For some Davis County residents, ousting Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson from City Hall has become a moral issue.
While there are other reasons Davis County folks say they dislike Anderson — Legacy Highway and Main Street Plaza to name two — some residents say they perceive that Anderson has promoted gay lifestyles and alcohol consumption and they don't want someone like that leading the state's capital city — even though they don't live there.
"I guess it's his morals," noted Bountiful's Kathryn Jensen, when asked why she contributed $100 to a political action committee designed to prevent Anderson's re-election this November.
She's among 282 residents and businesses largely from Davis County that have contributed to Fed Up Utah, which has designs on helping anyone but Anderson win the mayor's seat.
To many in Utah like Jensen, alcohol consumption and homosexuality are moral issues. Salt Lake City is the conservative home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which forbids alcohol consumption and considers homosexuality a sin. More recently, however, the city has grown more politically liberal and hasn't elected an LDS mayor in nearly 20 years or a Republican in about 30 years, while suburban locales like Davis County have remained more conservative.
Anderson agrees that at least homosexuality and the ways gays and lesbians are treated can be a "moral" issue. And the mayor maintains he is taking the moral high ground.
"I see providing leadership for a kinder and more compassionate and understanding approach to all our brothers and sisters regardless of sexual orientation as highly moral," Anderson said. "I believe I have taken highly moral stands on these issues."
While he promotes understanding between the gay and non-gay community, Anderson maintains he has never "promoted" alcohol.
"I don't promote it at all," he said. "I support affording people the opportunity to do as they like as long as it's not going to create a danger to anyone else."
Kevin Wilcox, through his Layton business, Wilcox Masonry, gave the largest single contribution to Fed Up Utah — $150. He claims Anderson promoted, through the national press, gay lifestyles and alcohol consumption during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
"He takes world reporters to gay bars and other seedy areas trying to show that Utah is a diverse state," Wilcox said. "That isn't what this state was founded on."
Beyond taking reporters to bars during the Olympics, Anderson in 2000 was grand marshal of the Utah Pride Day Parade and has received $5,000 from Unity Utah, a gay political action committee.
"We don't like the encouragement for devious lifestyles," agreed Bountiful resident Celia Jolley, who along with husband Dean contributed $100 to Fed Up Utah.
Moral issues aside, Davis County residents say there are other reasons they would care who is elected mayor of Salt Lake City.
Wilcox pointed to Anderson's opposition to the Legacy Highway though Davis County, and Wilcox, Jensen, Jolley, along with Fruit Heights resident Gary Wright complained that Anderson required the LDS Church to overpay for the Main Street Plaza, through Anderson's community center solution to the plaza fray.
And while these Davis County residents are quick to bemoan Anderson, they all express a deep love for Salt Lake City and say they work, shop and play in Utah's capital. That love, they said, means they have a vested interest in who runs Utah's largest city.
"The truth is, we live in Salt Lake City, we're Salt Lake-oriented," said Wright, who contributed $100 to Fed Up Utah. "That's where we go out to dinner, and that's where we shop."
According to the latest financial disclosure statements filed with the City Recorder's Office, Fed Up Utah has raised $6,750.
Of that total, Fed Up Utah, which was founded by Bountiful residents David Jacobs and Rob Beard, has spent nearly $4,780 on direct mailings trying to raise more support. Of that $4,780, over 70 percent or $3,350 has been paid to Arena Communications, which employs both Jacobs and Beard.
Anderson maintains that Davis County voices shouldn't sway Salt Lake politics.
"The narrow mindedness and provincialism that prevail in some parts of our state should never dictate the (election) results in Salt Lake City."