LGBT Discrimination


Imagine that you wanted to buy a small commercial space with your partner. The two of you have come up with the newest thing every hipster needs and you have to start manufacturing it NOW. You don’t have all the cash to just buy the place outright and must go to a bank and get a small loan. Imagine being turned down for that loan because your partner is of your same sex. Or, what if you were two enterprising, married, homosexual men who wanted to buy a home together and get a mortgage in both names? Up until 1974 it was totally legal to deny credit in the good ol’ USA to people because of their sex, age, race, color, religion, national origin, or marital status.

Forty years ago this year the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was passed. This was during a time our country was changing faster than the truth out of a politician’s mouth in an election year. I know I couldn’t get a credit card in college until my junior year, simply because I was a woman (and an unmarried one at that!). Even when I got my real estate license in 1984 I experienced lenders who would not work with same sex couples to put together home loans for them to buy houses and condos. Lenders got out of this legal loophole by initially proclaiming “Gays/LGBT people are not a protected class and the 1974 law does not protect homos.”

It would be very odd nowadays for a bank or mortgage company to deny a loans to people because they were from the LGBT community. Why? My humble opinion boils down to this: 1) banks are greedy; 2) many lenders work for companies that have valid anti-discrimination policies in place, and that to deny a loan to an LGBT person/couple would be against corporate policy; and 3) some lenders knew from the beginning what was right and what was wrong and gladly gave loans out to anyone with good credit and employment history.

The Human Right’s Campaign reported on their website: “On January 24, 2011, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a proposed rule that would require grantees and participants of HUD programs to comply with local and state non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity. The public comment period on this rule has concluded and a core rule implemented the changes. They added that “Family is defined as one or more eligible persons living with another person or persons, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, who are determined to be important to the eligible person or person’s care or well-being.” The key here though is what ARE the non-discrimination laws in Utah protecting the LGBT community? We still have not seen a successful vote in the Utah State Legislature protecting all people, including LGBT people from discrimination in housing. Happy Pride everyone.

Zonal Gardening


If you’ve recently moved to Utah and have a bit of dirt available to grow things this summer, it’s getting time to plant! If you lived here a while you do know what grows and what doesn’t grow well. Putting in a garden area, improving landscaping is one of the easy ways to create value and gain equity in a home that you own. The challenge is you’ve got to figure out what to plant. Each state in the USA is in a different zonal gardening region, and once you look this up on the internet you’ll see what vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs and trees do best in Utah. The Zonal Gardening system explains why you don’t see palm trees growing outside in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Moab has a different climate than Logan just as Delta’s is different from Salt Lake City.

When it comes to fruit and vegetable farmers we’ve got major state pride. Green River, Utah is where some of the best melons in the world are grown. The desert climate of hot days and cool nights helps the watermelons and cantaloupes store sugar and make them sweet as candy. If you’re from north of the Capitol City then you know we’ve got terrific giant black sweet cherries and soft ball sized peaches. I was grinding my teeth the other day after one of our local grocers was interviewed on the news about the California drought, and he commented “I don’t know where I’ll be able to get my melons anymore.” And this from the mouth of a guy who promotes locally grown produce!

Whether it’s the mindset of a new generation or a reaction to the Crash of 2008, more and more people are getting their fingers dirty and growing things. My wife and I live in a condo and we plant in about 30 pots. We’ve experimented with our unique deck ‘zone’ and have been able to get a head start and trick Mother Nature to get fresh tomatoes by Memorial Day. I think many folks love the fact that it’s easy to grow tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and zucchini in the back yard or in pots with not having to own a tractor and irrigation system. There are a multitude of community gardens where folk without dirt can come and plant in their neighborhood. exists to build community by providing the space to garden and the expertise if you don’t know how to do it. And map will show you where there are gardens in the County.

The Winter Market of the Downtown Alliance is now closed but the Summer Market begins on June 14th. The ‘People’s Market’, now called the ‘9th West Farmers Market’ opens on Mother’s Day at Jordan Park on 1000 South and 900 West. Those who don’t garden can find early produce there. Statewide there are more and more markets popping up and you can find them listed at For Zonal gardening and what to plant where and when go to or stop into one of our many local garden stores and ask the experts.

Comic Con


I just got to spend time with 100,000 of my closest friends at Comic Con: The FanXperience this past weekend at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Holy spandex, Batgirl! That was like Burning Man meets Nerds in Space. I was asked to be on a panel on sexism and objectification in Cosplay and then afterward I got to consensually hug and drool over Elvira in the flesh. As I walked away from the crowd in a self-induced cloud I saw a sign hanging high in the vending area with the word “Evermore”. What is it you ask? It’s a Harry Potter meets Jack the Ripper-smelling Victorian ‘adventure park’ that is to open next year in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Poor ol’ Lagoon ain’t gonna know what hit it when this “First Adventure Park in the World” opens.

Lagoon, the 27th oldest amusement park in the U.S.ofA operating in the same location was not our first playland, but it was the first park west of the Mississippi River. It first opened in 1886 and was one of three amusement parks that operated on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Today it is located in downtown Farmington, Utah and open on Saturdays and Sundays and weekly during the summer season. The rides weren’t electric powered like they are today – think Jet Star and the Wild Mouse, Wicked and Flying Aces. The fun back then came in the form of row boats, dancing, music and food and the first ‘ride’ was a sled down a hill into the lagoon pond. The first Fun house at Lagoon opened in 1929 and OMG there was betting and legal horse racing there until the State Legislature but a stop to that bunch of sin!

As a side bar, Utah is famous for its mega roller coast designs. Arrow Dynamics in Clearfield, Utah designed the Matterhorn Bobsled at Disneyland, the Corkscrew at Knott’s Berry Farm, the Haunted Mansion and X at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Lagoon has one of their coasters but doesn’t have the space or money to put in a giant one on its property.

Evermore is not selling itself on rides, roller coasters and rowdy fun. Their website is touting the Victorian mysteryland as an attraction open all year round featuring themed events like a Carnival of Wonders, a Rippers Cove and Christmas/Halloween seasonal events. The park with have a dozen retail shops, three high end restaurants, a three acre lake, a two acre town square with a performance stage, elaborate gardens and a huge cast of professional performers. Professional makeup artists and costumers from amusement parks and haunted houses will be making the people and the 40 acre place period believable. Will it attract visitors? The founder of Evermore is the same man who’s banking that non-drinkers in Utah will pay $15 a piece for virgin cocktails at his high end club he’s building on 400 South and West Temple in Salt Lake City.

A news item I saw on television the other night stated that some dance clubs in Las Vegas are taking in more than the casino’s attached to them these days. Amusement parks like Lagoon are just as popular as they were a century ago. I think we have more Halloween horror houses than anywhere else in the country raking in millions. We’ll all look forward to some great escape, even if it is in beautiful downtown Pleasant Grove, Utah.

When East Was West


The East High Alumni Association likes to say, “One cannot travel anywhere in Utah and not meet someone who went to, or had a relative who went to, or knows someone who graduated from East High.” That’s probably a very true statement since the school is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. West High School in Salt Lake City is the oldest public school in Utah but its arch rival, East High, used to be the same school and they were formerly known as East Side High and West Side High. East’s school colors were red and black and West’s were black and red. They had one school newspaper and just one yearbook between them.

Utah in general has a unique education history. My alma mater, Wasatch Academy in Mt. Pleasant was established in 1875. Rowland Hall is the oldest co-ed college prep school in the state as it opened its doors in 1867. In southern Utah the first school opened at Fort Cameron, near Beaver back in 1883. After the state began being populated in the 1950’s most schools were located in church meeting houses. Services were held on Sundays in Stakes and Wards and then the doors would open the rest of the week for classes offered to local school children. That makes complete sense since church buildings were generally the largest and most well built structures in our early history. The Utah Historical Encyclopedia states that from 1867-1900 there were 100 private schools in Utah created by Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregationalists to “Christianize” Utah Mormon children. In 1933 the LDS Church turned over its secondary schools statewide over to the State of Utah.

I remember East High on the corner of 1300 East and 800 South. It burned mightily in 1972, gutting the historic building. That was two years after Saltair burned to the ground and unfounded rumors were rampant at the time that a major arsonist was on the loose. Both properties were eventually rebuilt and East High became even more famous thanks to several Disney Channel films (High School Musical, 1, 2 and 3) were filmed in part there. For locals you may have heard of the following people who attended East High: Roseanne Barr (dropout, age 17); James Irwin (astronaut who walked on the moon); folksinger, story teller, labor organizer Utah Phillips; Ken Sansom (voice of Rabbit in Disney’s Winnie the Pooh); Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Stegner; and a multitude of athletic-types like Sione Pouha (defensive tackle for the New York Jets), Herman Franks (major league baseball manager and Will Tukuafu from the San Francisco 49ers.

Sadly, East High school has received bad press over the years. In 2007, three members of the football team were arrested and expelled after raping fellow football players. In 2012 a soccer team player assaulted someone during a soccer match that was in such poor tastes it appears as an example of bad sportsmanship on YouTube. The first gay-straight alliance club at a school in our State debuted at East High in 1995. That was a good thing for human rights but student Kelli Peterson who created the group was not welcomed with open arms in the conservative atmosphere at the time.

You are welcome to tour East High school any day as a visitor or alum. At the peak of the High School Musical phenomenon they were getting requests at least 50 times a day by folks who wanted to see where the movies were shot.

Group Bathing


I’ve been spending a lot of time lately at the north end of Salt Lake City, our new ‘frontier’ for residential and commercial growth. As the Kingdom of Sugar House prepares for the filling of the Sugar Hole with beer, renters and boutiques, the Marmalade Hole awaits attention. Rumors are that the library plan for the site is a million bucks over budget. The commercial buildings across the street still stand empty since they were built but never leased during the Great Recession but the Landis Lifestyle Salon is booming, Club Jam is well, jammin’ and I personally believe the Garage Bar on Beck Street still has of the best burgers in the State. There are boarded up buildings being sold to investors along this route and within a few years this forlorn part of the city will be completely new and shiny all along 300 West up to North Salt Lake via Beck Street.

Who was Beck that got his own street named after him? He was a miner who built a destination hot springs in 1885 up there by the train tracks and refineries. Back then people did not have indoor plumbing. There was no water wasting toilets and no hot steam showers off the master bedrooms of early Utah homes. Folks went to natural hot water spots to bathe, and bathe with others. Becks little spa was a hit with dirty rail road men getting off shift and it lasted as a public bath for just under a hundred years until the State took the land so a little road called I-15 could run through it.

Warm Springs Hot Springs (just north of 800 North as 300 West turns into Beck Street) was once as hip as Bar X and Beer Bar (sans alcohol). You can tell it was RuPaul ‘faaaabulous’ by the remnants of the Spanish Colonial style building that stands where the Children’s Museum used to operate from. The pools and parties were grand at Warm Springs. And there used to be four hot springs options within three miles of the park along the underground geothermal fault zone: Becks, Hobo, Clark and Wasatch. All are known as the Warm Springs area, but Warm Springs is the only one that was restored by our fair city leaders. The building where the baths and pools were closed by our city commission when pieces of the building started sloughing from the ceiling and hitting swimmers. It reopened a few times but it sits abandoned and unsafe and now deteriorating in our harsh elements. In the park surrounding the old building is a nature trail where you can walk your dog and read placards about the history, ecology and geology of the area. The 93 degree spring water is still there but no longer deep enough to float in and relax. However it has enough hot water left to become a bath for the transients who live in camps on the hills above it. It is also the only park I know of in the city where there is a bronze statue dedicated to a dog.

In this national month that pays tribute to the bike, head up to 840 N. Beck Street (300 West) and explore. There are tennis courts, a playground, trails and picnic tables. If you catch the rays for too long, head a little further north and catch some tunes and burgers on the patio of the Garage Bar as a way to enjoy our warm spring weather and discover our town.