Democrats asked to vacate Jeremy office
May 17, 2006
Summit County Democratic Party chair Rob Weyher says he was harassed Tuesday in Jeremy Ranch when a building official told him he must vacate the party’s headquarters in Snyderville.
"They better quit messing with me," Weyher said during an interview at the office Tuesday. "Who’s being harassed, the Summit County Democratic Party or Rob Weyher? Whatever it is and wherever it’s coming from, I think it better stop."
The accusations are the latest to surface in an already active political season in Summit County.
"I think I’m being harassed," Weyher said. "I don’t know who’s harassing me, but it may be the fourth unelected commissioner that currently serves in the Utah State Senate."
Weyher was referring to David Thomas, Summit County’s chief civil counsel who serves Weber and Davis counties on Capitol Hill.
"An unnamed building official walked into my office and told me that my space did not have a certificate of occupancy and he wanted me to vacate it," Weyher said, adding that Democrats lease space at 2700 Homestead Road.
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All tenants should be required to vacate the office building if the owner lacks the proper permits, he said.
But, according to Summit County building inspector Richard Butz, "it doesn’t matter who you are, even if you’re the governor, you need a [certificate of occupancy]."
The Democrats are operating out of one of several spaces in the building that have not received certificates, he added.
"I didn’t know who [Weyher] was when I walked in & I don’t care who he is or what party he represents," Butz said. "We’ve been trying to catch somebody there and the door just happened to be open."
Butz insists he introduced himself to Weyher.
"I was also informed that my (campaign) signs in the window didn’t meet the county’s sign ordinance," Weyher said.
But zoning codes in the Snyderville Basin do not regulate political signs. Weyher insists the signs won’t be removed.
He says he intends to contribute lots of money to efforts to unseat Thomas in the Senate. Thomas was forced into a primary during the state Republican nominating convention Saturday when he defeated his opponent, Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner, by just one delegate vote.
"Jon Greiner has a base of support in Ogden that is pretty strong," said Jeff Hartley, executive director of the Utah Republican Party. "It’s two strong leaders who have constituencies that are facing off in a primary that, if the convention is indicative of anything, it’s going to be very close."
The winner of that Republican primary will take on Democrat Stuart Reid in November.
Thomas was not immediately available to comment about Weyher’s allegations.
Meanwhile, Weyher is one step closer to his goal of adding a liberal woman to the ranks of the Utah Legislature.
Christine Johnson, who is from Salt Lake City, almost garnered enough delegate support to avoid a primary race during the Utah Democratic Party nominating convention on Saturday.
"She was only a handful of votes short of taking the nomination at convention," Summit County Democratic Party Secretary Laura Bonham said.
Instead, Johnson will face off June 27 in a Democratic primary against Salt Lake City resident Josh Ewing for the opportunity to replace Democratic Rep. Ross Romero in House District 25.
District 25 includes constituents in Salt Lake and the Snyderville Basin. Romero replaced Democrat Scott Daniels in the seat after Daniels chose not to seek another term in 2004.
The winner of the Democratic primary could face Republican Kenneth Grover in the race for House District 25 in November.
Other Democrats nominated Saturday to seek state offices include: Bonham, who is running for House District 53, and Roland Uresk, who is running for Senate District 26 to replace retiring Republican state Sen. Beverly Evans.
Bonham will likely face off against former state Speaker of the House Mel Brown, a Republican, in November.
"The Democratic Party here looks at this mid-term election as a good opportunity to make some gains and I think we’ll be successful at doing that," Bonham said.