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HIGHLAND — A Highland man believes vandalism done to several political signs he planted is politically-motivated.
Darwin Nimer is a proponent of Proposition 6, a measure that would end restrictions in Highland on businesses opening on Sunday. On Monday, he headed down 6800 West in the area of 10250 North and saw that his signs that read, "VOTE YES! on Prop 6" with a red caption that says "FREEDOM," had been "stomped flat to the ground." Another sign had been ripped from the ground entirely.
"To me it feels obviously selective, that it was just this issue that they're trying to hamper," Nimer said. None of the signs on the street that read "VOTE AGAINST PROP 6" with the red caption "PRESERVE SUNDAY CLOSING" were touched, Nimer observed.
Lone Peak Police Sgt. Steve Swenson said Wednesday investigators did not know who was responsible and had no leads.
The issue of Sunday business operations has been a hotly contested one. Those against Prop 6 maintain they like to keep their Sundays quiet and Sunday business is in opposition to the community standard.
"I'm really against Proposition 6 — I love my family time on Sunday. It's an excuse for us to stay home," resident Mary Ann Landefeld said. "My son also works at [the grocery store] in Highland and love to know that he'll be home every Sunday."
Nimer and others in favor of Prop 6 in part argue businesses have gone to Lehi and Cedar Hills because of the city's restrictions, and additional business growth and revenue would lessen the need for a significant property tax increase which is currently on hold pending a referendum next year. If it goes into place, homeowners and businesses would see in the neighborhood of a 58-percent tax hike.
To me it feels obviously selective, that it was just this issue that they're trying to hamper.
"That will bring the tax revenue to Highland that Highland desperately needs at this time," Nimer said. Mayor Lynn Ritchie disputed the idea there would be a significant benefit to Highland from allowing Sunday businesses to open.
"The amount of revenue collected would be insignificant - it would be a small amount," Ritchie said. Ritchie cited 2006 research that showed 80 percent of Highland residents were in favor of city businesses remaining closed on Sunday.
"The being-closed-on-Sunday is a community value," Ritchie said. "I've always contended it's not a religious issue because you can argue both sides of the religious issue — freedom of choice versus keep the Sabbath day holy. It's a community value issue — people like it quiet, less traffic, that the children don't have to work on Sunday — so that's the side of not having a Sunday opening."
Nimer said he doesn't believe his side's point of view should be quieted by acts of vandalism, something to which even those who disagree with him find common ground. "I'd feel bad if somebody took one side and then took somebody's signs down that they disagreed with because everyone has their own vote and their choice," Landefeld said.