Could Mayor's Protest Hurt the State?

Could Mayor's Protest Hurt the State?

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Richard Piatt ReportingUtah's business community is moving on after the President's visit and after the vocal opposition of the President from Salt Lake City's mayor. Most people doubt the city will pay a price for Anderson's comments, at least from out of state.

In fact, Salt Lake City business leaders are more worried about visitors from other parts of Utah, angry to the point they want to stay away from the Capitol City. For big business and conventions from out of state, the Utah PR machine is already working.

The Olympic scandal didn't damage the success of the 2002 Winter Games in Utah, en after months of bad publicity over it. So, Salt Lake Chamber President Lane Beatty isn't really worried about Rocky Anderson's Presidential protest rally, either.

Lane Beattie, Salt Lake Chamber President: "I am very happy to report to the state of Utah, besides the fact of who the mayor of Salt Lake City is."

But that doesn't mean plenty of people weren't offended by Anderson's outspoken feelings about the President's policies. Senator Orrin Hatch called it 'bad form'

Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R) Utah, Monday: "You don't do that to the president of the United States. You don't do it as a leader, you don't do it as someone who's trying to attract conventioneers here."

Mayor Rocky Anderson: "You know, if you see things are going wrong, you have an obligation to stand up and say so."

A Survey USA poll of 500 Utahns shows 55 percent fear Mayor Anderson's opinion will make it more difficult for the city to attract conventions in the future. 42 percent say it won't make any difference.

For those who are worried there is this news: The head of the VFW, the convention the President visited, has already asked about coming back.

Scott Beck, Salt Lake Convention and Visitor's Bureau: "For the fourth time in the history of their organization, they're going to look to Salt Lake to host their convention. To me that's a strong indicator of how this is going to affect us."

That pretty much says it all. But it doesn't soothe the wounds within the state from people who vow to stay away because of the mayor.

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