NCEW members will note on whether to hold the 2009 convention in Salt Lake City or Indianapolis. First to make a pitch is ... Salt Lake City!
If we were talking about a Salt Lake City convention ten years ago, members of the Site Selection Committee could have counted on lavish gifts: you know, weekends at the Deer Valley ski resort, front-row Utah Jazz tickets, and maybe a scholarship or two for the kiddies.
But the Olympics are over now and, well, with input from Mitt Romney, we've learned a thing or two. Bribery is sooo 2002. The city will have to sink or swim on its merits. (Which is good news if you have an inclination to jump into our salty lake--you can't sink.)
You know all about the stereotypes.
Salt Lake City is a backwoods town where families are so important the men have several of them. Love, after all, is really big? Mormons walk around in nineteenth-century clothes and make sure no one drinks coffee, let alone alcohol. Isn't this the place where Elizabeth Smart's kidnappers dressed her like a kook and she was able to blend in?
Well, that's one way of looking at it.
The truth is Salt Lake City is a place full of surprises--most of them pleasant. For instance, did you know ...
* Salt Lake City is home to one of the nation's most comprehensive wine stores, located downtown. It contains more than three thousand varieties and more than three hundred thousand bottles in stock. There are literally hundreds of places, from private clubs to brew pubs, taverns and restaurants, in which to obtain alcohol in the downtown area alone.
* Mormons make up less than half of Salt Lake City, and they look and dress pretty much the way you do. In fact, the church has a sophisticated telecommunications network that includes ownership of a television station and a couple of dozen radio stations (country, contemporary, and rock 'n" roll) in the nation's biggest markets, as well as one of the city's two major newspapers.
* The ornate Catholic Cathedral of the Madeleine, located downtown, was constructed before the Mormon temple in the nineteenth century.
* Spectacular …