Despite the renewed effort of the state's Olympic sales force to make itself heard among Utahns, the group that made the most noise about the Winter Games during the Olympic referendum is keeping quiet.
As chairman of Utahns For Responsible Spending, local writer Alexis Kelner regularly appeared in the media as the spokesman for the anti-Olympic movement before the November 1989 election.But when voters approved spending $56 million in sales tax revenues to build a bob sled and luge run, skating rinks and other Olympic facilities, Kelner and his group stepped out of the limelight.
"It was pretty black and white after the referendum passed," said Salt Lake sales executive David Owen, one of three members of the group still active. "We had fought and we had lost."
Owen and Kelner both said they're continuing to keep an eye on how the tax dollars are being spent, but now are relying on the media to act as a watchdog for the public.
"After I put a year of my life into the Olympics, it was time to make money," Kelner said, adding that while he no longer has the time to continue the campaign, he is willing to speak out when asked.
Nobody is asking him what he thinks anymore. Kelner said a call from a reporter last week was the first he has received since last November.
"I think we represent the viewpoint of some 168,000 people who voted against the Olympics," Kelner said. "But because we don't have hundreds of dues-paying members, we're not taken seriously."
Actually, they had about 300 members during the referendum. Kelner said the three leaders have not kept in touch with any of those followers since the election.
They do continue to have influence. They are credited with sparking a recent legislative audit of the Salt Palace as well as a call for an audit of the agency responsible for spending the $56 million, the Utah Sports Authority.
While no other groups have surfaced to take the place of Utahns For Responsible Public Spending, some people have banded together in several areas to complain about the proposed sites for Olympic facilities.
Most recently, residents living near the University of Utah have waged a campaign against locating the speed-skating oval on Guardsman Way, arguing instead for a site on the west side of Salt Lake City.
The residents have made their views clear at public meetings, but their only effort to influence public opinion was a series of four small yard signs that appeared on 1300 East for a short time last month.