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Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Alexandra Eframo, often a thorn in the Salt Lake County Council's side, was cited in 2005 for violating West Jordan's yard codes.

Alexandra Eframo is like white noise to the Salt Lake County Council.

Every week she lectures council members about such things as eating candy in meetings and whispering to each other while someone else is talking, but she doesn't seem to make a difference.

Eframo's crusade continued Tuesday, as she scolded a man for putting his feet up on a chair at the county cafeteria.

She was so miffed she forced the man to face sheriff's deputies. The man agreed to follow Eframo from the cafeteria in the South Building. Alas, the man didn't break any laws.

But recently, council members finally heard her through all the static.

Somehow, Eframo persuaded the council to reverse course and change a decision made just an hour earlier.

When Eframo got word that the council gave preliminary approval to raise the fee to copy public records to 50 cents a page, the 75-year-old was outraged. She immediately went to work, sparring with councilmen Jim Bradley and Randy Horiuchi.

Then, a little more than an hour later during the council's official meeting, the council slashed the fee back to 25 cents per copy.

"She made a difference today," Horiuchi said. "She came after me, and it worked."

The council's change of heart is quite a departure from the past, when council members' interactions with the West Jordan woman were less than cordial.

Between shouting matches and a confrontation where Horiuchi said he "dressed her down," Eframo has "become sort of a curiosity around here," Horiuchi said.

But Eframo takes it all in stride.

"I just want to stand for truth. Truth and justice," Eframo said. "And to me, it's just not fair what they are doing."

Fighting the man is nothing new for Eframo.

She made headlines in 2005 when she refused to water her lawn. Eframo said she was establishing her "desert lawn," but neighbors complained she was tanking their property values.

City prosecutors slapped her with citations for violating city codes on landscape plants and ground coverage. Then, the self-proclaimed "Rosa Parks of xeriscaping" fought the misdemeanor charges in court and won when the city's case was dismissed in 2006.

"What can I say, I'm a rebel," said Eframo, who blames her Russian heritage. And after battling health problems and surviving pacemaker surgery, the retired Delta Air Lines employees believes "God kept me alive for a reason."

Councilman Joe Hatch said he appreciates people like Eframo but sometimes her tongue-lashings go a little too far.

Horiuchi said she needs to do her homework before making public accusations lambasting public officials.

"She's got to understand we have 1.499 million other residents in this county," Horiuchi said. "If we spent as much time with them as we do with her, we wouldn't be alive."

For the past few months, Eframo has been a fixture at council meetings and usually not a welcome one.

She lambasted the council on Feb. 5 and got into a public spat with Councilman David Wilde after blasting council members for eating candy in the council chambers, despite the fact that a sign on the back wall bans all food and drink from the room.

"Take the candy home, folks," Eframo said. "Please set an example. Don't be hypocritical."

The council has since ordered the sign be taken down, Hatch said.

Then, in typical county council fashion, several council members joked and talked among themselves while Eframo continued to use her allotted three-minute public comment to talk about the rowdy manners allowed in the county libraries.

"Please listen to me and not talk," Eframo chided councilmen David Wilde and Jeff Allen. The councilmen quickly listened up, but Wilde kept his head down.

"What is your name?" Eframo asked Wilde.

"My name is David Wilde. You can report me to the sheriff and arrest me," he quipped.

March 11 was a big day, where she first scolded council chairman Michael Jensen for allowing the council to breeze through consent items on the agenda with no discussion.

"I'm sitting there waiting, trying to get information on what's going on, and before I know it, (Jensen) says item 7-17 passed, gone," Eframo said. "All I'm asking is please don't go through item 7-17 passed, gone. Read it; it takes you five minutes. That's all. I don't think it's fair to people."

Consent items have little controversy, and all members of the council agree on the issue and plan no debate. That's why the council moves through consent items on meeting agendas so quickly.

Later in that March 11 meeting, Eframo directed her ire at Horiuchi for conversing with Hatch during the council's work meeting earlier that day. "I think it's a slap in the face for Mr. Horiuchi and also Joe Hatch, talking between the two of you," Eframo said. "How can you possibly vote for that issue when you are talking?"

Horiuchi fired back and said Eframo didn't know how county government works.

Sidebar conversations are normal in the council's work session, and that particular conversation with Hatch was "incredibly important," Horiuchi said.

"If we had been making it so people couldn't hear, spank us, punish us and excoriate us," Horiuchi said. "I thought we were very, very quiet."

"That is our work session. We will have side conversations," Horiuchi said. "She was really interrupting our work. We need to have free dialogue with one another."


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