MAPLETON Sen. Chris Buttars repeated his infamous "black baby" remark this week during a meeting with a developer and city officials as a way to say he was still in power and would remain in the Utah senate, Mayor Laurel Brady said.
"We did get the message it was saber rattling," Brady said.
At an earlier legislative session Buttars said in referring to a bill, "this baby is black ... it's a dark and ugly thing."
Buttars referred to his remark at least three times during the meeting with the Mapleton officials as a way to say it didn't hurt him and he would remain in power, Brady said. Democrat John Rendell is attempting to unseat the West Valley senator in the November election.
However, developer Wendell Gibby said Buttars referred to the remark just once and only as an example that he had had a tough year because of it, but survived the political attacks it spawned.
The city's lobbyist, David Spatafore arranged the meeting with city officials Brady, her husband, former mayor Jim Brady, City Planning Director Cory Branch, City Administrator Robert Brandshaw and City Attorney Eric Johnson with Gibby, his wife and Buttars.
Gibby has been fighting with the city for years to build as many as 60 homes on Maple Mountain, which would block the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. However, the city has said he could build 47 homes, but have so far failed to grant him the necessary subdivision approval and permits to move forward, Gibby said.
The city has met its obligations according to a Memorandum of Understanding but Gibby continues to ask for concessions, Laurel Brady said.
The meeting was called to discuss eminent domain issues that could make their way to the state legislature and result in laws that could hurt Mapleton, Laurel Brady said.
"We wanted to head off state legislation that could impact us," she said.
She said Gibby has told them that he has powerful friends in the state legislature, Buttars among them, who could step in and help him. Gibby lost the use of a 10-foot wide swath through his property more than a year ago from a judicial ruling using eminent domain. He said Buttars cautioned the group that emminent domain could be a "monster" if used improperly.
Gibby said the city may have set up the meeting as a "political hatchet job to neuter (Buttars)."He accused the Mapleton contingent of leaking the meeting and Buttars' reference to the black baby remark to the media. Laurel Brady denied that and said she didn't know who contacted the press.