"Mr. Dirt" - a local independent U.S. presidential candidate - is upset that the U.S. Conference of Mayors would not let him speak to its convention in Salt Lake City this week as it had allowed Michael Dukakis and Jesse Jackson.
"I called them up and said I was Mr. Dirt and was a viable candidate for president and that I wanted to talk to the convention just like Dukakis and Jackson," said Dirt, also known as Robert Earl Anderson of Magna."My problem is that I'm weird. And the girl I finally talked to must have thought I was a nut and said they didn't let Dukakis and Jackson talk - just to get rid of me. She lied. I hate that," Dirt said.
Convention spokesmen were unavailable for comment and had already disbanded their press office by the time Dirt told his story to the Deseret News.
Although the mayors apparently didn't want Dirt at their convention, Dirt showed up anyway outside the Red Lion Inn passing out his campaign literature. He is a scruffy "Mr. Clean" lookalike who dreams of manufacturing plants that he says could reverse the process of pollution.
Dirt said, "I even picketed with police for a while at the hotel." They are protesting lack of contract negotiations with Salt Lake City. "After a while they didn't want me either because I'm so weird. They didn't say it like that. They were nice and just said I might give them a bad name because I was so loud."
Dirt also said he sent word into the national press covering the convention that he was outside and wanted to be interviewed, but no one came.
Dirt also used the mayor's convention to promote his National Independent Candidates Convention scheduled in Park City next month, to which he has invited the more than 300 independents who have registered with the FCC. Seven have agreed to come so far.
Dirt passed out information about that convention and passed an invitation to it to Democrat Jesse Jackson - at least, he thinks Jackson got it.
"There was a black limousine that pulled up. A black woman who looked full of pride - I think she was Jackson's mother - got in the car. I asked, `Are you a friend of Jesse Jackson. There's something I want to give him.' She motioned me over to the car and I gave her the invitation."
Dirt said his experience with the mayors has convinced him that he doesn't fit in well with normal politics - which is why he has spent much of the past two weeks parked outside the gate of the Salt Lake City-County Landfill trying to talk to people as they come and go about his convention and concerns.
He said people are more concerned about the environment when they are at the dump. He once considered suing dump officials for not allowing him to spread information inside the dump but said he reconsidered and said he's found that dump officials care about the same things he does.
Dirt plans to sit at the dump for the next several weeks and even ask passers-by for trash they may want to contribute that he will incorporate into a 12-foot high statue he plans of an eagle - which is the emblem of independents' convention.
"I really care about what I'm doing, but my wife thinks I've gone nuts or something. I haven't worked in the past 11/2 months, and she thinks I should care more about family obligations. But I want people to listen to me," Dirt said.