Democratic member of the Utah state Senate. He is the only openly gay member of Utah Legislature.
Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis is part of a group of people seeking to buy The Salt Lake Tribune in order to prevent the Mormon Church from taking control of the major independent newspaper. "For many years, since the ‘50s, The Salt Lake Tribune has been the big, independent, progressive voice and the Mormon Church had the Deseret News," Dabakis says. "We’re in the position now where it looks like The Salt Lake Tribune will be a daily or once-a-week supplement inside the [Deseret News] without an independent voice, and there will be one voice in our community, and it will be the voice of the Mormon Church."
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Democratic State Senator Jim Dabakis is part of a group of five people who want to try to buy The Salt Lake Tribune here in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Tribune is run through a joint operating agreement with the Deseret News, which is owned by the Mormon Church. Senator Dabakis, if you could explain the history of the paper? Is the Mormon Church trying to buy this paper? And what are you trying to do? Also, I understand, others are competing to get a hold of the paper.
SEN. JIM DABAKIS: So, for many years, since the ’50s, The Salt Lake Tribune has been the big independent, progressive voice, and the Mormon Church had the Deseret News. Always the circulation and the ad revenue is much bigger in the Tribune than in the Deseret News. Through a series of circumstances, now the Deseret News believes that it has a right of veto power over who can own The Salt Lake Tribune and is—
AMY GOODMAN: Which means the Mormon Church believes this.
SEN. JIM DABAKIS: Which means the Mormon Church has the ability to veto the owner of The Salt Lake Tribune, they say. The Department of Justice doesn’t necessarily agree, but a big hedge fund in New York that’s been paid off is in the middle of all of this.
AMY GOODMAN: And it’s called?
SEN. JIM DABAKIS: It’s called Alden Global Capital. So, we are in the position now where it looks like The Salt Lake Tribune will be a daily or once-a-week supplement inside the [Deseret News], without an independent voice. And there will be one voice in our community, and it will be the voice of the Mormon Church.
AMY GOODMAN: The former presidential candidate, Jon Huntsman, is also part of a group that’s trying to buy it?
SEN. JIM DABAKIS: They gave up, apparently. And it’s his father who had tried. So, we have a group of five very prominent members of the community. And we’re saying, "Look, we’ve got the—we’ve got the money. We’ve got the expertise. We love the community. We will buy that paper." But they may not want those editorial views in the community at any price. That’s what we’re fighting about.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to continue to follow this. It’s a major paper in this country. I want to thank you, State Senator Jim Dabakis and Troy Williams of Equality Utah.
That does it for our broadcast. As we continue on our 100-city tour, we’ll be in Idaho Springs and Denver, Colorado, today, speaking at noon and in the evening, then on Thursday at the Boulder Theater. On Friday, I’ll be speaking at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, then on to Eagle, Carbondale, Paonia and Salida through the weekend in Colorado, and then we’re moving on to New Mexico and other places. Check our website for the tour. We have job openings.