Utah Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble (pictured at left), who represents District 16 from Provo, Utah, apparently thinks lawmakers' personal checks are inherently more "honorable" than those of the unwashed lumpenmasses. Worse yet, he apparently tried to get a local restaurant in Utah County to make a personal exception to their no-check policy for him on that basis.
So reports the Deseret News on August 22nd, 2008. They report on a posting by a 24-year-old delivery driver working for Nicolitalia Restaurant at 2295 North University Parkway in Provo on her personal blog, "CartoonBrickWall", about an unpleasant encounter she had with Bramble when she delivered pizzas to his home recently. This was also picked up on August 20th by the Salt Lake Tribune's Utah Politics blog, by KSL Channel 5, and by KTVX Channel 4.
In this particular post, the delivery driver, identified by KSL as Anna Eagar, describes the encounter. In short, she describes his reaction to the restaurant's "cash or credit" policy. Bramble initially tells her to "take the pizza back," then proceeds to explain why, exactly, she should take the check.
"Look, I'm the majority leader of the state senate, I've lived in this house for 30 years, and I've never bounced a check. Do you know that that means? I'm a public figure. If I bounced a check, it would be all over the papers. I'd lose my reputation!"
Then Eagar also discusses a phone call to her manager, who also explain "cash or credit" are the only options, and that they told Bramble's wife that when she ordered. Bramble's wife did own up to it, although she failed to tell her husband in advance. Still, Bramble persisted, explaining that he is a certified public accountant and knows that "a check is same as cash." [Ed. Note: "Certified public blowhard" is more like it.]
When asked about the posting on Wednesday August 20th, Bramble said he was baffled that night because "the last thing I would do is write a rubber check" for a pizza order. "To order a pizza with no cash and to try to pay by check was a first-time experience for me," he said. He eventually paid with his American Express, a move he questioned the logic of doing, questioning why the manager wouldn't trust him to write a check, but wants Bramble to trust him to give him my American Express with the security code and expiration date, which has a very high limit, characterizing it as a philosophical disconnect. But he did complement the professionalism of the delivery driver, and tipped her two dollars. KSL video embedded below:
And this type of behavior by Bramble may not be just a fluke. When I reviewed public comments to Eagar's post, I found a very telling comment posted at 7:48 A.M. on August 23rd by Big Josh Stud:
Big Josh Stud said...
I used to work in a high end steak house in downtown Salt Lake. I had a run in with Mr. Bramble who was quite upset that I didn't know 'who he is.' I was his server and when he wasn't happy with some of his food I offered to replace it with something he would like. He became upset that I didn't offer free dessert also (which was funny because a lobbiest was flipping the bill.) He left in a huff stating that I had been 'snide, and didn't even offer a free desert. He obviously doesn't know who I am.' The guy was a total jerk and about as arrogant as it gets. What is funny is at the restaurant I had served the Governor, and U.S senators and celebrities and none were so arrogant or rude as the state majority leader (Bramble).
Scott Jarvie is also documenting more of Bramble's follies HERE. It sounds like power has gone straight to Curt Bramble's head. Perhaps he needs a competitive election contest to either make him a kinder, gentler lawmaker...or an ex-lawmaker.
Curt Bramble is running for re-election. His official campaign website is HERE; his official VoteSmart page HERE. He has one opponent; Democrat RaDene Hatfield. Hatfield's official campaign website can be viewed HERE. In examining her political worldview, it appears she is a "blue-dog" Democrat like Jim Matheson, supporting traditional cultural values and classical market-oriented economic strategies. The only drawback - while she supports enforcement of our immigration laws, she also uses the word "compassion". As a result, I get a faint whiff of "amnesty", and we all know what happened to Chris Cannon and his "amnesty", don't we? Still, RaDene Hatfield is not one of those extremist Salt Lake Democrats. Consequently, she could be a viable alternative to Curt Bramble.
Bramble has previously been under fire for taking excessive gifts from lobbyists. In 2007, Bramble had taken $4,475 in gifts from lobbyists; only two state lawmakers had higher totals. Mick Hagen offers an insider's perspective on Bramble on his blog; he states he hung out with Bramble's daughters in high school.
The only way we're going to curb this type of legislative arrogance is to let people like Curt Bramble know that we can - and will - replace them if we can find viable alternatives.