By FLOYD MORI
Darin Mano is a City Council member in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was selected when there was a vacancy after one member was elected to be the Salt Lake City mayor. There were 28 applicants at that time. Darin was chosen and now is running for re-election.
Darin is the first Asian American to serve in that position in Salt Lake City. Darin’s mother’s uncle, Tom Shimizu, had previously served on the Salt Lake County Commission.
A member of the Mount Olympus JACL Chapter, Darin was the architect who designed the new Topaz Museum near Delta, Utah, and the Topaz Camp. He grew up in Sandy, Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah. He received his architectural degree from Harvard University.
The following is from Darin’s website:
“I was appointed to the Salt Lake City Council in January of 2020 to fill the vacancy left by Mayor [Erin] Mendenhall in District 5. I could not have predicted the tumultuous year that was ahead of me. Though 2020 was full of surprises including the pandemic, an earthquake, and a nationwide call for racial equity in policing, I was honored to serve aside Mayor Mendenhall and my fellow Salt Lake city councilmembers.
“As an architect, an educator, a small business owner, and a minority, I have a diverse set of skills and perspectives that help me as I serve my community. I understand the importance of urban planning, economic development, developing relationships, and meaningful engagement with my community. My role as a city councilmember is to be a representative for my district and the people I serve. My goal is to be connected to my community, push for important positive changes, and make decisions that will benefit my district and the city as a whole.” [www.darinmano.com]
Because Darin was appointed to the City Council, this is his first campaign. He was out knocking on doors in his district. He had a list of registered voters to contact. He knocked on a door and moved on when there was no response. He left a campaign flyer.
When he finished campaigning later that day, he found that he had received a very angry email. It was full of hate, profanity, and a threat because the person had been awakened from a nap by a knock on the door. The man who sent the email was not the person on Darin’s list of voters. There was another name listed whom Darin had tried to contact.
The email was sent by an assistant attorney general by the name of Steven Wuthrich in the Utah Attorney General’s Office. It read:
“I have a ‘no soliciting’ sign on my door for a reason. On a nice Saturday afternoon myself and my wife and my downstairs tenant were all taking a lovely siesta when some ***** ignorant ***** rang our doorbell and put your piece **** unwanted solicitation in our door, waking the dogs and waking us and the neighbors with an uproar. I will do everything in my power to see you never get elected to any office higher than dog catcher.
“I hate you. I hate your family. I hate your solicitors. I hate your contributors. I hate your sponsors. Kindly die and go to hell, *****!!!!”
The email was sent from an iPhone with the sender’s name and email address clearly in view. It seems to be a racist and bigoted response. Darin’s photo is on the flyer.
Darin had been a speaker at the recent Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration in Salt Lake City. He had suggested that people report hate toward them in this time of increased racism against Asian Americans because of COVID and the words of some leaders. He decided that it was his duty to report the hate mail.
Wuthrich later apologized, not directly to Darin, but to the news media when they reached out to him about the hateful email. It has been called a hollow apology.
That type of behavior from Wuthrich is totally unbecoming for anyone and especially for a government official. He is a lawyer in the Utah State Attorney General’s Office. Their website says that they are “committed to representing the citizens of Utah with the highest level of integrity, professionalism, civility, and transparency.”
Darin is my nephew, and I have been involved in his campaign. Darin knows the nature of politics, but this is very disturbing. No one should have to experience and endure such hate.
Floyd Mori is former president/CEO of Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) and former national executive director emeritus of the Japanese American Citizens League.