Alternate Realities Roundup 9/27 | Buzz Blog
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Alternate Realities Roundup 9/27



Flooding in Colorado is complicated by how fracking fluids and other pollutants have been swept into contact with surviving communities.---

Top of the Alty World

“Boulder County Floods: What's in the Water?”--Boulder Weekly

The SEC dropped a big fine on JP Morgan, but company execs still avoided serious consequences.--ProPublica

Syrian-American journalist Omar Ghabra talks about how Syrian President Bashar-al Assad destroyed the country.--The Nation

Al Gore sits down with Vice to discuss why civilization likely won't last the next 100 years.--Vice

Top of Alty Utah

Former UDOT boss Leone Gibson and her assistant both left the state agency. After Gibson left, she was hired by a private transportation firm, which then won a contract to do the work of Gibson's former assistant. The contract was for over $500,000 to replace the roughly $39,000 annual salary of the assistant.--Salt Lake City Weekly

Leaders of state agencies met at the Capitol to brainstorm ways to improve Utah's air quality.--Utah Political Capitol

The Salt Lake City Council punted on taking immediate action to increase regulations on horse-drawn carriages, following the collapse of carriage horse Jerry in August.--Salt Lake City Weekly

Political-science professors weigh in on whether or not Attorney General John Swallow could be impeached if investigators find only unethical behavior but that he broke no laws.---Salt Lake City Weekly


The Provo Buzz looks at money in politics in the Provo elections and whether the out-sized influence of some special-interest groups is waning.

“Real-estate PAC money in Provo has made the stakes in elections very high. The Utah County Board of Realtors, as political stakeholders, are anxious to fund candidates whom they believe will be sympathetic to their interests. UCAR has become, as one candidate put it, “as much about political activism as [it is] about selling real estate.” On the wall of their boardroom is a sign which announces, “90% of the candidates we support are elected.” The association exhibits an attitude of entitlement when it comes to local races; they summon candidates to appear before them, and cannot comprehend when a candidate declines the invitation. This year, some candidates actually turned down Realtors’ PAC money. That scent on the breeze is the smell of rapidly evaporating influence.”--Provo Buzz

The Long View

In sun-drenched South Carolina, big utility companies have almost completely sunblocked solar power in the state in favor of big coal and nuclear interests.

“In South Carolina, if you want to install solar panels and sell the power back to a homeowner or a business, you have to legally be deemed a utility and be regulated in the same manner as the big companies, like SCE&G and Duke Power. But utility companies are regulated monopolies, given exclusive rights by state government to sell power in their respective territories. And they've fought businesses that have tried to move in and provide solar power. Last year, for instance, several nonprofits, schools, and churches thought they could save money on power bills with help from a Connecticut company that planned to provide free solar panels using federal stimulus dollars. Those entities were left high and dry, and without solar power, after SCE&G filed a complaint that pushed the company away. This year, pro-solar advocates had been championing a bill that would change the way utilities monopolize the marketplace by allowing for third-party leasing of solar panels.”--Charleston City Paper