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A City Disenfranchised

A capital city now disenfranchised; how different will UTA really look and time to save the Antiquities Act.

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A City Disenfranchised
Way to disenfranchise an entire population, Utah Legislature! Salt Lake City might as well be imprisoned in a dungeon without light, thankful for the bread and water they are allowed to survive. We won't even talk about how badly the city's gerrymandered—cut up into three incongruous congressional districts. And let's not talk about SLC's historic water rights, which have been preserved only by an agreement to study the issue. But let's talk Salt Lake's government and how ineffectual it was during this session. Not even the amazingly reincarnated city lobbyist Ken Bullock, whose second-chance employment is earning him $105,500, could stop the train. Three Utah senators, according to The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, came out swinging against the city for its non-inclusive lobbying. There's plenty of blame to go around. While the Legislature is elitist and power-hungry, the city needs to be more open and aggressive.

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The Pig's Lipstick
Remember the old saw about lipstick on a pig? That's what we're doing with the Utah Transit Authority, soon to be known as the Transit District of Utah (TRADUT?) The good news is that the 16-member board would be hacked down to three. Oh, but boo-hoo, UTA "warned" that repainting logos could cost $50 million, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. And they'll have to get rid of their own lawyers and use the governor's. They don't like that because ostensibly, transit is a very complicated animal. But wait. Board members' salaries are "limited" to $150,000 a year plus benefits. Maybe they all have Ph.D.s or something. And UTA is drowning in debt, beholden to developers and still one of those murky quasi-public organizations.

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It's Veto Time
You have less than two weeks to urge Gov. Gary Herbert to veto a resolution to eviscerate the Antiquities Act. The Utah Navajo Commission, and several Navajo Nation Chapters are deeply concerned about recent saber rattling over Bears Ears and the looming threat of erasing monument designation. "HJR 1 should not be used as a weapon against Tribes whose rich heritage in Utah is often dismissed as less important than mineral extraction, grazing, or recreation by Utah elected officials," they said in a statement. The resolution would leave it to Congress to pass laws protecting any "objects of historic and scientific interest." That these Native Americans were pretty much shut out during the bill's creation should be enough reason to oppose the legislation. Instead of calling the last legislative session a "win-win," Herbert should recognize it for what it was—an unprecedented power grab.

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