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Construction costs for Salt Lake to Sandy light-rail line were $312 million, while it was $118.5 million for the University line and $89.4 million for the Medical Center extension—veritable chump change as far as taxpayers are concerned. They were only too happy to vote for Proposition 3 in November 2006 which entailed a quarter-cent sales-tax hike to raise $2.5 billion to finance the design, construction and operation of 70 miles of transit projects including the FrontRunner commuter rail between Salt Lake City and Provo and light-rail for the airport, West Valley, Draper and an area it calls the mid-Jordan area. While the jury is still out as to how many riders utilize our Cadillac of mass transit and how much pollution and traffic congestion are offset by our sleek, modern trains, it’s clear readers love to see their tax dollars go toward this moving target.
3. Legacy Highway
BEST CORPORATE OVERLORD
Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne
As serfs, we expect our corporate overlords to act like overlords—sadistic, condescending bastards who know that the only purpose of us little people is to serve our master’s every whim. Their imperious swagger makes it easier to aim when the revolution comes. That’s why we love Patrick Byrne. When Utah voters trounced a school-voucher law, Byrne flew into a narcissistic rage, saying we didn’t care about our kids and that the referendum was an IQ test—which we failed. Ooh, ouch! We would have felt insulted if we weren’t so busy celebrating our massive victory against those undemocratic privatization freaks.
BEST REASON TO EXPAND UTAH WILDERNESS
We have nothing but sympathy for victims of the recent surge in bear maulings. But, as human development continues to encroach on bear habitat, attacks will likely increase. You could blame the bear, if you weren’t a guest in its home. There are only two solutions: Wipe out the bear population or give bears a place to live—and only one of these options will allow us to sleep at night and look at ourselves in the mirror in the morning.
BEST REASON TO ENCOURAGE GUN USE
The Taser is fast becoming standard-issue equipment for cops—the ability to safely and quickly incapacitate a 200-pound man seems like a huge boon for law enforcement. But is the Taser’s safety overrated? Cops now think nothing of dropping suspects with these potentially deadly electrical devices—even in routine cases, like speeding tickets, where shooting would never be considered. At least with guns, cops think twice—more training or fewer Tasers might make us all safer.
BEST CUSTOM-BUILT MICE
Mario R. Capecchi
Dr. Capecchi received a Nobel Prize for his work with two other physiologists figuring out how to “knock out”—or deactivate—targeted sets of genes in mice. We always get the creeps when we think about genetically engineered Frankenmice—and you’ve got to feel sorry for them, poor things—but Capecchi’s work may allow scientists to discover all kinds of cures for diseases plaguing humans and mice alike. Plus, it’s just cool that somebody from the U of U won a Nobel. Congrats, Dr. Mario!
BEST DEFENDER OF THE FAITH
In the midst of Mormon-mania when Mitt Romney was too busy dodging questions about the LDS faith, it was left up to the luminous Latter-day Saint and Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings to address the world’s Momo curiosity. “Being a Mormon [once] was like being a Canadian, or a vegetarian or unicyclist,” said Jennings in a December 2007 New York Daily News editorial. “It made you a bit of a conversation piece at dinner, but you didn’t come up for any lip curling contempt.” Jennings wittily went for a true Daily Double calling out presidential candidate Mike Huckabee over his jab at the Mormon belief that Jesus and Satan being brothers: “The truth, Huck, is that Mormons believe that God is the Father of us all, which does, I guess, in some sense, make Jesus and Satan brothers. And, by the same logic, we also believe that Moses and Orville Redenbacher and Attila the Hun and Neil Diamond are brothers. Happy now?”
BEST STYLISH COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS
Taylor D’Shaw Salon
Lord knows, hair stylists make good confidants—and an affordable alternative to licensed therapists—but few take their tender loving care to the streets quite like Taylor D’Shaw. For years, the Murray salon’s compassionate employees have gone out of their way to improve the quality of life for Utah residents—paying customers or otherwise. Past outreach efforts include several Women Helping Women Cut-a-Thons (for battered and abused women), an autism benefit, Locks of Love (donating locks to produce wigs for cancer survivors) and a major role in the Junior League’s Black & White Ball to benefit battered and recovering women. Our hats are off to owners Jennifer Taylor and Dustin Shaw for going the extra distance.
388 W. Winchester, Salt Lake City, 801-281-2444
BEST WALK THE TALK POLITICO
Not all politicians are bad apples, sucking on the teat of big government and making shady deals to further pad their beefy wallets. In fact, some public figures not only do their jobs and tell the truth but actually engage in honest-to-goodness selfless acts. Case in point: Lynn Hemingway, a Utah Democrat whose primary focus was on saving the kids by improving public education. The Holladay leader was inspired to donate his entire salary for the Legislative session to the Parent Teacher Associations presiding over schools in his district. Perhaps there’s hope for politics after all.
BEST MARKETING GIMMICK-CUM-AMERICAN HISTORY LESSON
Reagan Outdoor Advertising “John Tyler” Billboards
Inquiring minds wanted to know: Why were billboards around town arbitrarily touting John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States? Turns out Reagan Outdoor Advertising was conducting a little experiment in the effectiveness of its placements to prove to potential advertisers that Utahns were paying attention and would know the identity of the 10th president in larger numbers after the launch of the campaign. Will they now turn our thirst for knowledge about Millard Fillmore to their own ends?