Jon Huntsman Sr. has given $41 million to the Huntsman Cancer Institute for cancer research—a philosophical and personal goal. Both his parents died of cancer, and he has battled both mouth and prostate cancer. Totally, Huntsman has donated some $1 billion to the fight against cancer. Another Utah public figure is also struggling with cancer. Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is undergoing a fourth kind of chemotherapy for colon cancer, which claims 50,000 people a year. Shurtleff’s two sons, son-in-law and now his chief of criminal investigations have all shaved their heads in solidarity.
Utah’s a desert. Water rights have long pitted one group against another—most recently Nevada’s reach for the Snake Valley Aquifer. Isn’t it obvious that Utah needs someone coordinating decisions about water? But alas, Mike Styler, director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, says no—at least to Pat Shea, former director of the Bureau of Land Management under Clinton. Shea recently proposed the creation of a water czar, but Styler doesn’t think it’s necessary. Two governors—Scott Matheson and Jon Huntsman Jr.—felt the need for an overseer of water and appointed someone. But now that Utah is considering using 50,000 acre-feet of water from the Green River for a nuclear facility, well, someone doesn’t want anyone looking over their shoulder.
The Government Records Working Group still doesn’t get it. Remember when the public balked at a law meant to hide communications of lawmakers and make access to public records more difficult? The message was: Leave GRAMA alone. Well, Working Group chair Lane Beattie came up with a list of four areas for the Legislature to delve into: emerging technologies; costs and timeliness; simplification and centralization; and statutory definitions. Group member Linda Peterson took him on: “There are many people, including myself, that feel GRAMA already deals appropriately with those items and those rights. ... The question should be worded as: ‘Should the existing GRAMA statute be clarified or modified to deal with “personal notes and files,” “private” communications from constituents and the constitutionally protected rights of public officials and public employees?’ I would appreciate a response from you regarding my concern.” So would we.