Cough It Up
Well, of course the Utah Transit Authority needs more money. That's its M.O.: If you want better, more frequent service, give us more money. Utah Political Capitol told the story of Alex Cragun, who gathered 3,000 signatures in a MoveOn.org petition asking for expanded service hours. But UTA President Michael Allegra says they just don't have enough money, and need a sales-tax hike to make it happen. The board, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, thinks they can get the legislature to agree if they kickstart businesses. These apparently are the businesses that have benefitted from the Ghost Train, the $37 million Sugar House streetcar that has garnered only a trickle of passengers. The city likes to say it was the streetcar that caused all those new housing units and office buildings. But it's not necessarily cause and effect.
It's been coming for some time now—the Tea Party-ization of the State Board of Education. You know something's happening now, but few understand the insider politics that have pushed out Superintendent Martell Menlove and his deputy, Brenda Hales. Part of the problem is the way board candidates are selected—by the governor after a vetting by a stacked committee. But now that a cabal of voucher supporters sits on the board, it's not much of a stretch to say they chose Joel Coleman, a relatively unqualified, albeit interim, replacement who supports private school choice and is said to want to "clean house." Hales and Menlove apparently couldn't take the abuse from the board and the legislature—to which Coleman's wife will likely be elected in November.
If you're looking for a sustainable career, try becoming an "expert." Salt Lake County recently asked the Council of State Governments to study recidivism and come up with some ideas on how to prevent it. That's a good idea, even though there are maybe a million such studies available now, not the least of which come from the National Institute of Justice. Still, it's a good thing that the county is thinking about this, particularly since the state prison is about to be moved out of the area, creating some issues for service providers. Mental health, according to the studies, is a huge concern and a major reason for recidivism. Ostensibly, the CSG will come up with some ideas specific to the county. The challenge will be to actually follow through.