Cox Vs the Media
Perhaps the presumptive governor of Utah needs to go for a cold dip, get out in the sun and toughen up that thin skin of his. No, Spencer Cox, COVID-19 is no laughing matter and the "media" is not out to get you. "The media loves nothing more than to draw a lieutenant governor and a governor apart from each other," Cox said after one of the many candidate forums he has joined. While you can't say Cox shies away from debates, you can wonder why he is so nonplussed by the media, which—by the way—is not one huge monolith conspiring against candidates. Doug Wilks, a debate moderator from the Deseret News, wonders, too, noting that the governor appointed Cox to head the COVID-19 Community Task Force, and he is running for governor to lead the state. The people of Utah are depressed, worried about the virus and need some leadership. They expect a candidate for governor to speak for himself, not as an appendage of the present officeholder. So, here's a primer: a governor is expected to lead from strength at the most difficult times; the media is expected to hold a governor accountable at all times.
A Road That Won't Die
The environment is at risk—again—even though the fast-tracked Lake Powell Pipeline project is being delayed by the feds because of an unprecedented number of public comments. The Salt Lake Tribune has been reporting on the pipeline for years because of the implications of moving water from the Colorado River water to St. George, an area that critics say should be thinking more about conservation. On another environmental note, Grand County officials are rightfully up in arms over a revived plan to resurface a road in the Book Cliffs. It was once planned to move oil, but now refreshed and revitalized, it's to move tourists. Whether that's true or not, Grand County isn't buying it, the Trib reports. "The Book Cliffs Highway has always been—and continues to be—a subsidy for extractive industry," the county commission said in a letter. Of course, the governor sees it more about jobs than wilderness, and the Legislature is fine beating up on local governments.
Sweet Words, Sour Result
Let's hear it for the wonks. The Utah Citizens' Counsel is valiantly trying to explain Constitutional Amendment G to a puzzled public that otherwise might vote based on the sweet-sounding ballot language. Who wouldn't want to direct income tax revenues to "supporting children and supporting people with a disability?" But UCC, which is an "independent, nonpartisan group of senior community advocates dedicated to improving public policy on complex issues," actually parsed through the amendment to find a likely loss of education funding at $600 million initially and far higher losses in the future. You may ask why boards of education and the Utah Education Association are supporting it. You'd have to look at what they have to lose if they don't fall in line.