Citizen Input Works
Jobs, jobs, jobs. It's what Utah and the White House are all about these days. But jobs come with a price that is rarely seen until those jobs are up and running. New York City's Amazon rejection might be the exception. Although the #fakenews blames Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez because she's become so damned famous, it was actually city officials and a grassroots opposition that unsealed the deal. So, Utah should thank (or blame) the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment for keeping up the pressure on Stericycle to close its polluting incinerator in North Salt Lake. "The moral to this story is: citizen engagement works! And we need your help on our other battles—gravel pits, the pollution port, diesel exhaust and dirty energy projects. If enough citizens demand it, Utah can have clean air, clean energy, a clean future and a livable climate," UPHE posted on its Facebook page. Now, if only citizen activists could keep nuclear waste out of the state.
Well, hooray! Utah made the Los Angeles Times with the blog post "Stupid Medicaid tricks: Utah figures out how to spend more to cover fewer people." Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Hiltzikrepeats exactly what Utahns have been saying: It's a flagrant defiance of the people's will. Meanwhile, Tennessee and Georgia—states we hope to emulate, apparently—are watching to see if the White House approves what Hiltzik calls "noxious" work requirements. And predictably, Gov. Gary Herbert says, oh no, he's absolutely honoring the people's will. Instead, he calls the anti-Medicaid bill thoughtful, as if the people can't think for themselves. And so it goes. We've said it before: Utah will spend money on everything but health care and education.
The Wrong Legacy
How soon we forget the pain of the past. The Legacy Parkway might be about to see the end of a hard-fought truck ban, cobbled amid multiple lawsuits and culminating in a compromise. Yes, look it up—compromise. Something lawmakers don't do anymore. Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, fought the good fight in the Legislature to extend the ban, which has been in place since 2005. Of course, truckers favor ending the ban. Who cares about noise and pollution—or wetlands? Another lawmaker is pushing legislation to extend the ban five years, but lawsuits will be waiting. Roger Borgenicht of Utahns for Better Transportation notes that idea was to study the situation before moving ahead. Study. It's a word.