Give 'Em Shelter
Here's an idea: Move Salt Lake's homeless shelter to Draper. Without the prison there, the land could become a virtual campus for homeless services. It's the perfect place, what with the proximity to transportation, health care and social service facilities. But wait. What would the developers say? They're looking for those upwardly mobile, income-generating types. You know, like when they built The Gateway. Let's face it. Moving accommodations for dependent populations is always fraught with problems—mostly from neighbors. People see prisoners and homeless families as less than desirable neighborhood partners. Former Mayor Palmer DePaulis and Gail Miller will head the homeless campus search. DePaulis has said in the past he didn't like the idea of moving, and for sure, Miller won't be suggesting EnergySolutions Arena as a possibility.
Politics is weird. Why else would someone vote for a measure they really didn't want in hopes that they could vote it down later? It's all about the bizarre strategies of political insiders. The latest has a number of Democrats unhappy with Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley, after she voted in favor of a measure she had "grave concerns about." The subject was public lands, and whether Utah should start looking for lawyers to sue the federal government on the heels of a study saying there was money to be had in the transfer of lands to Utah. Now, normally Democrats don't have much of a voice in the Legislature, but this time they could have stopped the Legislative Management Committee from moving forward. Except for Mayne, who buckled.
There's no telling what will sway Gov. Gary Herbert, who sometimes seems just the least bit scared of the Legislature. Healthy Utah? Well, he's worked hard on it, but it's anyone's guess whether lawmakers will run with it. Meanwhile, a group of senior citizens—the Utah Citizens' Counsel—issued a list of recommendations for the governor and policy wonks to consider. These included incentives to clean the air, requests for more public education funding, Medicaid expansion and more. The recommendations are admittedly a bit progressive, but they come from a bipartisan group united mainly by age and former influence. Herbert would be wise to heed their advice. They have perspective and, unlike legislators, no hidden agenda.