After a six-year hiatus, the West View has reappeared in West Salt Lake. It was a decade ago that Charlotte Fife-Jepperson started the small community newspaper in hopes of jolting west-siders into a new pride of identity. Unfortunately, the tabloid model was unsustainable, and news Websites were just beginning to crop up. Fife-Jepperson has created a nonprofit entity for her quarterly publication and is developing an interactive Website with “video, audio, photos, written stories, as well as a monthly zine focusing on art, poetry, music, culture and community activism.” By using an army of volunteer writers, she hopes people will be telling and sharing their stories. It sounds a bit like the Deseret News model, whose recent missteps were painfully public. West View needs to stay vigilant.
Republican State Sen. Aaron Osmond is proposing legislation to allow local school districts to manage their workforce, eliminate teacher tenure and institute performance pay. These ideas have long been contentious in Utah. That said, Osmond has since met and e-mailed more than 1,000 educators to get their input, and he’s emerged changed. He realizes that morale is a major problem among educators and that the legislature is a big part of that. “The answer of local control and the desire to reward and recognize great teachers was not sufficient for them.” There’s a lot more, prompting Osmond to put his legislation on hold while he tries to get a handle on the situation. If he can figure out how to bridge the chasm of trust, his legislation will be worth waiting for.
Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, doesn’t seem to like transparency, or maybe it’s just alternate opinions. But Dayton had certainly done the thinking on a 186-page environmental bill that wasn’t released until the day it passed overwhelmingly from the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee. The bill would downsize five environmental- oversight boards as an “efficiency” move. Dayton also said they’d been vetting the bill for two years, although it seems they were showing it off to mainly industry representatives. The bill would place appeals in the hands of the director of the Department of Environmental Quality rather than the boards. All this tweaking, while Dayton doesn’t even think the EPA is constitutional. Is there a personal agenda here? Most likely it’s one to favor industry over the environment. Those are her Utah values.