Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley, was just a little frustrated. No matter how many times he asked the question, he couldn’t get a straight answer. Ethics, it seems, is just too hard to legislate. Thatcher, chair of the state Political Subdivisions Committee, wanted to know if there are “protections” for ethical behavior among state, county and local officials, and if not, does anyone care? The problem is that despite laws on ethical behavior, there often aren’t penalties attached. Thatcher specifically wanted to know about salaried employees who work on campaigns, and if taxpayer dollars are being used for political purposes. For instance, every county councilman has a salaried personal assistant, and “in every single case,” they run the councilman’s campaign. But “we can rule ourselves to death and not impact human behavior,” said Rep. Kay McIff, R-Richfield. So why try?
If it’s not the Days of ’47 Parade, it’s the run-up to Kate Kelly’s excommunication, with The Salt Lake Tribune intoning on its front page, with the headline “Bishopric Prays.” Non-Mormons now know more than they ever wanted to about the inner workings of The Church, about how women aren’t supposed to be ordained and shouldn’t complain about it. They also know that gays and lesbians are still a controversial force, enough so to keep them from parading up and down the streets of Salt Lake City. Now, there is the former Orange County judge who’s “not a prude,” but is “astonished and depressed” by the play Book of Mormon. To him, the play has ethnic jokes that promote discrimination. That’s what comes from living as a minority. He’s obviously never seen Saturday’s Voyeur.
Who would have thought U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop would become the Great Compromiser? This is the man whose lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters is 4 percent. After serving as Utah Speaker of the House, he “came out” as a die-hard conservative, and lobbied for nuclear-waste companies and gun-rights organizations. Since joining Congress, he helped form the 10th Amendment task force to bring power back to the states. Bishop, an American history teacher, apparently believes in compromise, so much so that he is working to broker a deal on public lands by engaging both right and left. Both sides think it’s positive. That’s real politics.