Hits & Misses | Trains, Cannon & Gays | News | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

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Hits & Misses | Trains, Cannon & Gays

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Sound of Silence
Utah politicians really like Salt Lake City’s west side—they really like it. Trains that divided a community along 900 South and kept residents up at night are gone. The $50 million effort to move Union Pacific trains off the 900 South line and increase train speeds took seven years and the cooperation of city, state and federal officials. The result should be easier movement for west-side cars no longer backed into long waiting lines by slow moving freight trains. Soon there will also be a “quiet zone” without early morning train whistles stretching all the way from Ogden to South Salt Lake, a linear park on rail land and, maybe, a move to bring City Creek to the surface.

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Cannon Bawls
The fact that U.S. diplomats are protesting against being sent to Iraq should tell us something is very wrong with the country’s foreign policy. Not U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, who sees the “bureaucratic mutiny” as an opportunity for a good old-fashioned investigation of undesirables in the State Department. In an opinion piece, Cannon calls for congressional hearings into the “State Department Refuseniks.” After suggesting wounded soldiers be sent back to Iraq as diplomats, Cannon writes, “the department needs to clean house. It can start by identifying those [diplomats] who wish to fulfill their oaths and deploy them overseas immediately.” We can picture the Cannon hearings now, with the Utahn waiving a piece of paper, declaring, “I have in my hand a list … “

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A Pretty Gay State
This should please the Eagle Forum to no end. In the past 15 years, the number of gay households in Utah has exploded. Utah now ranks 14th among the 50 states for the largest concentration of same-sex couples, compared to 38th in 1990. A lot of those couples were already here 15 years ago, just in the closet. But in addition to a more liberalized Utah climate, the increase appears to result from gays relocating here from big cities, according to the study of U.S. census data by the Williams Institute at UCLA. The study additionally found the largest increase in couples declaring themselves gay in states that banned gay marriage, showing the lasting result of the gay bashing may have been a backlash. Thanks, Gayle Ruzicka.

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