It's summer and the livin' is easy. But avoid going outdoors and, oh, try not to drive so much. That's Salt Lake City's air-quality report in a nutshell. It's not January, so there are no choking inversions, but summer is ozone time, when, as The Salt Lake Tribune's Emma Penrod reported, the sun is to blame. Sort of. It beats down on the chemicals from auto emissions and "other forms of combustion," and voilà—you get ozone. It's unhealthy, especially for older people. And yet the continual harping on individuals to do the right thing hasn't worked. The EPA suggests avoiding excessive idling, and the Legislature has refused to address the issue. The American Lung Association wants government to revise the ozone air quality standard—but that, too, requires taking a stand. There's more pollution than political will.
Mind the Gap
You've got to love the way the world runs on "belief" instead of fact—like the gender wage gap. Statewide polls from The Salt Lake Tribune showed that 67 percent of men generally don't believe women are paid less, and 56 percent of women do. According to recent research by Susan Madsen, a business professor at Utah Valley University, Utah women are paid about 71 cents on the dollar compared to men. The national average is 80 cents. And the Economic Policy Institute reported that black women have an even tougher time at 67 cents on the dollar. Part of the gap comes from different types of work, but also from expectations of women themselves. Perhaps when everyone believes in equal pay for the same work, we'll get it.
A for Effort
Clearly, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams wasn't in it for a good time. For three days and two nights, he posed as a homeless person on the streets and at The Road Home shelter in March. He came clean with The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News last week, saying he was on a fact-finding mission. He—like the city mayor and council—face increasing public backlash on relocating the downtown shelter. McAdams particularly faced the political fire—but not because the need isn't known. Now he knows first-hand how bad the situation is. How to impart that to the greater constituency is the issue. The two articles made clear the problems of drugs, mental health, physical stress and a lack of resources. It's crucial to make those known to the public—and not through closed-door processes. Without understanding, assurances of safety and personal buy-in, the effort is destined to create more public anger.