If nothing else, the decision by the prison relocation committee to postpone requests for bids dispels the notion that the fix is in. Developers have been salivating over the prospect of building on the old prison site, and county jails have been merrily offering to house prisoners during any transition. And all this before a decision to move has been made. That’s why so many are suspicious of the committee being an exercise in futility. The idea to move the prison came from an assumption that it would benefit prisoners and developers, but there’s nothing to back this up. At the Oct. 23 committee meeting, Jean Hill of the Catholic Diocese of Utah said she’s thought the whole thing was backward—and that you should consider policy and reform first. What a concept!
Ready for Round 2 of the ill-conceived government shutdown strategy? Rep. Chris Stewart is. He’s proposed the Provide Access & Retain Continuity Act, which is actually a clever way of saying get ready for more pain and blame. The act would allow states to manage federal programs, including the national parks, in case of a shutdown or other inability to fund programs. Did he not get the message that hostage-taking is not the best negotiating technique? The shutdown has cost Utah $30 million in tourist dollars. The state brought in $3 million, but spent $999,432 during the six days, according to newspaper accounts, money the state may not get back. Meanwhile, Gov. Gary Herbert says, gee, we were hurt, but Sen. Mike Lee’s take-no-prisoners approach might be right.
Confused by the business news surrounding two of Utah’s daily newspapers? You wouldn’t be the only ones. It’s about the 1952 Joint Operating Agreement between the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune. JOAs came about when newspapers should have started thinking about their declining futures, but instead locked in papers along certain economic paths. The D-News was pretty much the loser in the beginning, but things have changed now. Still, both papers tried to make the new agreement look good: The D-News said it would expand investment in “printing facilities and infrastructure.” The Trib noted that more profits are going to the D-News, but wow, the Trib gets to keep editorial independence. None of this is good news for Utahns. If you want to know the history, read the post “Bob Bernick’s Notebook: A Warning Sign for Utah Journalism?” on UtahPolicy.com.