Keep the Prison Central
Amid all the hullabaloo over location of a new prison, aren't we forgetting something really important? How successful can our prison be in rehabilitating offenders if we make it more difficult and costly for their families to visit?
Since loving relationships are essential in preventing future recidivism, convenience to the major population area should be a consideration. Families of prisoners are, typically, already financially damaged by the incarceration of their breadwinners, and Utahns shouldn't be adding additional expense to their burdens in the form of longer driving distances.
In 1987, the FAU-FIU Government Center of the Florida International University completed a study of the impact of correctional facilities on land values and public safety. Funded by the National Institute of Corrections, this study showed that "correctional facilities have no negative effects on property value, public safety, or the quality of life. Conversely, the study found that correctional facilities had important positive effects on the local economies."
Buck up, Utahns! If you're insisting on moving the prison, be willing to host it in your community. Your welcome will have a positive effect.
That's None of Our Business
So Erin Mendenhall and Kyle LaMalfa are having an affair? ["Sources Confirm That Two SLC Council members Are Having an Affair," Nov. 13, CityWeekly.net] Thanks, City Weekly, for providing the answer to the question, "When is news not news?"
City Weekly claims to have corroborating witnesses to this story of an alleged affair. While it is true elected officials are very public figures, City Weekly does not present evidence that this alleged affair has resulted in dereliction of duty against the citizens of SLC, from either Council member. City Weekly also claims to have no knowledge of the duration and "magnitude" of the alleged affair, as if knowing and reporting those details would bolster the story.In the absence of a crime committed, this report is best described as prurient sensationalism meant to shame and humiliate.
Unless and until Mendenhall and LaMalfa commit a crime, news of any aspect of their private lives are none of our business. Democracy thrives as long as there is an informed electorate and we must have an independent press to inform us and keep government in check. City Weekly's tabloid story about Mendenhall and LaMalfa demonstrates mission drift that serves no one.
Salt Lake City
Take It Seriously
My gay Democratic Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis, recently also the Chair of the Utah State Democratic Party, has positioned himself firmly into the prominent role as the comedic—self-effacing and slightly barbed toward the powers that be—Jester to the Divine-Right Royal Court of the Mormon church's top leaders who control Utah at all levels.
That role, as so far quite successfully carried out by Dabakis, is personally lucrative, both financially and otherwise. But it is ultimately not a serious or effectual way of changing Mormon church court/state ideology, policy and behavior for the better. Making cutesy comedic videos involving charity gimmicks with Gayle Ruzicka and treating essential external criticism and critics of Utah as though they are merely talking undeserved-meddling smack about our team in a football rivalry are certainly ways to fulfill his Jester role. But it makes nothing better for those oppressed in Utah whom he claims to be standing up for.
Salt Lake City