Women around the nation reacted when the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure decided to pull funding from Planned Parenthood. It took only a few days of protests to reverse that decision, which was seen as a nod to right-wing pro-life advocates. Since very little of Planned Parenthood funds go to abortions, the defunding from Komen would have hurt breast-cancer education and treatment, as well as cut back on its offering of mammograms. But women were stung. Now, we find that the Salt Lake City event will have 17 percent fewer participants and, of course, less money. Other cities were shy registrants by up to 40 percent. Utah’s Karrie Galloway says Planned Parenthood still supports Komen, but forgiveness is hard and Komen should have thought before it acted.
Thanks to professor Randy Dryer and his University of Utah Honors College students, we all know quantitatively what we knew intuitively: Utahns really want access to public records, and they want it now. But will the Legislature, which seems to dismiss public opinion, take a page from this Transparency Project poll? The Salt Lake Tribune paid for the survey, which showed that 65 percent of Utah voters would support using tax dollars to increase access to public records locally. They also want records to be available online. Support for open access crossed all boundaries. One poll respondent said openness goes to the heart of democracy. Oops, there’s the D-word, which Utah lawmakers would like wiped out of our vocabulary. Schools are now required to teach that the United States is a “compound constitutional republic.”
So here we go again with the state Board of Education elections. No, you don’t get to choose your representative, except after a panel forwards its recommendation to the governor and he sends three names to the ballot. This year, as in past elections, some incumbent board members got the boot, even though you voted for them before. The Salt Lake Tribune’s Paul Rolly railed against the unfairness of it all but, let’s face it, things are not likely to change. Since former Gov. Mike Leavitt’s time, the movement has been toward appointment rather than election. After all, who knows their state board rep, anyway? We could take the suggestion of John Florez, a Deseret News columnist, who thinks the board should be disbanded. But we might want to think differently altogether. Maybe a state board made up of the state’s district superintendents would work.