Well, the Cottonwood Mall site is still under development. No duh. Those 58 acres have been sitting fallow for years, so no wonder rumors have been rampant. Like its evil, smaller twin, the Sugar Hole, the site continues to garner tax incentives and high-fives from its city council in Holladay. The council, seeing no alternative, recently extended the incentives for another 20 years. Meanwhile, Howard Hughes Corp. has been moving it forward, totally under the radar. It says but for the economy, the site is “shovel ready,” and a mixed-use development is still in the plans. But that’s hard to imagine. While secrecy during negotiations is understandable, perhaps a little more news would calm the community that’s foregoing tax revenue for the foreseeable future. How about some innovative temporary use just to show you’re alive?
Speaking of secrecy, now we have the Attorney General’s Office advising state committees on how to skirt Utah’s Open Meetings law. Really? How hard is it to advertise a meeting and then record it and keep minutes? Or should we ask, “What exactly is it you need to hide from the public?” In this case, it was the obscure Risk Adjuster Board being told to avoid quorums for secrecy. It used to be that all you had to do was call yourself a subcommittee to get out from under the law. That, of course, is disingenuous. Former lawmaker Brian Allen used the age-old scare tactic that reporting requirements would add costs and delay decisions. Give us a break. It’s hardly brain surgery to record a meeting, and advertising in this technological age is a breeze.
Goferit, Peggy Fletcher Stack. The Salt Lake Tribune’s religion writer has decided to celebrate Ramadan by fasting, praying and doing good works, just like the Muslims. This means no food or water from dawn to dusk for about a month. Good on her for trying to understand another faith and culture up close and personal. But we have to ask if this is a particularly slow news season, since Ramadan actually starts on July 20 this year. That would mean longer days—more dawn-to-dusk hours—and heat that dehydrates. And it’s summer when Americans love to be outside, hiking or whatever, not hiding out in a cool house with prayer as a sidekick.