No Trust & Transparency
Two things to remember: distrust in government and the government's effort to privatize just about everything. Well, it's not working with hybrid quasi-governmental organizations like Utah League of Cities and Towns. It hasn't worked with the Workers Compensation Fund, Utah Transit Authority, Utah Retirement Systems, Utah Housing Finance Agency and certainly not the Utah Technology Finance Corp.—all of which had to deflect questions about profits and accountability. Now the state auditor and The Salt Lake Tribune reveal that the League of Cities and Towns has been manipulating the public, paying $10,000 a month for sponsored stories in Deseret News. It all came from a mysterious fund managed by ousted director Ken Bullock. If that's not troubling enough, a Deseret News reporter dined with Bullock, who took trips on the League's dime. BYU journalism professor Joel Campbell calls it the worst kind of "brand journalism," and Sen. Jim Dabakis finds it all too cozy.
Save Sanctuary Cities
Miami-Dade was the first to fold under the Dictator in Chief's warning that federal funds will be pulled if cities continue to provide safe harbor for immigrants. Salt Lake City and County, however, are standing firm in their support of sanctuary cities as thousands protest around the nation against the president's selective immigration ban. Billions of dollars could be withheld, although they might only constitute up to 2 percent of a city's budget, according to CNN Money. Research by The Washington Post says the U.S. will actually be less safe, and some say he's preventing potential allies from coming to the U.S. "He will need to convince many millions of people that freedom of religion and tolerance is better than jihad," Newsweek opinion writer David Bier writes. The city and county of Salt Lake agree.
Dirty Air Conservation
January and February are typically the times when Utahns think hard about the air they breathe. The state refuses to get tough with polluters while placing all the blame on those who drive old cars or idle more than two minutes. Now comes a bill from Rep. Mike Shultz, euphemistically called Air Conservation Act Amendments. It allows people to burn solid fuel for food preparation and prohibits any future regulation of activities that can be claimed as cooking, including smoking meats during bad air days. The same thing happened with wood-burning stoves, which are more harmful than traffic emissions, according to the British Medical Journal.