Off the Charter
Today's political climate is hot or cold, black or white, depending on how you like your platitudes. In reality, things are messy. Take charter schools, for instance. A recent Salt Lake Tribune story highlighted the ugly underbelly of charters—specifically, mini-charter dynasty American Preparatory Academy. There are six mini-charters among the 119 charters in Utah, and all are run by Carolyn Sharette, executive director of the management company that contracts with the school. Oh, she is also the sister of Charter School Board Chairman Howard Headlee—the way-connected president of Utah Bankers Association. They pretty much get what they want. This time it's land, and the question is on the power of eminent domain. The school's Draper neighbors are having a fit. State school board member Carol Lear is at least skeptical: "Bullying neighbors and property owners seems outside of that initial mission." Or is it?
A Shocking Discovery
The Legislature is out and all eyes are on the president's tweets. But never ever is abortion out of mind for the Utah elite. A front-page Deseret News report covered the shocking discovery that more than a quarter of women who had abortions in 2013 were married. Oh no, how could this be? Nationwide, it's less than 15 percent. Aren't their husbands stopping them from this ill-considered action? Well, the Pro-Life Action League would like to change that. Who knows a woman's body better than a man, anyway? The article did list the myriad reasons a married woman might choose abortion. At least the D-News let Utah Planned Parenthood Executive Director Karrie Galloway have a last word: "Social policies that make people more financially secure, such as affordable health care and insurance, also make them less likely to choose abortion."
It's summer, it's hot and you live in the second driest state in the nation. So it makes sense that you should be thinking about water—not only having enough to drink, but how to ensure that it's adequate and safe. Remember Flint? A four-year effort to come up with a blueprint for 2060 is winding down, and the public gets one more chance to weigh in before it's, well, water under the bridge. The report notes some obvious shortcomings like the need for accessible data on water. Oh, and we need $16 billion to fix the existing infrastructure, both The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News noted. The good news is that the report emphasizes conservative and, ahem, science. The bad news is that it still contains $1 billion each to construct the Lake Powell Pipeline and the Bear River Project—kind of the antithesis of conservation. At least Utah is thinking about the problem, and you should make your opinions known.