If there is an upside to the latest Red Butte oil spill, it’s that practice makes perfect. Insiders say it looks like the powers that be have learned who needs to be at the command table, including Red Butte Garden, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the University of Utah and, of course, Salt Lake City and Chevron. Response has been methodical and communication smooth. In fact, they say the Unified Command, which is holding regular briefings, is operating just as the feds mandate under the National Incident Management System. It helps that the spill has been contained and that the cold weather has made the oil itself sluggish. But, it’s interesting that only now people are asking if the Salt Lake valley is the right place for a pipeline—a question that might have been asked before it was built more than 60 years ago.
That Sen. Luz Robles was able to offer a stop-gap solution amid the tidal wave of state immigration-reform proposals says something. Even more impressive is that she is supported by a right-wing organization like the Sutherland Institute in Utah’s polarized political environment. But frankly, the Sutherland’s Paul Mero angers many of the Republican elite, whom he’s bitched out in the past over what he sees as family un-friendly legislation. Meanwhile, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce may back Robles’ bill, and the Attorney General is looking at a guest-worker program with a specific state in Mexico. What ever happened to the idea that the federal government was supposed to take the lead?
Woe be unto anyone who would take on someone who has devoted his life to dig a grave for affirmative action. So Salt Lake Tribune columnist Barb Guy found out recently when Ward Connerly, founder of the American Civil Rights Institute, wrote a retort calculated to put Guy and her earlier op-ed article in their place. Connerly, who’s black, called Guy racist for questioning his motives. He answers, “The context of what I said is that when government programs define the ‘disadvantaged’ as women and minorities, the white male is placed at a disadvantage.” Perhaps discrimination is too insidious to define and legislate: Only recently has the House seen fit to install convenient toilets for its more than 70 female members. That is out of 435 total congress-people.