Since it's election week, we'll start with the good news: renewable energy. We know Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski is committed to it, but so was former Mayor Rocky Anderson and the city is still polluted. Biskupski says it should generate all its electricity needs from renewables by 2032 and reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2040. Now, she has persuaded Rocky Mountain Power to sign a five-year franchise agreement to work together toward those ends. Of course, it takes two of those years just to get the agreement in place. Meanwhile, Provo finally saw the light when its mayor vetoed a decision to charge a fee for rooftop solar. And a state initiative, UtahSolar, is helping middle-class homeowners make the switch to solar at no upfront cost through rebates and incentives. We'd better hurry. Indian capital New Delhi just had to close its schools and halt construction because of pollution.
Where are the Republican legislators who truly believe in the type of capitalism that raises up the successful and buries the losers? They are not around when it comes to the Utah Transit Authority. No amount of greed, of secrecy or of dishonesty will move the Legislature to rein in this behemoth that purports to serve the public. Here's the latest. Thanks to Lee Davidson of The Salt Lake Tribune, we now know that the publicly financed UTA spent $46,701 on union-busting consultants to convince Trax supervisors to reject unionization. UTA tried to hedge its bets when asked, first saying it wanted the election to move ahead smoothly and later saying it just wanted to "educate" the workers first. Despite a change in top leadership and repeated promises to the public, UTA should be brought into the public fold entirely. The public needs to know how its money is being used.
A "Good" Deal
Oh, yeah, we just had to move the state prison, and now we get to buy the site near the airport for a good deal. It was only $12.4 million when they thought it would cost $30 million at least. Why so cheap? Because "engineers determined wetlands could be protected by a facilities alignment that provided a buffer for sensitive land with fewer acres," the deputy director of the Department of Administrative Services said in an unintelligible Salt Lake Tribune quote. Friends of the Great Salt Lake begged to differ. Worried about the environmental impacts, Friends has had big problems gaining access to data. You know, it's the trust thing. You can see that in the comments section starting with something about "crony capitalism."