It’s kind of an inside joke here that Utahns are easy targets for fraud. Sad, but true—scammers have taken $2 billion from trusting souls, according to the Utah Division of Securities and the FBI. That’s why the recent Fraud College event was such a big deal—that, and the fact that the LDS Church was front-and-center on the issue. Two reasons for that: The church wants to promote Utahns’ faith and trusting natures and, of course, to safeguard their flock and their 10 percent tithing. Affinity fraud is a particularly difficult issue, while scammers take advantage of personal relationships. And fraud goes beyond individual trust: Tim DeChristopher’s environmental group, Peaceful Uprising, is bankrupt because of a soured agreement with an umbrella nonprofit processing its donations—upward of $1 million. You’ve got to watch your back.
Canyon Center, a behemoth of a development at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, is moving ahead—with future taxpayer dollars. This is nothing new for redevelopment areas, where tax increments are swiped from school districts and others to fund development. But this development is on a prime piece of land and using wealthy developers. The public and skiers will be getting office buildings, two hotels, restaurants and a parking structure, not to mention trails and a park. It remains to be seen how cost-effective this is for locals, but it will be a sight to behold with fire pits, plazas and an amphitheater. It’s enough to make you want to forego the boards. At least you know where your tax dollars are going.
The caucuses are coming—March 13 for Democrats and March 15 for Republicans—so beware. This is where you defer your voting rights to a small group of activists who’ll be choosing your candidates for you. The GOP activates its wacko wing, while the diminutive Democrats get anyone they can to participate. UtahPolicy.com is trying to whip up support for a ballot initiative to add signature gathering to the mix so your candidates can go directly to primary. But you’ll still have caucuses and conventions. If that doesn’t confuse you, then try figuring out why tea party Rep. John Dougall, R-American Fork, wants to get rid of a tax-return check-off to send money to political parties. He thinks somehow this will short-circuit the movement to change the caucus system, however ill-conceived. If you don’t see the connection, you’re not alone.