People sleeping in parks will no longer be cited, at least for now, while Salt Lake City Police review the way that laws prohibiting camping in parks are enforced. The suspended enforcement follows a May 6 “sleep-in” at the Salt Lake City & County Building, and the subsequent discovery by police that hundreds of citations had been issued in the past year after police initially claimed the laws weren’t being enforced. Who knows? A few more victories like this by homeless advocates and maybe Salt Lake City officials will actually try to address the problem instead of relying on their current, lock ’em up or chase ’em away approach.
The Logan City Council delayed debates about a proposed nondiscrimination ordinance until at least the fall, if not later. The justifications for delay by council members are dubious at best. In the Logan Herald Journal, Councilman Dean Quayle trotted out a new twist on a tired argument, saying the ordinance would be used by people with bad hygiene or “who are old or wear glasses” to claim discrimination. Councilwoman Laraine Swenson wanted to wait until the Legislature handled it, which is passing the same buck that the Legislature passed to cities this session. But the weakest argument from multiple council members is that discrimination doesn’t exist in Logan. To that assertion there is only one logical response: Please, council members, share whatever you’re smoking.
Utah’s caucus system gives power to the most active participants, which in many years means the “wings” of both parties have power at convention. This year, it also meant incumbents were left battered after the May 8 state conventions. Sen. Bob Bennett. R-Utah, lost because of a conservative uprising that has coalesced in this year’s tea party movement. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, faces a primary against Claudia Wright because of liberal frustration with his Blue Dog balancing act, especially his opposition to health-care reform. Multiple other incumbent legislators either lost or face primaries. Some argue that the caucus system gives undue influence to fringe activists, but, more appropriately, it gives power to those who exercise their civic rights more than one Tuesday in November every two or four years.