Booze-Fueled Symbolic Gestures
For some reason, Utahns and their legislators can’t get past the symbolism to see the reality. First, there are the parents of Copper Hills High School students who made a big deal out of prom-night glassware: beer steins and champagne glasses meant as mementos, engraved and obviously meant to be displayed. Nothing said, “Hey, get sloshed!” They’ve had these before, too. It was bad timing, though, as the school was in mourning over a student’s death which occurred after drinking. Meanwhile, the Legislature has banned some daily beer specials in bars for fear they encourage drinkers to get blitzed. That must have been what snagged former House Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack, who pleaded guilty in January to DUI. Oh no, it was “an occasional, social thing,” he said. For sure, he wouldn’t have wanted to be seen in a public bar that offered drink specials.
Good Money After Bad
Salt Lake City Councilman Luke Garrott cast the council’s only “no” vote on a $5 million loan to developer Craig Mecham. Mecham is best known for demolishing a row of iconic shops in Sugar House three years ago with vows to revitalize the area. Instead, his financing went south and his development became a large hole of stagnant water and weed-ridden dirt. It’s obvious that Salt Lake City has learned nothing since the Triad Center debacle of nearly 30 years ago, when rich business guy and arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi wowed the city with his grandiose plans, only to go bankrupt later. Oh, and have we forgotten George W. Bush’s Troubled Asset Relief Program that committed some $500 billion to failing U.S. banks? Looks like we are doomed to reward failures, as long as they are big, bold and tantalizing.
Survivor: Utah & Japan
During the final days of the Legislature, attorney Jeff Hunt spoke for the Society of Professional Journalists in opposing the hasty passage of House Bill 477, a bill that makes access to government documents more difficult and expensive and would keep legislators’ e-mail correspondence secret. He then left for a business trip to Japan, where he was precariously stranded on the tarmac of the Tokyo airport. In a stunning first-person account in The Salt Lake Tribune, Hunt gave just a hint of the terror from the earthquake before the plane was allowed to take off—perhaps the last to leave the devastation. Hunt can call himself a true survivor now—of both natural and man-made disasters.