It seems that if a politician really, really wants something, not even the cold, hard facts can stop him. So it is with Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and his Utah Performing Arts Center. The mayor is proposing spending $15 million to design the controversial venue—even though the revenue sources wouldn’t kick in until 2016 and even then might be iffy. The theater is a $110 million project and sends chills up the spines of many local arts organizations. But, nevermind—consultants say there’s this pent-up demand for a first-run Broadway theater. You know: Build it and they will come. Becker’s rationale is that the bad economy has given Salt Lake City low interest rates, so we should take advantage of that now.
The jury’s still out on just how strategically anti-environmental Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, is. Dayton has proposed transferring adjudicative authority of five citizen boards to the director of the Department of Environmental Quality. The big question is just how conflicted—not to mention overworked—the director would be having judicial, legislative and administrative roles. Admittedly, board members now have both judicial and legislative roles, and maybe this needs to be reworked. But in the meantime, Dayton’s bill also changes the wording for public representative from “represents organized environmental interests” to “represents a nongovernmental organization.” What does that mean? The National Rifle Association? Whatever, we think Dayton needs to give this bill a better public vetting.
West Valley City’s mayoral milkman, Mike Winder, still doesn’t get it. It’s bad enough that he’s contemplating running for Salt Lake County mayor; he’s still under the delusion that using a pen name was a way to create “balanced” news coverage, although he’s taking “full responsibility” for his actions. We’ll give the Deseret News some of the responsibility, too. But now, according to posts from the unabashedly Democratic J.M. Bell, there are questions about a recent Wikipedia posting by some dude named “Biddenden.” The posts just added to Winder’s portfolio, talking about a book he wrote and how he’s a notable Taylorsville High alum. But wait! Bell discovered that “Biddenden is an English town where John R. Winder, a Utah pioneer, was born.” Coincidence or conspiracy? Or just more of Mike Winder’s clueless, stealth newsmaking?