Friday, May 8, 2015

Alty News: Congress Looking at Added Wildfire Funding; Chicago to Pay Millions to Victims of Police Torture

Posted By on May 8, 2015, 12:54 PM

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A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers want wildfire relief to be funded the same as natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.

Top of the Alty World

"Congress considers treating wildfire like other natural disasters"—High Country News

Chicago will pay over $5 million in reparations for victims of police torture.—Rolling Stone

Neurosurgeon and GOP hopeful Ben Carson has hired a magic-loving, castle-owning celebrity lawyer to build his presidential campaign.—Mother Jones

A court ruling against the NSA's bulk data collection provides new vindication for whistleblower Edward Snowden and uncertainty to the PATRIOT Act.—Democracy Now!

Top of Alty Utah

Despite being the second-driest state in the nation, a recently released audit has shown Utah water managers to not be taking the issue very seriously.—Utah Political Capitol

Salt Lake City looks to install the first protected intersection for bicycles in the country.—Deep SLC

Salt Lake City's crime-ridden Pioneer Park is due for a significant makeover.—SL City News

Utah climate scientists discuss how the state will prepare for a 35-year drought.—Utah Politico Hub


Utah Policy's Bob Bernick commends Utahns for not jumping on the crazy train that is the recent conspiracy theories about federal troops preparing to take over parts of Texas and Utah.

So on the random occasions when our local and state politicians are NOT doing something crazy, let’s be fair and congratulate them for it. Maybe I’m a bit early in my observation on this subject – will still have months to go before this event is over – but I say a big thank you to our GOP Utah leaders for NOT being really nuts like their Texas counterparts and talking about a federal conspiracy to “invade” or “take over” parts of Utah.

You’ve seen the national news on this. Some Texas Republicans (and rightwing conspirators) are concerned that federal military exercises planed in Texas and southern Utah are not military exercises at all but are really operations to take over – federalize – those parts of the country.

The Texas governor has even called out some National Guard units to “observe” the federal military movements, just to ensure that the feds aren’t really trying to take over Texas.

Now, at first one laughs at such silliness. And then we shake our heads and say Texas Republicans are just nuts – good for chuckles and little else.But let’s also be thankful that our own aluminum-hat Utahns appear not to be calling for arms and blocking Southern Utah dirt roads ready to fight.—Utah Policy
The Long View

Bryan Schott surveys the political landscape for Salt Lake City's mayoral race in the Salt Lake City Weekly's mayoral issue.

This may prove to be a tough race for Becker. In 2011, he only faced token opposition as he romped to re-election. He's spent the ensuing four years working on a number of national issues and becoming close to President Barack Obama. He has spent a lot of time in Washington, D.C., and has served as president of the National League of Cities. Democratic insiders say he probably deserves a difficult contest this time around because he hasn't had to face stiff competition for a while.
Politically, Becker is far from invulnerable. His opponents have criticized him for his frequent trips out of town. Then, there's this: A provision slipped into the prison-relocation bill in the final hours of the 2015 Legislature allowing whichever city ends up hosting the new facility to raise sales taxes.

That's something Becker has wanted to do for a long time in order to take the strain off of city resources used by those who work in Salt Lake City but don't pay for services. The sales-tax amendment was seen as a "sweetener" to entice the city to drop opposition to the prison. Becker's opponents pounced when that news came to light.
A few weeks later, the heat from the prison issue likely caused Becker to commit a rare unforced error. He called a press conference to vociferously oppose a plan to expand a federal halfway house in Salt Lake City. Turns out, the owner of that facility has no plans to expand, and Becker had misunderstood.—Salt Lake City Weekly

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