Airing Grievances | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Airing Grievances 

Also: At the Crossroads, Always Guilty

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Airing Grievances
Earth Day is every day, clean-air advocates say. But this week kicked off with a cold reception outside the Governor’s Mansion, where activists called for action now and bemoaned the curious official intransigence. Gov. Gary Herbert’s constituent line cut off callers shortly after his electronic greeting—barely time enough to leave a name and contact info, let alone a message. Maybe Herbert didn’t want to hear it anymore. Signs promoted the idea of moving the refineries instead of the prison and asked for clean energy instead of oil shale from tar sands. Brian Moench of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment talked about the costs to human health, and others mentioned new technologies for cleaner gasoline. Herbert was tweeting and writing a Deseret News op-ed that played both ends against the middle, and praised oil and gas technology.

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At the Crossroads
Looks like the thinking has been done on the Sugar House Streetcar, as Mayor Ralph Becker pushes forward with the idea of the streetcar turning north on 1100 East once it winds its way east from 200 West. Soren Simonsen, the planner councilman who’s often a lone voice, wants the streetcar to travel east up 2100 South toward Sugar House Park. While he argues convenience and small shop owners protest the potential disruption of the 1100 East route, the mayor marches on, waving a two-year study that prefers 1100 East. Well, as evidenced by the Sugar Hole—finally under construction—small businesses have virtually no influence.

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Guilty Until Proven Guilty
Let’s talk civil rights. The Davis School Board has OK’d random drug testing of teens who participate in extracurricular activities. If you just want to study, well, you’re exempt. Apparently, there’s a big problem with kids using performance-enhancing drugs for sports in Davis—at least that’s the perception of parents who weighed in on the new policy. So, rather than educate students against using drugs, the school board prefers to assume the worst. “It’s a kind of reverse peer pressure,” says Davis School Board President Tamara Lowe. “If I’m offered pot, I’m going to say no because I want to play sports.” Interestingly, the only real opposition to the policy was that it didn’t apply across the board. If the problem is so pervasive, the board might look at other solutions—intervention or expulsion. And just how did they assess this problem?

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