Your Taxes at Work (in Portland) MISS
This week, about 25 city officials and business leaders will be going to Portland to eyeball the city’s trolley system as a model for a proposed Sugar House trolley. If this sounds familiar, it’s because city leaders toured Portland less than a year ago. The 20 or so business people will be paying their own way, which is fine. But four Salt Lake City Council members going—JT Martin, Van Turner, Carlton Christensen and Soren Simonsen—are going on the taxpayers’ dime. While the trip costs less than $400 per person, according to city spokeswoman Marla Kennedy, it is a 36-hour business trip, not a vacation. But, it is more of a trip than many are taking in this weakened economy, and Portland is great this time of year, if even for a day. The councilmen probably won’t be mailing postcards to city employees who took pay cuts and shouldered more of their health-care benefits this year.
Chaffetz the Geek HIT
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, continues to prove his technological prowess. Already the owner of a very active Twitter account and a popular Facebook page, Chaffetz has now staked his claim to additional Internet real estate. Last week, he revealed that he reserved domain names such as ChaffetzForSenate.com, even though he does not currently plan to run for a higher office. While it’s easy to poke fun at ChaffetzForPresident. com, it is refreshing to see a politician who actually understands Internet commerce and social networking.
Radio Rip-off MISS
Almost $3,000 in equipment was stolen over the Aug. 22-23 weekend from Utah Free Media, which operates UtahFM.org, the community Internet radio station. The good news: Despite the loss, the station is able to continue broadcasting, and they do have a photo of a suspect. All the same, it is disheartening to see a volunteer radio station hit by a burglar. Yes, the station operates in downtown Salt Lake City, where crime is a sad fact for residents and workers. But, if property crimes continue to go relatively unchecked—and they’re not even investigated if losses are less than $1,000—people will only reluctantly embrace downtown living.