The Lege Made Me Do It
Three state archaeologists had to be fired, you know, because the Legislature said so. OK, lawmakers did tell Governor Herbert to trim the Department of Community and Culture—but it was up to him to choose where and how. And no, it didn’t have anything to do with the sticky issue of Utah Transit Authority wanting to run its trains over a prehistoric American Indian village in Draper, and the state archaelogists who were testifying against the development. It had nothing to do with the firing of Forrest Cuch, the director of the Office of Indian Affairs, either. And it was just budgetary timing that forced Herbert’s hand to name an all-volunteer minority panel—before a mandated study of the Office of Ethnic Affairs could take place.
What would Utahns do without Joel Campbell reminding lawmakers that the open-records fight is not over? Campbell, an associate professor of communications at BYU and former Deseret News reporter, writes weekly for The Salt Lake Tribune about freedom-of-information issues. This week, the GRAMA working group issued its report about “balancing” public and private interests. Campbell tells it like it is: Legislators “continue to speak out of both sides of their mouth on this issue” and, by suggesting a blanket exemption for constituent e-mails, are essentially raising a “smokescreen” for their “power grab.” How? Well, they could easily shut out legitimate inquiry into lobbyist requests if such e-mails were sent through an intermediary. Constituent e-mails are not showing up on the front pages of newspapers; this is about paranoia and power.
Heart of the Matter
Researchers from the University of Utah, Veterans Affairs and Intermountain Medical Center have identified a genetic mutation that causes a rare type of heart failure in pregnant women. It affects one in every 3,000 to 4,000 healthy American women and nearly took the life of Allyson Gamble, executive director of Utah’s Capitol Preservation Board. Ten years ago, Gamble’s heart nearly stopped, and while she did give birth successfully, she ultimately required a heart transplant, the effects of which she’s been battling ever since. It’s too late for Gamble and many women like her, but the interest and perseverance of a Utah research team could solve the mystery of peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) for others.