Necessary Hard Knocks
Seems like everyone’s righteously indignant after Utah’s “audit-o-rama” this past week. The Legislative Auditor released reports critical of the Radiation Control Division and of the Department of Alcohol & Beverage Control. Yes, it’s all about control in a state where the conservative laissez-faire philosophy reigns. Still, it’s nice to know that someone’s paying attention, even late in the game. Gov. Gary Herbert had to rethink his appointment of an EnergySolutions executive to the radiation board. He was apparently enlightened when the conflict-of-interest issue battered him over the head. And now, they’re talking about a criminal investigation of liquor officials who took “gifts.” Whatever the audits show, they make it perfectly clear that there’s a seamier side to control, and it’s called greed.
Guilty by Association
Well, there goes the Constitution. Or something. The American Civil Liberties Union has been busy, most recently appealing a 2nd District Court order to ban members of an Ogden gang from associating with each other in public. There are other injunctions around the country, but none covering quite as large an area. Anyway, it’s all about crime—or stopping it. Graffiti certainly has decreased in Ogden since the 2010 injunction. On less of a crime and more of a nuisance note, the ACLU won one in Brigham City when the city decided not to enforce a “free speech zone” around the LDS Temple.
Speaking of crime, the Utah Transit Authority won’t release records that purportedly back up their claim of increased criminal activity in free-fare zones. The Salt Lake Tribune asked for records to map crime data around the county, but UTA wants to charge $6,700 just to start looking and then wants to censor the data, at $28 an hour. This is the way Utah’s Government Records Management Act is shaking out now, making public records too expensive to access. Meanwhile, UTA continues to play in the dark, now refusing to release details of retirement benefits for former CEO John Inglish, who made more than $300,000 a year at the job. For some reason, UTA thinks that information is private, even though it is a publicly funded agency. Gov. Gary Herbert wasn’t much help, saying he didn’t know what personnel issues were involved.