It’s lonely at the top. No, we’re not referring to Gov. Mike Leavitt’s hairpiece. But it hasn’t been the best of weeks for the guv. Everything just seems to have gone to hell in a handbasket recently.
Not least was the recent report card from the conservative CATO Institute that gave Mikey a “D”-grade for being a big spender. Actually, they called him a “big spender extraordinaire.” Of 50 governors, he tied for 12th-worst overall. Well, pardon our French, but that takes the fromage right off the merde, if you get our meaning.
The governor explained to the Deseret News that the problem with the CATO Institute’s report card is that it only focuses on spending. So … like, what’s your point, Mike?
• That may have been the least of the bad news for the governor who was dumbfounded when a federal appeals court blocked his Legacy Highway proposal. On top of that, a Legislative Auditor General Report outlined hiring irregularities in his Information Technology Service. (See Politics, facing article).
• The report card and the audit came as Leavitt’s son, Chase, 18, was sentenced to 40 hours of community service for holding a fight club in an east Salt Lake City LDS ward house last winter. The younger Leavitt, with an apparent eye for the bottom line, unlike his father, was charging admission to the fight. Well, at least he’s fiscally responsible. But don’t look for the CATO Institute to give him a grade.
• Our old friend Joe Waldholtz is back in trouble. Poor Joe—being a chronic liar really can have its drawbacks. You remember Joe. He was once the executive director of the Utah Republican Party, Enid Greene’s campaign guru, lover and then husband, as Enid swept into Congress in the 1994 Contract On America. Things went south for Joe and then Enid, when Joe disappeared one day when it was discovered that he’d written bad checks in the amount of $2.7 million.
Well, give the guy credit, at least he thinks big.
Joe’s out of jail now, but he’s been accused of embezzling almost $4 million from Enid’s dad. Much of that supposedly went into Enid’s 1994 congressional campaign to unseat Democrat Karen Shepherd. So, it could be back to the country-club prison/fat farm for our Joe. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
• Speaking of urban renewal, Stephen Goldsmith, Salt Lake City’s planning director—who, by the way, is leaving Mayor Rocky Anderson’s administration—has proposed street-level shops and cafés where the Crossroads Mall now stands. The proposal is reminiscent of the Gateway design, where patrons stroll down small cobbled streets to easily accessible and cool eateries and retailers. Here at SmartBomb, it makes us wonder why they didn’t just build Gateway where the Crossroads Mall is to begin with.
• Here’s something from our International Desk: In a move that might be seen as gutsy as the little guy who stood in front of a Chinese tank at Tiananmen Square, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy has asked President Bush to rethink the administration’s public relations effort abroad.
“To counter a deep misunderstanding, the U.S. has to rethink efforts to inform and influence audiences overseas,” the commission’s report said, as though the president’s “you’re either with us or against us” isn’t getting it anymore. What a surprise.