It’s hard enough to keep up with the John Swallow soap opera, but headlines in the state’s two daily newspapers don’t help. It must be the philosophical bent that leads The Salt Lake Tribune to say “Panel’s GOP chairman shields Swallow from tough questions,” while the Deseret News focuses on the other party: “Democrats try to question Swallow.” Or again, the Trib’s “Utah GOP leaders sidestep Swallow scandal,” to the D-News’ less-abrasive “Swallow a hot topic at Utah GOP meet.” Just goes to show that you have to read beyond the headlines. That is, if there are any. The Trib just announced downsizing to two sections on Mondays, saying people are just too busy to read a hard-copy newspaper. Of course, the announcement came out on Presidents Day—a holiday.
Just as the Salt Lake City Council signed on to a community-wide Anti-Bullying Initiative, it became apparent that this is no easy task. Nevermind that 24 organizations have signed on as community partners in the effort, we still have to deal with the issue of the exclusionary Boy Scouts. No, not every bullying incident has to do with sexual preference, but many do. Former legislator Carl Wimmer blogs about pulling his kids from the program: “I have to admit I find it extremely odd that we celebrate and hold up as embodiments of self-control, bravery and integrity, those homosexuals who refuse to submit to that particular sin.” He also says they have “disdain for all things godly and righteous.” This attitude from a parent doesn’t bode well for gay kids.
There’s good news and bad news in efforts from Salt Lake City and Ogden to clean the air. The good news is that the mayors have been thinking about it. The bad news is that they have little control except in the area of local-option sales taxes, and they’re still focusing on individual drivers—like, don’t cold-start your car. They suggest that the Legislature maybe increase the gas tax, which could go a long way to cutting pollution. Highways have been heavily subsidized for a long time, which limits money to everything else and actually promotes their use. Maybe it’s time to stop helping the highways, make them pay for themselves, and better subsidize transit to make it usable and affordable, neither of which it is now.