The most important people in Salt Lake City—the persons who have basically absconded with The Salt Lake Tribune comment boards (Twitter for adults; a bar conversation without the martini) and made them their own—are in near unanimity that a recent proposal by the Miller family, owners of the Utah Jazz and Vivint Smart Home Arena should not be given a certain tax benefit. They claim, as many good liberals and socialists claim, that billionaires already have it good enough, and by gosh by golly, if the rich get a benefit, then they should, too. In sum, one doesn't learn much by reading the Tribune comment section and I should know since I often become dumber by doing so.
The Millers propose to lay out $110 million up front to fix their arena—not exactly chump change. Over the next 25 years, as taxes are levied and collected on their property, they are asking that about 20 percent of those additional taxes be reimbursed back to them, about $22 million. It's not like the city is taking $22 million from Peter in order to pay Paul—the funds will not be reimbursed if no tax is collected. One could fairly wonder how much tax money will be collected by the city, how many persons will be employed and how many dollars will be spent in surrounding businesses located near, and depend on the success of the arena. The Miller proposal is fair and a good deal for Utah Jazz fans, circus fans, music fans, city residents and especially employers that are either in proximity to the arena or who bank on big nights during Jazz games.
Let Gail Miller have her way and then some. Go Jazz.
In a column a few weeks ago, Salt Lake Tribune editor Terry Orme was all teary eyed as he explained that if not for the Citizens for 2 Voices and the work of Joan O'Brien that the Tribune would have soon failed, but that, in essence, her good work, and that of C2V led to the Paul Huntsman purchase of the Tribune. Oh, bull. Some of the same commenters who don't like the Miller deal were quick to thank their pagan gods that a billionaire family of a different sort—a good billionaire family—had come along to put new sand in their online playpen.
The very essence of the Salt Lake Tribune hinges on what can fairly be called an illegal anti-trust agreement between the Tribune and its partner, The Deseret News. It's not technically illegal thanks to some high level hanky-panky, but it has the same practical outcome: Tens of millions of dollars are derived of it thanks to the unholy pairing into a Joint Operating Agreement that binds Mormon and non-Mormon power Gods at the money belt. That JOA (the current iteration of it is the Utah Media Group, UMG) performs the opposite of what the Miller proposal does. It doesn't create jobs. It screws the little guy. It screws the small business owner. It screws other print media. It screws broadcast. It screws this community every which way—all of which Orme and too many online commenters seem perfectly comfortable with. They're only concern is how much of the ill-gotten "profits" should end up in Tribune coffers (formerly 30 percent. Boo! Now 40 percent. Yay!). In order to "save" the Tribune and never wondering how the money was "earned" in the first place. That's like being a bartender in a whorehouse.
A week ago was Pride weekend. It's estimated well over 35,000 persons bought passes to Pride festivities. Each of those tickets were graced with a "service fee" that was assessed by the ticketing agent provider, GrowTix, which is owned by UMG, which is the partnership between the Tribune and Deseret News. Besides selling tickets for Pride, certain beer and alcohol point-of-sale stands were commissioned by GrowTix, meaning that our friends up the street may not have a problem with gays and alcohol after all. We made calls to GrowTix and UMG trying to find out how their Pride revenues would be split between the UMG owners. Never heard back. If the Tribune got it all, good for them. If not, it's fair to wonder if persons did or did not unwillingly donate to the coffers of the Deseret News and its owner, the LDS Church, which of late has struck a delicate balance with the local gay community. But enough to profit from? And alcohol, too?
And now there's Orlando. When something as horrific as what took place in the Pulse nightclub on Saturday night occurs, we brave survivors become quite predictable, don't we? Politicians dust off their "thoughts and prayers" sound bites. Political parties pick sides. Candles are lit. Vigils are held. Pundits spew the same old crap. Columnists wax on—today would be my fifth or tenth time waxing, but I'm not going to today.
But nothing has changed in America since November 22, 1963, when a gunman killed our president and I cried. Fifty-three years later, the only change is the type of gun, the number of dead, and whichever victims the cowardly boogeyman of the day points his hatred toward. If Trump or Hillary want to make it out to be something else for their own gain—a gun issue, a Muslim issue—a plague upon them.
Saturday was a hate crime against gays. We've come to accept that there will be more shootings, just with less dead than the potential could have been. And there will be more. Then more.
We've become the dullest razors on Planet Earth. There's nothing more to say that really matters. Innocent people are dying and we accept that and that is wrong. CW
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