Cash Transit 

Also: Challenge the Voters, Flag Snag

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Cash Transit
The question is: Do you believe the Utah Transit Authority? UTA has not exactly earned the undying trust of the public, although the Utah Legislature continues to act as though the quasi-governmental organization has learned its lesson that it is still a good thing for the state. We can only hope. It looks like a sales-tax increase will be on a statewide ballot sometime soon, and all the optimists in Utah will likely vote it in. Because UTA has been so startlingly bad at moving around people who rely on public transit, it now says it will increase bus service by 20 percent over five years and increase service late at night. Meanwhile, UTA's board, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, heard that ridership is decreasing by almost 2 percent—and UTA moves only about 3 percent of all commuters anyway. Maybe more money will change that. It hasn't yet.

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Challenge the Voters
Salt Lake City decided to go with vote-by-mail for its primary election on the mayor this year. Some voters are bemoaning the loss of their yearly outing to the voting booth, but vote-by-mail promises to capture many more voters by giving them time and leisure in which to research and make their decisions. One letter writer to the Deseret News, however, thinks it's just terrible, because voting should be a challenge: "The more challenging it is to vote, the greater the likelihood that only informed voters who truly care will make it to the polls," he said. That, unfortunately, smacks of elitism and voter suppression. Utah isn't going there.

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Flag Snag
Let's talk about the First Amendment. Hank Williams Jr.—the guy whose song was pulled from Monday Night Football—performed at Red Butte Garden recently, waving his Confederate flag while a concession stand sold them as souvenirs. This, after the bloodshed at a South Carolina church. Well, what can you say about the many Utah fans who snapped up the flags and spit in the face of propriety? Nothing. It's their right. But it was also the right of ESPN to end its association with Williams, and it should have been the right of the nonprofit Red Butte to stop the sales. Williams cried about the First Amendment with ESPN and would have done the same with Red Butte. No matter what the official line, it is everyone's right to leave a venue, boycott a product or stop watching a television show if they're offended.

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More by Katharine Biele

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