Freedom From Information 

Also: School of No Thought, Group Think

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Freedom From Information
In the age of transparency, things are anything but transparent. Utahns are fighting for information in several high-profile cases now, and it’s not looking hopeful. The Standard-Examiner has been waiting since June to see a police report on a Willard homicide. It isn’t getting access to active arrest warrants from the state courts, either. Oh, and Roy city officials aren’t giving the details of an investigation that led to the police chief’s resignation. Meanwhile, the media is asking to open the hearing in the punching death, allegedly by a minor, of soccer referee Ricardo Portillo. While information is easy for agencies to compile and release, it’s anything but for the public—more like costly, time-consuming and frustrating. This must be about power, because it’s certainly not about truth.

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School of No Thought
Kory Holdaway may wish he’d never gone through that revolving door from the legislature to lobbying. The Republican now works for the Utah Education Association, and finds himself in the firestorm surrounding Common Core. Otherwise known as a socialist plot emanating from the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization, Common Core seeks to raise standards across the board in a nation that’s falling behind academically. About 100 people protested at the state Board of Education last week, claiming that CC creates a “monopoly of thought.” “I’m dumbfounded that [they] are still opposed to setting standards that are common as a nation and then letting states decide what the curriculum in those states are going to be,” Holdaway told the Deseret News.

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Group Think
Two projects with the potential to help community planning are hitting Utah, but there’s no guarantee that right-wing conservatives won’t see them as evil plots. One, the Community Data Project, will start this fall and aims to parse demographic, housing and socio-economic data on a community level. The online system, from the University of Utah, will take data and “democratize” it so communities can see who they are and decide where they’ll go. Secondly, outgoing Salt Lake Councilman Soren Simonsen is joining, a project to have social groups collaborate on solutions to “social and environmental challenges.” By its nature, it sounds fuzzy, but that’s how ideas start. Joining 14 sites nationally, Salt Lake City’s HUB will offer 13,000 square feet of “co-working” space at 150 S. State.

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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