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Holey Ground 

Waiting for the Reveal & BYO Shopping Bags

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Holey Ground
Amid all the growth in Salt Lake City is a vibrant debate between progress and preservation, and preservation is getting the short end of the stick. Sugar House is a case in point, and it's not going down without a fight, albeit a quixotic one. Utah Stories recently posted an article on the infamous Sugar Hole, the property owned by Craig Mecham who obtained all kinds of perks from the city. After years lying fallow, some of the property now hosts high-rise apartments and chain restaurants. But next door, he has fenced off more property after evicting longtime tenants—except for one holdout. The Utah Stories article says he'll rent to University Health Care, although he has yet to submit plans to the city. Much like the Gateway, Sugar House was supposed to feel like a little village. It makes you wonder what people think a village is.

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Waiting for the Reveal
We know what sets off the Utah Legislature—sex. And of course, Planned Parenthood. But let's start with sex. You know, the kind that Utah parents just don't want to deal with. A bill from Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, to beef up sex ed was pretty much dead on arrival. Then we've got Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield, and his attempts to ban most abortions, even though it could be unconstitutional. And Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, wants to make it mandatory to give anesthesia to a fetus undergoing abortion, even though there's no scientific evidence of pain. But the sad fact is that Bramble just revealed his bill, which had been a "boxcar" with no text. Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, is trying the same strategy with an empty bill titled "Planned Parenthood Amendments." Right. Don't let the public know what you're doing—until it's too late.

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BYO Shopping Bags
Well, if we can't—or won't—clean up the dirty air, maybe we can clean up the landfill. And save trees. A bill by Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Holladay, would require a 10-cent fee for single-use paper and plastic bags. This is hardly a new thing. Both the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune have been writing about the perils of plastic for years, and communities in California were some of the first to ban the use of plastic bags. Maybe that's enough to doom the bill in Utah, but we can hope for wisdom. In 2008, Whole Foods got rid of plastic bags. They probably should have eliminated paper, too, since, as Iwamoto points out, the manufacture process produces toxic gases. But not everyone thinks it's a good idea. The D-News quoted former mayoral candidate George Chapman calling the plastic bag an "American success story."

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More by Katharine Biele

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