Power Struggle 

Also: Faith & Folly, Making Progress

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Power Struggle
Rocky Mountain Power must not be making enough money. And those annoying solar panels and wind turbines, well, they’re just leeching profits from the power company. That’s the message Utahns are getting this week, as the power company asks for a 4 percent rate hike so it can make an extra $76.3 million. Part of the rate hike is needed for expansion, upgrades and to counter the lost revenue from people generating their own power. Now, don’t be too hard on RMP. The agency just doesn’t know how to transition to the changing paradigm of efficiency and innovation. It’s not unlike the rest of the world, which reaches for layoffs and service cuts in the face of Internet business success. Meanwhile, forward-thinking companies like Burton Lumber and Ikea have installed solar-panel systems. Will that continue if they are penalized?

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Faith & Folly
Not to belabor the same-sex marriage issue, but you have to wonder at the motivations of Gov. Gary Herbert & Co. Is it the will of the people, one’s religious conscience or just plain bias? As a good, states-rights politician, he says he’s going to follow “the will of the people,” lest it move us toward dictatorship. Next, turns out Gene Schaerr, the special counsel to defend Amendment 3, took the job out of “religious and family duty.” Schaerr is a Mormon, working for a state where that matters. Herbert might note that Utah’s also a state where the dictatorship of the majority rules. While it’s necessary to follow the rule of law, it’s also typically American to question authority and morally imperative to fight for the oppressed. That’s not dictatorship. It’s called love.

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Making Progress

There’s rarely good news on Utah’s education front, but maybe the Legislature’s getting close to something. They seem to agree on the worth and need for early childhood education. The problem is that they can’t agree on a strategy. Three bills are set to be presented in the 2014 session: one adding money for home software education; one for more classroom preschool for at-risk children; and one to experiment with private funding, allowing companies to choose where they invest. Meanwhile, Becky Lockhart—the house speaker and likely gubernatorial candidate—is calling for less legislation and a tactic that moves education priorities around rather than funding programs. All this comes during a week dedicated nationally as School Choice Week. Public ed is in the mix, but the home-schoolers and privatizers are working hard in the background.  

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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More by Katharine Biele

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