Everyone loves polls—especially candidates who seem to live and die by them. But just what are they measuring, and isn't it a journalist's role to differentiate truth from opinion? The most recent poll conducted by The Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics shows some striking disconnects between the two presidential candidates, but also leaves something to the distorted imagination. This poll has 50 percent of respondents saying Donald Trump is the most honest candidate, while Hillary Clinton gets a measly 24 percent thumbs-up. A lot of issues are hard to assess, but not honesty. Data from Politifact, an independent fact-checking website, graded more than 50 statements from all candidates since 2007. The most trust-worthy? Hillary Clinton. But never mind the facts. In November last year, polls showed 59 percent of Republicans still believe Barack Obama is a Muslim.
More UTA Missteps
Whether you take public transit or not, you have to wonder about the people in charge of the Utah Transit Authority. Utah Transit Riders Union is once again calling for the board of the quasi-public agency to be elected rather than appointed. Why? Because the chairman, H. David Burton, messed up big time when, after a May promise to open all committee meetings to the public, he didn't. The convoluted rationale was that committees had been disbanded, and board members were just meeting casually over the water cooler to parse decisions. You know the tired old excuse that they can't talk openly in an open meeting. Did anyone tell them they are a sort-of public entity, and the public needs to be part of the conversation? This slip was yet another egregious misstep by an organization that has lost trust, and should be folded back under the government that funds it.
Inspiring New Fundraiser
Of all the fundraisers (mostly political right now), a new one in town is particularly inspirational and heart-wrenching. The all-volunteer Paul Moore Foundation is helping only its second family after a year in existence. The nonprofit, based in Farmington, provides financial assistance to young parents diagnosed with terminal illnesses, according to a Deseret News report. The foundation raises money through 5K runs, silent auctions and small community events, so it's not a huge money-maker. Still, it's now trying to help a young couple who, with a newborn, are facing the mother's terminal cancer. The website notes estimates of about 562,000 children living with a parent in the early stages of cancer each year.