No Safe Haven
There's holiday irony in the Salt Lake City Council's vote to constrain the Inn Between's efforts to help terminally ill homeless people. It's not just the goodwill-toward-men aspect of the season but also the call to place small homeless facilities throughout the city. The county and the city are seeking $20 million from the Legislature to place smaller, targeted shelters throughout the community. That, according to Mayor Ralph Becker's homeless commission, would allow homeless families with children, single women and others to find shelters that are safer than traditional, large shelters with their crime and drug problems. But the council, in a 4-3 vote, decided that providing end-of-life housing for a few homeless people fits into the NIMBY category. Outgoing Councilman Kyle LaMalfa told ABC4 News that these facilities aren't welcome in bedroom communities or "calm, peaceful neighborhoods." Dying is just too disruptive. Becker still has a chance to veto the decision.
Public Land Priorities
OK, now, we're a "federal republic" as opposed or similar to a "constitutional republic." Or, whatever, just so long as we're not a democracy, or anything that would give the feds or general public a say in how the government is run. Now, it looks like the state is headed toward a quixotic $14 million lawsuit against the federal government for denying us the right to "dispose" of public lands any old way we want. A pricey team of outside lawyers say, yeah, Utah should sue. But critics, including University of Utah legal scholars, call it an exercise in futility. Even if Utah wins, they say, the feds still keep the subsurface mineral wealth. And while the Legislature has its panties in a bunch, its focus is on energy and fossil fuels—not true stewardship of public lands in this state.
Now, Phil Lyman says he regrets leading his ATV stampede into a protected Southern Utah canyon. Yes, the huffy San Juan County commissioner says he should have exercised restraint and, no, he wouldn't ride roughshod over the fragile archeological site again. Cross his heart. At least, that's what Lyman's legal mouthpiece says as sentencing looms. The Deseret News chose to go with the "it was a mistake" line on its front page, while The Salt Lake Tribune just questioned whether or not jail was in the offing. Lyman's lawyers said he's suffered enough. He's suffered so much, in fact, for his misdeeds that probation would be enough. And maybe that would be enough if we could hear his apologies out of his own mouth—not his lawyer's.