Republican Pollution 

Also: Yale Fail, Major Boob-oo

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Republican Pollution
What is it about Salt Lake City that turns Republican lawmakers into hateful, controlling hypocrites? Admittedly, Salt Lake City is a bastion of Democratic-ness, and probably looks like the devil’s spawn to the conservative majority. First, there’s Mayor Ralph Becker’s anti-idling ordinance. Benign as it is—first a warning, and exemptions for weather and location—Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, doesn’t like it. This, even though the governor, too, is targeting idling. Then there’s the electronic- billboard issue. Becker wants to regulate where electronic billboards can go, but billboard companies see it as free commerce. Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, is doing the bidding of industry, whose billboards are already grandfathered in to stay in their current positions. The Legislature wants industry to be free to pollute the air and the eyes—because they’re people, too.

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Yale Fail
The hapless Yalecrest community of Salt Lake City can’t catch a break—from the city or the Legislature. Niederhauser already imposed a moratorium on designating a historical district, and now wants to extend that through May 2013. And if he doesn’t like the outcome, he says he can make it even harder to create such a district. Meanwhile, the city is planning bike lanes along Sunnyside Avenue below Foothill Drive, where traffic is relatively heavy. Despite what an engineer’s report says, residents on adjacent affected streets say they haven’t been contacted, and others can’t seem to find out about “open” planning meetings on the issue.

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Major Boob-oo
What a week for ta-tas, cancer and pink stuff in the news! The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation—the nation’s largest breast-cancer charity—got a huge dose of backlash from people appalled by a decision to cut off funds from the organization to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood charged politics, saying anti-abortion groups had heavily lobbied Komen. Then, CEO Nancy Brinker started the battle of the YouTube videos, where she explained that PP was under investigation, and PP shot back with biting animation and a social-media strategy. Now that Komen has reversed its decision, conservatives are blaming partisan politics as the reason. Whatever, this should not have been about abortion at all. “We want to apologize for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives,” Komen said.

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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More by Katharine Biele

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