"Smart" Voting 

More Land-Use Problems and Legislative Hope

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"Smart" Voting
Never mind the polls that say most Utahns favor a dual path to ballot access, oh, and that they really, really don't like the caucus system. It doesn't matter to the Republican elite, who apparently have put the fear of God in some of their constituents. Utah County GOP Chair Craig Frank doesn't put a lot of trust in the people. "I think a lot of people who have a petition gatherer come to their door and ask to sign something, are not inclined to actually educate themselves on the issues," he told KUTV Channel 2's Chris Miller. Apparently, only the anointed are smart enough to vote. He did get lots of comments from people asking if they were "discouraged" from signing petitions. While it's clear he doesn't like the process, his answer was that it's "simple ... and complex." Unless you're the lieutenant governor who's going to abide by the law until a judge rules differently.

More Land-Use Problems
It's not all bad that Utah's congressional delegation took their dog-and-pony show to a rural audience ready to blast the federal government. Obviously, there are people in this state who feel unheard and long for an Ammon Bundy-type solution to Utah's land-use plans. You know—bitch in front of an audience. Bottom line: Rural Utah doesn't like the Bureau of Land Management. Listening sessions in St. George, according to the Deseret News, included gripes about "agencies colluding with environmental groups in illegal, backdoor meetings," and basically being dismissive to ranchers and other residents. All this comes amid Utah's effort to wrest public lands from the feds. Well, good luck with that, but hey, at least you can't say you were ignored.

Legislative Hope
You go, Salt Lake City. Even if it's a lost cause. Maybe the 2016 Legislature will throw you a bone, especially since they forced the state prison on you. Keeping open the sales-tax option is good policy because there's no way on earth the construction will come in at budget. Meanwhile, Salt Lake City and County are seeking funding for the homeless population (they'll deal later with opposition to locating small homeless shelters in neighborhoods). House Majority Leader Jim (no Medicaid expansion) Dunnigan says, ah heck, there are so many competing interests, and maybe the city and county will get a smidgen over several years, the Des News notes. But we could all be surprised, and legislators may just see the wisdom in funding clean-air solutions, prison relocation and homeless services.

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More by Katharine Biele

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