Cedar Hills has discovered what every secretive government organization dreams of—the ultimate stall. In 2012, former councilman Ken Cromer and the Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government requested e-mail records under the Government Records Management Act for an issue involving mismanagement of the city’s golf course and questions about a former mayor and city manager, who both resigned over the matter. Cromer was charged $766, and The Daily Herald is looking at a $900 bill for public records. The quest has gone to a not-very-successful mediation with the state Records Committee, and citizens are tearing at each others’ throats, some calling Cromer “crazy,” and others just wanting to get at the truth. Meanwhile, the stall goes on. In an electronic age, shouldn’t cities be setting up sites to post all public documents immediately?
KCPW is back making the news instead of broadcasting it. The public radio station has been beset by problems since founder Blair Fuelner resigned in 2008 amid an outcry over his bloated salary. In 2011, the station was looking for a $250,000 loan. An anonymous donor came through after Mayor Ralph Becker threatened to stop a city loan. This year, thanks to the crowds at the Utah Arts Festival and, again, an anonymous donor, KCPW was able to raise a needed $42,000. While it’s good news in an otherwise dour journalistic environment, KCPW still has long-term financial issues to deal with. Listeners expect public radio to fundraise, but it’s a bit wearisome to always be on the brink of disaster.
Mail It In
Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen has long asked citizens to vote by mail. Her campaign started with the wear and tear on electronic voting booths, but has grown into a necessary if wise choice for the public. Voting by mail gives voters time to actually scrutinize the ballot and get to know the candidates. Isn’t that how it should be? Admittedly, the primary election turnout was low—near 10 percent of the county’s 435,000 voters. But Swensen said some two-thirds of the vote came from mailed ballots. The Salt Lake Tribune blamed the low turnout partly on the state’s youth, but young and old sat out the primaries this time. Utahns tend to believe the thinking’s been done. Still, mail voting at least saved us from total embarrassment.