Air Heads | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Air Heads 

Also: Privacy vs. Transparency, Stranger Danger

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Air Heads
Woo-hoo! We’re going to have clean air and it will cost you only $1 a month. This is what Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, is hawking, and, if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. So far, it’s all about dumping money into a new bureaucracy. By the way, you’re going to have to pay attention, because it’s an opt-out deal where the charge will be added to your utility bill, like magic. Adams says it’s “like a donation.” In selling the idea, he must have used the word “significant” a dozen times to convince legislators of the wisdom of raising maybe $18 million to dump into the hands of an inter-local group comprised of representatives from government groups, industry groups, utilities and transit—but absolutely no clean-air advocates. The inter-local would decide what to do with the funds, and Adams suggested that it could be used to convert school buses or vehicles to electric. But none of that is in this vague and disingenuous bill.

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Privacy vs. Transparency
Everybody’s worried about privacy these days. Perception is everything, and it looks like someone got the attention of Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley, who decided it would be good to hide voter information from the public. A minor uproar from the media persuaded her to allow public access for “research,” whatever that means. Meanwhile, Utah’s new attorney general stopped the use of secret subpoenas, and legislators are looking at limiting the use of drones, while encouraging their development in Utah. But don’t worry about drones; worry about license-plate readers. That industry is suing over a state ban, saying, hey, money is free speech and that’s what they’ll be losing if the ban stays in place.

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Stranger Danger
Well, children in Utah might not know how babies are made, but they at least might know how to recognize a sexual predator if they meet one. Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake, and Adams of the “clean air” fame, are sponsoring a bill to bring to the classroom awareness of the dangers. Of course, they had to take out the part about letting “nonprofits” help out. Read: Planned Parenthood. Still, it could go a long way toward preventing abuse. Other bills broaden the definition of a person in a position of “special trust.”

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

More by Katharine Biele

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