Amendment Misfire | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Amendment Misfire 

Trolling Polls, Not So Delightsom

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Amendment Misfire
This is the year the Legislature is determined to pull a fast one on the public. Just look at the seven constitutional amendments they want you to pass. The operative word is "constitution," because once enshrined, well, it's enshrined. There's been much said about Amendment G—because who could be against supporting people with disabilities and children? But read between the lines, and you'll see there's no guarantee, and funding for public education is being held hostage. Amendment E basically makes hunting and fishing a constitutional right. "Nobody is threatening our right to hunt and fish," the opposition says. And yet there's the perception that animal-rights groups, environmentalists and "tree huggers" are working overtime. Amazingly, 21 states have placed that "right" in their constitutions, most since 1996. The Humane Society has it right. "The Constitution should guarantee fundamental democratic rights, not provide protection for a recreational pastime."

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Trolling Polls
It's the pandemic, so it's not unusual to imagine people alone in their basements on their computers. Eric Peterson, a former CW reporter who now heads up The Utah Investigative Journalism Project, is not only unusual, he's dogged in his determination to expose the "dirty dialing" in politics. This time, in a story for The Salt Lake Tribune, he outed former House Speaker and failed gubernatorial candidate Greg Hughes for a questionable method of determining whether dirt works. If you dig into this article, you'll discover the hairline difference between push polls (to change your mind) and just information on whether sleazy tactics work in a campaign. The irony of all this was that Hughes got a law passed to require pollsters to disclose their clients' identities. That didn't happen here. The real revelation, though, was that Hughes tried to frame Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox as a tool of the radical left. Sound familiar? That's what the ads are saying about U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams.

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Not So Delightsom
Maybe you've been under the impression that Utah is a state of bliss and harmony. Along comes U.S. Attorney John Huber with some news to shatter that bubble. Federal prosecutors charged 21 "Utah-based white supremacists" on drug and firearms activities, according to NPR. Just to be clear, these are dangerous, racist right-wing extremists—and yes, they're all men. You have to love the cute names they came up with, too: Soldiers of Aryan Culture, Silent Aryan Warriors, Noble Elect Thugs. In 2019, the Southern Poverty Law Center identified five statewide hate groups in Utah—none of them the ones just charged. But you may as well know, since the president recently hailed them, that the Proud Boys work in Utah, too, apparently to Make America White Again.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
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.

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