Another Utah election goes to the Republicans, as they always do | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City Weekly

Another Utah election goes to the Republicans, as they always do 

Hits & Misses

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Miss: Fait Accompli
A Salt Lake Tribune headline asks what the special congressional election of Celeste Maloy shows about the GOP's grip on the state. It's almost funny as we watch Democrats tilt at windmills in the feeble hope that someone might vote for them. The answer is already in for most Utah elections, including the next one for Sen. Mike Lee, who is not up for re-election until a jaw-dropping 2028. Lee, who has accomplished just about nothing in the Senate, is now noted—in the Britannica, no less—for "promoting the debunked conspiracy theory about a Jan. 6 rioter," for wanting to probe the House's Jan. 6 Committee, for coming into office via the Tea Party, for opposing "social welfare" programs and so much more. If trying to overturn the 2020 election wasn't enough, Lee's flirtation with the celebrated "Jewish space laser" conspiracist Marjorie Taylor Greene won't make a difference, either. A candidate's R-rating in Utah means everything. Why then look beyond that stamp?

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Hit: Eye of the Beholder
Utah is home to two world-famous expressions of public art—the Spiral Jetty and the Sun Tunnels. But they are a side story to how the state stands in the realm of artworks for everyone. Perhaps we should start by saying that not everyone agrees on what is art. Take the 9th & 9th whale, for instance. Neighbors disagreed on its construction, but since then, it has twice won "Best Public Art" by City Weekly readers and inspired its own 630-lap marathon route. Southwest Contemporary writes that Utah's Latter-day Saint majority uses public art and monuments to tell their persecution story, while public murals take on a decidedly anti-establishment aura. Now, get ready for the 300-foot Statue of Responsibility—meant as a companion piece to the, well, Statue of Liberty—at the former Utah State Prison site. Commenters haven't been kind. "Great, another concrete tree," wrote one. The proposal appears to unite liberals and conservatives in mutual disgust. That's a win, for sure.

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Miss: Traffic Jam
Pat Bagley's Sunday editorial cartoon says it all—Interstate 15 expansion is a sensationally bad idea, one destined to hurt more than it will help anyone. Looking to move after a lifetime of making a home in America, Mirsada Milicevic sized up the rationale. "Now we have to move again—for what? For somebody in Farmington to come home 15 minutes early from work?" he told KSL 5 TV. Bagley, meanwhile, drew side-by-side depictions of congestion before and after expansion. They looked exactly alike. How can that be? Scientific research makes the counterintuitive point: "Adding more lanes to roads and highways actually increases traffic congestion!" according to the Science Museum of Virginia. The point is that you're actually encouraging more traffic. It's a "perpetual cycle of expansion and congestion." Still, we're talking science, and that's not high on bureaucrats' lists these days.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

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

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