Best of Utah 2012: Media & Politics | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah 2012: Media & Politics 

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Best E-Government
Salt Lake City Government
The Web wizards at City Hall are serious about getting the public engaged in every planning and zoning meeting, city-council meeting, public open house, workshop and public hearing possible. That’s why Salt Lake City has been going high tech with its forums and using Open City Hall as a means of posting discussions on critical city issues ranging from e-billboards to the city’s good landlords program. Beyond that, the city has stepped up efforts by creating Speak Out SLC, a page where residents can post their own ideas on what needs to be improved in the city. Users can “like” the good ideas and city planners can see what issues residents are most passionate about. Here’s hoping the city continues to digitally go where few other local governments have gone before.

Best Saint of Southern Utah
Sandra Asbury
In the farthest southeast corner of Utah, rural residents have to travel miles for affordable food. That’s why in San Juan County, advocate Sandra Asbury and her four food banks are an oasis of support to the region’s low-income citizens. In any given month, 700 families rely on the boxes of food her organization helps collect and distribute. But Asbury isn’t just a food advocate; she also runs Transitions, a Blanding-area center for developmentally disabled youth. The youth get a chance to socialize, learn new skills and work on community projects—their first successful project was Blanding’s first food bank, which opened in 2006. In San Juan County, residents may be few and far between, but Asbury’s name and character cover hundreds of miles among the desert communities that celebrate her charitable organizations and the heart and soul she invests into her work.
29 E. Center St., Blanding, 435-678-3741

Best Political Pizza
No matter how you slice it, the Utah State Legislature’s redistricting efforts were a gerrymandering hack-job. The Republican-dominated Legislature cut up the state’s most populous (and most Democratic) county, combining those pieces with much larger swaths of redder territory in an effort that few even bothered to pretend wasn’t political. Democrats had hoped for something quite different: small urban districts surrounded by large rural ones that would have preserved areas of ethnic, social and political identity. “We asked for a donut, expected a pizza and were given instead a plate of scrambled eggs,” Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon complained. “This is downright rigged, and everybody knows it.”

Best Sports Reporter


David James, KUTV 2
Over the course of nearly two decades in the Salt Lake City market, David James has had a chance to show plenty of sides to local sports fans. Anchoring sports for KUTV news and Talkin’ Sports, he’s the consummate professional journalist, able to focus the story for viewers; as co-host of 1320 KFAN’s morning-drive DJ & PK in the Morning show, he gets to be sharp, off-the-cuff and playful. It all adds up to yet another victory for the hardest-working guy in Utah sports.
KUTV 2, weekends, 10 p.m.,, Twitter: @DavidDJJames
2. Dave Fox, KUTV 2
3. Rick Aaron, Fox 13


David James, KUTV 2

Worst Utahn

click image dine.jpg

Sen. Orrin Hatch
The hapless Sen. Orrin Hatch gets qualified love from most supporters these days. Once a darling of the Republican establishment, the sextillion-term senator seemed safe from any political storm—but that was before the Tea Party monsoon. Now even members of his own party seem hell-bent on taking him down. No help from moderate Democrats, either— they’ve learned that whenever Hatch starts rhapsodizing about bipartisan cooperation, it heralds a frenzy of vicious partisan backstabbing. Who will stand up for Hatch? If quack-remedy manufacturers and his, er, colleagues in the music industry remain mute, it will be a costly endeavor to weather this hurricane.
2. Gary Herbert
3. Mike Lee

Best Roller Derby League
Junction City Roller Dolls
Since most of Utah’s derby leagues have turned recreational and the most high-profile one in Salt Lake City took the season off to build a new rink, derby fans had to trek up north to see some of the hardest-hitting games in the state, delivered by Ogden’s Junction City Roller Dolls. After becoming a member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association in 2011, the JCRD had its biggest season turnouts. It was all capped off with a hard-fought battle for the interleague championship and the formal announcement of the O-Town Derby Dames merging into the JCRD league, making them the biggest derby league in Utah.

click image night.jpg

Junction City Roller Dolls

Best Videogamers
Avalanche Software
With its origins tracing back to the fallout from Acclaim Studio’s demise, Avalanche Software spent years working as an underground developer. But things picked up for the company when it was purchased by Disney in 2005 and subsequently became one of the leading companies for many of the Pixar games that have hit consoles. The move has kept the company in the national spotlight as games developed for the Cars and Toy Story series have sold well, while their theatrical counterparts earn millions at the box office.

Best Sexy Veto
Gov. Gary Herbert
Who says Gov. Gary Herbert won’t listen to reason? Besides the majority of his other decisions? After much outcry from Utah citizens who don’t take their marching orders from a mysterious, all-knowing voice in the sky (i.e. the Eagle Forum), Herbert vetoed HB363 in March 2012, which would have shut down classroom discussion about sex, contraception and homosexuality—as sponsoring Rep. Bill Wright so eloquently put it, “This is not like all our kids are going to die if they don’t learn promiscuous behavior.” But, just when we thought the Guv was going to roll over and take it (with or without a condom), he stepped up and did/recognized the right thing: “Existing law respects the ability of Utah parents to choose if and how their student will receive classroom instruction on these topics,” Herbert said. “I am unwilling to conclude that the State knows better than Utah’s parents as to what is best for their children.” We applaud you, Gov. Herbert ... on this one.

Best Provo Recording Studio
Black Pyramid Recording
The “100 Block” of downtown Provo is already highly regarded for its influence on the local music scene, but in 2011, the area received more cred and a boost in attention when a new recording studio moved in around the corner from the city’s two most prominent venues. Taking over the former home of June Audio, Cade Thalman and Bret Meisenbach restored the building to its former glory it once had as a studio. Notable bands that have recorded albums in the space include The Archer’s Apple, Book on Tapeworm, Lady & Gent and The Glowing Head.
39 W. 200 North, Provo, 801-623-3002,

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