Bursting at the Seams | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City Weekly

Bursting at the Seams 

Not a Drop to Drink, Stop the Hate

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Bursting at the Seams
OK, OK, we get it. Utah is growing, and it's not just because of the babies. Utah now counts more than 3.4 million residents—61,000 more just in the past year, according to a report from the Kem C. Gardner Institute. Utah and the rest of the nation have seen housing costs soar and people being displaced as development takes place amid a desperation that defies good planning. So, it's good news that elected officials and policy experts are launching a $1 million campaign to "gauge people's feelings," The Salt Lake Tribune reports. It's pretty obvious that residents are souring on growth because it's not doing anything great for them. Rural communities worry about unfettered tourism while urban areas see water, housing and traffic as the major issues. Also, the Utah Foundation released a video describing a decline in personal quality of life. Utahns will now have the opportunity to tell policymakers where to focus—if they pay attention. "Sometimes, we have to adjust our current way of thinking and living in order to reach a desired future outcome," Envision Utah warns. How we have to adjust depends on you and your answers.

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Not a Drop to Drink
For all those worried about school, public safety or just about anything, just know that liquor is here to save the day. Fox 13 News reports that of the $557 million in sales this year, the state got to keep $230 million. "The DABS funds crucial services that all Utahns use, helping to keep taxes low for hardworking Utah families," said DABS Director Tiffany Clason in a statement. But don't say it too loud. Legislators, who funded the mind-numbing Parents Empowered commercials, don't like to believe there's anything good about booze sales. They have allowed the state's liquor licenses to dry up, even during a time of unprecedented population growth from outsiders who are used to being able to drink responsibly as adults.

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Stop the Hate
It's no surprise that hate crimes are increasing in Utah. They're increasing everywhere in the country, with racial, religious and sexual minorities the most frequent targets. But in Utah, it seems a primarily target is the LGBTQ+ community. You may remember that a drag show in St. George caused a city manager to resign. In Utah, incidents targeting LGBTQ people were the top reported hate crimes, according to the Department of Public Safety. While most were vandalism or simple assaults, it's still troubling that bias and hatred drive the trend. Fox 13 News talked to Project Rainbow about the increase, which may be because of better reporting and visibility. And while that highlights the problem, it doesn't begin to solve it.

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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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