Clutching Pearls | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City Weekly

Clutching Pearls 

Well-oiled Machines, Fiscal Responsibility

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Clutching Pearls
"Don't dream little. Dream big." That was the message author Sandra Cisneros took to Mountain View Elementary in 2017. But the author of best-selling The House on Mango Street suddenly finds herself in the crosshairs of State School Board member Natalie Cline, who has long espoused far-right rhetoric that schoolchildren should not be exposed to difficult topics. "The House on Mango Street is a disgusting book that no kid should be required to read and discuss," Cline said in a recent post. The book's themes of racism, sexuality and poverty are difficult, but it points to problems in a patriarchal society and exemplifies a will to overcome hardship. While it was banned in Arizona in 2010, the author was highlighted by the Deseret News when she visited in 2017. Cline's penchant toward erasing truth in education may be more disgusting than any book.

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Well-oiled Machines
Just as the Texas Legislature tries to revive a failing fossil fuel industry, Utah is grappling with how to handle renewable energy. That's not to say that Utah doesn't love fossil fuels, but rather that opportunities are sprouting in compatible areas, with the help of federal agencies. A South Korean group is eyeing land in Beaver County for a massive solar development, although plans are not without pushback, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Farmers worry that solar will displace valuable grazing land and won't provide local revenue. And the area is outside designated solar enterprise zones, so will require a variance after environmental analysis. The New York Times posits that Texas' war on renewables will trickle down to the rest of the country and make decarbonizing the economy impossible. Utah at least has a chance to get in the game while our health and ecosystem can still benefit.

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Fiscal Responsibility
Utah's attorney general has again hit a low mark that Utah voters appear to be aiming for. ProPublica recently uncovered an uncomfortable truth—that Sean Reyes' much-touted child protection kits might not actually protect kids and likely are costing Utah funds it didn't have to fork out. The Tribune's Robert Gehrke could find no plan to distribute the kits, now some 700,000 of them. And he calls it "classic Reyes, who seemingly can't resist the allure of a junket, a degree of quasi-celebrity and some pics for social media." If you don't remember, Reyes has been caught stumping for dubious causes before and yet, like a certain former president, seems to avoid repercussions. Texas put out $5.7 million for kits that might cost nothing. ProPublica calls it "crime control theater," and Utah is spending more than $1.8 million. Draper Republican Sen. Kirk Cullimore has $140,000-per-year lined up for them. "They're promoted as preventative measures, but they're not preventative at all," one child safety consultant said. It just shows how easily we can be conned by a lovable con man, or con men.

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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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