Fear and Loathing | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City Weekly

Fear and Loathing 

Hits & Misses

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Fear and Loathing
The Utah Republican Convention: 'Nuf said. If there ever were an example of political dissonance, this is it. Republicans have enough to answer for nationally, where they are petrified in support of a man bent on destroying their way of life. But in Utah, we add another layer of dumbfoundedness. Over-the-fringe delegates laid out the red carpet for Trump-backed haters, including the presidentially pardoned lawbreaker Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, and most-MAGA Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs. Maybe it's expected that delegates would boo at Gov. Spencer Cox, snub newcomer U.S. Rep. Celeste Maloy and disparage the children of the lieutenant governor and even the daughter of right-wing lovechild Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan. But the real winner was Sen. Mike Lee, who has done virtually nothing for the state and yet backed a winning ticket of hardliners. Cox, listing all the things liberals might dislike about him, smiled amid his cynicism and said delegates probably think he doesn't hate enough.

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Nuclear Families
Speaking of Utah's senior senator, he and Sen. Mitt Romney voted against a bipartisan bill to expand relief for downwinders through the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Get this: it was expanded by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, not because he feels for the affected Utahns but because constituents near St. Louis were exposed to contaminated water from nuclear weapons development. Indeed, the bill could cost some $50 billion to cover all those—including Native Americans—who were unlucky enough to live in the path of radiation. Utah's Mary Dickson lobbied for the expanded bill. She has never been included in reparations although anecdotally harmed by the fallout. "Are our lives worth a tiny fraction of what we spend to maintain those weapons that harmed us?" Dickson told KSL. Maintaining the U.S. nuclear arsenal between 2023 and 2032 is estimated to cost $756 billion. Gee, maybe we should have national health care.

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Make Like a Tree
With all the rain, it's hard to get your head around Utah as a drought-ridden state. It's a little easier when you consider how difficult it is to nurture the urban forest in Salt Lake, especially while the Great Salt Lake continues to shrink. Arbor Day provided a platform for the mayor's attempt to plant trees in the city—2,000 a year, she says. This despite the fact that many of the new trees have died—one out of every 10 planted, especially those on the west side. Part of the problem there has been development that destroyed trees and a lack of attention to watering. "Of all the things we allocate water to in (the city's) urban environment, trees use this precious resource the most efficiently," city officials told the Deseret News. If the city is indeed serious, the west side and Salt Lake will benefit.

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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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