Testing the Waters | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Testing the Waters 

Utah might not care about historic preservation, but things are looking up for students' rights and water conservation.

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Growth & Preservation
Maybe we're too busy fighting to keep our national monuments to care. Or worrying about growth and where to put the throngs of people pouring into Utah. It's just dizzying to think how Lehi is now the 11th fastest-growing large city in the U.S. Both daily newspapers pointed that out, with The Salt Lake Tribune running a front-page story and photo of carbon-copy high-rise apartments. "One of the big issues of concern within the state is the shortage of housing that's available right now. The residential builders are going fast and furious, and the multifamily market is booming," Bryan Webb of Layton Construction told Construction Dive. Yes, we've talked about the lack of planning for air, water and human resources, but what about the state's historic beauty? May was National Preservation Month. But while other states made proclamations and speeches about their efforts to preserve their historic past, neither our governor nor any mayor made a peep.

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Students' Rights
Remember that First Amendment thing—the one that's so troublesome for the new administration? There's an interesting twist in Utah where a Republican lawmaker wants to "bolster" the rights of college students and faculty, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. In other words, stop trying to define what's offensive. Of course, some Republicans think it's all about civility, and Democrats seemed worried about bullying—although that's mostly a grade-school issue. And as with many rules and regulations, they might just overlap existing laws. Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan, is simply asking to form a working group. The Legislature already has made it a crime to harass someone online, but that, the Deseret News notes, has constitutional challenges, too. This is the year of the First Amendment, folks.

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Testing the Waters
Finally, someone's thinking about water in a pretty dry state. That the Utah Division of Water Resources has been forced to respond to discrepancies in its reporting is water under the bridge. The Utah Rivers Council worried that the division was massaging data to make it look like water was running low and to justify major diversions, a KSL report said. A state audit was not kind, and the state Records Committee granted access to the faulty data. Now they just have to figure out what the state of conservation and water quality actually is. Meanwhile, Provo's Daily Herald reported on the first Utah Lake summit, which addressed issues like 2016's toxic algae bloom. If you can't drink the water, you should be able to swim in it.


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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

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

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