Judge Wad-duped | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Judge Wad-duped 

What ever happened to the public part of public lands? The Legislature whittles away on ballot initiatives and don't say "Mormon" anymore.

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Judge Wad-duped
Hold tight because we have at least two more years of the Trump administration's goal of taking the public out of public lands. Now, it looks like a federal judge will be riding a UTV along disputed roads in Kane County. Good thing that Kane has been hard at work fixing up the roads, which are meant to remain unmaintained, environmental groups say. But Kane is going to get its way with the judge—and maybe the roads—when U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups takes an entourage on a curious site visit. It gets more curious because Waddoups, apparently out of fear for his life, closed a hearing and sent a Salt Lake Tribune reporter packing. We get that public lands are a contentious issue in Utah, but the frightened judge might want to think twice about who's dangerous and who's carrying the guns on this trip. And how about letting the public know what's happening to their lands?

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Let Us Vote
Let's talk deals and dealmaking. Everyone knows that's the way you cook in politics. Still, when the voters speak, shouldn't politicians listen? At one point, Utah voters were looking at the possibility of six initiatives on the November ballot. Remember that the Legislature has made it difficult—and they hoped impossible—for citizens to get initiatives on the ballot. How'd that work for them? Not too great this time around, when four actually passed muster and three will be on the ballot. That includes medical cannabis, Medicaid expansion and redistricting. Legislators managed to mollify the backers of a tax to fund education and now have a question asking about a gas tax instead. Then they and the LDS church turned to medical cannabis, which scares them worse than booze pops. So, they cut a deal to fix the law if the initiative passes. While they didn't need a deal for that, they must have felt it important to disparage the long, hard work of ordinary citizens to get it on the ballot. It's still there. Vote for it.

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Mormon No Mo'
You can't argue with the word of God, but you can wonder what He's thinking. We will no longer hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Nope. It will be just The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square—like that's the only tabernacle in the world. But God, or Joseph Smith, or someone didn't like all the Mormon-speak and now the once-revered Nephite prophet is being sent to the back of the bus. Rebranding has been something of a fad since the millennium, and it's had a bumpy ride. The Washington Post noted that critics are calling Weight Watchers' rebrand to WW a disguise for the diet culture. Dunkin Donuts to just Dunkin? Well. A national branding expert, the Trib says, likes the choir rebrand because "losing the religious word in the choir's name makes it more universally accessible." Just like any secular choir.

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