Missed Connection | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Missed Connection 

Also: Voter Education, Debakis Debacle

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Missed Connection
High-speed Internet. It’s almost a necessity in this day and age. But “almost” isn’t enough. Murray recently joined 10 other cities in grappling with the issue of how to pay off a $245 million debt for providing fiber-optic lines for homes and businesses. Ten years ago, it all sounded good. People wanted to connect faster and faster, and surely they’d be willing to pay for it—but that turned out to be a bad guess. The cities aren’t getting the public buy-in they need. Murray is proposing a deal with Australian investment firm Macquarie Capitol Group to finish the network and make Internet connection mandatory. One problem could be Macquarie’s history, which involves allegations of a scam to bundle telecommunications goods and services. But the real question is this: Why would governments mandate Internet access and not health care?

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Voter Education
The good news is that the Committee of Very Smart People got the message and will be letting you vote for incumbents among their other choices of candidates for the State Board of Education. Emphasis on “their choices,” as Utah still doesn’t trust the masses to elect their school-board representatives. The governor appoints a 12-person committee to select candidates from which he will choose two to run for each spot. Confusing, isn’t it? What’s the downside here? The committee can’t seem to come up with candidates of diverse backgrounds. They are picking candidates who are just like themselves—at least in color. And it’s unlikely that someone outside the establishment would be chosen.

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Debakis Debacle
The whole Salt Lake Tribune daytime drama gets curiouser and curiouser. Now we have Jon Huntsman Sr. saying that, gee, he’d like to buy the paper, but the Department of Justice put the brakes on talks. Meanwhile, you have to wonder how much ink the paper will devote to its internal problem before finally talking about Sen. Jim Dabakis’ apparent conflict of interest. Dabakis launched an online petition to “Save the Tribune” and has apparently been gathering e-mail addresses to send out fundraising pleas for his own campaign. This was brought to light by Bryan Schott of UtahPolicy.com. Schott signed the petition using a brand-new e-mail address and got a fundraising e-mail in response. If all goes well, Dabakis might make enough money that he could buy the Trib, although it’s doubtful that the Deseret News would approve that sale.

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

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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