Oh, So That's the Line | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Oh, So That's the Line 

Now we can tell what crosses the line when it comes to gun violence. Thanks to an open records request, we know a little more how Utah's power brokers use smoke and mirrors. Plus, archaeologists give an interesting take on the inland port.

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Oh, So That's the Line
When children die in school shootouts, lawmakers offer thoughts and prayers. When women die from botched abortions, lawmakers shift the blame to the women. When a Utah woman died after weight-loss surgery in Mexico, lawmakers didn't rush to deal with the high cost of health care in this country. But when a family of U.S. polygamists was murdered in Mexico, the calls came immediately to decriminalize multiple marriages. In the aftermath, The Salt Lake Tribune ran a story of the pros and cons with perhaps the strangest pro being easier access to alimony for plural wives who want to divorce. There are two ideological camps on polygamy: that it is a religious freedom issue and that it is fraught with fraud and abuse. Wherever you stand, think about Texas, California, Las Vegas or the vast numbers of shooting deaths that draw a sigh of apathy.

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Transparency Wins
Greg Hughes seems to want to run for governor. You know Hughes—maybe the most powerful man in Utah, according to the Deseret News. He's the former Utah House speaker who boxes, has a biting sense of humor and somehow manages to emerge whole from the many controversies that dog him. The Utah Investigative Journalism Project recently reminded everyone about that after the FBI wrapped up a lengthy probe into the Utah Transit Authority's questionable development decisions. It took an open records request to unseal the report. Hughes wouldn't comment on the report, but it's good reading for anyone who wants to know more about how Utah power brokers use smoke and mirrors to disguise conflicts of interest, and how one man can maintain his public stature through deniability.

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So Much for Science
It has probably become clear that experts, science and facts are no longer what we base our decisions on. So you might ask why we should pay attention to former state archaeologists and geomorphologists. It's because of the stunningly wrongheaded plans to create an inland port on this unstable "surface of the earth." In a Trib op-ed, the two archaeologists note that the airport, rail lines, the new prison and the inland port continue to be threatened by the rising and falling levels of the Great Salt Lake. They also encourage exploration before defiling ancient burial grounds and destroying artifacts. But the state moves forward, despite 58% of the population who oppose the port, according to a Utah Policy poll. That's because, according to a dialogue on KTVX Channel 4, people think they're supposed to oppose it. It's private land, the guests said, and too complicated to understand, so basically "get over 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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