People, People, People | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

People, People, People 

The cost to study Salt Lake County's population boom. More discouraging bad air reports. Plus, one school district takes the lead on pay.

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People, People, People
Here we go again as Salt Lake County tries to herd the cats. It's all about 32,000 acres of undeveloped land that, you know, everybody wants to develop their own way. The Deseret News laid out the complicated and terrifying scenario which, if you read between the lines, means messy gridlock, coincidental pollution and sky-high water rates. People. Right now, the county has a population of about 1.2 million. By 2065, 600,000 more are expected to pop up. The cities are none too happy about the idea of townhomes and apartments as we know when Herriman's and other mayors got their panties in a bunch over an 8,800-unit Olympia Hills development. Now to make matters worse, there are competing and expensive studies. Why bother? We know what they want, we know what they need and we know there's no middle ground.

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The Air Among Us
It's so sad that Utahns have to rejoice at the smallest and least effective ways of curbing pollution. We're all about building high-rises to accommodate the masses coming to the state in the next years, but we're not really addressing what those masses mean to the state. And we don't mean revenue. The American Lung Association just gave nine Utah counties failing grades for pollution, and Salt Lake City was the 14th worst in the nation. Is it any wonder that aggressive environmentalists stormed a recent inland port board meeting to try to bring home the message—enough pollution! A recent study from the Huntsman Cancer Institute found childhood cancer survivors faced respiratory problems even on moderately healthy air quality days, KSL Channel 5 reported. What does one doc suggest? "I would also encourage them to advocate for cleaner air in Utah." This is a crisis. Will politicians listen?

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Better Pay, Better Results
We're not sure why it was necessary, but Envision Utah conducted a study on statewide teacher pay. It's not like we didn't know education was underfunded, but you have to understand the common thinking—"we do more with less"—which keeps state dollars from the school system. This, of course, makes raising salaries a bit of a problem for school districts that have to penny-pinch. So, you have to hand it to the Canyons School District for raising the bar—and maybe starting a bidding war—by paying teachers $50,000, according to a Salt Lake Tribune report. The reason: money. Granite entered the fray with health benefits and $43,500. A Utah Foundation report showed that Utah's average teacher pay of $47,604 is significantly lower than the national average of $60,483. Dig deep and ask yourself why.

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