Real Journalism Matters | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Real Journalism Matters 

Housing Shortages, Shortcut to Disaster

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Real Journalism Matters
Maybe you're one of those who calls news outlets the "lame-stream media," and depends on Facebook memes and conspiracy sites for your "news." But two recent Salt Lake Tribune articles exemplify just why you need to re-focus on real journalism. First, let's just say—research vs. opinion. Both stories have to do with taxpayer—your—dollars and how they are being spent. Who knew that an organization called Big Game Forever got $5.1 million from the Legislature to get rid of federal protections for the gray wolf? Independent journalist (and former City Weekly reporter) Eric S. Peterson has been seeking names of subcontractors to find out how this money is being spent. Next, our fundraiser in chief, Attorney General Sean Reyes, is fighting disclosure of campaign contributions in the wake of the arrest of an animal activist who stole pigs and faces 60 years in prison. Want to know more? You won't know any more about it without professional journalists.

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Housing Shortages
Let's talk housing. No, there's not enough of it by a long shot. "... A surge in home prices and dwindling acreage of available land in Utah's urban areas have created a deficit of roughly 50,000 homes affordable to those earning average wages in the state," The Salt Lake Tribune reports. While building is booming, affordable housing is often left out of the mix. Another Trib report notes that "90 percent of workers employed by Utah's top 30 largest corporations cannot afford monthly rent for a modest two-bedroom apartment." And the pandemic is making it worse. Notable is that a legislator-attorney who works for landlords has been raking it in with taxpayer funds to hold landlords harmless during Section 8 evictions.

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Shortcut to Disaster
The Deseret News was on the right track in editorializing against "shortcuts" during the COVID-19 pandemic. But they missed the real point. The New York Times, and well, every other respected news outlet noted the obvious. The president had gutted any disaster plans long ago and was banking on magical thinking to pull the country through the pandemic. Meanwhile, state governors, including Gary Herbert, resist mask mandates because they have faith everyone will wear them anyway. A Fivethirtyeight article notes that, in recent weeks, confidence in Republican governors' approach fell eight points as the virus continues to surge. As the D-News pleads for Herbert not to look for shortcuts out of the pandemic, it's a strategy that's just too little, too late. Without a national effort to combat disasters, the country is left with scattershot and ineffective game plans.

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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.

More by Katharine Biele

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