Representation Matters | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Representation Matters 

The quest for fair representation in San Juan County continues. How will a new idea actually bring area rental prices down? Plus, rural Utahns find a friend in President Trump.

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Representation Matters
The Navajo Nation should thank Google—or at least its techs—for coming up with more precise addresses in San Juan County. That's crucial for voting, not to mention emergency services. Now the county has Plus Codes—addresses for places that previously didn't have them—because of a partnership with the Rural Utah Project, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. It's been difficult at best for Native Americans, who had to sue for representation. A federal judge required voting districts to be redrawn because of racial gerrymandering, but there are ongoing lawsuits as the white majority balks. Things have not gone as well for partisan gerrymandering, which the U.S. Supreme Court can't seem to understand. Still, the voters do, and they continue to fight for fair representation—whether in San Juan County or throughout Utah. Proposition 4 specifies an independent advisory commission to draw districts. We'll see how the Legislature deals with that.

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Too Damn High
We're not economists, but how exactly does giving poor and middle-income people vouchers solve the affordable housing problem? Isn't this like shoring up the already high costs? The Trib reported on a legislative plan to help low- and moderate-income residents with their rent in response to a chronic lack of affordable housing and a population boom. A recent op-ed noted that many governments require a maximum ceiling on rent for middle income earners or even rent control. Conservative Utah doesn't like fiscal mandates, so for at least a little while, we would give some people some money to offset high rents that won't be coming down any time soon. But how exactly will that bring rents down?

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Utah's Loud Minority
Let this sink in: 90.58% of all Utah residents live in urban areas. So it's depressing to read a scathing letter from Utah's rural uber-lords calling on the congressional delegation to resist the impeachment inquiry—and, of course, condemning Democrats. Yes, they actually called President Trump a "true friend" of Utah. Maybe if you consider that he wants off-road vehicles on public lands, which he says ought to be privatized, then it's all good. The National Park Service did, in fact, rescind the rule allowing ATVs to romp through the wilderness. The rural letter-writers were just giddy that the administration talks to them, particularly about public lands management. "We have an administration that is finally listening to rural America," Piute County Commissioner Darin Bushman told the Deseret News. Not so much the urban majority.

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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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