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Sayonara, Cummins 

Changes come to the state school board. A local municipal judge is suspended for what? Plus, Utah's precarious spending habits.

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Sayonara, Cummins
Well, goodbye and good riddance to Lisa Cummins. Who, you ask? Well, of course almost no one in Utah knows who their state school board member is, even though they are likely to vote for them in the next election. Cummins, however, was well known as a nut-case who doesn't believe in climate change, sex ed, science or almost anything, you know, academic. Gov. Gary Herbert, according to news reports, has appointed two, ahem, men to replace board members Cummins and Alisa Allis. Meanwhile, the school board approved new science standards despite some people wondering why God is out of the picture, the Deseret News reported. It's unlikely we will actually know if God or science wins out because the state signed a $44-million low-ball contract for standardized testing, even though the company has a long and expensive history of unreliable software.

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Honorable Jabs
Michael Kwan. Well, we get why the honorable judge was suspended without pay. You can't say mean things about the president. Apparently, the Taylorsville judge has quite the history of inappropriate political remarks. Hey, even The New York Times says so. Still, we need to remember that Mr. Trump makes ongoing disparaging remarks about the judiciary. Kwan is a social media buff, too, which doesn't help the impartiality thing. But you have to love Kwan's attorney, Greg Skordas, who told The Salt Lake Tribune, "It does strike me as troubling that one man ... sexually assaults a woman in college, publicly blasts the Clintons in front of a world-wide audience and is confirmed to the United States Supreme Court, while a city justice court judge outwardly supports his own Asian community, makes a joke about money being wasted on a wall in front of the six people in his courtroom and then is suspended without pay for six months."

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F-ing Pitiful
Back to money—what we have, what we need and what we don't get. Utah is right down there with Alabama, which seems appropriate considering the abortion debate. Both states got an F, according to the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, in how they spent some of the $3-billion Volkswagen emissions settlement money. It was earmarked to lower air pollution from the transportation sector. Instead, Utah joined 14 other states and Puerto Rico in adopting "the settlement's minimum guidelines for spending their allotment but did not take any steps to prioritize electric vehicle projects." Not sure where Utah wants to spend money—not on education or health care. But you know, the governor vowed to make clean air a priority. At least, that's what he said.

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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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