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Silent Sim 

League Love for the ERA, The U's Costly Debate

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Silent Sim
Sim Gill arguably has been one of the best district attorneys Salt Lake County has seen. Now, he is facing the wrath of a hyper-politicized era in which racial justice is absolute. It started in July when the Justice for Bernardo protests turned angry and destructive. Red paint was splattered on the District Attorney's Office and broke windows. Gill had decided against charging police who killed 22-year-old Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, and following the protests, filed felony charges against key protesters that could have meant life in prison. Gill ultimately turned the cases over to a retired judge, who reduced the charges. But according to KUTV News, Gill, the normally eloquent son of immigrants himself, has only said he rarely sees excessive prison time for property crimes. Now, there are calls for his resignation. While the anger is understandable, the focus should be on police reform and laws considered by the Legislature.

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League Love for the ERA
Nah, the country doesn't need an Equal Rights Amendment. Women should just know their place and stay there. Women hold not quite 40 percent of leadership positions in state government, according to a report from the Utah Women and Leadership Project in The Salt Lake Tribune. But wait. Those jobs as "feminine," like teaching kids and working in social services. Now, because of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, there is heightened interest in "women's work," and their place in society. While Better Days 2020 likes to note that Utah women had lots of rights pre-statehood, more organizations such as the League of Women Voters are highlighting how women of color were largely left out of the fight for voting rights. The Utah League is still pushing for the ERA, which in 1975 went down in defeat, largely because of the influence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A video on the League's website (lwvutah.org) wants to see that change.

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The U's Costly Debate
Well, isn't this exciting? Utah gets to host the 2020 vice presidential debate at the University of Utah. And because of the pandemic, the smaller venue at Kingsbury Hall will probably shave off $1 million from the $6 million price tag. This is one hefty cost even though the Legislature anted up $2.5 million and had promised another $1.5 million until the special session. Now, that's iffy. The U is also reeling from a ransomware attack that extorted nearly half a million dollars from them, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Ouch. Yeah, everybody's hurting, but if this debate is important beyond the hype, then surely there's something that can give in a $20 billion budget.

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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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