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SITLA Fit 

Betting on Gas, Furever Homes

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SITLA Fit
You know there's something wrong with a law when virtually no one understands it. Reporters from The Salt Lake Tribune had to get perspective from retired lawmaker Mel Brown, who worked on the 1994 legislation. That perspective is about the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), its process and its mission. The story is a convoluted mess involving a whistleblower, the Ute tribe, the former Department of Natural Resources director and now, of course, the Legislature. Yes, it involves money, too, because that is supposed to be SITLA's main goal—to make money for schools by selling deeds to the public lands established when Utah gained statehood. The tribe had put in an attractively high bid for some land deeds, but officials worried over what they'd do with it, so they withdrew the whole bidding process. The story highlights tensions between decisions to make money for schools and those to promote the public interest. The real question may be what Utah believes the public's interest is.

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Betting on Gas
Let's take a moment to acknowledge the loss of Sizzler's chicken, steak and salad bar. Now let's move on to traffic and fossil fuels. With the Sugar House Sizzler gone and vacant, Kum & Go has purchased the site for a future gas station. "This decision goes against what most neighbors wanted. Nearby residents have opposed the project for months, claiming that it would generate trash, increase traffic and noise." That quote could have been from The Salt Lake Tribune, but instead was from a report from KRDO in Colorado Springs. Kum & Go is on a march to expand with more than 900 new stores. This one would be the second gas station at the major Sugar House Park intersection of 2100 South and 1300 East. Salt Lake City has committed to reduce driving downtown while the nation is focused on electric charging stations. And yet, we will have Kum & Go with its new branding of fresh food alongside toxic fossil fuels.

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Furever Homes
Where pet adoptions are concerned, we'll give this one to KSL5. Both KSL and the Trib reported on Petapalooza, an annual adoption event by Salt Lake County Animal Services. The Trib was delighted with the fun and festivities, noting that more than 100 pets found homes, and some even participated in a psychic reading—always a plus when your pet can't speak. But KSL looked at the bigger picture, not so much about the fun as the overwhelming numbers of abandoned pets during COVID. One advocate thinks people got cute puppies and kittens during the lockdown, but then just left them when they returned to work. Many had outgrown their cuteness and weren't trained. While it was good that so many were adopted this time, KSL underscored the need to train owners first.

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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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