Speak Up Sooner | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Speak Up Sooner 

Lessons learned from a nonprofit board's inaction. Tax reform and fear-mongering. Plus, more mind-numbing inland port propaganda.

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Speak Up Sooner
Whistleblowers. You've gotta love them in their fight for transparency. Well, in the case of the YWCA of Utah, it wasn't exactly a whistleblower who highlighted the internal problems, but issues did come to light —years after six board members had resigned and a diversity expert was hired. It turns out the board and the staff had a unique misunderstanding about social and racial justice, according to a report in the Deseret News. Why didn't board members speak up? They didn't want to hurt an organization whose mission was important, and they weren't ready to take on the powerful and well-connected CEO, Anne Burkholder. The story is far from over, but Martin Levine of Nonprofit Quarterly had this to say: "Letting serious issues simmer is never good governance, but when fear of bad publicity and the discomfort of straining relationships overrides transparency, nonprofit boards trade a chosen course of inaction now for a burning platform later."

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It'll Wash Out
You might have noticed that your neighbors and friends are running around frantically to sign and collect signatures on a petition. It's a call to place the hastily passed tax reform law on the ballot so that the public can weigh in. But then there's the Utah Taxpayers Association, which says don't worry your little head about these complex matters. Utah Business gave referendum organizers a platform to call out the Taxpayers Association, whose fear-mongering insists that the referendum will raise taxes. Meanwhile, the law goes forward raising the tax on food and increasing sales tax on services. The association calls it a matter of hysteria and incorrect information. It will all come out in the wash, they say. But if this is such a great idea, why did the Legislature rush it through?

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Don't You Worry
Speaking of not worrying your little head—the inland port. A mind-numbing video is making its way through the state. Local TV program The County Seat interviewed port proponents to 'splain it all. And how do they do it? With gummy bears. A big ol' truck comes in loaded with gummy bears, and the port sorts through them and sends them off. "Gummy bears must be code for uranium," one port opponent quips. But let's get real. The happy fellas in this video think the major opposition is to the tax increment financing, and they 'splain that to us, too, while blaming the Salt Lake mayor. And oh, the rural areas were so worried they'd be left out. Nope. We'll send trucks their way, too. Oddly, there is no mention of pollution. The inland port is a smart, 21st century model of commerce, they say—with plenty of dust, noise and pollution.

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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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