Tone Deaf Anniversary | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Tone Deaf Anniversary 

A questionably timed op-ed. Utah and UTA's trusting nature. Plus, get ready for more ballot initiatives.

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Tone Deaf Anniversary
Janalee Tobias is an activist with a heart. She endured personal assaults and political maneuvering that would have stopped most citizen crusaders. She fought to preserve the wetlands from a South Jordan development at great personal cost. And of course, she's a gun nut. She's the kind of person who took something like milk and cookies to the scofflaws making a stand at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and then, because she's just a bit naive, she got punked by Sacha Baron Cohen. She likes to call herself a Trump Mormon who carries a concealed weapon. OK, great. But hey, Salt Lake Tribune, wasn't that just a little tone deaf to run an op-ed on "How a reasonable person became a pro-gun zealot" on the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting? Maybe you thought that was being fair to "both sides." You were wrong.

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Trust Trumps All
What's not to love about Utah where trust trumps logic and experience? We're talking about the Utah Transit Authority, the agency that has done virtually nothing to win the public's trust and continues its love affair with land developers. The latest has to do with a sleight of hand that took $400,000 from a tax increase meant to improve neighborhood bus routes. Oh no, Trib reporter Lee Davidson found that a deal between UTA and Draper will redirect that money to a train route to the old prison site. Yes, the prison site that only Draper and developers really wanted for their personal use, moving a new and expensive prison to the ecologically fragile Northwest Quadrant. Get ready for nothing, bus riders. UTA is planning a $1.2 billion Trax expansion to Lehi because of "jobs" and of course, pollution.

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Power to the Ballot
We can't wait for our legislators to kill this one, too, because they really, really don't like democracy. Despite some herculean efforts, the Legislature did not pass a carbon tax in the last session, but it did set aside a bit of money for clean air "efforts." After all, Utah loves its coal and apparently its bad air. Now, Fox 13 reports that an air quality initiative called the "Clean the Air Carbon Tax Act" has been filed ahead of the 2020 election. The initiative would tax fossil fuels, while earmarking 20 percent of revenues to air quality initiatives and promoting rural economic development. Just to make Utahns happy, existing taxes would go down and the tax on food would be eliminated. There's talk about legislators making initiatives even harder to get on the ballot—they're currently the second-most difficult in the nation, according to Utah Policy. But that's unlikely to stop voters who are fed up with being ignored.

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