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Tracking Conservative Thought 

Choosing the School Board, Parks A Little Too Popular

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Tracking Conservative Thought
It's time for readers to stop seeing the Deseret News as simply a Mormon publication. Following the Capitol insurrection that opened the new year, the D-News, whether you agree with them or not, is proving to hold nuggets of wisdom about what America faces now. Let's start with a Sunday story "The culture war will continue to rage in 2021." While we read The Salt Lake Tribune's well-researched if aspirational stories like Utah's inability to track police shootings, we might be better off focusing on the D-News' coverage of bills to eliminate permits for concealed weapons. In its "culture war" piece, the D-News wrote about conservatives mourning what they think is normative America: "values that middle-class whites recognized as their own." The paper covers controversies on abortion and so-called religious liberties. If we've learned anything these past four years, it's to beware of existing only in our own echo-chambers.

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Choosing the School Board
Quick. Who's your state school board representative? Our bet is that you don't know, not just because they're low on your political radar, but also because the way we choose them changes with the wind. Last year, amid much gnashing of teeth, members of the Board of Education ran in partisan elections. Maybe because no one knew them, only three of the nine races were contested, according to the Deseret News. Before that, a cozy committee of "12 specially selected citizens in Utah" hazed "unaffiliated" candidates to send a slate of three to the governor, who chose two to face election. Now as Utah becomes even more Republican, Rep. Melissa Ballard, R-North Salt Lake, is proposing a constitutional amendment to have the board appointed—by someone. If this passes, you can guess who the Legislature will have making these appointments, and it won't be you.

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Parks A Little Too Popular
While Utah deals with over-tourism and graffiti in its national parks, state parks may be having a better day. If some lawmakers have their way, Bridal Veil Falls will be preserved as a state park, likely squashing plans to develop a tram and drug treatment center in the spot. Meanwhile, Utah students from Southern Utah University and Dixie State University helped develop a mobile app to allow visitors to purchase day-use passes electronically even before entering the park, ABC4 reported. Yes, we're talking about eliminating the messy paper trail of envelopes and cash. And even though the state's national parks see that crush of tourism, they also are witnessing a positive economic impact. "Despite both coronavirus and dangerous harmful algae lurking in the Virgin River, more than 500,000 people visited Zion in October," the Spectrum reported. Is there an app to limit visitation?

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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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