Transit Oversight, Pollution Profit, School Board Candidates | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Transit Oversight, Pollution Profit, School Board Candidates 

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Transit Oversight
You know what would buoy trust for the Utah Transit Authority in the wake of Proposition 1's failure? How about starting over? How about we just get rid of the "quasi" part of the quasi-governmental organization and put UTA under government control? Certainly, that would solve the problem that UTA bosses are perceived as profiting handsomely with global trips and hefty bonuses at the expense of the bus-riding middle class. Right now, there's no governmental oversight but for a few nasty audits the Legislature dismisses. There was no mention of UTA in Proposition 1, but everyone knows what "transit" meant. No, it wasn't the Koch Brothers who felled Prop. 1. It was UTA itself.

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Pollution Profit
If it turned out that there were all kinds of economic benefits to bad air, would you buy it? What if communities profited by polluting your water and weakening the earth you stand on? Just what kind of risk is risky enough to stop the fracking craze? A Deseret News article notes a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that shows "significant economic benefits" to counties and nearby regions where the oil & gas industries were booming—probably "booming" both literally and figuratively. Employment overall went up some 60 percent. Whoopee! But at what cost? You have to wonder when studies seem like attempts to derail research in alternative energy. If there's less need for oil, there will be less need to frack. Meanwhile, the low price of oil casts a shadow the fracking industry, too.

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School Board Candidates
Maybe it took a federal judge's ruling, but Gov. Gary Herbert is out of the social-engineering business, at least as far as the Utah Board of Education is concerned. The governor didn't set up a committee to vet candidates, as the law had allowed. At one time, the committee would interview candidates and submit names to the governor, who picked two lucky winners to appear on the ballot. Each time the law was changed, it was argued that the public didn't know squat, and they needed qualified candidates to be chosen for them. Instead, they were getting the pro-voucher folks. The judge said that biased the ballot. So now, you may not have any idea whom your school board member is, but you'll actually get a chance to check out the candidates. The school board apparently is a popular office to strive for, and lawmakers want to narrow the field. They just don't want you doing it. Stayed tuned for proposed legislation.

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