Valuable Votes | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Valuable Votes 

The ranked choice voting question draws unnecessary worries. A tale of capitalism. Plus, coal breathes easy in Utah yet again.

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Valuable Votes
How hard can it be? Ranked Choice Voting is apparently scaring off Utah cities when they could be leading the state into a new era of voting your conscience. And it's easy—unless you're a political being who worries that it's going to upset the apple cart, aka the status quo. The idea is to boost turnout and save money by eliminating runoffs. But The Salt Lake Tribune now reports that cities that opted in are suddenly worried about "educating" the voters and implementing the system. Funny thing, the Utah Republican Party tried it out in its 2004 gubernatorial primary to resounding success. That, according to, comes from Tiani Coleman, former chair of the Salt Lake County Republican party and now president of the New Hampshire independent voters. If you can count on your fingers, you can vote in a RCV election. This is not rocket science.


Capitalism, Baby!
Thank you Trib for telling your readers that Bryson Garbett, a prominent homebuilder and former legislator, got "an $800,000 taxpayer gift" from the developer-friendly Legislature. We discovered that Garbett, whose son, David, is the guy running for Salt Lake City mayor, just thought UDOT was being unfair—waa, waa—because they wouldn't approve a sound wall around an undeveloped project. So he got former House Speaker Greg Curtis to "talk" to his buddies. Here's what one commenter said about the story: "This is what we call capitalism, people. Citizen tax dollars are funneled to increase the profits of an already wealthy person. Now if the same $800K was given to poor people for food or health care, we call that socialism, which is bad."


Death, Taxes, Coal
Coal. It's our future—not so much our children's. Still, we know what the "I know a lot about wind" president thinks of it. It's good! In February, Donald Trump approved two new leases in Utah, ostensibly because he was pissed that a Kentucky coal mine was shut down, according to the Washington Examiner. Then in March, Utah students rallied at the Capitol to plead for clean air, and later, in an apparent futile attempt, to ask the governor to stop the BLM from issuing oil and gas permits, City Weekly reported. Utah gets about 76 percent of its electricity from coal, even though it's expected to decline to about one-third of the energy mix in the next 10 years, Utah Business reports. But don't forget the environment. "Ninety-one percent of the nation's coal-fired power plants reported elevated levels of contaminants such as arsenic, lithium, chromium and other pollutants in nearby groundwater," a report published by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice found.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

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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