What Transparency? | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

What Transparency? 

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What Transparency?
Has Mother never told you: You don't do something just because someone tells you to. Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski didn't get the memo—you know, the memo that says she, a public servant, should be open with information unless there is a legal reason to keep it under wraps. But Biskupski, when asked by the City Council to give it up, said she'd promised Utah Transit Authority CEO Jerry Benson not to tell. Tell what? The newest design for the airport extension of Trax. That's right—a design. There is nothing in law that forbids officials from talking about designs of anything—not even costs. Benson was kind of shocked, according to reports from The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. Big misunderstanding, he said. He just didn't want her saying that UTA preferred one design over another. Biskupski said she wanted the UTA trustees to be "looped in" first. Right. That's the unelected board of trustees that has seen nothing but trouble with secrecy over the years.

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Air Shmair
Soup. It's not for drinking anymore. That's what you're breathing along the Wasatch Front, and now not even the business scions are happy about it, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Thirty of them, including Zions Bank and Mark Miller car dealership, are pleading with Gov. Gary Herbert to grow a pair, although they didn't say it quite like that. Utah is about to miss an EPA deadline for small particulate pollution, but maybe the EPA under Scott Pruitt doesn't care. Businesses, people who breathe—they do. Deseret News ran a story about new research that could be key to our winter inversions, and Rocky Mountain Power gave solar companies a pass on onerous fees until 2035. So it looks like some residents of the state are working to clean up the air. If Utah is truly expecting this population boom by 2020, Herbert should be looking out for his now-murky legacy.

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Smells Fishy
The desert tortoise is almost a poster-reptile for the anti-environmentalist movement. But who knew that cutthroat trout could be just as controversial? Fish managers are worried that the nonnative rainbow trout is moving the cutthroat inextricably toward extinction. And you know what that means—an endangered species. Many native fish are already federally protected, and that may be why Utah fish managers are about to kill off rainbow trout and restock the waters with the cutthroat. The Salt Lake Tribune reported on the plan, but barely touched on the controversy.

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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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