Archive for the ‘Utah Transit Authority’ Category

Salt Lake Tribune rolls over and takes a nap on HB 477

"That Becky Lockhart sure makes great cigars!!"

What in the world are the editors at the Salt Lake Tribune smoking?

Yesterday afternoon they published a ludicrous article filed by reporter Lee Davidson under the headline: Legislature votes to delay open records law changes.  Davidson, working together with Robert Gehrke and David Montero collected copious quotes from legislators who all support the bill (HB 477) to conceal government records from the public, and not a single one from anyone who can see this maneuver exactly for what it is, a tried and true tactic that will leave HB 477 in place while handing a fig leaf to the governor in order to avoid a veto.

The public isn’t fooled – as of this moment, 282 acid comments have been posted by readers below the Tribune‘s story with more coming in every second – so what exactly is the problem with the Tribune‘s editors?

Once again, I’ll try to make it simple.

1. HB 477 has passed. Continue reading

Utah legislators Greg Hughes & John Dougall: BFFs setting up the Real Gravy Train at UTA

Word on the street is that the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) Board is the hot place to be in these recessionary times.

Business is hard all over, especially if you have no knack at all for it to begin with.  UTA Board membership solves that problem.  Board membership means you’ll get inside information on where the next phenomenally useless and costly rail hub will be planted, and if you didn’t buy property in time near the hub, no problem, because your board membership means that you can swing other board members to move the hub closer to where it will benefit you.  No kidding.  This actually has happened.

But what if people were to go, hmm…  Might there be some conflicts here?  We’ve already discussed conflicts in Utah, and how those with the conflicts have an uncanny ability to NOT recognize them, but just in case, Utah Representative and UTA Board Chairman Greg Hughes and Best Friend Forever John Dougall (also Utah rep, just not on the UTA Board, yet) have figured out a solution for that too.

Secrecy is key

Companion bills SB 222 (Sponsor: Bramble) which guts the measly conflict of interest language currently in UTA’s statute, and Dougall’s own HB 477,  which erases public access to government records through the Government Records and Management Act – GRAMA – ensure that UTA board members will have a free pass to profiteer. Continue reading

After Jeb Bush’s PCE sponsored roadshow: a reality check

 

Jeb Bush's failed testing model: coming to Utah schools?

Jeb Bush was in Utah yesterday thanks to the pirates at Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) who are already gearing up for their renewed assault on Utah’s public education system when the legislature reconvenes in January.

His sales pitch: holding schools accountable by grading them, like he did in Florida, and holding third-graders back who test poorly in reading.  Legislators Wayne Niederhauser and Greg Hughes (the new board chair at the scandalously mismanaged Utah Transit Authority) are chomping at the bit to duplicate Bush’s program here and are already working on a bill.

Speaking of grades, we’ll give the Salt Lake Tribune‘s Lisa Schencker a B for her story on the Bush visit, because Lisa at least finds it worthwhile to mention that Parents for Choice sponsored the Bush roadshow.  Sadly, Elizabeth Stuart at the Deseret News, gets a D on this assignment, for completely avoiding mention of PCE and even beginning her story by calling Bush’s plan “avant-garde,” followed by something that looks suspiciously like a cut and paste from a PCE press release.

But for the real juice, take a look at what a Utah mom who used to live in Florida had to say about Jeb’s performance, in the DesNews comment section: Continue reading

Brain surgery at the UTA

Pity the poor minion at Utah Transit Authority (UTA) who had to write UTA Board Chair Larry Ellertson’s op-ed for him (published in last Sunday’s Tribune).  It must be a distasteful task trying to come up with credible justification for paying the oaf above you something like 10 times what you yourself make in a very good year.  But was the p.r. flack trying to be funny when she/he went after BYU economics professor Michael Ransom for pointing out that UTA top boss John Inglish’s salary and bonuses are entirely unreasonable in light of UTA’s miserable performance?  Ransom provided a battery of depressing facts to back up his argument.  Ellertson’s op-ed writer opens with the risible claim that 150 public employees in Utah are paid more than Inglish, so hey, $339,179 is actually not that much money.

Who are these vastly overpaid public servants?  Certainly not the governor, nor any mayors…think again, because the answer isn’t immediately obvious.  Why, if you compare John Inglish’s salary (not including $175,000 bonus and limo service) to some highly specialized doctors and athletic coaches at the University of Utah, you’ll find John Inglish planted right at number 150 on the list.  And that’s exactly the best UTA’s p.r. department can come up with.  If you add in his bonus, he floats up to somewhere around slot number 37, right between a couple of dermatology professors and ahead of a host of neurosurgeons, and actually ahead of the President of the United States if you think about it.

That’s right: what John Inglish is doing at UTA is so complicated and important that it’s on a par with the public service known as brain surgery.  Next time you hop on the bus, think of it kind of like a gurney.