Friday, February 2, 2007

A Storm Hit This Week; No One Was Spared

Two weeks ago, on the KUED program Utah Now, KSL TV reporter Richard Piatt was asked about the generally happy and nice mood at the Capitol during the opening week of the Utah Legislature. He responded with an old adage: it was the warm before the storm.
Well, this week the storm hit, and very few of our most important institutions, rights, and people escaped unscathed. I was at the Capitol this morning for the HB 148 vote, trying to reason with my legislator about the problems with the bill. It appears that others tried as well through other means, but were blocked in their attempts. The “Representative” from my district, Paul Neuenschwander, was one of those 38 legislators who put personal gain and/or political survival above the public good. I will not, in this post at least, give some of arguments that Neuenschwander used for the bill, but suffice it to say they were disgusting. My fear is that when the campaign finance reports come out, we will see who really had the principles to vote for this bill, and who were bought. It obviously will happen after the session, but it will happen. I was very disappointed in Neuenschwander, but I was also disappointed in Rep. Last. He voted against the bill in committee, apparently without actually reading the bill or taking the time to ask the sponsor questions in an open format. A sudden and sad change of something came this morning; perhaps it was his heart, his wallet/campaign coffers, or mind. I am biased, but I found the arguments for the bill bland rhetoric, devoid of all but one study quote (Rep. Last’s flimsy statement). The arguments against it were rhetorical, but were also all backed up by evidence: statistics on Utah’s educational achievements despite abysmal funding; the unproven assumptions contained within voucher programs as they have been implemented in other areas; the amount of money being spent on this bill in the election and during the session in advocacy.

This week we saw a big storm of (mostly, though not entirely) Republican political terrorism, in the words of Utah PTA leader Carmen Snow. Whether it was vouchers, politicizing the school board elections, outlawing abortion, killing booster seat laws, the preferred drug list emasculation, RSL stadium blowback against SL County, deputizing police to be immigration agents, or many others, this week was a blizzard.

Next week will probably be worse, but I suspect things will clear out for me, and our state, in the end.

1 comment:

Jennifer Killpack-Knutsen said...

Looks like the Utah Repubs have taken a cue from the Bush Admin:

insert fingers in ears and shout "la la la la la la la la I can't hear you!"