Tuesday hodge podge: Socialism, GOP hegemony and fun!

My Column Today (click)  delves into the murky world of Nanny State politics versus Americans who care about each other.

Really, I don’t see the problem. People who scream that giving poor kids breakfast are right that parents should feed their kids breakfast. But just saying they should, and then dismissing the problem as solved, doesn’t help.

Problems don’t go away because you say they shouldn’t be there in the first place. Hungry kids not learning is a problem every teacher will happily discuss, even if that parents group in Morgan failed to document it as a major issue.

Major isn’t the issue. If the problem exists even with 20 percent of the students, that’s a huge block. Problems educating children needs to be more of a zero-tolerance situation. Public schools are the best, most broad-based and most cost efficient method of preventing drugs and crime, and those concerns ought to be as much a part of our national defense as buying guns for the army.

My story in today’s paper (click) about redistricting Utah’s senate and house legislative district was a frustrating exercise because the politics get clammy fast and none of the proposed maps match up with current ones so it is impossible to tell who is going to end up where. The fact that map proposals change daily did not help.

The GOP says it is not being unfair to Democrats in Top of Utah for the simple reason that there are no Democrats in Top of Utah legislative seats to be unfair to.

However, dividing things to split up constituencies can make darn sure no democrat gets elected in the future. the pizza pie proposals for US Congressional districts are designed to do just that to Jim Matheson.

Whether that is happening on the state level, I don’t know, but it is probable. That’s what majority parties do.

 I do know that this whole thing, once again, shows the wisdom of having an independent, non-partisan committee do the drawing. I am also smart enough to know that nobody is really non-partisan and this will never happen in Utah anyway.

I was chatting with one Davis County lawmaker yesterday who said that the people on the redistricting committee now have the opportunity to piss someone off on a daily basis, and will never get any praise. He’s certainly right there, so why do they do it?

To exercise power, that’s why.

There is a site with all the redistricting proposal here (click) where you can see the dozens of maps and even use an on-line tool to draw up your own proposed districts. Have a go at it.  

— Am I the only one who looks at the proposal for the future western highway (click) in

Weber County  and thought “Man, that will sure take a lot of traffic away from Ogden.”

Being bypassed by commerce is rarely a good thing. Ogden got short-changed on I-15 exits decades ago  when the trains were dying and highways could have brought commerce to town, but failed to. 24th Street’s interchange is one-way and 30th leads to an undeveloped area that can’t be developed because it is too expensive to.

Ogden is only now recovering, and now they want to move the interstate farther west again?

I may be wrong — stranger things have happened — and Ogden’s own developments and residential concentrations may be enough in the future. The map with that story did give me pause, however.

Of course, in 2040 cars may be dead and we’re all using trains again, or perhaps we’ll finally all get those personal helicopters that were predicted in the 1950s. The future is an amazing place where nothing comes true, and I’m sure that will be the case here.

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10 Responses to Tuesday hodge podge: Socialism, GOP hegemony and fun!

  1. Dan S. says:

    You’re absolutely right about it being bad for Ogden to build bypasses ever farther out west. And to make matters worse, we Ogden citizens will be paying for it with our taxes. But will the rest of the county reciprocate by chipping in on a streetcar for Ogden? Doesn’t seem likely and your bosses at the paper are at the forefront of telling everyone we can’t afford it. So the bottom line is that cars won’t be dead in 2040, because we’ll have invested so much in our cars and highways that we won’t be able to afford anything else.

  2. Owain says:

    With respect to school breakfast, is this a government solution in search of a non-existent problem? It may be. According to the article appearing in SE a couple of days ago, Jennie Earl, of the Morgan Elementary School Community Council “said that after speaking with teachers, the council wasn’t able to identify a consistent problem of hungry students.”

    Charles, on the other hand, says ” If the problem exists even with 20 percent of the students, that’s a huge block.” No kidding. It would be EVEN BIGGGER if it was 80%, but as things stand now, we don’t know if it’s a problem with even 1%.

    Lazy journalism.

    Before we go off half cocked on yet another government program that may or may not be necessary, I think a little more research is called for. In the absence of additional data, I guessing that the Morgan Elementary School Community Council has a better feel for this issue than Charles, sitting in his office wringing his hands over something that may not even be a problem.

    On the issue of redistricting, Charles says, “Whether that is happening on the state level, I don’t know, but it is probable.”

    Lazy journalism.

    How about you get back to us when you have something other than a fuzzy guess and your own personal bias to go on, mkay, Charles?

    As far as the route of the highway goes, if they announce plans to dig up I-15, I’ll get concerned. If not, the new highway will serve to reduce congestion on I-15 but I don’t think it will steal it all away. Based on what I frequently see comparing traffic south on I-15 and the Legacy Highway, Legacy gets a lot of use, but I-15 churns on much as it always has. I don’t think Centerville, Bountiful, or North Salt Lake are particularly worried, so perhaps neither should Ogden residents.

  3. Charles Trentelman says:

    owain, what do you mean you don’t “think” centerville, bountiful or north salt lake are particularly worried?

    How about you get back to us when you have something other than a fuzzy guess and your own personal bias to go on, mkay?

  4. Owain says:

    You’re the journalist, Charles. Quit trying to get me to do your work for you, something you are doing more and more of lately.

    Once I start reading overwrought letters to the editor or newspaper articles from people in any of those cities about how cut off they are feeling, maybe I’ll suspect there is a problem. In the case of redistricting, exactly what do you base your suspicions on? The high pitched squealing of Jim Dabakis? Hardly an unbiased source.

    I read the article this morning, and glancing at the map, it looked reasonable to me. Exactly which neighborhoods in Ogden are being oppressed by this redistricting plan? What streets. A single house, maybe? Neither you nor Dabakis are forthcoming on that. I suspect no one. Both you and Dabakis are making the claim. Back up your bullshit with facts!

    Look at the map from the paper again. That isn’t gerrymandering.

    THIS is gerrymandering:

    See the difference?

    Lazy, LAZY journalism!

    • Charles Trentelman says:

      depends on what you are looking at. Christensen’s district, of which on our map you only see a bit, curves east around Morgan County and goes south all the way to Kimball Junction in Summit County — more than 100 miles in length.

      One of the rules drawers of those lines was supposed to follow was compactness of areas — a district that assumes people in North Ogden share anything at all with people who live around Kimball Junction may fit some definitions of “compact,” but only the really creative ones.

  5. Ben pales says:

    Let me help…Owain you are a tool. Not a sharp one either.

  6. Ed Brady says:

    Owain just doesn’t seem to “get it.” As far as I’m concerned (and many others whom I know personally), if even ONE (as in lone, single, by him/herself) child is from a family that cannot afford to feed that child 3 meals a day, then it is up to US to help. However we can.

    Now, charity is a good thing. However, there are many circumstances (social, religious, personal, etc.) that keep others from giving that help. So, who has the responsiblity? ALL of us.

    Yeah; I know. Owain is going to come back with a bunch of gobbledy-gook about whatever rant he/s on today. That’s OK. Doesn’t alter any facts.

    • Owain says:

      Ed – it all depends on your definition of ‘it’ with regards to getting ‘it’, I suppose. Given current budgetary conditions, we have to be careful with taxpayer dollars, and cost/benefit analysis applies.

      Let’s say for the sake of argument that administering this program for one student costs $10,000 once all the administrative overhead is figured in. For one student. That same $10,000 used in another program might benefit 100 people. Cost/benefit analysis.

      I don’t think it’s too much to ask for the responsible use of taxpayer dollars.

  7. Owain says:

    I’m guessing that area has a thinly populated strip that follows the Wyoming border, but there is a vast expanse of unpopulated wilderness to the south. They probably have greater ties to Morgan county because they would be inaccessable by road anywhere else.

    Rather that retain dark suspicions about how that district is drawn, I’ll bet if you ask, someone will provide a reasonable justification for drawing it up that way.

    As Sherlock Holmes frequently remarked, it is a capital mistake to draw conclusions in the absence of data.

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