Latest Bears Ears poll transmits a false sense of security

By Matthew Anderson Last week, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that a new Pew Charitable Trusts poll shows a slight majority of Utahns supports President Barack Obama in unilaterally designating the Bears Ears region as a national monument. The wording of the poll, however, is questionable. Pew asked 600 registered Utah voters the following question: “There is currently a proposal being considered to designate other public land in Utah as a national monument. This land, south of Canyonlands National Park, is commonly referred to as the Bears Ears area. As…

Expensive EPA measures will do little to reduce Southwest haze

By Matthew Anderson Last month the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only partially accepted Utah’s regional plan for reducing haze in the Southwest’s national parks. Deeming the state’s plan insufficient, the EPA plans to impose its own measures aimed at reducing nitrogen oxide emitted from Utah’s coal plants. “We are disappointed with the decision,” said Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, “because the Utah plan relied on sound science and common sense, improving visibility at a reasonable cost to Utah ratepayers.” Bird is right. Not only does…

Unify programs to create path from poverty to prosperity

People in poverty are rarely poor because they don’t have access to money. It is usually because they don’t have access to opportunity. The war on poverty really didn’t begin with Lyndon Johnson in 1964. It began in 1776, and for almost 200 years, America was winning the war on poverty. Tragically, and ironically, we didn’t start losing the war on poverty until the federal government declared that it would handle it. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln told Congress that the “leading object” of American government was “to elevate the condition…

Why does Utah have a teacher shortage? It has to do with freedom

By Christine Cooke An educator sitting next to me laughed as officials at a joint Education Interim Committee and State Board of Education meeting last month scoured statistics trying to figure out why teachers leave the profession. He told me it’s simply because they are so overburdened and still want time for their families. With this in mind, how can Utah address its teacher shortage crisis? Education leaders of all types are wrestling with this question. Startling statistics show that 42 percent of new Utah teachers quit within the first…

Take care of existing national parks before acquiring more land

By Matthew Anderson This August the National Park Service will celebrate its 100-year anniversary. Americans visiting our parks this year have been greeted with birthday cake, free admission, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and commemorative coins. While these celebrations are good-natured, they overlook a serious and growing problem. A recent report by the Property and Environmental Research Center shows that the Park Service has a deferred maintenance backlog of nearly $12 billion – an amount five times higher than its latest budget from Congress. This total consists of all the maintenance projects that…

After Orlando atrocity, take time to mourn with those that mourn

By Boyd Matheson A senseless and barbaric act of terror has brought the world not just to an Orlando nightclub, but to the crossroads of a vital dialogue on who we are and what we will become as Americans and as a nation. In the aftermath of such a tragic loss of life we have all been left to question how this could happen, why the innocent suffer and what will be done to prevent such horrors from happening in the future. In our fast-forward world, with instant access to…

Introducing your state school board election homework

By Stan Rasmussen In less than two weeks, on Tuesday, June 28, the Utah 2016 primary election* cycle will conclude. Among the many important races, the list of candidates in seven of the Utah State Board of Education districts will be narrowed down to two candidates, who will appear on the November general election ballot. Despite the handful of lawn signs and larger posters popping up along well-traveled roads, most voters have very little awareness about who is running to fill these critically important seats on the State Board. Even…

America needs healthy balance between federal, state governments

By Marty Holmes Implicit in the concept of balance is the idea that two different things can be true at the same time – much like work and play. We put forth great effort and exert ourselves physically and mentally, but we eventually need to rejuvenate ourselves by having fun. Such is true in all aspects of life – whether it be our diets, our exercise routines, or simply how we allot our time. Life should be governed by this principle, and politics is no exception. Today a lack of…

‘Highly resolved’: More than just giving it a try

By Boyd Matheson When we honor those who have paid the ultimate price we rightly reference the words of Abraham Lincoln, that “they gave the last full measure of devotion.” We often miss, however, Lincoln’s powerful and immediate pivot to the future, to us – “that we here highly resolve.” He recognized that that those we honor have already done their part and passed their test. Lincoln knew the real question was whether each of us would be highly resolved to do our individual duty. To be highly resolved is…

Putting the Bears Ears in harm’s way

By Matthew Anderson Supporters of the proposed Bears Ears National Monument paint a vivid picture of ATVs running over ancient pottery, tourists etching initials into petroglyphs, and archaeologists digging up Native American burial grounds. While there is no denying the sad reality of such activities in the past, San Juan County Navajos feel that public education campaigns and federal laws are now effective at protecting these invaluable cultural resources. What does concern them, however, is the likelihood that a national monument designation would bring flocks of tourists to the area,…