Midday Commentary on Last Night’s News — June 12, 2015

• Breaking news, as Provo resident and State School Board member Mark Openshaw died in a plane crash in OpenshawMissouri along with his wife and two of their children. Another child is seriously injured. He was in his second term and according to his bio “was the Co-founder and president of AirComUSA, an 18 year old Utah based tech company providing web and telecom services. He was also involved in agriculture and ranching operations. Mr. Openshaw graduated from Brigham Young University. He is active in the Boy Scouts of America and is an outdoor sports enthusiast and was an experienced pilot.

• Big day for Salt Lake City politics as Chief Burbank is shown the door by Mayor Ralph Becker over the sexual harassment scandal in the department. Let’s not kid ourselves, there’s no way this isn’t election year politicking at its best. It already blew up in the mayor’s face, and things weren’t going away. This is a situation years in the making, and this action could have been taking months and months or even a year ago when Burbank didn’t do as Becker allegedly requested. (Trib, Dnews, KUER)

The action comes a day after the Trib burned the administration in an op-ed: Midday Commentary on Last Night's News -- June 12, 2015

Salt Lake City government can build all the bicycle lanes, solar panels and low-income housing it wants. Its desirable and carefully cultivated reputation as a progressive oasis will be fragile indeed until top officials make it clear that sexual harassment within city departments is not only not acceptable but also grounds for serious steps taken against those who commit it.

A day when a Salt Lake City mayor gets smacked around by the Trib editorial board is a banner day, indeed.

• Reporters got a tour of the current prison, and yes, it’s a crumbling facility in need of a complete replacement.

• Another one hot off the presses, the Dnews gives us the scoop on how LDS Church members can find where to go to church on vacation. LPT: If you positively, absolutely need to go to church on your vacation, look your kids right in the eyes, recognize that it’s the worst idea ever, and go do something else

• Sen. Mike Lee wants to find a way to ensure religious liberty while the country shifts on gay rights. Politicians can wring their hands all they want, and people can stand in front of cameras at news conferences, but all it takes is one look at the under 30 crowd to realize this thing is going to resolve itself with time.

Around the Hub

• Sen. Howard Stephenson defends Superintendent Brad Smith, and gives another take on Utah’s public education funding levels. It’s a compelling read with plenty of information.

What is clear to researchers from both sides of the argument is that any effect of per-student spending on student outcomes depends on how the money is spent, not on how much is spent.

This does not suggest that Utah should spend less on education. In fact, with a large percentage of teachers expected to retire in the next few years and an influx of new students entering the system, there is a crying need to ensure that teacher compensation is such that we can attract qualified teachers to our system…

• With GOP hopefuls hanging out with Mitt Romney this weekend to see how the .01% live, John English breaks down some power rankings among the candidates.

And if none of that interests you, perhaps the death of a currency will. For example, five bucks American will get you 125,000,000,000,000,000 Zimbabwean dollars. (That’s quadrillion if you’re counting.)


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