Short takes on the news
No more pavin' • Salt Lake City will no longer "pave paradise to put up a parking lot," as the old Joni Mitchell song accused cities of doing. Though Salt Lake City may not be paradise, a new ordinance rightly prohibiting demolishing buildings to construct surface parking lots in the area between North Temple and 700 South and 200 West to 200 East will help keep at least part of the city from creeping ugliness. Parking structures will not be allowed on Main Street or on block corners in that area. New surface parking must be kept behind buildings and 75 feet from sidewalks. It's a welcome step toward eliminating blight downtown. It seems the Salt Lake City Council doesn't want to be guilty of not knowing "what you got till it's gone."
Stopping disease • Whooping cough is catching on in Utah, and babies are being hit hard because older Utahns haven't been properly immunized from this preventable disease. Utah data show the rate of infant pertussis infection is five times higher than the state rate, and the state rate is an inexcusable five times higher than the national rate. County and state health departments are taking steps to slow the spread of the disease by requiring unvaccinated children and adults be sent home from schools or day care centers where there is an outbreak. Those who have not been immunized may be eight times more likely to develop pertussis than those who are vaccinated, according to the state health department. And they could infect others. Although Utah requires kindergarteners to have vaccinations against preventable "childhood" diseases, too many parents are granted exemptions. That practice should stop.
Sour political grapes • Utah's economy is looking pretty good, better than the rest of the nation. That was the message of Gov. Gary Herbert's re-election campaign: Unemployment is down, home prices are up, more businesses are opening and hiring. But all of that means little to the average Utahn, who, according to Zions Bank, is so upset at Mitt Romney's loss to President Barack Obama that his/her level of confidence dropped from 87.1 in October to 75.9 following the election. The bank surveys Utah residents about their attitudes on the economy in its monthly Consumer Attitude Index. Those asking the questions didn't bring up the election, but many of those surveyed did. It's understandable that Utahns who were higher on Romney than residents of any other state would be disappointed. But the country isn't going over a cliff at least not unless Congress fails to agree on a budget.