Short takes on the news
On target • It is easy for elected officials to stand up to special interests that weren't going to support them anyway. It's harder to buck the desires of interest groups that are usually on your side. Thus Utah state Sen. Margaret Dayton and state Rep. Curt Oda deserve praise for giving their friends in the gun-rights crowd every opportunity to have their say before sticking with a bill that would quite properly restrict outdoor target shooting in times and places that, in the judgment of the state forester, would create a wildfire hazard. The bill, also supported by county sheriffs, cannot be reasonably seen as an unreasonable restriction of anyone's Second Amendment rights. It is simply an attempt to cut down on the number of dangerous and expensive fires, such as the more than 1,500 that broke out last summer. More than half of those were caused by humans and at least 33 were directly related to target shooting. The bill SB120 has been revived and should become law.
Utahns know their state • Further evidence that the elected leadership of the state of Utah is way too often out of touch with the vast majority of their constituents was provided by a new poll, from Colorado College. It shows that voters overwhelmingly understand that preserving public lands is both the right thing to do and good for the economy. The poll showed that 74 percent of Utah voters think that national parks, forests and monuments provide significant numbers of high-quality jobs. They also oppose efforts to sell off public lands for development. And they favor "strong standards" regulating drilling activities near recreation areas, waterways or in places that could affect wildlife. Smart folks, these Utahns.
Never on Saturday • The United States Postal Service has bowed to the reality of the 21st century, announcing last week that, starting in August, it will no longer deliver first class mail on Saturdays. It is a move that will save an estimated $2 billion a year and, when the service continually loses money, is something that can't be avoided. It is certainly better than some of the other alternatives that had been considered, such as closing many rural post offices. In some small towns, the post office is about all there is in the way of a community gathering point. Keeping those offices open and continuing to deliver packages including medicine for the elderly on Saturdays is the better alternative. No matter how efficient the post office is, it cannot help but continue to lose business to online bill-paying and other electronic services.