Short takes on the news
Looking forward • The Utah Transit Authority's decision to spend more than $2 million of taxpayer money on parking garages near the Jordan Valley TRAX station seems like a waste of money, since only a handful of the 1,200 stalls are occupied on a normal day. UTA officials say the agency built the structures at a cost of $15.5 million of which the federal government paid $9.3 million and developers will pick up another $3.9 million with an eye toward parking needs in 2030. In the meantime, lack of demand for parking has forced UTA to close one garage and two of the four levels in the other to reduce maintenance costs. But, despite the appearance of a boondoggle now, UTA would be remiss if it did not anticipate transit-oriented development at TRAX stations including high-density residential and commercial enterprises that will create a bigger demand for parking in the future.
Doing what's right • Realizing the dangers of using cellphones irresponsibly, the four biggest cellphone companies in America will launch a unique joint advertising campaign against texting while driving. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile, along with 200 other organizations are joining forces to support AT&T's "It Can Wait" slogan on widely distributed TV and radio ads this summer. The multimillion-dollar campaign unites business rivals, all warning against the potential dangers of their own products. The companies initially opposed laws against cellphones while driving, but because of the growing number of accidents and fatalities associated with texting and talking while driving, they changed their tunes. The cellphone giants now rightly embrace the language of the federal government's campaign against cellphone behind the wheel, and went further to educate drivers, on their dime. Now that's an industry acting in the best interest of its customers.
Righting wrongs • Kevin Peterson was caught in a catch-22: He had not sexually abused his children as his estranged wife told them to testify back in 1990, but if he did not plead guilty he would very likely spend the rest of his life in prison. So he pleaded guilty but stipulated that he was wrongly accused. Because he failed to fully admit guilt, he served every day of his 15-year sentence. In December his children recanted their testimony, and through Utah's law allowing a judge to overturn a verdict based on new evidence, Peterson's name was finally cleared. The ruling cannot give him back the 15 years, but it and three others based on the law give defense attorneys another tool to make sure justice is served.