Short takes on the news
A tangled web • The tentacles of politics and possibly shady business deals appear so intertwined in Utah that it's difficult to find lawyers and legislators with no ties to Attorney General John Swallow and his cronies. Still, House Speaker Becky Lockhart did the right thing in removing Rep. V. Lowry Snow, R-St. George, from the special House committee investigating Swallow. Snow was serving as chairman. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Snow had done legal work for one of Swallow's accusers: indicted St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson. And nearly all the 14 Utah law firms that have applied to investigate charges that Swallow violated election laws have been found to have conflicts of interest. All this makes it a challenge to move ahead quickly to determine if Swallow should be impeached by the House and whether he violated state election law. But those investigations and others into the many charges made against him by criminals and men accused of crimes must go forward. Utahns deserve to know the truth about their top law enforcement officer.
Perennial problem • Parking is a perennial problem at the University of Utah. It seems no matter how they are cajoled, many students, faculty and staff continue to drive to the campus rather than take public transit. So a proposed new policy that would make parking more expensive is the next logical step. The change, awaiting final approval, would mean the fee for a parking spot would double at meters, and the cost of a parking permit would shoot up by at least 50 percent. Part of the reason for the new policy is to help visitors find spaces by keeping out students and staff who now often park in the more convenient visitor parking even though they have passes for other, cheaper lots farther away. The reality is that parking space on campus will always be scarce and it should be. Taking TRAX or buses should be the first choice.
The slum pope • Pope Francis is known by some in the Catholic Church as the "slum pope," and it's a title he seems to relish. The pontiff was forceful this week in Brazil, urging the wealthy to recognize and begin to shrink the huge and growing inequality between rich and poor in the world. "No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world! No amount of peace-building will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself." It's a welcome message, not only for Catholics but for all people, including Americans.