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Short takes on local issues

Published December 3, 2011 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Bad for the lungs, bad for business • The joke around feedlots, chemical plants and other things with awful odors is that, at least to the owners and workers, it just smells like money. Praise is due, then, to the Salt Lake Chamber leadership for seeing through that smog and recognizing that what's bad for a community's health is also bad for its business climate. At a Chamber-sponsored panel last week, local leaders faced the fact that the Salt Lake Valley's frequent bad air days, particularly the smog-trapping inversions that plague us every winter, are a major strike against the area in seeking to entice new businesses. And, rather than call upon the government, or someone else, business leaders outlined steps they can take, from building energy-efficient plants to transit-oriented siting decisions, to solve the problem.

Chaffetz and Lee's good visa bill • Utah's Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Mike Lee have worked hard and had a surprising amount of success with a bill that, while far short of the comprehensive reform that is needed, is an improvement to America's outdated immigration laws. Their bill would remove the caps on the share of 140,000 highly skilled worker visas that can go to the citizens of any particular nation. The result would be more clever, job-creating entrepreneurs and designers coming here from India and China, and fewer unclaimed visas waiting for citizens of other countries who will never come. The bill passed the House last week on a bipartisan 389-15 vote. It was expected to pass the Senate, too, before Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, placed a hold on the legislation. Now we will see how effective our young lawmakers can be in getting a good idea turned into a good law.

Rocky for Rocky • This is America, where any boy or girl can dream of growing up to run for president. But the idea that former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is somehow destined to seek that high office seems to be a drumbeat that only he can hear. Anderson's disgust with his former colleagues in the Democratic Party is shared by many others. But those who see so little difference between President Obama and any of his would-be Republican replacements that they feel the need for a far-left alternative candidate are likely to find little traction among the broad electorate. Or, worse, they might split the Democratic base enough to get a Republican elected. And that's a show that most liberal Americans don't want to sit through again.