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Short takes

Published September 27, 2012 8:28 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Taking personal responsibility • Even if everybody agreed on a way for the American health care system to be reformed — Obamacare, single-payer, free-market — the fact is that the best insurance plans, the best hospitals and the best doctors won't be able to stem the tide of high costs and poor outcomes unless individual Americans start taking better care of themselves. This was Gov. Gary Herbert's message at the close of his 2012 Health Summit, and he's right. The governor said he would set a personal example by getting more exercise and kicking the soft drink habit, and he encouraged the rest of the state's workforce to do the same. Of course, that won't do a dang thing for uninsured Utahns who can't afford a doctor to administer chemotherapy or monitor their diabetes. But, it could create a culture where fewer people need those services.

A questionable appointment • Holly Richardson was for HB477 before she was against it. So were nearly all the other members of the Utah Legislature in early 2011, when the bill that was designed to gut the state's exemplary open-records law was rushed through, and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert, before a media and public outcry led to a repeal of the really bad idea. Now Herbert has named Richardson, a conservative blogger who has since left the Legislature, to the State Records Committee. That's the body that oversees the enforcement of the Government Records Access and Management Act and rules on conflicts between people who want records released and government agencies who want them kept sealed. Her devotion to the spirit and the letter of a law she once voted to eviscerate — and then to restore — will remain in question.

Talk about being stuck in traffic • Most traffic jams don't last 18 years. But that's how long Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini had to lobby and cajole members of the Utah Legislature, Utah Transportation Commission and the Wasatch Front Regional Council to get the funds to upgrade a long-neglected section of State Street, Salt Lake County's major artery between 6400 South and 8100 South. It was a stretch with no curbs, few sidewalks, bad lighting, but plenty of puddles and potholes, that discouraged traffic and development. It was a person-to-person effort that saw the mayor dragging regional planners out in the rain to show them how schoolchildren had to stand in the mud and be sprayed by passing cars. Now, with a $13.5 million upgrade completed, the street is wider, smoother, drains better and, Seghini hopes, will encourage businesses and customers to rediscover her community.