Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Interest groups affecting legislation and Utah lands

Published: Sunday, July 29 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Webb: Business and capitalism are under attack this election season. The liberal groups harassing ALEC, including the far-out Occupiers, see villains in big business. I see enterprises led by good, caring people that pay lots of taxes and provide jobs, goods and services that citizens want and need (or they wouldn't stay in business).

ALEC is a conservative legislative group supported by businesses and individuals who appreciate its objectives and political philosophy. Plenty of liberal organizations exist that leftist legislators can join, also supported by wealthy donors.

ALEC is under assault mostly because it is successful. Conservatives have developed a powerful organizational methodology to share ideas and legislation and promote state-based conservative solutions. If liberals don't like it, they should go start their own organization.

Some conservatives are attacking the Common Core standards as more federal intervention in Utah's education system. Should Utahns be fearful of the Common Core program?

Pignanelli: The Utah Common Core was reviewed by humans residing in the 801 and 435 area codes (aka Utahns). The Core objectives were approved by a group of serious, intelligent, well-intentioned and usually boring professionals (aka Republicans). This effort is an attempt to bolster the competitiveness of public education. As to the alleged threat from the federal government, see the response to the first question. There are no bogeymen lurking in the Core.

Webb: Some of my far-right friends see scary things hiding behind every bush. They need not fear Common Core standards. This is no conspiracy to brainwash our children. It is a smart, bottom-up, voluntary, state-based, mainstream effort to improve public education in math and language arts to help our graduates compete in a tough, global marketplace. Nothing wrong with that.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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