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Alliance for a Better Utah honors individuals, groups for contribution to state

Published: Friday, Dec. 21 2012 6:35 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The Alliance for a Better Utah has announced the recipients of the 2012 Better Beehive awards, recognizing individuals or organizations that have worked to make Utah a more progressive place to live.

This year's winners are outgoing state Sen. Ross Romero, the cities of Harrisville and Springdale, The Salt Lake Tribune, Murray couple Sandy and Paul Krueger, and HEAL Utah.

Romero was honored for his efforts to secure the public release of Utah's 2010 redistricting records. As a member of the legislative records committee, Romero was the only legislator to vote to release the records — a position ultimately adopted by the Legislature.

Springdale and Harrisville were recognized for enacting ordinances this year that bar employment and housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board was awarded for its decision to retract a poll that was originally incorrect in its prediction of the results for the Salt Lake County mayoral race between Ben McAdams and Mark Crockett. The poll also misread the 4th Congressional District race between Jim Matheson and Mia Love.

The Tribune decided to retract its poll results after conflicting poll data by Deseret News pollster Dan Jones and internal polling by the Alliance for a Better UTAH was released. Those polls showed Ben McAdams leading in the county mayoral race. According to the Tribune, pollster Mason-Dixon had oversampled Republicans in the county, thus producing the wildly divergent results.

The Kruegers were recognized for their efforts in starting a petition rallying against the Legislature's passage of a controversial sex-education bill. The petition ultimately led to Gov. Gary Herbert's veto of the legislation.

The couple started the online petition after becoming increasingly frustrated with what they said was the Legislature's unwillingness to listen to its constituents. The Legislature had passed HB363 in an attempt to remove sexual education from the curriculum of Utah schools by mandating an even stricter abstinence-only curriculum, as well as giving schools the option of dropping sexual education altogether.

Rounding out the honorees was HEAL Utah, for successfully preventing an EnergySolutions executive from being appointed to the state board that oversees nuclear waste regulation in Utah.  

HEAL, the Healthy Environmental Alliance of Utah, was a key player in derailing Gov. Herbert's appointment of Dan Shrum to the Radiation Control Board. Shrum decided to remove himself from consideration.

The Alliance for a Better UTAH is a multi-issue education and advocacy organization.

“We want everyone to remember that while it's often easy to point a finger at deficiencies in the system, real progress is achieved by those who stand up for what is right in an effort to make Utah a better place,” said Maryann Martindale, executive director of the alliance.

“We joke tongue-in-cheek that our informal motto is ‘Building a Better Beehive,’” said Josh Kanter, the alliance's founder. “But consistent with our mission, we're trying to make Utah a better place to live while respecting the sometimes quirky culture that makes Utah a great place to live.”

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