Is the Utah Legislature listening?

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  • Homer1 MIDVALE, UT
    Feb. 22, 2012 10:33 a.m.

    Congratulations to Maryann Martindale for a well-written and even-handed look at the Legislature. In spite of anything legislators say about how they listen to public opinion their public actions betray their public statements. I don't think it's that they are not listening. It's more of a contempt for the public and public opinion and an allegiance to an inner circle of power politics in this state. How else can you explain the constant push for vouchers despite the overwhelming rejection of that law by direct referendum of the people. Instead of respecting the will of the people (their bosses) some such as Stephenson view the public as just another player in the power game of Utah politics. An "interest group" that they need to manuever around to get what they want.

    People continue to sound the cry for "parental Choice" when in reality "Parental Choice" is already a fact. Parents in Utah can and do make choices about their children's education and no law prevents that. Many east-side schools in SL county wouldn't exist otherwise.

    The issue isn't about choice per se but rather an attempt by some people to justify the use of public money for private purposes--they dream of privatization with its promise of profits and control. If only they can just get that taxpayer money to fund the whole scheme!

    Now Stephenson. I still can't put a finger on that. It isn't just privatization with him. It's not just the money. It's like he carries a deep personal resentment towards public education and educators that drives his efforts to undermine and dismantle public education. His actions over the past two decades reveal his agenda despite his public comments. How he can sit on the committee to oversee education in the legislature while carrying within himself such contempt for it is beyond rational understanding. I just wish that the Legislative Education Committee could concern itself with efforts to strengthen, manage, and improve public education instead of providing a fortress from which to launch attacks on the system.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 22, 2012 8:56 a.m.

    Utah Senate: " but they do try to listen to their constituents"


    If you did, where is our non-discrimination bill? I think you are all chicken and do not dare go against Gail R. Show us you listen. Do something!

  • Utah Senate Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 7:39 p.m.

    The legislature consists of of 104 people working on several hundred bills each year. This bit of writing tries to define the entire group by a few less popular actions. That seems less than honest. Senator Stephenson's bill didn't even make it out of committee.

    Polling shows most Utahns approve of the work their representatives do on their behalf. Most legislators tend to avoid the group Maryann Martindale represents but they do try to listen to their constituents.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 1:11 p.m.

    Great Article,

    Just goes to show the flaws and corruption with a "Representative" form of Government,
    a "Democracy" where the people vote.

    But - I guess we have no one else to blame but the "People" who keep blindly re-electing these "Represtentatives" just because they have the letter "R" next to their names, with more ties to "special interests" [i.e., Secret Combinations] than the "People" they are suppose to Represent.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 1:06 p.m.

    Yes, the legislature is listening.

    The question is, To Whom?

  • isrred Logan, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 1:03 p.m.

    "Parents with children at private schools often sacrifice much, in other words, perforce also subsidizing the public schools, as well of course as do those who have no children at school at all."

    So why should the parent that sends their child to private school get a tax break while the citizens with no children get no such tax break?

    People with no children still are bound by the social contract to support public schools because an educated society is necessary for freedom. Parents who send their children to private school have that right, but they should not get a tax break to do so.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 21, 2012 12:42 p.m.

    Interesting how the Legislature "begs the question" every year, since "begging the question" is another term for "circular reasoning."

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 12:17 p.m.

    While I think legislatures should listen to public input thoughtfully:

    1. No one should be effectively forced to fund public schools if they do not use them. I wish the State had a bill of rights that obviated the problem of the majority dictating to the minority in an area so crucial as education, allowing no realistic choice to many poor or middle class parents other than unfunded home schooling.

    2. Parents with children at private schools often sacrifice much, in other words, perforce also subsidizing the public schools, as well of course as do those who have no children at school at all.

    3. If the legislature really was responsive to the Utah public they would do something about the illegal aliens that overload the school system, additionally often requiring teaching functional English, or having to teach in Spanish.

    I suspect Ms Martindale may prove selective in the areas she wishes a responsive legislature, and to whom they should be responsive. Would she feel the same about majority opinion in the case of dealing with illegal immigration etc. Does she care about the basic constitutional rights of choice and disposal of private property? Apparently not.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 10:15 a.m.

    'Every legislative session begs the same question: Do legislators actually care what their constituents want? - Article

    ** John Boehner: If GOP (Bush tax) Cuts Cause Federal Job Losses...'So Be It' - Huffington Post - 02/15/11


    ** Herbert signs records bill HB477 after rally for veto' - By Paul Koepp, Deseret News - 03/08/11


    ** Sex ed bill amended, impact unclear among Utah lawmakers - By Molly Farmer, Deseret News - 02/09/12

    So, do I think legislators actually care?


    No, I don't think they do.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 10:03 a.m.

    I donât like advertising.

    I donât like outdoor advertising because:

    It is very difficult, if not possible, to avoid. Especially when there is movement.

    It is distracting to my attention to other things. Driving, walking, talking etc.

    It covers up the things I want to see. The world of natural beauty.

    It mostly tells only partial truths and sometimes outright lies.

    The same objections apply to most other types of advertising, TV, radio, etc.

    Advertising is an anti-free market tool used by businesses to prevent price and quality competition. It allows the higher price to be charged.

    It is a violation of my Constitutional right to the privacy and security of my own life.

    I like advertising when it does itâs proper job.

    Advertising is needed to provide the public with information about the availability and location of a product.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    The majority of voters in Utah do not bother to educate themselves about the issues and the candidates. Thus, they are easily fooled by propaganda from extremists. The resulting situation is one in which only the most extreme of the extremists are elected.

    The extremists in the legislature do not care about the will of the public. Why would they? The public has clearly demonstrated that it is too apathetic to do anything about the legislature ignoring its will.

    And so, the extremist legislature is left to pursue its twin goals of creating greater access to alcohol and arming every man, woman, and child in this State. Hopefully, the great mass of voters will awaken before it is too late.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 7:30 a.m.

    I'm surprised by this editorial and once again feel I'm living in the Twilight Zone. Good job DN.

    Utah's legislators don't care what their constituents want, the only person they seem to care about is the one who seems to know where all the bodies are; Gayle Ruzicka. Her wishes are their commands. No one else matters.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2012 12:30 a.m.

    My hat is off to both Ms. Martindale for her articulate and well-reasoned words, and the Deseret News for printing her excellent piece.