By Dan Schroeder
This reader, at least, found plenty to think about in today's Standard-Examiner.
First, as already noted in an earlier post, there's the massive fundraising effort to restore Ogden High School. This is indeed a worthy cause, both for Ogden's historic legacy and for the future generations of students who will be educated there. But I have to wonder: If the school district needs so much money to restore OHS, why did it just voluntarily hand millions of dollars over to Mayor Godfrey?
The other front-page story that caught my eye was about the mayor of West Bountiful, who apparently had a link from the official city web site to his personal blog, which contained information about his current reelection campaign. The Lieutenant Governor's office even got involved, calling city officials and telling them that "public funds cannot be used for anything campaign related". Really? That's news to us here in Ogden, where the use of public funds for political campaigns has become routine.
Speaking of campaigns, on page 3A there's an interesting wire service story reporting that our new governor is opposed to campaign contribution limits. The article says Utah is one of just a handful of states that put no limits on campaign contributions, and that a commission appointed by former governor Huntsman is fine-tuning recommendations that will call for such limits in all state-level races (e.g., no more than $4000 to candidates for governor, and $2000 to legislative candidates). But Governor Herbert has already received over $20,000 from the Utah Association of Realtors for his 2010 campaign. (Also, Herbert is apparently laundering most of his contributions through a political action committee, and thus avoiding some reporting requirements.) It will be interesting to see whether the Standard-Examiner editorial board weighs in on this proposed legislation, as it has in the past. When the Ogden City Council recently introduced and passed an ordinance establishing contribution limits, the editorial board remained silent. (The Standard-Examiner web site is also running an informal poll on contribution limits.)
Page 1B, as on every Saturday, carries the editors' navel-gazing column, written this week by Managing Editor Dave Greiling. More often than not, I've noticed, the editors use this column to belittle readers who complain about the paper--and today's column is no exception. Of course, anyone who calls to complain about the paper's lack of coverage of a topic, when in fact the paper has covered that topic in considerable detail, probably deserves to be belittled. But must it really be done in public? Also, for some reason, these columns rarely seem to mention the legitimate reader complaints. I'm still waiting for the day when one of these columns will try to defend the paper's failure to report the Godfrey Administration's role in raising money for Envision Ogden. (Executive Editor Andy Howell told me over the phone last May that they don't need to report on Godfrey's role because he thinks "everyone knows" about it already.) I'd also love to see the editors' explanation of their unbalanced coverage of the current City Council At-Large Seat B race.
Also interesting to me was the wire service article on the Business page about the Gale Norton corruption probe. And finally, I'll mention that Friday's paper carried a brief notice of a meet-the-candidates event in Riverdale, sponsored by the Lions Club. I find this noteworthy because the Standard-Examiner failed to print such a notice when the Sierra Club informed them of our extensive candidate questionnaire web site. Double standard? You decide.