Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Allow Online Petition Signatures

It will be a shame if these citizens initiative petition efforts are defeated, by getting too few signatures

Fine editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, urging Lt. Governor Bell to reconsider his office's anti-democratic stance, against allowing electronic signatures for the Utah ethics reform and fair boundaries initiatives.

If however, it's necessary to overturn Bell's legally weak posture in court, Utahns for Ethical Government is fully prepared to do that. Remember, people, the Attorney General's opinion letter upon which Lt. Governor Bell relies does not have the force of law, and that such a letter is in fact by its own nature no more authoritative than any other opinion letter which might be issued by any other licensed Utah lawyer. UEG lawyers are prepared for litigation; and they'll soon be seeking declaratory relief in the courts, if necessary.

Citizens' initiative sponsors are still urging Utah voters to continue to go online to affix their electronic signatures to the petitions, pending a judicial resolution of this matter. In the event that these online petitions are ultimately ruled invalid (a low-probability outcome, in our opinion,) petition sponsors will still have your full contact information available, so they will be able to easily contact you to obtain a hard-copy signature.

As of April 2, UEG spokesman issued a press release stating that UEG anticipated reaching somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of its mandated 95,000 signatures of registered Utah voters by April 4, 2010. So with two days remaining, we'll put on one extra pre-deadline (April 15) push and strongly urge those of you who haven't yet signed the petition to do so now, without any further delay.

Once again, here are the links to the UEG and Fair Boundaries online petitions:
Fair Boundaries
Utahns for Ethical Government
You can also click on the graphic above, which will take you directly to the UEG's online petition data entry page.

As the Standard-Examiner editorial board emphasizes:

This is a unique opportunity for Utah residents to send a clear message to lawmakers that we are fed up with long-delayed ethics reforms and are taking matters into our own hands. It will be a shame if that effort is defeated, either by getting too few signatures, or having names gathered electronically struck down by the lieutenant governor.
Need we say more?


Zodiac said...

Don't expect the power structure (including the Lt. Governor and culture to roll over on this one despite the outstanding points made by the Standard Examiner editorial.

The power structure sees any ethics reform as a threat to their domination of politics in Utah. The only change they will accept are rules that make it very difficult to enforce ethics reform.

Where do Kerry Gibson, Gage Froerer and Amy Wicks stand on ethics reform? Let's find out and vote accordingly.

althepal said...

Too funny. Mark Shurtleff, the Attorney General who advised Lt. Gov. Bell that online signatures are illegal, is the same Attorney General who advized Jon Greiner that it was OK to ignore the Hatch Act. And we already know what happened in Greiner's situation, don't we.

Curmudgeon said...

It is a good editorial. And since the SE has been improving some in its editorials of late, perhaps it'd be a good time for readers to press for a little improvement in other areas.

The SL Trib is running story this morning reporting that a small town newspaper, with a reporting staff of seven, just won a Pulitizer prize for investigative reporting.

From the story:

New York » The Bristol Herald Courier , a small paper in the coalfields of Appalachia, beat out journalism's powerhouses to win the Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday for uncovering a scandal in which Virginia landowners were deprived of millions in natural gas royalties.

The seven-reporter daily was honored for what many regard as an endangered form of journalism in this age of wrenching newspaper cutbacks -- aggressive reporting on local issues.

Aggressive reporting [aka investigative journalism] on local issues has certainly become an endangered form of journalism in these parts of late. Have to wonder why, if the Bristol Herald Courier can do it, the SE can't. Or won't.

Most days, I think, the SE is an OK small city daily overall, sometimes rising to pretty good. What it ought to be, what every reader should expect and demand that it be most days is a pretty good daily overall, occasionally rising to excellent.

What that requires, though, is a publisher and editors who know it can be done even in a time of staff cuts and ad declines, and who insist that it be sought. Not "adequacy." "Not "good enough for now." Excellence.

Am I demanding the SE win a Pulitzer for local reporting for us to think it a good paper? Of course not. That'd be setting a wildly unreasonable standard for any small city daily to meet. But as I learned watching baseball from the bleacher seats at Ebbitts Field growing up: you can't hit one out of the park if you won't step up to the plate and take a swing or two.

Clearly, it is possible for a small city daily, even in these straightened times, to do first rate aggressive local reporting. Just ask the publisher, editors and staff of the Bristol Herald Courier. Or the Pulitzer award committee.

ozboy said...

It never fails to amaze me how in your face indignant these neo-con Republican so called leaders in Utah get when it is suggested that they are inherently unable and unqualified to author laws that regulate their own lack of integrity.

In their arrogance they cannot see that if they were to fully embrace the ethics reforms outlined in the citizen's initiative that they would come out looking like hero's and thus further entrench their power, which of course is their ultimate goal in resisting true ethics reform.

An ethically clean state legislature would have a better reputation amongst the governed which would translate into more power - wouldn't it?

viktor said...

Well there ain't much chance for them wimps over at the Standard to be winning a Pulitzer prize for anything to do with good reporting on local political and corruption issues, but that Schwepke fellow and his lame ass publisher just might be in line for the Putzler prize for their incredible lack of curiosity and overall lack of guts.


You're suggesting that Schwebke has a lack of GUTS?

If you've seen him in life, especially in profile, and observed his overly developed abdomen, in my scientific opinion we should just nickname Schwebke "Guts"!!!

blackrulon said...

Curmudgeon-If the S-E followed your advice and reasoning they would immediately cut their staff levels to reach the Bristol Herald Courier staff of Seven reporters. The best way for the S-E to achieve Pulitizer Prize award reporting if to improve the quality of the self serving press releases that the administration issues and Scott Schwebke presents as reporting.

Curmudgeon said...

Seems to me that if there is a lack of aggressive [investigative] reporting on local matters in the SE, and there is, it is because the publisher and/or editors have decided they do not want to expend the paper's limited resources on that kind of reporting. If the publisher and editors wanted Mayor Godfrey's press releases fact-checked rather than printed as straight news right out of the box, then they'd be fact-checked. In short, I think they're getting the kind of reporting they want. Up to me, I'd lay off tossing complaints at the guys in the trenches, and look to the folks who make policy and news decisions for the paper.

The Lone Gunman said...

Are you interested in postings from the Ogden City Confiscation Committee hearing tonight?

I'm passing through Ogden and would be happy to do so.

If so, where would I do that? Here?

RudiZink said...

I'll tell ya's what, Lone Gunman... I've just set up a whole new blog page for this purpose.

Please post your real-time comments here:

Ogden City Confiscation Committee Hearing Thread

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