Thumbs up, thumbs down: Who deserves praise and criticism this week?
This map shows the area of western Weber County that's the focus of a ballot question on whether it should be incorporated into a new city in voting culminating Nov. 3, 2020. The areas in red could be annexed into neighboring cities prior to Nov. 3, 2020, according to the Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office. If annexation occurred, the map would have to be updated.
Gunnison Reservoir near Emphraim in Southern Utah dried up during Utah's deepening 2020 drought.
Incorporation or annexation? Annexation or incorporation?
It’s a weighty question — one that will be posed to certain western Weber County residents on this year’s ballot as they decide the future of their little part of the world.
Officially, the choice they’ll be asked to make is whether or not the cluster of small communities in the area should join together by incorporating into a shiny new city. But there’s tangential movement to assimilate a small section into nearby Plain City. A much smaller segment also is coveted by West Haven.
The situation has, understandably, left some who live there in a lurch about what exactly they’ll be voting on.
We won’t presume to know which option is the right choice; that’s something each person living in the area must decide on their own by weighing what they feel is best for themselves and their neighbors.
What we will say is we disagree with the Utah Supreme Court’s decision that the incorporation question may proceed, accompanied by a disclaimer that the proposed new city’s boundaries may change, and thereby allowing annexation efforts to continue, even as folks begin receiving and casting their ballots.
Some residents say they feel disenfranchised, that their right to choose via the political process is being stripped away.
They aren’t wrong.
Speaking of Election Day, the Utah Transit Authority has announced it is suspending fares on Nov. 3 to facilitate voters’ movements.
Participation in elections, whether they be at the city, county, state or federal level, is essential to fair and representative outcomes, and barriers to voting should be minimal, within reason.
Petitions often call for Election Day to be designated a national holiday, to further grant citizens time and access to the polls.
Of course, with the growing prevalence of mail-in voting, it may be possible that physical voting locations eventually become a thing of the past. But, as this election has shown, not everyone shares a trust in the by-mail system as us Utahns.
Nonetheless, we tip our cap to UTA for this plan — despite the estimated $48,000 hit to its pocketbook.
That was our reaction to news that Utah’s water year came to a close last month with the state fully enveloped in drought conditions. (And, subsequently, a sound the parched land across the Beehive State hasn’t been making all that often.)
The bad news translates to especially dire water levels in Utah reservoirs: 43% of capacity at Pineview (down from 68% last year), 33% at Causey and a big goose egg at Gunnison Reservoir down in Sanpete County. The whole thing dried up!
Statewide precipitation in September was just 30% of normal for the month.
This same time in 2019, only 55% of the state fell under drought designation.
To be sure, drought levels rise and wane depending on the year. You’d have to go back to the early 2000s to find levels as severe as are now being recorded.
Unfortunately, the pendulum has swung back in a very dry direction. So, we’ll say it again. Gulp.