THUMBS UP: It's one of the last signs of summer: Peach Days in Brigham City. We hope all those attending this weekend enjoy the sweet fruit and all the activities the city has planned.
THUMBS DOWN: On Wednesday, Utah's federal Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee spoke out about their concerns of diverting funds — $3.6 billion — pulled from U.S. military projects to respond to the president's declaration of a national emergency along the U.S. border. Romney's response was this:
“Funding the border wall is an important priority, and the executive branch should use the appropriate channels in Congress rather than divert already appropriated funding away from military construction projects and therefore undermining military readiness,” Romney said in a statement. For Utah, this means $54 million in funding needed for Hill Air Force Base projects is being diverted to aid in the construction of the wall between Mexico.
While the loss of funding is hoped to not be permanent, the monies wouldn't be addressed until the 2020 budget request. Regardless, it affects fighter pilot combat readiness and the sustaining of fifth-generation aircraft for the Air Force, according to Lee and Romney. We agree with Utah's senators that this diversion in important military defense monies is not a wise strategic move and impacts Utah directly. We urge Utah's federal delegation to continue to weigh in on the needs of military defense across the nation, as well as Utah.
THUMBS UP: A new study was released this week showing that Utah has made gains in improving women's voter turnout after significant decreases in recent years, with the lowest in 2006 — amounting to 36.8% turnout, ranked 51st in the nation — and in 2018 rising to 11th in the nation with 60.5%. This is good news and the progress should be celebrated. Women's voices in politics is extremely important and Utah is no exception. Utah will fare better as a state when it has a more diverse and accurate representation from the demographics that make up our communities. The state and women deserve kudos for this increase; but we must make sure that it doesn't stop there. In 1992, according to Daily Herald reporting, Utah women had the highest voter turnout in the country with 76%. What a great goal to work towards again and maintain throughout the future.
THUMBS DOWN: Sometimes justice can feel underwhelming, and that was the case this week with former Weber County jail deputy Jeremy Clark Miller who was sentenced to seven days in jail and 53 days of work release for pleading no contest to one count of the custodial sexual relations charge, a third-degree felony, with the other four being dropped. Unfortunately this was not his first incident with inappropriate behavior that "stepped over the line" as an officer; in 2015 Miller was written up for making sexually suggestive comments to two inmates, and in 2002 for watching pornography on a jail computer. This behavior is a clear indicator that he could not operate in a position that demands a high level of trust. It should be noted that Miller's last day of employment with the county was Feb. 8.