Tuesday, 7 February 2012

I Have A Little Deal For Wayne Harper (R - West Jordan)

38 days!

We are only 38 days into the year, and already the Utah Legislature is off to the races, goofy-footed and earnest-eyed, bristling with handfuls of painfully crayon-scrawled legislation for our delectation. The Salt Lake Tribune chimes in on the latest from Representative Wayne Harper (R - West Jordan):

[Rep. Harper] told the House Business and Labor committee that HB104 was a way to stop Salt Lake City's [anti-idling] ordinance, which he said was anti-business and put a strain on local police charged with enforcing the measure. 
But his bill had an added complication that Rep. Todd Kiser, R-Sandy, was struggling with -- the addition in the bill that sought to eliminate Salt Lake City's requirement that taxicabs and limousine companies replace vehicles with more than 350,000 miles on them or that are more than seven years old in an attempt to reduce pollution.
I spent a good 20 minutes looking for a photo where Harper DOESN'T look like a smug dick; I didn't find any snipe either.

It's worth noting that Harper's bill went nowhere, largely because it was too crazy for the Utah legislature - an awe-inspiring feat given the standard that represents.

So Wayne Harper tools into Salt City in his stretch Hummer and wants to shove his emissions down my throat?! Harumph! Mayor Becker, ever the reasonable man in the room, responded tepidly:

[Mayor Becker said] the state was attempting to trample a local government's rights to do what its citizens want. He said Salt Lake City has a different mindset than other parts of the state and a city should be allowed to regulate based on the population's wishes.
Yes, we here in Salt Lake City do have a "different mindset than other parts of the state": we give a hoot, and don't pollute!

Salt Lake City's commercial vehicle requirements and anti-idling ordinance aren't just feel-good hippie nonsense. You may have read a thing or two - even here! - about Salt Lake City's air quality problems, which are one part "farm dust" from large mining conglomerates (Rio Tinto), one part traffic congestion, and one part geographic/meteorological prank of God. Our anti-idling legislation is trying to take a crack at one out of three of those problems.

Probably the most reasonable reaction came from Cherise Udell, awesome warrior woman and co-founder of Utah Moms for Clean Air:

"[Udell explained] the ordinance is a way to put teeth into a law that was similar to the anti-littering campaign that sprang up in the 70s. She said with fines and public education, it is rare to see people toss trash out of their moving vehicles any more. "Over time, people got educated on the issue," Udell said. "I see the idling law in the same spirit."

In the exact opposite spirit of the idling law, indeed in the most spiteful spirit possible, I would like to suggest a deal with Representative Wayne Harper (R - West Jordan). In exchange for his helpful attempt to "help business" in Salt Lake City (a pressing concern for West Jordan, I'm sure) I would like to do him a solid by "helping business" in West Jordan.

I suggest that we introduce a bill - can citizens do that? - allowing West Jordan businesses to dispose of used motor oil by pouring it either A.) onto Representative Wayne Harper's lawn, or B.) down the gutter of the property immediately uphill of his residence.

Do I hear a second? Yes? Good - let's get this ball rolling.

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