The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.
During my recent 10-day vacation in Sicily, I learned the Italian term for utter nonsense, “aria fritta” (fried air).Upon my return to Utah, I was immediately confronted with aria fritta, thanks to a comment from a Utah legislator.
Of course, there was nonsense before I left on my trip. For instance, a national survey claimed that 40 percent of evangelicals thought God favored one of the Super Bowl contenders, and a state Republican Party official (a Davis County resident) said there was no such thing as “bad air” along the Wasatch Front. (I guess the inversion is a fairy tale and the Almighty favored the Baltimore Ravens, whose most valuable player uttered the infamous “F-word” in response to the victory.)
But less than one week back from my vacation, a state senator opened his mouth at the State Capital and jumped into the lead for the Cyclops Dumb Quote of the Year Award.
His comment came during the discussion of a bill sponsored by Bountiful native, Rep. Joel Briscoe, who is proposing that the Utah Transit Authority offer free mass transit rides in January and June to help alleviate air pollution His legislation comes with a $9 million price tag.
But to Sen. David Hinkins, a rural legislator from a burg called Orangeville, the issue had little to do with science or dirty air or helping the thousands of Utahns with asthma.
No, Sen. Hinkins questioned the bill because “Why should the taxpayers of southeastern Utah have to subsidize a Salt Lake County issue?”
Ok, I’ll answer his question:
“Dear Sen. Hinkins, pardon me if I’m not duly impressed by the wisdom in Orangeville, but your oath of office entails doing what is best for the state of Utah, not just a neighborhood where there are more prairie dogs than people. Also, bad air is not simply a Salt Lake County problem; it affects the entire Wasatch Front, where more than two of every three Utahns live.
“But if you really see your legislative duty solely as a rural mission suspicious of greedy city dwellers, be aware that it takes two to tango. I suggest that every Wasatch Front legislator oppose every budgetary line item that helps any rancher, farmer, or sundry red dirt inhabitant. I’m not going to subsidize your cows!
“Those rural Utah water projects don’t help me; I get no delight over seeing money budgeted to support expensive school bus travel between isolated communities; I am tired of spending money so young men and women in Orangeville can take college extension courses in their small community; since I ate salmon on Thanksgiving, I couldn’t care less about the economic needs of turkey farmers.
“See Sen. Hinkins, it goes both ways. If you don’t spend money to help areas where people live, I don’t want my taxes to go to rural communities where the pigs have the right of way.
In contrast, Rep. Briscoe was much nicer. He pointed out that reducing air pollution could cut costs from Medicaid, helping taxpayers throughout the state.
Then again, Rep. Briscoe had to work with the good senator. I don’t. All I have to do is get the trophy ready if Sen. Hinkins wins the Dumb Quote of the Year Award.