Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

Monday , September 11, 2017 - 4:30 AM

STANDARD-EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD

The Standard-Examiner Editorial Board hashes out the positions we take on the Opinion page. Here’s what members recommended last week for praise and criticism:

THUMBS UP: To Bill White for trying to protect the 1,800-plus acres of land recently vacated by the Huntsville Monastery.

White, a Huntsville town council member, bought a major chunk of the land in January 2016 after rumblings that the pristine property would be turned into a mixed-use development.

His aim, according to reporting by Standard-Examiner reporter Mitch Shaw, is to preserve the land and its history — reflecting the wishes expressed by many residents of the Upper Ogden Valley.

Preserving the land is no easy task — it will require help from the Utah State University, Utah Open Lands, and other agencies working together to ensure care for the land.

But it’s worth it. While Utah is an attractive place to build, holding some undeveloped parcels as sacred is a good thing too.

THUMBS UP: To the Ogden High School Tiger football team for ending a 36-game losing streak Friday

It’s been years since the team got to celebrate a W. So without putting the other team down, the Ogden team’s perseverance should be recognized. It’s easy to join a team already known for winning; it’s harder to put in 100 percent effort for a team everyone already doubts.

Keep up the good work. And no matter what a team’s record is, players should learn as much from a loss as a win.

THUMBS DOWN: To Utah doing less than the bare minimum to improve air quality.

Wildfires are not an anomaly anymore. They’re a reality — a regular part of life between June and November. They’re getting bigger and they’re making the air worse than ever.

Some fires can’t be predicted or prevented. But plenty of other factors that contribute to our bad air can be, including implementing stricter pollution prevention plans for businesses and residents. The state has missed several EPA deadlines and air quality standards since 2015.

People are getting sick. They’re spending hundreds of dollars on preventable health care needs. And the state is either unwilling or incapable of moving more quickly to find a solution.

There isn’t an easy solution and you crafting the right plan takes time. But the state has had plenty of chances. State employees and lawmakers are — and need to feel — personally responsible for the plight of the people in this state who don’t right now have the luxury of breathing easily.

THUMBS DOWN: To infighting in the Utah Republican Party over the SB54 lawsuit.

It could cost him his seat, but for the greater good of voters in Utah, GOP Party Chairman Rob Anderson needs to make the call to drop the suit. The 180-member State Central Committee were unable to make a decision, likely leaving it up to Anderson alone, according to reporting from Lee Davidson of the Salt Lake Tribune.

The lawsuit is expensive — it’s bankrupting the Republican Party, Davidson reports. And the convention-caucus system it’s less and less representative of Utah voters. SB54 was only passed after it already looked like voters would do away with caucuses anyway.

Then there’s the special election in the 3rd District House race. Convention delegates chose ultra-conservative former Rep. Chris Herrod to replace Jason Chaffetz. But he lost handily to Provo Mayor John Curtis, who gathered signatures to get on the ballot.

The convention-caucus system is dated and has outlived its benefit to voters — to help present them with candidates that represent their issues and values. It’s time to change.

It appears many members of the party only want to keep the convention-caucus system because it gives them an advantage that increasingly appears undemocratic. Convention delegates have a growing track record of choosing candidates that clearly don't reflect the party's values.

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