Webb’s Wrap: Stewart & Weston on the trail . . . stories worth reading . . . John Curtis on climate change . . . re-inventing transit

Hello, Utah Policy readers. Each day I’m going to post a roundup of things happening in the political world, my observations on current issues, and perhaps an offbeat item or two.

Stewart & Weston on the trail — together
Democratic congressional candidate Kael Weston, is campaigning in a unique way — stalking his opponent, Republican Chris Stewart, as Stewart holds town hall meetings across his district. Weston sent a report to his supporters making critical comments about Stewart’s speeches and interaction with constituents, saying Stewart “is choosing to further divide us from each other.”

“Last week, campaign Tech Director Tai and I attended three of the four rural town halls that Chris Stewart held, travelling 702 miles in my old truck over two days. Green alfalfa fields blurred into red rock deserts and back again under raven-filled blue skies. Our campaign wanted to hear the Republican incumbent in his own words and see which questions were raised. . . . Stewart’s rhetoric-his exact words were, ‘Please don’t ever be ashamed to defend our country or stand up for the flag’-came across as a particular brand of manufactured, self-congratulatory, and exclusionary patriotism.”

It’s actually rather hard to criticize Stewart for preaching patriotism in rural Utah, but Weston makes the attempt. He isn’t likely to win, but he is running a feisty campaign.  See his lengthy travel report to friends and supporters HERE<https://mailchi.mp/c40f76434cb1/a-nation-indivisible-with-liberty-and-justice-for-all?e=c28b19bfe6>.

Stories worth reading
  *   Wall Street just had its best August in more than 30 years, and the Dow has already erased its 2020 losses (NBC News).
  *   Democrats are worried about losing Minnesota to Trump, a state no Republican has carried since Nixon in 1972 (The Spectator).
  *   There’s a major problem with medical testing for COVID-19: Turns out many people who test positive aren’t likely to be contagious. (New York Times).

Congressman John Curtis on climate change
Curtis recently participated in a Sutherland Institute event, titled, “Confessions of a Climate Conservative.” It is an insightful presentation on Curtis’ feelings about stewardship over the earth and the importance of protecting and caring for the environment.

“So what is the confession of a climate conservative? A climate conservative believes we have a responsibility to leave this Earth better than we found it. We believe reasonable and practical answers can be found in innovation and provident living. We believe it is our duty to live without leaving a burden for future generations. And we believe the responsibility falls on the entire world and not just the United States. We believe that efforts to improve the environment should achieve real environmental benefits and not just feel-good actions. We believe science is important, but not the only tool for policymaking. We believe the regulatory process should allow for responsible resource management and not to assist the agenda of the special interest groups. We believe the cost of regulation should not outweigh the benefits. And we believe while government has a role, the larger role is personal responsibility and market-driven solutions.

Curtis makes a very compelling case that conservatives can love the earth and protect the environment. Read his remarks HERE.

Can transit re-invent itself?
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on transit agencies across the country, and in Utah. Utah Transit Authority ridership dropped 70 percent at the outset of the crisis. It’s tough to social distance on a bus.

The Monterey-Salinas transit agency in California saw ridership drop by 80 percent. But it decided to provide other public services during the crisis. It reached out to the agriculture and hospitality industries, military bases, community colleges, school districts and healthcare providers to see how it could help. It began delivering Meals on Wheels, providing hotspot Internet access, took over a program that takes disabled veterans to medical appointments, and gave old vehicles to non-profit groups that needed them. Two buses became mobile virus testing facilities for the agriculture industry, and also distributed masks. Read the Governing Magazine story HERE.

Parting shot
More wildlife in the city: After reading Monday’s story about a downtown bat encounter, reader Jennifer Jolley Johnston notes that she went on a three-hour canyon drive on all dirt roads and saw only squirrels. But on the way home in Salt Lake she saw a deer on Second Avenue. And, Jennifer says, West High School is directly on the bats’ migration path. “As the parent of an alum, every first day of school was shortly followed by freshmen parents blowing up the school’s group chat over the brief appearance of the bats.”

If you have a comment, an item you think should be publicized, or just want to tell me I’m an idiot, shoot me a message at [email protected].