Bob Bernick’s Notebook: More Odds and Ends

Is it great knowledge or a lucky guess?

Let’s just call it gleaning from 30 years in the business.

This week Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker started running a TV spot that has former GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt speaking about how well he worked with Becker when the latter was the Democratic House Minority Leader and later mayor.

You may recall that several weeks ago I noticed that the first round of Becker TV ads had Leavitt appearing briefly in a cameo, non-speaking part – unidentified in the text.

I predicted that later Becker ads would, in fact, have Leavitt endorsing Becker — speaking.

This guess didn’t come from any knowledge – no one from the Becker campaign told me what was to come.

But it made sense that Becker – needing to get the lion’s share of Republican voters in his closely matched race with former Democratic legislator Jackie Biskupski – would turn to a well-known, and well-liked, GOP officeholder for help.

Leavitt, for now, is that guy.

Interesting to note that as Leavitt spoke about Becker in the new ad, under the former governor’s picture ran the words: “Former Utah Governor.”

It didn’t say former GOP or Republican governor, just former governor.

One assumes partisan city voters will know Leavitt is a Republican – although perhaps a moderate one under today’s standards.

Maybe later a Becker ad will identify some of his GOP backers as actual Republicans.

Eight years ago in his first mayoral race Becker faced a Republican in this officially non-partisan office.

Dave Buhler got around 13,000 votes, no doubt many of them from Republicans – who are a political minority in the city.

Becker finished second to Biskupski by around 4,400 votes in the August primary.

To win a third term, Becker will need GOP voters this November – and they have no place to go since the final ballot will have only two Democrats on it.

Will a Leavitt TV endorsement – maybe followed by other well-known Republicans speaking up for Becker — provide that difference?

We’ll see.

On another topic: One of the things I like about the Utah Legislature – yes, there are a few things – is the high-tech stuff their staffs put out.

I’ve written before about the web pages one can find at

Well, there is a new one.

Starting Thursday afternoon the Legislature put up a new site addressed:

You can click on the site and – as Senate Chief of Staff Ric Cantrell puts it – “Pick your crisis.”

Let’s say the debt-ridden federal governor stops this or that program, or the dollar crashes, or any number of major blow-ups occur.

You pick your crisis, and how state government may handle it – raise taxes, cut programs, or a combination of actions – and you can see the impacts.

Then you can “dig down” in the data to see how this or that crisis would affect city or county governments, even your own household.

Forget Halloween.

You want a real-life scare, try

Now, the GOP-controlled Legislature isn’t doing this to be wacko.

There is a legislative committee whose job it is to look at federal dollars inside the Utah state budget – federal funds make up about a third of the $15-billion budget.

And the lawmakers study what can and should be done now to minimize harm to Utah state government and Utahns should federal funds flowing into the state begin to drop.

This new site shows Utahns the effect on local governments – even citizens – if Congress begins to trim federal budgets to get some control of deficit spending.

Take a look. You’ll be impressed by the site, and plenty depressed at the same time.