Sunday, August 21, 2005

Even Major Newspaper Gets Referendum Issue Wrong

The lead editorial in today's DesNews argues that the proposed ballot language for the Sandy City gravel pit referendum is purposefully vague and does not give voters a clear picture of what they are voting for.

While the DesNews editorial writers may have a point on that issue, they then go on to completely mischaracterize what the vote is about. The editorial says, "While an admitted oversimplification, the issue basically boils down to this: 'Should the gravel pit become a mixed-use development?' or 'Should the gravel pit become a park?'"

Once again, the case is being made by this editorial about the complexity that exists in planning and land use issues, and how it is extremely difficult to get the right issues before the voters.

Sandy City officials have said numerous times, the issue is not about whether the gravel pit will be a mixed-use development or a park. The gravel pit property is far too expensive for the city to acquire for a park, and this has never been on the table. Instead, it has to do with an amendment to the text of the zoning ordinance to expand the types of uses that would be allowed in the gravel pit. If the Sandy City ordinance is rejected by the voters, the gravel pit is still zoned for development, just with a smaller range of uses.

Admittedly, the proposed ballot language does not give a clear sense of this, either. But, if even one of the major daily newspapers in Salt Lake can't get this right, what hope is there for the public at large to understand it?


At 4:05 PM, Blogger ARCritic said...

That surprises me and also doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me because of how many times I see the media get stories wrong. It does because I distinctly remember reading a story, I don't remember if it was in the news or the trib that quoted the mayor stating that the park was not an option. I hope that the SC will come up with a better title and I don't doubt that the major players in this battle will be putting quite a bit into 'educating' the public before the election. Hopefully, some of that education will filter through to the News editorial board.


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