The week in letters: How to purchase a politician

An itemized price list for politicians, the social science behind the Deseret New’s coverage of same-sex parenting, and how a timely windfall helped pay for the State Capitol Building in this week’s letters to the editor across the finally-sunny state of Utah.

Where is the price list for politicians?

I’m looking for something that might list things like “personal response to letter, $50,” or “five minutes of [insert politician’s name here] time in hallway, $2,500.” This would make it easier for those of us without the big money to know what we could afford.

Maybe they could price themselves like the charities where you can buy “half a flock of goats” to send to Rwanda. You could get a leg of a senator for $500,000.

I’m concerned with some issues but have no idea how much to offer to get them heard.

Susan Fox, Salt Lake City

Scientifically unsound?

As a sociology professor who has been teaching “Sociology of the Family” courses for more than 10 years, I find this newspaper’s continued use of social science research that has been largely to thoroughly discredited by the academic and legal communities to be deeply disappointing (“In Our Opinion: A mom and a dad,” April 6).

The Deseret News certainly has a right to its moral position on the subject of same-sex marriage. But it also has an ethical obligation to be more responsible about the social science evidence it presents to empirically support its position.

Of course, family structure matters in raising families, as does a wide array of other equally significant variables. But to claim, as the Deseret News does, that “girls in a home with homosexual fathers had a 15 percent chance of graduating, compared with girls in a home with a mother and a father” as a legal justification for opposing same-sex marriage (even if the statistic was credible) is just as scientifically unsound as using the fact that “girls raised by Mormon parents are significantly less likely to graduate from college than girls raised by Jewish parents” as a rationale for denying Mormons the right to marry.

Mark Rubinfeld, Salt Lake City

Arts create industry, enhance community

The arts give a community its character and make it a good place to live. Arts also generate an economic impact. Creative industries bring jobs and stimulate economic growth. The arts increase tourism adding to tax revenues that in turn enhance the community. A visual arts collection, as the one newly created in Davis County, is an investment in the future. Salt Lake County has an extensive collection that is on display in the its county offices. Though the Davis County art collection is small by comparison, it shows the same commitment to the quality of life that we have come to enjoy and to a continued bright future.

Emma J. Dugal, Bountiful

Cozzens wrong to run for public office

I am very disappointed that as the current chair of the Iron County Republican Party, Blake Cozzens is challenging a fellow Republican for elected office. He should have resigned instead.

As a former Davis County GOP chair and state GOP vice chair, I believe party leaders should be putting the party above their own interests and ambitions. As the local voice of the party, Mr. Cozzens is effectively saying, “Vote for me — not the other guy.”

The chair’s job is to ensure, behind the scenes, that all candidates are treated equally and fairly and to lay the groundwork for a smooth election process, not to launch himself into the spotlight.

What Mr. Cozzens is doing is simply wrong, and demonstrates poor judgment.

Todd Weiler, state senator, Ogden

Railroad tycoon’s money had much to do with ‘magnificent’ Utah Capitol

The magnificence of the Utah State Capitol may have had something to do with courage. However, on March 1, 1901, Utah received a check for $798,546.85 from the estate of E.H. Harriman, the Union Pacific railroad tycoon. Mr. Harriman lived in New York, but managed to declare his estate taxes in Utah — avoiding higher taxes back home.

According to Utah’s own website: “This payment formed the basis for building a capitol building.” Without the extra cash, one can only suspect the Utah Legislature would have settled for something less than magnificent.

The small state’s “courage” appears to have been stiffened by this timely but rather random windfall.

McKay Edwards, Salt Lake City

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