Roughly 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the time they reach adulthood. That’s not just nationally, that’s right here in Utah. These numbers demonstrate the stark reality of child abuse, and reinforce why it is so important for the community to spread awareness and take steps to end child abuse.
Last week the County Council passed a joint proclamation with Mayor Ben McAdams’ office designating April 2017 as Child Abuse Prevention Month. By doing this, we want to help bring attention to the 3,708 confirmed child victims of abuse in Salt Lake County alone last year. All children deserve to grow up in homes where they are safe and nurtured, and free from any form of abuse. We appreciate the Family Support Center for bringing this to our attention and for being at the event to join us in the recognition.
We also contributed $2,500 to Prevent Child Abuse Utah (PCAU), a group that educates Utah children about how to recognize signs of abuse. I sit on the board for PCAU, and I’ve been deeply impressed with their work. They visit schools around the state and educate children using easy to understand, age-appropriate concepts. Sadly in some cases, it is a parent or relative who is abusing the child. This education can help prevent that.
The $2,500 contribution will “adopt a school,” providing funding for this educational outreach to an entire school in Salt Lake County this year. I’m glad we can support this effort this year, and so grateful to the work of PCAU. You may see a pinwheel garden in front of the Salt Lake County Government Center on 2100 South State Street. These pinwheels represent the innocence of children and that every person deserves to have a happy childhood.
Visit pcautah.org if you want to learn more about how you can help keep the children in your life safe.
Last fall the Salt Lake County Council was asked to pass a resolution to create the Central Wasatch Commission - a product of Mountain Accord - under the auspices of increased coordination between local governments for the benefit of the canyons. This body would involve mayors from Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, Cottonwood Heights and Sandy who would look at transportation needs in the canyons.
As I looked at the first attempt, I became extremely uncomfortable with the broad powers that would have been granted this new government body, including: levying fees, bonding, acquiring property, and engaging in contracts.
While these actions of themselves are not problematic, without proper checks from legislative branches it was not something I was comfortable with. A partnership between Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, Sandy, and Cottonwood Heights to collaborate on transportation solutions and other needs for the canyons should include more robust checks and balances from the legislative branches of each of those governments.
Fortunately, after months of discussions with stakeholders and community members, the Council was presented with a new, revised version of the Central Wasatch Commission. The new version included an at-large member of the County Council as a commission member, and also requires the commission to come back to the legislative branch (our County Council) as well as that of cities before exercising the powers mentioned above.
I support a model of teamwork between the jurisdictions that are impacted by the canyons, and I’m pleased that this new version was much more narrowly focused in powers and scope, and had better representation from the County Council. We ultimately approved the new Central Wasatch Commission, which must be approved by each of the other cities I mentioned above.
I know there has been a lot of controversy around Mountain Accord. The Central Wasatch Commission is more focused, more limited, and required by law to comply with the Open Meetings Act. We’ll be watching it closely to ensure this remains the case as it works toward transportation solutions for the canyons.
The canyons are some of our greatest resources here in Salt Lake County. We are inspired by the breathtaking views as we enjoy sports such as hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and rappelling. There are also watershed areas that provide drinking water for some residents in the valley. Because the majority of the canyons are still part of unincorporated Salt Lake County, we have planning and zoning jurisdiction over them.
Because of this planning authority, much time has been spent exploring various ordinances for the canyons. In fact, many commissions have spent the past few years reviewing zoning ordinances and giving input on this area. Over the past few months the County Council has reviewed recommendations by several planning commissions on two different ordinances: the Foothill Canyons Overlay Zone (FCOZ) and the Mountain Resort Zone (MRZ).
In Utah, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused in some form by the time they turn 18. This, among many other statistics and anecdotes, was shared this week during a legislative committee hearing. The sobering facts were part of the discussion around H.B. 137, a bill which would have made child abuse prevention education opt-in instead of opt-out.
With Utah’s legislative session starting in just a couple weeks, there will be many important issues debated that impact Utahns in profound ways. One issue I plan to be personally involved with is the effort to create a statewide crisis intervention line. I blogged about the need for this resource last year, explaining why such a tool would help more Utahns get help they need to prevent the tragedy of suicide.
I've heard instances in our community where minority children are being bullied since the election results were announced on Tuesday. Other children have said things like, "Now you're going to get deported," or "Go back to your country." I am sick about this! All of us parents need to have conversations with our kids and make sure it's clear that it's not okay to do. School administrators need to make it very clear that bullying and discrimination will not be tolerated and make sure there are consequences to those who do so. Please... this is not okay. Stand up and let your voice be heard that discriminating against race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, political leanings, etc. is NOT acceptable in our communities!! We are better than this!
These posters have been popping up in neighborhoods in Salt Lake County.
On Thursday dozens of law enforcement officers swarmed the Rio Grande area of Salt Lake City as part of a coordinated effort to disrupt the drug trade among the area’s homeless. “Operation Diversion” was a collaboration between Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City.
People caught dealing or using drugs were arrested, but instead of simply taken to a jail cell, they were taken to a temporary receiving center. The goal? Connect them with drug treatment to interrupt the cycle of incarceration and drug use that plagues this population.
No mother wants to hear her child speak the words “I want to die.” But for parents of children battling depression, that is a fear. And for me, it became a reality when one of my sons was struggling and needed help.
This week, the Salt Lake County Council did not throw support behind the current terms of the tax incentive to bring Facebook’s new data center to West Jordan. We voted unanimously to direct our representative to the “TEC Council” to vote no.
(The TEC Council is the 8 member board comprised of various taxing entities which ultimately decides whether to accept the deal to lure Facebook here through tax incentives)
How a little bug can do a lot of good in our broader Jordan River management plan.
As a Salt Lake County Council member I get to learn about many different, pressing issues for the county. Sometimes that entails learning a bit about weevils. Normally considered a nuisance, last Friday I learned the value these bugs/insects are bringing to our management of the Jordan River.