1.FIRST MOVIE NIGHT A SUCCESS
With standing room only, Sutherland Institute hosted it’s first-ever, no-charge Movie Night on Friday evening, November 6, 2009. The featured film was the recent and increasingly-popular documentary that disputes global warming, Not Evil Just Wrong.
Produced and directed by Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer – who were guest presenters at Sutherland’s Earth Week 2008 and 2009 events – the documentary challenges former Vice President Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, with a focus on the nine “significant errors” in Gore’s movie, as found by the British High Court in 2007.
We invite you to plan now to attend the Institute’s next free Movie Night on Friday, January 15, 2010. Sutherland will feature Pacific Research Institute’s new documentary, Not As Good As You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School. The film exposes the fact that middle class schools are not always as good as parents think, and highlights promising solutions and ideas for improving educational opportunities for all children.
To learn more and see a trailer for the film go to, http://www.notasgoodasyouthink.com/.
2.INSTITUTE PRESIDENT TO SPEAK TO U OF U COLLEGE REPUBLICANS
Sutherland Institute President Paul Mero will be addressing the University of Utah College Republicans on Wednesday, November 18, from 4:00-5:00 pm. Although hosted by the College Republicans, the meeting is open to any and all who would like to attend. The title of Mero’s remarks will be “Why I Am a Conservative.”
The event will be held in Room 1150 of the Marriott Library on the campus of the University ofUtah. A map of available parking can be found here.
There is no charge to attend the event, and interested persons can RSVP to Dave Kimball at Sutherland Institute via telephone at (801) 355-1272, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3.STATE LAWMAKERS SPEAK TO PARENTS AT GLENDALE AREA SCHOOL
To help parents who live in the Glendale area of Salt Lake City become better informed about local government, State Senator Luz Robles (D-SL) and State Representative David Litvak (D-SL), spoke to the parents in conjunction with Sutherland Institute’s Every Parent Cares program. The event was held at Mountain View Elementary on Wednesday evening, November 4, 2009, beginning with dinner for all participants donated by the Porcupine Pub & Grille and DoDo restaurants.
Sen. Robles and Rep. Litvak presented a general overview and answered questions from the parents, informing them of their roles in state government. Rep. Litvak said, “It’s important for parents to understand how government works because it affects their lives directly and we’re making choices that affect our constituents.” When asked why she decided to run for political office, Sen. Robles responded, “I got into politics trying to close gaps on issues of health care, public safety, and education.” Sen. Robles and Rep. Litvak represent citizens living in the Glendale area of west Salt Lake City where Mountain View Elementary School is located.
Every Parent Cares is a parent-involvement program for families living in areas of low-income, including those with a higher minority population, and has been developed to empower parents with the ability to become more involved in their children’s education.
“Research shows that in Utah more than 40 percent of Latino children do not graduate from high school with a diploma,” said Sutherland Institute Director of Communications, Jeff Reynolds. “The greatest determining factor in a child’s success is parental involvement. Every Parent Cares is designed to help all parents – not just Latino parents – to help their children succeed in school.”
Additional information about the Every Parent Cares program can be found athttp://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/parentcares.asp
4.SUTHERLAND STATEMENT ON SLC NONDISCRIMINATION ORDINANCES AND LDS SUPPORT
In response to the November 10, 2009 decision of the Salt Lake City Council to adopt changes in Salt Lake City’s nondiscrimination ordinances, and to comments presented that evening by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Sutherland Institute issued the following statement:
We have learned from California and other states that the meaning of marriage will die by a thousand cuts. Each new inclusion in the law of such vague terms as “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” represents a mounting threat to the meaning of marriage. Of course, each one, singly and in isolation, does no violence to the meaning of marriage. However, the legal debate is far ahead of such parochial analysis. Unfortunately, homosexual activists seeking to redefine the meaning of marriage – as well as activist courts seeking to do the same – do not view these types of ordinances singly or in isolation but as a pattern of public opinion to justify radical changes to law as we saw in California.
As we have stated previously, we hold that the approved ordinances are vague, dangerously broad, and unjust to the parties they seek to regulate.
We, once again, call on the Utah State Legislature to overturn these local ordinances on the basis of sound public policy.
On October 12, 2009, Sutherland Institute published a statement addressing the then-proposed changes in Salt Lake City’s nondiscrimination ordinance.
5.UTAH PROSPERITY FORUM ADDRESSES STATE BUDGET CUTS
On Thursday, October 29, 2009, Sutherland Institute and the Salt Lake Chamber hosted the fifth session of the Utah Prosperity Forum. The topic was “State Budget Cuts: How Will Utah Feel the Pinch?” The panel addressed the fact that lawmakers will have the task of cutting a reported $700 to $850 million from the state’s budget when the Utah Legislature convenes in January 2010.
Attendees online and in person heard from Norm Bangerter, former Governor and current chairman of the Utah Advisory Commission to Optimize State Government; Dr. Martell Menlove, deputy state superintendent of public instruction; and Lane Beattie, president of the Salt Lake Chamber. Each speaker presented prepared remarks, engaged in dialogue with one another, and responded to questions. State Representative Ron Bigelow, co-chair of the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee, served as moderator.
Mr. Beattie addressed the audience first. He suggested several ways the Legislature could address the state’s budget challenges, including restoring the sales tax on food, using all federal stimulus money that was given to the state, raising the motor fuel tax, imposing severance taxes on coal, and diverting money now set aside for water development.
Dr. Menlove focused his comments on student growth saying that even in this down economy lawmakers need to maintain level funding for public education. He said that last year 2.947 billion dollars was set aside for the 2009/2010 school year and that the same amount should be set aside for the 2010/2011 school year.
Mr. Bangerter said that lawmakers need to take into account several factors when deciding how to cut millions of dollars from the state’s budget. “I think our country has a great future but we’ve got to go back to the drawing board.” Bangerter suggested looking at restoring the sales tax on food as a way of maintaining state revenue but insisted that at this current time Utah wouldn’t be able to handle a general tax increase like he put into place when he was governor.
Toward the conclusion of the session, Rep. Bigelow said that economic cycles occur every so often and that any sort of push for a tax increase must come from the public because they’re the one’s that decide when cuts to programs like education are too deep.
Watch these pages for more information on future Utah Prosperity Forum sessions.