November 1, 2012

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Taking the Leadership Reins

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Best of Business 2012

The Lighter Side of Business

Peri Kinder

November 1, 2012

In other exciting transportation news, Utah Transit Authority’s FrontRunner train also will be available to Utah County commuters in December. The train, which travels at high speeds from Ogden to Provo (eventually from Brigham City to Payson), should quickly make all that expensive I-15 road construction obsolete.

The I-15 CORE project is expected to meet the needs of commuters through 2030—but then what? Oh, that’s right. We’ll all be flying hovercrafts.

Best Campaign by Orrin Hatch in a Leading Role
After U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch watched fellow senator Bob Bennett get taken down by a pack of frenzied Tea Party wolves during the 2010 state convention, Hatch knew he’d better have a game plan for his own faceoff with a Tea Party opponent in 2012.

Bennett’s conservative reputation couldn’t save him after he supported the Bush administration’s bank bailout and he was labeled “insufficiently conservative.”

So Hatch came out swinging, battling against nine other Republicans who declared their campaigns to be the new U.S. senator. Neighborhood caucuses were filled with Hatch supporters who were then elected as state delegates for the April convention. Still, Hatch failed to get 60 percent of the vote needed to wrap-up the nomination and had to meet former Utah State Sen. Dan Liljenquist in a primary.

Liljenquist organized a one-man debate after Hatch declined the invitation to participate. The senator-wannabe spent the mock debate taking questions from a pretend moderator and included old interview videos of Hatch to create the senator’s answers. (You just can’t make this stuff up.)

Didn’t matter. Liljenquist lost in the primary. Hatch has vowed (again) that this will be his last term in office.

Best Re-Use of Olympic Venues
It’s been more than a decade since winter athletes converged on the state to participate in the Olympic Winter Games. Walk down the streets of Salt Lake and you’ll still see former Olympic volunteers wearing their parkas from the 2002 Winter Games. Olympic venues have become shrines. Olympic scandals, expensive venue construction and messed-up traffic are all but forgotten.

So let’s do it again! A state Olympic Exploratory Committee researched the viability of Utah holding the Games again in 2022. Unfortunately, the U.S. Olympic Committee won’t support a bid for the 2022 Games—eliminating any chance of success.

Doesn’t matter! Let’s bid for the 2026 Games, or the 2030 Games (I-15 through Utah County should still be in OK shape at that time), or even 2034. “Please! Let us host the %&$#* Olympics again!” we plead as tears run down our cheeks.

But maybe other cities in the country would like to host the Games. Who is our competition? Denver (the city that already bailed on the Games once), Reno-Tahoe (a nice place to visit, but . . . the Olympics again? Really?) and Bozeman, Montana (?!?).

Maybe if Mitt Romney isn’t busy, he can drop by to run the event for us again. After all, we won’t have to buy new volunteer parkas.

Best and Cheapest Way to Leave the State
Once you get to Provo on the newly constructed freeway, you can jump on a Frontier Airlines flight and leave Utah County as quickly as possible—or so you thought.

After launching its air service in Provo last June, Frontier quickly cancelled the flight. Trouble in the airline industry? What are the odds? The news was quite a blow to Provo City, which had just started vamping up the airport. 

But don’t fret—Salt Lake International Airport won’t be the only airport to offer commercial air service in Northern Utah. The Ogden-Hinckley airport just began offering nonstop jet service between Ogden and Phoenix twice a week. With fares starting at just $69.99 for a one-way ticket (not including fees, taxes, levies, etc.), people will be leaving the state in droves.

Best Way To Render Football Fans Speechless
Perhaps you noticed the ominous silence on July 10 when University of Utah’s athletics director Chris Hill announced there would be no BYU/Utah rivalry football game in 2014 or 2015. College sports fans around the state dropped their mugs of beer (or root beer) and stared in disbelief at the TV, until they broke down in tears.

Decades of neighborhood vandalism (lawns spray-painted blue, garage doors tagged with red Us) and semi-serious marital banter (divorce rates might actually drop) will take a two-year hiatus as the Utes have decided to play Michigan instead of BYU to toughen up their PAC-12 schedule. The teams will face-off in Provo in 2013 but won’t meet again until 2016 in Salt Lake.

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