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Trib Talk

“Trib Talk,” hosted by reporter Benjamin Wood, features Salt Lake Tribune reporters and invited guests discussing the latest news and diving into topics that affect Utahns.

Mystery and missing evidence haunt the decades-old murder of a black, gay, socialist | Episode 27

Over the last 40 years, the brutal murder of Anthony Adams has been described as a hate crime, a political assassination and a robbery gone bad. But one thing it has never been described as, is “solved.”The cold case is one of many being re-examined by the Salt Lake City Police Department. And Adams’ murder is notable not only for its enduring mystery, but also for the evidence that has allegedly gone missing as the city has spent decades trying, and failing, to find his killer.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Eric Peterson, founder and director of The Utah Investigative Journalism Project, joins Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood to discus the ongoing investigation into Adams' death. The case includes old history, new leads and a breakdown in evidence handling before and after the creation of a state crime lab.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

October 17, 2018

Should Medicaid cover most, many or some low-income Utahns? | Episode 26

Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, Utah lawmakers have taken incremental steps toward expanding Medicaid and providing health care coverage to low-income Utahns.The state’s newest plan requires approval from the federal government and imposes work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries. In the meantime, advocates for full expansion have succeeded in placing a Medicaid initiative on the November ballot, meaning Utah voters, not lawmakers, will decide how and whether to move forward.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Proposition 3 campaign director RyLee Curtis, Americans For Prosperity Utah chapter director Heather Williamson, and Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, join Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the arguments for and against full Medicaid expansion in the state.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and other major podcast platforms.

October 10, 2018

Utah’s senators will almost certainly vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. Here's why. | Episode 25

Last week, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee heard dramatic testimony from judge Brett Kavanaugh, a nominee to the United States Supreme Court, and Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor who says Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were both teenagers.The narrowly divided Senate is expected to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation this week, following a supplemental investigation into Kavanaugh’s background by the FBI. And there is little doubt that Utah’s Senators will ultimately support Kavanaugh’s appointment, with Sen. Mike Lee criticizing his democratic colleagues for the way Ford’s allegations came forward, and Sen. Orrin Hatch calling the hearings a “national disgrace.”On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Salt Lake Tribune Washington bureau chief Thomas Burr joins reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss last week’s hearings, the ongoing FBI investigation and the looming vote on the Senate floor.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Audio clips used in this week’s episode were provided, with permission, by C-SPAN. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribktalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

October 03, 2018

Utah lawmakers want you to give them more power | Episode 24

In Utah, lawmakers have 45 days each year to vote on new laws and manage the affairs of state. Beyond that, a special session of the Legislature can be convened only when called by the governor, with debate limited to an agenda the governor controls.But a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution would change that, giving the Legislature the power to convene itself. If approved by voters in November, the amendment would allow a two-thirds majority of the Utah House and Senate to call a special session at almost any time, to debate and potentially enact law on almost any subject.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox and House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the arguments for and against Constitutional Amendment C, which could alter the checks and balances between the state’s legislative and executive branches.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

September 26, 2018

A Utah detective's work highlights the fine line between investigation and entrapment | Episode 23

The vernal police department has made a priority of investigating sex solicitation cases, typically involving adult men looking to pay for casual sex with adult women. And the department’s approach relies on an undercover detective engaging in sometimes lengthy online conversations with alleged perpetrators.But critics say Vernal’s investigative tactics may be stepping into the realm of entrapment, and prompting men to commit a crime when they otherwise would not. Those critics say that for the accused, pleading guilty and paying a fine may be easier, and less public, than challenging the grounds of their arrest.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk," Tribune reporter Jessica Miller and defense attorney Susanne Gustin join Benjamin Wood to discuss the makings of an entrapment claim, and why some question whether the Vernal Police Department takes solicitation stings too far."Trib Talk is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@slrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

September 18, 2018

Is Utah gerrymandered? | Episode 22

Salt Lake County is represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by three different congresspersons, none of whom live in Salt Lake County.Utah’s voting maps, which divide the state’s most populous county — and home to its capital city — into three congressional districts, boosting the voice of rural and suburban conservatives over that of the urban, and predominately liberal voters in Salt Lake City and the east bench.To critics, Utah’s maps are a clear-cut example of gerrymandering, making a red state redder by drawing voters who favor Democrats into inescapable corners. But to others, the maps are a fair distribution of the state’s growing population, and allegations of gerrymandering are actually a veiled reaction to the failure of Democrats to win at the polls.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood discusses gerrymandering and a Utah ballot initiative to create an independent redistricting commission with Jeff Wright, co-chairman of Better Boundaries, and Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

September 12, 2018

Fixing Salt Lake City’s terrible flag | Episode 21

Without looking it up, can you describe the flag of your city? For most people, the answer is probably “no;” and if you live in Salt Lake City, it probably should be “no.”Adopted in 2006 by the Salt Lake City Council, the flag features a central logo of a black city skyline in front of green, snow-topped mountains and a blue sky, with the words “Salt Lake City” printed in white. Two wide bars of a darker green and blue split the background in half horizontally.In some cities, like Chicago or Washington, D.C., the flag is a source of civic pride, hung from homes and business and emblazoned on clothing and merchandise. But Salt Lake City’s flag is largely unknown to the general public, and some designers and flag experts say the time is ripe for a redo.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” former Tribune reporter Taylor Anderson and Utah graphic designer Jorrien Peterson join Benjamin Wood to discuss the importance and power of a well-designed city flag and what can be done to improve Salt Lake City’s municipal imagery.And as a special addition to this week’s episode, “Trib Talk” is hosting a flag-design contest for its listeners. Email your idea for a better Salt Lake City flag to tribtalk@sltrib.com with “flag contest” in the subject line by Friday, September 14. Finalists will be selected by the “Trib Talk” team and voted on by our followers and friends on twitter.The creator of the winning design will receive a Salt Lake Tribune coffee mug, will be featured as the background image of the @TribTalk twitter account during the month of October and, who knows, may one day see their flag on top of the City and County Building in Salt Lake City.For more information on this topic, the “Trib Talk” team recommends the excellent 2015 TED talk on flag design by Roman Mars, host of the “99% Invisible” podcast.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Click here to listen now. Listeners can also subscribe to “Trib Talk” for free on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and other major podcast platforms.

September 05, 2018

They failed to reach the ballot, then failed in court. What’s next for Count My Vote? | Episode 20

It’s been more than four years since Count My Vote launched its first direct primary election initiative, and Utahns haven’t stopped arguing about it since.SB54, the Count My Vote-inspired law that created Utah’s dual-track election method, has survived multiple repeal attempts and court challenges. But a new ballot initiative failed to reach the ballot this year, after petition signatures were peeled away by a targeted opposition campaign, and a last-ditch effort asking the Utah Supreme Court to intervene landed with a thud.Wounded by those losses, does Count My Vote still have the muscle to defend SB54? Or will it’s opponents, both inside and outside the Legislature, now have the footing they need to land a fatal blow?On this week’s “Trib Talk” podcast, Count My Vote executive co-chairman Rich McKeown and Keep My Voice executive director Phil Wright join Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the future of their organization’s efforts to preserve, or repeal, Utah’s dual-track elections.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can subscribe to “Trib Talk” for free on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and other major podcast platforms.

August 29, 2018

The unilateral power of Mormon bishops to expel students from BYU | Episode 19

Two students in the Brigham Young University system are facing removal from school, not because they violated campus policies, but because their Mormon bishop has revoked — or is threatening to revoke — their ecclesiastical endorsements, a requirement to attend schools owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.It’s a unique, and some say troubling, aspect of LDS higher education, in which Mormon bishops with no professional ties to the universities have the power to issue de facto expulsions at any time, and at their individual discretion, with relatively little recourse for students.At BYU-Idaho, a student who reported a sexual assault has already been removed from school despite an amnesty policy meant to protect victims. And at BYU in Provo, a transgender student says their bishop has threatened to pull their endorsement if they go forward with a planned surgery to remove their breasts.On this week’s “Trib Talk” podcast, Tribune reporters Erin Alberty, Courtney Tanner and Benjamin Wood discuss the role that ecclesiastical endorsements play at BYU campuses, and the ability of lay religious leaders level academic punishment for violations of church standards.

August 22, 2018

Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes looks back, and forward, on Operation Rio Grande | Episode 18

In August 2017, a major law enforcement initiative known as “Operation Rio Grande” was launched in Salt Lake City, aimed at curbing a concentration of crime, homelessness and drug use.Now, the area around Pioneer Park and The Road Home has transformed, with a sustained police presence cutting down on transient camps and a new drug court allowing addicts to gain access to treatment in lieu of prosecution. But what was a concentrated problem has been dispersed into neighboring areas of the city and county. And after one year, and tens of millions of dollars, there is a question of whether Operation Rio Grande is working to reduce drug use and homelessness, or whether it has simply relocated it.On this week’s “Trib Talk” podcast, Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood discuss the one-year anniversary of the operation, it’s successes and ongoing challenges.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can subscribe to “Trib Talk” for free on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and other major podcast platforms.

August 14, 2018

How young is too young to get married in Utah? | Episode 17

In Utah, it is legal to marry at age 15 with the permission of a judge, or 16 with a parent’s consent. But one Utah lawmaker is trying to change that by raising the minimum marriage age to 18.It’s a change that could be particularly felt by one of Utah’s polygamous groups, in which teenage girls often marry before reaching legal adulthood, due to pressure from their parents and religious leaders, or as a means of escaping their living situations and avoiding assignment into a plural marriage.On this week’s “Trib Talk” podcast, state Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, and Tribune reporter Nate Carlisle join Benjamin Wood discuss the factors behind teenage marriages in Utah and the arguments for and against raising the legal age of marriage.“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.Listeners can subscribe to “Trib Talk” for free on SoundCloud, iTunes and Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and other major podcast platforms.

August 08, 2018

LoveLoud is being called a success by some, but unsafe by others. Can it adapt? | Episode 16

In its second year, the LoveLoud Festival saw a larger crowd packed into a larger venue for its event celebrating and supporting LGBTQ youth.But LoveLoud’s growth also came with growing pains. Some LGBTQ support organizations left the event early, or issued critical statements, over the festival’s treatment of transgender individuals.The disappointment felt by many stood in stark contrast to LoveLoud’s celebratory and inclusive theme. But will the controversy damage the reach of future LoveLoud events?On this week’s “Trib Talk” podcast, Provo Pride spokeswoman Brianna Cluck, Utah Pride Center executive director Rob Moolman, and Jordan Sgro, chief program officer of Encircle, join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss LoveLoud’s impact, successes, missteps, and future.

August 01, 2018

Are fireworks worth the risks? | Episode 15

Last summer, Independence Day fireworks combined with hot and dry conditions to set off dozens of fires throughout Salt Lake County.In response, one city banned fireworks for Pioneer Day, despite warnings that it lacked the authority to do so. And pressure mounted for state lawmakers to shrink Utah’s legal firework season.So far this year has seen fewer blazes, but the dangers remain. And beyond fires, the noisy, decorative bombs are a frequent source of complaint for some residents, who cite the impact on children, pets and veterans as reasons for their prohibition.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, and former Cottonwood Heights mayor Kelvyn Cullimore join reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the pros and cons of fireworks, and whether the state Legislature or individual city governments are best positioned to regulate pyrotechnic displays.

July 25, 2018

Do BYU police have to follow the same rules as other local cops? | Episode 14

BYU plans to appeal a court decision that found the university’s police department to be a government entity, subject to the state’s open-records laws.The ruling, in a lawsuit filed by The Salt Lake Tribune, relates to BYU’s handling of sexual assault and the role of law enforcement in campus disciplinary proceedings. If it stands, BYU Police would be required to comply with the government records access management act, or GRAMA, and have its operations subject to the same public scrutiny, transparency and accountability as other law enforcement agencies in the state.But BYU contends that because the university is private, so too is its police department, and that GRAMA and Utah’s transparency rules do not apply.On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk," Holly Richardson, a member of the Utah State Records Committee and a former state lawmaker, joins reporters Benjamin Wood and Jessica Miller to discuss the ruling and what it means for law enforcement transparency in Utah County.

July 18, 2018

What does Trump’s SCOTUS pick mean for abortion and same-sex marriage rights in Utah? | Episode 13

On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” reporter Benjamin Wood discusses the nomination of Brett Kavanuagh to the U.S. Supreme Court with Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, and Michelle Quist, an attorney and candidate for the Salt Lake County Council.

July 11, 2018

Did Our Schools Now cut a bad deal for education funding? | Episode 12

On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood chats with Austin Cox, campaign manager for Our Schools Now, about November’s non-binding public vote on a 10-cent gas tax increase to support Utah’s public education system.

July 03, 2018

Winners and losers of Utah's 2018 primary election | Episode 11

On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporters Benjamin Wood, Taylor Anderson, Taylor Stevens and columnist Robert Gehrke discuss the results of Tuesday’s primary election.

June 27, 2018

Is family separation the best way to handle immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border? | Episode 10

On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood discusses border security and the separation of migrant families with Arturo Morales-LLan, a member of the Utah Republican Party’s State Central Committee, and Luis Garza, executive director of Comunidades Unidas.

June 20, 2018

Utah restaurant horror stories from the Tribune’s food reporter | Episode 9

On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporters Benjamin Wood and Kathy Stephenson discuss Utah’s restaurant industry and the health code violations that can force a business to shut down.

June 13, 2018

Can atheist bakers refuse to serve Mormons? | Episode 8

In this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood discusses this week’s Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case with John Mejia, legal director for the ACLU of Utah, and Bill Duncan, director of The Sutherland Institute’s Center for Family and Society.

June 06, 2018

Making sense of Josh Holt’s arrest, imprisonment and release | Episode 7

On the latest edition of “Trib Talk,” The Tribune's Washington, D.C., Bureau Chief Thomas Burr and Jacob Olidart, Sen. Orrin Hatch's foreign policy advisor, join Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood to discuss the arrest, imprisonment and release of Utahn Josh Holt from a Venezuelan prison.

May 30, 2018

Live: Utah’s first responders describe how they cope with PTSD

In a bonus episode of ‘Trib Talk,’ Salt Lake Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce moderates a panel discussion on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Utah’s first responders.Panelists include: Rep. Lee Perry, a Utah Highway Patrol lieutenant; Sgt. Lisa Pascadlo, peer-support coordinator at the Salt Lake City Police Department; Shante Johnson, spokeswoman for the Utah State Lodge Fop (Fraternal Order of Police); and Salt Lake City Fire Capt. Mike Stevens, an advocate for better mental health care for firefighters.

May 25, 2018

How to build a bulletproof school | Episode 6

On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood chats with Canyons School District teacher Katie Bullock and Utah School Superintendents Association executive director Terry Shoemaker about how student safety is helped or hurt by modern school design trends.

May 23, 2018

The five things to know about Utah, according to Paul Rolly | Episode 5

On today’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Benjamin Wood chats with recently-retired columnist Paul Rolly about his view of Utah politics after a long media career, and the recent staff cuts at The Salt Lake Tribune.

May 16, 2018

Hugging co-workers can be problematic. But banning it won’t stop sexual misconduct. | Episode 4

In this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Benjamin Wood, Tribune reporter Taylor Stevens, and employment attorney Jonathan Driggs discuss hugging in the workplace, and how unwanted physical contact can become problematic for employers and employees.

May 09, 2018

A Utah police officer seeks help for himself, and others, after years of trauma | Episode 3

In this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” reporter Benjamin Wood, Tribune deputy managing editor Matt Canham and Brent Jex, president of the Utah’s Fraternal Order of Police, discuss the need for, and stigma surrounding, mental health services within the law enforcement community.

May 02, 2018

What does Mitt Romney's primary election say about the Utah Republican Party? | Episode 2

In this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporters Benjamin Wood and Courtney Tanner and columnist Robert Gehrke discuss last weekend’s Utah Republican Convention and the upcoming primary elections for Senate candidate Mitt Romney and incumbent Congressman John Curtis.

April 25, 2018

Will Utah voters go against the Mormon church on medical marijuana? | Episode 1

In this episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporters Taylor Anderson and Benjamin Wood and Tribune editorial writer Michelle Quist discuss a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana that appears likely to qualify for the November ballot.

April 18, 2018