It’s almost become too easy to pick on the Utah Taxpayers Association when they get a story so very, very wrong. The latest work of fiction is their tortured stance on iProvo, one in which they perform twists of logic to support how things have unfolded with iProvo and yet continue to vilify what UTOPIA does. As usual, this requires a point-by-point breakdown of where they lack any kind of consistency and twist or invent facts to support their weak sauce arguments.
The UTA claims that both networks need to “consider all possible solutions”. The reality, however, is that the UTA has pushed only one solution on UTOPIA: to stop existing, take a financial bath, and have absolutely nothing to show for it. Apparently UTOPIA choosing a solution contrary to “commit immediate seppuku” will, in the UTA’s mind, mean that you haven’t bothered to consider all the options. iProvo, however, can choose to pay off the bond with public money and somehow still stay on the good side of the UTA. Huh? Yeah, I don’t get it either.
They then also cite the work of fiction they published in May concerning UTOPIA’s projected and actual budgets. The problem with all of those numbers, however, is that they don’t add up. Go to the State Auditor’s Office, add up the numbers for yourself, and see how none of them match the figures that the UTA is using. Believe me, I’ve tried. I spent 4 hours pouring over them and crunching them to try and get the same totals. I even consulted an accountant to make sure that I was doing it properly. It’s as if the UTA pulled numbers straight out of thin air and nobody had bothered to question it.
There is also the glossing-over of the disastrous Broadweave years, years that left the network in a serious state of disrepair and with a heavily tarnished reputation. They mention a merger of Broadweave and Veracity when it would be better characterized as Veracity absorbing Broadweave and doing the City of Provo a huge favor (especially since the mayor and council had no idea what they were doing). Of course, a private entity running the network and experiencing massive operation problems almost from the get-go doesn’t get into their “the private market is always better” worldview, so it has to be omitted.
I’ve also noticed that they aren’t screaming “sell” at iProvo even though one of the options on the table (and likely to happen) is for the city to maintain ownership of the network and pay off the bond. You know, the same thing that UTOPIA is doing but gets criticized for. So… paying for the network in UTOPIA cities is an unmitigated disaster, but doing it in Provo is “the least bad option”. Are you seeing the same pattern I am?
The worst of it is that the UTA is acting all butt-hurt that UTOPIA doesn’t want to listen to them. On what plane of existence would they want to? They’ve gone up to UTOPIA, thrown a drink in their face, kicked them in the shins, said something nasty about their mother, and then expect a seat at the table as they scream “I wish you’d never been born”? How exactly does that jive with their “water under the bridge” attitude towards iProvo? It doesn’t and it can’t. They’ve shown no indications of being willing to be constructive, just that they’re going to criticize every single move in the most shrill tone possible. After a track record of being anything but constructive, it’s hard to swallow that all they wanted was a seat at the table. The ultimate irony here is that they shut down discussion on their website with voracious moderation, but expect UTOPIA to allow their board meetings to act as a UTA soapbox for tearing the agency a new one.
If the UTA wants to be taken seriously, they need to shut their pie holes unless they have some actual constructive suggestions (and no, selling for pennies on the dollar doesn’t count). These double standards and loads of manure only further weaken whatever remaining credibility they might have had.
(Yes, I know a lot more about iProvo than I’ve written here. I have Veracity’s side straight from the horse’s mouth and will be meeting with Mayor Curtis on Monday to get their perspective. Expect something good and meaty next week, kids.)