Pay up • Being the chief executive in Utah may carry prestige and power, but compensation from the state is nothing to crow about. It is time to raise the governor's pay. We agree with the Elected Official and Judicial Compensation Commission that the office of the executive should pay $150,000 a year, a 36 percent raise over the current $109,900. The commission noted in its recommendation that raises for top elected officials have been delayed for nearly 10 years. The governor earns much less in salary than many top state employees at the University Medical Center and Medical School, for example, where competition for high-level doctors and researchers is fierce. While elected leaders should consider their jobs public service, we can expect only those who are independently wealthy to take an interest in running if the pay isn't at least somewhat attractive.
Speak up • Gov. Gary Herbert spoke with President Barack Obama at the White House this week along with two other Republican governors and three Democratic governors from the National Governors Association. Herbert is a member of the group's executive committee. The visitors spent an hour with the president and 30 minutes each with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. They urged quick action by Congress to avoid drastic budget cuts and tax increases commonly called the fiscal cliff. States would lose millions in federal grants under the budget-deficit package set to go into effect in January. The group offered suggestions and asked for flexibility in imposing cuts but took no official position on proposals that have been made so far in negotiations. Herbert is right that Washington should bring governors into the loop on important issues.
Look up • Urban light pollution means a lot of Americans can't see many stars in our night skies. But whether we can see them or not, they're still up there, not only in our galaxy, the Milky Way, but in our neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. So many, in fact, that astronomers are asking for help in identifying star clusters in Andromeda. And you don't have to travel to some remote spot to do it. The Andromeda Project lets ordinary people no astronomical experience necessary study images of Andromeda taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. There are about 10,000 images, and astronomers hope to get each analyzed about 20 times. Just go to the website www.andromedaproject.org and follow a tutorial that explains how you yes, you can put your mark on space.