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Could vouchers doom Salt Lake bond?

Advocates of the $192 million public-safety bond proposed for Salt Lake City are worried that its chances of passing will be hindered by the divisive issue of school vouchers.

The bond, which would pay for new police and fire facilities, will appear on the ballot as Proposition 1.

The school vouchers vote will be titled Referendum 1.

"The worry I have is that things are getting so polarized with (Referendum 1) that voters won't know which one is which," said Pat Shea, who is spearheading a public-awareness campaign in support of the public-safety bond.

Shea is hoping campaign mailers and newspaper and radio ads will help ease the confusion so those who are against vouchers don't end up voting down the public-safety bond by mistake.

Keeping the issues straight can be difficult even for those in the political know. While addressing the Salt Lake County Bar Association recently, Salt Lake City mayoral candidate Dave Buhler paused before answering a question about Proposition 1, making sure that both he and the attorney who asked the question were talking about the same issue.

Buhler favors the bond, as does his opponent, Ralph Becker, though Becker has expressed concern that it may fail because of the high price tag.