Friday, December 08, 2006

How likely is a teenage accident?

An article in the Davis County Clipper talks about a fake news article posted to a website by a parents group opposed to the school boundary changes.
So how likely is the scenario? Well, this week I'm in Green Bay. (I now understand the meaning of frozen tundra.) Two high school students were killed here yesterday morning because they turned in front of a Semi-Truck on a busy street. You can read an article about the incident here.
This accident could have easily happened on Highway 89 in Farmington. Just some food for thought, or maybe the cold weather has gotten to me.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What's in a name? Part 2

Paul Rolly of the Salt Lake Tribune makes jokes about the new name for the Delta Center. Larry H. Miller announced recently that EnergySolutions has purchased the naming rights for the building for the next 10 years. It will now be known as EnergySolutions Arena. I personally have no problems with this. Do I want high-level nuclear waste stored in Utah? No. Do I think it's okay for EnergySolutions to dispose of low-level radioactive waste in Utah? Yes.
I wonder if Mr. Rolly has ever gone and had an x-ray done at the hospital. Has he ever wondered what happened to the hazardous waste that was generated by having that x-ray done? Along with our advances in technology comes a certain amount of hazardous waste. We should be able to dispose of that hazardous waste properly.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why have retention elections?

There was a lot of controversy leading up to the recent retention elections in Salt Lake County. Some people even made comments that judges shouldn't have to go through retention elections. Judge Lewis was not a judge that was praised by all attorneys. If you don't believe me, take a look at the survey results published in the "Voter Information Guide." Yes she received high enough marks to stand for retention election, but, in my school days, they wouldn't have qualified for straight A's.
Should we even have retention elections? Yes!! Our judges need to be accountable to the public. I've heard other people say that they've never been to a court room so they don't know how to vote in the retention elections. (Most of those people have probably also not been to a City Council meeting in the past four years, but, feel fine voting for a new City Council Member.) My argument is just as with the City Council elections, you read the material available (Voter Information Guide) and pick those issues that are important to you and vote accordingly.
Apparently, 55.31% of people that voted in the retention election felt that courtesy in the courtroom was an important issue.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm not dead, yet.

I'm still around. I've just been busy traveling with my work. I'm in Hartford, CT this week. Raleigh, NC last week. I ended up doing the early voting thing in order to make my voice heard. I'll post later my opinion on retention elections for judges and why I think they are a good thing. Sorry to make anyone worry about my demise.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Democrat distances himself from Democrats?

An article about a debate between Rob Bishop and his challenger Steve Olsen appeared in today's Deseret News. The article says that "Steve Olsen attempted to cast himself as a nonpartisan, problem-solving moderate who would not walk lockstep with national Democrats." So apparently he knows that the chances of a Democrat being elected in District 1 are very slim. That's an interesting strategy. I'm not like the national Democrats. I'm just a member of the Democratic Party. I don't find many Republicans in these parts saying these types of things. Maybe they do in places like Boston, however, I didn't see it when I was in Southern New Hampshire recently.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lame Ducks don't make the best decisions

Apparently the Davis County Commission is going to take a parting shot at residents. Today's Deseret Morning News says that they are seeking a 45% property tax increase. Here we go again. I think that the commission should look at ways to cut costs, not spend, spend, spend. I hate to say this, but, maybe it is time to elect a member of a different party to our county commission to see if things change. Of course I'm sure we'll here the same thing all over again this time. "It's only 45% of the county's portion." Yes, I know that. I'm still against it.

Friday, September 29, 2006

It's freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion

Utah Policy Daily linked to an interesting commentary by Lou Dobbs of CNN. It's titled "Keep religion out of politics." In it Mr. Dobbs says, "Religion is dominant in the lives of most Americans." Isn't that a good thing? He also mentions that we shouldn't have churches that are "politicking." The founding fathers envisioned the right to practice what ever religion they wanted to. They wanted freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Gas Pains?

This week I'm in Kansas City and gas prices here are $1.89 a gallon. Sure can't wait to get back to Utah and be able to help that economy by spending almost a whole dollar more a gallon!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rocky will take the credit

So Rocky Anderson was in New York to talk about global warming and how well Salt Lake has done to help reduce pollutions. It baffles me how quick Rocky is to take credit for the reduction. What has he personally done to reduce pollutions? He hosts a rally to demonstrate against the President of the United States. I'd bet the majority of those that participated drove to the site. Maybe he is taking credit because he told all of us people in Davis County to stay away. Guess what Rocky, I did my part. I no longer work in downtown Salt Lake. When I did I would go out to lunch at least once per week. Now I no longer patronize the downtown eating establishments. I guess that helps reduce pollution in Salt Lake City.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I agree with a Democrat

Rob Miller at the Utah Amicus wrote a post yesterday that I agree whole-heartedly with. In one part of it he says, "I do believe that we can once again become united if we will stop focusing on our differences and look more for our similarities."
I really don't think that mainstream Republicans and mainstream Democrats are that far apart in their political views. Sunday, I watched a television show that was talking about the 9-11 attacks and they interviewed Toby Keith. One of the things that he mentioned is that he gets calls from Republicans saying that they are thankful for his support of the troops and that he must be a Republican. He then tells them that he is a life-long Democrat. In listening to his political views, I found myself agreeing with them a lot more then not. I think this is what Rob means when he says we need to look more for our similarities. Would Rob Miller make a great Davis County Commissioner? He probably would, if everyone focused on similarities and the good in people, instead of the differences.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Blogger as a journalist?

I'm in Virginia this week, and on the plane ride here I was reading "Wild Card" by Jennie Hansen. I've enjoyed reading it. There is one page in it that has a couple of great quotes.
"Narrow-minded individuals tend to feel they're being attacked when a difference of opinion is stated with a great deal of bluntness."
Another great quote from the same page is, "Journalism is all about finding the truth and stating it with boldness. Newspapers that only reflect popular opinions, that shy away from pointing out wrongs and sidestep important issues are only good for wrapping yesterday's garbage."
I think different people would get completely different things from these two quotes. To me, it seems to be popular right now to criticize the war and the President. That seems to be what the national news outlets picked up on from the recent visit to Utah by the President. I had to read the Deseret Morning News accounts to know that there was lots of support for President Bush when he visited Utah.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New Republican buzzword

Flip-flop seems to be the new Republican buzz-word. (or should that be words?) Even appearing most recently on Utah Policy Daily. Do we really need a buzz-word to describe when somebody may have been given additional facts that changed their mind? What do we (as Republicans) call a Republican elected official who changes his mind after receiving additional information?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It's hot now!

This week I'm in Phoenix where the temperature is supposed to reach 103 today. Just when I thought things were hot in Utah, I come to a place where it's really hot. That's a lot like politics, just when you think things are heating up, something comes along that makes them hotter.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Davis County Commission - Seat A responses

Here are the responses from the candidates for Davis County Commission - Seat A. The candidates are Republican Bret Millburn and Democrat Rob Miller. I'd like to thank these candidates for taking the time to answer these questions.

1) What are your feelings on the famous 138 percent proposed tax hike in 2002? Do you feel that the majority of the public didn't understand that the 138 percent only applied to the county portion?


The extent to which our elected officials guard government spending--including prudent planning and developing a strong economy--strongly impacts the level of taxation required. I believe the majority did understand the 138% applied only to the county’s portion of property tax. But 138% is 138%. It won’t take a public outcry for me to understand sound tax policy. I believe that clear, concise, and consistent public outreach is vital.


The public understood the proposed “famous” 138% tax increase extremely well. Former commissioner Cragun was an immediate causality of this failed “TAX then SPEND”proposal. Commissioner McConkie had two additional years to explain any misrepresentations but did not because he could not.

The insightful citizens of Davis County sent their message loud and clear. They want their commissioners to do county business with funds that are currently available and they want their public servants to stop irresponsible spending and taxing.

2) How do you feel about a Davis County Conference Center expansion?


Studies conducted project that an expansion would double the current economic impact to the county. I believe that expansion of the conference center could be a positive timely strategy for Davis County’s continued economic development if it can be built within the confines of the $500,000 received from the Legislature and from the recent increase in the Transient Room Tax (TRT).


Here was another example of poor management and flawed thinking. The conference center should have been built correctly the first time around. How long did the Salt Palace stand before it was remodeled? How many times has the Sandy convention center been remodeled?

Sometime last year Davis County Democratic Chair, Richard Watson, asked the Commission point blank if they had any plans to expand the conference center. At that time they answered that they would not.

Here’s the reality, to turn the Conference Center into a viable County asset means going ahead with the expansion. With that said it is also obvious that this project should have stood for at least two decades, or longer before ever having to consider any type of expansion. The Commission should have been upfront from the beginning and not tried to nickel and dime this project together.

3) How do you plan on funding the operating expenses of the Davis County Jail expansion?


I believe a previously approved $35 increase is set to take effect in the upcoming budget. Whereas I have not been in a position to see the details, I hope this increase is the last choice and that all other cost saving options have been considered. Additionally, I believe a strong focus on addiction prevention will slow down crime and the consequential increase in incarcerations.


The funding has already been ratified and is included in the next year’s budget proposal. Revenue bonding or obligations bonding are the two options available.

4) Do you support or oppose cities coming together to create certain projects such as the South Davis Recreation center?


I fully support cooperation and collaboration. This approach needs to be utilized more often.


I absolutely support these types of joint ventures. An excellent example of this is the consolidation of the sewer districts and the cities consolidation of the fire districts. It reduces duplication of service and serves both small and large communities equitably (equally) as long as the venture is administrated correctly.

5) How do you feel about the South Davis Metro Fire Department? What about them having their own paramedic service?


As stated above I support cooperation, collaboration and consolidation where it is prudent. If consolidation equates to cost savings without compromising level of service, it is definitely worth consideration. I am currently seeking input on how things are working with the SDMFD.


I believe in reducing duplication there by reducing cost and delivering the same high level of service that appears to be the case of consolidation. The SDMFD is a wonderful example of this type of consolidation. I support SDMFD paramedic service.

6) Would you support or oppose a consolidation of the municipal police departments similar to the South Davis Metro Fire Departments? Who would you see running such a department? Would you envision it run similar to the way the SDMFD is run or as a department of the county?


I do not currently have enough information to either support or oppose. It never hurts to bring all interested parties together to discuss ideas and options. As stated in the answer to the previous question if cost savings can occur while increasing the level of service, consolidation should be considered.


Again I will state that I support this type of consolidation as it reduces cost and maintains or raises the level of service for both small and large communities. However, this is an area where public feedback is both needed and necessary

The administration of this type of consolidation should include equal representation from the communities involved, not as a county department.

7) Do you think party affiliation is important in this race? Why or why not?


I believe in the Republican platform and thus I am a Republican. I also believe that each of us should study the issues and candidates carefully and vote as our conscience dictates. The qualifications of the candidate are more important than the party.


No. Party affiliation is not important in this race. What is important is to elect the most qualified individual who can look above party politics to serve the people that elected them.

8) What differentiates you from your opponent? In other words, why should I vote for you instead of him?


My background and experience as former Assistant to the Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, transportation manager and government liaison for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002, and involvement in numerous public policy initiatives, have honed leadership skills required for the responsibilities of the office of Commissioner. In addition, I believe effective leadership is based upon good listening habits. I vow to be in touch with the issues because I will be in touch with the citizens.


My opponent if elected will bring nothing new to Davis County Government. We will see the same party politics and the same stale ideas and leadership. On the other hand, my election will bring a qualified fresh face and a new “Bold” direction to Davis County government that is not possible with one party controlling the commission.

I stepped up to this challenge because I carry the true spirit of public service and because my experience and leadership will bring to Davis County the qualifications needed to do the job efficiently and effectively. I have been involved in not only developing, but also administrating several successful programs and businesses, and my administration experience is exactly what Davis County needs to cut the fat out of county government and to restore our suffering and ignored infrastructure.

Rob also responded to a question asked by Natalie. She said, "I would like to ask the candidates if they feel the County Commission should put the community water fluoridation issue back on the ballot."

Rob's response:

I will not revisit fluoridation, the people have spoken.

Apparently Rob is the only one enlightened enough to read my blog on a regular basis.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Paging Mr. Miller

I've received responses now from all the candidates for Davis County Commission except Rob Miller. He's the Democrat in the race for Davis County Commission, Seat A. Today, I sent Mr. Miller another copy of the questions to the two e-mail addresses listed on his website. It appears to me that if you want your questions answered quickly via e-mail, Rob Miller may not be the man for you.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Show your colors!

A Deseret Morning News article says that U.S. District Judge, David Sam, denied a motion by an atheist group calling for a ruling. This is about the case of the UHP memorials. American Atheists attorney Brian Barnard is quoted in the article as saying, "My clients revere law enforcement officers."
If this is true, I say that the American Atheists come up with a bumper sticker that all their members can apply to their vehicles, showing how they feel about the UHP memorials. You can bet, however, the first time a vehicle with such a sticker gets pulled over by the UHP for an illegal act, they're going to claim that they were targeted because of said bumper sticker. They may even file another frivolous lawsuit.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Doing things the same as other cities.

A post at the Utah Taxpayers Association blog says, "If Herriman needs additional funds for law enforcement, they should go through the Truth-in-Taxation process and explain to their taxpayers why they need to exceed the certified tax rate. That’s what other cities do."
Actually, it seems that at least some other cities don't do that. In Woods Cross we pay a telecommunications tax that goes into the General Fund and can be used for law enforcement purposes.
Some of the council members will try to tell you that the tax is used for the after-school program. That's only true for a very small portion of the tax. If a council member does tell you that, ask them how much the tax is bringing in on an annual basis and then ask them the amount they give to the after-school program.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Farewell Mayor Briggs

The Davis County Clipper has a story about North Salt Lake City's Mayor, Kay Briggs, moving to the Dominican Republic. Tyler Farrer's Blog reported on this on Tuesday.
It will be sad to see him leave. Many times when I was on the Woods Cross City Council, I said that it was refreshing to see a mayor with as much passion as Mayor Briggs. Like him or not, you have to respect how passionate he was when he was standing up for what he felt was best for his city.
Best of luck Mayor Briggs! You'll be missed by more than just NSL residents.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Is there a religious divide?

A Deseret Morning News article talks about "Monster homes" in Salt Lake City. It goes on to say that they tried contacting Mayor Rocky Anderson's spokesman, Patrick Thronson. The article then says, "He did not respond to e-mail and phone inquiries Tuesday. Anderson and Thronson have declined the newspaper's requests for comment for the past 35 days."
The Deseret Morning News is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Could it be that Mayor Anderson is the one furthering the notion of a religious divide for his own political purposes?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"You sleep in the bed you make."

An article in last Thursday's Davis County Clipper has made me think about the past a bit. The article talks about Bountiful City's decision to deny a beer license for El Matador restaurant. I applaud the City Council for taking such a step. Not so much for denying a beer license, but, more for standing up for their own ordinance.
Artoosh Hasratian, owner of the El Matador, at one time contemplated re-locating in Woods Cross. I know he was made aware of our beer license ordinance and where he could and couldn't locate. I'd be very surprised if the same thing didn't happen in Bountiful. He chose to build his restaurant where he did. There are other places he could have built. He could have even chosen to build in Woods Cross at 700 South and 700 West. There is a nice vacant spot there that would be perfect for a restaurant.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Woods Cross mayor part of "largest percentage"

A Deseret Morning News article talks about Mayor Kent Parry being a small-business owner. The article shows results from a recent poll about occupations held by Utah mayors. The largest percentage is small-business owner at 23%.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Davis County Commission - Seat B responses

Here are the responses from the candidates for Davis County Commission - Seat B. The candidates are Democrat Chris Martinez, and Republican Louenda Downs. I have put the answers exactly as I received them. I have not corrected any spelling or grammatical errors. Louenda prefaced her answers with this, "My answers will be brief, would love to expound in a phone conversation possibly, but under a very tight schedule at the moment..."

1) What are your feelings on the famous 138 percent proposed tax hike in 2002? Do you feel that the majority of the public didn't understand that the 138 percent only applied to the county portion?

I believe that the public was misled and didn't understand how the 138 percent was going to affect the the property owner. In cases like this the commissioners should have held a public meeting and explained how it was going to affect us and what it was going to be used for.

I understand there were some critical future revenue shortfalls that needed to be addressed, but feel that the public should have been involved in the NEEDS first of all, brought together to look at possible solutions (not having been part of the process I don't know how many possible solutions were explored) ...THEN when the numbers were clear and the direction was CLEAR (not a 138% that would change to a 35%) and the public had bought into the need, the 35% or whatever solution was determined could have been announced with more people on board and more of the public clearly understanding what and why.

2) How do you feel about a Davis County Conference Center expansion?

I'm against the expansion. The commissioners should have realized when the first proposal was made, now we have to sell Sales Tax Revenue Bonds to finance the expansion.

I support the expansion AS LONG AS the current study that is being done to determine the costs comes back verifying that the expansion can be built using the $500,000 alotted from the Legislature and the revenue from the TRT (Transient Room Tax...paid generally by hotel visitors to the county), not by an additional tax burden to Davis residents. In addition, studies project the Expansion to double the economic revenue to the county...from $16,000,000 to $31,000,000. That is significant. Love to hear your take.

3) How do you plan on funding the operating expenses of the Davis County Jail expansion?

I believe the funding is already included in the proposed budget for 2007.

It is my understanding that the $35 tax raise to cover these costs has been ratified, just not yet imposed. As always, love to look closely to see if there are ways we could consolidate and save if possible on these projected costs.

4) Do you support or oppose cities coming together to create certain projects such as the South Davis Recreation center?

I do not oppose cities coming together to create certain projects as long as they have the funds and will be maintain by the cities.

I support cities autonomy and encourage entities to look for ways to work together. I support any credible group that can consolidate and deliver NEEDED services and provide them in a cost effective manner. Thoug I understand some who opposed it wondered if it was a need, South Davis residents voted in favor of the Rec center project, I support the majority vote.

5) How do you feel about the South Davis Metro Fire Department? What about them having their own paramedic service?

I don't have a problem with the with the fire department. I will support them in having their own paramedic services. This County is growing and we need these type services available at a moment notice.

Again I support autonomy and consolidation. Love to watch this new consolidation unfold to see the level of services and satisfaction. I think we need to talk seriously about consolidation vs. division of paramedics and 911. Love to talk more about this per phone.

6) Would you support or oppose a consolidation of the municipal police departments similar to the South Davis Metro Fire Departments? Who would you see running such a department? Would you envision it run similar to the way the SDMFD is run or as a department of the county?

A study would have to be conducted before I could supported or oppose it. Here again it depends who is funding it, in order to decide who is going to run.

Think that there may be some smaller cities where this may be an option. Would never attempt this without sitting down with Public Safety experts to discuss options, plusses and drawbacks....can we provide services and safety, costs-is it a savings or more money. Would rather see it under a city umbrella than a county one.

7) Do you think party affiliation is important in this race? Why or why not?

No. I believe a person should be able to vote for the best candidate for the job, no matter what party he or she is affiliated with.

Though I am a Republican and feel strongly about the party platform, I feel even more strongly that when it comes down to voting, you do you due dilligence, study the issues and the candiates, and then vote for the PERSON, not the party.

8) What differentiates you from your opponent? In other words, why should I vote for you instead of her/him?

Other then gender. We both have different opinions on how this county should be run. I have been involved with the community for several years with different organizations. I'm A MAN YOU CAN TRUST to get the job done and if I don't I will be open to your opinion. I believe you should vote for me because I understand Davis County issues, Its problems and its potential.

Mr. Martinez is a gentleman, but I believe I have the expereince and background (member of COG, President of Davis School Board, Memebr of DATC Board, Chair of Davis Hsopital Board, David Behavior al Board, Chair of Davis County Economic Devlopement Task Force, etc...) in county issues, in politics and on councils and boards that relate to county issues that will help me provide leadership and, hopefully, wisdom in critical issue such as growth, transportation, budgeting, public safety and economic development.

Let me say Thank You very much to these two candidates. Their answers have been very enlightening to me. I hope they are to you as well.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

One response received

Last night I received a response from Chris Martinez on the questions. Thanks Chris! Come on, Louenda, respond so that I can post the answers from at least one set of candidates.
Rob and Bret, where are your responses? You've had two full weeks. Chris Martinez responded within the day!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Questions Sent to Candidates

On June 29th, I sent the following questions to Rob Miller and Bret Millburn. These are the two candidates for Davis County Commission - Seat A. I'll be completely honest, I haven't made up my mind in this race and thought the answers to these questions would help me in that regard. I vow to not post any answers until I receive responses from both candidates as I don't believe that would be fair.

Today I will send these same questions to Louenda Downs and Chris Martinez, the candidates for Davis County Commission - Seat B.

1) What are your feelings on the famous 138 percent proposed tax hike
in 2002? Do you feel that the majority of the public didn't understand
that the 138 percent only applied to the county portion? (See Steve
Rawlings' letter to the editor of the Davis County Clipper, here.)

2) How do you feel about a Davis County Conference Center expansion?

3) How do you plan on funding the operating expenses of the Davis
County Jail expansion?

4) Do you support or oppose cities coming together to create certain
projects such as the South Davis Recreation center?

5) How do you feel about the South Davis Metro Fire Department? What
about them having their own paramedic service?

6) Would you support or oppose a consolidation of the municipal police
departments similar to the South Davis Metro Fire Departments? Who
would you see running such a department? Would you envision it run
similar to the way the SDMFD is run or as a department of the county?

7) Do you think party affiliation is important in this race? Why or why not?

8) What differentiates you from your opponent? In other words, why
should I vote for you instead of him?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Does protesting do any good?

An article in Sunday's Deseret Morning News says that Rocky Anderson will speak, if asked, at a rally when President Bush visits Salt Lake in August.
My question is, what good does staging a protest do? I personally haven't been involved in any protest. What do people who protest hope to accomplish? My guess is that they hope to get their faces on the T.V. This may bring publicity to their cause, but, that publicity isn't always good. In fact it makes some people think of you as "nutcakes."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

New Central Campaign Wikia

Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, who founded the Wikimedia Foundation (a non-profit corporation that operates Wikipedia) now has created a new Wikia website aimed at being a central meeting ground for people on all sides of the political spectrum.

Sincere letter or campaign material?

At the beginning of June, I followed the counsel of my church leaders and contacted both Sen. Hatch and Sen. Bennett in regards to the constitutional amendment about marriage. I received a letter back from Sen. Hatch and nothing from Sen. Bennett.
The letter from Sen. Hatch outlines the process that happened and how much he had done to further this amendment. After I read the letter I made the comment, "You can tell it's an election year."
So does this mean that I think the letter wasn't sincere? No. I think the letter fully outlined Sen. Hatch's beliefs on the amendment.
I do think, however, how convenient that he could send a letter about how his beliefs matched theirs to hundreds of potential voters who followed the counsel of their church leaders and contacted Sen. Hatch about this amendment. This is a nice way to get around sending out campaign material and still differentiate himself from Pete Ashdown. Pete has said in the past, "I told the Deseret News that I think that defining marriage is invasive and I still believe that."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bennett may need Hatch in the future.

Sen. Bennett cast one of the deciding votes against the constitutional amendment banning desecration of the U.S. flag. In a Deseret Morning News article he is quoted as saying, "If the public doesn't like that decision, they can always change me." This is definitely true and it may hurt him in getting re-elected, however, I think more importantly is that there may be a time in the future where he absolutely needs Sen. Hatch's support and Hatch may be less willing to support him at that time.
Politics is always a game of give and take. Anytime I hear somebody say that they voted against something because theirs is a better idea, I wonder if they understand the give and take of politics.
Sen. Bennett, work with Hatch. To me it seems that the other options of preventing flag burning have been attempted. The other attempts only led to the Supreme Court saying it was unconstitutional. How much tax-payer money do you want to spend to try your idea through the court system? A constitutional amendment seems like a low-cost alternative. Spend my money wisely, please.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I voted electronically!

So I went and voted in the primary election this morning. I voted at Woods Cross Elementary School. Here's how the process went.
I walked up to the table and stated my name. The poll worker said "You are registered as a Republican in Precinct 5." She then handed me a yellow piece of paper. (I'm still not sure what that piece of paper was for. I returned it when I returned my voting card.) Another poll worker at the table picked up a plastic, ATM style card and programmed it using a handheld device that looked similar to a calculator. He then handed me the card and directed me to the voting machine.
At the machine, I put in the card, and it pulled up the instructions for voting. After briefly reading the instructions, I proceeded to vote. Just for kicks, I even touched the back button and changed one of my previously entered votes. After voting, I looked at the printout and made sure it matched my choices. Not such a hard thing to do.
Here are some questions that I had after voting that really make me wonder if this is any better then a punch card ballot.
1) I didn't notice that the machines were hooked to any kind of battery backup. What if there were a brief or even an extended power outage at the polling location?
2) When I put the card in, I wondered what if somebody somehow made their own "voting cards?" Could they then vote multiple times or vote in different races then their own precinct?
3) What if somebody takes the ATM style card home with them? Could they then get enough information to create their own cards to illegally influence an election?
4) The printout made me a little nervous. Someone could figure out how I voted by monitoring the order in which people voted at the machines. I also didn't look at the printout before I started, but, I bet if the advancement of the "receipt tape" didn't work quite right, I could probably see how the person before me voted.
5) What was that silly yellow piece of paper for?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I'm elected, so I don't have to.

In a Deseret Morning News article, it says this about the current Davis County Sheriff not taking the physical fitness test required of his officers, "Cox said that because he is an elected official and not an employee, he does not have to take it."
So does that mean that elected officials should be above the law also? It doesn't make sense to me, if policy requires your officers that you oversee to take the physical fitness test, you should take it as well. To say "I'm elected and not hired in my position, so I don't have to." portrays an arrogance that I don't think anyone wants in an elected official.
I don't want my elected official to be arrogant. Maybe that arrogance can contribute to morale problems. Do you think that's the case?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Acquit means to be found innocent.

Except, apparently, in politics. An article in the Salt Lake Tribune talks about the race for House District 19 in Davis County. This race is between Mark Jacobs and Sheryl Allen. The article says, "Five years ago, the state Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing investigated Jacobs for building a house in Bountiful without a professional license. The city charged him with a Class B misdemeanor and a jury acquitted him in 2001."
I am not a lawyer, but, the dictionary that I use defines acquit as, "pronounce not guilty of criminal charges." To me that means that Mr. Jacobs was found innocent of the Class B misdemeanor charges against him. So why are those charges being brought up now? He is running for a political office, which means, to some people, drag out all the dirt you can about someone. Even if the person was declared innocent of criminal charges.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why are they so interested?

Why do government workers and elected officials keep such a close eye on bloggers? Just to show you what I mean, somebody from Woods Cross City Hall has accessed my blog at least once every business day for the past 7 days.
Are political bloggers really that interesting, or could it be that government types know how to get their way with the mainstream media, but not bloggers? Mainstream media (the Davis County Clipper, in particular) always seem to make time to contact the government workers and elected officials to get their side of the story. When I was an elected official, it was kind of a known thing that the Clipper reporter wouldn't make the City Administrator upset. If the reporter did, it could make getting information later on harder for them. Bloggers don't need to worry about making a government worker or elected official upset, because, bloggers tend to get the majority of their information from the regular Joe citizen.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I want my way, or no way!

An article in the Deseret Morning News talks about the U.S. Flag Protection Amendment. It notes that Sen. Hatch has co-sponsored the bill and that Sen. Bennett will vote against it.
This sounds to me like pure politics. Sen. Bennett says that he has his own Flag Protection Bill and wants it approved instead of the Constitutional Amendment. So, instead of working together, it's okay to say that I want my bill passed and not yours? The article quotes Bennett as saying, "I don't want to amend the Constitution, I won't say never, but I am very reluctant to amend the Constitution, particularly in an area where there isn't a need." Interesting, since the very reason that the Supreme Court has said it's fine to burn the U.S. Flag is because of a Constitutional Amendment.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Where have you been?

Where have I been for the past week? I've been with a Varsity Scout group hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We went to a place called Havasu Canyon. It's on an Indian Reservation.
The scenery is absolutely stunning.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Budget Time = Christmas Time?

So it's budget time for most Utah Cities and Towns. This is the time when department heads make their wish list and then City Managers / Administrators or Mayors get to act like scrooge and give the departments a fifth of what they want.
That's why budget time reminds me of Christmas time. Most kids get to make a list of what they want for Christmas and then Mommy or Daddy get to trim that list down to what the budget can afford.
Which makes me wonder, have you seen a City Council not approve funds for a project that the majority of the City Council has as a pet project?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Against Mormon Marriage??

Stenar at Bloglet thinks that it is hypocritical of the Mormon Church to lobby Congress? First off Mr. Stenar, (Is that his real name?) it's not the "Mormon Church" that is lobbying congress. It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints urging it's members to lobby congress.
In a response to one comment about this post on his blog, he says, "...I am gay. I cannot procreate naturally..."
To me this is the whole heart of the issue. Being gay is UN-natural! It is AGAINST nature! Stenar said it, not me.
Maybe the Federal Constitutional Amendment should be called the amendment to protect natural marriage.
By the way, I have contacted my Senators and urged them to vote for the amendment. Does anybody really believe they would vote against it?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Win big, get suspended!

A new rule for High School football in Connecticut means that coaches whose teams win by more than 50 points will face a one game suspension for an unsportsmanlike act.
Now I can agree with not running up the score, but, this rule would apply even if the third string players are in.
I believe that is a big problem with public schools in this country. Every one is so worried about a child's emotional state, that we aren't teaching them what things are like in the real world. Once they hit the work force, they are going to have a very rude awakening when the opposing team (competition) runs up the score by doing all they can to steal customers.

America, American? Not in Michigan schools!

I came across this editorial from a Michigan newspaper. It begins, "Censoring the word "America" from our own schools is something Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden would never have thought possible. Michigan has done it without a whimper."
The Michigan Department of Education is trying to ban the teachers in their state from using the words America and American. Now tell me honestly, when you hear the word America, do you immediately think of all of North America and South America? How about if you hear the word American? Does your vision also include Mexicans and Canadians?
The editorial goes on to say, "Instead of focusing on better teaching methods and educational resources to help our hard-working teachers and parents, the Department of Education spends its energy on confusing, misleading, historically inaccurate and counterproductive wordplay."
Have there been times where you think our Utah Department of Education also spends it's energy on things other than better teaching methods and educational resources for our hard-working teachers and parents?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Some people just attract attention.

So Dell Schanze is in the news again. What is it about him and trouble? Maybe he should just stay far away from Draper. It would seem that someone in Draper has something against him and wants to see him punished in some form.
His "Totally Awesome Computers" commercials were annoying to a lot of people. Does that mean we have to exact revenge? Can't we please just go a couple of months without seeing him on T.V.?
Now maybe if he had done those commercials anonymously, then not everyone in the state would be able to identify him as Dell Schanze when they see him on the streets or in the air.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Anonymity, again!

A column in the Tribune (hat tip Utah Policy Daily) talks more about anonymity on blogs and comments.
I still think that posting or writing anonymously is chicken. There are very few times where posting anonymously is truly justified. Does posting or writing with your true identity make you more open to retaliation or criticism? Yep, it sure does.
Does that mean that one should hide behind anonymity? I don't believe it does. When I was an elected official, I did not take anonymous comments into account in any decision I made. I also didn't take comments from people who were not my constituents as seriously as those who were. It is a fact of life. If you want elected officials and even constituents to take your comments seriously, write with your true identity. Don't hide behind anonymity claiming that it is needed to avoid retaliation. Look for a future post from me highlighting just what kind of retaliation I've had to go through because I don't hide behind anonymous writings.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

My blog reached a milestone!

According to Technorati, which tracks over 34.5 Million blogs, 55% of bloggers are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created. And 11% of bloggers update their blogs at least weekly.
So from all this, I figure my blog is in the top 11% of all blogs tracked by Technorati. I know, that's not a great thing, but, the numbers are interesting anyways.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

More troubles for Diebold

An article posted yesterday at Computerworld talks about more troubles for Diebold's e-voting machines. The article quotes Diebold spokesman David Bear as saying, "Instead of recognizing the advantages of the technology, we keep ringing up 'what if' scenarios that serve no purpose other than to confuse and in some instances frighten voters."
Another part of the article says, "A Diebold spokesman did not dispute Hursti's findings but said that Black Box Voting was making too much of the matter because the systems are intended to remain in the hands of trusted election officials."
Now let me say that I don't believe in conspiracy theories. Working with computers day in and day out, I believe that I am knowledgeable enough to make an educated decision about electronic voting machines.
Having said that, I believe there have been enough questions raised about the security of these machines that I am very concerned about the accuracy of an election using them. Let me explain why. I believe that for the most part, the people who have access to the machines are "trusted election officials." Now keep in mind, I said for the most part. All it takes is one malicious person to have access for a few minutes. Doesn't that concern anyone? I believe that the big elections in this country are heavily influenced by money. Big money. So how much would it cost for a malicious person to have access to one of these machines? Probably a lot less than one might think. Would we ever know that this is what had happened? Probably not.
I also believe that this is an issue that is non-partisan. Democrats could buy access to a malicious person just as easily as the Republicans could.
Do I think paper ballots are perfect? No. Do we want to replace something that has imperfections with something else that has just as many imperfections?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Anonymous or not?

In yesterdays Utah Policy Daily newsletter, they talk about posting anonymously on blogs. I have always had a policy of not posting anonymously to my blog and not allowing anonymous comments. The newsletter says, "Anyone who is confident in their opinions and positions ought to have enough courage to let readers know who they really are and not hide behind anonymity." I cannot agree more. If you are so afraid of your opinions, then I think that the politicians that you comment about should not listen to your opinion at all.
The newsletter also says, "Postings of anonymous bloggers ought not to be taken as seriously as postings of bloggers willing to put their real identities out there."
In my opinion, post with your true identity or don't post at all!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Watch me talk out both sides of my mouth.

An article in today's Deseret Morning News talks about the ongoing lawsuit over the crosses that are erected to honor Utah Highway Patrol Troopers who die in the line of duty.
The last paragraph states:
"American Atheists is asking a federal judge to order removal of those crosses located on government property. The group also suggests that the crosses be replaced with a more secular symbol, such as the Utah Highway Patrol symbol, which is a beehive."
Another article in today's paper talks about the selection of the design for Utah's state quarter. It quotes Margaret Hunt, chairwoman of the Utah Quarter Commission, about the beehive design for the quarter, "Others felt it had too close a tie to religion."
So on memorial markers the beehive is secular, but, on a quarter it has too close a tie to religion? Interesting.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Utah State Quarter?

So the Utah state quarter is going to commemorate an event that happened before Utah became a state. The driving of the Golden Spike happened on May 10, 1869. Now we are going to put two trains with what is supposed to look like a railroad spike between them on our quarter. Above the "spike" will be the year 1896, the year Utah became a state. My belief is that people will erroneously think that the Golden Spike was driven in 1896.
Just this morning, Mary Nickles on KUTV 2 said something to the effect of "Now we'll all know when the spike was placed, 1896, it's right there on the quarter."
Good luck to all the US History teachers out there after the quarter is released.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Happy Birthday UPD!

It was two years ago Sunday that Utah Policy Daily first started sending out their daily political newsletter. They've come a long way. Congratulations Utah Policy Daily!

Cities need good PR person

An article in Sunday's Deseret Morning News says that federal budget cuts could lead to fewer police officers on Utah's streets.
In my opinion, the reason things like this happen, is most cities don't have a person who is good at PR. Most citizens would be going to bat for their cities, if they knew exactly what these grants accomplished.
Let me give a hypothetical situation. Say a city police department receives a grant to help buy new police equipment. There should be someone employed or contracted by the city who writes up a press release and sends it out to the press. An article about the grant and specifically what it will help buy as well as how it will help the city keep property taxes down should definitely appear in the next city newsletter. Then when the president recommends reducing or removing these grants, the citizens can relate to what they will lose in their city.
If cities aren't willing or able to take these steps, then they must face the risk of losing the grant.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Don't vote for him, he's a D#$*&!@%

There's a post at Davis County Watch that says, amongst other things, "Where (Pete) Ashdown begins to fail is in choosing to be a Democrat." So, because I'm a registered Republican, I'm not supposed to vote for a Democrat? (Oops, I said the D word.)
To be honest with you, there are quite a few positions that Pete Ashdown has that I agree with. Yes, there are some that I disagree with. Orrin Hatch has positions that I also disagree with. Tyler's post goes on to say, "I feel as much as anyone that there ought to be a better person for Senator than Hatch. But, Urqhart (it's spelled Urquhart) isn't running anymore." He makes it sound as if just because someone is a Democrat (I did it again) we shouldn't vote for them even if our views align more to theirs than to the Republican candidate.
Is party affiliation really that big of an issue?
I say vote for the person, not the party. I feel sorry for anyone who goes to the polls and punches a straight party ticket. I have many times voted only for Republicans, but, I've selected each candidate on their own merits, not their party.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mayor Anderson, scoop your own poop!

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune talks about recent changes in personnel at the Salt Lake Mayor's office. The article talks about having one of the staffers clean out a bird cage. I'm sure part of this cleaning includes taking care of bird poop. Mayor Anderson's Chief of Staff is quoted as saying: "I've done it, and I'm the chief of staff. It's just something that needed to be done."
What a terrible quote! There are many things that need to be done in my daily life, blowing my nose, getting a drink, flushing the toilet, etc. Some things should just not be delegated. Cleaning up poop is one of those things. If you don't like, or don't have time for, cleaning bird poop, don't have a bird!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Zoning for Dollars

An article in the Deseret Morning News talks about a new law to take effect on July 1, 2006. The law will change the way that sales tax is distributed to municipalities. Woods Cross is mentioned in the article as one of 10 cities that must conform to a unified method of collecting sales tax.
The article quotes Murray Mayor Dan Snarr as saying, "I worked so hard to bring online all these wonderful retail benefits, But I don't reap any benefits from it. I don't get the sales tax." This law really shouldn't come as a surprise to Mayor Snarr. This is something that was talked about by the Utah League of Cities and Towns in 2001. They titled it then, "Zoning for Dollars." There was even a report given by Senator Bell to the ULCT Legislative Policy Committee in November of 2003 that talked about his ideas to change the distribution formula. This isn't something new.
I would be very surprised if Woods Cross has to raise property taxes to deal with this new law. The City Recorder in Woods Cross when I was on the council was very well aware of the possibility of these changes coming. In my opinion, any city that must raise property taxes because of this law has not been fiscally responsible in the past.
Zoning for dollars has always been, and always will be, a bad thing.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Day without an immigrant or a day without Latinos?

I'm a little miffed that the May 1, 2006 boycott is being called "A day without an immigrant." I think a better name would be "A day without a Latino." It seems to me the only immigrants that are calling for a boycott are Latinos.
Probably the biggest reason this bothers me is because my grandpa was an immigrant. He came to this country from Holland when he was 12 years old. He went through the proper channels and died as a U.S. citizen. There are no Caucasian Native Americans. All of us have immigrants in our heritage. The biggest difference I see, is that the majority of our immigrant ancestors came here legally.
My grandpa considered America his country. He learned English, even though it was not easy for him. He taught his children to love America. I never saw a Dutch flag in his hands. Did he love Holland? Yes! He talked with fondness about the canals and the flat country, however, the United States of America was his country.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hiking in the Swell

This past weekend I spent some time hiking in the San Rafael Swell in southeastern Utah. I went with a group of Scouts. We hiked up Ding Canyon and down Dang Canyon for a 5 mile loop hike. This was the most technical hike I've done in my life. We had to do some stemming to get over a couple of wet spots. This is also the first time I have ever been to this area of Utah or hiked slot canyons. The general area is beautiful.
Saturday morning we did the loop hike, then in the afternoon we went to Goblin Valley State Park. We did some hiking around this area and then did some Geocaching.
All in all it was a great trip.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

What's in a name?

The new commercials from Intermountain Healthcare are very annoying to me. They talk about how nothing in their service is affected by changing the name of their health insurance company to SelectHealth. From their own website, they say,
"This change is the result of nearly two years of extensive research and listening to members, physicians, community leaders, employers, and others to understand how they perceive our company," said Sid Paulson, president and CEO of SelectHealth. "Having a distinctive name will clarify our company's structure and ultimately make it easier for our customers to understand and access their health benefits."
They also go on to say that SelectHealth will continue to operate as part of Intermountain Healthcare.
So why change the name to SelectHealth? In my opinion, the name change is to try and get the citizens of Utah as well as the state elected officials to believe that Intermountain Healthcare does not have a monopoly on health care in Utah. The above quote states it quite well, "clarify our company's structure." Do they really think that their health plans are separate from their hospitals and doctors? Their health plans bring in money. As a part of Intermountain Healthcare, SelectHealth will continue to bring money to Intermountain Healthcare.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Expanding SL Airport #2 makes sense.

An article in Today's Salt Lake Tribune, (hat tip Utah Policy Daily) talks about expanding the runway at Salt Lake Airport No. 2.
A similar proposal was made about the Skypark Airport runway in Woods Cross when I was on the City Council. The proposal for Salt Lake Airport makes much more sense then the proposal for Skypark did. A few reasons are, surrounding roads in West Jordan would not need to be re-routed to accommodate the expansion, homes are not located within 100 feet of the current or expanded runway, and there is an area around Airport No. 2 that is better suited for commercial development.
Expanding the runway at Skypark didn't and still doesn't make sense. Doing the same thing at Salt Lake Airport No. 2 does make sense and has less impact on the surrounding area.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Why are citizens not involved?

Why do the majority of citizens not get involved in day to day politics unless the mainstream media picks up on an issue?
There are some city council members, mayors and city managers that would want you to believe that it is because citizens fully trust that their elected officials represent citizens views. I don't believe this is entirely true. I think if cities put their meeting agendas on the front page of their web-site, with links to elected official's e-mail addresses, input would increase dramatically. This wouldn't cost any extra tax money to implement. Most cities already post the agenda's for upcoming meetings, but, they usually bury them a few levels deep on their sites. Giving additional input to elected officials isn't a bad thing is it? Perhaps the majority of city council members in the state would rather do the citizen's work in a vacuum without citizen input.
In Woods Cross, we have a great tool that is, in my opinion, under utilized. We have a reader board in front of our City Hall. This would have been a great place for the city to put an announcement about the City Council work meeting that was held on April 11th. This work meeting was to discuss the plan for the Woods Cross Town Center development. Would it have been bad to receive citizen input at such a meeting?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Florida, yes. Davis County, no.

An article in Computerworld talks about Florida residents having their Social Security Numbers and other private information posted on county websites. In the article, Sue Baldwin (who is director of the Broward County, Florida Records Division) is quoted as saying, "Land records are public all over the country. This is not a new situation," said Baldwin, adding that the same issue affects "all the counties in Florida ... [and] lots of states."
I saw this and knowing that Davis County has property records available on-line, I decided to make sure that those records did not include my private information. I went to Davis County's website and did a lookup for my property and could not find my private information. I'll sleep better tonight.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Every vote counts, except possibly yours!

An article from Computerworld says that a voter registration database system in California may prevent eligible voters from voting in a June 6th statewide election.
"For example, 14,629 out of 34,064 voter registration forms - or 43% - were "kicked out," or rejected, in Los Angeles County between Jan. 1 and March 15. Such results have election officials statewide fearing that the new registration system will bump eligible voters from the voter rolls."
43% of possible voters not being able to vote should be a huge issue.
The registration database was mandated by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The law requires that each state establish a centralized voter registration database. How come lots of things associated with HAVA seem to make it harder for America to vote?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Do you want a waste transfer site in your backyard?

The following quote is from the minutes of the March 7th, 2006, Woods Cross City Council meeting. It is talking about Council Member Rick Earnshaw who represents the city on the Board of Directors of the Wasatch Integrated Waste District.
"He then discussed with the City Council the possibility of locating a waste transfer site within the boundaries of Woods Cross City. He noted that there had been long term negotiations with Centerville City which is more centrally located in South Davis County for the transfer station but they had been unable to find a site that was agreeable to all."
"The city staff said that they would look at the land available in Woods Cross that would be appropriate for a waste transfer station and report back to the City Council at a future meeting."
So how would you like to have a waste transfer facility located in Woods Cross? I personally wouldn't want one near my house. There is an interesting page on the US EPA website that talks about waste transfer stations. The page is at One interesting quote from the page states, "Although waste transfer stations help reduce the impacts of trucks traveling to and from the disposal site, they can cause an increase in traffic in the immediate area where they are located. If not properly sited, designed and operated they can cause problems for residents living near them."
I think the idea would be to try and have a waste transfer station located near the railroad tracks. With the amount of residential growth recently put near the railroad tracks in Woods Cross, I think it would be hard to find a site that would not cause problems for residents living near it. Also, don't we already have enough large truck traffic in our city with all of the refineries in our area? I encourage you to call the city council members and let them know how you feel about this issue. I provided phone numbers in a previous post.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Davis County voting machines are OK

An article from today's Davis County Clipper, says that the Davis County Clerk has no concerns about the electronic voting machines. According to the article he says, "Our IT (computer) people have looked at the machines; they are very secure." Working in IT, there is no way I would ever tell my government that any computer is very secure. There are two reasons that I wouldn't say this. First, I know enough about computers to know that they can never be completely secure. There will always be a chance of compromise. Second, if something does go wrong, you know the first person that is going to need to polish up their resume will be the IT person that said the machine was very secure.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Davis County, the place to live!

Kudos to the Davis County Commission for voting against the $10 motor-vehicle registration fee increase. In an article in today's Deseret Morning News it says, "Council members agreed on the wisdom of buying land now, but said the state is in charge of obtaining land for and building state roads, and the counties shouldn't get stuck with the bill." Way to avoid the trap placed by the state. They are attempting to balance their budget by having the counties come up with a large sum to help buy property for future roads.
Why should the counties have to foot the bill when historically property for state roads has been paid for by the state? This just doesn't make sense, especially in a year when the state is dealing with such a large surplus.

I want to live in Saint Woods Cross

On the front page of the WX website (at the time of this writing) it says:
City Beatification
It then talks about a gardening class on April 4th. What does beatification have to do with gardening? The definition of beatification (from is "The act of beatifying, or the state of being beatified; esp., in the R. C. Church, the act or process of ascertaining and declaring that a deceased person is one of "the blessed," or has attained the second degree of sanctity, -- usually a stage in the process of canonization." So look for Saint Woods Cross in the near future.
What should have been there is beautification. This means the act of making something more beautiful.
Since somebody from City Hall reads my blog regularly, I'm sure it will be changed soon after I post this, so I'm including a screenshot since the mistake actually brought a smile to my face.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It's a conspiracy!

An article in today's Deseret Morning News talks about the Emery County clerk causing problems by having election machines tested by an independent election security firm. My burning question is, What is Diebold afraid of? The majority of reports about these election machines is that there have been problems with them in other states. So now a county clerk has some questions and has an "independent" firm test them and it voids the warranty? What?
Apparently, it voids the warranty because he allowed "the machines to be tested by somebody unaffiliated with the state elections office or Diebold Elections Systems."
Well guess what, I'm unaffiliated with the state elections office. I'm also not affiliated with Diebold Elections Systems. If all goes as currently planned, I'll be testing at least one of these machines on election day. Does that mean that the warranty will be voided on that machine? I sure hope not! If Diebold Elections Systems expects every voter to do exactly what the software expects them to, I have serious concerns about their software programming ability. Every GOOD software programmer knows that the best way to test software is to have somebody not familiar with the software or programming test it.
Watch out Davis County, the warranty on your election machines may be voided on election day by all those people "testing them" who are not affiliated with the state elections office or Diebold Elections Systems.

Friday, March 24, 2006

It's not just Utah

Apparently local government types are the same all over the country. This link shows an e-mail exchange between a CentOS developer and the City Manager of Tuttle, Oklahoma. In my experience, city managers hear what they want to hear. Funny thing is, my kids do the same thing.

Who ya gonna call?

An article in Tuesday's Davis County Clipper talks about the Woods Cross High School swimming team coach, Susie Earnshaw, being upset about an extended closure of the Recreation Center. This closure was discussed many times while I was still on the council. Susie's husband Rick even questioned why the closure had to take place during the swim team season.
There is an easy solution for all the Woods Cross High School swim team members and their parents. Call the South Davis Recreation District Board Member who represents Woods Cross City. At this time it is Jerry Larrabee. His home phone number according to DexOnline is 801-292-3968. If that doesn't get you anywhere, call each member of the Woods Cross City Council. After all, that's what it means to have a representative government. They are there to represent the people of their city. For your convenience, currently the members of the city council are (home phone numbers from DexOnline):
Don Moore - 801-295-2713
Jon Hadlow - 801-292-6024
Rick Earnshaw - 801-292-0737
Jennifer Decker - 801-294-0930
Tamra Dayley - 801-295-6704

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Switch to a Democrat?

So I was invited by a comment made to my blog to attend the Democratic Precinct caucus. I felt I should address why I'm not a member of the Democratic Party. I will do this by referencing the Democratic State Party Platform.
Let me begin by saying that I really do believe that those in the Democratic Party who are not on the far left, have ideals and beliefs that are not that far from mine.
The Democratic State Party Platform states, "Utah Democrats believe all children have the right to a quality public education and that providing that education is one of the primary responsibilities of state government." I believe providing education for children should be one of the primary responsibilities of their parents. I believe this is where a big failure in our society exists. It further says, "We support rational education reform based on quality research which must be developed and implemented by educators in concert with parents, along with business, community, and higher education leaders." I think that is backwards. Why not have it developed and implemented by parents, in concert with educators? If I and my spouse have not been the primary influence in my child's education, is the sin upon the head of my government?
The platform concludes with the following, "The Utah Democratic Party is a party of inclusion and diversity, encouraging the participation of people with differing opinions and backgrounds. We embrace diversity as a source of strength in our community rather than a reason for division. As such, we respect the individual conscience of each Utahn on the issues presented in this platform and welcome the participation of all Utahns within the Democratic Party." Great! We're all just one big happy family. So why are you not a Republican? What things do you disagree with in the Republican Party Platform?

Friday, March 17, 2006

My experience at my precinct caucus meeting

Two years ago I attended my Republican Party precinct caucus meeting. I had attended previous caucuses, but this was my first as part of the WX05 precinct. The meeting was held at Woods Cross Elementary School. The state party platform was read and then from there the meeting was completely different from any one that I had been to previously. The majority of the precinct members attend the same LDS Church Ward. Since I'm not a member of that ward, I can't say for sure what happened, but, it appeared to me that a lot of the campaigning for the chair and delegate positions had taken place in that LDS Ward meetings. Nominations were made, then votes were cast. No time was given for the candidates to give a speech about why they should be elected. Now, do you think I'm excited to participate in this year's precinct caucus meeting? Maybe I'll send spies to their church meetings Sunday to see what goes on.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Do political bloggers need federal protection?

There was an interesting article on ZDNet yesterday titled "Political bloggers may get federal protection." One small quote from the article states:
"Bloggers should be treated no different from talk radio," said Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, a California Democrat. "Talk radio hosts have protections under the First Amendment. While I may disagree with their positions on the issues of the day, I will nonetheless fight for their right to speak their mind."
It will be great if this legislation actually passes. I don't think most political bloggers are out to intentionally break federal election laws. I think most of us just like to comment about what we see in the world around us, and our interest happens to be in politics.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

When to use eminent domain?

When should a city use eminent domain? That is one of the toughest questions a city council must deal with. A Deseret Morning News article talks about Provo using eminent domain for a performing arts center. This may be allowed by law, but, is it good public policy? I believe there are very few times when a city should even threaten the use of eminent domain. Using eminent domain for the health and safety of it's citizens is a good use of it. Using the threat of eminent domain to coerce someone into selling their property is, in my opinion, always a bad idea.
What constitutes threatening eminent domain? I don't know the legal definition, but, if I personally received a letter from an attorney stating something along the lines of:

Dear Mr. Van Ry,
Woods Cross City needs to acquire property owned by you for the purpose of providing access to the city park. It is the desire of the City to obtain your property through negotiation rather than filing a condemnation proceeding.
Please respond within 30 days to complete this transaction.

I would feel that the city was threatening eminent domain. I believe most reasonable people would also feel the same way.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What's in a Name?

An article in the Deseret Morning News says that UTA will unveil the name for their commuter-rail line tomorrow. In the article, UTA says they ruled out Wasatch Area Rapid Transit because it could be shortened to WART. Let's hope they don't call it Wasatch Front Area Rapid Transit. W-FART is much worse then WART. Since it runs the entire length of Davis County, I say we call it Davis Area Rapid Transit or DART. Mayor Rocky Anderson probably wouldn't like that. Maybe we should call it the Rocky Rocket, except, Davis County commuters probably wouldn't ride it then. Coming up with a name for commuter-rail isn't as easy as it seems.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ethics are ok for you, not for me.

Well, the legislative session has ended. Our state legislators apparently think it's ok to impose ethics restrictions on others but not on themselves. This session ended with them passing SB108, which is titled "Ethics in Dental Advertising," however, they failed to pass HB94, titled "Ban on Gifts to Elected Officials." They also failed to pass HB101, titled "Lobbyist Gift Limits and Disclosure." Apparently they think that Dentists have a harder time with ethics then state legislators do. (I believe it takes more schooling to be a dentist, than a state legislator.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What's the impact?

I have blogged here before about HB012. It passed today. So what will the impact be of these changes? I believe only time will tell. Speaking of time, the legislative session is running short on it. As usual, the session will end tomorrow night with many bills left not receiving action.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Waste of time

Is there not enough important work to do at the legislature? I really think in the future that somebody needs to crack down on what I think are foolish bills. HB214 is one example. Do we really want our state lawmakers spending time on worrying about a state reptile? I believe this bill was proposed to help teach some 4th graders about the lawmaking process. As the father of a 4th grader, I have a better idea. Do some research about a bill that could affect them in their lives, such as HB012. Give them some ideas how it may impact them. Then have them vote as a class if they think they should support the bill or not. Then have them lobby the position that the class voted for. This way our lawmakers don't have to spend valuable time debating bills that in 5 years really won't matter. I also think that our students will get a much better understanding as to how lawmaking really works. I don't believe our lawmakers debate a state reptile with the same tenacity as they do GRAMA.

Friday, February 24, 2006

History is important, even if you didn't like it in high school.

I just read an article in today's Deseret Morning News about Tom Tolman wanting to find a place to permanently house Bountiful City's history museum. I think this is a very worthy goal. Many of this nation's great leaders have understood the importance of preserving historical items.
One part of this article troubled me though. Mayor Joe Johnson is quoted as saying, "If you don't have money, it's just a dream," Johnson said. "I mean you can talk about a lot of things, but if you don't have money, you're just wasting oxygen and my time."
I know it's possible that the reporter took this quote out of context, however, I still wonder if Mayor Joe would have liked the other City Councils in South Davis County to have said the same thing when he came pitching his idea about a South Davis Recreation Center. Instead of saying "Go find the money for it, then we'll listen." Many of the City Council members at the time saw that Mayor Joe's dream could become a reality.
I encourage all elected officials of this state to realize how important it is to preserve history.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Continental Divide

Most people think of the Continental Divide as a line that runs south through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. I'm beginning to think that our country has a bigger division then this. This is the division between the right and the left. It seems to me that the more extreme the left gets by doing things such as supporting civil unions for gay couples, the right pulls to the right even more. I think at a previous time in this country that the lines between a democrat and a republican were pretty blurred. Now it seems that there is no middle ground, kind of like green beans, you either like them or hate them. The bad part of this is that the good debate that really needs to happen in our country never seems to occur. Too much time is spent looking for the bad in people. Maybe we all need to look for the good in everyone and see what happens with our country. Do I really think that will happen? No. There is too much money to be made doing things the other way.

Monday, February 20, 2006

New sofas for everyone!

The Utah Amicus is reporting that Phil Riesen will officially announce his candidacy for Utah State House seat 36 on Wednesday. Maybe John Paras will allow him to give legislative updates in their commercials if he is elected. If he gets elected, watch for the house chambers to be sporting new sofas!

Does this make sense to anyone?

Rep. Steve Urquhart is doing a live blog today. In this, he talks about the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee discussing SB98, Safety Belt Enforcement Amendments. He mentions all the different groups speaking in favor of approving the bill, such as: AAA, UDOT, PTA, Primary Children's and the Highway Patrol. He doesn't mention anyone speaking against the bill. He then mentions that the motion to pass the bill fails 6-4.
Am I the only one that finds this amazing? At least five major groups speak in favor of a bill with nobody mentioned as opposing the bill and the bill fails? Maybe the committee had further information that Rep. Urquhart didn't mention. Maybe one of the six who voted against it would like to clue us in on why? Maybe we will get more information when the minutes of the committee are posted.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Is media the only "killer bees?"

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune talks about Senator Howard Stephenson from Draper who referenced a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The quote is from the April 1990 General Conference of the Church. It is: "Our generation is afflicted with critics in the media who think they do a great and clever thing in mercilessly attacking men and women in public office and in other positions of leadership.They are prone to take a line or a paragraph out of context and pursue their prey like a swarm of killer bees. They lash out with invective and snide innuendo against those who have no effective way of fighting back or who, in the spirit of the teachings of the Master, prefer to turn the other cheek and go forward with their lives."
This made me wonder a couple of things.
First, is the media the only people who go after someone "like a swarm of killer bees?" Maybe the politicians in our state should look inside themselves to see if they are guilty of the same thing. My guess is that they would find times when they have also taken a line or a paragraph out of context, and then gone after their prey like a swarm of killer bees. Maybe there has been a line or a paragraph that was accidentally or unintentionally incorrect. Have those same politicians then also gone after their prey like a swarm of killer bees? President Hinckley also said in his talk, "We live in a world where there is so much of harshness. We live in a world filled with hostility and meanness. By reason of our human natures, so many seem prone to act with unmitigated selfishness regardless of injury to others." We would all do better if we did not act in such a way.
Second, it made me wonder if Senator Stephenson felt the same way about the media when it was going after President Bill Clinton like a swarm of killer bees after his impeachment. If we truly feel this way about the media, we must feel this way even if they are attacking someone not of our same political persuasion.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What does V7ndotcom Elursrebmem mean?

So I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a SEO contest. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimizers. They make money by getting companies' web-sites to rank higher on a Google search term. So one guy came up with a contest that will award a prize to the website owner of the site that is at the top of the Google search results after a four month period. He came up with the term V7ndotcom Elursebmem which is the name of his company and then members rule spelled backwards without the space. Of course, I had to go to Google and enter the term and see what came up. The most interesting website that came up is titled V7ndotcom Elursrebmem for Celiac charity. I've decided to place a link to this site on my blog, just for kicks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Does my inaction make me look bad?

An article in today's Deseret Morning News says that the Senate is struggling with HB101. This is the bill about lobbyist gift limits and disclosure. Senate President John Valentine is quoted in the article as saying he doesn't know if there would be any action on this issue this session. In my opinion, not acting on a piece of legislation is just as bad as voting against legislation that should be passed. As I've said before, if the perception of the constituents is that lobbyists have more influence then they do, (recent surveys indicate constituents believe this) drastic changes MUST be made.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Privacy. Who needs it?

An article in yesterday's Salt Lake Tribune talks about HB429. This bill would impose restrictions on any over-the-counter drug that contains ingredients which can be used to make meth. The article quotes Reid Barker of the Utah Pharmacists Association as saying that the bill may be a breach of customer's privacy rights. The article also quotes Rep. Mike Morley from Spanish Fork (the sponsor of the bill) as saying: "We need to do anything we can to help fight this dreadful curse on society." So is the dreadful curse on society meth or customer's privacy rights? I believe that meth is a problem that needs to be dealt with, however, not at the expense of privacy. Our legislators seem to be very concerned about privacy, at least when it's their privacy. They passed HB258 which makes drastic changes to how the public can contact OUR legislators. I'm glad their privacy is important to them, I hope my privacy is just as important to them.

Friday, February 10, 2006

First lawsuit filed

ZDNet is reporting that a lawsuit has been filed challenging the new e-annoyance law. The law, among other things, states:
"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."
So does this mean I'm guilty, if I post my comments on someone else's blog with the intent to annoy that person. This law can have some broad implications. I can see some good points and bad points with this law. I definitely would not want someone to keep sending me an e-mail over and over with the intent to annoy me. However, I'm not so sure that a law against that is a good thing. Do we really want to dictate through legislation what can and cannot be done? Maybe some people need that.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Is Hatch unbeatable?

I really wish that there was a good Republican opponent running against Orrin Hatch this year. I don't think there are enough Republicans in Utah who are willing to vote for a Democrat to unseat Hatch. I think the only way that Hatch will be replaced is when he decides it's time to not run again.
I believe that change is a good thing. I think when any politician is in their position too long, they tend to not listen to what their constituents want. So why could Hatch be unbeatable? Money. It all comes down to how much money he can raise to put on a huge campaign. Let's face it, Hatch has lots of friends with very deep pockets that want to make sure he stays in his powerful position.

Filtering Comments

I have turned on Comment moderation. Please note that I do not allow comments from anonymous users. If I can't track your comment to a real person, I will not approve it for posting. This only seems fair as I don't post anonymously.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Why won't Doug Wright run for office?

So what's the biggest reason Doug Wright won't run for office? He won't run for office because of his job. Any opposing candidate would be able to have lots of sound bites on many subjects that could make Doug Wright look bad. Could you imagine having to defend everything you've ever said on the job during a campaign? Doug Wright could make a very good candidate because his constituents would know his position on lots of issues. In comparison, many candidates choose just a few issues and let their positions known on those issues.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Did cities get the message of SB170?

There's an article in today's Salt Lake Tribune which says that Sen. Mansell is going to tone down SB170. That's a good thing. Any bill that makes only one side happy and one side upset is not a good compromise. This bill as it is currently written made developers almost giddy. It made cities throughout the state act like rabid dogs.
It will be interesting to see how it is re-written. The article says that the revised bill will still "force local governments to strictly follow land-use ordinances and zoning master plans." I think this part could come back to bite developers.
Let me give a real-world example. Woods Cross adopted a master plan not all that long ago that called for large lots with lots of green space between 2425 South and 1500 South, west of Redwood Road. That same master plan called for the area south of 2425 South to the city border, west of Redwood Road, to be industrial area. The ink had barely dried on that master plan when we had developers coming asking to put in higher density housing between 2425 South and 1500 South. As a city council member at the time, I would love to have said to the developers (Ivory Homes and Development Associates), sorry, we can't do that because we have to strictly follow our master plan that we have adopted. Instead, we worked with them to come up with something that was good for them and for Woods Cross City.
The fact is, developers, aren't always turned down by the cities of Utah. There are numerous times where city councils work with developers to have a good compromise. Is forcing a city to strictly follow the master plan always a good idea?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Get paid to murder?

So HB63 is sailing through approvals, as it should. This bill would make it so that a person who commits murder would not have claim to the estate of the victim. An article in yesterday's Deseret Morning News states "The potential is huge. Such a loophole could be used by a convicted murderer to heap even more pain on a victim's family by dragging them through yet another trial." I agree. This loophole needs to be closed. It appears that this is going to happen as the bill has received no opposition so far.

Remove Sales Tax on Food?

Why are some people in the State Senate so hesitant to remove the sales tax on food? Maybe it's because the municipal governments of Utah are a powerful lobbying force. The ULCT (among others) raised concerns recently that removing the sales tax on food might hurt bond ratings in some cities. My opinion on this matter is that cities are afraid to raise property taxes. They would much rather keep the sales tax on food, then give up the money and go to property owners and say we need x amount of dollars to function. Some other ways that cities make these increases without raising property taxes is to implement other taxes (for example a telecommunications tax). Why does it seem like local officials in Utah are afraid to go to their residents and say "We have this amount budgeted for the following services. In order to accomplish this, we have to cut back some of these services or raise your property taxes by X%." I believe that Utah residents are well educated enough to know whether they should cut back on certain services or pay more in property taxes to fund those services that they deem important. It has been said by many people recently that Utah's tax system is in need of an overhaul. An overhaul to me doesn't mean change a little here and a little there. An overhaul means major changes all across the board.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Show some Skin, get a link!

Utah Policy Daily today linked to a post by another blogger. What struck me as interesting is this post is about an event that happened three years ago. This wasn't an event that everbody remembers where they were when they heard about it (except those involved). It was a peace demonstration with naked women. So why did UPD think it was interesting enough to post in their blog watch? Who knows. Maybe peace is an interesting topic. Or maybe it's because naked people and their pictures seem to attract attention.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Government Employment is Great

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune talks about West Bountiful's new mayor firing the police chief, Mike Wright. Wright is quoted in the article as saying: "I asked for an explanation, and he didn't give me one," [Wright] said. "I'm 52 and I've never been fired before." Welcome to being a department head in the government realm. There are mayoral elections at least every four years in every Utah city. With those elections comes the chance of an administration change. With that administration change comes the chance of a department head being replaced. If you don't like this, then maybe you're better suited for a job in the private sector. Keep in mind though, even in the private sector, job changes are made and department heads are replaced.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Trust the Voters!

Why do elected officials not trust the voters that elected them? There are currently two Senate Bills at the state legislature that deal with, in my opinion, not trusting the voters. S.B. 47 and S.B. 156 both remove rights from the general populace. Apparently our Senators trust us enough to elect THEM, but not enough to believe we will elect the right person in the future.
My belief is if somebody wants to be elected to a position, ANY position, they should get out and campaign amongst their constituents. Knock on doors. Talk to people. Hold cottage meetings. I know these may be novel ideas to many elected officials, but, guess what people? IT WORKS!
In the meantime, the people who at one time trusted their constituents to elect them, should trust their constituents to elect others.
Senators, say NO to S.B. 47 and S.B. 156!

Friday, January 20, 2006

HB101 small step in right direction

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune discusses House Bill 101, titled "Lobbyist Gift Limits and Disclosure." This bill would require lobbyists (which is not a four-letter word) to disclose any gift over $5 given to legislators. As I mentioned in a previous post, if the public perception is that lobbyists have more influence than constituents, then changes must be made. This bill takes a small step in that direction. Rep. Dave Cox (R) - Lehi is quoted in the article as saying: "I have not seen a problem up here in this state at all." I wonder what state he was in when he said that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

GRAMA's fine

I read through HB0012 and I don't think it's a good piece of legislation. Having been on a City Council previously, I've personally seen GRAMA (Government Records Access and Management Act) in real world use. I think that the way GRAMA is currently written, is just fine. Currently it provides the proper protection to government with also allowing the public to know what is going on in "their" government. Remember we are supposed to have a government "for the people". The changes suggested by this legislation will, in my opinion, only provide more protection for government officials that may want to hide things from the public.
Some things such as GRAMA are best left the way they are. Would you really want to change your grandma?