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?