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.)