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.