Friday, December 28, 2007

What to expect for 2008?

What things can we expect as citizens of Woods Cross during 2008? Some of the things that will happen as well as my comments about how they will impact us are listed below.

1) More homes built west of Redwood Road. There are several subdivisions that are being built now that will continue to grow throughout 2008. With more residents means more needs for water, and fire and police protection. This will put an increased demand on the city budget.

2) Menlove Toyota moving temporarily to Bountiful City. The car dealerships in Woods Cross provide a large sales tax base for the city budget. Larry Miller's Bountiful dealership moved to their new location by I-15 in West Bountiful this week. Wes Johnson (owner of Menlove) is going to be remodeling the Menlove dealership that exists in Woods Cross on Highway 89. In order to facilitate this remodel, the Toyota dealership will be moving to the old Larry Miller dealership building on Highway 89 in Bountiful. What does this mean for Woods Cross residents? Our city coffers will take a big hit during the time Menlove Toyota is located outside of Woods Cross, as the municipal portion of the sales tax collected by Menlove during that time will go to Bountiful City.

3) Completion of Front Runner. The commuter rail is scheduled to be up and running in the spring of 2008. This could bring an increase of traffic to the 500 South area. Many Woods Cross residents already avoid 500 South since CostCo opened. Adding traffic to this already congested area can't be good for our city.

4) Completion of Legacy Parkway. The Legacy Parkway is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2008. When this opens, it could help with the traffic congestion on 500 South. During the commuting hours, several people use 500 South to drive between Redwood Road and I-15. If those living north of Woods Cross have an alternate route, they may not use 500 South as much. The other plus for Woods Cross could come in that the vacant land that exists North of 500 South and East of Redwood Road could turn into a viable commercial area. Woods Cross could use the additional sales tax money that could come from such a commercial development.

All in all, it will be interesting to watch how our City Council deals with these many changes that will be coming to our city. All of these changes will continue to impact each of us who call Woods Cross home.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I appreciate the snowplow drivers!

With all the storms lately, I've been thinking about the snowplow drivers and how under-appreciated they are. How many of us would have been able to make it to our destinations on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day if the snowplow drivers hadn't been out taking care of clearing the roads? Most of the time we take it for granted that the roads will be clear shortly after the storm. Did any of us think about how many people had to be away from their families on Christmas Eve because they were out clearing snow from the roads so that we could be with our families?
Thanks to all the snowplow drivers who gave up their Christmas Eve so that I could make it to my destination safely! I appreciate it!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Give to someone less fortunate.

It is the giving time of year. Many of us in Woods Cross are living in favorable circumstances. There are some in our city, however, who won't be able to provide a Merry Christmas for their families. I encourage any of you who read this blog, and have the means available, to look around and see if there isn't a family or two who may be less fortunate than yours that you could help out in some way.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Merriam-Webster has announced their word of the year for 2007! The winning word is w00t! Some of you may have no idea what the word w00t means or when it might be used. If you've spent much time in irc (internet relay chat) or with online gaming, you've probably seen the word and maybe even used it.
The Merriam-Webster website says of w00t, "This year's winning word first became popular in competitive online gaming forums as part of what is known as l33t ("leet," or "elite") speak—an esoteric computer hacker language in which numbers and symbols are put together to look like letters. Although the double "o" in the word is usually represented by double zeroes, the exclamation is also known to be an acronym for "we owned the other team"—again stemming from the gaming community." It also goes on to list other words in the top ten words of 2007 as voted on by visitors to their website.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Water rights a very hot issue

An article in the Deseret Morning News talks about the fight that Roosevelt is having right now to be able to use water that they have a right to use. When I was on the City Council, Weber Basin Water wanted to drill a well located on city property. I got more phone calls on this issue than on any other single issue that came before the council. Water rights are still an extremely touchy subject in the state of Utah. This lawsuit that Roosevelt is involved in could easily affect every city in the state. Should our city give some of our money to help fight this battle?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Keep the proper perspective.

With the recent shootings at the mall in Omaha, Nebraska, I think it is always important to remind oneself to keep the proper perspective. I also thought of this due to a post a friend of mine made. He said that the comment "it's just a job" surprised him. It sounds to me like that comment is coming from someone who has kept the proper perspective. We need to remember that our jobs are "just a job." Politics are just politics. We all need to keep the proper perspective. The things that really matter in life should be first and foremost, our families. Everything else should come after that. Did you tell your kids, your spouse, or your parents that you love them before you left your house this morning? If you didn't, then maybe it's time for you to re-evaluate your perspective.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Here comes an increase

I had a moment of inspiration during my lunch break today. I decided to write a song. These lyrics should be sung to the tune of "Here comes Santa Claus."

Here comes an increase, here comes an increase,
To our garbage fees
Decker and Earnshaw and even Mayor
Want us recycling
Yuppies are singin', seniors moanin'
Jennie is happy and bright
Pay your fees and say your prayers
'Cause fees're increasing tonight!

Does curbside recycling make sense?

The Woods Cross City Council will vote on implementing curbside recycling tonight. I have this nagging thought that I believe decisions to implement curbside recycling are more emotion based than science based. I decided to do a search on the Internet about the science of recycling and found a great blog post about it. You can find that blog post at One of the most fascinating quotes from that blog post is, "Face it, most government decisions are based on gut feel, ideology or political expediency, not on dispassionate technical or economic analysis." I found this to be overwhelmingly the case when I was on the council. How different would your decisions be if you based them on "dispassionate technical or economic analysis?" Our council must do a feasibility study before implementing UTOPIA, but, not before implementing recycling. Why the double standard?

Friday, November 30, 2007

When is a taser appropriate?

Taser use by police officers has received a lot of attention recently due to Jared Massey posting a video on YouTube of himself getting tasered by a Utah Highway Patrol trooper after being pulled over for allegedly speeding. I have watched the entire video that was posted on YouTube. I can honestly say that there were some bad decisions made by both individuals. I can also say that if this were to be fought in court with a jury, there is no way, in my opinion, that they could find Jared Massey guilty of speeding. It is clearly shown in the video that the Trooper's cruiser could have been hiding the speed limit sign as Jared's vehicle passed. That's not what this post is intended to be about.

The trooper could have easily defused the situation early on by answering Jared's questions. I thought law enforcement officers were trained to defuse situations as quickly as possible. That didn't happen in this case. This trooper also lied to the backup officer that arrived on the scene. He claimed that he told Jared to put his hands behind his back or else he would get tasered. In the video, you can clearly hear that he never said that. That's also not what this post is about.

This post is about when it is appropriate to use a taser. The manufacturer of the X26 tasers used by Woods Cross Police Officers states on their website "It is properly the responsibility of each agency to set their own policy based upon their community standards and the totality of the circumstances for any use-of-force." How convenient for them. I'm sure this removes a great deal of liability from them as a company.

So when should a taser be used? I was on the City Council when Woods Cross decided to purchase the X26 tasers, we were told by our Police Chief, Paul Howard, that a taser offers a good alternative to an officer using their firearm. If that is the case, the UHP Trooper should not have used the taser on Jared Massey. Would the trooper have been justified in killing Mr. Massey in that instance? I don't believe so. From what I have seen on the video, it seems to me that Jared Massey was just trying to get a simple explanation about his alleged crime. Remember, in this country, you are supposedly innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Unfortunately, I think some in the law enforcement community have forgotten that fact.

In my opinion, a taser should not be used as a substitute for using pepper spray or a nightstick. A taser should be used in cases where the alternative is the officer using his firearm. During my tenure as a city council member, I was shocked and saddened to be watching the news one day and learned that we had a Woods Cross Police Officer shoot and kill a suspect of a violent crime. The suspect was unarmed, however, he was attempting to get at the officer's firearm. In that case, it would have been a good argument to use a taser and the suspect may have lived to have his day in court. Unfortunately, our officers didn't carry tasers at the time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Woods Cross could learn a lot from West Valley City

I was recently looking at West Valley City's re-designed web site. I was quite impressed by it. You may look at the first page and think "That's not much better than what Woods Cross has." I thought the same thing when just looking at the front page, but, then I dug deeper. One place where their web site leaves Woods Cross City's in the dust is in their City Council Agendas and Minutes page. If you click on one of the dates at that page, it has a "Supporting Documents" area. This is great stuff! It gives the public more information than just an agenda item.

Another thing that is great about West Valley's web site that I've previously mentioned wanting to see Woods Cross do, is West Valley posts their budget online for the residents to see. Why doesn't Woods Cross post the budget for all to see? It makes you wonder if there is something they are wanting to hide. E-mail your mayor and city council members and let them know you want to see the budget posted on the web site.

These are two great things that West Valley has done with their web site. Woods Cross could serve our citizens much better by doing similar things with our web site.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Is it too early for Christmas Hymns?

The Christmas season officially kicked off on Friday, except at my church. I attended my church, as I usually do, on Sunday and we sang one Christmas song in three hours of meetings. What I found very interesting about this is that one of the footnotes of our Priesthood lesson on Sunday said, "Just as hymns are essential to Sabbath and family worship, so are hymns and carols to Christmas."

Is it too early to begin singing Christmas hymns in November? Do we have to actually be in the month of December to sing Christmas hymns? If that were the theory, then one would think we would sing patriotic hymns the whole month of July, but, we usually sing patriotic hymns only if Independence Day falls on a Sunday.

The commercial side of Christmas begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Why shouldn't the spiritual side of Christmas begin on the Sunday after Thanksgiving with singing Christmas hymns in church? Did you sing Christmas hymns in your ward on Sunday? If so, are there nice homes for sale in your ward boundaries?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Notice I said Thanksgiving and not turkey day. This is a day designated to give thanks to God for all the many blessings we enjoy.

I am thankful for my good health and my family. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Newscast or hour-long commercial?

I watched Fox 13 News at Nine the other night and got the feeling that it was an hour-long commercial instead of a newscast. It seemed like the anchors were giving teasers to stories for most of the program and then telling viewers, "To see more on this story visit our website, MyFoxUtah and enter the keywords..." This happened with at least the first five stories on the newscast that night. It was really annoying.

So what should a newscast use their website for? In my opinion, they should use their website for extra information that can't fit in the newscast. For example, they do an interview of someone and then have to edit that interview down to fit in a 3 - 4 minute piece. They could easily have the full interview on the website. Or they have a poll done and then in the newscast, give the highlights of the poll and then have the full results of the poll on the website. It lessens the value of the newscast though to just have it be a teaser for the website.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Today in 1863

President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19th 1863. In it he said, "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." The world does remember what President Lincoln said there that day, but, let us also never forget what the occasion was.

President Lincoln gave the speech at the dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery. The civil war was still in progress and many soldiers would still lose their lives. I have been to that great battlefield in Gettysburg. There is a special feeling there where so many gave their lives. Let us, on this day, remember the sacrifices that those soldiers made to make this country great. Let us never forget the final words of the Gettysburg Address, "that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What do you long for?

Those of you who know me, know that I enjoy geocaching. I recently read about a new geocache that was placed called B.E.R.R. - Bountiful. This cache has some history about the Bamberger Railroad. This got me thinking about how things were in the Woods Cross that I grew up in.

I remember walking to Irv's Market to spend my allowance. I remember riding my bike on many dirt trails that wound through the city. I remember watching one of the farmers drive his tractor up and down 800 West after his farm had been turned into a subdivision. I long for those days when time really didn't matter as long as you made it home in time for dinner. Many times I long for the "good ol' days."

What do you long for?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Who really makes the Boy Scouts of America work?

In yesterday's Deseret Morning News there was a lengthy article about the salaries of the executives of the Boy Scouts of America organization. I personally had no idea that the executives of an organization that I was personally involved in made so much money. The Great Salt Lake Council's Scout executive, Paul Moore, pulls in a salary of $194,458.00 and benefits of $19,544.00, according to the article. The money isn't what bothered me the most about the article, though. What bothered me the most about this article was the seemingly pompous attitude of the executives that were quoted. Mr. Moore was quoted as saying, "If I were not making that salary here, I would probably be making a larger salary in the BSA somewhere else." Mr. Moore, I'm more than convinced that there are several just as qualified individuals here in Utah that would do your job at half the salary.

Now maybe it's time for a wake-up call to Mr. Moore. I think he needs to realize that if it weren't for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Boy Scouts of America would never have 3 districts in the state of Utah. Maybe it's time for the LDS Church to implement it's own scouting program in the USA like they do in other countries.

The article also goes on to note that the Friends of Scouting fund-raising drive pays for a majority of the large salaries. I found it interesting that Utah is the only place where units have quotas. I know that I personally will adjust my contributions in the future in light of this article. I will give to my own troop directly, instead of contributing to the Friends of Scouting.

To my original question, the Boy Scouts of America would fail miserably if it weren't for the dedication and support of the thousands of volunteers who give so much of their time to help boys.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Woods Cross Council must act on UTOPIA

I have become aware of a bill that will be discussed during the upcoming state legislative session. The bill is titled "MUNICIPAL ENTITIES AND CABLE OR TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES." This bill in its current form would cause some major hurtles for any city that wanted to join UTOPIA. It was supposed to be discussed in the Government Competition and Privatization Subcommittee interim meeting yesterday. The committee decided to "have staff work on modifying this bill so that it is more acceptable to all parties involved." They also said that they will discuss it again during the legislative session.
The major issue that I see with this proposed bill as it's currently written is that it takes decision making powers away from our local elected officials. It says that a municipality must hold two public hearings, instead of the one currently required. It also says that the city must hold an election to let the voters decide on whether to join the entity. Currently, the law says that a council may hold an election.
The changes to the bill also place limits on cities joining a municipal entity such as UTOPIA. Any city that has not joined UTOPIA by May 5, 2008, will have to pay for the state auditor to issue an audit report of UTOPIA stating that UTOPIA has had a positive net operating income for at least one year, among other things.
I have two major questions about the changes to this bill.
1) How would our City Council members feel if similar restrictions had been placed on the formation of the South Davis Recreation District? (I've already mentioned in a previous post, that the South Davis Recreation Center competes with private industry.)
2) How would our State Legislature feel if our national government leaders placed similar restrictions on their actions?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The citizens have spoken!

If somebody felt like this blog actually influences things in Woods Cross, yesterday's election results should convince them otherwise. The results from the 2007 Woods Cross City Council election are listed below. The top three will be members of the City Council beginning 01 January 2008.

Rick Earnshaw1029
Jill Hadley Evans895
David C Hill855
Ryan Westergard840
Gary A Sharp826
Cory Green332
Write-in Votes31

You'll notice that two of my bottom three choices made it in. Congratulations to all the winners. Keep doing those things that have made Woods Cross the great city that it is today. I'd also like to repeat something I said on this blog almost two years ago. The city of Woods Cross has some of the lowest taxes and fees in Davis County, however, they did not get this way without a lot of hard work. Previous city leaders made decisions that would keep these taxes and fees low. The taxes and fees will not stay low if the only thing the Council Members do is toot their own horn about how low they are! They must also work to keep them the lowest.

I also found it interesting that the RAP tax passed in Bountiful and Centerville, but, failed in Woods Cross and West Bountiful. What does this mean? It means you may want to buy your next new car in Woods Cross or West Bountiful. If you buy it at a Bountiful dealership, you'll pay more in taxes.

The county transportation tax failed to pass as did the state referendum on vouchers.

The county election results can be found here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's decision day! I already voted!

Today is election day. Tomorrow at this time we will know if the Statewide Referendum 1 has passed or failed. We will know if our sales tax in Davis County is going up to fund transportation or the arts. We will also know who will represent our views on our local city council. It is exciting for me to watch the wheels of democracy roll forward. As you go to the polls today, (you are going, aren't you?) remember the valuable gift it is to be able to vote. Many people in many countries don't have the right that many of our own residents don't appreciate.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Choose the bottom three, vote for the others?

On Thursday the Davis County Clipper published what they called "Your guide to the November 6 elections." This article is not in their on-line edition. In this article they asked each candidate for Woods Cross City Council three questions.
1) What are your top three priorities?
2) What is your position on the RAP tax?
3) Do you support the transportation tax?

Unfortunately this piece left me with more questions than answers. I'll go over my thoughts on each candidate's responses and maybe at the end of it all, I will have figured out who to vote for. I will list them in the same order that they appeared in the Clipper article.

Rick Earnshaw - It would seem to me that Rick can't count. He listed several items in his answer to the "three top priorities." He's for curbside recycling, broadband (though he doesn't say UTOPIA), as well as better safe and diverse transportation (whatever that means). He also states that we need to insure economic growth and "above all, continue to make Woods Cross a safe, united and healthy place to live." I hope by united, he doesn't mean that we all have to agree. As you know, if you've read previous posts, I'm against forced curbside recycling. Rick is for the RAP tax and against the 1/4 cent sales tax for transportation.

Jill Hadley Evans - She also seems to have trouble counting, but, her problem seems to be that she can't count to three. I only counted two items that she lists as priorities. She wants to grow the sales tax base by encouraging businesses to locate here. She is also concerned about traffic congestion.
The most troubling thing to me about Jill's answers is that she says that she is for the RAP tax because "the increase is minimal and will be for a good cause." She also says that the RAP tax won't affect Woods Cross as much because we don't have any grocery stores in our city. She does realize that the tax will be on other items that are sold as well, doesn't she? Last time I checked, we have a few car dealerships in our city that would be affected by this tax. All our residents go to grocery stores and shop, don't they? I don't see how "this doesn't impact us directly." She also goes on to say that she is against the transportation tax because "we have had enough tax increases recently." So which is it Jill? I would say if you are against one tax because "we have had enough tax increases," then you shouldn't be for another tax increase because it's "increase is minimal."

Cory Green - He can at least count to three. His top three priorities: 1) Limiting Heavy Industrial uses in our city. 2) Striving for economic growth. 3) Fully fund the Woods Cross Police Department.
He is for the RAP tax because he feels the impact is small and would help several local issues. He is against the transportation tax because he'd "like to see on paper just how much funding Woods Cross would see."

David C. Hill - His top three priorities: 1) Impact of Legacy Parkway and how that gateway into our city is developed. 2) Providing services to a level we have come to expect. 3) Plan how the residential, commercial and industrial areas come together.
From the article it is hard for me to tell if he is for or against the RAP tax. He says he is for increasing our arts and recreation programs, but, is not sure that the RAP tax is the best way to fund that. Is that the political way of saying "I'm against it?" I'll assume it is. On the transportation tax issue, he says he is "not comfortable with the sales tax increase." Again I'll assume that's a vote against.

Gary Sharp - His three priorities: 1) Actively manage growth and it's impact. 2) Improve traffic flow on 500 South, 1500 South and 2600 South. 3) Encourage new commercial development along Redwood Road and 500 South. He's against both the RAP tax and transportation tax.
One issue that I strongly disagree with Gary on is his position on sending council members and the mayor to Washington D.C. According to his website, he doesn't have a problem with spending $18,000.00 per year to send the entire council and the mayor to Washington D.C. every year for the National League of Cities conference. I have been to this conference myself, and I feel that the city could gain the same benefits by sending just two people to this conference. That would only cost the city about $6,000.00 per year. Also from his website, he is against funding a UTOPIA feasibility study this year. So he's for $18,000.00 to take a trip, but against $15,000.00 for a feasibility study? Sounds to me like he wants to go to D.C.

Ryan Westergard - His three priorities: 1) Future Growth 2) Environmental Issues 3) Traffic Safety.
Ryan is for the RAP tax because of "the additional cultural and recreational opportunities for our community." He's against the transportation tax because he feels it "is of limited benefit to South Davis County."

Now I feel more confused then ever. My top issues are UTOPIA, commercially developing the area around the new 500 South and Legacy Parkway interchange, and managing how residential, commercial, and industrial areas come together. I'm against the RAP tax and the transportation tax. We already increased our property taxes just a few years ago to pay for the new South Davis Recreation Center. To me that amounts to a "recreation" tax. We also pay more for our car registration to pay for corridor preservation, which is the same thing that the new transportation tax is to go for.

As you can see my opinions don't match up with anyone. As you know from a previous post, I'm against Jill Hadley Evans. I strongly disagree with Gary Sharp on the National League of Cities conference issue. I also feel like Rick Earnshaw has been involved in city politics for too long now. I feel if you can't accomplish everything that you wanted to get done after being on the council for more than 12 years, it's time to step aside and give somebody else a chance. I guess that would be my bottom three.

Friday, November 02, 2007

UTOPIA, what's the next step?

So what's the next step in getting UTOPIA to come to Woods Cross? Well in the Utah State Code, it states that a city must do the following:

(1) hold a preliminary public hearing;
(2) if the legislative body elects to proceed after holding the preliminary public hearing required by Subsection (1), approve the hiring of a feasibility consultant to conduct a feasibility study in accordance with Section 10-18-203.

So it seems to me that the next step is to hold a preliminary public hearing. This preliminary public hearing won't cost the city anything other than time. So we need to contact our elected City Council Members and get them to hold a preliminary public hearing. I highly doubt that election night is a good night to hold a public hearing, but, I see no reason why one can't be scheduled for November 20th.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

West Bountiful Mayor likes to rock the boat

An article in yesterday's Davis County Clipper talks about West Bountiful's Mayor James Behunin not wanting to re-appoint Justice Court Judge Joel Campbell. The article goes on to quote Judge Campbell as saying "I could just choose to resign, or I can choose to confront the Mayor and ask him to show cause why not to reappoint me and that’s what we are doing Tuesday night."

The only problem with the Judge's comments is that the state law is pretty vague. The relevant section of state code says that the decision of the legislative body, the city council in this case, is not subject to appeal. It also says that one thing that could lead to a judge not being re-appointed is "any other factors considered relevant by the appointing authority." Mayor Behunin would be the "appointing authority" in this case.

I have absolutely no training in matters of law, but, it would seem to me that the City Council could justify not re-appointing Judge Campbell for just about anything that Mayor Behunin deemed a "relevant factor." In fact, couldn't the mayor just say that he believes it's a "relevant factor" to have the judge be a resident of the city?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Woods Cross Elementary School Principal convinced me to vote FOR vouchers

The Woods Cross Elementary School Principal, Richard Baird, has convinced me to vote for Utah's Referendum 1. That's right folks, a public school principal has convinced me that I should vote for private school vouchers. No, he didn't tell me that this is what I should do, rather, his actions have convinced me that there needs to be a change.

I have heard of numerous occasions when parents have complained to Mr. Baird about various problems that they are having with their child's education. Isn't parent involvement what the public schools want? Apparently Mr. Baird doesn't want this. The way Mr. Baird has handled these parental complaints is to tell all the students not to complain to their parents. It would seem to me that Mr. Baird would just prefer to believe that all is well in his little Elementary School and not have to worry about any problems that may exist.

In a previous post, I mentioned that if I complain to a public school principal, they may or may not fix the problem. It would seem to me that not fixing the problem is exactly what happens at the public school that my children attend. Now, if I were to complain to a private school principal and he doesn't do something that I deem satisfactory, I move my kids to a different private school and that principal sees a direct hit to the bottom line. Is Mr. Baird really going to care if I take my students out of Woods Cross Elementary School? I would argue that he would probably welcome it. If I do that, he doesn't have to deal with bad comments about his behavior on this blog.

I can promise you if I made over $78,000 per year like Richard Baird does, and I didn't take customer complaints seriously, I'd be looking for a new job very soon. Why does that not happen with the public school system?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Why I don't support Jill Hadley Evans

Woods Cross voters have the opportunity to make a big mistake on November 6, 2007. That mistake would be voting for Jill Hadley Evans for Woods Cross City Council. Jill is currently married to Marc Evans (Although this is not her first marriage.) Marc is currently a public works employee of Woods Cross City making $20.13 per hour. (Wage information for Marc is from I don't feel that Jill could make unbiased decisions as a council member when her husband is getting over $40,000 per year from Woods Cross City.
Let's not add more questions to the decisions our Council makes. Vote for somebody besides Jill Hadley Evans on November 6th.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Who's driving this bus?

An article about the North Salt Lake City Mayor's race in the Salt Lake Tribune got me to thinking about something that I think we struggle with in Woods Cross as well.
In the article, Mayoral candidate, Lynn Ballard maintains that "City Manager Collin Wood has failed to provide the council with all the facts needed to make decisions." I know that City Managers can influence a council greatly. I saw it when I was on the council. I know that when I was on the council, I would get extreme push back from Gary Uresk anytime I questioned what he was doing.
I have worked in various companies in my professional career and at each of those places, I had to give a full accounting to my boss as to what I was accomplishing. If my boss questioned me about certain aspects, I didn't get defensive and say things like "Do you feel like I'm not doing my job?" I understood that it was my boss who would have to answer to upper management for the things I had been doing.
Now let's look at this from a city vantage point. I think sometimes, Gary Uresk thinks he is "upper management." There was a time,
while I was on the council, where somebody left city employment. I questioned Gary about this and he got very defensive acting as if I felt he wasn't doing his job. I believe that all City Managers that are employed by cities with the same government structure as Woods Cross need to remember that they are not "upper management." The voters are "upper management." The voters elect council members who then select a City Manager. I never remember doing a employee review of Gary Uresk in the four years I was on the council. I know at my current place of employment, every employee has a employee review at least annually. The City Council is in charge of hiring and firing the City Manager, why then should the City Council not have a employee review with that City Manager, at least annually?

Friday, October 19, 2007

$15,000 isn't in the budget this year

If you read my previous post, you can probably guess that I'm in favor of UTOPIA. Well, today the Associated Press is highlighting another reason that UTOPIA can't come to Woods Cross fast enough. The article, found here, talks about how Comcast blocks certain types of traffic like BitTorrent uploads. Now the average user may look at this and say, "Well the majority of that traffic today is used for pirated music and movies." That would be akin to saying in the early days of the World Wide Web, "The majority of that is used for pornography, so we shouldn't use it at all."

Is that an extreme view? Maybe. In the early days of the World Wide Web, the majority was used for porn, however, now we know all the good things that it is also used for. So what good things is BitTorrent used for? Many companies distribute their software, legally, through this method. I'm a Linux Systems Administrator for my profession. One of the major distributions of Linux, Ubuntu, distributes their operating system, legally, through this method. Ubuntu just released an upgrade to their operating system yesterday, however, I can't get it through BitTorrent because of the actions of Comcast.

One argument that I've heard for the need to wait to do a feasibility study is that the $15,000 was not put in this year's budget. Many times while I was on the City Council, we would approve spending $15,000 that was not included in the budget. That's why state law allows a City Council to amend the budget during the year. One such authorization was towards the end of 2004 to replace a vehicle for Gary Uresk, the City Administrator. The City Council approved this expenditure unanimously, even though there was nothing wrong with the vehicle in use, other than it had been repaired from damage sustained in a traffic accident. I don't recall whether the expenditure was made or not, but I know it was approved.

Why must we act now? One reason is that the state has had a moratorium on cities joining UTOPIA for the past four years. That moratorium recently expired, however, it is quite likely that the moratorium will be re-visited and may be re-instituted in the State Legislative session in January. Why was the moratorium put in place? My belief is that it was instituted due to heavy lobbying by Qwest and Comcast.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

UTOPIA in Woods Cross

The Woods Cross City council is currently looking into becoming a member of the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA). As part of this process, a City Council work meeting was held on Tuesday. The council invited representatives from UTOPIA, Qwest, and Comcast to be in attendance. The city came up with a list of questions for each of the entities. Citizens in attendance were also allowed to ask questions. I'll give my point of view of what happened. There is also a blog at where you can get another resident's point of view.
The UTOPIA representatives first heard the questions at the meeting due to Gary Uresk e-mailing them to the wrong person. They answered as many of them as they could without proper research. I'll highlight a couple. They mentioned that the projected take rates (take rate is the percentage of people who do sign up for the service) from the feasibility studies were between 8% and 40%. Overall the projected take rate was about 17%. They have a overall take rate today of about 25%. UTOPIA has agreements with providers who actually provide the service to the end users. UTOPIA itself doesn't provide the service to the end user. I mention this because, there was a question asking What % of the time is your system fully functional to the end user? UTOPIA would not really be able to answer that question as they only provide the service to the providers. UTOPIA did mention that they have Service Level Agreements (SLA) with their providers for 99.999% uptime. They also mentioned that because they focus on being an "Open Infrastructure," Comcast and Qwest could run their services over UTOPIA. To date, they have chosen not to. UTOPIA representatives also mentioned that if pledge monies needed to be invoked (which they haven't been yet) it would be somewhere between $3 - $8 per household. I think it is important to remember that if there is a high enough take rate, the city would receive revenue from UTOPIA. Even if the take rate is as low as 25% overall, there would not be any public money used.
Comcast went next and mentioned several areas in the city where they do not provide services. This includes the Cahoon Meadows, Field Crest, and a majority of the Clover Dell subdivisions. They hope to get service in these areas "soon." I noted that soon to a corporate entity probably is not the same as soon to a resident who wants the service. I asked Comcast if they had a limit on their service as it relates to how much I could download or upload. They mentioned that there was a limit, but, would not state in gigabytes what that limit was. I knew this would be their answer as I saw them featured on a "Get Gephardt" segment a while ago. Their representative mentioned that if you were a heavy user, you could get a commercial account that runs about $100 per month. The regular "limited" account is about $35 per month. The only reason I mention this, is because Xmission, who provides service across UTOPIA does have a limit of 100 gigabytes that they clearly state on their website.
Qwest went next and dodged most of the questions by saying that the information was proprietary. They stated that they would not be comfortable telling which areas in the city didn't have DSL available when there were competitors in the room. I found this very interesting, since Comcast had just finished telling Qwest which areas Comcast doesn't offer service. I'm more than willing to tell all Qwest competitors that I can't get DSL at my house in the area of 1450 West 1900 South. I asked, "When I go to Qwest's website, it says that I qualify for DSL, however, when I actually try and get DSL I'm told that my line doesn't qualify. In the information that Qwest will give to the City Council, will my house show up as having DSL available?" The representative dodged this question better than anything I've witnessed before. I felt like this was a yes or no question. The Qwest representative said that some areas qualify for DSL, but there are technical limitations in some of the lines that mean those lines can't get DSL. My reason for asking this is that if Qwest provides the council with a list of areas that do have DSL available and my house is on that list, then that list is not accurate as I cannot get DSL at my house. Qwest would be over stating how much of the city is really covered.
I also found it interesting that Rick Earnshaw stated that he "has a real problem with spending public money to compete with private entities." I stood up in the open session that followed and commented that it is ironic to me that he has a problem with public money being spent to compete with private industry when this happens all the time. Rick Earnshaw voted for Woods Cross joining the South Davis Recreation District which competes with private gyms. In fact, Xcel Fitness claimed in a Davis County Clipper article that the taxpayer funded recreation center put them out of business in Bountiful.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why I support Dave Hill for City Council

When I was on the Woods Cross City Council, I attended Planning Commission meetings as part of my duties. In those meetings, I always appreciated the comments Dave Hill would make in regards to the matters that came before the commission. I didn't always agree with the decisions that he made, but, I always knew that he had studied the issue and was making the decision that he felt was best for the residents of Woods Cross.
I know that as a City Council member, Dave Hill will study the issues and will always make the decisions that he feels are best for the residents of Woods Cross. I can't ask for more from a City Council member, than that they study every issue that comes before them and always vote in a way that they feel will make things better for the residents of our fine City. I know Dave Hill will do this and that is why I'm supporting him for Woods Cross City Council.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't damage national unity!

An article on ZDNet talks about a law in Jordan that could punish bloggers who post things that are "damaging to national unity." I can't imagine what would happen if such a law ever passed in the US. I know that the chances of such a law being implemented here are slim to none, but, it still made me wonder what the effects would be.
It seems like most of the political blogging that happens in the U.S. of A. is damaging to national unity. Now what if we rounded up all those bloggers and put them in jail? I'm glad I live in the United States of America where I'm free to blog about anything that may be damaging to national unity.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Woods Cross Council goofs again!

The Woods Cross City Council made a major blunder, again! At their council meeting on October 2nd, they approved a re-zone request to allow heavy industrial to expand in Woods Cross.
This may seem like a small thing that is isolated to a certain portion of the city, however, in my opinion, it makes a bad statement to all heavy industrial companies in Woods Cross. In the past, the opinion of the Council has been that the City would eventually like to see heavy industrial go away. Probably not tomorrow, but, maybe in 100 years or so. Now the opinion of the majority of the Council seems to be "Let them grow where they want, as long as it's not in my backyard."
I believe that Council member Rick Earnshaw (since he is up for re-election this year) needs to offer an explanation for his vote to allow Heavy Industrial expansion in Woods Cross.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two big issues about Vouchers

There are two things I keep hearing as to why I should vote for Referendum 1.
The first issue is that people claim that private schools don't have accountability. The anti-voucher group says that private schools teachers don't have to be certified. Yep, that's the way it works when you aren't beholden to a union. The problem with this thinking, is that a private school teacher who is not measuring up and getting several complaints from parents isn't going to be a private school teacher very long. Now let's look at the way things work in the public school system. If I don't like what a teacher is saying to my children, I complain to the principal who may or may not take any action. That principal also doesn't have to let me know what action, if any they took. If my kids go to a private school, I tell the administration that if things don't change I move my kids elsewhere and that hits them in the pocket book. That sounds like the private school has more accountability than a public school.
The second issue that gets brought up is public money to private schools. Public money goes to private schools all the time. At the present time public money doesn't go to private K-12 schools, but, private universities get public money all the time. Do people forget where "public money" comes from? It comes from tax payers. So maybe it would make people feel better if, instead of vouchers, we call it a rebate?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What are voucher opponents really afraid of?

When I was a small child, I was afraid of many things. I was afraid of the monster under my bed. I was afraid of the scary images in my closet. As I got older and wiser, I realized that there really wasn't a monster under my bed and that the scary images in my closet were really just my clothes hanging in different ways.
So this brings me to my big question of the day. What are school voucher opponents really afraid of? They can't be afraid of losing money, because as LaVarr Webb pointed out in his column on Sunday, public schools would have more money per student than they do today. In his column he mentions that the "legislative fiscal analyst estimates that the voucher program could pay out $429 million over 13 years if all qualified voucher students use the program. But it would mean we would not have to spend $1.8 billion for those students in the public school system." Now I'm not a math major, but I learned early on in my public school life that 429,000,000 is a smaller number than 1,800,000,000. So why can't voucher opponents do such simple math?
Come on voucher opponents, what are you afraid of? Does the thing you are afraid of make as much sense as being afraid of the monster under my bed, or are they just in your imagination, like the scary images in my closet?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Competition is bad?

Since when is competition a bad thing? It seems that everybody clamors for competition in all areas except for the education sector. What would happen if the Utah government said that the only hamburger joint in Utah would be Burger King? The citizens wouldn't tolerate it. Yet, when the state government tries to tell parents that they can spend their tax dollars for education where they choose, people freak out.
I personally think that competition can help the public school system improve. Right now, our public school system has major flaws and has little or no incentive to improve. Now what if they have to compete against private schools? Does anybody really think that public schools won't improve because of this?
Note, I will delete comments posted to this post that I deem as offensive. Use facts, not attacks. If you want to state your opinion, use your own blog to do that.

Utah Open Source Conference

Today I am attending the Utah Open Source Conference at the Open Source Technology Center in Provo. They have quite a few sessions scheduled. It should be a good day of learning.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Win $10,000.00!

This past weekend I was informed of a very interesting contest going on right now. If you enjoy geocaching and fine art, this is a great contest. I'm still not sure of all the details, but, it looks intriguing to me. The contest home page is at

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Comcast Is Starting The Tiered Internet.. Whether We Like It or Not

This post from a friend of mine just goes to show that we need a choice in faster internet in Woods Cross. Several people only have the choice of wireless internet (which is only slightly faster than dial-up) and Comcast. There is a large portion of Woods Cross that can't get DSL. Let's band together and get the Woods Cross City Council to get in on Utopia.

read more | digg story

Monday, August 20, 2007

Curbside Recycling Open House

The City Council will be holding a curbside recycling open house tomorrow (Aug. 21st, 2007) at 5:30 pm. This will be held in the multi-purpose room of the Woods Cross City Hall. A public hearing on the matter will be held during the regular city council meeting scheduled for that night.
As I've said before, I have a problem with forcing everyone to participate. Make it voluntary.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Woods Cross City Council looking to raise fees again.

The Woods Cross City Council is currently considering requiring residents to pay for a recycling container. This is a bad idea. My parents are on a fixed income. They currently only have one garbage can which costs them about $10 a month. What the City Council is proposing is a more than 30% increase for the neediest residents of Woods Cross. Do you want to have a City Council that is willing to increase garbage fees by 30%? I don't.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Six file for City Council Seats

Six people have filed for the three City Council seats that are up for election this year. I have listed the people who have filed as well as my thoughts on each of them.

Rick Earnshaw - Currently on the City Council, running for re-election. He has been on the City Council for, I think, 14 years. He recently voted to amend the general plan to allow the Sinclair Oil expansion. Maybe it's time for him to step aside and let someone else take their turn at being on the council.

Jill Hadley Evans - Jill grew up in Woods Cross and until a few years ago was a single mom. She is now married and her husband, Marc, is (according to the City website) employed by Woods Cross City. Definitely a conflict of interest brewing there. If she gets elected, don't be surprised to see the parks department get a little extra attention.

Cory Green - Lives on the west-side of the city (the fastest growing area of the city). He is concerned by recent Council decisions such as the modification of the General Plan to allow the Sinclair Oil expansion. Would definitely provide a fresh look on things as he is not currently involved in City politics.

David C. Hill - A long-time, respected resident of the City. He is currently the chairman of the Planning Commission. I served on the Planning Commission with him and always respected the decisions he made. He always seemed to study out the issues and vote the way that he felt was best for the city and it's residents.

Gary A. Sharp - Also a long-time, respected resident of the City. I'm not currently aware of what he would see as important issues in the campaign.

Ryan Westergard - Like Mr. Green, he also lives on the west-side of the city. He is a current member of the planning commission and in his position there has always spoken against expanding heavy industrial areas of the city. He has kept others aware of the direction former members of the City Council wanted the city to take by approving so many houses and neighborhoods on the west side. He would provide a fresh look on many issues. Also, having the insight of being on the Planning Commission would help him with making decisions if elected. I went from being on the Planning Commission to being elected to the City Council and I know that the experience from the Planning Commission was beneficial to me as a council member.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Cold on the West Coast

If you thought that California is supposed to be warm, think again. This week I've been in San Francisco and it hasn't been warm. I've had to wear a jacket when I've been out walking about. Today the high is supposed to be 62 degrees. So if you plan a trip to San Francisco, make sure you pack a jacket.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

True friends don't push for criminal charges

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune says that Rocky Anderson has asked police to look into criminal charges against a developer who confronted him in the hallway of city hall. True Christians of any faith don't push for criminal charges. Our community has seen great examples of forgiveness over the past year. Unfortunately we never seem to get similar examples from elected officials like Mayor Rocky Anderson.

Friday, April 20, 2007

If it Quacks like a Duck...

So the Woods Cross City Council has made yet another bad decision. Three members of the City Council, Don Moore, Rick Earnshaw, and Jon Hadlow, all voted to amend the general plan to allow Sinclair to add storage tanks to their facility. These storage tanks would hold jet fuel. This goes completely against what previous members of the City Council have tried to do. That is, move Woods Cross away from being a heavy industrial arm pit of the county. I'm shocked that they would make such a move, especially in an election year. In an article in the Davis County Clipper, Don Moore is quoted as saying, "it looks like we’re doing something wrong if we remove the whole paragraph.”
If you're making wording changes just so it doesn't look like you're doing something wrong, maybe you need to take a step back and see if you really should be making the changes at all.
Avoiding the appearance of evil only works if you are avoiding the evil as well.
Kudos to Tamy Dayley and Jennifer Decker for voting against this bad change.

Friday, April 13, 2007

One reason 10 digit dialing is a bad idea

So I just read an article in today's Deseret Morning News that talks about the possibility of implementing 10 digit dialing when the new area-code is implemented. I personally think this is a bad idea for many reasons, however, I will only discuss one of them this time.
Young children try to learn their phone number and address in Kindergarten. Most children can memorize a 7 digit number relatively quickly. They then learn their address. If that child were to become lost, they could easily tell someone their 7 digit phone number and that person could make an assumption that the child is local and easily call the child's parents. I don't think children will be able to memorize a 10 digit phone number as easily as a 7 digit one, and if the overlay plan is implemented, it could become a safety issue. Food for thought.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Discrimination alive and well in Utah

In a post today at Utah Policy Daily, LaVarr Webb repeats what he calls "Irish jokes." The problem with these jokes is that two of the three are about drinking. This makes me wonder if Mr. Webb has ever been to Ireland. Sure there might be Irish people who drink to excessive amounts, but, guess what Mr. Webb, there are Americans who drink to excessive amounts.
To repeat jokes (I'm assuming he is repeating them and didn't make them up on his own.) that give unfair treatment to a group of people on the basis of prejudice is the very definition of discrimination. I hope that is not reflective of the political party that Mr. Webb belongs to. I know the church he belongs to doesn't preach discrimination in any form.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Are they crazy?

This is the year when Woods Cross will elect three council members. So what on earth would make somebody want to run for City Council? As a city council member, here are some things you must be willing to endure.
  1. Phone calls late at night from some citizen who is upset because... fill in the blank here with any/all of the following:
    • Their garbage can didn't get emptied on time.
    • They are opposed to the new swimming pool being built, or being open on Sundays.
    • The air in their neighborhood stinks.
    • The trains / airplanes are too loud.
    • The school is cancelling the after-school program.
    • The city increased their fees again.

  2. Having people upset at you because you voted a certain way on an issue.
  3. People you thought were friends say things that aren't true about you to other people.
  4. Anonymous e-mails calling you very nasty names.
  5. Anonymous phone calls from people calling you nasty names.
Notice I didn't mention phone calls from citizens telling you they think you are doing a great job? So why would anyone subject themselves to this torture? I think it comes down to a few reasons.
First, I think most people who do it don't realize the amount of hate that can exist in a small community, and how that hate can be turned against them.
Second, I think some people who run for a city council position firmly believe that they can do some good in their small community.
Third, I think there are more people than we like to believe who do it because they like the ego trip. In my opinion, these are the people who are the least qualified to run a city.
So how do you know what a candidate's motivation is? Talk to the candidate. Call them on the phone. Preferably not late at night.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

No posts in February?

I was trying to see if I didn't post anything the whole month of February, if anyone would notice. I almost made it, someone posted a comment yesterday that blew it.
Since I last posted, I've spent two weeks in Edison, NJ, and one week in Atlanta, GA. With work, church, and family, who has time for politics? Aren't there better things to do with your free time? :-)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Force lawmakers to write a report

I just read through HB322 which would force High School students to write a report about a teen who was killed in a car accident before they could get their drivers license. I think it would be a good idea to force all lawmakers to write a ten page report about why so-called "message bills" are bad, before they are allowed to submit a bill.
Now I have had loved ones die in car accidents. I've even had a loved one who was a teenager die in a car accident. I still don't think that making a law that forces a student to write a report is a good idea. Scaring a child into the proper behavior is not a good way to encourage proper behavior. Maybe in Rep. Tilton's mind, scaring someone into acting the way they should is the right way to do it. I don't believe it is.
So who wants to put forth a bill for me that makes lawmakers write a report?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pictures are bad...

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune talks about putting listings for State Liquor Stores in the yellow pages of the phone book. It quotes Mary Ann Mantes, a member of the State Alcoholic Beverage Commission, who said new listings in White or Yellow Pages would not include display ads or any photographs or drawings of liquor bottles. She goes on to say: "People shouldn't be able to look at pictures, they should only be able to read." Now, I don't drink any alcoholic beverages, but, why on earth is it bad to look at a picture of a liquor bottle? Are we afraid that our children who can't read are going to look through the phone book and see a picture of a liquor bottle and all the sudden want to drink liquor?
No wonder Utah has such a bad reputation about our liquor laws.
I can understand that seeing pictures of naked women can make a person have bad thoughts, but, seeing a picture of a naked bottle has never made me want to drink liquor.