Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Highlights from Woods Cross Citizen

This past year has been a great one here at the Woods Cross Citizen blog. This post will be my 108th post for the year. Some highlights of my posts over the past year:
  • In January I said goodbye to a great leader, President Gordon B. Hinckley of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I also posted about which still doesn't appear to have data from Woods Cross, but, does have data from Bountiful and North Salt Lake City. I also speculated about how much a City Council seat is worth to some people.
  • In February I answered the question of why I blog.
  • March brought the announcement that our Mayor had filed to run for the Utah State Senate. I also postulated on the propriety of City Council Members forwarding their own agenda.
  • During April I crossed two items off my bucket list and commented about curbside recycling beginning in Woods Cross. I also talked about our decision to purchase a vehicle from Murdock Chevrolet.
  • In May I sent questions to the Senate Candidates for Utah State Senate District 23.
  • June brought my 15th wedding anniversary as well as a meeting with Dan Liljenquist and my first ever lunch with a Democratic Candidate.
  • In July I received answers to my questions from the Senate District 23 candidates.
  • August began my series of posts giving the answers that I received from those candidates. Also in August, Dan Liljenquist survived a plane crash.
  • The only posts during September were more answers in my series of posts that began in August.
  • In October I announced that my job location would be changing. I also shared my position on California's Proposition 8, the Davis County Commission race, and the State Senate District 23 race.
  • At the end of November, I declared that I was happy to see the Utes go 12-0.
  • December started off by me saying goodbye to a great University of Utah fan. It ended with a wonderful Christmas.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blu-ray = Betamax?

Will Blu-ray survive? I came across a column today at ZDNet (see here) that makes some great arguments about why Blu-ray could be dead soon. (Cue Monty Python's "I'm not dead yet" skit.)

For Christmas, we got a 42" Plasma HDTV. Prior to getting this TV, I used to think that the whole HD craze was just a lot of hype. I've discovered that watching non-HD broadcasts on the new TV is painful. We opted for the lower-priced 720p version of the TV. Our original DVD's still look ok on this TV. With time, I suspect we'll purchase an up-converting DVD player. I don't have the desire to purchase a Blu-ray player anytime soon though. If an up-converting DVD player makes all my original DVDs look nice on the TV, why would I want to pay more for a Blu-ray player as well as more for each Blu-ray disc? Switching to Blu-ray just doesn't make financial sense to me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Book Review - Hometown Weekly by Bruce Lindsay

About two months ago, I started to read the book, Hometown Weekly by Bruce Lindsay. I only read two chapters of this book and I couldn't stand it. I felt like the author was almost insulting my intelligence. While reading this book I felt like I was listening to an 80 something year old grandma who has a touch of dementia telling these stories. The stories make no sense and the way they are told is even more annoying to me. I didn't care for the book and ended up returning it to the store without reading anymore than two chapters.

You can listen to a story at the books website and see if you like the way it's told before you spend your money on the book. Go over to to listen and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends and family (and anyone else who reads this blog), Merry Christmas! I hope this Christmas finds you all happy and healthy! (The picture above was taken this past Sunday.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Keeping Christmas

This is taken from "The Spirit of Christmas" by Henry Van Dyke:

It is a good thing to observe Christmas day. The mere marking of times and seasons, when men agree to stop work and make merry together, is a wise and wholesome custom. It helps one to feel the supremacy of the common life over the individual life. It reminds a man to set his own little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on sun time.

But there is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.

Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellow-men are just as real as you are, and try to look
behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness--are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really
want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open--are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world--stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death--and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas.

And if you keep it for a day, why not always?

But you can never keep it alone.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The world has lost another great man.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away around 11:30 p.m. last night. I will miss his talks that almost always included some sports story.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Boycott the Kurt Bestor Christmas Concert?

Kurt Bestor has his annual Christmas Concert coming up at Abravanel Hall from December 10th through the 13th. With the recent boycotts called for (by the anti-Proposition 8 crowd) of those who gave money to pass Proposition 8, (see here) I thought, why not do the same to some of those who opposed Proposition 8? Mr. Kurt Bestor has profited for many years from the LDS Church and it's members. He has written musical scores used in many LDS Church films. I would bet that LDS members who are glad Proposition 8 passed have been a majority of his past audiences of his annual Christmas Concert.

Recently, Mr. Bestor said of the LDS Church's involvement in Proposition 8, "The fact that the LDS Church, ... would rise up as they did is disappointing to me. It doesn’t have anything to do with them. I don’t understand and I’m pissed off." (see here, quote is at the bottom of the page)

Well, Mr. Bestor, I suspect there are many LDS members who are "pissed off" that there has been vandalism to sacred church properties, such as the LDS Temple in Los Angeles. Maybe it's time for these "pissed off" LDS members to boycott Mr. Bestor's annual Christmas Concert.

Racism is not a one-way street

This says it perfectly.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Robo-calls are annoying!

I want to preface this by saying that I'm a non-smoker. Nobody in my immediate family smokes. I would like to know if anybody else found the recent robo-call about additional taxes on cigarettes annoying? The robo-call has Dick Nourse saying that Utah residents, even non-smokers, pay a price for smoking. It then tries to get you to contact your legislator supporting a $2 per pack tax. I was glad when election day had come and gone because I thought it meant no more annoying political calls.

I may support higher taxes on cigarettes, however, a robo-call asking me to support it sours me on the idea.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Here's hoping for 12-0

I'm rooting for the Utes to win on Saturday over BYU giving them a 12-0 record and sending them to a BCS bowl. GO UTES!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted!

I went and voted today before work. I was in and out in about 15 minutes. One thing that I did find interesting was that on all the partisan races, the Republican was listed first. Is that because I registered as a Republican or did others who aren't registered Republicans experience the same thing? I was expecting the names to be listed in alphabetical order.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Deseret News Policy doesn't make sense.

On the Deseret News website today, I found the following disclaimer:

"The Deseret News has had a longstanding policy of not publishing letters-to-the-editor addressing political contests the day before and day of the election.

We are applying that same moratorium to comments on election stories beginning Sunday. We will apply the moratorium on older stories as well.

The rationale for the policy is two-fold: Give voters time to cool down and reflect on the choices they will make on Tuesday; and, avoid playing a role in influencing voters by posting possible false, last-minute attacks on candidates.

Thanks for your participation and don't forget to vote."

Early voting has been available for the past two weeks. Does the D-News rationale that it "gives voters time to cool down and reflect on the choices they will make on Tuesday" really make sense now that we can vote early? I'd suspect that the same people who read the letters to the editor are those who have taken time to inform themselves about the candidates and voted early.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why I'm voting for Dan Liljenquist.

If you've followed my blog, you know that I have personally met with two of the candidates for State Senate district 23, Republican Dan Liljenquist and Democrat Richard Watson. I've tried contacting the Constitution Party candidate, Jorgina Hancock, with no response. I posted answers from Dan and Richard to several questions that I asked. You can see those questions and answers here. I feel like I have done more than my due diligence in deciding who should represent me in the Utah Senate. Through this process, I have found that Dan Liljenquist's views on the major issues closely match my views.

I've mentioned previously that I'm the type of person who likes details. In his answers to me, Dan gave details of not just what he thought was wrong in our state, but, also details of how he would help to fix those things. In my opinion, during my lunch with Richard, he spoke only in generalities. I wanted specifics of things he would do to fix those problems that he saw.

Dan also has the business experience in leading a large company. These skills in leading a successful, large company will only help him in working with people in the State Senate. Dan Liljenquist has my vote for Utah Senate district 23.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why I'm voting for J Dell Holbrook.

I will start by saying that I am a registered Repbulican and I've decided to vote for J Dell Holbrook for Davis County Commission. I also want to state that I don't know either J Dell Holbrook or John Petroff personally. I'm basing my support for J Dell Holbrook on campaign websites for each candidate. J Dell Holbrook is very specific on his website about what he will and will not do as a Davis County Commissioner. John Petroff on his website dwells on what he has done as a Mayor and doesn't give specifics on what he would do as a Commissioner. I'm the type of person who wants details.

On John Petroff's website he says, "As the Chair of Utahans for the Legacy Parkway, I successfully fought the Sierra Club and other special interest groups who stood in the way of this vital roadway." My problem with this statement is that there wasn't a "successful fight" from either side. A compromise was reached and that is why Legacy Parkway was built. Had there been a successful fight, people would not be switching back to I-15 due to the 55 MPH speed limit on Legacy.

On J Dell Holbrook's website he talks about the problem with requiring residents to appeal their property valuations, he says, "I would submit that a much better approach would be to put the burden on the Assessor’s Office, if the assessed valuation increase by more than 10% over the prior years assesses valuation." This is the type of thing that just makes sense. Items like this is why I am voting for J Dell Holbrook for Davis County Commission.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

California's Proposition 8 IS a moral issue.

The big argument in California against Proposition 8 seems to be "It's not a moral issue, it's a civil issue." Yesterday I read an interesting argument against Proposition 8. In the argument, the author is trying to refute the claim that adoption agencies will be forced to adopt babies to same-sex couples. He uses an interesting comment. He says, "California already has on its books (and has for several years) laws granting domestic partners (homosexual and heterosexual) the same civil rights as married couples."

If "domestic partners" have the same civil rights in California, than why the big buzz about Proposition 8 taking away civil rights from homosexual couples? It seems to me (due to the comment above) that Proposition 8 is definitely a moral issue and not a civil issue at all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What others are saying - Part 2

I posted back in March (see here) about an intriguing blog that I happened upon where someone was posting their marriage and divorce story. I quit updating that post. A friend of that individual (no, I don't know her personally, I've just been intrigued by her story) posted a link to all the entries in that story. You can see it here:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Avoid long lines?

Recently there were several news reports that said, "Avoid long lines, vote early!" Yesterday I decided to take this advice and go and vote early. I went to the Bountiful branch of the Davis County Library at 4:30 p.m. When I arrived, the parking lot was packed and I was told that there was an estimated three hour wait to vote. Since I had to be home by 6:30 p.m. I figured even if the wait ended up being only two hours, it was still too long for me. Maybe I'll take my chances of voting on November 4th.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Legacy Parkway Scenic?

A Salt Lake Tribune article (see here) says that officials are trying to get the Legacy Parkway designated as a National Scenic Byway. In the article Woods Cross City Manager Gary Uresk is quoted as saying that the designation would give the highway some recognition and attract tourists. It would also make Legacy eligible to receive Federal Highway Administration funds.

According to the National Scenic Byways Program (see here), a national scenic byway should be a road that has "outstanding scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational, and archaeological qualities." In my opinion, the Legacy Highway does not have outstanding scenic qualities. It has many of the same scenic views as I-15. From I-15, you can see the mountains to the east and the Great Salt Lake to the west. The Legacy Highway does offer better views of the two South Davis Sewer Plants, and also a better view of the Bountiful Landfill. I don't see how this highway has outstanding historic, cultural, natural, recreational or archaeological qualities. The highway was built with the main purpose of providing an alternate to I-15. Anyone who says otherwise, doesn't know the true history of this highway. It was a compromise that made it anything other than just another highway through suburbia.

This sounds like a scam to get extra money from the federal government. Let's be responsible citizens of this country and save money designated for national scenic byways for those roads that have "outstanding scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational, and archaeological qualities."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Entitled Generation

I've been thinking lately, along with most citizens, about the economic issues affecting our country and I wonder if the way our children are being raised has caused at least a part of this mess. Let me give an example and we'll see if this post makes any sense by the end of it.

About 30 years ago, I played little league soccer. One year I was part of a team that was absolutely terrible. All the other teams looked forward to playing against us, because they knew that they would win. I don't remember winning a single game that year. The only thing I have to show for playing that year is a picture of my team that my parents bought. Another year I was on a very good team. We only lost one game the whole season. All the kids on my team were given a trophy that said "1st Place."

For many years, little league associations have tried to emphasize that "winning isn't everything." In doing this, some little league associations have even given "participation" trophies. All kids that play get the same trophy. What we are telling our kids is just go out and "participate" and you will get something of value. To me this is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Kids need to be taught that if you want something of value, you have to work for it. We are creating a generation that feels entitled to receive something of value, just for showing up.

One problem that I believe has caused the current economic situation is that "kids" were able to purchase larger homes than they could afford using stupid financing schemes. These "kids" were then able to have something of great value without having to put in the necessary work. In other words they were given something of value just for showing up. I'll bet many of them even felt that they were "entitled" to it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Combine five into one?

There's been several news reports over the last few days about the possibility of combining the five South Davis cities of Bountiful, Centerville, North Salt Lake, West Bountiful and Woods Cross into one city. It seems these news reports have originated because of some preliminary discussions between Woods Cross Mayor Kent Parry and Centerville Mayor Ronald Russell. All of these news reports seem to miss the fact that we already have a combined sewer district, thus eliminating the savings that would come for that small part of combining.

Does it merit a comprehensive study? Probably. Will a merger ever actually take place? Probably not. The original Salt Lake Tribune article quotes both West Bountiful Mayor James Behunin and North Salt Lake Mayor Shanna Schaefermeyer as being skeptical of the idea. If you haven't got all 5 mayors on the same page, how will you ever get a majority of the residents of all 5 cities on the same page?

I see some potential benefits in the way of cost savings. I also see some potential losses in the proposal. One thing that I haven't seen mentioned in any of the news reports is what would happen with Woods Cross' water, which is currently not flouridated? A majority of residents of the other 4 cities all voted to have their water flouridated. A majority of Woods Cross residents voted to not have our water flouridated. 

This also highlights a huge problem with the idea of a merger, the issue of losing our own independent voice and choice. If you were to take the votes of all the residents in the five cities and combine them as one city, the water in Woods Cross would currently be flouridated. In general, whatever the majority of the residents of the current city of Bountiful want, is what is going to happen. Without our independent voice and choice, our Woods Cross residents will be subject to the will of a majority of voters that currently reside outside our current city limits. What may be important to the leaders and residents of your city may not be important to the leaders and a majority of the residents of the combined city.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My Job Location is Changing

Some of you may know that I work as a Unix/Linux Systems Engineer for the LDS Church. On September 23rd 2008, it was announced that our entire department will be moved to a new location at 3740 West 13400 South in Riverton. This will change my commute from currently living 8.2 miles to my parking lot to living 34.5 miles from my parking lot. This move will likely begin sometime in Q1 or Q2 2009.

I've been thinking lately about the impact this will have on my quality of life. There are several ways this will impact me and my family. First, my time away from my family will increase. It takes me usually about 15 minutes to drive to and from work. That will increase by about 30 minutes. That's an extra hour away from my family every day.

Second, with gas prices at their current rates, I figure it will cost me an additional $3,000 per year for the extra miles added to my commute. Would you want to take a $3,000 hit to your pocketbook?

Third, if I were to relocate my family to the Riverton/Herriman area to mitigate the above two issues, it would mean drastic changes in friendships, church, doctors, schools, etc. for me and all my family members.

I believe everyone takes their commute into account in deciding whether to accept a certain employment offer. If any of the readers of my blog (both of you) have experienced a similar change not of your choosing, I'd be interested in your thoughts. It will be interesting to see how this impact to my life will affect my job satisfaction.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mean spirited?

I've posted previously about Jill Ekstrom pleading no-contest to charges of stealing adoption records. (See here.) Jill now has her own blog where she tries to give her side of the story. In one of her posts, she says, "if your posts are mean spirited towards me, if they are nothing more then you trying to slam me because you have not read all the posts I WILL reject them." (See here.) I tried posting a comment to one of her previous posts and it got regected. 

I'll post my comment here so that you can decide for yourself if it was mean spirited. I'm one who always believes there are two sides to every story. Here's the comment that I posted:

"Something doesn't sound quite right with this whole story. You claim you used Sharlene Lightfoot. However, you never made this claim publicly until after Sharlene Lightfoot passed away in April, 2008. I know from personal experience that Sharlene provided a paper trail that could have easily been used as evidence for exoneration. Just looking at this from the outside, it seems that a fairly easy defense could have been made.

If it had been my name and reputation on the line, I would have done all within my power to prove my innocence. Even most homeowners and renters insurance policies provide for some legal defense costs."

Now I'm not saying that Jill took the records. She is the one who plead no-contest. She claims she did that because a public defender only spent five minutes with her and told her a trial could take two years. She says now that she is wanting to appeal the decision. A wise friend once told me that it's a lot easier to catch the horse before it leaves the barn.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Answers - Question 13

This is the last in a series of questions posed to the candidates in the State Senate District 23 race. To see the previous questions in this series, please go to

Before getting to the answers to this last question, I would like to sincerely thank both Dan Liljenquist and Richard Watson for taking the time to answer my questions. I have personally met with both candidates and have been impressed with both of them. I know that if you have questions of your own that you'd like answered by either of these candidates, they will be responsive. Give them a call or send them an e-mail.

13) What makes you the best candidate? In other words, why should someone vote for you over one of the other candidates for this seat?

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:

I believe I am the best candidate for Senate District 23 for a few reasons:

First, I am a committed Republican and I believe in the principles of limited government, individual responsibility, and free markets – I share these beliefs with a majority of the citizens of Senate District 23.

Second, as a Republican Senator, I will be able to better deliver results for the people of South Davis County as a member of the majority party.

Third, I have the necessary experience and training to be effective. I am the President & COO of Focus Services, LLC, a contact center company based in Roy, Utah. Focus has over 1,200 employees and handles inbound and outbound telephone calls for several Fortune 500 companies. Prior to Focus, I worked as a Director of operational strategy for Affiliated Computer Services and as a Strategy Consultant for Bain & Company in Dallas, Texas. I received a BA in Economics magna cum laude from Brigham Young University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School. While I do not practice law, I am a member of the Utah State Bar Association. I believe in furthering Republican ideals through public service. I worked as a volunteer for two years with the Institute for Justice helping low income entrepreneurs in south Chicago pursue their dreams of business ownership. I also served as a Legislative Intern with US Senator Robert Bennett in Washington, DC.

Finally, and most importantly, I have a very supportive and loving wife, Brooke. We have been married for nearly 10 years and have five beautiful children – Jacob, Grace, Nathan, Joshua and Benjamin. My wife and children keep me grounded, balanced and happy.

Democrat - Richard Watson:

As stated [in a previous answer], I will not be obligated in serving the legislative leadership. Instead I will serve the people of South Davis. After writing columns in the Clipper for the past three years, I have come to appreciate the different view points within our community. I am amazed at how so many of us have similar concerns and worries about our quality of life in South Davis. And so many of us not only care about our families, but there is a genuine concern for helping our neighbors. The people in South Davis truly are great people and it will be a pleasure to represent the people of Senate District 23. Now is the time to change the "business-as-usual" type of government and give it back to the people. Change means that we are Moving Forward.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Answers - Question 12

This is the 12th in a series of questions posed to the candidates in the State Senate District 23 race. To see the previous questions in this series, please go to

12) What do you see as the biggest issue facing our state? What would you, as a state senator, do about it?

Democrat - Richard Watson:

Long-term planning. What does long-term planning mean? It means too many projects have come about because of a reaction to a problem. It is good to see the business community taking economic development seriously as they look to bring more businesses into Utah. But we need our lawmakers to plan better in areas of transportation, public education and affordable health care if we want Utah to be economically stable. Transportation is a good example of how Utah government has reacted to a problem instead of planning for future growth.

Long-term planning for public education is also essential for the future of our state. As stated [in a previous answer], more funding for public schools is crucial for Utah to have the best schools in the nation.

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:

There are several issues that we are facing as a State that I am concerned about. Perhaps the biggest issue we are facing is how to address issues, from education to transportation to economic development, holistically and objectively, without the political rancor that so often burdens the political process. I believe in the concept of “rational government” – if elected I will do my best to be objective and rational in making decisions.

All of the issues we are facing are interrelated and extremely complex. Here are the issues I am most concerned about:

The Economy

Utah’s record setting economy is coming down to earth. We must be diligent in our economic development efforts to ensure our ongoing prosperity as a State. We need to attract more, higher-paying jobs by leveraging our well-educated workforce, continuing to develop our transportation infrastructure, and fostering a business friendly environment through the use of appropriate economic incentives. Real economic growth results in more, higher-paying jobs and less pressure on local counties to raise revenue by increasing our property taxes.

Healthcare Reform

Health insurance costs are spiraling out of control as our population ages, treatment options increase, and more people drop from insurance pools, counting on the government to take care of their medical needs. All of these issues threaten to collapse our medical care system. We must be committed to a market driven solution to healthcare, allowing insurance companies more flexibility to offer a wider range of health insurance options to meet the needs and budgets of each Utah family. The alternative is government administered healthcare which will drive up taxes, reduce funds available for education and other necessities, and limit treatment options for everyone.


Education is the key driver of our prosperity in Utah. We must continue our commitment to reduce class sizes and providing competitive wages for our teachers. We must ensure that the public education funding mechanisms are sufficient to handle the anticipated enrollment growth in our schools. Our educational system must become more competitive, with greater parental involvement in our schools. Parents must have a stronger voice in the educational decisions involving their children, strengthening the relationship between parents and educators. We must all work together to prepare our children to excel in hyper-competitive, global labor markets where knowledge and intelligence are vital for success.


Population growth in North Davis County will continue to put pressure on our transportation infrastructure in South Davis County, threatening our quality of life by driving up traffic congestion and impacting air quality. We must be committed to the expansion of I-15, the build-out of Legacy Highway, and the extension of Front Runner. We also need to explore other avenues to alleviate traffic congestion as needed, including light rail and expanded bus service options. We must work to ensure that South Davis County residents have transportation options that will allow us to fully participate in the economic, educational and cultural opportunities along the Wasatch front, now and in the future.

Ethics Reform

Our Legislature must hold itself to the highest standards of integrity as it fulfills the trust and exercises the authority placed in it by the people. We must ensure that all potential conflicts of interest are disclosed publicly and that all legislative business is conducted openly and at arms length. All campaign donations should only be used for legitimate campaign purposes. We must make sure that the people of Utah have confidence in the integrity of our Citizen Legislature.


The Federal Government must act to secure our borders and stop the flow of illegal immigration – this is the foundational action required for all meaningful immigration enforcement and reform. The Federal Government should also expand the flow of legal immigration to ensure that America continues to be a beacon for hard-working, intelligent, and law-abiding individuals is search of a better life. We should enforce our existing State laws, especially our identity theft laws, while treating everyone with respect and compassion.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Answers - Question 11

This is the 11th in a series of questions posed to the candidates in the State Senate District 23 race. To see the previous questions in this series, please go to

11) What are your reasons for running for State Senate?

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:

I am running for the Utah State Senate because I believe I can effectively represent the citizens of South Davis County.

First, I believe in the principles of limited government, individual responsibility, and free markets – I share these beliefs with a majority of the citizens of Senate District 23.

Second, I have the necessary career flexibility to devote the time required.

Finally, I try to follow the advice of Theodore Roosevelt to “do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. I am determined to do my part and participate in the political process.

Democrat - Richard Watson:

Public education has to be funded better than it has been. We always hear that our schools are doing well with the money they receive. Yes, it is true that Utah has good schools and great teachers. But why should we settle for good when we could have the best schools?

Also, we have to address the issue of taxes in Utah and the effect it has on hard, working families. We always hear politicians promising tax cuts, but once elected, they cut some taxes and shift the burden to others.

These two concerns as well as other problems facing Utahns, would be easier to tackle if we had a more open government with tougher ethics rules. Imagine if we knew everything that our legislators were doing on Capitol Hill, then we would have a government for the people and by the people. Furthermore, as a state senator, I will not be part of the legislative leadership and I will stand up to the bullying tactics that they commonly impose on other legislators.

The voters of South Davis want their government back. They want to change the existing attitude among lawmakers that legislators know more than they do. I want voters to know that the residents of South Davis will be my employers and I will work for them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Answers - Question 10

This is the 10th in a series of questions posed to the candidates in the State Senate District 23 race. To see the previous questions in this series, please go to

10) Do you support school vouchers?

Democrat - Richard Watson:

Absolutely not.

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:

I voted against the voucher bill. Here is the text of the editorial I had published in the Ogden Standard Examiner last fall:

Guest commentary: Tone of the voucher debate disappoints
Saturday, October 6, 2007
By Dan Liljenquist

The voucher debate has digressed in recent weeks from the logical to the emotional, with both sides seeking the moral high ground in a state where voters are committed to "do what is right." It is critically important to re-set the debate and attempt to look at vouchers objectively.

The initial case for private school vouchers was articulated by neoclassical economist Milton Friedman in his 1955 article "The Role of Government in Education."

The article was published in an era of broad based regulation and general public distrust of market economies.

In the article, Friedman argues that it is appropriate for government to subsidize education. He wrote that "a stable and democratic society is impossible without widespread acceptance of some common set of values and without a minimum degree of literacy and knowledge on the part of most citizens."

Friedman then argues that it is not necessary for government to administer public education, as long as its educational goals are met. Friedman presents educational vouchers as a market-driven alternative to publicly administered schools.

In the context of the voucher referendum vote this fall, it is important to consider the following:

* Friedman expected governmental oversight of educational curriculum to ensure common, appropriate content.

* Friedman expected extensive financial oversight by government agencies to ensure proper use of funds, citing the possibility of a greater abuse.

* Friedman does not address what forms of education have the greatest social advantage and how much educational funding is appropriate, except to say that these are questions to be decided "by the judgment of the community through its accepted political channels."

House Bill 148 represents a clear departure from the voucher program envisioned by Milton Friedman. First, the bill does not establish curriculum oversight to ensure appropriate use of government funds; this is contrary to Friedman's approach.

Second, the financial oversight provisions of the bill are simplistic and are not adequate enough to prevent fraud; Friedman clearly advocated substantial financial oversight.

Third, the bill explicitly excludes the judgment of the community from educational decisions, preferring to rely exclusively on parental judgment in educational decisions; this is contrary to Friedman's foundational assumption that all society has a vested interest in how our neighbor's children are being educated and what they are being taught.

While I am disappointed with the recent tone of the voucher debate, I am very pleased to see a grassroots movement to challenge our educational paradigms. Our educational system must become more competitive, with greater parental and community involvement, and more educational choices. We must provide increased funding to reduce class sizes and create greater financial freedom to compete for top talent, particularly in the key secondary education fields of math and science.

We must be focused on preparing our children to excel in hyper-competitive, global labor markets where knowledge and intelligence are the coins of the realm.

I am optimistic that this voucher debate will be the spring-board for broad based, positive educational reform.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Answers - Question 9

This is the ninth in a series of questions posed to the candidates in the State Senate District 23 race. To see the previous questions in this series, please go to

9) Are there any changes that you would like to see made in relation to charter schools?

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:

With 30,000+ students on charter school waiting lists, I am in favor of expanding the reach of charter schools as fast as possible. I would like to see permanent funding mechanisms put in place for charter schools to ensure their ongoing success.

Democrat - Richard Watson:

When a new charter school is proposed, we would be better served if we take away the conflict-of-interests any legislator has when building a new school.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Answers - Question 8

This is the eighth in a series of questions posed to the candidates in the State Senate District 23 race. To see the previous questions in this series, please go to

8) What are your feelings about charter schools?

Democrat - Richard Watson:

Again, charter schools began as a great idea for Utah families. And charter schools continue to serve the needs of those families who want a specialized education for their children. However, some lawmakers have viewed charter schools as a profit-driven opportunity for building more charter schools rather than focusing on the education needs of our communities.

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:

I fully support the charter school movement in Utah.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Answers - Question 7

This is the seventh in a series of questions posed to the candidates in the State Senate District 23 race. To see the previous questions in this series, please go to

7) What are your feelings about the federal government mandating states to follow certain criteria, such as they did with NCLB? What about the Utah Legislature mandating cities to follow certain criteria such as has been done with entities like UTOPIA?

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:

I am not familiar with the criteria that the Utah Legislature has passed regarding UTOPIA. My problem with NCLB is that the Federal Government is holding our own money over our heads.

Democrat - Richard Watson:

Again, big government hovering over local municipal government is taking away the power and confidence of the people. Also, Utah lawmakers have a bad habit of mandating and legislating cities to comply with new laws, but fail to properly fund most mandates. The problems we see with UTOPIA only emphasize the problem our Legislature has with funding programs that they mandate.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Answers - Question 6

This is the sixth in a series of questions posed to the candidates in the State Senate District 23 race. To see the previous questions in this series, please go to

6) What are your feelings about "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB)?

Democrat - Richard Watson:

What seemed like a great idea when it passed, NCLB has now become a miserable failure. In review, the legislation provided a lot of mandates with little funding to support the plan. However, since Utah receives some federal funding for public schools, we have to live with NCLB until lawmakers increase public school funding.

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:

I think NCLB is ineffective at best, coercive at worst. I don’t like being taxed by the Federal Government and then having to follow top-down, burdensome directives to get our money back.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Answers - Question 5

This is the fifth in a series of questions posed to the candidates in the State Senate District 23 race. To see the previous questions in this series, please go to

5) In the 2008 legislative session, Senator Dan Eastman sponsored a bill (SB46 that limits the decisions that the government of a municipality in Utah can make in regards to it's municipal waste. Do you feel such decisions are rightly made by the Utah Legislature, or the government of the municipality? Why?

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:

I am glad that you asked this question because it highlights a specific situation where I think the State Legislature appropriately intervened at the local level. In this instance, the State Legislature decided that city governments cannot force commercial entities to use a specific solid waste disposal facility, except under certain circumstances. I would have voted for Senator Eastman’s bill – the best way to explain why is to propose a hypothetical.

One might argue that it would make sense for Centerville to mandate that all broadband services in Centerville be provided through the UTOPIA network. First, it would help ensure that UTOPIA remains solvent, thereby limiting taxpayer liabilities. Second, it would provide lower costs to individual consumers for broadband services because UTOPIA could charge much higher fees for commercial service. These are the exact arguments given in support for granting exclusive solid waste disposal contracts. On the surface, these arguments make some sense, however, if Centerville passed such an ordinance mandating UTOPIA use, most Utahns would expect the State Legislature to aggressively intervene to ensure that Centerville does not unnecessarily interfere with competitive markets.

I believe that it is appropriate for the State Legislature to ensure that city governments help facilitate free markets, and not restrict them unnecessarily. After studying this issue, I believe that the Legislature acted appropriately.

Democrat - Richard Watson:

Again, local governments should have the authority and power to solve local problems. Municipal governments understand local problems better than our state lawmakers do. The only outside laws that should be enforced on municipal waste are federal environmental laws regarding pollution. After all, most people, like me, enjoy clean air and clean water, but, we don't want a bunch of state lawmakers in Salt Lake City telling us how to run our neighborhoods in Davis County.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Answers - Question 4

4) In the 2008 legislative session, Representative Brad Daw sponsored a bill (HB139, that would have placed certain restrictions on anyone providing wireless internet access. Pete Ashdown, owner of Xmission, has publicly opposed this type of legislation and has said that he will shut down the free wireless provided by Xmission in downtown Salt Lake City if such legislation passes. (see Would you support or oppose this type of legislation? Why?

Democrat - Richard Watson:
I oppose this bill. This bill falls in the line of "big brother" legislation and I believe Utah lawmakers should concentrate on bigger issues, like public schools, transportation, taxes and healthcare. In addition, this bill, had it passed, might have had some constitutional challenges later on.

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:
I would have opposed the bill proposed by Rep. Daw. While I believe an appropriate role of government is to ensure that community standards of morality and decency are upheld, such considerations must be balanced by the costs of achieving a desired results with the benefits that arise in doing so. In this instance, it is difficult to make the case that an unquantifiable benefit (for example, we have no indication that Rep. Daw’s bill will materially decrease the number of minors who actually access harmful materials) outweighs the significant, measurable costs (the shutdown of the Xmission free wireless project is only one such example) of such a measure. I would have opposed this bill on these grounds.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dan Liljenquist survives plane crash.

According to KSL (see story here), Dan Liljenquist, the Republican candidate for State Senate District 23 survived a plane crash that killed 11 people in Guatemala. I'm glad that he survived this horrific ordeal. I wish him a speedy recovery from his injuries. I'll keep him and his family in my prayers. I'm sure it is traumatic for his wife and children to go through something like this.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Answers - Question 3

3) What are your feelings about the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, better known as UTOPIA? What about other similar entities?

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:
UTOPIA is the perfect battle ground to debate the first two questions posed. I have spent much of the last month studying the issues surrounding UTOPIA. The intent of UTOPIA is to facilitate economic development by providing world class broadband infrastructure to third party service providers, enabling them to provide affordable broadband services to citizens of the 16 participant cities.

In my opinion, one of the primary roles of government is to facilitate free markets. Investments in infrastructure, whether they be highways, power grids, rail-roads, sewer systems, or telecommunications platforms, are appropriate for governments to make in behalf of their citizens. The benefits of infrastructure investments, on the balance, have outweighed the costs of such investments.

In the case of UTOPIA, the 16 cities that banded together on the project made a determination that the existing infrastructure in their cities was inadequate for their citizens. The decision to proceed with UTOPIA, in my opinion, was an appropriate exercise of city authority.

That said, it is clear now that the UTOPIA build-out has been mismanaged, requiring a rework of the business plan and a refinance of the debt instruments required to fund the project. Only time will tell if the revised business plan will work, but, at the very least, there should be useable broadband infrastructure in these cities for many years to come.

On a personal note, I did not think that the investment in UTOPIA was necessary for the 16 cities involved, especially given the rapid advancements in wireless broadband technology. On this basis, I probably would have voted against participating in the UTOPIA project had I been on a city council at the time. Early on, I was also concerned that UTOPIA was intended to compete directly against Qwest and Comcast. I later learned that the UTOPIA network is open to both Qwest and Comcast, but they have chosen not to provide service over the UTOPIA network. Knowing this, I would not have voted against UTOPIA on the grounds that government was in direct competition with private enterprise, even though this was my original inclination.

Democrat - Richard Watson:
What started out as a great idea has turned into a bureaucratic nightmare. Unfortunately, UTOPIA is a prime example of under funded programs the legislature has passed over the years.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Answers - Question 2

2) As a state senator, would you vote to make it more or less difficult for cities to create such entities as those listed in Question 1? (see Question 1 here)

Democrat - Richard Watson:
I definitely would work at making it less difficult for cities to create any entities. What's more, I would look at reversing some of the "Big Brother" laws that restrict cities to govern responsibly and give cities more autonomy. After all, residents voted for their local leaders to solve local problems.

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:
As a Utah State Senator, I would not vote to make it more difficult for cities to create such entities. I believe that one of my primary roles in the Utah Legislature would be to run interference for our cities, helping preserve as much flexibility as possible at the local level. I already have a solid working relationship with Mayors Johnson, Russell, Behunin, Schaefermeyer, and Parry. I have committed to them that we will meet quarterly so that I can stay attuned to the needs of the cities in Senate District 23.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Democrat wants electoral college abolished...

In Sunday's Pignanelli and Webb column (see here), Frank argues to have the Electoral College abolished. He uses the argument that Utah hasn't seen a presidential contender in any recent campaign. Utah is an anomaly. If the Electoral College is done away with, states like Nevada will never see a presidential contender. How many times has a presidential contender visited Nevada, Missouri, and several other "small" states in the past two presidential elections, Frank? How many times would Nevada and Missouri have seen presidential candidates in the past two presidential elections if the electoral college didn't exist?

The Electoral College still makes since for the United States of America.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Answers - Question 1

1) Do you support or oppose cities coming together to create certain entities such as the South Davis Recreation District, South Davis Metro Fire District, United Fire Authority, etc.? Why?

Republican - Dan Liljenquist:
I support cities coming together to create partnerships that benefit their citizens. I believe that it is good policy to allow this type of inter-city partnering for a few simple reasons.

First, I believe the principles of federalism apply to local government. As long as city governments do not interfere with rights specifically enumerated to federal and state governments, cities should be able to partner together on projects that would be mutually beneficial to their citizens.

Second, I believe that city governments are much more in tune with the specific needs of their citizens and are in a better position to make the necessary decisions to meet their citizens’ needs. There are very few barriers to involvement in city government, and, as a result, our mayors and city councils tend to be the most responsive to the will of the citizens in their communities.

Finally, as a matter of practicality, I do not believe that the State Legislature has the time to effectively understand and address the specific needs of each city.

Democrat - Richard Watson:
I strongly support cities working together in solving local problems. As a result, local citizens are more confident of having control of issues that are close to their neighborhoods. The South Davis Recreation Center is a great example of helping residents with local needs.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Answer posts coming...

I mentioned in a previous post that I have received answers to my questions for the Senate District 23 candidates. Due to the length of the responses, I have decided to post the answers in 13 separate posts. I will post two questions with answers each week. Look for the posts beginning this Thursday.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

5 Years

It was 5 years ago today that I wrote my first post on this blog. This blog has gone through periods of slowness (especially 2004) and periods where there were regular postings. It is interesting for me to go back and read some of my early posts. I've also noticed that some of my views have changed in the past 5 years. If nothing else, this blog has served as an outlet for me to post random thoughts. If no one reads them, that is fine by me. It's fun for me to write them and then later go back and read them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I've received answers!

Dan Liljenquist has sent me his answers to my questions (see here) for the State Senate District 23 candidates. I will be creating a post soon that contains his answers along with those of the Democratic candidate, Richard Watson. I haven't heard anything back from, Jorgina Hancock, the Constitution candidate in this race.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jill Ekstrom Sentenced

I've posted twice previously (see here and here) about Jill Ekstrom's legal troubles. Jill was sentenced yesterday for stealing adoption records from the Davis County Courthouse. She is to server 18 months on probation. She was also ordered to pay a $540 fine and $850 in restitution to the Davis County Sheriff's office.

The worst thing about this case is that it makes those who want to find out information about their birth parents look like crazy, nut jobs.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We voted against RAP already!

According to an article in the Clipper, (see here) the Woods Cross City Council approved a resolution to put the RAP tax on the ballot in November. Councilmember Rick Earnshaw said “I tell them we’re already shopping in Bountiful and paying the tax, so we may as well be reaping the benefits ourselves.” I don't agree with Rick, because, a large percentage of my purchases over the last 12 months have not been in Bountiful.

I purchased a vehicle last December from Murdock Chevrolet, which I didn't pay the RAP tax on. My family also does a considerable amount of shopping at CostCo which is located in West Bountiful, which doesn't have the RAP tax.

Just because Bountiful is our neighbor, doesn't mean we need to have the same taxes. We don't need to keep up with the Joneses. I believe that the Woods Cross residents should vote down the RAP tax, again!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Cars vs. Computers

There's a great post over at titled If People Bought Cars Like They Buy Computers. I thought it was extremely funny and fitting.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Anything to avoid putting your family through heck.

There is a post at the Utah Amicus (see here) that references the resignation of Mark Walker from the state legislature.

I can fully understand the actions of Mr. Walker. Nobody can realize the affects this can have on a person as well as on their family members unless they have personally gone through a similar situation themselves. I can tell you that when accusations are made it affects those whom you love sometimes more than it affects the person being accused.

Would Rob at Utah Amicus have appreciated similar things said about him? Remember, in this country, we believe in being innocent until proven guilty. If Mr. Walker truly did something wrong, it will be tried in a court of law. Until he is proven guilty, maybe we should cut him some slack. I'd hope for the same thing even if he was a Democrat.

Monday, June 30, 2008

I had lunch with a Democrat!

I went to lunch today with Richard Watson, the democratic candidate for the State Senate District 23 seat. I had a very nice visit with him. No, he is not trying to buy my vote as I paid for my own lunch. We talked about several things including the questions that I e-mailed earlier to all the candidates (see here). He e-mailed me his answers to those questions 12 days ago. I still have not received answers to them from Dan Liljenquist.

When I mentioned to Richard that I hadn't received answers from Dan yet, he said maybe Dan feels like he doesn't have to worry about the general election. I was a little disturbed by a quote that Richard mentioned to me along those lines. In an article from the June 21st edition of the Salt Lake Tribune (see here), Dan Liljenquist is quoted as saying, "In Davis County, the primary is the election since 70 percent generally vote a straight ticket." This is what Dan used to justify the amount of money he spent leading up to the primary election.

I've mentioned in previous posts that I feel like many democrats and republicans aren't too far apart in many of their viewpoints (see here). I've also mentioned previously that I believe voting for someone just because of their party is ridiculous (see here). These two beliefs say to me that Mr. Liljenquist still has an election to win. He best not take it too lightly. I believe a lot more people will vote in this election than in previous state senate seat elections because of the great interest in the presidential election. I'd still like to wait to post Richard's answers to my questions so that his answers don't influence Dan's answers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Republican Primary is History

I voted in the Republican Primary yesterday. I was glad to wake up today and see that Dan Liljenquist had defeated Ron Mortensen. I haven't put my reasons on this blog for not supporting Ron Mortensen. I've always felt like Ron Mortensen would not be responsive to his constituents, and, that he wanted to be in the Senate to push his own agenda. This was confirmed to me by the lack of any response to my e-mails to him. If he won't be responsive to e-mails before the election, how responsive will he be after he's in office?

I had Ron contact me a few times concerning the South Davis Recreation Center when I was a member of the Woods Cross City Council. When he would talk to me, he always seemed to want to be confrontational with those who did not agree with his views. I have found that in politics you need to work at making friends and building a consensus rather than making people upset with you. I couldn't see Ron's methods working very well in the Utah State Senate. The people who vote against your stance today will be the same people you'll need voting with your position tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

She's put up with me for 15 years!

Today is my 15th wedding anniversary! It's hard to believe that my wife has put up with me for all these years. I love her immensely!

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart! Here's to 15 (at least) more!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Would I be as involved?

Yesterday my wife asked me an intriguing question. She asked me if we were to move away from the South Davis area, would I be as interested or involved in politics as I am? Since she asked me, I've been mulling it over in the back of my mind. (That's what techie types do. We work on a solution to an issue in the back of our mind.)

Would I be as involved in local politics if I were to move away from the South Davis County area? I probably wouldn't. One of the reasons that I am so involved and interested in politics in the South Davis area is that I have a historical love for the area. I was raised in Woods Cross. I remember walking down 800 West as a kid to buy candy and a soda at Irv's Market. Call it nostalgic, but, I love Woods Cross because so much of my life has been lived here. So would I have that same vested interest in a place that I wasn't raised in? Probably not. I'd probably end up being like the majority of residents and not really care or know what my city officials were doing.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Meeting With Dan Liljenquist

Tonight I attended a "Meet the Candidate" event at Woods Cross City Hall for Dan Liljenquist who is one of the Republican candidates running for Utah State Senate District 23. I must admit that I was impressed with what he had to say. I didn't agree with his position on everything, however, I felt like his position on several items matched my feelings.

He was asked how the state can make sure the money that is given to education actually makes it to the classroom. He said that he would like to see a push for mandatory audits of money that is given to the school districts. He stated that it is possible that the money is being used for legitimate needs, but, the problem is that we just don't know where the money is going.

He also feels that campaign contributions should be used only for campaign purposes. I previously posted that I felt Mr. Liljenquist would not likely vote for ethics reform. I'd like to reverse that position at this time. I no longer feel like Dan Liljenquist is trying to buy a seat in the Utah State Senate. After hearing his thoughts on ethics in the State Senate, I feel that Mr. Liljenquist will be a positive influence for ethics changes. He stated that he feels the Senate should open their caucuses the same way that the Republicans in the Utah House of Representatives have.

Dan also said things about government being local first that really resonated with me. At the meeting tonight, I stated that Ron Mortensen's group, Citizens for Tax Fairness, was publicly opposed to the South Davis Recreation Center. I then asked Dan what his position is on cities coming together to spend tax dollars on things such as the South Davis Recreation Center. He said that he felt like his opinion on that doesn't matter because he doesn't feel that is a state issue. He feels like the state shouldn't be telling cities that they can or cannot come together on things like that. He said it's a city issue and the decision should be made by the city council. He likened the things that the state legislature, county commissions, and city councils, should be doing are like firing lanes. It's when the legislature starts crossing those firing lanes that it messes things up. He said that the sovereignty that states enjoy should be passed on to the cities as well.

All in all, I was very impressed with what Dan Liljenquist had to say. Based on that and the fact that I haven't heard any response at all from Ron Mortensen in regards to my e-mailed questions, I will be voting for Dan in the Republican Primary election.

Can I take it with me when I die?

I recently read the book, "The King's Highway" by Howard Fullmer. This book reminded me of a subject that I've wanted to write a post about for some time. The subject is that of materialism vs. service to others. Do we value our physical possessions more than we value our relationships with family and friends? Do we care more about gathering lots of things for ourselves or making the journey easier for others?

Years ago I was asked by a friend if they could borrow my truck to haul some dirt for their garden. If I had valued my possessions more than my relationship with my friend, I would have said no because he might have scratched it, wrecked it, or any number of other things. Looking back, I'm glad that I said yes to him.

How many times do we tell our kids or grandkids that they can't use something because we are afraid that they will hurt or damage it? Do we value the physical possession more than we value our relationship with our child or grandchild? There are many people who spend lots of time and energy taking care of or gathering more physical possessions and not enough time taking care of their relationships with family and friends. In the end, what do we take with us when we die?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Follow-up on Alleged Theft of Adoption Records

I previously posted about Jill Ekstrom being charged with stealing adoption records from the second district court. A news item on KSL's website says that Ekstrom entered a "no contest" plea on Monday, June 9th. Sentencing has been set for July 22. According to the report, Ekstrom claims that she will withdraw the plea because she was taking pain killers on Monday. Maybe later we'll find out she was under the influence of pain killers when she allegedly took the records.

So why a "no contest" plea instead of a guilty plea? According to, a "no contest" plea indicates that, while you are not admitting guilt, you do not dispute the charge. This is preferable to a guilty plea because guilty pleas can be used against you in later civil lawsuits.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Still No Answers

I still haven't received answers to my questions from the candidates for Senate District 23 race. I did hear back from both Dan Liljenquist and Richard Watson. They both said that they were (understandably) busy, but, that they would put answers together and get them to me.

They at least were responsive enough to get back with me and let me know that they had received the e-mail and were working on answers. For me, that goes a long way in saying what kind of a representative they would be in the Utah Senate.

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Honor of Those Who Have Served

Happy Memorial Day! This day was set aside to honor those men and women who have served in the US Armed Forces. For a great history of observance of Memorial Day in the United States of America, see

Today, I'd like to honor my maternal grandfather and his brother. My grandpa served in the navy during World War II. He passed away 11 April 1991. His younger brother was killed 6 September 1945 when the plane he was flying in was shot down by Japanese forces. Apparently, not all the Japanese forces knew that the war had ended on 15 August 1945.

I salute all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that we enjoy here in the United States of America.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Questions for State Senate District 23 Candidates

The Utah State Senate District 23 race has four candidates right now, two Republican candidates who will face off in a June 24th primary, a Democratic candidate and a Constitution Party candidate. I have compiled a list of 13 questions that I have e-mailed to these four candidates. I will post any responses that they permit me to post.

Yesterday, May 23 2008, I e-mailed these 13 questions to:

Constitution - Jorgina Hancock -
Republican - Dan Liljenquist -
Republican - Ronald Mortensen -
Democratic - Richard Watson -

These e-mail addresses were taken from the Lieutenant Governor's website at:

1) Do you support or oppose cities coming together to create certain entities such as the South Davis Recreation District, South Davis Metro Fire District, United Fire Authority, etc.? Why?

2) As a state senator, would you vote to make it more or less difficult for cities to create such entities as those listed above?

3) What are your feelings about the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, better known as UTOPIA? What about other similar entities?

4) In the 2008 legislative session, Representative Brad Daw sponsored a bill (HB139, that would have placed certain restrictions on anyone providing wireless internet access. Pete Ashdown, owner of Xmission, has publicly opposed this type of legislation and has said that he will shut down the free wireless provided by Xmission in downtown Salt Lake City if such legislation passes. (see Would you support or oppose this type of legislation? Why?

5) In the 2008 legislative session, Senator Dan Eastman sponsored a bill (SB46 that limits the decisions that the government of a municipality in Utah can make in regards to it's municipal waste. Do you feel such decisions are rightly made by the Utah Legislature, or the government of the municipality? Why?

6) What are your feelings about "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB)?

7) What are your feelings about the federal government mandating states to follow certain criteria, such as they did with NCLB? What about the Utah Legislature mandating cities to follow certain criteria such as has been done with entities like UTOPIA?

8) What are your feelings about charter schools?

9) Are there any changes that you would like to see made in relation to charter schools?

10) Do you support school vouchers?

11) What are your reasons for running for State Senate?

12) What do you see as the biggest issue facing our state? What would you, as a state senator, do about it?

13) What makes you the best candidate? In other words, why should someone vote for you over one of the other candidates for this seat?

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Bad Experience at South Davis Rental

I read a book years ago titled, "The Simple Truths of Service." (see here.) In a portion of this book it tells the story of Johnny the bagger. (Click here for the full Johnny the bagger story.) Johnny went out of his way to make every customer feel like they were important. Consequently, people wanted Johnny to be their bagger, even if it meant waiting in a longer line for a longer time. In most people's lives, time equals money. These people were willing to pay more (time) for better customer service.

I was reminded of this story because of an experience that I had last week. I wanted to rent a sod cutter for some yard work I was doing. My wife called some of the rental companies in the Bountiful area asking prices. When she called South Davis Rental she was told that the overnight charge was a two-hour minimum. This meant if you used the cutter for less than the two hours, you'd be charged for the two hours. If you used the cutter for more than two hours, you'd be charged the actual hours used. That was the lowest price and so she reserved a machine for us to pick up on Friday evening.

Come to find out, the "standard" for their overnight is a three hour minimum. To their credit, South Davis Rental did only charge the quoted price, however, they made us feel crappy for trying to hold them to what they quoted. They said things like "Overnight rental has always been three hour minimum." and "Man, these guys are killing me." I think it's important to note here that I picked up the sod cutter at 5 p.m. on Friday and returned it shortly after 8 a.m. on Saturday. When I picked the cutter up, it had 21.3 hours on the clock and when I returned it there were 21.9 hours on the clock. I used the machine for 36 minutes! When I left South Davis Rental on Friday there were several sod cutter machines available. Not all the sod cutter machines got rented and kept overnight Friday. There were still some sod cutters there when I returned the machine on Saturday morning. South Davis Rental did not lose the capability to rent a sod cutter because I had one overnight Friday. What they did lose is my satisfaction with them as a rental company. They also potentially lost future business from me and my family members. When I need to rent equipment in the future, I will pay a few bucks more to rent from elsewhere before going to South Davis Rental based on the experience I had there. South Davis Rental is also a U-haul rental location. Needless to say, I won't go there to rent U-haul equipment either.

The people who run and work at South Davis Rental could learn a lot about customer service. You can treat customers any way you want, but, really successful companies treat customers in a way that makes them want to come back.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chaffetz vs. Cannon

The Deseret News has an article about the 3rd District GOP primary race between Jason Chaffetz and Chris Cannon. Now I'm not a part of the 3rd District, so I can't vote in this race, however, I want to offer some of my comments about the race or at least about this article.

The article talks about the up-hill battle that Chaffetz obviously has to beat an incumbent. That being said, I think that Jason has a better chance at winning then the other people before him who have tried to beat Cannon. I think right now several citizens are not happy with the way they see things going in Washington D.C. Several people want change. In the article, Cannon is quoted as saying, "I'm the conservative in the race. And I'm an agent for change — as I have been before." If he's the agent for change, why haven't things changed in D.C.? I personally don't feel like somebody who has been in D.C. for over 12 years could be an agent for change. That's just my opinion and yours may differ.

Another thing that bothered me in the article was the following:
"Cannon has good name ID in his district and a good old Mormon name to go with it. (Joe Cannon, Chris' older brother, is the editor of the Deseret News.) Chaffetz is not as well known in the district and in fact is a convert to the LDS Church and the Republican Party."

Now it's true that Cannon may have more name ID, but to call it "a good old Mormon name?" Good grief. Are some people so blind as to say that because somebody is "a convert to the LDS Church" that they are less qualified or less likely to be elected? I would rather vote for somebody who is a convert to the LDS Church as that usually means that they have studied out their faith. How many times are we told by leaders of the LDS Church that all members of the Church need to become converted? I believe there are many LDS members who have grown up in the Church and have never become converted to their faith. Those who haven't become converted, in my opinion, are less qualified to represent me in Congress.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Governmental Budgets

It appears to me that our governmental entities here in Utah budget just as well as Utah families. That, unfortunately, is not a good thing. I believe many families in Utah don't budget well. In fact, many studies show that American families in general don't budget well. Many American families subscribe to the buy now, pay later mantra. We see this as well in government. Many governments are willing to place bonds and then increase fees paid by the citizens to pay off the debt. Wouldn't it be better to plan ahead and save some extra money to pay for the improvements before they occur?

In Woods Cross, we will see our water fees increase by a significant amount in the near future. This is to pay for a bond that will be used to build a new water storage tank and to drill a new well. This will mean that both our garbage and water fees will have been increased significantly in the space of one year. I would suspect that if you were to look back on the last 14 years of Woods Cross government, you would see that taxes and fees collected by Woods Cross City have increased at a much higher rate than inflation. Is this being a responsible government?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

15th Anniversary

Today is an anniversary for me. It was 15 years ago today that my wife agreed to marry me. A recent article (see here) in Mormon Times by Orson Scott Card sums up many of my feelings about my marriage.

In the article, he says in marriage, "there's somebody who shares your goals and your problems, somebody to rely on, somebody to hear you out. You're not alone." One of the great things about being married to my best friend is that we both have someone to rely on. Someone to share our fears and our joys with. We both have a shoulder to cry on when we need it. We have somebody else to help us through when we're feeling down.

Orson Scott Card says of the foundation of marriage, "It's a commitment based on the goals you share. And real love, married love, is not what you start with -- it's what you create together along the way." My wife and I have had many wonderful times together in the past 15 years. We've had our struggles and our heartaches, but, what I feel today is a love that is so much stronger than the love I felt for her 15 years ago.

To my wife, I love you! You are my best friend and I want to be with you always!

Monday, April 28, 2008

New Missionary Catch Phrase?

There is a great post over at "The Cultural Hall" blog. (See here.) It deals with the phrase of "Every Member a Missionary" which is used in the LDS Church. The blog post makes an excellent point of noting that you need to be a friend.

Friday, April 25, 2008

First they came...

The following poem attributed to Martin Niemöller is inscribed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

Do you see any recent events that this may match up with?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

No Regrets at Murdock Chevrolet

I have been meaning to write a blog post about this prior to now, but, I haven't done it yet. Last November we were looking at replacing our 2003 Chevy Suburban. There wasn't anything wrong with it, I just wanted to upgrade to something different. Now when you have seven children, your options on vehicles is fairly limited. Our choices really became one of the following three options:

School Bus
A institutional van.
Or a nice new Suburban.
I should add here that we plan on keeping this new vehicle for several years.

With these things in mind, we went looking for a new vehicle. Our 2003 Suburban we purchased from Young Chevrolet in Layton. After that experience I wasn't too thrilled to go to Young again.

Since Murdock Chevrolet was close, we decided to go see what they had available. At the time we went, Chevy was offering 0% financing on 2007 Suburbans. That was the deal that we went looking for. The problem became trying to find a 2007 Suburban that was a 9 passenger model. Basically there weren't any within a 500 mile radius. Our salesman than started to talk to us about looking at a 2008 Suburban. They had a 2008 Suburban that was being shipped to them that would hold 9 people. To make a long story short, we ended up deciding to get that 2008 Suburban.

Why am I happy with Murdock Chevrolet? During the process they did several things that made me happy, among them are:
  1. They worked hard to find a 9 passenger 2007 Suburban. They even looked into getting a 8 passenger 2007 Suburban and changing seats to make it a 9 passenger. That proved to be cost prohibitive.
  2. When they found out where I worked, they told me about a discount I could get because of my employer. This actually made the vehicle cost about $500 less than the deal that I had worked with them. How many times have you had a car dealer tell you how you could save even more money?
  3. To seal the deal, they offered to throw in a vehicle entertainment system. The first one that they installed didn't work and after trying several things to get it to work, they finally installed a dual dvd player system. This system has kept our kids happy for many hours. Happy Kids = Quiet Kids. Quiet Kids = Happy Parents. Happy Parents = Happy Vacation.
You may have seen Murdock's "No Regrets" commercials. I truly have no regrets with my purchase experience at Murdock. My wife and I absolutely love so many things about our 2008 Suburban. We love the color, the way it rides, the remote start, the vehicle entertainment system, etc. Thanks Murdock! If you are in the market for a new car, go see Jason Nielsen at Murdock and tell him that I sent you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Urquhart, Quit Taking From Cities

Representative Steve Urquhart says in a recent post, (see here) "I want to go on record now, to state that Utah should not bail out cities for the huge indebtedness they will incur because of their involvement with UTOPIA."

I personally find this offensive because when I was on the Woods Cross City Council, it seemed that Utah always tried to reduce the amount of money that cities received from the state. The amount of Class C road funds that went to cities was reduced while the state attempted to turn over maintenance of many state roads to the cities.

Almost every legislative session during my term as a City Council member, it appeared that the state legislature attempted to balance their budgets on the backs of the cities and towns of this state.

So my message to Representative Urquhart is while it is fine to say that the state shouldn't bail out cities for what you perceive as bad judgment, take a look in the mirror and make sure that you are not looking to be bailed out by the cities for what they may perceive as your bad judgment.

Representative Urquhart is flat out wrong in his post when he says that UTOPIAs "product is inferior to the competition." This says to me that he obviously hasn't done his homework on the issue. If he hasn't studied it enough to know that the product is not inferior to the competition, what else is he missing about the issue? As for many other comments in Representative Urquhart's post, I find a response by Jesse Harris (see here) addresses those much better than I can.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kudos to WX City Manager

An article in today's Deseret News (see here) talks about the "quiet zone" that is being established for the trains in the Northern Utah area. The article mentions that the effort to get quiet zones instituted in the commuter rail area was organized by Woods Cross City Manager, Gary Uresk. I know that there were many complaints from citizens about the train horns during my term on the council. Gary knew that there was a need for something to be done and made the effort to see that UTA implemented the needed changes at the street crossings to be able to pursue a quiet zone.This is no small accomplishment. I'm sure Gary had to work many hours with many different entities to accomplish this. The quality of life for many people will improve because of Gary's actions. Kudos to Gary Uresk for taking the initiative to get this implemented.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Qwest going "fiber to the node"

A Salt Lake Tribune article from April 9th, (see here) had some interesting news about Qwest investing in more fiber in Utah. I have included a portion of the article below.
Utah consumers interested in getting ultra high-speed Internet service may no longer have to wait for the financially struggling Utopia network to keep its promises.
Qwest Communications International Inc., as part of a $300 million company-wide initiative, this year plans to invest millions of dollars to beef up its Wasatch Front network by running fiber-optic lines to many of the neighborhoods it serves.
The technology, known as "fiber-to-the-node," initially will provide Internet users with speeds of up to 20 megabytes per second, and eventually 40 Mb/s, said Jerry Fenn, who oversees Qwest's operation in Utah as its president.
Qwest later this month will reveal how much it intends to spend in Utah and where the new service will be available, he said.
Service providers on the fledgling Utopia network now typically offer speeds of 15 Mb/s to 50 Mb/s, although much faster connections are possible.
"We're planning to have this [fiber-to-the-node technology] available to over 200,000 homes and businesses in Utah by the end of the year," Fenn said, indicating the footprint will be expanded as customer demand grows.
What I find most interesting about this is that on October 16, 2007 at the Woods Cross City Council meeting, I remember the Qwest representative stating that they don't believe in the business plan of running fiber to homes. I know that this new strategy is not running fiber to the homes but it is bringing fiber a lot closer to the homes than before. Has Qwest's thoughts on this strategy changed, or do they still only believe in "fiber to the node" and not to the home? It would seem to me that they would be able to do things a lot cheaper if they decided to run their services over the fiber that UTOPIA has already installed and quit fighting against UTOPIA.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One of My Fears Came True

On August 21, 2007 the Woods Cross City Council held a public hearing about the curbside recycling program. During that meeting, they also presented the 2007 Mayor's Beautification Awards. I remember commenting that the first windy day when the recycling cans are emptied, the city won't be as beautiful anymore because newspapers will be blowing around. That snide remark somehow didn't make it into the minutes of the meeting. (See the minutes at this link.)

Today is a very windy day and it also happens to be the first day that my recycling can was emptied. Wind gusts today have been up to 35 MPH. Driving around my neighborhood I see lots of garbage that has been blown about. There are newspapers, milk jugs, and other such items that I'm fairly certain came out of the recycling cans. This part of the city is definitely not going to win any beautification awards today.

Monday, April 14, 2008


In the past I've had thoughts about a disconnect that may exist between upper management and the techies in the trenches. I have seen signs of this disconnect in my current employment as well as in previous places of employment. Let me give an example that may show how this disconnect exhibits itself.

Let's say that a company pays for several managers and techies in the trenches to attend training on Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL is a set of concepts and techniques for managing information technology infrastructure. (See more about ITIL at this link.) I could see upper management attending this training and focusing on all the things that their company is doing right. I could also see the techies in the trenches attending this training and focusing on all the things that their company is doing wrong. Now the managers come away from the training thinking that their company is doing well. The techies in the trenches come away from the training thinking that things would be so much better at their company if they changed the way they did things. This is one of the signs of a disconnect between upper management and the techies in the trenches.

I'm convinced there is also a similar disconnect between the majority of citizens and their elected officials. Time and time again, you hear about how ethics reform is needed in our Utah State Legislature. (See this editorial from Monday's Deseret News.) Previous studies have shown that a majority of Utah citizens favor such legislation, but, the legislation never sees the light of day in the legislative session. There are other issues where there seems to be a disconnect between citizens and the state legislature.

This type of disconnect is extremely difficult to overcome in the corporate world. It appears to me it's even more difficult if not impossible to overcome in the political world.