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?