Thursday, June 30, 2005

StandardNET/Standard-Examiner::Davis County donates unbuildable land for trail

Am I beating dead horse by talking so much about the land dispute between NSL and SLC? Yes, but I didn't kill the horse. I want to focus, this time, on some positive results that could come if NSL is allowed to do what they want with their land. Davis County has just turned over some land that would be used to build a trailhead giving Utahn's access to the National Forest to our east in Wasatch/Cache National Forest. Will we have this trailhead if all 80 acres in SL County becomes Open Space? No, it would be impossible to build a trailhead on land that is zoned as Open Space.

StandardNET/Standard-Examiner::Davis County donates unbuildable land for trail

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Salt Lake Tribune - Utah

More on the land dispute of 80 acres can be found in these two Tribune articles.

Salt Lake Tribune - Utah: Open-space spat a feisty display of mayor's style
Salt Lake Tribune - Utah: North Salt Lake to sue for disputed land

Monday, June 27, 2005

KSL News: A Line in the Sand

Duane Cardall suggests, in a recent editorial, that the benches of North Salt Lake are the final frontier on which, if development were to occur, irreparable harm would be done to the last of Utah's open spaces. He implies that North Salt Lake has succumbed to the "pressure to go higher and denser". What he fails to mention, or realize, is that only thirty out of one-hundred acres would be developed. Ten of those acres would be cemetery which, under the old definition, would have counted as 'open space'. The land in question is no more of an encroachment on open space than an adjacent community known as the 'Avenues'. Certainly, Mr Cardall isn't suggesting that the planners of the Avenues were a bane to 'open space'? And what is beyond the hundred acres in question but more open space, forever protected as Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Utah has more National Parks than any other state in the Union and our National Forests are on par with other states. A legacy we will pass to our children. Salt Lake Cities approach on open space could be better tolerated if they would enforce it everywhere. But they have, arbitrarily, targeted one property owner.

KSL News: A Line in the Sand

Friday, June 24, 2005

Salt Lake Tribune - Utah:Utah not to be affected by property ruling

It appears that the eminent domain case that made it to the Supreme Court has no effect in Utah. The ruling only applies to instances where a local government might seize land in order to sell it for a profit--that is illegal in Utah.

Salt Lake Tribune - Utah: Utah not to be affected by property ruling

Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Salt Lake County offers open-space funds if cities play nice

Let's take a look into the tactics employed by Rocky in preventing North Salt Lake from developing any of it's 80 acres within Salt Lake County. Would he go so far as to condemn all 80 acres? No. That would look bad and it would be costly since the city still has to pay 'fair market value' for the land that is condemned. Rather he's going to condemn 12 acres, on North Salt Lakes border, rendering the other 68 acres useless. The net effect for North Salt Lake is the same as if Rocky had taken the whole thing and Rocky can say, 'we only took 12 acres'.

North Salt Lake has already applied for preservation funds so that open space can be preserved. Rocky can't, justly, argue that North Salt Lake won't preserve the scene on the hilltop. North Salt Lakes driving interest is to preserve open space or they would have made a bid to develop more than one-third of the land. | Salt Lake County offers open-space funds if cities play nice

The Sutherland Institute

The Sutherland Institute has made some cosmetic changes and substantive additions to their website-for the better. One of their policy statements revolve around the core function of government.

"A careful audit should be made of each and every state function. If work performed is also being done, or if at a point in time it has been handled by the private sector (businesses, service clubs, charities, etc.), then the state should return this work to the private sector. Many examples abound as testaments to government out of bounds. One such example is when local governments build massive, publicly subsidized recreation centers that compete with the private fitness industry? Why? "
The role of government in attracting business is also discussed.
"Our state government’s role in helping to attract new business to Utah should be limited to its core function of tax and regulatory policy. Specifically, it should work to reduce both taxes and regulations on business."
They say the following on Rainy Day Funds.
"Despite pledges to control spending, government officials seem unable to do so. When revenue exceeds budgetary requirements, then, there is often a call to use that excess revenue to support future spending (by creating a “rainy day” fund). While a “rainy day” fund of state revenues sounds like a tempting option, mirroring as it does the commendable practice of savings practiced by individuals and families, it is not appropriate. The key principle is the fact that state revenues are (unlike family or personal earnings) public monies. They are meant to be used for public business and, if they are not being used for this purpose, ought legitimately to be returned to taxpayers."
For a complete list of topics of concern to the Sutherland Institute.

The Sutherland Institute-Persuasion at Work

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Clippertoday:‘It was an ambush’ says irate mayor

North Salt Lake's budget to do legal battle with Salt Lake City is limited-5 million dollars. However, Mayor Briggs is prepared to go to court to get the full market value of our land. In the end we would lose more money by just yielding to Salt Lake, than would be spent defending our position.

“I think Mr. Anderson has forced us to go to court. We’ll have to be the people to fight his condemnation. If we sat back today and did nothing he’d win. That would be socially, morally and fiscally irresponsible for us to do that.”
This article is, almost entirely, direct quotes of Mayor Briggs. It gives a good view of the Mayors real position-that of an open-space advocate.
Clippertoday:'It was an ambush' says irate mayor

Monday, June 20, 2005

AP Wire | 06/20/2005 | Supreme Court sides with city in land case

An analogue to the land debate between North Salt Lake and Salt Lake has recently made it to the Supreme Court. According to the article it may be harder now to argue the unconstitutionality of seizing land through eminent domain as Rocky is trying to do.

AP Wire | 06/20/2005 | Supreme Court sides with city in land case | Mayor fights for North S.L. land in S.L.

Mayor Kay Briggs has a profile in today's Deseret News. Briggs has proven himself to be a formidable opponent to, Salt Lake city neighbor, Rocky Anderson. | Mayor fights for North S.L. land in S.L.

SLJPP: Testimony on Tax Reform.

The Sutherland Institute president, Paul T. Mero, has testified before the Tax commission and proposed that any tax reform we have should have the family as it's core value. He proposed that there are five things that can be seen as the center point on which any public policy is built.

"Every public policy has a center point, or core, toward which a policy’s application is
directed by certain underlying assumptions. Historically, competition for this center or core
has been among five institutions: the individual, the family, the corporation, the church,
and the state…These [five] center points are at the heart of all public policies."
Mero says Governor Walkers 'balanced system' is centered in the State. Without saying so explicitly he alluded that Governor Huntsman has chosen to place the corporation at the center. Libertarians will place the individual at the center.

He goes on to say that, by placing the family at the center, all of these other values are benefited. Public policy has a tendency to focus on dysfunction in families, rather than what works. It can suffer from a myopic view that misses the broad scope and the long picture. A public policy centered on families should place it's focus on rewarding the ideal family, not the imperfect family. He suggests that taxes should be taken from income, and moved to tax consumption. Exceptions for food could be made so that a family is not made to go hungry.

He also suggests that we move education funding to sales tax.
"By linking the state income tax to public schools, as we have for nearly sixty years, we have created ugly
and unfortunate policy trade-offs. I believe this well-intended, but short-sighted, legacy has done more
than any other single policy to antiquate our tax code. Moreover, we are forced to choose between
education funding and any incentives that require an income tax credit, deduction, or exemption. It is
unnecessary and avoidable."

Tax reform(PDF)

Friday, June 17, 2005

KSL News: Meth Users' Rotten Teeth Hike Dental Bills in Jails, Prisons

The number one way in which the state of Utah would rob Davis County jails is that they don't want to reimburse for medical, dental, and transportation expenses. A disgusting feature of 'meth' use, which runs rampant in Utah, is 'meth mouth'. The drug destroys teeth causing soaring costs for Utah jails. I've posted on the current problem of under-reimbursement here.

KSL News: Meth Users' Rotten Teeth Hike Dental Bills in Jails, Prisons

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Utah Planners' Corner

Wilf Sommerkorn is offering his opinion on Rocky's, rocky, rally. (cute, huh?)

Utah Planner's Corner:rhetoric-heats-up-in-north-salt-lake

Americans for Prosperity - Taxes: Analysis of TABOR

I've posted on this idea to limit government that is on a ballot in Colorado here. Dr. Barry Poulson at has written a good explanation of it's benefits.

Americans for Prosperity - Taxes

StandardNET/Standard-Examiner:S. Davis mayors discuss recreation consolidation

I'm wary of any idea proposed by Joe Johnson. He wants to move, several, Davis County City recreation programs under one head.
StandardNET/Standard-Examiner:S. Davis mayors discuss recreation consolidation | Rocky, North Salt Lake clash over foothill land

Yesterdays clash over the land owned by NSL has been reported on by the Deseret News. It seems that Rocky is trying to be a NIMNBY (Not-in-my-neighbors-back-yard) over the land; an innovative kind of activist that doesn't care as much about what happens in his backyard as he does in his neighbors. He didn't have the support of the Salt Lake City Council when he proposed condeming a portion of the land which would make it impossible for NSL to develop.

"'It's my back yard, and I'll tell you one thing — we will do our best to preserve it,' Briggs said. 'We won't turn it into what they have turned (the Avenues) into. That's our promise. Our promise is open space. We will deal with it, and we will justifiably make it beautiful.'" | Rocky, North Salt Lake clash over foothill land

Update: KUTV has more on the story. Apparently Rocky's offer for the 13 acres of land he wants condemned is $51,188.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

KSL Blog: Crashing Rocky's Rally...

KSL Blog is talking about Rocky Andersons Rally, held today, that I've talked about previously. Apparently, Mayor Briggs, and his supporters, crashed the party, and some arguments insued. Rocky spoke about condeming some of the land within Salt Lake City boundaries eliciting heckling from, none other, than Kay Briggs himself. Rocky is losing his grip on reality.

KSL Blog: Crashing Rocky's Rally...

Committee eyes changes to jail funding :: The Daily Herald, Provo Utah

The Daily Herald is reporting that a legislative budget committee is planning to better reimburse counties that house state inmates. However, they want to stop reimbursing for medical and transportation costs. How they are able to spin this an increase in funding is a mystery to me. Although they would add a 10% cushion to the county fund, they are cutting enough funding as to make the increase negligible. According to Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, "I don't understand how you ask services be rendered and then just decide you're not going to pay for part of it."

Committee eyes changes to jail funding :: The Daily Herald, Provo Utah

StandardNET/Standard-Examiner:New tax approved to fund south Davis rec center operations

As covered on this blog previously Tom Hardy, 'unpaid consultant' for the Recreational District, wanted to charge for maintainance of the Rec Center before it is built. The Recreational District just approved a tax increase that will do just that! The tax goes into effect a full year before the facility will open.

StandardNET/Standard-Examiner:New tax approved to fund south Davis rec center operations

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Salt Lake Tribune - Utah:County board to offer to help buy N. Salt Lake land

Salt Lake Counties Open Spaces board wants to offer a meager $300,000 to North Salt Lake for the 80 acres of land to insure that it remains open space. North Salt Lake says the price tag is closer to $16 million. On the other hand Rocky has tommorow's rally planned in which he will reveal one of his fingers--again. Guess which one?

Salt Lake Tribune - Utah:County board to offer to help buy N. Salt Lake land

Clipper:Rec pool may still make a bigger splash

The Recreation District has reduced the size of the Bountiful pool in order to deal with escalating costs, covered in a previous post, but some members of the board would like to increase funding in order to accomodate a pool of the original size. It would take an investment of $1 million divided between the five cities. I've anticipated that costs would escalate given the creative accounting ideas suggested by Tom Hardy.
Clipper:Rec pool may still make a bigger splash

The Tax Foundation - Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR): The Cure for "Ratchet Up"

TABOR is an interesting concept. I don't think any reasonable person thinks we ought to completely eliminate governement revenue but, TABOR says, that any increase greater than the population increase plus inflation is too much.

The Tax Foundation - Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR): The Cure for "Ratchet Up"

Monday, June 13, 2005 | Rocky calls rally to protest plan for housing on North S.L. bench

I am tired of Rocky Anderson trying to sway public opinion in his fickle favor when his interest in the dispute is entirely political. In this case political interests do not equal moral, or ethical interests. What North Salt Lake does with their land is not up to the citizens of Salt Lake City. There are enough legal reasons that SLC ought not to be involved in how the land is used that this issue should be decided by the officials and electorate of North Salt Lake City. | Rocky calls rally to protest plan for housing on North S.L. bench

Friday, June 10, 2005

Utah Planners' Corner: Can they do that?

Wilf Sommerkorn has an excellent piece on the controversy surrounding the 80 acres of land that North Salt Lake would like to develop. Sommerkorn questions the legality of Salt Lake City zoning the land as 'open space', essentially, taking the property.

Utah Planners' Corner

WX passes '06 budget

Woods Cross City is setting the example for it's surrounding cities on how to set a budget. This years budget is a 9.56 percent decrease over last year. They are anticipating lower revenues over previous years. It reminds me of, yesterday, watching Chairman Greenspan testifying before Congress. He said that every entity that recieves funding from the Government should be subject to review by Congress. He said even if the Federal Reserve, the entity he chairs, could not justify it's existence then it should be dismantled. What was that? The Federal Reserve Chairman is okay with losing his job if it means a balanced budget! What works for the Federal Government should work for State, County, and City levels.

WX passes '06 budget

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

StandardNET/Standard-Examiner::Davis School District approves pay wage increase

Davis County School district has found a novel way to increase it's reserve fund--by increasing spending on the overall budget through a pay raise, and an administrative spending increase. The article cites an increase in spending for salaries by 4.42% from last year. Most employees will benefit from a 3% increase in pay. Pay raises aside, I think the real story is buried in the reserve fund. The law says the reserve fund can be 5% of it's overall budget so the district has opted for a bigger budget as stated above. They are not asking for any new tax increases now, which would have to go to a vote. They never do ask for a tax increase until the pork barrel is bursting.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

slSites: Local listings for the Salt Lake Valley

Davis County Watch has been added to a directory of the 'best' websites in Salt Lake Valley. According to the site, "Salt Lake Sites is the largest open directory for Salt Lake City, Utah and surrounding communities. It has over 4200 listings in over 264 categories." I'm excited about all the new local sites that are finding their roots in Utah.

slSites | Crowding weighs on jail workers, inmates

I went on a tour of the county jail just before the jail expansion bond went before the voters, and while I don't think that jail-time ought to be a pleasant experience, the expansion is needed so those who should be behind bars, aren't sent away. At the Davis County website, you can see the jail roster. An intersting exercise is to see how many inmates are there, and the arresting agency that got them. Currently, there are 518 total inmates for a jail with a capacity of 496. A handful of these were arrested by I.N.S. and the U.S. Marshalls. How many of these are actually being housed for the Utah State prison? How can we get the State to pay the 75% required, for these inmates, rather than the 50% they are paying? | Crowding weighs on jail workers, inmates

Monday, June 06, 2005

Dynamic Range

John Dougall has a new blog called Dynamic Range that I like a great deal. In particular, note his recent post on recomendations given to the Tax reform commitee that was recently formed by the Legislature.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 | Land-use debate grows in North S.L.

I think it may be time for me to work up a petition for Mayor Briggs, and the NSL city council to ask them to develop what land they can in the 80 acres of land in SLC boundaries. According to Stan Porter, of the Planning Commision, "It would go better if we had public support," Porter said in an interview Wednesday. "We don't know what the public support is." Unlike Porter, I think that Mayor Briggs, and the Council have been very communicative with the community. I attended the focus group, and I believe the entire Planning Commission were there to answer questions.

I'm ready to weigh in my support for the development of 30 acres of the total 100 covering both NSL and SLC boundaries. | Land-use debate grows in North S.L.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

SLC Trib:SLC votes to keep open space on bench at northern border

The fate of eighty acres of land, twenty of which NSL City is ready to sell for development, may have to be decided in court. I am one that hopes that the land is developed. It will recover revenue for North Salt Lake City that can go to pay for our Golf Course, a firestation, as well as more parks, and trails. This will preserve the character of NSL as a pristine , healthy, city. As it stands right now, is trespassing allowed on that land? If so, there are quite a few Salt Lake City Council Members that need to be told to stay off the land.

Salt Lake Tribune - Utah

The Tax Foundation - Flat Tax Debate Rages in Utah

The Tax Foundation has their eyes on Utah, and included the LDS church's statement on tax reform in their piece.

"The state tax system should continue to provide tax deductions for charitable giving—including religious contributions. Charitable contributions help provide for society's poor and needy, education and the arts, and other important social needs."

The Tax Foundation - Flat Tax Debate Rages in Utah