Blogswarm (n): A million monkeys typing while Shakespeare sleeps.
The people at Exoro have come up with a novel idea. It is simply this. To start Utah's first blogswarm. The thing that I'm not sure about is whether I like being lumped in with everyone else. Am I opposed to getting nuclear waste in my backyard? Yes! I don't even care whose waste it is, I don't want it here. In fact I think the best argument against the storage of Nuclear waste in Utah is that it must be transported across the country to get here. That is as large a target for a terrorist attack that I have considered. But, I have nothing original to contribute to the argument. I recieved two emails from Utah Policy.com. The first email said this, "If we generate a groundswell, we could earn recognition from some of the nation’s power bloggers, consequently introducing your blog to a large new audience. " Okay, so I'm actually supposed to be blogging about this important issue because it will bring national attention to me? What about the cyclops fish? What about the fact that I blog on local issues, and don't need, or want a national audience?
The second email was even more enticing.
"If you are able to post tonight we will try to link to it in tomorrow’s UPD." Now, I'm really tempted. I mean I probably write one good post for every ten, and Golden Webb rarely links to me. I kind of enjoy the challenge, really. But, this is as close to a sure-thing as I've ever gotten from Utah Policy.com. Maybe I'm just being too difficult. I should just throw in with the rest and start typing. It's too late now.
I've got to say, though, that I read one exceptional post at Utah Planner's Corner on the topic. Maybe this blogswarm thing really does bring out the creative spirit in it's participants?
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Blogswarm (n): A million monkeys typing while Shakespeare sleeps.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Every once in a while it is fun to link to something ridiculous. Today is one of those days!
Consider the following points as you read the letter below.
First, Citizens for Tax Fairness has received no money from Grover Norquist. Second, the group does not collect membership dues. No fund-raising activities have ever occured to finance the group. No bribes to any elected officials have been "dangled" by Citizens for Tax Fairness. Third, take a look at the Tax Pledge provided by the Citizens for Tax Fairness-It is different from Norquist's pledge in a variety of wonderful ways. Need I make four points? Why not? Fourth, "progressive taxation" is not a Conservative principle. Take Karl Marx, in the Communist Manifesto, for example. "In the most advanced countries the following will be pretty generally applicable:..a heavy progressive or graduated income tax."
My thanks to Ron Mortensen, Co-founder of Citizens for Tax Fairness for pointing me in the direction of this letter and enlightening me regarding Citizens for Tax Fairness financial underpinings. Perhaps someone can point me to Irvine's source-it appears to be Irvine? Regardless, Irvine has built such a fine straw-man to beat that I have to say, 'Swing away, Mr. Irvine, swing away.'
"LETTERS - Three cheers for McConkie
Letters to the Editor 25.APR.06
Commissioner Dan McConkie has voted against propositions I favor time after time, but I nevertheless sincerely commend him for standing up to a slick intimidation tactic by a small group asking all county commission candidates to sign an anti-tax increase pledge. Commissioner McConkie, correctly, called the ploy an attempt to bind candidates to a policy position which would then be trotted out to politically bludgeon anyone whoever votes for a tax increase, irrespective of the merits and sensibilities of particular circumstances.
The more unfortunate aspect of this transparent tactic is from whence it originated. Its genesis, of course, is Washington, D.C. anti-tax Grover Norquist, the same Grover Norquist who evidently sold what may have been a principled conservative philosophical movement to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, and the infamous K Street Project, which has sought to turn control over congressional policy to the highest Republican bidders.
It is highly regrettable that this volatile formula for mixing faux-conservative political philosophy with unlimited corporate money would find its way to Utah. Which group of Utah elected officials will be targeted next?
Mr. Norquist and his moneyed allies have dangled campaign contributions in front of Republican congressmen and senators to such an extent that the laudable conservative principle of responsible, progressive taxation has been completely overwhelmed by tax cuts for the wealthy and a very un-conservative reluctance to balance the federal budget.
These mortgage-the-future, big-spenders are not Democrats; they are Republicans, and the immediate beneficiaries are, largely, Republican contributors to Norquist’s pet projects.
If this kind of out-of-kilter fiscal policy or money-for votes fund raising is the goal of Citizens for Tax Fairness, or whatever the clever nom du jour, three cheers for Commissioner McConkie — who will still vote against my requests and positions again and again.
David R. Irvine
Clippertoday:LETTERS - Three cheers for McConkie
Monday, April 24, 2006
It appears the news is out that I am a registered Republican. I can't believe that I never let that fact slip out before, but I can appreciate the disappointment that it must be to those who thought that I was a liberal. The request was made in comment to my last post that I change the name of this blog to "Republican Davis County Watch". Just for fun, I'd like to discuss the possible implications of the proposed change in the following way.
The top ten reasons to change the name of this blog to "Republican Davis County Watch".
10) People who might otherwise agree with me will begin to see my true nature as the 'spawn of evil'.
9) As no Democrats ever get elected in Davis County, this will eliminate any illusion that they are in power.
8) To prevent any confusion between this and the "Green Party Davis County Watch".
7) Have you ever compared a Republican Watch with the generic version? Try it now, and you'll wonder how you ever told time without a minute hand!
6) Because, maybe I will get to vote in the Primary and my blog will get a vote too.
5) One day, when I forget my ID when voting, I can say, "But, I run 'Republican Davis County Watch'".
4) 'http://www.daviscountywatch.blogspot.com' just isn't long enough!
3) Because, everybody's doing it.
2) Because Karl Rove said so.
1) Because this blog is a fiscally responsible, conservative, and carries a gun!
Posted by Tyler Farrer at 7:16 PM
Saturday, April 22, 2006
The results are in.
P. Bret Millburn beat out McConkie with a whopping 67% of the vote! My vote was clearly for Milburn, but I had been worried at the start that he may not do as well in front of a crowd. I am glad to have been wrong at that. Millburn managed to rally the crowd in his favor that may have been undecided up to that point. It seemed he was channeling Reagan in communicating. He deserved his ovation, and deserved the win. I wonder how McConkie will finish his term? My guess is that he has not finished with politics. I'm betting he is eyeing an appointment somewhere at the State level. He isn't out of sight despite his unpopularity at the convention.
Other results include Ivie with 87% of the vote. This was not a surprise.
Yet more will have to be decided in the Primaries this summer. Michael Deamer and Louenda Downs came in close and were too close to decide. Todd Richardson and Bud Cox came within 10 votes of one another.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
My time as a Delegate is not quite over this year, but I have learned at least one lesson well. Only argue with the Candidate when at a 'Meet the Candidate' function. I've had too many good points completely ignored by allowing other delegates to engage me in a debate. One can imagine the White House Press Corps, ardently, arguing amongst themselves while the Press Secretary smiles blissfully from the podium. It is hard to brush off a direct challenge from another delegate when presented with one, but my pat-answer will now be, "Let's talk about that later. I would like to hear the Candidates response to the question."
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
If my discussion with Mike Deamer tonight had been a debate, and the winner was decided based upon their popularity, then I would have lost. Let me start by running over my biases, for those who don't already know them. I am a fiscal conservative which opposes government spending for what I consider to be non-core functions. I expect responsible spending on core functions, and no spending when possible. This can put one like myself out in the cold when in the company of those with a softer, fuzzier view of the world. Now, on to the bullet points.
Deamer began well. He layed out a well reasoned criticism of the Wasatch Intergrated Waste Management, a waste burning facility that is operated under Davis County Government. He says, (and I believe it) that he has been after the entity to lower rates for years. They finally did so, to a small degree. I think I'm saving about fifty cents a month on my garbage bill now.
The Candidate outlined his opposition to the handling of the Jail expansion. He felt that the cost to the taxpayer was too high, and lumped the difficulty of the Jail in with the failed attempt to raise taxes 138%.
South Davis Recreation Center
He openly supported the funding and building of the Center. Why wouldn't he since he sits on the Board, you ask? Well, for one thing, he sits on the Waste Board as well, yet he's been critical of them. He spoke highly of the Davis School District, the County, and Bountiful for the additional contribution they made when the costs escalated. (Fact check: How much did the School District contribute?)
Deamer said that the job of Mayor of Centerville did not pay that well for a full-time job. He was running for Commissioner because it paid well and he thought he could make a difference in the County. I don't think I'm twisting words here. It was a bold admission that Commissioners earn good money. I don't think Deamer's ashamed of it.
I asked him if he had studied whether the Recreation Center would ever turn a profit. He went through a litany of other facilities and pools that they had visited which they thought, as a group, were just fantastic. I pressed on the question of a profitable facility. He admitted, eventually, that it would probably always be subsidized by the government. He also confessed that the planners did not consider the financial aspects of the Rec Center when it was being considered.
I mentioned that the center would be a multiple-purpose facility, and that they could have kept things to a pool and a ice-rink. Why build a climbing wall, three pools of such large purportions, and a rink? The argument was presented that the Center would not compete with the private sector since nobody in the private sector had built such a facility. I said that businesses may never try to compete, now that the building was almost finished.
Now it get's interesting.
When I questioned Deamer on how he could oppose the Jail expansion, but support the Rec Center, he said, 'the main difference between the two issues are that the Rec Center was brought to a public vote while the Jail never was'. What was that?
I informed Deamer that the Jail expansion was brought to a vote of the public. But, I let him off too easy. I should have re-asked the question. What is the difference between the Rec Center and the Jail? When pressed Deamer said that he thought that the building of a Rec Center was a core function of government. If that's true, then Deamer is a Fiscal Conservative.
Losing the Delegates
As it turns out there were a whole bunch of people in favor of a Rec Center. One told me a story about how when she was a child she had to travel miles to swim in the Deseret Gym. Another told me that without the government, we may not have mountains to climb (responding to my expression that anyone wanting a climbing wall ought to look to the mountains. I do enjoy rock climbing in the mountains). Yet, this delegate actually said, we may not have mountains without the government! I think he meant that we would have leveled them all to build houses, but I responded that God gave us the mountains, not the government. One person said it all, "I like the Rec Center"! It should be clear to me at this point that I have lost these people, but I continued in my futile attempts at persuasion for another few minutes.
If you believe that the Rec Center deserved less financial scrutiny than our Jail, or our Waste Management facilities then you should give Mike Deamer your full support. If you want Deamer pinching pennies on our Jails while he doles out dollars for our climbing wall, then jump aboard the Deamer campaign.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Study conducted for the
Davis School District
Dan Jones & Associates, Inc.
Questions asked during Bond Survey
Question 1-4: Do you have any children or grandchildren who attend school in the (1) Davis School District in: (2) Elementary School? (3) Junior High School? (4) High School?
Questions 5-13: To address population growth, safety concerns and ongoing maintenance needs, the Davis School District has presented a plan that will address such needs for the next five years. This plan affects virtually every community in the District. The plan calls for new schools in areas of growth, reconstruction of one old school, and renovation and upgrading of school buildings throughout the district. A special election, in conjunction with a primary election, will be held on June 27, 2006, for a $230 million dollar bond. And the district has promised, as it did in 2003, to keep the current tax rate as it currently is, meaning if the bond is passed, the current tax rate would remain the same as it is today.
I would like to read you a list of some items in the School Building Improvement and Construction plan that will be covered by the bond. Please tell me whether you favor or oppose bonding for each item?
(5) Upgrade Bountiful High, (6) Upgrade Woods Cross High, (7) Upgrade Clearfield High, (8) Addition to South Davis Junior High, (9) Addition to Farmington Junior High, (10) Addition to Reading Elementary, (11) Addition to South Weber Elementary, (12) Replacement of Wasatch Elementary, (13) Building new schools
Question 14: And, how likely are you to vote in a school bond election to be held as part of the June Primary Election?
Question 15: If a special bond election were held today, would you vote for or against the district’s proposed $230 million dollar bond for school construction, renovation, and upgrading?
Question 16: If against: Why would you likely vote against the bond?
Question 17: Generally speaking, how interested are you in this school bond election, using a 1-10 scale, with one meaning not at all interested and ten meaning very interested?
Question 18: Do you currently work with the PTA, school community council or volunteer at one of the schools?
I will post my comments on this Bond next week. -Tyler
I met Brian Cook on Friday, who is running for the 'Northern' Commission seat B. He saw who was running for that seat and where they live and felt that the Northern part of the County would be severely under-represented if he didn't run. Up until Friday, I thought I might support Deamer for that seat, but I think I'm changing horses on this one. I'll meet Deamer on Tuesday night, so I can still change my mind, but I'm backing Cook.
I have many reasons for thinking this way. Cook only needs to continue on the Commission as he has acted as Mayor for eight years to win my support. As Mayor of Kaysville the property tax went down 16%. He brought business to Kaysville by helping to develop a business park (the park is privately owned and operated). He researched the cost of building a public swimming pool in Kaysville and determined that there was no way such a facility could be operated at a profit and so did not pursue it. As I understand things, the city has contracted with a private group to provide some recreation facility's for the city. In short he acted the part of a fiscal conservative.
Friday, April 14, 2006
I saw Bret Millburn last night and now I've found my Candidate for Seat A.
Let's contrast Millburn with Jana Truman, who is running for Commission Seat B. Truman said she was a Conservative, but did not feel that it worked in practice. Millburn said he believed that conservative principles could be successfully implemented. Millburn actually levelled a gutsy critisism at the county citizens for saying that we are conservative, but then asking for things that make us anything but conservative. The word he used was, 'hypocrites'. He used the Recreation Center as an example of something that we should not ask the government to provide. He actual spent most of his time talking about positive changes that could be made to make County Government more transparent and accessible to the citizens. Both have been heavily involved in politics, but Millburn seemed to have a humility that Truman lacked. He made the meeting less a referendum on him and more about the issues he cared about.
It seemed that he had the support of almost everyone in the room until he was asked a question about his views on Education. At this point, one individual, seemed concerned. Let me specify first, that Education has very little to do with the duties of a Commissioner, but Millburn tackled the question anyway. The question posed was on how Millburn felt about credits being given to those who choose private schools for their children. Millburn responded that he felt that it was right that public schools should exist, but that we should hold them accountable for what they do. He feels that if public schools needed to compete that they would start to improve. I feel as Millburn does. This is a core Conservative principle, and even though Millburn didn't have to state this view, he did.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Over the weekend I went to a 'Meet the Candidate night' with Jana Truman, Troy Rawlings, and James Ivie. Although she's not been elected, Truman was already making excuses for poor performance. She was unwilling to commit to anything, but if she made a campaign promise, that afternoon, it was something like this, 'I will do everything I can not to raise taxes until I inevitably do!' She indicated that she espoused conservative principles, 'in principle', but thought they could, often, not be implemented. So, you can thank the ACLU, or the State of Utah if Truman doesn't accomplish anything. She did reveal the first sprouts of a good idea which I doubt will bear any good fruit, because she will be ineffectual at implementing it. Her idea was to take some of the load off the County Jail by establishing a rehabilitation center for drug abusers. When I asked her if she would accept money for inmates from the State on the condition that they wouldn't reimburse Medical expenses (which is how things are for the Jail) she didn't think that she could say 'No' to the State.
The overall impression I get from Truman is that she doesn't know the difference between a negotiator, and a beggar. The negotiator can walk away from a deal if it doesn't meet specific conditions. A beggar takes what they can get, but they don't get much. Some people call her 'honest', but I call her ineffective.
One side note: I actually was impressed with both Rawlings, and Ivie. I don't know why they've sided with Truman other than some political inexperience on Rawlings part. They may have my vote, though. We'll see.
Friday, April 07, 2006
The Citizens Against Government Waste has given us the 2006 Pork Book. The Republican Senator from Utah, Robert Bennett has featured quite prominently in their Summary page.
"$14,085,000 for projects in the state of Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert Bennett (R-Utah), including: $5,000,000 for the Utah Conservation Initiative; $3,000,000 for the Washington Fields Project; $900,000 for botanical research; $545,000 for advanced computing research and education; and $300,000 for the Oquirrh Institute. According to the Institute’s website, “The Oquirrh Institute was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. The Institute's mission is to shine early light on public policy dilemmas and establish innovative solutions. The Oquirrh Institute is currently involved in four areas of concentration: Moving to Competency-Measured Education, Improving Environmental Management, Advancing Health Information and Research and Enhancing Governance Through Technology.” According to USDA testimony, “The principal researchers have not yet determined a completion date on this project.” A total of $500 has been raised from corporations and foundations. Taxpayers have “contributed” $550,000 to Oquirrh since 2004."
$1,000,000 added by the Senate for a competency-based distance education initiative with Western Governors University in the state of Senate appropriator Robert Bennett (R-Utah). This school is a private university that only gained accreditation in 2003. A close examination of their website does not reveal any defense-related missions.
$13,950,000 for projects in the state of Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee member Robert Bennett (R-Utah), including: $4,000,000 for the Utah Public Lands Artifact Preservation Act; $1,500,000 for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail; $750,000 for the Range Creek/Rainbow Glass Ranch; $500,000 for a wastewater treatment plant in Eagle Mountain; and $300,000 for wastewater infrastructure improvements for Judge Tunnel in Park City."
I have also created a swell spreadsheet of Utah Pork taken from CAGW's Pork Database which I will link to once I can find someone to host it for me.
I have found a number of blessed recipients of this pork to be very much a part of Davis County. Utah has moved, perilously, in the direction of the Porker since last year. We were ranked 24th and now sit at 18th. We, on a local level, can put a stop to Pork Politics.