Tuesday, January 30, 2007

SLTrib:Cities, county on path to Davis, Weber trail

For the Citizens Against Government Waste to consider something to be Pork, it must meet one of the following conditions.

  • Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
  • Not specifically authorized;
  • Not competitively awarded;
  • Not requested by the President;
  • Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
  • Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
  • Serves only a local or special interest.
As an aside, President James Monroe said we should give federal dollars “to great national works only, since if it were unlimited it would be liable to abuse and might be productive of evil.” That seems to be a less strict definition of pork.

The question is, should Davis County be asking for Federal Dollars to build a trail that runs through both Weber and Davis Counties? If I could allow myself to have two quotes of the day, then I might also include this one from Barry Burton, assistant community and economic development director for Davis County.
"It presents a great opportunity for commuters."

Cities, county on path to Davis, Weber trail

Quote of the Day: House Defeats Repeal of In-State Tuition

"A controversial bill that would repeal a state law that allows eligible undocumented students to pay resident college tuition failed today in a tied House vote. Lawmakers voted 37 to 37 on HB224, meaning it died. Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, who co-sponsored the bill, was the only lawmaker not on the floor to vote.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Glenn Donnelson, could be reconsidered within 24 hours, perhaps as early as this afternoon, and people who oppose the repeal are nervous."

Jennifer W. Sanchez
Salt Lake Tribune
If you want to win, make sure all your supporters show up to vote!

House defeats repeal of resident tuition for undocumented students

Careless drivers would be targets, speed limit raised

I like Jenkins Careless Driving bill today more than I did initially. My hesitancy was because it can't always be proved that a person was multi-tasking (i.e. talking on the phone, attending to children, etc) once the officer pulls a driver over. Not if they were pulled over for speeding and the driver was, otherwise in their own lane, and not a danger anyone.

Jenkins has amended the bill so that police can't pile on with these careless driving offenses if the person is only speeding. If, however, they are swerving all over the road, and can't manage multi-tasking, then these might be added to their ticket.

Now it seems that careless driving would require some proof before it is enforced. I can't argue with that.

However, the 5 mile an hour increase, is a problem. I don't think we should change the law to accommodate what people are already doing. There is no data to say that increasing the speed limit will make us safer.

Careless drivers would be targets, speed limit raised

Monday, January 29, 2007

SB194: Partisan Races For School Boards?

It seems that state and local school board elections will become openly partisan. They were partisan before, but people had a hard time nailing it down as such because they saw the word "nonpartisan" next to the candidates name on a ballot. Senator Bramble, chief sponser of the bill, got it completely wrong when he said that SB194 would result in "more visible campaigns", referring to a new party and special interest involvement.

Getting advocacy groups like the pro-voucher Parents for Choice in Education involved in school board races, Bramble said, would be "a very positive outcome. That's what we're hoping for."
I'm afraid that Parents for Choice already contributed in this election cycle to the "nonpartisan" R. Chris Barden who competed for the state school board. His campaign could not have been more "visible". Visibility is what $35,000 from PFC buys you. In reality, the bill will result in certifiably partisan campaigns because people will no longer be fooled into thinking that these candidates are beholden to no ideology.

We didn't need a bill to tell us that, but it helps. Special-interest didn't need this bill in order to participate in the process.

The voter should understand that partisan is as partisan does.

Desnews:Partisan Races For School Boards?

School Voucher Bill: Commitee Agenda

All eyes are on the House Education Committee Meeting

DATE: Tuesday, January 30, 2007

TIME: 3:00 PM

PLACE: Room W135, West Office Building, State Capitol Complex

- The following bills are scheduled for consideration:
1. HB0148
Education Vouchers (S. Urquhart)

Happy Milton Friedman Day!

A couple of quotes, relevant to some intense debate we've seen in blogoland.

On Education Vouchers

"I want [education] vouchers to be ... available to everyone. They should contain few or no restrictions on how they can be used. We need a system in which the government says to every parent: 'Here is a piece of paper you can use for the education purposes of your child. It will cover the full cost per student at a government school. It is worth X dollars toward the cost of educational services that you purchase from parochial schools, private for-profit schools, private nonprofit schools, or other purveyors of educational services. You may add from your own funds to the voucher if you wish and can afford to.'
...creating a Class-based society

"Empowering parents would generate a competitive education market, which would lead to a burst of innovation and improvement, as competition has done in so many other areas. There's nothing that would do so much to avoid the danger of a two-tiered society, of a class-based society ... "
On Government Waste
"Many people complain about government waste, but I welcome it. ... [W]aste brings home to the public at large the fact that government is not an efficient and effective instrument for achieving its objectives. One of the great causes for hope is a growing disillusionment with the idea that government is the all-wise, all-powerful big brother who can solve every problem that comes along."
There is a PBS Documentary on him that, in Utah should be airing on January 31st at 2:00 AM.

That's no typo. Don't forget to nap before hand, or you could use one of those new-fangled recording dealies.

Hat tip to Larry Kudlow, John Stossel, and Paul Krugman.

NSL V. SL V. State Senate

North Salt Lake City and Salt Lake City may settle out of court in regards to the land dispute that has occupied both cities.

80 acres of NSL owned property lies within SL boundaries. NSL would like to annex the land in order to partially develop it. SL and NSL sued each other over the land. State Senator Dan Eastman has introduced a bill, SB0130, that would make it possible for a city to annex land that is adjacent to it, but not within its boundaries without having to ask permission from the neighboring city.

Has Salt Lake City seen Eastman's bill, a threat to their position, as likely to invalidate their lawsuit? I can't see any other reason that the big gorilla neighbor to our south would be willing to negotiate now.

Desnews: Can Cities Stave off Court Fight?

Friday, January 26, 2007

1SSB 17:Careless Driving Defined

274 41-6a-1715. Careless driving defined and prohibited.

275 A person operating a motor vehicle is guilty of careless driving if the person:
276 (1) commits two or more moving traffic violations under Title 41, Chapter 6a, Traffic
277 Code, in a series of acts within a single continuous period of driving: or
278 (2) commits a moving traffic violation under Title 41, Chapter 6a, Traffic Code, while
279 being distracted by one or more activities not related to the operation of a motor vehicle,
280 including:
281 (a) using a wireless telephone or other electronic device;
282 (b) eating, drinking, or smoking;
283 (c) physically attending to a passenger;
284 (d) searching for an item in the vehicle; or
285 (e) attending to personal hygiene or grooming.
I can hear it now.

"Ma'am, could you hang up the phone please. I'm ticketing you for rear-ending that car in front of you. But, also for the diaper change, Big Gulp, and nail polish on your toes. "

"No, I can't hold your cigarette while you get in your glove box."

Utah Policy Daily: All Right, I'm Calling A Truce

Not that war had ever been declared.

I have been on the attack of Utah Policy Daily. My most recent volley was of the Blog Watch feature. I criticized the fact that Golden, who manages the Blog Watch section, used the word 'here' ad nauseum,(shouldn't Latin be italicized??) instead of listing the name of the actual post.

Well, he's listing the posts by title now.

Yeah, it looks better.

My point in all of this was to say that UPD might better use that space for some other feature. (Some have suggested a Mitt Romney Watch II)

See, it's hard work to manually aggregate a bunch of disparate blog posts together. It can be automated so well as shown here, here, here, and here. I thought I could save Golden some mind-bending labor. But, he seems to be bound and determined to carry on--and to excel at it.

As you were, Golden. Don't let me get in your way.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Olly Olly Oxen Free

I'm going to be sending some emails with specific invitations to a gathering of Davis County bloggers, but I wanted to put out a general invitation first.

If there are any Davis County bloggers, that can prove that they exist in the blogosphere, that would like to meet other bloggers in the County, leave a comment?

This is, likely, going to be a one time deal. But, it will give us a chance to chat, with our actual faces, and our human voices.

Of course, if successful, we'll do this again.

Successful, to me, means that we are able to create a synergy around shared concerns, so that when we return to blogging, that we have a sense of common purpose.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why I Should Never Gamble

I'm buying lunch today for a fellow blogger, who blogs at Centerville Citizen, known to the blogosphere as WP.

The reason for my generosity is a bet that I lost in regards to the last election. I wagered that P. Chris Barden, who ran against Kim Burningham for the School Board, had taken no money from Parents for Choice.

The reason that I was so overly confident, in this regard, was that Barden had already declared several thousand dollars worth of individual contributions--Well over $35,000. Parents for Choice did not get listed on his tally at the time. I didn't think a campaign for the School Board would get much more money than that.

However, in January, Parents for Choice listed Barden as having received about $35,000 from them. Also, Bardens reporting now confirms these figures.

This means that Barden got a grand total of $62,438.16 in campaign contributions. Compare this to his opponent--$16,025.37.

Of course, if Barden would now be beholden to anyone, he owes himself at least $11,995.17 worth of favors.

Update: I had a great discussion with WP on a variety topics. There is a lot upon which we agree! In answer to a question from Allie in the comments. No, I was unable to pay for lunch. I did try, though.

More on what we discussed later.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Demise Of UPD:Blog Watch

It really is time for Utah Policy Daily to put "Blog Watch" out of its misery. Golden filled a niche for a time, but I'm afraid that technology trumps the person, in this case.

Today's "Utah Policy: Blog Watch" was a sad example of how inferior man can be against the machine. Golden Webb repeated the word "here" thirty-eight times, while providing a corresponding link. Not too helpful. On the other hand, the Utah Blog Hive, automatically provides the title of each blog post, plus each of the blogs are, exclusively, searchable from the Hive.

I'm sure that Golden's job has become so painful that he'd probably pull the trigger himself!

Davis Mayors Pass On Principles

Remember, at the Davis County Republican Convention, when Dannie McConkie opposed imposing a $10 fee? In fact, the entire Commission voted the fee down.

That was before the Convention.

Remember that Sunset, Clinton, Bountiful, West Bountiful, and South Weber agreed to take no action, or opposed a fee hike?

That was before an election.

Now that North Salt Lake has joined Clinton in opposing a fee, where are the principles of the other Mayors?

Principles have gone where they are wont to go after an election.

Out the window.

Davis School District: Stacking The Deck

Randy Smith, who speaks for Davisparents.org, has a good point.

Davis County School District has adjusted the population of certain schools in the County in order to get federal grant dollars. It would seem that this is not simply an oversight by the district, but an intentional way to get extra money from the federal government. The district drew boundary lines that drew students away from underpopulated schools, sending them to schools that now exceed 1,000 students.

Schools exceeding 1,000 students become eligible from grant dollars under "No Child Left Behind". These are called "Smaller Learning Communities" grants.

For example, Davis High school has 400 open seats with students only a couple of miles away busing to Viewmont. Viewmont is three times further from these these student than Davis High.

PRESS RELEASE: DavisParents.org - Legislative agenda

January 15, 2007
For more information:
Randy Smith, Spokesman

Subject: DavisParents.org - Legislative agenda

o Public Education - Fiscal Accountability
o School Choice – (Intra-District)

DavisParents.org, a grass roots parent organization from the Davis School District supports Governor Huntsman’s goal to increase funding for education this legislative session if the spending is tied to an increase in accountability and oversight. As the legislature considers the increase, DavisParents.org offers Davis School District as a case study for discussion.

With four schools listed among the top high schools in the United States, our great teachers, in partnership with parents, have shown how much can be done with just a little. However, recent events have highlighted the need for better oversight. In fact, without enhanced oversight and accountability, experience tells us that the proposed increase may never reach the classroom and therefore be insufficient to address the needs that parents, teachers, and the legislature are hoping to meet. The examples below show that the enemy of public education is not the parent asking for accountability and choice, but a system that is complacent in its way of doing things, and resistant to input and review.

In order to ensure that Utah’s children receive the maximum benefit from increased educational spending, there are at least two areas of improvements that should be addressed this legislative session, before any substantial increases in funding are authorized – (1) fiscal accountability and (2) intra-district school choice. The need for both areas of improvement are clearly demonstrated with current examples from the Davis School District.


Davis School District Problems

Example 1:

Apparent lack of oversight appears to have allowed an alleged multi-million dollar fraud to continue for years in the Davis School District. A review of the Board Minutes from October 2005 through December 2006, did not find any discussion of how the abuse was allowed to continue or what is being done to prevent it in the future. While litigation and personnel issues may have been closed to the public, any discussion of improvements to internal controls was required to be in Open and Public Meetings. There were none.

Example 2:

The new high school in Syracuse and the recently rebuilt Davis High School were built for 2350 students. The budget for High School #8 was $50,000,000 or $21,000 per student. However, the district’s target numbers, which drove the recent boundary changes, had a maximum student population of 1900 students at both Davis High and High School #8. When asked, neither Superintendent Bryan Bowles nor former Superintendent Darrel White would explain why the district built these schools, but now refuses to fill them. Mr. White reported to the School Board that new home development in the Davis High School boundaries would not have a significant impact on the Davis High School student population over the next ten years.

Example 3:

Rather than moving students out of portables at Woods Cross High School and into the empty classrooms at Bountiful High School, just two miles away, the District is planning to expand Woods Cross and bus students from Farmington to fill the Bountiful area schools. The District’s staff has advocated this plan since the August 1st School Board meeting, but has never reported the costs associated with transportation or the costs of the new classrooms that will be required at Woods Cross. Paula Alder, Farmington City Council member and member of the 39-member Boundary Committee said that “we were repeatedly told that transportation is a State, not District cost, so we should not consider it”

Example 4:

The Davis School District has chosen to spend scarce education dollars to fight a legal battle to avoid compliance with the Open Meeting laws, even though the 2nd District Court, the Editorial Boards of all three local daily papers, the Davis County Republican and Democratic Chairmen and parents have all criticized the Davis School District’s failure to comply with the letter or intent of the law. What public benefit can result from the District’s decision to incur these legal expenses? And, why resist open government?

Example 5:

The district has announced plans to implement Small Learning Communities at Woods Cross, Bountiful and three other high schools, at a cost of over $800,000 per school. Small Learning Communities were created, after the Columbine tragedy, as a way to mitigate some of the negative effects of large high schools (student populations greater than 1,000). Why is the School District spending this money at the same time they are busing students to artificially inflate the student populations of these same schools?


* Require that at least 70% percent of every education dollar be spent IN (not on) the classroom.
* Require that a Fiscal Note be attached to every proposal presented for action by a School Board that will result in an increase in spending of either state or district funds.
* Provide funding for the State Auditor to create “best practices” and then audit the internal controls and financial oversight of our school districts.
* The State School Board should review the Federal Sarbanes Oxely Act and then develop procedures that will assist local school boards in maintaining the independence necessary to hold administrators accountable to the public.

SCHOOL CHOICE (Intra-District)

Davis School District Problems

Example 1:

Ninety students applied for a variance to attend Bountiful High School for SY06-07 but the district denied seventy1 of those requests. Bountiful High School is 170 students under capacity this school year. Had parents been able to choose how to fill the school, there would be no need to bus students to fill Bountiful High School or add classrooms to Woods Cross High School.

Example 2:

Against strong opposition from parents because of safety concerns, the Davis School District plans to move 150 students, who live just 2-3 miles from the approximately 400 empty class room seats at Davis High School to commute 3 times further to Viewmont High School.


If each school district applied the current law (53A-2-213) which allows students to choose any school in the district, more resources would be available for our children’s classrooms. As every child is different and has different needs, only the parents can know what is best for their child. Please help parents regain the ability to make decisions concerning their child’s educational needs.

The legislature should remove the loopholes in (53A-2-213) so that this law can achieve its original intent. Please enable parents to have greater influence over the education of their own children.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Davis County Blog Search

Check out the Google Custom Search that I have put in the upper-right corner of the page. You may use it to search local Davis County Blogs. If I have forgotten you, and you belong to the Davis County area, please let me know.

Note: the same type of Custom Search is implemented on Utah Bloghive which searches all the blogs aggregated on the hive. A good reminder for me to implement my custom search.

Thanks Bradley for creating such a useful blog tool.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mayor Schaeffermeyer::Got To Like Her Style!

I like NSL's mayor, Shanna Schaeffermeyer. Even if I can't yet spell her name.

She stood up for NSL, fighting a commitment to Legacy Highway, by saying, "For our city, it's pushed so far west that we won't use it."

Contrast that with Centerville's Mayor. Mayor Russell got duped into letting UDOT plan a major artery through town, and downtown. Main Street to be precise.

We need mayors in Davis County that will stand up for the interests of their cities, when the overall goals of the larger state are harmful.

P.S. I hear that Mayor Schaeffermeyer has been holding the South Davis Recreation District board to a higher standard as well.

It doesn't hurt at all that she can't have a seat on the board.

She has a voice. And, she uses it.

Davis County mayors pass transportation resolutions

Lurkers And Posters

A common non-occurance in the blogosphere is the contribution of the lurker. A lurker is anyone that visits a blog, bulletin board, or newsgroup, but won't comment.

Frustrated bloggers may, occasionally, curse the lurkers.

There is, at least, one reason that lurkers are so prevalent. That is the fact that they feel no sense of ownership over, or community with, the blog in question. By design, blogs are the sole property of the blogger. An effect of that is that internet dwellers lack a sense of close proximity to the blogs that they frequent.

I leave a comment on a blog, and I may, or may not, check back to that particular post for a response. Therefore, I myself, am a sometimes-lurker. Part of the cause of lurking may be a limitation of web technology. True, we have RSS feeds, and email-me features that will notify us when a comment has been made. But, we really have to be committed to a particular blog, before we'll subscribe to one of these services and clutter our inbox, or our feed reader.

And, just because a particular blogger posts frequently, on subjects that enthrall us, does not mean that they respond to any, or all, comments on their post. An active blogger can alienate their visitors by posting often, but responding rarely.

When I began blogging on Davis County, I didn't expect much of a response. After all, Davis County is smaller, and less populous than Salt Lake County. Demographically, we aren't the most internet savvy. People here fall asleep at the mere mention of the word, 'politics'.

However, I've had a paradigm shift. I no longer think that Davis County plays second fiddle to anyone. We are an amazing group of people, that have as rich, and as old a history as anyone in the State. We are politically active, and we do care. Although, we are all, sometimes, lurkers.

We have something to say in Davis County. The question is, will we say it to each other?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

DCW: Open Thread On School Boundaries

There have been droves of people coming to DCW to find out more about the School Boundary changes in the last two weeks.

I would be remiss in my duties if I failed to ask the following question.

What information do you want to see? I'll try to provide it. Or, if you just want me to continue spouting my opinion, I can do that too.

Commission Meeting Open To Public Comment

Bring your public comments, for the Davis County Commission to Clearfield on Tuesday, January 23rd.

The Commission will hold a roving Commission meeting each month.

Comming soon to a City Hall near you.

Law Helps Few: Its Repeal Would Hurt Few

The House Education Committee is scheduled to meet on Friday 8:00AM to discuss HB0224, Repeal of Exemptions from Nonresident Tuition (G. Donnelson).

I've heard arguments that there are too few illegals in school to cause a financial strain on the government, and that changing the law would be cruel to those few people using the law.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that removing a flawed law, that hurts so few is a good thing.

Quote of the Day: Boundary Decision

"She is cheering at a basketball game right now and crying."
Now, that is what I call some mixed emotions.

Long story short. It appears that, in this case, the board did listen. There were minor changes to the boundary proposal of January 2. Compromises on the proposal include allowing Seniors to remain at the same school and redrawing lines to allow some neighbors to attend the same school.

It would be impossible to please everyone.

Hat tip: SLTrib

Update: From Deseret News
"Incoming sophomores in the fall of the 2007-08 school year, who have two or more siblings attending the high school outside the new boundaries, may apply for a variance that will be automatically granted."

Lincoln's Legislative bLog:Lobbying 101

There is a little mentioned fact--because it should be obvious--that people in a particular area of expertise would employ the same basic techniques in that field.

I recently attended a citizen lobbyist training put on by Ron Mortensen, that was much the same as the "lobbying 101" posted to Lincoln's Legislative bLog.

For your perusal.

Weber County School District: Embezzelment

What was it that I said earlier about criminal activity being rare in government? Well, as a point of comparison, Weber County is preparing a case against one of the district employees.

The D.A. says this is nothing like the Ross case in Davis County.

Hat tip: KSL

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Clean money: Reform would leave candidates beholden to no one

In May, I posted on an idea that one candidate was implementing to not take campaign contributions from special interest groups.

It didn't work--possibly because he didn't have enough cash in his coffers.

Now, I see this article in the SLTrib proposing State money be given to campaigns that promise to not take private money.

Would it work?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Legacy Slag Retesting

All this wouldn't be necessary if UDOT would just build a road that hovers 4 feet above the ground.
UDOT to retest slag for Legacy project

Was Your Day Worse Than Mine?

For the last week myself, and both kids have been sick. Thankfully, my wife has been keeping us from falling apart. With a cold, there's a time period in which a person finally starts to feel better, except for one thing.

The cough.

It kept me up last night, but I'd convinced myself that, blood-shot eyes and all, I would go to work.

The cold snap we've had seemed particularly bad this morning. Bad because my car wouldn't start and I'm a little inept at car repair.

Don't get me wrong. I've picked up some things along the way, but not enough to make it into work today.

I just got back from the repair shop.

All this has got me thinking about public transportation. I couldn't take the bus into work if I wanted too. The last I checked, UDOT wouldn't find a route for me because it was outside the 3 hour trip limit.

Thank goodness they stop at 3 hours!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Laugh Of The Day: Lincoln Spokesmodel

A Yahoo search for 'lincoln spokesmodel' returns Davis County Watch as its first result.

I'm sure a pretty lady comes in as a close second to DCW.

The law of unintended consequences has won another round.

Legislature To Davis County: 'Leave Us Alone'

The Senate will consider a resolution, which, gives the State Department of Corrections a pat on the back for contracting with Davis County to house State inmates. Although, Utah doesn't reimburse the County nearly the amount that the Federal Government does. Utah has no provision to reimburse the counties for costs related to expansion, and really only pays 50% of the operating cost for the state inmates.

No money comes for transportation and medical expenses.

Steve Rawlings, County Clerk/Auditor, has contested the State's claim that they pay what is contracted. Rawlings says they are contracted to pay 75%. This resolution is specifically addressed to Davis County in such a way as to convince the new Commission that they should thank the State for underpayment.

Take a look at Senate Resolution SJR007 and ask yourself, is $42.32 per day enough for a 24.8 million dollar facility?

Update: This passed both the Senate and the House. It turned out not to be controversial. I think something was missed by our Senator Eastman. My guess is that the County Commission thanks the Legislature for short-changing the county.

Tanning Compromise

Back in December the Davis County Chamber of Commerce suggested that Davis Health amend its rule. They want teenagers wishing to tan in the county to only need one signature from their parents, rather than having their parents accompany them to each session.

When this issue hits the legislature, on Monday, what do you think of this compromise?

Quote of the Day: State School Board

"This (allegedly had) been going on a number of years, and the system did not detect this. So what we need to do is ensure we design a system that will detect these type of things. If not, I predict this could happen again, and the state is going to be embarrassed."
Randall Mackey, at a meeting of the State School Board

I love how the Deseret News was so kind as to insert parentheses with an 'allegedly' to protect Mr. Mackeys credibility. They should have done one better and had Mackey say "...this could happen again, and the state is (allegedly) going to be embarrassed."

Can districts avoid financial misdeeds?

ActivityReg: Best Site For South Davis Recreation Center

I need to correct myself. The best information on the South Davis Recreation Center, including partial online registration can be found at the address below. Just click on Utah, followed by clicking on South Davis Recreation Center.


Today's Focus Website: Family Connection Center

Please take just a quick look at the Family Connection Center, operated in Davis County by the United Way.

They offer, among other things, a Crisis-Respite Nursery for stressed-out parents, and counseling. They also engage in a Sub for Santa, Homeless Services, and Emergency Services among other things.

If you don't intend on utilizing the services, you may make a donation.

South Davis Rec Center Website

The Clipper informed us that the website to view information on the new Rec Center would be http://www.southdavisrecreationcenter.com/, however, it does not appear to be operating as such.

There is content on the site, and it looks to be an advertising mule. We are informed on the page that the domain may be for sale.

I'm looking for the real South Davis Rec Center Website.

Update: To date, the best websites offering information on the Rec Center, besides yours truly, are Centerville City's site., or ActivityReg

Time To Compartmentalize

As I peruse the blogosphere in Utah, I can make some general observations about who's blogging.

First, many, many in Utah like to blog about national issues. I count myself in the minority that restricts myself to discussing local issues. There's one good reason that I do this. I don't go jetting off to Washington everyday, and beyond the occasional letter to my national representatives. My sphere of influence is pretty much local. The corollary to this is that I don't seek national recognition for what I say. Why in the world, would the rest of the world be interested in my local worries?

I like to blog about issues over which I can exert some influence. How many, who blog about national issues, have influence in Washington--beyond being one, of a number, of many protesters? However, these same individuals do have the ear of their local leaders in a very personal way.

Second, there seem to be many more Utah bloggers of the more Democratic persuasion. I say Democrat, and not liberal, because I think there are many Democrats in Utah that will side with me on local issues without blinking an eye, despite my clear conservative leanings.

This is why I think that it is time for those who blog on national issues, when they have an issue of concern for them locally, to befriend those that would, ordinarily, be a political adversary.

As we move into the next legislative session, remember, our friends are more important than our enemies.

Update: Eating Out

I heard back from Commissioner Hansen that the Utah Restaurant Association has come to the County for money before and has been refused. They will refuse them again this year. It looks that the U.R.A may lobby the Legislature this year to force Counties to give money. The Davis County Commission plans to fight this if it occurs.

Many thanks to the new Commission for taking a stand on this issue.

Please be ready to knock down your legislators doors if this gets put into a bill.

I'll try keep you updated.

Update: Allie says that the Association of Counties plans to fight the U.R.A. in this regard.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New Blogger: Davis Didjeridu

There's a new blogger about. I like announce the new ones. Let me see if I can give a rundown of this person.

His handle is Davis Didjeridu. He says he was made a Democrat on his mission to Australia. He went post 9/11--I mean right after since he entered the MTC on September 12, 2001. He lives in Bountiful, and plans on blogging about politics in part, and everything else in full. The rest is pretty anecdotal, and I'll let you get into it on your own.

Davis Didjeridu

Hat tip: The World According To Me

Utah: Dead Last For Restaurants

Utah has the lowest number of Restaurants (per capita) of any other State. This means that while it may take longer in Utah to arrive at our eating establishments, we should have no trouble listing all of them. Picking our favorites.

In 2004 we had 4,691 places to eat. That's compared to California, which has 87,225. Do we really need government funded advertising to tell us where to find an Olive Garden, or a Crown Burger?

The Utah Restaurant Association knows this fact, which is probably why they want to spend money on advertising. To grow the restaurant business.

We, who want our government to spend wisely, should not fail to take some other statistics into account. The fact that Utah has the highest birth rate (per 1000), and the most women who have given birth in the last 12 months. We have the highest percentage of both married couples, and married couples with children. We have the largest household size. And, we have the lowest number of children with both parents in the workplace.

We seem to be extraordinarily dedicated to family life in Utah. We seem to know something about the home.

And, we know that nothing beats home cooking!

Why should the government encourage us to eat out when we've already decided what is needful to keep our financial house together? Again, last year the sales tax was lowered on unprepared food to give incentive to preparing much of our food at home.

We still eat out, but the restaurants should be trying to encourage that, not the government.

What a fine way for this new Commission to show their mettle.

Please tell the Commission to spend our money wisely.

By email at commissioners@daviscountyutah.gov

I've also included all the County Commission contact information in my sidebar.

Check back for an update.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

South Davis Rec Center Hits a Snag

The South Davis Recreation Center is experiencing another delay that will probably postpone its opening until mid-February. To be frank, it's better that they do the job right, than to open on time.

Those looking for information on the Center should check in at


There is currently nothing on the site. Check back in February.

Hat tip: Clipper

Update: Go to ActivityReg

Letter to the New Commission: Eating Out

Below is an email I just sent to our new Commisioners. They can be reached by email at commissioners@daviscountyutah.gov

Dear Commissioners,

I was concerned to read an article in the Deseret News that indicates the Utah Restaurant Association will be asking Davis County to contribute $36,000 to television advertising.

I would encourage the Commission to refuse this request as using taxpayer dollars to raise revenue for restaurants steals from other important programs. Programs such as the jail, flood control, and senior programs that were the purpose of our last tax increase. The URA will tell you that by contributing to the campaign to encourage eating out, you will be raising revenue for the county. Please, do not believe them. Businesses are perfectly capable of funding themselves, and people need no extra encouragement to "eat out".

It would also be contradictory of the government to, on the one hand, lower sales tax on unprepared food as an incentive to eat at home, and then fund commercials for prepared foods. There are plenty of opportunities for growth in the county that will occur without this kind of intervention.

If the URA wishes to have people visit their website, to learn about these smaller restaurants, I would be happy to drive traffic there by providing a link on my website. I'm certain that other websites would be happy to oblige in this manner as well.

It is my hope that this new Commission will exercise the 'common sense government' that is their mandate.

Many Thanks,
Tyler Farrer

Let's Eat Out?

The Utah Restaurant Association plans to start an add campaign to get people to eat out more, and they want Counties to flip some of the bill. Davis County's portion would be $36,000.

Really, the dollar amount is irrelevant, because a government contribution of pennies would be a bad idea!

The U.R.A is betting that the advertising campaign will benefit those businesses that can't afford T.V. advertising, and it will help Counties by bringing in more tax revenue.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, taking money from the taxpayers to give to one particular group is legal plunder. And, spending taxpayer dollars to raise tax revenue is ludicrous.

Maybe if we promise to eat out more often this year, the U.R.A can skip the whole government funded ad campaign?

Eating out is something that doesn't need to be encouraged by the government. People love to eat out! Why are we, on the one hand, asking people to cook at home by lowering sales tax on unprepared foods, and then asking taxpayers to flip the bill for restaurants?

If the U.R.A. wants to help smaller restaurants, then ask for a monetary contribution from businesses. It has been done before.

I'm hoping my commission will show some common sense and opt out of the campaign.

Tax break for eating out often??

Check back for an update.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Teenagers: Fake-baking Days Are Numbered

Utah may soon have the countries most pale teenagers. One legislator wants to apply Davis' Health Departments ruling Statewide. The bill would require parents to accompany teenagers that wish to go tanning.

Children will still be able to go outside without an escort. There is also, as yet, no plan to ban juveniles from attending swimming pools and parks.

Clipper:Davis tanning rules may go statewide

Davis Beat - Public invited to town meeting

Time: Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.
Place: South Davis Branch Library, 725 S. Main
Why: To discuss pending legislation and issues prior to the 2007 session of the Utah Legislature

Present at the meeting will be Sen. Dan Eastman, Reps. Sheryl Allen and Paul Neuenschwander and State School Board member Kim Burningham, who will answer questions and solicit input from residents.

Davis Beat - Public invited to town meeting

Davis School District| Never Ending Protests

Walk with me over the time line of events we've witnessed in regards to the Davis School District boundary debacle.


Lawsuit leveled by a group of Bountiful parents comes to a head as the District abandons its boundary plans and goes with a consultant.


A plan is presented, not much different from the first, that leads to 600 letters from critics. Groups that are publicly opposed to the plan hark from Syracuse, Layton, and Cherry Lane. The Bountiful Parents remain critical.

Things do not look good for the District. If the numerous protests are simply ignored as the board votes in the proposed boundaries, will we have another lawsuit? If the board accepts the criticisms that have been voiced, will we go back to the drawing board again?

This is why this boundary dispute is all the rage.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Davis School Boundary dispute--Riding the Wave

Syracuse Commmunity Matters has only been around a short while, and urges its community to oppose the current proposal for the Davis School District boundaries. The boundary dispute seems to be all that it discusses.

I keep saying that this boundary dispute has created a lot of buzz. Evidence of which can be found at a site that seems only to scrape content that is likely to get the highest advertising revenue. I won't provide a link (I don't want to feed the beast), but you can find it at (http://datinghot.info/?p=2737). This site decided the boundary issue was 'hot' enough to post a link to the story on KSL.

Also, this video of the tail end of the School District's, January 2nd Meeting tells us that the District has asked the Consultant to look at the safety concerns expressed by critics. What of those concerns? The YouTube user, DavisVIG, has only posted videos of the school district boundary meeting.

Utah to file suit over Jordan's closed meetings

The Attorney's General office is now taking the Jordan School District to court over Open Meetings violations. The irony here is that when Davis County got in trouble over their violations, Jordan District was touted as the ideal district in that regard.

Utah to file suit over Jordan's closed meetings

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Standard|High School in Davis County Should be Closed

Here is another opinion on the boundary dispute. For reasons mentioned previously I disagree with Donna's conclusion, but I think she has pegged perfectly the intent of the consultant. Her arguments are very logical. I simply don't have the same priorities as this author, and the consultant.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Keys to Successful Blogging

Yet another year has past since I began blogging, and I finally feel as if I'm catching my stride. I would have gotten here sooner if I had only believed and followed the advice given me when I was starting out. I'm going to give away a bunch of the 'secrets' to successful blogging. I don't think I'm losing anything, because there is more than enough out there to share. Moreover, veteran local bloggers should be as welcoming as possible to novices. Blogging is a collaborative activity. It isn't achieved in a vacuum. Bloggers build from one another, and unlike the mainstream media, aren't in strict competition for their readership. New bloggers means additional readership, and comments to existing blogs.

Successful bloggers will do the following:

  • Post frequently.
  • Contribute to conversations on other blogs.
  • Restrict posts to one specific theme. (Maintain a sense of direction.)

Extremely successful bloggers will also:

  • Be nice.
  • Blog, at least in part, for a selfless reason.
  • Participate in events outside of blogging.
  • Have a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimization techniques.

Optional elements of blogging include:

  • The blogging application (i.e. Blogger, WordPress, homegrown, etc).
  • Spelling and Grammar.
  • Blogging Anonymously.

If you're unsure whether blogging is the right fit for you, start by making comments to other blogs. I'll extend an offer to anyone, that wants to try blogging on for size, to have a guest post on my blog. Assuming of course they'll post on Davis County topics only, and that they tell me who they are. I promise not to reveal the identity of anyone that wishes anonymity.

When you're blogging about something that is potentially contentious, it's a good idea to not let things get heated. I think one problem with posting anonymously is that people are willing to say things they otherwise wouldn't say.

When I began my adventure in blogging, I was posting exclusively at Farrer Commons, and I did so in order to boost my ego. I thought, I'm an opinionated person, and I'll happily impress my views on anyone. I saw some success doing this, but it's been nothing compared to Davis County Watch.

What is the difference?

I started Davis County Watch because I thought I could make a difference in my community. It was created for selfless reasons. Although, now I find it very fulfilling, and some of the selfish, Ego stuff, has probably crept in. I find that the act of writing tends towards a catharsis. Writing quiets the mind.

Regardless, Davis County Watch is meant to be a means to a very good end for the County.

Citizen Lobbyist Training

I wonder if it would be a good idea to hold another training as we had last night. The weather probably kept a few attendees away. We had about a dozen attend. One of the reasons that I enjoy blogging is that I have the opportunity to go to events that don't get reported in the media. These give me a perspective on what is happening in the County that I wouldn't get otherwise. It's not all political, thankfully, or I might not enjoy it quite so much. I enjoy talking about events that don't include emotional outbursts, or bitter exchanges--things that journalists enjoy.

I am no journalist, although I sometimes report on newsworthy events. I don't enjoy the political aspect of what I do. Some, who know me, may find that hard to believe. I do enjoy seeing good things happen because of those who are willing to involve themselves in politics.

Boundary Dispute Redux

More on the School Boundary dispute. Both from those opponents to the plan and the School District.

Strengthen The Family

At the Citizen Lobbyist Training last night I met a representative of Citizens for Families. This group is based out of Davis County, Bountiful specifically. You might have recognized them as having actively pursued the enforcement of liquor license restrictions in Bountiful (i.e. El Matador on Main Street). You may also have noticed suggestive magazines that are covered in grocery stores.

There is probably a synergy that could be created between this blog and Strengthen The Family. Frankly, I have not pursued the same moral issues here on this blog that this group has, but I endorse their efforts in that regard. I don't seek any endorsement from them, but I'll certainly help them where I can.

Strengthen The Family

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Davis County Health Department: Est. 1934

When was Davis Counties Health Department established?

1934. Its the oldest in Utah.

I don't know. Somebody wanted to know.

Announcing: Lincoln's Legislative bLOG

There's a new blog that got started in October '06 that I just found. Lincoln's Legislative bLOG. It seems to represent the unofficial views of the League of Cities and Towns via their spokesmodel, Lincoln Shurtz. It leans heavily into the realm of the informative, but is light on opinion.

Check it out!

A Bribery tax?

According to this website we should be paying taxes on bribes that we receive. This sounds familiar.

Hat tip: BoingBoing

Changes in Commission Meeting Agenda's

Each Commission meeting from now on will lead out with the Pledge of Allegiance and conclude with time for public comments.

Hat tip: Standard

Reminder: Citizen Lobbyist Training

Remember the Free Citizen Lobbyist Training tonight from 6:00PM to 8:30 PM at the Bountiful Library.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

School Boundaries: Valid Concerns

My thoughts on the Davis County School boundary dispute might not make friends with Davisparents.org, or the School Board. However, I think there are valid, and silly concerns in regards to the boundaries.

Valid Concerns

  • Boundaries decided in secret without input from parents.
  • No public comments from parents
  • No additional public meetings

Silly Concerns
  • Trying to minimize the impact on sports teams.
  • Randy Smith's view that students safety will be impacted.

I feel I should explain the 'safety concern' issue. Questions of dangerous roads should be addressed, primarily, to local municipalities. If a road has a high incidence of accidents, it should be addressed by an ordinance, or by changing the layout of the road. Or, if it can be shown that the cause of many accidents are the carelessness of the drivers (common with teenagers), then education, or enforcement should be pursued. If Smith is serious about the safety of a particular road he will also ask the questions; Are drivers using safety belts? Should the speed limit be lowered, or raised? Are students provided with alternate modes of transportation to school? To quote from Davisparents.org
"Why is this road so dangerous? Some believe that it is because virtually all of Viewmont High students commute south in commuter traffic to school." (italics are mine)
To say that 'some believe' one thing, or another, really isn't saying anything. Who says? Wikipedia has identified this type of language as 'weasel words', because it supposes authority where there is none.

I anticipate a flood of comments to this post. Show me my error.

Davis County School District Map

The Davis County School District Proposed boundary map is here.

I know many of you have been looking here for it. Thanks for waiting.


SL Tribune
Deseret News

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Davis School Board| Consultant vs Parents

There were a storm of visitors to my blog this morning, and I wonder how much of that phenomenon is post holiday activity? Some of it could be a reflection of my recent posts on the school boundary dispute. There is an event tonight that could change the tide for the district.

I'm not a journalist--I don't even consider myself to be of the citizen newsie variety. But, I think others check my blog as a kind of acid test on how they are doing. People google themselves and end up reading something of mine.

It's weird acting as a mirror for politico-narcissists.

Tonight one individual, representing the interests of the School Board, will pull back a curtain shedding a little light on an otherwise mundane boundary proposal.

It should have been dull except that it has been secret.

It's ironic that a lawsuit aimed at exposing a secret should do so much to create another secret. Perhaps that says something about the motive of the Davis County School Board. A group of people who would prefer an irony to a mundane proposal.

Comments will be accept by email, or snail mail. No other public hearing will be held. No public comments will be aired.

Transparency does render all things uninteresting.

The Davis School District has made this interesting. Now they can come here and look in the mirror.

Davis County Watch| Placeblogger

I found Davis County Watch on Placeblogger, which has mapped out the location of this blog. It has it just outside of Ephraim.

Close enough.

Davis County Watch|Placeblogger

Update: More about Placeblogger on BoingBoing

Consultant to Offer New Plan

I have nothing new to add to this debate. Let's see what the 'consultant' has figured out.

Wednesday, 5:30 PM, Layton High School

Davis School District to Get New Boundary Plan

Monday, January 01, 2007

Utah: Number One for Light Rail

Utah has the highest allegiance to light-rail in the nation with 32.9% of our public transportation devoted to it. Not many in Utah even use public transportation at 2.6%, let alone light rail.

We build it, but we don't use it.

Take D.C. as an example of one that uses public transportation most heavily and has the highest implementation of heavy rail.

That's efficiency one shouldn't expect from Washington.

My wife tells me I'm too late to stop light-rail, and she's right. Truth be told, I haven't been a loud opponent against it. I'm still getting my voice in some of these things. Maybe I can make more of an impact in 2007.