Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Davis County Jail: Completed Under Budget

Citizens for Tax Fairness had applied a lot of political pressure on the County to save costs on the new jail expansion. It looks like these efforts have now paid off to the amount off to the amount of 1/2 million dollars.

Chalk up another win for grassroots politics.

New Davis County jail in under budget

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Davis Blogger Meeting: Success

I would count the first Davis Bloggers Meet and Eat a success. If you count Rob Millers little boy, there was a fellowship of nine bloggers that attended the casual event. We had a great time discussing local politics, and the ins and outs of blogging in general. Some ideas that sprang from that meeting.

  • We should meet again and give others the chance to come. (I think spouses and children should be specifically invited next time)
  • Often people are very different in person than on their blog (Some of us are nicer in person) ;)
  • The idea of a 'bloggers day' at the legislature.
  • Ideas on how to bring more diversity into Davis County politics, and hold our elected officials, and main stream media, accountable.
  • That liberals, conservatives, and bloggers can, and do, come together for a free cookie!
  • That liberals, conservatives, and bloggers can be on the same team!
I came away realizing that I needed to update my blog with some new links. (I hope you notice the difference) I'm glad that from the time I began blogging, two years ago, that the new media in this county has grown up.

Special thanks to George for sponsoring the cookies, Cutlers for being open at precisely 10AM, even though I arbitrarily picked the time--phew! Thanks to the younger Mr. Miller for humoring us political 'nutcakes', and posing like a pro for the cameras.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Final Reminder: Davis Bloggers Meeting!

Don't forget the South Davis Bloggers Meet and Eat at the Centerville Cutlers Deli tomorrow at 10:00 AM. I'll be the tall skinny guy with glasses.

Special thanks to George, who can't attend, but is sponsoring the cookies!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Stephenson Vs Hatch

The State Senate is proposing a bill that would require U.S. Senators to recieve counsel from the State legislature and report back. Howard Stephenson asked Orrin Hatch if he would support such a bill. Hatch replied that he had read it and would not, however he had to retract that statement.

Hatch 'clarified' that he had never read the bill but that the U.S. senate did not "give you direction."

Stephenson's choice reply?

"We get a lot of mandates, though. Some of them funded; some of them unfunded."

Hat tip: SLTrib

Cheatsheet Lege Wrapup

HB0320S01: Recovery of costs involved with illegal immigration(Morgan)-1st Reading-Senate
HB131:Document Fraud(Morgan-Favorable recommendation and scheduled for 1st reading in Senate behind "indoor smoking amendments"
HB437:Limits on Government benefits to aliens(Herrod)- Back in House Rules....will it make it to the Senate?
SB63: Zero Based Budgeting-1st Reading-House. It's been to the Senate.

Clipper Not Biased?

"Readers sometimes accuse us of bias. The trouble is that more than 95 percent of the time the stories people object to aren’t biased — the facts reported just don’t square with the way readers want the world to be. Often, when we ask people to indicate the specific parts that were inaccurate so we can correct them, they can’t point out any factual errors."

--Rolf Koecher

This sounds like Rolf is throwing down the gauntlet. Have at him!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Clippertoday: NSL Did Well In 'David and Goliath' Tilt

Rolf Koecher, with whom I've formerly butted heads, has written a good piece summarizing the 80 acres land dispute that pitted NSL (a.k.a. David) against its much larger neighbor SLC (a.k.a. Goliath).

Read it here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Careless Driving: Its baaaack!

After falling off a gurney into a ditch and flat-lining, the 'careless driving' provision has been reinstated by the Senate.

Desnews: Law would allow tickets for 'careless driving'

ID Theft Okay??

The Utah Rattler is angry that HB127 was held up in committee. This bill would State government and its agents to check the Social Security numbers of employees and contractors prior to hiring them.

What seems to be at stake that would prevent legislatures from passing this bill? Is this bill failing because we think ID theft is for the greater good?

Lege: Progress Of Various Bills

HB0320S01 will likely make it through the House. The Senate is unknown. It seems to be uncontroversial.

Recovery of Federal Reimbursement:Third Reading, House

HB131 has made it through the House and was heard in the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee this morning.

Document Fraud:House to Senate

HB437 received a favorable vote in a house committee today.

Limitation on Benefits to Illegals:Favorable Recommendation in Committee

Zero Based Budgeting is one area that Wayne Niederhauser and I agree. He proposed the ghastly Restaurant spending bill that I've been fighting.

Zero Based Budgeting has gone through the Senate, and passed its first reading in the House.

State Zero Based Budgeting: Senate to House and Read First time

Monday, February 19, 2007

Reminder: South Davis County Bloggers Meet and Eat

Remember to come to the South Davis Blogger Meet and Eat at Cutlers Deli, in Centerville, on Saturday, February 24, 10:00 AM.

If you have not received an email invitation it is only because you haven't provide me with your contact information. This is a good chance to meet other bloggers from Davis County.

Friday, February 16, 2007

80 Acres Settlement

Now this is more like it!

NSL is expected to chime-in today on an agreement between it and SLC that would have SL buying much of NSL's land at $3.5 million dollars. That's much better than the earlier threat of buying a small percentage of the land at several thousand dollars.

SB130 will probably now be irrelevant.

Attempt To Resurrect 'Careless Driving' Bill

The Salt Lake Tribune gets the quote of the day, today. They paraphrase the sentiments of Jenkins, the Sponsor of the 'Careless Driving' bill that got slapped down by the house. As I suspected, Jenkins didn't care at all about increasing the speed limit. He probably put it in the bill to make the whole thing more palatable to drivers.

"Sponsor Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City said he didn't so much mind the House hacking out the increased speed provision, but was upset over some of the other cuts. "The part that hurts is [taking out] the careless driving part."
Well, duh!

SLTrib: Legislative Briefs

Restaurant Spending Bill Withheld

SB68S01 got withheld by its sponsor on Wednesday, meaning that it probably won't go into law. The Utah Restaurant Association wanted the legislation to force counties to pay up on "tourism" taxes collected from Restaurants that is supposed to go towards tourism. The URA doesn't think counties are spending that money correctly. They even question whether the restaurant tax is a fair tax at all.

Let me stop right here to say that the restaurant tax does not equal a "tourism" tax. Many Utahns eat out as part of their regular routine. We don't leave the state every time we want our restaurant fix! And, the URA is probably right to question the fairness of the tax. If, in taxing restaurants, all that occurs is that the money is recycled back into restaurant hands, it would have been better to leave that money with the dining patrons in the first place. Likely, restaurants would adjust prices upward if a tax were removed. But it is far better for everyone if the money charged doesn't make its way through the intestinal tract of government first.

Clipper:Restaurant Bill No Longer On The Menu

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Reminder: Davis County-centric Searches

If you haven't tried out the Google Search box that appears on my sidebar, give it a whirl. It includes only results from bloggers who live or work in Davis County.

If you blog in Davis County yourself, and can't see results for your blog in the results, send me an email and I'll have you added.

Try it and see what's happening on the home front.

Davis County Custom Search

Lege Vege Wrap

A Standard Examiner editorial that showed up in December has done nothing to stop smaller school districts from becoming a reality. A bill(SB30S01) that does this goes before the full house after sailing through committee.

Partisan elections may happen on State Board elections. This bill is up for more debate in the Senate.

The bill that cracks down on document fraud will now go to the Senate.

HR2 opposes the REAL ID Act. The sponsor (Donnelson) of this bill says that it encroaches on privacy.

Second Annual Open House

Please attend the second open house the Davis County Commission is holding to field questions from county residents.

Location: NSL City Hall, 20 S. U.S. 89
Time: Tuesday, February 20th, 5:00 PM

Davis officials set North S.L. meeting

Careless Driving Bill: Failed House

The House unanimously voted against the Careless Driving bill that cruised through the Senate.

"I think we are overdoing it here, representatives."
Kerry W. Gibson, R-Ogden
Hat tip: Salt Lake Tribune

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

SB0068S01: Restaurant's To Tax Counties

SB0068, that would require counties to pay towards Utah Restaurant Associations advertising campaigns, has been substituted with a bill that does the same thing, but spreading its burden across more counties.

In addition to taxing more counties, the bill favors counties with 'qualifying' debt. That is, if a county has debt from a qualifying bond, then the amount used to pay off the debt that year can be subtracted from 3% of the revenue that the county would usually pay. This may pressure counties to move their debt to this area so that it can pay less toward the restaurant fund, and gain more of its own revenues back.

Update: This bill is now on hold in the Senate Workforce Services and Community and Economic Development Committee.

My Foray Into The Illegal Immigration Fray

I haven't talked about illegal immigration, on this blog, for a couple of good reasons. Here's why.

  • Those who do enter this country illegally, do so from locations other than Utah. I'm dedicated to keeping this blog local. (Some would say 'extremely' dedicated.)
  • The federal government should be primarily tasked with framing immigration laws, although they do provide funds to local governments to help enforce those laws. I don't address the federal government much here.
Discussions, on this blog, that might result from raising the subject of illegal immigration would quickly descend into realms that I do not wish to traverse. Namely, how to solve it. Let me express my view on this in brief. Just know that I don't want to discuss borders in comments, for reasons listed above, so if you ask my opinion I'm going to want to email you my response. Here it is. I believe a solution ultimately rests on the shoulders of the federal government. I don't think states should "carve out" exceptions to federal law, but are allowed to append to the federal laws where it applies on a local level.

One area which the states carry most of the burden is in solving identity theft.

I will discuss identity theft here, because it is directly a local issue. Identity theft has not been associated with the subject of illegal immigration in the media, but then again, identity theft has not been fully addressed by this state. The link between foreign nationals and identity theft is real, however. A recent raid across several states, of Swift facilities, was done to alleviate rampant identity theft that had taken place. ICE reported 1,282 arrests of foreign nationals. Were each of these arrests to represent one stolen identity, then the problem of identity theft would be bad enough, however, many of these arrests represent multiple identities stolen. This is not simply a problem of stolen bread, but of stolen livelihoods. Families that have been victimized by identity theft are not just lacking in their food stores, but often much more.

ICE has been criticized as "sinister" for framing this as an identity theft issue when the workers should have been deported as illegals only. I can't say that I blame the Feds, though. If they crack down on illegals for immigration offenses only, they would be seen as profilers, and racist. At least with the identity theft charge, they have an indisputable reason to proceed. Indisputable because the stealing of social security numbers, either by plain invention, or more advanced methods is a serious offense!

Or, has the government got a reason to prosecute illegal immigrants for identity theft? These days the government can't enforce the law on identity theft, without public outrage, unless a pedophile, or a drug cartel, is the culprit. Which brings me full circle to the borders which, topically, I'm dancing around. Are drug mules and pedophiles the only people crossing our borders? Absolutely not! This means of course that we shouldn't paint with too broad a stroke and label all foreign nationals as such. It also means that we ought to identify all victims, and all criminals as they are. It seems to me that the wave of illegal immigration is bringing something else on the tide. This "red tide" pollutes everything that it touches including those who work here without permission.

With that background I support Karen Morgan's bill (HB0320) which would go after the federal government for costs incurred to the state by illegal immigration. Also, Morgan's bill (HB0131) that gives stiff penalties to those who commit document fraud to establish a legal status. I support Christopher Herrod's bill (HB0437) to restrict how government benefits are given.

One more thing. Some supporters of these bills may indeed be bigots, zealots, or both. I can't let other peoples weaknesses get in the way of a good idea. I can't judge on that basis, and neither should you.

Hat tip: Deseret News (Focus on Victims of Illegal Immigration)

Monday, February 12, 2007

SB 68: Committee Hearing Today!

S.B. 68 Funding for Tourism Promotion (Niederhauser, W.) would require counties to give money to the Utah Restaurant Association for the purpose of promoting restaurants in Utah. As I've mentioned before, it's ridiculous to force counties to contribute to advertising for the private sector.

The Senate Workforce Services and Community and Economic Development Committee will discuss this bill today at 4:00:00 PM/Rm W015.

It is the first item on the agenda, so get there early.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

SB68: Restaurant-10% Tax

SB68 is the Utah Restaurant Associations attempt to get Counties to pay for Restaurant advertising. I spoke about this earlier, and we got a response from our County Commission that they would oppose this bill.

Well, it's making its way through the Senate. It was supposed to be discussed in committee this morning, but was held.

Please do what you can to oppose this bill.

For more on this issue, as it applies to Davis County, see the following two posts: Eating out one, and two.

Hat tip: Davis County Clipper

Note: The Clipper also talks about SB64 which I haven't read yet.

In The History Of Bad Ideas...

...these are some bad ideas.

HB0063S01 (sponsor Hendrickson, N) : Would provide a way for all sorts of naive people to have their identities stolen by providing an optional birth date field on initiative and referendum petitions. You're told that if you don't provide your birth date that your signature may not count towards the petition.

HB0289 (sponsor: Wiley, L): Would require insurance companies to provide coverage for prescription contraception unless it is against the employers religious ethic.

HB0346 (sponsor: Hansen, N): Which I've already mentioned--is an attempt to get rid of the electoral college.

What do these three sponsers have in common? They all voted to pass HB0346 (the Popular Vote Bill) out of committee.

Official? ULCT Blogs

The Utah League of Cities and Towns has operatives, (my fancy word for staff and friendlies), blogging on Utah issues. I thought it was important give a good shake to Utah's blogging rug, just so you know whom you're reading. I've listed these blogs below. (Interesting that Wilf Sommerkorn, Davis Counties Director of Community & Economic Development, is linked on ULCT's website.

HB0346:Electoral College Vs. Popular Vote

The House Government Operations Committee is meeting today. One item on the agenda is HB0346 which would join Utah with a bunch of other States wishing to get rid of the Electoral College.

I've heard arguments that, with advances in technology and increased literacy, we have no reason to have any elements of a Republic in our Nation.

My response to that is simple. Just because we all can vote, does not mean that we will vote. If we want to abandon this country to the whims of a vocal minority, then, by all means, get rid of the Electoral College.

The committee meets today at 2:00 PM - Room W010.

Electoral College or Popular Vote

Update: This bill failed in committee thanks to the following people.

Aagard, D.
Bowman, D.
Donnelson, G.
Fowlke, L.
Grover, K.
Hutchings, E.
Mathis, J.
Oda, C.

Monday, February 05, 2007

SB0063:Zero-based Budget

I must confess some ignorance on the concept of government implementing zero-based budgeting, so I've had to do a little research on it. Zero-based budgeting forces an organization to justify the total cost of a program, rather than just the cost of an increase for that program, when an increase is proposed. There is a Senate bill that is getting zero attention from the media that would implement this on a State level. Here is what I've found from other states that have tried this.

California's Senate

"Many commentators credit Peter A. Pyhrr with developing zero-based budgeting as a management tool for Texas Instruments. In 1971, Governor Jimmy Carter applied the concept to state budgeting in Georgia. Other states have since used aspects of the budgeting technique, including Florida, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia and Rhode Island. After studying the various attempts at using ZBB, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) found that zero-based budgeting has limitations. It concluded, in Fundamentals of Sound State Budgeting Practices, that states have certain rigidities in their spending structure. Specifically: Statutes, obligations to local governments, requirements of the federal government, and other past decisions have many times created state funding commitments that are almost impossible to change very much in the short run. Much state spending, therefore, cannot usefully be subjected to the kind of fundamental reexamination that ZBB in its original form envisions. No state government has ever found this feasible. Even Georgia, where Governor Jimmy Carter introduced ZBB to state budgeting in 1971, employed a much modified form. Given the state's fiscal structure, would the author intend for school funding-including the funding required under Proposition 98-to be subject to a zero-based budgeting approach? Would the VLF backfill be subject to zero-based budgeting? Creating exemptions from the zero-based budgeting methodology will reduce the effectiveness of the bill."
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
"In addition to saving money and improving services, zero-based budgeting may:

  • Increase restraint in developing budgets;
  • Reduce the entitlement mentality with respect to cost increases; and
  • Make budget discussions more meaningful during review sessions.

On the cost side of the equation, zero-based budgeting:
  • May increase the time and expense of preparing a budget;
  • May be too radical a solution for the task at hand. You don’t need a sledgehammer to pound in a nail;
  • Can make matters worse if not done in the right way. A substantial commitment must be made by all involved to ensure that this doesn’t happen."
"...First, the success of such a change like this hinges strongly on leadership that is dedicated to the task. If those appointed to conduct budget reviews are unwilling to truly assess every item in their budget, word will get out quickly that this new budgeting technique is more symbolism than substance. Indeed, it is incumbent upon proponents of zero-based budgeting to ensure that those reviewing the budget do not have a pecuniary interest in maintaining the status quo. Allowing people who will be most affected by the elimination of programs to conduct their own reviews may be counterproductive, since most people are quick to defend their own interests.

Second, don’t attempt to do zero-based budgeting for every department, every year. Such a move may prove impossible to manage. Instead, choose several departments and/or agencies, and rotate through every facet of state government over time. In Oklahoma, which has recently adopted zero-based budgeting, officials are applying the method to two departments and several agencies each year. Once those reviews are complete, the same departments and agencies will not see another zero-based review for eight years.

Third, ensure that each review is conducted by referencing all aspects of a department, agency or program to what its goals are. This makes the very purpose of the entity being reviewed transparent, and can increase the opportunities available for making objective measurements of a department, agency or program’s success rate."

The Pros and Cons of Zero-based Budgeting [Mackinac Center for Public Policy]
SB0063:Zero-based Budget

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Quote Of The Day: NSL State Of The City

Mayor Schaefermeyer on being fiscally conservative(pdf).

Probably one of the biggest changes this year was my selection to replace Kay Briggs as mayor. We applaud Kay for his service and wish him success in his professional endeavors. It’s an honor to serve our community and I desire to stay the course by being fiscally conservative with our city revenues.
Many of you read that I and one other mayor opposed a $10 motor vehicle registration increase.
Unfortunately, the county commissioners will put this into effect. The money is earmarked for corridor preservation – basically buying property along the Legacy corridor. I’m not opposed to preserving this corridor or other transit corridors, but I think we are imposing too many small fees here and new taxes there and our citizens are feeling that there is a crisis with government spending. I know I feel this way.
I think we are often short-sighted and do not sufficiently explore other options and research other funding sources rather than create new funding sources.

Friday, February 02, 2007

SB130 Passes Muster In Committee

SB130, which would allow NSL to annex its 80 acres of land without permission from SLC just received a favorable recommendation from the committee. Now, it's on to the Senate floor.

I've spoken of this bill at the links below.

  1. Municiple Code Amendments
  2. Chances Are Low SB130 Will Leave Committee
  3. NSL Vs SL Vs Lege

Thursday, February 01, 2007

HB0393: Truth In Bonding

Representative Hughes would like to amend the law so that governments/districts will be required to be very specific in what language is used in pamphlets when a bond proposal is given to voters.

I like the fact that the bill requires an estimate be given for the average tax increase for businesses as well as residents. More needs to be done to prevent bond elections from getting hijacked, by one faction or another, at taxpayer expense.

More on this can be found at
The bill(HB0393)

Do you have one of the symptoms below?

  • You came here looking for information on the South Davis Recreation Center.
  • You can't wait to throw in your $400.00 for your center membership.
  • You have begun to notice the lack of information coming from the Recreation District.
Just know that I have a link on my sidebar if you meet the above conditions.

Church Stand On Tuition Bill

In response to blogger reports to the contrary, I've waiting for this statement.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not taken a position on HB224, church spokesman Scott Trotter said. His comment came in response to a statement issued Monday by the Alliance for Unity opposing the bill. The statement was signed by alliance member Elder M. Russell Ballard of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. "

Hat tip: Deseret News

Desnews:Bill to allow N. Salt Lake to annex 80 acres held in the Senate

A recent Deseret News article leads me to believe that the municipal lands bill in the Senate, that would give a pass to NSL annexing its 80 acres of land, may fail in committee.

It sounds like the legislature doesn't want to get involved in the suit. The question is this, is SLC going to want to settle out of court with NSL anyway?

Update: The article was wrong. It passed committee.

SB0130:Municipal Code Amendments (D. Eastman)

The Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Standing Committee will consider a bill that would make certain disputes, like the 80 acre land annexation lawsuit between NSL and SL, moot. Cities would be able to annex land that falls within the boundaries of neighboring cities if certain conditions are met.

DATE: Friday, February 2, 2007

TIME: 2:00 PM

PLACE: Room W020, West Office Building, State Capitol Complex