Friday, March 30, 2007

Working Out Of The County: Davis County In The 80th Percentile

Davis County ranks in the top 80 percent of counties who's residents, ages 16 and over, work outside of the county. No other county in Utah can make that claim. Utah and Salt Lake Counties make the top 250, but neither is higher than the 35th percentile.

If that 'working out of the county' statistic were a baby, it would be a fat one.

Considering this, what might our problems be that other counties in Utah lack? Are we getting enough attention in areas of transportation, and infrastructure that we deserve? Mind you, I don't consider the bait-and-switch that was our registration fee hike to be legitimate attention from the state.

We could truly call ourselves an extreme bedroom community.

A Casual Meeting Of The Minds

I had a meeting last night with some folks involved in various groups. When I say 'some', I mean only five, but all of these are luminaries in their own organizations, so it was interesting. I was asked to come as a blogger, although I represent no specific interests other than my own. You might say that I am my only hope for a hero.

If it sounds like I'm being vague about what happened there, and whom attended its because I am. I'm hearing a lot about evil conservative conspiracies, and although I don't put any stock in most of those theories, I'd still like to be a part of one.

So, if you're concerned that you might be the subject of a conspiratorial probing, or have had millions of dollars invested in your destruction, then I probably talked about you last night.


On the other hand, this meeting wasn't held in a darkened parking lot, in the shadows. We had one representative from each organization. Citizens for Families,, Eagle Forum, and

Have a look at some groups that are very open about their purpose.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

When Back From My Hawaii Hiatus, Then I'll Go Swimming!

I haven't been to the South Davis Recreation Center yet.

"But," you'll say, "you were opposed to it! Of course you won't go."

It isn't that I don't want to go. I absolutely despise this boondoggle on paper. To me, it doesn't figure as a good investment. If it ever broke even, financially, then I'd be happy.

Now that it's here, I want to go and get my money's worth. Ironically, a lot of people have found out information on the place by consulting my blog.

I should be on the payroll!

I can't go yet because I have other priorities. My wife and I wanted to go when our city had a free night, but couldn't work it in. I wanted to go last Saturday, but we went to the Zoo instead, because children under age two get in free.

My daughter was two for another week. Yeah, I'm cheap!

So, I'm promising you right now that as soon as we get back from our vacation in Hawaii, we'll go swim in the pool.

We'll be gone from April 1st through the 9th. Somebody check on our house and make sure it doesn't burn down?

I won't be blogging that week.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Voucher Referendum Lunacy

One more time into the breach that is the 'voucher war'. KSL is reporting that, despite the recent opinion offered by the AG that a referendum will do nothing to end vouchers, that referendum supporters are forging ahead to collect signatures. As such, the following becomes the 'quote of the day'.

"I don't think it suggests a huge endorsement of vouchers or against vouchers. I think what it suggests is they've got abilities to collect the signatures and will likely do that."
Doug Holmes-Utahns for Choice in Education
This essentially creates a new category of people known respectively as pro-referendum, and anti-referendum. Do you, A support the referendum just to prove to the Lege that you have a 'voice'. Or do you, B, not sign the referendum. Are we even worried about vouchers anymore, or is this becoming a spitting contest?

Another point. The AG points out in his legal opinion(pdf) that the Voucher program could yet be challenged in court on Constitutional grounds, yet the pro-voucher (or is it pro-referendum) folks couldn't care less. They are too busy decrying the AG for being obtuse to the fact that we can, in fact, collect 90,000 signatures.

Well, we can collect that many signatures. And, we must because we are referendum people!

Transportation: Registration Fee Redux

This article illustrates how it is farcical to assume that by implementing a $10 fee for transportation needs in our area that we can be sure that more money will be spent here in the county. True, the state has assured us that we have earmarked funds, but what it hasn't said is that funds, otherwise spent here, will go elsewhere. UDOT has been circulating about town, leaving sound bites in its wake, to assure us that much of the States transportation need exists in, and around, Davis County.

Bottom line: UDOT determines the use of funds allocated to it. It funds needs according to the timing and priority of its own choosing.

Cities cannot be assured that their own needs will be funded first, or at all. Money provided by the registration fee could have been provided by the state. If there were a need, UDOT would, in theory, take care of it anyway.

The registration fee is yet another way of shifting the burden, while disguising the cost of transportation. And the real transportation needs of this County may yet be ignored.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Public Vs Private Education Conspiracies

Katie Christensen, of the Sutherland Institute, commented on my post "Schools in your area", in response to a theory that suggested that Sutherland wants us to think that private schools are geographical closer than public schools.

...We get our school addresses from the State Board of Education website. We have noticed that some of the addresses listed on that site are wrong...
Now Sutherland had been accused of being biased, which all organizations larger than zero people are. Katie doesn't not seem to be denying that fact. Qualitatively, however, the information that Sutherland has mashed together, in their School locater tool, is not influenced by Sutherland's distinct bias. Sutherland merely runs their calculations against the State Board of Education data.

So, maybe the State Board of Education wants us to think that private schools are more accessible than public schools?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Writers Block

It seems funny that I've reached a landmark, two year, bloggerversary, and that I now have writers block.

Maybe I've got nothing to say because some of my former battles have dwindled. I'm thinking of the fight between NSL and SL over land, the $10 "corridor preservation" fee, and the legislature, etc. Even the Rec Center is open, and popular with the crowds. It's a horrible boondoggle, but I can only wish it as much success as is possible. I have to say that I'm glad to see Rocky Anderson out and about this country doing things other than being mayor. He can't hurt me here in Davis County if he's off having yelling matches on issues that he has no real power. And if you're interested, I don't see the voucher debate moving at all. That isn't to say that vouchers won't be implemented, because they will. Opponents seem to be raging on this issue, but supporters, and the indifferent seem to be in standby mode.


Maybe I have posted nothing in a week because I'm playing catch-up with the podcast crowd, and trying to figure out the best way to listen to them in my car. I haven't had an mp3 player up to this point; I've just listened to the radio on my way to places--archaic, I know!

Maybe it's my job, or family. There is much happening there.

I've also been feeling very introspective, lately, and I'm afraid that's put my public persona on hold.

Regardless, when I do come back, just know it will be in full force, and should be interesting. I've already posted more this year than I did my entire first year of blogging.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On This Day... 2005, I began my adventure in blogging at Farrer Commons. It was that blog that planted the seed in my mind for a blog on local politics. On April 25th, 2005, just one month later, I began posting on Davis County Watch. I didn't think it would be fun, like Farrer Commons, but I expected that I could make a difference in my community.

It really hasn't been fun like the old blog was.

It's been much more fun!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

[Davis County Watch: Guest Bloggers] If you want to sign the petition...

Calling all South Davis County Residents!

If you want to sign the petition allowing a public vote on the voucher issue and haven't had a chance yet, email me at and I'll arrange a chance for you to sign it!

Sorry for the subversion, Tyler! You may now go back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Posted By Natalie to Davis County Watch: Guest Bloggers at 3/14/2007 07:15:00 PM

Number One Myth On Utah Voucher Legislation

The sneakiest bit of misinformation that is now being disseminated in the voucher debate is this.

"Vouchers take away money from the public school system and hurt those schools.”
Joann Hansen--volunteer for "Utahns for Public Schools"
Try reading the legislation again.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Of Battles And Boundaries

I would have registered my outrage earlier today about the $10 fee that the County is imposing, but I was fighting a little fee of my own. It turns out that our home has one of the most camouflaged off-street parking spots in the state of Utah. The police can't always tell the difference between our property and the city street. Since parking is forbidden, during the winter months on the street, we were given two parking tickets in three days. That's $50.00--not much--just the price of five pizza's.

This interesting situation began many years before we lived here. The city had decided to extend the cul-de-sac by our house. Rather than narrowing the street at our house, our neighbor proposed that the city leave things as they were. It was a win-win scenario. The city would save the cost of reformatting the street, and two homes would have ready-made 45 degree parking. The first thing my friendly neighbor across the street explained to us when we moved in was that every once in a while, we'd get a ticket for parking on our property.

So, off we go to city hall. Wondering all the way how we're going to explain this situation. It went quite smoothly, however, because the bailiff vouched for us. It seems that our neighbor spoke from some good experience.

Now, it's been suggested to me that, in this circumstance, the city ought to have paid us for our trouble. I must respectfully disagree with this, because, at the end of the day, order was restored. The government has held up its end of our little agreement. You can be sure that my wife and I were probably the only two people today to have left that courtroom smiling.

For me, just a $10 fine would have been worth a visit to a judge because of the land that the money represents. My land, not the city's.

And a similar $10 fee, though small, for 'corridor preservation', sounds like the same situation. This time, both the County and the State have forgotten their boundaries. Like so much camouflaged parking.

The Davis County Commission says that this money only represents a cheese pie, but I'm sure that it means much more. To the State it means that it pays half of its obligation--of our taxpayer dollars. So much of what we pay in taxes goes toward transportation funding that we should think of this new fee as triple the increase in spending than is being represented. Not only the $10 we pay in fees, but the $10 matched from the state, and the $10 that would have been spent on this need, but that now goes towards something else. We should realize that the money not paid by the state, as a result, will be redistributed to other programs. Some are worthy programs, and some not.

Mostly not, because the state will have succeeded in shirking its second largest fiscal responsibility. (The first being education.) Who's to say that Utah will act rightly in other areas, when it hasn't in this one? It's better to let the state fund the larger needs, rather than asking, or forcing, others too.

So, today, I won my little $50 battle, but the county lost its bigger $10 war.

Friday, March 09, 2007

School's In Your Area

I just came across this excellent school locator on the Sutherland Institute Website. You type in your zip code and it provides you with a list of schools, and their distance.

Salt Lake Sites, done by the same person as y-intercept, has made a list of Salt Lake Area Schools with descriptions, which is useful as well.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Vouchers, Referendums, Lawsuits

If you haven't yet seen the petition to rescind the private school tuition voucher law that just passed, then here is your chance to consider it. Let me make a few points of my own before you make a decision.

Opponents of the law say that too few will take advantage of the vouchers, making it too costly for the state. However, in the same breath, they argue that it is, likewise, damaging to public schools.

Opponents may be right that few will use the vouchers in the current iteration. But, this cannot, logically, hurt public education if few use the program. It may hurt the bottom line of the state when it comes to administering dollars out of the general fund. But that damage will be limited, and we've got a virtual bomb shelter built around public education monies in this state. When all the checks get written, public education will keep its funding.

Here is a mental exercise that you can try at home to determine how successful the voucher program will be in its initial years. Ask yourself, and others, 'how many public schools can I name off the top of my head?' Now ask, 'how many private schools can I list?' Now, pull out a phone book and try to find the nearest private school. And, do likewise with the nearest public school.

What did you just learn? In Utah, we have far more familiarity with the public school system than we do with privatized education. This means that in these first, lean years, of a voucher system we will probably have very few takers. It will cost the state some money to administer, during these infant years, but we shouldn't abort just yet.

Give the proponents of vouchers time to prove whether the free market works in this setting. If this fails, then public schools will be faultless. If it works, then it can only be good for education in Utah.

And if my next thought has never occurred to you, then think about it now. What is good for private schools can also be good for public schools.

Flouride Inmates

Somebody was searching for 'flouride inmates' on google and found my blog as a result. What could they have been looking for? I can't imagine if it matters that inmates are given fluoride, or that, in Davis County, they drink fluoridated water like the rest of us?

It makes me think I haven't been vigilant enough about inmates on fluoride.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Rulon Vs NSL

Want to see an Olympian in person? Then you might consider attending the March 20th meeting of the North Salt Lake City Council. Rulon Gardner, former Greco-Roman Wrestler, will be addressing the city council to ask for some money to help rebuild a wall that he says was poorly constructed by a previous owner, and should not have passed inspection.

His lawyer says that there will be no lawsuit against the city since the law makes municipalities immune from lawsuits related to negligent inspections.

You might recognize Rulon's lawyer too, if you follow politics in Utah. He is none other than Todd Weiler, Chairman of the Republican Party in Davis County, and newly elected Vice-Chair of the State GOP. Some think Weiler may have a Governorship in his future. That is if, as is alleged here, that Weiler is actually a patsy of the UEA. Weiler, of course, denies this anonymous allegation.

I just thought some of you might be interested in seeing the parade of who's who, and who was who, in Davis County. Right here in little-old NSL.

Hat tip: Clipper
Second hat tip: Political Spyglass

Saturday, March 03, 2007

NSL Day For Recreation Center

The South Davis County Recreation Center will be open free to NSL residents on Friday, March, 9th(pdf)

Attend and get some of your taxes back in some wholesome family fun. Bring your I.D. The times it will be free are:

12:00PM to 4:00PM
9:00PM to Midnight

Activities will include:

  • Leisure pool
  • Bouldering Cave
  • Ice skating (Noon to 2:00 and 9:00 to midnight) – skate rental is $1.00
  • Basketball
  • Walking track
  • Racquetball
  • Walleyball
  • Fitness equipment
  • Swimming aerobics – times to be announced
  • Open swimming in competition pool
Update: Woods Cross has a city day at the Center on March 24th. Noon to 4:00 and 9PM to Midnight as above.

Friday, March 02, 2007

NSL Cemetery NIXED

I'm sure you're reeling from my last post--very cryptic, but I've gotten back on track.

NSL has abandoned its plans to develop its cemetery because it doesn't have enough space to do it, and the ideal spot will be purchased by SLC as part of the land settlement. I think Centerville has had similar problems getting a cemetery, but then again it hasn't had to deal with SLC to get the space required.

Does anyone know how Centerville's cemetery is going, and what NSL going to do?

Hat tip: Clipper

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Splurting And Legislative Musings

In an alternate universe, in which I actually had time to blog today, here is what I would have blogged on. But, in more detail, and you would have laughed so hard that you would now be splurting 2% milk out of your nose, even though here, you only drink skim.

  • Longer Legislative sessions
  • Appropriations oversight
  • Government bodies that lobby for special interest
Let's face it, all three of these topics are side-splitting funny on their face. Underneath, however, there might be some good ideas that could use some fleshing out.

For example, the idea has been proposed to move the first day of the legislature from Martin Luther King day, which has led others to suggest that the entire black history month is out of bounds. Which begs the question as to what you do for black history month on a leap year. One more day of "black history" might have been too much except that it only happens once every four years. Maybe we could give that extra day to another minority group--like, the visigoths.

What if our we had a legislature that only meets every four years, finishing every February 29th? Such a government might accomplish more because the elected would have less time in session to lobby the lobbyists for one more perk, and one more day that month to finish what they started (like that game of 'stack the salt shakers', for one). One rule could be that legislators could only get perks when they are in session.

A lobbyist may be overheard saying, "I'm out of Jazz tickets for this year, but I can book you some for 2012!"

2012 is going to be a great year for the Jazz!

All of these things are thought completely through in my doppelganger's head, but this brain is full of other things right now.

Things like the fact that 'splurting' is not a word, but it should be.