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"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?" Thomas Jefferson

Select 2014 South Davis Candidates And Issues

October 23, 2014

This is not a comprehensive list – just a few select candidates issues.  Here’s my opinion in a very rushed post, for what it’s worth.
RAP Tax – See my post entitled “Heed Bastiat: Bountiful RAP Tax (2014)” for details.  A partial summation from the post:

I guess all I can say is that I have a lot of hobbies and interests I enjoy participating in.  I take the time and money to pay for those and don’t demand that my wealthy neighbor, the widow on a fixed income, or a struggling young family pay for or subsidize my fun.  I am fortunate and grateful that I get to voluntarily donate and assist others.  I would just ask that the same courtesy be granted to me and to those least able to pay.

Board of Education
I’m going with Laura Belnap.  While I don’t see eye-to-eye with her on everything, she’s much more open to parental input and involvement than her opponent.  She is responsive and willing to engage, something I hope (and expect) that she’ll carry on into office. Belnap also has previous education experience and served on other boards. Finally, she appears to be independent (which give citizens a better voice) rather than being propped up by entrenched political interests.

Commission Seat B
I’m going to go with Ryan Macfarlane. Jim Smith is way too tied in with the Chamber of Commerce and I simply have trouble believing he’ll keep citizen interests as the top priority.  Various Chambers of Commerce (particularly the National and Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce) have been bastions of promoting and lobbying for corporate welfare and cronyism.  Their reps tend to just toe the line and I’m not interested in this.  Udy, on the other hand, will tend to far the other way with well-intentioned projects that have the tendency to raise taxes and burdens on residents (although her focus on transparency is worth giving her a second look).  I believe, Macfarlane will hold spending down and keep a sharp eye out for how appropriate current and future programs will be.

Constitutional Amendment A
I’m going to oppose this.  After the IRS was used to target tea party and conservative groups, I think it is best to keep the split on the commission and prevent a single political affiliation from dominating the commission seats.  I don’t really care for arbitrary qualifications (like party affiliation) but make an exception in this instance.  Yeah, the vast majority who are placed in the position will be well-qualified and serve honorably but it just takes once to really muck things up (especially if you can get away with it with media complicity ala Obama IRS…imagine if this were Bush or Nixon!).  An recent experience, I say we keep the current check/balance.

Constitutional Amendment C
Opposed but primarily because I don’t see the need.  It seems that the AG’s office can fulfill the requests.  The voter’s guide opponents also make a good point that having each agency head with a personal counsel could allow undue influence on them rather than having a more disinterested assigned attorney from the AG’s office.  I’m open to feedback on this one – feel free to comment with reasons why this should be supported.

Heed Bastiat: Bountiful RAP Tax (2014)

October 20, 2014

Bountiful’s RAP (Recreation, Arts, and Parks) Tax is up for renewal in a few weeks.  While  it may be well intentioned, it represents a means for favored special interests groups and politicians to fund their pet projects at the expense of their neighbors and fellow citizens.  Long ago, Frederic Bastiat warned about the practice of drifting from core government functions and dubbed it “legal plunder“. More recently, economist Milton Friedman revealed why these special interests often prevail.

Ironically, often these special interest tax campaigns are bankrolled and pursued by those who can most afford them and the projects they fund.  Those most able to pay and benefit distribute the otherwise voluntary burden to those least able to do so.  They also tend to argue that their burden is a light burden and attempt to shame those opposed as unrefined and miserly.  Their tax may be small but it is heaped upon all the other taxes and fees placed upon us.  Make no mistake – it adds to families’ financial burdens to fund very non-critical functions.

Then there are the pitfalls of these funding pools.  It introduces government inefficiencies and pressure from groups or politicians to aggrandize projects into legacy projects.  Costs balloon and the project becomes orders of magnitude larger:  something we recently witnessed in Bountiful (this time it had a happy ending…for now).  Not to mention the pitfalls of the types of events that are funded.  Just to add insult to injury, the politicians and benefiting groups hold a groundbreaking, thank themselves for the hard work….and totally neglect taxpayers.

I guess all I can say is that I have a lot of hobbies and interests I enjoy participating in.  I take the time and money to pay for those and don’t demand that my wealthy neighbor, the widow on a fixed income, or a struggling young family pay for or subsidize my fun.  I am fortunate and grateful that I get to voluntarily donate and assist others.  I would just ask that the same courtesy be granted to me and to those least able to pay.

Please vote no on the RAP Tax (“Proposition 6″) and let folks willingly fund the projects they value rather than forcing others to pay for them.  ​A community that voluntarily helps one and other is a true community.

 

Utah’s Illegal Immigration Humanitarian Border Fiasco Enablers

July 7, 2014

It’s been months since I posted here. Wish I could keep up better but time is very short so I’ll just get on with it.

For about the last month, we’ve been (and still are) witnessing a royal mess at our southern border. The crush of people coming through seems to have so overwhelmed the border patrol that we effectively have an open southern border and defacto amnesty not only for those already illegally in the United States but for the entire world as long as they can get to the Southern border.

The results of this free flow amount to an environment ripe for human trafficking, child rape and victimization, and a likely public health hazard (here too) as illegal immigrants are being transported and dropped of in various states (and let’s be honest – they ain’t showing up for their court dates). Obviously, the situation is being capitalized on by various criminal enterprises to more effectively funnel their own “products” and personnel into the US.

So who turned the magnet on that has Central Americans believing (and their media affirming) the welcome mat is out on the US southern border? Who gave them that idea and enabled all this? Nationally, it’s the usual suspects: the President, the majority of Democrats and plenty of Republicans (McCain, Grahamnesty etc), various amnesty groups, religious organizations, the US Chamber of Commerce, and a plethora of corporate welfare leaches, crony capitalists with their amoral lobbyists.

And how about on the local level?..In Utah, we have our enablers:

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and it’s head, Lane Beatty. They’re the mastermind of the illegal labor/cheap labor at all costs unconstitutional Utah amnesty legislation (which is also hardly a favor to the illegal immigrants, in my estimation). They’re also the same group that sold it (and the Utah Compact sophistry) to the LDS Church to get them to lobby legislators for it’s passage. HB116 serves as an enticement that leads illegal immigrants to believe that they will be welcomed, defacto legalized, and provided for – it turns on the magnet locally. Of course, that legislation is so loused-up that implementation keeps getting delayed and the bill’s Godfather (Bramble) now plans on repealing it in a couple of years…if you trust the word of a died-in-the-wool Chicago-style politician. Meanwhile, the magnet with the promise of potential implementation stays on.

The LDS Church (at least Public Affairs) likes the Utah Compact. They intentionally continue to avoid differentiating legal and illegal immigrants, make special provisions for illegal immigrant missionaries and do so under the guise of “keeping families together”. From the get-go that line was always a farce and the current situation demonstrates this perfectly: 1. Children are leaving their families and being placed at risk and in the hands of predators to come over here under a false promise creating orphans and 2. Other children are coming here and ICE is trying to link them with family already here (ie: mom and/or dad ditched them at home when they illegally came into the US).

Better yet, a few Sundays ago I listened to a missionary report on teaching an illegal immigrant family that couldn’t be baptized because the father was still married to his first wife in Mexico (I think he left her with the kids too – so much for keeping that family together) because he couldn’t go back to get a divorce. Meanwhile he’d had children with his illegal immigrant girlfriend in the US. Well, the father died so the shack-up girlfriend wasn’t living in sin anymore and they were able to baptize the family (in the US). It was intimated that things worked out well because dad died (WTH?!). I wondered if I had somehow flipped on an LDS Jerry Springer episode!

Evidently, ditching children, shacking up and having more kids is not uncommon and is deserving of support and “prosecutorial discretion”.  One wonders which family we should keep together…

Anyway, back to our list of local enablers:

Salt Lake City Police Chief Burbank, Radio Host Doug Wright, and Former AG Mark Shurtleff. Besides being amnesty shills who set up a sanctuary city (Burbank) and helped make Utah a sanctuary state, they also find illegal immigrant identity fraud funny.

Senator Curt Bramble (and HB116 supporters in the Legislature). See the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce section for details.

Paul Mero and The Sutherland Institute. Open borders folks who also supported HB116. I’m still not sure if their often inept political posturing isn’t actually a hindernace to the Utah amnesty push but they’re big amnesty proponents.

Senator Orrin Hatch – an early DREAM Act proponent (with his ousted compatriot, Bob Bennett who was outwardly supportive of amnesty). Hatch has been co-opted by the crony capitalists and high tech rich kids like Mark Zuckerberg (such as a  traveling and monetary relationship ).

Governor Herbert’s lackluster leadership on this issue (especially E-Verify) and coziness with the Salt Lake Chamber, even heading to DC to do their bidding and, of course, signing Utah’s amnesty bill.  Let’s also not forget the House and Senate leadership at that time (eg Speaker Becky Lockhart and and former Senate President, Michael Waddoups). Lockhart and others have also just doubled down to keep the orphan magnet flowing with a letter to congress to shove amnesty down our throats:

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, House Speaker Becky Lockhart, House Majority Leader Brad Dee and 23 other GOP legislators — joined by former U.S. Senator Jake Garn — signed the letter.

The other usual suspects – amnesty and race-focused groups, Tony Yapias, etc. etc.

I’m sure we can expect them all to step up and personally fund medical care, child and adult victim rape/abuse counseling, housing, transportation, resettlement (keeping families together, of course), and education for all the illegal immigrants entering thanks to their promises. Surely, they’ll continue to do so in perpetuity so as to avoid any costs to taxpayers and those supportive of actually obeying laws both personally and in business and to avoid employment-related identity theft by the illegal immigrants (and avoid child victims of this identity theft). Surely they’ll pay for the humanitarian crisis they’ve created and provide for the orphans they’ve created.  Or are victims just collateral damage and enablers’ foreseeable mess something the rest of us are on the hook for?

So let’s keep enticing people to enter illegally with promises of amnesty, tax-subsidized in-state tuition, and free transportation to their final destination, among other programs. What could go wrong?

Dodging Truth-In-Taxation With Municipal Power Rate Manipulation (Kaysville, Bountiful)

May 2, 2014

Last year, Kaysville residents successfully blocked the city from using its power department to overcharge them on power and pocket the excess money in city coffers.  The same practice continues in other Utah cities with their own power generation departments (notably, Bountiful City).

Cities engaging in this behavior benefit in two ways. First, cities can, and do, falsely claim that they keep taxes low (power rate manipulation cloaks the true tax burden). Second, they avoid scrutiny from legally required truth-in-taxation hearings (instead, they just increase power rates or customer charges).

Now that Kaysville City can’t hide behind the power department, the uncomfortable truth of actual tax burden is emerging (Utah town proposes 102% property tax hike):

A proposal on the table in one Utah town could end up doubling property taxes. That proposal in Kaysville would increase property taxes by 102 percent.

City leaders say the tax hike is necessary to counter a ballot initiative last year, known as Prop 5.

In November, voters restricted Kaysville from using money from the city-owned power company for general fund expenses.

“There is no public process there, there is no transparency,” Gregory Frank, a supporter of Prop 5 told ABC 4 Utah’s Kim Johnson last April. “What we’re trying to do is keep Kaysville city from circumventing truth in taxation laws.”

Better Late Than Never: Conclusion On 2014’s Voter List Battle

May 2, 2014

Life became hectic…well, more hectic than normal…and I failed to find the time to get a final update on this year’s legislative outcome for Utah voters’ personal information protection (click here for background posts).  Truthfully, I still have scant time but have a link article that sums up the political carve outs and slight improvement made when the bill did pass.  It’s a baby step forward and some political cronies are still being rewarded:

Payday lenders get voters’ birth dates; voter safety in Lt. Governor’s hands

The article covers last minute malarkey and partial protection for certain individuals afforded by the passed bill (the majority still must cough up information to the politically anointed to use as they see fit).

Lt. Gov Cox, County Clerks Ask Utah Legislature For Voter Protection, GOP Chair Evans Says Niet!

March 12, 2014

First, the good news.  In stark contrast with former Lieutenant Governor Bell who demanded he be allowed to sell Utah voters’ information, Lt. Governor Cox has teamed with Utah’s County Clerks and penned letters to both the State House and Senate pleading to protect the information.  The letters are available here (PDF): Letter to the Senate and Letter to the House.

This would come as welcome news to those who’ve fought to stop the practice as well as voters concerned with privacy and security.  This includes domestic and child abuse victims, families hosting foster children, police officers, judges, LDS Church leadership, and the elderly (the list is easily sorted by age,  providing an easy means for scammers to target granny and gramps).

Now the bad news.  This year two bills have received good support (particularly, HB302 which passed with overwhelming support in the House).  This year it appeared that voters’ sensitive information would finally get some protection.  In past years similar bills have been opposed by both big political parties, the politcally-favored, and media.  As such, Republican Party Chairman, James Evans, hit the panic button.  I understand that during a closed lunch, he badgered State Senators into agreeing to take no action on either HB302 (Voting Records Amendments) nor the toothless/faux protection SB36.  The bills are dead and the list will continue to be sold to whomever wants it.

Ironically, the online voter information makes it simple (combined with caucus attendance rule changes) to stuff the ballot box at either GOP or Dem. caucus meetings.

To sum, it appears that James Evans and the Utah Senate have decided that your right to vote may only be exercised if you divulge your personal information and voting history to their political machines, political consultants (like those who send you  lame attack ads), and any individual/business or whatever that wants the voter list for whatever reason.  They can ignore the potential for caucus voter fraud and are fine if you have to terminate your voter registration in order to protect your or your families security and/or privacy.   But, hey, why should they worry – disenfranchised voters don’t vote, right?

Update: Please see Payday lenders get voters’ birth dates; voter safety in Lt. Governor’s hands for the conclusion of the 2014 voter protection battle.

Utah Voter List Protection (HB302) And Foster Parents (UPDATE – GOP Caucus Fruad Potential)

March 10, 2014

HB302 was designed to allow you to control if your information from being released. Currently, the State (thanks to the Lieutenant Governor’s office and Herbert Administration) sells all voters’ information without informing you or giving you any choice in the matter. Despite years of warnings and citizens’ (and a few legislators) unsuccessful attempts to protect the information, the entire list was posted to the internet raising concerns of identity theft and raising awareness of sale.

The awareness sent alarm bells ringing for those concerned with their personal security such as LDS leadership, judges, police officers, victims of domestic abuse, county attorneys, and now custodial parents of foster children (transcribed from March 5, 2014 KSL Radio News):

[Reporter: Mary Richards]Families that adopt from foster care are very careful to protect their information, like their home address. This Utah father adopted some children from abusive situations, those families know his name and he knows the voter information is out there already.

[Father]The problem is being created as a result of the attention this whole situation has been given.

[Reporter] He says he would like to see the bills passed that would restrict access to the voter registration records or, at least, define more a penalty. He said victims of domestic violence or other crime would have the same concerns.

I stated “HB302 was designed to allow you to control…”. The bill was watered down and now is limited to those who designate a security concern to protect their information but also carries fines and penalties if the list is released (ie buyers have to treat your information with care, unlike the current standard of absolutely zero control/accountability*).

The bill now has carve-outs for some political cronies and lobbyists (campaign consultants, political parties, the media among others). However they would have to protect the information and be accountable for disclosure.

That has disappointed me as I don’t believe anyone (except for election fraud oversight) has any entitlement to my personal and voting information. A Constitutional right shouldn’t be contingent on some favored group’s desires. However, it is a (small) step forward and still better than the pointless SB36. Please contact your Representative and Senator and ask them to only support HB302 and not water it down at all nor make it a SB36 clone.  It is imperative that they hear from you as powerful lobbyists and party insiders (see below) are out to kill the bill which has a Senate sponsor in need of a commitment intervention.

Most telling in this is the media lobbyist (Pignanelli) is still fighting the bill – they don’t seem to want any accountability with the peoples’ personal information but would crucify you in their publications for data breaches…go figure. The political parties (GOP and Dem) and lobbyists/consultants may also not be too happy with actually having to care for the information as both parties have fought tooth-and-nail to stop voter protection bill.

*Favored political groups (ie those with lobbyists and donations) can do whatever with the information, but similar personal information held by regular business must be cared for and is subject to fines. It’s cronyism pure and simple.

UPDATE:  I am now aware that another serious issue has arisen regarding the voter list going online.  I will not go into detail (for obvious reasons) but with everyone’s information online, it is now extremely easy for anyone to stuff the ballot box at GOP caucus meetings.

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