Utah Swamp?: The Buckshot Caucus (Sen. Todd Weiler, a member), Daryl Acumen, GOP Chair Rob Anderson, And GOPe Elites

This came into my inbox and I’m printing it below. It describes some ‘very swampy’ and possibly illegal personal-destruction tactics used by those within the local GOP establishment (and deep state within the courts?) against those fighting to retain the caucus (and draw power back from elite power brokers). Those reportedly involved include Daryl Acumen and The Buckshot Caucus which includes GOP Chair Rob Anderson (see link below), local pol Todd Weiler, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, and Utah’s part of Chicago swamp politics, Curt Bramble (naturally):

“GOP Chairman Rob Anderson, Rep. Mike Mckell, Senator Curt Bramble, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, and Senator Todd Weiler are members–as well as other prominent political figures in Utah” [Links added and Bramble’s first name spelling corrected].

I have a pretty good suspicion as to who the “political attorney” mentioned in the report likely is but will keep that to myself (UPDATE: Weiler is that attorney) . The email copy/paste is below the fold (click on Continue reading). I’m not holding my breath on any local media reporting since they financially benefit from getting rid of a caucus system.

UPDATE: Bateman has released audio of a voicemail from Weiler related to the lawsuit/$1 mil offer. I also have a list of names who are purportedly members of the Buckshot Caucus (from their facebook group so bear in mind some folks may have been ‘added’ to the group and may not be active participants):

Daryl Acumen, Kathleen Anderson, Rob Anderson, Sylvia Anderson, Bart Barker, Doran Barton, Todd Bauerie, Kelsey Berg, Aaron Bludworth, Curt Bramble, Daniel Burton, David Butterfield, Terry Camp, Brian Chapman, Diane Christensen, Kim Coleman, Joel Coleman, Jon Cox, Spencer Cox, David Damschen, Brad Daw, Mike Deaver, Sophia DiCaro, Dana Dickson, Carl Downing, Tani Downing, Sue Duckworth, Heather Duel, Dan Duel, Kitty Dunn, Nic Dunn, Steve Eliason, Clair Ellis, John English, Scott Ericson, Chase Everton, Lincoln Fillmore, Adam Gardiner, Wade Garrett, BJ Griffin, Heather Groom, Keith Grover, Eric Hafen, Craig Hall, Dave Hansen, Jeff Hartley, Greg Hartley, Timothy Hawkes, Daniel Hemmert, Gabe Henderson, Deidre Henderson, Carolina Herrin, Casey Hill, Kory Holdaway, Greg Hughes, Sean Hullngr, Joe Hunter, Don Ipson, Nathan Ivie, Richard Jaussi, Leslie Jones, Chris Kantil, DeAnn Shmalz Kelly, John Knotwell III, Steve Lockhart, Hannah Lockhart, Stan Lockhart, Jeremy Lyman, Kari Malkovich, Nicole Martin, Boyd Matheson, Brian Maxwell, Dan McKay, Mike McKell, Jeff McNeil, Mike Mendenhall, Ronda Menlove, Enid Mickelsen, Bret Milburn, Raphael Millet, Shawn Milne, Jefferson Moss, Mike Mower, Aimee Newton, Kyle Palmer, Jake Parkinson, Lee Perry, Jeremy Peterson, Erin Preston, Amber Pugmire Johnson, Susan Pulsipher, Joe Pyrah, Holly Richardson, Jeremy Roberts, Jeff Rogers, Michelle Scharf, Mike Schultz, Jacob Scott, Rusty Scott, Jennifer Scott, Doug Short, Richard Snelgrove, Lowry Snow, Robert Spendlove, Howard Stephenson, David Stewart, Jeff Strain, Becky Strain, Stan Summers, Brent Taylor, Dan Thatcher, Barbara Thatcher-Stallone, Norm Thurston, DeLaina Tonks, Natalie Tonks, Paul Tonks, Evan Vickers, Russ Wall, Chuck Warren, David Watts, Hyrum Weibling, Todd Weiler, Nathan Whiting, Ryan Wilcox, Brad Wilson, Mike Winder

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Swamp Wing Of Utah Republican Party Takes Over: Tells Conservatives To Leave, Get Another Party

Fox13 reported on the Utah GOP convention (Utah GOP ‘civil war’ appears to be winding down as delegates pick new leadership). At the convention, conservatives were booted from some party positions as the establishment consolidated power. Entrenched politicians and political operatives who’ve bungled so many things over the years are now fully in charge of the party. The same folks who continue to cater to the Chamber of Commerce and like to socialize business cost/risk and inadvertently mentor our younger generation to view socialism as something familiar and worth looking into.

As the Party’s outgoing chairman (ethically challenged, Rob Anderson ironically with Curt Bramble in the background) makes perfectly clear in Fox’s report:

“Their voices are a minority now,” he said of the group of party hardliners, adding: “Maybe it’s time for a new party for that group.”

So, it’s clear they don’t want you around. It’s been obvious for years that the establishment folks just saw conservatives as votes and people to use for the in the trenches grunt work they don’t like to do. They consider party grassroots and conservatives outside their cloistered circle as rubes that they must tolerate (but not respect) to retain power and have been plotting to get rid of grass roots and conservatives influence for years (click here for more). They’ve blocked all but the politically entrenched and certain wealthy folks from running for office by destroying the caucus system and rendered primaries virtually inaccessible for the average person (see the linked article). There’s no longer any use for participating in the party if you’re not an elite. Even the wealthy need to be cautious if they’re not acceptable to party elites as they will use tactics of personal destruction if you rock the boat.

They got their wish. The mask is now off the Utah Kabuki GOP Dance and they’re explicitly telling you they don’t like you and to just shut up and leave.

I’ll take them at their word. After decades as a Republican, I just changed my affiliation to Unaffiliated. It’s a piece of cake (takes about two minutes):

  • Go to the Utah Voter Registration site and click Update Registration (or direct link).
  • Plug in your info (House #, driver license #, birth date).
  • Scroll down to  the “Political Party” section and select “Unaffiliated” from the drop down.
  • Scroll down to the final three sections (Private Voter Record, Applicant Declaration, Signature).
    Be sure to select Yes on the Private Voter Record section to protect yourself from ID theft (otherwise the Lt. Gov’s office discloses and/or sells your personal voter info).
  • Confirm the applicant declaration and signature and you’re done.

Sayonara.

Official: The Utah Tax-And-Spend Legislature Raised Your Taxes (Again), Will Use Legal Plunder For Political Cronies

On Wednesday, the Utah Legislature met for a special session to raise your taxes…again. Politicians say that because the State hasn’t collected sales tax from internet purchases, it has “lost” millions in revenue. First off, that isn’t the state’s/government’s money – that money belongs to citizens. It represents a portion of their labor. The government lost nothing to begin with.

You’ll notice that the state is funding things just fine and is not running a deficit. So rather than leaving us alone they’ve used this “government losing millions” to raise taxes and create a windfall for themselves to spend on their pet projects etc. This windfall comes on top of the property tax increase scheme they created earlier this year. In the case of the extra money this time, they’ve decided to dish out your money to their favored businesses (also known as crony capital).

To incentivize those companies, the state has allowed them to keep up to 18 percent of collected sales taxes. That incentive will end once the law requiring companies to collect taxes takes effect in January….However, about $55 million has already been earmarked for a tax break for manufacturers that lawmakers approved…

See, they know much better than you where you should spend your money and will even choose the businesses for you – how kind. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is behind this especially given that Sen. Curt Bramble was the sponsor. The whole thing really embodies Bastiat’s principle of legal plunder.

On the local level, Representative Ray Ward voted for the increase (he loves raising taxes and spending people’s money for his own interests) and Senator Todd Weiler also voted for it. I have no idea why Ray Ward purports to be conservative, he’s not. At very best, he’s a very liberal republican but he should just be honest and run as a Democrat.

Then again, per KUTV’s article, maybe even some Democrats might have a problem with which cronies Ward wants to fund:

“When do we say enough to manufacturers, enough to EnergySolutions, enough to private little tax cut deals to people?” said Sen. Jim Dabakis, a Democrat.

The tax administration requirements will also hit small businesses harder with serious overhead that many have noted will likely harm them and favor big business as they can easily afford the overhead (lower per unit cost):

The requirement to collect sales tax will apply to companies that do at least 200 sales or $100,000 worth of sales in Utah in a year.

Essentially, they’ll provide competitive advantage to big businesses (who afford lobbyists, and entrenched political power players, like the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce). So government will pick winners and losers.

On the up side, the legislature was apparently shamed into addressing the income tax increase they imposed on middle class families (they knew about it during the general session and ran it anyway). Do note that I’ve heard it was only a partial adjustment so some will still see an increase.

Mayor Lewis’ Definition Of A Positive Campaign (Bountiful 2017 Election)

I understand that the current Mayor (Randy Lewis) insists that he’s running a positive campaign and his October 18 email (written by Councilman John Pitt) is ironically titled “Why is there so much negativity this election?”. Why indeed. Pitt’s email is a negative hit on the Mayor’s opponent. The irony of a negative email decrying negativity borders on humorous satire.

I suppose Mayor Lewis has a very interesting definition of ‘positive’ given the personal attacks from David Irvine certainly appear to be hosted on his mailing list. One such David Irvine email entitled “Truth in Bountiful”* and begins with “WHY I’M VOTING FOR KENDALYN HARRIS and CHRIS SIMONSEN”. The attack email focused on Kenny Knighton’s religious preference (or lack thereof – he’s an atheist). The hit resulted in Knighton deciding it wasn’t worth putting up with personal attacks and dropped out.


It looks like Mr. Lewis may be using a surrogate attack dog while pretending to be running a positive campaign. He may have assumed no one would bother checking his email list archive or email footers to notice the…ahem…’not so positive’ emails he’s hosting.

Several of the emails promote current Councilwoman Kendalyn Harris and Mr. Simonsen. I don’t know if either have agreed to the emails and sharing the list (maybe it’s incumbents helping each other stay in power). I wonder if they are running as a team. If so, I guess Harris and Simonsen condone the emails (especially since they resulted in an opponent dropping out). If they aren’t a team, the Mayor is going out on a limb by insinuating some affiliation via these emails.

Between the very ‘positive’ attacks and apparent feigning of Harris/Simonsen affiliation it’s quite the spin cycle. Wag the dog, Mayor Lewis/David Irvine/Truth in Bountiful, wag that dog.

*Note: Truth in Bountiful also appears to be Mr. Irvine’s group moniker to veil their affiliation with Mayor Lewis’ campaign. Emails are either copyrighted to David Irvine or “Truth in Bountiful” (particularly the negative emails) or “Mayor Randy Lewis” (more positively oriented emails).

For what it’s worth, some folks have also asked where the above got their email address. I found out Senator Todd Weiler is the source for the email addresses.

Senator Bramble and Stan Lockhart In News Over Suspicious Political Behavior (Update)

Every once in a while, I check out Utah Standard News. This week I caught a report about some possible unethical, if not criminal intrigue at the Utah County and State GOP conventions.

Some of the actors are the “usual suspects” for me. I’ve written before on the cozy relationship between State Senator Curt Bramble and Stan Lockhart. I’ve also noted Bramble’s Chicago-style political ‘tactics’ (click here for all posts on Bramble). This may well be another example of such.

I’m only going to put a very small excerpt of the article here as it would be best to read the entire article (read to the end for the big stuff). Ultimately, the charges should be investigated and verified as what may have occurred strikes to the heart of the caucus system (which I’m a big proponent of) and integrity of the Utah County and State GOP as a whole.

Caucus Obstruction, Delegate Tampering & Voter Fraud in Utah County

In what could be the biggest scandal in the Utah GOP of the past decade, this tale of corruption involves two sitting Utah State Senators (Curt Bramble & Deidre Henderson), the new Utah County GOP Chair Robert Craig, legislative district officers, precinct chairs, and state delegates. Their activities include clear and blatant infractions of the GOP Constitution and Bylaws and could result in a multiple criminal investigations and charges of voter fraud.

EDIT: I just finished typing up the above and checked back on the USN website and there’s a follow-up article: UPDATE Part 2 : Caucus, Delegate & Voter Tampering. New info. Evidence. YAK info. Be sure to read it in full too – it includes some additional information along with some more personal reports of ‘anomalies’ along the lines of the first article and some possible better perspective on Sen. Henderson. Again, this stuff should be investigated and verified.

Obviously, some are having conniptions about it and State Senator Todd Weiler (Davis County) is on threatening the publisher with libel:

I know you’re the messenger, Ed Wallace. At least one of the people you lied about called me tonight for legal advice on a libel lawsuit. Hope you’ve got good insurance!

While I’ve found Weiler to be nice and polite in person (the couple of times I’ve met him), I’ve noticed he’s disrespectful, derisive and condescending online. Par for the course.

UPDATE: USN has posted another follow-up: FINAL UPDATE Caucus, Delegate & Voter Tampering. INCLUDING EVIDENCE.

UPDATE II: This is exactly why the caucus is so important and any potential corruption thereof must be investigated. Chris Herrod probably wouldn’t have had a prayer as he isn’t an establishment/donor class favorite. Thanks to the caucus and neighbors representing their areas and vetting candidates, he now has a chance:
Utah GOP delegates pick candidate to replace Congressman Jason Chaffetz

He still has to make it through a primary and I doubt he’ll be favored by the establishment GOP. Check him out and consider helping him out.

Time For Utah To Declare Entitlement Addiction A Public Health Crisis?

I recently stumbled across this article by Dennis Prager:

Entitlements: The Most Dangerous Addiction

There is one addiction, however, that might be more difficult than any other to escape – in part because it is not even regarded as an addiction. It is Entitlements Addiction, an addiction to getting something for nothing.

One indication as to the power of Entitlements Addiction is that, while great numbers of people have voluntarily given up – almost always at great pain – drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc., few give up an addiction to entitlements. For the majority of able-bodied people who get cash payments, food stamps, subsidized housing, free or subsidized health insurance, and other welfare benefits, the thought of giving up any one of those and beginning to pay for them with their own earned money is as hard as giving up alcohol is to an alcoholic.

Politicians know this, which is why it is close to impossible to ever reduce entitlements. And, of course, the Left knows this, which is why the Left almost always wins any debate over entitlements. Every American who is the beneficiary of an entitlement backs entitlements, and many who are not beneficiaries of entitlements would like to be.

Read the whole thing.

Anyway, the article got me thinking: Last year, Utah State Senator Todd Weiler passed a bill declaring pornography a public health crisis which was subsequently signed by Governor Herbert. This year, Herbert signed Weiler’s bill passed by the legislature allowing you to sue porn makers if a minor has been injured.

Any chance a Utah Legislature and the Governor would support a bill identifying entitlement addiction as a public health crisis or is that an approved addiction so long as the GOP/Democrats are acting as a dealer?…

Hot ‘N Cold Award: Senator Valentine’s Dance On Utah Voter, Domestic Violence Victim Protection

Last week, I gave the ‘hokey pokey award’ to Senator Bramble on HB116. Senator Valentine earns the Hot ‘N Cold Award this week.

On Friday, Valentine dropped his sponsorship of HB302 which would allow you to keep you personal information and voting history private and off the internet for all to see. This divulged information includes that of domestic violence victims who have security concerns as well as LDS Church officials, police officers, judges, and their families.

The bill sounds like a no-brainer, right? It should be but political parties (Republican and Democrat), political consultants, Lexis-Nexis, and the media decided they’re entitled to your personal information and that entitlement trumps your right to vote. The forced disclosure has also been facilitated by past and current Lieutenant Governors (and the Herbert/Huntsman administrations). They’ve fought tooth-and-nail to make your right to vote contingent on their “entitlement”.

Valentine got a case of cold feet and caved into political party pressure on Friday. Later that day, he hokey-pokeyed and decided to sponsor it again. The question is why?

My guess is the parties panicked when they realized someone else would sponsor the bill and told Valentine to control and change the bill to be like SB36 which does absolutely nothing and virtually guarantees the voter list will be posted to the internet again (ie tries to pull the wool over voters’ eyes). Don’t fall for the shtick. Contact Senator Valentine and politely, but firmly, ask him to sponsor the bill with no changes and contact your Senator asking them to support the HB302 as it stands (let them know you’re not fooled by SB36).

Update (3/10): Valentine was a no-show for the Senate hearing on HB302 leaving the battle to Rep. Edwards, Sen. Weiler, and citizens that managed to counter elite lobbyists’ arguments and getting the watered-down bill out of committee.  I have heard Valentine was in an important budget meeting but he also seemed not to have informed the bill’s sponsor (Edwards) that he wouldn’t show, leaving her on her own to present the bill.

Mayne’s Utah Voter Information Protection Bill: A 747-sized Loophole (Update)

Last week, I panned the disingenuous nature of SB36 and its big carve-out for preferred groups. After questions were raised by Senator Weiler, I realized that the carve-outs basically render the bill a shell-game. Voter information can/will still be posted to the internet.

The loophole is contained in lines 138-148 of the bill. Those lines give the politically-favored groups free reign to reproduce and publish information from the Utah voter list. Lines 146-148 (“…does not prohibit a person from reproducing the list of registered voters, or information obtained from the list of registered voters, for political, scholarly, journalistic, or governmental purposes.”), in particular, open a gaping loophole.

Here’s how it works:

As “political, scholarly, journalistic, or governmental purposes” are undefined by the bill, they appear open to interpretation. Here’s how I can justify posting the entire list online:

1. Political – Post the entire list online with a request for a donation to Senator Mayne’s (or XYZ Super PAC’s) campaign. Justify doing so by asking donors/volunteers to pick a few folks from the list (phone numbers included) to call for donations/votes.

2. Scholarly – Use the list to run a demographic study of how many seniors (65+) voted. Post the full list (or the list of seniors) to my site as a source document. Bonus points awarded when scammers use the senior list to better target their calls…

3. Journalistic – Run an informational blog or article on the election (maybe run a few demographics). Post the full list as a source document.

4. Governmental – This is a bit iffy but post the list so third parties (anyone on the internet) can verify that no voter fraud occurred (make sure the dead didn’t vote).

Irony of ironies

Utvoters.com which posted the list online and triggered the backlash may well be justified to do so again by reasons #1 and #2. Their current “about” page states (emphasis added):

“…this website is to give grassroots activists the voter contact information they need to solicit votes for candidates who oppose underage drinking laws.
This is a privately operated political website using a purchased copy of the Utah voter list.”

Secondly, when Utvoters.com initially published the list, their reason for doing so was to aid in genealogical research. Genealogical research is used in plenty of scholarly fields (genealogy is itself a scholarly field, after all).

For a bill touted to protect your voting information, it’s not protection; its fauxtection.

UPDATE: Here’s a real protection bill to support.  HB302 would allow voters to opt-out of having their personal and voting information put out for the world to see.  Be sure to note the domestic violence victim’s testimony and Frank Pignanelli (lobbyist for the media) demanding that you..and domestic violence victims give up the information for their perusal.  Because, dammit, we in the political and media elite are entitled to your info if you exercise your voting rights.

Pignanelli touts Mayne’s bill as protection which, per the above, is a bogus claim.  Contact both your State Rep. and Senator and politely ask they support HB302 and give you the option to secure your information when you exercise a constitutionally-protected right.

Fail: Market Reality VS Common Core

Currently, I have children in a charter school as well as a traditional school.  I have been very happy with the math program and flexibility/fluidity offered in the charter school with various subjects.  The traditional school has been a reasonably good fit for my other child with the exception of the Common Core portion.

This whole year, despite still getting a good grade, my son has been struggling with math, has not gained a real understanding of key concepts, and we’ve been frustrated with the program ourselves. We couldn’t figure out why things were so unnecessarily difficult and, just this week, we found out the school has implemented the Common Core math program. Since then, I have talked to other parents in the neighborhood  (and teachers) and heard the exact same concerns from them.

The program jumps from one concept to another unrelated concept, lacks foundation building, lacks review of the concepts they completed (they don’t see what they just learned a few weeks ago). It is the worst math learning program I’ve ever seen. I’ve had to teach my son the “right” way to do some of the problems because the way he was taught to do them was overly complex and turned simple things into a convoluted mess to get the same answer. The resulting lack of foundation knowledge to apply these critical math concepts has lead my wife and I to get some math books for him to go through this summer to actually gain a foundation and understand the concepts.

During the parent-teacher conferences, his teacher also expressed (politely, of course) frustrations with the lack of review and problem solving concept issues and is doing her best to incorporate reviews whenever she can. Her concerns about retention and application extend to the whole class.

After finding out that Common Core math was being used, I have begun looking into it more and have some serious concerns about Common Core and what it means for my children (and all children in the public education system); particularly, related to preparing realizing the full potential of current students when they enter the labor force.

The strength of the charter school and the ability to choose educational programs (including traditional schools) to fit the child will be significantly constricted by Common Core.  The program is a top-down approach that effectively dictates what math/reading etc programs will be used and destroys the ability of schools (charter and otherwise) to offer their own unique programs or tailor curriculum to the students they serve.  It destroys the small amount of educational choice we have.  It is clear that one-size-fits-all approaches never truly “fit all” and significant numbers fall through the cracks.  This is also reflected in the marketplace.

Schools are supposed to provide a basis for students to enter and compete in a broadening marketplace with a premium in innovation.  The marketplace has consistently encouraged and delivered customizable solutions to consumers.  Consumers are not interested in on-size-fits all products they must adapt to – the expectation is that products should adapt to the individual.  This can be seen with the thousands of apps, software programs, food choices, brands, electronics, vehicles…virtually every consumer good is pushed to being able to be customized beyond small groups and clear down to the individual.

Common Core is, at it’s essence, a one-size-fits-all program that dictates what and how subjects will be taught.  In that respect, it absolutely fails to acknowledge the market demanding customization.  Besides constricting educational innovation to preclude delivery of the most effective tools to the individual student, Common Core will necessarily result in significant numbers of students falling through the cracks when the boilerplate math/reading/other program does not fit them.  Furthermore, other students, while passing, will not meet their full potential without the ability to find the best fit.

Common Core fails to acknowledge the uniqueness of each child and will be a blow educationally and economically to children.  It has already set back my child who now needs “math home school” this summer in order to regain a foundation.  That is unacceptable.

UPDATE: An excellent personal experience essay from a teacher working on their Educaion Policy PhD.

UPDATE 2: Utah State Senator’s Weiler and Dayton have written on Common Core.  Senator Weiler’s (What’s the deal with “Common Core”?) is detailed and received supportive comments from both sides (Dixie Allen on the State Board of Ed and Christel Swasey) – I highly recommend reading his post. Senator Dayton’s (Thoughts on NCLB & the Common Core) is brief but discusses the funding carrot link related to No Child Left Behind, Race To The Top and Common Core.

Republican Delegates Beware II: Consolidated Post On Davis County Candidates (Liljenquist Senate Seat)

Full Disclosure: Friend(s) may also officially enter the race and my father (Ron) is now on the ballot.  I will also put up my gripes (to include my father) if/when they enter the race.  Also be aware that this blog is maintained separate from my father’s campaign and is not affiliated with his campaign.  His campaign items can be found at the referenced citizensfortasfairness.org site.

UPDATE(1/2/12): Added several updates and made this a sticky post.  Also, I recommend delegates read “Introspection: Legislator Ethics Versus Delegates and Voters – The Double Standard” and consider if they are falling into the trap (particularly with Mr. Shumway).

I decided to write a consolidated post on the various candidates which I will keep a running update on as more, if any, candidates definitively run for Senator Dan Liljenquist’s vacated Utah Senate seat.  Right now there are three who are definitely running.  I, personally, liked Dan Liljenquist.  While not always in agreement with his positions, he was a fairly dependable conservative on the issues I followed.  It would be nice to have someone like him fill the seat and not wind down to a liberal republican.

Before anyone freaks out about being negative on candidates, understand that the candidates will cover all the positive spin stuff on their sites and I don’t need to regurgitate it here.  My decision is also based on a Michelle Malkin’s “nose clips” post on the presidential candidates – I found it to be an excellent means of disclosure and clarity in knowing what you are getting with your vote (the political ‘truth in advertising’ equivalent).  Caveat emptor, in alphabetical order:

Greg Ericksen

I trust him on defending the neighborhood caucus/delegate system (his thoughts and mine are similar).  But…on illegal immigration, I see a red flag (from his site):

I support Utah legislation passed in 2011 as a stopgap measure rather than an ultimate solution…I support work permits that require accountability for undocumented immigrants…

He’s referring to HB116 which is undeniably unconstitutional (the bill even had a constitutional note attached), passed in the same late session as HB477 with negligible debate (I called it Utah’s Obamacare Legislature).  Unsurprisingly, the rammed ‘down your throat’ legislation ended up having a litany of expected and unexpected flaws (including for the illegal immigrant beneficiaries).  Mr. Ericksen is also involved in Orbit Irrigation products which had a lot of workers walk out to the 2006 May illegal immigrant amnesty rally (indicating Orbit hired plenty of illegal workers).  At the time they pledged action would be taken but who knows if any was.  Hopefully, Mr. Ericksen will reconsider the effects and process employed for this legislation – right now he seems prime for pressure from the illegal worker use protection lobby (which includes the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce).

Update (12/28): I’ve been hearing that he does seem fairly conservative but doesn’t yet have a grasp of the issues (he’s still on the learning curve but progressing).  I messed up and failed to ask about impressions on his stance regarding illegal immigration.

Timothy Hawkes

Here’s what I know for now: He’s pledged to support the caucus system and wants greater participation but doesn’t include any specifics on how he would do so (that can be very important).

His site is ethics heavy but doesn’t have many specifics other than promising only to run for two terms.  I hope by ethics he doesn’t mean the Utahns for Ethical Government scheme which is much more about power than ethics.  Note: Mr. Hawkes has elaborated on this in the comments section.

Other than that, his site lacks specifics (see update below) but may be in development.  I’ll add more as time permits.

Update (12/28): I’ve been heard him speak recently and he does seem fairly conservative but also is still gaining a grasp of the issues (also on the learning curve).  It was nice to hear that Mr. Hawkes has joined in running a shoe string campaign and not trying to influence votes by buying delegates lunches and dinners etc.  Note that also brings some challenges (see Ron Mortensen section).

Ken Holman

UPDATE (1/2/12): I have been told that Ken Holman has exited the race and is no longer a candidate.

***Under Construction***

So far, I know he’s a former Centerville Councilman and is heavily involved in real estate and appears to partner with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.  The Realtors are a major lobbying/special interest force as is the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber and Realtors lobbied for HB116 (illegal immigrant amnesty – see Ericksen section) and both have a track history for corporate welfare (like the Utah new home purchase credit).

I have no idea on his personal stance regarding preserving the neighborhood caucus but the SL Chamber had plenty in attendance at the exclusive meeting where Jowers et al launched their effort to kill Utah’s caucus system (see Shumway section) and consolidating influence for political elites and big donors.

Update (12/28): The only feedback I’ve heard was that some delegates felt lukewarm about him as a conservative.  Sorry – it’s not much to go on.  Hopefully more will arise – as a former councilman he must have a record.  I’m not sure if he was on the council when the tax-raising recreation center, RAP tax, theater, and recycling votes took place.

Glen Jenkins

***Under Construction ***

On his site he is reasonably specific on education but appears to be still developing positions on some other issues.  He didn’t list anything on the caucus system, illegal immigration, or ethics.  As I previously stated, he’s a semi-late entry and is either still getting his issues up or on the learning curve.  He does, otherwise, appear reasonably conservative.  One caution, similar to Holman is his service on the Woods Cross City Council – what was his record there regarding the recreation center, RAP tax, theater, and recycling along with any private property restricting ordinances (if any).

Ben Lusty

***Under Construction***

12/28 – I found out he is a ‘late entry’ into the race.  I understand several delegates did like him and believe he’s also conservative but they also noted that he was a bit shaky on issues and is on a learning curve right now.  No surprise, since he just started.

I’ll try to update if/when I have time.

Ron Mortensen

Disclosure: Ron is my father.

Well I guess you can say this is now a festivus post and we’re at the family “airing of grievances”.

First, he is fully committed to defending the neighborhood caucus and has played significant role in identity theft, illegal immigration, and legal immigration legislation*.

In keeping with his belief in governmental fiscal responsibility, citizen representation, and avoiding special interest influence, he runs low budget campaigns eschewing lobbyist/big donor money.  That means he relies on an engaged electorate willing to accept detailed pamphlets etc over expensive colorful, puff piece cards with bullet two ‘policy’ bullet points.  That works for the caucus/convention system but is tougher during primary/general elections when many (disengaged) voters ultimately prefer the expensive puff card (face it, voters say they hate $$ in politics but they like the product).  It also means he is targeted by big donors and lobbying groups who see a potential loss of influence.

Along with the above, in the past he’s pledged not to attend closed legislative caucus sessions sponsored by an interest group (they usually provide lunch) as it provides an exclusive perk to the sponsors unavailable to regular citizens (shuts out Joe Blow).  He’s said he’ll be happy to sit out in the hall eating his peanut butter sandwich and meeting with constituents.  That can also mean that he will miss out on some tactical strategy talk by colleagues (they could fill him in later, but that assumes time is available to do so).

He is quite analytical.  He doesn’t go into paralysis by analysis but just dumping something on him and expecting an immediate answer (unless it’s something he’s already knowledgeable about), you’ll have to wait.  He will take some time to study the issue and it can be longer than impatient folks like me want.  Snap decisions are not something he likes to do.

*Regarding the recent legal immigration legislation (HB469) he, to my knowledge, still supports, I supported it too but have since retracted my support and called for its repeal due to Constitutional issues I did not realize (I doubt many do) exist with the legislation.  Please read the linked post for details on why the 10th Amendment does not apply.  Note: he may be re-evaluating his position on HB469 but I can’t confirm that until he returns, sorry.

He’s also out of the country filling in on a humanitarian mission with limited contact capability on this.  Delegate contact will be negligible until his return.  His timing totally sucks but no one knew when Liljenquist would resign and the schedule thereafter.  Murphy’s Law.

Now, on to the feats of strength…

Randy Shumway

He gets a staunch “no way” from me.  He’s aligned with those who seek to kill the neighborhood caucus system, thereby shifting power to the political elites and big donors.  Delegates and neighborhoods would be effectively locked out of the process.  Shumway not only attended Jower’s Alta Club meeting which initiated the effort to neutralize caucuses, but is also part of the Dan Jones and Cicero Group and serves on the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Governors.  These groups had multiple attendees at Jowers’ meeting. He is also part of the Chamber’s Capitol Club which recently hosted a meeting on neutralizing the neighborhood caucus with Kirk Jowers and LaVarr Webb presenting.

He’s also received what I called a reverse endorsement from Republican turned Democrat, Sheryl Allen.

Update (12/28): Mr. Shumway contacted me and stated that he is supportive of the caucus system and would like to see “greater consistency in the system” but it is not a campaign priority at this time and should be handled within the party (Note: my above concerns about his actions toward the caucus system remain – especially given his financial backers – see 1/2/12 update).  He didn’t remember much from the aforementioned meeting and believed it had more to do with education than the caucus system.  I maintain that the meeting was the launchpad for the Jowers’ push on the caucuses.  He stated that he’s not part of the Capitol Club but part of the SL Chamber’s Board of Governors.  I didn’t follow up but just took another look at the linked Capitol Club roster and he’s on it (is it a typo?).  We very briefly discussed the SL Chamber on illegal immigration/identity theft and he did not take  a position.  The SL Chamber has consistently opposed enforcement measures, identity theft prevention via E-verify and was a driving force behind HB116.

UPDATE (1/2/12): Phill Wright on his blog, related to a meet the candidates event, noted that Mr. Shumway came out against HB116 but ultimately gave him a “D-” grade.  I’m also left scratching my head given those who will soon financially support a potential war chest for him are folks behind the effort to neutralise the caucus system and a major force behind HB116.  I hope delegates do not fall for the smooth talk and focus on the issues and who is supporting him and why [edits made on 1/5/12].

Richard Siddoway

***Under Construction***

I just heard a rumor that he is running and would, likely, be a last-minute entry.  I would guage him as the UEA-backed candidate given his past associations.  As I recall, he was a Utah House Representative and I think would be reminicent of Sheryl Allen (not something I’m keen on).  I don’t have any other specific information on his positions at this time.

Todd Weiler

He has stated that he’s supportive of the caucus system and will fight to preserve it.  I wasn’t able to turn up any links to formal articles or statements on caucuses. He’s been in the party leadership structure since 2003.  Mr. Weiler is not supportive and derisive of the Tea Party movement going as far as implying supporters are not “normal people” (also taking a jab a Mike Lee).  I believe he was a Senator Bennett supporter and received $2000 from Bennett in 2009-2010.

Mr. Weiler, however, has had some ethical bumps in the road as recent as this year.  The most recent (this year at the Davis County Republican Convention) was breaking Convention rules and speaking on a resolution despite not being a delegate.  I knew a complaint was lodged at the time.  Then he brushed it aside when asked. Recently, however, I found out that action appears to have been taken in the matter as both he and then Chair Bouwhuis issued apology letters to the current chair.  While trying to turn up references on the caucus system, I stumbled onto a post on cronysim exhibited by party leadership (2008) in which Weiler was also mentioned.  The issue raised in the post was also corroborated by a Deseret News article.

He was a staunch supporter of HB116 (see Ericksen’s section) at the recent County Convention and spoke (the above mentioned violation) to oppose a resolution calling for the flawed legislation to be repealed and replaced.  Hopefully he will reconsider his support of the bill and the process enacted for passage.

That’s all for now.  As noted, if others officially join the race, I will try to keep up.