Local Swamp: Bountiful City Not Only Wastes Citizens Tax Money But Surrounding Cities’ As Well

A few months ago, Bountiful city council politicians voted to go forward with yet another “revitalization” project for Main Street. That’s code for blowing tax money on some pet project they like or special interests lobby for (AKA, pork). These projects are usually well outside the scope of core and appropriate government function but rationalized away. Once approved, the funding schemes begin.

In this case, Bountiful City is going to put in some unnecessary plaza and has decided to include an “ice ribbon” (narrow outdoor skating area) which will double as a roller skating facility once the ice is off. So, the city is taking your money to pay for someone else’s hobby/fun.

Now the funding scheme. Besides blowing Bountiful families’ and fixed income residents’ money on this, the Mayor (Randy Lewis) has managed to secure money from Centerville, West Bountiful, Woods Cross and North Salt Lake residents. He was able to do this because he serves on the recreation district board with other mayors (this is key). The board voted to have the recreation district pay half of the operation, maintenance and repair costs for the ice ribbon (that includes a Zamboni to resurface the ice) for the next 30 years. Thus they voted to use the recreation district’s taxpayer funds for Bountiful’s benefit.

Why would the other mayors take taxpayer money from the district to, in effect, supplement Bountiful’s budget? It comes down to back scratching and the time-tested political stunt of accountability dilution (spreading the blame). The other mayors know that Mayor Lewis will vote to cough up recreation district taxpayer money for their future pet projects (back scratching). Since ‘the board members’ voted for the wasteful spending and to supplement another city’s tax revenues, each mayor can say it was a board decision and dilute their culpability when citizens question the spending.

Not only are Bountiful residents on the hook for this project but surrounding cities’ residents are also tied to it for the next 30 years. Now that’s what I call government efficiency!

For what it’s worth, this is the same recreation district board also recently voted themselves a “salary” (politicians who pushed for the recreation center “promised” the board would be an unpaid position) and gave their whole household free annual recreation center passes.

Finally, I’m tired of hearing all the conservative virtue signalling about fiscal responsibility, respect of families, and individual accountability in Bountiful. It’s bunk. When push comes to shove, many are happy to turn to government and demand you pay for something they think is cool but don’t want to pay for or are too lazy/entitled to or ask for voluntary donations/cooperation. It’s that voluntary cooperation that creates a true community that cares – not rationalizing and forcing people to pay for fun perks. Bountiful definitely isn’t conservative. It’s all hat, no cattle.

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Davis School District Violated Their Policy And State Code During March School Walkout

This refers to the walkout that was organized by gun control groups to advocate for gun control in schools (back in the spring of 2018) after the Parkland shooting.

The Davis School District, told principals to inform (not ask) parents that their children would be walking out of schools. The District, Principals and Superintendent Newby decided to tacitly sponsor and provide logistical resources for the obvious political advocacy and disrupt school. They also figured parents weren’t worthy to be consulted on their child’s participation but just do as they were told.

On that day, school administrators and some teachers were also required to attend the protest to “observe” and ‘keep kids safe’. Several teachers also made statements in support of the protest including to students who opposed it and stayed in class.

Besides violating basic ethical standards, they also violated the following:

Utah Code 62A-4a-201(1)(a)&(d)( and 78A-6-503(10) along with the district’s own policy by the definitions in Section 3.2.2 subsections [b] and [c] (School Attendance and Truancy Intervention, Section 5 of the District’s policy manual):

[b] “Unexcused absence”
means an absence charged to a student when the student was not physically present in the assigned class or class period at any of the times attendance checks were made and the student’s absence could not be accounted for by evidence of a valid excuse in accordance with this policy or the school’s attendance procedures

[c] ““Excused absence”
means a student’s absence from school which has been verified by a parent/guardian or school administrator in accordance with school level procedures and is for a reason identified by state law or District policy as valid including:
(i) Illness, which may be either mental or physical;
(ii) a scheduled family event if the parent/guardian submits a written statement at least one school day before the scheduled absence;
(iii) medical appointment;
(iv) family emergency;
(v) death of family member or close friend;
(vi) preapproved extended absences in compliance with Section 3.4; and
(vii) approved school activity.

Although an absence may be identified as “excused”, the student is responsible to make up course work for the days missed in accordance with the school level procedures.

The protest resulted in students not being “physically present in the assigned class”. Thus the only way for the District to allow them to protest is an option in the “Excused absence” subsection which only parents or a school administrator can provide. Obviously parents were never consulted so that’s out. That only leaves official sanction from a “school administrator” and the only criteria they could use would be “approved school activity”.

When I contacted Superintendent Newby months ago, he claimed it the protest wasn’t an approved school activity and “No school personnel authorized students to leave class.” No participating students were marked as truant. So under what authority could Newby et al. provide official notification (the letter) and logistics for the political activism without official sanction (“approved school activity”)?
Answer: None. They just straight-up violated state parental primacy code as well as district attendance/truancy policy and effectively official sanctioned a political protest.

A note: Yes – this happened months ago. There’s lots of stuff I would like to write but don’t have time so sometimes I catch up on a few when I get some time. I doubt many people (if any) read this blog anyway so I use this as a way to document stuff for my own reference and maybe someone will be looking up stuff and be able to find background or resources on an issue. If you’re that someone, hopefully it helped.

Bountiful Issues Annual Disclosure That It’s Ripping You Off On Your Electric Bill

Normally, Bountiful City issues a notice of their power fund transfer in June but they were late and decided to send you a Christmas present this year.

This year they overcharged Bountiful residents, charities, churches and businesses $2.49 million. That comes on the heals of the $2/month “street light” charge and power rate increase city politicians slapped on everyone so they can maintain their pet project slush fund. That’s on top of the other tax/fee increases they’ve nailed families with.

That’s your labor/money they mayor and city council feel entitled to blow on things government has no business in like ‘ice ribbons’ and getting other cities/Davis County to cough up cash they have no business paying another city (but it keeps the back-scratching circle going…how this doesn’t amount to quid-pro-quo, I don’t know). I’ll type up a separate post on this ice ribbon scheme later.

Naturally, the power fund transfer notice includes the debunked pap about ripping you off really being a “dividend”.

Anyway, I’ve tracked this for years and will continue to do so. Here are a few of the last posts regarding this (click here for all posts on the power topic):
Bountiful Raising Power Taxes Again (2018)
Bountiful Power Has Regressive Rate Structure, Higher Than Rocky Mountain Power Depending On Usage
Bountiful City Raising Your Power Rate To Maintain Politician Play Fund (Update)

Utah’s Ignorant Ivory Tower Bubble Class And A French Warning

The Utah League of Cities and Towns (ULCT) recently reported on a meeting that included a discussion with the Governor about the state legislature forcing cities to accommodate high density housing. The ULCT understood Governor Herbert was supportive of the developers position and expected he ULCT to go along with their decision. The ULCT was made aware that they will get no where with the Governor if they bad mouth developers.

To sum: residents will just have to deal with it. I expect nothing less from Governor “Available Jones” and his Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce cohorts.

I guess you can add this to the list of other crap our local ignorant ‘elites’ have dumped on us because they know what’s best for the little people. Many are the same people who blather on about federalism, states’ rights, and that decisions should be made locally. Funny how they forget all about it in their own backyard. No, now centralized planning is A-OK. Besides, they live in areas that won’t have to deal with the congested housing fallout.

Of course, the ULCT isn’t going to fight or do anything about it. Regrettably, the ULCT is intimidated by the Governor and Legislature and won’t stand up for the interests of their citizens who have reservations about high density housing. They generally serve the same interests as the Governor and have shown, time and again, that they prefer to lobby for tax increases and certainly don’t represent taxpayers nor residents. Unfortunately, taxpayers pay almost $2 million/year to fund the useless ULCT to…lobby for more tax increases.

I’m left to wonder where the breaking point will be as the not-so-smart bubble dwelling ‘elites’ keep coming up with burdensome schemes that fail and then pop out their next great idea will fix the last (while neglecting to disclose why a ‘fix’ is needed, of course).

If you look around, you realize that virtually the same people run and/or are on the boards of all the major policy-oriented organizations (e.g. the Utah Foundation) that Gov. Herbert and the media refer to as the “authority” for what the state needs. It’s a monolithic echo chamber where the same elites with virtually the same background group-think their way into new policy recommendations. Recommendations which don’t substantially affect them but do adversely impact the rest of us and they simply don’t realize it in their bubble.

These are the folks that still can’t grasp why Trump is in office and think he simply came out of nowhere. A fluke. A total shock and surprise that they still can’t and won’t accept. They are cloistered in their board meetings, think tanks, and summits and simply miss what is going on the ground outside their clique. If you want to get a feel for the late stage of this process, look at what is going on in France right now with the “Gilet Jaunes”:

France: Understanding the Gilets Jaunes Uprising.

Normally, I include a quote from a linked article. Not this time – read the whole thing (it’s not long) and pay close attention to the “Arrogance & Ignorance : A Toxic Mix” and “Those Who Forget History, Are Condemned to Repeat It” sections. It is a warning I hope they notice and one we should apply to our own lives.

Utah’s Uber Rich Slapping More Burdens On The Great Unwashed

Dave Bateman sums it up well.

Gail Miller received a $22.7M tax credit for her Vivint Arena renovation, much of which would have gone to fund Utah schools. She then took $250K of that to fund the “Our Schools Now” ballot initiative, transferring the cost of school funding to the poorest among us through a gasoline tax. Utah’s uber rich are using ballot initiatives to increase their wealth at the expense of Utah citizens

After the OurSchoolsNow bomb, and the coming Medicaid expansion fiasco Bateman mentions, now the Salt Lake Chamber (of crony capitalists) has their point man Governor Gary “Available Jones” Herbert out touting that he needs to raise the food tax: Gov. Herbert’s office prepares plan to expand sales tax and increase the tax on food:

Gov. Gary Herbert’s office is readying a proposal to expand Utah’s sales tax — potentially to increase the rate on food purchases and to tap into a ballooning service economy.

I’ll let you figure out who is proportionally hardest hit by this tax increase.

Same Gamble: Our Schools Now Proposition 1 And The Mega Millions Lottery

Tomorrow we vote on Questions 1 promote by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce’s front group “Our Schools Now”. The initiative will raise the fuel tax which will ripple through the economy (e.g. fuel costs impact the cost of food at the grocery store).

Besides being a bad idea to begin with, especially with the fiscal shell game the Chamber and their political pals plan to use, take a read of this article:

The Mega Millions jackpot (and why you are not being told the truth)

In the middle of the 20th century, when lotteries first started in the U.S., they were sold to states as a way to benefit the American public by providing additional funding for education.

This means that as the jackpots get bigger and people spend more money on lotteries – $223 per year by the average American, in fact – there should be more money in state budgets to spend on education.

But that isn’t happening.

Most state legislatures haven’t been using the lottery money for additional education funding. Instead, they’re using it to fund the basic education budget, and using the money that would normally fund education on other things altogether. As a result, public schools rarely get a budget boost.

With the Chamber’s involvement, I would expect the same here but rather than using lottery money for their shell game, they’ll use the gas tax to fund their other pet projects.

Really, it will be a double shell game: The tax is already a shell game as they use the gas tax money to fund other stuff so they free up money for education but I’m counting on them eventually turning around and using the freed up money for their pet projects instead of education.

Again, please look at my prior post on Question 1 and the prior political game with education money lead to this situation. Don’t fall for the shell game. Like the lottery, it’s a losing gamble but worse – this time you’re gambling with someone else’s money under government force.

Finally, an acquaintance passed an email on to me that also hits the issue:

Please see the attached link of the legislature when they were in the process of passing the “non-binding questions 1” that is on the ballot.

It shows how many of the legislators hold us, the tax paying voters.

http://utahlegislature.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=22914&meta_id=846895

Please consider how wise it would be to vote for a lifelong gas tax that cannot go directly to schools, it must be gerrymandered to go to education. Future legislatures cannot be held to switch funds around and every legislator I have talked to say it will only be for 1 or 2 years, but we will pay the tax increase for our lifetimes.

Please use wisdom in voting as we all have to live with the consequences.

The same advice should be applied regarding Proposition 3 (Obamacare-lite Medicaid expansion). Proposition 4 should also be opposed (I have no interest in unelected bureaucrats drawing up/manipulating election lines, it’s ripe for corruption; people doing this should be directly responsible to voters).

Illegal Immigration, Govt Mission Creep Claim New Victim: Utah County Law Enforcement

This report is really a two pronged argument against illegal immigration and government creeping outside core functions. Here’s the headline from the Daily Herald:

Utah County Sheriff resigns during commission meeting over funding shortfalls

So what caused the funding shortfall? Read down to the 3rd paragraph:

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office is short on funds by about $800,000 to $1 million, Tracy told Commissioners Ivie and Bill Lee during Tuesday’s commission meeting. Commissioner Greg Graves was not in attendance. That shortage is due, in part, to large medical needs by one patient that Tracy said he couldn’t discuss because of medical privacy laws..

But keep reading…all the way buried in the 15th paragraph:

Ivie said the person whose medical bills had caused the crisis is in the country illegally, and the county is also looking into finding funding from federal partners.

The county clearly needs to address funding shortfalls. Sticking to core government functions would be a start (forget the rec centers, art stuff, among other hobbies). An illegal alien tipping the balance is simply unacceptable. Either way, the Sheriff had enough of the fiscal mess and quit.

This brought to you by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and other associated open-border lobbying groups and special interests demanding government fund their business/hobbies.