Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Employee Evaluations and Congress

Starting Friday I will begin a new year in my life. Along with that new year will come my annual employee evaluation at work. Each January I sit down with my boss and we evaluate my work from the previous year. There are certain criteria that I have to excel in to get this raise. These include goals, performance, character, etc. Each one is graded using a rating system of one to five. The points are then averaged out and I am given a raise based on my average score. During the past four years of my career I have had some great raises and some ok raises. My not "ok" raises have been directly related to me not excelling enough in the areas required of me. I only have myself to blame. Either way, I try to learn from my mistakes and push forward to have a great evaluation for the next year.

The Standard Examiner today had an editorial about the upcoming pay increase for Congress. They are urging Congress to block this raise. They state a number of good points as to why and you can read the full editorial here: (See Here)

"Unless nothing is done to stop it, the group with the lowest approval rating of any legal organization in our nation is poised to up its average pay $4,700, or to $174,000 a year. "

According to, which aggregates all the polling numbers from every major source, congress has an approval rating of around 20 percent. If I had an approval rating of 20 percent, I guarantee that I would not be getting a raise this year. Why on earth are we giving a raise to people who are not doing their job. I agree with the editorial that Congress doesn't deserve a raise and Rep. Bishop should join Rep. Matheson in pushing for vote to block this year's raise.

I think it was said best in the editorial: "The logic to reject a pay raise is clear — Congress simply hasn't earned it."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thanks due to Ogden City Worker

For those who do not know, we have had a number of problems lately on Adams Ave up to Kiwana Drive, mainly from a road collapse. Yesterday there was a great little letter to the editor about the South Ogden City crew that has been working in that area.

See Link Here -

I love hearing great things about South Ogden.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Standard Re-Examiner catches up to the D-News: Garwood to chair a committee

The Standard Examiner finally catches up to what we already know. (See Here) Mayor Garwood will be heading up a National Committee.  The Deseret News ran this same story three days ago (See Here), but now we get to here "the rest of the story."  Thanks to our Re-Examiner reporter Jamie Lampros we now have of some more information as to Mayor Garwood's agenda. He will not be pushing issues like, outlawing skateboarding in your town and how to building a rec. center gym facility. Instead Mayor Garwood says the following:

"I would like to focus on revitalizing older neighborhoods as far as housing and keeping ownership and history in those homes," Garwood said. "I would also like to look at ways cities can help create more jobs and influence the job market and bring in new businesses."

NLC president Kathleen M. Novak said:

"I will look to George's leadership on this important committee to help define our expectations and sharpen our message on behalf of cities and towns."

Mayor Garwood has a lot on his plate now; though I do think he could do a great job on the committee, I just hope he can "sharpen his message" when it comes to things around here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

South Ogden Mayor Garwood to Lead a National Panel

The Deseret News has scooped the Standard Examiner (or maybe not since their online site was not updated early this morning) with a great article about our very own South Ogden mayor. (See Here)

Mayor Garwood, who is very politically active in other organizations, was called to be the chairman for a national committee with National League of Cities. Essentially his committee, Congress of Cities Programs Committee, will determine the major topics discussed at their 2009 convention. I am wondering what will be on the agenda.

  • How to effectivly outlaw skateboarding.
  • Raising taxes to build a rec. center gym facility.
  • How to build a Nature Park with a kewl splash pad!

Either way, I think Mayor Garwood will do a good job on the committee and I hope his involvement only improves our city.

Good Luck Mr. Mayor.

Monday, December 22, 2008

South Ogden feeling like North Ogden

The Standard Examiner had a nice article today (See Here) about how North Ogden is miffed when it comes to the Central Weber Sewer District's rate hike. In fact they are seeing a 120 percent rate hike just from the district. Whereas we will only be getting 100 percent. Either way I am sure we can sympathize.

They will be looking at a $5.50 plus rate increase. We can expect similar numbers along with the 83 percent rate increase from the city government.

We should start seeing these increases next month. I hope this news doesn't spoil your Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Your Utility Bill Is Going Up

In our last city council meeting there was a lengthy conversation regarding the Central Weber Sewer District. You see when we flush the toilet it has to go somewhere and someone has to take care of it, this is where the Central Weber Sewer District comes in. The Central Weber Sewer District is raising it rates starting in January. In fact they will be increasing their fees 100 percent and then have a scheduled increase for the next few years. To add to this, South Ogden City is considering increasing your base fee for sewer usage by 83 percent. After all of the increases we will pay 240 percent more in fees.  For 2009 you are looking at an increase of 183 percent. Unfortunately the city has little choice in this matter; the council is doing everything it can but maybe they could do something to lessen the blow.

Here is my suggestion. There are two types of fees that South Ogden charges:

  1. A Base Fee
  2. A Usage Fee

Everyone pays the base fee and this is the fee that is going up 83 percent, which will be about $4.50 per person. For someone on a fixed income this could hurt when you add the 100 percent increase from the sewer district. So instead of increasing the base fee, why not increase the usage fee with a variable rate. For example if your usage goes up, so goes up your rate. If the usage goes down, the then your rate goes down. Then your fees only go up if you use it. This might help the average senior citizen who doesn't use much water or the sewage system.

I personally know a few people that a $5.00 to $10.00 increase in fees would be tough, they are already donating plasma each month just to make ends meet. These are tough times we are moving into, I hope South Ogden residents are saving their money and preparing for such tough times. I think a tax increase for a rec. center gym facility only adds to this.

A meeting is set up for January 20th to get more public opinion and to address the issues with the Central Weber Sewer District.  Come and let your voice be heard or sound off here on the blog and let us know what you are thinking.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Don't Call it a Rec Center, it's a Gym Facility!" City Council Meeting 12-16-2008

At the beginning of every city council meeting there is a chance for public comment on any concerns about South Ogden City.  I took this opportunity to mention my concern about the upcoming potential for a property tax increase for a new rec. center in connection with the new South Ogden Junior High. If you don't remember you can see the following posts:

Then I began mentioning a survey done by South Ogden City Council where 65 percent of residents have said they would not like to see a tax increase for a rec. center.  For more info, see my post on November 15, 2007 (See Here). 

As we continued with our reasonable discussion about the tax increase, Mayor Garwood interrupted me to say the following:

"We are not building a rec. center, it's a gym facility. Why are people calling me about a rec. center. We were never building a rec. center.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a gym facility for your kids. Your kids won't be around for 60 more years to see such a great opportunity."
Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of a nice recreation center gym facility with a pool and other features.  But I am not for a rec. center gym facility that has very limited use, is not open until after 5 pm and is raising property taxes during a recession. (Have we not heard of counter cyclical economic policy - lowering taxes in a recession).

A few minutes later the financial advisor for the city council came forward to speak about the bond for the new rec center gym facility.  He said, "We will need to change the wording in the documents to not say rec. center."  

Throughout the night this was the case, any time someone said rec. center, they were told to change it to gym facility.  Finally councilman Wayne Smith made a motion to set a public hearing for the proposed rec center gym facility.  He too called it a rec. center (while shaking his head in confusion) and was politely told to change it to gym facility.

What is the difference between a gym facility and rec. center?  According to Mayor Garwood--gym equipment.  Since there is no gym equipment this is not a rec. center.  

Come on people!  I have been in all the same meetings as you Mr. Mayor!  The city council has been calling this a rec. center for months! See the minutes from September 2, (See Here), it was called a recreation facility.  You all called it a rec. center at least a dozen times in your conversations.  Now people are questioning the rec. center; so we are now calling it a gym facility. Does this seem right?  

We all took the same survey and said we didn't want a tax increase for a rec. center. But we are fine with a tax increase for a gym facility?

Personally I am disappointed in how this is playing out.  I did not appreciate the response from the Mayor and it was VERY OBVIOUS the council, the lawyers, the financial advisers, and EVERYONE else was calling it a rec. center.  Also did I mention tax payers will being paying on a $3 Million bond for a rec center gym facility with limited use.  

For even more information about the rec. center gym facility, check out the press release on Scott Darrington's blog, (See Here)

Once Again - No Agenda -

Yes, South Ogden City Council will be having a meeting tonight; even though their agenda is not in the paper again.  Maybe this is kind of nit picky, but tonight they are discussing a resolution to begin a bond of $3,000,000 for a rec enter.  Tonight is an important meeting.  So wouldn't we want an agenda.

To see the agenda you can go to the Public Meeting Notices website (See Here)

To learn about the law that requires South Ogden to post it's agenda in the paper, (See Here).

I will be blogging tonight about the council meeting; in addition I will be speaking about the rec center and my feelings.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

From Where I Sit Podcast #1 - South Ogden Old Fashion Holiday

I am pleased to announce the first From Where I Sit - In South Ogden, Utah PODCAST! I have wanted to record a podcast for sometime but have been afraid to make the jump. But at last here it is. I will make future podcasts with interviews of politicians, business leaders and reviews of events.

For my inaugural podcast we have live review of the South Ogden Old Fashion Holiday event.

Every year South Ogden holds a Neighborhood Christmas party. Using non-Senator Buttars lingo, it is called the South Ogden Old Fashion Holiday. Each year it is held at the 40th street park. There is free food, entertainment, tree lighting and of course Santa Clause. I took my family had tons of fun.

I podcasted the event and have it ready for download. You can download or listen below.

icon for podbean

This Podcast features:
  1. Mayor Garwood Tree Lighting 00.18
  2. Interview with Marcie Edwards from South Ogden Police Department 01:08
  3. Interview with Frederick and Misty Stone 03:14
  4. Shout out to Sen. Chris Buttars 03:58
  5. Wasatch Christian School Choir 04:01

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Councilman Bradley Responds to his "On Budget" Statement

This morning I received a great reply from Councilman Bradley with regards to his statement we are "on budget." (See Here) I thank him for responding and helping us shed some light on my budget questions regarding South Ogden. Open communication with the council is crucial to our success.

Here is his email:

Thanks for your question. I went back through the newsletter to see what could have been inaccurate. The only thing I can see which might have cause your question is the final sentence which says something to the effect that currently the city is on budget and is not looking at a shortfall or a tax increase. Actually, that statement is absolutely accurate. Keep in mind, however, that I am looking at the budget overall and not just the last report. Perhaps it could have been clearer, but space limitations left me with what I have. Why is is accurate? In the October 7th meeting it was explained. The budget as it stands today shows a deficit. However, the budget always shows a deficit at this time of the year. In fact it will show a deficit until about March. This is because we have yet to recieve certain revenues from the state (namley franchise tax) and some property tax from the County. What Scott explained was that, while it shows that we are in a deficit, we are actually on track. As long as sales tax remains at least flat, we should come in on budget but not have an excess. What I was attempting to point out (perhaps inartfully) is that many other cities are projecting a deficit long term. We are still on track to meet our budget.

I have replied with the following two questions:

  1. The city manager explained in our city council meeting that we are normally a little behind or right on at this time. However due to the bad economy we are lower than normal. $300,000 to be exact. Doesn't that imply we are not on budget?
  2. Now that sales tax is no longer flat, what is the next step for South Ogden City?

Is he right? I am wrong? I could be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. However, I will admit it still seams to appear we are not on budget, at least not any more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Newsletter contradicts Council Meeting

We received our monthly South Ogden Newsletter today. I usually get an electronic version, but it arrives at different times each month; so I am relying on the mailed version. This month's has an interesting article written by our own city councilman John W. Bradley. He spends most of his time talking about the skateboarders and the potential of a skate park. We can discuss this in more detail later. The last paragraph is where I want to focus my attention. Councilman Bradley discuss the South Ogden City Budget and says something very interesting.

He prefaces his comments with fact the city budget is based on projections. Which we understand; however this still doesn't explain his final comment:

"Currently, the city is on budget and is not looking at a shortfall or a tax increase"

During the November 18th City council meeting, which he attended, (See Here) Scott Darrington explained we are $300,000 behind. Our expenditures are on budget but our revenue is behind. With our new sales tax numbers we are even further behind. Therefore his statement that we are "on budget" is in contradiction of what was really said at the council meeting.

Was he asleep? Did he miss that information? I mean I was there, I took notes, how did he miss a $300,000 hole in the budget?

Yesterday's Standard Article (see here) reports they [South Ogden City Government] have known since October that sales tax was taking a drop. Another contradiction from the meeting. What is going?

I have sent an email to Councilman Bradley for a reply; unfortunately I have never received a response to ANY emails I have ever received from him. To date I have sent six emails over the last year and half and he never replies. So we will see if he answers our request to explain the budget in more detail.

Monday, December 8, 2008

South Ogden City in the hole!

Interesting article today in the Standard Examiner about sales tax revenue for our fair city. (See Here) Sales tax revenue has begun taking a nose dive. South Ogden is not recession proof after all! This is something we have been saying for weeks and now it is here!

In the article South Ogden Finance Director Steven Liebersbach said, "It was October when city officials noticed sales tax had taken a nose dive, That’s when people started restricting their spending.”

What did he say? If you remember from my post on November 18th (See Here) South Ogden was not reporting a problem with sales tax and decided to continue spending. In fact Mr. Darrington said at the meeting, "Expenditures are right on and we are not over spending. If sales tax revenue went down, things would be much worse. But if I had a crystal ball, I would say the city will be ok."

Well time to get a new crystal ball.

October we dropped. November we dropped. In total, South Ogden has not seen the biggest drop in taxes; which is the good news; however South Ogden has seen a decrease of $2,716 in sales taxes, November year to date. But what will December show? According to the article: Grocery spending is up. But the rest of the sales taxes are down. How will South Ogden be affected? How could we have better prepared for this? Remember we had a surprlus of funds that could have been saved to help balance our budget.

Scott Darrington, our city manager, was kind enough to answer some sale tax related questions a few weeks ago. (See Here) He explains the council has been watching this. However, the contradictions in information are interesting. First we are told we are not affected but are planning on a drop, then Mr. Darrington told the council we are good to go, then they report we have seen drops for the past two months. Sounds like a cloudy crystal ball to me.

From where I sit this all concerns me and tells me the worst is yet to come.

What do you think?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Attention Commuters

I recently have begun reading an intersting blog about a Northern Utah Commuter.  You can see his blog here:

Straphanger, the blogger, keeps you upto date on all the changes, experiences and happenings with regards to frontrunner and UTA.  Also I see i have made his blogroll.  I am not a commuter. Personally I work in South Ogden, however I have a number of neighbors that enjoy the comforts of the frontrunner.  Checkout Straphanger and his blog, I think it is pretty interesting.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Which is worse in South Ogden: Skateboarding or....?

During a previous city council meeting (See Here), South Ogden City Council created a new ordinance to outlaw skateboarding on city streets. It is now a Class C Misdemeanor to skateboard on the road.

As a pubic service to all South Ogden residents I thought it would be interesting to see everything that could be considered worse than skateboarding on a city street. Below are just a few laws I have discovered in the South Ogden City Code.
  1. 3-2-13 Selling Beer without a license
  2. 3-6-7 Being a Junk seller, second hand seller, or a pawn shop without a license
  3. 3-9A-3 Door to Door Sales [soliciting] without a permit
  4. 3-9B-11 Improper Use as a Sidewalk Vendor
  5. 3-10-14 Improper use of a Commercial Entertainment Business
  6. 4-1-2 Improper Disposal of Dead Animals or meat,
  7. 4-1-2 Improper use of a Soap Factory
  8. 5-2-3 Pursue, chase, harass, capture, possess, injure, or kill any kind of animal with a handgun, rifle muzzle loader, pellet gun, BB gun, dart gun, blow gun, bow and arrow, crossbow, slingshot, or any other device.
  9. 5-2-9 Public Indecency
  10. 5-2-10 Fleeing from a police officer
  11. 5-4-3 Organizing an event with out a permit
  12. 6-1-5 blocking or parking on a street with intention to block the street
  13. 7-2-10 Interfering with anyone from the Parks Department
  14. 7-3-9 Failure to follow the direction of the city engineer or operations manager
Would you consider the above to be worse than skateboarding on the street? Well some are, some are not. But each of these are only Class B Misdemeanor. That is right, killing animals, public indecency, selling beer and fleeing from cops are all lesser crimes than skateboarding on city streets.

What is equal to skateboarding on city streets:

  1. 3-8-21 Violation of rules regarding sexually oriented business
  2. 5-2-7 Placing or displaying tobacco products in reach of minors
  3. 6-1-11 Violation of the Uniform Traffic Code
  4. 10-1-15 Violation of Zoning Ordinances
  5. 10-14-19 Failure to landscape or maintain landscaping of a residential property
  6. 10-21A-5 Violation of Outdoor Sign Code

That is right, running a sexually oriented business, putting tobacco in the hands of minors, and not mowing your lawn are all considered equal violations to that of skateboarding on city streets.

At our last city council meeting, Chief Shupe has now asked the city council to ban skateboarding from the nature park. Since skateboarding is now outlawed on city streets and skateboarders will be prosecuted next to people who improperly run sexually oriented businesses; skateboarders are now flocking to the nature park. Soon they will be kicked out of the park too.

I understand what the council is trying to do, but we have gone too far. Skateboarding isn't just a fad, it will continue for as long as we live here. The current law is way too harsh and we need to provide somewhere for kids to skate and soon.

From where I sit, this law is too harsh and wrong.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What is up with the Audit Committee?

Remember the Audit Committee we have talked about in the past few weeks?

See my previous posts:

Well, all the talk about adding Councilman Smith to the committee after a year vacancy was for nothing. He is going on vacation next week and will miss the last meeting of the year. Mr. Smith will have to wait until June to participate in the Audit Committee. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing wrong with him going on vacation. I just find it funny the committee has been missing a member for over a year and now will still be missing a member.

Since we have gone a year now with out him, what is six more months. I am sure they will get along just fine.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

City Council Meeting 12/2/2008 -- Ogden Metro SWAT vs Weber County SWAT

Our local city council had a short and sweet meeting tonight. I would tell you more about the agenda but they forgot to put out the agendas, minutes, etc.

In the short 30 minutes we had for this weeks meeting, a couple of interesting topics arose. I will leave the audit committee, rec center, and skateboarding for another post and head right into the topic of choice. The Ogden City SWAT vs. Weber County SWAT.

Police Chief Val Shupe spoke on a resolution for South Ogden City to enter into an aggreement to work only with the Ogden Metro SWAT. With some disdain he explained how Weber County has formed it's own SWAT, originally to work with the jail, and has expanded into the rest of the county. "I don't know why they have [expanded]," Chief Shupe added. Apparently South Ogden would prefer to work with Ogden Metro SWAT since they have committed men (a total of two) to the eight member team; in addition they know how the Ogden Metro works and their procedures.

Here is my question, why do we have two SWAT teams? Do we need two? Are tax payers in South Ogden, Ogden, and everyone else in Weber County paying for two SWAT teams? Ogden Metro SWAT doesn't even use the Weber County SWAT as a backup, instead they have an agreement to use Layton City SWAT.

Needless to say the city council voted unanimously to enter into the agreement with Ogden Metro SWAT.

The comments after the meeting all revolved around how frustrating it was that Weber County has a SWAT and took members from the Ogden Metro SWAT. Both Chief Shupe and Councilman Wayne Smith talked for a few minutes after about the SWAT predicament and clearly showed their frustration.

Sounds like South Ogden is drawing a line in the sand on who they will work with. It also sounds like everyone in Weber County is paying twice for a SWAT team. From where I sit this doesn't sound right.

What do you all think?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Senator Jon Greiner - The Gang Bill

Picture the future. About 20 friends get together and decide to hang out at the local park. Maybe they are all talking about books, knives, laser pointers, etc. Just then, South Ogden police show up. They say, "Sorry guys, this is a gang-free zone, you will need to leave." "But we are not a gang," someone replies. The police respond, "Sorry but this is a gang-free zone and you appear to be a gang." Just then certain members of our gang "surgically" removed from the group. Who was removed? Well the police have received special training to decide who is a gang member and who is not. We are now told to leave the area and if we return within eight hours we will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.

This is a possible scenario related to Senator Jon Greiner's "Prohibited Activities of Gang Members" bill for the 2009 legislative session. The bill failed to pass last session, but is coming back in the 2009 session. Sen. Greiner, whom represents our city, among others, is attempting to restrict or eliminate the civil liberty we all have to assemble. I truly foresee future gross miss-uses of this bill, if passed. Gang free zones can be determined by legislative bodies like are own city council. Any time a legislative body doesn't want people to protest, they can just call it a gang-free zone. Then know one can assemble in the area. Hello! 1st Amendment!

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

To read last years bill (which is rumored to be very similar) See Here

Sen. Greiner, Ogden's Police Chief, really needs to make some progress in this next session. Since his election all I have heard is controversy. Controversy and attacks of civil liberty are not going to help him in the next election cycle. His idea has merit, he wants to help with our growing gang problem. But this is not the way.

We hope to analyze and discuss this bill in more detail in the coming weeks. Please feel free to leave your comments.

From where I sit, this bill is bad news.

Note: Skateboarding on South Ogden City Streets is now a Class C Misdemeanor. A much stiffer penalty. (See Here) Those dang Skateboarder gangs!


The Weber County Forum has a great post related to the Standard Examiner's editoral, and this subject, on Sunday.  Weber County Forum: The Standard-Examiner Nixes Senator Greiner's "Gang Bill"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

City Leaders and Blogs

Buried deep into this mornings copy of the Standard Examiner, I found a simple and interesting article about cities and blogging. (See Here)

Apparently Centerville city leaders have paid consultants to help them find ways to improve their website and communication with the public. The suggestion is a blog. Antone Clark reports:

"...The Summit Group, said the city leaders could make a real connection with the public if the are willing to venture into the blogosphere. For now, it appears city officials may let the idea pass."

Mayor Ron Russell didn't think this was such a hot idea. In fact he stated, "That's just what I need, another thing to do."

Now I am not here to criticize Centerville, but rather the fact the city isn't considering a blog and surprised the Summit Group even considered a blog.

I am impressed with City Manager, Scott Darringinton's blog (See Here). But he doesn't have the biggest readership; however his posts are very informational and helpful. I am sure it will pick up in time. But his blog is a perfect example of city officials reaching out to the public.

Though the problem with city officials blogging is a blog can become dormant very quickly. Just look at diggity Mayor Godfrey's blog (See Here). The last time he posted was January 11, 2008. My rule of thumb, if you don't have anything to blog about, don't blog.  Otherwise it will your blog posts become lame.  But to start a blog just to say you have a blog can turn out to bite you in the end. Centerville and their consultants will have to weigh all of these things when and if they decide to blog.

I hope South Ogden continues it's blogging and maybe even we will see it expand to city council members, similar to how Rep. Steve Urquhart (or should I say Senator Urquhart) blogs during the legislative sessions. (See Here)

Centerville, best of luck and I hope you didn't pay too much money.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

South Ogden - Recession Proof?

Join the Glorious Revolution!: Thank you KSL!

Another local blogger, Kirk from Ogden, has recognized that South Ogden appears to be left untouched by the current economic crisis that is sweaping through Weber and Davis county. In his blog post about KSL and their ability to manipulate the news, he opines:

"Maybe KSL should do a news story about how there seems to be no recession or slow-down in spending in an isolated area of South Ogden Utah."

(See full post here:)

Though his post wasn't specifically about South Ogden, he does point out how amazing this is--if it is true.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Being the Chef has its Rewards

Thanksgiving.  This strange and factually incorrect holiday of eating and football brings mixed emotions to my home each year.  My family loves spending time together, or I should say my wife does.  I am somewhat of a self-proclaimed scrooge around the holidays.  The comforts of my own home, TV, games and food have always appealed to me; however each year I give in to the desires of my family and we visit relatives near and far. 

 The past couple of years I have attempted to increase my peppiness during holidays by overshadowing the obnoxious elements of the thanksgiving with things I enjoy.  For instance, for years I have grown weary of meaningless small talk among distant relatives I only see once a year.  People ask you what you are doing, where you live and say things like, “we should get together,” but there is no desire to do so.  In the end, you leave tired, full and sometimes with a headache.  I have found that if make myself a cooking assignment for the day; I tend to delay such conversations, at least until after dinner is served.  This could give one 4 to 24 hours delay.  The conversations are inevitable, but can be postponed (if you’re lucky) until near the time you leave.  

One suggestion, is to offer to cook the turkey; yes you heard me correctly, the turkey.   The huge responsibility in cooking this awkward fowl can not only help you avoid all the awkwardness and craziness of the “holiday of thanks”, it can make you the hero of the day.  The women in the family will stand impressed and comment on your amazing craftiness, the men will stand in awe and ask you how you did it.  A perfectly cooked turkey will be talked about for years.  People will remark, “Remember last year when you cooked that turkey?”  Eventually it will be expected, “BenJoe is cooking the turkey this year.”  For those of you considering this same tactic here are some tips.  Each one I have learned by trial and error.
  1. Thaw the turkey ahead of time.  Do not wait until the day of to thaw that blasted bird.  IT IS HUGE!  If you must thaw it in four hours time. COLD WATER (NOT HOT) and the fridge are your best allies in this emergency. Hot water can cause food born bacteria to form.  So avoid the hot water.  You may get lucky.  I usually thaw mine two days before!  I stick it in five gallons of cold water, in a cooler then stick it in the garage (this will make sense with the next step). Thawing is a must!  

  2. BRINE!  If you have never heard of brining, you are not alone.  The first time I brined a turkey, I almost laughed at it.  Brining adds flavor and SUPER JUICINESS to your turkey. DO IT!  I didn’t even follow the instructions completely the firs t time and the turkey still turned out AMAZING! Here is how I brine:

     a. Remember that cooler, well put about five gallons of water in the cooler.  

    b. Put in four cups of Kosher salt (table will work fine).  
    c. ½ cup of brown sugar
    d. 1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder
    e. 1 Tablespoon of Rosemary
    f. 1 Tablespoon of Coriander Seeds
    g. 5 Bay Leaves
    h. 1 Thawed Turkey
    i. Leave it in the cold water, in the cooler, in the garage, for about 8-10 hours.  Rotate it half way through.  Do not let it sit for 24 hours.
    j. Rinse out the turkey and start cooking.

  3. Garlic!  I use garlic two ways. 

    a. First I take a big whole piece or bunch of garlic.  Peal it, leave all the cloves stuck together.  Then slice the whole thing in half.  Shove that sucker inside the turkey. Both halves.  Then fill it with your stuffing or vegetables of choice.  This will roast the garlic inside the turkey giving it a great flavor.

    b. Garlic butter.  Roast some freshly pressed garlic in a sauce pan with a stick of butter or margarine.  Add other seasonings to taste.  Pour into a bowl and stick it in the freezer.  Once it is hardened, slice the butter into little slices.  Cut the skin of the turkey back just a little bit and slide peaces all over the turkey.  The butter will melt right into the meat.

  4. DO NOT TRUST THE POP-UP TURKEY TIMER.  That thing is not a thermometer.  It is glue that is designed to melt at a 185 Degrees.  But when the glue melts, the rest of the bird will be 200 degrees, hence over cooked and dry.  Use a meat thermometer.  Check it regularly.  When it hits 185, regardless of the turkey timer has popped, get that bird out.

  5. Perfectly Carve the Turkey.  If everything else has not made you king, this will.  Alton Brown does the best job; so I follow his recipe for carving before everyone else’s.  Every time I have done this people have said, “WOW! You carve like an expert chef.” See the video here:

Well there you have it, how to make your thanksgiving more meaningful and fun.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I enjoy being with them, they are really not bad at all.  I love my wife’s family and mine, but from where I sit—being the chef has it is rewards.

Happy Thanksgiving South Ogden.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Audit Committee Revealed

In doing some research I was able to track down some information about the South Ogden City Audit Committee. Thanks to Scott Darrington, city manager, for helping me gather the information needed.

Essentially the Audit Committee meets twice year. Usually in July (at the beginning of the fiscal year) and again in December (half way through). This committee is comprised of the following:

The Mayor and two Council Members, also the city manager and finance director attend in a supervisory capacity.

Since the committee meets only a couple of times a year and the fact the city hired a new auditor, the schedule has been a little different. Scott Darrington explained with all the changes and limited amount of meeting times, they didn't give it much thought and just recently decided to appoint Mr. Smith for the upcoming meeting. In part I can understand the confusion; however I am still concerned they waited over a year to fill a hole in the committee. This committee has met two times with out all of its members.

What happened to make them realize? Were they sitting there one day in an audit committee meeting and someone said, "Hey! We have an empty chair! Who is missing? Oh....Shannon no longer is on the council...oops!" Or did they have a vote and when Shannon didn't answer they realized they needed a new person.

Then there is the really scary question: Have they even met since then?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weber County Forum: Final, Final Weber County Official Election Results

Weber County Forum: Final, Final Weber County Official Election Results

The Weber County Forum had its annual election prediction contest this year. Each person enters their prediction for the races that effect Weber County. The winner gets bragging rights. There is an overall winner and an individual race winner. I was happy to participate and did horribly in most races. To my surprise and excitement I won the House District 10 prediction race. (See Here) In fact I missed it by .12 percent. I guess living in District 10 helps, not to mention my multiple posts about Ed Allen and Brent Wallis. Well, since the winner gets bragging rights, I decided to post about it. Thanks WCF for the great contest!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Audit Committee - Did we forget?

At the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, one thing happened that I forgot to mention. Looks like the City Council forgot too.

I am not sure how often the Audit Committee meets, but it was announced that Wayne Smith would be filling the vacancy on the committee. This needed to be ratified by the council, so it came to a vote. Of course the vote was unanimous, but the vote wasn't what was interesting. The interesting part was the announcement that Mr. Smith would be replacing Shannon Sebahar on the committee.

Wait a minute? Wasn't Shannon Sebahar ousted nearly a year ago? We are just getting around to replacing her on the committee. Does this committee not meet? How can you honestly go a year without replacing her? As soon as Shannon lost the election, all of her committee assignments should have been filled--immediately.

From where I sit, this is kind of sad.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

City Council - 11/18/2008 - Are we in money trouble?

Our local city council meeting this week was very interesting. There was a larger than normal crowd and lots of great topics discussed. My post will center around the budget amendments; however I will mention a little about the number of young kids that attend the meeting.

The unusual amount of young kids at the meeting puzzled me. I quickly realized they were there to hear the city council's discussion on a proposed ordinance to eliminate skateboarders from the city streets. The ordinance would make it a Class C Misdemeanor to skate on a city road. This could be a maximum fine of $750 and 90 days in jail (similar to those who point a laser pointer at cops - See Here). Kids will now be limited to skating only on sidewalks. Councilwoman Sallee Orr spoke up stating we should find something or somewhere for the kids to skate. The mayor agreed and mentioned he has looked into skate parks (During his Orlando Trip/Conference). Interestingly enough, as soon as the kids left he said, "This is just a fad," almost to suggest there was no real intention to help the kids who want to skateboard. -- Interesting.

The second issue of note was the discussion of the 2008-2009 budget. Most of the amendments were simple and easy to understand. But as the evening went on, we came to understand the city is nearly $300,000 in the negative for the fiscal year. City Manager, Scott Darrington made sure we all knew sales tax revenue was doing fine, this is not why we are in the negative. Yet it was because of other revenue problems and the slow economy.

Mr. Darrington said, "Expenditures are right on and we are not over spending. If sales tax revenue went down, things would be much worse. But if I had a crystal ball, I would say the city will be ok."

Then why are we in the negative!?! He even said all new projects are on hold because of the economy. Is it comforting to know each year about this time we a little behind or even, but this year we are $300,000 behind--NO!

Don't worry, there is light at the end of the tunnel; we have roll over funds from the Capital Funds project accounts. We have a total of $230,000 to be exact. Thank goodness! We are saved, we found some money to help out in this economy.

So what should we do with the money? Balance the budget, pay off the debts we owe? No, instead we are going to spend the money on the next phase of the nature park (so we can enjoy it this winter), a cement walkway between Friendship Park and the new library (so we can walk on it during the winter) and AC units (to cool us down in the winter).

Now don't get me wrong, I know these things are important, but sales tax revenue has a high probability of dropping lower than expected this next quarter; so why isn't this money instead spent to prepare for a potential shortfall. Did I mention we are $300,000 in the negative? We have $230,000 that could help! In addition, why did Mayor Garwood and Councilwoman Vicki Mattson go to Orlando for a conference if our city budget is in the negative? Should we not slow our spending when the economy starts slowing?

Are we reading the news? Do we know there is economic crisis?
Is South Ogden exempt from all the problems every surrounding city is experiencing?

I am worried about our city budget. Maybe I don't need to be, but I tend to think if we are in the negative or in debt, we should slow down the spending, conferences and retreats (Oh, the council is going on a retreat in January). We should start using our money wisely!

January is our next budget meeting; this will also tell us how our revenues are doing.

On a lighter note, I was very impressed with Sallee Orr's attention to detail. She caught nearly five inconsistencies or grammar errors in the ordinances, amendments or contracts. She was really on top of things.

Also Jon Andersen was great to follow up on my sprinklers and we are working things out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Agenda Found

What a pleasant surprise! This morning in the Standard Examiner was the South Ogden City Council Agenda. Better late than never.

See Article Here

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Missing Agenda! - UPDATE

In doing some research, I spoke to two people about the agenda problems with South Ogden City Council Meetings.  

First I emailed Dana Pollard, city recorder, she said the following, "It was sent, they just don't always put it in there.  Try the city website, there is one there also."  I remember she mentioned the Standard Examiner didn't print her agenda for the last meeting I attended.

Thinking this was odd, since the Standard Examiner has been so kind to publish agendas from Fruit Hieghts and 17 other cities, I decided to investigate.  I attempted to answer the following questions:

  • Did the Standard Examiner just decide not to print the South Ogden agenda, but print nearly 18 other cities meeting agendas? 
  • Is South Ogden City on the crap list with the Local Paper?  

To answer these questions I called Charile Pomerleau, Government and Education team leader at the Standard Examiner, I assumed he would know what is going on.  

Charlie Pomerleau said,  "We post every agenda that is submitted,  but we never see an agenda from South Ogden City.  We post every agenda we receive for City Council and Planning Commission meetings."

I asked if he was the person to send them to, he said, "Yes."

He then mentioned, "There has been some concern with the city offices and the value they put in giving information.  For example there was an accident this weekend in South Ogden.  The local police in South Ogden gave us a five word statement and said we could have the rest on Monday. We are daily newspaper, our readers need that information now."  

So...who is to blame here?  I think it is obvious South Ogden City has either not been sending agendas or they have been sending them to the wrong person. 

To help remedy the situation, since it could be just a mere oversite, I have forwarded the contact information on to Dana Pollard; therefore she can make sure the agendas get to the right person.  But apparently this has been happening for sometime.  I am growing concerned that South Ogden City is not doing well in the area of communication.  I personally have emailed our City Council members a number of times and received only communication back from the Mayor. In addition two of the email address are wrong on the city council elected officials page (See Here) they are still set to go to their predecesors, so good luck emailing Sallee Orr or Wayne Smith. 

(How much do we pay for the website again?)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

South Ogden City Council Agenda - Missing - Violation of Utah Code?

In reading the Standard this morning, I was looking forward to seeing the full agenda of this Tuesday's meeting.  I was surprised to see there was no agenda posted, (See Here.)  It looks as though every major city, including Fruit Heights has posted their agenda in the Standard except our fair South Ogden City.  Did the city council forget the Utah Code regarding public meetings?

According to the "Utah Open and Public Meetings Act", South Ogden city has to post an agenda and announcement of a public meetinig with in 24 hours of the meeting.  (See Utah Code here)

The Utah Code states:

3) (a) Public notice shall be satisfied by:
     (i) posting written notice:
     (A) at the principal office of the public body, or if no principal office exists, at the building where the meeting is to be held; and
     (B) beginning October 1, 2008 and except as provided in Subsection (3)(b), on the Utah Public Notice Website created under Section 
63F-1-701; and
     (ii) providing notice to:
     (A) at least one newspaper of general circulation within the geographic jurisdiction of the public body; or
     (B) a local media correspondent.

In addition it states:

(6) (a) A public notice that is required to include an agenda under Subsection (1) shall provide reasonable specificity to notify the public as to the topics to be considered at the meeting. Each topic shall be listed under an agenda item on the meeting agenda.

So where is our agenda?  Well it has been posted to the Utah Public Notice Website, (See Agenda Here), but how many of us check this site. That is why it should be posted in a newspaper.  Granted the meeting in on Tuesday; therefore South Ogden City Council needs to have this agenda in tomorrows paper to be in compliance with Utah State Code.  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

City Manager and Sales Tax

City Manager, Scott Darrington, answered some questions I posted to his blog (See Here) about Sales Tax.  I asked these questions in preperation for our upcoming budget meeting.

BenJoe: Does the city anticipate or see a downward trend in Sales Tax this quarter and into next year because of the slowing economy? Will this affect the budget process for next year for parks and other services?

In other words, what happens to services, parks, etc. if there is a sudden drop in Sales Tax?

Mr. Darrington: Yes, the city has anticipated a downturn in sales tax this year. In the past six years the City has seen an increase in sales tax.

When we budgeted this year, we budgeted on the assumption that the sales tax would stay flat. So far our projection has been right on. We made some cuts on this year's budget up front so that we wouldn't get into trouble later in the year.

Also part of the drop in sales tax means that we have to put off some capital projects that we would have liked to have this year.

At this point services won't change. The reduction in sales tax is not affecting those budgets.


Sounds like they have done fairly well in budgeting this year.  I wonder what capital projects will now be put on hold?  We shall see.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Retail Sales and Budget Meeting

South Ogden is not immune to the affects of our current economy, I am sure we will begin hearing about it soon.  If all goes well, South Ogden will be just fine; however I am worried tough financial times for our city are approaching.  
  City Manager - Scott Darringinton, in a recent post on his South Ogden City Managers blog, explained why Sales Tax is important to the budget process.  (See Here)  With the recent Ogden Sales Tax Revenue news, as reported in the Standard Examiner (See Here), I can't help but wonder were South Ogden sits. 
   There is an important budget meeting on the 18th where many of these things will be discussed. My concern lies in the recent talks of a Recreation Center that will be clearly unprofitable and limited in use. (See Here)  What other projects are in the works?  What will need to be cut? What should be cut? Are retail sales down in Ogden? I recommend we all attend!

The budget meeting will be on the 18th of November at 6 pm in the City Council Chambers.  

Thursday, November 6, 2008

BURNED: American flag, family's feelings / Black South Ogden residents say fire dampens joy over Obama's win

BURNED: American flag, family's feelings / Black South Ogden residents say fire dampens joy over Obama's win

I am so disappointed to read this happened in our city of South Ogden.  This family raised their American Flag in honor of the elections and Presidenti-Elect Obama's win.  Before they knew it, someone in South Ogden went and started their flag on fire.

My wife and I have talked much about the significance of Obama being President of the United States. Even though I didn't vote for him, I can't help but recognize the value of his presidency. I feel racial discrimination that has existed will begin to change dramatically for the better. 

However, I was happy to hear about the outpooring of support for this family and how South Ogden and many others came to their side. In the end they received 13 flags from around Ogden.  They have said that their pride has been restored.

What a happy ending to a terrible situation.

Budget Hearing - South Ogden City Council 11/18/2008

November 18th is our next City Council meeting here in South Ogden.  This is a special meeting as we will discuss the budget for the upcoming year. I welcome all to attend this meeting to learn more about where your tax payer money is going.  However I will be blogging the meeting.

They have canceled a few meetings as of late so for those who do not frequent the South Ogden City Website there have been some updates to when is the next city council meeting:

South Ogden City Council Meeting Changes
The South Ogden City Council Meetings for October 21, November 4, December 16, 2008 have been cancelled. The next City Council Meeting will be November 18, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 3950 Adams Ave., South Ogden, Utah

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Results

I have had a few people ask me about election results.  There are a number of places to go.  I spent most of my time last night between two websites:


Here are some people of note that won.  Ryan Wilcox, whom I posted about back in June (See Here), had a great win!  Congrats Ryan. 

Also as I posted last night, Brent Wallis upset Edger Allen for District 10.  What a crazy night of elections.

I felt the Gage Froerer machup was closer than I would have expected.  His term will be interesting to watch in the coming months.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wallis Wins

I spent this evening glued to the computer refreshing the election website every 10 seconds. I saw Brent go from 10 percent down to WIN the election!

What an upset! I am sure Ed Allen broke out in a rash from all his sweating. I know a good doctor who can help him if he needs one.

Congrats Brent! What an amazing man. District 10 has been held by the Democratic party for 18 years. But no longer. Here comes Brent Wallis.

Why I support Brent Wallis?

Each political season I go in with the most open mind possible. I know what my core values and beliefs are. Each time I look for a candidate, I try to find one that fits my values. Sometimes this is Republican, sometimes it is not. In a post from many months ago (See Here) I didn't know Brent Wallis, but had heard of Ed Allen. I wasn't sure who to vote for.

I met Ed Allen and Brent Wallis months later (See Here). Within minutes I knew that Brent Wallis was a different sort of man. As time has gone on I have had a number of conversations with him about his ambitions and goals. I have grown to really admire and respect him.

What is it about Brent? Is it his experience in education? Sure that is a big thing for me. I have kids, I want them to have a great educations system. Someone with 36 years experience in the education system is important to me. But that is not it. Is it his fiscal knowledge? Sure the fact he managed million dollar budgets at the ATC and thousand dollar budgets at the Ogden Country Club are important. But that is not it. Is it his business connections and experience? Sure his experience with business leaders and being named to the chamber of commerce hall of fame is important. But that is not it.

One day, talking to Brent, he said, "Every person who has ever worked for me; went on to run their own ATC." I realized Brent is not only a leader; but more importantly--a mentor. He would love to serve in the House, but in the end he hopes to inspire and mentor others to do the same. I have met a number of great leaders, but this was very inspiring, he is an educator at heart and I am excited to have such a person in the House of Representatives to represent our district.

Still don't know whom to vote for? Read what I have posted about Ed Allen and Brent Wallis. I think it is very clear. Vote for a true leader, a mentor, and educator, a businessman; vote for Brent Wallis for District 10.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Ogden Weber ATC

I had an interesting experience on Saturday.  I was talking to a neighbor about how things were going.  I knew the economy would be a concern for him; he normally lives paycheck to paycheck and has struggled in the past to put food on his table.  He told me today things are going pretty well.  He took a job at the local Deseret Industries and through the LDS Church they got him into classes at the Ogden-Weber ATC.  He now has learned HVAC systems and is doing very well in heating and air conditioning.  What an amazing program!  He was very thankful for the ATC and all it has done for him.

  This brings me to an interesting point.  I received Ed Allen's brochure in the mail on Friday.  His first paragraph mentions how supportive he is of the ATC and how amazing it is.  I am sure as a member of the LDS church he has seen this first hand.  He probably had similar experiences of sending people to work at Deseret Industries for a food order; whom later were given training at the Ogden Weber ATC. 

 The most interesting part about his statement of ATC-ism support, is the contridiction his statements make with what he has said verbally to everyone else.  On my own door step, on August 28th, 2008 (See Here), he told me that the ATC was a waste.  He mentioned a number of times he didn't think the ATC was all that great.  I have also heard him say these same things to other people as well. At the Chamber of Commerce "Meet the Candidate Night" he said the same and tried to discredit the ATC.

 Why is he saying these things?  Because his republican challenger - Brent Wallis was president of the Ogden-Weber ATC for 36 years.  This has been a pathetic attempt at discrediting Brent Wallis and all he has done for Weber County.

This is a classic example of a person, who wants to be a career politician, saying what he has to say to get elected.  Ed Allen came out against the ATC thinking he would win with voters.  Once he realized the popularity of the ATC and people love what it does, he had to back off and send a mailer and pledge his love to the ATC gods.  In a sense, he lied to people to win votes and now has changed his position.  We call this a "Flip-Flop" in the politcal world.

Ed Allen is a career politician wanna-be.  I am sorry but he is!  He lost his senate seat and couldn't get re-elected.  Now his running for the house.  He is dying to get back in so bad he will say anything to win.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


The Weber County Forum, whom I mentioned in my last post -(See Here) recently posted a link to my blog and added me to their blog roll.  Whether you are a democrat or a republican it always great to hear all sides of the argument.  That is why I read the Weber County Forum.

Plus they are tons of fun!

Thanks Rudi

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Democrat's view of Brent Wallis

For those of who read a lot of blogs in the Weber County area, you may know about the Weber County Forum.  They had a very intersting post about Brent Wallis and Ed Allen from a Democrats view point.

Also here is one from Dorrene Jeske - Ogden City Council

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Laser Pointers and Ed Allen

What do laser pointers have to do with Ed Allen?  Besides the obvious uses of a laser pointer like: giving a presentation or burning off a wart when you come to his office; Ed Allen has found that laser pointers can be dangerous.  He must have learned this back in 2000, due to some interesting legislation he wrote regarding the subject.
    I have spent the last few weeks reading over every bill that Ed Allen wrote while in the senate. He sponsored or co-sponsored a number of bills during his time.  Some of these included, updating criminal code, creating stiffer penalties for killing a "seeing eye dog", eliminating sales tax for electricity sales (he floor sponsored this for Rep. Shurtliff) and other such bills.  But the one that really caught my attention was his "Unlawful Use of a Laser Pointer Bill".

To read the full legislation go to this link (See Here).

Ed Allen wisely used legislative time and tax payer money to curb a very important need in our society.  Apparently laser pointer attacks were at their highest level in the year 2000.  Law enforcement was at a loss on how to prosecute someone with a laser pointer.  Police were on guard, moving cars were at risk.  Have no fear, Ed Allen is here.  The "Unlawful Use of a Laser Pointer" bill makes it a Class C Misdemeanor to point a laser pointer at the following:
  1. A moving car
  2. A law enforcement officer, whether he/she is in uniform or not and you know it or not.

That is it!  Are you as excited as me?  No! Confused? I am too, what is this bill and why does it exist.  Therefore I pose the following questions: 

  • Isn't it reasonable to assume that using a laser pointer improperly would be wrong?  I mean, I could stick you in the eye with a toothpick and even thought there is no law against toothpicks; I would still be in trouble.   
  • Did we really need to use up important legislative time debating this?  In fact this was debated twice!  It must have been hot issue at the time.   
  • How much did this cost tax payers?
  • Was Ed Allen just so desperate for an issue to debate and to get his name on the records books he came up with this bill? 
  • Has laser pointer attacks gone down since its passing? 
  • Has creating this law scared laser pointer gangs from being formed?
My concern is if Ed Allen is elected to House District 10, is this the kind of legislation we can expect?  What we need is real representation!  We need someone who will tackle real issues affecting our community or district, not someone who is just dying to be back in the legislature.  If we can look forward to more legislative bills like the "Unlawful Use of a Laser Pointer," then I would be concerned.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Update on the Ed Allen Letter

Spoke to some people who live in North Ogden.  They are long time patients of Ed Allen and they admitted they have not received a letter from him.  Sounds like a campaign letter to me!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ed Allen - Did he break the law?

Ed Allen recently mailed out a very interesting letter.  Another reader of the blog was happy to forward a copy my way for deep analysis.  This is not your average mailer.  This mailer came as a letter directly from Dr. D. Edgar Allen.  At a glance, one might think this is simply a letter from their doctor talking about the upcoming election.  After closer study, you will see this is a campaign letter and could be breaking election laws or even more?

This letter was sent to this person and their elementary age son. 

The letter states (the grammatical errors are Ed's not mine):

Dear Patient,

As many of you know I am running for the Utah State Legislature.  Some of you are also aware; I served for four years in the Utah State Senate several years ago.  There may be some confusion about how this affects my practices.  The legislature includes a significant commitment of time and resources which I am happy to do because it is so important.

The annual legislative session begins around the 20th of January and lasts for about six weeks.  In addition there are monthly interim meetings which usually last one day.  From time to time the Governor may call special sessions.  Beyond this there are other responsibilities and commitments in serving my constituency.

Currently there are no physicians serving in the Utah State Legislature.  One other physician in the state is running for the House of Representatives this year.  Governor Huntsman and the legislature have formed a legislative task force to consider changes in our system for providing health care.  persons from a variety of backgrounds serving in the legislature are on this task force.  I believe this is very appropriate, but I do feel that the citizens need at least some representation from the medical field.  Also, I believe that there is need for more representation from individuals with a scientific background in the makeup of our legislative body.

During my prior service I had colleagues who were happy to provide coverage for my patients while I was in Salt Lake City with my legislative duties.  That situation will be even better this time.  Coverage will primarily be provided by my associate and son, Dr. Davide M. Allen, who will be assisted by our very capable Physicians Assistant, Galen R. Jones, PAC.  In addition trusted colleagues in Dermatology in our community are happy to provide support and coverage.

I have had many patients express support for this effort for which I am deeply grateful.  I also appreciate their patience and understanding.  I enjoy and have been grateful for the opportunity to serve whether it is in my practice or in the community.  Do not hesitate to contact me with questions and suggestions.

D. Edgar "Ed" Allen, M.D


Here is where it gets interesting!

Thanks to the quick study of some of our community members, you may note the following:

1. Ed Allen has used his patient list and the patient list of his son’s to send out this mailer. The recipient of this mail is (was) a patient of David M. Allen.

 A signed release was not signed for the use of this name for political purposes. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 prohibits information being used for things like sales and advertising without permission.  Talk about unethical use of patient information. Is this against the law? Should the licensing board be contacted?

 2. This is clearly a campaign mailer. Mr. Allen can send them to whomever he pleases as long as he follows election code:

The code states:

1) (a) Whenever any person makes an expenditure for the purpose of financing an advertisement expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, or solicits any contribution through any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, direct mailing, or any other type of general public political advertising, the advertisement:

(i) if paid for and authorized by a candidate or the candidate's campaign committee, shall clearly state that the advertisement has been paid for by the candidate or the campaign committee;"

There is no mention this was paid for by Ed Allen or his election campaign committee, but it is clearly a campaign letter.  Was this political advertisement paid for by Dr. Allen's practice?  What would the Lt. Governor say about this kind of letter?

3. Also, did anyone outside of District 10 receive this letter? If not, then we know for sure this was an election mailer.

In the end, don’t you love that he is stating, “Coverage will be provided…” instead of “If elected, coverage will be provided.”  I love how he assumes he already won.  If he doesn't win, will he have to send out a mailer to all [District 10] patients letting them know he will be in his office all of January?  We would hate people not showing for appointments thinking he is in the Legislature.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

City Council Meeting Canceled

I should probably check the South Ogden City website more often to avoid such situations. There was a Public Notice posted on the city building announcing tonight's meeting was canceled.

Since the meeting is canceled, what will happen to the discussion of a bond for a new rec center? The way they talked at the last meeting, this was an urgent matter and things need to happen right away.  Are they just going to move forward now with out notifiying the public of what is happening? For more information see my post from the last city council meeting (See Here)

Random Thought:

As for the public notice, the word "canceled" caught my eye.  One might think the word is spelled wrong.  Though both are technically correct (See Websters Dictionary Here), it is always interesting to see the word canceled spelled with the letter "L" twice.  

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ed Allen Sighting

With the Leg District 10 race heating up, and only two months left to go.  It is no wonder that we are seeing lots of Ed Allen signs all over the neighborhood.  I have actually seen him on one or two walking campaigns over the past two weeks.  But the most interesting sighting I have seen, was this weekend.  The South Ogden LDS Stake held their annual 5k Fun Run on Saturday.  It is always a great event and very exciting.  My whole family participates every year and really enjoy the event.    At the beginning of the race they announced where the nurses station was, they also mentioned a doctor would be on hand if there was any problems.  The announcer quickly announced that Dr. Ed Allen was here.  That is strange.  Why is he here!  According to his voter profile on he lives at 4317 Fern Drive, which is not in the South Ogden Stake; infact that would put him in the Weber Heights Stake.  Was he invited to attend by someone?  Also isn't he a dermotologist?  I might break out in a rash from sweating but I think I can handle it.  Well Mr. Allen spent most of the time behind the time keepers table.  He messed up putting peoples times in the correct order and we all had to go back and personally put them in the correct order.

Thanks for the visit to our stake Mr. Allen, I hope it won you a vote or two.  Gotta love campaigining at church events.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

South Ogden City Council Meeting - 9/2/2008

Tonight I had the great pleasure of attending our city council meeting. I haven't been able to attend a meeting for sometime do to my school schedule. However, now my Tuesday's are free; so I will be attending as many as I can. I thought it would be helpful to blog about what I observed in tonight's meeting.

Two things stood out tonight as very interesting:

1. Through Weber County, the city now has a service called City Watch Notification System. (See Link) This system, if you follow the website you will learn, is an emergency notification system; however they city may use it for other professional needs like last minute meetings, notifications, etc. When an alert is triggered via a recording that a city official calls in; An automated phone call is sent to thousands of people through out the city to warn us or give us instruction. This was purchased through a grant given by Home Land Security and is a very exciting project. I think it can be great for the city. Interesting enough, they had asked all of the city council to go through an emergency training from an online website. Mayor Garwood commented, "No one has emailed me the link." It was quickly pointed out that it had been emailed out, he had just deleted it. He promised if it was re-emailed he would get it done.

2. The South Ogden/Weber County Schools Recreation Center. This one drove me crazy. For sometime now there has been talk about a recreation center for the city of South Ogden. It was in our survey (see link) we filled out last year. South Ogden City has been working with the Weber County Schools to use part of South Ogden Junior High as a facility for recreational services. Part of the complex would be remodeled and developed to accommodate this project. The cost would roughly be $2 Million. The building is primarily designed for basketball, but could be used for other purposes. With the option of having a walking track around it. However, the building will only be open from 5 pm to 10 pm. Scott Darrington, city manager, recommended that we bond out the project (aka - DEBT). He also recommended we "Pork Barrel" (see link) an additional $500,000 for a new building and a conference room at the city works department.

The most interesting part of the project is the talk of bonding and the pork barrel spending. I work in the financial industry. If someone came to me and asked for a loan for a tennis court or a gym, then they told me they were positive that the revenue generated would not be enough to cover the debt; we would not do the loan. This is exactly why we are in a housing crisis. People got loans they could not afford. Scott Darrington specifically said, "This will not be a revenue generator, this will not generate near the revenue to pay the cost of the debt." My jaw dropped to floor at this statement. Is the City Council really going to ask the tax payer to put the city into debt $2.5 Million with no hope of making the payments with out raising taxes. In addition, the rec center can only be used for five hours a day. Does this make any business sense? If I ran my business this way, I would be out of business. Why would we go into debt for something that makes no money! Why don't we find a better solution?


Lastly, I emailed the entire city council my post on the Raymond Avenue project. Councilman Wayne Smith and Mayor Garwood both responded. But nothing was said at the city council meeting. Jon Andersen was there and I did talk to him. He said that they have called the company, he also said the cement and landscaping will be fixed; so not to worry. I will keep you all updated.