Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Social Media and Political Campaigns

During this last election I made a number of comments to facebook, blogs and twitter. I questioned the methods of those who refused to embrace the idea of social media. I have thought a lot about the questions that came back to me from candidates and readers. As we head into a new world flattened by technology, I believe we will see more candidates and political pundits embracing social media. At the same time we will have many nay sayers to the idea of new technology. The old days of writing letters and phone calls will still exist (for awhile), but are quickly being replaced with emails, twitter and facebook profiles. History is full of examples of people and groups who refused to embrace or even look at change.

Some examples:

  1. Western Union. They stated the idea of letter writing would never catch on and telegrams would always be the preferred method of communication.
  2. Kodak. They thought no one would ever use a digital camera. Digital is dumb.
  3. FranklinCovey. When I worked there they would say, "Paper has been around for 3000 years no one will ever use a digital planner or smartphone."
Each of these companies and their CEO's made fundamental decisions to not look nor embrace changes in technology. In fact they did everything they could to avoid it. You will also notice most of the CEOs left their companies once profits tanked.

Here is an interesting video and article on this very subject posted in UtahPolicy.org .



If you are newly elected or thinking about it, get involved with social media. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish. Don't push it away and write it off as a fad. Really look into this and see what it is all about. It isn't the solution to the best campaign or the best politician. But it is an amazing tool to push to the next level.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Legislative Distritict 10 Community Meeting

Rep. Brent Wallis is reaching out to the people this week. He is holding another one of his well attended Community Meetings. The meeting is scheduled for this Thursday at 6:30 pm at the South Ogden City Offices. Mr. Wallis said, "The intent of the meeting is to give a brief overview of some of the issues the 2010 Legislature will deal with as well as give me opportunity to listen to the people and the concerns and issues important to them."

Due to a scheduling conflict, I will be out of town; so I expect a full report from our readers. Should be a great meeting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And the winners are...

Jim Minster wins with 1114 Votes

Also Bryan Benard and Russ Porter enter the council with a high number of votes.

Final Totals:

  • Jim Minster 1114
  • Vickie Mattson 810
  • Russ Porter 1548
  • Bryan Benard 1240
  • Lamont Camp 763

Congrats to the winners!!!

Bryan and Russ getting a council orientation from Scott Darrington

Vickie talking to everyone after the announcement - she worked hard.


A blurry photo of Jim after his big win.





Election Results 2009

Just arrived at the City Offices to gather the results for tonights election stay posted to her or my twitter page for updates 

www.twitter.com/benjoem2

Monday, November 2, 2009

A few endorsements

I have decided to make a few personal endorsements of this years candidates. After much research and consideration the following would be my best choice for mayor and city council:

For mayor I am officially endorsing Jim Minster. Though I have enjoyed getting to know Vickie Mattson and wish her the best. Jim's campaigning has been impressive and I feel he has a deeper understanding of the local government; having worked directly for the police and fire departments. I wish him the best.

On the city council side I have decided to endorse Bryan Benard and Lamont Camp.

Bryan brings a great level of communication, listening skills and professionalism to the table. I love his passion and his desire to serve.

Deciding between Lamont and Russ was a tough decision; in the end I went with the person whom reached out to me best and connected with me on a personal level. As a matter of full disclosure, Lamont is my neighbor and I know him personally. I have made some attempts to connect with Russ, but in the end I was never able to finalize anything. Therefore I am going with the person I know best, that is Lamont Camp.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Who is donating to your candidate?

This past week the financials of your favorite candidates were released and some interesting information can be concluded from their reports.
  1. There is a stark difference in the number of donors (and amount of money) from our top two candidates for mayor vs. our failed attempts by Mr. John Bradley and Mr. Rick Westmoreland. I found it interesting the number of donors and money spent. Over all the Mayoral Race has cost more than $10,000.
  2. One fact that can't be ignored is the number of donors and whom has donated. Many of the candidates only have themselves and a few close associates donating to their campaigns. But Jim and Vickie have a number of local residents (and some not so local) who are donating to their campaigns. This is encouraging to me that people in the community feel strongly enough about their candidate they are willing to donating.
  3. Jim Minster eats out a lot with his campaign staff. Every other expenditure was to a fast food joint. His fast food place of choice-McDonald's. Jim's campaign partook of the golden arches a number of 8 times out of 16 restaurant stops. Overall he spent $175 of his $3000 war chest on food.
  4. Russ Porter and Rick Westmoreland are reporting negative numbers for their campaign. Why? Either they have spent more than they have or haven't reported everything. I have an email into Russ about this. It is not uncommon for candidates to end up in the red, but since the spending level is so low in these races it concerns me, it is not like this is a million dollar race.
  5. Vickie wins the prize for most special interest groups with three donating to her campaign. Not sure if you can count Reagan Signs since they traditionally donate to everyone, but the Realtors Association and Northern Utah Realtors donated to her. No surprise with these donations, Vickie has worked as a Realtor and has many connections in the area.
  6. Lamont Camp's financials do not make sense. He has spent $444 and has had no donations, yet he his campaign balance is at $0.
For a complete look at all the financials please use the links below:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Standard Examiner – City Council Candidate Profiles

The Standard Examiner is doing their usual candidate profiles. I was excited to see them posted for us to enjoy. Each one is very interesting and well worth the read. I have highlighted a few key points I enjoyed from each candidate and have included links to the articles.

1. Bryan Benard (See Profile Here)

Bryan has some well thought out ideas on South Ogden. Personally I keep wondering, why he is just now running! I think he would be a great addition to the council. One of things that struck me was the following:

"We need to resist the urge to continue making South Ogden a place for strip malls/single offices and focus on attracting a wider retail and business presence that will both serve our citizens' physical needs as well as strengthening our tax base, thereby reducing the tax burden on individuals"

Note: Bryan on his twitter page said, "Kinda upset with the Standard's 2nd major typo on me in the election. Today misquotes me as saying "SMALL" instead of "SMART" growth is top issue, makes me sound anti-development, which I am not. I'm for smart development. Big difference and affects context of rest of article."

Make sure you make that correction when you read it.

2. Russ Porter (See Profile Here)

Russ highlighted a key concern I have, that is ordinance enforcement. I hope, if elected, he really takes this head on. Recent council decision have only masked the problem, not fixed it. I have heard from many that they feel confident in Russ and see him as a real people person. One statement he made about his decision making process should real promise:

Consensus comes when an issue has been researched well, the desires of the community have been ascertained, and then effective communication is achieved within the group."

We often here politicians say this same thing. I feel he is sincere in his desire to make this happen.

Personal note: Russ emailed me recently calling me out on my connection to him and Vicky Mattson. Yes it was a stretch, but also how I viewed things from where I sit (name of blog). Thanks for the email Russ, I am sure it won't be the last time I stretch something. Keep up the good work.

3. Lamont Camp (See Profile Here)

Lamont spends most of his time talking about the property taxes that we pay here in South Ogden. I can't agree with him more that I am frustrated with the increase of property taxes for a gym facility that admittedly know one is going to use.

Lamont said,

"That is Taxation as it is all over our Country. Ours is a bit different in that our property taxes are being increased for the enlargement of South Ogden Jr. High School Gymnasium. There needs to be more emphasis on our Children's Programs, Police Presents and Fire Protection and other items that involve the Citizens (All Ages) and their money."

I am frustrated and hope if elected he pushes for a better solution to this problem. The fact the council moved forward with a property tax increase during a recession and after scores of people complained in council meeting is beyond understanding. I see a trend that goes back to the Golf City issues of our council not listening to the people.

Hopefully these are tools for your to help make a decision. The election is coming up quick and early voting has already begun. Good Luck to all the candidates!

The blog is now open for your comments and feelings on the candidates. I ask, where do you want to see this city go and how can these new council members make it happen. Two of these three gentlemen will be elected, who will it be?


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Early Voting Begins

Early voting officially begins today. Personally I am a "vote on election day" kind of guy. However many of you will be making up your mind starting today. So to help, I thought I would share a number of resources to help you make a decision.

Bryan Benard, who is running for City Council, has created a number of ways to get to know him:


Lamont Camp, also running for council, is also on facebook:


The only one of the council members I have yet to see embrace social media is Russ Porter, this maybe in connection with Vicki Mattson. She has not embraced the web fully either and I tend to see Russ Porter Signs every where I see Vicki Mattson signs.

Hopefully these links give you some ideas on whom to vote for. I will be posting some more detailed candidate info soon.

Good Luck all.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Ordinance changes in response to debate?

During the mayoral and council debate we had on September 3rd. The topic of city cleanup ordinances and how slow they are was discussed. A number of sitting council members and potentials were debating the issue of what to do. You can see full coverage of the debates on the following two posts: (Mayoral, City Council). The main point derived from the debate was the ordinance was to slow and was hard to enforce. Interestingly most of the current council recognized this and appeared to have known it was the problem all a long. My question is, if they knew it was a problem, why hasn't it been fixed?

No worries, the council has now acted. Today's Standard Examiner reports on the topic (See Here). The old ordinance, stating residents have 60 days to comply with cleanup ordinances, has been updated to say they now have 10 days to comply.

What a change! I applaud the council for making such a change. Now lets hope for strong enforcement.

The door is open to discuss how this ordinance came to be and is it a good thing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Meet the Candidate Night – City Council Edition

It is now time to see how the City Council candidates did. On September 3rd we had our annual meet the candidate night. I quickly posted the next day a summary of the Mayoral debate questions and ranked each answer. The city council candidate also debated this same night and gave some great answers. I have held my post regarding the city council answers until today. This allowed us to focus on the Mayoral Primary. So for your weekend listening and reading pleasure here is my analysis.

The Candidates are as follows:

  • Russ Porter
  • Bryan Benard
  • Lamont Camp

For your listening pleasure, I recorded the debate and I have divided it into sound bites that you can download and listen to. I have chosen my favorite and my least favorite answer for each question. I will give each candidate who has the best answer "1 Point" and the second place candidate will get "1/2 Point". The person with most points wins the night.

  1. Introduction: All three candidates gave a two minute introduction. You can listen to it here: (cityintroduction)
  • Bryan Benard wins the best intro category. He was clear and concise with his message. He gave a great summary of who his and then made it clear w why he was running. His statement, "Listen first & then Act" impressed me and became a Bryan's theme of the night. Bryan really appealed to the people of South Ogden. Great Job Bryan. -- 1 point
  • Russ Porter gave a good intro and appealed to long time residents. However I felt little isolated since I wasn't in the age group of people he said he was concerned about. Also I was confused when he said things are going well, but yet things need to be changed. What needs to be changed? -- ½ point.
  • Lamont Camp's greatest strength is his passion for the city. You can hear it in his comments. He gave a brief and simple summary of who he is but nothing really about why he is running. He had two minutes and only took about 50 seconds, take all the time you got man, make us believe!
  1. How will you enforce ordinances and zoning laws? You can listen to it here: (cityzoning)
  • Russ Porter is my winner on this topic. He appeared to have a better knowledge on how we can improve enforcement. I liked his analysis of the process in place and that it is too slow or broken. Let's focus on fixing it. -- 1 point
  • Bryan Benard pushed for community members policing each other; in turn having them communicate with council members about problem areas. This idea is good in theory, but I have stopped reporting people because nothing gets done, I am sure others have as well. Plus I personally have attended city council meetings and talked about problem areas or damaged parts of town. Did anything happen, no? So his idea is good in theory but real change needs to be made before residents will take it serious. -- ½ point.
  • Lamont Camp was a caught off guard being the first to answer; however his goal would be to encourage pride in the community. Pride would encourage people to not let their properties become dilapidated. However, the problem is also with rental units, absentee landlords etc. Pride in the city isn't going to fix that. The see us a cash cow.
  1. What do you want your legacy to be? You can listen to it here: (citylegacy)
  • Russ Porter wins the question. Honestly this was a tough one. I liked Russ's and Bryan's answers a lot and went back and forth about 10 times. In the end I decided to ask myself the following question: If I were to tell my children about Russ or Bryan and their time on the council what would I say? Bryan was a guy who listened or Russ was a guy who made this place safe so we can live here. Putting it like that, Russ wins. -- 1 point
  • Bryan gave a great answer and I am sure many of you could go either way. His presentation style is perfect and he really hit it home. In the end he came up a little short to Russ's answers. -- ½ point.
  • Lamont really spent most of the time talking about his early firefighter days and then reiterated what everyone else said.
  1. Traffic – Are you willing to negotiate with UDOT? You can listen to it here: (citytraffic)
  • The prize goes to Bryan Benard! Bryan really outshined the group on this answer. Not only does he have the experience with negotiating speed limit and street changes. He negotiates for a living! Who better to help us then someone who does this everyday? Great answer Bryan. I loved it when he said, "I will get to the bottom of this, and I will get it done." You know what, I believe him. -- 1 point.
  • Lamont takes second place for me. The main reason is because he answered the question. He said yes, he would negotiate with UDOT and came up with some additional ideas to help things along. Lamont suggests we partner more with the surrounding cities, the county and others to help push this through. Good job Lamont. -- ½ point.
  • Russ Porter – He appeared to be knowledgeable regarding the issue and appears to be passionate as well. However he didn't demonstrate any real solution to solve the problem, he just stated what we already knew.
  1. How are you in Personnel Management and Financial Planning? You can listen to it here: (citymanagement)
  • Bryan once again wins. His personnel management strength comes from what he does for a living. Not only is recognized as one of the top employment lawyers in the state, but he counsel people on how to manage employment issues. With all of this and his business ownership he rises to the top. – 1 point.
  • Russ Porter takes second, but it was close. I gave this Russ, because I know he has more management skills then he explained. As a coach I am sure it he has learned some management skills; in addition to him teaching 210 high school kids. I liked his desire to relate to the people and work with them. -- ½ point.
  • Lamont Camp has had a lot of jobs and responsibilities. However none of them are in actual management positions. Though he may have directed some teams, I didn't feel his management style came forward.
  1. What are your top Priorities for the City? You can listen to it here: (citypriorities)
  • First place goes to Bryan Benard. Mr. Benard added an important addition to the regular list priorities; he reminded us of the need for smart growth. We truly are limited on our land and ability to expand in South Ogden. He wants to insure our resources are guarded and growth is done in a smart way. In addition he had ideas of increase programs for our senior citizens and youth. – 1 point.
  • Russ almost won this one for me. Most of his answers were the same as everyone else's of the night: safety, enforce codes, etc. But he struck a chord with a solution to increase property values. He is right; if we do the things he suggests, people will move to the area. However that isn't everything that goes into property value increases. Also he mentioned the rec. center, but I have to correct him and let Russ know it is a $2 million dollar gym facility not a rec. center. -- ½ point.
  • Lamont Camp had a good list of priorities similar to everyone else's. He made a good sound bite attempt with pushing us to have pride in our country. In the end, it didn't push me over the edge.
  1. How would you revitalize 40th Street north and rental properties? You can listen to it here: (city40th)
  • Bryan Benard takes this round. Bryan suggests we take all of the ideas along with the current strategic plan, put them on paper and then make them happen. Find community leaders in every area that can help spear head projects and goals, and then push the ideas into action. The time for planning is really over, now is the time to act. Bryan really hit it on the head for me. Everyone has ideas on how to make this happen, but has it really been focused? Has it really been put into action? Finally he stressed code enforcement to push landlords into compliance. – 1 Point
  • Russ Porter didn't sell me on his answer. Russ suggests we need city leaders to be more approachable and to give more resources to law enforcement to get the "bad people" out. He also mentioned neighborhood watch programs for the city. Interestingly enough I have a neighborhood watch sign in my area, but I don't know who is watching. His ideas have real potential, but they need some more refinement. – ½ Point
  • Lamont Camp says this is the main reason he is running since he lives north of 40th (For the record he lives about 4 blocks north, so not quite to the areas we are talking about). I found it interesting that he took a jab at the Police and Fire departments; especially since they were hosting the event. However in the end he had no real solution for the problem. For this being his main reason for running, I would have expected some real solutions to the problem.
  1. Is our Sewer system adequate and what can we do to improve it? You can listen to it here: (citysewer)
  • Lamont Camp wins this one for me. He seems to have a more in depth understanding of what is going on with our systems. He has seen the work done, helped in the cleanup of floods and knows areas that need to be improved next. – 1 point
  • Bryan Benard took second, he explained a few good ideas of being cautious and to start making sure our infrastructure and sewer system is working properly. This makes good sense, however this is already happening. The city government has been doing this already by using a snake video camera system to see which pipes need to be updated. – ½ point
  • Russ, well, gotta give it to him for being honest. He didn't know anything and didn't have an answer; however he was honest about it. Style points earned!
  1. Closing Remarks. You can listen to it here: (cityclosing)
  • Russ gave the best closing for me, but once again it was close between him and Bryan. I really liked how he stated, "I will never take my vote lightly." That was important to me. I want someone who really research the issues before they vote and then vote for the items that will affect the majority. He made some great statements and I was impressed. – 1 point
  • Bryan is a great speaker. He did a great job through the whole debate and he had a great closing. I can tell he loves South Ogden and wants it to be successful. In the end you could sum up everything he said with on word—listen. Bryan wants to be the kind of person who listens. I am not a fan of leaders who make a point to say, I won't promise anything. Bryan said those words and so I dropped him down in this round. Nothing wrong with making some promises and standing up for it, it can be done. – ½ point
  • Lamont truly loves this city. You can hear it in his voice, but I didn't get anything new from him. It was a simple closing and he summed up his thoughts. I didn't see it as a successful closing.

Final Score:

  • Bryan Benard WINS with 7 points.
  • Russ Porter did great and comes in second with 5 points.
  • Lamont made a great effort getting 1 ½ points.

I think we have some great candidates for city council and I encourage all to study their platforms closely.

This post is open for you all to debate on my interpretation of the night, please feel free to comment.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Missing woman found

I guess our missing South Ogden woman has been found. She came home today on her own accord.

http://www.standard.net/topics/news/2009/09/23/missing-south-ogden-woman-returns-home

I am glad she is safe and hope her family is doing better.


 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Missing South Ogden Woman

Hello all.

One of our own has gone missing. A South Ogden resident and neighbor Linda Deschner hasn't been seen since Sunday. Here is a link the Standard Examiner article:


Please be on the look out and spread the word.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Final Election Results for South Ogden Primary

I just received the final vote numbers. They will be presented tonight at council, so I guess you can still consider these as"Unofficial." John Bradley gained a few votes on Vick Mattson, enough for me to call a recount.

Final Votes: 1118

  • Jim Minster – 376
  • Vick Mattson – 277
  • John Bradley – 266
  • Rick Westmoreland – 199

Now on to the general election…what will happen next?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Remembering Golf City and the fallout.

Today in the Standard Examiner there was a small letter to the editor stirring the Golf City pot once again. (See Letter Here). Connie Ott (who is a neighbor to Lamont Camp running for council) reminds many of us of the debate and how the majority at the meeting wanted Golf City to remain open space. She demands we think long and hard on who we vote for council and remember Golf City. This letter pushed me to think about Golf City and what this vote really means.

I only played Golf City five or six times, I wasn't a resident of South Ogden when this all happened. However before living in here, I remember hearing rumblings of Golf City and its eventual demise. Since moving to South Ogden many people have been kind enough to explain their versions of the great Golf City debacle. Though I am not fully clear on all the details, one thing I do know for certain: A large group of people (some may say a majority) was against the idea and the council voted the other way.

There are a lot of people still bitter about this decision made by our city council. The last two elections have been marred with Golf City comments and we have seen council members come and go because of it. My blog gets about 30 hits a week with people typing into google: "Golf City, Voting, City Council" and other variations. People want to know who voted, who didn't, what was the closed door meeting about, why were we not listened to, etc.

I don't blame them for feeling this way, this is in part of why I write this blog; to express my feelings about such issues. Interestingly enough, the two people who advanced in the primary were supporters of the change to the Golf City zoning, meaning Jim Minster and Vicki Mattson voted for the zoning change. The one person to vote against it, John Bradley, missed passing Vicki Mattson by 14 votes.

So either the fallout is beginning to dwindle or people don't care anymore. Either way the most important thing to remember is when the people stood up for something they believed in, the council didn't listen. Many of the candidates running are promising you they will listen to your problems and if the majority wants something they will support it. Look deeper into their eyes and see of this is really true. Don't be afraid to ask them about Golf City and where they stand.

Hasn't the Golf City fallout been amazing to watch? Please feel free to comment on your feelings; I think many still need to discuss this issue.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And the winners are...

I spent the night at the South Ogden city office awaiting the results with many of the candidates. It was a tense evening as we waited nearly two hours for the final results. Many of the council members joked about the old way of doing it. Writing it up on a chalk board and manually tabulating the paper ballots. Sometimes they were there until midnight. It was a fun evening of jokes and laughter but underneath it all laid the tension of who would win.

The final votes came in about 10:30 and the winners are:

Jim Minster - 370 votes
Vicki Mattson - 275
John Bradley - 261
Rick Westmoreland - 194


There are over 100 provisional ballots left and they will be tabulated by the 22nd.

I am amazed at these numbers. The political clout and connections that Vicki and Jim have is impressive. I really expected John and Rick to be up at the top. In the end this has been an amazing primary campaign and will continue to be an even crazier general election.

Congrats to all who ran, it takes a lot of guts to get out there and run for office.

P.S. Vicki did talk to me about being nice to her on my blog and she cleared up any miscommunication. Thanks Vicki for that and great job.

Also, I think we beat the standard with our results and tweets, thanks to everyone who followed the updates.

Monday, September 14, 2009

No Financial Disclosures Required for Primary Elections

I was hoping to post the financial disclosures of each mayoral candidate so you could see who is donating to their campaigns. However, South Ogden City ordinance doesn't require they submit one. They only submit financial disclosures for the following reasons:

1. If you lose the primary, you submit 30 days after (why submit if you lost???)
2. If you are in a general election, then you submit 7 days before the election, but not before a primary. (So just trust they do everything right, until the general election)

This is a little silly, since this limits the amount of info we could use for voting in the primary.

Maybe the new mayor can work on more full disclosure and accountability.

Where to vote tomorrow

As many of you all know, the primary election is officially tomorrow. A number of you took advantage of early voting; however a number of you will be voting tomorrow. To help with your voting, I have put together a little info to help you find your polling location.

The South Ogden City website has this same information, but since there are so many typos on the website I thought I would re-distribute the information here:

As usual the voting will begin at 7 am and ends at 8 am. This year there will be two polling locations. You precincts are divided in half among the two locations.
  • Precincts 1-6 will vote at City Hall (40th Street)
  • Precincts 7-12 will vote at the Browning Armory. (Highway 89)
Here is a copy of the precinct map from the South Ogden City website. It should help you find your precinct and polling location.



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hearts of Courage – Story of a local Ogden man and his escape from death.


I decided we need a Sunday break from politics -Here is a nice little Sunday post for everyone about a book I read last weekend.
Many years ago, at the age of 13, I had the opportunity to hike up the Uintah mountains with my scout troop. It was four mile, full pack hike up the mountain where we camped near a lake and then hiked back down. At one point in the adventure, I became separated from my group and was lost for nearly two hours. My troop was in a panic and I was worried I would be lost forever. With the limited survival skills I had, I found a place to stop on the trail and waited for my rescue; fortunately this came quickly. There is a vividly memory of my scout master finding me and hugging me. He then took me to our camp and I enjoyed the rest of the trip. This was not the case for Joe Tippets in the book Hearts of Courage, by John M. Tippets. He instead took the teachings from his scout master (and many others) and lasted much longer in a climate much worse.

Joe Tippets, a local Ogden, Utah man, experienced the ultimate test of survival in the Alaskan mountains. His plane of six people crashed over Alaska in the early 1940's. Somehow he survived with only torn blankets for shoes, limited supplies, and a copy of the Holy Scriptures. In the end, he spent nearly a month in the snow; surviving the ordeal with limited injury and helping three more of his comrades to safety.

This short and captivating book, written by former American Airlines Credit Union CEO, John M Tippets tells the story of his father and his escape from death. Mr. Tippets uses his father's own words to help tell the story of The Gillam Plane crash of the 1940s. A crash that covered the newspapers at the time, even making headlines in the New York Times. The adventure has been forgot in today's time only to be revived in vivid and exciting detail by Mr. Tippets and his desire to bring his father's story to life.

Many elements are intensely documented and researched, including easy to read maps and photos of the crash site. I was engulfed in the story and was unable to put the book down. Jon has done an amazing job of channeling his father's spirit in the story and brings to life this amazing journey. Quickly my wife picked it up and felt the same. It was then I knew I had to write a review about it this book.

What made me fall in love with the book was Joe Tippets faith. I was amazed at his desire to pray and keep the group together. Joe made strong efforts to carry his scriptures with him, even when searching through snow and frozen waters for rescue. His keen sense of God, God's plan for him and his family kept him pushing through even some of the hardest part of the trip. Even when he thought he was near his final moments, he wrote a letter to his wife demonstrating once again his faith in God, "Try to keep enough money invested so you can give the kids a college education and be sure they both fill missions."

The theme I found in this book was all about LIVING for what you believe. Many people say they would die for their religion, but Joe Tippets challenges us to live for it and follow the path of God. This is how his life was before and after his adventure. He was the first Branch President of the Mormon (LDS) Church in Alaska, later became a Bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency.

To learn about an Ogden, Utah man who helped change the lives of those around him you will need to read this book. To know what he did to survive and how he turned to the Lord to find his way through the Alaskan mountains you will need to read this book. Finally to grow spiritually from his testimony you will need to read this book.

You can pick the book up at any Deseret Book or at http://www.johntippets.com/

Friday, September 11, 2009

Standard Examiner Mayoral Candidate Survey and Taxes

The Standard Examiner published a great survey of questions for our mayoral candidates. It is truly worth a read for those who are still debating on whom to vote for. You can read the full article here: http://www.standard.net/topics/news/2009/09/09/south-ogden-mayor

Each candidate was asked the following questions:
  1. Where do you see the city in the next five years, and what would you do to make that future a good one?
  2. What are some of the things you feel are of great concern to those you would serve?
  3. South Ogden has partnered with the school district in the past year to build gym space for both the school and the city. Do you think it's a worthwhile venture to partner with other entities to fulfill the needs of your citizens?
Some of these questions were touched on during our "meet the candidate night", but in this forum the candidates have been able to expand on their answer a little further.

The topic I would like to highlight is question #2. It is directly related to #3 because of how each candidate answered the question.

I find John Bradley's answer to be very interesting. He states, "We cannot pay more taxes," and "...city officials should vote the way the majority of citizens want." I couldn't agree with this statement more. But then why did John Bradley vote to raise your taxes this year for a gym space the majority of us said we didn't want. Even the majority attending the meeting said they didn't want it or wouldn't use it. I sound like a broken record on this topic but see the following posts - (See Here and Here)

Vicki Mattson also notes in her answers, community members are troubled with their property taxes. Yet she voted to increase property taxes this year for this same gym space.

Jim Minster exclaims the economy is the biggest issue and we need to watch out for those on a fixed incomes. Well guess what, Jim voted to raise your taxes too.

Rick wasn't on the council, so he didn't vote for this tax increase. However he does recognize the worry we all have for increased taxes. He also recognize there was potentially not a true need for the gym in the first place.

I open the topic to you all to discuss the tax increase you all will be feeling when it comes time to elect a new mayor.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who is BenJoe voting for South Ogden Mayor?

With all the campaign signs around, many people have asked why I haven't put a sign on my lawn yet. The reason is because I have not made a decision as to whom I am supporting for mayor. During this entire campaign, I have felt this has really been a two man race between John Bradley and Rick Westmoreland. They have the best credentials, education, and experience to hold the office of mayor.

I have studied the issues of both candidates. I have met both of them and heard them debate the issues of our fair city. This blog has chronicled my research of the topic through numerous blog posts. They both are extraordinary men who bring an amazing presence to the city. South Ogden is a better place because of who they are. However everyone must take a chance and choose whom they feel will be the best for the job and I am happy to say I have made my decision.

I am officially supporting Rick Westmoreland for Mayor. Rick's education, experience, work ethic and overall knowledge of the system has impressed me. His down to earth style and love for the city has won me over. Finally, his overwhelming desire to improve the lives of those around him has me sold.

I encourage you to vote for Rick Westmoreland for Mayor.

P.S. Rick also won our online poll for mayor with 84 percent of the vote.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

South Ogden Newsletter - Becoming a Patriot

Council member Wayne Smith wrote a fantastic article in this months newsletter. Many of you will be getting this in the mail in the next few days. (or download it here) This is a must read for all who live in South Ogden. His theme centers around becoming a patriot and what this means to us here in South Ogden.

Primary elections tend to bring out a small number of voters. But those who do vote are often very well informed and active in the political process. This doesn't mean you have to politically active or minded to vote in the primary; quite the contrary, anyone can vote in the primary election whom is registered. However many will choose not to vote; Mr. Smith explains by choosing not to vote you are,
"abdicating your right to influence government and allowing the will of others, who's opinions may be contrary to yours, to prevail."
That statement really hit home for me. It pushed me to want to want to be even more involved and to truly become a patriot. As Wayne said in his piece, being a patriot doesn't necessarily mean you fought and died for this country (howver those people are patriots). Instead being a patriot means you loved and defended this country by any means possible.

What an amazing way we have to show our love for this country and to defend the democracy we have. We can vote. Take the time study the candidates, even if just a little. Then go out and vote this week.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Who are you voting for South Ogden Mayor?

With the primary election ending in the next few days, many of you may be already voting.

If you have or not, we have setup an anonymous poll on the left side. Fell free to click and tell us who you would like to see as mayor. This is a non-scientific poll, but could be fun.

Enjoy!

Remember, if you have not remember the 15th is the last day. Early voting will be allowed from Sept. 8th through the 11th. Then of course on the 15th from 7 am to 8 pm.

To find out where you vote on the 15th - Click Here

Friday, September 4, 2009

Meet the Candidate Night – Mayoral Edition

Last night the Fire Department held their annual Meet the Candidate night at the new library in Washington Terrace/South Ogden. The crowd was one of the best I have seen at a political event for the area. Each candidate did their best and represented themselves as well as they could. However not all of them shined as bright as the others. Four mayoral candidates and three city council candidates were present to answer questions and meet the public. Since the Mayoral primary is coming up, we will focus only on the Mayoral section of the debate. I will save my city council portion for after the 15th.

For your listening pleasure, I recorded the debate and I have divided it into sound bites that you can download and listen to. I have chosen my favorite and my least favorite answer for each question. I will give each candidate who has the best answer "1 Point" and the second place candidate will get "1/2 Point". The person with most points wins the night.

  1. Introduction: All four candidates gave a two minute introduction. You can listen to it here: (Introduction)
  • For best Introduction the point goes to John Bradley. He was clear and concise. He explained his experience and why he would be the best candidate. John has lots of experience in law and business and gave a great introduction. – 1 Point Bradley.
  • Rick Westmoreland gave a similar introduction as to John's and played on the crowd with his volunteer work and more. He did a good job, but came up short to John's intro. – ½ Point
  • Jim Minster talked about his service and time in the community. He did well, but not much energy in his remarks. Most of the time was spent on talking about his city council accomplishments; but remember the council is a group, not just one person.
  • My bottom was Vicki Mattson. Like Mr. Minster all she talked about was all the city council things she has done and why those accomplishments make her a great mayor. I felt it was bland and not very appealing.
  1. How will you enforce ordinances and zoning laws? You can listen to it here: (Zoning)
  • For best answer I give it to Rick Westmoreland. With the experience he has as a prosecutor, he understands what is needed to prosecute an ordinance or zoning violation. He gave a solid argument for public involvement to help clean up areas. The main point is that the resources are not there to make it happen and the Mayor can bring the community together and help clean up these areas. – 1 point for Rick.
  • John explained in full detail what the ordinances do and can't do. He seemed to know where the holes were in the system. This is something the council can improve on. The ordinances are old and need to be updated. He almost had me sold on his answer, but why haven't they already done this if they know the problem. – ½ point.
  • Jim Minister said about the same as everyone else, but interestingly he seemed to have just noticed it was a problem since he decided to run.
  • My least favorite answer was Vicki Mattson. Her answer was full of random statements. She claimed this was the number one problem she hears and has been addressing the problem for awhile but it is still getting worse. She says the solution is to form committees to find out what to do. In addition, she stated that we shouldn't police people and then turned around and said we should tighten ordinances so they can be enforced. I was confused in the end.
  1. What do you want your legacy to be? You can listen to it here: (Legacy)
  • The best answer to the legacy question goes to Vicki Mattson. She hit it on the head of what public service is all about. She hopes to be fair and honest. But in the end she recognized the decisions you make will affect the whole community; therefore your decisions can't just be for the good of the one. Instead it needs to be for what will make the whole community better. Great Answer Vicki – 1 point.
  • Rick Westmoreland had my second favorite answer, but I wish he would have spent more time going into more specific details. In the end I felt he truly wants to be remembered as a man of integrity. ½ Point
  • John was close in my book on this, but in the end I felt he had little confidence he would be remembered (even if it was a joke). I think he would be surprised how much people remember.
  • Jim Minster was last for this question. He talked a lot about being the guy who listens and helps people get stuff done. He had little energy in what he was saying and I felt it wasn't much of an answer.
  1. Traffic – Are you willing to negotiate with UDOT? You can listen to it here: (traffic)
  • Rick Westmoreland wins it for me on this, mainly because he appears understand more fully the system of UDOT and how to work with them. Negotiations will need to not just be with UDOT but with our legislators who have authority over UDOT. I liked his creative solution to the problem. 1 Point
  • John almost took Rick on this one. He is trained in negotiations and knows how to work with these types of people. My reasoning is simply track record. I have seen Council Member Sallee Orr practically take this issue on her by herself and if John is so good at it, why hasn't more been done already. ½ point
  • Vicki is on the DOT committee and has been working to make something happen. Is she willing to do this, yes, has she been successful no.
  • I am sorry to say Jim's was my least favorite. In reality he didn't answer the question at all and his only solution was to start a letter writing campaign. Not a great answer.
  1. How are you in Personnel Management and Financial Planning? You can listen to it here: (Management)
  • Jim Minster takes the prize for this one. He explained his experience of managing departments, companies, and has time as a fire chief. He has dealt with many personnel issues and kept things under cost and on a budget. Great job on this. Can he apply these skills to a corporation the size of South Ogden, that remains to be seen, but he did a great job answering the question. 1 point.
  • John Bradley has managed a staff of people and worked with all sorts of personnel situations. In addition he has started his own business with his wife, but no real formal training in fiscal policy. It was close between him and Jim. ½ point.
  • Rick Westmoreland was my number three on this. If had a little more financial experience he may have moved up;. Not much management or financial experience in his answer; however he has started his own business and has worked on budgets in his office. Not enough for points though.
  • Vicki didn't make it happen for me on this one. Though she has good management experience with Albertsons, I just can't feel her management skills. On the fiscal side she stated the city foresaw the decline in our economy a couple of years ago. Well I want to know where she got her crystal ball, because everyone else in the world missed this one. South Ogden City has been in the red most of this year and didn't make budget cuts until the economy was in full recession. We had surplus money as early as last year and didn't spend it pay down debt of fix the budget. She was wrong on this issue. (See these posts from city council meetings for more info, )
  1. What are your top Priorities for the City? You can listen to it here: (priorities)
  • Rick Westmoreland gets the point. His number one priority would be to increase revenue sources for South Ogden. Not just bringing in new business, but to go after grants and federal money. According to Rick, on our budget we have no federal grant money coming in for public safety. There is $4.2 Million available ready for the taking, he would be the guy to go get it. His last priority was more accountability in Government which is a huge issue for me. – 1 point
  • John Bradley almost won this for me. He had a great list of things that make sense. Commercial development, public safety, planning and zoning, public works and finally recreation. But Rick's solutions were very creative and exciting. – ½ point
  • Jim Minster had two good points, one we need work on the economy and two bringing in new businesses. His points were valid but not much backing it up. How is he going to fix the economy? Jim mentioned cutting more budgets, but not cutting services. That is hard to do, especially since we have cut the budget already 12 percent.
  • Vick didn't answer this question well. She seemed to be all over the place and talked about current business owners as her top priority, then safety, followed by public works. It didn't seem she had any real list of priorities or solutions for South Ogden. Wasn't a good answer.
  1. How would you revitalize 40th Street north and rental properties? You can listen to it here: (40th)
  • John Bradley wins this one. He had some great ideas of creating new zones and incentives to encourage people to improve their areas. This would include grants and funds to encourage people to move into the area and build up those homes. He made an interesting statement that we need to increase incentives; so homes on streets like Raymond Ave can be beautiful and make people want to move there. (Um…I live on Raymond). In addition people need to help each other and police each other. – 1 point
  • Rick Westmoreland stressed public safety. Those areas have become un-desirable because of crime and other issues. We need to increase funds to enforce codes and laws to help these areas become cleaned up. We need to be willing to invest extra time and money to make those areas beautiful. ½ point
  • Vicki Mattson spent most of her time talking about down town and how she would like to see more business coming to South Ogden. She recognized the new Mercantile and how wonderful it is. Interestingly she mentioned the city was going to start doing low interest loans for housing. I wonder that money is coming from or if I have to pay for it? Vicki was coming up with lots of ideas like new condos, etc. I don't feel she fully answered the question. She should have talked about her Good Landlord law idea.
  • My last place answer will be Jim Minster's. Jim actually spent his whole time talking about the elderly on country club drive. His point is taken, but he didn't fully answer the question.
  1. Is our Sewer system adequate and what can we do to improve it? You can listen to it here: (Sewer)
  • John Bradley did the best with this question. He had full knowledge of what has happening, solutions to fix it and ideas to improve it. In reality this is a softball question. John had great inside info to help him answer it and articulated himself well. Good job. – 1 Point.
  • Rick dropped it on this one. In the end he began to explain great ways to fund such a problem, but he himself didn't seem full convinced this was an immediate issue. I wish he would have spent more time on how he would avoid raising our taxes and how he would fund these programs. His answer was good, but not good enough for full points. – ½ point.
  • I am not really sure what Jim was talking about at the first, but then he just told us what we already know. I kind of feel like he was just copying whatever John said. It was kind of a Paula Abdul Idol moment.
  • Vicki Mattson missed it for me in the end. She did a good job identifying the funding problems we have to improve our sewer system; however she seems to be under the impressions that we have received so many grants that we have been able to update almost the whole cities infrastructure. After listening to this one about five times, I am still not sure if she answered the question.
  1. Closing Remarks. You can listen to it here: (Closing)
  • Rick Westmoreland had the best closing remarks. He gave a full explanation of what the Mayor's office does and how he would make it work. I liked his understanding of the different branches of government and where the Mayor's role is in this system. His goal is to motivate and encourage this city to continue to grow. I was impressed with this final remarks and his passion for South Ogden. – 1 Point.
  • Vicki summed up her understanding of the Mayoral role and how she would fill that. She made a little potshot at one of Rick's comments and in turn repeated a couple of things Rick said. But overall she represented herself very well and her knowledge of the job. – ½ point
  • Jim Minster summed up a lot of what he said throughout the night and gave his pledge of love to South Ogden. Nice statements but nothing to remember.
  • John took a huge hit at Rick in his closing statement. He began by saying the same things Rick did, but in some ways it may have been better articulated. He then made specific potshots at some of Rick's comments and how he knows the most about government. But the part that killed it for me is when he talked about how he was the most well balanced person. He mentioned he was a business owner, involved in community and active in church. Once he started playing the church card and engaged in a character debate over who was the better individual in the room—I lost him.

Final Score:

  • Rick – 6 points – He won 4 of the debate questions in my book. - WINNER
  • John – 5 points – He won 2 of the debate questions.
  • Vicki – 1 ½ points – She won 1 of the debate questions.
  • Jim – 1 point – He won 1 of the debate questions.

The forum is open for you all to debate on my interpretation of the night, please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

St-Ex Letter to the Editor Calls for New Leadership

An interesting letter to the editor from a local South Ogden resident - Jim Daily. Jim is an off and on visitor of city council meetings and always has an opinion or two about government. He sounds off today in a little letter to the editor that I found interesting (See Here)

Jim attacks the decision to building the new rec. center gym facility with the new South Ogden Junior High. He is a little incorrect with his information, I don't believe sales tax was ever an option to pay for this, but a property tax increase was. However I do agree with him that we should not have raised our taxes to pay for this. Especially since it is going to be a basketball gym that many have admitted they will never use (including the current Mayor). Remember, citizens of South Ogden took a survey in 2007 and said they didn't want a tax increase for something like this. (See Here) 65 percent said a rec. center gym facility was not worth a tax increase. Your leaders didn't listen to you and then raised your taxes.

One more thing to consider as you vote this year.

Candidates on Twitter, Facebook and the Web

In connection with today's Standard Examiner editorial on twitter (See Here), I am excited to see many of the candidates for Mayor making attempts to use Twitter and the Web. South Ogden City has been tweeting for about a month now. However they are missing the boat on its usefulness. They have about 22 followers last I checked, but they have refused to follow anyone back. I think people forget that communication is a two way street. If you want twitter, blogging, facebook, etc to be useful you have to communicate with the people not just announce things. Talk to the people of South Ogden.

Follow South Ogden here: Http://www.twiter.com/SouthOgdenCity

As for our Mayoral Candidates here is what I have found as far as websites, facebook and twitter:

Jim Minster:

Vicki Mattson:

Rick Westmoreland:

John Bradley:

I am surprised more candidates are not embracing all of these tools, they are FREE! If I have missed any of their websites please let me know and I will update this page. But from looking at their signs and google searches I can't find anything. If your website doesn't come up on google, how will people find you?

Congrats to those who are trying to actually communicate with the people.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Meet the Candidate Night

By way of public announcement, the Firefighters Association is sponsoring a "Meet the Candidate Night" this Thursday at 7 pm. The meeting will be held at the New Library on Adams Ave Parkway in the outdoor amphitheater.

This should be a great even to get to know all the candidates. I find it interesting that the Firefighters Association is sponsoring the event; I wonder if one of their former fire chiefs has anything to with that. Since Jim Minster was the former fire chief. Either way I am excited for the event and hope all can attend.

I will be doing a live twitter feed during the event and blogging as well.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Rick Westmoreland for Mayor of South Ogden

At least that is what Rick is hoping. Though I have not decided who I am supporting for South Ogden Mayor, I am very impressed with Mr. Westmoreland and his current endeavor to become mayor. Let's be honest, he is the underdog in this race. He is going against three city council members whom have name recognition and know how to run a campaign in South Ogden. I am not saying Rick is not known in the community—because he is. But Rick has a charm about him that makes you feel comfortable. As a Davis County Prosecutor he has the knowledge of public safety, law, grant writing, and more. All of these skills would make a fine mayor in South Ogden.

Rick began emailing me about 3 weeks ago and we finally were able to sit down and get to know each other. He spent about 30 minutes in my living room discussing the issues of South Ogden and how we can improve them. In the end, we both agreed South Ogden is an amazing place to live. Now it is time to just refine what we have.

I am always amazed as to why people choose to run for public office. So of course my first question was why he was running for mayor. He admitted his initial reason was silly; however maybe a simple concern, it makes sense why he wants to get involved. He is concerned with our local police department and their decision to give you a form to attend traffic school instead of a citation. His reasoning is this is an illegal procedure and we need to be issued the citation first, and then negotiate taking traffic school with the judge or the prosecutor (I am sure this is a poorly paraphrased form of Rick's explanation). As mayor, he would look for ways to improve such issues that may be incorrect or illegal. With his experience as a prosecutor he would push for more federal grants and programs to help reduce costs and improve quality of life in South Ogden without a tax increase. Don't forget the city council raised your property taxes this year. (See Here)

One of my greatest concerns with our current local government is lack of communication and accountability. During the past year I have emailed and made attempts to communicate with my local city officials on a number of things. Mayor Garwood's, Councilmember Smith and Orr are the only ones who even make attempts to communicate back. Bradley responded only once to my emails, when I called him out on his miss-information in the city newsletter. (See Here) But all other emails have gone unanswered. My own Legislator responds to phone calls and emails faster than Minster and Mattson and he receives hundreds of emails a day. It appears some of our council is used to people not attending meetings and expects issues to fade away quickly; therefore it is best to just keep silent. So to have Rick Westmorland go out of his way to communicate with me was impressive. He spent the previous weekend walking the streets with Nate Frost (Son of our former mayor Brent Frost) and his presence is become more and more visible.

Overall it was an amazing meeting with Mr. Westmorland and I wish him luck. As for who I am supporting, I am still undecided but the more info we can gather on this issue the better. Look for more posts soon on the upcoming election.

Rick Westmorland can be contacted at the following:

http://rick4mayor.com/

Facebook


Email: rickformayor2009@gmail.com

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who Will Be Mayor?

As many of you have seen the "sign war" has begun in South Ogden. Now people are beginning to decide who they will vote for in the upcoming election. Naturally people are asking me who I am voting for; therefore I will be putting together a simple voters guide to help you make that decision.
I will be sending the candidates emails and inviting them to answer a series of questions that can help you learn more about them. I will then post their responses here. If you have any questions who would like answers please feel free to email them to me. Use the link on the left side or post them as a comment here on the blog.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Who has filed for city council?

The Standard Examiner has compiled a list of who is running for the city council offices in South Ogden. As usual we will be preparing a full profile of each candidate to help all of us decide on who will be best. Of course each profile will be mingled with my own opinion of the candidate.

As predicted, Mayor Garwood will not be running for mayor this year and Vicki Mattson, John Bradley and Jim Minster are all going to be running for the big chair. You can see my last post here (See Here)

As for new comers the following are also running:

  • Rick Westmoreland - Mayoral Candidate
  • Russ Porter - Council
  • Lamont Camp - Council
  • Bryan Benard - Council
I know a couple of these candidates; so it will be fun to see how this race plays out. Only 2 seats are open for election this year. If you have any info, ideas or comments please post them or email me directly.

Let the games begin.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Who is running for City Council and Mayor?

It has been nearly a month since my last post. With the birth of a new child and other family obligations I am surprised at how little time I have to write. But I am happy to be at the computer this morning to talk about something I am passionate about--politics.

Who is running for office in South Ogden. As many of you know there are three city council seats open this election, which includes Mayor. I have had five people confirm to me that Mayor Garwood will not be running this time around and council member Vicki Mattson will be looking to replace him. Potentially a couple more city council members will throw their hats in. I would not be surprised to see Bradley or Minster go for the job as well.

Ms. Mattson and I have had our run ins in the past, but in the end we are always friendly to each other. I believe she has the understanding of South Ogden to do the job. But does she have the demeanor and leadership skills to make it happen?I have seen how she has treated constituents and other council members when she thinks know one is looking. Her leadership in my opinion has been lacking. I am yet to be convinced she would make a good mayor.

Hopefully we can gather more information and keep you all informed. The deadline is July 15th.

One final note: I have had many people, including some city council members, ask me if I am running for the council. Though I feel this is a great time to run for the council, I have decided not to run. With some recent obligations that have come forth, my time is now extremely limited and it would be unfair to my family. I have not been able to attend the last four city council meetings and expect to miss more with these obligations. Thank you to those who called in support.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Greg Haws for Weber County Treasurer

In today's Standard there was a great little article on the three candidates for Weber County Treasurer.  (See Here)

There are three qualified candidates pushing for the position: John Bond, Greg Haws and Darcy Kruitbosch.   But I have to put my public support behind Greg Haws.  This man is amazing when he is working with people.  He commands a certain type of respect when he enters a room and knows how to get things done.  I met Mr. Haws in 2004 and was impressed from the start.  He has worked tirelessly in personal life on numerous boards and committees, not to mention one of these is the State Board of Education.

He has the experience, the expertise and character needed to operate such a position as Weber County Treasurer effectively.

Greg Haws for Treasurer.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Standard Examiner Op-Ed - Missing info?

In today's Standard-X there is an interesting op-ed titled "Magical Thinking and Republican economics."   Mr. Patricio Ortega lays the blame of our economic crisis entirely on the Republican lead government from 2000-2006.  You have to love an author who insults his audience in the opening line.  Though he probably wrote this piece more to appeal to the liberal reader and make them proud to be a democrat.  I do not disagree many mistakes have been made by Republicans over the past eight years.  Many mistakes which only amplified and some ways caused many of the problems we are in today.  But I think we need to come down from Otrega's dream land and remember a couple points.

1.  Gramm-Leach-Biley Act.  Mr. Ortega lays blame to this peece of deregulation completely on the Republicans.  However he carefully omits that the Democrats Chris Dodd and Chuck Shummer saved this bill from demise.  The bill was struggling and was destined to fail.  The Democrats salvaged the bill and negotiated support for revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act.  The Community Reinvestment Act in itself pushed banks to lend more in lower-income areas and also added to our crisis. In end, Bill Clinton gladly signed both bills into law.

2. Commodity Futures Modernization Act.  Yes this is the act that allowed credit-default swaps to go unregulated.  Which was co-sponsored by democrats and republicans, then signed into law by...wait for it..President Bill Clinton.

Mr. Ortega's thesis is that Republican rule between 2000-2009 got us to the economy we are in.  Yet his first argument is about laws and acts that were created before 2000.  He completely omits serious problems in the Community Reinvestment Act and credit-default swaps have had on our economy. I am not saying his entire piece is wrong, nor am I saying Republicans didn't have a hand in the cookie jar.  But he should take a closer look at what really got us here.  No one side is fully to blame here and playing the name game (especially this late) isn't going to fix the problem.



Friday, May 15, 2009

Huntsman says goodbye...was he even here?

For sometime now newspapers and television have made note of Huntsman's disappearance here in Utah.   We have all assumed (and could still be right) he has been preparing a presidential campaign.  Today Channel 4 News  has confirmed Hunstman has been asked to be ambassador to China.  Well lets bring on Gary Herbert, at least until 2010.  In my opinion Gary doesn't have big shoes to fill. With the departure of Hunstman, all I can say is...where you really even here?

 Honestly, what did Huntsman do for us?  Where are all the Fortune 500 Companies he promised when he was first elected?  The cabinet shop he gave his first speech at in 2004 is now bankrupt.  Where is this 20 page economic plan he mailed to all the delegates in 2004? In reality after 4+ years of the Hunstman rule in Utah, I feel we have been used only for his political gain.  He played it safe and personally did nothing for us.  He rode the wave of our good Utah economy and is now out the door.  He has most recently began to rock the boat for himself as his true ideology has come forward.  Just in time for him to jump ship and move on.  What a waist of time.   He was our Governor and won the election, I respect that, but I didn't support his policies (if he had any). I think we will look back and forget he even was governor.  

Bring on Herbert and lets see what he can do.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Outrage in the Party

The Standard Examiner had a very interesting Op-Ed piece from Steve Olsen, the new Weber County Democratic Chairman and former Republican. (See Here) Mr. Olsen mentioned a number of things that have been on my mind as of late with regards to the GOP. I didn't agree with all of Mr. Olsen's opinions but I did agree with his feelings the party has moved towards outrage and hate.  I attended the Weber County GOP convention and chose to get involved in my Legislative District. But I have chosen not to post (until now) regarding my experience because of some inner feelings regarding what I experienced.
  
One constant theme of the meeting was of hate and outrage because of the Democratic majority in congress and our current president.  Though I may disagree with the Democratic philosophy, I do respect the fact they won their elections.  During Republican control we often played the part of the martyr.  Every time we were attacked, we responded "typical Democratic move to attack the other side."  We hinted to the idea we would never drop to their level.  Now the tables have turned and so has our attitudes.  This is part of Mr. Olsen argument, the party has begun changing for the worst. 

  I do not know Steve Olsen nor do presume to do so.  But I agree the outrage and hate I am hearing from my own party has made it frustrating.  Why does hate need to be theme of every meeting I attend or conversation I have?  Why can't it be messages of optimism or strategy to improve the Grand Old Party. 

Outrage has become the mother’s milk of movement conservatism. True believers can’t survive without their weekly dose of indignation.

Mr. Olsen sentences above are something that has really jumped out at me, for it is something I run into daily.  Why is this hate so prevalent?  I am reminded of what writer George Bernard Shaw said once, "Hatred is the cowards revenge for being intimidated."  Is the reason for such hatred because of intimidation from the other side?

Don't get me wrong.  I know vocal and forceful opposition is needed to help our cause grow. I am the first to criticize my leaders and say what I don't like, just read my blog. But there is a big difference between this and what I have seen as of late.  I have seen people yell and scream about evil and Satan in government.  How does this advance the party?  How does this advance our cause? I love the party and am happy to be apart of it.  Through college I considered myself a Democrat and moved more towards the middle as I moved to Ogden and a great man named Nolan Karras inspired me to full Republican membership.  His spirit of working together and analyzing the situation for a better party and government is what has kept me going.  

Our party needs to rise higher than before and stop hating if we are to succeed.  Saying this is easier said then done. We may be losing great Republicans and even some soon to be Republicans because of our hate and outrage.  Hate only spells failure in my book and I hope we are fighting for success.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Skateboard Ban Hits the big time.

South Ogden City Officials are now under the microscope because of top reporter Brian Mullahy from KUTV 2 news.  He has been investigating a story we have been blogging about for a number of months now.  The ridicules law of illegal skateboarding in South Ogden.  Last night he did a feature on the story and since has posted the full story online.  (See Here)

Mr. Mullahy has done a great job pointing out both sides of this silly argument and has left many to wonder if the the cities concerns have gone to far. Through his investigation he came across our humble blog post on which is worse in South Ogden.  (See Here)  He specifically mentions our blog and the fact South Ogden City code states that killing animals, public indecency, selling beer and fleeing from cops are all lesser crimes than skateboarding on city streets. South Ogden City Police are quick to point out the inaccuracy of the blog post stating killing animals is a felony under state law.  However at the time of our posting it was a Class B Misdemeanor, this law just recently changed and city books still state the city law.  Proving at the time, city officials felt skateboarding was worse than shooting an animal in city limits. 

I had the fortunate opportunity to speak with Council member Vicki Mattson about this issue on Wednesday and she personally told me she would like to come to a solution.  Ms. Mattson mentioned they have identified a few potential locations for possible skate park but funding is the issue. 

How about we stop building a $2 million basketball court that admittedly no one is going to use and instead build a skate park that hundreds of kids will use?  Just a thought.

Today about nine kids were skateboarding in our neighborhood, I was happy to let them keep skating and so was everyone else in our neighborhood.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

City Council Meeting 4-21-2009 / Standard Examiner and Illegal Skateboarding

Yesterday was our usual city council meeting here in South Ogden.  Before the meeting began a number of council members mentioned to me there was a larger than usual crowd for such a small agenda.  I was positive all of these kids were not there just for vote on the sale of the bond for the new gym facilities. I suspected they were hear to talk about skateboarding.  

 The majority of the days agenda was filled with the regular topics of ordinances and resolutions.  The sale of the bond for just under $2.1 million dollars at 3.9% rate was interesting but not nearly as interesting as the discussion at the beginning of the meeting.  When the time came for pubic comment a number of kids stood up to complain about the ridiculous law on skateboarding.  

See these posts:
Adam Peek, the owner of Decade Snow and Skate stood up to make some great arguments for removal of the ban.  For example, there are more kids moving towards skateboarding these days than are playing little league baseball.  As you can see from this August LA Times article, the World Series of Little League Baseball has seen a huge decline in baseball play to sports like skateboarding. Now kids are forced to skateboard only on sidewalks in our fair city. Because of the cracks in the sidewalk, skateboarding is now more dangerous for the bumps and cracks can cause the board to catch and tip over.

Super reporter Jamie Lampros, from the Standard Examiner, paid us a visit and spent some time with the skateboarders during and after the meeting.  Her top notch article can be found on the front page of today's Standard-X.  She is doing a great job shedding light on this topic and how silly this law is.  She reports a number of people are using their boards to get to school and work.  But because of the ban this is no longer a choice.
 “If I miss the bus, my only way to school is on my skateboard or longboard,” said South Ogden Junior High School student Slone Jensen-Vail.

   “I live in lower Uintah, and on my board, I can get to school in 30 minutes. If I have to walk, it’s going to take me two hours.”
The mayor has mentioned in previous meetings his motives for such a ban came from two sources.  First he was once flagged down on Glasman Way by a longboarder who wanted to grab on to his bumper.  Second a number of concerned citizens came to him and said they frustrated with skateboarders.  I wonder if it was the one concerned citizen from a previous city council meeting on August 26th 2008 (See Here). Well he has had nearly four visits from concern citizens regarding lifting this ban, he has showed no signs of change.  In the end, the mayor has mentioned before this is just a fad and it will all go away.  However this is not just a fad; skateboarding has been around for years and will continue to grow.  

Why can we not require skateboarders follow regular traffic laws like bicyclers and if they violate these laws cite them for reckless endangerment, etc.  But a complete ban on skateboarding is wrong and should be overturned.  Anyone and everyone who skateboards needs to come to every city council meeting and voice their concern.  Email all our council members here: Email City Council

Help to overturn this silly law!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Economy, South Ogden, Keynes vs. Friedman

South Ogden's economy has been on mind a lot lately. Recently we talked about the deficit spending South Ogden is headed for. Though most people are saying we are headed for better times and it may appear that is true. There is still much debate on the two schools of thoughts in economics. For those who took Econ 202 you will remember the ideas of John Maynard Keynes vs. Milton Friedman. In the previous years we have been attempting to follow the free-market ideas of Friedman. We are now following a Keynesian model of thinking. I have been in support of a mixture of these ideas for sometime but looming in the back of my mind has been the future consequences of our actions today. What will these be?  If what we are doing doesn't work, what will be the result?  The following article was in Bloomberg yesterday and got me thinking:

"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is siding with John Maynard Keynes against Milton Friedman by flooding the financial system with money.

If history is any guide, says Allan Meltzer, the effort will end in tears. Inflation "will get higher than it was in the 1970s," says Meltzer, the Fed historian and professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. At the end of that decade, consumer prices rose at a year-over- year rate of 13.3 percent.

Bernanke's gamble that the highest jobless rate in 25 years and the most idle factory capacity on record will hold down inflation is straight out of the late British economist Keynes. Should late Nobel-prize-winner Friedman's dictum that "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon" prove right, the $1 trillion or more in liquidity Bernanke has pumped into the financial system by expanding the Fed's balance sheet may leave him to cope with surging consumer prices.

So far, investors and economic data both back up the Bernanke-Keynes view. The market in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities as of April 6 indicated long-term inflation expectations of 2.5 percent, below the 2.8 percent average inflation rate of the past 10 years.


Again, it appears we are headed for success, but I am scared we could go too far and end up worse than before. How will this all turn out? I am personally preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. I am excited that South Ogden city has a lot of reserves left, nearly 18 percent. But the worst may yet have come. Spending our rainy day funds should not be done now. Instead we should trim our budget to balance.

Looking back to nearly five months ago, Councilman Bradley talked about how we are doing well and how we are on budget. Now we are headed for deficit spending. I am scared to death to see inflation of 13+ percent. I am hoping for the best; but now is not the time to spend our rainy day funds.