Saturday, January 31, 2009

$30 Million Back-fill into Higher Education

The 2009 budget is now balanced. I have to thank all of the legislators who worked hard to make this happen. It was not without pain I am sure. It is interesting to note a number of state agencies received a back-fill to help ease the pain of the cuts. Higher Education and our own Weber State were among the many that received the blessing of a back-fill.

Here is the breakdown for Higher Ed:
University of Utah$18,340,100$9,170,100$9,170,100
Utah State University$11,299,900$5,650,000$5,649,900
Weber State University$5,024,200$2,512,100$2,512,100
Southern Utah University$2,387,400$1,193,700$1,193,700
Utah Valley University$4,763,400$2,381,700$2,381,700
Snow College$1,547,700$773,900$773,800
Dixie State College$1,652,200$826,100$826,100
College of Eastern Utah$1,328,100$664,100$664,100
Salt Lake Community College$4,903,000$2,451,500$2,451,500

As you can see, half of all the cuts were back-filled. Meaning instead of a 7 percent cut now, we received a 3.5 percent. That is not the end, this back-fill is a onetime only situation. 2010 we will see these same 3.5 percent cuts. However, I am please with the legislatures work and I am glad to see Weber State will be getting at least $2.5 million back. Over all Higher Education will be getting $30,488,300 in back-fill.

You can see a full accounting of the budget here -

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Senate Site - Higher Education Rally Video

The Senate Site (See Here) has a nice little video from the student rally at the capitol. I have been very impressed with the Senate Site and all they are doing to keep us informed.

Check out the video and site here:

From the looks of the video and the eerily similar Obama sounding speech, the legislature is ready to put back half of the cuts proposed last week.

We will keep you posted.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Higher Education – Which Institution is more important?

Yesterday's Higher Education Appropriations Sub-Committee was filled with additional testimonials of why education should be protected. As the meeting went on, it was obvious battle lines were beginning to be drawn to protect one's own constituent institution of higher education. The two ideas drawn out of the committee now head into today's Executive Appropriation meeting. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Rep. Brent Wallis, from our own District 10, was very vocal about returning money back to higher education in a fair and equitable manner. There is a potential of a nearly 3.5 percent (or less) "put back" of funds to higher education before we are done with this legislative session. Rep. Wallis has been encouraging his colleagues to put the money back where it came from pro-rata. If we took 3.5 percent from Weber, give them 3.5 percent back. Everyone's portion would be the same. It appeared he has rallied a lot of support from a number of other legislators on the methodology of giving institutions back what they put in (or gave up). Since the money has been removed pro-rata it should be returned so.

The challenge comes from institutions with smaller budgets or higher enrollment. The 7 percent cut is devastating to small schools like College of Eastern Utah. It is also tough on schools like Dixie and UVU whom have seen huge growth and would need more than 3.5 percent back to fund that growth. A number of legislatures want funds for their institutions based on this rational. Rep. Daw (Orem, R) has argued the institution he represents [UVU] has the most enrollment in the state and deserves extra funds. Essentially he would be against a pro-rata system of putting the money back.

It is easy to see why a pro-rata system would be beneficial and fair to the every institution. Giving money based on certain parameters or priorities would be unfair. Weber State (like other schools) is facing huge layoffs. With a pro-rata system they are cut the same and will get the same back, hence savings jobs and programs. If we went away with the pro-rata system and Weber State is not high on the priority list because enrollment is lower than Dixie, UVU, U of U and Utah State, Weber could get only 1 percent back. That is a loss we cannot afford. Push for the pro-rata "put back: of funds.

I welcome a health discussion and comments on the topic.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If you wear “Hip-Hop Clothing” – Watch out for Greiner!

Senator Greiner is hoping for a victory as his Senate Bill 16 (See Bill here), Prohibited Gang Activity, pushes through the Senate with little opposition. Though not out of the Senate quite yet, it is one step closer. The Standard Examiner snagged a Daily Herald article on Sen. Greiner's bill this morning. Chief Greiner was more than willing to explain how they would know if people were in a gang, what is the key indicator—Hip Hop Clothing. (See Article Here)

Under SB 16, some officers would receive extra training in identifying gang members. In addition to using a gang registry, Greiner says officers would also use things like tattoos and "hip-hop clothing" to identify gang members."

This represents half the kids in my neighborhood! Seriously, can we not see the civil liberties that are being violated by such a bill? On top of that, we need special training to identify gang related hip-hip clothing. Half the students that will be rallying at the capitol this week will be wearing "Hip-Hip Clothing." What will they do with them? Is Greiner gone make the capitol a gang free zone? As soon as someone protests at the capitol, police can just checking the shirt label for a hip-hop design and force him out. This legislation can easily be abused and is unconstitutional.

Since my Senator is Jon Greiner, I will urge my Rep. to vote against the bill.

Sherriff Slater and the Tale of the Two SWAT Teams

I had wonderful chat in the office of Sherriff Brad Slater (just Brad, as he likes to be called). We discuss at length the concerns of the two SWAT teams in the Weber County/Ogden area. He passed on some enlightening information about a situation that appears to go way back. I have to thank Mr. Slater for taking the time to talk and help us understand why there are two SWAT Teams and what that means to each of us.

To begin, let's give a little back ground. Sometime ago, the Weber County Sherriff's office was in need of SWAT team to help with internal issues, like the Jail, County Court House, etc. Mr. Slater explained they formed the SWAT team to accomplish those internal duties and avoid charging cities for county related issues; in addition Ogden City Metro SWAT didn't want to contract to do them. As time has gone on and two SWAT teams have worked near each other. Ideas began to circulate they could possible share resources, supplies, equipment, etc. What a great cost cutting measure! However not everyone has seen it that way. Instead certain people are beginning to feel territorial about their SWAT. A feeling of one SWAT is trying take over the other has begun to circulate. These feelings have filtered down into individual police departments and local government. AS a result, we have two City Councils in the Weber County area that have passed resolutions to not contract with Weber County SWAT. (See South Ogden here and Riverdale here) The interesting thing to point is Weber County SWAT never wanted to contract with them in the first place. At most they had hoped to be a back up to Ogden SWAT when they needed them. But Ogden SWAT's back up is Layton; so this arrangement has never materialized. Why did these cities preemptively strike against Weber County SWAT? PRIDE!

South Ogden City appears to be caught up in an internal political war over who has the better team. This also appears to have stirred up some old feelings about previous issues, including talk of South Ogden City Police merging with Weber County Sherriff's Office. When Washington Terrace Police merged, rumors of a merger floated around South Ogden. The Mayor and Chief Shupe have been against this and the issue died. But the feeling of another agency overstepping its bounds was felt, even though nothing ever took place, and these feelings appear to have been resurrected in the SWAT issue.

Conclusion: I fully understand the reasoning behind two SWAT teams and why Riverdale City and South Ogden City are making statements they will not contract with Weber County SWAT.

Concern: How much is the internal turf war costing tax payers? If both SWATs exist in our area and are using similar or the same equipment; why can't they share and work together? Why are we contracting with Layton and sending money to another city or county? Can't we all just get along?

Thanks again to Brad Slater for taking the time to talk.

Comments welcome on this crazy topic.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Update on Higher Education - Thanks Rep. Wallis.

I had a great conversation with Rep. Brent Wallis today with regards to my last post on education cuts. He informed me the meeting ended with the approval of the proposed 7.5 percent cuts. Good to know since the recording was cut off.

As we discussed the options to help higher education, the esteemed Representative explained now is not the time to deplete our rainy day funds until we know where the bottom is. One suggestion I mentioned was my experience at Dixie State. President Huddleston, former Dixie President, asked all the staff to teach freshman orientation and capstone classes for free. Then he asked all faculty to teach a class for free. He even started teaching accounting courses for free. It was a huge budget reduction in 2002.

Overall it was a productive and informative conversation, thanks Rep. Wallis.

Where do we go from here? Well the proposal now heads to the executive appropriation committee and then on to the legislature. I will keep the readers posted as to the progress of this issue.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How much? Higher Education looks at a 7.5% budget cut.

In a particularly interesting Higher Education appropriation sub-committee meeting, held last week, a budget cut was proposed for 7.5 percent. The original motion was made by our own Rep. Brent Wallis. Though I feel Co-chairman Valentine pushed him into the motion and that was not his original comment, the motion was made. The motion was later substituted and disappeared into thin air. (Gotta love Robert's Rules of Order) Before a new motion was made a 10 minute recess was called. Unfortunately since I listened to the meeting via podcast, we were not blessed to hear what happened. However there were three great things I would like to point out.

  1. Besides his motion to cut education, Mr. Wallis had a great comment about our economic times and the future of Higher Education.

He said, "We must go forward as a committee and put forward a very very strong case of how important higher education is going to be. These elements that we are trying to save within these cuts will in fact help us stimulate or start the economic revival we are looking forward to. That is the message we need to really get across. We are losing a lot of talent here; this talent can help us turn around the economy"

I couldn't agree with Rep. Wallis more. But can a 7.5 percent cut accomplish this. Wallis was pushed into that motion and should have backed out and let someone else make it. Because that kind of motion doesn't represent what he said in the meeting about fighting for education.

  1. Rep. Senator Urquhart had a great idea of prioritizing schools based on enrollment growth. The schools with the most growth would receive less of a cut versus the schools with the least growth would receive the most cuts. Great idea that should be looked at even closer. Some potential problems would be schools like CEU in Price. That could be the nail in the coffin for them. (I don't see why they are still open anyways). As a matter of full disclosure, the good senator was quick to point out the school in his district, my Alma Mater—Dixie State College, has had the highest growth. The fact still remains that his idea has merit.

  2. The Governor's budget, though already out of balance to the tune of nearly $100 million, suggests that moneys be pulled from road projects and other state programs to reduce the cut to 3.5 percent. Many people loved this idea, but since the Governor's budget is already out of sync, it would need further debate as the proposals moved on.

You have to give credit to the Utah Student Association for coming out to speak their case and to the Commissioner of Higher Education for his "sales pitch" to reduce the cuts. But in the end it wasn't enough. How did the committee vote? Well they never turned the microphones back on after the recess so we are all deprived of the results. I have been checking newspaper feeds and have an email into Rep. Wallis, but I haven't heard.

The Tribune had a "doom and gloom" article on the topic with regards to Weber State, you can see it here, (Weber State's President Battles Deep Cuts)

As always, comments are welcome.

Why Two SWAT Teams in Ogden?

Yesterday I received an email and a phone call from the Weber County Sheriff's Department regarding my posts on the Ogden Metro SWAT and Weber County SWAT. What ever I have been posting has peeked some interest, see the email below:

Mr. Marklund:

I had a deputy advise me that you posted some information about the Ogden Metro and Weber SWAT teams.You have made some interesting observations and comments that I would like to speak with you about if you have the time or interest. Have a great day.

Brad W. Slater
Weber County Sheriff
Sheriff Slatter and I have set an appointment for next week to get to the bottom of this issue. I will keep you all posted.

You can you read all my SWAT posts here: (See Here)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

City Council Meeting 1-20-2009 Rates to stay high!

At our city council meeting last Tuesday we were enlightened with a visit from the Weber Sewer District about the proposed rate hike. The representative chosen to come before the gauntlet of questions and concerns did his best to put us at ease. The District's reasoning for a new plant seems to make sense but there could be a flaw that will insure your rates go up and stay up forever.

As the financial director of the Central Weber Sewer District spoke with regards to the methodology of the need of a new plant; he explained that the current plant, which has lasted 50 years, is no longer capable in meeting the EPA requirements for the water it treats and puts back into the Weber River. Over the years they have expanded and improved the plant with current technology to keep it up to standards; however they have reached the end. Though it is still useable and new plant will need to be built to accommodate more water and meet the EPA standards. This will cost a hefty sum totaling $140 Million. To pay for this bond, the cost will fall on the individual cities that use the Weber Sewer District, which is everyone. They [the city] in turn will collect the money from the individual citizen or water user. Though it seems the District has done its homework contracting multiple engineering firms to review and re-review the material in a two year study, it is interesting to note that this new plant has a life expectance of only 25 years. On that same note, the bond will take 25 years to be paid off. If you have already done the math in your head, you will see what I am seeing. As soon as we pay for it, it will be time for a new one. if we are going to raise our rates for a new plant, seems like we should build one that will last 50 years like our current one, instead of 25 years.

There were plenty more goodies from Tuesday's city council meeting; especially since it was over two hours long (a six month record). A heated discussion, which I participated in, came forward about capital drained Alliance Credit Union putting a mobile branch (aka trailer) in South Ogden to build a customer base. In addition the skate park came up a number of times. The mayor promised to bring it up in their next planning session and start working on a new skate park. We will see how that goes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Weber State facing layoffs. 55 faculty members could be cut!

During the recent Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting last Tuesday, the future of Utah's higher education system took a turn for the worse. Having sat on a board of trustees, I have known a few college presidents and board of regent members; therefore I can imagine the feeling in the room as these cuts were being discussed. Overall, higher education will be taking a major hit with cuts of 7.5 percent (plus the 4 percent from last September) and these could go even higher.

Anne Milner, Weber State President, spoke at the meeting about how this will affect our local university. President Milner laid out her defense starting with the pros of Weber State, mentioning their goal has been to try to make sure programs meet the needs of the community. This reflects the fact that over 20 percent of Weber grads are in health professions with most staying in Utah. However since the September cuts, Weber has had a hiring freeze and as a result has eliminated 38 positions. In addition they have postponed capital projects, like a 55 year old boiler replacement.

President Milner continued by explaining how Weber State would handle the proposed 7.5 percent cut, she said, "This will be very hard." Weber will be looking to eliminate all working capital projects and cancel every capital expenditure including emergency maintenance. (This would cause a problem when the state audits the university every year for maintenance issues.) Next there would be a staff furlough to eliminate costs. However the worst will be a 10 million dollar cut in the Weber State budget, eliminating up to 150 positions. 60 percent of these positions will be eliminated via layoffs! Yes you heard it--layoffs; including 95 staff members and 55 faculty members. In a time with record enrollment numbers, people who need education, and the need for more teachers, we will be cutting teachers. Does this make sense?
President Milner concluded, "We need to balance the needs of the state both in the short term and in the long term. We need to make sure we are not doing things that will cause harm to the long term ability to meet the business needs of the community and increase economic development."
One of the best economic plans people can have at this time is a J-O-B! If higher education is the way to this job keep higher education, ATC's, and public education away from the cuts. According to the subcommittee it is reported Utah schools saw a 12,000 enrollment increase and is expected to see a higher enrollment in 2009. So why are we making it harder for people to go to school? It was mentioned during the 1980's recession, the legislature did everything it could to hold cuts from higher education.

11.5 percent in cuts is too high! The economy of Ogden cannot afford to lose potential accreditation of programs, jobs, and students.

Hold Higher Ed harmless!

Let's put our heads together and find away to avoid such drastic cuts.

You can listen to the entire meeting and future meetings at this link

Comments welcome.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Meeting with the City Manager

A couple of weeks ago the city manager, Scott Darrington, came up to me during a city council meeting. He mentioned he reads my blog from time to time and would like to meet. The day of our meeting came on Monday and we spent a good hour talking about South Ogden, blogging, communication and more. It was a great conversation and worth the time.

Scott mentioned the cities concern for better communication in the community.  We discussed ways that can improve and how we can keep people engaged in local government.  There was a long discussion with regards to our gym space issue and we really got down to the specifics.  Most residents would love to see a huge gym with a pool, but as Mr. Darrington has research this just isn't viable.  The cost related to something like this would be enormous.  Plus pools go out of style quickly.  In five years people would trade up on our pool for one that has all the new features.  In the end the city council opted for smaller and less expensive projects to increase recreation in the city.  That is how the gym space in connection with the new South Ogden Jr. High came into place.  Though I am still concerned about tax increases, it is starting to sound like a good idea.

Interestingly he told me he respects the free speech of everyone and it doesn't matter what I write on my blog.  Which I think is a smart road to take in these matters.  Hopefully between Scott's blog, the city website and my blog we can get more people involved in South Ogden and Weber County government.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Here come the cuts

A large amount of blogs and news articles will be dedicated to the proposed budget cuts.  From my post yesterday I will just say the folllowing:  I hope the legislature can find a way to hold education harmless from the cuts.  There are dozen options on the table, from firing 1,542 higher education employees, canceling a day of school, etc.

Here are a few articles to help understand the topic:

Education is our key for the future, don't cut education.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Don't Cut Education - Standard Examiner Editorial

As we head into the new legislative session and prepare for Gov. Huntsman's budget proposal, there will be much talk about what needs to but cut.  I recently commented that I felt the highest priorities to the state are education.  Public and Higher education are the future of this state and we must do what we can to encourage it.  Weber State's Associate Dean of Economics, Dr. Clifford N0well, has stated Weber State sees an increase in enrollment during tougher economic times.   Therefore now is the time we should encourage people to attend not cut their chances of learning.  

The Standard Examiner's most recent editorial talks about this same issue.  (See Here) They very appropriately point out we are already last in per pupil spending.  The editorial reports that we currently spend $5,964 per student, compare this to the national average of $9,963.  To cut this even more would be drastic to the future of Utah.  These are the future tax payers and workers of this state, the economic future of Utah.  Don't damage our future by destroying the present, especially where education is the present to our future.   As for Weber State, the editorial makes light of the fact Weber State is the only accredited school in accounting.  To cut funds and potentially lose this accreditation  could be disastrous

We have tough decisions to make in 2009, lets pool our resources to limit the cuts to education and our future.  Thanks to the Standard Examiner for a great editorial.  Contact your legislature and ask them to protect education from future budget cuts.  You can find your legislator by following this link:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

South Ogden City Manager speaks out on Sewer Rate Increase

South Ogden City Manager, Scott Darrington, has added a great post to his blog with regards to the rate increase we will all see on our next utility bill. (See Here) Blogger Darrington has done a great job outlining each element of the rate hike and why. There are still some decisions to be made on how this increase will affect the average user. To fully understand the rate increase it is helpful to know how your bill is paid.  Darrington does a great job of explaing this:

"When a resident pays their utility bill a portion of that is for sewer (amongst water, storm drain, and garbage). The sewer portion of your bill is calculated in two ways. The first is a base fee in which no matter how much usage you have that portion of the fee remains the same. The second is based on your water usage. Almost all water usage indoors ends up in the sewer. Therefore the more water you use the more effluent you put into the sewer system. Therefore the more sewage put into the system causes your sewer bill to he higher."

Based on the above rational, you possible could place a variable rate on the usage fee, the more you use, the higher the rate.  Then you would only be charging those who use water, instead of those who don't use.  I am positive Mr. Darrington and his team is considering all options and will come with a great plan.  To find out more attend the public meeting on January 20th at 6 pm.

Central Weber Sewer District Rate Increase - By Scott Darrington

Friday, January 9, 2009

Rep. Brent Wallis & 2009 Legislative Survey

Yesterday I received my 2009 Legislative Survey from Rep. Brent Wallis. If you couldn't tell from the first paragraph, the Utah GOP paid for the mailing.  I am very excited that Rep. Wallis is doing everything he can to reach out and learn more of what his constituents feel are priorities. In the survey we are asked to rank our economic priorities for the state and answer questions regarding ethics, immigration and health care reform,etc. My wife and I sat down (since it was addressed to our household) and answered the following:

  • List your Priorities from 1 to 10
  1. Public Education
  2. Higher Education
  3. Transportation
  4. Economic Development
  5. Health care
  6. Public Safety
  7. Environmental Quality
  8. Rainy Day Funds
  9. Tourism
  10. Illegal Immigration
  • How should fill the gap for future road projects
  1. Borrow by bonding
  • Economic Stimulus suggestions
  1. Borrow money to keep road projects going and lower taxes (Counter Cyclical Policies)
  • Prioritize ethic reforms
  1. Personal use of campaign funds.
  2. One year ban before a legislator becomes a lobbyist.
  3. Campaign contribution limits.
  4. Gift ban.
  5. More timely campaign contribution disclosures.
  • Support or Oppose laws for more stringent measures to combat illegal immigration.
  1. Oppose
  • Support or Oppose laws for domestic partnership rights (i.e medical care) for same-sex couples.
  1. Support 
  • How do you feel about health care reform.
  1. We are leaned towards Employer Purchased and Optional Coverage
  • Support or Oppose loosening Utah Liquor laws
  1. Support
  • Support or Oppose legislation for my assessments of property values.
  1. Support

They have also asked for our email addresses, which I hope they will use in the future. Online surveys can be setup very easy and cheaply. In the future he could use those email addresses he has collected to save the GOP money.

On the back side of the survey Brent Wallis announces a town hall meeting on February 12th at 6:30 pm at the South Ogden City Hall. This will be a must attend for South Ogden to meet your representative and discuss the issues of District 10.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another City distances itself from the new Weber County SWAT

Riverdale City says NO to using the Weber County SWAT Team. South Ogden has done the same! Who is next? As I mentioned in my blog on 12/2/2008 (See Here), South Ogden city was puzzled with the request to use the newly formed Weber County SWAT. They have instead decided to stick the old reliable Ogden Metro SWAT. In small sidebar article, the Standard Examiner is reporting another city has pulled away from the new Weber County SWAT.
"RIVERDALE — The city council has chosen to continue its relationship with the Ogden Metro SWAT team, despite Weber County’s breaking off from the organization. Police Chief Dave Hansen said the city has never used the SWAT team, but there is a high likelihood of needing it in the future and the agreement will allow the city to use its services without incurring extra costs."
Is this the beginning of more cities pulling away from the SWAT team? As I pointed out back on December 2nd, why are we paying for two SWAT teams? The Ogden Metro SWAT team and it's backup the Layton SWAT team are doing just fine. Has the Weber County SWAT team tried to over step its bounds only to find closed doors?

How many cities have to pull out for Weber County to throw in the towel?

The floor is open for discussion.

South Ogden Audit Report Presentation

From a previous city council meeting on 12-16-2008 (See Here) a presentation was given by the city auditors.  On the way out I asked if the presentation would be made available for the public to review.  They told me they would do their best to have the presentation posted to the city website. I was pleasantly surprised to see it posted online for all to see and download.  The final documents have not been posted yet.  However you can review the PowerPoint used in the presentation. (See Here) - Also I have added a new downloads section to the blog.  You can download important documents as they come available.

Interesting note: unlike other cities, South Ogden gets a huge chunk of change from property taxes.  Nearly 23 percent of revenue comes from property taxes alone.  But sales taxes are still the big winner for the cash.  31 percent of all revenue comes from sales taxes.  If we continue to see sales tax revenue drop in 2009 this could hit us hard.  There won't be room to take this out of property taxes; especially if South Ogden raises our property taxes to pay for a rec center gym facility.

On the last slide you can compare South Ogden with other cities like Riverdale, Clearfield, West Point and Washington Terrace. (See example below)

Conclusion: as of June 30th, 2008 the city is in good shape and doing well.  It will be interesting to see how we are doing in the coming months.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Councilwoman Sallee Orr sticks to her guns! City Council Meeting – 1/6/2009

South Ogden City Council meeting wasn't as eventful as some of our past ones. Besides the large amounts of Boy Scouts that attended the meeting and Mayor Garwood jokingly calling Councilwoman Vicki Mattson "the biggest cheater on the council,"(because she always gives the scouts the answers to Garwood's trivia questions), most of the focus was centered around vacating of an easement on Fashion Point Dr. for some signage. Councilwoman Sallee Orr had a lot of good questions. She questioned why so many signs were needed, the purpose of the signs and how the signs looked. In the end she expressed her concerns of having so many signs. I was proud to see her stick to her guns and vote no on the ordinance; especially since everyone else voted yes before here. Final vote 4 to 1 in favor.

The condescending looks that Councilwoman Vicki Mattson gave when Sallee Orr asked questions during the meeting amazed me. I thought she [Vicki] was going to start laughing at one point, but instead she just rolled her eyes. This is not the first time I have seen her do this. It appeared most of the council was puzzled as to why Ms. Orr would be questioning the ordinance. It also seems the council becomes annoyed when Ms. Orr questions the issues brought up at many of the council meetings. I can't stress enough how I am impressed I am with Sallee Orr and her questions. She seems to really be taking her job serious and studying the issues at hand. On more than one occasion Sallee Orr has caught spelling errors, problems, and incorrect information in the city ordinances and paperwork. She seems to always be looking for ways to improve the community. We are lucky to have her on the council.

As for future meetings, January 20th is a public hearing on our sewer rate jump. Be prepared to hear why your rate is going nearly 120+ percent. On February 3rd will be our public hearing for the rec center gym facility. Scott Darrington is of the opinion that not everyone will care about the tax increase. He said, "When you talk to people about the tax increase some people might not like the idea, but some people might not have a problem with it". However why do we need to ask for public for comments when people have already responded in the 2007 survey the council commissioned. (See Here). 64 percent of South Ogden residents do not want to see a tax increase for a rec center gym facility.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Gov. Leavitt had nothing to do with it?

The Standard Examiner had an interesting editorial this morning about President Bush and his expansion of the medical clinics in the United States. (See Here).

The editorial was obviously very pro-President Bush, however I was surprised it made no mention to the President's Secretary of Health and Human Services—Former Governor Mike Leavitt. I think it hard to put all of the success of the creation and expansion of medical clinics in the United States without giving some credit to our former Governor. Personally I saw Mr. Leavitt on C-Span a couple of times talking with Congress or other American Citizens. I was very impressed with how he took charge of his job. From where I sit, Governor Leavitt had a much bigger role in expanding and creating more medical clinic than the President did. Any program of such magnitude would more than likely have originated in the HHS office and then proposed to the President. Any legislation, regarding funding, would have been written by people who worked in the HHS office in connection with legislators. The Standard Examiner editorial missed an opportunity to not only praise the President but to praise Utah's former Governor for his accomplishments too.

On that same note, the Deseret News had a nice piece on Gov. Leavitt and his future. (See Here)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Standard Re-Examiner Recycles South Ogden Letter

The Standard Examiner has done something interesting today.  They took a letter to the editor they published on their Live online addition (See My Post Here) four days ago. They now have finally published it in the regualar paper (See Here).  Kind of odd to Re-Examine your own letter to the editor.  I am wondering if they thought we would notice.  

Well it was a great letter to the editor I am glad to see it twice.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Rep. Brent Wallis Committee Assignments

This maybe 100 percent political geekiness, but I am excited for the upcoming legislative sessions. I am particularly interested to see what our new Representative will bring to the stage. Rep. Brent Wallis brings lots of business and education experience to the legislative stage; therefore I was pleased to see he has been put on the following committees:

  • Business and Labor Standing Committee.
  • Transportation Standing Committee.
  • Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

With his time at the Weber ATC and the Chamber of Commerce his knowledge should come in very handy. How they decide who is put on what committee is a mystery to me, but I think with this upcoming year, recession, budget cuts, etc, each of these committees will have plenty to discuss. I can't think of a better person to represent our district. Good Luck Rep. Wallis on your first legislative session.

To see the full committee assignments see here: (Standing
Committee) and (Subcommittee)