Monday, April 12, 2010

Chief Shupe wins award.


The Standard Examiner reporter Carlos Mayorga reports our own Chief Val Shupe and Interim City-Manager has won the Utah Police Chief of the Year award. This is a nice article showing the accomplishments of Mr. Shupe and what he has done for our shining city. It is a nice read and worth the look.


Congrats Chief Shupe.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

This Side of Eden, by Derrick St. James - Book Review

My wife and children mean everything to me. As I go through my life my greatest fear would be to lose them or to be separated from them. I believe if you asked my wife, the same would be for her. Being the father of two children and married to an amazing woman means you have to worry about these things. At the same time you do everything in this life to protect and show your love for them. Derrick St. James in his new book, This Side of Eden, explores my greatest fear of being separated and potentially losing my family.
A young father on a cruise with his family through Alaska finds himself in his worst nightmare. On an excursion to view the Alaskan glaciers, the pilot suffers a stroke causing the plan to crash. This father and his daughter Izzie are the only survivors and are now challenged with the great cause of survival. As the reality of their situation sets in and he has to decide between living and dying; he begins to reflect on his marriage and shares with Izzie the love story of his life—Eden.
He shares with her his most powerful memories of his wife, how they came to meet, break ups, marriage, vacations and having a child. As he reflects on his marriage, and dissects the mistakes he has made in life; the stories somehow draw new life into his weak body and give him the will to survive. Before long he decides to take his daughter on a challenging and daring attempt at rescue.
I was moved deeply by this book, the ages of my children are close to that of Izzie and it brought my own fears to the forefront. As the father searches for food in a freezing cold lake and salvages what he can from the plane wreckage I imagined myself in that position and what I do. I am prepared enough to survive a disaster such as this? Would have the strength and will that he does?
What made me read the book and not put it down was how it forced me to explore my own relationships and realize how much I love my family. Each page turned made want to know more about their love and their survival. More than once I stopped reading to tell my wife I loved her and to kiss my children. Each chapter leaves you in suspense as to what will happen next as Mr. St. James jumps from love story to Alaskan wilderness and then back again.
Derrick St. James has written an instant classic for me, one that I will read again and share with many others. Make sure you have a box of tissues and your family nearby; you will need them both at some point a promise.
Finally, in the ending, our hero of a father comes to realize what his purpose is and what it means to be father and to love Eden.
This Side of Eden can be purchased on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/This-Side-Eden-Derrick-James/dp/1448606632

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Final Results and Thoughts

The Standard Examiner reporter Di Lewis has written a nice summary of today's Weber County Convention. You can find the post here: See Here She outlines the final results for us, but for those not wanting to click the link you can see it here:

    1. Weber County Treasurer
      1. Darcy L. Kruitbosch 176 34.92%
      2. John B. Bond (I) 328 65.08%
    2. Weber County Clerk/Auditor
      1. Ricky Hatch 322 63.76%
      2. Alan D. McEwan (I) 183 36.2%
    3. Weber County Sheriff
      1. Brett R. Haycock 167 33.2%
      2. Terry L. Thompson 336 66.8%
    4. Weber County Commissioner
      1. Kerry W. Gibson 377 74.95%
      2. Kenneth A. Bischoff (I) 126 25.05%

With 98% attendance, you can tell people are very excited to be involved in politics. I was amazed at the atmosphere and level of participation. Though we had the usual lame resolutions during the last half, the majority of the meeting was great and well worth the time. The attendance to Leg District 10's meeting was nearly 98% as well and very exciting. I expect this summer to be a fun time for politics.

Thanks all for reading and for your comments.


LIVE: Voting Results

Straw Poll: US Senate Straw Poll
  • Bennett 22.75%
  • Eagar 27.68%
  • Lee 32.19%
Weber County Candidates:
  • Jon Bond Treasurer wins nomination with over 60%
  • Ricky Hatch Clerk/Auditor wins nomination with over 60%
  • Terry Thompson Sheriff wins nomination with over 60%
  • Kerry Gibson Commissioner nomination wins with over 60%

NO PRIMARY! Holy Cow man, crazy stuff. I will post final totals soon. I wasn't allowed to tweet from inside the room but it was awesome!

LIVE: Local Candidate Speeches - Weber County Republican Convention.

Jan Zogmaister - County Commissioner - She wants feedback from everyone so she can give us what is important. On the website they have listed their goals for the next 4 years and want all of us to look and give feedback and how we can improve it.

Ernest D. Rowley - County Recorder/Surveyor - Reducing our costs by $4,000 a year by moving to a paperless system. Made many policy changes to make recording titles easier and more efficient.

John Ulibarri - Assessor - Talking about the things he has done to save us money and also that he wants our respect.

Darcy Kruitbosch - Treasurer - Husband is introducing her. Has 18 years experience and doesn't ask for endorsments. We should change people when we are still happy with them, not when we are made with them. Invoked the memory of Thomas Jefferson.

Jon Bond - Treasurer - Nila Dayton nominated him. Jon says he has kept our money safe, refinanced our bonds to drop our tax burden by $1.3 million and received a AAA Bond Rating. Only one of three counties that have this. Reduced printing cost by $20,000 for tax notices.

Clerk/Auditor - Ricky Hatch - Top Priority - Make Election Process the best in the state and improve Audit system to ensure no money is lost. - Masters in Account with 18 years experience. Just called Auditor and Clerk as Sexy Office.

Clerk/Auditor - Alan D McEwan - Incumbent Auditor, 30 year CPA and has three points. 1. Experienced in all functions, 2. Don't use tax payers money to find projects 3. balanced the budget.

Sheriff - Brett Haycock - 23 years experience in the Sheriff's office, thanking former sheriffs for helping him get to where he is today. Thanking everyone, family, etc. Lots of thanks. Saying "I WILL" a lot, sounds like an Obama "YES WE CAN" speech.

Sheriff - Terry Thompson - Sheriff Slater endorses Mr. Thompson for the 28th Sheriff of Weber County. Loves Law Enforcement, wants to protect us. Let us do the right thing for the right reasons.

Commissioner - Kerry Gibson Introduced by all his kids and wife. Knows hard work because of his youth on a dairy farm. Nothing can be accomplished without reaching across divides. As a former legislator he knows how to do this. will never vote for a wage increase nor a tax increase.

Commissioner - Bischoff - Endorsed by Craig Deardan. Very emotional and sounds defeated. Says he lobby ed for the triple A bonds and consolidated the 911 services and building services to lower costs.

LIVE: Governor Candidate Speeches - Weber County Republican Convention

Richard Martin - Talking about a potential Future Financial Meltdown and that we need to be more prepared. He owns a financial services company and thinks Utah is not on track and that he should take control to help us earn more money and be the richest state in the country.

Daniel Van Oaks Jr. - Is talking about Government for the People and is putting me to sleep at the same time. He is also thinks we can randomly pick people off the street and do a better job in government. He is trained to be governor in the private sector.

SuperDell Schanze - No Show

Gov Herbert - Explaining the cuts we have made to make our system more efficient and how he is managing the budget. Pew Foundation says we are the best managed state and Forbes says we are the best for Business.

LIVE: Congressional Candidate Speeches

Mike Ridgway - says he is on a mission and is talking about standing up for Nancy Lord. Not sure where he is going with this

Rob Bishop -Rob Bishop - We are not the part of "NO" we are the party of "HELL NO. I love it!
Using my position to put pressure on the government so we can control the boards and control the problems. Returns to the Constitution. He is now the chairman of the 10th Amendment Committee.

LIVE: Senate Candidate Speeches at Weber County Republican Convention

Tim Bridgewater: Cut spending dramatically and remove the ear marks. He will protect the boarders.

Merrill Cook: Talking about Banking and his time on the Banking committee. He is giving his a history lesson of what has happened over the past 12 months. Like we didn't notice.

Leonard J Fabiano - I won't take any money...nice try on that one dude.

David Y. Chiu and Cherilyn Eager are no shows - lame, I guess you are not serious.

Jeremy Friedbaum - Wasted our time! He got up and used this is a chance to call Senator Bennett to the table and wanted everyone to make a statement to vote him out.

Mike Lee - Talking about the American Revolution and how we were under tyranny by a government that wouldn't recognize the colonies and their laws. He is making the comparison of then to now.

Senator Bennett - says, "If I believed all the things about me, I wouldn't vote for me either." He explained all the Republican Accomplishments when they were in charge. Who will be the best equipped to handle the changes of the future. He said, "Rivers of cash into the budget because of "our" tax cuts."


LIVE: Weber County Convention Update

10:33 am - Rules Adopted, Motioned and Seconded. (yeah we started that late)

10:35 am - Amended Agenda passed with Hatch speaking first

10:35 am - 574 Possible Delegates - 507 in place.

10:38 am - Senator Hatch Speaks - Makes sure we all know his wife attends the temple. Very passionate speech about preserving America. He is invoking a lot of motion talking about terrorists and Obamacare.


LIVE: Weber County Convention Can't Start on Time

I am sorry, but people go out of their way to be here. Show us some respect and start on time. I don't care if people aren't in their seats, start. Half of the people who should be on stage are just taking their dear sweet time. Nearly 15 minutes late! Come on Matt Bell.

LIVE: Attending the Weber County Republican Convention


One of the more festive conventions I have been to in awhile. This really has brought back memories of the 2004 Gubernatorial Campaigns. Lots of people, lots of signs and it is looking great. I have worked the crowd and seen who I want to see so now we are just waiting for the convention to start.

Mike Lee and Terry Thompson seem to be the big names of today. They have lots of signs and scores of people wanting to talk to them.

Will keep you posted.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Annual South Ogden Easter Egg Hunt














Today was the annual South Ogden Easter Egg Hunt. Once again South Ogden put on a quality event. Lots of people ventured out in the snow and cold to hunt for eggs. I am always amazed at how many people attend the event. My kids had a great time! Councilperson Orr was there helping out with the worlds scariest looking Easter Bunny. Was able to see lots of great friends and South Ogden neighbors.




Friday, April 2, 2010

Reader Notes: My Visit with Senator Bennett

One of our faithful readers and state delegates had an opportunity to listen to Mr. Bob Bennett and he has passed on his notes of the meeting. Remebmer these are his notes and not necessarily my opinion; however I thought they were worth reading:

Thanks Michael!
HEALTH
--------------------------------------------------------------------

He wanted to put to rest any concerns about his age or health. He is
currently 76 years old and says he is in perfect health. He said his
father lived to be 96 and his mother lived to be 95. I can confirm
that he was very energetic both physically and mentally and seemed
much younger than he was. He is also very TALL. I'm 6'3" and usually
look down on most people. He's easily 6'7". Just something that
surprised me.

ANGER
--------------------------------------------------------------------

He also acknowledged that there was a lot of anger against incumbents
this election cycle. He said that it's never wise to make a choice
based on anger and that the best decisions are made based on calm,
rational thought.

I spoke with some of the other delegates there before Sen. Bennett
arrived. One delegate said that, in his caucus of about 70 people,
there was quite a bit of anger and animosity towards Sen. Bennett and
that anybody who showed an inkling of defense towards the senator
would not have been voted through as a delegate. I told the other
delegate that I find the whole "Anybody-But-Bob" movement distasteful.
To say that you would vote for "anybody BUT somebody" puts you on a
dangerous road where you possibly blind yourself to the best choice.
In my opinion, Pres. Obama was elected not because he was the best
candidate, but because he was so different from Pres. Bush. The
"Anybody-But-Bush" movement has put us in the mess we're in today. If
there is a better choice than Sen. Bennett, then let's vote him or her
into office. But if Sen. Bennett is the best choice, let's not be
blinded by the ads and anger against him.

EXPENDABILITY
--------------------------------------------------------------------

He joked that he did not have any misconceptions that the world would
end if he were not reelected. He said, "The cemetery is full of
indispensable men."

CRUCIAL DECISION POINT
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Sen. Bennett believes that within the 4-5 years, our country is going
to reach a critical decision point where we will be forced to deal
with problems which have been put off for decades. He believes that
it will be crucial to have people who already understand the problems
and know how to fix them, without having to learn everything from
scratch. Changes and reform (especially to entitlement programs)
which would have been impossible in the past will be not only
possible, but necessary. In short, he's been learning and preparing
to deal with these problems but the political climate has been against
it. He's running again because he thinks the time is soon coming
where he can realize these plans.

EXPERIENCE
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Sen. Bennett said that in 1993, as a new senator, that he was a lot
like his opponents. He made a lot of grand promises- "I'll make your
income tax 1040 form on a postcard!" he remembered. He compared it to
some grand promises being made by an opponent- "I'll repeal
ObamaCare!" He pointed out that congress, by design of the
Constitution, is a "team sport". A senator is one of 100 and cannot
do anything without working together with others, learning the ropes,
and earning the trust of others.

"GOOD OLD BOYS"
--------------------------------------------------------------------

One delegate pointed out that many people found this whole "good old
boys" network of politics to be very distasteful and the whole
"scratch my back" system is what is wrong with politics today. Sen.
Bennett pointed out that the Founding Fathers themselves were a "good
old boys" network. These were men-- many of whom couldn't stand each
other and had as differing views as possible-- who came together, and
despite personal differences, debated and compromised and drafted the
U.S. Constitution. He pointed out, just as important as the
Constitution is the fact that they continued to work together
afterwards. If they hadn't, today we would look back at the
Constitution as some lofty, failed experiment. The whole purpose of
the legislative branch of government is to force representatives of
the people to work together and make compromises while trying to
protect the most important interests of those they represent. In
order to do this, you have to get to know other people, learn to
listen to other points of views, earn trust, and be willing to give up
some things to get what is most important to your state.

SENIORITY
--------------------------------------------------------------------

With the retirement of another senator whose name I don't recall, if
the Republicans regain a majority, Sen. Bennett will be the new chair
of the Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee. He said, "Think
of Utah and its needs and think of how important energy and water are
to us and imagine how beneficial it will be to have a Utah senator
chair that committee."

He also made it clear that seniority should never be the reason to
elect a candidate. A candidate should be chosen based on the value
that they bring to the state. Seniority often factors into that value
but it is not the only thing.

ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Sen. Bennett said that the biggest problem with debt and spending in
the federal government are entitlement programs- welfare, social
security, medicaid, medicare, and the new ObamaCare. These make up
2/3 of the federal budget and are unsustainable in the long-term.
Unfortunately, anybody who attempts to alter or reform any of these
programs are attacked and vilified and pushed out of office so that it
is impossible to get the votes needed to make the necessary changes.
He believes that in the 4-5 years, economic realities will bring us to
a point where we will have to deal with these programs and where
meaningful changes will be possible where they haven't been possible
for several decades.

SOCIAL SECURITY
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Sen. Bennett said that he's spent 18 years examining and learning all
the "plumbing" underneath social security. It's generally accepted
that, in its current form, it can't sustain itself for our children or
grandchildren. He said that he found the "magic key" to saving social
security. He said his plan has been examined by economists,
committees, and both parties and they all agree that it would fix
social security. The "magic key" is this- social security currently
has built into it an automatic increase in benefits over time.
However, this automatic increase is substantially higher than
inflation itself. This means that our children would have bigger
social security benefits (even adjusted for inflation) than we would
and their children would have bigger benefits than them. If all we
did was to adjust the automatic increase to be tied to inflation
itself, social security could sustain itself without any loss of
benefits. The only change would be that future generations would have
the same level of benefits as we have.

Republican leadership loves this plan and said they will get behind it
as soon as Sen. Bennett can get a democrat to endorse it. Democratic
leadership loves the plan and will get behind it if there is a tax
increase so that it will appear to the public as if there is no loss
of benefits. Nobody dares act because it would mean political
suicide. He pointed out again that he believes the time is coming
where changes can be made and his 18 years of studying social security
will be valuable.

HEALTH CARE
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Basically, it comes down to this- the "Holy Grail" to Democrats is
"coverage" while the "Holy Grail" to Republicans is "cost". ObamaCare
extends coverage to everyone but does nothing to help with costs-
meaning higher taxes and insurance premiums. The Republicans want to
focus on reducing health care costs because if costs are controlled,
coverage will naturally expand as more people can afford it.

EARMARKS
--------------------------------------------------------------------

He addressed one of the major criticisms that some people have with
Sen. Bennett- his use of earmarks. He said the dictionary defines and
earmark as "to set aside something for a specific purpose". Earmarks
do not raise the federal budget. They simply determine how the
existing budget will be used. He used an example of a federal
mass-transit budget which he questioned the need for in the first
place. Nancy Pelosi wanted to use some of the budget for a
mass-transit project in San Francisco. Sen. Bennett wanted to use
some of the budget for the FrontRunner commuter rail here in Utah. He
was able to show that his project was a better use of money and as a
result, Utah received funding for FrontRunner instead of the money
going to San Francisco. The money was already budgeted and would have
been spent anyway. Utahns are paying federal taxes already and Sen.
Bennett said that, by not earmarking funds, he would not be a good
representative for Utah and its needs.

One delegate pointed out that Jason Chaffetz, the freshman congressman
who campaigned on a promise not to use earmarks, changed his tune only
a year into his term, after seeing how important they were.

ATK/THIOKOL
--------------------------------------------------------------------

One of the big problems facing Utah right now is Pres. Obama's
cancellation of the Constellation and Ares solid-fuel rocket programs.
Pres. Obama is cancelling the solid-rocket programs in favor of
liquid-fuel rockets. The result is that our astronauts will soon be
be forced to catch rides on Russian rockets to get to space.
Solid-rockets are also the basis of our missile defense system.
Solid-rockets are a proven technology that pass all the tests they are
put through. Liquid-rockets have failed every test they are put
through and are years away from being usable.

With the layoffs at Thiokol, all of Utah's economy will be weakened.
Sen. Bennett said it is no coincidence that the states that are most
affected by the cancellation of solid-rockets (Utah, Alabama) are red
states and that the states that stand the most to benefit from
untested liquid-fuel rockets (California, Delaware) are blue states.
He believes that the cancellation is a hidden way to punish and weaken
red states.

Fortunately, the Constitution gives power of the purse to congress,
not the President. So while Pres. Obama can cancel these programs, he
cannot cancel funding for them. And how will funding for the
solid-rockets continue? Through an earmark. Sen. Bennett said it
will take every friend that he's made to get enough votes to save
funding for the solid-rocket program. A freshman senator will not be
able to do this.

IMMIGRATION
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Sen. Bennett said that some people think we should take a send "send
them all home" approach to illegal immigrants. He says that
immigration is more complex that many realize because most illegal
immigrants are not people who swam across a river to sneak into the
U.S. Most are people who came here legally (student or work visas),
who contribute to society, pay taxes. Our current system of obtaining
and renewing visas is so complicated and inefficient that their visas
expire and they become "illegal" even though they have done everything
we ask of them in order to renew their visas. On the other side of
the coin are drug-runners, gang leaders, and criminals. If we deport
them, they just quickly return anyway. There are also those who come
to the U.S. only to get work. They don't want to leave their homes or
families, they don't want to become U.S. citizens, they just want to
work. He said a good example is the ski industry. They rely on
employees from other countries who are willing to take seasonal jobs
that others aren't. After ski season is over, these employees can't
return home because they don't know if they will be able to return to
work in the winter time.

His approach towards immigration is "tall fence, big gate". In other
words, we can't do anything unless we first get a "taller fence" and
better protect our borders. Much has been done in the past few years
but much more still needs to be done. After that, we need a "big
gate". We need to make it easier for people to obtain temporary work
visas. That way, they can come into the country for seasonal work, be
documented, pay taxes, and return home with the reassurance that they
will be able to return to the U.S. to work again in the future.

AFGHANISTAN
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Sen. Bennett told the story of a briefing he had with the CIA shortly
after he took office in 1993. This was after the first bombing in the
World Trade Center. The CIA told him that the people behind it hated
America, were well-trained, very patient, and based in Afghanistan.
They took root in Afghanistan after the U.S. helped the country expel
the Soviets. The U.S. left Afghanistan, left a leadership vacuum and
the Taliban came in, took control, and made it a safe-haven for
terrorists.

The briefing shook him up but he eventually forgot about it until
Sept. 11, 2001 after the terrorist attacks on the WTC and Pentagon.
The fourth plane was intended to crash into the U.S. Capitol Building
but it was delayed by air traffic for 40 minutes. If it had been on
time, it would have been timed to crash with the other three planes
before people could react. Sen. Bennett was in the Capitol that
morning and believes he would have been killed if the fourth plane
hadn't been delayed on the runway.

He believes that one of the best decisions Pres. Obama has made is to
listen to the generals and not the Democrats when it comes to
Afghanistan. The current surge of troops is having the desired
effect. Sen. Bennett believes that Afghanistan is vital to our own
country's security.

With the exception of Cherilyn Eagar, every one of Sen. Bennett's
opponents is against a U.S. presence in Afghanistan and has said that
they would vote to pull-out all troops.

CONCLUSION
--------------------------------------------------------------------

All in all, it was a very pleasant meeting. I had never met Sen.
Bennett before and he came across as a very sincere, capable man.
Most importantly, he had a real understanding of problems and
opportunities that were coming and had realistic, thought out plans on
how to confront them. My opinion of him is certainly higher after the
meeting than before. I learned a lot more through a face-to-face
meeting as opposed to reading a website or pamphlet. Hopefully, I'll
have similar opportunities to get to know the other candidates and
I'll let you know what I learn.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. I'm
interested to hear what questions you have about Sen. Bennett or any
of the other candidates.

Thanks Again Michael for the notes, I think these are worth reading when trying to decide between Bob and Anybody But Bob.