Friday, December 07, 2007

ARE THERE SOLUTIONS?

"If you do not play by my rules, I am not going to play." Boy, where have we heard this? And for those that can remember that far back, it is right out of the play ground at the school we attended.
And now as citizens of Heber Valley, we are faced with this same mentality as we try and solve some of the big issues. We need some real solutions to Growth, Conflicts of Interest, Traffic, Regional Planning, Cooperation by all the entities and last, but definitely not least, the By-Pass.
The by-Pass for those that may have just arrived, is an issue that many elected officials have wrestled with for 25 years. And like much of today’s professional wrestling, some of it was choreographed. We have endured lots of talk, but little, if any, serious measurable action. And now the valley has an opportunity to make up for lost ground and get it done, but sadly, the obstructionists are at it again.
It is hard to understand, what some of our leaders are not seeing. One must ask if they are blind, not in touch, living on another planet, not receiving enough accolades, or gifts. It is really hard to put one’s finger on the issue of doing nothing.
Most thoughtful citizens realize, that of all the issues, health and safety issues are number one. And one should be safe in assuming this is what our leaders are seeing, or hopefully they are seeing. The message is clear, we need resolution on this issue of the By-Pass, and it needs to be done regardless of past promises to developers or deals made or concluded. And now we face the issue of time. People close to this issue have all come to the same conclusion, we need action today!

Wasatch County is telling the world they support the concept, and have a desire to see this thing come about. They have been working with Heber City on this issue, and even though over the years, each entity has been guilty of procrastination, it is now the County who is stepping up to the plate and putting some effort and some money into seeing that something happens in the next 6 months. But they can not go it alone. So where is Heber City?
Oh yes, they have agreed to fund part of a study, but is their heart into it?
Heber City leaders seem to be saying, publically, they are for the by-pass, but privately, and this based on some completed interviews, they are opposed to the route, the time table, and are now doing everything in their power to impede its development and completion. But why? Can it be concluded, that commitments have been made, that if dropped, would place some in the distasteful situation of having to either return, or revoke some promise that has been made to someone or some group?
The Heber City Planning Commission has tabled a development that would interfere with the by-pass and its future development. But sources close to this issue inside of Heber City, are quick to point out, the Planning Commission is under some pressure, to speed the process along. And to not, dilly dally over this issue. And definitely not try and fix any problems they may see. There are some studies being done in good faith, but will they all come to naught, because of political wrangling with in and out.? Can we conclude, what is happening is evidence of some manipulation over the process, to complete some items, before the new Council people come on board?

The new faces coming to the Council have concluded, to a man, they have more than a passing interest in the by-pass. They are willing to take action and do more than talk. And they want to see some financial studies on the development at the intersection of 40 and 189 which at this point, is the fly in the by-pass ointment.
If they continue to stick to their guns, there is a solid potential for the Boyer Project to be delayed until spring or early summer as the bugs are worked out regarding traffic along with the by-pass and receiving some blessing from UDOT.
One must ask the question, why is Heber City so unsupportive of the by-pass, and why have they failed over the last few years, to take the bull by the horns on this issue, and become leaders in working towards a solution, rather than being obstructionists?
Perhaps, the answer my be found in a conclusion formulated by a group of observers, who concluded, there are developers in the area of the by-pass route, that are promising big money if their project can get off the ground. So there is a need to delay the by-pass to give the developers a foot hold, and then there would be no need for a response from the city, since the by-pass route would be dead, and economically would be out of the question.
If this is the case, and I have no reason to doubt it, based on sources and observation, perhaps the house cleaning that was mentioned by two of the three candidates as being necessary to bring the Heber City back to representing the people and being for the people, is in order. And of course there is a time and place for all things, and in order to clean house, a case will have to be built to do that and enough votes will have to be available to proceed. Citizens will need to be vigilant on this issue, and make sure that sometime in the next couple of years, it takes place. The tea leaf readers, if what they are seeing and commenting on holds true, incumbents are a dying breed and by the next election, there will be votes a plenty to get the job done.
It would seem, as restless as the natives are, that some officials should get the dust off of the resume, add a few more lies, and get it ready to be sent out.
Pleading for representation, observance of common sense and fair play has not worked, so the next best thing, is replacement.
Two things are evident. There is a need for a by-pass and those standing in the way, need to go. And cooperation between entities is necessary, and those standing in the way of that cooperation also need to go.
The needs of the public are now so important, no one person, entity or official should be allowed to gum up the works.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A LETTER TO THE WASATCH COUNTY COUNCIL

Dear Honorable Council Members,
During the last few years, it has become increasingly apparent, that problems involving "Conflicts of Interests" seems to have grown and now are more public than ever. As you govern, perhaps you also have seen this growth in Conflicts and the struggle involved in keeping those with Conflicts from participating in decisions that affect their holdings in the County or the holdings of their family.

In reviewing some of the interviews that have been conducted on the IMPACT program, on KTMP, the local radio station, there seems to be some agreement, that conflicts exists. But so far, no one, has stepped forward with a plan to remove the most egregious ones.
It would seem, that all conflicts should be scrutinized for their long term implications on decisions as well as their effect on the public perception. Many of our leaders should be cognizant of the feelings of the public regarding government in general and conflicts in particular.
The public has spoken many times in polls and letters, making the point, that confidence in public officials as well as those appointed, is at an-all time low.
There seems to be the need to address this issue of "conflicts of Interest’,so that public confidence can be restored to the process of governing.

One would hope, no public official would try and marginalize the issue with statements that everyone in a leadership position has a conflict. Because a careful review, will show that some conflicts are more devious than others and some are perception rather than real.

It is refreshing to be able to congratulate some of our leaders that recognize the problem in themselves and are quick to point out, where conflicts exist. And in doing so, have informed the public of the conflict and have either removed themselves from the meeting or continued based on advice and consent of those involved in the process or on the commission or committee and in some cases even discussion with the audience. This type of confession goes along way, in restoring confidence.

Citizens of Wasatch County, are asking that you implement a plan of action to reduce and eventually eliminate "conflicts of Interests", in the public process.
The following from the Washington State Supreme Court in the matter of "Buell v. City of Bremerton could be a good measuring rod regarding this issue.

"Members of commissions with the role of conducting fair and impartial fact-finding hearings must, as far as practicable, be open-minded, objective, impartial, free of entangling influences and capable of hearing the weak voices as well as the strong. The importance of the appearance of fairness has resulted in the recognition that it is necessary only to show an interest which might have influenced a member of the commission and not that it actually so affected him."

There seems to be a need to train those who serve, to realize, the service they render, must be free of entanglements and Conflicts of Interests. The public deserves their best approach and complete honesty. Perhaps, it might not be too bold, to suggest, those who serve and continue to make decisions where obvious conflicts are apparent, that seeking their resignation might be in order.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

WHAT DO WASATCH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS THINK ABOUT CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES?

After all the interviews, all the public meetings and all the discussion in the class room, we wonder how our High School Students feel about the current crop of candidates for the Heber City Council. Here is what we found out.

The students, based on interviews, seem to believe it is time for a change. They are tired of the good ole boy system, even though some are part of the that system, through Grandparents, or marriage of their parents.

They are worried, that life, as they know it, is somehow changing for the worse. They are concerned about housing, growth and open space. They feel that dragging main street, will no longer be an option for fun, due to uncontrolled traffic. They fear, that based on the present course of the City of Heber, Midway, and Wasatch County, lifestyles, the ability to have farm animals, shoot a gun, or hike in the hills is going away. They do not understand why there is an obsession on development. In general, they fear a change in lifestyle and the home town feeling and they blame the currrent crop of elected leaders for the various ills.

Based on their observations and attendance at various public gatherings, they were asked to rate the current candidates with what they believe about each one.

1. Erick Straddeck-He is for change. He seems to have a plan. He is not afraid to speak his mind.

2. Terry Lange- He has health problems that might interfere with his service, but he seems to be in-touch with the issues. (many students were not happy with some of his answers) There may yet be some service he can render.

3. Robert Patterson- He was my former teacher. He seems to want to keep what we have. He is interested in controlling traffic.

4. Nile Horner- He is looking for change. He is part of the good ole boy problem? I know his family. Is that his wife, that is on the School Board?

5. Mike Thurber- Does he have a plan? Is there a problem with his wife working for Heber City? Is he a team player? Would he vote to slow things down or speed things up?

6. Kieth Rawlings- We like him. We want him to win, but now we are not sure. Did the Boyer Company buy him or did he accept money from them? He is chairman of the Planning Commission, is he going to be the same on the council. We wonder if he can do the work, since he is taking money from developers.(this has not been proven. Mr. Rawlings say no.)(Mr. Rawlings went from second place in the students selections, to sixth place based on this issue)
The High School Students, placed the candidates in the order as they appear.

The interviews and discussions with our High School Students, show they understand three things very well:

1. In some cases, they may be too young to vote, but they are in-touch with what is happening in this valley.

2. They have put some real thought in the responses, and they have an understanding of the issues.

3. They are not afraid to voice their opinions on the issues, and state how they really feel.

(We have some great thinkers in our high school classes. We can thank their teachers, their parents, and each student, for having a desire to learn and understand the world around them)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

WHAT IS GOING ON AND WHY?

One wonders, if history repeats itself. And If that is so, why is it we do not learn from the mistakes of the past?
In the annuals of our history, there have been many periods of time, when intimidation was the grease that got the wheels turning, on a number of issues and outcomes. It placed our leaders, both national, state and local, in positions, where their lives depended on what they said and did. And some, sad as it is, lost their lives, because they believed in honor and honesty and these traits were more important, than selling their souls for a mess of pottage.
Today, intimidation has still not gone away, but we have given it some respectability, if you can believe that. We no longer break legs of our politicians and others, and they do not wind up in some mysterious location dead. But now we sue. We sue over every issue, every discussion, and every proposal.
In our own community, we have an issue, in which the outcome of an election, could be influenced ,based on someone’s ability to sue.
Unless you have been living in a cave somewhere, most people in this valley, know of the referendum vote that will take place in November. It is a simple thing basically.
Do you support a special zone created by Heber City, which would allow increases of density, increases in traffic and big boxes to be built in Heber City? Or would you like this new zone to be rescinded and the city, return to development codes that are already on the books?
Rather easy to understand.
This referendum was put together by a petition of the citizens, some against this new ordinance and others for it. But the common goal seemed to be, should citizens have an active say, in proposals that will change the complexion of the valley forever, or should five people be the ones to dictate the direction? Another very simple message.
Our State Codes, which controls and affects referendum proposals, mention only two parties, for referendums. The Citizens, meaning those who started the petition drive, and the government.
There is no mention of outside influences. There is no mention of others who should have standing and why they should be listened too or even given the time of day.
But now, here comes the dark side of this referendum vote. The wording on the ballot.
We now have attorneys, who are participating on both sides of this issue. Good upstanding individuals, who have a mission to compete. Who can meet and discuss in civil terms, what should happen, how it should be worded and come up with compromise where necessary.
But now, the Developer, who wrote the ordinance and got enough commitments from city personnel to continue the process, even when, in the early stages, the people complained and wanted some explanations regarding what was happening, now believes they are a party to this referendum. How they came to that conclusion is a mystery. But in order to make their point known and to have influence on the wording of the ballot, they are threatening a lawsuit against Heber City, and its personnel. From the rumor mill, many months ago, we learned, that Heber City, had made so many deals and commitments, that any changes could open them up, to a very serious lawsuit. Now the Boyer company has issued veiled threats, to the point, the city now must give them some type of influence in the process, where it should have only been the Citizens who started the petition and the City that passed the ordinance.
It would not be too hard, for one to suppose, there may yet be, other dark secrets regarding this ordinance and those involved in its conception.
As one, who believes that lawsuits for the most part are about greed, these threats stink of greed and power, missteps and perhaps even some unknown criminal behavior on the part of at least two of the players.
Perhaps, it would not unreasonable, to suggest, that a case could be made, to vote against this ordinance, just on principal, that being, the people will not be intimidated when it comes to their business. But we can not leave Heber City Government out of this, since it was their poor choices that caused this whole mess to start with. Citizens need to decide. Can your vote be bought with intimidation, or is it freely given, so power can be returned to the people?

Monday, September 24, 2007

COMMENTARY FOR SEPTEMBER 24, 2007

In the annuals of our history, there have been many periods of time, when intimidation was the grease that got the wheels turning, on a number of issues and outcomes. It placed our leaders, both national, state and local, in positions, where their lives depended on what they said and did. And some, sad as it is, lost their lives, because they believed in honor and honesty and these traits were more important, than selling their souls for a mess of pottage.
Today, intimidation has still not gone away, but we have given it some respectability, if you can believe that. We no longer break legs of our politicians and others, and they do not wind up in some mysterious location dead. But now we sue. We sue over every issue, every discussion, and every proposal.
In our own community, we have an issue, in which the outcome of an election, could be influenced ,based on someone’s ability to sue.
Unless you have been living in a cave somewhere, most people in this valley, know of the referendum vote that will take place in November. It is a simple thing basically.
Do you support a special zone created by Heber City, which would allow increases of density, increases in traffic and big boxes to be built in Heber City? Or would you like this new zone to be rescinded and the city, return to development codes that are already on the books?
Rather easy to understand.
This referendum was put together by a petition of the citizens, some against this new ordinance and others for it. But the common goal seemed to be, should citizens have an active say, in proposals that will change the complection of the valley forever, or should five people be the ones to dictate the direction? Another very simple message.
Our State Codes, which controls and affects referendum proposals, mention only two parties, for referendums. The Citizens, meaning those who started the petition drive, and the government.
There is no mention of outside influences. There is no mention of others who should have standing and why they should be listened too or even given the time of day.
But now, here comes the dark side of this referendum vote. The wording on the ballot.
We now have attorneys, who are participating on both sides of this issue. Good upstanding individuals, who have a mission to compete. Who can meet and discuss in civil terms, what should happen, how it should be worded and come up with compromise where necessary.
But now, the Developer, who wrote the ordinance and got enough commitments from city personnel to continue the process, even when, in the early stages, the people complained and wanted some explanations regarding what was happening, now believes they are a party to this referendum. How they came to that conclusion is a mystery. But in order to make their point known and to have influence on the wording of the ballot, they are threatening a lawsuit against Heber City, and its personnel. From the rumor mill, many months ago, we learned, that Heber City, had made so many deals and commitments, that any changes could open them up, to a very serious lawsuit. Now the Boyer company has issued vailed threats, to the point, the city now must give them some type of influence in the process, where it should have only been the Citizens who started the petition and the City that passed the ordinance.
It would not be too hard, for one to suppose, there may yet be, other dark secrets regarding this ordinance and those involved in its conception.
As one, who believes that lawsuits for the most part are about greed, these threats stink of greed and power, missteps and perhaps even some unknown criminal behavior on the part of at least two of the players.
Perhaps, it would not unreasonable, to suggest, that a case could be made, to vote against this ordinance, just on principal, that being, the people will not be intimidated when it comes to their business. But we can not leave Heber City Government out of this, since it was their poor choices that caused this whole mess to start with. Citizens need to decide. Can your vote be bought with intimidation, or is it freely given, so power can be returned to the people?

The Passing of Ann

Ann passed away last week. In her passing, we move forward and continue our work and thoughts. In respect for Ann, we have changed to " THE WASATCH CURRENT" Look for more rather than less.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

WHAT DID YOU SAY?

Dear Ann,

The primary election is over with, we have both winners and losers. During this part of the election process, the citizens heard much of what candidates would do. There was talk of great things, of new projects, restoration of things lost.
But the real interest will be, what will those that lost, say and do? Will they stay active in the process. Will they take a lessor role, but still serve. The test of a true public servant, is what they do after a loss as much as what they will do with a win.
Lots of talk during the campaign. Lots of promises. We are listening, WHAT DID YOU SAY?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Dear Ann,
As you will recall, I promised to present some very interesting items, related to the upcoming, election for three seats on the Heber City Council. Of course there will be those who will cry fowl. But those who complain the loudest will be the ones who forget, people have the right to their opinions, regardless of what others believe. Personally, Ann, I believe what these five citizens have done, is great. They are entitled to their opinions and how they arrived at those opinions. Take a good look at these. It is very interesting in how they rated them. And I for one, congratulate them for doing something, other than talking.
How they arrived at placing people on the the list, is very interesting and I will let see that next week.
The following is self-explanatory, and needs no further introduction from me.

Until next time.....


A group of five elected, or previously elected, and current members of boards or committees, met to discuss the current political candidates, now running for public service in Heber City. After discussions on all ten candidates, they grouped the Candidates in the following order, which they believed would best serve the community and valley.
Erick Straddeck*
2. Sandy Mahoney***
3. Terry Lange**
4. Michael Thurber
5. Daniel Drew
6. Robert Patterson***
7. Kieth Rawlings***
8.. Nile Horner
9. Shari Lazenby**
10. Parry Rose
* Mr. Staddeck’s inclusion on the list of candidates is based on observation and discussions with those that know him well. He was not subjected to the same criteria and standards as the rest, since he has not been involved with previous service in this community.
** Current sitting Council persons
*** Currently sitting on an appointed board or committee.
The areas of discussion were the following: Loyalty in public service; Honesty in public service; The ability to be a team Player; Desire to represent the citizens.; Articulation of the facts; Support for the law.; Preparedness on issues to discuss or vote on; Leadership as an elected official:, Ability to Cooperate with other entities in the valley; The Nexus between Private and Public Life.(Does your private life have influence in your public life, and vise versa.) A number was assigned to the final conclusion on each subject. 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. Those with the highest scores were thought to be better, for the future of the Valley and showed a propensity for doing well or better than expected if elected.
This is presented as the feelings of five individuals and in no way, should be construed as the absolute authority on the election. The group of five, believes that citizens should make themselves educated on the issues. They should also measure candidates based on those issues surrounded with facts and the best candidate should be elected to serve.
I have presented this information, in hopes that citizens in Heber City, will search out the best candidates. They will search for those that will serve well, with out regard to last names, political party, or other systems that have been used in years past to support the election of individuals to the various offices. Citizens in this valley should arm themselves with the facts of the issues, and then find those candidates of like mind. Anything else is a travesty of what the founding fathers of this nation intended. THE DOCTOR

Monday, September 03, 2007

CANDIDATE FINDINGS

Dear Ann,

This writer has received some very interesting information, regarding those who are running for the Heber City Council.
Five people, it seems, have taken the time, to sit down and review each candidate based on what they know, and what is public.
They rated the candidates based on 10 criteria, and then ranked them one through ten. Each candidate received a score on each of the ten criteria, and the total was then taken, and based on that, the candidates received a score. What is interesting Ann, is the five people, who by the way, have either served in previous years, or are serving now. Political party was not a factor. But it seems, history was.
Ann, come back here on Sept. 8th, and review each one of the candidates and their score. At that time, I will post, the criteria and how they scored.
I really appreciate the time the people took to do this, and whats more I appreciate their confidence in this site to release the information.

See you again on Sept. 8th.

Until then, bye.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

RADIO COMMENTARY FOR AUGUST 20, 2007

Dear Ann,

Over the last few days, there has been a number of requests for a printed version of the Commentary for August 20, 2007. I realize that in this site, we discuss answers to your various questions. But to get this going, I must change what we have been doing, just this once.

"On this program, we continue to preach the need for transparency in government. This concept is not a wish, or some nebulous thought, that was pulled out of a hat, but a process that defines what government should be under the laws that have been put in place, for the protection of the citizenry.
A reasonable person, must conclude when there is no transparency, and instead, are given presentations of worthless numbers, or orchestrations of rah, rah, rah, from those who will benefit, there is something wrong.
During the "Truth in Taxation" meeting at the Wasatch School District, there was a golden opportunity, to show citizens some truth, and remove fears of mismanagement of our taxes. But, on both accounts, those in charge failed and failed most miserably.
Not only was there little truth, but they failed to make the case, that would justify the need for the increases they sought.
There were those who asked legitimate questions, and then of course there were others who went through the rah, rah, rah, the only items lacking were pom poms and a band.

For those who have made it a habit to attend these meetings, there was major disappointment. The public again was expecting some supportive and significant facts, for justification of the tax increase, but truth did not prevail. There was a healthy portion of smoke and mirrors and no shortage of moronic responses from employees' and so called friends of the district, seeking brownie points, or promotions by getting their names in the minutes, so nothing really changed.
BUT DID NOTHING CHANGE? In the audience at the time, were people from the Utah Taxpayers Association and two elected individuals from the State Legislature as well as Elected County Officials.
The meeting went forward based on the District's agenda, and then it came time for a motion to accept this mess. One of the board members, (or is it one of the bored members), looking ill at ease, took a few minutes to justify the motion he was going to make, even though this motion should not have been made, but deferred to another time, so the district could get their act together. It was a sickening display of pandering, but the motion was made. It was voted on unanimously, so the citizens once again, had damn little truth and lot of taxation.
The most important meeting perhaps, took place in the hallway. Here those, who had observed the process, made some very significant comments. And one in particular, expressed concern for the process he had just seen. He voiced his concern for the lack of facts and expressed his feelings, that perhaps the School District was once again trying to hide something, (was his concern based on his knowledge of the North School Deal?) or so it appeared.
The kind of missteps from the Wasatch School Board on last Thursday, are part of the reasons, why state legislatures get into the business of educating our children and want to step into what should be a local process. Perhaps, from the fiasco on Thursday, the legislature may yet pass some significant legislation the will effect how school districts do things and of course, take away more of the local power. If this happens, we may give credit where credit is due, and call the new laws, the Wasatch District Law or Laws.
But in the end, there were some concerned members of the School Board who felt the presentation lacked facts, lacked information, and could have and should have, been better. To these board members, we tip our hat and say, when the opportunity affords itself, elect a new chairperson and take control and bring back some sanity to the process, with a little truth and a lot of respect for those who are paying the bills.

Monday, July 30, 2007

THE LAW SHOULD BE SUPREME

Dear Ann,

The issue of law, is the same for all citizens. You wonder why it is so hard for elected officials to follow the codes of their respective jurisdictions? Why some have placed themselves above the law? And why they believe their decisions should supersede the law? Good questions, and when you find the solution, please let us all know. I can only give you what we see in the valley. And perhaps you too, will see the something in your area.

The County and the various cities in this wonderful valley, still have not figured it out, Ann, The law is the law. And they have no right to change by ignorance or disregard for gain, any part.
Of course there is a way to change the law, but what is happening here, is not the legal way. For Citizens to correct this problem is not easy. Those who have had a hand in writing law, for what ever purpose, have made sure that elected officials can not be recalled for stupidity or the blatant disregard of the law. At this point, the only way to change things, is to endure years of ridiculous legislating, deal making and ignorance, until the next election. And then hope it is not too late, to re-float the ship.

We have some good leaders. We have some mediocre leaders, and we have some who are just down right lousy leaders.
The problem is the good ones are so few, and they have so much class. They want to do right always and for all. They are meticulous to a fault, to stay on the right side of the line between right and wrong. But their voices are soft, enlightened and dedicated to doing good. They do not use their office to get back at their enemies. They do not cozy up to developers. They go out of their way to make sure their family does not benefit from their decisions and public service. In a nut shell, they do what they say they were willing to do. The others could care less. They do not give a damn about law and order. They are happy were they are. If they can benefit, without getting caught, they are all over it. To get cozy with a developer, to accept gifts, regardless of how small or large, is not big deal. Whether the gift is a hat, a jacket, or a trip, they see no wrong. Public service for them, is benefit, benefit and more benefit. Short of killing someone, everything that could provide a benefit is fair game.
In this valley, we are now stuck. We need a house cleaning in government very bad. We need people of wisdom. We need people who are intelligent enough to see the problem and facilitate a solution. We need people who are supportive of where we have been, where we need to go, and have sense enough to show the way and lead. We need shepherds not sheepherders. Until that happens, the wolves will continue to devour the sheep. Destroy the pasture, and fence in the open space. And then cause the manure to be piled higher and deeper. And these piles will be the future inheritance of children and grandchildren.

Until next time....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dear Ann,

With questions such as, "What is now going to be required of the citizens, now the budget for the New High School is out of control?" And "Should someone pay the price for poor planning or presenting flawed or un-substantiated documents for consideration of the voters?"
You place a serious burden on me, to give you the answers with the proper reasoning, without creating some heartburn for some people. But, here we go.
Your questions are well timed, the issue of the High School is now coming to light. Based on experts, not working for the district, one must draw the obvious conclusion, the High School could not be built for the amount the District was proposing and of course finally received. The problem with the money and the desires of the district, was no secret, except to those who really did not want to look for the right answers or ask the proper questions. There were so many mis-informed people pushing this bond, and because of the mis-information, they played well into the hands of the District. They failed to look at the big picture. This process was such a mess! We had people using school time, equipment, plus all the while, pulling their salary, sending out emotionally laden tripe, so in effect, the citizens paid to be mis-informed. We had a citizens group, which, by now, you know the leader of this group, was rewarded by the District for pushing the bond through. But the real problem with this group, was they failed to look at all the facts and run the math. They continued to use the doctored math that was published by the School Board. And then to make matters worse, when they thought too many questions were being asked, they turned the whole thing into an emotional issue. When citizens started to ask questions, they were branded by the District, and the Citizens group as "traitors to education, being anti-teacher, anti-school and so forth.

Your question, as to whether someone should pay for the slip up, is an unequivocal yes. But I must say, do not be disappointed if that does not happen, since as I write this to you, the spin masters are already at work. I quote you a line from an article in the Ogden Standard Examiner. "We are talking about economic forces at work here--not bad data". The quote is from our own Superintendent. And of course the discussion goes on, as to how high fuel costs, are also part of the blame, for the over budget school. In speaking with a contractor, who does large commercial buildings, He was saying the fuel increases on a project of this size would be about $100,000.00. That is a far cry from the Millions that have been suggested, the School budget is over.
In the same vain, we also had an article in our local paper here in Heber, which was written by a school representative, that dealt with the need to find a new facade for the High School. Of course, many people, found this article some what curious, but they have later learned, this is the beginning of a series of spinning's, that were needed to change the discussion and the direction this whole ugly mess is about to take.

Experts from many fields, a year ago, said, that based on what they saw, in the pretty proposals, the school could not be built for $60 million, but closer to $80 million. They also made the statement, that to proceed, was a serious mistake. And of course, we know the District should have been paying attention, or at the very least, been eager to allow discussion involving all the parties. But that was not allowed to take place. A few misguided members of the School Board bent so low, as to call these experts, malcontents, and dismissed what they had to say, with very flippant and ignorant comments and statements.

Ann, there are a lot of disappointed people, that supported this bond. They believed the School Board, the Superintendent, Principles, Teachers and many others. As a couple of people said the other day, "it is a nightmare!" And are we "seeing the same missteps that we saw with the North School Fiasco?"
I would hope, that is not true, but then again, will the truth really come out?

Ann, at this point, I am not sure what the answers are, but I believe it is safe to say, the confidence the people had, in their school leaders, has been eroded. There are many who are coming to the conclusion, the school District is not much different, than any other political entity. They will say and do what is required to get their agenda going and if there is failure, they have no problem, dipping their hands into the pockets of those they are supposed to serve, to satisfy their craving for power, position and bragging rights.
This is a sad day for those that supported the bond. But, Ann, I can tell you, it will not happen again. Our School District, has placed themselves in the position, where their honesty and credibility is measured with question marks.
It will be very interesting to see, if they can clean their own house, or will the Citizens, or the Attorney General have to do it for them.

Until Next Time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dear Ann,

Once again, you have asked a very intelligent question. The problem is, I am at a loss, in figuring out how to answer, without offending many people. It would seem people now days, would rather spend brain cells watching TV rather than reading. Sleeping rather than observing, and going places, either alone or with others, rather than staying home with family.
Your question in how we can get more people involved in the process of citizenship, is becoming a subject that many would prefer to let fall by the wayside.
Elected officials struggle with how to include citizens in governing. Oh, I know what you are thinking, Many officials are not interested in citizen involvement. But you must remember, for the most part, that particular group, who would govern without the governed, are a minority, and in reality, do not last long in their position.
Perhaps, we see evidence of your complaint more in the small counties and cities, than in larger areas. And you may be right, when you suggest, the reason for inactivity on the part of citizens, stems from inactivity on the part of leaders. Remember, what goes around, comes around.
You need to join the fray, in trying to find people, who are honest in heart, who, tell it the way it is, who desire truth, and believe in service, and in serving for a short term.
Ann, we are facing some serious times. Somewhere, somehow, there must be a few people, who believe in the system, who value the freedoms we have. And above all, knowing all these things, desire to keep them.
It is hard to keep in prospective, that local politics and National politics are different. They shouldn't be, but sadly, they are and the rules that govern are also different.
Your concern should be on the local level. The actions on this level, have a much quicker affect on your life and those around you.
The local level, at the present time, is where you need to channel your energy. We have at the present time, many who love to do business in the dark. And evidenced of the results of their actions, would prefer not to discuss or make you aware of when and how.
Ann, you must remain vigilant, prepared to point out the evil, and reward the wise. Even though many officials do not spend the time necessary to make an intelligent decision, you need to take the time to inform yourself on every issue. A uninformed citizen is a dangerous person. And like the uninformed official, will make mistakes, costly mistakes. Mistakes of the past have led to riots, murder, and theft. Keep informed. Do not be deterred, in your quest to be a smart, intelligent, caring citizen. We need so many like you. There is so much to do, with so little time.

Until next time bye.

Friday, April 13, 2007

ANN'S QUESTION IS ANSWERED

Dear Ann,

That is a very good question. The problem is, we may never know what the truth really is. To know what Heber City knew, prior to the enactment of the new ordinance, and when they knew it, will never come to light. Likewise, to know what the developer, the Boyer Company, knew and when it was revealed to them, will be buried for years to come.
What can be commented on, is what is known. Months ago, a question was asked of a representative of the Boyer Company, if, he had met with Heber City Officials, and been given assurances that certain things would take place, and his answer was yes. Weeks later, a Heber City Official, was asked if they, meaning the City, had ever met with the developer in meetings and given them information and assurances, their project was a go, the answer was no.
Of course between these two extreme answers, there may be some fragments of truth. And of course, we need to keep in mind, that when dealing with money, truth is in the eye of the beholder. As more things come to light, for instance, the Boyer Company offering their proposed development for sale, prior to the Crook Annexation. And giving prospective buyers the assurances, the land was zoned for mixed use and it would be available during the spring of 2007. And knowing the ordinance was not in place, the property was not zoned and the official presentation of the entire thing, as outlined in the ordinances and regulations of Heber City, had not taken place, easily leads one to conclude, someone is lying.
As a reasonable person, Ann, I am sure you suspect, like many others, that more is going on, than what the public is lead to believe. And more fuel is added to this speculation, when the City Council in public meetings show disdain, a lack of courtesy, and in fact are down right rude and go even further through tone of voice, and body language, they are not interested in hearing from citizens, period. As you observe this process, you are keenly aware of how this looks to others. You know how this makes you feel, and now you know why during a certain poll taken a few years ago, those that responsed, said they distrust government, the officials, and the actions they take. Citizens now face a crossroads of sort, they see the need to do something, but realize they must wait until November to make changes and correct the direction that Heber City is now going. And now you know why, many are proposing a house cleaning from top to bottom.

But Ann, I can not close, without reminding you, that many of those who work for Heber City, are good, honest, loyal people, who must do their job, in spite of any misgivings they may have about their leaders. We must support those, who are trying. We must let them know, that when we speak of wrongs, we are not painting everyone with the same brush. It is not their fault, they work for a City, where leadership, morality, and transparency have become hisses and by words. But not all is lost. The closer we get to November, the closer the citizens get to redemption.

Until next time, bye.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Dear Ann,

Its makes one wonder, if changes in Washington, were really meant to be changes in direction our Country should be going in.
Last November, the promises flew like the wings of many birds, telling us that if certain people were voted in, this County, the greatest one in the World, would change direction for the best. And that laws would be passed. And in fact, we would see solutions to some of the hardest problems we have ever faced. Of course, there were some who really became believers, and went to the polls, prepared to vote for people they thought they would never cast a ballot in favor of, based on the promises.
Now we are in the spring. The changes that took place in November, officially in January by the way, have not yielded anything more, than broken promises. More like weeds in a well kept garden.
Will we ever see actual laws passed, to take care of the illegal alien mess? It does not seem likely. And from where I sit, it is more like we will continue to see band-aids. Some so small, over a wound so large, that for the most part, will make a few feel good about what has happened but nothing of a larger solution will come about.
The problem of illegal immigration is not going away, and unless we see some serious approaches to this problem, in time, we will see a race war in our own country.
And like many other wars, we will see people killed for reasons, that will not seem logical.
And we will see those who will support those that break the law, very much like we see now, and justification will be the big word of the future.
I would hope that none of the people I know, would become involved, for what-ever reason.
We need solutions to the illegal immigration problem. We need to put pressure on our elected leaders from Washington to the State House. And from there to local government.
We can not affort to wait much longer. We need people with vision. We want people who are willing to sacrifice for the good of the majority. We could use people who are willing to stick their neck out for something worthwhile and long lived.
I ask, where are you? Where have you been? And when will you make yourself known?

Until next time, I am watching.

Friday, March 02, 2007

PLEASE, THE PEOPLE NEED HELP

Are there any people, in our community, who have a desire to serve and will:
1. Serve all the people, regardless who they are, their relatives or other conections?
2. Follow the current codes and laws, realizing that working within the letter and the spirit of the law, has merits.
3. Give citizens an opportunity to speak and provide the information, so every citizen will know what is really going on?
4. Be fiscal and responsible, realizing the pockets of citizens are not as deep as even they would like?
5. Plan for the future, realizing that planning is for the future and what might happen, not current gratification?
6. Make decisions based on realistic information, supported by proper studies?
7. Avoid the appearance of evil, realizing that if it smells bad or looks bad, then it is bad?
8. Protect our open space?
9. Limit growth to a realistic level?
10. Fully understand, that money from developers, is not the panacea it is made out to be?
11. Be honest and above board when doing the public's business?
12. Work well with others. Understanding, that decisions and deals will affect everyone in the Valley, not just a selected few?
13. Understand the concept, "Just because you can, does not mean you should"?
14. Answer questions truthfully and with the facts, not emotion and disorganized thoughts?
15. Support transparency in government?
16. Speak the truth on all matters and support that concept, regardless of the consequences?
17. Make decisions as an elected official and not be a rubber stamp for others?
18. Keep the size of government reasonable and proper? And understand the concept, just because there is an empty office in the building, it does mean it needs to have an occupant?
19. Issue reports periodically for all to see, that are clear and conscise?
20. Not become entangled with worry, more about reelection, than decision making?

If you can follow these tenets and others as well, WHERE ARE YOU? WE NEED YOU. THERE IS AN ELECTION IN NOVEMBER AND AS CITIZENS, WE NEED YOU AND NEED YOU BAD. PLEASE MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN. YOUR CITY AND YOUR NEIGHBORS NEED TO MAKE CHANGES, IF WE ARE GOING TO SURVIVE THE SICKNESS THAT IS ON US NOW.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ALL HANDS ON DECK

The Heber City ship, is listing quite badly. Those at the helm have let the wheel go, and with that action, we are heading into the shoals. At this point, Is it time to jettison the crew, or try towing the ship out of danger? Of course, the Boyer winds are now blowing hard and without mercy. And every time, the rescuers believe they are moving the ship, the crew throws out an anchor, in a desperate action intended to defeat the desired course of action, that should be taken for the preservation of our good ship.
This action, on the part of the present crew, begs, the asking of a very important question. Would our ship do better without the current crew? And would the ship do better against the Boyer winds, if somehow a new crew was hired on? It is hard, but not impossible, to repair the damage and right our ship. But it will require all hands in the hold, on deck, and ready to make a difference.
Our crew is out of control. Instead of having a plan, they are allowing the winds to blow them into a course, that on the surface of the water, looks calm and inviting. But that view is a myth. The water are not calm and between the Boyer winds and the action of the crew, a giant whirlpool is preparing itself to swallow up everything in sight.
The problem is, when our ship is scuttled, it will take with it, innocent others, who really were not the problem, but were placed in the precarious position they find themselves, because the crew is intoxicated with the drink of power and dollar sign dreams, which has created the inability to walk the straight line and to view with a clear mind, the compass and the map.
And like Captain Jack, they look at a different compass, one which is broken and does not work. But that is not stopping our crew from charting a course in dangerious waters. And like Captain Jack, they must show they are in charge and so they move and go through the motions, but in reality, they do not recognize the fate that lies ahead.
Many have forgotten, the charts are there to assist in planning the voyage, showing the shoals, the shallow water and the sand bars. History has shown, those, who know how to read the charts, can indeed learn from the mistakes of others. They do not need to re-invent the wheel. But our crew has their eyes on a more nebulous prize. It is in the gold in the chest. Problem is, they can not tell the diierence between fools gold and the real thing. They would rather open the chest, which is no chest at all, but pandora's box. And when opened, will unleash the curse and off of its horrific results.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

THE SLAP-HEARD AROUND THE VALLEY

The business community of this valley and more specifically, the businesses on Heber's Main Street, have been publicly slapped in the face. And it was not a lite touch either. One of our elected officials, seems to believe, if it was reported correctly, and there is no reason to believe it was not, since more than three people reported what he said, "there is no viable businesses on Main Street." If the quotation is correct, the statement is blatantly false. And the person that said it, as well as those that agreed with it, now owes the business community a full public apology. Of course at this point, I would not advise anyone to hold their breath waiting for it to happen.
There are many good solid businesses on Main Street today. They may not be, what certain people want to see, but they are, never-the-less, actual businesses, that pay taxes, support public events and contribute to the soundness of our community. There are hundreds of citizens, who are able to buy bread and put it on the table, thanks to their "nonvable business" and the others they support. Perhaps the person, that made such a ridiculous statement, forgot his business is also on Main Street. And since he seems to be painting with a very wide brush, perhaps it is an indication of his own business. Since this statement has been made, I wonder where the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce is on this issue, since they have been curiously quiet. May one suppose, they will not get involved and respond in defense of the Business Community, because some of their funding comes from Heber City? If they are unwilling to take a stand, maybe it is time for a different organization to start up, and support and assist businesses with more than collecting dues and having a lunch once in a while. One must ask, where is the outcry from others, now that our business community is being accused and ridiculed. Perhaps, it is time for our business community to show just how much they do support this community. Maybe they need to stop contributing to every little organization that has its hand out. And then they can quit supporting all the civic groups, including the Chamber, student groups and others that seek something from them on a continual basis. That might get the attention of a few.
What this community needs, is not a big box, nor do we need the lip service we seem to be getting when big box is discussed and questions are asked. What we need to see from some of our elected officials, is a realist approach to furthering the growth of existing businesses and the business community at large. Our leaders need to wake up and do more, than think of money, adding to their kingdoms and power bases and increasing more growth on the public dole.
Our way of life and the very things, that people have said they wanted in a community, is in serious jeopardy. Short sighted policy, failure to observe and understand the big picture and the "me" approach to service is creating a current and future nightmare for all. We need to make contact with our leaders, let them know, we are not mushrooms. We do not want our leaders to make the mistake of thinking, that by keeping all of us in the dark, and then feeding us, what seems to be, an inexhaustible supply of manure, that it will solve everything. The truth is, it won't. It hasn't and it's not going to.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

How much longer, do we allow those to stay in power, who are bent on destroying our community?

There are not many people, who when they fully understand, agree with all the aspects of zoning. But most reasonable people agree, there are valid reasons for it to exist. But because of how some administer the law, and especially when we see over kill, as has been pointed out in the last few weeks, citizens are entitled to wonder, if the zoning regulations are for everyone and if enforcement will be done with reasonableness and realistic interpretation. It is obvious, that in the present discussions, regarding Big Box Development, the desires of many citizens, as shown with the polls, and the public comments to elected leaders, have been thrown to the wind. Can everyone see now, why many believe, that attending meetings, writing letters, and participating on committees, is a waste of time? Can we see why apathy is alive and well? Can we see, why many citizens firmly believe that most decisions are done deals, long before they are presented for public consumption? How many bricks need to fall on the hard heads of officials, before they understand the egregious behavior we are seeing, maight be called at the very worst, criminal, and at the very least, gross incompetence? Citizens know what they want. The problem is, at the present time, there are too many officials who are more concerned with kingdom building, deal making, power brokering, and in general creating bragging rights, so their peers can applaud or bestow accolades at various meetings, that in turn will add something to the resume. Every citizens reading this, should want to rise up, and take back control of our various government entities. Things are now out of control, so dangerously, those things we desire the most, such as livability, community, small town atmosphere and rural flavor, yes, those things, we mentioned during a recent survey, are now out of our hands and in the hands of those with other ideas. Is it time, to suggest, that we need a house cleaning from top to bottom? Is it time to take legal action to get the attention of those that should be serving and protecting us? Are we seeing arbitrary and capricious decisions? Yes, those described decisions, that juges warn and forewarn elected and appointed officials to refrain from being a part of? If and when Big Box and others like it, come to main street, those who have made a reasonable living and contribution to our community, will in time, find their end. We hear from some, that competition is good. We agree, but not predatory competition. Those who have been folowing Big Box, Boyer Developments and/or Wal-Mart, know that competition dies, taxes are given up by political enities to entice the developer, and in the end, there is not competition. It is a big myth.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE AND WHEN?

The citizens of Heber City have been short changed once again, by the lack of effort on the part of the Planning Commission and Staff. They have, in their wisdom, allowed a developer to write new proposal laws, that will through quick action on the part of the Commission be turned into an overlay zone to undo the wants and the desires of the better part of the citizens, as it relates to big box.
If Heber City is going to allow developers to write the new codes, then it must be obvious, there really is no need to have a planning Commission with the related staff. The savings in spending tax dollars, would be many thousands.
Because of this travesty, can one conclude, the Heber City Council will accept the proposed ordinance, and move on?
Are we seeing a new approach to governing?
In one of the last meetings of the year 2006, a member of the Heber City Planning Commission staff, crossed the line between working for the City and working for the Developer. The staff member spent time arguing the various points of the developer with the Commission. Sad part, is, the Commission allowed it to happen. Now this deed has been done, can this staff member continue and be an objective provider of imput to the Commission on other issues?
Somewhere in this mess, there needs to be an investigation on the why's and the how's. But since in the last few years, the line between following the laws, making the laws, and enforcing the laws in planning and zoning have really been blurred, one may not live long enough to see justice for the citizens prevail.
No one wants to see people loose their employment, but something needs to be done to correct the problem. The reassignment of titles, responsibilities, needs to be taken over by elected officials, and not left up to appointed officials. Will that happen? Don't hold your breath, these problems have been going on for some time, and many elected officials have known about the injustice, but for what ever reason, do not or have not, seen the need to respond. Perhaps the elections of 2007, will correct the problem, if we have people of character and integerity decide to run. There seems to be a number of people that could qualify, if they would.
One last note on this problem with the Boyer Company Ordinance, this writer has been told, the push to allow the Boyer Company to do this, came from the top down, rather than from the bottom up, as the current laws and ordinances require. Is the blantant disregard of the law, sufficient for something legally to be done? Or is this going to be part of the dust under the rug?
Contary to the wishes of some, this item can not be allowed to die. The implications are too great, the damages to the citizens to severe, and the future, for further adherances to law, now is too clouded.
Are there any real statesmen left in our government, that will step forward, take this problem and correct it and then do what they took an oath to do, SERVE AND PROTECT?