Sunday, April 25, 2010

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL ELECTED LEADERS IN HEBER VALLEY

Your service for and in behalf of the citizens of this valley is deeply appreciated. Your sacrifice of time and energy in behalf of others sometimes seems to be a thankless job, but your accomplishment in doing your best, allows the citizens of this valley to find a place they can be proud of.

In the last little while there has been a few issues, that citizens would appreciate your review and where necessary to have you make some necessary corrections.

There is a serious need to increase transparency in government. Not only in the results, but in the agendas. It is hard to understand what you are going to be discussing and what decisions you may be making when the agenda has reference to only a number or a single set of letters. Adding a small paragraph to each item would allow everyone to obtain a better picture as to why they should attend and participate. It is known the agenda and it’s posting is a State requirement but that is only the minimum requirements, so perhaps, it is now time to have more than a minimum expression. The effort of making the agendas more instructional, could be the means of getting more citizens to participate.

In a community as small as ours, there is always going to be some minor conflicts of interest. But in the last little while, the conflicts of interest have grown tremendously and have become so obvious that citizens are wondering if this is just a sign of greater problems. A statement has been made that unless money has changed hands, there is really no conflict at all. But the courts in the past have seen things differently. There has been some severe conflicts of interest, where those participating have openly used their position to increase their holdings, influences, and their businesses.
As you know, when people, the citizens, see these conflicts, it leads them to believe a lot more is going on and that perhaps, some of those involved are obtaining rewards similar to those found in the movies.
Your work in reducing the conflicts of interest, by not allowing those with obvious ones from serving or at the very least, making decisions, would be an important step in restoring confidence in the system of government and those who serve within that frame work.

The citizens you serve are struggling. There are many who have lost their incomes through downsizing or company closings. They are pressed to pay an increasing tax burden. Many are retired, widows or widowers or with severe health problems who want to do right, but are finding the appetites of those they have elected to use their tax dollars wisely is expanding under the mistaken idea, that it is the services the people want. But history has shown it is not always what citizens want, but what elected leaders want.
Local governments must find ways to reduce wants, to become more efficient. In the good times government seems to grow but when times get tough, government wants to continue down the same path, believing that tax increases will allow them to continue on with no restrictions.
There is a need for governments in this valley, to find ways to reduce. Increasing taxes and fees at this time, should not be part of the plan.
Citizens need you do with less just like they must in these uncertain times.

There is a real need for increasing our local businesses. Governments know that business pays the bills not housing. In the last few years, more attention has been spent in promoting and facilitating development of homes. Everyone knows that homes do not pay the bills and never have. Later on, taxpayers are usually called upon to pay for things that were either overlooked or forgotten about.
Many have created and supported ponzi schemes when it comes to homes. They take from one developer and shell out the costs for another and then recover with the third. We have now reached the end. And the sins of the past regarding housing have caught up with government. This down turn is a perfect time to work on existing business and finding ways to bring into our valley new ones.

Citizens need your help in making their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness a reality. There has been problems that have required all to change their lives and live within their means. They have cut back. Done without and made do with what they have. They have done their part.
As leaders, everyone wants you to take control and do your part. Citizens want you to become more participatory in their government by the sheer fact they voted for you. They are tired of the appointed ones impacting their lives, but without recourse. They want you to be responsible for the actions of government and not allow others to speak for you.
They want to do more with you rather than against you. They want to be your partner.
Take control. Find ways to reduce your budgets without thinking about the pockets of citizens. Clean out the conflicts of interest. Allow the light of day to be part of your decision making. Give a blueprint of what they can expect by providing more information on the agendas. Relieve the regulatory requirements on business. Not health and safety requirements, but those other ones that place unnecessary burdens and outlandish intrusions which force business in many cases not to grow.

Citizens are waiting for you to take control.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

THE FUTURE?

The other day a friend came to may office and wanted to know what I knew about a couple of elected officials who had benefitted( or thought to have benefitted) by a couple of decisions they had made.
I suggested that believing everything one hears in our Valley, would not be good for any ones health. After this person had left, I contemplated what he had said and how his thoughts seem to be the thoughts of so many currently.

I came to the conclusion, that our elected leaders, no matter how good we think they are or how honest has brought this problem upon themselves.

Let me share with you some things that I know from observation and investigation.
Some of the finest people I know, occupy some of the elected positions within our valley. They are bright, smart and I doubt seriously if they would ever cross the line in their service to this community. They seek to do right and actually come prepared to do the peoples business. But there seems to be a trend among a few, to hide and pontificate on the issues, rather than express how things really are.
When people see, that getting to the point of the issue may take hours rather than simple minutes. And that questions can actually be answered in yes and no terms, rather that in the tone we find in Washington, which is, “before I can answer that question, let me say this”. When citizens hear this, they know two things. The first, this person has no idea what the answer is, but instead of saying so, would rather lead you down some path in an effort to make you believe they have a clue about what they are talking about. And the second thing, this leader has something to hide. Perhaps it is not serious, but they have said or done something, that on second thought, was not right and proper, but they do not want you to know.

In our community we have some very serious problems of transparency, serious understanding of the issues both for now and for the future, and the problem of smallness, which has nothing to do with height, but with mind set. It goes like this; “if I tell you what I really know on the subject, I am some how diminished”.
Time and time again we see it from some of our elected and appointed leaders.
The classic was with our recent School construction. I was accused by people in the education community of being against children, against education and against teachers.
Nothing could be further from the truth. But the reason for these accusation were because questions were being asked of those who should know, but did not. In some cases actually lied to cover not knowing. The questions that were asked at the time of Bond vote, were simple with no other thought in mind but the facts. Just the facts. It would have given citizens information and a complete understanding of the issues. But they would not, and because of their approach, the High School will never be clean when it comes to discussion for those remembering the history. We see it even to this day. Citizens who are now being asked to pay the bills, are skeptical of what went on and no amount of words or other public relation work is going to change it. A little truth, transparency and less pretty pictures and misleading statements and the out come would have been far better for the district. Even to this day, there is a certain amount of distrust on the part of Citizens related to this issue. There is a divide between citizens and those in the teaching profession. But it did not have to be that way.

Today, we see it again in what the County, Heber City, Midway and to some degree some of the special service districts are doing. Things are happening, decisions are being made and money spent. And instead of making the citizens part of the partnership (they say they are, but that’s because they are using your money), they skirt issues, give the bare minimum of information and in many ways avoid the very transparency that is necessary to stop or at the very least reduce the amount of distrust between government and her citizens.
The great fear is, that someday, somewhere, citizens are going to do more than sit home and wring their hands over the issues. It could get mean and ugly. It has in the past and history tells us, the citizens will take just so much before they turn on the masters. And when this happens, there would not be enough people left who support law, to put a stop to the carnage.
It has been said, when we do not teach, understand and know our previous history, we are doomed to repeat it.
What if we had a tea party right here in this valley. Not one related to our federal government, but one on local government. In my minds eye, it is not a pretty sight and no one in their right mind would want it to happen, but unless some of our leaders wise up and do better, who knows?

THE FUTURE?

The other day a friend came to may office and wanted to know what I knew about a couple of elected officials who had benefitted( or thought to have benefitted) by a couple of decisions they had made.
I suggested that believing everything one hears in our Valley, would not be good for any ones health. After this person had left, I contemplated what he had said and how his thoughts seem to be the thoughts of so many currently.

I came to the conclusion, that our elected leaders, no matter how good we think they are or how honest has brought this problem upon themselves.

Let me share with you some things that I know from observation and investigation.
Some of the finest people I know, occupy some of the elected positions within our valley. They are bright, smart and I doubt seriously if they would ever cross the line in their service to this community. They seek to do right and actually come prepared to do the peoples business. But there seems to be a trend among a few, to hide and pontificate on the issues, rather than express how things really are.
When people see, that getting to the point of the issue may take hours rather than simple minutes. And that questions can actually be answered in yes and no terms, rather that in the tone we find in Washington, which is, “before I can answer that question, let me say this”. When citizens hear this, they know two things. The first, this person has no idea what the answer is, but instead of saying so, would rather lead you down some path in an effort to make you believe they have a clue about what they are talking about. And the second thing, this leader has something to hide. Perhaps it is not serious, but they have said or done something, that on second thought, was not right and proper, but they do not want you to know.

In our community we have some very serious problems of transparency, serious understanding of the issues both for now and for the future, and the problem of smallness, which has nothing to do with height, but with mind set. It goes like this; “if I tell you what I really know on the subject, I am some how diminished”.
Time and time again we see it from some of our elected and appointed leaders.
The classic was with our recent School construction. I was accused by people in the education community of being against children, against education and against teachers.
Nothing could be further from the truth. But the reason for these accusation were because questions were being asked of those who should know, but did not. In some cases actually lied to cover not knowing. The questions that were asked at the time of Bond vote, were simple with no other thought in mind but the facts. Just the facts. It would have given citizens information and a complete understanding of the issues. But they would not, and because of their approach, the High School will never be clean when it comes to discussion for those remembering the history. We see it even to this day. Citizens who are now being asked to pay the bills, are skeptical of what went on and no amount of words or other public relation work is going to change it. A little truth, transparency and less pretty pictures and misleading statements and the out come would have been far better for the district. Even to this day, there is a certain amount of distrust on the part of Citizens related to this issue. There is a divide between citizens and those in the teaching profession. But it did not have to be that way.

Today, we see it again in what the County, Heber City, Midway and to some degree some of the special service districts are doing. Things are happening, decisions are being made and money spent. And instead of making the citizens part of the partnership (they say they are, but that’s because they are using your money), they skirt issues, give the bare minimum of information and in many ways avoid the very transparency that is necessary to stop or at the very least reduce the amount of distrust between government and her citizens.
The great fear is, that someday, somewhere, citizens are going to do more than sit home and wring their hands over the issues. It could get mean and ugly. It has in the past and history tells us, the citizens will take just so much before they turn on the masters. And when this happens, there would not be enough people left who support law, to put a stop to the carnage.
It has been said, when we do not teach, understand and know our previous history, we are doomed to repeat it.
What if we had a tea party right here in this valley. Not one related to our federal government, but one on local government. In my minds eye, it is not a pretty sight and no one in their right mind would want it to happen, but unless some of our leaders wise up and do better, who knows?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A DO NOTHING LEADER

Ever wondered what happened to the candidate and eventual office holder who promised to make contact with the people? Who claimed while running for office he would open up access, would put up a web site if necessary, so that citizens could find information and so forth? After the election his true character came forth. The problem now is he can continue to lead the public astray for at least another two years. And as unreal as it may seem, there is no recourse.

Such a person is really not worth his hire. The citizens were duped by the sweet talk. Thinking this person was the ideal candidate, since those they sought to replace were either not running again or were thought to be worse. Truth is, the people never in their wildest dreams believed that changing the guard could have been worse, but sure enough this elected leader has proven the old adage, “be careful what you wish for.”
A person who will smoke and mirror the public during the election cycle, knowing full well he has no intention of living up to the promises, proves he has a real defect in his character and thinking.

Some one should develop some test like candling an egg, which would allow the public to see the hidden flaws before they vote. If there would have been such a test, it is obvious this person would have never made it to first base let alone hit a home run in an election.
Evidently, citizens must understand that gong to schools of higher learning does not a smart person make. Yes, maybe a clever person, a wool puller perhaps, but definitely not an intelligent moral person that such an education should have created.

Tragically, two years ago, which seems a really long time ago, the citizens were duped and now it will take another two years to clean the slate.

A friend wanted to know, what makes people say one thing and then do another? Smile, shake your hand and promise the moon and then not even deliver the stars. The answer may lie in the good book. The bible has a very clear definition that every citizens should recognize and understand. The bible calls such people “smooth face hypocrites”. And there you have it. Like the Supreme Court it is hard to define, we know it when we see it. We know what causes it. And we know that we must be careful and observant. We were hoodwinked once, but with this person, it will not happen again.
There is one last wish, a resignation would be in order. That alone would do more for the safety and health of the voters than any apology or promised course correction. What are you, a tin man?