Sunday, March 9, 2008
Greetings friends and neighbors,
Many of you read this blog not because you agree with everything I have to say, but because you trust me to say it plainly and clearly without regard to any predispostions, or superficial politically correct nonsense.
This however, is my final blog entry. At my age I must take charge of my own health, happiness and that of my family. I hope you will understand.
I have recently spent six months trying to help all my neighbors in the district and community with their tax appeals and questions. And I finally have realized only legislative action will correct the injustices being suffered by so many due to onerous property taxation. My town is rapidly becoming a caretaker community without young people. Non resident part time vacation home owners are dominating once vibrant and thriving neighborhoods.
The more learned about state politics it is obvious the legislature has been taken over by real estate and developer interests. And fully half of the legislature is corrupted by real estate money. They must be taken on or the little people will continue to be ground into the dust while this nefarious influence continues to line its pockets at the little people's expense.
The local representative is so ignorant of what constitutes a conflict of interest he can not properly fill out a State COI Declaration. His two years in office have produced multiple Realtor Association sponsored (and perhaps authored) legislation, subdivision approval law which enables developers to bypass local planning commissions, and for two years he has sponsored a draconian deferral of property tax bill, also favored by his parent organization - the Realtor Association. A bill so disgusting I can not even repeat it here. (HB 357, 364, 463, 296, 78, 290) And he sat by as HB 466 "The Developer's Dream" Bill was passed without so much as a question. And after more than a year he waited until this 2008 session was almost finished before obvious "grandstanding and theater" lip service ineffectively for both this issue, as well as property tax reform.
Few if any seats in Weber County have four candidates, which should tell the GOP just how weak and dismal District 8 seat has performed. And if they were smart they would elect delegates to nominate another candidate instead of the incumbent. But no one is holding their breath, as the caucuses have been flooded with his relatives.
My family and I , do to a recent town council decision, have elected to make other plans for the future. Life is just too short to do otherwise.
Friends and neighbors scattered across this State have offered support as "soldiers" in the campaign. Many have begun to send unsolicited very generous donations and offers for full financial support. All I can say is a heartfelt thank you. Your donations will be returned and let's keep in touch. I wish you all the very best in the future.
Perhaps it is right that my little town become a ghost town of caretakers, except for wealthy non resident homeowners, to the delight of the Realtor Association and developer community. The Huntsville Town Council wills it so.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I thought you might like to know what actually happened this session relative to property taxation issues and how the effort fared.
"It is 2 a.m. and the session is over. Despite our efforts, little was accomplished on the property tax side with the exception of killing bad bills such as tax deferral and creating special benefits for limited numbers of property tax payers.
We did introduce the AV concept but there just wasn't any urgency felt on the part of legislators to deal with property taxes.
Legislators were much more concerned about illegal immigration because that poses the most immediate threat to their reelection. People who would never have voted for an immigration bill were falling all over themselves to cast votes on these bills in order to show that they are doing something.
This is a good lesson for us. We need the same urgency if we are to pass property tax reform. Also, we need a carefully planned "messaging" program in order to get property taxes through. Many immigration bills passed because we put the focus on identity theft and got the veterans groups involved.
Property tax bills that passed included Harper's HB54 which requires annual (computer assisted mass) reassessments in the bigger counties, SB29 which makes relatively minor changes in Truth In Taxation (drops the voter approval for tax increases above inflation thanks to our legislature), and SB38 - Transparency, which now only applies to state government. (The Association of Counties. Utah League of Cities and Towns , etc. and their lobbyists killed accountability of County Governments. Another example of our tax money being used to lobby against we the people, yet for hiding accountability from we the people.)
The extra sessions of the Revenue and Tax Committee that were to study property taxes was rolled in with a couple of task force bills as HB490. That bill died on the House calendar so there is no formal authority for extra sessions of the Revenue and Taxation Interim committee to study property taxes. When I talked to Senator Niederhauser around 1 a.m., he indicated that the funding had been set aside for five extra Rev and Tax Committee sessions and he thought that he could get the extra committee sessions without a formal resolution.
The bill to replace the school portion of the property tax with the sales tax went no where and the property tax for reading programs was not repealed.
For those of you in St. George, Senator Hickman announced that he will retire from the Senate at the end of his current term. The word is that Steve Urquhart will go for his seat. I hope this makes sense. It is late and I'm really tired."
Thanks Ron from us all. You should be in the legislature if the people in Davis County only knew who and what they were voting for....
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2008
D.W. Bell announces his candidacy as a Democrat for the Utah State LegislatureDistrict 8 seat currently held by Gage Froerer
OGDEN – Don Bell, a decorated combat pilot as well as ("in")famous F-16 testpilot, announced today, March 4, that he will challenge Representative Gage Froerer for District 8 seat in the Utah Legislature.
“Enough is enough, it’s time to send people to Capitol Hill who will represent all the people and not just special interests, it is time to bring some integrity back into the people's business” Said Mr. Bell.
“While the people of District 8 were being abused by horrific property taxes, my opponent was ineffective and participated in a propaganda campaign for 5 months against true property tax reforms. It is time to hold him, and the special interests he represents, accountable for the ineffective leadership and representation. My opponent has represented his own business interests and those of his cronies in the Realtors Association and development industry, while neglecting his constituents.”
D-Bell has fought for taxpayer rights in Ogden Valley. He has worked to form coalitions across Utah to lobby for property tax fairness and reforms while assisting many of the elderly with their property taxes.
When elected he will demand fiscal accountability and transparency from government and strict oversight of developers and their sponsored legislation at the expense of the people.
“When my wife Kay and I chose to retire in Utah in 1978 the state was a frugal, conservative and well run place to raise our family. The political times have changed since then and we now find ourselves governed by a consortium of special interest groups and their well placed elected operatives. We must clean out those who have infiltrated our legislature and return to basic logic and common sense legislation. In order for our greatest legacy, our children and grandchildren, to be able to afford to live here we must lower taxes and clean up the way things are run in state government."
Mr. Bell is on record as stating: “I will continue a relentless fight for lower taxes, significant property tax reform, ethics and campaign finance reform, which I believe most Utahns favor, yet our current representative has rejected for 2 years."
Mr. Bell's stand on gifts:
"I do not understand how gift accepting could be a part of Utah politics. All gifts and large campaign donations come with expectations."
"My pledge is to not accept any “gifts” of any value from anyone after I'm elected. During the campaign I will only accept contributions in small amounts and from individuals only. I will not accept special interest or political lobby money in any amount."
"As a United States Air Force fighter pilot I accepted no gifts or bribes to do my duty, and as a representative of the people of district eight I will accept no gifts in any amount for my service."
"My opponent and his Realtor and developer cronies are a big part of the problem, not a part of the solution. It is time for a change”
D-Bell has lived in District 8 for 18 years and in Utah for 30 years. He and his wife of 42 years, “K-Bell”, raised two children in Davis County while he served as the Chief F-16 test pilot at Hill AFB.
Both D and K-Bell grew up in Southeast Arkansas. He worked to put himself through high school and the University of Arkansas (BA Business) and the University of N. Colorado (MA). After a year working on the Gemini Project in St. Louis, Bell joined the US Air Force where he completed pilot training. For the next 20 years he was on a mission for his Country. In Viet Nam he flew 188 combat missions in F-4 fighters. He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and thirteen Air Medals, with 29 awards and decorations.
After the war he was selected for a special assignment with the Marine Corps where he attended Navy Top Gun school. While on his only staff assignment Bell helped to create and flew in an unprecedented 5 nation, 3 year, F-16 flight test program, based out of Hill AFB. He worked persistently with integrity and at times audacity, to insure a new concept of F-16 interoperability was successfully integrated into the European theater and NATO. Back at Hill AFB Bell flew production flight test missions. Returning to civilian life, Bell supervised engineers at Hill AFB for General Dynamics, for ten years before retiring.
D-Bell’s professional experience, honesty, tenacity and character will help all citizens of Utah, especially those concerned about legislative ethical behavior. He will work year round, without any conflicts of interest, representing his constituents ethically, honestly, and with dignity and professionalism.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
What is becoming one of my favorite newspapers, The Daily Herald, from the Orem-Provo area has published a "local opinion" by George Handley.
Believe it or not, George is apparently a BYU professor, native Utahn, Provo citizen, practicing Mormon and a life long Democrat. But that is OK, because I think after you read what George wrote you (like myself) will agree with the man.
And I hope you will carefully consider what Mr. Handley has to say.
The Rinos (Republicans in name only) most of whom have shown us just how corrupt they actually are...and who refuse Ethics reforms, campaign finance reforms and significant property tax reform, are as stilted and dirty as the money they have extorted and embezzled from us and from "special interests".
And like motor oil after 6,000 miles, their lubrication of Real Estate and Developer skids has left us citizens with worn patience, friction between property taxpayers, and chafed citizens due to conflict of interest, dirty, and unfiltered (by logic and common sense) legislation.
This session will undoubtedly go down as one of the most shameful and disgusting legislative sessions in history. To attempt to salvage incompetence and disinterest in record numbers of citizens voices, by 5th week desperate sideshow theatrics, knowing full well it is political grandstanding, is beyond political forgiveness.
We asked for property tax reform - we got nothing.
We asked for property tax relief - we got nothing.
We asked for common sense taxation on three-acre minimum size lots - we got nothing.
We asked for ethics reform - we got nothing.
We asked for campaign finance reform - we got nothing.
We ask simply to live in freedom and liberty - instead we got HB 466 taking those constitutional rights away from some of us by developer friendly legislation.
We asked that it be repealed - we are getting a political sideshow and grand standing.
We asked for a Blue Ribbon Study commission to research property taxation best practices - we got a GOP lead and majority of incestuous legislators funding themselves to waste our tax money further and more importantly slow roll and significant property tax reform measures. The findings will have no credibility and they were told specifically they must have citizen participation and involvement - we got nothing but fraud, waste and abuse.
And there was more. Much more...one in four bills introduced, at minimum, were conflicts of interest. For example according to the Deseret News, "• Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, a real estate broker, introduced four bills dealing with real estate law. " And he was involved in every one of the "we got nothings" detailed above.
If you are not convinced that Mr. Handley is correct about it being time to seriously consider voting for Democrats to replace Republican incumbents in Utah, you need to reconsider your grasp on reality. And you need to consider if the present one party legislature, left unchecked another session, will leave any Utah citizen with any rights.
"Democracy is based on the conviction that man has the moral and intellectual capacity, as well as the inalienable right, to govern himself with reason and justice." Harry S. Truman
We all need to ask ourselves if we think we have been "governed with reason and justice." If you think you have been...then "I got nothing for you but hope for the future and for change."
Monday, 25 February 2008
Local opinions: Political competition needed in Utah County
As a college student twenty years ago, I traveled behind what was once known as the Iron Curtain and saw firsthand how a single-party system creates a culture of public disengagement with politics. I learned that democracy without political plurality is not the rule of the people but the rule of hardened tradition and capricious power. Political competition keeps parties answerable to the people about what they are doing and why.
In Utah County (and I believe also in Weber County. machman), however, I believe we have seen a slow and steady erosion of democracy. We have seen many Republicans chosen for, not elected to, office and many who have never run against opposition.
Without a single statement from LDS church leadership to back it up, we have heard for years the empty claim, if not the unspoken assumption, that "good" Mormons can only be Republicans. This, a myth that makes reason stare not only in a plural society like America but in an increasingly international church, not to mention in a party as apparently inhospitable to Mormons as Mitt Romney's party is. Perhaps Romney's fate stings, but his spurning by the evangelicals comes as no less an assault than that experienced by Mormon Democrats in Utah culture for some time. Recently, I read one Republican incumbent in Utah County express "surprise" that a Democrat, and fellow Mormon, would choose to run against him. Surely such surprise is a symptom of a broken system.
Freedom depends on diversity. It is not secured through staid tradition, chauvinism, censorship, or intimidation. Consensus that relies on habitual and categorical trust of some and distrust of others is a threat to the free flow of information and to freedom itself. Freedom is secured in a culture that acknowledges diversity of opinion and celebrates genuine exchange of ideas. In a culture of exceptional homogeneity of belief, the preservation of political openness is even more vital. I suppose this is the same reason why the LDS church depends on councils, counselors, and auxiliaries. It impoverishes a church, as it does a plural society, for anyone to feel shamed merely because of a difference of opinion, as if holding a minority viewpoint were necessarily a symptom of following the wrong spirit.
In a single-party political culture like we have here in this county, our choices have become less meaningful because they are too few and too predictable. I believe this contributes to the growing public disengagement in local politics. Once our state officers are no longer answerable to us, there is nothing left for them to do but to try to distinguish themselves by being the most conservative crab in the barrel. Utah's political dramas have been reduced to a battle between moderate Republicans and the vocal extreme right wing, a group who have made it necessary for the otherwise politically reticent LDS church leadership to speak out in order to rein them in on such issues as immigration and gun control. As we saw in the voucher battle, the energy spent on these battles has drawn the Republican Party farther to the right and away from the middle where most Utahans find themselves.
Diehard straight party voters do a disservice to their own party and to democracy itself. I would like to challenge my Republican and unaffiliated friends to take a closer look at the Republican Party's political behavior in the state legislature. An honest look reveals a crying need for a more balanced two-party system. The Democrats who have announced their candidacy for state office in Utah County (an soon to be in Weber County, machman) thus far deserve close attention and, I submit, active support, not a partisan knee-jerk dismissal. They are socially conservative, morally upstanding, visionary, and well-seasoned by experience. Their political ideals are arguably more consistent with most polls regarding Utah voters' values on education, environmental stewardship, health care, and immigration than those currently in office. And even when they present new and challenging positions, maybe there is something we can learn by listening.
George Handley, a humanities professor at Brigham Young University, is a native Utahn and citizen of Provo, a practicing Mormon, and a lifelong Democrat.
Amen brother Handley!!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The second larger figure is the Total 2006 amount contributed by "special interests".
And the last two digit number (1-39) is a footnote which corresponds to notes which reveal additional special interest money given in the form of Jazz & concert tickets, meals, junkets (trips), green fees, etc.
Douglas Aagard* $4,050 $12,951
Sheryl Allen 3,300 37,829
Sylvia Anderson 3,500 30,560
Roger Barrus* 3,400 8,601
Ralph Becker* (D) 6,000 32,748
Ron Bigelow 5,000 37,101
Jim Bird 1,800 23,076
Jackie Biskupski (D) 5,000 48,412
Demar Bowman 2,550 13,351 (14)
Mel Brown 3,500 28,621
Gregg Buxton* 5,850 16,626
David Clark** 15,602 68,092 (15)
Stephen Clark* 3,950 18,501
Tim Cosgrove (D) 2,300 24,928 (34)
Greg Curtis** 52,366 309,129 (16)
Brad Daw* 4,400 15,551
Brad Dee** 10,719 50,385 (17)
Glenn Donnelson* 1,600 6,902
John Dougall* 4,800 16,541
Jack Draxler* 3,350 12,676 (18)
Carl Duckworth* (D) 5,823 22,657
James Dunnigan* 8,100 31,505
Ben Ferry 3,450 23,226
Janice Fisher (D) 750 16,834
Julie Fisher 2,800 14,600 (19)
Lorie Fowlke* 3,900 10,325
Craig Frank* 4,100 17,790
Gage Froerer* 14,500 47,199
Kevin Garn* 3,950 13,626
Kerry Gibson* 4,893 22,788
James Gowans (D) 2,333 24,347
Keith Grover* 4,250 17,745
Neil Hansen (D) 3,574 20,485 (20)
Wayne Harper 1,800 11,450
Lynn Hemmingway(D) 1,050 25,805
Neil Hendrickson* (D) 4,006 15,307 (21)
Christopher Herrod* (appointed mid-term)
Kory Holdaway* 4,000 18,541
Gregory Hughes* 10,650 42,469
Fred Hunsaker* 3,600 15,267
Eric Hutchings 3,800 19,765 (22)
Christine Johnson* (D) 2,250 45,100
Brad King (D) 2,250 14,251
Todd Kiser 4,650 23,666 (23)
Bradley Last* 6,000 24,801
David Litvack (D) 4,572 29,638
Rebecca Lockhart* 10,300 43,111 (24)
Steven Mascaro 2,500 21,900 (25)
John Mathis 0 100
Roz McGee (D) 6,250 42,295
Kay McIff* 2,300 11,421
Ronda Menlove 4,800 24,975 (26)
Karen Morgan* (D) 7,848 36,188 (27)
Michael Morley* 7,150 21,301 (28)
Carol Moss (D) 1,800 20,868
P. Neuenschwander* 7,324 35,537
Merlynn Newbold 2,800 17,050
Michael Noel 3,300 16,926 (29)
Curtis Oda* 7,000 28,829 (30)
Patrick Painter* 3,600 13,166
Paul Ray* 5,500 19,336 (33)
Phil Riesen (D) 1,750 45,897
Stephen Sandstrom 2,250 46,072
Jen Seelig (D) 2,400 26,453
Lou Shrutliff*(D) 5,590 25,039
Gordon Snow* 7,400 19,776
Ken Sumsion 2,800 22,538
Aaron Tilton 3,300 18,572
Stephen Urquart** 12,000 63,726 (31)
Mark Walker* 10,000 49,241
Mark Wheatley (D) 1,300 19,050
Richard Wheeler 3,800 20,351
Larry Wiley* (D) 5,050 24,402
Carl Wimmer** 5,500 51,585 (32)
Scott Wyatt* 3,850 9,496
41 of 75, or 56% of our House of Representatives receives more than 20% of campaign funds from Realtor/developers, construction, real estate finance special interests.
*combined contributions which include 20% or more including the candidate if that candidate is in the Real Estate/Development business.
** Based upon taking more than $50,000 a year over an above pay and benefits, per diem, mileage, and lodging during regular sessions and interim work sessions, for a volunteer public service job.
Legislators are paid for the days they are in session (45 days). The Compensation Committee elected to set up pay such that income tax deductions are maximized. In addition to paid days ($130) which can include extra days in “Interim sessions” they receive mileage ( .45 per mile) and per diem ($54/day) for meals, plus lodging ($94/night) even though 70% of them drive home most nights of the 45-day session.
The Gift Taking Story:
The “gifting” shown below is either money they spent from the “campaign funds” or additional “gifts” they accepted from special interests/lobbyists. You should notice in many instances our legislators have very different ethical standards when it comes to spending “free money”. Money given them by special interests which have expectations and who have invested in them with these expectations. The legislator’s rationalizations are almost humorous if not sadly true.
“One simple set of facts — not accusations — makes my point: In 2007, Utah's 104 part-time legislators took in a total of $250,000 in gifts from registered lobbyists — who, by a law I'm sure many lawmakers regret ever passing, requires lobbyists to list how much they spend on legislators.
In some other states, or even Congress, such gift-taking might be called "legalized bribery" — as indeed it has been called in Congress. But not in Utah. In Utah, it is the cost born by many lobbyists (although certainly not all) in trying to influence the Legislature.” Deseret News, 22 Feb. 08.
You should be able to see who your legislators are, what they are taking in and then decide for yourselves whether an incumbent or challenger should get your vote.
In summary, legislators spent at least $22,000 on cameras, TVs and computers which can be used for both campaign and personal use.
-At least $26,750 to put relatives on payrolls.
-$1,125 of campaign funds to park their vehicles.
-at minimum $13,500 to join or pay dues to a variety of political and civic groups.
-$48,200 to charities which could help build good will; fund for Crandall Canyon Mine disaster victims ($3,100),; Boy & Girls Clubs ($2,675);, Boy Scouts ($800); Human Rights Campaign ($700); schools, junior livestock shows, environmental groups and service organizations.
They gave a minimum of $81,600 to each other and political groups or parties.
40 of 55 (72%) of Republicans voted against lobbyists naming lawmakers who accept meals valued at less than $50. 20 Democrats voted for the measure apparently.
Friends and neighbors,
This "ethical absenteeism" has turned me into a Democrat...at least a Utah Democrat, meaning a very moderate fiscally conservative and responsible Democrat. The GOP Elephants have forgotten and therefore lost their way - except to the bank. One must ask themselves "If they can not run an efficient and fiscally responsbile, accountable and efficient campaign, how on earth do we expect them to run a fiscally responsible, accountable and efficient State government?"
1. Senate Majority Leader Bramble, R-Provo accepted dinner cruise and accepted the most disclosed gifts of any legislator last year – worth $1,170. “What I took last year in gifts was fully disclosed. We have transparency. We discuss this every year…and the feeling of the Legislature is that we have adequate disclosure.” $846 in meals; $200 in Utah Blaze tickets; $05 for a Great Salt Lake cruise; and $29 in Utah Jazz tickets. (Bramble had hundreds of dollars in Jazz tickets from Lockhart before Bramble paid Lockhart back for those events.) He went on a Great Salt Lake cruise ($107). $4,475 taken from lobbyists in gifts valued at more than $50 a day.
2. Senator Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, bought $149 in clothes with campaign funds and also had his car repaired ($2,500). He also spent $214 to a car dealer to “upgrade OnStar”. He spent $5,243 on personal expenses.
3. Senate Minority Leader Mike Dmitrich, D-Price, took $1,083 in expensive tickets, meals and other items valued at more than $50. $6,777 in gifts costing greater than $50, and a $1,700 round trip to Florida to “look at a special interest’s privatization efforts. And then took in a lobbyists paid round of golf.
4. Sen. Dan Eastman, R – Bountiful, $500 for Jazz front row seat. But claims he paid Stokes for the ticket.
5. Sen. Brent Goodfellow, R-West Valley, gave himself $50 every couple of months for “gasoline use” in driving around his Salt Lake County-based district. Also used campaign funds to pay for passports or visas $120.
6. Sen. Patricia Jones, D-Holladay, accepted four tickets @ $97/ticket ($388) and vowed to reimburse Blue Cross and Blue Shield lobbyist Jennifer Cannaday.
7. Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Lehi, had a long list of interesting campaign expenditures, including some big money for baby-sitting, attending sports events and maybe helping relatives. Paid his brother to run $12,000. $4,540 on baby-sitters and nannies. $97 for membership in and neckties by Accuracy in Media. $79 on family meals and parking for family events at the theater, planetarium and museums. And he spent $589 on a digital camera. $37 for a Utah Valley University shirt. All from “campaign funds”.
8. Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, paid himself $30,500 for loans to earlier campaign.
9. Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, accepted two $97 ($194) concert tickets. He also spent $6,972 on personal expenses. He said he paid for conferences he attended that had to do with his legislative work.
10. Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, also accepted two $97 ($194) concert tickets. “The good Senator from Draper went on a nine-minute rant about how bad and evil the media was on reporting on lobbyists’ gifts, and how appropriate it was that lawmakers take dinners and Jazz tickets to ease the pain of being away from hearth, home and family.” YGBSM!
11. Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, raised the most in “campaign contributions” during 2007, the off-year, from special interests at $78,641. “legislators used at least $108,500 for travel, much of it outside of Utah to places such as China, by Senate President John Valentine and U. S. sites including Alaska; Orlando, Fla.; San Francisco,: Nashville, Tenn.; san Diego, Calif.; Boston; Savannah, Ga.; Chicago; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. He paid for passports and visas and other gifts worth $849, fifth on the taking rankings behind Clark, Dmitrich, and Bramble. Valentine said he considers eating a meal on a lobbyist’s “dime” is part of doing his legislative work because he is giving his time to the lobbyist.
12. Sen. Darin Peterson, R-Nephi, accepted a cruise on the Great Salt Lake from lobbyists ($107).
13. Sen. Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville spent $85 on either a wedding gift or birth.
14. Rep. Bud Bowman, R-Cedar City, spent $60 on dry cleaning another $49 for shirts.
15. Rep. House Majority Leader David Clark, R-Santa Clara, says no legislator runs or serves believing he’ll make money. Instead, it costs legislators to serve. Clark ranked fourth in overall gift receiving at $862. Clark was also mentioned for travel expenses to Germany and U.S. sites including Alaska; Orlando, Fla.; San Francisco; Nashville, Tenn.; San Diego, Calif.; Boston; Savannah, Ga.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
16. House Speaker Rep. Greg Curtis gave a $50 gift for either a birth or wedding. Curtis also accepted wedding gift to daughter for $83.77 from CEO of Utah Realtor Assoc., Kyler.
17. Rep. Brad Dee, R-Ogden received four $97 tickets ($388) for a concert.
18. Rep. Jack Draxler, R-North Logan gave himself $6,300 in cash from campaign funds for what he simply listed as “income”. Draxler said he earns “substantially more” each day as a self-employed appraiser than he does as a legislator. That $6,300 is actually reimbursement for lost wages during his legislative work, he said. And he accepted $235 in Utah State football tickets.
19. Rep. Julie Fisher, R-Fruit Heights, paid herself for loans ($100).
20. Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, went on the Great Salt Lake cruise ($107).
21. Rep. Neal Hendrickson, D-West Valley, spent $185 on dry cleaning or cleaning and $75 for a sports coat.
22. Rep. Hutchings spent $61 in dress shirts from Mervyn’s and $120 for shirts and $365 for suits and shirts say it was a “50-50 match with personal funds”.
23. Rep. Todd Kiser, R-Sandy, spent $70 on a freeway HOV-lane pass and a new suit at the Mr. Mac sale $169 and he also paid $90 for special legislative shirts from the legislature’s “third House” operation. Another $59 on “candy for Halloween”. He spent another $170 on weddings or births gifts. $558 from “campaign donations”.
24. Rep. Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo, gave $5,000 to her husband, Stan Lockhart, for his successful campaign to become chairman of the Utah Republican Party. Of course the Utah County Republican Party just had contributed the same $5,000 to her “campaign” prior. Golf green fees fro Utah Realtor Assoc. Kyler $88.86.
25. Rep. Steve Mascara, R-West Jordan, repaid himself $2,500 for a loan he made to his campaign. And also $814 for “auto expenses” at car repair shops or dealerships.
26. Rep. Ronda Menlove, R-Garland, went on the Great Salt Lake cruise ($107).
27. Rep. Karen Morgan, D-Cottonwood Heights, spent $40 of campaign money toward a passport.
28. Rep. Mike Morley, R-Spanish Fork, used campaign funds to pay a $10 “parking ticket” to Salt Lake City.
29. Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, spent $68 on dry cleaning; uses his campaign account to
pay for gasoline used to drive around his eight-county district although he receives mileage reimbursements for travel to Salt Lake City. He spent $3,600 in partial rent for a Salt Lake apartment last year. And another $656 for “rent paid for part of session” in Salt Lake City. He gets $90 a day for hotel stays. He also uses campaign funds to pay for cleaning his suits and shirts.
30. Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield, spent $443 for “legislative shirts”, $364 at Nordstrom for his wife’s dress fro swearing-in ceremony; $101 expense for a dress for a ball; $177 at Macy’s for a suit for her; $211 at New York Lerner went for “event clothes” for his wife; and $21 at Forever Young to buy her some Western boots. Oda spent $21 at Ream’s on his Western boots. And he spent $32 on dry cleaning or laundry. Let’s see $1,317 for his wife’s clothes and $54 bucks on himself. And he gave $144 to others for gifts. And then spent $50 on a class for concealed weapons class and $63 for “snacks” and another $20 for “pens & pads for legislative CCW class” plus another $156 to the instructor. Dinner from Utah Realtor Assoc. Kyler in Boston, $85.00.
31. Rep. Steve Urquhart, R-St George, spent $48 to rent a tuxedo and $81 on dry cleaning/laundry. Accepted $85.00 dinner in Boston from Chris Kyler, Utah Realtor Association CEO.
32. Rep. Carl Wimmer, R- Herriman, paid himself $1,200 and his wife $1,000 for campaign/delegate organization work.” He then spent $528 at Mr. Mac for suits.
33. Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, spent $103 on cleaning expenses.
34. Rep Tim Cosgrove (D)-Murray, accepted dinner for two in Boston from Utah Realtor Assoc. Chris Kyler CEO lobbyist for ($170).
35. Sen. John Hickman R-Washington Co., spent $7,592 on personal uses.
36. Sen. Scott McCoy (D)-Salt Lake County, spent $7,240 on personal uses including paying himself back some money he contributed to his own campaign.
37. Sen. Peter Knudson R-Box Elder, Cache, Toole Counties, spent $1,341 for personal uses.
38. Sen. Scott Jenkins R-Weber County, spent $1,608 on personal uses.
The above is only the tip of an iceberg and hundreds of thousands go unaccounted for.
39. Sen. John Hickman R- Washington County, spent $7,592 of his “campaign funds for personal use.
40. Sen. John Greiner R- Weber County, Ogden, is a quadruple dipper from the public trough. He is actually retired from the police force with full benefits. He is also current Police Chief with big salary. He is also retired from the Army Reserve with pension and he is drawing salary from his State Senate Seat. All of which makes him perhaps the biggest sucker attached to the public tit in Utah.
Monday, February 25, 2008
This is the first of two posts which attempts to answer the important question,"So Machman, who should we keep of the incumbents?" I can not tell you, nor will I try. But I will provide data taken from "followthemoney.org" for 2006 for campaign contributions indicators. I will suggest that the "campaign" contributions in 2007/2008 will very likely more than double these 2006 figures.
And I have researched using the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret Morning News articles and "numbered footnotes" to allow you great readers an opportunity to see who is "on the take and who is on the double take". Then, if you agree with me that such is corruption and graft, immoral and disgusting, you can jot down a few notes or print for reference during the upcoming caucuses, delegate selections, and candidate nominations. You can share them with your neighbors and spread the word and thus make a significant statement and difference as we select hopefully some more ethical candidates for office.
A friend from Bountiful suggests these are all just "good people caught up in a bad system". And he may be right. But if the system is bad why have they continuously refused to reform the system? Why do so many continue to take and take so much without sending the donations back? No, Ron...these who rationalize taking with both hands are corrupt and need to be replaced this November... Pure and simple. There can simply be no excuse for Utah being the laughing stock of the entire United States due to lax campaign and ethics laws.
It is up to you and your friends, neighbors and family members to help resolve this disgusting situation in our state legislature. I report....you decide, if you want these Cretans representing you in any way. And frankly if you do...you will deserve everything you get. Higher and higher property taxes, more and more development friendly legislation at the expense of citizens, more graft and corruption by the Realtor Association and its poodle law firms, more non solutions to problems, more legal abuse and the weakest fraud legislation in the entire Country, more waisted time on fluff resolutions while serious problems remain unaddressed. You will have earned exactly what you will get.
May I suggest you consider candidates who have character, integrity, and who believe that this whole money grubbing situation is simply dishonorable and disgusting. And an embarrassment to our State. May I suggest you consider voting against incumbents who have shown disregard for common sense ethical behavior and who have not delivered on promises for change so desperately needed especially now. Please use your "free agency" and your own judgment and reject these conflicted legislators who would not know a Conflict of Interest if it bit them in the arse.
( I apologise for the formating problem but this blog stuff doesn't seem to allow correct columns so you have to use your mind to figure it out... BEAK!)
The “campaign contribution” story (2006 data):
Real Estate, Inv., Total 2006 Other “perks”, Jazz
Developer, Const. “Campaign” & concert tickets,
Contributions Contributions meals, green fees, etc.
Gregg Bell $ 993 $ 8,568
Curt Bramble* 11,250 49,866 (1)
Chris Buttars 0 35,931 (2)
Alan Christensen* 1,500 3,600
Gene Davis**(D) 11,200 81,439
Margaret Dayton** 10,019 63,644
Mike Dmitrich*(D) 7,750 24,432 (3)
Dan Eastman* 3,050 8,850 (4)
Fred Fife (D) 0 0
B. Goodfellow** (D) 7,000 57,175 (5)
Jon Greiner** 13,000 93,951 (40)
John Hickman* 4,700 7,450 (39)
Lyle Hillyard 500 2,150
Scott Jenkins* 2,000 4,675 (38)
Patricia Jones**(D) 24,146 129,141 (6)
Sheldon Killpack** 20,500 93,452
Peter Knudson** 11,250 53,769 (37)
Mark Madsen 2,000 25,800 (7)
Ed Mayne (D) deceased 7,500 43,097
Scott McCoy**(D) 2,549 123,888 36
W. Niederhauser** 164,500 253,640 (8)
Darin Peterson 5,600 40,051 (12)
Ross Romero**(D) 5,850 90,850 (9)
Howard Stephenson** 5,500 52,804 (10)
Dennis Stowell 6,500 35,551
John Valentine** 15,000 135,088 (11)
Kevin Van Tassell* 17,460 78,126
Michael Waddoups* 6,950 21,990 (13)
Carlene Walker 650 4,450
17 of 29, more than 58% of Senate received more than 20% of campaign funds from the Realtor/Developer, Construction, Real Estate Finance special interest groups based only on 2006 public information.
We will not know about 2008 for another year. although last year, lobbyists and special interests doled out $279,000 in giveaways. These moneybags gave another $827,000 in campaign donations, according to a Deseret Morning News analysis.
*combined contributions which include 20% or more including the candidate if that candidate is in the Real Estate/Development business.
** Based upon taking more than $50,000 a year over an above pay and benefits, per diem, mileage, and lodging during regular sessions and interim work sessions, for a volunteer public service job.
Legislators are paid for the days they are in session (45 days). The Compensation Committee elected to set up pay such that income tax deductions are maximized. In addition to paid days ($130) which can include extra days in “Interim sessions” they receive mileage ( .45 per mile) and per diem ($54/day) for meals, plus lodging ($94/night) even though 70% of them drive home most nights of the 45-day session
Gifts less than $50 are not accounted for anywhere and legislators can spend their campaign cash however they choose.
Tomorrow it will be the Representative's turn and a detailing of the gifts as per the numbered footnotes.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Sometimes today's news is best reported by others. Such is the case again as "Rudi" of the Weber County Forum has uncorked the facts far better than I can. And it does help to know I am not alone in my preceptions. Such is the case with the Powerville fiasco and the way our Eden residents were treated. To give WCF the maximum coverage it deserves Rudi's piece is echoed here. Listen to the audio for yourselves and make up your own mind. And I suggest you also read the comments including the one from "Crumudgeon" a retired WSU history professor and Phd who is passionate about citizen's inalienable rights. You know, "the we hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are ...." part. If a developer can get by doing what has happened in Powderville, where are the people's rights?
Again I say, this situation just can not be legal no matter what "screwed up legislation" was nefariously passed by our representatives. This simply can not be allowed to stand. Something about the 14th Amendment and the "Equal Protections" Clause our "representatives" do not apparently seem to understand. For if they did they would have never voted 66 to 0 to pass HB 466, nor would our representative stand idly by as his constituents are being robbed of their "equal protections" by his buddies in the Realtor/Developer "mafia".
These people must go...back to high school and civics class, or basic government classes...but they must not be allowed to continue as our representatives unless you want more of this type of shameful, ignorant and abusive representation.
Folks, it is all up to you and me to change the face of our legislature this Fall or sooner. Vote against incumbents and let's get a fresh new unconflicted crowd into office.
"Better late than never, we hope"
We're quite delighted that the Salt Lake Tribune's Kristen Moulton has finally stepped up within the last few days, to report on the Powderville Town Incorporation land-grab. She's an outstanding Utah reporter, and hopefully, her intelligent reporting doesn't come too late. The people of Utah need to be informed about our Utah corporo-fascist problem. If anyone can do that, it's Ms. Moulton.From today's article Kristen reports about the effects of Tuesday's House Committee hearing, during which Committee Vice Chair Gage Froerer (who chaired the meeting) essentially told a pack of citizens from Ogden Valley: "just shut up."We incorporate here the key paragraphs from Kristen's article."A House committee Thursday endorsed a makeover of the law that guides town incorporations.But lawmakers turned a deaf ear to Ogden Valley residents who want the new law to block Powder Mountain's incorporation.The bill, HB164, proposed by Rep. Melvin Brown, R-Coalville, would replace HB466, passed with little discussion at the end of the 2007 legislation, a measure one representative - Kerry Gibson, R-Ogden - acknowledged Thursday was a "major screw-up."Please listen to the recorded hearing transcript now, gentle readers. If you take the time to hear it, you'll find that this House Committee didn't even address the "disenfrangisement issue." Perhaps Rep. Froerer didn't realize that the lumpencitizens would be listening in when he treated them so rudely. These people on the committee listened quitely while the Ogden Valley citizen-activists, who'd gotten up early in the morning and travelled to the capitol to address what they assumed to be an open-minded standing committee, (and who would hear and consider their concerns) -- got shut down by "Acting Chair " Gage Froerer -- who awarded their citizen activism, by limiting the last two of them to "one minute."If you have an ounce of political passion, gentle readers, listen to the audio transcript here.
After that, you can become "ticked off," along with your blogmaster. "Posted by RudiZink at 6:10 PM 4 comments Links to this post
Labels: Powder Mountain Rezone