Sunday, September 30, 2007

Plea for involvement. Article explains a lot about how we are governed.

UPDATE 10/1/2007 From this morning's Deseret News, Two Pilots Plot a Revolt Over Property Taxes

Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

It is with some sadness I must report the following:

"Today, believes author Charles S. Peterson, Utahans have proved to be followers rather than leaders on most public issues, seeking the sure precedent and the safe path ---a legacy of the Saints' old quest for security and respect in a hostile world." Utah, A History. by Charles S. Peterson.

If after reading this you don't feel just a little sick to your stomach, you need to reexamine your role as a citizen for the sake of all our family's futures. It seems we are being truly ruled by "special interest group money". We want campaign finance reform. We want ethics reform. We want comprehensive property tax reform. Some of us want parents to be in charge of their kids education. But it seems the legislature and/or special interest groups do not want us to have any of it.

So what do we do about it? Apathetically stand by while these commissioners and legislators and their special interest groups run our State for us? Who is in charge? Anybody care? Or is Professor Peterson correct with his belief?

I did like the bottom line of the Deseret Morning News column though. It offers some hope: "When citizens get involved in a campaign or an issue, they are always more powerful than a special interest." He added, "But that is true only if they are engaged. If not then special interests are always there to fill in the power vacuum."

Let's get engaged. Town or Valley, put a "For Sale ---Can't Afford the Taxes" sign out front. If you live in Huntsville Town (or not), call Mayor Jim McKay (801-745-3027) and tell him you would like him to actively support any and all efforts to pressure the local government officials to lower our property assessments for a change. Call Councilman Stevenson 745-2345, Gault 745-2601, and Truett 745-1280 and tell them you would like them to support all efforts to defend Huntsville Town and Ogden Valley's citizens against out of control Weber County Commissioners and the Assessor. Ask them to pass a resolution of support for Councilman Sorensen and D-Bell.

Ask Jim McKay to lead, as the Mayor of Huntsville, and reject the latest incremental 1/4% increase in sales tax, and any other tax without an end date. Tell him you want him to give a speech to the WCOG members objecting formally to a Weber County 26% increase in budget in defiance of State "Truth in Taxation" law by not holding public hearings. Tell him, if you are a resident of Huntsville Town, that you object to being doubly taxed for services you already are paying for and you want it stopped and now.

Valley residents, I just do not know what to suggest other than write letters (or make calls) to our legislators and to the Valley News, Standard Examiner, Salt Lake Tribune, and Deseret Morning News telling them how you feel about what has been allowed to happen by apparently the State Tax Commission, which has "oversight" over the Weber County Commissioners and the Assessor.

Tell them you want comprehensive tax reform and not poorly thought out Band Aids. Promise they will not be re elected if they do not begin to represent the people who put them in office instead of these special interest groups. Just do it! Do something to object to paternalistic cronyism and sickening ethically challenged representation.

Or maybe not...maybe just sit back and take it, like the last several years, hoping someone else will somehow get it done without you "sticking your neck out". But "behold the turtle who proceeds not lest his neck be stuck out." He is generally found squished on the highway, flat as a pancake, with his head still inside the shell.

Councilman and Wing man Sorensen and I can raise cane all day long but unless you get involved and "engaged" we can do very little for you. Support this effort by calling the Town Council members...all of them. Then actually do something. Act. Write letters, make phone calls. Did you know we don't even have so much as a resolution of support from the Huntsville Town Council? Where is the leadership? Where is the involvement or engagement in the welfare of virtually every citizen of Huntsille Town and Ogden Valley?

Or, wait until you are taxed out of this Valley and away from your rightful heritage and birthright. It is your choice not mine. Get engaged, I ask you.... please. I want you all as friends and neighbors forever.

Minor Machman

LEARNING CURVE: Percentage of Utah legislators receiving perfect scores from the Utah Association of Realtors
1999: 6%
2000: 8%
2001: 24%
2002: 31%
2003: 56%
2004: 53%
2005: 60%
Source: Utah Association of Realtors

Beholden to special interests?
Utah campaign funding 'unhealthy'
Deseret Morning News
By Lee Davidson and Bob Bernick Jr.
Deseret Morning News
Published: December 3, 2006

For every $100 in donations raised by incoming Utah legislators in their latest races, $95.70 of it came from special interests or members' own pockets.

In fact, 30 of the 104 legislators who will take office next month raised every cent of their campaign money from special interests or their own pockets. That's a 50 percent increase over the 19 lawmakers who were "100 percenters" two years ago, according to a computer-aided study by the Deseret Morning News. And most of that increase comes in donations from political action committees, businesses and individuals outside of lawmakers' districts.

As special-interest cash increases, political experts say it raises concerns about whether lawmakers are more beholden to the voters who elect them or the special interests that pay for campaigns.

Utah's campaign finance system "is not healthy," here to read the rest of this compelling article


Valley said...

That article is certainly compelling. And Machman's commentary is right on as we at the Forum have been preaching for some time, "Speak up for what you want, or take what you get."

The time is now, Ogden Valley - we can make a Statewide change, but we cannot forget the rage we all had during the infamous Ogden Valley Tea Party of August 15th.

Get involved and Get Informed.

Anonymous said...

Great article on getting involved, but asking Huntsville Councilmen and the mayor to get involved seems to me to be like spitting into the wind. Why are they not on the band wagon all ready? Why does our great neighbor DBell have to do all the work they (Huntsville Govenerment) were elected to do?
Here's a suggestion on how to get involved. I think we should start blogging our state representatives and Weber County Councilmen's profiles on the Internet. Their backgrounds, their special interest groups, the bills they have initiated, sponsored, and voted for. This way we the tax payer can see how they are spending our hard earned tax dollars, and get them voted out of office if they are NOT representing the tax payer. Let me start with what I know about Gage Froerer. He's special interest group is the Utah Real Estate Assoication, the largest LOBBY in the state of Uath. This tells me he wants higher priced real estate in Ogden Valley and Huntsville because 6 percent commissions on 500K is surely more the on a $100K home sale. Actually, it's $30,000 vs $6,000. A couple a weeks ago, I was having breakfast with a friend at a Cafe in a little cafe south of the border and over heard someone say that Gage Froerer is for reverse taxation. That's a bill he is sponsoring. The elder can have the state pay their high property taxes, and when the home owner dies the taxes are due. This means that the children of the deceased home owner will have come up with the reversed tax bill owed to the state. Probably some $25k or $30k. Since children of parents probably won't 25 to 30,000 dollars, they will be forced to sell the family home. What type of person would think up this kind of unjust taxation on the eldery. Why not exempt the elder from taxation. Dah! Another suggestion, unseat Gage as our representative and replace him with DBell. Signed Afterburner.

Minor Machman said...

"Mr. D.W. Bell, Ogden Valley, said that he represents the group "Wingmen for [Property] Tax Reform." He spoke in opposition to implementing a "Proposition 13" type property tax limitation in Utah. However, he said that action is needed to control rising property taxes and voiced concern over senior citizens being taxed out of their homes." From Minutes of the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee, 19 Sept. 07.

You all have probably read my speech. Question; Do the minutes accurately portray what I said? Or are they a lie? Who was there "representing us" at that meeting? Who had the responsibility to correct the minutes? Why did this happen? A simple mistake or was there something else going on? More skullduggery and Machevillian interference from the Realty Association slugs?

And most importantly, "What message does it send to constituents if when one prepares, goes one-hundred miles out of the way and invests the time and energy to be a good citizen...only to have his or her message distorted, manipulated, or erroneously recorded in the legal records?" Does it say our legislature is corrupt? Or incompetant?

Does it say don't bother?

...this has to be a blog entry. After research with those directly involved.

Still looking for the audit results...