Wednesday, January 23, 2008

If you live in Tooele County, Box Elder, Cache, and some of the other Counties here are your legislators and their email addresses.

With the 2008 general session of the state legislature just kicking off, here's a guide to who represents whom in Tooele County:

State House of Representatives

District 1 includes Box Elder County, outside of Brigham City, and Tooele County, outside of Tooele Valley. The district includes the cities of Grantsville, Stockton, Rush Valley, Vernon, Wendover and Ophir. District 1 is represented by Ronda Menlove, R-Garland. Her official state e-mail address is

District 21 includes Tooele Valley, except Grantsville. The city of Tooele and the communities of Erda, Stansbury Park, PIne Canyon, and Lake Point are all part of District 21, which is represented by Jim Gowans, D-Tooele. His official state e-mail address is

State Senate

District 12 includes part of West Valley City and northwestern Salt Lake County and sweeps up and over the Oquirrh mountains to include Stansbury Park. The district is represented by Brent Goodfellow, D-West Valley City. His official state e-mail address is

District 13 includes part of Utah County including the communities of Lehi, Payson, Santaquin, Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain. It also includes the southeastern corner of Tooele County including the communities of Ophir, Vernon, and Faust. The district is represented by Mark Madsen, R-Lehi. His official state e-mail address is

District 17 includes a part of western Cache County, Box Elder County, and parts of Tooele County including Tooele City north of approximately 600 North, Erda, Pine Canyon, Lake Point and Grantsville. The district is represented by Peter Knudson, R-Brigham City. His official state e-mail address is

District 24 includes Juab, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, and Wayne Counties, along with parts of Tooele County including Tooele City south of 600 North, Rush Valley, Stockton and western Tooele County including Wendover. The district is represented by Darin Peterson, R-Nephi. His official state e-mail address is

The 24th and 17th districts split Tooele City roughly in half.

Please remember to write your weekly email to your Senators and Representatives asking for significant property tax relief and reform during this session. To write the Governor, you can go to the state website: then click on "constituent affairs", then click on "Contact the Governor" fill in your information and type in your concerns in the box provided.

Coalition monitors report little progress during today's legislative session. Much confusion exists, with several coalition members lobbying key legislators for acquisition value taxation. Bills are mostly not "ready for prime time" yet and therefore not ready for debate in either house. The annual computer assisted reassessment Bill HB54 sponsor, Rep Harper, says it is not intended to deter legislation on acquisition value and the computer systems (of County choice) will be available in either event whether current market value or acquisition value based property taxation. Senator Valentine's legislative research group confirmed what we already know...that a constitutional wording change will be required if they pass acquisition value.

Other Coalition initiatives include a Pledge which is being drafted which will be used to try to nail down specific legislator's intentions regarding property tax relief and significant property tax reform this session. Our "Sandy man" Larry Engel is working on it and plans to use the Young Republican's to distribute the pledges among the legislators very soon.

Another initiative is a Taxpayer's Contract with the legislature which is also being drafted and will be presented also in a news conferance or press release. The list of taxpayer demands will hopefully clearly communicate what we as citizens and taxpayers want from our legislators. I anticipate (and in fact have provided about 15 "demands" so far in draft form. For example "We demand the right to have legislation passed which makes it a felony to give or receive gifts of any value. We demand the toughest laws available in the Country to protect us from further illegal immigration. The right to fair taxation without incrementalism nor "forever taxation" (tax law without an end date). Etc. When and if we as a coalition can agree on exactly what we want of our legislators I plan to present it to the Governor and/or the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House.

If property tax reform is not taken up within a reasonable time this session we may well have to mobilize and march on the Capitol enmass. But I think we should give them the opportunity to deliver more than lip service first before we do that and therefore exhaust every reasonable means of working within the system first.

Then if you read the preamble to the Constitution the way I read it may well be time to remind them..."that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." (Thomas Jefferson, partial from the Constitution)

This says to me we have a responsibility to elect new representation if they continue to accept bribes and practice graft and corruption. If they continue taking "campaign" contributions in the hundreds of thousands of dollars even not during election years, exhibiting unethical and immoral lapses in judgment, disregarding blatant conflict of interest etc. Passing laws like HB 466 without a single opposition vote, for example, yet with a Senator sponsor who had received the majority of his campaign contributions from the realtor - developer lobby.

It is our responsibility to effect change first by communicating exactly what we want from and expect of our legislators. If they do not respond, they do not represent us, simply elect those who will support what we want. "Cynicism is a poor man's wisdom" someone once said. Let us not have it said by our children we were "poor" stewards of our constitutional responsibilities and civic duties. Cynicism is not enough. As Henry David Thoreau reminds us, "We must be men of conscience and act."


Minor Machman

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