AirBnB opponents in Cedar City miss the mark

There’s no politics like local politics. After an incident in which a tour bus was parked overnight in a residential neighborhood for a swim team renting a house on AirBnB, the residents of the area started a push to try and ban all nightly rentals in R1 zones. The planning commission rejected the proposal 5-1 last week, but the city council chose to hear more from both sides of the issue at last night’s council meeting. Opponents, however, failed to make a particularly cogent case for a full ban. The…

Mark Shurtleff’s version of justice looks a lot like payback

Watching the legal cases against Mark Shurtleff and his hand-picked successor John Swallow collapse was very hard. I was one of the first voices calling for Swallow to resign (which it took him a year to do), and the case by all appearances seemed to have been killed by incompetence, not on its own merits. While I continue to believe that the two of them are guilty as sin, the legal system performed as it should, placing as much emphasis on process as substance. This is the foundation of a…

Is a full-time county commission inevitable? Maybe not

A recurring theme in Iron County is candidates for county commission pledging to do the job full-time. Currently, the position is classified as part-time, but the demands of committee assignments (currently creeping up on two dozen for each of the three commissioners) and compensation of $50K/year plus benefits has produced a perfect storm of demanding 40 or more hours a week to keep up. This is not specific to Iron County either as other growing counties are going to be running into many of the same issues. Even if going…

Iron County Elections not taking security seriously

UPDATED 5/11/2018 9:06AM: Iron County Clerk Jon Whittaker replied with the following: “Contrary to the title of the article, Iron County cares deeply about the security of personal information, as well as election security. I agree with Mr. Harris that this is a problem, and I appreciate his bringing it to light. I am the Iron County Clerk, and have been in contact with our IT Director regarding a more secure method of digital delivery. In the meantime, please do not send your affiliation requests via email for the reasons Mr.…

Cities can grow up, grow out, or grow expensive

It’s been getting harder than ever to get affordable housing in Utah. Or, in some cases, housing at all. Utah’s strong economic performance and historically low cost of living have lead to large influxes of people from other states. This is no longer isolated to the Wasatch Front as St George, Cedar City, and even Logan have all see strong growth in housing prices over the last several years. Not so coincidentally, we’re also seeing an increasing number of fights about zoning and housing density in almost every growing city…

The caucus has an image problem. Can we fix it?

After the Republican state convention, it’s become fairly obvious why a lot of people think ill of the caucus system. It took five hours of arguing about rules and agendas before anyone could get to the primary purpose, nominating candidates. Not only does this alienate new participants (my father-in-law was a first time state delegate and less than impressed), it makes the caucus and convention process look like a complete clown show. On top of that, we’re doing little to build faith that the convention process actually sends the best…

My endorsements in Iron County Republican primaries: Bleak and Hendricks for Commission, Dotson for Attorney, Anderson for Sheriff

In the month leading up to the Iron County Republican Convention, I’ve had the pleasure and duty to meet the various candidates for county offices in the capacity of a county delegate. With the convention completed on Saturday, now comes the time for all registered Republicans to determine who is both best suited to the job and will best represent the party. In this heavily Republican area, the party nominee is all but guaranteed to win in the general election making this decision all the more important. To that end,…