Evaluating city council candidates

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” — John Quincy Adams In Highland, there are three open city council seats this year. The nine candidates that are vying for your vote are asking for the privilege to spend ten or more hours a week for four years making decisions that affect us now and years into the future. The issues they deal with will range from approving changes in user fees for parks to budgetary expenses totaling…

Deciding which boxes to check on your ballot

I occasionally feel like Mr. Bean looks when it comes to deciding whose box to check on the ballot. Let me share some thoughts on what I believe is important based on having served nearly four years on the Highland City council. Elections are about selecting candidates for office who have good character, sound judgment, and base decisions on core principles that are aligned with yours. It is less about how a particular candidate stands on a specific issue. When I ran for city council there were a couple of things…

America the Beautiful

Last Sunday as we sang America the Beautiful at church my heart was pierced by the lyrics and tears began to roll down my cheeks. The words “God shed His grace on thee” led me to think of all the times in history that His hand rested upon our nation from its founding until today. Below are a couple of examples. The destruction of the French Fleet in 1746 recounted by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his ballad entitled “A Ballad of the French Fleet” was one such event. Washington’s victory…

Utah Property Taxes: What is a certified tax rate?

Each year each county in Utah calculates a new certified tax rate for all taxing entities (i.e. cities, school districts, and service districts) within their jurisdiction by taking the property tax revenue collected the previous year and dividing it by the current assessed property value within the taxing entities (exclusive of new growth). This is the tax rate is then applied to all assessed property (including growth) and the new total becomes the base for next year. Another way to say this is if our home value doubles then our…

Gender politics: bathrooms, locker rooms …

I attended a local school board meeting (Alpine School District) today and made the following comments to share my views on the recent edict from the Federal Departments of Justice and Education (click here to see their Letter on Transgender Students). This is what I wrote in advance and not necessarily the exact words I used. I would like to speak to the issue of gender identity based usage of bathrooms and locker rooms. With the assumption that students are being harmed by the current birth gender policy and without…

My perspective on a meeting with Governor Herbert

I was invited to participate in a breakfast meeting with Governor Herbert along with a few other N. county residents, some of whom were state delegates and most of whom had differences with the Governor on important issues. Kudo’s to the Governor for meeting with those who don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with him. The governor responded to questions regarding Common Core, SB-54 (Count My Vote Compromise), testing, local control and more local control. Governor Herbert was an active listener and acknowledged that there were issues to be addressed. It was…

Hire JJ? Notes from a conversation with gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Johnson

I recently had a one hour conversation with Jonathan Johnson who is running against Governor Gary Herbert to be the 2016 Republican nominee for Governor. I was invited to ask him anything regarding his run for office. Before I get into details I want to note that I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. He was gracious, candid, and very likeable. I enjoyed getting to know him. As I thought about what I would ask him I reviewed two posts I’ve written on selecting candidates for office: “Questions for Candidates that Won’t…

Thoughts on vote-by-mail

The Lt. Governor has asked cities to consider implementing vote-by-mail-only for next year’s municipal elections. All registered voters would receive a ballot in the mail. The ballot would need to be mailed or submitted to the city prior to or on “election” day. This would be the only means of casting a ballot. The city recorder asked each councilman to share their concerns (if any) prior to the upcoming city council meeting (2-Dec-2014), where this will be discussed. If you have a viewpoint on this issue please attend and share…

Is Utah County Prop 1 good or bad for Highland?

On November 3rd the final votes will be cast on Utah County Proposition 1 which reads: “Shall Utah County, Utah, be allowed to impose a quarter-of-one-percent (0.25% or the equivalent of 1 cent for every $4 spent) sales use tax for the specific purpose of transportation improvements such as roads, trails, sidewalks, maintenance, bus and rail service, and traffic and pedestrian safety features, with the revenue divided among the county, cities and towns, and the public transit provider within the County.” Earlier in the year state law makers pass SB…

Tips on influencing local government

“No individual is so insignificant as to be without influence. The changes in our varying moods are all recorded in the delicate barometers of the lives of others. We should ever let our influence filter through human love and sympathy. We should not be merely an influence,―we should be an inspiration. By our verypresence we should be a tower of strength to the hungering human souls around us.”—William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness, 1900 As a member of the city council in my small town I have an opportunity…