Protecting Utah’s small businesses against “Big Music”

Now here’s an issue that has me seriously conflicted. On the one hand, I hate background music. I hate it in restaurants; I hate it in supermarkets; I hate it at the dentist’s office. What’s more, I doubt that I am alone. I have yet to have a friend invite me to Olive Garden to listen to the music, and incidentally to pig out on breadsticks. On the other hand, I hate Big Music, the duopoly of ASCAP and BMI that licenses and controls all that background music, and so…

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…

If GOED is serious about rural business, they need a broadband plan

Originally posted at FreeUTOPIA.org and cross-posted with permission. Reading about how bad rural broadband can be is one thing. Experiencing it is another. Living in Cedar City for three years and spending a lot of it exploring Southern Utah from here to Delta to Moab to Mexican Hat has made it painfully obvious how awful the situation is across large swaths of the state. Unfortunately, almost all of the attention for improving broadband has been focused on the Wasatch Front with the occasional bone thrown to St George. While a…

An economic breakthrough for a swath of rural Utah

After the State of Utah’s ’25k jobs launch tour’ passed through Carbon County, Joel McKay Smith and Spencer Cox spoke with me. The man bringing business incubation to a rural Utah county and jobs that will come with it sat down with me following a “25k jobs launch tour” led by Utah’s lieutenant governor, who also spoke with me. Tami Ursenbach, Carbon County economic development director, said last month at a commission meeting that the old JC Penney in Price, Utah, would be transformed into an “Opportunity Hub.” The facility,…

Them vs Us

“Everything is funny, as long as it’s happening to someone else.” — Will Rogers In the past few weeks, I have used this space to explain how the lack of innovation amongst Utahns in positions of political power costs the state money. One of the issues that I believe Utah is short-sighted and ignorant about—always a hot topic of conversation—are the arcane liquor laws that Utah lawmakers seem unwilling to negotiate to a more moneymaking friendly solution. Most Utahns that believe the liquor laws in this state are counterproductive, or…

Dead Valley

“In Heaven, there is no beer. That’s why we drink it here. And when we’re gone from here. Our friends will be drinking all the beer.” — from an old German polka. In recent weeks I have used this space to discuss the large butt poster from Victoria’s Secret that hangs omnipresently in the Cache Valley Mall and the continuing saga of the proposed new downtown Logan library that very few seem to want. The responses have been plentiful. I have noticed that two subjects appear to bring forth more…

A better approach to the gender pay gap

This legislative session Senator Anderegg created a bill to try to address a pay gap that exists between men and women. This seems like a popular cause to get behind, though. Who could be against equal pay? But we me must make sure we are taking not only a data-driven approach but that we are gathering the right data. If we look at the wrong data we will come up will come up with the wrong approach that will have unintended consequences. We also need to be careful to listen…

Race against time

“He has a short amount of time and I think he is sincerely trying. Let’s say in the next year or eighteen months we have a downturn similar to 2008, much worse than 2008, they will say ‘ah, it is all Trump’s fault’. No, it won’t be, it will be the fault of the Federal Reserve, the Keynesian economic model, the overspending too much and the deficit. Unfortunately, there is nothing he can do. He can help, help to minimize the damage, but he can’t avoid the correction.” Former Congressman Ron…

Class divides

When I was growing up, I knew very little about races and racism. I was born and spent the first nine years of my life in the Bay Area, the east Bay Area, the Oakland side – the real Bay Area. Dad owned several delicatessens at the time and they all served very working class people of all races. While we lived in a very white neighborhood our churches and schools were a racial mix of Asians, especially Japanese, blacks, Hispanics and us. I suppose racial sensitivity was high living…

The Slow Death of Google Fiber? CEO out, expansion halted, employees fired

This article was originally posted at FreeUTOPIA.org. I’ve long maintained that Google isn’t in the ISP business for the long haul. I said over four years ago that the odds of your city seeing it were astronomically low. Well, now Google is basically saying the same thing. The CEO announced that they have halted the expansion of the network, let go employees in towns where they haven’t build, oh yeah, and he’s leaving for “other opportunities”. I’ve had multiple first-hand reports of users in Provo who have been unable to get signed…