Open data and local government: Part One

In December, Route Fifty hosted a panel on the increasing role access to public data is playing in local governments both as a public service and an internal disruptor of existing practices. Panelists included city clerks, lawmakers, mayors, and more from around the country, large cities and small. The forum provided an intriguing snapshot of how transparency and open data are helping to reimaging city and county government, and how that transformation isn’t top-down but being driven mainly by younger city employees and public involvement. Some of the key takeaways:…

BUZZ: Justin Miller charged with communications fraud; resignation imminent

Updated with statements from House Democratic Leadership, Speaker Greg Hughes, and Justin Miller’s resignation statement.   With DA Troy Rawlings announcing charges today, Justin Miller‘s resignation resigned at 9:30 AM from the Utah House of Representatives may be imminent, ending the saga that began with a recording by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams one year ago. Sources indicate that the Davis County prosecutor will announce that Miller will plead guilty to communications fraud. Miller was accused of stealing approximately $30,000 from the McAdams for Mayor campaign while he was campaign manager. In a recording made…

It’s time to let go of townships

I lived in White City for a decade. When I mention that, most people say “where?” Unlike Kearns or Millcreek, White City is one of those townships that just kind of falls off the radar entirely, a little pocket of 1800-ish homes entirely surrounded by Sandy. Most people are surprised to know that there’s 17 townships in Salt Lake County. What I’m surprised by is their continued existence. Prior to the 1995 creation of the township designation (which was renewed in 2005), townships had their tax bases picked off by towns…

Salt Lake County justice tax: Is it a ‘reinvention’ or a retaxation?

Salt Lake County elected officials have talked about “reinventing” the justice system for nearly the entire time I have lived in the county. And yet, here we are a decade later, and they still want to keep a tax that has lived its life paying down a bond debt. We keep talking about reinvention, but taxes aren’t all that new an idea. This week, Salt Lake County working on extending a tax originally used to build a new jail in 1995. “In 1995, Salt Lake County voters approved a 20-year bond…

Prison Relocation Commission recommends I-80/7200 West Site in Salt Lake City as location for new Utah State Correctional Facility [UPH Wire]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AUGUST 11, 2015 CONTACT: Senator Jerry Stevenson Utah Senate 801-678-3147 jwstevenson@le.utah.gov Representative Brad Wilson Utah House of Representatives 801-425-1028 bradwilson@le.utah.gov Brian J. Bean Office of Legislative Research and General Council, Policy Analyst 801-928-8421 bbean@le.utah.gov Kirsten Frank Rappleye Utah Senate, Media and Public Relations 801-505-1457 krappleye@le.utah.gov PRISON RELOCATION COMMISSION RECOMMENDS 1-80/7200 WEST SITE IN SALT LAKE CITY AS LOCATION FOR NEW UTAH STATE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY Recommendation Goes to Governor and Legislature for Review and Approval SALT LAKE CITY – The state Legislature’s Prison Relocation Commission (PRC) voted unanimously…

Rep Justin Miller should not resign. Yet.

Last week, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams released a seven month old recording of Representative Justin Miller effectively admitting to stealing over $30,000. Justin Miller should not resign as a member of the Utah House of Representatives. Yet. Let me explain. I realize that this is obvious as it relates to McAdams (who is more the victim in this case, albeit a victim that has waited the better part of a year to tell anyone), but it’s a little less obvious for Miller. After all, Miller is either a dreadful accountant,…

Midday Commentary on Last Night’s News

Good Mid-Day! • Anyone see the big fight this weekend? You know, the one with the grandstanding, hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, that is all but sure to disappoint in the end? Yeah, Medicaid Expansion. The Dnews proudly proclaims that both sides are going to leave their “baggage behind.” Well, it parroted the Governor’s Office that said baggage will be left behind. The problem is that Medicaid Expansion, as desperately as the executive branch wants the stalemate to be about politics, is a real disagreement about whether it’s a…

Utah Democrats don’t want to win

Utah Democrat logo

It was a little jarring to review my ballot for Iron County and see so many unopposed races. My state senator didn’t have any opponent. My representative had a third-party opponent which is almost the same thing. Aside from a couple of write-in candidates (neither of whom broke 20%), all of the county races were unopposed. After having to make a lot of careful choices and analysis from living in major metro areas like Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, it didn’t sit well with me to have so few…

ZAP Robs the Poor to Feed the Rich

I am a member of the Boards of Directors of the Draper Arts Council, the Draper Historic Theater, and the Babcock Performing Readers, all of which receive ZAP funding. I am also a performer, producer and director of community and semi-professional theater, having had a hand in the production of more than 50 plays over the last twelve years or so. Nearly all of these benefited from ZAP funding. I attend plays, operas, ballets, and other types of performance art regularly. On average, I see about 100 productions a year.…