NOVEMBER 22, 2017
SLC POLICE ARRESTS AND RETIREMENTS
JUSTICE REINVESTMENT INITIATIVE AND DUI UPDATE
SLTRIB ADDICTION REALITY AND HEPATITIS A STORIES 
ELECTRIC CARS AND VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED
SLCO DOES NOT NEED TO BUILD A CONVENTION HOTEL
UTA BUDGET GETS ONLY ONE COMMENT ON BUDGET
KIDS' PLAYGROUNDS UNSAFE WITHOUT SHADE
SLC HOUSING PLAN COULD REDUCE PARKING 
SUGAR HOUSE PARLEYS TRAIL NEEDS A REGULAR BIKE RIDE EVENT
TWILIGHT CONCERT MAY STILL BE ALIVE


SLC POLICE ARRESTS AND RETIREMENTS
  During SLC Police Chief Brown's discussion with the Salt Lake City Council on the budget amendment to start the process of hiring 27 new SLC police officers, Chief Brown said that, if the budget amendment is approved, the police officers should be ready for patrol by the end of 2018.  Unfortunately, the City is losing around three 20 year experienced officers a month with the subsequent loss of significant institutional knowledge of crime fighting in Salt Lake City (39 in the last year).  The reason for the large number of 20 year police officers leaving is due to the Utah State Pension system that was modified in 2011 to discourage double and triple dipping by government employees that have reached 20 year time of service.  The pension contributions to the person’s retirement fund are stopped for a year after 20 years of service.  The instigating situation was the number of corrections officers that retired at 20 years and turned around and got a job in the same place while collecting their pensions (double dipping).  Former Senator Liljenquist developed and sponsored the bill to discourage double dipping and at the same time financially stabilizing the Utah State pension system.  
  Many other governments in the United States have problems with financially insolvent pension systems.  Utah’s pension system, thanks to Senator Liljenquist, is financially solvent but the result is discouraging police, fire and teaching personnel from staying at the same place of government employment after 20 years.  Rural schools have a serious problem providing good teachers to their students because of it.  The year after the change to the Utah State Pension System, Utah municipal governments lost 80% of their 20 year experienced law enforcement personnel.  
  Utah law enforcement loses experienced officers to other states (Utah Highway Patrol Officers go to Arizona or other states to continue their jobs that they love.) and other private companies.  For instance, Salt Lake City police lost 39 officers who retired last year.  When they reached 20 years, unless they stayed with the Department, they go to UTA (which received 8 SLCPD officers in the last year) or to private industry (which received 8) or to the DA or to other non government entities so that they can survive.  A 20 year retired employee may get less than $30,000 from retirement and, with insurance costs and a mortgage, they may have only a few hundred dollars available to live on.  UTA gets many of the officers because it allows the personnel to continue to work in Salt Lake City and earn a living providing law enforcement services.  
  It should seem obvious that Salt Lake City needs to provide funding to hire 50 new police officers (or experienced officers from other jurisdictions – which would require a more competitive police salary).  The best deterrent to crime is more visible police.
  On another note, Chief Brown noted that 80% of the over 2000 arrested during Operation Rio Grande had homes or residences.  They were congregating in the Rio Grande neighborhood to socialize and party which exacerbated the criminal environment and drug dealing.

JUSTICE REINVESTMENT INITIATIVE AND DUI UPDATE
  The 2014 Utah Justice Reinvestment Initiative was supposed to decrease criminal penalties for non-violent drug offences and result in a decrease in prison population.  In 2017, there were about 2000 fewer in Utah’s prison system.  The average prison sentence for possession went from 12 months to 6 months.  The parole and probation violation time in prison was reduced by 50%.  The individuals on parole or probation number 16,503.
  The arrest rate per 100,000 for drug related crimes went from 825 in 2012 to 992 in 2017.  Property crime went from 1018 to 836 in the last 5 years.
  “The Commission developed a comprehensive set of evidence-based policy recommendations to reduce recidivism, hold offenders accountable, and control the state’s prison growth.”  ….This leads to “a significant increase in the number of justice involved clients served for mental health treatment …”
  “House Bill 348 (HB348) modified the penalties for certain drug possession and prescription fraud statutes. One of the goals of JRI is to decrease the practice of incarcerating drug offenders (and other nonviolent offenders with addiction and mental health issues), and alternatively, provide increased opportunities for substance use and mental health treatment for these offenders.”
  In 2014 just before the JRI lowered the penalties for drug possession and prescription fraud statutes, there were 5,517 charges for drug possession of marijuana or spice and 12,347 charges of possession of controlled substance.  In fiscal year 2017, there were 8,219 charges filed for marijuana or spice and 14,531 charges of possession of a controlled substance.
  I put the Utah Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) 2017 Annual Report on the upper right downloads section.
  
  The DUI Annual Report is also on the upper right downloads section.  The executive summary includes:  In calendar year 2016, there were 36 fatalities involving a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater.  There were 792 drug related crashes in 2016, a 13% increase from the previous year.  There were 10,762 DUI related arrests in FY 2017.  72% arrestees were male.  12% of arrestees were under 21 and the youngest arrestee was 14 years old.  71% of arrests were for a first offense, 19% were for a second offense, 7% were for a third offense and 3% were for a fourth or subsequent offense.

SLTRIB ADDICTION REALITY AND HEPATITIS A STORIES 
  Salt Lake Tribune’s Chris Smart had an excellent story on addiction in real life and the effect of treatment.  I strongly recommend reading his story at:
http://www.sltrib.com/news/2017/11/19/once-hailed-for-beating-homelessness-this-utah-man-is-back-on-the-streets-and-the-program-that-saved-him-before-has-to-turn-him-away/


  Luke Ramseth, in the Salt Lake Tribune, did the first real story on the significant Salt Lake City hepatitis A outbreak/epidemic.  The outbreak is serious but most news organizations have been ignoring it for the last two months.  Luke’s story shines the light on an important issue.  Even UTA bus drivers, police and librarians and anyone working with the homeless are recommended to get vaccinations.  There is also a concern that those is jail, a population identified as at risk for the hepatitis A, could be spreading the virus due to lack of cleanliness in jail cells.  His story is at:

http://www.sltrib.com/news/health/2017/11/19/utahs-hepatitis-a-outbreak-among-the-homeless-is-one-of-three-big-flare-ups-around-the-country/



ELECTRIC CARS AND VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED
  There are some in the Legislature that believe that Utah should consider modifying taxes to capture the electric vehicles that do not pay gasoline taxes.  Although their impact is minimal compared to heavier vehicles they should help pay for road maintenance and infrastructure funding.  But that is like proposing that larger families should contribute more for their children’s education.  Children are our greatest resource and their education develops our resources and that benefits all Utahns.  Roads are like that.  Even those that do not pay for roads directly or through a gasoline tax, receive benefits that are important to all Utahns but they shouldn’t be expected to pay for them.  I do think that Senator Van Tassell’s proposal from a few years ago to raise gasoline taxes by 10 cents a gallon would have been better than the tax that did pass but that seems to be lacking in providing increased funding for road maintenance.  The Legislature is interested in increasing revenue for roads but should not be considering taxing the vehicles that have the smallest impact on roads.

SLCO DOES NOT NEED TO BUILD A CONVENTION HOTEL
  In case you missed it, the Ritchie Group is going to build a hotel with 271 rooms on 300 West next to the Salt Palace Convention Center.  The Ritchie group will also build 600 residential units and a grocery store in the complex.  The Ritchie Group also developed the area around Brickyard including the recent Element 31 apartment complex.  The project removes the need for the Salt Lake County convention hotel that Mayor McAdams has been trying to get approved by the County Council.  The hotel was approved by the Legislature with a performance tax credit but the County Mayor has not been able to provide enough of an incentive to have a developer commit to build it.  In addition, Salt Lake lost the biggest reason for the hotel, the Outdoor Retailers Show.  The project, if built, would also give hotels that have lower occupancy due to the competition, money from taxpayers.  The Ritchie Group project removes the need for a Salt Lake County convention hotel. 

UTA BUDGET GETS ONLY ONE COMMENT ON BUDGET
  Only one person spoke at the UTA public hearing on the 2018 budget proposal for UTA.  I submitted comments, and despite assurance that they would be considered, they were not acknowledged during the hearing.  When I tried to comment online, because I wanted to attend the Transportation Interim Legislative Committee that was meeting at the same time, I was not able to comment due to the budget not being listed on the Board Agenda items for comment.  UTA has a way to go to engage the public since only one comment got to the Board of Trustees.  I did directly contact several Trustees directly regarding the issue.  My comments, again, and UTA’s responses are:  Without a full budget (200+ pages), it is impossible to comment specifically.  UTA responded that they are working to provide more than a three page budget summary for public comment and hopefully, by next year’s budget, the public will have access to it.  I did receive the 200 page budget for this year, several months after the last budget hearing.  I expressed concern about the budget not specifically listing the $65 million bus garage (it is included in the full budget) and I am still against it (I called it the big ass garage several years ago.) since it will take money away from service expansion.  UTA confirmed that the bus garage is in the budget and will utilize some of the increased borrowing.  I also asked about maintenance on the hill of the Red line between 4th and 5th South.  I expressed concern that that maintenance should be planned.  UTA confirmed that the rail will be part of the maintenance planned for the next year.  I also expressed concern about the lack of eminent domain costs being listed.  The costs are part of the reason for the cost overruns of the Provo TRIP/BRT project.  UTA still has not appropriately settled the eminent domain issue of the Hamblin Furniture Company next to their headquarters that is planned to be a parking lot for the big bus garage.  There should be an explicit statement that interest payments will go up before more borrowing.  All increased borrowing should require that a significant portion of the increased borrowing be used for service increases so that taxpayers can see results immediately.  UTA will consider that idea.  And finally, I asked that the Airport TRAX project note that the project will cost less than $20 million. 
  Again, the flying bridge $65+ million Airport TRAX design is dead.  Acting Airport Director Pack, on his last day on the job, told the Salt Lake City Council that the flying bridge TRAX design won’t work.  It hides the terminal architecture; it is a problem to maintain; it will block traffic when it needs maintenance; and coming or going, at one point, every passenger will have to use an escalator or elevator.  During the Transportation Interim Committee hearing, it was noted that the Airport Passenger Fees (APF), even after the increase, Salt Lake City will still have one of the lowest fees in the country.
  Someone should tell former Mayor Ralph Becker that the flying bridge TRAX is dead.  His oped in the Deseret News recently ignored the reality.  Someone should also tell him that his dream of a high speed rail station at the Airport is also unrealistic.  

KIDS' PLAYGROUNDS UNSAFE WITHOUT SHADE
  It turns out that, during the summer, many of the Salt Lake City kids’ playground equipment would not be safe for children due to the high temperature that the equipment absorbed.  Some community groups are trying to raise funds to pay for, or get the City to pay for, shades over playground equipment.  Children should not get burned by Salt Lake City playground equipment.

SLC HOUSING PLAN COULD REDUCE PARKING   
  During discussion about the SLC (Affordable) Housing Plan, there was a note that transit rich areas should have less parking requirements.  But the reality is that Salt Lake City does not have any transit rich areas.  Transit service essentially stops in most areas after 830 PM.  TRAX stops at midnight.  Again, Salt Lake City DOES NOT HAVE ANY TRANSIT RICH AREAS!  Parking requirements should not be reduced until transit service is significantly increased.  Accessory dwelling Units (ADU) are also part of this plan but it impacts the implied promise that single family home neighborhoods will remain single family.  The Council discussed having owners of ADUs sign a notarized agreement that the home that hosts the ADU will be owner occupied.  But that is almost impossible to legally enforce.


SUGAR HOUSE PARLEYS TRAIL NEEDS A REGULAR BIKE RIDE EVENT

  Salt Lake City and bicycle shops and Bike Share should encourage and develop a regular bicycle ride gathering centered on the Parleys Trail around Sugarmont Plaza (Sugarmont and Highland).  It could be and should be a regular bike ride gathering that circles the Salt Lake Valley using Parleys, Jordan River and Bonneville Shoreline Trails.  It would be like the 999 weekly gathering but would be more appropriate on weekends and during the day.
  The Parleys Trail also needs fast growing, mature trees (not little 2 inch diameter trees) planted closer to the Trail that would provide better shade, especially in the summer and hot weather to make using the Trail less stressful for people and pets.  It now looks like the Trail is going to have the same problem in the summer as the Trail near Tanner Park where it is a problem for dogs walking on the hot asphalt of the Trail.
  Salt Lake City should develop a program that requires developers, who cut down trees, to contribute to an urban forestry fund that supports a City tree replacement program.  Salt Lake City needs more trees.

TWILIGHT CONCERT MAY STILL BE ALIVE
  SLC Councilman Derek Kitchen asked the Council to consider funding the Twilight Concerts either through a partnership with a private promoter or another method.  He pointed out that the brand should not be wasted.  So if anyone knows of a concert promoter that would like to make use of the good will of the Twilight Concert brand, they should contact Derek Kitchen.  Derek wants the City to provide seed money to continue the Concert series.




NOVEMBER 15, 2017
16 BED MEDICAID WAIVER GRANTED WHO WILL GET 100 ADDICTS
HEPATITIS A AT 60 AND 9 POUNDS OF NEEDLES COLLECTED
CLOSED STEINER POOL PROBLEMS KNOWN FOR A YEAR
WORK PHASE DOES NOT HAVE STORAGE FOR WORKERS
UTA KEEPS BUDGET SECRET PLUS ADDS SECRET $65 MILLION GARAGE
SLC NEEDS 50 MORE POLICE BUT CAN'T PAY FOR THEM
PIONEER PARK RESTROOMS TO GET PORTLAND LOO
WINGPOINTE ON ITS LAST LEGS
TRANSIT PLAN TO BE VOTED IN DEC 5 NO MATTER WHAT PUBLIC SAYS
SALES TAX REVENUE TO FUND BONDS FOR CITY OWNED DEVELOPMENTS

16 BED MEDICAID WAIVER GRANTED WHO WILL GET 100 ADDICTS
  The 16 bed Medicaid waiver was granted Monday and that means that treatment centers can have more than 16 beds and get covered/reimbursed for treatment costs by Medicaid.  The original limit was to stop neighborhoods near treatment centers from being inundated with addicts and be negatively impacted.  That waiver now means that the treatment centers, any treatment centers can be as big as they want and the neighborhoods cannot stop them.  This could be the battle of the decade.  Both First Step and Odyssey House have indicated that they hope to have around 100 beds each in their facilities.  Only the State of Utah will have a say on this and will grant approval based on appropriate and effective patient services.  Again, city planning commissions will have to grant the conditional use permits.  No one can refuse.  The operative phrase is: "providers will drastically boost their drug-treatment bed numbers in coming months" according to the State of Utah.

HEPATITIS A AT 60 AND 9 POUNDS OF NEEDLES COLLECTED
  In the last six weeks, there have been many big red boxes placed around Salt Lake City's downtown including at the Main Library and Pioneer Park.  The red boxes, Sharp Boxes, are to provide a safe and secure way for drug users to abandon their used needles.  Although an eyesore and a concern for neighborhoods that have them, they appear to be working.  During the upkeep this week, 9 pounds of hazardous waste was removed from the boxes including mostly needles.  The boxes were originally inappropriately modified by Salt Lake City against County Health Department recommendations and approval.  After a couple of weeks of arguing, the City modified the boxes in accordance with County requirements (originally there was a concern that the City modifications would allow access by addicts to remove needles).
  The hepatitis A outbreak in Salt Lake City is at 60 cases with three new cases diagnosed this last weekend.  The County Health Department has sent out thousands of letters recommending vaccination to County food and restaurant businesses.  The County is also discussing how to convince Salt Lake City to implement hand washing stations next to the porta potties around the Pioneer Park neighborhood.  It was noted at the Council meeting that the daily cleanup of the toilets was not happening which could be increasing the risk of spreading hepatitis A.  The County is also considering recommending hygiene kits with a new towlette/wipe that is able to kill the virus (which is even able to resist normal sanitizers and chlorine).

CLOSED STEINER POOL PROBLEMS KNOWN FOR A YEAR
  This weekend, the Steiner Aquatic Center closed.   The last of the five boilers that heated the water failed.  The City knew of the problem early this year but did not prepare a solution until now.  The boilers were at the end of their 20 year life and for the last few months, only one was operating.  The City waited until Tuesday to ask for money from the City Council to match County funding to replace the boilers!  Again, they knew at the beginning of this year of the issue and they waited for almost a year to think about doing something about it!  The outdoor pool opened later than normal in spring and closed earlier than usual at the end of summer.  Again, the final boiler stopped working this last weekend.  The City and County intend to contract for an emergency boiler to, as quickly as possible, open up the indoor pool for regular use.  The full cost to replace the five old boilers is expected to be just under a million dollars.  The City says that it will not take a year to get their act together as before.   As of Wednesday afternoon, the pool is temporarily open users should call everyday to see if it opens that day.

WORK PHASE DOES NOT HAVE STORAGE FOR WORKERS
  Lost in the celebration of the Medicaid waiver (which will inundate neighborhoods with addicts) and the third phase of Operation Rio Grande (work for the homeless) is the reality that homeless do not want to work unless there is a safe and secure and convenient way to store their personal property.  The City's storage facility is full and only operates 8 to 5.  The Weigand Center has a two week storage area but the Center has restricted operating hours unless and until someone, the State or the City, step up to fund longer hours.  The SLC RDA has funding and should provide the money for a new 24 hour storage area for workers and/or fund the Weigand Center or another entity to provide the storage.  Otherwise the work phase of Operation Rio Grande will fail.
  During the RDA meeting, I noted that the Sears block should be discussed and development pushed at RDA and used to jump start the State Street RDA expansion area that could/should/has the best chance of providing affordable housing opportunities for Salt Lake City citizens.  Even with mixed income units (affordable along with market rate), the more housing, the less pressure to raise rents in Salt Lake City.

UTA KEEPS BUDGET SECRET PLUS ADDS SECRET $65 MILLION GARAGE
  Unfortunately, UTA's budget public hearing will only provide the public with 3 pages of budget!  That is not enough to make a reasonable comment.  UTA agrees and will work towards providing a more thorough and financially appropriate budget next year before public comment.  It hasn't been done before but it makes sense and UTA will push for that.  I have to call the presented 3 page budget as a mickie mouse budget, laughable.  Not listed, but acknowledged by UTA, the budget includes the $65 million bus garage (that won't be needed unless bus service doubles - Of course, if built, the argument will be UTA needs money to buy more buses/service to fill the bus garage.  Otherwise it is wasted.).  Also not listed but, when asked, UTA acknowledges that there will be a component to maintain the Red line rails on 10th East going from 400 South to 500 South (Rail curves are notorious to maintain. Curves with a hill have much, much worse longevity.).  And the $20 million for Airport TRAX is the highest possible cost estimate for the cheap, ground level version.  Also the eminent domain costs have not been figured into the budget.  The Hamblin Furniture eminent domain issue has not been settled for almost 10 years and the Provo TRIP eminent domain is exceeding estimates.
  The most important recommendation that the UTA Board should consider is that any borrowing of money should include a visible service expansion so that taxpayers will see what they are getting for the extra borrowing.  Note that UTA payments for bonds will go up even without borrowing more money due to the bond contracts.  

SLC NEEDS 50 MORE POLICE BUT CAN'T PAY FOR THEM
  Salt Lake City has asked the City Council for funding to start hiring 27 new police officers.  The main reason is to support Operation Rio Grande.  But Councilman Charlie Luke pointed out, correctly, that 27 new cops is not nearly enough.  He also pointed out that Salt Lake City has a problem on how to consistently, year after year, fund new police officers.  he 27 will keep us even when police officers retire according to Chief Brown.  Salt Lake City loses around 3 veteran police officers each month with 20 years of institutional crime fighting knowledge.  The reason is that when Utah changed their pension laws for government employees (by Senator Liljenquist - who used the misuse of double and triple dipping in corrections as an excuse), it penalized working past 20 years by stopping pension contributions for at least a year.  That is why Utah loses so many 20 year Highway Patrol veterans to Arizona.  This issue keeps good officers from continuing on the force and also negatively impacts rural schools who have a problem finding experienced teachers.  Several years ago, former Representative Cunningham tried to change the law for teachers and law enforcement and just require that they sit out 30 days before returning with pension contributions.  But at the last minute, literally, after a compromise was agreed to, he got into an argument with former Senator Liljenquist in front of his close friends on the Committee, Senator Dayton and Jackson.  That pretty much killed the bill.
  The Chief said that we have about 190 officers on patrol but we need 20 to 30 more.  In other words, we need to hire 50 new cops (which some of us have been saying for several years).  I recommend that Salt Lake City sell the old public safety/pipeline building and use the money to hire 50 new cops.

PIONEER PARK RESTROOMS TO GET PORTLAND LOO
  The City Council was asked to approve a couple of hundred thousand dollars for the Pioneer Park Portland Loo to replace the porta potties.  Councilman Kitchen complained that the toilets don't seem to be cleaned every night as promised and with the hepatitis A outbreak, it seems that that is important.  Also there are no handwashing stations.  The toilets also do not seem to be manned always to ensure that they aren't used for injecting drugs.

WINGPOINTE ON ITS LAST LEGS
  Wingpointe Golf Course is being given one last chance by the City Council to try to find a way for the FAA to provide a fair lease or sell it to the Airport for development (as a deicing maintenance facility) or to a private entity or developer.  The Council said that they will no longer approve a payment to the FAA for Wingpointe property.  They said that the cost to reopen it becomes more expensive everyday.

TRANSIT PLAN TO BE VOTED IN DEC 5 NO MATTER WHAT PUBLIC SAYS
  It appears that the SLC Council will have the final say on the SLC Transit Master Plan and it may be modified without another public hearing.  The Council intends to vote on it on December 5 which means that it needs to be revised by next week, and voted to be put on the agenda as an action item on November 28.  Again the questionable $65 million bus garage was added.  The Council also expressed concern that there is no real transit available along the I80 corridor.  (The County has asked to replace the 5600 West 30/60 minute bus with a fast bus at a cost of $40+ million dollars going to the airport and Salt Lake City.)  I agree that the last destination that can support a rail line is the 25,000 employees (soon to be 30,000 employees) International Center between the Airport and 5600 West (where Amazon and Stadler are going).  I still think that the Transit Master Plan is being rushed and is disrespectful to taxpayers.

SALES TAX REVENUE TO FUND BONDS FOR CITY OWNED DEVELOPMENTS
  During discussion of borrowing and bonding for affordable housing through RDA, it was again noted that sales taxes may only be used for funding projects that are 100% owned by Salt Lake City.  In general, RDA properties/projects are joint and therefore may not be allowed to bond.  





NOVEMBER 9, 2017
MAYOR CONTINUES COMMUNITY COUNCIL VISITS
CONSTANT CRIME CONCERNS GET SLCPD CHIEF ATTENTION
BIKE CHOP SHOPS POLICE RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL
SLC DISPATCH PRIORITY DISPATCH SYSTEM PROBLEMS
PARK RANGERS BEING STUDIED
SLTRIB UTA ROUTE STORY SOURCE
SEMI FINAL RESULTS FOR SLC DISTRICT 5
MARTHA ELLIS PROVES FIRE DEPARTMENT HARASSMENT 
IMPORTANT STORY ON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES WITH HOMELESS
HUGHES IS IN NO RUSH TO CLOSE ROAD HOME

MAYOR CONTINUES COMMUNITY COUNCIL VISITS
  I have been going to many of the Salt Lake City community council meetings since 2012.  In all those years, the previous administration, Mayor Becker, never showed up except toward his attempted re-election.  This Mayor seems to be interested in visiting most of the community councils.  Mayor Biskupski attended the Liberty Wells Community Council (near Liberty Park) and spent an hour hearing complaints and promising solutions.  Some comments included that the City jumped the gun on Operation Rio Grande because the beds for treatment and work systems were not set up first.  The Mayor agreed but said that the State was controlling the speed.  She mentioned that Speaker Hughes was on Doug Wright and bad mouthing her and she was caught off guard.  In other words, the State forced the issue.  Something needed to be done about the crime in the Rio Grande area and the State decided that it needed to be addressed immediately, even when the other important parts of the plan weren't in place.  She also mentioned that the State needed healthcare expansion but the State was the decision maker on that issue.



CONSTANT CRIME CONCERNS GET SLCPD CHIEF ATTENTION
  During the meeting at Liberty Wells Community Council, there were complaints about constant crime in apartments and houses and nothing seems to be done.  Calls to the recommended non-emergency number, 801 799 3000, have been met with disrespectful responses from dispatch. (see blog entry below) One of the complaints came from Andy Eatchel who sometimes has to complain several times a day about neighborhood drug dealing, addicts, bike chop shops and other criminal activities.  Chief Brown promised to meet with Andy about his complaints.  

  Andy has been working with the SLC CIU Officer for District 5 and the property in question has been raided several times and recently had a crime camera set up that decreased crime.  The Salt Lake Police have four cameras and three of those are working.  They have been used on State Street, in the Rio Grande area, and other high crime areas to discourage crime.  
 
  Unfortunately, the property is used by the VA and SLCounty for housing vouchers and some of the tenants have a habit of inviting in their friends that engage in criminal activity.  The SLC Police Department has tried to address the crime in that area (around 1300 South and State) but it is a constant battle.  Erin Mendenhall asked the Mayor if the civil penalties ordinance could be changed to encompass property like that mentioned that could be used to stop the criminal activiity.  The Mayor promised to try to meet with the landowner of the property to address the residents concerns.  I also have to mention that the Salt Lake Housing Authority, led by Daniel Nackerman, had addressed criminal activity issues in their properties by kicking out those individuals.  In other words, it can be done.

  Although burglaries have gone up 100% in SLC Distric t 5 (see story below on November 4 news blog), Chief Brown explained that the most serious crime has decreased.  But several people complained that their cars or residences have been broken into several times and the police don't seem to respond when they are called.  The Chief and administration and City Councilmembers should understand that saying that dangerous crime has gone down doesn't play well with citizens, taxpayers and victims of crime when other crime has gone up.

  Questions included "Where are the police resources?"  "The presence of the police is missing!"  Several said that they have never seen a patrolling police officer in their neighborhood.  Chief Brown admitted that we need more cops.  He said that the Academy just graduated 20 cops but that it will take 10 months to get them up to speed to be allowed to patrol alone.  Hopefully, the City Council and Mayor will address this situation soon.  The best deterrent to crime is a visible police officer.


BIKE CHOP SHOPS POLICE RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL
  Several complained about the proliferation of bicycle chop shops that start and end within an hour on sidewalks throughout the area.  Pioneer Park regularly has many bicycles and parts that look like a junkyard.  The SLC Police have had a proposal to beef up the bicycle registration program on the SLC City Attorney's desk for two months.  When asked when it would reach the City Council, the Mayor said it would go to the Council by the end of the month.


SLC DISPATCH PRIORITY DISPATCH SYSTEM PROBLEMS
  Several community council members complained that when they call the non-emergency number 801 799 3000 that they have been told to call, the dispatcher that answers seems to be disrespectful and dismissive of the caller.  The Chief said that if you ask for a police officer, dispatch should send a police officer.  The Mayor and Chief promised to look into the issue.  The Mayor said that she was unaware of the issue when calling 799 3000.  The problem with SLC Dispatch, a separate entity from the SLCPD, is that they have a system called Priority Dispatch that quickly assigns a priority to the caller.  If the caller doesn't know the system, it will create frustration and anger.  Michael McFall did a story in 2014 in the Salt Lake Tribune that discussed some of the issues.  Callers that called 911 to report a crime in progress did not get the response that they wanted.  A robbery report that was in progress was said by the caller to be wasting time going through a questionaire (the script).  It was so bad that, several years ago, some of the SLCPD CIU officers started training community councils on the system and how to actually get to the important points of the reported crime.

  To get the highest priority, crime has to be reported as "in progress" as in skateboarder in progress.  There are seven pages of assigned priority.  If you call to report a homeless man, the police will likely not respond.  If you say prowler, they will respond, and especially quickly if you say prowler, now, in progress.

  The Priority Dispatch system can be a problem for callers to navigate when dispatch insists on going through the script.  The Sheriff used a different system.  Since Priority Dispatch is a Salt Lake City company, it is a political issue.  
  
  911 in Salt Lake County does not work.  When a caller is near to the border of the Valley Emergency Communications (VECC) authority (only Sandy and SLCPD use SLC Dispatch), the system uses cell phone triangulation to get the appropriate authority to respond and that can be a big problem is you are in Salt Lake City and Millcreek is three blocks away.  VECC can get the call and it can take 5 minutes to get to SLC Dispatch since they transfer to the 799 3000 number which often has a bilingual recording before getting an operator!  The Sheriff was so frustrated by the VECC system and felt that it was not useful to his Department that he set up a separate emergency telephone number for the Sheriff and Unified Police Department (801 743 7000)!  In other words, Salt Lake County has THREE! emergency numbers!  Combining all of the 911 systems in Salt Lake County has been encouraged for years (like Morgan and Weber County).  It was discussed last year (2016 session) with Representative Dee who now is a lobbyist for 911 systems.  The recent 911 tax increase appears to be giving VECC more authority and money compared to SLCPD.  This is an important issue and I appreciated the Mayor focusing on solving it.
  Both the sltrib and deseretnews had good stories on these issues:

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900003738/were-scared-liberty-wells-residents-plead-for-help-from-operation-rio-grande-spillover.html

http://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2017/11/10/salt-lake-will-review-how-dispatch-center-handles-homeless-complaints/
http://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2017/11/09/homeless-hotline-wont-take-reports-liberty-wells-residents-tell-salt-lake-city-mayor-jackie-biskupski/​

  

PARK RANGERS BEING STUDIED
  During the Liberty Wells meeting, parents said that their kids are afraid to go to parks.  There have been reports of homeless or vagrants or unsavory characters sitting near the children's activity spaces and that concerns the parents.  Jennifer Seelig, an assistant to the Mayor said that the administration is studying the idea of placing park rangers in the parks.  Several other community councils have also concerned about some questionable people hanging out in the parks.  From Ensign Peak to Fairmont Park, there are complaints that they need a park ranger to discourage illegal activity.


SLTRIB UTA ROUTE STORY SOURCE
  Lee Davidson has a great story on the route performance of UTA.  The data comes from a request that was made to UTA which they readily fulfilled.  I noted the data on the October 9th news blog entry.  The 2016-2017 route performance Excel spreadsheet data is on the upper right downloads.

http://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2017/11/09/what-are-utas-most-expensive-and-most-efficient-routes-numbers-dont-always-tell-the-whole-story/




SEMI FINAL RESULTS FOR SLC DISTRICT 5
  Erin Mendenhall has effectively and resoundingly won the SLC District 5 race with 3621 votes to George Chapman's 700 votes.  I congratulate Erin on her re-election.


MARTHA ELLIS PROVES FIRE DEPARTMENT HARASSMENT 
  Several years ago, Martha Ellis was the SLC Fire Marshall.  She ran into the Becker administration's efforts to construct a questionable and costly separated bicycle lane (cycle track) on 300 South.  Her concern was that the City's Fire Department had a problem using ladder fire trucks to fight fires in highrises on 300 South.  Technically, the cycle tracks would not meet the State's code for street width to allow a ladder fire truck to set stabilizing arms.  When SLC tried to get around it, it took several tries to successfully set up the ladder truck on 300 South.  And Martha Ellis, the City Fire Marshall, refused to approve the project that would limit firefighting on 300 South.  She was targeted for punishment and removed as fire marshall.  Other stories have talked about her concern about lack of fire/smoke detectors in Fire Stations, including one that had significant fire damage due to the lack of fire detectors.  Martha Ellis was a professional and was doing her job.  But she refused to approve Becker's vision that would endanger public safety.
  I was involved because I had heard from firefighters about their concern about the 300 South separated bicycle path.  I wrote an oped published in the Deseret News expressing concern about the cost, the ineffective design with many driveways, and the negative impact on firefighting.  The Salt Lake City Transportation Manager, Robin Hutcheson responded the next week with an oped supporting the cycle track.  In it, she said that buildings higher than 3 floors don't need firefighting because they have sprinkler systems ("Salt lake City has many tall buildings that do not rely on the ladder truck, and instead have sophisticated fire suppression systems."  Deseret News October 2015).  That administration attitude was what Martha Ellis had to contend with.
  I congratulate Martha on her success with the Civil Service Commission and I hope that Salt Lake City recognizes that she was unjustly demoted and attacked due to her professionalism 


IMPORTANT STORY ON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES WITH HOMELESS

  A great story for those who want a good overview of mental illness and the relationship to homelessness, I recommend:
Madness in the Streets: Mental Illness, Homelessness and Criminal Behavior at this link:
https://www.bestmswprograms.com/mental-illness-homelessness-criminal-behavior/

HUGHES IS IN NO RUSH TO CLOSE ROAD HOME

  Speaker Greg Hughes attended the Pioneeer Park Coalition meeting Wednesday and answered uncensored questions.  One of the most important takeaways from that meeting came when he was asked "If Operation Rio Grande is so successful, why are you in a rush to close The Road Home?"  Speaker Hughes said that he was not in a rush to close The Road Home.  Of course, with the Weigand Center, Saint Vincent DePaul Center, the Rescue Mission and the Fourth Street Clinic still operating, it would seem to be a waste of time to close The Road Home.  If it closes, the homeless that use the other facilities would have no where to sleep!
  What does Greg Hughes mean when he says that they are not in a hurry to close The Road Home?





NOVEMBER 7, 2017
MEDICAID WAIVERS INCOMPLETE
SLCO JAIL EXPANSION
JUVENILE DETENTION PROBLEMS
UTAH TAX REVENUE TO DECREASE WITH GOP PLAN
SLC URBAN FOREST DECLINING
SLC HOUSING AUTHORITY STARTS PATROLS TO STOP CRIME
ROGERS, WHARTON, MENDENHALL, FOWLER WIN

PRIORITIES FOR THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL AND SALT LAKE CITY


MEDICAID WAIVERS INCOMPLETE
  Lost in the celebration of the approval of the Medicaid waiver that Utah just received is the reality of the fine print and the lack of healthcare for those who follow the law.  And it appears that it will take almost six months to plan, set up and implement the system (and without adequate jail beds to provide an incentive - see below).

  Dave Baldwin of the Utah Department of Health indicated that the waiver for treatment in facilities with more than 16 beds will be coming/promised in a few weeks.  First Step and Odyssey House have expressed interest in expanding to around 100 beds to provide treatment.  The surrounding residential and business owners will not have a say in the facilities.  Only the Utah Department of Health will be able to stop the expansion or approve the facility.  In a previous post, I pointed out that the Department will decide approval on appropriate staffing, beds and other factors to ensure adequate patient services.  The local Planning Commission is going to be required to approve any conditional use permit application for the facility.  

  The fine print includes groups needing substance use or mental health treatment but spending less than 6 months in a shelter are not covered.  The waiver is for those who are chronically homeless for 12 months or are in a criminal justice situation.  Also those receiving Workforce Services assistance (with a substance use or mental health disorder) or discharged from the State Hospital after being civilly committed are excluded (unless they commit a crime! which would seem to encourage crime!).  Utah will monitor enrollment and expenditures for those covered and will determine if this group can be covered in the future.
 
  Those covered will have access to outpatient services at hospitals in addition to inpatient hospital rehab.  They will also be covered for hospice, physical and occupational therapy and limited emergency dental benefits.  Again, this waiver seems to encourage criminal behavior because law abiding citizens, no matter how poor, are not given the same benefits!

  The 1115 waiver includes an amendment allowing for payment for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment in an institution for mental disease (17+ beds).  "Federal funds will not be available for residential treatment until CMS approves Utah's SUD implementation plan."  Residential treatment facilities that are located throughout Salt Lake County and the rest of the State will be participating in this program which will exacerbate relations with neighbors.  Even those facilities that are for mental health treatment could be used for drug addiction treatment.  This is a big change from the facilities that currently operate in residential neighborhoods.

  Limits include 180 days of SUD residential treatment per calendar year.  The reality in this program is the federal government believes that the success rate for SUD treatment is about 5%.  Speaker Hughes admitted as much during his time with the Ballpark Community Council.  He said that it needs to be tried even if it takes many tries to be successful.

  I put the Targeted Adult Medicaid Overview Powerpoint PDF download at upper right.  I recommend that those interested download and read it.  


SLCO JAIL EXPANSION
  Salt Lake County is still grappling with the Mayor's inadequate public safety funding that has led to the effective legalization of drugs in the County over the last few years (according to a Facebook post by former State Senator Steve Urquhart).  It has resulted in criminals being released within a few hours and has tied the hands of law enforcement.  The revolving door jail is the same as it was two years ago before the restrictions on booking due to inadequate jail funding by the County Mayor.

  The new budget for the jail asks for 105 jailers to open the two unused pods at Oxbow at a cost of $12 million.  And the County is being requested, by the Sheriff, to start a study on adding a new pod to the main jail.  But opening up the 380 unused beds at Oxbow (before Operation Rio Grande, 180 beds of 560 bed Oxbow were used for addiction treatment) will be used to return the 300 prisoners that were transferred to other counties.  Since 2000 arrests have been made during Operation Rio Grande, DA Gill's recommendation for 600 beds make sense.  

  The DA also recommended 6 prosecutors for Operation Rio Grande support but only got 2.  He did get 9 new prosecutors funded in the last 6 months but he still playing catch up and between JRI, Juvenile Justice, Mental Health incarceration and jail bed issues, he really needs more.  Many of the criminals in jail are there because they pled out to a lesser crime to end up in jail instead of being prosecuted for the full serious crime and being sentenced, if guilty, to prison.  
  The man who killed another man last month is a good example of a man who should not have been on the street.  He had, in just the last six months, assaulted individuals with a deadly weapon at least three times.  There are criminals who steal cars every month that they are on the street and they should be in prison.  There is no incentive to stop committing crimes when there are minimal consequences.  There are criminals that we see arrested on the news every day that have long rap sheets.  These criminals are threats to society and they should be in prison not jail.

  Salt Lake County is bearing the burden of incarcerating criminals that should be in prison because it requires a lot of work to convict and send a criminal to prison.  Without adequate funding for prosecutions and prosecutors, the County will have to spend more on jail space.

  The only way to get a handle on this issue is to provide more prosecutors and make the State pay for the prison sentence.   
 
  To effectively utilize/encourage SUD/addiction treatment requires a carrot and a stick.  Without jail beds available, the 2000 arrested will not be encouraged to utilize the drug/mental health treatment programs that should come online within six months.


JUVENILE DETENTION PROBLEMS
  Over the last few months, Salt Lake County's Juvenile Justice program has had to increase their funding to compensate for the lack of funding from the Utah Justice Reinvestment Initiative that decreased penalties for some crimes and diverted criminals from prisons to local jails and detention facilities.  Salt Lake County has had to add two prosecutors for juvenile cases and the detention facility is not geared up to handle the new types of criminals that are being sent to the detention facility.  The County is still trying to get a handle on this issue and it could become a big problem without adequate funding.


UTAH TAX REVENUE TO DECREASE WITH GOP PLAN
  The GOP proposed tax plan in Washington DC could have a big impact on Utah tax revenues.  It is a plan that may or may not be passed but the discussion on its impact on Utah should take place now.  Utah's tax revenue system is based on the federal government's tax system (to simplify taxes for Utahns) and a change in federal taxable income will affect Utah tax revenues.  Another important issue that could impact Utah is the elimination of public private partnerships that provide a tax incentive to private companies to build infrastructure.  There are several Utah Legislators that were counting on the incentive and wanted to use public private partnerships to build needed infrastructure.  And finally, and most importantly to those who want to encourage mass transit use, the proposed GOP plan eliminates the transit pass benefit.


  Thehill.com website has a good overview on the issue and its impact on transportation.
http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/358700-gop-tax-bill-has-transportation-advocates-scrambling


SLC URBAN FOREST DECLINING
  Salt Lake City's urban forest is declining.  The City has about 86,000 trees that it maintains and it could, if funded, have 120,000 trees that could successfully grow.  The City cuts about 1000 trees a year and needs about $300 per tree to replace the cut tree with a 2 inch sapling.  


  The main reasons for the death of trees and the need to cut them include lack of water, lack of regular pruning (recommended for every 8 years) and inappropriate trees for our urban desert environment (Norway maple and ash trees have problems surviving in Salt Lake City.).


  Salt Lake City needs a plan to sustain our urban canopy with regular plantings and better maintenance/pruning.  That might require a doubling of the $2 million that is presently budgeted for Salt Lake City's urban forestry program.  Also, the water cost that Salt Lake City Public Utilities charges SLC Parks and Open Space is the same as for a residence.  So, the Parks Department's efforts to adequately water trees (and other property - like the cemetery that didn't get watered until complaints poured in) is under pressure to keep costs under the forecast watering schedule from months before during the budget request.  This last year, in addition to the cemetery issue, Parks had to stop watering trees in medians and the gardens around the City Building!   


  Other issues that should be discussed when drawing up the plan include pushing for more evergreens (despite the pushback from concerns that they could hide nefarious activity) and how to ensure that all trees cut by developers on private property, have to be replaced with the same number of trees to add up to the diameter of the cut tree.  In other words, replacing a 10 inch tree with 5 2 inch trees.  Now, developers only have to replace specimen trees instead of all trees.
 

SLC HOUSING AUTHORITY STARTS PATROLS TO STOP CRIME
  I forgot to add to the last news blog entry that the Salt Lake City Housing Authority has a police officer (paid for by the Housing Authority) patrolling the West Temple area around the 1200 South property owned by the Housing Authority and which is being redeveloped into 54 mixed income housing.  It is next to the children's school bus stop and it had a lot of illegal activity, including drugs, drug addicts and dealers using the property.  The police officer patrols seem to be stopping the activity.  I put the September through October 2017 SLC District 5 crime stats on the upper right downloads.


 ROGERS, WHARTON, MENDENHALL, FOWLER WIN

   This SLC Council will be one of the most liberal city councils in the State.  It will be interesting what they will do.  It will be hard to keep up with them. 



PRIORITIES FOR THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL AND SALT LAKE CITY
STOP SECRET MEETINGS & DECISIONS      (SHELTERS, STREETCARS, TAX CREDITS, ETC)
STOP TAX INCREASES WITHOUT A PUBLIC VOTE   (PARKS, STREETCARS, SALES, STREETS, SEWER, WTR)
REQUIRE SLCO TO LOCK UP/PROSECUTE DRUG DEALERS    

        AND STOP HOMELESS CAMPING

ACTUALLY HELP AFFORDABLE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

STOP COSTLY TRANSIT PROJECTS  
RESTORE ROBUST NEIGHBORHOOD BUS SERVICE
STOP ROAD DIETS THAT INCREASE CONGESTION AND POLLUTION
STOP WASTING MILLIONS ON ALLEY TRAILS
PROTECT WATERSHED/BUILD CANYON RESTROOMS
SOLVE PROBLEMS NOW & NOT WAIT UNTIL ELECTION TIME




NOVEMBER 4, 2017
SPEAKER HUGHES VERSUS BALLPARK
100% INCREASE IN BURGLARIES
 VOTING LOCATIONS


SPEAKER HUGHES VERSUS BALLPARK
  Utah Speaker of the House Greg Hughes discussed Operation Rio Grande and the impact on other communities in Salt Lake City during the Ballpark Community Council meeting on November 2. He spent almost 2 hours explaining his reasons for pushing the Operation and answered questions. The questions were not censored as in previous meetings (He did go to the Greater Avenues Community Council the previous night.).


  The Speaker mentioned that he worked with ACLU and they worked up a system that would be fair with ID cards and a secure area. He said that it was shocking that so much criminal activity was going on in the Rio Grande area when he toured the area two years ago with former SLCPD Assistant Chief Ross (now Chief of UTA Police). He finally realized that something had to be done about it (finally, after two years is the operative phrase). The final straw was the Rio Grande area getting national attention in USA Today when a ballplayer in town for a game was seriously attacked and a woman was run over on the sidewalk. I have to note that attacks happened all of the time down there and two years ago, the area was branded as the biggest open air drug market in the West by National Geographic. Many of the problems were coming up in debates during the last SLC mayoral campaign. It got so bad that former Mayor Becker ordered Chief Brown to implement a quality of life enforcement action that even confiscated shopping carts of the homeless (which also dispersed the homeless to other areas). When the police confiscated the seriously dirty shopping carts (who would want to use them while shopping), they gave them plastic garbage bags to put their belongings in (because the storage facility was full). 


  In other words, we tried this before.  Coming down hard on the homeless did not change anything in the Rio Grande area before.  And Speaker Hughes was reminded in January of this year, by former Senator Urquhart, that due to lack of jail beds and adequate public safety funding in Salt Lake County, drugs are essentially legal in the County.  This should not have been a surprise to the Speaker.  I have to give credit to Scott Howell, who works for Bryson Garbett, who has been trying to get attention to fix the problems around Rio Grande for years.  Drug overdoses ARE down and drugs now cost twice what they did before.  But it should not have taken two years to realize that the area was really really bad. 


  In previous opeds and in this blog, I complained about the fact that Speaker Hughes refused to allow Healthy Utah to be discussed in the Utah House.  Now that the Medicaid waiver has been granted for up to 6000 criminals and homeless, the low income citizens of this State now can complain about how the criminals get medical care and the law abiding citizens don’t.  That question did not come up during the discussion Thursday night.


    Chris Derbridge is a local resident who has been leading the fight against the crime and homeless drug issues in the neighborhood. Over the last few months, he and others started walking their children to the bus stop on 12th South and West Temple to try to protect them from drugs, drug addicts and the homeless. After weeks of complaining about the crime problems, working together, we were able to have the Operation Rio Grande Command Post address some of the issues. We were able to get the President of the Salt Lake City School Board and several Highway Patrol Officers to patrol the school bus stops. Chris asked the Speaker if he realized that schoolkids and others in other communities would be inundated with crime, drugs, drug addicts and homeless camping in the area due to the Operation Rio Grande. The Speaker said that he expected that but felt that they had enough resources to handle the problems as they developed.  Chris complained about the issues caused by Operation Rio Grande in his neighborhood for 10 minutes. 


  Amy Hawkins, the Ballpark Vice Chair complained for several more minutes and asked for help paying for more lights for public safety in the community.  Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall pointed out that the Council, the Mayor and the State were “negotiating” how to mitigate the new homeless shelters (including the one in Ballpark on High Avenue/Paramount Avenue) and hopefully the City will get more than lights.  Speaker Hughes confirmed that they are negotiating mitigation issues.


  He said that "we can't arrest our way out of this" but that is because Salt Lake County does not adequately fund public safety.  Chris Derbridge said that every cop that he talks to says that their hands are tied.  All that they can do is arrest criminals when they catch them in the act and take them to jail.  But they get out almost immediately.  Without adequate funding for the DA and jail beds, prosecutors can’t send criminals to prison and they stay in jail for a short time when they should be in prison for a long time.


  It is so bad that the real threats to society, those who end up murdering others, are released many times in a short time instead of being charged, prosecuted and sent to prison.  In a recent case, Lucas Deprey shot a killed a man on October 26.  But for the last six months, there were three cases where he threatened people with weapons.  It should have been obvious that that person should not be walking around in society.  But Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is not giving the DA enough funding to do his job and keep people like Deprey in jail.  In addition, it is very inefficient for police to take criminals to jail again and again and again.


   Speaker Hughes said that even though the jail releases the arrested criminals almost immediately, at least they can be arrested and taken to jail.  That is a deterrent to criminal activity!  I do not think, and the community does not think that that is enough.  Chris also complained about the bike chop shops that are showing up on the sidewalks in the neighborhoods (Liberty Wells is complaining about that issue also).  When police are called, they are told that there is nothing that can be done about it without a registration program.  The SLCPD was working on a registration program but their priorities changed with Operation Rio Grande.

  This event begs the question – why does Speaker Hughes need to go to Canada to debate Operation Rio Grande.  There are plenty of people hear who can debate Greg Hughes effectively.

  Katie McKellar from the Deseret News has an excellent write up on the event at:
https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900003369/ballpark-residents-vent-at-utah-speaker-greg-hughes-over-operation-rio-grande-impact.html
 
Glen Beebe at ABC4 also did a short story on the issue with Chris showing him a lot of the evidence of criminal activity in the neighborhoods.  It is important to note that the SLCPD is starting to get things under control.  With the help of the Highway Patrol and Operation Rio Grande law enforcement, the Ballpark neighborhood issues regarding criminal activity involving the homeless are being addressed.  Remember, if you see criminal activity, report it to the SLCPD at 801 799 3000.  If there is an emergency, call 911.  If a homeless person is committing a crime (like trespassing), DO NOT call the police and report a “homeless person”.  Say that there is a prowler!  If  there is a police response needed regarding criminal activity by the homeless, and the SLC Police are unable to address the issue, call the Operation Rio Grande Command Post at 385 266 6938.  They are often able to provide an officer to follow up when SLCPD are saturated with calls.  (NOTE THAT THIS MEANS THAT WE NEED MORE POLICE.)


100% INCREASE IN BURGLARIES
   Officer Pederson (pronounce like Peterson), the CIU Officer for District 5 reported that there is a 100% increase in burglaries in the District 5 area.  Much of the increase is coming from around Liberty Park.  The SLCPD Bike Squad will be returning to the area to increase police visibility.  They will have a special focus of trying to decrease the break-ins around Liberty Park.  There were also 26 vehicles stolen in the last month in District 5.  In other words, crime is going up.  There were 44 burglaries in the last month in District 5 and 30 did not result in a suspect being identified.  Seven of the break-ins occurred when a glass door was broken.  The police also served a search warrant and arrested seven in the last week in a major criminal investigation that resulted from information gathered from Operation Rio Grande.  The police remind everyone not to keep any belongings visible in cars.  They are a tempting target for criminals.  In addition, if you notice a suspicious vehicle or person in an area, please call the 801 799 3000 number.  If an officer is available, they can ask the person for their ID (they don’t have to give it) which generally will cause a criminal to leave the area.

 
 
VOTING LOCATIONS
Vote by Mail Ballot Return Options
General Election
The 2017 Election is being conducted mainly by mail:
Ballots will be mailed to all active voters the week of October 16th.
Postage-paid return envelopes will be provided.
Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day before Election Day, November 6th
Ballots may also be returned on Election Day to Vote Centers and Drop Boxes.
Voters who register or update their address will be mailed a ballot up until November 1st.
Vote Centers
Voters may drop off their vote-by-mail ballot  at any Salt Lake County Vote Center on Election Day during voting hours: 7:00 am - 8:00 pm. Ballots can also be dropped off at the Salt Lake County Election Division (2001 S. State).
Vote-by-Mail Ballot Drop Boxes 
Salt Lake County has provided 18 secure ballot Drop Box locations where ballots can be deposited 24/7 until 8:00 pm on Election Night.  Find the location of your nearest Ballot Box below (Click on the location to view a picture). 


Cottonwood Heights City Hall 2277 E Bengal Blvd Cottonwood Heights
Draper Library 1136 Pioneer Rd Draper
Herriman City Hall 5355 Main St Herriman
Holladay Library 2150 E Murray Holladay Rd Holladay
Kearns Rec Center 5670 Cougar Ln Kearns
Magna Library 2675 S 8950 W Magna
Millcreek UPD 1580 E 3900 S Millcreek
Murray City Hall 5025 S State St Murray
Riverton City Hall 12830 S Redwood Rd Riverton
River's Bend Senior Center 1300 W 300 N Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City Library 420 S 200 E Salt Lake City
Salt Lake County Government Center 2001 S State St Salt Lake City
Sandy City Hall 10000 Centennial Pkwy Sandy
Sandy Senior Center 9310 S 1300 E Sandy
South Jordan City Hall 1600 W Towne Center Dr South Jordan
West Jordan City Hall 8000 S Redwood Rd West Jordan
West Valley City Hall 3600 S Constitution Blvd West Valley

Vote Centers will be open on Election Day (November 7, 2017) from 7:00 am - 8:00 pm for voters who either require amenities provided by the electronic voting machines, misplaced or didn't receive ballots, or otherwise want to vote in person. 
Voters may vote at ANY of the Vote Centers listed below on Election Day (identification is required Valid Identification).
 Note: Voters may drop off their vote-by-mail ballot at a Vote Center during polling hours.
Bluffdale City Hall 2222 W 14400 S Bluffdale
Bingham Canyon Lions Club 320 E Hillcrest St Copperton 
Cottonwood Heights City Hall 2277 E Bengal Blvd (7600 S) Cottonwood Heights
Draper City Hall 1020 E Pioneer Rd (12450 S) Draper
South Mtn Community Church 14216 S Bangerter Pkwy (200 E) Draper
Herriman Library 5380 W Herriman Main St (12720 S) Herriman
Holladay City Hall 4580 S 2300 E Holladay
Kearns Senior Center 4851 W 4715 S Kearns 
Magna Senior Center 9228 W Magna Main St Magna 
Midvale Senior Center 7550 S Main St (700 W) Midvale
Ruth Vine Tyler Library 8041 S Wood St (55 W) Midvale
Millcreek Library 2266 E Evergreen Ave (3435 S) Millcreek 
Murray City Hall 5025 S State St (100 E) Murray
Wheeler Historic Farm 6351 S 900 E Murray
Riverton Senior Center 12914 S Redwood Rd (1700 W) Riverton 
Trolley Square 600 S 700 E #D-117 Salt Lake City
River's Bend NW Senior Center 1300 W 300 N Salt Lake City
 SLCo Government Center 2001 S State St (100 E) Salt Lake City 
First Congregational Church 2150 S Foothill Dr (2755 E) Salt Lake City
UFA Fire Station Emigration 119 5025 E Emigration Canyon Rd Salt Lake City 
Sandy City Hall 10000 S Centennial Pkwy (170 W) Sandy
Sandy Library 10100 S Petunia Wy (1410 E) Sandy
Sandy Senior Center 9310 S 1300 E Sandy
South Jordan Founders Park LDS 11685 S Kestrel Rise Rd (4500 W) South Jordan
South Jordan Library 10673 S Redwood Rd (1700 W) South Jordan
Columbus Community Center 2531 S 400 E South Salt Lake
Bennion LDS Church 6250 S 2200 W Taylorsville 
Taylorsville City Hall 2600 W Taylorsville Blvd (5325 S) Taylorsville
Taylorsville Senior Center 4743 S Plymouth View Dr (1625 W) Taylorsville
West Jordan (Viridian) Library 8030 S 1825 W West Jordan
Copper Hills LDS 5349 W 9000 S West Jordan
West Valley City Hall 3600 S Constitution Blvd (2700 W) West Valley City
Hunter Library 4740 W 4100 S West Valley City
Utah Cultural Celebration Center 1355 W 3100 S West Valley City
 




NOVEMBER 1, 2017

BALLPARK MEETING THURSDAY SET FOR 630PM

THERE IS STILL TIME TO VOTE

MY CAMPAIGN SUMMARY


BALLPARK MEETING THURSDAY SET FOR 630PM NOVEMBER 2
   The Ballpark community council meeting for tomorrow is scheduled to start at 630Pm to go through regular items before Speaker Hughes starts his presentation and answers questions.  Again the meeting will be at 1812 South West Temple and it is at the Taylor Springs SLC Housing Authority Complex.  I expect a big crowd and recommend showing up by 6 PM.  Some parking is available in the lot but I suspect the interest will necessitate parking on the street. 
  Some of the important questions should include:  How will the State and local governments compensate the adjacent landowners, residents and businesses near the new homeless shelters?  Specifically, the redesign of the High Avenue shelter now is entered into on the street south of High Avenue and businesses on that street are going to lose a significant value in their property.  How will the criminal element be handled when there is a revolving door jail now and it looks like it will continue like that for years in the future?  How can the State ensure that the criminals, drug addicts and threats to society are locked up for more than a few hours in the Salt Lake County Jail (especially since the jail is full and when Oxbow opens up the unused beds, they will be used by the Operation Rio Grande population that are now incarcerated in other counties)?  How will the State ensure that there is adequate public safety funding at Salt Lake County including at least 6 new prosecutors and 600 beds?  How will the State ensure that there is an increase of police in this area/Ballpark and other areas of Salt Lake City that are inundated with the homeless along with the dealers and drug addicts?
  And of course, the question on the mind of a hundred thousand Utahns: Why are the criminals and drug addicts getting medical care and the law abiding poor are not getting any medical care?  The Medicare waiver and hundred million of federal funding only applies to the criminal and homeless addicts (including mental health treatment).  How will Salt Lake County Mental Health use the money, in the jail, in the shelters and for those camping in Salt Lake County?



THERE IS STILL TIME TO VOTE

Vote by Mail Ballot Return Options
General Election
The 2017 Election is being conducted mainly by mail:
Ballots will be mailed to all active voters the week of October 16th.
Postage-paid return envelopes will be provided.
Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day before Election Day, November 6th
Ballots may also be returned on Election Day to Vote Centers and Drop Boxes.
Voters who register or update their address will be mailed a ballot up until November 1st.
Vote Centers
Voters may drop off their vote-by-mail ballot  at any Salt Lake County Vote Center on Election Day during voting hours: 7:00 am - 8:00 pm. Ballots can also be dropped off at the Salt Lake County Election Division (2001 S. State).
Vote-by-Mail Ballot Drop Boxes 
Salt Lake County has provided 18 secure ballot Drop Box locations where ballots can be deposited 24/7 until 8:00 pm on Election Night.  Find the location of your nearest Ballot Box below (Click on the location to view a picture). 


Cottonwood Heights City Hall 2277 E Bengal Blvd Cottonwood Heights
Draper Library 1136 Pioneer Rd Draper
Herriman City Hall 5355 Main St Herriman
Holladay Library 2150 E Murray Holladay Rd Holladay
Kearns Rec Center 5670 Cougar Ln Kearns
Magna Library 2675 S 8950 W Magna
Millcreek UPD 1580 E 3900 S Millcreek
Murray City Hall 5025 S State St Murray
Riverton City Hall 12830 S Redwood Rd Riverton
River's Bend Senior Center 1300 W 300 N Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City Library 420 S 200 E Salt Lake City
Salt Lake County Government Center 2001 S State St Salt Lake City
Sandy City Hall 10000 Centennial Pkwy Sandy
Sandy Senior Center 9310 S 1300 E Sandy
South Jordan City Hall 1600 W Towne Center Dr South Jordan
West Jordan City Hall 8000 S Redwood Rd West Jordan
West Valley City Hall 3600 S Constitution Blvd West Valley

Vote Centers will be open on Election Day (November 7, 2017) from 7:00 am - 8:00 pm for voters who either require amenities provided by the electronic voting machines, misplaced or didn't receive ballots, or otherwise want to vote in person. 
Voters may vote at ANY of the Vote Centers listed below on Election Day (identification is required Valid Identification).
 Note: Voters may drop off their vote-by-mail ballot at a Vote Center during polling hours.
Bluffdale City Hall 2222 W 14400 S Bluffdale
Bingham Canyon Lions Club 320 E Hillcrest St Copperton 
Cottonwood Heights City Hall 2277 E Bengal Blvd (7600 S) Cottonwood Heights
Draper City Hall 1020 E Pioneer Rd (12450 S) Draper
South Mtn Community Church 14216 S Bangerter Pkwy (200 E) Draper
Herriman Library 5380 W Herriman Main St (12720 S) Herriman
Holladay City Hall 4580 S 2300 E Holladay
Kearns Senior Center 4851 W 4715 S Kearns 
Magna Senior Center 9228 W Magna Main St Magna 
Midvale Senior Center 7550 S Main St (700 W) Midvale
Ruth Vine Tyler Library 8041 S Wood St (55 W) Midvale
Millcreek Library 2266 E Evergreen Ave (3435 S) Millcreek 
Murray City Hall 5025 S State St (100 E) Murray
Wheeler Historic Farm 6351 S 900 E Murray
Riverton Senior Center 12914 S Redwood Rd (1700 W) Riverton 
Trolley Square 600 S 700 E #D-117 Salt Lake City
River's Bend NW Senior Center 1300 W 300 N Salt Lake City
 SLCo Government Center 2001 S State St (100 E) Salt Lake City 
First Congregational Church 2150 S Foothill Dr (2755 E) Salt Lake City
UFA Fire Station Emigration 119 5025 E Emigration Canyon Rd Salt Lake City 
Sandy City Hall 10000 S Centennial Pkwy (170 W) Sandy
Sandy Library 10100 S Petunia Wy (1410 E) Sandy
Sandy Senior Center 9310 S 1300 E Sandy
South Jordan Founders Park LDS 11685 S Kestrel Rise Rd (4500 W) South Jordan
South Jordan Library 10673 S Redwood Rd (1700 W) South Jordan
Columbus Community Center 2531 S 400 E South Salt Lake
Bennion LDS Church 6250 S 2200 W Taylorsville 
Taylorsville City Hall 2600 W Taylorsville Blvd (5325 S) Taylorsville
Taylorsville Senior Center 4743 S Plymouth View Dr (1625 W) Taylorsville
West Jordan (Viridian) Library 8030 S 1825 W West Jordan
Copper Hills LDS 5349 W 9000 S West Jordan
West Valley City Hall 3600 S Constitution Blvd (2700 W) West Valley City
Hunter Library 4740 W 4100 S West Valley City
Utah Cultural Celebration Center 1355 W 3100 S West Valley City



MY CAMPAIGN SUMMARY


 VOTE GEORGE CHAPMAN


SLC COUNCIL DISTRICT 5


www.georgechapman.net

WORKING TOGETHER, LET’S:


  STOP SECRET SLC COUNCIL MEETINGS
Homeless center expansion sites were unanimously decided in secret without a public hearing. A golf course was closed without a public hearing. Funding for buying homeless sites was approved without a public hearing.


STOP NEW TAXES W/OUT PUBLIC VOTES

SLC Council is discussing a streets’ fee (the Council cut the streets’ budget 50% 3 years ago). The Council wants to have taxpayers pay for 4 rail lines and the most expensive design possible for Airport TRAX. The Council is doubling the fees for water and sewer. My opponent wants to close golf courses and pay $50 million for each to be converted to a park. She wants to have us pay almost $100 million to run a TRAX train up 1100 East (taking out all parking).


   PROVIDE ADEQUATE PUBLIC SAFETY
SLC has ignored the drug dealing, homeless camping, lack of jail beds and public safety funding. We have had a revolving door at the County Jail for over 4 years and the Council has not complained about it until this year, an election year. SLC needs 50 new police. SLC should sell the former public safety building and use the funds for more police.    


       PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
SLC refuses to build restrooms in our canyons and has interfered with Forest Service efforts. It gives more money to lawyers than to conserve land in the canyons. SLC cuts down 3000 big trees a year.

           STOP THE WAR ON CARS

My opponent believes that Sugar House and downtown have too much parking and wants to convert traffic lanes into bike lanes which will increase congestion and pollution.

   ENCOURAGE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

SLC allows building thousands of high price apartments a year in SLC instead of encouraging mixed income affordable housing. The Council has ignored the crisis for the last four years.

            STOP WASTING MONEY

SLC should stop wasting millions on alleyway trails and protected bike lanes and use the money to fix our roads for cars and bikes. SLC has many vacant properties that should be sold instead of being unused for over 10 years. The money can be used for streets, affordable housing and police.





OCTOBER 30, 2017 
BALLPARK TO HOST SPEAKER HUGHES THURSDAY
NO CARROT, NO STICK AND SHOOTING IN THE DARK
TIME TO VOTE, PLENTY OF OPTIONS
REDEVELOPMENT AREAS HOLD KEY FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
RALPH BECKER IS WRONG ABOUT AIRPORT TRAX
SUGAR HOUSE SPRAGUE LIBRARIANS MISS YOU



BALLPARK TO HOST SPEAKER HUGHES THURSDAY
  Ballpark Community Council is hosting, at their regular first Thursday of the month community council meeting, Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives Greg Hughes.  He is going to speak about the spillover effects into other neighborhoods from Operation Rio Grnade and the mitigation and support strategies for when the High Avenue men and women's shelter will open in Ballpark in 2019.
  The meeting will be at 1812 S. West Temple and it will start at 7 PM.  I expect a big crowd and recommend showing up by 630 PM. The meeting is at Taylor Springs SLC Housing Authority Complex.  Some parking is available in the lot but I suspect the interest will necessitate parking on the street. 
  Hopefully the questions will not be censored like previous meetings with the Speaker.  Although the goal of the Operation is to clean up the urban crime in the Rio Grande area, without adequate public safety funding, the rest of the neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, West Valley City and South Salt Lake are impacted by the criminals who want to avoid the massing of law enforcement in the Rio Grande area.  My opinion on the Operation is below:



NO CARROT, NO STICK AND SHOOTING IN THE DARK
  In the last few months, elected leaders have finally decided that the homeless situation in the Rio Grande area in downtown Salt Lake City needs their attention. Speaker of the Utah House set up an office across the street from the Road Home and Weigand and St Vincent de Paul centers and declared that he was surprised at the lawlessness and drug dealing and it shouldn’t continue.   
  Unfortunately, he is several years too late in realizing the issues that have been creating problems in the area. During the 2015 Salt Lake City mayoral race, the issue of criminal activity among the homeless in the Rio Grande area was one of the major issues of the campaign. 
  The solution that is being planned by senior elected Utah leaders is "a carrot and a stick" where criminal activity will result in arrest, being taken to jail and booked, and then have an opportunity to get out of jail if they agree to drug addiction treatment (if that is their problem) or other alternatives to jail. The treatment beds (except for almost 40 that are available as of last week) will require that the federal government provide a waiver and agree to a minimalist version of healthcare expansion that will apply to less than 10,000 incarcerated or ex prisoners or homeless. 
  But Representative Dunnigan's bill to provide the expanded healthcare that will pay for drug addiction treatment has been promised to be approved for two years. It is not a done deal. In addition, the federal government also has to agree to allow more than 16 beds in a facility to be covered for federal funds. That requirement was implemented years ago by pressure from neighborhoods that were afraid of big institutions of addiction treatment that would negatively impact adjacent neighborhoods. Both Odyssey House and First Step, if the federal government approves, intend to expand their facilities to around 100 treatment beds. Adjacent neighborhoods will obviously be concerned and there could be a vigorous fight against expansion of beds that would look like the homeless shelter on Simpson Avenue fight that succeeded in stopping that site.
  The success rate for opioid addiction treatment is also a moving target. Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Califano has pointed out that "The therapeutic community claims a 30% success rate but they only count people who complete the program." Up to 80% have dropped out within six months. Operation Diversion success rate also seems to be a moving target with estimates of 2 to 8 individuals successfully treated. Evidence based treatment was supposed to be the priority but evidence and data seems to be lacking and Salt Lake County has not provided real data.
  Healthcare expansion would have helped years ago and saved Utah taxpayers $67 million this year alone, and hundreds of millions in the next few years. The Salt Lake County Council was recently given a reality check when they saw estimates of their share of the cost of Operation Rio Grande of over $10 million. Interestingly, the County repurposed their $9.4 million annual jail bond several years ago which,if it stayed in public safety (jail and DA - including jail treatment), would have resulted in a smaller cost for County and State taxpayers. Some Utah legislators are upset that Utah taxpayers seem to be covering the inadequate public safety funding of Salt Lake County and City. 
  The stick in the plan is 300 open jail beds. They were filled in two weeks. The DA recommended 6 prosecutors and up to 600 beds. He got 2 prosecutors (approved last week) and 300 jail beds. The result is law enforcement in Salt Lake County is working with a revolving door jail and arresting the same criminals, for the same type of crime many times. All that a full jail can do is book the arrested person and release them. This results in, at best, a soft stick.
  Another part of the plan is to create a safe place on Rio Grande Street by fencing it off and keeping drugs out and with drug sniffing dogs patrolling the area. The belief is that such a safe place for camping will allow law enforcement throughout the County to enforce no camping ordinances. Although that has started, the only tool that law enforcement has is jail and that is full. Confiscating camping gear (which needs to be inventoried and retained in storage until release from jail) is a big and costly effort that will probably be avoided by police. The result is no real plan to stop the homeless camping.
  Interestinly, San Francisco tried to create a safe place on Pier 80 last year for about six months but many homeless felt that it was like a prison and avoided it. To get access to the facility required being referred to it by homeless outreach after questioning (like the proposed ID and questions needed for access to Rio Grande).
 Healthcare expansion and affordable housing, the best solutions for success in decreasing homelessness are being ignored for more wishful thinking. It appears that Utah’s senior elected politicians have decided that the best solution to the homeless crisis and criminal element in the Rio Grande area is no carrot, no stick and shooting in the dark.


TIME TO VOTE, PLENTY OF OPTIONS
Vote by Mail Ballot Return Options
General Election
The 2017 Election is being conducted mainly by mail:
Ballots will be mailed to all active voters the week of October 16th.
Postage-paid return envelopes will be provided.
Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day before Election Day, November 6th
Ballots may also be returned on Election Day to Vote Centers and Drop Boxes.
Voters who register or update their address will be mailed a ballot up until November 1st.
Vote Centers
Voters may drop off their vote-by-mail ballot  at any Salt Lake County Vote Center on Election Day during voting hours: 7:00 am - 8:00 pm. Ballots can also be dropped off at the Salt Lake County Election Division (2001 S. State).
Vote-by-Mail Ballot Drop Boxes 
Salt Lake County has provided 18 secure ballot Drop Box locations where ballots can be deposited 24/7 until 8:00 pm on Election Night.  Find the location of your nearest Ballot Box below (Click on the location to view a picture). 


Cottonwood Heights City Hall 2277 E Bengal Blvd Cottonwood Heights
Draper Library 1136 Pioneer Rd Draper
Herriman City Hall 5355 Main St Herriman
Holladay Library 2150 E Murray Holladay Rd Holladay
Kearns Rec Center 5670 Cougar Ln Kearns
Magna Library 2675 S 8950 W Magna
Millcreek UPD 1580 E 3900 S Millcreek
Murray City Hall 5025 S State St Murray
Riverton City Hall 12830 S Redwood Rd Riverton
River's Bend Senior Center 1300 W 300 N Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City Library 420 S 200 E Salt Lake City
Salt Lake County Government Center 2001 S State St Salt Lake City
Sandy City Hall 10000 Centennial Pkwy Sandy
Sandy Senior Center 9310 S 1300 E Sandy
South Jordan City Hall 1600 W Towne Center Dr South Jordan
West Jordan City Hall 8000 S Redwood Rd West Jordan
West Valley City Hall 3600 S Constitution Blvd West Valley

Vote Centers will be open on Election Day (November 7, 2017) from 7:00 am - 8:00 pm for voters who either require amenities provided by the electronic voting machines, misplaced or didn't receive ballots, or otherwise want to vote in person. 
Voters may vote at ANY of the Vote Centers listed below on Election Day (identification is required Valid Identification).
 Note: Voters may drop off their vote-by-mail ballot at a Vote Center during polling hours.
Bluffdale City Hall 2222 W 14400 S Bluffdale
Bingham Canyon Lions Club 320 E Hillcrest St Copperton 
Cottonwood Heights City Hall 2277 E Bengal Blvd (7600 S) Cottonwood Heights
Draper City Hall 1020 E Pioneer Rd (12450 S) Draper
South Mtn Community Church 14216 S Bangerter Pkwy (200 E) Draper
Herriman Library 5380 W Herriman Main St (12720 S) Herriman
Holladay City Hall 4580 S 2300 E Holladay
Kearns Senior Center 4851 W 4715 S Kearns 
Magna Senior Center 9228 W Magna Main St Magna 
Midvale Senior Center 7550 S Main St (700 W) Midvale
Ruth Vine Tyler Library 8041 S Wood St (55 W) Midvale
Millcreek Library 2266 E Evergreen Ave (3435 S) Millcreek 
Murray City Hall 5025 S State St (100 E) Murray
Wheeler Historic Farm 6351 S 900 E Murray
Riverton Senior Center 12914 S Redwood Rd (1700 W) Riverton 
Trolley Square 600 S 700 E #D-117 Salt Lake City
River's Bend NW Senior Center 1300 W 300 N Salt Lake City
 SLCo Government Center 2001 S State St (100 E) Salt Lake City 
First Congregational Church 2150 S Foothill Dr (2755 E) Salt Lake City
UFA Fire Station Emigration 119 5025 E Emigration Canyon Rd Salt Lake City 
Sandy City Hall 10000 S Centennial Pkwy (170 W) Sandy
Sandy Library 10100 S Petunia Wy (1410 E) Sandy
Sandy Senior Center 9310 S 1300 E Sandy
South Jordan Founders Park LDS 11685 S Kestrel Rise Rd (4500 W) South Jordan
South Jordan Library 10673 S Redwood Rd (1700 W) South Jordan
Columbus Community Center 2531 S 400 E South Salt Lake
Bennion LDS Church 6250 S 2200 W Taylorsville 
Taylorsville City Hall 2600 W Taylorsville Blvd (5325 S) Taylorsville
Taylorsville Senior Center 4743 S Plymouth View Dr (1625 W) Taylorsville
West Jordan (Viridian) Library 8030 S 1825 W West Jordan
Copper Hills LDS 5349 W 9000 S West Jordan
West Valley City Hall 3600 S Constitution Blvd (2700 W) West Valley City
Hunter Library 4740 W 4100 S West Valley City
Utah Cultural Celebration Center 1355 W 3100 S West Valley City



REDEVELOPMENT AREAS HOLD KEY FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
  Salt Lake City is in the midst of a affordable housing crisis. The Mayor’s Housing Plan has recommended focusing on significant transportation routes, reducing parking requirements, creating an expedited process for affordable units, ADUs, housing construction innovation, identifying revenue sources, buying properties and enhancing development programs to improve rentals. The recommendations include having mixed income housing with a limit of 30% affordable housing. There is also a suggestion to require that projects over a certain size have to have at least 10% of their units be affordable (or pay an extra fee).
  The estimates for lack of affordable housing in Salt Lake City range from 7500 to 15,000 units. The Housing Plan points out that “nearly one half of all renters in SLC are cost burdened”. Although I have concerns about the lack of funding to enforce ADU tenant and owner rules, and decreasing parking requirements, I generally agree with the recommendations. Some of the problems recognized during previous attempts at providing low income or affordable housing include social problems caused by enabling questionable behavior with a large percentage of low income households in a building. I especially agree that the City should focus on significant transportation routes. 
  Unfortunately, the City seems to be moving very slow. The Pipeline Building (the old SLC Public Safety Building) affordable housing project has not moved forward for two years. The State Street affordable housing project between 200 and 300 South has stopped. And it has taken a year to start spending the almost $22 million allocated by the Council for affordable housing. The Sugar House building boom of apartments (all projects but one were market rate) took decades of SLC RDA efforts and since most are all apartments, walkability is not encouraged in the area.
  Some solutions that are being discussed include lowering the cost of building housing with State rules that encourage manufactured housing, micro units and changing impact fees to encourage affordable units. Other suggestions from the SLC Housing plan are to accelerate the permit process if it meets a predetermined form, if the affordability percentage is over 10% and/or if 25% is set aside as affordable owner occupied.
  Salt Lake City decided over a year ago to make the State Street area (from 600 South to 2100 South and generally from 200 East to 300 West) one of the new RDA expansion areas. A major factor in the decision was that State Street had the highest potential number of housing units that could be developed during redevelopment. Unfortunately, the decision to start redevelopment is taking over six months longer than planned. 
  The Mayor’s Housing Plan proposal has as its first suggestion, to focus on significant transportation routes. State Street is a transportation corridor that has a well used bus system with service that can be inexpensively expanded. Before reducing parking requirements, mass transit service needs to be much better in the evenings, and during holidays and weekends. State Street lends itself to encouraging walkable, high density, mixed use and mixed income building development. One of the best tools available to Salt Lake City is to provide a form based zoning along the corridors that, if basic plans and construction rules are met, building permits are expedited. Wider sidewalks in return for higher buildings, ground floor retail and restaurants to encourage walkability and decrease the need for parking can lead to stable and inviting neighborhoods. Affordable housing can be required to provide 10% of the number of units (either as micro units or subsidized). 
  Without affordable housing, companies will consider expanding to other cities and areas. This is basic economic development. State Street housing should be encouraged with form based zoning and RDA encouragement. The best solution to solve the affordable housing crisis is the State Street corridor.


RALPH BECKER IS WRONG ABOUT AIRPORT TRAX
  Former Mayor Ralph Becker had an oped in the Deseret News today that argued for SLC spending over $50 million extra for a fancy but poorly thought out flying bridge Airport TRAX instead of the more thoughful and utilitarian ground floor TRAX that should cost less than $20 million.
  Ralph stated that the ground level TRAX was "determined to adversely affect travelers' safety and experience, as well as airport functions."  "The mayor’s secretly developed proposal will make many passengers and employees opt to use their vehicles to get to the airport."
  I THINK THAT RALPH IS WRONG ABOUT AIRPORT TRAX.  For over four years, I have fought against the project that, along with his dream of a high speed rail station at the Airport, I considered to be fiscally irresponsible.  I pointed out to Airport Director Riley, many years ago, that when Senator Bramble, at the request of DeltaAirlines, passed a bill that required that airport passenger fees could not be used for "fixed guideway" projects, mass transit projects to the Airport would be hampered.  Although the Wasatch Front Regional Council, UTA, SLC and Utah government all put the fancy flying bridge into the Utah Unified Transportation Plan, the money was never available.  UTA and SLC signed an interlocal agreement in 2008 that agreed for UTA to pay necessary and reasonable" costs for an Airport TRAX reconfiguration during the Airport recontruction.
  During vigorous discussion over this last year when a final decision had to be made, Delta changed the Airport configuration and that allowed the ground level TRAX to be realistic, safe and having a similar experience as the flying bridge, designed to be within 150 feet of the terminal.  And, according to the Airport Board, Delta doesn't care which design is chosen.  So the responsible design was agreed to and recommended by Mayor Biskupski.  Interestingly, the Mayor originally argued for the flying bridge but the public backlash resulted in a responsible re-evaluation.
  Ralph also says that "The City Council is right to re-open the conversation....opening up the process to the public...."   Ironically, the Council voted in secret to support the flying bridge without a hearing.  Councilman Stan Penfold showed up at a UTA Board public hearing and claimed that the Council wanted the flying bridge!  But I was at all of the Airport TRAX discussions and there was no public vote on  the subject.  Several Counciilmembers did express disappoointment in the cheaper ground level design but there was no public vote!
  all of the local news outlets appear to have missed it but Acting Director Pack, on his last day in his position, effectively killed the expensive design.  He pointed out accurately, that maintenance is a problem with flying rail bridges and when there is a problem, vehicle traffic under it will have to be stopped!  The Airport could not allow that.  In addition, he said that rental car fees can only be used for the rental car facility (answering a question by Lisa Adams who suggested raising the tax from $4 to $5).
  Despite Ralph's statement that identified a range of potential funding sources, including federal funding and rental car taxes, Utah law restricts airport passenger fees from being used and for several years, the former administration fought my efforts to recognize the fact that without airport passenger fees, the City and UTA did not have the realistic financial ability to pay for the project.  That is the argument that I have been trying to win for years.
  Another interesting point brought up by Director Pack, is if the entrance is on the second level, arriving passengers on the ground floor would have to take an escalator up to catch it.  So one way or another, an Airport passenger would have to use an escalator.  Another interesting comment by Director Pack was that the flying bridge, eye candy project, would hide the charismatic terminal but the ground level TRAX would provide a eye catching view of the terminal.
  The former Mayor also implied that thousands use the Airoport TRAX when the actual ridership now is about 1100.
  This project, along with many others from the previous administration, like the high speed rail station at the airport, does not make sense.  Despite the claims by the former Mayor that the most expensive design possible  "exemplifies smart, sensible decision making", the smartest design is the less expensive design.  Mayor Biskupski was right to recommend the respectful and reasonable less expensive design.  Former Mayor Ralph Becker is wrong to recommend the most expensive and wasteful and unreasonable possible design for Airport TRAX.
  My October 18 blog entry is below:


AIRPORT TRAX FLYING BRIDGE DIES
  During the SLC Council work session on October 17, Airport Acting Director Pack (on his last day and hour as acting Director) endorsed the cheaper Airport TRAX plan, costing less than $20 million (UTA has estimates of $15-20 million and the previous expenditure was for designing the fancy expensive flying bridge – note that we wasted $5 million on it).  Director Pack stood his ground, despite questions and prodding from several councilmembers. 
  Councilwoman Lisa Adams asked why couldn’t we use rental car fees.  Pack responded that the fees, now at $5 per day could only be used at the rental facility.  So the Council decided, without saying it, that taxes are not going to be raised for their dream of a flying bridge rail into the terminal.
  Pack also explained that maintenance of the flying bridge rail system would be problematic and could interfere with traffic underneath.  He also explained that it would hide the charismatic vision of the Airport terminal.  So, after all these years of fighting it in the RTP, the UTP and a further push from the Council, the Airport $65+ million project to build this questionable eye candy project is dead.  And SLC will get a reasonable and workable ground TRAX realignment that is fiscally responsible.
  Bill Wyatt, the retired Port of Portland (Port and Airport) Director has been approved as the new SLC Airport Director.  He is an exceptional candidate who has an incredible reputation in Portland for managing billions in projects and is a feather in SLC’s cap. 
  One final thought on the TRAX Green Line:  It is a shame that the International Center is not considered for a TRAX extension.  It is a destination and a successful rail system needs a destination.  Almost 30,000 employees work in the area and a TRAX line there would make sense, in my opinion.  With Stadler Rail and Amazon going into 5600 West, and the alternative bus concept proposal on 5600 West, SLC and UTA should consider expanding Airport TRAX along North Temple to 5600 West.


SUGAR HOUSE SPRAGUE LIBRARIANS MISS YOU
  The Sugar House Sprague Library has reopened and has a new and open look.  Although the computers are limited to 30 minutes use, WIFI is available and the reading room is back!  The librarians miss you!  Stop by and let them know that you are glad that they are back.





OCTOBER 25, 2017
NEEDLE BOXES CREATE BACKLASH
HEPATITIS A AT 41
21ST AND 21ST PROPOSAL FIGHTS COOKIE CUTTER BUILDINGS
UNUSED OXBOW JAIL BEDS TO REOPEN FINALLY
CRIMINALS PUNISHED BY ARREST AND RELEASE AT 2 AM
HOMELESS ID SYSTEM UNWORKABLE

 

NEEDLE BOXES CREATE BACKLASH
  Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake County Health Department, over the last couple of weeks, has started placing SHARPS boxes around the downtown and Pioneer Park area, including the Library, to provide a secure place to dispose of used needles.  It is common knowledge that addicts have been disposing of needles on the ground, on the sidewalks and everywhere that they inject.  They also have been seen sticking the needle in the ground and breaking it off from the syringe.  The SHARPS box is supposed to encourage safe disposal of used needles.  On the one hand, there should be a safe disposal system available but the reality is that addicts are not known to be socially responsible and many knowledgeable professionals do not believe many will use the boxes.
  But, when the boxes were put out, the County Health Department did not approve of the modifications that Salt Lake City made to the boxes.  Essentially, SLC cut a big hole in the box, enough to stick an arm in and make the box unsecure.  The County Health Department has received a promise from Salt Lake City to modify the boxes to ensure that no one can open the boxes except authorized personnel.  As of Monday, the 23rd, County Health was told the boxes are being modified.
  A big concern still exists about the boxes which contain, or will contain biohazardous waste.  Normal operating procedures are to only have disposal boxes in a secure area that can be monitored.  These boxes are not monitored!  There is a chance that the boxes will be broken into and the biohazardous waste spread out.  Nearby residents are complaining about the image that the boxes are giving the City and their residential areas.  Hopefully, the City will work with residents to find a compromise that increases safety and does not make it look like downtown is the drug addicts’ area.  I put a picture of the boxes on the upper left.
 

HEPATITIS A AT 41
  I respect the efforts of the SLCO Health Department, woefully underfunded during one of the worst disease emergencies of the last 40 years in the County (hepatitis A), but the budget proposal from the County Mayor still is inadequate to ensure that the spread out homeless are not spreading disease.  Mental health issues are a significant enabler of the hepatitis A outbreak, that is now at 41 this year (normally SLCO would have two cases a year).  Mental health funding is almost nil after being cut significantly almost 10 years ago and given to a private provider.  Without Medicaid expansion in Utah, this issue will not go away.  The Health Department says that although the epidemic is slowing, we are not through the woods yet.  Vaccinations have significantly helped decrease the spread of this disease and most diseases.  Vaccinations and medical care stop disease.
 

21ST AND 21ST PROPOSAL FIGHTS COOKIE CUTTER BUILDINGS
  During a Salt Lake City Council hearing on the 21st and 21st small area plan (2100 South and 2100 East), a developer made a good argument that the 30 foot height limit essentially made a wall of the buildings next to the sidewalk.  The effect is not conducive to walkability.  On the upper left, I put a picture of the proposal for wider sidewalks in return for higher heights.  The density would be a little higher but the sidewalks, visibility and safety would be much greater.  The community needs to weigh in to their City Council and tell them what they would prefer.  The Sugar House Community Council is asking the developer for more information and it may be presented at a future meeting.
 

UNUSED OXBOW JAIL BEDS TO REOPEN FINALLY
  After years of opeds calling attention to the inadequate funding of public safety at the County, Mayor McAdams has agreed to reopen the 360 beds at Oxbow Jail that have been unused until now.  The opening will occur in the summer of 2018.  Of course, the reason is to transfer the 300 out of County jail inmates (agreed to for Operation Rio Grande) back to Salt Lake City and filling up the jail again.  That will result, as happens now, in a revolving door jail where criminals are booked and released within a few hours.
 

CRIMINALS PUNISHED BY ARREST AND RELEASE AT 2 AM
  The philosophy of disruption is the operating standard that the super duper quality of life enforcement is implementing.  It consists of arresting anyone that is considered to be a criminal and taking them to jail.  They are then released in the early morning to wonder the streets of South Salt Lake City and West Valley City.  I think that criminals should be in jail for more than a few hours.  If that is all that they will stay in jail, a citation makes more sense.  Of course, that is what happened before and some homeless racked up dozens of citations and eventually warrants.  Without adequate public safety funding at the DA and jail level, the system does not work.  Releasing criminals and homeless at 2 AM from the jail DOES NOT encourage obeying the law.
 

HOMELESS ID SYSTEM UNWORKABLE
  I put a picture of an ID card on the upper left that shows how messed up the system is.  Although hundreds of homeless appreciate the secure area, it is too small and the rest of the homeless are being hassled on the sidewalks to provide ID and be checked for warrants.  I think that that is unconstitutional.  The U S Supreme Court found, I believe in the 1980s in San Diego, that the police are not allowed to demand ID from someone walking outside of their home neighborhood at night.  (Note above that some are released from jail late at night.)  The police are being ordered to do this.  It is not their fault.  But this could end up badly for the City and I do not want to give money to ACLU.  When the police stop and demand ID, they are saying that the person is a suspect in a nearby criminal activity.  After checking, they say that they found another guy that is the suspect.  This makes the police look bad and this makes my City look bad.



 

OCTOBER 23, 2017

EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS

SLC 1300 EAST RECONSTRUCTION COULD LAST 6 MONTHS

RDA DISCUSSING AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS
SPRAGUE LIBRARY REOPENS WITHOUT DOWNSTAIRS


EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS

The 2017 Elections are being conducted mainly by mail for which registered voters in Salt Lake County were mailed a ballot. In conjunction with vote by mail, in-office (County Government Center) and early voting locations will also be available for the 2017 Election for all eligible voters. Anyone may choose to vote in-office or early and voters must show valid identification. 

All eligible voters may vote in the County Clerk's Office 
SLCO Government Center 2001 S State St (100 E) 8:00 am-5:00 pm (M-F) October 9-November 6

Early Voting Locations
All eligible voters may vote early at any of the Early Voting locations listed below. Early voting will take place at the following locations October 25th-27th and November 1st-3rd on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Locations will operate during the hours listed:  

Cottonwood Heights City Hall 2277 E Bengal Blvd (7600 S) Cottonwood Heights 10:00-2:00 
 (W-F)
Draper City Hall 1020 E Pioneer Rd (12450 S) Draper 10:00-2:00 
 (W-F) 
Murray City Hall 5025 S State St (100 E) Murray 3:00-7:00 
 (W-F)
Riverton Senior Center 12914 S Redwood Rd (1700 W) Riverton  10:00-2:00 
(W-F)
River's Bend NW Senior Center 1300 W 300 N Salt Lake City 10:00-2:00 
 (W-F)
Trolley Square  600 S 700 E #D-117 Salt Lake City 3:00-7:00 
 (W-F)
Sandy City Hall 10000 S Centennial Pkwy (170 W) Sandy  3:00-7:00 
 (W-F)
Taylorsville City Hall 2600 W Taylorsville Blvd (5325 S) Taylorsville 3:00-7:00 
 (W-F)
West Valley City Hall 3600 S Constitution Blvd (2700 W) West Valley 10:00-2:00 
 (W-F)


SLC 1300 EAST RECONSTRUCTION COULD LAST 6 MONTHS
  Salt Lake City is moving forward on a plan to make 1300 East a major construction zone for up to 6 months starting in the spring of 2018.  The project will encompass relining a sewer pipe and replacing two water lines under 1300 East.  Once that part of the project is completed, the City will then start work on redoing the street to reconfigure the gutters.  The 1300 East gutter project has federal funding and has been planned for several years.  So far, transportation has not been consulted on the project and the lane restrictions will depend on the contractor.  The bids should come in soon.  One option that has not been discussed is keeping both lanes of traffic open and requiring homeowners to remove their vehicles from the street during construction.  Without removing vehicles from the street, the backup, congestion and resulting air pollution will significantly affect adjacent residents.

 
RDA DISCUSSING AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS
  On Tuesday, October 24, the SLC Council, sitting as the RDA Board will start discussing the Growing SLC: A Five-Year Housing Plan.  As the City Council, they set the policy and the policy objectives are presently:

MIXED-INCOME HOUSING: Encourage mixed-income rental housing to provide housing choice for a range of family types and income levels throughout the city.


40% AMI & BELOW: Expand the availability of units for extremely low-income households, thereby providing housing options for individuals or families that are homeless or at risk of homelessness.


NEW HOUSING UNITS: Add new residential rental units to the city’s housing stock, easing up competition within the rental market.

NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION: Utilize the development of housing as a method to remove blight, reduce crime, revitalize neighborhoods, and stabilize communities.

TAX INCREMENT GENERATION: Target funding within existing or proposed RDA project areas to carry out the development of housing that generates tax increment, either direct or induced, that will produce future housing funds.

EXPAND OPPORTUNITY: Provide for Neighborhoods of Opportunity by promoting the economic diversity of the housing stock within neighborhoods.


FUND LEVERAGING: Maximize impact by leveraging funds with the private market and with other available public resources. For purposes of this Strategy, RDA funding shall provide a maximum of 20% of the total project cost.


STRATEGIC TARGETING: Target and concentrate funding to projects or geographical areas that will maximize community benefits.


PROPOSED TACTICS INCLUDE:

TACTIC #1: Affordable Rent Incentive Program
Efforts shall address the mismatch in the supply and demand of new affordable units coming online by incentivizing additional long-term affordable units. By partnering with proposed development projects, affordable units may be integrated into projects that would otherwise be exclusively market rate, or projects that are already mixed-income may be incentivized to provide a deeper level of affordability.

 TACTIC #2: Acquisition and Development
Efforts shall support the construction of housing units through land acquisition and development of innovative, high-quality, and equitable mixed-income projects. Projects will add new units to the housing stock, with focus on units affordable to households at 40% AMI and below.

THE RESULTS ACHIEVED FOR UNITS ARE:
                                                   TACTIC 1         TACTIC 2          TOTAL

Affordable Units                       200                   564                   764
High Opportunity Units            50                     63                    113
40% AMI & Below Units          120                    288                   408
Funds Expended Per Unit   $42,366            $23,342            $28,322*
Total Funds Expended         $8,473,143       $13,165,000    $21,638,143

   In summary, the proposal to use the $21 million, voted by the Council last October 2016, could provide up to 764 affordable units.  The potential projects include:

TACTIC #2: ACQUISITION  DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
1500 W North Temple Overniter Motel Redevelopment $4,000,000 - $4,000,000
1749 S State Street Capitol Motel Redevelopment $4,125,000 - $4,125,000
*525 South 500 West Permanent Supportive Housing $640,000 - $640,000
2234 Highland Drive Sugarmont Redevelopment - $2,000,000 $2,000,000 (Deseret Industries Building)
300 East 400 South The Exchange (4th South TOD) $1,400,000 - $1,400,000
 

SPRAGUE LIBRARY REOPENS WITHOUT DOWNSTAIRS
  Sprague Library in Sugar House has reopened the upstairs.  They can now handle holds and returns.  They will provide 5 computers for up to 30 minutes each and wifi is available.  The reading room is also available.  But due to the age of the elevator, the repair or replacement may take millions of dollars and that project and cost will wait.  The meeting room downstairs is therefore not available.  The Sugar House Community Council has been meeting at Legacy Village on Wilmington and at the Forest Dale Golf Course Clubhouse on 900 East.  




OCTOBER 19, 2017

MEMORIAL TO GARY OTT
SLC SCARES COMMISSION INTO PUNTING


MEMORIAL TO GARY OTT

  Gary Ott, the former SLCO Recorder, and a friend to many in the Salt Lake County Offices for decades, has died.  Although he is being remembered for his mental issues over the last couple of years, he was a decent man who loved his job and tried to make his Office, the Salt Lake County Recorder, a well managed office.
  I believe that he died because he gave up living.  I believe that in the hour or two a day that he was lucid, he realized that his life was finished and he was being left to wither away in a nursing home.  That often leads to people giving up and refusing to eat and wanting to die.  I think that is why Gary Ott died.  
  I know many are going to question my comments.  But I knew Gary Ott very well.  I knew of his issues in the last few years.  But our respectful and close relationship did not result in my pointing out or complaining about his mental deficiencies.  Friends don't do that.
  The last time that I had a long talk with Gary was towards the end of 2015. I was at a County Council meeting and when I left, he followed me out and talked to me.  FYI, Julie stayed away and couldn't hear our conversation.  He and I talked about his time in the Army (in Germany, Bavaria) and also about the office.  He said that he liked Julie Dole's management and said, without being asked, that she was running the office like a well oiled machine.  He also said that he was looking forward to implementing a new software program.  He talked intelligently and in a well reasoned manner.  
  I know that some may question my relationship but Gary and I had a connection.  Several years ago, when Julie's actions were being indirectly questioned by a Legislative Committee (She had been campaigning for a candidate during the day - something that many elected leaders do, and even public servants.), Gary came into the hearing and sat next to me, not next to Julie.  Gary and I liked each other.  We had something in common.
  When the County Council insisted that the Recorder's Office be audited by Scott Tingley, a respected elected official, he found that the Office met the statutory requirements.  One of the few deficiencies was the lack of long term planning.  Of course, if long term planning was up to date, complaints would have been directed at Julie Dole for such a plan.
  The big problem that I had with the County Council, was they insisted that Gary show up and answer questions about the audit.  Everyone in that building knew about Gary's mental issues.  The issue would have been much much worse if the Office hadn't been well managed.  I give credit to Julie Dole for that.  She did a good job managing the Salt Lake County Republican Party (during which I had several arguments with her).  Gary trusted her and she was an intelligent and good manager.  
  I believe that Julie was in an untenable situation.  She, as everyone else in the building, including his long time friends, knew that he had a problem with his mind.  But, as an employee, she served at his pleasure.  Ironically, the recent sexual harassment situations have a similarity.  It is almost impossible for an employee to complain about their boss, whether it involves sexual harassment or mental issues.  Julie was trying to manage the Office and the County Auditor found that the statutory requirements were being met.  That should say something.  
  Let me emphasize this:  If you think that it is easy for anyone working for a boss with sexual harassment or mental issues to complain about their boss, you are living in another world.  
  Gary Ott deserved more than being dragged through the mud.  I loved Gary.  I will remember him as a dedicated public servant who tried to do the right thing.  And I respect Julie Dole, who ran the Office the way that Gary wanted.  She shouldn't be chastised for not questioning or not reporting her boss.  Just as those who witness sexual harassment by their boss shouldn't be chastised for being afraid to complain.  People should respect the ability of managers, who work in such a situation, to make the decision that they think is best for the situation.
  In a similar situation, if someone is diagnosed or revealed to have a disease that could impact their office, if elected, should that be disclosed?  Should the candidate tell the public?  Should it matter?  I have mixed feelings about that.  Just because someone is diagnosed with a disease that could affect their ability to function, that should not be the only deciding factor, because the disease may not affect their office.  But if revealed, it is going to make the decision and affect the vote.  I know of several cases in which this situation has happened or could have happened.  
  When Randy Horiuchi had a stroke, several years into his last election, he had some mental issues.  I still liked talking to him and respected him.  I think that the County Council members also respected him because they gave him a lot of leeway when he talked.  That is what Gary deserved.
  Gary Ott should be remembered and respected for the his decades of public service, not for the last two years.

SLC SCARES COMMISSION INTO PUNTING
  This week has been an eye opener for the political power and leverage of Salt Lake City.  The Utah Quality Growth Commission is tasked with studying growth issues involving, among other things, water, density, zoning and other limitations that could affect growth in Utah.  In the last year, the Commission has been studying the impact of Salt Lake City's extraterritorial jurisdiction that is used to ensure that the watershed, within 300 feet of water sources is protected.  The Commission was also specifically tasked by a Legislative Commission to study SLC's extraterritorial jurisdiction.
  But, in the midst of public hearings on the issue, the staff member that supported the Commission, John Bennett, was relieved of his job (just after the death of his wife!).  Those familiar with the situation have said that his removal was due to Salt Lake City's efforts claiming that he wasn't being fair.  I know that, after talking to several respected members of the Commission, that John Bennett was doing what the Commission leaders were asking of him.  The respected leaders included Chair Dave Mansell and Utah Farm Bureau Chief Randy Parker.  Both had questions about Salt Lake City's respectful use of the law.
  But Salt Lake City complained to the Governor about John Bennett and convinced him to remove John.  So, the City has scared the Commission and they have "punted" the investigation back to the Legislature.  If Salt Lake City has the influence to get rid of a long term dedicated public servant, they are powerful enough to scare the members of the Quality Growth Commission to "punt" the issue that they were tasked with investigating back to the Legislature.
  As I have said several times before, there appears to be a Legislative effort (now joined by the Governor) to question, re-evaluate and fine tune the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Salt Lake City.  The City's influence comes from decades of, in my opinion, sweetheart deals with lawyers, some of the most influential power brokers in Utah.  
  The recent Mountain Accord is now being questioned with giving special consideration, and money in increased valuation to ski resorts for hyper development (in one case 400 units in what could be a "Montage in the canyon").  At the same time, the Accord and City is clamping down on individual landowners willing to give hundreds of acres to Salt Lake City in return for allowing a cabin on less than an acre. 
  Legislative leaders may make this next session an interesting fight with Salt Lake City.  I still think that Salt Lake City Public Utilities needs an independent audit to open up the layers of secrecy that it has developed in the last few decades.  Their budget can be bigger than Salt Lake City's.  The Deseret News had a great story on the meeting today at:

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900002564/meeting-turns-up-heat-on-water-canyon-development.html




OCTOBER 18, 20017
AIRPORT TRAX FLYING BRIDGE DIES
SLC WATERSHED AUTHORITY QUESTIONED

 

AIRPORT TRAX FLYING BRIDGE DIES
  During the SLC Council work session on October 17, Airport Acting Director Pack (on his last day and hour as acting Director) endorsed the cheaper Airport TRAX plan, costing less than $20 million (UTA has estimates of $15-20 million and the previous expenditure was for designing the fancy expensive flying bridge – note that we wasted $5 million on it).  Director Pack stood his ground, despite questions and prodding from several councilmembers. 
  Councilwoman Lisa Adams asked why couldn’t we use rental car fees.  Pack responded that the fees, now at $5 per day could only be used at the rental facility.  So the Council decided, without saying it, that taxes are not going to be raised for their dream of a flying bridge rail into the terminal.
  Pack also explained that maintenance of the flying bridge rail system would be problematic and could interfere with traffic underneath.  He also explained that it would hide the charismatic vision of the Airport terminal.  So, after all these years of fighting it in the RTP, the UTP and a further push from the Council, the Airport $65+ million project to build this questionable eye candy project is dead.  And SLC will get a reasonable and workable ground TRAX realignment that is fiscally responsible.
  Bill Wyatt, the retired Port of Portland (Port and Airport) Director has been approved as the new SLC Airport Director.  He is an exceptional candidate who has an incredible reputation in Portland for managing billions in projects and is a feather in SLC’s cap. 
  One final thought on the TRAX Green Line:  It is a shame that the International Center is not considered for a TRAX extension.  It is a destination and a successful rail system needs a destination.  Almost 30,000 employees work in the area and a TRAX line there would make sense, in my opinion.  With Stadler Rail and Amazon going into 5600 West, and the alternative bus concept proposal on 5600 West, SLC and UTA should consider expanding Airport TRAX along North Temple to 5600 West.




SLC WATERSHED AUTHORITY QUESTIONED
  There are enough Legislators that have concerns about the questionable activities of SLC Public Utilities in their efforts to manage the Northern Utah watershed in 6 counties.  The extraterritorial jurisdiction of SLC over the watershed allows them to bully and manipulate development in ways that may not help protect the watershed.  In addition, they have not built restrooms to handle the 6 million annual visitors to the Northern Wasatch Canyons each year (and have refused permission for the Forest Service proposed restrooms) and actually have turned off the water to the restrooms at the mouth of the canyons before Labor Day.
  Water is being sold to developers without providing it permanently, which could lead to building that, at a moment’s notice, would become uninhabitable due to SLC pulling back permission to use their water.  Although SLC promised it wouldn’t, the law says that it could.
  The Legislature appears to be deciding that, unless SLC provides a good reason not to, the extraterritorial jurisdiction law needs to be rethought and SLC authority on the watershed should be minimized to only be appropriate for protecting the watershed and not be able to affect development and zoning and farming throughout the Northern Utah region.  Amy Joi O’Donoghue at the Deseret News had an excellent article on the issue at:
https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900002435/is-salt-lake-city-a-water-monopoly-state-commission-dives-for-answers.html
  Note that tomorrow, October 19, at 830AM, SLC will also need to explain their questionable management of the watershed.  The next Legislative session will have a furious fight on SLC watershed management and extraterritorial jurisdiction.




OCTOBER 17, 2017

UTA BONDING WILL ENCOURAGE PROJECTS

SLC TAX INCREASES COMING



UTA BONDING WILL ENCOURAGE PROJECTS
  Lee Davidson had a great story in the sltrib.com on UTA proposed bonding increases:

http://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2017/10/16/uta-about-2-billion-in-debt-aims-to-borrow-885-million-more/

 But UTA seems to be forgetting about the increase in interest payments in the next year so the issue is more than an $88 million bond increase.  The $65 million bus garage was not in it but is still being pushed and I assume that part of the bonding will be used for that.  I wonder what construction contractor they will use.  The Utah Legislature seems to be pushing it.  The 23rd Task Force meeting will be interesting.  The bus garage was added to the latest draft of the SLC Transit Master Plan after the first public hearings.
 
  Also the SLC Council Tuesday, October 17, at about 530PM will discuss the Airport TRAX issue and, since they already said that they wanted it (Stan Penfold already told the UTA Board - another secret meeting?), they will probably vote to support the $65-100 million project (rail bridges are notoriously overbudget during construction).  I am still pushing International Center employers to push for spending any extra $50 million (from $1 increase in rental car rates) to take TRAX to 5600 W.
 
  When I talked to the Airport Board, they said Delta is agnostic about the flying bridge versus the ground rail and they were discussing having every other TRAX train go to the Airport.  

 
 
SLC TAX INCREASES COMING​
The next year will be famous for tax increases
  Two years ago, Salt Lake County joined Utah County in defeating the proposed tax increase for transportation, roads and transit called Prop One. Much of the blame for the defeat was attributed to the poor reputation of UTA which was to get 40% of the tax increase.  Other counties, including Davis, Weber and Tooele counties approved the local option sales tax increase. The loss of increased tax revenue has many elected officials in the State and especially in Salt Lake City pushing for new taxes and fees. 

  Salt Lake City streets need almost $40 million a year to maintain streets at a basic level. But the City only budgets about $10 million a year for streets. Three years ago, the Salt Lake City Council cut the budget for streets by $8.4 million (a year after increasing taxes $8.4 million a year for road maintenance)! The City Council is discussing a transportation utility fee that will apply to everyone but non-profits. It will estimate the trips that buildings create and charge a user fee. The SLC Mayor is instead suggesting using a bond to provide streets maintenance.

  Another tax or fee is needed for new projects that are proposed in the SLC Transit Master Plan. The Mayor has prioritized transit service increases first before projects but the SLC Council has expressed having new rail lines be a higher priority. The proposed rail lines include a 400 West north south line, a 100/200 South rail line to 1300 East from downtown, a 400 South line from the University to Central Station and extending the S-line TRAX up 1100 East. Each new rail line and extension will cost taxpayers about $100 million. In addition, there appears to be pressure to provide several bus rapid transit (BRT) lines at $15 million per mile. All of those projects will require new taxes to fund the projects, if the Council’s priorities are approved. The Council keeps reminding us that Salt Lake City voters approved Prop One with 70% even though it failed in the County by 1%.


  The SLC Council also seems to be pushing for the most expensive design possible for Airport TRAX ($65million). But Delta Airlines is “agnostic” on the cheaper $15 million proposal according to the Airport Board and the Council has not taken an official vote on the plans. The proposal suggests raising rental car rates from $4 to $5 with the excuse that Utah taxpayers won’t have to pay for it! The proposal could encourage other cities to increase their rental car rates.


  Since the reputation of UTA seems to stop increasing taxes, the Legislature is considering taking away projects’ responsibility from UTA and raising taxes with a .25 cent sales tax increase. The Legislature will then be able to guide and influence the projects list. Many think that the Legislature will focus on projects in the South Salt Lake County area and North Utah County area.


  Other fee increases planned for Salt Lake City are the water and sewer fees. The Council approved the roadmap for those fees to eventually double in the next five years. Along with the water and sewer fees increase, there is pressure to close golf courses and push for a parks bond to be used to converted courses to parks. But the reason why golf courses are losing money is because SLC overcharges, in my opinion, for watering golf courses, parks and open space. The charge for water was so much this summer that SLC Parks had to temporarily stop watering the cemetery and tree medians (until the complaints became overwhelming).


  Another potential increase in taxes, bonds or fees could come from a possible affordable housing fund bond in Salt Lake City. The pressure for more revenue for governments to spend more is significant. Governments want more projects. Citizens and taxpayers are encouraged to comment and influence these decisions of their elected representatives. Without significant public engagement on these proposals, the tax, fee and bond increases could result in billions in questionable projects. Next year will be famous for tax increases.

 



OCTOBER 16, 2017
REASONS TO VOTE FOR GEORGE CHAPMAN
WATERSHED HEARINGS THIS WEEK QUESTION SLC
SLC COUNCIL IMPORTANT HEARINGS OCT 17
HOMELESS TAI CHI LEADERS ARRESTE



REASONS TO VOTE FOR GEORGE CHAPMAN
  I am running for SLC Council District 5.  My justifications for replacing my opponent on the Council include wanting to:

STOP SECRET SLC COUNCIL MEETINGS
Homeless center expansion sites were unanimously decided in secret without a public hearing. if anyone tells you that they didn't unanimously agree to the 4 shelter sites in super duper secret meetings, tell them to prove that they aren't lying by releasing the meeting records. A golf course was closed without a public hearing. Funding for buying homeless sites was approved without a public hearing. The SLC Council approved the biggest bonding entity in the County without a public hearing!


STOP TAX INCREASES WITHOUT PUBLIC VOTES

SLC Council is discussing a streets’ fee (the Council cut the streets budget 50% 3 years ago while giving my opponent a pay raise). The Council wants to make taxpayers pay for 4 rail lines and the most expensive design possible for Airport TRAX. The Council is doubling the fees for water and sewer. My opponent wants to close golf courses and pay $50 million for each to be converted to a park. She wants to make us pay almost $100 million to run a TRAX train up 1100 East (taking out all parking).

PROVIDE ADEQUATE PUBLIC SAFETY
SLC has ignored the drug dealing, homeless camping, lack of jail beds and public safety funding. We have had a revolving door at the County Jail for over 4 years and the Council has not complained about it until this year, an election year. SLC needs 50 new police. SLC should sell the former public safety building and use the funds for more police.

PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
SLC refuses to build restrooms in our canyons and has stopped Forest Service efforts. It gives more money to lawyers than to conserve land in the canyons. SLC cuts down 3000 trees a year.

STOP THE WAR ON CARS
My opponent believes that Sugar House and downtown have too much parking and wants to make traffic lanes bike lanes.

ENCOURAGE AFFORDABLE HOUSING
SLC allows building high price apartments a year in SLC instead of encouraging mixed income affordable housing. For four years, this Council has not done anything to help affordable housing!

STOP WASTING MONEY
I want SLC to stop wasting millions on alleyway trails and protected bike lanes and use the money to fix our roads for cars and bikes. SLC has many vacant properties that should be sold instead of being unused for over 10 years. The money can be used for streets, affordable housing and police.

George Chapman, PO Box 520653, SLC, UT 84152 801 867 7071

gechapman2@gmail.com


As a longtime community advocate, I have fought for better public safety funding and attention to solve the homeless problems and stop the drug dealing that was ignored until recently. I go to most SLC Council and community council meetings. I write newspaper opeds and a blog at georgechapman.net. I am a retired engineer, a former Naval officer and 66 years old with 5 children and 5 grandchildren.


WATERSHED HEARINGS THIS WEEK QUESTION SLC
  There will be two hearing this week at the Legislature on watershed issues that provide responsibility, oversight and extraterritorial jurisdiction to Salt Lake City to protect the watershed in the Wasatch Canyons and in six Northern Utah Counties. Over the last few years, there has been much testimony questioning the effectiveness of Salt Lake City’s efforts. One of the reasons that I am running for SLC Council District 5 is because I see the problems with SLC’s watershed protection efforts. They include destruction of watersheds, paying $10 million to lawyers instead of buying conservation easements and SLC’s efforts to stop construction of canyon restrooms.
  The first hearing is on October 17 at 3 PM during the Legislative Water Development Commission. There will a report from the watersheds working group. The Legislature seems to be interested in reigning in the extraterritorial jurisdiction for watersheds of Salt Lake City.
  The next hearing this week will be on October 19 at 830 AM during the Stewardship of Public Lands. There will be a report from the Quality Growth Commission that has heard many of the complaints about SLC’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.


SLC COUNCIL IMPORTANT HEARINGS OCT 17
  Among the public hearings at the SLC Council on October 17th, there is the 21st and 21st Small Area Plan that will provide a path to have the area on 2100 South from 1900 East to 2300 East become a destination business district. But the increased business may be a problem for the safety of schoolchildren walking to Dilworth Elementary one block to the north. A roundabout has been suggested for the 2100 South and 2100 East area. But a four lane road and a roundabout create a significant danger for pedestrians. Cars in one lane cannot see pedestrians walking in the lane next to them.
  Another public hearing will be the Station Center Area, west of Rio Grande Street, Zoning rezone to Gateway Mixed Use for an area that still has not cleaned up the homeless issues and drug dealing. Although a portion of Rio Grande Street is drug free, the rest of the area is not. Drugs may have doubled in price and it may take a few minutes more to get the drugs (the dealers or facilitators go around the corner to get the drugs).
  And, at the same meeting, there will be another hearing on closing Rio Grande Street. I think that the effort will disburse the homeless criminals to other areas since the jail is full. This impacts the rest of the law abiding citizens of SLC and the County. I am against it.
  The SLC Council will hold a hearing on the 5 Year Mayor’s Housing Plan on October 17th and November 21 at 7 PM. My biggest concern is the potential increase in density that could impact single family home neighborhoods. The Council rezoned the single family homes on Wilmington (west of 700 East) last year and the pressure is on to rezone more homes. Single family home neighborhoods deserve more protection.
  The ADU issue will tentatively be approved by the Council on December 5. During the afternoon work session, the Council will discuss ADU issues around 440PM. There are only three votes for the ADU ordinance at this time and I expect a lot of horsetrading to get the ordinance passed. Again, I am against the ordinance because the City has not provided enough enforcement funding.
  The Twilight Concert Series will be discussed around 510PM.
  And most importantly, the Council will discuss Airport TRAX options around 530PM on October 17. Note that the Council Chair, Stan Penfold, implied that the Council wants the expensive project and will raise the rental car tax from $4 to $5 to pay for it. It appears to have been another secret meeting. Tuesday’s meeting will provide cover for the Council to say officially that they want the most expensive project.
  I still think that rail only works when it goes to a destination that can provide ridership. The International Center, west of the Airport, has the employees to provide a successful rail line and is a destination. Stadler Rail, Amazon and several other companies have the will and the money to help fund expansion to 5600 West (where Stadler will set up shop – instead of Clearfield – kudos to Mayor Biskupski’s economic development team). Again, in Seattle, Amazon helps pay for rail.


HOMELESS TAI CHI LEADERS ARRESTED
  Several of Bernie Hart’s Tai Chi leaders have been arrested and booked into jail. It is a blow to his efforts to provide an oasis of calm and exercise to the homeless. He was working with judges, the jail, the Weigand Center and several others and was getting over 60 homeless to participate. He was able to screen and recommend those homeless that were ready to move on into more stable efforts.
  This is another issue that results in questions about the effectiveness of the Operation Rio Grande plan. As Jay Evensen in the Deseret News recently pointed out (and I have for the last two months), without many more beds and DA and mental health funding, the criminals will not be removed from the homeless and the drugs and drug dealing will continue to encourage the homeless to be addicted. And addicts do not commit victimless crimes. Look at the bike chop shops that are visible around the valley, the City and Pioneer Park for proof.






OCTOBER 9, 2017
SUGAR HOUSE FIREWORKS CANCELLED!!??
SUGAR HOLE JUNIOR CONTINUES WITHOUT PENALTY
SOME LEGISLATORS WANT MORE TAXES/UTA 2017 ROUTE DATA
HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK MAY LAST A YEAR
VACCINATIONS STOPS DISEASE
UTAH LAKE WATER KEPT OUT OF SLCO STREAMS THIS YEAR
BICYCLING DOWNTOWN DEPENDS ON POLICE GOOD WILL
SLC RDA TO SINK MILLIONS INTO LOST CAUSE WITHOUT HEARING
FALLING DOWN HOUSE COULD BE SAVED BY HISTORIC LANDMARKS COMMISSION 
SLC DEMOLITION ORDINANCE FAVORS FAVORITES
SLC TRANSIT MASTER PLAN ADDS BIG ASS $65 MILLION GARAGE
SLC COUNCIL INSISTS TAXPAYERS WON'T PAY FOR AIRPORT TRAX
FACEBOOK DEBATE FOR SLC COUNCIL 5 AND 7
GREG HUGHES CHICKENS OUT OF OCTOBER 12 BALLPARK MEETING
OCTOBER 12/13 RIO GRANDE ID CARDS



SUGAR HOUSE FIREWORKS CANCELLED!!??
  The Sugar House Fourth of July fireworks show for 2018 is questionable.  The Sugar House Chamber, just a few years old, and that has put on the fireworks show and Street Festival for the last two years, has decided that the $30,000 cost and the logistics of the putting on the annual Fourth of July celebration in Sugar House Park does not have enough benefits for the local business community.  The local business community has said that they are generally closed on Fourth of July and they receive almost no benefits for the significant cost of closing Highland Drive (south of 2100 South) during the Street Festival.  This year, Highland Drive was not closed and the Festival was moved to Hidden Hollow.  Several of the participants complained about the lack of visibility in Hidden Hollow.
  Several members of the community expressed concern about the air pollution and traffic that the fireworks show creates.  But the reality is, since the explosions are high up in the air, the pollution dissipates relatively quickly and is not a big source of irritating pollution.    
  Several years ago, the Utah DAQ reported a big spike in pollution during the Ogden Fourth of July Fireworks show.  But, the reality is that the DAQ put their pollution measuring trailer in the parking lot where the fireworks' rockets were lit off.  Most people understand that they shouldn't stand in back of rockets when they are set off.  But DAQ did put their trailer there and several elected officials took the record of pollution and have tried to shut down Fourth of July fireworks shows claiming that the pollution is too much.
  I disagree.  The Fourth of July fireworks shows provide an American tradition that is respected and looked up to by most people.  No matter what our politics, or opinions, or party or votes, we all look up and generally realize that we are in a great Country and the world's superpower and we should put our differences aside and recognize that we are in this together and should celebrate.
  With respect to Sugar House, the fireworks show, that used to be put on by the Sugar House Park Authority, is a tradition that provides the area with a character and cachet that is desired by many around Salt Lake County.  For those reasons, the Chamber is wrong to cancel their involvement in the fireworks show.  The businesses of Sugar House should actively look for, and encourage another promoter and manager for the Sugar House fireworks show. 

SUGAR HOLE JUNIOR CONTINUES WITHOUT PENALTY
  Sugar House developer Craig Mecham, who took advantage of Salt Lake City's Sugar House neighborhood when he demolished his building on the corner of 2100 South and Highland, has done it again.  His property along Highland Drive, just north of Sugarmont, was slated to become the Dixon Building, an office building that planned to host the University of Utah Health Clinic.  He got his plans approved and demolished all of the buildings north of his Vue building (on the Sugar Hole property - sold to another developer).  He also purchased a landscaping bond, required by the SLC ordinance that he inspired with his actions with the original Sugar Hole.  But after he demolished the buildings, he signed an agreement to give Boulder Ventures (of UTA infamy) his property for use as a staging area for the Boulder Ventures Sugarmont apartments construction (on Sugarmont and McClelland). So Sugar House has had to endure the dust on the property instead of having the property's dirt and dust decreased with landscaping.
  And the landscaping bond was released and given back to Mecham.  SLC could have insisted on keeping the bond value but decided that the property was going to be a construction site anyway.  So they gave one of the biggest property owners in Sugar House more money for doing nothing.

SOME LEGISLATORS WANT MORE TAXES/UTA 2017 ROUTE DATA
  Last week, the Legislature had two hearings on taxes, the Interim Revenue and Taxation Committee and the Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force covered similar subjects.  They both discussed how to make road users to pay more for roads.  They spent a lot of time discussing charging fees based on vehicle miles travelled (VMT).  To some in the alt-right community, VMT is a form of a war on cars and part of Agenda 21, an anti personal vehicle recommendation.  Part of the reason that traffic engineers have pushed for measuring VMT is the history of building new freeways and having them increase traffic.  There is a famous 
picture of a 17 lane freeway with bumper to bumper cars that is used to argue against building more highways.  
  But personal vehicles make our families, our economy and our Country more efficient. The freeway is full because, rather than having an apartment close in to work, families want their castle, their home and a yard for their children, their own personal kingdom.  The full freeways are a sign that the American dream is still alive.
  When some legislators insisted that all out of state road users have to pay a toll to use Utah roads, Senator Bramble pointed out that although we are a crossroads for travel east west and north south, if we taxed incoming vehicles, other states could do the same to our vehicles.  In addition, it is unconstitutional.  Only Congress can charge vehicles that travel between states.  Senator Bramble also asked for the number of individuals that UTA serves a day.  Matt Sibul could not answer that question.  I put the latest UTA route data that I was given just a day later (after I asked) on the upper right on a downloads button.  It appears that UTA serves about 100,000 individuals in Utah.  I am guessing since UTA gets 127,00 riders a day but some are duplicate riders.  This transparency by UTA is welcome and it is a big change from two years ago.  Also, the data is three years better than the SLC Transit Master Plan data (2014 is the data it has).  The download of UTA Route Performance - Excel Spreadsheet is one of the most important downloads of the year on this site.  Anyone interested in mass transit should study it.  And thank you again to UTA for providing it.  This is a new and better UTA.  (I am still fighting the big ass garage - see below).
  Some legislators are suggesting that we can't keep building roads and that we should be pushing more mass transit projects.  A TRAX up the canyons and canyon tolls with a parking garage at the mouth of the canyons was suggested.
  If UTA has projects' authority taken from them, and given to Utah, the Utah Transportation Commission and UDOT, the Point of the Mountain area is more likely to get rail projects faster.  Developers of the Point of the Mountain area will receive significant increases in value.  There was talk of taking some of the increased value to pay for the rail lines.  There was also talk of a quarter cent sales tax increase (to raise $117 million annually for transit projects).  
  The Transportation Task Force will survey their members and then take action, as early as October 23.
  The proposed federal tax reforms may decrease Utah tax revenue due to our linking our tax system to the federal system.  So legislators will have to modify the Utah tax system to keep the same revenue.  Also, the internet taxes are expected to decrease Utah taxes but the legislature has to decide how much to lower the tax rates.

HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK MAY LAST A YEAR
VACCINATIONS STOPS DISEASE

  Although the hepatitis A outbreak in Salt Lake City appears to be slowing down, we may not be out of the woods and see an end for a year.  The CDC says that these outbreaks can last a year. Over 500 have been infected in San Diego and almost 20 have died.  We are still at 33.  Again, the CDC says that it is not unusual for an outbreak to last a year.
  If it weren't for the large scale vaccination effort by the Salt Lake County Health Department (hundreds were vaccinated last week at the Homeless Connect event), it would have been worse.  Without the large scale vaccinations, Salt Lake City could have experienced hundreds of cases and dozens of deaths.  The medical cost would have run into the millions.  Vaccinations stop disease.

UTAH LAKE WATER KEPT OUT OF SLCO STREAMS THIS YEAR
  Last year, due to the lower water level of the canyon streams that provide much of Salt Lake City's water, the SLC Public Utilities Department had to pull Utah Lake water and put it in the streams that ran through Salt Lake County.  The water was to replace the water removed upstream to provide drinking water.  Dogs and people could have been exposed to some of the toxic algae that was forming then in Utah Lake.
  This year, due to the increased water flow in the streams, Utah Lake water did not have to be put in the streams according to the Department of Public Utilities..

BICYCLING DOWNTOWN DEPENDS ON POLICE GOOD WILL
  SLC has an ordinance that restricts bicycling on sidewalks in downtown SLC.  Last year, only one ticket/citation was issued.  The administration was trying to start enforcement of the ordinance this year but due to other priorities, it was put on the backburner.  But the ordinance is still in effect and police can still stop anyone riding a bike on the sidewalk and give them a ticket.  Unfortunately, most Green Bike riders, ride on the sidewalks.  On the one hand, SLC wants to see more bicycling in the City and at the same time outlaws riding on the sidewalks downtown, which are often the only safe place to ride a bicycle.  And the protected bike lanes are not safe, in my opinion due to the many loading events, lack of lane cleanup/maintenance and vehicle exits/entrances.

SLC RDA TO SINK MILLIONS INTO LOST CAUSE WITHOUT HEARING
  Several years ago, Salt Lake City encouraged the demolition of low cost housing on State Street between third and second South (245, 255 and 265 S. State St.).  Unfortunately, the engineering required was too much and the approved developer, with RDA funds, was unable to complete the effort.  The RDA, with less than a 24 hour notice, is now proposing to buy the foreclosed property and develop it for affordable housing. 
  The SLC Council (which sits as the RDA Board with the Mayor) has set up a meeting at 5 PM tomorrow (Tuesday October 10) and that meeting will not allow public comment.  The RDA Board may decide to take action at that time.  In other words, it will essentially be another secret meeting where the public will be left out of commenting (the public is welcome to listen) on the expenditure of maybe more than $10 million.  
  The public is invited to comment at the 2 PM meeting of the RDA Board but the discussion on the purchase of these foreclosed properties will be at 5 PM. I do not believe that the notice (made officially at 5PM) meets the statutory requirement in Utah for open meetings and notice.  If the notice had come before 24 hours before the 2 PM meeting, where public comments were allowed, then it would be legal.  
  Again, SLC COUNCIL GOES INTO SECRET AND ILLEGAL MEETING!

FALLING DOWN HOUSE COULD BE SAVED BY HISTORIC LANDMARKS COMMISSION 
  If anyone needs any proof that the SLC Historic Landmarks ordinance is out of touch with reality, they should look at the November 2, 2017 agenda that asks for their permission to demolish a house that is literally falling down with a collapsed roof.  It happens to be one of the worst eyesores in all of Salt Lake City.  The Other Side Academy, which bought the property next to their main buildings, seems to be having a hard time demolishing the unsafe structure since it is in the Historic District.  This situation is a great argument against too much government.  The City is collecting comments.  To comment, contact Michael Maloy at 801 535 7118 or email him michael.maloy@slcgov.com.  The address is 46 South 700 East.

SLC DEMOLITION ORDINANCE FAVORS FAVORITES
  This year, I have reported on several cases where the City's demolition ordinance does not work.  When a developer wanted to tear down two homes, he called them drug houses and got permission to demolish them before he had his plans finalized for 16 homes on the property.  But Peter Corroon couldn't get permission to demolish a property he owned that was being used by homeless and the homeless set it on fire.  
  Vasilios Priskos has tried for years to demolish the old Zephyr nightclub but he wanted to put in a parking lot until he finalized plans for the property.  Because SLC does not like parking lots, the City refused to let him demolish the building which sits vacant and is an eyesore.  (Vasilios Priskos died this week.  He was an immigrant who became a respected community developer and proponent of downtown.  Although some may have mixed feelings about him, he deserves respect for starting from nothing and developing into one of the biggest boosters for downtown SLC.)
  As discussed above, Craig Mecham was able to get a lot of money by insisting that his landscaping bond wasn't needed for the property after he demolished several buildings on Highland Drive. 
  Another instance in Sugar House concerned the owner of a car wash on 2100 South (north of Snelgroves).  He started demolishing the business and it sat vacant and half demolished and provided the best eyesore in Sugar House for almost a year.  
  The efforts by The Other Side Academy are another example of favoritism for some but not everyone equally.  SLC needs to update their demolition ordinance.  The demolition and Historic Landmarks ordinances should not be encouraging eyesores in our City.

SLC TRANSIT MASTER PLAN ADDS BIG ASS $65 MILLION GARAGE
  So far, after two public hearings, the biggest change in SLC's Transit Master Plan draft is the addition of the costly $65 million bus garage.  Assuming that SLC taxpayers will have to pay $30-40 million for the local match (if the federal government agrees to help pay for it) and that WILL come out of local expanded neighborhood bus service.  This project is not needed unless we have three times more buses.  UTA contends that it is needed for CNG fueling stations but they are already built and used.  UTA needs to stop building projects.  Note that this facility also figures into the eminent domain fight by UTA against the Hamblin Furniture Company.  In my opinion, UTA has acted dishonestly and unethically in destroying the business and forcing an agreement that UTA is not honoring.  UTA also is proceeding with eminent domain cases along the route of Provo's BRT/TRIP project.  If and when the property that UTA gets is not needed, deals with developers could result in another set of sweetheart deals.
  Regarding the SLC Transit Master Plan, the draft is a work in progress and the City Council may bring it back later or approve it as is.  The Council appears to have the votes to add priorities of rail projects that could cost local taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

SLC COUNCIL INSISTS TAXPAYERS WON'T PAY FOR AIRPORT TRAX
  Instead, the Council plans to raise the rates for rental cars from $4 to $5 and local taxpayers won't have to pay.  I think the appropriate phrase is nod nod wink wink say no more.  A fee by any other name is still a tax and a tax for anyone else is still a tax.  Again, the Council has not had a public hearing on the issue but appears to be pushing "unanimously" for the fancy eye candy flying bridge Airport TRAX.

FACEBOOK DEBATE FOR SLC COUNCIL 5 AND 7
  East Liberty Park and Sugar House Community Councils had a sparsely attended debate (about 20 voters) on October 5.  The debate is posted on Facebook at 
https://www.facebook.com/ELPCO/videos/1725738067447333/
or you can go on Facebook and search for elpco or east liberty park community council.
  The debate covered many issues.  My opponent claimed that she was against the Simpson Avenue homeless site and I pointed out that other members of the City Council claimed that the sites were unanimously chosen.  I also pointed out that the Council acts without public hearing such as when they closed a golf course without a public hearing.
  My opponent, Erin Mendenhall, claimed that golf courses should close because golf is dying.  I,(George Chapman - writer of this blog) pointed out that the only reason that golf isn't making money in SLC is because SLC Public Utilities overcharges for water.  Parks had to stop watering the cemetery until the complaints forced them to start watering again.  When parks and open space in SLC are not treated as amenities, we should change our government.  I complained about the doubling of water and sewer fees that the Council approved for the future and the lack of complaints about public safety until this year.  No one from the Council complained about the County's lack of jail beds and prosecutors to keep criminals in jail until this year, an election year.  I also suggested 50 new police and selling the old public safety building to get the money for those police officers.
  Erin said that she thought that we have enough parking, even in Sugar House and had no problem with parking in front of her house.  Parking in front of my family's house on weekends is seriously overwhelming for our neighborhood.  I also spoke against road diets that take away traffic lanes for bike lanes that result in increasing congestion and air pollution.  My opponent spoke for more bike lanes.  (I support bike lanes that do not increase pollution.) 
  This is probably the only chance to see the candidates debate for SLC Districts 5 and 7 this year.  I encourage voters to watch the show.  I hope that I made it entertaining enough for you.


GREG HUGHES CHICKENS OUT OF OCTOBER 12 BALLPARK MEETING
  After Ballpark Community Council moved their monthly meeting to have Speaker Greg Hughes go to their community council meeting, he appears to have chickened out.  The community council will have a board meeting instead.


OCTOBER 12/13 RIO GRANDE ID CARDS
  This week, on October 12 and 13, SLC and the State intends to provide ID cards to the homeless that want to utilize the services in the Rio Grande neighborhood, especially the fenced off area.  Despite the fact that Catholic Community Services (which operates the Weigand and the Vincent DePaul Centers) allows anyone to access their facilities while keeping out drugs, the State, County and City are proceeding with this system that, in the mind of many, criminalizes the homeless and actually discourages them from using the services that can put them on a path out of being homeless.  San Francisco tried it and failed.  LA tried it and failed (in the 1990s).  
  We still do not have 24 hour secure and accessible storage to encourage the homeless to work.  We still do not have a secure camping area indoors (winter is coming).  And based on the plan and limited space in the fenced off area and the ID cards that remind me of ghettos in Poland, I believe that the homeless will avoid the area and the result will be many more deaths.



OCTOBER 8, 2017     CAMPAIGN CARD (FOR THOSE INTERESTED)


GEORGE CHAPMAN


SLC COUNCIL DISTRICT 5   www.georgechapman.net


WORKING TOGETHER, LETS:



STOP SECRET SLC COUNCIL MEETING

Homeless center expansion sites were unanimously decided in secret without a public hearing.  A golf course was closed without a public hearing.  Funding for buying homeless sites was approved without a public hearing.


STOP TAX INCREASES WITHOUT PUBLIC VOTES

SLC Council is discussing a street fee (the Council cut the streets budget 50% 3 years ago).  The Council wants to make taxpayers pay for 4 rail lines and the most expensive design possible for Airport TRAX.  The Council is doubling the fees for water and sewer.  My opponent wants to close golf courses and pay $50 million for each to be converted to a park.  She wants to make us pay almost $100 million to run a TRAX train up 1100 East (taking out all parking). 

PROVIDE ADEQUATE PUBLIC SAFETY

SLC has ignored the drug dealing, homeless camping, lack of jail beds and public safety funding.  We have had a revolving door at the County Jail for over 4 years and the Council has not complained about it until this year, an election year.  SLC needs 50 new police.  SLC should sell the former public safety building and use the funds for more police.

PROTECT ENVIRONMENT

SLC refuses to build restrooms in our canyons and has stopped Forest Service efforts.  It gives more money to lawyers than to conserve land in the canyons.  SLC cuts down 3000 trees a year.

STOP THE WAR ON CARS 

My opponent believes that Sugar House and downtown have too much parking and wants to make traffic lanes bike lanes.  

ENCOURAGE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

SLC allows building high price apartments a year in SLC instead of encouraging mixed income affordable housing.


 STOP WASTING MONEY

I want SLC to stop wasting millions on alleyway trails and protected bike lanes and use the money to fix our roads for cars and bikes.  SLC has many vacant properties that should be sold instead of being unused for over 10 years.  The money can be used for streets, affordable housing and police.

As a longtime community advocate, I have fought for better public safety funding and attention to solve the homeless problems and stop the drug dealing that was ignored until recently.  I go to most SLC Council and community council meetings.  I write newspaper opeds and a blog at georgechapman.net.  I am a retired engineer, a former Naval officer and 66 years old with 5 children and 5 grandchildren


George Chapman, PO Box 520653, SLC, UT 84152   801 867 7071 gechapman2@gmail.com




USEFUL SALT LAKE CITY PHONE NUMBERS

CIVIL ENFORCEMENT 801 535 7225
(JUNK/LITTER/SIGNS/SNOW REMOVAL/WEEDS/ PROBLEM BLDGS/FENCES/GARAGE SALES)

POLICE 801 799 3000
ADA 801 535 7976
CITY COUNCIL 801 535 7600
DRUG ACTIVITY 801 799 3784
GRAFFITI REMOVAL 801 972 7885
FORESTRY 801 972 7818
MAYOR'S OFFICE 801 535 7704
NOISE 801 580 6681
PARKS 801 972 7800
PARKING ENFORCEMENT 801 535 6628
PLANNING/ZONING 801 535 7700
SIDEWALK REPAIR 801 535 6934
SLC SHOPPING CARTS 801 446 7984
SMITH'S CARTS 801 759 7315
STREET REPAIRS 801 535 2345
UTA 801 743 3882
WATER/SEWER 801 483 6900
WATER/SEWER EMERGENCY 801 483 6700
YARD/WASTE/RECYCLING 801 535 6999
ANIMAL SERVICES 385 468 7387
HEALTH DEPT/PESTS 385 468 3835
OPERATION  RIO GRANDE COMMAND POST  385 266 6938




OCTOBER 4, 2017

NO CARROT, NO STICK AND SHOOTING IN THE DARK
DA FIGHTS SLCO COUNCIL FOR WIN
DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE ISSUES/FORUM
WESTMINSTER DEBATE THURSDAY
ADUS WITHOUT ENFORCEMENT 
FHA MAY DETER ENFORCEMENT OF SINGLE-FAMILY NEIGHBORHOOD ZONING
SPRAGUE LIBRARY ELEVATOR SINGNIFICANTLY DAMAGED


NO CARROT, NO STICK AND SHOOTING IN THE DARK
  In the last few months, elected leaders have finally decided, after years of ignoring it, that the homeless situation in the Rio Grande area in downtown Salt Lake City needs their attention.  The solution that is being planned is "a carrot and a stick" where criminal activity will result in arrest, being taken to jail and then give them an opportunity to get out of jail if they agree to drug addiction treatment.  The treatment beds (except for almost 40 that are available as of last week) will require that the federal government provide a waiver and agree to a minimalist version of healthcare expansion for homeless. 
  But that waiver has been promised for two years. It is not a done deal.  In addition, the federal government also has to agree to allow more than 16 beds in a facility to be covered by federal funds.  That requirement was implemented years ago because of fear of big institutions of addiction treatment that would negatively impact adjacent neighborhoods.  The Fair Housing Act requires that treatment facilities be allowed to locate anywhere that they want, even in single family home neighborhoods (see FHA item below).   Both Odyssey House and First Step, if the federal government approves, intend to expand their facilities to around 100 treatment beds.  Adjacent neighborhoods will obviously be concerned and there could be a vigorous fight against expansion of beds.  The State of Utah will be the entity that allows the treatment facilities that could be approved within two months if they meet the requirements for beds, square footage, ratio of personnel to patients (1/6) and other standards.  The Planning Commission will be required to give a conditional use permit to finalize the building use.
  The success rate for opioid addiction treatment is also a moving target.  Former Secretary of Health, Education and Human Services Califano has pointed out that "The therapeutic community claims a 30% success rate but they only count people who complete the program."  Up to 80% drop out within six months. Evidence based treatment was supposed to be the priority but evidence and data seems to be lacking and Salt Lake County has not provided real data.
  Healthcare expansion would have helped years ago and saved Utah taxpayers $67 million this year alone, and hundreds of millions in the next few years.  The Salt Lake County Council was recently given a reality check when they saw estimates of their share of the cost of Operation Rio Grande of over $10 million.  Interestingly, the County repurposed their $9.4 million annual jail bond several years ago which, if it stayed in public safety (jail and DA - including jail treatment), would have resulted in a smaller cost for County and State taxpayers.
  The stick in the plan is 300 open jail beds.  They were filled in two weeks. The DA recommended 6 prosecutors and up to 600 beds. He got 2 prosecutors (approved yesterday after a big fight - see below) and 300 jail beds (filled within two weeks).  The result is law enforcement in Salt Lake County is working with a revolving door jail and arresting the same criminals, for the same type of crime many times.  All that a full jail can do is book the arrested person and release them.  This results in, at best, a soft stick.
  Another part of the plan is to create a safe place on Rio Grande Street by fencing it off and keeping drugs out with drug sniffing dogs patrolling the area.  The belief is that such a safe place for camping will allow law enforcement throughout the County to enforce no camping ordinances.  Although that has started, the only tool that law enforcement has is jail and that is full. Confiscating camping gear, which needs to be inventoried and stored, is a big and costly effort that will probably be avoided by police.  The result is no real plan to stop the homeless camping.  (See many of the stories below for the last month.)
  San Francisco tried to create a safe place on Pier 80 last year for about six months but many homeless felt that it was like a prison and avoided it. 
  Healthcare expansion and affordable housing, the best solutions for success in decreasing homelessness are being ignored for more wishful thinking. It appears that Utah’s senior elected politicians have decided that the best solution to the homeless crisis and criminal element in the Rio Grande area is no carrot, no stick and shooting in the dark. 


DA FIGHTS SLCO COUNCIL FOR WIN
  During the October 3 SLCounty Council Committee of the Whole work session that has the "real votes and decisions" that are essentially rubber stamped at the formal 4 PM meeting, DA Sim Gill had to endure heated questioning from Council Chairman Steve Debry who is Chief of the Millcreek UPD.  The DA has been trying for seven years to get adequate and effective funding for his office to do its job of prosecuting criminals and tracking them after conviction (for 36 months) to ensure that they stop criminal activities.  Unfortunately, like the inadequate funding by the SLCO Mayor and Council for jail beds, the DA has not been given the funding that he is always requesting.  
  The issue came to a head when Operation Rio Grande was started and the understanding (not agreed to by the County Council - they were not part of the dialogue and agreement) that the County would fund a portion of the requirements came to the Council.  Eventually, Salt Lake County WILL have to open up more jail beds (Oxbow still has 380 not used.) and provide funding for that along with mental health treatment of inmates and addiction treatment.  The predicted cost could be as high as $30 million next year.  The Mayor's budget proposal will be announced on October 24.  
  The DA obviously needed more personnel to adequately prosecute the arrested individuals charged with serious crimes.  But since it came a month before the budget and four months before the next funding cycle, Chairman DeBry balked.  Other Councilmembers also questioned the request last week and it was tabled to yesterday, October 3.  
  Adding to the fire and animosity between them (they are friends and friendly with each other outside of work issues) was an email from Deputy DA Chamness that explained that the DA does not have the manpower to effectively support Operation Rio Grande without more prosecutors.  The DA was asking, with the support of Mayor McAdams, for under $400,000 for two prosecutors and a paralegal to help service the hundreds of felony cases and over 1000 arrests.  Chairman DeBry took Chamness's email as a threat and hit the roof.  
  Over about 15 minutes of heated back and forth, neither side would budge.  Finally the vote was taken and the DA got his funding.  I have watched many County Council meetings and only the last meeting with Sheriff Winder (who was emphasizing that the jail needed more funding) was as contentious.  If it were not so sad to watch, I would have said it was entertaining.
  The public is allowed to make comments on the issue but usually no one does at the County Council meetings.  They even encourage comments by providing a call in phone number so that you don't have to attend the meeting in person.  I give credit to the County Council for this effort to listen to the public.  I was the only one who spoke and I argued (as I have for several years) for more funding for the DA.  The County Council recently gave $4 million to the questionable project to double track the Sugar House streetcar/TRAX line to decrease time from 20 minutes to 15 minutes.  That project is predicted to provide 140 more riders a day.  UTA is providing $1.9 million from the federal government.  I argued that DA and public safety and jail bed funding is more important.  At least we got the DA funded, minimally, for Operation Rio Grande.


DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE ISSUES/FORUM
  At a minimally attended Downtown Alliance forum for candidates for SLC Council (Districts 3, 5 and 7), the candidates expressed their thoughts on the important issues regarding SLC's downtown area.
  I expressed concern for lack of support from Salt Lake City government to have SLC's downtown compete with Lehi and Sandy.  I also am concerned about the efforts by SLC to discourage driving downtown by restricting parking.  Councilwoman Mendenhall said that a recent study showed that we have plenty of parking downtown.
  I pointed out that the study authors are famous for saying in all of their studies for many cities, that is too much or plenty of parking.  Without adequate transit (which stops around 7-8 PM), the only way to get downtown and back is by car.  And when the parking meters (blue meanies) are confusing and the parking lots are full, downtown businesses are impacted.  In addition, SLC has an ordinance that discourages demolishing an old building that may be vacant for decades, and putting in a parking lot to prepare for a new building.  So downtown SLC is full of vacant buildings that could quickly be torn down, replaced by a temporary parking lot and eventually encouraged to be developed as high density mixed use.  I believe SLC government should not be interfering with business and economic development.
  There was also a discussion on walkability and public safety.  I wanted Salt Lake City to have a goal of a walkable downtown, even at 2 AM.  I want Salt Lake City to sell some of their vacant buildings (vacant for over 10 years!) and use the money for more police and return the police walking patrols (ended by the City Council).  I also want the panhandler areas to have large signs discouraging giving money to them.  When theaters get out, the audience is inundated with panhandlers!  
  The walkability of new buildings should be ensured by requiring that the ground floor on buildings be open to the public as stores or restaurants.


WESTMINSTER DEBATE THURSDAY
  On Thursday, October 5, at Westminster College Gore School of Business Auditorium (1840 S 1300 E) there will be a debate of the District 5 and 7 Council candidates.  District 5 candidates are George Chapman (gechapman2@gmail.com, georgechapman.net) and Erin Mendenhall (erinforcouncil@gmail.com, @erinforcouncil).  District 7 candidates are Abe Smith (vote4ags@gmail.com, @abe4slc) and Amy Fowler (voteamyfowler@gmail.com, @voteamyfowler).  Questions should be submitted beforehand to D5D7@GMAIL.COM.  
  There is free parking off of 1700 South at the Dunke Field and underground parking structure and North Parking Structure off of 1700 South (just west of the Jewett Center theater).  I put the parking map at the top of the upper right downloads on this page.


ADUs      
  I, and many others spoke against the ADU (accessory dwelling units = mother in law apartments) proposed ordinance that would have allowed up to 25 ADU conversions in single family home neighborhoods.  I have, in the past, pointed out that the ADUs are the fastest way to increase affordable housing.  But there is no real effective enforcement mechanism to police the conversions and tenants.  In areas with questionable conversions near Westminster, UofU there are often neighborhoods that are negatively impacted with parking problems and noise and Salt Lake City is unable to handle the problems due to inadequate enforcement funding.
  The issue of enforcement of zoning regulations is important because, even if the ordinance says they have to be owner occupied, if the owner dies, the City can't reverse the approval of the ADU.  Even mortgage companies have a problem with mortgages going to supposedly owner occupied homes but they really are investment rentals. 
  Since only 3 ADUs were applied for since the last Sorenson ordinance, I do not think that many will jump at the offer.  ADUs in Portland priced at $40,000 for attached conversion (basements) and $90,000 for detached (garages).  And keep in mind, impact fees have to be paid up front.  Seniors will not really be incentivized to utilize this.  
  Developers seem to be pushing for higher density market rate apartments and the Council does not seem to be interested in stopping it.  If everyone in a building has no investment in the neighborhood and is transient, the neighborhood will destabilize.  That is not good.  Housing prices could go up so much that only the rich and elite can afford housing and the long term residents are essentially priced out of their neighborhoods.  I call that supergentrification and the SLC Council does not seem to be interested in stopping it.  The best argument against supergentrification is Sugar House.  New buildings should have mixed use, mixed income and some units as condos, bought to encourage residents to invest in neighborhood stability.
  Other issues are that the 25 limit can be removed by the Council at any time and quickly without much notice.  Unit legalization essentially failed to recover/cover these units that were already converted and that ordinance had a minimal effect.
  During a recent East Liberty Park Community Council meeting, the attendees were very concerned about the issue of ADUs.  They wanted to spend the whole meeting trying to convince Councilwoman Mendenhall that the ordinance should not be approved.  The discussion was stopped before it finished to turn to a discussion about solar power.  
  The proposed SLC ADU ordinance should be considered to be a threat to single family home neighborhoods.  It should not be encouraged without better funding for problems.  A related issue is the SLC ordinance that limits the number of unrelated individuals living in a home.  I put that issue below.


FHA MAY DETER ENFORCEMENT OF SINGLE-FAMILY NEIGHBORHOOD ZONING
  In 1995, in a case involving the City of Edmunds that tried to stop Oxford House from operating a group home for addiction treatment in a single-family home neighborhood, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the FAIR Housing Act (FHA) mya cover a zoning rule related to family composition.  Salt Lake City, and most other cities try to protect single-family home neighborhoods by limiting the number of unrelated individuals living in a home that are unrelated.  SLC puts the limit at 4.  I believe that the SLC ordinance would be found illegal and the City should reevaluate their ordinance to put the limit based on maximum occupancy.  That seems to be more legal that utilizing the related persons which the Supreme Court has found to be illegal.  Of course, in Utah, with large families, the Legislature may balk at limiting maximum occupancy.  But the issue should be discussed, analyzed and considered to ensure that single family home neighborhoods are protected.


SPRAGUE LIBRARY ELEVATOR SINGNIFICANTLY DAMAGED
  The SLC Library is trying to reopen the Sprague Library top floor before the end of October.  The biggest expense is the elevator that was damaged and there is a problem with funding repair.  Until it is repaired, the basement with the children's library and meeting room is proposed to stay out of service.  





SEPTEMBER 29, 2017
HEPATITIS A CASES INCREASE TO 32
FEDERAL MEDICAID WAIVER COULD IMPACT NEIGHBORHOODS
SALT LAKE CITY COUNCIL OCT. 3 HEARING ON ADU, HOMELESS SHELTER REQUIREMENTS AND TRANSIT PLAN
UTA APPROVES $400 INVESTMENT PER RIDER S-LINE PROJECT
SLC COUNCIL SECRET MEETING PUSHES $50 MILLION AIRPORT TRAX
SLC POLICE FOCUS ON HOMELESS CAMPERS IN PARKS
RED BUTTE CREEK HAS NOT RECOVERED FROM OIL SPILL

HEPATITIS A CASES INCREASE TO 32
  Salt Lake County Health Department said that as of September 27, Utah has 32 cases of hepatitis A with 25 related to homeless and drug users.  The UTA Police, the SLC Police have been encouraged to get vaccinated.  This increase from the 22 two weeks ago is a significant increase.  Even considering an average of three new cases a week (there are more), that is close to 10% increase per week.  An increase of 10% a month would give almost 100 cases in the next year.  This is a serious outbreak that borders on an epidemic.  Again, San Diego, has over 500 cases and almost 20 deaths.  After months of ignoring this serious issue, bordering on censorship to protect SLC's reputation, this week has had two stories on this outbreak (on Good4Utah and KSL/Deseret News).
The SLCO Health Department recommends that anyone having any contact with individuals that are in the at risk population (homeless, drug addicts and incarcerated) get vaccinated.  One dose gives 93% protection.  Two doses, six months apart, give 99% protection.  This is another case of vaccination stop disease.
The homeless will have a special event at the Salt Palace Convention Center on October 6 and the Health Department will be giving free vaccinations for hepatitis A.

FEDERAL MEDICAID WAIVER COULD IMPACT NEIGHBORHOODS
  The federal government, decades ago, put in a limit of 16 on the number of beds in a treatment facility that receives Medicaid or federal funding in order to protect neighborhoods from monolithic drug addiction treatment buildings.  Utah has asked the federal government to waive the 16 bed limit.  First Step and Odyssey House have indicated intentions, if the waiver is granted (and the separate application to provide Medicaid funding for homeless drug addiction treatment), to increase their beds in their treatment centers.  It may take around two months to start up the treatment after the waiver due to the Utah Health and Human Services Department having to accept their application and inspect the facilities for beds, square footage, and other licensing requirements.  There is no real residential treatment requirements above that other than about one staffer to six patients.  The only Salt Lake City involvement will require the Planning Commission to approve the conditional use permit.  Adjacent neighborhoods will not be able to stop the facilities even though they could be signicantly and negatively impacted.

SALT LAKE CITY COUNCIL OCT. 3 HEARING ON ADU, HOMELESS SHELTER REQUIREMENTS AND TRANSIT PLAN
  The Salt Lake City Council will have a second hearing on the issues of auxiliary dwelling unit (ADU), the homeless shelter design requirements and the Transit Master Plan.
The ADU issue is getting the most attention and concern.  Although the concept of allowing up to 25 ADUs, essentially an experiment, the cost of building to specific standards is expensive and may result in very few actual ADUs.  Some estimates, from Portland, are $40,000 to build an attached (basement, etc) ADU and $90,000 to build a detached ADU (garage, etc).  Some local construction contractors believe that the cost may be as little as $8000 to go through the foundation to construct a separate, required emergency exit.  But the cost is still significant.
The potential of ADUs to provide affordable housing is controversial because of worries about increased parking problems and noise.  SLC requires owner occupied but there are many residential houses that provide high density but legally questionable housing for students near the University of Utah and Westminster that are not owner occupied.  In other words, SLC does not have the ability to police illegal conversions.  The increased density is a concern for single-family home neighborhoods that are worried about strangers renting but not having an investment in the neighborhood.
During a recent community council meeting, the ADU issue took up the majority of the meeting.  It will be interesting to see what the SLC Council decides.  The Council will allow public comment during the 7 PM formal meeting of October 3.

  Another public hearing during the October 3 Council meeting will be on the design of the homeless expansion shelters.  It is important that citizens, especially neighbors, provide input, comments and recommendations to improve the designs and lessen the impact on adjacent neighborhoods.  I am against the expansion facilities because I do not believe that there is a realistic plan to serve the residents of the buildings.  Adjacent residents and businesses could be tremendously hurt by actions of the residents as they walk the neighborhoods.  I also feel that when you put that many people (up to 200) with similar issues in the same building, they tend to enable each other to continue illegal, questionable and unsustainable behavior.  Please comment on the homeless expansion shelters.

  The other public hearing at the October 3 Council is the Transit Master Plan.  The Mayor is prioritizing a high frequency network, mainly buses, to increase service and ridership within realistic financial constraints.  At least three Council members want hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds to build rail, including three downtown rail projects at $100 million each, and extending the Sugar House TRAX/streetcar up 1100 East.  Note that TRAX requirements will force removal of parking on 1100 East if the Council succeeds in pushing the TRAX up 1100 East and cost taxpayers another $100 million.  The Council does not seem to be considering allowing the citizens to vote on the projects, unlike the first TRAX line.  In addition, nearby homes and businesses may need to be rezoned for higher density and value (super gentrification) to provide increased taxes to help pay for the project.  These projects will destroy neighborhoods.  They will also require an extremely high investment per rider (IPR).  

UTA APPROVES $400 INVESTMENT PER RIDER S-LINE PROJECT
  The UTA Board approved accepting the SLCounty $4 million for double tracking the S-line to allow improving frequency to 15 minutes from 20 minutes.  UTA predicts a 10% improvement in ridership, currently at about 1400 per weekday (1600 on Sunday).  That is about $400 investment per rider (IPR).  Most bus systems have an IPR of less than $3 per rider.
  I also find it incredible that the County has money for a fancy but questionable project but no money to provide better mental health treatment.  Mental health budgets and services at the County were significantly cut during the recession and have never been restored.  So individuals with serious mental issues can only be handled by arresting them and taking them to jail.  And the jail does not have the beds, nor the treatment beds, nor the mental treatment that should be standard, to allow police to do their job and for the incarcerated to be treated humanely.  Salt Lake County is essentially saying that they would rather build a questionable rail project instead of providing basic and adequate public safety funding.  I think that is wrong.

SLC COUNCIL SECRET MEETING PUSHES $50 MILLION AIRPORT TRAX
  After discussing the new airport TRAX utilitarian and financially responsible ground level Airport TRAX design, SLC Council Chair Stan Penfold forced the UTA Board to listen to his push for a fancy and costly project that would cost at least $50 million more.  Public comments were not allowed.  I did not see any vote by the SLC Council on this issue so, obviously, there was a secret meeting of the Council that voted to push for the $50 million project.  The SLC Council has not allowed or had a public hearing on this issue.  Interestingly, this project is not in the Transit Master Plan (which was pointed out during the Planning Commission hearing).  So the Council seems to have secretly voted to increase taxes to build a fancy project.  Incredibly, Stan said that there are options that would not impact resident taxpayers (hotel taxes, rental car taxes, etc) but any tax increase is a tax increase.  He also said that an expensive project "says that we have a commitment to transit" and that is a world class option.  In other words, the Council WANTS A WORLD CLASS AIRPORT TRAX AND A THIRD WORLD BUS SYSTEM.  Because ANY tax increase should be used to expand bus service.
Interestingly, Trustee DeLay expressed concern during the meeting that spending money on projects instead of expanding bus service times is questionable.  She pointed out that University of Utah students want to go to the Sugar House area for the entertainment, restaurants and bars but the last bus service is at 9 PM.  (Later that evening, riding bus 21 from the University of Utah to Sugar House, I met and talked to 7 young visitors from out of state who just realized that they were on the last bus and would have a problem getting back when they decide to go back.  They complained about Utah bus service compared to their Minnesota bus service that operates all night long.)
A better use for increased taxes would be to extend the TRAX to the International Center (Amazon is on 5600 West and helps pay for Seatte rail.) 
Members of the Airport Board said that "Delta is agnostic" with regards to the Airport TRAX design.  The Board is also talking about extending the TRAX line to the International Center via North Temple and sending everyother train to the airport.

SLC POLICE FOCUS ON HOMELESS CAMPERS IN PARKS
  The Community Intelligence Officers of the SLC PD are now ordered to start their day in the early mornings around 2 to 3 AM and start going around to the parks in Salt Lake City to identify homeless campers and warn them that it is against the law to camp overnight in parks.  The first week, the police only gave warnings.  They will start giving citations for any homeless campers that they find.  They found 35 campers in Liberty Park the first week.  The second week was rainy and they could not find any campers in Liberty Park.
  In addition, the SLCPD has set up one of their mobile cameras near 1300 South and 200 East to discourage criminal behavior.  It seems to have worked.  The police have raided an apartment complex on Browning several times.  Unfortunately, they encountered some bicycle parts that they considered stolen but since they did not have proof, they couldn't confiscate them.  In a recent case at the Gateway Inn on North Temple, the police found over 50 bicycles in a room!  Bicycle chop shops are expanding in SLC.

RED BUTTE CREEK HAS NOT RECOVERED FROM OIL SPILL
  Red Butte Creek still has not recovered from the oil spill.  The birds owls that used to inhabit the parks and natural spaces that surround the Creek have not returned.  Miller Park, still reeling from the oil spill and wholesale cutting of the 200 old growth trees is experiencing an explosion of squirrels.  The owls used to control the population but now, without them, rodents and squirrels surrounding the creek are expanding their populations.  This is a significant health risk.  Miller Park also was devastated by the two heavy rain events that destroyed much of the waterway.  






SEPTEMBER 22, 2017
RIO GRANDE HOMELESS EXODUS ENCOUNTERS SLC POLICE PUSHBACK
SLCO JAIL HAS NO BOOKING RESTRICTIONS BUT
NEW HOMELESS SHELTERS OPEN HOUSES/PUBLIC HEARING
SLCO INADEQUATE PUBLIC SAFETY FUNDING CONTINUES FOR FUTURE
ADU PUBLIC HEARING CONTINUES ON OCTOBER 3
SLC TRANSIT PLAN REVISITED ON OCTOBER 3
BIG HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK STORY FINALLY HITS THE NEWS
UTA AIRPORT TRAX SUPER DOUBLE SECRET PLAN
MAYOR MCADAMS STILLS WANTS OUTDOOR RETAILER HOTEL


RIO GRANDE HOMELESS EXODUS ENCOUNTERS SLC POLICE PUSHBACK
  Since over 700 criminals have been arrested and released from jail, and they are discouraged from entering the Rio Grande Street homeless area, they will increasingly spreading out into other areas (earlier blog entries below go into detail).  With the SLC Council unanimously approving giving the Street to the State (which will implement an ID system to stop criminals from being on the street). According to SLC Chief of Staff Patrick Leary, "The lease will provide the further benefit of helping eliminate the criminal elements and nuisances in and around the leased area (Rio Grande Street)."  So if the jail is full (it is), where will the criminal elements go?  They will go to your neighborhoods.  I think that the SLC Council gave away their best leverage to force the State Legislature, especially the Utah House under Speaker Greg Hughes, to pass healthcare expansion (like Healthy Utah).
  The SLC Police, under significant pressure from citizens complaints, has a new policy to address homeless camping in SLC.  I am wondering what will the ACLU do, as they have done in many other cities in this Country. Their response to the increase in homeless camping is:
  "All CIU officers have and will continue to adjust schedules at least once a week. Shifts will begin between 2-4 AM before the parks open and two teams of four officers will be enforcing the park curfew laws throughout the City."  
  On September 18, the SLC Police started at 3 AM and enforced no camping in parks with 35 homeless (forcing them to gather their belongings and leave).  They will be giving warnings this week.  Citations will be issued in future weeks.  The police say that they are not targeting homeless campers but will target anyone found in the parks during curfew.
  THIS IS IMPORTANT: The police also pointed out that at 5AM, all parks are open to everyone, including trails such as the McClelland Trail and Parleys Trail/Sugar House streetcar trail.  Although it is legal to take a nap and have their personal effects with them, if the police find a "camper" during the day, each camper will be given a minimum of 5 minutes to gather their things and leave the camping site.  No citation will be issued if they comply.  The police cannot make them leave the park, they can only stop them from "camping".


SLCO JAIL HAS NO BOOKING RESTRICTIONS BUT
  The Salt Lake County Jail, says that "at present there are no booking restrictions in place at the Salt Lake County Jail. They do still follow our Uniform Admissions Plan that outlines which offenses are eligible for an overcrowding release after booking. Those include non-violent third degree felonies, and many class A, B, and C misdemeanors with some exceptions such as DUI, domestic violence, violation of a protective order, offenses that would result in sex offender registry, etc. An F3 drug distribution being non-violent would be eligible for OCR, but arresting officers may request a release override from our booking supervisor and the Jail will honor it. This practice is long standing and has been reaffirmed with local chiefs of police and those involved with Operation Rio Grande."
  What that means is that we are back to where we were a couple of years ago with a revolving door at the jail.  Over a thousand have been arrested and all but 300 have been released.  So the rest of Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake City and West Valley City are hosting the released criminals.  During the discussion at the Legislature regarding providing about $5 million for law enforcement for Operation Rio Grande, Senator Weiler expressed concern that the State seems to be covering inadequate public safety funding at the County and City and Utah taxpayers are paying the price with what will eventually be $67 million. I explained, during the hearing, that the SLC Police are trying to do their job but when they take dealers and other criminals to jail, they are released back on the street and they often show up next to the original arresting SLC Police officer and laugh.  I agreed with Senator Weiler that the problem really is the inadequate public safety funding at the County for the DA and the Jail. The Legislature did approve the shifting of funding to law enforcement for Operation Rio Grande.  
  Doug Thomas, Director of the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, still believes that over 200 treatment beds will be available by the end of the year when and if the federal government approves the waiver for the Dunnigan bill that allows healthcare expansion for homeless and ex prisoners for treatment (30% funding match by Utah).  He also reminded the Legislature that the federal government also has to approve allowing more than 16 beds in a facility to be covered by Medicaid.  
  Once the waivers are granted, treatment facilities expect to expand to around 100 beds.  But SLC passed a new ordinance last year, in response to the backlash from the INN Between, hospice center for homeless at the former Guadalupe School building in a residential neighborhood, that limited expansion of facilities for treatment.  The expansion of treatment facilities still has to jump that hurdle and the rezoning of the sites.
  It should also be obvious, since over 600 of those released said that they would take advantage of a treatment facility bed, and there will only be about 200 beds, that it will take years to treat everyone that wants to be treated.  I am still getting information that only 2 individuals treated during Operation Diversion are really successfully avoiding drugs.  The public statistics say that 8 are successful but there is no proof, just claims.  The federal government says that successful treatment of opioid addiction over 24 months is about 5%.  So one should take any claims of successful treatment with a grain of salt.  And, if one uses the 5% as a standard, we need at least a thousand beds for decades.  Speaker Hughes needs a reality check and should reconsider Healthy Utah.


NEW HOMELESS SHELTERS OPEN HOUSES/PUBLIC HEARING
  In addition to the SLC Council public hearing at their October 3 Formal Meeting at 7 PM regarding the SLC Ordinance allowing the two new shelters with minimal constraints, there are several open houses and forums regarding the new shelters to be located at 131 E 700 S and 275 W High Ave. in Salt Lake City.  Please provide comments and do not allow this issue to go forward without your comments, concerns and recommendations.  I still think that these are experiments and the plans still are laughably vague.  But I believe that the plans will be better with your suggestions and comments.  The following is from the SLC Mayor's Office:
  "The public forum will be held on September 26, where community leaders and service providers will be on hand to address concerns, and demonstrate how the new facilities will be designed to be of mutual benefit to the clients they serve and to the communities in which they reside. There will be a panel Q&A to provide an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.
Public Forum
September 26th: 6-8 p.m.
The Leonardo Auditorium, 209 E 500 S
https://goo.gl/Mr2SV6
There will be an additional two public open house located at each of the new Resource Center sites. While these open houses are designed to inform and engage the residents of areas closest to the new Resource Centers, everyone is welcome to attend.
131 E 700 S Open House
September 27: 4-6 p.m.
https://goo.gl/1jJWCM
 275 W High Ave Open House
September 28: 4-6 p.m.
https://goo.gl/etzhDw


SLCO INADEQUATE PUBLIC SAFETY FUNDING CONTINUES FOR FUTURE
  SLCounty departments have been told to provide flat funding requests to the SLCO Mayor's office.  He will submit his budget on October 24.  That means that SLCO will continue to inadequately fund an appropriate number of prosecutors and jail beds.  That will result in SLCO law enforcement having their hands tied and not being given the tools to do their job.  And eventually, all Utah taxpayers will have to cover the inadequate funding by the County.  Next week, the County Council is expected to approve the DA's request for two new prosecutors and a paralegal for use to support Operation Rio Grande.  As pointed out in the last blog entry, the DA recommended six prosecutors and 600 beds.  I encourage the public to email the County Council and Mayor and demand better public safety funding.  Their emails are on the upper right.


ADU PUBLIC HEARING CONTINUES ON OCTOBER 3
  SLC Council will have another and theoretically last, public hearing on Auxiliary Dwelling Units (ADU) on October 3 at 7 Pm.  Please note that this ordinance proposal is more of a test case since there is a limit of 25 ADU approvals.  The previous ADU ordinance resulted in 3 ADU approvals!  The biggest, and appropriate, concern is the negative impact on single-family home neighborhoods that rely on stable and long term residents.  If there are too many short term rentals in a neighborhood, the street will be overwhelmed with parking from more residents.  There are also concerns about noise enforcement inadequacy.  This is a complicated issue that needs more public comment.  The emails for the City Council are on the upper right.  Please comment on ADUs.


SLC TRANSIT PLAN REVISITED ON OCTOBER 3
  The SLC Transit Master Plan that, at present, encourages better neighborhood bus service (frequent transit network) before projects, is going to have another hearing on October 3 at the SLC Council formal meeting at 7 PM.  You can also provide your comments to the Transit Program Manager, Julianne Sabula at Julianne.Sabula@slcgov.com.  You can also call her at 8015356678.  I am urging everyone to support the Mayor's proposal to focus on increasing service first instead of the Council's interest in big expensive projects.


BIG HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK STORY FINALLY HITS THE NEWS
  Fox13now's Paul Murphy has finally admitted to the public (by a major news organization) that there is a serious outbreak of hepatitis A in Salt Lake City.  As of last week, SLC has had 22 casees identified.  The SLCO Health Department is encouraging anyone with contact with at risk population (homeless, drug users or recently incarcerated) to get a vaccination.  The outbreak is related to the San Diego outbreak which has now spread to restaurants.  There are over 10 times more cases of hepatitis A than last year and it is expected to go higher.  Most SLC Police and UTA Police have been vaccinated.  In San Diego, most infected had to be hospitalized and 16 have died.  Sixty five percent of the cases in San Diego were homeless and/or drug users. 
 

  Most SLC cases have been genetically linked to the homeless hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego.  The at risk populations are those who are homeless, recently incarcerated, drug users and anyone who has recently had contact with someone homeless from San Diego.  Pharmacies generally have the vaccination and most insurance polities cover it.  The County Health Department also has the vaccine available for $35 for those under 19 years old and $48 for those over 18 years old.  Pharmacies should be cheaper. 

  The vaccination is required for children entering school so most at risk individuals (if they interact with the homeless) are older adults.  The Health Department recommends at least the first vaccination which can confer 93.8% immunity.  A booster is suggested after 6 months and with the booster, immunity is 99%.  The Rose Park Clinic is 385 468 7468 and they do generally take insurance.
  Anyone who gets hepatitis A generally is sick enough to be convinced to go to a doctor who is required to report it.  That is why the Health Department believes that the outbreak is pretty well confined to this specific population.  There is a discussion in the last few days of putting in handwashing stations in the Rio Grande area to help with the situation.  


UTA AIRPORT TRAX SUPER DOUBLE SECRET PLAN
  UTA has released the super double secret plan for the ground level, reasonably priced, $15 million Airport TRAX reconfiguration (upper right download) despite senior management insisting that it was secret.  Mayor Biskupski was obviously confused by conflicting information.  I, again, have to thank the new and improved UTA for being responsive and respectful public servants and providing information for those of us interested in better mass transit. Two years ago, I would have had to fight to get the information.  This time it just took an email.


MAYOR MCADAMS STILLS WANTS OUTDOOR RETAILER HOTEL    
  Despite losing the Outdoor Retailer Convention, the biggest reason for the proposed convention hotel, SLCO Mayor McAdams claims that it won't deter his efforts to build his monument to his reelection.  Salt Lake and Utah taxpayers are not likely to be happy at this financially questionable effort.





SEPTEMBER 18, 2017
TUESDAY LEGISLATURE HEARINGS ON HOMELESS FUNDING
TUESDAY SLC COUNCIL HEARING ON CLOSING RIO GRANDE
OPERATION RIO GRANDE COMMAND POST TIP LINE
WHERE IS ADEQUATE FUNDING TO SUPPORT OPERATION RIO GRANDE
RIO GRANDE ARREST REPORTS


TUESDAY LEGISLATURE HEARINGS ON HOMELESS FUNDING
  Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 19, the Legislature will take testimony and discuss the Rio Grande Operation funding.  Unfortunately, almost no one knows about it and the signup for public comment deadline has passed.  The Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee will take public comment on the agenda at 1 PM before the rest of the discussion.  To comment, one has to call Debbie Benson before 2 PM Friday at 801 326-1698 to be considered.  At 2:55 PM, they are scheduled to discuss the INN Between.  At 3:05 PM, they are scheduled to discuss DWS – overview of upcoming changes to homeless services.  At 3:35 PM, they are scheduled to discuss the special session legislation regarding Operation Rio Grande funding.  At 4PM, they are scheduled to tour the Road Home.  At 5 PM they are scheduled to visit the St Vincent de Paul Dining Hall.  To participate in the Road Home tour, one would have to have called Jeanmarie Meas via jmeas@theroadhome.org or 801 819-7295 by Monday.  To participate in the St Vincent de Paul tour, one would have to have called Jose Lazaro at 801-428-1230.



TUESDAY SLC COUNCIL HEARING ON CLOSING RIO GRANDE
  The SLC Council will take public testimony at 7 PM during the September 19 SLC Council Formal meeting.  This is your last chance to make a comment on this issue.  As Matthew Piper wrote in his story today in the SLTRIB.COM


http://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2017/09/18/who-is-being-arrested-in-operation-rio-grande-many-have-felonies-or-lengthy-records-though-few-appear-to-be-the-promised-worst-of-the-worst/


the Operation seems to be defocusing on removing the real hard core criminal element and closing the street will encourage the homeless and especially the criminals to move to other areas.  The post last week goes into details about the issue (bus stops etc).  SLC Chief of Staff admitted that closing the street will remove the criminals from the area but it also means that they will go into other areas because the State and other governments did not sufficiently fund the Operation (see specifics below).  Please comment on this issue and the other issues scheduled for tomorrow night.
  These are the public hearings at the SLC Council meeting on September 19, including the Rio Grande street closure that may encourage more criminals to move into other neighborhoods, Lincoln Elementary alley vacation, CIP projects, Transit Master Plan, Homeless Resource Center standards, and ADUs!! 
The Council will accept public comment and consider adopting a resolution
authorizing the waiver of lease fees for a portion of City-owned public right-of-way
located at approximately 200 Rio Grande Street.
  The Council will accept public comment and consider adopting an ordinance
that would vacate a City-owned alley situated adjacent to properties located
between approximately 200 East and 269 East, south of Lincoln elementary
School and behind the homes that front onto the north side of Hampton.
  The Council will accept public comment and consider adopting a resolution
allocating the City's Capital Improvement Program for Fiscal Year 2017-18.
  The Council will accept public comment and consider an ordinance adopting
the Transit Master Plan (also on October 3).
  The Council will accept public comment and consider adopting an ordinance
that would amend the City's accessory dwelling unit (ADU) regulations (also on October 3)..
  The Council will accept public comment and consider adopting an ordinance
amending various sections of Title 21A of the Salt Lake City Code pertaining to
homeless resource centers (also on October 3).



OPERATION RIO GRANDE COMMAND POST TIP LINE
  Utah Highway Patrol, along with several other agencies are supporting Operation Rio Grande.  Although SLC Police need reports of criminal activity at 801 799 3000, in order to focus personnel/patrols in those areas and also to justify more police (see Law enforcement active in neighborhoods below), SLC Police are often overwhelmed by the calls.  But the Command Post for Operation Rio Grande has access to more personnel.  They can cut through several layers of bureaucracy and deliver officers to areas when SLC Police can’t.  According to one of the Command Post Officers: “We will continue to monitor the area (Ballpark).  In the meantime, if there are any issues that citizens become concerned with that are related to Operation Rio Grande, feel free to contact the Command Post at, 385-266-6938”.
  That is an important phone number: 385-266-6938 that should be used for tips regarding drug dealing, using drugs and general homeless criminal behavior.  The story below goes into more detail.  And I have to thank the law enforcement community in Utah for making sure that criminal behavior is not ignored. 

 
WHERE IS ADEQUATE FUNDING TO SUPPORT OPERATION RIO GRANDE
  Within two weeks of Operation Rio Grande, the 300 jail beds committed to the Operation were full. So far, Operation Rio Grande has arrested over 900 and most have been released from jail. Although most of those released have been categorized as nonviolent, many are criminals and drug addicts that commit crimes everyday that they are on the street.
  Bike thefts, car break ins, robberies, burglaries and other crimes of opportunity are constantly being reported throughout the Salt Lake City area. As Chris Smart reported in his recent story on the homeless (Salt Lake Tribune “Homeless people scatter throughout Salt Lake Valley”), the Operation Rio Grande effort is negatively impacting other areas with the exodus of homeless criminals and drug addicts from Downtown Salt Lake City.
  The Operation began without the needed drug and alcohol treatment beds. Most of those released from jail need those beds and without them, they will be left to roam the streets of Salt Lake City and other cities in the Valley. They will be looking for crimes of opportunity. Unfortunately, only 36 beds have been provided and the hundreds more that are needed are only promised. Most concerning, those treatment beds have been promised for two years!
  When the police arrest someone now who has committed a crime such as breaking into a car, they are allowed to book them into jail. But they are almost always released immediately. The police call it a “philosophy of disruption”. But the city that they are released into, South Salt Lake City, is negatively impacted. The nearest store, a Maverick across the street from the jail, constantly complains about shoplifting by those just released from jail. Even if they are rearrested, they are out within a couple of hours. The time that police devote to arresting criminals multiple times is draining other crime fighting efforts. In other words, there should have been more than 300 jail beds available to incarcerate those who will constantly commit crimes when they are not in jail. It shouldn't matter if they are addicts or have mental issues or not (although they deserve respectful treatment options). Those who threaten society with crime should be kept out of society and should not be walking the street.
  Our system to ensure a fair and just response to criminal activity requires an appropriately funded prosecution team (along with a properly funded public defender to ensure fairness). Unfortunately, that funding seems to have been forgotten in the planning for Operation Rio Grande. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill recommended that 450 to 600 jail beds be available and that he be given funding to hire six prosecutors to effectively support Operation Rio Grande.  He is only able to assign two prosecutors. His workload per prosecutor is 50% higher than when he took over as DA. The felony cases, which were originally prioritized, have reached saturation. With the average prosecution lasting, with probation, for 36 months (his commitment is 5 years), the lack of prosecutors becomes more serious. And Oxbow Jail still has 380 beds that are not being used.
  If the plan to fence off the Rio Grande area and require IDs to access homeless services is implemented as planned, the exodus of homeless, especially criminals, to other areas will increase. DA Gill has made it clear that any sustained enforcement, needed to permanently remove the criminal element from not just the Rio Grande area but also throughout Salt Lake County area, will require a higher baseline of jail beds, treatment beds and prosecutors.  Right now, the process is based on the “philosophy of disruption” but a sustained effort will require more political will to fund for those jail and treatment beds and prosecutors now. Those in charge of this effort should plan sufficient funding to ensure that the rest of the County stops being negatively impacted by the exodus of the criminal element into other areas.


RIO GRANDE ARREST REPORTS
   Matthew Piper did an outstanding report in the SLTRIB about arrests during Operation Rio Grande (see link above).  I strongly urge you to read the story.  If you want specifics on those arrested during the Operation, the link is:
https://app.smartsheet.com/b/publish?EQBCT=62d8119de22c4dfdb104ef62f1613bb9

 




SEPTEMBER 14, 2017
OPERATION RIO GRANDE COMMAND POST TIP LINE
IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEARINGS AT SLC COUNCIL SEPT. 19
LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVE IN NEIGHBORHOODS AGAINST DRUGS
SCHOOL BUS STOP SAFETY BALLPARK/SLC BD ED PRES. CHECKS
TRANSIT MEETING SATURDAY AT THE MAIN LIBRARY
LATEST HEP. A NEWS, VACCINES STOP DISEASE
HOPE FOR SEVEN CANYONS FOUNTAIN IN LIBERTY PARK
GOP SHOULD NOT SPEND MONEY THEY DON’T HAVE ON LAWSUITS

 

OPERATION RIO GRANDE COMMAND POST TIP LINE
  Utah Highway Patrol, along with several other agencies are supporting Operation Rio Grande.  Although SLC Police need reports of criminal activity at 801 799 3000, in order to focus personnel/patrols in those areas and also to justify more police (see Law enforcement active in neighborhoods below), SLC Police are often overwhelmed by the calls.  But the Command Post for Operation Rio Grande has access to more personnel.  They can cut through several layers of bureaucracy and deliver officers to areas when SLC Police can’t.  According to one of the Command Post Officers: “We will continue to monitor the area (Ballpark).  In the meantime, if there are any issues that citizens become concerned with that are related to Operation Rio Grande, feel free to contact the Command Post at, 385-266-6938”.
  That is an important phone number: 385-266-6938 that should be used for tips regarding drug dealing, using drugs and general homeless criminal behavior.  The story below goes into more detail.  And I have to thank the law enforcement community in Utah for making sure that criminal behavior is not ignored. 
 

IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEARINGS AT SLC COUNCIL SEPT. 19
  There are many public hearings at the SLC Council meeting on September 19, including the Rio Grande street closure that may encourage more criminals to move into other neighborhoods, Lincoln Elementary alley vacation, CIP projects, Transit Master Plan, Homeless Resource Center standards, and ADUs!! 
The Council will accept public comment and consider adopting a resolution
authorizing the waiver of lease fees for a portion of City-owned public right-of-way
located at approximately 200 Rio Grande Street.
  The Council will accept public comment and consider adopting an ordinance
that would vacate a City-owned alley situated adjacent to properties located
between approximately 200 East and 269 East, south of Lincoln elementary
School and behind the homes that front onto the north side of Hampton.
  The Council will accept public comment and consider adopting a resolution
allocating the City's Capital Improvement Program for Fiscal Year 2017-18.
  The Council will accept public comment and consider an ordinance adopting
the Transit Master Plan (also on October 3).
  The Council will accept public comment and consider adopting an ordinance
that would amend the City's accessory dwelling unit (ADU) regulations (also on October 3)..
  The Council will accept public comment and consider adopting an ordinance
amending various sections of Title 21A of the Salt Lake City Code pertaining to
homeless resource centers (also on October 3).
 

LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVE IN NEIGHBORHOODS AGAINST DRUGS
  Before Operation Rio Grande, Salt Lake County residents and businesses witnessed homeless moving into their area little by little. Much of the homeless camping was due to the homeless trying to avoid the rampant drug dealing and criminal behavior in the Rio Grande area. Operation Rio Grande dislodged even more homeless along with the criminal element and drug dealers who decided that the Rio Grande area is too hot to keep their criminal behavior there. Homeless have increased their presence in areas that used to have only a few homeless camping. And the drug dealers and their addicts that hang around them have also invaded the other areas of Salt Lake City and County. The dealers, addicts and embarrassing homeless have also become visible at school bus stops.
  Last week, Ballpark Community Council heard complaints about the homeless camping, drug dealers and addicts around 1300 South and West Temple by the Ballpark. Parents have to walk their children to the bus stop near where drugs are sold due to their concern about their children's safety. Salt Lake City Police have been overwhelmed by their assignments in Operation Rio Grande because, in some cases, they have to arrest criminals several times. But Utah State Police and other Utah law enforcement personnel have been more available. The Operation Rio Grande effort promised law enforcement targeted to criminal behavior, even in outlying areas.
  Within a few days of the community meeting, after calling the Operation Rio Grande command post and those in charge of the law enforcement effort, several Highway Patrol cars and personnel patrolled the bus stop during the time that the school children were in the area. They encouraged the homeless nearby to move away from the bus stop. And the drug dealers and addicts left at the first sign of the Patrol. And the President of the Salt Lake City School Board, Heather Bennett also was there during the morning bus pickup to ensure the children's safety. The community, the neighbors and the parents all are thankful for the concerns and efforts of the law enforcement personnel and the School District Board.
  One way to utilize the Operation Rio Grande system and the extra law enforcement officers is to call the Command Post tip line at 385 266 6938. The Salt Lake City Police would like nonemergency crime reports given to dispatch at 801 799 3000. The crime reports go into a map of Salt Lake City that allows the Police Department to see where they need to have more patrol officers. It also can be used to prove that Salt Lake City needs more visible police officers. If you talk to the police officers that are patrolling SLC, and the residents and businesses, it appears that SLC needs 50 new officers. Unfortunately, only 10 have recently graduated from the SLC Police Academy. And due to salary issues, experienced officers transferring from other law enforcement departments are getting rare. Hopefully, the Salt Lake City Council and Mayor will realize the issue and plan on hiring more police officers.
  The other issues that should be covered by the Legislature in the upcoming special session include funding expanded mental health treatment, drug and alcohol treatment (best case would be to adopt Healthy Utah which is already approved by the federal government), increasing jail beds and increasing prosecutors in the Salt Lake County DA's office. The 300 beds were filled within two weeks and over 1100 have been arrested, with most released quickly.
  Cops can't be everywhere but they are trying. Neighborhoods throughout the County have the same frustrations with homeless drug addicts, drug dealers, petty criminals and camping in their areas. When the ID card system is implemented in the Rio Grande area, we should expect even more exodus of criminals into other areas. The police are trying. When you see an officer, please thank them for their service. They do try to protect and serve and sacrifice.

 
SCHOOL BUS STOP SAFETY BALLPARK/SLC BD ED PRES. CHECKS
  Heather Bennett, the SLC Schools Board of Education President, visited school bus stops to ensure children’s safety this week.  She received information of homeless camping, drug dealing and dealers near the stops.  She immediately asked for more information from staff and asked them to help ensure that Operation Rio Grande is not negatively impacting students.  She deserves credit for caring enough to get involved in this important issue.  Thank you to Heather Bennett.  The Highway Patrol officers scared away the dealers and addicts and a homeless man who was near the stop (he left his soiled items there).
  In addition, SLC has ramped up efforts to remove the homeless from the Smiths’ Ballpark parking lot on the NE corner of West Temple and 1300 South.  Friday, tomorrow, crews will disable power outlets on light posts that have been attracting homeless and lock them out.  SLC Police will also increase patrols in the lot and will strictly enforce no loitering at or around that lot to protect children catching their school buses and also to ensure Horizonte students’ safety.  The neighbors in the Ballpark Community have been working hard to ensure that Ballpark is not impacted by Operation Rio Grande and it appears that they are having success.


TRANSIT MEETING SATURDAY AT THE MAIN LIBRARY
UTAH TRANSIT RIDERS UNION QUARTERLY MEETING 
Saturday September 16, 1030 AM to noon
Downtown SLC Main Library 210 E. 400 S. Room B

  New UTA Board of Trustees member Alex Cragun (founding member and former VP of UTRU) will speak on what his appointment means for transit advocates.
  George Chapman will present a summary of legislative issues, the Legislature's Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force, the Utah Transportation Plan, the Envision Utah 2050 scenarios and the SLC Transit Master Plan draft.
  UTRU's goal is a Frequent Service Network which is part of the SLC Transit Master Plan first draft.  Handouts will include the UTP, WFRC scenarios and other materials.


LATEST HEP. A NEWS, VACCINES STOP DISEASE
  Thursday September 14, the SLCO Health Department has reported 22 cases of Hepatitis A in the homeless and drug addict population in Salt Lake County.  The outbreak appears to be receding thanks to efforts to vaccinate as many as possible.  Vaccines stop disease.  Without the vaccines, SLC would have ten times more cases and, like San Diego, 15 or more deaths.  Vaccines stop disease.


HOPE FOR SEVEN CANYONS FOUNTAIN IN LIBERTY PARK
  During the Liberty Wells Community Council meeting, the grandson of the designer of the Seven Canyons Fountain in Liberty Park, gave a presentation on restoring the Fountain.  Salt Lake City has received several cost estimates from $750,000 to $2 million.  But some believe that it can be done for $200,000.   Most attendees favored the City moving to restore a landmark.  Former Mayor Anderson also attended and encouraged backing the plan to restore the Fountain.  Also, the Liberty Park food stand owner (who is trying to restore the park rides north east of Tracy Aviary) express support for the restoration.  He also said that, due to the influx of homeless, his business is down 30% from last year. 




GOP SHOULD NOT SPEND MONEY THEY DON’T HAVE ON LAWSUITS
  This Party, the Utah GOP, is in debt. This Party, like our Nation, should not go into deeper debt but choose the responsible, fiscally responsible path and live within our means. Unless the Party is able to raise money to cover an effort that will be costly, we should not undertake such an effort. 
  We ask that our Nation live within our means and reduce the significant debt that is a drain on our society.  We, as a Party, should strive to set an example for our Nation and choose the fiscally responsible, Republican path and not incur further debt.
  The lawsuit to continue to fight SB54 should not continue, unless the Utah GOP is able to provide sufficient funds to cover the expense.  That is exactly what we want for governments and what we should do as an example.

 



SEPTEMBER 8, 2017

WITHOUT PROSECUTORS, OPERATION RIO GRANDE WILL FAIL
ELECTION RESULTS OFFICIAL 1600 BALLOTS HAD NO SIGNATURES
DRUGS AND DEALERS NEXT TO SCHOOL BUS STOPS


WITHOUT MORE PROSECUTORS, OPERATION RIO GRANDE WILL FAIL
  Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has been pointing out to the elected officials supporting Operation Rio Grande that there needs to be a three pronged approach, like a three legged stool “on the floor of political will” for the process to succeed (He reminded them yesterday also.).  Jail beds are one leg of the stool.  But the 300 beds were filled in two weeks!  As of Wednesday, the Utah Department of Public Safety, which is tracking the statistics, said that there have been over 900 arrests.  And the felony arrests that were originally prioritized, reached saturation.  That means, without an appropriate number of jail beds (450—600 were recommended), the first leg of the stool, the plan will fail.  And law enforcement will be rearresting the criminals and drug dealers again and again and again (they are now) and the jail becomes a revolving door (like the Sheriff complained about). 
  The second leg of the stool, was supposed to be treatment beds.  But since the Utah House, led by Speaker Greg Hughes refused to pass the Healthy Utah healthcare expansion that would have provided those treatment beds, Utah will have to wait for the federal government to approve the micro version that applies to homeless and prisoners.  But the federal government has not approved the micro version for over two years.  There have been indications that the approval is a few weeks away, for the last two years!  So far, based on a promise from the State, 36 beds have been made available at First Step.  But hundreds more, including those not arrested, want treatment beds now.
  When DA Gill took over from his predecessor, there were 100 prosecutions per prosecutor.  He now functions with 150 prosecutions per prosecutor.  He believes, with adequate treatment beds and jail beds and prosecutors, that he can handle 200 prosecutions per prosecutor.  That means that he should have, right now, six more prosecutors.  He is using two prosecutors and one paralegal to support Operation Rio Grande now!  With the average prosecution lasting, with probation, for 36 months (his commitment is 5 years), the lack of prosecutors becomes more serious.
  DA Gill has made it clear that any sustained enforcement, needed to permanently remove the criminal element from the Rio Grande area, will require a higher baseline jail beds, treatment beds and prosecutors.  Right now, the process is based on the “philosophy of disruption” but an sustained effort will require more political will to fund for those jail and treatment beds and prosecutors NOW.


ELECTION RESULTS OFFICIAL 1600 BALLOTS HAD NO SIGNATURES
  The recount of the SLC District 5 race has been completed.  Ten ballots from the voters in the District had no signatures.  Twelve had no signature match.  During the recount, we agreed that one more signature on the ballot was probably valid and the vote was counted (for Erin Mendenhall).  So George Chapman won the race 293 to 287 for Noah Rosenberg.  The Sandy race also did not change although there were under ten more votes counted, they went to each candidate and it did not change the outcome.  Importantly, there were 1600 ballots without signatures in Salt Lake County!  All were sent letters (or emails if available – note emails are not publicly available outside of the Clerk’s office).  Many were not returned and their ballots were not counted.

 
DRUGS AND DEALERS NEXT TO SCHOOL BUS STOPS
  It is becoming commonplace that drugs and drug dealers and drug use are spreading throughout the City.  Bus stops, with shelters are commonly used.  And in some cases, the dealers and users congregate within 100 feet of school bus stops!!  In the Ballpark neighborhood, at 1200 South and West Temple, at 740 AM, there is a group of dealers and users next to the stop when school children are being picked up by the bus!  Hopefully the police will start patrolling school bus stops to stop the criminal behavior near the stops (and throughout the City).  The Smiths Ballpark parking lot, usually dark, also has a lot of campers and drug users.  Campers have also been reported at schools, including SLC Community College at 1700 S. State. 




SEPTEMBER 7, 2017
HEPATITIS A IN HOMELESS FROM SAN DIEGO
RIO GRANDE MEETING CENSORS QUESTIONS
ID CARDS FOR ALL HOMELESS IF THEY WANT SERVICES
900 ARRESTS AND DRUG DEALERS GET REVOLVING DOOR AT JAIL
GREG HUGHES FOR GOVERNOR THROUGH OPERATION RIO GRANDE


HEPATITIS A IN HOMELESS FROM SAN DIEGO
  There have been 19 cases diagnosed in the homeless population in Salt Lake City recently.  12 of those have been genetically linked to the homeless hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego and 5 more are being tested to see if there is a link.  The at risk populations are those who are homeless, recently incarcerated, drug users and anyone who has recently had contact with someone homeless from San Diego.  San Diego (and some other areas in the states) has over 300 cases and has declared an emergency.  The Salt Lake County Health Department is encouraging those who work with this population (police, health care workers, volunteers, etc) or could be touching items that were left by homeless (like syringes) to get a hepatitis A vaccination.  Pharmacies generally have the vaccination.  The County Health Department also has the vaccine available for $35 for those under 19 years old and $48 for those over 18 years old.  Pharmacies should be cheaper. 
  The vaccination is required for children entering school so most at risk individuals (if they interact with the homeless) are older adults.  The Health Department recommends at least the first vaccination which can confer 93.8% immunity.  A booster is suggested after 6 months and with the booster, immunity is 99%.  The Rose Park Clinic is 385 468 7468 and they do generally take insurance.
  Anyone who gets hepatitis A generally is sick enough to be convinced to go to a doctor who is required to report it.  That is why the Health Department believes that the outbreak is pretty well confined to this specific population.  There is a discussion in the last few days of putting in handwashing stations in the Rio Grande area to help with the situation.  
  I confirmed with the police that they are encouraging their officers to get the shots.

RIO GRANDE MEETING CENSORS QUESTIONS
  During the September 6 meeting in Gateway with the Mayor and Speaker Hughes, questions from the audience were put on cards but the moderator was ordered to only allow questions regarding the Rio Grande road closure!  This is an odd way to encourage public feedback.  So all that we heard is that everything will be great, fine and nothing to worry about.  Many attendees, after the meeting, complained about the censorship.  Last year, San Francisco tried a similar effort to open up a safe and secure space with a lot of rules to keep out criminals and the homeless resisted going to it.  The effort was a failure and the facility (a vacant pier building) was closed after a few months.  This appears to be headed for the same result.  The Salt Lake City COuncil will have a public hearing on the issue on September 19 at their formal meeting.  They will then vote on whether to turn over the street to the State which will implement an ID card plan (see next story).

ID CARDS FOR ALL HOMELESS IF THEY WANT SERVICES
  The Crossroads Urban Center has released a statement (see downloads on the upper right) that complains about the ID card plan.  I have to agree since it requires the homeless that want services to go through an invasive and questioning (of what they need) and have their ID stored with law enforcement.  It is unfortunate that one of the best homeless advocates, Crossroads Urban Center, is being ignored in their concerns.  Interestingly, they suggested closing the street to traffic last year but they didn't want to restrict entrance to non criminal homeless. 
  Yes, the goal is to restrict the criminals from the Rio Grande area.  According to Chief of Staff to the SLC Mayor, Patrick Leary, "The lease will provide the further benefit of helping eliminate the criminal elements and nuisances in and around the leased area.”  Someone needs to think about this. If the jail is full, it is (see next story), where will the criminal element go?  To other areas and your neighborhoods!

900 ARRESTS AND DRUG DEALERS GET REVOLVING DOOR AT JAIL
  There have been 900 arrests of criminals during the Operation Rio Grande.  But there are only 300 beds available.  So we are now where we were two years ago.  The revolving door at the jail is back!  And coming soon to your neighborhood, the homeless who don't want to be questioned about their intimate details for an ID  card and the criminals who won't be allowed to use the services near Rio Grande.  For those interested, drugs are still available but the price has doubled.  And police are reporting that they have arrested the same individuals, criminals and drug dealers multiple times.  

GREG HUGHES FOR GOVERNOR THROUGH OPERATION RIO GRANDE
  If you haven't recognized it yet, Greg Hughes wants to be governor and Operation Rio Grande seems to be ingraciating him to developers who can support his campaign. 




SEPTEMBER 5, 2017
SLCO JAIL SEMI RESTRICTIONS - THEY’RE BACK!!!
GREG HUGHES NEEDS TO LOOK IN MIRROR
MEETINGS SEPTEMBER 6, WEDNESDAY


SLCO JAIL SEMI RESTRICTIONS - THEY’RE BACK!!!
 SLC Police have told me that the SLCO jail issues that have been going on since Ben McAdams took office are back.  The Sheriff complained about the revolving door at the jail and we are now back to that.  Even if the police catch a criminal in the act of breaking into a car or residence, they are very likely to be released within a few hours.  This is just as bad as before. 
  Again, the problem is that the DA is only given a minimal and inadequate amount of money to prosecute criminals and must allow most to just be booked and released.  The DA needs more than the two prosecutors that he has assigned to Operation Rio Grande to really make a dent in this issue. 
  The SLC Police, and other agencies that are arresting criminals in the Rio Grande area, are seeing many that they have arrested before, back on the street committing crimes.  The police are arresting these individuals several times!!!  They are not locked up for very long because the jail is, again, overcrowded!  Anyone can do the math.  Arresting around 800 criminals in the Rio Grande area and taking them to a jail that has 300 beds open (at the start of this process), will result in….. 500 criminals on the street.  That is why the DRUG DEALERS ARE BACK.  Oh and there are still 380 free beds at Oxbow that are not being used because Ben McAdams doesn’t want to spend the jail bond money ($9.4 million per year) on public safety.
  This issue is not going away.  It only happened because Mayor McAdams is not adequately funding public safety.  The worst of it is…. If Mayor McAdams had not repurposed the jail bond money, and used it for public safety (jail beds and prosecutors), the rest of the State wouldn’t have to spend $67 million!   This is not a Mayor Biskupski issue.  This is a Mayor McAdams issue.
  Several years ago, during the last desperate days of the previous administration, streets down by the Rio Grande area were closed to discourage/stop drive through drug sales.  It didn’t work.  Addicts that drove there, would park next to legitimate businesses, then walk to the dealers, get their fix and inject or… in their vehicles next to the businesses.  It did not stop the drug dealing.  Keeping drug dealers in jail would stop the drug dealing.  Speaker Hughes needs to recognize, acknowledge and accept that.
  Interestingly, the Speaker is still trying to stack the deck against Mayor Biskupski.  It is one step removed from “lock her up”.  He is asking for help from Republicans with a survey at: 
https://slcgov.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5tMzkO8WGKX2rw9


GREG HUGHES NEEDS TO LOOK IN MIRROR
  Over the last couple of years, I have written many opinion pieces about the Rio Grande issues. It has been a pleasure to see that, finally, many of the issues that have plagued the area are being addressed. But there still are many issues that remain ignored. I have, in the past, recommended more Salt Lake County funding to open up the 380 beds at Oxbow Jail that were not being used. I also asked for more funding for the DA to hire prosecutors to ensure that the criminals stay locked up and not have a revolving door that the Sheriff complained about. I tried to show that the effort to clean up the Rio Grande area and decrease drug addicts and their crime efforts required healthcare expansion for addiction treatment. I also have tried to convince the Salt Lake City and RDA to provide a safe camping area in a building or outside.
  In the last few days, Speaker Greg Hughes has complained that Salt Lake City Mayor Biskupski is not cooperating in the efforts to help the Operation Rio Grande efforts. He even claimed that Mayor Biskupski is working against the effort. His concern is focused on Salt Lake City’s deliberations to study the closing of Rio Grande Street between the Road Home and the Weigand Center and St Vincent De Paul Center. Speaker Hughes contends that the Salt Lake City Mayor is moving too slow on closing the street in order to allow the homeless to camp and congregate in the area, in order to stop them, legally, from camping in other areas.
  Interestingly, Crossroads Urban Center, last year recommended such a plan. I supported the effort but it went nowhere when the City Council was asked many times to create a camping area, indoors or outside, in the Rio Grande area. It may be a good idea but it deserves a respectful hearing and not a unilateral decision by the Speaker to close a street that businesses, restaurants and the State government uses (in the Rio Grande Depot and adjacent buildings). Mayor Biskupski is right that there should be a vigorous discussion before closing the street.
  Speaker Hughes is wrong to place blame on creating the problem. Interestingly, Representatives Handy and Coleman asked last week who was to blame for the Rio Grande and homeless situation getting so bad.  Speaker Hughes said that he was going to tread lightly on addressing the blame. I won’t tread lightly.
  Salt Lake County, over the last few years, since Mayor Ben McAdams took office, has not adequately funded public safety. Police have complained for four years that they arrest drug dealers and they get out in a few hours due to lack of adequate funding for prosecutors and jail beds. Last year, it got so bad that the Sheriff implemented a jail booking restriction that resulted in Salt Lake City Police not being able to arrest in 10,000 cases of criminal behavior. Despite valiant efforts by the Salt Lake Police to enforce laws, some have even complained that they were not doing their job!
  In addition, as Speaker Hughes should know, the effort to expand healthcare and pass Healthy Utah failed with his efforts. The expansion was going to provide addiction treatment. That failure still results in lack of treatment beds that should have been available before the start of the Operation Rio Grande.
  Operation Rio Grande is a success, despite 700 arrests with most released from jail within a few days. Drug overdoses are down 60% in the area. Several months ago, there were 4 overdose cases in one day in the area!
  There is still much to be done. Affordable housing is still a problem in the County, there is still no safe and convenient camping area and funding for treatment beds. But if Speaker Hughes wants to place blame on the problem that has lasted for four years (before Mayor Biskupski), he should tread lightly and look in the mirror.



MEETINGS SEPTEMBER 6, WEDNESDAY
  The first meeting will be at 9 AM at the SLCO Clerk’s office (2100 S. State).  It will be the recount for two races, in Sandy and SLC.  I am 6 votes ahead of Noah Rosenberg and we will not have an official winner that will be competing with Erin Mendenhall until after that (and the official Board of Canvassers vote).
  The second meeting will be at the Legislature’s Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force Working Group which will have a presentation from Oregon officials on taxing the public for their miles driven.  Someone should provide a reality check.  Oregon had a big backlash against this.  This is essentially a war on cars combined with a big mother brother government.  Utah, Utahns and Legislators will not allow this to get to first base. 
  The next meeting will be at Police Headquarters at 300 East and 450 South at 5 PM.  It is the CAG meeting that should also be the perfect place to complain about how we are back where we were in January off 2016 with respect to the homeless situation.
  There is also the 6 PM, Mayor’s meeting at Gateway, at 116 S. Rio Grande St (former Anthropologie) that will provide an opportunity for citizens and neighbors of the area to comment on the closing of Rio Grande Street between 200 S. and 250 S.  Take the online survey of the proposal at http://www.slcmayor.com/rio-grande.
  There are 5 community councils in SLC meeting tonight, please check the list on the right to see if any might be of interest to you.

 




 

AUGUST 28, 2017
999 RIDE (SLC) IS THE NEW CRUISING SLC
NAZI FOOTBALL PLAYERS
$4.7 MILLION HALE THEATER OR CANYON BUS SERVICE
JIM DABAKIS HATES GUCCI SHOES
ACLU AND DEEDA SEED BLESS SECRET MEETINGS AND PANHANDLING
POVERTY SUMMIT EMPHASIZES HOUSING PROBLEM


999 RIDE (SLC) IS THE NEW CRUISING SLC

  If you have noticed a large number of bicyclists riding in the evening on Thursdays, they are probably part of the large 999 (SLC) Facebook group that has hundreds of bicyclists showing up at the small parking lot on 900 South and 900 East at 9 PM (Southwest corner gets crowded fast).  
  Between 930 and 1000 PM, they start riding through Salt Lake City, generally to the west (flatter) from Glendale to Fairpark, from downtown to Sugar House and they enjoy the ride.  Their motto is "We ride. We laugh. We live."  They can ride until 2AM and, since it is a slow casual ride, they stay together and try to not leave anyone behind.  There are no leaders and the word casual is emphasized.
  This is the new cruising in Salt Lake City.  Enjoy the energy of hundreds of bicyclists enjoying our City and visit the local restaurants in the area on Thursdays at 9 (before they close).  If you are interested in an experience that celebrates our City, check out the Facebook page for 999 (SLC) and bring your bike and ride, every Thursday from 9-2AM starting at 900East and 900 South.

NAZI FOOTBALL PLAYERS
  I have a degree from the University of Utah.  And I lived in the dorms when the University experimented with trying to control the conduct of student athletes by putting them in the same dorm with regular students.  I didn't think that it worked that well.  We did have a resident advisor named Steve Odom who was charismatic enough to control the players, especially the football players.  But there weren't enough Steve Odom to go around.
  That is a lead in to several incidents that could easily have turned deadly due to overly aggressive and dangerous University of Utah football players.  Residents using Guardsman's Way regularly encounter football players who seem to dare the cars  to "engage with them" while they walk in the street.  
  Earlier this month, a resident encountered a "large" football player in the middle of the street and asked him to avoid playing chicken with cars.  The player lost it and, within a few minutes, busted the windshield of the driver with a rock, then engaged in a high speed effort to escape identification, almost killing a doctor and some nurses crossing 400 South at 900 East.  The doctor, nurses, IHC security and parking lot attendants saw it all and a police complaint was filed.  
  Nearby residents in Yslecrest complain regularly about the players who seem to act like they are answerable to no one and act like Nazis (starting fights with everyone.  They don't think the UofU Athletic Director, Chris Hill, who lives in Yalecrest, will do anything about it.  
  Yalecrest residents are still upset about the baseball field going in across the street from Pinegree School (for autistic students - who don't react well with disruptions from baseball games.  Some think that a lawsuit by a Pinegree student's parent is coming. 
  All of this will result in more analysis of what is the line that shouldn't be crossed when balancing academics and athletics St the University of Utah.  This analysis has been going on, since at least the 70s.

$4.7 MILLION HALE THEATER OR CANYON BUS SERVICE
  The Salt Lake County Council could decide as early as Tuesday August 29 on whether to spend an extra $4.7 million on the Hale Centre Theater, which already has all the money needed to complete the Theater, opening next month.  There have been no alternatives presented in public but many of us have been pushing the County for year round bus service.  
  Last year, UTA said that the cost might be around a million per canyon per year.  Ski resorts pay for their bus service during ski season.  We have been pushing for bus service for the canyons to encourage mass transit and also to encourage mountain biking and hiking.  UTA, held onto the estimate to give it to the Mountain Accord/Central Wasatch Commission so that they could take credit and show the value of the Mountain Accord.  
  So now there is $4.7 million that was potentially going to go to the Hale Theater in Sandy but they really don't need it.  If Sandy really wants to help their businesses, encouraging canyon use with bus service can't be beat.  Hopefully, the County Council will see the reasoning and move the $4.7 million to a better use and fund the canyon bus service.  Hiking, mountain biking and mass transit use would increase significantly.  Better yet, year round canyon bus service would get international attention and push the Wasatch Canyons as a recreational nirvana.

JIM DABAKIS HATES GUCCI SHOES
  During the Poverty Summit Saturday hosted by Crossroads Urban Center, Senator Jim Dabakis spent 15 minutes entertaining the crowd with his take on sales tax on food.  He kept complaining about lobbyists that get the Legislature to give tax breaks to, in his mind, questionable products.  He complained about Utah machinery, farm equipment, hay, Chinese, and Gucci shoes.
  Missing from his tirade against the Republicans and lobbyists (with Gucci shoes) was the Our Schools Now efforts to increase the sales tax.  I want to see Jim Dabakis talk Gail Miller and Scott Anderson out of increasing the sales tax before he goes to the Legislature.  
  Unfortunately, Jim Dabakis has a reputation at the Legislature of a useless Senator.  Any bill, except resolutions, that he sponsors will automatically die.  The last good bill that he sponsored was the carbon monoxide detectors in schools bill.  He has a tendency of arguing personalities instead of arguing his case.  But he is entertaining.  Unfortunately, this good cause is a lost cause with Jim Dabakis sponsoring it.
  Interestingly, Representative Joel Briscoe, a friend, tried to make a case for increasing the sales tax recently at the Legislature.  His reasoning was that sales tax constituted a large portion of Utah's revenue in 1960.  The sales tax portion of Utah's revenue decreased about 50% since then.   But in the 1960s, a large portion of individual income was used for basic necessities outside of housing.  Today, income percentage used for basic necessities is about half of what it used to be.  Housing cost is now much higher.  The Legislature's committee did not like Representative Briscoe's reasoning and the Representative wisely rescinded his proposal.

ACLU AND DEEDA SEED BLESS SECRET MEETINGS AND PANHANDLING
  During a discussion on Our Response to Homelessness, at the Crossroads Urban Center's Poverty Summit, ACLU's Leah Farrell and Deeda Seed defended the Salt Lake City's secret meetings.  Deeeda Seed said that there are good reasons to keep meetings secret.  The discussion quickly returned to panhandling and ACLU's concern about the City's efforts to decrease panhandling.  But ACLU seemed to be more concerned about panhandling than trying to protect homeless from overly aggressive quality of life code enforcement.  ACLU again seems to be mistargeting the real issue and is not as interested in protecting the homeless.  

POVERTY SUMMIT EMPHASIZES HOUSING PROBLEM
  According to Crossroads Urban Center's Bill Tibbetts, the Road Home is spending $15,000 per week on motels for homeless families and there doesn't seem to be a reasonable plan for the long term.  The plan to close the Road Home in June 2019 and drop 400 beds for the homeless is especially bothersome and clueless.  Crossroads dropped out of the homeless planning effort due to no plan for housing.  Housing is the big issue and no government entity seems to have a plan for it.  
  Bill Tibbetts said that he believes that Salt Lake City needs 15,000 affordable housing units now (Matt Minkevitch said, two years ago, that we needed 7,000 affordable housing units.).  Daniel Nackerman, Director of the Salt Lake City Housing Authority, said that he  manages 9000 units but he is planning on and looking to add more.  The Authority (separate from the County Housing Authority) has bought the Capitol Motel on State Street and 17th South and hopes to convert it in a few years to better housing.  Salt Lake City is hoping that the Mayor's Housing Plan will help.  The Council is planning on having a public hearing on the plan in the next few months.
  Crossroads pointed out that, at minimum wage, employees take home about $968.  In 2015, the median Utah rent was $887.  Rent has gone significantly up since 2015.     







AUGUST 23, 2017
UTA MAY LOSE RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROJECTS

IN DEFENSE OF JULIE DOLE

WHY COUNTY CLERK COUNT TAKES SO LONG
YOU CAN DEMOLISH A DRUG HOUSE UNLESS YOU ARE FORMER MAYOR

BUS TRAFFIC SIGNAL PRIORITY TESTING
UTA BUS 500 STILL NOT USEFUL
MOUNTAIN VIEW CORRIDOR SUGGESTS ALTERNATIVE BUS PROPOSAL
TRUCK CRASHES/POLLUTION MAY JUSTIFY PIPELINE
ODYSSEY HOUSE/FIRST STEP MAY SIGNIFICANTLY EXPAND FACILITIES
INTERNATIONAL CENTER RAIL MAKES SENSE IF AMAZON PAYS



UTA MAY LOSE RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROJECTS
  UTA is discussing refinancing their large bond debt using Utah's financial reputation (still requires UTA sales tax to pay the bonds).   It could allow a better premium payment schedule. 
  At the same time, Utah may have some responsibility taken from them for projects.   The Legislature Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force is seriously discussing taking away responsibility for projects from UTA.   The Transportation Interim Committee opened two bill files to implement the recommendations of the Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force.



IN DEFENSE OF JULIE DOLE
  This may hurt some of you, but, I am a friend of Gary Ott.  My guess is that he is now in a nursing home in Southern Utah and for the hour of the day when he is completely lucid, he is tortured with the realization that his life is no longer his and he will have to spend the rest of his days in a nursing home.  Gary Ott deserves better.
  Gary and I talked often over the last few years.  His concentration issues were obvious but when talking about uncomplicated issues, he seemed to be able to communicate.  Under pressure, he couldn't respond.  The last, long and intelligent conversation that I had with Gary was at the beginning of 2016.  We talked about a lot of things, including his time in the Army (in Bavaria) and also the office and his hope that a new software system would help the office (Darwin was implemented without the rest of the County being ready to move from their old, old mainframe system to interface successfully with the Recorder's Office' Darwin software).  I asked, and he gave Julie Dole credit for running the office "like a well oiled machine".  He loved her ability to manage the office since it made things easier for him.  I also should add that Julie Dole and Karmen were out of earshot in a County Council meeting at the time.  Gary's words were his without influence from anyone else.
  I know that there were some legitimate issues with Julie Dole's actions over the last few years.  Julie was the last really successful and well organized Salt Lake County Republican Chair (subsequent chairs have had issues with finances - not always their fault - I don't think that they realized how complicated the job is).  When she went to work for Gary, she was well respected as a manager for Republicans.   
  Over the last few years, I know that many employees of the County called her a friend and liked being called her friend.  The fact that Julie Dole had friends in all departments of the County should say something.  When she did something wrong, she was called out for it.  When there were questions about doing politics while being paid by the County (as Deputy Recorder), she ended up in a Legislative hearing.  She did support the Republican Party regularly but it did not take away from her job.  I think that it is just like Mayor McAdams doing political visits with his Democratic candidates in the County during the workday. 
  Julie Dole was placed in an untenable, uncomfortable and a no win situation with Gary Ott.  Most people in the County Building Complex knew that Gary had issues with concentration.  It was not a secret.  It should not have led to dragging Gary Ott through the mud by insisting that he testify!  Anyone who claims to be a friend of Gary and participated in that travesty, should be ashamed.  It would have been better behind closed doors where even criminal behavior is generally kept pending a decision.  County Auditor Tingley found that the Recorder's Office was being run in accordance with the law.  That should have settled it.  DA Sim Gill should have investigated by now and reached a conclusion one way or another on any possible criminal activity.
  I believe, at worst, that Julie Dole, trying to be professional and loyal, did what Gary wanted, and ran the office.  She, and almost any employee, could not question her boss about his attitude and mental state.  I should add that I know of terminations of government employees for being concerned and communicating that concern to appropriate authorities - including possible criminal behavior.  Julie was walking a tightrope and, in the end, was professional about it.  Everyone in the building knew the issue and expected her to come out and admit it.  Julie Dole was the last person who should have to admit that Gary Ott had issues!
  My Republican Party went out of their way to drag Julie and Gary through the mud, including violating bylaws by censoring Julie (ignoring the Central Committee), making a public spectacle of denying Julie a chance to speak at the convention and publicly stating that the Party is investigating Julie!  Through all of this, Julie has remained a vigorous supporter of the Party.  When the previous chair fired the Party's office manager due to lack of funding, Julie picked up the slack and helped organize the Central Committee Meeting!  That is not how someone guilty of anything acts.  It is how a professional, ethical manager acts.
  I am a Republican, and I will argue with my fellow Republicans when it makes sense.  But with regards to Julie Dole, I find much more fault with Democrats, especially since the Mayor of Salt Lake County, through inadequate public safety funding, has allowed drugs to essentially be legal in Salt Lake County (due to non enforcement of the laws, jail booking restrictions, and lack of DA funding to keep criminals locked up).
  Julie Dole is the last person that I can complain about.  Trust me, I have hundreds more that I find fault with for much bigger (billions of dollars bigger) reasons. 
George Chapman




WHY COUNTY CLERK COUNT TAKES SO LONG
  The latest vote count for Salt Lake City Council Districts as of August 21 is below this paragraph.  Many of you have asked why is it taking so long to count the ballots?  The reason is...when most of an election is conducted by mail, many ballots come in with questions.  Some may even have signatures that don't seem to match the signature on file.  When there are questions, the clerk will (at least in Salt Lake County) mail a letter to the voter and ask for confirmation of the vote/ballot.  That may take up to two weeks.  Other ballots may have been cast as provisional and it may take a few days to confirm the address and legalize the ballot.  The Salt Lake County Clerk has had several thorough investigations to ensure that all ballots are counted and the system works.  No problems have been detected in the past.  In my race in District 5, Erin Mendenhall has 2466 votes, I have 293 votes and Noah Rosenberg has 282 votes.  I have seen City Council votes as close as 3 votes (a legislator was elected last year by 3 votes).  That is another reason for voting. 

DISTRICT 1
JAMES ROGERS     1322  78.27%
DAVID C ATKIN      209            

DISTRICT 3
CHRIS WHARTON    1750  32.78%
PHIL CARROLL         1701  31.87%

DISTRICT 5
ERIN MENDENHALL  2466  73.77%
GEORGE CHAPMAN    293     8.76%
BENJAMIN NOAH ROSENBERG 282   8.44%

DISTRICT 7
AMY FOWLER       1715 41.78%
ABE SMITH              904  22%



YOU CAN DEMOLISH A DRUG HOUSE UNLESS YOU ARE FORMER MAYOR
  Several years ago, Craig Meacham demolished his property at Highland and 2100 South and left it a vacant "Sugar Hole" for many years.  In response, the Salt Lake City Council changed the ordinance to stop demolition without an approved plan for the replacement building.  Many vacant buildings are sitting as crime magnets downtown and around Salt Lake City.  Drug use is visibly present in the buildings.  But Salt Lake City does not allow those buildings to be torn down due to the backlash against the Sugar Hole.  But Hamlet Homes, last year, demolished two homes that they claimed were drug houses before plans were approved (or even revealed).  Eventually, Hamlet received approval for 16 expensive homes in an area that had four (plots - one house is still standing).  But former SLCO Mayor Peter Corroon was not allowed to demolish his building/house because he didn't have a plan approved to build on the property.  So the property remained a crime magnet.  A few days ago, two squatters were ordered out and they set a fire before leaving.  The house is now a super duper eyesore and the property is that way due to Salt Lake City's nonsensical demolition ordinance.
  The ordinance kept a Sugar House property, the car wash on 2100 S. and 850 E., halfway torn down for a year due to the same ordinance.  The property owner started the demolition but was stopped before completing the process and it stood there as an eyesore until recently.  There are many vacant properties in downtown Salt Lake City that are not allowed to be torn down until a building plan and permit is approved.  In some cases, to stop buildings from being used by drug addicts, the owner has asked to demolish the building and make it a parking lot.  But Salt Lake City does not like parking lots and some on the Council believe that the City has too much parking (which encourages car use!).  So the building has to stand until the owner has the money to plan and build a replacement.  And the surrounding property owners, businesses and residents have to endure a crime magnet.  Salt Lake City needs to get real with its demolition ordinance.



BUS TRAFFIC SIGNAL PRIORITY TESTING
  UDOT is working with UTA to develop a traffic signal priority for transit.  A pilot project is using bus 217 on Redwood Road to test a traffic signal priority system.  UDOT takes data from the 217 bus (location, number of passengers), information on cross traffic and makes a real time determination of whether allowing the bus to receive priority at the traffic light (green light).  The goal is to increase on time operation from 87% to 94%. 



UTA BUS 500 STILL NOT USEFUL

  UTA's bus 500 that serves the State Capitol, still has two buses that arrive at the Capitol within a minute of each other, every half hour.  Instead of a 15 minute schedule, between Courthouse TRAX and North Temple Station, UTA seems to be unable to reason out a schedule that does not look foolish (having 2 buses serve the Capitol every half hour and arriving at the same time).



MOUNTAIN VIEW CORRIDOR SUGGESTS ALTERNATIVE BUS PROPOSAL
  Discussions of the Mountain View Corridor (5600 West) freeway and transit system have added a proposal to build/operate an enhance bus style system that would be 1/3 of the cost of the proposed BRT.  Originally, the replacement for the hourly/half hour regular bus was going to be a BRT at a cost of $350-500 million.  The alternative bus proposal would use priority traffic lights (see above for pilot program) and a bus lane at the intersections.  BRT costs usually run about $15/mile.  An enhanced bus is generally $1.5 million per mile.  I still think that it is too expensive.  But high speed mass transit should rely on freeways instead of local roads that have to balance pedestrian and vehicle traffic with mass transit systems (like the BRT on 3500 S. and Redwood Road that has to wait for 3+ light cycles to get through the intersection.



TRUCK CRASHES/POLLUTION MAY JUSTIFY PIPELINE
  Every year, there are about 100 commercial motor vehicle crashes coming from Vernal and the oilfields there.  The crude oil is thick and requires heating to pass through a pipeline.  The alternative is to truck the oil in a tanker on I40 to the refineries in Salt Lake City (using Provo Canyon or I80).  Heber City is frustrated by all of the heavy truck traffic, especially the oil tankers.  Although some stores may like the traffic, most cities along the routes feel that the traffic from heavy trucks deters from their quality of life and adds significant pollution to the area (one of the reasons for the Uintah Valley air pollution problems).
  I put the last few years worth of crashes on the upper right downloads.  This may be useful to compare the cost and benefits of a pipeline (with double walls near water or protected areas) large scale infrastructure project.  Utah has created special tax credits for such a large undertaking.  It would also require a naptha plant to produce the additive that would be added to the oil to make it able to use a pipeline.  A cost benefit analysis may show that it still makes sense to truck the oil in from Uintah Valley but the analysis should be done.



ODYSSEY HOUSE/FIRST STEP MAY SIGNIFICANTLY EXPAND FACILITIES

  I am not sure if anyone is paying attention on this but if everything happens the way some people want, Odyssey House will expand their facility by 100 beds and First Step will expand 80 beds!  The neighborhoods surrounding these facilities (which may be built from scratch) should have a say and not go through what residents in Sugar House had to go through when they fought (and won against) a homeless shelter.  Salt Lake City should make this next effort more public and allow the public to participate in deciding if it makes sense.  The State also must get approval to allow Medicaid to pay for facilities that are over 16 beds (about half the states have permission from the federal government).  AND, the State must get the mickie mouse version of healthy Utah approved.



INTERNATIONAL CENTER RAIL MAKES SENSE IF AMAZON PAYS

  Missing from the plans for airport TRAX is the better project to extend the TRAX Green line to the International Center (5600 West) where Amazon will be building their new Utah warehouse.  In Seattle, Amazon helps pay for the rail/streetcar operations.  This chance should not be ignored.  All discussions on UTA projects with SLC should include the Green line extension to the International Center and cutting out the zig zag through downtown to get a cheaper and better version of the proposed downtown north south streetcar.


 



AUGUST 17, 2017

OPERATION RIO GRANDE NOTES
YOUNG AFRICAN KILLERS GANG DISBURSED FROM RIO GRAND

WE MAY NOT KNOW WHO WON IN DISTRICT 5 SLC RACE UNTIL AUG. 29

SLC WORKING TO HELP FOOTHILL TRAFFIC    
SLC MAYOR ASKS IF VOTERS WANT A VOTE  ON INFRASTRUCTURE BOND
EFFORT TO HAVE UTAH SET UP AN EMERGENCY FUND FOR ACTS OF GOD
EXPERT WARNS THAT RAIL MAY BE USELESS IN FUTURE
UTA $65MIL BIG ASS GARAGE LOOKING FOR SUPPORTERS



OPERATION RIO GRANDE NOTES
 I put several pictures of the Tuesday August 15 meeting and audio recording of the Operation Rio Grande meeting that had Mayor Biskupski, Mayor McAdams, Lt. Governor Cox, Police Chief Brown, Speaker Hughes, and Utah Commissioner of Public Safety Squires discuss the plan.  
  The first day, they arrested 87 (but 30 were released the next day).  During the Wednesday night East Bench meeting, they couldn't answer the question of how many released out of the 30 had to be rearrested and taken to jail.  They said that they are still looking for that data.  They were booking and releasing Class B and C misdemeanors which puts the drug addicts, more desperate than ever on the street.  Again (I have done opeds on it and it is in more detail below by CTRL F and warrants), the SLC Police, over the last year, during the SLCO Jail booking restrictions, gave citations which turned into warrants, which could not be served since the jail would not take them.  So, this week, there were many arrested that had over 10 warrants.  Unfortunately, the jail is still a revolving door.  
  I was told that the DA has been promised money to handle the increased workload but I don't see it having an effect.  Public safety is more than jailbeds.
  Also, it was made clear that there might be 37 beds in a few days and up to 200 by the end of the year (they said "hopefully")!  That would include some in Washington County.  
  Speaker Hughes is still pushing to have IDs given to all individuals in the area to ensure that there is more control.  Also there is an increase in social workers who have helped many to be steered to better  situations.  In one case, a person with a staff infection was referred to a hospital and they would have died if they hadn't been pushed to go.  I have reported on the fact that hospitals have kicked out patients in their hospital gowns and walkers and sent them to the Weigand Center.  Also, in the past, there has been an epidemic of MRSA.  That is one of the reasons for the sidewalk cleanups with special water that is so contaminated after cleaning that it can't go into the storm drains.
  The price tag appears to be around $13 million.  The police and law enforcement (150 from many jurisdictions) will go where the criminals and drug dealers go.  The police expect "spidering" where the criminals will go to other areas.  They especially expect the drug dealers to go into other areas.  They are seeing it go north towards Ogden.  The police urge everyone who is suspicious of new individuals in their area to call 801 799 3000, the non emergency police number.
  Among the service providers that are coordinating services, SLCO Behavioral Health, First Step, Odyssey House, Utah Workforce Service and other homeless service providers.  There will be daily cleanups and the County Health Department should be called at 385 468 3835 if there are new campsites developing.
  A question was asked about what happens to personal property of arrested individuals.  The answer was that the property is inventoried and returned to the person when they are released from jail.  Unfortunately, the Police Storage Facility is at 4700 West and 1300 South.  The homeless are not able to get there.  
  There was also a discussion about panhandlers who help fuel the drug trade (see story on panhandlers massing outside theaters and churches below).  There is hope that the new law that makes it illegal for all parties to transact business, even giving money to panhandlers, in major intersections (over 35MPH) will help.
  If anyone sees a problem developing, they are urged to call the SLC Police Bike Patrol at 801 799 DNTN and report it.  Also, the City intends to set up a website to take comments about the issues involved in this crackdown.
  There was also a discussion on citing jaywalkers and the Chief answered that he wants all laws enforced and individuals that are in the area, checked for warrants.  So he expects a lot of stop and ask for ID.  There were also reports that the Police are enforcing no smoking in Pioneer Park.  In other words, super duper quality of life enforcement.  Chief Brown was ordered to try this before during the previous administration's attempt to force the homeless out of the area.  I do not know if they are enforcing the no bicycling on sidewalks downtown ordinance for everyone, but it is being used on the homeless.
  The big questions are: will the SLCO DA get funding to adequately keep the criminal element from being on the street and will there be any money (other than a wish, a hope and a dream) for drug and alcohol treatment?  There was no line item for the DA at the Tuesday morning cost meeting.  And of course, how did the $13 million become available?  It didn't magically appear.

   The SLC Police are  asking anyone who sees illegal activity to dial 801 799 3686 and report it. .



YOUNG AFRICAN KILLERS GANG DISBURSED FROM RIO GRAND
  The Young African Killers (YAK) gang that sells spice, K2 and meth (the person who was shot in January of 2016 was claimed to be part of the gang) have been targeted and disrupted from the area according to law enforcement.  The gang is composed of many refugee teens that came from violent areas and have quickly gained a reputation for aggressive control of the Rio Grande area's spice drug market.  Hopefully, this gang will no longer be able to operate in Salt Lake County.



WE MAY NOT KNOW WHO WON IN DISTRICT 5 SLC RACE UNTIL AUG. 29

  The race for SLC District 5 is so close that we may not know who will be challenging Erin Mendenhall in November's General Election. Noah Rosenberg has 257 votes and I have 268 votes.  The official canvass is August 29.



SLC WORKING TO HELP FOOTHILL TRAFFIC
  Salt Lake City Mayor Biskupski spent over an hour at the East Bench Community Council meeting on August 16 and discussed issues about storm water, traffic, crime and traffic.  Several expressed concern about the traffic on the side streets (like 1900 East) that is trying to get out of the Foothill Drive congestion.  The Mayor said that they are working with the University of Utah, the Foothill Cultural Committee, UDOT and interested stakeholders to get a solution that could minimize traffic congestion.
  One way is to change the light sequencing significantly during evening rush hours to prioritize north south traffic on all north south streets.  Even the backup on streets like 2100 East, 1900 East, 1300 East, 900 East and others significantly increase to several blocks during rush hour with minimal backup going east west.  UDOT has the ability, through their Wavetronix systems to change the traffic lights now.  Also, if you see a problem with the traffic lights on UDOT streets like Foothill, State Street and 400 South, call UDOT Traffic Control, Mark Taylor at 801 887 3714.


SLC MAYOR ASKS IF VOTERS WANT VOTE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE BOND
Mayor Biskupski also asked attendees at the Community Council (and wants to know what all SLC citizens think) if they had a preference on how to pay for infrastructure/streets upkeep.  She suggested a bond with a vote of the public but several City Council members want to charge a fee and bond without allowing the public to vote on it.  Please email the Mayor with your comments at mayor@slcgov.com.  Comments so far have asked for very specific line items of where the money would be spent.  During recent City Council meetings, there seems to have been an interest in leaving the public out of the discussion and voting it into effect themselves.  The Mayor is being more respectful and asking what the public wants.  Also, you should tell the City Council members what you think about new taxes, fees or bonds without public votes.  Their email addresses are on the right.


EFFORT TO HAVE UTAH SET UP AN EMERGENCY FUND FOR ACTS OF GOD
  Despite the best efforts to get emergency funds to compensate individuals and businesses impacted by the recent 200 year storm, Salt Lake City is unable to get an emergency declaration and will be looking for other solutions to help victims.  The City says that the infrastructure generally worked with a few, but major exceptions.
  During discussions at the East Bench Community Council, the person in charge of Wisconsin's State emergency fund that covered damage from flood or water damage, the State should be considering a setup like Wisconsin's 86.34.  The Mayor said that she will consider it.


EXPERT WARNS THAT RAIL MAY BE USELESS IN FUTURE
  During the August 16 Legislature's Transportation Governance and Funding hearing, an expert testified that building rail systems does not make sense due to the rapid change that transportation systems are exhibiting.  Car sharing, self driving cars and other systems seem to be the future and building a rail system that is meant to last for 50+ years is unreasonable.  Bus service expansion makes more sense.  I agree and my opeds on mass transit in Utah also have other arguments that costly rail should not be attempted.  Mayor Biskupski seems to be recognizing the limits and cost of rail and is fighting the SLC Council which wants expensive projects.


UTA $65MIL BIG ASS GARAGE LOOKING FOR SUPPORTERS
  Speaking of expensive projects:  UTA is asking for groups of individuals and associations to support their efforts to get federal funds to build their $65 million big ass garage.  They call it a clean fuels technology center.  They already put in the natural gas pumps but they want a bus garage to replace the one across the street (which works very well).  Unfortunately, federal matching rules will require $30+ million from local funds that should be/could be/would be better spent on bus service expansion (30 more bus routes or significantly expanding service times)!  The effort is to show that UTA's plan has broad public support.  I think that I will write to the Transportation Department (as I have several times before to stop the Sugar House Streetcar Extension) and point out that the project DOES NOT have broad public support.  The funding decision should be made by October.





AUGUST 12, 2017
VOTING ON ELECTION DAY CENTERS AND ON AUGUST 14
NOTE ON CITY COUNCIL PUBLIC COMMENTS

Election Day Vote Centers 
Note that on August 14th, when the ballots have to be postmarked by, the

SLCO Govt Center at 2000 S and State Street (south building) will have voting from 8-5 PM.

Salt Lake County provides options for accessible voting.
Vote Centers will be open on Election Day (August 15, 2017) from 7:00 am - 8:00 pm for voters who either require amenities provided by the electronic voting machines, misplaced or didn't receive ballots, or otherwise need to vote in person. 
Voters may vote at ANY of the Vote Centers listed below on Election Day (identification is required Valid Identification)


Location         Address      City
Bluffdale City Hall 2222 W 14400 S Bluffdale
Cottonwood Heights City Hall 2277 E Bengal Blvd (7600 S) Cottonwood Heights
Brighton Point LDS Church 3455 E Bengal Blvd (7800 S) Cottonwood Heights
Draper City Hall 1020 E Pioneer Rd (12400 S) Draper
South Mtn Community Church 14216 S Bangerter Pkwy (200 E) Draper
Herriman Library 5380 W Herriman Main St (12720 S) Herriman
Holladay City Hall 4580 S 2300 E Holladay
Midvale Senior Center 7550 S Main St (700 W) Midvale
Ruth Vine Tyler Library 8041 S Wood St (55 W) Midvale
Murray City Hall 5025 S State St (100 E) Murray
SLCO Environmental Health Bldg 788 E Woodoak Ln (5390 S) Murray
Wheeler Historic Farm 6351 S 900 E Murray
Trolley Square 600 S 700 E #D-117 Salt Lake City
River's Bend NW Senior Center 1300 W 300 N Salt Lake City
Sorenson Multicultural Center 855 W California Ave (1305 S) Salt Lake City
 Salt Lake Co. Government Center  2001 S State St (100 E) Salt Lake City 
First Congregational Church 2150 S Foothill Dr (2755 E) Salt Lake City
Sandy City Hall 10000 S Centennial Pkwy (170 W) Sandy
Sandy Library 10100 S Petunia Wy (1410 E) Sandy
Sandy Senior Center 9310 S 1300 E Sandy
Heritage Gardens 2050 Creek Rd (8100 S) Sandy
Lone Peak Park Pavilion 10140 S 700 E Sandy
South Jordan Library 10673 S Redwood Rd (1700 W) South Jordan
SJ Founders Park Stake LDS 11685 S Kestrel Rise Rd (4510 W) South Jordan
Sagewood at Daybreak 11289 Oakmond Rd (4890 W) South Jordan
Columbus Community Center 2531 S 400 E South Salt Lake
Taylorsville City Hall 2600 W Taylorsville Blvd (5320 S) Taylorsville
Taylorsville Senior Center 4743 S Plymouth View Dr (1625 W) Taylorsville
Bennion LDS Church 6250 S 2200 W Taylorsville
West Jordan (Viridian) Library 8030 S 1825 W West Jordan
Copper Hills LDS Church 5349 W 9000 S West Jordan
Hampton Inn & Suites 3923 W Center Park Dr (7185 S) West Jordan
West Valley City Hall 3600 S Constitution Blvd (2700 W) West Valley City
Hunter Library 4740 W 4100 S West Valley City
Granger LDS Church 3300 S 4440 W West Valley City
Utah Cultural Celebration Center 1355 W 3100 S West Valley City


Extended Early Voting
Select locations will continue Early Voting through Monday, August 14, the day before Election Day.
SLCO Government Center 2001 S State St (100 E) 8:00 am-5:00 pm (M-F) July 17-August 14​
Sandy City Hall 10000 S Centennial Pkwy (170 W)  Sandy 10:00-5:00 
Taylorsville City Hall 2600 W Taylorsville Blvd (5320 S) Taylorsville 10:00-5:00 



NOTE ON CITY COUNCIL PUBLIC COMMENTS
  Matthew Piper writing for the Salt Lake Tribune,  has described me as a fixture at SLC City Council public comment periods.  I do go to most City Council meetings and comment on their issues.  I have been encouraging citizens to comment on these issues (see the rest of my blog) for years.  I have been respectful and constructive in my comments to the Council and to the mayors.  I also provide public comment to the County Council and Legislature.  I think that I am proof that the Council, the mayors, and the Legislators listen to the public.  I often see many others who also are engaged with their elected leaders and refuse to be silent and let things be taken care of.  I have watched legislators spend almost an hour trying to work out an acceptable bill with interested citizens.  Elected officials do try to be public servants in many cases.

  I keep saying this: The more engagement with the public, the more discussion, debate and analysis with the public and the more public comment to elected officials, the better the decision.  If no one says anything, decisions will suffer. 


  I encourage public comment to the email addresses/contacts on the right.  Many times, during public comments, the Council learns of issues and problems that did not come up during work session discussions.  In other words, public comments are constructive and should be encouraged.  You don’t have to speak; you can email your comments or even write them on the back of the comment card.  I would recommend that if you don’t speak that you email each individual Councilmember.  I may be famous to Matthew Piper as a fixture at public comment periods because I am an advocate for the citizens, the taxpayers and the residents of Salt Lake City and that requires speaking to the elected officials.  Everyone should speak to their elected officials.


PLEASE TELL YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS WHAT YOU THINK!

​​




AUGUST 10, 2017

SLC DISTRICT 5 RACE SUMMARY
ARTESIAN WELL PARK NEEDS REPAIR
PANHANDLERS CONGREGATE DOWNTOWN AFTER SHOWS
COUNCIL CONSIDERS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN TRANSIT PROJECTS &

WAR ON CARS
STREETS REALLY REALLY NEED REPAIR OPED BY BENJAMIN SESSIONS
 

SLC DISTRICT 5 RACE SUMMARY
The Liberty Wells Community Council had a well attended Candidate Forum on August 9 (the best for District 5 candidates).  This is a summary of the candidates’ views and issues.

  Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall was elected to the SLC Council four years ago with a background as an activist for clean air.  Although she admits that it took her three years to get up to speed and be able to understand how to get her issues taken care of by the Council, she feels that she can now hit the ground running and do a lot more.  She sits on the Utah Clean Air Board and on the Quality Growth Commission.  She has spent a lot of her time trying address the issues on State Street with the problem/crime magnet motels and human trafficking.  Some of her accomplishments are the recently passed Civil Penalty Ordinance (which allows the City to pull the business license after 4 citations and not meeting probation requirements), adding more police officers (against Mayer Becker’s efforts), building the McClelland Trail from 900 South to 2100 South and adding $75,000 to the urban forestry budget to allow them to replace the 3000 big trees that the City cuts down each year with mini trees.

Noah Rosenberg comes from a background of working with homeless, addiction and mental health issues and supporting Legislators as an assistant (Rep. Moss and Rep. Eliason).  He seems to be focusing on homeless solutions which are desperately needed, including appropriate addiction treatment and affordable housing.  He is also concerned about infrastructure maintenance, not just with streets’ maintenance and pothole repair (He knows bicyclists who have broken bones from riding into a pothole after dark.), but also with the lack of secure and dependable utility infrastructure that seems to be lacking in the Liberty Wells area (7 power outages on one street in a year).

Vance Hansen works at Walmart’s Hope Avenue store in security.  He comes from a security background which includes attending the academy.  He has mostly been in private security, working for several firms.  He is concerned about the Council not listening to the citizens and taxpayers and the lack of police funding.  He wants to see more jail space and people locked up who commit crimes.

Carol Goode-Rogozinski has worked for the State of Utah for almost 20 years.  She was not at the Forum Wednesday due to other commitments.  She previously served as Chair of the East Central Community Council since she lives half a block south of 900 South (District 5 jogs one block south around 900 East).  But she has been involved in trying to protect the character of the 9th and 9th neighborhood.  She wants to be more available to the citizens of the District.

George Chapman is a longtime community advocate who attends most Council and community meetings.  A retired engineer, I want to stop secret Council meetings and decisions, stop tax increases without a public vote (streets, streetcar, water, sewer, sales and parks), and I insist that Salt Lake County provide adequate DA and jail funding so that cops can arrest the drug dealers and criminals and keep them in jail for more than a few hours.  I also wants to stop the expensive streetcar projects including the S-line extension.  I want the City to provide a designated camping area downtown, near services, so that the anti camping ordinance can be enforced.  I want to stop wasting millions on alleyway trails and projects that do not have maintenance funding (The McClelland Trail plantings have died and goatheads are multiplying.).  I want to stop road diets that increase congestion and pollution, stop the urban forest which is decreasing, stop overcharging parks for water, protect the watershed by building restrooms, stop the proposed plastic bag ban, increase housing permits significantly (from 3000 last year – note that Herriman approved 1000 last year) and speed up State Street redevelopment.  I write several opeds a month in the newspapers and I write this blog.



ARTESIAN WELL PARK NEEDS REPAIR
  Luke Garrett is leading a group that wants to repair the artesian well at the Park on the 500 East and 800 South corner.  The Central City Neighborhood Council, CCNC, has requested City funds to redesign and improve Artesian Well Park.  The back wall behind the faucet is falling down.  He is asking to help convince the SLC Council to pursue this project. Email council.comments@slcgov.com or call 801 535 7654 and tell the Council to award CIP funding to Artesian Well Park.  Complete the short survey at surveymonkey.com/r/artesianwellpark.  Note that the water is not City water but is actually artesian spring water.  Salt Lake City also provides an artesian well in Liberty Park for public use.  The water is tested regularly and except for a minor contaminant (perchlorate tested as within safe limits), the water is safe and real spring water.

  Andy Eatchel looked up the information and water testing results and found them at:
http//www.slcdocs.com/utilitiies/newsevents/news2006/news3292006.htm

http://www.slcdocs.com/utilities/PDF%20files/liberty%20park%20chemistry%200organics%20data.pdf

http://www.slcdocs.com/utilities/pdf%20files/perchlorate.pdf


PANHANDLERS CONGREGATE DOWNTOWN AFTER SHOWS
  It seems that panhandlers in downtown Salt Lake City have found a great system to make $80 or more in just an hour of bothering people coming out of downtown shows.  Something needs to be done because they surround the patrons leaving the shows like flies.  And get almost a hundred dollars for just a little time of asking for money.  The police need to enforce the laws against blocking sidewalks since they are becoming as famous as the drug dealers in the Rio Grande area.  When Catholics leave mass at the cathedral, homeless, as many as 14, stand on a corner asking for money.  Maybe the speed limit on South Temple should be raised to 35 MPH to stop it.  The billboards won’t stop it.  Big signs need to be considered and placed next to every area that attracts panhandlers.
 

COUNCIL CONSIDERS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN TRANSIT PROJECTS &

WAR ON CARS  DOWNLOADS ON UPPER RIGHT
  During the City Council discussion of the City’s Master Transit Plan, the Council decided to move ahead with a public hearing on the draft.  After the public hearing, the Council will direct changes to the draft before bringing it to another public hearing, the final hearing, before adopting the plan.  Erin Mendenhall pushed for the Sugar House Streetcar extension up 1100 East (eventually planned to go north on 900 East to 400 South) saying, again, that she believes that the City needs to “put a head on the snake” since the streetcar won’t work without a longer extension.  Unfortunately, the extension will cost local taxpayers over $100 million to go to 900 East.   I don’t think that local taxpayers should be burdened by hundreds of millions to add a couple of hundred new riders a day.  The streetcar now gets 1300 a day (1600 a day on Sunday) and the County is giving UTA $4 million to double track the line and save 5 minutes to gain maybe a hundred passengers.  But studies show that a million dollars should provide hundreds of riders for extended hours on popular bus routes.  Instead of projects, the City, the taxpayers and transit riders need more service and Investment Per Rider should drive decisions, not projects to provide monuments to elected officials (ribbon cutting projects).

  Note that I put 5 downloads on the upper right hand corner of the blog.  These are the excerpts from the SLC Transit Master Plan.  A lot of data is old but that is what the authors of the report, Nelson/Nyygard, had available.  The most important data, in my mind, is the SLC UTA Route Level Performance Measures which lists the bus routes and cost to operate each route.  
  I have argued against Nelson/Nyygard studies before.  They are infamous nationwide for what some call a WAR ON CARS.  They consistently discourage parking in order to “force” people to use transit!  And they continue their efforts in this Plan on page 5-15 and 5-16 of the main body of the report by recommending less parking.  The Sugar House and Downtown Parking Study recommendations have not been adopted.  As Benjamin Sessions points out in his recent Salt Lake Tribune oped, see below, cars make our families, our economy and our Country more efficient.  Salt Lake City should not join the WAR ON CARS.


STREETS REALLY REALLY NEED REPAIR OPED BY BENJAMIN SESSIONS

  I strongly recommend the oped just published in the Salt Lake Tribune by Benjamin Sessions “Commentary: A success-driven city should start with infrastructure.  The lack of adequate funding for basic streets maintenance is discouraging bicycling, negatively impacting families trying to drive their children to their activities and school and affecting the basic benefits that trucks provide to our economy.  His humorous video on You Tube (search Sugar House Potholes) makes the point really well.  If kids think that the streets need repair, streets really, really need repair.

 




AUGUST 7, 2017
CIVIL PENALTY HOPE TO REMOVE CRIME FROM STATE STREET
SLC NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUP SURVEY ONLINE IMPORTANT
SLC HOMELESS CENTER DESIGN GROUP NEEDS COMMUNITY MEMBERS
CRIME REPORTS FOR SLC
EARLY VOTING AVAILABLE TIL 11TH (SLCO CTR TIL 14TH)
WHY I AM RUNNING FOR SLC COUNCIL 5 (REPEATED)

 

CIVIL PENALTY HOPE TO REMOVE CRIME FROM STATE STREET
  I put the download of the SLC Civil Penalty Ordinance in the upper right hand corner.  It is important and should provide a solution to the motels on State Street and around various SLC neighborhoods that are crime magnets.  Essentially, after four citations, the property goes into probation and if they are not successful at meeting the probation requirements, the property will lose their business license.  Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall was a big backer of this effort and she deserves credit for it (along with the Mayor’s staff).  This provides hope for the areas surround State Street, North Temple and other areas with motels that seem to require police responses every day.

 
SLC NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUP SURVEY ONLINE IMPORTANT
  There is a SLC NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUP SURVEY online that will influence the direction of the SLC neighborhood cleanup program.  It is important that you give your comments and recommendations to the City.  I would like to add a suggestion that the City start an allyway cleanup effort.  During the last Ballpark Community Council, a resident indicated that after several months of cleaning up his alleyway, he has been able to successfully keep out homeless campers and other prowlers.  SLC should implement and support alleyway cleanups like neighborhood watch.  It will reduce crime and homeless camping.

 Option 1: You can call two times a year to haul bulky items
 Option 2 Is a dumpster program dropped off once a year
 Option 3 Is landfill vouchers
 Option 4 Is the current program with increased restrictions

The survey link is:
www.slcgreen.com/NCU

or you can call 801 535 6999

 
SLC HOMELESS CENTER DESIGN GROUP NEEDS COMMUNITY MEMBERS
  The architects that are planning the 700 S. and High Avenue homeless resource centers have set up a committee of interested individuals to help plan the design of the homeless resource shelters.  But the 65 members of the committee do not have (or did not have as of Wednesday August 2) anyone from the surrounding neighborhoods.  When it was discussed, the architect and the City realized that they should add more neighborhood involvement, and anyone wishing to participate should contact David Litvack (contact on the right – he is Deputy Chief of Staff for the Mayor) and ask to be included.  It was also revealed that the system does not have a way to ensure that drugs do not enter the shelter.  Drug dogs were suggested since regular drug dog use at the Midvale Family Shelter always finds drugs.  The City and County still do not have a way to ensure that drugs are not entering the neighborhood surrounding the homeless resource centers.


CRIME REPORTS FOR SLC
  Crime reports for SLC’s various neighborhoods can be found at:

http://www.slcpd.com/open-data/crimereportsmap/

Although major crimes like homicide have gone down in the last year, so called lesser crimes like simple assault, burglary, etc are going up.



EARLY VOTING AVAILABLE TIL 11TH (SLCO CTR TIL 14TH)

EARLY VOTING IS AVAILABLE

  Early voting is now available at the SLCO Government Center #South Rm1-850 2001 S. State St (100 E) from 8:00 am-5:00 pm (M-F), until August 14.  All eligible voters may vote early at any of the early voting locations listed below.  Note that the offices below will only be open W-F and with the times noted.  Early voting will take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between August 2nd-11th at the following locations and hours:

(W-F) River's Bend Sr. Center, 1300 W 300 N., Salt Lake City   10:00-2:00

(W-F) Trolley Square #D-117, 600 S 700 E., Salt Lake City  11:00-7:00

(W-F)*All evening locations will close at 5:00 pm on Friday, August 11, 2017

(W-F) Cottonwood Heights City Hall 2277 E Bengal Blvd (7600 S)Cottonwood Heights10:00-2:00

(W-F) Draper City Hall1020 E Pioneer Rd (12450 S)Draper10:00-2:00

(W-F) Herriman City Hall13011 S Pioneer St (6000 W)Herriman10:00-2:00

(W-F)*Holladay City Hall4580 S 2300 E Holladay11:00-7:00

(W-F)*Murray City Hall5025 S State St (100 E)Murray11:00-7:00

(W-F)*Sandy City Hall10000 S Centennial Pkwy (170 W)Sandy 11:00-7:00

(W-F ) South Jordan City Hall1600 W Towne Center Dr (10610 S)South Jordan 10:00-2:00

(W-F)*Taylorsville City Hall2600 W Taylorsville Blvd (5320 S)Taylorsville11:00-7:00

(W-F)  Hampton Inn & Suites W.J.3923 W Center Park Dr  (7181 S)West Jordan10:00-2:00

(W-F)  West Valley City Hall3600 S Constitution Blvd (2700 W)West Valley10:00-2:00

 

WHY I AM RUNNING FOR SALT LAKE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 5

  Over the last four years, I have watched the public safety issue become more desperate for the homeless and for the rest of the residents and businesses of Salt Lake City. Despite many efforts to ask for adequate public safety funding to arrest drug dealers and ensure that they stay in jail for more than a few hours, Salt Lake County does not appear to be listening.

  Five years ago, I sat in a community council meeting and the Salt Lake City Police officer that was assigned to the council explained that when he was undercover, and arrested a drug dealer, the dealer was next to him five hours later laughing as he was making another drug buy. If Salt Lake County does not fund for enough jail beds and for adequate prosecution, the jail becomes a revolving door for the criminal element that is getting increasingly bolder.

  Last year, when there were several meetings of neighbors of motels in Salt Lake City that seemed to be crime magnets, Salt Lake City Police Chief Brown finally admitted that more jail beds may be necessary. When it became obvious that the restrictions on booking criminals was creating significant problems with ensuring public safety, a report by the Salt Lake City Police made it clear, that lack of adequate public safety funding at the County level, was creating an increase in crime.

  The Salt Lake City Police Department SLCPD 2017 Jail Bookings & Restriction Effects showed how bad crime was getting in Salt Lake City. Despite successful efforts of SLCPD to reduce serious crime like homicide, robbery and burglary by 7%, over ten thousand criminals could not be arrested and booked into jail and remained on the street to threaten law abiding citizens (and the homeless that were trying to avoid criminals). The jail restrictions stopped SLCPD from arresting 8049 for drugs and open drug use, 1678 for public drunkenness, 713 for forgery, 1051 for property damage, 186 for prostitution, 3903 for retail theft, 4429 for simple assault and, 3311 for trespass." The report said "The inability to incarcerate offenders for these crimes creates an atmosphere of indifference, fosters an appearance of lawlessness, and destroys the community's trust in law enforcement and pride in their neighborhoods." Unfortunately, there have been very few complaints coming from the City Council about this serious issue.

  The County Mayor and Council is responsible for the budget for the Sheriff to operate the jail and for the DA to effectively prosecute criminals. In addition, Salt Lake County cut mental health services almost ten  years ago and has not restored them. The hope of many of us was that Healthy Utah would have passed to fill the mental health funding gap. In addition, Healthy Utah would have provided not just basic medical care to hundreds of thousands of Utahns without adequate care, but could also help pay for drug and alcohol addiction treatment. The Sheriff has set up an addiction treatment facility in jail that is many times more successful than the treatment offered to the Operation Diversion drug addicts. But the County has not funded more than 180 beds. Unfortunately, there is no mental health budget and only 180 drug treatment beds for the jail. I only saw one SLC Councilmember at the Legislature promoting Healthy Utah and no councilmembers complained about the jail restrictions until March of this year with the release of the SLCPD report.

  My main reason for running, is I am tired of the SLC Council saying that crime is down when criminals victimize residents. Until all criminals can be arrested and booked into jail, no one should be happy about the crime rate. When residents are threatened by prostitutes, by drug dealers and by homeless and the SLCPD tells the residents that they can't arrest them, there is a big problem and the Council should be vigorously complaining. When State Street motels are raided every week by the police, there is a problem. I want SLC to stop ignoring the homeless camping and drug dealing that has spread throughout SLC.

  My other reasons for running include I want to stop the secret meetings and decisions without public hearings that the SLC Council seems to feel are appropriate. When they decided on the homeless shelter sites, they did it in secret and excused themselves by saying that they didn't want to pit neighbor against neighbor. Good decisions die behind closed doors and the so called cast in concrete decision was so bad that two of the sites had to be rescinded. The Council has also closed a golf course without a public hearing and recently approved a new bonding entity, the Central Wasatch Commission that doesn't answer to voters.

  I am running to stop the SLC Council from approving significant tax and fee increases for water, sewer, streetcars and street maintenance. The Council has also talked about a costly parks bond that will be used to close golf courses, to be discussed after the election along with other fee increases.

  I am running because I believe that SLC Public Utilities is misusing its authority to protect the canyon watershed and not building restrooms for the six million visitors a year that visit our canyons. I also believe that SLC Parks should not be overcharged for water (compared to other municipalities in the County). Because SLC Parks uses so much water for what arguably are amenities that include trees that mitigate our City's heat island and reduce pollution, Parks is charged at the highest price per gallon. Recently Parks ran out of money to water trees on the 600 East median and stopped watering City gardens.

  Other recent issues include the City is planning on billions of dollars in transit projects in the City's proposed Transit Master Plan.  I believe that we should be focusing on better neighborhood bus service before building more questionable rail projects. I want to stop road diets that increase congestion and pollution. And I want to stop wasting millions on alley trails.

  I want to solve the problems now instead of waiting until just before an election to address these issues. I am a longtime community activist; I go to most City Council and community council meetings; I write opeds for the newspapers and a blog at georgechapman.net. I am running for SLC Council District 5 (Ballpark, Liberty Wells, East Liberty Park and Wasatch Hollow) because we deserve a Council that is more respectful of citizens, residents and voters.

 





AUG. 5, 2017

SLC MASTER TRANSIT PLAN NEEDS REALITY CHECK

WFRC WASATCH CHOICE SCENARIOS NEED MORE SERVICE

720 S. 200 E. WORKFORCE SERVICES GARAGE HOSTS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY

MAYOR TELLS CITIZENS THE PROBLEM IS LACK OF JAIL SPACE



SLC MASTER TRANSIT PLAN NEEDS REALITY CHECK

  The Salt Lake City Council is going to discuss a proposed Transit Master Plan. The goals of the Plan are to improve air quality, increase the number of people riding transit, and provide a system that supports a transit lifestyle. It will help “Salt Lake City and UTA set priorities, service and capital investments for the next 20 years”. It emphasizes a Frequent Transit Network (FTN) that recommends 15 minute bus service during most of the day and extended service in the evenings, on weekends and on Sundays.
  Unfortunately, the Plan suggests several questionable and expensive projects that some say contributed to the loss of the Prop One transit tax increase. The S-Line Streetcar (pg 3-17) could be extended up 1100 East and then onto 900 East. There is a downtown streetcar (at $50 million per mile) to the University of Utah using 100 South (replacing a very efficient 220 bus) in the Plan. There is also South Davis (using 400 West) (Bus Rapid Transit (BRT at $15 million per mile) and a 5600 West BRT. There is also a north south rail downtown and a rerouting of the 400 South Red Line to the airport or to Central Station.
  There is an attempt to provide transit within 2 blocks of most of Salt Lake City citizens and 2 blocks is the recommended spacing for BRT stops. Unfortunately, most people would rather drive than walk two blocks! Seniors and physically challenged are even less likely to walk 2 blocks. Even the Plan implies it when it recommends mid-block crosswalks to encourage walking. BRTs or enhanced buses are being suggested on 200 South, 500 East and 900 East.
  But BRTs can take away from traffic lanes and that can usually increase congestion and pollution. Mass transit projects should be analyzed to ensure that they do not increase congestion and air pollution. They also should be compared to the people carried daily in the traffic lanes that may be repurposed for exclusive use of BRTs and rail. In many cases, the riders per day in a traffic lane can exceed the ridership of a BRT! The 3500 South BRT carries less than 4000 riders a day and a well used car lane can carry 5000 cars a day and obviously more riders. There are also two new transit centers, including one at the University of Utah and another either at 500 East or 700 East on 200 South. Those centers will cost a lot of money that could be better used for service increases.
  Other suggestions route 500 East, State Street and 900 East buses further north to the Capitol and Avenues. It recommends parking reductions near transit despite the recent significant pressure to increase parking requirements (eventually doubled). The rail and BRT projects could also result in rezoning stable single-family home neighborhoods. The Plan recommends covered bus stops but the nearby residents have expressed concern that they will encourage loitering and will attract the homeless.
  The financial constraints of building expensive projects that burden local taxpayers is not really addressed. All capital projects should be analyzed for financial constraints and prioritized. The Plan implies that the federal government will supply much of the funding although experts say mass transit funding is less and less available. And when available, the Federal Transportation Agency is pushing for a 50% match. So each of the new rail proposals will cost local taxpayers $50 million. The Plan suggests several fees that could be raised to cover some of the proposals. But the vast majority of Salt Lake Citizens want more bus service.
  The Salt Lake City Council is scheduled to discuss the Transit Master Plan on Tuesday August 8 at their work session. An appropriate Master Transit Plan would recognize and plan for realistic financial restraints and at least prioritize the projects so that the most expensive project is not given priority automatically when other projects are more effective at encouraging mass transit ridership. Buses seem to be the best way to cost effectively increase ridership.





WFRC WASATCH CHOICE SCENARIOS NEED MORE SERVIC

Comments on the Wasatch Scenarios 2050 options
  In general, I think that the third option (widening roads, frequent service network) is best.  But it is important to take out and separate the active transportation component from the third option.  SLC, for instance, is lucky to have $1.7 million per year to fund bicycle improvements which is one or two cycle tracks or 20 + better bike lanes.  I believe bicyclists would prefer wider bicycle lanes.  Cycle tracks do not work well if there are maintenance issues (there isn't money to maintain them) or many vehicle entrances/exits. I appreciate the realistic plan to widen roads and increase capacity because personal vehicles and product transportion systems (delivery vans) will continue to rely on roads for decades to come.  Intelligent traffic lights systems should receive higher priority for funding.
  I believe (as I explained in an oped two months ago in the Salt Lake Tribune) that buses are the future of mass transit in Utah.  They provide the biggest increase in riders per dollar spent.  When bus ridership on a route exceeds a certain amount (my guess is over 5000 riders a day - WHICH WFRC SHOULD STUDY AND DETERMINE THE BEST RIDERSHIP LEVEL AT WHICH TO CONSIDER HIGHER COST OPTIONS LIKE ENHANCED BUS ETC),then more expensive projects can be considered.  Unfortunately, the way that RTP and WFRC and UTP has listed projects, when money becomes available, political pressure pushes for the most expensive political choice.  Instead of a bus route service expansion at $200,000, a double tracking of the S-Line is planned for $6 million but both expenditures will provide a 200-400 increase in ridership!  THAT REALITY SHOULD BE ACKNOWLEDGED BY WFRC.
  I am also concerned that there is pressure from many directions to have the cost estimates from the last RTP and UTP using WFRC engineering knowledge disrespected and replaced with much lower estimates (in one case the new estimate is a quarter of the estimate from the last RTP) to encourage moving the project to a sooner construction schedule.  I URGE WFRC TO CONFIRM THE ESTIMATES OF PROJECT CONSTRUCTION.
  The large number of projects is still not justified.  Some of the questionable projects include the UTA bus garage/UTA CNG facility $57 million (I am confused about this since the CNG facility was completed and I am concerned that this is a way to justify the expenditure of $65 million for the bus garage (Legislature gave money for the CNG facility but it is already complete.).  There is also a Depot District tech ctr $3 mil that I don't understand.
  The other big questionable projects that do not have a realistic priority given (so when money is available, that project is not superseded by another with more political clout) include: The Draper to Utah County $92 million/$460 million TRAX extension (when the last RTP had an estimate of $1.6 billion!! THIS MAKES WFRC LOOK LIKE THEY MADE A MISTAKE WITH THE LAST RTP!), the 5600 W BRT (when the flex bus on 5600 West is not frequent enough(30-60 minutes) to justify $166 million ($33 million local)!), the Taylorsville BRT at $52 million, the South Davis BRT at $80 million, the $70 million Ogden BRT (saving 5 minutes from a 20 minute bus ride but it will take 5 more minutes for half of the passengers to walk to stations further apart! -THIS IS ENGINEERING NONSENSE!) and the $16 million Ogden BDO Frontrunner station (have employers at BDO surveyed their employees to see if they will ride it (most come from close in and drive mostly not from the south).  And I thought UTA was getting out of the TOD business.  Why is the TOD infrastructure listed at $12.5 million?
  The smaller expenses that are also questionable include: UTA multimodal connections to FrontRunner at 500 W ($3 million!), the UofU station (at $4 million), the 35 Max expansion (when service on 3500 South needs to be expanded), Beck street bicycle project (when a cycle track would have to be swept every hour to keep it clean from the gravel trucks), and bike share should not be part of the RTP since it will take valuable money from bus service expansion.  
  I appreciate that several bus routes are being considered for expansion of services in the TIP (54 and 220).  I hope that, recognizing that there should be realistic financial constraints, the projects be given a priority ranking.  I believe that until buses fill to around 5000 riders a day, that expensive projects should not be considered.  In addition, WFRC should consider the effect of an earthquake and/or natural disaster on transit and transportation infrastructure when considering plans.  In an earthquake, our rail systems will be offline (along with electricity and rail beds.  That is another reason that buses make sense in Utah.  I hope that WFRC, despite significant political pressure, removes the high speed rail station at the airport and the canyons transportation system (billions of dollars) from the plan since it makes WFRC look unrealistic.
  The only rail expansion project that I would consider, if Utah or airport passenger fees paid for it, would be the Green Line expansion to the International Center (Amazon helps fund operations of the Seattle streetcar.) via the airport.  If the Green Line is routed directly to North Temple instead of zig zagging around, the downtown north south rail line on 400 West (it should go on 300 West) can be eliminated.




720 S. 200 E. WORKFORCE SERVICES GARAGE HOSTS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY 

  Complaints have been registered with the City regarding the criminal activity, drug dealing, drug use and camping that is a nightly occurrence at

Complaints have been registered with the City regarding the criminal activity, drug dealing, drug use and camping that is a nightly occurrence at the 720 S. 200 E. Utah State Workforce Services garage.  The complaint was made to David Litvack during his presentation of the update to the 700 S. homeless resource center plan.  In other words, if the City can’t stop the criminal activity now in the block where the homeless center will go, why should the community and neighborhood accept the center.  The County should provide enough beds and DA funding to allow the SLC Police to arrest criminals and put them in jail.  If the County does not allow the criminals to be removed from the homeless population, there will be no solution to the homeless situation.

 

SLC HOMELESS CENTER DESIGN GROUP HAS NO COMMUNITY MEMBERS
  The architects that are planning the 700 S. and High Avenue homeless resource centers have set up a committee of interested individuals to help plan the design of the homeless resource shelters.  But the 65 members of the committee do not have (or did not have as of Wednesday August 2) anyone from the surrounding neighborhoods.  When it was discussed, the architect and the City realized that they should add more neighborhood involvement, and anyone wishing to participate should contact David Litvack (contact on the right – he is Deputy Chief of Staff for the Mayor) and ask to be included.  It was also revealed that the system does not have a way to ensure that drugs do not enter the shelter.  Drug dogs were suggested since regular drug dog use at the Midvale Family Shelter always finds drugs.  The City and County still do not have a way to ensure that drugs are not entering the neighborhood surrounding the homeless resource centers.

 

MAYOR TELLS CITIZENS THE PROBLEM IS LACK OF JAIL SPACE
  Mayor Biskupski sent out an email this week that acknowledges the lack of jail space and blames the criminal activity on that lack.  She is right.  The drug dealer who was killed and his drug dealer killer should have been in jail.  But without sufficient funding at the County, the DA is not able to prosecute and ensure that the criminals stay in jail.  If we have 200 drug dealers in the Rio Grande area, as SLC Police Chief Brown says, it will take 20 more prosecutors to ensure that those criminals are locked up for more than a few hours.   That is the reality.  The email mentioned that there is a State subcommittee on jail beds that will look at the issue.  A police officer told the story of a fellow officer who had to arrest a criminal three times in a shift and take him to jail each time since the jail kept releasing him.





JULLY 28, 2017

SPRAGUE LIBRARY 200 YEAR FLOOD DISRUPTS COMMUNITY
MILLER PARK IN YALECREST BLOWN OUT

WHY I AM RUNNING FOR OFFICE PUBLISHED



SPRAGUE LIBRARY 200 YEAR FLOOD DISRUPTS COMMUNITY
  The Sugar House Sprague Library was flooded with a 200 year flood Wednesday morning which resulted in a 5.5 foot deep water in the basement.  The estimated cost is at least $1.5 million but I think that it will become much more.
  The Library Director has spent the last few days dealing with ensuring safety, starting cleanup and remediation, redeploying staff and communicating with the community and their partners.  Obviously, the Director has his hands full from the biggest crisis to hit the Salt Lake City Library, the semi destruction of Sprague Library.
  The Library is in a floodplain but flood insurance was cost prohibitive and wasn't purchased.  The Library's insurance company, Moreton and Company has had a claim filed.  In addition, the center's builder, Boyer and Company will be contacted to see if they can help.  
  The City Library has a reciprocal borrowing agreement with the County and Salt Lake City citizens are able to use the County Library services.  The nearby County libraries are on 500 East and 2500 South (Columbus), 800 East and 3300 South (Smith), and on Evergreen (street just south of 3300 South) and 2200 East (Evergreen).  Those who had material holds, can receive them at Foothill Anderson Library on 2100 East and Foothill.  You should contact the Library if you want to make other arrangements, for instance if the Downtown Main Library is more convenient.
  The Friends of the Library are being tasked with coordinating donations since they have helped previously with unexpected and unbudgeted costs.  The Friends have a donation button on their website at: http://slcpl.org/friends.  If anyone knows of someone that can help provide more support for recovery efforts, please contact the Library Director Peter Bromberg at pbromberg@slcpl.org and 801 524 8201. 
  According to the Director:
"water overflowed from Hidden Hollow, carrying debris, and headed West towards the library.  A number of witnesses who were on the scene say that water came down between the Library and Kimi's Chophouse, and then, having nowhere to go, turned North and streamed past the library on the East side.  At that point, the water went down the stairwell that leads to the basement and broke through the glass door and a number of windows, quickly flooding the basement.  One of our staff members received an alarm call due the flooding and was on the scene in 15 minutes by which time the basement was flooded. The volume of water simply overwhelmed our pumping system."
  The Sugar House Community Council that meets the first Wednesday of every month (August 2) will temporarily meet at the Draw on 1300 East and 2150 South.
  This is an incredibly horrible situation in Sugar House.  The Sprague Library is the center of Sugar House.  THE SPRAGUE LIBRARY IS THE CENTER OF SUGAR HOUSE!  The flood has temporarily destroyed the center of Sugar House.  The thousands of children in the area who relied on the Library for after school safe activities are now out of luck.  The hundreds of senior citizens who relied on the Library for reading the newspapers, keeping up to date with City happenings and visited with acquaintances are now out of luck.  The residents of Sugar House who relied on borrowing the newest books are now out of luck.  Those who relied on the Library for inexpensive reading and entertainment, are now out of luck.  The community who relied on this Library for meeting space is now out of luck.  Earlier this year, the Library served as the meeting space for over 300 citizens who wanted to express concern about the homeless plans.  Now, local citizens are out of luck.  

  If the Library is not helped, the Library that is more important to Sugar House than any other entity, will not open again for months.  



MILLER PARK IN YALECREST BLOWN OUT
  During the 200 year rainstorm and floods in the Salt Lake City neighborhoods, Miller Park, in Yalecrest between 1500 East and 1700 East, received much of the water that ran off the foothills into Red Butte Creek.  Essentially, it blew out the Creek and tons of dirt were scoured out of Miller Park.  The result is a further destabilized bank and slope that is the back yard for some of the most expensive homes in Salt Lake City.  Before, the adjacent homes had to worry about fire.  Now they have to worry about slides.  Several years ago, Salt Lake City, in one of its most questionable actions, cut down 200 old trees that helped stabilize the banks and replaced them with small trees and bushes.  Most have died and the recent flood scoured them out.  Several structures have been destroyed including part of a culvert that blew out.  The walls that protect some of the banks are also at risk due to lack of maintenance.  Jim Webster, Chair of Friends of Miller Park, has submitted an application to help stabilize the walls.  Jim Webster also built many of the walls decades ago when he was chair of Yalecrest Community Council.  
  Hopefully, the City will step up and ensure that the slopes will stay in place.  I hope that this is a lesson on not cutting down trees.  The City will now have a much more expensive project to fix Miller Park.

WHY I AM RUNNING FOR OFFICE PUBLISHED

  Why I am running for office published in the Salt Lake Tribune.

ttp://www.sltrib.com/opinion/5528393-155/george-chapman-why-i-am-running





JULY 27, 2017
WHY NOT TELL BAD GUYS THAT THEY WILL GO TO JAIL
LET OUT OF JAIL AFTER ATTACKING COP TO KILL
EARLY VOTING AVAILABLE AND BALLOTS ARE IN MAIL
SLCO WANTS MORE STREETCAR, NOT PUBLIC SAFETY
UTA PRIORITY SHOULD BE MOST RIDERS FOR MONEY
STATE STREET MASSAGE PARLOR FOCUS OF SHUTDOWN


WHY NOT TELL BAD GUYS THAT THEY WILL GO TO JAIL

  The big summit of Utah elected leaders that was to solve the crime in the homeless area just ended.  And they are not announcing what they are going to do.  They want to surprise the criminals and drug cartels that essentially control the Rio Grande area.  The SLC Mayor told Fox13Now that “We need jail beds and we don’t have jail beds.  We need treatment beds and we don’t have treatment beds.”  That is an understatement.  And Speaker Hughes said that he doesn’t want to give away the plans to the criminals that he insists are being targeted.  But there is no indication that the Salt Lake County DA will receive enough funding to ensure that the criminals stay in jail for more than a few hours.  (See story below.)  But since the criminals are still operating in the Rio Grande area, around State Street and North Temple, it doesn’t make sense to hold back while they are still operating.  If there are 200 drug dealers in the Rio Grande area, most of whom are addicts, they should be arrested and thrown in jail now.  There should be enough funding to have the DA keep them in jail and put into jail treatment.  The County jail already has 180 beds that are used for drug treatment.  With adequate funding, the jail can keep the drug addicts and dealers locked up NOW.  They need to be locked up now.  And the County and the City and the State shouldn’t use excuses like “We don’t want to tell the criminals what our plans are.”  It sounds too much like “We don’t want to pit neighborhoods against neighborhoods.”



LET OUT OF JAIL AFTER ATTACKING COP TO KILL
  A recent killing occurred in the Rio Grande area, not the last one, but a recent one and it is a clear indication of the problem in Salt Lake County.  The killer, a Mr. Kegler, was recently released from a few days in jail after pleading guilty to “trying to assault a police officer in Salt Lake City”.  In reality, the DA did not have enough money to fully prosecute a person who was assaulting a cop so the DA got the man to plead guilty of “trying to assault a police officer” with just a few days in jail.  Anyone who is ready and willing to assault a police officer, is better than even money, going to try to seriously assault anyone else.  And due to the lack of adequate public safety funding in Salt Lake County, the DA did not and does not have the ability to prosecute and keep in jail, the threats to our County, our citizens and our taxpayers.  It is not the DA’s fault.  It is a responsibility of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.  So an innocent man is dead because Mayor McAdams has not placed adequate priority on public safety in Salt Lake County.  And, as former Senator Urquhart has claimed, drugs are essentially legal in Salt Lake County.  It is the perfect storm for drugs and drug dealers.  Every law abiding citizen in the County is at risk.  I urge everyone reading this to complain to the Salt Lake County Council.  Their emails are on the right.



EARLY VOTING AVAILABLE AND BALLOTS ARE IN MAIL
  Early voting is now available at the SLCO Government Center #South Rm1-850 2001 S. State St (100 E) from 8:00 am-5:00 pm (M-F), July 17-August 14.  All eligible voters may vote early at any of the early voting locations listed below.  Note that the offices below will only be open W-F and with the times noted.  Early voting will take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between August 2nd-11th at the following locations and hours: 

(W-F) River's Bend Sr. Center, 1300 W 300 N., Salt Lake City   10:00-2:00 
(W-F) Trolley Square #D-117, 600 S 700 E., Salt Lake City  11:00-7:00 

(W-F)*All evening locations will close at 5:00 pm on Friday, August 11, 2017

(W-F) Cottonwood Heights City Hall 2277 E Bengal Blvd (7600 S)Cottonwood Heights10:00-2:00 
(W-F) Draper City Hall1020 E Pioneer Rd (12450 S)Draper10:00-2:00 
(W-F) Herriman City Hall13011 S Pioneer St (6000 W)Herriman10:00-2:00 
(W-F)*Holladay City Hall4580 S 2300 E Holladay11:00-7:00 
(W-F)*Murray City Hall5025 S State St (100 E)Murray11:00-7:00 
(W-F)*Sandy City Hall10000 S Centennial Pkwy (170 W)Sandy 11:00-7:00 
(W-F ) South Jordan City Hall1600 W Towne Center Dr (10610 S)South Jordan 10:00-2:00 
(W-F)*Taylorsville City Hall2600 W Taylorsville Blvd (5320 S)Taylorsville11:00-7:00 
(W-F)  Hampton Inn & Suites W.J.3923 W Center Park Dr  (7181 S)West Jordan10:00-2:00 
(W-F)  West Valley City Hall3600 S Constitution Blvd (2700 W)West Valley10:00-2:00 



SLCO WANTS MORE STREETCAR, NOT PUBLIC SAFETY
  Salt Lake County has given UTA $4 million to double track the Sugar House streetcar (it is matched with a $2 million Federal CMAQ contribution).  But the important takeaway from this should be that Salt Lake County does not have money to adequately fund public safety and keep the drug dealers and criminals in jail.  It does have money to spend (or waste based on your opinion) on a questionable transit project that will only save a few minutes.  I think that Salt Lake County Mayor McAdams has his priorities on backwards.  And UTA should not be spending rare transit money on a project that will not result in a large increase in ridership. (see below)



UTA PRIORITY SHOULD BE MOST RIDERS FOR MONEY
  UTA seems to be accepting the $4 million from the County to be matched with the $2 million from the Federal Government to double track the Sugar House streetcar and save 5 minutes from its travel time.  But UTA has also indicated that it should be placing priority on increasing ridership and the $6 million for the streetcar will provide maybe a couple of hundred extra riders a day if any.  $6 million for more bus service should provide thousands more riders if the money is invested in routes that could use better late night service.  
  On another note, Trustee Everitt had a complaint that she received a $10,000 contribution to her campaign in Provo from a subsidiary of WW Clyde, one of the two prime contractors for the Provo BRT/TRIP.  I asked the Chair of the Board of Trustees if it might look like the Switzerland trip public relations disaster but he felt that it wasn’t important.  Trustee Everitt claimed that it was a cheap political complaint and there was nothing to the $10,000 contribution.  Time will tell if $10,000 to a Trustee will have the same repercussions as a Swiss trip.
  And finally, the internal audit of UTA showed that the pension plan is under funded at 56% and the plan of UTA is to have it fully funded by 2033.  UTA will also have much higher interest rate payments over the next few years and will be even harder pressed to increase service.
  



STATE STREET MASSAGE PARLOR FOCUS OF SHUTDOWN
  There has been community outrage at a supposedly obvious front for prostitution involving an Asian massage parlor around 1400 S. State.  Flyers were posted in the neighborhood warning about the prostitution and complaining about it.  The police investigated and found that there were 2 women who were not licensed and the County Health Department will work on shutting them down.  Despite claims that crime in the area has gone down, almost every community council in the area has had complaints that crime and criminal activity has gotten worse.







JULY 25, 2017

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DISCUSSED ABOUT HOMELESS


WHAT NEEDS TO BE DISCUSSED ABOUT HOMELESS
  On Wednesday, July 26, several of the most important leaders in Utah will sit down to discuss the situation around Rio Grande and the homeless population that populates the area. Over the last few years, the local news organizations have had numerous stories of the area that seems to be going downhill. The Deseret News and KSL have reported the problems and contributing factors but they don't seem to be focused on.  The many opeds also seem to be ignored.  
  Over the last five or more years, the drug dealers in the Rio Grande neighborhood have had almost free reign to sell their drugs.  SLC Police arrest them but they are out within a few hours unless they are deported or the DA has funding to increase time consuming prosecution of the dealers in order to keep them incarcerated for more than a few days.  When the DA says that he needs more prosecutors and money to prosecute, that is the most important problem that keeps the criminal element, the drug dealers, in the midst of the homeless near Rio Grande.
  The problem is visible, not just in the Rio Grande area, but also around the State Street and North Temple motels that seem to have become crime magnets.  Although the recently passed SLC Civil Penalties ordinance may help close problem motels, if the DA does not receive sufficient funding to pursue criminals and incarcerate them, the criminals will continue to victimize the homeless, the businesses and the residents of Salt Lake County. 
  It also creates a revolving door  and low prosecution efforts for car thieves (as shown in a KSL Investigation report last year) and many other so called lower class crimes like simple assault (not really simple for the victim), prostitution, shoplifting, public drunkenness, forgery and bicycle theft.  
  In other words, the most important proposal to come out of a meeting that is to come up with homeless solutions should be to adequately fund the prosecution of criminals.
  The other issue that has been in the news lately, is the lack of jail beds (as Debbie Dujanovic has reported). Interestingly, the Sheriff has 180 beds at Oxbow used to treat drug and alcohol addiction and that program is many times more successful that the Operation Diversion's drug addiction services. The second most important proposal that should come out of the meeting should be to adequately fund jail beds and expand the jail drug treatment program.
  Another issue, as recently seen during a biweekly County Health Department cleanup with homeless pushing big carts of belongings away from the cleanup, is the lack of sufficient and convenient storage for the homeless. In 2010, a homeless man was killed on 400 South with all of his belongings.  The Deseret News reported it. But there are still many homeless roaming the City with all of their belongings in a cart. If they wanted to work, they can't because they have to protect the last of their belongings. The City's storage facility is full (and recently escaped the City's RDA order to close when the City Council ordered the RDA to stop the closure) and only operates during business hours.
  The third recommendation that should come out of the meeting should be enough secure storage that is conveniently accessible so that the homeless don't roam the area with big carts full of their belongings. The storage should be available 24/7 to encourage them to look for work.
  The fourth recommendation that should come out of the meeting should be to increase the County's funding for mental health treatment.  During the recession, Salt Lake County significantly cut mental health treatment and it has not been restored. Despite efforts to pass Healthy Utah to provide a replacement, and efforts to obtain funding from the State, adequate mental health treatment used to be a County responsibility. Without adequate funding, patients will look to be medicated on drugs. The meeting should make a decision on who should adequately fund mental health treatment. There should be no more excuses.
  Finally, a recommendation should come out of the meeting to provide a path forward to build affordable housing, whether it is smaller low cost micro units that can be spread out among new apartment buildings (many of which have 100% of their units at market rate which is usually well above adjacent rentals) or other solutions. Utah should consider a standard hookup for residential buildings that allow for manufactured housing that may be able to fill some of the need for housing.  Affordable housing is not going to be a quick solution but Utah's Legislature should help provide a solution.
  Hopefully the meeting with Utah leaders will result in a more realistic focusing on these issues;  insist that the DA be adequately funded to stop the revolving door at the jail; homeless storage be appropriate to allow complete removal of belongings from the sidewalks; jail treatment funding be increased; mental health treatment funding be increased; and affordable housing plan have a Statewide push.






JULY 24, 2017

WHY I AM RUNNING FOR OFFICE
SLC PARKS DYING WITHOUT WATER
CAMPAIGN BUSINESS CARD
MOST USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS IN SLC
CITY WEEKLY INTRODUCTION
UTAH MASS TRANSIT FUTURE IS BUSES
2100 S ROAD DIET SHOULD NOT BE RUSHED
PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAIL BEDS
TIME FOR UTA BOARD TO REFLECT RIDERS
TRANSIT SERVICE INSTEAD OF PROJECTS
BICYCLE QUESTIONNAIRE FOR CYCLINGUTAH



I APOLOGIZE FOR PUTTING SO MUCH INFORMATION ON ONE DAY BUT SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS AND THE CAMPAIGN IS IN FULL SWING (I AM RUNNING FOR SLC COUNCIL DISTRICT 5.).  I FELT THAT I SHOULD REPEAT THE RECENTLY PUBLISHED OPEDS FROM THE PAPERS CONCERNING THE HOMELESS AND CRIME ISSUE ALONG WITH THE UTA CONCERNS.  THERE IS A LOT OF NEWS IN SLC!

WHY I AM RUNNING FOR OFFICE
  Over the last four years, I have watched the public safety issue become more desperate for the homeless and for the rest of the residents and businesses of Salt Lake City. Despite many efforts to ask for adequate public safety funding to arrest drug dealers and ensure that they stay in jail for more than a few hours, Salt Lake County does not appear to be listening.
  Five years ago, I sat in a community council meeting and the Salt Lake City Police officer that was assigned to the council explained that when he was undercover, and arrested a drug dealer, the dealer was next to him five hours later laughing as he was making another drug buy. If Salt Lake County does not fund for enough jail beds and for adequate prosecution, the jail becomes a revolving door for the criminal element that is getting increasingly bolder.
  Last year, when there were several meetings of neighbors of motels in Salt Lake City that seemed to be crime magnets, Salt Lake City Police Chief Brown finally admitted that more jail beds may be necessary. When it became obvious that the restrictions on booking criminals was creating significant problems with ensuring public safety, a report by the Salt Lake City Police made it clear, that lack of adequate public safety funding at the County level, was creating an increase in crime.
  The Salt Lake City Police Department SLCPD 2017 Jail Bookings & Restriction Effects showed how bad crime was getting in Salt Lake City. Despite successful efforts of SLCPD to reduce serious crime like homicide, robbery and burglary by 7%, over ten thousand criminals could not be arrested and booked into jail and remained on the street to threaten law abiding citizens (and the homeless that were trying to avoid criminals). The jail restrictions stopped SLCPD from arresting 8049 for drugs and open drug use, 1678 for public drunkenness, 713 for forgery, 1051 for property damage, 186 for prostitution, 3903 for retail theft, 4429 for simple assault and, 3311 for trespass." The report said "The inability to incarcerate offenders for these crimes creates an atmosphere of indifference, fosters an appearance of lawlessness, and destroys the community's trust in law enforcement and pride in their neighborhoods." Unfortunately, there have been very few complaints coming from the City Council about this serious issue. 
  The County Mayor and Council is responsible for the budget for the Sheriff to operate the jail and for the DA to effectively prosecute criminals.­ In addition, Salt Lake County cut mental health services almost ten  years ago and has not restored them. The hope of many of us was that Healthy Utah would have passed to fill the mental health funding gap. In addition, Healthy Utah would have provided not just basic medical care to hundreds of thousands of Utahns without adequate care, but could also help pay for drug and alcohol addiction treatment. The Sheriff has set up an addiction treatment facility in jail that is many times more successful than the treatment offered to the Operation Diversion drug addicts. But the County has not funded more than 180 beds. Unfortunately there is no mental health budget and only 180 drug treatment beds for the jail. I only saw one SLC Councilmember at the Legislature promoting Healthy Utah and no councilmembers complained about the jail restrictions until March of this year with the release of the SLCPD report. 
  My main reason for running, is I am tired of the SLC Council saying that crime is down when criminals victimize residents. Until all criminals can be arrested and booked into jail, no one should be happy about the crime rate. When residents are threatened by prostitutes, by drug dealers and by homeless and the SLCPD tells the residents that they can't arrest them, there is a big problem and the Council should be vigorously complaining. When State Street motels are raided every week by the police, there is a problem. I want SLC to stop ignoring the homeless camping and drug dealing that has spread throughout SLC.
  My other reasons for running include I want to stop the secret meetings and decisions without public hearings that the SLC Council seems to feel are appropriate. When they decided on the homeless shelter sites, they did it in secret and excused themselves by saying that they didn't want to pit neighbor against neighbor. Good decisions die behind closed doors and the so called cast in concrete decision was so bad that two of the sites had to be rescinded. The Council has also closed a golf course without a public hearing and recently approved a new bonding entity, the Central Wasatch Commission that doesn't answer to voters. 
  I am running to stop the SLC Council from approving significant tax and fee increases for water, sewer, streetcars and street maintenance. The Council has also talked about a costly parks bond that will be used to close golf courses, to be discussed after the election along with other fee increases.
  I am running because I believe that SLC Public Utilities is misusing its authority to protect the canyon watershed and not building restrooms for the six million visitors a year that visit our canyons. I also believe that SLC Parks should not be overcharged for water (compared to other municipalities in the County). Because SLC Parks uses so much water for what arguably are amenities that include trees that mitigate our City's heat island and reduce pollution, Parks is charged at the highest price per gallon. Recently Parks ran out of money to water trees on the 600 East median and stopped watering City gardens. 
  Other recent issues include the City is planning on billions of dollars in transit projects in the City's proposed Transit Master Plan.  I believe that we should be focusing on better neighborhood bus service before building more questionable rail projects. I want to stop road diets that increase congestion and pollution. And I want to stop wasting millions on alley trails.
  I want to solve the problems now instead of waiting until just before an election to address these issues. I am a longtime community activist; I go to most City Council and community council meetings; I write opeds for the newspapers and a blog at georgechapman.net. I am running for SLC Council District 5 (Ballpark, Liberty Wells, East Liberty Park and Wasatch Hollow) because we deserve a Council that is more respectful of citizens, residents and voters.





SLC PARKS ARE DYING FROM LACK OF WATER
  Over the last few weeks, the Salt Lake City Council has been told that the City Parks and Open Space Department did not have money to pay for watering many of the trees in the medians that are spread throughout the City. Parks and Open Space has always had problems with maintaining the medians and other plantings in roundabouts, gardens, and areas that the City is required to maintain.
  For several years, the Sugar House Community Council complained about the trees that were allowed to die between Sugar House Park and the I80 westbound 1300 East exit and the adjacent plantings that UDOT insisted were agreed to be maintained by Salt Lake City. During the July Fourth Sugar House Park Fireworks Show, the dried out trees were accidentally set on fire and burned.
  Several years ago, Salt Lake City cut hundreds of old growth trees in Miller Park. The plan was to restore the Park in Yalecrest after the Red Butte Creek oil spill. The City spent hundreds of thousands in planting many new plants. But since then, the Park has had problems regularly watering the new plants and many have died. The Park is now full of dead plants and grass and is a significant fire threat to the adjacent expensive homes.
  Bonneville Golf Course had watering problems several years ago when the City ran out of money to set up a watering system for the complete course and the adjacent neighbors complained about the City allowing 14 acres to die back.
  These problems seem to have developed because Salt Lake City has a three tier system for charging users for water use and Salt Lake City Parks and Open Space is charged the same as regular users. So, due to their significant water use, they are charged much more for water than most other municipalities' parks and golf courses. In Salt Lake City, unfortunately, parks and open space seems to not be considered an amenity. When a City Councilman looks at the dying gardens that surround City Hall, he must feel the frustration that many of us feel about the potential death of much of our park space that we so carefully cared for. Water should not be withheld from our parks and trees. Part of the issue with golf course costs is the high charge for watering the golf courses. Some have claimed that the golf enterprise fund is threatened by the voodoo economics of high cost of Salt Lake City water.
  The City's urban forest also is threatened by the lack of adequate replacement for the 3,000 trees that the City cuts down every year. Unlike the City's requirement for developers to replace the diameter of a tree that they cut down (a 20 inch diameter tree requires planting ten 2 inch trees), Salt Lake City just plants a small tree. When the City cuts down a tree from a parking strip, the adjacent neighbors don't always want it replaced due to the City requiring too many rules for the replacement. When you look at parks in Salt Lake City, instead of seeing a diversity of tree ages, one sees mostly old trees. So our City's urban forest is threatened by lack of watering and lack of appropriate and sustainable replacement.
  The urban forest provides a significant cooling effect to a city's heat island and the trees help to decrease pollution. The urban forest deserves attention, protection, and encouragement. Salt Lake City should undertake a serious discussion on whether parks and open space and golf courses deserve more appropriate water costs. Treating the City's parks the same as a business or residence ignores the importance of parks and open space. And Salt Lake City should stop forcing the City's Parks and Open Space to worry about paying a water bill which threatens the health of our urban forest.


CAMPAIGN BUSINESS CARD
GEORGE CHAPMAN SLC COUNCIL DISTRICT 5 GEORGECHAPMAN.NET 
I WANT TO:
STOP SECRET MEETINGS & DECISIONS (SHELTERS, STREETCARS, ETC)
STOP TAX INCREASES (PARKS, STREETCARS, STREETS, SEWER, WATER)
STOP EXPENSIVE TRANSIT PROJECTS 
STOP DRUG DEALING AND HOMELESS CAMPING 
STOP ROAD DIETS THAT INCREASE CONGESTION AND POLLUTION
STOP WASTING MILLIONS ON ALLEY TRAILS
REQUIRE SL COUNTY TO LOCK UP AND PROSECUTE DRUG DEALERS
PROTECT WATERSHED AND BUILD CANYON RESTROOMS
RESTORE BETTER NEIGHBORHOOD BUS SERVICE
SOLVE PROBLEMS NOW INSTEAD OF WAITING UNTIL ELECTION TIME

RETIRED ENGINEER, VETERAN, OPED WRITER, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST
georgechapman.net
gechapman2@gmail.com PO Box 520653, SLC, UT 84152 8018677071 



USEFUL SALT LAKE CITY PHONE NUMBERS
CIVIL ENFORCEMENT 801 535 7225
(JUNK/LITTER/SIGNS/SNOW REMOVAL/WEEDS/ PROBLEM BLDGS/FENCES/GARAGE SALES)
POLICE 801 799 3000
ADA 801 535 7976
CITY COUNCIL 801 535 7600
DRUG ACTIVITY 801 799 3784
GRAFFITI REMOVAL 801 972 7885
FORESTRY 801 972 7818
MAYOR'S OFFICE 801 535 7704
NOISE 801 580 6681
PARKS 801 972 7800
PARKING ENFORCMT 801 535 6628
PLANNING/ZONING 801 535 7700
SIDEWALK REPAIR 801 535 6934
SLC SHOPPING CARTS 801 446 7984
SMITH'S CARTS 801 759 7315
STREET REPAIRS 801 535 2345
UTA 801 743 3882
WATER/SEWER 801 483 6900
WATER/SEWER EMERG 801 483 6700
YARD/WASTE/RECYCL 801 535 6999
ANIMAL SERVICES 385 468 7387
HEALTH DEPT/PESTS 385 468 3835




CITY WEEKLY SUBMISSION
Dear Citizens of Salt Lake City,
  My name is George Chapman, and I've been an SLC resident since 2006.  Just ask the Salt Lake City Council and the SLC community councils who see me at almost all of their meetings.  It's not only the strikingly beautiful mountains that make this City better than anyplace else (I've been around the world.), but also the fact that there is plenty to do such as work with many other similarly minded people to make Salt Lake City a better place for its residents.
  I have earned a reputation as a local community activist and blogger (at georgechapman.net).  There are plenty of pressing issues facing Salt Lake, including not enough funding to maintain/water our urban trees, maintain our streets and provide appropriate neighborhood bus service.  But the most important issue to me is the lack of solutions to address the homeless/affordability crisis in our City and the related criminal activity that victimizes the homeless and businesses and residents in SLC.
  I am the best candidate to represent the Fifth Council District, and I would stop the secret decisions made without public input.  Vote for me because the SLC Council should not be meeting in secret and making decisions behind closed doors.
  Thank you for reading and considering my candidacy,
George Chapman  
gechapman2@gmail.com
georgechapman.net





THE FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN UTAH IS BUSES

(PUBLISHED IN THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE)
  UTA completed the TRAX and FrontRunner projects a decade ahead of time which resulted in a 30% decrease in bus service. The interest cost of the debt is more than the budget for running buses. The last audit recommended that priority be given to restoring a robust bus system.
  Utah regularly prepares a Utah Transportation Plan (UTP) laying out the proposed future projects for roads and transit. Billions in projects are planned in order to limit the growth in travel demand in order to take pressure off of roads. The Plan assumed significant federal money for transit. According to the Plan, 40+% of new funding would be used for new transit projects. Only 6% would be used for service increases. 
  Mass transit riders and taxpayers want more areas served with more frequent buses and increased service and frequency on weekends and later at night. Many think that transit should be serving riders, not cities. UTA's Board of Trustees is appointed by municipalities which want projects. Riders do not seem to be getting the attention that they should.
  Recent studies show that bus mass transit systems can be more successful and financially efficient than rail.  When comparing 10 minute rail service with 10 minute bus service, there is very little difference in public approval. Other findings from the studies are that new cars carrying more than several persons can be more efficient than a rail system. Rail does provide the permanence that can encourage investment and justify loans from financial entities. But destination is an important part of the equation for rail success. 
  A recent problem between UTA and Salt Lake City is who will pay for the expensive airport TRAX reconfiguration. The SLC Airport wanted a fancy design and a rail on a bridge but refused to allow Utah law to be changed to use some of the billions in airport passenger fees (which other cities use for mass transit). If UTA is forced to pay for it, since UTA does not have the money now, which county taxpayers will pay for the project?
  Studies show that increased bus service can result in ridership increases of up to 67%. In addition, new technology is providing a cost efficient bus potential that can use a bus lane at a traffic light and a traffic light that changes to green for a bus, when a bus comes to the intersection. This is called an enhanced bus or BLIP (Bus Lane Intersection Priority). It can be as fast as a bus rapid transit (BRT) but it only costs $1.5 million per mile versus $15 per mile for a BRT. Except at the lights, traffic lanes are not taken from cars. Buses seem to be where UTA should be focusing their future plans on, especially if funding will continue to be constrained.
  Because rail systems drain money from bus service, UTA should stop planning, building or extending rail lines until future funding can be assured.  UTA should focus on using buses to increase ridership. 
  The future of mass transit in Utah is service. When the next bus is an hour away, people won't ride mass transit. When it takes an hour to get to a destination instead of 15 minutes, people won't ride mass transit. When there is no transit service, people won't ride mass transit. The best and most cost effective way to increase mass transit ridership is through bus service increases. That is why mass transit should first focus on the least expensive system, buses. Then when ridership develops, BRT and rail can be justified.



PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAIL BEDS (PUBLISHED IN DESERET NEWS)
  Recently, Sheriff Jim Winder presented a proposal to move Salt Lake County jail inmates to other counties' jails. Unfortunately, as the Sheriff pointed out, the potential 300 extra beds will not necessarily result in stopping the revolving door of criminals going in and out of jail on a regular basis.
  The other issue that needs to be addressed is the inadequate funding for the DA to prosecute the criminals. District Attorney Sim Gill's office screens 17,500 felonies a year. When Operation Diversion criminals were sent to the jail, the efforts to ensure that they stayed in jail for more that a few days overwhelmed the office. Most of the DA's prosecutors have caseloads of 150 cases. The recommended caseload is under 100 per prosecutor. Some prosecutors have caseloads over 200! To adequately and effectively prosecute felonies and misdemeanors and keep criminals in jail for more than a few hours requires more funding for the DA, not just funding for jail beds. If you ask the DA what he needs, he will say that Salt Lake County needs 18 new prosecutors and 500 beds. But the County Council is adamant that the DA has enough prosecutors. When 95% of cases are pled out without a trial, that is a sign that we need to hire more prosecutors.
  The main reason for more jail beds is to lock up the drug dealers that are in jail for an average of about 4 hours. Despite claims that Salt Lake County jail has been overwhelmed by the Legislature's Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) that decreased penalties for drug crimes, drug dealing is a felony and should not be affected by the JRI. The short time in jail for drug dealers has been complained about by law enforcement for over five years, well before the JRI. 
  The best reason to focus on drug dealers is because if the dealers are not locked up and removed from the streets (for much more than a few hours or weeks), they will ensure that addicts get addicted and stay addicted. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on drug treatment is wasted when drugs are not just easy to get, but are pushed at graduates of addiction treatment programs. Police are now relegated to confiscating drugs when they are used openly.  
  Another public safety issue is the inadequate mental health funding in Salt Lake County. During the recession, the County's mental health budget was significantly decreased and given to a private company. Many have complained that adequate funding has not been restored. The Sheriff has said that up to 80% of his jail inmates have mental health issues (which can include addiction). Efforts to encourage the Legislature to pass Healthy Utah to help provide adequate funding for addiction and mental health treatment failed. The result is, even with jail beds, those individuals that need mental health treatment are quickly released to the street where they often self medicate with heroin or stronger drugs. 
  In the recent Salt Lake City Police Department 2017 Jail Bookings & Restriction Effects, the restrictions by the jail to limit bookings showed that the number in 2016 that could not be booked included 8049 for drugs, 1678 for drunkenness, 713 for forgery, 1051 for property damage, 186 for prostitution, 3903 for retail theft, 4429 for simple assault and 3311 for trespass.  The 2015 arrests were 9772 but the 2016 arrests were limited to 7368 due to the new rules put in place early last year. The report said "The inability to incarcerate offenders for these crimes creates an atmosphere of indifference, fosters an appearance of lawlessness, and destroys the community's trust in law enforcement and pride in their neighborhoods."
  Until Salt Lake County adequately funds public safety and provides appropriate funding for the DA and for mental health treatment, 1000 jail beds won't help. Public safety is more than jail beds.  





2100 SOUTH ROAD DIET SHOULD NOT BE RUSHED 
  A month ago, Salt Lake City Transportation recommended that 2100 South be considered for a road diet (going from four lanes to three lanes with a center turn lane). Salt Lake City has decided to resurface 2100 South in July and would like to reduce the number of accidents (mainly rear enders) that occur on the road by reducing travel lanes. 
  The community is upset about the potential decrease in travel lanes due to the concern about increasing congestion and pollution. This is similar to the concern generated in the East Bench area years ago when SLC decided to do a road diet on Sunnyside (a decision that the City Council stopped). In addition, UDOT has designated 2100 South as an "alternate route" during the reconstruction of I80 and Foothill/Parleys Way interchanges. Some residents on 2100 South seem to be for it due to the perception that reducing travel lanes will increase their quality of life.
  Although reducing traffic lanes should decrease accidents, the average daily traffic (ADT) is close to 20,000 ADT. It was almost 19,000 in 2015 and it has been going up about 1000 each year. According to Road Diet Conversions: A Synthesis of Safety Research May 2013 "Case study and modeling results suggest that added caution is warranted before implementing road diets when volumes approach 1,700 vehicles per peak hour or are in the range of 20,000 to 24,000 vehicles per day (HSIS, 2010; Knapp and Giese, 2001; Welch, 1999). " Earlier studies suggest that 15,000 to 17,500 ADT be the maximum volume of vehicles for consideration for a reduction in travel lanes. Almost all studies suggest further analysis at the upper ADT levels to justify a road diet. Interestingly, City Transportation officials did not know the ADT levels of 2100 South (the latest 2100 S. numbers came from trafficcount@utah.gov - a UDOT service).
  The safety aspect is important but most accidents are minor rear enders and not the high impact severe crashes that should suggest a road diet. The present 30 MPH speed limit can be encouraged (like on Sunnyside) with speed detection signs. 
  Road diets may decrease crashes but it depends on other stop and go traffic. If transit buses and trash pickup use the road (they do), crashes, congestion and pollution can increase (as they did on 1300 East with the road diet). Left hand turning from side streets and pedestrian crossings may be impossible due to constant traffic volume.
  Bicyclists seem to like the idea that they may get bicycle lanes in one of the proposals but many bicyclists like the four lanes since they are allowed to use the right hand lane and cars must provide 3 feet space when passing. 
  Road diets can work if interested parties, users and the neighborhood agree on the project; it does not increase pollution; it does not disrupt the neighborhood; and it increases the quality of life and safety of the neighborhood. But allowing just one month to comment on the proposals is not going to result in any agreement. It seems that the proposal is planned to increase hate and discontent. If a fair and appropriate analysis is done that indicates that a four lane to three lane conversion is feasible, studies recommend "a more detailed operational analysis of the existing and expected through and turning volumes" (Federal Highway Administration Road Diet Informational Guide 2014). The decision should not be rushed.
  Salt Lake City should not be rushing the decision and deciding something that the community feels is important without more public engagement. SLC would be smart to not do any roadwork on 2100 South until after the UDOT I80 work is finished.
(Written with Craig Carter)



TIME FOR UTA BOARD TO REFLECT TRANSIT RIDER

A version of this was sent to SLC Councilmembers
  Over the last few years, complaints about Utah Transit Agency (UTA) service has significantly increased. In the process to get enough money for the TRAX line extensions, UTA had to cannibalize bus service. Salt Lake County bus service decreased 30%. 
  The result has been minimal (hourly) service at night with just handful of bus lines. Weekend service also is minimal. For people who have to work downtown outside of regular hours, they have to drive personal vehicles or use a very expensive car sharing app. When employees of KUTV 2 have to start work at 4 AM, and they are not paid star reporter salaries, they can't afford to park downtown. They have no access to mass transit service and they have to park a mile away and walk to the downtown studio! When people want to access the many entertainment venues in downtown Salt Lake City and other cities in Northern Utah, they have to drive because mass transit service is not available, conveniently, when shows end, if at all.
  The problem goes back to who is UTA supposed to serve. Many municipalities have been using UTA to push for rail transit projects with the assumption that rail stations will increase property values and encourage development. Almost all Trustees on the UTA Board are appointed by municipalities' mayors and councils. Only one or two Trustees consistently ride UTA on a regular basis. They are the ones that can confirm that service, outside of regular hours, is lacking. UTA says that UTA is supposed to serve the municipalities. But riders, taxpayers and residents want UTA to serve transit riders!
  When municipalities push for projects like the $100 million downtown streetcar, that equates to 50 new or better bus routes. A bus route's operation ranges from one to two million per route per year. The streetcar operational cost is two times that.   
  If vou ask voters and taxpayers whether they want a new rail line downtown or 50 new bus routes, they will say that they want better service and the new bus routes (especially on the west side which lacks service even more than the east side). If taxpayers are asked how they would like to spend $100 million, they would say that they want better service. In other words, the UTA Board of Trustees is now set up to encourage projects over service.
  Interestingly, it took two public votes for Salt Lake citizens to approve TRAX downtown. The first effort failed. Voters are not being allowed to now decide if they want to spend more money on projects. The Utah Transportation Plan has billions in rail projects that municipalities insist are desperately needed. New funding is supposed to have 40% go to projects and 6% go to service increases. Voters, transit riders and taxpayers are being left out of the decision making.
  Salt Lake City recently asked for a new representative on the Board of Trustees. Apparently the City's appointed person, Keith Bartholomew, had questioned the $65 million airport TRAX line that Salt Lake City is insisting UTA pay for (the City has told the City Council that UTA will pay for it). 
  Salt Lake City Mayor Biskupski has nominated Senator Jim Dabakis to be the City's representative on the Board of Trustees. If he pushes for UTA to pay for the airport TRAX out of UTA tax receipts, bus service will suffer again. Interestingly, another Board appointment is scheduled to be approved by the County Council. She is Gina Chamness who is the City Manager of Holladay and recently worked for Salt Lake City. So the Board seems to be stacked to have UTA pay for the airport TRAX.
  The push for projects is still alive and well on the UTA Board of Trustees. Service seems to be suffering and UTA's future plans deserve a fair discussion which requires transit rider and service proponents on the UTA Board of Trustees. Senator Dabakis is not a transit rider and he should not be approved by the City Council. The UTA Board should reflect a balanced viewpoint and effectively represent transit riders. Mayor Biskupski should nominate a recognized transit rider proponent to the UTA Board.

  


TRANSIT SERVICE INSTEAD OF PROJECTS

  I was concerned about some of the statements made by UTA General Manager Jerry Benson in the Salt Lake Tribune's recent story (Without big tax hike, UTA warns planned expansion, projects not feasible). Mr. Benson said that "It's really not our job to advocate or campaign [for a tax hike],...It's our job to inform policymakers and the public so they can make good decisions." I am concerned that the further comments by Mr. Benson cross the line. I think that Jerry Benson is a great manager and the best possible manager for UTA due to his expertise in operations. 
  After expressing his concern about lack of funding for service and projects, he stated that UTA has given its board members talking points about the funding gaps for projects and service to bring to the attention of the cities, counties and other elected officials who appoint them. I remember the Board Chair asking that Board members reach out and talk to their appointment municipalities. But I don't remember a Board discussion on encouraging a tax increase which seems to be in the written talking points! It would seem to be more appropriate for the Board members and Chair to encourage a tax increase which Mr. Benson implies is needed to increase projects and service.
  In the last Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) from the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC is composed of mayors and leaders from Salt Lake, Davis and Weber County), most of any new tax increase, 40%, will be going to questionable projects. Only 6% of new taxes will go to service increases. In addition, as Lee Davidson pointed out in his story, there are many streetcar, BRT and rail projects that are costly (and have not had the UTA audit's recommended cost benefit analysis). The RTP also has an airport high speed rail station, the Alta-Summit County connector (tunnel and rail), the $3 billion Draper to Lehi TRAX, 3 rail projects in Salt Lake City (at $100 million each) and many BRTs (at $15 million per mile) instead of more appropriate, and as effective, enhanced buses (at $1.5 million per mile). 
  The RTP is essentially a wish list. Streetcars (at $45 million per mile) are not a cost effective transit option (according to a Congressional Research Service report Streetcars: FAQ). If voters were given a choice of spending $100 million on a streetcar or creating 20 plus new bus routes (at about a $1 million annual operating expense) and extending late night service, they would overwhelmingly favor more bus service. Creating a robust bus system will generate more ridership fares than just the new bus route generates.  Much of the pressure for these questionable projects come from construction companies that stand to make billions. During WFRC discussion, very few members of the public were aware of and commented on the proposals. Another concern is that projects should not be based on increased taxes or new bonding or fees. The last audit recommended that UTA identify and specify reliable revenue sources to cover operating costs before future projects' construction begins. That should not be interpreted to mean wishing for a tax increase.
  The last UTA audit pointed out that rail expansion decreased bus service around 30%. The audit recommended, that before building more projects, UTA should restore a robust bus system before even thinking of more projects. When you can't go to a downtown show or game or anywhere late at night and rely on mass transit to take you there and back, mass transit doesn't work. UTA should focus on increasing frequency and late night and weekend bus service and commit, in writing, to not plan or build new projects until a robust bus system is operating.  
  UTA could benefit from a more open discussion and debate about the future of mass transit in Salt Lake County instead of using wish lists to advocate for higher taxes.  Recent studies show that bus mass transit systems can be more successful and financially efficient. 





TRANSIT SERVICE INSTEAD OF PROJECTS (PUBLISHED IN THE DESERET NEWS)
UTA pushes projects over service 
  Over the last few years, complaints about Utah Transit Agency (UTA) service has significantly increased. In the process to get enough money for the TRAX line extensions, UTA had to cannibalize bus service. Salt Lake County bus service decreased 30 percent.
  The result has been minimal (hourly) service at night with just a handful of bus lines. Weekend service also is minimal. For people who have to work downtown outside of regular hours, they have to drive personal vehicles or use a very expensive car-sharing app. When people want to access the many entertainment venues in downtown Salt Lake City and other cities in northern Utah, they have to drive because mass transit service is not available, conveniently, when shows end, if at all.
  The problem goes back to who is UTA supposed to serve. Many municipalities have been using UTA to push for rail transit projects with the assumption that rail stations will increase property values and encourage development. Almost all trustees on the UTA Board are appointed by the mayors and councils of cities that want projects. Only one or two trustees consistently ride UTA on a regular basis. They are the ones who can confirm that service, outside of regular hours, is lacking. UTA says that UTA is supposed to serve the municipalities. But riders, taxpayers and residents want and deserve UTA to serve transit riders!
  When municipalities push for projects like the $100 million downtown streetcar, that equates to 50 new or better bus routes. A bus route's operation ranges from 1 million to 2 million per route per year. The streetcar operational cost is two times that.
  If you ask voters and taxpayers whether they want a new rail line downtown or 50 new bus routes, they will say that they want better service and the new bus routes (especially on the west side, which lacks service even more than the east side). If taxpayers are asked how they would like to spend $100 million, they would say that they want better service. In other words, the UTA Board of Trustees is now set up to encourage projects over service.
  Interestingly, it took two public votes for Salt Lake citizens to approve TRAX downtown. The first effort failed. Voters are not being allowed to now decide if they want to spend more money on projects. The Utah Transportation Plan has billions in rail projects that municipalities insist are desperately needed. New funding is supposed to have 40 percent go to projects and 6 percent go to service increases. Voters, transit riders and taxpayers are being left out of the decision-making.
  Salt Lake City recently asked for a new representative on the Board of Trustees. Apparently the city's appointed person, Keith Bartholomew, had questioned the $65 million airport TRAX line that Salt Lake City is insisting UTA pay for (the city has told the City Council that UTA will pay for it).
  The push for projects is still alive and well on the UTA Board of Trustees. Service seems to be suffering, and UTA's future plans deserve a fair discussion that requires transit rider and service proponents on the UTA Board of Trustees. Sen. Jim Dabakis is not a transit rider, and he should not be approved by the City Council. The UTA Board should reflect a balanced viewpoint and effectively represent transit riders. Mayor Jackie Biskupski should nominate a recognized transit rider proponent to the UTA Board




BICYCLE QUESTIONNAIRE FOR CYCLINGUTAH
  My vision for SLC is based on my former life as an avid bicyclist, riding 10 miles a day, including to work for the first few years.  I grew up in Utah and I enjoy hiking, running and biking in the foothills.  I want to see a safer bicycling City.  I do not support the SLC Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan since it assumes that we will have over a hundred million dollars to spend on it.  A financially constrained and realistic plan would include narrower center turn lanes (if at all) and wider bicycle lanes.  I do not support cycle tracks (separated bike paths on roads) since they are not maintained well.  I remember walking past one that wasn't cleaned of broken ceramics for over a week!  And I also remember the 300 South cycle track that was flooded.  Bicyclists have shown me pictures of trucks with their ramps crossing the cycle track!!  There are some streets in SLC without driveways (like on Richmond, 700 East - in spots) that would be amenable to an effective cycle track but the cost is so much higher that I believe that the cycle tracks should be considered after a better bicycling path system is provided (wider bike lanes instead of wasteful center turn lanes).  If you want to see nonsensical and useless center turn lanes that take away from potential wider and safer bike lanes, check out Foothill, 700 East, 900 East (south of 3300 South but there are some spots on 900 East that do not need center turn lanes).  There is also an argument that streets with a 30 MPH speed limit may benefit more from a super wide bike lane instead of a little used center turn lane except at cross streets. 
  I also believe that the lack of road maintenance affects bicyclists more than vehicles.  A safe bicycling community should be providing safe streets, especially near curbs for safe bicycle riding.  SLC Council took away $8.4 million several years ago from street maintenance and used it for a salary increase.  I consider that unconscionable.  Bicyclists deserve more respect.
  I want to encourage bicycling in the canyons with year round bus service focusing on hiking and biking.  We have been fighting for several years to get UTA to provide this obvious tourist and mountain biking amenity/draw but UTA is holding back due to money issues.  We are fighting for the money from the Legislature and from other sources. 
  I do not like the law against riding a bicycle on the sidewalks downtown.  I want it rescinded.  
  I also would like to complete the Parleys Trail (although I am very upset about the narrow path next to the (big rig noise) I80 freeway.  I want to have SLCounty provide funding to complete the trail through South Salt Lake City to the Jordan River.  I also want to have a wide bike path for the 9 line bike trail (without losing road lanes).  I believe that Senator Weiler's law to give bicyclists a 3 foot passing is sufficient for safety in many cases. 
  I am also upset about spending a million dollars on the McClelland Trail that could have been better spent on road improvements in the area.  And of course, maintenance is still a problem since the plantings in the trail weren't watered and they died and now goatheads are in the trail!!! Maintenance is a big issue with bike trails.  There is also seems to be a priority to focus and spend money on bicycling in parks when bicyclists use streets more.  I think that streets should receive more priority.  I am against streetcars and the push by some in SLC to spend hundreds of millions on streetcars.  Bicyclists should be fighting this plan since they hurt/cause bicyclists to crash.  In one study, over 50% of Portland bicyclists have crashed on Portland's streetcar rails!
  When I came back to Utah after I retired, I biked several times a week (from 13th South) up Millcreek Canyon (to Log Haven) and I loved the quiet back roads.  I still think the quiet side streets are better than the main streets for recreational biking.  I want Salt Lake County to provide canyon shoulder paving for bicyclists that are well out of the lane of traffic.  That is where a cycle track (with some cutouts for parking) would be appropriate.  There should be a priority to provide safe biking (and running and walking) in the canyons!!  The shoulder paving doesn't have to be as expensive since it is for bicycles (if a cycle track is provided to keep vehicles out of the way.  The path also has to be wide enough for 2 bicycles. 
  The biggest issue for cyclists in SLC is the lack of street maintenance funding tha allows potholes to proliferate near the curb and in the path of bicyclists.  It is especially bad near bus stops.  SLC streets needs $40 million per year to maintain streets.  SLC gives it less than $10 million (plus they took away the $8.4 million extra for the salary increase a few years ago).  This is basic infrastructure!  I want to restore the $8.4 million to streets and add another $10 million.  I would like to have the taxpayers vote by mail on a tax increase to add $12 million to the $18 million and have it locked up to $30 million that could not be taken away for anything else.
  But another important issue is the bicycle theft issue.  I hope to get SLC Police and Senator Weiler to work together on a Utah law that requires registration of bicycles for a nominal cost ($5?) when sold new or used.  SLCO also needs to provide funding for the DA to prosecute bicycle theft.  Bike thieves get off almost always with less than a day of jail time.  
  I want to see wider and safer bike paths along major roadways.  I do not like parking indentations and parking strips on 2100 South.  Bike paths should be available but it requires a long term discussion not a rushed push like the 2100 South proposal that recently caused a big rucus.  1300 East is still not a safe bicycling route and I am not sure that the curb and gutter project will help.  I want money spent, not on alleyway trails but on street improvements for bicycles.  I do not appreciate the efforts so far to put in bike paths along with 45 degree parking (500 South and east of the State Capitol).  I also want to see some way of providing water for bicyclists and runners and pets on bicycling routes (to Tooele, Parleys another potential cycle track or adjacent bikeway, etc).
  I am against the Life on State Envision Utah study with its roundabouts and reduction in speed.  I do not believe that the community would allow it and it would result in a fight like the recent 2100 South debacle.  State Street has a wasteful unused center strip that should be removed, keeping the lanes of traffic, and adding a wide bicycle lane on each side.  I am also making it part of my campaign to increase the safety of State Street.  One of the reasons that UTA removed the State Street 1300 South bus stop is that there were attempted thefts of bicycles from the bus when they stopped there.  That is still a problem.  I want to keep and protect the wide sidewalks along State Street and hope to use the new RDA area on State Street to provide better Complete Streets planning with form based zoning that encourages mixed use, mixed income buildings.  The Life on State plan is very costly and, based on past experience, costly plans tend to drop bicycles and pedestrian amenities (although expensive and bicycle barrier bulbouts are being considered - I am against bulbouts since they are a hazard for bicyclists.) when implemented. 
  I think that it would make sense to carve out a permanent appropriation for bicycling amenities from the budget so that it is clear what can be spent for bicycling every year instead of trying to scrape up "some" funding for a project.
  I am against strengthening the Complete Streets Ordinance.  SLC has never really implemented it and a good example is the Sugar House Circulation and Amenities Plan (SHCAP) and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan (PBP).  The first draft of the SHCAP recommended 12 foot wide sidewalks.  Unfortunately, we couldn't convince the City to put in wider sidewalks and the result is McClelland with their 4 foot sidewalks and a wasteful parking strip.  We are working to convert half the street to a bicycle and pedestrian path.  The PBP focused on bicycles and I feel that it gave almost no attention to pedestrians.  I still think wider sidewalks support safe bicycling on sidewalks but SLC has a tendency to put in bike unfriendly hazards like posts, planters, etc.  
  I am not familiar with 10,000 Wheels and would look at the effect on individual streets.  I do not support road diets that increase pollution.  I want to decrease pollution.  I should also note that I support more funding to sustain and grow our urban forest since it also decreases pollution.  SLC cuts 3000 trees a year and does not replace them in a sustainable manner.  I am against more plantings in the medians since the medians would be better used as space for bike lanes on the side of the roads.  Also SLC does not have the money to effectively water many of the medians and roundabouts.  I want a Countywide plan that is realistic.  I do not like what we have and it does not have a schedule and cost for implementation of a comfortable County bicycle plan.  Note that WFRC is drafting a plan that includes active transportation but it appears to focus on expensive projects instead of quickly implementing safe bicycling streets.  An expensive (an not well maintained) cycle track takes away from 10 times more wide and safer bicycle lanes.
  I do not believe that the 2015 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan will ever be implemented due to its cost.  It should have been priced out and a realistic plan developed.  Wider bike lanes first and then, once all roads in the City have them, and if maintenance is available, then consider building cycle tracks.  Removing lanes of traffic on congested roads or providing more crossings is going to increase pollution and I am against that.  Bicyclists do care about pollution.
  I did ride a bicycle.  I still have one.  Unfortunately, I cannot really ride it due to a medical issue.  I do try but I can only go a block or two.  I try.  I miss it.  I wish that more people would realize that bicycling can be made so much safer so easily and quickly except for people who want to build expensive projects that take away from the potential for many more times the routes that this area deserves.  I especially want to encourage more use of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (We also desperately need restrooms along the Trails.)  And I also would like an educational effort to encourage dogs to be on leashes since I keep hearing of issues/conflicts with bicyclists and dogs.  I look forward to seeing an explosion of bicycling in Salt Lake City.






​​JULY 15, 2017 
CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR SLC COUNCIL DISTRICTS 1, 3, 5, 7
MEET THE DISTRICT 5 & 7 CANDIDATES JULY 27 WESTMINSTER
OTHER CANDIDATE MEET AND GREETS
10 CANDIDATE PROFILES OUT OF 19
SLC COUNCIL ORDERS ADU ORDINANCE TO BE BROUGHT TO IT

CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR SLC COUNCIL DISTRICTS 1, 3, 5, 7

  This is the list of candidates from the slcgov.com Recorder's Office.
Atkin, David C. 564 North 1100 West Salt Lake City Utah 84116801-953-0932dcatkin@comcast.ne

Rogers, James 1358 West Sunset DriveSalt Lake CityUtah 84106801-891-6392jamesrogers@utahsign.com
Jones, Arnold M. 1250 Oakley StreetSalt Lake CityUtah 84116801-347-5153arnold.matthew.jones@gmail.com
Garbett, Jeffrey V. 273 East Capitol StreetSalt Lake City Utah 84103801-300-7610jeffvdbgarbett@gmail.com
Fukushima, Brian 790 Northshore Drive Salt Lake City Utah 84103801-450-1436boardrider1@msn.com 
Cushman, Laura474 7th AvenueSalt Lake City Utah 84103415-308-3678laura.cushman@gmail.com
Carroll, Phil 89 'G' StreetSalt Lake City Utah 84103801-573-7009altapac@aol.com
Wharton, Chris123 'C' Street, Apartment 1Salt Lake City Utah 84103801-910-6795chris@chriswhartonlaw.com
Hansen, Vance530 Wood AvenueSalt Lake City Utah 84105801-556-9024vhansen@utahweb.com
Rosenberg, Benjamin Noah 1073 East 1300 South Salt Lake City Utah 84105801-230-0194noah@voterosenberg.org
Goode-Rogozinski, Carol823 S. 1000 E. Salt Lake City Utah 84102801-524-0993goodec2003@yahoo.com
Chapman, George1186 South 1100 East Salt Lake City Utah 84105801-867-7071gechapman2@gmail.com 
Mendenhall, Erin 1145 East Laird Avenue Salt Lake City Utah 84105801-503-9181erinforcouncil@gmail.com
Haynes, Ben 1243 East Brickyard RoadSalt Lake City Utah84106435-602-2944jbenjaminh92@gmail.com
Sills, Jason1855 South 1100 East Salt Lake City Utah84105801-596-3229jasonsills@gmail.com
Sessions, Benjamin1715 South 900 EastSalt Lake City Utah84105801-910-4052voteforsessions@gmail.com
Smith, Abe2186 Lincoln StreetSalt Lake City Utah84106801-449-0401vote4ags@gmail.com
Finch, Samantha L. 828 East Nibley Circle Salt Lake City Utah84106801-651-3110sfinch4slcd7@gmail.com 

Fowler, Amy824 East 2700 SouthSalt Lake City Utah84106801-824-9698voteamyfowler@gmail.com 





MEET THE DISTRICT 5 & 7 CANDIDATES JULY 27 WESTMINSTER
  Several community councils are having a meet the District 5 and 7 SLC Council candidates informal gathering at Westminster College on July 27th from 6 to 8 PM.  It is at the Jewett Center which is on 1700 South.  Parking is in the garage that is just west of the Jewett Center.  The plan is to allow the candidates a chance to speak for a few minutes to an audience in the theater then move to the hallways where the candidates can speak to individuals and groups and pass out literature and signs.  This is an important chance to meet candidates in District 5 and 7 before August.  Ballots go out on July 25.





OTHER CANDIDATE MEET AND GREETS

  Benjamin Sessions has a meet and greet/community discussion at Bikram Yoga (1924 S 1100 E) on July 17, Monday, at 6:30-7:30PM, please RSVP at 801 896 4637 or voteforsessions@gmail.com.
Benjamin Sessions is a candidate for SLC District 7 and is on the Sugar House Chamber Board and on the Sugar House Community Council.  This is a good place to discuss issues that also will be passed to the Sugar House Community Council.  Traffic on 1100 East (avoiding the road diet on 1300 East, parking in the area (including the Post Office parking), pollution due to congestion and over development, potential extension of the streetcar up 1100 East (at $100 million local taxpayer cost), Parks bond, streets maintenance, etc.  These are issues that should be discussed.  If you can think of others, please attend and discuss them.  If you are having a meet and greet, let me know and I will try to publicize it.




CANDIDATE PROFILES
  Any candidate is welcome to send me their information which I will put on this blog.  I realize that there are concerns about fairness and I think that I have covered them by asking for permission first before posting the information and not putting anything on without permission of the candidate.  I want to encourage public engagement and even if it means giving my fellow candidates attention on this blog, I think that it will make SLC a better City.  So far, these are the flyers and/or information that candidates have given me:



Phil Carroll, Salt Lake City Council District 3
I have been intimately involved in the issues facing our community and have consistently worked to make our Avenues neighborhood a better place for more than 30 years.  I have served two terms as Chair of the Greater Avenues Community Council. For 20 years I have organized the Memory Grove Clean-Up.  I’ve chaired the Avenues Street Fair. I’ve chaired the SLC Transportation Advisory Board. For over two years I volunteered weekly at The Road Home mentoring the homeless.
In 1995 I started the Utah non-profit Community Housing Services which acquires and builds affordable housing. CHS has 1200 units with 200 affordable apartments in District 3.  I’ve served as President of the National Affordable Housing Management Association. I have extensive background in affordable housing, providing the U.S. Congress testimony on affordable housing issues. 
My wife Carlisle and I have lived in our 1914 bungalow at 89 ‘G’ Street since 1987.  Our children, Peter and Lena, were both born and raised in the Avenues. 
My experience, qualifications, and education along with my dedication to our Avenues community have prepared me to represent District 3 on the Salt Lake City Council.     
Immaculate Heart College, BA
University of Utah, MS
Western State University, JD
Phil, Carroll, 89 'G' Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103 801-573-7009 altapac@aol.com






Chris Warton, SLC District 3
Background
Chris is a dedicated community activist, small business owner, and leading family and civil rights attorney. He operates his own downtown law firm offering affordable legal services to clients who could not otherwise afford an attorney. He also serves as a court-appointed advocate for children. He served two terms on the Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission, where he helped develop the state’s first non-discrimination ordinances. Chris and his husband live in the lower Avenues with their dog and two cats. Find out more about Chris at votechriswharton.com or by contacting him directly at 801-910-6795.
 
Reason for Running
“I’m passionate about Salt Lake City! It’s been my family’s home for generations. I love the unique character of our neighborhoods and the beauty of our natural surroundings. I want to preserve what makes our city different while working to ensure our future growth and success. I’ve served this community for years. I have the experience and the energy to be an effective advocate for District 3, and I know how to bring people together to address complex issues and build consensus.”
 
Issues
Sustainability – The city should continue to lead the state in green energy, public transportation, energy efficiency requirements, and clean air initiatives (including more walkable and bikeable urban planning) – all with the goal of becoming a zero waste city.
Affordable Housing – The population is exploding but we are not producing enough affordable housing to meet the demand. To avoid a housing crisis, we need to incentivize diverse and equitable housing options to promote long-term stability.
Safe Neighborhoods – Whether the issue is speeding cars or home break-ins, the solution is community policing (including more funding for our police) and making sure residents are informed, engaged, and vigilant.
Arts & Culture – With cuts to arts funding at the federal and state level, it will be up to local governments and non-profits to maintain the city’s renowned artistic and cultural scene thriving.
Homelessness – Shelters alone will not solve the problem. We need collaboration between public and non-profit entities to address systemic poverty, crime prevention, mental health services, rehabilitation, housing, and job placement.
Outdoor Recreation – We must protect parks, green spaces, trails, and public lands while ensuring fair access to outdoor recreation for people and pets.
T. Christopher Wharton
Chris Wharton Law, LLC
165 South Main Street, Suite 200
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Telephone: 801-649-3529
Chris Wharton 123 'C' Street, Apartment 1 Salt Lake City, Utah  84103 801-910-6795   chris@chriswhartonlaw.com





Ben Haynes, SLC Council District 7
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, I have called Utah my home for the last 20 years. The first time I became involved in my community was during high school when I served as the junior student delegate on the Park City school board. I moved into Sugar House while studying at the University of Utah. During college, I was involved in numerous internships that ranged from an opportunity to serve in Senator Reid’s office as a communications intern to a service mission in Colombia where I helped children in rural villages learn the English language. Returning home, I joined Scott Howell’s 2012 Senate campaign and later Count my Vote, a nonpartisan campaign to increase voter participation in Utah. I believe in ensuring that all citizens have a voice and are empowered by their local government.
Over the last 19 months, I traveled the country to serve as a community organizer in cities and towns in states like New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. 
I’ve seen and felt the everyday impact that local government has on everyday people. I’ve since returned to my home in Sugar House to get to work and fight for the neighborhood I love most.
If elected to represent District Seven on the city council, I will serve every day as an advocate for transparency within our local government. I promise to work every day promoting access to affordable housing for our community. With me as your city councilman, I will focus on increasing community engagement within neighborhoods and most importantly, keeping my constituents well informed on what the city council is up to. I guarantee to strive for open communication. I would love nothing more than to sit down with you and listen to what your concerns are.
Now, more than ever, we need young people to run for office. We need an advocate for our community. We need someone who believes it is more important to serve the community than to be re-elected. I promise to be that person for you. Can I count on you as a part of my team?
Ben Haynes, 1243 East Brickyard Road, Salt Lake City Utah  84106  435-602-2944  jbenjaminh92@gmail.com




Benjamin Sessions, SLC District 7:
Benjamin Sessions is a Utah Native and Sugar House resident that loves the vibrancy, walkability, and history of Sugar House.  Generations of his family members have graduated from Highland High, live in Sugar House, and have deep roots in the community.  He graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Consumer Studies and currently works for a small business.  He is a homeowner, husband, and father.   He has a strong desire to serve his neighbors and protect his community.  He currently is on the Sugar House Community Council and Sugar House Chamber, working hard to make sure our city government works effectively.  He has a strong desire to serve his neighbors, protect our homes and businesses and improve our quality of life.
AREAS OF FOCUS
I am running for District 7 City Council because Sugar House is growing rapidly and we need to make sure that people feel safe in their homes and businesses, that our infrastructure is clean and well maintained, and that we preserve the authenticity of our neighborhoods. Safety, infrastructure, and development will be my main areas of focus for the next four years.
SAFETY - Work with the police and fire departments to make sure people feel safe in their homes.
INFRASTRUCTURE - Focus on fixing our roads and parking infrastructure so that cars and bikes can move efficiently through the city and utilize the amenities that Sugar House offers.
DEVELOPMENT - Preserve the authenticity of Sugar House by supporting local businesses and making sure that development is thoughtful and complements the neighborhoods and business district.
Benjamin Sessions 1715 South 900 East Salt Lake City Utah  84105  801-910-4052  voteforsessions@gmail.com




Arnold Jones, SLC Council District 1
I have worked as a licensed security guard in the Salt Lake City area in the past. When I lived in MN prior to 1997 I worked as a security guard dealing in Lower income federal housing developments where I dealt with various types of criminal activities and drug related issues. So I have a very good understanding of how these issues affect our neighborhoods.  
I have two bachelors degrees. The first one is in Biology/chemistry and the 2nd in computer information services majoring in computer programming.  
I have decided to run for the District 1 city council seat not only to deal with issues related to Rose Park area but also SLC in general. The meetings that the Council holds should be public and not primarily behind close doors. I am not saying that there are not times where meetings should be during closed doors. 
I believe in ensuring that there is support for the local law enforcement community as a whole and that there needs to be adequate budgeting for this and that those funds need to be used for these purposes and not for other purposes. The DA office and Mayor need to be held accountable for ensuring that the funding is spent appropriately.
Public Transportation: There needs to be additional funding that is spent where needed that would be most appropriate for the citizens of SLC proper.  SLC needs increased transportation routes and shorter times between buses.  
We also need to address the homeless issue more appropriately and responsibly. There are also issues with hunger in our communities and there needs to be funding made available to address this issues as well.
Regarding the planting of more trees. This is very important as this also helps in assisting in the pollution and cooling effect of our city.  I do not think that the current powers in office understand this completely or if they do they are ignoring it.
These are just some of my primary concerns that need to have a more immediate need of addressing.
Our constant community growth and small business decline in our communities are not only current issues but also issues that will be needed to addressed in the future. Dealing with recidivism regarding individuals that get our of both local jails and prison need to be addressed. If our community continues lacking in employment options this issue will only continue to grow in the future. this is not a simple issue to address and resolve. However, it does need to be addressed now and not be ignored until at the last minute.
Once again the issue of hunger, homelessness, lack of community infrastructure, not just road maintenance issues but also job creation and keeping businesses in the SLC area are important issues and will constantly need to be addressed and re-addressed to help improve them. These are not easily fixed and will probably never be completely resolved but are main core issues that affect our city and valley area as a whole.
Arnold, Jones,1250 Oakley Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84116  801-347-5153  arnold.matthew.jones@gmail.com






George Chapman SLC District 5
GEORGE CHAPMAN SLC COUNCIL D5 GEORGECHAPMAN.NET 
I WANT TO:
STOP SECRET MEETINGS & DECISIONS (SHELTERS, STREETCARS, ETC)
STOP TAX INCREASES (PARKS, STREETCARS, STREETS, SEWER, WATER)
STOP EXPENSIVE TRANSIT PROJECTS 
STOP DRUG DEALING AND HOMELESS CAMPING 
STOP ROAD DIETS THAT INCREASE CONGESTION AND POLLUTION
STOP WASTING MILLIONS ON ALLEY TRAILS
REQUIRE SL COUNTY TO LOCK UP AND PROSECUTE DRUG DEALERS
PROTECT WATERSHED AND BUILD CANYON RESTROOMS
RESTORE BETTER NEIGHBORHOOD BUS SERVICE
SOLVE PROBLEMS NOW INSTEAD OF WAITING UNTIL ELECTION TIME
RETIRED ENGINEER, VETERAN, OPED WRITER, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST
gechapman2@gmail.com PO Box 520653, SLC, UT 84152 8018677071 
George Chapman 1186 South 1100 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105 801-867-7071  gechapman2@gmail.com





Erin Mendenhall SLC District 5
Erin secured funding for the McLelland Trail, a two mile walking and biking trial through District 5, creating community connectivity and open space.
District 5 has experienced a 16% decrease in Part 1 crimes, including violent crimes, since Erin reinstated police bike patrol and began to facilitate community collaboration.
Erin recognizes the need for geographic equity in affordable housing, and led the creation of a $21 million fund to address this need citywide.
slcerin.com   Facebook/erinforcouncil  erin@slcerin.com
Erin Mendenhall, 1145 East Laird Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105 801-503-9181 erinforcouncil@gmail.com


Samantha Finch, SLC District 7
Your neighbor now running to become your Councilor at City Hall!
Greetings, Salt Lake City District 7!
Who am I? I am a professional, working woman who came to Utah some years ago for both the recreational and employment opportunities the state so uniquely offers. In terms of previous employment, I have been an associate for a global financial services company and a local outdoor retailer. Most recently, I served as an Attorney for the state of Utah on public land issues.
What you should know about me? I see Utah values as that of Silicon Slopes; a culture that values immigration, globalization, gender equality, and technological advancement while seeking a cleaner energy future. I am an environmentalist. Salt Lake City is so beautiful. It is a city that is strategically located in the heart of the West and is so economically prosperous, but so tragically afflicted with air pollution. I seek, like many cities in America should, a cleaner environment. This means advancing lower carbon and renewable energy policies to power us into the future.
What else should you know about me? Politically I am a moderate, who likes compromise, but leans left.
Why am I running? I hate our air pollution and our roads. Actually, I think our air quality is at times lethal. I’m also really concerned about all that development in Sugar House. As it is I avoid, 21st and 11E. Parking is bear! With all this new development, I ask, what is everyone thinking? Sugar House is turning into a mini city. Do we want this? Who are we? I’m afraid we are losing our character.
Also, I am concerned about the contentious relationship between the SLC County and SLC City. The country is tearing itself apart with partisan politics. We don’t need conflict between our population centers. Together we are the Silicon Slopes, we need the State Legislature to stop thinking of Utah as a rural state and focus more on the needs of our cities.
Salt Lake City is an engine of power, growth, tax base and innovation. I would like to partner more with our State Senators and Reps with city populations, who share the common curse of poor air quality. Through them, I would like to advocate for more actions to clean up our air. Exactly how, I'm not sure, but I'd start with sending a strong message to the Governor's office that Sen. Orrin Hatch's idea to request more time to meet EPA Ozone limits is not appropriate. Salt Lake City (and hopefully
other cities here in Utah) want a cooperative, not confrontational relationship with the EPA to clean up our air.
I will also suggest that we need more moderates in government. We also need more women of different profiles to step into public service. Our federal form and structure of government is threatened. In order to protect our environment, and social welfare programs, we must increasingly rely on state and local governments. As your Rep. I will support open spaces, clean air, public infrastructure upgrades and increased service, plus a responsible government that cares about the welfare of all of us.
A few words about affordable housing and policing. I am concerned about building affordable housing, but recognize that certain neighborhoods do not want high density housing. Personally, I don’t want any more high-rise buildings in the Sugar House business district. Then there is policing Salt Lake City in the wake of federal threats against sanctuary cities. I support Law Enforcement, our law enforcement. I believe Immigration laws should be enforced, but our local police need to follow best practices that advance local safety, trust in the police force, and crime fighting. Our local police are the experts on this, not me. So, to the best of my knowledge, I will continue to defer to these experts on this policy matter.
Reach me at:
facebook.com/samanthaforSLCC7 crowdpac elect-samantha-finch
Samantha L. Finch 828 East Nibley Circle, Salt Lake City, Utah 84106  801-651-3110  sfinch4slcd7@gmail.com 




Jason Sills, SLC District 7
SMARTER, BETTER GOVERNMENT
As your representative on the City Council I promise I will:
- Deliver data-driven results that empower citizens
- Analyze data and provide the best information possible
- Transform government with openness and transparency
- Assure integrity is at the core of every decision
jason@votesills.com  facebook.com/votesills
Jason Sills, 1855 South 1100 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105 801-596-3229  jasonsills@gmail.com





Amy Fowler, SLC District 7
I am a Utah native, alum of the UofU Law School, and have lived in Sugar House for 7 years.  
I have traveled the world, but believe it is necessary to make a difference in my own backyard.
I co-founded the LGBT & Allied Lawyers of Utah in 2013, and in 2014 I joined the public defender's office.
Access to Resources for the Homeless Community
* Sufficiently fund programs that offer mental health and substance abuse resources
* Combat the root causes of homelessness by coordinating with all stakeholders, especially community members
Developing our community with consciousness
* Be accessible for residents to address concerns with local development
* Create and protect open spaces
* Approach zoning and transportation with a holistic view
Connection throughout our district
* Understand the needs of our diverse communities
* Create solutions that address differing needs, but benefit everyone
Government should reflect the needs and desires of the people it is meant to represent.  Transparency, accountability, and connection are essential for success.  Let me be your voice, and together we will move Salt Lake City to greater heights.
Facebook/voteamyfowler  electamyfowler.com amy@electayfowler.com


Amy Fowler, 824 East 2700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84106 801-824-9698   voteamyfowler@gmail.com



SLC COUNCIL ORDERS ADU ORDINANCE TO BE BROUGHT TO IT
  At last week's City Council hearing, the Council decided that the ADU ordinance was ready to be brought to the City Council and that a public hearing will occur soon.  There is concern in the community councils that the single family home neighborhoods are going to be negatively impacted.  There was also a concern about the ADUs becoming crime magnets.  The Council believes that the new Civil Penalty ordinance, with minor changes could be used to stop crime issues.






​JULY 12, 2017
SLC COUNCIL APPROVES CIVIL PENALTY ORDINANCE
PLANTS DYING AROUND CITY DUE TO LACK OF WATER MONEY
BIGGEST BONDING ENTITY IN SLCO QUESTIONED
HOMELESS STORAGE TOLD TO STAY OPEN UNLESS REPLACED
WHY IS MAYOR BISKUPSKI BEING MADE SCAPEGOAT
ADU ORDINANCE COMING TO SLC PUBLIC HEARING SOON


SLC COUNCIL APPROVES CIVIL PENALTY ORDINANCE

  Tuesday night, the SLC Council approved the civil penalty ordinance that is going to be used to bring control over the motels that act as crime magnets.  North Temple, Foothill and State Street motels have had many complaints by nearby residents and police about criminal activity that seems to be ignored or encouraged around these motels.  When the City tries to shut them down, they change ownership to a new entity still controlled by the same person or family.  After four citations, now, a motel or rental facility will be put on probation and any violation of the probation's requirements will result in pulling the license and stopping the renting of the facility.  Erin Mendenhall, who represents the State Street area impacted by these crime magnets (regular weekly police raids), was at the forefront of pushing for this ordinance.  Usually, the City Council waits a week or two before passing the ordinances after a public hearing (something that I am against due to concern about secret meetings).  But last night the Council suspended the rules and passed the ordinance into effect.  Standby for the hopefully quick effect that should decrease crime.
  

PLANTS DYING AROUND CITY DUE TO LACK OF WATER MONEY
  SLC Parks did not tell the City Council that they needed more money in the budget to water the urban forest and plants that the Parks Department is responsible for.  Please be aware that SLC Public Utilities charges SLC parks and golf courses much more for water than other municipalities in the County.  SLC Councilmembers are furious that Parks did not tell the Council during the budget hearings about this issue.  This isn't the first time that Parks has given up on watering (the former mayor ordered it).  Bonneville Golf Course trees were left to die a couple of years ago due to lack of watering (neighbors tried to save them by watering them).  The former administration tried to stop watering Wingpointe.  The hundreds of thousands of dollars of new plantings in Miller Park were left to wilt away due to not watering.  And now, the gardens around the City Hall are left to die (except for the weeds).  This could be a way to force the Council to push for a parks bond.  I don't think that the City Council is happy about this.


BIGGEST BONDING ENTITY IN SLCO QUESTIONED
  The Mountain Accord lawsuit that claims that that entity had to follow government open meetings requirements has been allowed to move forward with a slap in the face against Mayor Ben McAdams (by the Judge).  The County Council quickly followed up by asking Utah State Auditor John Dougall to audit the Mountain Accord spending of money.  And that means that the biggest bonding entity in SLCO is now questionable.  The Central Wasatch Commission (CWC) was set up to implement the Mountain Accord with fees and bonding without public votes.  Remember when the voters turned down the first TRAX line and the first SLCPD HQ?  It appears that the CWC and Ben McAdams, its driving force, is doing an end run around the voters.  The four mayors on the Commission will be able to bond and increase canyon fees without answering to the public and without a vote.
  But the lawsuit by Norm Henderson and the Cardiff Canyon landowners is saving the day and potentially saving the canyons from 10 years of heavy construction and blasting to build the Mountain Accord's tunnel and rail system.  It should be recognized that the cost will be in the billions and the biggest beneficiaries will be the landowners around the proposed rail line (including previously mentioned UTA involved developers).  Assuming that the lawsuit succeeds, the CWC will not be able to function since it came from the Mountain Accord which did not meet Utah open meeting act law. 


HOMELESS STORAGE TOLD TO STAY OPEN UNLESS REPLACED

  The RDA told several SLC Councilmembers in the last few weeks that they wanted to close the homeless storage facility and demolish it.  Yesterday, Stan Penfold and the City Council ordered RDA staff to back off and discuss it with the Council before they even think about closing it.  Stan Penfold was asked and agreed to consider a bigger facility since the present facility is full.  He also will consider longer hours to cover those who want to work.  He agreed that SLC shouldn't be seeing pictures or scenes like last week during the biweekly SLCO Health Department cleanup where homeless were pushing big carts of belongings to save them from confiscation.


WHY IS MAYOR BISKUPSKI BEING MADE SCAPEGOAT
  It appears that guns are being trained on Mayor Biskupski to take the blame on the homeless problems that are not getting better.  I have been involved in this homeless issue and written countless opeds for the local papers.  I don't think much has changed.  Although the City is trying, Salt Lake County has never stepped up to do their part to control the situation.  I blame former Mayor Becker for allowing Mayor McAdams to get away with releasing drug dealers after just a few hours in jail.  It was a situation caused by Mayor McAdams' inadequate public safety funding for the DA and Sheriff's jail.  When the DA does not have enough staff to keep the drug dealers locked up, they are released and we have the Sheriff's revolving door.  SLCO cut mental health funding during the recession and has never restored it and keeps blaming the Legislature for not passing Healthy Utah (there is enough blame to go around on that).  But it comes back to Mayor McAdams lack of adequately funding mental health, prosecutors and jail beds.  Mayor Biskupski is the least culpable person in all of this (with exceptions that crop up sometimes).  Mayor McAdams is the most culpable and he appears to be organizing the SLCO and Utah Democrats against Mayor Biskupski to blame her for the homeless situation in SLCO.  That is disrespectful beyond belief.


ADU ORDINANCE COMING TO SLC PUBLIC HEARING SOON

  At yesterday's City Council meeting, the Council agreed to have a public hearing on Accessory Dwelling Units in the near future.  With conversions that meet code costing as little as $10,000, the ordinance could provide the affordable housing needed in SLC.  But single family home neighborhoods need to be protected and some areas are already inundated and maxed out in density like 1700 South near Westminster, the Avenues and areas around the UofU.




JULY 10, 2017

IF TREES IN SLC DIE, WILL ANYONE CARE

CIVIL PENALTIES HEARING TUESDAY TO CLOSE CRIME MOTELS


IF TREES IN SLC DIE, WILL ANYONE CARE
  Last week, Derek Kitchen was told that the Parks Dept. does not have money to water the trees on 600 East median!  Last month, Charlie Luke complained that the City does not have money to water plants on the roundabouts and medians.
  On July 4, Sugar House Park had a fire on the southwest corner that the Sugar House Community Council has been complaining about as being neglected and leading to dead trees.  UDOT planted the center circle on and off ramp at 1300 E I80 and SLC was supposed to water it but didn't according to UDOT.
   East Liberty Park Community Council is discussing providing seed money to get UDOT and SLC to build more tree medians on 700 East between 1700 South and 1300 South.  But SLC cannot afford to maintain what we have.  Herman Franks park at 1300 South and 700 East has a dog park without trees.  Dogs, people and this City needs more trees.  That is where ELPCO should be spending their money.

  Maintenance of projects is not budgeted or considered when doing projects (even with cycle tracks).  The same problem happened with the ZAP tax bond from a few years ago.  It had to be redone this last election to cover maintenance.  Same thing with the new Library taxes (County and SLC) that address lack of funding maintenance

  The SLC Parks Dept. has been holding open houses to gather support for a Parks Bond (in my opinion) and Erin Mendenhall has been fighting for a Parks Bond to close Glendale Golf Course and turn it into a park with a $50 million cost.
  She did add $75,000 to the budget for tree replacement.  SLC cuts about 3000 trees a year and replaces them with 2 inch mickey mouse trees.  Developers have to replace the diameter of the trees (10 2" trees for a 20" tree cut down) but SLC doesn't have to follow responsible and respectful rules.
   When the City cuts down a tree in a parking strip (that may be impacting the sidewalk), it does not replace it with a new big tree nearby in the yard on the other side of the sidewalk.  The City offers a replacement mickey mouse tree but has onerous requirements (SLC owns the tree and can do what they want with it despite being planted in the middle of the yard.).  Landowners balk at the requirements.  So the house and neighborhood and City loses another tree, just like thousands of others and we lose the cooling and anti pollution effect of trees. 
  Charlie and the rest of the City Council were furious two years ago? when the City told them that they were going to let trees die along the Bonneville Golf Course periphery.  This seems to be getting worse.  Will anyone speak up for the loss of our urban forest?




TUESDAY SLC COUNCIL ORDINANCE TO CONTROL CRIME MOTELS 

  After years of fighting to stop the crime ridden State Street motels from ignoring crime, the SLC Council on Tuesday July 11 at 7 PM at City Hall (third floor 400 S. State - park under Library with free Council validation), will have a public hearing on the new proposed civil penalty ordinance that could close problem motels.  Motels would be given four chances and then be put on probation.  If there are still problems, then the City would be able to close them.  This is an important proposal that could significantly help the crime issues that are occurring around State Street.  Every week, the SLC Police raid one of the properties on  or around State Street.  They have been putting out cameras with blue lights to discourage crime but there is still too much crime.  Please tell the Council what you think of the proposal.  I think that it is a good start at addressing the crime around State Street.









JULY 7, 201

CIVIL PENALTY FOR STATE ST CRIME MOTELS PUBLIC HEARING TUESDAY PARLEYS TRAIL INTERLOCAL AND IMPACT FEES ON UPPER RIGHT

UTA FINANCIAL REPORT ON RIGHT STILL HAS MONEY PROBLEMS

HOMELESS STORAGE MAY DISAPPEAR

TELL SLC COUNCIL AND MAYOR NOT TO RUSH 2100 SOUTH ROAD DIET

BICYCLE REGISTRATION SYSTEM CHANGING

LIBERTY WELLS SLC COUNCIL D5 CANDIDATE MEETING 

WFRC TRANSPORTATION LIST PROPOSED FOR COMMENT






CIVIL PENALTY FOR STATE ST CRIME MOTELS PUBLIC HEARING TUESDAY

THIS IS IMPORTANT!

  After years of fighting to stop the crime ridden State Street motels from ignoring crime, the SLC Council on Tuesday July 11 at 7 PM at City Hall (third floor 400 S. State - park under Library with free Council validation), will have a public hearing on the new proposed civil penalty ordinance that could close problem motels.  Motels would be given four chances and then be put on probation.  If there are still problems, then the City would be able to close them.  This is an important proposal that could significantly help the crime issues that are occurring around State Street.  Every week, the SLC Police raid one of the properties on  or around State Street.  They have been putting out cameras with blue lights to discourage crime but there is still too much crime.  Please tell the Council what you think of the proposal.  I think that it is a good start at addressing the crime around State Street.





PARLEYS TRAIL INTERLOCAL AND IMPACT FEES ON UPPER RIGHT
 
The Parleys Trail is close to completion from the Bonneville Shoreline Trail to Main Street in South Salt Lake City.  The download at the upper right has the map and information on the construction that is now going on around the freeway.  I also added the Impact Fees presentation that has a lot of projects proposed, including some in Sugar House.




UTA FINANCIAL REPORT ON RIGHT STILL HAS MONEY PROBLEMS
 
UTA has given us the 2016 Financial Report download at upper right.  For those who don't want to digest 10MB, UTA still is underfunding state of good repair, pensions, and still does not have money for expansion of service in Salt Lake County.




HOMELESS STORAGE MAY DISAPPEAR

  According to Derek Kitchen, the RDA needs to convert the homeless storage facility that is already full.  The City has not come up with an alternative.  If the City does what it almost did with the Weigand Center (tried to close it on weekends), the homeless will not be able to store their belongings while they work and the area will continue to have camping homeless who will not be able to leave their belongings out for fear of being confiscated and thrown out by the biweekly cleanups.  Note that in other cities, ACLU has successfully sued to keep homeless personal belongings in storage for 90 days before throwing it out.




TELL SLC COUNCIL AND MAYOR NOT TO RUSH 2100 SOUTH ROAD DIET

  A month ago, Salt Lake City Transportation recommended that 2100 South be considered for a road diet (going from four lanes to three lanes with a center turn lane). Salt Lake City has decided to resurface 2100 South in July and would like to reduce the number of accidents (mainly rear enders) that occur on the road by reducing travel lanes.
  The community is upset about the potential decrease in travel lanes due to the concern about increasing congestion and pollution. This is similar to the concern generated in the East Bench area years ago when SLC decided to do a road diet on Sunnyside (a decision that the City Council stopped). In addition, UDOT has designated 2100 South as an “alternate route” during the reconstruction of I80 and Foothill/Parleys Way interchanges. Some residents on 2100 South seem to be for it due to the perception that reducing travel lanes will increase their quality of life.
  Although reducing traffic lanes should decrease accidents, the average daily traffic (ADT) is close to 20,000 ADT. It was almost 19,000 in 2015 and it has been going up about 1000 each year. According to Road Diet Conversions: A Synthesis of Safety Research May 2013 “Case study and modeling results suggest that added caution is warranted before implementing road diets when volumes approach 1,700 vehicles per peak hour or are in the range of 20,000 to 24,000 vehicles per day (HSIS, 2010; Knapp and Giese, 2001; Welch, 1999).” Earlier studies suggest that 15,000 to 17,500 ADT be the maximum volume of vehicles for consideration for a reduction in travel lanes. Almost all studies suggest further analysis at the upper ADT levels to justify a road diet. Interestingly, City Transportation officials did not know the ADT levels of 2100 South (the latest 2100 S. numbers came from trafficcount@utah.gov - a UDOT service).
  The safety aspect is important but most accidents are minor rear enders and not the high impact severe crashes that should suggest a road diet. The present 30 MPH speed limit can be encouraged (like on Sunnyside) with speed detection signs.
  Road diets may decrease crashes but it depends on other stop and go traffic. If transit buses and trash pickup use the road (they do), crashes, congestion and pollution can increase (as they did on 1300 East with the road diet). Left hand turning from side streets and pedestrian crossings may be impossible due to constant traffic volume.
  Bicyclists seem to like the idea that they may get bicycle lanes in one of the proposals but many bicyclists like the four lanes since they are allowed to use the right hand lane and cars must provide 3 feet space when passing.
  Road diets can work if interested parties, users and the neighborhood agree on the project; it does not increase pollution; it does not disrupt the neighborhood; and it increases the quality of life and safety of the neighborhood. But allowing just one month to comment on the proposals is not going to result in any agreement. It seems that the proposal is planned to increase hate and discontent. If a fair and appropriate analysis is done that indicates that a four lane to three lane conversion is feasible, studies recommend “a more detailed operational analysis of the existing and expected through and turning volumes” (Federal Highway Administration Road Diet Informational Guide 2014). The decision should not be rushed.
  Salt Lake City should not be rushing the decision and deciding something that the community feels is important without more public engagement. SLC would be smart to not do any roadwork on 2100 South until after the UDOT I80 work is finished. Salt Lake City is planning on deciding the issue in the next two weeks but should hold off until there is more consensus in the community.
Craig Carter



​BICYCLE REGISTRATION SYSTEM CHANGING

  SLC Police are discussing how to change the law to stop or discourage bicycle thefts in Salt Lake City (it is a problem in many Northern Utah Counties).  In an interesting story on KUTV2:

​http://kutv.com/news/local/rio-grande-area-a-den-of-stolen-bikes

one person had her bike stolen several times and found it by the Rio Grande.  The SLC Police expect to have an effective bicycle registration program in a month or two.  The Legislature may also get involved.





LIBERTY WELLS SLC COUNCIL D5 CANDIDATE MEETING 
  On Wednesday, June 12 at 7:30 PM, at Tracy Aviary, during the Liberty Wells Community Council meeting, there will be a forum for District 5 City Council candidates.  Please come and add to the discussion about the future of the area.  I am sure that the civil penalty issue that is to close/control the crime on State Street will also be discussed.





WFRC TRANSPORTATION LIST PROPOSED FOR COMMENT

  The WFRC has proposed a Transportation Improvement Project (TIP) list (upper right downloads) that should be considered for future Utah transportation and transit projects.  It is extensive and I will go into more detail in the future but I urge you to be interested in this.  It will obligate Utah and Salt Lake County taxpayers for decades to spend billions.  












JUNE 30, 2017

2100 SOUTH ROAD DIET SHOULD NOT BE RUSHED

THANK THE PRESS FOR SAVING THE WEIGAND CENTER


2100 SOUTH ROAD DIET SHOULD NOT BE RUSHED
  A month ago, Salt Lake City Transportation recommended that 2100 South be considered for a road diet (going from four lanes to three lanes with a center turn lane). Salt Lake City has decided to resurface 2100 South in July and would like to reduce the number of accidents (mainly rear enders) that occur on the road by reducing travel lanes.
  The community is upset about the potential decrease in travel lanes due to the concern about increasing congestion and pollution. This is similar to the concern generated in the East Bench area years ago when SLC decided to do a road diet on Sunnyside (a decision that the City Council stopped). In addition, UDOT has designated 2100 South as an “alternate route” during the reconstruction of I80 and Foothill/Parleys Way interchanges. Some residents on 2100 South seem to be for it due to the perception that reducing travel lanes will increase their quality of life.
  Although reducing traffic lanes should decrease accidents, the average daily traffic (ADT) is close to 20,000 ADT. It was almost 19,000 in 2015 and it has been going up about 1000 each year. According to Road Diet Conversions: A Synthesis of Safety Research May 2013 “Case study and modeling results suggest that added caution is warranted before implementing road diets when volumes approach 1,700 vehicles per peak hour or are in the range of 20,000 to 24,000 vehicles per day (HSIS, 2010; Knapp and Giese, 2001; Welch, 1999).” Earlier studies suggest that 15,000 to 17,500 ADT be the maximum volume of vehicles for consideration for a reduction in travel lanes. Almost all studies suggest further analysis at the upper ADT levels to justify a road diet. Interestingly, City Transportation officials did not know the ADT levels of 2100 South (the latest 2100 S. numbers came from trafficcount@utah.gov - a UDOT service).
  The safety aspect is important but most accidents are minor rear enders and not the high impact severe crashes that should suggest a road diet. The present 30 MPH speed limit can be encouraged (like on Sunnyside) with speed detection signs.
  Road diets may decrease crashes but it depends on other stop and go traffic. If transit buses and trash pickup use the road (they do), crashes, congestion and pollution can increase (as they did on 1300 East with the road diet). Left hand turning from side streets and pedestrian crossings may be impossible due to constant traffic volume.
  Bicyclists seem to like the idea that they may get bicycle lanes in one of the proposals but many bicyclists like the four lanes since they are allowed to use the right hand lane and cars must provide 3 feet space when passing.
  Road diets can work if interested parties, users and the neighborhood agree on the project; it does not increase pollution; it does not disrupt the neighborhood; and it increases the quality of life and safety of the neighborhood. But allowing just one month to comment on the proposals is not going to result in any agreement. It seems that the proposal is planned to increase hate and discontent. If a fair and appropriate analysis is done that indicates that a four lane to three lane conversion is feasible, studies recommend “a more detailed operational analysis of the existing and expected through and turning volumes” (Federal Highway Administration Road Diet Informational Guide 2014). The decision should not be rushed.
  Salt Lake City should not be rushing the decision and deciding something that the community feels is important without more public engagement. SLC would be smart to not do any roadwork on 2100 South until after the UDOT I80 work is finished. Salt Lake City is planning on deciding the issue on July 5. They have put the issue on Open City Hall (Google Open City Hall and slcgov.com). It has had over 900 responses (in a month) and the deadline for comment is 1159 PM on July 4, 2017.

Craig Carter is a longtime resident of the SLC East Bench


THANK THE PRESS FOR SAVING THE WEIGAND CENTER

  Katie McKellar in the Deseret News had a good summary of the situation that took place earlier this week.  If not for the press asking SLC why they didn't care about keeping the Weigand Center open on weekends, it would have closed.  It took an hour for the City to get their act together and make the right decision but only after they were asked about it by the press!!!

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865683988/Downtowns-Weigand-homeless-center-seeking-60000-to-stay-open-on-weekends.html


JUNE 29, 2017

WEIGAND CTR ALMOST CLOSES FOR WEEKEND BUT FOR PRESS 



WEIGAND CTR ALMOST CLOSES FOR WEEKEND BUT FOR PRESS ATTENTION

  The situation in the Rio Grande area is not getting better.  And one of the most important respites for the true homeless that are trying to avoid drug dealing, the Weigand Center, was going to close on weekends due to lack of funding.  
  Remember what happened when the Weigand Center closed when they restored the floor; the homeless on the sidewalks in the Rio Grande area exploded.  The Weigand Center is one of the important charities that is trying, and is, making a difference in  Salt Lake County's homeless issue.
  Last week, David Litvack, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Mayor of Salt Lake City, met with Catholic Community Services and said that the City had no money for more funding for the Weigand Center, despite increased homeless funding in the budget.
  Salt Lake County refused to provide adequate public safety funding for the Sheriff and DA to keep drug dealers locked up and that has resulted in the Weigand Center having to hire security guards to protect the Center's clients, the homeless (including those that hospitals turn out due to lack of funding).  That has drained the CCS budget for the Weigand Center.
  Out of all of the Operation Diversion funding and operations, it appears only a couple of homeless have been successfully treated for drug addiction and only a couple of criminals have been locked up for more than a couple of weeks.  Salt Lake County still is not adequately funding public safety (public safety is more than jail beds).
  The good news is that, today, after just an hour of notice to the press, the newspapers and to the TV news reporters, the questions that they directed at the SLC administration, resulted in..... (fasten your seatbelts) a call from David Litvack to CCS promising funding to keep the Weigand Center open for at least more 45 days on the weekends and a promise that funding will be found to keep the Center open all week in the future.  Matthew Rojas insisted that there was no story since funding was restored and essentially called it fake news.  The CCS notice used that term but we all know what the term fake news means (nod, nod, wink, wink, say no more).  This potential human tragedy was about to make things much worse in the Rio Grande area.  Especially for the innocent homeless who were about to be tossed out onto the sidewalk. 


  Another story that should be pubicized is the fact that about three weeks ago, in one day, four homeless overdosed at the Road Home.   And, in case one wants to really get upset, hospitals are dumping homeless patients at the Weigand Center with free cab rides from the hospital!  Some are wearing their hospital gowns and are using walkers.  I have seen homeless in wheelchairs that should be in the hospital at the Weigand Center!


  Again the good news is that on this holiday weekend, a holiday that should bring us together, and not make the least of our fellow Americans suffer, there will be a respite for the homeless at the Weigand Center.  Thank you to all who support the CCS.





JUNE 27, 2017
2 NEW OPEDS ON UTA
RIO GRANDE SITUATION GETTING WORSE
CIVIL PENALTIES DISCUSSION TO CLOSE BAD MOTELS
2100 SOUTH RESTRIPING BEING RUSHED
TREES ARE DISAPPEARING FROM SLC
ISSUES/200 WORDS


I apologize for taking two weeks to update this blog.  I am working on materials for running for SLC Council 5.  The SLC Council will not meet again until July 11.  



2 NEW OPEDS ON UTA
http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/5406295-155/george-chapman-what-will-be-the
The future of mass transit in Utah is service. When the next bus is an hour away, people won't ride mass transit. When it takes an hour to get to a destination instead of 15 minutes, people won't ride mass transit. When there is no transit service, people won't ride mass transit. The best and most cost-effective way to increase mass transit ridership is through bus service increases. That is why mass transit should first focus on the least expensive system, buses. Then when ridership develops, BRT and rail can be justified.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865681904/George-Chapman-UTA-pushes-projects-over-service.html
If you ask voters and taxpayers whether they want a new rail line downtown or 50 new bus routes, they will say that they want better service and the new bus routes (especially on the west side, which lacks service even more than the east side). If taxpayers are asked how they would like to spend $100 million, they would say that they want better service. In other words, the UTA Board of Trustees is now set up to encourage projects over service.



RIO GRANDE SITUATION GETTING WORSE
In a recent SLTRIB oped on June 23, the newspaper correctly pointed out that the area around the Road Home is getting worse.
("The situation around the Road Home shelter is bad and getting worse")
http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/5436350-155/tribune-editorial-closing-liquor-store-wont
If there are any doubts about things are getting better, this opinion piece reiterates the fact that after years of complaining about the issue, the area is still not getting better.  Part of the problem was the lack of enforcement of the drug laws that allowed drug dealers to freely operate in the area.  That was caused by the lack of adequate public safety funding by SLCO.  The DA and Sheriff did not get enough funding to enforce the laws.  Mayor McAdams took the $9.4 million from the jail bond and used it for his pet projects instead of putting it into the DA and jail beds.
Another issue is the lack of reality on the part of people in charge that drug use can be decreased by treatment.  Even the government says that opiod drug abuse treatment is only 5% successful after 9 months!  In Operation Diversion, out of over 100 given treatment, we think only one or two are going to kick the habit and stay clean.  The new drugs with fentanyl are almost impossible to kick. (Only two of those arrested were prosecuted and locked up for more than a few days due to lack of DA funding.)  
The reality is that drugs should not be available as easily as they are in SLCO.



CIVIL PENALTIES DISCUSSION TO CLOSE BAD MOTELS
I put the discussion of SLC Council on the State Street motels issue on the upper right downloads.  It seems to be the only way that the SLC will be able to start cleaning up State Street.  The Police are doing weekly raids and also putting in mobile cameras (and black box speed detectors) in the area to discourage crime.  The cameras have a blue light to notify criminals of the video recordings.  But until the criminals can be arrested and prosecuted (with adequate DA funding), the problem won't go away.



2100 SOUTH RESTRIPING BEING RUSHED
Despite 2100 South being labeled an alternative during the UDOT I80/Parleys Way/Foothill reconstruction, SLC Transportation has decided to be clueless and work on 2100 South NOW!  The effort is to resurface/reseal 2100 South and restripe the road to decrease accidents (generally rear enders).  The options include removing two traffic lanes and putting in a center turn lane.  The traffic on 2100 South is around 20000 Average Daily Trips!  Any road diet/decrease in traffic lanes will increase air pollution through congestion.  That is the reason that road diets are not recommended for roads with close to 20,000 ADT!  Again, SLC Transportation seems to be ignoring traffic engineering.  In addition, as it has many times before, Transportation is giving the community and citizens one month to comment before doing what they want.  I am against any change unless the community supports it.  And I don't think that the community supports an increase in congestion and pollution.


TREES ARE DISAPPEARING FROM SLC
3000 trees are being cut in SLC by SLC a year.  Although Erin Mendenhall convinced the Council to add $75000 to the urban forestry budget, the City replaces old trees with mickey mouse/munchkin trees (around 2 inch diameter).  SLC makes developers replace the diameter of the trees that they remove.  If they cut a 20 inch tree, they have to plant 10 2 inch trees.  SLC does not do that.  It only replaces a 20 inch tree with a 2 inch tree.  SLC cannot claim to be an environmental city.  I put the Urban Forestry budget info on the upper right downloads.


MY TWO HUNDRED WORDS FOR RUNNING FOR OFFICE
GEORGE CHAPMAN SLC COUNCIL DISTRICT 5
I am a former candidate for mayor of Salt Lake City.  As a longtime community activist, I have fought for better public safety funding and attention to solve the homeless problems and stop the drug dealing that is getting worse.  I go to most SLC Council and community council 
meetings.  I write several newspaper opeds a month and a blog at georgechapman.net.  I am a retired engineer, a former Naval officer and 66 years old with 5 children and 5 grandchildren.

I am running to stop the secret meetings and decisions of the SLC Council without public hearings (homeless sites, closing golf courses, giving tax credits).

I am running to stop the SLC Council from approving significant tax increases for water, sewer, parks (bond to close golf courses), and street maintenance (with a fee).

I want to stop the SLC Council from ignoring the homeless camping that has spread throughout our City.  

I want SLC to start building restrooms in our canyons to protect the watershed.

I want to solve the problems now instead of waiting until just before an election to address the issues.

George Chapman   
PO Box 520653, SLC, Ut 84152
gechapman2@gmail.com




JUNE 12, 2017


YES I AM RUNNING FOR OFFICE IN SLC DISTRICT 5

TUESDAY JUNE 13 SLC COUNCIL DECIDES UTA BOARD APPOINTMENT

TIME FOR UTA BOARD TO REFLECT TRANSIT RIDERS

REMINDER JUNE 14 LEGISLATURE WILL HEAR PUBLIC ON UTA

THE FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN UTAH IS BUSES



GEORGE CHAPMAN RUNNING AGAINST ERIN MENDENHALL

  I have filed to run for Council District 5 against incumbent Erin Mendenhall.  I am a longtime community activist who has several opeds a month in local papers (and I write this blog) .  I am a retired engineer, a former Naval engineer and 66 years old with five children and five grandchildren. 


  I am running to fight the significant increase in fees for sewer, water, parks and streets that are being proposed.  Our sewer and water fees will double in the next six years, with a 30% sewer fee increase this year alone.  In addition, the SLC Council is considering a transportation utility fee to maintain streets that are falling apart.  Lisa Adams recently pointed out many potholes in the streets near her home that are not being fixed.  They affect not just cars but also are a significant danger to bicyclists.  The SLC Council took away the previous $8.4 million streets tax increase a few years ago and used it for salary increases (for themselves but I don't think that it was deliberate).  SLC streets get about $10 million a year in funding and they need $40 million in funding.  Much of the funding now goes to big projects like resurfacing and restriping and reducing traffic lanes on streets like 900 West.  In addition, SLC wants to spend millions on removing buried rail lines on 300 West!  Streets maintenance should get higher priority than projects

  The water and sewer fee increases are being justified with a four page budget report.  I do not think that is enough to justify a doubling of the fees.  I urge an audit of the Salt Lake City Public Utilities Department

  Erin Mendenhall wants to have a parks bond to spend $50 million to close Glendale Golf Course and convert it to a nature park.  I am against a bond with a significant tax increase to close golf courses.



  I am also fighting the secret meetings and decisions of the Council.  As you know, the decision on the siting of the four homeless shelters, including the one on Simpson Avenue, was made in secret.  It is not the first time that decisions were made in secret by the SLC Council.  I want that to stop.  Interestingly, I am being told by several Councilmembers that the decision was made unanimously with conditions.  But Erin Mendenhall contends that she was against the Simpson Avenue site.  In public, after the decision, she spoke against it.  But without release of the secret meeting recordings, we have to trust Erin's word.  Erin Mendenhall did make the motion to approve the $11.7 million for the homeless shelter sites (without a public hearing - scheduled for later).  Her motion was approved by the Council.  The Council also closed Par 3 golf course a few years ago without a public hearing.


  I believe that public safety and street maintenance should get higher priority.  The police have hired a lot of new officers but until they get experience, they have to patrol with other more experienced officers.  The best solution is to pay experienced police more and encourage them to join the SLCPD.  They can hit the ground running and do not need assistance for the first few years.  Many police and fire department personnel do not make enough to live in SLC and need second jobs.  These are men and women who are risking their lives for us.  They deserve more respect and a bigger salary increase than the normal salary increase for City employees.


  The State Street area has gotten much worse over the last 3 years and homeless camping is expanding rapidly throughout the area.  It should not take an election for the City to focus on these problems.  I want the constant crime, drug dealing and prostitution stopped.  I have been pushing for increased County funding for the DA and Sheriff's jail for several years.  If we don't lock the drug dealers up for more than a few hours, they will remain on the street.  And spending hundreds of millions on drug abuse treatment will be wasted since drugs will be easily available from the hundreds of drug dealers allowed to roam the City.  Note that the Sheriff recently opened up more beds.  I have had many opeds on this issue.


  The SLC system for building housing units is in poor shape according to the recent audit.  Although we built or permitted 3000 units last year (mainly apartments), Herriman built 1000 (mainly single family homes).  SLC has about 6 single family homes in plan check.  To ensure a vibrant and safe and inviting neighborhood requires a mix of single family homes, apartments and condos, not just apartments.  SLC needs to do better to protect single-family homes.


  My knowledge from attending most City Council and community council meetings over the last 4 years will allow me to work effectively for the citizens of Salt Lake City.  If you don't know me, read this blog or Google George Chapman and SLTRIB.COM or DESERTNEWS.COM.


TUESDAY JUNE 13 SLC COUNCIL DECIDES UTA BOARD APPOINTMENT

  At the Tuesday, June 13 SLC Council meeting that starts at 7 PM, there will be a public comment period before the City Council decides on whether to approve Jim Dabakis as the new UTA Board of Trustees member.  I urge everyone to argue against his appointment to UTA.  UTA needs to have a transit rider proponent on the Board that serves the riders, not someone who is a close friend of the SLC Mayor Biskupski who is pushing to make UTA pay for the $65 million airport TRAX realignment.  That $65 million will come out of bus service.  Again, show up and comment or use the emails on the right to comment to the Council.  This is my oped on the issue:



Time for UTA Board to reflect transit riders
  Over the last few years, complaints about Utah Transit Agency (UTA) service has significantly increased. In the process to get enough money for the TRAX line extensions, UTA had to cannibalize bus service. Salt Lake County bus service decreased 30%. 
  The result has been minimal (hourly) service at night with just handful of bus lines. Weekend service also is minimal. For people who have to work downtown outside of regular hours, they have to drive personal vehicles or use a very expensive car sharing app. When people want to access the many entertainment venues in downtown Salt Lake City and other cities in Northern Utah, they have to drive because mass transit service is not available, conveniently, when shows end, if at all.
  The problem goes back to who is UTA supposed to serve. Many municipalities have been using UTA to push for rail transit projects with the assumption that rail stations will increase property values and encourage development. Almost all Trustees on the UTA Board are appointed by the mayors and councils of cities that want projects. Only one or two Trustees consistently ride UTA on a regular basis. They are the ones that can confirm that service, outside of regular hours, is lacking. UTA says that UTA is supposed to serve the municipalities. But riders, taxpayers and residents want and deserve UTA to serve transit riders!
  When municipalities push for projects like the $100 million downtown streetcar, that equates to 50 new or better bus routes. A bus route’s operation ranges from one to two million per route per year. The streetcar operational cost is two times that.   
  If you ask voters and taxpayers whether they want a new rail line downtown or 50 new bus routes, they will say that they want better service and the new bus routes (especially on the west side which lacks service even more than the east side). If taxpayers are asked how they would like to spend $100 million, they would say that they want better service. In other words, the UTA Board of Trustees is now set up to encourage projects over service.
  Interestingly, it took two public votes for Salt Lake citizens to approve TRAX downtown. The first effort failed. Voters are not being allowed to now decide if they want to spend more money on projects. The Utah Transportation Plan has billions in rail projects that municipalities insist are desperately needed. New funding is supposed to have 40% go to projects and 6% go to service increases. Voters, transit riders and taxpayers are being left out of the decision making.
  Salt Lake City recently asked for a new representative on the Board of Trustees. Apparently the City’s appointed person, Keith Bartholomew, had questioned the $65 million airport TRAX line that Salt Lake City is insisting UTA pay for (the City has told the City Council that UTA will pay for it). 
  The push for projects is still alive and well on the UTA Board of Trustees. Service seems to be suffering and UTA’s future plans deserve a fair discussion which requires transit rider and service proponents on the UTA Board of Trustees. Senator Dabakis is not a transit rider and he should not be approved by the City Council. The UTA Board should reflect a balanced viewpoint and effectively represent transit riders. Mayor Biskupski should nominate a recognized transit rider proponent to the UTA Board.
  On June 14, at the State Capitol, Senate Building Room 210, the Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force will be spending several hours taking public comments on the future of mass transit and transportation in Utah. Those who are interested in the future of mass transit in Utah should attend and provide comments.



JUNE 14 LEGISLATURE WILL HEAR THE PUBLIC ON UTA
  On June 14, at the State Capital Senate Building, Room 210, there will be a meeting of the Legislature's Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force.  The goal of this particular meeting is to hear from the public on the issues that they have with UTA.  The meeting starts at 1 PM.  I encourage everyone who reads this blog, and everyone who cares about mass transit, to come to the meeting and speak.  The below FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN UTAH explains my knowledge of the facts (there is a bigger story on June 6 Blog).  I might also add that UTA is still in the land development business and some say that 10% of their business on property involves requiring eminent domain.


The Future of mass transit in Utah is buses
 UTA completed the TRAX and FrontRunner projects a decade ahead of time which resulted in a 30% decrease in bus service. The interest cost of the debt is more than the budget for running buses. The last audit also recommended that priority be given to restoring a “robust” bus system.
  Utah regularly prepares a Utah Transportation Plan (UTP) laying out the proposed future projects for roads and transit. Billions in projects are planned in order to “limit the growth in travel demand” in order to take pressure off of roads. The Plan assumed significant federal money for transit. According to the Plan, 40+% of new funding would be used for new transit projects. Only 6% would be used for service increases. 
  Mass transit riders and taxpayers want more areas served with more frequent buses and increased service and frequency on weekends and later at night. Many think that transit should be serving riders, not cities. UTA’s Board of Trustees is appointed by municipalities which want projects. Riders do not seem to be getting the attention that they should.
  Recent studies show that bus mass transit systems can be more successful and financially efficient than rail.  When comparing 10 minute rail service with 10 minute bus service, there is very little difference in public approval. Other findings from the studies are that new cars carrying more than 1 person can be more efficient than a rail system.
  Rail does provide the permanence that can encourage investment and justify loans from financial entities. But destination is an important part of the equation for rail success. 
  A recent problem between UTA and Salt Lake City is who will pay for the expensive airport TRAX reconfiguration.  The SLC Airport wanted a fancy design and a rail on a bridge but refused to allow Utah law to be changed to use some of the billions in airport passenger fees (which other cities use for mass transit). If UTA is forced to pay for it, since UTA does not have the money now, which county taxpayers will pay for the project?
  Because rail systems drain money from bus service, UTA should stop planning, building or extending rail lines until future funding can be assured.  UTA should focus on using buses to increase ridership. 
   Studies show that increased bus service can result in ridership increases of up to 67%. In addition, new technology is providing a cost efficient bus potential that can use a bus lane at a traffic light and a traffic light that changes to green for a bus, when a bus comes to the intersection. This is called an enhanced bus or BLIP (Bus Lane Intersection Priority). It can be as fast as a BRT but it only costs $1.5 million per mile versus $15 per mile for a BRT. Except at the lights, traffic lanes are not lost to cars. That seems to be where UTA should be focusing their future plans on, especially if funding will continue to be constrained.
  The future of mass transit in Utah is service. When the next bus is an hour away, people won’t ride mass transit. When it takes an hour to get to a destination instead of 15 minutes, people won’t ride mass transit. When there is no transit service, people won’t ride mass transit. The best and most cost effective way to increase mass transit ridership is through bus service increases. That is why mass transit should first focus on the least expensive system, buses. Then when ridership develops, BRT and rail can be justified.
  On June 14, at the State Capitol, Senate Building Room 210, the Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force will be spending several hours taking public comments on the future of mass transit and transportation in Utah. The hearing will start at 1PM and it is the start of months of hearings and discussion on where to go with mass transit in Utah in the next few decades. 






JUNE 6, 2017
JUNE 14 LEGISLATURE WILL HEAR PUBLIC ON UTA
FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN UTAH


JUNE 14 LEGISLATURE WILL HEAR THE PUBLIC ON UTA

  On June 14, at the State Capital Senate Building, Room 210, there will be a meeting of the Legislature's Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force.  The goal of this particular meeting is to hear from the public on the issues that they have with UTA.  The meeting starts at 1 PM.  I encourage everyone who reads this blog, and everyone who cares about mass transit, to come to the meeting and speak.  The below FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN UTAH explains my knowledge of the facts.  I might also add that UTA is still in the land development business and some say that 10% of their business on property involves requiring eminent domain.




FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN UTAH
History
  In the next few months, at the Utah Legislature, there will be a series of public hearings and discussions on the future of mass transit in Utah. Since 1970, the Utah Transit Agency (UTA) has been providing bus service for Salt Lake County. Service eventually expanded to several other Northern Utah counties including Utah, Weber, Davis and Tooele counties. Salt Lake County TRAX light rail was added in 1999 after a second vote to approve a tax increase for the rail line. The first vote had failed to gather enough votes to pass.  The TRAX system eventually expanded to the airport and Draper in 2013. FrontRunner commuter rail was added in 2008 and eventually expanded to run 89 miles from Provo to Ogden. UTA now operates 120 bus routes and 89 miles of FrontRunner. It operates from 5 AM to midnight, 362 days a year and serves 2.4 million in six Northern Utah counties.
  In 2015, Weber, Davis and Tooele counties approved a sales tax increase, Prop One, to add more service and several Bus Rapid Transit lines (described as trains on wheels). Utah and Salt Lake County voted against the tax increase. Many attributed the failure of the two most populous counties in Utah to approve the tax increase to the poor reputation of UTA in the previous years. There was talk of sweetheart deals with developers, high executive salaries and questionable travel. Other voters questioned the large number of expensive rail projects that would be receiving the majority of any new funding.
  The 2012 and 2014 Legislative Audits found that the TRAX and FrontRunner projects, completed a decade ahead of time, cannibalized bus service which was reduced 30%. The audits also pointed out questionable loans and contracts to developers. The audits also recommended that any new projects have funds identified before construction starts in order to reduce the significant interest charges that were incurred by borrowing to complete the rail expansions years ahead of time. The last audit also recommended that priority be given to restoring a “robust” bus system.
  In the first part of 2016, the relationship between UTA and the public reached a low point. The Chairman of the UTA Board of Trustees, claimed that the press and public were unfair to UTA and closed some of their meetings. Pressure from almost everyone, including the Governor, resulted in the Board of Trustees opening up all of the meetings to the public and implementing significant transparency efforts that encouraged public feedback on plans.
  In the last six months, especially with the new Chairman of the UTA Board of Trustees, Robert McKinley, and the new General Manager Jerry Benson, UTA has significantly increased their public outreach and provided reports and documentation (previously refused). UTA has also put many of their agenda items, including policies and proposed actions, online and encouraged comments on each item. This is better than many other government entities. During Board meetings, the comments received online are read to the Board and the public can comment on each item!
  The most surprising change at the Board of Trustees level is that the Board has been arguing many of the important decisions! In previous years, the Board did most of their decision making in subcommittees with no public feedback and the full Board would rubber stamp staff recommendations. Now, it is not unusual to see the Board members analyzing the proposals and vigorously questioning the staff proposals. In several cases, there have been hours of argument between Board members. The best decisions come from vigorous discussion and debate.
  UTA seems to be on a better management path. The only recent questionable issue was caused by the Board’s attempt to stop a so called “reformer”, North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, from being put on the Board of Trustees. Several Legislators and the State Auditor had to write letters insisting on his appointment onto the Board. The Board had said that since Mayor Taylor’s father worked as a FrontRunner operator, that should require the father to be terminated or the Mayor not be on the Board. The Board said that the issue was a question of nepotism. Many have questioned the Board’s definition of nepotism and the Board made themselves look bad in the process. Mayor Taylor, a combat veteran, was finally allowed to be on the Board of Trustees.

Utah Transportation Plan
  Utah regularly prepares a plan laying out the proposed projects for roads and transit over 25 years into the future. The last plan, the Utah Transportation Plan (UTP) had around $10 billion of rail projects proposed to be completed by 2040. The Plan is prepared by the various Metropolitan Planning Organizations using each one’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).
  In most of Northern Utah (with the exception of Utah County), the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) prepares the RTP. The WFRC is composed of elected officials and a few experts in transportation in Utah. The group recommended many of the transit projects in order to take pressure off the roadways that are reaching the limit of expanding to meet a doubling of the population in Northern Utah in the next 30 years. One of the reasons that Prop One recommended a tax increase that would provide 40% of the increase to UTA, was the concern that roads could not handle the increased demand for transportation without transit projects.
  The WFRC recommended projects such as the new airport TRAX reconfiguration with a flying bridge ($65 million), a $3 billion expansion of TRAX from Draper to Lehi, a rail and tunnel system up the canyons, three new streetcar projects in Salt Lake City, expanding the Sugar House streetcar line, an airport high speed rail station, a $65 million bus garage and a billion dollars in Bus Rapid Transit projects (using dedicated lanes for buses). The expensive projects assumed that Prop One would be approved in all counties and allow bonding to work towards completing the UTP projects.
  The Plan says that the Utah transportation system will need to “limit the growth in travel demand” in order to take pressure off of the roads. The Plan also assumed that the federal government would provide significant funding for the transit projects. That assumption is no longer valid with the new administration in Washington. The last federal funding provided 20% of a project’s cost with the local governments having to provide 80% of the project’s cost. The Plan, with all of the expensive projects, is seen by some as a wish list that should not drive decision making to increase taxes. The federal government has a standard for funding transit projects: “broad public support”. The last two times that UTA tried to get federal funding to expand the Sugar House streetcar (S-Line), one of the reasons that they failed is because the project did not have broad public support.
  Another issue that is being vigorously debated, is who will pay for the expensive airport TRAX reconfiguration. In the 2007 Interlocal Agreement with Salt Lake City (which manages the airport), UTA agreed to a reasonable reconfiguration. That interpretation allows UTA to not pay the full cost of what could be a $65 million project unless the UTA Board approves. But UTA does not have the money to pay for it. The Board did approve $4.3 million to pay for design work but the Board has not approved the project cost.
  One of the reasons that Keith Bartholomew, Salt Lake City’s representative on UTA’s Board of Trustees, was not appreciated by Salt Lake City’s Mayor, was his concern about the airport project. Interestingly, the project could (and should) be paid for with airport passenger fees. Other cities have used such funding to construct their airport mass transit projects. And the FAA recently made the requirements more flexible to encourage using the fees for mass transit. Unfortunately, in Utah, the law does not allow airport revenue to finance a “fixed guideway” project. Some have said that Delta Airlines asked for that language to ensure that all airport passenger fees would be used for the airport terminal rebuilding project (in process). The language is in Utah Code Section 72-10-215. It will be interesting to see who will pay for the airport TRAX reconfiguration.
  According to the WFRC’s RTP, 40+% of new funding would be used for new projects. Only 6% would be used for service increases. Interestingly, transit service increase is the last item on the transit project list in the RTP. And the projects only reduce automobile use by about 1% in the short run and 3% over the medium run while transferring traffic lanes to Bus Rapid Transit. The realities of paying for the projects seem to be missing and hopefully future Plans will include financial constraints and list the priorities so that projects don’t start with the most expensive one.

Governance
  Many of the complaints that have been directed at UTA have to do with governance and the Board of Trustees. The public wants more service but the municipalities that assign Board members, seem to want projects. The municipalities are assuming that the projects will increase the property values and tax for the cities and encourage development. There is also pressure from construction companies to fund big projects that they can help build and make good money. Recent attempts by the Legislature to change the structure of UTA’s Board, have failed. That is one of the reasons for creating the Legislature’s Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force.
  Mass transit riders want more areas served with more frequent buses and increased service and frequency on weekends and later at night. Taxpayers also want service. The westside of Salt Lake and Utah counties want more service. In Salt Lake City, many areas have bus routes every four blocks. That is not available west of I15. Many think that transit should be serving riders, not cities. The projects versus service argument is also taking place in many other cities in the country.
  UTA’s large debt service of $109 million per year is greater than the bus operating budget at $90 million. The debt was incurred by the Board, controlled by the municipalities, racing to finish the TRAX and FrontRunner projects as fast as possible. Part of the argument that UTA governance needs to change is based on the fact that, unlike the first TRAX line, voters will not get to vote on whether to take on increased debt. Recently, the Central Wasatch Commission was formed to implement the recommendations of the Mountain Accord, which includes a tunnel and rail system and discourages personal vehicle use in the canyons. That entity also will be allowed to bond without voter approval. The bonding will essentially obligate Salt Lake County taxpayers for up to 50 years. It almost appears that voters are not trusted to make decisions about how their tax dollars should be used.
  The 2014 Legislative Audit was so concerned about UTA’s significant debt that it recommended that UTA identify and specify reliable revenue sources to cover operating costs before future projects’ construction begins.  Past experience with the FrontRunner north line seem to indicate that future rail projects will be difficult to justify.  It is doubtful that the Federal Government, under pressure to reduce debt, will continue to subsidize inefficient rail lines.
  Some have mentioned that if Utah can collect internet taxes, those funds could be used to pay for expansion of UTA service and projects. But Amazon and most of the big internet companies already pay Utah sales taxes. And all of the proposed internet sales tax bills are limited to companies that do more than $100,000 per year in Utah sales. The effect is that Utah may only be missing out on collecting around $5 million per year at most in internet sales taxes. It would cost Utah much more to go after those companies (that sell more than $100,000/year in Utah) that are not paying internet taxes.
  Transit service expansion and projects will have to wait for more money. The Transportation Task Force could decide on conditions for a sales tax increase for transit. Such conditions could include not allowing projects for five years to ensure that the next five years of increased funding would go to service expansion. Unfortunately, there is also a need for increased maintenance, called state of good repair (SGR) at UTA. UTA’s General Manager, Jerry Benson, has already provided a letter that implies that they will focus on service with any increase in funding but the municipalities are not bound by it and they could put pressure on the Board of Trustees to fund projects that they want, like the Riverton extension of TRAX and the Taylorsville Bus Rapid Transit.

Transit Oriented Development
   Many of the problems at UTA have involved Transit Oriented Developments (TOD). These projects are supposed to be mixed use (apartments, condos, retail, restaurants and offices) buildings that encourage public engagement at the ground floor and provide a walkable area around stations that should, theoretically, increase transit ridership. The stations next to rail lines have the best potential for TOD projects. Several years ago, the Legislature gave UTA permission to enter into eight TOD projects (SB51). But when the Legislature tried to pass a tax increase for transit, the UTA TOD projects led to questions about how the tax increase would be used. The tax increase for transit failed.
  UTA’s TOD projects generally had UTA entering into joint development agreements when UTA gave the developer property (that could be as much as $10 million) in return for a percentage of the project, generally 5%. But there may be no profits. Recent revelations that transit station development did not result in profits paid out to development partners show that UTA should not be entering into such agreements. Also the audit recommended increased analysis and confirmation of the financial profitability of such arrangements. Other cities, in other states, lease property to developers which ensures that the developer has the money to develop the property quickly. UTA had to pay over a million dollars to get out of a TOD contract that was not moving forward in Clearfield.
  Although there are studies that show that TODs can increase ridership, even in Portland, next to rail stations, 80% used personal vehicles. And many of the TOD projects next to the UTA rail stations are just apartments, which is not really a TOD mixed use, walkable project.
  Studies also show an increase in property taxes around stations. But that may not be enough to justify the project. That is why Clearfield asked to use the Clearfield FrontRunner station for a manufacturing facility. The TOD proposal east of the 2100 South TRAX station (Market Station) also did not get off the ground. The Sugar House streetcar has had consistently poor ridership (now up to 1300 on weekdays and 1600 on weekends), which is poor for a rail system. Transit oriented development is complicated. In Portland, two large areas next to transit stations sat idle for years before developing into big box stores. If TODs made sense, Market Station, Clearfield and many other stations would have been successful.
  The best, most successful TOD development next to a UTA rail station is Farmington, which planned a real mixed use area wide project that also encouraged, through hard sell by Farmington City, various stores to build in the area (like Cabela’s). Areas next to Sandy and Draper stations developed but they seem to be due to aggressive development pushes by the city planners and they are not really mixed use next to the stations. The Sandy station is next to the South Towne Expo Center which helps but adjacent to the station are many high rise offices.  
  Another complication about station TOD development, is adjacent properties may have pressure to rezone to higher density. If the station is next to single-family homes, a vigorous fight to keep neighborhood character should be expected.

Rail and Streetcars
  As reflected in the Utah Transportation Plan, UTA is betting that the future of mass transit in Salt Lake County is rail. Recent studies show that bus mass transit systems can be more successful and financially efficient.  The Cato Institute's recent study "The Great Streetcar Conspiracy" (June 14, 2012 By Randal O'Toole) questioned the gold standard of successful streetcar projects, the Portland streetcar.  It found that streetcars cost "roughly twice as much to operate, per vehicle-mile of service" over buses.  The Portland streetcar line is considered to be a success but it appears to be due to the fact "that for most riders, the route is free and the average fare collected is less than 4 cents per rider."  The Cato Institute study also showed that property values can go down or growth in value slowed with a nearby rail project.  So the benefit of fixed rail systems may not be as great as originally thought.  In Portland, a lot of the increase in nearby development came about from over $700 million in Tax Increment Funding (TIF).  TIF takes the increase in taxes from development that would normally go to schools and local governments and returns them to the developers and the area.  Other findings from the study are that new cars carrying more than 1 person can be more efficient than a rail system like FrontRunner.  And replacing the rails (needed about every 30 years) can cost as much as the original project.
  UTA and Salt Lake City have contended that the Sugar House area developed due to the S-Line streetcar (actually a TRAX vehicle). But the development really took off when the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency (RDA) gave loans to developers to build big projects like the 2100 South and Highland Vue and the McClelland and Elm Liberty Village. The area’s streetcar, due to the low ridership, should not be claimed to be the impetus that created development. The City also developed a linear park called the Parleys Trail that runs from South Salt Lake City to Sugar House Park (to be connected to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail this summer). The many other parks in the area also encourage development.
  Several years ago, the previous UTA General Manager, Michael Allegra said that UTA would be focusing on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems instead of rail. While rail can cost $50 to 80 million per mile, BRTs cost about $15 million per mile. UTA operates one BRT on 3500 South with two dedicated lanes from 2700 West to 5600 West that were removed from automobile use. The congestion for personal vehicles significantly increases due to the loss of the two lanes of traffic. The route saves about 15 minutes on a route that used to be about 70 minutes and only stops about every four blocks. It sometimes has to wait at Redwood Road for three light cycles before it turns green to allow the BRT to go through the intersection.
  Rail does not seem to be appropriate except in high traffic destination areas, like educational, religious and commercial strips that are well developed. The best successful mass transit systems go to or through popular destinations and where people want to go. Rail systems appear to be appropriate and justified where there is a significant commercial or educational use during the hours of operation.
  Rail does provide the permanence that can encourage investment and justify loans from financial entities. But destination is an important part of the equation for TOD success. TRAX is successful because it goes to the greatest destination on earth for most Utahns, and it goes to a large employment center (downtown Salt Lake City) and to the University of Utah.
  UTA believes that rail (and BRT) is justified to capture the choice riders. But real choice riders would rather talk privately on their phone while driving cars than ride rail. The new technology of cellphones and almost smart, self driving cars would seem to call into question UTA’s plan to focus on encouraging those choice riders to ride UTA rail. Another concern about rail in Utah is the potential for a major earthquake that could disrupt the power system for weeks. And rail systems are limited by lack of appropriate and safe parking facilities and ticket machine transaction times which can be easily overloaded. The argument that most mass transit riders would prefer a high class rail car over a low class ordinary bus fails in recent studies that show the decision comes down to how convenient is the service. If bus and rail both have 10 minute frequency, the public interest in riding mass transit is the same whether it is rail or bus.
  Because rail systems drain money from bus service, UTA should stop building or extending rail lines until future funding can be assured.  UTA should focus on using buses to increase ridership. UTA and Utah could benefit from a more open discussion and debate about the future of rail in Salt Lake County.

Buses
  Buses seem to be the most cost effective in operation in our cities that are extended out to the suburbs in piecemeal planning fashion. Buses excel at efficiency when the areas that they serve are spread out with few destination areas that attract people in between. They encourage ridership from those who don’t want to walk four plus blocks to a BRT station or a mile to a rail station. Even if the BRT is fast, walking four blocks can take more time than would be saved by a BRT that is 15 minutes faster. A bus can cost one to two million dollars per year to operate. The Sugar House streetcar is about double the operating cost of a bus. Year round canyon bus service can be provided for as little as $1 million per canyon per year with 30 minute frequency. Bus systems can change routes and schedules to quickly meet new developments and increased needs. They can use natural gas which is abundant in Utah.
  Transit ridership is more responsive to service improvements that may be difficult for rail. Studies show that increased bus service can result in ridership increases of up to 67%. But ridership does depend on the time to get to a destination. If I can drive to downtown Salt Lake City in 15 minutes but it takes up to an hour to get there with a bus, it encourages me to drive. Bus service has suffered because most bus routes stop at 8pm (because of the rush to build rail projects).
  The best and most cost effective way to increase mass transit ridership is through bus service increases. In addition, new technology is providing a cost efficient bus potential that can use a bus lane at a traffic light and a traffic light that changes to green for a bus, when a bus comes to the intersection. This is called an enhanced bus or BLIP (Bus Lane Intersection Priority). It can be as fast as a BRT but it only costs $1.5 million per mile versus $15 per mile for a BRT. Except at the lights, traffic lanes are not lost to cars. That seems to be where UTA should be focusing their future plans on, especially if funding will continue to be constrained.

Cars
  It is difficult for mass transit to compete with cars. When the choice comes down to driving a car that can almost drive and park themselves and waiting for a train or TRAX or a bus, 95% of people seem to prefer cars. Despite all of the pollution caused by personal vehicles, cars will win over mass transit and bicycles. Remember all of the pictures of everyone in China riding bicycles? Everyone in China is driving a car; at least it seems like that. And despite all of the mass transit available in Europe and Russia, cars become more numerous and popular each year. Several European capitals have discouraged car use in their cities but automobiles still increase in number.
  Cars are our American miracle. They make our families, our economy and our country more efficient. Our American dream is family, freedom, a home, a job and a car. Cars allow almost everyone to have that home, that job, that family and that freedom. When you look at the pictures of 17 lanes on a freeway full of bumper to bumper traffic, you should realize that they are there because, with a short or even hour long drive, they can have a home with a yard. If everyone lived in high rises in the center of a city, most people could not have a house and a yard. As Americans get older and get a family, most want to have a home, even if it may take an hour to drive to where it can be affordable. Our culture celebrates our individuality that can and do drive to where and when they want to. A freeway full of cars shows that the American dream is alive and well. That is the main reason that we left bike riding (Red China) and mass transit (Soviet Union) behind us in the dust.
  In our culture and society, automobiles provide a service that mass transit cannot come close to fulfilling.  If a family has young children, pets or has an older driver or one or both parents work, a car is indispensable. Time is the deciding factor. The only way for buses to compete is for the system to save time. American technology should be celebrated for designing automobiles that only pollute 1% of what cars from 40 years ago did while getting four times the gasoline mileage. 
  According to the Cascade Policy Institute, "Investments in roadway improvements best serve the way the people actually travel, rather than the way we wish they would travel." Those roadway improvements can be more traffic lanes with less width (studies show that lessening width in many cases will not increase accidents), synchronizing traffic lights, active traffic light management in real time, better intersection designs and an effort to ensure that mass transit and active transportation systems (bicycles) do not create congestion and pollution. Hopefully, the Legislature will realize the importance of cars and ensure that roads should be built that assume that people will want a home, even if it takes an hour to get to after work.

Future of mass transit to encourage ridership increases is buses
  The future of mass transit in Utah is service. When parking lots at rail stations are full, people won’t ride mass transit. When it takes five minutes to get a ticket, people won’t ride mass transit. When the next bus is an hour away, people won’t ride mass transit. When it takes an hour to get to a destination instead of 15 minutes, people won’t ride mass transit. When there is no transit service, people won’t ride mass transit. That is why mass transit should first focus on the least expensive system, buses. Then when ridership develops, BRT and rail can be justified. Funding should not be encouraging UTA to spend money on questionable projects that may only benefit 3% of Northern Utah’s population.

State Legislature hearing on Transportation on June 14.
  On June 14, at the State Capitol, Senate Building Room 210, the Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force will be spending several hours taking public comments on the future of mass transit and transportation in Utah. The hearing will start at 1PM and it is the start of months of hearings and discussion on where to go with mass transit in Utah in the next few decades. The Task Force will discuss “a funding program, an improved funding allocation plan, a plan for existing, potential futuristic or potential travel modes, a plan for oversight and boards, a vision for where we want to be as a state, a system to enhance the quality of life and economic development and a complete mobility system plan for 5, 10, 20 and 40 years in the future.” Everyone interested in quality growth, mass transit and transportation in Utah should attend and provide public comment to the Task Force.


 




JUNE  5, 2017

PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAILBEDS PUBLISHED DESERET NEWS

CONSIDER RUNNING FOR OFFICE DEADLINE JUNE 7 PUBLISHED

WISHFUL THINKING OPED PUBLISHED



PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAILBEDS PUBLISHED DESERET NEWS

  The Deseret News published my oped on the need for not just jail beds but also funding for prosecutors and mental health treatment.  Unfortunately, the County is still ignoring the importance of public safety.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865680674/Op-ed-Public-safety-is-more-than-jail-beds.html



CONSIDER RUNNING FOR OFFICE DEADLINE JUNE 7 PUBLISHED

  The Salt Lake Tribune just published the most important oped of the week explaining/recommending running for office this year.  It is important that we have a competitive race in the many municipal elections in Salt Lake County.  Please read this oped.

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/5360140-155/george-chapman-if-you-want-to



WISHFUL THINKING OPED PUBLISHED MONTH AGO  ABOUT SHERIFF

  The Sheriff is going but I wanted to point out that his last recommendations did not do him justice.  He is a great man but he keeps putting himself in the line of fire when we are trying to get Mayor McAdams to give public safety appropriate funding.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865678187/Putting-wishful-thinking-ahead-of-public-safety.html







MAY 31, 2017
CANDIDATE FILING FOR MUNICIPAL ELECTION IS JUNE 1 TO JUNE 7
SLC TREE REMOVAL SYSTEM DISCOURAGES NEW TREE PLANTINGS
STREET MAINTENANCE MONEY WENT TO SALARY INCREASES (FOR COUNCIL?)
SLC MAYOR UPSET ABOUT SECRET DECISIONS ON HOMELESS (IRONY)
SHERIFF JIM WINDER IS THE MOST RESPECTED DEMOCRAT IN SLCO AND WILL BE A BIG LOSS
EYE CANDY/PROJECTS/MONUMENTS TAKE AWAY FROM STREET MAINTENANCE



CANDIDATE FILING PERIOD FOR MUNICIPAL ELECTION IS JUNE 1 TO JUNE 7
  In the next few days, candidates interested in filing for municipal elections must make a decision.  The filing window is from June 1 to June 7 (5 PM).  The cost ranges from a high of $84 in Salt Lake City to an average of $25 in most other cities. These elected positions have the power to tax and pass laws that affect all of us.  These positions are not really non-partisan, due to the vigorous competition in Salt Lake County between Republicans and Democrats. These positions are stepping stones to higher office.  Candidates that are interested in combating increases in taxes and fees and in ensuring an open and fair government are encouraged to consider running for the open positions (listed below).  If you are interested in elected office, now is the time to test your potential.  Worst case scenario, you will see what it takes to run a campaign and win votes.  Best case scenario, you will get elected!
  For residents of Salt Lake City, filing must be done in person at the City Recorder’s Office at the City Building at 400 S. State Street.  The primary election (for more than two candidates) is August 15 and the General Election is November 7.  The contribution limit in Salt Lake City is $750 (unlimited personal funds are allowed although voluntary limits are presented).  Other cities and positions have different limits, if any.  In the past, Salt Lake City candidates spent from $5000 to $34,000 with an average of $16,000.  Salt Lake City Districts 1 (northwest), 3 (Avenues), 5 (Central City west of 1300 S.) and 7 (Sugar House) have elections this year.  The votes to get through the primary tend to be in the low hundreds and the general election winning candidates get 1000 to 2000 votes.  Other municipalities and offices are usually much less costly and receive fewer vote totals.  The requirements are that the candidate must be a resident of the district for 12 months preceding the general election.
  The issues in Salt Lake City may be different in other municipalities but they raise similar concerns that should energize activists and voters.  Secret meetings, lack of public hearings before decisions, tax and fee increases (some fees are scheduled to double in the next five years in Salt Lake City), lack of appropriate public safety funding, repurposing bonds and tax increases for other uses, ignoring basic services such as police and street maintenance, war on cars, and affordable housing are push button issues this year.
  Specifically, for Salt Lake City:  Salt Lake City is discussing assessment districts with fees for road maintenance (they repurposed the tax increase from a few years ago for streets to a pay raise and the Council has not complained), a sales tax increase, bonding for affordable housing projects, and they appear to still be interested in supporting the questionable County convention hotel downtown.  In addition, they intend to spend $40 + million on the prison infrastructure.  I expect tax increases will not be publicized until after the election.  We need more fiscally responsible candidates on the SLC Council.
  The jail restrictions are also a problem.  Drug dealers only stay in jail for a few hours and thousands of criminals are not being locked up after assaulting innocent citizens, after shoplifting, after trespassing/camping on private property, after open drug use, after prostitution, after 10+ warrants, and many other times.  SLC Police are not able to do their job 40% of the time (not able to arrest and book into jail 40% of the criminals that they interact with)!  The SLCPD Jail Booking Restriction Report (above) shows what happens when the SL County Mayor does not budget enough funding for appropriate public safety and adequate jail and DA funding. There are still 380 free beds at Oxbow that are not being funded/filled.  This is a public safety nightmare all over the County.
  SLC Council often have secret meetings that take action before and in liu of public hearings.  The Council has closed a golf course and approved a taxing authority (Central Wasatch Commission) without a public hearing!  Note that the County Council refused to approve the CWC until some taxpayer protections were put in place. The homeless site selections in SLC were also made in secret without public hearings!  There is still an effort to spend valuable and limited road funds on costly and questionable bicycle paths.  Efforts to discourage private vehicle use of canyons is planned.
  Please encourage candidates to consider running for SLC Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7.  These positions require a Tuesday afternoon, about 10+ hours a week and pay about $28,000.  Website for more SLC info:   http://www.slcgov.com/recorder/recorders-office-elections
  If you have any questions, or would like to discuss the issues, please email me.  I ran for mayor of SLC, recruited and supported and helped manage 6 previous candidates running for office in SLC, including 3 SLC Councilmembers.    George Chapman  gechapman2@gmail.com

CITY COUNCIL/MAYOR CANDIDATES
Municipal elections are nonpartisan and are held in odd-numbered years to elect the City Mayors and Council members.
For Qualifications and Filing Location, Contact your City Recorder.
Positions on the Ballot:
Alta                 Mayor             At-Large Council Vote for 2
Bluffdale        Mayor             At-Large Council Vote for 2            At-Large Council*2 year term
Cottonwood Hts  Mayor                   Council 3        Council 4
Draper                        Mayor             At-Large Council Vote for 2
Herriman       Mayor             Council 2        Council 3
Holladay                     Mayor             Council 1        Council 3
Midvale                      Mayor             Council 4        Council 5
Millcreek                                Council 2        Council 4
Murray                       Mayor             Council 2        Council 4
Riverton                     Mayor             Council 3        Council 4
Salt Lake City                                    Council 1, 3, 5, 7
Sandy             Mayor             At-Large Council      Council 1        Council 3
South Jordan Mayor             Council 3        Council 5
South Salt Lake         Mayor             At-Large Council      Council 2, 3
Taylorsville    Mayor             Council 4        Council 5
West Jordan  Mayor             At-Large Council Vote for 2            Council 4 *2 year term
West Valley    Mayor             At-Large Council      Council 2        Council 4


METRO TOWNSHIP CANDIDATES  Filing location is the Salt Lake County Election Division Office, 2001 S. State Street.
Copperton Metro Township            At-Large Council Vote for 2
Emigration Metro Township           At-Large Council Vote for 2
Kearns Metro Township                  Council 2        Council 4
Magna Metro Township                   Council 2        Council 4
White City Metro Township            At-Large Council Vote for 2
 

LOCAL SERVICE DISTRICTS
For Qualifications and Filing Location, Contact your Local Service District office
Alta Canyon Rec(vote for 4)
Copperton Improvement (vote for 1)
Cottonwood Improvement (vote for 1)
Cottonwood Heights Park 1 (vote for 1)
Cottonwood Heights Park 2 (vote for 1)
Emigration Improvement (vote for 1)
Granger Hunter Improvement (vote for 2)
Kearns Improvement (vote for 2)
Magna Water (vote for 2)
Midvalley Improvement (vote for 2)
Mt. Olympus Improvement (vote for 2)
Oquirrh Park & Rec (vote for 2)
Canyon Water (vote for2)
Sandy Suburban Improvement (vote for 1)
South Valley Sewer (vote for 2)
Taylorsville Bennion Improvement (vote for 1)
White City Water ( vote for 2)

 

SLC TREE REMOVAL SYSTEM DISCOURAGES NEW TREE PLANTINGS
  It turns out that in addition to removing 3000 old trees each year in Salt Lake City, the City places onerous requirements onto the new plantings of small trees to replace the big trees.  The conditions discourage landowners from allowing the City to replant a tree in their yard.   This is on top of the replacement of the 3000 trees not being completely funded by SLC.

 

STREET MAINTENANCE MONEY DIVERTED TO SALARY INCREASES (FOR COUNCIL?)
  This one is probably going to get me banned from SLC.  I have been having an argument with several SLC Councilmembers about the repurposing of the streets tax that was passed several years ago. The first year it went to streets maintenance.  It added about $8.4 million to the approximate $9 million budgeted for streets that year.  The next year, it went to salary increases.  I have to assume that the City Council benefited from that salary increase, even though they get less than $30,000 a year compensation for working about 10-20 hours per week.  I still do not think that it is right to give themselves a pay raise and take it away from needed streets maintenance.  I still respect the Councilmembers who did this but I strongly disagree that it was right and appropriate.


SLC MAYOR UPSET ABOUT SECRET DECISIONS ON HOMELESS (IRONY)
  SLC Mayor Biskupski expressed concern that the final decision on where the homeless populations would be assigned was made in secret.  Up until last week, when it was revealed in a surprise comment, the County had said that the decision would be made by the State Homeless Coordinating Committee.  Mayor Biskupski was upset about the secret decision.  Maybe she will revisit her decision to keep the SLC Council’s decision on the homeless sites secret.  This has got to be one of the most ironic situations in the last year.



SHERIFF JIM WINDER IS THE MOST RESPECTED DEMOCRAT IN SLCO AND WILL BE A BIG LOSS
  I have known and worked with Sheriff Jim Winder for almost 10 years.  I have a great deal of respect for him and I have supported him in his efforts to gain appropriate County funding for his department (along with more funding for the DA).  My opeds in the last few years make it clear that the issue is lack of County funding from the SLCO Mayor McAdams.  I have also supported his efforts to consolidate law enforcement in the County (which should result in less crime).  Unfortunately, my efforts that were directed at Mayor McAdams, were intercepted by Sheriff Winder and he seemed to take the bullet meant for Mayor McAdams.  It is not the first time that he has done that.  When the previous administration cut the UPD budget in half (the County’s unincorporated police force), the previous Council agreed with that and the Sheriff ended up defending that decision. 
  I will miss Jim Winder and I can’t think of anyone who can fill his shoes.

 
EYE CANDY/PROJECTS/MONUMENTS TAKE AWAY FROM STREET MAINTENANCE
  Salt Lake City is planning on completely changing 900 West and making it a two lane road.  Unfortunately, the money that the City is spending on the project could be better used (in my opinion) for maintaining streets and repairing potholes.  The cost of maintaining new roundabouts and other plantings in the center turn lane will also take away from street maintenance.  The SLC Council should listen to their staff and not start projects that take away from basic service support like fixing potholes.





MAY 23, 2017
SLC REMOVING 3000 TREES PER YEAR
PUBLIC UTILITIES DOUBLES TAXES WITH FOUR PAGE JUSTIFICATION
SLC STREETS NOT MAINTAINED TO ALLOW BEAUTIFICATION OF STREETS
SLC REGIONAL ATHLETIC COMPLEX LOSES MONEY WORSE THAN GOLF
RIO GRANDE CAMPERS MOVING TO REST OF SLC



SLC REMOVING 3000 TREES PER YEAR

  Salt Lake City is removing about 3000 trees per year.  The City needs$300,000 to completely replace the 3000 trees but is only budgeting $225,000.  The trees that are being removed are old, large trees.  The replacement trees are what I call mickie mouse trees (or munchkin trees).  The City requires developers who cut down trees to replace the trees diameter.  In other words, a 2 foot diameter tree should need 12 two inch diameter trees to replace the old tree.  Salt Lake City's tree plan is not sustainable.


PUBLIC UTILITIES DOUBLES TAXES WITH FOUR PAGE JUSTIFICATION

  Several people showed up at the formal City Council meeting to complain about the tax increase for sewer and water.  Unfortunately, they did not know how or when to complain since it was unclear that the tax increases are in the Public Utilities budget in the Mayor's proposed budget.  The Council had their staff discuss the issue with the concerned taxpayers.  
  More importantly, the Public Utilities budget is four pages!  The budget for Public Utilities is $200 million and it is clearly not all discussed in four pages.  This is worse than UTA!  Doubling water and sewer taxes in five years deserves more than a four page justification.


SLC STREETS NOT MAINTAINED TO ALLOW BEAUTIFICATION OF STREETS
  Councilwoman Lisa Adams complained that streets are not maintained.  She showed a slideshow of pictures taken of the potholes in the streets near where she lives.  Lisa is right.  The SLC budget does not really go into detail for streets.  It is essentially $10.1 million and the streets need $40 million per year to provide minimal maintenance.  The streets maintenance is not really broken out other than giving almost the same amount as last year.  Several years ago, the City Council and Mayor increased taxes for streets that was to provide $8.5 million more for streets.  But the money was repurposed after a year.  The Council has not pushed to unrepurpose the streets tax increase while the SLC streets are crumbling.
  The citizens who are hurting the most from the lack of appropriate streets maintenance funding are the bicyclists who have to ride well into the street due to the potholes near the edges.  Buses are notorious for messing up the sides of streets next to bus stops.  
  The lack of streets maintenance is made worse by the big fancy projects that tear up long streets to "prettify the roadway" with road diets, center medians and bike lanes.  900 West, 400 West, 300 West are all going to have major changes and that will suck out almost all of the potential money for basic streets maintenance.  SLC also spent almost $1 million to spruce up and "prettify" alleyways for the McClelland Trail.  That money could have been better used to create more safe bikelanes on City streets (not protected bike lanes like 300 West) without wasteful and unused center turn lanes.
  Councilman Charlie Luke was concerned enough about my comment regarding the old repurposed streets maintenance tax that he explained it.  But I am a typical taxpayer and I want more.  I still love Charlie Luke.


SLC REGIONAL ATHLETIC COMPLEX LOSES MONEY WORSE THAN GOLF

  One big drain on the budget is the SLC Regional Athletic Complex.  It is losing  a significant amount of money.  It is almost as big a money loser as golf.  But golf courses are well used.  The Regional Athletic Complex continues to be an albatross on the budget.  
  This is the budget note about the Complex:
E.  Regional  Athletic  Complex.  The  third  season  for  the  Regional Athletic  Complex  (RAC)  operations  begins in  the  fall  of  2017.  The  MRB  reports  that recreational  program  fees  decreased  by  $213,236  due to  a  lack  of usage  of  the  complex.  Operating  deficits at  the  RAC  are  covered  by  the  general  fund.  The  Administration's updates  are  provided  below. Currently  Public Services  does  not  have  a  specific or  written  plan  for  increasing  (or  decreasing)  usage  at the  RAC.  The  second  full season  for  the  RAC  started  in  April and  we  continue  to  gain  an  understanding  of the  opportunities  and  obligations  (bond  requirements.


RIO GRANDE CAMPERS MOVING TO REST OF SLC
  Unfortunately, the efforts by the SLCO Health Department, along with the SLC Police to try to control and limit the camping that is occurring around the Rio Grande area has resulted in many campers being interested in moving away from the Rio Grande area and to other areas of SLC.  The Rio Grande area attracts the outdoor camping due to the services for the homeless, outside of the Road Home.  The St. Vincent De Paul Center, the Weigand Center, the Rescue Mission and the Fourth Street Clinic are all in the area and those services do provide a safety net and needed basic services for the homeless.  
  Salt Lake City still does not have a solution to encourage outdoor camping to go to one area, indoor or outdoor.  The Council has been asked many times over the last few years but when a vacant building became available, the SLC Fire Marshall refused to allow it to be used because it did not have sprinklers.  
  Sheriff Winder's recommendation suggested an outdoor area for camping with rules.  But many homeless that camp do not want to be in an environment with rules.  That is why the San Francisco Pier 90 effort to provide an indoor facility for camping (with rules) did not work out.  I do not believe that the monthly cleanups (that remove around 10 tons of debris, belongings each month) work.  The cleanups have a tendency to make the homeless more depressed and create a bigger hole for them to climb out of.  There has to be a better way.
  During the City Council meeting, the Council expressed serious reservations about the administration spending more than what was budgeted and approved by the Council for homeless issues ($213,000).  The administration proposed to cover the overbudget with Budget Amendment 6.  But the reality is that the homeless budget was always under funded.  This should have been predictable.  The administration should have asked for more flexibility and asked for more.  The budget for homeless issues is a necessary expense.  The Council should approve a higher budget for homeless emergencies now.


LIBERTY PARK GETTING MAKEOVER INSTEAD OF PICKLEBALL COURTS
  Budget Amendment 6 also has a proposal to upgrade Liberty Park instead of building pickleball courts.  I put the proposal above and I will move it to the downloads page in a few weeks.  The Language is:
A-2: Liberty Park Concessions Area Improvements CIP -$300,000.00
CIP $300,000.00
Department: Public Services Prepared By: Dawn Crandall
Public Services Department requests a repurpose of the budget for the recently-approved pickle ball courts in Liberty Park.
The department requests that the budget be used instead for improvements to the Liberty Park concessions area.
When the pickle ball courts were proposed, PPL believed the courts would fit directly south of the existing tennis courts in an area that is currently asphalt paving, therefore resulting in minimal impacts to the park. The design consultant has determined there is insufficient room to place these courts with a North South orientation, ideal to reduce sun glare. The proposed new location is between the tennis courts and the Chase Home. This location would eliminate an open play area
and several trees and increase noise levels in close proximity to the historic home and tennis center, causing disruption to activities at both sites. Concurrently, design improvements are underway to improve the concessions area in the center of Liberty Park that will improve walking surfaces and visitor amenities. Unfortunately the funding scope for this project does not include wayfinding (which can be very confusing), improvement of the war memorial, or full replacement of
deteriorated asphalt paving which is a barrier for persons with mobility impairments. PPL requests the reallocation of the full amount for pickle ball funding to the concession area to make these desired improvements. If this amendment is approved, the concessions and surrounding area will provide a significantly higher level-of-service to patrons of our most visited park. This request is for a change of scope only. No additional funds are needed.
Parks and Public Lands has just completed the construction of six courts in nth Avenue Park and is beginning construction of six pickle ball courts in Fairmont Park. Salt Lake City will have a total of fourteen pickle ball courts to serve the ...






MAY 22, 2017
SLC COUNCIL ELECTION DEADLINE JUNE 7
WOMEN RUNNING FOR PUBLIC OFFIC

WE NEED PROSECUTORS, NOT JUST JAIL BEDS  (NEEDS REPEATING)
SHERIFF WINDER IS IMPORTANT FOR SLCO


SLC COUNCIL ELECTION DEADLINE JUNE 7
  Salt Lake City Council Districts 1, 3, 5, 7 are up for election.  The deadline for signing up is June 7, at 5 PM at the SLC City Recorder's Office.  The cost to register is $84 or 75 names of registered voters.  The primary election is in August and ballots will be mailed out at the end of July.  The general election is November 7.
    James Rogers will run again in District 1.  As of today, he has one opponent, David C. Atkin at dcatkin@comcast.com.  In Council District 3, Laura Cushman at laura.cushman@gmail.com and T. Christopher Wharton at chris@chriswhartonlaw.com have signed up to run (opened campaign committees).  In Council District 5, Erin Mendenhall is running again and Benjamin Noah Rosenberg at noah695@gmail.com is running against her.  In Council District 7, John Benjamin Haynes at jbenjaminh92@gmail.com, Abraham Smith at abesmith@gmail.com and Benjamin Sessions at bhsessions@gmail.com have signed up to run.  
  This should be an interesting election campaign since it will be vote by mail and with part of the County, not the City, involved in voting for the replacement for Chaffetz.  Holladay is the closest area to SLC that is voting for Chaffetz's replacement.

WOMEN RUNNING FOR OFFICE
  Jennifer Seelig, former legislator and now working for Mayor Biskupski pointed out that women make up about half of the community council board membership but they only make up about half of that of elected offices.  Now is a good time to consider running for office.  There is no excuse when there are so many issues that impact residents, businesses and taxpayers in Salt Lake City (and in all municipalities in Utah).  The more people that are engaged in government, including running for office, the better the results.


PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAIL BEDS
  Recently, Sheriff Jim Winder presented a proposal to move Salt Lake County jail inmates to other counties’ jails. Unfortunately, as the Sheriff pointed out, the potential 300 extra beds will not necessarily result in stopping the revolving door of criminals going in and out of jail on a regular basis.
  The other issue that needs to be addressed is the inadequate funding for the DA to prosecute the criminals. District Attorney Sim Gill’s office screens 17,500 felonies a year. When Operation Diversion criminals were sent to the jail, the efforts to ensure that they stayed in jail for more that a few days overwhelmed the office. Most of the DA’s prosecutors have caseloads of 150 cases. The recommended caseload is under 100 per prosecutor. Some prosecutors have caseloads over 200! To adequately and effectively prosecute felonies and misdemeanors and keep criminals in jail for more than a few hours requires more funding for the DA, not just funding for jail beds. If you ask the DA what he needs, he will say that Salt Lake County needs 18 new prosecutors and 500 beds. But the County Council is adamant that the DA has enough prosecutors. When 95% of cases are pled out without a trial, that is a sign that we need to hire more prosecutors.
  The main reason for more jail beds is to lock up the drug dealers that are in jail for an average of about 4 hours. Despite claims that Salt Lake County jail has been overwhelmed by the Legislature’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) that decreased penalties for drug crimes, drug dealing is a felony and should not be affected by the JRI. The short time in jail for drug dealers has been complained about by law enforcement for over five years, well before the JRI.
  The best reason to focus on drug dealers is because if the dealers are not locked up and removed from the streets (for much more than a few hours or weeks), they will ensure that addicts get addicted and stay addicted. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on drug treatment is wasted when drugs are not just easy to get, but are pushed at graduates of addiction treatment programs. Police are now relegated to confiscating drugs when they are used openly. 
  Another public safety issue is the inadequate mental health funding in Salt Lake County. During the recession, the County’s mental health budget was significantly decreased and given to a private company. Many have complained that adequate funding has not been restored. The Sheriff has said that up to 80% of his jail inmates have mental health issues (which can include addiction). Efforts to encourage the Legislature to pass Healthy Utah to help provide adequate funding for addiction and mental health treatment failed. The result is, even with jail beds, those individuals that need mental health treatment are quickly released to the street where they often self medicate with heroin or stronger drugs.
  In the recent Salt Lake City Police Department 2017 Jail Bookings & Restriction Effects, the restrictions by the jail to limit bookings showed that the number in 2016 that could not be booked included 8049 for drugs, 1678 for drunkenness, 713 for forgery, 1051 for property damage, 186 for prostitution, 3903 for retail theft, 4429 for simple assault and 3311 for trespass.  The 2015 arrests were 9772 but the 2016 arrests were limited to 7368 due to the new rules put in place early last year. The report said “The inability to incarcerate offenders for these crimes creates an atmosphere of indifference, fosters an appearance of lawlessness, and destroys the community’s trust in law enforcement and pride in their neighborhoods.”
  Until Salt Lake County adequately funds public safety and provides appropriate funding for the DA and for mental health treatment, 1000 jail beds won’t help. Public safety is more than jail beds.  



SHERIFF WINDER IS IMPORTANT FOR SLCO

  I was surprised to hear that Sheriff Winder is considering going to Moab.   The Sheriff and I have been fighting for almost 10 years to give him more control, authority and funding for law enforcement in Salt Lake County.  I have always focused on the Mayor's budget as the issue, not the Sheriff.   In all of my opeds, I have focused on the lack of funding for the Sheriff and the DA.
If SLCO loses Jim Winder, it will hurt law enforcement in this County.   Jim Winder is that important.  The Sheriff needs to be able to stand up against the politicians that don't appreciate the main function of government, public safety.
  Although I will respect his decision, I may cry a little.  It would be a big loss
.

  I ALSO NOTICED THAT THE SHERIFF WILL HAVE AN AWARDS LUNCHEON TOMORROW AT THE COUNTY COUNCIL MEETING.  I HOPE THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT HE IS GOING TO ANNOUNCE HIS DECISION.








MAY 19, 2017

PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAIL BEDS

FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN SALT LAKE COUNTY


Public safety is more than jail beds
  Recently, Sheriff Jim Winder presented a proposal to move Salt Lake County jail inmates to other counties’ jails. Unfortunately, as the Sheriff pointed out, the potential 300 extra beds will not necessarily result in stopping the revolving door of criminals going in and out of jail on a regular basis.
  The other issue that needs to be addressed is the inadequate funding for the DA to prosecute the criminals. District Attorney Sim Gill’s office screens 17,500 felonies a year. When Operation Diversion criminals were sent to the jail, the efforts to ensure that they stayed in jail for more that a few days overwhelmed the office. Most of the DA’s prosecutors have caseloads of 150 cases. The recommended caseload is under 100 per prosecutor. Some prosecutors have caseloads over 200! To adequately and effectively prosecute felonies and misdemeanors and keep criminals in jail for more than a few hours requires more funding for the DA, not just funding for jail beds. If you ask the DA what he needs, he will say that Salt Lake County needs 18 new prosecutors and 500 beds. But the County Council is adamant that the DA has enough prosecutors. When 95% of cases are pled out without a trial, that is a sign that we need to hire more prosecutors.
  The main reason for more jail beds is to lock up the drug dealers that are in jail for an average of about 4 hours. Despite claims that Salt Lake County jail has been overwhelmed by the Legislature’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) that decreased penalties for drug crimes, drug dealing is a felony and should not be affected by the JRI. The short time in jail for drug dealers has been complained about by law enforcement for over five years, well before the JRI.
  The best reason to focus on drug dealers is because if the dealers are not locked up and removed from the streets (for much more than a few hours or weeks), they will ensure that addicts get addicted and stay addicted. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on drug treatment is wasted when drugs are not just easy to get, but are pushed at graduates of addiction treatment programs. Police are now relegated to confiscating drugs when they are used openly. 
  Another public safety issue is the inadequate mental health funding in Salt Lake County. During the recession, the County’s mental health budget was significantly decreased and given to a private company. Many have complained that adequate funding has not been restored. The Sheriff has said that up to 80% of his jail inmates have mental health issues (which can include addiction). Efforts to encourage the Legislature to pass Healthy Utah to help provide adequate funding for addiction and mental health treatment failed. The result is, even with jail beds, those individuals that need mental health treatment are quickly released to the street where they often self medicate with heroin or stronger drugs.
  In the recent Salt Lake City Police Department 2017 Jail Bookings & Restriction Effects, the restrictions by the jail to limit bookings showed that the number in 2016 that could not be booked included 8049 for drugs, 1678 for drunkenness, 713 for forgery, 1051 for property damage, 186 for prostitution, 3903 for retail theft, 4429 for simple assault and 3311 for trespass.  The 2015 arrests were 9772 but the 2016 arrests were limited to 7368 due to the new rules put in place early last year. The report said “The inability to incarcerate offenders for these crimes creates an atmosphere of indifference, fosters an appearance of lawlessness, and destroys the community’s trust in law enforcement and pride in their neighborhoods.”
  Until Salt Lake County adequately funds public safety and provides appropriate funding for the DA and for mental health treatment, 1000 jail beds won’t help. Public safety is more than jail beds.  




Future of mass transit in Salt Lake County
  I was concerned about some of the statements made by UTA General Manager Jerry Benson in the Salt Lake Tribune's recent story (Without big tax hike, UTA warns planned expansion, projects not feasible). Mr. Benson said that "It's really not our job to advocate or campaign [for a tax hike],...It's our job to inform policymakers and the public so they can make good decisions." I am concerned that the further comments by Mr. Benson cross the line. I think that Jerry Benson is a great manager and the best possible manager for UTA due to his expertise in operations.
  After expressing his concern about lack of funding for service and projects, he stated that UTA has given its board members talking points about the funding gaps for projects and service to bring to the attention of the cities, counties and other elected officials who appoint them. I remember the Board Chair asking that Board members reach out and talk to their appointment municipalities. But I don't remember a Board discussion on encouraging a tax increase which seems to be in the written talking points! It would seem to be more appropriate for the Board members and Chair to encourage a tax increase which Mr. Benson implies is needed to increase projects and service.
  In the last Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) from the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC is composed of mayors and leaders from Salt Lake, Davis and Weber County), most of any new tax increase, 40%, will be going to questionable projects. Only 6% of new taxes will go to service increases. In addition, as Lee Davidson pointed out in his story, there are many streetcar, BRT and rail projects that are costly (and have not had the UTA audit’s recommended cost benefit analysis). The RTP also has an airport high speed rail station, the Alta-Summit County connector (tunnel and rail), the $3 billion Draper to Lehi TRAX, 3 rail projects in Salt Lake City (at $100 million each) and many BRTs (at $15 million per mile) instead of more appropriate, and as effective, enhanced buses (at $1.5 million per mile).
  The RTP is essentially a wish list. Streetcars (at $45 million per mile) are not a cost effective transit option (according to a Congressional Research Service report Streetcars: FAQ). If voters were given a choice of spending $100 million on a streetcar or creating 20 plus new bus routes (at about a $1 million annual operating expense) and extending late night service, they would overwhelmingly favor more bus service. Creating a robust bus system will generate more ridership fares than just the new bus route generates.  Much of the pressure for these questionable projects come from construction companies that stand to make billions. During WFRC discussion, very few members of the public were aware of and commented on the proposals. Another concern is that projects should not be based on increased taxes or new bonding or fees. The last audit recommended that UTA identify and specify reliable revenue sources to cover operating costs before future projects’ construction begins. That should not be interpreted to mean wishing for a tax increase.
  The last UTA audit pointed out that rail expansion decreased bus service around 30%. The audit recommended, that before building more projects, UTA should restore a robust bus system before even thinking of more projects. When you can't go to a downtown show or game or anywhere late at night and rely on mass transit to take you there and back, mass transit doesn't work. UTA should focus on increasing frequency and late night and weekend bus service and commit, in writing, to not plan or build new projects until a robust bus system is operating. 
  UTA could benefit from a more open discussion and debate about the future of mass transit in Salt Lake County instead of using wish lists to advocate for higher taxes.  Recent studies show that bus mass transit systems can be more successful and financially efficient. 




MAY 12, 2017
SECRECY RULES THE DAY WITH SLC COUNCIL
GRAMA DOES NOT ALLOW MEETING MINUTES TO BE PUBLIC
UTAH LEGISLATURE WILL CHANGE GRAMA 
MCADAMS PLANS FOR MORE PROSECUTORS FOR COUNTY
MCADAMS VISITS LIBERTY WELLS COMMUNITY COUNCIL
HOMELESS FAMILIES TO BE REMOVED FROM RIO GRANDE 
MOUNTAIN ACCORD HEARING MAY RESULT IN ROADBLOCK 
SLC WATER RATES ARE HIGH/REASON GOLF DEFICIT/NEW CANYON CITY



SECRECY RULES THE DAY WITH SLC COUNCIL
GRAMA DOES NOT ALLOW MEETING MINUTES TO BE PUBLIC
UTAH LEGISLATURE WILL CHANGE GRAMA 
  On May 11, the Government Records Committee heard my appeal of Salt Lake City's refusal to release the minutes and recordings of the Salt Lake City Council's deliberations on the locations of the homeless resource expansion sites. The only legitimate reason to close the meetings to the public was to ensure that the properties being discussed had options placed so that the property values would not be increased after deciding the sites.  GRAMA, in several paragraphs points out that after the property acquisitions are completed, there should not be a reason to keep the meeting minutes and recordings secret. 
  Unfortunately, Salt Lake City, through their attorney, said that the Government Records Committee did not have jurisdiction because the meeting was closed appropriately and legally.  What that would mean is that any closed meeting, if it is closed appropriately and legally, would be able to keep their records secret unless a court ordered the release.
  The Committee took about half an hour of back and forth arguing about whether or not Salt Lake City's attorney made sense.  At first the Committee tried to vote to deny my appeal but the vote failed 3 to 2.  The next 20 minutes was a confusing discussion on what does GRAMA and the Open Meetings Act mean since they refer back to each other and it result, in the Committee's mind, it is confusing.  So they said that they preferred that a court decide the issue and they refused my appeal with a 3 to 2 vote.
  Christopher Smart had an excellent report on the decision at:  http://www.sltrib.com/news/5280791-155/split-vote-keeps-records-of-homeless?fullpage=1

  Senator Curt Bramble is the Legislature's expert at GRAMA and has opened a bill file to update GRAMA.  Over the next few months, the Legislature's Interim Committee hearings will look at the issues that the Government Records Committee had that resulted in their vote that keeps the Salt Lake Council meetings secret.  Hopefully the law will be changed at the next General Session in January 2018.  
  My thoughts on this issue:
  I believe that the Government Records Committee does have appropriate and important jurisdiction in this matter, no matter what Salt Lake City says.  Strategy sessions to discuss the purchase.... of real property can be closed (52-4-205).  But after options have been put in place and contracts have been signed, 63G applies and allows the Committee to order the release of the records.  63G-2-305 says: (a) public interest in obtaining access to the information is greater than or equal to the governmental entity’s need to acquire the property on the best terms possible.  And 63G-2-309 says that the court is involved when: (2) Except as provided by court order, the governmental entity to whom the request for a record is made may not disclose a record claimed to be protected under a provision listed in Subsection (1)(b)(i) but which the governmental entity or records committee determines should be disclosed until the period in which to bring an appeal expires or the end of the appeals process, including judicial appeal. 
  The most important rule is 63G-2-403 Appeals to the records committee
(b) Except as provided in Section 63G-2-406, the records committee may, upon consideration and weighing of the various interests and public policies pertinent to the classification and disclosure or nondisclosure, order the disclosure of information properly classified as private, controlled, or protected if the public interest favoring access is greater than or equal to the interest favoring restriction of access.
  Again, this discussion, will have valuable public interest and value in ensuring that our public elected officials are held to the highest expected standards.  The meeting minutes appear to have been kept secret for politiccal purposes.  If what Salt Lake City is saying is true, any Council, any government or any taxpayer funded entity in Utah can discuss spending money behind closed doors and spend that money without a public hearing and keep those records secret for years.
  Closed door meetings can benefit developers and encourage sweetheart deals.  If the records are not made public, how will voters know if corruption is involved.  SLC is a public entity that uses taxpayers funds which demands public oversight.  Keeping the public, the taxpayers and the voters from seeing how their elected representatives vote is not an appropriate or legal reason to deny release of minutes of these closed door meetings. 
  This is one of the most important decisions made by Salt lake City in the last few decades.  For months before the secret meetings, the City assured the public that there would be public hearings before site selections would be made.  In fact, a week before the City decided to go all secret on sites, the Deputy Chief of Staff assured me that the public would be involved in choosing the sites.
  One of the most important reasons for the success of this Country is we often, very publicly, discuss important policies.
This Country is great because we analyze, discuss and debate issues in public.  Good decisions die behind closed doors.  We do not and we should not allow Vladimir Putin style government to be encouraged in this Country.
  The proof of how important public debate is, is in the result that removed the Sugar House site.  The public deserves to know if the discussion included closing a day care, or the effect on the adjacent developer that just had his plans approved for a residential development.  Or was the cost for each parcel  discussed. 
  The so called cast in concrete secret decision ended up being fluid and significantly changed with public input that the City said would be ignored.  This contentious and flawed decision could have been avoided if the City did have a public hearing. 
  This issue and the decision will be important, not just for this specific case, but the decision will influence governments in Utah, all taxpayer funded entities and even UTA, to be less transparent and discourage public engagement which will lead to better governments and better decisions. 
  Unfortunately, there are four Council seats up for reelection (two have decided not to run) and voters may not get the important information on how the Councilmembers discussed, voted and represented their constituents.  It could be difficult to support voting for Councilmembers that insist that their work, votes and decision are kept secret.  How can voters intelligently vote if voters don't know how the elected vote in closed door meetings, that again, spend taxpayers money.  
  If the Councilmembers refuse to make the minutes and recordings public, it would justify assuming that they disrespected their constituents and decided to emulate Vladimir Putin.  

  There is still a chance that they will understand that we don't want to be governed in secret and they will release the recordings.  If you don't want to be governed in secret, call and email the Councilmembers.  Ask them what Vladimir Putin would do.
SLC Council comment line: 801 535 7654
Council.comments2slcgov.com
james.rogers@slcgov.com,derek.kitchen@slcgov.com,charlie.luke@slcgov.com,lisa.adams@slcgov.com,erin.mendenhall@slcgov.com,andrew.johnston@slcgov.com,jackie.biskupski@slcgov.com


MCADAMS PLANS FOR MORE PROSECUTORS FOR COUNTY
MCADAMS VISITS LIBERTY WELLS COMMUNITY COUNCIL
HOMELESS FAMILIES TO BE REMOVED FROM RIO GRANDE 
  Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams spent over an hour at the Liberty Wells Community Council listening to the issues, discussing the issues and answering questions.  He multitasked watching over his son.  I often disagree with his actions and opinions but I have to respect elected leaders who try to make themselves available to voters when they don't have to. (The Mayor HAD to be at the third homeless site meetings.)  Mayor McAdams did not have to be at the Liberty Wells Community Council and did not have to sit through a meeting that discussed community issues, but he did.  During the question and answer session, he said that he recognizes that the County needs more prosecutors, not just jail beds.  Also the County needs to increase funding for mental health care.  He said that he expected to make an annoucement in the next few weeks on those issues.  Filling 175 beds that will soon be available will require more prosecutors.  
  The County prosecutors have over double the recommended caseload and the DA has indicated that he needs 18 new prosecutors and the County needs 500 jail beds to put a dent in the open drug dealing that is making it difficult to successfully provide drug addiction treatment.  Unfortunately, in my discussions with the County Council, they seem to be against more prosecutors.  Public safety is more than jail beds.  The Mayor seemed to agree.  Also note that the success of Operation Diversion is questionable.  If less than 10 out of 150 that went to treatment have (after 6 months) had success, we may find that only one or two are going to be drug free after a year.
  The Mayor also said that he expected that by July 15, the 30 families and 100 kids at the Road Home would be removed from the Rio Grande Shelter and put in housing. Katie McKellar had a great story on the issue at:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865679701/Leaders-begin-first-steps-to-pull-families-out-of-SL-homeless-shelter.html



MOUNTAIN ACCORD HEARING MAY RESULT IN ROADBLOCK 
  The Mountain Accord had a court hearing this week and it appears that the court will find that the Mountain Accord was subject to the Utah Open Meetings Act.  Interestingly, at many times, the Mayor of Salt Lake County and other elected officials, said that the Mountain Accord complied with the Open Meetings Act but when it turned out that they didn't, their attorney then said that they didn't have to comply since private developers were in the meetings.  Yes another set of secret meetings that allow developers to get inside information (sweetheart deals).  The arguments in court seemed to favor that and it could result in the whole Mountain Accord process and signed recommendations be thrown out or limited.  The recommendations include a tunnel/rail system for the canyons (big benefit for developers), disincentivizing personal vehicles and allowing a Montage style super resort at a ski resort.  The implementation of the Mountain Accord was to be the Central Wasatch Commission (CWC) that was just approved by SLC, Sandy, SLCO and Cottonwood Heights.  Of note, no surprise, Salt Lake City Council did not have a public hearing to approve the CWC.  The CWC has the power to raise fees, to bond and essentially force taxpayers to spend money without going to taxpayers for approval!  The big question is what will happen to the CWC if the court says that the Mountain Accord should have complied with Open Meetings Act.


WATER RATES IN SLC ARE HIGH/REASON FOR GOLF DEFICIT/NEW CANYON CITY?
  At several Salt Lake City Community Council meetings, the Mayor's representatives have said that the water rate increase of 5% this year with significantly higher increases in the next few years, will still keep the SLC water rates lower than most of the rest of the State.......NOT.  If you hear this line, just remind the person who says it that SLC water rate (charged to us) is $3 per 1000 gallons.  Most other municipalities charge $1/1000 gallons.  The high water rates in SLC are one of the main reasons while the SLC golf courses are not breaking even.
  On another subject, SLC Public Utilities gets millions in fees that we all pay to protect the watershed but they have not been used to construct any restrooms (at $30,000 for a Forest Service toilet) for the 6 million visitors a year that use the canyons.
  Canyon landowners are so upset that they are starting the process to incorporate which will result in the new city (Brighton) receiving $2.5 million and they can start protecting their canyon area unlike SLC.  There is a feasibility study currently underway to ensure that the city will be viable.










MAY 5, 2017
PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAIL BEDS
NEW SLC BUDGET IMPRESSIVE BUT NEEDS AUDIT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES
DO WE NEED DRONES TO FIND HOMELESS CAMPS!!!???
CAUTION, SLC PARKS NEEDS ASSESSMENT COULD JUSTIFY BOND
STATE STREET COULD LOSE LANES AND SLOW DOWN
UTA REPORT TO COUNTY AND WHY NOT HAVE STADLER RAIL IN SLCO

PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAIL BEDS 
(WITHOUT DA FUNDING, JAIL STILL IS A REVOLVING DOOR)

  Sheriff Winder presented his proposal to the County Council to pay about $700,000 for transferring 150 jail inmates to other counties' jails.  The County Council agreed, since it was revenue neutral and the Sheriff said that he hopes to have the first prisoners transferred in two weeks.  The State will be providing $2.8 million in July which the County will match to provide up to 300 beds in other counties, at $52/day instead of Salt Lake County's $94/day cost.

  One of the highlights of the Sheriff's presentation was caused by Councilwoman Aimee Newton Winder asking for confirmation from the Sheriff that he has not asked for more jail space before (which I personally know to not be true).  Sheriff Winder got upset at that comment and energetically emphasized that he has said many times that the County needs to provide more funding for the jail to provide more space/beds.  The statement that the Sheriff has not asked for more jail beds has been given to many people by several members of the County Council.  Hopefully, the truth will sink into the whole Council.  
  But the most important fact in this situation is that 150 jail beds are useless unless the DA also receives increased funding.  But many on the County Council refuse or are adamantly against increased funding to allow the DA to hire more prosecutors.  But without more prosecutors, the jail will continue to be a revolving door.  Public safety is more than jail beds.  Due to the lack of DA funding, he is forced to plead out 95% of the cases!  When Operation Diversion provided about a hundred cases to prosecute, the DA only had the manpower to throw the book at a couple of the worst of the worst of the arrested individuals.  Prosecutors are expected to have a workload of about 80 or 90 cases that they have to prosecute.  But Salt Lake County prosecutors have double that workload!
  The reality of the situation is Salt Lake County needs 500 beds and 18 new prosecutors.  But the County Mayor and the County Council do not appear to face reality.  It appears that the situation will get worse before reality sinks in and the situation will get better.  Salt Lake County also needs to restore mental health treatment funding to pre recession levels.  And the Legislature needs to figure a way to get some funding to provide drug treatment.  Representative Dunnigan's bill to provide some funding through Medicaid expansion appears to be permanently stalled at the Federal Governement.  
  But without removing the drugs and the drug dealers from easy access to addicts, hundreds of millions in treatment won't help.  A good way to gage the difficulty is to look at the success of drug treatment of Operation Diversion.  After 6 months, two have successfully completed treatment of the more than 100 that entered treatment.  There are a few more that seem to be on the road to success, but only a few more.  Almost half have returned to the street where drugs are readily available.
  Other issues that need funding or attention are the lack of sufficient caseworkers and affordable housing.  Without all of the above, trying to put homeless in affordable housing will create problems with adjacent renters who could be afraid of the formerly homeless that exhibit mental health or continuing drug addiction. 
  Again, public safety is more than jail beds.


NEW SLC BUDGET IMPRESSIVE BUT NEEDS AUDIT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES
  The new SLC budget seems to be impressive in many ways.  It provides more funding for important issues and includes funding to focus on the homeless who have been the most expensive users of services.  The budget is still inadequate in basic, minimal road maintenance.  SLC needs $40 million minimum per year to fund road upkeep.  But the budget only provides less than $10 million.  The City is considering a special transportation/streets fee (after the election for the four City Council seats this year).  
  A concern should be the large increase in sewer fees (30% this year alone) and the yearly increases in water fees (starting at 5% this year but going up more in future years).  I would recommend an audit of the Salt Lake City Public Utilities Department before they receive the fee increase.  There are also concerns about not providing for restrooms in the watershed that they are responsible for in the canyons.  And the lack of a plan for fighting the potential catastrophic forest fire that could occur in the canyons is also a concern.  


DO WE NEED DRONES TO FIND HOMELESS CAMPS!!!???
  At the recent CAG meeting that has homeless providers, Salt Lake City managers and the SLC Police, there was a suggestion to use drones to find homeless camps!  Really!



CAUTION SLC PARKS NEEDS ASSESSMENT COULD JUSTIFY BOND
SLC Parks is in the process of conducting a needs assessment to determine what SLC citizens and taxpayers want to see in their parks and neighborhoods.  Unfortunately, some members of the City Council want a parks bond to fund their pet projects like the proposal to close golf courses and convert them, with tens of millions of dollars into nature parks, bicycle parks and other uses.  Citizens should go online (Google SLCGOV.COM and parks needs assessment or Open City Hall ) and comment.  The parks needs assessment does not provide a fiscal limit.  That usually results in a bloated wish list, that we just gotta have.  Much like the $11 billion in rail projects in the last Utah Transportation Plan, most of the projects seem to be outlandish and unrealistic.  If parks had listed the cost of each potential amenity and then listed the total amount of tax increase that the citizen would support, we would have a better idea of what should be the future plan.


STATE STREET COULD LOSE LANES AND SLOW DOWN
  There is an effort in Salt Lake City to redesign State 
Street into a less traffic intensive street.  There is talk of roundabouts, decreasing lanes, reducing speed limits and planting the center lanes.  I disagree with the proposed ideas.  I hope that UDOT resists the plan to turn State Street into a small town country road.  



UTA REPORT TO COUNTY AND WHY NOT HAVE STADLER RAIL IN SLCO
  UTA gave an extensive report to the County Council on performance and the issues that they are confronted with.  There are others that were on the UTA Board that are being investigated (so we should see more bad press on former UTA actions).  They are constantly trying to make resources more available.  The remapped ski buses had a 35% increase to standing room only ridership.  (The proposal for year round bus service would cost of $1 million per canyon per year but it was kept in house so that Mountain Accord would be able to take credit for it.)  
  The first part of the downtown service center, the eventual $65 million bus garage, was completed.  It includes the natural gas refueling station.  UTA is trying to get fed funding to work on the rest of the bus garage.
  UTA is working with SLC to find funds to move the airport TRAX station to the second level on a raised bridge.  The design would be nice but UTA does not have funds now.  They can extend the TRAX on the ground level a few hundred feet for a few million but SLC wants the eye candy pretty impressive rail on the bridge design.
  A lot of reforms have been put in place.  All trustees have been asked to reach out to those that appointed them.  Resources limit weekend and late night expansion.  Councilman Jim Bradley pushed UTA to focus on night and weekend service expansion.  He also asked about the controversy about the Board Member whose father was a conductor which is more valuable than a Board Member. Councilman Richard Snelgrove expressed concern about the decline in neighborhood bus service. 
  These are my comments:  The new UTA Board is trying to be more open.  Over the last year, especially with Chair Robert McKinley, and new GM Jerry Benson, the Board has become much more open.  They encourage online and in person comments on almost all issues before all committees.  In addition, if I want information that was previously hard to get, I now get fast.  The Board has stopped rubber stamping staff recommendations.  They now engage in vigorous debates, sometimes for hours.  
  I did express my concern to the County Council that I was disappointed that SLCO did not appear to be aggressively trying to get the Stadler Rail factory to locate in Salt Lake County.  They already utilize the Warm Springs UTA facility and adding a nearby building would seem to be a faster and more efficient way to develop and build a new factory for manufacturing rail cars.

​​





APRIL 29
SHERIFF ASKS COUNTY FOR JAIL FUNDING FOR 150 BEDS

TUESDAY COUNTY COUNCIL HEARS SHERIFF REQUEST  (SEE DOWNLOAD ABOVE)
  At the Tuesday, May 2, 2:30 PM, County Council Committee of the Whole (COW), the Sheriff "is requesting funding to start contracting with other County Jails for beds beginning in May 2017.  The funding request consists of paying the cost of the beds for 2 months (May & June 2017) at a rate of $52.00 per day for 150 beds ($475,800).  After the initial two months, beginning in July, the State will contribute half of the cost per bed.  (We will be requesting an additional $1,423,500 (300 beds) as part of the June budget process.)  The funding request also includes 4 FTEs that are required to manage the contracting and transportation of inmates related to contracting beds in other Counties.  The amount of funding requested for the FTEs is for 8 months ($229,050) and will be annualized in 2018."
  This is what we have been waiting for.  The next step is for the 150 jail inmates to be transferred and the jail restrictions lifted.  I hope that everyone recognizes that this is an important change that can help remove and eliminate the criminal element from the homeless and in many areas of the Count



 

APRIL 27, 2017
UTA SLOWS DOWN LAND GIVEAWAY, ACTS RESPONSIBLY, 1 EXCEPTION
SLC UTA LOSES BEST TOD MIND IN STATE
SLCPD CHIEF BROWN ON .05
NOTE ON JAIL BOND REPURPOSING
SHOPKO BLOCK UPDATE ON SUGARHOUSEHELLO.COM/STREET.HTML
WHAT TO DO WITH ELM (2150 S) EAST OF 900 E
LACK OF FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS IN PLANNING PROJECTS (PARKS, BIKES, ROADS, NW QUADRANT)  BUDGET NEXT WEEK
1100 EAST TRACES SOLD FOR DEVELOPMENT



UTA SLOWS DOWN LAND GIVEAWAY
  Over the last few weeks, there has been significant pressure on UTA's Board of Trustees to approve the sale (at a loss) of about half of the Clearfield Station property to Clearfield so that they can give it (at a loss) to Stadler Rail to build a manufacturing facility for rail cars that would employ from 400 to 1000.  Last week, surprisingly, the Executive Board decided to go slow at the recommendation of General Counsel Jayme Blakesley.  This week, the Board was under even more pressure but it was announced that former UTA Board of Trustees Killpack had an interest in this project.  It came out that his company is going to build the Stadler Rail project! 
  Lee Davidson, in the Salt Lake Tribune, had a good overview of the April 26 UTA Board meeting.  The big surprise was, even after pressure from former Senator Killpack and Hooper Representative Schultz and the Mayor of Clearfield, the UTA Board of Trustees asked for more information from staff.  There are too many questions that are unanswered. 
  The proposal, before agreeing on the sale cost (presently a $5 million difference) will obligate UTA to giving up Clearfield Station property that was supposed to be for a Transit Oriented Development (the goal of a TOD is to increase mass transit ridership) and give it to Stadler Rail (through Clearfield - in order to avoid a bidding process and to lower the cost for Stadler).
  Although Stadler could build in South Salt Lake near the Warm Springs facility, they want to use the Clearfield Station property.  Unless there is a final agreement on sale price, UTA could lose millions.  In addition, since the federal government helped buy the property, UTA may lose the property if it isn't used for a TOD.  UTA may lose up to $10 million of value in the transaction.  Jayme Blakesley said that the federal government agreement should not be a problem.
  If anyone is still concerned that UTA is continuing to be the most hated entity in Salt Lake County, these recent weeks and months, have shown a new UTA.  The Board of Trustees have stopped rubber stamping staff proposals.  It seems to have started with the new Board Chair, Robert McKinley.  During a hearing on a proposal to approve the entity that was supposed to implement the Mountain Accord with its billions in rail and tunnel projects, the UTA Board expressed concern and decided not to consider the Central Wasatch Commission (CWC) until the other municipalities approved it.  The proposal would have allowed the CWC to bond, enact fees and create financial obligations for the taxpayers of Salt Lake County without voter approval.  Despite a significant group of proponents arguing for the CWC approval at UTA's Board meeting, the Board had too many questions and they decided to wait.  That was a big deal.  The UTA Board stood up to significant pressure.  
  Then there was the airport TRAX proposal.  Salt Lake City's Mayor asked for and received $4.3 million to provide preliminary design work on the eventual $65 million project.  But the Board asked for and received assurances that UTA is not obligated to provide funding for the airport TRAX reconfiguration.  (Note that several weeks ago, Salt Lake City's administration, in a City Council work session said that UTA would pay for the project.)  Jerry Benson, UTA's General Manager, last week reiterated that UTA is not obligated to provide funding and the project has no funding at present.
  Unfortunately, the effort to stop the self described reformer, North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, from being on the UTA Board of Trustees, had some fallout.  This week's Board approved a policy change that would require any new appointee to the Board, that has a relative working for UTA, to remove themselves from the Board or their relative (if in a "sensative" position) may be terminated by the General Manager.  Mayor Taylor's father is a FrontRunner operator.  But the proposal was watered down to not apply to Mayor Taylor (a sitting Board member). 
  This proposal is called anti-nepotism but it should be viewed as an attempt to rein in a new Board member that is trying to reform UTA.  It is similar to requiring anyone elected to a position in government, having to decline the position if a relative works there or have their relative fired from the government to which they are elected.  This proposal does not make sense.
  The proposed language is:  "Upon determination that an appointed Board member has a relative employed by UTA, or a seated Board member’s relative seeks or obtains employment with UTA, at the election of the appointed Board member, either (a) the employment of such employee may be terminated by the General Manager, or (b) the appointed Board member shall resign from the Board, or if not a currently seated Board member, shall decline the appointment."



SLC UTA LOSES ONE OF BEST TOD MINDS IN STATE 
  Unfortunately, UTA Trustee Keith Bartholomew has been asked to resign from the Board by Mayor Biskupski.  He is one of the most knowledgeable minds in Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in Utah.  Although I don't agree with many of his opinions, he always is able to make a reasonable argument for higher density, mixed use developments near transit stations.  I also believe that a mayor should be able to appoint their staff and board appointments.  Although some may believe that his ten plus years on the Board have been without benefit, I believe most of the problems with the Board has been due to the inbred historic culture of rubber stamping staff recommendations.  That has recently changed.  Trustee Bartholomew has recently been regularly questioning staff recommendations and has been helping in arguing other sides of the issue.  I hope that he stays involved in mass transit in Utah.
  Another loss of a UTA Board of Trustees member occurred with the resignation of Michael Romero.  He was appointed by the cities of Salt Lake County and the Council of Governments (scheduled to meet on May 25) will be recommending a replacement.  The County Council will have to vote approval of the recommendation.  



SLCPD CHIEF BROWN ON .05
  During a discussion on the new .05 DUI limit signed by the Governor (set to be effective in 2019), SLC PD Chief Brown said that law enforcement have to retrained to recognize the symptoms of .05 since they can be different.  The main point to takeaway from that comment is that the reason why a driver may be pulled over for investigation and testing for DUI, is that the driver, while driving may be acting impaired.  The test is a prelude to showing that a blood alcohol test or breathalyzer test should be given.  Although high heels and disabilities may skew the regular test, until the officer confirms suspicians that further testing is required, law enforcement is not supposed to continue testing for impairment.  There have been complaints that officers still require breathalyzer testing but not is not standard operating policy.  In addition, training for drug impairment is lacking.  My point is that whether drivers drink and drive or they take drugs and drive, there should be no difference in recognizing that they should not be doing that.  I still support the .05 message to "do not drink and drive".  In a recent study, 37% of motorists who died in fatal car accidents, tested positive for alcohol (of those tested according to:  http://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2017-04/GHSA_DruggedDriving2017_FINAL.pdf.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, has said "There's no question that alcohol remains our biggest highway safety problem."  So .05 makes sense.



NOTE ON JAIL BOND REPURPOSING
  A recent comment about the lack of adequate jailspace was that Salt Lake City taxpayers are paying for jail but are not receiving jail services that they are being charged for.  Part of the reason is that the $9.4 million jail bond that was successfully paid off two years ago was repurposed for Salt Lake County's Pay for Success program and for a County employee pay raise.  The Salt Lake County Mayor and Council continue to ignore the impact of the lack of adequate public safety funding.



SHOPKO BLOCK UPDATE ON SUGARHOUSEHELLO.COM/STREET.HTML
  The proposal for the Shopko block in Sugar House is online at sugarhousehello.com/street.html.  I encourage everyone to look at the plans and proposed architecture and street design.  Unfortunately, due to contracts with nearby landowners, ground floor retail is limited to 8000 square feet.  The plans appear to attempt to make it a walkable area but without more ground floor retail/restaurants, it will be difficult.  There will be 320,000 square feet of offices, underground parking, wide sidewalks, almost 200 apartments, and a new east west street that is planned to have a light (at Patagonia/Key Bank) if the City agrees.



WHAT TO DO WITH ELM (2150 S) EAST OF 900 E
  The Sugar House Community Council is asking for feedback and ideas for what to do to mitigate the significant increase in traffic expected on Elm Street between 900 East and McClelland, when Wilmington is continued from Highland to McClelland.  It will connect to Elm and it could generate significant traffic.  There is also a plan to make McClelland a one way street going south until Elm/Wilmington.  Interested residents and businesses should plan on attending the regular Sugar House Community Council meetings on the first Wednesday of the month at Sprague Library.  The Transportation subcommittee is getting regular reports from SLC Transportation on the plans.



LACK OF FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS IN PLANNING PROJECTS (PARKS, BIKES, ROADS, NW QUADRANT)  BUDGET NEXT WEEK
  Salt Lake City has been asking for feedback on general issues like parks, roads, transit and the library.  Unfortunately, the proposals, to gauge interest in individual ideas, are not coming with financial cost information.  The result is a report on recommendations that do not have financial constraints.  It is like the recommendations think that there is magic bottomless barrel of money (federal or local).  My concern is that the parks survey that is now taking  place, does not list the cost of individual projects.  When all of the interests and suggestions are gathered, the  proposed plan may require hundreds of millions of cost to taxpayers.  The SLC Transit Master Plan, that passed the Planning Commission, is like that.  There are projects that are recommended that cost over a billion dollars!  Last year, the City Council was thinking about a parks bond to close Glendale Golf Course and convert it to a nature park (for $50 million ?).  Another proposal was downtown bicycle park.  Wish lists should not be acted on without financial constraints of the paying taxpayers listed.  Several years ago, the Wasatch Front Regional Council developed a Regional Transportation Plan (at WFRC.org) that included over ten billion in rail projects, as if we could ever pay for it.  There was not listing of what is realistic in funding.  That wish list now is being used to push for billions in questionable projects that will quadruple taxes!  Voters need to stay informed and involved or they will be taxed without knowing that it is coming.  Note that the SLC budget is coming next Tuesday.  Although the Council has discussed implementing road fees, a 30% sewer tax increase, a 5% water fee increase, a parks bond and a sales tax increase, the proposals have not been approved.  The SLC Council did approve the Central Wasatch Commission (CWC) which has the ability to charge fees for canyon use and vehicle use and which can bond and obligate taxpayers, without a public hearing and public vote.



1100 EAST TRACES SOLD FOR DEVELOPMENT
  A icon of 1100 East, Traces plant and gift facility, along with its historic house, is being sold to allow construction of 18 townhomes.  The developer showed preliminary drawings to the East Liberty Park Community Organization (ELPCO) and asked for feedback.  At least he asked before finalizing designs.  But the loss of Traces, a loved fixture of the community is a loss.






APRIL 19, 2017
HOMELESS REQUIRE LIBRARY GUARDS IN RESTROOMS
LIBRARY WANTS 32% TAX INCREASE BEFORE CONSIDERING MAINTENANCE
HOMELESS SERVICES NEEDS ASSESSMENT
SEWER FEES GOING UP 30%??
SLC COUNCIL APPROVES BIG GOVERNMENT WITHOUT PUBLIC HEARING
SLC SAYS UTA WILL PAY FOR AIRPORT TRAX AGAIN


 

HOMELESS REQUIRE LIBRARY GUARDS IN RESTROOMS
  The new Library budget plans on providing restroom guards/attendants to decrease the misuse of the restrooms in the Main Library by homeless.  They use the facilities for washing themselves and their clothes.  Security also says that they have issues everyday with the resulting unsanitary conditions by misuse.  The security increase is a good idea but there should be a place for the homeless to go to wash and bathe themselves nearby.  Many do not want to go anywhere near the Rio Grande neighborhood due to the rampant drug dealing (due to inadequate jail budget by Mayor McAdams).


LIBRARY WANTS 32% TAX INCREASE BEFORE CONSIDERING MAINTENANCE
   The SLC Library is asking the SLC Council for a 32% property tax increase (going from about $15 million to $20 million).  I think that most patrons would prefer more parking but it appears that the Library intends to do more building (not specified) before studying the maintenance needs of buildings that already have significant upkeep issues.  The Council will hold public hearings on the SLC Library budget on Tuesday May 16, May 23 and June 6 at their 7 p.m. Formal Meeting. Hopefully, the public will realize the importance of our libraries and comment on the proposed budget.




HOMELESS SERVICES NEEDS ASSESSMENT
  The SLC Library budget has an interesting note about the Rio Grande Neighborhood Homeless Services Needs Assessment "released March 8, 2017, contained the following statistics about people who are homeless.  Of the homeless people interviewed by Salt Lake County’s Collective Impact Team, several groups of people said they spent their days at the Main Library.  Here is a percentage of various categories of people interviewed who said they went to the Library during the day:



o Five percent of 164 families with children.

o Six percent of 145 single women.

o Eight percent of 422 single men.

o Seven percent of 82 trauma or abuse victims.

o Eight percent of 36 people who are medically frail or terminally ill.

o Six percent of 72 people who had been in jail or prison in the last six months.

o Three percent of 178 people with behavioral health disorders – either mental illness or drug addiction.

Twenty-five percent of those considered youths transitioning from teenagers to adults, but only 18 people in that category responded to assessment survey.

The assessment did not specifically name the Main Library as a place where unsheltered homeless people spend the day.

One caveat: The interviews largely took place in and around the Rio Grande Street Neighborhood.”


SEWER FEES GOING UP 30%??
  Although it may be difficult to recognize, SLC Public Utilities is recommending a 30% sewer fee increase and a 5% water fee increase (soon to be 15% increase per year).  Hopefully, the public will speak up and convince the SLC Council to reign in significant spending increases.  Streets/transportation fees are being discussed along with a reconsideration of the parks bond from last year.  With the Library’s 32% tax increase, the City is nickel, diming and quartering taxpayers.


SLC COUNCIL APPROVES BIG GOVERNMENT WITHOUT PUBLIC HEARING
  SLC Council approved the Central Wasatch Commission (CWC) interlocal agreement without a public hearing again.  The Council approved it last year without a hearing but the SLCounty Council objected to the potential for large projects with fees and bonding to discourage personal vehicle use in the Wasatch Canyons.  The new interlocal is still supposed to implement the Mountain Accord recommendations which include a train and tunnel up the canyons.  The cost will be billions and taxpayers will be encouraged to pay for it.  It is a sad day when elected leaders refuse to allow public comment on forming an entity that has the ability to charge fees and bond without voter/taxpayer oversight.


SLC SAYS UTA WILL PAY FOR AIRPORT TRAX AGAIN
  Despite being questioned about who will pay for the SLC Airport TRAX reconfiguration, expected to cost $66 million, the administration insisted that UTA will pay for the TRAX extension.  Mayor Biskupski said that she and Jerry Benson are almost completely in agreement on the proposal.  That might be news to UTA, who does not have the money to pay for it.  And Utah Code 72-10-215 does not allow airport passenger fees to be used for fixed guideway projects (thanks to Delta’s insistence that all fees be used for the terminal project).  So which taxpayers will be stepping up to pay $66 million, SLC taxpayers, SLCO taxpayers or all Utah taxpayers?






APRIL 13
LOOSE DOGS KILL DOGS AND DUCKS
MILLER PARK TREES FALLING
PARKS NEEDS ASSESSMENT
CWC BONDING IN SLC DISCUSSION
MARATHON APRIL 22 MORNING SLC TRAFFIC PROBLEMS
MAY 11 GRAMA REQUEST HEARING
WISHFUL THINKING AHEAD OF PUBLIC SAFETY AGAIN

 
LOOSE DOGS KILL DOGS AND DUCKS
  We are getting reports of loose dogs off leash that are biting pets and other animals.  Although Salt Lake City finally changed the penalty from a misdemeanor/jailable offense, when dogs kill or attack off leash, the City has no choice but to ramp up enforcement.  Most dogs that I encounter off leash are no problem for me.  But when a woman’s pet dog is killed by an off leash dog, it is serious enough that it affects all dog owners and they should expect a clampdown.  I don’t know why the City didn’t get involved in the case of a loose dog killing a pet but it would have been better than the renewed push to enforce the off leash ordinance.  We also go reports of a dog killing ducks.  Again, it will result in a clamp down and I don’t think anyone wants that.  Please insure that your dog is controlled and is well behaved.
 

MILLER PARK TREES FALLING
  Despite warnings that cutting hundreds of old trees in Miller Park (in Yalecrest) would hurt the bank stability, the banks along Miller Park are now in jeopardy.  There are several trees that have fallen and blocked the trails.  SLC Parks need to get involved and correct the inappropriate, unwise and destabilizing effect of the previous administration’s wholesale cutting of stabilizing trees.  Homeowners’ property is at risk!

 

SLC PARKS NEEDS ASSESSMENT
  SLC Parks is asking for feedback on what is needed in Salt Lake City parks.  Go to SLCPLAYS.COM for more information.  The only concern that I have is that several SLC Councilmembers are looking for excuses for a new 50+ million parks bond (They tried last year and failed.).  Last year’s plan was going to use most of it to redo Glendale Golf Course into a nature park!  The Glendale community became upset at Councilman LaMalfa’s efforts to close the golf course.  Please tell the City what you want and need in parks.  Remember that taxpayers do not have bottomless pockets.  Big expensive projects could stop all projects (like with the Prop One efforts).  Open City Hall is available (use SLCPLAYS.COM for link) and there are two meetings:
Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Sorenson Multicultural Center
855 W. California Avenue
Salt Lake City, UT 84104

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Forest Dale Golf Course Clubhouse
2375 South 900 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84106

 

CWC BONDING IN SLC DISCUSSION
  During discussion of the Central Wasatch Commission (modified) at SLC Council, there were concerns raised about the potential of bonding to pursue projects without full approval by all of the councils under the mayors on the CWC.  The new proposal, that has passed the County Council, requires (theoretically) all of the councils to approve the increase in bonding or fees for the canyons.  But the lawsuit against the lack of public meetings of the Mountain Accord may derail those efforts.  SLC Council is taking the proposal under advisement.

 

MARATHON APRIL 22 MORNING SLC TRAFFIC PROBLEMS
  Heads up, the morning of April 22 will have a big traffic problem due to the SLC Marathon.  Please be prepared for that.  I put the course up above for download.

 

MAY 11 GRAMA REQUEST HEARING
  On May 11, the State Records Committee will hear my appeal of Salt Lake City’s denial of releasing minutes and recordings of the closed door discussions on the homeless sites in Salt Lake City.  SLC is trying to postpone the hearing until June and I am refusing to reschedule.  We have been asking for the information for over six months.

 

WISHFUL THINKING AHEAD OF PUBLIC SAFETY AGAIN
   Over the last few months, pressure has been mounting to provide more jail space to allow the Salt Lake City Police to arrest and jail criminals and drug dealers. Many are embedded in the homeless population.
  Although Sheriff Winder has said that we can't arrest our way out of this, we are way beyond that and at a point where we have to arrest criminals. The pressure seems to have resulted in Sheriff Winder recommending, as a starting point for discussion, 21 suggestions to “solve” the problem with the homeless in the Rio Grande area. The plan ignores the reality that most of the problem in the homeless shelter area is due to the police not being able to enforce laws due to lack of adequate and appropriate funding of the County jail and DA. The SLC Police are restricted to arresting thousands less than before last year's jail restrictions were put in place.
  The first recommendation is to decrease the Road Home population to 200 and refuse beds to those who refuse searches, or are on the sex offender registry or have a warrant for assault or are combative of belligerent. The obvious flaw in the plan is that will result in those individuals spreading out into other Salt Lake City neighborhoods. In other words, neighborhoods would see an increase in the worst of the homeless! Also, warrants cannot be served due to jail overcrowding. The suggestion for a full time, 24 hours a day officer at the shelter is interesting in that there are many police officers within a 100 feet of the shelter, almost always.
  The idea that Salt Lake City’s no camping ordinance be enforced also is questionable since ACLU has threatened a lawsuit if it is enforced. ACLU has filed many lawsuits in many other cities recently and has argued that it is unconstitutional to stop camping if there is no other safe shelter available. If there is a limit of 200 beds at the Road Home, there will be no shelter and a lawsuit is almost guaranteed. I would rather give money to homeless service providers than to ACLU.
  The suggestion to not allow people to be on the sidewalks, when children are dropped off from the schoolbus, was tried last year and the parents of those children were ordered off the sidewalks! Michael Clara mediated an agreement to allow the parents to be on the sidewalk without being hassled when they are trying to escort their children inside. Children should not be in homeless shelters would be my first recommendation.
  Confiscating bicycles and cars that drive in the area with legitimate businesses and residences also seems to be a guaranteed lawsuit. The enforcing trespassing recommendation flies in the face of the SLCPD Jail Booking Restriction Effects that listed over 3000 situations where SLC Police were not able to arrest a trespasser or over 4000 cases of simple assault. So a task force won’t be much help unless there is jail space to book those criminals and DA funding to keep them in jail. Parking restrictions from 400 West to 600 West would destroy the growing business and residential area that is already running out of parking spaces.
  Sheriff Winder, when he discussed his recommendations, said that the Rio Grande area has been allowed to degenerate and become convenient for drug dealers. It would be more appropriate to say that Salt Lake County, through inadequate jail and DA funding, allowed the convenient environment for drug dealers. Sheriff Winder is an incredible Sheriff and a good, decent and God fearing man. The recommendations that he released do not do him justice. The reality is that the recommendations seem to be putting wishful thinking before public safety. We need more jailspace to remove the criminal element from the homeless population. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams should listen to the many law enforcement personnel in the County and provide appropriate and adequate public safety funding of the jail and DA. That is my recommendation.


The Sheriff's recommendations are above along with the SLC Jail Restrictions report.




APRIL 6, 2017
SHOPKO $180 MILLION PROJECT NOW PUBLIC
SUPERGENTRIFICATION OF SUGAR HOUSE CONTINUES
PUBLIC SAFETY STILL TAKING BACK SEAT TO WISHFUL THINKING
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH BASEBALL FIELD PROPOSAL BURDENS YALECREST
TRANSIT STATION AREA DISTRICTS  IGNORE EARTHQUAKES

SLC COUNCIL CONSIDERS TAX INCREASE FOR STREETS




SHOPKO $180 MILLION PROJECT NOW PUBLIC
   320,000 square feet of office space and 150 plus apartments are planned for the former Shopko block and west of Olive Garden and Red Lobster.  The project is also surrounded by the Olsens’ property on Highland and in the Cinemark/Payless Shoes buildings.  They are planning on also putting in an east west street (Stringham) and are asking the City if they can have a light at Highland at the Patagonia Outlet.  That also depends on the ability of SLC to provide traffic light synchronization along Highland to not end up increasing stop lights and pollution from idling cars.  They will also put in sidewalks and streets going north south to encourage walkability.  Unfortunately, the Olsens limit the retail to 8,000 square feet.  That means that there will be very few stores at ground floor to engage the public.  But the potential design is the best that the community can hope for.  It encourages walking and there will be a ten foot wide bike path on the south side of the site.

 

SUPERGENTRIFICATION OF SUGAR HOUSE CONTINUES
  The 2100 South and 1000 East apartment complex is underway and it will have a major impact on the walkability and character of Sugar House.  The biggest problem is the continued building of canyons of concrete in Sugar House going up 60 feet (with a minor setback at 30 feet which still looks like a canyon) next to a skinny sidewalk and without ground floor retail for public engagement.



PUBLIC SAFETY STILL TAKING BACK SEAT TO WISHFUL THINKING
  The SLC Police Chief went over the Jail Booking Restriction Effects and the update on the success of Operation Diversion.  The report is above and will be on the downloads page.  Note that the success of treatment of Operation Diversion is now at 24% and should be expected to go down even further.  That is essentially as good as locking up addicts for a couple of weeks of torture (cold turkey) in jail.  There is supposed to be one that has successfully completed treatment.  But it should be recognized that there are over 100 that want treatment but are on a wait list! 
  The Sheriff reiterated his 21 suggested recommendations at the Pioneer Park Coalition meeting.  He and SLC Chief Brown got into a disagreement between TV interviews.  The Chief said that some of the Sheriff’s recommendations were best practice but that he has tried some and they don’t work.  In addition, some are illegal and immoral.  He said that limiting the Road Home to 200 will result in the worst troublemakers in the homeless community going into other neighborhoods.  I agree.  Unfortunately, the Executive Board of the Pioneer Park Coalition endorsed the recommendations.  That results in the PPC taking an unrealistic and disrespectful position against the majority of SLC citizens and taxpayers.  They did encourage the Sheriff and Chief and Mayors of the County and City to sit down and talk these issues through.
 

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH BASEBALL FIELD PROPOSAL BURDENS YALECREST
  The University of Utah’s Athletic Director, Chris Hill, gave a presentation on the proposed baseball field that they are pushing to be east of Rowland Hall.  It will have 3000 seats and only about 200 parking spots.  It will have amplified announcements/music and requires coordination with SLC since it is not all on University of Utah property.  I put the presentation pictures on the downloads page.  But the community seems to be against it, and rightfully so.  The Yalecrest community to the south of the property (south of Sunnyside) will be impacted by the obvious lack of parking.  The community is pushing to have the ballfield at 500 South or further into the University of Utah, not at an edge of their property.  They are upset about the amplified announcements and music and other events that they will have.  Most importantly, it is east of the Pingree School for autistic children!  The ballfield location will have a big impact on the schoolchildren there and I expect a lawsuit will stop the plan.  There is also no reasonable plan to accommodate traffic congestion.  There is also the potential light and noise and errant balls in the community that would affect the schools.

 
TRANSIT STATION AREA DISTRICT REQUIREMENTS IGNORE EARTHQUAKES
  The SLC Council is poised to require TSA areas (next to transit stations) to have long lasting concrete, brick or similar materials on the outside (along with a lot of glass).  They also will require public engagement (retail) on the ground floor to encourage walkability.  But we are in earthquake territory.  Steel and wood can be attractive and should not be ruled out.



SLC COUNCIL CONSIDERS TAX INCREASE FOR STREET

  The SLC Council is considering a tax increase for streets.  Despite the fact that the Council ignored the repurposing of the last tax increase for streets, it is now talking about a fee or tax to increase the funding for SLC streets.  The Proposal is above. 






APRIL 3, 2017

OPINION ON SHERIFF RECOMMENDATIONS INSTEAD OF JAIL SPACE

OPINION ON SLC PD JAIL BOOKING RESTRICTIONS

SLC COUNCIL TO DISCUSS JAIL SPACE, PPC TO DISCUSS SHERIFF PLAN

SUGAR HOUSE SHOPKO $180 MILLION PROJECT AT SHCC WED. MEETING



OPINION ON SHERIFF RECOMMENDATIONS INSTEAD OF JAIL SPACE

​Putting wishful thinking ahead of public safety
  This last week, Sheriff Winder recommended, as a starting point for discussion, 21 suggestions to “solve” the problem with the homeless in the Rio Grande area. Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke, said that “Winder's plan is an attempt to divert attention away from his failure to provide adequate jail space for Salt Lake City and the surrounding area.” "[I] find it difficult to accept criticism about Salt Lake City's approach," Luke said, "when it is coming from someone whose deliberate inaction is exacerbating the problem." (Salt Lake Tribune March 31, Search homeless at shelter, keep out sex offenders, confiscate bikes). Councilman Luke is right. The plan ignores the reality that most of the problem in the homeless shelter area is due to the police not being able to enforce laws due to lack of adequate and appropriate funding of the County jail and DA.
  The first recommendation is to decrease the Road Home population to 200 and refuse beds to those who refuse searches, or are on the sex offender registry or have a warrant for assault or are combative or belligerent. The obvious flaw in the plan is that it will result in the worst of the homeless spreading out into other neighborhoods! The suggestion for a full time, 24 hours a day officer at the shelter is interesting in that there are many police officers within a 100 feet of the shelter, almost always.
  The idea that Salt Lake City’s no camping ordinance be enforced also is questionable since ACLU have threatened a lawsuit if it is enforced. ACLU has filed many lawsuits in many other cities recently and has argued that it is unconstitutional to stop camping if there is no other safe shelter available. If there is a limit of 200 beds at the Road Home, there will be lack of shelter and a lawsuit is almost guaranteed. I would rather give money to homeless service providers than to ACLU.
  The suggestion to not allow people to be on the sidewalks when children are dropped off from the schoolbus was tried last year and the parents of those children were ordered off the sidewalks! Michael Clara mediated an agreement to allow the parents to be on the sidewalk without being hassled when they are trying to escort their children inside. Also, it is common knowledge that Ogden is sending Lantern House troublemakers and homeless that try to congregate nearby, to Salt Lake City. If the Sheriff wants to fight Weber County Sheriff and police on the issue, I won’t stop him. Confiscating bicycles and cars that drive in the area with legitimate businesses and residences also seems to be a guaranteed lawsuit. The enforcing trespassing recommendation flies in the face of the SLCPD Jail Booking Restriction Effects that listed over 3000 situations where SLC Police were not able to arrest a trespasser or over 4000 cases of simple assault (and 186 prostitution cases). So a task force won’t be much help unless there is jail space to book those criminals.
  Parking restrictions from 400 West to 600 West would destroy the growing business and residential area that is already running out of parking spaces. Removing power outlets will encourage homeless to go to public libraries.
  The Salt Lake Tribune story said that “Sheriff Winder maintained that Salt Lake City has allowed the area to continue to degenerate as the homeless population has grown, providing a convenient environment for drug dealers.” "People have had it," Winder said. "These solutions need to start now." It would be more appropriate to say that Salt Lake County, through inadequate jail and DA funding, allowed the convenient environment for drug dealers. Sheriff Winder is an incredible Sheriff and a good, decent and God fearing man. The recommendations that he released this week do not do him justice. They seem to be putting wishful thinking before public safety. We need more jailspace to remove the criminal element from the homeless population, not wishful thinking.




OPINION ON SLC PD JAIL BOOKING RESTRICTIONS

Effects of jail restrictions on crime
  Over the last year, the homeless problems have gotten so bad that Speaker Greg Hughes used adult language to describe the situation in the Rio Grande neighborhood. Recent tours by legislators to the area have resulted in the redoubling of efforts to reduce the concentration of homeless and criminals near the Road Home. The newest plan is to build a 200 bed facilty on 700 South and another on High Avenue in Salt Lake City.  A third facility will be built outside of Salt Lake City and the recommendation of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams will be acted on at the April 10 meeting of the State Homeless Coordinating Committee. 
  The Legislature insisted on the fast timeline and removed the ability of any city to object to the site. The Legislature also insisted on providing 300 jail beds outside of Salt Lake County. The Salt Lake County Sheriff is negotiating the unimaginable logistics of managing 300 distributed beds. The obvious problem is that drug dealers embed themselves in the homeless population. But if the drug dealers are not removed from the street, addicts will be encouraged to stay addicts and spending hundreds of millions on drug addiction and treatment will be wasted.
  In a recent report by the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD 2017 Jail Bookings & Restriction Effects), the restrictions by the jail to limit bookings showed that the number in 2016 that could not be booked included 8049 for drugs, 1678 for drunkenness, 713 for forgery, 1051 for property damage, 186 for prostitution, 3903 for retail theft, 4429 for simple assault and 3311 for trespass. Those individuals are given citations which result in warrants that cannot be served due to jail restrictions (warrants that could not be served were not counted). Those statistics scare neighbors of new shelters. Several recent stories by Debbie Dujanovic on KSL have shown the Salt Lake City Police Department’s frustrations with the jail restrictions.
  The 2015 arrests were 9772 but the 2016 arrests were limited to 7368 due to the new rules in place early last year. The report also noted that the “SLCPD reduced crime by 7% for Part I Offenses (homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, forcible sex abuse and arson) with directed patrols, special operations, community outreach, targeted enforcement, increase of patrol officers, foot patrols and social workers”. The report said “The inability to incarcerate offenders for these crimes creates an atmosphere of indifference, fosters an appearance of lawlessness, and destroys the community’s trust in law enforcement and pride in their neighborhoods.”
  The County Mayor and Council is responsible for the budget for the Sheriff to operate the jail and for the DA to effectively prosecute criminals. Unfortunately there is no mental health budget and only 180 drug treatment beds for the jail. The Sheriff has said many times since he was Sheriff that he needed more jail beds but that it is not realistic to have 1000 more beds at $94/day when they can only be kept in jail for a few days. But if the number of jail bookings have decreased over 25% in the last year, that leaves criminals on the street who victimize residents and businesses.
  Operation diversion was supposed to provide some relieve but, as of January 9, only 68 remain in treatment, 79 have left treatment, and 52 have returned to the street. In other words, after four months, less than 50% of those entering treatment have remained in treatment. Based on the results so far, it seems that after a year, successful treatment will be less than 30%.
   On Tuesday, April 4th, the Salt Lake City Council will discuss the  SLCPD 2017 Jail Bookings & Restriction Effects. It will be one of the most interesting discussions at the City Council in the last few years. 


 


SLC COUNCIL TO DISCUSS JAIL SPACE, PPC TO DISCUSS SHERIFF PLAN

​​  On April 4 , Tuesday, starting at 2PM, at the SLC Council meeting , there will be a discussion and report from SLC PD Chief Brown on the jail booking restrictions by SLCO.  It is one of the most important discussion on publci safety this year.  I put the download of the report above.  In addition, at 3PM, across the street at the Downtown Alliance offices, the Pioneer Park Coalition will discuss the Sheriff's recommendations to fix the Rio Grande area problems.  It should be an interesting set of presentations.  For those interested in affordable housing, at 3PM, at the City Council will discuss SLC affordable housing plans.




SUGAR HOUSE SHOPKO $180 MILLION PROJECT AT SHCC WED. MEETING

   For those who wonder what $180 millions will buy, there will be a presentation at the Sugar House Community Council on Wednesday at 7PM in the Sprague Library.  It is one of the mose exciting discussions of SLC projects ever.  There will also be discussion of the new proposed Sugar House Police Building.





MARCH 29, 2017

DRAPER HOMELESS SITE OFFER SO TAXPAYERS PAY BILLIONS FOR TRAX

SLC PAYING MILLIONS TO BURY POWER LINES FOR WALKABILITY


DRAPER HOMELESS SITE OFFER SO TAXPAYERS PAY BILLIONS FOR TRAX

  Draper has offered to host the homeless expansion site in Salt Lake County.  But it comes with an almost $2 billion price tag!  Since there are no transit/rail lines, and Draper and Lehi want the TRAX extension that will cost $3 billion, it seems like this is a way to get taxpayers to pay billions for a duplicate rail line to compete with FrontRunner.  I hope people realize that this is how tax increases happen.



SLC PAYING MILLIONS TO BURY POWER LINES FOR WALKABILITY

  Salt Lake City is considering paying millions of RDA money to bury power lines in the 900 South area west of State Street.  The goal is to make the area more walkable.  But it is more cost effective to widen sidewalks and put in wide bike lanes to increase the area's walkability.  It is time to comemnt to the SLC Council/RDA Board.  Emails on the right.



MARCH 28, 2017

SHERIFF PROPOSES TO EMPTY ROAD HOME TO 200 BY SUMMER


SHERIFF PROPOSES TO EMPTY ROAD HOME TO 200 BY SUMMER

  Sheriff Winder put out a recommendation paper today that has a lot of people talking.  I recommend that you read it for yourself.  I disagree with his proposals.  I am disappointed that the Pioneer Park Coalition Executive Board endorsed it.  I also put it on the downloads page.







MARCH 27, 2017 
NEW DOWNLOADS ON UTA, JAIL, HOMELESS STEERING COMMITTEE, 

         SLC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, STATE STREET RDA

MCADAMS HOMELESS SITE IS DISRESPECTFUL PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
SLCO COUNTY EXPECTS $3 MILLION FROM AMAZON 
PUBLIC SAFETY STILL TAKING A BACK SEAT TO WISHFUL THINKING
STATE STREET RDA/SLOW TRAFFIC PLAN COMING WITH

          PRIORITIZED FUNDING
SUGAR HOUSE SHOPKO DESIGNS, COUNCIL MEETING, POLICE PRECINCT
DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE COMMENT ON DONATING

          GARBAGE TO DOWNTOWN

UTA PERFORMANCE REPORT AND NEW FENCE MAKES SENSE

 
NEW DOWNLOADS ON UTA, JAIL, HOMELESS STEERING COMMITTEE, SLC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, STATE STREET RDA
New downloads on downloads page with UTA's Performance Report, Jail and Justice Reinvestment County reports, Collective Impact on Homelessness from the Homelessness Steering Committee, SLC Economic Development report and RDA presentations on State Street RDA.


MCADAMS HOMELESS SITE IS DISRESPECTFUL PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
Mike Edwards is submitting an oped to the SLTRIB.  This is his view (and mine) on the questionable speed and actions of the process to choose and set in concrete another homeless site.

Is this any way to solve Utah homeless issues?
  During the last few days of the Utah Legislature, there was a rushed bill, HB441, that required a mayor of a first class city to choose a homeless shelter site by March 30. The bill was so rushed that only one person testified against it at the only public hearing. The requirement is specifically for Salt Lake County and outside of Salt Lake City. 
 The result will be a recommendation by Mayor Ben McAdams, with the approval of the Utah Homeless Coordinating Committee, of a homeless site that only has to meet zoning requirements. The bill removed the requirement that a municipality had to approve the facility location. Mayor McAdams released his possible suggested locations by the end of the week and he set up several open houses to gather public feedback.
  The five possible locations are in South Salt Lake City and West Valley City. But the open houses were as far away as one could be in Salt Lake County from the facility locations, the State Capitol! Instead of open houses in County buildings on 2100 South and State Street or at the Salt Lake Community College on 1700 South State Street or in West Valley City, the first two seemed to be set up to discourage vigorous public discussion and review. There will be one open house in West Valley City but the next two meetings will be at the State Capitol with the "site evaluation committee" that will give their recommendation to Mayor McAdams. Interestingly, the homeless shelter should be close to public transit but the State Capitol public transit stops at 720 PM. Individuals that want to have public comment will have to drive or leave before the 8 PM end of public comment.
  The first two open houses seemed to be disorganized by design. Although Mayor McAdams was there, he was always surrounded by angry citizens that complained about his suggestions. Despite the show of gathering public comment at the open houses, there is really only one public hearing, on Wednesday March 22! The success of the new shelters requires broad public support, according to the Homeless Coordinating Committee and that requires public engagement. But the rush to provide another shelter site by March 30, decided by Mayor McAdams, with only one public hearing, will end up having no public support.
  Most importantly, the plan, required by HB441, seems to be putting the cart in front of the horse. Instead of removing the drug dealers and criminal elements from the homeless population (that also victimizes residents and businesses throughout Salt Lake County) now, the hope seems to be that the new shelters will solve the problem. But if the drug dealers remain available (they are usually only in jail for a few hours), they will continue to encourage drug use. It will result in all of the efforts to treat drug dependencies being wasted. Even after four months of Operation Diversion, about half of the treatment population has left treatment and most are back on the street! It is ironic that Salt Lake County Mayor McAdams is rushing to choose a site but is also not providing appropriate funding for the County jail and DA to keep drug dealers off the street.
  Instead of rushing through this process, the State Homeless Coordinating Committee should slow down. They don't have to approve the site location by a certain date. The only deadline date is March 30, the date that Mayor McAdams has to provide a location to the Committee. There is still a chance for a good decision, instead of a rushed and flawed decision. Mayor McAdams should put public safety first and open up all of the 380 free beds at Oxbow now, and fund appropriate DA services to help remove the criminal element that is now considered to be part of the homeless population. That is the only way to get public support for the new shelter locations.

 
SLCO COUNTY EXPECTS $3 MILLION FROM AMAZON 
  Mayor McAdams reported that he expects about $3 million in new sales taxes from the new agreement with Amazon.  He tried to spend the money on helping buy Bonanza Flats but the County Council turned it down.  I expect the Mayor to retry with a lower amount of money.  The Council was correct in turning it down since funding for local parks is still deficient.  The Westside of SLCO needs more infrastructure and ....  we still do not have enough jail beds to allow local law enforcement to do their job.  The Sheriff  is still trying to develop a logistics plan to use the 300 beds that the State is providing in other counties.  Transportation is the least of his problems.  It may make more sense to open up the free beds at Oxbow and use them.  The DA still needs extra funding to make use of the 300 beds and prosecute 300 more criminals.  Nothing has come to the Council yet!  Public safety is still taking a back seat to wishful thinking.  I put three reports on the jail, Sheriff, law enforcement regarding Justice Reinvestment on the downloads page.  Also the Mayor has found $2.4 million in market tax credits that are unused!  

 
PUBLIC SAFETY STILL TAKING A BACK SEAT TO WISHFUL THINKING
I have a new letter in the Salt Lake Tribune that summarizes the issue.
​http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/5095881-155/public-safety-comes-first

New homeless site locations should wait until the criminal element is effectively removed from the homeless population. Drug dealers should not be able to freely operate in Salt Lake County. Before any location is chosen, Salt Lake County should appropriately fund public safety.
  Drug dealers and threats to society should not be allowed to have a revolving door at the jail. An appropriate funding of public safety would include opening up the 380 beds not being used now and funding the D.A. to keep drug dealers and criminals that victimize citizens in jail. Until effective public safety in Salt Lake County is appropriately funded, no new homeless sites should be chosen.
WHY ARE THERE STILL HUNDREDS OF DRUG DEALERS DOWNTOWN!!!???

 
STATE STREET RDA/SLOW TRAFFIC PLAN COMING WITH PRIORITIZED FUNDING
   The Salt Lake City Council is prioritizing CIP applications for the High Avenue homeless site.  The City expects to have due diligence by April 7 and closing date of May 7.  SLC expects to take 3 years to complete the 700 South site transaction.  The City may require binding limits on the facilities' population.  There are still discussions on the setup, operation and management of the sites, including a community oversight board.  The CIP applications priority includes sidewalks, lighting and parks.
  The biggest news to hit State Street and 300 West in decades is the new RDA expansion areas.  SLC is also planning, with South Salt Lake City, to redesign State Street!  Unfortunately the present philosophy is to slow down traffic!  Previous ideas included roundabouts and making the potential Grand Boulevard into a mickie mouse street!  SLC is taking a survey (which can be misused) at www.lifeonstate.com/community-survey.  I think that you would be better off by writing down your wishes in an email and sending it to Molly Robinson at molly.robinson@slcgov.com.  You can call her at 801 535 7261 for more information.  I think that, if the wide unused center lanes/islands can be removed, wide bike lanes can be implemented and synchronized lights (like in the 60s!) can be installed.  The idea that a major street should have slower traffic (like downtown at 20MPH) is magical thinking in the realm of Disneyland.  Please give your input.  The RDA plan has the potential to develop tens of thousands of affordable housing units in the area while keeping the wide sidewalks and expanding walkability.
  I put four important downloads on the RDA expansion areas and the SLC Economic Development Plan on the downloads page.  I also put the new proposed planning notification procedures for SLC on downloads.  It requires the community councils to be notified about new projects.  

 
SUGAR HOUSE SHOPKO DESIGNS, COUNCIL MEETING, POLICE PRECINCT
  The Sugar House Community Council is tentatively going to have a presentation on the proposal for the Shopko Block.  The new plan has a new north south street and another east west street coming out across the street from Patagonia outlet.  The new streets will have wide pedestrian sidewalks, benches and plantings.  Parking will be below grade.  Buildings will be attractive on all four sides and there will be public art.  I put the draft design on the downloads page (the Gmail of the design update).  Come to the Sugar House Communtiy Council meeting on April 5 at the Sprague Library (21st and Highland, south of Barnes and Noble) to see what $180 million can do for the area.  Olive Garden and Red Lobster will remain along with Payless Shoes and the dentist/cafe/Key Bank on Highland (Olsen properties).
  Salt Lake City is planing on placing a SLC Police precinct in Sugar House!  Mike Akerlow was given a list of five sites that were prioritized by the SLCPD and will choose one soon.  There is an appropriation of $3.5 million that is going to the precinct building.

 
DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE COMMENT ON DONATING GARBAGE TO DOWNTOWN
  The County Health Department, in conjunction with City and Clean Team crews, is performing regular cleanups of the Rio Grande area that includes wasted goods left from donations handed out on the street to homeless individuals.  In December, 14 tons of debris were removed right after Christmas.  About 9 tons were removed in January.  As Pamela Atkinson has said many times, charitable people should give to service providers, not directly to the homeless.  Items are often duplicated and discarded or wasted.  It also encourages a dependency on street handouts rather than encouraging people in need to receive necessary goods and services from trained social service providers in a more dignified and effective way.  Food and clothing donations are best directed to The Road Home and Catholic Community Services or The Rescue Mission where they can be effectively distributed to those in need and not wasted.

 
UTA PERFORMANCE REPORT AND NEW FENCE MAKES SENSE
  I put the new UTA performance report on the downloads page.  UTA expects to buy 59 new clean buses in the next year.  There were also over 400 new employees due to high turnover and new, over 200, positions needed due to Prop One funds and plans.  Part of the problem, according to Jerry Benson, the General Manager, is that there is a very low unemployment rate in Utah and finding employees is getting harder.  The fence that UTA is putting up on 200 South was not discussed but it was commented on.  I think that the fence is a good idea, even if UTA has to spend over $40,000 on it, because it will discourage homeless and drug dealers from hopping on the train to escape police patrols.  Drug dealers now use the TRAX trains to deal drugs!  Anything that can discourage drug dealing is good.  It is a small price to pay for better public safety.  I note that Gateway benefits but TRAX riders will also benefit.  It is a great idea.





MARCH 15, 2017
ONLY 24 CRIME REPORTS IN LIBERTY PARK!

.05 DUI AT GOVERNOR OPED IN SLTRIB SUPPORTING .05
CONCERN ABOUT BILL OF RIGHTS AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT 

FRED COX IS RIGHT, GOV SHOULD VETO SLCO MAYOR KING FOR A DAY
AFP VS REP. WINDER POSING AS AFP
CLOSING SIDEWALKS IN SUGAR HOUSE
NOTE ON STREET AND SIDEWALK REPAIR FROM THE CITY



ONLY 24 CRIME REPORTS IN LIBERTY PARK!!
  The Salt Lake City Police have only 24 crime reports a month from park users!  Only two of those resulted in police response.  Those two were minor calls.  The SLCPD is urging everyone who sees a crime to report it so that they can focus on high crime areas.  Note that I put the SLCPD Jail Booking Restriction Report on the downloads page (upper right hand side).  It reports that major crime has gone down 7% due to their focus on good police response.  But it requires that everyone report crimes to ensure that they know what is happening in their areas.  Although they are not allowed to arrest for trespassing, drug use, prostitution and other so called minor/misdemeanor crimes due to jail restrictions (explained in the report), their presence deters crime.  And when there are a lot of reports of crime, they try to put more police in the area.  CALL IF YOU SEE A CRIME! NON EMERGENCY NUMBER IS 801 7993000.

 



.05 DUI AT GOVERNOR WITH PRESSURE MOUNTING ON BOTH SIDES
  HB155 is at the Governor’s desk for consideration and the Restaurant Association and Beverage Associations are fighting hard against it.  Even Senator Dabakis is insisting that it is a weird bill.  Again, many in the Legislature still think that Senator Dabakis is the weirdest Legislator.  The argument that this will hurt tourism does not make sense.  Drunk driving tourist that kill themselves in Utah hurt tourism more.  Do not drink and drive means do not drink and drive.  Responsible drinkers do not drink and drive! 
  The Salt Lake Tribune just published my opinion piece on the issue of drinking and driving:
http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/5061425-155/op-ed-no-one-should-drink-and




CONCERN ABOUT BILL OF RIGHTS AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT LEADS TO RESOLUTION CHANGE
  The Legislative House Committee that heard Senator Shiozawa’s SCR006 Resolution pushed back at acknowledging the rights conferred by the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment.  The conservative group is famous for their defense of the Tenth Amendement that provides States Rights.  The discussion included the reason for the Fourteenth Amendment.  In 1833, the Marshall Supreme Court declared that only the Federal Government had to follow the Bill of Rights and states and cities did not have to.  Barron v Baltimore allowed a city to take property value without compensation (similar to an attempt by SLC to put a homeless shelter in Sugar House).  That decision supported the Tenth Amendment but also justified (temporarily) Missouri’s Mormon Extermination Order since states did not have to follow the First Amendment’s Freedom of Religion clause (note that this Country began with a fight in states for freedom of religion.  Google Patrick Henry, Virginia and one penny.).  Joseph Smith railed against this illogical thinking.  He visited Washington DC and, I believe, planted the seed that became the Fourteenth Amendment that specifically was meant to overturn Barron v Baltimore and require all states and cities to provide all citizens with the Bill of Rights rights.  In 1844, he wrote to John C Calhoun: “Oh ye people who groan under the oppression of tyrants ... ye poor and unfortunate among all nations, come to the 'asylum of the oppressed ... but remember a sovereign state is so much more powerful than the United States, the parent government, that it can exile you at pleasure, mob you with impunity... and have the legislature sanction it". 

  Whatever your religion, you have to admit that Joseph Smith was right when it came to states rights.  He also said that “States rights doctrine creates mobs” when he argued against states having the power to ignore the Bill of Rights for individuals.  Despite the arguments, the Committee refused to pass the Resolution without major changes.  They insisted that the Fourteenth Amendment only applies to Americans and only commits Utah to protect the civil liberties, religious freedoms and dignity of all Americans, legal immigrants.  It deleted refugees and added “encourage compassion for refugees seeking protection in the state of Utah”.

  The modified Resolution passed the Legislature at the last minute.  This is the language change in SCR006:

36          WHEREAS, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees equal justice
37     under law for all Ĥ→ [individuals] Americans ←Ĥ regardless of race, religion, national origin, or
37a     other arbitrary
38     factors;
39          WHEREAS, the United States is an open society enriched by the ethnic, religious,
40     intellectual, scientific, and cultural heritage of humankind; and
41          WHEREAS, at a time when some seek to sow the seeds of discord and division,
42     Americans must draw upon common strengths and humanity to reap peace, justice, and
43     understanding: 
44          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the
45     Governor concurring therein, affirms its commitment to protect the civil liberties, religious
46     freedoms, and dignity of all Americans, legal immigrants, and Ĥ→ encourage compassion for ←Ĥ
46a     refugees seeking protection
47     Ĥ→ [against persecution] in the state of Utah ←Ĥ .
48          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature and the Governor express their
49     determination to protect the civil rights of all people Ĥ→ within the state of Utah ←Ĥ .


 

FRED COX IS RIGHT, GOVERNOR SHOULD VETO SLCO MAYOR KING FOR A DAY

  Former Representative Fred Cox is right, Governor Herbert should veto HB441 or at least veto the March 30 date that allows Mayor Ben McAdams to unilaterally choose the third new homeless site (with advice from the State Homeless Coordinating Committee).  It essentially makes Ben king for a day since the city chosen is not allowed to object!  The five proposed sites are all problematic and it should allow more time for consideration and input.  Notably, the first public comment period was last night.  Instead of the Committee and the Mayor being asked questions and hearing comments, there was an unorganized free for all with tables with the Committee members and no one left with a good feeling.  It made the process look unprofessional and made HB441 look poorly written.  I put more information in last week’s blogs.
 

 

AFP VS REP. WINDER POSING AS AFP
  In one of the oddest political stunts that I have ever seen, Representative Mike Winder, former West Valley City Mayor and famous Burwash writer sent a message about the Americans for Progress’ efforts to stop the multiple tax increases, including internet, at the Legislature.  He put Evelyn Everton’s phone number as the sender!  Evelyn Everton is the head of Utah Americans for Progress (AFP) and I find a lot of common ground with her efforts.  I also argued against the internet tax bill by Senator Harper that was modeled on the Colorado bill.  Interestingly, Colorado is about to rescind the bill!  And Utah now gets at least 80% of the internet taxes owed.  Senator Harper’s bill would have required companies dealing with Utahns to be sued to prove (unless they prove it before a lawsuit) that they do not do more than $100,000 in business in Utah.  That bill (and Senator Bramble’s similar bill) failed, along with Representative Briscoe’s food tax bill and Representative Eliason’s property tax bill to give cities hosting shelters to get some of a $3 million property tax fund.  I think that the Committee is doing its job (the House Revenue and Taxation Committee) and its support of AFP against the tax increases is laudable. 

  Interestingly, Fred Cox seems to be considering running again against Winder.  Winder’s posing as AFP news was quickly followed by news that he has been rewriting his history on Wikipedia!   I think I’m going to support Fred Cox for Legislature.

 

CLOSING SIDEWALKS IN SUGAR HOUSE
  Despite Salt Lake City assurances that sidewalks will be kept open in the Sugar House neighborhoods undergoing construction, sidewalks are being closed.  I think that Sugar House has bent over enough for developers and the City should keep what is left of the walkability of Sugar House.

 
 

NOTE ON STREET AND SIDEWALK REPAIR FROM THE CITY
This note came from Salt Lake City:
Questions regarding roadway condition and maintenance strategy can be answered by Bill Brown at william.brown@slcgov.com or by calling 801- 535-6457.

Questions regarding the Capital Improvement Program/rebuilding streets can be addressed to Chris Norlem at chris.norlem@slcgov.com or by calling 801- 535-6289.

By City Ordinance, the repair or replacement of deteriorated sidewalk and curb and gutter in the public way is the responsibility of the adjacent private property owner. Property owners can hire a contractor to accomplish the required concrete repairs, or can take advantage of one of the following programs offered by the City:

1) Streets Division 50/50 Concrete Replacement Program. 
Further information can be obtained by emailing Andy Bath at andrew.bath@slcgov.com or calling 801-535-6934.

2) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
Concrete replacement may be eligible for federal funds used for community development needs. For more information on the CDBG grant program, please contact Jennifer Schumann at 801-535-7276.

Potholes can be reported online here or you can call 801-535-2345

 



MARCH  7, 2017
SLCPD JAIL BOOKING STATS SCARY
SHERIFF SOLUTIONS TO HOMELESS/CRIME ISSUES
FOOD TAX INCREASE STOPPED
UTAH DEMAND FOR INTERNET CUSTOMER LISTS STOPPED
MAYOR MCADAMS GETS TO BE KING FOR A DAY AND CHOOSE HOMELESS SITE
PROPERTY TAX INCREASE TO PAY FOR HOMELESS STOPPED
CELEBRATION OF BILL OF RIGHTS REJECTED
911 TAX GOING UP AND INEFFICIENCY BLESSED
CWC CLOSER TO FEES, TAX AND CONTROL OF CANYONS



SLCPD JAIL BOOKING STATS SCARY
  The Salt Lake City Police Department started tracking the effects of the jail restrictions implemented about a year ago by Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.  The restrictions were implemented to meet the budget that the County Mayor and Council gave the jail operations.  The result was that 380 beds at Oxbow are not being used.  The Sheriff has been asking for more funding to open up more jail beds since he was elected Sheriff but without results.  
  The effect in Salt Lake City was that the arrests went from 9772 in 2015 to 7368 in 2016.  The SLCPD has been given an app for their cellphones that they can use to tell them if can arrest someone and book them into jail.  In some months, the bookings were only about 500 instead of the expected trend before the restrictions of about 900!  In 2016, jail bookings dropped 25% since the restrictions were implemented February 24, 2016.  The SLCPD was not allowed to book into jail in 2016 for the following number of offenses:
    drugs 8049, 
    drunkeness 1678, 
    forgery 713, 
    property damage 1051, 
    prostitution 186, 
    retail theft 3903, 
    simple assaults 4429, 
    trespass 3311
The number of times that the SLCPD have not been able to arrest and book total about 24,000 or about 120 per capita!  Over the last year, that large number has created a significant concern with the police that have to deal with crime.  They are not even allowed to arrest individuals who attack police officers unless it results in serious bodily injury (more than simple assault).  Interestingly, the Utah Legislature just increased the penalty for prostitution.  But without the jail space, the law is toothless.  The police give the offender citations which are turned into warrants by the DA but the citations pile up and the resulting warrants do not result in being booked due to jail restrictions!  Even when the police see those with warrants, they cannot do anything.  Only 67% of criminals who should be booked into jail are booked and “leaving 33% of criminals on the street, free to continue to commit their crimes.”  Note that the statistics do not count the offenders with warrants.
  The report, SLCPD 2017 Jail Bookings & Restriction Effects (download to the right and also on the upper right of the DOWNLOADS page), was compiled from the tracking of arrests or encounters that did not result in booking into jail.  The SLCPD created a new code to track the results.  The data showed that the average monthly average number booked by officers went from 656 in 2015 to 429.  
  The report is “providing a dark look into the future of declining arrests”.  But it is important to note that crime actually went down (some might say that the public is now resisting reporting crime due to the lack of results).  â€œStatistically, Salt Lake City Police have decreased the citywide crime rate down by a staggering 7% overall in the year 2016 for Part I Offenses (homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, forcible sex abuse and arson)..... with directed patrols, special operations, community outreach, targeted enforcement, increase of patrol officers, foot patrols and social workers."
  “The inability to incarcerate offenders for these crimes creates and atmosphere of indifference, fosters an appearance of lawlessness, and destroys the community’s trust in law enforcement and pride in their neighborhoods.”
  “officers are left without any means of authoritative presence, which in turn breeds disorder and an attitude of wanton disregard for the law and the community by repeat and known offenders who are in no danger of legal repercussions."
  Another interesting statistic from the report is the results from Operation Diversion: “As of January 9, 68 remain in treatment, 79 left treatment, 52 returned to the street, and 1 successfully completed residential treatment”.
THIS REPORT SHOULD START AN IMPORTANT DISCUSSION WITH THE ELECTED LEADERS OF THIS COUNTY TO ENSURE THAT PUBLIC SAFETY IS GIVEN HIGHER PRIORITY IN BUDGETS.


SHERIFF SOLUTIONS TO HOMELESS/CRIME ISSUES
  Over the last six months, Sheriff Jim Winder seems to be taking the blame for the lack of jail beds.  The Sheriff recently had a news conference where he expressed his frustration with the complaints about lack of appropriate jail space.  He has had a dialogue with the Pioneer Park Coalition (PPC) and discussed his recommendations and possible solutions at the March 7 PPC meeting.  He said that of those that were arrested in 2015, 29% were released almost immediately.  The ability to arrest and jail criminals is just one very important component of crime fighting.  It is also important to note that there is no effective budget to provide mental health treatment.  There are 180 beds at Oxbow that are being used for drug treatment.  He says that keeping criminals in jail for a short time, even a few days, is the definition of madness.  "It is not realistic to even have 1000 jail beds at $94/day."  The revolving door does not solve anything.  "Enough finger pointing."  He is working with Representative Gibson and Speaker Hughes to provide solutions.  He is negotiating the complicated logistics of managing 300 prisoners that will be moved to jails in other counties in order to free up Salt Lake County jail space.  He became upset when he learned that legislators were given a tour of the downtown drug dealing and drug use.  
  He also is concerned about the 80% of jail inmates who seem to have mental health or drug or alcohol issues.  "There is no cure for mental illness."  The issue is lack of State funding.  
  The Sheriff is trying to ensure that the right people are put in jail.  When people concentrate in the area or line up to get a bed at the Road Home, it is an invitation to criminals and drug dealers to hide in their midst.  Some of the people in the area are there to party.  Decreasing the concentration will help.  Other recommendations are coming.  They could include a multi task force to focus on removing the drug dealers from the area.  There is also a discussion to remove the 500 West island park south of 200 South to discourage camping and hanging out there.  He admits that there is confusion about enforcing the no camping ordinance that Salt Lake City already has in place.  
  The SLCPD is trying to not force the issue to the point where the ACLU could sue the City.  The ACLU has won lawsuits against other cities that tried to aggressively enforce the no camping ordinance.  He believes that leaving stuff laying around the sidewalk should be illegal and the City should focus more attention on the issue.  Now, the County Health Department along with police and other support personnel try to cleanup the sidewalks and area once a month with a goal to eventually become weekly.  At this time the Health Department is short on staff.  The Sheriff also will recommend that the new shelters have police on site and that they not have sex offenders in the facility.  (There are over 100 children sleeping in the Road Home with 80 registered sex offenders.)  Allowing a camping area for short term stays is being studied. 


FOOD TAX INCREASE STOPPED
  The Legislature's effort to increase the tax on food was stopped at the last minute.  Earlier in the session, Representative Briscoe tested the waters to increase the food tax with a bill.  But the opposition from many of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee led Representative Briscoe to withdraw his bill.  That may have told the Legislative leadership that the food tax would have a rocky road going through the Legislature.  The food tax bill was supposed to be heard at an evening joint committee hearing Tuesday night (according Representative Gibson the day before).  But Monday evening, the leadership gave up.  I still think that an increase in the food tax, even revenue neutral, that is offset by tax or grocery credits or a decrease in overall sales tax rate, is a shell game and voodoo economics.  It was surprising that the pressure seemed to be coming from those who were fighting for a 17.5% income tax rate increase.  I do not see the reasonableness of that.  Also, families do not think of tax credits or revenue neutral when they think about having another child.  They think about food cost.


UTAH DEMAND FOR INTERNET CUSTOMER LISTS STOPPED
  The last few days of the Legislature had two internet tax proposals that hit a dead end in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.  The last effort by Senator Harper (an incredible Senator and one of the most tax knowledgeable persons on the Hill) was a bill to require that internet companies that sell more than $100,000 to Utahns, would have to report those customers to the Utah Tax Commission.  Representative Ivory was right is asking how can Utah force companies in other state and countries to do that without taking them all to court to prove that they do or do not sell more than $100,000 to Utahns.  The Constitutional issues are also still unanswered.  It was also disclosed at the hearing that Colorado is rethinking their law and it is on hold!  The Supreme Court allowed the Direct Mail Association to sue Colorado, overturning the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals several years ago.  But the Tenth Circuit ruled against the DMA, again, and the Supreme Court, missing a Justice, turned down review of the ruling (done several times for important cases due to the vacancy on the bench).  It is expected that several more attempts will be made in the Interim to revisit the internet tax issue.  Since 80% of the big internet companies already tax Utahns, only the smaller companies are missing and that may only result in Utah losing out on as little as $10 million of tax revenue.  Also the vibrant Utah associates industry would be devastated.


MAYOR MCADAMS GETS TO BE KING FOR A DAY AND CHOOSE HOMELESS SITE
  Representative Gibson's HB441 provides the second installment of a promised $27 million to help solve Utah's homeless problem.  It also gives the Mayor of Salt Lake County the ability to choose a third site outside of Salt Lake City by March 30.  As long as it meets zoning regulations, the city chosen cannot stop the site!  The bill removes the ability for the city to object.  Mayor McAdams insisted that he will have a committee give him recommendations.  He said that he will announce the potential sites by the week of March 13th and the public will be able to comment on those sites on March 14th, March 18th and March 28th.  Due to the requirements to be close to transportation, I am guessing that South Salt Lake City and Murray are at the top of the list.  Only one person showed up to object to the plan.  But the plan needs public support and that is not encouraged when the public is given so little time that it is almost useless to comment.   


PROPERTY TAX INCREASE TO PAY FOR HOMELESS STOPPED
  Representative Eliason attempted to increase Utah property taxes to provide $3 million a year in funding to operate the new homeless shelters.  He said that it would be hard to convince a city to accept a shelter if there was not enough money to operate it.  But the House Revenue and Taxation Committee again had a problem with tax increases.  It failed (along with the 2 internet tax bills and the food tax).  If the Legislature wants a tax increase, Rules should not send the bill to the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.


CELEBRATION OF BILL OF RIGHTS REJECTED
  Senator Shiozawa's resolution SCR006 celebrated this Nation's Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment.  The Fourteenth Amendment forced states to recognize the rights of all citizens in the Country, no matter what state or city that they lived in.  Unfortunately, the House Legislative committee that heard the resolution objected to the inclusion of legal immigrants, refugees and non citizens in the resolution (although legal opinions for decades has acknowledged their rights).  The resolution will not pass unless it is gutted.  I have had this argument for years.  It is ironic that citizens of this State, a majority of whom are LDS, are questioning the Fourteenth Amendment.
  A Joseph Smith railed against the action of a state, Missouri, that ignored the Bill of Rights as it applied to the Mormons.  "States rights doctrine create mobs."  Missouri was emboldened to enact the Mormon Extermination Order due to the 1833 Marshall Supreme Court ruling that said that states and cities do not have to respect the Bill of Rights since it only applied to the Federal Government (see my My View in the Deseret News below on Unconstitutional taking of property value).  That Barron v. Baltimore ruling was overturned by the Fourteenth Amendment.  Smith wrote, in a letter to J.C. Calhoun in 1844: "Oh ye people who groan under the oppression of tyrants ... ye poor and unfortunate among all nations, come to the asylum of the oppressed ... but remember a sovereign state! is so much more powerful than the United States, the parent government, that it can exile you at pleasure, mob you with impunity... and have the legislature sanction it".  Smith pushed Congress to pass a law that would overturn the 1833 U.S. Supreme Court decision. The main drafter of the Fourteenth Amendment, John Bingham, argued that the 1833 decision needed to be overturned and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of 1868 accomplished that.  The 1833 ruling had been used to justify slavery, racism and religious persecution.  People should read more history and recognize the importance of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment to the citizens of this Country and especially to the citizens of Utah.



911 TAX GOING UP AND INEFFICIENCY BLESSED
  Senator Harper (again a great senator) sponsored SB198 that significantly increases the tax on landlines and cell phones to help upgrade 911 systems.  Unfortunately, it allows the inefficiency of the present 911 systems in several counties with multiple 911 dispatch centers to continue.  In fact, it makes it harder to combine into one system like Weber and Morgan County did a few years ago.  The multiple Salt Lake County emergency numbers can result in up to five minutes before reaching a dispatcher that can provide a cop in an emergency.  I tried to report a theft in progress last December and, due to the vagaries of the system in Salt Lake County, I got Valley Emergency Communication instead of SLC 911 (I was in SLC but I was two block from the boundary.).  Five minutes is too long to report a crime in progress.  In addition, to provide interoperability with radios, the cost is increased significantly from where it would be if there were only one system.  If there were a natural gas line emergency at 1300 East and 3300 South, there are three numbers that are needed to be called!  It is on the border of three jurisdictions.  Again, only one person spoke against the tax increase.



CWC CLOSER TO FEES, TAX AND CONTROL OF CANYONS
  The Central Wasatch Commission new interlocal agreement has been approved by the Salt Lake County Council.   The proposal is supposedly a change from the previous attempt but the proposal still has the same potential to significantly increase taxes and fees for Wasatch Canyon users.  The biggest issue is the Central Wasatch Commission's ability to "levy and collect fees" (page 6 on DOWNLOADS PAGE), to "issue bonds, notes or other obligations", "tax, fee or other revenue stream" (page 7).  Most importantly, the CWC (Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Cottonwood Heights, Draper) will have the ability to tax or charge users of the canyons and the other municipalities will not be able to object.  This issue is important since it creates a new taxing authority with almost limitless power to raise money and implement projects, including the Mountain Accord's tunnel and rail system (3.10.5 CWC on the DOWNLOADS PAGE).  The CWC hearing came with less than a day's notice of the language.  The rush to present and approve the new interlocal agreement in not how collaboration works.  A new taxing authority is being created!  The big change from the previous language is the addition of the CWC cities' legislative bodies required to approve "tax, fee or other revenue stream".  Once the obligation is entered into, the County and municipalities are locked into the CWC and cannot even sue until after 90 days.  The CWC can only be dissolved with unanimous agreement of the four cities.  If the citizens of West Valley City object to a $10 fee to drive up the canyon, they have no say in the matter, that is not how collaboration works








MARCH 5, 2017

LEGISLATURE WANTS COUNTY HOMELESS SITE WITHOUT HEARING?

DUI BILL SAYS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE

FOOD TAX IS VOODOO ECONOMICS 

911 TAXES GOING UP DESPITE INEFFICIENCIES

LAST WEEK OF LEGISLATURE



LEGISLATURE WANTS COUNTY HOMELESS SITE WITHOUT HEARING
 Tomorrow, Monday March 6, Representative Gibson will introduce HB441 Housing and Homeless Reform Initiative Amendments to the House Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Standing Committee.  The Committee will meet at 8 AM in Room 450 at the State Capitol. The bill gives about $10 million to the homeless plan (including $700,000 to the Lantern House).  But, it also gives Mayor McAdams the right to choose a new homeless site before March 30 and does not allow cities to object!  The facility can be used for "individuals exiting prison or jail"!  

The language specifics are:
The bill requires that the "county executive" shall recommend to the Homeless Coordinating Committee, by March 30, a site location for one facility within the county other than Salt Lake City.  The facility is meant to house homeless and, among others, ....
"individuals with behavioral health disorders, including mental health or substance use disorders;
   (vii) individuals who are medically frail or terminally ill;
   (viii) individuals exiting prison or jail;"

The below lines (from line 129 of HB441 (on the downloads page) have been lined out which means that cities may not stop the decision of Mayor McAdams!
[(b) may not award a grant or contract under this Subsection (5), unless the grant or
130 contract is endorsed by the county and, if applicable, the municipality where the facility will be
131 located.]
    
The bill provides about $10 million to the Homeless to Housing Reform Restricted Account for the promised promised homeless funding (about $27 million over 3 years).  The good news is that the site must meet all zoning regulations.  The Homless Coordinating Committee may recommend and acquire the homeless site.  In addition, the Lantern House in Ogden gets $700,000 from the Olene Walker Housing Fund.



DUI BILL SAYS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE

My opinion on the .05 DUI bill is that the Legislature should send a message to kids and all Utahns: do not drink and drive.  The Senate should approve Representative Thurston's bill. The restaurants' argument is that drinkers can be responsible.  BUT RESPONSIBLE DRINKERS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.  Senator Dabakis complained that the bill increased the weirdness factor of Utah.  Interestingly, Senator Dabakis has often been labeled as "weird".  Senator Dabakis insisted that Utahns should be allowed to drink and drive! 



FOOD TAX BILL IS VOODOO ECONOMICS
The food tax is also up to be heard at the last minute almost without notice. I, and many others, find it offensive that the richest in Utah seem to be driving the pressure to increase the income tax 17.5% which has resulted in the discussion to increase the tax on food.  The claim that the tax increase will be offset by a tax credit or grocery credit is like a pea shell game.  It is moving around money to make it seem the same.  But it is actually VOODOO ECONOMICS.  I call it the twinkie tax since it never dies or gets old. The food tax system in place now works and any attempt to change it will increase cost to taxpayers, stores, and a government that will have to create a new system.  It is voodoo economics.  I find it incredible that my fellow Republicans are thinking of increasing taxes and reminding voters everytime they go shopping that Republicans raised taxes.  Families don't consider tax credits when they are planning a family.  They think about food costs more.  AND, just to make it wham, bam, thank you mam, too fast to comment, the Legislature will hold just one hearing (with I would guess minimal time to comment on it) with just one day's notice.



911 TAXES GOING UP DESPITE INEFFICIENCIES

Senator Harper's SB198 increases the 911 tax big time.  But it also keeps in place the inefficient system in several counties (including Salt Lake County) where there are three or more 911 systems.  So calling one may put you into the wrong system.  Despite assurances that the systems work well, they don't in real life.  If you get the wrong dispatch, it can take three plus minutes to get the emergency acknowledged!  Senator Harper's bill should require that the systems combine BEFORE they get any increased tax money.






MARCH 3, 2017
HOMELESS SHELTER PLAN GETS $10 MILLION, NEW SITE BY MARCH 30
ANIMAL SHELTER FRANKENSTEIN BILL AT LEGISLATURE
RESPONSIBLE DRINKERS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE
SHOPKO BLOCK WILL HAVE OFFICES, RESIDENTIAL AND SHOPS
STATE STREET RDA AND 700 SOUTH SHELTER
BALLPARK RDA AND HIGH AVENUE SHELTER
PEOPLE LOOK AT FOOD COST MORE THAN TAX CREDITS /VOODOO ECONOMICS  
CITY HALL MEDICAL KIT IS NO LONGER A BAND AID
OVER 100 CHILDREN SLEEP AT ROAD HOME WITH 80 REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS
INTERNET TAX DEFEATED DUE TO CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS
DOWNLOADS HAVE STATE STREET RDA, HOMELESS SITE FUNDING BILL




HOMELESS SHELTER PLAN GETS $10 MILLION, NEW SITE BY MARCH 30
  On Monday March 6, Representative Gibson will introduce HB441 Housing and Homeless Reform Initiative Amendments to the House Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Standing Committee.  The Committee will meet at 8 AM in Room 450 at the State Capitol.  

  The bill requires that the "county executive" shall recommend to the Homeless Coordinating Committee, by March 30, a site location for one facility within the county other than Salt Lake City.  The facility is meant to house homeless and, among others, ....
"individuals with behavioral health disorders, including mental health or substance use disorders;
   (vii) individuals who are medically frail or terminally ill;
   (viii) individuals exiting prison or jail;"
    
  The bill provides about $10 million to the Homeless to Housing Reform Restricted Account for the promised promised homeless funding (about $27 million over 3 years).  The site must meet all zoning regulations.  The Homless Coordinating Committee may recommend and acquire the homeless site.  In addition, the Lantern House in Ogden gets $700,000 from the Olene Walker Housing Fund.



ANIMAL SHELTER FRANKENSTEIN BILL AT LEGISLATURE
  The Legislature's Government Operations Committee tied 4 to 4  on Thursday March 2 when considering Senator Knudsen's animal shelter bill SB0056.  It recommended that injection be the preferred animal euthanasia procedure for animal shelters.  But the next day, Chairman Jeremy Peterson resurrected the bill to add an amendment that carbon monoxide or engine exhaust can be used.  That amendment and bill failed on a 4 to 4 vote.  Many animal rights proponents came to the Friday March 3.  Surprisingly, the previous day had only one person showing up to testify for the bill. 

  Representative Romero tried a few years ago to get a similar bill through without success.  Senator Weiler's efforts also failed.  The biggest concerns were that Weber County animal control wanted to use their carbon monoxide chamber and Utah County Sheriff Tracy also wanted to continue their use of the chambers.  Sheriff Tracy said that his staff wanted the chambers because he felt that it was less stress on his employees.  

  But the chambers need to be maintained correctly, cleaned, checked and calibrated regularly, have a window to watch the animal as it dies and have sufficient training and detectors to ensure safe operation.  Personnel can accidentally ingest the gas if safety procedures and maintenance is not correct.  And, most importantly, the chamber does not work well, if at all.  The procedure is to leave the one animal in the chamber for 30 minutes then put the body in a freezer for a day.  There have been cases where the animal has not died after all of that!  It can take up to 56 seconds for the animal in the chamber to stop signs of agitation before loss of consciousness, although it is usually within 30 seconds.  Those last few seconds of life result in panic for the animal.  If the staff watches, as they are supposed to, they do experience stress.  That is why most shelters (only 4 in Utah now use carbon monoxide chambers) have switched to the recommended American Veterinarian Medical Association procedure of injection.  It is less costly and, in the opinion of many, less stressful on the animal.  When Sheriff Tracy says that his staff prefers the Carbon Monoxide chamber in order to decrease staff stress, the staff should be more worried about a procedure's effect on the animal.  The death should be "as painless and distress free as possible".  Watching an animal that take around 30 seconds of panic to drop unconscious should be stressful.  If it is not stressful, it is because the staff is not following recommended procedure.  I would normally support any sheriff but in this case, his staff's objections don't make sense.

  In addition, previous objections to the recommendations focused on large wild animals like raccoons.  But Salt Lake County has a new USDA certified wild animal specialist who is trapping and relocating raccoons.  It costs Salt Lake City about $35,000 and other cities in the County pay much less than the cost of maintaining a CO chamber plus the animals are trapped and removed with minimal public exposure to potential safety risks.

  From the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition:
"As veterinarians and human beings it is our responsibility to ensure that if an animal’s life is to be taken, it is done with the highest degree of respect, and with an emphasis on making the death as painless and distress free as possible. When euthanasia is the preferred option, the technique employed should result in rapid loss of consciousness followed by cardiac or respiratory arrest and, ultimately, a loss of brain function. In addition, animal handling and the euthanasia technique should minimize distress experienced by the animal prior to loss of consciousness."

Carbon Monoxide chamber "Safeguards must be taken to prevent and monitor exposure of personnel. (3) Electrical equipment exposed to CO (eg, lights and fans) must be spark free and explosion proof.  General recommendations—Carbon monoxide is acceptable with conditions for euthanasia, provided all of the following contingencies are met: (1) Personnel using CO must be instructed thoroughly in its use and must understand its hazards and limitations. (2) The CO chamber must be of the highest-quality construction and should allow for separation of individual animals. If animals need to be combined, they should be of the same species, and, if needed, restrained or separated so that they will not hurt themselves or others.  Cham-bers should not be overloaded and need to be kept clean to minimize odors that might distress animals that are subsequently euthanized. (3) The CO source and chamber must be located in a well-ventilated environment, preferably out-of-doors."


RESPONSIBLE DRINKERS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE
  Representative Thurston's bill to change the standard DUI to .05 met significant pushback from the restaurant association.  Their argument was that drinkers can be responsible.  BUT RESPONSIBLE DRINKERS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.  Senator Dabakis complained that the bill increased the weirdness factor of Utah.  Interestingly, Senator Dabakis has often been labeled as "weird".  Senator Dabakis insisted that Utahns should be allowed to drink and drive!  The bill passed the Senate Committee with the Democrats voting against it.

  Deseret News has my oped on the issue
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865674519/My-view-Do-not-drink-and-drive-means-do-not-drink-and-drive.html?pg=all


SHOPKO BLOCK WILL HAVE OFFICES, RESIDENTIAL AND SHOPS
  Marc Isaac is helping develop the Shopko block on 1300 East and Hwy 80 and has said that demolition will come soon.  He is planning on two or three office towers, several north south and east west streets with sidewalks to make the area more walkable and have residential units along with stores.  The Olsen's still own the property on Highland Drive which includes the Key Bank and small shops.  Payless Store and adjacent shops will remain and the demolition will leave their south wall.  The Sugar House Community Council will be regularly involved and asked for recommendations on the plans.


STATE STREET/BALLPARK RDA AND HOMELESS SHELTERS
  The State Street and Ballpark Communities are about to be significantly upgraded and the communities' Community Council needs to be very involved in laying out their vision for the area.

  The RDA plan (ready towards the end of the year)  will significantly help the Ballpark and State Street Area over the next decade.  Although I do not support the homeless resource center plan, and have consistently fought it, the area is being given a chance to plan/discuss/decide on how to best upgrade the area utilizing the tools of the State Redevelopment Agency/Commercial Development law.  Not only will property taxes on construction that increases value be decreased (as long as all area taxing entities like the Board of Education agree), but a portion of the decreased taxes will be used to upgrade the community.  In the past, the money has been used for amenities that the community wanted like plazas, traffic benefits, beautification implementation and essentially what the communities want.  The City Council makes the final decision and based on recent history, they will give a lot of weight to the community requests.  This is the most important time for the community.  Not only to recommend a vision and push for it but also to ensure that the City's promises on the homeless center plan makes sense and is correctly and safely implemented.  If the community wants more neighborhood restaurants, walkability, mixed use, parks, and a vibrant character, this is your chance to design you best neighborhood.

  Although I believe that the public safety component of the plan, the most important component, is not currently given enough attention, the problem is really a County issue.  The Salt Lake County Mayor recommends a budget for the DA to prosecute and incarcerate criminals and funding for the Sheriff to provide the jail to keep them incarcerated.  Unfortunately, the budget leaves 380 beds free at the Oxbow Jail.  The DA does not have enough funding to prosecute more criminals (95% plead to lesser, non jail crimes) and the $9.4 million a year for the Oxbow Jail bond, when paid off two years ago, was repurposed for other uses.  The Sheriff has been begging for more beds since he became Sheriff.  Recent news stories have put pressure on Mayor McAdams (unfortunately defended by the Sheriff who has fought for more budget) to provide more funding.  When the Mayor demanded money for the jail, the Legislature told him no, since he was asking for too much and they said that they could provide more beds for less in other counties.  So now the Mayor needs to come up with funding for the DA to prosecute and send to another county's jail up to 300 criminals.  

  Mayor McAdams is being pressured by the public, by the Legislature, by the SLC Mayor and the SLC Police to provide effective public safety.  We should expect good news in a few days. 
  
  The Ballpark and State Street neighborhoods are directly impacted by the police not being able to lock up (for more than a few hours) drug dealers and other criminals.  That results in 40% of the criminals that the police arrest, not being allowed to be jailed!  Again, that is a County issue and unfortunately, Salt Lake City Mayor and Council have not been able to convince Ben McAdams to open up Oxbow to allow the police to do their job.  There have been cases where police have been attacked many times by criminals and they are not allowed to put them in jail!  People who should be in jail have killed a father of three (on State Street in January) and come within inches of killing three police.  I know several officers who are afraid, despite willing to take a bullet for us.  Again, I think that the pressure on the County will bear fruit soon.  Greg Hughes is extremely upset that there is visible crime in the Rio Grande area 24 hours a day and the police cannot do anything about it without more jail beds.  (There is a parallel effort to expand Medicaid which includes closing the donut hole and providing more drug treatment funding.)   Greg Hughes is a friend of Ben McAdams and he is also upset that there are kids in the Road Home.  He is putting pressure to remove kids from shelters.  The Midvale family shelter is also not a great place for kids.

  With regards to the effort to stop the High Avenue and 700 South site plans:  I always encourage community engagement and organization.  I was intimately involved behind the scenes of the Simpson Avenue and downtown locations.  The Simpson Avenue leaders were respectful and always engaged in respectful conversations with every elected official.  They were also respected due to their reasonable conversation.  That helped the Legislature to understand the real issues involved in the Simpson Avenue site.  David Litvack is correct that the City and RDA have targeted the Rio Grande and Station/Depot area for super high density development.  I, and many others, are against the plan until the criminals are removed and put in jail and the visible homeless are removed from the sidewalks, parks and nooks and crannies downtown (and throughout the City).  That should be the focus.  But the RDA/City is pushing very hard for the potential billions of development in this area.

  My point is that the efforts of one person in the Sugar House area to insult and intimidate elected officials, actually hurt the case.  I had to explain to several people that he is not representing the community and the two main leaders consistently kept the dialogue going with everyone constructively.  We focused on the Legislature and the City Council and showed the problems with the plan.

  If the citizens, residents and businesses of State Street and Ballpark want more, I recommend becoming more involved in the Community Council; ensure that your voice is consistently heard; help develop the vision and plan for the RDA Ballpark area; and insist that public safety plans be developed and in place to allow the police to do their job  (before the homeless shelter is built).  Whether there is a homeless center or not, your area is about to have a significant increase in investment.  Past RDA efforts have taken longer but the City's experience is better and I expect a big and better change to the area.  Please stay involved in the Community Council and I recommend that your efforts to help the community be respectful.


PEOPLE LOOK AT FOOD COST MORE THAN TAX CREDITS /VOODOO ECONOMICS
  The next week will result in a decision on whether to increase the tax on food.  I, and many others, find it offensive that the richest in Utah seem to be driving the pressure to increase the income tax 17.5% which has resulted in the discussion to increase the tax on food.  The claim that the tax increase will be offset by a tax credit or grocery credit is like a pea shell game.  It is moving around money to make it seem the same.  But it is actually VOODOO ECONOMICS.  I call it the twinkie tax since it never dies or gets old.  It is always there for no good reason.  The system in place now works and any attempt to change it will increase cost to taxpayers, stores, and a government that will have to create a new system.  It is voodoo economics.


CITY HALL MEDICAL KIT IS NO LONGER A BAND AID
  Recently, their was a minor injury at Salt Lake City Hall that required more than a band aid.  Unfortunately, the only medical kit in City Hall was a band aid!  The City will procure a better medical first aid kit.


OVER 100 CHILDREN AT ROAD HOME SLEEP WITH 80 REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS
  Do I have to say anything more?  Salt Lake City RDA has $7 million that they were planning to use for Simpson Avenue that is now free.  What a big deal it would be to get all families with children out of the Road Home with the drugs and sex offenders!


INTERNET TAX DEFEATED DUE TO CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS
  Senator Bramble attempted to push SB110 which required internet companies, that sell to Utahns, to pay Utah sales taxes.  The bill went before the Government Operations Committee Friday and despite vigorous discussion, it failed to pass the committee.  The main concerns were the questionable constitutionality of the bill and the cost for the Attorney General to undertake another lawsuit
.





FEBRUARY 27, 2017
SHERIFF DEFENSIVE ABOUT LACK OF JAIL, MAYOR PROMISES SURPRISE
DRUG DEALERS SHOULD BE IN JAIL FOR MORE THAN A FEW HOURS
700 SOUTH HOMELESS SITE BEING REWARDED WITH RDA PLAN
WHO NEEDS A HOTEL WHEN WE HAVE AIRBNB?
FOOD TAX BILL IS IGNORED BY LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
HAVE ONE OR TWO DRINKS AND DRIVE MAY BE CHANGED
BILLS PILING UP AGAIN FOR LEGISLATIVE CLIMAX


 

SHERIFF DEFENSIVE ABOUT LACK OF JAIL, MAYOR PROMISES SURPRISE
  Over the last few weeks, there have been many complaints about the issues regarding public safety and the lack of jail beds to allow police to arrest threats to society.  Debbie Dujanovic’s KSL investigative report pushed the Sheriff to respond in an odd response to the pressure.  He claimed that he does not have the budget for more beds (true) and that if a cop needs to arrest someone, all that the officer has to do is call and ask for an exception to the rules.  But the app that the Sheriff requires Salt Lake County law enforcement to use is supposedly the rule that the Salt Lake City Police have to follow.  And if the app says that an arrest cannot be taken to jail, the officer can only write a citation, which, due to jail overcrowding, is unenforceable (when it goes to a warrant).

SALT LAKE COUNTY MAYOR BEN MCADAMS PROVIDES THE BUDGET TO THE COUNCIL WHICH HAS USUALLY RUBBERSTAMPED IT.  THIS ISSUE IS CAUSED BY LACK OF PUBLIC SAFETY PRIORITY BY MAYOR MCADAMS.  HIS CONTACT/EMAIL IS ON THE RIGHT AND YOU SHOULD EMAIL HIM WITH YOUR COMMENTS.

  Mayor McAdams told me Saturday that he “hopes to have some good news for me soon” (on jail and public safety).  I know that the Mayor IS under pressure from the Legislative leaders about the public safety issues.  Former Senator Urquhart has significant influence and respect at the Legislature and he is a significant help at bringing pressure to bear on Mayor McAdams.

 

DRUG DEALERS SHOULD BE IN JAIL FOR MORE THAN A FEW HOURS
  During a recent forum on homelessness at the Main City Library in Salt Lake City, Mayor McAdams was asked “what will it take to keep drug dealers in jail for more than a few hours”. If the drug dealers are not kept in jail, they will be on the street and they will encourage getting addicted and encourage staying addicted. The result will be wasting hundreds of millions on drug addiction and treatment.

  Mayor McAdams answered that the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) is causing many of the drug crimes that were previously felonies to be misdemeanors and those crimes are the ones that the county jails have to cover.  He ignored the facts that the Salt Lake County Jail has not kept drug dealers in jail for more than a few hours long before the change in law that decreased penalties for drug possession and use. Undercover cops have been complaining at Salt Lake City community councils for years (long before the JRI) that when they arrest a drug dealer, they are out in a few hours. There have been many times that an undercover cop has been trying to make a buy and the dealer that he arrested a few hours ago is standing a few feet away laughing.

  The JRI is not causing this problem. Drug dealing is a felony and has always been a felony. The JRI was meant to decrease the charges for possession and use. It was a reasonable plan to focus on crime that caused most of the victims, not on low level drug possession. But to keep drug dealers in jail or prison requires the DA to prosecute them and the jail beds to hold them. If the DA is not given the budget to file charges and prosecute them, and the Sheriff is not given the budget to open the 380 free beds at Oxbow jail, drug dealers will not stay in jail for more than a few hours. The Sheriff has been asking for more jail space every year since Ben McAdams has been Mayor. We are way past we can’t arrest our way out of this. We are now at a point where we have to arrest our way out of this.

  Mayor McAdams and the Sheriff have claimed that up to 80% of the jail inmates have mental health problems that could include drug and alcohol addiction issues. Salt Lake County significantly cut back mental health treatment years ago during the recession. The result is that many of the homeless on the street have mental health issues and they are not receiving the treatment that they would have received ten years ago. Healthcare expansion would have helped and JRI funding would help. But it should be acknowledged that Salt Lake County is also causing part of the lack of mental health problem because they have not restored the mental health budget to where it was before.

  Speaker Hughes has said that he is looking at opening up 300 beds in other counties for Salt Lake County drug dealers. But Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams needs to budget an appropriate amount to allow the DA to prosecute up to 300 more long term jailable offenses. If Mayor McAdams will not provide those funds, the problems will continue. Mayor McAdams and I have been having the same arguments for over a year on the lack of jail space to allow County law enforcement to arrest and the DA to prosecute DUI, car thefts, drug dealing, assaults and criminals that are truly a danger to society. Cops keep saying that we need more jail space and funding to prosecute the threats to society (and to the homeless) and keep them in jail. When reminded of these facts, Mayor McAdams says that I am “incredibly ill informed”. I just laugh and think that he is being incredibly unrealistic.

 

700 SOUTH HOMELESS SITE BEING REWARDED WITH RDA PLAN
  The neighborhood residents and businesses around 700 South near the “definitely set in concrete” homeless resource center are upset that the Sugar House area was able to remove their site from consideration.  They do deserve respect.  I have told them that, if the City’s RDA goes forward with their State Street plans, their area’s property values will actually go up and businesses will be significantly better off.  The proposal is scheduled to be finished in the fall and, with community engagement, should encourage development along State Street with much higher density, housing, mixed use, mixed income and beautiful new buildings.  I encourage everyone in the City to provide comments on this plan to the RDA staff (Tammy.hunsaker@slcgov.com 801 535 7244).  The proposal should, with RDA encouragement, significantly speed up development along State Street.  If the emphasis is on the 600 South to 1000 South State Street first, by the time the homeless shelter comes online, the area’s businesses shouldn’t see an impact.

  Of course, the County needs to start arresting criminals and throwing them in jail.  The area’s residents and businesses continue to be victims of crimes.  It is so bad that, last week, when an accountant’s mail was stolen, the cops found the person responsible (homeless); found the letters and tax returns stolen; but the cops could not arrest the thief!  I asked that the USPS Postal Inspectors be notified since they may be able to force the jail to open up.



 

WHO NEEDS A HOTEL WHEN WE HAVE AIRBNB?
Salt Lake County says that they intend to go ahead with the new hotel planned to be built with tax credits near the Salt Palace.  But Representative Knotwell’s bill that legalizes (stops municipalities from stopping it) house sharing (AirBnb) fulfills the need for temporary housing.  It will also decrease the availability of affordable housing.  But the host housing program that has helped provide rooms for the Outdoor Retailers shows has worked successfully for years.  Salt Lake County should not build a hotel when this bill makes that plan financially unviable.

 

FOOD TAX BILL IS IGNORED BY LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
  Representative Briscoe is a friend of mine.  But he tried to present HB 0302 to the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on Monday.  He restores the full sales tax on food.  Only three spoke against it.  My opinion is that it moves exemptions and tax credits and tax increases around like a shell game and calls it revenue neutral.  That sounds like VOODOO ECONOMICS.  If anyone says that this is not a tax increase, nod twice, wink twice and say “say no more twice; say no more”.  Families do not decide to have babies based on tax credits.  They decide on food costs.  This is a bad bill.  Representative Briscoe was attempting to discuss correcting a downward trend on sales tax that went from 75% of funding in the 1960s to around 40% now.  He wanted the issue discussed at interim.  I believe that this was an attempt by the Legislative leadership to see if the food tax issue will fly.  It didn’t and Representative Briscoe asked that the bill be held for study at Interim.  The Committee moved on without action, which essentially said heck no to the bill.

 

HAVE ONE OR TWO DRINKS AND DRIVE MAY BE CHANGED
DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE MEANS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE
  Representative Thurston is sponsoring a bill, HB 0155S01 that lowers the DUI standard from .08 to .05 (grams per 100 milliliters of blood or grams per 210 liters of breath) alcohol concentration (BAC). It is in the Senate for consideration. It is one of the most important bills that are being discussed at the Legislature this year. It has the potential to save hundreds of lives in Utah, reduce much of the suffering that drinking and driving causes, and to lead the nation to emphasize “do not drink and drive”.

  The bill is opposed by Legislators that are worried about the effect on their constituents who may have a drink and drive. The trial lawyers who focus on DUI are also opposed to this bill. The NTSB has been adamant that the .05 standard should be the standard for legal impairment that affects the ability to safely drive. Proponents point out that when the message is delivered that the DUI standard is reduced, it will lead to less drinking and driving and result in no real increase in DUI arrests.

  Opponents are also worried about the effect on tourism in Utah. But as Representative Ray pointed out during Committee discussion, no one is coming to Utah to drink alcohol. Much of Utah’s tourism is due to recreational opportunities that should benefit from decreasing drinking and driving. Bicyclists in Utah would have significantly safer bicycling.

  In the United States, about 31% of the vehicle crash deaths are alcohol related. In Sweden with a .02 BAC standard and in Netherlands with a .05 BAC standard, alcohol related crash deaths are 19%. According to the NTSB, “A .05 BAC law has a broad deterrent effect because it helps prevent drinking drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place.” The NTSB points out that “Research on effectiveness of laws shows that lowering the BAC changes behavior at all BAC levels by reducing driving after drinking, so it is an effective intervention for preventing driving at both high and low BAC levels.”

  Reducing the standard for DUI from .08 to .05 essentially says “do not drink and drive” instead of saying “have one or two drinks and no more and drive”. We do not tell our kids to have one or two drinks and drive or drink and drink and drive. We tell our kids NOT to drink and drive.  The risk of being in a fatal crash is at least seven times higher if drivers have a BAC of .05%-.079% than if they have no alcohol in their system. In other words, drinking and driving kills people.

  Moving from.10 to .08 reduced alcohol related fatalities 10.4% and has saved 1,736 lives annually. It is estimated that a .05 or lower BAC would result in an 11.1% decline in fatal alcohol crashes and save 1790 lives annually in the U.S.  In Utah, that may result in 18 lives a year being saved.

  Utah should change the DUI standard to .05 and change the message from “have one or two drinks and drive” to “do not drink and drive”! Representative Thurston’s HB0155S01 should become law in Utah. It will save hundreds of Utah lives, reduce rape (increased with alcohol), emphasize to teens to not drink and drive, make people think twice before having even one alcoholic drink and driving and it will reduce impaired driving. This bill will significantly increase public safety in Utah.  Since public safety is a valid government function, citizens should contact their Legislators and ask them to help pass this bill.

 


BILLS PILING UP AGAIN FOR LEGISLATIVE CLIMAX
  This happens every year.  The most important bills have only about a week to be considered.  Some of the bills include removing the Zion Curtain, lowering DUI to .05, requiring nationwide retailers to report Utah customers (for taxes), stopping the use of Carbon Monoxide gas chambers to try and kill our pets, removing the fee that radioactive waste facilities have to pay the State, increasing penalties for drug dealing within a 100 feet from shelters, UTA governance changes, non-compete contracts appropriateness, supporting the Bill of Rights, legalizing house sharing apps, AND several proposals to increase taxes!  The Legislature always saves the best for last.

 








FEBRUARY 24, 2017

COMMUNITY WINS/STOPS SUGAR HOUSE HOMELESS PLAN

WHY ARE 100 CHILDREN SLEEPING WITH 80 REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS TONIGHT!!?

DEBBIE DUJANOVIC REPORTS ON LACK OF JAILSPACE IN SLCO



SUGAR HOUSE HOMELESS SITE IS OFF THE TABLE

  The mayors of SLC and SLCO seem to have been forced again to face reality and with "a vigorous discussion" have pulled back from the Simpson Avenue homeless site plan (along with the 100 South site.  In addition, the Road Home is slated for closing by June 30, 2019.  The effort by the community to respectfully engage in discussions with the mayors and City Council seems to have helped negotiate a compromise.  The High Avenue site (if it passes environmental tests) and the 700 South site seem to be the focus now on building a 200 bed women's shelter and a men's shelter and another nearby city will provide another facility with 200 beds.  I still hope that the city immediately uses the $7 million from the RDA to remove the families from the Rio Grande Road Home now and move them into housing with vouchers.   There is no justifiable reason WHY 100 CHILDREN ARE SLEEPING WITH 80 REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS TONIGHT!

  The City continues to ignore the shocking fact that there are around 100 children in the Road Home in the Rio Grande along with 80 registered sex offenders who call the Road Home home!  If the City really cared about the children, they would use the $7 million to provide vouchers and case workers to put the families in apartments or homes outside of the bad areas of SLC.


DEBBIE DUJANOVIC REPORTS ON LACK OF JAILSPACE IN SLCO

KSL's Debbie Dujanovic had an excellent report on the lack of jailspace in Salt Lake County last night.  I urge everyone to watch it

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=43288365&nid=148&title=police-say-jail-restrictions-wreaking-havoc-in-salt-lake-county


  Most importantly, the report has gotten pushback from the Sheriff who after first refusing to be interviewed, now wants to give his side of the story.  This dialogue is important.  It could result in a significant change in policing in Salt Lake County.  Watch Debbie and KSL for further updates.




MY LAST OPEDS ON HOMELESS AND JAIL ISSUES WITH LINKS

Oped in the Deseret News that points out how wrong the Simpson Avenue site is for a homeless shelter.

​http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865672928/My-view-SLC-taking-of-property-value-is-unconstitutional.html


Last oped in SLTRIB emphasizes issues on lack of jailspace.  Cops want more jailspace.
http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4867656-155/op-ed-chaos-reigns-when-police-cant

Oped in SLTRIB discusses the individual homeless expansion sites, why the questionable decisions don't make sense and how to do right by the citizens of SLC.
http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4709681-155/op-ed-without-more-crime-control-homeless




FEBRUARY 23, 2017
UTA INSULTS AMERICAN HERO AND VETERAN
UTA STILL ATTEMPTS TO CLOSE HEARINGS
UTA WHEN IS SERVICE EXPANSION GOING TO BE DISCUSSED
LEGISLATURE EMPHASIZES BILL OF RIGHTS AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT
REP. BRISCOE BILL DOUBLES DRUG DEALING PENALTY
KSL INVESTIGATES THURSDAY NIGHT NO JAIL AVAILABLE
ROAD HOME TRIES TO STOP DRUG DOGS
POLICE BRUTALITY CLAIM IGNORES REALITY

UTA INSULTS AMERICAN HERO AND VETERAN
  North Ogden Mayor Taylor is an Army veteran of Iraq/Mosul and Afghanistan.  He was elected by Weber County municipalities to represent Weber County on the UTA Board.  Weber County passed Prop One and they should be represented on the UTA Board.   But UTA tried to stop him being appointed to UTA board supposedly due to his father working at UTA as a Frontrunner employee!  After the UTA Executive Board said that they had questions and issues, the Weber County municipal governments voted to insist that he be the Trustee representing Weber County.  In the UTA Board meeting on February 22, the Board went back and forth on the issue of how can they allow a person on the Board whose relative works for UTA.  But nepotism laws should prevent hiring of relatives by supervisors!  It shouldn't apply to elected officials joining boards that control entities like UTA.  Otherwise elected municipal and government officials would be stopped from taking office if a relative works for the entity!  The UTA reasoning did not make sense.  But the Board did agree to allow Mayor Taylor to take his seat on the Board.  Then the discussion turned to whether or not the UTA Board should discuss the situation in a closed meeting!!


UTA STILL ATTEMPTS TO CLOSE HEARINGS
  The attempt by UTA to discuss the Mayor Taylor situation behind closed doors was stopped just barely.  But it took a significant time and was finally settled when former Lt. Governor Bell argued against the closed meeting.  Jerry Benson also stated that he alone has the ability to fire employees and the Board should not be involved in the issue.  Jerry Benson is right.  The Board should not be questioning the Mayor Taylor appropriateness of serving on the Board.  But the UTA Board also discussed changing the Bylaws to not allow Board members that have relatives employed by UTA but it will allow Mayor Taylor to take his seat!  But then the question is why the carve out for Mayor Taylor?  UTA Trustee Nicea Christensen focused the UTA Board onto more appropriate discussions by asking that Mayor Taylor introduce himself and tell the Board about himself.  That temporarily stopped the nonsense.  

  The UTA Board discussed the various TODs' land transfers which included Clearfield, Sandy, West Jordan and South Jordan.  These proposals did not include land values which means that the proposals are meaningless and the public cannot reasonably comment on the proposals.  UTA should not be transferring, trading or giving property to developers but they appear to still be doing that.  UTA should be leasing the property. Without substantive information on land values, the proposals are questionable.  The UTA Board stated that the land values would be considered in the closed meeting.  I noted that some of the developers were in the audience and I have to wonder if they were allowed into the closed meeting.  UTA's closed meetings don't seem to meet the legal requirements.  

  The subcommittees are starting up but online comments are not allowed and although the agenda is posted, the packet is not.  So UTA is still not being open about information.  UTA's openness and effort to be forthcoming in the last few months seem to have been stopped by this meeting.  The only way to comment is by showing up at the meeting.  UTA General Counsel Jamie Blakesley stated that George Chapman did not show up at the recent Executive Board meeting, as if I had time for more meetings!  UTA:  The agenda should include the packet and allow emailed comments.  SLCO Council even allows call ins!


UTA WHEN IS SERVICE EXPANSION GOING TO BE DISCUSSED
  I am embarrassed and distressed that instead of discussing service expansions, the UTA Board spent most of its time discussing the Weber County UTA Board Representative!  It appears to me that some of the Board were concerned about Mayor Taylor's statements that UTA needs to be reformed.  Mayor Taylor did ask that video of the meetings be available online and he was told that it is in process.  But UTA's Board should be spending time encouraging service expansion.  That is what almost everyone in the Wasatch Front wants.  


LEGISLATURE EMPHASIZES BILL OF RIGHTS AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT
  The Legislature sent Senator Shiozawa's SCR6 to the full Senate and it looks like it will pass the Legislature.  No one spoke against it.  It affirms that the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment are important parts of our rights and no one and no entity should interfere with those rights.  It is meant to emphasize America's benefits from immigrants but the Committee heard that some cities in Utah seem to be ignoring the Bill of Rights and the Legislature should not help those cities ignore some rights like the Fourth Amendment.  It should be a no brainer.


REP. BRISCOE BILL DOUBLES DRUG DEALING PENALTY
  Representative Briscoe's HB365 doubles the penalty for drug dealing 100 feet from homeless shelters.  The penalty needed to be added since the Legislature previously increased penalties for dealing near parks and schools but they left out homeless shelters.  Unfortunately, it only is out to 100 feet and it does not help force counties to jail and prosecute dealers.  Representative Dunnigan  questioned whether the law would help since, in Salt Lake County the dealers don't stay in jail long due to the County's claim that there is no jailspace.  But there are 300 plus beds free at Oxbow!  The DA needs more funding to prosecute these dealers.  The big issue is the lack of prosecution.  It should be noted that the JRI did loosen penalties for low level drug crimes but dealing has always been a felony.  Unfortunately prosecutors utilize a matrix that usually pleads out 95% of dealing charges to lower level offenses.  The issue is that some of the cartels move the dealers to other cities when they are arrested, even after they are deported.  The Committee hearing the bill was told to consider telling SLCO that they will not get any money for homeless unless they prosecute and jail drug dealers.  SLC Police Chief Brown says that they have hundreds of drug dealers in the Rio Grande area!  Removing dealers from the homeless population is needed before attempting treatment or we will waste hundreds of millions of dollars.  When drug users are confronted, the police can only (not always) confiscate the drugs; write a citation; have it screened by the DA and the DA produces a warrant which can't be served by Police due to jail overcrowding!  Note that the Police often encounter criminals with tens of warrants and they can't arrest them!


KSL INVESTIGATES THURSDAY NIGHT NO JAIL AVAILABLE
  Debbie Dujanovic has a Thursday February 23, KSL investigation report on what lack of jail space means for criminals.  As noted above, when the police encounter criminals with warrants, they can't arrest them.  Please watch KSL's report and then call and email County Mayor Ben McAdams and tell him to "do your job! Fund reasonable DA and jail operations."


ROAD HOME TRIES TO STOP DRUG DOGS
  The Midvale Family Shelter used drug dogs to find a large amount of drugs in and around the shelter.  The Road Home investigation also found a large amount of drugs but the Road Home asked that further drug dog use be preceded by a week's warning.  The SLC Police told the Road Home don't get your hopes up.


POLICE BRUTALITY CLAIM IGNORES REALITY
  There is an almost constant protest at SLC City Hall about police brutality that focuses mainly on the shooting a year ago of a drug dealer (according to the DA).  There are cases of police brutality but that is not one of them.  

  Last February, a young man was shot by two police officers in order to stop an attack on another man. He ended up seriously wounded and may be permanently in a wheelchair. In August, the Salt Lake Police Civilian Review Board declared that the shooting was “Not Within” policy. The Board released their findings despite the fact that the person who was shot was not interviewed and the court case against the victim is still in process. The evidence presented indicates that the two police officers fired their guns because they felt that there was a chance of a serious or fatal blow by the individual and he refused to drop his weapon. This week, the police body cam footage was released and clearly showed that the police were justified in shooting Abdi Mohamed.

  The police officers both said that the person who was shot started to raise a metal object that they thought was a heavy metal bar similar to the one that his fellow attacker had just dropped (with a heavy metal thud). It should be noted that, in the video, the person with Mohamed dropped his bar and listened to the cops. It should also be clear that Mohamed ignored many shouts to stop advancing on the person that he was attacking! Both officers decided that they needed to use deadly force needed to stop the suspect and protect the victim.” They did not have time to use a Taser and in winter, heavy jackets negate their effect.

  The victim of the attack, who eventually admitted to asking to buy a marijuana cigarette, knew that he was being attacked with a hollow and not a very threatening handle. That is why he appeared to be slow in backing away from his attacker who was eventually shot. But the police officers who fired did not know that and the person who was shot refused to stop advancing on the victim of the attack, unlike his fellow attacker who heard the police orders, dropped their heavy metal pipe and ran away. 

  Interestingly, both of the attackers refused to be interviewed by the Board despite the numerous media interviews given by the shooting victim. The Board also seemed to ignore the gang that is in the area controlling spice and meth sales. The Board, should have insisted on a full investigation. The victim of the attack by the person who was eventually shot, said that “he was fearful of being killed by the pipe. K.M said he believed the officers saved his life and that the officers put themselves in jeopardy to protect him.”

  The Board said that “it would have been objectively reasonable for the officers to believe that the juvenile was an armed aggressor engaging another citizen with a bludgeon capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death.” Authority to use deadly force includes “The officer reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the officer or another person.” The important factor in the Board’s decision was that “neither C (the person who was shot) nor KM (the victim of the attack) were showing any sense of urgency in this last confrontation. C did not noticeably increase his speed towards KM, and KM did not appear to increase his rate of retreat.” KM knew the mop handle was hollow and he did not want to interact with the police.

The police officers acted, as the vast majority of cops do, with the best intention of stopping serious bodily injury or death. Deadly force is authorized and justified in those cases. It should be remembered that there were 20 seconds between sighting the attack and the shooting. When someone is advancing on another to attack, with a weapon of any kind, and ignoring shouts from police to drop the weapon (unlike his partner), police should be justified in shooting to stop the attack. The police body cam footage seems to justify police actions and is another reason to encourage their use.




FEBRUARY 22, 201

WHY ARE 100 CHILDREN SLEEPING WITH 80 SEX OFFENDERS
MAYOR INCREDIBLY UNREALISTIC WHEN IT COMES TO PUBLIC SAFETY
FEBRUARY 13 HOMELESS FORUM DISCUSSION AFTER FORUM ENDED
INCONVENIENT ISSUE CARING FOR LAWBREAKERS MORE THAN POOR
SLC GOLF VOODOO ECONOMICS
SLC GRAMA REFUSED TO BE APPEALED
SLC EAST BENCH DEER PROBLEMS
STATE STREET RDA EXPANSION COULD HELP AFFORDABLE HOUSING
NO SURPRISE SIMPSON AVENUE SITE HAS ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES



WHY ARE 100 CHILDREN SLEEPING WITH 80 REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS TONIGHT!!??
  The City continues to ignore the shocking fact that there are around 100 children in the Road Home in the Rio Grande along with 80 registered sex offenders who call the Road Home home!  If the City really cared about the children, they would use the $7 million to provide vouchers and case workers to put the families in apartments or homes outside of the bad areas of SLC.




MAYOR INCREDIBLY UNREALISTIC WHEN IT COMES TO PUBLIC SAFETY
  During a recent forum on homelessness at the Main City Library in Salt Lake City, Mayor McAdams was asked “what will it take to keep drug dealers in jail for more than a few hours”. If the drug dealers are not kept in jail, they will be on the street and they will encourage getting addicted and encourage staying addicted. The result will be wasting hundreds of millions on drug addiction and treatment.

  Mayor McAdams answered that the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) is causing many of the drug crimes that were previously felonies to be misdemeanors and those crimes are the ones that the county jails have to cover.  He ignored the facts that the Salt Lake County Jail has not kept drug dealers in jail for more than a few hours long before the change in law that decreased penalties for drug possession and use. Undercover cops have been complaining at Salt Lake City community councils for years (long before the JRI) that when they arrest a drug dealer, they are out in a few hours. There have been many times that an undercover cop has been trying to make a buy and the dealer that he arrested a few hours ago is standing a few feet away laughing.

  The JRI is not causing this problem. Drug dealing is a felony and has always been a felony. The JRI was meant to decrease the charges for possession and use. It was a reasonable plan to focus on crime that caused most of the victims, not on low level drug possession. But to keep drug dealers in jail or prison requires the DA to prosecute them and the jail beds to hold them. If the DA is not given the budget to file charges and prosecute them, and the Sheriff is not given the budget to open the 380 free beds at Oxbow jail, drug dealers will not stay in jail for more than a few hours. The Sheriff has been asking for more jail space every year since Ben McAdams has been Mayor. We are way past we can’t arrest our way out of this. We are now at a point where we have to arrest our way out of this.

  Mayor McAdams and the Sheriff have claimed that up to 80% of the jail inmates have mental health problems that could include drug and alcohol addiction issues. Salt Lake County significantly cut back mental health treatment years ago during the recession. The result is that many of the homeless on the street have mental health issues and they are not receiving the treatment that they would have received ten years ago. Healthcare expansion would have helped and JRI funding would help. But it should be acknowledged that Salt Lake County is also causing part of the lack of mental health problem because they have not restored the mental health budget to where it was before. 

  Speaker Hughes has said that he is looking at opening up 300 beds in other counties for Salt Lake County drug dealers. But Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams needs to budget an appropriate amount to allow the DA to prosecute up to 300 more long term jailable offenses. If Mayor McAdams will not provide those funds, the problems will continue. Mayor McAdams and I have been having the same arguments for over a year on the lack of jail space to allow County law enforcement to arrest and the DA to prosecute DUI, car thefts, drug dealing, assaults and criminals that are truly a danger to society. Cops keep saying that we need more jail space and funding to prosecute the threats to society (and to the homeless) and keep them in jail. When reminded of these facts, Mayor McAdams says that I am “incredibly ill informed”. I just laugh and think that he is being incredibly unrealistic.




FEBRUARY 13 HOMELESS FORUM DISCUSSION AFTER FORUM ENDED
  During the February 13 homeless forum with SLC and SLCO Mayors, Representative Romero and Speaker Greg Hughes (hosted by former Senator Steve Urquhart), there was a vigorous discussion about homeless issues. Senator Urquhart (a respected moderate Republican who recently moved to Salt Lake City) attempted to find common ground to help alleviate the issues in the homeless community, particularly the rampant drug dealing that appears to be ignored. Mayor Biskupski acknowledged that there is a problem with the County not allowing drug dealers to stay in jail for more than a few hours due to lack of jail space. She said that “there is very little we can do if there is no jail space”. Even Speaker Hughes acknowledged the problem. He said that he has tasked Representative Noel to find 300 beds to lock up the drug dealers (Representative Noel’s son is Beaver County Sheriff). The main reason to look outside of Salt Lake County is because the County is asking the Legislature for too much to open up the 380 free beds at Oxbow Jail and blaming the Legislature for the problem. 
  Mayor McAdams contended that "we can't build enough jail beds to solve the issue". But we have the 380 beds at the jail not being used and all that the community is asking is to crack down on drug dealers and those who are significant threats to the public and homeless.
  Speaker Hughes said that the State has received waivers for some parts of the Medicaid expansion.  That includes $7 million being spent on 4500 adults with dependent children waiver granted.  But the $13 million charge to hospitals waiver has not been approved.  The Justice Reinvestment Initiative gave $14 million to the County and they have used $1.4 million to treat 16 women up to a year.  There is still a gap of $16 million needed but that does not include prostitution treatment and probation.  Speaker Hughes pointed out that the State has not short changed the County but is following the Association of Counties request for dollars needed.  The DEA may be of some help to the drug dealer issue according to Sheriff Winder.
  Greg Hughes said at the end of the forum that the communities need to support site locations.  Speaker Hughes acknowledged that maybe the Sugar House Simpson Avenue homeless site may not be appropriate for a shelter and maybe nearby cities should be encouraged to provide an alternative site. He said that discussions are taking place to address those issues. Those comments came after the forum ended when he had an extended discussion with attendees. He was very gracious with his time, even if his philosophies are not always popular.


FOURTEEN TONS OF HOMELESS REMOVED!
  During a sweep to remove old blankets and other garbage from the Rio Grande area in December, around 14 tons of garbage was removed!  The garbage was from the donations that people give to the homeless that do not stay in the shelter but to those that hang out in the area.  As Pamela Atkinson has said, many times, when people give directly to the homeless that are congregating outside the shelters, they encourage the homeless to not use the facilities for the homeless.  In January, another 8 tons of garbage was removed.  Also, and sadly, one woman who was under a pile of blankets had a baby which died.  This is a sad commentary about our City.  Do not give to homeless, panhandlers and beggers.  Give to the service providers.  Crossroads Urban Center, Fourth Street Clinic, The Road Home, the Weigand Center, the Saint Vincent DePaul Center and other charities provide much better use of donations.  Even passing out food, which may make the donor feel good, actually encourages homeless to not use the services that are geared to stop homelessness.


INCONVENIENT ISSUES OF CARING FOR LAWBREAKERS MORE THAN POOR
  An inconvenient issue that needs a greater discussion is whether healthcare expansion should be prioritized for low income individuals before being used for drug addiction treatment.  When the poor are dying due to lack of medical care while drug addicts are receiving addiction treatment, we should question society's priorities.  Healthcare expansion should be a priority and should not ignore low income individuals who follow the law.  The Legislature's efforts to fund criminals' addiction treatment while ignoring low income lack of medical care is not what a great society should be planning.  This issue should be more vigorously debated at the Legislature.


SLC GOLF VOODOO ECONOMICS
  Salt Lake City Council seems to be trying to close more golf courses.  During a recent golf course discussion, they tried to justify their efforts to close Wingpointe and other courses.  Wingpointe never should have been closed.  Areas around airports, even not in the direct flight path, give emergencies during takeoff and landing a chance to result in survival.  The Beccker Administration's plan for the Wingpointe site was to build an aircraft deicing facility!  The site should remain open as a golf course and park.  In addition, the Council is ignoring the voodoo economics of SLC golf.  SLC charges a lot more for water for golf courses than the rest of the County and State as if the courses are a burden to the taxpayers.  So instead of being able to operate with a surplus, golf courses are claimed to be losing money, only in Salt Lake City!  But protecting greenery should be a priority.  Shared use (for walkers, joggers and others around the periphery) can and should be allowed.  A good example of the respect that the Council gives to golf, is the lowball cost of the property adjacent to the golf course that is going to be used for a fire station.  The property should have been valued at millions, instead it went for much less.


SLC GRAMA REFUSED TO BE APPEALED
  I and many others filed a GRAMA request to have the minutes of the City Council meeting that discussed the homeless sites made public.  Despite the fact that Council members have discussed their discussions, the City is still trying to keep the matter secret.  Our GRAMA requests were refused and we have 30 days to appeal to Patrick Leary through the City Recorder.  


SLC EAST BENCH DEER PROBLEMS
  Due to the problem with the expansion of deer population along the east bench of Salt Lake City, some have asked about culling the deer herd in that location.  The City has decided that the discussion will create too much dissension and has asked that the request be tabled.  The deer population is getting bad to the point where some come out of their house to see three of more deer on their front lawn.  They are increasing the risk of automobile accidents.


STATE STREET RDA EXPANSION COULD HELP AFFORDABLE HOUSING
  Salt Lake City is going slow when it comes to the State Street RDA/CDA expansion areas.  The Council did ask that the southern boundary around 300 West be extended south to 1700 South so that it would encompass the High Avenue homeless proposed site.  State Street, with form based zoning has the best potential for providing significant housing that includes affordable units.  Unfortunately, the buildup may take decades.  The City should speed it up.



NO SURPRISE THAT SIMPSON AVENUE SITE HAS ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES 
  Years ago, Union Pacific sold the S-Line/Sugar House streetcar rail property to UTA.  Everyone involved knew that the property needed environmental cleanup.  After UTA put in the streetcar line, the excess property that needed further remediation was sold to a specialist/consultant in environmental remediation.  Unfortunately, that property was north of the rail line.  The south side of the property was owned by someone else.  It appears that the environmental issues on the south side where the new proposed homeless site (Simpson Avenue) were not completely corrected.  Matthew Piper in the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Vitro, an old Uranium processor may have left tailings.  Those tailings are like super lead.  Most of the radioactive material in Uranium ore is removed for nuclear bomb processing and nuclear energy fuel rods.  That leaves the much less radioactive material whose chemical effects on human physiology is worse than the radioactive effects.  In the military, we called this stuff Depleted Uranium.  It is used by the military as a super lead that is heavier than lead and also, with a little Tungsten, sharpens when it hits something hard, like tank armor.  It is used by the USAF in the West Desert for shooting up tank and fortified targets.  
  This is not the Depleted Uranium that EnergySolutions has imported from the bomb makers in Savanna River South Carolina.  The EnergySolutions barrels (we only got a third of the barrels that they wanted to import to Utah) contain nuclear weapons waste which include Plutonium 240 (unstable isotope that increases in radioactivity five times in 100 years), Technicium, Americium, Cesium 137, Strontium 90 and other isotopes that bomb builders didn't want in their bombs.  It has gone through a reactor.  It is a powder and it should be considered the perfect dirty bomb and it is in barrels that are disintegrating.
  The environmental issue of this super lead in the Simpson Avenue site should also show that the site should be removed from homeless site consideration.





FEBRUARY 9, 2017
DOWNLOADS HAS NEW PROPOSED SITE ZONING DRAFT
OPEN SPACE PROPOSAL ON THE DOWNLOADS PAGE
SLC COUNCIL HEARS COMPLAINTS ON SIMPSON HOMELESS SITE
FORMER SENATOR URQUART WILL HAVE MAYORS AT SLCC ON FEBRUARY 13
DESERET NEWS OPED ON SLC'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL ACTIONS
1100 E DEVELOPMENT DENIED AT PLANNING COMMISSION
LEGISLATURE PUSHES BILL TO CHANGE UTA
LEGISLATURE FRIDAY TO DISCUSS NUCLEAR WASTE AND .05DUI


I put the downloads of the new proposed homeless site zoning proposal on the downloads page.  The Planning Commission will have at least one hearing on it before it goes to the Council.  It appears that there will be at least three hearings to get to the next step before finalizing the sites' zoning.  100 South and Simpson Avenue sites will require these hearings.

I also put the Open Space proposal on the downloads page and it is important.  The proposal's questionable issues or rule changes include: 

The City wants to remove automatic parking and traffic studies when changing open space use.  But they also want restaurants and amphitheaters and off site parking and those issues hurt neighborhoods.  For instance, the Liberty Park right hand turn lanes were put in without notice and they increase pollution significantly.  (The bicycle boulevard proposal did not include that action.  Noise from amphitheaters is still a concern and they want to allow 90 foot light poles!  The City proposes to make the rules more flexible for pump stations, gas or diesel pumps, sewer or water treatment facilities and storage of equipment (which may be as big as snow plows).  They also are proposing that solar farms can be placed on open space but open space should be used for trees and plants.  They discuss reuse of landmark sites like the plunge and Forest Dale.  The one good thing is the proposal to place living quarters on the park/open space site which is a prelude to park rangers.  Park rangers would help a lot in many of the parks. 

The February 7, SLC Council meeting discussed the golf courses and unfortunately, many Councilmembers want to close more courses.  They ignore the fact that SLC charges much more than other Utah governments for watering courses and parks.  In addition, the land transfer at Forest Dale for the new fire station (essentially being approved without anyone else objecting) was undervalued.  The property should be worth at least a million and it would have made the golf fund break even.  The evening meeting had another long line of commenters against the Simpson Avenue Homeless site.  It appears that 95 % of the objections to the homeless plan is from the Simpson Avenue site. 

On February 13, former Senator Steve Urquhart will host a meeting and forum with Mayor McAdams and Mayor Biskupski.  He has the influence that will hopefully result in reopening the 380 free beds at Oxbow and locking up the drug dealers.  It will be at the Salt Lake Community College South Campus on 1700 South State Street from 630 to 8 PM in the Atrium.  Parking should be available on the eastside.

Deseret News just published my opinion piece that points out the unconstitutional taking of property value that Salt Lake City is engaging in.  Salt Lake City, a City that prides itself for promoting equal rights, seems to be ignoring the basic rights that citizens of this Country have. After almost 200 years of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of those Rights, the citizens of the U.S. should not have to fight this fight to have all governments abide by the Bill of Rights. At a minimum, Salt Lake City should reevaluate their plans to include compensation for nearby homes and businesses. Salt Lake City should not act like Baltimore or those in the 1800s that said that the Bill of Rights does not apply to states and cities.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865672928/My-view-SLC-taking-of-property-value-is-unconstitutional.html

The 1100 East 1080 South proposal to build 7 new homes replacing a home and apartment building was turned down.  The East Liberty Park Community Council voted against the project over the objections of the co-chair.  The effort by the co-chair failed at the Planning Commission and the majority of nearby residents were against the proposal.

The Legislature’s Senate Transportation Committee passed to the Senate floor a recommendation to change UTA governance with SB0174S1.  It will require UTA to justify TODs and decrease the Board of Trustees and add a Citizen’s Advisory Board.  It is an important change to UTA. 

The Legislature on Friday February 10 at 3 PM will discuss HB155 which lowers the DUI standard to .05 in line with DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE (from just a drink or two and drive).  In addition, HB296 will be heard at another Committee at the same time.  It reduces fees paid by nuclear waste facilities.  It means that Utah will be further on the hook for storage of the wastes after the facility is closed or goes bankrupt.  The barrels of nuclear weapons’ waste are a particular concern since the barrels are disintegrating.  That waste, classified as Depleted Uranium but is actually waste in process that comes after the Uranium is irradiated in a nuclear reactor and the good parts used for bombs.  The waste nuclides including Plutonium 240, Americium, cesium, strontium and technetium are extremely dangerous, especially in powder form.  





JANUARY 30, 2017


LEGISLATURE'S REP. RAY COMPLAINS LACK OF SLCO JAIL SPACE


During a hearing at the Social Services Appropriations Sub-Committee, the Utah Justice Reinvestment Initiative was discussed.  Felony drug offenders sent to prison dropped almost in half. But county jails are impacted.  I put the JRI download on the downloads page along with the performance measure of offender treatment success.  Some say that the real success is around 20%.  When I complained about the lack of jail space and noted that the problem is SLCO will not open up more beds at Oxbow, Representative Ray agreed and pointed out that it is serious when a cop can't arrest someone who should be off  the street and in jail.  KSL's Debbie Dujanovic will have a story on this issue in the next few days.


I forgot to provide links to the KUTV2News story by Brian Mullahy.  Here they are:

http://kutv.com/news/local/ex-lawmaker-no-jail-for-heroin-meth-users-near-shelter

http://kutv.com/news/local/city-leaders-agree-drug-users



THIS WEEK'S MEETINGS

On Tuesday, at the Senate Government Operations Committee, they will hear a bill by Sen. Knudson outlawing carbon monoxide chambers.  It is SB0056 Animal Shelter Amendments.  It will be in room 415 at the State Capitol and start at 2 PM on January 31.

On Tuesday at Sprague Library, from 530 to 730 PM, there will be an open house to gather public comments on designing or retrofitting the Sprague Library.  Concerns are that the historic building may not survive the new architectural design.

On Wednesday, the Sugar House, the Greater Avenues, the Rose Park, Yalecrest and Central City Community Councils will meet.  The Central City Community Council will discuss Cowboy Partners' Pipeline Building project, Garbett Homes will discuss the Hardison Apartments on South Temple and Seven Canyons will discuss daylighting the underground creeks in the City.  In addition, the Council will continue discussions on creating community boards for the homeless sites.  Please go to your local community council meetings.  The list is to the right.




JANUARY 29, 2017


SPRAGUE LIBRARY REDESIGN/CONSTRUCTION  TUESDAY WITHOUT PROPER NOTICE


Salt Lake City Library will conduct a community outreach on the potential redesign and construction of the Sprague Library on Tuesday January 31 at Sprague from 530  to 730 PM.  The goal is to prepare the Sprague Library for the next 50 years.  This is almost no notice and interested individuals and users should communicate their feelings to the Library Board at boardcontact@slcpl.org.  Salt Lake City needs more libraries and money should be prioritized for new libraries.  It should not be used for reconstructing a historic landmark in Sugar House.  The Library is not on the historic landmark registry but it should be.  Upkeep of the Library (it has leaks) should have a higher priority than reconstructing the Library.  The most concern should be regarding the potential closure of the Library while construction occurs.






JANUARY 28, 2017

When will homeless sites issue be heard at Legislature?



The Social Services Appropriations Committee at the Legislature is where they will decide to give money to SLC for their homeless shelter idea.  To  comment during the public input on topics on agenda, speakers must contact Debbie Benson the day before by 1 PM at 801-326-1698 to be considered.  Please identify which agenda item you want to comment on and the name of the organization you will be representing (if applicable). To maximize the number of people who can provide public testimony, each person is limited to testifying twice on Social Services issues unless authorized by the chairs.  The agenda is posted the day before at le.utah.gov, calendar and SSAC is usually at the top of the day's list of hearings.

The homeless sites is tentatively scheduled to be discussed on February 6 (Monday) at the Social Services Appropriations Committee.  So if you are going to speak, you should call Debbie by February 3.  Note also that the date changed on Friday twice in a few hours.  It is important that you check the agenda everyday or stay in contact with those who are keeping tabs on the agenda.  

Also note that Monday's discussion will include the Justice Reinvestment Initiative that is decreasing criminal penalties for drug use and County overcrowding jails (along with Mayor McAdams taking away $10 million a year from the jail and not allowing the 380 free beds to be used). Debbie sometimes works on Saturday so if you want to testify, you should try to call her at 801-326-1698.

I had an opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune on Saturday (http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4867656-155/op-ed-chaos-reigns-when-police-cant) about the jail issues.

I am going to be busy with the Legislature for the next month so I will only be able to update the website every two weeks unless something big happens.  Please keep informed.  A lot is going to happen in the next month and a half.





JANUARY 18, 2017


FIGHT CONTINUES AGAINST SLC HOMELESS SITES PLAN

FATHER KILLED BY MAN WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN JAIL

SLC ATTEMPT TO STOP OPEN MEETING



FIGHT CONTINUES AGAINST SLC HOMELESS SITES PLAN

The fight against the SLC homeless sites plan continues.  Chris Sveiven had a great oped in the SLTRIB Sunday (http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4812996-155/op-ed-homeless-plan-despoils-award-winning-sugar) that pointed out that Sugar House got an award several years ago that was given, in part, for continuing involvement by the community in planning the neighborhood!  It is an important read and I encourage everyone to read it.  Chris is planning on applying to the Sugar House Community Council.  Susan Gallagher has filed a lawsuit against the City and it should help point out the problems with the plan and the process.  Not only was the vote to spend the money questionable, the efforts by the Mayor and Council to keep the public from noticing the cover up and removing the public from input are disrespectful at best and may be illegal.


The $7 million for the Sugar House site alone could be better used to remove the families and children who are exposed to the Rio Grande area's Road Home and putting them in temporary apartments (not motels).  There are 100 children exposed to the crime and 80+ registered sex offenders at the Road Home.


The Council and Mayor appear to be losing sight of the ball.  Instead of working on the homeless issues now, they are hoping and wishing and praying that the new shelters will fix the problem.  But the plan won't fix the problems with drug sales and crime on North Temple.  The plan won't solve the problems with homeless threatening and attacking homeowners and businesses.  The plan won't protect children in the parks from finding needles.  The plan won't remove the crime from State Street, from the motels and prostitution NOW and not wait three years to see if this experiment works.  


Stop the insanity and tell the Council and Mayor that the plan should stop; the Sugar House site should be removed from consideration; and, most importantly, the Mayor of Salt Lake County should open up all the jail beds now to help police remove the criminal elements and drug dealers from the homeless population.  


There is no model for placing a homeless shelter in a residential neighborhood (Chris Sveiven).  It appears that the fight will go to the Legislature and citizens will demand that Utah not support the illegal taking of property (through loss of equity) and questionable plan.




FATHER KILLED BY MAN WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN JAIL

Last week a father of three  was killed by a man who should have been in jail.  Kenneth Ross Gray was driving away from police who were attempting to recover his stolen BMW SUV.  He started at a State Street motel that has a reputation as a drug and crime area.  He was high on methamphetamine and driving over 80 mph when he struck and killed a man in a car.  Kenneth should have been in jail except that Ben McAdams won't provide sufficient funding to keep threats to society like Kenneth in jail.  Kenneth has a lengthy criminal history, mostly involving drugs and this should show that drugs are dangerous to society.


Tyler Allen Williams, another longtime criminal, also should have been in jail.  Instead, he carjacked a car, kidnapped two kids (released later) and just before he was caught and arrested, he almost killed three cops!  It appeared, to the police, that he was trying to kill the cops.  He would have been in jail except SLCO Mayor Ben McAdams won't provide sufficient funding to keep threats to society like Tyler in jail.  Politicians who refuse to ensure that public safety is a priority can also be a threat to society



Hundred year water law should not be decided by backroom deals
Salt Lake City Mayor Biskupski and Sandy Mayor Dolan are putting a lot of pressure on the Governor and the State of Utah to shut down discussion on Utah's hundred year old water laws that are now conflicting with different authorities.   So far, the pressure to stop an open meeting has failed.  


Salt Lake City, as a first class city, has the authority over watersheds in six Northern Utah counties. That extraterritorial jurisdiction gives Salt Lake City influence in development, home building, ranching, and recreation that involves water.


Over the last few years, several other cities have reached first class status and the overlapping authority of watershed creates obvious conflicts that are properly reason for reviewing the hundred year water law.  The Utah Quality Growth Commission has been tasked by the Legislature to review Utah's watershed and extraterritorial jurisdiction law that give Lt Governor Cox said it best when he pointed out that (regarding voter law) hundred year old laws should be reviewed.
Some parties have been trying to stop a fair and open review of Utah's hundred year water law. That flies in the face of Republican efforts to ensure transparency in government discussion and decision making.  This pressure is being directed to stop the Utah Quality Growth Commission efforts to have open and transparent and fair discussions and analysis.  The review is to ensure that Utah's water quality is continued to be protected in the face of extremely high density development pressure in the canyons.


The Utah Quality Growth Commission meetings are open and they encourage your comments.  The next meeting is January 19, at 9 AM at the State Capitol in the East Senate Building Seagull Room.



Mike Edwards, SLCOGOP Legislative Chair, had a recent opinion piece in the Deseret News (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865670145/My-view-Utah-needs-to-update-its-water-laws.html) that explained it very well:

Utah needs to update our hundred years old water law


  Salt Lake City, as a first class city (over 100,000 population), was granted watershed authority and extraterritorial jurisdiction 100 years ago due to its status as a first class city. In the next few years, there will be over seven first class cities in Utah. The question that is now being asked is how do you update the hundred year old watershed laws to decrease conflicts and ensure water quality.

  At present, Salt Lake City Public Utilities has watershed authority over 4 million acres in six counties. Salt Lake City controls the rights to over 500,000 acre feet of water while using only 50,000 acre feet.  Salt Lake City also sells 25,000 acre feet for about $25 million to other users via surplus water contracts. The majority of Utah cities exercise successful watershed protection with 300 feet on each side of the source up to 15 miles which is about 1,100 acres of watershed. When the law was passed, no one could have imagined the growth in population, development and recreation that Utah has exhibited. 

  Salt Lake City also pulls water from Utah Lake to replenish streams in Salt Lake County that have had water taken out for treatment to supply drinking water. Salt Lake City recently had to stop pulling water from Utah Lake to allow Riverton’s continued use of Utah Lake water. 

  Salt Lake City has pointed out that they have successfully managed the watershed in the canyons. But SLC does not allow recreation in the watershed that is allowed in other watersheds like the Provo River. There are questionable interpretations of their enforcement because Utah’s Constitution allows beneficial uses that are “protected for infrequent primary contact recreation and secondary contact recreation such as wading, hunting and fishing”. Use of the old mining roads is also under threat. The City goes so far as to not allow small indoor animals in the canyon private cabins. Although the City is responsible for the watersheds in the canyons, they have not used their income from selling water to provide sanitary facilities to the six million visitors a year who visit and recreate in the canyons.  There is also no preparation to mitigate potentially catastrophic fires in the canyons.

  Although SLC does not exercise their extra territorial jurisdiction in most cases, it has the authority to stop development in much of northern Utah. Its authority also affects farmers in Juab, Wasatch, Utah, Salt Lake, Davis, Weber and Summit County. The City also restricts transferring of water for any use, including new developments like data centers. That control was used by politicians who said that the proposed Facebook data center would use too much of our water at the same time as the City forces 16 million gallons a day to not be used. It should be noted that the land on which the data center would be located would have used 2 million gallons a day as farmland while the data center would probably use less than 500,000 gallons a day. Wise development can decrease water use.

  Salt Lake City and County are now planning to turn responsibility over the canyons to the federal government with the Central Wasatch Commission which is being created to implement the Mountain Accord recommendations. The proposal insists that Federal control of the canyons is necessary to protect the watershed. 

  Watersheds cross city and county boundaries. There are obvious conflicts of overlapping watershed authority, negative effects on development and recreation, and potential effects on ranching and farming in Northern Utah. 

  Earlier this week, the Utah Legislature’s Public Lands Commission heard testimony that showed potential problems with Utah’s watershed laws. The Commission asked that the Utah Quality Growth Commission recommend changes within the next six months on how to ensure that Utah’s watershed laws continue to protect water quality and minimize the effect of water supplies on development, construction, farming, ranching and recreation. Updating Utah water laws will protect the watersheds better than federal control.






JANUARY 13, 2017
ANOTHER WEEK AND MORE BACKLASH ON HOMELESS PLANS
URQUHART PUBLICIZES DRUG USE ALMOST LEGAL IN SLCO
BEN MCADAMS THROWS MAYOR BISKUPSKI UNDER THE BUS
SLC NEEDS 300 AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS NOW BUT NO SOLUTION IN SIGHT
FUTURE MEETINGS


ANOTHER WEEK AND MORE BACKLASH ON HOMELESS PLANS
The backlash against the homeless plans is increasing.  It was revealed by the Salt Lake Tribune that there is a back out clause in the contracts for the homeless site properties and the City would only have to pay $10,000.  The City should back out now and just use/plan one facility to start with and make it a facility for women and children.  See the story below about 100 children still at the Road Home.

URQUHART PUBLICIZES DRUG USE ALMOST LEGAL IN SLCO
Former Senator Steve Urquhart posted on Facebook that he feels that in SLCO, drug use is almost legal since police are not allowed to arrest for the use or possession due to Ben McAdams refusing to budget an appropriate amount for the jail to open up all possible beds and allow the police to arrest the dangerous criminals.  As discussed in many posts below (CTRL F jail) and in opinions, this is a serious issue.  KUTV2 Brian Mullahy did an excellent story on the issue.  I do not blame the Sheriff.  He has tried every year to get the County to fund proper jail function for public safety but Ben McAdams keeps ignoring the issue and insists that he considers his budgets to place high priority on public safety.  I encourage everyone to click on the link to KUTV2's story: http://kutv.com/news/local/ex-lawmaker-no-jail-for-heroin-meth-users-near-shelter

It is so bad now that needles are being given out, 5 for one used one.  So police now have to be extra careful when frisking criminals!  Write Ben at mayor@slco.org and demand that he allow cops to do their job.  DUI, car thefts, burglary, thefts and robberies are increasingly being committed by individuals who have multiple arrests for the same criminal activity!  Check out Steve Urquhart's post on Facebook.  It is very good.  My Deseret News opinion "SLCO jail issues" a few months ago also goes into detail on the frustration of police.  Also note that, since there is a 9 month waiting list for treatment, drug addicts in court are essentially let loose.  That is why Steve Urquhart says drug use is almost legal in SLCO.


BEN MCADAMS THROWS MAYOR BISKUPSKI UNDER THE BUS
SLCO Mayor Ben McAdams is now saying that SLC paid too much for the Simpson Avenue/Sugar House homeless site property and is recommending that it be developed into an affordable housing facility.  But, SLC Council, last year, heard that mixed income apartments are better and prevent the potential issue of crime and lack of responsibility that seem to come from low income units.  A good, or bad, example is the Enclave on 1400 (just across the street from the High Avenue 300 West homeless site proposal.  The Enclave has a reputation for ignoring drug dealing and evicting people who complain about criminal activities in the facility.  

The homeless site plan is Ben McAdams' plan.  Mayor Biskupski came into office when the plan was almost complete and she should not be blamed for it.  I do not agree with the plan and the Council and Mayor deserve the backlash due to going back on their promises to have the public weigh in on the sites before finalizing them.  But Ben McAdams has been silent until this week and allowed Mayor Biskupski to take all of the blame.  Some call it a typical throw your former ally under the bus.  I hope that most people recognize it as a disrespectful thing to do.  The plan is Ben's and he should take responsibility for it.  He should also be recognized as the reason why so many in the homeless expansion site neighborhoods are concerned about crime and drug dealing by the homeless.  Ben is responsible for the lack of adequate support to allow SLC Police to do their job.  The plans should stop moving forward until Ben opens up all beds at the jail (380 free now) and locks up the hundreds of drug dealers now.  Then the plan should start with a women and children's shelter.  Note that, as of this week, there were 100 children at the downtown Road Home and 200 at the Midvale shelter.  The Road Home is also the home address of over 80 registered sex offenders.


BACKROOM DEALS TO STOP TRANSPARENT WATERSHED DISCUSSIONS
There is significant pressure by lobbyists and others to stop the open and transparent discussion about watershed issues in Utah.  Salt Lake City and the most influential governments like the system that they control and do not want change.  But the other first class cities with overlapping authority and potential conflicts are pushing for evaluating watershed laws to reflect the significant changes since the law was first enacted almost 100 years ago.  Hopefully, the lobbyists that are fighting to keep decisions behind closed doors will fail in their efforts.


SLC NEEDS 300 AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS NOW BUT NO SOLUTION IN SIGHT
Matt Minkavitz, the Director of the Road Home has indicated that the City desperately needs 300 affordable housing units now to stop the homeless population from increasing.  He believes that it will cost about $20 million.  In addition, the one "problem" individual that is in the Road Home managed building around 1300 South is being evicted and that should decrease the complaints about their building.


FUTURE MEETINGS
There are many meetings in the next week that will allow for public comment.  
Tuesday 2 PM at SLC Council/RDA meeting.  Public comment is allowed for two minutes.  There will be another chance to provide general comment at the evening formal SLC Council meeting that will have another RDA and Building Authority public hearing.  In addition, that 7 PM formal meeting will include a public comment period for the general public.

Wednesday, the 18th, at 7 PM, the City will have another open house at Nibley Elementary at 2775 S. 800 East starting at 7 PM.  The City has changed the time and place several times and this is the time that is now listed.  

The Quality Growth Commission is scheduled to have a meeting to discuss watershed issues on January 19th at 1030 AM but, as noted above, there is significant pressure to stop the open and transparent discussion of watershed issues



JANUARY 6, 2017
BALLPARK COMMUNITY PROMOTES HOMELESS SHELTER
SUGAR HOUSE HOMELESS SHELTER ON THE ROPES


BALLPARK COMMUNITY PROMOTES HOMELESS SHELTER
  The Ballpark Community Council is pushing High Avenue for women and children and likes the process that the City has undertaken.  At the Ballpark Community Council meeting last night, Chair Bill Davis said that we had a deal that we would build four shelters and that the deal should be accepted. the deal was that the public would have input on possible sites before the decision!  There was no deal that the sites should be decided behind closed doors and the decision kept secret from the public for several weeks.  I respect Bill Davis as a community leader (He has organized several community councils and participates in several.) but I disagree with his statement that we should accept the deal.  Ballpark may feel comfortable with a shelter but I am not sure that the adjacent businesses and Enclave at 1400 South (a low income housing project) accept the proposal.  Only one business from the area seemed to be at the meeting which had double the number of regular council attendees at about 30.  

  Kevin Claunch, a Ballpark Community Council Board member, pointed out that there is a halfway house in the Ballpark neighborhood; State Street is a high crime area; prostitution and drugs are regularly visible in the area and the City should be working to fix those problems now.  Ballpark needs an Operation Diversion.

  During the meeting, I asked that the Mayor be prepared to answer these questions at the next meetings:


When will study on equity and business loss be available and what compensation is being considered?

When will county services for adequate jail space and adequate mental health treatment be available? 

 What are the plans for those who want to do drugs, get drunk or have pets or have many possessions?





SUGAR HOUSE HOMELESS SHELTER ON THE ROPES
  Matthew Piper has researched the sale of the Sugar House Simpson Avenue homeless site and found that the property sold for about $7 million.  His story, recommended reading, can be found at:
http://www.sltrib.com/news/4785825-155/salt-lake-city-spent-7-million?fullpage=1



  Note that it goes into detail about the costs, the contract, the company that sold the property to the City and the most important fact that there is a 120 day backout period in the contract that would cost the City $10,000!  In other words, the contracts are not set in stone and they can be rescinded with minimal cost within 120 days (from about October 18, which is when the City Council authorized the buys.

  Another story by Matthew Piper who now covers the Salt Lake City area for the Salt Lake Tribune talks about the Sugar House Community Council meeting (picture and story below) on January 4.  It again appears that the Simpson Avenue site is coming under very high pressure to reverse the decision.  Again, Matthew's story is important reading:
http://www.sltrib.com/news/4781129-155/biskupski-continues-to-face-resistance-a


  The effort by residents of Sugar House to reverse the decision to place a homeless shelter on Simpson Avenue is looking very promising.  I think that there is only a 50% chance that it will come to fruition.  Keep organizing protests and get everyone to the next few meetings.




JANUARY 5, 2017
BACKLASH AGAINST MCADAMS’ HOMELESS SHELTERS PLAN AND RESOLUTION
SUGAR HOUSE MEETING HAD 45 TURNED AWAY
THANK THE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS FOR THEIR ATTENTION AND PRESSURE 
ERIN MENDENHALL CLAIMS THAT SHE WAS AGAINST PLAN BUT SPONSORED IT!
EXPERIMENTAL SOLUTION GIVES RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES LOSS OF EQUITY
DIFFERING OPINIONS
FUTURE MEETINGS

BACKLASH AGAINST MCADAMS’ HOMELESS SHELTERS PLAN AND RESOLUTION
  Monday, January 2, there was a large gathering of individuals to organize a protest against the homeless shelter sites.  They intended to stand up during the Salt Lake City Council’s Work Session the next day and demand a public hearing before any further action on the homeless sites were taken.  Specifically, they wanted to stop the proposed resolution that was tabled at the December 13th Council meeting.  Lisa Adams met with the leaders of the protest and talked them out of the protest.  The Council now says that they don’t need the resolution.  Part of the problem is that Lisa Adams did not want to sign the resolution on the homeless sites without language that agreed that the women and children’s shelter would be on Simpson Avenue.  That agreement was made in closed session.  Erin Mendenhall also had concerns about the language of the resolution.  The Council was also asked to allow the group against the proposal to make a one hour presentation against the plan so that the Council could get all sides of the issue.  
  Mayor McAdams answered questions from the Council at Tuesday’s work session.  He was grilled on whether the plan was a sure thing and that it would work.  He said that the Road Home would decrease their homeless sleeping numbers as the new shelters and system came online.  He was asked if just one expansion shelter should be tried first but he was non committal in his response.  He also told the press after his presentation that he was letting Mayor Biskupski and the Council handle the issue.  But the big driver of this plan is Ben McAdams!  He is the one person most responsible for the lack of attention to the criminal elements and drug dealing and mental health issues in the homeless population.  This plan is Mayor Ben McAdams’ plan!  Trying to place the blame, the fault and the responsibility on anyone else is wrong.  Mayor McAdams is pushing this and is responsible for the lack of solutions now to remove the criminal element and drug dealers from the Rio Grande (and now throughout the City) neighborhood.  We are way past "we can't arrest our way out of it".  We now have to arrest our way out of it.  SLCO is responsible for the lack of jail space to lock up drug dealers and those who are public safety threats for more than 4 hours.  SLCO is responsible for significantly cutting back on mental health treatment years ago.  This situation can only be solved by continuing to publicize the problem to force real solutions now and not experiment.
  SLC Mayor Biskupski and the Council were wrong to decide the sites without public discussion.  Even former Mayor DePaulis encouraged the Council several months ago to make sure that the public is fully engaged in this process.    The Tuesday January 4 City Council meeting attracted over 150 interested attendees.  Those who protested the plan were almost unanimous.  This is not a solution.  This is an experiment.  In one day, many homeowners and businesses lost tens of thousands of dollars in equity and value.  THIS IS TANTAMOUNT TO ILLEGAL TAKING OF PROPERTY.  The meeting ended after 9:30.  

SUGAR HOUSE MEETING HAD 45 TURNED AWAY
  The next day, the Central City Neighborhood Council met and Mayor Biskupski argued for public support of the new shelter sites.  She failed to show that the driving force in this process is Salt Lake County Mayor McAdams.  This is his plan.  There were many complaints that the area is already experiencing a problem with the homeless camping and sleeping in the area.  There were complaints that there is plenty of drug and criminal activity in the area now and there is no plan to stop the problem now and no plan to ensure that the neighborhood is going to not be negatively impacted by the new 700 South shelter.  One business owner, a block away, has had two businesses want out of his property and he believes that he and four other businesses have to move out of Salt Lake City.  Another landowner has had to stop her development because two tenants pulled out and that endangered the project financing.  She did get a question about the decrease in property values and she said that she is having a study done on the issue.  The Central City Neighborhood Council board seems to accept the 700 South site but the nearby businesses and residents have not organized yet and time will tell.  That area of State Street was supposed to be a new redevelopment area but this plan puts the proposal to upgrade the area into a wait and see situation.  About 80 attended the meeting.  
  The Sugar House Community Council provided a more organized meeting that required speakers using the standing microphone.  It limited the previous meeting’s shouting from everyone.  The meeting had over 300 in a room and about 45 had to be turned away by the Sprague Library Manager, Mary.  It was not her fault since Peter Bromberg, the SLCPL Executive Director, was also in attendance and the room WAS well over capacity.  (see picture) The Mayor did mention that the plan is a County plan but there was no answer to the concern that the properties nearby will be impacted.  The news organizations were there in force and provided excellent coverage.  Only one person in the audience expressed support for the plan. When asked how many were against the plan, almost 300 hands went up!  
  Several news organizations reported that instead of saying that the plan and sites are cast in concrete, the Mayor now says that it is fluid and “we will see”.  I believe that with several Councilmembers raising questions and the big public backlash, and the press coverage, there is a 50% chance that the Simpson Avenue site will not be used.  The other sites have not had community council meetings and we will see.

THANK THE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS FOR THEIR ATTENTION AND PRESSURE
  Thank you to the news organizations that are covering the experimental plan to put homeless shelters (the Road Home also used to be called Homeless Resource Center) in residential neighborhoods.  The decrease in property value and equity in businesses and homes is significant and the City is now studying that issue.  The reason, I believe, is because the news media is covering the issue.  This is why this Country is great.  The unexamined life won’t improve and good decisions die behind closed doors.  The news media is the reason that the issues and problems with plans and decisions are evaluated and debated.  It makes for better decisions and a better Country.  News coverage IS making a difference and forcing the City and Council to reevaluate the questionable plan.  The news media deserves the credit.  When you see news media at your meetings, thank them for their attention to that meeting.

ERIN MENDENHALL CLAIMS THAT SHE WAS AGAINST PLAN BUT SPONSORED IT!
  I keep hearing the statement that Erin Mendenhall was against the plan for the homeless sites.  This is surprising because I was there when she made the motion to approve (without any public comment) the $11.7 million spending on buying the homeless sites.  The closed door meeting that agreed to the site locations occurred several months ago and if she really was against it, she should have spoken up before.  The only indication that she had second thoughts, was at the Council meeting on December 13 and it was really about the resolution.  Lisa was the one person on the Council who expressed that she did not want to approve the resolution because of the lack of language that did not locate the women and children’s facility at the Simpson Avenue location.  I have put the minutes of the October 18th meeting at the top of the downloads page to prove that Erin supported the plan.  She made the motion at 6:19 PM after the chair of the RDA, Lisa Adams said that there would be further (October 25) public hearing.  Usually, that means that the approval is not happening now.  But Erin made the motion four hours later to approve the money for the site buys.  In addition, the Council did not acknowledge that they had made the decision until Lisa admitted it in November to Christopher Smart of the Salt Lake Tribune.  He did several stories about it in November.  So the Council seemed to be trying to keep the decision secret for as long as possible.  I do not appreciate Erin’s statement that she was against the site(s).  If she says it again, tell her to produce the minutes of the closed sessions that decided the sites to prove it.  The October 18 RDA meeting only had Andrew Johnston questioning the speed and process.

EXPERIMENTAL SOLUTION GIVES RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES LOSS OF EQUITY
The State Legislature has a pushbutton issue with illegal taking of private property. In one case, near the Sugar House homeless site, a $260,000 house sale was cancelled after the nearby shelter was announced and the offer was rescinded. Several other homeowners have estimated that they have lost tens of thousands of dollars in value and equity.  At least three individuals have estimated that they have lost almost $100,000.  Many of the homeowners near the Sugar House proposed site have also lost tens of thousands of dollars in equity.  I know of several other cases near the 700 South site (mentioned at the Council meeting) where a development is on hold since two tenants rescinded their agreement to participate near another shelter.  Again, this is tantamount to the illegal taking of private property.  I believe that the Legislature will get involved.

DIFFERING OPINIONS SHOULD BE RESPECTED
  I have been following the recent discussions and decisions about the homeless problems and solutions. I have made it clear that I cannot support the Salt Lake City plans regarding the new homeless sites until Salt Lake City develops and successfully implements plans to remove the criminal elements from the homeless population.
  I have been especially concerned about the actions and comments of many against the plans due to their very personal attacks while voicing their free speech opinion. The attacks seem to be close to encouraging physical harm. Arguments about the issues lose credibility when the opinion is a personal attack.
  If one reads the comments on stories in the newspapers, you can find many personal attacks that ignore the issues. In fact, one can recognize that those making personal attacks cannot seem to provide a reasonable argument. The recent statements against the Salt Lake City Council and Mayor due to their decision on the homeless sites also seem to ignore significant issues and instead devolve into nonsensical threats. That only results in making the arguments against their decisions worthless. Threats and personal attacks imply that there are no good arguments against the decisions of those who are being attacked.
  I am often attacked for my opinions but those attacks are useless unless they are discussing the issues and not me. The issues are more important than I am. Ignoring the issues and attacking me just makes the attacker seem to be too dumb to make an argument about the issue.
  Although I don’t agree with Salt Lake City plans, I do not think that it will be as bad as many have assumed. Although a homeless shelter in a neighborhood can decrease a home’s value about 12.7% (according to realtor.com), I find it hard to believe that the four City Council members up for election next year (and the mayoral election in three years) will let the City allow things to be as bad as they are now. I am convinced that the threat of losing elections will put significant pressure on the Council to ensure that the criminal element is removed now so that the new homeless centers will not be as much of a burden on adjacent neighborhoods. I still do not agree that it is a good decision but I am hopeful that the public will keep pressure on the City to fix the homeless problems now to prove that the new sites will not have as negative an impact as some think.
  The language on both sides is concerning. Many officials have made statements that the citizens should have courage to back the homeless sites’ plan. But the courage to say no and speak up when there are legitimate issues is also important. Implying that someone is a coward for not backing the plan is also personal and detracts from the arguments for the plan. It is also concerning that the decision was made without the promised, and important for success, public engagement. Closed door decisions are disrespectful and often are not as reasonable as those with full public engagement. Good decisions die behind closed doors. 
  Good opinions die with personal attacks. The more respectful the discussion, the better the decisions. Personal attacks should not be part of this very important discussion. Differing opinions should respect people and focus on the issues.

FUTURE MEETINGS 
Ballpark Community Council Meeting
When: Thursday, January 5, 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Taylor Springs Apartment Community Meeting Room (1812 South West Temple)
City officials are scheduled on the agenda at 7:30pm. Visit the Ballpark Community Council’s Facebook page for more information.
 
City Council Formal Meeting
When: Tuesday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: City and County Building (451 South State Street), Room 315
Individuals are invited to use the open-podium time which allows anyone to speak on any topic for up to 2-minutes. Read the agenda here.
Community Workshops (Note: Updated Information)
Due to space concerns, the community workshops have been re-located from the Public Safety Building. Workshops will be led by City Staff.
Public input on building design, safety for homeless people and surrounding neighbors and integrating the buildings in the larger neighborhoods will be welcomed at a series of workshops:
Workshop #1:
When: Wednesday, January 11, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Salt Lake Community College, South City Campus ( 1575 State Street) Multipurpose Room
 
Workshop #2:
When: Wednesday, January 11, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Salt Lake Community College, South City Campus (1575 State Street) Atrium
 
Workshop #3:
When: Wednesday, January 18, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Nibley Park Elementary School, 2785 South 800 East





DECEMBER 24, 2016
SLTRIB OPED REALITY CHECK ON HOMELESS SHELTERS
HOMELESS BACKLASH IS GETTING DISRESPECTFUL
WILL SUGAR HOUSE COMMUNITY COUNCIL SPEAK UP?
STILL NO WAY TO REMOVE CRIMINALS FROM HOMELESS
LEGISLATURE ORDERS REVIEW OF SLC WATER AUTHORITY
PROVO BRT ALMOST DONE DEAL
DID HOMELESS SITE BUYS ENRICH ANYONE?

The sltrib.com oped on homeless shelter site decisions lays out the concerns over each site.  If the public had a chance to provide input, some of the sites and issues would have caused a different and better decision.
http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4709681-155/op-ed-without-more-crime-control-homeless
 
The backlash against the homeless shelters is getting disrespectful which actually hurts the argument against the closed door decisions made by the SLC Mayor and City Council.  The SLC Council and Mayor decided the sites secretly and without notice or acknowledgment on October 18 (note that there are two different agendas available – one does not say adopt the budget that was used to buy the four sites.).  They didn’t acknowledge it for several weeks.  I think that it was wrong and disrespectful.  But arguing the case by insulting personal attacks actually implies that there isn’t a valid argument against their actions. 


 The Sugar House Community Council will meet on January 4 at 7 PM at the Sprague Library (just south of the Barnes and Noble on 2100 S. and Highland Drive.  Hopefully, there will be plenty of time to express the frustrations of the neighborhood towards the actions of the Council and Mayor.  Realtor.com estimates that there is a 12.7% decrease in home value next to a homeless shelter.  It will be interesting to see how the homeowners in the neighborhood surrounding the Simpson Ave. site are treated.  There is also the big Dan Lofgren project on 600 E. and Wilmington that also lost a lot of value with this decision.  The Council and Mayor also ignored the recently approved, with great deliberation, the Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Zone that was supposed to encourage mixed use facilities around the streetcar stations.



 I CANNOT SUPPORT THE HOMELESS EXPANSION SITES UNLESS SLC DEVELOPS AND SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTS PLANS TO REMOVE THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT FROM THE HOMELESS POPULATION.  The refusal of Mayor McAdams to open up more jail space (in the Oxbow Jail which has 380 open beds) along with increased DA support is endangering the homeless, the cops and also all citizens in Salt Lake County.  Pamela Atkinson has stated that if we allow the hundreds of drug dealers to continue to operate among the homeless, the homeless will not want to get into shelters or off the street.  They will continue to be encouraged to get high and not get off drugs.  The thefts rate in Salt Lake City is one of the highest in the nation.  It can be attributed, in my opinion, to the fact that when the cops catch a criminal with stolen items, they often cannot take them to jail or keep them there even if the jail takes them.  Drug dealers get out in four hours.  If a thief is released, even if caught with the stolen items, the public is at risk of being victimized again and again.  KUTV2’s Gephardt recently did a story about the number of deaths caused by people driving on revoked licenses because they are seldom taken to jail even when caught.  Innocent people are being killed because of the lack of jail space.  KSL did a story a few months ago about stolen cars.  A car thief might be caught once every 30 or 40 car thefts.  When they are caught, they are generally released quickly.  The idea that they won’t do it again is “magical thinking” (a phrase that a homeless provider gave me that seems appropriate for this issue and also for the naive belief that four new shelters will solve the homeless problem.  Law enforcement is also at increased risk due to those who present the greatest threat are usually free to hurt anyone trying to stop them and usually it is the police.  A recent case where a two time assailant  of police was not enough to keep the threat in jail.  He was released and in a short time attacked and almost killed a cop.  Only the public can convince Mayor McAdams to actually make public safety a priority.  His statements that he is supporting public safety seem to be questionable in the face of reality.
 

The Legislature’s Public Lands Commission held a hearing on Salt Lake City’s watershed extraterritorial jurisdiction.  There were many complaints discussed about the issues regarding the misuse of Salt Lake City’s jurisdiction over the canyons and conflicts from overlapping authority regarding the hundred year old law that gives Salt Lake City the authority to protect watershed.  But Salt Lake City has not built any restrooms to serve the six million visitors a year that use the canyons and thinks that every visitor will “hold” it until they leave the canyons.  Salt Lake City has said (they did not testify in their defense) that the Forest Service should provide the restrooms.  But the restrooms are often closed.  They were closed during Labor Day’s big rush and permanently closed after October despite the moderate temperatures through November.  Salt Lake City also does not have a plan to fight fires in the canyons.  Fires and human excrement are the biggest threat to the water quality that SLC is supposed to protect.  I put the draft Fire Study on the downloads page.  The Commission ordered the Utah Quality Growth Commission to study the issue and report back to the Legislature within six months with recommendations.


The Provo BRT has received significant Federal Funds for the TRIP BRT.  That means that Utah County will probably approve the bond to finish the project.  That is another case of the public being left out of decisions that  obligate taxpayers for generations.  The Legislature is the only chance to reign in local officials that like to spend taxpayer money on big budget questionable projects.


There is a discussion going around that there was some unjust riches involving the homeless sites’ buy.  The rumor is that at least one site was transferred twice in the space of a month.  If that is true, then there was an illegal enrichment and hopefully the State Auditor will be able to investigate and bring any irregularity to light.





DECEMBER 15, 2016

MOUNTAIN ACCORD DOES NOT HAVE MONEY TO CONTINUE?
UTA BOARD INSISTS THAT THEY HAVE NOT COMMITTED TO AIRPORT TRAX
HOMELESS SITE BACKLASH AT COMMUNITY COUNCIL IN LIBERTY WELLS

DEVELOPERS GET SCREWED BY HOMELESS SITE SELECTION
RULES CAUSE THE HOMELESS TO END UP ON THE STREET

HOMELESS SITE SELECTION DECISION MAY NOT HAVE BEEN LEGAL!!!!


The Mountain Accord Director Laynee Jones has indicated that the money for Mountain Accord has run out and she is volunteering her time and effort for this effort until the CWC (Central Wasatch Commission) is implemented or more money is allocated.  She has said that the Mountain Accord Executive Board is not intact but that any expenditures are being made in accordance with past Executive Board requirements.  It will be interesting to see what the next step is.



At the monthly UTA Board of Trustee meeting yesterday, there was a lot of Board discussion on many issues.  The first issue that came up was Salt Lake City has been told that UTA has committed to building the airport TRAX new station and rail system.  But the Board has not approved that.  The only thing that the Board has agreed to is the design work for the proposed project (about $5 million) and work with Salt Lake City to find the funds to build it.  After a vigorous discussion by the UTA Board, it was disclosed that a letter was sent from UTA to SLC that said that UTA is committed to working on a reasonable project that relocates the TRAX station.  Jerry Benson said that the reasonable and relocate words qualify the commitment and do not obligate UTA. The Board will need to agree on any further expense and commitment.  Several Board members expressed concern about the project cost and who will pay for it.  Will all Utah taxpayers pay for it, or just Salt Lake City taxpayers, or all Salt Lake County taxpayers or taxpayers in adjacent counties?  If the Legislature does not change the law that restricts airport passenger funds in Utah from being used for "fixed guideway projects" (asked for by Delta to keep all money for the terminal project), finding the funds will be difficult.

It was also revealed that the UTA budget is a 200 plus page document but the public only was given a few pages.  UTA promised to give us the full budget document along with the letter to SLC regarding the airport TRAX limited commitment.

Eight individuals showed up to support the Central Wasatch Commission (CWC) Interlocal Agreement that transfers funds and commitments from UTA to the Mt Accord or any next step entity.  It is about $200,000 and removes UTA from being a primary part of the Mt Accord.  The Mt Accord did start as a transportation study but due to the lack of open meetings and questionable recommendations (like discouraging single occupancy personal vehicles and a National Monument and a tunnel and rail up the canyons and implementing canyon fees) there has been a stall at the County Council level.  Mayor McAdams pulled the vote last month because he only had two votes for the CWC and the County Council had too many concerns about the significant power that the Commission would have.  The Mt Accord follow on will have to be setup by the end of 2017 to continue.  The recommendations, in my mind, are more appropriately debated and voted on by the County Council.  The speakers for the CWC included two ski resorts, Salt Lake City (which did not have a public hearing before voting for it - like with the homeless shelter sites and the closing a golf course last year), Save Our Canyons and the Sierra Club.  Again, the Board was told that UTA is not committing to the CWC but is removing its responsibility for the money that they already committed to.  A future discussion and vote will take place if the CWC is approved by the appropriate governments (Sandy, Cottonwood Heights, SLCO and SLC).  The CWC was one of the first times that I witnessed the UTA Board undertake a vigorous discussion on an issue in front of it without rubber stamping a staff recommendation.  I need to emphasize that the UTA Board now seems to be doing what it should have been doing for years, questioning the recommendations before them and doing due diligence.

One final important UTA issue was discussed in closed session.  It was the need to negotiate with landowners in Provo to complete the Provo TRIP/BRT line.  UTA received Small Starts money from the Federal Government and the project is picking up speed (I am against BRT since I do not believe that UTA has run a successful BRT and buses stopping every four blocks may not encourage ridership.).  In the event that the negotiation is not successful, UTA needs to give UDOT a request to condemn the properties.  Unfortunately, UTA has a history of significantly lowballing offers for property which usually results in a onerous condemnation process.  UTA has disrespectfully, unethically and, in my mind illegally, taken property without justification.  The UTA Board all voted to give UDOT the authority to condemn property if negotiations are not successful.



The Wednedsday December 14th Liberty Wells Community Council meeting was the first meeting after announcing the locations for the homeless sites.  Mayor Biskupski was supposed to be at the meeting to answer the questions but was unable to attend due to a family emergency.  But many of her senior staff was there including Patrick Leary, David Litvack, Jennifer Seelig, Chief Brown and many other senior officers were there.  They endured a withering onslaught of complaints and questions.  Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall joined them halfway through the hour long session.  Several complained about crime issues associated with the homeless.  Chief Brown indicated that the SLCPD is coming close to 200 patrol officers and indicated that he has received City Council support to hire more officers if he needs them.  He did tell the Council several months ago that he could use 20 new officers.  The many of the new officers are coming on from other law enforcement agencies so they will be up to speed quickly.  That should help.  Unfortunately, law enforcement in the SLCO Valley is not given the tools to arrest for less than a felony due to jail overcrowding.  Chief Brown expressed frustration at not being able to arrest drug users that could create a threat but that commit crimes that don't reach the level that allows the police to take them to jail.

Many expressed anger at the attitude of the senior staff (repeating the Mayor) that we should have the courage to work together to make these sites work.  Several expressed concern that after putting $50,000 into buying a new home next to the Simpson Avenue site, it is all gone down the toilet.  The comments became more angry and the Chair of Liberty Wells Community Council had to ask the audience to calm down.  There were over 70 residents that attended the meeting.  It was also noted that Councilwoman Lisa Adams went door to door in the neighborhood today to talk to residents.  Several pointed out the inconsistency in Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall's statement regarding where the womens and family shelter would go compared to Councilwoman Lisa Adams complaint at Tuesday's City Council meeting where she complained that the resolution that rubber stamped the site locations did not include language that the Simpson Avenue/Sugar House site was not listed as being for women or families.  Ballpark (in Erin's District) also seems to want the womens or family shelter.  No one seems to have noticed that the drawing of the Simpson Avenue site is on 700 East/Simpson corner.  But the address is halfway down the block.  If the building will be on the corner, Dancing Cranes will have to close.  Others complained that if the Daycare is closed, working mothers and families are significantly impacted. 

Councilwoman Erin Mendehall made an odd comment that she loves working for the area and looks forward to continuing.  Overall, many of the audience expressed disgust that the decision was made in secret without recognizing and respecting the significant negative effect on neighbors.  I still believe that if Salt Lake City does not develop and implement a successful plan that removes the criminal element from the homeless population, the homeless expansion sites will not be successful and should not even be built.



Several other points of information need to be noted.  Dan Lofgren, Utah's famous builder of affordable housing (using several Utah and Federal programs) is essentially screwed by Salt Lake City.  His Cowboy Partners just had a project approved on the north side of the S-line streetcar line.  The Simpson Avenue site is on the south side of the streetcar line.  So his project may not be financially viable (neighbors fought it due to concern about lack of parking).  In addition, Salt Lake City recently approved the Sugar House Streetcar Corridor that is supposed to encourage ground floor public spaces and mixed use walkable buildings (lots of ground floor glass, restaurants, stores etc).  This project throws that plan out the window.  If the Mayor and Council had allowed public a chance to comment on the sites before casting them in stone, these issues would have come out.




One of the comments made by the Mayor's staff was how nice the Ogden Lantern House fits into their neighborhood.  But the Lantern House is actually in a business/industrial area and the closest homes are well across a large busy road.  In addition, the Lantern House refuses to serve homeless that break the rules.  THEY TELL THE HOMELESS TO GO TO SALT LAKE CITY!  That is the same problem in Salt Lake City.  If there is problem with a homeless person at the Road Home, whether it is a misunderstanding or a major incident, that homeless person is banned from the Road Home for 30 days.  That encourages living and taking drugs and defecating on the street.  That is why Salt Lake City needs an inviting and no rules facility that takes in all homeless from off the street.  With such a facility, those who try to camp out will be aggressively encouraged to go indoors and off the street, sidewalks and parks in Salt Lake City.  The rules in place to try to make the Road Home and Lantern House safe for most homeless (although many homeless say that the Road Home is definitely not safe) does seem to pour the worst of the homeless onto the street to survive or die.  It almost seems that that is why so many are injecting themselves with heroin (and leaving the needles in the grass or on the sidewalk).  

I still believe that if Salt Lake City does not develop and implement a successful plan that removes the criminal element from the homeless population, the homeless expansion sites will not be successful and should not even be built.




One final note for this week of high drama: The Salt Lake City Council approved the RDA Budget Amendment No 2 that includes the $22 million for the affordable housing program and the $11.7 million for the new homeless sites officially Tuesday.  Of course, if anyone is paying attention, the City Council, sitting as the RDA Board approved the Budget Amendment on October 18th after closing the public hearing then saying that there will be another public hearing on October 25 and after.  But four hours after saying that, the Council as the RDA Board voted to approve the funds!  If any lawyer wants an excuse for a lawsuit, this is it.  The October 18 RDA meeting is not on the Public Meeting Notice website as required by law and there are two versions of the agenda (different from the original).  One says adopt the budget amendment and the other does not say that.  All of that increases the distrust of the City Council by the voters in Salt Lake City.  I said it before and I will keep saying it: good decisions die behind closed doors.





DECEMBER 13, 2016
HOMELESS SITES DECIDED WITHOUT ASKING CITIZENS (DOWNLOAD)
RESOLUTION TO ACCEPT SITES FALTERS DUE TO DISAGREEMENTS
ANALYSIS OF HOMELESS SITES


I put the Salt Lake City decision on the homeless sites on the download page at the top.  It lists the sites and the amenities in the area that resulted in the decision for that site.  I still believe that the Mayor should not be making the decision about the homeless sites without public engagement that has, up until two months ago, been promised.  The Council seems to have rubber stamped the sites.  The last time this happened, Mayor Becker tried to place the new SLCPD HQ on Library Square.

The resolution to accept the site faltered due to the Mayor not available during the vote at the Formal SLC Council meeting.  In addition, Lisa Adams was concerned that the Road Home Board may not have definitely decided officially to close the Road Home and give it to SLC RDA.  She also was upset that previous discussions and agreements on the Simpson Ave. site was not in the resolution.  Lisa said that the only reason that she agreed to that site was with the understanding that it would be for women or families. (Note that Ballpark also is pushing for women or families shelter if they got a homeless site.  So Erin Mendenhall and Lisa Adams will have to fight about it.) She also pointed out that the sale of the Simpson site may be problematic with the daycare lease running through 2019.  So the Council voted to table the resolution until the Mayor is available.  It could happen with one day's notice.  It will be interesting to see if the issues that Lisa noted will change the resolution (on the downloads page).

My analysis of the sites are:

The 653 Simpson Ave site is next to a quiet single family home neighborhood.  The last place governments should place homeless shelters is next to single family homes.

The High St. site is next to fast food restaurants and Granato's and across the street from Walmart.  1300 South and 300 West (next to the site) is becoming a crime magnet and shouldn't have to contend with more potential crime.

The Deseret Industries building on 700 South is down the street from a Senior center and park.  Both could be negatively impacted.

The 100 South 653 West site is in an area that is supposed to have several new buildings and condos but this site may discourage new development.  Also the service providers in the area are many blocks away.

The biggest problem with the plan is there is no plan to remove the criminal element from the homeless.  If a solution to that problem is not available, each new neighborhood will become another crime problem.

Please email your Councilmembers and tell them what you think.  Their emails are on the right.




​NEW OPINION PIECES SUMMARIZE ISSUES ON HOMELESS, JAIL, OPEN MEETINGS, LEGISLATURE AND CENTRAL WASATCH COMMISSION


This is the latest summary of the homeless issues downtown.  

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865668050/My-view-A-sad-commentary-on-our-city-and-society.html?pg=all



This is a lesson in how to influence Legislators.  It has a lot of good information for those interested in increasing public engagement in Utah.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865668467/My-view-Utah-legislators-are-generally-respectful-public-servants.html?pg=all



This oped last month is a summary of the problem with the criminal element embedded in the homeless downtown.  Unfortunately, the County did not increase funding for the jail and I and others will attempt to get the Legislature to increase JRA funding in return for the County increasing jail space.  I think that that would be a good compromise.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865664105/My-view-SLCO-jail-issues-impact-citizens-and-police.html?pg=all



This is a recent oped that summarizes the issues for businesses and residents downtown when the City does not focus on fixing the homeless issue NOW.  Note that the State finally did come through and put up a fence around his parking lot which stops a lot of the issues.  In addition, SLC Police made a big effort to ensure the safety of the local businesses including the Rio Grande Cafe with more patrols.

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4536100-155/op-ed-if-rio-grande-cafe-owner



This is an oped of mine from several months ago that is relevant in the City's efforts to lock out the public from discussing the homeless shelter issues.  The City will not allow the public to have a real chance to comment on the issue.

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4195235-155/op-ed-homeless-solutions-should-put-neighborhood



This recent oped by Marie Taylor Salt Lake Tribune is a good summary of the attempt by some officials in Utah to give a new government entity a lot of power without public accountability.  It should scare everyone.  Note that Rep. Chaffetz also got called to task by the House of Representatives recently (movie at top of downloads page) about this issue.  There is still an attempt by officials to make taxpayers pay for a train and tunnel up the canyon to benefit some big landowners (not the small landowners in the canyons.

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4564809-155/op-ed-mountain-accord-commission-would-lack



This recent oped by Marie Taylor in the Deseret News is a good summary of the problems with our local governments, all of our governments:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865665103/My-view-Why-do-politicians-keep-thinking-closed-door-meetings-are-OK.html?pg=all



DECEMBER 6, 2016

HOMELESS PLANS IN SLC RECEIVE PUSH BY ATKINSON  

SLC WANTS TO BAN PLASTIC BAGS

SHOPKO IN SUGAR HOUSE CLOSING NEXT MONTH

SLC AND SLCO FINALLY FIGURE OUT RACCOONS

TRANSIT PLAN WITH STREETCARS GOES TO SLC COUNCIL

IMPACT FEES GOING FROM NOTHING TO OUTRAGEOUS

ADU CONVERSION ASSISTANCE BEING DISCUSSED


SLC Council discussed homeless issues with Pamela Atkinson.  Pamela said that she had never seen as many homeless on the sidewalks as now.  And it is getting more dangerous.  Part of the problem is that too many people are going downtown to the homeless camps and donating clothing, food and money, despite the high danger.  Those donations help keep some of the homeless on the sidewalks and in the parks instead of inside.  Criminals need to be removed from the homeless areas.  It is difficult to encourage homeless to enter treatment for drug addiction when the drug dealers are so available.  Once the social workers find someone willing to enter treatment, it can take 9-12 months of a waiting list before a bed becomes available!  So normal efforts tend to fail.  Lack of affordable housing is a large part of the problem.  In addition, the rapid rehousing effort is slowing down and the pre rental costs are going up.  The homeless rapid rehousing effort needs more funding.  She also said that there is a big need for more storage since the available storage is full.  (Note that it needs 24 hour security and availability and a bigger personal storage volume since some are carrying two shopping carts worth of their belongings.  She was asked if more indoor expansion facilities would help and she said that the people on the sidewalk now do not want to be inside.  They just want to get high, sleep for a few hours then wake up and get high again.  


I support an inviting indoor facility that allows camping, smoking, getting high, shooting up, drinking, pets etc.  The goal should be to allow case workers to develop a relationship to encourage treatment.  Also I do not want them on the sidewalks and in the parks doing drugs and leaving needles.  I know developers that are willing to build billions of projects in the area if the homeless are inside and not walking, sleeping, defecating, shooting up and attacking pedestrians in the area.




SLC Council wants to ban plastic bags.  In response to a petition by a young but energetic Mr. LaMalfa, the Council seemed to embrace the idea of banning plastic bags.  I think that we went through this last year.  I WOULD RATHER KILL DEAD DINOSAURS THAN LIVE TREES!  I am against a city, any city or any government telling shoppers how they can shop and carry their bags.  Hopefully, the Council will have a vigorous debate on the issue before a vote.  



Sugar House Shopko is closing in January of 2017 to make way for a new development by Woodbury Corporation.  They are in the process of turning the ToysRus area into a SpringHill Suites.  By 2018 5 new large megaliths will grace Sugar House.  This is more evidence of the SUPERGENTRIFICATION OF SUGAR HOUSE.



After many months of back and forth, it appears that SLC and SLCO have finally gotten their act together on raccoons.  Last year, the SLC Council approved joining with SLCO and providing cages and raccoon pickup services with a USDA certified wild animal professional.  But before ensuring that the pickup service would provide cages, SLC stopped providing cages.  So for the last year, SLC citizens had to provide cages to catch raccoons and they would be picked up by the professional.  

Now, SLC citizens should call animal control and get them to have the raccoon pickup guy (he is a guy) provide a cage and when caught, he will pick up the raccoon.




SLC Planning Commission approves the SLC Master Transit Plan despite the numerous expensive rail and BRT projects.  Although it emphasizes increasing neighborhood bus service, it has many projects that could be pushed through.  The projects include a streetcar going north on 1100 East well past 1700 South, a downtown north south streetcar, a 100/200 S. streetcar, a 200 S. BRT, a 700 E. 200 S. transit station and much more.   It will next go to the City Council for final approval.




Impact fees going from nothing to outragous.  Instead of a slow increase in impact fees to ensure that they can be realistically used, the SLC Council is about to increase fees to over $5000 per single family home and a little less for apartments.   So much for affordable housing.  Hopefully the Legislature will place a cap on impact fees and allow flexibility to use them for police services, homeless services, transportation services and affordable housing initiatives.




There is a discussion going on at City Hall about the potential to provide assistance and encouragement to have homeowners convert basements to ADU (auxiliary dwelling units - like mother in law apartments).  ADU conversions are the quickest way to increase affordable housing in SLC.  The cost can be as much as $40,000 although $25,000 is more realistic.  The big costs are providing another entrance which could require digging plus at $8,000 or an emergency window/well at $5,000.  If the City could provide a few thousand to offset costs, it would encourage conversions.  Note that in the last four years of the new ADU ordinance in SLC, only one person took advantage of it!







NOVEMBER 17, 2016

SLC COUNCIL GAVE SHELTERS MONEY WHEN NO ONE LOOKING

WILL COUNCIL GET AWAY WITH FORCING SHELTERS ON AREAS

SLCO COUNCIL GETS ANGRY CROWD ON MT ACCORD/CWC  

REP. CHAFFETZ GETS ANGRY CONGRESS DEFENDING MT ACCORD

SLC MASTER TRANSIT PLAN STILL LOOKING FOR COMMENTS

SLCO COUNCIL DISCUSSES JAIL FUNDING

LEGISLATURE PLANS ON ENCOURAGING CONSOLIDATING 911


​Sorry for the long time between news posts.  There are several big stories that should be in the news, and aren't but they have taken several weeks to develop.  The SLC Council, voting as the RDA, to give the Mayor $11.7 million for buying the homeless shelters on October 18.  No one was notified about it.  I was there and I missed it.  Early in the RDA meeting, the RDA Board/City Council did a straw poll to give over $20 million to affordable housing programs and... $11.7 million to buy the homeless shelter expansion sites.  This was quickly followed by a call for public comments and I did not speak since the Council/RDA usually gives the public a few weeks to discuss and be educated on the issue before voting on it.  No one else spoke up.  The RDA Board closed the public hearing at that meeting but announced that there would be a public hearing on Oct 25 (and another later one at the November meeting).  But five hours later, Erin Mendenhall moved to adopt the proposed budget and funding and the Board voted for it.  


I consider this a disrespectful way of operating.  The Council successfully pulled the wool over everyone's eyes.  I was naive enough to believe that the Council would publicize and allow comments and more public hearings before voting on the issue.  The agenda was taken off of the RDA agendas website.  The Council was also told where the homeless sites would be and they will be announced at 1:30 PM, tentatively, on Monday, November 21.  Will the SLC City Council be allowed to force the shelters onto the City and neighborhoods without any input from the citizens?  Watch Monday night news or email the Council and demand that the Council stop making decisions without considering the public.  The attitude that "we don't want neighborhoods fighting neighborhoods on the site locations" is a cop out, I think.  Another issue is that the SLC storage for homeless is full and one reason that there are a lot of campers in the parks and sidewalks and around the city is because people that can't afford to have housing need to keep their belongings next to them.  Lisa Adams did ask the Council to consider expanding the storage facility.  


I hope that it is sinking in that it could take three or more years for the shelters to open and it won't lead to closing the Road Home and other private charitable facilities that serve the homeless.  SLC should demand that the Council and the Mayor fix the problem now and not in three or more years.





The SLCO Council got an earful and almost two hours of anger directed at the Mountain Accord and the Central Wasatch Commission efforts.  Only four spoke for the CWC.  There are many reasons not to approve the CWC, even watered down (pun intended).
        It adds a costly layer of government.
        It adds high salaried costs to UTA.
        There are no reasonable checks and balances on the Commission.
        Past history indicates that open public meetings will be few and far between.
        It turns more control of the canyons to Trump (?Sarah Palin?).
        The biggest issue is in the Interlocal Agreement language:

 "Specific options could include but are not limited to: recreation
fees, congestion pricing, ski resort parking fees, U.S. Forest Service
parking fees, tolling, single-occupancy vehicle restrictions, and
elimination of roadside parking in the canyons."


The SLCO Council may vote as early as November 22 on the CWC but it is possible that they will just table the vote.


Representative Jason Chaffetz was chastised in Congress for trying to defend the Mountain Accord and land swap that gives Alta ski resort millions of dollars of land for developing a billion dollar project.  The Committee Chair also complained that there was nothing about transportation in his bill despite the recommendation for a train and tunnel up the canyon and no language on fighting fires (also missing from the Mountain Accord).  To watch the complete hearing on HR 5718 in the Federal Lands Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee:
http://naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=401320.  

If you want to see the best part, I put it at the top of the downloads page.



SLC is still taking comments on the SLC Master Transit Plan before the SLC Planning Commission hearing on November 30 at 5:30.

My comments on 2016 SLC Master Transit Plan November 7:

This study is incomplete due to the fact that it ignores the financial constraints of reality.  A professional plan would recognize and plan for realistic financial restraints and at least prioritize the projects so that the most expensive project is not given priority automatically when other projects are more effective at encouraging mass transit ridership. 

The SLC Master Transit Plan should focus on high frequency neighborhood bus service first, then night extended service, then weekend and holiday service.  A fully functional and robust neighborhood bus service with low emission vehicles will encourage ridership increases and personal vehicle travel better than the most expensive rail project possible.  In addition, all bus stops should show real time information on when the next bus arrives and the one after that. 

In addition, there should be a better outreach for elderly mass transit riders.  They are usually less constrained by time, jobs and other time contingent issues and therefore would be more amenable to taking mass transit.  They do drive!  They can be more easily convinced to get out of their cars and use mass transit better than younger drivers.  The HIVE pass should consider a 50% discount $20 a month HIVE pass.  But again, it needs a better high frequency neighborhood bus service expansion at the same time to gain the most ridership. 

A downtown (100-200 E. Streetcar) will require $100 million in local funding (according to the RTP) which should be more appropriately used for better neighborhood bus service.  

The Plan also ignores the financial reality that a BRT will cost $15/mile while an enhanced bus will cost less than a tenth of that.  It can be even cheaper if the regular buses are fitted with intersection traffic light priority systems so they don't have to wait for three light cycles to get through an intersection.  

I am disappointed that several BRT projects are listed that are on routes of less frequency than 15 minutes.  A BRT should only be considered if there is a 30% time savings and 15 minute buses are full. 

Again, without considering financial constraints (the Federal Government is not a bottomless barrel of money), the SLC Master Transit Plan Draft is not realistic. 

Intersection and traffic light management would be the most cost effective and quickest way to reduce air pollution caused by congestion.  The UDOT Wavetronix system can be modified and controlled to help this effort.  Priority should be given to this item in the plan with coordination with UTA to fit buses that operate in congested roadways with a priority traffic light system. 

The Plan says "Providing transit with priority lanes on high-ridership corridors supports investments in frequent service. Where sufficient right-of-way is available in these corridors, dedicating part of the right-of-way to transit is justified based on transit’s higher person-carrying capacity. Transit lanes also allow buses to bypass congested areas, making bus travel times 
shorter and more reliable."  But that ignores the efficiency of personal vehicle travel and it would increase pollution.  No road diets or dedicated transit lanes should be considered without a thorough carbon footprint analysis (of pollution).  Dedicated roadways DO NOT carry as many passengers per hour as cars.  In addition, roadways for personal vehicles per hour cost is low compared to dedicated mass transit lanes. 

The proposed Foothill BRT from 100 South is not very cost effective.  There are very well used and efficient mass transit corridors within a couple of blocks.  Except for 700 East, there is practically no interference in the 200 South bus travel.  I doubt that 100 S. BRT could provide a faster time to the UofU unless the downtown lights are set to recognize buses or be set to provide for constant 30mph to the east consistently (to the west in the afternoon).  And then the regular bus is just as fast and a tenth of the cost of a BRT. 

SLC should discourage local funding of the $70 million bus garage at the UTA HQ.  The money should be, could be, would be better used to fund expanded neighborhood bus service and especially later night service since SLC is attempting to focus on the late night cultural amenities of downtown SLC.  In addition, the secondary transit hubs decrease the need for a "big ass" garage. 

Community shuttles may sound nice but the UofU has had a problem getting riders and SLC should work on how to get riders before creating community shuttles.  The Yalecrest shuttle had about 9 riders a day! 

I am confused about the cost of tier 1 and 2 without any limits. 

I appreciate the suggestion on a 600 North bus and the 1300 South and 900 South potential buses.  But again, rail lines take away from expanding bus service and until a robust bus service is restored, rail should not be considered.  The 200 West suggestion may be more cost effective if the Green Line TRAX went on 200 West to the airport and saved 5-10 minutes in the process.  Think about a line from the airport to the Salt Palace!  The 400 W. BRT is on a road with single family homes.  A dedicated roadway line should not be considered next to single family homes unless you convince the homeowners ahead of time that they should rezone to higher density and increase their taxes.  300 West is the street that needs more frequent bus service.  The commuter specials that only stop every mile or so are more appropriate than the BRT.  The black line between the UofU and the airport (in this plan - note that the RTP has the black line going from the U to the central station via 400 South) would require spending 6-10 million or more and would not increase ridership. 

BRT should not be considered on State St, 500 E or 900 E.  An enhanced bus may make sense but the cost of a BRT does not make sense unless the density is significantly increased.  And I can make a pretty good argument that very few will walk 4 blocks to catch a bus. 

I am against anymore rail lines downtown because they require too much local funding that would be better used for better bus service and regular and safer wide bicycle lanes (not cycle tracks).  The idea that we need a $200 million rail to the UofU on 100 South is very financially questionable. 

All capital projects should be financially constrained and prioritized.  If $20 million in local funding is available, we should not be starting $100 million projects.  I disagree that we should spend more money on rail projects instead of spending money on affordable housing and getting the homeless off the street. 

If only 10% time is saved and 15 minute bus service is not popular, a BRT should not be considered. 

The proposed Redwood Rd and Foothill BRT should not be considered and an enhanced bus would make more sense.  It would stop more often but still have the light priority.  People would rather drive than walk 2 blocks.  That should be drummed into this plans philosophy. 

I disagree strongly with "The plan will support evolving capital recommendations from the Sugar House Streetcar project that would improve utility of the line, e.g., an extension to 1700 S (consistent with Regional Transportation Plan) with a connection to the 900 E FTN corridor. A future extension along 900 E could connect to TRAX service at 400 S."  The RTP also has a high speed rail station at the airport and a canyon rail and tunnel system!  I am against the RTP.  The community, the City and the Sugar House neighborhood is against extending the so called streetcar/TRAX to the north.  It may make sense (for only $5 million) to go to 1250 East through the Shopko block or Wilmington.  But the residents and businesses of 1100 East do not want it and the City should not even think about removing the parking.  Note to whoever put this in:  the TRAX trains, Siemens S70, require 12 foot widths and two tracks on 1100 East will require taking all parking off the street.  Good luck with that! 

You say that you are neutral along with 2700 W, 5600 W BRT, Mountain Transportation System.  I do think that 2700 W, 5600 W should have more frequent service.  I am against a TRAX outer loop. 

Please stop ignoring ADA.  Putting bus stops more than one block away from the next hurts/affects ADA and seniors. 

Note that pg 98 shows BRT downside, inefficient lane which increases congestion and pollution. 

The Plan should recommend that UTA have real time signs on all bus stops to note when the next bus is coming.  Do not pay the patent troll that says that they have the patent on it. 

There are no minimum parking requirements in Transit Station Area districts: Within the “core” of Transit Station Area (TSA) districts, no minimum number of parking spaces is required for any use.  Studies show that that will discourage transit ridership (Booz Allen Hamilton study that suggested -.03 standard due to ticket throughput limitations and parking lots full when fares are reduced). 

I am against the suggestion from the Sugar House study that "require that all shared parking be “priced” in D1-D4, TSA, and G-MU districts via unbundling and direct pricing." 

Instead of using the streetcar TRAX to encourage walkability and TOD, the only thing that is being built are apartments, not mixed use TODs!  Despite "Encourage development of transit oriented development (TOD) through form-based codes and allowed increased density within a 10-minute walk of TRAX, streetcar and high-frequency bus routes (Salt Lake City Downtown Community Plan (2014)." 

I do not recommend that you tell the single family home residents that they have to rezone to justify BRT and light rail in their neighborhoods.  I will tell them that the light rail from your table is the threat. 
This is from your table: 
"Residential densities should be at least 10–12 households per acre for corridors that receive high-frequency transit investments and/or have more than 12–16 jobs per acre (see Figure 6-1). 
lt rail = 12-24 households/acre or 16-32 jobs/acre 
brt 10-15 households/acre and/or 12-20 jobs/acre 
15 min bus 10-12+ households and/or 12-16 jobs 
30 min bus 6-10 hh/acre and/or 8-12 jobes/acre 
60 min bus 3-6 hh/acre, and/or 4+ jobs/acre" 

I noted that a temporary parklet was created in the 21st and 21st business district under Salt Lake City’s pilot program. A permanent design is being developed for this location. pg 118/6-8.  How much did businesses pay for the use and why isn't the Vue paying to put up tables in the pedestrian walkway? 

I do not recommend that bus stops in residential areas have covers which encourage loitering and will attract homeless. 

"A potential scenario where Route 220 would move from 100 S to N. Temple Street, 
service to LDS Hospital by allowing Route 209 to be extended north 
Potentially support future implementation of a downtown streetcar, which is planned 
to run on 100 S between W. Temple Street and 500 E. 
Some changes could be cost-neutral or reduce costs (as with N. Temple and 900 S), while 
others may require additional operating cost and/or vehicles." 
(BUT STREETCAR COST WAS NOT CONSIDERED) 





The SLCO Council is in the midst of discussing the budget and they need comments from the public.  I urge you to email the Council (emails at the right) and tell them that you want to open up the rest of the jail to give police the tools they need to do their job and remove the criminal element from the homeless and lock up the drug dealers and serial car thieves.  Car thieves were the subject of a KSL special report last week.  They can be arrested 20 + times, steal millions and not stay in jail.  It cost you, me and the rest of County citizens tens of millions in increased insurance costs.   The lack of jail space affects you.




The Utah Legislature is planning on a bill to address audit recommendations regarding 911 services.  One recommendation is encouraging entities that provide those services to combine.  Weber County and Morgan County have one dispatch center for 911.  Davis County and Salt Lake County have three or more dispatch centers.  This is a public safety issue.  SLCO residents outside of SLC or Sandy have to dial a ten digit number to get the Sheriff/UPD!





OCTOBER 28, 2016

MAYOR MCADAMS' NEW BUDGET HURTS PUBLIC SAFETY

SLC COUNCIL NEEDS INPUT ON CIP, IMPACT FEES, RDA AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND TRANSIT PLAN

COUNCIL AND MAYOR FIGHT IN PUBLIC

MAYOR/COUNCIL WILL IGNORE PUBLIC ON HOMELESS SITES

TOM DOLAN SHUTS DOWN DISCUSSION ON WATERSHED


The new budget for Salt Lake County has been announced and Mayor McAdams boasted that it delivers on public safety.  It does not provide the necessary funds to open up the 380 beds at Oxbow Jail and it still uses the $9.4 million of the old jail bond for other pet projects.  The claim that the newly announced pay for success projects will work is not based on fact.  Operation Diversion shows that, even in a short time period, only 60% may stay in drug abuse treatment (I put the Operation Diversion stats on the downloads page.).  In the meantime, the public and businesses in Salt Lake Valley have to put up with dangerous criminals.  Email your County Councilmembers and demand that they budget for more jail space.  If they don't change the budget, the County law enforcement personnel cannot do their job.  SLC Police are still not allowed to arrest for less than a felony.  


The most important news is that the Sheriff will need a tax increase to allow proper and effective operation of the jail next year.  This is because Ben McAdams is repurposing the jail bond for his pet projects.  I put a reason to vote on the opinions page.  Please vote your opinion.


Although the Rio Grande area is a little better, businesses are still negatively impacted and are giving up hope because the new expansion shelters won't be ready for three years and the Road Home will still be needed.  If the Council and the Mayor start working together (read about their public fight below), they may provide a winter shelter that will get the majority of homeless off the sidewalks.


SLC Council and Mayor needs public feedback and comments on CIP, Impact Fees, RDA Affordable Housing proposal and the SLC Master Transit Plan Draft.  The CIP list is about to be fixed and interested individuals should comment by email (emails to the right).  Impact fees are being pushed back again for a few months despite the November 2 date to go back to the old impact fees list.  The Council will decide in the next few months on a new fee list and after it is approved, the fees will go into effect with developers in 90 days.  SLC has lost almost $9 million of potential fees in the last year.  Another way of looking at it is developers are getting a $9 million windfall.  Almost no one is commenting on this issue except developers and citizens should comment.  The Transit Plan is up for comment and the plan has a potential streetcar on 100 and 200 South and a enhanced bus/BRT on 400 West and 200 South.  Many of the proposals are better than last years overabundance on rail and expensive BRTs.  The enhanced bus receives priority at the lights and is almost as good.  I do not believe that people will walk more than two blocks to catch a bus and some BRT plans have 4 block stations.  There is a small project to direct an airport TRAX train to the University of Utah (black line) which may cost about $10 million (or more) and a proposal to put in two new stations/garages on 200 S. and 700 E. and at the University of Utah.  Please comment on the Transit Plan.  It should focus first on better neighborhood bus service, frequency, late night service and weekend and holiday service.


The RDA so called secret dormant funds of almost 100 million dollars has been partially repurposed to provide abut 20 million for an affordable housing program to be determined in the future (I think that it is the best thing that the Council has done all year.) and 11 million for prep work for the new homeless shelters.  But the Mayor's administration has fought the proposal and it was ably defended by Councilmembers Erin Mendenhall and Derek Kitchen.  During Tuesday's October 25 Council meeting, the continuing fight between the Council and Mayor escalated in public.  When Council questions for the Mayor came up, the administration's staff was out and the Council started complaining about the lack of communication with the Mayor.  David Litvack returned to endure the grilling that focused on the lack of communication and coordination with the Council regarding Impact Fees.  It seems to me that both sides should have sat down in the work session and worked out something so that the formal meeting didn't devolve into a fight.


It turns out that the Mayor and the Council are not communicating on homeless sites.  The meetings of the Homeless Site Commission seem to be a waste of time because the Mayor is going to choose the four sites by November 21 and the public will have meetings offered by the Mayor to discuss the sites.  BUT THE PUBLIC WILL NOT HAVE A CHOICE OR ANY REAL SAY IN THE SITES!


The Council seems willing to blame the Mayor (who last told the Council that the sites need to be approved by November 15) and the Council does not want to represent their constituents and has essentially washed their hands of the decision.  The excuse from the Council is that they don't want to pit neighborhoods against each other.  I consider that a cop out and abrogation of their responsibility to represent those who voted for them.  I hope that the public does not sit still for this and demands to have a choice in the locations that was promised earlier this year.


Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan sent a letter to the Governor asking that the Utah Quality Growth Commission stop discussing watershed issues.  Although it is part of the responsibility of the Commission, the group decided to take it off of the agenda for now.


This Commission is the appropriate venue for discussing watershed issues and analyzing the effect of the hundred year old law that gives Salt Lake City extraterritorial jurisdiction for watershed protection.
Although SLC does not exercise extra territorial jurisdiction in most cases, it has the authority to stop or affect development and ranching and farming in much of northern Utah. The City also restricts transferring of water for any use, including new developments like data centers. It has affected Riverton's secondary water supply.
Watersheds cross city and county boundaries. There are obvious conflicts of overlapping watershed authority, negative effects on development and recreation, and potential effects on ranching and farming. This Commission should encourage discussion and debate on the issues and make a recommendation to the Legislature. The goal, hopefully is to ensure that water supplies will be safeguarded in the future while, at the same time, deter it being used to restrict appropriate development, building, construction, farming, ranching and recreation in Utah.




OCTOBER 21, 2016

SLC COUNCIL/RDA TO DECIDE $21 MIL.  AFFORDABLE HOUSING OCT. 25

UTAH TRANSIT RIDERS UNION MEETING OCT. 22 SATURDAY 1030AM


The Salt Lake City Council, sitting as the RDA, is set to decide the reallocation of various RDA project funds to affordable housing (against the administration) on Tuesday evening October 25 at 7 PM.  Everyone who is interested should attend and comment or email the Council with the emails at the right.  Attending the meeting is important since the Council is fighting the Mayor on the issue.  The Council is also going to spend money NOW on helping solve the homeless issues in SLC and in the Rio Grande area instead of waiting three years for new shelters.


Utah Transit Riders Union meeting is on Saturday October 22 at 1030 at the Main SLC Library.

UTA reps (maybe Jerry Benson GM), Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC.org) 
and election of 3 board positions.

UTRU has been in the forefront of mass transit promotion in the Wasatch 
Front and especially pushing for more service, transparency and 
accountability from UTA.  Recent news has reported that UTRU is pushing for 
elections of Board Trustees and service priority.

Help UTRU push for more neighborhood bus service and UTA accountability.  
In the next few months, WFRC will be working with UTRU to help develop long 
term transit proposals and priorities.  Last year, the WFRC developed a 
Regional Transportation Plan that had a high priority of projects for 
transit.  We hope to influence next year's RTP to reflect a higher priority 
for service. 

Join us at the UTRU Annual meeting on Saturday morning at 1030 AM (October 
22).  Learn about the future plans and how to become more influential in 
pushing mass transit.  You can learn more information from Facebook's Utah 
Transit Riders Union page. 



OCTOBER 18, 2016

MAYOR TAKES AWAY CHANCE TO COMMENT AND CHOICE ON HOMELESS SHELTERS

ERIN MENDENHALL AND DEREK KITCHEN FORCE $21 MILLION AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROGRAM

ADMINISTRATION LOOSES THE BALL ON RACCOON ABATEMENT

COUNTY COUNCIL WANTS ANOTHER 30 DAYS TO STUDY MT. ACCORD


Despite claims that the public will have a chance to comment on the sites of the new proposed homeless sites, it is now the policy of the administration to provide just four sites and "let the public have a choice and chance to comment"!  But the choice has to now be made by the end of November and that means that there will be almost no public engagement process.  Many community councils will not be able to discuss the issues in their regular meetings.  


This is a change from the previous statements by David Litvack that there will be a choice of maybe up to seven sites of which four need to be finally chosen.  He also had said that the choice doesn't need to be made until January!  That is no longer true.  The administration has decided that the public should not have a choice or real chance to comment.


SLC Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall and Councilman Derek Kitchen convinced the SLC Council to push for affordable housing through the RDA.  They found $21 million (on downloads page) to start the program or projects.  The administration (David Litvack) asked for a chance to study the proposal but the Council declined to wait.  It is tentatively set to be approved at next week's SLC Council meeting during the RDA segment.


SLC provided funding this last year for a USDA certified raccoon and skunk abatement officer that could take over the trapping and removal of raccoons from our neighborhoods.  Unfortunately, SLC assumed that the new wildlife abatement officer would trap and pick up the animals.  So SLC stopped providing traps (with a deposit).  And SLCO, who set up the contract, did not make the contract clear that the officer would trap the animals.  The contract just says that they will pick up the trapped animal and leave the trap.  So now the citizens of SLC are worse off than they were last year with respect to raccoons.


The SLCO Council decided that they had too many concerns and questions about the Mountain Accord next step and postponed the decision for 30 days.  Despite Mayor McAdams claim that the process has been open and no one has been denied entrance to meetings, just after he said that, a member of the Mt Accord Executive Board, said that sometimes the Board meetings are closed to the public but "they are few and far between".




CRIME MEETING SEPTEMBER 12

SUGAR HOUSE COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETING ON HOMELESS SITES JANUARY 4, 2017

THIS IS WHAT PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IS AND

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION CAN CHANGE QUESTIONABLE DECISIONS!

Homeless ID card with questionable picture

SALT LAKE CITY COUNCIL E-MAILS:
james.rogers@slcgov.com,
derek.kitchen@slcgov.com,
charlie.luke@slcgov.com,
lisa.adams@slcgov.com,
erin.mendenhall@slcgov.com,
andrew.johnston@slcgov.com,

SALT LAKE CITY MAYOR'S OFFICE/STAFF E-MAILS:
david.litvack@slcgov.com
patrick.leary@slcgov.com
jackie.biskupski@slcgov.com

council comment line is 801 535 7654 and the

email is council.comments@slcgov.com.


UTA Board: boardoftrustees@rideuta.com


SALT LAKE COUNTY

mayor@slco.org, jwilson@slco.org

rsnelgrove@slco.org

jbradley@slco.org

arbradshaw@slco.org

mhjensen@slco.org

anewton@slco.org

sgranato@slco.org

sldebry@slco.org

mburdick@slco.org

AUGUST 15 OPERATION RIO GRANDE FORUM​​

Think again Ben

SUPERGENTRIFICATION OF SUGAR HOUSE

​When we work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.


SHARPS BOXES FOR NEEDLE DISPOSAL

ID THAT WILL BE USED FOR SERVICES

USEFUL SALT LAKE CITY PHONE NUMBERS

CIVIL ENFORCEMENT 801 535 7225
(JUNK/LITTER/SIGNS/SNOW REMOVAL/WEEDS/ PROBLEM BLDGS/FENCES/GARAGE SALES)


POLICE 801 799 3000
ADA 801 535 7976
CITY COUNCIL 801 535 7600
DRUG ACTIVITY 801 799 3784
GRAFFITI REMOVAL 801 972 7885
FORESTRY 801 972 7818
MAYOR'S OFFICE 801 535 7704
NOISE 801 580 6681
PARKS 801 972 7800
PARKING ENFORCMT 801 535 6628
PLANNING/ZONING 801 535 7700
SIDEWALK REPAIR 801 535 6934
SLC SHOPPING CARTS 801 446 7984
SMITH'S CARTS 801 759 7315
STREET REPAIRS 801 535 2345
UTA 801 743 3882
WATER/SEWER 801 483 6900
WATER/SEWER EMERG 801 483 6700
YARD/WASTE/RECYCL 801 535 6999
ANIMAL SERVICES 385 468 7387
HEALTH DEPT/PESTS 385 468 3835

OPATION  RIO GRANDE COMMAND POST TIP LINE 385 266 6938

 ​COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETINGS
COMMUNITY COUNCILS IN SLC
Central City                chair@ccnutah.org                        1st Wed
Greater Avenues       davealderman@hotmail.com    1st Wed
Rose Park                    blakeperez@hotmail.com           1st Wed
Sugar House               amybarry@xmission.com           1st Wed
Yalecrest                     lkpershing@gmail.com                1st Wed

Ball Park                      ballparkcc@gmail.com                 1st Thurs 

Jordan Meadows       jimgoostrey@gmail.com              2nd Wed
Liberty Wells              lw.chair@lwccslc.org                    2nd Wed

East Central               ecchair@live.com                           2nd Thurs Qtrly, exec bd 4th Sat

Capitol Hill                                                                               3rd Wed 
Downtown                  christian.harrison@gmail.com   3rd Wed
East Bench                  ebcc.chair@gmail.com                  3rd Wed
Glendale                      sean@thecrosslands.net              3rd Wed
westpointe                 erin@nwlarchitects.com              3rd Wed

Poplar Grove              poplargrovecouncil@gmail.com 4th Wed
Wasatch Hollow        ohmikedodd@comcast.net          4th Wed

Bonneville Hills         ellenred@comcast.net                  4th Thurs Jan, Apr, Jul Oct
East Liberty Pk          jason@jasonstevenson.net         4th Thurs
Fairpark                       brycewgarner@gmail.com          4th Thurs
Foothill/Sunnyside   laurelyoungrn@gmail.com         4th Thurs Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct

Sunnyside East          mattmnelson@gmail.com           qtrly
Trolley                          trolleybusinessdistrict@outlook.com    qtrly

LIBERTY WELLS HOMELESS MEETING DEC 14

CONTACTS SLC, SLCO, UTA

INAUGURATION DAY JAMES ROGERS SELFIE

DEVELOPER PROPOSAL FOR 21ST AND 21ST

Sugar House Shopko Plann

This is the way we treat homeless in SLC??