COUNTY COUNCIL EMAILS
RSnelgrove@slco.org,JBradley@slco.org,ARbradshaw@slco.org,ANewton@slco.org,Agranato@slco.org,sldebry@slco.org,DHTheodore@slco.org,LLStringham@slco.org,DAlvord@slco.org

CITY COUNCIL EMAILS
james.rogers@slcgov.com,andrew.johnston@slcgov.com,chris.wharton@slcgov.com,amy.fowler@slcgov.com,dan.dugan@slcgov.com,darin.mano@slcgov.com,ana.valdemoros@slcgov.com

PICTURE OF THE YEAR - WHY UTA IS NOT INCREASING RIDERSHIP

THE UNEXAMINED LIFE WON'T IMPROVE

MAY 2021
UTA/SLCRDA DOWNTOWN TRAX EXTENSIONS STUDY LOOKING FOR EXCUSES TO SPEND $200+ MILLION
  UTA and the Salt Lake City RDA have completed a Downtown Salt Lake City TRAX Extensions and Connections Study that gave several options that cost $200 to $300 million. The big concern is why try to spend over $200 million when spending $20 million on a park on the Fleet Block would be more effective at encouraging redevelopment in the area. The 3 options are extending the Red Line to Central Station, another is move the Red Line and/or the Green Line via the rail spur north of 13th South to 400 West. I put the study in the downloads section. 
  "UTA prepared a feasibility study, with input from Salt Lake City, its RDA and certain private sector investment interests, as well as the University of Utah, all of whom were invited to participate by the City and its RDA". UTA would need to change the 5 year capital plan but that can be changed in a minute. SLC RDA thinks that with the new CDA on State Street, they have funds to push for the expansion and reconnections. UTA also is flush with cash with over $355 million in the bank (Again, another reason to implement $1 fares.). 
  "The scenarios and alignment alternatives identified in this feasibility study could serve as a starting point for a more detailed analysis involving conceptual engineering, cost estimating, ridership forecasting, and impact assessments. A typical alternatives analysis would also consider potential bus alternatives. Robust public and stakeholder engagement would be a key component of this step in the process. (Engagement for this study was handled at a high, partner level since the purpose of this study was to identify a reasonable range of scenarios that might be considered further in the future.)" Each scenario would need 22 new S70 vehicles at $4.5 million each for  a total of $99 million (part of the $200+ million project). The cost of TRAX operations per vehicle revenue hour is $197.
  There are significant questions about fiscal responsibility. There are only 992 TRAX boardings at Salt Lake Central. One reason for the poor boarding is it takes 10 minutes to go downtown due to the zig zag. One proposal is to make an Orange Line that extends from University of Utah via 400 South to 500 West then to Salt Lake Central and Airport(parking would be removed from 400 South). The goal is to provide a direct Airport to University of Utah route that increases the less than 1000 riders a day. 
  I think that the 200 bus is much more convenient and faster. Another option is to relocate the Red Line to 400 West from the 1300 South Station utilizing the rail spur. The new apartment proposed for just south of the 900 South Freeway on/offramp would need to ensure that there is plenty of space for the 28 feet wide double track of TRAX. It would require a station at Pioneer Park. The Green Line could also go to 400 West and then to Salt Lake Central Station via 200 South (the option is not in WFRC). 
  One of the goals of the study is to reduce the number of ninety degree turns which slow operations and create wear and tear, noise and other issues. In 2019 there were two separate TRAX derailments at the intersection of 400 South and Main Street, causing major delays for passengers on all three TRAX lines.
  Another statement in the Study said: "FrontRunner’s success in attracting riders has led UTA and other officials to seek improvements including new stations and double tracking that will allow for increased frequency and capacity." The daily ridership is now at about 5000 a day and the UTA survey indicates that only 7000 more may return to ride FrontRunner. Again, the effort to spend $300 million to double track FrontRunner is a misdirection, in my opinion, to force billions from taxpayers to electrify the system since the 15 minute frequency promised by UTA with double tracking will only be available with electric motor locomotives.
  Other UTA information from recent meetings include: The VIA micro transit system is now subsidizing riders at about $22 per ride! It is admittedly cheaper than a big bus and better than the first year of over $35 per rider. Salt Lake City thinks that this is the solution to mass transit on the west side and in Rose Park. The City Council is set to sign a contract with UTA to implement micro transit in Rose Park and other areas without transit.
  UTA expects that the 74% of FrontRunner that is single track now will be helped to double track with federal funds. The Point of the Mountain BRT is planning to take two lanes of traffic for 90% of the route from Draper to Lehi. It will have 6 to 7 stations with options for 2 more. I still think that a regular bus would be cheaper than the $15 million plus per mile that the BRT will cost. I still think that the bus seating is dangerous and that UTA still does not know how to do BRT. That is why the one real UTA BRT, the 35Max is no longer operating although two valuable lanes are still empty on 3500 South waiting for it to restart. I also find it fiscally irresponsible to get a federal grant to provide free Ogden BRT fares when it would make more sense to implement $1 fares across the system. But UTA wants BRTs to look successful and encourage more projects.
  The Midvalley BRT, Senator Harper's dream, got $11 million from the last session of the Legislature and UTA is hoping for $60 million from the feds. Just think what $60 million could do for bus transit in this Valley. UTA also received $30 million for bicycle infrastructure that will go to various projects in northern Utah.
  The dream of Governor Cox to have a passenger rail system going down to St. George is taking shape. Despite our successful efforts to stop Senator Escamilla's passenger rail commission bill, Governor Cox wants his $5 plus billion rail system. Studies tend to show that since driving is so convenient and faster to the final destination, only a handful a day will ride it. That means that the subsidy could be as high as $10,000 per rider! UTA's Sharp Tintic Rail project, that switches the rail pathway to allow extending FrontRunner south to Payson, is taking shape.
  On the funding issue, UTA expects that the third COVID package will provide more funding for bus and light rail expansion. The federal government has several programs that provide funding but UTA keeps ignoring the requirement that projects have "BROAD PUBLIC SUPPORT". UTA is looking at the Build Program and the Capital Investment Grant Program. Small Starts is another program but it requires a bigger local match.
    Another statement that I find questionable in the report is that increased rail ridership has decreased roadway traffic. That is arguably wrong (The 400 South study is flawed since it ignored new bicycle infrastructure and increased service on 2 and 9.). 
  UTA's Commissioner Christensen said that "bus service expansion plans are not being abandoned" and will go forward in 2022. But, in my opinion, bus service expansion is more important and should not have to wait and take a back seat to projects. Buses provide better and more convenient service than rail. The Airport ridership, the 200 South ridership and many other bus routes that are still standing room only prove it. Ridership on buses is returning faster than on rail. If UTA does not implement $1 fares, it encourages use of older polluting cars that can more cheaply go to the store and work than the $2.50 fare. In addition, rail requires parking lots while buses generally do not. More bus routes, frequency and span of service would make the Downtown and 1300 South to Downtown area more accessible. You don't need rail for that. Again, taxpayers do not have a bottomless barrel of money to spend on these fancy projects.
  
SLC RDA APPROVES AFFORDABLE HOUSING MONSTER ON 1300 SOUTH WITH MINIMAL SIDEWALKS AND PARKING
  Salt Lake City desperately needs more affordable housing. It desperately needs housing for the homeless youth that were in foster care. It desperately needs housing for mobility restricted individuals. All of those promises resulted in the SLC RDA approving a loan of $1.3 million to Colony to build a 5 story building up against (one foot from) the skinny sidewalk next to 1300 South's dangerous traffic. There is not enough room for a wheelchair or stroller to get by a pedestrian now. It is at 228W 1300S just west of the Ballpark TRAX station. It will have 52 parking spaces for 140 units. 15 are reserved for homeless youth ageing out of foster care, another 15 for mobility restricted renters and a total of 106 units for low income down to 25% AMI.
  The Ballpark area deserves more than affordable housing. It deserves mixed income not like this insult to appropriate parking and pedestrian/sidewalk amenities. In addition, mostly low income can end up like Palmer Court, the second biggest medical response draw in Salt Lake City (due to encouraging and enabling substance abuse behavior. Unfortunately, the City's RDA ignored the concerns of the area (almost no one knew about it) and approved the loan although, officially, it will confirm it on May 18.
  The area needs a wide sidewalk and that should be part of the project so that bicycles and pedestrians can safely and comfortably use the sidewalk. It is a bad project in a poor location that will destroy comfortable access to TRAX and encourage pedestrians to cross at the TRAX crossing gates. Skinny sidewalks next to congested roads are dangerous and impossible for bicyclists to share with pedestrians. The approved project violates this City's Complete Streets standards. The design (in the downloads area) looks like what I call a modern brutalist building and it will break ground in July. The City also will help Colony reduce interest rate for the other loans needed for the project. It is south of the CW Urban Townhomes that were sold for $400,000.
  
SLC IGNORES FLEET BLOCK PARK AND PLANS TO GIVE MORE MONEY TO ALLEN PARK
  Salt Lake City is planning a new revenue bond since the City is awash in money. The $50 million from the revenue bond does not have to go to voters since there is not a tax increase. Or looking at it in another way, citizens can't stop it and demand that the Prison Tax increase be rescinded. The plans are tentative and require City Council approval but the plan now is to use $10 million for the Glendale regional park conversion from the old water park. 
  There are also plans to use some of it for foothill trails and "shoring up" historic buildings. Some of the so called historic buildings include the Fisher Mansion, damaged in the recent quake and the Warm Springs Park building. I would rather see the money used for parks and trails, not for buildings. Salt Lake City's RDA also recently gave almost $5 million to preserve the old decrepit mattress company building which is nothing but a small box store, admittedly one of the first. Another bigger questionable plan is to use some of the money for creating an artist in residency program in Allen Park.
  Many residents and businesses in the area west of State Street have expressed concern about the $7.5 million that the City spent to buy Allen Park. They are demanding equitable funding for a park between I15 and State Street. This bond should include money to create a regional park on the Fleet Block and adjacent to the 9 Line Trail. It is only fair to distribute parks funding throughout the City. The City should be reminded that the parks impact fees from that area (to 4th South) were repurposed to Pioneer Park due to the City not being able to find a cheap plot of land to build the park south of Downtown. The area deserves their park.
  In addition, the SLC RDA/UTA study on justifying spending $200 plus million for reconfiguring TRAX downtown to encourage development of the area ignores the ability of parks and open space to encourage development. The Sugar House area, according to the Planning Department, super developed due to the significant percentage of open space, parks, trails and golf courses in the area , the greatest percentage in Salt Lake City. It was not due to the S-Line which has only about 700 riders a day. (That is another reason that the $12 million to extend the S-Line a block is questionable, even though I know that it is to push for Millcreek's rail line.) UTA's Allegra and former SLCO Mayor McAdams were wrong to give credit for Sugar House development on the S-Line. All their claims resulted in pressure from other cities to have rail.
  If this City is willing to spend $20 million on a soccer complex in the middle of nowhere that requires car use but not willing to spend 20 million on a park people can walk to, the City is not making sense. The Fleet Block is next to a bus route and Trail. The local businesses and residents should be asked what they want and the bond funds should be distributed. If this City wants to encourage an innovation center, a big park is the best way.
    
AUTHORIZED SLC POLICE OFFICERS WILL BE DOWN 132 BY THE END OF 2021
  During discussion about Salt Lake City's Police training, it was explained that this City uses their own Police Academy since the State's Post Academy would only provide 2 spots for new officers. The City has 26 officers in their Academy now. The Budget Amendment 8 takes about $300,000 from the $2.8 million so called Police holding account. The holding account was set up to look like the City is defunding police. It was explained that it was to be used by Racial Equity in Policing Commission for their use. But the City desperately needs to hire new officers and the REP Commission recommended using that $300,000 from the holding account for hiring and training 8 lateral officers (which would take half the time and have them available by October). The regular class in the Academy now will not be ready for street work until next year due to the required 18 week supervised patrol new officers need.
  The State's 22 week POST Academy is on Salt Lake Community College campus and has lots of room but Salt Lake City is running their Academy out of the Pioneer Precinct in Poplar Grove. It also is using the firing range at Murray since the Parleys range was closed. The City still has to use the State's POST for driver training which is very much needed because there have been a lot of accidents. The City bought a $500,000 virtual training system 6 years ago but it is old and a new one is needed. The new technology allows virtual training with virtual reality goggles and that is what the Department would like to buy.  
  Chief Brown said that the City is losing 6 to 8 officers a month now when a couple of years ago the City was only losing 2 to 3 a month. So the City expects to lose 72 more by the end of the year on top of the 12 that have left since January when the City was down 100 officers (see the report on the right in downloads). In addition, there have been 85 leaves in February 2021 to compensate for overtime. 
  The $2.8 million came from a reduction in the Police budget last year of $2 million and another $800,000 from the police hiring freeze. During discussion of the Budget Amendment, the Council decided to take the $300,000 from General Funds and save the $2.8 million for the REP Commission recommendations. They decided that before any public feedback. The Mayor also expressed concern that the issue "warrants a bigger discussion about using general fund" for this item. The REP Commission backed the original Budget Amendment request on the condition that the "right officers" are hired.
  Bottom line, this City will be down 132 officers by the end of this year! The City should tell the public that it will take over 5 years to provide appropriate police response that the public demands and return our police force to what was authorized a couple of years ago. Getting the right officers and a more diverse force requires more funding. This City's citizens and businesses deserve a more appropriate public safety response.
    
HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT REMOVALS DON'T WORK
 In a recent study by the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, homeless encampment removals were found to be costly and they do not work. Each removal of a homeless encampment results in another one popping up. The result is a constant rousting and pressure on the homeless campers who just find another place to sleep.
  One of the big reasons for homeless camping is the significant increase in drug use by the homeless camping on the street. Six years ago, maybe 20% had drug issues that generally covered up mental health problems. Now, the drug use by homeless may be approaching over 75%. A study should be done. The City has said that more treatment beds are needed but treatment has to be voluntary and most, literally most, walk away from treatment. Even when police offer to not arrest the person if they go to a treatment facility, after the police drop them off, they walk away from it. The City has a homeless dashboard (Google it). But the typical stats are 20 rousted from camping, one accepts housing or a shelter bed and lots of needles are found.
  The City is operating on the legal position that "if we can show that we have offered shelter then we can enforce no camping.... It is a tool we can use if we can show we have a place to go... we can cite them but do we want to send them to jail for an hour....since it doesn't appear to work at getting people off the street... the accumulation of misdemeanors makes it harder to put people into housing ....but we will not take it off the table". Council Chair complained that Summit County sends homeless to Salt Lake City (Ogden does also) for treatment and housing and that is why the State should require more cities to provide shelter and treatment.
  On another homeless issue, the City is providing funding to convert the Airport Inn, now being used as a shelter, into a permanent shelter. It is in the middle of nowhere and disrespectful to low income without access to vehicles. Interestingly, it is in a zone that allows housing if there is a filtration and noise mitigation system. That is another reason how most of the International Center can have housing.
  
SLC GRANT APPLICATIONS WILL WASTE MONEY AND UPSET WEST TEMPLE RESIDENTS
  There were several grant applications during the May 4 City Council public hearing but almost nobody knew about them. Those that commented, I will have to correct their mischaracterization of the grants. Most wanted the grants but several would or could increase congestion and the local neighborhood should be involved before going forward. One grant is to implement a better traffic signal at 200 South intersections. One is at 700 East but, as UDOT has realized, turning the light green for a bus that is almost empty is not good for pollution when 40 idling vehicles are waiting to go through. The UDOT/UTA Redwood Road system counts passengers and determines if it is better to turn the light green for the bus or wait until vehicles go through. In other words, Grant Application 1 will increase congestion and pollution unless this City recognizes that vehicle pollution should be decreased. This City recently suggested that all lights be set up on 400 South to assume pedestrians want to cross, even if there are no pedestrians! UDOT refused since it would increase pollution. Several bike enthusiasts got upset and flamed UDOT on Facebook. UDOT is making the correct decision. Salt Lake City keeps ignoring pollution generators like itself.
  Grant Application 2 is to create a 200 South transit hub but it is useless for the bus routes now operating on 200 South. The local City match of $1 million of valuable streets bond money should be used for street maintenance instead of spending over $2 million to park buses which will continue to idle. There are better places being built on 200 South and at the UofU to park buses.
  Grant Application 3 is to make North Temple nicer for pedestrians and bicyclists but it should not increase pollution and encourage more traffic through Capitol Hill and the Avenues which the City keeps inadvertently doing.
  Grant Application 4 is to create a West Temple separated bike lanes! Putting a separated bike lane on streets with lots of driveways is unsafe. There is already a separated bike lane on Main Street although it is poorly maintained. The West Temple proposal will require removing already scarce on street parking. The plan also suggest refuge islands but they are dangerous and threaten pedestrians with left hand turning vehicles.
  Until this City recognizes that separated bike lanes are not maintenance free but are extremely expensive to maintain if done properly at least once a day (now they are only cleaned every 7 weeks). This City does not know how to do bike lanes, separated bike lanes, road diets and BRTs.
  
SALT LAKE CITY IGNORED HIGHLAND DRIVE RESIDENTS ON RESTRIPING UNTIL NOW
  Several of us tried to tell Lynn Jacobs that the residents of Highland Drive do not want parking removed and are against the 
proposed restriping of the street. Lynn Jacobs is developing the plan to remove parking on the west side of Highland Drive and 
restripe the road after the slurry seal coming in the next couple of months. He also is planning the future streetcar route but, again, he is ignoring the resident's concerns. 
  When we pointed out that the Highland Drive residents south of the I80 overpass had been given a promise in about 2006 to keep parking on both sides after the road diet from 4 lanes to 2 lanes, Lynn said that it wasn't a valid agreement. During the Sugar House Community Council meeting, a letter was read from over 50 residents of Highland Drive complaining about the plan. I agree with their objections. The City and Lynn Jacobs need a reality check and should be more respectful of residents. And the Sugar House Community Council should back those residents, some of whom were on the SHCC back then.
  The City has not determined if they will redo the 2100 South and Highland intersection with the 1100 East project. They are thinking about it. The plan for the bicycle path over 1300 East after the new bridge is installed this year is to have it run on the east side of 1300 East and then cross over to the west at Stratford Ave. I think that that is a convoluted and unsafe path. Left hand turning vehicles off of I80 going north sometimes turn wide and could hit pedestrians and bicyclists on that side. The alternative requires crossing two lanes of traffic going onto I80 but I often find that more comfortable.
  Please, if you live in the area, Google Sugar House Community Council and attend the virtual meetings. They are important.
    
900 EAST PROJECT IS CLOSING LEFT HAND TURNS INTERMITTENTLY AND IT IS GOING TO GET WORSE
  Traffic nightmares appear to be starting in Sugar House on the 900 East project that will reconstruct 900 East from Ramona to 27th South. We still have issues with the design (like useless park strips where parking is being removed and tree plantings are not recommended). In mid June, 900 East will be closed for 2 weeks for installation of a 48 inch water main (to service the new buildings at the Inland Port). I strongly urge residents and those interested to email 900east@slcgov.com with concerns or questions and the slcwaterprojects@slcgov.com for more information on the water line project.
  
REALITY CHECK YOUNG PEOPLE WANT SINGLE FAMILY HOMES
  Despite claims that building freeways encourages traffic growth, it is the other way around. If you are a couple and you want a home, the only way you will get it is by driving further. That is what increases traffic on freeways. The freeways are expanded to meet that demand. A recent study and survey showed that even the rising generation want a home and that will require driving further.
  The survey said: "most expect to live in something other than a detached single-family home at the beginning of their careers, but eventually “the vast majority expect to end up in a single-family home with enough bedrooms for a family and a yard,” 
  Only 4% expected to live in an apartment or condo in midlife. So Salt Lake City needs to stop their war on cars and single family home neighborhoods (and stop the war on cops).
  
SLCPD MOTOR OFFICERS BACK WRITING TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT TICKETS 
  SLPD motor officers were cut back during the pandemic but are now back to 10 on the squad (5 for nighttime and 5 for daytime). The impact was most felt with lack of enforcement on street racing. So the new stats for the East Bench are: 91 citations in March while there were only 51 in February. In other words, traffic enforcement is starting up.
  
RANKED CHOICE VOTING SHOULD REQUIRE CITY TO EDUCATE VOTERS ON CANDIDATES
  I agree with the Mayor and Councilman Rogers. This year's candidates will be hard pressed to make their points to the voters in the two months needed before the General Election. Ranked choice voting education funds should be used to host multiple candidate debates for each District while also popularizing community councils and educating voters on candidates and ranked choice voting. This should be in coordination with the Salt Lake City School District using neighborhood schools. 
    
SLCO ASSESSOR ENSURES EQUITABILITY AND TRAX DECREASES PROPERTY VALUE
  A recent New York Times article on property tax assessment indicated that low income households in New York were not equitably taxed. So I asked the Salt Lake County Assessor, Chris Stavros, who took office this last January from Kevin Jacobs about the story and how Salt Lake County ensures that values are equitable. I will be quoting him at length. "My primary statutory responsibility is to assess every property in Salt Lake County at fair market value as of January 1st of the given tax year.  Currently, we have over 375,000 parcels in the county that we need to value on or before May 22nd."
  Large property tax increases (over a $1000) can occur for several reasons. One reason is that the real estate market is "experiencing an overall increase in value of 20% on average and my statutory responsibility is to value every parcel in Salt Lake County at fair market value as of January 1st of the given tax year."  
  "One of the most critical and important aspects of Property Tax Law in Utah is that the law prevents Assessors from increasing valuations to create a “windfall of revenue”.  Specifically, taxing entities are permitted to only collect tax revenue equal to the previous year’s revenue plus “New Growth” meaning new parcels that are added from a new subdivision or from a new business unless the individual taxing entity elects to formally request more tax revenue or a tax increase through a public “Truth in Taxation” hearing.  During the last several years, numerous cities, and school districts have increased taxes through this process." Several  taxing entities may have increased their tax revenue through the “Truth in Taxation” process. "There is also a distinct possibility that the previous year’s assessment was low and we increased the valuations accordingly to reflect the current market value based on the sales and market data that we have analyzed of similar properties in the area."  
  "I would also like to point out that the Utah State Tax Commission (our regulatory agency) conducts a sales ratio study and audit on all of our assessments to measure that our values are accurate within +/- 10% of the median sale price of similar and comparable properties.  In addition, the Utah State Tax Commission audits our assessments on every property to make sure that our assessments are fair and equitable with other similar comparable properties in the same economic area.  Socio-economic areas don’t drive the valuation of properties, the market data and sales determine the market value and assessments accordingly.  The Assessor’s office merely interprets the market based on actual market transactions or sales as well as market leases and sales for commercial properties."
  "Property tax appeals are handled by the Auditor and Council Tax Administration with the final verdict/decision being rendered by the County Council.  For clarification purposes, the Auditor’s office is the clerk of the Board of Equalization and the Tax Administration office is a “third party” independent office that conducts and reviews the hearings/appeals at the Board of Equalization.  Their primary responsibility is to review the market evidence submitted by the taxpayer and the Assessor’s office and make a determination or decision on what the fair market of that property should be based on the evidence submitted by the taxpayer and the Assessor for the given tax year....the process makes sense because it would be a conflict of interest for the Assessor’s office to render decisions on the valuations that they are responsible for creating.....  After the hearing officer from the Tax Administration office reviews the case and issues a written decision, the final step of the Board of Equalization process would be for the County Council to approve all appeal decisions at the Salt Lake County level....if a taxpayer is unhappy with their appeal decision, they have the option to appeal their valuation at the next level of the appeal process which would be the Utah State Tax Commission.  
  "Analysis indicates that 70% of all of the appeals that are submitted to the Salt Lake County Board of Equalization receive some type of reduction in value." Although rare, mistakes can be made and the Assessor "encourages all taxpayers to review their valuation in late July closely when the valuation notices are sent out to make sure that our valuation is an accurate reflection of the value as of January 1st of the given tax year.... All taxpayers should visit slco.org/assessor in order to review the property characteristics that we have collected on their property such as the square footage, acreage, etc. to make sure that our data is correct.  Of course, accurate and correct data leads to accurate and fair assessments."  
  "Since 2017 when I was appointed Chief Deputy Assessor, and now as your Salt Lake County Assessor, Salt Lake County property tax appeals are at “historically low levels”.  I have implemented a very comprehensive value review process, and established internal quality control measures that we utilize to identify and correct data inconsistencies as well as valuations errors throughout the tax year to ensure  that we continue to produce accurate and fair assessments as well as the highest level of service for the taxpayers of Salt Lake County."
  The Assessor's valuation and statistical team have been analyzing the value of the addition of an ADU and/or near a rail, streetcar or BRT. "The complete answer is yet to be determined due to the fact the we only have a limited number or a small sample of sales that fit these parameters. The only significant trend that has become evident relates to properties that back or are adjacent to the transit rail. Our analysis indicates that there is a decrease in value of 3.5 to 5 % for properties that back or are adjacent to the transit rail line. The market data indicates that the typical buyer would pay 3.5 to 5 % less for a comparable property that backs or is adjacent to the rail line due to the associated noise issue. We think that there could possibly be a positive impact in value associated with being in fairly close proximity to a transit station or line as long as the property isn’t backing or adjacent to the line which in turn is a negative impact on the market value. Our instincts tell us that there probably is a positive impact on value if you are close to a station as long as you are not backing or adjacent although unfortunately we don’t have enough sales or a large enough sample of market data to clearly establish a clear trend that indicates a positive influence on the value yet.  Hopefully, over time we will see this trend supported with market data in the future."




APRIL 2021

  SLCPD AUDIT SHOWS GOOD DEPARTMENT & A FEW RECOMMENDATIONS
  I put the Matrix SLC Police Department Audit presentation in the download section on the right. The Audit is still in draft form and I assume that after the Police Department responds to the recommendations, it should be made public. 
  The Audit recommended a change in reporting to make it more transparent about what is the real costs for things like court time pay and workman's compensation. It recommends changing the accounting to reflect reality.
  It also recommends taking the very effective Community Connection system and expanding it by staggering workers to provide not just weekday service but also 24 hour service for every day of the week. It also recommends that 20 staff be hired to respond to the over 14,000 annual calls that do not need an armed officer response but can be handled by a civilian.
  The Audit pointed out that about 44% of the complaints to Internal Affairs are internal. That is significantly higher than the average nationwide of about 20% of Internal Affairs complaints coming from fellow officers. The Audit recommended that 20 videos per month be reviewed instead of the 5 per month now.
  The Audit recommended that police sergeants be authorized to "handle limited minor complaints in the field and provides that the complaint be entered into the employee management database." The goal is to have "minor complaints to be handled by division commands and more serious complaints to be handled by IA investigators." It also recommended that all IA complaint statistics be published on the public website along with use of force demographics.  This City has a working group that is already working on implementing these items before the Audit. I need to note that this City's Police Department has provided that information, even before they are asked. I have had several blog entries on these situations.
  The Audit also pointed out that the officers need more mental health help since 12% of officers have had suicidal thoughts.
  
SLC FORCES JAYWALKING BY REMOVING PARKING FROM 1 SIDE OF HIGHLAND
 Parking is going to be removed on the west side unless the residents of the area respond against it in survey
 https://www.slc.gov/mystreet/2021/01/14/projects/
  Residents can also email to Lynn.Jacobs@slcgov.com who is collecting data and community input on the design of the resurfacing of Highland Drive to 30th South (the City limits). This proposal of restriping Highland Drive is being pushed by Millcreek City which is insisting in a new scheme for Highland Drive that is more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. 
  The proposal, so far is going to add a center turn lane on Highland Drive (this is supposed to be standard for all new City road diets). I think that this increases the danger to bicyclists and pedestrians from left hand turning vehicles into the many driveways on the street. I still believe that left hand center turn lanes should only be at cross streets and the space of a center turn lane should be used for wide/9 foot wide bicycle lanes.
 The City expects the residents on the westside of Highland to be comfortable with walking across the street to park or park on side streets. In addition to being illegal (the City still has an anti-jaywalking ordinance although former Chief Burbank ordered the SLCPD to not write tickets for jaywalking - while other law enforcement like UTA still writes tickets), it is wrong and it continues, in my opinion, the war on parking, cars and families. I had another recent blog entry on the war on parking.
 City does not recognize the promise to provide parking when they went from 4 lanes to two lanes years ago.
 Concept design is planned to be completed in May. The resurfacing/restriping will take a few days and it is hoped that it won't interfere with the 900 East reconstruction and the 1300 East and 1700 East I80 bridge replacements. 
  The City is trying to remove on street parking throughout the City. The 500 East and 2700 South reconstruction projects removed on street parking on one side of the street.
  I still think that the Highland Drive residents were promised to have parking on both sides when they did the road diet (around 2013?) so it is wrong to remove parking on one side of the road. The residents should respond to the survey.
  
SLC'S BEST CHANCE TO SOLVE HOMELESS ISSUES IS ANDREW JOHNSTON
  Andrew Johnston is the new Director of Homeless for Salt Lake City. As an amazing Councilmember representing almost all of the westside (south of I80, west of I15), he has been a reasoned and respectful elected official. His appointment to solving the homeless issues in this City is, as a commenter during this week's Formal Council said, is a home run appointment for the Mayor.
  I can't think of a better person that will have a better chance, the best chance, to solve the homeless issues in our City. I know that he, like several councilmembers, has devoted his life, in and out of his career, to making life better for even the so-called least of our brethren. Andrew thank you. I would wish him luck, but I know he has the skills, the experience and the knowledge that are better than luck. I look forward to seeing you in action. When I asked if I should call him Czar Andrew, he said just call him Andrew. I will miss his blog entries of City Council meetings. It filled a big hole that the local news refuses to cover.
     
IDLE FREE ORDINANCE PASSES TICKETING BY CIVIL CODE ENFORCEMENT
  Despite not emphasizing fighting the idling by diesels (which create the most pollution), the City Council voted into effect the anti-idling ordinance. When several commenters expressed concern about police ticketing idlers, the Council emphasized that this would generally be enforced by civil code enforcement, although law enforcement could also.
    
SLC REMOVES 2021 PRIMARY & MOVES DECLARATION OF CANDIDACY TO AUGUST 10 TO 17
  With only James Rogers expressing a concern and voting against it, the City Council approved rank choice voting for the General Election which will remove the City's Primary. The Mayor pointed out that it would make it more difficult for many candidates to run campaigns since they will have to spend more money without knowing if they will make it through the Primary. She disagreed with the Council and said that she agreed with ranked choice voting but felt that a Primary would help candidates determine if they should spend more money in the General Election. The biggest issue, in my opinion, is that there will be a problem in providing constructive debates to educate voters before the General Election. I am hopeful that the City will step up and host several debates at local schools for debates with the candidates for the 4 open council seats.

NEW AIRPORT PRESENTATION IN DOWNLOADS
  I put the new SLC Airport presentation (along with the Police Department Audit presentation in the downloads section on the right). One of the interesting issues during the City Council discussion was that, due to the lack of proper signage, the park and wait lot is not being used as much as it should which creates backups at the Terminal pickup areas. The Airport will rename the park and wait lot by the gas station and store to PARK AND WAIT LOT which should help.



SLC NEEDS 100 COPS BUT WON'T GET THEM UNTIL END OF 2022 IF EVER

  The Salt Lake City Council is considering shifting police hiring to laterals (hiring POST certified officers already trained as law enforcement) to speed up the restaffing of the SLCPD that is down to 406 available from a total of 569 authorized officers (FTE). That includes the 66 Airport Police Officers. The City has had over a 25% increase in calls since 2016 (see Page 9 in SLC Police increase due to losses BAM8.pdf in the downloads on the right) while the City has had an increase in loss of officers that have been exacerbated by the increase in leave to compensate for the overtime and patrol dedicated to ensuring that the street protests have been safe for everyone. (BIG LESSON - PROTESTS SHOULD NOT BE IN THE STREET IF THEY DON'T WANT INCREASED POLICE FUNDING)
  Salt Lake City has said that lateral hiring is for the short term and the Racial Equity in Policing (REP) Commission supports the increased funding in Budget Amendment 8.
  "The Administration indicates this urgent need is to address a shortage in officers available for call response....The current available officers after factoring in accumulated use or lose leave time is 406 officers as of March 26, 2021. As of the same date, the Police Department has a total of 489 officers on staff of a total 569 authorized officer FTEs of which 66 are Airport Police" (again Page 9 of the SLC Police increase due to losses in the downloads). This budget amendment would transfer $314,899 from the $2.8 million Police Holding Account to hire the lateral class of officers.
"It’s important to note that the Department’s staffing is cyclical as employees retire or leave for other reasons. The total number of hired officers on staff and the number of available officers can change daily. The assumptions in the projections such as four officer retirements per month could be higher or lower next fiscal year."
  What this means is that Salt Lake City may not be up to authorized police officers for over 2 years if ever (due to the continued loss of officers from the Department). This City desperately needs to increase the salary/compensation of officers to adequately staff the Department. For too many years, the City has treated officers as regular employees and they only received the same salary increases as regular employees. POLICE ARE NOT REGULAR EMPLOYEES!
 
SLC MAY SUPPORT LOW INCOME SENIOR HOUSING IN MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
  In a very questionable discussion at the next SLC Council Session, the City is considering helping Switchpoint buy and convert the Airport Inn, presently used for a "temporary" emergency homeless shelter. The $2 million proposal in Budget Amendment 8 (in the SLC Police increase due to losses BAM8.pdf in the downloads - after the SLCPD report) is to buy the hotel for $6.5 million and spend $2 million to renovate it to 100 housing units at $415 rent per month. 25% of the units are proposed to be for veterans. "The total cost of purchasing and refurbishing the housing units and common areas will be about $80,000 per unit, significantly below the new construction costs of about $200,000 per unit."
  "In addition to housing, Switchpoint will provide access to on site integrated treatment services for physical and behavioral health....Ongoing operating costs of the project, including professional support for needed services will be fully supported by the rent paid by our residents....To date, Switchpoint has secured $1.75 million, and is working to secure additional funding from private donors and other entities. If the Council approves the request, the purchase/renovation funding gap would be $4.75 million. The proposed shelter would not be permanent supportive housing but rather transitional, extended hotel stays. This is different than single-room occupancy (SRO) or shared group living housing (although it really sounds like an SRO).
  The biggest problem is that the proposal sounds like Palmer Court, that despite significant social services, is still the second biggest draw on the City's medical response. I still think that homeless and low income shouldn't be stuffed into one building. Mixed income housing has been much more successful in providing respectful housing for low income. Another important issue is the hotel, west of I215 off of North Temple, is far from services, stores, restaurants and transit which puts low income individuals in the middle of nowhere! This should not be approved by the City.

 

I WAS WRONG TO REPORT IN AN EARLIER STORY THAT "Mayor Ralph Becker increased taxes for street repair (about $8 million, against the City Council objections)." I should have said that Mayor Becker tried to veto the increased taxes for street repair that the City Council voted for, but repurposed the raised taxes, the next year, without the City Council noticing. The corrected line and correct story is below:

RALPH BECKER HYPOCRITICALLY CLAIMS THAT RAISED TAXES SHOULD BE FOR STREET REPAIR
  Ralph Becker took the City Council's raised taxes for street repair and repurposed them! 
It was hypocritical for former Mayor Ralph Becker to be quoted on street repair. Mayor Ralph Becker vetoed the City Council's 2013 tax increase for street maintenance but the City Council overrode the veto(about $8 million). But the next year, he repurposed the increased street maintenance tax for the general fund and other issues (without the City Council noticing right away). The former Streets Maintenance manager said that the City needed at least 8 million more a year more for proper streets maintenance. (The Salt Lake Tribune and Chris Smart did a story on this.) I was involved in organizing a fight against the tax increase which we felt would be used for other uses than streets.
  The Police category of Funding Our Future is being used to play a shell game to try to say that SLCPD is getting reduced funding (firefighters and 911 dispatch get some of that). We were told that one extra street maintenance truck and team would be funded. But the biggest loss on street maintenance was the repurposing of the $87 million bond to "prettify" streets instead of providing basic maintenance. The reconstruction of streets involves a lot of new designs and road diets. The City claims that it is for bicycling but the bicycle amenities are mickey mouse in my opinion. It is still dangerous to bicycle in Salt Lake City. 
  And on Ralph's comment in the KUTV2 story on the negative impact on streets by JCLDS Church, I did an oped in one of the local papers years ago that argued that educational institutions and the churches help the City (UofU is an asset and the JCLDS Church saved the City by bankrolling City Creek during the Great Recession). It is one of the reasons I ran against him for mayor.  

 

WAYNES CORNER CRIME MAGNET DRUG DEALER KEEPS GETTING OUT OF JAIL
  In a frustrating case revolving door jail is making public safety worse, the SLCPD have tried to arrest and charge a drug dealer four times recently. But they are still able to work their trade at Wayne's Corner. The Sheriff says that non- violent criminals are not kept in the County Jail, generally, but this egregious example of inadequate County public safety funding shows that the County policy is not good government or protecting the County's citizens and businesses.
  Wayne's Corner, at 1300 South State Street is so bad that UTA removed the bus stop there. The only other bus stop removed due to crime issues was next to the Road Home/Rio Grande homeless area. Buses that had stopped at Wayne's Corner were attacked to steal bicycles! Last year, after Senator Mayne's anti-gambling machines bill passed, the store was raided and criminal activity temporarily was reduced. But it quickly returned as did the gambling machines in a different form.
  The SLCPD has been trying to decrease the criminal activity with a Police camera trailer and intense bicycle patrols. There have been many arrests and still the criminal activity continues.
  There are many high crime areas that seem to be concentrated around crime magnets like State Street and North Temple motels and 24 hour stores. No matter how many times that the drug dealers are arrested, they are quickly returned to the street and crime problems, complaints and victims grow. 
  The Rio Grande area became known as the biggest open air drug market in the west due to this County's release of arrested drug dealers within a few hours. Operation Rio Grande's biggest accomplishment was to spread the drug dealing throughout the City. This can all be traced back to Salt Lake County's inadequate funding for public safety. 
  The crime problems at Wayne's Corner, Rio Grande, Skyline Inn (solved its problems with a new owner), Gateway Inn (seems to have solved its problems with a new owner), Georgian Apartments (being redeveloped with a new owner) have been typical in this County. The criminals don't stay in jail; they stay in the community and continue to find new victims. 
  
PUBLIC UTILITIES RATE INCREASES WATER 8%, SEWER 18%, STORMWATER 10%
  SLC Public Utilities gave their budget presentation that will continue the rate increases that essentially doubled rates for water, sewer and stormwater from 5 years ago. Although the water rate increase was deferred last year, it returns with an 8% rate increase due to the large capital project to meet the new water requirements. That will include identifying and replacing pipes that are old and have an increased chance of breaking. (I put the report in the downloads on the right.)
  In addition, the Department is proposing to add 17 more employees for a total of 465  FTE (employees). Many of the new employees are to allow the City to reduce their use of consultants that are charging $160/hour. The expected new employees will be making about $51.68/hour (after overhead and addons). The Department expects to have a lot of engineering work in the next 5 years that will require the use of the 17 new employees. The future efforts to upgrade/design/construct new facilities/piping more than justifies more in house personnel. I still think that SLC uses too many consulants.
  SLC Public Utilities also has identified the water and sewer pipes and age and will attempt to plan replacements to decrease the water main breaks. I put the information on the rate increases, their impacts on various customers, comparisons with other areas, the age of pipes and the use of attorneys in the downloads section on the right. The use of outside attorneys was necessary due to the increased need to adjudicate many water rights over the last few years from the Legislature's efforts to find and correct water rights overlaps.
  There is also a new rate study on lighting study, last done in 2017, to decide on a new rate for street lighting. Most of the cost of maintenance of street lighting is due to the use of outside maintenance. The City has 15,500 street lights. The City implemented the street lighting fee to collect fees from the numerous government and religious properties that were not paying for the service. But the fee allows for consistent fee increases with lower visibility and pushback than with a tax increase.


SLC'S WAR ON PARKING
  Salt Lake City is pushing a big reduction in off street parking requirements. Among the many suggestions in the extensive proposal is reduction in parking minimums of 25% for affordable units (60% AMI) and a further reduction for being close to transit (including 15 minute bus frequency).
  But real effective transit is not just buses or rail. Real useful transit isn't just frequency. It also needs encouraging fares and bus stops. Realistic, reasonable fares, in my opinion, are the most important way to encourage mass transit use. But this is not recognized by Salt Lake City. The fare elasticities on buses are very different from rail fare elasticities (-.4 which means cutting fares in half gives a 20% ridership increase). If this City wants to reduce use of cars, which are needed by all, whatever their income, they need to encourage more transit use of buses. That's what studies show. Until then, as Councilman Andrew Johnston said at the April 13 work session, and on his blog, cars will continue to be necessary. Cars make our families, our economy and our time more efficient. In other words, this plan says that BUSES MAKE NO PARKING ACCEPTABLE!
  The big issue with the Council is how to get a full education on what this significant parking ordinance will do. Other questions are: is transit really going to reduce parking requirements; are developers really going to build projects with less parking; how to discourage car use and should parking requirement reductions have a maximum (should affordable and a bus and bicycle parking be allowed to reduce parking requirements more than 50%?). The developer next to the 650S Main St TRAX wants more parking.
  There was a large discussion about Central Ninth (west of State and north of 10th South). Although it is part of the transit context, the 1/2 space per studio and one space per one bedroom may not be enough. It was pointed out that a new development with over 400 units was going to have less than 1/2 a space per unit for parking in an area of Ballpark just south of Central Ninth that already has on street parking problems. The proposal suggests not requiring on site parking minimums for multifamily! The City expects that this area will be rezoned. If the area is agreed to be part of neighborhood context, or rezoned, it may be a stopgap for the area. That area, including State Street, Main Street, the Fleet Block and Granary is planned to be rezoned.
  Councilman Mano thought that there was a study that showed that Central Ninth needed parking (it does but the study is not public which is bad government and really disrespectful to have a parking study be secret when the City is planning to change parking requirements). The parking study is part of the 9-Line Trail Plan and it includes 9th and 9th and Central Ninth and it should be available in 2 to 3 months. Councilman Mano thought that the area says that parking is a really big concern now. He said that he is "not incredibly strong on moving forward with the plan for Central Ninth". It maybe should be changed to FB-UN2 and maybe the area should be moved into urban central context for parking. He is proposing corridor commercial for most of State Street, Ballpark and  South State Street. He is concerned that there are a lot of residential properties that do not allow redevelopment with present setback with 25 foot wide buildings. Developers can't redevelop them with parking. That is why he wants no parking minimums with these properties. That is his business as an architect specializing in small properties without off street parking. He does not feel that small infill parcels under 5000 Sq Ft should need parking. He also wants a graduated parking requirement that doesn't set a hard parking requirement. He wants a 6 months leeway for developers to quickly or slowly follow the ordinance.
  An important question for the Ballpark residents is if transit station areas get a big decrease in off street parking requirements and an increase in higher density, will residents near 1700 South really want a TRAX station.
  Councilwoman Fowler wants to give developers leeway and make the parking ordinance slowly kick in to give developers direction now. She feels comfortable with the ordinance now and is all for building smaller. Councilman Rogers agrees.
  Councilman Johnston was concerned about no on street parking if 1/2 space per unit is implemented. It would be incredibly painful for that neighborhood. The City needs to work on transportation. He is nervous that it may push affordable housing to certain areas next to TRAX stations. He also expressed concern that low income individuals with cars, if they have no on site parking, will park on the street and they may end up getting tickets which makes it harder to stay out of low income. This fact should be emphasized: AFFORDABLE HOUSING WITHOUT OFF STREET PARKING HURTS LOW INCOME INDIVIDUALS! This proposal effectively hurts low income drivers.
  Despite claims that developers don't want more parking (Councilman Mano says that he hopes that they don't want more parking and thinks that the requirements should be lower.), the parking maximums in multi-family in the proposal is high due to the consultants initial suggestions. Planning Director Nick Norris repeated the claim that when it is super easy to park, people will drive and this City is concerned about encouraging driving. He said that from what he heard from the 400 South developers, utilization rates are generally less than one stall per unit but that is anecdotal. He thinks that it may be .6 now. In the Gateway area, residents want off street parking due to safety concerns. If one has off street parking available, it will be used "since it is perceived as safer"
  Developers that I talk to say that as the tenants become longer term renters, they tend to buy cars. At first the new apartments get a lot of turnover but after a while, when the tenants are comfortable and know the limitations of mass transit, they buy cars. Portland showed that, even next to streetcar stations, 80% still drove personal vehicles.
  There was also a discussion on why affordable housing needs a loading berth instead of more parking. Trucks should be able to pull into the median! But that means that bikelanes are ridiculously unsafe. Medians are not a good idea if you want to encourage bicycling, since they take away from wide bicycle lanes. (A loading berth can be 45 ft by 50 ft width and 65 ft deep.
  Council Executive Director Cindy Gust-Jensen suggested that the proposal is so far reaching with unintended consequences (understatement of the year) and that not everyone on the Council can follow it, that the Council would benefit from small group meetings (supposedly 3 or less Councilmembers at a time meeting out of public to hear and discuss parking). Councilman Wharton agrees that the issue will not be settled tonight. Planning Director Norris agreed and said that the staff would take some time and then present a summary for the small group meetings.
  My three takeaways from this push to reduce parking minimums is: the parking study is still not public and this should not go forward without the public seeing the study and being able to comment on it; the State Street CDA should have a plan that may decrease pressure on reducing parking minimums in residential areas; and I STILL THINK THAT THIS IS A WAR ON CARS AND PARKING AND FAMILIES. I like Councilman Johnston's point that low income renters should be able to own cars comfortably.


BUSINESS DISRUPTION CONSTRUCTION NEXT WEEK, WAIT, NEVER MIND
  Salt Lake City went door to door around the 1100 East and Hollywood area in the last few weeks telling businesses and residents that there would be a major construction project to reconstruct the gutters along the street. But the City realized on April 6, after many complaints from many of us that it would eliminate a detour for the 900 East reconstruction, that it was not a wise project now. So the City cancelled the plan and went back to the neighborhood, door to door, saying never mind.
  What is so frustrating is that many of us for years have asked for reasonable coordination of the projects to stop increased congestion by working on all of the streets in the neighborhood at the same time. Last year, during the discussion on the 5 year Sugar House large number of proposed construction projects (https://www.slc.gov/mystreet/category/upcoming/), we asked that there be coordination to eliminate interference between projects. 
  One concern was the 1100 East gutter reconstruction project that ignored the 2023 1100 East reconstruction and would interfere with traffic detours of the 900 East reconstruction that is starting in a few weeks. We were able to convince the City Council, after many complaints, that the 1300 East reconstruction project detours would create congestion on the 1100 East detour if road work was to be done on 1100 East at the same time. But the City Council only ordered the 1100 East gutter project to be delayed one year. That kept pressure to do the project as soon as possible, despite the duplicate project to reconstruct 1100 East in 2023. This bad government decision was stopped at the last minute by complaints. Don't stop complaining about bad government.
  
SPRAGUE LIBRARY DECREASES IMPORTANT SUGAR HOUSE MEETING ROOM
  Sprague Library has almost finished its reconstruction. The biggest impacts that users may complain about is the removal of the popular reading room (converted to a make lab) and the shrinking of the well used meeting room. Over 300 have sometimes attended Sugar House Community Council meetings and that history seems to have been disregarded. The community computers have been moved to the meeting room which may create conflicts. And the restrooms are now unisex downstairs. I am not sure how the community will handle the new Sprague.


UTA GET FREE FARE ON OGDEN BRT BUT REFUSES $1 FARE ON BUSES
  To increase ridership on the new $120 million Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), UTA has received a grant to provide free fare for the first 3 years. This should increase ridership to compete with the duplicate 603 bus route. This will encourage transit projects instead of putting money into better bus service. It may also create arguments to remove the popular 603 bus route that has more convenient stops.
  UTA, in my opinion, has never proved that BRT projects are popular. The only real BRT that took two lanes from congested 3500 South never had more than 3200 riders a day (the lanes could handle 15000 riders a day in vehicles). It turned out that riders liked the more convenient and frequent bus stops instead of the BRT stops every 4 blocks. So the 35MAX BRT on 3500 South competed with the popular 33 bus. The end result was the 35MAX was stopped, temporarily according to UTA - so the 2 unavailable lanes on 3500 South can't be used by vehicles (increasing pollution), and the 33 bus ridership increased (see recent ridership in the downloads area).
  It will be interesting to see what happens when the UVX Provo/BYU/UVU BRT fare returns to the $2.50 per ride. It seems to be a no brainer that UTA should implement a ONE DOLLAR FARE. A free fare may attract so called undesirables (Ogden has a significant problem with homeless, not as bad as Salt Lake Valley but much, much worse than Utah County) to the free fare BRT but, again, it will prove the concept, or not. Tell UTA to implement $1 fare on buses by emailing boardoftrustees@rideuta.com.
  
SLC REFUSES TO DECREASE WATER USE LIKE LAS VEGAS
  Salt Lake City has less water use per person than Las Vegas. But Las Vegas has realized that water is wasted in park strips and in planted medians in the desert City. But Salt Lake City does not seem to acknowledge that water is wasted on park strips, planted medians and seems to plant greenery without planning to water them or actually water them.
  One of the worst cases is the 900 East reconstruction which shows the plan to be a park strip on the east side, despite parking being removed on that side. The result is more water use and skinnier sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists. Much of the east side in that area is park space (Fairmont Park and the Forest Dale Golf Course). So a green park strip seems to be a waste of water. It is really difficult to water a park strip without watering the sidewalk. 
  There are several other cases of poor water management in the City. The 9-Line Trail has wide park strips. The City spent a million on alleyways for the McClelland Trail but most of the plantings died. The City spent hundreds of thousands on Miller Park (cutting hundreds of old trees) and planted a lot of new plants but most died due to not planning to water the new plants. On the other hand, Salt Lake City Parks kept the water on full force during the hottest part of the day after the new grass in Fairmont Park was planted and growing well. Salt Lake City still, after complaints, goes after water wise homeowners who try to minimize water use by reducing greenery in their front yards. Stephanie.Duer@slcgov.com at the City may be able to help if you happen to get a visit from Zoning Enforcement. 
  And finally, there is an effort to get UDOT to plant the center medians of 700 East and State Street. But that will reduce potential bikelanes (SLC is not planning on State Street bikelanes!) or wider bikelanes. During the last major drought a few years ago, the City stopped watering the medians and cemetery (they started watering again after cemetery visitors complained). SALT LAKE CITY IS NOT WATERWISE, in my opinion.


HOMELESS BURNING DOWN WAY TOO MANY VACANT BUILDINGS
  In a sign that the homeless situation (lack of affordable housing) is getting worse, disaster cleanup firms are reporting an increase in contracts to cleanup vacant buildings that have had fires caused by humans camping inside. 
  The demolition ordinance is not working since the housing mitigation ordinance (requiring equivalent housing to replace the demolished housing) has to be updated and it is slowing down and discouraging demolition and rebuilding with new housing.


UDOT PLANNING FOR NEW CONCRETE I80 CONSTRUCTED FOR LOWER NOISE
  As mentioned in an earlier blog entry, "Longitudinal tining is an effective method to reduce noise and provide the added safety of hydro-planing reduction". UDOT confirmed that the contractor will be required to tine the pavement with shallow, uniform grooves (longitudinal tining) as per their contract specifications. UDOT said that they do anticipate that this will help to reduce road noise along the new I80 reconstruction in East Salt Lake City. For updates, email saltlakeeast@utah.gov.
 
WAYNE NIEDERHAUSER NOMINATED TO BE UTAH HOMELESS CZAR
  I do not know how this will help, but former Senate President Wayne Niederhauser has been nominated to the new Utah Homeless Czar by Governor Cox. This reminds me of the placement of Josh Romney on the Homeless Committee. I still think that the Homeless Czar should be someone who has been involved in the issue for at least 10 years. It takes years to understand the issue and putting a new person in charge, can make it worse. The best example is former Lt. Gov. Cox (now Governor) was point and in charge of homeless issues in the State. In that position, he unilaterally closed the Road Home against the recommendations of those who were most knowledgeable on the homeless issues. That made the homeless camping issue much worse. We will see what this means.


WHY ARE LAWS PROTECTING PUBLIC IGNORED DUE TO PROPERTY RIGHTS
  The biggest interest in the East Bench community is a relatively high density project on a severe slope that does not look stable enough to be safe for a new building and that looks like it will destabilize and negatively impact adjacent residents. The project on Donner Way is on the edge of a small valley, probably caused by runoff and that indicates, or should indicate an unstable geologic area. The Wasatch Front has many slope hillside avalanches that should warn developers about building where water can create problems. The property owner insists that it is safe but it also is asking for a height variance and an easement from Public Utilities to tie into their sewage pump station. This project has not gone to Planning Commission yet and there is talk of lawsuits. The City feels that property owners have the ability to build on such a severe slope even decades after restrictions on hillside development are set. This project may end up at the Utah Supreme Court or be required to have an extremely large insurance to protect adjacent homeowners.
  Salt Lake City Public Utilities should consider buying this slope and canyon since it will protect the water table.


FLEET BLOCK HOMELESS IGNORE HELP
  Salt Lake City social workers reached out to the many homeless that were camping on the Fleet Block before the camp abatement this week but only got 1 person placed in housing! Workforce services did engage with 19 but the only real success was that one person who accepted housing! We have thousands of homeless and one success a week will not help.


SLC ROAD WORK PROGRAM IN THE DOWNLOADS
  I put the new road work plan in the downloads but it is missing the equity analysis that provided each district with an analysis compared to other districts. But it is very informative and I recommend reading. I still think that the City is trying to prettify streets more than provide basic and needed maintenance. Tell the City Council what you think. Their emails are on the left.


SLC 911 DISPATCH DIRECTOR RETIRING
  In an important change in the Salt Lake City Public Safety system, the Director of 911 Dispatch, Lisa Burnett, has decided to retire. Although I didn't agree with all of the City's policies with regards to 911, she was always responsive to our concerns and I consider her a great public servant. I think that the City will have a big loss with her retirement. She took over a Department that was under significant pressure to respond to an overwhelming number of complaints that were listed in the Matrix 911 Audit (in the downloads) that showed up to an hour response time due to inadequate scripts, personnel (many were not certified dispatch operators and underpaid), and problems taking crime reports (solved by making all certified dispatch operators). 
  Lisa Burnette implemented the recommended changes and made the City's 911 system much, much better. We are still down around 100 authorized police but at least the City is paying dispatchers more than McDonald's wages.
  
ANDREW JOHNSTON NEW SLC HOMELESS CZAR, BIG LOCAL NEWS LOSS WITH HIS DISTRICT 2 BLOG  
  Councilman Andrew Johnston, who also works outside of City government at VOA, is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable elected leaders in the City, if not the best. He almost always knows the wisest path and he attends many community meetings, even outside his district. He is the third best expert on Utah's homeless that I know of. Mayor Mendenhall made one of her best decisions to appoint Andrew Johnston to the City's new position in charge of homeless. Although it is a big loss for his District, and a big loss for one of the best news blogs of the City Council's meetings, I can't think of a better person to positively impact the homeless issue in Salt Lake City. I may not always agree with him but his reasoning is better than most elected officials.
  
 
RALPH BECKER HYPOCRITICALLY SAYS RAISED TAXES SHOULD BE FOR STREET REPAIR

  KUTV2 and Wendy Halloran had a great story on the lack of Funding Our Future money going to adequately maintain our streets.  I urge you to Google it. It started with an interview with Ralph Becker who is the last person interested in maintaining streets in my opinion.
It was hypocritical for former Mayor Ralph Becker to be quoted on street repair. Mayor Ralph Becker vetoed the City Council's 2013 tax increase for street maintenance but the City Council overrode the veto (about $8 million). But the next year, he repurposed the increased street maintenance tax for the general fund and other issues (without the City Council noticing right away). The former Streets Maintenance manager said that the City needed at least 8 million more a year for proper streets maintenance. (The Salt Lake Tribune and Chris Smart did a story on this.) I was involved in organizing a fight against the tax increase which we felt would be used for other uses than streets.
  The Police category of Funding Our Future is being used to play a shell game to try to say that SLCPD is getting reduced funding (firefighters and 911 dispatch get a significant portion of that). 
  We were told that one extra street maintenance truck and team would be funded. But the biggest loss on street maintenance was the repurposing of the $87 million bond to "prettify" streets instead of providing basic maintenance. The reconstruction of streets involves a lot of new designs and road diets. The City claims that it is for bicycling but the bicycle amenities are mickey mouse in my opinion. It is still dangerous to bicycle in Salt Lake City. 
  And on Ralph's comment in the KUTV2 story on the negative impact on streets by the JCLDS Church, I did an oped in one of the local papers years ago that argued that educational institutions and the churches help the City (UofU is an asset and the JCLDS Church saved the City by bankrolling City Creek during the Great Recession). It is one of the reasons I ran against him for mayor. 


FORMER CONGRESSMAN MCADAMS WANTS TAXPAYERS TO THANK LEGISLATURE FOR SECRET $12 MILLION S-LINE FUNDING 

  Former Congressman Ben McAdams, who lives a few houses from the S-Line in Sugar House, attended the Sugar House Community Council's April meeting and asked that the Community Council send a letter to the Legislature thanking them for the $12 million appropriation in HB433 to extend the S-Line. But the HB433 that was released to the public for the one day noticed public hearing at the Legislature, did not have funding for the S-Line. Although Millcreek Mayor Silvistrini testified for the bill that allocated $300 million to the double tracking of FrontRunner (carrying 5000 a day now and UTA surveys expect up to 7000 more after the pandemic with greater frequency), the next day, the $12 million S-Line funding showed up in the bill which passed without any more public hearings. I assumed that Rep. Winder, the Economic Director of Millcreek, added the $12 million for Millcreek because that is the dream of Mayor Silvistrini, to run the S-Line south through Millcreek. 
  But the Sugar House Community Council, in general loved the idea that it will take the S-Line into the heart of Sugar House at Simpson and Highland Drive. I think that the heart of Sugar House is further north and the first plan to turn the rail north was to take it to the heart of Sugar House. I guess that the heart is moving south towards Millcreek.
  Councilwoman Amy Fowler was almost giddy at the potential extension, which is essentially one block for the 700 who ride the S-Line daily. I have to say this, NEVER HAVE SO FEW BEEN GIVEN SO MUCH TO NOT HAVE TO WALK ANOTHER BLOCK. Ms. Fowler also mentioned that the Mayor is excited about the extension. Mayor Mendenhall has consistently been trying to extend the S-Line north. 
  Lost to many is the significant negative impact that the rail of this "streetcar", which is in the roadway, will have on bicycling whether it is extended south (I expect that the next session will give Millcreek even more to send it south) on Highland or on 1300 East. Bicyclists have often caught their tires in streetcar rails with serious results. And, the S-Line, on a street, will destroy the mountain views, significantly increase property taxes, rezone for increased density since single family homes do not provide enough riders to be cost effective for rail and, worst of all, require Salt Lake City taxpayers to help fund the Millcreek rail line to the tune of $100 million (local match needed for federal funding)! These are the same arguments that we used to stop the streetcar extension north. 
  Former City Councilman Soren Simonsen pushed for taking the S-Line to the east and Sugar House Park. He is right that any extension should go east. Sugar House Park is the biggest destination in the area. The pre-COVID ridership was 1600 per day on weekends but only 1300 per weekday. That shows that most used the S-Line for recreation and probably the parks. But the suggestion and effort seems to be to prepare the S-Line to go to Simpson and then via Highland to Millcreek. If the streetcar went up Wilmington, at least it would have easy access to Hidden Hollow and the Draw into Sugar House Park. There is no safe way to access Sugar House Park except via Wilmington.
  The UTA outreach coordinator, Megan Waters will be taking public comment on the S-Line extention at mwaters@rideuta.com.
  
LOCALLINK.COM STUDY PUSHES EVERYTHING BUT INCREASED BUS SERVICE
  At the Sugar House Community Council meeting, Lynn.Jacobs@slcgov.com gave an update to the effort by Millcreek and Salt Lake and South Salt Lake to increase transportation options. Unfortunately, the City asked to take a survey that seems to deliberately skew the responses away from the cheapest plan, buses. The survey asks which transit system they prefer from TRAX, enhanced bus, streetcar or BRT. No buses were suggested! This survey is inappropriate and poorly constructed. 
  Bus service needs to be returned to 15 minutes on the 1100E/1300E route 213 first, and if ridership returns, then consider other projects. Look at bus ridership on 213 first. Spending hundreds of millions when ridership doesn't exist does not make sense. If it did, UTA wouldn't have reduced service on 213!  BUSES/BETTER SERVICE/SPAN OF SERVICE SHOULD HAVE BEEN AN OPTION.
  The cheapest transit solution with the best potential ridership would be a bus on 1100E. Half hour service is not going to increase service (plus transfers are very poor and away from connecting service).  Save money and put in wider shared sidewalks so families can safely bike in the area.
  I still think that the Highland Drive residents would block the Millcreek plan for the streetcar (due to power lines obstructing mountain views, parking removal, rail impact on bike safety, property tax increases and SLC having to pay for a Millcreek plan).  Again UTA has not proven that they can successfully design and operate a BRT. (UVX is not a BRT. It is a free benefit for students.)
  The Locallink.com study should result, if done right focus on wider sidewalks first. The survey should also put the local taxpayer predicted match at the beginning of the survey. It is a minimum of a hundred million for rail.
  There was also a presentation on the potential road diet on Highland to meet the Millcreek designs that want a three lane road with center turn lane. But they are suggesting allowing parking on the street! That is not allowed now! That destroys the potential for 9 foot wide bike lanes and any safe bicycling path! In addition, it was suggested to remove parking on one side of Highland south of I80 but one reason that residents on Highland accepted the road diet from almost 20 years ago was they got on street parking! That parking on the street is often full on weekends! 
  As I keep saying, Millcreek Mayor Silvistrini wants his rail and he won't let little ole Salt Lake stop him, not with Rep. Mike Winder in his corner.
  Please got to locallink.com and take the survey, whatever your opinion. 
  
UDOT PROVIDES I80 PROJECT DATES FOR 2 BRIDGE REPLACEMENTS AND NEW CONCRETE LANES
  Another presentation on Sugar House projects was given by UDOT and they covered the 1700 East bridge replacement (in one day in August of 2021) and the 1300 East bridge replacement in the fall of 2021. The work will keep three lanes open during the day in each direction. UDOT will also add another lane for a total of four lanes westbound.
  The new concrete should be a little quieter but the residents around the area still have to contend with the noise of engine brakes on heavy duty trucks. UDOT says that the area does not meet noise requirements for a sound barrier. If it did, UDOT would have to put sound walls on each side of the freeway. The new concrete should have new less noisy tining. "Longitudinal tining is an effective method to reduce noise and provide the added safety of hydro-planing reduction". I am still trying to confirm that it will be used on the new concrete. New concrete, even without tining, is less noisy than old concrete. For updates, email saltlakeeast@utah.gov.
  During discussion, several complained that building more lanes results in more traffic. The reality is more lanes make it more convenient to have a home further away with a bigger yard. I know several who gave up on Salt Lake City and moved to Heber! The increased traffic is due to the ability to have a better life with a better home with a larger yard. Driving half and hour or an hour is not an issue with cars that almost drive themselves. Ask Governor Cox why he drives two hours each way, each day (when he is not in his central Utah office).

RANKED CHOICE GENERAL ELECTION HURTS CANDIDATE DEBATE POTENTIAL
   I believe that using ranked choice voting for municipal candidates (4 SLC Councilmembers up for election this year - note that Amy Fowler has not decided if she will run for re-election) in the General Election will interfere with the potential debates that voters depend on to help decide who they will vote for. If the City decides to forgo the Primary, allowed with a ranked choice General Election, candidates would apply by August instead of by June 7. But the biggest effect on the voters and particularly on the community councils is that there could be a large number of candidates in the election and that would make debates impractical and laughable. If more than two candidates for municipal offices are on the General Election ballot, community councils and voters will have less time to hear the two best candidates debate. From years of hands on experience both managing campaigns and running for office, I have found that the problem with more than two candidates is that the community councils, and other groups hosting debates, have to allow all of the candidates into the debate. Even the ones that may not have a chance at winning. That decreases legitimate debates.
  Several examples show the problem. Nationally, during the Presidential Primaries, the number of candidates on the debate stage was almost laughable. Locally, in 2013, there were way too many running for office in District 5 to allow a good debate that could cover more than a couple of questions. In other words, there was not enough time for the community councils to allow all to participate in debates until after the top two were chosen in the primary (I helped set up the one debate.). In the 2015 mayor's election, the 5 candidates made effective debates at the community councils almost impossible. Greater Avenues settled the issue by choosing who they felt were the top two candidates for a first debate and let the last three debate at the next month's meeting. That could have resulted in a lawsuit if any of the candidates felt slighted (we didn't). The first mayoral debate in 2015 may have seemed to stay on point and provided good points but subsequent TV debates were rushed and didn't allow a good defining of the candidates, in my opinion. 
  I expect many to run for municipal offices this year for each opening and that will make the hosting of debates almost impossible until after a primary that chooses the top two candidates. The best example is the large number of candidates that applied for the last opening on the District 5 City Council seat. I believe many activists will apply to push the issues that were common in the last year, including defunding police, police brutality, homeless camp cleanups, affordable housing, etc. 
  My main point is that over the years, candidates for municipal offices cannot provide a good education for voters without debates and debates with more than the top two candidates are difficult and do not really provide more than a couple of questions answered. Without debates, voters have to rely on candidate marketing materials. With more than a couple of candidates, potential debates will turn into a bunch of slogans by activists hoping to get their point across. And the candidates who will be most negatively impacted are those with minimal funding who will have a much more difficult time trying to get their name out there.
  If the City really wants to educate the voters, the City should consider hosting debates for each Council District at local schools. In 2014, the Legislature made all public schools civic centers (all charter schools were added in 2015) so that the only cost for using the school facilities is a modest rental fee (and damage deposit) since added insurance is not needed. Local schools would provide a large audience and educate voters better than candidate marketing materials. The City should host these voter education debates for the Primary and for the General Election. It would also publicize the local community councils and increase community engagement in those councils. 
  Salt Lake City expects to vote on a resolution on whether to have a primary on April 20 at their formal meeting. If you have comments, see the list of emails in the transit rides for millionaires below. 


IDLING
  Salt Lake City is finally going to push for a new anti idling ordinance, a year after the Legislature allowed ticketing for idling after one warning. The City was a leader in an anti-idling ordinance but the Legislature, encouraged by many of us, overturned the ordinance and insisted that it only be educational and only allowed tickets after 3 warnings. Our concerns were mainly that low income families with older vehicles would be targeted. Mothers should not have to be threatened by police. In the last 2 years in Salt Lake City, only 17 warnings and no citations were issued. The Airport has a big problem with idling and the City is unsure how to handle it.
  I think that the City should consider emphasizing discouraging diesel idling. I can make an argument that diesels contribute most of the transportation particulate contribution to our airshed since newer vehicles have only 3% of the pollution of vehicles over 30 years old. Diesel engines are refurbished, not usually thrown away and that results in excessive air pollution. The Inland Port complaints generally center on diesel trucks and this is the chance for Salt Lake City to significantly decrease the pollution from the Inland Port. (Rail diesels are used in other states and Utah is unable to stop their use.) There has been an estimate that up to 25% of diesel vehicles have engine enhancements that significantly increase pollution. For that reason alone, the ordinance should prioritize diesel anti-idling. In addition, big rig trucks are sometimes parked in residential areas and they are started up and idled regularly which results in many complaints about noise. Again, diesels, should be a priority for enforcement. Police have excessive responsibilities and they should be focused on discouraging idling diesels before ticketing idling new cars. 
  Based on years of watching diesels performing work for the City, despite contracts that say no unnecessary idling, those diesels, performing City work, are idling for hours! The ordinance should specifically state that all City contracts are required to have anti-idling as a part of the contract and a signed agreement to limit idling in accordance with the ordinance. I did not see that in the ordinance even though Engineering tells me that contracts say that.
  Motorcycles should be specifically mentioned in the anti-idling ordinance.
  I still think that SLCPD should not have to address a low income family in an older car trying to keep their kids warm in the winter by idling. That could lead to situations that can rapidly escalate to what may end up being labeled police brutality.
  Line 53, new D. needs the word "testing" added for emissions testing.
  K-9 idling has been a big problem/issue at the State Capitol. The K-9 dogs are kept in the vehicles parked next to the Capitol for hours while the vehicle is idling! In addition to the concern for the dogs' sanity, the idling vehicles create a large source of pollution by government employees. There should be a one hour limit to idling with a dog inside. There should also be a limit for idling while waiting for someone (going into a store, waiting to pickup at the Airport, etc).
  Finally, noise is an issue. The City Council staff report mentions this and future ordinances may target this issue. The Legislature has been trying to address it (Sen. Bramble, Rep. Dunnigan). Much of the problem can be decreased by focusing police and other enforcement (allowing parking patrol to ticket idling vehicles) on diesels. But this City should also investigate future fine tuning of ordinances to discourage removing noise enhancements for vehicles and motorcycles. I am told that that is common. Federal regulations state that 80db is the maximum noise allowed on motorcycles but removing standard mufflers significantly increases noise.
  Bottom line, diesels should be targeted for anti-idling enforcement and the City should not legalize keeping a dog in an idling vehicle for hours! 
  
SLC GETS NEW 5 YEAR ROADWORD PLAN
  I put the 5 year streets projects plan in the downloads section in the right.


SLC ABOUT TO GIVE MILLIONAIRES FREE RIDES TO TRANSIT
  In one of the most questionable proposals in a year of questionable proposals, Salt Lake City Council is about to approve Budget Amendment 7 which provides $800,000 for UBER like rides in the Avenues, East Bench, Glendale and Rose Park to the nearest bus stops. The millionaires in the Upper Avenues and the upper East Bench must really need the lifts. 
  UTA provides the service called VIA (in the downloads) in a much larger area with much larger distances to the nearest bus stops in the Southwest Salt Lake County. UTA provides the service for a subsidy per rider of about $35! Admittedly, the cost per rider is less than the cost to run full size buses but UBER and LYFT passes are less expensive. 
  UTA gets about $1.6 million a month in cash fares. The $800,000, in my opinion, would be better utilized and result in greater mass transit ridership growth if the funds were used to jumpstart a $1 bus fare.
  Millionaires do not need rides to buses. But the citizens of Salt Lake City deserve a $1 bus fare. Please email the City Council and demand a $1 bus fare. Tell the City Council at:
james.rogers@slcgov.com,andrew.johnston@slcgov.com,chris.wharton@slcgov.com,amy.fowler@slcgov.com,dan.dugan@slcgov.com,darin.mano@slcgov.com,ana.valdemoros@slcgov.com


SLC COUNCIL AGAIN HEARS HORROR STORIES OF KIDS EXPOSED TO METH USERS
  During this week's SLC Council meeting, around 20 callers demanded that the City decrease police funding instead of increasing the funding with Budget Amendment 7. The new funds are to cover the cost of SLCPD work on homeless camp cleanups and to protect the protesters who insist that they protest in the street. What is ironic is that the $500,000 for the SLCPD protection of protesters who protest in the street is caused by the protesters of police funding marching in the street. If the SLC Police didn't have to worry about protecting the marchers in the street, they wouldn't have needed that extra funding. If you want less police funding, stop protesting in the street!
  Again, hundreds may want less police funding but tens of thousands want more police funding. Communities want more funding for the police and they want camps with criminal behaviors exposed to kids abated. Stop demonizing parents who want their kids to be able to walk safely to school. 
  Amy Hawkins, Chair of Ballpark Community Council, who has been fighting to provide more safety to her neighborhoods, summed it up better than anyone else at the meeting. She told of how the homeless drug addicts were camped out in a park strip across from an Elementary School and smoking meth in public! She said that "Homelessness is not a crime but it can't be okay to live in a park strip across from a school and openly smoking meth".
  
SLC ADU REPORT SHOWS ADUS ARE NOT THE SOLUTION TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING
  During the annual report on ADUs by SLC Planning Director Nick Norris (in the downloads on the right), Council Chair Amy Fowler related problems with ADUs in her area that rent out their ADUs to many as short term rentals. The City is not able to enforce the ordinances on ADUs. When neighbors complain, the City gives business license applications to the offending owner! It is happening Citywide. According to the Planning Director, enforcement, to ensure that owners occupy the residence, is time consuming, especially with short term rentals. The new ADU bill, HB82, significantly modified from the original bill, will allow basement ADUs to have a lien placed and that should work better as an enforcement tool. But putting owner occupied on the title as a deed restriction is almost useless. Liens work better.
  The report said that about 27 ADUs a year were predicted and 2019 had 33 and 2020 had 34 approved. So, since Salt Lake City has about 42000 single family homes (about 12% of the City's land), only .08% of single family homes have ADUs. It will take 12 years to get 1% of single family homes to provide higher density. 21 ADUs are under construction now and 9 have been completed. 
  The biggest impediment to more ADUs is the requirement for the ADU to be less than 150 foot from the street and firefighting equipment (SLC ordinance). All ADU conditional use permits have been approved and even in other designs requiring conditional use, they are almost never denied. Setbacks also limit expansion and placement of ADUs. 
  It can take 3 to 4 months for approval and certain up front costs result in potential landlords shying away from the ADUs. The costs can approach $100,000 and seniors often do not have the time, interest or money to build them. ADUs are the most controversial items in front of the Planning Commission. They can be limited to a portion of City land. Complaints are the only way to start an investigation and action on noncompliance with the ordinance and, as mentioned above, that often results in nothing.
  There was potential for the RDA areas to have ADU encouragement. That may happen in the future.
  A short note on SROs, the shared housing proposal (mentioned before/below) that the City is pushing: During general comments to the City Council, there were several complaints that SROs are an insult to low income since they either have a private bathroom or a private kitchen, not both and they appear to be market rate starting at $1000 a month! Several commenters complained that they treated low income renters disrespectfully. I agree. Mixed income housing is best and SLC needs to stop going around in circles and encourage redevelopment of State Street and North Temple, the best potential for large amounts of housing. Wasatch Tenants United (on Facebook) are against SROs.
BOTTOM LINE, ADUS ARE NOT A SOLUTION TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING


DANGEROUS CRIMINALS SHOULD NOT BE RELEASED FROM JAIL
  Let's try this again. If you believe this, email the County Councilmembers at:
RSnelgrove@slco.org,JBradley@slco.org,ARbradshaw@slco.org,ANewton@slco.org,Agranato@slco.org,sldebry@slco.org,DHTheodore@slco.org,LLStringham@slco.org,DAlvord@slco.org
  Many recent crimes in March have been reported to have been committed by individuals that I believe should have been incarcerated. The Salt Lake County Jail releases so called non-violent arrested individuals and that results in 1000 beds in the County Jail not being used. But many of those released are still a threat to the citizens and businesses in the County. 
  One recent death was committed by a man with a long criminal history that included aggravated robbery, burglary, running from police and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person. The arrested suspect was on felony probation. Another was arrested last week (and released from jail) after shooting a gun at people while he was on probation. Another arrestee is still in County Jail at the insistence of the police. He had numerous firearm charges over the last 5 years yet was released before. Any criminal with a gun is a violent criminal and should not be released! 
  Car thieves are able to get out of County Jail with a $100 bail since it is considered a non-violent crime! But driving a 4000 pound stolen and often speeding vehicle is a big threat of violence and there is a great hit and run potential. Stolen cars do not quickly stop for police and that is how innocent people die.
  We've been complaining for years that criminals are being arrested dozens of times in the act. The average number of previous arrests for SLCO Jail inmates is 10! When unemployed drug addicted individuals are released after being caught committing crimes, it should be assumed that they will continue to commit crimes. They do not commit victimless crimes and they should not be considered non-violent. When the police arrest and charge a thief with stealing $45,000 of catalytic converters, they should not be released (he was) unless there is an assurance that they will not commit similar crimes. The police should not be covering for the inadequate public safety funding of the County Jail and DA.
  Another serious situation existed when a robber who pled guilty to robbery, was sentenced to 1 to 15 years in Prison but only served 30 days in County Jail before being released. He was shot and killed by police 6 months later after robbing 3 at gunpoint and picking up his gun with two hands while surrounded by police. That shooting resulted in a riot which never would have happened if he had been incarcerated for the time Utah law requires!
  Admittedly, a large part of the problem is that the State is pushing to reduce State Prison bed counts and that shifts incarceration responsibilities to this County's taxpayers and the Jail. So called non-violent criminals is a bad deciding factor for release when they will continue to commit crimes. It should be obvious that if a criminal is carrying a gun while stealing a bike, they are more likely to shoot someone if caught in the act. Possession of a weapon by a convicted criminal should not allow him to be classified as non-violent and released.
  The County should re-evaluate how to decide on release of an arrestee. It should not be based on being so called non-violent but it should be based on whether they will present a threat to society. Criminals with previous convictions that carry weapons should be prioritized for incarceration. That will require the County, which is about to get a large amount of money from the federal government, to increase funding to the DA and Jail to open up and use all of the beds in the Jail.


SLC BUDGET AMENDMENT 7 LISTS CAMP CLEANUPS, COSTS OF PROTECTING PROTESTERS
  Most commenters to this week's City Council meeting (mentioned above were upset about the extra money for the police. The list below goes into detail about why. In addition, towards the end, I put in the complete transit plan which still has almost $2 million unused that I keep pushing to be used for $1 bus fares. So the below is the nitty gritty detail of BAM 7.
  
A-3: Encampment Reestablishment Prevention ($650,000 – Fund Balance)
The Administration is requesting this funding for police officer voluntary overtime shifts to provide security to Health
Department employees and outreach and social workers efforts as part of the Community Commitment Program.
Information about that program is summarized here: https://www.slc.gov/hand/community-commitment-program/
All the overtime shifts are voluntary so there is no guarantee they will be filled. Current reduced staffing levels in the
Police Department limit available use of on-duty officers during regular hours because reassigning those officers would
likely decrease response times to calls for service. Overtime shifts typically pay time and a half as reflected in the
$65/hour rate in the table below.
The Police Department has already supported 1,071 health department activities in 2020 including operations prior to,
during and after camp mitigation. The figure was 640 in 2019. The current estimate is that 500 additional
reestablishments (based on over 1000 camp health department cleanups in the previous 12 months) would take place
throughout the remainder of fiscal year. Estimating that there would be one major camp per month from January to
June for two days each and minor camps requiring resources equal to 1 day per week would mean the Police
Department would need $650,000 additional funding for FY2021 as shown below.
Activity # days/Officers/# hours/Rate/Amount Requested
Major Cleanups 12/40/10/$65/$312,000
Minor Cleanups* 26/20/10/$65/$338,000
Total Requested $650,000
*previously utilized on-duty resources that are no longer available
Some Council Members have asked why these services are not provided by other entities. The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s
department has largely moved away from law enforcement services and has moved those responsibilities to the Unified
Police Department (UPD). The UPD only provides those services in contracted cities and unincorporated areas of the
county. As a result, SLCPD has the sole law enforcement responsibility and jurisdiction for providing security to Health
Department staff during public health activities.
Council staff requested the total budget for the Community Commitment Program this fiscal year which was
forthcoming at the time of publishing this staff report.
Policy Questions:
 Program Update – The Council may wish to ask the Administration for an update on the Community
Commitment Program, which includes services and assistance for people staying in the camps, trash pickup,
power washing, biowaste pickup and portable restrooms with attendants. Note these services are provided at
different levels depending on circumstances at each location.
 Long-term Options – The Council may wish to discuss with the Administration long term options to address
homelessness such as new State and Federal funding for housing, coordination with the County and other cities
in the valley for permanent winter housing, new tools the City is exploring, etc.
A-17: Police Protest Costs ($537,337 – General Fund)
The Police Department is requesting budget allocation for costs incurred related to ongoing protests and free speech
events, including events related to the Presidential election and Inauguration. The costs include additional staffing and
an increase in workers compensation due to injuries incurred during these events.
 Overtime - $326,528
 Workers Compensation increase for protest related claims - $73,577
 The request also includes overtime costs associated with patrols set in place to maintain order in case of protests
during the Presidential inauguration. The cost of those patrols was $137,232.
D-5: Transportation On-Demand Ride Services (Trips to Transit Pilot Program) ($800,000 – Transit
Key Routes Capital Account)
See Attachment 7 for an infographic about the proposed pilot program
The Salt Lake City Transit Master Plan (2017) identifies On-Demand Ride Services (Trips to Transit) as a key strategy
for serving low-density, single-use areas of the City. The goals of the Trips to Transit program, consistent with those of
the Master Plan itself, are to improve air quality, increase the number of people taking transit, provide a safe and
comfortable transit access experience, provide a complete transit system that supports a transit lifestyle, provide access
to opportunity for likely riders who are underserved, and to create economically vibrant, livable places that support use
of transit.
This program will provide on-demand intra-zonal service, which will connect residents, visitors, and commuters
between fixed route transit services and areas of the City that are largely residential, as identified in the Transit Master
Plan. The areas in the plan include Rose Park, Glendale, the Upper Avenues, and the East Bench. Travel modeling has
yielded the recommendation that an initial pilot would be most successful and serve the greatest number of riders in
Rose Park, with a short connection to the Route 9 and Route 4 end-of-line near Redwood Road and 400 South. Adding
Poplar Grove and Glendale to this service area would make the pilot even more useful to more residents.
UTA has piloted such a service in Southwest Salt Lake County, and it has proven very popular and more cost effective
than fixed route service in connecting people to the major transit lines. City staff has evaluated the cost of contracting
directly with a provider compared with operating the same service in collaboration with UTA, and the latter is both
more affordable and better integrated with the existing transit system. In addition, if the pilot proves to be equal to or
better than current service provided by inefficient routes, resources for those routes can be reinvested in two Council
priority routes on 600 North/500 East and 1000 North/South Temple.
To launch those two routes in 2022, it is important to launch Trips to Transit as soon as possible, with a goal of August
2021. This will allow time for the service to become established and evaluated. This initial request will fulfill start-up
costs, and an additional request of approximately $1,000,000 from Funding our Future will be included in the FY22
budget.
D-11: Frequent Transit Network (FTN) CIP Funding Allocation
The Council adopted a transfer of $1,100,000 to CIP for the FTN. In the CIP funding log the Council approved $22,000
for cost overrun and $11,000 for Percent for Art, but did not approve the remaining funds of $1,067,000 for projects
associated with the FTN, including bus stop improvements, crosswalks, pedestrian safety, transit-related signal
upgrades, ADA enhancements, first/last mile connections, etc. This amendment is to acknowledge Council approval of
the use of these funds to complete these projects.
The Transit Key Routes capital account has a current available to spend balance of $700,285. There is also a holding
account created by the Council with a balance of $1,979,369. The budgets were higher than contract costs for the
frequent bus routes partnership with UTA in FY20 ($999,824) and in FY21 ($979,545). The Council decided to place
these Funding Our Future dollars into a holding account once Transportation’s formal recommendations are available
for discussion.


STOP THINKING THAT UDOT WILL CLOSE OR CHANGE THE 9TH SOUTH FREEWAY EXIT/ENTRANCE
  This keeps coming up at community council meetings. Why can't we move the 900 South freeway exit/entrance. In September 2019, the City reported on its study to do just that. But it was obvious that the result would significantly increase pollution, congestion and make other streets much more unsafe. I put the 2019 report in the downloads section on the right. BuildingSaltLake.com has a good story on it (slanted against cars but still a good summary and report). Google it. UDOT is really touchy about increasing pollution.




MARCH 2021
SALT LAKE CITY INSISTS ON PUSHING CHEAP APARTMENTS THROUGHOUT CITY
  During a discussion on March 23, the Salt Lake City Council seemed to insist that the City needs super cheap housing that they now call Shared Housing. It used to be called SRO but the bad reputation of SRO as crime magnets made the name change important. Despite the name change, the Planning Director did imply that the low cost motels on State Street and North Temple are effectively SROs. But the communities that surround these cheap apartments call them crime magnets.
  In my opinion, they are called crime magnets due to the fact that when police arrest criminals, the County Jail releases them almost immediately unless there is shooting of a person involved. The Jail does not look at shooting a gun as violent always. Only when a person is hit, in my opinion. These are people that should be in State Prison but the County does not give the DA and Jail funding to send them to Prison and the Prison is trying to reduce bed counts to match the much lower bed counts in the new State Prison. So when criminals get out of Jail or Prison, they know that they will be accepted without a problem at these crime magnet, low cost motels. 
  Councilwoman Fowler of District 7 was excited that there are 3 Sugar House areas that will have them along the S-Line! When a question was asked about limiting the concentration, it was pointed out that the City limited the concentration of payday loan companies. Amy Fowler hit the roof! She was upset that opposition to the SRO is an insult to low income people when they are compared to payday loans. But the question was can the SROs be limited to reduce concentration and objections. That was a legitimate question. Amy is looking forward to having them in her District and she says that the plan WILL MOVE FORWARD IN A TIMELY MANNER. 
  Andrew Johnston thinks that they are needed Citywide. Mayor Mendenhall said that geographic expansion is in the future and is planned. James Rogers wants a legislative intent to go forward. Dan Dugan mentioned that the Skyline Inn on 17th South and Foothill works well and is essentially an SRO. He said that the area needs to open up and he is more than willing to move forward. 
  Dan forgot that the previous owner of the Skyline Inn was unable to stop men coming out of Prison and gravitating to the Inn. There was a big almost riot at City Hall a few years ago about it after SWAT raids and many complaints. The solution was for the developer of the project across the street, Foothill's markets, to buy the Inn and surrounding property and clamp down on illegal activity. The developer is redeveloping the area, under some community protest (due to the efforts to have the entrance on 17th South).
  Darin Mano said "my constituents are against it". But he didn't try to argue against it. Ana Valdemoros said that she is concerned about the impacts on her neighborhoods.   
  The plan is scheduled to be adopted as soon as possible with a yearly review, a management plan for the developers, business license enforcement, an expansion of areas and a buffer zone limiting the SROs to one per area.
  Until this City understands how to increase affordable housing, they will be grasping at the wrong straws. This plan to implement SROs Citywide is going to result in a big riot at City hall.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING ANSWER NEEDS HOUSING ON 80% OF SLC WITHOUT HOUSING
  During the recent discussion on affordable housing and the RMF30 proposal, it was claimed that single family home neighborhoods are limiting affordable housing! But single family housing zoned neighborhoods are only about 10% of the City. 80% of the land in Salt Lake City is zoned to not allow housing! That is the issue that needs to be corrected.
  The RMF30 proposal will result in an eviction tsunami. I apologize for repeating myself, but if this passes, it will result in property owners getting offers that they can't refuse and sell their properties, that are rented now for affordable rents, for development.
  The ADUs that are claimed to be the solution are not the solution to affordable housing. Only about 25 were built up until the end of 2020 after over a year of essentially everyone would be approved. And only another 75 are in process but the cost of an ADU, even in a basement is over $50,000. The biggest cost is the extra emergency exit. ADUs are being encouraged in single family home neighborhoods that developed with an implied promise that it will create stable owner occupied home neighborhoods. ADUs increase rentals and turnover in those neighborhoods. Since Airbnb increases the cost of housing and there is no way to limit unrelated and owner occupied, it increases the cost of housing at the same time that it destroys stable neighborhoods. In other words, ALLOWING OR ENCOURAGING REDEVELOPMENT WITH ADUS OR RMF30 HISTORICALLY INCREASES HOUSING COSTS, DECREASES AFFORDABILITY AND ENCOURAGES GENTRIFICATION.

MOTHER OF ALL WASTEFUL SPECIAL INTERESTS SPENDING BILLS SIGNED
  Governor Cox signed HB433, the mother of all wasteful special interests spending bills. He released a comment: “Overall, I’m very pleased with the results of the 2021 Legislature....Major investments including historic funding for education, broadband access and double-tracking FrontRunner will benefit Utahns for generations to come. Utah is poised to emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.”
  But the hundreds of millions of dollars are going to be spent on double tracking FrontRunner instead of spending the money on another month of in person schooling for our children. The double tracking of FrontRunner is the start of an effort to electrify the system (with billions more) since diesel locomotives can't accelerate fast enough to meet the 15 minute goal. The project does not have broad public support and that could kill any federal funding. It also will only add about 7000 riders (according to a UTA survey) to the 5000 that ride it now. That will result in each new rider getting a 30,000 subsidy, or the equivalent of a new electric vehicle!
  If you say that the only way to get better transit service is to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, that is disrespectful to taxpayers. UTA cut bus service on routes 30% a few years ago in order to finish the TRAX. The LA study from a few years ago, made it clear that after spending over $10 billion on rail expansion, the system got minimal increases in ridership after 20 years! 
  A recent Salt Lake Tribune article on the lack of earthquake safe school buildings show where the money could be much better spent.
  Jarret Walker was contracted to help plan the future of UTA. He is an respected expert in mass transit. He has said: “For my whole career there’s always been a reason transit agencies were spending money on something other than bus service...” 

SLC BUDGET AMENDMENT PROPOSES WASTING MONEY ON UBER COMPETITION
  Salt Lake City's Budget Amendment 7 is proposing to spend $800,000 on an UBER like system like UTA is using in the southwest of the County. That system, called VIA subsidizes riders with about $35 per ride! The money could be better used to provide $1 bus fare in Salt Lake City. If you believe that, tell the City Council at:
james.rogers@slcgov.com,andrew.johnston@slcgov.com,chris.wharton@slcgov.com,amy.fowler@slcgov.com,dan.dugan@slcgov.com,darin.mano@slcgov.com,ana.valdemoros@slcgov.com

GLENDALE NEEDS MORE POOLS TO ENSURE REAL EQUITY BETWEEN EAST/WEST SLC
  Although Sorensen Center has reopened their swimming pool, the westside of Salt Lake City, in my opinion should have several swimming pools. The Steiner Aquatic Center and the Fairmont Park Natatorium swimming pools are on the east side but the Ballpark neighborhood and Glendale and Poplar Grove deserve more swimming pools. A recent resident near the old water park on 17th South next to the freeway said: "Not a lot of people in the area have pools...kids should have the ability to get wet, not just rich kids." That summarizes the issue. It has to do with equity. Tell the City Council using the emails above. 

SUGAR HOUSE CIRCULATION PLAN IGNORES CHEAPEST OPTION BUSES
  Despite the fact that the 213 bus service was cut in half a few years ago due to low ridership, the new circulation study data refused to consider that as an option for mass transit expansion. The goal, I believe, is to justify spending hundreds of millions sending the S-Line to Millcreek to service Millcreek Mayor Silvistrini's dream of rail in Millcreek. But that would require Salt Lake City taxpayers to cough up much of the millions. The Legislature gave it a push with the $12 million to go an extra block to Highland with the S-Line, despite ridership below 700. It isn't worth it to decrease having to walk an extra block but it helps encourage Millcreek's dream and with the Economic Director of Millcreek, Rep. Mike Winder, and Mayor Silvistrini's Chair of the WFRC, it could happen.  I put the first report in the downloads.


BALLPARK PLAN MEETING HAS ONLY 3 PARTICIPANTS
  During a Saturday Ballpark Plan "Community Event" hosted by a consultant (SLC REALLY LIKES TO USE CONSULTANTS - see below), only 3 attended the virtual meeting (I was one). In my opinion, they did not know what they were trying to accomplish. They did not know the area or the problems. And one participant who lived in the area knew more about how to make a better Ballpark Neighborhood than all of the consultants in the virtual meeting put together.
  The recommendations, so far, include a streetcar, a BRT, a 17th South protected bike lane, shared roadways and multi-use paths. The streetcar destroys bikeable streets since the rails famously catch bike tires (over 50% of Portland bicyclists have had accidents on streetcar rails); destroy mountain views which is one of the most important issues in the community; it will require $100 million in local taxpayer funding and will take up valuable travel lanes for a few hundred (based on the S-Line ridership of less than 700 (1300 average pre-pandemic), lanes that could handle 10,000 riders in vehicles. 
  The BRT - Bus Rapid Transit, is 10 times the cost of an enhanced bus that has the same capabilities without taking up valuable travel lanes. The suspended 35MAX BRT only had 3200 riders a day, despite removing 2 lanes from vehicle use, lanes that could handle 15000 riders a day in personal vehicles. The UVX in Provo between UVU and BYU is not the same since it is free (free fare will not be responsible in an area that has a problem with homeless - so called undesirables discourage mass transit ridership); it is between two large destinations and in reality, only 1000 fewer parking permits were requested after the system started. In other words, UTA has not been able to show a successful implementation of a real BRT. I should add that the claims of economic development due to the BRT and streetcar are arguable. Arlington, Virginia wanted a streetcar but after wider sidewalks (see Tysons Corner sidewalks), economic development occurred faster and without the much higher expense of a streetcar. Arlington decided against the streetcar. In this City, a mayor lost his 2015 re-election campaign partly due to his plan to increase rail. This is an unpopular proposal.
  The supergentrification of Sugar House can be argued to be encouraged more by the community character, residents and the most open space in the City (2 golf courses, 2 large parks and a linear park that connects the Bonneville Shoreline Trail with a future connection to the Jordan River Trail). I recognize that some think that $100 million in local taxpayer funding (a match required for federal funding 25% -60% - last federal grant was 25%) is a good investment but the community has better ideas for using that much money than a streetcar. On a side note, only one development in Sugar House has some affordable housing, Dan Lofgren's Liberty Village.
  The recommended separated bike lanes are not being correctly and safely implemented in Salt Lake City. I do not consider cycle tracks to be an amenity since they are only cleaned once every 7 weeks (with super polluting equipment) and they limit emergency maneuvers. They are not recommended in areas with a lot of driveways and they limit building heights due to fire fighting barriers (ladder trucks are forced to be further from buildings). Wider 9 foot bike lanes with rumble strips separating vehicle lanes would be a safer amenity that encourages bicycling more. 
  The separated 17th South bicycle lane recommendation is going to rub salt in the serious fight over the 17th South road diet that was to allow parking on 17th South to benefit developers (who wanted more on street available parking). The 17th South 4 lanes allowed safer bicycling since Utah law requires vehicles to stay 3 feet from bicyclists when passing. When 13th East had a road diet from 4 lanes to 2 lanes, an attempt to make bicycling safer, it allowed parking and made bicycling very dangerous. It also backed up traffic for a mile, increasing pollution and pushed traffic onto adjacent streets. 
  If this City wants to make 17th South safer for bicyclists, they should remove parking first. The many driveways make a separated bike lane's safety questionable. I need to emphasize this from experience: SEPARATED BIKE LANES ARE NOT SAFE WHEN THERE ARE A LOT OF USED DRIVEWAYS.
  The recommended shared roadways are not recommended due to past experience. They tend to shift traffic to previously quiet neighborhood streets to avoid "slow" bicyclists. Shared travel lanes (vehicle/bicyclists) should only be considered with significant bicycle traffic, 4 lanes or downhill (in order to not block traffic and increase pollution). 17th South downhill from 1300 East and Sunnyside downhill from Foothill are two semi successful shared roadways. The 500 East shared roadway shifted frustrated and speeding traffic to 400 East which is causing significant neighborhood anguish. Although about 10% of the citizens think bicycles and pedestrians should have the highest priority over vehicles. 90% of citizens, in my opinion, think that vehicles should have priority on the roads. I think that there can be a better way than shared roadways and separated bike lanes. I do think that the significant bicycle accidents at 17th South and State can be decreased with a better traffic signal system, maybe with a longer yellow light. UDOT controls that intersection's traffic signal.
  The recommended neighborhood byways would be better served with wider sidewalks. The Kensington proposal is supposed to make the State Street crossing, which is still dangerous, safer. A better use of the $400,000 budget would be to provide very visible video cameras and big signs that say vehicles are recorded when the walk button is pushed to stop vehicles from continuing to ignore crossing lights.  
  Other suggestions that the consultants feel are needed include improving connectivity, Transit Oriented Development/TOD encouraged around TRAX stations (but single family home neighborhoods should be protected around those stations and off street parking minimums should be increased - the vacant Sears and other almost empty and unused buildings should be forced to be redeveloped), and respect the neighborhood character and homes. Respecting neighborhood character includes keeping residents' mountain views which streetcars and big buildings destroy.
  The study's consultants listed several "successful regional places" including the 9th and 9th Neighborhood Center (but parking is still an issue with a recent protest against reduced parking and a neighborhood lawsuit against the City) which is causing issues with adjacent neighborhood residents. On street parking around the Center is full already. Another "successful regional place" was listed as Sugar House but the walkability was destroyed when the City inadvertently allowed a developer to charge a $10 minimum for parking at a City funded parking garage. That resulted in all of the other parking lots in the neighborhood (including, temporarily, the Post Office parking lot) to limit parking times to generally 2 hours. That stopped people from parking their cars in a lot and walking through the neighborhood's stores and restaurants! The other "successful regional places" is listed as Downtown South Salt Lake! For over 20 years, development has been stalled due to questionable efforts and plans. The S-Line station is away from the bus line (one of the most used and crowded, standing room only bus lines in the City) and the grocery store access is now blocked by development! I do not think any of the "successful regional places" is what Ballpark wants to be.
  The consultants identified pedestrian issues as narrow sidewalks, sidewalk obstructions (SLC wants more sidewalk obstructions in their plans), ADA issues and no mid-block pedestrian crossings. My concern about mid-block pedestrian crossings is that it drives motorists onto other streets. I have not seen a good implementation of them. They belong where there are two high use retail/restaurant facilities across the street from each other. 
  For example, the 300 West project is proposed to place a barrier to pedestrian crossings east of Walmart to deter the many pedestrian accidents. The homeless, and many others, cross the street since the traffic light is further south. If the traffic light were further north, there would not be a problem and pedestrians wouldn't be encouraged to cross east of Walmart. The 1300 South and 300 West intersection needs better pedestrian infrastructure including wider crosswalks and better signal timing. I am against bulbouts since they make it more dangerous for bicyclists by shifting them into traffic. Despite identifying sidewalk obstructions as an issue, bicycle parking often is a sidewalk obstruction. 
  Wider sidewalks (literally the last of the "emerging ideas" from the consultants) should be at the top of the list and would cost less than a streetcar (see Arlington, Virginia's history). Other emerging ideas include improve connectivity to the west and north of the TRAX station (without destroying the single family, AND AFFORDABLE, housing neighborhood). Another idea is to complete the bike network (but vehicle travel should not be second priority). Another idea is to enhance game day experience by closing streets and incentivizing transit. Closing streets like 1300 South, an important access to I15, should not be considered. If businesses on a street all agree to close it for a day, it may make sense but with the car lots, and so many businesses catering to vehicle traffic, it is not realistic. Another idea is to install 1300 South mid-block crossing west of the transit station. But that blocks 1300 South traffic - which increases pollution. Widening sidewalks, especially on the north side which has a skinny and scary sidewalk close to relatively high speed traffic, would encourage pedestrian use of the north sidewalk going to the 300 West intersection. That should be the highest priority. Note that the recent project did not increase sidewalk width. ALL NEW PROJECTS SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO HAVE 10 FOOT WIDE SIDEWALKS!
  The last emerging idea is to "improve the pedestrian environment with pedestrian level street lighting, gateways at entries to neighborhood, improve/widen sidewalks. Like I said before, widening sidewalks should be the highest priority. 
  The consultants said that in their market assessment "there is demand for 62 renter-occupied units and 81 owner-occupied housing units that the Ballpark area can absorb on an annual basis". I think that the SLC RDA staff proved that the area, specifically around State Street, could provide thousands of housing units. 
  Other needs from the community included: "safe, vibrant, diverse in people and places, connected and accessible, balanced between old and new identities, thriving, a gateway, uniquely identifiable and aesthetically pleasing, affordable, year round destination, and family friendly". I think that family friendly should be the highest need and public safety is the most important issue to provide a family friendly neighborhood (include crime and road and sidewalk public safety).
  My suggestion for the highest priority is to keep criminals, drug dealers, catalytic converter thieves and car thieves locked up. A neighborhood wide security video camera system should be considered, mounted on light poles, to discourage criminal activities. Other suggestions to improve walkability is to remove the many car sales lots, implement convenient form based zoning on State Street to encourage wide sidewalks and mixed use, mixed income buildings (with more off street parking minimums) and increase bus routes (a main street bus would be useful to encourage mass transit use and a more frequent State Street bus).
  As I said before, the highest priority should be to widen sidewalks and require all new buildings to have 10-15 foot sidewalks. Mixed use and mixed income buildings should be the priority. Trying to redevelop homes is wrong since it decreases affordable housing and destroys neighborhood character. The area has plenty of vacant and underused buildings that should be pressured to redevelop. 
  There is no reason why the Sears Warehouse building is still vacant since it is next to the TRAX station unless the belief that rail encourages economic development is wrong (see South Salt Lake Downtown). Offstreet parking requirements should be increased since the area has had big problems with parking (like Sugar House and 9th and 9th and Central 9th). 
  Again, State Street can and should provide a great mixed use and mixed income housing and an important and encouraging area amenity providing restaurants, stores and pedestrian activity. The neighborhood would greatly benefit from being able to walk a few blocks to an active area that State Street could become. It should become the center of a big area wide redevelopment area. 
  Comments on the Ballpark Community Area Plan should be sent to: aegan@gsbsconsulting.com. The consultants are still taking input and everyone is encouraged to voice their opinions.
 

  

UTAH FOUNDATION (AND UTAH TAXPAYER ASSOC) ENCOURAGES TOLL ROADS 

  The recent opinion piece by Jay Evensen, one of my favorite columnists, deserves the other side of the argument. In his column ($4 for a gallon of gas? How about reconsidering the gas tax), he suggested that it may make sense to expand the UDOT pilot Road Usage Charge (RUC) program, currently testing with 2000 electric vehicles volunteering to provide data to help determine if changing Utah's road maintenance funding from gasoline taxes makes sense. The UDOT report is due in August. Changing or expanding the program before the report is available is bad government. Other states also have pilot evaluations in progress or completed. California's program report recommends "exploring the feasibility of a pay at the pump model" for road charging (due to pushback with other methods). 
  The recent effort to increase the electric vehicle registration fees significantly was partly to force a large expansion of the UDOT RUC program. Some, including Peter Reichard of the Utah Foundation, think that the RUC is a "more reliable revenue stream, fairer to drivers and better at predicting the funding need for road maintenance and repair". The Utah Taxpayers Association is also supporting efforts to transition to a RUC program for road maintenance, claiming that electric vehicle owners are not paying their fair share. 
  The belief that in 10 years a large portion of the vehicles on the road will be electric and won't be paying their fair share of gasoline taxes doesn't make sense when one realizes that, even if half of the vehicle sales in 2035 are electric vehicles, the majority of vehicles will use gasoline for at least another 10 years (based on vehicles historically being used for decades). Utah gasoline sales have been increasing for the last 10 years, except for 2020 due to the pandemic. Despite more fuel efficient vehicles, a larger majority of vehicles on the road are larger and are less fuel efficient. As mentioned during a recent legislative hearing, there is no evidence that electric vehicles are a big burden on roads. It was pointed out that most electric vehicles usually don't drive as much or as far as gasoline vehicles and they usually are slowly driven on local roads.
  The effort to shift road revenue from gas taxes to RUC also ignores the impact that larger vehicles have on the road. A small electric vehicle may weigh 3000 pounds but a big SUV or truck may be double that. Large commercial trucks can pay almost $20,000 in fees to compensate for their impact on roads. Big SUVs pay more with gasoline taxes since they are usually less fuel efficient. The RUC systems do not presently take into account vehicle weight, road impacts and whether they are driven on local roads or highways. 
  Ironically, a lot of the complaints that Utah does not collect enough for road maintenance is due to the gasoline tax system that was changed a few years ago to increase a percentage instead of a simple and larger 10 cents a gallon increase. Former State Senator Van Tassel's proposal was replaced by a more complicated system that is still not providing the recommended revenue to maintain our State's highways.
  The Utah RUC pilot program is managed by EMOVIS, a toll road company. Proponents of RUC even admit that this is a toll road system. UDOT has discouraged past efforts by the Legislature to implement toll roads. Governments should not try to solve problems with the most expensive or complicated systems. A simple 10 cents a gallon gasoline fuel tax increase would provide appropriate road maintenance funding and save all of the time that we are spending considering other options.
  During this past session, there was an effort to increase electric vehicle fees to force them to participate in the RUC pilot program. But increasing electric vehicle fees, at the same time that Utah celebrates how environmental its policies are by expanding power charging stations effort does not make sense. 
  Gasoline powered vehicles are not going away and electric vehicles are less than a couple of percent of vehicles on the road. The suggestions to change from our very successful system, used for decades, to pay for road maintenance and funding, needs fine tuning that a 10 cent a gallon gasoline tax will solve. It does not need an overly complicated and questionable RUC program without reliable data to show it makes sense. Utah should wait for UDOT's RUC pilot program report before discussing changing our system to a toll road system.
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFTS IN SLC STILL HIGH
  Salt Lake City motor vehicle thefts are way up. One of the big reasons, in my opinion, is the jail releases car thieves with just $100 bail! So they are only out of their elements for a few hours. Please report unusual prowlers to 911 and say prowler, not homeless!
  
COUNCILMAN MANO WANTS ALLEYWAY PARKS NOT CLOSED
  Many communities have been pushing to close their alleyways to the public since the City, the County and the State have not taken the criminals element, the drug dealers and the drug users out of society and they tend to congregate in areas like the alleyways of the City. As public and City owned areas, SLCPD do not have the ability to remove them permanently and their criminal activity and biowaste is a constant threat to the neighborhoods. So many neighborhoods that are tired of the constant threats coming from their alleyways are asking the City to close them to the public while keeping the easements for utilities. The City is trying to slow down the process.
  Councilman Mano sees potential in the alleyways that could provide increased densities and new buildings facing the alleyways. The alleyways could be activated with more buildings and commercial and residential buildings which would discourage criminal activities. But activating the area around Rio Grande does not and did not discourage drug and criminal activity for more than a couple of years. As I said before, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many police, the County Jail and State Prison do not keep the criminals and drug dealers locked up.
  The dream of Councilman Mano is similar to the dream of Mayor and former Councilwoman Mendenhall. She pushed through a million dollar funding for the McClelland Trail from Princeton to Brickyard. But the City overspent money and the funding was spent mostly on upgrading the alleyways around 12th East south of 13th South. Many of the plantings have died and the Trail effectively ends north of 2100 South. Former Councilwoman Lisa Adams' parting gift to Erin was a plaque that read "really likes alleyways".
  The area in Ballpark is the center of the efforts to close alleyways that seem to provide criminals with a place to do their business. Although it also provides a place for homeless to camp and sleep, the biowaste grows and eventually the cleanup is too much for the neighborhood. The City offers minimal cleanup support, although the City has been providing Advantage Services to cleanup biowaste. The frustration of the Ballpark neighborhoods is going against the City's plans. It will be an interesting fight.
  
SLC COUNCIL PARKING HEARING IGNORES COMMUNITY PARKING CONCERNS
  All of the community councils in District 5 have recently been complaining of the lack of appropriate and reasonable parking. The parking proposal makes it worse since it decreases off street parking requirements in many areas. It decreases parking requirements for old buildings that are repurposed. And it re-emphasizes no parking requirements for areas near TRAX and FrontRunner. 
  Interestingly, recent proposals near the future 650S. Main Street TRAX station asked for more parking than required. We fought this battle 8 years ago with the minimal parking requirements of the Brew Ha Ha proposal (shot down only by ABC, not the City. But the City doubled parking requirements until this new proposal.
  The consultant, Fehr and Peers, worked with developers and the Downtown Alliance but not with residents and businesses (that I know of). 
  Councilman Andrew Johnston say that "if it is being used to get people out of their cars, it may not work. It may not work to help affordable housing!"
  The proposal should be sent back to staff and the draft parking report should be made public before the proposal is reconsidered. The Council had the public hearing to help in their decision in the future. The parking proposal may go around in circles in the backrooms of the Council for another year. There is an election this year for 4 Council seats, the majority of Council seats. The proposal may wait until after the election. 
 


SLC'S RMF30 PROPOSAL PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED UNTIL  HOUSING TOOLS AVAILABLE
  The hearing on RMF30 almost was continued but Councilwoman Fowler made the motion to close the hearing until the new housing tools like affordable housing overlay and replacement housing ordinance is available. The proposal, in the minds of many knowledgeable citizens, will encourage redevelopment of affordable housing and result in an eviction tsunami. 
  Cindy Cromer, an affordable housing landowner gave one of the best arguments against this proposal. This proposal will result in affordable rental property owners getting an offer that they can’t refuse to sell and allow redevelopment of their properties. Even the City's affordable housing expert, Dan Nakerman (head of SLC Housing Authority) said encouraging destruction of affordable housing will result in building more market rate housing.
  Interestingly, Dan Nakerman also said that inclusionary zoning (where the City requires a portion of new buildings to be affordable housing) would help increase affordable housing. But the City is not considering inclusionary zoning. Inclusionary zoning with impact fee decreases got lost in the ozone 2 years ago after a very good City Council hearing.
  Despite all of the celebration about SLC spending almost $70 million to encourage over 2000 affordable housing units, only a little over 2000 affordable housing units have been built in the last 6 years. But 6 years ago, Matt Minkevitch, former head of the Road Home, said that SLC needed 7500 affordable housing units. In other words, housing in SLC is getting less affordable.
  Despite claims to the contrary, only about 10% of the area of SLC is zoned for single family. 80% of land is not allowed to have housing! The State Street RDA area, that has the potential for thousands of housing units has not gone anywhere for 6 years (although the Coachman project on 13th South and State was just approved and the Capitol Motel project is about to be completed). North Temple has also been extremely slow to redevelop as evidenced by the constant complaints of criminal activities.
  There is another secret report (just how many secret reports is Salt Lake City holding?!), there is a draft gentrification plan. This City, again, is asking for public comment without all of the information and reports that it secretly holds. I consider it bad government.
  If Salt Lake City wants more housing, it should put a park on the Fleet Block. The supergentrification of Sugar House came about due to the large amount of open space in the area, the 2 golf courses, Sugar House Park, Fairmont Park and the Parleys Trail. A park in the area would exponentially increase developer interest in building more housing. 
  Respecting residents through respectful housing plans is important for a good affordable housing plan. This proposal should be returned to staff for a better analysis until you release the super duper secret gentrification study and have a complete understanding of the other alternatives including affordable housing overlay, SRO (to be discussed on March 23 at the City Council work session) and ADUs. 
  SLC affordable housing plans need a reset.
 


SLC PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT IS FAILING WITH MILLER PARK AND 900 EAST PROPOSALS
  Several years ago, a CIP was approved by Salt Lake City to improve ADA access to Miller Park in Yalecrest. But at the last Yalecrest Community Council meeting, it was announced that the City gave a big contract for a consultant that spent so much money that the ADA component of the CIP is no longer viable! Yalecrest Community Council members were not happy. Salt Lake City spends too much money on consultants (as I keep saying). 
  And, in the same week, the Sugar House Community Council was told that the City has finalized plans for 900 East and that the community is not allowed to make other changes. But one month ago, the community was told that the design was only at 70% and that the City was still taking comments. But on February 8, the City did finalize the plans without telling the community. It put sharrows (shared traffic lanes with bike lanes) in the southbound travel lane just north of 2100 South! Sharrows are not recommended in such areas where traffic is high and cyclists are endangered. Vehicles back up for a block at rush hour and a vehicle will not wait for a slow bicyclist to go through a yellow light. The City realized this and on the March 15 meeting that announced that the design was caste in concrete, the City changed their minds and recognized the poor design and placement of the sharrows and rescinded the sharrows design. 
    The 7.5 foot planting strips South of Hollywood would be better used as an addition to the skinny and not in compliance with Complete Streets standards, 5 foot sidewalks!
The center pedestrian islands interfere with turning vehicles that will be forced to go into the bicycle lane at Sugarmont (turning left from Simpson going north). The area in the center is needed to ensure that vehicles from Simpson can safely enter 900 East. The design will slow down the left hand turning vehicles in an attempt to not hit the island (if they do, the pedestrians on it are in danger). The island by Fisher is the same situation. The island will slow down turning vehicles and increase accident potentials. Watch them turn. They speed up, not slow down. Do not create traffic conflicts. This is bad engineering. 
  The City also has not released the traffic study for 900 East area.
  The City also ignored the community and after taking away a parking lane on the east side of 900 East and the center turn lane, the City replaced them with a 6 foot bicycle lane! SALT LAKE CITY TOOK 20 FEET OF ROADWAY AND REPLACED IT WITH A 6 FOOT WIDE BIKE LANE!
  The City plans on street parking just north of 2100 South when there is plenty of off street parking and the road would be better used for left and right hand turn lanes. In addition, the plan could increase backups and shift traffic onto 800 East and Hollywood! The City also plans a center median by Smiths on 900 East when traffic desperately needs the center turn lane there for entrance and exit into Smiths!  In general, this City messed up bigtime in this project, in the Miller Park project and in the S-Line proposal (see the next blog entry).
  Citizens should send their comments, despite the design being finished, to jena.carver@slcgov.com and tell them that the City should make 10 foot sidewalks and 9 foot wide bike lanes standard, including on this project. 
  Citizens should also email the City's Public Engagement Manager at  weston.clark@slcgov.com and complain about these issues (include the 900 South center parking redesign that is not being publicly discussed).
  
SLC MAYOR CELEBRATES $12 MIL S-LINE TO NOWHERE FUNDING INSTEAD OF $1 FARE
  Mayor Mendenhall, despite running her first campaign against the S-Line extension north, subsequently insisted on putting "a head on the snake" and push it north along 1100 East while removing parking, destroying mountain views, increasing taxes, rezoning single family homes for higher use and property taxes and destroying a popular bicycle route (bicyclists' tires catch in rails).
  I still think that spending $12 million for the S-Line from the rushed, last minute and essentially secret HB433 would be better spent on $1 bus fares. The idea that it makes sense to spend $12 million to have the less than 700 daily S-Line riders not have to walk one more block to Highland is absurd. A $1 bus fare (and maybe free S-Line) would have a greater impact on increasing ridership on SLC transit than the S-Line funding. UTA surveys suggest, at best, that only about 300 more will return to riding the S-Line. So the questionable utilization, spending $12 million to get 300 more riders is not justifiable, in my opinion. There is also the temptation from several elected leaders to extend the S-Line north or south and in each instance, the community would fight the removal of parking, installation of power lines obstructing mountain views, increased bicycle dangers from tires catching on rails, and obvious property tax increases (since rail is considered to be an amenity). If the S-Line is pushed to go south by Millcreek's Mayor Silvistrini and helped by their Economic Development Director and Representative Mike Winder, SLC SLC taxpayers should not pay for Millcreek's rail.
  
900 SOUTH STREET REDESIGN HAS CENTER PARKING BUT ALMOST NOBODY KNOWS
  There is a proposal, difficult for many to access online, to place 45 degree parking on 900 South a little west of State Street. The street is used as an access and exit from the 900 South I15 bridge! Trying to divert traffic to other streets is wrong and unsafe.   
  In addition, it destroys bicycling in the street since 45 degree parking is notoriously dangerous for bicyclists. Trying to make a so called old fashioned neighborhood center via center lane parking is wrong and a misuse of very valuable roadway. A super wide bicycle lane would be a better use of the center turn lane and two lanes of traffic that the City is giving up.  The sidewalks also need to be wider in the area but the landowners do not want to give up property. Developers should be required to give up property for wider sidewalks for new developments. 
  I walked the 300 South area east of State Street during a past campaign and most businesses did not like the center parking. Although the speeds are reduced (I do not think that businesses realize this and if they do, they think that it will increase business.), it is still questionable to not have parking by the sidewalk.  
   Finally, for now, UTA does not like the conflict and businesses are concerned about buses on that road (Ogden is a good example of why 45 degree parking and buses do not go together.). I strongly urge SLC Transportation to rethink their proposal of 45 degree parking and ensure that all in the community agree with it first after knowing all of the pros and cons. I know that my points were not included in previous discussions on this issue and they should have been. Also please reach out to UTA about the 45 degree parking. 
   And again, the City has not released the parking study nor the traffic study promised for 900 South.
   I urge everyone to sign up for emails and comment on this proposal at:
https://www.slc.gov/mystreet/2019/05/02/900-south-900-east-to-900-west/
 


SLCO JAIL RELEASES MASTER CATALYTIC CONVERTER THIEF QUICKLY
  This City has been inundated with catalytic converter thefts. 14 City vehicles in one night at the Sorensen Center had their catalytic converters removed! But our SLCPD caught the thief, in the act. The jail released him because the Sheriff felt that his crimes were not against a victim! Please complain to the County about releasing criminals from jail within hours. Their emails, are so conveniently listed here, ready for cut and paste:
RSnelgrove@slco.org,JBradley@slco.org,ARbradshaw@slco.org,ANewton@slco.org,Agranato@slco.org,sldebry@slco.org,DHTheodore@slco.org,LLStringham@slco.org,DAlvord@slco.org

WHY SPEND 12 MILLION FOR 700 RIDERS WHEN $1 FARE WOULD GET MORE TRANSIT RIDERS
  There seems to be a celebration in Salt Lake City's Administration and Millcreek's Administration on the $12 million that HB433 gave to the S-Line extension, tentatively scheduled to move it to Highland Drive, 1/2 block east. There are two competing interests in this plan. Salt Lake City has a preferred alignment going north (the preferred vision of Mayor Mendenhall to "put a head on the snake"). Millcreek's Mayor Silvistrini envisions the S-Line going south on Highland as the needed centerpiece for his vision of a Millcreek City Center. 
  I believe that the community, whether 1100 East or Highland Drive, would fight the removal of parking, installation of power lines obstructing mountain views, increased bicycle dangers from tires catching on rails, and obvious property tax increases (since rail is considered to be an amenity).
  Years ago, during the 2013 streetcar riots, Councilman Simonsen suggested that it should go east to the area's best destination Sugar House Park. That plan was shot down by the Council and I believe that the Mayors of Millcreek and Salt Lake City want a different route.
  Going north or south will require over $100 million in local taxes and if it goes south, SLC taxpayers will be paying for Millcreek's rail.
  The $12 million tentatively set for the S-Line should instead go to $1 bus fare (and maybe free S-Line) to have a greater impact on increasing ridership on SLC transit than the S-Line funding. Present ridership is less than 700 and UTA surveys suggest, at best, that only about 300 more will return to riding the S-Line. So spending $12 million to get 300 more riders is not justifiable, in my opinion.  
  That $12 million could fund $1 bus fares, AND complete the Foothill Trails Plan or provide most major streets with 9 foot wide bike lanes. Any one of those would get more daily utilization that extending the S-Line one half block.
  
900 EAST RECONSTRUCTION PLAN THROWS BICYCLING SAFETY OUT
  Despite earlier recommended redesigns for the 900 East reconstruction from Ramona to 2700 South, the City sprung a big change on the local community council and it appears to be ready to go to contract without listening to the community input. The plan place sharrows going south on 2100 South from Hollywood to 2100 South! it also does away with the "promised" 9 foot wide bicycle lanes further south.
  I am concerned that the backup one block north during evening rush hour will be worse with the proposed sharrows. It will result in vehicles going east on Hollywood or west on Ramona (to 800 East which is supposed to be the safe bicycle route we encouraged - remember the lights and markings). During rush hour, due to the long waits, cars often rush through red lights to avoid another wait to turn green. A bicycle is not going to stop them. Sharing a lane with a bicycle makes sense only going downhill when traffic is not impeded (27th South and Sunnyside - although Sunnyside has issues). Sharrows are complicated to install since other traffic calming is recommended. That intersection is not amenable to traffic calming without a significant increase in congestion, pollution and traffic diverting to other adjacent streets. To quote a Dutch bike planner "(Sharrows) should be used in tandem with significant traffic calming measures - on a street with fast traffic, to put down sharrows alone would be considered "unethical". And sharrows, in a recent Colorado analysis, did not increase bicycling as much as doing nothing.
  Although the City has not indicated what will be the speed (it is 30MPH now), there is an effort to reduce speeds at other reconstructed streets to as low as 20MPH. The speed should not be lowered from 30MPH unless the City wants traffic to move onto adjacent streets. There should be NO PARKING on street parking from Hollywood to the S-Line, despite what the City suggested.
  The City decided that 6 foot bicycles lanes would do. But the 6 foot bicycle lanes are not realistically going to increase bicycling. 9 foot bicycle lanes should be standard in the City if this city really wants to encourage bicycling. 6 foot bicycle lanes do not allow side by side bicycling and are a safety hazard since it is still difficult to avoid open door accidents. Parking strips are really useless from Hollywood to 2700 South on the east side of the street that is supposed to have parking removed (on the south side from Hollywood to Simpson). Since 900 East is losing the usually useless center turn lane of 11+ feet, why are bicycles only getting 6 ft?!! And on the east side, the parking strip is useless and not really used so why not make the raised bike lane 9 feet??!! 

CONSULTANTS TAKE 30% OF MONEY FOR MILLER PARK CIP
  For some reason, despite a very clear CIP application to the City to restore parts of Miller Park that are falling apart due to the City's inappropriate and ill conceived massive tree cutting and illegal streambed redesign, the City decided to use 30% of the approved funding for a consultant! The presentation to the Yalecrest Community Council resulted in a large number of complaints about the inappropriate use of important CIP funds for a questionable and obviously unknowledgeable consultant. The City struck out big time on this. Will Miller Park ever be restored? Not if the City has anything to do with it. (in my opinion, the opinion of the Vice Chair of the Friends of Miller Park)
  
MAYOR'S LIBERTY WELLS DISCUSSION COMPLAINS ABOUT ALLEN PARK & SEWER TAX
  Mayor Mendenhall made a short appearance during the Zoom Liberty Wells Community Council and took just a couple of questions. One was about the increased sewer taxes and why was Salt Lake City using them for Allen Park! Public Utilities does use funds to buy and protect streambeds (although with Miller Park's Red Butte Creek they messed up). They also spent money to help buy Bonanza Flats in Summit County. But the $1 million used from Public Utilities (much of the funding came from Impact Fees from the many developments in Sugar House) was minimal and important to ensure protection of the streambed that would be negatively impacted by development. The City buys property in the Wasatch Canyons regularly for the same reason.
  
HB98 MAY MAKE IT EASIER FOR DEVELOPERS TO GET NEW BUILDINGS APPROVED
  There were two important bills that the Legislature passed this Session that I forgot to discuss. One was HB98 that would make it easier for developers to build buildings if a city did not approve the building in a reasonable amount of time. It also restricts cities from overburdening developers with things like specific materials for buildings (like in Salt Lake City's transit districts and form based zones). This could have a big impact on building construction in cities, especially in Salt Lake City. It also could impact other City requirements that developers balk at. This may result in a big fight in the future.
  
SB70 MOBILE CRISES MENTAL HEALTH EXPANSION DESPERATELY NEEDED BUT DEAD
  Senator Riebe's SB70, one of the most important bills sponsored in this Session, would have expanded the 4 MCOT Mobile-Mental Crisis Outreach Teams to 14. But the State balked at the $4.2 million yearly cost plus more provided by the federal government, that would have resulted in over $6 million in cost. I think that it would have been worthwhile. But it died. Rep. Eliason was not consulted initially and he was the expert driver on the original MCOT funding. He should have been consulted with before the bill was developed since he could have helped it through with changes.

CITY WEEKLY CALLS FEMALE MAYOR SEXIST?
  Chris Smart, one of Utah's best reporters, just wrote a story about an obvious case of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination in Salt Lake City. It is sadly ironic that the present Mayor Mendenhall has a degree in woman studies but at the same time refuses to acknowledge an obvious case of injustice that appears to be coming from City attorneys that are telling her not to settle. Martha Ellis was on a fast track to rise fast in the ranks of one of the most difficult professions to women, firefighting. She was lauded as a great manager, and firefighter and she was also recognized nationally, going to training at Naval Postgraduate School for Homeland Security. But, in a department infamous for sexual harassment, she pushed too far in her dedication to her job as Fire Marshal. She reported lack of operating fire alarms at a fire station that later caught on fire and had extensive damage and she refused to approve a separated bike lane plan on 300 South that interfered with fire fighting of high rise fires (the City Council recently approved liberalizing the rules to make the cycle track legal). The Transportation Manager at the time said, in an oped against my oped, that high rises do not need firefighting ladder trucks since they have sprinklers! (She is now President of the National City Managers Association.) 
  So Martha Elles was pushed out of her job as Fire Marshall and hounded out of the Fire Department. This will remain a black stain on the City's claim of equality. Chris Smart's article is at:
https://www.cityweekly.net/utah/no-woman-need-apply//content?oid+16497594

NAVAJO/DINE` USED TO NAME MARS' FEATURES
  I have considerable respect for Dine`/Navajo. As a veteran, I am in awe of the Navajo that volunteered during World War II to be code talkers, despite the secret fact, known to them, that it was expected that they were to be shot if they were in danger of capture. In other words, their language was so valuable to keeping communications secret, that they could not fall into enemy hands. They essentially volunteered for a suicide mission. All of them, in my opinion, deserved the Congressional Medal Of Honor. In 2020, the Legislature named several highways near the Navajo Reservation in honor of the Navajo Code Talkers.
  My point is, that this week, this Nation recognized the Dine`/Navajo contributions to this Country by naming geologic features on Mars in the Navajo language. I could not think of a better way to honor their contributions to our Country. The story is at:
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/nasa-s-perseverance-mars-rover-mission-honors-navajo-language

PARKING ORDINANCE HEARING MARCH 16 WITH COUNCIL PLANS SECRET
  The new Salt Lake City Parking Ordinance is to be heard on March 16 but the Council is expected to make major changes to the plan before adopting it but the Council will not have to return for a public hearing. The Council has said that they want to hear what people say (it should not decrease off street parking minimums) before proceeding. This has happened several times before. After a public hearing on a leash ordinance that banned keeping dogs on leashes in a yard for a long time, the City Councilwoman, Erin Mendenhall, changed the ordinance significantly to outlaw long leash times that was not part of the original ordinance. Surprise!
  
LACK OF PARKING CREATES COMPLAINTS FROM EMERGENCY SERVICES
  The Fireclay Transit Oriented Development (TOD) had minimal off street parking requirements since many thought that transit/TRAX next to the development would decrease the necessity of cars. But it recently came to light that emergency response services are complaining because of all of the parked vehicles on the side streets surrounding the TOD buildings interfered with the ability of emergency response vehicles to get to an incident. I wish that people could understand that when we report that less than 2% use mass transit, we mean less than 2% use mass transit. Even in Portland, next to rail stations, 80% use personal vehicles!
 
BALLPARK SURVEY PLANS NEED MORE PUBLIC INPUT
  The Ballpark neighborhood between 900 South and 2100 South and west of State Street to the I15 Freeway is being redesigned by the City. There is a survey that the public is encouraged to take at: 
  https://www.calltheplay.org
  
LEE DAVIDSON, BEST, MOST EXPERIENCED REPORTER LEAVES SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
  Lee Davidson, who spent most of his career at the Deseret News, moving to the Salt Lake Tribune in 2011, has left the Salt Lake Tribune. Lee was, in my opinion, the best, most knowledgeable and experienced reporter that still reported on Salt Lake City and Utah news. Others may have been in the news industry longer but they were not still reporting. They moved up to editors or management. Lee was an on the ground reporter with decades of experience. His story of the Thai pig farmers was Pulitzer Class in my opinion. The recruiter of those pig farmers, who had to be given charity to live a reasonable life while working in Utah, was charged but let off years after his outrageous actions. 
  The reporters at the Salt Lake Tribune are good and generally hustling but they lack the history and experience that is necessary for great reporting. That lack of experience, history and knowledge that comes from decades in the business leads to stories that are little more than press releases and interview stories. A good example is a story on the large charge for travel (gasoline) by Senator Thatcher. If the reporter had experience, they would have realized that Senator Thatcher has to represent a large area including Salt Lake County and Tooele County! 
  Lack of experience can also end up with reporters trusting elected leaders who keep saying "trust me". It is a sad commentary on our news system that the best and most experienced reporters are no longer working for the Salt Lake Tribune. 
  
LEGISLATURE SECRETLY ADDS STREETCAR EXTENSION AND RUSHES THROUGH FRONTRUNNER DOUBLETRACKING
  In one of the most fiscally irresponsible actions of this 2021 Legislative sessions, Rep. Schultz revealed HB433 a business day before the hearing on the last week of the Session. It ignored the Executive Appropriations and Infrastructure Committee's recommendation that "only" $150 million be given to FrontRunner double tracking and forced $200 million for the double tracking and borrowing $100 million more for it! It included, according to UTA suggestions, over $100 million for new train cars when it can't even fill up one train car now. Only 4401 ride FrontRunner each day and UTA surveys recently found that only half of those who used to ride it (7000) would return after the pandemic concerns are gone. 
  After the public hearing when only one spoke against it, it was sent through the House and Senate with a new surprise, a $12 million appropriation for the S-Line expansion! Millcreek Mayor Silvistrini wants it to go via Highland Drive through Millcreek but the Salt Lake City residents along Highland will fight removal of parking and overhead power lines that will destroy their mountain views. Millcreek Economic Development Director Mike Winder, a Representative in the Legislature probably had a say in this. It will require, if the S-Line goes north or south, hundreds of millions in taxpayer subsidies, at least half of which will come from local residents and businesses. It will also destroy an important north south bike path on 1100 East and Highland Drive. 
  Salt Lake City, Holladay, Millcreek and South Salt Lake are in the process of developing a new circulation plan for the area that could be used by Millcreek to justify a rail in their area. Lynn Jacobs, who used to work with a regular SLC consultant, Fehr and Peers, is now working for Salt Lake City on the new Circulation Plan that envisions a road diet on Highland south of 27th South and many other expensive alterations in the area to make it "nicer". Millcreek has been pushing Salt Lake City to make the change this year since Millcreek is changing their portion of Highland Drive this year. I was one of the leaders against the S-Line preferred alternative path north of 2100 South. Mayor Mendenhall has several times indicated that she wants to "put a head on the snake" but it will require removing parking (14 foot recommended path for each direction) and trees along 1100 East and in the process, businesses and residents will suffer. I intend to protest any application for federal funding for this project (UTA and SLC have tried to keep applications secret in the past) by showing that it does not have broad public support. We were able to stop several grant awards in the past.
   Fiscal responsibility demands analyzing projects by their utilization. Spending hundreds of millions on rail that is predicted to be utilized by 12,000 a day is not fiscally responsible. UTA also predicted 5000 a day would use the S-Line when in reality only 1300 used it before the pandemic and only 748 a day use it now. California belatedly learned that passenger rail is not cheap, fiscally responsible nor effective at increasing mass transit ridership. LA spent over $10 billion over 20 years and got minimal increases in transit ridership (47 million a month to 54 million a month).
   Roads would be better utilized and rural areas that provide Utah products and resources to market desperately need funding for the unfunded mandate from the Legislature to develop those resources. I don't mind borrowing for the Louisiana Purchase, for World War II or for sending Americans to the moon. I do mind this Taj Mahal of a project, spending hundreds of millions on double tracking FrontRunner since it will be used to justify spending billions on electrtifying the train. Diesel locomotives are not able to accelerate fast enough to meet the promised 15 minute frequency. And don't forget the subsidy amortized that may approach thousands of dollars a rider.
  The bill, was shoved through due to Rep. Schultz wanting to avoid his continued concern over double decker freeways. $200 million could have allowed an extra month for the 600,000 Utah school students and an extra month of pay for the 26,000 teachers. The education of our rising generation, our best resource, is more important than this plan.
  The other questionable part of the bill is the effort by several influential past and present leaders to direct money to the Little Cottonwood Canyon area, specifically across the street from La Caille (UDOT's description of the property). This has come up several times to direct money to that developer for a mobility hub/garage for the development that is owned by several past, famous and infamous leaders. When the SB71 failed to provide toll revenues for the garage, and Sen. Cullimore failed last year to appropriate $15 million for the garage, they now have much more to start building the garage. 
  I don't expect  the tramway/gondola/rail to get started for at least 5 years but UDOT could use the money to build snow sheds now and solve most of the traffic issues within a year. Their estimates top out at $87 million. Unfortunately, no other news organization is reporting this.


SUFFOCATING PETS STILL LEGAL IN UTAH
  Despite Senator Hinkins heroic efforts to stop the cold and inhumane deaths of pets in carbon monoxide chambers in Utah, the bill failed literally at the last minute in the House, which adjurned early! 


LIST OF BILLS PASSED/FAILED
  For a list of bills that passed, see https://le.utah.gov/asp/passedbills/passedbills.aspl
  My list of interesting bills includes:
HB0075S03 Ranked Choice Voting (see below) Municipal Alternative Voting Methods (Rep. Stenquist) passed/enrolled
HB0082S05 ADUs Single-family Housing Modifications(Rep. Ward) passed/enrolled
HB0115S03 Municipal Boundary Modifications(Rep. Waldrip) passed/enrolled
HB0133    Law Enforcement Recording Release Amendments(Rep. Wheatley) failed
HB0142    Utah Yield Cyclist Traffic Amendments(Rep. Moss) passed/enrolled, 
(give credit to Dave Iltis for organizing support for this common sense bill)
HB0154S03 Use of Force Revisions(Rep. Birkeland) filed
HB0197S03 Voter Affiliation Amendments(Rep. Teuscher) passed/enrolled (see below)
HB0219S01 Inmate Phone Provider Amendments(Rep. Acton) passed/enrolled (finally clamps down on overcharging for phone service)
HB0220S02 Pretrial Detention Amendments(Rep. Schultz) passed/enrolled (overturns the bail reforms from last year - an overreaction)
HB0223S04 Alternative Fuel Incentives Amendments(Rep. Ballard) passed/enrolled (gives tax credits for hydrogen use - see below ctrl f)
HB0228S01 Jail Photo Distribution Prohibition(Rep. Stratton) passed/enrolled (stops new criminals from having their pictures released)
HB0237S03 Lethal Force Amendments(Rep. Dailey-Provost) passed/enrolled 
(recommends de-escalation when confronting suicidal individuals - does not apply to criminals with guns)
HB0271    Home Child Care Amendments(Rep. Pulsipher) failed
HB0284    Minimum Wage Amendments(Rep. Collard) failed
HB0302S02 Preserving Sports for Female Students(Rep. Birkeland) failed (I still think it is wrong to require hormone therapy for sports.)
HB0329S01 Expungement Revisions(Rep. Pierucci) passed/enrolled (encourages staying away from criminal behavior)
HB0353    Barber Licensing Amendments(Rep. Lyman) passed/enrolled (allows basic haircutting without years of school)
HB0373S01 Conviction Reduction Amendments(Rep. Teuscher) passed/enrolled (encourages staying crime free)
HB0388S04 State Energy Policy Amendments(Rep. Albrecht) passed/enrolled 
(adds hydrogen to Utah energy policy -California wants to stop using our fossil fuels - see big hydrogen story below ctrl f)
HB0433S04 Amendments Related to Infrastructure Funding(Rep. Schultz) passed/enrolled 
(see above for more on the most outrageous bill of the session)
SB0070S02 Mobile Crisis Outreach Team Expansion(Sen. Riebe) failed (stopped by Rep. Eliason and cost/fiscal note - one of the best bills but..)
SB0086S02 Amendments to the Price Controls During Emergencies Act(Sen. Fillmore) passed/enrolled (allows prices to reflect shipping costs)
SB0063    Domestic Violence Amendments (Sen. Iwamoto) passed/enrolled (gives prosecutors more options to stop the major cause of murder in Utah)
SB0104S02 Tax Levy for Animal Control(Sen. Weiler) passed/enrolled (allows governments to tax property for animal control)
SB0111    Records of Residential Property Owner Zoning Violations(Sen. Mayne) failed (would have made violations secret)
SB0146    Emissions Testing Amendments(Sen. Bramble) passed/enrolled (continues diesel emissions checks in Utah County and soon to be expanded)
SB0147S04 Confinement of Egg-laying Hens(Sen. Sandall)  passed/enrolled (big farms with thousands of chickens would need more space for hens)
SB0189S04 Tobacco Retailer Amendments(Sen. Vickers)  passed/enrolled
SB0217S02 Housing and Transit Reinvestment Zone Act(Sen. Harper)  passed/enrolled
SB0221    Short-term Rental Amendments(Sen. Anderegg) failed (see below - with Airbnb, this bill hurts affordable housing)
SB0235    County Tax Amendments(Sen. Kennedy) failed
SB0237    Animal Shelter Revisions(Sen. Hinkins) failed (got to House 3rd Reading for Senate Bills #4 on agenda before early adjournement)
SB0245    Net Metering Amendments(Sen. Cullimore) failed
SCR003S01 Encouraging the Evaluation of Interstate Passenger Rail Opportunities(Sen. Escamilla) failed (almost brought back with backroom deal)


UNAFFILIATED VOTERS GET MORE RIGHTS THAN DEMOCRATS
  In a fight to stop voters who did not have the same fundamental beliefs as Republicans, from voting in the Republican primary, HB197 attempted to stop Democrats and Unaffiliated from changing parties after March 31. It was changed, after our objections, to allow Unaffiliated to vote in the primary, even if they only changed to Republican just before the primary (see language below). So only Democrats and other political party voters will not be allowed to change to Republican and vote in the Republican primary if they don't change party affiliation before April 1.
  The language is: 
  "In an even-numbered year, a form described in Subsection (2)(c) received by the county clerk after March 31 takes effect on the day after that year's regular primary election if  the form changes a registered voter's affiliation with one political party to affiliate with another political party. Subsection (2)(d) does not apply to the party affiliation designated by a voter on registration form if the voter has not previously been registered to vote in the state. (c) for an unaffiliated voter who was affiliated with a political party at any time between April 1 and the date of the regular primary election, a form ... takes effect on the day after the regular primary election. ... An unaffiliated voter who affiliates with a political party as provided in Subsection (1)(b) may vote in that party's primary election.


COMMENT TO BOARD OF TRUSTEES WITH YOUR OPINIONS PLEASE
 Please send your comments to the UTA Board of Trustees at boardoftrustees@rideuta.com and tell them what you think of the hundreds of millions that the Legislature is suggesting should be spent on FrontRunner double tracking. Please remember that the money could have gone to the 600,000 students and 26,000 teachers instead of the 4781 a day who ride FrontRunner. There is also the matter with the S-Line since it is not in the UTA 5 Year Plan! Please comment on that also. My comments are:
  I realize that the Legislature gave UTA $12 million to expand the 748/day S-Line. But it only makes sense to go east up Wilmington and close to the Hidden Hollow connection to Sugar House Park. That is only if no other funding is needed. Going north or south will result in requiring hundreds of millions of taxpayer funding that is not fiscally responsible. 
  Weekend ridership is higher which indicates Sugar House Park is a popular destination.  Running north or south on Highland/1100E is a minefield since parking, trees and views would be impacted (14 feet is the recommended spacing for S70 and that is not attainable on 1100 East). An important north south bicycle route would become dangerous (as seen in Portland - streetcar rails catch bicyclists resulting in serious injuries).  
  Going south (as Rep. Winder and Mayor Silvistrini want) is going to destroy parking and mountain views that residents on Highland value. The federal government is not a bottomless barrel of money. The S-Line should be free unless so called undesirables that discourage mass transit ridership start overwhelming the Line. 
  TRAX and FrontRunner cannot expand or get more frequency without an extraordinary subsidy per rider. The money would be better spent on more buses on standing room only buses (200, 217, 200, 209, 33, etc). Subsidy per rider should be driving this decision. I know that $40/rider on VIA is unsat but better than buses. Fares should be $1 until pandemic scare is over. UTA has the money. The previous survey from last year said only 1/2 riders that left will return. Weekend canyon bus service would be a better plan and should be implemented with liberal carryon bike rules. FrontRunner only gets 4781 a day and $200+ million to double track ignores the LA rail failure and the obvious lack of fiscal responsibility and effectiveness of passenger rail projects. Rail does not attract as many riders as convenient, quiet, high frequency, low cost, span of service buses.


TARGET SUGAR HOUSE GRAND OPENING MARCH 14
  The Sugar House Target will be opening on March 14th south of the Park Avenue UofU hospital/medical office building off of 13th East. The area needs a good replacement for the popular ShopKo that was there previously. It should help the area's walkability.


SHORT TERM RENTALS EXPANSION BILL DENIED
  Senator Anderegg, one of the best legislators and a big proponent of affordable housing efforts in the Legislature, tried to get his SB221 through the Legislature. It would stop local authorities from limiting or enforcing limits on short term rentals when the rental is owner occupied. It would remove efforts to combat Airbnb expansion through neighborhoods that have resulted in the loss of affordable housing. 
  Houses that were $1500 a month a few years ago, now go for $5000 a month and rooms rented through Airbnb and other systems can result in even higher income. A recent case in Salt Lake City's Eastbench area was an example of the problem. A so called owner occupied house was renting out 5 rooms to individuals but it didn't become known until the owner asked for an ADU on the property! Due to Utah law that allows Airbnb to operate on the honor system when paying taxes but not report addresses of owners that are using the service to municipalities, the only thing that the City could do is give the owner a business license application! The Planning Commission had no choice with the new Salt Lake City ADU ordinance but to give the owner approval with a parking requirement.
  The biggest problem with Senator Anderegg's bill is that owner occupied is almost impossible to determine legally. The question came up during discussion that if the owner is only there one day a week, or if one of their relatives is one of the renters or something similar, is the property owner occupied. Salt Lake City requires owner occupied for ADUs but it can't be effectively enforced. So the bill is an unfunded mandate to local governments in order to assure owner occupied.
  Owner occupied housing stabilizes neighborhoods. The discussion centered on availability and affordability since cities like Moab and those near recreation areas and ski resorts have a problem with affordability and availability that is exacerbated by services like Airbnb.
  The bill did not move forward and Senator Davis moved to go to the next item with only Senator McCay, the chair voting no. Something needs to change to get control of this problem area. It is an important issue of affordability and availability.
  
ATTEMPT TO BAN CARBON MONOXIDE CHAMBERS FOR KILLING PETS IS BARELY ALIVE AGAIN
  For many years, several legislators have tried to ban carbon monoxide chambers used by several shelters, now two in the State, to kill shelter animals and wild animals like raccoons and skunks. But the chambers are expensive to maintain and calibrate to ensure a quick and relatively painless death. To ensure that requires shelter personnel to watch the animal while CO is put into the chamber. But shelter personnel do not want to watch the animals die so they do not watch the animals to ensure that they don't suffer. If the CO is not set right or calibrated or maintained, the animals will panic and whine and scream while they suffocate. If it is set right, the animal is supposed to drop unconscious almost immediately and death comes within a minute.
  But because the animals are not watched, and because the cost is so high, often the chambers do not work right and the animals suffer and do not die. In fact, the standard operating procedure for the chambers is to put the animal in a freezer for a day to kill them, again! In an egregious case a few years ago, a cat was "killed" in a chamber, placed in the freezer, and when taken out, it was still alive. It was adopted out eventually.
  Although the last two chamber operators contend that they are needed for raccoon and wild animal euthanasia, the certified USDA pest removal services (SLCO has one for several County municipalities) can and should remove the animals to a wild area if they do not want to inject them with the preferred pentobarbitol method. In addition, putting a skunk in a chamber is not recommended since it may seriously contaminate the chamber.
  Several spoke for the bill and several county representatives from around the State spoke against it. Although it passed the Committee to the Senate, it is so late in the Session, it should not be expected to pass. This late hearing is what stopped the last few efforts, including by former Sen. Knudsen, Sen. Weiler and Rep. Romero. Sen. Hinkins sponsored the bill, SB2237, this time although he was against it before.
  

FEBRUARY 2021


SO CALLED WORLD CLASS RAIL DIES WITH REALITY CHECK
  Senator Escamilla tried to sponsor a bill to set up a Passenger Rail Commission to consider and gather input and hopefully capture billions from the proposed federal infrastructure funding coming from Congress. Before it was presented to the first Senate Committee, it was substituted with just a study. But it assumes that there is a bottomless barrel of federal money and Utah has enough extra money to help match those funds.
  As California has belatedly learned, building a passenger rail system is not easy, cheap nor fiscally responsible. Those billions should be used on infrastructure projects that are better utilized. The Sanpete County Courthouse at $20 million would be more utilized than this multi billion dollar rail system.
  A better use of any government infrastructure funding would be, could be and should be for rural roads that are needed, desperately needed, for bringing products to market. Roads, trucks and passenger vehicles make our families, our economy and our Country more efficient.
  A $10 plus billion dollar passenger rail project would not be efficient, especially with our efficient air travel system ESPECIALLY after spending billions on a new Salt Lake City Airport and celebrating the Airport in a recent legislative resolution.
  The matching funds would take away from potentially increasing education funding, even adding an extra month to get our students up to speed on their education. I asked the Committee to not approve this resolution, save the money for education and roads. Utah should not be following California in fiscal irresponsibility.
  During discussion, several Committee members agreed with my comments about roads and poor utilization. The proposed resolution failed to pass the Committee.
 
CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT CONSPIRACY ENDEMIC IN SALT LAKE CITY
  As mentioned a couple of months ago, catalytic converter thefts are exponentially increasing. In one night, at the Sorenson Multi Cultural Center, 14 City vehicles had their catalytic converters stolen in just a few minutes! It can cost up to $3500 to replace. We asked law enforcement at the State, County and City level to check car parts suppliers to ensure that they aren't buying stolen converters and providing them to repair shops. It could provide much more value to crooks than selling to metal recyclers for recovery of valuable metals. Also, we asked UTA police to step up security in UTA parking lots to deter vehicle thefts.

CAR THEFTS DOUBLE DUE TO JAIL RELEASES
  In Salt Lake County, there is a large increase in car thefts. Part of the reason, in my opinion is that car thieves can get out of the County Jail with just $100. Arresting officers are still watching the car thieves walk out of jail while they are in the Jail parking lot doing their paperwork for the arrest. Salt Lake City has had an 84% increase in car thefts in the last year! Poplar Grove has had a 115% increase in car thefts. The whole City has the problem. There is also a large increase of 133% in car prowls in the Poplar Grove area and that is similar to the crime increase in the rest of the City. Please complain to the County Council about the lack of funding that allows hundreds of Jail beds to remain unused.
  Incarceration stats from Legislative hearings, as of January 14, 2021: There were 5,505 incarcerated individuals in Utah's prison system. There were 4,425 individuals on parole supervision. Combined, the Board of Pardons has jurisdiction over nearly 10,000 individuals. Utah is still encouraging fewer prison beds be used to justify the fewer beds in the new State Prison building along with the inability to appropriately man the State Prison with corrections officers (due to poor compensation). That still results in judges in Utah being urged to sentence criminals to county jails instead of State Prison despite the obvious threat to citizens and businesses.
  There is an effort to overturn last year's bail reforms that allowed judges to release criminals based on their threats to society, not just based on their ability to pay. HB220, sponsored by Rep. Schultz, is still not assigned to committee but it is a red herring. Former Rep. Hutchings' efforts and Justice Reform Initiative is not the problem, it is not the problem with last year's bail reform. It is a problem with lack of adequate funding at the State and local county level. If Rep. Schultz is able to present his HB220, I will point out the inappropriate misdirection.

ANTI-CELLPHONE BILL DIES FASTER THAN YOU CAN DIAL A NUMBER
  Rep. Moss presented, again, her effort to outlaw handling in any way shape or form, cell phones while in a vehicle. The present law already makes it a crime to text and drive, especially when violating a traffic law. That law already  makes the violation a misdemeanor. But Rep. Moss' bill makes the violation an infraction like speeding. Despite her presentation that included complaining about distracted driving being worse than DUI, her bill decreases penalties!
  I also complained about law enforcement refusing to ticket drivers that were violating traffic laws while using cellphones. Several testified for this bill during the presentation. After Sen. Urquhart passed the present law, there were a lot of tickets written for these violations. But now it seems that drivers are too sneaky for law enforcement! Several complained that they find that it is hard to see if they are violating the law. The final insult, in my opinion, is the reason for Sen. Urquhart's bill was the death of a Mr. Hansen and permanent injury of his wife by a woman who was texting and driving. The remarried Mrs. Hansen was part of the presentation. I still don't see why she was supporting a  bill that significantly decreased penalties for texting and driving, and her friend Sen. Ipson was cosponsoring it!
  Because it makes texting and driving like speeding, even though it is much more dangerous, it encourages texting and driving, I think.
  Committee members were mostly upset that the bill is unchanged from last year and felt that the Representative should have changed it and engaged during Interim to see if it made sense to bring it back again. They also felt that distracted driving comes in so many ways, like eating and holding hands. So they dealt it a final blow by moving it to Rules which is the kiss of death, usually. The Committee is also very intolerant of overreaching of government.  

BILL FOR ALLOWING ONLY FUNDAMENTAL REPUBLICANS WATERED DOWN AND TABLED
  HB197, the bill from Rep. Teuscher that is to stop voters from jumping to the Republican Party from other parties. The concern, according to the sponsor, is: “We don’t want people to jump into the party and pick our representatives when they don’t have any of the same fundamental beliefs of the party.” That phrase, the fundamental beliefs of the the Republican Party has been used to denigrate fellow Republicans who have differences of opinions when they are discussing bills in the Legislature. It was also used to justify an effort to ban the Beach Boys from playing Washington DC during the Fourth of July celebrations (President Reagan overruled his Secretary of the Interior.).
  It discourages participation in our political process. The Utah GOP's goal is and should be to provide the best candidate for the ballot. This bill kind of reminds me of states in the past who demanded that everyone in the state not be a certain religion. It reminds me of political parties that demand that everyone follow the party line and platform, like communism. There are 110 million different opinions in this country and trying to put everyone of one opinion in one platform does not make sense.
  The Utah GOP Party had a incredible depth of field, candidates for Governor, last year. Each had a completely different philosophy. That has resulted in more Unaffiliated and non-GOP registered voters to look at the Republican Party as a realistic, viable and potential Party.
  Despite concerns about Democrats trying to influence the Republican Primary, encouraged by former Senator Dabakis (people should stop listening to him), the Legislature forced the bill to be changed to allow changing from Unaffiliated to GOP until the Primary. Democrats and other party's voters are required to make a decision by March 31. But, the Senate debated the bill and it was tabled during the 3rd Reading. That means that there is a big issue and potential debate. It is up in the air. We won't know until the end of the Session if it will pass.
 
LEGISLATURE SUPPORTS BURYING MORE RADIOACTIVE WASTE CALLING IT NON-HAZARDOUS
  The Legislature did pass and the Governor is expected to sign the bill to agree to the burying of buildings of decommissioned nuclear plants, including the "slightly radioactive" containment vessels in EnergySolutions' Clive facility in a separate so called non hazardous waste dump. The only thing stopping it will be the Radiation Control Board's evaluation that it will be safe. Again, anything labelled radioactive is unsafe by definition.
 
REP. SCHULTZ TRIES TO RESURRECT $150 MILLION FRONTRUNNER DOUBLE TRACKING PROPOSAL
  Is it alive or dead? We won't know until the end of the Legislature's session! The effort to spend $350 million to double track FrontRunner has had several wins and losses in the last few weeks. The Governor endorsed it but the Appropriations Infrastructure Committee lowered the funding to $150 million (and the Executive Appropriations Committee approved the priority of the project at number 21 on the infrastructure list). During discussion, several legislators were concerned about several projects with limited utilization, including the $20 million for the Sanpete County Courthouse. There were also additions by Senator Kennedy for a million for local roads in Rep. Hawkins' area that are used to induce labor since they are so poorly maintained.
  But just before the Executive Appropriations Committee approved the list, Rep. Schultz shoved HB433 into the mix with one day's notice and something for everyone funding with an offer they couldn't refuse. It is like the F35 budget that gives money to every state and balloons the formerly low cost into an outrageous cost. He proposed $200 million borrowing for FrontRunner double tracking (line 66) and $100 million from the General Fund (line 308). Only one person in public comment argued against it.
  My comments included: This legislature has generally been fiscally responsible and analyzed projects by utilization. But even UTA, in their own survey, has said that only 50% of riders may return to riding UTA! So, at best, within 5 years, only 7000 more riders can be predicted to join the present ridership on FrontRunner of 5000 per day. California belatedly learned passenger rail is not fiscally responsible and a recent study showed that LA spent 10 billion over 20 years and got minimal increase in ridership.
Roads would be better utilized and especially in rural areas that provide Utah products and resources to market, something that Utah encourages. But that demands better roads and maintenance. Any of those would be better utilized than $200 million for FrontRunner. Double tracking will require billions more to make use of it since diesel locomotives can't accelerate fast enough to meet the 15 minute projected frequency. Utah should not be building this Taj Mahal of a project.
  The $350 million for double tracking would be better utilized for increasing funding for our 650,000 students and 26,000 teachers. Education is the great equalizer, energizer and enabler. Rep. Schultz' belief that if you build it they will come is for baseball not rail. His concern about "we can't keep building roads" (also used by UDOT to justify the Governor - the boss of UDOT) is not real when we can still build roads and less than 2% use mass transit! He did put in a $39 million budget for active (bicyle and hiking infrastructure) transportation.
  Fiscally responsible governments and Republicans shouldn't solve problems with the most expensive solutions if more cost effective solutions are possible. Other priorities on the Infrastructure Priority List (see the downloads) asked UDOT to plan to improve traffic flow through improvements to or redesign of roadways near the Bluffdale railroad trestle by oct 2021. Senator McCay said that 146th South is not walkable and the 11,000 population in Bluffdale is now responsible for the road but fire trucks can't go under it. FrontRunner goes over it.
  Another item is number 33, the Governor's dream to give former Senate President Niederhauser a million dollar development deal with a gondola from his property to the ski resorts, is number 33 on the Priority List and is not expected to go forward. It would take a decade to build anyway if ever (like rail that the Central Wasatch Commission claims is the consensus plan). But, during discussion of the LCC/EIS and proposals, it was pointed out that the cost to build snowsheds on the most avalanche prone road in America, Little Cottonwood Canyon, would be $70 to $90 million! So, if we want to solve 80% of the winter traffic problems in the Canyon, we can do it in a year with less than $100 million! Snow sheds would be needed for rail or BRT buses. But that seems to have been lost on the legislators this year.

HB237 PASSES SENATE COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY BUT DEMONIZES POLICE
  HB237 "encourages" de-escalation by police if the person that has a weapon is not a danger to anyone else. One of the presenters of the bill was the mother of person that the Cottonwood Heights. Her son had a gun (fake) that was used to rob several pharmacies just before the police caught him and shot him. Only one spoke against it because the bill was changed to require de-escalation in cases of suicide. It appears to demonize the justifiable actions of police against criminals that refuse to drop their weapons when surrounded by cops. One could argue and some public comments argue that these individuals that had just committed armed robberies were suicidal and not a threat. But one should argue that any criminal after numerous armed robberies who does not surrender their weapon when surrounded by cops is suicidal, and is a real big threat.
  This bill is being used by citizens whose loved ones were justifiably shot by police to demonize police actions that one of Utah's most ethical public servants has found to be justifiable. They don't want to shoot people but they often have no choice if they keep picking up their gun or refuse to drop their gun while surrounded by police. It is disturbing to watch. It is even more disturbing for police to have to make that decision. A discussion on how to help police make good decisions is appropriate but this bill that demonizes police is not appropriate and should not be passed.
  Committee members were concerned about the effect in situations where the person is armed with a gun. Despite the mother of the robber who was shot in Cottonwood Heights saying that it would have stopped her son from being shot, the Assistant Salt Lake County DA said that it would not change the decision making authority of cops when the individual had a gun. But it could change the decisions made with knifes. ACLU attorney Marina Lowe mentioned that she sued police for shooting someone with a knife to their throat. I still think that this bill will demonize police. We won't know if it passes until the end of the session.

POPLAR GROVE PUSHES CLOSING GLENDALE GOLF COURSE
  During the last Poplar Grove Community Council meeting, there was a big presentation to drum up support to close the Glendale Golf Course and convert it into a Park. Ray Wheeler has been trying to do that for years. Former Councilman Kyle LaMalfa, who ended up marrying the present day Mayor Mendenhall, tried to encourage support at Glendale Community Council meetings but failed. It was so upsetting to residents in the area that it was the first major political event kicking off Jackie Biskupski's run for mayor of Salt Lake City (which she won, barely). Former Mayor Becker had ordered the Council to close 2 golf courses or he would. He claimed that they were losing money. But only two had a problem with maintenance costs and the Council pulled a fast one and closed Wingpointe which was going to close anyway due to FAA requests to increase payments and suggested Nibley Golf Course which would have returned that property to the family which donated the land! Former Councilwoman Mendenhall joined Mayor Becker in pushing for a $150 million bond to spend the $45 million needed to convert the Glendale Golf Course to a regional park but the Council balked and despite a needs analysis for parks that was used to justify the bond, even the $100 million compromise was not agreed to by the Council.
  Even the University of Utah has had classes redesigning the Golf Course as an exercise. But residents who live near the Golf Course moved into the area because it was open space and there was a golf course. There is that implied promise that it will stay a golf course that should be the priority. Dreams of some individuals, that may be great, are not always agreed on by the majority. Even if the majority wants it, the tyranny of the majority should be a warning. This is another reason why citizens should get involved and participate in community councils. The list is in the downloads section.
 
UTA BRT MAY ONLY SUPPORT 50 RIDERS PER DAY
  UTA now has a locally preferred alternative (LPA) for the Draper to Lehi mass transit system. It is a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)! It "will only cost" less than $500 million! The rail "would have only cost $850 million". The reality is that rail, has been estimated to cost almost $2 billion (in WFRC documents) and the BRT would still take up two lanes of valuable roadway that could handle 18,000 riders a day in personal vehicles and the BRT may only carry 2000 riders a day (according to other BRT estimates.
  UVX is being held out as an amazing success but it is free! It has only led to 1000 fewer parking permit applications for UVU. The BRT on 3500 South, 35MAX is "temporarily suspended" due to low interest. It never got above 3200 passengers a day and the two dedicated lanes are unused and unavailable for the traffic that is increasingly congested. Some have said that the 35MAX led to the redevelopment of West Valley City. I give the credit to former Mayor Mike Winder, not the BRT.
  My main point is that UTA should not be planning a BRT in the locally preferred alternative for the Point of the Mountain Plan. Only 53 ride the bus that parallels that plan and obviously, it will take a decade to develop a reasonable and responsible and justifiable plan, if ever, for a BRT on that route. UTA should prove that the BRTs in process will actually have the ridership to justify hundreds of millions of funding.
  The buses that UTA seems to be interested in are not safe. The seats will not hold passengers in a rapid movement or crash. Recent autonomous shuttle pilot projects were suspended due to that safety concern. The shuttle seats are the same as the new BRT seats.

OGDEN BRT COSTS NOW $122 MILLION AND RISING
  The Ogden BRT cost is now $122 million. It started out as a $67 million dollar project. If this is typical, and I think it is, UTA will have to double cost estimates of projects to be more realistic. They are going to use electric buses but if they try to put up power lines in that area, an area that values the views of the mountains, there will be a big backlash. UTA expects $78 million from the federal government. They have received a letter of "no prejudice" that will allow them to start construction. They expect to start operations near WSU by late 2022 and have the full route in operation by late 2023. I still expect a big fight on power lines, stations and eminent domain. Again, this $122 million boondoggle/Taj Mahal project does not do better than the cheap and effective 603 bus at 1/20th the cost.

SLC PARKING REQUIREMENTS HEARING SET MARCH 16 WITHOUT ALL REPORTS
  The Salt Lake City Council is rushing to have a public hearing on a new parking ordinance to be heard on March 16. But the City just received a preliminary parking study from Fehr and Peers consultants but does not intend to release it! This happened before when the City tried to decrease parking requirements. The infamous Downtown and Sugar House Parking study was buried by the Council and Mayor a few years ago due to public pressure against reducing the off street parking requirements.
  Originally, a restaurant proposal in the East Bench area, Brew Ha Ha tried to develop a 150 seat restaurant with only 6 parking spots, saying that they should be able to use the on street parking to meet their customers' needs. The backlash resulted in a doubling of the parking requirements even though Mayor Becker tried to stop it.
  All of the community councils in District 5 have recently been complaining of the lack of appropriate and reasonable parking. The parking proposal makes it worse since it decreases off street parking requirements in many areas. It decreases parking requirements for old buildings that are repurposed. And it re-emphasizes no parking requirements for areas near TRAX and FrontRunner.
  Interestingly, recent proposals near the future 650S. Main Street TRAX station asked for more parking than required. We fought this battle 8 years ago. Former Mayor Becker tried to decrease parking requirements. One of the reasons for the proliferation of abandoned buildings is the City required a new plan to be approved before the old buildings could be demolished in order to stop buildings to be demolished and result in more ground floor parking. The City has tried for years to discourage parking and personal vehicle use. Brew Ha Ha, a proposed 150 seat restaurant on the East Bench tried to open with 6 off street parking slots and using the rest of the parking requirements with on street parking. The DABC turned them down. And the City doubled parking minimums after that, over the objections of Mayor Becker.
  There are so many questions and complaints on parking and that should be expected to result in significant changes to the parking proposal. It is not fair to call a public hearing on an ordinance that will obviously change and without the public able to see all of the information that the Council has.
  Councilman for District 5, Darin Mano, expressed concern that small properties will be unable to provide on site parking and they have to rely on on street parking. That happens to be Councilman Mano's specialty, designing for small properties. The car is still the primary use throughout the City.
  Some of the questions asked by the Council during the last discussion on parking were: Why are we changing the parking ordinance? Was the old parking ordinance, Transportation Demand Management working? Why only 4 contexts, Transit high density with lowest parking demands; urban center like Sugar House and Downtown with some parking in demand; neighborhood center like 9th and 9th with the most parking needs and finally the general context for single family areas and industrial manufacturing.
  The problem with the present ordinance is that the low minimums and concessions like bicycle amenities have been putting impacts on adjacent neighborhoods. But the overall minimums proposed are generally lower. There is a 40% combined reductions from the current minimums with proximity to TRAX and 15 minute bus routes reducing parking requirements further.
  The consultant, Fehr and Peers, worked with developers and the Downtown Alliance but not with residents and businesses (that I know of). The proposed parking minimums are lower for Sugar House, RMU and other areas. Studios have lower parking requirements but one bedrooms need more parking. The FB-UN1 zone, next to rail stations, is being given more parking requirements.
  A development on Cleveland, a block from State Street around 13th South had a Form Based UN1 designation approved, against neighbors' objections. It did offer parking off street but the zone does not require parking on site. There is another project going through Planning that is trying for FB-UN1 on 200 East and north of 2100 South that will also be contentious, even though the community council for the area hasn't seen it.
  Councilman Mano likes where the proposal is going but since TRAX runs through Ballpark, why is parking the same as Redwood Road? That is despite parking minimums are reduced 40% within 2 blocks of TRAX. As mentioned above, he was concerned that his small infill and office projects do not have a reduction in off street parking. He wants on street parking to be allowed to allow and encourage infill projects. The proposal takes away using on street parking to count for parking. The problem wss that allowing on street parking "creates a sense of entitlement, getting people up in arms".
  Buildings built prior to 1944 that change their use will not get new parking requirements. The new Ballpark Master Plan being discussed may change that. Councilman Mano hoped that there is a buffer period of 6 months to allow developers and architects to not be impacted. The RMF zone is general context but the 1/2 stall per unit is a reduction. The City's proposed affordable housing overlay is likely going to change how it is applied.
  Councilman Andrew Johnston say that if it is being used to get people out of their cars, it may not work. It may not work to help affordable housing. He thought that the City needs a better sense of options. The parking study for the 9th and 9th area, which was in the preliminary Fehr and Peers report, said that parking is essentially full at 70% as perceived by visitors and neighbors. New developments will make that worse. The report also suggested mor parking for residential use in FBUN1. The study suggests that .75 space per unit of residential parking is suggested for FB-UN!
  Councilman Wharton was concerned about pushing cars into neighborhoods. All "TSA zones that surround the Guadalupe neighborhood impacts neighbors so maybe our TSA zones are too low in parking minimums".

RANKED CHOICE VOTING STILL UP IN AIR
  Ranked choice voting is still up in air according to testimony from the Salt Lake County Clerk to the Salt Lake City Council. The City Council wants rank choice voting implemented for this year's municipal elections for 4 City Council seats which would save money by having the primary election skipped and only the general election held. The County Clerk signed the contract on December 31, 2020 but they still do not have equipment to test and certify that it works. Until the County Clerk can appropriately test and certify equipment, they cannot do rank choice voting for governments in the County. In addition, there are several bills in the Legislature that could change procedures. We won't know until April if everything is working and the City has until April 14th (depending on the Legislature) to make a decision on how to conduct the election. Salt Lake County had a 90.11% turnout with over 600,000 voters in 2020.

AIRBNB AND NOT ALLOWING HOUSING IN ALL PARTS OF CITIES HURT AFFORDABLE HOUSING
  Several bills being considered in the Legislature include affordable housing. One is a bill to force municipalities to allow short term rentals (Sen. Anderegg) and another by Rep. Ward forces municipalities to allow ADUs. The ADU ordinance is in the Senate and we won't know until the end of the session if it will pass.
  SB221 allows short term rentals, but, as cities in Utah have discovered, Airbnb allows and makes it easy to rent out homes and individual bedrooms and that results in a $1500 a month home to be rented out for thousands more! The bill requires owner occupied but, again, as cities have found out, it is almost impossible to ensure owner occupied. Since Utah allows Airbnb to rent homes in Utah and pay taxes using the honor system without providing the individuals renting homes, it forces cities to endure the problems that renters cause cities. Owner occupied homes help provide a more stable neighborhood. That is not the same as the same argument used to red line homes and that is being used as justification to increase density and destroy the stability of single family home neighborhoods.
 The solution to affordable housing is to agree that mixed use housing is best and allow the 80% of City property that does not allow housing to have housing. There are over 50,000 workers in the International Center and, except for the hotels, there is no housing. The result is that this City encourages driving and air pollution (since there are just a handful of buses going through the area each day). The International Center could handle and should be allowed to build tens of thousands of housing units. Salt Lake City should allow housing on the 80% of the City that does not allow housing. This policy encourages air pollution.
  ADUs are not a solution to the affordable housing crisis in Salt Lake City. Rep. Ward's HB82 is still in the Senate. (Salt Lake City's RMF30 proposal will hurt low income renters and is being discussed in the next month.) Only 100 are in process.

MOBILE OUTREACH BILL PROBABLY DEAD DUE TO COST
  Senator Riebe's incredibly important SB70 that expands the Mobile Crisis Outreach Team to 14 has been moved into Rules due to the significant cost involved. There also appears to be some political issues since Rep. Eliason, who has been sponsoring most mental health bills was not consulted on the bill. It stalled and may be dead in Rules.
  MCOT is now in 2 counties, including Price due to the problems with opioid abuse. In 2017, there were 1012 pink sheets that had involuntary commitment. In 2018, there were 736 involuntary commitments, a 27% reduction. The MCOT teams had a 62% reduction in hospitalization and an 81% reduction in arrests. Rep. Eliason was very concerned about removing the rural county MCOT. The bill was changed to remove the local government match but they still would pay 20%. There were questions about why is the State trying to control a system when counties would be better.
  Unified Police Department in Salt Lake County responds with MCOT when they are available. MCOT can stay, when it is evaluated to be safe, and the UPD can leave to respond to other calls. MCOT can stay for many hours.

SLC WAR ON TREES CONTINUES WITH MILLER PARK
  Miller Park has a new study that is public. The City is asking for feedback. But one of the proposals from Alta Planning is cutting "non-native trees" ("remove non-native trees")! Part of the reason is that there are a large number of black locust trees. Unfortunately, university forestry departments teach that black locusts are an invasive species and should be cut down.
  In the real world they are deep rooted (to 20 feet down), surviving hurricane force winds, providing windbreaks, stabilizing banks and are rot and insect resistant. They are or were extremely valuable to keeping the slopes of Miller Park from sliding into the Creek and providing bird habitat. Farmers knew this but for some reason, new forestry graduates seem to have lost that ancient wisdom.
  The so called restoration after the oil spill resulted in hundreds of old trees cut down. THE BIRDS HAVE NOT RETURNED!! Even when the Miller Park web page says:
"The native vegetation in Miller Park, such as river hawthorn, supports many birds, including black-chinned hummingbird, downy woodpecker, and ruby-crowned kinglet." IT IS NOT TRUE. BIRDS HAVE NOT RETURNED TO MILLER PARK.  A couple of years ago, the Natural History Museum had a bird tour through Miller Park but did not find any birds!
  Cutting trees hurt. Super widening the channel hurt. Spraying oil based herbicide hurts.  Miller Park is no longer a bird refuge. Until SLC recognizes how to correct its missteps, the reference to birds should be taken off the website. Salt Lake City has to stop its war on trees.

SLC POLICE TICKETING FOR TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS AGAIN
  The Salt Lake Police Department is again ticketing for traffic violations. In the East Bench area (east of 1300 East), there were 10 traffic citations in January. There are 50 so far this month (to the 17th of February).


FRONTRUNNER DOUBLE TRACKING UNJUSTIFIED WITH UTILIZATION ANALYSIS 
  During discussion at the Executive Appropriations Infrastructure Committee, there was a vigorous discussion of the double tracking of FrontRunner. The fiscal responsibility of the Legislature often analyzes projects by utilization. So the FrontRunner, which now serves 5000, finds it difficult to justify $350 million that Governor Cox recommended. The priority list ended up suggesting that the Legislature's intent was number 21 on the priority list and suggested "only" $150 million. 
  The Wasatch Canyons $50 million request was number 33 on the priority list. The proposed gondola will take 10 years to build if ever. The fastest way to help solve the winter traffic issues in Little Cottonwood Canyon is to spend the $50 million on snow sheds. That would solve much of the traffic backups in a Canyon with over 50 avalanche zones and one of the most active avalanche roads in the Country. The maximum cost would be $86 million. 
  
UTA DECLARES WAR ON IMPORTANT NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET
  UTA has asked UDOT to start eminent domain for an Ogden BRT station that is presently a 7/11 store. The popular and essential neighborhood market on 32nd South and Harrison is wanted by UTA for a station but there is a big, virtually empty parking lot just a few feet to the north! Instead of being respectful and responsible with taxpayer funds, UTA is trying to create one of the most expensive BRT stations ever. Hopefully someone will stop this travesty of big bad UTA.


SLC PARKING REQUIREMENTS HEARING SET MARCH 16 WITHOUT ALL REPORTS
  Fehr and Piers turned in a preliminary parking study to the City Council the morning that the Council decided to set a public hearing date for the new proposed parking proposal for March 16. The preliminary report had recommendations but they are not public! It was mentioned that the Central 9th area parking minimums were too low and due to the land uses, automobiles are still needed. Portland parking minimums were found to be higher than Salt Lake City. The proposal has overall minimums generally lower with a 40% combined reduction from current minimums. The Form Based zones do not have parking requirements but the new proposal requires parking minimums.
  Despite a lot of feedback from the public on multifamily parking, the City is proposing lower minimums for Sugar House and many other areas. TSA areas has lower parking minimums for studios but higher for one bedrooms. Due to many concessions in the present parking ordinance, Transportation Demand Management Plan, there were few on site parking requirements and that was impacting adjacent neighborhoods. In some cases, there were no on site parking requirements. Sugar House, East Bench, East Liberty Park, 9th and 9th, Liberty Wells, Central 9th and Ballpark all have had a lot of parking complaints.
  Councilman Wharton expressed concern about parking issues in his area. Councilman Mano said he likes in general where it's going, but since TRAX runs through Ballpark why is parking requirements in the area the same as Redwood Road. He was told that within a quarter mile from TRAX or a 15 minute frequency bus route, there is a 40% reduction in parking requirements.
within a quarter mile from TRAX allows a 40% reduction! 
  Councilman Mano was concerned that, in his business as an architect focusing on small infill, he needs the on street parking to meet project viability and hoped that there would be changes before the ordinance is adopted.
  The City is disrespecting citizens and businesses with this attempt to pass an ordinance that will not be shown to the public until after it passes. That is what they seem to plan.


LEGISLATURE PUSHES UTAH COUNTY DIESEL EMISSIONS BILL
  Senator Bramble has passed SB146, Diesel Emissions Testing through the House Committee and it looks like a sure thing. This is one of the great unsung hero bills that will have a significant impact on air pollution. It requires diesel vehicles that are older than 5 years to have emissions checks to ensure that they aren't emitting too much pollution. Studies show that up to 25% of diesel vehicles are modified to defeat pollution control devices. Utah County had a large number of diesel vehicles that escaped emissions testing. Senator Bramble expects to bring back full diesel emissions checks for even newer vehicles in the next session. This bill modifies the previous law generated from the VW emissions scandal to continue it and make it more effective.


SLC ENCOURAGES AIR POLLUTION WORSE THAN INLAND PORT
  Salt Lake City does not allow housing on 80% of its land. The worst case scenario is the International Center with up to 50,000 employees and soon to be 100,000 employees has no housing except for a handful of hotels. So the City is actually pushing vehicle use when it ignores the best policy of mixed use building in all areas of the City. 
  Instead of trying to rezone single family home neighborhoods with Affordable Housing Overlays and RMF30 changes and ADUs, it can have tens of thousands of housing units where they will do the most good and significantly decrease pollution that I can arguably compare to the potential pollution of Inland Port.


LEGISLATURE DEBATES DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT
  I argued against Rep. Teuscher's HB197 that limited changes between registered parties by voters to after April. Teuscher said "We don’t want people to jump into the party and pick our representatives when they don’t have any of those same fundamental beliefs as the members of the party". It should be pointed out that that phrase, the fundamental beliefs of the the Republican Party has been used to denigrate fellow Republicans who have differences of opinions when they are discussing bills in the Legislature. This Country has 110 million different opinions and it is only in communist countries that government can force everyone to believe all of a platform. That is what this is about. Some are concerned about diversity of thought. 
  That issue has also been discussed by the Utah State GOP. “The differences between our own Utah Republicans showcase a diversity of thought, in contrast to the danger of a party fixated on ‘unanimity of thought,’” according to the statement. “There is power in our differences as a political party, and we look forward to each senator explaining their votes to the people of Utah.” That was referring to the different Senate trial votes by Senator Lee and Senator Romney. But it applies to Teuscher's bill also.
  Senate President Adams also recently said that "no one person has all the answers" but each member contributes", referring to the different opinions in the Utah Senate.
  In 2020, in Salt Lake County, 21,066 changed from Democrat to Republican. In Salt Lake City, Independents were twice as many as registered Democrats who were twice as numerous as registered Republicans. The bill is now in the Senate after just barely passing the House by 3 votes. This will be an interesting fight to ensure the question of whether the State GOP is a big tent party.


THE OTHER SIDE ACADEMY OPED BEST REALITY CHECK IN DESERET NEWS 
  The Deseret News published an oped by The Other Side Academy that is one of the best summaries of the issues of drug use, addiction and criminal behavior. The Other Side Academy is one of the most successful drug addiction treatment programs. I urge everyone to read it. It is at: https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2021/2/7/22269173/the-other-side-academy-in-criminal-justice-reform-accountability-is-true-compassion
  
SLCO NOT GUARANTEED RANK CHOICE VOTING
  During discussion February 16 at the City Council, SLCO Clerk Swenson indicated that rank choice voting in the County is not assured since the contract with the new vendor was just signed December 31, 2020. The scanners will not be available for testing until next week and the other equipment is still to be delivered. The City Council needs to make the decision on whether to use rank choice voting by April 16th. SLCO Clerk said that she expects to have a decision for the City by the middle of March on whether all of the rank choice voting equipment is certified.


LEGISLATURE UPDATES 
HB17 Rep. Handy's attempt to stop municipalities from limiting utilities available 
in their cities was modified during debates to allow utility limits for projects 
developed by city funds. Salt Lake City wants to only allow electricity for its 
affordable housing projects which will double the cost of heating (up to $400 a 
month!) for so called low income housing! The bill goes to the Governor for signing.
HB 20 is the DUI bill that stops DUI drivers from getting out of jail without a judge
hearing the case. Before, DUI drivers could get out on $5000 bail ($500 cash). This 
should stop those who injure or kill others while DUI or on drugs including THC, to 
not get out of jail with just a few bucks.
HB82 The effort to stop municipalities from limiting ADUs has not made it out of the 
House. It was circled, meaning that it will not easily pass without a significant debate.
HB160 Rep. Moss' distracted driving bill is still not assigned to a committee. Maybe 
legislators are tired of having to hear the same thing every year for the past 5 years.
HB209 The electric vehicle tax was also circled in the House. It will be an interesting 
debate.
HB219 Rep. Acton's bill to stop overcharging for inmate phone calls was also circled
in the House.
SB87 Sen. Bramble's bill to allow hair drying and shampooing without a license passed
the Legislature and has been sent to the Governor for signing. There is a significant
Utah beauty school business that can cost as much as $20,000 to get a license. They 
have argued forcefully but failed to stop this bill. Utah has over 300 different 
licenses that limit businesses and protect license holders. This is just the start of 
what I feel will be a long term process. Libertas has been the best proponent of getting
rid of obviously useless licenses.
SB168 The effort to allow resort towns (less than 20 in Utah) to limit noise after 
hours from ATVs and motorcycles has been circled. It was generated by complaints 
Moab and other cities that motorcycles and ATVs were racing through town early in the
mornings.
HB228 The bill to stop jail photos from being distributed is going to the Senate 
Committee on Feb. 17. It is being protested by news media.
HB271 A bill to expand child care by allowing providers to handle one more child than
before is also in committee Feb. 17.
SJR 7 That gives EnergySolutions that blessing to open up a supposedly "nonhazardous" 
waste dump for nuclear reactors and their buildings passed the Legislature. The bill, 
in my opinion, jumps the gun and it should have waited until the Radiation Control 
Board Staff agreed to the safety of the plan.


SLCPD NEW CLASS OF 20 HAS 7 OF "MORE DIVERSE BACKGROUND"
  Chief Brown celebrated a new Police Academy class of 20 with 7 of a "more diverse background". He pointed out that out of 60 training officers, only 6 were of the "more diverse background". We need more cops faster. This will take us years to get back to what we need in the City. Interestingly, Minneapolis has changed their defund the police plan and budgeted for more police! The reason is that there were too many complaints about not a fast enough response from the police.
  
SLC GOLF COURSES CLOSE FOR GRASS
  I asked why some golf courses were closed during 50 degree weather. It turns out that the golf courses' grass does not handle the winter well and has to be allowed to rest sometimes. The City rotates open golf courses to allow the grass to recover. 


SLC APPLIES FOR $400K KENSINGTON BYWAY GRANT
  SLC is applying for a $400,000 grant from WFRC to increase the safety of the Kensington pedestrian light and make the street west of 700 East a neighborhood byway with slower speeds and an encouraging bicycle route. I still think that the money would be better spent on the Foothill Trails Plan. A couple of cop cams on State Street along with big signs that say they are watching for drivers who are unsafe would be much cheaper and more effective. 
  On the Foothill Trails Plan, the County Bicycle Advisory Board is sending a letter out to all potential funding sources to ask for priority funding for the Foothill Trails Plan. It will turn out to be a world class destination for hikers and mountain bikers.


100 ADUS A YEAR WILL NOT SOLVE AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS
   In a very emotional speech in the House committee hearing the HB82 ADU bill, he spoke about how he was only able to afford his first home (he bought for $100,000 with a loan from the previous owner) by buying it in Sunset, an area with low cost homes. He contended that the bill will make a difference in affordable housing.
   Rep. Ward is sponsoring HB82 that essentially opens the door to ADUs throughout Utah with restricting the ability of cities to control where they can go. Although cities can require a license to ensure owner occupancy, prohibit extra utility lines and require parking, the ADU bill does little to solve our problem.
  I believe that the ADU bill is a threat to single family home neighborhoods that developed with an implied promist that it will create stable owner occupied home neighborhoods. ADUs increase rentals and turnover and can decrease perceived safety of families that want their children to be able to walk in their neighborhoods safely.
  In addition, since Airbnb increases the cost of housing and there is no way to limit unrelated renters in a home (limited to 4) and requiring owner occupied (SLC has tried but is unable to solve the issues.), it increases the cost of housing.
  Salt Lake City has spent the last couple of years allowing these supposedly low cost units in the City with minimal restrictions through conditional use permits. Salt Lake City, since 2019, has completed 9 ADUs with 21 under construction and 17 permits under review (in zoning districts that allow duplexes, townhomes and apartments). But conditional use approved applications number 40 with 8 more pending.  Many were objected to by neighbors. The cost can be over $100,000 and obviously 100 extra housing units are not going to be a solution.
  If the State wants more affordable housing, they, and the cities, should allow housing on the 80% of land (in Salt Lake City) that does not allow housing. The International Center has over 50,000 employees but almost no housing (mostly hotels). That results in increased air pollution from 50,000 personal vehicles

GOVT. SHOULDN'T TRY TO SOLVE PROBLEMS WITH THE MOST EXPENSIVE SOLUTIONS
  Governor Cox has proposed spending $50 million on UDOT's efforts to solve the Little Cottonwood Canyon traffic issues. UDOT has prioritized "a mobility hub", which is a parking garage on a private developer's property. Former Senate President Wayne Niederhauser admitted that his bill from a few years ago to toll the Little Cottonwood Canyon was to provide funds to build the parking garage. If his property is across the street from La Caille, that is the property that UDOT wants to build the mobility hub/parking garage. The plan now is to connect the parking garage to a gondola. But the gondola may take a decade to build since previous gondola proposals in the Canyons met vigorous opposition.
  In addition, the State still uses howitzers to trigger avalanches on some of the 64 dangerous avalanche runs in the Canyon ( a howitzer missed a few years ago and the shell went onto the next Canyon over). The gondola proposal will benefit ski resorts but not provide public transit for hikers and bikers that also use the Canyons. The proposal to use buses would be helpful but even more helpful would be if UTA provided more buses in the morning instead of one every half hour. It is common knowledge that skiers can wait for up to 3 hours for a bus in the morning to go to a ski resort. And UTA and Utah should start weekend bus trips up the Canyons for other seasons for hikers and bikers.
  To fix the Canyon traffic and transportation problems within a year, the $50 million should be used to build the snow sheds that would benefit vehicles and buses. The maximum cost is predicted to be $86 million but they could be solving the issue before the next ski season. I put the costs breakdown in the right downloads area.
AGAIN, FOR $50 MILLION, THE PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED BEFORE NEXT SEASON

LEGISLATURE ABOUT TO SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE PENALTIES FOR DUI + DRUGS
  Rep. Eliason's bill to significantly increase penalties for DUI with drugs and to stop DUI drivers who have injured or killed someone to be able to get out of jail with a $5000 bond passed the Senate committee. This will be a big change to Utah's DUI laws.

UTAH BICYCLE YIELD IN SENATE
  Rep. Moss' bill to allow Utah bicyclists to not have to stop at stop signs if no traffic or pedestrians are in or could be in the intersection is now in the Senate.

LEGISLATURE CIRCLES E VEHICLE TAX INCREASE
 The bill to increase electric vehicle fees and push UDOT to toll roads, HB209 has been circled in the House. That means that there is significant opposition to passing the bill without a lot of debate, that could result in the bill dying. Suspense time.

UTA FORCES SKIERS TO WAIT 3 HOURS FOR BUSES
  Proponents of billion dollar transit projects pointed to skiers waiting for hours in crowded parking lots for buses to go to the ski resorts in the Wasatch Canyons. But a common sense review of the issue would make it obvious that UTA should provide more buses in the morning and more parking. This will push skiers to avoid UTA. That is not how a service agency is supposed to work.

21ST SOUTH ROAD DIET TO 3 LANES WITH UOFU SUPPORT
  During a discussion with SLC employees and the Sugar House Community Council, it was mentioned that the University of Utah is planning a redesign of 21st South to a 3 lane road, going from 4 traffic lanes to 2 traffic lanes on a road that has close to 20,000 ADT (average daily trips). That is a great recipe for significant air pollution increase and congestion and backup. There is already backup on 21st South's right hand lane going east at the Chick a Fil parking lot since there is not enough of a fast food lane in the parking lot.
  There also is not enough of a sidewalk to allow bicycling and walking. Buildings also go up to the sidewalk so the only way to increase sidewalk width is to the parking strip and also remove the parking on some portions of 21st South in Sugar House. But the City is concerned about removing on street parking that can contribute $40,000 a year in revenue to businesses. But most have off street parking lots and some of the on street parking is a safety issue.
  There is significant pressure to do a road diet with the argument that those against it are using false information to sway surveys. But many surveys on many streets, including on 21st S, 17th S, 13th S, 13th E, and Sunnyside have all been 50/50 or against road diets. On streets with high traffic, it is almost impossible to get out of their driveways. It also increases congestion which results in air pollution that can be 7 times higher than the rest of the City and can shift traffic to adjacent streets. The 600 East bike boulevard along with the 500 East shareways shifted traffic to 400 East with significant complaints of increasingly dangerous traffic.
  I don't believe that the majority of Sugar House residents want a road diet on 2100 South. Proponents contend that that is only because they have not been given the "correct information". This another battle in the war on cars. The proponents of a road diet insist that a road diet will force residents and businesses to walk and bike more. I disagree. Please become involved in the 7PM first Wednesday meeting of the Sugar House Community Council. The Zoom meetings are convenient and well managed by the Chair of the community council.

STATE STREET GETTING POLICE ATTENTION ON CRIME MAGNETS
  The new SLCPD liaison for District 5, 6 and 7, Detective Nathan Meizner, has hit the ground running in Ballpark. He helped in the removal of the homeless camp on 9th South on the railroad tracks. He has had the Liberty Bike Squad hit Wayne's Corner (13th S and State) every single shift. They have arrested many drug dealers and users on charges, including some on federal charges. He has asked for a mobile cop cam trailer for the corner. He has asked the Gail Miller Homeless Shelter to consider providing security to discourage loitering around the shelter. That is due to the many complaints from neighbors. The vacant property next to the Shelter has just been sold and there is hope that that will help decrease some loitering. The bike squad will also check on the buildings south of Coachmans (13th S State) to address complaints of drug use.
  Finally, he is working on a nuisance case. Several years ago, the present Mayor, as a Councilwoman, developed a nuisance ordinance that was supposed to solve a lot of the properties that were crime magnets. But in the last few years, only one business was targeted.
 

SLC ADUS NUMBER ALMOST 100 SINCE 2019
  Salt Lake City removed most of the restrictions on Auxiliary Dwelling Units (ADU) over a year ago. Since about a year ago, ADUs have been allowed in almost all areas with minimal restrictions through conditional use approval by the Planning Commission. Before that new ordinance, the only legal ADU was by being within 4 blocks from a rail station and that only resulted in one or two ADUs built.
  Since 2019, the numbers as of January 1 provided by Salt Lake City Planning Director are:
Conditional Use applications 2020: 24
Conditional use Approvals (total): 40 ( includes some applications were submitted in 2019)
Conditional use Denials (total): 0
Conditional use Pending: 8 (incomplete applications, applications that have not yet gone to the Planning Commission)

  Permitted Use Applications
2020: 10 (located in zoning districts that allow duplexes, townhomes, and apartments)
Building permit Information
Total Applications: 47
Completed ADUs: 9
ADUs under construction: 21
ADUs building permit under review: 17

"Public Utilities Dept. reviews all building permits and conditional uses to verify that they can be served by existing utilities and what upgrades, if any, are needed."

  The biggest impact to the neighborhoods can be increased noise, parking, sewer and other utilities. Impact fees can be used to increase the sewer and water infrastructure. But, in a surprise, it turned out that some home owners have also been using Airbnb to rent out their rooms and homes. In one recent case, in the East Bench, it was noted during the Planning Commission meeting, that the homeowner  was renting out 5 rooms and it was assumed that the ADU would help in the renting of rooms. Although the homeowner is supposed to reside onsite, it is very difficult to prove and enforce. Utah's laws also interfere with enforcement since, in Utah, it is illegal to use Airbnb and other services, to rent homes or apartments for less than 30 days. There is no way to prove that since the Legislature has allowed Airbnb to pay taxes on the honor system and municipalities are not given the data to enforce the 30 day limit.
  Ironically, ADUs are supposed to increase the supply of affordable housing but Airbnb has been blamed for increasing the price of housing. The biggest negative impact, in my opinion, to affordable housing, is the City does not allow building on 80% of Salt Lake City property. It also has not made much headway on the best and biggest potential for housing (thousands of housing units) in the City which is the State Street corridor. For 6 years, the City has been going around in circles on the effort to provide housing in the area with just a few exceptions.
  In my opinion, ADUs can decrease the character of single family home neighborhoods. Moving into a single family home neighborhood is often due to the quiet and uncrowded streets but ADUs can impact that character. Owner occupied housing helps to keep the character of the neighborhood. Single family home neighborhoods are not impacting affordable housing.
  The Legislature is also considering, with HB82, requiring all governments in Utah, to approve without restrictions, internal ADUs (generally in basements). But several cities objected since it could create big issues with sewer, parking and traffic. The bill has been held in the Legislative Committee while the sponsor, Rep. Ward, tries to address those concerns.
 
ROUNDABOUT TOLL ROADS/E-VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEES ESCALATING
  In another of the efforts of Senator Harper to increase taxes or fees to pay for roads, he and Rep. Christofferson (who is recovering from Covid 19) has sponsored a bill, HB209, to make electric vehicles pay for what they say electric vehicles cost in road upkeep.
  The goal is to make registrations so high that the owners will move to the experimental Ride Usage Charge (RUC) Program that Senator Harper has been pushing to ensure that everyone is paying their "fair share". The proposal will increase fees to up to $300, depending on the type of vehicle. The new fees are so high that it is hoped that most will accept and join the RUC Program.
  This is being rushed in an effort to plan for a belief that in 10 years a large portion of the vehicles on the road will be electric and won't be paying their fair share of gasoline taxes. During the hearing at the House Transportation Committee meeting, several Committee members expressed concern that there is no evidence that electric vehicles are a big burden on roads. It was pointed out that most electric vehicles usually don't drive as much or as far as gasoline vehicles and they usually are slowly driven on local roads.
  About 2000 vehicles (electric, hybrid) are enrolled in the RUC test. Sen. Harper admitted that this bill will push UDOT to rampup this program that was supposed to be experimental. The program monitors mileage of the enrolled vehicles and charges them a fee that is guaranteed to not be higher than the registration fee.
  There are about 43,000 hybrids, and 5,000 plug-ins. 10% of the plug-ins are enrolled.  
  Even worse is the attack on the implied promise, when buying an electric vehicle, that the registration charge will not go up each year. But in some cases, the registration fee is up over 500%! So buyers beware. Utah is out to make electric vehicle owners pay more each year. The registration fee was raised a couple of years ago. It is a great way to stop people from buying e-vehicles.
  At the same time that Utah is discouraging buying electric vehicles, it is celebrating how environmental its policies are with the $50 million Rocky Mountain Power charging stations effort. It is also claiming that Utah will be zero emission to the Olympic Committee to encourage awarding another Winter Olympics to Utah.
  Rep. Harrison pointed out that the proposal will result in the highest electric vehicle fee in the nation. She recommended that it would make more sense to increase the tax on heavier vehicles and more polluting vehicles. (Big rigs already pay thousands a year in road charges.)
  The Utah Taxpayers Association is pushing this bill claiming that electric vehicle owners are not paying their fair share. The experimental RUC Program was scheduled to provide valuable data within a year but Senator Harper wants the tax increase now before the data proves or disproves it.
  The bill passed the Committee 6 to 4 with several Republicans claiming that electric vehicles will soon be the majority of vehicles on the road. It should be noted that the programs in Oregon, Colorado, California and Utah are supposed to be pilot programs. California's program report recommends "exploring the feasibility of a pay at the pump model for road charging. Oregon's registration fee for EVs is $110. Overall, bottom line, Utah is overcharging EVs.
  This is nothing more than a roundabout way to create toll roads. Proponents even admit that this is a toll road system. This is not equitable or fair. This is like Senator Harper's attempt to change the name of UTA, questionable at best and bad government at worst. Lee Davidson at the Salt Lake Tribune had a great summary at:
  https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2021/02/02/registration-fees-utah/

 


JANUARY 2021​


HB142 UTAH BICYCLE YIELD LAW BARELY PASSES HOUSE COMMITTEE
  Despite passing through the Utah Legislative House last year, the House Transportation Committee gave a lukewarm support (8 to 3) to move Rep. Moss' bill that would allow bicyclists to not stop but yield at stop signs when there is no pedestrian or vehicle traffic. Last year the bill was stopped in the Senate since it had questions about the safety of running a red light. This year's bill removed traffic lights and only referred to stop signs. UDOT expressed concerns about safety with statistics showing that, even in daylight, automobiles (and trucks) don't see bicyclists and that is when most accidents occur. But UDOT admitted that they have not dug into the statistics while saying that it is a visibility problem. The bill had pushback also from a private citizen that expressed concern that his kids were taught to stop at stop signs while on a bicycle and that this bill would decrease safety for kids on bicycles. Rep. Ballard attempted to amend the bill to say except for motorized bicycles and under 16. Another amendment to table the bill failed 5 to 6. Then the Committee agreed to send it to the House floor with a favorable 8 to 3 vote.
  Based on the discussion and pushback, I feel that without significant pressure and messages to the Legislature, this bill will fail. I urge the bicycling community to step up and let the legislators know your opinion.
  My support for the bill essentially is that it is safer for a bicyclist to enter an intersection when no traffic is around than to stop for a few seconds. That could result in traffic coming up behind them and running them over (cars don't stop for bicyclists in my opinion). The faster a bicyclist can get out of the way of traffic, especially at intersections, the better and safer for bicyclists. In addition, since 90% of cyclists do not stop at stop signs, a law that is ignored by 90% of citizens decreases respect for the law and government. And finally, this bill will ensure that cops, who have been discouraged from giving out tickets (see fines and tickets report in the downloads), will focus on the highest danger, speeding and dangerous drivers, not the least dangerous, bicyclists.
 
HB165 VEHICLE ANTI NOISE ORDINANCE FAILS TO ADVANCE
  A bill that has failed for two years has again failed to advance. The effort by Rep. Wheatley, encouraged by residents of the Wasatch Canyons that want to decrease noise from vehicles that have muffler cutouts, was defeated when the House Transportation Committee moved onto the next item. This bill would have required checking for legal muffler installations during emissions checks. It does not apply to motorcycles which do not get emissions checks, despite studies that show over 25% of motorcycles have muffler modifications that increase noise above the legal (in America) 80db. The only way to return it to Committee is to have the Chair of the Committee agree to hear it again.

LEGISLATURE COMMITTEE PASSES BILL STOPPING CITIES FROM CREATING ENERGY MONOPOLIES
  The Legislature's Public Utilities Committee passed the bill (discussed below) that would stop cities from requiring all new buildings to be electricity (being considered since it decreases natural gas use and improves local air quality). Interestingly, the Mayor of Salt Lake City implied that the City is working on such an ordinance in her State of the City address. Rep. Romero, during the Committee hearing denied that the City was thinking about it but the Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett said as much to the City Council in the last month. Other reasons that the bill makes sense is that it would stop cities from doubling the cost to heat homes and a $400 a month electric heating bill in so called affordable apartments, instead of a $200 typical gas heating bill, is not very respectful of our low income and fixed income residents. Municipalities should not create monopolies. Finally, this State has pushed natural gas production (and is building a $100 million natural gas refueling system garage for UTA). If the natural gas wells are not producing, they will leak.

LEGISLATURE DECLINES TO REMOVE PRICE CONTROLS
  Senator Anderegg, one of my favorite Senators, tried to pass a bill through the Senate Business and Labor Committee that would have removed price controls. This was developed with the concern that price controls create scarcity and encourage hoarding. But there have only been a handful of charges with Utah's price control law and many were settled. A recent study by a Weber State professor claimed that price controls could increase scarcity.
  But panic buying is also encouraged by high prices, in some cases more than scarcity. In our modern world, there is a multiplier effect due to today's technology and systems that can create panic buying with a notice that prices are doubling or there is price gouging. Removal of price control laws during emergencies would affect rural areas more than urban since rural areas do not have the competition of urban areas to keep prices down. It could double gasoline prices. It would be like the Arab Oil Boycott.  


LEGISLATURE SUPPORTS EFFORT TO BURY NUCLEAR REACTORS IN UTAH
  With no public comment, (I would have objected but I was tied up in another meeting.) SJR7 passed the Senate committee. It supports EnergySolutions constructing and operation of a Class VI landfill that may have residual levels of radioactivity and the landfill may be considered a radioactive waste facility. EnergySolutions already has a Class V waste facility next to this plot of land. What is concerning is that the Class VI landfill is supposed to be for burying non-hazardous waste. Radioactive waste is not non-hazardous. This was a conditional approval that is required from a previous session's resolution, SJR11 in 2018, along with requiring the approval of the governor and the Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control. The Legislature is obviously pushing that Utah become known as the home of decommissioned nuclear power plants. Maybe we should create a new license plate with a radioactive symbol.

LEGISLATURE PUSHES INCREASING MENTAL CRISIS UNITS TO 14
  SB70 passed its first test at the Senate Committee. It
"Requires the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to create and monitor additional mobile crisis outreach teams (to 14 from 4); and requires local mental health authorities to provide matching funds". This will cost $4.2 million for the State. The counties that usually provide mental health services' funding to Utahns will have to match the State contribution. It is sorely needed since the 4 MCOT (Mobile Crisis Outreach Team) units are often unavailable to work with police. They cost around $450 to respond to a mental health crisis versus around $1500 for a 23 hour hospital evaluation. In addition, a police officer that has to arrest someone with a mental health crisis has to wait at the county jail while the jail nurse evaluates the person and may recommend taking the arrestee to the hospital. That can take up to half of the officer's shift! This is one of the most important bills at the Legislature and is sponsored by Sen. Reibe. Similar bills that create a good foundation to create professional standards for mental health treatment include two by Sen. Thatcher, SB53 that "creates a new license for behavioral emergency services technicians" and SB47 that "Creates the Mental Health Crisis Intervention Council to establish protocols and standards for the training and functioning of local mental health crisis intervention". 

UTAHNS MAY SOON BE ABLE TO DRY HAIR WITHOUT A LICENSE
  SB87 passed the Senate Committee. It "creates an exemption from licensure under the cosmetology act for an individual who only dries, styles, arranges, dresses, curls, hot irons, shampoos or conditions hair".

LEGISLATURE PLANS TO USE MEDICAID FUNDS TO PAY FOR RESPITE CARE FOR THE INN BETWEEN
  HB34 passed its first legislative committee hearing. It would ask the federal government to approve a waiver for using Medicaid funds for respite care, specifically for the InnBetween homeless hospice that recently was allowed to increase their bed use from 50. The TIB expects to have over 33% of its residents on respite care. Interestingly, at the recent City Council meeting, one commenter mentioned a homeless person walking in the Ballpark area with a hospital drip for cancer treatment. That is what TIB is supposed provide - housing for those getting regular respite care. Hospitals in this State still dump patients at the Weigand Center via taxi. Hospitals should be paying for this now. News organizations should be reporting on the fact that hospitals ARE dumping patients.  

LEGISLATURE MAY STOP SLC FROM REQUIRING ONLY ELECTRIC UTILITY BUILDINGS
  During a lengthy presentation and discussion on HB17, Utility Permitting Amendments sponsored by Rep. Handy (who generally sponsors most of the air quality bills at each legislative session), there was a pushback from representatives of municipalities. The bill would stop cities from requiring only one type of power, like electricity, in a questionable effort to be environmental. Many cities across the U.S. have tried to stop use of natural gas. That is what is generating this bill. Several of the public commenters and a couple of legislators argued against the bill saying that it is not now a problem and it is a bill looking for a problem.
  But at a recent SLC Council meeting with the Sustainability Director, the idea was brought up that Salt Lake City should require all new buildings to not use natural gas. Rep. Romero, who works for the City, denied that (I heard it since I was listening because I had been having a regular discussion with the Sustainability Director about diesels idling for hours.).
  The arguments for the bill include that it stops municipalities from creating monopolies. It protects the pocketbook of citizens since heating via electricity is at least two times more expensive than heating with natural gas. Electric heat pumps, depending on the installation may be a bit better, but natural gas is much cheaper for heating. Utah has invested a lot in creating a natural gas production infrastructure, that, if not used, will result in a lot of non producing wells leaking natural gas. So it is not environmental to stop use of natural gas. Rep. Handy was also instrumental at creating the legal structure to encourage converting pig farm waste into natural gas.
  Finally, this State has had several serious losses of electricity including, several decades ago, a loss of electricity for almost a week around Christmas and our home lost electricity for almost a week due to last year's windstorm. Only those with natural gas fireplaces were able to heat their home with relatively low emission natural gas. All those that didn't convert their fireplaces to natural gas burned wood, dirty, super polluting wood. Not very environmental. This is a good government bill that passed the House Public Utilities Committee.

SLCPD WILL PROVIDE FREE RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE CRIME
D5,6,7 SLCPD liaison Detective Nathan Meinzer, nathan.meinzer@slcgov.com, will provide neighborhood watch recommendations to residents and businesses. He recently worked with residents at a gated condominium that has had a significant number of car breakins. Among his suggestions are: appropriate lighting, landscaping under 2 feet, tree canopy over 6 feet, cameras and how to make a home look lived in to deter potential crime.


  

BALLPARK COMMUNITY CONVINCES SLC TO OFFICIALLY LIFT POLICE HIRING FREEZE
  In a SLC City Council meeting that continued the onslaught of demands that Salt Lake City defund the police, there was a new wrinkle in the meeting. Ballpark Community Council members gave horrifying testimony of non-responsive 911. The result was the Salt Lake City Council adopted Budget Amendment 6 which had an item that effectively lifted, officially, the police hiring freeze.
  Ballpark members reported calling cops when criminals were trying to break in and being told by 911 dispatch that there were no cops available to respond. Cars were broken into three times in a week. A knife attack was thwarted by a citizen with a bat when police didn't show up. Residents were giving up and arming themselves instead of relying on non-existent cops. Drug dealing was in the open. Businesses and their customers were continually threatened. And residents said that it was getting worse.
  Many commenters at the SLC Council meeting repeated demands that funds should not go to police when the City needs more funding for mental health (a County and State responsibility), homeless (SLC hosts 3 homeless shelters, a VOA teen homeless shelter, a homeless emergency hotel and many of the homeless service providers), affordable housing (SLC has helped build 1500 affordable units in 5 years, more than any other city) and education (a State and school board responsibility). It seems like they run off the same script and pass the script out to anyone. The same language is always used.
  The anti-police protesters argue that the City and Council doesn't listen to them and blames the Council for the problems. But many on the Council have years of experience in their careers helping homeless and they have fought for reducing police brutality, successfully for years, more than any of the protesters. It is ironic that the police in Salt Lake City are so short handed due to the police protecting the anti police protesters who have protested on hundreds of days.
  Salt Lake City promised more cops years ago. They promised more visible police in the neighborhoods to reduce crime. Ballpark has had a 60+% increase in violent crime in the last year. Ballpark Community Council Chair Amy Hawkins, who focused the Council on crime prevention when she became Chair, organized the biggest pro police group that I have seen give comments to the City Council in almost 10 years. I think that it made a difference.
  The Budget Amendment gives direction to the City to try to start another Police Academy class this month, or next, and try to staff the SLCPD which is down around 80 officers now. The Chief had said, in a previous City Council meeting, that it could take years to restore staffing to what it was at the beginning of the year. There was an unofficial lifting of the hiring freeze since October with the interpretation that the Police Department could hire to fill authorized staffing levels. This vote, officially, makes it public. There still is an issue with salary which, in the past, has treated police officers the same as other City employees with a standard 3% raise (except for a year ago).
  Ballpark has made a big difference.


FREE ZOOM WITH SLCPL MEETING ROOMS 
  Over the last year, we have been asking Salt Lake City to fund our virtual community council meetings. In several cases the low budget Zoom service, which is limited to 100, was maxed out and many were not able to participate in the meeting. A very contentious project on Foothill, that the East Bench Community Council was against, did not allow many to participate due to the 100 limit. The City eventually offered to host either Zoom or Webex or another service but community councils balked at the perceived influence and control that the City could exert. After many months of back and forth and a promise to solve the issue, the Administration suggested that community councils use the virtual meeting rooms services of the Library.
  Elizabeth King is the SLCPL Events Services Manager (eking@slcpl.org, 801-524-8218) that provides the service. She said that "The Library has multiple licenses and can accommodate the various community council meetings as listed on the City's website (authorized community organizations). We aren't limiting the number of times groups can meet, and we're accepting requests for the remainder of 2021. Although we advertise rooms are available in two-hour blocks, meetings can extend beyond the two hours. Zoom does not automatically end sessions and there are no conflicts since we don't book back-to-back meetings. (in other words, the virtual meetings can go past 8PM but the reservation must begin by 8PM)...... The maximum attendance is 300 and there's an option to live stream to Facebook or YouTube for overflow. We can provide assistance with setting up the live stream, but it would have to be hosted on the council's Facebook page or YouTube channel. Additionally, someone from the council would be responsible for managing the streaming. Many community groups have been using this service and have not encountered major problems. The role of library staff on the day of the event is to meet the organizer for any final questions and to start the meeting. After turning over host controls to the group, our staff leaves. We also offer practice sessions for those unfamiliar with Zoom and would like an opportunity to test out its many features. We welcome other community councils and organizations to use our virtual room service.... The application and more information about the service is available online https://rooms.slcpl.org/request-a-virtual-meeting-room. If you have further questions, please reply to this email or contact me at eking@slcpl.org.   Elizabeth King   Events Services Manager 801-524-8218 
reservations@slcpl.org 
 
SLC OFFERS FREE SLOW DOWN TRAFFIC CALMING SIGNS DELIVERED
  Salt Lake City is offering free traffic calming that urge traffic to slow down. There are several different versions. Google slc.gov and livablestreets.  lara.handwerker@slcgov.com will hand deliver up to 3 signs to your door. This is an effort to try to get traffic to slow down. It appears that speeding traffic is increasing. Whether it is due to frustration about street projects or lack of police (which have been encouraged to not give tickets due to the pandemic which would require a lot of face to face contact), speeding traffic is increasing.

LEGISLATURE BEGINS TUESDAY. FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS
  The significant Legislative dates are:  
Tuesday, 19 Jan 2021 First day of the annual General Session
Thursday, 21 Jan 2021 Last day for a legislator to designate priority bill request number four

       (House) or priority bill number five (Senate) 
Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 Last day for the Legislature to either pass or defeat each base budget

       bill 
Friday, 29 Jan 2021 Last day to request bills or appropriations without floor approval 
Friday, 29 Jan 2021 Last day to approve bills for numbering without floor approval 
Monday, 22 Feb 2021 Last day for the Legislature to present a bill to the governor, where the

     governor is required to act on the bill before the end of the session (governor must act

     within 10 days after it has been presented to governor)
Saturday, 27 Feb 2021 Last day for Executive Appropriations Committee to complete all

    decisions necessary to draft the final appropriations bill 
Tuesday, 2 Mar 2021 General appropriations bills, supplemental appropriations bills, and s

     school finance bills shall be available to legislators 
Tuesday, 2 Mar 2021 Any bond bill made available to legislators 
Tuesday, 2 Mar 2021 Last day for a motion to reconsider 
Tuesday, 2 Mar 2021 Last day to consider bills from own house 
Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 Last day for legislators to prioritize fiscal note bills and identify 

   other programs for new funding 
Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 Last day final action must be taken on bond bills 
Wednesday, 3 Mar 2021 Last day final action must be taken on each general appropriations

   bill, supplemental appropriation bill, and school finance bill 
Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 Last day to pass any bill with a fiscal note of $10,000 or more 
Friday, 5 Mar 2021 The final appropriations bill shall be made available to legislators by

   calendared floor time and final action must be taken 
Friday, 5 Mar 2021 Last day of the annual General Session 
Thursday, 25 Mar 2021 Last day the governor may sign or veto bills 
Tuesday, 4 May 2021 Last day a veto-override session may begin 
Wednesday, 5 May 2021 Normal effective date for bills 
 

SLCPD DOWN 76 POLICE OFFICERS
  Chief Brown told the Salt Lake City Council January 12, that Salt Lake City is down 53 vacant funded positions with 3 looking to leave in January. 20 more were allowed but were unfunded so the SLCPD is down 76 sworn officers plus dozens of civilians. The Chief said that staffing is at a critical point now and there is no debate, this was a year like no other and it has had a huge impact. The Chief said that it will take 2 years to at least restaff to handle this. It is expected that the SLCPD expenses from the protests and COVID will be in a future budget amendment. (There will be another discussion on police staffing next week.) So far, the SLCPD is using attrition funding to remove the hiring freeze and use the 2021 budget. But the Chief and Administration asked for and got a straw poll to express support for hiring of more police through a class. It officially takes 40 days to remove the hiring freeze legally. But this will allow the City to start the increased effort to hire more officers. I put the synopsis and report on SLC Police in the downloads section.
  In addition, the SLCPD reported on a virtual training on diversity called Culture City (given virtually due to COVID restrictions). There were some complaints that virtual diversity training is not as good as face to face but that is the world we live in. The Administration is still looking for an Eastside Precinct property but the costs are still outside of budget. 
  This City has lost 2 employees to COVID and as of January 12, 40% of the Fire Department has been vaccinated. The City expects 80% vaccination rate by next week and have agreed that SLCPD and 911 dispatchers will be vaccinated next. 
  The police still have issues with maintaining homeless camp removals at 700S, 900S and 500W. The City has 7 social workers on duty with 3 vacancies. After Operation Rio Grande, the police/social worker teams moved back to c0-responder and suicide, welfare checks, unwanted individuals on property and homeless. They work closely with MCOT. The Chief keeps repeating the success by giving the example of a woman, who from 2013 to 2016, had 70 police calls and was taken to emergency rooms 69 times for a total taxpayer cost of $238,000. Now, with help from the SLCPD and social workers, she is in her own residence and stable.
  The City Council had a vigorous discussion on the fact that mental health is a County issue but they aren't funding it. The County cut mental health 50% over 10 years ago and gave it to a private company. Councilman Andrew Johnston, who works with the homeless at VOA in his day job, said that the police and social workers are underfunded and he is not sure that Salt Lake City can handle it alone.

FREE LIMITED STORAGE FOR HOMELESS WHICH LIMITS WORKING
  The City is continuing the homeless storage program but the normal storage hours are 7 to 9 AM and 5 to 7 PM Monday through Friday. There is some flexibility in changing the hours to work with the homeless and, as an example, this week in January, the hours ar 9 AM to 4 PM to "accommodate outreach workers who are trying to get people in to the new SLC Temporary Winter Housing Program." The facility is located at 502 W 300 S. It is generally pretty full. I think that the homeless deserve more. This facility seems to encourage homeless camping  
  
SALT LAKE CITY REVENUES SO GOOD THAT FUND BALANCE IS $13 MILLION HIGHER
  Salt Lake City's Mayor gave a report that the emergency fund has a balance of 16.5% which is higher than any fund balance since Mayor Rocky Anderson. That equates to $13 million above the targeted 13% fund budget. The State has a similar 13% rainy day fund balance.

WASATCH GARDENS, 
  The RDA approved loaning money to Wasatch Gardens for redevelopment of 3 homes around 8th South into 7 small apartments and a big office. I am against the Wasatch Community Gardens' loan since it decreases affordable housing in SLC and could decrease student population at the local school. It replaces 3 homes that could house 3 families of 4 each, equalling at least 12 (including 9 students). The 8 studio units for 70% AMI are over $10,000 rental revenue but 3 homes are less expensive to rent. In addition, it is not mixed income which is more appropriate for the area and better from a sociological perspective. The rent can still go up each year and the proposed rent of $1200 a unit still is too high for most workers in the City. I think that this is a poor investment and should not be considered affordable housing. I put last month's affordable housing stats for the City in the downloads section.

GLENDALE WATER PARK NEEDS TO RETURN TO ACTIVE RECREATION WITHIN 3 YEARS
  It turns out that the City is required to return the Glendale Water Park that is being completely demolished to the ground needs to return to some kind of active recreation within 3 years or federal funds could be impacted. So the community needs to quickly step up and push for the best project they want, within reason. I personally think that the best and quickest way to return the Park to use would be to build several swimming pools for the community, finishing off with an indoor pool.

SPRAGUE LIBRARY TO OPEN TO LIBRARIANS WEEK OF JANUARY 19TH
  Sprague Library, which just finished reconstruction, will open to librarians next week. The Sprague Firehouse Library Pickup will remain for pickups since the City's Libraries are all closed due to the COVID issue. The Library is looking at recording a video of the new interior changes and hopefully, that will be online soon.  
  
ARCHITECTURE FIRM WANT TO DO PERMANENT CONSTRUCTION NEXT TO SINGLE FAMILY HOMES
  Architectural Nexus wants to regularly construct tiny homes (about 12 by 20 feet) in their back parking lot on Parleys Way. Although the area is mainly offices, the parking lot that they want to construct the tiny homes is adjacent to a single family home neighborhood and they want to do their construction at the back of the parking lot next to the homes! They already built one tiny home but there were complaints about the noise from homeowners. The firm wants permission to regularly build tiny homes as an educational experiment but the zone does not allow that. The City would have to change the zone or allow a text amendment. 
  I feel that the construction of tiny homes is an important educational learning experience but it belongs next to a community college or university, not next to single family homes. Let's see if the City will respect the single family home neighborhood.

RDA HOUSING POLICY MISSING LANGUAGE TO NOT DECREASE PROPERTY VALUES
  The RDA Board reviewed and approved the RDA Housing Policy which includes:
"Foster a mix of household incomes in projects and neighborhoods and to disperse affordable housing projects throughout the City to achieve a balance of incomes in all neighborhoods and communities.
c. Promote equity and anti-displacement efforts through the development and preservation of affordable housing in low-income neighborhoods where underserved groups have historic ties, including neighborhoods where low income individuals and families are at high risk of displacement.
d. Contribute to the development of sustainable, walkable neighborhoods to expand housing choice near transportation, services, and economic opportunity."
  The RDA and the City should adopt an addition that says that the Housing Development Fund should have a policy that priority should be given to projects that will not decrease property taxes of adjacent properties. Among the many reasons is that placing high density projects like SROs next to single family home neighborhoods will decrease the value of the properties. If the adjacent properties are owned by the City or are part of a CDA-Commercial Development Area, if the value of adjacent properties go down, it defeats the purpose of a CDA/RDA development area.

CAPITOL HILL UTAH HAS TOO MANY GUNS TO BE THREATENED
  Utah seems to be afraid to open the State Capitol to the public during the first week of the 2021 Legislative Session. There appears to be a plan to protest the election and law enforcement is afraid of armed conservatives will invade the Capitol grounds. Note to law enforcement, Capitol Hill has more concealed carry individuals concentrated in one area in the State than anywhere else. I would expect that anyone who actually enters with a gun (which is not really allowed and would be confiscated) and draws it would face at least a dozen legislators who carry the biggest guns available. They carry them proudly and often show them off. Note to criminals: don't mess with super armed legislators.
  
KILLER SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN COUNTY JAIL 
  A killing in January was committed by a killer that should have been in County Jail, but like most serious criminals, he was loose, on the street and killed someone in Glendale. He was arrested within a couple of days but it was obvious he should have been in Jail a long time ago. Even criminals were afraid of him.
  
SLC CITY COUNCIL GIVEN WOODEN TREE BOWLS FOR THEIR SERVICE
  It actually is a nice gesture and wooden tree bowls can be quite the art. Sometimes they are very valuable. This was an opportunity to provide funding for an artist, publicize his work, and make use of a tree that the windstorm destroyed. 
  On a similar note, the President finally declared the area that experienced hurricane force winds in September in Utah to be a disaster area so Salt Lake City can utilize FEMA resources and funding to help mitigate that disaster. The earthquake disaster did not affect the City but citizens and businesses can apply for FEMA funds and FEMA has received 279 applications.


SLC/UTA TRIES TO JUSTIFY SPENDING $170 MILLION ON QUESTIONABLE BUS
  UTA gave the SLC Council a briefing on the $170 million South Davis Connector that Davis County wants to spend all of their new transportation taxes on. The project's path will be either 400 West of 300 West in SLC and terminate at the North Temple FrontRunner Station. Although the Davis County portion with be a real BRT with bus only lanes and stations every 4 blocks, the Salt Lake County version on either 300 or 400 West would be essentially an Enhanced bus system (at 1/10 the cost of a real BRT) and have stations every 2 blocks. The goal is to have a bus frequency of 10 minutes. 
  The argument is implied that it will require spending $170 million to get a 10 minute bus frequency. That is a bad argument since $10 million will provide 10 frequency. Another argument is that a BRT will lead to redevelopment. Ogden is betting on that for their 25th South BRT. But Ogden's problems in that area are compounded by a landowner that denies any attempt to redevelop his vacant and unused property. There is also a halfway house and the rest of the streets in the path are stable residential homes. Trying to rezone and redevelop those properties will take decades. I know San Diego tried for years to rezone and redevelop light rail station areas without success. Single family homeowners are very effective in fighting against rezoning their areas. UTA contends that West Valley City was successfully redeveloped due to the BRT, the only UTA real BRT ever built. I can make a better argument that former Mayor Winder was more instrumental in redeveloping his City's center. The UTA BRT was temporarily suspended, with the 2 unused bus lanes saved for future restart of the BRT. The BRT never garnered more than 3200 passengers a day despite taking away lanes that could handle 10,000 vehicles a day.
  The biggest takeaway, in my mind, was the contention that the 455 and 470 buses currently have around 4000 a day ridership. The reality is that the ridership now is around 2100 passengers a day. The predicted ridership is 2000 to 3000 riders a day. For $170 million, in my opinion, it would be cheaper to buy 5000 potential riders an electric vehicle.
  
SALT LAKE COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY, AGAIN, IS INADEQUATE
  A recent shooting and killing in Salt Lake City's Glendale neighborhood appears to have been committed by a known gang member implicated with many shootings that include homicides and had been charged with violent felonies! WHY WAS HE ON THE STREET KILLING PEOPLE?! BECAUSE OF INADEQUATE COUNTY PUBLIC SAFETY FUNDING! Although he does not appear to be allowed bail for the killing (all arrestees are considered innocent until proven guilty), he has a $100 bail for his driving a vehicle without a license!
  
NEW STUDY IMPLIES TRAX ALONE DECREASES VEHICLE USE
  There is a new study on 400 S. TRAX reducing vehicle use. I agree that it has in the past but the present ridership is 7419 riders a day vs 23513 just before the COVID pandemic (March). It will be interesting to see how fast ridership returns. Car sales seem to have picked up (which saves SLC due to sales tax - just down 5%!) and some experts do not expect a return to those ridership figures for years if not a decade. I do expect the Red Line TRAX to be the first to return to normal ridership. FrontRunner is still under 5000 and even the Davis County bus runs are around 2000. The Governor just released his recommended budget with $350 million for FrontRunner. I would think that those 5000 riders would prefer to take the $70,000 instead of the new FrontRunner project. 
  I have a concern about giving TRAX all the credit for reducing vehicle use. 200 S. ridership has expanded significantly and bicycling infrastructure on 300 and 200 S. seems to have helped increase bicycling. 200 S. was also the beneficiary of a span of service expansion due to SLC Prison Tax. Interestingly, UTA equated the ridership increase on 200 S (before span of service increase) to new bus stop amenities but a study specifically said that the reason for the increased ridership could not be attributed to the new bus stop amenities. (I have an issue with spending money on bus stops when bus drivers are ordered to stay 1 to 4 feet from the curb!)
  The BRT proposals are also questionable since spending $170 million on the South Davis Connector for a predicted 2000 ridership is not a good idea. I also do not like the seating in BRTs. It looks like UTA is using the BRT projects to buy electric buses but I think UTA should buy regular electric buses for regular routes. $170 million could buy over 100 electric buses!
  The 900 S. bus service expansion and the new 4 bus on Foothill is also part of the reason for decreased vehicle use on 400 S., in my opinion. My point is that giving all of the credit to TRAX will tend to make people think that "if you build it they will come". It has created pressure to build projects that I do not believe are economically viable or realistic. The worst case was the S-Line, promised with a 5000 a day ridership but is now around 600 a day (used to be 1400 a day). The supergentrification of Sugar House was due to the large amount of open space in the area (in my opinion and in the opinion of SLC Planning). 
  During the report on the study, Prof. Reid Ewing said inclusionary zoning might help increase ridership. I agree that we need inclusionary zoning but SLC Council refused to implement it 2 years ago (November 2018). In that meeting, the potential plan was to give a 200 unit apartment building a $500,000 credit for Impact Fees in return for a 10+% affordable units. But it still is not being implemented in SLC, despite many big projects and SLC not being able to spend all of the Impact Fees (transferring over $5 million to Pioneer Park because SLC was unable to find a space in the Downtown area for another park - one of the reasons that we are fighting for the Fleet Block park). A recent oped in the SLTrib assumed that we did have inclusionary zoning but you are right, we do not and we should be making that the highest priority. I give credit to SLC for the number of affordable units that they did help produce (I put a list in the downloads section.)
  But to encourage more use of mass transit, which I push for, requires more bus service, not projects,in my opinion. This week's UTA meeting will discuss the Draper Lehi BRT but there are only 105 riders a day on the 871. The VIA system is subsidizing riders at $35 a rider! You probably saw my FrontRunner oped in the Trib. I also have pushed for $1 fares but UTA and SLC keeps resisting! UTA actually raised the reduced FarePay fare. SLC did not spend $1 million of their Prison Tax last year and HIVE is not popular. UTA got $187 million for COVID but still refuses to reduce bus fees (fare elasticities of buses are much different than rail due to parking and ticket machine throughput). 
  One last potential to decrease vehicle use, in my opinion is to require much wider sidewalks. Walking on skinny sidewalks encourages driving, even less than a block! But SLC keeps approving skinny sidewalks with projects despite a Complete Streets ordinance. I am against the Street Typologies proposal since it decreases speeds and will, in my opinion, send a lot of new traffic to formerly quiet neighborhood streets. That is already happening with new street projects that decrease speeds.
  Rail is not a build it and they will come plan. Spending money on projects instead of more service is not a good way to increase ridership. I want all bus service, and span of service to significantly increase before spending money on projects. Especially spending $170 million on a BRT when that money would be better spent on new electric buses (with regular bus seating). Note that a new electric bus can have as much interest and comfort as a rail (if the bus goes to the curb).
  Interesting study but I still want to see more bus service first before more projects.  
  
IT IS OFFICIAL, CYCLE TRACKS ONLY ARE CLEANED EVERY COUPLE OF MONTHS
  SLC is committed to expanding the use of the separated bike lanes called cycle tracks. Although they were listed as not creating a maintenance cost, they require maintenance. Depending on weather, the City's plan is to clean them "every 6 to 7 weeks". That is also the schedule for regular bike lanes. The separated bike lanes are swept with specialized equipment, that, in my opinion, is super polluting. "The Fleet Division is considering electrification and alternative fuel options across the entire fleet with a priority on high use and heavy equipment as funding and new equipment options are available." I still do not like cycle tracks since they are not adequately maintained, they create dangers for cyclists with driveways and they cost 10-20 times more than wide 10 ft bike lanes with rumble strips.


BALLPARK VIRTUAL MEETING ON NEW SLC CRIME PLAN
  I put the new SLC Crime Plan developed with the U.S. Attorney, the Sheriff, the SLCPD and the U.S. Marshals offices in the downloads section in the right. This discussion on increased crime has been accelerating over the last few months and I am republishing some of the old blog below to show what has been involved.
  On January 7, Ballpark Community Chair Amy Hawkins gathered a group of almost 150 interested community members and law enforcement in a virtual meeting to understand the new efforts to fight the increase in crime in Salt Lake City. The Plan will focus on the so called Apex criminals, the less than 10% of criminals that commit the 80% of the crimes. Ogden was able to see over a 20% decrease in crime in a specific area with a similar plan. 
  Chief Brown said that Salt Lake City was not going to limit the stepped up enforcement to an area. Tha question was asked by an ACLU employee but legally, enforcement can be focused on an area by providing more law enforcement into the area, even if it is much more patrolling than in other areas. An example is using Compstat data to see where most crime is reported and increasing patrols in that area with the expectation that it will result in more arrests. It was also used in the 2015 "broken windows" quality of life enforcement, the Operation Diversion efforts and the Operation Rio Grande.
  The Sheriff and her staff explained in detail the standards that the County Jail has to meet that result in maybe 50 being booked into Jail a day and 50 are released. The Sheriff said that there have been no Jail restrictions since July of 2017! That is not true. I have several opeds in the Tribune that point out a different report from Chief Brown and SLCPD officers. The Jail Dashboard shows that misdemeanors, which could include simple assault, do not seem to be a large portion of the Jail population (Google slco.org and Jail Dashboard). Only very serious felonies constitute the big portion of incarcerated. 
  The Sheriff said that COVID has required more isolation and reduced beds with hundreds of Oxbow Jail beds not used. That is a misdirection. One of the reasons for the State paying for 300 beds in other counties during Operation Rio Grande was due to the County Jail not opening the 300 open beds at Oxbow due to lack of funding!
  Essentially, the County Mayor and Council refused to provide funding to staff, and open all of the Jail beds along with funding for the DA to properly prosecute and incarcerate criminals. A DUI that results in injury or death can get out of jail with $500 (requires a $5000 bond) and the Jail releases car thieves with a $100 bond. For a year, the Jail was authorized to reopen the hundreds of open beds at Oxbow but there was such a big turnover in Jail personnel (due to 20% being assaulted a year and very low pay - same problem with lack of beds at the State Prison) that those beds were not utilized. About 10 years ago, over the objections of Sheriff Winder, the Mayor and Council repurposed the $9.4 million a year Oxbow Jail bond that was paid off into other projects. One was the Pay for Success that argued that paying for drug treatment would be better than funding more Jail beds. The problem is that each Pay for Success person, when arrested for criminal activity, is sent back to the treatment program that they can walk away from anytime! No jail for regular criminal activity! At best, the cost of the program, paid for by private companies as an investment, would cost the County $11.7 million. But around $100 million were repurposed from the Jail bond for other uses by the County. If the DA and Jail and Sheriff had use of some of those funds, it would significantly decrease crime in the County.
  I go into more detail below with the November and October blogs.
  Another issue brought up was the inadequate nuisance ordinance that has only had one success in two years (as of the end of 2019). Mayor Mendenhall, when she was a Councilwoman, developed a new ordinance that was supposed to identify and focus solutions on crime magnet stores and motels like Wayne's Corner and the State Street and North Temple low cost motels. She said during this week's Council meeting that she is restarting the effort to fight the nuisance properties. She is going to have regular meetings with County Health, law enforcement, Zoning and her staff (like the last several years focusing on Ballpark properties) to identify and find solutions to crime magnet properties. 
  In one case, a motel owner of two properties is refusing to sell their properties on North Temple and Main Street to the City for redevelopment. The major successes in stopping crime in these motels were the result of the properties being bought by the City. The Capitol Motel on 17th and State is being redeveloped by HASLC. The Skyline Inn on 17th S and Foothill was bought and is being redeveloped by Foothill Shopping Center developer. The Georgia Apartments was declared a hazard by the Fire Department and bought for redevelopment (HASLC tried but failed to get budget approval until a week after the deadline!). All were significant crime magnets.
  Mayor Mendenhall agreed, during Tuesday's Council meeting that the County Jail restrictions were a problem, especially with the City getting 16,000 more calls a year than expected. They intend to focus with the new Crime Plan on felonies, not misdemeanors. With the City sworn officers down 64 as of November 30, the City is starting a new Academy but there is a problem attracting new recruits due to the public disrespect for officers during the many recent protests.
  IT WAS NOTED THAT SALT LAKE CITY HAS THE WORST PROPERTY CRIME IN THE COUNTRY IN ANOTHER RECENT COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETING.
  
THE BELOW IS FROM THE DECEMBER BLOG:
PIONEER PARK COALITION MEETING CONFIRMS SLC NOT TAKING CRIME SERIOUSLY
  During the December Pioneer Park Coalition meeting, the U.S. Attorney celebrated the success of the Ogden and Federal Government law enforcement efforts to decrease crime. The goal was to find the so called apex criminals that commit most of the most dangerous crimes. Ogden was able to get a 25% violent crime reduction in 3 to 5 years. By focusing on just 72 criminals, Ogden was able to reduce reported crimes 20 to 30% in 2 years. U.S. Attorney Huber said that there is no reason Salt Lake can't do it. All they have to do is call me. He added "Maybe I should call."
  Chief Brown also mentioned that many of the shelter resistant homeless (only around 22 out of 160 homeless campers accepted housing and shelter beds) refuse help.
  We have been witnessing this for almost a decade! For almost 10 years, undercover cops would complain that they would buy drugs, arrest the dealer and book them into jail, only to have them laughing a few hours later next to that cop who was trying to make another buy.
  What will it take for the Legislature, the counties and law enforcement to work together to ensure that counties are compensated for jailing criminals that really should be in prison (even for dozens of misdemeanors), that APP and prosecutors get enough money to keep threats in jail or under effective supervision and that the majority of prisoners get effective mental health treatment in jail and afterwards to decrease their threat to residents and businesses?
  A good example of how bad it is concerns a car thief who was caught earlier this month and immediately released on $100 bond! He was arrested on several felony counts including probation or parole violation but released with $100!! He almost killed a cop when he was on the street and he gets out after stealing a car with $100!
  Chief Brown recently said that they had to roust the homeless camp around St. Mark's in Salt Lake City. They directed their efforts to pull the drug dealers out of the homeless in the area. There is constant frustration in law enforcement about arresting the same criminal dozens of times. 
  My Salt Lake Tribune oped in November summarized the issues at: 
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2020/11/05/george-chapman-well/
  In addition, in the last few months, I have provided emails from law enforcement that go into detail about the issues.
  
CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT RING OPERATING NEAR LIBERTY PARK
  There have been many complaints about questionable loitering and criminal activities in the area around 13th South and State Street. I recommend that everyone keep an eye on the Registered Sex Offender List since there is a large concentration of former prisoners in the 1200 South and State area. Another big issue that was noted in the last Liberty Wells Community Council meeting in December, is several residents had their catalytic converters stolen! The replacement can be as much as $1000! Please report any questionable activity to 911. 

SLC REARRANGING POLICE TO COUNTER LOSS OF OVER 60 OFFICERS THIS YEAR
  Over the last few months, this blog has gone into detail about the loss of sworn police officers from Salt Lake City. This year, with the pandemic, the protests, the overtime and retirement, has resulted in Salt Lake City losing 70 cops (around 10 just graduated from a new Police Academy) this year. In 2019, there was a loss of 25 cops. In 2019, 37 left by October 30. In 2020, 52 sworn officers left by October 30. At the same time, there was a around a 10% increase in calls for service. There were 232 days of protests that were monitored by the City's police. Between July 1 and October 31, 45 officers left out of 569 authorized FTEs which is about 8% of the force!
  There is a grant that the City applied for to add 10 more police with federal funding. The October class of 10 (laterals that were former police transferring from other areas) can hit the ground running and there will be another class in January.
  The Police Chief and Mayor is under pressure to provide more visible police and will disband the 8 member Community Intelligence Unit that liaisoned with community councils and worked on trouble complaints from those groups. They will go onto patrol. The bike patrol with the Chief's killer bumblebee uniforms will continue (I still think that they should be called murder hornet uniforms.) and will try to have a meet and greet in January.
  A captain or lieutenant will now attend each community council meeting and liaison with the bike squad. The Council was concerned about the change since the CIU officers were very popular with the community councils. The police will try to have the command staff at each community council meeting but there are conflicts (5 on first Wednesday). 
  The Chief asked the City Council for $300,000 for 30 more shotguns that fire a plastic lead sock to decrease the use of lethal force.  The $600 shotgun is accurate to 20yds and more. The 30 shotguns will be added to the 89 older models..

SLC MOBILE COP CAMS DEPLOYED TO SMITHS AND FAIRMONT SKATE PARK
  The Sugar House Community Council asked for a mobile cop cam to discourage drug sales at the Fairmont Park Skate Park and it got one in December. Several Smiths parking lots also got the camera trailers due to a rash of car burglaries in the grocery store parking lots. Chief Brown said that they were effective at discouraging criminal element loitering after the St. Mark's homeless drug dealing rousting. "The sheer presence moves the element out." They were used for two weeks since after that they decrease in effectiveness.
  The SLCPD said: "We have obtained the trailers over the last 5 years with grant monies, some of that money is no longer available. However, we still utilize grant money to repair damaged trailers or for the routine upkeep of the units. We currently have six trailers, 5 of an older style ($50,000 +) and one new style ($27,000 ish), however the new one has had integration issues so we have yet to deploy it mostly due to getting it fixed during the height of COVID, so it remains to be seen whether that kind will be viable long term yet. 
  I cannot speak about budget funding as that is out of my purview.  We are currently designing and building a few longer term high visibility cameras that will be mounted on semaphores or utility poles to be less vulnerable to vandalism, which is a significant problem with the trailers.  They should help with areas that have long term issues or areas that might leave a trailer more vulnerable to damage, and cost much less around 10K.   Overhead security light systems will not be useful for us as they generally too intrusive in neighborhoods (shining into bedroom windows at night, and would kill the trailers batteries way too quickly).  We are currently low on storage/recharge space with our current cameras trailers and due to the design of the masts of the old style trailers we can’t get them into an underground parking structure for storage or recharge.  So due to the storage, and budgetary constraints in it’s current state we can’t effectively afford to bring more cameras trailers online until a stable long term funding and storage solution is established."
 
FROM NOVEMBER BLOG
JRI NEEDS MORE ATTENTION PUBLISHED
  The Salt Lake Tribune published my commentary on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative this month (at https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2020/11/05/george-chapman-well/).  I pointed out that the U.S. Attorney was right to complain about criminals not being taken off the street for more than a few hours and many had been arrested dozens of times.  I also agreed with a previous oped that JRI needs a bigger budget since it is essentially an unfunded mandate on the counties.  I also agreed that the JRI effort made sense since drug users should not be in prison (the main objective of JRI).  But drug addicts that commit crimes everyday that they are on the street should be incarcerated and the system should be re-evaluated by the State to ensure that.
  One of the best legislators, in my opinion, is Rep. Hutchings who has been sponsoring the JRI bills and trying to fine tune the effort to make it effective.  Unfortunately, he has lost re-election.  He will be missed.  I can't think of anyone else who knew as much about justice reform in Utah.  He was considered so knowledgeable that he has testified in Washington DC about it.  Rep. Eliason did win re-election and he has been instrumental in pushing for better mental health funding and systems including MCOT, the mobile mental health team.  Rep. Dunnigan also won re-election and he has plans to sponsor a noise ordinance that will target those vehicle owners that remove their muffler systems.  Vehicle noise is not supposed to be over 85 db but many remove the mufflers and replace them with equipment that results in much louder noise.

JRI DISCUSSIONS AT LEGISLATURE IGNORE COUNTY PROBLEMS
Following on the JRI Audit, CCJJ (Utah's Committee on Criminal and Juvenile Justice) had a report that I questioned.  The CCJJ Report page 4 says: "county jail populations do not appear to have been negatively impacted by the JRI reforms, though more data is needed"!!!
  But the recent JRI Audit pointed out that Adult Probation and Parole is not able to provide appropriate services to the recently paroled.  Part is due to the indirect pressure to reduce bed use at the State Prison and it is also caused by the inability of Corrections to fully staff the beds that are supposed to be provided (mainly due to low salaries).  The Audit showed the result.  Too many violent criminals are being released with not enough supervision.
  That has resulted in the U.S. Attorney and other law enforcement and government prosecutors complaining about being inundated with criminals who have been committing many, many violent criminal actions.  The unfunded mandate put on the county jails and prosecutors from discouraging sentencing violent criminals to prison is a burden on local taxpayers and victims.  Many of these criminals should not be released and should be in prison.  
  Using a gun should result in prison no matter how hard APP argues against that. APP is actively discouraging sentencing violent criminals to prison.
  Again, I urge the Legislature to analyze and study the realistic need for Prison beds (which shouldn't affect the Point development - which can start now); what are the salary requirements to fully staff the Prison and what do counties need to help prosecute violent criminals and send them to Prison.  The Prison should also be available to provide extra beds for counties that are not able to provide enough beds to take criminals who may be committing over ten felonies while released. 
  When asked by the Judiciary Interim Committee Chair about the county jail populations issue, Kim Cordova said that she did not think that there was an issue!  Asking any Salt Lake County police chief should confirm that the Jail does not accept booking for less than third degree felonies. (with a few exceptions).  The actual number of criminals that should be on the Salt Lake County Jail graph should be two to three times more.  The Jail Dashboard  which I am familiar with, and I have written about in newspapers, showed many have over 100 arrests until recently and some have over 200 arrests.  The Jail IS REFUSING misdemeanor arrests.
  Sen. Hillyard was correct to say that police often take arrested criminals back to treatment instead of jail (Salt Lake County's Pay For Success in particular).  County jails implement limits and police are told what crimes are accepted for booking.  
  The Legislature should continue collect data and accept testimony from police chiefs and DAs and sheriffs to show the real life situation.  This Committee and I have been having this same argument (well before the Audit) for two years.
  
  Sheriff Rivera was asked about this issue and responded with this (MY RESPONSES ARE IN CAPS):
 "First, there have been no booking restrictions in place at the Salt Lake County Jail since July 2017. The reason our population appears consistent is largely due to a carefully monitored Over-Crowding Release program that affects those in our facility following the booking intake process." (THAT IS NOT  TRUE.  THE JAIL BOOKING RESTRICTION EFFECTS REPORT FROM 2017 IS STILL IN EFFECT.  SLCPD STILL COMPLAINS ABOUT IT!)
  "When you look at the current jail dashboard numbers it is important to understand that due to COVID-19 we have reduced the overall number of inmates in our facility so that we are better able to protect the health and safety of inmates." (ONLY 184 BEDS ARE BEING USED AT OXBOW INSTEAD OF THE OVER 500 BEDS AVAILABLE)
  "In terms of our felony population, at the time I am writing this our dashboard shows that 45.4% of the jail population has been booked on charges below a second-degree felony.
Felonies
First-degree - 398
Second-degree - 368
Third-degree - 507 
Misdemeanors
Class A - 108
Class B - 19
Class C - 3
  Additionally, the prison does not have the authority to hold anyone prior to conviction and sentencing. Currently, in our facility 81% of people have not been sentenced, including those charged with first- or second-degree felonies who we are required to detain pre-trial. The number of individuals awaiting trial is most impacted by the challenges COVID-19 is having on the courts rather than with the prison or their staff.
  You are correct to say that JRI impacted county jails. The reclassification of possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors impacted us in two ways:
  People convicted of misdemeanors now serve time in jails rather than prison.
Jails are no longer eligible for Conditions of Probation (COP) reimbursement for the individuals serving misdemeanor possession sentences in our jails. When these charges were felonies we were reimbursed when time was served in our facility.
  I hope you find this information helpful. JRI is well intentioned but its success will be dependent on all five parts becoming fully implemented. Having alternatives to the jail for individuals being detained with nuisance crimes like intoxication can both reduce costs to the jail and give that individual a chance to receive resources outside of the criminal justice system. It is important to look at the whole criminal justice system. The court process, community-based services, and incarceration alternatives like receiving centers will all play a critical role in this initiative being fully realized."
  (IN OTHER WORDS, JRI HAS PLACED AN UNFUNDED MANDATE ON COUNTIES THAT HAVE RESULTED IN MANY CRIMINALS STAYING ON THE STREET AND COMMITTING CRIMES.)
 
 
FROM THE OCTOBER BLOG
JUSTICE REINVESTMENT INITIATIVE NOT WORKING
  The JRI Audit (in the downloads section on the right) showed that JRI is not working as intended.  Too many individuals are being arrested again and again without resolution of their mental issues or drug and alcohol issues (usually covering up their mental issues).  The goal of not incarcerating drug users in prison is an appropriate and respectful effort.  But when criminals misuse the system to continue criminal behavior, it is not working.  The vast majority of drug users do not commit victimless crimes and if they commit crimes everyday they are on the street, they should be incarcerated.  In addition, the State forced an unfunded mandate on counties.  There is a systemic problem with the JRI efforts, in my opinion.
  When the County refuses to fund appropriate jail space but leaves 184 beds open there is a problem.  (Note that the County Sheriff's budget is $5 million less than last year! - The County budget is being discussed in public hearings now - DA and Sheriff presentations are in the downloads on the right.)  When the DA has 14 prosecutor positions unfilled there is a problem.  When judges admonish Adult Probation and Parole (the Audit showed APP was underfunded and undermanned) for recommending probation for someone who empties a gun into a car full of people, there is a problem,
  When a robber is sentenced to 1 to 15 years in prison, ends up in jail for 30days and 6 months later tries to shoot some cops who surround him, who shoot him until he stops being a threat, there is a problem.
  He should have been in prison and you don't need an audit to tell you the system isn't working.  You don't need the US Attorney to tell you there is a problem (he recently complained about the lack of enforcement of laws by Utah government).
  The Legislature should study the cost to properly incarcerate threats to society and fund either the State or County to take those threats out of society and demand that all treatment centers that receive federal funds, track and report all results for a year.  The Audit was unable to show the results for treatment!  It appears from the Utah Department of Health scorecards that success after a year is less than 40% and in 5 years, it may be less than 10%.
  One important finding that was missed is the Audit shows that the Salt Lake County Jail inmate population expanded but has been stable for many years!  That is due to the SLCO Jail's booking restrictions.  (The Audit missed that data!)  The JRI Audit graph in the Appendix should show a doubling or tripling of jail inmates but the Jail only allows first and second degree felonies to be booked!  Law enforcement can influence some flexibility but they are told to try to follow the rules since arrestees tend to walk out before the arrest reports are finished!  The Audit provides a dashboard that goes into more detail at:
 https://public.tableau.com/profile/utah.legislative.auditor.general.s.office#!/

SLC INTERNAL AFFAIRS SENDS TWO POLICE TO POST INVESTIGATION
  During the last few months, there have been many complaints that the Salt Lake City Police Department is out of control and regularly exhibits police brutality.  The cases that turned up that did show police brutality were immediately corrected when reported.  There have been many times when the violence of a critical event has not been reported but the result has often been the person responsible for not reporting the incident has been forced to retire (as in the case of the police canine officer who did not report these incidents).  There have also been complaints that the Police Union/Association is too powerful and the State is too lenient with police.  The reality is that Utah has a vigorous system that targets unprofessional law enforcement conduct called POST.  Utah is ensuring appropriate police conduct with POST.  In the past, officers have been terminated from law enforcement positions in the State, or suspended from practicing for a time or punished in other ways.  The following are statistics for the last five years for SLCPD, DPS and UDC (provided by POST): 
?
Complaints:
Salt Lake City PD - 26
Department of Public Safety - 42
Utah Department of Corrections - 84
Cases:
Salt Lake City PD - 9
Department of Public Safety - 19 
Utah Department of Corrections - 67
?
Breakdown of complainants and if a case was opened for each Salt Lake City PD complaint:
2020 - 2 referred from SLCIA, and were opened as cases
           1 citizen complaint that was not opened.
2019 - 4 citizen complaints, 3 were not opened and 1 was
           1 referred from another agency during background investigation, was opened as a case
2018 - 5 referred by SLCIA, 4 were opened, 1 was not *as we were being audited
           1 anonymous complaint was not opened
           1 incident was observed by POST on the media and was opened as a case
2017 - 3 incidents were observed by POST on the media, 1 was opened as a case, the other 2 were not
           2 citizen complaint, neither were opened as cases
2016 - 1 referred by SLCPD, opened as a case
           1 anonymous complaints, not opened
           3 citizen complaints, none opened
           1 incident was observed by POST on the media and was opened as a case

UTAH JUSTICE AUDIT PROVES OUR CLAIMS OF POOR PUBLIC SAFETY
  There is an important Audit on Utah's Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) that hit the Legislature this month.  It showed that our criminal justice system is not working well.  JRI stopped sending drug users to prison and forced counties to incarcerate them in the county jail which was costly and effectively an unfunded mandate.  The vast majority of drug users do not commit victimless crimes.  The Audit is in the downloads on the right.  The appendixes show the incarceration numbers and drug and alcohol (SUDs) treatment numbers.  But, as the Audit mentioned, they couldn't get the treatment providers to prove their success.  The State has indicated that the 1 year successful treatment is around 40% but it may take as long as 5 years to reflect real life percentages of success.  The federal government believes successful opioid addiction treatment is around 5%!  Interestingly, I have seen only one person that has gone through the system after Operation Rio Grande that has been able to continue working and stay away from drugs.  She keeps being mentioned as a success and i congratulate her.  But is there anyone else?  The problem, as I indicated several years ago in a commentary in the newspaper, is without jail or incarceration for more that a day, there is no real incentive to enter and continue drug treatment.  The Salt Lake County Jail refuses to book anyone except for first and second degree felonies and they are released, usually, within a day.
  Not noted in the graphs, Salt Lake County limits jail populations and releases everyone, even felonies to not get above a limit. and refused to jail drug users.   In other words  it is worse than the graph in the appendix of the Audit shows.  
  When judges admonish APP (which the Audit said is underfunded and understaffed) for recommending probation for someone who empties a gun into a car full of people, there is a problem.  
  When a robber is sentenced to 1 to 15 years in prison; ends up in jail for 30 days; and 6 months later tries to shoot some cops who surround him; who shot him until he stopped being a threat; there is a problem.  It also created riots and a lot of damage.  He should have been in prison.  You don't need an audit to tell you the system isn't working.
  When the county refuses to fund appropriate jail space and leaves 184 beds open there is a problem.  When the DA has 14 prosecutor positions unfilled there is a problem.  You don't need the US Attorney to tell you there is a problem.
  I urge the Legislature to study the cost to properly incarcerate threats to society and fund either the State or County to take those threats out of society and demand that all treatment centers that receive federal funds, track and report all results for a year. 
  
IT'S BACK - SRO/MINI CABRINI GREEN/CRIME MAGNET MOTELS
  The renamed Single Room Occupancy proposal, now Shared Room housing, is set for public hearings on November 10, and November 20.  The City insists that it solves the issue of affordable housing.  This is Pamela Atkinson's push and dream.  She has been pushing this proposal for years.  It will allow SROs throughout the City except in single family zoned areas.  
  Interestingly, the City's Housing Authority tried to build an SRO next to a single family home (on 1725 S. Jefferson St.).  It was 74 units and the RDA turned it down only because it was noncompliant with the zoning.  If the City's SRO proposal passes, that project can receive City funding to proceed!  It is zoned RMF35 now.

THE ABOVE IS FROM PREVIOUS BLOG ENTRIES BUT RELATED TO CRIME FIGHTING IN SLC
  


BELOW IS THE REST OF JANUARY BLOG (FIRST WEEK)

SLC WOULD RATHER SPEND $5 MILLION ON A BUILDING THAN A PARK
  It appears that the Salt Lake City Council along with the arts community would rather spend over $5 million on the Fisher Mansion along the Folsom Trail rather than the Fleet Block. The Mayor told the Council last month that there wasn't enough money for two regional parks, Glendale Park that was the old water park and the Fleet Block. But there is enough money for a $5 plus million to stabilize and renovate the old Fisher Mansion. 
  $5 million was about the same amount of money that was repurposed from the southern end of Downtown park, at one time supposed to be around 5th South and Main Street, to Pioneer Park. This City promised another Downtown park from park impact fees. The park impact fees should be used for a downtown park and not a vanity project, the Fisher Mansion.
  The plans may also not be legal since ADA requirements are ignored. The plans call for an upstairs without an elevator but the City says that the upstairs will not be available to the public and therefore does not need to be ADA accessible. That is not correct. I expect an expensive legal fight on this.
  On another note regarding the Budget Amendment 6 that had the Fisher Mansion funding, there were funds proposed for a consultant for redesigning the Glendale Water Park. At a minimum, it should have a big, Olympic size, public swimming pool along with a generous park area.
  There was also a budget item for more police (A-5) but the funding was deficient and I expect that Salt Lake City will be down 100 officers by summer. They are down over 65 now.
  The budget amendment also had funding transferred from unused land bank and landlord proposals and repurposed for acknowledgeably more important increased rent assistance, service models for the vulnerable and $750,000 for the winter shelter at the Airport Inn. The State is providing $525,000 for operations for the Millcreek and Airport Inn winter shelters. The County is providing $234,320 for the operations at the Millcreek shelter.


PICTURE OF THE YEAR IS UTA THROWING BUSES UNDER THE BUS
  I am making the picture of the year the sign that UTA placed at a bus stop that tells the bus driver to stay away from the curb. What that means is that bus riders have to step into the street to step up into the bus. It also makes the UTA plan to raise the curb 6 inches as part of the millions budgeted for bus stop amenities (along with Salt Lake City) questionable and "WHAT WERE THEY THINKING".
  The reason for the sign is UTA's frustration over scuffed tires (that are leased) and broken mirrors. The broken mirrors were because, after firing the bus stop manager (who won a big lawsuit against UTA for his termination ), bus stops were placed in illogical places like right next to power poles, or trees or other signs which bus drivers had a problem maneuvering around.
  The bus stop manager was fired because he questioned UTA's plan to quickly build bus stop amenities on 200 South without proper ADA specifications. UTA wanted to quickly build the bus stops to get public good will and approval of Prop One, the old proposed sales tax increase for UTA. UTA claimed a 20% improvement in ridership due to the new bus stops as a selling point for the tax increase. But an analysis and report actually said that the increased ridership COULD NOT BE ATTRIBUTED to the new bus stops! Prop One failed but Senator Harper passed the tax increase a few years later in return for a $100 million 48th South Mid-Valley Connector BRT (in my opinion).
  So while UTA and Salt Lake City (using prison tax money) insists on spending money on raising curbs 6 inch, buses will avoid getting close to the curb and riders will have to step down one foot into the street from the new and "improved?" expensive bus stops and walk to the bus, in the street and step up one foot into the bus (if it isn't lowered). Picture of the year -  WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

SLC SALES TAX REVENUES DOWN ONLY 5.4%
  Many have asked about Salt Lake City's sales tax revenue during the pandemic. Overall, it appears that sales tax receipts, including projections, are just 5.4% less than the projected sales tax revenue before the pandemic! 
  The biggest group of businesses projected to be negatively impacted are the "Accommodation and Food Services" which is down 45.4%. Real Estate and Rental and Leasing is projected to be down 20.9%. Along with Retail Trade, Wholesale Trade, Manufacturing, these groups are the top 5 sectors and are over 79% of Salt Lake City's sales tax revenues. Vehicle and grocery sales are obviously a big deal for the City's sales tax receipts and they were up.
  The City's biggest revenue decreases are in parking and tickets. I put the November sales tax report to the City Council in the downloads section to the right.
  
  ​
DECEMBER 2020
I RESPECT SLC MAYOR MENDENHALL FOR LEADERSHIP THIS YEAR
 Over the years, I have had many fights over policy issues with Salt Lake City’s present day Mayor and former councilwoman Erin Mendenhall. Many of the arguments have been reported in many commentaries by me in the Salt Lake Tribune. The issues have included lack of solutions to homeless issues, too much emphasis on rail transit, bicycles, higher density in single family areas, traffic calming with road diets and tax and fee increases. I gave many reasons to support her opponent for mayor during the last election.
  In one of the most unusual years ever in the history of our State, this City has endured an earthquake that damaged the City and County Building. The COVID 19 pandemic dealt the City a serious blow to providing services and public hearings. The pandemic resulted in a potential tsunami of evictions. The Road Home was closed by the Lieutenant Governor with the loss of up to 1000 beds for the homeless and homeless camps proliferated throughout the City. 
  The City had the most serious riots ever and daily protests in the City’s streets demanding defunding of the police. One of the City’s police K-9 officers was charged with aggravated assault by the DA.  The City also endured hurricane force winds that destroyed thousands of the City’s mature trees. 
  Mayor Mendenhall had a lot to do with this City’s successful resolutions of the worst problems any mayor could expect. She led the City’s identification and repair of the earthquake damage to the City’s buildings. She helped create a very successful virtual meeting system that resulted in hundreds of citizens being able to provide public comments to the City Council. She created a winter emergency shelter for the homeless earlier this year and identified and agreed to using a hotel for this year’s winter shelter. She changed the system for rousting homeless camps by insisting on a more respectful plan of offering services including housing, court/ assistance with citations and addiction treatment before allowing the County Health Department to remove the biowaste and encourage the homeless to not congregate together.
  She and the Chief of Police were adamant that protesting was a legitimate right at the same time that destructive riots would be aggressively stopped. She expressed solidarity with Black Lives Matter and implemented a complete audit of the police budget. She followed through on releasing bodycam recordings within 10 days of disturbing but justified shootings. She suspended the City’s K-9 force immediately on learning of a disturbing use of force that was not reported. She removed the police hiring freeze when the force lost many more than usual to retirement, competition with other agencies, extended overtime due to the constant protests, and the public perception of police brutality.  
  She started a renter’s assistance fund to help decrease evictions in the City and started planning on affordable housing solutions. She was able to procure Allen Park before it was bought for high density development. 
  This has been a difficult year for not just Salt Lake City but cities worldwide. Our City has been able to keep some semblance of normalcy with tax revenue a little less than normal (ABOUT 10% down) and the City’s public servants still able to be responsive. Our Mayor deserves credit and recognition for that.  I still will push her and my City to be better but she has impressed me this year.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING DISCUSSION AFTER BUILDING 1500 UNITS SINCE 2015
  At the beginning of December, the Salt Lake City Council had a big discussion and review on affordable housing. From the notice:
"Housing issues are at the forefront of this discussion, which covers affordability, increasing housing supply, diversifying housing options, and neighborhood compatibility. Additionally, an update from City staff on the adopted Growing SLC Housing Plan will help provide valuable context to this discussion.
The Council is currently reviewing a few housing-related land use petitions including RMF-30 Zoning changes and a Shared Housing proposal. The Council anticipates other petitions, including an Affordable Housing Overlay and off-street parking changes, in the foreseeable future.
The goal of the discussion is to link these proposals together and consider them with a “big picture” policy context. Alone, these proposals each impact City housing policy. Combined and coordinated, they become part of a clearer vision. This briefing will help inform the City’s efforts to expand housing opportunities within Salt Lake City. The Council will not take action on these proposals at this meeting. Each item will have future stand-alone briefings and public hearings before the Council takes action."
  The Council noted that relatively affordable housing is only available in Glendale. The recently passed demolition ordinance may not help much since only about 160 properties seem to be involved. There is an RFQ on a gentrification study. Despite the fact that the public hearings of the RMF30 and SRO proposals are closed, BEFORE ANY BIG CHANGE IN ZONING, THE GENTRIFICATION STUDY SHOULD BE FINISHED AND ANALYZED. Growing Salt Lake City expires in 2022. The City hopes that the housing mitigation program will decrease loss of affordable housing (requires landlords to replace affordable housing lost during reconstruction). The City Council would like to discuss the housing mitigation program more, an ordinance for anti-displacement right of first refusal (to allow tenants to buy a building before eviction) and identify neighborhoods that need help and develop mitigation measures. They also noted that the demolition of the Overnighter Motel was complicated by a fire that delayed final demolition for a few months. 
  The City staff provided an updated number of affordable units that "includes only those units that the City helped fund. There may have been other affordable units built without public funds but (SLC doesn't) have access to that information.
The short answer is that 1,500 new units of housing that is affordable to people earning up to 80% of AMI (Area Median Income) were built and opened since 2015.....
This year (2020) was the biggest year on record for opening new affordable units, with 723 total. That volume of new affordable units is in part a reflection of the Council’s greatly increased investment in affordable housing since 2016/2017.
 Most of these affordable units are guaranteed to remain affordable for the next fifty years. Levels of affordability vary depending on the project, ranging from no income (permanent supportive housing) to a maximum of 80% AMI. The size of affordable units also varies, from studios to 3-bedroom units.
In 2021, 567 additional new affordable housing units are scheduled to open.
The attachment (IN DOWNLOADS) includes names and addresses of each project that received City funds for meeting the requirements for incentives for building affordable housing units."
  I still think that affordable housing plans need a reset to not negatively impact the implied promise of single family zoned areas. The City should realize that well intentioned plans can lead to much higher housing costs like in the Sugar House area where rents increased 300% in the last ten years.
  The City’s SRO/Shared Housing proposal would put affordable rooms in many stable residential neighborhoods with many long term owner occupied housing. Why would a developer spend money to build apartments if there is a chance that an SRO is going to be built next door? The problem is the low rent proposal is similar to the budget motels on State Street and North Temple. If Salt Lake City can’t stop the increase in crime near the budget motels, it shouldn’t be proposing to put similar housing in other residential neighborhoods. 
  Another proposal is to encourage redevelopment of rental properties with a new RMF30 ordinance that will effectively encourage the removal of many older and affordable housing units and replace them with market rate higher density. Even apartment owners have an issue with this proposal. This proposal will result in affordable rental property owners getting an offer that they can’t refuse to sell and allow redevelopment of their properties. This will result in an eviction tsunami.
  The affordable housing overlay proposal is designed to increase density in all areas of the City by making more flexible use of all space including odd lots, alleys and big lots. But the proposal will increase traffic and parking issues that are already a contentious issue in the City. Owner occupied housing cements neighborhoods and trying to increase density with higher density homes, apartments and rentals (which developers contend provide more return on investment) destroys neighborhoods and encourages flight to the suburbs.
  Another proposal is to decrease the parking minimums to encourage using alternate forms of transportation that are more socially acceptable to some. Recently, the City had to rescind removing a few parking spots in the 9th and 9th neighborhood due to broad community opposition. Other areas are increasingly concerned about the lack of on street parking in front of their house and businesses. Red China proved that encouraging riding bicycles does not stop people from wanting to drive vehicles. In China, there are 50 lane roads that are congested!
  Another threat to quiet residential streets, lowering speed limits, is being discussed. Lowering speed limits to 20 or 25 MPH on arterials will effectively treat neighborhood residential streets that are not for through traffic, as arterials and encourage through traffic. There won’t be any difference between the speed limits on residential streets and arterials! 
  Many of the new higher density developments do not provide wider sidewalks. In fact, most sidewalks in front of 3 and 5 story apartments are the same 4 feet width which is not enough for a wheelchair, a stroller or even a bicyclist to share the sidewalk together (side by side). Skinny sidewalks do not encourage walkability. They encourage driving and the need for more parking!
   Some of the best proposals to encourage affordable housing are being ignored. Housing should be allowed on the 80% of the City not zoned for it.  The City considered inclusionary zoning two years ago but dropped it. It would have required affordable units in new developments with Impact Fee credits. Parks encourage new housing but the City has been slow to consider new parks like the Fleet Block. Another proposal for thousands of new housing units is the State Street area which has not advanced the plan much in the last 6 years!
  Respecting residents through respectful housing plans is important for a good affordable housing plan. If this City keeps increasing density in low density residential areas, it will drive residents out to the suburbs, increase the cost of housing in the City and do the exact opposite of what the City wants to do. The SRO, RMF30, affordable housing overlay and parking and speed limit proposals should be returned to staff for a better analysis.

PIONEER PARK COALITION MEETING CONFIRMS SLC NOT TAKING CRIME SERIOUSLY
  During the December Pioneer Park Coalition meeting, the U.S. Attorney celebrated the success of the Ogden and Federal Government law enforcement efforts to decrease crime. The goal was to find the so called apex criminals that commit most of the most dangerous crimes. Ogden was able to get a 25% violent crime reduction in 3 to 5 years. By focusing on just 72 criminals, Ogden was able to reduce reported crimes 20 to 30% in 2 years. U.S. Attorney Huber said that there is no reason Salt Lake can't do it. All they have to do is call me. He added "Maybe I should call."
  Chief Brown also mentioned that many of the shelter resistant homeless (only around 22 out of 160 homeless campers accepted housing and shelter beds) refuse help.
  We have been witnessing this for almost a decade! For almost 10 years, undercover cops would complain that they would buy drugs, arrest the dealer and book them into jail, only to have them laughing a few hours later next to that cop who was trying to make another buy.
  What will it take for the Legislature, the counties and law enforcement to work together to ensure that counties are compensated for jailing criminals that really should be in prison (even for dozens of misdemeanors), that APP and prosecutors get enough money to keep threats in jail or under effective supervision and that the majority of prisoners get effective mental health treatment in jail and afterwards to decrease their threat to residents and businesses?
  A good example of how bad it is concerns a car thief who was caught earlier this month and immediately released on $100 bond! He was arrested on several felony counts including probation or parole violation but released with $100!! He almost killed a cop when he was on the street and he gets out after stealing a car with $100!
  Chief Brown recently said that they had to roust the homeless camp around St. Mark's in Salt Lake City. They directed their efforts to pull the drug dealers out of the homeless in the area. There is constant frustration in law enforcement about arresting the same criminal dozens of times. 
  My Salt Lake Tribune oped in November summarized the issues at: 
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2020/11/05/george-chapman-well/
  In addition, in the last few months, I have provided emails from law enforcement that go into detail about the issues.
  
CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT RING OPERATING NEAR LIBERTY PARK
  There have been many complaints about questionable loitering and criminal activities in the area around 13th South and State Street. I recommend that everyone keep an eye on the Registered Sex Offender List since there is a large concentration of former prisoners in the 1200 South and State area. Another big issue that was noted in the last Liberty Wells Community Council meeting in December, is several residents had their catalytic converters stolen! The replacement can be as much as $1000! Please report any questionable activity to 911. 

SUGAR HOUSE GAINS CITY ACTION ON 2100 S. BUT CRISIS UNFOLDING
  The December Sugar House Community Council Transportation Committee had a big community meeting (virtually but well attended) that focused on what to do to increase safety on 2100 South east of 1700 East. Some residents continued to press for a road diet (which left the community fighting 50/50 for and against it a couple of years ago). SLC Transportation Direct Jonathan Larsen provided a solution with radar detection speed signs. It seems that the City bought a few of the signs years ago but had problems finding residents and homeowners willing to have them permanently installed. The residents who had asked for the meeting volunteered to permanently host the speed signs. It is expected that the 30MPH speed limit will be better adhered to with the very bright and visible signs.
  One of the big issues that brought the big turnout was based on recent road closures and construction, any change to 2100 South would send traffic to adjacent streets like Ramona and Hollywood (to get to 2100 East).
  Other issues were four lanes are better for bicyclists on a congested arterial or collector like 2100 South. The road diet on 1300 East destroyed any possible safe bicycling on 1300 East (although the City disagreed, Bike Cops said that they didn’t feel safe on it after the road diet). This State has a 3 foot clearance requirement for motorists going around bicyclists which are allowed in the right hand lane.
  Since the road is already 30MPH, it should not be reduced and more traffic calming should not be implemented unless the neighborhood, including Parleys Canyon Road (east of 1700 East), Ramona and Hollywood agree with it. They will have to endure the increased traffic and pollution and negative impacts on their streets from major street changes on 2100 South.
  The traffic on 2100 South is such that a road diet would increase pollution which can be up to 7 times higher next to congested roads than the rest of the Valley.  
  Based on past experience with road diets on well traveled roads, residents (and businesses) on the street would find it almost impossible to get out of their driveways, side streets and even pedestrians would find it hard to cross when there is no break in vehicles. That can happen if there is over 10,000 Average Daily Trips on a road.
  The community should not recommend anything major street changes until the Highland, 1300 East bridge over I80 and 900 East road projects are finished.  Even without a new project, the area is going to be construction central for the next few years. Residents and businesses should expect mitigation plans to help and not make it worse.
  The 21st East and 21st South intersection needs improvement. Schoolkids, and pedestrians and bicyclists are constantly in danger crossing through the area.  But suggestions like roundabouts actually can hurt safety. Four lanes on a roundabout are unsafe for bicyclists especially and are difficult for pedestrians to cross. Discouraging driveways and left hand turns near the intersection would help (like eliminating the north driveway into the gas station, not allowing left turns into Blue Diner parking, etc). The best example of the danger is at 900 East and 2100 South where Walgreens has a driveway on 900 East so close to the intersection that left hand turning vehicles is a constant danger to pedestrians, bicyclists and even cars.  
  The more important pressing issue is ensuring appropriate mitigation plans for the I80 bridge and 900 East construction plans, that 4 lanes remain on Highland at least from 27th South to Richmond due to the high traffic,
that businesses on Highland are appropriately notified about the upcoming road redesign to ensure that they can participate (I am not sure that they understand what a potential road diet that Millcreek wants will do to businesses and bicyclists. It may require a shared raised wide sidewalk like the 9 Line Trail around 1000 East, in both directions. Supposedly the 900 East reconstruction design has one on the east side. (SHCC deserves to see the final draft design next meeting in January).
  Note that we were able to get the IZZY South design to decrease driveways (to help bicyclist and pedestrian safety) but the SHCC should have a blanket plan to discourage more driveways on 2100 South.  
  SHCC should demand NOW that some funding for adjacent street traffic calming should be available from the Highland and 900 East (and I80 bridge) construction budgets.
  Highland should get more attention now since construction on Sugar Alley is removing parking for restaurant pickup, making it worse by closing the right hand southbound lane (putting covered sidewalk in the road!).  Suggestions include stopping left hand turns into Sugar House Commons (the light is half a block away – the left hand turn lane should be lengthened at the lights) and at Sugarmont (in both directions), removing parking across from the liquor store since it backs up traffic going north due to left hand turns encouraged for liquor).  
  There will be a chip seal on Warnock to Millcreek this next year that will take a day or two. The recent road construction on Highland by Sugarmont was due to a water line break. Lynn Jacobs, the SLC point of contact for the major Highland Drive redesign, expects a survey to go out in January to firm up designs. There will be a sewer line installed on 2100 South next summer from Yuma to 2100 East and a future 700 East to 1700 East reconstruction soon.

SLC PUSHING MORE TRAFFIC ONTO ADJACENT STREETS WITH STREET PLANS
  Traffic management during road construction is difficult. Salt Lake City acknowledges that and understands the concerns of many communities that will be impacted during streets’ reconstruction that are part of the $87 million bond passed by voters two years ago. Street reconstruction, especially the projects with large design changes that take a long time, shift rush hour traffic through streets, often single family and residential, that were not designed for large traffic volumes. In addition, trucks also divert onto neighboring streets to escape the construction project streets. Many diverted drivers express their frustrations with higher speeds. All of that results in a significant decrease in safety and much more traffic, pollution and noise for those neighborhoods. Often, the traffic continues for years after the projects.
  When 1300 East and 1300 South had lane reductions (from 4 to 2 traffic lanes), traffic diverted to nearby streets and the traffic stayed higher. It did not go down. When 2700 South and 500 East were reconstructed, traffic significantly increased along with more speeders on nearby parallel roads. The residents on those streets have been complaining about the need for traffic calming to slow down the increased volume and decrease speeding.
  Some of the streets scheduled to be reconstructed in the near future include 300 West (which will shift traffic to West Temple), 900 East and 1100 East (which will shift traffic to 800 East and 1000 East), 900 South (which will increase traffic on nearby east west streets) and 200 South (which could shift traffic to the Avenues and 300 South).
  When Salt Lake City reconstructed 1300 East over the last two years (the time required to replace old water and sewer pipes at the same time), traffic increased significantly around the single-family neighborhood street north of Sugar House. The area asked for a traffic study (which they got) as a prelude to preparing a CIP request for traffic calming. But the neighborhoods that are impacted shouldn’t have to wait for reconstruction to start. In every street reconstruction project, traffic in adjacent, formerly quiet neighborhood streets, increased.
  The problem in Sugar House will be much more difficult for residents and businesses since UDOT will be closing 1300 East at times next summer to replace the bridge over I-80! Although the City and UDOT have been meeting for over 6 months to work on mitigation measures, the detour routes that they are suggesting are often ignored and that create serious safety issues in adjacent neighborhoods. Although UDOT and SLC Engineering and Transportation are trying to plan for and mitigate impacts on neighborhoods, more should be done.
  Potential plans are to install local traffic only signs or use temporary speed bumps. There will also be adjustments made regularly to offset unexpected motorist responses to detours. And to make it even more complicated, the plans have to include not impacting emergency services. 
  Salt Lake City residents and businesses should not have to endure the long road reconstruction projects without mitigation measures put in place before the projects start. For those neighborhood streets already impacted by past projects, the City owes the neighborhoods traffic calming measures to decrease speeds and volumes of traffic. Neighborhood streets should not have to tolerate the destruction of their neighborhood character when minimal traffic calming is a very inexpensive funding addition considering that the streets reconstructions can be over $10 million. Traffic calming can be had with raised crosswalks (as on 2700 South and 500 East) for $8000. The City’s proposed temporary speed bumps or any traffic calming should be permanent.
  Trying to apply for CIP funding sometimes takes years to result in a project. That is too late. The City Administration and Council should require all road projects to plan for and implement traffic calming on streets that could be impacted. SLC time to step up and do the responsible thing.
  The same issues are cropping up in other areas. The effort to install bulbouts and mid-block crosswalks on State Street will increase pollution and encourage traffic onto adjacent neighborhood residential streets. State Street is a vehicle corridor. It needs a wide bike lane instead of median planters and BRT.  Spending $100 million on those plans would be better spent on more frequent bus service, mixed income housing and parks with lots of trees. State Street has a lot of car lots so the idea of planting a lot of trees around them will reveal that CAR LOTS DO NOT LIKE TREES. Anything that pushes bicyclists into traffic (like bulbouts) is not safe.
  Salt Lake City is planning on spending RDA tax increment on Life on State implementation. I can think of better uses of the money and the adjacent communities should have a list instead of "look what we can give you for free". There is a proposal and CIP application on Kensington and State for further traffic calming. This is where a little girl was killed by a negligent driver. A camera system would be more effective at making drivers more careful. The proposal is to spend up to half a million on the project. Would you rather spend half a million on this project or increasing frequency and span of service on the 200 State Street bus, or a park or moving car lots, putting up cameras with lighting (Ubiquity GE lighting -they did it in San Diego but got backlash)? 
  Neighborhood streets should not be expected to perform as arterials. Arterials like 300W are for vehicles and should accept higher speeds. Neighborhood streets like Kensington, West Temple, 800E, 1000 E and even 600E (without the right hand turn only concrete) can continue to be slow 20-25mph streets but slowing traffic whether by road diets or speed limits push traffic into other areas. Twice in the last decade, work on 1300E increased traffic on the formerly quiet and bikeable 1100E to the point that it is no longer sage to bike on 1100E. I should point out that the former 4 lanes on 1300E was safer for many bicyclists that I knew after the road diet (I was spending most of the week in San Diego for work). They preferred using the outside lanes and got the legally required 3 ft clearance.
  My issue is neighborhood streets should be comfortable for everyone and shouldn't function as through roads.  That is what arterials are for. I contend that they should keep through traffic out of residential and quiet low use streets.   
  There is road for through traffic and a safer road for pedestrians and bicyclists and kids. All roads shouldn't be everything to everybody. One of the budget items agreed last June, is a traffic calming study. 
  Recently, West Temple and 400 East have been complaining about increased traffic and speeding on their streets. The West Temple street will be significantly negatively impacted by the new 300 West street reconstruction. Traffic calming for that should start now. The 400 East street deserves attention now since the 500 East project, which implemented a questionable shared street going south that can backup traffic to 5 MPH, was responsible for the 400 East impact. 500 East is a collector! At least the Fire Department insisted on minimum raised crosswalks.
  BOTTOM LINE, ARTERIALS NEED 4 LANES FOR THE 90% OF US WHO USE VEHICLES.

SLC PUSHING TO INCREASE DENSITY AND HEIGHT IN NEIGHBORHOODS
  Salt Lake City is about to embark on a major planning effort to expand housing density in the Ballpark area! The goal is to encourage housing development with so called "compatible infill". There will be a steering committee review of the information to ensure public engagement on January 14 (tentatively).
  The concerns of many in the neighborhood about increased density include:
PARKING
  There is a continued lack of parking. Seniors should not be expected to walk 100 feet to transit stops.  The Taylor Springs parking lot managed by HASLC is usually full and shows that seniors and low income DO drive. The 900 S. Bennion apartments are 200 feet from a bus stop and another 100 feet from TRAX. The Book Cliffs' nearest bus stop is over 1200 feet. Ironically, the recent meetings of the Central Ninth Community Council complained about lack of parking (a consistent problem from 9th and 9th which caused an almost riot during the roundabout construction and the arguments of hundreds against a rezone at 400 East and 9th South). Some are so desperate that they a placard restricted area!  Parking requirements should be close to the number of apartments.  Bicycle safety is significantly decreased if there are so many cars parked on the street that safe bicycling is not available (due to dooring and lack of visibility from driveways).
MOUNTAIN VIEWS AND SHADOWS
  SLC has had this discussion many times before. Residents should have a right to morning sunshine and mountain views and sunshine in their gardens and yards.  The mountain views should not be impacted through non compliant zoning (achieved with a conditional use permit or otherwise). The City's efforts to ignore the importance of morning sunshine (remember the infamous Life, the Universe and Sugar House report) are a constant irritation.
  The increased height will also intimidate neighbors and other potential residential building projects. In other words, don't destroy neighborhood possibilities with high density projects. (My arguments against SROs apply - who would want to build apartments next to a potential SRO site?)
TREES
  SLC has a tree ordinance that is not being implemented. Removing a tree should result in planting the number of trees equal to the radius of the tree removed (it is unfortunately not leaf equivalent). Trees removed from before demolition of the homes should be replaced with one tree per 2 inch of diameter of old trees removed. 
SIDEWALKS
  Sidewalks should be wider to allow a wheelchair and or stroller to be walked with by a pedestrian side by side. Sidewalks should not be so limited to not allow side by side walking or use by wheelchairs. If sidewalk is not wide enough for two wheelchairs, ADU lawsuits should be expected. I know the people who sue on this issue (they end up with a mediator that forces SLC to make right). HASLC should not be ignoring ADA fairness since they should expect some ADA residents. In addition, if easy access to mass transit is part of the reason for lack of parking, sidewalk widths should reflect that and allow more than one person at a time to use the sidewalk width. Also when buildings are close to sidewalks, there is a danger from falling ice.
SRO PROPOSALS
  SLC appears to be poised to approve an HASLC SRO on 1725 S JEFFERSON that the RDA turned down due to not meeting zoning requirements.
  All apartments in the City should have wide sidewalks, ground floor retail, cameras accessible by cops and enough parking to not impact the neighborhoods.
  
SLC INADVERTENTLY PITS EASTSIDE AGAINST WESTSIDE FOR NEW PARK
  During public comment in the December Salt Lake City Council Formal Meeting, the Mayor said that the City could not afford 2 regional parks pointing out that the proposal to make the Fleet Block a park is not viable financially since the Glendale water park (being demolished) has to remain a park. I disagree that the chances are slim for 2 regional parks. Mayor, you should not be setting up the Westside against the Ballpark and Central Ninth and Downtown area for who gets the next park. I know you didn't intend to imply that but that is what it sounded like. SLC repurposed around $5 million that was supposed to be used for a Downtown park and used it to redevelop Pioneer Park to discourage homeless (it didn't work). The area deserves a park and the City planned on it until a couple of years ago. The park will create a healthy area and it will attract businesses and more redevelopment of the commercial area surrounding the Fleet Block. Why isn't the city asking companies in Utah to contribute. Kennecott took over the proposed Rose Canyon Park and they should welcome a good will generating proposal. They also recently destroyed an ancient irreplaceable Australian cave with important ancient human tools!
SLC IGNORES POTENTIAL FOR UTA $1 FARE
  The City approved an ILA with UTA to continue to provide increased service on 2, 9 and 21 routes. Those routes were going to get better service in August of this year (2020) and UTA should be providing more service for this City's money.  The City did not spend around a million of the Prison tax promised for transit expansion. The City refused to discuss the idea of encouraging UTA to lower the fare to $1 which could be significantly effective at increasing ridership, due to the bus fare elasticities. Instead, Salt Lake discussed using funds to provide on call service like Uber and Lyft similar to UTA's VIA service in SW SLCO. That rider subsidy is over $35 a rider! It would be cheaper to help fund a semi used car lease at $100 a month!
  
SLC SPENDS STATE STREET RDA FUNDS FOR MILKRUN TRAX STATION
 Salt Lake City RDA decided to use RDA funds to build the milkrun TRAX station at 650S Main Street that the adjacent property owners were supposed to pay for it. Until further adjacent development, the City committed funding. There is an assessment area but there is not enough coming in yet. UTA has the money ($187 million from the CARES Act) and instead of Commissioner Christensen's dream TRAX station, UTA is spending over $5 million on a Sandy parking garage, $100 million on a gold plated bus garage and over a million on a clearfield trail. UTA has the money.

SLC COUNCIL DESERVES CREDIT FOR HANDLING TSUNAMI OF COMMENTS THIS YEAR
  I complain a lot because I want more from my City. But over the last year, I was impressed by the patience of the Council and Mayor in enduring hundreds of comments, in some cases listening to the same exact speeches for 5 hours! Council Chair Chris Warton deserves a lot of credit for his heroic patience during this year's meetings. I also should thank Councilman Andrew Johnston for his very relevant blog on the District 2 website. It fills in a lot of the important details that the newspapers miss.

WHEN WILL SLC BAN DIESEL IDLING AND CLEAR THE AIR?
  The Legislature passed an anti idling bill this last year but Salt Lake City has not changed their anti idling ordinance! I fought against it several times at the Legislature (and in opeds) and the Legislature previously only allowed an educational implementation. Only one person seems to have been ticketed in the last 6 years. But now is a good time to make a significant impact on air pollution in the Valley. I was against the anti-idling law when it was directed at cars, especially when parents need to keep their kids comfortable in the car.
  But with the increased truck traffic in the Valley, it is time to pass an anti-idling diesel truck engine ordinance. Diesel emissions are immediately harmful. Newer cars are less likely to pollute than diesels. Diesels are 24% of the predicted transportation CO2. It is also estimated that 20% of light and medium duty fail emissions standards and around one third are illegally modified. If you care about the Inland Port creating more pollution, you should demand that Salt Lake City pass an anti-idling diesel truck ordinance.
  
PEDESTRIAN LIGHTING STUDY TO INCREASE CROSSING SAFETY
  During discussions at several community councils on safety concerns about pedestrians crossing at 700E and 900S after dark, we asked the City to work with UDOT to increase the illumination of pedestrians crossing 700E to make them more visible to left hand turning vehicles. We suggested having a directed light showing on/at the riskier areas where cars from 9th S turn onto 700 E.  UDOT knows more but Carmanah.com seems to have something like that. The light would only turn on when the pedestrian crossing button is pressed and last until the light changes back. The 9-Line and 900 South are scheduled to be reconstructed to Warnock in 2023.
  Adam Lough is the Traffic Studies & Design Engineer at UDOT Traffic & Safety. He has this to say about our questions: "Looking at this location in Google Earth, it appears there are already overhead luminaires on all four corners of this intersection. This configuration is usually what we design for and should provide adequate lighting for pedestrians at night. When we can't get overhead lighting due to conflicting overhead utilities, we have the option to install under the mast arm lights to illuminate pedestrian crosswalks in high volume locations. The mast arm lights turn on at the same time the overhead lights and remain illuminated until daylight. We choose not to turn them on & off with the pedestrian activations for a few reasons. First, some pedestrians choose not to push the button and we don't want them to be crossing in the dark. Second, luminaires turning on and off all night are an annoyance to nearby residents and businesses. Third, we don't want the lights cycling on and off to distract other users of the intersection, potentially causing accidents. We are testing the Carmanah pedestrian lights at mid block locations with Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB's), where we don't have street lights. We do have a concern with testing these types of lights at intersections where they could potentially shine into the eyes of pedestrians or motorists due to their mounting angle. We continue looking for lighting solutions to enhance pedestrian awareness. We will visit this location sometime this week to make sure the existing lighting is adequate and if not, see what can be done to improve it. I know Region II is working with SLC on a future project to narrow up 900 S and therefore reduce the crossing length."
  The biggest danger is crossing 700 East, not 900 South.

SLC REARRANGING POLICE TO COUNTER LOSS OF OVER 60 OFFICERS THIS YEAR
  Over the last few months, this blog has gone into detail about the loss of sworn police officers from Salt Lake City. This year, with the pandemic, the protests, the overtime and retirement, has resulted in Salt Lake City losing 70 cops (around 10 just graduated from a new Police Academy) this year. In 2019, there was a loss of 25 cops. In 2019, 37 left by October 30. In 2020, 52 sworn officers left by October 30. At the same time, there was a around a 10% increase in calls for service. There were 232 days of protests that were monitored by the City's police. Between July 1 and October 31, 45 officers left out of 569 authorized FTEs which is about 8% of the force!
  There is a grant that the City applied for to add 10 more police with federal funding. The October class of 10 (laterals that were former police transferring from other areas) can hit the ground running and there will be another class in January.
  The Police Chief and Mayor is under pressure to provide more visible police and will disband the 8 member Community Intelligence Unit that liaisoned with community councils and worked on trouble complaints from those groups. They will go onto patrol. The bike patrol with the Chief's killer bumblebee uniforms will continue (I still think that they should be called murder hornet uniforms.) and will try to have a meet and greet in January.
  A captain or lieutenant will now attend each community council meeting and liaison with the bike squad. The Council was concerned about the change since the CIU officers were very popular with the community councils. The police will try to have the command staff at each community council meeting but there are conflicts (5 on first Wednesday). 
  The Chief asked the City Council for $300,000 for 30 more shotguns that fire a plastic lead sock to decrease the use of lethal force.  The $600 shotgun is accurate to 20yds and more. The 30 shotguns will be added to the 89 older models..

SLC MOBILE COP CAMS DEPLOYED TO SMITHS AND FAIRMONT SKATE PARK
  The Sugar House Community Council asked for a mobile cop cam to discourage drug sales at the Fairmont Park Skate Park and it got one in December. Several Smiths parking lots also got the camera trailers due to a rash of car burglaries in the grocery store parking lots. Chief Brown said that they were effective at discouraging criminal element loitering after the St. Mark's homeless drug dealing rousting. "The sheer presence moves the element out." They were used for two weeks since after that they decrease in effectiveness.
  The SLCPD said: "We have obtained the trailers over the last 5 years with grant monies, some of that money is no longer available. However, we still utilize grant money to repair damaged trailers or for the routine upkeep of the units. We currently have six trailers, 5 of an older style ($50,000 +) and one new style ($27,000 ish), however the new one has had integration issues so we have yet to deploy it mostly due to getting it fixed during the height of COVID, so it remains to be seen whether that kind will be viable long term yet. 
  I cannot speak about budget funding as that is out of my purview.  We are currently designing and building a few longer term high visibility cameras that will be mounted on semaphores or utility poles to be less vulnerable to vandalism, which is a significant problem with the trailers.  They should help with areas that have long term issues or areas that might leave a trailer more vulnerable to damage, and cost much less around 10K.   Overhead security light systems will not be useful for us as they generally too intrusive in neighborhoods (shining into bedroom windows at night, and would kill the trailers batteries way too quickly).  We are currently low on storage/recharge space with our current cameras trailers and due to the design of the masts of the old style trailers we can’t get them into an underground parking structure for storage or recharge.  So due to the storage, and budgetary constraints in it’s current state we can’t effectively afford to bring more cameras trailers online until a stable long term funding and storage solution is established."

UTAH REFUSES MONEY FROM FEDS FOR HOMELESS SOLUTIONS
  New York City, and other cities, were offered FEMA funds to house homeless in non congregate housing to decrease spreading COVID among the homeless. But, in Utah, there seems to be a resistance to using the money since they have access to other money (BUT NOT ENOUGH MONEY). The State said: "The Department of Workforce Services did initially pursue Public Assistance (PA) FEMA for non-congregate shelter, but determined there were other sources of U.S. Housing and Urban Development, CARES ACT funding that were appropriate and could be quickly deployed in the DWS response to COVID-19 for non-congregate shelter related to homelessness.  
To my knowledge, there has not been any state delegated FEMA funding invested into non-congregate shelters for homelessness. If service providers or the county has applied for assistance directly with FEMA, that information has not been shared with me."
  It is frustrating that this State does not use the money available for homeless housing! Recent homeless interviews in the paper expressed a lot of frustration on not enough funding for hotel rooms!
  The City has that they have almost 2000 beds available between hotels and shelters. There is also a new extended service storage facility. 
  The City recently obtained the use of the Airport Inn to use as homeless housing. The City says: "The shelter expenses will be paid through a combination of funds, with much of it coming from federal CARES funds. It will be a joint effort among the City, County & State.....The Council action makes it possible to move ahead but the City won’t have a role in operating it.
  Other homeless costs are in a budget amendment below:
E-20: Enhanced Homeless Camp Cleanup – ($760,110 from CARES Act Second Round)
These funds would provide enhanced cleaning services at encampments throughout the City for the remainder of Fiscal
Year 2021. They will be allocated to the Grant Fund and administered by the Community and Neighborhoods Department
(CAN). The HEART staff within CAN determined where addition encampment cleanup is needed and where portable
restrooms and restroom attendants would be appropriate, calculating costs for those locations based on estimates
provided by the Advantage Services Clean Team. (The portable restrooms located in the Rio Grande area several years ago
would remain in place, serviced by the Clean Team and funded through this fiscal year.) The City’s homeless services
coordination group, which meets weekly, would determine if and when the enhanced funds might need to be shifted
among the initial sites listed below, or to new sites, as situations change over time.
he initial sites listed below, or to new sites, as situations change over time.
Priority Location
Weekly
Cost Weeks Total
Taufer Park Area $3,740 39 $145,860
Downtown/St Mark’s Episcopal Church
Area $4,250 39 $165,750
North Temple $3,740 39 $145,860
Ball Park $4,300 39 $167,700
Granary $2,850 39 $111,150
I-80 Overpass @ 700 East $610 39 $23,790
Total $19,490 $760,110
  Katie McKellar at the Deseret News had a good summary of the homeless situation in a recent story at:
https://www.deseret.com/utah/2020/10/23/21530961/utah-salt-lake-city-homeless-camp-cleanup-outreach-services-unsheltered-tents-taufer-park
  Only about a quarter of those homeless offered housing accept. Before the rousting of Taufer Park next to the Senior Center on 700 South and 300 East, there were around 170 homeless camping out there. There are also 100 drug treatment beds available but they are hard to fill. Michelle Hoon, the City's homeless czar, said that "114 offers of resources have been extended to 82 people, according to city staff....Only 16 have accepted placements, and 61 have refused."  Katie writes a great story.
  
SLC PASSES NEW WATER CONSERVATION PLAN THAT ENCOURAGES WATERING
  The City has passed the new but essentially unchanged Water Conservation Plan for the City that still ignores the efforts of many to conserve water. The City still requires 30% plantings in the front yard and pushes park strip trees (despite 75 recently dying due to non watering).
  In the recent windstorm, the City lost 1500 City trees and 3000 private trees that needed significant pruning or removal. Stephanie Duer, the City's Water Conservation manager said:
  "You asked that the plan be flexible on the rule regarding the 1/3 planting requirement for front yards and parkstrips. These landscape codes (21A.48.030, 21A.48.055 and 21A.48.060) are primarily governed by the Planning Department. I recognize that the “1/3rd rule” seems arbitrary, and, well, it is. It was a compromise between Planning’s desire to ensure walkable streets and conservation – both laudable concerns. In the 2020 conservation plan update, I have listed the review of these codes to determine if they still are meeting our shared desired intents. Your concerns will absolutely be included in that process. ....
  The Utah Rivers Council, a number of years ago, launched a program to “Rip Your Strip”, encouraging homeowners to remove turf from parkstrips and cease watering, much to the detriment of our urban forest. Bill Rutherford (the Urban forester at the time) and I partnered to attend every community council and other public event we could to educate property owners of the potential dire consequences of not watering established trees. When Urban Forestry didn’t have the funds for a public education campaign, I found funds to produce a brochure on how to water trees (please see the attached pdf). Our water conservation landscape code requires that trees be placed on their own irrigation zone, so that in the event of a drought or other water shortage, lawns can be left to dry but trees can be maintained.
  I still think that this City can do better. All trees should be replaced with leaf equivalent. A big tree should only be cut after dozens are planted. Rocky Mountain Power and other developers cut trees and try to replace one for one. The City says that a "specimen tree" (one appropriate for the climate) should be replaced with the equivalent radius of the old tree. In other words, a 24 inch tree should have 12 1-2 inch trees planted. But park strips are not watered enough. SLC should not be planting trees on small park strips, especially the 1-2 foot strips. This City only plants around 2000 trees a year.
  
SLC PASSES DANGEROUS SCOOTER ORDINANCE
  The City passed a new scooter ordinance that is about the same except the City now gets some money from the service providers. But there is no required speed limiter button for sidewalks, even though most scooter riders ride on the sidewalk. Riding a bike or scooter in the Downtown area on sidewalks is illegal. Scooters should not be allowed in SLC without a speed switch and bicycles should be allowed on Downtown sidewalks. One shouldn't have to be a lacrosse player to handle this. I expect that eventually an older person will be killed by reckless scooter riding. Sad.
  
GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT LOOK FOR EXCUSES TO SPEND MONEY PUBLISHED
  Legislative leaders recently have been suggesting that there is money to fund FrontRunner double tracking. They used the typical, "let's run it up the flagpole and see what people think or if anyone will object". That resulted in a story in the Salt Lake Tribune about how great the idea was! Recent discussion at the Legislature included a presentation that said that UTA's consideration of FrontRunner expansion supports economic development and real estate development but cars and trucks and roads are better at it. My commentary was published in the last week of December in the Salt Lake Tribune:
  Recently, the Salt Lake Tribune had an article on increasing FrontRunner service with hundreds of millions of state funding to match potential federal funds. The goal is to provide a train every 15 minutes (FrontRunner double-tracking could see big infusion of state funding). But before even suggesting borrowing and committing to spending hundreds of millions of local taxpayer dollars, there should be a vigorous cost benefit study. 
  During discussion on the future of FrontRunner, in the Interim Transportation Committee, it was pointed out that weekday ridership is 4401 (as of November 11) and may not return to pre-pandemic ridership for as long as decade. If the cost of the suggested improvements were amortized over 30 years compared to expanding the freeway and roads, the cost of roads and subsidy per rider may be significantly less than rail. In the evenings, FrontRunner per rider subsidy may be hundreds of dollars. The Wasatch Front Regional Council was asked to do an analysis of the costs to provide a better decision. 
  Although the present cost for double tracking FrontRunner may be half a billion dollars, the suggested plans include electrification of FrontRunner at a cost approaching almost $2 billion dollars! A couple of years ago, there was a study and analysis of the effect of spending over $10 billion on rail projects in the LA Basin. If found that ridership was almost the same partly due to a large decrease in bus service and the significant increase in car and personal vehicle use. Building expensive rail projects in a pandemic is not a wise and fiscally responsible way to spend taxpayer dollars. It may be cheaper to buy every potential rider a semi used vehicle instead of double tracking FrontRunner. Utah should recognize that personal vehicles make our families, our economy and our Country more efficient. There is no mass transit substitute for taking a family’s schoolchildren to school, sports and other activities. There is no mass transit substitute for trucks delivering products door to door or transporting in and out of plants.
  Legislators are also pushing for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects at about  $100 million each with the Ogden BRT and 48th South Mid-Valley Connector closest to operation. The predicted ridership is 2000 to 3000 per day. But a road lane can carry 5000 to 10,000 vehicles a day! The 48th South corridor is already congested and committing two lanes to a BRT should be expected to increase congestion and pollution. The Ogden BRT is following a similar bus route with only a 5 minute time saving. A vigorous cost benefit could provide a better use of the $100 million in taxpayer money.
 Although high use mass transit can arguable decrease pollution, personal vehicles are reducing pollution every year due to better anti-pollution technology and gasoline and they can carry a full family very efficiently. Roads and vehicles are ,available 24 hours a day while transit, especially FrontRunner and TRAX, is not. Roads are used by 90% of citizens while transit is now used by less than 2% of citizens. Roads are more effective at encouraging economic development than rail with very few exceptions.  A more reasonable plan would start with bus and only consider projects if ridership develops. Government should not look for excuses to spend money.

 
 
NOVEMBER 2020
JRI NEEDS MORE ATTENTION PUBLISHED
  The Salt Lake Tribune published my commentary on the Justice Reinvestment Initiative this month (at https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2020/11/05/george-chapman-well/).  I pointed out that the U.S. Attorney was right to complain about criminals not being taken off the street for more than a few hours and many had been arrested dozens of times.  I also agreed with a previous oped that JRI needs a bigger budget since it is essentially an unfunded mandate on the counties.  I also agreed that the JRI effort made sense since drug users should not be in prison (the main objective of JRI).  But drug addicts that commit crimes everyday that they are on the street should be incarcerated and the system should be re-evaluated by the State to ensure that.
  One of the best legislators, in my opinion, is Rep. Hutchings who has been sponsoring the JRI bills and trying to fine tune the effort to make it effective.  Unfortunately, he has lost re-election.  He will be missed.  I can't think of anyone else who knew as much about justice reform in Utah.  He was considered so knowledgeable that he has testified in Washington DC about it.  Rep. Eliason did win re-election and he has been instrumental in pushing for better mental health funding and systems including MCOT, the mobile mental health team.  Rep. Dunnigan also won re-election and he has plans to sponsor a noise ordinance that will target those vehicle owners that remove their muffler systems.  Vehicle noise is not supposed to be over 85 db but many remove the mufflers and replace them with equipment that results in much louder noise.

JRI DISCUSSIONS AT LEGISLATURE IGNORE COUNTY PROBLEMS
Following on the JRI Audit, CCJJ (Utah's Committee on Criminal and Juvenile Justice) had a report that I questioned.  The CCJJ Report page 4 says: "county jail populations do not appear to have been negatively impacted by the JRI reforms, though more data is needed"!!!
  But the recent JRI Audit pointed out that Adult Probation and Parole is not able to provide appropriate services to the recently paroled.  Part is due to the indirect pressure to reduce bed use at the State Prison and it is also caused by the inability of Corrections to fully staff the beds that are supposed to be provided (mainly due to low salaries).  The Audit showed the result.  Too many violent criminals are being released with not enough supervision.
  That has resulted in the U.S. Attorney and other law enforcement and government prosecutors complaining about being inundated with criminals who have been committing many, many violent criminal actions.  The unfunded mandate put on the county jails and prosecutors from discouraging sentencing violent criminals to prison is a burden on local taxpayers and victims.  Many of these criminals should not be released and should be in prison.  
  Using a gun should result in prison no matter how hard APP argues against that. APP is actively discouraging sentencing violent criminals to prison.
  Again, I urge the Legislature to analyze and study the realistic need for Prison beds (which shouldn't affect the Point development - which can start now); what are the salary requirements to fully staff the Prison and what do counties need to help prosecute violent criminals and send them to Prison.  The Prison should also be available to provide extra beds for counties that are not able to provide enough beds to take criminals who may be committing over ten felonies while released. 
  When asked by the Judiciary Interim Committee Chair about the county jail populations issue, Kim Cordova said that she did not think that there was an issue!  Asking any Salt Lake County police chief should confirm that the Jail does not accept booking for less than third degree felonies. (with a few exceptions).  The actual number of criminals that should be on the Salt Lake County Jail graph should be two to three times more.  The Jail Dashboard  which I am familiar with, and I have written about in newspapers, showed many have over 100 arrests until recently and some have over 200 arrests.  The Jail IS REFUSING misdemeanor arrests.
  Sen. Hillyard was correct to say that police often take arrested criminals back to treatment instead of jail (Salt Lake County's Pay For Success in particular).  County jails implement limits and police are told what crimes are accepted for booking.  
  The Legislature should continue collect data and accept testimony from police chiefs and DAs and sheriffs to show the real life situation.  This Committee and I have been having this same argument (well before the Audit) for two years.
  
  Sheriff Rivera was asked about this issue and responded with this (MY RESPONSES ARE IN CAPS):
 "First, there have been no booking restrictions in place at the Salt Lake County Jail since July 2017. The reason our population appears consistent is largely due to a carefully monitored Over-Crowding Release program that affects those in our facility following the booking intake process." (THAT IS NOT  TRUE.  THE JAIL BOOKING RESTRICTION EFFECTS REPORT FROM 2017 IS STILL IN EFFECT.  SLCPD STILL COMPLAINS ABOUT IT!)
  "When you look at the current jail dashboard numbers it is important to understand that due to COVID-19 we have reduced the overall number of inmates in our facility so that we are better able to protect the health and safety of inmates." (ONLY 184 BEDS ARE BEING USED AT OXBOW INSTEAD OF THE OVER 500 BEDS AVAILABLE)
  "In terms of our felony population, at the time I am writing this our dashboard shows that 45.4% of the jail population has been booked on charges below a second-degree felony.
Felonies
First-degree - 398
Second-degree - 368
Third-degree - 507 
Misdemeanors
Class A - 108
Class B - 19
Class C - 3
  Additionally, the prison does not have the authority to hold anyone prior to conviction and sentencing. Currently, in our facility 81% of people have not been sentenced, including those charged with first- or second-degree felonies who we are required to detain pre-trial. The number of individuals awaiting trial is most impacted by the challenges COVID-19 is having on the courts rather than with the prison or their staff.
  You are correct to say that JRI impacted county jails. The reclassification of possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors impacted us in two ways:
  People convicted of misdemeanors now serve time in jails rather than prison.
Jails are no longer eligible for Conditions of Probation (COP) reimbursement for the individuals serving misdemeanor possession sentences in our jails. When these charges were felonies we were reimbursed when time was served in our facility.
  I hope you find this information helpful. JRI is well intentioned but its success will be dependent on all five parts becoming fully implemented. Having alternatives to the jail for individuals being detained with nuisance crimes like intoxication can both reduce costs to the jail and give that individual a chance to receive resources outside of the criminal justice system. It is important to look at the whole criminal justice system. The court process, community-based services, and incarceration alternatives like receiving centers will all play a critical role in this initiative being fully realized."
  (IN OTHER WORDS, JRI HAS PLACED AN UNFUNDED MANDATE ON COUNTIES THAT HAVE RESULTED IN MANY CRIMINALS STAYING ON THE STREET AND COMMITTING CRIMES.)

STREET RECONSTRUCTION DESTROYS NEIGHBORHOOD STREETS
  We have been complaining about lack of traffic calming on streets next to road reconstruction for years without getting acceptable resolutions.  When 1300 East and 1300 South had lane reductions (from 4 to 2 traffic lanes), traffic diverted to nearby streets.  When 2700 South, 1300 East and 500 East were reconstructed, traffic significantly increased on adjacent roads.  During the last Liberty Wells Community Council meeting, there were complaints about the increased traffic and speeding on 400 East.
  Salt Lake City agrees that "traffic management during road construction is difficult."  But the result is a significant decrease in safety and much more traffic, pollution and noise for those neighborhoods. 
  Some of the streets scheduled to be reconstructed in the near future include 300 West (which will shift traffic to West Temple), 900 East, 1300 East (at I80 for a new bridge) and 1100 East (which will shift traffic to 800 East, 900 East (until it undergoes reconstruction) and 1000 East), 900 South (which will increase traffic on nearby east west streets) and 200 South (which could shift traffic to the Avenues and 300 South).
  The City and UDOT have been meeting for over 6 months to work on mitigation measures for the I80 at 1300 East bridge replacement project but the detour routes that they are suggesting are often ignored and that create serious safety issues in adjacent neighborhoods.  Potential plans are to install local traffic only signs or use temporary speed bumps. There will also be adjustments made regularly to offset unexpected motorist responses to detours. And to make it even more complicated, the plans have to include not impacting emergency services. 
  Salt Lake City residents and businesses should not have to endure the long road reconstruction projects without mitigation measures put in place before the projects start. For those neighborhood streets already impacted by past projects, the City owes the neighborhoods traffic calming measures to decrease speeds and volumes of traffic.  Traffic calming can be had with raised crosswalks (as on 2700 South and 500 East) for $8000. The City’s proposed temporary speed bumps or any traffic calming should be permanent.
  Trying to apply for CIP funding sometimes takes years to result in a project. That is too late. The City Administration and Council should require all road projects to plan for and implement traffic calming on streets that could be impacted. SLC time to step up and do the responsible thing.

SLC SRO PROPOSAL WILL HURT AFFORDABLE HOUSING
  Salt Lake City is continuing to push the SRO proposal, now called shared housing ordinance (to get away from the bad history of SROs).  But this ordinance will discourage housing in Salt Lake City.  What developer will invest millions in an apartment building, if an SRO may be placed next to the new building!   This City will actually encourage developers to build housing elsewhere.
  This proposal seems to be like Palmer Court, the second biggest medical response draw in the City which should prove it is not a good idea.  Experts do not recommend all unaffordable due to increased loitering and encouraging and enabling criminal behavior, like crime magnet motels.  Even Dr. Marbut, this Country's Homeless Czar, said treatment should be proven and then expanded first since trying housing first does not work.  "If you only talk about roofs, you are only going to grow homelessness".
  The City may plan to house seniors and disabled and students but low cost housing also attracts criminal elements like the crime magnet motels.  SROs are not a solution to housing until treatment is working.  During recent homeless camps' outreach, only about 22 out of 160 accepted housing!
  This ordinance will discourage the building of higher density housing in Salt Lake City.
Implement inclusionary zoning instead.

BALLPARK AREA PROJECT GETTING PUSHBACK
  In 2017, the City Planning Commission gave a tentative approval to the Book Cliffs Apartments near 1200 South and West Temple.  But the neighborhood was more interested in demolishing the Housing Authority owned homes on the property instead of worrying about the project.  The project is back on track and now neighbors are fighting it.  Many in the neighborhood are concerned about lack of parking (19 spaces for over 50 units), increasing height of building which destroys mountain views and increases shadows, inadequate tree replacement and sidewalk widths.  The Planning Commission is tentatively reconsidering the project at their December 9th meeting.
  Specifically,
PARKING
  We keep having the argument about lack of off street parking.  Seniors should not be expected to walk 100 feet to TRAX.  The Taylor Springs parking lot managed by HASLC is usually full and shows that seniors and low income DO drive.  The 900 S. Bennion apartments (listed by the Housing Authority as proof that parking stalls are not needed) are 200 feet from a bus stop and another 100 feet from TRAX.  The Book Cliffs' nearest bus stop is over 1200 feet.  And thinking that seniors will have no problem walking two or three blocks is not thinking. Ironically, the recent meetings of the Central Ninth Community Council complained about lack of parking (a consistent problem from 9th and 9th which caused an almost riot during the roundabout construction and the arguments of hundreds agains a rezone at 400 East and 9th South).  Some are so desperate that they a placard restricted area!  Parking requirements should be close to the number of apartments.  Bicycle safety is significantly decreased if there are so many cars parked on the street that safe bicycling is not available (due to dooring and lack of visibility from driveways).
MOUNTAIN VIEWS AND SHADOWS
  SLC has had this discussion many times before.  Residents should have a right to morning sunshine and mountain views and sunshine in their gardens and yards.  The mountain views should not be impacted through non compliant zoning (achieved with a conditional use permit or otherwise).  The City's efforts to ignore the importance of morning sunshine (remember the infamous Life, the Universe and Sugar House report).
  The increased height will also intimidate neighbors and other potential residential building projects.  In other words, don't destroy neighborhood possibilities with high density projects.  (My arguments against SROs apply - who would want to build apartments next to a potential SRO site?)
TREES
  SLC has a tree ordinance that is not be implemented.  Removing a tree should result in planting the number of trees equal to the radius of the tree removed (it is unfortunately not leaf equivalent).  Trees removed from before demolition of the homes should be replaced with one tree per 2 inch of diameter of old trees removed.  The project proposal is to replace old trees with one one inch diameter tree!
SIDEWALKS
  Sidewalks should be wider to allow a wheelchair and or stroller to be walked with by a pedestrian side by side.  Sidewalks should not be so limited to not allow side by side walking or use by wheelchairs.  If sidewalk is not wide enough for two wheelchairs, ADU lawsuits should be expected.  I know the people who sue on this issue (they end up with a mediator that forces SLC to make right - SLC had to redo a restroom and provide better ADA accomodations in the City County Building).  HASLC should not be ignoring ADA fairness since they should exxpect some ADA residents.  In addition, if easy access to mass transit is part of the reason for lack of parking, sidewalk widths should reflect that and allow more than one person at a time to use the sidewalk width.
DEPOT DISTRICT PLANS IGNORE PEDESTRIAN BICYCLE SAFETY
  The Depot District/Station Center plans for the almost 4 acres owned by the City's RDA and mostly vacant for decades was presented recently.  The area is between 400 West and 600 West and between 200 South and 400 South.  It shows shared streets, big planter boxes and other amenities to prettify the streets.  
  But there is pressure to allow higher buildings in the area (a recent 190 foot building proposal was withdrawn due to SLC questioning if it was appropriate for next to the homeless services!).  I expect high buildings will end up in the area which will result in a lot of shadows and ice buildup on sidewalks and streets.  There is, so far, no plan to mitigate the resulting danger.  Years ago, the old Granite Building Block on 2100 S. and Highland had sidewalks that became slippery when wet!  During winter they were even more unsafe.  Pedestrian sidewalks and streets should be designed to counter the ice and water buildup that will make surfaces slippery and unsafe.  Ice falling from tall buildings should also be mitigated with setbacks.  The City County Building has had an accident from a falling icicle and the Capitol buildings have falling icicle problems.
  The planter boxes may also create visibility problems on a shared street (something that the 300 West project also has a problem with).

SLC COUNCIL DISCUSSES MANY HOUSING PROPOSALS IN ONE MEETING
  "On Tuesday, December 1, at 2PM, the Salt Lake City Council will discuss a variety of planning petitions related to housing issues.
  Housing issues are at the forefront of this discussion, which covers affordability, increasing housing supply, diversifying housing options, and neighborhood compatibility. Additionally, an update from City staff on the adopted Growing SLC Housing Plan will help provide valuable context to this discussion.
  The Council is currently reviewing a few housing-related land use petitions including RMF-30 Zoning changes and a Shared Housing proposal. The Council anticipates other petitions, including an Affordable Housing Overlay and off-street parking changes, in the foreseeable future.
  The goal of the discussion is to link these proposals together and consider them with a “big picture” policy context. Alone, these proposals each impact City housing policy. Combined and coordinated, they become part of a clearer vision. This briefing will help inform the City’s efforts to expand housing opportunities within Salt Lake City. The Council will not take action on these proposals at this meeting. Each item will have future stand-alone briefings and public hearings before the Council takes action."
  This should be one of the most important meetings of the year at the Council.

LEGISLATURE PUNTS ON HYDROGEN EFFORT TO STOP NATURAL GAS USE
  There was an effort at the Public Utilities Interim Committee to get the Committee to endorse a bill to push hydrogen to show how environmental Utah is to the U.S. Olympic Committee.  It was heard but not acted on.  It seemed to ignore the negative impact on budgets and using Utah's plentiful natural gas resources.  Concerns about hydrogen include decreasing importance of Utah natural gas and engineering limitations.
  Emphasizing development of hydrogen use and infrastructure, in my mind, decreases the potential to increase use of Utah's abundant natural gas.  
  Specifically, the effort to push so called green hydrogen (made with solar or wind power and electrolysis of water versus grey hydrogen made with natural gas) will defocus Utah from increasing the use of Utah's abundant natural gas fields.  If they are not used, they will continue to leak.  It has taken us decades to ring out/engineer natural gas development, delivery and use in engines and turbines.  It did not come overnight.  
  I know that UTA and others had issues with power loss by converting buses to natural gas.  That seems to have been mostly fixed.  Utah has also emphasized building a significant infrastructure for the UTA buses and school buses.  Utah and other states have been planning for a natural gas fueling system for major highways for trucking.  Note that the emissions are much better with natural gas versus diesel (NOx emissions are about the same).  Natural gas fuel cells are also available.  The fuel delivery infrastructure of natural gas has taken decades to be set up and shouldn't be discouraged by changing focus to hydrogen. 
  The engineering required to create an effective infrastructure is significant and may take decades.  It require compression to 700 atmospheres and cooling to -253 C.  It also carries 1/4 of the energy per unit volume of natural gas.  The facts are that diesel is about 10 kwh per liter of fuel, LPG/LNG is about 6 kwh per liter, hydrogen is about 2.5 for liquid H2 and 1kwh for 350 atmosphere H2, Lithium Ion batteries are about .3 kwh per liter.  It has taken us over 100 years to develop and perfect the infrastructure to deliver liquid fossil fuels (50 years for LNG).  
  Engineering is not easy or quick.  It is really complicated.  Just because there is a good idea, doesn't mean that it can be implemented quickly.  It applies to nuclear, solar, wind, fossil fuels, cars, trucks and roads.  Hydrogen is much more expensive than our abundant natural gas, is super explosive with leaks that are hard to control (I used to work for a company that couldn't stop helium from leaking!), it will explode if there are any impurities in the piping and it can have disastrous effects on piping (making it brittle).
  My biggest concern is that focusing on hydrogen in Utah will hurt the economy of our natural gas developers and users.  Utah should be focusing on using our resources, not jumping on a so called environmental bandwagon without significantly more analysis.  
  I am also upset that LA and California ordered Mitsubishi turbines for IPA that are certified to work with hydrogen since their goal is to stop burning fossil fuels, even if it does not make sense.  I get really upset when they say that Utah is polluting the atmosphere when their mismanagement of forest fires (and natural gas storage) creates four times more carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere every year than burning Utah coal.  And Utah citizens have to breathe their mismanagement.  
  The efforts to use sustainable energy in Utah would be best focused on a solar panel with battery credit for homes and businesses in Utah to increase the efficiency of our electricity infrastructure and prepare for a worst case earthquake when only those solar panels with batteries will be able to provide electricity.  We did not have electricity for 5 days this last year due to a windstorm.  About 20 years ago, power was lost during a cold Christmas for a few days.  Emergencies happen and Utah should prepare for them.  Increasing use of solar panels with batteries would be better marketing than claiming Utah is jumping on the environmental bandwagon with hydrogen.  Also, Utah could consider removing the electric vehicle registration fees, if we want Utahns to buy more power that is mainly produced by coal, very efficiently.
  For a more in depth analysis of so call green hydrogen, see: https://e360.yale.edu/features/green-hydrogen-could-it-be-key-to-a-carbon-free-economy

SEARS BLOCK PLANS IGNORE CRIME MAGNET 13TH S. WAREHOUSE
  The Sears Block between 7th and 8th South has a proposal to build a high rise with market rate apartments and with a higher height than zoning allows.  I am against it since height variances should only be allowed for mixed income buildings.  But what is more upsetting is one of the City's biggest homeless camping areas is next to the vacant Sears warehouse next to the TRAX line on 1300 South.  That building needs to be demolished or converted to any use to deter homeless attraction.  The new demolition ordinance should be targeted at that building to force redevelopment first before the Sears Block building is approved.

RESTROOMS IN PARKS LISTED
  The Salt Lake City Council asked for more information on restrooms and this is what the City's staff reported:
  "Below is Public Services’ response to public restroom questions:
E-20: Enhanced Homeless Camp Cleanup
What is the strategy and criteria for restroom location selection?
Is the Portland Loo operational by the former Road Home Shelter site? If no, what would be needed to make it operational?
The Portland Loos are in operation and there should be an Advantage Services attendant at the gate.
Are there publicly owned restroom facilities that are or could be opened for public use?
From the Facilities’ perspective: Both the City and County Building and Plaza 349 are open to limited staff numbers, and partially opening them for restroom access would require the addition of attendants, increased janitorial service, a shift in CBI Security responsibilities, and turning on building HVAC systems (they are turned down to unoccupied status to conserve energy). Opening restrooms for occupied City buildings could increase COVID exposure to employees.
From the Public Lands perspective: Public restrooms are available in most of Salt Lake City’s neighborhood, and community parks and in our natural areas throughout the warmer months. However, all park restrooms close each fall in advance of winter’s frost to prevent damage to the above-ground plumbing, which is not designed to withstand winter temperatures. Those facilities reopen in the spring.
Portable toilets are placed in several high-traffic areas for use throughout the winter.
Vault toilet facilities remain open year-round, as they are not subject to freezing pipes.
Below is a list of portable toilets set throughout the winter in parks and natural areas.
Public Lands Site/Winter Portable Restrooms
11th Ave Park    1 Regular
Cottonwood Park 1 ADA
Jordan Park Greenhouse Restroom 1 ADA 1 Regular
Jordan River Par 3 Park 1 ADA
Library Square
Library Manges
Liberty Park 9 Regular 3 ADA
Memory Grove Park 1 Regular
Model Port Park Vault toilet
Popperton Park 1 Regular
Reservior Park 1 Regular
Riverside Park 1 Regular
Rosewood Park 1 Regular
Rotary Glen Park 1 Regular
Sunnyside Park 1 Regular
Warm Springs Park 1 Regular
Westpointe Park 1 Regular
   The Sugar House Community Council will discuss whether to ask the City for a portable restroom for Fairmont Park this Wednesday December 2 at 7pm during their monthly meeting.

SLCPD DESPERATE FOR OFFICERS CLOSES CIU OFFICE
  Since SLCPD is down over 50 officers and overtime has been limited to reduce turnover, the Police Department is rearranging their personnel to try to return some sworn officers to patrol.  The popular Community Intelligence Unit that worked with community councils is being disbanded in January of 2021 and their liaison with community councils will be the responsibility of the captains for the area.  It will be an interesting change.  I am not sure how effective it will be.  Years ago, the CIU position was a stepping stone to higher office in the Department but community councils objected to the turnover and wanted, and got, the City to agree to keep CIU officers in the position for at least 18 months.  Many of the CIU officers became well known to the community and were able to solve issues that were a problem without hands on efforts.

OPPOSITION TO 17TH S. FOOTHILL LAMPLIGHTER SQUARE
  During a meeting so well attended that it hit the Zoom limit of 100 (which resulted in many being left out), the owner of the 1700 South Foothill development (on the west side of Foothill) reported on his plans for the east side of Foothill at 1700 South (he bought the old Lamplighter Inn that was causing a crime problem).  He wanted to increase the height of the building; provide mixed use including a new liquor store; and expand it east onto adjacent single family home property.  Over 70% of attendees objected to the project which will need City Council approval.  The main reason is the increased height will destroy valley views and traffic will be increased too much.
  Again, for any community councils expecting a high turnout over Zoom, consider using the City's offered virtual meeting systems.  SLC's Director of Community Engagement, Weston Clark, is ready to help host meetings using City resources for any of the popular virtual meeting systems.
900 S. S-LINE PROJECT APARTMENTS PROJECT
  The City has indicated that the 900 S. S-Line property that used to be a garage will probably be redeveloped into an apartment building with around 50 residential units.  It meets zoning so the community council will not really have a say.

HAWTHORNE ELEMENTARY PROPOSAL FOR TREES PUSHED
  After years of pushing for more trees in schoolyards, several SLC School Board members have agreed and ordered staff to plan to plant trees next to 700 East on the Hawthorne Elementary School property.  Sometimes pushing works.
300 W. PROJECT WILL SLOW TRAFFIC TO 25MPH
  Although most of the 300 West reconstruction will not decrease travel lanes (I still do not think UDOT will allow the block just north of 2100 South to decrease lanes from 3 going south to 2), the project will decrease the speed limit to 25 MPH.  I am not sure that that makes sense for an arterial.  30 MPH is a more appropriate speed limit, especially since there is no parking on the street and streets like 2100 South are more unsafe with a 25 MPH speed limit (It is 30 MPH now).

ALMOST NO COMMENTS ON UTA BUDGET THAT INCREASES FAREPAY
  At a public hearing on the UTA budget, I was told that only one person was commenting on the budget!  That is a sad commentary on our mass transit system.  The deadline is effectively over since it will be adopted Wednesday December 2.  
  My comments were, in short, UTA should not be spending almost $2 million on a trail at the Clearfield Station.  That Station desperately needs more parking.  UTA should not be spending almost $5 million on a parking garage in Sandy.  The TOD tenants should be paying an assessment to UTA to build the parking garage.  Giving away so much property for free to a public private partnership for a TOD that it results in inadequate parking is a bad way to run a mass transit company.
  UTA should implement a $1 fare for buses since it got $187 million in CARES Act funding.  UTA should do a vigorous cost benefit analysis for each of the $100 million proposed BRTs since there is no evidence that they actually encourage ridership; they are unsafe; they require 2 lanes that may increase congestion and pollution and the $100 million could be better spent on 10 more bus routes. 

UTA HIRED 169 DRIVERS IN 2019 FOR $2.1 MILLION
  In a report to the Legislature, "UTA's Chief People Officer has calculated the approximate cost of turnover for Bus Operators at $12,534. In 2019, UTA hired 169 operators to replace employees lost to turnover for a calculated $2.1 million cost. Some published reports, citing SHRM data, say that direct employee replacement costs can reach as high as 50%-60% of an employee's annual salary."

SLC SHOULD PUSH FREE PET LICENSES FOR LOW INCOME/SENIORS
  SLC's Budget Amendment 5 includes the new cost for the County providing animal services and raccoon abatement.  The raccoon abatement program should be publicized to community councils.  SLC should also subsidize the cost of licenses for the companion animals for seniors and low income.  Many do not have the ability to pay for the licenses and vaccinations.  The City should work on that.  The County ended the free senior licenses.  
  Another item in the Amendment, A10, should be permanent lighting not temporary lighting and lighting should be more extensive for the Resource Center areas.  Neighbors near the Resource Centers are regularly accosted by aggressive homeless who loiter.  Funds should also be provided for cop cams or to provide cameras for adjacent businesses accessible to police.

WATER CONSERVATION PLAN INCREASES WATER USE AND KILLS TREES
  The new water conservation plan for SLC still does not provide flexibility for properties that are trying to minimize water use.  There have been several complaints to zoning enforcements that some properties do not meet the minimum planting requirements due to their minimizing water use.  I pass many properties that have beautiful yards with all decorative rocks or other designs that minimize water use but they do not meet the minimum 1/3 green/plantings.  The City should stop wasteful zoning investigations and fights by landowners that are trying to minimize their water use.
  There is an exception that should be  noted in the Water Conservation Plan:  Park Strip trees, City owned but the responsibility of property residents, should be noted that they need to be watered correctly.  I still believe that most residents do not water park strip trees enough for them to flourish.  A two foot wide park strip is often not regularly watered.  The bags can hold water for a week but many recent trees planted (75) have died due to property owners not understanding the requirements to maintain the trees.  This has resulted in a very wasteful result, lots of dead trees.  
  Park Strip trees should be listed and addresses recorded to allow mailing instructions on maintaining trees.  I understand, a couple of decades ago, during a drought, the City encouraged stopping watering the trees and many were too stressed out to survive.  The City should understand that water conservation should not be killing trees.
  The City has 1500 city trees and 1600 private trees.  Dominion Energy recently helped plant 250 trees.  Sugar House Park lost 70 trees including many blue spruce trees that were over 50 years old.  The Park also lost a copper roof from a pavilion but the Park was able to turn it in for a nice return on investment (copper prices are high) and it used the money to replace the roof.  The Park is using off duty police to remove people camping after hours.
CROSSWALK LIGHTING NEEDED FOR PEDESTRIANS
  Several community council meetings expressed concerns about the lack of lighting to emphasize pedestrians crossing the street and protect them from left hand turning vehicles.  700 East (especially around 900 South), 300 West (especially around 900 South) are two especially dangerous intersections especially at night.  SLC has said that they will research how to increase lighting for pedestrians crossing the street in those areas and the 900 South and 300 West reconstructions may provide funding for those solutions.

UTAH IN LA-LA LAND THINKING 3 MONTHS DRUG TREATMENT WORKS
  Dr. Marbut, the Country's homeless czar, during his recent visit to Salt Lake City, said that best practice solutions for homeless that do not want housing or are resistant to housing is to fundamentally change how services are delivered.  We have so moved away from consequences (not criminalizing) that we will always have problems.
  Treatment needs 1-2 years not 3 months.  "Utah is in la-la land if you think 1-3 months will work for a 15 yr homeless drug addict."  I am sad to report that Utah is in la-la land and it is not a musical.



OCTOBER 2020
UTA GOT $187 FROM FEDS BUT REFUSES $1 BUS FARE
  UTA received $187 million from the federal government through the CARES Act.  They are saving $100 million to be spent in the next year in the budget that is being discussed now at the Board of Trustees meetings.  But, UTA is spending $87 million this year on other things than trying to get more people to ride mass transit.  UTA gets around $50 million a year in fare revenue (predicted to be about $30 million annually for a few years).  And UTA did help UVX BRT in Provo use free fare (with federal funding).  So why isn't UTA using the CARES Act funds to lower fares to $1 on buses?  (Note fare elasticities for rail are more complicated since parking lots are usually full and ticket machines are limited in the number of tickets per hour that they can dispense.  Lowering fares on rail are not very effective at increasing ridership.  The exception is the FrontRunner free fare days which parents use as a free Disneyland E ticket ride.)
 I respect UTA's efforts to develop and operate an efficient transit system but the important subsidy per rider should be part of the analysis.
  The subsidy of the VIA Southwest SLCO per rider is over $35 per rider which is admittedly less than the subsidy per rider for the previous bus system.  FrontRunner, in evenings may have a subsidy per rider of hundreds of dollars.  The S-Line subsidy per rider (considering a $30 million replacement of rails in 30 years) may be well over $10 per rider.
  Roads are more efficient since they can take vehicles, trucks and families and help the economy by making delivery of goods more efficient.  Roads are used by over 90% of citizens while transit is used by less than 3% and can't carry products.  Roads are more effective at encouraging economic development than rail with a few exceptions.   
  An analysis of roads costs show that the cost for a 10 mile 2 lane 20 year road is around $200 million at most and can carry 3 million vehicles per year for about a $3 subsidy (gas tax is about 25 cents).  In addition the 30% less pollution with rail or BRT should be expected to be matched by vehicles within 5 years since newer vehicles are 90% less polluting that 20 year old cars.
  A more reasonable plan would start with bus and only consider projects if ridership develops.  Rail and/or BRT should only be considered if there is a destination with 40,000 employees (like a university or the International Center).  Note that UDOT has a proposal to run an advanced bus down 5600 West that should be considered.
  Why isn't UTA promoting the expanded span of service for buses that can go past midnight!?  Why isn't UTA promoting studies that show wearing masks on buses protects against COVID infection!?  And why is Salt Lake City spending their valuable transit funding (several million a year - last year they did not spend $1 million of it) on increasing span of service on 2, 9 and 21 routes when UTA is increasing span of service anyway!!?  It seems that SLC is paying for something that was supposed to happen without SLC funds!  Salt Lake City is suggesting now that service on the 4 route (400 South to Foothill and South - which may go eventually to Little Cottonwood Canyon) increase their span of service, then routes in the north part of Salt Lake (Rose Park).
  Rideuta.com has data that provides significantly more transparency on UTA's operations, ridership and bus stop use (I put the October reports in the downloads section in the right.).  In addition, there is a recovery section on rideuta.com/recovery that goes into detail about the new efforts to provide safe ridership on UTA.  UTA is buying 117 new vinyl seats for rail lines to make it easier to regularly clean the seats.
  There is expected to be another service expansion in April of 2021.  Also, Kent Millikin is leaving the Board and Lindon Mayor Jeff Acerson (who spent years on the UTA Board and is much more knowledgeable that the other two Board of Trustees) will join the Board of Trustees when he is confirmed on November 18 at the next Senate Interim Session.
  Senator Harper's pet project, the Mid Valley Connector BRT (about $50 million around 48th South) skipped the EIS since UTA expected local taxes to pay for all of it.  But at the last Interim Session, UTA said that they are working with FTA for it and that should require an EIS (which should show that the two dedicated lanes via a road diet would make 48th South even more congested).
  Other notes from the session regarding UTA include that S-Line ridership is still around 650; the Wasatch Front Regional Council is working with interested parties to analyze the cost of roads versus transit; UTA is double tracking and building a station around Vineyard for FrontRunner which makes sense since FrontRunner trains shouldn't be stopping like they do there on every run; UTA is spending over $4 million on a parking garage in Sandy (that should be paid for by property assessment fees); UTA is studying where to put 4 TODs along the Draper to Lehi TRAX line (paid for by the FTA).
  Each of the hundred million dollar BRT projects will serve about 2000 a day predicted but take up two lanes of traffic.  The 200S BRT is the South Davis Connector.  The 35Max BRT is no longer in service but UTA has asked that the two exclusive lanes be saved for future BRT when ridership increases (if ever)
  The 33rd S and Redwood Rd buses are still running over 2000 a day.  They did not go down in ridership as much as most other routes.  That shows that they need more frequency (and the 217 Redwood Road bus should be going around in circles twice each route).
  And a final note on UTA:  We have been complaining for years that UTA and SLC should not be spending millions on bus stop improvements when buses are ordered to stay one to 4 feet from the curb!  I saw a sign on a bus stop recently that reminded bus drivers to stay 4 feet from the curb (to avoid hitting the bus mirror on a power pole).  But the orders started when the manager in charge of the leased bus tires got tired of the scuffed tires and ordered drivers to stay 1 to 4 feet from the curb!
  Anyone having mobility issues can't easily go into the street and it requires the ramp and time (which wastes the effort to speed up the buses).

JUSTICE REINVESTMENT INITIATIVE NOT WORKING
  The JRI Audit (in the downloads section on the right) showed that JRI is not working as intended.  Too many individuals are being arrested again and again without resolution of their mental issues or drug and alcohol issues (usually covering up their mental issues).  The goal of not incarcerating drug users in prison is an appropriate and respectful effort.  But when criminals misuse the system to continue criminal behavior, it is not working.  The vast majority of drug users do not commit victimless crimes and if they commit crimes everyday they are on the street, they should be incarcerated.  In addition, the State forced an unfunded mandate on counties.  There is a systemic problem with the JRI efforts, in my opinion.
  When the County refuses to fund appropriate jail space but leaves 184 beds open there is a problem.  (Note that the County Sheriff's budget is $5 million less than last year! - The County budget is being discussed in public hearings now - DA and Sheriff presentations are in the downloads on the right.)  When the DA has 14 prosecutor positions unfilled there is a problem.  When judges admonish Adult Probation and Parole (the Audit showed APP was underfunded and undermanned) for recommending probation for someone who empties a gun into a car full of people, there is a problem,
  When a robber is sentenced to 1 to 15 years in prison, ends up in jail for 30days and 6 months later tries to shoot some cops who surround him, who shoot him until he stops being a threat, there is a problem.
  He should have been in prison and you don't need an audit to tell you the system isn't working.  You don't need the US Attorney to tell you there is a problem (he recently complained about the lack of enforcement of laws by Utah government).
  The Legislature should study the cost to properly incarcerate threats to society and fund either the State or County to take those threats out of society and demand that all treatment centers that receive federal funds, track and report all results for a year.  The Audit was unable to show the results for treatment!  It appears from the Utah Department of Health scorecards that success after a year is less than 40% and in 5 years, it may be less than 10%.
  One important finding that was missed is the Audit shows that the Salt Lake County Jail inmate population expanded but has been stable for many years!  That is due to the SLCO Jail's booking restrictions.  (The Audit missed that data!)  The JRI Audit graph in the Appendix should show a doubling or tripling of jail inmates but the Jail only allows first and second degree felonies to be booked!  Law enforcement can influence some flexibility but they are told to try to follow the rules since arrestees tend to walk out before the arrest reports are finished!  The Audit provides a dashboard that goes into more detail at:
 https://public.tableau.com/profile/utah.legislative.auditor.general.s.office#!/

SLC OFFERS FREE ZOOM, WEBEX VIRTUAL MEETING HOSTING
  For some reason, the recognized community organizations in Salt Lake City have not all accepted the City's offer to host the community organizations through Webex, Teams or Zoom.  In fact, "no recognized community organizations have accepted the offer".  This is an offer that should be accepted since it also allows more virtual meetings that can help organize the City's neighborhoods and citizens.  It is also a good reason to organize and work to be recognized by the City.  The City is getting much better at public engagement and they participate in these meetings.  Please consider taking advantage of the offer.

900 SOUTH ROAD DIET IGNORES BICYCLING REALITY
  Salt Lake City is starting the public engagement process of redesigning and reconstructing 900 South.  It will also tie into the 9-Line Trail project that is prioritized to focus on 300 West to State Street.  We have been asking the City to upgrade the priority of the pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the railroad tracks for years but that project is still at the bottom of the priority list.  The railroad tracks divide the City and any project that eliminates that division should be prioritized.  
  The City's proposal is to make 900 South a 25 MPH road with 3 lanes.  But the City is still planning a typical wide center lane instead of a wide bicycle lane to accommodate 2 bicyclists riding side by side or passing one another.  The center turn lane should only exist at traffic lights since left hand turns kill a lot of pedestrians and bicyclists.  Angled parking should be eliminated due to the negative impact on bicycle safety.  The City has also been asked to increase lighting at 700 East to light up pedestrians crossing the road for left hand turning vehicles to better see.  Also missing from the plans is bus pullout lanes to eliminate vehicles being stopped by a bus stopping (or spending 5 minutes deploying a ramp).  The 1300 East road diet created mile long backups because of that problem, buses stopped in the middle of the street.
  With all of the development around the Central 9th area in the near future, the new roadway surface reconstruction may be a problem.  The City is attempting to coordinate with property owners and developers to minimize and eliminate any utility work on the street after the new road is paved.  As always, they are trying but they expect some developers will come in late with other plans.
  The 900 South Asian Market rezone, approved, got a lot of comments at the recent City Council meeting.  But the rezone doesn't really impact the Market.  Whether the Market stays is up to the Market manager, not the landowner that wants the Market to stay.  The nearby residents were upset at the potential increase in development possible with the rezone and the lack of parking for the restaurants on the property which are already negatively impacting the neighborhood (all of 900 South has parking problems - the City is conducting parking studies on the street).
  The biggest threat to the neighborhood character will happen when the 9-Line Trail on the side in front of the Market goes in.  That will encourage redevelopment.
  Although I am usually against road diets, 900 South is not used as much as other roads like 13th South, 1300 East and 2100 South and I don't expect much negative impact.  The bicycle community needs a better east west bicycle route and 900 South makes more sense for a road diet.  I am against lowering the speed since 30 MPH is low enough to ensure safety and keep through traffic on that street instead of speeding through adjacent streets (that resulted from other road diets and bicycle boulevards).  I know that hundreds of bicyclists want more safe space for bicycling and less roadways for personal vehicles, trucks and parking.  But despite claims that roads encourage personal vehicle use, the reality is personal vehicles and trucks and roads make our families, our economy and our Country more efficient.

GOOGLE WEBPASS TO SUPER DUPER 5 G IN UTAH
  The FCC has given Google's Webpass wireless internet company permission to test their new low band internet system in Utah!  This could mean a semi 5G/wifi system in the Valley.  It will take a few months to see what they have planned but they seem to be moving fast.  Note that many other companies are installing 5G breadboxes around the City.  Interestingly, the City (forced by the FCC) allows the companies to install the 5G systems almost anywhere on City property or on utility easements.  Most importantly, they have a standard that they should be kept 15 feet away from any trees.  I wonder what will happen if they try to cut a tree down for a 5G tower?

NEW SLC COUNCIL COMMENTS SYSTEM IMPLEMENTS EFFICIENCY
  The Salt Lake City Council has implemented a new comment system for their formal meetings.  Before, they lumped everyone who wanted to comment together.  If they wanted to comment on specific ordinances or rezonings, citizens would have to wait in the queue with everyone else until they were called (first call in, first allowed to comment).
  The new system continues to encourage public engagement.  Only a couple of city council meetings in the last 10 years had close to a hundred attendees and commenters.  When the city went to virtual meetings with Webex and phone, it actually encouraged more public engagement and comments.  Comments exponentially increased with the George Floyd murder.  Unfortunately, the system the City Council implemented discouraged specific zoning and ordinance issues since there were hundreds of audio comments that focused on police brutality.  Only a handful of commenters were willing to endure the hours of complaints about the police to make their comments.  The new system goes back to separating each individual ordinance and policy in the agenda and allowing comments for those items.  General comments are at the end and tend to be fewer since those complaining about the police and homeless issues are not patient enough to wait to comment.  The system also requires signing up with contact information to discourage any inappropriate comments.  Over the last year, I only heard 2 or 3 comments that I felt crossed the line.  The Councilmembers deserve credit for spending the hours to listen to the comments over the last year.  I fought against the salary increase for the Councilmembers a few years ago but I have to admit that they are now earning every dollar of the extra salary.  Before this year, dedicated Councilmembers spent 20 hours a week on community work.   Over the last year they have spent, I believe, an extra 10 hours a week on working on City issues.  The City Council formal meetings used to be 1 to 2 hours but after May, they started running 3 to 5 hours.  The last meeting lasted 2.5 hours.  The system is much better and many of the issues were better covered.  The only problem was the new Century Link phone conferencing system did not work but the Webex system did do a great job.

NEW HOMELESS CAMP CLEANUP SYSTEM CRAWLS
  The City's new homeless camp abatement system is crawling month by month.  Over the last 3 months, only one camp cleanup has occurred.  Taufer Park camp cleanup was interrupted several times by protesters, including Friday.  But Saturday morning, the cleanup finished (surprise) and the SLCPD is supposed to keep campers away.  It is the closest camp to the 700 South shelter and I expect it to return.  The next scheduled cleanup, that may take just a month is 500 West in the Rio Grande area.  Others are to be around the churches around 300 East and North Temple and 1300 South.
  During the information gathering, the City counted 162 camping at night in Salt Lake City (big camps.  many more were camping in mini camps).  80 were offered beds but 60 of those refused.  The City has access to 80 beds/vouchers for women at hotels.  They also have 40 spots for men at Vincent De Paul Center (using City and State Funds).  The City is also working on a stay safe hotel for high risk homeless with 132 beds.  Switchpoint, a St George homeless shelter operator, is supposed to take over the winter overflow shelter which is still being planned but is not identified yet.  The County is hoping for 150 beds by November 1 in a "non-congregate setting".  The State is looking for another shelter, possibly in Tooele.  SLC Mayor Mendenhall says that she will not allow another shelter in the City, nor another winter overflow or a dedicated camping area in the City.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN POWER NORTH TEMPLE TO REDEVELOP
  Rocky Mountain Power is planning new offices on their North Temple/1500 West property to replace and consolidate all of their offices in Utah by 2022.  The North Temple offices will expand to 800 employees and include the Kern River Gas employees.  The company has been interfering with the Folsom Trail development which runs through their property, despite signing a contract to allow the Trail.  The new project should open up the logjam that is stopping the Folsom Trail from being completed.  The gas plant on the site will continue to operate until 2032.
  On another note, on the Folsom Trail, the Fisher Mansion was damaged by the earthquake and it will require significant repairs and stabilization.

WATERSHED COLLECTING INFORMATION BILL TABLED
  Rep. Stratton has been trying to bring good government sensibility to the Wasatch Canyons watershed and water management by SLC Public Utilities.  One of the new proposed Utah Constitutional Amendments is regarding allowing more input on water services by users of those services that don't live in Salt Lake City.  The Constitution does not now allow any City to sell their water, but Salt Lake City does it anyway and it theoretically can take it away at any time.  Rep. Stratton helped pass the bill for the Amendment on the ballot.
  In the last Interim session, he tried to get a bill through to provide more information for further
    possible actions.  It was tabled until November's Interim Session.  It would require SLC Public Utilities to notify its customers in the Canyons that they can comment and provide feedback on the services provided.  This encourages feedback on how extraterritorial jurisdiction may negatively impact the watershed.  For instance Salt Lake City alone cannot fight the biggest threat to the watershed, forest fires.  Canyon property owners often know more about the threat than the City.  It should be passed to collect more information.  The State's most influential water attorney, Clyde, convinced the Legislature's Water Commission to table it for a month.

CRAIG CARTER, WHO INSPIRED THOUSANDS, DIES
  Craig Carter, a close friend and fellow activist, has died.  He and I had many fights together against the City to make this City better, especially for those of us getting older and having mobility issues. He and I also collaborated on opinion pieces, regarding the importance and heroism of police officers.  His obituary, written by his wife Toni, from the Salt Lake Tribune says it better than I:
"H. Craig Carter
1930 ~ 2020
On Sunday October 18, 2020 I lost my lover of 44 years, partner in crime and "best friend" - Craig Carter. Craig was born May 28, 1930 in SLC to Margaret and Charles Carter. He attended South High. He was a proud marine serving during the Korean War aboard the USS Boxer. He attended The University of Utah where he was an active member and president of "Sigma Pi Fraternity"-- that's when he became a lifelong Ute."
Craig worked for "Restaurant and Store Equipment ", where he designed kitchens and restaurants. He later became the store and interior designer for Castleton's Department stores and warehouse. He then became the head consultant for Pool Display designing stores for Wolfes Sporting Goods, Blocks, Shapiro Travel Goods, Peerless Beauty, Gabby Gourmet, Copper Rivet's to name a few.
His 52-year, lifelong part-time passion started as a freshman at the "U ". His personal and social life became as one for Craig. He handled all the Ushers and Ticket takers at the various venues on campus, Kingsbury Hall, Pioneer Theater, the Old Einar Nielsen Fieldhouse, Huntsman Center, Rice-Eccles Stadium, including all of the U of U graduations. In any given year Craig supervised over 300 part-time employees considering everyone one of them "family"! Craig was an amazing public relations front man for the University. In 2002 he was awarded the "President's Staff Award" from then Pres. Bernie Machen, it was a first for a part time employee. Craig personality was contagious. He always had a smile on his face, loved people, was kind, compassionate and treated everyone with respect. He was always "happy" to see you. Craig cherished his friends and "everyone" was his friend.
Craig's community service extended to being the Chair of the "Judging Committee" of commercial floats for the "Days of '47 Parade" for over 20 years. He was a founding member of what is now the Utah Arts Festival. Mayor Ted Wilson appointed him to the Mayor's Task Force for people with disabilities where he served for over 35 years. Craig was also active as a Board member of Very Special Arts now Arts Access.
Craig was married to Lavon Gill, together they had four fabulous children, David A. Carter (Noelle) CA, Shauna Carter Mabey (Tom) UT, Suzanne Carter Macriss (Rob) UT, Christine Kent AZ, and 6 grandchildren, Molly, Sarah, Nick, Emma, Cici and Kyle.
Dean Collett brought us together in 1968, he recommended me to work for Craig as a football ticket counter. It was at Kingsbury Hall years later, I was selling candy, he asked to kiss me, that was our beginning! He always said, "Toni Russell married me and made me the happiest man in Utah." We have had an eventful, loving life together. Our love of cooking, entertaining, gardening, travel, books, music, and theatre were a part of our lives together up until his end. He will be missed by all our friends and family! When I married Craig, I promised to marry him for better or worse - and I did!
Special thanks Dr. Fred Gottlieb for not only his care of Craig but his friendship and to Good Shephard Hospice for their incredible care over the last five months.
A celebration of his life will take place next Memorial Day weekend because we could not celebrate his "90th" this year.
In lieu of flowers please make donation to Canines With A Cause or your favorite charity.
Please share your photos and memories with the family at www.starksfuneral.com."
  I, and many others, will miss his optimism and activism, and his love of dogs.

DUI PLUS DRUG PENALTIES TO INCREASE
  Rep. Eliason is proposing a new bill that would significantly increase penalties for DUI when it goes over a high blood alcohol level.  These are the incapacitated drivers that are causing the most deaths and injuries on Utah roads.  In addition, the increased penalties will be for using drugs like THC while over the alcohol limit.  I always wondered why the State didn't outlaw using THC while driving and especially with alcohol since alcohol with THC increases the THC in the blood!  Rep. Eliason, again, is making a better Utah.  He also has been sponsoring many of the bills that focus on increasing mobile mental health crisis units in Utah.

JAYWALKING AND UTAH YIELD FOR BICYCLISTS SHOULD NOT BE A CRIME
  Jaywalking laws, in a recent City Lab story, was reported to be a waste of time and effort.  It also was responsible for the SLCPD stopping Patrick Harmon which resulted in him being shot when he overreacted with a knife.  Councilwoman Amy Fowler has expressed interest in decriminalizing many laws like that.  She is right.  The City should decriminalize jaywalking (Former SLCPD Chief Burbank ordered his officers to stop wrighting jaywalking tickets but the law is still on the books and used by SLCPD.).  We should also decriminalize bicycling on sidewalks and streets (it is against the law in Utah for bicyclists to not follow all vehicle laws like a full stop at stop signs and requiring a full complement of safety lights).    
  UTA cops still focus on jaywalking (to and from bus stops and rail stations).  It can create situations that escalate fast.  I also want to decriminalize cruising on State Street.

MCCLELLAND CLOSURE EXTENDED DUE TO CONTRACTOR MISTAKES
  McClelland Street in Sugar House will remain closed for another month due to the concrete crew being pulled off due to a design flaw by the engineering consultant.  The McClelland experience to upgrade the street won't occur until 2021.  
  Neighborhood pedestrians have pointed out that the left hand turn from 2100 South should be eliminated since it requires speeding up to avoid oncoming traffic.  That creates pedestrian dangers.  The City is still evaluating the final design.  There are still two big projects on the street scheduled to be finished well after the summer 2021 McClelland Street change.  Road construction will be a pain for at least a year or two more.

SUGAR HOUSE TARGET OPENING IN SPRING 2021
  For those interested, the Sugar House Target opening may not occur until the spring of 2021.

SLCPD DOWN 38 SWORN OFFICERS
  Mayor Mendenhall, earlier this month, spent a lot of time at the City Council going over the loss of SLC police officers over the last year.  The report was due to the rumors that were being circulated that SLCPD was down 50 officers.  I was partly responsible for those rumors but I also said that I expected the City to be down 50 officers by December.  I asked for more information after the Mayor's report.  I reminded the City, that, during my presentation to the Legislature last month, SLC 911 dispatch said that much of the poor response time was due to lack of police officers.  I also said that he 911 Director is a great public servant who has significantly decreased 911 problems identified in the audit and I had other information that indicated that the City was not filling many positions.  The City has been more forthcoming and has said that we are down 38 sworn officers as of Oct. 16 and 24 civilian FTEs.   
  I have attached the loss spreadsheet.  Note that this City has usually lost 2-3 officers a month to retirement.  This was reported in last year's IACP Report.  It is due to Utah's public safety retirement system with a significant unfunded actuarial liability.  Note that the City just increased retirement contributions as allowed by the last legislative session.  
  These are the relevant City emails about this issue (from October 7 through 19th):
  "Communities can contact their city counselors to voice their support for PDs. This is their avenue for having their voices heard. Attend community and city council meetings. Call, e-mail, write representatives.....
  Some positions are “frozen”, but we have been given the green light to proceed with hiring up to a certain point. More clarification to come....
  We had been hiring lateral officers and putting them through a shorter academy, but we only have new hire academies scheduled moving forward.....
  New Academy class will have 12 new hires and 2 SLC firefighters.  We are currently in the process of hiring and will be starting an academy in three weeks......
  We are in the process of interviewing new hires over the next couple weeks. We currently have 100+ invited to interview (6 of whom are prior or current Explorers)......
  Funded Vacant Positions as of 10/16/2020  
Vacant Funded Civilian  24
Vacant Funded Sworn  38
  30 hired in academy - January 13, 2020
  20 of those hired in January 13, 2020 still employed"
  My commentary in the Salt Lake Tribune in August indicated that the SLCPD needs more funding and it appears that the City has agreed.  Bottom line, the hiring freeze is over and the new Police Academy class will start in November instead of next spring.  I know that hundreds have been demanding the police to be defunded but tens of thousands want more visible police.  The Mayor appears to be listening to the vast majority.  Ironically, she and Councilman Derek Kitchen were instrumental in pushing through funding (through the federal government) for 50 more SLCPD cops 5 years ago.  The then Mayor tried to stop it by saying the Academy couldn't handle more applicants but that was shown to be wrong.

SLCPD HERO STILL WITH SALT LAKE CITY
  I want to acknowledge the heroism of a Salt Lake City Police Officer Officer who, ten years ago on August 27, 2010, stopped what could have been and almost was a massacre of hundreds of Salt Lake City residents.  Officer Uppsen Downes, who "is still very much employed at SLCPD", engaged a fully armored and armed soldier who was intent on killing as many people as possible.  The soldier had failed to get to a high position in the Grand America Hotel and was on the street in body armor, helmet and with his automatic rifle and lots of ammunition.  When Officer Downes encountered him, he ordered him to drop his rifle.  The soldier unloaded his gun at him and Officer Downes was shot in the leg.  Instead of taking cover and waiting for backup, Officer Downes returned fire with three shots, one of which, miraculously, hit the soldier in the head.  That stopped the massacre that the soldier had planned "to make him famous".  I am convinced that Officer Downes should have been policeman of the year in America and that he saved hundreds of lives that day.  Ten years ago, it could have been different except for an Officer who explained that he was just doing his job.  He is a hero.  I think that he is the greatest hero this State has. 
SLC INTERNAL AFFAIRS SENDS TWO POLICE TO POST INVESTIGATION
  During the last few months, there have been many complaints that the Salt Lake City Police Department is out of control and regularly exhibits police brutality.  The cases that turned up that did show police brutality were immediately corrected when reported.  There have been many times when the violence of a critical event has not been reported but the result has often been the person responsible for not reporting the incident has been forced to retire (as in the case of the police canine officer who did not report these incidents).  There have also been complaints that the Police Union/Association is too powerful and the State is too lenient with police.  The reality is that Utah has a vigorous system that targets unprofessional law enforcement conduct called POST.  Utah is ensuring appropriate police conduct with POST.  In the past, officers have been terminated from law enforcement positions in the State, or suspended from practicing for a time or punished in other ways.  The following are statistics for the last five years for SLCPD, DPS and UDC (provided by POST): 
?
Complaints:
Salt Lake City PD - 26
Department of Public Safety - 42
Utah Department of Corrections - 84
Cases:
Salt Lake City PD - 9
Department of Public Safety - 19 
Utah Department of Corrections - 67
?
Breakdown of complainants and if a case was opened for each Salt Lake City PD complaint:
2020 - 2 referred from SLCIA, and were opened as cases
           1 citizen complaint that was not opened.
2019 - 4 citizen complaints, 3 were not opened and 1 was
           1 referred from another agency during background investigation, was opened as a case
2018 - 5 referred by SLCIA, 4 were opened, 1 was not *as we were being audited
           1 anonymous complaint was not opened
           1 incident was observed by POST on the media and was opened as a case
2017 - 3 incidents were observed by POST on the media, 1 was opened as a case, the other 2 were not
           2 citizen complaint, neither were opened as cases
2016 - 1 referred by SLCPD, opened as a case
           1 anonymous complaints, not opened
           3 citizen complaints, none opened
           1 incident was observed by POST on the media and was opened as a case
UTAH JUSTICE AUDIT PROVES OUR CLAIMS OF POOR PUBLIC SAFETY
  There is an important Audit on Utah's Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) that hit the Legislature this month.  It showed that our criminal justice system is not working well.  JRI stopped sending drug users to prison and forced counties to incarcerate them in the county jail which was costly and effectively an unfunded mandate.  The vast majority of drug users do not commit victimless crimes.  The Audit is in the downloads on the right.  The appendixes show the incarceration numbers and drug and alcohol (SUDs) treatment numbers.  But, as the Audit mentioned, they couldn't get the treatment providers to prove their success.  The State has indicated that the 1 year successful treatment is around 40% but it may take as long as 5 years to reflect real life percentages of success.  The federal government believes successful opioid addiction treatment is around 5%!  Interestingly, I have seen only one person that has gone through the system after Operation Rio Grande that has been able to continue working and stay away from drugs.  She keeps being mentioned as a success and i congratulate her.  But is there anyone else?  The problem, as I indicated several years ago in a commentary in the newspaper, is without jail or incarceration for more that a day, there is no real incentive to enter and continue drug treatment.  The Salt Lake County Jail refuses to book anyone except for first and second degree felonies and they are released, usually, within a day.
  Not noted in the graphs, Salt Lake County limits jail populations and releases everyone, even felonies to not get above a limit. and refused to jail drug users.   In other words  it is worse than the graph in the appendix of the Audit shows.  
  When judges admonish APP (which the Audit said is underfunded and understaffed) for recommending probation for someone who empties a gun into a car full of people, there is a problem.  
  When a robber is sentenced to 1 to 15 years in prison; ends up in jail for 30 days; and 6 months later tries to shoot some cops who surround him; who shot him until he stopped being a threat; there is a problem.  It also created riots and a lot of damage.  He should have been in prison.  You don't need an audit to tell you the system isn't working.
  When the county refuses to fund appropriate jail space and leaves 184 beds open there is a problem.  When the DA has 14 prosecutor positions unfilled there is a problem.  You don't need the US Attorney to tell you there is a problem.
  I urge the Legislature to study the cost to properly incarcerate threats to society and fund either the State or County to take those threats out of society and demand that all treatment centers that receive federal funds, track and report all results for a year.
  I also put the DA and Sheriff budget proposals in the downloads section.

SLC WANTS TO SPEND $4 MILLION TO SAVE OLD BRICK BUILDING
  Salt Lake City has agreed to spend up to $4 million to stabilize and protect and restore the vacant for decades old Mattress Company building in the Rio Grande area that was damaged in the recent Magna earthquake!  The Mattress Company building on 3.92 acres should not be saved but demolished.  The cost would be should be better used for other uses like affordable housing encouragement.  The links below show how difficult it is to stabilize old mortar, old brick buildings.  An old brick building next to high rise, high intensity mixed use, mixed income buildings is not realistic.  Even UTA learned the hard way, after spending too much on trying to restore the old locomotive building that it wasn't worth it.
https://www.latimes.com/visuals/graphics/la-me-earthquake-safety-brick-buildings-20180209-htmlstory.html
https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/41-seismic-rehabilitation.htm
  This will be a boondoggle like the 255 S State project.  Another few million down the drain.  The City's RDA is still considering buying more property in the area, despite the many vacant buildings owned by the City for decades!  I am against buying more Station Center property or leasing ground floors.  SLC RDA should sell to developers who can quickly build higher intensity mixed use, mixed income buildings that fulfil basic design standards (form based design).   

SLC SHOULD BE PROTECTING SINGLE FAMILY NEIGHBORHOODS
  This City is rushing through the RMF 30 proposal to significantly increase density in residential areas.  The last public hearing is October 20.  The proposal will hurt affordable housing.  It will also affect schools since developers will build mostly one bedroom apartments that are for residents without kids.  Developers make more money with studios and 1 bedroom units.  It will also result in many more trees being cut for development.  This proposal, according to recognized experts, will destroy more affordable housing in Salt Lake City.  The City still does not have inclusionary zoning that could mitigate this disastrous proposal and developers are pricing most new units at a high market rate compared to older residential buildings.
  Salt Lake City should use the 80% of property in the City, mostly west of Redwood Road, that is not used for residential use and use that property for housing.  Single family zones are not creating the housing shortage.  Don't get me started on shared?? SRO housing, another boondoggle coming in November for every part of the City but single family neighborhoods.
  During discussion of SLC housing, Jim Wood, the State's housing expert, said that permits in the County are the 3rd highest ever for residential permits.  Covid has had minimal impact on residential unit construction.  The price of housing has gone up 53% in 5 years.  There are 38,000 homeowners in the City and 11,000 are clear of mortgages.  But 17,000 renters in the State are vulnerable to loss of housing due to evictions.

IT'S BACK - SRO/MINI CABRINI GREEN/CRIME MAGNET MOTELS
  The renamed Single Room Occupancy proposal, now Shared Room housing, is set for public hearings on November 10, and November 20.  The City insists that it solves the issue of affordable housing.  This is Pamela Atkinson's push and dream.  She has been pushing this proposal for years.  It will allow SROs throughout the City except in single family zoned areas.  
  Interestingly, the City's Housing Authority tried to build an SRO next to a single family home (on 1725 S. Jefferson St.).  It was 74 units and the RDA turned it down only because it was noncompliant with the zoning.  If the City's SRO proposal passes, that project can receive City funding to proceed!  It is zoned RMF35 now.

SLC SHOULD BE ADDING PARKS, TREES AND OPEN SPACE
  If Salt Lake City wants more housing, focus on setting aside more land for parks.  The City's RDA couldn't find property to buy downtown for a park and gave the $4+ million to Pioneer Park to upgrade it.  I don't think that the upgrade was worth it.  If you want more housing fast, put a park in the Fleet Block as Michael Fife suggested in a recent oped in the Trib.  That will encourage development of housing.  It will develop like Sugar House which developed quickly due to the open space, according to SLC Planning.  Open space encourages housing and economic development faster than higher density zoning.  
  The City wants a park in the Westside of the City and is asking residents in a survey what they want.  About 6 years ago, the City tried to pass a parks bond to convert the Glendale Golf Course to a park!  It created a backlash and the bond proposal failed.  The new survey may be a prelude to a new bond proposal.  There was a survey 6 years ago that tried to justify the parks bond.   
  This City used to be called a Tree City USA.  But when the City cuts thousands of mature trees down each year and suggests replacing them with a 2 inch tree, despite policy that requires 12 2" trees to replace a 24" tree, our urban forest is being lost to City actions.  The fact that the City won't force developers and Rocky Mountain Power to replace trees in a similar manner (12 for a 24" tree), unless it is a "specimen tree - good for the area", is another factor that results in the loss of a lot of trees. 
  What I am trying to say is that the City should be making parks with lots of trees out of all of the vacant property that they own.
  The mural that shows victims of so called police violence (many incidents were justified) could even be saved with a park.  I have no problem with memorializing the dead.
PARKS OPENS SOME RESTROOMS INCLUDING PORTABLES
  After keeping park restrooms closed for most of the spring and summer, the City has opened many restrooms.  Five park restrooms were open as of last month and the City has also placed 20 portable toilets in the parks.

SLC RDA HAS SET PRIORITIES FOR STATE STREET
  The City has approved the Plan for the State Street CRA.  Unfortunately, almost no one in the area knows about it.  I disagree with its emphasis on prettifying projects like lighting and trees.  It encourages saving so called historic buildings.  It ignores encouraging car lots, especially block long car lots, to move.  It encourages midblock crosswalks, a road diet and a 20 mph speed limit on State Street.
  I disagree with most of the Plan.  I encourage mixed use, mixed income inclusionary form based zoning with impact fee reductions and flexible heights.  (The Planning Commission approved the increased height of the Sears block proposal without requiring affordable housing in return for the higher building.)  The goal should be much more than 3000 living units.  It should be 10,000 housing units.  Do not spend money on prettifying projects like lighting and trees.  Saving historic buildings should not be a priority.  Removing/moving car lots should be a priority, maybe to a block of car sales lots.  Develop Fleet Block as the Michael Fife park.  There should be no Midblock crosswalks, no road diets, no 20mph speed limit since all will increase pollution.  Target nuisance properties.  Where is the Downtown Park that was supposed to get $5 million (at one time Block 70 was supposed to be a BMX bike park!!)?

UTA SET TO CONTINUE OVERCHARGING RIDERS 2.50
  On October 21, UTA is scheduled to approve the continuation of overcharging riders $2.50 a ride!  Fares should be lowered to encourage appropriate ridership  goals.  I think that the fare for buses should be $1.  The reason for buses is rail requires parking and the Booz Allen Hamilton fare elasticity industry standard is affected by lack of parking and ticket throughput on machines.  Buses do not have that limitation.  We argued 10 years ago with UTA on that issue.  Ridership is down 50% and is expected to continue at that level for maybe years.  UTA is getting federal Covid funds and now is a good time to experiment with a $1 fare.  The ridership of FrontRunner is around 6500 a day.  The S-Line is 650 a day.  We need more riders to be encouraged to take transit and a $2.50 fare discourages that.
  These are the new fare proposals:
Adult
Route Deviation $1.25
Group Pass $15.00
Horizon Pass $42.50
Paratransit $4.00
Paratransit 10-Punch $40.00
Ride Van Plus $50.00 Monthly
FAREPAY Discount 20%
3) Free Fare
The following special groups may ride free of charge under these parameters:
• Free Fare Zone – Customers boarding/alighting in the free fare zone
• Children – 5 years and younger when accompanied by a fare paying adult
• Employees – Agency employees, retirees, and eligible dependents
• Personal Care Attendant – Must accompany a pre-qualified rider with a disability
• Paratransit Eligible – Individuals certified as ADA paratransit eligible
• Elementary Students – Must have a training safety course and travel with a school group
• Trainer/Trainees – Trainer with accompanying trainees learning to use the system
• Sworn Peace Officers – Either in or out of uniform and certified with proof of status
DocuSign Envelope ID: 8C81715F-07CA-4FA5-A25B-85EFB3F71AEE
UTA Fare Rates – effective December 1, 2020 Page 2 of 2
4) Reduced Fare
A 50% reduced fare discount will be offered based on the following parameters:
• Seniors: 65 years or older, must show reduced fare card or proof of eligibility and identity when
riding
• Disabled: pre-qualified by UTA, must show reduced fare card
• Medicare: valid Medicare card, must show reduced fare card or proof of eligibility and identity when
riding
• Youth: between the ages of 6 and 18 years old, must show reduced fare card or proof of eligibility
and identity when riding
UTA CLAIMS 2 EMPTY LANES OF 3500 SOUTH WITHOUT SERVICE
  UTA cancelled the 35 Max BRT on 3500 South that used two plus lanes of the street for exclusive operation (used to speed up operation during congested traffic).  But the ridership never got above 3200 riders a day and the lanes are still unused by anyone, bus or car.  UTA says that they will return service in April 2021 during the UTA service increase scheduled.  UDOT, who owns the street, sent me this information:
  "The Department has been coordinating with UTA on issues related to the 35 Max BRT line for several years. We recognize the closure of the BRT center lanes has been longer than originally intended, but the closure is not permanent. The 35 Max BRT lanes were initially closed due to the construction of the development in West Valley City near 2700 West with the intent of using them again once the work was complete. The pandemic resulted in the suspension of the 35 Max line due to drops in ridership and revenue. This has also delayed the re-implementation of the usage of the BRT lanes. UTA is currently working on the bus scheduling details and hope to have the lanes back in service with their April 2021 Change Day."  
  I still think that UTA does not know how to do BRTs.  I put the proposed BRT projects in the downloads section.  Most have predicted riderships of 2000 a day and will cost taxpayers around a $100 million.
UTA STILL PLANS 200 SOUTH BRT
   In answer to a question about the status of the South Davis Connector/200 South SLC BRT (which Davis County insists on being built with a SLC contribution of $67 million), UTA sent me this information:
  "with respect to a connection to the University of Utah we have not made a final determination on a Salt Lake County terminus for the Salt Lake Davis Connector.  We are planning to meet with the project policy group next month then take a recommend option to the public for comment.  We are currently evaluating a downtown SLC terminus as well as a 1300 East and Research Park option
  Salt Lake City still plans on a bus station around 700 East and 200 South and has budgeted $400,000 for the project.

CASE AGAINST NEW STREETCARS
  Despite several elected officials pushing rail and a TRAX extension south via Highland Drive, I have many more arguments that show that it doesn't make sense:
  The S70 (so called streetcar) width is important and was ignored during discussions on extending the streetcar.  It is recommended to have 14 feet clearance with a minimum of 12 feet.  Many streets under consideration (including 1100 East) do not have that clearance.  Another consideration is parking should not be removed (where allowed) just for a TRAX train.  (which tends to create problems if there isn't enough clearance to handle bad parking).  Highland Drive had a contentious road diet that was somewhat mitigated by allowing street parking in return for removing a lane of traffic in each direction.  I would consider a wide bicycle lane or raised shared lane to be more important than a low ridership rail line.  
  Without a great destination like a university, rail is not going to be used.  Before even thinking of extending TRAX, ridership should significantly increase to at least the 5000 that was promised and predicted.  It is at 650 a day now and may not go much higher for ten years (especially if the 500 East refugee housing continues evictions).  
  There should be a vigorous cost benefit analysis before spending hundreds of millions on extending the streetcar anywhere.  The important question is where is the best use for a hundred million in local taxpayer money.  
  Another issue, that became famous in Portland, is the fact that bicyclists keep catching their wheels in the rails since they were often parallel to bicycle travel.  I and many others can think of many better projects for the hundreds of millions required to extend TRAX north or south
  Finally, this is Utah and the TRAX/streetcar extension will destroy the view of the mountains with power lines.  The view of the mountains is sacred in Utah.  

SLC PUSHES TO KEEP ICE CREAM CONE SIGN FOR LIQUOR STORE
  The City has a sign ordinance that encourages saving historic signs like the Snelgrove ice cream cone near 2100 South and 900 East.  There is a project for the old Snelgrove/Nestle ice cream manufacturing property called Sugar Town that is a mixed use project with housing and..... a liquor store!  The City has been asking that the project keep the ice cream cone.  The ABC will probably win the battle.  Ice cream cones do not respectfully advertise liquor.

UTA NEEDS MORE BOARD OF TRUSTEES COMMENTS, PLEASE
  Over the last ten years, I have seen very few people comment to the UTA Board of Trustees.  These are important issues about mass transit and they deserve more comment.  It is much easier now due to the remote/virtual meetings, although the Board always read emails to the Board during meetings.  The new fare proposal is up for discussion and comments must be submitted by 4PM Tuesday before the Wednesday meetings.  Please comment and tell UTA to lower fares on buses to $1.
  "Public Comment will not be taken during the meeting but may be submitted through the means listed below.  Comments submitted before 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20th, will be distributed to board members prior to the meeting:
o online at https://www.rideuta.com/Board-of-Trustees   
o via email at boardoftrustees@rideuta.com
o by telephone at 801-743-3882 option 5 (801-RideUTA option 5) - specify that your comment is for the board meeting
  UTA is also negligent in not publicizing the studies that show no transmission of Covid when passengers are wearing masks as required.  UTA is also replacing seats on their rail cars with plastic that is more easily cleaned and sanitized.   They will cos, on 117 light rail vehicles, $3,993,829.
  "BACKGROUND: The light rail vehicle fleet has fabric covered foam cushion seats. The current seats soil easily and require extensive cleaning. The thick foam acts as a sponge when moisture is introduced and requires deep cleaning to properly sanitize seats. To enhance the interior cleanliness of the light rail vehicle fleet, the new seats will be vinyl with a
lightly padded molded composite construction.
  DISCUSSION: UTA Staff is requesting approval of contract with USSC to replace seats on 117 light rail vehicles in the amount of $3,993,829. The new seats will be the same arrangement of the current seating configuration. The entire seat will be replaced including the frame, seat bottom/back, grab handles and mounting hardware."
I put the ridership data as of October 13 in the zip file with the BRT and FrontRunner project plans.  It also includes the bus stop boardings.  

CATHOLIC COMMUNITY SERVICES STILL PROVIDES HOMELESS SERVICES
  These are the hours of the Weigand Homeless Resource Center: 11:30AM–12:30PM, 5–6PM.  They offer "full services with the exception of haircuts. The showers are open, laundry facility is open, client storage is open, computer lab is open, housing and employment services are open, court is still going on every other Friday, and food stamps and Medicaid eligibility is still happening. Our clothing room is also open Tuesday and Friday from 7:00 am to 10:00 am.
  St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall: 
9:00 am to 11:00 am- Good Samaritan Sack Meals
11:30 am to 12:30 pm- CCS Hot Meal
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm- Good Samaritan Sack Meals
5:00 pm to 6:00 pm- CCS Hot Meal

INN BETWEEN ABOUT TO GET EXPANSION
  The City is about to pass an ordinance that will increase the ability of respite care facilities, including The Inn Between, to be in institutional zones.  TIB presently houses 25 homeless assisted living patients and 25 respite care/hospice patients.  So this ordinance, if passed, will allow TIB to house over 70 in their facility.
  "The Inn Between was the original focus on this ordinance to find a proper land use ordinance for facilities that care for the seriously or terminally ill, focusing on the homeless, in this situation. After several years of hard work, the planning department has developed this proposal that would create a capacity ratio of one patient for each 950 sq/ft of the lot size for facilities in the institutional zones. This was a change from the current 25 bed limit. Under this proposal the Inn Between could have up to 60 beds for this purpose based on their 1.3-acre lot"
 
SLC REFUSES TO IMPLEMENT INCLUSIONARY ZONING AGAIN
  Several developer proposals have asked for higher height limits than zoning allows.  The City appears to be granting approvals without requiring affordable housing and inclusionary zoning.  This is a lost opportunity to provide affordable housing in the City.

SLC PRIORITIZES QTR CENT TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS
  I put the priority list of the Qtr Cent Transportation Projects in the downloads area.  Most are not getting any comments to the City Council and they should.

SLC OFFERS ONE HOMELESS CAMP CLEANUP A MONTH
  This is the City's plan for one homeless camp cleanup to start.  The City is starting with the 700 South Toefer Park (300 East) area.
  Sept 14, phase 1 portable toilets
                phase 2 oct 5 dedicated diversion starting with 1 site 
        Michelle is deciding with County what site will be next
  wk1 client services to get to know the area
  wk2 continue and set the closed date
  wk3 legal basic needs with justice court and legal help.  The City needs volunteers to help - call  801-535-7712
  wk 4 camp closure with notification 2 weeks prior
SLCPD will ensure no return
  But one camp at a time is not fast enough.  We still need to discourage criminal behavior.  It threatens health and public safety.  We need to discourage bicycle thefts and drug use and criminal behavior around more than 700 South.  Criminal behavior increases violence against the homeless by criminals.  Police walking patrols will discourage that.  Why is anyone living on the street now when the CARES Act provides funds for homeless housing, which should be distributed around many hotels.

SLC DEMOLITION ORDINANCE ABOUT TO BE PASSED
  The City is about to pass the new demolition ordinance.  But it still discourages surface parking lots and requires a lot of up front investment in plantings.  Even the fines may not be enough to encourage landowners to demolish their vacant properties.   I urge the city to lower the barrier to demolition, even if it results in a surface parking lot.  This City still collects more vacant buildings than anyone else and it discourages development and decreases property values.  The City should pass the demolition ordinance but stay on top of it to ensure that it gets rid of bad buildings.

COMMENTS ON LOCALLINK STUDY SO FAR
  In addition to the streetcar arguments above, my other comments on the locallink study that is the new Circulation Plan for the Sugar House/Millcreek/Holladay/South Salt Lake area are below:
  SIDEWALK WIDTHS AND DISTANCE FROM BUILDINGS
  We need wider sidewalks to encourage walkable streets!  Sidewalks don't work when residents need them for barbeques which block all pedestrian traffic (like Liberty Village).  Sidewalks need open width before planters and other obstacles to movement.  Kids on bikes don't do well on sidewalks with obstacles.
  MORE TREES ALONG PARLEYS AND WIDE SHARED SIDEWALK TRAILS
  The Parleys Trail should not be closed in winter and a plan should be developed to decrease safety issues on it.  Trees are needed along the Trail to safely allow dogs to walk on it.  Personally, I would rather walk on the streets just south of I80 to Tanner Park due to the noise.  Maybe it would be cheaper for the City to make it safer for bicyclists to use Parkway as the commuter bike route to Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
  The McClelland Trail should be using the streets since too many property owners want to fight against using the Canal easement for the Trail.  Greystone stopped SLC from using their development which goes over the Canal.  There is also the issue of safety since going between houses, essentially an alleyway, actually creates safety issues.  A body was found on the Canal property south of 27th South.  That unsafe perception won't change with pavement.  1100 East would be a better alternative since it already is used by bicyclists and pedestrians as a comfortable biking experience.  The City should pursue efforts to push 1100 East through to Brickyard.
  STREETS PRIORITY
  Side streets are not as important as arterials where bicyclists have to ride on the side of road.  Repaving should be prioritized on arterials before any side streets.  And the street contracts should go to the edge of the curb!  Contracts now do not specify that.  I wouldn't worry about resurfacing cull-de-sacs.
  BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY
  Bicycle green conflict markings are not a solution and the best example of questionable safe bicycle infrastructure is 200W and 300S.  Separated bicycle lanes are not maintained daily to encourage bicycling.  Ten foot wide bike lanes would encourage bicycling more.  Bicycle safety is negatively impacted by roundabouts, chicanes, horizontals and bulbouts (which tend to encourage bicyclists to move into traffic lanes).  The area needs a better 20MPH bicycle commuting route east west and north south.  Ten foot wide bike lanes on streets or on raised sidewalks (east of 1300 East) make more sense than a road diet.  Hundreds of bicyclists want the road diet (like 1300 East which turned out lousy for bicyclists) but tens of thousands want the 4 lanes on 2100 South! 
  Left hand turns on arterials like Highland and 2100 South should be discouraged (like IZZY SOUTH proposal), except at traffic lights to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety.  Driveway entrance/exits near traffic lights should be discouraged for the same reason.  Lack of sidewalks is not the problem on Richmond.  It needs a 10 ft wide bicycle lane. 
  RESTAURANTS NEXT TO HOMES CREATES CONFLICTS
  Zoning should have a moderate and gentle zoning to higher density, not an abrupt change from single family to RMF anything.  Note that RMF includes restaurants that create parking, traffic, noise and smell conflicts (homeowners do not want a constant barbeque smell).
  BEST AMENITIES INCLUDE POCKET LIBRARIES AND PARKS
  Plazas need more trees and people.  Sugar House Plaza is essentially dead.  Restaurants should be encouraged to use that dead space.  Again, a right hand turn from 2100 S. to Highland should be considered through the Plaza (north of the monument).  The plazas should have enough power to allow food trucks and festivals to operate without extra power (on site restaurants would get a larger area for outdoor dining in return).  The area needs more pocket libraries and parks.  Plazas could have free wifi, power (enough for food trucks) and seating and tables to encourage use and people and traffic.  And lots of big trees.
  PRETTIFYING AREA SHOULD WAIT UNTIL DEVELOPMENT IS WELL UNDERWAY
  There are too many efforts to prettify the area with creative placemaking when the money could be better used for traffic calming on side streets.  Blocking sidewalks with planters or bike racks (unless bikes are stored parallel to and next to the street).  Stamped concrete crosswalks and the mobility hubs seem to be a waste of money that could be better used. There is a need for a Green Bike station at the McClelland S-Line Station.  Wayfinding should not be a priority (although some help is needed on connecting bicycle trails through the Sugar House Business District).  
  ENSURE PLANNING COORDINATION OF FUTURE CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS WITH CITY PLANS
  Until all construction is finished, which may take 10 years, Highland and other streets should not be reconstructed because each new building will tear up the street.  I am still not seeing coordination especially along Highland through Millcreek.  This City is planning on reconstructing 900 East but there are several new developments coming near the S-Line (north and south of it) that will destroy the brand new street!  Consider waiting until all building construction is finished.




​​​​​​​​​​​I put the last few years of blog in a download button (Newsblog) on the right.  Below is the last 6 months of blog.  If you need a download/document that you don't see on this page, email me.​

 gechapman2@gmail.com.

USEFUL SLC PHONE #s

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

                                   801 535 7225 
POLICE                      801 799 3000
ADA                           801 535 7976
CITY COUNCIL         801 535 7600
DRUG ACTIVITY       801 799 3784
GRAFFITI REMOVAL 
801 9727885
FORESTRY                 801 972 7818
MAYOR'S OFFICE    801 535 7704
NOISE                        801 580 6681
PARKS                        801 972 7800
PARKING ENFORCEMT
  535 6628
PLANNING/ZONING      
535 7700
SIDEWALK REPAIR  
        535 6934
SHOPPING CARTS   
801 403 0564
SMITH'S CARTS        801 759 7315
STREET REPAIRS      801 535 2345
UTA                            801 743 3882
WATER/SEWER        801 483 6900
WTR/SEWER EMERGCY
 483 6700
CALL2HAUL WASTE
801 535 6999
ANIMAL SERVICES
 385 468 7387
HEALTH DEPT/PEST
385 468 3835

OP  RIO GRANDE    385 266 6938

HOMELESS CONNECT   799 3533