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



SLC REMOVING 3000 TREES PER YEAR

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


PUBLIC UTILITIES DOUBLES TAXES WITH FOUR PAGE JUSTIFICATION

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


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


SLC REGIONAL ATHLETIC COMPLEX LOSES MONEY WORSE THAN GOLF

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


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


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






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

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


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

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


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



SHERIFF WINDER IS IMPORTANT FOR SLCO

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

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








MAY 19, 2017

PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAIL BEDS

FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN SALT LAKE COUNTY


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




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




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



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

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

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


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

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



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


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










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

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

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

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


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


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



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


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



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

​​





APRIL 29
SHERIFF ASKS COUNTY FOR JAIL FUNDING FOR 150 BEDS

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



 

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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






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


 

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


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




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



o Five percent of 164 families with children.

o Six percent of 145 single women.

o Eight percent of 422 single men.

o Seven percent of 82 trauma or abuse victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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






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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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




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

SLC COUNCIL CONSIDERS TAX INCREASE FOR STREETS




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

 

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



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

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

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



SLC COUNCIL CONSIDERS TAX INCREASE FOR STREET

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






APRIL 3, 2017

OPINION ON SHERIFF RECOMMENDATIONS INSTEAD OF JAIL SPACE

OPINION ON SLC PD JAIL BOOKING RESTRICTIONS

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

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



OPINION ON SHERIFF RECOMMENDATIONS INSTEAD OF JAIL SPACE

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




OPINION ON SLC PD JAIL BOOKING RESTRICTIONS

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


 


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

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




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

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





MARCH 29, 2017

DRAPER HOMELESS SITE OFFER SO TAXPAYERS PAY BILLIONS FOR TRAX

SLC PAYING MILLIONS TO BURY POWER LINES FOR WALKABILITY


DRAPER HOMELESS SITE OFFER SO TAXPAYERS PAY BILLIONS FOR TRAX

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



SLC PAYING MILLIONS TO BURY POWER LINES FOR WALKABILITY

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



MARCH 28, 2017

SHERIFF PROPOSES TO EMPTY ROAD HOME TO 200 BY SUMMER


SHERIFF PROPOSES TO EMPTY ROAD HOME TO 200 BY SUMMER

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







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

         SLC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, STATE STREET RDA

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

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

          GARBAGE TO DOWNTOWN

UTA PERFORMANCE REPORT AND NEW FENCE MAKES SENSE

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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



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

 



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




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

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

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

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


 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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



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








MARCH 5, 2017

LEGISLATURE WANTS COUNTY HOMELESS SITE WITHOUT HEARING?

DUI BILL SAYS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE

FOOD TAX IS VOODOO ECONOMICS 

911 TAXES GOING UP DESPITE INEFFICIENCIES

LAST WEEK OF LEGISLATURE



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

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

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



DUI BILL SAYS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE

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



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



911 TAXES GOING UP DESPITE INEFFICIENCIES

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






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




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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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





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


 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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



 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

 








FEBRUARY 24, 2017

COMMUNITY WINS/STOPS SUGAR HOUSE HOMELESS PLAN

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

DEBBIE DUJANOVIC REPORTS ON LACK OF JAILSPACE IN SLCO



SUGAR HOUSE HOMELESS SITE IS OFF THE TABLE

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

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


DEBBIE DUJANOVIC REPORTS ON LACK OF JAILSPACE IN SLCO

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

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


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




MY LAST OPEDS ON HOMELESS AND JAIL ISSUES WITH LINKS

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

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


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

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




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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




FEBRUARY 22, 201

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



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




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

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

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

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

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




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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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





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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





JANUARY 30, 2017


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


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


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

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

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



THIS WEEK'S MEETINGS

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

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

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




JANUARY 29, 2017


SPRAGUE LIBRARY REDESIGN/CONSTRUCTION  TUESDAY WITHOUT PROPER NOTICE


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






JANUARY 28, 2017

When will homeless sites issue be heard at Legislature?



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

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

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

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

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





JANUARY 18, 2017


FIGHT CONTINUES AGAINST SLC HOMELESS SITES PLAN

FATHER KILLED BY MAN WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN JAIL

SLC ATTEMPT TO STOP OPEN MEETING



FIGHT CONTINUES AGAINST SLC HOMELESS SITES PLAN

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


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


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


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


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




FATHER KILLED BY MAN WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN JAIL

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


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



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


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


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


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



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

Utah needs to update our hundred years old water law


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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



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


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

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

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


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

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

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





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



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

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


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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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


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



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

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


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


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





DECEMBER 15, 2016

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



Several other points of information need to be noted.  Dan Lofgren, Utah's famous builder of affordable housing (using several Utah and Federal programs) is essentially screwed by Salt Lake City.  His Cowboy Partners just had a project approved on the north side of the S-line streetcar line.  The Simpson Avenue site is on the south side of the streetcar line.  So his project may not be financially viable (neighbors fought it due to concern about lack of parking).  In addition, Salt Lake City recently approved the Sugar House Streetcar Corridor that is supposed to encourage ground floor public spaces and mixed use walkable buildings (lots of ground floor glass, restaurants, stores etc).  This project throws that plan out the window.  If the Mayor and Council had allowed public a chance to comment on the sites before casting them in stone, these issues would have come out.




One of the comments made by the Mayor's staff was how nice the Ogden Lantern House fits into their neighborhood.  But the Lantern House is actually in a business/industrial area and the closest homes are well across a large busy road.  In addition, the Lantern House refuses to serve homeless that break the rules.  THEY TELL THE HOMELESS TO GO TO SALT LAKE CITY!  That is the same problem in Salt Lake City.  If there is problem with a homeless person at the Road Home, whether it is a misunderstanding or a major incident, that homeless person is banned from the Road Home for 30 days.  That encourages living and taking drugs and defecating on the street.  That is why Salt Lake City needs an inviting and no rules facility that takes in all homeless from off the street.  With such a facility, those who try to camp out will be aggressively encouraged to go indoors and off the street, sidewalks and parks in Salt Lake City.  The rules in place to try to make the Road Home and Lantern House safe for most homeless (although many homeless say that the Road Home is definitely not safe) does seem to pour the worst of the homeless onto the street to survive or die.  It almost seems that that is why so many are injecting themselves with heroin (and leaving the needles in the grass or on the sidewalk).  

I still believe that if Salt Lake City does not develop and implement a successful plan that removes the criminal element from the homeless population, the homeless expansion sites will not be successful and should not even be built.




One final note for this week of high drama: The Salt Lake City Council approved the RDA Budget Amendment No 2 that includes the $22 million for the affordable housing program and the $11.7 million for the new homeless sites officially Tuesday.  Of course, if anyone is paying attention, the City Council, sitting as the RDA Board approved the Budget Amendment on October 18th after closing the public hearing then saying that there will be another public hearing on October 25 and after.  But four hours after saying that, the Council as the RDA Board voted to approve the funds!  If any lawyer wants an excuse for a lawsuit, this is it.  The October 18 RDA meeting is not on the Public Meeting Notice website as required by law and there are two versions of the agenda (different from the original).  One says adopt the budget amendment and the other does not say that.  All of that increases the distrust of the City Council by the voters in Salt Lake City.  I said it before and I will keep saying it: good decisions die behind closed doors.





DECEMBER 13, 2016
HOMELESS SITES DECIDED WITHOUT ASKING CITIZENS (DOWNLOAD)
RESOLUTION TO ACCEPT SITES FALTERS DUE TO DISAGREEMENTS
ANALYSIS OF HOMELESS SITES


I put the Salt Lake City decision on the homeless sites on the download page at the top.  It lists the sites and the amenities in the area that resulted in the decision for that site.  I still believe that the Mayor should not be making the decision about the homeless sites without public engagement that has, up until two months ago, been promised.  The Council seems to have rubber stamped the sites.  The last time this happened, Mayor Becker tried to place the new SLCPD HQ on Library Square.

The resolution to accept the site faltered due to the Mayor not available during the vote at the Formal SLC Council meeting.  In addition, Lisa Adams was concerned that the Road Home Board may not have definitely decided officially to close the Road Home and give it to SLC RDA.  She also was upset that previous discussions and agreements on the Simpson Ave. site was not in the resolution.  Lisa said that the only reason that she agreed to that site was with the understanding that it would be for women or families. (Note that Ballpark also is pushing for women or families shelter if they got a homeless site.  So Erin Mendenhall and Lisa Adams will have to fight about it.) She also pointed out that the sale of the Simpson site may be problematic with the daycare lease running through 2019.  So the Council voted to table the resolution until the Mayor is available.  It could happen with one day's notice.  It will be interesting to see if the issues that Lisa noted will change the resolution (on the downloads page).

My analysis of the sites are:

The 653 Simpson Ave site is next to a quiet single family home neighborhood.  The last place governments should place homeless shelters is next to single family homes.

The High St. site is next to fast food restaurants and Granato's and across the street from Walmart.  1300 South and 300 West (next to the site) is becoming a crime magnet and shouldn't have to contend with more potential crime.

The Deseret Industries building on 700 South is down the street from a Senior center and park.  Both could be negatively impacted.

The 100 South 653 West site is in an area that is supposed to have several new buildings and condos but this site may discourage new development.  Also the service providers in the area are many blocks away.

The biggest problem with the plan is there is no plan to remove the criminal element from the homeless.  If a solution to that problem is not available, each new neighborhood will become another crime problem.

Please email your Councilmembers and tell them what you think.  Their emails are on the right.




​NEW OPINION PIECES SUMMARIZE ISSUES ON HOMELESS, JAIL, OPEN MEETINGS, LEGISLATURE AND CENTRAL WASATCH COMMISSION


This is the latest summary of the homeless issues downtown.  

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865668050/My-view-A-sad-commentary-on-our-city-and-society.html?pg=all



This is a lesson in how to influence Legislators.  It has a lot of good information for those interested in increasing public engagement in Utah.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865668467/My-view-Utah-legislators-are-generally-respectful-public-servants.html?pg=all



This oped last month is a summary of the problem with the criminal element embedded in the homeless downtown.  Unfortunately, the County did not increase funding for the jail and I and others will attempt to get the Legislature to increase JRA funding in return for the County increasing jail space.  I think that that would be a good compromise.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865664105/My-view-SLCO-jail-issues-impact-citizens-and-police.html?pg=all



This is a recent oped that summarizes the issues for businesses and residents downtown when the City does not focus on fixing the homeless issue NOW.  Note that the State finally did come through and put up a fence around his parking lot which stops a lot of the issues.  In addition, SLC Police made a big effort to ensure the safety of the local businesses including the Rio Grande Cafe with more patrols.

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4536100-155/op-ed-if-rio-grande-cafe-owner



This is an oped of mine from several months ago that is relevant in the City's efforts to lock out the public from discussing the homeless shelter issues.  The City will not allow the public to have a real chance to comment on the issue.

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4195235-155/op-ed-homeless-solutions-should-put-neighborhood



This recent oped by Marie Taylor Salt Lake Tribune is a good summary of the attempt by some officials in Utah to give a new government entity a lot of power without public accountability.  It should scare everyone.  Note that Rep. Chaffetz also got called to task by the House of Representatives recently (movie at top of downloads page) about this issue.  There is still an attempt by officials to make taxpayers pay for a train and tunnel up the canyon to benefit some big landowners (not the small landowners in the canyons.

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4564809-155/op-ed-mountain-accord-commission-would-lack



This recent oped by Marie Taylor in the Deseret News is a good summary of the problems with our local governments, all of our governments:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865665103/My-view-Why-do-politicians-keep-thinking-closed-door-meetings-are-OK.html?pg=all



DECEMBER 6, 2016

HOMELESS PLANS IN SLC RECEIVE PUSH BY ATKINSON  

SLC WANTS TO BAN PLASTIC BAGS

SHOPKO IN SUGAR HOUSE CLOSING NEXT MONTH

SLC AND SLCO FINALLY FIGURE OUT RACCOONS

TRANSIT PLAN WITH STREETCARS GOES TO SLC COUNCIL

IMPACT FEES GOING FROM NOTHING TO OUTRAGEOUS

ADU CONVERSION ASSISTANCE BEING DISCUSSED


SLC Council discussed homeless issues with Pamela Atkinson.  Pamela said that she had never seen as many homeless on the sidewalks as now.  And it is getting more dangerous.  Part of the problem is that too many people are going downtown to the homeless camps and donating clothing, food and money, despite the high danger.  Those donations help keep some of the homeless on the sidewalks and in the parks instead of inside.  Criminals need to be removed from the homeless areas.  It is difficult to encourage homeless to enter treatment for drug addiction when the drug dealers are so available.  Once the social workers find someone willing to enter treatment, it can take 9-12 months of a waiting list before a bed becomes available!  So normal efforts tend to fail.  Lack of affordable housing is a large part of the problem.  In addition, the rapid rehousing effort is slowing down and the pre rental costs are going up.  The homeless rapid rehousing effort needs more funding.  She also said that there is a big need for more storage since the available storage is full.  (Note that it needs 24 hour security and availability and a bigger personal storage volume since some are carrying two shopping carts worth of their belongings.  She was asked if more indoor expansion facilities would help and she said that the people on the sidewalk now do not want to be inside.  They just want to get high, sleep for a few hours then wake up and get high again.  


I support an inviting indoor facility that allows camping, smoking, getting high, shooting up, drinking, pets etc.  The goal should be to allow case workers to develop a relationship to encourage treatment.  Also I do not want them on the sidewalks and in the parks doing drugs and leaving needles.  I know developers that are willing to build billions of projects in the area if the homeless are inside and not walking, sleeping, defecating, shooting up and attacking pedestrians in the area.




SLC Council wants to ban plastic bags.  In response to a petition by a young but energetic Mr. LaMalfa, the Council seemed to embrace the idea of banning plastic bags.  I think that we went through this last year.  I WOULD RATHER KILL DEAD DINOSAURS THAN LIVE TREES!  I am against a city, any city or any government telling shoppers how they can shop and carry their bags.  Hopefully, the Council will have a vigorous debate on the issue before a vote.  



Sugar House Shopko is closing in January of 2017 to make way for a new development by Woodbury Corporation.  They are in the process of turning the ToysRus area into a SpringHill Suites.  By 2018 5 new large megaliths will grace Sugar House.  This is more evidence of the SUPERGENTRIFICATION OF SUGAR HOUSE.



After many months of back and forth, it appears that SLC and SLCO have finally gotten their act together on raccoons.  Last year, the SLC Council approved joining with SLCO and providing cages and raccoon pickup services with a USDA certified wild animal professional.  But before ensuring that the pickup service would provide cages, SLC stopped providing cages.  So for the last year, SLC citizens had to provide cages to catch raccoons and they would be picked up by the professional.  

Now, SLC citizens should call animal control and get them to have the raccoon pickup guy (he is a guy) provide a cage and when caught, he will pick up the raccoon.




SLC Planning Commission approves the SLC Master Transit Plan despite the numerous expensive rail and BRT projects.  Although it emphasizes increasing neighborhood bus service, it has many projects that could be pushed through.  The projects include a streetcar going north on 1100 East well past 1700 South, a downtown north south streetcar, a 100/200 S. streetcar, a 200 S. BRT, a 700 E. 200 S. transit station and much more.   It will next go to the City Council for final approval.




Impact fees going from nothing to outragous.  Instead of a slow increase in impact fees to ensure that they can be realistically used, the SLC Council is about to increase fees to over $5000 per single family home and a little less for apartments.   So much for affordable housing.  Hopefully the Legislature will place a cap on impact fees and allow flexibility to use them for police services, homeless services, transportation services and affordable housing initiatives.




There is a discussion going on at City Hall about the potential to provide assistance and encouragement to have homeowners convert basements to ADU (auxiliary dwelling units - like mother in law apartments).  ADU conversions are the quickest way to increase affordable housing in SLC.  The cost can be as much as $40,000 although $25,000 is more realistic.  The big costs are providing another entrance which could require digging plus at $8,000 or an emergency window/well at $5,000.  If the City could provide a few thousand to offset costs, it would encourage conversions.  Note that in the last four years of the new ADU ordinance in SLC, only one person took advantage of it!







NOVEMBER 17, 2016

SLC COUNCIL GAVE SHELTERS MONEY WHEN NO ONE LOOKING

WILL COUNCIL GET AWAY WITH FORCING SHELTERS ON AREAS

SLCO COUNCIL GETS ANGRY CROWD ON MT ACCORD/CWC  

REP. CHAFFETZ GETS ANGRY CONGRESS DEFENDING MT ACCORD

SLC MASTER TRANSIT PLAN STILL LOOKING FOR COMMENTS

SLCO COUNCIL DISCUSSES JAIL FUNDING

LEGISLATURE PLANS ON ENCOURAGING CONSOLIDATING 911


​Sorry for the long time between news posts.  There are several big stories that should be in the news, and aren't but they have taken several weeks to develop.  The SLC Council, voting as the RDA, to give the Mayor $11.7 million for buying the homeless shelters on October 18.  No one was notified about it.  I was there and I missed it.  Early in the RDA meeting, the RDA Board/City Council did a straw poll to give over $20 million to affordable housing programs and... $11.7 million to buy the homeless shelter expansion sites.  This was quickly followed by a call for public comments and I did not speak since the Council/RDA usually gives the public a few weeks to discuss and be educated on the issue before voting on it.  No one else spoke up.  The RDA Board closed the public hearing at that meeting but announced that there would be a public hearing on Oct 25 (and another later one at the November meeting).  But five hours later, Erin Mendenhall moved to adopt the proposed budget and funding and the Board voted for it.  


I consider this a disrespectful way of operating.  The Council successfully pulled the wool over everyone's eyes.  I was naive enough to believe that the Council would publicize and allow comments and more public hearings before voting on the issue.  The agenda was taken off of the RDA agendas website.  The Council was also told where the homeless sites would be and they will be announced at 1:30 PM, tentatively, on Monday, November 21.  Will the SLC City Council be allowed to force the shelters onto the City and neighborhoods without any input from the citizens?  Watch Monday night news or email the Council and demand that the Council stop making decisions without considering the public.  The attitude that "we don't want neighborhoods fighting neighborhoods on the site locations" is a cop out, I think.  Another issue is that the SLC storage for homeless is full and one reason that there are a lot of campers in the parks and sidewalks and around the city is because people that can't afford to have housing need to keep their belongings next to them.  Lisa Adams did ask the Council to consider expanding the storage facility.  


I hope that it is sinking in that it could take three or more years for the shelters to open and it won't lead to closing the Road Home and other private charitable facilities that serve the homeless.  SLC should demand that the Council and the Mayor fix the problem now and not in three or more years.





The SLCO Council got an earful and almost two hours of anger directed at the Mountain Accord and the Central Wasatch Commission efforts.  Only four spoke for the CWC.  There are many reasons not to approve the CWC, even watered down (pun intended).
        It adds a costly layer of government.
        It adds high salaried costs to UTA.
        There are no reasonable checks and balances on the Commission.
        Past history indicates that open public meetings will be few and far between.
        It turns more control of the canyons to Trump (?Sarah Palin?).
        The biggest issue is in the Interlocal Agreement language:

 "Specific options could include but are not limited to: recreation
fees, congestion pricing, ski resort parking fees, U.S. Forest Service
parking fees, tolling, single-occupancy vehicle restrictions, and
elimination of roadside parking in the canyons."


The SLCO Council may vote as early as November 22 on the CWC but it is possible that they will just table the vote.


Representative Jason Chaffetz was chastised in Congress for trying to defend the Mountain Accord and land swap that gives Alta ski resort millions of dollars of land for developing a billion dollar project.  The Committee Chair also complained that there was nothing about transportation in his bill despite the recommendation for a train and tunnel up the canyon and no language on fighting fires (also missing from the Mountain Accord).  To watch the complete hearing on HR 5718 in the Federal Lands Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee:
http://naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=401320.  

If you want to see the best part, I put it at the top of the downloads page.



SLC is still taking comments on the SLC Master Transit Plan before the SLC Planning Commission hearing on November 30 at 5:30.

My comments on 2016 SLC Master Transit Plan November 7:

This study is incomplete due to the fact that it ignores the financial constraints of reality.  A professional plan would recognize and plan for realistic financial restraints and at least prioritize the projects so that the most expensive project is not given priority automatically when other projects are more effective at encouraging mass transit ridership. 

The SLC Master Transit Plan should focus on high frequency neighborhood bus service first, then night extended service, then weekend and holiday service.  A fully functional and robust neighborhood bus service with low emission vehicles will encourage ridership increases and personal vehicle travel better than the most expensive rail project possible.  In addition, all bus stops should show real time information on when the next bus arrives and the one after that. 

In addition, there should be a better outreach for elderly mass transit riders.  They are usually less constrained by time, jobs and other time contingent issues and therefore would be more amenable to taking mass transit.  They do drive!  They can be more easily convinced to get out of their cars and use mass transit better than younger drivers.  The HIVE pass should consider a 50% discount $20 a month HIVE pass.  But again, it needs a better high frequency neighborhood bus service expansion at the same time to gain the most ridership. 

A downtown (100-200 E. Streetcar) will require $100 million in local funding (according to the RTP) which should be more appropriately used for better neighborhood bus service.  

The Plan also ignores the financial reality that a BRT will cost $15/mile while an enhanced bus will cost less than a tenth of that.  It can be even cheaper if the regular buses are fitted with intersection traffic light priority systems so they don't have to wait for three light cycles to get through an intersection.  

I am disappointed that several BRT projects are listed that are on routes of less frequency than 15 minutes.  A BRT should only be considered if there is a 30% time savings and 15 minute buses are full. 

Again, without considering financial constraints (the Federal Government is not a bottomless barrel of money), the SLC Master Transit Plan Draft is not realistic. 

Intersection and traffic light management would be the most cost effective and quickest way to reduce air pollution caused by congestion.  The UDOT Wavetronix system can be modified and controlled to help this effort.  Priority should be given to this item in the plan with coordination with UTA to fit buses that operate in congested roadways with a priority traffic light system. 

The Plan says "Providing transit with priority lanes on high-ridership corridors supports investments in frequent service. Where sufficient right-of-way is available in these corridors, dedicating part of the right-of-way to transit is justified based on transit’s higher person-carrying capacity. Transit lanes also allow buses to bypass congested areas, making bus travel times 
shorter and more reliable."  But that ignores the efficiency of personal vehicle travel and it would increase pollution.  No road diets or dedicated transit lanes should be considered without a thorough carbon footprint analysis (of pollution).  Dedicated roadways DO NOT carry as many passengers per hour as cars.  In addition, roadways for personal vehicles per hour cost is low compared to dedicated mass transit lanes. 

The proposed Foothill BRT from 100 South is not very cost effective.  There are very well used and efficient mass transit corridors within a couple of blocks.  Except for 700 East, there is practically no interference in the 200 South bus travel.  I doubt that 100 S. BRT could provide a faster time to the UofU unless the downtown lights are set to recognize buses or be set to provide for constant 30mph to the east consistently (to the west in the afternoon).  And then the regular bus is just as fast and a tenth of the cost of a BRT. 

SLC should discourage local funding of the $70 million bus garage at the UTA HQ.  The money should be, could be, would be better used to fund expanded neighborhood bus service and especially later night service since SLC is attempting to focus on the late night cultural amenities of downtown SLC.  In addition, the secondary transit hubs decrease the need for a "big ass" garage. 

Community shuttles may sound nice but the UofU has had a problem getting riders and SLC should work on how to get riders before creating community shuttles.  The Yalecrest shuttle had about 9 riders a day! 

I am confused about the cost of tier 1 and 2 without any limits. 

I appreciate the suggestion on a 600 North bus and the 1300 South and 900 South potential buses.  But again, rail lines take away from expanding bus service and until a robust bus service is restored, rail should not be considered.  The 200 West suggestion may be more cost effective if the Green Line TRAX went on 200 West to the airport and saved 5-10 minutes in the process.  Think about a line from the airport to the Salt Palace!  The 400 W. BRT is on a road with single family homes.  A dedicated roadway line should not be considered next to single family homes unless you convince the homeowners ahead of time that they should rezone to higher density and increase their taxes.  300 West is the street that needs more frequent bus service.  The commuter specials that only stop every mile or so are more appropriate than the BRT.  The black line between the UofU and the airport (in this plan - note that the RTP has the black line going from the U to the central station via 400 South) would require spending 6-10 million or more and would not increase ridership. 

BRT should not be considered on State St, 500 E or 900 E.  An enhanced bus may make sense but the cost of a BRT does not make sense unless the density is significantly increased.  And I can make a pretty good argument that very few will walk 4 blocks to catch a bus. 

I am against anymore rail lines downtown because they require too much local funding that would be better used for better bus service and regular and safer wide bicycle lanes (not cycle tracks).  The idea that we need a $200 million rail to the UofU on 100 South is very financially questionable. 

All capital projects should be financially constrained and prioritized.  If $20 million in local funding is available, we should not be starting $100 million projects.  I disagree that we should spend more money on rail projects instead of spending money on affordable housing and getting the homeless off the street. 

If only 10% time is saved and 15 minute bus service is not popular, a BRT should not be considered. 

The proposed Redwood Rd and Foothill BRT should not be considered and an enhanced bus would make more sense.  It would stop more often but still have the light priority.  People would rather drive than walk 2 blocks.  That should be drummed into this plans philosophy. 

I disagree strongly with "The plan will support evolving capital recommendations from the Sugar House Streetcar project that would improve utility of the line, e.g., an extension to 1700 S (consistent with Regional Transportation Plan) with a connection to the 900 E FTN corridor. A future extension along 900 E could connect to TRAX service at 400 S."  The RTP also has a high speed rail station at the airport and a canyon rail and tunnel system!  I am against the RTP.  The community, the City and the Sugar House neighborhood is against extending the so called streetcar/TRAX to the north.  It may make sense (for only $5 million) to go to 1250 East through the Shopko block or Wilmington.  But the residents and businesses of 1100 East do not want it and the City should not even think about removing the parking.  Note to whoever put this in:  the TRAX trains, Siemens S70, require 12 foot widths and two tracks on 1100 East will require taking all parking off the street.  Good luck with that! 

You say that you are neutral along with 2700 W, 5600 W BRT, Mountain Transportation System.  I do think that 2700 W, 5600 W should have more frequent service.  I am against a TRAX outer loop. 

Please stop ignoring ADA.  Putting bus stops more than one block away from the next hurts/affects ADA and seniors. 

Note that pg 98 shows BRT downside, inefficient lane which increases congestion and pollution. 

The Plan should recommend that UTA have real time signs on all bus stops to note when the next bus is coming.  Do not pay the patent troll that says that they have the patent on it. 

There are no minimum parking requirements in Transit Station Area districts: Within the “core” of Transit Station Area (TSA) districts, no minimum number of parking spaces is required for any use.  Studies show that that will discourage transit ridership (Booz Allen Hamilton study that suggested -.03 standard due to ticket throughput limitations and parking lots full when fares are reduced). 

I am against the suggestion from the Sugar House study that "require that all shared parking be “priced” in D1-D4, TSA, and G-MU districts via unbundling and direct pricing." 

Instead of using the streetcar TRAX to encourage walkability and TOD, the only thing that is being built are apartments, not mixed use TODs!  Despite "Encourage development of transit oriented development (TOD) through form-based codes and allowed increased density within a 10-minute walk of TRAX, streetcar and high-frequency bus routes (Salt Lake City Downtown Community Plan (2014)." 

I do not recommend that you tell the single family home residents that they have to rezone to justify BRT and light rail in their neighborhoods.  I will tell them that the light rail from your table is the threat. 
This is from your table: 
"Residential densities should be at least 10–12 households per acre for corridors that receive high-frequency transit investments and/or have more than 12–16 jobs per acre (see Figure 6-1). 
lt rail = 12-24 households/acre or 16-32 jobs/acre 
brt 10-15 households/acre and/or 12-20 jobs/acre 
15 min bus 10-12+ households and/or 12-16 jobs 
30 min bus 6-10 hh/acre and/or 8-12 jobes/acre 
60 min bus 3-6 hh/acre, and/or 4+ jobs/acre" 

I noted that a temporary parklet was created in the 21st and 21st business district under Salt Lake City’s pilot program. A permanent design is being developed for this location. pg 118/6-8.  How much did businesses pay for the use and why isn't the Vue paying to put up tables in the pedestrian walkway? 

I do not recommend that bus stops in residential areas have covers which encourage loitering and will attract homeless. 

"A potential scenario where Route 220 would move from 100 S to N. Temple Street, 
service to LDS Hospital by allowing Route 209 to be extended north 
Potentially support future implementation of a downtown streetcar, which is planned 
to run on 100 S between W. Temple Street and 500 E. 
Some changes could be cost-neutral or reduce costs (as with N. Temple and 900 S), while 
others may require additional operating cost and/or vehicles." 
(BUT STREETCAR COST WAS NOT CONSIDERED) 





The SLCO Council is in the midst of discussing the budget and they need comments from the public.  I urge you to email the Council (emails at the right) and tell them that you want to open up the rest of the jail to give police the tools they need to do their job and remove the criminal element from the homeless and lock up the drug dealers and serial car thieves.  Car thieves were the subject of a KSL special report last week.  They can be arrested 20 + times, steal millions and not stay in jail.  It cost you, me and the rest of County citizens tens of millions in increased insurance costs.   The lack of jail space affects you.




The Utah Legislature is planning on a bill to address audit recommendations regarding 911 services.  One recommendation is encouraging entities that provide those services to combine.  Weber County and Morgan County have one dispatch center for 911.  Davis County and Salt Lake County have three or more dispatch centers.  This is a public safety issue.  SLCO residents outside of SLC or Sandy have to dial a ten digit number to get the Sheriff/UPD!





OCTOBER 28, 2016

MAYOR MCADAMS' NEW BUDGET HURTS PUBLIC SAFETY

SLC COUNCIL NEEDS INPUT ON CIP, IMPACT FEES, RDA AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND TRANSIT PLAN

COUNCIL AND MAYOR FIGHT IN PUBLIC

MAYOR/COUNCIL WILL IGNORE PUBLIC ON HOMELESS SITES

TOM DOLAN SHUTS DOWN DISCUSSION ON WATERSHED


The new budget for Salt Lake County has been announced and Mayor McAdams boasted that it delivers on public safety.  It does not provide the necessary funds to open up the 380 beds at Oxbow Jail and it still uses the $9.4 million of the old jail bond for other pet projects.  The claim that the newly announced pay for success projects will work is not based on fact.  Operation Diversion shows that, even in a short time period, only 60% may stay in drug abuse treatment (I put the Operation Diversion stats on the downloads page.).  In the meantime, the public and businesses in Salt Lake Valley have to put up with dangerous criminals.  Email your County Councilmembers and demand that they budget for more jail space.  If they don't change the budget, the County law enforcement personnel cannot do their job.  SLC Police are still not allowed to arrest for less than a felony.  


The most important news is that the Sheriff will need a tax increase to allow proper and effective operation of the jail next year.  This is because Ben McAdams is repurposing the jail bond for his pet projects.  I put a reason to vote on the opinions page.  Please vote your opinion.


Although the Rio Grande area is a little better, businesses are still negatively impacted and are giving up hope because the new expansion shelters won't be ready for three years and the Road Home will still be needed.  If the Council and the Mayor start working together (read about their public fight below), they may provide a winter shelter that will get the majority of homeless off the sidewalks.


SLC Council and Mayor needs public feedback and comments on CIP, Impact Fees, RDA Affordable Housing proposal and the SLC Master Transit Plan Draft.  The CIP list is about to be fixed and interested individuals should comment by email (emails to the right).  Impact fees are being pushed back again for a few months despite the November 2 date to go back to the old impact fees list.  The Council will decide in the next few months on a new fee list and after it is approved, the fees will go into effect with developers in 90 days.  SLC has lost almost $9 million of potential fees in the last year.  Another way of looking at it is developers are getting a $9 million windfall.  Almost no one is commenting on this issue except developers and citizens should comment.  The Transit Plan is up for comment and the plan has a potential streetcar on 100 and 200 South and a enhanced bus/BRT on 400 West and 200 South.  Many of the proposals are better than last years overabundance on rail and expensive BRTs.  The enhanced bus receives priority at the lights and is almost as good.  I do not believe that people will walk more than two blocks to catch a bus and some BRT plans have 4 block stations.  There is a small project to direct an airport TRAX train to the University of Utah (black line) which may cost about $10 million (or more) and a proposal to put in two new stations/garages on 200 S. and 700 E. and at the University of Utah.  Please comment on the Transit Plan.  It should focus first on better neighborhood bus service, frequency, late night service and weekend and holiday service.


The RDA so called secret dormant funds of almost 100 million dollars has been partially repurposed to provide abut 20 million for an affordable housing program to be determined in the future (I think that it is the best thing that the Council has done all year.) and 11 million for prep work for the new homeless shelters.  But the Mayor's administration has fought the proposal and it was ably defended by Councilmembers Erin Mendenhall and Derek Kitchen.  During Tuesday's October 25 Council meeting, the continuing fight between the Council and Mayor escalated in public.  When Council questions for the Mayor came up, the administration's staff was out and the Council started complaining about the lack of communication with the Mayor.  David Litvack returned to endure the grilling that focused on the lack of communication and coordination with the Council regarding Impact Fees.  It seems to me that both sides should have sat down in the work session and worked out something so that the formal meeting didn't devolve into a fight.


It turns out that the Mayor and the Council are not communicating on homeless sites.  The meetings of the Homeless Site Commission seem to be a waste of time because the Mayor is going to choose the four sites by November 21 and the public will have meetings offered by the Mayor to discuss the sites.  BUT THE PUBLIC WILL NOT HAVE A CHOICE OR ANY REAL SAY IN THE SITES!


The Council seems willing to blame the Mayor (who last told the Council that the sites need to be approved by November 15) and the Council does not want to represent their constituents and has essentially washed their hands of the decision.  The excuse from the Council is that they don't want to pit neighborhoods against each other.  I consider that a cop out and abrogation of their responsibility to represent those who voted for them.  I hope that the public does not sit still for this and demands to have a choice in the locations that was promised earlier this year.


Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan sent a letter to the Governor asking that the Utah Quality Growth Commission stop discussing watershed issues.  Although it is part of the responsibility of the Commission, the group decided to take it off of the agenda for now.


This Commission is the appropriate venue for discussing watershed issues and analyzing the effect of the hundred year old law that gives Salt Lake City extraterritorial jurisdiction for watershed protection.
Although SLC does not exercise extra territorial jurisdiction in most cases, it has the authority to stop or affect development and ranching and farming in much of northern Utah. The City also restricts transferring of water for any use, including new developments like data centers. It has affected Riverton's secondary water supply.
Watersheds cross city and county boundaries. There are obvious conflicts of overlapping watershed authority, negative effects on development and recreation, and potential effects on ranching and farming. This Commission should encourage discussion and debate on the issues and make a recommendation to the Legislature. The goal, hopefully is to ensure that water supplies will be safeguarded in the future while, at the same time, deter it being used to restrict appropriate development, building, construction, farming, ranching and recreation in Utah.




OCTOBER 21, 2016

SLC COUNCIL/RDA TO DECIDE $21 MIL.  AFFORDABLE HOUSING OCT. 25

UTAH TRANSIT RIDERS UNION MEETING OCT. 22 SATURDAY 1030AM


The Salt Lake City Council, sitting as the RDA, is set to decide the reallocation of various RDA project funds to affordable housing (against the administration) on Tuesday evening October 25 at 7 PM.  Everyone who is interested should attend and comment or email the Council with the emails at the right.  Attending the meeting is important since the Council is fighting the Mayor on the issue.  The Council is also going to spend money NOW on helping solve the homeless issues in SLC and in the Rio Grande area instead of waiting three years for new shelters.


Utah Transit Riders Union meeting is on Saturday October 22 at 1030 at the Main SLC Library.

UTA reps (maybe Jerry Benson GM), Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC.org) 
and election of 3 board positions.

UTRU has been in the forefront of mass transit promotion in the Wasatch 
Front and especially pushing for more service, transparency and 
accountability from UTA.  Recent news has reported that UTRU is pushing for 
elections of Board Trustees and service priority.

Help UTRU push for more neighborhood bus service and UTA accountability.  
In the next few months, WFRC will be working with UTRU to help develop long 
term transit proposals and priorities.  Last year, the WFRC developed a 
Regional Transportation Plan that had a high priority of projects for 
transit.  We hope to influence next year's RTP to reflect a higher priority 
for service. 

Join us at the UTRU Annual meeting on Saturday morning at 1030 AM (October 
22).  Learn about the future plans and how to become more influential in 
pushing mass transit.  You can learn more information from Facebook's Utah 
Transit Riders Union page. 



OCTOBER 18, 2016

MAYOR TAKES AWAY CHANCE TO COMMENT AND CHOICE ON HOMELESS SHELTERS

ERIN MENDENHALL AND DEREK KITCHEN FORCE $21 MILLION AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROGRAM

ADMINISTRATION LOOSES THE BALL ON RACCOON ABATEMENT

COUNTY COUNCIL WANTS ANOTHER 30 DAYS TO STUDY MT. ACCORD


Despite claims that the public will have a chance to comment on the sites of the new proposed homeless sites, it is now the policy of the administration to provide just four sites and "let the public have a choice and chance to comment"!  But the choice has to now be made by the end of November and that means that there will be almost no public engagement process.  Many community councils will not be able to discuss the issues in their regular meetings.  


This is a change from the previous statements by David Litvack that there will be a choice of maybe up to seven sites of which four need to be finally chosen.  He also had said that the choice doesn't need to be made until January!  That is no longer true.  The administration has decided that the public should not have a choice or real chance to comment.


SLC Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall and Councilman Derek Kitchen convinced the SLC Council to push for affordable housing through the RDA.  They found $21 million (on downloads page) to start the program or projects.  The administration (David Litvack) asked for a chance to study the proposal but the Council declined to wait.  It is tentatively set to be approved at next week's SLC Council meeting during the RDA segment.


SLC provided funding this last year for a USDA certified raccoon and skunk abatement officer that could take over the trapping and removal of raccoons from our neighborhoods.  Unfortunately, SLC assumed that the new wildlife abatement officer would trap and pick up the animals.  So SLC stopped providing traps (with a deposit).  And SLCO, who set up the contract, did not make the contract clear that the officer would trap the animals.  The contract just says that they will pick up the trapped animal and leave the trap.  So now the citizens of SLC are worse off than they were last year with respect to raccoons.


The SLCO Council decided that they had too many concerns and questions about the Mountain Accord next step and postponed the decision for 30 days.  Despite Mayor McAdams claim that the process has been open and no one has been denied entrance to meetings, just after he said that, a member of the Mt Accord Executive Board, said that sometimes the Board meetings are closed to the public but "they are few and far between".




OCTOBER 13, 2016

POLICE OFFICER ALMOST KILLED BY SERIAL POLICE ATTACKER

ROAD HOME STATS ON DOWNLOAD PAGE

COUNCIL AND MAYOR NOT TALKING ON OPINIONS PAGE

MOUNTAIN ACCORD QUESTIONS MULTIPLY

UTA HAS TRAINING ON TRANSPARENCY



Mayor Ben McAdams efforts to keep the 380 free beds in Oxbow closed and unavailable for police seem to have resulted in a serious attack on a police officer.  According to several news outlets including KUTV 2, http://kutv.com/news/local/police-say-attacks-on-officers-are-on-the-rise, West Jordan Police Officer Bryant Behunin was viciously attacked by Pete Gatoloai who "has been released twice from jail, with charges of allegedly assaulting a police officer."  If nearby witnesses had not intervened, Officer Behunin could have been killed.  Check out the KUTV link to see the horrific pictures.  Ben McAdams is responsible for not providing enough jail space in his budget to allow law enforcement to do their job.  I told the County Council and Mayor McAdams that the first cop that is killed due to the attacker not being locked up due to jail overcrowding will be blamed on Ben McAdams.  I blame Ben for this and I urge everyone to educate themselves on the Mayor's race and vote accordingly.  Police officers deserve better support.


I put two new downloads from the Road Home on the downloads page.  They give a 5 year breakdown on the beds needed and services provided.  It is required reading for anyone interested in the homeless issue.


Obviously the Mayor of SLC and the SLC Council are not talking and the citizens of SLC are suffering for it.  I put a new opinion piece about the issue on my opinions page.  Although a week old, it is very important and I urge all of you to contact your Councilmember (emails at right) and let them know that their job is to represent you and not bury their heads in the sand and try to avoid the homeless site selection issue.  It is not the fault of the Mayor.  If the Council doesn't work with the Mayor, the sites will be put in place without the elected representatives of the citizens (the Council) speaking for us.


Mountain Accord questions are multiplying and UTA had a presentation on the Mt Accord at the same time that Dave Robinson, the County Mayor candidate, was providing documentation that seemed to show that Ben McAdams is involved in a pay to play scheme.  The Mountain Accord, with Ben's lead, started as a plan to put rail up the canyon.  The new plan is to continue the original plan and become a Central Wasatch Commission with power to bond, levy fees and find money to realize the original dream of Ben McAdams to put a rail up the canyons.  The presentation at UTA is on the downloads page which includes the new budget outline for UTA.  It should be noted that UTA is still having money problems and will need to borrow more money to maintain their rail systems and buses and federal requirements next year.

In addition, the Mountain Accord Executive Board, led by Ben McAdams, that has spent almost $8 million, is a public entity according to the Utah State Auditor John Dougall (on the downloads page).  A lawsuit was filed last week calling into question the legality of the Board and testimony at the County Council this week questioned their open meetings that didn't allow for the public to enter and hear the discussions.  At the UTA presentation, Laynee Jones, the Director with the million dollar contract (on the downloads page), said that the Board was composed of volunteers and not a public entity.  The UTA General Counsel, Jayme Blakesley, also agreed.  When it was pointed out that the Auditor said it was a public entity subject to the Utah Open Meetings Act, Jayme responded that DA Gill said that the Mountain Accord is not subject to the Open Meetings Act and that the DA is an attorney and John Dougall, the Utah State Auditor is not!

Unfortunately for Jayme, the Utah Attorney General backs John Dougall.  If any group, board or entity is going to spend $8 million of taxpayer money, they should be having recorded and legal public meetings and not try to hide their agendas.  It is our money, not theirs and Ben McAdams and the Mountain Accord Board should be more respectful of the taxpayers.


UTA also had a presentation on transparency.  I put it on the downloads page.




OCTOBER 8, 2016
NOTES FROM SLC POLICE CHIEF AND COUNCIL DISCUSSION
NOTES FROM SLC COUNCIL DISCUSSION ON HOMELESSNESS
BICYCLE TICKETS IN LAST YEAR – MAYBE ONE
SLC AND SLCO LIBRARY NOW WORK TOGETHER

During the discussion that the SLC Council had with Chief Brown on October 4, The Chief thanked the Council for the new social workers.  The police love social workers.  As was mentioned in a Deseret News article, he also talked about a woman who has been to the emergency room 72 times since January.  The cost to the public is over $100,000.  In another case, one person called seven times in a day.  Social workers help intercede in situations like those where police can’t help.  The Chief also said that 88 registered sex offenders have Road Home addresses.  That is another reason that families with children should never be exposed to or use the Road Home.  There have been many rapes and the increased police presence in the area helps but doesn’t stop those problems.  When the Council asked the Chief for specifics on what would help, he said he could use 20 more cops.  He also needs more social workers.  When Lisa Adams asked if Operation Diversion could expand to Fairmont Park in Sugar House, he said it is a possibility.  Of course, there are many other areas with even more crime problems.  Fairmont Park has had issues with assaults and threatening behavior from a group of teens.

During the discussion on homeless along with the SLC Housing Authority (presentation on downloads page), the shelter stay is 70 days.  Families stay an average of 55 days which is up from 40 days last year.  Half of children are in two parent families in the shelter.  The effort to effect rapid rehousing has a client to case worker ratio of 35 to 1 and 25 to one would be more appropriate and effective.  85% of the homeless in the Utah shelter system are from Utah.  The SLC Housing Authority has 750 housing units in the last year.

A review of the bicycle tickets given by SLC Police in the last year shows “about” one ticket (that’s is all that they can find).  When SLC Police start ticketing downtown sidewalk bicyclists next year (we really don’t have enough police for that do we?), we will need more courts and judges to handle the explosion is scufflaws.  Email the Mayor and Council (emails on the right).  Skateboarders and bicyclists on sidewalks may be uncomfortable and frustrating to some people but locking up drug dealers and stopping criminal behavior that actually threatens the public is MUCH more important.

Good news for those who live near the SLCO libraries, even if they live in SLC.  The SLC and SLCO library systems now work with each other and your SLC card will work at SLCO libraries!  And vice versa.  So the citizens of SLCO now have many more opportunities to enjoy the benefits of a library.  You must set up an account that links your library card to the other system first but after that, your card can be used at all libraries!




OCTOBER 4, 2016

SLC COUNCIL DISCUSSES HOMELESS AND AFFORDABILITY 
HOMELESS SITE SELECTION MOVES 2-3 MONTHS
JUDGES CONCERNED ABOUT BICYCLING TICKETS
SLC WILL START TICKETING DOWNTOWN SIDEWALK BICYCLING
MT ACCORD JR IS BIG MONEY MONSTER AND SLCO WAITS



During a vigorous debate on housing affordability and homelessness, the SLC Council heard specifics on the Affordability Crisis and were given options which include: tax/levy, eliminating permits, a bond, providing incentives and several others. SLC has an affordable housing crisis that I believe is due to the City approving only 1800 units in the last year and SLC needed 8000 new housing units last year alone. Even the 250 square foot micro units that are being built charge $700/ month. SLC Housing Authority has units but they are usually 97% full.  The presentation is on the downloads page.  Chief Brown told the Council, when asked what he would want or could use from the Council.  He said that he appreciated the social workers and could use more.  He also said that he could use more cops.

Most importantly, David Litvack said that the original deadline to provide the Council with the homeless expansion sites by October 10 is moved. It appears that the Legislature’s Speaker Hughes provided a few more months to settle on the expansion sites during the meeting last month. So it is now planned to maybe, after options are agreed to by property owners, to give the Council and the public up to 7 sites and of those, four would eventually be settled on. So the public will have about two months, or more, to weigh in on the potential locations. This new plan will give the public a respectable chance to discuss and comment on the sites. If the Legislature had not agreed to moving the deadline, the public would not have been given a chance to really comment (since the SLC Council wanted the final four sites by October 10 and the decision was originally planned for November).  His proposal from a few weeks ago is on the downloads page.

Although not a perfect plan since most recent homeless projects have had neighborhood impacts, this will allow a better analysis of the sites and potential neighborhood impact. The more discussion, debate and analysis, the better the decision. This plan will allow more public engagement which will also increase the chance for the success of the plan.



During the SLC Transportation Advisory Committee, the SLC Police indicated that the judges that handle bicycling tickets expressed concern about using the SLC ordinance on bicycling to ticket and charge bicyclists. The ordinance is supposed to be an educational ordinance. So SLC Police are now required to charge bicyclists that break the law with traffic ordinance violations which carry a much higher fine. Hopefully, SLC will update the bicycle ordinance in the near future.



SLC intends to start giving tickets to the bicyclists who bicycle on the sidewalks downtown starting next spring. Up until then, the bicyclists will be given warning tickets. My comment is fighting drug dealers is and should be a higher priority than writing tickets to bicyclists who safely ride on the downtown sidewalks. Green Bikes are well used by SLC visitors and tourists and I hope that SLC realizes that giving tickets to tourists is the last thing that SLC Police have time to do.



SLCO Council agrees to spend the next week on reviewing the Mt Accord followon, the Central Wasatch Commission. Today, the Utah State Auditor released a letter that emphasizes that the Mountain Accord Executive Board is a public body that is required to have all meetings in public. But the Mountain Accord website used to say that they do not have to comply although they intend to. Various individuals have been refused entry to their meetings with that explanation that they are not really subject to those requirements.  Note that the downloads page has the old Mountain Accord Website that says that they are not a public entity although they will allow public into meetings.  Norm Henderson and others from the public were not allowed into the meetings and the Utah State Auditor agreed that Mt Accord is subject to the public meetings requirements.  The two notes are on the downloads page.  The specific points are:


The Mt Accord encourages more federal control (3.2.1) of our Wasatch Canyons, suggests a tunnel (3.4.3, 3.10.5) that is not collaborative and adds a layer of government and costs to UTA projects.


Millcreek Canyon is part of the plan, yet Millcreek is not part of the agreement.

Adding members over the four now (soon to be six) is cumbersome without unanimous approval.

The Commission powers include: fees (item 10), bonding (item 13) and article VIII B discusses loan financing agreements that obligate taxpayers (through Commission members).

The consulting contract for LJ Consulting LLC is one million dollars and that should require more review.

UTA plans already have been looking and planning for increased bus service and Mountain Accord should not get the credit or be needed for increased transportation options since it creates another layer of government.

During recent Mountain Accord Board meetings, the public was refused entrance despite publicly stating that it followed the Open Meetings Act. Many do not trust the new Commissions statement that all meetings will be open.

The disincentivizing of personal vehicle travel is in 3.10.4. "Specific options could include but are not limited to: recreation fees, congestion pricing, ski resort parking fees, U.S. Forest Service parking fees, tolling, single-occupancy vehicle restrictions, and elimination of roadside parking in the canyons." Creating an entity that is allowed to bond and collect fees is the start of a taxation/fee levy without appropriate taxpayer votes.


SLCO Council joins the UTA is slowing down the approval of the Central Wasatch Commission which will have the ability to bond (without voter approval?).




OCTOBER 1, 2016
MT ACCORD MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT AND SECRET MEETINGS
HINT THAT UTA BOARD AND MANAGERS HAD SECRET MEETINGS IN CALIFORNIA
SLC COUNCIL AGREES TO WORK WITH MAYOR AFTER A GUN TO THEIR HEAD

ELECTION TIME MEANS ARREST DRUG DEALERS
STAN PENFOLD’S BEST EVER IDEA



I put the Mountain Accord million dollar contract for LJ Consulting LLC on the downloads page at the top.  Although the contract allows others to be paid out of the million dollars, there should have been more oversight.  Also I still have concerns about the secret meetings of the Mt Accord Executive Board.  I know that, in Utah, it is standard operating procedure.  But GOOD DECISIONS DIE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and it needs to change.  The new Mt Accord implementation group is being managed with a commission of four (Draper, Cottonwood Heights, SLCO and SLC).  That Central Wasatch Commission has the ability to levy fees (I still call them taxes.) and bond.  It should require the Legislature to have hearings and approve it.  Four governments should not be able to set up a way to charge people to use the canyons and disincentivize personal vehicle travel.  UTA gave the Mountain Accord credit for the new proposed ski bus service and intends to give it credit for the year round bus service proposal if approved.  But UTA can do it, did do it and should do it alone without the Mt Accord.

Speaking of UTA, KUTV2 had a story this week that Marc Sessions Jenson, the convicted businessman who paid for California trips to a resort for Marc Shurtleff and John Swallow, is strongly urging the Attorney General that a grand jury should hear his testimony.  He says in his letter to the Attorney General (on the downloads page) that UTA officials were at the resort and had secret meetings!  This is a continuing regular bad habit that borders on illegal.  Most of these individuals are good people that keep doing what they think is standard operating procedure.  It is not and this new revelation hopefully will stop or at least decrease the secret meetings and backroom deals that developers get at the cost of taxpayer money.  The Attorney General should fund the $50,000 cost for the grand jury without requiring limits on investigation of questionable activities.

The Salt Lake City Council had a gun put to their head to force them to compromise and work with Mayor Biskupski on the new homeless shelters.  The gun was Speaker Greg Hughes.  They all agreed, IN A SECRET MEETING!, to work with 4 shelters with a maximum of 150 each.  Next step is releasing the site locations so that a respectful discussion takes place.  If the sites are not released until the last minute, it takes away from the public engagement process.


Mayor McAdams, in a press release on his budget last year said “it is time to work differently in order to deal with an increase in crime…It prioritizes the county’s core responsibility – public safety…. My conviction is that we can limit the number of new jail beds by finding the courage today to seize this opportunity to fund immediate needs now, while figuring out how to interrupt the projected flow into the criminal pipeline.”  So the citizens of SLC and the neighbors of the problem areas in Rio Grande, the low cost motels around the valley, North Temple and on State Street have had to endure significantly increased crime. The SLC Police were not allowed to arrest for less than a felony due to jail overcrowding. It was due to Mayor McAdams, last year, taking the $9.4 million from the 1995 jail bond and spending the money on other, non-jail projects. I think that the Mayor was wrong to take away the money from the Sheriff and the jail

But this is an election year and…surprise, 100 jail beds miraculously appeared to help take the worst of the criminal element off the street. Thank you for elections. Thank you Mayor McAdams for finally realizing that public safety really is important. It shouldn’t be a “believe what I say, not what I do situation”. It is very similar to last year, when just before the election, Mayor Becker ordered the police to crackdown on the homeless in a quality of life enforcement action. It didn’t convince voters then and it shouldn’t convince voters now that Ben McAdams really believes in public safety as a high priority

The police are still not allowed to arrest for less than felonies and there are still 380 free beds in Oxbow that should be reopened. The Mayor’s true colors will show in a week or two when he recommends the new budget. If he gives the Sheriff the money to reopen the jail beds, and provides for treatment, then he really has changed. But there is no guarantee that the new welcomed effort will last past the election. I think that the public should educate themselves about the issues in the election for SLCO Mayor and vote accordingly.



Stan Penfold had his best idea ever and he deserves credit and hopefully more efforts to implement his idea.  He said in a recent City Council meeting that families with children should never have to be exposed to or go to the Road Home.  They should get an apartment or house, on at least a temporary basis.  Children should not see homeless shelters.  Even the Midvale Shelter is questionable for children.






SEPTEMBER 27, 2016
UTA WITNESSES INTERNAL SLCO COUNCIL FIGHT

SLCO RECORDER AUDIT REQUIRES RECORDER RESPONSE
SLC POLICE FRUSTRATED AND AFRAID
ONE PERSON SHOULD NOT DECIDE THE HOMELESS EXPANSION SITES

NEW OPEDS IN OPINIONS PAGE INCLUDING REVIEW BD DECISION

FACEBOOK MORNING AFTER QUARTERBACKING

 
   During a presentation by UTA to the Salt Lake County Council, a complaint about openness descended into a fight about open meetings.  Councilman Steve DeBry took issue with the lack of transparency in UTA meetings that seem to be closed.  Councilwoman Jenny Wilson complained that the Salt Lake County Council should not talk about closed meetings when several members of the Council had a meeting about the budget with the Mayor last year.  The back and forth elicited the comment that someone should pull the fire alarm.  Chairman Max Burdick finished the discussion and interrupted the argument.  The UTA presentation needed more discussion.

  The agenda letter about the UTA presentation suggested discussing the effect of various projects on UTA service and especially the effect of Davis County and Utah County projects on SLCO bus service expansion.   Board of Trustees Charles Henderson, General Manager Jerry Benson and VP of Finance Robert Biles discussed UTA Equity Analysis that was presented to the SLCO Debt Review Committee (on downloads page).  They discussed the expansion of bus service up the canyon funded in part by realigning the service away from downtown and to the TRAX stations.

  UTA also talked about the Tiger Grant that provided $20 million from the federal government that needs a $60 million match from local entities.  UTA says that they may only need $3.5 million from UTA funding but since 28 million was asked for, there will have to be a discussion about the projects and who will pay for them.  The projects are bike lanes, bike trails and bicycling amenities.  Many of the projects already are planned using Prop One funding in Davis and Weber County.   But a large part of the funding is still up in the air and SLC Council in particular has to decide if they want to fund their proposed projects.  Note that the federal government is not a bottomless barrel of money and to get the $20 million of “free” money, we have to spend $60 million!  In the recent past, TIGER grants funded 40-60% of the project costs.  UTA has noted at the Legislature that federal funding is drying up and we shouldn’t expect better results.

  UTA also discussed the efforts to answer all of the 2014 audit recommendations.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to discuss the fact that UTA is not following the 2012 and 2014 audit recommendations to identify full funding sources before starting a project.  UTA listed four projects that they are starting, the Depot District Service Center (questionable $55 + million bus garage funded by local funds), the Provo BRT (without commitment of federal funds but Utah County promised a bond for the funding that UTA would pay back), positive train control (with significant federal funding) and light rail overhaul.  UTA left out the airport TRAX expansion project that they are funding now with $3+ million without knowing where the rest of the funds will come from.  The big question is who are the taxpayers who will pay for TRAX reconfiguration at the SLC Airport?  SLC unilaterally decided that they needed a fancy flying bridge rail system but the airport is for all Utahns.  Will SLC taxpayers and/or SLCO taxpayers and/or all Utah taxpayers pay for the project?

  In the next year, UTA is working on the Murray/Taylorsville/WVC BRT (decreasing lanes on very congested roadways), the Weber County BRT (spending $60 million to replace a very effective and efficient and popular bus route and save maybe 5 minutes from a 20 minute ride), and the South Davis BRT.  The South Davis BRT project will require SLCO taxpayer funds and the question should be asked:  Why is another county forcing SLCO taxpayers to pay for their project?  The same question exists for the efforts by Orem and Lehi to build an Orem to Draper TRAX system that would obligate SLCO taxpayers to billions to build their dream.

  Jerry Benson said that it was good that Prop One failed in Salt Lake County since it would be too much to manage Weber, Davis and Salt Lake County at the same time.  He said that UTA is committed to increasing service all day, in the evenings and on weekends.  UTA contributed $200,000 to the Mountain Accord bus service plan which will increase bus service 12%.  But the SLCO Canyon Transportation Study less than ten years ago recommended better canyon bus service.  I don’t think that Mountain Accord group had anything to do with it other than taking credit for the UTA service increase.  We have been asking UTA to increase canyon bus service for years (for free and not spending $8 million).  UTA is sitting on a $2 million year round per canyon per year proposal for six months in order to give credit to Mountain Accord. 

  UTA insisted that every action item will be public and that is something that we care about.  UTA is in the midst of a change to improve transparency.  The Board of Trustees are accountable to the governments that appoint them and UTA is not interested in divorcing themselves from local government.  There will be a new Board process by the end of the year.  He said that “we have reached a better transparency” and comments are up 87%.  Note that usually only two people commented at the UTA Board meetings in the last years.  We were told that five commented in the last month online.  I urge everyone to please Google rideuta.com and board of trustees to get the Board site which does have a link to comments for agenda items.  Please tell UTA what you think.  But Jerry Benson and Charles Henderson (appointed by SLCO) both mentioned a survey of UTA goals that was discussed between Board members.  That survey is still not public.

  After Jerry Benson finished the UTA presentation, Jenny Wilson complained that Republicans on the Council were out of line complaining about so called closed UTA meetings.  Richard Snelgrove complained about “lobbing a partisan bomb”.  Councilman Steven DeBry provided the escalation which almost ended in a conflagration.  Interesting meeting of the Salt Lake County Council Committee of the Whole.


  The SLCO Council also heard the County Auditor discuss the preliminary findings of the audit of the County Recorder.  Auditor Scott Tingley said that County Recorder Gary Ott is not directly managing the Recorder’s office but Deputy County Recorder Julie Dole is providing most of the management.  The County Council asked to postpone the public release of the draft until Gary Ott has provided a response to the preliminary findings (standard operating procedure for audits).


SLC Police are concerned about the number of individuals that are on the streets instead of being in treatment or the jail.  During several incidents where SLC Police were physically attacked, the Police expressed frustration at the significant increase in drug addicts and people with mental issues that create public safety issues in Salt Lake City.  Again, the Rio Grande neighborhood has 300 medical responses a month typically.  25% of those require that SLC Police provide protection to the SLC Fire Department medics.  The Fire Department personnel were recently attacked by a man with a metal pole.  Every time that they express frustration that they can’t arrest anyone for less than a felony due to jail overcrowding, the Sheriff feels a need to complain about the complaints.  It is not about the Sheriff.  The Mayor of SLCO, Ben McAdams sets the budget for the jail and usually, the SLCO Council approves it.  Historically, the jail and Sheriff has been underfunded.  If you are tired of aggressive panhandling, addicts shooting up on sidewalks or in parks, prostitution and defecating in your neighborhood and gangs controlling drug deals, you have to demand more jail space.  The emails for the SLCO Mayor and Council are on the right.  Email them! 

 There are people who need to be off the street and in treatment or in jail (or both).  Even Goldman Sachs’ employees are not safe on the streets (a real assault without an arrest).  Admittedly, 30% of jail inmates have mental issues; there is a waiting list to get into the State Hospital that doubles every year and some inmates are kept in solitary confinement for months due to mental issues (according to a recent lawsuit).

  We need more police.  SLC Police had 97 patrol officers at the end of last year (due to the insistence of the previous administration that we didn’t need more cops) and we now have 157 (but it will take up to a year before the recent Academy graduates are going to be allowed to patrol on their own. 

There are many criminals ingrained in the homeless population that do not belong on the street.  Tell the SLCO Mayor to open up the 380 free beds in Oxbow so the threats to society can be taken off the street.  The police are willing to take a bullet for us.  They are willing to protect and serve and sacrifice.  But we shouldn’t be making it harder and more dangerous.


One person should not decide the site of homeless facilities

   Over the last two weeks, the plan and path for identifying and developing homeless expansion facilities has undergone a significant change. Up until the beginning of September, almost everyone involved in the homeless site selection process had indicated that there would be five potential sites that would go to the Salt Lake City Council for approval for money to buy options on the five finalist sites. The month of September would be used to get feedback and engage the public in a discussion of the good and bad points of the possible sites. That would lead to two sites selected for more vigorous public hearings during October.  By November, the City Council would approve the final two sites and that would meet the Legislature’s understanding that Salt Lake City would provide 500 beds outside of Rio Grande for homeless.

  Over the last few months of discussions on the process, public safety became more important. That concern resulted in many Councilmembers and most of the public saying that facilities with more than 100 beds would be a burden on the neighboring communities. Councilmember Derek Kitchen said that he is next to the VOA Youth facility that has 30 beds (80 have sometimes stayed there) and even that small facility does have an impact on the community.

  During SLC Council tours of the Lantern House in Ogden, the 250 bed homeless shelter, the neighbors complained about the problems that are due to the homeless visitors to the Lantern House. Despite efforts of Lantern House managers to control the problem that affect neighbors, the neighbors still are negatively impacted. The managers refuse services to those homeless that cause problems and don’t follow the rules. That helps a little but the main result is that the homeless that are refused services, take Frontrunner down to Salt lake City! In other words, homeless facilities cause problems for neighborhoods.


  Until the system removes the criminal element that is ingrained in the homeless community, there will be a problem with homeless facilities. The potential impact of 250 bed homeless facilities has resulted in most of the Salt Lake City Councilmembers saying that they would prefer five 100 bed facilities. The reason that 250 bed facilities were recommended was because of the services that could be cost effectively provided in such a facility (social workers, medical services, etc). The service cost would be more in smaller facilities. The administration has said that Salt Lake City has committed to two 250 bed facilities and that the Council would endanger the Legislature’s funding if they changed from two 250 bed facilities.

  When the Council was told that the Mayor had the ability to choose the site locations without Council approval (at the September 13th meeting), the Council seemed to accept that with minimal objection (in my mind). The City Council said (in a press release): “Selecting sites and buying property is clearly the Mayor’s responsibility,…..So, it is important that the City Council exercise its legislative authority to set conditions related to land use policy and budget approval.” But that will change the promised process to have a vigorous and respectful process for selecting homeless facility expansion sites.  In addition, the Council and the public was told that there would be two sites identified and the public would only have a couple of weeks for input and since the City Council didn’t have the authority, it would not affect the site locations!

  Salt Lake City has had similar proclamations in the past that mayors have total authority. The best example was the previous administration’s insistence that the new police headquarters would be on Library Square. That proclamation resulted in such a public resistance that the location was moved. This administration seems to be falling into the same disrespectful mindset of believing that citizens work for them. Community councils were promised by the Mayor that they would have input on the final two sites but the speed of the process (site locations by October 10 and final approval by November) seems to be removing community council discussion and feedback.

  Mayor Biskupski and the City Council should reevaluate the process to allow flexibility and public engagement in providing two or more homeless expansion facilities. The sites (known to the Mayor now) should be made public and the citizens, the community councils and the public should be able to voice their opinions. The Mayor should acknowledge that the best decisions require vigorous public engagement and that opinions of citizens do matter and should be respected. The homeless sites should be made public now.




  Facebook decision needs more discussion at the Legislature.  Mayor McAdams seems to be disingenuous  when he promotes a new Mountain View Corridor Commission to deflect some of the fallout from his successful efforts to stop the Facebook data center.  The tax increment issue may have been overdone since Sandy is doing a more outrageous tax increment funding for a much smaller project (approved by SLCO Council today - $25 million).  It is a TOD that utilizes leased? UTA land in an area that is growing quickly.  Tax increments should only be used in areas that are not growing or being built up (like the Vivent Arena tax increment that I was against).  I was for the Facebook situation since the State get $12 a year for the West Jordan property ($450/ year for school district). The project would give millions to the school district over 20 years that they wouldn’t expect due to slow or zero development in that area.  

  In addition, the company was going to put in billions of systems into Utah and the tax breaks would help that.  In the past, Facebook, and other companies provide some older systems to schools when they are outdated.  Facebook systems are outdated in a year or two.  The technology is advancing so fast that many of those systems are outdated within two years.

  Other similar issues have happened in the last few years that gave even bigger “breaks” to developers.  The SLC moratorium on impact fees (to end in November) gave millions to developers almost upfront!  That giveaway hurts Sugar House immediately since transportation could have used some of that money to mitigate the negative consequences of the big developments going in (three large buildings in the next year).

  I used to work in the tech industry and I still keep contact with some of the high tech executives.  They tell me that Salt Lake City was being looked at as a low cost option for expansion facilities.  Silicon Valley, San Diego and LA housing costs are four plus times greater than in Utah.  Also the time to commute from San Francisco to San Jose is two hours during rush hour.  Interestingly, it takes about two hours to fly from SLC to San Jose (via Delta) and it gets you there by 10 AM.  The recent oped by Mayor McAdams was disrespectful towards the “name” tech companies that were considering Utah. Facebook discussed moving some of the Open Server Lab to Utah.  Oracle (which already has one of their 19 data center here) is also considering Utah for many more facilities.

  Utah has the water and the Legislature is considering pulling SLC watershed authority due to their cooperation in the statement that Utah does not have the water.  There are many upset that SLC is forcing water to be wasted and not used.  Emma Penrod did a story, part 3, in the sltrib that publicized the issue.  I have been involved with hearings at the Quality Growth Commission that also is upset about the SLC interference with development through water authority.  Although the 1000 acres of farmland considered for this project could use 9 million gallons a day (using very inefficient furrow watering), the data center would use a couple of a hundred thousand gallons a day.  Facebook, and the other state of the art data centers are very efficient.  NSA’s facility uses 2 million gallons a day but Facebook is much more up to date.  And Facebook pushes for renewable energy, which some consider a benefit.

  I also pushed for Facebook due to the fact that data center tech is the fastest growing tech.  Amazon and Oracle are growing data centers at 44% a year. Facebook is growing faster.  Oracle predicts that by 2025, 80% of IT budgets will be spent on independent cloud service.  The investment is approaching $50 billion a year in this industry.  Utah should be part of the discussion.

   I am still pushing Utah for consideration for moving some Silicon Valley work to lower cost areas.  But this fight’s biggest impact was making Utah look bad to Silicon Valley.  I blame Mayor McAdams  for that (along with a SLCO mayor that seemed to be trying to hurt West Jordan).   Hope that this information helps fill in some gaps in an interesting discussion.


 


SEPTEMBER 22, 2016

UTAH TRANSIT RIDERS UNION

UTA BOARD NEEDS TO BE ELECTED NOT APPOINTED

MOUNTAIN ACCORD IS A SECRET AND COSTLY GROUP

IMPACT FEES DISCUSSION NEEDS PUBLIC FEEDBACK



The Utah Transit Riders Union is a group of hundreds of concerned Utah mass transit riders that would like a bigger voice in the discussions that generally occur behind closed doors.  The group stays on top of transportation issues and tries to notify interested parties and encourage them to comment and participate in mass transit discussions at UTA and the Wasatch Front Regional Council (and at the Mountainland Association of Governments meetings in Utah County).  The Board is active in the Salt Lake and Utah County areas and provides significant feedback to mass transit planning for the area.  If you are interested in keeping up to date on mass transit plans in Utah, you should consider joining UTRU’s email and/or Facebook group (Utah Transit Riders Union on Facebook or email chris.stout@utru.org).  Chris Stout is the President and Christian Harrison is the Chair. 

UTRU provided a statement regarding UTA Governance that was supposed to be discussed at the Legislature Wednesday but was rescheduled for next month:


“While we agree that those counties and municipalities which contribute to UTA’s funding have a vested interest in its management, we do not believe that a board filled with political appointees does anything to serve the public interest.  We call on each contributing city and county to transition its Board appointments to elected positions.  UTA’s mission is critical to the wellbeing of our State and its success rests in having a vibrant and responsive Board.”

I agree (I am a UTRU Board member).  The arguments for UTA Board of Trustees being elected include potential Board members would have to engage the citizens in discussions on mass transit and they would also encourage, at the same time, more public engagement in UTA and WFRC (which plans future projects).  The problem now is that the Board is appointed by governments that want more projects without recognizing that there is only a finite source of funding.  Without full funding of projects, service, and especially neighborhood bus service, is cannibalized.  When we  went out on a limb a few years ago to build out the extra TRAX lines, bus service was cut 30%.  The idea of elected Board members is a win win for riders, mass transit and Utah.  I put the latest Regional Transportation Plan mass transit projects at the top of the downloads page.


During the Legislative Interim Transportation Committee meeting on Wednesday, Laynee Jones, Executive Director of the Mountain Accord, presented information on the Mountain Accord.  I put the presentation on the downloads page.  If you look at the presentation, it notes that it is discouraging personal vehicle us, giving the federal government more control of the canyons and increasing bus service.  The Mountain Accord has spent $8 million so far, including a million dollar contract to LJ consultants (Laynee Jones).  If that money had been used for increasing bus service, we could have 4 years of year round canyon bus service.  The Mt Accord is presenting the bus service expansion as a benefit of the Mt Accord but it is an extra layer of government since we have been discussing the issue with UTA for years.  UTA is sitting on the $2 million a year per canyon bus service plan in order for Mt Accord to present it as a benefit of the Mt Accord!  UTA could have released the plans without the Mt Accord.  I also do not like the idea of supporting a National Monument in the canyons (3.2.1 of the Mountain Accord).  This appears to be a back room plan to control development in the canyons (and in routes to the canyons) for the benefit of some private developers. 

In the next steps to implement the Mountain Accord (on the downloads page) that is changing the Mountain Accord management to a small commission (the Central Wasatch Commission), SLC, Sandy, Cottonwood Heights and SLCO are creating a new political subdivision to implement Mountain Accord recommendations.  It includes a one million dollar consulting contract for Laynee Jones (packet page 317).  The commission powers will include the powers “to levy and collect fees and charges,” “acquire, hold, utilize, spend, or dispose of its real and personal property,” to issue bonds (packet page 290) and authority to work with the federal government to increase federal authority (National Recreation Area or Monument) over the canyons. 

I still think that the Mt Accord and Commission is an overreach and example of how government expansion is a waste of money.  The Mt Accord is now using UTA projects as the reason that the Accord benefits Utah (but the projects were planned before the Mt Accord and in the five year old Canyons Transportation Study).   In addition, the Board meets in secret and refuses to allow the public to listen to and participate in their discussions.  We want more open government, not more secret government decisions!

 
I put the second discussion by the SLC Council on impact fees on the download page.  Note that impact fees can be used for transportation improvements, park improvements (lights, dog parks, playgrounds, linear parks and trails, etc) and capital improvements to mitigate the increased density.  The lack of ideas last year resulted in a moratorium on impact fees in SLC which was a windfall of millions of dollars to developers.  Please comment on the slcgov.com/HAND  (Housing and Neighborhood Development) or slcgov.com open city hall website.  Impact fees could also be going up if the Council approves the suggestion which will hurt housing affordability.


 


SEPTEMBER 16

PLANNING COMMISSION DESTROYS ELM STREET NEIGHBORHOOD

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH IS ONLY HELP FOR SLC RESIDENTS 

DISTRACTED DRIVER HITS BICYCLIST IN TAYLORSVILLE NO CITATION

CHASE AND CRASH RESULTS IN SOLVING FIVE + ROBBERIES


The Planning Commission approved the super duper monster building for the corner of Sugarmont and McClelland again.  They needed a rehearing since the original public hearing was not properly noticed.  SLC had two managing public notices and one was on vacation and the other thought that the notice was already done by the person on vacation.  But the big problem with the project is the new street that will be constructed from Elm St (at McClelland) to Wilmington (at Highland) which will provide a straight and fast drive between 900 E. and 1300 E. (the freeway entrances) and avoid the major congestion and backups on 21st South.  The quiet neighborhoods that use Elm (1000 East and Lincoln) will now have to fight the traffic that will avoid the 21st South congestion.  This was the project that Mayor Biskupski, before she was elected mayor, railed against in a press conference.


This is another project that will lead to the supergentrification of Sugar House.   The City Council abrogated their responsibility (along with the previous administration) when they implemented a moratorium on impact fees.  The fees could have been used, and were needed, to mitigate the significant negative consequences of these big projects.  The Council effectively put millions in the pockets of developers.  Anyone upset by the Facebook tax incentives should be yelling at the SLC Council (emails at right) for giving millions to millionaire developers.



Due to the fact that the SLC Police are not able to arrest anyone for less than a felony (like drug dealing which results in a 4 hour jail stay), one of the few ways to help the issue and fight crime is neighborhood watch.  In most neighborhoods that are active in neighborhood watch, crime goes down.  If you are interested in starting a neighborhood watch group, or participating in one, email Detective Greg Wilking at gregory.wilking@slcgov.com or call him at 385 214 4779.  When criminals notice people keeping an eye on the neighborhood, and notice that police seem to be called when they enter a neighborhood, they avoid that area.  Neighborhood watch works.  Also, most community councils discuss neighborhood watch at their meetings.  Residents can get a lot of information of the crime in their neighborhoods by going to those meetings.  The SLC Police attend every meeting and get a lot of attention and appreciation by answering questions.  I put the list of community councils on the right, below the contacts.



There was a bicyclist hit by a distracted driver in Taylorsville this week.  The young girl did not get a citation because the bicyclist, a firefighter, was not seriously injured and asked that the girl not be cited.  The bicycling community is upset and is trying to get a meeting with the Unified Police Department (that covers Taylorsville) to communicate their frustration about this issue.  A distracted driver bill was passed by the Legislature two years ago due to a distracted driver killing one person and seriously injuring his wife.  


There were several robberies in Liberty Wells recently, including two at a 7/11 on 17th South.  During investigation of the robberies, the SLC Police located a suspicious car at around 1300 South and 200 East (next to other crime problem buildings) and chased the car.  This started just after the Monday night crime meeting at the Community College).  The chase ended in downtown Salt Lake City.  The individuals in the car seemed to have been involved in at least five robberies in the Salt Lake Valley, including the two 7/11 robberies and a separate Maverick.  Thank you SLC Police.  I also got several emails from individuals in the Liberty Wells neighborhood that noticed bicycle cops on their street and expressed appreciation with the visible police.  




SEPTEMBER 14, 2016

SLC COUNCIL UPSET WITH MAYOR BISKUPSKI AGAIN ON HOMELESS SITES

EXPERIMENT ON SNOW DAY PARKING A FAILURE

IMPACT FEE PAGES ON DOWNLOAD

STREET MAINTENANCE STILL LOSING TO OTHER PROJECTS IN CIP LIST (ON DOWNLOAD PAGE)


​STATE STREET CRIME MEETING HAS BIG TURNOUT


SLC Council wants to have homeless sites listed for public comment.  Administration says not now.  During a vigorous discussion at the SLC Council in an evening meeting that lasted past 9 PM, the Council expressed frustration with the administration of Mayor Biskupski regarding homeless shelter expansion sites that are not identified.  The administration said many times that they expected five potential sites to be provided to the Council by the end of August so that the Council could provide money to pay for options on the properties.  The five sites would then be winnowed to the two most appropriate sites after public comment.  The process would result in a month long series of public meetings in October which would lead to the two “best” sites be chosen, voted on by the Council, and listed for the Legislature so that further funding of the construction of the homeless expansion shelters would come during the next Legislative session.   The administration, according to Patrick Leary, has identified the five sites but has not given the locations to the City Council.

So much of the discussion by the Council indicated frustration at the lack of coordination and cooperation between the Council and the administration. The Council all expressed concern about the effect of facilities with more than 100 beds on the adjacent neighborhoods.  Last week the administration, through David Litvack, said that the agreement with the Legislature was that the City would provide two sites of 250 beds each for the new homeless expansion facilities.  Councilman Charlie Luke expressed frustration with the fast moving process and said that he still wants to see smaller shelters.  But he said that the Council “needs to address what is in front of us now.  Councilwoman Lisa Adams expressed the most frustration.  She said that she is uncomfortable with any part of the discussion.  She said that the director of the Lantern House said that the neighbors were unhappy with the facility, even though they were in an industrial and commercial area.  And when the Lantern House kicks out homeless with problems that refuse to obey the rules, those homeless go down to Salt Lake City. She also said that she hasn’t seen more specific information on exactly how the facilities will operate.  Will they utilize best practices and what will they look like?

Councilman Stan Penfold was concerned about a facility on a small plot of land and wanted to ensure that the land around the facility helps mitigate the impact on the neighborhood.  He also expressed concern that families should never be in a shelter.  There should be an apartment that they should be able to go to.  Councilman Derek Kitchen said that the 250 beds seem arbitrary.  He said that he is elected to represent his district and he has heard from dozens that 250 is too much.  He would feel more comfortable supporting building two or more facilities that do not exceed 250 beds.  The other Councilmembers also said that, recently, the administration seemed to imply that the 250 is the basic number of beds and that overflow would end up with many more.  All were adamant that 250 should be the limit.  Councilman Andrew Johnston said that there should be as few beds as possible.  He used to work for the Volunteers of America and is probably one of the most knowledgeable people in the City concerning homeless issues.  Andrew sits on the Homeless Site Selection Committee and said that his group has not selected any sites.  It has been left up to Mayor McAdams and Mayor Biskupski. 

Councilman James Rogers said that no matter what the Council does, the administration does not appear willing to change from the two 250 bed facilities.  Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall also expressed concern about the size and the structure of the facilities.  Will single men and single women be allowed in the same building or in separate buildings?  Also, if a rezone is necessary, more time is needed for public hearings.  Charlie Luke said that due to the time frame that the administration has left them with, the Council has to accept the two 250 bed facilities but should specifically limit the maximum population to 250.  He is not happy with it but he felt, and the rest of the Council agreed, that there is no time left to argue the case of fewer beds with the administration and Mayor McAdams.  The Council seemed most upset with the lack of communication and respect from the administration.  Interestingly, the Council also accepted funding for more public engagement between the City and its citizens. 

Public engagement should start with not keeping public decisions secret until it is too late for public hearings to change the decisions.  Good decisions die behind closed doors.


It appears that the experiment to clear one side of the street on snow days has not been as successful as originally predicted.  It was a test to see if clearing one side of the street by requiring all cars to park on one side of the street on one day and on the other side on the next (after snowstorms) in order to ensure that snow plows completely clear the street of snow.  But the overtime required to do the streets completely (plowing for two days instead of one) created cost efficiency problems.  It looks like the experiment may end after this winter.


I put the impact fees cheat sheet (3 pages) on the download page and it lists the acceptable projects that can be paid for by impact fees.  “Impact fees are to be used to keep a current level of service for new growth to a City.”  In Sugar House, the administration did not identify and build projects to spend the money in a timely fashion so the Council declared a moratorium on collecting impact fees until November of this year.  The fees can be used for parks, restroom improvements, off-leash dog parks, trails, street pavement improvement and maintenance, bridges and transportation improvements.  Unfortunately, developers in Sugar House are making millions of dollars because SLC did not identify and manage appropriately impact fees.  Each large building in Sugar House is effectively handing the developer a million dollars, thanks to SLC.  The money could have been used any of the above and theoretically, with Legislative approval, been used to implement park rangers, transportation improvements and complete streets with wider sidewalks and  many more trees.


The CIP list of proposed projects is on the downloads page.  If you read the projects list, you may notice that there are not many street projects.  Streets in SLC could use $40 million a year to keep them in good repair.  The streets get less than $10 million.  Almost everywhere that there is a bus stop, the street curb has a big pothole.  Interestingly, a couple of years ago, the SLC Council passed a tax increase that was to be used for street maintenance.  It never happened.  The previous administration of Ralph Becker used the money for other “uses” and didn’t tell the Council (or they didn’t notice).  The streets lost $8 million that they could have used.  If you see a bad street, complain to the administration and your councilmember (email addresses on the right).


On Monday, September 12, over a hundred residents and business attended a meeting on crime in the State Street area (from 2100 South to downtown).  The complaints included that the people arrested seem to be back at the business the next day, the people that are causing trouble are not arrested, prostitutes that openly solicit in residential neighborhoods and next to legitimate businesses are just cited, drug dealers get out of jail in 4 hours and SLC Police are not able to arrest anyone for less than a felony.  The lack of enough jail space was mentioned.  .  County Health attended (I noticed a story that a County Health worker was injured by a needle that they try to pick up and now they are using mechanical pickup.)  and the Community Intelligence Officers are able, sometimes, to make use of their services while regular patrol officers cannot always stay and fix the issue.  There were many complaints about individuals defecating in the area, on the sidewalks, next to houses, in the side yards, in the back yards (next to alleys) and in the alleys.  One person also mentioned that a homeless person brought in a toilet to use in their “alley”.  Homeless are sleeping on resident’s porches and in parks and the police can’t seem to stop it.  The Sheriff expressed frustration with the lack of funding to treat those in jail (well over 50% of the jailed inmates) for mental, drug and alcohol issues.  He is right that the Justice Reinvestment Act that trades jail for treatment is not funded and those who used to steal to feed their habit are let out of jail without treatment. 

The SLC Police need to be called for even the least of a problem so that they can locate and place police patrols where the crime reported is highest.  All crime needs to be reported.  The homeless camping problem appears to be caused by homeless not wanting to be in the Rio Grande area which they consider to be very dangerous.  ACLU has been able to stop anti camping ordinances from being enforced when there is not enough safe homeless shelter beds.  ACLU appears to be ready to do the same with SLC Police if they enforce the City’s laws against camping.  All that police can do now is ask them to move along.

When you call the police about concern about a homeless person hanging around, report a prowler.  SLC Police will not respond to homeless reports.  Even if they are camping in your yard.  A prowler get a response and the police force the person to leave the area (it happened to my family that way). 

After a short period where complaints were heard, the Police Chief pointed out that at the end of the last administration, they had 97 patrol officers on the street.  They have around 150 now (or soon).  And there are many more bike squads that help show the police in the area.  In fact, yesterday, the bike squad road around the area and several people let me know that they appreciated that fact.  There also was a complaint that two officers sometimes show up when only one showed up before (training officers ride patrols with new academy graduates) and there was a worry that maybe more separate officers would help. 

The meeting had the last hour devoted to the attendees being provided with the services and plans and information from the City which includes the new State Street redevelopment area and other plans.

 

 




SEPTEMBER 9

SUGAR HOUSE WILL PROBABLY HAVE PAID PARKING WITH ALL OF THE PROJECTS

PALMER COURT AND RIO GRANDE AREA MEDICAL RESPONSE BY SLC FIRE ON DOWNLOADS


During discussion with the architects and developers of the new hotel on the Toys R Us block, it was stated that Sugar House projects will probably lead to all paid parking in Sugar House.  The supergentrification of Sugar House continues.  


The Planning Commission will revisit the project on Sugarmont and McClelland by Boulder Ventures due to the lack of proper notice.  This overdevelopment was the focus of a press conference by the candidate Jackie Biskupski before she was elected Mayor.  She was against the project due to the lack of appropriate parking.  I have to add that the new road north of the project will increase traffic and parking onto Elm and the single family homes on that street and the nearby side streets.  The negative impact on the nearby residents cannot be mitigated.  In addition, the private road that will connect with Wilmington, will require another traffic light sequence which will increase congestion and air pollution.  The SLC Planning Commission Staff Contact is John Anderson at (801)535-7214, or john.anderson@slcgov.com.  You should email him with your concerns before Wednesday or support or call him or show up and comment at the meeting.


The SLC Fire Department provided a breakdown of the medical response per month for the Rio Grande area and Palmer Court.  The Excel pivot tables are on the download page (right hand column).  The Fire Department generally has 300 responses per month in the Rio Grande area and about 20 per month in the Palmer Court area.  The Fire Department says that the Palmer Court area is the second biggest draw on medical response after Rio Grande.


My thoughts are that it shows that there is a large problem with successful drug, alcohol and mental health treatment of homeless and those at Palmer Court.  It should show that the solution requires a multi-pronged approach that includes more jail space so that those who commit crimes (drug addicts need to steal to get money for drugs - unless they are panhandling - and that means that it is not a victimless crime; police should be able to arrest and keep in jail those that are threats to others; and most importantly, a healthcare expansion is necessary to provide full mental health treatment, full drug and alcohol abuse treatment and not just for the general population but also for the homeless (many are homeless due to medical costs). 

I also think that it is important to distribute individuals with these issues so that they do not encourage or enable each other.  Mixed income and mixed situation buildings make more sense than putting a large number of people in one building that have had serious drug and alcohol and mental health issues.  Ivy House had to be closed because of the concentration of those individuals (see recent Marie Taylor oped in Sltrib regarding SROs).  One or two individuals in an apartment do not encourage or enable this behavior.  It encourages these individuals to get better.  Palmer Court, as evidenced by the City Weekly story last year?, shows that there is a problem and a large building with homeless will not always be a solution.  


The meeting on September 12 at the South Campus SL Community College will also discuss these issues with regards to low cost motels.




SEPTEMBER 8


SEPTEMBER 12 MEETING ABOUT STATE STREET MOTELS


MOUNTAIN ACCORD NEW MANAGEMENT, MILLION DOLLAR SALARY

POLICE CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARD QUESTIONS

AFFORDABLE HOUSING DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION

HOMELESS 250 BED SITE EXPANSION HITS ROADBLOCK

PIONEER PARK COALITION HOMELESS PRIORITIES

MAYOR MEETS WITH CENTRAL CITY NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL ONLINE

SLC POLICE CAN’T STOP CAMPING IN PARKS, 
SLC NEEDS PARK RANGERS


Salt Lake City Council Member Erin Mendenhall will be hosting a town-hall meeting to discuss crime around the State Street area with residents and business owners Sept. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at Salt Lake Community College South Campus. (from her oped in the SLTRIB).  I know that the Councilmembers care but I urge as many people as possible to turn out to the meeting to show that we want more.  SLC Police need to be able to arrest those that they feel should be off the streets and in jail.  If they are not allowed to arrest for less than a felony due to not enough jail space, crime increases.​


The Mountain Accord is changing to reflect the next step in the process of implementing the Accord.  Due to the secrecy of the Mountain Accord Executive Board meetings, the public is not allowed to see the workings of the process and is not even allowed to see the salary of Laney Jones (The downloads page has Mt Accord next steps download and it shows a contract (packet page 317 item 4a) for one million dollars for LJ!).   In addition, the new entity has the ability to bond and obligate taxpayers!  There is a Quality Growth Commission recommendation coming that will have the Legislature revisit the 100 year old law that gives SLC watershed authority (includes the Tibble Creek dam which destroyed the Creek due to inadequate protections as the dam water was drawn down).  The secrecy of the executive board meetings is concerning and could give insiders information that could be used for personal gain.  The SLC Council approved (with a straw poll) the new interlocal agreement that sets up a new commission to implement the Accord as long as the commission/executive committee members has a process to allow the commission to be expanded. 

 
Police Civilian Review Board found that the shooting in February was “not within policy”. I strongly disagree. The Board’s recommendation was based on their observation that in the final seconds before the shooting, the victim of the beating and the attacker with the handle were not moving fast.  The attacker, the young man, refused to stop and drop his weapon, while his fellow attacker did acknowledge the police commands and dropped their heavy metal bar with a loud and characteristic thud.  The police officers assumed that the attacker with the handle had a similar weapon and had a couple of seconds to react.  When the officers saw the attacker raise the handle, they both assumed that a deadly blow was forthcoming and they fired (believing that the victim was in deadly danger).  The reason that the victim and attacker may have been moving slowly is because they both may have assumed that the attack was not going to result in grave bodily harm.  The Board did not interview the two attackers (including the one shot) and the criminal case for drug dealing is still pending against the young man who was shot. Normally, those two issues would individually stop the Civilian Review Board from providing a finding.  In addition, there was not enough time to holster their guns (21 seconds from seeing the attack to shooting) and draw and use Tasers.  Note that Tasers don’t always work in the winter due to big jackets interfering with the Taser operation.  The two Salt Lake City Police officers both thought that the victim was threatened with grave and deadly bodily harm and, I feel, they acted appropriately and in accordance with SLCPD policies.

 
There was a discussion about affordable housing at the SLC Council meeting on September 6.  I put the presentation on the downloads page.  It is very informative and I recommend reading the presentation.  Lisa Adams suggested a $30 million bond that may help.  Erin Mendenhall was pushing for more specific and effective solutions.  She did get the RDA to appropriate $5 million for affordable housing.  I believe that the only solution is to decrease the size of legal and buildable housing units.  New technology allows living in units that could be as small as 100 square feet.  But only one or two super studio units should be in a new building and mixed income should be the standard.  The City Council agreed that mixed income is the best priority and the Council needs to implement that standard.  There was a recent proposal to put a 100% homeless facility next to the Pipeline building project and have it run by the Road Home.  I, and others, believe that it is not going to be a successful and safe project with 100% homeless.  It should be mixed income.  Another issue is that SLC only approved about 1800 housing units (homes, apartments, condos, etc) last year!  When SLC needs 8000 affordable housing units, the SLC zoning ordinances seem to actually discourage affordable housing.  If you want more expensive housing, don’t allow building much housing.  SLC is causing the affordable housing issue.


The SLC Council also discussed the homeless issue and specifically the site selection committee 250 bed proposal (the sites have not been released yet).  Most Councilmembers expressed concern about the size of the facilities.  Derek Kitchen said that he lives next to the new Youth Center and its 30 beds have an impact on the neighborhood.  So he is worried that a facility with 100 beds would impact a neighborhood even more.  James Rogers did not feel comfortable moving forward with 250 beds. Charley and Lisa agreed.  She suggested 250 beds is too big.  She and others thought that the Legislature and the City agreed to 500 beds period.  David Livack said that the agreement with the Legislature said that the City agreed to two facilities with 250 beds and the City could endanger their agreement and Legislative funding if they don’t agree to two 250 bed facilities.  The Council fought back against this statement.  The Council will be provided with 5 sites and asked for money to fund options on the five sites but will winnow that down to two sites after a “vigorous” public engagement.  There was no agreement from the Council.  Lisa suggested that maybe a type of KOA Campground facility would make sense for those who want to not be in a facility but they prefer their own tent.  Andrew Johnston (who sits on the site selection committee) reserves judgement on the 250 bed size because some sites cannot handle that size.  The 250 bed size is the recommended size to provide efficient and cost effective services.  The 5 site proposal would be more expensive.  That is why David Litvack (Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Biskupski) tried to convince the Council to support the 250 bed proposal.  The sites were supposed to be available last week.  If the sites are available to anyone, without making the information public, there is a chance that people that do know the sites, will be able to use that knowledge for personal gain.


The Pioneer Park Coalition discussed the homeless problems in the Rio Grande area that seem to be much worse than last year.  Part of the problem is that the police can’t really arrest anyone for less than a felony (much like the problems in all of the other community council areas) and drug dealers only stay in jail for a few hours.  The other issue is people who buy the drugs.  The police can only confiscate the drugs and cite them.  The citation is screened by the DA who generally issues a warrant but the SLC Police cannot serve the warrant so it is essentially fruitless to even cite the drug buyers.  Also the campers on the sidewalk and parks are becoming a big issue.  The PPC voted to urge SLC to enforce their no camping ordinance.  Several other cities in the Country have had their no camping laws (used to fight against homeless camping on the sidewalks) found to be illegal since their homeless shelters are not available or safe.  That is a danger in SLC if the ACLU fights enforcement.  Other community councils also have the same problem (see the CCNC in next paragraph).  The PPC will sponsor a debate with the two candidates for governor and for SLCO mayor with a focus on homelessness.  The PPC will also invite Rep. Hutchings and Speaker Hughes to talk to a future PPC meeting, after touring the homeless area.  The PPC believes that Rep. Hutchings’ Justice Reinvestment Act is not funded well enough and it results in drug addicts not being treated.  The Act provided $4 million and SLCO believes that the County needs over $70 million to fund drug abuse and mental health care treatment instead of pushing everyone onto the street instead of in jail.  The PPC also discussed the problem that there is not enough jail space to threaten the lawbreakers to follow the laws.  There are 380 beds free at Oxbow and the police cannot arrest most people that should not be on the street.  A recent physical attack by a homeless and obviously “out of it” man on a Goldman Sachs employee resulted in no arrest.  The attacker kept attacking and threatening people but the police could not do anything since he stopped when the police came.  In other words, the aggressive homeless know how far that they can go without being arrested.  Heroin and spice and cocaine addicts can be a threat.  The jail needs more space.  The Legislature needs to fully fund the JRA and they have to pass a respectful health care law that provides full mental and abuse treatment.

 
Mayor Biskupski continued her visits to the City community councils be meeting with the Central City Neighborhood Council.  She discussed the homeless issue and answered questions.  The police were asked about the problems with defecating and camping and criminal activity at Richmond Park.  The City police are not able to stop the camping because all that they can do is force them to gather up their gear and move on.  But when the cops come back half an hour later, the campers have just moved a few feet.  The only solution appears to be SLC providing park rangers for every park.  Even in Fairmont Park, the restrooms have had problems with homeless hanging out en masse in the restrooms.  

 





















SEPTEMBER 2

CRIME AROUND STATE STREET IS GETTING WORSE


I received several complaints this week about the area around State Street and the refusal of Mayor McAdams to acknowledge the problem and do something about it.  I still believe that he needs to open up the rest of Oxbow and put the criminal element that is embedded in the homeless and on State Street and in the motels in jail.  Some complained that the Sheriff's protective service is almost powerless to do anything about the crime, drug dealing bicyclists and prostitutes at the motels just north of the County building (20th South, State).  The SLC Police are also frustrated.  And on 1700 South and Main, there appears to be a big drug market developing (at 430AM!).  The police need to raid the area just to send a message.  Even if just a couple of the dealers are locked up for a couple of weeks, it would help.  Residents along 200 East constantly hear shots.  It needs more attention by our elected officials.


Salt Lake City Council Member Erin Mendenhall will be hosting a town-hall meeting to discuss crime around the State Street area with residents and business owners Sept. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at Salt Lake Community College South Campus. (from her oped in the SLTRIB).  I know that the Councilmembers care but I urge as many people as possible to turn out to the meeting to show that we want more.  SLC Police need to be able to arrest those that they feel should be off the streets and in jail.  If they are not allowed to arrest for less than a felony due to not enough jail space, crime increases.

I just heard that the Civilian Review Board did not find that the shooting of the young man 6 months ago followed proper procedure.  My recent Deseret News oped say what I think:



Earlier this month, there was a small protest outside City Hall that attracted a lot of news attention. In fact, the news media almost outnumbered protesters. They were protesting the police shooting of a teenager in the Rio Grande area. Instead of using common sense and asking why a teenager was hanging out in the West's biggest open-air drug market at night, the protesters demanded that two public servants resign. The protesters said Mayor Jackie Biskupski and District Attorney Sim Gill should resign or be kicked out of office for helping reinforce racial biases in two corrupt officers.

I know both of these individuals better than many. I have run against the mayor and supported candidates running against the DA and I have considerable respect for both. Both of these public officials take their jobs and responsibility seriously. I may have disagreements with some of their decisions and policies, but I do not have any doubt that, in this case, their decisions are something to be admired.

Careful consideration of the other complications in this case required much time and investigation. They included many residents and businesses in the area (and police) who have complained about a gang of teenagers who seem to be controlling the spice/K2/meth sales in the area. Was a full-scale arrest of teenagers required? Did the issue require long-term video surveillance to gather evidence? Who were the other teens in the gang, or who were the teens who kept going to the Rio Grande area? Was enough evidence collected after the shooting and in the subsequent months to justify charging the person who was shot as an adult? Was a big drug raid necessary to sweep up the teenagers who were selling drugs? These questions can take months to investigate because many witnesses refused to cooperate or flat-out lied.

This mayor stopped the quality-of-life hassling that a desperate former mayor pushed the Salt Lake City police to enforce. That policy was vigorously complained about by homeless advocates. This mayor has bent over backwards to ensure that the complaints about police shootings and police issues are discussed with the mayor and the chief of police in several community meetings. This mayor has ordered the police chief to face the complaints instead of ignoring them. This mayor has exhibited exceptional leadership in these cases. But the big issue is that this teenager seems to have been part of the rampant drug dealing in the Rio Grande area and was in the process of potentially killing someone. If the victim that the teen was beating had been more seriously injured, there wouldn't be any question of justification.

In a recent case, a Salt Lake police officer was recognized as Policeman of the Year for shooting a man who threatened to kill a woman (after stabbing her). The situations sound so similar that the protesters should take a deep breath and look at what the officers saw: a need to make a split-second decision that may have been necessary to save a life. When the real issues of questionable police tactics come up, this case should not be among them. I want to make it clear that, despite my respect for this administration, I will not stop complaining when I see problems and questionable decisions.

This incident has reinforced my respect for Biskupski and Gill. Police shootings should be thoroughly investigated. Gill, in thorough investigations, has found some police shootings to be unjustified. We may not agree with his decisions and the mayor's actions, but they did the right thing in this case. Their actions are the last things we should protest.



​​AUGUST 31

SLC TO TICKET DOWNTOWN BIKES ON SIDEWALKS/TOURISTS BEWARE

FREE SUGAR HOUSE STREETCAR IN THE FUTURE?

UTA GETS 5 COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC ON JERRY BENSON GM APPOINTMENT

WATER WARS AT STATE CAPITOL IS HEATING UP AND BIG DOWNLOADS AVAILABLE

I DID NOT THREATEN MAYOR MCADAMS

STATE STREET MOTELS CRIME INCREASING

SANDY TO TAX INCREMENT HYPOCRISY



SLC INTENDS TO TICKET GREEN BIKES ON THE SIDEWALK

SLC appears ready to start enforcing the no bicycles on the sidewalks in downtown area.  So all the tourists that are using the Green Bikes beware.   Of course, they won't listen since they are out of town now but when they come to town, they will be greeted with police handing out tickets (as if they didn't have enough to worry about).  The City Council should revisit the issue since the present ordinance requires that bicycles yield to pedestrians and that should be all that is needed.  Cycling Utah has been at the forefront of trying to change the ridiculous law.  Allowing bicycles to ride on the sidewalk downtown is better than taking up lanes of traffic with more bike lanes and lowering the speedlimit downtown to 20MPH,  I think.  Note that South Salt Lake also has a no bikes on the sidewalk ordinance which defeats the purpose of the Parleys Trail bikeway through SSLC.  Much of it is on the sidewalk.


FREE SUGAR HOUSE STREETCAR

CyclingUtah is also recommending that the Sugar House Streetcar be made free since probably 90% of the riders use TRAX and can pay there.  The million a year cost of operating the streetcar seems high but since it is a done deal, UTA should try to encourage ridership.


UTA ONLY GETS 5 COMMENTS ONLINE ABOUT NEW GM

Jerry Benson has been officially appointed General Manager of UTA with only 5 public comments online and 4 in person (plus 2 UTA comments).  UTA's Board of Trustees listened to our request to allow the public to comment but only 5 did!!!!  I don't want to hear anymore complaints about UTA (I have enough to last a lifetime) until the public steps up and goes online and comments on the UTA issues.  The Board is bending over backwards to get feedback and no one seems to care.  The Board ordered that the online comments be read to the Board.  At least they are listening.  Comment online please before the next meeting in September. 



WATER WARS CONTINUE AT STATE CAPITOL

Water wars continue and I put the large presentation arguing against SLC  continuing to have watershed authority on the downloads page along with Project Discus proposal of the Board of Education.  If you really care about the canyons, the watershed and development or overdevelopment, I encourage you to read these.  It is a lot of information but it is important and it is driving the Legislature to consider changing the 100 year old law.



I APOLOGIZE TO MAYOR MCADAMS BUT CRIMINALS ON THE STREET

I apologize to Mayor Ben McAdams for saying that the first cop that is shot by a criminal that should be in jail but isn't because he won't open up all of Oxbow, I will blame the Mayor. I did not mean it as a threat. But when the SLC Police are not allowed to arrest for less than felonies and there are bad guys with 30 arrests being chased by police, instead of in jail, I think that something bad is going to happen. Drug dealers should not be let out in 4 hours. These are the criminals that don't care about shooting someone and the cops are the ones who interact with them. They are the biggest threat to cops on the street. I am frustrated that 380 beds in Oxbow are unused and police with bad guys that they think are a threat to society are turned away from the jail.
Threats to society are not going to jail!! I believe that public safety should be a higher priority for the Mayor. I may have said it wrong but I was not threatening the Mayor. I was frustrated that the criminals are threatening law abiding residents and businesses; and the police have their hands tied by the Mayor's refusal to open up the unused beds at Oxbow so that criminals remain on the street. When did it become normal for drug dealers and criminals with 30 plus arrests to be let out on the street within a few hours!!?

And if the criminal element that is embedded in the homeless in Rio Grande and motels and on the street are not arrested and kept in jail, there is little chance that any neighborhood will allow homeless shelters (expansion). Until the jail is allowed to take in drug dealers (200 + heroin dealers in Rio Grande area!) and keep them there for more than a few hours, the homeless will have a bad reputation. I don't think that is the fault of the homeless. Mayor McAdams is more to blame. Oops, I did it again. I didn't mean to cross the line.


The motels on State Street are still havens of criminal activity.   I get complaints every day about them.  Please call the SLC Police at 801 799 3000 and report nonemergency crime.  It is important for providing proof that these areas have problems and that crime is increasing.  If no one reports the crime, there is no justification for more jailspace and police presence.  Block out September 12 for a meeting of the issue on the campus of the Community College hosted by Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall.



SANDY TOD TAX INCREMENT HYPOCRISY

Note that the SLCO Council was supposed to discuss several issues with regards to tax increment funding but called it off at the last minute literally, after getting confirmation 5 minutes before that it was going to be discussed. The Council did not get all of the financials. I support the 39th S. Fireclay tax increment package and the Riverton package because those areas are not being developed (they've tried for 10+ years) and that is where tax increment funding is appropriate. But the Sandy TOD tax increment funding was out of line because the area is exploding and governments should not use tax increment funding for developing areas. It is an incentive to develop which should not be needed for growing areas. That is one of the reasons that I fought the Vivent arena/Miller Family tax credit.


But the Sandy TOD involves about $10 million of UTA property given to a developer in return for a 5%? ownership of the development which may never turn a profit. That property could have been leased and the money used for expanding bus service. In addition, I think that is hypocritical for SLCO to say that tax increment funding in Sandy is necessary when the area is super developing and at the same time say that West Jordan shouldn't have tax increment/credit funding for an area that is questionable for development for the next 20 years. I urge anyone interested in the issue of the tax increment funding for the Sept. 13 SLCO Council meeting to get educated on it and to comment. I think I was the only one commenting on it so far. Email your County Council members (emails at top right).  The Council will spend the next week or two considering the issues on tax increment funding.


I support the Facebook data center because it opens the door further to Facebook investment in Utah and Utah schools.  The open server lab that they just expanded has an increased chance of transferring to Utah.  Internally, Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies, are looking for low cost areas to expand and Utah is in their sights.  This is a great potential for property that provides the State (education) with $12 a year in taxes.  The tax rebate is essentially build/buy/pay billions in Utah and we will give you a tax CREDIT of a couple of hundred million.  Maybe a 10% credit for spending BILLIONS.  Financially it benefits taxpayers, Utah workers and anyone interested in technology. They replace servers almost every year and Utah schools have a chance to get some of the supercomputer castoffs.  This center will encourage kids to consider STEM.  The internal employment of a data center may be 100 but to replace, service and support racks of servers requires maybe a thousand.  Facebook servers are constantly upgraded.  That is where the additional significantly expanded employment will occur.



FOOTHILL DRIVE

I put the Foothill Drive corridor study existing conditions and scenarios on the downloads page.  Please comment on the potential scenarios at foothilldriveslc@gmail.com.




AUGUST 26
WATER WARS AT STATE CAPITOL
JAIL SPACE FOR FELONIES ONLY
HAMBURGER CHANGE IN STORE
ILLEGAL PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

 
WATER WARS AT STATE CAPITOL


  The Utah Quality Growth Commission heard a presentation from Salt Lake City’s Director of Public Utilities covering Salt Lake City’s watershed authority and extraterritorial jurisdiction.  The authority and jurisdiction applies to any area that could conceivably provide water that eventually flows into the Wasatch canyons in Salt Lake County.  It was a very well attended meeting with a full room.  Salt Lake City pointed out their success in the management of the canyons and insisted that all is fine and nothing needs fine tuning by the Legislature.  The Salt Lake County Mayors, yesterday at their Council of Governments meeting, voted to say that they are satisfied with the way SLC manages the water.

  Much of the turnout was because of anger by many about the restrictions placed on recreation in the canyons.  Kayakers have to wear full body suits (modern day version of a burkini), dogs are not allowed and you can’t even dangle your toes in a canyon stream or lake without being harassed or given a ticket.  Much of the water that Salt Lake City and County uses comes from reservoirs where multiple recreational opportunities are allowed (in the water).  Canyon recreationalists are asking why is Salt Lake City harassing people with small dogs when much large wildlife is in the canyons and they don’t get picked up after.  Also, it was pointed out during the meeting, that livestock is supposed to be excluded from SLC water authority.  Salt Lake County says that they use zoning to stop livestock in the canyons (except immigration canyon).  If livestock and large wild animals are allowed in the canyons, and SLC does not provide restrooms in the canyons for people (6 million a year use the Wasatch Front canyons), how can SLC reasonably restrict dogs?

  Water appears to be abundant but SLC restricts transferring of water for any use; it goes into the Jordan River.  Testimony indicated that SLC controls ten times more water than it needs today.  That control was used by politicians who have said that the proposed Facebook data center would use too much of our valuable and scarce water (when they force 16 million gallons a day to be wasted).  Also the farmland on which the data center would be located would have used 9 million gallons a day during irrigation season. 

  Several legislators expressed concern (outside of the meeting) that elected officials (like Mayor McAdams) are claiming that development in another city should not occur due to water scarcity.   The Legislature does appear poised to work on a bill next session and have asked the Quality Growth Commission for notes (recommendations are supposed to be given to the Legislature, if the Commission agrees, by November).  When the law was passed that gave SLC extraterritorial jurisdiction over a hundred years ago, no one was thinking that dogs would be restricted and people couldn’t walk through streams to get to the other side. 

  The law needs to be updated to recognize that there are several first class cities (with extraterritorial authority) and their authority overlaps each other.  That potential for interfering with each other needs to be addressed.  Private property owners should be able to develop their property (many just want a very small portion and want to turn over the rest to conservation easement – note if you are interested, ensure that your attorney inserts language that if SLC (or the entity receiving the property for conservation) is required to return the property if it does not protect the property from building or destruction of plants.

  Save Our Canyons did not get a chance to give their take on the issue and they were offered a chance to discuss their concerns at the next Quality Growth Commission.  SLC Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall seemed to be upset with the meeting that had so many complaints against the SLC water authority and she asked that the issue of development and watershed issues be separated.  Rep. Briscoe was upset about the perceived lack of respect shown to SLC representatives.

  Another issue that did not get time at the meeting was the incident where Riverton almost had their secondary water cut off until SLC agreed to provide more water to Utah Lake.

  These problems are a small sign of a big problem.  The next two meetings of the Quality Growth Commission may provide recommendations to the Legislature that fine tunes the century old law or throws it out.  I just heard that Disney got $2.4 million to film in Utah.  Let’s hope that no one questions whether we have enough water for them.

 
SLC POLICE CANNOT TAKE ANYONE TO JAIL EXCEPT FOR FELONIES!!

  Due to jail overcrowding (I heard that there are several jail pods – not at Oxbow – that are almost empty.), SLC Police are not allowed to arrest anyone and take them to jail except for felonies.  That means that they have to witness the crime and it has to be drug dealing or worse.  Email the mayor@slco.org and demand that Mayor McAdams reopen the 380 free beds at Oxbow.  Also please report all crimes so that the SLC administration can realize that crime is actually up.  At recent community council meetings, victims of crimes were so frustrated about car break ins and the lack of an officer stopping by that they didn’t report subsequent crimes!  The Utah Legislature (Sen. Thatcher) changed the law last session to give victims of crime 15 days to claim their property from pawn shops if a police report has been filed (the police enter the stolen items in a database and check it daily with all pawn shops that receive items that also have to be in the database).  Your best chance to get the stolen item back is to report it.  At a community council this week, a victim got her item back after reporting it stolen.  I put a flyer to reopen the jail on the downloads page.  I have been passing it around the 200 East neighborhood.  You are welcome to print it up and pass it around.

 
HAMBURGER CHANGE IN STORE

  If you buy hamburger, you are about to see a big change in packaging.  Due to federal regulations, the government is urging stores to provide prepackaged meat that can be returned to the plant if there is a problem.  In store grinding of meat will decrease.  Some Fresh Market stores (5 in Utah) are already starting to shift from the regular grocer ground meat to the prepackaged meat.

 
ILLEGAL PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

  The August 24 meeting of the SLC Planning Commission meeting did not meet all of the notification requirements required in Utah law.  The building project at 2189 McClelland (at Sugarmont) will require a rehearing at the next Planning Commission meeting.  It is highly likely that the Planning Commission will approve the building that is helping in the supergentrification of Sugar House again.  But at least SLC will try to do it legally next time.

 

AUGUST 24     
JERRY BENSON NEW GM UTA COMMENTS, 

FACEBOOK PROJECT SHENANIGANS,

5 SLC HOMELESS SITES BY NEXT WEEK

SLC/UTAH WATER AUTHORITY FIGHT 


Jerry Benson has been nominated to be appointed to the General Manager position for UTA.  The final Board vote to finalize the appointment will be on August 31 at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees.  Several of us have asked for time for the public to comment on the appointment before making it final.  It does show that UTA's Board may be listening to the public.


We also pointed out that Uber carries 8000 riders a night (10pm to 2am) on weekends and UTA should provide the mass transit service expanded to carry many of those riders.


We also pointed out that the audit of 2012 and 2014 both recommended that UTA not start projects without identifying all of the funding sources.  UTA has started the Provo BRT, the airport TRAX reconfiguration and the new bus garage without identifying the full funding.


Concerns about the $20 million TIGER grant (with $60 million required by Utah taxpayers) for bicycle infrastructure were allayed somewhat when it was shown that almost all of the $60 million has been agreed to and provided by UDOT and municipalities.  UTA may have to provide around $3.5 million of that funding and public weigh in later would take place.


FACEBOOK


I am disappointed in the surprise announcement by West Jordan that essentially pulled Utah out of the competition for the Facebook data center.  The arguments against the project were full of non-sequiturs and some were outright lies.

This should provide impetus for the Utah Legislature to draft a bill to put big development projects in the hands of the Utahns instead of having different governments in Utah fight amongst themselves and destroy business opportunities for political gain.  I put the Utah Board of Education analysis on the downloads page.


5 HOMELESS SITES BY NEXT WEEK 


The homeless sites ​will be provided by next week and the SLC Council will be asked to provide money to buy options on those sites.  After a month plus public discussion, two sites will be chosen for the 250 bed expansion facilities by November.


Again, if SLCO does not open more beds in Oxbow (and allow more arrests to fill empty jail pods), and allows SLC Police to remove the criminal element from the homeless, the sites will not be allowed.  During discussion with the public at yesterday's presentation (on downloads page), they complained about Chicago recommending much less than 150 beds and even 100 is too many for any neighborhood.


SLC/SLCO/SANDY/LEGISLATURE WATER FIGHT

On Friday, at the State Capitol, there will be a hearing of the Quality Growth Commission that will consider removing SLC water authority over portions of northern Utah.  I will update the blog after the meeting.



Oped in Deseret News:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865660516/My-view-Mayor-and-DA-actions-in-police-shooting-do-not-deserve-protests.html



Oped in Salt Lake Tribune:

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4257346-155/op-ed-data-center-is-a-boon



AUGUST 19

UTAH COULD GET $32 MILLION TO COMPENSATE FOR VW CONSPIRACY

Although the Deseret News had a story on it, the real story is that Utah could have up to around $32 million in funds to use to decrease NOx emissions.  The funds and how they can or could be used will be up in the air until the Justice Department and all other parties agree to the settlement.  VW’s emissions systems resulted in an overwhelming and illegal emission of NOx from diesel engines.  Utah’s DAQ submitted some suggestions to comment on the Justice Department’s 10 proposed eligible action items.  They include large trucks, transit buses, local freight trucks, airport ground support vehicles (that SLC’s airport authority should be paying for during the terminal rebuild), electric vehicle and ev charging (SLC is already working with DAQ on ev charging station expansion) and changing powerplants on transit buses to CNG or electric.  The proposal applies to 2006 and older transit buses and it allows up to 75% of the cost for non government transit buses and up to 100% for government (UTA) vehicles.  The buses need to reduce NOx by 80+%.  The proposal will be updated around mid to late fall but may wait until 2017.  It is just a proposal now and we need to wait for a final settlement.  Utah’s DAQ will put together a preliminary proposal and engage the public to comment on the proposal (which can change).  The Deseret News quoted Matt Sibul on UTA suggesting that FrontRunner locomotives be changed out but that is just UTA’s suggestion.  The public will have a chance to suggest more effective NOx reductions.  DAQ and UCARE have both had discussions on this issue.

 

SUGAR HOUSE AND DOWNTOWN PARKING STUDY STILL NOT AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
(ALSO THE TRANSIT STUDY FOR SLC IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT)


Nelson/Nyggard is infamous around the Country for encouraging less parking and more density during parking studies.  They appear to be following their reputation in their study of Sugar House and Downtown parking (see below – ctrl f and parking study).  Why can’t SLC citizens get a chance now to comment on the parking study that should not be rushed but have high public engagement and feedback.  The recent projects in Sugar House will create so many parking problems that the residents are going to have to ask for parking permit areas.  Nelson/Nygaard believes that a parking permit area is a credible tradeoff.  That is not the way a city should respect single-family home neighborhoods.

 


EAST BENCH COMMUNITY COUNCIL HEARS SKYLINE INN OFFER


During the East Bench Community Council meeting Wednesday, it was again emphasized that there have been offers to buy the Skyline Inn.  In one case, the developer wanted to possibly tear down the building.   A letter was also passed around from a former prisoner that said that, in the Utah State Prison, all of the prisoners knew of the Skyline Inn and other low cost motels.  That is where they tend to go when they can't find other lodging.




AUGUST 16

ARE THERE THREE PREGNANT WOMEN IN UTAH THAT HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR ZIKA?


Are there three pregnant women in Utah that have tested positive for Zika virus?  We won't know until next week because some people who know are afraid of panic.  This is a public health issue and it should not be secret.  The idea that only one species of mosquito can carry Zika is a theory that is untested.  This should be public now.


PEDICABS DISCUSSED AT SLC COUNCIL 


Pedicabs were discussed at the SLC Council today.  It appears that the new ordinance will be approved based on discussion by Councilmembers.   The reason for requiring a license is due to concern that pedicab drivers should know the rules of the road.  The City should not be liable for accidents if the ordinance is written correctly.



MAYOR MCADAMS TALKS HOMELESS, NOT PUTTING CRIMINALS IN JAIL


Mayor McAdams discussed his homeless plan (on downloads) today to the City Council.  Several Councilmembers expressed concern about the size of 250 bed facilities but that is to provide an efficient range of services (cost effective).  The plan will get vigorous public engagement but concern was expressed that the Council should be more involved in this and there was doubt that the Council will be able to defend the site selections when they come out (next month?).   Salt Lake County provides about $20 million for homeless services; Utah provides about $20 million and charities provide about $10 million on homeless services.  Mayor McAdams agreed that this is a public safety and health crisis.  One third of the homeless population are homeless due to needing to get medical care and that cost them out of renting an apartment.  30% have cycled through jail.  Mayor McAdams called it his homes not jail program (pay for success).  It would use $11 million in private funding.


Note that there are some complaints that homeless are bumping low income applicants (on waiting lists) at facilities like Wasatch Manor.  This should be discussed before that course of action.


DOG PARK, 60 FOOT OFFICE TOWER AND EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UBER

Sugar House Community Council heard specific plans for the Fairmont Park dog park.  Kristen Riker, Director of SLC Parks heard feedback that the small dog portion should be smaller than the big dog portion to allow more room for big dogs to catch thrown balls and frisbees.   She said that she would work with Millcreek Fidos to consider a $15,000 water feature (with sewer connection) for the dog park.

The group also heard Craig Mecham discuss his 60 foot tower project on Highland (west of the Wilmington light).  Concerns about torturous traffic increases and lack of appropriate parking were significant.  He said that the sidewalk would be the same width as the previous sidewalk (wide).  But to use/provide a private drive between his project and Sugarmont Drive would require making a street connection between Elm (at McClelland) to Highland and a three way light at Wilmington. Traffic torture, nightmare or another reason to avoid Sugar House?  Your choice.

Uber also discussed their program in Salt Lake City.  Due to some drivers leaving after just a month, there are an average of about 2000 Uber drivers that can be active on a day.  Sunday is the worst day and can result in surge pricing due to the number of drivers that don't work on Sundays.  The drivers are paid every Monday.  Drivers keep 75% of their fees and cash tips are allowed (but seem to be discouraged.  The average drivers in the U.S. drive about 10 hours a week.  One airport ride to Jackson Hole Wyoming cost $500 (which the family actually enjoyed).  The minimum fare is $5.50 and .95/mile.  Between 10pm and 2am, there are an average of about 8000 rides!  This shows that SLC needs a better mass transit system that does not stop at 8 or 9 pm.


TREES VRS POWERLINES HAS DEVELOPER INTEREST

Regarding the power lines being attacked by mutant tall trees:  I was told that Boulder Ventures volunteered to bury the power lines from over the trees.  But are they going to dig up the trees to put the power lines under!?




AUGUST 11
LAUGHABLY DUMB SLC IDEA OF THE YEAR?
DON'T PLANT BIG TREES UNDER POWER LINES!


If anyone wants a big laugh about how dumb government can be, take a trip up to Sugarmont Drive (just south of the S-line) and east of 900 East.  The previous administration of Ralph Becker (maybe in coordination with UTA), planted supposedly small trees under the power lines along Sugarmont Drive.  The trees are fast growing poplars that will soon overwhelm the power lines!  Although the administration contended (last year) that the power lines will be buried before the trees get big, it seems to be too late.  Someone responsible for plantings on the Parleys Trail seems to be clueless about poplars.  At least it is good for a laugh.


CONSPIRACY FIGHT FOR FACEBOOK


The recent complaints by Mayor McAdams about too many tax credits and not enough water to build a West Jordan Facebook data center seem to hide some facts.  The Mayor has actually helped stop water from being efficiently used in his efforts (and SLC's efforts) to control the watershed in much of Northern Utah.  Many water managers who have an overabundance of water rights (and water) are not allowed to sell their rights and, because of that, the water is essentially wasted into empty fields or full rivers.  Data centers have needed, in the past, plenty of water.  But in the last few years, the new systems have needed much less water and cooling efforts.  The sugested 5 million gallons a year is a very high, almost impossible amount needed.  My guess, as a former engineer, is a new data center would need less than a million gallons a year.

When other big projects with questionable tax credits are suggested, the Mayor has endorsed those tax credits.  I have questioned unreasonable tax credits in the recent past, but one should look at the map of West Jordan and where this proposed data center is to built.  It is essentially in the middle of nowhere with just a few commercial facilities.  It looks like it won't get built up for at least 20 years!  So a 20 year tax credit to offset the significant increase in value if a Facebook data center is built NOW, does not sound unreasonable.  Looking 20 years in the possible future of the area, it looks like a a big win and will provide a lot more in the next 25 years than if it were not built.  And if it is built, the adjacent land will not just develop but superdevelop!  Taxpayers will be better off if development is encouraged in an area that, at present, won't develop for 20 plus years.  That is the reasoning that justifies this project.
 
But there is another thought about Mayor McAdams complaint about the Facebook project.  There is a rumour that another city wanted the data center and is trying to sabotage West Jordan's efforts in order to get the data center for themselves.  The rumour says that Mayor McAdams is supporting the other city's efforts.  


STATE STREET MOTELS TRY TO EVADE CRIME FIGHTING EFFORTS


At last night's meeting of the Liberty Wells Community Council, there were many complaints about the State Street motels and some of the criminal elements that seem to be expanding into neighboring residential areas.  Complaints about shootings, obvious prostitution marketing, open defecation, homeless camping in alleys, drug sales and threatening behavior by strangers in these areas were discussed. 

The Salt Lake City Police (and SLC Mayor's rep) said that they are not able to arrest anyone for less than drug dealing due to jail overcrowding.  (Please email the County Council and Mayor - emails at the right - and demand that more jail space be opened to put criminals in jail for more than a few hours.)  They can write citations but only the local Community Intelligence Officer for the District can work with County Health and SLC Zoning Enforcement to find solutions (due to many of the new police officers not having the experience to handle those complications).  The SLC Police and SLC have tried to shut down the State Street motels but they are having problems that start with owners relicensing their businesses under another name and other legal complications.  SLC is asking the City attorneys to find a way to stop the businesses that seem to be attracting and encouraging criminal activity.  The Skyline Inn, in contrast, is working with the police to stop the criminal activity.  More jail space is necessary (see my oped in sltrib.com and below) but we have to convince the County Council and Mayor to provide it.

There were also complaints about the homeless visiting the low income apartment buildings that were provided by homeless services for an individual or family.  The complaints said that their homeless friends came by and stayed in the area and camped out in alleyways.  SLC Police will not usually respond to homeless in the area calls.  In our area, when we had the problem, we said we had a prowler (in progress is the magic phrase to get police action) and the police quickly came and caught the homeless (that were using our yard for "services") who were in the alleyway.  They were talked into moving to another area.  The police do try to help.  Just remember the magic words "prowler" (not homeless) and in progress speeds up things to higher priority.  Just remember to not cry wolf.  Use sparingly.

Salt Lake City is planning on focusing on upgrading the State Street area (along with Ball Park and 9th South and 9th West and NorthWest Quadrant) in a new CDA (used to be Redevelopment Area).  This plan should also address the crime issues in the area.  The downloads page has an RDA crime report that is interesting.  These SLC efforts are another reason to start attending your local community council meetings.  There is more information below.

There is a new proposal for a project on 2100 South and 200 East that will convert 9 lots into a new development that will replace some of the problem buildings (with many crime reports).  The nearby residents are also hoping that this project will change the character of the neighborhood for the better.


PLANNING COMMISSION DESTROYS QUIET NEIGHBORHOOD 
APPROVES AUTO REPAIR BUSINESS ACROSS FROM SCHOOL


The Salt Lake City Planning Commission unanimously approved the Liberty Place 600 East project next to the 700 East S-line station.  During discussion, it was indicated that putting the back closer to the Parleys Trail just impacted "green space" and not parkland.  In addition, it was pointed out that the residents can buy a permit parking placard for $38 per year which should limit the parking problems.  The Commission did ask SLC Transportation to review the traffic situation in the area with the new project to ensure that impact is minimized.  But essentially, they approved the destruction of a quiet single family home neighborhood.  This makes the administration of Mayor Biskupski look bad.  Despite the developer's good reputation, this project makes him look bad.  The potential for providing an inviting and energetic development that encouraged walking, in my opinion, has gone out the window.

An important issue that Salt Lake City needs to address is allowing developers to build next to parkland.  Wilmington Gardens was built next to Hidden Hollow.  It is not hidden anymore.  A building that rises up high (35 feet for Liberty Place and 60 feet for Wilmington Gardens) adjacent to (literally a couple of feet!) the park destroys the park.  Email the SLC Council and Mayor (emails at right) and tell them to protect parkland and not give it away to developers.

The Planning Commission also approved extending the conditional use permit for a "minor auto repair business".  But the business is across from a school!  Is there anyone who thinks that an auto repair business should be located across from a school??!! This repair business is at 269-275 S. Glendale St. (District 2)


IMPORTANT DECISIONS MADE AT LOCAL COMMUNITY COUNCILS


I urge everyone to get involved in your local community council.  These councils provide a good forum for concerns to be addressed by the neighborhood and Salt Lake City sends City staff to ensure that complaints about the City are addressed.  Especially with the new efforts to find homeless solutions and how to combat crime near low cost motels, these councils need your participation.  Decisions are being made at these council meetings.  The list of these councils and the date that they meet are below. You can find your local community council and more information on the meetings by Googling SLCGOV.COM and community councils.   
 
COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETINGS

COMMUNITY COUNCILS IN SLC
Central City                chair@ccnutah.org                        1st Wed
Greater Avenues       davealderman@hotmail.com    1st Wed
Rose Park                    blakeperez@hotmail.com           1st Wed
Sugar House               amybarry@xmission.com           1st Wed
Yalecrest                     lkpershing@gmail.com                1st Wed

Ball Park                      ballparkcc@gmail.com                 1st Thurs even months

Jordan Meadows       jimgoostrey@gmail.com              2nd Wed
Liberty Wells              lw.chair@lwccslc.org                    2nd Wed

East Central               ecchair@live.com                           2nd Thurs Qtrly, exec bd 4th Sat

Capitol Hill                         3rd Wed 
Downtown                  christian.harrison@gmail.com   3rd Wed
East Bench                  ebcc.chair@gmail.com                  3rd Wed
Glendale                      sean@thecrosslands.net              3rd Wed
westpointe                 erin@nwlarchitects.com              3rd Wed

Poplar Grove              poplargrovecouncil@gmail.com 4th Wed
Wasatch Hollow        ohmikedodd@comcast.net          4th Wed

Bonneville Hills         ellenred@comcast.net                  4th Thurs Jan, Apr, Jul Oct
East Liberty Pk          jason@jasonstevenson.net         4th Thurs
Fairpark                       brycewgarner@gmail.com          4th Thurs
Foothill/Sunnyside   laurelyoungrn@gmail.com         4th Thurs Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct

Sunnyside East          mattmnelson@gmail.com           qtrly
Trolley                          trolleybusinessdistrict@outlook.com    qtrly




AUGUST 9
SLC COUNCIL TO INCREASE TAXES 10%,

TO CHANGE PARKING METER HOURS,

FORCE CHARGING STATIONS, DECREASE AVAILABLE PARKING

SLC Council meeting Tuesday August 9 discussed forcing new buildings to provide up to 20% of their parking with charging station or infrastructure (conduits plus) to allow charging stations and Rocky Mountain Power transformers to work together.  I think that this will increase the cost of new buildings and effectively hurt affordable housing.  This so called feel good law will increase developer costs and actually decrease parking for everyone who does not drive an electric vehicle.  Note that only evehicles are allowed to park in charging station spaces.  We are still trying to increase parking requirements and the SLC Council has decided to go backwards.  Rocky Mountain Power will get several millions from ratepayers to help encourage the charging stations’ infrastructure.  The last time that this proposal came to the formal Council meeting, the Council decided to keep the public hearing open.  So before this can be implemented, the Council has to have another public hearing.  Please email the SLC Council with your opinion (emails at right).

The Salt Lake City Council also held a Truth in Taxation hearing that increased the tax levy (about 10%).  Only a few showed up and two complained about assessed values (SLCO Assessor responsibility). I complained about lack of public engagement.  Councilwoman Mendenhall pointed out that the tax hearing always happen at this time in August (implying that public is at fault).  I disagree.  If almost no one shows up, I believe that it is the fault of the government.  Either the citizens don't think government will listen or they don't understand the issues. I blame government.

The Council heard and discussed the issue of parking for more than 48 hours but at the urging of Erin Mendenhall, the Council declined to change from 48 hours.  Parking enforcement said that they put warning tickets after 48 hours (in the Avenues based on complaints) and tow after 48 hours later.  If you want more information, call SLC Parking Enforcement 801.535.6628.

The Council also discussed allowing the hours of operation for the parking meters to start earlier (to allow prepaying for regular hours) and decreasing the later time from 8 pm to 6 pm.  The Council staff will prepare a draft ordinance that could be considered in the near future



AUGUST 8
EASTBENCH/FOOTHILL COMPLAINTS ABOUT SKYLINE INN


(Downloads has an audio of the meeting - it is not great but it provides context)
During a contentious meeting at City Hall Monday August 8, many expressed frustration at the criminal actions that seem to have invaded their neighborhoods.  Many nearby residents complained that the Skyline Inn does not check IDs (they do) and do not require a credit card to check in.  The police insisted that the owners are actually cooperating with the police in contrast to many other problem motels in Salt Lake City that do not cooperate with police.  The owners have installed video cameras and worked closely with police to decrease problems.  Several businessmen and property owners offered to buy the Skyline Inn and upgrade the property in order to return it to a better character.

The owners insisted that they are trying to work with police but sometimes, their efforts are not recognized by the neighbors.  The owners are also upset that the Inn seems to be the center of some of the illegal activity in the area.

Councilman Charlie Luke hosted the meeting and Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall was also there due to the problem motels along State Street.  Several Ballpark and Liberty Wells Community Council members were also there due to concern about the State Street Motels.  Hopefully the new CDA for State Street will help.  Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall said that there would be a further meeting on State Street motels and issues on September 14.

Chief Brown was asked if more jail space would help keep the criminal element off the street, out of the motels and out of Rio Grande.  He said that jail is a deterrent and sometimes it provides the impetus for drug addicts to treat their drug and alcohol abuse.  It is not the only solution.  I contend that the only solution is to get the County Council and Mayor to open up the rest of Oxbow Jail (360 beds) to keep the threats to society, those who will kill people and cops without caring and the worst of the criminals off the street.  Please email the County Council and Mayor with your opinion (emails to the right).

 

RIO GRANDE SHOOTING DEEMED JUSTIFIED
District Attorney Sim Gill has found that the SLC Police shooting of a teenager, who was attacking a man in the Rio Grande area, was justified.  For those who missed the news last week (see below August 4), the area is now inundated with teens that seem to be controlling the spice/K2/meth drug trade.  These are teenagers and the DA seems to be saying that the teenager who was shot was part of this group that was selling those drugs.  I agree but I hope that SLC focuses some attention on the problem of teens in the area that are focused on illegal activity.  The bike patrols stop at 1 AM and the teens are still there selling spice.  I am not advocating locking up teens but they should be put in custody and returned to their parents immediately.

 

AUGUST 7 

OPED IN SALT LAKE TRIBUNE


Rio Grande’s spice zombies and Fentanyl bring new challenges to homeless solutions

  In the next several weeks, Salt Lake County and City will be providing more specifics on solutions to the problems in the Rio Grande area. Many of the problems are caused by the visible drug dealing that attracts criminal elements. The homeless in the area are blamed for the situation but they also want a safer area without drugs and crime. The Salt Lake County jail houses about 300 homeless on an average day.  A significant percentage of the homeless cycle in and out of jail. Mayor McAdams is proposing to decrease the homeless in jail but many homeless deal drugs to help feed their drug habits and the jail won’t usually keep them locked up for more than a few hours.

  The police are frustrated when they spend several hours arresting a dealer, only to have them standing next to them four hours later laughing at the powerlessness of the police.  It is not just in the Rio Grande area that drugs are a big problem. At the low cost motels on North Temple and State Street (and other areas), neighbors complain about the crime and obvious drug dealing. The drug problems are so bad that in one case, an illegal alien was arrested for drug dealing and deported four times but he keeps coming back! These are the real threats to society. The spice (K2) that they are selling create a neighborhood of zombie like people who are unable to be reasoned with and could attack anyone without any reason. Fentanyl is now being added to the heroin that is cheaply sold by the dealers. Police say that to kick a Fentanyl habit is much harder than heroin if not impossible. The police have caught hospital patients in gowns that are trying to buy drugs in the Rio Grande area! Needles are everywhere! That results in many more desperate drug addicts who do not care for anyone else’s safety. That is the real public safety issue.

  Unfortunately, the homeless committees that will provide solutions (and two SLC expansion sites next month) seem to be ignoring the most important issue, neighborhood safety first! If the drug dealers are not going to be kept locked up, no neighborhood will accept homeless expansion facilities. It also seems obvious that the quickest way to decrease crime and related problems in the Rio Grande area is to lock up the real criminal element and drug dealers for more than a few hours. That would require providing more beds in the Salt Lake County Jail. The cost to continually arrest drug dealers and take them to jail for a few hours is many times more than the cost to keep them in jail for an extended period of time. Salt Lake County jail has about 2200 beds and the County spends over $76 million to operate the jail (plus support services).

  Although many say that we can’t arrest our way out of this problem, drug dealers should be in jail! Drug addicts should get drug abuse treatment but the success rates are abysmal, if the treatment is even available. Without healthcare expansion, drug addicts will continue to create a problem for society. Salt Lake City intends to spend over $5 million on the Rio Grande/Depot District in the next few years. But without getting the criminal element out of the area, it seems to be a misguided and wasteful plan. Many agree that the homeless that have not been convicted of any crime or not considered a risk to the community should not be in jail. But when the homeless sell drugs, or steal or shoplift regularly, they should be in jail! These are not victimless crimes!

  Everyone involved in the homeless solutions discussion should agree that neighborhood safety should be the number one priority. Until that is acknowledged, and the jails are expanded to hold the criminal element, homeless solutions will not be successful. 



AUGUST 5
DAVID LITVACK TO BE SLC HOMELESS CZAR

It was announced that David Litvack last week that David Litvack, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Mayor, will now be in charge of the homeless issues in SLC.  This reflects the importance that Mayor Biskupski attaches to this issue.  Hopefully the new Community Policing Center on 500 W./200S. will help some of the issues using the number of social workers that are part of the building services.



AUGUST 4

TEEN SPICE GANGS CONTROL RIO GRANDE AT NIGHT

  Several people have reported that teenagers seem to be in abundance in the Rio Grande neighborhood at night and they seem to be controlling the selling of spice/K2.  The result is an increase in “SPICE ZOMBIES” that are so zoned out that they attack without any provocation.  It can take five or more police officers to subdue individuals on this new version of spice.  There have been several high profile incidents of serious assaults by people high on spice in the area.

  Spyhop moved due to the deterioration in the public safety in the area.  Part of the problem, according to the police, is they arrest drug dealers and they are back on the street in a few hours due to jail overcrowding (see below).  But the big spice problem seems to be the control that the teenagers have in the area.  The bike patrol ends at 1AM and when the officers are around, the dealers just go onto TRAX!  The kids are still there after 1AM.  SLC Police need to enforce reasonable curfew ordinances.

  Interestingly, the police said that the day after the Police shooting of the teenager in the area (who was beating up a man), the kid’s friends were back the next night beating up the same man.  There seems to be a connection between the spice dealing, the teenagers in the area and the shooting incident.  The news media should force the DA and Police to release to the public the information that could (I believe will) show the relationship.


AUGUST 3
CRIMINALS LOOSE DUE TO LACK OF JAILSPACE

  Many of us are putting pressure on the County Council and County Mayor to reopen the rest of Oxbow Jail (about 180 beds of 560 are used).  The Sheriff’s office indicates that it will cost $5.6 million to start up the rest of the Oxbow pods.  Although it is a lot of money (plus the DA and other costs also increase), it is less than the time it takes to arrest the criminal threats to society (dealers and those that need SWAT), take them to jail and have to arrest them again within a couple of days.  Criminals that have 20 or more arrests should not be on the street!  THEY ARE THREATS TO SOCIETY!  The frustration of the SLC Police in the Rio Grande area is evident when they talk about arresting a dealer, take him to jail and he is back standing next to them four hours later and they are laughing about the powerlessness of the Police.  They can get their car back the next day!  Admittedly, many dealers are addicts but those also should not be released immediately since they enable the problem.  There should be consequences for drug dealers.

  When the police arrest illegal aliens (some are the bigger dealers), they are deported and back in the area within a few days.  In one case, the police have arrested a drug dealer four times (deported each time)! 

  The lack of jail space affects the issues around the low cost motels on North Temple and State Street (and Skyline Inn see below).  The North Temple area now is the number two drug dealing area.  The dealers work out of the motels that are rented by others and when the police can’t keep the dealers in jail, the problems multiply and the attraction of criminal elements is predictable.  Without more jail space, the problem for innocent adjacent residents and businesses will get worse.  Please email the County Council and Mayor and ask that all of Oxbow be opened (mayor@slco.org, jwilson@slco.org,rsnelgrove@slco.org,jbradley@slco.org,arbradshaw@slco.org,mhjensen@slco.org,anewton@slco.org,sgranato@slco.org,sldebry@slco.org,mburdick@slco.org). 

  Interestingly, when the Mayor was pressed on opening up more jail space and keeping dealers locked up, he said that he would surprise us with an announcement in two weeks!  He insisted several times that he couldn’t divulge the “surprise”!  I guess this is his way of telling us that public decisions are being made in private.  As I said in the recent Sltrib oped, good decisions die behind closed doors.

  The Mayor seems to be pushing for his Pay for Success program (using jail bond money) to keep people out of jail.  About 300 homeless are in jail on an average night.

  There was an interesting complaint during the recent Pioneer Park Coalition meeting.  One business owner said that he has talked to several homeless who said that they came to Utah because they heard on national news that Utah has solved 90% of the homeless problem!  The business owner was worried that if the homeless solutions succeed, it may attract more homeless.
 

AUGUST 2
SKYLINE INN PROBLEMS TRACED TO LACK OF JAILSPACE

  On Monday August 8, Charlie Luke is hosting a meeting at the City Council offices (451 S. State) to discuss the complaints about the Skyline Inn on Foothill and 1700 S.  The problems seem to be similar to the lack of jail space that don’t keep the problem elements and threats to society locked up.  Innocent owners are inundated with people renting rooms and then allowing “friends” to use the facilities for criminal activities.  I know that the owners have tried to work with police.  I know people visiting relatives in the East Bench area that have stayed there.  The recent problems appear to be caused by not being able to keep the criminal element in jail.  I encourage everyone interested in this or affected by this to email the County Council and Mayor (above) and demand that there be an expansion of jail space.


AUGUST 1
SALT LAKE CITY SHOULD NOT BE GIVING PARKLAND TO DEVELOPERS


  On August 10 at 530 PM at the SLC City Hall 451 S. State rm 326, the Planning Commission will consider a project on the Parleys Trail/S-Line that I believe will destroy any chance of making the Trail a go to destination.  The project is Dan Lofgren’s Cowboy Partners Liberty Place Townhomes between the S-Line and Wilmington and 600 East to about 670 East.  The townhomes will destroy the potential for restaurants, stores and other public facilities that could encourage walkability.  The new Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Plan implements standards that encourage ground floor facilities that encourage walkability.

  This area on the Parleys Trail should be the cornerstone of a potential world class walkable area but instead it will essentially be a wall of nonpublic residential units!  Instead of developing the Parleys Trail/S-Line into something that could attract local residents, Utahns and tourists, like the San Antonio River Walk, we will end up with developers putting in private homes that destroy the walkability of the Trail.

  The developer wants to also bring the buildings closer to the Trail (from 10 feet setback to 8 feet) and increase the height to 35 feet.  The 70 townhomes will have only 79 parking stalls which will overwhelm the adjacent single family home neighborhood with cars and traffic.  At the same time this developer is destroying the neighborhood peace and quiet, he is destroying the potential for the Trail.

  Please email Planning Commission to comment on this project (maryann.pickering@slcgov.com 801 5357660).  The case number is PLNSUB2016-00427.  You should also email Councilwoman Lisa Adams at lisa.adams@slcgov.com and complain about giving parkland to developers.  Salt Lake City needs to pass an ordinance that requires all ground floors of new buildings to be engaging to the public with stores and restaurants, in other words, SLC should encourage walkability.

 

 

JULY 31

SLCO COUNCIL WILL DISCUSS HOMELESS, WATERSHED AND OPENING OXBOW ON TUESDAY AT 115PM


Note that on Tuesday, the SLCO Council will discuss some important issues at their weekly meeting starting at around 115PM.  Call in comments are allowed at the beginning of the meeting and if you are interested, you should google slco.org and council agendas and committee of the whole.  Regular comments can also be made at the 4PM meeting but the work session/Committee of the Whole is where work is done.


JULY 30
IS UTA UTAH’S EVIL EMPIRE?


Over the last few weeks, UTA has decided to spend over a hundred million for projects without identifying the funding source.  The airport TRAX that is caused by the SLC Airport’s eye catching but expensive flying rail design that will service the new airport terminal.  That terminal rebuild is paid for by airport passenger fees and UTA should not be forcing Utah taxpayers to pay for this project.  Airport passenger fees should.

The Provo BRT is being pushed, despite the fact that funding from the Federal Government is not assured.  Some even contended that the funding has already been started, that they have received funding for the project.  That is not true. 

The new $55 million plus bus garage is being built mainly with local funds that could be used for expansion of neighborhood bus service

Those projects’ starts fly in the face of the audits from 2012 and 2014 that specifically warned against starting projects without finding the complete funding source which needs to include operations, maintenance and state of good repair.  UTA contends that they are implementing the audit recommendations.  These decisions question whether UTA is really following the audit recommendations.  Several years ago, service on neighborhood buses was cut up to 30% (UTA contends that it was only 5%) and restoring a robust neighborhood bus system should be a priority before starting any new projects (also part of the audit recommendations).

The issue of UTA forcing taxpayers to pay for projects without a vote of the public is going to come to a head when the other counties that have approved Prop One will start projects (like the South Davis BRT) that Salt Lake County taxpayers will be forced to finish at a big expense.  Utah County expects to have a bond approved within a year and it could be used to pay for the Provo BRT and possibly other high priority projects like the Lehi to Draper TRAX.  SLCO taxpayers will have to find over a billion dollars to finish their portion of the project.

All of these issues will cause UTA’s trustworthiness to be questioned.  Some have recently called UTA the evil empire.  I hope that UTA starts listening to the public and restores trust before the reputation of evil empire becomes commonplace.

Note also that UTA will start replacing rails.  The 700 South rails on the curve need to be replaced next year and the cost will take away from potential service expansion.

Note that UTA, again, does not know how to successfully operate a BRT.


UTA NEEDS TO FIND $61 MILLION TO PAY FOR BIKE LANES!!!!

UTA just got a $20 million grant from the Federal Government that requires a $61 million match from local funds to build bike paths, bike lanes and bike share systems.  I am bothered that we are forced to pay $61 million out of our valuable taxpayer funds, that should be used for increasing neighborhood bus service, on bike lanes, bike share and pedestrian issues.  No matter how important the projects, mass transit service needs to increase!  

And why didn't we get a chance to argue against this so called free money that required a 66% local taxpayer match?  UTA seems to be doing things in secret again and throwing trust out the window

UTA does not know how to operate a BRT. We got into this issue last UTA Board meeting.  The 3500 S. BRT does not work. 3200 passengers a day when it should have 5000-10000, the lights on the fixed guideways don't work, the traffic lights sometimes cycle through 3 times before letting the BRT bus through and saving 15 minutes out of an hour and 10 minute trip is not a success.

Provo thinks that BRT will lead to development.  Board members insisted that Magna developed due to the BRT!  Most successful BRT developments are outside the USA.  This is more than a gamble.  This flies in the face of the audit that recommended not spending money on projects until all of the funding for the project and operating funding and SGR is identified.  Wishful thinking is not good enough for identification of funding.

This is just going to make UTA look more like the evil empire.  Not my words but many that I talk to think UTA is the evil empire.


JULY 29
UTA GRILLED BY SLCO COUNCIL DEBT REVIEW COMMITTEE


On Wednesday, UTA gave a presentation to the Salt Lake County Debt Review Committee (presentation on the downloads page) that tried to answer the County Council’s questions on UTA issues. UTA debt payments significantly increase in a few years and their interest payments increase 4 times in 2021.  UTA still keeps pushing projects and bicycling instead of mass transit service.  When UTA was asked about the projects that Davis County is starting that would force Salt Lake County to pay tens of millions to complete the projects, Jerry Benson said that UTA is still working on how the projects would be paid for.  Worst case scenario is Utah County will force Salt Lake County to pay billions for a Lehi to Draper TRAX system that is questionable but that Provo, Orem and Lehi insist are important for development.


SLC WATER POLICE OVERREACH QUESTIONED


The Utah Quality Growth Commission had a hearing Thursday morning and there were several people who testified about the problems with Salt Lake City effectively controlling 25% of the State of Utah due to their status as a first class city that has authority over watershed.  There are now three first class cities in Utah and several more will soon join the list and each could have the same authority.  The Legislature needs to step in and reign in Salt Lake City’s overreach.  KSL/Deseret News did a good story on the issue.  SLC will come back next month with a presentation with their case.  The big issue that seems to be coming to a head is if SLC does not provide a good reason for their actions, the Commission may recommend to the Legislature that the law be changed to provide a fair resolution that allows all of the first class cities to work together on watershed management.  There is also the issue that although one can swim in Deer Creek which provides a lot of drinking water to SLC, people cannot even dangle their toes in canyon streams without getting a ticket.  The Utah Supreme Court has clearly ruled that Utah waterways are available for Utahns' recreation so SLC actions seem to be outrageous.  Landowners in canyons that SLC has control of (through protection of the watershed authority) complained that the City enforcement give tickets that are questionable.  In one case, a landowner got 39 tickets and had 38 dismissed by going to court.  SLC contends that they have the authority to give tickets to anyone wading or crossing a canyon stream. 

The Legislature needs to step in if SLC does not provide a respectful and reasonable solution. The Commission is supposed to give recommendations to the Legislature's Political Subdivisions Interim Committee by November.  Several public comments asked that there be a clear law from the Utah Legislature that brings some common sense to the use of canyons and stops what they see as overreach by SLC.  They also asked that Utah retain control of the canyons and not give any more authority to the Federal Government through a National Conservation Area, Recreation Area or National Monument (recommended by Mountain Accord).



FIREWORKS CELEBRATE THE MIRACLE OF THIS COUNTRY 


Disappointed in Physicians for a Healthy Environment.   They want to ban fireworks from most of the month of July and limit their use to two days.  Fireworks celebrate this Country.  When the fireworks go off, everyone looks up as an American and for a fleeting moment, our differences can disappear.  It’s worth it.  Some point to the study that said that air pollution went through the roof when fireworks in Ogden two years ago were set off.  The DAQ trailer that monitors air pollution was parked next to the fireworks’ launch site.  So using that study as a reason to ban fireworks is nuts.  In the summer the problem is usually ozone not the particulates that fireworks leave in the atmosphere.  And the particulates are generally high enough that they dissipate quickly.  When Kyle LaMalfa tried to convince the Poplar Grove Community Council to back his efforts to ban fireworks on the 4th of July, they refused. 


If the Physicians for a Healthy Environment really wanted to do something about pollution in the Wasatch Front, they should try to close the Layton Burn Plant that burns a nonhomogenous waste stream and pollutes with really dangerous chemicals.  They could also try to close Kennecott which also provides a lot of pollution and MagCorp, both of which provide a lot of the industrial pollution in this valley.

This Country is a miracle and it deserves more than one day of celebration.  Fireworks are not the big problem.  We need to spend money on intelligent traffic lights that will really help decrease pollution.


 


JULY 26

Sugar House walkability is being destroyed due to unwalkable projects

Developers in Salt Lake City are allowed to develop property without any consideration of walkability.  Block long car lots, large apartment buildings and non public buildings discourage walkability.  In Sugar House, the battle for walkability is raging.   Instead of any property on the streetcar line/Parleys Trail that provides all ground floor levels to have access to the Trail and have something to engage the public like stores or restaurants, only apartments are being proposed.  Sugar House could develop the Trail into a destination like San Antonio's River Walk.

There is potential for popularizing the Parleys Trail increases with restaurants, shops and other facilities that encourage visiting (and using the streetcar) on the ground floor that fronts the Trail.

The recently passed Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Plan was supposed to encourage ground floor public facilities but developers seem to be ignoring it.   Although SLC does not have an ordinance that requires it, it should have one.  If you want to encourage walkability, block long apartments (or car lots) are not the way to build.



JULY 24 

SLC Council gets schooled on impact fee

It turns out that transportation infrastructure can use impact fees to ensure that facilities maintain the LOS!

"New development can only be charged for the proportionate cost of the new facilities that maintain the LOS"

"Transportation
We do not have the financing component included at this point. Analysis assumes impact fees and general fund revenues will pay for proposed facilities."  

Check out the Impact Fees Presentation for the SLC Council on the downloads page.




JULY 23

UTA ignores 2014 Legislative audit and starts projects without identifying funding sources.

Despite the fact that UTA said that they were implementing all of the recommendations of the 2014 audit, in the last month, UTA has started work on the airport TRAX reconfiguration (a design that is fanciful and extremely costly instead of being utilitarian - a reconfiguration required due to airport passenger fees redesigning the terminal) and the Provo BRT.  Utah County Commissioner Ellertson said that FTA/DOT had given money already for the BRT so it is almost a guarantee that federal funds will continue.  That statement is not true.  FTA said that the only funds that were given to UTA and Provo were for the Provo TOD, not a BRT!  The audit quote below is very clear, UTA is ignoring the audit requirements.

"In our 2012 audit report, we recommended that UTA identify reliable revenue sources for future transit projects’ capital and O&M costs before construction is initiated. This recommendation, with the addition of identifying SGR, costs remains important." (from UTA 2014 Audit)

"Perhaps one lesson of the recent rail expansion is that funds must be reserved to operate a robust bus system that supports the rail system."

Another issue is the TODs that UTA still keeps approving by giving property worth tens of millions in return for a portion (5%) of the project.  As the 2014 audit pointed out, UTA is not guaranteed a return.  Again, other cities lease excess property to developers to guarantee a return.  Call or email your Legislator and insist that the Legislature have a hearing on projects going forward without funding sources and for TOD projects that don't guarantee a return on big investments.

From the audit"
"we recommend that the UTA Board of Trustees require all written agreements on development projects be subject to an external independent review before they are signed.  The independent review should determine whether the agreements are commercially reasonable, fair to all parties, and in the best interests of UTA, based on established laws and policies."

"Bangerter Station
In our opinion, the Operating Agreement raises several concerns for UTA and its significant investment in the project. While there certainly is the potential for a return to UTA on its investment, that non-guaranteed return is at the end of a long line of prior contingencies and guaranteed payouts to Associates. The Operating Agreement gives the impression that UTA is acting more as a funding source rather than a partner in the project. UTA is given very little say in the project itself, but has numerous financial burdens that it is required to meet. On balance, the Operating Agreement seems tipped significantly in favor of Associates with most of the financial responsibility and risk falling squarely upon UTA."





JULY 21 SLC WALKABILITY AND PARKING ORDINANCES NEEDED

NEW ON DOWNLOADS:  GRAND BOULEVARDS,

SUGAR HOUSE CIRCULATION PLAN (DRAFT AND FINAL),

1300 E. BIKE LANES

ON DOWNLOADS


The Salt Lake City Council needs to pass ordinances to ensure walkability and engagement of pedestrians.  Sugar House is getting many apartments and residential buildings that deter walkability.  One of the reasons why Sugar House became a famous as a walkable community (almost a village) is because of the many stores that lined the sidewalk that had windows with their products.  Unfortunately, SLC has ignored their policy to encourage mixed use and allowed these anti-walkable buildings and projects to develop.  Who wants to walk past a block of apartment buildings?  Where is the engagement with pedestrians.  SLC owes its citizens an ordinance that encourages walkability and puts their policy of mixed use into law.  The parking ordinances also need updating and the Council said that they would revisit the ordinance last December, after passing a minimal update to parking requirements.  The Sugar House and Downtown Parking Study is going to be discussed at the August 9 SLC Council work session.  Although the firm that did the study is famous in the Nation for encouraging higher density and lower parking requirements, it should start a respectful discussion of parking in SLC.  Councilwoman Lisa Adams made a point during one work session that if there is not enough parking in Sugar House, people will drive to Fashion Place Mall and shop.  It would be nice to have a parking system that allows parking in a lot and walking around the neighborhood of shops for many hours without having to pay or pollute by moving the car.


The project on McClelland and Sugarmont has been scaled back to 85 feet but none of the units or facilities is open to the public and for about 385 units, there are only about 450 spaces.  That means that Fairmont Park parking lot (with Boys and Girls Club) will have to provide the overflow that the developer, Boulder Ventures, is not providing.  It also means that the building will discourage walkability of Sugar House, further destroying the village concept that the community wants.


Another ordinance that is needed is a restructuring of the institutional zoning ordinance.  Recently, the City gave three homes to Westminster University but now, Westminster can do anything that they want with them.  The City no longer has a say in how they are used or developed.  Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall asked that the Council revisit the issue a few months ago.



JULY 19 MILLER PARK TREES AND PLANTS DIE FROM NO IRRIGATION


In another catastrophe in Parks management, after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on Miller Park restoration and planting of new trees and bushes, SLC forgot to turn on the irrigation system and all of the plants have died.




JULY 19 SLC COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF HOMELESS, IMPACT FEES


The Salt Lake City Council discussed impact fees and their limitations.  Up to 10% of impact fees can be used by SLC Transportation to alleviate traffic problems/impacts from new projects.  Unfortunately, in Sugar House, many new developments are being planned that may be in the pipeline before impact fees are restored.  The fees could be used for traffic light improvements including intelligent traffic signals that determine, in real time, what light scheme will provide the least pollution.  The impact fees can also be used for complete streets' sidewalk widening and bicycle paths/lanes.  SLC Transportation determines the use and need. 


During the Homeless Site Committee discussion (no sites selected yet), several Councilmembers expressed concern about the 250 bed concept that the Committee seems to be pushing.  The believe is that the 250 beds allow economy of scale and therefore can provide the services needed to successfully manage the residents.  Councilman Luke expressed concern about how to figure out how to fit 250 beds into an area.  Erin Mendenhall was asking how do we not concentrate homeless in an area again.  She also expressed concern about smoking and the smoke blowing into adjacent areas and yards.  James Rogers also expressed  concern about the 250 bed facilities.  There was also a question about how to work with Salt Lake County on the services that the Legislature is spending $4.5 million on.  Within a month, the Road Home should move the lineup for a bed into the old playground (since families have been moved to Midvale).  There should be more lighting in the Rio Grande area, more trash cans, more cleanup teams, walking patrols of police and the first portable toilet will become available within a week.  I agree that concentrating a large number of homeless or people who need significant abuse treatment or mental health treatment into one area will create problems.  I thought that the Council was pushing for more mixed income.


I have to give credit to Erin Mendenhall for finding $4.5 million in RDA funds for affordable housing but how to implement an effective program is the problem and it will be difficult.







JULY 18 ANOTHER NON-MIXED USE SUGAR HOUSE APARTMENT BLDG!


Instead of mixed use to encourage walkability and engagement of pedestrians, Boulder Ventures has put forward another iteration of their Sugarmont Drive and McClelland Drive project with over 300 apartments and over 400 parking spaces.   Also the project will further exacerbate the parking situation and take away all extra parking at Fairmont Park.  The City Council is set to decide within a month or two about putting the requirements for mixed use ground floor into an ordinance.  The Council will also revisit the new Sugar House and Downtown Parking Study at their August 9 work session.




JULY 15 UTA GAMBLES ON FEDS FUNDING PROVO BRT


​SUMMARY

UTA ignores Legislative audit and provides Provo BRT funding without guarantee that future Federal funds will come!

With 2 Trustees saying no, UTA started the process to spend up to $23 million and hope that the limitless Federal funds will come and pay UTA back for the Provo BRT.  I believe that UTA has never successfully operated a BRT, Fed. funds are less than guaranteed, a similar service can be provided at a tenth of the cost and the Legislative audit that recommended against it.  I put more information and the audit recommendation on georgechapman.net.  Email me at gechapman2@gmail.com for more info.  I urge everyone to email their Utah Legislator and express your opinion. 

 

UTA agrees to ignore Legislative audit and provides partial funding to move forward on the Provo BRT

The money put forward could be as much as $23 million.  UTA would lose up to $5 million if Federal funding does not come.  The Federal Transportation Administration (Region 8 in Denver) has provided a letter that allows spending money before award of a grant with the understanding that if the grant comes, that money will be reimbursed.  UTA would be able to use the buses, garage and traffic infrastructure if the grant does not come. But $3 to $5 million would be lost.  If the funding is not provided now, the project could cost $5 million more.  Trustee Bartholomew asked for what that would cost in bus service.  Jerry Benson said that, using the example of 2 bus on 200 South, at 15 minute intervals, a bus route would cost $900,000 a year.

 

Several projects have started and grants have not been awarded (despite Mr. Blakesley saying he had no knowledge of any).  The best example of the loss of a “sure” grant was the bus garage.  It, along with the streetcar extension, lost the TIGER grant last year.

 

The requirement for a bond in Utah County was contingent on Federal funds (according to the interlocal agreement) but the Board talked about an “assurance” being enough to go forward with the bond.

 

Trustee Millburn asked if the 3500 South BRT is successful (to respond to my contention that UTA does not know how to operate a successful BRT).  Trustee Christensen said that it is successful and has led to the development of Magna.  She uses it.  Jerry Benson said that it cut 15 minutes and that proves that it is successful because that is what the riders wanted.

 

The 3500 S. BRT IS NOT SUCCESSFUL!  The ridership last year was 3200 riders a day.  A successful BRT would have over 5000 riders a day and preferably 10,000 riders.  If the BRT has to sit at a light for three light cycles to get through the intersection, it is not successful.  There is also talk that the light system does not work and there is a maintenance issue with the system.  I also want to point out that the mile long traffic backup by losing 2 lanes for the BRT is not what BRTs are supposed to do.  UTA does  not know how to successfully operate a BRT.

 

UTA’s attorney and experts expected that the referendum on the property issues with the cities could take up to 9 months if the Utah Supreme Court decides to take it on and the vote would be in November 2017.  There was also testimony that the BRT has already received funding so that would indicate that there is a 99% chance of the rest of the funding (given to a Utah County city).  When I checked with FTA, they indicated that the grant money that they have awarded was money for a TOD!!  It appears that the Board was given incorrect information.

 

If anyone protests applications at the FTA/DOT, that application goes to the bottom of the pile.  Federally funded projects require “broad public support” Bishop Burton said (during his testimony at Wednesday’s Transportation Legislative Committee hearing) that the Federal funds are drying up.  What that means is that a protest at FTA/DOT will significantly decrease the chance of a grant!

 

The Mayor of Orem said that he wanted this to go through because it would save money in the long run.  But to really save money, an enhanced bus would provide the same service as a BRT for a tenth of the cost.  The Mayor of Provo said that a survey supported the project.  But when the options are 15 minute BRT service or 30-60 minute bus service, the results are questionable.  The mayors seem to want this project since they believe that it will help development of the area.  The best example usually used to justify BRT development successes are in South Korea and Brazil.  We are in America and even with a BRT, cars make our economy, our families and our Country more efficient.  When they can get us to our destination in a third of the time that the best mass transit system, we will use cars.

 

The UTA Legislative Audit from 2012, recommended: “1. We recommend that UTA identify reliable revenue sources for future transit projects’ capital and O&M costs before construction is initiated.”   It also said: “We question if UTA should begin other large capital projects when future budgets appear to be tight. It is essential that UTA ensure that it has adequate levels of revenue for future transit projects’ capital and O&M expenses before construction is initiated. Otherwise, UTA may find itself unable to satisfactorily operate the costly systems that it has built. (Pg 25-26)

 

But UTA’s Board of Trustee voted to approve funding the BRT project anyway.  Note that they also approved the airport TRAX extension without assurance that they would identify and get the funds to pay for the TRAX reconfiguration.

 

I pointed out that efforts by Davis County and Utah County to start projects that would obligate Salt Lake County taxpayers to pay billions for projects that they haven’t voted on.  That will decrease UTA trust and create hate and discontent.  UTA isn’t just the most hated entity in our County, it is considered by many to be Utah’s evil empire.

 









July 14 Provo BRT at risk of stopping


UTA was blasted at Interim Transportation by Rep. Anderegg for a potentially wasteful BRT that runs next to deserted buildings.  Interestingly enough, the Provo BRT might die Friday July 15 at the special UTA Board meeting to make up the lack of Federal funding.  It is a little complicated but UTA wants to commit funding to the project without a guarantee of future Federal funding. 


UTA will have a Board of Trustees meeting Friday, tomorrow, at 1 pm at SLC HQ next to FrontRunner station (200 S.) to consider advancing funds for the Provo BRT.  See attached pdf for specific info.

PROVO BRT AT RISK!!!! IF BOARD DOES NOT APPROVE TAKING A CHANCE THAT FEDERAL FUNDS WILL COME.

Due to the late notice (one day to comment online 5 pm deadline today while meeting was noticed yesterday), the only way to comment is to show up and comment at the meeting or have someone show up there and speak for you.

The risk of no Federal funds is high because the DOT says that usually there are many more times applications than what is available.  Most important, projects for Federal funding require "broad public support".   That is how we successfully fought the Sugar House streetcar extension.  I believe that the Provo BRT proposal is similarly controversial and if protested at FTA/DOT, it may not receive Federal dollars.

I urge you to find someone to show up at the meeting and express your opinion.

Again, the Provo BRT is at risk and will not proceed if the Board does not agree to go out on a limb and start funding without a funding source (something the audit warned about). 

George Chapman 8018677071

This is from UTA website.  The attached pdf is from the UTA website.

Item: UTA providing advance funding to the Provo-Orem TRIP project

Background: Non-UTA funding sources for the Provo-Orem BRT project have been delayed.  In order to keep the project on schedule and within budget, staff is requesting that UTA capital funds be used for UTA portions of the work until Utah County bond proceeds and FTA grant funds are available for reimbursement


The two paragraphs above are from the UTA website and the download of the specifics of desperately needed funding to keep the BRT on track are on the downloads page.





July 12

My questions for UTA after going through the Comprehensive Annual Report and Audit (on downloads page)



Retirement pensions are a significant issue and won't be up to date/fully funded until 2033.  The biggest problem for UTA is interest rate payments for debt will go from about $11 million a year to over $50 million a year in 2021  


UTA's staff indicates that they are looking at Uber/Lyft for part of the first/last mile plan along with bike share.  


The question on the airport TRAX needs to be framed as: what will be the impact on expansion of service?


UTA Board did set a goal of three TODs this next year.


The Board is reflecting the wishes of the majority of governments in their areas that also were part of the WFRC and that is why the priority is 6% service increase and up to 44% projects.  That is what many municipalities want in the belief that it will help development.


 My questions are based on the RTP 10-30 year plan with $11 billion in questionable rail projects and the 2015 CAFR and audit.

QUESTIONS FOR UTA REGARDING TAX REVENUE EXPENDITURES

1 - What projects (rail, BRT, TOD, garages) are UTA priority for the next 5 years and their cost/obligation to taxpayers?   Unless otherwise advised, the RTP list is their priority.

2 - Will the other projects that have high priority and supposedly have an "agreement" (via the agreed upon RTP transit list attached) be higher priority than bus expansion?
(When Jerry Benson said that the airport TRAX realignment was already agreed to, it was agreed to in the RTP (attached).  But other projects in the RTP that may be understood to be "agreed to" include $11 billion in projects that some may consider questionable.  If these projects are built, according to the RTP, bus and TRAX span of service will only increase 6%.)

3 - What is the amount that will be used for neighborhood bus service expansion? (asked for by County Council)?  Trustee Keith Bartholomew asked what effect the TRAX airport realignment would have on bus service.  Jerry Benson answered, carefully, "existing bus service would not be affected".  What will be the effect on expansion of bus service with UTA paying for the airport TRAX realignment (at $4.3 million and the total of almost $100 million - the original RTP had a cost of $55 million but that was before the extra terminal redesign)?  How will UTA decide which Utah taxpayers, in the Utah counties, will pay for the TRAX realignment (and other big multi-county projects like Lehi TRAX and South Davis BRT?

4 - How can UTA protect funds and land given to private developers to ensure appropriate compensation (until property is leased versus given for a percentage of project profit, if any)?

5 - Will UTA ensure that there is a vigorous debate and public hearing if UTA funds bikeshare and bike trails?

6 - The Mountain Accord will have what effect on expanding bus service?

7 - Will UTA ensure that all Federal grant applications are no longer secret to ensure that everyone has a chance to consider the plans before they are a done deal?

8 - Will UTA compare new projects service proposals cost with similar bus service (15 minute service cost for project versus 15 minute bus service cost)?  Recent studies show that there is no difference with popularity of rail versus bus when service levels are the same.  Much of the sales job has been promising 5 minute service by BRT/rail when bus is only half hour frequency.  

9 - Up to 8 TODs are authorized by the Legislature for UTA (SB51).  Will UTA lease the property that UTA owns and use the money for expansion of neighborhood bus service?  Why are TOD contracts being discussed in secret?

10 - What will be the effect of the cost of funding the Depot District Service Center on neighborhood bus service expansion?  (An approved funding plan is in process.)

11 - Will rail and BRT routes be considered for rezoning to much higher density as in Sugar House?

12 - With over $2 billion in bonds, did the 2015 bond sales tax revenue bonds for the purpose of refunding previously issued debt result in more available project funds?

13 - What are the pension obligations of UTA that the auditors were unable to provide assurance on?  What will be the effect if the pension obligations are not fully funded until 2033?

14 - What are the implications of the steep increase in debt service beginning in 2017?

15 - What is the value of property that UTA plans to use for TODs?  What is the potential value of leases versus 5% of the projects?  What guarantee is there that the TOD projects will make money?  What is the value of property that UTA intends to sell? (UTA sold 37.5 acres in 2015 for $5.6 million.)

16 - The 2015 cost of $32.8 million on major strategic projects (including the Depot District facility and several BRT routes have what effect on expanding neighborhood bus service (cost benefit analysis)?

17 - What is the cost benefit analysis of expending $9.3 million on IT ($7.8 million in 2014 on IT)?

18 - What was the cost of the added service to 12 bus routes, TRAX and the S-line in 2015 (with increased frequency and extended hours of service)?  What will be expended this year on service expansion?

19 - Does the FAREPAY card system contract allow for low fare on off peak hours now (in order to qualify for Federal CMAQ funding)?  What is the percentage of FAREPAY customers versus cash paying customers?  CAFR says 20,000 FAREPAY customers but it is meaningless without cash customers comparison.

20 - What is the investment portfolio's value that provided $2.9 million in 2014?

21 -  What is the $75 million in construction in progress?

22 - What projects did the Federal government fund with the $12,599,212 in 2015?

23 - The 5600 West BRT proposal is at what stage of planning?



Note: Original draft Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) had enhanced bus projects (1.5 million per mile that functions much like BRT without the separate lanes).  The RTP morphed into much more expensive projects like $15 million/mile BRTs and $75 million/mile light rail.  County Council should go through the list and confirm that these projects which take away from neighborhood bus service expansion are appropriate projects and outweigh using the money for neighborhood bus service expansion.

"While increasing the amount of transit service is important, just as important to transit riders is that the bus or train arrives on time."!!!!!!  This quote is in the UTA CAFR but studies show frequency and span of service is much more important (unless the bus/train is 20+ minutes late or  5 minutes early).





July 11

Downloads have Sugar House Parking Study 


July 13 Utah Legislature has several important hearing on UTA and projects

The Utah Legislature Interim Transportation Committee will meet at 8:30 AM on Wednesday in Rm 210 of the Senate Building to hear UTA and WFRC discuss their long range plans.  There will also be a discussion on the Mountain Accord.


In addition, in the afternoon, another discussion on Grand Boulevards will take place in the Business and Labor Committee at about 230 in rm 210 in the Senate Building  and the Public Utilities will discuss the grid proposal to have California manage Utah power generation and discourage coal power.




JULY 8 

QUESTIONS FOR UTA REGARDING TAX REVENUE EXPENDITURES

Downloads has UTA Comprehensive Annual Report 


Retirement pensions are a significant issue and won't be up to date/fully funded until 2033. 

The RTP transit list and summary on downloads gives the 6% for service answer.

UTA's staff indicates that they are looking at Uber/Lyft for part of the first/last mile plan along with bike share. 

The question on the airport TRAX needs to be framed as: what will be the impact on expansion of service?

UTA Board did set a goal of three TODs this next year.

The Board is reflecting the wishes of the majority of governments in their areas that also were part of the WFRC and that is why the priority is 6% service increase and up to 44% projects.  That is what many municipalities want in the belief that it will help development.
My questions are based on the RTP 10-30 year plan with $11 billion in questionable rail projects and the 2015 CAFR and audit.


1 - What projects (rail, BRT, TOD, garages) are UTA priority for the next 5 years and their cost/obligation to taxpayers?   Unless otherwise advised, the RTP list is their priority.

2 - Will the other projects that have high priority and supposedly have an "agreement" (via the agreed upon RTP transit list attached) be higher priority than bus expansion?
(When Jerry Benson said that the airport TRAX realignment was already agreed to, it was agreed to in the RTP (attached).  But other projects in the RTP that may be understood to be "agreed to" include $11 billion in projects that some may consider questionable.  If these projects are built, according to the RTP, bus and TRAX span of service will only increase 6%.)

3 - What is the amount that will be used for neighborhood bus service expansion? (asked for by County Council)?  Trustee Keith Bartholomew asked what effect the TRAX airport realignment would have on bus service.  Jerry Benson answered, carefully, "existing bus service would not be affected".  What will be the effect on expansion of bus service with UTA paying for the airport TRAX realignment (at $4.3 million and the total of almost $100 million - the original RTP had a cost of $55 million but that was before the extra terminal redesign)?  How will UTA decide which Utah taxpayers, in the Utah counties, will pay for the TRAX realignment (and other big multi-county projects like Lehi TRAX and South Davis BRT?

4 - How can UTA protect funds and land given to private developers to ensure appropriate compensation (until property is leased versus given for a percentage of project profit, if any)?

5 - Will UTA ensure that there is a vigorous debate and public hearing if UTA funds bikeshare and bike trails?

6 - The Mountain Accord will have what effect on expanding bus service?

7 - Will UTA ensure that all Federal grant applications are no longer secret to ensure that everyone has a chance to consider the plans before they are a done deal?

8 - Will UTA compare new projects service proposals cost with similar bus service (15 minute service cost for project versus 15 minute bus service cost)?  Recent studies show that there is no difference with popularity of rail versus bus when service levels are the same.  Much of the sales job has been promising 5 minute service by BRT/rail when bus is only half hour frequency. 

9 - Up to 8 TODs are authorized by the Legislature for UTA (SB51).  Will UTA lease the property that UTA owns and use the money for expansion of neighborhood bus service?  Why are TOD contracts being discussed in secret?

10 - What will be the effect of the cost of funding the Depot District Service Center on neighborhood bus service expansion?  (An approved funding plan is in process.)

11 - Will rail and BRT routes be considered for rezoning to much higher density as in Sugar House?

12 - With over $2 billion in bonds, did the 2015 bond sales tax revenue bonds for the purpose of refunding previously issued debt result in more available project funds?

13 - What are the pension obligations of UTA that the auditors were unable to provide assurance on?  What will be the effect if the pension obligations are not fully funded until 2033?

14 - What are the implications of the steep increase in debt service beginning in 2017?

15 - What is the value of property that UTA plans to use for TODs?  What is the potential value of leases versus 5% of the projects?  What guarantee is there that the TOD projects will make money?  What is the value of property that UTA intends to sell? (UTA sold 37.5 acres in 2015 for $5.6 million.)

16 - The 2015 cost of $32.8 million on major strategic projects (including the Depot District facility and several BRT routes have what effect on expanding neighborhood bus service (cost benefit analysis)?

17 - What is the cost benefit analysis of expending $9.3 million on IT ($7.8 million in 2014 on IT)?

18 - What was the cost of the added service to 12 bus routes, TRAX and the S-line in 2015 (with increased frequency and extended hours of service)?  What will be expended this year on service expansion?

19 - Does the FAREPAY card system contract allow for low fare on off peak hours now (in order to qualify for Federal CMAQ funding)?  What is the percentage of FAREPAY customers versus cash paying customers?  CAFR says 20,000 FAREPAY customers but it is meaningless without cash customers comparison.

20 - What is the investment portfolio's value that provided $2.9 million in 2014?

21 -  What is the $75 million in construction in progress?

22 - What projects did the Federal government fund with the $12,599,212 in 2015?

23 - The 5600 West BRT proposal is at what stage of planning?





When will SLC parking become realistic?

  The Sugar House Community Council recently met with Mayor Biskupski and many of her senior staff. Discussions included the streetcar, traffic, 10 story buildings and sewer issues in the area. Another big concern was parking. The issue is so important that Salt Lake City has drafted a Downtown and Sugar House Parking Study to be presented to the City Council in August. The study has found that many of the parking problems in Sugar House come from the many different entities that control or have parking in the area. It also shows that there are areas that have issues with lack of parking.

  Although it was pointed out during the meeting that one of the nearby lots was almost empty, the residents still complained about the lack of reasonable parking standards in Salt Lake City. City Councilwoman Lisa Adams admitted that there are parking issues that include no parking requirements on the recently rezoned 700 East and 2100 South area. She hoped that the parking study will help in the discussion and further action by the City Council.

  Many nearby residents are upset because of overflow from filled parking lots that end up in single-family home neighborhoods. Some blame the City for not enforcing a reasonable public parking rate at the Vue on 2100 South and Highland Drive. It was changed to a minimum parking charge of $10 after the Vue residents complained that they didn’t have enough parking when the public used the underground lot. But Salt Lake City paid the developer to provide a level of public parking in the project!

  Dan Lofgren of Cowboy Partners, which constructed the Liberty Village on McClelland just south of 2100 South, said that his lot is not full when he checks it at 4 AM. But residents near his other proposed project, on Wilmington and 640 East, say that the issue isn’t who is parking at 4 AM. It is where will guests park. The issue is made more critical because there is no parking at the streetcar stations. It becomes even worse for nearby residents when a project charges for parking, like the new project just approved for 2100 South and 1000 East. The $50 a month parking charge will encourage residents with more than one car to park in the nearby residential areas.

  The SLC Council doubled parking requirements for projects in December from .5 per unit to 1 per unit. Some of the pressure to increase parking was the recent fight over the 9th and 9th project with only a quarter of an off street parking spot per unit. That was due to the old standard passed in 2013 that allowed on street parking to count for parking requirements, even in areas with no available parking like the Avenues. The Council indicated that they would revisit the parking standards to fine tune the regulations as needed. But the recent approval of the high density buildings without parking standards for Sugar House was surprising and a big concern for residents nearby.  And the parking maximums of 1.5 per unit have not changed, even after developers asked for exceptions.

  The residents near projects that may not have enough parking have been told to consider parking permit areas. But to force residents to pay for inadequate City planning and standards seems to be an insult. Salt Lake City needs to revisit its lack of reasonable parking standards that are respectful of nearby residents and businesses. Mixed use buildings that encourage walkability should be encouraged and they need more parking without parking limits. When parking was free without a time limit, people could park in Sugar House and walk around the stores and patronize restaurants without driving more.

  Counting on street parking should not be allowed. SRO parking standards should be doubled from one half space per unit. The Sugar House Streetcar Corridor parking standards need to be reinstated. And parking for residents should not require a fee that encourages parking extra vehicles in adjacent home and business areas. Salt Lake City parking standards need to become realistic




This is a short rewrite of our oped that you published last February


No greater love than the sacrifice of a cop

  Law enforcement officers go to work every day willing to take a bullet for us. This week, five officers in Dallas died while they were protecting the lives of Americans protesting police. The sad irony of their deaths while protecting those that were protesting police actions should be recognized by everyone. Police die everyday protecting, serving and sacrificing for their fellow men and women, even those that hate the police.

Law enforcement officers live everyday with the kind of love that is willing to sacrifice for others and to die if necessary. The Greek word for it is agape. It means the greatest love. That kind of love is rare. The important point, always brought up, is we will never be able to thank our police and their families enough for the sacrifices they have made. They deserve recognition, respect and support.

  The officers that were killed in Dallas are just like every other officer that wears a badge. They are all willing to take a bullet for us. That point should be remembered every time that you meet a cop. When you see an officer, remember the sacrifice that they face everyday; and thank them for their service.

George Chapman, Craig Carter





UTA dreams may turn into taxpayer nightmares

Summary: UTA recently approved plans to start designing and paying for the Salt Lake Airport TRAX reconfiguration. The $65 million plus reconfiguration is needed due to the airport rebuild project. Airport passenger fees are being used to build that $2.6 billion project. Why aren’t airport passenger fees being used to pay for the airport TRAX reconfiguration? The airport TRAX was just completed four years ago with taxpayer money. Why do taxpayers have to pay again for the project when the airport has $2.6 billion in its construction budget?

  Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski recently asked for and received approval from the UTA Board of Trustees to spend $4.3 million to start designing the TRAX reconfiguration required by the airport rebuild project. The rebuild project, paid for by airport passenger fees, will eventually cost $2.6 billion. The Mayor promised to help find the funding to pay for the UTA project that will eventually cost over $65 million. 
  During discussion of the project, UTA staff said that the UTA project had already been agreed to. The Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC), a group of elected officials from various municipalities around the Wasatch Front, had approved the proposed plans in the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) last year. It was one of over 50 transit projects, costing billions, listed in the Plan. Those projects included several Salt Lake City new rail lines (that the Salt Lake City Council recently agreed to consider), a tunnel and rail system up the Cottonwood Canyons and a high speed rail station at the airport. The deliberations and vote to approve the plans came with little notice and public feedback. 
  Before agreeing to start the design and build the airport TRAX reconfiguration, the Board of Trustees asked the staff what the effect of spending the money on the project would have on bus service. The staff said that “there would be no effect on existing bus service”. But the argument during the public comment period was that expansion of bus service would be affected. If UTA spends taxpayer funds on a new big construction project that may reach $100 million, expansion of neighborhood bus service would be impacted. The Legislative audit from several years ago recommended that no new big projects be attempted by UTA until a robust bus system is restored (it was cut 30% in order to build all of the rail lines). The audit also recommended that no new projects be started without identifying funding for those projects. 
  Some of the questions that have recently been asked include: Is the WFRC estimate for service expansion of 6% compared to as much as 44% for new projects appropriate, realistic and respectful of taxpayers? Will future projects compare similar service levels instead of assuming that buses will only be every half hour and rail will be every 10 minutes? Will UTA stop keeping Federal grant applications secret until they are awarded to stop any public overview? What projects (rail, BRTs, TODs, garages) are UTA priorities for the next 5 years and their cost/obligation to taxpayers?   Will UTA follow the RTP list that is over 10 billion dollars? Will UTA start leasing property to developers instead of donating it for a percentage of the project which may never be profitable? Will all Utah taxpayers pay for the airport TRAX reconfiguration or just Salt Lake County taxpayers? The biggest question is why not use airport passenger fees for the TRAX reconfiguration? The FAA allows at least a portion to be used for airport rail and transportation systems. Will the Legislature change Utah law to allow the fees to be used for “fixed guideway projects”? 
  The Utah Legislature Transportation Interim Committee will discuss UTA and WFRC long term planning on Wednesday, July 13 at 8:30 AM in Room 210 of the Senate Building. Hopefully, many of the questions that have recently been raised will be discussed and a vigorous debate will take place that provides a more open book to UTA projects and planning. 


July 5

SLC Mayor meets with Sugar House Community Council


Mayor Biskupski only talked for less than a minute before she asked for questions.  She spent the rest of the hour answering questions along with having her staff provide answers and contacts to follow up.  I was so impressed that I didn't ask any questions.


Parking was a big issue in the question and answer hour with the Mayor.   Lisa Adams admitted that the Council missed the fact that the new Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Plan dropped parking requirements for the highest density areas but then said that they were waiting for the Sugar House Parking Study.  I and many in the audience thought that was a cop out.  Lisa has been reminded that she insisted that parking requirements be increased during the discussion in December above the doubled requirements for parking in SLC.  But, despite specific complaints against minimal parking requirements, effectively creating a Brew ha ha situation in Sugar House, the Council still passed the rezones.  People need to write the City Council and insist on respectful parking requirements.


Downloads have Sugar House Parking Study 


There were many concerns about 100 foot buildings and other higher density in Sugar House.  Planning indicated that the zoning was in place already and was legal.


There was also a complaint about bicycles on the sidewalk.  For almost 10 minutes, a resident complained about bicycles on the sidewalks.  SLC has a no bikes on the sidewalk downtown but the ordinance does not make sense. Many tourists ride the Greenbikes on the sidewalks and SLC should not ticket tourists or anyone else safely riding a bike on sidewalks.  Bikes don't kill.  Cars kill.  The SLC Police should be fighting drug dealing and other victim crimes before even thinking of going after bicycles.




June 30

Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall was reminded that during the discussion about turning over three homes to Westminster University on 1300 East, she insisted that the Council study institutional zoning issues since the City cannot tell Westminster how to do anything with those homes once they are in their institutional zone.  This is an important issue that needs a better discussion and solution.



JUNE 22

SLC PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVED 60 FOOT APARTMENT BUILDING ON 2100 S. AND 1000 E. AT JUNE 22 MEETING

The proposal to build the apartments is contentious in the neighborhood.  The project will only have 1.2 parking spots per unit and require $50 a month parking.  It will result in nearby residential neighborhoods absorbing the parking and traffic overflow.  The building is also not mixed use, just apartments which discourages walkability in the Sugar House area (8 ft sidewalks and 60 ft wall next to them also discourages walkability. 

This is another project in the super gentrification of Sugar House.  Unfortunately, the Sugar House Community Council refused to vote on supporting or against the proposal.  


JUNE 22

UTA gave away Utah taxpayer money to SLC airport from bus service expansion  

Comments may be made to the UTA Board at BOARDOFTRUSTEES@RIDEUTA.COM.
For three years, we have been trying to get UTA and the SLC Airport to ask the Legislature to change Utah  Code Section 72-10-215 that does not allow airport passenger fees to be used for "fixed guideway" projects.  Both the SLC airport and UTA have refused to pursue the change.
UTA volunteered to SLC 6 months ago to do the $55-100 million airport TRAX configuration, implying that they have the money.  That money will come out of neighborhood bus service expansion.  I believe that UTA should not be cannibalizing bus service expansion with a project that was caused by the SLC airport. 
SLCO taxpayers already paid for the airport TRAX and we shouldn't have to pay again.  The airport is doing the project and they should use the airport passenger fees to build the new transit center.  It may be questionable for a few months whether airport passenger fees can be used for the rail itself but the big expense is the new transit center which (since 2009) can use airport passenger fees.  FAA is in the process of liberalizing the rules and they should, in the near future, allow for using airport passenger fees for the full project.
The meeting that could result in this taxpayer funded $55-100 million project is Wednesday at 3 PM.  The $4.3 million plus budget amendment is just the start of the project.  The Regional Transportation Plan from the WFRC.org lists it as a $55 million project but that was before the extra $700+ million was found by the airport to increase the terminal redesign area.  It deserves to be publicized and receive a good, vigorous and thorough discussion by the public.  Comments may be made to the UTA Board at BOARDOFTRUSTEES@RIDEUTA.COM.







SLC PLANNING COMMISSION IS SCHEDULED TO HEAR A PROPOSAL TO PUT A 60 FOOT APARTMENT BUILDING ON 2100 S. AND 1000 E. AT JUNE 22 MEETING


The proposal to build the apartments is contentious in the neighborhood.  The project will only have 1.2 parking spots per unit and require $50 a month parking.  It will result in nearby residential neighborhoods absorbing the parking and traffic overflow.  The building is also not mixed use, just apartments which discourages walkability in the Sugar House area (8 ft sidewalks and 60 ft wall next to them also discourages walkability. 

This is another project in the super gentrification of Sugar House.  Unfortunately, the Sugar House Community Council refused to vote on supporting or against the proposal.  


Please send your comments to: Molly Robinson at 801 535 7261 or email to molly.robinson@slcgov.com

The agenda from the website is:

2. Apartment building Conditional Building and Site Design Review at approximately 974 E 2100 S. - A request by John Gardiner for approval from the city for a new 126-unit multi-family apartment project. Specifically, the proposed development gross floor area (165,425 square feet) and building height (60 feet) requires additional consideration. In this zoning district (CSHBD2 Commercial Sugar House Business District), new construction of buildings that exceed 30 feet in height or 20,000 square feet in size are subject to the Planning Division’s Conditional Building and Site Design Review (CBSDR) process outlined in chapter 21A.59 of the Salt Lake City Zoning Ordinance. The subject property is within Council District 7, represented by Lisa Adams. (Staff contact: Molly Robinson at (801)535-7261 or molly.robinson@slcgov.com.) Case Number: PLCPCM2016-00299



SALT LAKE CITY COUNCIL JUNE 14 AGREES TO GIVE LARRY H. MILLER $22 MILLION


The SLC Council sitting as the RDA Board agreed to give the Larry H. Miller family/company a tax credit of $22 million for spending over $100 million on the JAZZ arena upgrades (if the assessed value and property tax increases). I and others fought against this and you should see more backlash and stories about it in the next few days. My biggest issue is, although the project is a respectfully financially conservative cost, the public were almost not told about it. Despite a secret briefing for the Council last week, the news was released on a Friday (Rule of Thumb – if you want the news buried, release it on a Friday) and seemed to be rushed through without any public discussion. Even the news thought that the meeting was going to be at 2 PM. It started at 1 PM.

Another complaint was, since I know all of the Councilmembers, they essentially did what my fellow Republicans did in the Legislature when they had a closed caucus meeting to discuss Healthy Utah (they insisted that they didn't vote on it). The Council insisted that their meeting and presentation about the issue did not have a vote. I think that the issue deserved more attention and discussion. Just like the issue of closing UTA meetings, it showed a serious disrespect for the citizens and for the news organizations that try to let us know about important issues.


SALT LAKE CITY DECIDES TO BOND FOR SPENDING MONEY ON SPECIAL LIGHTING DISTRICTS

The Salt Lake City Council just approved moving to a bond for the areas that have specialty lighting. There will be a slight increase for most residents but some in Tier 2 (SEE MAP AND TABLE ON DOWNLOADS PAGE) may see a big increase. The biggest increase will be in the expansion of the area downtown near the Hub district between 600 and 400 West and around 200 South. Unfortunately, this will effectively raise rates and although there will be a hearing for the bond, it essentially approves the rates. Unfortunately, the staff said that the residents and businesses affected were notified but only a few showed up. If you are in one of the specialty lighting districts, and you did not get notified about the hearing, call or email the City Council (numbers and email above) and tell them.


JUNE 7 SLC COUNCIL VOTES FOR SUPER GENTRIFICATION OF SUGAR HOUSE

The Salt Lake City Council decided, after 3 years of pushing from the former administration of Ralph Becker, to allow much higher density in Sugar House around the TRAX line that is called the Sugar House streetcar. The plan that was presented to the Council was almost the same as the one that the Becker administration was pushing.

The three main differences were REMOVING PARKING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE HIGHEST DENSITY FB-SE AND FB-UN (LOWEST DENSITY), plans to work with UDOT to take away two lanes of traffic on 700 East and turn them into bike lanes and parking, adding an 800 East streetcar station (which will result in pressure to rezone and redevelop even more single family homes around 800 East), and pushing Green Street south of 21st S. south to Wilmington (removing the dead end).

The Council decided to amend the proposal to remove language that pushed Green Street to Wilmington, remove language that turned two lanes of traffic to bike lanes and parking on 700 East, remove language that recommended preparing the tennis courts of Fairmont Park for development and lowering the maximum height to 60 feet in the streetcar FB-SC core (with the height raised to 75 feet if 10% of the residences are reserved for low income housing). The effect will be like the 60 ft Liberty Village apartments between McClelland and 1000 East and Elm. The rents in the area are becoming almost three times the 2010 average rent for apartments in the area.

The parking requirements were argued against by several at the May 24th City Council meeting but the Council ignored the pleas and passed the plan with the almost no parking requirements. Maryann Pickering, the planner shepherding the plan through, agreed that the new parking requirements were adopted and are now at FB-SC for all uses no spaces required, FB-SE for all uses 50% of required in table 21A.44.030 minimum requirements, and FB-UN for all uses no spaces required. If you think that parking and traffic is bad now, wait till developers implement the City Council's plan. Councilwoman Lisa Adams made the motion to accept the amended plan.





THE SUPER GENTRIFICATION OF SUGAR HOUSE

During a recent meeting of the Sugar House Community Council, several trustees complained about the destruction of the character of Sugar House. They asked “What happened to the village aspect of our plans?” A friend complained that Sugar House is destroyed. A couple of years ago, the Sugar House Community Council and Salt Lake City adopted a Circulation and Management Plan that was supposed to encourage the “village character” of Sugar House with buildings that were no bigger than three stories, encouraging small developments, more small streets on the ShopKo block and wider sidewalks. One result was the closing of the right hand turn lane from 2100 South to Highland Drive and the building of a pedestrian plaza.

Recent project proposals for the Sugar House area seem to drive the nails into the coffin that was Sugar House village. Boulder Ventures is proposing a ten story building half a block from single-family homes. Craig Mecham is proposing a high rise on Highland that will be offices. A proposal for 150 apartments on 2100 South at 1000 East is also being proposed. A project on 900 East with a couple of hundred apartments was recently turned down by the Planning Commission. These proposals join the high rise already constructed Vue at Highland and 2100 South and Liberty Village on McClelland. The result of all of these high rises will be making walking through the neighborhood like walking in canyons of concrete and steel. The views of the mountains and even sunlight will be hard to come by. I don’t think that we need any more Sugar House skyscrapers.

The rents on these new projects are almost three times the regular rents of apartments in the area ($600) although Liberty Village has a few low income set aside apartments. When rents increase that much with new construction, it hurts the shops and residents that create the character of an area. Some have pointed out that increasing rents in an area is a form of elder abuse. Salt Lake City Councilman Stan Penfold recently expressed concern that all this new construction may be driving out the local small businesses that we should be protecting. Ironically, Stan Penfold was chair of the SLC RDA that encouraged much of the new development in Sugar House.

The other problem with large scale development is the increase in traffic and lack of sufficient parking. Salt Lake City gave Craig Mecham millions to provide one level of public parking (at a $10 minimum cost) and when it was enforced, nearby parking lots started limiting parking to two hours. Even the Post Office on 1100 East implemented paid parking! Previously, shoppers to the area would park and be able to walk to the shops and restaurants and spend four or five hours enjoying Sugar House. That pollution saving action is no longer available in Sugar House. Even parking at the Sugar House Sprague library is limited to two hours. A library should be more welcoming and not limit meetings and reading to two hours. The librarians have to park underground almost a block away. When parking was removed for the Monument Plaza construction, it was not replaced and many businesses went under, especially the many art businesses and artists in the nearby buildings. Businesses nearby with their parking lots had to start enforcing their customer only policies due to the lack of parking in the area.

If the proposals for new construction become reality, Sugar House will have to spend the next 5 years under construction. Walkability and parking will get even worse. Nearby single-family home residents will have to endure the construction workers parking. Parking will get even worse on completion due to Salt Lake City’s questionable parking requirements. In 2013, Salt Lake City implemented a parking limitation ordinance that discouraged cars and required just one half parking space per unit. On street parking could also count for parking requirements. The Salt Lake City Council late last year doubled the requirement for parking but also indicated that it may need to increase further. Until reasonable parking standards for projects are implemented, new projects will create parking and traffic problems wherever they are built. Reasonable requirements should address maximum occupancy for the neighborhood when considering traffic and parking impacts.

Development in Sugar House has claimed many great neighborhood businesses. Last year, Fats Grill, a regular Best of City Weekly winner, closed and the building was demolished. Losing these kinds of businesses destroys the character of the neighborhood. But it is just the start of the process that could eventually destroy many single-family home areas in Sugar House. Salt Lake City just rezoned areas near the Sugar House rail line to 75 feet tall around 700 East. The plan is called the Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Master Plan. It generally limits construction to 45 feet but allows some buildings to go to 75 feet (if 10% of units are affordable). The goal is increased residential and commercial density. The plan is also claimed to protect adjacent single-family home neighborhoods. But the lack of appropriate parking standards will impact residential neighborhoods and the increased traffic will hurt residential character.

What happened to our Sugar House village character? It has become the super gentrification of Sugar House.

(a version of this was published in the Deseret News)



SUGAR HOUSE COMMUNITY COUNCIL HEARS 2ND DRAFT OF 900 E. 20TH S RENTALS

(Project failed at the Planning Commission)

The Sugar House Community Council heard the new draft plan to rezone the area south of Ramona and 900 E. to higher density which requires a change to the Master Plan.  Most people, all but a couple were against any increase in parking and traffic issues which will negatively impact the already overburdened streets of 900 East and 21st South and single-family home neighborhoods around the area.  The new draft plan removes the vehicle outlet onto Ramona but adds a vehicle outlet onto Windsor to 21st.  They plan on about 1.2 parking spaces per unit.  Please email the City Council with your opinion on the new draft.  Google Fiber also gave a handout and presentation on its plans for SLC which may take a year to implement.


90 LOCAL RESIDENTS COMPLAIN ABOUT 900 E. PROJECT


(Project failed at the Planning Commission)

 A proposal to develop a higher density project on 900 E. at about 1940 S. that could result in 177+- units to replace an old and ugly area behind the single family homes in the neighborhoods was discussed at a well attended meeting on December 21 sponsored by the Sugar House Community Council.  Only one person in the audience approved of the project.  He had agreed to sell his property if the project was approved.

Cottonwood Partners is the developer who owns part of the property and has options on the rest.  It increases density 5 times and the single-family homeowners were concerned about increased parking and traffic problems and balconies overlooking adjacent homes. 

It requires a zoning change and a change to the Sugar House Master Plan.  The proposal is summarized on the Sugar House Community Council website (Google it) and  download below and Judi Short, the SHCC Chair of Planning and Zoning at judi.short@gmail.com will take your comments on the project.  The SHCC will discuss and vote on project on Jan. 6 ( first Wednesday meeting) 7PM at Sprague libary.


EAST BENCH MASTER PLAN,

21ST/21ST,

ADU,

HOMELESS PLANS

NEED COMMENTS


The East Bench Master Plan download is below.  You can comment on Open City Hall or to Council.  These proposals need feedback and very few have provided input to the Council.  Council Luke asked for more public engagement and Planning indicated that around the end of January, they would try to have an open house on the 21st and 21st.  The ADU proposal is several items below.  Note that the CB districts in the Jan12 download below includes Sugar House and 21st/21st.

My comments on agenda items (these are important and you should send your comments to the City Council and Mayor):

21ST/21ST: There is a strong preference FOR no higher density.  Only 2 in an attendance of hundreds were for change.
Protecting single-family home neighborhoods require ability to not increase traffic and parking problems and SLC does not have that ability.
I don't remember anyone suggesting that traffic lanes should be lost to bike lanes which is where this discussion seems to be going.
The difficulty in providing affordable housing was caused by SLC redevelopment in SH business district which tripled rents.

HOMELESS: Priorities should release a big building, single-story for homeless to sit in, drunk or not, inside to get them away from the drug dealers and killing elements and into a place where they can be counseled to consider a better situation than living on the sidewalks.

SELLING PROPERTY: Selling one property would give money for overtime for more police patrols.  We now have 130.  We used to have 180. Police want more overtime and it is the fastest way to put more cops on the street.

ADU: The ADU ordinance does not have enough public input.  The ordinance proposed is still too cumbersome to encourage ADUs that do not create parking or traffic issues.  For instance 1300 E. cannot handle more traffic or parking and should not be allowed to have ADUs.  But if the ordinance makes the cost to approve an ADU over $70,000, very few will take the plunge.  
Detached are averaging over $90,000 and attached ADUs are averaging $40,000 with these standards.

AIRPORT: Note that the airport terminal redevelopment does not take into consideration the TRAX realignment that RTP says will cost SLC taxpayers $55 million.  Unless SLC gets the Legislature to change the law to allow airport passenger fees to be used.  
The law now says that (a Delta deal) they can't be used for fixed guideway projects.  I would also appreciate anything that you can do to remove/change the $8/minute telephones in the terminals.
BETTER NEIGHBORHOOD BUS SERVICE AVAILABLE NOW:  The $5.6 million sequestered for the streetcar can now be used to negotiate with UTA for better SLC neighborhood bus service.


SALT LAKE COUNTY COUNCIL IS GOING TO PUT ZAP RELATED BOND ON BALLOT


The Salt Lake County Council intends to put a ZAP tax reconfiguration issue on the ballot in November 2016. The voters will decide if the ZAP tax can be used to pay for other bonds to get more money over the long term by borrowing for bigger projects. The Council will formally approve this in the summer but they have already committed to it. If voters approve it, the bond will be for about $75 million, of which 2/3 if for new projects and 1/3 is for upgrades and improvements to existing facilities.
Project applications were due by December 1, 2015. A citizens’ committee will be reviewing them over the next few months and making recommendations to the Council. The Council will then decide on the projects and notify voters what they will get if they approve the bond.  Here is the Council’s webpage about the bond:  http://www.slco.org/council/zap-bond/



SLC COUNCIL MEETING JAN 5 


dog off leash packet page 92

Housing packet page 97

homeless packet page 99

ADU packet page 106

parking packet page 148 mentions SH parking authority

airport terminal packet page 169

housing report packet page 239

At the Council meeting, Councilman Luke asked for more public input on the 21st and 21st Plan and Nora/Planning said that they planned an open house around January 28.  The Airport Authority also said that UTA would pay for and build the airport TRAX reconfiguration!!!!  So the statements that UTA will devote themselves to service only and not projects is questionable.  UTA should not pay for TRAX reconfiguration at the airport since the need is created by the airport passenger fees being used for the Terminal reconstruction.  Utah law should change to allow and require that those fees pay for the reconfiguration.  SLCO taxpayers should not pay for this project!


​ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS ORDINANCE AND MAP CHANGING​

Salt Lake City is in the process of changing their ADU ordinance that allows accessory dwelling units to be added to homes or basements or garages. The present ordinance was changed 2 years ago to encourage increasing density within 4 blocks of rail stations.  But no one took advantage of the new law.  So the map has been redrawn to allow most of the City and practically no one has commented on this.  All community councils should weigh in on the issue.  Michael.Maloy@slcgov.com at SLC Planning is drafting a new ordinance (download below) and citizens should review and comment on it.  ADUs were supposed to provide many more low rent housing units but a better and more respectful ordinance is needed.  Most of the concerns are our outdated and low parking requirements that could result in more parking and traffic problems.  There are solutions. There is also the problem of potentially increased noise but if the owners of the property live on the property, the problems should be minimal.  This is essentially an infill ordinance that should be important to everyone.  If the standards are too high, it will cost almost $100,000 to create an ADU (like now).  If the standards are too low or not respectful, adjacent homeowners may find that a new garage conversion overlooks their backyard and destroys their privacy.  PLEASE READ AND COMMENT.  Michael expects to have the new draft go to the Planning Commission in February.

The Nov 10 RDA meeting winnowed the project areas to two: the 9th and 9th W. and a State St. Ballpark Hybrid with a modified map (below).  A decision may be made in December.  You should be involved and provide comments and opinions to SLC Council on this issue.  There is also talk of accepting both areas for RDA expansion areas.  The benefit is the seed money from RDA will encourage development  in the areas.


THE SLC RDA DECIDES FINAL 2 EXPANSION AREAS 

The SLC RDA has decided on the final 2 proposed expansion areas for Commercial Development Area (CDA) that will be the focus of redevelopment for the next 10 plus years in Salt Lake City.  The 9th and 9th West area and the State Street area from 21st S. north to 600 S. and from approximately 200 W to 200 E. and including part of Ballpark area.  Only a few have commented to the RDA on this expansion and it needs more input.  Please consider giving your City Councilmember your opinion.  In my mind, this is a great way to restore the State Street area to a great mixed use commercial, walkable and living area.  Density will significantly increase and form based zoning would work well on State Street.


​​SUGAR HOUSE GRANITE 10 STORY BUILDING BUILDING DEBATE

​SHCC will discuss this issue at Dec 2, Sprague Library 7pm meeting.

On Nov. 16, there was a large crowd that heard the developer's plans to build a 10 story building where the old Granite warehouses are in Sugar House.  Most were upset and concerned about the parking and traffic that it would cause.  The SLTRIB.com has a good story on it by Christopher Smart.  Planning sent a list of concerns to the developer and hopefully it will stop or stall the project.  Lisa Adams felt that it would move slowly and that the impact fee issue will be solved before they get permission to build.   The McClelland Trail would be put around the building instead of the 20+ feet wide path through the center as a paseo.  The Sugarmont path trail should be and can be protected and it can stop the south exit.  The SH circulation plan adopted does not allow/have another street connecting to Wilmington.  It was supposed to be Sugarmont.  The construction will destroy the car detailing company due to dust.  Construction parking is a requirement in planning and should be enforced.  Highland was supposed to have a road diet (I was against center turn lane) and the resulting two lane road cannot handle the new 1000+ cars a day. The south side needs to have enough space to allow fire ladder trucks to deploy without blocking trail.  I hope that this project dies.

Note that the Raccoon report is 65MB and the future agenda report is 49 MB.  You can download those reports from the slcgov.com council website if interested.  I will try to separate out the important issues for separate download.


​​ASSISTED LIVING CENTER INN BETWEEN PUBLIC HEARING

SLC Council assisted living facilities public comment lasts hours
  During Tuesday, November 17, Salt Lake City Council formal meeting, one of the items on the public hearing agenda was the new proposed Assisted Living Centers that was partly written to decrease the potential for expanding any facility. The problem became an issue when the Inn Between, a hospice for dying homeless, moved into the Guadalupe School building with 15 beds. 
  Some of the neighbors became upset at the effect on adjacent single-family homes. In particular, the cigarette smoke from Inn Between residents and visitors became problematic. Despite the need for compassionate end of life care of the homeless, until the Inn Between, there was no facility that gave the homeless a chance to die with some dignity instead of on the sidewalk or under a car (to get out of the rain or snow). The facility took years to become reality despite a desperate need.
  During discussion in the neighborhood earlier this year (at the Pioneer Precinct in Poplar Grove), many nearby residents expressed concern about the homeless in their neighborhood on their way to visit friends in the facility. The director promised to work with the neighbors.
  But during the City Council hearing, several of the residents, who are dying, expressed gratitude for being able to sleep in a bed for the last days of their life. The staff repeatedly told about those who already died in the facility instead of on the street. There were so many there that supported the Inn Between that the hearing took almost two hours.   The residents who spoke, who were terminally ill, created a compelling public hearing.  Listening to one who said that he had planned on dying under a car before the Inn Between took him in was powerful.  Other compelling testimony came from the director spending the last minutes of a person’s life trying to comfort him and the many failed attempts of social workers trying to place dying homeless in a bed over the last few years
  Just a few neighbors and the Ronald McDonald House (which just completed an expansion) expressed concern about the limits on expanding. Councilman Kyle LaMalfa (the Inn Between is in his district) summarized the issues before the Council. The proposed Assisted Living ordinance change would not stop or close the Inn Between. It would make it more difficult to expand. 
  He also explained that the problem is caused by the many pieces of property that are zoned institutional in Salt Lake City. They are schools or churches or religious institutions that don’t have the normal zoning rules. He also indicated, during previous discussions on the issue, that the residents, if in the middle of a single-family home area, find it difficult to find public transportation to stores and other facilities so that the residents don’t feel like prisoners. Future changes may encourage placing such facilities nearer to stores and mass transportation.


DECEMBER 1 SLC COUNCIL MEETING BIKE PLAN 7PM


The December 1 SLC Council meeting will have a public hearing on the so called Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan.  I am against the Plan because I believe that it ignores pedestrians (note that the old plan said Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan which was more accurate), it increase air pollution and congestion and it actually makes bicycling less safe.  I also think that it makes more sense to wait out of respect for the new City Council and Mayor.  A more in depth analysis is on the OPINIONS PAGE (CLICK ABOVE).

NOTE THAT THE LAST SLC COUNCIL MEETING OF THE YEAR WILL BE ON DEC. 8 AND THERE WILL BE A RECEPTION FOR THE 2 COUNCILMEN LEAVING.



NOV 10 SLC COUNCIL MEETING/CANVASSER BD

SLCITY ELECTION FINAL IS AT 2PM AT SLC CITY HALL (4TH & STATE).

SLCOUNTY (PROP 1) IS AT SLCO (21ST & STATE) AT 4PM.
 

This week will have some of the most important meetings of the year.  The final vote results and certification of the ballots and count will occur at the Salt Lake City Council meeting as the Board of Canvassers at 2PM in the Council work session room on the third floor of the City Hall at 4th S. and State.  The results of the County issues, including the important up in the air Prop One and the pretty much decided townships votes, will be at the SL County Council meeting starting at 4 PM at the County North Bldg at 21st and State (actually closer to 20th and State).
 
Back to the SLC Council issues that they are going to have public hearings on: (after the Board of Canvassers meet at 2)

the Planning Director's report on Yalecrest (with interesting plan overview of buildings, structures) which is worth a read if you are interested in planning, 

the special lighting districts which could increase the special area lights (those lightposts in some areas) cost to local area residents (even if you don't have one nearby) by 33-100+% due to an upgrade on part of the system that went terribly over budget.  There is a tentative public hearing on December 1,

a discussion on the 68 unit apartments that are being built at 444 S. 900 E will include authorizing a $750,000 loan.  54 units will be set aside as affordable housing,

a discussion on the seven story 274 unit apartment project at 616 S State which will be all affordable housing,

a discussion on rezoning Indiana Avenue Neighborhood Node to residential mixed use,

at a tentative 4:15PM, they will discuss the bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan with a public hearing tentatively set for Dec 1.  Note that I disagree with the plan since it seems to ignore the pedestrian part of complete streets and does not increase sidewalk width.  I also think that green bikes, slower than 5mph, should be allowed on downtown sidewalks.  Tourists use these and should not be forced to ride in streets.  Barriers on sidewalks like planters interfere with this.  Just a couple of pages in this plan are discussing pedestrian issues and that is wrong.  Also the bicycle portion does not identify dangerous bicycle streets nor suggest areas where cycle tracks would be appropriate and not just nice.  Bicycle lanes and trails should be identified and suggested for appropriate improvement.  ADT of vehicles should be listed and LOS (level of service) intersections to ensure that air pollution is not increased by the suggested VMT vehicle miles traveled plan.  Adding a bicycle lane on a road with traffic approaching 20,000 ADT is not recommended since it will increase congestion and air pollution, as it did on 1300 S.  That should be part of this plan,

a discussion on City rental single family and apartment inspections,

a discussion on the Plan Salt Lake City with an additional public hearing tonight.

The Formal meeting of the SLC Council will include public hearings on:

 GRANT APPLICATIONS (including Ensign Peak trail reconstruction),

INDIANA AVENUE REZONE TO MIXED USE,

 PLAN SLC FINAL PUBLIC HEARING,

ASSISTED LIVING AND SIMILAR FACILITIES (Note that this is important and affects every neighborhood. Sugar House area has a proposal for a similar facility.  I am against facilities that are in areas that effectively make prisoners of the residents.  If there are no grocery stores and restaurants and mass transit or some way of allowing easy access to food and products outside of the facility, then the residents are effectively prisoners.  This ordinance says nothing about that.  In other words, the facility should not be in the middle of single-family homes.),

REQUIRING RECYCLING AT BUSINESSES AND APARTMENTS,

BUDGET AMENDMENT (that ignores the $5+ million sequestered for the SH streetcar extension which should be used to negotiate with UTA for better late night service.),

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM (another important issue that deserves more input, I would like to see requiring contributions older than one year given to charity and that bans any entity with more than $100,000 in contracts with the City from contributing anything to any PAC or candidate. ),

Towards the end of the Formal meeting, the Board of Canvassers/City Council will certify the election results that will make everything official.  Note that the results will be reported at the beginning of the 2PM work session.

Downloads of some of the issues are ON THE FIRST HOME/DOWNLOADS PAGE.








NOVEMBER 1




WHY I URGE VOTING FOR JACKIE FOR MAYOR
I watched Mayor Becker fight the citizens and the Council for the last 7 years when we asked for more police patrols.  We had 180 patrols 10 years ago.  Now we have around 130.

I watched Mayor Becker order the Council to close golf courses or he would (Par 3 was closed without a public hearing).  The golf issue came up because the Mayor charges parks three times more for water than other surrounding municipalities.

For seven years, Mayor Becker has ignored the drug dealing and homeless issue downtown (and now on North Temple) until the competition of the election.

In an attempt to tear down someone who he disagreed with, he called me a liar for passing out a flyer that I changed at his request to exactly what he wanted.  He sent out a “political letter” calling me a liar to people up to a mile away. The flyer recommended more public engagement regarding the Sugar House TRAX/streetcar while expressing my opinion against the TRAX extension.

Several years ago, an old homeless man was run down on fourth south on Thanksgiving Eve while carrying all of his belongings in a shopping cart.  When I suggested that he consider a storage system to encourage homeless to store their belongings, he told me to talk to someone else.

The lack of respect that the administration of Ralph Becker has shown is hurting Salt Lake City.  Jackie Biskupski is respected by everyone that she works with, including Sheriff Winder.  Jackie listens and respects everyone and will be a better and more respectful Mayor. 





















OCTOBER 30

For those that would like more information on meetings, Utah has set up a wonderful tool at pmn.utah.gov that requires all governments in Utah to post meetings and agendas.  You can get advance notice and emails regarding any Council that you want to know about.  It is an important tool and I urge you to sign up for the email notification that the website allows.  Note that you have to sign up and confirm with an acknowledgement on your email.

 

OCTOBER 29

WE STOPPED THE WASTEFUL AND DESTRUCTIVE TRAX/STREETCAR EXTENSION, CITIZENS SHOULD ASK THE SLC COUNCIL FOR SERVICE

We protested the SLC/UTA effort and secret application to get Federal funding for the Sugar House streetcar extension that would have cost $15 million to go to the 21st S. and Highland Plaza.  The plan was to take it 2 blocks out of the direct line then back to the Plaza.  The project would have destroyed many of the small businesses (we felt) that make the area a special area.  So far the new developments have led to a lot of franchises but very few local businesses. 

The streetcar extension application, along with the UTA $55+ million bus garage project would have siphoned funding from service.  In addition, despite requiring broad public support, the administration and UTA worked together to keep the application secret.  This was an insult to the citizens of SLC and Salt Lake County. 

The City Council sequestered over $5 million to match the hoped for Federal funding.  The Salt Lake City Council should put the money into service by negotiating with UTA.  Bus service in the area, and in most of the UTA service area, stops at 830 PM.  The money would be perfect for helping restore a robust bus system.  But the City Council won’t unless you speak up and demand it.  $5 million would provide a year’s worth of later night service for 10+ bus routes that now stop at 830 PM.  Call the SLC Council at 801 535 7600, the 24 hour line.
 

OCTOBER 25

MICHAEL CLARA STOPS TICKETING THREATS TO HOMELESS PARENTS

Michael Clara deserves a big thank you for insisting that the SLC Police figure a way to NOT ticket parents at the Road Home homeless shelter that wanted to wait on the sidewalk for their children’s school bus.  He worked with Sgt. Cyr but the threat should never have happened.  The idea that the SLC Police should be ordered to ticket anyone on a sidewalk is ridiculous but it is happening in SLC.  The fault lies with Mayor Ralph Becker who ordered the questionable crackdown that caught up the homeless in the appropriate war on drug dealing.  Of course, now the drugs have moved to other areas including North Temple. 

Another note, if you see a groady and disturbingly dirty shopping cart at your local grocery store, it comes courtesy of the confiscation of those shopping carts by the SLC Police in their crackdown on quality of life issues.  I personally think that you should avoid questionable shopping carts when shopping.

I still find it incredible that the SLC Council and Mayor are ignoring the ability to expand the homeless shelter area and get the homeless off the sidewalk by opening the Beehive Brick building that is just south of the Road Home/Weigand Center.  Trying to develop a nice new building when there are hundreds of homeless trying to find some peace on the sidewalks in the area seems to be a wasted exercise.  RDA owns the building and should turn it into a homeless day center.  The list of RDA owned property is on the download page.

 

SUGAR HOUSE COMMUNITY COUNCIL DISCUSSION ON 10 STORY BLDG

The Sugar House Community Council Planning and Zoning subcommittee will discuss the new Granite warehouse area 10  story building that is between Sugarmont and McClelland at the Sprague Library (just south of Barnes and Noble at 21st and Highland) basement on November 16, Monday, at 7 PM.  I believe that it is a bad idea since it increases density that could require a parking meter installation in the area, it is a couple of lots from single family homes, it destroys the area’s park with a high rise, it eliminates the promised center promenade and McClelland Trail and it is not what the community expected or wants.  I urge you to look at the downloads and comment to the SHCC. 

Unfortunately, without much public notice, the downtown streetcar was essentially approved in the Enterprise SLC plan.

There is a problem with handicapped traversing parts of South Temple and any rail line (like TRAX) especially downtown.  I put an oped that explained it on the opinion page.  SLC says that UTA is responsible and I contend that we should work together to solve the issue.  People in wheelchairs and walkers regularly fall on the TRAX tracks.


Please study the ADU and Parking downloads.  These are important issues that deserve more attention.  The studies and proposals are on the downloads page.


I recently had a story on KSL about the inventor John Moses Browning.  Just Google me and KSL and you will get the story.  He changed the world even more than Philo T. Farnsworth, I believe.  I also did a story on Evans and Sutherland (Google KSL ) that showed that the company was 50 years ahead of its time.  Both good and interesting reads that I did with Natalie Crofts at KSL.



OCTOBER 6 SLC COUNCIL MEETING –

SUGAR HOUSE STREETCAR ZONING, SOUTH DAVIS BRT, HOMELESS, BREWPUBS, REZONING WESTSIDE

Unfortunately, the Salt Lake City Council will be hearing some important issues during their meeting Tuesday. The issues include the Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Plan (3.6 MB download button on right below important phone numbers), the discussion on homeless (2.9 MB on right), brewpubs (2.8 MB on right), impact fees 1.1 MB on right), the South Davis Transit Study LPA 11.1 MB download), and the SLC Westside rezones (pg 34-459 of the 142 MB complete packet download that I decided would not help many on my website since it is about half of a 142 MB download).

SOUTH DAVIS BRT START OF PROJECT APPROVAL
The biggest issue that I have with the City Council agenda is that there is an agenda item to adopt the South Davis Locally Preferred Alternative route for a BRT/enhanced bus system that could cost over $50 million BEFORE THE MASTER TRANSIT PLAN.  

But the last paragraph does say that the capital cost will come from the one cent transportation tax for public transportation.  Mayor Ralph Becker has said several times (on Rod Decker's Take Two - Google YouTube, Rod Decker Take Two and Mayoral debate) that the tax will be for service only.  That didn't make sense and he is either lying or doesn't know what they are talking about.  The last paragraph SEEMS TO BE CALLING THE MAYOR OF SALT LAKE CITY A LIAR. 

Instead of using the $50 million for better service, UTA and Salt Lake City seem to be pushing projects instead of service as usual.  The downtown streetcar is also mentioned.  Each streetcar/TRAX project will cost local taxpayers $50 million and that money could be better used for better service.  In addition, the BRT concept is meant to provide a cheaper impetus to develop property near stations (instead of rail which is three times more expensive).  The single family homes along 400 West will be impacted with potential rezones and tax increases, and the Capitol Hill neighborhood will be inundated even more with traffic trying to avoid the roads that include a bus lane.  If not planned right, congestion will significantly increase.  This is another reason to fight the proposed tax increase.

James Rogers, the sponsor of this agenda item should be commended for calling into question Ralph Becker's truthfulness.  This agenda item should be postponed until after the transit master plan that was agreed to almost a year ago (unless that was a way of forestalling public complaints about projects).  Only three people commented on this project so far and that should not result in spending $50 million dollars!

BREWPUBS INCREASED FLEXIBILITY
There will be a discussion of opening up more parts of the City to brewpubs with the proposal download on the right.  The work session will discuss it.

HOMELESS DISCUSSION
There will be an extensive discussion of the Rio Grande area crime and homeless issues.  The crime reports are interesting reading - again download almost 3 MB on the right.

SUGAR HOUSE STREETCAR CORRIDOR REZONE PROPOSAL 
At the work session, the much argued Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Rezone Proposal is to be discussed.  It significantly mitigates high rise encroachment on adjacent single family home areas but does not eliminate it.  I strongly recommend that area residents read through it and study the maps to ensure that their homes are not impacted.  Lisa Adams and the Council have been successfully fighting Mayor Becker's efforts to rezone single-family home areas to 105 ft tall buildings and to rezone open space to buildings.  Two years after the Mayor's first attempt, this proposal seems to be a better plan but please study and comment on it.

IMPACT FEE STUDY AND DISCUSSION
The Council work session will also include a continuing discussion on impact fees (download again on the right).

SEVERAL AREAS OF THE WESTSIDE OF SLC ARE BEING PROPOSED FOR REZONING
These areas are in general, part of the new Westside Master Plan but if you are interested in it, you should download the agenda item (which I couldn't comfortably separate since I didn't think anyone would read 400 pages of this rezone - note that this item takes up to half of the full agenda of the formal meeting from page 34 (renaming the Oxbow) to over page 400).


​​ADU GOES AROUND IN CIRCLES

September 23 SLC Planning Commission had a bit of a crisis when the Commission started throwing out motions and substitute motions.  The City had to consult with higher authority, a bigger and better attorney, to decide how to proceed.  The end result was that the ADU discussion is stopped at the Planning Commission and the decision will be made later on whether to pass it to the City Council. 

For those interested in the potential for State Street to be an RDA expansion area, I put a button to download the Envision Utah study from a few years ago on the HOME PAGE.



SEPTEMBER 22 SALT LAKE CITY COUNCIL MEETING
The Council discussed ground transportation (on the right) and it was indicated that Salt Lake City's laws have to be rewritten to match Utah's new law. Also there was a discussion on the lack of ADA compliant vehicles and no study or questionnaire that could provide the exact number. 
There was also a discussion on the Transit Master Plan and the South Davis Corridor study that gave a locally preferred alternative route for a Bus Rapid Transit or similar type mass transit system. A fixed guideway system was discussed and the Council will have a public hearing on October 6 on the LPA route to go from HWY 89 to 400 West to downtown SLC. Most BRT or rapid transit buses are recommended to go on routes with the most developable property. But 300 West is the most developable street, not 400 West which has many single-family homes. Please let your City Council member know what you think. The report can be downloaded on the right.
The City Council also discussed Impact Fees (the report can be downloaded on the right.).


SLC PD RETURNING TO A BEAT SYSTEM IN OCTOBER
SLC PD has said that they will return to a beat system that allows police officers to patrol one area and neighborhood and become familiar with it.  Area residenrs will also get to know their lical patrol officer. This return to community policing should provide for more visible police in neighborhoods and a reduction in crime.  Most of the credit should go to the City Council who successfully fought against the administration's claim that we don't need more police.



HOUSING REPORT
A recent report on Salt Lake City Housing by Pam Perlich and Prof James Woods (downloads on the right) discussed the problems in Salt Lake City housing. It also strongly recommended distributed mixed income housing so that low income doesn't fill up a building.


RACCOON REMOVAL SERVICE SOON TO COME TO SALT LAKE COUNTY
SLCO has an interlocal agreement that sets up a USDA certified animal removal specialist (at $80,000 a year). The cost is to be shared by Midvale, Cottonwood Heights, Holladay, Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County. SLCO Animal Control Director Mike Reberg is creating city specific interlocal agreements and when they are complete, and signed, the new raccoon removal officer will start work. Salt Lake City's portion of the cost will be about $35,000. Raccoons infest a houses in Sugar House, Avenues, Liberty Wells and most community councils have this issue.


WINGPOINTE GOLF COURSE CLOSURE GIVEN NEGATIVE RECOMMENDATION BY PLANNING COMMISSION
Mayor Becker's attempt to close Wingpointe failed its first hurdle. The SLC Planning Commission is forwarding a negative recommendation to the City Council. Please call or email the Council with your opinion. The only green space coming into SLC is the golf course and preservation of open space is supposed to be a priority. The SLC administration has been trying to put buildings on open space for several years. The Mayor's proposal will put a parking lot where the golf course is. (Joni Mitchell once sang about this stuff.) Senator Mike Lee offered to intercede with the FAA (who the Mayor blames for the closure) but the SLC administration said that they wanted to close it. One of the reasons for the cost overruns of golf courses in Salt Lake City is water costs are three times higher than in other Utah cities and counties. Salt Lake City doesn't seem to appreciate green space. Add that to the fact that Ralph Becker cut hundreds of old trees in Miller Park because they were brought here by the Pioneers, should stop anyone from saying that Ralph Becker is environmentally friendly. Please let your City Councilmember know what you think.







RDA EXPANSION AREAS BEING DISCUSSED AT SALT LAKE CITY MONTHLY MEETINGS
SLC is looking at adding another area to RDA and the top areas are State Street, Ballpark and 9th and 9th. No one is commenting on this important issue which will lead to potentially hundreds of millions in building for the area chosen. Please tell the Council what you think.
The 25 MB SLC Police report on the RDA expansion areas is on the right along with the process report.

Salt Lake City RDA expansion possible for State Street, Ballpark or 900S/900W
  During a discussion on RDA new project areas, the Salt Lake City Council, sitting as the RDA Board, trimmed their list of possible expansion areas to three: State Street, Ballpark and 900S/900W. The Council discussed the potential for housing, the concern about gentrification, crime issues in the area, the potential developable area, mass transit access and the benefit to the City. The RDA is able to use various loan and tax incentives to encourage development that meets predefined priorities in the area.
  One of the best examples of the success of RDA planning and development is the Sugar House area which has had several large scale mixed use projects. Although some have said that the projects were the result of the Sugar House streetcar, I can make a good argument that RDA should get the biggest credit. RDA, if properly administered, can be a big benefit to an area. The downside is the increase in density can create significant parking and traffic problems and rents can significantly rise and lead to unreasonable gentrification.
  SLC Police Chief Mike Brown reported on crime reports and the cause in each of the areas. In the Ballpark neighborhood, Wal-Mart at 1300 South and 300 West required 3892 hours of SLC Police time. Chief Brown said “This is equivalent to an entire year of work by two full-time Officers.” 70% of the reports were for retail theft. Wal-Mart’s 1,064 retail theft cases compare to Target’s 40 in 2014. The cause could be that at Target, employees offer to help most customers while at Wal-Mart the store employees aren’t as aggressive at going up to customers to offer help. Wal-Mart has many more customers. The homeless in the area also seem to be part of the issue. Arresting homeless for shoplifting seems to be a lost cause because they don’t seem to care if they are taken to jail. They are almost immediately released (if they are even taken to jail).
  That is an important reason to work on solving the homeless problem in Salt Lake City. Health Care expansion to treat mental health and drug and alcohol issues, many more social workers, and more visible police in walking patrols would go a long way to significantly decreasing the drain on local businesses, development and law enforcement. Salt Lake also needs a much better low cost housing plan that distributes low income housing in new developments and doesn’t concentrate it in one building.
  Another area of concern was the 1300 S. State Street corner that has significantly increased in crime issues in the last two years. UTA recently removed their bus stop on the southwest corner despite increased police bike and vice concentration. Chief Brown said that during a recent walkabout in the area, he noticed that some businesses may be enabling these problems.
  I have been encouraging the Salt Lake City Council to consider adding State Street to the RDA project areas due to the potential to benefit from form based zoning, wider sidewalks, a robust bus system and the high potential for higher density housing. Ballpark also should be part of the expansion due to the potential that the 1300 South TRAX station area has.
  These new proposed areas for expansion of RDA are important issues that every citizen in Salt Lake City should be concerned about. Everyone should consider contacting their Councilmember and letting them know their opinions on these issues.



AUGUST 25

The Salt Lake City Council met today and heard several hours worth of recommendations on the subject of economic development. Associate Dean for the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah gave a summary of her recent study. You can download the reports on the right.

Some of the points in the discussion were:
The homeless issues downtown now affects economic development.
Salt Lake City needs more coordination with the University of Utah.
Salt Lake City has a low cost of living and the State's flat tax rate, one of the lowest in the Country, has brought several big financial firms to this City including Goldman Sachs. (Note that other reasons for Goldman Sachs coming to Salt Lake City included Utah's Economic Development tax credit and not having to pay the high wages of high cost cities. The work ethic of Utah residents also has impressed companies relocating offices here. In other words, Mayor Becker should not be taking credit for Goldman Sachs, it was due more to the efforts of the Governor's economic development team and the low tax rates.)
Salt Lake City has suggested that they support annexations to increase the population and promote visitor economy (but they don't support the local host housing efforts that provides rooms during big conventions and obviate the need for an expensive convention hotel that would only be used one or two weeks of the year.)
SLC should increase effectiveness of the permitting process with an ombudsman or someone who can shepherd new plans through the somewhat complicated process of SLC planning and zoning requirements.
Economic development has a high turnover.
It was pointed out by Lisa Adams that much of the Sugar House development has occurred due to the efforts of the SLC RDA. The administration contends that the S-Line is responsible (but I disagree). The development of the area will eventually have another 1,000 living units. The area's residents will not appreciate the increase in density. I have helped fight the attempt by this administration to put up 105 foot tall buildings on single-family zoned blocks. With the lack of reasonable and responsible parking regulations, adjacent businesses and residents will be negatively impacted in manner like the attempt by Brew Ha Ha a few years ago and the 9th and 9th development that is in court now. If rail really did lead to development, 21st South and 300 West would have exploded in development; the 9th South TRAX station area would have high rises and the 400 South corridor would have developed a decade ago.

The SLC RDA and Economic Development Department should increase coordination to maximize the synergy of the two groups.

The west side commercial nodes are a bright spot but SLC (in my opinion) ignores the streets in the area that are effectively carrying truck traffic on 50 year old single lane streets. An increase in infrastructure spending to assist in development would be very productive.

Parking and impact fees hurt development (in my opinion). When developers try to build to serve potential customers who drive, there is an effort by the City to discourage parking. When landowners want to build a parking lot until the financial landscape is ready for a large building, the City won't allow it. It increases the cost of parking and discourages downtown customers. Why come to Salt Lake City when parking is essentially free in Draper? This is another facet of Salt Lake City's war on cars that is inspired by "The High Cost of Free Parking".

There was a discussion on why Adobe located in Lehi. The company that Adobe bought found that the vast majority of employees lived around the company so it almost required staying in the area. I should also note that many of the employees had Novell backgrounds and that was a Utah County company.

Another discussion took place regarding the Special Lighting Assessment Districts. Some of the areas are in the black but some like Federal Heights is deep in the red due to a big upgrade project. The options are to fold the Special Lighting Districts into the rest of the lighting fees and add a surcharge, of charge much more to all or some of the districts. One suggestion was to increase the charge to residents by 33%. To find more information, Google slcgov.com and 082515A5.

Another discussion took place on CIP (Capital Improvement Program) and some of the suggested priorities included trails.

The Council then took a tour of the Pioneer Park area in the Jingle Bus hosted by Jason Mathis and Downtown Alliance.









​​​​For the last few years, Salt Lake residents' taxes and fees have significantly increased.  Congestion and air pollution have also increased significantly.  Single-family home neighborhoods have been threatened with rezoning and increased crime.  Salt Lake City needs a new Mayor.  Salt Lake City deserves a Mayor who wants to work for the citizens of Salt Lake City and no one else and who is 100% committed to Salt Lake City.

I have seen the plans that double taxes for the residents and businesses of Salt Lake City in the next four years.  They include 3 new rail lines downtown. Two lines are Becker streetcars (TRAX cars painted with white lipstick).  The other line is an extension of the University line to Central Station.  Each will cost about $100 million each.  Local taxpayer obligation of the projects will be about 40%.  Mayor Becker is supporting UTA's efforts to build an apartment building complex downtown and a $55 million bus garage next to it.  He is supporting UTA’s efforts to build hundreds of millions of special bus lanes that require removing traffic lanes and increasing congestion and air pollution.  The voters of Salt Lake City will not be given a chance to vote on the bonds and tax increases that these projects will require. 

Mayor Becker also obligated the taxpayers with the theater bond (without voter approval).  He has significantly increased fees.  One group of residents are going to have a fee increase of 33% this year alone.

Ralph Becker’s efforts to calm traffic by removing traffic lanes, refusing to modify traffic lights to decrease idling and vehicle backup, have increased congestion and air pollution.  He has cut down hundreds of old growth trees after he was warned that those trees significantly decrease air pollution.

Increasing congestion on major streets has resulted in traffic diverting into formerly quiet residential neighborhoods.  Capitol Hill and the Avenues and Foothill neighborhoods have been particularly negatively impacted.  Ralph Becker’s ordinance to reduce parking requirements in new developments also reduce the quiet and character of single-family home neighborhoods.  He has allowed on street parking and bike racks to reduce parking requirements.

Ralph Becker is attempting to rezone open space to allow certain types of buildings, amphitheaters and water and sewer systems without vigorous public hearings.  The proposal is partially due to arguments against putting in a pump station in a residential neighborhood and fights against rezoning parts of Fairmont Park in Sugar House.  He is also attempting to rezone single-family home neighborhoods to allow 105 foot tall high density housing.

Ralph Becker has ignored the drug dealing downtown and refused to budget for sufficient police to deter crime.  Salt Lake City has a heroin epidemic and yet the present Mayor says that “police crime fighting in neighborhoods have not been minimized”.  It has resulted in many citizens losing trust in the police to the point of not calling when crime happens.  He has refused to allow a police youth sports league that could help communities begin to know and trust police.

 The mayor of Salt Lake City should want to work for no one else but the citizens of Salt Lake City.  The mayor should want to be Mayor and not be president of anything else.  Salt Lake City deserves a Mayor that is 100% committed to Salt Lake City.  Isn’t that the kind of mayor that Salt Lake City deserves? That is why I am running for Mayor of Salt Lake City. 

I have been fighting for years to stop the closing of golf courses (ordered by Mayor Becker "If you don't close them I will." is what he said to the City Council).  The Jordan River Par 3 was closed without a public hearing!  What is especially upsetting is that closing the golf courses will cost SLC more than if they kept them open!

I also want to work with schools to provide more supervised after school events that are organized by the SLC Police department.  This will require more officers but, again, Ralph Becker has refused to hire more police.​


For more positions on Salt Lake issues, Google George Chapman and Deseretnews.com and sltrib.com.  I have many opeds and my views that summarize the fights and issues that concern Salt Lake citizens.  You will also find many stories that show my fights against the questionable plans of Ralph Becker.





SUPERGENTRIFICATION OF SUGAR HOUSE

CRIME MEETING SEPTEMBER 12

SUPERGENTRIFICATION OF SUGAR HOUSE CONTINUES

​​​​I urge everyone with opinions and concerns, about the issues that are being discussed and voted on by the Salt Lake City Council, to comment on these issues via e-mail (addresses below) or by showing up and giving comment to the City Council during public hearings.

SALT LAKE CITY COUNCIL E-MAILS:
james.rogers@slcgov.com,
derek.kitchen@slcgov.com,
charlie.luke@slcgov.com,
lisa.adams@slcgov.com,
erin.mendenhall@slcgov.com,
andrew.johnston@slcgov.com,

SALT LAKE CITY MAYOR'S OFFICE AND STAFF E-MAILS:
david.litvack@slcgov.com
patrick.leary@slcgov.com
jackie.biskupski@slcgov.com

comment line is 801 535 7654 and the email is council.comments@slcgov.com.


Comments to UTA Board: boardoftrustees@rideuta.com


SALT LAKE COUNTY

mayor@slco.org, jwilson@slco.org

rsnelgrove@slco.org

jbradley@slco.org

arbradshaw@slco.org

mhjensen@slco.org

anewton@slco.org

sgranato@slco.org

sldebry@slco.org

mburdick@slco.org

THINK AGAIN BEN


 ​COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETINGS

COMMUNITY COUNCILS IN SLC
Central City                chair@ccnutah.org                        1st Wed
Greater Avenues       davealderman@hotmail.com    1st Wed
Rose Park                    blakeperez@hotmail.com           1st Wed
Sugar House               amybarry@xmission.com           1st Wed
Yalecrest                     lkpershing@gmail.com                1st Wed

Ball Park                      ballparkcc@gmail.com                 1st Thurs 

Jordan Meadows       jimgoostrey@gmail.com              2nd Wed
Liberty Wells              lw.chair@lwccslc.org                    2nd Wed

East Central               ecchair@live.com                           2nd Thurs Qtrly, exec bd 4th Sat

Capitol Hill                                                                               3rd Wed 
Downtown                  christian.harrison@gmail.com   3rd Wed
East Bench                  ebcc.chair@gmail.com                  3rd Wed
Glendale                      sean@thecrosslands.net              3rd Wed
westpointe                 erin@nwlarchitects.com              3rd Wed

Poplar Grove              poplargrovecouncil@gmail.com 4th Wed
Wasatch Hollow        ohmikedodd@comcast.net          4th Wed

Bonneville Hills         ellenred@comcast.net                  4th Thurs Jan, Apr, Jul Oct
East Liberty Pk          jason@jasonstevenson.net         4th Thurs
Fairpark                       brycewgarner@gmail.com          4th Thurs
Foothill/Sunnyside   laurelyoungrn@gmail.com         4th Thurs Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct

Sunnyside East          mattmnelson@gmail.com           qtrly
Trolley                          trolleybusinessdistrict@outlook.com    qtrly

JANUARY 11 OPEN HOUSE AT SL COMMUNITY COLLEGE

SUGAR HOUSE SHOPKO PLAN

INAUGURATION DAY JAMES ROGERS SELFIE

MAYOR AT COMMUNITY COUNCILS

SUGAR HOUSE COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETING ON HOMELESS SITES JANUARY 4, 2017

THIS IS WHAT PUBLIC PARTICIPATION MEANS AND IT CAN CHANGE QUESTIONABLE DECISIONS!

​When we work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

This is the way we treat homeless in SLC??

LIBERTY WELLS HOMELESS MEETING DEC 14

CONTACTS SLC, SLCO, UTA