AUGUST 14, 2018
INVASION OF SCOOTERS AND BICYCLE REGISTRATION AT LEGISLATURE
WATER CONSERVATION IN SLC DEPENDS ON REQUIREMENTS FOR 30% GREEN IN FRONT
PUBLIC SAFETY FUNDING IN SALT LAKE COUNTY IS LACKING
HOMELESS AT LIBRARY GET SHOPPING CARTS CONFISCATED
SPRAGUE LIBRARY FLOOD POTENTIAL INCREASES AND WILL CLOSE IN MARCH
FAIRMONT PARK SKATE PARK PARKING CLOSED AND SOCCER TEAMS IMPACTED
ROAD WORK ON 2100 SOUTH FROM 300 W TO STATE ST 
1300 EAST MEETING CONFLICTS WITH EAST BENCH COMMUNITY COUNCIL
300 EAST GETTING NATURAL GAS PIPELINE INSTALLED
ALTA LODGE OWNERS WORKING HARD WITH POLICE
SLC IS INCREASING TAXES AGAIN
RACCOONS IN SLC ARE REMOVED BY SLCO ANIMAL CONTROL


INVASION OF SCOOTERS AND BICYCLE REGISTRATION AT LEGISLATURE
  Tomorrow morning, August 15, at 830 AM at the State Capitol (Senate Building 210), there will be a meeting of the Transportation Interim Committee which will have a presentation and discussion of the new SLC scooter law and also a presentation on bicycle registration.  
  The scooter law that has resulted in a large number of scooters on sidewalks downtown is concerning to many who walk and work downtown.  The scooters are limited, by governors, to 15MPH but hitting a pedestrian at that speed can result in serious injury.  I had an oped in the Deseret News that summarizes the issue at:
  https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900028008/guest-opinion-utah-and-salt-lake-city-need-to-rethink-scooters.html
  In addition, in short:
 
 15 MPH scooters and pedestrians are a dangerous mix 

Despite Utah law that requires motorized vehicles to operate on roads, not sidewalks, many scooters are operated on sidewalks. 

Downtown workers and visitors have been complaining about being threatened with and being hit by scooters that can go up to 15 MPH. 

Part of the reason is the street traffic downtown is not very safe to bicyclists, or scooters. 

Salt Lake City bans bicycle operation on downtown sidewalks but many Green Bikes are on the sidewalks, ridden by tourists. 

Most people riding bicycles are well experienced on safe operation and control of a bicycle. 

Most people operating an electric scooter are not very experienced and that can significantly increase the danger for the rider and pedestrians. 

If a scooter rider hits a pedestrian at 15 MPH, there will be injuries. 

If the rider gets back on the scooter and rides off, there is no way to identify the scooter since there is no license number easily visible.

The number of families living downtown with kids are increasing, but we shouldn't require kids to ride in the streets whether on bicycles or scooters.

Parents seem to be renting the scooter for their kids to have a fun ride so many of the riders are visibly younger than 18.

Electric scooters should be limited to 5 MPH and bicyclists should be able to ride on sidewalks including downtown and in parks as long as they do it safely. 

Pedestrians should not have to wear helmets to be safe walking on sidewalks


  I encourage respectful comments to the Transportation Interim Committee and/or to jon.larsen@slcgov.com with your comments.  The Committee will take public comments after the presentation.
  There will also be a presentation on the new SLC Bicycle Registration Program and why Utah needs a simpler and statewide system to discourage bicycle thefts.  I put the presentation in the upper right downloads section.
  The other interesting presentations include Evidence Based Interventions To Address Homelessness (the hearing was held today) and I put the presentation in the upper right downloads section.  Essentially it says that the homeless need housing.  There will be a discussion on water and the CWC/Central Wasatch Commission tomorrow morning at Natural Resource Interim Committee at 830AM in House 30.
  
WATER CONSERVATION IN SLC DEPENDS ON REQUIREMENTS FOR 30% GREEN IN FRONT
  Salt Lake City requires front yards to have 30% green space and no big rocks or concrete on park strips.  But the City is trying to lower its per capita use from about 90 gallons per day and many have taken the challenge and installed decorative rock or mulch along with a couple of drought tolerant plants.  The person in SLC that is responsible for water conservation is aware of the potential hypocrisy and is willing to consider any homeowner that is fielding complaints from the City about not enough green space.  She is Stephanie Duer and she can be reached at stephanie.duer @slcgov.com or by phone at 8014836760.
  
PUBLIC SAFETY FUNDING IN SALT LAKE COUNTY IS LACKING
  Over the last few years, there have been many complaints in Salt Lake City about lack of visible cops. The Salt Lake City Mayor and Council have attempted to solve the problem by trying to hire 50 new police officers. But the issues relating to public safety run deeper than just the number of officers. The issues include drugs and drug trafficking, homelessness that breeds crime, a revolving door jail, difficulties prosecuting criminals, public chastising of police officers, recruiting competition with other law enforcement entities, and retirement limits.
  The issue of drugs, not just drug addiction and drug trafficking, is a major problem in our society. Many of those on drugs are unable to work and are attracted to crime to get money for their addictions. Substance use disorder (drug addiction) is a major cost for Utahns. It may take many tries at addiction treatment for the person to stop using drugs. The statistics of Operation Diversion tend to show that the success rate may be similar to the U.S. Government's standard for opioid addiction treatment success, around 5%. As long as there are drugs in our society that make it almost impossible to hold a regular job, there will be crime and crime victims. Drug addicts victimize through crime.
  The homeless issue, for years, has resulted in drugs being almost encouraged in the homeless area of downtown. That made the situation almost catastrophic for residents and businesses. Operation Rio Grande was supposed to fix the problem and in the area around the Road Home, it has decreased criminal activity significantly. But the effort is called Operation Leaf Blower by the Salt Lake County police chiefs because the criminal activity has been disbursed throughout the valley. 
  The jail was recommended to have 600 beds and they got 300. The Salt Lake County DA recommended 6 prosecutors for the Operation and he got two after a big public fight. The result is a continuation of the revolving door jail that releases arrested criminals almost immediately. Salt Lake City Police Chief Brown, in an effort to put a good face on a poor situation, calls policing with a revolving door jail, philosophy of disruption. In other words, making it inconvenient for a few hours for criminal behavior is the best that police can do. The State is also causing problems with attempts to discourage criminals from being sent to prison. In a recent case, Adult Probation and Parole (APP)recommended time served for a criminal convicted of shooting up a car with passengers! The DA attempted to have him sentenced to prison. The judge admonished APP but sentenced the convicted person to jail.
  Although the treatment phase provided hundreds of treatment beds, the success is still up in the air. The third phase of the Operation, putting the homeless to work, has resulted in only 65 working according to last week's report to the Legislature. The lack of storage is a big problem when homeless are trying to work. Salt Lake City's storage for homeless is full and has not been expanded.
  Another issue is loud complaints from citizens angry at police for perceived injustices. During recent Salt Lake City Council hearings, there were many complaints against police and arguments against hiring more police. Lost in the argument is the fact that more cops lead to less violence. Two police tend to discourage fighting with police. A recent attack on a cop at Fairmont Park was evidence of that fact. The SLCPD recently doubled up police in patrol cars, by pulling from other SLCPD areas for that reason (also to put more patrols on the street).
  The inability to hire more police is evidenced by the difficulty to hire enough personnel to open up Oxbow Jail's 380 open beds, Herriman's complaints that Unified Police can only staff 12 out of 18 officers that they paid for and Millcreek's trying to increase police to 58 from 47 officers. Salt Lake City reduced their planned increase of officers to 27 from 50 but when SLC loses 2 to 3 20 years officers to retirement a month, and the next class will probably only have 12 in the Academy, hiring even 5 more will be difficult. (SLC expects to have 31 graduate by October.) Adding to the difficulty in hiring police is the competition between municipalities and governments to hire police.
  And finally, despite years of efforts, Utah encourages law enforcement retirement after 20 years to help the Utah law enforcement unfunded pension actuarial liability of $544 million. Officers are lost to Arizona and non governmental jobs for at least a year due to our pension law. Those new jobs tend to turn into permanent jobs and Utah loses many police in the process.
  Utah needs to discuss these issues and find statewide solutions instead of each city fighting other cities for police officers. Public safety should be a much higher priority for government.

HOMELESS AT LIBRARY GET SHOPPING CARTS CONFISCATED
  In another attempt at quality of life enforcement, shopping carts of homeless are being confiscated and the belongings of the homeless are being dumped on the sidewalk.  The Salt Lake Tribune's Robert Gehrke wrote about a homeless woman who had her property dumped by someone confiscating her shopping cart (I would not want to use a shopping cart that looked like it had been used by homeless - and I have seen several in stores that look pretty gross.).  Salt Lake City still does not have storage space available for homeless storage and until they do, they really can't work.  Despite what the State says, Operation Rio Grande is not really a success.  My guess is about 50 homeless got jobs.  Despite thousands of arrests, only a handful were given jail terms of more than a month.  And as I pointed out above, the Salt Lake County police chiefs call Operation Rio Grande Operation Leaf Blower because it pushed drug dealing into their areas when it didn't exist before.  Robert Edgel had a great oped on the subject at:
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2018/08/11/commentary-leaf-blower/
  
SPRAGUE LIBRARY FLOOD POTENTIAL INCREASES AND WILL CLOSE IN MARCH
  With the new draw under 1300 East and Sego Lily flood control art system (you should see it; it looks beautiful), the Sprague Library flood potential increased.  The Sego Lily flood control design was designed to channel overflow water from the Sugar House Park into Hidden Hollow which was the source of the last flood that caused millions of dollars of damage to the Library.  The Library is checking with engineers to see how to mitigate the significant increase in flood danger.  In addition, the Library will not close this fall and the closing is now scheduled for March.  
 
FAIRMONT PARK SKATE PARK PARKING CLOSED AND SOCCER TEAMS IMPACTED
  The Fairmont Park Skate Park parking lot is closed and will be until spring.  Impact Soccer and the Boys and Girls Club use the field regularly.  The Boys and Girls Club has told patrons to use the parking lots next to their buildings and Impact Soccer is warning its teams of the issue.  The City plans to store salt and sand for winter streets and will close the parking lot each October.  Although the City has said that this should increase public safety, many of the problems at the skate park are due to local, walking distance individuals who are causing most problems.  In addition, the hundreds of cars, that some games generate, will now have to park on the street and in front of houses on 900 East.  The City decided to close and repair the parking lot during peak soccer season instead of waiting until after game play ended.  Not a good respectful decision.
  
ROAD WORK ON 2100 SOUTH FROM 300 W TO STATE ST 
  Salt Lake City is resurfacing 2100 South (along with State and County funding) and will be restricting lanes from 7 PM to 7 AM.  By doing this at the same time as the 1300 East Project, the I15 alternative to decrease 1300 East traffic is discouraged.  
  
1300 EAST MEETING CONFLICTS WITH EAST BENCH COMMUNITY COUNCIL
  The East Bench Community Council will have their regular meeting on August 15 and have an important discussion on the future of Lamplighter Square and Skyline Inn, two of the most important issues in the community.  But, Salt Lake City, again, messed up their outreach on the 1300 East project by scheduling the main outreach meeting at the same time at Westminster!!  
  
300 EAST GETTING NATURAL GAS PIPELINE INSTALLED
  Along with all of the other projects increasing congestion in Salt Lake City, there is a project by Dominion Energy to install a new natural gas pipeline under 300 East.  
  
ALTA LODGE OWNERS WORKING HARD WITH POLICE
  The Salt Lake City Police are giving credit to the new owners of the Alta Lodge on State Street next to the County Government Complex.  They are kicking out the potential criminal behavior individuals and working with the police to decrease criminal activity.  This is a big deal for the crime fighting in the area.
  
SLC IS INCREASING TAXES AGAIN
  I am guessing that almost no one will show up to object, but Salt Lake City Council will hold a Truth In Taxation hearing tonight that WILL increase property taxes.  This has become the year of the tax increases.

RACCOONS IN SLC ARE REMOVED BY SLCO ANIMAL CONTROL
  It took several months a couple of years ago, but we finally got confirmation that the City signed a contract with the County (with Mike Reberg setting up the system before he went to Salt Lake City) to catch and remove raccoons from Salt Lake City (and other cities in the County that signed up for the service).  The cost to Salt Lake City was about $40,000, I think and after a few hiccups, the County Animal Control agreed to have the USDA certified removal expert (removed the raccoons to other wild areas) also provide cages that could catch the critters.  Salt Lake City used to provide cages with a $25 deposit but they stopped the service when the County contract was signed.  The County Animal Services is at 385 468 7387.  And I have heard from several people that they still are not clear about their obligation, so if you have any problems with County Animal Control balking at providing a cage and removing caught raccoons, tell Salt Lake City's Mike Reberg at mike.reberg@slcgov.com.



AUGUST 7, 2018

WEIGAND CENTER CLOSES AND HOMELESS TURN INTO ZOMBIES
POLICE ORDERED ZERO TOLERANCE FOR HOMELESS
900 SOUTH OVERPASS MAY HAVE BECOME MORE REALISTIC
OXBOW JAIL OPENS PARTWAY BUT BEDS FILLED BY OTHER COUNTY'S INMATES
CENTRAL WASATCH COMMISSION ORDERED TO GET CONSENSUS
UDOT PROPOSES THREE PARLEYS INTERCHANGE PLANS
200 EAST ROAD DIET STUDY
2700 SOUTH REMOVED FROM RESURFACING LIST 
2100 EAST RESURFACING WORK RESULTS IN THE WAVE
TWO BIG BICYCLING PROJECTS PLANNED
SPRAGUE REDESIGN OPEN HOUSE AUGUST 9
HIVE PASS PLANS ON GIVING FREE GREEN BIKE PASSES 
SCOOTERS TO BE DISCUSSED AT THE LEGISLATURE
UTA OLD PROP ONE PROPOSAL ON DOWNLOADS



WEIGAND CENTER CLOSES AND HOMELESS TURN INTO ZOMBIES
  The Weigand Center has to close for one or two days each year to wax the floors and provide other preventive maintenance.  Its importance to providing services to the homeless in the area was emphasized by the resulting crowd of homeless that normally congregate in the Weigand Center courtyard spilling into the streets yelling and screaming.  There are many inadequately treated mental health issues in this population and without the stability and services that the Weigand Center provides, the homeless sometimes scare people (even more) with their uncontrollable actions.  So the street in front of the Weigand Center turned into a mass of yelling screaming group of really scary homeless.  And the SLCPD didn't seem to be around.  Maybe they were too scared to be there.  Or they wisely did not want to make the situation worse by confronting the crowd (probably the best solution).  
  Again, this proves how important that Catholic Community Services are to the homeless and to the adequate support that they need.  When the Road Home closes in a year, I expect to see the same problems develop.  Turning homeless into the street is never a good idea.
  
POLICE ORDERED ZERO TOLERANCE FOR HOMELESS
  A pastor at a downtown church was upset with the homeless harassing their churchgoers and it appears that the result is that the SLC Police have been ordered to put pressure on the homeless near the Library neighborhood.  It is a mini quality of life enforcement to discourage the homeless from harassing those in the neighborhood.  Police should not be used for quality of life enforcement of homeless without other options like storage, safe beds and other facilities.
  
900 SOUTH OVERPASS MAY HAVE BECOME MORE REALISTIC
Several weeks ago, a bicyclist was killed on the 900 South railroad tracks while riding in a group of bicyclists (the 999 Thursday bicycle ride that I have written about before).
   I know the area well and it is a deathtrap for bicyclists.  It is difficult for bicyclists to quickly clear the tracks after stopping.  Note  that the 999 group should not have been crossing train tracks by policy.  This is also a concern to those in wheelchairs or using walkers or slow walkers.  
  SLC should not be spending money on Sunnyside  ($2.7 million and 1100 E. ($500,000) to make an enjoyable 9 Line Trail when such a danger exists. 
  At the same time, Salt Lake City and County are planning on giving a $15 million loan to a developer for a downtown parking garage.  That money should be used for a 900 South overpass. 
  If Salt Lake City wants a safe 9 Line Trail and development of the area, including the Fleet Block, it needs to provide a safe pedestrian, bicycle and wheelchair path across the train tracks.  Councilman Andrew Johnston said that he would ask the Council to send a letter asking to prioritize the 900 South overpass project.  
  Note that (according to UTA) at the rail crossing on 900 South, I-15 passes over the rail crossing diagonally covering the west side on the crossing on the north and covering the entire rail crossing on the south side of 900 South. The trail is on the south side of 900 South. 
  There is no vertical space available to construct an overpass on the south side of 900 South and obtain the required 23’-6” vertical clearance over the train tracks.  An overpass would have to cross the tracks on the north side of 900 South and then loop or ramp down in the haunted house property and the trail would have to cross 900 South at grade to get back to the south side of the street.  

OXBOW JAIL OPENS PARTWAY BUT BEDS FILLED BY OTHER COUNTY'S INMATES
  The lack of enough jailers restricted the full opening of Oxbow Jail.  But the plan to fill any open beds with some of the incarcerated in other counties due to Operation Rio Grande (Operation Leaf Blower to police) is in full swing.  
  The logistics of driving prisoners back and forth to Vernal is challenging and the County Mayor wants to stop spending money on it.  At the same time, Mayor McAdams refuses to increase the jail budget.  So the County Jail will continue to have a revolving door.  The County Council will start looking at the budget in the next month.  Time to push for adequate public safety funding.
  One of the first persons arrested in August 2017 for selling drugs during Operation Rio Grande was Cory Lee Bertelsen who was almost immediately released after being arrested.  He was arrested again this last week after a short chase.  He keeps running from police and has a long and dangerous charge sheet.  He should not be released to threaten society so fast. 
  
CENTRAL WASATCH COMMISSION ORDERED TO GET CONSENSUS
  The Central Wasatch Commission (CWC) is attempting to implement the Mountain Accord that is presently being sued for not following the Utah Open Meetings Act.  A large part of the plan was to give the ski resorts a lot of land for a major expansion of their resorts with minimal trade of land that is essentially hard to traverse.  Recent meetings of the CWC have had a lot of pushback.  The hope that the CWC plan would be sponsored by Congresswoman Mia Love was dashed when she pointed out that she wasn't going to do anything until there was real consensus!  So the controversial land trades are going to hold up the Mountain Accord process while the CWC and Executive Director Ralph Becker spend millions on staffing and offices.
  
UDOT PROPOSES THREE PARLEYS INTERCHANGE PLANS
  I put the presentation on the proposals in the upper right downloads page.  I expect the Sugar House Community Council will discuss these plans in the next month.

200 EAST ROAD DIET STUDY
  Salt Lake City Transportation is studying the feasibility of doing a road diet and reducing the number of travel lanes on 200 East.  It is part of a study to restripe 200 East.

2700 SOUTH REMOVED FROM RESURFACING LIST 
  It appears that an effort by SLC Public Utilities to put in a water pipe under 2700 South derailed efforts to provide minor resurfacing on 2700 South.  It is now number 82 on the list of important street projects.
  But after stalling the project, the City decided that it couldn't use 2700 South and must use another street.  But until they find a suitable route for the water system replacement, they will have to stall 2700 South resurfacing.  
 
2100 EAST RESURFACING WORK RESULTS IN THE WAVE
  There have been many complaints about the wave that is the result of work on repaving the road of 2100 East from 1700 South to 2100 South.  But the work was not complete when the complaints mushroomed.  The City still had to replace the manhole covers and after that, it will check the profile and ensure that the roadway is smooth and not waves.

TWO BIG BICYCLING PROJECTS PLANNED
  The first is a Beck Street Separated Bicycle Facility. The $50,000, 2018 FY TAP-funded project will design a more comfortable and separated facility on the Beck Street frontage road near the Staker-Parson quarry, from Chicago Street (1820 North) to the existing two-way path on the west side of the frontage road several hundred feet south of the Salt Lake/Davis County line. The project, when constructed, will add physical separation, reduce potential turning and other conflicts, presumably reduce maintenance needs, and provide a safer commuter and recreational connection between North Salt Lake and Salt Lake City.
  But the maintenance of the cycle track is a problem and is not being planned.  Due to the many trucks carrying gravel in the area, daily sweeping of the track will be needed for safe bicycling.  Or the bike path could be redesigned to become a more adequate bikeway that is separated from traffic and does not collect dirt and dust and rocks from trucks in the area.  
  The other project is the 600 East Neighborhood Byway. Refinements are currently under design, with changes to the crossings at 800 South, 1700 South, and possibly 2700 South in the works. The Transportation Division is doing some assessment of the area south of 2100 South to determine if the new TOUCAN has increased traffic on 600 East or cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets. A traffic diverter had originally been planned for the area as volumes on 600 East are higher than neighborhood byway guidelines. This project is anticipated to go out to bid over the winter for 2018 construction.

SPRAGUE REDESIGN OPEN HOUSE AUGUST 9
  On August 9, all day from 10 AM to 4 PM, at the Sugar House Sprague Library, there will be architects that have been tasked with refurbishing the Sprague Library which will close this winter for a year.  They will answer questions and they will have two presentations from 5 to 630 and from 7 to 830 PM.  
  I bet that they are not taking into account the new flood diversion system at the DRAW east of 1300 East that is designed to channel flood waters to Hidden Hollow and increase the flood threat to the Library.  Basement property will be at risk.
  
HIVE PASS PLANS ON GIVING FREE GREEN BIKE PASSES 
  The HIVE pass is planning a new marketing plan and one of the new proposals is to give free Green Bike passes to those who buy a HIVE pass.  It will be interesting to see who takes advantage of this new and original concept.
  
SCOOTERS TO BE DISCUSSED AT THE LEGISLATURE
  On August 15, the Transportation Interim Committee will discuss scooters that are proliferating in Salt Lake City, especially downtown.  I know several are upset about the issue and I expect their attendance at the 830 AM meeting at the Capitol, State Senate Building (east building) Room 210.
  Kids are on them (despite the requirement for a drivers license); they are operated negligently due to inexperience and when they hit someone, they can't be identified.  Lots of reasons to rethink these issues
  
UTA OLD PROP ONE PROPOSAL ON DOWNLOADS
  I put the old 2015 short UTA proposal and map to increase service if Prop One passes.  Since it has effectively been passed by the Legislature, ignoring voters, the service increases are not being discussed.  It appears that projects are the plans and service will continue to suffer.  

  




JULY 30, 2018

JULY 31 HEARING ON BLOCK 67 HEIGHT ALLOWS COMMENT ON

             $15 MILLION PARKING LOT FUNDING

900 SOUTH BICYCLE OVERPASS
SLC BOND COULD HURT HEALTHCARE EXPANSION
CARLETON CHRISTENSEN COULD BE NEXT UTA COMMISSIONER

JULY 31 HEARING ON BLOCK 67 HEIGHT ALLOWS COMMENT ON $15 MILLION PARKING LOT FUNDING
  Block 67 is west of the Salt Palace on the US Post Office Property.  The Ritichie Group, a developer with a good reputation and a lot of Brickyard Property and buildings, is proposing a $400 million mixed use hotel, office, retail, housing complex.
  In return for not putting parking on the surface, and creating a midblock pedestrian plaza, they agreed to build an underground parking garage in return for $15 million from County Transportation Funds.  The City RDA approved the interlocal with the County that loans $15 million (eventually $43 million compensation) to the Ritchie Group and paid back by the RDA tax increment increase over 25 years.  It would eventually have one level of public parking.
  The Utah Transportation Commission approved the use of Transportation Funds for parking lots last month.  I spoke against the proposal at the City RDA meeting on July 10 since the Transportation Funds that are being used, should be used for a regionally significant transportation project.  Some other requirements are that the funds should be for a project that has broad public support and increases safety. 
  The Legislature passed a bill last session that allowed Transportation Funds to be used for parking lots, mainly to expand transit parking lots that are already full and also to help provide canyon mouth parking lots in preparation for canyon bus service (I am pushing for weekend canyon bus service paid for by the Legislature that may be discussed by the the Interim in the next few months.).
  The Council, as RDA Board, passed the interlocal agreement with the stipulation that it did not commit the City to final agreement.  The staff warned that it did commit the City and I contend that it shouldn't be agreed to until there is a vigorous public hearing.  The City was planning on waiting until later for a public hearing.
  But, the City also wants to increase the height limits of buildings on Block 67 to what is allowed in central Downtown SLC.  That provides a public hearing and a chance to argue that the height limit should be removed if, and only if, the $15 million for the parking lot is pulled back and used for more appropriate use.  That is the only way to push the City to use the Transportation Funds for a real, appropriate project like a bicycle, pedestrian and wheelchair overpass on 900 South.
  An overpass is complicated but has been proposed several times with costs that range from $7 to 15 million depending on the design.  An overpass is possible on one side of the street under the freeway but 24 ft above the rails.  It would also be a more appropriate funding priority that the minor million dollar projects to beautify the 9 Line Trail east of the freeway, in my opinion.
  The death of the 999 cyclist, the $15 million "misuse" of Transportation Funds and other interested parties may help push this proposal to reality.  The July 31 hearing could result in the Council removing the $15 million and/or telling the staff to prepare plans and designs to build an overpass within a year on 900 South.  (The Fleet Block development would also be significantly helped.)
  I will be asking the City Council on Tuesday July 31, at 7PM, to allow the Ritchie Group to build whatever height building they want if they forego the $15 million from Transportation Funds and ask that the City plan on building a pedestrian, bicycle and ADA 14 ft wide overpass on the 900 South rail tracks.

900 SOUTH BICYCLE OVERPASS
  According to UTA: "At the rail crossing on 900 South, I-15 passes over the rail crossing diagonally covering the west side on the crossing on the north and covering the entire rail crossing on the south side of 900 South. The trail is on the south side of 900 South.  There is no vertical space available to construct an overpass on the south side of 900 South and obtain the required 23’-6” vertical clearance over the train tracks.  An overpass would have to cross the tracks on the north side of 900 South and then loop or ramp down in the haunted house property and the trail would have to cross 900 South at grade to get back to the south side of the street."
  It is time to push this project to reality. 

SLC BOND COULD HURT HEALTHCARE EXPANSION
  I will also be pushing for not putting the bond on the ballot since I believe that it will hurt chances of healthcare expansion, which I think should have the highest priority.  I know that some of the bicyclists that I am encouraging to attend and comment on these issues are for the bond but I want a vigorous public hearing Tuesday.  My main reason against putting a bond on the ballot is that it will discourage voting for the healthcare expansion which I think is more important.  The bond will go on the ballot as a $46 tax increase.  SLC will also get $33 million per year from the sales tax increase and another $5 plus per year from SB136 plus another $5 million plus from the transit portion of SB136.  SLC should not need the bond as much as healthcare expansion.
  I had an oped in the Salt Lake Tribune on the issue at:
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2018/07/28/george-chapman-salt-lake/


CARLETON CHRISTENSEN COULD BE NEXT UTA COMMISSIONER
  In a surprise move, Carleton Christensen is being nominated as a third applicant for the UTA Commissioner job.  The County already submitted two names but they had issues and controversies that may have resulted in the Governor asking for more choices.  Ironically, Carleton Christensen pushed for the use of $15 million in Transportation Funds for the parking lot of Block 67.




JULY 25 B, 2018

1300 EAST PROJECT STARTS TONIGHT AT 2100 SOUTH


1300 EAST PROJECT STARTS TONIGHT AT 2100 SOUTH

  Starting tonight, the 1300 East project will begin work on replacing water and sewer lines and resurfacing the roadway and replacing the curb and gutter.  This major project will take several years and I urge anyone using the roads in the area to be aware of the effects.  For instance, tonight, the bus stop at 2100 South and 1300 East will be temporarily stopped.  It will return in the morning.  The work now appears to be done in the evening after rush hour which is helpful.  801 483 6898 is the phone number to get real time updates on the project.  UTA is working with the contractor and will reroute buses if necessary.  UTA’s Facebook, Twitter and other website notes, including customer service will be listing detours and service interruptions.  Please keep the phone number for reference during the extensive project that will go to 900 South.  I put the docx file with specifics on the upper right downloads section.

 


JULY 25, 2018
SLC LOSING $2 MILLION DUE TO LEGISLATIVE BILLS
OXBOW JAIL STILL NOT FULLY OPEN, LAW ENFORCEMENT SUFFERS
WFRC 2050 PROPOSAL WITH LOTS OF MONUMENTS TO POLITICIANS
SPRAGUE LIBRARY ELEVATOR NOW OPEN FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS
MOUNT OLIVET CEMETERY DRIES UP MILLER PARK


SLC LOSING $2 MILLION DUE TO LEGISLATIVE BILLS
  HB336 reduced maximum fines from $150 to $45 now.  Salt Lake City anticipates that the City will lose $2 million or more in parking ticket revenue, partly due to this bill.  The loss of several parking enforcement officers, due to illegal favoritism, also is contributing to the loss.  SLC ticket revenue is also reduced from traffic citations due to the elimination of ticket quotas.  $2 million is a big hit on the City’s revenues.

OXBOW JAIL STILL NOT FULLY OPEN, LAW ENFORCEMENT SUFFERS
  Despite all of the efforts to hire more personnel for the Oxbow Jail, the Sheriff fell short.  It is not her fault since the County Mayor is still not adequately funding public safety.  Not only are the jailers not being paid enough to stay, UPD officers are also being lost to individual cities.  With Herriman and Riverton set to jump into the competition for more officers, the UPD and Jail will continue to suffer and Salt Lake County will continue to have a revolving door jail.  The Sheriff was able to open one pod of the unused Oxbow Jail but one pod is still closed (about 180 beds).  Mayor McAdams is running for Congress and this issue may become central to Congresswoman Mia Love’s campaign.  He still is using the $9.4 million from the old jail bond for other projects that include Pay for Success which will not prove itself for several more years, if at all.

WFRC 2050 PROPOSAL WITH LOTS OF MONUMENTS TO POLITICIANS
  I put the three Wasatch Front Regional Council 2050 maps (reduced from their 30MB original files) on the upper right downloads section.  Note that the 900 South bicycle trail (the 9 Line) is still not upgraded, even in 2050 (see the AT active transportation = bicycle map).  The transit map shows lots of rail in the Draper area and several in the Salt Lake City downtown area.  Expensive BRTs are scheduled for Taylorsville and 200 South, despite the fact that I and many others do not believe that UTA knows how to do BRTs.  With the billions in projects, elected politicians should have plenty of opportunity to get their very own monument.  But the reality is probably going to end up like L.A. that spent $15 billion on projects and got fewer riders due to more people using cars.  So we will probably call these projects follies.  Note that the 2050 Transit map has the S-Line going south on Highland!

SPRAGUE LIBRARY ELEVATOR NOW OPEN FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS
  The famous missing in action Sprague Library (Sugar House) elevator is now working and can take passengers down to one room that was and is the children’s room.  The rest of the downstairs will wait for a complete overhaul starting at the end of the year.  That will necessitate closing Sprague.

MOUNT OLIVET CEMETERY DRIES UP MILLER PARK
  Mount Olivet Cemetery is taking water from Red Butte Creek and drying up the Miller Park Bird Refuge (which needs water and birds).  The City is trying to reach an agreement with Mount Olivet to provide some water to the Park during the irrigation season.  Complicating matters is the fact that Rowland Hall also uses the water for watering their artificial turf, which turned out to be using more water than they thought.  There is also the issue of improper installation of the original irrigation system that was supposed to water the new plants during the redesign of Miller Park.  Due to the installation being next to the path, the system was often broken.  
  The City also allows the cheatgrass and cereal rye to dry out in Miller Park during the summer but that creates a fire hazard and the City does not cut it down.  That could create the beginnings of  a conflagration.  The City is encouraging adjacent landowners to clear their property but the Park shrubs, grasses and trees go right up to their properties.  
  The City provided this information during a discussion on the issues:
“Mount Olivet Cemetery has a water right and is diverting water from Red Butte Creek. Because of low runoff, they dry up the stream every few days on their turn schedule. They are aware of community concern, especially in Miller Park. We are trying to work out an agreement with them for the future that would keep water in the stream during the irrigation season is important to point out that the irrigation system was intended to support the 2014 restoration project plantings through establishment. It was not intended or designed to keep Miller Park wet through the summer or to suppress fire danger. Native grasses, shrubs and trees intentionally planted in Miller Park during the 2014 restoration project are intended to dry out in the summer time, as they would in a natural environment. Annual and weedy grasses like cheatgrass and cereal rye are also present in Miller and our other natural areas; these grasses are biologically-programmed to complete their life cycles quickly in the winter and spring, and die off in the summer after seed-set. Excessive watering can actually encourage these grasses to become unnaturally high and unintentionally increase fire danger.
That said, we have had more than our share of challenges with Miller Park’s irrigation system due to ongoing issues with tampering and vandalism. Our crews have been up there all week working on it, and it should now be working as intended…… any neighbors notice issues with the current irrigation system, please do not hesitate to contact our offices at 801-972-7800.”




JULY 23, 2018
999 BICYCLE FATALITY POINTS TO QUESTIONABLE 9 LINE PLAN
INLAND PORT HAD TO WAIT FOR STORAGE PRESENTATION
JIM DABAKIS LOOKS GOOD FOR NEXT SLC MAYOR!?
DEVELOPER MAY GET $15 MILLION FOR PARKING LOT JULY 31 HEARING
SLC BOND MAY BE PUT ON BALLOT & HURT HEALTHCARE EXPANSION
IMPACT FEES NEED TO BE REEXAMINED
UTAH LEGISLATURE PASSES BIG INTERNET TAX BILL
TANKER ON HIGHWAY ONE OF OVER 200 TRUCK CRASHES PER YEAR
JASON MATHIS, BEST THING ABOUT DOWNTOWN LEAVING
SLC BICYCLE REGISTRATION PROGRAM OFFICIAL



999 BICYCLE FATALITY POINTS TO QUESTIONABLE 9 LINE PLAN
  I have written several stories about the 999 Bicycle SLC event that starts at 900 East and 900 South on the Southwest corner every Thursday.  It is a social event that celebrates cycling in SLC and attracts hundreds.  I put pictures in a zip file in the upper right downloads section.  The news of a longtime participant in the bicycle ride dying from being run over by a train should not be a one day news issue.    
  Salt Lake City and County are putting millions into a 9 Line trail that encourages bicycling and goes from This is the Place Monument to the Jordan River Trail.  But bicyclist crossing rail tracks is extremely dangerous.  The 999 Group urges cyclists on it's Facebook page: "stay away from trains and active railroad crossings."  All rail tracks can be extremely dangerous for bicyclists.  In Portland, several years ago, they found that over 60% of cyclists had fallen on rail tracks (their streetcars share the road with cyclists).  
  It is time for SLC and the County to reevaluate the east west bicycle trail on 900 South and consider using available funds for a bicycle overpass like on the Parleys Trail over I215.  The money is available in my mind through Utah Transportation Funds and federal government TIGER Grant funds.  Salt Lake County and City are planning to spend $500,000 on the 9 Line Trail between 1300 East and 950 East.  That money would be better spent on designing an overpass for bicyclists or for a real time display of approaching train traffic and when it is expected to clear.  
  TIGER Grant funding is available and should be considered for this project.  It took two years to find enough projects when this one was right in front of our noses.  This is not the first fatality at the crossing.  There was one in April of 2017.  
  In addition, SLC and County are considering giving a developer $15 million for a parking garage downtown (see story below) and that money could be, should be and would be better used for a safer bicycle crossing on 900 South at the railroad tracks.  Salt Lake City is also planning on spending $2.7 million on Sunnyside (part of the 9 Line Trail) and it makes more sense to spend it at the crossing.
  SLC is pushing redevelopment of the area which includes the Fleet Block and the 900 South TRAX Station.  It should include a safer bicycle crossing on 900 South.  Again, it is cheap to provide a real time display of train traffic and it would also benefit vehicles on the road.  Getting from the west side to the east side on 900 South when there are trains is very frustrating.  Knowledge of when the trains will pass and provide crossing for vehicles and bicyclists would be a big help.

INLAND PORT HAD TO WAIT FOR STORAGE PRESENTATION
  I was disappointed, to say the least, in the hearing at the Legislature on the new, SLC Council negotiated, Inland Port Bill.  The hearing was sure to attract an overflow crowd and the Legislature even had an overflow room setup.  But the Committee hearing the Bill deferred to a peer to peer storage presentation and wasted almost an hour before hearing public comment on the Inland Port Bill.  This was not the Legislature's finest hour.    
  It almost looked like they were trying to rush things through.  I watched the Committee Chair, Senator Bramble, keep moving the time to end the public hearing but it only gave the public, who were overwhelmingly against the rushed Bill, one minute each to comment.  
  Even the Board of Education President Heather Bennett was kept to one minute, even though her organization could lose $500 million in education funding.  That was extremely disrespectful.
  I agree with Senator Davis.  There should not be 8 voices representing SLC in this negotiation.  Although the Bill was a done deal before the public hearing in a "secret consensus", done deals and "secret consensus" are not good government.  It reminds me of the "secret consensus" on the homeless resource centers in SLC. 

JIM DABAKIS LOOKS GOOD FOR NEXT SLC MAYOR!?
  In the effort to get a "better" Inland Port Bill, Senator Dabakis and Speaker Greg Hughes offered to work with Salt Lake City to get a better Bill.  But when the Mayor saw the handwriting on the wall, she declined and the SLC Council gladly took over.  This was a chance to not only insult the Mayor of SLC, but also to put the SLC Council and Chair Erin Mendenhall forward as a better leader in SLC.  The Council has been complaining about the Mayor for years.  But much of the animosity comes from the Council pushing for Ralph Becker to be reelected.
  It became so bad during the first year, that, at an RDA meeting, RDA Chair Lisa Adams told the Mayor to be quiet!  I have heard many complaints over the years about the Mayor but I have to agree, again, with Senator Davis, there should have been only one voice in the negotiations.  And in this case, and many others, everyone is at fault.  I want my City to work better but when everyone is pointing fingers, there is no time to work at all.
  In the effort to put the Council in the driver's seat for the negotiations, Jim Dabakis came out the big hero to the Council.  Several Councilmembers are encouraged and excited at the prospect of Jim becoming Mayor of SLC.  But I have tried to work with Jim since he became my senator, without success.  I work with many other Republican and Democratic Legislators and get bills sponsored by them but I can't seem to work with Jim Dabakis.  
  He has only sponsored one successful bill (requiring CO detectors in schools) and I watched the Committee hearing the bill, a good bill, question the cost to school districts and almost not pass it.  Jim, in my opinion, is more interested in playing the white knight and being recognized and honored for that than getting things done.  All of the other Democrats on the Hill are much more successful in getting things done in the Legislature.  
  I had a My view in the Deseret News that explained in more detail that, despite Jim's belief, Utah legislators are generally respectful public servants (December 3, 2016 - you can Google it).  I have found that Legislators will listen to good ideas, even though you are not their constituent, and they generally respect the citizens of Utah.  That does not mean that they are right in their votes or bills or beliefs.  It means that almost anyone who respectfully approaches a Legislator will be heard.  I disagreed with Senator Bramble on his internet tax bill but he allowed me to make an argument against it outside of the public hearing.  His actions and respect are typical of Legislators.  
  Jim is the sole exception in my experience.  If Jim Dabakis becomes Mayor of SLC, as many Councilmembers would like, SLC will cease to listen to the public, the citizens and the taxpayers.  Only those who agree with Jim will have a voice.

DEVELOPER MAY GET $15 MILLION FOR PARKING LOT JULY 31 HEARING
  On July 31, the SLC Council will have a surprise public hearing on whether to give $15 to the Ritchie Group in order to encourage them to build an underground parking lot.  The Council was convinced earlier this month that a public hearing should take place as soon as possible instead of waiting until October when it would essentially be a done deal.  The Council listened to citizens concerned about using valuable Transportation Funds being used for a parking lot at the same time that SLC discourages parking lots.  
   I need to digress for a minute and explain that one of unintended (or intended) consequences of SB136 is that the Utah Transportation Commission is deciding how to use new funds from SB136 for projects.  But the Utah Transportation Commission meets around the State and generally does not meet in Salt Lake City.  So it will be more difficult to make a public hearing and give testimony on questionable projects.
  Former Utah Speaker of the House Greg Curtis of GTC Consulting talked about the parking structure fund.  "HB3 directed $500,000 of general funds be used to initiate a study for locating a parking structure in Salt Lake County.  UDOT will evaluate locations for a parking structure that will assist in increasing transit ridership, carpooling and van pooling in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon areas.  
  Two of the three Commissioners approved of using the funds to locate a parking structure area (during the last Legislative Session, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser suggested 9400 South and Wasatch Boulevard (near Terry Diehl's property).
  Interestingly, the Bill says that "no one entity can borrow more than 25% of parking fund"  and projects should "improve safety, reduce congestion etc."  And most importantly, projects should have high public support.  But if no one knows about the projects due to the meetings taking place in other counties, the projects should not be considered to have high public support.
  The effort by SLC and County to loan $15 million of Utah Transportation Funds to the Ritchie Group when the 9 Line project would be more effective at improving safety.  Parking garages do not improve safety.

SLC BOND MAY BE PUT ON BALLOT AND HURT HEALTHCARE EXPANSION
  We have been fighting for healthcare expansion in Utah for years.  I have consistently pointed out that one of the important reasons is public safety.  After two years, the Legislature came around and agreed but it only applied to homeless and criminals involved in drugs (for treatment).  The inadvertent effect has been that criminal behavior earns better medical care than law abiding citizens.
  The Utah ballot will have a healthcare expansion for all citizens, law abiding and not, that make less than a poverty salary.  It is a good ballot proposition.  But it requires a sales tax increase to pay for it.  If passed, it could go into effect faster than the Legislature's last attempt at expanding mental health care.  
  But there are other ballot propositions that could hinder voting for the proposition.  There is a question on whether to justify the Legislature's raising the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon and shifting the resulting increase from transportation and give it to education.  Utah County appears to be placing a public safety bond on the ballot for a new law enforcement building (after not having enough money to pay for law enforcement officers!).  And most importantly, Salt Lake City wants to put an $87 million streets bond on the ballot.  
  All of these ballot questions to increase taxes will, like Aesop's dog, decrease the chance of any of them passing.  Healthcare expansion should have priority and the rest of the counties and cities should back off of putting more bonds on the ballot.
  I am also against the $87 million SLC bond for streets since I believe that it will be used for road diets and cycle tracks.  Cycle track maintenance is almost 10 times more expensive than streets maintenance (cleaning, keeping free from debris and snow and water).  And finally, SLC will already get money from the Prop One zombie tax for roads and transit.

IMPACT FEES NEED TO BE REEXAMINED
  Salt Lake City looks like it can't spend enough on matching Impact Fees so that it will have to return $5 million to developers.  SLC and the Council needs to have a discussion on better solutions to this issue.  In addition, since the Impact Fees for housing doubled, housing starts have decreased 50%. 

UTAH LEGISLATURE PASSES BIG INTERNET TAX BILL
  The Utah Legislature passed a big internet tax bill (continuing this Legislature's biggest Utah tax increases in the last 20 years).  The Legislature claims that the tax on internet sales and SERVICES will be used to decrease taxes on manufacturing equipment.  
  But the effect of the Bill is to put millions of small business internet sales and service companies at risk of audits by other states.  It also ignores the overseas sales that will not pay taxes and, since the postal regulations require not interfering with the mail, it will create, in my opinion, a great big sucking sound from small businesses that are trying to work from the U.S.
  The other big effect is, due to the requirement that internet services be taxed, taxing Netflix and other internet service providers.  Due to the late providing of the bill, not available until after 9PM the night before, almost no one spoke against it.  Big companies will have no problem meeting the tax requirements of 10,000 taxing jurisdictions in the U.S.  The U.S., at least in Utah, will start paying taxes for subscription services like everyone in Britain paying for TV service.  This is happening despite the fact that we already pay franchise taxes on cable service.  This is a double taxation and no one knew about it.  This means that internet streaming and other services, including subscriptions like sports news, newspapers, etc. could be charged, and those paying for the services could be noted.
  Although most legitimate news organizations may not be a concern for privacy advocates, what about extreme philosophy services or pornography.  I find it hard to believe that the porn industry will allow it's clients to be listed.  Being able to audit, and discourage an XXX rated service may be good for society but privacy deserves more respect.
  This bill could also hurt the development of streaming niche sports that are providing a better service for some sports, better than ESPN.
  According to the U.S. Supreme Court: "Among the top 100 Internet retailers that rate (of internet sales tax collected) is between 87 and 96 percent."  Although Utah is one of 20 States that have adopted the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, the privacy issue is still a question.  "This system standardizes taxes to reduce administrative and compliance costs: It requires a single, state level tax administration, uniform definitions of products and services, simplified tax rate structures, and other uniform rules. It also provides sellers access to sales tax administration software paid for by the State. Sellers who choose to use such software are immune from audit liability.
  This was a rushed and not carefully submitted bill.  Senator Bramble will be at a Congressional Hearing tomorrow to try to convince Congress to get involved and answer some of the questions.

TANKER ON HIGHWAY ONE OF OVER 200 TRUCK CRASHES PER YEAR
  Another crude oil tanker crash near Price dumped around 700 gallons of crude, thick oil into a river.  This and many other truck crashes along Hwy 6, I80, and I40 should be a walkup call on considering a pipeline for transporting oil from the Uintah Basin to Salt Lake City area refineries.  Each of the roads mentioned have about 90 big rig truck crashes per year and part of the problem in the Uintah Basin with air pollution is the requirement to heat the oil, put it on hundreds of tankers and drive the oil to Salt Lake City.  The oil is so viscous that it needs to be heated or a naptha like compound has to be added to make it able to transport by pipeline (or tanker).  This is a good reason to build a pipeline to Salt Lake City (with double walls when crossing water) since the Uintah Basin oil is needed to make Utah's gasoline.  

JASON MATHIS, BEST THING ABOUT DOWNTOWN LEAVING
  I'm not just sad but upset that Salt Lake City is losing Jason Mathis.  He was the leader in boosting Downtown SLC through the Downtown Alliance.  Lane Beatty may have been the ultimate leader but Jason was the man on the ground pushing for a better Salt Lake City.  I am upset that Salt Lake is losing such a great booster.

SLC BICYCLE REGISTRATION PROGRAM OFFICIAL
the SLC Council had already voted to approve the new free Bicycle Registration Plan several months ago.  This last week, the Mayor officially implemented it.  But without the rest of the law enforcement entities in Salt Lake County (and the rest of Utah) working off of the same registration plan, anyone questioned by a SLCPD officer about a bicycle that they have in their possession can say that they are from another city.  The Registration Plan is toothless, useless and a waste until the Legislature passes a statewide law.  The Transportation Interim Committee is possibly going to discuss this issue in a few months.  But, in the meantime, to help the SLCPD officers try to discourage bicycle theft, the Mayor should ask the Legislature to implement it statewide.





JULY 16, 2018
MESSAGE FROM SLCPD CHIEF BROWN
A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE EASTSIDE BIKE SQUAD
INLAND PORT SECRET CONSENSUS
INTERNET SALES TAX 
BRITISH FIELD DAY SUCCESS WITH 148 CARS
FIRST ENCAMPMENT CELEBRATION
TRANSIT FUNDS FOR DEVELOPER SWEETHEART DEAL JULY 31 HEARING
JULY 31 HEARING ON BOND FOR STREETS AND ROAD DIETS
SCOOTERS, BICYCLES, WHEELCHAIRS AND PEDESTRIANS ON SIDEWALKS
1700 SOUTH LANE REDUCTION POLARIZES BALLPARK
SALES TAX ON STREAMING SERVICES COULD HURT PRIVACY
SUGAR HOUSE HIGHLAND DR FLASHING LIGHT CROSSWALK BY KIMI'S
FAIRMONT PARK POND TOO HOT FOR FISH SO CATCH 'EM FAST


MESSAGE FROM SLCPD CHIEF BROWN
  Chief Brown has put out a message/letter that explains the problems that he and his Department have been having over the last few years.  
  Summarizing, it explains that his Department is undergoing an analysis of its operations to ensure efficient and appropriate staffing levels in all areas.  The goal is to have patrol officers in every beat which is not happening now.  He acknowledges that citizens want more officers, especially in each beat.  The SLCPD currently is down 13 funded officers.  "In the last 3 years, the Department has increased authorized sworn strength by 42 officers (a 10% increase).  In addition, 13 new civilian positions were funded to improve operational efficiencies.
  Mayor Biskupski has committed to fund 23 more officers next year and the Department is allowed to hire 20 more unfunded positions to cover expected turnover in personnel.  The Department has moved to year round recruiting with two more academies this year and they have implemented a recruiting bonus system.
 
A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE EASTSIDE BIKE SQUAD
  The SLCPD Bike Squad has 4 downtown squads and one eastside squad.  The downtown squad focuses on Rio Grande, Depot, Main Street, and Library Square.  The eastside bike squad focuses on Liberty Park, Sugar House, Fairmont Park and the South Track (State Street).  The eastside squad usually has Wednesday through Friday off.  During their patrols, each officer in the squad is given an assignment for increased attention.  For instance the assignments in mid June were for the Alta Motel (1899 S. State), the Georgia Apartments (200 E and 2013-2015 S), the 7-11 on 1100 E and 1700 S, the Main Street Motel (1530 S Main Street), Liberty Park (600 East), the Wasatch Inn (1416 S. State), and the Shop and Save (old Wayne's Corner on 1302 S State).
  Zion's Motel and Alta Motel are both under new ownership and the new owners seem to be working well with the SLCPD.  There is new management of the Shop and Save (one of the biggest crime magnets in the area).  
  On June 16, at 1302 S State (Shop and Save) there was an arrest of an individual who had a warrant and also had possession of a dangerous weapon.  At 1530 S. Main St., the squad arrested a man for burglary of a vehicle and unlawful use of a stolen credit card.  Another similar arrest was made that day at 1416 S. State (theft by deception).  Another arrest was for possession (of meth) and theft and another arrest was for a parole fugitive and possession with intent to distribute.
  On June 17, they participated in the Pride Parade and kept an eye on the Liberty Park Drum Circle.
  That was a typical week in the life of a bike squad member.  The rest of the time is bicycling through neighborhoods and providing a visible deterrent to crime with a visible cop.

INLAND PORT SECRET CONSENSUS
  I find it very confusing and uncomfortable for a part time City Council to manage and control the secret Salt Lake City negotiations regarding the Inland Port of Salt Lake County.  The Mayor of Salt Lake City should not have her responsibility interfered with.  In addition, this Salt Lake City Council seems to insist on secrecy.  It did the Miller Sport Arena tax rebate in secret.  It chose the Homeless Resource Centers sites in secret.  It doesn't seem to decide issues in public when it hears public testimony then waits a week before publicly voting on the issues.  The Council can meet in small groups in secret and that has been regularly happening with regards to the budget, and now with the Inland Port negotiations.  When did the City Council get the ability to ignore Utah's Open Public Meetings Act?  And the Legislature and Governor seemed to be encouraging it.  It is hypocritical to complain about deciding Healthy Utah in secret (complaints by the SLC Council) then turning around and deciding the Inland Port issues in secret.  Not only does the SLC Council want to take over management of Salt Lake City, they want to do it in secret.  This is not a good sign for respectful representation of the voters in Salt Lake City.  
  A SECRET CONSENSUS IS MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE!  You can have one or the other, not both.
  The secret consensus agreement is (not sure if the agreement allows Greg Hughes to serve on the Board but it looks like it):
         LAND USE. APPEALS & MUNICIPAL SERVICES
           •  More clearly define objectives of an inland port         
           •  More specificity on the critical uses for jurisdictional land         
            • Enhance the standards for administrative land use reviews
            • Clarify the Authority is an appeals board of last resort
                o Appeals to be first considered by the municipality
                o 180 days for municipal approval or denial
                o 60 days for municipal appeal
                o Authority shall only approve Appeals based on defined critical uses
                o Appeal authority shall issue a written decision within 30 days unless all parties agree to a later date
                o “Respects the due process rights of the parties to an appeal”
                o Public hearing on appeal including public notice and notice to the appeal authority
                  from which the appeal is taken. Materials shall be provided prior to the hearing
                  and available to the public
            • Establish more clear appeals panel procedures and standards
            • Align with LUDMA defined terms rather than new definitions
            • More clarity on the strategies, policies and objectives of the Inland Port Authority
            • Increase transparency, including public notices and processes specific to appeals
            • Ensure municipalities that they will provide services and be allocated tax increment
            • 2% cap on property tax differential to be used for authority operating expenses
            • Language to encourage board to work with neighboring communities to develop plans to
              mitigate potential impacts
            • Allow the board to appoint non-voting members and advisory councils including
              individuals from taxing entities, community organizations & associations
            • Remove already developed areas from boundary
            • Respect existing land use and other agreements and arrangements between property
              owners and applicable government authorities
            • Instruct municipalities with land within the boundary to adopt an ordinance allowing an
              inland port as permitted or conditional use subject to standards determined by the
              municipality and consistent with the strategies, policies and objectives         
         ENVIRONMENTAL
            • Ensure environmental sustainability policies and best practices
                o Meet or exceed applicable state and federal standards
                o Monitoring and emissions reporting
                o Strategies that utilize the best available technology systems to mitigate impact
            • Non-voting members and advisory councils including environmental organizations
            • Remove wetlands from jurisdictional land
            • Respect and maintain sensitivity to the unique natural environment
            • Improve air quality and minimize resource use
            • Establish that applicable appeals require information from an appellant:
                 o Whether the proposed development will meet or exceed applicable state and
                  federal regulations
                 o The extent to which the development will include best available technology or
                  systems that mitigate environmental impact
                 o The potential impact on air, ground water, or other aspects of the environment,
                  and how the land use applicant proposes to mitigate those impacts
           • Port authority annual report to include:
                 o Sustainability plan that reports on regulated emissions and summarizes efforts by
                  the authority to achieve compliance with applicable regulations         
         BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENTS         
            • Reduce the overall size of authority jurisdictional land
            • Remove wetlands
            • Remove already developed areas in south east
            • Remove north east corner — farmland
            • Remove the airport including all land they currently own         
         GOVERNANCE
           • Allow the authority to appoint non-voting members and advisory councils including
           individuals from:
                 o Taxing entities
                 o Community organizations
                 o Environmental organizations
                 o Associations, and
                 o Business organizations
         • Set SLC council member whose districts includes the Salt Lake Airport in statute
           • Board limitation
                 o Clarifies conflict language for employees or board members to mean one of a
                  PRIVATE firm, PRIVATE company, or other PRIVATE entity that could receive
                  a personal financial benefit
                o Exempts statutorily required board members from conflict issues beyond their
                  control, but still requires transparency and public disclosure of circumstances that
                  would have otherwise precluded them from serving
         MORE CLEARLY DESCRIBED DEFINITIONS AND OBJECTIVES
            • Inland port
            • Critical land use descriptions for development and appeals
            • Parameters for appeals
            • Strategies, policies and objectives aligned with critical land use descriptions
         AFFORDABLE HOUSING
            • The authority shall designate 10% of the property tax differential generated to be used for
              affordable housing

INTERNET SALES TAX 
  Internet sales taxes, if not appropriately implemented, will create a nightmare.
It seems that, with probably millions of internet sales companies in this Country alone, trying to ensure that all provide all 50 states and possibly each separate taxing entity with proof of their sales is incredibly complicated and unattainable.
I would hope that Congress and/or the National Conference of State Legislatures or national accounting firms develop a standard reporting system that each company's accountant can submit to a clearinghouse and be available to states.  
  Otherwise, trying to identify companies that sell more than $100,000 to Utah would be almost impossible without requiring proof from each company.  Auditing millions of companies by each of the 50 states is also a burden, especially for small companies.
The proof would also have be a standard since companies like Airbnb are on the honor system and do not provide proof of their clients.
  During today's Transportation Governance meeting, it was mentioned that implementing a local option sales tax on gasoline would be almost too complicated.  That is similar to what internet sales taxes are becoming.  UDOT's Carlos Braceras and Senator Ipson both mentioned the nightmare of California's implementation of local option sales.
  Senator Bramble will sponsor a bill to implement internet sales taxes for all companies that sell more than 200 items to Utahns or $100,000 in sales to Utahns in a year.  Senator Bramble is also going to testifying in front of Congress on July 24th regarding the lack of action by Congress regarding internet sales tax.  Congress does need to take action but based on the last 20 years, expect nothing.
  My point is that I hope that Utah, and other states, carefully implement internet sales taxes and do not rush in and create a system that costs the Utah Tax Commission more to implement than the new revenue that it could collect.  This issue does not have to be decided this week.  I hope that there will not be a rush to claim internet sales taxes without a slow and deliberate discussion (since we can't collect it until January and the deadline is October 1 to request it).

BRITISH FIELD DAY SUCCESS WITH 148 CARS
  British Field Day, the Liberty Park celebration and exhibit of British vehicles, mainly sports cars was super successful this year.  Last month's event had 148 British cars including several Land Rovers, a panel van and an exploded version of a car to show everyone the complexity of cars.  Of interest to other event organizers, the City charged $310 for a "cost recovery fee" and $28 for the garbage containers.  Over 40 rides were given to kids in a British sports car running through a race course.  Liberty Wells Community Council put on the event which was started by Bill Davis, a community leader.  I am looking forward to next year.

FIRST ENCAMPMENT CELEBRATION
  The First Encampment Celebration is a celebration of the first pioneers coming into this Valley.  The pioneers first camped near 500 E and 1700 S.  There is a park there and, on Saturday, July 21 from 8 AM to 1030 AM, the Liberty Wells Community Council will serve a typical Utah pioneer breakfast.  The cost is $4 for adults and $1 for children.  Parking is at the LDS Church on 500 East and 1623 South.  At 9 AM, there will be a square dancing show and there will be a chance to learn how to square dance with instructors.
  The breakfast is also done in conjunction with a hike from 2903 Kennedy Drive above Hogle Zoo starting at 7 AM and the hike goes to the park on 500 East and 1700 South.  It is about 5 miles and registration for the hike is free.  
  This is a chance to experience what the pioneers did when they came into the Salt Lake Valley.

TRANSIT FUNDS FOR DEVELOPER SWEETHEART DEAL JULY 31 HEARING
  The Salt Lake City Council has decided to speed up the public hearing on giving $15 million in Transportation Funds (that are supposed to be used for regionally significant transportation projects) on July 31 at the evening formal meeting at 7 PM.  As I mentioned last week, the City is offering a developer $15 to build an underground parking garage.  The Transportation Commission also approved using funds for this project.  It is essentially a loan since the City and Transportation Fund will be reimbursed/paid back by the increased tax increment of the project over 25 years.  But the developer is still getting $15 million up front without risk.  In addition, the decision was essentially made without public comment (except by me at the general comments section) and a specific public hearing should be held before giving a developer millions.  Despite the decision, already made, the Council will have the hearing on July 31 to rubber stamp their decision.  But there are many other issues regarding this sweetheart deal.
  Salt Lake City RDA has agreed to sign an interlocal agreement with Salt Lake County to provide $15 million from Transportation Funds to be used for a project on Block 67 to incentive developers to provide public parking in a parking garage. The design of the block development would be enhanced by a midblock walkway if most parking is put underground. The Ritchie Group, a Salt Lake City developer that has built mostly around Brickyard, has a good reputation and the proposed design of the block has excited many in the downtown community.  The project is on the block just west of the Salt Palace (between 200 and 300 West and between 100 and 200 South).  It is planned to have 350,000 sq ft of offices, 70,000 sq ft of retail, 638 housing units and 580 rooms in a hotel.
  Salt Lake County, according to the SLC RDA, "would provide $15 million from the Utah State Transportation Fund to the developers, via the City and the RDA, for construction of what new State law refers to as “public transit project and regionally significant transportation facility” (2018 SB 128 added parking lots to the definition)." Although the money would be repaid by tax increments over 25 years, the City may be left with too little of the increased taxes to fulfill the need for increased municipal services for the several large buildings on the block.
  Interestingly, the 2016 Downtown parking study determined that there was sufficient parking downtown. The City also has been discouraging surface parking lots for years to ensure efficient use of the limited property downtown. One way to discourage surface parking lots is to require an approved plan for a new building before an old building can be demolished. This has stopped many downtown landowners who wanted to demolish older and unrepairable buildings and put in a temporary parking lot until they can get funds for development. 
  The main reason for the demolition ordinance was the demolition of the property on the 2100 South and Highland corner that ended up as the "Sugar Hole" until it was finally developed after almost 10 years. This has resulted in properties that remain vacant for decades, like Vasilios Priskos' old Zephyr Club property on 300 South and West Temple. It is also why SLC RDA has many properties that have remained vacant for years which reduces property values in the area.  Vacant buildings increase criminal activity in the area. SLC RDA property lost $5 million in value in the last year.
  Ironically, Salt Lake City convinced the property owner of the "Sugar Hole" to finally build his building by giving him almost $7 million for a level of public parking (much like the proposal for Block 67). But he implemented a $10 minimum for public parking and that resulted in nearby parking lots starting limiting parking to 2 hours. That destroyed the walkability of Sugar House and increased pollution. Before the 2 hour limit, many would park in the lots and spend many hours using the Sprague Library, eating at nearby restaurants and walking in the area while shopping. Now, after using the Library, one has to drive to another lot to eat, then drive to another lot to shop. The increase in pollution and loss in walkability is added to the inconvenience of librarians and neighborhood workers who have to park far away and in unsafe and unpopular parking lots. 
  The City RDA Board, Tuesday, approved the draft plan and draft interlocal agreement with the language added that it does not commit Salt Lake City or the RDA or Board to future approvals or actions. But the City is committed to "reasonable efforts" and as the staff has cautioned "recently the term “reasonable efforts” has been interpreted by some as an official signal of commitment, and any divergence or questioning of that
commitment at later dates is seen as an act of bad faith." So Salt Lake City's plan to have a public hearing in August or September on the final plan may be too late to change their mind on providing $15 million to the developer.
  One of the sources of the funds will be the SB136 resurrected Prop One funds that most expected to be used for public transit projects, road projects and regionally significant transportation projects. But SB128 now allows parking lots to get the money. Cottonwood Heights also has a proposed parking lot project using these funds. Salt Lake City will have difficult time convincing its taxpayers that it needs more money for streets (with the proposed streets bond) when the Transportation Funds from SB136 that could be used for streets, instead are being used for a private developer's parking lot.
  Salt Lake City needs to have a more thorough discussion about parking and using Transportation Funds for parking lots before giving $15 million to a developer for parking. Salt Lake City should not be discouraging developers from demolishing buildings and providing a parking lot while paying a developer to develop more parking. Hopefully, any new contract will stop the loopholes used by developers to gouge taxpayers and businesses. And, most importantly, Utah and Salt Lake County should have a discussion on why we are spending limited Transportation Funds on parking lots instead of on street repair and transit. $15 million could be and should be used to increase transit span of service past midnight from downtown Salt Lake City before using the funds for parking lots.
  During discussion at last week's RDA Board meeting, City Councilman Charlie Luke tried to delay the interlocal agreement approval for a month.  But under opposition from the rest of the Council, he withdrew his motion.  Although Council Chair Erin Mendenhall (Derek Kitchen is RDA Board Chair) asked "where is the public benefit in parking lots?" and was uncomfortable saying use it for more parking, she joined the rest of the Board in unanimously agreeing to the interlocal agreement and plan (Councilman Chris Wharton was not present).  The $450 million project is too big of a deal to say no to.  I like parking lots but I don't like government paying for them.
5
JULY 31 HEARING ON BOND FOR STREETS AND ROAD DIETS
  At the same time, the City Council will have its last public hearing on whether or not to put an $87 million bond for SLC streets on the ballot.  But, based on what I have heard so far, the Council would like to use those funds for more than street maintenance and repair.  They would like to use those funds for road diets, reducing travel lanes, installing separated bikeways and prettifying streets instead of basic maintenance and repair.  There is no guarantee that all of the funds will be used for basic maintenance and, as governments like to do, there is a tendency to use funds for monuments to elected officials and projects.  Roads should be brought up to basic service levels before trying big projects to make them pretty or decreasing travel lanes.
  And finally, like Aesops dog, trying for the third City Council tax increase (Sales tax, Prop One zombie tax) in a year will also hurt the chances of a vote for healthcare expansion and increased education funding.  Those two issues are also on the ballot with tax increases (the education funding is tied to a question on raising gas taxes 10 cents a gallon).  
  Again, the City Council will take public testimony on the issue on July 31 at 7PM.

SCOOTERS, BICYCLES, WHEELCHAIRS AND PEDESTRIANS ON SIDEWALKS
  Another issue from last week continues to cause ramifications for many other issues.  Salt Lake City is considering how to change ordinances to allow several companies that want to provide rental electric scooters in Salt Lake City.  Lost is the concern about electric scooters in Salt Lake City is the effect on the no bicycling on downtown sidewalks ordinance.  
  As I said last week, tourists use the Green Bikes a lot downtown on the sidewalks.  Even regular users ride on the sidewalks.  Riding on downtown streets, with all the parked cars pulling out, doors opening, unsafe automobile and truck drivers and even buses encourages bicyclists to ride on sidewalks.
  But electric scooters are being pushed, by SLC, to be used on downtown streets!  Electric scooters and bicyclists should be able to ride on downtown sidewalks as long as they do it safely.  It is against the law, now, to ride on the sidewalk negligently.  This is the time for a discussion on rescinding the law against riding bicycles and scooters on downtown sidewalks.  
  It is also the time to discuss increasing sidewalk widths to accomodate safely, wheelchairs, bicycles, scooters and pedestrians.  Wider sidewalks should be part of the City's Complete Street's ordinance but they aren't.  When roadways are reconfigured to accomodate bicycles, they are not increasing amenities like sidewalk widths, for pedestrians.  The road work is just benefiting cars and bicycles.  But Complete Streets is for pedestrians, bicycles and cars.  Salt Lake City needs to have a sidewalk ordinance that increases sidewalk widths.

1700 SOUTH LANE REDUCTION POLARIZES BALLPARK
  During last week's Ballpark Community Council meeting, there was a big argument about whether to proceed with the plan to reduce travel lanes on 1700 South between State Street and 300 West.  The concern of many is that it will back up traffic on 1700 South due to the TRAX crossing.  In addition, the community backlash against travel lane reductions, road diets, and lane reconfigurations in other neighborhoods was brought up.  Sunnyside Avenue, 2100 South, 1300 East and 900 West proposals were all met with anger in the neighborhoods.  900 West and 1300 East had road diets.  The communities are still upset about the implementation of the road diets.  But more than anything, most seem to result in polarizing the neighborhoods.  The major arguments against lane reductions are that it will back up traffic like on 1300 East (which also destroyed safe bicycling on 1300 East - using the right hand lane), the constant flow of traffic will make it difficult to get out of driveways, there should be a good public outreach that provides a 75% plus approval of the project and the money could be better used for more important projects.
  At the Ballpark Community Council about 57 had signed petitions for it and the same number had signed petitions against it.  When the question was asked at the meeting, how many were for it, about 60% raised their hands.  So again, SLC has succeeded in polarizing the neighborhoods.  I still think that Salt Lake City does not know how to do road diets (I was quoted saying that in 2014.).

SALES TAX ON STREAMING SERVICES COULD HURT PRIVACY
  During the Transportation Governance Committee hearing at the Legislature today, there were several presentations on increasing revenue for road and transit projects.  Tax Commissioner Valentine pointed out that the Oregon pilot project report said that technology may not be available to do a real road usage charge for miles driven by a vehicle until 2025.  They had problems with trust and verification and drivers trying to skip the validation.  Commissioner Valentine said that "It is probably premature to implement a mandatory road usage charge."  He said that it could be done, depending on the technology with a port that all new cars have and that is accessible by insurance companies or with license plate readers.  Congestion pricing has some potential.  
  UDOT is setting up a demonstration project.  The Committee also discussed advertising on buses and trains.  But there is a chance that the Legislature may stop UTA from advertising on its system, which gives UTA $2.5 million a year in revenue.  The impetus may be the new hard liquor ads that are now able to use UTA trains and buses for advertising.  The Committee also looked at toll roads briefly.  But it is too early to discuss that potential and the discussion stopped quickly.
  Internet taxes were also discussed (see above) and the Utah Foundation report recommending taxing internet services like Netflix also was presented and discussed.  The Committee did not take public testimony and the new internet sales tax bill to be presented Wednesday may contain a few lines about taxing services.  But subscriptions like newspapers have usually been exempt from taxes and those are some of the services offered online.  We also already pay franchise fees for internet access (through the cable company).  Privacy is also at risk if services are taxed.  How do you convince the general population that any service that requires a subscription has to be reported and taxed, especially if it is for adults (even though kids seem to have access to it)?
  Finally, it seems that there is pressure to do what Britain did when it set up TV stations; it made everyone pay a monthly fee to the government for TV.  There are horror stories of the government going to great lengths to ensure that everyone paid their TV tax.  I don't want Utah to become like Britain and go after people for watching TV, on the internet.

SUGAR HOUSE HIGHLAND DRIVE TO GET FLASHING LIGHT CROSSWALK BY KIMI'S
  The Salt Lake City Transportation Department has confirmed that a flashing light crosswalk is going to be constructed this year from south of Kimi's on Highland Drive to the Buffalo Wings restaurant to the west.  As anyone who goes through Sugar House knows, that is where many people cross the street.  It is time for a crosswalk with the increase of pedestrians in the area, going to the restaurants and bars and shopping.  Walking should be encouraged and that is one way.  Removing the two hour parking limit also would help.

FAIRMONT PARK POND TOO HOT FOR FISH SO CATCH 'EM FAST
  SLC and DWR have worked together to refurbish the Fairmont Park Pond and put hundreds of fish in the pond.  Unfortunately, the fish do not do well after the trip to the Pond because the Pond is too hot.  The DWR is aware of the problem and is trying to find a solution before too many dead fish ruin the Pond's reputation.





JULY 9, 2018
FORM BASED ZONING PLANNING PRESENTATION PLUS TOURS
MILLIONS IN IMPACT FEES WILL BE RETURNED TO DEVELOPERS
DRAPER MAYOR TROY WALKER COULD BE FIRST NEW UTA COMMISSIONER
WINGPOINTE STORY EXPANDED
RITCHIE GROUP GETS PARKING MONEY WHILE PRISKOS PROPERTY BLOCKED
PIONEER PARK PUSHES PIONEER PARK AMENITIES
RESTROOMS IN CANYONS CLOSED DURING HIGH SEASON
SCOOTERS IN SLC COULD CHANGE ANTI BIKING LAW
WFRC PUSHES BILLION DOLLAR TRAIN TO LEHI
ROCKY ANDERSON IS BETTER THAN SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
MCCLELLAND STREET BARRIER TO ADA USE
BOND VOTE IN SLC COULD STOP HEALTHCARE EXPANSION
TWO OF BEST MOVIES IN NORWEGIAN


FORM BASED ZONING PLANNING PRESENTATION PLUS 
  SLC Planning has prepared a great presentation on Form Based Zoning that was first used in the Central Ninth area then implemented in the Sugar Hosue area around the S-Line.  Form Based Zoning, if done right, can encourage walkable neighborhoods, encourage redevelopment of underutilized areas and encourage developers to build in areas that need more attention.  I put the presentation in the upper right downloads section along with a notice from the City on walkable tours.  The first on is today starting at 7PM at the Blue Copper Coffee 179 W and 900 S.  The others are part of the Summer Planning Series events:
July 30 Neighborhood Compatibility: Building the “good city”
August 27 Walkability: Balancing scale and people
September 24 Past Forward: Historic Preservation in SLC

MILLIONS IN IMPACT FEES WILL BE RETURNED TO DEVELOPERS
  I put a summary of SLC Impact Fees presentation on the upper right downloads section (it was previously part of the CIP list).  It appears that almost $5 million in impact fees will be returned to developers this year if the City is not able to provide projects and matching funds for projects.  So far, the City is not able to provide projects.  There is also the issue of the number of housing units that are being planned for construction this year.  It appears that it will be half of the previous year's housing construction starts.  Impact fees could have been part of the reason.  SLC needs a better system to plan on using impact fees.  The Council has asked the Administration for suggestions on how to track and use more of the impact fees.

DRAPER MAYOR TROY WALKER COULD BE FIRST NEW UTA COMMISSIONER
  On Tuesday, the Salt Lake County Council will probably agree to forward Draper Mayor Troy Walker and Mountain Accord Executive Director Laynee Jones to the Governor to be appointed as the first UTA Commissioner.  Davis County is expected to provide Davis County Commissioner Brett Milburn to the Governor.  Mayor Walker may be interested in projects around the State Prison, especially the billion dollar TRAX extension to Lehi but at least he would be able to hit the ground running at UTA.  I have worked and fought with him for years while he was on the UTA Board of Directors.  But he is a professional and he seemed to provide a good and reasoned opinion and vote on the Board of Trustees.  Laynee Jones is most famous for pushing the Mountain Accord train and tunnel in the Wasatch Canyons, recommending making the Wasatch Canyons a National Monument and closing the supposedly open meetings to the public.  Mayor Walker would be a great appointment to help run UTA.

WINGPOINTE GOLF COURSE STORY EXPANDED
  The Salt Lake Tribune's Robert Gehrke did a story last week on the potential for saving the Wingpointe Golf Course. I have been following, fighting and writing for years about the attempt by the City Council to close Wingpointe and turn it into a deicing maintenance facility.  This is the rest of the story.
  Former Mayor Becker told Hatch's Chief of Staff that SLC wanted to close Wingpointe and did not want the Senator to help keep it open.  Then several Councilmembers tried to close several golf courses, including Wingpointe and Glendale and get a parks bond to convert the Glendale course to a park  (for $50+ million).  The Zap tax reconfiguration on the ballot stopped the parks bond.  But the effort/plan/pressure is still there.
  Last month, on June 12, the Council voted to rezone Wingpointe from open space and give it to the Airport.  It still needs to be removed from open space list and that will be a separate hearing.  At the June 5 Council hearing, only a couple of us argued against paving over paradise, the only green around the Airport.  Erin was so upset that she argued that they were not doing that during the public hearing.  I listened to the discussion at the work session and I believe that she is trying to close Wingpointe permanently along with other golf courses.  Amy Fowler and Chris Wharton seem to be providing the biggest effort against closing more golf courses along with Mayor Biskupski.  I support their efforts to protect open space and golf courses.

RITCHIE GROUP GETS PARKING MONEY WHILE PRISKOS PROPERTY BLOCKED
  "Through SB 128 (2018) Transportation Revisions, the State Legislature provided for construction of parking facilities in a county of the first class that facilitate significant economic development and recreation and tourism within the state.  SB128 was sponsored by Senator Buxton and Representative Christofferson.  It allows County Transportation funds to go to parking facilities and also to transit projects.  Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City appear to be working on giving $15 million from the County to the City RDA to be given to the Ritchie Group for an underground parking structure for Block 67!   The City would have to implement a new RDA area and the Ritchie Group would have to "offer a share of paid parking spaces to the public."  
  Tuesday, both the Salt Lake County Council and the SLC Council will start the process to give the Ritchie Group $15 million.  "The RDA would repay the County for these funds with tax increment from the proposed project."
  Salt Lake City Council gave almost $7 million to Craig Mecham to help start the Vue project on 2100 South and Highland.  The money was supposed to be used to provide for a public parking level.  Meacham used the contract language to take advantage of Salt Lake City taxpayers and he implemented a $10 minimum public parking charge!  That obviously would result in a laughable public parking level.  The Kem Gardner Group bought the Vue but it still charges a $10 minimum.
  What it did do is destroy the walkability of Sugar House.  When Meacham implemented the $10 parking minimum, the rest of the nearby parking lots implemented a two hour maximum parking limit.  That was despite the Sprague Library needing more parking for longer areas.  The Boyer Company refused to be flexible about library patrons and even refused to allow deliveries next to the Library.  The Library deliveries have to find regular parking spots.  Librarians have to park far away and in unsafe areas!  It also stopped Sugar House patrons from parking and walking the area for hours.  It increased pollution and destroyed walkability.  
  The irony continues when you realize that Salt Lake City has been actively discouraging parking lots, especially downtown.  The Draft Downtown and Sugar House Parking Study by Nelson/Nygaard found that there was plenty of parking but it has not resulted in anything more than the draft (Nelson/Nygaard always finds that there is plenty of parking and has come close to creating riots in various cities that they do their studies).  There is an argument in the City Administration about whether to allow more parking while also stopping demolition of buildings to turn the property into parking lots, temporarily, while the planning for the replacement project continues.  That is why there are so many vacant buildings downtown (and around the City).  The ordinance in Salt Lake City requires an approved plan before the City allows demolition of a building and a parking lot is not acceptable.  Ironically, the demolition ordinance was passed into law to stop more Sugar Holes like Meacham's (who left a big empty hole  for years after he demolished his building).
  The result is that downtown landowners like Vasilios Priskos, who owned the old Zephyr Club property on 300 South and West Temple, are not able to demolish old and vacant and drug using vagrant buildings and pave them over as a parking lot until the property is redeveloped.  In SLC, property will not stay vacant for long (unless the City owns it - RDA has almost a hundred million in property that, in some cases, has been vacant for decades).  So, a month after honoring Vasilios Priskos with a walkway named in his honor, Salt Lake City is insulting him by giving $15 million to the Ritchie Group (which has a good reputation amongst developers) for parking!
  SLC needs to have a more thorough discussion about parking before giving $15 million to a developer for parking and hopefully, any new contract will stop the loopholes used by developers to gouge taxpayers and businesses.

PIONEER PARK PUSHES PIONEER PARK AMENITIES
  Pioneer Park Coalition is pushing fundraising to create a more inviting and usable Pioneer Park.  Salt Lake City's RDA is assisting by providing matching funds to build a playing field and other amenities.  Unfortunately, the needs of the homeless are not being met and until the City actually solves the problem (I still think that the County is most responsible for the homeless issue regarding drugs and crime.), prettifying Pioneer Park is a waste of time.  When drug users jam their used needles into the ground in the Park, the whole Park becomes unsafe, no matter how many people use it.  Drug users should not be on the street.

RESTROOMS IN CANYONS CLOSED DURING HIGH SEASON
  Salt Lake City Public Utilities is publicizing the upgrading of restrooms in the Wasatch Canyons (using $700,000 that I mentioned before).  The work is being done during the peak hiking season when there are the most users of the Canyons.  I think that one has to question why do the work during the peak season?  Providing temporary potties is not really good management.  The U.S. Forest Service is working with Salt Lake City to manage (or mismanage) this project.

SCOOTERS IN SLC COULD CHANGE ANTI BIKING LAW
  Lost is the concern about electric scooters in Salt Lake City is the effect on the no bicycling on downtown sidewalks ordinance.  Tourists use the Green Bikes a lot downtown on the sidewalks.  Even regular users ride on the sidewalks.  Riding on downtown streets, with all the parked cars pulling out, doors opening, unsafe automobile and truck drivers and even buses encourages bicyclists to ride on sidewalks.
  But electric scooters are being pushed, by SLC, to be used on downtown streets!  Electric scooters and bicyclists should be able to ride on downtown sidewalks as long as they do it safely.  It is against the law, now, to ride on the sidewalk negligently.  This is the time for a discussion on rescinding the law against riding bicycles and scooters on downtown sidewalks.  
  Another interesting discussion regarding scooters will take place at Tuesday's SLC Council work session.  They will discuss whether to "require business license applicants to provide photo identification and evidence that they possess professional certifications necessary to operate specific categories of businesses."  I know that the City wants to stop scooters on sidewalks but trying to stop them by requiring certifications is laughable!

WFRC PUSHES BILLION DOLLAR TRAIN TO LEHI
  The Wasatch Front Regional Council has provided a list of recommended projects for federal funding assist.  They include the billion dollar train from Draper to Lehi, electrifying FrontRunner and BRTs to Taylorsville, up and down 5600 South and other areas.  These billions of projects all appear to be wasteful wish lists when the highest priority should be more bus service.  

ROCKY ANDERSON IS BETTER THAN SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
  Last week, the Salt Lake Tribune did a story, "a hit piece", on former Mayor Rocky Anderson.  I know Rocky as an acquaintance but I also know many people who worked with him and under him and they have always regarded Rocky with respect.  Although a hard taskmaster, he engenders excellence and people who work under him, want to keep working for him.  I am incredulous that a well regarded reporter ignored warning signs that the story bordered on fake news!  Rocky Anderson deserved more respect and this story did not deserve to be published without a more vigorous examination of the evidence.  
  I am also surprised that the Tribune has ignored "rumors" of other politicians that have a much worse reputation.  We rely on newspapers to provide news that ensures appropriate and ethical actions by government.  But when a questionable story is published, the public stops trusting the news and one of our Nation's most important reasons for success is threatened.  The Tribune, or another news organization should follow up for the real story.

MCCLELLAND STREET BARRIER TO ADA USE
  Today, the Sugar House Community Council and Salt Lake City is hosting a discussion on the future of McClelland Street between Elm and 2100 South (about one block).  Soren Simonsen is recommending a shared street concept.  It is at Legacy Village on Wilmington (between 1300 E. and Highland) from 6 to 9 PM.  Unfortunately, the million dollars appropriated by the City to construct the McClelland Trail to Fairmont Park was all spent on alleyways so only about $100,000 is available for this project.

BOND VOTE IN SLC COULD STOP HEALTHCARE EXPANSION
  Salt Lake City Council is pushing hard for putting a bond proposal for streets on the November ballot.  The Council is hosting get togethers with the Council Chair and taking public testimony on July 10th and July 31st.  The Council is tentatively scheduled to make a decision by August 14.  But it is one of many potential tax increases this year.  Property taxes are going up, sometimes as much as 10%; the Prop One zombie tax is being implemented in October (which gives cities road and transit money); the November ballot already has a sales tax increase for healthcare expansion and a ten cent a gallon gas tax increase for education (to provide cover for the Legislature to shift funds from transportation back to education - that they pulled from about 10 years ago); and the proposals by the Legislature to increase taxes on services like Netflix and Amazon streaming!
  So now, Salt Lake City is proposing to threaten healthcare expansion and education funding increases to get more money than they already will get from the resurrected Prop One tax!  It sounds like an Aesop's Fable dog story.

TWO OF THE BEST MOVIES IN NORWEGIAN
  I received a couple of thanks for the last nod to foreign movies so I would like to suggest some more.  This time, I am recommending two Norwegian movies, Headhunters and Jackpot.  Headhunters is about a hitman and corporate recruiter.  It has action and suspense.  It deserves 90 minutes of watching.
  Jackpot is another Norwegian surprise (with some Swedish) that is as good a mystery as possible.  It will also be worth watching.  The irony and humorous plot grabs you almost immediately.






JULY 2, 2018

999 BIKE RIDE OVERWHELMS SLC


999 BIKE RIDE OVERWHELMS SLC

  The 999 bicycle riding gathering that is every Thursday night at 9:30 PM at 900 South and 900 East (southwest corner) is attracting hundreds and almost a thousand bicycle riders!  This is the time of year when it gets unreal.  I put some of the pictures from last week's ride in a zip file in the upper right.  For more information go to:

 https://www.facebook.com/notes/999-ride-slc/999-frequently-asked-questions/1938385479537785/




JUNE 28, 2018
REALITY CHECK ON OPERATION LEAF BLOWER
BURN PLANT SUGGESTED FOR SLCO, REALLY?
MILLCREEK MUNICIPAL FIBER, TOWN CENTER, SLC LAND TRADE
SINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY PUSHED IN SLC
UTA LOSING MORE VALUABLE PERSONNEL
UTA NOT PUBLICIZING 40% FARE DECREASE
OGDEN'S WANTS QUESTIONABLE $79 MILLION PROJECT
SLCO GOP ELECTS SCOTT MILLER CHAIR


REALITY CHECK ON OPERATION LEAF BLOWER
   On Monday, the National Network of Criminal Justice Coordinating Councils, a criminal justice reform think tank, held a meeting in Salt Lake City to celebrate the success of Operation Rio Grande.  Lieutenant Governor Cox, the Utah Highway Patrol and SLCO Mayor Ben McAdams all joined in the presentations to show the Country that Salt Lake County and Utah has solved the homeless problem in Utah!  Ironically, it happened on the 5 year anniversary of the announcement that Utah and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker had solved the homeless problem in Utah.  
  The Deseret News quoted Mayor McAdams giving credit to the Operation for putting 2,442 of Utah's very poorest on Medicaid.  Speaker Hughes gave credit to the Operation for using a sitin, an "occupy" in the Health and Human Services Department to remove the 16 bed limit on Medicaid drug treatment (put into place decades ago to protect single family home neighborhoods from large Medicaid drug treatment facilities).  280 drug dealers were arrested (and it appears that all except for 10 have been released) and a lot of drugs were confiscated.  
  If the kudos that were given to Mayor McAdams are pulled aside, the reality would have revealed that the reason for the Operation would have been revealed.  When Mayor McAdams repurposed $9.4 million a year that was going to the jail bond for his pet projects, including Pay for Success (which is still collecting information) and a salary increase for County employees, resulted in a jail that was not able to accept arrested criminals.  Former Sheriff Winder had to implement a jail booking restriction policy due to the lack of adequate public safety funding at the County Jail.  When that happened, the area around Rio Grande exploded into lawlessness.  SLC Police were not able to arrest and book and keep in jail drug dealers and other criminals.  
  The reason that the Salt Lake County police chiefs call the effort Operation Leaf Blower is because the jail is still underfunded and keeps drug dealers booked for just a few hours.  The U.S. Attorney was so upset that he books drug dealers arrested in Salt Lake County in other counties.  The rest of the municipalities are seeing a significant increase in drugs and homeless criminal behavior and complaints from the citizens.  They do not see Operation Rio Grande as the success that has been presented to the rest of the Country.
  Last week, the Legislature's Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee heard a real report on Operation Rio Grande during a deep dive presentation (in the downloads section).  There have been problems with the IDs (up to 50% are lost and need to be replaced).  Only 65 of the homeless are working (Lt. Governor Cox said 80 are working this week?!).  Crime in the area has gone down significantly but the rest of the County seems to be experiencing an increase that some attribute to drug addicts that are avoiding the downtown SLC Rio Grande area.  The drug addiction treatment for individuals with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) statistics show thousands of Utahns need treatment but success in treatment is difficult (statistics in the download section under addiction service rates).
  A reality check on Operation Rio Grande/Leaf Blower would show that the effort is more of a publicity stunt to increase the visibility and popularity of Ben McAdams and Greg Hughes so that they will eventually be able to run for Governor against each other.

BURN PLANT SUGGESTED FOR SLCO, REALLY?
  The problems with recycling (see last week's RECYCLING IS DEAD) have resulted in Millcreek suggesting some solutions that include a burn plant for garbage!  In the 1980s, I helped lead a fight against a proposed garbage burn plant in San Diego County.  I ended up on the San Diego County Solid Waste Management Board.  Burning nonhomogenous waste/garbage invariably will lead to more air pollution and, even with the best pollution controls (water curtains), the ash will still be hazardous with heavy metals that are very toxic.  The burn plant in Layton (which I tried to help close in the 1990s during my monthly visits to Utah) actually burned metal car parts, batteries and even depleted uranium bullets (not the "depleted uranium" barrels in the west desert filled with nuclear weapons waste.  The plant closed recently but the ash pile still remains and is not being properly secured.  
  The idea of burning garbage is wrong since it results in significant increases in pollution in an airshed that cannot take anymore burning of anything.  Recycling needs to be reevaluated but when most of our recycled garbage is actually sent to the dump, maybe recycling is not being effectively managed.

MILLCREEK MUNICIPAL FIBER, TOWN CENTER, SLC LAND TRADE
  Millcreek is considering an expensive municipal fiber system that will cost residents $2000 to $4000 over 20 years.  The goal is to have the new City support borrowing money and constructing a municipal broadband system to provide over 100 mbps internet connections for City residents.  But 4G cellular is 3 to 12 mbps with some cities getting 35 mbps.  Netflix recommends 25 mbps download for 4K and Amazon recommends 15 mbps download for 4K movies.  So cellular is providing competition already for high speed internet.  Slower download speeds can be compensated for with buffering.  
  Most importantly, 5G cellular is coming and I put the SLC report on 5G in the downloads section.  That will provide a cheaper and more cost effective installation and operation of 100 mbps download internet availability.  
  One of the reasons that Google Fiber slowed down their rollout was because of the new technology that is more cost effective than digging up sidewalks for fiber.  Google bought a company that does just that.  Even with the new microtrenching (not used in Utah yet), water and sewer lines can be cut.  SLC is experiencing a big problem with the issue of fiber construction companies breaking water and sewer pipes and refusing to fix them.  Also, UTOPIA, which showed up to support the effort, is still costing Utah taxpayers $50 million a year in a questionable interest rate swap.  The poorly managed UTOPIA buildout is the best reason not to have any municipality in Utah build municipal broadband.  It is still a way for government to get and spend more money.  Interestingly, I made that same comment years ago during a Legislative hearing on UTOPIA.
  Millcreek will have other public hearings if they decide to consider this project.
  Millcreek also is about to finalize high density, mixed use and mixed income town center zoning in the area from about 1200 East to Highland and from northern City boundaries to 3400 South.  The project should lead to a lot of construction in the area.  Unfortunately, it is near one of the Wasatch Front faultlines and it is also next to the 3300 South/1300 East high pressure natural gas pipeline.  In the next big one, the whole area could be incinerated with a rupture of the pipeline.  It also points out that the 911 system in Salt Lake County needs to be consolidated into one system.  If there is a rupture or accident or problem at 3300 South and 1300 East, three separate emergency numbers and responders need to be notified to respond!
  Another item mentioned at the Millcreek City Council meeting was that they have 47 UPD police patrolling Millcreek and they want 58.  They, the UPD, along with the other 12 law enforcement entities in the County have problems hiring and retaining enough police officers.
  And finally, Millcreek and Salt Lake City are discussing a land trade to consolidate the jigsaw boundaries between Millcreek and Salt Lake City on 1220 East/Richmond Street just north of 3300 South.  There are 4 homes just south of Elgin on Richmond that are in Millcreek and Salt Lake City takes care of the road in front of those homes.  But their sidewalks are below the road!  For over a decade, residents have complained about the safety issues and accidents in the area.  A land trade would help provide a better solution and responsibility for the area to get a safety increase (by giving the property to SLC in return for other property to provide fair compensation).

SINGLE ROOM OCCUPANCY PUSHED IN SLC
  I put the SLC proposal for Single Room Occupancy homes in the downloads section.  Of note, the parking remains at 1/2 per unit.  In addition, the rooms can contain a kitchen or bathroom but not both.  One of them has to be in the community area of the home.  This could be a concern to single family home neighbors.  The proposal was tabled for more information at this week's Planning Commission meeting.

UTA LOSING MORE VALUABLE PERSONNEL
  One of the most valuable personnel in UTA is leaving.  Rebecca Cruz, who I have been dealing with for almost 10 years, has a new degree and an offer that she couldn't refuse from Weber State University.  Rebecca was the UTA Board of Trustees secretary.  But, in reality, she was the organizer, trainer, administrative assistant and mentor to the Board of Trustees.  She knew everything and every Trustee needed her advice regularly.  Although UTA had a bad reputation, Rebecca was always trying to respond to my  requests.  She made UTA look good.  UTA's loss of Rebecca Cruz is right up there with the loss of Jerry Benson in the effect on UTA.

UTA NOT PUBLICIZING 40% FARE DECREASE
  UTA approved continuation of the 40% fare decrease on buses (to $1.50) and 20% fare decrease for trains (to $2) when using the FarePay card system.  Unfortunately, as mentioned in the discussion, there is almost no knowledge in the general public and given to bus riders about this significant fare benefit.  So the Board of Trustees asked that the fare be marketed and publicized.  Many believe, as do I, that reducing fares on buses will lead to a significant increase in mass transit ridership.  Pass it along, $1.50 bus fare when using the FarePay card ($3 one time fee at many locations like 7/11, Walgreens, etc)!!

OGDEN'S WANTS QUESTIONABLE $79 MILLION PROJECT
  Ogden City convinced the UTA Board of Trustees to start the environmental study to start the $79 million downtown Ogden to Weber State BRT project.  The BRT will run up 25 South to Harrison Boulevard then turn south and, south of 32nd South, have a dedicated lane to continue to Weber State University and to the McKay Dee Hospital.  It will take 15 minutes from downtown FrontRunner to Weber State University and have bus stops every 4 blocks (totaling 10-12 stops).  But the 603 bus already provides a 17 minute trip from FrontRunner to Weber State University and it stops every block!  The idea that more people will ride mass transit when bus stops are 4 blocks in between is not realistic (I am being generous!).  There are now 40 stops.  The route is popular and cost effective and spending $79 million on a project that may actually decrease ridership is government insanity.  Ogden expects the route to lead to significant redevelopment even though much of the route is next to single family homes.  Those homeowners will fight to keep their area as a single family neighborhood.  Washington Boulevard should have gotten the route.  I still do not think that UTA knows how to do BRT.  

SLCO GOP ELECTS SCOTT MILLER CHAIR
  The Salt Lake County Republican Party has elected Scott Miller Chair of the the County Party.  Scott kept the Party together and organized during the Suzanne Mulet period.  His organizational skills were important and are needed even more.  His election will help lead the Party to a more organized and effective voice in Utah politics that was missing in the last two County Party Chairs.



JUNE 23, 2018
TRANSIT PROBLEMS IN UTAH
UTAH LOSES MUCH LESS THAN $70 MILLION IN INTERNET TAXES
RECYCLING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE RECYCLING
PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT CAN BURN
HEPATITIS A COST UTAH MILLIONS
ONLY 65 HOMELESS WORKING!
INN BETWEEN COULD SERVE UP TO 400
NUCLEAR POWER IS DEAD, LONG LIVE NUCLEAR POWER
THE BEAUTY INSIDE IS MORE THAN A GREAT DATE MOVIE
DWR STOCKING FISH IN FAIRMONT POND



TRANSIT PROBLEMS IN UTAH
  During discussion at the Transportation Interim Legislative Committee, there were several presentations by Wasatch Front Regional Council, UTA and UDOT on the future of transportation in Utah.  UTA specifically said that they expected to only be able to increase service.  But they also indicated an effort to continue to build the $65 million bus garage and build several expensive BRT systems (at $15 million per mile TRAX on wheels).  They also expressed concerns about getting more transit ridership.
  The large number of cheap cars make it difficult to encourage ridership.  The Legislature may consider making it more expensive to keep older cars by increasing their registration fees.  It would also help air quality since the newer cars significantly reduce air pollution from their tailpipes (over 90% reduction with Tier 3 gasoline).
  Lost in the discussion is the lack of progress on homeless issues which results in our transit system providing shelter for homeless, especially in inclement weather.  Also, when someone buys a $50,000 vehicle, they will want to drive their vehicle.  The nicest train cannot compete with that.
  UTA also went through their finances over the last decade.  Interestingly, almost ignored over the last decade, UTA was on the edge of bankruptcy!  Up until a few years ago, UTA had to borrow money with a daily buy of variable interest rate.  That meant that, if the daily interest rate went up, they would not be able to meet their financial obligations.  Former GM Allegra was able to roll those bonds into longer term low interest rate bonds that were more stable and removed the potential danger of interest rates going up.  The recession actually protected UTA since the daily interest rate was unusually low.  I put their presentations on the upper right downloads section.  
  Another interesting UTA fact was the revenue from advertising.  UTA gets about $2.5 million a year for advertising on their buses and trains.  The Legislature is considering hearings on the new advertising of hard liquor on buses and trains.  If UTA accepts any advertising, they have to accept liquor advertising.  But UTA is getting 40% of the new Prop One lives! tax.  That should be enough to stop advertising on UTA vehicles.  Also, the number two reason that buses are used is clean windows (without advertising).  The number one reason is a pleasant bus driver.

UTAH LOSES MUCH LESS THAN $70 MILLION IN INTERNET TAXES
  The U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow state sales taxes on internet transactions was celebrated but in Utah, it won't result in more revenue.  And if the Legislature passes the bills that previously were filed due to the question of legality, only the small businesses that sell more than $100,000 to Utahns will have to pay the taxes.  Although the cost to small businesses to prove to 50+ taxing jurisdictions that they do not sell more than $100,000 to each state, will prove difficult.  The potential audits that states could demand will hurt.  Until Congress solves the issue, internet small businesses will have a major hurdle.  Big internet businesses have been given a big gift by the Supreme Court.  Despite Utah's assertion that Utah loses over $200 million a year on internet taxes, it is much less than $70 million due to the fact that most big internet businesses pay the tax anyway.  I don't know how Utah is going to force tens of thousands of small businesses to prove their business sales with Utahns don't go over $100,000.

RECYCLING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE RECYCLING
  The Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District has recognized that recycling is under significant pressure since China has severely cut back on accepting recycled materials from the U.S.  Much of the recycled materials are starting to go to landfills.  There is a discussion in several cities and in Salt Lake County about how to continue recycling under the new paradigm.  Even paper is more difficult to recycle since it is difficult to separate newspapers from other paper and that creates complications for recyclers.  Any liquid in plastic containers destroys the recycle ability.  Pizza boxes have too much oil to recycle.
  SLC is renegotiating their recycling contracts under this new war against recycling.  Utahns may have to pay more to recycling companies.  And the recycled materials may still end up in the landfill!

PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT CAN BURN
  SLC has a plan to build a shade structure in Imperial Park (28th South and 1530 East) over the playground equipment.  The project will use support poles to hold up a shade sail fabric over two playground elements.  The poles should last 30 years and the shade fabric should last 10 years.  Annual maintenance and operations cost should be about $1000.  This is an important project that will protect children from burns.  All playground equipment should be shaded like this.  The local community raised funds to help pay for the $75,000 project.  The City CIP funds will provide enough funding to complete the project.

HEPATITIS A COST UTAH MILLIONS
  A presentation to a legislative committee this week went into detail about the cost of hepatitis A to Utah.  While Kentucky has had 629 cases, Michigan 837 cases with 27 deaths, California has had 704 cases and 461 hospitalizations and 21 deaths.  Utah has had 251 cases along with 135 hospitalizations (costing Utah millions) and 2 deaths.
  44% of Utah hepatitis A cases were homeless and drug users.  69% were drug users.  52% were homeless.  It could have been much worse in Utah.  Credit should go to the Salt Lake County Department of Health under Gary Edwards and the Utah Department of Health for their efforts to successfully fight Utah's hepatitis A epidemic.
  Despite the horrible sanitation facilities in the homeless areas, the SLCO Health Department was able to stem the epidemic by providing over 10,000 vaccinations and sending letters to and working with the jail, prison, restaurants, downtown citizens and agencies that deal with homeless providers.  They passed out flyers and worked with the homeless.  They gave incentives for vaccination.  They distributed special hand wipes to the homeless providers (and jail).  I put the hepatitis A presentation in the downloads section.

ONLY 65 HOMELESS WORKING!
  Operation Rio Grande (Operation Leaf Blower according to SLCO police chiefs) third phase was supposed to be the culmination of a successful plan to help the homeless.  But.... only 65 homeless are participating in the third phase that helps those homeless who want to work.  I put the deep dive homeless presentation in the downloads section.  Also note that the "Coordinated Services Card system has been less efficient than anticipated, due to the high rate of card reissuance and related costs. The program will terminate in June 2019".

INN BETWEEN COULD SERVE UP TO 400
  The Legislature has provided funding to the INN Between that could result in the program serving up to 400 in the next year.

NUCLEAR POWER IS DEAD, LONG LIVE NUCLEAR POWER
  During the Public Utilities Interim Legislative Committee, there was a presentation on the fantastic potential of the Thorium fluid nuclear reactor.  Legislators were so enthusiastic that they asked what kind of funding that they could give to help the project in Utah!
  BUT... as a former nuclear engineer, the reality is that a successful Thorium fluid reactor is 10 to 30 years away from successful and safe operation.  Although the U.S. National Science Foundation and China are working on building a research test reactor, there are problems that have not been solved and that may take 10 plus years to solve, if ever.
  We have not solved the Tritium issue.  Tritium is released and is almost impossible to restrict.  It is radioactive and extremely dangerous.  The long term structural stability of the tubing materials has not been proven.  The alloy that is used becomes brittle due to exposure to Tellurium (dozens of elements are created in the radioactive fluid).  There has never been a successful plant that could reprocess and remove the significant and dangerous actinides that are created.  And finally, if the radioactive fluid is not kept as a liquid, there is a potential to have a catastrophic critical event.  These problems should not be on any campus or in any populated area.  There is no place in Utah that should have to worry about these issues.

THE BEAUTY INSIDE IS MORE THAN A GREAT DATE MOVIE
  I was recently asked what movie that I most enjoyed.  The Beauty Inside, a Korean take on a recent U.S. effort to point out the real beauty is inside.  This is one of my top 5 foreign movies.  This is more than a great date movie.  Any couple thinking about a permanent relationship should watch this movie.  I know several women who watched it and cried by the end of it.  Super happy tear jerker.  It is on Netflix and at the SLC Public Library.

DWR STOCKING FISH IN FAIRMONT POND
"The Department of Wildlife Resources will be stocking Fairmont Pond with 50 rainbow trout. The DWR Community Fishing Program allows for keeping up to two (2) of the fish caught per individual per day. Public fishing will begin at Fairmont Pond’s grand reopening on Wednesday, June 27 at 4 p.m. For more information in regards to the Community Fishing Program contact:
The Department of Wildlife Resources
Wildlife Recreation Specialist Chantè Lundskog  
801-491-5665."

JUNE 12, 2018
GOLF SURVIVES ANOTHER YEAR BUT WINGPOINTE REZONED
HOMELESS SERVICES PERFORMANCE TO BE TRACKED
PUBLIC SAFETY SALES TAXES CAN GO TO FIRE DEPARTMENT
WHITE ASPHALT BEING CONSIDERED TO REDUCE HEAT ISLAND
SLC RDA BOARD RENAMES WALKWAY FOR VASILIOS PRISKOS
ALTA MOTOR LODGE CRIME MAGNET HAS NEW BETTER OWNER
STATE STREET CAPITOL MOTEL NEEDS ENVIRONMENTAL EVALUATION
THIOKOL BECAME ATK AND IS NOW NORTHRUP GRUMMAN
COUNTY DOG PARKS DISCUSSION AT COUNTY COUNCIL
SLC COUNCIL VOTES FOR EVEN MORE TAXES!
SLC COUNCIL KEEPS PUSHING FOR INCREASING SALARY
BOY SCOUT UTAH PROPERTY STAYS FOR UTAH YOUTH BENEFITS
INN BETWEEN COMMUNITY BOARD MEETS SECOND TUESDAY OF MONTH
RDA BUDGET DOES NOT FUND HOMELESS APPROPRIATELY
SLCOGOP TO ELECT NEW CHAIR AND COUNTY COUNCIL D4 CANDIDATE JUNE 21


GOLF SURVIVES ANOTHER YEAR BUT WINGPOINTE REZONED
  The SLC Council has approved a general fund subsidy for SLC's Golf Enterprise Fund and voted for this legislative intent:
"General Fund Subsidy for Golf. It is the intent of the Council that the General Fund subsidize the Golf Fund for one year only, allowing the Council and Administration to vet all options for improving efficiency and profitability of annual operations. The Council intends to make discussion of golf and open space maintenance a priority for the FY 2019 budget year. Further, it is the Council’s intent that the $1 per round Golf CIP fee be used to pay for capital improvements (or debt service related to capital improvements), and not be used to offset operational deficits."

  Unfortunately, Councilwoman  Erin Mendenhall moved to rezone Wingpointe open space to Airport zone which is the first step to closing Wingpointe and turning it into pavement.  Erin does not like golf courses.


HOMELESS SERVICES PERFORMANCE TO BE TRACKED
  Many have complained about the efficiency and effectiveness of homeless services and the City Council has asked the Administration to show whether the funding is appropriate and where it works and doesn't work.  The language approved is:
"It is the intent of the Council that the Administration propose a clear set of metrics to document and assess the City’s contribution to homeless services, particularly if those contributions are expected to be multi-year or ongoing in nature, or go beyond the City’s typical roles, such as funding for case management and beds in addiction treatment facilities."

PUBLIC SAFETY SALES TAXES CAN GO TO FIRE DEPARTMENT
  The City Council has agreed that new sales tax funds for public safety can also go to the SLC Fire Department.  In addition, the Council has asked for an additional medical response unit in Fire Department.  It is sorely needed due to the large requirement from the drug issues in the homeless community.  Ten medical responses a day downtown are typical with most involving homeless drug use.  But mental health issues also are cause for responses.

WHITE ASPHALT BEING CONSIDERED TO REDUCE HEAT ISLAND
  During today's City Council meeting, in a surprise announcement, streets mentioned that they are considering white asphalt paving.  LA is starting to use the white asphalt on streets and SLC is evaluating their durability.  The goal is to reduce the City's heat island effect.  The City would start with parking lots. SLC is not super close to installing any white asphalt but if it turns out to be durable in LA, the City may pave a parking lot next summer.  Charlie Luke and Chris Wharton want to be on the paving truck that lays down white asphalt.  Council Chair Erin Mendenhall said put them on a paving truck.

SLC RDA BOARD RENAMES WALKWAY FOR VASILIOS PRISKOS
  The RDA Board has voted to rename the walkway just south of the Eccles Theater for Vasilios Priskos.  The RDA intent was "To preserve the memory of visionary Salt Lake City real estate developer Vasilios Priskos."  It will be officially the Vasilios Priskos Walkway.  Vasilios Priskos was responsible for much of the development on Main Street.  He also owned Internet Properties and was a big booster of downtown retail and entertainment.

ALTA MOTOR LODGE CRIME MAGNET HAS NEW BETTER OWNER
  The crime magnet Alta Motor Lodge at 1899 S. State Street has a new owner.  The SLCPD is ecstatic that the new owner is working closely with the SLC Police to stop the criminal behavior and to remove the criminal element.  The neighborhood should see a significant decrease in crime and drug dealing and prostitution in the neighborhood.

STATE STREET CAPITOL MOTEL NEEDS ENVIRONMENTAL EVALUATION
  Salt Lake City, through the SLC Housing Authority, has taken over ownership of the Capitol Motel at 1700 S. State.  The Housing Authority has removed many of the criminal element problems and is effectively managing the Motel to decrease its criminal magnet reputation.  The Authority is looking at potential redevelopment that would encompass all of the Motel property.  Some neighborhood residents have expressed concern about contamination of the Capitol Motel property.  Specifically, years ago, school buses had their oil changed in the garage on the property and nearby residents do not believe that that oil was properly disposed.  In addition, there is an underground stream through the property.  Nearby residents have not had their concerns addressed and have been at several community councils and City Council meetings complaining about the issues.  Many of the concerns that are real for the neighbors involve the size and height of any new building.  Adjacent neighbors would be negatively impacted by a large building next to the property line.

THIOKOL BECAME ATK AND IS NOW NORTHRUP GRUMMAN
  My father worked at Thiokol in Northern Utah for over 20 years before retiring in the 1980s.  As a kid, I was fascinated with stories about rockets and the X51 rocket plane.  Thiokol was the technology giant that put Utah on the map.  The main reason was our dry climate (which also attracts server farms) which helps curing of solid rocket motors (moisture and humidity is problematic for solid rocket motors).  Thiokol developed the Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters (My father warned that they could explode catastrophically years before it happened during launch.), air bags (I had one of the first cars with air bags in 1971.) and low weight exotic materials.  The air bag invention is used everyday by billions of world residents.  The company morphed into other explosives and ammos and became ATK.  This month, it was sold to Northrup Grumman.  It is sad for me to see a Utah company, a company that put Utah on the technology map, is no longer a Utah name.  Although it still has operations in Utah, the world will no longer look at a Utah name that shows the world that Utah is involved in technology.  I loved the Thiokol name.  

COUNTY DOG PARKS DISCUSSION AT COUNTY COUNCIL
  The County Council is discussing the off leash dog parks in the County.  I put the report in the downloads section in the upper right.  There is plenty of pressure for more off leash parks but no new plans yet.  Stay tuned.

SLC COUNCIL VOTES FOR EVEN MORE TAXES!
  The SLC Council has decided that SLC citizens don't get taxed enough!  Despite the recent .5 cent sales tax increase for public safety, streets, housing and transit, the City Council voted for the County Council to increase the sales tax to Prop One levels.  Ignored in the discussion was the fact that the County voters voted Prop One down.  The Council noted that SLC voters voted for Prop One and that was one reason for the increase vote.  The County Council will keep the increase in tax revenue (to pay down transportation debt) until July 2019.  Then the cities will get a small portion of the increase.  UTA will get 40% of the tax increase.  I still believe that most of the revenue will be used to build new projects focusing on south County areas around the Prison property (where many legislative leaders have property that they want to develop).  It was fascinating, despite the significant tax increase, that only a few, literally a handful, showed up at the Legislature to argue against the sales tax increase in SB136.  Note that this Friday, the sub committee of the group that recommended SB136 will meet at the Legislature at 1 PM.  You can find the meeting notice and agenda on the le.utah.gov website and calendar.
  Despite several lines of reasoning, all City Councilmembers agreed to increase taxes again.  The vote should allow the County Council to approve the tax increase officially, which will start being collected in October.  Council Chair Erin Mendenhall mentioned that she was voting for the tax increase because our streets need more funding.  It is ironic that she mentioned that point since the streets really need $40 million a year to provide regular basic recommended maintenance and repair but the City only funds it with less than $10 million a year.  The City Council approved an $8.4 million tax increase about 6 years ago but the next year, the City Council agreed with Mayor Becker to repurposed the tax increase for salary increases of 3% for all employees (and Councilmembers).  
  Lost in all of the discussion is the fact that there will be three tax increases on the ballot in November.  There will be a SLC bond of about $87 million.  There will be a ten cent a gallon gas tax increase survey that will influence/protect/allow the Legislature to increase gas taxes 10 cents a gallon and move a equal funding amount to education (The Legislature, several years ago, required 30% of all new funding to be used for transportation and education lost a lot of funding.)  Finally, there will be healthcare expansion vote that will use increased sales taxes to fund expanding healthcare.  This year is becoming the year of taxes.

SLC COUNCIL KEEPS PUSHING FOR INCREASING SALARY
  During SLC Council's June 12 work session, the Council voted to keep pushing for increasing compensation.  Council Chair Erin Mendenhall has been pushing hard for a 50% salary increase.  The vote keeps open the proposal to evaluate the elected officials compensation by asking the Citizens Compensation Advisory Committee to look at overall compensation, gather data on council members serving in leadership  roles (chair and vice chair) and make recommendations.  I know that most Utah municipalities have less compensation than SLC Councilmembers.  But the effort to increase the chair's compensation would affect Erin Mendenhall and that is not appropriate unless it is implemented after the Council members are not in office.  They should not be increasing their own salaries.  The vote keeps this open and the language is:
Evaluate elected officials compensation – The Council requests the Citizens Compensation
Advisory Committee (CCAC) review compensation for elected officials in comparable cities
throughout the West. In addition to looking at overall compensation, the review should gather
data on compensation levels for council members serving in leadership roles such as chair and
vice chair. Based on that analysis, the CCAC should make recommendations in the FY 2018
annual report for adjustments, if any, to elected officials compensation. If additional funding is
needed to conduct the review, a funding request should come before the Council with sufficient
time for the CCAC to incorporate the evaluation findings and recommendations into their FY
2018 annual report.

BOY SCOUT UTAH PROPERTY STAYS FOR UTAH YOUTH BENEFITS
  Many of the Utah Boy Scout troops will remove themselves from the Boy Scouts of America at the end of the year.  The property that is used by Boy Scouts today will continue to be utilized and be available to Utah scouts whatever their affiliation.  This email explains the change and minimal impact on property used by any Utah group.
"Our camps belong to the Great Salt Lake Council, or in the case of Steiner leased from the USFS, and that will not change unless the council ceases to exist someday.  We have no intention of going out of business. 
Even if we did and the camps went to the National Council, per the BSA’s bylaws they would be retained for the benefit of the youth of the territory covered by the Great Salt Lake Council.
We are not going anywhere though. We have many, many members of the LDS church who understand the benefits of Scouting, tens of thousands of current Scouts who are not members of the LDS church, and hundreds of other chartered organizations who will continue in Scouting beyond 2019. We will be smaller, but we will be fine.
We still have a very positive relationship with the LDS church so we fully intend to make our camps available for whatever the LDS church comes up and outside youth groups. As we have for decades with our young womens’ camps.
Mark Griffin | Scout Executive
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
Great Salt Lake Council
525 Foothill Blvd  |   Salt Lake City, Utah 84113
mark.griffin@scouting.org
www.saltlakescouts.org
Scouting builds character through unparalleled, life-enhancing experiences you can’t get anywhere else!"

INN BETWEEN COMMUNITY BOARD MEETS SECOND TUESDAY OF MONTH
  Unfortunately, the INN Between has decided that their community advisory board will meet on the second Tuesday of the month, on the same day that the SLC and SLCO Councils meet.  This is a surprise since it almost seems like it is going to decrease community involvement.  They are meeting tonight.

SLC BUDGET DOES NOT APPROPRIATELY FUND PUBLIC SAFETY
  The Council should have added money in the budget for 10 more cop cams since it looks doubtful that we can hire another 27 cops, even 10 cops will be tough to hire.  The next class will probably have 12 in the Academy. And the Sugar House Fairmont Park Skate Park needs one there permanently to decrease the drug dealing and troublemaking that is a consistent problem.  But the final budget does not cover cop cams.

RDA BUDGET DOES NOT FUND HOMELESS APPROPRIATELY
  The homeless could use the blue warehouse for storage and/or camping until SLC Housing uses it, and/or use Station Center 4 or 6.  But the RDA budget does not provide for that.  The property may sit unused/vacant for another 10 years.
  The market is still there and with all of the homeless around the Fourth Street Clinic, the Rescue Mission and the Homeless Services, it does not make sense.
  Sugarmont Plaza was going to be affordable housing but it is not listed in the property list as such.
  If SLC puts a TRAX station at 650West Main Street, TRAX becomes a milk run and discourages ridership.  Development of the area is discouraged by all of the car lots around the area.  It makes more sense to spend the half million on homeless storage.  But the RDA budget was approved.

SLCOGOP TO ELECT NEW CHAIR AND COUNTY COUNCIL D4 CANDIDATE JUNE 21
  The SLCGOP, the Salt Lake County Republican Party, will meet on June 21 to replace the former chair who resigned, Jake Parkinson.  Jennifer Jensen has been Acting Chair and she has been doing a great job.  In addition, due to the death of County Councilman District 4 Sam Granato, who was elected to serve until 2020, the Republican Party will be able to nominate a candidate for the ballot in November.  That candidate will run against, in all likelihood, Ann Granato, who is serving as Council member now.




JUNE 7, 2018
SUGAR HOUSE PLANS BIG PARTY SATURDAY JUNE 9
WITHOUT MORE COPS, COP CAMS FIGHT CRIME MAGNETS
COMPLAINTS ABOUT WATER AND SEWER INCREASES MOUNT
SLC RDA PLANS TO MAKE TRAX A MILK RUN
GOLF DECISION KICKED DOWN THE ROAD ONE LAST TIME AGAIN
SLC PROJECTS/PARKS NEED MAINTENANCE AND WATERING
NEW DOWNTOWN PARK PROJECT IS STILL ON THE TABLE
COMPLAINTS AGAINST POLICE ARE MISDIRECTED
CIP PROJECTS DO NOT HAVE COMMUNITY INPUT
NEED FOR MORE DOG PARKS
NOTES ON SLC VEHICLES
SLC TRANSIT SALES TAX INCREASE MAY NOT SEE MUCH FOR 4 YEARS
WHY AMAZON DID NOT CHOOSE UTAH
SUGAR HOUSE CONTINUES SUPERGENTRIFICATION
SLC LIBRARY ADDS A CREATIVE LAB FOR POSTERS, MUSIC AND 3D PRINTING
MISCELLANEOUS SUGAR HOUSE NOTES

SUGAR HOUSE PLANS BIG PARTY SATURDAY JUNE 9
  On Saturday, June 9, from 3 PM to 8 PM, the biggest party imaginable will have 47 bands providing entertainment for the Heart and Soul Music Stroll.  Visit heartsoul.org for more information.  It will take place in the 1530 East and 2700 South area.  There will be food trucks and even valet bicycle parking.  47 bands have to be heard.  They can't be imagined.
  Before the 3 PM Music Stroll, the Sprague Library will be celebrating their 90th anniversary from noon to 2 PM (this Saturday June 9) with cake, kids activities and other celebrating activities. 

WITHOUT MORE COPS, COP CAMS FIGHT CRIME MAGNETS
  The SLC budget is about to be passed (on June 12) and almost no one is commenting on the issues.  One of the important issues is the SLCPD salary.  The police need more personnel.  They just bought 50 new cop cars and they have plenty of bicycles.  But they don't personnel to man them (with men and women officers).  The SLC Council considered (and dropped) Erin's 50% salary increase.  So why can't SLC recognize that without better pay, SLC will not have the increased number of police that they have set as a goal.
  The alternative is cop cams.  They are portable, trailer mounted cameras that can be placed in high crime areas and feed video of the area back to the SLCPD.  Community councils have been begging for them.  They decrease crime and discourage criminal activity in the adjacent area.  But SLC only has one operable cop cam trailer.  It needs 10 to provide each Council District a trailer, with spares.
  Another use of the cop cam trailers is it will fight human trafficking/prostitution.  It can provide video of pimps so that not just johns and prostitutes can be arrested, but also those who are the real threat, the pimps who actually do the human trafficking.
  SLC's budget needs to budget for cop cams.
  
COMPLAINTS ABOUT WATER AND SEWER INCREASES MOUNT
  The last few budget public hearings have had a few citizens complaining about the water and sewer fee increases.  Unfortunately, Salt Lake City (which also supplies water to Millcreek, Holladay and Cottonwood Heights) has not clearly explained why the rates were approved last year and are set to double within four more years.  The City decided to build new facilities (reconstructing a plant) to meet new guidelines and requirements.  To build those big projects will require a doubling of water and sewer fees. I don't agree with the process or increase but the decision was made last year.  Ironically, the citizens of SLC are using less and less water.  The water use for SLC has actually gone down!
  The Salt Lake Tribune had a great story on the issues.  I recommend reading it.  Google SLC sewer rates may double and sltrib.com.  
http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=5217220&itype=CMSID
SLC should better explain to its residents why the increase is coming instead of just sending a card saying that it is being proposed.
  
SLC RDA PLANS TO MAKE TRAX A MILK RUN
  SLC RDA/City Council is proposing to start a TRAX station at 650 South Main Street with RDA funds and hope that the rest of the money will come from grants.  This extra station will essentially make TRAX a milk run.  The longer it takes to get to downtown and Temple Square, the less likely people will take mass transit.  If it takes longer to go from 700 South to Temple Square than to drive from 6500 South on the freeway to downtown, people will drive more.
  The Green Line would probably be most negatively impacted.  The Airport gets just over 1000 riders a day on TRAX due to the zig zag through downtown.  Adding another stop will discourage using TRAX to the Airport.  
  When the Green Line went to the Airport, UTA stopped their Airport bus.  Although few used it, it went from downtown, on the freeway, to the Airport, in 15 minutes.  That is half the time that it takes the Green Line to get to the Airport.  Buses work.  Ironically, the Redwood Road and 5600 West buses are not being considered for service increases (with the SLC sales tax increase) and they could easily and cheaply be expanded to the Airport.  SLC's plan will not increase mass transit ridership.

GOLF DECISION KICKED DOWN THE ROAD ONE LAST TIME AGAIN
  Amy Fowler is becoming the Salt Lake Champion of golf.  She argued for and convinced the Council to provide funding for the golf fund for another year.  
  Charlie Luke agreed to the one year general fund subsidy but wants the Council to work on this issue and provide an alternative well before the next budget cycle.  He did not think that golf issues will be able to be solved in the next two weeks before the budget is approved.  Charlie said that "we are all getting on our soapboxes but... we aren't getting anywhere with this".
  Erin Mendenhall has been trying to close golf courses and complained that the administration is not motivated to solve this issue.  She agreed with former Mayor Becker that SLC needs to close some golf courses.  During the public hearing on June 5, after I pointed out that Wingpointe is valuable green space and should not be rezoned, she argued that the rezone will not automatically result in paving it over.  I disagree since I have seen the plans to put a deicing maintenance facility on Wingpointe golf course if the Airport can take over the course.  I pointed out that the problem with golf is that SLC does not treat golf, open space, parks and the cemetery as amenities and overcharges for water and labels those properties as a burden.
  Most of the Council agreed to the funding because they do not want anymore 2 hour discussions on this issue without a better plan.  

SLC PROJECTS/PARKS NEED MAINTENANCE AND WATERING
  During the golf discussion, Amy pointed out that we build parks and projects but the City does not provide maintenance funding.  James Rogers agreed that the City cannnot even maintain the 300 West streetscape.  Last year, the City had to start watering the cemetery after complaints from VIPs.  Maintenance should include watering.  But SLC requires a three tier fee system for watering to encourage using less water.  The parks, golf courses, open space, urban forest and cemetery are amenities and the City should stop treating these amenities as poor stepchildren and stop forcing them to stop watering them.  Our urban forest provides a natural way to decrease pollution and to cool the buildings in the City.  Charlie Luke said that we need a policy discussion on maintenance.  "Everything we build we will have to pay for... just because we get the grants, if we don't have the money to maintain them, maybe we shouldn't do the project."  Charlie Luke is right.  The City needs to have a discussion on maintaining the projects that we build.  In addition, green space in SLC should be planned and protected with proper maintenance and watering.

NEW DOWNTOWN PARK PROJECT IS STILL ON THE TABLE
  During the June 5 work session, the City Council reiterated the intent to build a downtown park.  There are a couple of potential sites but the cost of property acquisition is continuing to grow.  When $900,000 was appropriated in 2014, no one thought that the cost would increase as much as it has.  The City would need to come up with $1.6 million to buy a 2 acre site.  But, until SLC solves the homeless issues, another park in the downtown area will just create more problems for the adjacent neighborhood.

COMPLAINTS AGAINST POLICE ARE MISDIRECTED
  Over the last few months, at every SLC City Council formal meeting, there have been a large turnout of demonstrators complaining about police brutality and murder.  Signs that say BLACK LIVES MATTER and other similar thoughts are constantly in the City Council chambers during the formal meeting.  The complaints are directed at the governance of the Mayor and City Council.  They include complaints that the Council ignores police complaints and refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem.  They also question why Salt Lake City needs 50 new police officers.  And they often complain that the Council members do not understand the reality on the streets regarding police/community interactions.
  But those demonstrators ignore the reality in Salt Lake City.  All of the Council members, and I have watched and listened to them for years, are concerned about police issues.  They have increased training to ensure professional conduct.  I remember former Police Chief Burbank pointing out, several years ago, that he was in 13 situations where he would have been justified in shooting individuals but his training helped him defuse the situation without shooting.  The Council was impressed and continues to ask if more training is needed.  The last time Chief Brown was in front of the Council, they insisted that he ensured that every patrol officer had an operable body cam.
  In addition, Councilwoman Amy Fowler deals with individuals everyday who have been arrested by police.  She is a public defender.  She knows the reality better than any or even all of the demonstrators.  Although she is new, having been in office for six months, she is making a big difference on the Council.  She does care and her questions are appropriate and cover the concerns of the demonstrators.  
  Regarding 50 new cops, the best deterrent to crime is more visible police officers.  Every community council that I go to complains about not enough visible police.  The demonstrators may feel that there are too many police but most citizens want more visible police.  Unfortunately, as I mentioned in a recent blog entry, SLC may never be able to get to even 20 new police officers.  There is too much competition for police and the benefits are not very competitive with non governmental work.  
  The demonstrators are way off and seem to be clueless about the reality in SLC.  Salt Lake City's Council and Mayor are working hard to ensure that unprofessional police actions are identified publicly.  From rapid releasing of bodycam footage (faster than any other municipality in Utah) to ordering the Chief of Police to apologize to a Young African Killer gang member who was selling spice and was shot while refusing to stop attacking someone.  I disagreed with that order because I had heard many complaints about the YAK gang selling spice in the Rio Grande area and I watched the body cam footage.  I felt that the shooting was justified.  The reason DA Sim Gill (who is very evenhanded in his investigations of police shootings) is charging the YAK gang member who was shot with drug dealing, is he was drug dealing!  

CIP PROJECTS DO NOT HAVE COMMUNITY INPUT
  The CIP list of projects is available and in the downloads area (upper right hand column).  Unfortunately, many of the projects have not been sent to community councils for feedback.  Each project has a line item that lists Community Support.  Many of the CIP items have NA on the that line.  That is wrong.  Some examples of questionable projects include the 1100 East driveway into the Post Office replacement that will cost $226,000.  That money would be better spent on the McClelland Street project that is only able to get $100,000 to spend on what could be a walkable street that could be a centerpiece for Sugar House.
  There is also an item to provide a new maintenance yard at Liberty Park that would cost $735,000.  That money would be more appropriately spent on the Seven Canyons Fountain system near the maintenance yard.  The City Council will have a more robust discussion about the CIP project list later on in the summer.
  Another project is the 1700 South project to remove 2 lanes of traffic on 1700 South between 300 West and State Street.  But the neighboring commercial businesses are not enthused about the project and are objecting.  Notice on the 1700 South project description below that the Community Support is NA.
  This is the CIP line item project description:
1700 SOUTH STATE STREET TO 300 W LANE RECONFIGURATION   M19-48-TRN
1700 S\State Street to 300 W Lane Reconfiguration Request: $ 105,000
TRN - C CDCIP Board Recommendation: $ 105,000
New Request Mayor Recommendation: $ 105,000
External Funding: NA
Partner Organization: NA
RDA Project Area: No
Project Elements Funded Separately: This project can't be broken down into smaller funding requests. Full funding is needed to complete a slurry seal and restriping and marking of the street.
Cost Savings Combining Multiple Projects: NA
Project Timeline: Construction date: Spring/Summer 2019
Master Plan Implementation: Transportation Master Plan and Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan
Included in the Capital Facilities Plan: No
This project would entail a lane reconfiguration of 1700 S between State Street and 300 W. To accomplish this, the street would be slurry sealed and then restriped. The currently existing lane configuration of a five lane section (two travel lanes in each direction and a center turn lane) and bike lanes will be changed to a three lane section (one travel lane in each direction and a center turn lane), bike lanes, and parking.
Impact Fee Eligibility: 0%
Budget Details: NA
Renewable Energy \ Sustainability Goals: Changing from a five lane with bike lanes street section to a three lane section with bike lanes and parking will provide additional safety to pedestrians which will encourage more people to walk to destination along this section of 1700 S. The more people walk rather than driving will help improve air quality and personal health, while reducing the City's carbon footprint.
SUSTAINABLILITY DEPARTMENT SUPPORTS THIS PROEJCT, feedback: Recommended for funding by the Sustainability Dept. Increases opportunities for active transportation, and has high potential to reduce vehicle miles traveled and associated pollutants. Increased connectivity, and bike and pedestrian safety.
Future Maintenance: Regular, on-going maintenance of the striping, markings, and signing would continue.
Community Support: NA
Legal Requirements: The striping and marking of the street must be done to city standards
Public Health & Safety: Changing from a five lane with bike lanes street section to a three lane section with bike lanes and parking will provide additional safety to pedestrians walking along and crossing this section of 1700 S.
Life Expectancy: With regular striping, marking, and signing maintenance, this project will be in place until removed or changed.

NEED FOR MORE DOG PARKS
  Council member Chris Wharton emphasized that Salt Lake City and especially the Avenues needs more dog park space.  He pointed out in a recent City Council work session that Lindsey Gardens' dog park area is too crowded and due the number of dogs, they often go over the invisible line dividing the dog park from the rest of the park.  A fence may be needed to control and alleviate problems in the park.  A better solution is to add another park, maybe closer to the foothills.  Chris Wharton may be the hero that dogs are looking for.

NOTES ON SLC VEHICLES
  During a recent budget hearing on SLC's fleet, it was noted that the City's fleet maintenance budget has tripled.  Even though the City recently bought 50 new police patrol cars at a cost of $36,000 each, they are still being outfitted.  Unfortunately, the City only buys $20,000 insurance for the $36,000 vehicle and when the vehicle is damaged beyond repair, the City loses $16,000.  Fire Department vehicles are not usually damaged which is fortunate since they typically cost $1.2 million.
  The City recently bought some Chevy Volt for the compliance unit (tickets).  They have a 10 year battery warranty and replace the vehicles that used to idle much of their work day.  The 335 miles (400+ in ads) range allows the City to use it without recharging for 8 hours a day.
 
SLC SALES TAX INCREASE FOR TRANSIT MAY NOT SEE MUCH FOR 4 YEARS
  During discussion on using money from the recently approved SLC sales tax increase for transit service increases, it was pointed out that phase one of the service increases may take 4 to 5 years to get going.  The money won't start coming in until 2019 and even then, the City has to negotiate and agree with UTA to provide the service increases.  The list of priority projects include 200 S (increasing frequency from 15 minutes), 1300 South, 900 South, 2100 South, 600 North and 1000 North.  Unfortunately, there is no proposal to increase service or span of service on State Street and Redwood Road.  And the zig zag west side routes are still being allowed (to meet Title VI requirements - I still contend that zig zag milk runs do not show respect for economically disadvantaged areas).  Another proposal to increase bus service on 400 South was not recommended because it would require a new bus facility which would increase cost.  Interestingly, Representative Schultz pushed for funding for the new $65+ million bus garage and, with new SB136 tax increases, the garage is a sure thing. 

WHY AMAZON DID NOT CHOOSE UTAH
  Utah submitted a proposal to Amazon to locate its second headquarters here and it was rejected.  The reasons given were that the workforce in Utah presented a challenge due to the lack of tech workers.  Amazon also wanted a more urban environment.

ANN GRANATO NEW COUNTY COUNCIL WOMAN REPRESENTING DISTRICT 4
  Unfortunately, almost no news organizations reported it, but recently deceased Sam Granato's better, and smarter half, has been elected by the Salt Lake County Democratic delegates to succeed her husband on the County Council.  The County Council swore her into office the next day, June 5.  I know all of the County Council members and I believe that she is the smartest out of all of them, despite being a Democrat.  Nobody's perfect.

SUGAR HOUSE CONTINUES SUPERGENTRIFICATION
  The old parking lot on the southwest corner of Elm and McClelland, across the street from the Sugarmont Apartment complex being built, and just north of the England car detailing business, is proposed to become a 6 story apartment and office complex.  There will be about 60 apartments and about 79 parking spaces in the projects.  The ground floor is designed to have offices but the project developers say that they will provide for future retail if there is sufficient economic viability of retail in the area.  Mixed use encourages walkability and the Sugar House Community Council is redesigning McClelland to encourage walkability.  The project should be encouraging ground floor restaurants and retail.  The project is called the Fairmont.

SLC LIBRARY ADDS A CREATIVE LAB FOR POSTERS, MUSIC AND 3D PRINTING
  The Salt Lake City Main Library has built a creative lab area that has rooms to quietly make music, make large posters and even has a 3D printer.  The Friends of the Library helped bring the project to reality.

MISCELLANEOUS SUGAR HOUSE NOTES
  The redesigned Fairmont Park pond will be finished by June 27.  The 2100 South and 1000 East project has removed the covered sidewalk which is resulting in many pedestrians walking in the street next to the project.  The construction company has said that the new sidewalk should be ready by July 4th but construction companies cannot be counted on to meet deadlines.  Someone could get killed.  The new 900 East Sugar House fire station is projected to be finished by September 1.  It was originally scheduled to be finished in July.  Wilmington, just west of 1300 East is scheduled to be finished by June 15 and traffic will return to two way on the street.  
  Sprague Library's elevator continues to cause problems and stops the effort to open up the downstairs area.  The elevator had to have a motor replaced and the Library is waiting for an inspection.  The Library still has not found a replacement facility to take over when the Sprague Library closes for a year in the fall.
  The Community Council has asked for a cop cam trailer to decrease the drug dealing (usually spice) around the Fairmont Park skate park.  The Police Department is also having the nightime lights turned off earlier to decrease potential criminal activity.  There was an attack on a police officer last week that resulted in a threatening crowd.  
  Unfortunately, Sugar House Park fireworks are not going to happen this year.  One of the recent organizers pulled out because he wanted to charge but the Park's Board did not want to charge people to use the Park.  And all fireworks are banned in Sugar House Park, even snakes.  In fact, Salt Lake City is banning fireworks east of 900 East this year (supposedly).



MAY 31, 2018
POLICE MAY NEVER ADD MORE COPS

SLC POLICE MAY NEVER ADD MORE COPS
  During Tuesday's SLC Council meeting and discussion with SLCPD Chief Brown, it became clear that SLCPD may never be able to add enough cops to get to about 200 on patrol.  There are 138 staffed in patrol now and the Chief would like to have almost 200 on patrol.  During recent interviews set up with law enforcement officers from other jurisdictions, about 12 set up interviews but only 3 showed up.  The other law enforcement departments in the Valley are all competing for the same personnel.  31 officers are in training now and, of those, 10 of them have law enforcement backgrounds and are transferring laterally from other departments.  They will be ready for patrol in August.  The other 21 applicants in the Academy will be out of training in October.   But SLCPD is losing 2 to 3 20 year experienced officers to retirement each month so SLCPD may never be able to add  more cops.
  In order to get the patrols up to where the Chief wants them, the Department will transfer, temporarily, everybody that can patrol, except for the undercover narcotics officers, to patrol.  They will double up with another regular patrol officer to provide a two man patrol.  Since most calls require two officers to respond anyway, personnel staffing won't be affected much. 
  Regarding the bike squad, the Chief said that the squad will go where it is needed.  Most were transferred to help Operation Rio Grande and they are now moving to patrol State Street.  Several Councilmembers expressed concern about the visibility of the bike patrol around the City, especially around the Jordan River Trail and the westside.  The Chief emphasized that if there is a need, "we will provide resources to where they are needed."  But they need more officers first.  They have plenty of bikes but they need personnel to man them.  "We need people over equipment."
  The City has provided a cellphone to each officer to help with crime scene photographs so that the officers do not have to wait for the Crime Lab techs.  The TASER and body cam officer safety program has plenty of in warranty TASERS (5 year warranty) but the body cams do not have many surplus to replace defective equipment.  The Chief said that they will ensure that every officer on patrol will have an operable body cam.  
  The biggest cost coming up will be the accreditation of the crime lab but the Department will cover it over a few years. 
  The 911 system, which is separate from the Police Department, has 5 vacant positions.  They are having a problem hiring more personnel since UTA pays $27,300 to starting operators and even Panda Express in Heber starts at $13 per hour.  SLC 911 provides $15.81 per hour.  Dispatchers have to be POST certified and there are 6 in the Training Academy. The acting, soon to be permanent, manager, Lisa Burnette, said that she would like to get her personnel into the community so that the communities learn the issues that dispatchers have and how to work with them.  There are about 8 complaints a year but I have seen many more at each community council.  The manager also said that she has only 5 out of 65 speaking Spanish and she wants 20 Spanish speakers.  She has 3 who speak Tongan.  Dispatchers are still seeing a lot of overtime.



MAY 30, 2018

SLC COUNCIL QUESTIONS ERIN'S SALARY INCREASE AT WORST TIME


SLC COUNCIL QUESTIONS ERIN'S SALARY INCREASE AT WORST TIME
  During discussion at almost 9 PM on Tuesday's SLC City Council work session, Erin Mendenhall, the City Council Chair (Chris Wharton was chairing this meeting) asked for a $10,000 salary increase for City Council members.  Several Councilmembers thought that the conversation needed to take place but that this discussion, at this time, the worst possible time, was not a good time to discuss a salary increase for the Council.
  Derek Kitchen said that "this is an important conversation... this is not a sustainable job" but maybe a gradual increase may be more appropriate.  
  Andrew Johnston agreed that this is a bad time but the salary "is a problem for a lot of people who are trying to make ends meet and serve this community....this is a problem for me".  He said that this is not going to be fulltime but doing this at an appropriate time and place would be appropriate.  Maybe looking at other benefits may be more acceptable.
  James Rogers agreed that this is not a sustainable position (serving on the Council).  "I do it as a service."  He said that a salary increase would eliminate people who have a full time job and eliminate those who want to do service.  It would create full time politicians.  We would end up with an Orrin Hatch.  He pointed out that "we get reimbursement for home internet and for cell phones."  "What is $10,000 going to do that we don't have now....I don't have data that shows that we are underpaid."  Councilman Rogers said that the Council position "takes away from my job" but a salary increase would eliminate people who have full time jobs who want service.  He pointed out that the Council is already looking at a childcare facility for employees.
  After pushback from Erin Mendenhall who questioned whether James was implying that Erin is not doing her job, she said that he is pointing out issues in the extreme.  She said that her $35,000 proposal is not a full time professional salary but it can pay for child care, make the position more democratic and "for me a 10000 raise will put me on par with my babysitter".  She complained that "we have potential councilmembers in my district who would be great on the Council but their families can't handle it."
  Charlie Luke said that "there is never a good time to have this discussion ...but this is the worst time to have this discussion.... with a sales tax increase and a bond on the November ballot."  "We are compensated better than the Legislature...  What will the Legislature say if we do this.. ..There is always someone ready to run."  "It would only be appropriate to have this discussion as soon as all of our roads are fixed, as soon as public perception of public safety but we are not even close."  "What are we not going to do that we could be doing if we do this?"
  Chris Wharton said that the City could look at child care reimbursement or an additional stipend.
  Amy Fowler said that "after 8 hours and after 9PM, this is not the time to talk about it.  If we continue, we will be here until midnight.... When I ran, I did not know that it was a paid job."  This is not a good time, not on the eve of approving budgets.  "Put this as a priority but I can't support it now but I want to have the conversation."
  Erin finished the conversation by complaining that we will "never be at 100% on streets" and we should be encouraging diversity financially and socially.  Erin said that "I appreciate everybody talking about it."   And then there was silence.  After some awkward silence, Chris moved on to the next agenda item.



MAY 25, 2018
SLC COUNCIL DISCUSSES THEIR 50% SALARY INCREASE
NEW INN BETWEEN FOR HOMELESS HOSPICE DRAWS ANGRY CROWD
REP. SCHULTZ CLAIMS LEGAL THREAT AFFECTED UTA MEETING 
ANN GRANATO IN RACE TO REPLACE SAM AT SLCO COUNCIL
5600 W. PLAN GOES FROM OLD BINGHAM LRT TO SLCIA TO DOWNTOWN

SLC COUNCIL DISCUSSES THEIR 50% SALARY INCREASE
  The SLC Council has added a discussion to increase the Councilmembers salary 50%, to the SLC budget discussions.  Council Chair Erin Mendenhall confirmed the discussion to increase their salary from about $24,000 to $35,000 during Thursday night's ELPCO community council meeting.  Erin said that she does not have enough votes, at that time, to pass a salary increase but that the Council will discuss it at the next SLC Council work session on May 29.  Erin said that it is important to attract the best possible candidates for the office and that the time commitment to effectively work on the Council is much greater than the present salary would imply.  She also pointed out that she pays her babysitter more than she gets. 
  The nominal salary is one way to ensure that elected officials don't look at elective office as a career.  It encourages those willing to serve for the benefit of taxpayers and Utahns to run for office.  The relatively low salary discourages professional politicians.  Utah has had great success in ensuring that professional politicians are discouraged.  Utah has a part time Legislature and most municipal elected offices are part time.  Even some mayors are part time.  
  But the most concerning aspect of this proposal is almost nobody in Salt Lake City knows about this discussion to give a 50% salary increase to SLC Councilmembers.  It also is hypocritical to consider a 50% council salary increase and balk at providing SLC Police with more than a 3% salary increase.  Police go to work everyday and face the most dangerous individuals in society.  They are willing to take a bullet for us.  They deserve more than the same 3% salary increase that the rest of the City employees are going to get in this budget.
  The salary increase proposal is under unresolved issues and I put the document on the upper right downloads section (along with many of the items mentioned in the blog).  The Council will have two more public hearings on the budget on June 5 and June 12.  The Council expects to vote on the budget and this issue on June 12.
  The item says:

"g. Council Member Compensation – Over recent years, Council Members have struggled with
balancing an interest in discussing different ways to address Council Member compensation with
budget constraints and public sensitivity. The interest based on (1) the higher level of expectations
and demand for time placed on elected officials now than when the salary levels of Council Members
were first initiated (1/5 of the Mayor’s salary) and (2) a desire to consistently maintain a pay rate for
the City Council Members that makes it possible for people from all income levels to
serve. Expenses are naturally created when serving as a part time elected official (time away from
regular job or business, babysitting costs, etc.) If the pay for the position doesn’t at least cover the
expenses associated with the job, only individuals who are able to ‘subsidize’ their City Council
service through other personal resources or the support of a partner are able to fill the positions, and
the field of candidates is narrowed to the point that it could exclude low income people or single
parents.

i. Shifting to a Policy Approach – The Council may wish to discuss shifting to a policy
approach to determine appropriated (sic) compensation for elected officials. The City conducted
salary surveys of elected officials in other municipalities most recently in 2015. The results
showed significant variation in annual salary between cities. There was no consensus from
the data about what salary is reasonable / appropriate for Salt Lake City elected officials.

ii. In addition to the inconclusive survey data, some challenges arise when comparing salaries
for elected officials such as differences across forms of government, separation of
duties/powers, demographic and economic variations, actual hours worked, and other
factors. 

iii. The Council is always torn about whether and how to adequately address the question of
compensation. One option some communities have used is to make any changes effective
after the next election cycle."


NEW INN BETWEEN FOR HOMELESS HOSPICE DRAWS ANGRY CROWD
  Thursday night, May 24, the East Liberty Park Community Council hosted a forum and question and answer meeting regarding the proposal/plan to move the INN Between to 1250 East and 1300 South(Sherman Avenue).  The overflow crowd of almost 100 were mostly upset about the potential increase in homeless in their neighborhood of single family homes.  There was also a large segment of the group that appreciated the work that the INN Between was involved in, ensuring that homeless were able to die in a safe and indoor facility instead of searching for a cubby or underneath a car when they feel that the end is near.  That was a real comment from a dying homeless man a couple of years ago.  Over 50 homeless a year die each year and most die outside in the open.  They sometimes freeze to death in public spaces but most of the time, if they are outside, they die alone.  The INN Between provides basic charity and Christian care to the dying. 
  Hospitals also dump patients at the Weigand Center many times a week.  These respite care patients are also taken in by the INN Between.  They may need recovery from surgery or cancer treatments.  They are vetted and validated by hospitals before they are accepted by INN Between.  It is expected that about 30% of the patients may be respite care or recovering from medical care.  Sometimes, the homeless die within a few days of entering the facility.  It is difficult to argue with the charity that the INN Between is providing.
  But the valid community concerns included registered sexual offenders could be patients and two schools are nearby.  Also, visitors may increase the number of homeless walking the neighborhood.  And tobacco, marijuana and spice smoking may be sensed in the adjacent neighborhood.
  Most of the attendees were furious when Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall said that there is nothing that can be done to stop the INN Between from locating in the neighborhood.  I disagree; but my concern, is that the homeless hospice patients are effectively in a prison since there are no nearby stores to provide treats or other items that are not available in the facility.
  I also asked and received assurances that a community advisory board would be set up to ensure that complaints are quickly addressed and that will allow communicating the background of registered sex offenders that are put in the facility.  The previous INN Between location does have a successful community advisory board that seems to be working well, according to the neighbors and community leaders.

REP. SCHULTZ CLAIMS LEGAL THREAT AFFECTED UTA MEETING 
  UTA was under the gun by Representative Schultz and Senator Harper to revisit the constructive termination of Jerry Benson last month before his position was done away with.  I had the oped in the Salt Lake Tribune last week that expressed my belief that Jerry deserved the minimal severance of 9 months.  When he negotiated the contract to be general manager, he received assurances by UTA Board of Trustees Chair David Burton that he would have complete authority to hire and fire staff and be given more authority than previous general managers.  Jerry did not want the job since it came with such political pressure.  Jerry was an operations expert and did not want to fight the political battles.  During the discussion that ran over 2 hours, Jerry's lawyer mentioned that if the UTA Board did anything else but affirmed Jerry's termination and severance, there could be a legal case.  I had mentioned that a few minutes earlier in my comments to the Board.  Representative Schultz claimed that the legal threat was the determining factor in the 6 to 5 vote to affirm Jerry's severance.
  I disagree.  The issue that resulted in reaffirming the severance was May 8 was the effective implementation date of SB136 that changed Jerry's job title and authority.  The new commissioners that would essentially replace Jerry would be installed BY November 1.  But the language of the bill would allow the commissioners to be put into place on May 9 and the Board had to make a decision on the issue before then.  Most of the Board that voted to affirm felt that the May 8 date was the date everything changed.  Despite Representative Schultz's claim and interpretation that it did not mean May 8 was when the new governance was to be in place, the wording specifically says May 8 is when the governance change becomes effective.  And several Trustees mentioned that laws should not be left to interpretation by interested parties but should rely on the words.  SB136 was not a great bill and should be fine tuned.  But to imply, as Representative Schultz did, that his interpretation should be gospel, was an insult.  Interestingly, the discussion almost revisited the outrageous severance of Jerry's predecessors.  But that was stopped when it was pointed out that that kind of discussion should be done in closed session.
  Jerry is enjoying his retirement and expects to stay in Utah.  He joked that he had no plans but to spend more time with his lawyer.

ANN GRANATO IN RACE TO REPLACE SAM AT SLCO COUNCIL
  In the next few weeks, Ann Granato, the wife of Sam Granato, may be elected to replace her husband on the Salt Lake County Council representing Millcreek and adjacent areas of the County.  Others are running for the position but Ann appears to have a lead with the obvious name and good will of the Democratic Party.  The Democratic delegates from Sam's district will vote to pick Sam's replacement.  Ann would be a great replacement for Sam Granato and would carry on his respected work representing his district.

5600 W. PLAN GOES FROM OLD BINGHAM LRT TO SLCIA TO DOWNTOWN
  Utah seems to be moving forward on an express bus from the Old Bingham TRAX station traveling north on 5600 West to the International Center and then to the SLC International Airport then to Downtown SLC.  The plan replaces the previous expensive BRT project.




MAY 22, 2018
SALT LAKE TRIBUNE LOSING NEWS REPORTERS
ROAD HOME AUDIT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A SURPRISE
AIRPORT REZONE OF WINGPOINTE COMMENT ON JUNE 5
SLC DEMOLITION ORDINANCE ENCOURAGES DRUGS AND SQUATTERS
SLC HOUSING DECREASES TIME TO BUILD WHILE NOT ENOUGH HOUSING
SLC TRANSPORTATION ADDING STATE STREET PEDESTRIAN CROSSING
UTA REPEAT MEETING MAY 23 UNDER LEGISLATIVE PRESSURE
SLC COMMUNITY COUNCILS NEED INPUT ON TRANSIT TAX
HERRIMAN POLICE FORCE WILL HURT CRIME FIGHTING
OPERATION RIO GRANDE DOUBLED JUSTICE COURT ARRAIGNMENTS
LEGISLATURE ALLOWS CITIZENS TO ADD TO INTERIM STUDY
UTA COULD HAVE BEEN CALLED TRANS UTAH
ELPCO HOMELESS HOSPICE 6 PM THURSDAY MEETING
WATER METERS DECREASE WATER USE 
UTAH LOSES AROUND $100 MILLION ON INTERNET TAXES 
SLC MAY HAVE TO PAY RECYCLERS TO TAKE RECYCLING
SLC DISCUSSES PROS AND CONS OF INCREASING TAXES
SLC COUNCIL FIGHT FOR INLAND PORT BOARD


SALT LAKE TRIBUNE LOSING NEWS REPORTERS
  I have been working with reporters at the newspapers and TV stations for almost ten years.  These are reporters who care about making my City, my County and my State a better place with a better government.  I have watched the issues regarding the joint operating agreement and the Salt Lake Tribune which are best labeled as a no win situation.  The situation came to a head at the Salt Lake Tribune last week when 30% of some of the most experienced reporters in Salt Lake City were laid off from the Tribune.  
 Our freedom of the press, along with the required freedom of speech is important for the success of our Country.  Countries without freedom of the press can’t improve their societies and systems without a truthful analysis of their government and businesses and systems.  When people say that China will overtake us, they ignore the value of free speech and free press.  The unexamined life won’t improve and without questioning government and society, that government and society won’t improve.  Freedom of press and access to information should be a higher priority in our society.
  I also need to expand on one reporter in particular, Chris Smart.  I first came to know Chris Smart while I worked in California.  I would come back every month to visit my family and I noticed the City Weekly stories about the Salt Lake City Mayor.  Chris Smart was editor of the City Weekly at the time.  I asked for my family to collect and save the City Weekly issues.  The City Weekly was uncovering a fraud perpetrated by the SLC Mayor that she led before she became Mayor.  Interestingly, about a decade later, ENRON went bankrupt using similar illegal actions.  But only the City Weekly was aggressively reporting on the issue.  Chris Smart and the City Weekly should have won a pulitzer for their reporting.  City Weekly is not as aggressive in their reporting as before and now with the loss of Chris and several other reporters from the Tribune over the last few years, Utah has lost most of their aggressive reporting.
  A couple of years ago, I was asked to share information on questionable deals by legislators.  The reporters on the case showed me a box of documents.  They showed questionable and illegal actions.  My comments included that the issues were coming up because the legislators felt that their actions were helping economic development for the State and were not just benefiting themselves.  But those reporters left and the box is not being reported.
  In other cases, TV reporters told me that their corporate attorneys shut down reporting that they wanted to report regarding several senior elected officials.  So the TV station reporters are muzzled and the newspapers are losing aggressive reporters.  That does not bode well for Utah's good government.
  Another example, is the Gary Ott situation.  Katie McKellor, a great reporter, finally broke the issue of Gary Ott.  I was a friend of Gary Ott's and everybody in the County Government buildings knew of his issues.  It wasn't a secret.  He had several hours of lucidity a day and he trusted his staff to manage the office.  But it took a good reporter to report the issue and start a discussion on the situation.  I did not like the result.  But the discussion did need to happen.
  I will continue to try to fill the need of local reporting of news.  I will continue to attend many of the community council meetings and listen to or attend many of the other government meetings.  I hope that my blog will continue to provide important news and information that is not available on other news outlets.  If you would like your local news reported on this blog, you are invited to tell me/email me at gechapman2@gmail.com.  Your community council meetings provide a lot of news that I would like reported.  But with some community councils meeting at the same time, I can't be at all of the community councils.  There are five community councils meeting on the first Wednesday of the month.  There are three meetings of community councils meeting on the third Wednesday of the month.  And, usually, no reporters, are attending.  Email me if you would like me to report your news.

ROAD HOME AUDIT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A SURPRISE
  The Road Home and homeless services preliminary audit came out and reported what we already knew.  The Road Home has a problem keeping out drugs and crime.  When homeless say that they do not want to stay in the Road Home because of drugs and crime, they are being honest and frank.  Last year, I reported that drug dog inspections of the Midvale family shelter resulted in many drugs being discovered, next to children.  I also pointed out that the SLC Police were finding it difficult to do drug sweeps with dogs in the downtown Road Home.  Last month, I reported that the Road Home staff would not help overdoses in the Road Home.  And there were a lot of overdoses.  The Road Home Director, Matt Minkovitch has a difficult and impossible job trying to keep out drugs.  The addicts are not locked up and they are a large part of the homeless population despite their continuing to victimize citizens and homeless.  I blame the lack of keeping addicts in jail or treatment and that is a County issue.  I still believe that the biggest issue is due to lack of inadequate public safety funding in Salt Lake County.  The issue will not change until there is a separate facility with much more oversight that will allow anyone, including pets, alcoholics, drunks, and spice zombies to be inside or in an area that had medical care available and basic safety enforcement.  The Road Home cannot close but should be much safer for those who are homeless.  Drugs should not be in any of the shelters.

AIRPORT REZONE OF WINGPOINTE COMMENT ON JUNE 5
  SLC Council intends to have a public hearing on rezoning Wingpointe Golf Course and permanently closing it and turning it over to the SLC Airport for other development.  The Council wants to close the Course.  Amy and Charley seem to want to keep it open but Erin and others want golf courses closed.  If you care about golf, and green space, please go to the City Council 7 PM public hearing on golf on June 5.  SLC golf maintains 6 courses with $9 million.

SLC DEMOLITION ORDINANCE ENCOURAGES DRUGS AND SQUATTERS
  Last year, I reported that Peter Corroon, the former SLCO Mayor was unable to demolish an empty house and it ended up being used by drug addicts and eventually burned out.  The SLC demolition ordinance discourages demolishing a house or building unless an approved plan to replace it is agreed to by the City.  That leads to many vacant buildings, downtown and throughout the City that are magnets for criminal activities, especially drug use.  Ballpark Community is also full of buildings that are vacant and instead of encouraging demolition, since they are uninhabitable, they encourage criminals to use the buildings.  A few months ago, 1700 South had a big fire in a vacant building and it is a continuing issue.  The SLC Council refuses to consider reviewing the demolition ordinance.  One reason is the concern about allowing more parking lots when a building is demolished. Many on the SLC Council thinks that there are too many parking spots in the City and they encourage using cars.

SLC HOUSING DECREASES TIME TO BUILD WHILE NOT ENOUGH HOUSING
  Last week, I congratulated SLC Housing for cutting in half the average time to get a building project approved.  But lowering fees does not appear to be increasing housing permits.  SLC Housing has just released the statistics on housing being built in SLC.  Keep in mind that in 2015, SLC needed 7500 affordable housing units.  I believe that it is closer to 25,000 needed now.  And one reason that I encourage State Street redevelopment, is because it has the best potential for significant housing units.  The latest housing stats for SLC are (WE NEED MORE HOUSING): 
                                        in process or pending issuance         FY to date issued     FY16-17    FY15-16
single family homes       11                                                                      37                            63              47                 
duplexes/twin homes      0                                                                        0                            14                0
condominiums and townhomes 69                                                      38                           49                0
apartment units            602                                                                   353                        2322         1183

SLC TRANSPORTATION ADDING STATE STREET PEDESTRIAN CROSSING
  SLC transportation appears to have an agreement with UDOT to allow installing a midblock crossing between 6th and 7th South on State Street.  Ironically, there is a block long car lot between 5th and 6th South which seems wasteful.  The City is trying to encourage more walking in the State Street 6th to 9th South area.  The reason for the midblock crossing near 7th South is due to the nearby homeless resource center.  

UTA REPEAT MEETING MAY 23 UNDER LEGISLATIVE PRESSURE
  UTA is going to have a repeat meeting on May 23 at 1:30 PM regarding the Jerry Benson termination and the appointment of Steve Meyer as interim General Manager.  My oped in the SLTRIB laid out the issue and I have a problem with Representative Shultz and Senator Harper spending 20 minutes complaining about everyone else, especially UTA, misdirecting attention from Jerry Benson to the name change.  My oped is at (feel free to comment):
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2018/05/17/george-chapman-uta-name-change-does-not-deserve-mud-slinging/
My oped is:
UTA name change does not deserve mud slinging
  This week, Representative Schultz and Senator Harper, the sponsors of the SB136 bill that increased transit taxes, changed UTA governance and changed the UTA name, held a press conference. They said that they were going to stop the UTA name change. They used statements that indicated their frustration with the backlash from the public about the name change. They said that they felt that the $50 million cost to change the UTA name was "incorrect" and that it was a diversion from the recent termination of UTA General Manager Jerry Benson with 9 months severance pay. 
  They felt that UTA was stonewalling the name change. But UTA, after SB136, was not able to spend more than $200,000 without special approval, above the budget, until the new commissioners are appointed to manage UTA. Representative Schultz and Senator Harper were putting a lot of pressure on UTA staff to quickly change the name despite many, including the Governor, who felt the name change was "silly".
  Representative Schultz said that he felt that the UTA actions regarding Jerry Benson were "criminal". He cited a letter from the State Attorney General that said that the termination should have been noticed at least a day ahead of time instead of just notifying about a closed meeting on personnel. Ironically, a few days later, the Sandy Police Chief was terminated without notice or public hearing and the Attorney General did not express concern about that.
  When Jerry Benson took the General Manager's job, with reluctance, he agreed to decrease his compensation, if terminated, from 18 months to 9 months. Jerry's reluctance was due to the constant political pressure for more projects. Jerry was an operations expert and UTA benefited from his time as General Manager. I fought SB136 and felt, among other issues, that it would result in many managers with institutional knowledge leaving UTA. I was not surprised at the public notice the day before the closed session that said there would be a closed session regarding personnel matters and I assumed that UTA would be losing someone important. 
  Watching UTA and attending Trustee meetings over the years, I felt that the Legislature had more influence and control of UTA than UTA staff. The Legislature supported TODs and the Swiss trip. Legislators wanted more projects, and SB136 will provide many new transit projects. Legislative leaders, including Speaker Hughes, were often on the Board of Trustees and provided significant direction to UTA staff.
  The disturbing claims that UTA actions were "criminal" and that they broke the law are a surprise coming from Representative Schultz and Senator Harper. I know these Legislators and have worked with them (and fought some of their efforts) for many years. I consider them both to be committed public servants. Senator Harper sponsored one of the best bills last session that would have decreased onerous towing traps in parking lots (it ran out of time in the session). He has always been respectful to me during our arguments. I watched Representative Schultz spend 30 minutes, listening to workers interested in one of his bills and trying to find an acceptable path forward. 
  Representative Schultz and Senator Harper should not be claiming misdirection about the UTA name change and should not be using terms like criminal or breaking the law. UTA did not try to misdirect anyone on the issue. I watched and listened to UTA continually try to follow their orders to act. I do not believe that termination of a valuable employee requires a public notice. Former SLC Mayor Becker terminated SLCPD Chief Burbank without notice. It should be obvious that the law wasn't broken. 
  I believe that it makes more sense for everyone, including these two legislators, to focus on appropriately implementing SB136 than on blaming UTA or claiming breaking the law.  We need to work together and not blame those we have to work with. The UTA name change issue does not deserve mud slinging.

SLC COMMUNITY COUNCILS NEED INPUT ON TRANSIT TAX
  Unfortunately, SLC Council is prioritizing transit service projects without going to SLC community councils.  Community councils should be part of the conversation but, so far, they have not been asked to participate.  Of particular concern, is the fact that the west side of SLC has a lot of zig zag/milk runs that are due to trying to meet the Title VI requirements that transit services not discriminate based on social issues and income of census tracts.  But those zig zags, in my opinion, make it harder to have a good encouraging transit ridership.  It encourages car use.  In addition, every turn increases the accidents for buses.  It is not a good system.  Interestingly, Norwalk is looking at using a new Ford system called TransLoc to allow smaller on call minivan conversions to provide transit service.  It will be a lower cost system than would be needed with big buses that would mostly be empty.  The link to the story is:
https://www.thehour.com/business/article/Norwalk-to-pilot-Uber-for-buses-concept-12931813.php
 
HERRIMAN POLICE FORCE WILL HURT CRIME FIGHTING
 I have been fighting, writing and arguing on law enforcement issues for over 10 years in Salt Lake County.  I have a lot of public safety opeds in the newspapers and I write this blog.
  In the last month, I have written about the salaries of UPD versus other departments including SLCPD.  I even put the comparison of UPD versus SLCPD salaries and benefits on my blog's downloads.  I think that I know the issues very well and I would encourage you to ensure that you are aware of all of the pros and cons regarding UPD versus a separate police force before you make a final decision.
  SLC has set a goal to hire 50 new officers but the City loses three 20 year officers to retirement a month.  The issue has been discussed at length during several City Council meetings.  The City is down 60+ officers from where they wanted to be.  They are increasing retirement benefits 6% this year and a 3% pay raise is scheduled.  But it is not enough to hire and staff 50 new officers (to bring the staffing level of patrol officers to almost 200).  The City is pursuing a vigorous recruitment of experienced officers from other jurisdictions.  They only need half of the training time as new recruits.  Due to these issues, SLC recently decreased the staffing approved last year of 50, to 27.  
  In addition, there will probably only be 12 new recruits in the August SLC Police Academy class.  The City got 300 applicants but only about 25 have passed the screenings so far (about 50% of those will pass the full background check and end up in the next class).  Remember, at the same time, SLC will lose over 12 officers to retirement. 
  I recognize that Herriman contracted for, bought equipment for and expected 18 officers to patrol Herriman.  But it should not be a surprise that, just like SLC, UPD is having staffing issues.  Ten years ago, over a thousand applied to each Police Academy class.  Now it is down to a few hundred.  And, as seen in the screening results, these are not the best recruits if only 12 of 300 pass the screening.
  Part of the problem is the pension law in Utah that was changed a few years ago to discourage adding to law enforcement retirement benefits after 20 years (Utah has a law enforcement pension unfunded actuarial liability of $544 million!). In Salt Lake City that means that a 20 year retired officer would only have about $30,000 annual retirement pay. If they choose to go to work for a government in Utah, including school districts or other police departments, they are unable to earn further retirement benefits for a year. That is a big disincentive for attracting police recruits.  The year after the pension change passed, Utah lost 80% of their 20 year experienced officers.  Many UHP officers leave Utah for Arizona after 20 years.
  Herriman’s complaint of not enough police staffing is repeated Countywide and if Herriman separates from the UPD, Herriman will have to compete with other jurisdictions for officers.  The biggest cities, with the most officers, will have more benefits and salaries to offer law enforcement officers.   
  I also would like to point out that the inefficiency caused by having over 11 different law enforcement departments in Salt Lake County is taken advantage of by criminals, especially car thieves and drug dealers who use the many different jurisdictions to their advantage.  Drug dealers have historically loved driving to an area close to another jurisdiction and after the deal, they can drive within a minute to another jurisdiction.  SLCO has a drug problem and the more law enforcement jurisdictions, the worse it will become.  The resulting crime will increase. 
  Also there are three separate County dispatch centers that add to the difficulty in catching criminals (Valley Emergency Communications 911 -VEC, SLC/Sandy 911 and UPD/Sheriff at 743-7000). Near municipal borders, 911 may route an emergency call to the wrong dispatch center. A 911 call close to Millcreek, reporting a crime in SLC may go to VECC instead of the proper dispatch center.  Separating from UPD will make it more difficult to report crimes and get police response.
  Herriman should thoroughly analyze the pros and cons of the plan to leave the UPD because it will hurt crime fighting, require Herriman to compete for and keep police officers who will be recruited by other jurisdictions and create an unknown for businesses and potential economic development due to questions of where Herriman will be in public safety in the next few years.
  I believe, with a thorough analysis, that it is fiscally responsible for Herriman to stay in the UPD and change their contract to lower the charge by UPD, to a level that UPD can provide staffing to support.  Herriman has options and I encourage full evaluation of those options.
  Interestingly, Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvistrini and I were on opposite sides of a similar discussion 10 years ago.  Jeff was chair of incorporating Millcreek study group and I was on the against incorporation study group.  I felt that there were too many pro incorporation folks listening to Cottonwood Heights about starting a new police force and it could hurt crime fighting.  Sheriff Winder agreed with me and just before the first incoporation vote vocally argued against the plan to incorporate and start a new police force.  That first vote stopped incorporation.  But, eventually Millcreek incorporated and Jeff became Mayor and is now Chair of the Unified Police Department.

OPERATION RIO GRANDE DOUBLED JUSTICE COURT ARRAIGNMENTS
  Operation Rio Grande doubled SLC Justice Court arraignments.  During the first 9 days of Operation Rio Grande, there were 1795 filings in Justice Court.  The previous year, during those 9 days had 632 filings.  The calendars had 200-300 cases.  The Justice Court had to bring in more judges due to the 40% increase in workload in the first month of Operation Rio Grande.  They are now at a 25% increase and they expect it to go down to a 10% increase.  Book and release still happens but not as bad as before.  Every class B misdemeanor can be booked but they will not be held.
  The SLC Justice Court judges are paid about $117,000 but the most recent Legislature changed the standard salary to $149,000.  And some of the SLC Justice Court judges may have 3 jury trials in one week while other cities may only have one a year.  The Court does not expect to see an increase in DUI case loads with the new .05 law taking effect at the end of the year because if the driver is not visibly impaired during standard tests, it will not result in a breatalyzer or blood test and therefore not result in an arrest.  Also the homeless court is still full.  Last Friday's homeless court heard 49 cases in 3 hours.  
  SLC used to have a drug court.  But judges realized that students arrested at the University for smoking pot, were put in the same area as addicts arrested for heroin and cocaine and injecting drugs.  The judges stopped that system and stopped the SLC drug court.  To start it up again would require, in order to be successful, a probation system with arrest powers to ensure that those going through the court know that they can be rearrested for using drugs.

LEGISLATURE ALLOWS CITIZENS TO ADD TO INTERIM STUDY
  One of the unnoticed changes to Utah's Legislature is HJR 16 which allowed the first Interim Committee hearing, last week, to add study items to their interim agenda.  Previously, only the Legislative Management Committee could add study items.  They met last month.  But with the new system, citizens were able to add several items to the Transportation Interim Study Agenda.  Those items included: Considering and expanding SLC's new bicycle registration program, considering ads on buses and trains about alcoholic drinks, eminent domain, State funding of year round canyon bus service and renaming a highway for the Navajo Code Talkers.  Senator Van Tassel's Native American Liaison Committee will add that last item to its interim agenda and Senator Iwamoto will sponsor a bill to rename a highway.  
  My point is that citizens are encouraged to be involved and work with legislators.  They do listen.  Several legislators have started carrying bills/opening bill files on suggestions from citizens.  Representative Briscoe is opening a bill file on allowing a City to have an affordable housing bond and opening another bill file on a way to decrease school lockdowns from open carrying of weapons.  If you have a suggestion on a worthy reasonable bill, please contact your legislator.  

UTA COULD HAVE BEEN CALLED TRANS UTAH
  Dave Robinson, a former candidate for SLC mayor, had the letter of the week in the Salt Lake Tribune.  He pointed out that Utah could have had a transit system called Trans Utah with the potential for even more interesting fun.  I urge everyone to read his letter and laugh at:
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/letters/2018/05/21/letter-of-the-week-of-course-they-will-call-it-trans-utah/

ELPCO HOMELESS HOSPICE 6 PM THURSDAY MEETING
  Again, the East Liberty Park neighborhood will have a meeting at 6 PM at Tracy Aviary in Liberty Park this Thursday May 24 regarding the INN Between plan to open a 65 bed homeless hospice and respite facility on 1300 South and 1250 East in a former nursing facility.  The community is concerned about smoking of tobacco and marijuana and homeless walking the area who will not be able to be arrested due to their health.  If you are interested in this issue, please attend the meeting and comment on the issue.

WATER METERS DECREASE WATER USE 
  Interestingly, adding informational water meters to secondary water systems in Morgan and Weber Counties have decreased water use 30%, according to an Interim Natural Resources Committee report.  The systems have one charge without changing due to water use but the meters actually resulted in less water use.  Interesting report.

UTAH LOSES AROUND $100 MILLION ON INTERNET TAXES 
  The Utah State Tax Commission, in a figure that they don't want quoted, have said that the State probably loses from $70 to 140 million a year in taxes from the internet.  I still think that if there is a $100,000 sales to Utah residents before the tax is required to be collected from remote sales, the internet taxes that we lose is more like $25 million or less.  Another report at Interim Business and Labor included a new car sharing service and how to tax that service.  The rental car industry is complaining that, even if they are not at the Airport, they are charged Airport fees and the car sharing service, essentially a car rental system, is not going to pay their fair share.  I expect a bill on this issue at next session. 

SLC MAY HAVE TO PAY RECYCLERS TO TAKE RECYCLING
  SLC is no longer making money from recycling and recyclers want to be paid to accept material.  This is a big change and potentially result in a higher cost.  Regarding the solar panel installation reduction of fees (last week), the lower solar fees are going to industry best practice.

SLC DISCUSSES PROS AND CONS OF INCREASING TAXES
  During the May 22 Council meeting, the Council heard about the pros and cons of asking the County to increase taxes.  SB 136 alows the County to impose the sales tax but, according to WFRC Director Andrew Gruber, "If the county imposes (the tax), then from Oct 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019, the full .25 would go to the county, and those funds would be used for debt service and regionally significant projects, which could include projects in SLC.  Starting on July 1, 2019, the cities get .1, transit .1, county .05. If the county does not impose, the city could impose beginning July 1, 2020, although the tax probably wouldn’t actually take effect until Jan 1, 2021, based on Tax Commission rules. Starting then, the city would get .125, and transit .125, ie, nothing to the county. So the city would not get anything for 18 months later than it would if county imposed; it would take 6 years at 1.25 to make up for the delay in starting the tax." 
  These issues had a significant discussion at the Council.  Concerns included the effect of SLC's recent sales tax increase, the planned general obligation bond, the potential County sales tax increase and the gas tax increase with the voters.  The gas tax increase, if it happens, will result in about $1.4 million more (from the 10 cent a gallon increase with 30% going to cities and counties) for SLC.
  Millcreek, Midvale, Kearns, Alta and White City have adopted the tax increase so far.  Holladay is expected to.  Most cities have it on their planned agendas and are having a significant dialogue.  SLC is concerned about how to influence and have their priorities addressed with a Countywide tax increase.  Councilman Johnston was concerned about most money being used in Bluffdale/Point of the Mountain projects.  Councilman Rogers is also concerned about all of the other tax increases including water and sewer fees.  Therefore, the Council will ask the County to specify how the County will decide on projects and how to spend the increased revenue and how to prioritize the County's $40 million a year.  Interestingly enough, the City cannot bond on a revenue stream that the City does not impose but if SLC does impose the tax, it can be used for a bond.
  The Council also discussed the SB136 Transportation Reinvestment Zone.  It will allow value capture of the property tax increase expected from transportation investments by using the increased value, the tax increment increase to fund transportation projects.
  Through all of this, my concern about SB136 remains that the Legislature is pushing a great big tax increase down our throats.  I still have to call it a turn around and bend over tax increase.  And public safety funding should have a higher priority and needs more funding increase than transportation.

SLC COUNCIL FIGHT FOR INLAND PORT BOARD
  Councilman James Rogers was assumed to be appointed to the Inland Port Board but Councilman Andrew Johnston suggested a challenge to decide if he could be on the Board.  It will be an interesting fight.




MAY 14, 2018
9 LINE/STATE ST RDA AREA FINALLY SET
SLC TRANSIT SPENDING CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC
SLC COUNCIL FINDS A WAY TO HAVE SECRET MEETINGS
SLC WANTS TO HIRE A LABOR NEGOTIATOR TO GIVE COPS LESS THAN OTHER EMPLOYEES
SLC COUNCIL HEARING ON 1300 SOUTH BETWEEN 900 WEST AND JORDAN RIVER CLOSURE
INN BETWEEN NEW 65 BED HOMELESS FACILITY 1300S 1250E DISCUSSION
SOLAR PANEL FEES DECREASE UNDER COMPLAINTS
SLC GOLF STILL CIRCLING THE WAGONS
SLC CELEBRATES ADDING LOW WAGE EMPLOYMENT
SAM GRANATO REPLACEMENT IN NEXT 30 DAYS
BICYCLISTS ARE TICKETED 52 TIMES IN 2017
HAMBLIN FURNITURE THROWN UNDER UTA BUS


9 LINE/STATE ST RDA AREA FINALLY SET
  The good news is that the State Street and 9 Line (9th South 9th West) area are set to become the City's next RDA/CDA area that will receive more attention and infrastructure money (from tax increments).  Among the bad news is that it has taken two years to get to this point.  It should have been implemented over a year ago.  The City still has to get approval from all of the other taxing entities in the areas (Board of Education, County, Mosquito, etc).  Unfortunately some SLC departments are still trying to make State Street into a Disneyland like 20mph slow, small town street.  It seems to be a complete waste of money.  The money should be spent on making it easier for developers to pour money into mixed income, mixed use, walkable State Street housing projects.  If the City is as slow as it was in Sugar House (which took 25 years to start redevelopment), State Street and 9th and 9th will take decades to upgrade.
  Another bad omen is the fact that the RDA just released their property valuations.  RDA property DECREASED IN VALUE!  The value of the decrease was $5 million over the last year!  RDA is supposed to increase the value of property.  This means that the Salt Lake City RDA is failing in its responsibility.
  I put the RDA expansion map and final plan for the SLC RDA 9 Line and State Street Plan in the upper right downloads page.

SLC TRANSIT SPENDING CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC
  The SLC Council is chomping at the bit to spend the sales tax increase, even though the money won't start coming in until the end of the year.  The implementation will start in October 2018 (It takes a quarter for the Utah State Tax Commission to implement it and SLC needs to apply before the next quarter in July.).  Unfortunately, the discussion has not included the community and community councils. 
  UTA said it best when it said, during discussions on transit increases: "Transit service planning is complicated. Effective and efficient route planning involves consideration of a number of factors including demographics, roadway design, and evaluation against existing service."  The SLC appears to think that it can implement their vision (from the Transit Master Plan) but this issue really needs more public engagement.  UTA and the City and Council have had many (secret, closed door meetings) about implementing the plans.  The City should slow down and encourage public engagement.
  One of the issues that we have been complaining about with UTA's version of mass transit is there are several bus routes that zig zag through neighborhoods.  The UTA actually pointed out this issue and explained why.
"UTA must not discriminate against neighborhoods with low income or minority populations. Our existing service covers all Title VI neighborhoods as efficiently as possible with meandering loops."  
  But making mass transit slower with the UTA process/plan/implementation, discourages riding mass transit!  That is why fewer people use the UTA system which is inefficient (but efficient at meeting Title VI requirements supposedly) and provides less timely service.  Someone should complain about how UTA implemented an unreasonable and disrespectful zig zag service in Title VI neighborhoods.  I think that the implementation results in second class service.
  UTA has provided several options to the City Council.  One version will spend, annually, these amounts for increased service on specific corridors:
1000 N/$3.5 million
600 N/$6.2 million
900 S/$3.5 million
6th Ave/$1.2 million
200 S/$900,000
2100 S/$900,000
400 S/$4.2 million 
$250,000 for branding and outreach!!! 
  Note that the cost to increase service on 400 South is $4.2 million!  But implementing later night and better weekend service should not cost more than $1 million.  State Street is not even mentioned but it needs to provide earlier and later span of service for those low wage workers that work in downtown SLC, that can't afford to park in the downtown area (see below for Utah celebrates low income employment).  Redwood Road has some mention but it is not connecting to the Airport.  The 1000 North route is looped into Redwood Road.
  There is also an increase in the Hive Fare program.  The City can't even attract people to the program and the Council wants to devote more money to market the pass program more than the previous unsuccessful marketing. 
  Other questionable projects in the SLC sales tax increase for transit include capital investments in bus stops, transit hubs (around 700 East and 200 South - the City is discussing a hub or transit center with developers) and transit vehicle leasing.  While the City is thinking about 7 minute service on 200 South, the City is ignoring the north south routes that need better late night service.  Better late night service on the east west routes sound nice but what about later night service on a couple of north south routes?  We do not need one or two transit hubs or a transit mall (that the Council are talking about).  We need better service, not meandering buses or projects.
  I put the SLC Council discussion on using the sales tax increase for transit in the upper right downloads section.

SLC COUNCIL FINDS A WAY TO HAVE SECRET MEETINGS
  Council Chair Erin Mendenhall, last week, suggested and asked for secret "small group meetings" with the staff to get up to speed on the budget.  This is a great way to cut the public out of the discussion.  Even though only about 50 may watch the City Council work sessions, the public deserves to be able to have access to all meetings.  The City Council has consistently complained about the Republicans in the Legislature having closed caucus hearings (I agree that it is wrong.) but it is hypocritical to complain about the Legislature when the Council is doing the same thing.

SLC WANTS TO HIRE A LABOR NEGOTIATOR TO GIVE COPS LESS THAN OTHER EMPLOYEES
  I put the SLC Police versus UPD Compensation comparison in the downloads at upper right.  It is an important read.  It essentially shows that starting salaries are about $20 per hour.  Lost in the chart is the fact that cops have to face the worst of society and often will face guns.  Cops are willing to take a bullet for us.  Unfortunately, SLC is proposing to give a 3% pay raise to all of their employees except cops and fire personnel.  The proposal for police is 3% maximum and the City has asked to hire a labor negotiator which implies that the City is hoping to keep the salary increase at less than 3% (that the rest of the employees will get.  An important issue is the Utah pension law that encourages 20 year experienced cops with invaluable institutional knowledge to retire (at about $30,000 a year retirement - note that no one can survive on $30,000 a year with a family).  Cops can work more than 20 years but they can't continue to get retirement benefits/contributions for a year.
  The employees of SLC deserve the proposed 3% pay increase.  But they don't have to face bad guys with guns.  SLC cops are shot.  And they still go out everyday to face the danger.  They are the ultimate public servant, willing to sacrifice everything for us.  They deserve more than regular employees.  SLC police have saved literally hundreds in the last few years.  In one under recognized incident in 2010, a sniper with a machine gun and hundreds of bullets, tried to kill hundreds of Salt Lake City citizens around the City's Grand America Hotel.  He shot Officer Uppsen Downes before he could start killing others.  Officer Downes, despite his being shot, engaged a completely armored man and still was able to deliver a miracle shot that stopped the potential for carnage worse than the recent Las Vegas shooting.  There are bad people in this Country that want to kill many others.  Police are the defense we have against that.  Police officers deserve better respect and support.  A 3% maximum pay raise, already given to the rest of the City's employees, is an insult.  SLC should give at least a 5% pay raise to the SLC Police.
  
SLC COUNCIL HEARING ON 1300 SOUTH BETWEEN 900 WEST AND JORDAN RIVER CLOSURE
  Over the last few years, there has been an attempt to open up the rivers around the three creeks that come together around 1300 South and 900 West.  The City Council is having a hearing tomorrow, Tuesday May 15 at their 7PM City Council meeting on the issue.  A tow yard operates using the roadway right of way and the City's actions would impact him.  But a tow yard next to park that the City is trying to develop is a problem.  The owner of the service station and tow yard has not reached a settlement with the City yet but the City is still pushing to find a solution to push the park.  Ironically, a similar issue exists with UTA and the Hamblin Furniture Company (see below).  If you have any comment on this issue, please comment to council.comments@slcgov.com or provide public testimony at the 7PM meeting's public hearing on the issue.  Interestingly, despite the continued push to daylight the creeks under 1300 South, the City has found that it is not economically/fiscally able to completely daylight the creeks. 

INN BETWEEN NEW 65 BED HOMELESS FACILITY 1300S 1250E DISCUSSION
  The INN Between will have a community discussion on Thursday May 24, 2018 from 6-7 PM at the Tracy Aviary in Liberty Park.  The Executive Director of the INN Between, Kim Correa, will give a presentation and take questions.  The regular community council meeting (ELPCO) will take place at 7PM, unless they require more time.  Again, the issues are the facility is nowhere near any nearby convenience stores or stores (other than Liberty Heights Fresh Foods).  Other concerns from neighbors of the INN Between now operating is the significant smoke which will include marijuana and the homeless roaming the neighborhood to visit their dying friends.  This facility will also function as a facility for respite care since hospitals dump their patients.
 
SOLAR PANEL FEES DECREASE UNDER COMPLAINTS
  The City Council is about to adopt a new fee schedule that decreases the cost of installing a solar panel.  Many have complained about spending $900 to have an inspector look at the installation and give approval when the City is supposed to try to rely on renewable energy.  The new ordinance states that solar panels will contribute significantly to the City’s efforts to be transitioned to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2032, and reduce 80 percent of the City’s carbon emissions by 2040. The fees associated with solar panels and corresponding permits are set forth in the consolidated fee schedule:
Solar Panel Permit Fee 
0-5kW/$200
6-10kW/$350
11-50kW/$400
51-100kW/$900
  The lesson is that the City and this Administration did listen.  Mayor Biskupski gets credit for this result.  I put the report in the upper right downloads section.

SLC GOLF STILL CIRCLING THE WAGONS
  The SLC Council, chaired by and led in the effort by Erin Mendenhall, is trying to close more golf courses.  So far, Mayor Biskupski has resisted the effort.  But the City Council is about to have a public hearing on the potential permanent closing and destruction of Wingpointe Golf Course on June 5.  The attempt is part of the Airport's plan to obtain more property around the Airport, including the Wingpointe Golf Course, to use as needed for Airport operations.  The change from open space will require at least one public hearing.  The first hearing will be a request to rezone the Golf Course to Airport Operations.  The Planning Commission denied the request with this comment: 
"The Planning Commission was concerned with the loss of open space associated with the closure
of the golf course and subsequent conversion of the existing golf course into temporary parking
and future airport related uses. This reasoning was the basis for the Commission’s recommendation to deny the proposed zoning changes."
  The City Council is adamant that golf pay for itself.  But with SLC Public Utilities treating open space, parks and golf courses as a burden on the water supply (they insist on using 3 tiered rates to discourage watering), golf and parks and cemeteries and open space will be treated by the City as a burden.  And the Council is falling for the misdirection.  The problem is SLC Public Utilities' water rates.  Last year, the City had to stop watering the cemetery and parks due to the significantly increased cost caused by the hot weather and highest 3 tier rate.  Salt Lake City needs to fix the issue of water cost and supply in Salt Lake County.  Then the golf enterprise fund will normalize and probably not be losing money.   
  Again the Airport rezone proposal is scheduled to be at the City Council on June 5.  Please consider commenting on this issue.  Ironically, the Bonneville Hills golf course is slated to have a bike trail run through it without compensating the golf enterprise fund and without changing the course to a mixed use park.  
  I put the Salt Lake Metro Water District budget and presentation in the upper right downloads section.

SLC CELEBRATES ADDING LOW WAGE EMPLOYMENT
  A recent story on how well Utah is doing with employment focused on the AC Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.  The story noted that 45 were hired to "handle the needs of guests".  These included "front-desk greeters, sales people and housekeepers were part of an employment surge at hotels and other providers of overnight accommodations that helped lift Utah to an overall 3.3 percent growth rate in March."  But... housekeepers are some of the most underpaid and underappreciated employees.  I don't think that Utah should be celebrating the employment of minimum wage earners.  It makes Utah look cheap.

SAM GRANATO REPLACEMENT IN NEXT 30 DAYS
  Sam Granato was a family friend.  His father's store was a regular trip destination for my family.  I still fondly remember the narrow store with many barrels of olives.  Sam continued to make the Granato family an important part of Salt Lake City.  Sam made the Democrats look good.  The Democratic Party should choose a County Council replacement for Sam in the next few weeks, although Sam will be impossible to replace.  I will miss him.  He was one of the good guys.

BICYCLISTS ARE TICKETED 52 TIMES IN 2017
  For those complaining about the bicyclists in SLC, especially those who ride through the City Thursday nights at 930 PM, I have the statistics on tickets that SLCPD has given to bicyclists on roads.  
2015 = 46 tickets
2016 = 64 tickets
2017 = 52 tickets
  I am uncomfortable with the SLCPD spending valuable time on giving tickets to bicyclists when the City should be encouraging bicycling.

HAMBLIN FURNITURE THROWN UNDER UTA BUS
  Again, UTA is trying roll over the little guy, Hamblin Furniture Company by destroying his business and cheating him with a bad eminent domain law.  To replace his business will require a million to set up an approved facility to manufacture furniture.  His original business was grandfathered in but with the new laws since he started manufacturing furniture, it will cost a million to replace his facility.  But the UTA has been slow to provide a facility, as agreed upon with a stipulated settlement.  And it still has not installed the equipment needed and received a fire marshall approval.  
  As if it couldn't get any worse, UTA decided that the best place to put the Hamblin Furniture Company next to the new homeless shelter on 300 West!  When UTA wants to destroy a person, they really know how to destroy a person.







MAY 8, 2018

1700 TRAX STATION PUT IN SLC/RDA PLAN
INN BETWEEN 1300 S. 1200 E. HOMELESS 
SLC SPENDING $500,000 FOR TRAX STATION AT 650 S.
SLC POLICE ACADEMY ONLY HAS 12 FOR NEXT CLASS
ADU WITHOUT PARKING REQUIREMENTS
SLC WANTS TO SPEND TRANSIT MONEY ON 200 S. BRT
SLC LOSES IF IT ASKS FOR COUNTY TAX INCREASE
JUDGE BAXTER ASSIGNS HOMELESS TO TAI CHI 
BILL KNOWLES ASSIGNED TO WORK WITH HOMELESS NEIGHBORS
LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON COMMENTS
900 SOUTH TEMPORARY PROJECT DATES



1700 TRAX STATION PUT IN SLC/RDA PLAN
  Great news for the Ballpark Community, the City RDA has added the 1700 S. TRAX station suggestion to the State Street/9 Line RDA Expansion Area Plan.  That means that the 1700 S. area could significantly increase development.  

INN BETWEEN 1300 S. 1200 E. HOMELESS 
  Kim Correa, the Executive Director of the INN Between, has passed around a note to the community that indicates that they will take over the Mission at Hillside Nursing Home at Sherman Avenue (1200 E.) 1300 S. in the next 30-60 days.  The INN Between will relocate their terminally ill and respite care homeless to that facility in the summer.  They will start with 25 beds in the 65 bed facility and expect to have all of their staff park on site instead of parking on the street.  They will also design and implement a memorial garden on the northeast corner of the property.  
  The East Liberty Park Community Council meeting on May 24, 2018 at 7 PM at the Tracy Aviary Education Room will have the presentation from the INN Between.  The Program Director is Matilda Lindgren at 801 828 8992 and matilda@tibhospice.org.  The INN Between can be called directly at 801 410 8314.
  The biggest problems are the facility is in the middle of nowhere and lacks nearby stores (except Liberty Heights Fresh Foods at 1100 East and 1200 East) and that requires the dying to walk long distances to get to a store.  Essentially the dying homeless are in a kind of prison.  I believe that addiction treatment, mental health treatment and nursing homes and homeless facilities should be near commercial and store areas.  There will be an increase in homeless walking the neighborhood and the police will not be able to take them to jail if there are issues.  There will be an increase in visitors to the dying homeless and respite care patients, many visitors will be homeless.  They consider themselves family.  That will require the neighborhood to be more flexible with respect to strangers walking the neighborhood.  
  The INN Between also takes in homeless that are “dumped” by hospitals into the homeless service areas.  This happens almost everyday.  These patients should be in a medical facility so the INN Between has stepped up to fill the need.
  One of the issues that the City and State agreed was needed near homeless shelters was a neighborhood council that accepted complaints and suggested/encouraged the handling of those complaints.  That is one of the issues that the ELPCO Community Council should discuss.
  Another big issue that has gotten a lot of complaints at the old Guadalupe School INN Between facility is the smoking area next to the adjacent single family homes.  The area is full of smoke and that impacts the neighborhood even more than homeless walking the area.  In addition, with HB195, those who are dying and have less than 6 months to live, may legally acquire a prescription for and use marijuana.  So there is the worst case scenario of the facility having a lot of patients smoking marijuana and it could impact the neighborhood and nearby children much more than homeless walking the neighborhood.
  The May 24th meeting will be interesting.

SLC SPENDING $500,000 FOR TRAX STATION AT 650 S.  
  SLC RDA has added, in a big surprise, a 650 S. Main Street TRAX station that was listed as the West Temple Gateway CIP 900 South Street Improvement with $558,000.  It will instead be used to build a 650 S. Main Street TRAX station! This will treat the light rail/TRAX as a streetcar with a stop every couple of blocks!  These are RDA funds but they will actually hurt the ridership of TRAX since it will slow down the system.  It will also decrease the potential of a 1700 South TRAX station.  The longer it takes to go downtown or to the Airport, the less incentive for riding TRAX.  That is another reason for using a bus to go to the Airport.  Both 5600 West and Redwood Road buses should go to the Airport.  
  FTA does not like stations for rail closer than a mile and they need a real good reason to do that.  In addition, Main Street needs a better and later bus system.  That is where SLC RDA should spend money.  It stops too early for residents and businesses and if you want to encourage development fast, add later night service.
  This issue should have been brought to the Community Councils affected first.

SLC POLICE ACADEMY ONLY HAS 12 FOR NEXT CLASS
  During the last few years, it has become obvious that the SLCPD is having an issue with hiring and keeping experienced police officers. Part of the problem is the $544 million in unfunded pension liability for Utah law enforcement officers.  Former Senator Liljenquist, singlehandedly, and consistently, has discouraged law enforcement personnel from staying in service past 20 years.  So SLC loses about 3 experienced officers and their institutional knowledge every month.  
  There are 66 funded positions empty in the SLCPD.  In January 2018 there were 17 experienced officers transferring from other law enforcement entities (saving 50% of Academy time).  23 new officers have also been hired.  The May 2018 class will provide 7 more lateral transfer officers.  But, since January, SLC has lost 13 officers to retirement.
  During the application proceess, 350 applied and 119 passed the preliminary and physical examination.  Out of those 119, only 25 were left after screening.  But those 25 have to complete a background check and it is assumed that there will be a 50% cut.  That will result in a class of 12 in the August Academy class.  It will take 10 months for a new, not lateral, Academy grad to be able to work on patrol by themselves.
  Even at the reduction of proposed police to 27 from 50, it will be difficult to hire the 27.  There are 23 beats in the City and with 69 officers and 3 shifts a day which would require a staff for patrol of 198 officers.  But the Department only has 170 officers now!
  The City had a telephone survey in February of 2017 that determined that there was a 20% perceived increase in crime (the survey cost $11,000).  40% thought that there were not enough cops in their neighborhood.  And they want more officers to handle quality of life issues, which would require even more officers than presently funded.  The reason why there is a reduction in crime but a perceived increase in crime is because of the revolving door jail.  
  My oped last month in the Salt Lake Tribune regarding how to spend the SLC sales tax increase (use it all for streets) pointed out the difficulty in hiring enough officers.
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2018/04/07/george-chapman-slc-sales-tax-increase-should-all-go-to-streets/
  
ADU WITHOUT PARKING REQUIREMENTS
  The SLC Council is revisiting Auxiliary Dwelling Units and intends, under threat of a lawsuit, to authorize them citywide.  Interestingly enough, parking requirements are being deleted when near public transit.  It used to be rail but that only resulted in 2 ADUs in the last 5 years.  So the City Council is now looking at eliminating on site parking requirements.  Parking and noise are the two biggest complaints against ADUs.  There is also a requirement that ADUs cannot be used for AirBnb and other similar services and also owners will be required to sign a covenant to require that they or their relatives are residing in the residence that also hosts the ADU.
  
SLC WANTS TO SPEND TRANSIT MONEY ON 200 S. BRT
  Some of the goals that the City Council has on their sales tax increase is transit include:
  "Develop enhanced bus corridors that help transit run faster and more reliably, and offer high quality stop amenities that make riding transit comfortable and attractive. An initial priority is to implement coordinated capital and service improvements on 200 S, a primary east-west transit corridor for bus (and potentially future bus rapid transit and/or streetcar) service between downtown and the University.....priority corridors near term develop design standards for enhanced bus and brt corridors including branding for vehicles and stations....Develop a pilot Enhanced Bus corridor project with coordinated frequent service and capital investments.  200 South  has been discussed as a potential project."
But this increases the increased priority of building an expensive BRT on 200 South (Davis County is pushing hard to have SLC build the SLC portion of the South Davis BRT to the UofU.).  That is a waste of money which is needed for better bus service.  The SLC portion will cost about $30 million and will need about $20 million at a minimum.
  "Partner with the University of Utah to develop and/or advance plans for the downtown streetcar connection to the University and other key transit corridors serving the University, including Foothill Drive and 1300 E."  
But again, these goals will tend to push for more projects before restoring a robust bus system.  The Foothill Drive BRT will cost $650 million to go to Draper.  The downtown streetcar on 100 South (200 South west of Main Street) will cost SLC taxpayers $100 million!  The 1300 East BRT is not realistic due to the limited width and again is too expensive.
  "Parking Management Oversight and Coordination to effectively utilize parking assets and support the City's overall transportation and mode choice goals....transit supportive parking requirements"
But that is essentially decreasing parking requirements and is not realistic.  SLC tried before to reduce parking requirements during the Becker administration.  But the backlash caused the City Council to double the parking requirements, in general, to one space per unit.  There is a push, by Councilmembers, to reduce parking requirements again and push people into transit or biking or walking.  They are trying to budget for a citywide parking study that will justify reducing parking requirements. 
  "Continue to monitor zoning along the FTN to ensure transit is supported by a mix of uses, adequate densities, parking requirements, and other transit supportive elements.   Provide a mix of housing options along the FTN to support housing affordability and diversity."  
In other words, the City Council wants to rezone properties along frequent transit networks (FTN) to higher density and use.  This will result in a big fight by single family homeowners who will fight for their homes.
  The City also is suggesting, again, a 200 South and 700 East transit center and 2 more at the UofU.  All are wasteful projects and the 200 S. 700 E. project will remove valuable commercial property.  The sales tax will only provide $2.5 million a year.  Instead of spending on projects, all of the money should go to transit service increase.  Before going to 15 minute service, community councils should be asked if they want that, along with the potential for rezoning, or would they rather have later night and better weekend service.  The International Center and Airport should get better service.  5600 West and Redwood Road buses should increase later night and weekend service and go to the Airport.

SLC LOSES IF IT ASKS FOR COUNTY TAX INCREASE
  The convoluted SB136 has a complicated language that encourages counties to implement a sales tax increase and, if the counties don't implement the tax increase, to allow cities to increase the taxes.  If cities implement the tax increase, they can keep 50% of the tax (50% goes to transit).  In addition, SLCO Council has indicated that the tax increase will go to pay down transportation debt (allowed by SB136) so cities would not get the money.  
  "Starting July 1, 2020, if Salt Lake County has not enacted the quarter-cent increase,
each city within the county can enact it. Half the increase within a city’s borders would
go to a city that enacts it. Half would go to the transit district for transit within the
county. If the county then imposed the increase, any city that first enacted the increase
still would keep half the revenue, and the distribution in the remainder of the county
would follow the Proposition 1 formula."
  So SLC should not agree to allow the County to increase the Prop One sales tax increase which would allow them to increase, and keep almost triple the amount from the tax increase!

JUDGE BAXTER ASSIGNS HOMELESS TO TAI CHI 
  Bernie and Marita Hart's homeless Tai Chi has been vetted and recognized by the State as providing a responsible service for homeless.  Judge Baxter, who runs the homeless court for disposing of tickets, citations and other minor issues, now is sending the homeless to the homeless Tai Chi program.  There is also a push by the State to set up a program to expand the program.  It provides a structure and responsibility to homeless that is lacking in other services.  It also provides a way to screen for ability to move to a better situation.  
  
BILL KNOWLES ASSIGNED TO WORK WITH HOMELESS SHELTER NEIGHBORS
  Last month I had an oped in the Deseret News that expressed concerns about the businesses adjacent to the 1400 South 300 West homeless shelter.  
https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900016707/op-ed-new-slc-resource-center-plans-will-hurt-neighboring-businesses.com
  The City has appointed Bill Knowles as the ombudsman to help the businesses get City support to allow them to handle the homeless that will be in the area.  Bill Knowles has developed a reputation in the Sugar House area of being indispensable.  He has helped businesses relocate during the streetcar construction and offered low cost loans to help businesses make it through difficult construction periods.  Bill makes SLC look good.  He should help significantly in helping the businesses survive the homeless.

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON COMMENTS
 Although the UDOT Little Cottonwood Canyon EIS closed public comment, they are still taking comments.  My comments were: 
The Wasatch Canyons should not have tolling without alternatives available.  It is wrong to force everyone who has been able to use the canyon for recreation without charge (I think that it may be in the Utah Constitution.) to now be forced to be charged without, up front, having a discussion about where the money will go.  A parking garage at 9400 S and Wasatch is not really a solution.  I think that the issue comes down to an effort to discourage personal vehicle use which is wrong.  The alternatives in the EIS should include year round bus service, and in the winter, since the ski resorts contribute, increase the frequency and convenience of the ski buses.  The EIS should also include a lot more restrooms and water storage areas to fight the coming canyon fires.  Avalanche road protection should be a priority before tolling.  That would eliminate most backups.  Instead of using the roadway for bicycles, pave the soft shoulders and put in a concrete divider/separated bicycle path on the shoulders for bicycles.  The $2 million a year that the proposed toll will provide should be contributed by SLCO Parks and Recreation and ZAP since we use the Canyons as parks.  We don't pay for access to parks and we shouldn't pay for canyons that we use as parks.  Again, there should not be restrictions on historic use of Canyons for recreation.

900 SOUTH TEMPORARY PROJECT DATES
  The dates for the 900 South and 1300 East to 950 East road reconfiguration tests have been set.  There will be a temporary roundabout on 1100 East and 900 South on Thursday May 17 which will test the Fire Department's ability to continue service without impediment by the roundabout.  The Gilmer Drive closure will be starting on Thursday May 24.  It will require Gilmer Drive residents to use Michigan Avenue and 1200 East to access 900 South or 1100 East.  This has been a very contentious proposal.  To comment on the plans, designs or tests, email 900South@slcgov.com.
  
  

 


APRIL 30, 2018
SHOOTING UP A CAR WITH NO PRISON SENTENCE
SLCO PUSHING TRANSIT TAX INSTEAD OF PUBLIC SAFETY
HOMELESS HOSPICE EXPANDING TO 1200 EAST 1300 SOUTH
UTA LOSING INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND PUSHING PROJECTS
HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK MAY BE EASING
SUCCESSFUL SLCO DRUG AND MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT LACKING 
900 SOUTH 1100 EAST TESTING ROUNDABOUT
CWC DIRECTOR BECKER? LAYNEE GOING TO MOUNTAINOUS PLANNING
999 WEEKLY BIKE RODEO ATTRACTS HUNDREDS AT NIGHT

SHOOTING UP A CAR WITH NO PRISON SENTENCE
  The problems with public safety in Utah are exemplified by a recent case in Salt Lake County where a young man shot almost 30 bullets into a car with passengers, hitting several, and almost got out of jail with time served.  The Salt Lake County prosecutor asked for prison time.  Utah Adult Probation and Parole (APP) recommended time served!  The judge was so upset that he expressed his displeasure at the APP recommendation and sentenced the convicted shooter to one year in jail, not prison.  It appears that there is a concerted effort to reduce prisoners in the Utah State Prison system and shift them to County Jails.  That significantly increases public safety cost for the counties.  In Salt Lake County, it helped to overflow the County Jail and created a revolving door jail due to the lack of available beds.  Many of the criminals in the County Jail should be in prison.  But since Utah is trying to show that JRI works, the Department of Corrections is attempting to shift the blame to county law enforcement.


SLCO PUSHING TRANSIT TAX INSTEAD OF PUBLIC SAFETY
  Salt Lake County public safety funding is still inadequate.  The Oxbow Jail still has 380 beds not being used and may not be able to fully open by summer.  And when it does open, the County Mayor wants to return the 300 jailed inmates in other counties to the Salt Lake County Jail.  So there will still be a revolving door jail!
  It is so bad, that the Salt Lake City Police Department is complaining to the community councils about catching a serial credit card thief, in a stolen car, booking him and, before they can charge him with other credit card thefts, he is out of jail in 90 minutes!  
  To make the situation worse for public safety for Salt Lake County, the County Council has decided to take advantage of the Senator Harper's and Representative Schultz's SB136 and raise taxes.  The Council is asking the cities in the County for justification but everyone knows that they want more money.  The tax increase will give Salt Lake County money that is tentatively set to pay down debt on transportation projects before the County, and cities and UTA get the taxes in July of 2019.  Until then, if the Council tells the Utah State Tax Commission by July 1 that they are raising taxes in accordance with SB136, the County will be able to collect and use about $40 million collected from October 1 (the State requires one quarter of a year notice to start collecting taxes) to July 2019.  But that tax increase will negatively impact any other possible tax increase such as a public safety bond.  
  Salt Lake County needs more public safety funding than more transit funding.  Inadequate public safety funding impacts 95% of the public while inadequate transit funding impacts 3% of the public.  I am not worried about UTA robbing me, unless they try to build a high speed rail station at the Airport (It is in the Utah Transportation Plan!).  The County's tax increase will also impact the gas tax and SLC bond that is set to be on the ballot in November.  Most importantly, the tax increase will kill any chance of increasing public safety funding and will force the law enforcement of Salt Lake County to work with a revolving door jail.  Many members of the Council complain about poor tax law coming out of Washington DC.  But this tax increase is much worse and is even more unfair.  The Councilmembers should look in the mirror before complaining about Washington politics.  The County will use the super majority of population in the cities that want the tax increase to justify increasing the taxes, and make that decision before July 1.



HOMELESS HOSPICE EXPANDING TO 1200 EAST 1300 SOUTH

  Several years ago, the old Guadalupe School was repurposed to house homeless that needed respite care or were dying.  There were 16 beds in the facility but the complaints from neighbors made it seem much worse.  The neighbors complained about homeless walking the neighborhoods, either the patients or their friends, and they complained about the overwhelming smoking that was occurring next to the building and permeating the neighborhood.
  The homeless needed the facility but it should have been in an area nearer to stores and commercial areas so that the patients and their friends did not have to walk a mile through single family home neighborhoods to get to grocery stores, mass transit, libraries and other services.
  The InnBetween, the homeless hospice and respite care provider has bought a facility on 1300 South and 1200 East and plans to turn it into a homeless shelter for those dying or who need to recover from hospitalization or disease.  The neighborhood of single family homes will be very unpleasantly surprised.


UTA LOSING INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND PUSHING PROJECTS
  UTA is losing many individuals that are important to the efficient running of the mass transit agency.  Jerry Benson has essentially left.  VP of Operations Todd Provost left at the beginning of the month.  Steve Meyer is effectively running UTA but he will be out of town for the next week.  UTA is effectively in a holding pattern until the new governance is in place.  I know UTA and have fought them for years.  But SB136 is not going to help UTA.  
  I keep pointing out that UTA usually is blamed when the Legislature pushes their ideas on UTA.  Legislators authorized UTA to fund TOD developments that gave away millions in property for essentially nothing in sweetheart deals to developers.  UTA got 5% interest in the projects but that could mean nothing depending on the accounting.  Legislators approved, actually pushed, the Swiss trip!  Legislators pushed the bus garage that UTA is building.  The taxpayers will be funding a sweetheart deal to construct a $65 million plus bus garage for years without much oversight and justification or cost benefit analysis.  UTA just got money from the federal government that will be used to start a bond to finish the garage.  It has spent $16 million so far.  It budgeted $8 million this year.  And the Legislature is pushing it.  Plus the Legislature just passed a big tax increase that gives 40% of new taxes to mass transit.  If Utahns come close to 40% use of mass transit, we will be right under the Russian 50% using mass transit.


HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK MAY BE EASING

  Utah is only getting one or two new cases of hepatitis A infections diagnosed a week.  During the worst of the epidemic, Salt Lake County was diagnosing up to 7 a week.  Although it may not sound like good news, the Salt Lake County Health Department deserves credit for keeping the epidemic much lower than it could have been.  The County Health Department has given almost 10,000 vaccinations!  Other areas of the Country have had a worse time with hepatitis A.  Even the jailed inmates are offered vaccinations.  That significantly helped decrease the spread since almost all have been either in jail or using drugs or homeless.  Despite the fact that the porta pottis, that Salt Lake City put out to decrease using outdoor shrubs for a toilet, did not have a hand washing station, the epidemic was held in relative check.  The Health Department had the Road Home change their cleaning materials in order to actually work against hepatitis A.  The Salt Lake County Health Department deserves credit for not allowing the epidemic to reach the horrendous levels seen in San Diego.  San Diego was slow to vaccinate.



SUCCESSFUL DRUG AND MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT LACKING IN SLCO
  Salt Lake County reported on the effects of JRI and Medicaid on drug and mental health treatment in the County at this last week's Council meeting.  There are 102,000 Medicaid enrollees in Salt Lake County.  The County uses Optum Health to provide 24/7 case assessment at hospitals to ensure efficient use of resources.  The biggest costs come from having to hospitalize someone with a mental health issue, at $1000 a day while waiting to get the patient into the Utah State Hospital.  It can take 40 days and that results in a $40,000 expense.  The "Sample mental health client is homeless, suffering from schizophrenia, off of medications, self medicating with illegal substances, has 23 bookings and 1300 days in jail."  But it takes 4 to 6 months to get into the program and only 52% are successfully discharged (out of 119).  I put the County's Behavioral Health Plan in the upper right downloads area.  
Another interesting statistic is the JRI initial report (a better post report of effectiveness of treatment on reducing recidivism will come out in a couple of weeks).  Since 2015, there have been 600 referrals to treatment.  32% had opioid addictions. Out of the 600, there were 100 total graduates with a 45% risk reduction of incarceration.  That is about a 7% success rate.  There would be a better result if there were a real stick in the carrot and stick plan.  The County Jail won't hold criminals for more than a few hours unless the criminal is charged with a major crime like murder.



900 SOUTH 1100 EAST TESTING ROUNDABOUT
  Salt Lake City is testing a roundabout on 900 South and 1100 East.  It will be a temporary set up to see if it is the best of three options.  The other options include a T at 1100 East and closing Gilmer's exit onto 1100 East.  For those in the area, the coffee shop on the southwest corner causes issues in the morning since a quick turn from 900 South onto the 1100 East then a quicker turn right into the drive through coffee shop can create significant dangers for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles.  There will also be testing of lane reductions and bulbouts.  I do not like bulbouts (that are used to reduce the distance pedestrians have to cross a street) since they tend to force bicyclists into adjacent traffic.  The testing will take place over the summer.  Of course, the City forgot that school is out for summer and there is a school a block away.



CWC DIRECTOR COULD BE BECKER AND LAYNEE GOING TO MOUNTAINOUS PLANNING

In a big surprise, the Central Wasatch Commission, the poisoned fruit of the Mountain Accord (that did not have public meetings), is still alive and interviewed several people last week to be Executive Director.  One of the interviewees was former SLC Mayor Ralph Becker!  Small world, he's back.  And the former Executive Director of the Mountain Accord, Laynee Jones, (who also interviewed for the position) is being put on the County's Mountainous Planning Commission! 


999 WEEKLY BIKE RODEO ATTRACTS HUNDREDS AT NIGHT
  Every Thursday night at 930 PM, at 900 South and 900 East, hundreds of bicyclists converge to start bicycling through the City.  I put some pictures of the event but they don't do justice.  Picture hundreds of bicyclists, especially in pleasant summer weather, bicycling through the City.  So far, no one has been injured.  It gives the area charisma.  I still wish that it would happen on Saturdays and Sundays on the Parleys Trail.






APRIL 23, 2018
UTA HAS KILLED OVER 40 IN 18 YEARS
SB136 SUPER TAX INCREASES COMING
WHAT TRANSIT PROJECTS WILL GET BUILT?
OXBOW COULD BE A MISDEMEANOR FACILITY IF IT OPENS
OPPORTUNITY ZONE PROPOSALS MADE WITHOUT NOTICE
UDOT TESTING SMART TRAFFIC LIGHTS TO HELP CARS
LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON WAR ON CARS WITH TOLLING
DRUG TREATMENT 20% SUCCESSFUL AFTER 30 DAYS
DRUGS IN ROAD HOME BUT WON'T NOT STOP OVERDOSES 
UTA GOING DOWNHILL FAST WITHOUT JERRY BENSON
LA WASTED TENS OF BILLIONS ON TRANSIT
HURTING LOCAL BUSINESSES FOR HOMELESS SHELTER



UTA HAS KILLED OVER 40 IN 18 YEARS
  I put an interesting report on UTA safety in the upper right downloads section.  UTA had 18 million riders last year.  Unfortunately, there were 2 fatalities.  UTA is concerned about the deaths but they are also concerned about the 380 instances where traffic lane gates near the tracks were broken.  In 2016, there were 326 gate breaks.  Each of those instances suggest 326 close calls where many more could have been killed.  In the last 18 years of UTA, there have been more than 40 fatalities!

SB136 SUPER TAX INCREASES COMING
  We have had plenty of warning and now they are here.  The Salt Lake County Council will start the effort to wring the most revenue out of SB136.  On Tuesday, April 24, the County Council will ask the municipalities in Salt Lake County to ask the County to increase taxes for transportation.  The County is asking for 67% of the municipalities (represented by 67% of population) to endorse the County Council asking for the tax increase and they have to ask for it by June 22 in order for the Tax Commission to accept the increase to become effective in the next quarter, October 1. Although the tax was supposed to go to transportation, it is unclear now if it will go to transit and transportation (roads) or if it will all go to transit and be used to pay down debt.  
  The County's enabling ordinance says it goes for transit.  The County gets some benefits by using the revenue to pay down transit debt with the new funds before the other taxes in the bill go into effect.  In other words, citizens of SLCO may not see any benefit to the increased taxes for a while.  The minutia of the bill says that the County has to inform the Utah State Tax Commission by July 1 if they agree to implement the tax and it will go into effect on October 1.  In July of 2019, the State will take over collections and put the revenue into a capital development fund.  Those funds can be used for projects but they will require a 40% local and federal government match.  So the fund will pay for 60% of a project if an advisory board and County Council approves the priority.  That fund is expected to generate $5 million per year.
   The County can start the tax increase after October 1, and the tax is removed for the Prop One funding which starts in July of 2019 (40% UTA, cities 40% and County gets 20% of the taxes generated).  Salt Lake County expects to collect 40 million from October to July of 2019 that it can all use for transportation related debt or "regionally significant transportation and transit projects".  
  If Salt Lake County does not implement the tax, cities may enact enabling legislation.  If the County does not implement the  tax, the tax potential will go away in 2022.  Note that cities may impose the tax with half going to the city and half going to the transit district after July 2020.  
  If the County has implemented the new tax, a new .20% tax can be imposed for transit projects and service.  The result will be, along with Salt Lake CIty's .5 cents tax increase, almost a penny more in taxes.  Salt Lake City is scheduled to implement the tax in the next two weeks.  Ironically, as I mentioned in my last SLTRIB oped, the City wants to use some of their tax increase for transit but the County tax increase can also be used for transit.  
  The summary of the WFRC presentation to the County Council summarizes the very complicated SB136.  It is in the downloads section in the upper right.  There is also an increase in registration of electric vehicles but most of those increased funds are to go to charging stations, supposedly.  The Legislature is keeping a task force to review and recommend streamlining State taxes.


WHAT TRANSIT PROJECTS WILL GET BUILT?
  In general, the projects that will get built could include those in the Regional and Utah Transportation Plan.  They could include a rail and tunnel up the canyons and the high speed rail station at the Airport.  This new tax is the Prop One tax that I believe that many voted against Prop One due to the large number of questionable projects.  The upcoming, new RTP, is expected to include making FrontRunner electrically driven and extending TRAX to Lehi.  Those are billion dollar projects!  Although the Legislature expected that the UTA governance changes will result in a better UTA, most of the projects are questionable whether or not UTA is involved.  The County Council has to approve 2 or more nominations to the Governor for the Transit Commissioner for Salt Lake County.  There will be a total of three running UTA.  In addition, there will be an advisory board.  The County Association of Governments will choose three and one will be chosen by the Mayor.  In addition, there will be a County Transportation Advisory Committee with 6 chosen by the County Mayor and Council and 7 chosen by the County's mayors or city managers.  That Committee will use criteria for prioritization and ranking projects and recommend road and transit projects.  The prioritization will consider regional and countywide economic development, employment recreation, development, housing and other issues.  UDOT will work with WFRC to help prioritize the projects.  The projects that are wanted have to have an application by October 1.  The County Council will approve the final projects by December 1 and agreements will be available for government's signing by January 2019.
  Unfortunately, this tax is set up to provide 40% of its funds to transit and only 3% use transit.  Roads should get a higher percentage of the tax increase.  But more importantly, public safety should get a tax or bond increase.  The Salt Lake City Police have been publicizing the fact that they arrested a serial credit card thief in a stolen car and he was released from jail in 90 minutes!  That should indicate that we need more public safety funding.  When 3% use transit and 95% need a functioning jail, tax increases for transit do not make sense.  Many complain about Washington tax policy, but this much of a tax increase going to 3%, is much worse that Washington.  This tax increase will kill any chance of increasing public safety funding and will force the continuing of the Salt Lake County revolving door jail.

OXBOW COULD BE A MISDEMEANOR FACILITY IF IT OPENS
  During the presentation by Sheriff Rivera to the County Council last week, there was emphasis that there are not enough jail employees to open all of Oxbow Jail.  The goal of opening Oxbow's 380 unused beds was to eliminate jail bed contracting.  In other words, THERE WILL NOT BE AN INCREASE IN JAIL BEDS FOR CRIMINALS!  The Sheriff is paying $19 per hour and the average Countywide pay is $22 per hour.  So she cannot keep employees.  104 left in 2016 through 2017.  In 2020, 50% of the jailers will be eligible for retirement.  And since Utah discourages working after 20 years, most will leave.  In addition, other law enforcement departments in the County provide a free car.  It is hard for the County to compete with that.  At this moment, there is a mandatory 4 hours overtime per month.  The Sheriff believes that if she can keep overtime under 16 hours per month, turnover will be minimized to the present level which is still high.  At this moment, the Jail needs 83 officers.  In July, she will need 73 officers.  When Oxbow is full, there will be a total of 556 beds.  The plan is to use Oxbow as a lower level felon and mainly misdemeanor criminals, for those at lower risk and possibly benefiting from treatment.  Bottom line, we need a public safety tax increase more than a transit tax increase.  Again, I put the presentation in the upper right downloads section.


OPPORTUNITY ZONE PROPOSALS MADE WITHOUT NOTICE
  Almost no one noticed that the Governor sent in his applications for the Opportunity Zones to the U.S. Treasury.  These are the ones that he asked to be approved.  Note that the Ballpark and State Street Area did not make the cut.  That area was 9 out of 10 on the list.  Also, notice that the depot district has been listed along with North Temple.
URBAN 
49035113802, Kearns, Urban
49035113906, Magna, Urban
49035112403, Midvale, Urban
49035102701, SLC North Temple, Urban
49035100600, SLC North Temple, Urban
49035102702, SLC, Urban 
49035114000, SLC Central Business, Urban
49035102500, SLC Depot District, Urban
49035111802, Millcreek, Urban
49035111500, South SLC, Urban 
49035111600, South SLC, Urban
49035113513, Taylorsville, Urban
49035114500, West Valley City, Urban
49035113305, West Valley City, Urban
49035112907, West Jordan, Urban 
49011125701, Clearfield, Urban
49011125702, Clearfield, Urban
49011126001, Layton, Urban
49057200400, Downtown Ogden, Urban
49057200800  Downtown Ogden, Urban
49057200900, Downtown Ogden, Urban
49057201100, Downtown Ogden, Urban
49057210800, South Ogden, Urban 
49049002400, Provo, Urban
49049002500, Provo, Urban
49049002801, Provo, Urban
49049002802, Provo, Urban

RURAL 
49045130900, Tooele, Rural 
49049000400, American Fork, Rural 
49003960300, Tremonton, Rural
49003960601, Brigham City, Rural
49005001002, Logan, Rural 
49013940300, Duchesne, Rural 
49027974300, Fillmore, Rural 
49021110300, Iron County, Rural 
49021110600, Cedar City, Rural 
49053271300, St.George, Rural
49053270300, St.George, Rural 
49017000300, Panguitch, Rural  
49007000600, Carbon, Rural 
49019000300, Monticello, Rural 
49041975300, Sevier, Richfield, Rural 
49039972400, Ephraim
49005000900, Cache, Logan, Rural 
49037942100, Navajo Nation, Rural 
49001100100, Beaver County, Rural  


UDOT TESTING SMART TRAFFIC LIGHTS TO HELP CARS
  UDOT is testing smart traffic signals to increase the efficiency of roadways.  From UDOT:
"UDOT uses radar detection (Wavetronix) quite often to detect vehicles at traffic signals. The vehicle detection is then setup using our fiber optic communications system to bring back various performance measures to our central office.  We then have developed an Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measure system (http://udottraffic.utah.gov/atspm) that allows us to monitor in near real-time the performance of the traffic signal. We are able to get information back including metrics such as "The percent of vehicles arriving on green and red", "If the initial queue of vehicles cleared each cycle", "the average green time used for each approach", average speeds, average traffic volumes, etc.  We can then use this real measured data to better optimize our traffic signal system.  Some say that this automated performance measure system operates as a human-in-the-loop adaptive system, helping us to maintain timing plans and equipment."
"We have initiated a project in the City of CottonWood Heights where we are studying the "before and after" conditions with improved traffic signal timing using the Automated performance measure system and radar detection (from Wavetronix).  Purdue University is doing the study.  They are currently in the process of studying the "after" conditions from the signal timing changes we have made. Once they are done (we expect the report to be written no later than July), it will be available to us."
"We have also installed the traffic signal detection at most traffic signals statewide.  Salt Lake County currently has a project in place to install it at several non-UDOT traffic signals in the valley.  This project will be complete within the next 12 months."


LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON WAR ON CARS WITH TOLLING
  UDOT is asking the public for feedback on the proposal to toll Little Cottonwood Canyon and provide other plans to discourage personal vehicle use in the canyons (part of the Mountain Accord Plan).  It is extremely important, if you do not want to pay for the congestion caused by the ski resorts, which we are encouraging, that you comment on the Environmental Impact Statement scoping by May 4.  I am against tolling and I want to have the soft shoulder of the new roadway to have separated bike lane with a concrete curb to encourage safe bicycling in the canyon.  I also want year round canyon bus service.  UTA is refusing to provide it in order to give credit to the Mountain Accord.  But eventually, this EIS is expected to recommend that and force it to be considered.  
  The EIS is done in conjunction with UDOT, Forest Service, UTA and SLC Public Utilities.  2.1 million visitors visit Little Cottonwood Canyon each year (I think that it is closer to 3 million.).  The alternatives that UDOT is looking at includes tolling, improved transit service, TDM/parking, no action, avalanche mitigation, real time traffic info, car sharing, roadway improvements and parking.  The alternatives will be studied through the fall and a draft EIS will be available sometime before the summer of 2019.  The final EIS/ROD will be submitted around the summer of 2020.
  Comments can be made by emailing: littlecottonwoodeis@utah.gov
or by going to the website at udot.utah.gov/littlecottonwood


DRUG TREATMENT 20% SUCCESSFUL AFTER 30 DAYS
  I put the final report of Operation Diversion in the downloads section in the upper right.  Out of 109 in the drug treatment program, with an average stay of 32 days, there were 20 successful completions of drug addiction treatment.  What that means is that only 20 kicked the habit and graduated from treatment.  But the results are not listing the results after a year, which would be more appropriate and useful.  It is estimated that opioid treatment is only 5% successful and one should assume that this will end up with similar results.  So Operation Rio Grande/Leaf Blower will have a similar result now.  Obviously, it will go down significantly after a year or two.  It can take many treatment stays to finally kick the habit.


DRUGS IN ROAD HOME BUT WON'T NOT STOP OVERDOSES 
  Drugs are way too prevalent in the Road Home.  Matt Minkovich is trying and should be considered a saint for trying, but drugs are in the Road Home.  That is why many homeless do not want to stay there.  Drugs usually result in overdoses and the Road Home has overdoses.  When a homeless person overdoses, the homeless are powerless to help.  The guards and the Road Home will not provide naloxone or NARCAN (the nasal spray).  The naloxone is usually injected but the Road Home does not want the risk of someone sticking themselves with a used needle.  Some homeless providers carry a syringe that retracts the needle after use but they are much more expensive.  The Road Home just calls an ambulance and paramedics.  The cost is covered by taxpayers!  Even when the homeless surrounding the overdose victim beg for naloxone, they are not allowed to provide it.  If a homeless person has a kit, they are afraid to use it because it may result in them being banned from the Road Home.  This is one of those issues that needs a better solution.


UTA GOING DOWNHILL FAST WITHOUT JERRY BENSON
  Despite what Senator Harper and Representative Schultz have said about the termination of Jerry Benson from UTA General Manager, the Legislature was warned by me that this was going to be the result of SB136.  Jerry Benson and I have argued for years about transit but he has always been up front and honest about his arguments.  I have been lied to by other UTA managers and Trustees.  But Jerry and I can argue the facts with respect since we both are familiar with them.  Jerry was the most knowledgeable and unpolitical manager at UTA.  He may have had issues with the union but he was well respected by the drivers.  
  Most of UTA's problems, in the past, have come about due to Legislature's interference.  The Swiss trip, the TODs, the projects, the sweetheart deals with developers at the cost of service were all coming from the Legislature.  The 8 TODs authorized by Senator Stevenson's bill a few years ago, along with license plate readers! was also a questionable bill.  The bus garage effort was pushed with a bill by Representative Schultz.  Representative/now Senator Harper tried to create a free fare for red air days despite studies that showed that a large homeless population without adequate shelter will destroy potential ridership increases.  I use transit more that 95% of citizens.  I have always loved transit.  But I find that most Legislators are unrealistic and naive about transit and how to increase ridership.  In 5 years, after the billions of dollars of questionable projects are built with taxpayer money, I predict that we will see almost no increase in transit ridership.  UTA is not the problem.  The Legislature is.  And the public should be reminded that the Legislature increased taxes more this year than in the last few decades.  It was not very fiscally responsible.  But construction companies will enjoy the millions in profits.  Jerry's leaving will end up putting UTA in limbo for the next year.


LA WASTED TENS OF BILLIONS ON TRANSIT
  In the effort to get people out of their cars, the Legislature has decided to encourage increasing taxes and use 40% of the revenue for transit.  The sponsors of the bill, Senator Harper and Representative Schultz, hope that more projects will encourage ridership of mass transit and reduce the pressure on our roads.  I think that there are better ways to handle the concern about congestion caused by personal vehicles.  Senate President Niederhauser hopes that toll roads will eventually charge everyone that uses new roads and encourage people to use mass transit.  Their efforts to get more people to ride mass transit is a dream in a wish in a hope.  LA has spent tens of billions on mass transit projects but has gotten almost no increase in ridership.  LA went from 147 transit riders a month 15 years ago to 154 million last year.  Utah shouldn't be following LA into the sea like lala lemmings.  The way to increase ridership is to make transit more convenient.  That is bus service increases.  That is cheap and cost effective.  Citylab has a great story on the results of a study on transit projects versus ridership.  It is at:  https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/02/why-la-is-expanding-transit-and-losing-riders/551960/
The study is at:  
https://www.its.ucla.edu/publication/equity-challenges-outcomes-california-county-transportation-sales-taxes/


HURTING LOCAL BUSINESSES FOR HOMELESS SHELTER
  In the last year since the Salt Lake City Council decided, in secret, on the locations for their new homeless resource centers, some nearby businesses have been increasingly concerned as the designs were changed. The SLC Planning Commission has just approved the conditional use applications for the resource centers on 700 South and on High Avenue. 
  The design of the homeless resource center on High Avenue (near 1400 South and 300 West) has been significantly changed by the architect to have its main entrance on Paramont Avenue, the next street south of High Avenue. The architect has said that putting the entrance and courtyard on the south side will provide more sunlight and encourage the “congregating” of the homeless on the south side of the homeless center, on Paramont. In addition, the police have said that Paramont Avenue has more line of sight and visibility than High Avenue and that will discourage criminal activities.
  The adjacent businesses on Paramont Avenue are worried that the resource centers will result in loss of business and eventually lead to their closing. Several have put all of their money into the development of their businesses.  Salt Lake City has refused to consider their concerns about the significant negative impact businesses will endure with homeless “congregating” on their street.
  The architect has insisted that the new resource center will be like the downtown YWCA battered women’s shelter and secure to the point that it will have minimal impact on adjacent businesses. But the security around the YWCA does not allow “congregating” outside by clients or anyone else. The architect’s idea of encouraging “congregating” the homeless on Paramont, is exactly the opposite of what we were trying to do. One of the biggest problems with the downtown shelter is the homeless were congregating around the area which provided cover for the criminal activities that often centered around drug dealing. The designs of the resource centers were supposed to stop the milling around outside the shelter/resource center!   
  The police may have indicated that they are interested in ensuring that the shelter area have a lot of visibility but Paramont Avenue has a lot of nooks and crannies to hide drugs and criminal activity. The police have pointed out that High Avenue has a wall to the north of the facility and it does not have a clear line of sight. But it also means that it has much less potential for hiding drugs and criminal activities. When the downtown drug dealers were using the open fenced area on the Road Home playground to hide drugs, a wall was put up to stop it. So a wall should be what is needed to decrease criminal activity. 
  The Planning Commission refused to allow more public testimony to counter the new arguments made by the architect and police at their last meeting. And since, it will be almost impossible to close the new shelters once operating, the conditional use of the facility will still destroy the value of the adjacent businesses. The conditional use process is supposed to mitigate negative consequences towards adjacent homes and businesses. Unfortunately, in this process, those negative impacts have been ignored. 
  Ironically, the destruction of businesses by government action should be the last thing to happen in Utah. When Baltimore hurt a business in the early 1800s, the Supreme Court said that cities and states did not have to follow the Bill of Rights. It only applied to the federal government! That decision was used by Missouri to justify the Mormon Extermination Order. One of the main reasons for the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause was to give every citizen in America the rights in the Bill of Rights including the Fifth Amendment (private property should not be taken without just compensation).
  Salt Lake City is destroying businesses adjacent to the High Avenue shelter site due to an architect’s redesign. Salt Lake City should redesign the facility to lessen the negative impact and compensate the businesses that are going to be negatively impacted by the shelter.




APRIL 15, 2018
POLICE CALL OPERATION RIO GRANDE OPERATION LEAF BLOWER
SLCO REVOLVING DOOR JAIL TO CONTINUE
TRANSIT TAX PRESENTATION AT COUNTY
TRANSIT MASTER PLAN KEY MOVES AT SLC COUNCIL   
LIBRARY BUDGET INCREASES DUE TO FLOODING
IMPACT FEES, BUDGET AMENDMENT 4, COST OF TAX SURVEY
OPPORTUNITY ZONES IN SLC
LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON TOLL ROAD NEEDS TO STOP
SLC SALES TAX IMPLEMENTATION


POLICE CALL OPERATION RIO GRANDE LEAF BLOWER
  When the Salt Lake County police chiefs meet every month, they spend a lot of time discussing the results of Operation Rio Grande.  The SLC Council and the Legislature have asked for data to support the level of spending on this Operation.  The police chiefs already know the reality of the data.  They call Operation Rio Grande Operation Leaf Blower because that seems to be the main effect of the project.  Spreading the homeless, drug dealers and criminals that used the homeless areas for their activities, into other areas, have significantly increased the time, effort and frustration of law enforcement in their attempts to fight crime.  The other aggravating factor is the revolving door jail which does not seem to be on a path to actually keeping criminals locked up for more than an hour or two.  Last week, I mentioned that a major criminal credit card thief who steals cars regularly, was let out in 90 minutes.  Which leads to the next story.

SLCO REVOLVING DOOR JAIL TO CONTINUE
  The Salt Lake County Council will have a presentation Tuesday on the status of reopening the County Oxbow Jail.  The bad news is that there are expected to be 78 open deputy allocations when the plan was to open Oxbow (this summer).  There are only 25 deputies in the Academy or CTO.  And, when opened, the Jail will remove the 300 incarcerated in other counties and return them to Salt Lake County.  So Salt County law enforcement WILL NOT HAVE MORE AVAILABLE JAIL BEDS!  They will be full the day after Oxbow opens up the rest of their open beds!  In addition, the Salt Lake County DA is unable to hire enough prosecutors due to the salary and compensation plans offered by the County.  This is a serious issue that hurts all Salt Lake County citizens as well as law enforcement.  The Salt Lake County Council needs to have a discussion on increasing taxes for adequate public safety funding.  Mayor McAdams refuses to initiate the discussion and has said that he has solved the issue with his present budget.  The reality is that County law enforcement officers and leadership are increasingly frustrated with the inadequate public safety funding.  Although Mayor McAdams repurposed the $9.4 million annual jail bond funding to other areas, public safety in the County needs more funding and it appears that the only way to get it is to go around Mayor McAdams and ask the voters to agree to a bond to lock in more funding for public safety.  Tuesday, April 17, starting at 1 PM, the County Council will have the presentation by Sheriff Rivera that delivers the reality blow.  Salt Lake County needs more public safety funding.  I put Sheriff Rivera's presentation on the downloads page.

TRANSIT TAX PRESENTATION AT COUNTY
  SB136 is a 6000 line bill sponsored by Senator Harper and Representative Schultz that is so complicated, that even I have had a problem following all of the changes as I was fighting it.  There were 55 amendments in the Legislature during its discussions and votes.  My main issue is that it allows the so called Prop One tax increase to be implemented by a County (Salt Lake County and Utah County) or, if not implemented by the county within a couple of years, a city can implement it.  In other words, the vote against Prop One would be ignored.  I call it disrespect.  Although the Legislature's reasoning was that UTA will be totally different and therefore will deserve 40% of the tax increase, I contend that most of the problems are due to the Legislature using UTA as a money bag for projects that benefit their friends.  The bus garage project, having spent $16 million so far, was pushed by last year's Legislature with a bill by Representative Schultz.  Instead of spending $10 million on service increases, UTA was pushed into spending it on this wasteful project that will eventually cost $70+ million.  The Salt Lake County Council does not seem to be interested in voting in a tax increase for PropOne this year because the public safety funding issue seems to be more important.  Plus the gas tax question on the ballot may be affected by other tax increases in the County.  Salt Lake City is planning on putting a bond on the ballot.  The County Council is trying to discuss increasing public safety funding despite Mayor McAdams' opposition.  I put the Wasatch Front Regional Council presentation on the downloads area in the upper right and the summary is:
SB136 "Creates a new state Transit Transportation Investment Fund (“TTIF”) for transit capital projects statewide, subject to legislative appropriation and a 40% local match requirement. Beginning July 1, 2019, the state will transfer funding into TTIF, approx. $5M in FY19, growing over time......
Local options can be imposed through referendum or by action of a county’s legislative body.
  
If a county imposes the 4th quarter between now and June 30, 2019, they keep all those funds for that period, but can only use them to pay off debt or for regionally significant transportation facilities. Beginning July 1, 2019, the regular distribution of 4th quarter revenue takes effect: .10% to cities, 0.10% to transit district, and 0.05% to the county.

If a county has not imposed the 4th quarter by June 30, 2020, then cities with transit service will have the option to impose it, with 0.125% going to the city, and 0.125% to the transit district.

Beginning July 1, 2019, counties may impose a new local option sales tax of 0.20% for transit capital expenses and service delivery. In the UTA district, counties can only impose the new 0.20% if they have already imposed the other four quarters.

Local option sales taxes not imposed by June 30, 2022 expire (“use it or lose it”). This applies only to the 3rd and 4th quarters in counties fully in the UTA district (i.e., Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah Counties), and to the city imposition option for the 4th quarter. The new 0.20% county option for transit expires June 30, 2023.

  There is a great table that summarizes the tax increases in the bill in a table in the WFRC Transit Presentation in the upper right downloads area.

TRANSIT MASTER PLAN KEY MOVES AT SLC COUNCIL   
  The SLC Council is rushing to spend money from the tax increase scheduled to be voted in on April 17 after one last public hearing.  In reality, the Council has already decided to increase the sales taxes and put a bond on the ballot.  One of the spending priorities for the Council is transit.  I put the Transit Master Plan Key Moves in the upper right downloads area.  It goes into detail about the Council's direction on spending money for transit.  Although it focuses on developing a Frequent Transit Network (FTN), it also has language that makes rail and dedicated bus lanes part of the plan.   The first focus of increased funding will be 200 South (and is planned for an eventual rail line).  The Council also wants to be able to rezone vast areas of the FTN route to increase density and use by adding apartments, retail and offices, even in single family zoned areas.  Some of the most important language in the Key Transit Moves document are:

"An initial priority is to implement coordinated capital and service improvements on 200 S, a primary east-west transit corridor for bus (and potentially future bus rapid transit and/or streetcar) service between downtown and the University....

Continue to monitor zoning along the FTN to ensure transit is supported by a mix of uses, adequate densities, parking requirements and other transit supportive elements (zoning can help support transit service)...Provide a mix of housing options along the FTN to support housing affordability and diversity....

According to the Transit Master Plan version for the August 8 briefing, the plan did not directly include future light rail improvements or routes “because they emerged from local or regional plans that have already conducted a detailed study to refine the preferred transit mode for the corridor.  However, in the capital investment section the study listed rail projects as “additional projects supported by Salt Lake City.” They
include:

TRAX improvements including the Black Line and other downtown network enhancements. These enhancements would resolve capacity issues necessary to enable direct TRAX service between the Airport and the University, two of Salt Lake City’s major travel demand generators.

Downtown Streetcar connecting to the University of Utah. The Transit Master Plan corridor analysis supports transit investments in a downtown streetcar including a connection to the University....

The master plan also references the S-Line in Sugar House. According to the proposed plan, extending the line was: “Included as an element of the 900 E corridor in the Transit Master Plan corridor evaluation. The 900 E corridor is part of the FTN (frequent transit network) and is also included in the Transit Master Plan capital recommendations for Enhanced Bus. 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

....Council Members also said they would like to see the proposed future route for the S Line and a “streetcar framework” that might be used to help inform future potential federal transportation grants.  The framework also could delineate what transportation corridors are conducive to using buses and what corridors are conducive to using streetcars, according to Council Members.....

It should be noted that to City Council staff’s knowledge there is no money at present in Salt Lake City’s or the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City’s budgets allocated for streetcar projects.  Although some discussion at the August 8 meeting involved the absence of a streetcar system in the
Transit Master Plan, the plan includes some aspects of streetcars and a streetcar system.

The cost for UTA to operate local bus routes in Salt Lake City in 2014 was about $16 million.  Implementing the plan completely in about 20 years, may cost an additional $7.7 million a year in operating costs. One option to move the Frequent Transit Network forward is to have Salt Lake City pay UTA to increase bus frequency or span of service on a route. The City would have to identify a revenue source to accomplish the option."

  The above language is from the Transit Key Moves SLC Council presentation on April 17.  So when the Council says that they will spend money on service improvements, they are ignoring their efforts to put streetcars in the Transit Master Plan.  It should also be noted that SLC, SLCO and UTA are submitting grant applications for transit projects without publicly acknowledging the applications.  This has become a habit since the City Council, along with UTA, decided not to give the public the application for funding the Sugar House streetcar up 1100 East.  We had to fight the application, successfully, at the Department of Transportation twice.  SLC and UTA is not telling the public about grant applications that could commit the City and taxpayers to questionable visions of the elected officials like rail lines.  

LIBRARY BUDGET INCREASES DUE TO FLOODING
  There are some interesting figures in the SLC Library budget being presented to the SLC Council at Tuesday's work session.  The initial funding to partially repair the damage from the July 26, 2017 flood at the Sprague Library is going to be $400,000.  But starting in the fall of 2018, Sprague will use about $2 million to help pay for renovating the Library.  That money will come from the funding allocated previously for implementing the space utilization study recommendations for Chapman, Day-Riverside and Sprague Libraries.  Flood insurance will also be bought for some of the libraries.  Roofs will be replaced at Foothill-Anderson, Day-Riverside and Sweet branches.  Landscaping issues will be addressed and public computers will be replaced.  The Main Library roof is leaking and also needs repair ($140,000) because the south side does not drain properly.    
  Unfortunately, the budget does not have funding for the desperately needed temporary replacement for Sprague Library which will close for a year.  The Library needs to ask for money to pay for either a pocket library or a temporary space to fill the requirements in the community for a reading room and to pickup and return borrowed items.  For some reason, RDA funding is not being considered, yet, although they have funds available in Sugar House.

IMPACT FEES, BUDGET AMENDMENT 4, COST OF TAX SURVEY
  In yet another repeat of poor budget planning, Salt Lake City could lose another million of impact fees this year and that have to be returned to developers.  The SLC Council is discussing if they can spend some of the fees, scheduled to be returned this year, on the 1300 East rebuild project.  I want to know why the fees, that are not being spent, could be used on the redesign of McClelland Street in Sugar House which had all of its funding spent on making alleyways pretty (for the McClelland Trail).  The most important part of the $1 million plan for the McClelland Trail was McClelland Street south of 2100 South.  But there is no more money to implement the plan.  All of the funding went to the alleyways!  Other items in Budget Amendment 4, to be approved this Tuesday are:  Using impact fees of $72,000 for the 2100 S. McClelland Street HAWK pedestrian signal, $96,000 for traffic signal upgrades and $140,000 for traffic synchronization.  There is over $3 million in impact fees for streets that are unallocated.
  Also, despite recommendations to keep the SLC budget cushion over 15%, the proposed expenditures in the Budget Amendment will leave just 11% ($30 million) for emergencies. "This is approximately $2,728,484 million above the recommended minimum 10% threshold."
  And if anyone is wondering how the City is spending its money on the Funding Our Future campaign to justify the tax increases, the Budget Amendment answers that with:  "In 2016, the Council appropriated $300,000 for public engagement regarding a future recreation and open space general obligation bond. The bond was not pursued at that time and the funding remains encumbered within the CIP Fund. The Council may wish to re-appropriate some, or all, of the funding for a sales tax and/or bonding public engagement effort. This would allow the funds to be used on public education and outreach for a potential sales tax increase and/or general obligation bond later this year.

OPPORTUNITY ZONES IN SLC
  I put the map and SLC Council presentation on Opportunity Zones in the upper downloads area on this page.  The highest priority areas recommended by SLC are mostly in the North Temple area.  The City claims that it has had a lot of new housing units and developments but only a couple of thousand have been built in the last ten years.  State Street area in Liberty Wells/Ballpark is number 9 out of 10 priority.  The Ballpark and 900 South Gateway areas are number 7 and 8 on the priority list.  State Street has the best potential for mixed use, high density and highest number of new housing but the fact that it only got number 9 on the priority list is wrong.  It should have been number one or two.  The 900 South, 900 West area priority was above the 900 S. Gateway area.  I put the presentation in the upper right downloads above.
  The City presentation to the Council points out that it provides "potential access to a new, and potentially large, source of non-governmental funds for investment projects in these areas through the Opportunity Funds."

"The Investing in Opportunity Act encourages the creation of “Opportunity Funds,” which offer a federal tax incentive for reinvesting unrealized capital gains into low-income “Opportunity Zones” designated by each state governor. The legislation creates incentives for private and institutional investors to move some of their capital from financial markets to potential long-term opportunities in low-income communities, which may include infrastructure, transit extensions, affordable housing, manufacturing facilities, brownfield redevelopment, entrepreneurship incubators and accelerators, co-working spaces, rental housing, other real estate, and even stock in new companies.
According to the non-profit, non-partisan Economic Innovation Group, which played a key part in developing the legislation, this policy creates new roles for city leaders, as well. Rather than focusing on individual projects designed to help low-income communities, cities will need to develop ways to support the “ecosystem” of Opportunity Zones, that is, the organizational structures that foster investment opportunities. Cities will also need to engage with potential organizers of Opportunity Funds—like banks, business groups, nonprofits, philanthropies, and community development entities—about the existence of these opportunities. Regardless of which census tracts are selected by the Governor, it would be advantageous for the City to begin developing these organizational structures because Opportunity Funds are expected to begin forming later this year."

SLC SALES TAX IMPLEMENTATION
  Although the SLC Council is rushing to implement the sales tax increase, the City contends that it will continuously go to the public for input on how to prioritize spending of the increased revenue.  "Public input will be meaningful to weigh the potential uses for new sales tax revenue, and how among the four main areas, the funding should be divided."  I put the Funding Our Future presentation and final staff report on the upper right downloads section.  Again, as I said in the oped in the Salt Lake Tribune, https://www.sltrib.com/pb/opinion/commentary/2018/04/07/george-chapman-slc-sales-tax-increase-should-all-go-to-streets
  All of the sales tax increase should go to roads.  SLC should sell a few surplus buildings that have been vacant for over 10 years, like the Pipeline Building (the former SLC Police building), and use those funds to pay for increased police.  The increased transit tax is going in the next few years and that should be used for transit increases.  And affordable housing needs all of the bond to be used to encourage affordable mixed income housing, especially on high traffic corridors like State Street.
  The SLC Council must vote on the new budget for the next year by June 23.  The budget will include the revenue from the sales tax increase and where the funding should go.  The Council could vote on the final budget on June 13 or June 20.

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON TOLL ROAD NEEDS TO STOP
  SLCO citizens and taxpayers have one last chance to stop the toll road implementation on Little Cottonwood Canyon.  UDOT is asking for comments at
 www.udot.utah.gov/littlecottonwoodeis/ 
Please go online and comment on the plan.  Utah does not need and should not have all new roads be toll roads (which SB71 has allowed).  If we can stop the toll road up Little Cottonwood Canyon, we can stop toll roads in Utah.  Although UDOT has already planned to add another lane going up the Canyon, it should not require tolling.  The funding and budget for the extra lane has already been appropriated.  President Niederhauser, the sponsor of SB71, indicated that the $2 million generated from the toll each year could be used to build a parking garage at 9400 South!  But there is no bus service planned despite our efforts to release the studies on year round bus service that UTA did several years ago.  Please comment on the EIS.  I have suggested that there should be a separated bike lane on the shoulder of the new lane (minimal cost) but the most important issue is the Canyons need year round bus service now and tolling should not be started.  






APRIL 12, 2018
SLC IGNORES DUE PROCESS EXCEPT IN GAY MARRIAGE
SLC SALES TAX INCREASE SHOULD GO TO STREETS
MAJOR BURGLARY SUSPECT RELEASED IN 90 MINUTES!

YEAR OF THE TAX INCREASES

UTAH DESERVES A SENATOR THAT WILL NOT RUN FOR ANOTHER OFFICE
NO THERE IS NOT 70% APPROVAL OF A TAX INCREASE
BIKE REGISTRATION IS ON DOWNLOADS
SLC PASSES DEMOLITION ORDINANCE FOR HISTORIC DISTRICS BUT IGNORES ELSEWHERE
ADU IS BACK, BIGGER AND STRONGER THAN EVER


SLC IGNORES DUE PROCESS EXCEPT IN GAY MARRIAGE
  The SLC Planning Commission gave its approval to the High Avenue homeless resource center that was redesigned by the architect to open onto Paramont Avenue (the street to the south).  The businesses on the street are furious at the decision.  It destroys their business' value and may destroy their business.  
  The architect told the Commission that she redesigned the center to encourage the homeless to "congregate" in the courtyard and entranceway to the south by exposing it to the south and the sun!  Interestingly, one of the reasons that the City pushed these new shelters is to stop the homeless from congregating near the Road Home.  And of course, the businesses are upset that the homeless are being encouraged to "congregate" outside of the shelter on Paramont Avenue where their businesses are.
  The SLC Police Department also said that there is a better line of sight on Paramont Avenue to decrease crime through visibility versus High Avenue which has a wall to the north of the shelter.  Lost in the statement is the fact that Paramont has lots of nooks and crannies to hide drugs while the wall on High Avenue makes it much harder to hide drugs.  Salt Lake City had to build a wall around the Road Home's playground to stop drugs from being hidden in it.
  The final irony is the fact that the value of the businesses on Paramont will decrease.  Salt Lake City has ignored pleas for compensation.  Despite the Fifth Amendment's prohibition on government taking of private property without just compensation, the City is not planning on compensating the businesses.  
  It is ironic that this situation is similar to the 1833 decision of Marshall's Supreme Court that said that cities and states did not have to give the citizens of this Country all of the rights in the Bill of Rights.  Missouri used that decision to justify the Mormon Extermination Order in 1838.  The primary drafter of Fourteenth Amendment, John Bingham, said that one of the reasons for the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment was to overturn the 1833 decision (Barron v. Baltimore).  Subsequent Supreme Courts have use the due process clause to ensure that every citizen has the rights in the Bill of Rights.
  It is even more ironic, that one of the plaintiffs of the Supreme Court decision that legalized, legitimized and recognized gay marriage, using the due process clause as a reason, is a Salt Lake City Councilman.  To have Salt Lake City ignore the due process clause that was so instrumental in recognizing legitimate relationships and encouraging long term relationships, is disrespectful and hypocritical.
  The businesses of Paramont Avenue and other businesses and homes next to the new homeless resource centers deserve consideration of compensation.

SLC SALES TAX INCREASE SHOULD GO TO STREETS
  The big question is what will the tax increase be used for?  The Salt Lake Tribune published my oped that explains why I think that all of the sales tax increase should go to streets.  Five years ago, the City Council raised taxes in order to give streets $8.4 million more a year.  The next year, they took it away and gave it for salary increases, including to themselves.  Streets are owed over $40 million from the tax increase that was supposed to go to streets but was repurposed for salary increases.  Streets needs $40 million a year to keep up basic maintenance and repair.  And Salt Lake City spent a million dollars fixing up alleyways for the so called McClelland Trail between 11th South and 21st South instead of fixing potholes!  The money was supposed to be used for the Trail through Brickyard but it has all been spent and now the City is scrambling to find money for the promised reconfiguration of McClelland Street. The oped is at:
https://www.sltrib.com/pb/opinion/commentary/2018/04/07/george-chapman-slc-sales-tax-increase-should-all-go-to-streets

MAJOR BURGLARY SUSPECT RELEASED IN 90 MINUTES!
  This should not have been a surprise.  A recent arrestee, Charles Wright, was booked into jail for felony use of stolen credit cards and was released 90 minutes later before more charges were filed against him!  This is another sad evidence of our substandard, inadequately funded jail and DA services at the Salt Lake County Jail.  The suspect was arrested along with his accomplice.  They also had stolen a several cars, and they are implicated in several more burglaries.  This situation significantly increased the costs to police at the City level and to citizens who expect more from the County Mayor McAdams.

YEAR OF THE TAX INCREASES
  Recent studies show that many families will have to pay much more in taxes due to the new 2017 tax bill from Congress.  Salt Lake City is rushing to implement their sales tax increase this month.  They also intend to put an $87 million bond on the ballot for this November.  There is also a gas tax question to provide guidance for the Legislature about raising gas taxes 10 cents a gallon from about 30 cents a gallon (in order to meet the agreement with Our Schools now to shift more transportation funds to schools).  The Legislature is insisting that Salt Lake County and Utah County increase their sales taxes by .25 cents for transit and transportation by July 2019 and Salt Lake County is thinking about pushing it forward even without a vote of the public (again since we defeated it before in PropOne).  And the County may ask for a jail bond to further expand the jail and stop the revolving door jail (see above story - 90 minute release of super felon) despite repurposing the last jail bond of $9.4 million a year.  The Sheriff fought against it but lost.  The Legislature claims that it cut taxes during this year's session.  But the reality is that it has voted in, or allowed to be implemented, the biggest tax increase in Utah in decades (since the TRAX line vote).  This truly is the year of tax increases.

UTAH DESERVES A SENATOR THAT WILL NOT RUN FOR ANOTHER OFFICE
  I join the considerable backlash against the Mitt Romney campaign that thinks that he is to be anointed to be our senator from Utah.  I think that Representative Kennedy would be a better choice to make Utah look good in the U.S. Senate.  He is a doctor and I have watched him at the Legislature.  He is a devoted public servant and deserves to be Utah's next Senator.  And since I am a State Republican delegate, that is who I will be voting for.  We will find out on April 21 who will be on the primary ballot or if Romney will take it all.
  An interesting note, every year the Salt Lake City Marathon has been on the same day of the Republican convention.  Is this a conspiracy?

NO THERE IS NOT 70% APPROVAL OF A TAX INCREASE
  A recent letter in the Salt Lake Tribune pointed out the disrespectful survey that Salt Lake City is using to justify their sales tax increase that appears to be a done deal.  The letter pointed out that the questions were misleading and encouraged those taking the survey to agree with a tax increase.  I agree.  I stopped after the first page of the survey.  Although the City added another public hearing on April 17th, it appears that behind closed doors, in secret (despite complaints about the GOP Legislative Caucus meeting behind closed doors),the Council and Mayor have decided that the tax increase will happen.  

BIKE REGISTRATION IS ON DOWNLOADS
  I put the new SLC bike registration program discussion at SLC Council on the upper right downloads.  FYI, SLCO is not involved, but should be and City is not using the Utah data of the bikeindex.com that lists stolen bikes.

SLC PASSES DEMOLITION ORDINANCE FOR HISTORIC DISTRICS BUT IGNORES ELSEWHERE
  The City has passed a demolition ordinance that makes it easier to tear down falling down, eyesores, and buildings in historic districts.  The impetus was the very obvious building next to The Other Side Academy that looked like magic was keeping it up.  It was literally hanging by a few posts.  But lost in the celebration was the fact that Salt Lake City's ordinances actually increase crime and drug use by discouraging demolishing buildings that are not being used.  Former SLCO Mayor Peter Corroon has several properties that he has been trying to demolish and, despite being boarded up, they are still used by homeless and drug addicts.  One of his vacant houses had a fire caused by homeless squatting in the building.  He found needles and other drug use evidence inside.  There was a fire last week at at boarded up building on 1700 South and 124 W. that also seemed to be caused by homeless.  As has been pointed out many times, vacant buildings encourage crime more than lack of enforcement of quality of life laws (and parking lots that SLC also discourages).  SLC should have made the demolition ordinance cover vacant building Citywide and not just in historic districts.
  On another homeless note, the area around the Tesla Building on 300 West and 10th South is going to get 67 new market rate residential units (1030S. 400W.).  That should help move the homeless that are camping around the Target building out of the area.  The City has to clean it out every month.  One of the questionable successes of Operation Rio Grande.

ADU IS BACK, BIGGER AND STRONGER THAN EVER
  The SLC ADU proposal is back and, in order to remove the Disability Law Center's threat, will be Citywide.  It is estimated that it will lead to 20 or 30 more ADUs per year due to the expense of meeting code ($40,000-90,000).  The present ordinance gave us a total of 2 ADUs!  I put the discussion and proposal on the upper downloads section.









APRIL 5, 2018
SUGAR HOUSE LIBRARY CLOSING FOR UP TO A YEAR IN FALL
FAIRMONT PARK SHOOTING, ALL INVOLVED CAUGHT
BIKE REGISTRATION IS USELESS WITHOUT COUNTY INVOLVED
ANOTHER HIGH RISE COMING TO HIGHLAND AND 2100 S.
WILMINGTON1300 TO HIGHLAND RESURFACING UNTIL END OF MAY

SUGAR HOUSE LIBRARY CLOSING FOR UP TO A YEAR IN FALL
  The Sprague Library in Sugar House has been damaged by the flood last summer to the point where the Library has to close the facility for 9 to 12 months and repair and remodel it.  The damage was extensive.  Sprague Library’s elevator may be available by the end of May and will allow some expansion into the downstairs with computer terminals and other books.  Shelving is an issue.  The closing of Sprague is expected to begin in the Fall of 2018.  The Library is looking at alternatives like pocket libraries and other spaces to provide the services that patrons expect.  The Sugar House Community Council will continue to meet at Legacy Village on Wilmington between 1300 E. and Highland at 7 PM the first Wednesday of every month.  Google Sugar House Community Council for more information and more meetings.

FAIRMONT PARK SHOOTING, ALL INVOLVED CAUGHT
  On April 3, at around 4 PM, there were 6 shots from gunman in Fairmont Park (900 E. and 2400 S.).  The Police caught all of the involved juveniles and recovered the gun and the car involved.  The gun was recovered by the Police because an alert neighbor called and reported suspicious behavior by some of those involved.  

BIKE REGISTRATION IS USELESS WITHOUT COUNTY INVOLVED
SLC is moving forward with their new bicycle registration program which is not being adopted, yet, by the rest of the County.  All of the County should be using the new, free, convenient system that allows going online and registering your bicycle in order to provide law enforcement with a record that they can check when they get a report of a found bike or suspect that a bike is stolen or does not belong to the person.  Unfortunately, many homeless rely on bicycles to get around, and work.  A few years ago, the police raided the Road Home area and confiscated, obviously stolen, bicycles from homeless.  But a system is needed to stop the chop shops and difficulty that the police have in returning recovered bikes.
  “The SLCPD records indicate that 1,194 bicycles were stolen in calendar year 2017.  Another 212 were found abandoned.  Of the combined 1,406 bicycles recovered or stolen, 83 were returned to owners.”  The police believe that they will lose about $3,000 a year implementing this system and eliminating the $2 registration fee.

ANOTHER HIGH RISE COMING TO HIGHLAND AND 2100 S.
  There will be another high rise on Highland south of the Vue restaurants.  Meacham sold the property to a developer who will build luxury apartments above ground floor restaurants.  The good news is Sugar House is continuing to develop a reputation for restaurants and night life.  The bad news is that this continues the super gentrification of Sugar House since moderate income residents are left out.

WILMINGTON 1300 TO HIGHLAND RESURFACING UNTIL END OF MAY
  Wilmington between 1300 S to Highland is going to finish the resurfacing of the street (after upgrades and replacements of their utility lines and pipes) by the end of May.  Until then, the street is going to be a one way street.




APRIL 4, 2018
SLC ENSLAVED TO ROCKY MTN POWER CONTRACT
TOO WHITE LEDs MORATORIUM IN AVENUES
BICYCLE REGISTRATION ONLY IN SLC, NOT REST OF COUNTY!!??
MILLER PARK SPRINKLER HEADS DAMAGED BY HIKERS ON PATH
JAIL MAY BE SPREADING HEPATITIS A
COMMUNITY CONNECTION TEAM ASKED TO FOCUS ON 2100 S HOMELESS


SLC ENSLAVED TO ROCKY MTN POWER CONTRACT
  During efforts to see what SLC’s policy is on too white LEDs that are replacing High Pressure Sodium streetlights, we found out that SLC is locked into a flat rate contract for power provided by Rocky Mountain Power!  SLC does not pay their power bill based on power consumption.  They have a flat rate tariff.  “The City is billed on the flat rate based on the wattage of light installed.”  So encouraging decreasing power consumption is not part of the contract with the power company.  The City has generally been installing some lower wattage lights but the new adjustable lights can reduce power consumption well over 50%.  The City is “currently researching smart controls for lighting that will allow us to monitor and control our lights remotely.  These smart controls will allow dimming but it will not reflect on our power bill.  We have had discussions with Rocky Mountain Power to see if they will allow a decrease when we are able to dim our lights.

TOO WHITE LEDs MORATORIUM IN AVENUES
  The Avenues is scheduled to have an interesting discussion tonight on LEDs.  The City’s Sustainability Director has told the Community, after complaints, that they will delay replacing street lights in the Avenues as much as possible to address the concerns.  The City has installed a few lights with a 3000K color temperature and they encourage comments.  Again, the issue is the lights are too bright for many people.  The blog on April 1 below has more information.

BICYCLE REGISTRATION ONLY IN SLC, NOT REST OF COUNTY!!??
  It appears that the great new encouraging bicycle registration program in Salt Lake City will not be Countywide.  Only SLC will be implementing the program.  So the rest of the County that also has a lot of problems with bike theft and chop shops in homeless areas, will not be affected.  And most of the County residents will negate the efforts to create an inviting bicycle registration program that will decrease bike theft.  When a cop stops a questionable bike and person, they won’t be able to find out if the bicycle is stolen since the person can just say that they live outside of SLC!  The County should take the lead and implement SLC’s new bicycle registration program.

MILLER PARK SPRINKLER HEADS DAMAGED BY HIKERS ON PATH
  Many new plantings and trees in Miller Park, in Yalecrest have died due to lack of water.  It turns out that the sprinkler heads were placed so close to the hiking path that Park hikers accidentally run into and break the heads.  There is the issue of vandalism but proper design of the system would have covered that contingency.  Unfortunately, Miller Park continues to suffer.  If it weren’t for dedicated volunteers and residents around the Park, it would be much worse.  They are trying to decrease the significant fire danger that the dead trees and plants are creating.  Jim Webster, who has volunteered much of his time to keep the Park in good shape, has funding from the City to fix some of the problems that the City created when it redesigned the Park after the spill.  

JAIL MAY BE SPREADING HEPATITIS A
  The Hepatitis A outbreak in Salt Lake County has had at least two deaths and 200 infected since August of 2017.  It appears that lack of appropriate and effective hygiene at the County Jail may be allowing the infection to spread.  A large part of the situation is due to inadequate County funding for the jail.

COMMUNITY CONNECTION TEAM ASKED TO FOCUS ON 2100
  The Community Connection Team is a team of several police officers who go out to homeless areas around the City along with a social worker to break up the homeless camps and encourage homeless to consider other options.  We have used the Team before and they are fast.  Within a day, they contacted the homeless that the community complained about and in a few more days they were able to convince one to go into temporary housing.  The Community Connection Team number is: 801 799 3533.  Their email is communityconnectionteam@slcgov.com.   Note that they close at 3PM.  They are aware of and visited the homeless camps that have been cropping up between 1300 S. and 2100 S. around 300 West.  The City is trying to arrange to install no parking signs along some of the streets that are getting campers parked for a long time.  
  The other resource, besides the SLCPD nonemergency dispatch number at 801 799 3000, is the Operation Rio Grande tip line at the Command Post.  They are manned by Utah Highway Patrol and they often have more officers available and can provide them quickly to problem areas with crime/drug selling by homeless.  If there is a crime and a SLCPD officer can’t immediately respond, call 385 266 6938.  They have responded quickly in the past.  This is not a reflection on SLCPD.  They are inundated with calls about the homeless crimes and they need all the help that they can get.





APRIL 1, 2018
UTA REFUSES TO FIGHT FOR BETTER SERVICE INSTEAD OF PROJECTS
SLC THINKING TAX INCREASE FOR MORE THAN BASIC SERVICE
1300 E. $10 MILLION PROJECT & 9 LINE/900 S. PUBLIC HEARING APR 3 
WFRC WILL BUY $250K NEW FURNITURE IN MOVE TO GATEWAY
NO MORE TRASH PILES IN SLC STREETS
MCCLELLAND SHARED STREET PROPOSALS DISCUSSED
SLCO SCARED INTO INACTION BY RISK OF LAWSUIT
SL TENNIS CLUB ROOF PUTS SNOW ON AND CLOSES PARLEYS TRAIL
OPPORTUNITY ZONES BIGGEST NEIGHBORHOOD EFFORT IN DECADES
LEDS ARE NOT POWER EFFICIENT WHEN WASTED
SLC COUNCIL WILL DISCUSS BIKE REGISTRATION APRIL 3
NEXTDOOR HAS A SLCPD BUTTON
SLCPD TROLLING FOR PACKAGE THIEFS
LIBERTY WELLS CRIME MAP OF BURGLARIES
WHEN PROTECTIVE ORDERS CREATE HOMELESS
LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON PROJECT NEEDS COMMENTS
SLC PARKING METERS COULD BE HACKED LIKE ATLANTA
SPRINGHILL SUITES IN SUGAR HOUSE ADDS TO STEEL AND CONCRETE CANYON
FEDS NOW BOOKING CRIMINALS INTO WEBER COUNTY JAIL
LAST CHANCE TO COMMENT ON 300 WEST HOMELESS SHELTER
SLC WATER BUDGETS $700,000 FOR FOREST SERVICE CANYON RESTROOMS
SLC TRAIL SYSTEM PLAN NEEDS COMMENTS
WIRED HAS A GREAT ARTICLE THAT QUESTIONS DRUG ADDICTION TREATMENT SUCCESS
WASATCH CHOICE 2050 COMMENTS/STILL HAS A HIGH SPEED AIRPORT RAIL STATION


UTA REFUSES TO FIGHT FOR BETTER SERVICE INSTEAD OF PROJECTS
  UTA is signing the contract/interlocal agreement with Salt Lake County to double track the S-line.  Despite concerns that the double tracking, which will increase frequency from every 20 minutes to every 15 minutes, will only add about 140 more riders per day to the 1400 average weekday ridership (Sunday ridership is more than 1600.).  The County's Transportation Director, Helen Peters (who is famous for pushing to extend the S-line up 1100 East) has given $4 million to the UTA and the UTA will contribute $2 million to construct the double track.  The S-line already runs pretty fast and takes 10 minutes to go from 2100 S. TRAX to 900 East.  Time will tell if the double tracking will increase ridership to what SLC and UTA and SLCO promised (5000 per day).  SLC later backed off on that figure when it became clear that ridership wasn't meeting expectations.  And, after we complained to the UTA about spending $6 million on 140 more riders a day, UTA changed the numbers and said that it will increase ridership 280 riders a day.
  At the same time that UTA decided spend $2 million on the questionable project, UTA is selling property to Murray for $2 million.  That money will not be used for service expansion since it is one time funds.  But that reasoning ignores the reality that expanding service times on key routes will create a synergistic effect system wide and increase revenue with a more robust bus system.  The new revenue is not just from the fares on the expanded service bus routes, it will increase fares system wide (if done right).  At the same time, for several years, UTA has sat on the proposal for year round bus service, in order to give the Central Wasatch Commission/Mountain Accord Plan the credit.  There is such a thing as priming the pump, implementing bus service and then encouraging the beneficiaries (ski resorts, Utah recreation and tourism) to help fund it.  They already help fund the winter ski buses.
  UTA also is still working on the super secret, who is the construction company, bus garage next to their headquarters.  UTA, despite claiming that they have no spare funds except for State of Good Repair (SGR), will spend $8 million this year alone on the useless bus garage that duplicates the garage across the street.  The natural gas refueling system did not need to have a garage!  And, despite what the Legislature complains about UTA wasting money, the bus garage was pushed by a bill last year from the Legislature.  Note that the bus garage and double tracking have not had a thorough cost benefit analysis that the last audit recommended for all projects.
  In a "what were they thinking" decision, a few months back, the UTA Board of Trustees endorsed SB136 (in its early form) in order to influence the bill's final draft.  The next month, UTA told the Legislature that a name change would cost around $12 million!  And the next month, the Legislature passed a bill that changes pensions, UTA legal department, removes the Trustees, and adds three commissioners appointed by the biggest counties (SLCO Mayor gets to nominate one for the Governor to appoint.) to run UTA.  Jerry Benson has a contract that will be difficult to break and if we lose Jerry, we will have lost a lot of institutional knowledge.  I have had many fights with Jerry, but he does know transit and has tried to not play the political game.  The Legislature also ordered that the number two person be a registered professional engineer, who essentially has been appointed since there are not that many that have the knowledge required to run operations at UTA.  


SLC THINKING TAX INCREASE FOR MORE THAN BASIC SERVICE
  SLC has extended public comments on the proposals to increase sales taxes and/or putting a bond on the November ballot to fix streets, pay for more cops, increase transit and increase affordable housing.  There will be public hearings at the City Council meetings on April 3 and April 17 at 7PM (451 S. State St - with free parking under the Library with Council staff free validation cards).  The Council may vote on the sales tax increase on April 17. 
  Although the .05 cent sales tax increase bill (that was in the prison move bill) does not allow most big ticket items and food to have a tax increase (I put the complicated wording at the end of this story.), it will inconveniently increase the cost to lower income families.  It may also have a negative impact on the gas tax increase question on the November ballot (which the Legislature will use to justify a ten cent a gallon gasoline and diesel tax increase if it passes - and will allow the State to move money to education, in accordance with the secret agreement with Our Schools Now).  It could also interfere with SLCounty's interest in a public safety tax increase/bond vote.
  The biggest concern is using the revenue for transit projects like "streetcars" and the S-Line extension.  I know of no transit projects that make sense but some on the City Council think that $100 million transit projects make sense.  The backlash, if the Council tries to spend the extra revenue on transit projects, will be serious.  On the other hand, negotiating with UTA for bus service expansion would be good.  Unfortunately, there will also be a recommendation to increase the so called local option sales tax due by July 2019 and the City may benefit from that and that could go to transit service increases if the money isn't all spent on questionable projects.  This summer, the Legislative Task Force will consider those options.  My argument has always been that if LA builds tens of billions of transit projects in the last 20 years and ridership has only minimally increased, then they should have focused on service, not projects.  The same should apply in Utah. 
  The money needed for the police staffing increase may not be needed now since the police are having problems with hiring.   There is a potential for increasing salaries to hire more but the tax increases should not go for that.  A tax increase to provide higher salaries would also get a backlash.  Also the City gave away the old Police HQ instead of selling it and using the money for increased police staffing and salaries.  The City says that they need $12 million per year for those 50 cops but I have been told that they haven't even come close to getting all of the officers that they planned.  The City should demand that Salt Lake County provide adequate public safety, jail and DA funding to stop the significant cost to SLC from a revolving door jail and non prosecution of dealers, car thieves and burglars.  
  The affordable housing segment of a sales tax increase does not make sense.  I do not support the City increasing taxes for affordable housing when they should be/could be using the $100 million in property held by RDA for that.  The RDA is instead looking at spending $31 million on a market and other questionable projects.  The best hope for affordable housing, mentioned in the SLC Affordable Housing Plan is high traffic corridors like State Street.  But the City Council is dragging their feet instead of implementing a form based design that encourages developers to build affordable mixed income housing.  Note that the City Council will discuss selling surplus property at their April 3 work session.  Affordable housing should be mixed income, not all affordable.  And it needs $87 million, not $5 million (which will cost the average homeowner $5/year), from the bond to actually have an impact.  The City's proposal duplicates efforts from the State and various charities in SLC.  Again, the gas tax question on the ballot could be negatively impacted.
  SLC says that streets need $20 million a year for ten years to provide basic well maintained streets.  The reality is that SLC streets need $40 million a year and the City owes streets $8.4 million that it repurposed 5 years ago.  The last tax increase in SLC (not including the lighting fee - a tax by any other name is still a tax) was to be used for streets, which desperately needed it 5 years ago.  The year after the tax was increased, Mayor Becker repurposed the increased taxes to another part of the budget.  The Councilmembers who allowed that  regretted  their decision.  The sales tax increase would give only about $32 million a year and that is not enough for basic streets maintenance.  All of the sales tax increase go to streets' maintenance.   I would like to see a guarantee that any new funds would not be used to for projects.  Governments have a tendency of spending money from tax increases on projects instead of basic service.
  HB454 was the bill that authorized, at Mayor Becker's request, a SLC sales tax increase of .05 cents.  The language on what it cannot cover is:
HB454
1600 (5) A city or town may not impose a tax under this section on:
1601 (a) the sale of:
1602 (i) a motor vehicle;
1603 (ii) an aircraft;
1604 (iii) a watercraft;
1605 (iv) a modular home;
1606 (v) a manufactured home; or
1607 (vi) a mobile home;
1608 (b) the sales and uses described in Section 59-12-104 to the extent the sales and uses
1609 are exempt under Section 59-12-104; and
1610 (c) except as provided in Subsection (7), amounts paid or charged for food and food
1611 ingredients.
1612 (6) For purposes of this section, the location of a transaction shall be determined in
1613 accordance with Sections 59-12-211 through 59-12-215.
1614 (7) A city or town that imposes a tax under this section shall impose the tax on
1615 amounts paid or charged for food and food ingredients if the food and food ingredients are sold
1616 as part of a bundled transaction attributable to food and food ingredients and tangible personal
1617 property other than food and food ingredients.
1618 (8) A city or town may impose a tax under this section by majority vote of the
1619 members of the city or town legislative body.
  

1300 E $10 MILLION PROJECT AND 9 LINE/900 S. PUBLIC HEARING APR 3 
  On April 3, at the formal SLC Council meeting at 7 PM, there will be a public hearing on SLC Budget Amendment 4.  The big items in the Budget Amendment are the 1300 East reconstruction project and the 9 Line on 900 S. bicycle project.   The total cost of the 1300 East reconstruction, after the water lines are replaced and the sewer line is upgraded will be 10 million.  The design should be completed by the end of winter 2018-19 and construction will take place through 2019.  Hopefully, SLC Transportation will require that two lanes of traffic are always open, which means parking will have to be banned during construction.  Otherwise, the adjacent homeowners on 1300 East will get a significant increase in pollution.  The Mayor is in that area.  I hope that she ensures that traffic lanes are kept open.  
  The City will also use $618,000 from the $4 million of State funds budgeted for an $18 million bridge at 4900 west spanning 500 to 700 South.  That expensive bridge seems to be a big waste of money but the City is hoping for a $14 million federal TIGER grant award (as if the federal deficit isn't big enough already).  There is over $3 million in unallocated streets impact fees that should be used.
  The 9 Line project is part of the Budget Amendment but the plan is still in process.  The original proposal created such a backlash that the City backed off (SLC originally wanted to move Gilmer Drive access to 900 South!).  The project cost is $745,000 and the County is providing $500,000.  This is one of the projects required by the $20 million that the federal government gave Utah that required Utah to spend $80 million on bicycle projects!  The best road for the project would be 800 South which could and should have a wide bicycle lane from 1100 East to the Jordan River.  The 800 South Road has a big hill east of 1100 East before it runs into Sunnyside.  The bicyclists east of 1300 South are rerouted from Sunnyside to 900 South in a manner that seems to be not conducive to hard core bicyclists.  There is not much road travel lane width to allow a decent bicycle lane on 900 S. and there is 45 degree parking which is very dangerous to bicyclists.  Road reconstruction is scheduled for 950 East to 1300 East. Specifically, "the funds would be used to design and construct a segment of the 9-Line Trail on 900 South between 900 East and 1300 East.  This would encompass a high-comfort, above-the-curb trail along 900 South in conjunction with a road reconstruction from Lincoln Street (950 East) to 1300 East and wayfinding signage on 900 South and Gilmer Drive.  This project is one reason why I don't trust a tax increase to be used for basic service needs.
  To download the over 50mb full 9 Line Extension Study, go to www.slcgov.com/transportation/9Line.  You need to click on the Extension Study and then 9LineStudyfinal.  Again, it is 56mb.  You could also just Google 9linestudyfinal.pdf and get it. 


WFRC WILL BUY $250K NEW FURNITURE IN MOVE TO GATEWAY
  After years of being in the middle of nowhere, the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) is moving to just north of the Gateway by this summer.  It is presently located in the International Center west of the Airport and it has just a couple of buses a day running through the area, despite the 28,000 employees!  Unless you drive a personal vehicle or dare to ride a bicycle in the area, it is almost impossible to attend their very important meetings.  The WFRC plans all new transit and transportation projects for Northern Utah (required for federal funding) except for Utah County.  The State and local governments fund their work.  Interestingly, the move has a budget of $250,000 for new furnishings!  Must be the doors.
  

NO MORE TRASH PILES IN SLC STREETS
  After years of waste piles on SLC streets that were to be picked up by SLC's waste management crew, the City has decided to end the piles that were a concern to neighbors and to SLC environmental managers.  The City was so worried about the fact that everyone else, especially on the west side, would add to the piles instead of taking their trash to the dump, that they tried to keep the trash pickups secret except for notifying the residents by mail.  The new waste pickup system will require the residents to ask for pickup and it will start on July 1.   Go to http://www.slcgreen.com/c2h for more information.  Recycling could still take place before the pickup.


MCCLELLAND SHARED STREET PROPOSALS DISCUSSED
  Former SLC Councilman Soren Simonsen has suggested an option that should be considered on McClelland Street between 2100 South and the Sugarmont Streetcar Station.  He provided pictures (to the left) of several, very successful shared space designs of streets that safely allow bicyclists, pedestrians and vehicles.  This would be similar to City Creek and Regent Street.  If it is done right, parking will not lose anymore spaces (the area lost 18 when the City created 2100 South and Highland's Monument Plaza).  Due to the impending curb and gutter work, the City is being asked to speed up their decision on how to redesign McClelland Street as part of the Canal Trail that the City spent a million dollars on.  As noted in previous posts, the property owner on the east, Jeff Vitek of Boulder Ventures had a justifiable problem with losing up to 20 spaces if the original plan was implemented.  Now the businesses, and land owners and community council will meet this week to try to reach a consensus on the new design for the street to encourage pedestrians and bicycles to frequent the Sugar House Area.  I put the old McClelland Trail proposal on the upper right downloads section.


SLCO SCARED INTO INACTION BY RISK OF LAWSUIT
  Many bicyclists and pedestrians have complained about the County closing the Parleys Trail between the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and 1700 East during the winter.  Even though there were only 3 big snow days this year, the County has had concerns about an accident happening if they plowed the trail and, due to the ice buildup (encouraged by being in the shadow of the sun - the Trail runs on the north side of the freeway), a bicyclist or a walker or runner falls and sues.  The County was sued by a bicyclist who fell on the center markings of the Jordan River Trail.  So the County decided that, to stop a risk of a lawsuit, that they would put up a chain and post a closed sign to remove the risk of a lawsuit!  The County is responsible for maintaining the Trail and it maintain it all year round.  This may require a Legislative hearing!  Government should not be scared into inaction by risk of a lawsuit when trying to provide basic service.  Many County residents use that Trail, and they fought hard to get it built.  Note that another problem is plowing/removing snow from the bicycle overpass over I215.  The plowed snow should not be falling onto the freeway and the County is unable to ensure that.  And... the next story is on the same subject but deserves a headline:


SL TENNIS CLUB ROOF PUTS SNOW ON AND CLOSES PARLEYS TRAIL
  One other reason given for closing the Trail during the winter is, the SL Tennis Club that is adjacent to the Trail just east of 1700 East, has a roof that dumps snow onto the Trail!  I think that this was discussed during the design of the path of the Trail but it was ignored.  So now, the very expensive Trail has to be closed in the winter so users will not accidentally have snow falling on them (and ice)!


OPPORTUNITY ZONES BIGGEST NEIGHBORHOOD EFFORT IN DECADES
  Almost nobody knows it, but the biggest opportunity in decades to get investment in local distressed, underutilized and low income areas of Salt Lake County is about to presented to the Governor.  Salt Lake County (see the download on Opportunity Zones presentation to the County last week) is going to present the areas that are being recommended to qualify for the investment.
  The federal tax bill from December 2017 has a little noticed item that allows investment in a low income or distressed or underutilized area (maybe 25 census tracts in this State may be submitted) to escape capital gains taxes for 10-15 years and have the eventual tax decreased.  The goal is to encourage PRIVATE investment in these areas.  But, since almost no one knows about these areas, there has been no real public engagement.  This is all being done almost behind closed doors.  Crossroads Urban Center, Tim Funk and Michael Clara were able to force a meeting with the County officials that were putting the list together.  The County now calls that meeting a public hearing!  The County also says that they will have another public hearing on April 2 and April 3 but I cannot find any mention of it (Easter weekend) and the County cancelled their Council meeting for April 3!.  
  Roberta Reichgelt, in the SLC Economic Development Department is familiar with the proposal areas which the Governor has to submit to the Treasury Department by April 22.  The areas planned to be Opportunity Zones deserve more public engagement.  Roberta said that she expects a press release from the Mayor's Office and a better map than the one circulating (in the above downloads section).  I put the Gardner Institute report, the County talking points, the map and Excel spreadsheet and an overview of Opportunity Zones in a zip file in the upper right downloads.
  Supposedly, one of the proposed areas is from State Street west through Glendale and Poplar Grove and it includes Central SLC and the 900 S. 200 W. area.  Other cities south of SLC are also part of the area proposed.
  If SLC doesn't work out a plan to encourage investment in the areas, the Opportunity Zones will be almost useless.  State Street was supposed to hold the best chance for housing increases but they've been going around in circles for over a year without results.  
  What could this mean for Ballpark, Central City, State Street, Main Street, Glendale and Poplar Grove (among many of the areas that are being considered) is hundreds of millions could be poured into new buildings and businesses along State Street.  This has the potential of activating State Street's potential housing potential (one of the main reasons SLC is planning to make the State Street to 300 West area, south of 600 S., an RDA/CDA area).  State Street has the best potential for housing and the best potential for mixed use, mixed income, and investment in SLC.  This area, as an Opportunity Zone, could explode development.


LEDS ARE NOT POWER EFFICIENT WHEN WASTED
  There is a discussion taking place in Salt Lake City and other cities around the world about LEDs that are generally super white (around 4000 Kelvin) and the significant negative effects on people, birds and animals.  Salt Lake City is in the midst of replacing High Pressure Sodium lights with LEDs but the LED lights are significantly whiter than the HPS lights.  The American Medical Association has recommended that street lights should have a color temperature of 3000 Kelvin or less.  SLC is installing LEDs with 4000 Kelvin color temperature.  The newer 2700 Kelvin LEDs are more expensive and are slow to being available.
  It is difficult to argue that street lighting should be decreased to save birds and/or to allow people to see stars at night since neighborhoods generally want more lights since it can decrease criminal activity.  
  Often, LEDs are installed as always on and using the maximum power.  But the new LEDs can be adjustable.  Their power and lumens output can be significantly decreased as needed so that they don't always have to be on full power when there are no other moving objects or when past a certain time when there are few if any vehicles or persons on the street.
  SLC should ensure that all new LED installations are intelligent and adjustable to lower SLC power use (and make the Mayor's goal of using sustainable, clean power closer to being realized).  SLC can lower power needs, decrease unneeded light pollution, keep streets safer with more natural light and also answer some of the concerns of bird lovers.


SLC COUNCIL WILL DISCUSS BIKE REGISTRATION APRIL 3
  The SLC Council will discuss the proposed bicycle registration program that has been asked for by citizens for years in order to fight and decrease the explosion in bicycle thefts, mainly, it seems, by homeless.  Pioneer Park and other homeless areas have often had piles of chop shop bicycles.  
  The new proposal is to remove the significant paperwork that often did not get entered into a convenient and useful database.  The plan requires the SLCPD to provide a link on their website to allow bicycle retailers, sellers and owners to register their bicycles without charge.  The previous system required $2 and only 1500 bicycles a year were registered. 
  In 2017, SLCPD reports that 1,194 bicycles were reported stolen and 212 were abandoned.  83 of those bicycles were returned to owners.  The SLCPD donates about 350 bicycles a year because they are unable to locate owners.  The new system is focused mainly on making it convenient for SLCPD officers to confirm bicycle ownership.  The previous ordinance required that bicycles are inspected when a police officer believes that there is a "reasonable cause to believe" the bicyclee is unsafe or "not equipped as required by law" (front and back lights and reflective tape).
  It took a year to go around in circles but the proposed ordinance change will be welcome, when the City Council votes it into law.


NEXTDOOR HAS A SLCPD BUTTON
  Many crimes and suspicious activity is reported on nextdoor.com.  The website is a verified address/resident social media platform that has many SLC participants.  But many users have complained about crime reports that never seem to get to the SLCPD.  The Police Department is unable to keep an eye on nextdoor.com (due to privacy concerns and resident requirements) until now.  The Department has an agreement with nextdoor.com to add a convenient button that links to the the SLCPD.  That should allow and encourage reporting crime and suspicious activity on nextdoor.com and send it quickly to the SLCPD.


SLCPD TROLLING FOR PACKAGE THIEFS
  The SLCPD is reporting that there has been an increase in package thefts, delivered by companies like FEDEX and UPS around the area of 900 East and 2100 South in SLC.  The police are so concerned that they have obtained packages that look valuable and are implementing a sting program to try to catch the criminals involved in these thefts.  If you see slow driving vehicles driving through a neighborhood, please call 799-3000 and report that suspicious activity and note the license number.  Even writing it down and only reporting it when crime is reported can make a big difference.


LIBERTY WELLS CRIME MAP OF BURGLARIES
  I put the map of burglaries in the Liberty Wells neighborhood from two weeks ago in the downloads area (upper right).  The SLCPD saturated the area with patrols and made two arrests within a week that hopefully have stopped the crime wave.


WHEN PROTECTIVE ORDERS CREATE HOMELESS
  It appears that Salt Lake County law enforcement and the District Attorney may be inadvertently increasing homelessness due to the improper enforcement of protective orders.  When misused, a person in an apartment or home who is working, can be arrested and lose everything.  It is almost impossible to escape the resulting homelessness and society and taxpayers end up paying even more trying to put that person back on their feet and in an apartment.  There has to be a better way to enforce protective orders than to arrest the person who violates them and sending them into homelessness.  The DA, public defenders, the jail and abuse organizations should have a discussion on how to decrease the real threat to women (mainly women) from men who violate protective orders without throwing the abuser into homelessness.  


LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON PROJECT NEEDS COMMENTS
  UDOT is asking for comments on the Little Cottonwood Canyon Environmental Impact Statement EIS for the plan that will construct an extra lane up the Canyon and also reduce peak congestion.  It could include the first toll road that Senate President Niederhauser wanted and authorized with his SB071 (that the Governor recently signed).  "These improvements include managing the number of vehicles on the road system."  UDOT says that the EIS will include public involvement and it will work with all stakeholders in a transparent and inclusive process.  
  There will be a "public scoping open house" at Cottonwood Heights City Hall, 2277 E. Bengal Blvd on April 10, 2018 from 4 to 8PM.  The public comments can be made until May 4 at: https://www.udot.utah.gov/littlecottonwoodeis/#submit-comments 
or may be made by email to littlcottonwoodeis@utah.gov.  UDOT is asking for comments on "what transportation challenges or issues should the study team be aware of in Little Cottonwood Canyon?"
  The plan is to have alternatives by Fall of 2018 and a draft EIS by the end of the year.  The public will then be invited to comment on that until the Summer of 2019.  The final EIS is to be done by Spring of 2020.  The website with a map is at: 
https://www.udot.utah.gov/littlecottonwoodeis/


SLC PARKING METERS COULD BE HACKED LIKE ATLANTA
  Recently, Atlanta has had a ransomware problem that also affected their parking system.  I hope that SLC Parking has ensured that the IT infrastructure of the City is capable of repelling any ransomware attack.  The system seems to be an open door to malware.  


SPRINGHILL SUITES IN SUGAR HOUSE ADDS TO STEEL AND CONCRETE CANYON
  Springhill Suites has started work on their 6 story, 125 room hotel on Wilmington that will result in an effect of a steel and concrete canyon for most of Wilmington from 1300 East to 1200 East.  Wilmington is the street just south of 2100 South in Sugar House.  The shadows from the high rise on the narrow street will be a discouragement for walking, especially during the winter when the sidewalks are usually not swept clean of snow and ice.  Remember that Wilmington is going to be a one way road until construction ends.


FEDS NOW BOOKING CRIMINALS INTO WEBER COUNTY JAIL
  A couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Attorney was so upset with the SLCO Jail quickly releasing a spice dealer that they arrested, that he is now sending his arrests for federal crimes to Weber County jail.  Unlike the revolving door Salt Lake County Jail, Weber County seems to be adequately funding public safety.  The latest arrest in SLC that had the criminal booked into the Weber County Jail was Pitshou Kafuku who was arrested with counterfeit cash and stolen and fake IDs.  Salt Lake County needs a vigorous discussion on how to adequately fund public safety so that law enforcement doesn't have to repeatedly arrest and book criminals that continually commit crimes when they are free.


LAST CHANCE TO COMMENT ON 300 WEST HOMELESS SHELTER
  The last chance to comment on the 300 West homeless shelter project that was supposed to have the entrance on High Ave just east of 300 West and just south of 1400 South is going to be next week.  The new plan is to have the shelter open onto 242 W. Paramont Avenue which will destroy businesses nearby.  This was a travesty and SLC should compensate the property and business owners.  Unfortunately, the Planning Commission is only rubber stamping the conditional use permit since it is essentially an administrative matter.  Those who are most affected have given up fighting the plan.  But if you want to make a comment, it will have to be made directly to the planner that is preparing the paperwork.  The staff contact is David J. Gellner at (801)535-6107 or david.gellner@slcgov.com).  The case number is PLNPCM2017-01064.


SLC WATER BUDGETS $700,000 FOR FOREST SERVICE CANYON RESTROOMS
  Many who use the Wasatch Canyons for recreation have complained about the scarcity of restrooms in the Canyons.  They ask, if SLC is charging water users money to protect the watershed, why isn't that money being used to build restrooms in the Canyons?  There are 6 million visitors in the Canyons each year and to really protect the watershed should require many more restrooms.  We have also complained about the system that SLC uses that charges SLC Parks and Open Space (including the SLC Cemetery and street medians with trees) a tiered rate for water that increases costs way above budget if there is a lot of high temperature days, like last year.  The City says that they are working with Parks to keep them within targeted water use and the City has budgeted around $700,000 for U.S. Forest Service restroom replacement.
  Laura Briefer, the Director of SLC Public Utilities provided this response to those questions:
"(1)    The tiered rate system is incorporated throughout Salt Lake City’s service area to reflect cost of service and conservation efforts. We are not proposing to remove tiered rates for City parks. That said, the Public Services Department (that overseas city parks) works with our Department to install irrigation meters that base rates on water use targets that make sense for each facility. That way they can stay within the second tier throughout the summer irrigation season and apply a sufficient amount of water for their landscapes. I have included Public Services Director Shaffer on this email since it appears your question may be related to irrigation effectiveness.
 
(2)    Given the tremendous increase in recreational use of the Wasatch Canyons and the importance of these watersheds for clean drinking water, we agree with you that restroom maintenance is important.  As such, Public Utilities budgeted close to $700,000 for restroom facilities within the Wasatch Canyons last year. This includes budget for replacing several US Forest Service restrooms at popular trailheads since there have been federal budget shortfalls. We are continuing to work with the USFS to replace them. We also budget operational funds to clean and maintain many of the restrooms in the canyons, including the USFS restrooms when they have budget shortfalls."
 

SLC TRAIL SYSTEM PLAN NEEDS COMMENTS
  The SLC foothills from North Salt Lake City to Emigration Canyon is asking for comments on their foothill trail system draft plan.  "The goal of the foothill trail system plan is to create a non-motorized, world-class recreational mountain trail system at the edge of Salt Lake City. The primary objectives of the foothill trail plan are: (1) to provide detailed layout, design and management recommendations for a comprehensive non-motorized foothill recreational trail system that is safe, enjoyable, accessible, connected, and sustainable; (2) to provide information to guide strategic implementation of the trail system over a 10-year time horizon; and (3) to provide and/or incorporate key supplemental information.
The public feedback gathered as part of the foothill trail system plan will help guide plan development, including trail construction and layout recommendations, and will influence trail development projects for the next 10 years."
  The next Open House is tomorrow, April 2, 2018 at the Jack Sweet Branch Library (455 F Street from 6:00 – 8:00pm.  Those interested, can find the summary at:
http://www.slcdocs.com/openspace/FoothillTrailSystemPlan/FoothillTrailUserWebSurvey2016-2017ResultsSummary.pdf
  The City would like to have a Plan review within a month and a Council review by July.  The planned adoption is in August.  "Those unable to attend can review the Open House information boards (see link below under “Documentation”) and provide input via the project’s online mapping tool. The online map tool is located at https://altaprojects.net/foothills-map/
  The online map tool will be available through April 6, 2018. After April 6, any comments on the Foothill Trails Plan will need to be submitted via email to OpenSpaceComments@slcgov.com.
  I hope that someone suggests water faucets for people and dogs and bicyclists and also restrooms and more trash receptacles. \


WIRED HAS A GREAT ARTICLE THAT QUESTIONS DRUG ADDICTION TREATMENT SUCCESS
  Wired Magazine has a great article written by a former drug addict that puts into perspective the reality of most drug treatment programs.  They don't work!  When SLC gets the results of the second phase of Operation Rio Grande, maybe it will sink in.  The link is: https://www.wired.com/story/addiction-rehab-is-broken-can-technology-fix-it/


WASATCH CHOICE 2050 COMMENTS/STILL HAS A HIGH SPEED AIRPORT RAIL STATION
  For those who can't get enough transit news, the WFRC.org Wasatch Choice 2050 Scenario closed public comments last week.  This Scenario will be further refined based on the public comments and be incorporated into the new RTP that is required by the federal government to justify federal funding.  The plan has a high speed rail station at the Airport, electrifying FrontRunner, TRAX extension from Draper to Lehi, a 2700 S. TRAX station and an S-Line extension up 1100 East then up 900 East (we took out streetcar rails from 900 East a few years ago)!  And the Legislature's request for a Green Line extension to 5600 W. is ignored.  The rest of the comments are long and probably uninteresting to most but I put them in for those who want to know what is in the transit portion of the plan.

The last transit audit recommended that all projects undergo a cost benefit analysis.  The scenario presentation makes that impossible.  A high speed rail station at the Airport is an example of how unrealistic this scenario is.  It appears to be a wish list, and without predicted costs, it will is almost impossible to reasonably comment.  But, for those that know me, I will try.  I like 15 minute buses but taking away lanes of traffic for BRTs that you call enhanced buses will result in a big backlash.  And, as I have often complained, the Lehi/Draper TRAX is questionable project.  You added electrifying FrontRunner which is also questionable.  It would really really be nice to know the cost of that!

Most of these projects need better justification.  Otherwise, this is just a wish list.  I noted below that the Airport TRAX extension that Legislators want is not in here and it should be.  The high speed rail station, the electrification and double track of FrontRunner, the S-Line loop, the 100/200S./S. Temple rail, the Draper/Lehi LRT and the bus garage are not justifiable.  Show taxpayers that these make sense.

Specifically:
State Street "Boulevard Community" 
should have flexibility to go higher than 4 stories, especially at high traffic nodes like 2100, 1700, 1300, 900 South etc.  And a BRT is not appropriate on this street, a State Road, despite some efforts to decrease traffic with calming (Life on State by Envision Utah is the plan which I am against.).  Expanded bus service would be nice, especially later at night and weekend service is horrible.  

Bicycle 800 S. 
800 South from Indiana Avenue to Sunnyside seems questionable due to the hill between 1300 and 1100 East.  And the City and County are pushing for an active transportation upgrade on 900 South between 1300 and Lincoln.  This is a duplicate.  I actually would prefer 800 South since 900 S. has 45 degree parking which is dangerous for bicyclists.  And I do not think cycle tracks make sense except where there are no driveways.  Even then, cyclists would prefer wider bike lanes and the ability to get out of the way of obstacles and debris in the road.

S-Line extension 
(this is one of the worst plans in the Scenario)
If you can show me where SLC/SLCO/Utah has the hundreds of millions of local money to extend the TRAX train up 1100 East to 1700 S. and from 900 E. to 400 S. and convince me and all of the single family homeowners along the route that they can live with a rezone and property tax increase and parking removed, I will say that this proposal makes sense.  Otherwise, it makes me question the WFRC plan.  Also note that bicyclists crash often on street level tracks like in Portland (70% plus injury rate for bicyclists).  Extending the S-Line up Sugarmont through the Park Avenue project, a potential destination makes better sense.  I know that previous plans did not know about Park Avenue but that project changes the S-Line predictions.  Sugar House Park is another destination but Park Avenue is better.  I also want to point out that the homeowners on the west side of the streets will fight putting in power lines that will destroy their view of the mountains.  In Utah, it is considered a right to be able to view mountains.

400 W. Green Line reconfiguration
Green TRAX Line Reconfiguration that will partly utilize existing rail ROW north of 1300 S. is a great plan.  It will cover the SLC Council's request for a streetcar on 400 W. and save 10 minutes to the Airport!  Great plan.

900 East Corridor
This is a good plan, cheap and cost effective.

200 S. BRT
I do not believe that it makes sense to duplicate a very effective S. Davis to UofU bus route with a BRT.  Especially when the City Council wants a 200 S./100 S. TRAX/streetcar.  The 400 S. TRAX should work well.  And the 10 minute frequency seems overkill when the priority should be to increase service system wide rather than on this one, very popular route.  It would be more cost effective to provide better late night service.  Look at the BRT on 3500 S. which never became that popular, despite a popular bus along the route.  There is a reason for that.  A BRT on 200 S. or any other route, should cut time to destination in half, or close to it.  Otherwise, it is not cost effective.  I would rather see wider bike lanes along 200 S.  And remember the median east of 900 East.  The South Davis to UofU $67 million + BRT is a waste of money.  Everytime someone says a BRT can provide better 10 minute service, they imply that regular buses cannot run at 10 minute intervals.  That is not true.  Trying to justify a $15 million per mile BRT with that kind of argument makes you look bad.  

500 E. BRT
This does not make sense.  A BRT is supposed to encourage development but 500 East is a single family home neighborhood.  I have seen what happens when governments try to rezone homes.  A big fight and the elected officials get kicked out or stop trying to rezone.  It ends up being a waste of money.  Look at what happened in San Diego in the 80s with the Yellow line (they closed a station a few years ago).  This project is a waste of money.  And where is the space for transit only lanes.

400 West BRT
Is a waste of money since most of 400 West will not provide ridership unless it is redeveloped.  The homeowners will fight and the businesses will not want to pay for it.

4500/4700 South BRT
Again a waste of money and the zigzag nature of the proposed route is a warning sign.  BRTs and rail should not turn.  They should go straight for most of the route.  This BRT will take about the same time as a bus!!  So whyu waste money.

Redwood Rd boulevard community
No BRT due to requirements that discourage efficient operation (UDOT balances pedestrian, vehicle and BRT without success).  Better bus service (I like the UDOT/UTA test to change traffic lights if there are a lot of passengers onboard.  Again, at high traffic nodes like 3500 S., there should not be a 4 story limit!  The better stations make sense on this route.  Bus stations/stops, by the way should have a bigger slanted roof to allow more than 2 or 3 to stand or sit.

Foothill Boulevard HOT and BRT
I am against spending $600 million of this BRT since $600 million will go a long way to restore robust bus service that was cut 30% over 10 years ago.  If a regular bus service and ridership increases to the point where it could justify a BRT, then that might make sense.  But putting in a BRT based on wishful thinking is unrealistic.  Show me that there are riders for a bus (228) that fills it up.  Think of the pollution increase if 2 lanes of traffic are taken away from Foothill Blvd!  The single family homes east of the Road (winds blow the pollution to them) will have a fit.  And they ARE influential!  You do have a Foothill Drive - Wasatch Blvd. Corridor plan with a high frequency bus that makes more sense and it runs in mixed traffic.

Little Cottonwood Canyon transportation amenities
I think that a year round bus system up the canyons ($1 million per year per canyon) would make more sense and be more cost effective.  I understand that the toll road, if it goes into effect will provide $2 million a year for a parking garage but without year round bus service, it is a waste of money.  We need an alternative to driving up the canyon first, like a bus, then build the parking garage.  Bus service up the canyons first before even thinking about BRT.

UofU transit hubs
You have proposed transit hubs on 200 S, and at two locations at UofU.  I do not see a justification for those 3 stations without potential for popular density increases with mixed use.  That is not available at the UofU and I cannot see where you will convince a landowner to give up property for buses on 200 S.  Remember, buses are noisy and do not help breathability, especially when they are concentrated in a hub.

Black Line 400 S.
Save the money a have a bus provide the connection.  You have a reroute on the Green Line, that makes sense.  A connection with the 200 S. bus would be almost as fast as TRAX and you should consider a bus to serve the Airport after hours since it is not cost effective to run TRAX for 1100 passengers a day and North Temple development is still going around in circles.

High Frequency Buses
These meet most transit needs and will encourage much more mass transit ridership.  When people know that there is a regular, high frequency and good late night and weekend service, they WILL consider using mass transit.  I like most of these if, and only if, they do not take away vehicle lanes (dedicated lanes).
You have high frequency buses on: 
Redwood Rd, 
900 S.(This may be realistic if ridership improves but I have doubts due to lack of destinations on this route.), 
300 W., 
up Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon, 
10400/10600/9400 S., 
6200/6400 S., 
7000 S./Fort Union Blvd, 
2700 W., 
6200 S./6400 S., 
3900/4100 S., 
3300/3500 S.,
900 E., 
9000 S., 
5600 W. (interesting since Henderson wanted and UTA planned for a BRT which makes less sense)
TRAX Daybreak to 12600 S. Bangerter, 
Foothill Drive/2100 S. loop, 
Redwood Rd from N. Temple to Davis County, 
1300 S. to 2100 E. but hill is tough for a bus, 1300 East (Note that due to low ridership this route was cut back significantly - it runs in front of my house but I find that using 900 East is more convenient due to 15 minute service.)
I urge you to go over the 2017 ridership data from UTA to see the real life data.

The other projects (worst/most questionable):

Tooele Corridor Primary Corridor Express Bus
Tooele and the International Center need a high frequency bus or at least start a half hour bus route through the International Center to TRAX.  It is the last destination in SLC and destinations make mass transit successful.  28,000 employees now and soon to be 35,000 should provide better service.  Also, there is no TRAX extension to 5600 W. from the Airport despite the Legislature wanting it (also to go south on 5600 W. which I question but that is why Magna was in the Inland Port bill.  Please have Andrew check with Stevenson and put the extension in.  The Airport Board (check with J.T. Martin and/or Senator Anderegg) are thinking of every other train going to the International Center)

2700 S. TRAX Station
I think that a better TRAX station would be at 1700 S. which could serve SLCC students and the businesses on 1700 S.

S-Line Loop on 200 S. to W. Temple and on 100 S. to 500 E. then on S. Temple to 1300 E. 
Rail is not supposed to make all of these turns.  This is a waste of time and money and the property owners along the routes should have a say in this before you even think of it.  

LRT Draper to Lehi
You know that I have been fighting this at MAG and at WFRC for years.  This does not make sense unless the adjacent property owners pay for this through value capture or assessment.  The rest of Utah and SL County taxpayers should not have to pay this billion dollar plus project.

How much will the Doubletrack and Electrifying of FrontRunner cost?
My guess is a billion and it is not worth it, especially when you are trying to put in another rail line to Lehi.

Airport High Speed Rail Hub
Really!? Thank you for dropping the canyon tunnel and train but why is the laughable high speed rail station here.  You know that the railroad uses the rails and building a $10 billion project to Wendover is a bigger gamble than California's effort.

Depot District/Central Garage Project
And my day would not be complete without arguing against the questionable Depot District/Central Garage Project.  UTA is considering/planning on bus garages/hubs in South County and this is a waste of time and wastes services since buses have to go out in the morning empty and come back at night empty.  Wasteful (but built).





March 21, 2018
CAN DEREK KITCHEN BE BOTH A COUNCILMAN AND SENATOR YES, BUT
SLC MARKET IN DEPOT DISTRICT COST IS $31 MILLION DOLLARS
SKYLINE INN TO BE REDEVELOPED INTO LAMPLIGHTER SQUARE
FORMER SHERIFF WINDER GIVES TALK AT ALTA CLUB
SUGAR HOUSE FIREWORKS STILL DEAD
LIBERTY PARK POND DREDGED, NO EXERCISE AREA CANYONS UPDATE
MCCLELLAND STREET PROJECT GOING IN CIRCLES
SLC BICYCLE REGISTRATION PROGRAM WAITING CITY COUNCIL VOTE
POLICE TICKET QUOTAS ENDING
SLC POLICE OFFERING RIDE ALONGS
WARM SPRINGS ALLIANCE STEPPING UP EFFORTS TO PROTECT PARK
PARLEYS TRAIL RIDE CELEBRATION TRAVERSING 4 COUNTIES COMING
UNFORTUNATELY GOVERNOR SIGNS WAR ON CARS BILL


CAN DEREK KITCHEN BE BOTH A COUNCILMAN AND SENATOR YES, BUT
Several people have asked me whether Derek Kitchen, SLC Councilman for District 4 can be a State Senator at the same time.  It appears that he can but it will probably end up with a decision in the State Senate who can decide whether he can be seated, if he wins Senate 2 election this November.  I asked Justin Lee, the Director of Elections in the Lt Governor's Office the question.  Here is what he said:

I'm not aware of a definitive statement or opinion on that issue, although it comes up from time to time.
20A-9-201(2) says that an individual cannot be a candidate for more than one office in any election year. With the elections being on different years, that doesn't really apply. 
Article VI, Section 6 of the Utah Constitution says "No person holding any public office of profit or trust under authority of the United States, or of this State, shall be a member of the Legislature: Provided that appointments in the State Militia, and the offices of notary public, justice of the peace, United States commissioner, and postmaster of the fourth class, shall not, within the meaning of this section, be considered offices of profit or trust."  I have heard several opinions as to what this means, but no definite interpretation. 
Article VI, Section 7 reads "No member of the Legislature, during the term for which he was elected, shall be appointed or elected to any civil office of profit under this State, which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased, during the term for which he was elected."  This makes it seem fairly that legislator cannot run for local office, but does not definitely state that someone in local office cannot be a Senator. 
The most important section is probably Article VI, Section 10 which states "Each house shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members". This indicates it would really be up to the Senate to decide whether or not he could be seated in the Senate if he also wanted to keep his council seat. 
Justin Lee
Director of Elections
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
State of Utah
801.538.1129
justinlee@utah.gov

  Another issue is the Hatch Act (1939 not named for the Utah Senator) that bars state and local government employees from running for public office if any federal funds support the position, even if the position is funded almost entirely with local funds (Jason Miller The Unwise and Unconstitutional Hatch Act).  The Democratic Party of Utah sued to stop Ogden City Police Chief Jon Greiner from serving as State Senator.  Although the U.S. Office of Special Counsel agreed that the Chief took federal funds (for bulletproof vests for his cops), Greiner was still able to serve his four year term in the State Senate.

SLC MARKET IN DEPOT DISTRICT COST IS $31 MILLION DOLLARS
  The Downtown Alliance is pushing constructing and opening up a market near the Rio Grande Depot.  The proposed location is 400 South and 500 West.  The plan is to construct an underground parking garage.  The biggest beneficiary would be Bryson Garbett's apartment building on 400 South and 400 West.  But the City should not be spending that kind of money to benefit essentially one person.  Gateway can provide a market in many of their vacant spaces and it would be adjacent to the Gateway condos.  Providing seed money to make the project become financially viable would make more sense.  Giving $6.7 million for a parking level at Meacham's Vue on 2100 South and Highland helped him get a loan to develop the Sugar Hole.  Of course, he pulled a fast one on the City and charged $10 minimum for the so called public parking level.  But it jump started Sugar House super gentrification development whether good or bad.  The City should not spend $31 million of RDA money on a market that would be more useful around State or Main Street where there will be a bigger population of residents, especially when State Street's CDA redevelopment takes place.  Two other properties just west of the Rio Grande Depot on 600 and 500 West are being considered for affordable housing.  The proposal is to give the properties to developers with the understanding that they will construct affordable housing.  The value of each of the properties is about $4 million.

SKYLINE INN TO BE REDEVELOPED INTO LAMPLIGHTER SQUARE
  John Thackery, the developer of Foothill Village, bought the Skyline Inn (1700 S. Foothill Drive) in 2017.  The result has been that crime due to the Inn's tenants decreased.  His plan is to demolish the building and redevelop the area into Lamplighter Square.  The Inn currently rents at $125 per night to skiers.  The adjacent Utah State liquor store is analyzing whether to stay there or move to the Parleys Walmart area.

FORMER SHERIFF WINDER GIVES TALK AT ALTA CLUB
  Former Sheriff Jim Winder was back in Salt Lake City last week giving a talk at the Alta Club.  He spoke about the jail issues and the problems that received a large amount of publicity in the last few years.  He pointed out that over 30% of the jailed inmates had drug issues.  Another 30% of the inmates had mental health problems.  (During a talk in 2016, he said that almost 80% of the SLC County Jail inmates had mental and/or drug issues.)  With those kinds of statistics, it is difficult to solve the problem.  The system needs to focus on treatment for both mental health and drug and alcohol addiction.  But the treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is notoriously unsuccessful.  According to the federal government, opiod addiction has a 5% treatment success rate.  Some treatment facilities claim a 30% success but that figure drops quickly within a couple of years.  Jim Winder fought for over 10 years to get more funding for the jail that included drug addiction treatment (He used Odyssey House to treat 180 jailed inmates.) and mental health treatment.  The limitation was always the Mayor not budgeting enough to open the 380 unused beds at Oxbow, and the significant decrease in mental health treatment in Salt Lake County when the recession hit.  The Mayor also repurposed 9.4 million a year from the voter approved jail bond for other uses.  Inadequate public safety funding was always a problem in Salt Lake County.  When the previous mayor cut the Unified Police budget and raised taxes, there was a public backlash that resulted in backtracking (after a few years).  
  I also remember a big argument between SLCO Councilwoman Aimee Newton Winder and Sheriff Jim Winder last year.  She asked when he asked for funding for more jail space.  He got very upset and almost yelled at her, reminding her that he has been asking for more jail space for over 10 years.  I have personally heard him for most of those 10 years asking for more jail space.  Another similar argument developed between the DA and Council Chair (Millcreek UPD Captain) Steve DeBry.  The DA asked for 6 more prosecutors and 600 beds for Operation Rio Grande and he had to fight with Chair DeBry to get 2 extra prosecutors.
  Although the new budget is planning on reopening the unused beds at Oxbow, the reality is that the Mayor will attempt to bring back the 300 that are jailed in other counties to the Oxbow jail.  And the County will continue to have a revolving door jail that frustrates law enforcement who have to spend most of their time fighting the same criminals that they arrested and booked into jail last week.

SUGAR HOUSE FIREWORKS STILL DEAD
  A longtime Salt Lake City tradition is officially dead.  The Sugar House fireworks show will not take place this year.  No one and no company stepped up to host the event.  The Sugar House Chamber said that businesses did not see an upside since most were usually closed on July 4.  It is sad when an event that celebrates the founding of this Country is not considered important enough to generate interest.  Provo will have do the celebration for Utah.  I had an oped in the Deseret News a few years ago that pointed out the importance of bringing a large group together and having them find common ground in celebrating the founding of this Country.  When the fireworks go off, everyone joins together in celebrating and differing opinions become less important than working together for the success of this Country.

LIBERTY PARK POND DREDGED, NO EXERCISE AREA, SEVEN CANYONS UPDATE
  The Liberty Park Pond has been dredged and the pond has been refilled.  The sidewalks near the concessions area are 85% complete and are planned to be completed by the end of April.  The goal is to complete all work by Memorial Day weekend.
  According to Kristin Riker, SLC Deputy Director of Public Services, Liberty Park Pond dredging has been completed and the pond has been refilled.  Liberty Wells Community Council has submitted a Capital Improvement request for the Seven Canyons Fountain that would include community outreach and construction drawings.  "If this is approved in the following year, we will work with the community council to discuss funding options." 
  The exercise area that was being discussed at the Historic Landmark Commission on the north side of the Park will not be installed.  The plan was to use a grant to help fund the project but there was significant public push back so the City decided not to "pursue the grant".   

MCCLELLAND STREET PROJECT GOING IN CIRCLES
  Sugar House Community Council efforts to upgrade McClelland Street with what is left from Erin Mendenhall's one million dollar McClelland Trail budget (mainly used to make alleyways pretty but since the plants weren't watered, they died) are now at a standstill.  The City took the Council's recommendation to make half of the street a pedestrian and bicycle path, make the street a one way going south to Elm, stop left hand turns from 2100 South and put in 45 degree parking to Jeff Vitek of Boulder Ventures who owns the east side of the street.  Boulder Ventures remodeled the old Granite Furniture Building following City dictates to not increase height, despite the adjacent Vue that is almost 100 feet tall.  The company is also constructing the apartment building on Sugarmont and McClelland.  But Jeff does not want to change the two way street into a one way street with more pedestrian space.  He believes that it will hurt his tenant's businesses.  In addition, the City reevaluated their parking analysis and found that a 45 degree parking would not eliminate just one space but over 10!  Since the Boulder Ventures projects will not have public parking, public parking on the street needs to be protected and not decreased.  The result is that the City and businesses along the road and the Community Council will restart discussions on how to provide increased pedestrian and bicycle area along the McClelland Trail that runs on McClelland south of 2100 South.  The sidewalk on the east side has problems with the business doors opening onto and blocking the small sidewalk.  The planted trees and large gravel decrease pedestrian walking space.  The west side has Liberty Village which does not have ground floor retail (like the Sugarmont Apartment Building and the 1000 East 2100 South apartments; effectively discouraging walkability. 
  The City also said that they were analyzing how to stop through traffic from 1300 East using Wilmington, and the new Wilmington public/private street between Highland and McClelland, to go to 900 East using Elm Avenue which is mostly single family homes.  The City is thinking about putting in a barrier to only allow left and right hand turns from Elm going east.  That would stop westbound traffic from going to 900 East using Elm.  The Community Council is also suggesting consideration of four way stops along the street. 

SLC BICYCLE REGISTRATION PROGRAM WAITING FOR CITY COUNCIL VOTE
  The new SLC bicycle registration program is waiting for a City Council vote planned in the next month.  The Bikeslc website that discusses bicycle registration is out of date.  Although the Fire Department stations sometimes took registrations, they did not enter them into a system that was accessible to cops (they said that they did not have a typist) and the box of registrations just sat there.  There is a Utah and a Salt Lake City law that requires registration but almost no one follows it.  The goal is to allow police to discourage bike thefts and bicycle chop shops which have significantly increased.  Many other cities are having the same problem.  When the new registration program is approved, it will allow patrol and bike officers to check registrations of suspicious individuals who sometimes are riding a bike while carrying another bicycle.  Just a few more weeks and we might see light at the end of the tunnel.

POLICE TICKET QUOTAS ENDING
  The Governor has signed the bill outlawing ticket quotas.  SLCPD denies that it uses quotas despite testimony to the contrary that SLCPD requires motorcycle officers to write 20 tickets a day.  In addition, there have been many complaints by neighbors of the Georgian Apartments on 200 East and 2100 South that gunshots in the area do not result in the nearby traffic cops (on motorcycles) answering shots fired calls.  The traffic cops continue to focus on tickets for traffic offenses.  The law will go into effect within 60 days.  It is a big change.  Of course, SLC will need to increase taxes to cover the decrease in traffic ticket revenue. 

SLC POLICE OFFERING RIDE ALONGS
  The SLC Police are offering the public a chance to ride along with a police officer on patrol.  If you are interested, you should contact the S
Participants must be over 18 and read and agree to all the rules and guidelines.  You also have to sign a liability waiver/Covenant not to sue.  Clothing should be appropriate for public contact (no flip flops or t-shirts).  Riders must remain in the patrol car unless instructed by the officer to leave.  In dangerous calls, the rider may be dropped off before answering the call and picked up later, if necessary, by another officer.  Recordings are not allowed unless permission is granted.  A valid ID is also required.  The application form can be found by Googling SLCPDRide-Along-Request-Form-Waiver.pdf.  The ride-along will be 4 hours and be between 7 AM and 1 AM.  Riders may not be armed, even with a concealed carry permit.  Call 801 799 4600 for more information.  

WARM SPRINGS ALLIANCE STEPPING UP EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE PARK
  The Warm Springs Alliance was started a couple of years ago with the efforts of the Capitol Hill Community Council to protect Warm Springs Park (840 N. 300 W.). "The Warm Springs Alliance is a non-profit organization formed to protect and preserve the Warm Springs landmark site, revitalize the hot springs and create a public gathering place that serves the whole community.  We envision an extraordinary space that inspires and fosters collaboration and sharing between many communities and creates a place for the arts, culture, learning, healing, celebration, social innovation, collaboration and authentic connection.  
  The group has asked SLC Mayor Biskupski to provide the Ute Tribal leadership with an official tour of the site since the Tribe considers the site to be sacred.  In addition, the group is planning a Warm Springs Spring Fling in the park.  You can get more information at warmspringsalliance.org or join the Facebook group.  Sylvia Nibley and David Scheer are leaders of the group.  

PARLEYS TRAIL RIDE CELEBRATION TRAVERSING 4 COUNTIES COMING
  The Parleys Trail Coalition is planning on a super duper bicycle (and running?) celebration of the Parleys Trail that is complete from the Bonneville Shoreline Trail to Main Street.  The trail from Main Street to the connection to the Jordan River Park Trail goes on streets just south of the S-line station between State and Main Street, past RC Willeys on West Haven Avenue, crossing to the west of 300 West then north using the west side of 300 W. sidewalk to the rail tracks for the Green Line.  The trail is the concrete path just south of the rails and it goes to the Jordan River.
  In the next few months, the celebration will come together.  The plan is currently having groups from Ogden Canyon to Bridal Veil Falls in Utah County all ride along their trails (Utah has a continuous trail between the two) to the Parleys Trail.  The event is still being planned and it should be a great celebration that may include many mayors of the cities along the trails.  For more information, email  parleystrail@gmail.com.

UNFORTUNATELY GOVERNOR SIGNS WAR ON CARS BILL
  Governor Herbert signed SB71 that encourages UDOT to implement a system to toll all new roads starting with Little Cottonwood Canyon.  This was the recommendation from the Mountain Accord to disincentivize personal vehicle travel in the canyon.  A major reason, according to the sponsor, Senate President Niederhauser, is to decrease the congestion that makes it difficult for his neighborhood to exit onto adjacent roads during ski season when cars back up out of the canyon. 
  The effect of tolls is to disincentivize personal vehicle use. But there is no parking lot for all of those cars and no year round mass transit up the canyons. The ski buses are now full. It is ironic that Utah has pushed, pulled and marketed the ski resorts to the point where now everyone has to pay for the success of the ski resorts. Unfortunately, there are no alternative roads up the canyons and that is a requirement for fair implementation of toll roads. Disincentivizing personal vehicle use when there are no other alternatives is bad government.
  Another major reason given for the toll bill is the need for more money to pay for roads and to force road users to pay for the roads. There are claims that gas taxes are going away and electric vehicles will soon be 25% of the personal vehicle fleet. They are 1% now and another new bill passed by the Legislature will significantly increase electric vehicle fees and, like in other states that increased fees, stop adoption of electric and hybrid cars. Gasoline vehicle sales have doubled in Utah in the last 8 years and Utah’s gas tax revenue has generally been going up. It was $250 million two years ago and last year was around $300 million.
  This seems to be another war on cars effort to discourage personal vehicle use. Several legislative leaders believe that we have to stop using cars and that we should move people into other means of transportation. But cars make our families and economy and Country more efficient. The best proof of the importance of personal vehicles is the recent study that showed that despite billions in beautiful new transit projects in L.A. over the last 20 years, mass transit ridership has not grown. It is about 3% (much like Salt Lake County’s UTA ridership) with 150 million riders per month. The study identified the significant growth in sale and use of cars as the reason for transit ridership stagnation!
  Statewide taxes, tolls and fees should be the Legislature’s responsibility. This bill gives responsibility to UDOT and the Transportation Commission (“in order to take politics out of the decision”). The Legislature should not abrogate their responsibility to decide taxes, fees and tolls in order to try to escape blame for raising tolls on roads that were previously paid for with gas taxes. President Niederhauser says that the extra lane being constructed up the canyon means that everyone would have to pay the toll.
  The bill also builds a new bureaucracy in government. It impacts lower income families. It charges for Utah local recreation that previously was free. It does not ensure that tickets are legally and constitutionally served (Some states require hand or certified service of the ticket. Car registration is held up for unpaid tolls.). It will essentially track every vehicle in Utah if it uses a toll road. And it does not take into account the weight and effect on roads of heavier vehicles. Most importantly, it places a barrier on use of our canyons and ski resorts for recreation. That will have an effect on marketing Utah for recreation and businesses. 
  Despite what Legislative leaders are saying, the world is not ending. The sky is not falling. The gas tax is not dwindling to nothing. And electric vehicles will not be anywhere near 25% of the vehicles on the road in the next ten years. This bill is right out of the war on cars playbook. Utah should not require all new roads to have tolls. The Legislature should not abrogate their responsibility on taxes, fees and tolls. The Governor should not have signed SB071.  The good news is that it will take at least 2 years to implement and hopefully the next Legislative session will rescind tolling and tracking all vehicles in Utah.



MARCH 16
SPRAGUE LIBRARY AIR OK FOR TOP FLOOR TO STAY OPEN
DRUG DEALERS ARE STILL BEING RELEASED WITHIN A FEW DAYS!
SLC POLICE SATURATING SLC DISTRICT 5 DUE TO EXPLOSION IN BURGLARIES
1300 SOUTH CRIME MAGNET GET CRIME FIGHTING CAMERA  
MARCH 20 CAUCUS BUT SLC IGNORES IMPORTANCE
3300S. 800E. & COLUMBUS COUNTY LIBRARIES MAY MOVE TO GRANITE HIGH SITE
SALT LAKE CITY RETHINKS ALLOWING PLASTIC BAGS IN RECYCLING BINS
SLC TAX INCREASE COMING AS PREDICTED
SLC ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING IS NOW FREE
OPERATION RIO GRANDE UNSUCCESSFUL RESULT BIRTH NEXT TO HOMELESS AREA
WAR ON CARS BILLS ARE AT GOVERNOR
INLAND PORT, STEVENSON'S REVENGE BILL SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

SPRAGUE LIBRARY AIR OK FOR TOP FLOOR TO STAY OPEN
  The air at the Sprague Library in Sugar House has been tested and found to be at "acceptable" levels for mold.  The downstairs, which is off limits to the public due to the elevator repair (may be finished by the end of the year), still has a mold and musty smell.  There is a brick wall downstairs that was scraped clean and replastered but it bubbled out and showed that there is still water in the foundation.  The solution to below grade water in a foundation is complicated and difficult to control.  But at least the upstairs reading room, holds, computer and minimal children's area is still open.  Reading time is still being held at Legacy Village.  The Library is considering a fundraising plan and will decide how to proceed in a month.
  
DRUG DEALERS ARE STILL BEING RELEASED WITHIN A FEW DAYS!
  If you do a search on names that come up in a news story about drug dealing, car theft, burglary and other arrests, you will see that many of the criminals with a lengthy history of crime are released again and again.  These are the real threats to society.  Drug dealing is not a victimless crime and should not be considered to be a nonviolent crime.  Unfortunately, HB309 by Representative Eliason, that made it a crime to provide drugs that result in a death, was not passed by the Legislature this year.  To check on the status and recent history of Salt Lake County arrestees, go to iml.slsheriff.org/IML, which is the Salt Lake County Sheriff's inmate lookup.  It gives the inmate and their recent history of charges and when they were last released.  In the last few months, armed robbers were released after a few days, car thefts resulted in release after a few days, mail theft, drug dealing, car breakins, and burglaries resulted in release in a few hours.
  The reason is Salt Lake County does not adequately fund public safety.  It is not just the jail funding, which is deficient, but also the lack of funding for the DA.  These are criminals that should be in prison, not just in jail for a few hours or days.  Some members of the County Council are interested in a serious discussion on how to stop the revolving door jail with more funding or other possible solutions.  KSL's Debbie Dujanovic had a great story on the issue on March 15 that interviewed Sheriff Rivera.  The Sheriff agreed that the jail is full and that criminals are being released in a few hours.
  The issue is going to be even worse with the lack of personnel to "man" the jail.  The Sheriff needs 40 new jailers to operate the 380 beds that are supposed to be available this summer in Oxbow Jail.  But the jailers are being poached by other municipalities that pay much more.  The new beds in the jail are also turning out to be more expensive than originally thought and the Sheriff will need more funding to open up the beds.  In addition, the Mayor wants to bring back the jailed inmates that were sent to other counties due to overcrowding and to support Operation Rio Grande and put them in the new open Oxbow beds.  So Salt Lake County will still not get new beds to house criminals!  And the old jail bond, $9.4 million a year, is still being repurposed for pay for success (which is still collecting information) and other projects.  
  Recently, there the police arrested someone that was stealing mail, Landon Warr.  He has been identified as stealing mail from almost 200 families by driving around at night and checking mailboxes that appear to not have been emptied.  The sad part of the story was that he was arrested and charged in December with using a stolen credit card.  He should not have been released.  Although he has a $50,000 bond, he can still get out quickly if the DA does not sufficiently prosecute him.  Even the Postal Inspectors that should be prosecuting these criminals is not doing so.  The Federal Government and U.S. Attorney are upset that these individuals are being quickly released and have started prosecuting some.  One case this week, a spice dealer that was booked and quickly released (supposedly for a non violent crime) by the Salt Lake County Jail was rearrested and booked into the Weber County Jail and the U.S. Attorney started prosecuting the case.
SALT LAKE COUNTY NEEDS TO HAVE A DISCUSSION ON HOW TO EFFECTIVELY PROVIDE ADEQUATE PUBLIC SAFETY. 
SLC POLICE SATURATING SLC DISTRICT 5 DUE TO EXPLOSION IN BURGLARIES
  Starting on March 15, the Salt Lake City Police will saturate District 5 (Ballpark, Liberty Wells, East Liberty Park) with bike and regular patrols to try to identify and catch the criminals responsible for an explosion of burglaries in the area (during the day).  There were 9 recent burglaries that seemed to be in the same area.  The Police also noted that the bike patrol has generated 88 criminal cases in the last year and that shows its effectiveness.  The area saturation will include the Georgian Apartments (a continuing crime problem) on 200 East and 2100 South.
  
1300 SOUTH CRIME MAGNET GET CRIME FIGHTING CAMERA  
  During the Ballpark Community Council meeting, the community asked the SLCPD to do something about the criminal activity on 1300 South and State Street.  The former Wayne's grocery has been a constant problem since the business was sold.  Drug dealers can be seen almost always selling their drug at the southwest corner.  Detective Pederson (the District 5 Police Community Officer) was able to get a camera that feeds directly into the SLCPD set up on the corner next to the grocery store parking lot.  It seems to be working.
  Crime was so bad on that corner, despite constant bike patrol and vice focus, that UTA removed their bus stop.  When the bus stopped, bicycles on the front of the bus were stolen!  Hopefully, this will help the crime in the area.  
  If you have a crime magnet in your neighborhood, you should ask the Police during your local community council meeting to consider putting a camera in the area.  The camera on 200 E. and Browning seemed to help decrease obvious criminal activity in the area (at least temporarily).
  
MARCH 20 CAUCUS BUT SLC IGNORES IMPORTANCE
The SLC Council will have an important public hearing on how to increase funding for basic street maintenance, police, transit and affordable housing during the 7 PM March 20 Salt Lake City Council meeting.  But, March 20 is the caucus night for GOP and Democrats.  Most eastside GOP will meet at East High at 7PM and the Democrats for House 25 area will meet at Emerson Elementary at 630 PM.  But the SLC Council is ignoring the importance of the caucuses and meeting anyway.  Ironically, Councilman Derek Kitchens is running for Senate District 2.  Please attend your caucus.  It is important for effective and proper guidance.  And maybe consider sending an email to the SLC Council complaining about their disrespectful important public meeting on the same night as caucus.
3300S. 800E. & COLUMBUS COUNTY LIBRARIES MAY MOVE TO GRANITE HIGH SITE
  The Salt Lake County Library has floated a plan to move the Smith Library that is at 800 East and 3300 South and the Columbus Library on 500 East and 2500 South to the former Granite High site on 500 East and 3300 South.  It will take three to five years to result in the plan being implemented.  These are well used and important libraries.  The Smith Library may be too small to handle community council meetings (They are at the closed school on 1000 E. and 4400 S. which the community in that area wants for a library.), but it is an important library for the children in the area.  Roosevelt Elementary is a block away and the Library functions as a safe zone for kids that need a safe place to work, read and play after school.  Columbus Library is in the same category.  Ironically, the small size of Columbus is due to renting out half of the building for other entities.  
  These smaller libraries are important for the adjacent communities and neighborhoods.  These are essentially pocket libraries.  Pocket libraries are a new concept that are being promoted as cheaper alternatives to large, eye candy libraries.  They can be disbursed to many neighborhoods and they allow a walkable alternative to the big libraries that encourage driving.  Libraries help keep neighborhoods inviting.  They can provide the information and reading of large amounts of material by utilizing computers and the internet.  Computer workstations can function as reading rooms and provide the same material that previously required large buildings.  Salt Lake County and Salt Lake City should plan and implement neighborhood pocket libraries.
  
SALT LAKE CITY RETHINKS ALLOWING PLASTIC BAGS IN RECYCLING BINS
  For some reason, Salt Lake City is slow to realize that plastic bags should not be in recycling containers.  Although new systems in San Francisco and other cities can process plastic bags, the equipment in Salt Lake County recycling centers cannot.  Although the recycling centers have said this for years, and even complained for the last two years to the Legislature in public hearings attended by Salt Lake City officials, it is only now that Salt Lake City is getting the message.  On March 20, the City Council will have a public hearing on banning plastic bags from recycling bins and giving the sustainability department the ability to change the recycling bin requirements.  The City Council will also hear comments on changing the green waste container requirements.  It should not take 2 years to get a clue on plastic bags.  I am against bag bans and fought Senator Iwamoto's 10 cent a bag fee this year.  And using Rwanda as an excuse to implement a 10 cent bag fee is not a good argument.
  
SLC TAX INCREASE COMING AS PREDICTED
  Last year, I argued that Salt Lake City would implement a big tax increase.  Here it comes.  On March 20 and April 3, the SLC Council will have a public hearing on raising the City's sales tax.  This was an option given to Mayor Ralph Becker, at his request, as a consolation for relocating the State Prison to Salt Lake City.  The City Council seems to be implementing the sales tax increase now and putting a question on the November ballot to have a bond that is being paid off to roll over, at a cost of $5/year, and be used for funding.  The reason for needing more funding is for basic streets maintenance, new police hiring, affordable housing and to implement the City's transit plan.  The question that needs to be answered is, will the sales tax increase affect SLC economic development?  Will companies not want to locate in SLC due to its higher sales tax?  
  Will the implementation of the sales tax increase, and possible bond vote in November affect the gas tax increase question that will be on the November ballot?  The gas tax increase vote will, if it passes, be used by the Legislature to justify a 10 cent a gallon gas tax increase for roads that will allow moving general fund money to education.  A few years ago, in a questionable bill, the Legislature decided to obligate 30% of all new revenue to roads and that pulled money from education.  In an agreement with Our Schools Now, behind closed doors, in secret, without public record (hint hint), the initiative agreed to pull back on their tax increase proposal and work on pushing the gas tax increase.  
  Regarding the SLC funding needs, the streets need $40 million a year for basic maintenance.  They get about $9 million a year in funding.  Five years ago, the Council increased funding to streets with a tax increase of $8.4 million a year.  But the next year, the new Council repurposed those funds for a salary increase for employees including the Councilmembers.  That disrespect for basic road maintenance hurt not just vehicles that end up being damaged by potholes and poorly maintained streets, it hurts and discourages bicycling.  In LA, the streets end up paying millions to injured bicyclists who hit potholes.  Here, it just discourages bicycling.  And if you ride buses, you can feel the condition of the streets when you get bounced around when the bus drives on poorly maintained roads.  The sales tax is predicted to generate $30 million per year.
  The justification for the sales tax increase is 40% of SLC property is untaxable since it is religious, educational or government.  I consider those amenities that make the City more inviting and important.  I had an oped two years ago in the Deseret News that pointed that out.  I also pointed out that the increase in employees in Salt Lake City during the day generates a lot of sales tax and that includes the significant sales tax generated by vehicle sales.  That is why there are so many car sales lots near the entrances to Downtown SLC.  A sales tax increase could drive automobile sales to other adjacent cities!  
  The interest in funding the City's new Transit Master Plan is also a concern.  Although Councilmember Erin Mendenhall said that new funds would be used to implement the frequent bus network that would expand bus service, especially at night and on weekends, she also fought for and put in the Transit Plan, the Sugar House Streetcar extension that would go up 1100 East to 1700 South, then turn to 900 East, at a cost of several hundred million!  The Council also has pushed two downtown streetcars at $100 million local funding each.  So the increase funding may not all be used for service increase.  Politicians love ribbon cutting projects.
  The 50 new police officers is a legitimate funding need.  But the City is having a problem finding enough adequate applicants and it is losing 3 20 year experienced cops a month to retirement that is effectively required due to the inadequate actuarial funding for Utah law enforcement pensions ($544 million unfunded pension).   
  Again, the public hearings will be at the formal Council meetings on March 20 and April 3.  The sales tax increase will not apply to food.  But it will affect lower income individuals and families much more.
  
SLC ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING IS NOW FREE
  Salt Lake City has removed charging fees on all of their City chargers for electric vehicles.  But not enough people know about this benefit to encourage more electric vehicle sales.  Ironically, the Legislature, in Senator Harper's SB136 significantly increased the registration fees for electric vehicles on the questionable argument that the world is ending, the sky is falling and electric vehicles will destroy the gas tax that is needed to fund roads.  
  
OPERATION RIO GRANDE UNSUCCESSFUL RESULT BIRTH NEXT TO HOMELESS AREA
    The questionable success of Operation Rio Grande was evident when a woman gave birth to a baby next to the closed SLC Community Connection Center.  SLCPD Officer Daley helped and she and the baby were taken to a hospital after the birth.  It will be interesting to see how long that she will be allowed to stay in the hospital with the baby until they are kicked out.  That happens regularly.  Patients are given a free cab ride and sent to the Weigand Center in hospital gown and walker often.  If they don't have an ID for the secure area, they can go in the back door.  But this should show that Operation Rio Grande is not the success that some want to make of it.  People are still walking around with shopping carts and carriers full of their belongings and even if they want to work, they can't since there is no safe and secure storage for homeless.  
WAR ON CARS BILLS ARE AT GOVERNOR
  SB 071, the bill that encourages toll roads, especially up the Wasatch Canyons, is meant to disincentivize personal vehicle travel.  That is the reason used by the Mountain Accord when it recommended tolling up the Canyons, "to disincentivize personal vehicle travel".  President Niederhauser mentioned using the $2 million generated to fund a parking garage at 94th South at the mouth of the Canyon.  Interestingly, that is where his friend Terry Diehl has property and tried to have the State pay for a parking structure.  If signed, all cars in Utah could be tracked by UDOT!  I consider this bill to be a war on cars.  
  SB136, Senator Harper's bill to rename UTA (I now believe that it will eventually cost $10 million cost in the next 10 years.), study a local option sales tax that would allow counties and cities to implement a sales tax increase that was not approved by voters two years ago (the bill stalls implementation until July 2019 due to significant backlash against disrespecting taxpayers' vote against Prop One) that still could give 40% to mass transit.  Again, LA spent almost $100 billion on mass transit and got almost no increase in ridership.  Cars make our families, our economy and our Country more efficient.  It also increases the registration fees, especially on electric vehicles (that will result in less coal burning needed I guess) since they get away with murder by not paying gas taxes.  A new Task Force will study road and transit funding during interim at the Legislature and give another recommendation to the next Legislative session.  The bill also changes the pension program for transit workers and shifts legal responsibility to the State Attorney General.  These issues may be litigated.  The bill gives the County Mayor the ability to nominate a candidate to be appointed as one of three Transit Commissioners that will control UTA.  There is also a 9 member advisory board but the bill significantly decreases local control of UTA.  The bill, if signed, will implement the governance of UTA change in November.  
  I am against both bills since they are a war on cars and are trying to get people out of their cars and into mass transit.  I do not think that these bills do that.  If funding increased for service only, I would support that.  But the funding generated by the local option sales tax was to go to a capitol development fund that was dreamed of being used to develop mass transit/rail projects in the south SLCO, especially around Point of the Mountain.  It also was to be used to extend TRAX through the Draper Prison site to Lehi!  The biggest beneficiaries would be land owners in the area which include many Legislative leaders. 
  
INLAND PORT, STEVENSON'S REVENGE BILL SIGNED BY GOVERNOR
  Senator Stevenson's plan to have Stadler Rail locate in Clearfield at the UTA property (discussed a year ago) was destroyed by Salt Lake City's successful effort to have Stadler Rail locate at 5600 West and just south of I80.  Note that SLC is implementing a redevelopment project area for Stadler Rail in that area and will discuss it at their March 20 formal meeting.  The Legislature also wanted a TRAX extension from the Airport (they were dealing with Airport Board member J.T. Martin) to 5600 West but SLC did not put it in their Northwest Quadrant Plan.  The Legislature served revenge on a gold platter by taking away control of a large portion of SLC for an inland port plan that SLC was already successfully implementing (with UPS, railroads and Amazon and Kennecott) and requiring all increased taxes generated to be under the control of a board that gave SLC a minority voice.  Even the Salt Lake City Schools was removed from being able to review and approve the increased taxes takeaway (which could be used for a legal fight if the bill is signed).  The Governor said that he will call a special session of the Legislature to fix the bill but this revenge bill should not have been signed.
  Interestingly, Salt Lake City has used the phrase taxation without representation to describe the bill.  Ironically, the bill that was in the Legislature that asked for more water information, and backed by the State Water Engineer, was supported by the same phrase.  Millcreek, Holladay and Cottonwood Heights, and other cities have water provided by Salt Lake City and cannot influence their water charges and have complained about taxation without representation.
  
  


MARCH 8, 2018

Sorry for the delay on posting.  I was fighting the SB71 toll road bill and the SB136 bill that reorganizes UTA and adds a big tax increase. See below.  Now that the Legislature is over, I will be posting every week.

SPRAGUE LIBRARY MAY CLOSE DUE TO MOLD
1300 EAST TO BE RECONSTRUCTED
SLC ASKING FOR INPUT ON SALES TAX INCREASE OR BOND
9 LINE TRAIL GOING FORWARD DUE TO COUNTY ENCOURAGEMENT  
FAIRMONT PARK UPGRADES
WATERSHED IS NOT BEING THREATENED BUT BILLS ARE
LEGISLATURE'S BEST AND WORST
WFRC SCENARIOS NEED COMMENT BY MARCH 31
900 EAST FIRE STATION OPERATIONAL BY SUMMER
SHOPKO BLOCK CONSTRUCTION RAMPS UP
SLC MARATHON
AFFORDABLE HOUSING STRATEGY OF SLC RDA
OXBOW JAIL CAN'T OPEN WITHOUT MORE FUNDING


SPRAGUE LIBRARY MAY CLOSE DUE TO MOLD
  SLC's Sprague Library in Sugar House will have its air tested due to concerns about unhealthy mold from the downstairs that was flooded. If the tests come back positive for unhealthy air (by March 16), the Sprague Library will have to close again until fall when all of the upgrades are finished.  The Library is also studying whether it makes sense to start a fundraising drive to help pay for the millions in cost to open up Sprague's downstairs and repair the elevator.  It turns out that the elevator is so old that there are no replacement parts available.  So the whole elevator will need to be replaced.  Legacy Village on Wilmington between 1300 East and Highland will continue to have Sugar House Community Council meetings and Library storytime.  If Sprague has to close again, the Library will discuss adding a pocket library and reading room to a nearby building. Again, we should know by March 16 (or as early as the 13th) if the Sprague Library has to close until fall.

1300 EAST TO BE RECONSTRUCTED
  SLC plans to start waterline replacement and road reconstruction and curb and gutter replacement on 1300 East, north of 2100 South, by summer.  The project will cost about $10 million with help from the State and the federal government.  SLC will pay $3 million for the upgrade.  The City plans on keeping two lanes of traffic open during construction.

SLC ASKING FOR INPUT ON SALES TAX INCREASE OR BOND
  SLC is going forward to decide by April 17 whether to increase sales taxes another half cent (allowed when the Legislature put the prison in the NorthWest Quadrant) or to roll over a bond that is almost paid off into use as a road maintenance bond.  The City is going to community councils with the options.  The bond will continue to cost taxpayers about $5 per month if it is going to be used for road maintenance.  The sales tax increase will affect business and economic development.  There is a scheduled public hearing on March 20 for the public to voice their suggestions.  But the SLC Council will make a decision by April 17.  Note that the sales tax increase is planned to also be used to help pay for more police.  I put the pavement report and sales tax vrs bond report on the upper right downloads.

9 LINE TRAIL GOING FORWARD DUE TO COUNTY ENCOURAGEMENT 
  SLC is moving forward on spending $13.9 million on the 9 line trail from 1300 East and 900 S. to the Jordan River.  The City will spend $2.4 million with $500,000 donated by Salt Lake County to work on the trail from 1300 East to 900 East on 900 South.  I find it incredibly dumb to try to put a bike lane on 900 East with 45 degree car parking and really only one lane near the 9th and 9th center of the neighborhood businesses.  800 South is a wider street that would provide a safer and much wider bike lane along with a narrower and just as safe 10 foot wide traffic lanes.  900 South will not be safe for bicyclists due to the complicated traffic issues.  The main problem with 800 South is the steeper hill.  Adding a wide bike lane going up 900 South from 1100 East would be a better and cheaper solution.  The proposal to reroute Gilmer Drive onto 900 South is also a questionable decision.  When the City asked for feedback, they got a backlash and backed off on making a decision.  But the City needs to start spending the money soon to meet Salt Lake County requirements.  SLC should use 800 South to complete the 9 line bike trail.

FAIRMONT PARK UPGRADES
  Fairmont Park is undergoing an upgrade.  SLC Parks is removing the wall on the pavilion (leaving the fire pit which has "historical significance) to allow an open 4 column pavilion.  The pond is being completely redone and the project should be finished by the end of April.  The pond will then be stocked with blue gill, catfish, bass and trout.  The restrooms will remain closed until April.  The Fairmont Park Spring and Pond Restoration has a $30,000 grant to complete phase II which will include boulder installation, daylighting and diversion of the stream, and pond and stream bank landscaping.

WATERSHED IS NOT BEING THREATENED BUT BILLS ARE
  SLC has been claiming that several Legislators are running bills this session that threaten the watershed.  At several community council meetings that claim has been repeated.  But that is not true.  The bills that affect SLC's Public Utilities do not affect the watershed and, although they failed, the issue will be discussed over the summer by the Executive Water Task Force.  Note that some on the Task Force have contracts and are paid by SLC Public Utilities.
  Over the last few weeks, in newspapers, there have been many stories about how a small group of individuals and legislators are threatening the watershed that provides drinking water to much of the Salt Lake Valley. The stories tend to devolve into personal attacks instead of focusing on the issues that several legislative bills are trying to address, the 100 year old law that gives cities of the first class extraterritorial jurisdiction.
  The extraterritorial jurisdiction was given to Salt Lake City as a city of the first class in the early 1900s under the assumption that Salt Lake City's population would always be the largest and most important in the state of Utah. It allows Salt Lake City to control development, ranching and farming in six Northern Utah counties in order to protect their watershed. Unfortunately, there are now six cities of the first class in Northern Utah and their jurisdiction overlaps.
  In order to bring some semblance of reason to this, Representative Noel has sponsored a bill, HB135 that removes the extraterritorial jurisdiction that Salt Lake City has never used and it codifies the rule that Salt Lake City uses to ensure watershed protection, 300 feet from the water source/stream and 15 miles upstream. SLC Public Utilities Director Laura Briefer even testified that the City has never used extraterritorial jurisdiction and had no plans to use it. Some reporters continue to claim that the watershed is being threatened.
  Other bills that have been claimed to be a threat to the watershed include Representative Stratton's HJR15 that asked for a Utah Constitutional Amendment to clear up the illegal surplus water sales by many municipal water suppliers that the Utah Constitution does not allow. Those water sales are supposed to be limited to 30 days but there are so many that their questionable legality is now causing a problem. His resolution is going to Interim for study but the issue is important and it has nothing to do with the watershed. It has to do with many cities in Utah ignoring the Constitution's prohibition of surplus water sales and selling their water. Cities like Millcreek, Holladay and Cottonwood Heights all rely on water from Salt Lake City that may have limits due to the Constitution.
  HB124 is asking for data on water from those who supply water to Utahns. Amazingly, surprisingly, this data is not available! The data required will not affect the watershed, despite some claims. Good government should have this information.
  Another so called controversial bill, HB136, requires legislative approval before volunteering any Utah property for National Monument or other federal designation. This bill was generated due to the Mountain Accord's recommendation for moving the Wasatch Canyons to federal oversight. Although done during the previous administration, the new administration may not be what the original plan had in mind. This is a basic good government bill that essentially says that not anyone should be able to volunteer Utah property to the federal government. It should be a joint and coordinated agreement.
  The claim that a few landowners hoping for development are causing these threats to the watershed flies in the face of two important facts. One, Salt Lake City seems to be supporting hyper development of hundreds of units at ski resorts for just a few hundred acres of conservation! At the same time, Salt Lake City is refusing thousands of acres of conservation for less than a hundred almost invisible cabins sprinkled among the canyons. The ski resort project is much more of a threat to the watershed.
  The other fact is that Salt Lake City, as a "protector" of the watershed, refuses to build or support restrooms in the canyons to serve the six million visitors a year. It turned down a request last year by the Forest Service for six restrooms. Over the years, Salt Lake has built zero restrooms!
  A hundred year old law that actually threatens what it was meant to protect needs to change. The bills running through the legislature are meant to protect the watershed.

LEGISLATURE'S BEST AND WORST
FAILED BILLS:
HB135 Extraterritorial Jurisdiction that codified what SLC Public Utilities does now.  It does not use or plan to use extraterritorial jurisdiction but it claimed that it would harm the watershed.  The Executive Water Task Force will discuss the issue during the summer.

HB 64 Distracted Driver that criminalizes talking on the phone while driving.  Note that it is already a crime to use a phone and committing a traffic infraction. 

HB88 E-cigarettes failed despite a recent report that vaping is dangerous.  The additives that may be okay in the stomach can destroy lung tissue and seem to be cancerous.  Representative Paul Ray will continue to fight to discourage tobacco and nicotine use next year. 

HB124 Water Holdings Transparency - Despite the State Water Engineer wanting this information on who has what water and how much is being sold (against the Utah Constitution which does not allow cities to sell surplus water unless it comes with a 30 day termination of service), the bill failed but will be discussed in the summer.  This is one of the bills that SLC claims is threatening the watershed. 

HB136 Federal Designations, that required the Legislature to review and make recommendations to turn over Utah land to the Federal Government (excluding private conservation easements) failed.  It was caused by the Mountain Accord that recommended turning the Wasatch Canyons over to the federal government as a National Monument!  It will come back due to the questionable authority that some feel was misused to offer the canyons to the federal government.  Interestingly, the new administration is not what the original drafters of the Mountain Accord (still being sued) expected.  They may want a do over.

HB175 The Oversight Committee, this bill would have set up an alternative to audits but it stalled and SJR18 may replace it.

HB220 Handheld Wireless Communication, another do not talk on the phone in a car bill failed.

SB95 and 113 Post Retirement failed.  Senator Iwamoto's best work in the Legislature that would have allowed teachers and law enforcement to move to another state agency after retiring failed.  But it sorely needed.  Teachers have a 95% actuarial funding for retirement but law enforcement is $544 million underfunded.  So the pressure to not rock the boat killed these bills.  They will come back.

HB182 Sand and Gravel Option Tax would have allowed counties to collect a tax on the gravel pits that cause a significant burden to local communities.

SCR5 Senator Harper's bill to remove daylight savings time in Utah would have made Utah 2 hours different from Nevada.  It failed.

SJR16 Removes Board of Education but it failed in the House.

SJR 18 Oversight Committee bill is a substitute to Rep. Stratton's bill that failed.  It is scheduled to be approved but it failed due to lack of time.

HB339 Rep. Froerer's bill would have required Prop One funds, especially in Weber County, to be used for the projects that they want and not that UTA thinks is important.  Unfortunately, one of the projects that they want is a BRT on 25th Street and Harrison that would result in road diets and rezones of single family home neighborhoods (includidng the Eccles Historic District).  It would supplant a very efficient and well used 15 minute bus ride from downtown to Weber State University.  UTA is right to question the project.  But eventually, it will probably happen and cause a lot of hate and discontent.

HB205 Down Syndrome Abortion Ban.  This bill was expected to give the ACLU millions in attorney fees when they win a lawsuit against a constitutionally questionable bill.  Ironically, the Legislature is replacing the Philo T. Farnsworth statue with Dr. Cannon, an early advocate of polygamy and women voting and, she left the Country in protest against the federal government trying to interfere in her relationship with her pregnant patients.  I think that it is hypocritical.  It failed at the last night of the session.

HB58 Traffic Control Signs and Bicycles.  Allows bicycles to run lights without any traffic.  It narrowly missed being approved by the Legislature when it ran out of time.  It was one of the best bills that should have passed.

SB155 Towing Amendments.  This is one of the best bills in this Legislative session.  It requires every parking lot that wants to tow cars to place a tow sign at the entrance and in the lot.  It deserved to be passed but it ran out of time in the House.  Senator Harper deserved a statue if this passed.  I still think his SB136 is really wrong.

The Legislature ran out of time to overturn SB54.  It looks like the Utah GOP will end up with another lawsuit and candidates will probably increase their reliance on signature gathering.

PASSED BILLS AWAITING GOVERNOR'S SIGNATURE OR VETO
HB169 Commercial Waste Fee removes much of EnergySolutions fees if the Department of Environmental Quality believe that it makes sense.  I will fight this at DEQ since EnergySolutions was not able to store securely and safely the so called Depleted Uranium/nuclear weapons waste.  The Department of Energy was so upset at EnergySolutions' treatment of the barrels of DU that they paid to build a storage facility to keep the barrels out of the rain and water.  EnergySolutions needs higher fees to ensure that Utahns won't pay when it closes.  The recent approval to have ES take regular waste should keep ES a going concern and operating profitably but ES does not know how to safely store radioactive waste.

SB136 is Senator Harper's Transportation Governance bill that removes local control and influence at UTA and substitutes three commissioners (one from SLCO) that work under the Governor.  It replaces the UTA retirement system which may not be allowed by the federal government.  It also puts the Utah Attorney General in charge of UTA legal affairs.  UTA is fighting this point.  I fought the local option sales tax that SLCO and Utah County voters turned down.  It is wrong to go back on the original Prop One HB362 that gave voters and taxpayers the say on sales tax increases.  But our fight seems to have helped stall the implementation until July 2019 while the Transportation Tax Task Force will study taxes over the next year.  Although the local sales tax is stalled for a year, it is expected to give counties an extra .25 cents tax if they agree.  Our fight was that they don't have to give voters a say.  The bill says the counties may not shall give voters a say on the option.  The option can also be implemented by cities.  The money can be used as they decide for transportation or transit.  The bill also includes a questionable and wasteful name change for UTA.  The UTA portion of the bill is the reason why the bill with the tax increases passed.  The Legislature is upset with UTA despite the fact that the Legislature is causing most of the problems at UTA.  The Legislature ordered the TODs that got UTA into trouble.  The Legislature wants UTA to build more projects that benefit land owners, many of whom are Legislators.  The bill also increases vehicle registration fees and increases them every year in accordance with inflation.  The registration fees on electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles are significantly increased.  The bill gives owners the ability to claim a rebate by using a vehicle mile traveled (VMT) system.  But Tax Commissioner Valentine warned that Utah does not have the technology to implement VMT.  And how does Utah check travel out of Utah.  This is still in the bill.  I will continue to fight the bill and encourage the Governor to veto it.  I have been involved in mass transit on boards and representing businesses since the 80s.  This bill does not improve UTA service.  A big question is how long will it take to change UTA from the Trustees Board to the Commissioners.

SB38 Elected Officials Removal was approved and it allows county legislative bodies of 5 or more (around 6 in Utah) to go into closed secret session and unanimously approve asking for a mental health evaluation of an elected county official.  I still think that this could be misused against non Republicans and LBGTQ individuals.

SB71 Toll Roads.  Is a questionable bill sponsored by Senate President Niederhauser to stop traffic problems in his neighborhood.  But it pushes toll roads when there are no alternatives.  The Cottonwood Canyons are supposed to be the first implemented with tolling.  But there is no bus service year round and no options.  It is a war on cars.  I will encourage the Governor to veto it.

SCR1 Replaces the Philo T. Farnsworth statue in Congress with Dr. Martha Cannon, an early advocate of women voting.  But, as I pointed out in a recent Sltrib.com oped, Philo is much more important than Dr. Cannon.  But the Legislature approved it.

SB137 Government Records/GRAMA is set to correct a misinterpretation of the Government Records Committee that allowed SLC to keep the site discussion by the closed City Council meetings, secret.  It should help government transparency.  I tried to open the records but the Committee refused due to their misinterpretation.

HB241 The TV noncompete bill passed.  It outlaws noncompete contracts in the news industry.  Many of the employees of the news organizations are low paid to the point of not being able to afford to park downtown (at KUTV2).  They not only have to walk a mile to get to work at 4 AM, they have had to be locked into slave contracts.  This is a good bill.

HB63 Cosmetology Testing allows Utah to provide cosmetology licenses when a person passes a test.  The Utah cosmetology schools industry is very powerful politically but they couldn't stop this bill.

HB472 Medicaid expansion that expands it to 100% of the poverty line and adds about 70,000 to the Medicaid enrollments.

SB234 Inland Port passed but it interferes with the best economic development team in Utah.  Ironically, Senator Stevenson sponsored SB234 and he lost the battle to bring Standler Rail to Clearfield.  SLC won the battle.  If SLC loses Bill Wyatt, the new SLC Airport Director, who was Portland's Port and Airport Director, Utah will lose the best possible available port director.  This may increase the possiblity of a TRAX extension to 5600 West.

HB42 and HB370 add Mobile Mental Health crisis teams to increase mental health treatment.  The effort to expand Medicaid mental health programs failed.  Ironically, they would have helped decrease crazy shooters.

HB491 and HJR20 will allow voters to vote on increasing the gas tax 10 cents a gallon from 29 cents a gallon in November.  It will affect the potential local option sales tax scheduled for July 2019.

The .05 DUI scheduled to take effect at the end of 2018 will take effect without any change. 

An increase in education funding is scheduled to be approved to meet Our Schools Now efforts to increase educational funding.  Part of the problem developed years ago when the Legislature decided that Utah would commit 30% of new funds on transportation and roads.  That took away education funding increases.  I had an oped in the Sltrib.com back then with a title of Schools are more important than highways.  This fight has been going on for way too long.  

WFRC SCENARIOS NEED COMMENT BY MARCH 31
  WFRC.org has extended the comment period for their preferred scenario from the middle of March to the end of March.  The interactive scenario allows the public to see the projects in transportation and transit in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber Counties (Utah County has a separate Mountainland Association of Governments entity that lists their projects.).   Please comment on the projects.

900 EAST FIRE STATION OPERATIONAL BY SUMMER
  The new 900 East Fire Station on the Forest Dale Golf Course is scheduled to be open and operational by summer of this year.

SHOPKO BLOCK CONSTRUCTION RAMPS UP
  The construction of the new Park Avenue project that is replacing the old Sugar House Shopko is ramping up and is scheduled to work from 5 AM to 8 PM with two cranes.  Steel will start rising on the first of April and there will sometimes by hundreds of concrete trucks on site or lined up in the area.  The Huntsman Cancer Center will install a linear accelerator that will require a lot of concrete pours.  Strinham Avenue cut through has been approved.  The Olsen's property (Toys R Us) will start construction of the hotel next week.  Wilmington Avenue from 1300 East to Highland will be one way only to facilitate the reconstruction of the roadway along with new utility lines.  Legacy Village will start charging for parking with the first hour free starting this weekend.  Validation is available for meetings in the building and for local businesses.

SLC MARATHON
The SLC Marathon is looking for volunteers to man aid stations including one at 700 E. just south of I80.  Go to saltlakecitymarathon.com to check out the map and volunteer.  Note that April 21 will be the race day and travel during the race will be restricted.  Check the map for details.
 
AFFORDABLE HOUSING STRATEGY OF SLC RDA
  In answer to a question at a community council meeting, the SLC RDA has several options that they have presented to the City Council on affordable housing.  They go from 200 affordable units to 874 affordable units, depending on the strategy.  I put the detailed report on the upper right hand downloads section.

OXBOW JAIL CAN'T OPEN WITHOUT MORE FUNDING
  Oxbow jail is scheduled to open this summer but there are problems with staffing that will impact its opening.  Other law enforcement agencies are recruiting the jailers that have been hired and the County Sheriff has lost 10 in the last couple of weeks.  She is going to ask for more funding.  It is not a sure thing at the County Council





FEBRUARY 15, 2018
SB71 TOLL ROADS/WAR ON CARS HAS BIG FISCAL IMPACT
HOW TO VIEW AND TRACK LEGISLATURE BILLS BY LEILA REYNOLDS
PALMER COURT NEEDS EMERGENCY MEDICAL ONE/TWO TIMES A DAY!
HB199 TREATMENT CTRS STOP EVIDENCE BASED DRUG TREATMENT 
SLC DISCUSSES REDUCING SOLAR INSTALLATION FEES
FRIDAY AFTERNOON SHOWDOWN ON SLC WATER SECRECY AND WATERSHED AUTHORITY



SB71 TOLL ROADS/WAR ON CARS HAS BIG FISCAL IMPACT
  SB71, President Niederhauser’s attempt to force everyone in Utah to pay tolls for new roads is back at rules due to a $2 million plus cost to taxpayers.  It appears to be close to passing and forcing everyone using canyons to be the first to pay tolls.  This is ironic since Utah keeps pushing more people to use the canyon ski resorts and now everyone will have to pay for it!  This is a war on cars since the goal is to disincentivize personal vehicle travel!  Despite claims that the gas tax is going away due to electric cars, Utah’s gas tax revenue seems to be significantly increasing to $300 million in 2017.  Cars make our families and economy and Country more efficient.  
  This bill lines out the requirement that all tolls be reviewed and approved or disapproved in the first Legislative session after the tolls being set. The Legislature should not abrogate their responsibility to decide taxes, fees and tolls in order to try to escape blame for raising tolls on roads that were previously paid for with gas taxes.
  Utah Wasatch Canyon recreation was free.  This bill forces everyone to now pay a fee and sets up a constitutionally questionable enforcement system that requires everyone driving a car to opt into paying a toll and paying without a certified notice of a fee due.  It will essentially track every vehicle in Utah if it uses a toll road.
  This bill is a war on cars and the Legislature should vote down SB071S2.

HOW TO VIEW AND TRACK LEGISLATURE BILLS BY LEILA REYNOLDS
  Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck’s intern, Leila Reynolds has produced an excellent overview of how to track bills that is better than the PDF on How to Work the Legislature in the upper downloads section.  I put a PDF of her 11 step lesson that everyone should review to understand that the Legislature actually makes it easy to track bills.  I put a picture of the PDF to the left but only for this week.  After this week, I refer you to the upper right download section for the download.  Again, thank you to Leila Reynolds for this educational overview.


  On another note, regarding SB038 that is in the House.  Representative Chavez-Houck was trying to get a reasonable recall bill through the Legislature.  But, failing that, SB038 cosponsored with Senator Thatcher was the best that she could do.  It essentially says that a 5 plus member county council can have a closed meeting and unanimously (When SLC Council has a closed meeting and voted unanimously, one member later said that she didn’t vote unanimously!) force an elected county official to undergo a mental health exam!  Interestingly, a few years ago, some would have used such a system to try to force individuals with “questionable” thoughts to be kicked out of office.  We hope that we no longer think that a person’s political affiliation or sexual identity is appropriate grounds for removal from office.  But I think that there are still people around have problems with people who are different, who walk funny, or use a wheelchair, or talk with a stutter.  This is a sad bill.

PALMER COURT NEEDS EMERGENCY MEDICAL ONE OR TWO TIMES A DAY!
  SLC Fire Department mentioned that they have to respond to emergency medical calls one or two times a day at Palmer Court, the Road Home’s supportive housing on 950 South between State and Main.  This is a good indication of problems that are endemic to the homeless population.  They need a lot of help to return to a life that does not require constant hand holding in order to not relapse into drug and/or alcohol addiction.  The solution is not simple but it does require a lot more social workers.

HB199 REQUIRED EVIDENCE BASED DRUG TREATMENT STOPPED BY TREATMENT CENTERS
  Representative Miles’ HB199 that requires drug and alcohol treatment programs to use systems that work to treat patients has failed due to an overwhelming effort by treatment centers to not be required to prove that their systems work!  Only one treatment program, in Weber County, uses evidence that proves the effectiveness of the treatment program.  The rest of Utah’s drug and alcohol treatment programs use, mostly, industry standard programs but their success rate is around 5% for opioid treatment (after 24 months) according to the federal government.  Weber County’s program is much more successful.  It is sad when an industry refuses to prove that their system works. 

SLC DISCUSSES REDUCING SOLAR INSTALLATION FEES
  After many complaints about high permit and inspection fees for installing solar panels on Salt Lake City buildings, the City is now reviewing the charges to make it easier to install solar panels in the City.  An inspection fee can be $800 and that is usually done by the inspector driving by!  Hopefully, the City will reach a resolution about this important issue soon.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON SHOWDOWN ON SLC WATER SECRECY AND WATERSHED AUTHORITY
  Friday afternoon will have a showdown at the House Natural Resources Committee (445 Capitol at 4PM) on two bills that affect SLC’s watershed extra-territorial jurisdiction and water system secrecy.  HB135 by Representative Noel restricts SLC’s influence over six Utah counties to what is actually needed to ensure water quality.  All other cities in Utah work well with much less jurisdiction.  
  SLC contends that a few landowners in the canyons are the reason and the watershed is at risk.  Interestingly, the few landowners involved have been suggesting turning over thousands of acres of land to conservation in return for less than a 100 cabins, one on each property.  At the same time, Salt Lake City is pushing and approving a 500 unit monster resort up the Wasatch Canyons in return for less than 500 acres of conservation property!  SLC also keeps turning down requests to put in restrooms for the 6 million visitors that visit the Wasatch Canyons per year.  The U.S. Forest Service asked for 6 restrooms but were turned down.  SLC has built zero restrooms despite a large income from selling surplus water, something technically illegal according to the Utah Constitution.  SLCounty is building one restroom this year.  The hundred year old law that gives SLC watershed authority over six counties needs to be fine tuned, if we really want watershed protection.
  Representative Coleman’s bill should be a no brainer that requires transparency in water rates, and contracts.  But SLC Water does seem to be threatened by transparency.  Their last budget was 4 pages!  That is worse that UTA was (We now get 200+ pages.).  




FEBRUARY 13, 2018
900 SOUTH RECONSTRUCTION SLOWS DOWN DUE TO NEIGHBORHOOD CONCERNS
HB58 THAT ALLOWS BICYCLISTS FLEXIBILITY WHEN AT INTERSECTIONS MOVES AHEAD
SB 71S2 WAR ON CARS PASSES NEXT TO LAST HURDLE
HOW TO VIEW AND TRACK A BILL BY LEILA REYNOLDS



900 SOUTH RECONSTRUCTION SLOWS DOWN DUE TO NEIGHBORHOOD CONCERNS
  Today, SLC put out this email update on the 900 South Reconstruction proposal.  Again, the project is on the upper right downloads and Becka Roolf’s email is below:

900 South Reconstruction / 9 Line Trail Project update:
   Thank you to everyone who has given your thoughtful input on 900 South Reconstruction / 9 Line Trail from Lincoln to 1300 East.
   Following on our round of public input and the community open house last week, the design team has decided to slow the project down in order to better be able to explore with the community a more robust set of design options particularly for the 1100 East / Gilmer / 900 South intersection.  We generally heard good support for the addition of the trail.  We heard multiple requests to take a step back, include additional community input, and develop a timeline to allow for additional input prior to construction.
   Our next step will be to develop an outline / schedule for additional meetings at the concept level, inviting input and collaboration from neighbors and the community at large.  We’ll be in touch once we have this outline.
   We will continue to accept input through our existing online survey (“virtual open house”) through this Thursday Feb. 15, as advertised on our flyer, but there will definitely be additional opportunities for input.  We will also continue to have discussions on the design with businesses along the corridor, in order to better understand your concerns and constraints.   
   The project construction timeline will also shift later; to be determined if fall or next spring.
   We look forward to your further participation and collaboration.
  Thank you,
Becka
 BECKA ROOLF
Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator
 TRANSPORTATION DIVISION
DEPARTMENT of COMMUNITY and NEIGHBORHOODS
SALT LAKE CITY CORPORATION

HB58 THAT ALLOWS BICYCLISTS FLEXIBILITY WHEN AT INTERSECTIONS MOVES AHEAD
  During the House Transportation Committee hearing on the proposed bill that allows bicyclists to not have to make a full stop when there are not interfering vehicles, several questions were brought up about the safety (Rep. Kennedy mentioned dead bodies) and liability (if a car still hits a bicyclist).  In addition, the Chiefs of Police came out against the bill.  The bill eventually passed through the Committee (this is the same bill that got hung up in the Senate two years ago).
  I support the bill and encourage telling your legislators that it makes sense.  It focuses law enforcement on important stuff.  The officers on the streets would rather ticket texting drivers than bicyclists.  In addition, there are not many tickets given to bicyclists.  There is no change in liability, it still remains with a bicyclist operating unsafely.  This bill gets the government out of the way of micromanaging basic reasonable bicycling.  We should be encouraging safe bicycling, not making it inconvenient.  We are trying to get people out of cars. 

SB 71S2 WAR ON CARS PASSES NEXT TO LAST HURDLE
  Senate President Niederhauser’s bill that pushes forward on the idea that Utah needs more toll roads passed its final hurdle before the House floor debate.  It gives UDOT permission to develop an automated system to raise money for new roads by tolling them.  It also gives the Transportation Commission the ability to decide the toll.  Although the Legislature can revisit it and probably will, this is a typical war on cars that is out of the war on cars playbook.  This bill started as a Cottonwood Canyons’ issue that is part of the Mountain Accord’s disincentivizing personal vehicle travel.  President Niederhauser even mentioned that he hoped that it would eventually lead to a parking garage paid for by the tolls (Central Wasatch Commission’s goal) and year round bus service to force people out of their cars.

  My thoughts on this war on cars (similar to the thoughts below in a previous post):
  Taxes are the Legislature's responsibility and they shouldn’t abrogate their responsibility to absolve themselves of the blame for new charges/fees/taxes or tolls.  This bill builds a new bureaucracy in Utah State Government.  It could lead to tolls that do not take weight and pollution into account which is a real measure of the effect on roadways.  The Utah Trucking Association spoke out against this bill.  Representative Kwan voted against the bill saying that it does impact lower income families significantly.
  The big question that was unanswered in the Committee hearing is how to handle rental cars since much of the traffic is from rental cars.  There is no solution now.
  Utah has pushed, pulled and marketed people from around the world to come to our ski resorts.  We want another Olympics which will further popularize the canyons’ resorts.  But now we seem to be saying that everyone else who uses the canyons should pay for the success of the canyons.  This is wrong on so many levels.  We should not be paying for the success of the ski resorts.
  This bill is being rushed but the world is not ending; the sky is not falling; the gas tax won’t dwindle to nothing and electric cars will not be 25% of the vehicles on the road in 10 years (as claimed by President Niederhauser). 
  We should not have to pass this now but we should continue to let UDOT study this issue.

 Note on SB38 from Representative Rebecca Chavez Houck:  She said that the reason that she helped develop SB38 was because Utah needed a system to recall elected individuals with serious issues and instead of trying for and failing to get support for a recall bill, this was the next best thing.






FEBRUARY 12, 2018
REPLACING FARNSWORTH STATUE WITH POLYGAMIST DEFENDER
HB175 LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT BOARD MOVES FORWARD
SB038 MOVES TO HOUSE AND COULD KICK OUT "CRAZY" POLITICIANS
SB155 TOWING REQUIRES A SIGN AT THE ENTRANCE TO LOT 
SB164 OPENS UP TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS' DECISIONS HELD
SB050 THAT BANS CARBON MONOXIDE CHAMBERS TO KILL PETS FAILS
MOST IMPORTANT LEGISLATIVE BILLS THAT SHOULD BE TRACKED
SLC POLICE FIND TOO MANY IDLING CARS, NO LIBERTY PK CAMPERS
          AND ASK YOU TO POST NO TRESPASSING SIGNS
OUR SCHOOLS FINDS BACKLASH AT BALLPARK PETITION SIGNING
900 SOUTH BETWEEN 950 EAST & 1300 EAST WASTES MONEY
SLC STREETS MAINTENANCE REPORT ON DOWNLOADS AREA
OPERATION RIO GRANDE IS NOT AS SUCCESSFUL AS PUBLICIZED


REPLACING FARNSWORTH STATUE WITH POLYGAMIST DEFENDER
  SCR001 (Senate Concurrent Resolution) seems to a done deal.  The House Committee hearing the proposal to switch the Filo T. Farnsworth statue at the U.S. Capitol with an early pioneer of women's right to vote, voted to recommend approval to the House.  Representative Acton expressed concern that a defender of polygamy may raise too many questions even though she and most on the Committee were descendents of polygamists.  Representative Christensen expressed concern about disrespecting the importance of television and noted the 2 TV crews there.  Eagle Forum and several others, spoke against the removal of Philo T. Farnsworth.  Several students spoke for and against the resolution.  The Committee had a vigorous discussion and debate before voting to send it to the House with a favorable recommendation.
  My issue was best expressed in the SLTRIB oped two weeks ago.  
  https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2018/01/26/george-chapman-we-dont-need-another-statue-of-a-politician-keep-philo-t-farnsworth-in-the-us-capitol/


  I also added the concern that I felt that it was ironic that Dr Cannon, an early suffragette, was being put forth as the new representative statue of Utah when one of her biggest fights was against government intrusion in the relationship between a pregnant woman and her doctor.  That federal government intrusion was directed to force her to testify against her patients to determine who was a polygamist.  
  Another issue among many non-LDS in Utah is the belief that one of the wrong reasons for giving women the vote before most of the Country was in order to dilute the influence at the ballot box of the large number of non-LDS coming into Utah.  This issue could resurrect a sore point among immigrant communities.
  A government that is powerful enough to interfere in the relationship between a pregnant woman and her doctor is powerful enough to interfere in the relationship between a doctor and their patient.  Whether it is Red China's one child policy or any other pressure from government, a woman should have the right to make the wise right choice with prayer and counseling.  Her name should not be given to governments hoping to enforce one child only and/or to organizations hoping to influence the pregnancy against the will of the patient.  That kind of government is too powerful.
  I would also like to possibly explain why there aren't more statues of women.  How do you choose among all of the women who deserve to be put on a pedestal?  Women deserve to be put on a pedestal but how do you choose?  Even a so called unappreciated mother, should have the respect of a statue on a pedestal.  Even Philo's wife, who supported him in his fight with RCA and one of the most powerful and influential men in the U.S., deserves credit because, without her, he would never have succeeded. 
  Philo T. Farnsworth invented the electron gun television system and deserves more attention and credit and respect.  Two weeks ago, a major tech website claimed that another invented TV!  Philo should be celebrated as the little man from Utah who gave us a giant leap that did much more than entertain us.  It educated us with the news and brought the world closer together than ever thought.  It lowered barriers between the peoples of the world when we walked on the moon.  Television did that.  Philo's invention did that.  His invention showed that one person can make a difference; one man can make a difference; and one woman can make more than a difference.  Fortunately for us, we have millions of those.  If you think that the only way to inspire women is to put a defender of polygamy on a pedestal, you are shortchanging women.
  
HB175 LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT BOARD MOVES FORWARD
  Representative Stratton's bill that sets up a permanent Legislative Oversight Committee that can review questionable actions or proposals that may not have received appropriate public notice or comment is going to the House floor.  Some of the issues that could be investigated include water projects, monuments, streetcars, quotas and elected officials.  There have been claims that the Legislature will use it as a threat against municipalities and other governments in Utah to ensure that they don't try to push an agenda that is against Utah policy, like pushing the federal government to make the Central Wasatch Canyons as a National Monument.  Or like pushing a 500 unit ski resort that is 100 times more intrusive and controversial than a few canyon landowners asking for a cabin on a couple hundred acres.  Salt Lake City is concerned that it may target SLC Public Utilities and specifically the Water Department with an audit.  But I think that they need it.  The Water Department provided 4 pages of a budget during the last budget and no one seemed to realize that it is worse than UTA when it comes to transparency.

SB038 MOVES TO HOUSE AND COULD KICK OUT "CRAZY" POLITICIANS
  Senator Thatcher worked with Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck to push SB038 that allows a closed/secret meeting of a county council (with at least 5 councilmembers) to push for a mental health review of any elected county elected officer.  No evidence is needed, just a majority of the closed meeting!  The elected officer will then be forced to undergo an evaluation to ensure that they are competent!  I think that it is unconstitutional and, although directed at Gary Ott, could have just as easily been used against Randy Horouchi!  Senator Thatcher agreed that Randy also had issues but they were minimal in the mornings and meetings were arranged to cover that.  But, Gary Ott was also lucid for a couple of hours a day in the morning and when I talked to him (a year before he left office), he seemed comfortable with the running of his office by Julie Dole.  I also need to point out that everyone in the building knew of Gary's and Randy's issues.  To insist that the office manager, Julie Dole, should have publicly reported the issues, is like insisting that a woman who keeps getting harassed at work should report her boss, even though it will probably result in her termination.  And I know of several cases that that has happened in the last two years.  
  Senator Thatcher is a valuable asset in the Legislature and tries to do the right thing when representing his voters but his bill allows a legislative body to ignore and overturn the vote of the voters.  Imagine if Draper was able to do the same (the bill only applies to county elected officials) during their tiff with one of their colleagues.  Interestingly, the Legislature made it worse years ago when they allowed Gary to serve 6 years until 2020 without an election.  Representative Stratton's bill seems more appropriate to review elected officials actions.  It also keeps saying that the meetings are closed.  So how can one prove or find out if the meeting participants are unanimous?  Salt Lake City Council said that their Homeless Resource Center site selection was unanimous but after the backlash, Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall said that she voted against the sites.
  A few years ago, this bill could have been used to push an elected gay person to undergo a mental health examination.  This is a sick bill but it is going to the House floor.
  
SB155 TOWING REQUIRES A SIGN AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE LOT AND ANOTHER
  Many complaints about towing at small and large parking lots and even at mobile home parks and around the 9th and 9th neighborhood have resulted in a bill by Senator Harper that changes the law to require a large (with a specific font size) sign at the parking lot entrance along with another sign in the lot BEFORE TOWING IS ALLOWED.  It received a favorable recommendation by the Committee to go to the Senate floor
  
SB164 THAT OPENS UP TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS' DECISIONS FOR TRANSPARENCY HELD
   Unfortunately, the Senate Transportation Committee held it for more review.  Up until now, the County worked with UDOT to choose transportation projects that they thought made sense.  But many mayors in Salt Lake County (16 in the County) felt that they did not have enough say in prioritizing projects.  They didn't.  Essentially, the County Mayor and UDOT may or may not listen to their concerns.  But the Committee held it for review due to many of the questions that will come up as the Legislature pushes for more investment in transit projects.  Senator Adams mentioned that it is wrong for Weber and Davis County to spend more of their sales tax allocation on mass transit projects than SLCO and hoped that soon, Salt Lake County will be forced to spend more on transit.  Note that they also mentioned the Riverton BRT project.  I have to keep saying this because it is not sinking in, UTA does not know how to successfully operate a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit like on 3500 South and that is being constructed in Provo).  Only 3200 passengers a day use the 3500 South BRT while taking out 2 lanes of traffic for it that could have been better used by 10,000 average daily drivers a day!  That is not efficient.  
   THIS IS ONE OF THE SIGNS OF THE BIG TAX INCREASE THAT THE LEGISLATURE IS TRYING TO PUSH ON US FOR MASS TRANSIT (AS IF THAT WILL SOLVE ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS).
   
SB050 THAT BANS CARBON MONOXIDE CHAMBERS TO KILL PETS FAILS COMMITTEE HEARING
  Despite passing through this Committee last year (and dying in the House Committee), this time the bill died.  The good news is that through the efforts of many groups, more animal shelters in the State are stopping the use of them.  Only two seem to remain in Utah County.
  I have several opinion pieces on this issue and, in summary, these chambers don't work.  They are supposed to be tested and calibrated annually but usually never are due to the expense.  The proper procedure is to put the pet into the chamber and close the door and watch through the glass to ensure that the animal drops without suffering.  If it doesn't and it seems to be suffering for more than 30 seconds (there should be no suffering), the system is not working correctly.  Also, after "killing" the pet, it is recommended that it be placed in a freezer to "super duper kill" the pet (I am not kidding.  That was standard operating procedure on many of the old CO chambers.)  
  Utah County Sheriff Tracy, who started with animal control has said in the past that his personnel do not want to watch the animal die.  It is too hard on them.  That is probably why the bill died this year.
  
MOST IMPORTANT BILLS THAT SHOULD BE TRACKED IN THE LEGISLATURE
  I removed the extremely large text instruction on how to work the Utah Legislature from last month's blog but you can find it on the upper right downloads section as a PDF.  I feel that the images of the website can be more helpful with the text than the text alone.  Note that if you are trying to read these bills, new language is underlined and deleting language is lined out.
  These are the bills that I tracked and had/have comments about:

SB0071 Road Tolls Provisions   This bill started as an update to Utah's toll road bill but dramatically changed to absolve the Legislature of blame for raising taxes or fees or tolls.  President Niederhauser lives near the mouth of the Cottonwoods Canyon and finds it hard to get out of his area due to traffic that is often backed up on major ski days.  But there are no convenient parking lots (Although one reason for the tolls is to provide funding for a parking lot according to the Mountain Accord - maybe Terry Diehl, Niederhauser's friend who owns property in the area can volunteer his property for a parking lot.) and except for ski season, no mass transit.  UTA keeps sitting on the proposal for year round mass transit that could/should/will cost about a million per canyon per year.  The bill started with just the Cottonwood Canyons but quickly expanded to statewide due to concern about decreasing gas tax revenue.

  Among the many problems with the bill is that it disincentivizes personal vehicle travel (something that the Mountain Accord recommended) instead of incentivizing mass transit service and use.  But an even bigger issue is that the Legislature is giving authority to UDOT and the Transportation Commission to set tolls on any and all roads that they decide on, although most are supposed to be new roads.  Only Legislators should be deciding on taxes, fees and tolls.  Just because they give up their responsibility to provide representation during tax/fee/toll decisions, doesn't mean that they are blameless.  If they pass the bill, and tolls go up, they can't say that they aren't responsible for the tolls.  There is no plausible deniability nor washing Legislature's hands of responsibility. 
  Tolls do not take into account the vehicle size and weight, yet, but should.  What if the vehicle is sold and the new owner starts collecting toll charges?  And the rural areas could be hurt most of all.  Utah encourages ski resort use and growth and requiring others who use the canyon to pay for that growth is wrong.  The worry that the gas tax revenue will dramatically decrease seems to be unrealistic.  The big threat from electric vehicles isn't realistic since we still love our regular cars and the best selling vehicle in the Country is big F150 truck.  If you watch news shows, notice all of the gasoline vehicle ads.  Cars are not going away and will last for at least a decade.
  Some have mentioned that California is leading the way on this issue with their toll roads.  But Utah should not be following California into the sea like lala lemmings!  The Legislature is the proper decision maker on taxes and fees, not an unelectable commission.


HB0064 Distracted Driver Amendments Failed.  My concern is that we already have a law that makes it a crime to roll through a stop sign and it has a super penalty if the driver is operating a cell phone.  According to Representative Moss, we need a law to stop that.  Law enforcement does give tickets for this.  If we try to ban all cellphone use while driving, it will be like the 55 mph speed limit and everyone will ignore it, even while texting.  We are trying to decrease texting and driving.  Note that the original bill was originated by a legislator whose friend was killed by a texting driver.  Unfortunately, all texting drivers that cause injuries are not publicized in the newspapers.  They should be.  That would significantly reduce texting and driving.


HB0220 Handheld Wireless Communication Device Amendments is a similar bill that the Committee is holding but it should die.  It provides for a greater penalty for using a cellphone in a school zone.  But parents, in particular, have a habit (good or bad) of using cell phones during their time around schools to coordinate pickup with their kids.


HB0068 Political Party Amendments requires a candidate to choose how to proceed to primary, either through convention or through signatures.  It failed in the House.


HB0088 Electronic Cigarette and Other Nicotine Product Amendments Representative Ray keeps fighting the good fight to decrease use of nicotine and electronic cigarettes.  Unfortunately, the bill is being held by the committee.  The electronic cigarettes and their additives have not received a clear bill of health and some additives have been implicated in destroying lungs (butter flavors)!  I think that many states, including Utah, will receive a rude awakening in 10 years when it will become clear that all those lungs that were using additives that may be harmless in a stomach are going to require major operations and replacement, paid for by somebody but probably, hopefully, not by taxpayers.


HB0124 Water Holdings Accountability and Transparency Amendments Is going to the House Committee.  It requires municipal water companies to provide the service area and cost of providing the water.  This should clear up the arguments about who is cheating who when providing water.  SLC keeps this data close to their vest but this should force the issue into the open.


HB0135 Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Amendments  This bill is still being discussed.  It requires, mainly SLC, to use an independent analysis of water quality and removes the 15 miles and 300 feet extraterritorial jurisdiction from SLC that allows SLC to control farms and ranches and canyons in 6 Northern Utah Counties.  Unfortunately, it adds allowance for cattle driving on highways but in the back country, in other counties, that is a regular occurrence.


HB0136 Federal Designations Representative Noel's bill stops any Utah government from pushing for federal land designation without going through the State Legislature.  The main reason is the effort by closed door Mountain Accord meetings that resulted in an agreement to turn over the Wasatch Canyons over to the federal government!  Yes, really, that is what is in the Mountain Accord 3.2.1!  This bill is about to pass the house.
 said any federal land designation or trade that blocks public access or alters land management practices should 


HB0225 Extra-jurisdictional Municipal Property Forces Salt Lake City to study and provide proof that it needs extra-territorial jurisdiction to protect the watershed outside of its boundaries.  This is a game changer bill.


HB173 Occupational Licensing Amendments allows individuals in some occupations (barbers, beauty shops) that have at least one year of occupation in another state to obtain a license to work in Utah.  It is in the House, passed favorably from the Committee.  Interestingly, some Utah beauty schools are furious because, other states have less educational requirements and our beauty schools are big business (according to the federal government, some are crooked).  It might be cheaper for a Utah citizen to go to another state for a year and successfully return to obtain a license without the expensive education that Utah and our beauty schools demand.


HB0205 Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act I have a problem with a government so powerful that it can interfere with the relationship between a woman and her doctor.  Red China is the worst example.  The idea that a doctor has to provide a patient's name to the Down Syndrome Society would destroy all constitutional privacy requirements.  Even the Legislative analyst says that this bill is unconstitutional!  ACLU and Planned Parenthood are looking forward to suing and getting at least a million from Utah taxpayers.  I know people who work there.  They like this bill and the money that it will give them.  I love Senator Bramble but this bill is wrong and flies in the face Dr and Senator Mattie Cannon's efforts to stop government intrusion into the doctor patient relationship.
HB0330 Communication Interception Amendments This bill will create more instances where police think that they use their position outside of their authority and demand that they not be recorded.  It is going around in circles and may come out but should die when the Payne/Wubbels incident is pointed out to be a similar issue.


SCR005 Resolution to Change Utah's Time Zone and DST.  This resolution died in Committee due to the potential to be two hours time difference from Nevada!  And only two of us spoke against it.  There was a study done a few years ago on this (Google GOED and Daylight Savings Time) but this would destroy our regional leadership and negatively impact students and farmers trying to work and play for a few extra hours in the summer.


HB0345 Driving Under the Influence Amendments Moves the implementation of the .05 DUI law to 2022.  It is just starting but it has no Senate sponsor and I don't expect it to go far.
SB0120 Local Government Fees and Taxes Amendments This bill stops a municipality from implementing a transportation utility fee on a legal subdivision. 


HB0169 Commercial Waste Fees for EnergySolutions   This bill reduces the fee that EnergySolutions pays to collect and store radioactive waste in Utah.  Unfortunately, it could result in a large influx of dangerous and mislabeled radioactive material.  It passed the House and the Senate Committee and almost nothing will stop it.  Note that I mentioned a couple of months ago, that EnergySolutions was so inadequately storing the so called depleted Uranium (DU that actually is nuclear weapons waste or Waste in Process that is much more dangerous than concrete encased nuclear fuel rods) that the Energy Department ordered the company, and even paid the company to build an enclosure to keep the barrels out of water (they were flooded).  This could develop into a big headache for Utah if EnergySolutions closes.  But we could also become more organized and force a change in the future.


SB0136 Transportation Governance Amendments SB0136 will not increase transit service
  Last year's Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force has recommended this bill, that  increases taxes for transit projects, changes UTA's governance to a three member commission and makes electric vehicles pay more taxes. The main impetus for the bill was UTA's poor reputation and the failure of Prop One two years ago.
  Over the last two years, since the failure of Prop One, UTA's management has significantly changed and no longer rubber stamps staff recommendations. The arguments during Board meetings have been more responsive to public questions and asking for data no longer is met with roadblocks. It isn't perfect, but at least the present Trustees will talk to and listen to concerns from taxpayers. But SB0136 significantly decreases accountability by giving management of UTA to three commissioners who get to decide amongst themselves how to run UTA. They are not elected and will have no public responsibility unlike most Trustees who represent municipalities and residents. 
  The bill gives the County Mayor the responsibility for choosing the commissioner representing Salt Lake County. But the County Mayor has been pushing for projects instead of service. He recently pushed for and got a $6 million project approved for the S-Line that will result in 150 more riders a day from 1400 a day. A million dollar bus route normally carries 2000. There is still not enough service to allow residents to go to shows and entertainment outside of the normal operating hours of UTA. Buses generally stop at 830 PM and generally don't start until 7 AM. TRAX stops at midnight! SB0136 decreases local control. Ten Trustees represent Salt Lake County now and the bill replaces them with one that is not answerable to citizens.
  The bill also ignores the vote of the public two years ago against the .25 cent sales tax increase for UTA. The proposal was to give 40% of new funds to questionable projects including a fancy TRAX Airport bridge, a tunnel in the canyons and a high speed rail station. Only 6% of new funds were to go to service increases. 
  The bill will implement the tax increase anyway and put the money in a Capitol Projects fund. Capital projects should be paid for by local value capture, or property assessments, not by state taxpayers to increase property owner's value. The real reason for this bill is to provide money to fund the development of mass transit around the Point of the Mountain area. The biggest beneficiaries will be the landowners and developers around that area that include many legislative leaders! Service will not receive any increased funding despite the fact that service increase is what mass transit riders and potential riders want. Spending 40% of transportation funding on mass transit when only 3% use mass transit ignores the best way to increase ridership, service increases. I'd rather see more buses on our roads than trains replacing roads. It should also be pointed out that LA spent billions on mass transit projects over the last few decades and mass transit ridership did not go up that much. There was a significant increase in people buying cars though!
  Another part of the bill claims that electric vehicles will destroy the effectiveness of the gas tax so it significantly increases registration fees for electric vehicles. Electric vehicles do not impact roads like the most popular vehicle, the Ford F150 truck. Taxing vehicles that have the least impact on our roads does not make sense and we should be encouraging electric vehicles that decrease air pollution. Electric vehicles comprise less than 1% of the cars on Utah roads. With the average vehicle lasting over ten years, the idea that electric vehicles are a threat to road funding is not realistic.
  The last time the Legislature tried to manage UTA, they told UTA to build 8 TOD projects that gave tens of millions of dollars to private developers. Legislators have pointed out that California is increasing taxes for mass transit like the bullet train but we shouldn't be raising taxes because other states like California raise taxes.
  This increases taxes against the will of the voters and taxpayers and gives landowners and developers property value increases on the backs of taxpayers. The Legislature should listen to the voters. This bill is not the solution to increasing mass transit ridership. There is no data that makes sense to justify this bill. This bill does not increase service. Because this bill ignores voters, this is a turn around and bend over bill with a turn around and bend over tax increase.  That great big flushing sound you will hear if this bill becomes law, is taxpayer dollars being flushed down the toilet due to questionable and crappy projects. 


SLC POLICE FIND TOO MANY IDLING CARS, NO LIBERTY PARK CAMPERS AND ASK YOU TO POST NO TRESPASSING SIGNS
  During community meetings over the last month, the SLC Police have indicated that they are still finding too many idling cars.  Many end up being stolen.  Criminals walk or bike the neighborhoods and when they see one, they can come back everyday and see the same opportunity.  A cop can find 6 cars on average idling a day!
  SLC Police have been patrolling parks in the City and during a recent sweep, they amazingly found no homeless campers in Liberty Park but did find campers in Fairmont Park.  They still have a problem with arresting them and putting their gear in storage so all that they can do is essentially ask them to move.  Even if the property is private, they can't push as much as they want, UNLESS THERE IS A NO TRESPASSING SIGN! They recommend, if you have issues with homeless around your property, to buy a no trespassing sign and register it with the City at a cost of about $18.  Then they can physically force the homeless to quickly move or arrest them.  Otherwise, they have to find the registered owner of the property before they can force anyone, including the homeless off the property.
  First Step also has reported that they are no longer considering trying to open a 100 bed treatment facility in the Ballpark neighborhood since it appears that there will be a big fight against it.  So First Step will be unable to assist in helping drug addicts get treatment over the 50 or so beds that they have now and the 40 supported housing units that they have.  
  
OUR SCHOOLS NOW FINDS BACKLASH AT BALLPARK PETITION SIGNING
  Our Schools Now is sending staff around to community councils to sign their petition.  Unfortunately, most of the time, there is no ability to have a fair and even presentation of the pros and cons.  The last Ballpark meeting this month changed and the Our Schools Now group got a lot of pushback from people questioning the effort of the richest Utahns pushing the least rich Utahns to pay more to educate kids.
  
900 SOUTH BETWEEN 950 EAST AND 1300 EAST ABOUT TO WASTE MONEY
  Instead of spending money on fixing poorly maintained streets, Salt Lake City is about to spend money that could be as much as a million dollars on reducing lanes on 900 South, west of 1300 South, adding bike lanes, putting in bulbouts that reduce pedestrian street crossing distances and reconfiguring Gilmer Drive that now exits onto 1100 East to exit onto 900 South. 
  Bicyclists care about adequate street maintenance more than everyone else.  They are the first to be hurt when they hit a pothole that should have been fixed.  In LA, millions are spent every year on lawsuit settlements that do not come close to compensating bicyclists who have to crash trying to navigate streets on the far right hand side of the road. 
  The street that SLC wants to change also has 45 degree parking near 900 East and 45 degree parking and bicycle lanes do not safely mix.  There are two days before the comment deadline but if this goes through, bicyclists will be much worse off.  Also, bicyclists do not like bulbouts.   


SLC STREETS MAINTENANCE REPORT AVAILABLE ON DOWNLOADS AREA
  I put the SLC Streets Maintenance Report on the upper right downloads of this page.  It shows that SLC needs more money to maintain our streets.  My information from a few years ago is still more accurate.  SLC spends about $9 million a year on maintenance.  About another $5 million is spent on fancy projects like separated bike lanes, road diets/reducing travel lanes, traffic calming, bulbouts to reduce pedestrian crossing distance, different colored street pavement, medians and other prettifying projects.  SLC needs $40 million every year to actually provide adequate maintenance for our roads.  When SLC, 5 years ago, increased our taxes to provide an extra $8.4 million a year for road maintenance, the City Council, the next year, gave themselves and the City employees a pay raise by repurposing the road maintenance tax to salaries.  Council Chair Mendenhall was part of the Council that voted for that.  Now the Council is planning on increasing taxes or fees to cover some of the cost of maintaining our roads.  A transportation utility fee is being proposed but the Legislature may kill part of the plan.  When Provo implemented their fee, they left out the church properties from assessment.  It may not be possible in SLC.  Mayor Biskupski has floated the idea of a bond that may cost as little as $5 per month per household.  Taxpayers should tell their Councilmembers and Mayor what they think.


OPERATION RIO GRANDE IS NOT AS SUCCESSFUL AS PUBLICIZED
  During the Legislature's discussion of Operation Rio Grande, several items leapt out from the report that showed big holes in the plans.  The first phase of Operation Rio Grande is supposed to lock up criminals but, since the jail filled up their 300 available beds in about a week, we now have a revolving door jail.  The result is car thieves get out on their own recognizance after a few hours and even aggravated robbery criminals (including the 3 who robbed 4 on the streets and sidewalks in a hours long crime spree) get out in a few days. 
  The Weigand Center received State funding several weeks ago and is now open until 7PM but their storage is full.  They have little cubbies that are big enough for a big backpack.  The cubbies are limited to 2 weeks use then the user has to wait another 2 weeks before they can use it again.  SLC's storage facility with 90 gallon garbage cans is full and only operates 8-5.  So how are the 100 that have signed up for work for the homeless (third phase of Operation Rio Grande) supposed to store their belongings in order to work?  That is one of the reasons why only 20 are currently working. 
  There are currently $68 million dollars being provided for drug and mental health treatment.  $8 million of that is for mental health treatment alone and it provides about 78 beds.  719 are on a waiting list for treatment beds and there are 42 in jail that are being treated.  Many of the homeless that are being shifted to treatment beds are going through the Salt Lake County Drug Court system.  The bad news is that the support staff is woefully inadequate.  For instance, the Road Home has 400 men to one case manager!  There are 200 women in the Road Home nightly.  There are about 5 in the so called safe space regularly, if any, and that space is going to receive $1.7 million this year to keep up the fences and patrol around the area.
  





JANUARY 24, 2018
HOW THE UTAH LEGISLATURE WORKS AND HOW TO MAKE IT WORK
ABORTION BILL TURNS IN WOMEN CONSIDERING ABORTION TO ANTI ABORTION GROUP!!!
CAR THIEVES AND DRUG ADDICTS IN JAIL FOR A FEW HOURS  
SIDEWALK OPED IN SLTRIB MAY GET COUNCIL TO PUSH FOR WIDER SIDEWALKS
UTA STATE CAPITOL ELECTRIC BUS SCHEDULE MAKES UTA LOOK CLUELESS
TURN AROUND AND BEND OVER TAX INCREASE COMING
OPEN MEETINGS, SECRECY AND LACK OF PUBLIC COMMENTS STILL EXIST
SLC FLEET BLOCK (850 S 300 W) STILL VACANT AND USELESS
SLC STANDING AGAINST GARBAGE INCREASE
REGENT STREET ART NEEDS BILLBOARDS TO ENERGIZE THE AREA
SLC BIKE REGISTRATION PLAN TO STOP CHOP SHOPS STILL IN MAYOR'S OFFICE  
LIBERTY PARK TO GET A FITNESS COURT ON THE NORTH SIDE  
IF YOU WARM UP YOUR CAR IN THE MORNING, HOPE FOR A POLICE TO KNOCK
UTAH RETIREMENT SYSTEMS REPORT SHOW WHY PUSHING COPS OUT AT 20 YEARS
1300 SOUTH 900 WEST PARK WILL HAVE TOW YARD NEXT TO IT
UTA REFUSES TO USE PROPERTY SALE MONEY FOR SERVICE INCREASES


HOW THE UTAH LEGISLATURE WORKS AND HOW TO MAKE IT WORK
(I will put a version with website pictures up in the downloads section within a couple of days.)
  For those interested in working with the Utah Legislature to push issues and bills, I wrote up a summary that can help. I have been going to the Legislature and talking with many of the legislators for many years.  I am not a lobbyist.  But most legislators treat me with respect and are willing to answer questions and discuss issues and potential bills, if they make sense.  They often jump at bill ideas that are in their interest range.  Some legislators are very interested in bills that decrease government overreach.  Other legislators are interested in rail and mass transit.  I wrote an oped in November of 2016 in the Deseret News that countered Senator Jim Dabakis' opinion piece that slammed the legislature for not listening to the citizens.  I fought for Healthy Utah but the legislators that I talked to were tired of 300+ emails a day with sob stories.  They were so upset that they ignored the important benefits of healthcare expansion.  But they were willing to listen to arguments that were quickly presented that made a good case for the issues.  I watched Representative Schultz spend half an hour listening to a group of men concerned about a bill that he was sponsoring and he tried to find a compromise and satisfy their concerns.  He was supposed to be somewhere else but he acted like he was working for them.  That is what a public servant is supposed to do.  My interactions with most legislators seem to support my belief that most consider themselves public servants.  
  
  I am able to suggest bill ideas and see them implemented into law by legislators that are not in my district.  Interestingly enough, my senator, Jim Dabakis, won't listen to me while most other legislators will consider my arguments.  
  
  So this is my lesson on basic working knowledge of the Utah Legislature.
  
  The important dates are below.  If you have not discussed an idea for a bill by February 1, there is very little chance to have your idea be considered.  Sometimes, you can add onto a bill if the suggestion is in the same area that the bill effects.  Bills have to be on one specific issue.  For instance, two years ago, we were fighting SLC's ticketing of ADA disabled wheelchair drivers and Rep. Stratton was running a bill on wheelchair van parking.  He agreed to change the bill and add that the ADA parking plackard could be placed on the dashboard and not on the mirror.  Unfortunately, it was done so late in the session that it missed getting approved by the Senate by an hour.  That happens a lot.  The bill was approved last year.  The lesson here is that legislators WILL listen to a good argument.  They really do try to make Utah better.
  
Dec. 1 Last day for governmental entities to request bills without floor approval
Dec 7 Last day for legislators to designate priority bill request 1
Dec 20 Last day for Executive Appropriations to set initial budget matters
Jan 4 Last day for a legislator to designate priority bill request number 2
Jan 25 Last day for a legislator to designate priority bill request number 3
Feb 1 Last day to request bills or appropriations without floor approval
Feb 6 Last day for the Legislature to either pass or defeat each base budget bill
Feb 24 Last day for the Legislature to present a bill to the Governor where he is required to act on the bill before the end of the session
Mar 2 last day for Executive Appropriations to complete all decisions necessary to draft the final appropriations bill
Mar 5 Any bond bill shall be made available to legislators by noon
Last day for a motion to reconsider
Last day to consider bills from own house
Mar 6 Last day for legislators to prioritize fiscal note bills and identify other programs for new funding
    Last day final action must be taken on each bond bill by calendar closing time
Last day final action must be taken on each general appropriations bill, supplemental appropriation bill and school finance bill by calendared closing time
Mar 7 Last day to pass any bill with a fiscal note of $10,000 or more
Mar 8 Last day of the session
  When a legislator wants a bill, they work with their staff attorneys and fiscal analysts to ensure that the proposed bill makes sense and is fiscally appropriate.  Note that any bill with a fiscal note of $10,000 or more must be passed by March 7.  In fact, any bill that could cost $10,000 or more is handicapped in the last two weeks of the Legislature.  If there is no or little cost, and the committee that hears the bill agrees, the bill can be placed on the consent calendar and approved quickly without debate.  Of course, any legislator can circle the bill for discussion which can significantly slow it down, especially in the last few days of the session.  That is why there are so many meetings behind closed doors to try to get agreement on the bills before they could get bogged down in the chambers.  There is a lot of horse trading behind closed doors.  Lobbyists also have a lot of influence but, in my opinion, individuals also can have influence if they spend more that a day or two at the Legislature.  Most of the lobbyists' influence comes from regularly seeing the legislators.  The cafeteria at lunch time (in the Senate/east building) has many legislators meeting with their constituents and others and discussing issues and bills.
  
  If you want to make a point with your legislator, make sure that you put constituent in the subject line and add your address (to confirm it) at the end of the email.  When things get rushed or busy, legislators only look at constituent emails.  Their interns also go through and often pick out their constituents to ensure that the legislators are given a heads up on the voters who the legislators are supposed to be representing.  
  
  I put the list of legislative interns in the upper right downloads section.  
  
  When a bill is numbered (note that some bills are held to decrease backlash and fights until the last minute so you might see a bill increasing taxes come out at the end of the session with just a day's notice - which is a Utah State law - at least one day's notice is required.), it then goes to the chamber's rules committee which assigns the bill to be heard by a certain committee if the bill has, if needed, a fiscal note.  The sponsor's chamber's Senate or House committee hears the bill first then it goes, if approved, to the floor of the chamber for three readings to ensure that it is thoroughly discussed.  If passed to the next chamber, it will go through their rules committee, be assigned and then be heard by the other chamber's committee.  Rules has a lot of power and some committees have a reputation.  For instance House Revenue and Taxation is very anti tax and fiscally conservative.  If a legislator has a questionable tax bill, they may try to convince Rules to give it to a committee that is more likely to pass the bill.  Rules is very hard to influence and that is why they have a lot of influence.  They will take public comment but it seldom changes their mind.
  
  But in committees, generally, unless time is short, public comments are encouraged and asked for.  A good argument in committee can make a difference.  Committee members will listen to and consider well reasoned and short (two minutes) comments and arguments for and against a bill.  The Legislature tries to have at least one public hearing on each bill.  Towards the end of the session, they sometimes skip one hearing.  After the bill goes to the floor, it is difficult to influence the votes but it can be done.  
  
  A good short argument by text or email may be read by the legislators unless they have too many and then their interns will sift through the material.  You can also go to the staff that man the desks next to the chambers and ask to give your legislator or legislators a note.  They have little pieces of paper for that.  Usually, they won't react unless you are their constituent.
  
  The Legislature has a great website with a lot of easy to locate and valuable information.  I would like to suggest that you spend some time getting used to it.  The mobile/cell phone version is a little different from what I will put up on the upper right downloads area.  It is the desktop version (in Word format).  The information below is just the text from that download.  The download Word file has the screenshots. 
  The Legislature's website is le.utah.gov.  When you go to that website, you will see the image below (for a desktop).  You have buttons on the picture for the 2018 session, the calendar (which I find to be the most important button), and my legislators.
 
  If you click on the 2018 session, you will see the screen below with quick links, scheduled hearings and trending columns.
 
  One of the best uses of the website is to track bills.  You can track up to 150 bills if your mind is capable of doing so.  
 
  If you want to find a bill, you can search for the subject, the sponsor, the number or what the bill covers.  For instance, Senator Davis is sponsoring Medicaid expansion bill and this is what comes up when you search for that.  The page has the text of the bill and pdf downloads of the bill and the fiscal note and any new changes are available for download by clicking on the pdf symbol.  You can also track the bill and get email notifications by signing up (on the right of the page). 
 
  When you sign up to track a bill, it will ask for your email (seen below with a Captcha confirmation) and it will send you an email to confirm tracking or notification.  You must click on the button on the email to confirm tracking.  The Legislature will then send you an email everytime the status of the bill changes, whether it is sent to a committee, is voted on or it passes or fails.
 
  The website also has a summary of the bills that you are tracking (see below).
 
  You can also find bills by searching for the subject that they could cover (see below).  
 
  If you want to see the fiscal note, for instance for the bill below (ecigarette tax), click on the right hand fiscal note button.
 
  This is what you will see.  It is a full accounting of what the bill will cost or gain Utah in revenue.  There is a tendency in the Legislature to try to make bills revenue neutral so that it will not increase tax revenue.
 
  You can find out a lot more about the legislators by clicking on the upper bar of items on the website which includes legislators.  When you click that button, you will get a choice of House and Senate rosters.  The House and Senate lay out information a little differently but this is what they look like.  It includes their committees, their background, their emails, phone and addresses.  Note that Utah legislators do not hide and are very available.  I try not to phone (email is more respectful and they will call me if they want to talk) but their phone number is available on the website. The Salt Lake Tribune published a good summary of emails and phone numbers that you can find at scribd.com.  It is free to sign up and search for Salt Lake Tribune and your 2018 Utah Legislature (item number 369621597).
 
  If you want to find all of the bills involving air quality, just type it into the search bar.  This is what you will get.
 
  You can also search for other year's sessions' bills.
 
  The site has other information like the items below.
  
  Usually, each year, I go into the bills section and look for all subjects of bills.  I get a long list of bills, many may not see the light of day, they are just placeholders.    But if you ask for a listing by subject, it will give an easy to read list of bills, both numbered and in process.
 
  Once you find a bill that you want to track, you can click on the bill and the middle column above the bill's text is STATUS.  Clicking on that will show the status and where the bill is assigned once it passes rules.  It will note whether it has a fiscal note and where it is in process.  Once you know to which committee that it is assigned, you can go to the committee page (top menu bar and on the furthest right) and click on it and find the committee that it is assigned to and find when it will meet again.  That committee page will also have a listing of the agenda (for download) and items that will be presented (by clicking on the view list).  I find that many of the presentations are important and informative and they can be downloaded from the item view list.  You can also click on the audio view list.  Note that last year the audio was recorded as a video mp4 file.  The contractor that provides the downloads as mp4 may change to mp3 which would provide a 20mb 2 hour file download instead of a 500 mb file download.  We asked that the Legislature consider it to encourage more public engagement.
 
  This is another view of what you can find on the committee webpage.
 
  I look at the Legislature's calendar everyday since I find some surprises every year.  I asked several times last year about some bills that were promised and that I wanted to fight but we didn't know until a day before that the bills were going to be heard (one was dropped).  That bill, with one day notice, and only one comment against it was the homeless resource center site decision that gave Mayor McAdams the full responsibility for picking the site.  Only the calendar showed the bill and committee hearing the day before!  Controversial bills sometimes ARE rushed through.  When you click on the calendar, you will see a group of date on the week and the committee hearing and chambers meetings for each day.  Clicking on the agenda (the left hand symbol under the title of the committee will give you the pdf agenda.  If you click on the committee itself, you will get all of the meetings along with a list of items (click on the view list farthest right column) to be heard at the meeting and presentations and audio recordings.  Audio is also provided in real time.  I have had to use it when I find several items being heard that I was interested in commenting on in different committees meeting at the same time.
 
  Note that public comment is encouraged generally and you just have to show up to comment.  For some contentious issues like marijuana, the chair of the committee may pass around a sign up sheet and choose a few from each side of the issue to try to be fair.  If there are many trying to speak, and you do not have a well formed and reasonable argument for or against the bill, you may actually hurt your case.
  An exception to public comments is the appropriation committees that meet mostly at the beginning of the session.  They include House and Senate legislators and public comment time must be asked for and reserved.  If there is time, the chair may allow you to comment (again for 2 minutes maximum).  But you must reserve the time by 1 PM the day before.  If you want to comment on a Monday meeting issue, sometimes the staff will be there on Saturday.  For instance, if you wanted to speak at the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee when they discuss homeless funding (you will have to check the website to see when that is on the calendar and they only have notices going out a few days before), you MUST call Debbie Benson the day before by 1 PM at 801 326 1698 to be considered for public comment and note the agenda item that you want to comment on.  Ms. Benson handles most of the appropriations committees' reservations for public comments.
  
  And a final note, today, Wednesday January 24, there are a bunch of Legislative committee hearings at the same time.  If you are interested in animal shelter amendments SB50 that outlaws CO chambers for killing animals in shelters it is being heard at 2 PM.  If you are interested in SB70 that allows tolling going up canyons and disincentivizing personal vehicles, it is being heard at 2PM.  If you are interested in SCR1 that throws out the Philo T. Farnsworth statue from the U.S. Capitol, it is being heard at 2PM.  If you are interested in allowing power companies from other states to operate in Utah without Public Utilities Commission oversight, it is being heard at 2PM.  All of these are in different committees and different rooms at the Capitol.  That is why the agendas under the calendar on le.utah.gov are so important.  You can see where they are on the agenda.  Caution, since many Legislators have many bills, they often rearrange the agendas to help Legislators be more time effective. 
  I will try to update this information to put in anything that I have forgotten.  I will put a note in the blog if there is an update. 
  
  Remember, if you want this information in a download form, I put a pdf file with the screenshots in the upper right hand downloads section.  


ABORTION BILL TURNS IN WOMEN CONSIDERING ABORTION TO ANTI ABORTION GROUP!!!
  Two of my favorite legislators, who try to listen and develop bills that benefit all Utahns, have for some reason decided to push HB205 which requires that doctors turn in women who are considering abortion if their baby could have down syndrome!  Those women are not just turned into government but their names are also given to an anti abortion group!
  The idea that government should be able to interfere with the privacy of a doctor/patient relationship is obviously unconstitutional but also smacks of Communist China where women were turned in for trying to have a baby!  This is like Communist Russia and East Germany where people were forced to turn in everyone that didn't do what the state wanted!  The idea that government is considering ordering doctors to turn over the names of patients to an private adversary group is shocking.  Down syndrome babies and people are people and they can be as loving and lovable as anyone but a woman's right to make the wise right choice with prayer and counseling should not be questioned.  A government that is powerful enough to order doctors to turn in their patients who are considering an abortion is powerful enough to force women to have abortions.  This is not what this Country is.  Abortion is a sad commentary on our society but this bill makes us look even worse.  HB205 should not be passed.  This is not the way to decrease abortion.


CAR THIEVES AND DRUG ADDICTS IN JAIL FOR A FEW HOURS  
  Unfortunately, SB86, a so called hate crimes bill that has more teeth in it than the bill that was passed several years ago (written up by a religious rights lawyer - which is why the LDS Church blessed it) will defocus prosecutors from fully prosecuting criminals that continuously victimize citizens when they are loose.  Instead prosecutors will focus more on what the Senate sponsor of SB86 says "I'm interested in stopping people who are using criminal actions to threaten and intimidate entire communities".  But we should be prosecuting threats and carving out a section to focus on leaves out another segment of victims.  We do not have enough prosecutors to put car thieves and drug dealers in jail for more than a few hours so how can we prosecute more crimes (these are crimes) without more prosecutors.  This bill also sounds like it will be used to threaten and intimidate entire communities of people who do not want to be forced to engage in behavior that they find distasteful.  We should all be able to get along and not threaten each other.  The U.S. Supreme Court is discussing this issue now and this bill may be a waste of time with their decision.  But again, we don't have enough prosecutors to send serial car thieves and drug dealers, some of whom have been arrested dozens of times, to prison.  When we do have enough prosecutors, and jail or prison space, then we should discuss this but not until, if ever.
  A good example, similar to the booking report that I put on the upper right downloads area, and discussed in the last blog entry, is David hamson who was booked into jail January 3 for car theft but released since charges weren't filed until Jan 9.  On Jan 18, he was arrested and charged with bank robbery and he had stolen another car.  But, this time, the federal government put a retainer on him so he shouldn't be getting out as quickly.  The Salt Lake County's lack of adequate public safety funding is causing criminals to victimize citizens dozens of times.  Mayor Ben McAdams is responsible for repurposing the $9.4 million jail bond and he is the reason why the Rio Grande district (and now the rest of the County) is having such a big problem with crime due to drugs.  Essentially, according to former Senator Steve Urquhart, drugs were essentially legal for several years under Ben McAdams public safety funding.
  
SIDEWALK OPED IN SLTRIB MAY GET COUNCIL TO PUSH FOR WIDER SIDEWALKS
  Lloyd Cox, from the Ballpark Community Council had an oped in the Salt Lake Tribune this last Sunday that made a good argument for SLC's lack of encouraging walkability.  High buildings with 40 foot walls going straight up one foot from a 3 foot sidewalk is a frightening and regular occurance in Salt Lake City.  The City Council should push to encourage wider sidewalks that meet the recommended widths of Complete Streets standards, generally 12 feet in mixed use neighborhoods, so strollers can pass each other without going into the street.  His oped is at:  https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2018/01/20/commentary-salt-lake-city-needs-to-support-and-protect-walkability/


UTA STATE CAPITOL ELECTRIC BUS SCHEDULE MAKES UTA LOOK CLUELESS

  UTA is again implementing a 15 minute bus system going to and from the State Capitol during the Legislative session.  The buses run until about 8:30 PM.  Although they are usually empty, during rush hour, they are full, especially from and to the North Temple FrontRunner station.  My issue is that the two buses dedicated to these runs continue to follow each other within a minute or less at the Capitol.  I often see them within a couple of feet of each other.  This makes UTA look like they can't even appropriately manage two buses much less hundreds!  The reason for the two meeting at the Capitol at the same time (actually within 2 minutes) is because one is coming from the Courthouse TRAX and other is coming from the North Temple FrontRunner station.  It still does not make sense.  You can change it by emailing the General Manager and demand a more fiscally responsible schedule.  Jerry Benson's email is jbenson@rideuta.com.
  The buses are electric but the big question is why aren't they being used in the canyons!?  The canyons would get better use and good will and passengers with electric buses.  For years we have asked UTA for the funding required to provide 15 minute bus service year round up each canyon.  Two years ago, UTA found that the money required was about a million dollars a year per canyon.  But UTA refused to officially provide that figure because they wanted to give the Mountain Accord and Central Wasatch Commission (CWC) follow on credit for providing bus service.  I think that is wrong.  UTA should release the study and instead of waiting to make CWC look good, do what is in the best interest of the citizens of Utah.
  
TURN AROUND AND BEND OVER TAX INCREASE COMING
  Many Utah leaders are celebrating the wonderful plans to develop the prison site in Draper after its population moves to Salt Lake City's new prison in their Northwest Quadrant (NWQ).  But the plans include billions in infrastructure that will provide millions in added value to property, some of which is owned by legislative leaders.  And the taxpayers seem to be lined up against the wall to pay for the infrastructure.  Instead of having the property owners pay, or have a CRA (commercial redevelopment area) pay for it (taking a portion of the increased property taxes and paying for infrastructure) or using an assessment district or impact fees, the Legislature is talking about pushing a .25 cent tax increase, like the Prop One proposal that lost in Utah and Salt Lake County.  So after the taxpayers refused to fund the fancy projects, the Legislature is ready to fund the fancy projects with taxpayer dollars even though they voted against it!
  The estimated cost of the proposed light rail/TRAX from Draper to Utah County is, in the report, $660 million.  The minimum cost was over $700 million several years ago and that didn't count stations and other infrastructure like power systems, which can double the cost.  The biggest beneficiaries will be the legislators and friends of the legislators who own property in the area around the rail lines.  And taxpayers are being proposed to pay for it!  I believe that the cost of a TRAX line from Draper to Lehi is closer to $3 billion!  I fought an effort several years ago in Utah County at the MAG (mountainland association of governments) that tried to move the TRAX project up to be completed by 2025!  It still is at 2038 but the pressure is on to do it now and tell the taxpayers to bend over.  One other interesting estimate is the doubling of the cost (from $660 million to $1100 million) if the rail goes through the prison site, which they would like.  Remember, the Draper TRAX went to the east, despite warnings that it would eventually have to turn back to the west.  And there is going to be a $500 million cost for that decision if decision makers put the new TRAX extension through the old prison site.  
  Another issue that should be made a priority regarding ensuring that all areas of Salt Lake and Utah Counties get a fair share of transit and road funding.  The westside is growing faster than the eastside but the Point of the Mountain plans push sending most transportation funding to the eastside.


OPEN MEETINGS, SECRECY AND LACK OF PUBLIC COMMENTS STILL EXIST
  A couple of weeks ago, I was asked about why the texting and emails that occur during public meetings are not available.  That is an issue.  The Utah State Senate released/releases those records and considers them public records.  But SLC and most other cities in Utah do not release those records.  I make use of texting and emails to elected leaders even while they are in meetings.  One of the reasons that I do it during SLC Council meetings is because they are making decisions (with so called straw polls that essentially being rubber stamped later at a formal public meeting!  The Council does not allow comments before their Work Session meeting, although they should.  I believe that the law requires it.  They closed a golf course and agreed to spend hundreds of thousands on the Mountain Accord and CWC follow on without a public hearing.  The decisions were made in their Work Sessions.  The SLCO Council, on the other hand, allows and encourages public comment before their important work sessions (that ironically happen at the same time as the SLC Council work sessions).  The SLC Council sitting as the RDA Board, meeting at least once a month does allow public comment but I seem to be the only one commenting. 
  In other words, I believe that the SLC Council should be more open to encourage public engagement and ensure that decisions are not made in secret (like the homeless shelters).  Compared to the Legislature, the SLC Council looks much worse when it comes to allowing public comment.  The Legislature allows public comment on each bill and issue at least once if not several times.
  An interesting bill, HB 72 that makes personal electronic communications public, just was heard but it was held by the House Government Operations Committee (probably to kill it but it could be modified).  It applied to government workers who use their devices for political purposes.


SLC FLEET BLOCK (850 S 300 W) STILL VACANT AND USELESS
  Except for homeless who roam the area, the big Fleet block that used to house SLC big maintenance equipment is still unused.  The SLC Council has started discussing what to do witht he block and has asked for an RFP to look for the "highest and best use".  Hopefully, this will lead to quick development.  The block would be have a significant energizing effect of the Granary district since the TRAX line is just a block away.  There is also the chance of rerouting the Green line through to 400 West that would save 10 minutes to the Airport and provide the north south rail line that the Council wants.  Unfortunately, this is one of many properties that SLC owns that have sat vacant for years or decades.  They include almsot $100 million in vacant property (including RDA property).


SLC STANDING AGAINST GARBAGE INCREASE
  A reminder that SLC is the only thing standing in the way of significant raising of garbage fees with Mayor McAdams proposal to close the jointly operated transfer station.  Hopefully the final decision will include public comment and publicity which is missing up until now.  In addition, there is a State garbage fee that could be raised.


REGENT STREET ART NEEDS BILLBOARDS
  SLC has asked for proposals for art for Regent Street near the theater to energize the area.  The placemaking RDA art project has a budget of $2 million and applications and proposals must be in by February 7.  If SLC wants to energize the area and make it like NYC Times Square, it should allow a lot of electronic billboards on adjacent buildings.  Unfortunately, the SLC Council has fought electronic billboards over the last ten years.
  
SLC BIKE REGISTRATION PLAN TO STOP CHOP SHOPS STILL IN MAYOR'S OFFICE  
  As of January 24, SLC's effort to stop bicycle chop shops is still in the Mayor's office on the desk of Patrick Leary.  The Mayor promised the proposal to the Liberty Wells Community Council by the end of November.  With the new Legislative session, and 18 cities in the county (all within an easy stolen bike ride), this is an issue that the Utah Legislature should tackle.  But without the proposal to start a discussion, it won't happen and a one city, SLCity effort will be very ineffective.  I still believe that all bicycle sales should include the serial number of the frame to discourage selling of stolen bikes online.  The homeless seem to have been taking advantage of the lack of enforcement of the Utah law requiring registration.  Several years ago, the SLC Fire Department was taking registrations but they were putting them in a box and they were not entered into a computer database due to "lack of personnel".  The police can't do anything to stop someone from stealing bikes without a better system.  Even when they see (and many times a day they do see) a homeless person walking with a kids bike, they can't stop him and confiscate it.
  
LIBERTY PARK TO GET A FITNESS COURT ON THE NORTH SIDE  
  The City has started the process of putting in a fitness court on the north side of Liberty Park.  It is interesting that that is a priority before finding funds to repair and start the Seven Canyons Fountain Art that is east of Tracy Aviary.  The art is a very popular feature of the Park and the Liberty Wells Community Council wants it cost effectively restored.  The City balked at their estimated cost of over a million dollars.  Experts supporting the Seven Canyons estimated that it should cost less than $200,000.


IF YOU WARM UP YOUR CAR IN THE MORNING, HOPE FOR A POLICE TO KNOCK
  The SLC Police are stopping during patrol when they see an idling car without a driver in it.  They have so many stolen cars that already were started and that had the driver leaving for a "minute" that they will knock on doors and warn the owner of the danger.  Of course, the biggest problem is that car thieves only stay in jail for a few hours.  If a cop doesn't know, it could get much worse.  Your car has a good chance of being stolen.


UTAH RETIREMENT SYSTEMS REPORT SHOW WHY PUSHING COPS OUT AT 20 YEARS
  Several years ago, we tried to change the requirement that Utah Tier II retirement systems individuals (public safety and teachers are caught up in the requirements) leave public service for a year before they can return to service and have more money put into the retirement system  This requirement pushes Highway Patrol Officers to Arizona after 20 years and cops with their 20 years of effective institutional knowledge fighting crime to leave public service.  They can't even teach for a year without being paid fewer benefits that others with the same qualifications.  I know officers that want to be teachers and obtain degrees before their retirement.  The Utah Legislature was given a report this week on the Utah Retirement system.  It found that the Tier II teachers system includes about 24,000 (note that rural areas have a difficult time keeping 20 year teachers due to this requirement) teachers and is 96% funded with only $8 million dollars of unfunded liability.
  The public safety employees (not firefighters) has $577 million in unfunded actuarial accrued liability and is 84% funded.  That is why the Legislature balks at allowing more retirement pay to 20 year cops while they are still working in public service.
 
1300 SOUTH 900 WEST PARK WILL HAVE TOW YARD NEXT TO IT
   The SLC Council has tentatively asked staff to move forward with the plan to create the Three Confluences Park next to 1300 South and 900 West.  Unfortunately, a long time business owner is asking for an easement to continue to operate his tow yard that is in back of his service station.  The City Council asked the staff to push for a solution to move the business.  They expressed concern about a long term easement agreement and the waste oil and contaminants next to the water in the Park.  In addition, there is a February 6 public hearing at the Council to collect final comments before an official decision.  If the tow yard gets the easement, there will be a brand new and beautiful park next to a tow yard, along with noisy tow trucks!
 
UTA REFUSES TO USE PROPERTY SALE MONEY FOR SERVICE INCREASES
  UTA will have a public hearing today January 24 to approve their bond refinancing and bond buys that will collect millions to be used for the well hidden $65 million bus garage that UTA does not want to publicize.  This is one of those issues that makes UTA look bad.  But the Legislature's solution, to be discussed at the January 25 7 AM meeting, is not going to help.  It will raise taxes to be used mostly for the Prison site redevelopment.  I think that the present UTA management is better.
  The bond issue will save $8 million or more and will be placed in an "early debt retirement fund".  That money should be used for service increases.
  Another item on the January 25 agenda is the UTA 2040 Strategic Plan that plans high frequency and high capacity bus systems on many streets without ensuring that big expensive projects don't require better ridership first then upgrading the system.  The data should drive improving the buses but, if UTA does what it did in Utah County, where 100,000 free passes will exist, there will be no way of knowing if the ridership, with fares will make sense for the almost $200 million Provo TRIP/BRT project.



JANUARY 12, 2018

FREE FARE FRIDAY RESULTS​
N. OGDEN MAYOR TAYLOR TO DEFEND AMERICA IN AFGHANISTAN
COVERUP OF UTA/PROVO TRIP SUCCESS DATA
SLCO CAR THIEVES RELEASED AFTER A FEW HOURS
SLC NORTHERN UTAH WATER CONTROL AT RISK
ERIN MENDENHALL NEW SLC COUNCIL CHAIR
NORTHWEST QUADRANT ​
NATIONAL MONUMENT BACKER LOSES SENATE RACE
TOLL ROADS PROPOSED UP CANYONS
INCLUSIONARY ZONING
PROJECTS ON 40MPH ROADS INCREASE TRAFFIC DANGER
ODYSSEY HOUSE HAS 126 BEDS IN MILLCREEK
FIRST STEP TREATMENT REFUSED IN SOUTH SALT LAKE CITY
OTHER SIDE DEMOLITION DENIED
HOMELESS CENTERS TAKE AWAY PROPERTY VALUE
CLOSING PART OF 1300 SOUTH FOR PARK
OUR SCHOOLS NOW GOING TO COMMUNITY COUNCILS


I apologize for missing the weekly news blog over the last two weeks.  I have 17 items to report that cover what would have been the last two weeks.  I will try to continue the weekly news blog update which should have a lot more due to the Legislature.  I hope to have a primer on working with the Legislature by the end of the month.

FREE FARE FRIDAY RESULTS
  Last month, the Salt Lake City Council and UTA and County arranged for a weekday free fare on UTA's system.  It was a great opportunity for families to take their children on a ride on a bus, a TRAX or on FrontRunner.  Of course, the FrontRunner received the most attention.  During rush hour, FrontRunner is often packed.  Families packed FrontRunner during the free fare day.  Parking lots were full.  And children were given candies and stickers. 
  It was a great way to get children interested in mass transit.  But the next time UTA should give free FrontRunner rides on Saturday.  That way the parking lots won't be as full and those who are interested in trying mass transit won't be discouraged by the full parking lots.  That is one of the reasons why free fare and reduced fare on red air days doesn't always work.  Ticket machines have a maximum throughput that limits much increase and when someone interested in mass transit finds a full parking lot, they are going to avoid mass transit.  
  My oped in the Salt Lake Tribune December 23, 2017 explained the issues.  Several years ago, there was an effort in the Legislature to provide free fares on red air days but it failed.  The downside is, according to studies, free fare discourages long-term ridership increases unless it is carefully planned.  If there is a chance of many so called undesirables on mass transit during free fare days, that will also discourage ridership increases.  There have been attempts to remove the free fare area downtown.  But SLC and UTA could not agree on the cost.  UTA tried to low ball the proposed payment to SLC to remove the free fare area.  The City Council decided that $100,000 was too little for a service that is worth probably a million.

N. OGDEN MAYOR TAYLOR TO DEFEND AMERICA IN AFGHANISTAN
  North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor has risked his life defending our Country during several tours overseas in combat zones.  He is resigning to deploy to Afghanistan, which is still a very dangerous war zone.  He also will be leaving the UTA Board of Trustees.  His tenure on the Board gave UTA a valuable voice that questioned the status quo that often rubber-stamped staff recommendations.  The Board tried to hold up his appointment, which I considered to be one of the most disrespectful actions I have ever seen against a combat veteran.  Even if one disagrees, people deserve more respect, especially veterans.

COVERUP OF UTA/PROVO TRIP SUCCESS DATA
  Mayor Taylor also sent out a press release complaining about the free passes for students, employees and family that UTA and Utah County, BYU and UVU set up in return for a set amount.  Mayor Taylor is right.  The plan should have been analyzed and approved by the Board of Trustees.  This unilateral action by UTA CEO Jerry Benson was not just wrong, it could hide the real data that could show if the Provo TRIP/BRT is a success.  It also looks like it would be used to show that the Provo TRIP/BRT is a success when the free pass is making it look like it is a success.  UTA still has not managed a successful Bus Rapid Transit(BRT).  The 3500 South/35 MAX BRT saves 15 minutes off of a 70 minute trip by bus.  It has stops every four blocks which average out to 15 minutes to get to a 35 MAX bus stop, so essentially there are no time savings.  A successful BRT should have at least 5000 passengers per day but for several years, the 35 MAX has had about 3200 passengers per day.  It also uses two lanes on 3500 South that could be used for 10,000 average daily trips (ADT).  So congestion and air pollution is increased significantly while providing mass transit for a third of the riders that could utilize the lanes with cars.  Good mass transit should be more efficient than cars, not less efficient.

SLCO CAR THIEVES RELEASED AFTER A FEW HOURS
  During recent meetings with the police, I kept asking how many hours were the arrested car thieves kept in the Salt Lake County Jail?  I investigated and found that, like drug dealers, and most other criminals, car thieves are released after a few hours.  That has been the rumor.  I attached the County Jail report for Harley Gregory Welsh on the upper right downloads column.  Harley seems to be a career criminal that intends to victimize anyone and everyone when is out of jail.  Despite being arrested for car theft on December 17, he was released on his own recognizance on the same day.  He then stole a car again and tried to run down several cops and escaped during a chase.  He was arrested a few days later and charged with almost 10 separate crimes.  Hopefully, this will keep him off the streets for a while.  But without sufficient funding for prosecution, he won't be sent to where he belongs, prison. 
  Although Salt Lake City Police have doubled arrests in the last year, some crimes are going up.  When burglaries doubled in SLC District 5 (2100 S. to 900 S. and I15 to 1300 E.), the SLC Police went door to door warning of the issue and asking for residents and businesses to not make it easy for criminals and be aware of the behavior of strangers in the area.
  Criminals can now be arrested and taken to jail since the Jail Booking Restrictions were lifted.  But the 300 beds freed by the Operation Rio Grande plan, (opening up jail beds in other counties)are not permanent.  When the empty beds at Oxbow Jail are reopened (380 beds) in July, they will be used to house the inmates from the jails in other counties.  So SLCO will not really get any extra jail beds.  And criminals will still take advantage of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams' inadequate public safety funding.  To be fair, Mayor McAdams does say that he is putting highest priority on public safety.  But when car thieves only stay in jail for a few hours, just like drug dealers and many criminals are arrested many times a month, Salt Lake County citizens are victimized.  Mayor McAdams is victimizing the citizens of Salt Lake County.
  Mayor McAdams is running against Mia Love for Congress.  He has a great chance of winning.  But he seems to be using it for a stepping stone to Utah Governor.  What is ironic is that Greg Hughes seems to be also setting up a run for Utah Governor in 2020.  And Greg Hughes supported Mayor McAdams run again Republican Dave Robinson in 2016.  And Greg Hughes refused to acknowledge the problems with the jail and prosecutor funding at the County for years.  Police have been complaining about the revolving door at the jail for criminals since Ben McAdams was mayor.  So Utah will have two candidates for governor in 2020 that seem to be supporting each other more than other members.
  The effect of inadequate public safety funding is visible in the many criminal magnet apartments that are infamous with many neighborhoods.  A recent community council repeated the complaints about the infamous Georgia Apartments (2015 S. 200 E.).  The Salt Lake City Police have been trying to focus on arresting the criminals in the apartments but they are finding the effort continuous due to the jail's revolving door.  

SLC NORTHERN UTAH WATER CONTROL AT RISK
  Representative Noel has unveiled a bill for the upcoming Legislative session that removes the overly broad extraterritorial jurisdiction that allows Salt Lake City to control development in 6 Northern Utah countries in order to protect the watershed.  But the impetus was the fact that there are many other first class cities that also have the same extraterritorial overlapping jurisdiction yet are able to provide safe and effective water supplies with minimal area protection.  In addition,  Salt Lake City seems to be giving the rich and powerful monster projects development rights and restricting landowners who want to develop one cabin and give hundreds of acres in the Central Wasatch Canyons to conservation easement.  The ski resorts are being given permission and water rights to develop hundreds of condos/living units/rooms that will be like the Montage (super duper monster building) on the other side of the mountains.
  Other issues include Salt Lake City refusing to allow the Forest Service to build restrooms and turning off the water to restrooms at the mouth of the canyon before Labor Day.  One of the reasons that the landowners of Brighton want to become a city is because they can't seem to get restrooms in the canyons.  If Salt Lake City really wants to protect the watershed from the 6 million visitors a year that trek through the canyons, they should be building many, many restrooms.  Note that Salt Lake Country recently approved building a restroom in the canyon.
  One of the arguments that keeps being raised is that a few disgruntled landowners who have mining claims are driving this effort.  But the reality is that most of the landowners want to protect the canyons.  If they wanted to develop their mining claims, there is nothing that Salt Lake City or County could do to stop them.  That is the result of a federal law that gives mining claims priority.  A good example of the power of a mining claim is the Rose Canyon Park that Salt Lake County tried to develop on the Westside of the County.  Kennecott rushed in and got a mining claim and Salt Lake County couldn't do anything to stop them.
  Representatives are also pushing bills to ensure full transparency (limited during the Mountain Accord process) and stopping any talk of turning the canyons over to the federal government (part of the Mountain Accord agreement).

ERIN MENDENHALL NEW SLC COUNCIL CHAIR
  The first SLC Council meeting resulted in Erin Mendenhall becoming the SLC Council Chair.  This will be her stepping stone to run for SLC mayor in 2019.  It will be interesting to see if she still pushes for the 1100 East streetcar/TRAX extension to 1700 South and the 3 extra rail lines downtown.  She also is on record pushing for a parks bond, part of which is supposed to be used to close Glendale Golf Course and spend $50 million converting it into a park.  She and the Council have also pushed for implementing a transportation utility fee to pay for road maintenance.  She and other Councilmembers removed $8.4 million from road maintenance several years ago and used it for pay raises for City workers (including themselves).  The Council has also insisted that they need to increase the sales tax rate (Permission was given to the City by the Legislature due to Ralph Becker allowing the prison in the Northwest Quadrant.)  Instead of selling the old SLCPD building and using that money for the 50 new police officers, the City intends to give a million dollar loan to provide forty some affordable apartments.

NORTHWEST QUADRANT 
  The Northwest Quadrant CRA is about to be approved on the January 16 City Council meeting.  The City Council is considering adding a 10% housing plan.  They also seem to be allowing for less than 1000 hotel rooms for an area that will have tens of thousands of employees.  And although they have considered a rail freight line in the area, they are ignoring ALL mass transit!
  Mass transit rail can be successful when it goes to a destination.  The International Center west of the Airport has 25,000 employees and is a destination.  With Amazon going into 5600 West (on the west edge of the International Center) rail should be planned for that area.  But for years, the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) planning organization has refused to put such a line in the planning for the future.  It is ironic that WFRC is in the International Center and there are only a couple of buses a day that travel through there!
  In Seattle, Amazon helps pay for rail.  Stadler Rail is also nearby.  And with tens of thousands of new employees going into the Northwest Quadrant, mass transit rail should be a consideration.  
  The Green Line to the Airport gets around 1000 riders a day (to the Airport).  Extending the rail to the International Center would cost about the same as a fancy flying bridge (that was stopped by the former acting Airport Director due to maintenance issues, traffic interference and visibility issues (hiding the beautiful new terminal).  The federal government would probably provide $30-40 million for the project which would be a better use of the money than the UTA effort to build the $65 million bus garage.  The project also could include a north south downtown route that skips the zig zag through downtown and save 10 minutes to the Airport.  It would fulfill the effort to put a rail line on 400 West.  
  In addition, the Legislature is planning on a .25 cent tax increase for Salt Lake County and Utah County (Prop One is not dead.) to build infrastructure around the prison.  Although the result will be millions for some Legislators who own property in the area along with Terry Deihl, it isn't a secret and the plans are public and they are doing what a good business person would do.  But the ethics of taxing citizens to provide profits for Legislators is not ethical.  
  Finally, there is a chance that the Legislature will throw Salt Lake City a bone/a rail project to make it seem fair.  The best potentially successful rail line is to 5600 West.  The Green Line extension should be the second highest priority for rail projects for Salt Lake City.  Service increases should be highest priority for mass transit improvements.

NATIONAL MONUMENT BACKER LOSES SENATE RACE
  Dr. Brian Zehnder was selected/elected by Utah Senate 8 Republicans last week to replace outgoing Senator Brian Shiozawa.  I have worked with Dr. Shiozawa for several years and I considered him to be one of the best public servants.  He cared for his constituents and the citizens of Utah as much as he cared for his patients.  I am sorry to see him go to Denver but I hope that his efforts leading the federal government's health programs will help Utahns.  Dr. Zehnder is a moderate Republican.  He defeated, among others, Laynee Jones.  Laynee was in charge minutia of the Mountain Accord plan and received a lot of money to provide direction and management of the effort.  She is one of the reasons why the Accord had secret meetings and the ongoing lawsuit is still in play.  She is a protégé of Mayor Ben McAdams who led the Mountain Accord and supported his efforts to include discouraging personal vehicle travel, turning the canyons over to the federal government and for the billion dollar train and tunnel project that was supposed to benefit landowners like Terry Diehl and some senior Legislators.  Laynee lost in the first round of voting due to a campaign to delegates to provide them with her background.

TOLL ROADS PROPOSED UP CANYONS
  Senate President Wayne Niederhauser has proposed a bill to implement a toll road in the Central Wasatch Canyons.  This bill would implement one of the recommendations of the Mountain Accord, to disincentivize personal vehicle travel.  But there is no year round bus service in the canyons, despite our efforts for years to get UTA to provide a proposal.  For several years, UTA has refused to give a number, despite the study from two years ago that estimated one million per year per canyon for 15 minute bus service.  UTA held onto the information to give the Mountain Accord program and the followon Central Wasatch Commission (CWC) the credit for providing bus service!  Such under the table efforts are similar to past UTA actions that earned UTA a bad reputation.  In addition, parking lots would be needed and some of the landowners are friends with Legislators.  So the biggest beneficiaries, again, would be with deals to benefit the friends of Legislators.  There should not be any tolls on roads without providing mass transit service first.  And any toll should not go to the CWC or any other entity that is implementing the questionable and mostly secret (to most people) Mountain Accord.  For example, how many of you reading this knew that the Mountain Accord suggested tolling for Canyon travel?

INCLUSIONARY ZONING
  The Salt Lake City Council has been discussing Inclusionary Zoning (see download on upper right) that encourages low income living units in big projects.  Salt Lake City has been providing about 300 affordable units a year at best and this week they are looking 111 units.  They are also about to give a million dollar loan for 46 affordable units in the Pipeline Building property.  They are also approving the City reconstructing the Capitol Motel on 1700 South and State into mixed income units.
  There are many new apartment projects being developed, including a project west of the Sam's Club parking lot.  The proposal for 81 units at 1967 S. and 300 W. is scheduled to go to the Planning Commission on January 24.  Previous efforts at encouraging affordable housing include the Streetcar Corridor Core that allowed 75 feet if the project included affordable living units.  Otherwise the maximum height would be 60 feet.
 
PROJECTS ON 40MPH ROADS INCREASE TRAFFIC DANGER
  There were two project proposals submitted to the Sugar House Community Council last week.  One project was on Richmond Street that made use of a curb cut used by canal maintenance a couple of times a year.  It is just north of the dental office.  Richmond Street does not generally have curb cuts until Elgin with the exception of the dental office.  Many bicyclists (including myself) have been fighting for a wide bike lane by removing the useless center turn lane.  There is not a good north south bicycle path through the area and there have been plans for ten years to provide a bicycle lane.  But increasing traffic going in and out of the project that will increase infill density (even though they could go out to the east through an adjacent commercial parking lot to Highland) increase danger for cyclists and motorists who drive the 40MPH speed limit.  Those road speeds should not encourage increasing traffic hazards.  The project should not go forward.
  The other project is on 700 East just south of I80 on the east side.  It also will increase traffic in and out and, due to its location, it would/could increase U turns at the street to the south (just south of the runners' shop) and increase traffic danger on that 40mph road.  It should be expected that crossing 4 lanes of traffic within a couple of hundred feet would be a regular occurrence of residents of this project.  
  UDOT will require an access permit for development that occurs adjacent to State routes.  UDOT will review the accdess for safety and mobility in relation to the adjacent facilities to ensure that it is incompliance with State Code R930-6.  This project should also be stopped unless there is a way to exit to the east on Lake Street next to the apartments.  This project has not asked for an access permit and it will have to to move forward.

ODYSSEY HOUSE HAS 126 BEDS IN MILLCREEK
  Odyssey House now has 126 beds approved and being set up in Millcreek.  They are at 3944 S. 400 E. (83 beds) and 29 beds at 880 E. 3375 S.  As we mentioned before, adjacent landowners, residents and businesses are impacted but they are not allowed to object.  Only the State can deny their operation, if they don't meet basic standards of drug addiction treatment.  This issue should have been discussed before but Mayor McAdams and Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvistrini along with several Legislators participated in the grand opening of the treatment centers that will focus on the chronically homeless (at least 12 months) with drug additions.  It should be noted that the federal government has said that treatment success is about 5% for opioid treatment.  Also Odyssey House offers to provide the community with cleanup and other service efforts as part of their treatment program.  Community councils nearby should take advantage of their services.

FIRST STEP TREATMENT REFUSED IN SOUTH SALT LAKE CITY
  While Odyssey House was able to find, buy, and set up their treatment facilities, First Step has had a problem finding a facility.  South Salt Lake City refused to give them a business license and they are now looking at a facility in Ballpark on Main Street.  They are, respectfully, concerned about the reaction of the community and do not want a fight.  
  At the same time, Salt Lake City appears to be giving them permission to provide 40 beds for supported housing (which is better than turning out treated addicts and hoping for the best) on 500 East across from Smiths Marketplace.  There are also 78 mental health beds that have been set up in the County.

OTHER SIDE DEMOLITION DENIED
  A privately funded treatment program, The Other Side, has been trying to demolish an old, literally falling down building to their north.  But the Historic Landmark Commission just told them to try to save it!  The building is dead and decaying and the Historic Landmark Commission is out of their mind in telling the property owner (The Other Side bought it to stop it from continuing to be an eyesore in the neighborhood).
  This is another example of the problems with Salt Lake City's demolition ordinance.  It needs updating.  Peter Corroon has two properties that have been completely damaged by fire from vagrants but he can't tear them down!  He has been trying for 9 months to get approval without success.
 
HOMELESS CENTERS TAKE AWAY PROPERTY VALUE
  Another issue regarding the homeless involves the new homeless resource center on High Avenue, which is now on the street just south of High Avenue!  Adjacent businesses are about to be slammed with the homeless center opening onto their street!  It will have about 80% men and 20% women!  The owner of adjacent businesses are expecting to go out of business.  The architect of the homeless center changed the entrance to the street south of High Avenue, Paramont, due to her interest in creating a more inviting sunlit entrance to the homeless, despite the fact that adjacent businesses are negatively impacted.  This surprise design was not vetted by the community.  It is disrespectful to do this.  The entrance should be moved back to High Avenue.
  I had an oped last February in the Deseret News that points out that Salt Lake City, the County and the State should step up and compensate adjacent businesses for this negative impact on the value of their property.  The oped is below:

  Back in the early 1800s, Baltimore allowed material to be deposited next to a wharf during a construction project. The dock operator was no longer able to operate as well as he did before and he sued the city of Baltimore. He contended that the city’s actions resulted in a decrease in value of his property and he claimed that the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution protected him from taking of property without just compensation.
  The case ended up at the U.S. Supreme Court. In a famous decision, Barron v. Baltimore, Supreme Court Chief Justice Marshall held that only the United States federal government was required to follow the Bill of Rights. States and cities did not have to provide and protect those rights. “Amendments contain no expression indicating an intention to apply them to the State governments. This court cannot so apply them.” The decision said that the Fifth Amendment’s protection against taking of private property without compensation, and the other rights in the Bill of Rights, did not apply to cities or states.
  Missouri used that decision to justify its Mormon extermination order. If states and cities did not have to follow the Bill of Rights, they didn’t have to provide Freedom of Religion to their citizens. Many claim that this resulted in the country and Constitution hanging by a thread.
  In the 1860s, in the wake of the Civil War, Congress drafted the 14th Amendment which provided citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized,” including former slaves. Additionally, it accorded the rights in the Bill of Rights to everyone, no matter what state or city that they were in. The main drafter of the amendment, Sen. John Bingham, argued that its primary purpose was to overturn Barron v. Baltimore. That adopted amendment should have solved the question of states’ requirement to provide all of the Bill of Rights protections to all citizens. But it took another hundred years for the amendment to become fully effective. Therefore, the Barron v. Baltimore decision has been mostly overturned.
  Utah has also had some of these issues develop in the last few years, including one that resulted in a decision by the Utah Supreme Court last year that said that Salt Lake City was taking property without just compensation, to swap for a public project that allowed moving a Rocky Mountain substation and rerouting rail lines. “This taking was not legal.”
  In December, Salt Lake City revealed plans to place four homeless resource centers (the original name of the Road Home) around the city. The site on Simpson Avenue in Sugar House is next to a single family home neighborhood. According to realtor.com, homes next to homeless shelters have a decrease in value of at least 12.7 percent. The decrease in value of the homeowners amounts to the illegal taking of property!
  Removing the Sugar House homeless site from consideration would save $7 million that could be used for vouchers for families to avoid the homeless shelters. The Road Home has about 100 children staying there every night in a facility with 80 registered sex offenders! In addition, if the facility is a family and children’s shelter, as many as 30 buses would have to run in the area every day and significantly hurt neighborhood air quality.
  Most importantly, 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 14th 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 re-evaluate its 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. Equal rights are not equal rights if they are ignored.

CLOSING PART OF 1300 SOUTH FOR PARK
  On February 6, there will be a public hearing to close part of 1300 South!  The effort is to increase access to the adjacent park and provide the towing yard with the ability to continue to operate (since he needs to use part of 1300 South while going in and out of his towing yard).  On Tuesday, January 16, the SLC Council will discuss the issue at the afternoon work session, around 340 PM.  I put the extracted report on the upper right downloads.

OUR SCHOOLS NOW GOING TO COMMUNITY COUNCILS
  Our Schools Now is going to SLC community councils encouraging attendees to sign their petition.  I have a concern about this.  All petition gatherers should have pro and con arguments about the issue.  One sided presentations are disrespectful at best and could result in coercion and pressure to sign.  I am very bothered by the richest people in the State recommending that the poorest people in the State pay more percentagewise to support schools.  I agree that Utah should spend more on schools (I have several opeds over the last 7 years recommending good reasons for that.) but I think that the best way would be for the richest to pay more, in a progressive tax for those making a million a year or more.  In addition, since Utah reinterpreted the Utah Constitution to include higher education with school funding, K-12 funding has significantly decreased.  That is wrong and should be changed.  The referendum does not do that.  The beneficiaries of the increased revenue may go anywhere and everywhere, including to charter and religious schools.  I am against Our Schools Now.




DECEMBER 23, 2017
FREE FARE VERSUS UTA SERVICE INCREASES PUBLISHED

FREE FARE VERSUS UTA SERVICE INCREASES PUBLISHED

  The Salt Lake Tribune just published an oped on free fare that deserves attention and comment from the public.  There is a bond buy scheduled for next month and a public hearing on that UTA borrowing at the end of January.  Please comment on the issue.

  The link to the oped is:

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2017/12/23/george-chapman-transit-riders-want-service-increases-more-than-they-want-free-fares/




DECEMBER 20, 2017

FREE FARES DOES NOT INCREASE RIDERSHIP
STEINER POOL TO GET NEW BOILERS IN JANUARY
JAIL OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES FOR RELEASES
CLEARFIELD UTA PROPERTY IS PLANNED FOR DEVELOPMENT
HOMELESS WILL NOT DISAPPEAR IF YOU YELL AT THEM
ENERGYSOLUTIONS WANTS TO BRING NUCLEAR REACTORS HERE
UTA IGNORES BIGGEST REQUEST FOR SERVICE INCREASE
WALKABILITY AND SAFETY LACKING WITH NEW BUILDING SIDEWALKS
HOMELESS STORAGE STILL UP IN THE AIR

FREE FARES DOES NOT INCREASE RIDERSHIP
  The plan to provide a day of free fare on Friday December 22 for all UTA transit is supposed to encourage long term ridership increases.  But studies and experiments show that if there is a large homeless or vagrant or panhandler or gang or criminal population that may be encouraged to use the free fare transit facilities, other riders are discouraged from increasing their use of mass transit.  Several years ago, a FrontRunner rider complained about the trip from Ogden to Salt Lake during which they had to endure two drunks yelling at each other.  Until Utah and Salt Lake City solves the homeless problem that is two blocks from the main transit station, free fare will not result in an encouraging mass transit system.  Riders want better service more than free fare.  And UTA should promote their reduced fare FarePay cards.  $1.50 for a bus ride and $2 TRAX instead of $2.50 cash with a FarePay card should be promoted and encouraged.  And bus service should not essentially end at 8PM.
 
STEINER POOL TO GET NEW BOILERS IN JANUARY
  Steiner Pool will get four new boilers starting in January.  During a discussion on the heating system, it was noted that the ice rinks do not provide enough heat (removed to keep the ice cooled) except during heavy use and preparation.  Presently, the indoor pool is being heated by the last of the five boilers that still is operating.  (The showers use a regular water heater.)  Along with the new boilers, there will be a new heat exchanger system to replace the glycol heat exchanger system that was used.  Hopefully, the new system will have been tested and rung out to ensure long term maintenance free operation.  The first of the four new boilers to replace the old and broken down five boilers will be installed in January 2018 and hopefully start operating by the second week.  One last point should be made before the book is closed on this story.  For several years, the pool operators have know that the boilers needed to be replaced.  Even the pool users have known for over a year that there was a problem with the boilers.  When the managers of the pool did not notify those involved in budgeting for the pool maintenance until the last minute, the public was not well served.  The outdoor pool lost several months of operation and the indoor pool lost several days of operation.

JAIL OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES FOR RELEASES
  In the last few months, there have been questions about the early morning jail releases into the freezing cold.  Bernie Hart tried to complain about the issue during the last SLC Council meeting of the month (which resulted in the first ever walkout of the City Council during a public hearing).  Bernie complained that sometimes, those released ended up on the outside ramp (which is heated) and they laid down there to keep warm.  I know that many of the jail personnel try to be compassionate and have sometimes provided transportation to the shelter and even personal residences when they felt it was needed.  Law enforcement throughout the valley rely on the philosophy of disruption due to the overcrowding (even with the 300 extra beds outside of the County) that results in a revolving door jail.  They feel that even the inconvenience of booking into jail, even if quickly released, is a deterrent to crime.  Bernie Hart is planning on setting up a transportation system to provide rides for those released outside of UTA service hours to the shelter.  South Salt Lake City should be interested in the plan.  During the summer, those released walked through South Salt Lake to the Jordan River and Salt Lake City shelter.  The operational standards for releasing booked and jailed persons are below.
  The Salt Lake County Jail's standard operating procedures for releases is: Those who have completed sentence have releases starting at 6 AM.  Those who have posted bond/bail are released when posted.  When charges are not filed after 72 hours, they are released starting at 5 PM.  Releases for those booked and released due to overcrowding are released at all times of the day "based on their compliance, well being and time to book and release".
  Those released get free telephone calls to arrange rides and if needed, a public transit token.  A clothing and footwear stockroom is available to ensure that those released have adequate clothing for the weather conditions.  Those released can wait in a small vestibule at the top of the visiting ramp if their behavior is not disruptive.  The jail has case managers for those that may have mental health or medical issues that may require civil commitments or transfer to health facilities or contact with family.  The Jail has indicated that staff has provided transports to the shelter or residences when disabilities or compelling situations indicate compassion.

CLEARFIELD UTA PROPERTY IS PLANNED FOR DEVELOPMENT
  When Stadler Rail decided to build their plant in Salt Lake City, the plan for UTA to sell the property to Clearfield who would turn it over to Stadler fell through.  UTA and Clearfield are presently preparing a Station Area Plan for the 60 acre site.  UTA may partner with private developers to develop the site in accordance with the Station Area Plan.  

HOMELESS WILL NOT DISAPPEAR IF YOU YELL AT THEM
  Over the last few months, off and on, the SLC Police has tried to roust the homeless that are camping in parks and nooks and crannies around Salt Lake City.  They give them 5 minutes to leave or they are cited.  Recently, the homeless that have tried to camp out around the Main Library have had the SLC Police roust them by using bullhorns to order them to move along.  The question is, where will the homeless go with their shopping carts when there is no accessible and safe storage facility?  I don't want them camping wherever they can.  I want a convenient and safe facility or area where they can sleep or rest with their pets (not allowed in the shelter) and belongings (the storage facility is full and only operates 8 to 5).  There should be a discussion and debate about the effect and vision of using bullhorns to getting the homeless to leave the Main Library park.  The homeless will not disappear if you yell at them.  And making them uncomfortable would seem uncompassionate. 

ENERGYSOLUTIONS WANTS TO BRING NUCLEAR REACTORS HERE
  I love nuclear power but the effort by EnergySolutions to approve the plan to accept the 5000 barrels of nuclear weapons waste could eventually result in parts of nuclear reactors being accepted for burial in Utah!  The 5000 barrels of so called depleted uranium (as mentioned in a previous post) is actually nuclear weapons waste that has gone through a nuclear reactor.  In the industry, it is usually called waste in process (WIP).  By calling it depleted uranium (allowed by the Reagan Energy Act in 2003), it can confuse people to assume that it is like the depleted uranium used in anti tank weapons.  It even confused former CEO Steve Creamer when he told the Red Meat Radio Hour that you could grow vegetables in the stuff.  He was using the UN study of depleted uranium used against tanks in farmland around Kosovo during our military's efforts there.  The UN report indicated that the heavy metal is ingested through vegetables but slowly excreted.  Neurological effects could take years to be noticed.  The reality is that the barrels contain much more dangerous stuff and if ingested or breathed in, you will probably get cancer due to the alpha emitters in the barrels.  They include plutonium!  The main takeaway from the review of EnergySolutions accepting the 5000 barrels (with 10,000 plus more awaiting approval) is that, if the review is successful, many more nuclear reactor parts will be coming to Utah for burial.  Note, from the below post, that the Department of Energy was so concerned about the storage of the barrels by EnergySolutions that they paid for and built a storage facility for the barrels.  They did not believe that the barrels could be safely stored outside (they were flooded) despite EnergySolutions being okay with it.  I still hear rumors of leaks and barrel issues (the barrels do not survive well in a high salt area like the area near the Great Salt Lake).  In my opinion, as a former nuclear engineer, the barrels are much more dangerous than the nuclear fuel rods in concrete caskets that was successfully fought in Utah over a decade ago.

UTA IGNORES BIGGEST REQUEST FOR SERVICE INCREASE
  UTA approved the budget with just one person commenting against the budget's projects (emailed to the Board and accepted) and one commenting last month about lack of service downtown and to the airport.  Trustee Taylor voted against the budget and expressed concern that the budget should have required much more discussion, even a day's worth due to the complexities involved.  The Chair said that there was plenty of discussion over the last few months during the subcommittee meetings.  The main budget change was the addition of $500,000 for service increases.  But essentially, according to Jerry Benson, the General Manager, it is a placeholder to allow UTA to work with Salt Lake City and other municipalities to increase service.  He felt that they could and would help fund transit service increases like the County's contribution of $4 million to double track the streetcar line (estimated ridership increase is 150 per day).  With the $2 million match from UTA, that give $6 million to provide 150 more riders.  That is, in my opinion, poor management but Salt Lake County seems to have insisted on it.  Even a million dollars would have allowed 4 or 5 bus routes to continue to 1 AM and double frequency to every half hour!  Jerry Benson mentioned that the County will get an estimated 2.5 million more people in 25 years and transit needs to be a big part of transportation infrastructure.  When Point of the Mountain development plans are finalized and set in concrete, the projects will be constructed quickly.  He mentioned that Adobe is pushing the TRAX extension from Lehi to Draper but the taxpayers of each County paying billions for that project alone could result in a big backlash.  The Legislature seems to be ignoring the voters of Salt Lake County and Utah County who turned down the .25 cent tax increase and plans on forcing the tax on us anyway.  Decades ago, as President of a San Diego Business Association, I pushed for a train station near a technology center.  We got it.  The trains already ran on the existing rails and the cost for a station was minimal.  The Lehi Draper TRAX line does not make sense when FrontRunner exists and is not always running.  The demand is not there.  And technology employees are paid well enough that they prefer fancy new automobiles (at $50,000 plus) that can run even when the trains don’t.  The present bus system there runs only seven times a day!  Before Adobe should ask for a billion plus dollar rail line, they should ask for a regular bus route at 15 minute intervals from Lehi Station up the hill!  It would cost around $500,000 at the most!

WALKABILITY AND SAFETY LACKING WITH NEW BUILDING SIDEWALKS
  Over the last several years, many projects of apartments have been built and are being approved and built that have building close to skinny sidewalks (5 feet wide).  Salt Lake City has a Complete Streets ordinance but ignores it when it approves buildings next to sidewalks.  Complete Streets should require wider sidewalks (around 10+ feet) to encourage walkability.  It also affect safety when a car pulling out of a parking garage or driveway needs to get on the sidewalk to see oncoming traffic.  The Library is an example of the issue. The Main Library parking garage driveway onto 400 South is such that one needs to pull out to see traffic but that requires driving onto the sidewalk.  So signs have been upgraded to make it clear that drivers MUST stop before reaching the sidewalk to ensure that pedestrians are not crossing.  Pedestrians are also not visible unless they are within a couple of feet of the driveway.  New buildings of apartments next to sidewalks also do not encourage walkability.  Walkability is encouraged when there are facilities that engage the public like stores and restaurants.  Car lots and apartment buildings without ground floor retail DO NOT ENCOURAGE WALKABILITY!

HOMELESS STORAGE STILL UP IN THE AIR
  Rumors that the Salt Lake City homeless storage facility will close are still around.  Laura Fritts, the Salt Lake City Economic Development Director ordered the facility to stay open until plans to reuse the property are set in concrete.  She is trying to find a way to better utilize the space which is presently full.  The 90 gallon wheeled containers are not efficient enough and she and the RDA are trying to find a better solution to provide more storage.  The problem is serious due to the concern from the homeless that they can't store their belongings if they work and so Salt Lake City has a large number of homeless that wheel around their belongings in a shopping cart or a bicycle trailer.  The City is trying to solve the issue but it appears that it will take at least a month.
  I also need to remind everyone that some of us fought the previous administration to have a storage facility for the homeless without much success.  It was only in the last couple of years that a storage facility opened.  I remember asking Mayor Becker to consider a homeless storage facility after hearing about a homeless man run down on Thanksgiving Eve while pushing all of his belongings in a shopping cart.  That request in 2010, went nowhere.  At least now, the present administration is trying to solve the problem.







DECEMBER 14, 2017
COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS CLOSING DOWN
SLC DOWNTOWN POLICE FOOT PATROLS ARE BACK
PEDESTRIANS SHOULD BE USING FLASHLIGHTS 
TWILIGHT CONCERTS MAY NOT BE DEAD
RDA SITS ON $100+ MILLION OF VACANT PROPERTY
INVERSIONS ARE MADE WORSE BY SLC APPROVING LANE CLOSING PERMITS
FINAL UTA MEETING OF YEAR WITH BUDGET TEMPORARILY CANCELLED
SUGAR HOUSE POLICE PRECINCT LIST DOWN TO THREE PROPERTIES
RDA STATE STREET EXPANSION AREA DISCUSSION 
COUNCIL ADMITS TO WANTING TAX INCREASE
SLC COUNCIL MEETING SURPRISES VIDEO ONLINE 
HEPATITIS A UPDATE
UPDATE ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS WASTE IN UTAH
SLCPD CHIEF BROWN TALKS DISPATCH AND AGGRESSIVE POLICING

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS CLOSING DOWN
  Community Connections, the Salt Lake Police and social worker facility that used to provide services for the homeless community in the Rio Grande area, is closing down except for appointments for counselling.  Mail pick up will be shifted to the Road Home starting in January.  The reason for the change is to refocus the personnel, both police and social workers on reaching out to the homeless in other areas.  Operation Rio Grande has dispersed the homeless to other areas, mainly in Salt Lake City, but also to other areas of the County.  To reach those potential clients, the plan is to provide a team of a police officer and a social worker to contact and work with the homeless and encourage them to consider and move into better situations.  The group is called the SLCPD Mental Health Unit and can be reached at 801 799 3533 communityconnectionteam@slcgov.com.  

SLC DOWNTOWN POLICE FOOT PATROLS ARE BACK
  The Salt Lake City Council and Administration has increased focus on providing more visible cops.  One of the first efforts are in the downtown SLC area with SLCPD walking patrols.  Since Thanksgiving, they have provided a better sense of safety downtown. 

PEDESTRIANS SHOULD BE USING FLASHLIGHTS 
  Recently, there have been way too many pedestrian accidents.  Pedestrian visibility seems to be the major cause.  I encourage everyone who walks, especially at night, evening or in low visibility times, to carry and use a flashlight to ensure that drivers see you.  There are many effective and cheap flashlights available and the cost is so minimal, compared to being hit and critically injured, that everyone, including every child should carry and use a flashlight when crossing the street.

TWILIGHT CONCERTS MAY NOT BE DEAD
  I put the Twilight Concerts discussion packet on the upper right downloads section.  The Council seems to want options to keep the Twilight Concerts program going.  They discussed several options, including moving the event to the Gallivan Center (expensive) or around the City on a rotating basis (cheapest).  But the main concern with the Council was the Arts Council control which they had problems with.  They seemed to blame the Arts Council for the cost overruns.  SLC may end up with a Twilight Concert on Ensign Peak!  The Council decided that they had some time and they scheduled more discussions in January. 

RDA SITS ON $100+ MILLION OF VACANT PROPERTY
  I put the RDA property report on the upper right downloads section.  One of the reasons that the RDA, in October of 2016, decided that they had enough money to provide $20 million for affordable housing and also $11.7 million for the homeless resource centers, is because, at that time, they were told that the RDA had, potentially, $100 million of property and other value.  The download shows a list of RDA owned property, much of which is in the downtown area near Rio Grande and that has been vacant for years.  Some property has been vacant for over ten years!  (Note that Salt Lake City has a separate property list of vacant property.)  It is incredibly inappropriate and bad governance to keep property vacant for ten years.  Some cities, to encourage development and decrease the lack of affordable housing due to not developing or using vacant buildings, have implemented a vacancy tax.  It is applied to buildings and property that are not being utilized or banked for future development.  The tax is supposed to encourage building residential units instead of not using the property.  Salt Lake City, unfortunately, does exactly the opposite.  It discourages development.  It discourages demolition until an approved plan is in place and does not allow demolition to a parking lot.  And it has many buildings that are not allowed to be demolished that are uninhabitable (Former SLCO Mayor Peter Corroon has property that he was trying to develop but, until a recent fire, his house was not allowed to be demolished.  In other words, Salt Lake City is part of the problem.  Salt Lake City and the RDA should not be allowing property to not be used or be vacant for more than a year.  Salt Lake City should not own property that it does not use for appropriate government services.

INVERSIONS ARE MADE WORSE BY SLC APPROVING LANE CLOSING PERMITS
  Salt Lake City has suggested increased enforcement of its anti idling law (that the Legislature pushed into being primarily an education law) to help decrease pollution.  Unfortunately, Salt Lake City, is making the inversion worse by approving lane closure/construction permits that increase congestion and air pollution.  It is hypocritical for SLC to insist that cars not idle when it inadvertently approves lane closures during inversion season.  In one day (while riding a bus), I saw several lane closures that did not seem to be important for the construction project.  Salt Lake City said that the problem was that the permits were granted well before the inversion but it would seem a simple matter to limit the lane closures to when there is not a dangerous inversion.

FINAL UTA MEETING OF YEAR WITH BUDGET TEMPORARILY CANCELLED
  One of the most important meetings of the year, the UTA Board of Trustees final budget approval, was cancelled at the last minute literally.  The meeting was rescheduled to Monday, December 18 at 8:30 AM.  The budget includes the bus garage and a borrowing of almost $100 million.  But there is no new expansion of service.  This is the last chance for UTA to retain local control of services since the Legislature intends to move to a 3 commissioner control in the next Legislative session.  The intent, at least now, is to decrease local control, implement a .25 cent sales tax to be mainly used for Point of the Mountain projects (where many Legislative leaders have interests) and take away projects from UTA's Board.  Note that the Legislature is ignoring the vote by Salt Lake County and Utah County citizens against the tax increase.

SUGAR HOUSE POLICE PRECINCT LIST DOWN TO THREE PROPERTIES
  The proposed new eastside SLCPD precinct that will be in Sugar House, is down to two or three properties.  It is just one decision from being settled.  The new precinct will save up to 40 minutes of driving time for patrol officers to get on station in the eastside of Salt Lake City.  Impact fees will pay a large portion of the cost.

RDA STATE STREET EXPANSION AREA DISCUSSION 
  I put the latest discussion on the RDA expansion areas, including State Street and 900 West and 900 South, on the upper right hand downloads section.  Although it started over a year ago, the final map and approval is becoming really slow.  I put the last page of the State Street proposed expansion area on a separate download.  The Council is STILL arguing about the final map and minor issues instead of approving it and moving forward.  Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall asked that the 900 South Freeway Offramp be included.  But there is a proposal to remove the freeway offramp and restore the area's neighborhood.  So the Council, sitting as the RDA Board will discuss the issue next month.  At the speed that they are going, SLC will be lucky to approve the map by the end of 2018.  Note that the map shows that the focus of the area's development on the yellow shaded areas included the Sears block.  That is a potentially high density area that could have a great project that would encourage further development along State Street.  On the downside, the car lots along State Street and Main Street will be hard to get rid of.  They discourage walkability, especially the block long car lots like Garff's on State between 500 and 600 South.  The RDA and SLC should require all lots to have several public stores or restaurants on their property (coffee shop, mini market, specialty foods etc) to encourage walking the area.  Who wants to walk a block of cars?  The City gets an extremely large amount of tax money from the car lots.  It is ironic that SLC discourages parking lots at the same time as encouraging car sales lots!  The reasoning seems to be a war on cars except when we get sales tax.

COUNCIL ADMITS TO WANTING TAX INCREASE
  Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall admitted to wanting a tax increase to handle the large influx of employees that Salt Lake City gets during the day.  But Salt Lake City ignores the fact that those employees buy cars and provide much of the increased sales taxes that are generated by the above mentioned car lots.  There is a reason that the car lots are on the 500 South entrance to SLC.  It sells cars and the increased day population in Salt Lake City provides a lot of income to the treasury.  So the contention that SLC needs a tax increase to offset the increase in daytime population is a misdirect.  Those employees pay taxes for us.

LAST SLC COUNCIL MEETING SURPRISES VIDEO ONLINE 
  Homeless advocate Bernie Hart threw the City Council out of the meeting during his attempt to call attention to the fact that the homeless are sleeping out on the sidewalks near the services around the Rio Grande area.  Around 40 a night are sleeping in the area.  He also complained about the arrested individuals being kicked out of the jail at 2 AM in the morning in South Salt Lake without any transportation back to shelter.  But when he went over the two minute time limit, Chair Stan Penfold tried to get him to stop, for a couple of minutes.  When that didn't work, Stan declared a short recess and the City Council members left the room.  After 10 minutes they returned.  To more surprises.
  Probably because the arrestees are being arrested for drug crimes and deportation should be a weapon in fighting drug crimes when the person is undocumented.  During the last SLC Council meeting of the year, several men complained of the effort of the Operation Rio Grande that seems to be catching or focusing on many minorities.  One person asked if it was appropriate to be a sanctuary city at the same time that arrested individuals are turned into ICE.  Unfortunately, due to the aggressive effort of law enforcement to combat crime, some innocent workers downtown are hearing demands for ID.  If you have a chance, you might want to watch the meeting on video (Google slcgov.com and council and go to meeting agendas, then click on the interactive video for December 12 Formal Meeting.).  
  The first part of the meeting is the goodbye and accolades to the two departing Councilmembers, Stan Penfold and Lisa Adams.  I would like to note that Lisa was the person who pushed for free parking under the Library for the public and Stan expressed satisfaction in providing a forum for complaining and commenting to the Council and Mayor.  Stan is also the most knowledgeable about the RDA finances which are some of the most complicated in the State.  He will be missed and hopefully both will continue to stay engaged in government.  I should also point out that both Lisa and Stan have tried to solve the homeless problems in SLC over the last few years.  Stan indicated that he directed the RDA to find property to expand storage, especially for the homeless that want to work but do not have a way to store their belongings.  Lisa passed out desk plaques to the rest of the Council.  Erin Mendenhall received a plaque that said "I love alleyways."  Charlie's plaque said "I don't love ADUs."  One final note.  These two retiring Councilmembers, in my opinion, are two of the best representatives of the citizens of SLC.  They really care and they are not just respectful of others and their opinions, but they do listen and consider and, sometimes adopt, other ideas.  And they don't mumble.  Stan was especially easy to hear.  They are two of the most easily heard and understood Councilmembers.  I wish that all of the rest of the Council would speak as clearly.  I am very sad to see them go.  

HEPATITIS A UPDATE
  Over the last 3 weeks, the hepatitis A outbreak in Salt Lake City has diminished.  Of course, that happened ten weeks ago before it started expanding fast.  But the State and County Health Departments are ramping up efforts to fight the outbreak.  They are passing out 10,000 hygiene kits that have special towlettes that work to kill hepatitis A (alcohol will not work).  They are given to hospitals, the discharged patients, to kitchens providing meals and the Weigand Center.  5,000 vaccinations have been provided.  They are also attempting to educate service providers and restaurants but their turnover is causing problems.  There have been complaints about the lack of cleaning of Road Home restrooms (always a problem due to the clients serviced who sometimes have no conception of basic sanitation - which was also a problem until recently with the Main Library).  It is a challenging population.  The Pioneer Park porta potties are being cleaned.  One time, unfortunately, the syringe kiosk was damaged by the cleaning truck but it was quickly repaired.  Out of the 76 total cases so far this year, 70 are related to the San Diego outbreak and were in the homeless/drug addicts/recently incarcerated individuals.  (Note that the jail also has problems with keeping facilities cleaned.  60% of the infected require hospitalization.  Most importantly, many are also infected by hepatitis B and C.  The cost to the public will eventually mushroom.  This is another reason why Utah needs healthcare expansion.  This is a public safety issue.

UPDATE ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS WASTE IN UTAH
  Several years ago, during a large public outcry, over 5,000 barrels of nuclear weapons waste was imported into Utah.  The barrels were labelled depleted uranium, DU.  But missing from the label was the fact that the material was actually what should be called Waste In Process, WIP.  That is the term for nuclear material that has gone through a nuclear reactor and had bomb making material removed before being discarded as "DU".  But the material includes Plutonium 240 (which increases in radioactivity 5 times over 100 years (therefore removed from bombs), Strontium 90, Cesium 137 and many other radioactive components that are not usually in natural uranium.  The military uses DU that has been mined and that has had most of the natural radioactive material removed and uses the increased mass and chemical properties for anti tank weapons.  But the barrels essentially have nuclear weapons waste.  The Governor allowed the 5,000 barrels in (out of 15,000) before stopping the process for review.  
  Utah has been reviewing the issue for the last 4 years.  Originally, the barrels were stored outside but they became partially flooded.  The Energy Department panicked and constructed an indoor/protected facility to store the barrels, where they now sit.  EnergySolutions, the company that wanted the 15,000 barrels, checks them for leaks at least once a week.  Although no leaks have been reported, reporting a leak would be considered a serious issue and some have said that they don't trust EnergySolutions to report problems.  They are trying to justify taking on 10,000 more barrels.
  So the storage proposal is now under a performance assessment and the State and EnergySolutions have been going around for many years (they are on the third revision) to complete the process.  The State Division of Waste and Radiation Management is undertaking a low level waste management rules review with the help of Scott Collins and Assciates (SC&A a Washington DC company).

SLCPD CHIEF BROWN TALKS DISPATCH AND AGGRESSIVE POLICING
  SLCPD Chief Brown gave a presentation to the Liberty Wells Community Council on December 13th.  He had his Department personnel visit over 2000 homes to educate residents and businesses on crime fighting.  The focus was on decreasing the significant increase in burglaries over the last few months.  The Chief visited 100 homes (including one in which he was felled by an anti police dog).  The effort appears to have been successful.  The 44 reported burglaries from two months ago decreased to 19 (but from 11 last year).  Burglaries decreased 75% with 8 arrests for burglaries that included 4 in District 5 alone. (Also traffic citations are up 20%.)  The police also caught a thief with stolen mail and actually ended up delivering the mail to the victims.  A package bait plan is being implemented.  A bicycle bait plan has been implemented.
  He also stated emphatically, that when one calls dispatch, they will ask if you want a cop, and if so, "one will go to you".  SLC's dispatch system utilizes an inflexible Priority Dispatch system and the Chief said that they are reviewing the system and focusing on the script flexibility.  Dispatch is also hiring three new dispatchers who will take crime reports over the phone.  The Chief noted that his father, a retired cop, doesn't use a computer so it does not make sense to him to force victims to report a crime online.



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DECEMBER 7, 2017
SLC COUNCIL TALKING ABOUT TAX INCREASE FOR 60 NEW COPS
UTAH LEGISLATURE TALKING ABOUT TAX INCREASE
SLC COUNCIL WANTS TRANSIT PLAN TO PUSH STREETCARS
SLC COUNCIL ADU PLANS STYMIED BY DISABILITY LAW CENTER
STORAGE FOR HOMELESS WORKERS LACKING
GARBAGE FEES INCREASES CAUSED BY SLCO MAYOR'S ACTIONS
SLCO KEEPS REVOLVING DOOR JAIL
UTA BORROWS FOR NEW PROJECTS
DANNON ASKS FOR $200,000 TAX REFUND FROM SLCO


SLC COUNCIL TALKING ABOUT TAX INCREASE FOR 60 NEW COPS
  The Salt Lake City Council had an interesting few hours last Tuesday during their work session.  They agreed to finalize the SLC budget amendment that calls for 50 new cops and almost ten support staff for the Police Department’s crime lab.  The new police should be on patrol by the end of June.  The speed of implementation is due to getting many of the new recruits from laterals from other cities.  That allows the police to be ready for patrol in half the time as police recruits without any previous law enforcement background.  The increase by the Council from the administration’s initial proposal of 27 new cops was a surprise to many, including the Police Chief.  But if you had seen the attendees’ frustration during many of the community council meetings in the last few months, you wouldn’t be surprised.  The Councilmembers consistently complained about the lack of visible police.  In fact, the SLC Police were so overburdened by Operation Rio Grande that, in many cases, citizens were told to call the Operation Rio Grande Command Post line (385 266 6938) in order to get faster response from the Utah Highway Patrol.  So it should not have been a surprise that the Council wanted more visible cops.  The best deterrent to crime is more visible cops (without a revolving door jail.
  The Council discussed the fact that, by spending almost $5 million in the budget for the police increase, the City’s reserve funds (rainy day funds) will go down to almost 10% of the budget.  When Rocky Anderson was Mayor, the fund was 17%.  The Council indicated that they would look at a tax increase through sales tax or property tax.  This has been discussed before at the Council.  Other tax increases that have been discussed include for streetcars, parks, and streets.  Salt Lake City could see a doubling of taxes and fees in the next year (like the sewer and water taxes that will double in the next five years).  But Salt Lake City should first sell the old Police HQ, the Pipeline Building. that the City has been trying to convert to affordable housing over the last few years (unsuccessfully).  The City’s public safety funding helped pay for maintenance and buying the Pipeline Building and that funding should be returned to public safety by selling the building.  A tax increase for cops should not be needed.  Charlie Luke also mentioned that much of the loss of 2-3 cops retiring after 20 years is due to State Law that mandates that law enforcement and teachers wait out a year after 20 years (to supposedly protect the Utah State Pension System) without pension contributions until they accept another job as a Utah employee.  (Rural communities are hardest hit by this pension rule and find it difficult to hire experienced teachers.)  Also lost in the discussion is fact that someone will have to fund the extra prosecutors required to support the 50+ extra cops.  The DA says hiring 2 more prosecutors is a start.  He is analyzing the potential increase in tickets/citations and will have a suggested increase needed soon.

UTAH LEGISLATURE TALKING ABOUT TAX INCREASE
  Lost in all of the talk about developing the Point is the Legislature’s plan to increase taxes to be used for transit and road projects in the southern section of Salt Lake County.  Of course, that would require that the Legislature pull projects’ responsibility from UTA and decide what needs developing in their best interest.  Despite all of the statements that the prison move will result in a windfall for Utah development, it looks like the cost will be borne by taxpayers.  Instead of landowners paying for the development, it looks like taxpayers will fund much of the infrastructure.  Many in the Legislature benefit from Point of the Mountain Development and instead of taxpayers paying for it, the State should sell the property and use only those funds for infrastructure development.  There should not be a tax increase (a .25 cents tax increase has been discussed to make up for Prop One not passing in Utah and Salt Lake Counties).

SLC COUNCIL WANTS TRANSIT PLAN TO PUSH STREETCARS
  During discussion and adoption of the Salt Lake City Transit Plan, Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall pointed out that the consultant has already done a thorough study on rail/streetcar routes and more studies do not need to be done.  Councilman Stan Penfold pointed out that the Transit Plan is not the final arbiter of the route.  There will have to be a public hearing on final routes.  One of the routes that Erin was talking about was the Sugar House Streetcar extending north on 1100 East until 1700 South, then west to 900 South and continuing north on 900 East to 400 South.  The Transit Plan also includes a downtown streetcar going east on 100 S. and 200 S. to the UofU and a north-south rail line on 400 West ($50 million would be saved if the Green Line is rerouted to go directly to North Temple instead of zig zagging through downtown SLC.  The Plan is approved but the Council has several newcomers coming on that may ignore public hearings and sentiments on routing the streetcars and spending the hundreds of millions of local taxpayer funds to build them.  The Plan says that a frequent bus transit network if the goal but past history implies that putting high cost projects in a plan will often cause those project to be built first instead of after the main goal of better bus service.

SLC COUNCIL ADU PLANS STYMIED BY DISABILITY LAW CENTER
  The Salt Lake City Council tried to pass an ADU ordinance Tuesday that would allow up to 25 ADUs (auxiliary dwelling units/mother in law apartments) in and area south of the Avenues and west of 1300 East (the boundaries were needed to get Stan and Charlie to agree to the ADU plan.  But the Utah Disability Law Center indicated that the boundaries violate the Fair Housing Act and would be illegal.  So the Council was scared off and sent the plan back to SLC Planning.  The bigger issue was that SLC does not have the ability to enforce zoning and other noise complaints.  Airbnb and similar services are almost impossible to police.  And the City still does not have the ability to enforce the ADU after the original owner dies.  So single family home neighborhoods are saved.

STORAGE FOR HOMELESS WORKERS LACKING
  Operation Rio Grande’s third phase is to encourage the homeless to apply for and obtain jobs.  But there is no real way to provide convenient and safe homeless storage.  The Weigand Center allows 2 week storage in cubies (after which they have to not use the service for 2 weeks) and now has 21 open storage cubies.  And the Weigand Center is only open until 5 (the new proposed contract with the State, once approved will allow the Weigand Center to stay open from 7 to 7).  But workers will need more storage and longer hours.  Over the last seven years, the homeless have walked neighborhoods with all of their belongings in shopping carts and other mobile storage systems.  The SLC storage facility, run by the SLC RDA (which tried to close it until Stan Penfold ordered RDA staff to keep it open) is full and is only open from 8 to 5.  So Operation Rio Grande’s third phase is relying on a wish, a hope and a dream.  Several City officials (and Utah Workforce Services) have realized the weak link in the plan, and are searching for a solution.

GARBAGE FEES INCREASES CAUSED BY SLCO MAYOR'S ACTIONS
  The Salt Lake County Mayor has decided, unilaterally, to close the Salt Lake County Garbage Transfer Station at 502 W. and 3300 South, without the joint owner, SLC participating in the decision.  “Salt Lake City didn’t know, nor agree with the closure”
  The Transfer Station is slated to close on July 1, 2018.  The closure was postponed to give time to find and fund a replacement plan.  It is expected that the costs for garbage services throughout much of the County will go up.  Ben McAdams says that the reason is the increased costs ($7 per ton) to transport the garbage from the Transfer Station to the landfill (on 6030 West California Avenue). 
  The operations are in the Mayor’s annual budget and the closing has been approved in the budget just approved by the County Council. (SLC and the County each get $1.75 per ton of garbage delivered to the facilities).  Unfortunately, the closing of the Transfer Station will require a longer drive with the garbage trucks (at 2 MPG or about $4 per mile in fuel in maintenance).  County and City refuse services are still crunching the numbers but are still trying to determine the new costs.
  Another complication is the requirement that 85% of the garbage has to be delivered to Salt Lake Valley facilities (due to the interlocal agreement with SLCO.  The Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District is trying to negotiate a new agreement so that it can attempt to find a lower cost facility. 

SLCO KEEPS REVOLVING DOOR JAIL
  The Salt Lake County Council approved Mayor McAdams’ budget that keeps the revolving door jail while opening up the 380 free beds at Oxbow.  But since the Mayor intends to return the 300 prisoners that have been disseminated to other counties, the jail will continue, as it is now, as a revolving door jail.  The County’s law enforcement organizations are still relegated to fighting crime with the philosophy of disruption (arresting the criminals and taking them to jail which releases them early in the morning to wander back to Salt Lake City or other areas that they came from.  That is why there are criminals are arrested many times without real consequence.  Inadequate public safety funding at the Legislature.

UTA BORROWS FOR NEW PROJECTS
  The UTA Board of Trustees will have a final public hearing on December 13th before approving a relatively secret budget.  The budget has a $65 million bus garage that is not needed now (until bus service increases.  Without a full budget (200+ pages), it is impossible to comment specifically.  UTA released about 5 pages out of a 200 page document. (I asked and confirmed that the bus garage is included in the budget.)  I am against the costly and unneeded bus garage.  I also am concerned that the eminent domain costs are not being specifically noted.  And the Airport TRAX project should be specifically budgeted for a ground, not flying bridge system.  All borrowing should have a significant portion used for service increases to show taxpayers how their money is being used.  It should also be noted that (as I mentioned last week) that the Legislature seems to want to take away projects’ responsibility from UTA in order to fund more projects.  The last time the Legislature got involved in UTA, they approved/authorized up to 8 Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) which caused many of the questionable projects.  

DANNON ASKS FOR $200,000 TAX REFUND FROM SLCO
  Dannon Corporation has protested their County tax bill and, after studying the issue, the County Assessor has agreed that they are due $200,000 and the County Council, on this last Tuesday, approved the refund of $200,000 to Dannon.





NOVEMBER 30, 2017
STEINER POOL SECRETS REVEAL ROYAL MESS

  After my last blog post on the Steiner pool problems, I got a call from Jim Webster, who was involved in the pool concept and design and construction.  He told me that the 5 boilers that had lasted almost 20 years were only supposed to be used for a couple of years.  The pools were supposed to be heated by the heat extracted from the adjacent ice rinks that are in the same building!  But they never connected the systems with a heat exchanger.  It is a big screwup that has resulted in large expenses using natural gas instead of the heat extracted from the ice rinks (built for the Olympics).  Cottonwood High supposedly uses that system.   So if the City and County want to spend almost a million replacing the boilers, they may think twice and go back to what they were supposed to use, a heat exchanger.





NOVEMBER 29, 2017
LEGISLATURE TASK FORCE HAS MORE SECRECY THAN UTA

LEGISLATURE WILL USE TAX INCREASE TO DEVELOP PT OF MOUNTAIN
SLC COUNCIL FINALLY PUSHING FOR 50 NEW COPS
STEINER SWIMMING POOL UPDATE
SLC COUNCIL REMOVES ADU LIMITS

LEGISLATURE TASK FORCE HAS MORE SECRECY THAN UTA
  The last meeting of the Legislature’s Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force, on Monday November 27, revealed a proposal to change UTA management to a three person commission appointed by the Governor.  Almost no one from the public, and many on the Task Force, did not know about the proposal until the meeting.  When I looked on the agenda on Saturday, less than a business day before the meeting, I only saw the Task Force report given to the Legislature’s Interim Transportation Committee the week before.  Since that report was due by December 1, I assumed that that was the end of the proposals until the January Legislative session.  The meeting was “snuck in” (according to Senator Harper) due to authority given in his bill that created the Task Force that was assumed to end at the end of November.  Senator Harper said that technically the Task Force can continue until the General Session.  Due to the lack of notice, no one from the public commented when Senator Harper, the co-chair, asked for public comments!  The Task Force members were so surprised by the proposal that they asked for another meeting.  Senator Harper said that they now have the proposal and it is time to throw darts.  Although some in the Legislature think that the complaints about UTA are resolved with this plan, the public really did not have a chance to comment on it.  In other words, UTA now seems more open than UTA.
  Many of the Task Force members were concerned about passing the proposal without more discussion and analysis.  The proposal did not go through the working group as a talking point so it was not vetted.  Lane Beattie said that he was concerned that the “never read, never seen motion” did not have a provision to come back and have the opportunity to address concerns.  He felt that a lot more input is needed.
  Part of the proposal was to have UTA managed by a three member commission.  But as Commissioner Milburn, a UTA Board Trustee, pointed out, having three heads managing an entity like UTA can create more problems than it solves.  He has experience in the commission format and his experience questions the efficiency of that system.  He also was concerned about who decides which commissioner handles finances versus operations versus maintenance.  In addition, he felt that open meetings are not always able to be enforced when two commissioners meet, they essentially violate the open meetings act.  He also felt that UTA has come a long way in becoming more open.  
  That appears to be the main issue:  What is the best way to ensure more public trust and accountability in UTA, Utah’s main mass transit entity?  As Representative Schultz pointed out, UTA has zero dollars to expand service.  He said that UTA’s structured debt essentially is paying interest only now.  In ten years, the debt payments increase by $80 million (in a $400 million budget).  UTA is assuming that revenue is increasing at around 5% and expenses are increasing at around 2.75% per year.  If UTA’s estimates are off by 1%, they can’t operate and they will have to decrease service.  Representative Schultz said that he keeps hearing “What are you going to do to change UTA?”  So this proposal is important to restoring trust in UTA.
  Mayor Biskupski expressed concern about what she believes is a State takeover of UTA and decreasing the influence of municipalities and local government on mass transit decisions.  Chamber of Commerce President Lane Beattie agreed, saying “if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck… it seems to be a duck and State takeover.  I don’t get it.  It takes away from local government.”  It seems to be a way for local taxes that go to mass transit to be managed by the State.  In response to a question, Senator Harper said that UDOT has no influence or control over UTA now.  But UDOT does exert control and influences UTA and funds part of UTA projects including the Provo BRT/TRIP.  UDOT also works with UTA in coordinating traffic lights for the alternative bus concept being tested on the 217 Redwood Rd bus route.
  What many have forgotten, UTA has gotten into a lot of trouble by working on projects that were “requested” by the Legislature.  The Utah Legislature, in a bill many years ago by Senator Stevenson, gave UTA the ability to build and manage Transit Oriented Developments (TODs).  It essentially allowed UTA to function as a bank and construction company.  In return for 5% of a project, UTA would give $10 million worth of property next to a TRAX or FrontRunner station (in at least two cases).  In several other cases, money was given by UTA to developers for projects that did not work out and did not get completed.  The parking garage/TOD in West Jordan and the Garn TOD development in Clearfield were two projects that had UTA giving millions to developers without completing the project.  So this proposal raises more questions and concerns about the Legislature and State controlling UTA when, in the past, that control and influence has created problems for UTA.
  Mayor Biskupski also said that the proposal could burden UTA with new projects without providing funding for maintenance.  She is right.  (The proposal assumes that UDOT will approve new projects and UTA will maintain them without new funding!)  So there would be almost no hope to increase service.
  The funding Task Force sub committee said that without new funding, UTA debt will not be paid off until 2042.  Utah would need to hold off on new projects until we get hold of the debt issue.  The proposed bill that is being drafted, and will go to all of the Task Force members for comment, will include many different funding proposals.  The reason is that the Legislature needs to provide the ability for new funding for those counties that did not increase their sales tax for transportation (under Prop One).  Funding options include: ride sharing fees, tolling criteria, road user fees, congestion pricing, transit student passes, value added capture, user charge for electric vehicles and other funding options.  Representative Schultz asked that user charges for electric vehicles be included in the bill.  Unfortunately, electric vehicles have minimal impacts on roads.  Trying to force electric vehicles to pay for their minimal impact on roads and not increase the charge for vehicles that have much more impact on the roads (like big trucks) seems to be encouraging buying bigger vehicles with more impact on the roads.  It was also mentioned, as part of the funding proposals, that the .25 cent sales tax increase be considered for those counties that did not approve Prop One.  Lane Beattie mentioned that the county commissions could be given the ability to increase taxes in their counties without a public vote.
  The Land Use subcommittee of the Task Force is waiting for the League of Cities and Towns to provide feedback.  The proposal was adopted unanimously, with the provision that there would be one more meeting to ensure that the proposal is sufficiently analyzed and debated.  The Task Force members were encouraged to provide comments to the staff and Senator Harper at lrammell@le.utah.gov, ajanak@le.utah.gov and/or wharper@le.utah.gov.
  I encourage everyone interested in this potential tax increase and decreasing local control of taxes to comment to the Task Force emails above.


LEGISLATURE WILL USE TAX INCREASE TO DEVELOP PT OF MOUNTAIN
  As mentioned during the Transportation Governance and Funding Task Force meeting Monday, the Legislature may impose a .25 cent sales tax increase on counties that did not vote to approve Prop One.  The Legislature seems, to me, to be planning to use the funds to provide funding for billions of mass transit projects in the Point of the Mountain area.  Tuesday’s Point of the Mountain Development Commission said that transit projects need to be undertaken there soon.  But if UTA does not have the billions for the Draper to Orem TRAX extension (could be as much as $2+ billion) and hundreds of millions for other projects in the area, then Utah will have to find a way to raise funds through tax or fee increases.  The .25 cent sales tax increase seems to be the closest to becoming realized.  Taxpayers will not have a real say in the tax implementation.  And the biggest beneficiaries, the landowners and property managers in the area (many in the Legislature) will make out like bandits.  Taxpayers should not be worried about $100,000 higher salary for a UTA general manager.  Taxpayers should be worried about paying millions in increasing land values to each legislator landowner in the area from tax increases.  This is a fast moving train and the public should become aware of it and get involved and comment on the issues.


SLC COUNCIL FINALLY PUSHING FOR 50 NEW COPS
  After years of pushing for 50 new police officers in Salt Lake City (I ran as a candidate for SLC mayor asking to hire 50 new cops.), the Council listened to the many community councils that were complaining about the increase in crime in their neighborhoods that accelerated with Operation Rio Grande.  The complaints included residents asking why they never see cops patrolling; where are the bicycle cops; and why won’t police respond to burglaries?  The Council increased the proposal for 27 new cops that the administration proposed to support Operation Rio Grande, to 50 new cops that may cost as much as $5+ million (a figure that is being disputed – see download above on police staffing and cost) until the next budget in May.  Several Councilmembers expressed concern about the need for a tax increase to continue the increased staffing.  I, again, suggested that there are several surplus SLC properties that have been vacant for almost 10 years that could be and should be sold to provide funding for public safety.  Ironically, one of the properties is the old Pipeline Building which was the old SLC Police Headquarters.  But, the major point is that the Council voted, in a straw poll, to be finalized at the December 5 formal public meeting, to add to the Budget Amendment 1, the cost of 50 new cops.  Every citizen in Salt Lake City should be thanking every Councilmember for this important and game changing decision.  Their emails are on the right hand column, under the downloads section.  It was such a surprise that only two citizens commented and thanked the Council during the public hearing on the evening’s public hearing on the Budget Amendment.


STEINER SWIMMING POOL UPDATE
  One of the items in the Budget Amendment 1 that the SLC Council is prepared to vote for on December 5 is the funding of almost a million dollars ($950,000) to help pay to repair and replace the heating boilers for the Steiner Aquatic Center on Guardsman’s Way..
“All five boilers for the Steiner Aquatic Center pools need to be replaced after premature failures due to “accelerated corrosion.” As a result, the outdoor pool ad to be closed a month early, and the indoor pool is currently heated by just one boiler, which was jerry-rigged with components of the other boilers. Its failure would result in the Center’s closure. Salt Lake County will share the cost for the new equipment under the interlocal cooperation agreement for Steiner Aquatic enter operations with the City, though the full funding amount will not be immediately forthcoming, and may not fall within the City’s fiscal year 2018.”


SLC COUNCIL REMOVES ADU LIMITS
  In a surprise vote (straw poll that should not be final but usually is) during the Tuesday work session, the Council voted to remove the annual limits on ADUs, to keep the boundaries (south of South Temple and west of 1300 East) and to review the ordinance in four years.  This could be a serious blow to single family home neighborhoods since the Council still has not adequately funded zoning enforcement (needed for proper regulation of noise and parking and ownership issues) and the legal issues of owner occupied requirements, after an owner dies, is still not solved.  Some think that the Legislature may get involved and tell SLC what to do with their ADU la





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


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

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

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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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


SUGAR HOUSE PARLEYS TRAIL NEEDS A REGULAR BIKE RIDE EVENT

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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



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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

  

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


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

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




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


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


IMPORTANT STORY ON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES WITH HOMELESS

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

HUGHES IS IN NO RUSH TO CLOSE ROAD HOME

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





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

PRIORITIES FOR THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL AND SALT LAKE CITY


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


 ROGERS, WHARTON, MENDENHALL, FOWLER WIN

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



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

        AND STOP HOMELESS CAMPING

ACTUALLY HELP AFFORDABLE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

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




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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




NOVEMBER 1, 2017

BALLPARK MEETING THURSDAY SET FOR 630PM

THERE IS STILL TIME TO VOTE

MY CAMPAIGN SUMMARY


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



THERE IS STILL TIME TO VOTE

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


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

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



MY CAMPAIGN SUMMARY


 VOTE GEORGE CHAPMAN


SLC COUNCIL DISTRICT 5


www.georgechapman.net

WORKING TOGETHER, LET’S:


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


STOP NEW TAXES W/OUT PUBLIC VOTES

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


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


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

           STOP THE WAR ON CARS

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

   ENCOURAGE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

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

            STOP WASTING MONEY

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





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



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



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


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


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

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



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


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


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


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





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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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



 

OCTOBER 23, 2017

EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS

SLC 1300 EAST RECONSTRUCTION COULD LAST 6 MONTHS

RDA DISCUSSING AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS
SPRAGUE LIBRARY REOPENS WITHOUT DOWNSTAIRS


EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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


PROPOSED TACTICS INCLUDE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




OCTOBER 19, 2017

MEMORIAL TO GARY OTT
SLC SCARES COMMISSION INTO PUNTING


MEMORIAL TO GARY OTT

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

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

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




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

 

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




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




OCTOBER 17, 2017

UTA BONDING WILL ENCOURAGE PROJECTS

SLC TAX INCREASES COMING



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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

 



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



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

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


STOP TAX INCREASES WITHOUT PUBLIC VOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gechapman2@gmail.com


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


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


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


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






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



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

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

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

HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK MAY LAST A YEAR
VACCINATIONS STOPS DISEASE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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



OCTOBER 8, 2017     CAMPAIGN CARD (FOR THOSE INTERESTED)


GEORGE CHAPMAN


SLC COUNCIL DISTRICT 5   www.georgechapman.net


WORKING TOGETHER, LETS:



STOP SECRET SLC COUNCIL MEETING

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


STOP TAX INCREASES WITHOUT PUBLIC VOTES

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

PROVIDE ADEQUATE PUBLIC SAFETY

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

PROTECT ENVIRONMENT

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

STOP THE WAR ON CARS 

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

ENCOURAGE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

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


 STOP WASTING MONEY

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

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


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




USEFUL SALT LAKE CITY PHONE NUMBERS

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

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




OCTOBER 4, 2017

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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





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


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



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


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


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



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

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


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

 




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

 

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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




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

 



SEPTEMBER 8, 2017

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


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


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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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




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


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


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



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

 




 

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


999 RIDE (SLC) IS THE NEW CRUISING SLC

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

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

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

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

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

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







AUGUST 23, 2017
UTA MAY LOSE RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROJECTS

IN DEFENSE OF JULIE DOLE

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

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



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



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




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

DISTRICT 1
JAMES ROGERS     1322  78.27%
DAVID C ATKIN      209            

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

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

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



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



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



UTA BUS 500 STILL NOT USEFUL

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



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



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



ODYSSEY HOUSE/FIRST STEP MAY SIGNIFICANTLY EXPAND FACILITIES

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



INTERNATIONAL CENTER RAIL MAKES SENSE IF AMAZON PAYS

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


 



AUGUST 17, 2017

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

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

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



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

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



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



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

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



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


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


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


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


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





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

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

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

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


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


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



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

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


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


PLEASE TELL YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS WHAT YOU THINK!

​​




AUGUST 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


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

COUNCIL CONSIDERS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN TRANSIT PROJECTS &

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

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


STREETS REALLY REALLY NEED REPAIR OPED BY BENJAMIN SESSIONS

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

 




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

 

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

 
SLC NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUP SURVEY ONLINE IMPORTANT
  There is a SLC NEIGHBORHOOD CLEANUP SURVEY online that will influence the direction of the SLC neighborhood cleanup program.  It is important that you give your comments and recommendations to the City.  I would like to add a suggestion that the City start an allyway cleanup effort.  During the last Ballpark Community Council, a resident indicated that after several months of cleaning up his alleyway, he has been a