BLOG 2015 2016 TO OCTOBER 13, 2016

OCTOBER 13, 2016

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

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

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

Mountain Accord questions are multiplying and UTA had a presentation on the Mt Accord at the same time that Dave Robinson, the County Mayor candidate, was providing documentation that seemed to show that Ben McAdams is involved in a pay to play scheme.  The Mountain Accord, with Ben's lead, started as a plan to put rail up the canyon.  The new plan is to continue the original plan and become a Central Wasatch Commission with power to bond, levy fees and find money to realize the original dream of Ben McAdams to put a rail up the canyons.  The presentation at UTA is on the downloads page which includes the new budget outline for UTA.  It should be noted that UTA is still having money problems and will need to borrow more money to maintain their rail systems and buses and federal requirements next year.
In addition, the Mountain Accord Executive Board, led by Ben McAdams, that has spent almost $8 million, is a public entity according to the Utah State Auditor John Dougall (on the downloads page).  A lawsuit was filed last week calling into question the legality of the Board and testimony at the County Council this week questioned their open meetings that didn't allow for the public to enter and hear the discussions.  At the UTA presentation, Laynee Jones, the Director with the million dollar contract (on the downloads page), said that the Board was composed of volunteers and not a public entity.  The UTA General Counsel, Jayme Blakesley, also agreed.  When it was pointed out that the Auditor said it was a public entity subject to the Utah Open Meetings Act, Jayme responded that DA Gill said that the Mountain Accord is not subject to the Open Meetings Act and that the DA is an attorney and John Dougall, the Utah State Auditor is not!
Unfortunately for Jayme, the Utah Attorney General backs John Dougall.  If any group, board or entity is going to spend $8 million of taxpayer money, they should be having recorded and legal public meetings and not try to hide their agendas.  It is our money, not theirs and Ben McAdams and the Mountain Accord Board should be more respectful of the taxpayers.

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

OCTOBER 8, 2016

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

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

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

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

OCTOBER 4, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OCTOBER 1, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One person should not decide the site of homeless facilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SEPTEMBER 22, 2016





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

SEPTEMBER 14, 2016






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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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










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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

AUGUST 24     

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Oped in Deseret News:

Oped in Salt Lake Tribune:


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



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



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


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


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


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

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

Sugar House Community Council heard specific plans for the Fairmont Park dog park.  Kristen Riker, Director of SLC Parks heard feedback that the small dog portion should be smaller than the big dog portion to allow more room for big dogs to catch thrown balls and frisbees.   She said that she would work with Millcreek Fidos to consider a $15,000 water feature (with sewer connection) for the dog park.
The group also heard Craig Mecham discuss his 60 foot tower project on Highland (west of the Wilmington light).  Concerns about torturous traffic increases and lack of appropriate parking were significant.  He said that the sidewalk would be the same width as the previous sidewalk (wide).  But to use/provide a private drive between his project and Sugarmont Drive would require making a street connection between Elm (at McClelland) to Highland and a three way light at Wilmington. Traffic torture, nightmare or another reason to avoid Sugar House?  Your choice.
Uber also discussed their program in Salt Lake City.  Due to some drivers leaving after just a month, there are an average of about 2000 Uber drivers that can be active on a day.  Sunday is the worst day and can result in surge pricing due to the number of drivers that don't work on Sundays.  The drivers are paid every Monday.  Drivers keep 75% of their fees and cash tips are allowed (but seem to be discouraged.  The average drivers in the U.S. drive about 10 hours a week.  One airport ride to Jackson Hole Wyoming cost $500 (which the family actually enjoyed).  The minimum fare is $5.50 and .95/mile.  Between 10pm and 2am, there are an average of about 8000 rides!  This shows that SLC needs a better mass transit system that does not stop at 8 or 9 pm.

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Central City                              1st Wed
Greater Avenues    1st Wed
Rose Park                     1st Wed
Sugar House                1st Wed
Yalecrest                           1st Wed

Ball Park                             1st Thurs even months

Jordan Meadows              2nd Wed
Liberty Wells                        2nd Wed

East Central                                2nd Thurs Qtrly, exec bd 4th Sat

Capitol Hill                         3rd Wed 
Downtown           3rd Wed
East Bench                          3rd Wed
Glendale                          3rd Wed
westpointe                     3rd Wed

Poplar Grove     4th Wed
Wasatch Hollow          4th Wed

Bonneville Hills                  4th Thurs Jan, Apr, Jul Oct
East Liberty Pk         4th Thurs
Fairpark                       4th Thurs
Foothill/Sunnyside         4th Thurs Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct

Sunnyside East           qtrly
Trolley                    qtrly


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

JULY 24 
SLC Council gets schooled on impact fee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


July 14 Provo BRT at risk of stopping

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

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


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

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

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

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

George Chapman 8018677071

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

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

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

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

July 12
My questions for UTA after going through the Comprehensive Annual Report and Audit (on downloads page)

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 11
Downloads have Sugar House Parking Study 

July 13 Utah Legislature has several important hearing on UTA and projects
The Utah Legislature Interim Transportation Committee will meet at 8:30 AM on Wednesday in Rm 210 of the Senate Building to hear UTA and WFRC discuss their long range plans.  There will also be a discussion on the Mountain Accord.

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

Downloads has UTA Comprehensive Annual Report 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When will SLC parking become realistic?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No greater love than the sacrifice of a cop

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

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

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

George Chapman, Craig Carter

UTA dreams may turn into taxpayer nightmares

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

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

July 5
SLC Mayor meets with Sugar House Community Council

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

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

Downloads have Sugar House Parking Study 

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

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

June 30
Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall was reminded that during the discussion about turning over three homes to Westminster University on 1300 East, she insisted that the Council study institutional zoning issues since the City cannot tell Westminster how to do anything with those homes once they are in their institutional zone.  This is an important issue that needs a better discussion and solution.


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

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

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

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


The proposal to build the apartments is contentious in the neighborhood.  The project will only have 1.2 parking spots per unit and require $50 a month parking.  It will result in nearby residential neighborhoods absorbing the parking and traffic overflow.  The building is also not mixed use, just apartments which discourages walkability in the Sugar House area (8 ft sidewalks and 60 ft wall next to them also discourages walkability. 
This is another project in the super gentrification of Sugar House.  Unfortunately, the Sugar House Community Council refused to vote on supporting or against the proposal.  

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


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

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


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


The Salt Lake City Council decided, after 3 years of pushing from the former administration of Ralph Becker, to allow much higher density in Sugar House around the TRAX line that is called the Sugar House streetcar. The plan that was presented to the Council was almost the same as the one that the Becker administration was pushing.

The three main differences were REMOVING PARKING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE HIGHEST DENSITY FB-SE AND FB-UN (LOWEST DENSITY), plans to work with UDOT to take away two lanes of traffic on 700 East and turn them into bike lanes and parking, adding an 800 East streetcar station (which will result in pressure to rezone and redevelop even more single family homes around 800 East), and pushing Green Street south of 21st S. south to Wilmington (removing the dead end).

The Council decided to amend the proposal to remove language that pushed Green Street to Wilmington, remove language that turned two lanes of traffic to bike lanes and parking on 700 East, remove language that recommended preparing the tennis courts of Fairmont Park for development and lowering the maximum height to 60 feet in the streetcar FB-SC core (with the height raised to 75 feet if 10% of the residences are reserved for low income housing). The effect will be like the 60 ft Liberty Village apartments between McClelland and 1000 East and Elm. The rents in the area are becoming almost three times the 2010 average rent for apartments in the area.

The parking requirements were argued against by several at the May 24th City Council meeting but the Council ignored the pleas and passed the plan with the almost no parking requirements. Maryann Pickering, the planner shepherding the plan through, agreed that the new parking requirements were adopted and are now at FB-SC for all uses no spaces required, FB-SE for all uses 50% of required in table 21A.44.030 minimum requirements, and FB-UN for all uses no spaces required. If you think that parking and traffic is bad now, wait till developers implement the City Council's plan. Councilwoman Lisa Adams made the motion to accept the amended plan.


During a recent meeting of the Sugar House Community Council, several trustees complained about the destruction of the character of Sugar House. They asked “What happened to the village aspect of our plans?” A friend complained that Sugar House is destroyed. A couple of years ago, the Sugar House Community Council and Salt Lake City adopted a Circulation and Management Plan that was supposed to encourage the “village character” of Sugar House with buildings that were no bigger than three stories, encouraging small developments, more small streets on the ShopKo block and wider sidewalks. One result was the closing of the right hand turn lane from 2100 South to Highland Drive and the building of a pedestrian plaza.

Recent project proposals for the Sugar House area seem to drive the nails into the coffin that was Sugar House village. Boulder Ventures is proposing a ten story building half a block from single-family homes. Craig Mecham is proposing a high rise on Highland that will be offices. A proposal for 150 apartments on 2100 South at 1000 East is also being proposed. A project on 900 East with a couple of hundred apartments was recently turned down by the Planning Commission. These proposals join the high rise already constructed Vue at Highland and 2100 South and Liberty Village on McClelland. The result of all of these high rises will be making walking through the neighborhood like walking in canyons of concrete and steel. The views of the mountains and even sunlight will be hard to come by. I don’t think that we need any more Sugar House skyscrapers.

The rents on these new projects are almost three times the regular rents of apartments in the area ($600) although Liberty Village has a few low income set aside apartments. When rents increase that much with new construction, it hurts the shops and residents that create the character of an area. Some have pointed out that increasing rents in an area is a form of elder abuse. Salt Lake City Councilman Stan Penfold recently expressed concern that all this new construction may be driving out the local small businesses that we should be protecting. Ironically, Stan Penfold was chair of the SLC RDA that encouraged much of the new development in Sugar House.

The other problem with large scale development is the increase in traffic and lack of sufficient parking. Salt Lake City gave Craig Mecham millions to provide one level of public parking (at a $10 minimum cost) and when it was enforced, nearby parking lots started limiting parking to two hours. Even the Post Office on 1100 East implemented paid parking! Previously, shoppers to the area would park and be able to walk to the shops and restaurants and spend four or five hours enjoying Sugar House. That pollution saving action is no longer available in Sugar House. Even parking at the Sugar House Sprague library is limited to two hours. A library should be more welcoming and not limit meetings and reading to two hours. The librarians have to park underground almost a block away. When parking was removed for the Monument Plaza construction, it was not replaced and many businesses went under, especially the many art businesses and artists in the nearby buildings. Businesses nearby with their parking lots had to start enforcing their customer only policies due to the lack of parking in the area.

If the proposals for new construction become reality, Sugar House will have to spend the next 5 years under construction. Walkability and parking will get even worse. Nearby single-family home residents will have to endure the construction workers parking. Parking will get even worse on completion due to Salt Lake City’s questionable parking requirements. In 2013, Salt Lake City implemented a parking limitation ordinance that discouraged cars and required just one half parking space per unit. On street parking could also count for parking requirements. The Salt Lake City Council late last year doubled the requirement for parking but also indicated that it may need to increase further. Until reasonable parking standards for projects are implemented, new projects will create parking and traffic problems wherever they are built. Reasonable requirements should address maximum occupancy for the neighborhood when considering traffic and parking impacts.

Development in Sugar House has claimed many great neighborhood businesses. Last year, Fats Grill, a regular Best of City Weekly winner, closed and the building was demolished. Losing these kinds of businesses destroys the character of the neighborhood. But it is just the start of the process that could eventually destroy many single-family home areas in Sugar House. Salt Lake City just rezoned areas near the Sugar House rail line to 75 feet tall around 700 East. The plan is called the Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Master Plan. It generally limits construction to 45 feet but allows some buildings to go to 75 feet (if 10% of units are affordable). The goal is increased residential and commercial density. The plan is also claimed to protect adjacent single-family home neighborhoods. But the lack of appropriate parking standards will impact residential neighborhoods and the increased traffic will hurt residential character.

What happened to our Sugar House village character? It has become the super gentrification of Sugar House.

(a version of this was published in the Deseret News)


(Project failed at the Planning Commission)

The Sugar House Community Council heard the new draft plan to rezone the area south of Ramona and 900 E. to higher density which requires a change to the Master Plan.  Most people, all but a couple were against any increase in parking and traffic issues which will negatively impact the already overburdened streets of 900 East and 21st South and single-family home neighborhoods around the area.  The new draft plan removes the vehicle outlet onto Ramona but adds a vehicle outlet onto Windsor to 21st.  They plan on about 1.2 parking spaces per unit.  Please email the City Council with your opinion on the new draft.  Google Fiber also gave a handout and presentation on its plans for SLC which may take a year to implement.


(Project failed at the Planning Commission)

 A proposal to develop a higher density project on 900 E. at about 1940 S. that could result in 177+- units to replace an old and ugly area behind the single family homes in the neighborhoods was discussed at a well attended meeting on December 21 sponsored by the Sugar House Community Council.  Only one person in the audience approved of the project.  He had agreed to sell his property if the project was approved.

Cottonwood Partners is the developer who owns part of the property and has options on the rest.  It increases density 5 times and the single-family homeowners were concerned about increased parking and traffic problems and balconies overlooking adjacent homes. 

It requires a zoning change and a change to the Sugar House Master Plan.  The proposal is summarized on the Sugar House Community Council website (Google it) and  download below and Judi Short, the SHCC Chair of Planning and Zoning at will take your comments on the project.  The SHCC will discuss and vote on project on Jan. 6 ( first Wednesday meeting) 7PM at Sprague libary.






The East Bench Master Plan download is below.  You can comment on Open City Hall or to Council.  These proposals need feedback and very few have provided input to the Council.  Council Luke asked for more public engagement and Planning indicated that around the end of January, they would try to have an open house on the 21st and 21st.  The ADU proposal is several items below.  Note that the CB districts in the Jan12 download below includes Sugar House and 21st/21st.

My comments on agenda items (these are important and you should send your comments to the City Council and Mayor):

21ST/21ST: There is a strong preference FOR no higher density.  Only 2 in an attendance of hundreds were for change.
Protecting single-family home neighborhoods require ability to not increase traffic and parking problems and SLC does not have that ability.
I don't remember anyone suggesting that traffic lanes should be lost to bike lanes which is where this discussion seems to be going.
The difficulty in providing affordable housing was caused by SLC redevelopment in SH business district which tripled rents.

HOMELESS: Priorities should release a big building, single-story for homeless to sit in, drunk or not, inside to get them away from the drug dealers and killing elements and into a place where they can be counseled to consider a better situation than living on the sidewalks.

SELLING PROPERTY: Selling one property would give money for overtime for more police patrols.  We now have 130.  We used to have 180. Police want more overtime and it is the fastest way to put more cops on the street.

ADU: The ADU ordinance does not have enough public input.  The ordinance proposed is still too cumbersome to encourage ADUs that do not create parking or traffic issues.  For instance 1300 E. cannot handle more traffic or parking and should not be allowed to have ADUs.  But if the ordinance makes the cost to approve an ADU over $70,000, very few will take the plunge.  
Detached are averaging over $90,000 and attached ADUs are averaging $40,000 with these standards.

AIRPORT: Note that the airport terminal redevelopment does not take into consideration the TRAX realignment that RTP says will cost SLC taxpayers $55 million.  Unless SLC gets the Legislature to change the law to allow airport passenger fees to be used.  
The law now says that (a Delta deal) they can't be used for fixed guideway projects.  I would also appreciate anything that you can do to remove/change the $8/minute telephones in the terminals.
BETTER NEIGHBORHOOD BUS SERVICE AVAILABLE NOW:  The $5.6 million sequestered for the streetcar can now be used to negotiate with UTA for better SLC neighborhood bus service.


The Salt Lake County Council intends to put a ZAP tax reconfiguration issue on the ballot in November 2016. The voters will decide if the ZAP tax can be used to pay for other bonds to get more money over the long term by borrowing for bigger projects. The Council will formally approve this in the summer but they have already committed to it. If voters approve it, the bond will be for about $75 million, of which 2/3 if for new projects and 1/3 is for upgrades and improvements to existing facilities.
Project applications were due by December 1, 2015. A citizens’ committee will be reviewing them over the next few months and making recommendations to the Council. The Council will then decide on the projects and notify voters what they will get if they approve the bond.  Here is the Council’s webpage about the bond:


dog off leash packet page 92

Housing packet page 97

homeless packet page 99

ADU packet page 106

parking packet page 148 mentions SH parking authority

airport terminal packet page 169

housing report packet page 239

At the Council meeting, Councilman Luke asked for more public input on the 21st and 21st Plan and Nora/Planning said that they planned an open house around January 28.  The Airport Authority also said that UTA would pay for and build the airport TRAX reconfiguration!!!!  So the statements that UTA will devote themselves to service only and not projects is questionable.  UTA should not pay for TRAX reconfiguration at the airport since the need is created by the airport passenger fees being used for the Terminal reconstruction.  Utah law should change to allow and require that those fees pay for the reconfiguration.  SLCO taxpayers should not pay for this project!


Salt Lake City is in the process of changing their ADU ordinance that allows accessory dwelling units to be added to homes or basements or garages. The present ordinance was changed 2 years ago to encourage increasing density within 4 blocks of rail stations.  But no one took advantage of the new law.  So the map has been redrawn to allow most of the City and practically no one has commented on this.  All community councils should weigh in on the issue. at SLC Planning is drafting a new ordinance (download below) and citizens should review and comment on it.  ADUs were supposed to provide many more low rent housing units but a better and more respectful ordinance is needed.  Most of the concerns are our outdated and low parking requirements that could result in more parking and traffic problems.  There are solutions. There is also the problem of potentially increased noise but if the owners of the property live on the property, the problems should be minimal.  This is essentially an infill ordinance that should be important to everyone.  If the standards are too high, it will cost almost $100,000 to create an ADU (like now).  If the standards are too low or not respectful, adjacent homeowners may find that a new garage conversion overlooks their backyard and destroys their privacy.  PLEASE READ AND COMMENT.  Michael expects to have the new draft go to the Planning Commission in February.

The Nov 10 RDA meeting winnowed the project areas to two: the 9th and 9th W. and a State St. Ballpark Hybrid with a modified map (below).  A decision may be made in December.  You should be involved and provide comments and opinions to SLC Council on this issue.  There is also talk of accepting both areas for RDA expansion areas.  The benefit is the seed money from RDA will encourage development  in the areas.


The SLC RDA has decided on the final 2 proposed expansion areas for Commercial Development Area (CDA) that will be the focus of redevelopment for the next 10 plus years in Salt Lake City.  The 9th and 9th West area and the State Street area from 21st S. north to 600 S. and from approximately 200 W to 200 E. and including part of Ballpark area.  Only a few have commented to the RDA on this expansion and it needs more input.  Please consider giving your City Councilmember your opinion.  In my mind, this is a great way to restore the State Street area to a great mixed use commercial, walkable and living area.  Density will significantly increase and form based zoning would work well on State Street.


SHCC will discuss this issue at Dec 2, Sprague Library 7pm meeting.

On Nov. 16, there was a large crowd that heard the developer's plans to build a 10 story building where the old Granite warehouses are in Sugar House.  Most were upset and concerned about the parking and traffic that it would cause.  The has a good story on it by Christopher Smart.  Planning sent a list of concerns to the developer and hopefully it will stop or stall the project.  Lisa Adams felt that it would move slowly and that the impact fee issue will be solved before they get permission to build.   The McClelland Trail would be put around the building instead of the 20+ feet wide path through the center as a paseo.  The Sugarmont path trail should be and can be protected and it can stop the south exit.  The SH circulation plan adopted does not allow/have another street connecting to Wilmington.  It was supposed to be Sugarmont.  The construction will destroy the car detailing company due to dust.  Construction parking is a requirement in planning and should be enforced.  Highland was supposed to have a road diet (I was against center turn lane) and the resulting two lane road cannot handle the new 1000+ cars a day. The south side needs to have enough space to allow fire ladder trucks to deploy without blocking trail.  I hope that this project dies.

Note that the Raccoon report is 65MB and the future agenda report is 49 MB.  You can download those reports from the council website if interested.  I will try to separate out the important issues for separate download.


SLC Council assisted living facilities public comment lasts hours
  During Tuesday, November 17, Salt Lake City Council formal meeting, one of the items on the public hearing agenda was the new proposed Assisted Living Centers that was partly written to decrease the potential for expanding any facility. The problem became an issue when the Inn Between, a hospice for dying homeless, moved into the Guadalupe School building with 15 beds. 
  Some of the neighbors became upset at the effect on adjacent single-family homes. In particular, the cigarette smoke from Inn Between residents and visitors became problematic. Despite the need for compassionate end of life care of the homeless, until the Inn Between, there was no facility that gave the homeless a chance to die with some dignity instead of on the sidewalk or under a car (to get out of the rain or snow). The facility took years to become reality despite a desperate need.
  During discussion in the neighborhood earlier this year (at the Pioneer Precinct in Poplar Grove), many nearby residents expressed concern about the homeless in their neighborhood on their way to visit friends in the facility. The director promised to work with the neighbors.
  But during the City Council hearing, several of the residents, who are dying, expressed gratitude for being able to sleep in a bed for the last days of their life. The staff repeatedly told about those who already died in the facility instead of on the street. There were so many there that supported the Inn Between that the hearing took almost two hours.   The residents who spoke, who were terminally ill, created a compelling public hearing.  Listening to one who said that he had planned on dying under a car before the Inn Between took him in was powerful.  Other compelling testimony came from the director spending the last minutes of a person’s life trying to comfort him and the many failed attempts of social workers trying to place dying homeless in a bed over the last few years
  Just a few neighbors and the Ronald McDonald House (which just completed an expansion) expressed concern about the limits on expanding. Councilman Kyle LaMalfa (the Inn Between is in his district) summarized the issues before the Council. The proposed Assisted Living ordinance change would not stop or close the Inn Between. It would make it more difficult to expand. 
  He also explained that the problem is caused by the many pieces of property that are zoned institutional in Salt Lake City. They are schools or churches or religious institutions that don’t have the normal zoning rules. He also indicated, during previous discussions on the issue, that the residents, if in the middle of a single-family home area, find it difficult to find public transportation to stores and other facilities so that the residents don’t feel like prisoners. Future changes may encourage placing such facilities nearer to stores and mass transportation.


The December 1 SLC Council meeting will have a public hearing on the so called Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan.  I am against the Plan because I believe that it ignores pedestrians (note that the old plan said Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan which was more accurate), it increase air pollution and congestion and it actually makes bicycling less safe.  I also think that it makes more sense to wait out of respect for the new City Council and Mayor.  A more in depth analysis is on the OPINIONS PAGE (CLICK ABOVE).





This week will have some of the most important meetings of the year.  The final vote results and certification of the ballots and count will occur at the Salt Lake City Council meeting as the Board of Canvassers at 2PM in the Council work session room on the third floor of the City Hall at 4th S. and State.  The results of the County issues, including the important up in the air Prop One and the pretty much decided townships votes, will be at the SL County Council meeting starting at 4 PM at the County North Bldg at 21st and State (actually closer to 20th and State).
Back to the SLC Council issues that they are going to have public hearings on: (after the Board of Canvassers meet at 2)

the Planning Director's report on Yalecrest (with interesting plan overview of buildings, structures) which is worth a read if you are interested in planning, 

the special lighting districts which could increase the special area lights (those lightposts in some areas) cost to local area residents (even if you don't have one nearby) by 33-100+% due to an upgrade on part of the system that went terribly over budget.  There is a tentative public hearing on December 1,

a discussion on the 68 unit apartments that are being built at 444 S. 900 E will include authorizing a $750,000 loan.  54 units will be set aside as affordable housing,

a discussion on the seven story 274 unit apartment project at 616 S State which will be all affordable housing,

a discussion on rezoning Indiana Avenue Neighborhood Node to residential mixed use,

at a tentative 4:15PM, they will discuss the bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan with a public hearing tentatively set for Dec 1.  Note that I disagree with the plan since it seems to ignore the pedestrian part of complete streets and does not increase sidewalk width.  I also think that green bikes, slower than 5mph, should be allowed on downtown sidewalks.  Tourists use these and should not be forced to ride in streets.  Barriers on sidewalks like planters interfere with this.  Just a couple of pages in this plan are discussing pedestrian issues and that is wrong.  Also the bicycle portion does not identify dangerous bicycle streets nor suggest areas where cycle tracks would be appropriate and not just nice.  Bicycle lanes and trails should be identified and suggested for appropriate improvement.  ADT of vehicles should be listed and LOS (level of service) intersections to ensure that air pollution is not increased by the suggested VMT vehicle miles traveled plan.  Adding a bicycle lane on a road with traffic approaching 20,000 ADT is not recommended since it will increase congestion and air pollution, as it did on 1300 S.  That should be part of this plan,

a discussion on City rental single family and apartment inspections,

a discussion on the Plan Salt Lake City with an additional public hearing tonight.

The Formal meeting of the SLC Council will include public hearings on:

 GRANT APPLICATIONS (including Ensign Peak trail reconstruction),



ASSISTED LIVING AND SIMILAR FACILITIES (Note that this is important and affects every neighborhood. Sugar House area has a proposal for a similar facility.  I am against facilities that are in areas that effectively make prisoners of the residents.  If there are no grocery stores and restaurants and mass transit or some way of allowing easy access to food and products outside of the facility, then the residents are effectively prisoners.  This ordinance says nothing about that.  In other words, the facility should not be in the middle of single-family homes.),


BUDGET AMENDMENT (that ignores the $5+ million sequestered for the SH streetcar extension which should be used to negotiate with UTA for better late night service.),

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM (another important issue that deserves more input, I would like to see requiring contributions older than one year given to charity and that bans any entity with more than $100,000 in contracts with the City from contributing anything to any PAC or candidate. ),

Towards the end of the Formal meeting, the Board of Canvassers/City Council will certify the election results that will make everything official.  Note that the results will be reported at the beginning of the 2PM work session.

Downloads of some of the issues are ON THE FIRST HOME/DOWNLOADS PAGE.


I watched Mayor Becker fight the citizens and the Council for the last 7 years when we asked for more police patrols.  We had 180 patrols 10 years ago.  Now we have around 130.

I watched Mayor Becker order the Council to close golf courses or he would (Par 3 was closed without a public hearing).  The golf issue came up because the Mayor charges parks three times more for water than other surrounding municipalities.

For seven years, Mayor Becker has ignored the drug dealing and homeless issue downtown (and now on North Temple) until the competition of the election.

In an attempt to tear down someone who he disagreed with, he called me a liar for passing out a flyer that I changed at his request to exactly what he wanted.  He sent out a “political letter” calling me a liar to people up to a mile away. The flyer recommended more public engagement regarding the Sugar House TRAX/streetcar while expressing my opinion against the TRAX extension.

Several years ago, an old homeless man was run down on fourth south on Thanksgiving Eve while carrying all of his belongings in a shopping cart.  When I suggested that he consider a storage system to encourage homeless to store their belongings, he told me to talk to someone else.

The lack of respect that the administration of Ralph Becker has shown is hurting Salt Lake City.  Jackie Biskupski is respected by everyone that she works with, including Sheriff Winder.  Jackie listens and respects everyone and will be a better and more respectful Mayor. 


For those that would like more information on meetings, Utah has set up a wonderful tool at that requires all governments in Utah to post meetings and agendas.  You can get advance notice and emails regarding any Council that you want to know about.  It is an important tool and I urge you to sign up for the email notification that the website allows.  Note that you have to sign up and confirm with an acknowledgement on your email.




We protested the SLC/UTA effort and secret application to get Federal funding for the Sugar House streetcar extension that would have cost $15 million to go to the 21st S. and Highland Plaza.  The plan was to take it 2 blocks out of the direct line then back to the Plaza.  The project would have destroyed many of the small businesses (we felt) that make the area a special area.  So far the new developments have led to a lot of franchises but very few local businesses. 

The streetcar extension application, along with the UTA $55+ million bus garage project would have siphoned funding from service.  In addition, despite requiring broad public support, the administration and UTA worked together to keep the application secret.  This was an insult to the citizens of SLC and Salt Lake County. 

The City Council sequestered over $5 million to match the hoped for Federal funding.  The Salt Lake City Council should put the money into service by negotiating with UTA.  Bus service in the area, and in most of the UTA service area, stops at 830 PM.  The money would be perfect for helping restore a robust bus system.  But the City Council won’t unless you speak up and demand it.  $5 million would provide a year’s worth of later night service for 10+ bus routes that now stop at 830 PM.  Call the SLC Council at 801 535 7600, the 24 hour line.



Michael Clara deserves a big thank you for insisting that the SLC Police figure a way to NOT ticket parents at the Road Home homeless shelter that wanted to wait on the sidewalk for their children’s school bus.  He worked with Sgt. Cyr but the threat should never have happened.  The idea that the SLC Police should be ordered to ticket anyone on a sidewalk is ridiculous but it is happening in SLC.  The fault lies with Mayor Ralph Becker who ordered the questionable crackdown that caught up the homeless in the appropriate war on drug dealing.  Of course, now the drugs have moved to other areas including North Temple. 

Another note, if you see a groady and disturbingly dirty shopping cart at your local grocery store, it comes courtesy of the confiscation of those shopping carts by the SLC Police in their crackdown on quality of life issues.  I personally think that you should avoid questionable shopping carts when shopping.

I still find it incredible that the SLC Council and Mayor are ignoring the ability to expand the homeless shelter area and get the homeless off the sidewalk by opening the Beehive Brick building that is just south of the Road Home/Weigand Center.  Trying to develop a nice new building when there are hundreds of homeless trying to find some peace on the sidewalks in the area seems to be a wasted exercise.  RDA owns the building and should turn it into a homeless day center.  The list of RDA owned property is on the download page.



The Sugar House Community Council Planning and Zoning subcommittee will discuss the new Granite warehouse area 10  story building that is between Sugarmont and McClelland at the Sprague Library (just south of Barnes and Noble at 21st and Highland) basement on November 16, Monday, at 7 PM.  I believe that it is a bad idea since it increases density that could require a parking meter installation in the area, it is a couple of lots from single family homes, it destroys the area’s park with a high rise, it eliminates the promised center promenade and McClelland Trail and it is not what the community expected or wants.  I urge you to look at the downloads and comment to the SHCC. 

Unfortunately, without much public notice, the downtown streetcar was essentially approved in the Enterprise SLC plan.

There is a problem with handicapped traversing parts of South Temple and any rail line (like TRAX) especially downtown.  I put an oped that explained it on the opinion page.  SLC says that UTA is responsible and I contend that we should work together to solve the issue.  People in wheelchairs and walkers regularly fall on the TRAX tracks.

Please study the ADU and Parking downloads.  These are important issues that deserve more attention.  The studies and proposals are on the downloads page.

I recently had a story on KSL about the inventor John Moses Browning.  Just Google me and KSL and you will get the story.  He changed the world even more than Philo T. Farnsworth, I believe.  I also did a story on Evans and Sutherland (Google KSL ) that showed that the company was 50 years ahead of its time.  Both good and interesting reads that I did with Natalie Crofts at KSL.



Unfortunately, the Salt Lake City Council will be hearing some important issues during their meeting Tuesday. The issues include the Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Plan (3.6 MB download button on right below important phone numbers), the discussion on homeless (2.9 MB on right), brewpubs (2.8 MB on right), impact fees 1.1 MB on right), the South Davis Transit Study LPA 11.1 MB download), and the SLC Westside rezones (pg 34-459 of the 142 MB complete packet download that I decided would not help many on my website since it is about half of a 142 MB download).

The biggest issue that I have with the City Council agenda is that there is an agenda item to adopt the South Davis Locally Preferred Alternative route for a BRT/enhanced bus system that could cost over $50 million BEFORE THE MASTER TRANSIT PLAN.  

But the last paragraph does say that the capital cost will come from the one cent transportation tax for public transportation.  Mayor Ralph Becker has said several times (on Rod Decker's Take Two - Google YouTube, Rod Decker Take Two and Mayoral debate) that the tax will be for service only.  That didn't make sense and he is either lying or doesn't know what they are talking about.  The last paragraph SEEMS TO BE CALLING THE MAYOR OF SALT LAKE CITY A LIAR. 

Instead of using the $50 million for better service, UTA and Salt Lake City seem to be pushing projects instead of service as usual.  The downtown streetcar is also mentioned.  Each streetcar/TRAX project will cost local taxpayers $50 million and that money could be better used for better service.  In addition, the BRT concept is meant to provide a cheaper impetus to develop property near stations (instead of rail which is three times more expensive).  The single family homes along 400 West will be impacted with potential rezones and tax increases, and the Capitol Hill neighborhood will be inundated even more with traffic trying to avoid the roads that include a bus lane.  If not planned right, congestion will significantly increase.  This is another reason to fight the proposed tax increase.

James Rogers, the sponsor of this agenda item should be commended for calling into question Ralph Becker's truthfulness.  This agenda item should be postponed until after the transit master plan that was agreed to almost a year ago (unless that was a way of forestalling public complaints about projects).  Only three people commented on this project so far and that should not result in spending $50 million dollars!

There will be a discussion of opening up more parts of the City to brewpubs with the proposal download on the right.  The work session will discuss it.

There will be an extensive discussion of the Rio Grande area crime and homeless issues.  The crime reports are interesting reading - again download almost 3 MB on the right.

At the work session, the much argued Sugar House Streetcar Corridor Rezone Proposal is to be discussed.  It significantly mitigates high rise encroachment on adjacent single family home areas but does not eliminate it.  I strongly recommend that area residents read through it and study the maps to ensure that their homes are not impacted.  Lisa Adams and the Council have been successfully fighting Mayor Becker's efforts to rezone single-family home areas to 105 ft tall buildings and to rezone open space to buildings.  Two years after the Mayor's first attempt, this proposal seems to be a better plan but please study and comment on it.

The Council work session will also include a continuing discussion on impact fees (download again on the right).

These areas are in general, part of the new Westside Master Plan but if you are interested in it, you should download the agenda item (which I couldn't comfortably separate since I didn't think anyone would read 400 pages of this rezone - note that this item takes up to half of the full agenda of the formal meeting from page 34 (renaming the Oxbow) to over page 400).


September 23 SLC Planning Commission had a bit of a crisis when the Commission started throwing out motions and substitute motions.  The City had to consult with higher authority, a bigger and better attorney, to decide how to proceed.  The end result was that the ADU discussion is stopped at the Planning Commission and the decision will be made later on whether to pass it to the City Council. 

For those interested in the potential for State Street to be an RDA expansion area, I put a button to download the Envision Utah study from a few years ago on the HOME PAGE.

The Council discussed ground transportation (on the right) and it was indicated that Salt Lake City's laws have to be rewritten to match Utah's new law. Also there was a discussion on the lack of ADA compliant vehicles and no study or questionnaire that could provide the exact number. 
There was also a discussion on the Transit Master Plan and the South Davis Corridor study that gave a locally preferred alternative route for a Bus Rapid Transit or similar type mass transit system. A fixed guideway system was discussed and the Council will have a public hearing on October 6 on the LPA route to go from HWY 89 to 400 West to downtown SLC. Most BRT or rapid transit buses are recommended to go on routes with the most developable property. But 300 West is the most developable street, not 400 West which has many single-family homes. Please let your City Council member know what you think. The report can be downloaded on the right.
The City Council also discussed Impact Fees (the report can be downloaded on the right.).

SLC PD has said that they will return to a beat system that allows police officers to patrol one area and neighborhood and become familiar with it.  Area residenrs will also get to know their lical patrol officer. This return to community policing should provide for more visible police in neighborhoods and a reduction in crime.  Most of the credit should go to the City Council who successfully fought against the administration's claim that we don't need more police.

A recent report on Salt Lake City Housing by Pam Perlich and Prof James Woods (downloads on the right) discussed the problems in Salt Lake City housing. It also strongly recommended distributed mixed income housing so that low income doesn't fill up a building.

SLCO has an interlocal agreement that sets up a USDA certified animal removal specialist (at $80,000 a year). The cost is to be shared by Midvale, Cottonwood Heights, Holladay, Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County. SLCO Animal Control Director Mike Reberg is creating city specific interlocal agreements and when they are complete, and signed, the new raccoon removal officer will start work. Salt Lake City's portion of the cost will be about $35,000. Raccoons infest a houses in Sugar House, Avenues, Liberty Wells and most community councils have this issue.

Mayor Becker's attempt to close Wingpointe failed its first hurdle. The SLC Planning Commission is forwarding a negative recommendation to the City Council. Please call or email the Council with your opinion. The only green space coming into SLC is the golf course and preservation of open space is supposed to be a priority. The SLC administration has been trying to put buildings on open space for several years. The Mayor's proposal will put a parking lot where the golf course is. (Joni Mitchell once sang about this stuff.) Senator Mike Lee offered to intercede with the FAA (who the Mayor blames for the closure) but the SLC administration said that they wanted to close it. One of the reasons for the cost overruns of golf courses in Salt Lake City is water costs are three times higher than in other Utah cities and counties. Salt Lake City doesn't seem to appreciate green space. Add that to the fact that Ralph Becker cut hundreds of old trees in Miller Park because they were brought here by the Pioneers, should stop anyone from saying that Ralph Becker is environmentally friendly. Please let your City Councilmember know what you think.

SLC is looking at adding another area to RDA and the top areas are State Street, Ballpark and 9th and 9th. No one is commenting on this important issue which will lead to potentially hundreds of millions in building for the area chosen. Please tell the Council what you think.
The 25 MB SLC Police report on the RDA expansion areas is on the right along with the process report.

Salt Lake City RDA expansion possible for State Street, Ballpark or 900S/900W
  During a discussion on RDA new project areas, the Salt Lake City Council, sitting as the RDA Board, trimmed their list of possible expansion areas to three: State Street, Ballpark and 900S/900W. The Council discussed the potential for housing, the concern about gentrification, crime issues in the area, the potential developable area, mass transit access and the benefit to the City. The RDA is able to use various loan and tax incentives to encourage development that meets predefined priorities in the area.
  One of the best examples of the success of RDA planning and development is the Sugar House area which has had several large scale mixed use projects. Although some have said that the projects were the result of the Sugar House streetcar, I can make a good argument that RDA should get the biggest credit. RDA, if properly administered, can be a big benefit to an area. The downside is the increase in density can create significant parking and traffic problems and rents can significantly rise and lead to unreasonable gentrification.
  SLC Police Chief Mike Brown reported on crime reports and the cause in each of the areas. In the Ballpark neighborhood, Wal-Mart at 1300 South and 300 West required 3892 hours of SLC Police time. Chief Brown said “This is equivalent to an entire year of work by two full-time Officers.” 70% of the reports were for retail theft. Wal-Mart’s 1,064 retail theft cases compare to Target’s 40 in 2014. The cause could be that at Target, employees offer to help most customers while at Wal-Mart the store employees aren’t as aggressive at going up to customers to offer help. Wal-Mart has many more customers. The homeless in the area also seem to be part of the issue. Arresting homeless for shoplifting seems to be a lost cause because they don’t seem to care if they are taken to jail. They are almost immediately released (if they are even taken to jail).
  That is an important reason to work on solving the homeless problem in Salt Lake City. Health Care expansion to treat mental health and drug and alcohol issues, many more social workers, and more visible police in walking patrols would go a long way to significantly decreasing the drain on local businesses, development and law enforcement. Salt Lake also needs a much better low cost housing plan that distributes low income housing in new developments and doesn’t concentrate it in one building.
  Another area of concern was the 1300 S. State Street corner that has significantly increased in crime issues in the last two years. UTA recently removed their bus stop on the southwest corner despite increased police bike and vice concentration. Chief Brown said that during a recent walkabout in the area, he noticed that some businesses may be enabling these problems.
  I have been encouraging the Salt Lake City Council to consider adding State Street to the RDA project areas due to the potential to benefit from form based zoning, wider sidewalks, a robust bus system and the high potential for higher density housing. Ballpark also should be part of the expansion due to the potential that the 1300 South TRAX station area has.
  These new proposed areas for expansion of RDA are important issues that every citizen in Salt Lake City should be concerned about. Everyone should consider contacting their Councilmember and letting them know their opinions on these issues.


The Salt Lake City Council met today and heard several hours worth of recommendations on the subject of economic development. Associate Dean for the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah gave a summary of her recent study. You can download the reports on the right.

Some of the points in the discussion were:
The homeless issues downtown now affects economic development.
Salt Lake City needs more coordination with the University of Utah.
Salt Lake City has a low cost of living and the State's flat tax rate, one of the lowest in the Country, has brought several big financial firms to this City including Goldman Sachs. (Note that other reasons for Goldman Sachs coming to Salt Lake City included Utah's Economic Development tax credit and not having to pay the high wages of high cost cities. The work ethic of Utah residents also has impressed companies relocating offices here. In other words, Mayor Becker should not be taking credit for Goldman Sachs, it was due more to the efforts of the Governor's economic development team and the low tax rates.)
Salt Lake City has suggested that they support annexations to increase the population and promote visitor economy (but they don't support the local host housing efforts that provides rooms during big conventions and obviate the need for an expensive convention hotel that would only be used one or two weeks of the year.)
SLC should increase effectiveness of the permitting process with an ombudsman or someone who can shepherd new plans through the somewhat complicated process of SLC planning and zoning requirements.
Economic development has a high turnover.
It was pointed out by Lisa Adams that much of the Sugar House development has occurred due to the efforts of the SLC RDA. The administration contends that the S-Line is responsible (but I disagree). The development of the area will eventually have another 1,000 living units. The area's residents will not appreciate the increase in density. I have helped fight the attempt by this administration to put up 105 foot tall buildings on single-family zoned blocks. With the lack of reasonable and responsible parking regulations, adjacent businesses and residents will be negatively impacted in manner like the attempt by Brew Ha Ha a few years ago and the 9th and 9th development that is in court now. If rail really did lead to development, 21st South and 300 West would have exploded in development; the 9th South TRAX station area would have high rises and the 400 South corridor would have developed a decade ago.

The SLC RDA and Economic Development Department should increase coordination to maximize the synergy of the two groups.

The west side commercial nodes are a bright spot but SLC (in my opinion) ignores the streets in the area that are effectively carrying truck traffic on 50 year old single lane streets. An increase in infrastructure spending to assist in development would be very productive.

Parking and impact fees hurt development (in my opinion). When developers try to build to serve potential customers who drive, there is an effort by the City to discourage parking. When landowners want to build a parking lot until the financial landscape is ready for a large building, the City won't allow it. It increases the cost of parking and discourages downtown customers. Why come to Salt Lake City when parking is essentially free in Draper? This is another facet of Salt Lake City's war on cars that is inspired by "The High Cost of Free Parking".

There was a discussion on why Adobe located in Lehi. The company that Adobe bought found that the vast majority of employees lived around the company so it almost required staying in the area. I should also note that many of the employees had Novell backgrounds and that was a Utah County company.

Another discussion took place regarding the Special Lighting Assessment Districts. Some of the areas are in the black but some like Federal Heights is deep in the red due to a big upgrade project. The options are to fold the Special Lighting Districts into the rest of the lighting fees and add a surcharge, of charge much more to all or some of the districts. One suggestion was to increase the charge to residents by 33%. To find more information, Google and 082515A5.

Another discussion took place on CIP (Capital Improvement Program) and some of the suggested priorities included trails.

The Council then took a tour of the Pioneer Park area in the Jingle Bus hosted by Jason Mathis and Downtown Alliance.

For the last few years, Salt Lake residents' taxes and fees have significantly increased.  Congestion and air pollution have also increased significantly.  Single-family home neighborhoods have been threatened with rezoning and increased crime.  Salt Lake City needs a new Mayor.  Salt Lake City deserves a Mayor who wants to work for the citizens of Salt Lake City and no one else and who is 100% committed to Salt Lake City.

I have seen the plans that double taxes for the residents and businesses of Salt Lake City in the next four years.  They include 3 new rail lines downtown. Two lines are Becker streetcars (TRAX cars painted with white lipstick).  The other line is an extension of the University line to Central Station.  Each will cost about $100 million each.  Local taxpayer obligation of the projects will be about 40%.  Mayor Becker is supporting UTA's efforts to build an apartment building complex downtown and a $55 million bus garage next to it.  He is supporting UTA’s efforts to build hundreds of millions of special bus lanes that require removing traffic lanes and increasing congestion and air pollution.  The voters of Salt Lake City will not be given a chance to vote on the bonds and tax increases that these projects will require. 

Mayor Becker also obligated the taxpayers with the theater bond (without voter approval).  He has significantly increased fees.  One group of residents are going to have a fee increase of 33% this year alone.

Ralph Becker’s efforts to calm traffic by removing traffic lanes, refusing to modify traffic lights to decrease idling and vehicle backup, have increased congestion and air pollution.  He has cut down hundreds of old growth trees after he was warned that those trees significantly decrease air pollution.

Increasing congestion on major streets has resulted in traffic diverting into formerly quiet residential neighborhoods.  Capitol Hill and the Avenues and Foothill neighborhoods have been particularly negatively impacted.  Ralph Becker’s ordinance to reduce parking requirements in new developments also reduce the quiet and character of single-family home neighborhoods.  He has allowed on street parking and bike racks to reduce parking requirements.

Ralph Becker is attempting to rezone open space to allow certain types of buildings, amphitheaters and water and sewer systems without vigorous public hearings.  The proposal is partially due to arguments against putting in a pump station in a residential neighborhood and fights against rezoning parts of Fairmont Park in Sugar House.  He is also attempting to rezone single-family home neighborhoods to allow 105 foot tall high density housing.

Ralph Becker has ignored the drug dealing downtown and refused to budget for sufficient police to deter crime.  Salt Lake City has a heroin epidemic and yet the present Mayor says that “police crime fighting in neighborhoods have not been minimized”.  It has resulted in many citizens losing trust in the police to the point of not calling when crime happens.  He has refused to allow a police youth sports league that could help communities begin to know and trust police.

 The mayor of Salt Lake City should want to work for no one else but the citizens of Salt Lake City.  The mayor should want to be Mayor and not be president of anything else.  Salt Lake City deserves a Mayor that is 100% committed to Salt Lake City.  Isn’t that the kind of mayor that Salt Lake City deserves? That is why I am running for Mayor of Salt Lake City. 

I have been fighting for years to stop the closing of golf courses (ordered by Mayor Becker "If you don't close them I will." is what he said to the City Council).  The Jordan River Par 3 was closed without a public hearing!  What is especially upsetting is that closing the golf courses will cost SLC more than if they kept them open!

I also want to work with schools to provide more supervised after school events that are organized by the SLC Police department.  This will require more officers but, again, Ralph Becker has refused to hire more police.

For more positions on Salt Lake issues, Google George Chapman and and  I have many opeds and my views that summarize the fights and issues that concern Salt Lake citizens.  You will also find many stories that show my fights against the questionable plans of Ralph Becker.

I am a veteran but I am not a politician.  I want to work for the citizens of Salt Lake City and I don't want the citizens to work for me.  I want to go to the neighborhoods, the community councils and the people instead having them have to go to CIty Hall.  I want to be your Mayor rather than have you be my citizens.

I grew up overseas while my father worked for the United Nations on infrastructure development projects in underdeveloped countries.  My family returned to Utah (both my mother and my father were born in Utah) while I was in second grade.  I graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in chemistry and a commission as a Naval Officer.  After the U.S. Navy, I worked for a nuclear company and a defense contractor.  I eventually concentrated on RF/radio frequency/cell phone engineering and I spent the rest of my engineering career in that field.  I retired a couple of years ago to Utah.  I love the mountains that I used to hike and bike.

I was an avid bicyclist.  I used to ride 10 miles a day (including to my ship).  I especially loved the bicycle rides up Millcreek Canyon.  I analyze the bicycle infrastructure everyday in Salt Lake City from the perspective of a former bicyclist (I don’t like cycle tracks).

I spent most of my career in San Diego where I was a botanical research fellow at the San Diego Zoo and on the Executive Board of our community council (over 100 attendance every month).  I was also on several San Diego School District boards.  As president of a San Diego business association (in Sorrento Valley) we planned rail and bus stations and economic developments and encouraged technology companies to come to the area (next to UCSD).  I was also on the San Diego Solid Waste Management Board (after fighting against and stopping a burn plant), and on the San Diego Trolley Site Review Board for the Green Line.  I was put on the third line board after unsuccessfully fighting against the second Trolley line that went through primarily residential areas.  The fights that we fought in the 80s against tax increases and rezones and gentrification in San Diego from rail are exactly the same as the fights that we are having now in Sugar House.  Mayor Becker is attempting to put 105 foot tall high density towers on single-family home lots next to the streetcar/TRAXcar line.  Only the City Council has stopped him (so far).

I have always been interested in reducing air pollution and non-homogenous burn plants like Stericycle (SLC is its second biggest customer!) and the Layton burn plant.  I also want the refineries to stop flaring gas and capture and reuse the gas.  I also want to not allow any traffic projects unless there has been an analysis of the effect on congestion and air quality.  SLC has not been doing that and it has resulted in traffic calming that has increased air pollution.  Everyday I see poor traffic engineering that results in more air pollution.

​I have five children and five grandchildren.  Unfortunately they have spread out to the four winds, in states surrounding Utah (Utah is in the middle).  I regularly walk four plus miles a day and enjoy walking the sidewalk trails of Salt Lake City.  My hobbies include reading, walking and attending community and government meetings.  I get  the news that never reaches the papers that way.  I also enjoy encouraging people to get more involved in government. 

About george chapman

George Chapman, P O Box 520653, Salt Lake City, Utah 84152,  ​Telephone: 801 867 7071​,