SUGAR HOUSE COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETING ON HOMELESS SITES JANUARY 4, 2017

THIS IS WHAT PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IS AND

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION CAN CHANGE QUESTIONABLE DECISIONS!

Homeless ID card with questionable picture

SALT LAKE CITY COUNCIL E-MAILS:
james.rogers@slcgov.com,
derek.kitchen@slcgov.com,
charlie.luke@slcgov.com,
amy.fowler@slcgov.com,
erin.mendenhall@slcgov.com,
andrew.johnston@slcgov.com,

chris.wharton@slcgov.com

SALT LAKE CITY MAYOR'S OFFICE/STAFF E-MAILS:
david.litvack@slcgov.com
patrick.leary@slcgov.com
jackie.biskupski@slcgov.com

council comment line is 801 535 7654 and the

email is council.comments@slcgov.com.


UTA Board: boardoftrustees@rideuta.com


SALT LAKE COUNTY

mayor@slco.org, jwilson@slco.org

rsnelgrove@slco.org

jbradley@slco.org

arbradshaw@slco.org

mhjensen@slco.org

anewton@slco.org

sgranato@slco.org

sldebry@slco.org

mburdick@slco.org

USEFUL SALT LAKE CITY PHONE NUMBERS

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


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

OPATION  RIO GRANDE COMMAND POST TIP LINE 385 266 6938

SUPERGENTRIFICATION OF SUGAR HOUSE

CRIME MEETING SEPTEMBER 12

SHARPS BOXES FOR NEEDLE DISPOSAL

INAUGURATION DAY JAMES ROGERS SELFIE

DEVELOPER PROPOSAL FOR 21ST AND 21ST

AUGUST 15 OPERATION RIO GRANDE FORUM​​

Think again Ben

​When we work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.


Sugar House Shopko Plann

This is the way we treat homeless in SLC??


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

Ball Park                      ballparkcc@gmail.com                 1st Thurs 

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIBERTY WELLS HOMELESS MEETING DEC 14

CONTACTS SLC, SLCO, UTA

ID THAT WILL BE USED FOR SERVICES

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



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

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


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

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

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

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

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




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



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

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

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

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

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

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






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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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


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


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


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


UTA STATE CAPITOL ELECTRIC BUS SCHEDULE MAKES UTA LOOK CLUELESS

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


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


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


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


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


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


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



JANUARY 12, 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Back in the early 1800s, Baltimore allowed material to be deposited next to a wharf during a construction project. The dock operator was no longer able to operate as well as he did before and he sued the city of Baltimore. He contended that the city’s actions resulted in a decrease in value of his property and he claimed that the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution protected him from taking of property without just compensation.
  The case ended up at the U.S. Supreme Court. In a famous decision, Barron v. Baltimore, Supreme Court Chief Justice Marshall held that only the United States federal government was required to follow the Bill of Rights. States and cities did not have to provide and protect those rights. “Amendments contain no expression indicating an intention to apply them to the State governments. This court cannot so apply them.” The decision said that the Fifth Amendment’s protection against taking of private property without compensation, and the other rights in the Bill of Rights, did not apply to cities or states.
  Missouri used that decision to justify its Mormon extermination order. If states and cities did not have to follow the Bill of Rights, they didn’t have to provide Freedom of Religion to their citizens. Many claim that this resulted in the country and Constitution hanging by a thread.
  In the 1860s, in the wake of the Civil War, Congress drafted the 14th Amendment which provided citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized,” including former slaves. Additionally, it accorded the rights in the Bill of Rights to everyone, no matter what state or city that they were in. The main drafter of the amendment, Sen. John Bingham, argued that its primary purpose was to overturn Barron v. Baltimore. That adopted amendment should have solved the question of states’ requirement to provide all of the Bill of Rights protections to all citizens. But it took another hundred years for the amendment to become fully effective. Therefore, the Barron v. Baltimore decision has been mostly overturned.
  Utah has also had some of these issues develop in the last few years, including one that resulted in a decision by the Utah Supreme Court last year that said that Salt Lake City was taking property without just compensation, to swap for a public project that allowed moving a Rocky Mountain substation and rerouting rail lines. “This taking was not legal.”
  In December, Salt Lake City revealed plans to place four homeless resource centers (the original name of the Road Home) around the city. The site on Simpson Avenue in Sugar House is next to a single family home neighborhood. According to realtor.com, homes next to homeless shelters have a decrease in value of at least 12.7 percent. The decrease in value of the homeowners amounts to the illegal taking of property!
  Removing the Sugar House homeless site from consideration would save $7 million that could be used for vouchers for families to avoid the homeless shelters. The Road Home has about 100 children staying there every night in a facility with 80 registered sex offenders! In addition, if the facility is a family and children’s shelter, as many as 30 buses would have to run in the area every day and significantly hurt neighborhood air quality.
  Most importantly, Salt Lake City, a city that prides itself for promoting equal rights, seems to be ignoring the basic rights that citizens of this country have. After almost 200 years of the 14th Amendment guarantee of those rights, the citizens of the U.S. should not have to fight this fight to have all governments abide by the Bill of Rights. At a minimum, Salt Lake City should re-evaluate its plans to include compensation for nearby homes and businesses. Salt Lake City should not act like Baltimore or those in the 1800s that said that the Bill of Rights does not apply to states and cities. Equal rights are not equal rights if they are ignored.

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

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




DECEMBER 23, 2017
FREE FARE VERSUS UTA SERVICE INCREASES PUBLISHED

FREE FARE VERSUS UTA SERVICE INCREASES PUBLISHED

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

  The link to the oped is:

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




DECEMBER 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





NOVEMBER 30, 2017
STEINER POOL SECRETS REVEAL ROYAL MESS

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





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

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

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


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


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


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


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





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


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

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

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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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


SUGAR HOUSE PARLEYS TRAIL NEEDS A REGULAR BIKE RIDE EVENT

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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



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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

  

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


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

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




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


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


IMPORTANT STORY ON MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES WITH HOMELESS

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

HUGHES IS IN NO RUSH TO CLOSE ROAD HOME

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





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

PRIORITIES FOR THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL AND SALT LAKE CITY


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


 ROGERS, WHARTON, MENDENHALL, FOWLER WIN

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



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

        AND STOP HOMELESS CAMPING

ACTUALLY HELP AFFORDABLE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

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




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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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




NOVEMBER 1, 2017

BALLPARK MEETING THURSDAY SET FOR 630PM

THERE IS STILL TIME TO VOTE

MY CAMPAIGN SUMMARY


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



THERE IS STILL TIME TO VOTE

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


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

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



MY CAMPAIGN SUMMARY


 VOTE GEORGE CHAPMAN


SLC COUNCIL DISTRICT 5


www.georgechapman.net

WORKING TOGETHER, LET’S:


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


STOP NEW TAXES W/OUT PUBLIC VOTES

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


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


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

           STOP THE WAR ON CARS

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

   ENCOURAGE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

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

            STOP WASTING MONEY

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





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



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



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


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


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

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



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


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


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


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





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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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



 

OCTOBER 23, 2017

EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS

SLC 1300 EAST RECONSTRUCTION COULD LAST 6 MONTHS

RDA DISCUSSING AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS
SPRAGUE LIBRARY REOPENS WITHOUT DOWNSTAIRS


EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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


PROPOSED TACTICS INCLUDE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




OCTOBER 19, 2017

MEMORIAL TO GARY OTT
SLC SCARES COMMISSION INTO PUNTING


MEMORIAL TO GARY OTT

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

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

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




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

 

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




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




OCTOBER 17, 2017

UTA BONDING WILL ENCOURAGE PROJECTS

SLC TAX INCREASES COMING



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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

 



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



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

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


STOP TAX INCREASES WITHOUT PUBLIC VOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gechapman2@gmail.com


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


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


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


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






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



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

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

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

HEPATITIS A OUTBREAK MAY LAST A YEAR
VACCINATIONS STOPS DISEASE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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



OCTOBER 8, 2017     CAMPAIGN CARD (FOR THOSE INTERESTED)


GEORGE CHAPMAN


SLC COUNCIL DISTRICT 5   www.georgechapman.net


WORKING TOGETHER, LETS:



STOP SECRET SLC COUNCIL MEETING

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


STOP TAX INCREASES WITHOUT PUBLIC VOTES

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

PROVIDE ADEQUATE PUBLIC SAFETY

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

PROTECT ENVIRONMENT

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

STOP THE WAR ON CARS 

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

ENCOURAGE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

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


 STOP WASTING MONEY

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

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


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




USEFUL SALT LAKE CITY PHONE NUMBERS

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

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




OCTOBER 4, 2017

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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





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


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



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


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


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



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

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


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

 




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

 

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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




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

 



SEPTEMBER 8, 2017

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


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


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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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




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


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


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



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

 




 

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


999 RIDE (SLC) IS THE NEW CRUISING SLC

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

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

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

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

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

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







AUGUST 23, 2017
UTA MAY LOSE RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROJECTS

IN DEFENSE OF JULIE DOLE

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

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



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



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




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

DISTRICT 1
JAMES ROGERS     1322  78.27%
DAVID C ATKIN      209            

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

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

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



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



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



UTA BUS 500 STILL NOT USEFUL

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



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



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



ODYSSEY HOUSE/FIRST STEP MAY SIGNIFICANTLY EXPAND FACILITIES

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



INTERNATIONAL CENTER RAIL MAKES SENSE IF AMAZON PAYS

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


 



AUGUST 17, 2017

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

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

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



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

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



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



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

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



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


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


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


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


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





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

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

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

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


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


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



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

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


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


PLEASE TELL YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS WHAT YOU THINK!

​​




AUGUST 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


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

COUNCIL CONSIDERS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN TRANSIT PROJECTS &

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

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


STREETS REALLY REALLY NEED REPAIR OPED BY BENJAMIN SESSIONS

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

 




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

 

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

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

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

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

or you can call 801 535 6999

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


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

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

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



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

EARLY VOTING IS AVAILABLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

WHY I AM RUNNING FOR SALT LAKE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 





AUG. 5, 2017

SLC MASTER TRANSIT PLAN NEEDS REALITY CHECK

WFRC WASATCH CHOICE SCENARIOS NEED MORE SERVICE

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

MAYOR TELLS CITIZENS THE PROBLEM IS LACK OF JAIL SPACE



SLC MASTER TRANSIT PLAN NEEDS REALITY CHECK

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





WFRC WASATCH CHOICE SCENARIOS NEED MORE SERVIC

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




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

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

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

 

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

 

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





JULLY 28, 2017

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

WHY I AM RUNNING FOR OFFICE PUBLISHED



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

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



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

WHY I AM RUNNING FOR OFFICE PUBLISHED

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

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





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


WHY NOT TELL BAD GUYS THAT THEY WILL GO TO JAIL

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



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



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

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

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

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



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



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



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







JULY 25, 2017

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DISCUSSED ABOUT HOMELESS


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






JULY 24, 2017

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



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

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





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


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

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



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




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





THE FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN UTAH IS BUSES

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



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





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



TIME FOR UTA BOARD TO REFLECT TRANSIT RIDER

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

  


TRANSIT SERVICE INSTEAD OF PROJECTS

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





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




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






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

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

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

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

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





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





OTHER CANDIDATE MEET AND GREETS

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




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



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






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





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




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




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






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





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


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




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





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


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



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






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


SLC COUNCIL APPROVES CIVIL PENALTY ORDINANCE

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

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


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


HOMELESS STORAGE TOLD TO STAY OPEN UNLESS REPLACED

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


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


ADU ORDINANCE COMING TO SLC PUBLIC HEARING SOON

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




JULY 10, 2017

IF TREES IN SLC DIE, WILL ANYONE CARE

CIVIL PENALTIES HEARING TUESDAY TO CLOSE CRIME MOTELS


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

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

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




TUESDAY SLC COUNCIL ORDINANCE TO CONTROL CRIME MOTELS 

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









JULY 7, 201

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

UTA FINANCIAL REPORT ON RIGHT STILL HAS MONEY PROBLEMS

HOMELESS STORAGE MAY DISAPPEAR

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

BICYCLE REGISTRATION SYSTEM CHANGING

LIBERTY WELLS SLC COUNCIL D5 CANDIDATE MEETING 

WFRC TRANSPORTATION LIST PROPOSED FOR COMMENT






CIVIL PENALTY FOR STATE ST CRIME MOTELS PUBLIC HEARING TUESDAY

THIS IS IMPORTANT!

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





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




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




HOMELESS STORAGE MAY DISAPPEAR

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




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

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



​BICYCLE REGISTRATION SYSTEM CHANGING

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

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

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





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





WFRC TRANSPORTATION LIST PROPOSED FOR COMMENT

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












JUNE 30, 2017

2100 SOUTH ROAD DIET SHOULD NOT BE RUSHED

THANK THE PRESS FOR SAVING THE WEIGAND CENTER


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

Craig Carter is a longtime resident of the SLC East Bench


THANK THE PRESS FOR SAVING THE WEIGAND CENTER

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

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


JUNE 29, 2017

WEIGAND CTR ALMOST CLOSES FOR WEEKEND BUT FOR PRESS 



WEIGAND CTR ALMOST CLOSES FOR WEEKEND BUT FOR PRESS ATTENTION

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


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


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





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


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



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

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



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



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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




JUNE 12, 2017


YES I AM RUNNING FOR OFFICE IN SLC DISTRICT 5

TUESDAY JUNE 13 SLC COUNCIL DECIDES UTA BOARD APPOINTMENT

TIME FOR UTA BOARD TO REFLECT TRANSIT RIDERS

REMINDER JUNE 14 LEGISLATURE WILL HEAR PUBLIC ON UTA

THE FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN UTAH IS BUSES



GEORGE CHAPMAN RUNNING AGAINST ERIN MENDENHALL

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


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

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

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



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


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


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


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


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


TUESDAY JUNE 13 SLC COUNCIL DECIDES UTA BOARD APPOINTMENT

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



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



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


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






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


JUNE 14 LEGISLATURE WILL HEAR THE PUBLIC ON UTA

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 




JUNE  5, 2017

PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAILBEDS PUBLISHED DESERET NEWS

CONSIDER RUNNING FOR OFFICE DEADLINE JUNE 7 PUBLISHED

WISHFUL THINKING OPED PUBLISHED



PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAILBEDS PUBLISHED DESERET NEWS

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

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



CONSIDER RUNNING FOR OFFICE DEADLINE JUNE 7 PUBLISHED

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

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



WISHFUL THINKING OPED PUBLISHED MONTH AGO  ABOUT SHERIFF

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

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







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



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

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


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

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

 

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

 

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


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



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

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





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



SLC REMOVING 3000 TREES PER YEAR

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


PUBLIC UTILITIES DOUBLES TAXES WITH FOUR PAGE JUSTIFICATION

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


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


SLC REGIONAL ATHLETIC COMPLEX LOSES MONEY WORSE THAN GOLF

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


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


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






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

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


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

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


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



SHERIFF WINDER IS IMPORTANT FOR SLCO

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

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








MAY 19, 2017

PUBLIC SAFETY IS MORE THAN JAIL BEDS

FUTURE OF MASS TRANSIT IN SALT LAKE COUNTY


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




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




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



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

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

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


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

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



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


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










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

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

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

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


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


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



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


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



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

​​





APRIL 29
SHERIFF ASKS COUNTY FOR JAIL FUNDING FOR 150 BEDS

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



 

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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






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


 

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


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




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



o Five percent of 164 families with children.

o Six percent of 145 single women.

o Eight percent of 422 single men.

o Seven percent of 82 trauma or abuse victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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






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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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




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

SLC COUNCIL CONSIDERS TAX INCREASE FOR STREETS




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

 

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



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

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

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



SLC COUNCIL CONSIDERS TAX INCREASE FOR STREET

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






APRIL 3, 2017

OPINION ON SHERIFF RECOMMENDATIONS INSTEAD OF JAIL SPACE

OPINION ON SLC PD JAIL BOOKING RESTRICTIONS

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

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



OPINION ON SHERIFF RECOMMENDATIONS INSTEAD OF JAIL SPACE

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




OPINION ON SLC PD JAIL BOOKING RESTRICTIONS

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


 


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

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




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

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





MARCH 29, 2017

DRAPER HOMELESS SITE OFFER SO TAXPAYERS PAY BILLIONS FOR TRAX

SLC PAYING MILLIONS TO BURY POWER LINES FOR WALKABILITY


DRAPER HOMELESS SITE OFFER SO TAXPAYERS PAY BILLIONS FOR TRAX

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



SLC PAYING MILLIONS TO BURY POWER LINES FOR WALKABILITY

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



MARCH 28, 2017

SHERIFF PROPOSES TO EMPTY ROAD HOME TO 200 BY SUMMER


SHERIFF PROPOSES TO EMPTY ROAD HOME TO 200 BY SUMMER

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







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

         SLC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, STATE STREET RDA

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

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

          GARBAGE TO DOWNTOWN

UTA PERFORMANCE REPORT AND NEW FENCE MAKES SENSE

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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



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

 



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




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

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

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

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


 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 



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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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



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








MARCH 5, 2017

LEGISLATURE WANTS COUNTY HOMELESS SITE WITHOUT HEARING?

DUI BILL SAYS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE

FOOD TAX IS VOODOO ECONOMICS 

911 TAXES GOING UP DESPITE INEFFICIENCIES

LAST WEEK OF LEGISLATURE



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

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

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



DUI BILL SAYS DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE

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



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



911 TAXES GOING UP DESPITE INEFFICIENCIES

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






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




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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


INTERNET TAX DEFEATED DUE TO CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTIONS
  Senator Bramble attempted to push SB110 which required internet companies, that sell to Utahns, to pay Utah sales taxes.  The bill went before the Government Operations Committee Friday and despite vigorous discussion, it failed to pass the committee.  The main concerns were the questionable constitutionality of the bill and the cost for the Attorney General to undertake another lawsuit
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FEBRUARY 27, 2017
SHERIFF DEFENSIVE ABOUT LACK OF JAIL, MAYOR PROMISES SURPRISE
DRUG DEALERS SHOULD BE IN JAIL FOR MORE THAN A FEW HOURS
700 SOUTH HOMELESS SITE BEING REWARDED WITH RDA PLAN
WHO NEEDS A HOTEL WHEN WE HAVE AIRBNB?
FOOD TAX BILL IS IGNORED BY LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
HAVE ONE OR TWO DRINKS AND DRIVE MAY BE CHANGED
BILLS PILING UP AGAIN FOR LEGISLATIVE CLIMAX


 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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



 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Utah should change the DUI standard to .05 and change the message from “have one or two drinks and drive” to “do not drink and drive”! Representative Thurston’s HB0155S01 should become law in Utah. It will save hundreds of Utah lives, reduce rape (increase