Friday, September 30, 2005

Governor Huntsman to Back Senator Hatch

According to Paul Rolly's blog, Governor Jon Huntsman will announce today that he supports Senator Orrin Hatch's re- election. The biggies back each other. That's the only way to make sense of that.

Bob Bernick Jr. Is On A Roll

Today's Bob Bernick Jr. story sent a cold chill up my spine. According to his analysis, no Utah politician could ever be indicted on the charges leveled against Tom Delay. Because what he allegedly did is not illegal in this state. In fact, few things are illegal for politicians in this state.

Nancy Workman And The Art Of Rewriting History

Nancy Workman appeared in the Deseret News today. The most stunning part of her history re-write is the idea she first floated on KCPW that she herself as mayor had been busy fighting corruption in the county just like Mayor Corroon is now. She brings it up again with the Deseret News: "I didn't get it all done in my administration. Some of it I didn't even know about" So beyond the slap in the face she's given county residents by demanding we pay her legal bill, She's insisting beyond all facts and reason that her administration did not foster corruption, but in fact fought it, the mortal sin being she didn't fight hard enough. Someone pick me up off the floor.

KCPW

KCPW is the go- to station for political junkies. They've proved it again. Mayor Rocky Anderson will be on today at 10:00am hosting Midday Metro. He'll host a panel on his partner benefits order. Listen online here. Also, listen to candidate debates for all three Salt Lake City Council races hosted by KCPW. Listen to them here.

Senator Orrin Hatch Shows His Sensitive Side

Up on Senator Hatch's so- called "campaign blog" is a Sunday School talk about the tragic Utah State van accident. Senator Hatch asks "Why did this have to happen?" Then comes out with a zinger: "Even those of us with faith in a divine purpose have difficulty understanding" No, surely not! Even those with faith?! Impossible! Only atheists have difficulty understanding death!

An Olive Branch For Mayor Rocky Anderson

You all know I never pass up a good Mayor Anderson story. But I'll back the Mayor on a couple of points. First is that it's up to him to spend money on guests of the city. I think he should be able to entertain them appropriately. NOT to prove some lame point about Utah, but because we need to be good hosts. It's not like he's passing out liquor to teenagers at seminary class. I also have backed him on his opposition to the (horrifyingly named) Legacy Highway. I think he's right on in the points he's made about how reliance on autos erodes our quality of life.

Not Always How They Appear

One of Mayor Rocky Anderson's primary defense arguments in the whole alcohol thing Is that Mayor Daly does it And Mayor Corradini surely did it Only in "Salt Lake City, excuse me, Utah", would anyone ever even consider this sort of a silly policy and only Mayor Anderson would ever be unfairly attacked like this. But according to today's Tribune, Mayor Daly pays for alcohol out of a separate non- tax money account as did Mayor Corradini. Hmmm. I guess it's time to put the cross back in your closet, Mayor.

Not Their Fault

One thing has bugged me about the whole alcohol purchase thing. It was when Mayor Anderson declared he had "proof" that alcohol had been paid for by the city in the presence of (drumroll please) City Council members (gasp!). The implication of course was one of hypocrisy. But Mayor Anderson should leave the Council out of it. After all, the policy was drafted by the Mayor's Office and can be altered by the Mayor's Office. Also, the Council didn't level these charges against him, the newspapers did. The Council didn't appear until it was asked for comments. Even then, the Council didn't take it as a political opportunity. Instead, they remarked sensibly that perhaps the policy is outdated but in the meantime, Mayor Anderson should make it right by paying for the drinks until the policy is changed.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Stick With Pete Ashdown

There's an annoying rumor that pops up sometimes that other Democrats are being encouraged to join the race for U.S. Senate. That would be a mistake. Stick with Pete Ashdown. He's the future we all want. Read this City Weekly story and you'll understand why. From the article: “I was following the same old recipe for failure in the Utah Democratic Party,” he said, adding that Democrats across the country seem to have lost the ability to develop new ideas. “I wasn’t demonstrating to people what was different about me as a candidate.” Different AND better.

Mayor Anderson: We, By Which I Mean Me

In today's Tribune, Mayor Anderson revealed his true intent behind his executive order regarding partner benefits. While the City Council is busy working on a meaningful policy to provide benefits to families of city employees, Mayor Rocky Anderson declared: "We welcome the opportunity to get a court's determination." The executive order was never about insurance benefits. He wants a legal battle over Amendment 3. Then he should quit the Mayor's Office and go back to practicing law. Because there's a city that needs to be run and t'aint no one runnin' it right now.

Alcohol

I think a good solution to the alcohol debacle was voiced by a member of the City Council. In yesterday's Tribune, Councilman Dale Lambert said he doesn't want to see city employees adding alcohol tabs to business meetings but allowances should be made for special guests. "I do not want to unduly tie the chief executive's hands with special guests" Sounds reasonable to me.

Now It's Just Getting Silly

According to the Tribune, Mayor Rocky Anderson objects to the ban on alcohol purchases using city funds but thinks "high- fat- content desserts" should be banned. You can always count on Mayor Anderson to take the debate straight into the basement.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Dueling Headlines

Which headline belongs to which newspaper? Rocky calls SLC policy against picking up the booze tab 'absurd': 'I'm not a Nancy Workman': While the city attorney does not say the mayor violated policy, an official wants him to foot the bill and Rocky's bar tab paid by the city: His wining and dining of visitors to S.L. is a violation of policy Click on the newspapers below to see if you won. (you don't actually win anything) Salt Lake Tribune Deseret Morning News

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sandy Likes the Worst Restaurants

There was a nifty rumor circulating around Sandy that Mayor Dolan's gravel pit development would include The Cheesecake Factory restaurant. Supposedly, this was supposed to win people over to Dolan's side. Personally, I would support nuclear waste storage there before a Cheesecake Factory. Fortunately the rumor proved false. It was a believable one, however, considering the other Boyer Company "Big Fish Little Pond Extravaganza", The Gateway Mall. The Gateway (Dodo excepted) is one big culinary race to the bottom.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Amerikai Futball

Budapest has an American Football team. The Budapest Wolves I saw them play Saturday. I never realized how complex football is until I saw so many people new to the sport trying to wrap their heads around the game. Soccer is much easier: Kick this ball into that net. Don't use your hands. As you can see from their website, they're taking new players. I'm tempted to try out. Not because I'm a great football player, but because I've always wanted to begin a story with: "Back when I played semi- pro football in Europe..."

Mayor Rocky Anderson: All Talk, All the Time

Since Mayor Anderson considers himself a "health care advocate", you'd think the health care advocacy community would back him in his executive order on domestic partner benefits. But they don't. Instead, they back the City Council's plan to offer health care to dependents of city employees (not just "partners"). Predictably, Mayor Anderson won't support the council's plan because he has his own "political statement" to make. Unfortunately, political statements don't insure people. Nor do they re-develop downtown, nor do they attract soccer stadiums, nor do they secure state funding for important city projects. This we know from painful experience. But they do get you headlines, as well as the adoration of many voters which means personal job security. Jodi Hillman, health program director with Utah Issues: "The kind of statement the mayor is trying to make, it's funny, it does take us away from the issue we are trying to work on." (From Deseret News)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Duelling Headlines

Here's a fun game: Match each headline to its newspaper. 1) 3 are arrested at Salt Lake protest: Three people were arrested and a half-dozen more cited as anti-war protesters clashed with police in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday. 2) SLC protesters join global call for pullout of troops from Iraq: Thousands of Utahns joined others around the world Saturday morning in calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Salt Lake Tribune Deseret Morning News Click on the newspaper link to see if you're right!!!

Friday, September 23, 2005

American Disasters

Hurricane Rita is dominating the news here. I think Europeans love a good American disaster for the same reason Americans love a good celebrity scandal.

Bob Bernick Jr. Gets it Right

I've never been big on Deseret News Political Editor Bob Bernick Jr. But here, he nails it right on the head. "You don't see many hard-core GOP delegates criticizing their state officials for terribly misreading the road-building tea leaves and costing citizens $200 million. The blame all falls on those who dare to sue over a controversial road-building project." It's a mistake to blame Mayor Anderson or the Sierra Club. The true blame for the disaster that is the (horrifyingly named) Legacy Highway rests squarely on the shoulders of legislative Republicans.

Mayor Rocky Anderson and the Art of Grandstanding

According to today's Tribune, Salt Lake City Councilwoman Jill Remington Love asked the Mayor twice to delay his executive order until he saw the City Council's insurance benefits plan for domestic partners and dependents. Councilwoman Jill Remington Love wants to make sure that not only domestic partners are covered by insurance, but that other dependents are also covered. This is an idea other council members will support and a few in the past week (most notably Eric Jergensen) have expressed dismay that the Mayor's executive order stops short of covering dependents like elderly parents and children. But the executive order was never meant to truly strengthen families employed by the city. That's just political talk. It's grandstanding. That's Mayor Rocky Anderson's specialty. Which is why the only benefits extended to alternative families in this city will be thanks to the city council. Where have we seen this before?

Mayor Rocky Anderson and a Theocracy

Mayor Anderson's latest email has received a fair amount of press coverage: Here at utahpolitics.org. (utahpolitics.org was first to publish the text of the email, two days ago) here at the Tribune, and here at the Deseret News. One part of his email stuck out for me: "Those who referred to my participation in the rally as "unpatriotic," "rude," or "inhospitable", or those who disparaged the thousands of good people who participated in the rally as "nutcakes," fail to distinguish between a theocracy and a democracy. President Bush works for us." A theocracy!? No one mentioned religion in this whole messy affair. Until now. Religion baiting. It's bad news but not a surprise

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Politics of District 3

Regarding the Salt Lake City Council District 3 race: My personal affiliations in this race have been clear for a while but below, I tried to do a more clear- eyed analysis of the candidates for City Council in District 3. I hope you find it interesting.

Eric Jergensen

Incumbent Salt Lake City Council District 3 voteforeric.org Obviously, as a sitting councilman, he has a natural advantage. But this race is rapidly becoming Rocky v. Eric. In District 3, that could be a dangerous place to be. But Eric has spent years building a District 3 profile from the ground up. That is why both Mayor Anderson and Megan Risbon had such a hard time finding candidates to run against him. I think it's significant both choices are brand new to city politics and so far have no practical experience at the community council level where the support for Eric is very strong. In terms of endorsements, obviously he has a lot. The ones that have so far been unveiled have been politically very significant. Derek Dyer has claimed the endorsement of the SLCo Democratic Party, but Eric Jergensen lists Paula Julander, Ralph Becker, Dave Jones, Sydney Fonnesbeck, Phil Carroll, Brian Moss, and Dallis Nordstrom, among others. Those familiar with District 3 politics understand the disaster this is for Megan Risbon and her hopes for Derek Dyer. It is less disastrous for Janneke House, who can still rely on Mayor Anderson to bring home many Democrats who are not directly connected to party politics.

Janneke House

Candidate for Salt Lake City Council District 3 Endorsed by Mayor Rocky Anderson. This endorsement will help her in District 3. The question is: will it help her enough? She has an impressive job for her age with the County. Which brings up another issue that will play out in this campaign: her age. Janneke is very young. Obviously this will be attractive for some, but it will discourage others. She'll need to really be on top of her game to show she has the experience and maturity many expect. This will be particularly critical because she runs the risk of being overshadowed in her own campaign by Mayor Anderson. If she's not personally aggressive, doubts about her age will be magnified by the dominating presence of the Mayor. I can't find a website for Janneke House, but I'm sure she must have one. If anyone knows it, please post it in the comments. I think that because of her job and her endorsement by Mayor Anderson, she may do better than Derek Dyer, an artist who has yet to unveil a major endorsement (that is an actual person). On the other hand, if the county party really cranks, she may lose out to Dyer as voters choose to follow the party rather than the Mayor.

Derek Dyer

Candidate for Salt Lake City Council District 3 derekdyer.com He has a pretty good endorsement from the Salt Lake County Democrats. Problem with that is it's a faceless endorsement that's watered down by the fact that obviously not all of the County Democrats support him. The real strength of this endorsement is the possibility that Derek can leverage the party infrastructure into his campaign. The question remains, with so many candidates in a non- affiliated race, can the County Democrats turn out enough high profile endorsements and enough foot soldiers to get the job done when many of the active members will committ to other candidates? He'll get all the voter lists he needs out of the county party, but he really needs people. On another note: The Salt Lake County Democrats need a website.

Edward James Aho

Candidate for Salt Lake City Council District 3 I don't know much about this guy. If anyone knows his campaign website, please leave it in the comments. He's overshadowed in the press by the other candidates' high profile endorsements. Maybe he'll come out swinging. Maybe he'll be the "also ran".

UDOT: Asphault Inc.

From today's Deseret News: According to UDOT, there is no way to reduce traffic wait time on Bangerter Highway without building a new west- side highway. Of course, we all know this is untrue. But they say it anyway with a totally straight face. That's the amazing part.

Slow News Day

Is the Deseret News REALLY reprinting THIS article on corn mazes? This is the one already mentioned here a few days ago. Perhaps it's only on their online edition. Maybe it's a mistake. Please be a mistake.

Senator Orrin Hatch and Nanny- State Liberals

This guy from California has an opinion on Senator Orrin Hatch based on the Roberts Hearings.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Senator Hatch Takes Back Everything He Said About Being a Technology Leader

That's not true. But it should be true after the Tribune reported today that photos taken by Senator Hatch's camera phone during the Roberts hearing were not available to the public because neither the Senator nor his staff could figure out how to download them. Senator, call Pete Ashdown. He'll help you out. My only problem with this story is the Tribune headlined it with "Add Shutterbug To Hatch's Portfolio". A better headline would have been "Neither Hatch nor staff understand cell phone". or "Senator has too much seniority to consult instruction manual". or "Senator Hatch: Likes his new electro intranets thingy with the thing for the deal that makes that one noise".

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rave Raid Update

The Deseret News reported last week that Utah County has refused to cough up their records regarding the Diamond Fork rave raid. I think we all know why they're refusing to give up their information: The raids were illegal. And they could be in big trouble. They can't hide everything, though. The News claimed Utah County refused to turn over the list of those arrested at the rave. But the list is here. On the Utah County Jail website. It's a list of everyone arrested that night, and you can pretty easily narrow down those who were arrested at the rave. You just combine those arrested for resisting arrest and those arrested on club drug charges. We'll see if the good-old-boy's network that plagues the statehouse and shelters corruption extends to the judiciary. Shame on us.
I'm thinking it's a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images and when we kiss they perfectly align True, it may seem like a stretch but it's thoughts like this that catch my troubled head when you're away when I am missing you to death Thank you to The Postal Service.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Funding for RSL Stadium

One option available to Salt Lake City to help finance a stadium is the SEA Sales Tax mechanism. SEA (Sports, Entertainment, and Art) takes sales taxes generated by a new sports, entertainment, or arts facility (soccer stadium) and returns it to the entity that made the investment in the facility. It's like an RDA but with sales tax increment rather than property tax increment. Although the emergence of this plan gives downtown Salt Lake new hope of landing the RSL stadium, this option is also open to arch- rival Sandy and there still appears to be no organized plan for Salt Lake City to make this happen.

Worst Line Ever

This is one of the worst lines I have ever read in a newspaper article. And it's the article's opening sentence. On the topic of corn maze's: "Brett Herbst is having an a-MAiZE-ing impact in states throughout America." get it? huh? maze, maize, amaze. Genius.

Governor Huntsman and Not Spending Money

From today's Tribune: Governor Huntsman has promised to not spend money on his re- election campaign. He wants to do it all on name recognition and free press. After one year, Governor Huntsman is confident he can ask for votes only, not money in protest of the obscene amounts of money spent on political campaigns. After 28 years, couldn't Senator Orrin Hatch make a similar commitment? On the contrary, his campaign manager uses the threat of death by over- spending to discourage challengers.

But You're Mom is Proud of You

According to today's Tribune: Utah's college graduates don't leave Utah. Perhaps that explains why working at (the store formerly known as) ZCMI, I was the only person I knew without a college degree. Good news: Huge numbers of people in Utah have college degrees. Bad news: No one cares that you have a college degree.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Historian and an Ambassador

I just left a lecture by David McCullough. There I met U.S. Ambassador to Hungary George Herbert Walker. Guess who he's related to. Those Bushes sure aren't creative with the names.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Budapest

Thanks to everyone for their kind words. It's not the easiest thing to completely uproot, but I'm not the first to try this and Budapest seems like a nice city plus CEU has great facilities so I'm very optimistic. I avoided jet lag by pushing through my first day with no naps. My flights were similarly sleepless, but I had a great time watching the northern lights out the window. The display tempered my frustration at being stuck in a window seat of a COMPLETELY full 747. Interestingly, it took me the same amount of time to travel from SLC to Budapest as it did for my hotel rommate Darko (as in Donnie) to travel from Sarajevo to Budapest by train.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

My Last Meal

I just had my last meal in SLC. At least for a while. Of course, it was from Atlantic Cafe, all time greatest Main Street restaurant. I fly to Budapest, Hungary in the morning to study at Central European University (in English). I will keep SLCSPIN going, my computer will have a new home, but SLCSPIN's content will remain the same. As soon as I find a hot spot over there, I'll be contributing once more to the Utah political debate by flinging poo at everybody.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Pete Ashdown

Pete Ashdown is SLC's internet version of (insert diety). So imagine how unnerved I was to see he had commented on SLCSPIN, my own little lonely corner of cyberspace. Anyway, as he and dexter tag- teamed me on my own site, I remembered that is why I really like Pete Ashdown and why I think he'd make a great U.S. Senator. Sometimes I spend too much time obsessing over Senator Orrin Hatch, and should spend more time on a great alternative. But the Senator is such a big, juicy target... Pete has recently added a great feature to his campaign website that's worth checking up on regularly.

Naughty Books 3

I truly hadn't planned on taking up so much space with this, but there were more good comments made on Naughty Books 2, so here are three points: First: Tolstoy was brought up. Would that he were on the city's list. You see, I kind of have a background in Russian and Soviet literature (only in english, unfortunately), so I compiled a short list of books I'd love to see SLC put into its book club: War and Peace, Ana Karenina, Heart of a Dog, Mother, A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Gulag Archipelago, The Foundation Pit, We, Omon Ra, Farewell to Matyora, Dr. Zhivago, The Brothers Karamazov, Cement, Envy, Red Cavalry, The Master and Margarita These titles represent society altering, even earth shattering texts. I'd be proud if my city recognized them. Second: The library was also brought up. But I really see the library and the city book club as two separate things. The library is an uncensored place (at least it should be, but it's not exactly) where people can go and pick out books for themselves. The purpose of the city book club is to encourage as many citizens as possible to read and discuss the same book. A noble cause. It's meant to be inclusive. Third: While it's true no city can completely cater to every taste and sensibility, reasonable efforts should be made to include as many people as possible. It's a unifying "bridging" event. The city book club should NOT become a place for some to separate themselves by daring others to read books they know they'd object to, then mocking their protests. Especially when there are books like "War and Peace" that are so important, yet remain unread.

Naughty Books 2

There were some interesting comments left on the previous post. That prompted me to leave a comment in response. It's sort of a clarification. Here it is: It's true great literature is challenging. That's not in question. But great literature and obscene content are not necessarily the same thing. While there are titles out there that may be an important read and include mature content, I don't believe it's unreasonable to ask that a city operated book club choose a title from the millions of pages of great and challenging literature that would allow participation of everyone. After all, it's everyone's city.

Naughty Books

All right, this has come up twice in the comments, so I'll weigh in on it. Some have criticized Councilman Jergensen for objecting to a city sponsored book club selection that included explicit content. Fine, criticize him. But really, it was a logical stance for him to take. Since it's important that civic activities are open to everyone, then why shouldn't the activities maintain some sort of ethical standard to ensure wide participation? Well, what standard you ask? There are a number of standards. We could use standards set nationally for television and radio broadcasts. We could use standards set for books to be read in public schools. Anyway, for a city wide book club meant to include everybody, why shouldn't we choose titles that could also be read on the air, or in public schools?

In Defense of Mayor Rocky Anderson

He's everyone's favorite whipping post, including mine. (He shares that seat with Senator Orrin Hatch) But I'm going to defend him on one point. I think it's a mistake to use personality to trash our political leadership. I think political leaders like Mayor Anderson should be judged by their effectiveness in office, not by an employee popularity contest. We've all had mean bosses. How many of us got very far compaining our bosses were jerks. Also, we've always known Mayor Anderson was a jerk. It's not a secret, and not really news. Remember his first campaign that brought out his old secretaries and employees claiming he had driven them into therapy? Now, if Mayor Anderson is truly a religious and sexual bigot on the job, then let's talk lawsuits. Or if his actions are hindering the work at city hall, then let's talk. But City Hall's problems won't be solved by Mayor Anderson joining some sort of twelve- step program (as he claims he has). The problems in SLC are not because of the Mayor's personality. Naughty or nice, Rocky just isn't a very good mayor. That's all.

Downtown Stadium

Here's an interesting read. It's a thread from a Real Salt Lake fan forum an it's titled "Downtown Stadium A Dream?" Read what die hard fans think about a soccer stadium downtown SLC and why they think it will or won't be built there.

Monday, September 05, 2005

More On Councilman Eric Jergensen

Here's another reason why District 3 likes it's moderate councilman and will most likely re- elect him District 3 likes to think of themselves as independent thinkers- so why would they elect someone to rubber stamp the mayor? Obviously, District 3 wants a candidate to stand up for the district, not join the Mayor's fan club. Just ask former candidate Polly Hart. District 3 is established and well- educated. They've chosen a Councilman who is mature, accomplished, and is Mayor Anderson's peer intelectually and professionally. Say what you will, but in a race between an artist a twenty something Rocky sycophant and Councilman Eric Jergensen, I think it's clear why District 3 will most likely re- elect Councilman Jergensen. He fits the district perfectly.

District 3

Regarding the Salt Lake City Council District 3 race. Many have insisted that Mayor Anderson's sycophant challenger would be a better councilperson because Mayor Anderson represents the views of District 3 while Councilman Eric Jergensen does not. That is a convenient comment that comes up a lot but it is meaningless and anyway is not necessarily true. While District 3 (Capitol Hill & Avenues) is home to a loud section of Salt Lake City's more frantic political ideology (for whom the Mayor will always be right) It is also home to a life saving population of political moderates. Who make up a clear majority of the district. Predictably, Councilman Jergensen comes from this moderate majority. Four years ago, Distric 3 rejected the frantic, Mayor Anderson sycophant candidate, Polly Hart. Interestingly, despite Polly Hart's worship of the Mayor, he never endorsed her campaign.