Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Pair of Utahns for Ethical Government Post Public Hearing Writeups

We predict the initiative measure will find its way to the 2010 ballot, despite last night's low citizen turnout

On the heels of yesterday's reminder of last night's ethics reform public hearing, we're pleased to deliver two post-meeting writeups this morning:

First, Standard-Examiner editorial page editor Doug Gibson has made it a topic of discussion this morning on his blog, where this morning's post has already drawn several reader comments:
At the Utahns for Ethical Government hearing in Ogden
And Std-Ex reporter Roy Burton provides a straight news writeup on the Std-Ex Live! site:
Ethics commission could be on Utah ballot in 2010
We also received an interesting comment in the previous comments section, from a reader who identified himself as Mark Johnson last night, suggesting that the low public turnout at last night's meeting indicated citizen disinterest in the ethics reform initiative:
Ten people there, I guess that is not a issue in Weber County.
(Doug Gibson also commented about the low turnout, which he estimated to be about thirty lumpencitizens.)

Here's our take on that. There's a big difference in the level of personal commitment necessary to propel a large crown of lumpencitizens to a remote junior high gymnasium for an informational meeting on a single Tuesday night, and the relatively slight effort needed lure a large group of individual voters to a variety of centralized locations for the affixation of signatures over the course of six months. UEG promoters have a full half-year to gather the requisite 95,000 signatures. We'll thus confidently go out on a limb and predict that they'll gather that number and many more, well before the April 2010 deadline.

Once the petitions are distributed, we'll post an article with instructions about how to sign the petition, of course.

Power to the People, Right On!


Anonymous said...

Although we have our doubt about the eventual outcome, we look forward to gathering the 100 or so signatures that we can gather for this in one afternoon.

No interest in Weber County? That is what the sluice-money conduits count on: a perceived lack of interest.

Tightening the rules won't ruin anyones day, except the Corrupt.

Curmudgeon said...

The significant action on this matter for individuals will be the affixing of signatures --- legit ones --- in the right numbers as required in counties around the state. The important action is not necessarily attending meetings, particularly meetings in the evening during the work week.

Good idea, Rudi, posting here where petitions will be available for signing. TY.

ARCritic said...

Paul Rolly has an interesting point in his article today.

One of the supports of the initiative process is doing exactly what the initiative would outlaw. Is that a bit hypocritical?

Ray said...

I agree with those previously stated reasons for low public turnout. Most folks don't care to go to a meeting when the news, internet, and WCF provide the substance of the info. The organizers of the initiative claim polls indicate 85% of Utah voters support ethics reform. If this percentage is close to being real then I'd expect the signatures needed to be obtainable. Using this forum to highlight where to sign or get petitions to get signed is a great thought! I've heard it said the legislature will simply bypass this if it passes with a new law. If they do so it will be at their risk come election time. We need to put polititians on the record as to whether they support this or not. We already seen a few show their colors on what they percieve as there right to a "free lunch".

Curmudgeon said...

You wrote: I've heard it said the legislature will simply bypass this if it passes with a new law. If they do so it will be at their risk come election time.
I wish that were so, Ray, but I'm afraid it's not. Many Utah legislators who favored school vouchers, and even those who argued that the referendum banning them, even after it passed, should be ignore because it was unconstitutional [a position subsequently rejected by Utah courts], ran for re-election and won, even when they had opponents for nomination within the Republican Party of Utah who made their support of vouchers against the wishes of the people an issue.
If it's labeled "R" on the ballot, Utahns will elect it regardless in most cases of how it voted on anything in the previous session. And they know it. [Paul Rolly had a column on this in the past ten days, I think, in the SL Trib laying out examples and numbers.]

ozboy said...

The way I read the petition the ethics commission will only be an advisory body in any event. It will still be up to the legislature to give up the largess and enact actual laws to ban the corruption they now practice. My guess is that the republican leadership of the legislature will kill any attempts to do that regardless of what an ethics commission recommends. Crooks do not change their sociopathic ways just because someone throws a little easy to overcome hurtle in their way.

get er' done said...

If you want real ethics reform, vote for the democrats.

mark johnson said...

I guess that Hansen is on the right track, asking for the other politicians to be held accountability but I'm not one of them. Although I did by a hummer and then took it back I did get a suv anyway. So this really does not apply to us in the administration. You guys on this blog just keep barking up the tree in hopes that a cat might fall out, but that will never happen either. Now that we have a lobbyist to help us kill all those bills we don't like, you guys just keep barking.

on the tit said...

Have another donut Mark, it does make your ass look big.

Anonymous said...

Looking for an old wooden sign to post that reads Off Topic, I instead discovered this and thought of the Godfrey Administration actually luring businesses to Ogden using different incentive packages, a tax-payer funded subsidy for already successful businesses, popular with cities that were suckers... 7 years ago.

Small cities in rural areas actually ended up in bidding wars over who was going to get the Petsmart and the Walmart. All on a promise of jobs, usually presented as high paying in comparison to other work available locally.

The problem was, the jobs paid less than as presented, the tax windfall did not equal the amount of initial outlay and, smaller start-ups in town, the ones who should have been receiving the incentives, rather than Chinese shareholders in BigBoxBlightCo., were put out of business by price fixing beyond their control. Large out of town corporations would actually charge higher prices for goods at other locations in order to sell far below retail for the first few years at the new stores. Smart, eh?
A lot of towns bought it, and are now stuck with whatever the only game for miles wants to charge, or in many instances, just a a large beige box on the edge of town.

Similiarly, in Ogden, when they say, Growth!! Lure Business To Ogden, I think, no; Smart Growth, local investment. We have a gem here already, just needing some more careful polish.

We don't need to spend tax payer dollars for WalMartPeople.

Ogden Dem said...

I attended the UEG meeting last night and was not at all surprised to listen to the comments/questions from our three legislators that did attend. Of course, Hansen is known for his greed from lobbyists so he doesn't want to feel the pain alone that is why he wants all elected officials - county commissioners, school board members, city councils, etc to not get any perks/freebies - I can only imagine all of the freebies city council and school board members receive. Mr. Wallis, claims if we aren't happy with legislators we will vote them out - hold on while I finish laughing. Mr. Dee, stated all of the ethics bill from the last legislative session passed through his committee.
Thirty ethics bill were introduced in the 2009 legislative session, only five actually came out of the Rules Committee and none had any teeth to their bite. What a joke!
We were told last night that $2.45 million dollars or 1/3 of all campaign donations were from corporations - and this is just in Utah.
One legislator has over $300,000 in campaign money, donates much of it to another legislator(now we have one legislator beholden to another) and then legislator A asked legislator B to support him for a leadership position - do you think legislator B is going to say no?
Using campaign donation money to pay your spouse a salary, pay for car repairs, buy gifts, buy digital cameras, .... and our legislators don't think we are fed up with their lack of ethics?!?!
Where is that petition?

Anonymous said...

There is a sound argument to be made that the super-elite having a more ready access to the corridors of power than the good common man, is what actually led to the downfall of the republic.

get er' done said...

Ogden dem,
Wouldn't you say that if we wanted real ethics reform we should vote for democrats.

Anonymous said...

Nonsense. Other than hearing their representatives pay the occasional lip service, or watch in fascination as the same legislators spend hours in committee crafting impressive-sounding but powerless legislative resolutions, the yearning poor get zilch as regards ethics reform, year in year out, empires come and go; this remains a fact.

It would be contrary to the rational selves-interest of any politician to enact ethics reform; Republican or Democrat, whoever is is power.
There it is again, that word: power.

And really, do you want a person in power who does not act in their own best interests?
A fool in office is worse than most crooks.

ARCritic said...

You said it Curmudgeon. If anyone wants to know how to thwart the initiative process, do a little research on Term Limits in Utah.

An initiative was on tract to be on the ballot. The legislature voted to implement a law similar enough that they were able to keep the initiative off the ballot. Of course, the new law would only apply to those elected after it went into effect. With 6 year limits this meant that no one would be effected for 6 years. Then 5 years later a legislator claimed that there had been enough turnover in the legislature that a term limits law was not needed and the legislature repealed it.

I am not aware of any legislator who was voted out because of their vote on term limits either.

Don't get your hopes up even if this passes. And be very leary if the legislature tries to pass legislation mirroring what the initiative says. They can just as easily repeal it.

Ogden Dem said...

To get 'er done - simply voting for one political party is not the answer as demostrated here in Utah, greed and the thirst for power exists in all political parties. What, in my opinion, is the answer is term limits either self-imposed or legally - if the pol cannot 'get 'er done' in a reasonable amount of time, say 8 to 10 years, you're out.

get er' done said...


we already have term limits. they are set at the ballot box. what part of vote them out don't you understand. as for not voting for the democrats, the republicans have run this state for 35 years. all the problems stem from them. and yes they are to blame. so don't blame me i vote democratic and I doubt that you are an Ogden Democrat.

ozboy said...


Good to see you back roamin around the Wolf's den here at the WCF. I for one have missed your informative and interesting posts. I learned a lot from when you were here in the past and judging from today's post you apparently still have a lot to teach us naysayers and layabouts.

Please correct me if needed, but if an initiative were to get on the ballot and then passed by the voters, couldn't the legislature just castrate or eliminate it in the next session? Wouldn't a binding ethics code have to be a Utah Constitution change before the ethically challenged we keep electing couldn't de-nut it?

Jim Hutchins said...

I am just returning from a petition drive at the UEA meeting in Sandy.

It's past time to replace gerrymandering with a fair, objective redistricting process based on commonsense rules and guidelines. Iowa and 22 other states have some form of independent commission for redistricting. The time is now, as there is a constitutionally mandated redistricting after each decennial census.

I have a Weber County FairBoundaries petition that needs signatures. If you are interested in signing, please contact me at I will meet you anytime, anywhere to get your signature.

More information on FairBoundaries is at this website.

Ogden Dem said...

Get 'er done - I don't think you quite understand what I was writing. In the Utah Legislature greed and power grabbing exists in both the Republican and Democrat parties so just voting Dems in is, in my opinion, not the answer. And saying we have 'term limits' at the ballot box is a joke because there are far too many Utahns that will only vote Republican no matter how unethical, greedy and unqualified their individual is or has proven to be. Unfortunately we cannot seem to find good qualified Democrats to run in many races in our state, whether it is federal or state.

And BTW I am a registered Democrat who lives in Ogden but I do not claim to be a Liberal, I am more moderate.

ozboy said...

A registered Democrat in Ogden?

Get the guns boys, this is serious!

Curmudgeon said...

That makes at least two of us. We got 'em surrounded!

Ogden Dem said...

ozboy, being a Dem in Ogden shouldn't be surprising for anyone, now a Dem in Utah an cause for unusual sightings.

Ogden Dem said...

oops, I meant Utah County

ozboy said...

Ogden Dem

Don't much matter where they are, we have to root em out before they infect our precious children's minds and souls with their bizarre and immoral teachings about integrity and personal responsibility. Where would we be if folks started thinking for themselves and actually voted for Demoncrats? We cannot rest until every last one of them are run out of our Republican theocracy. Freedom demands it. our esteemed legislature demands it so they don't have to keep up these annoying and time consuming gerrymandering exercises ever ten years!

Rick B. said...

If anyone would like to help collect signatures for the petition, please call me at 801-645-3592. I have a number of petition books complete with instructions and supporting information. The petition books have space for 20 signatures each. Uour help would be greatly appreciated, even if you only want to work on one book. -Rick Bolin

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