Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Eve 2015 Special

We're counting on the Republican Utah and federal legislative super-majorities to make things better this year, right? 

As we approach the cusp of the new year 2015, we're not gonna remind you folks to behave yourselves.  Nope; we're not gonna needle you to avoid celebratingNew Years Eve 2015 like this guy did in 2000. That's right folks.  We realize you're all grownups here, and we'll just post a coupla things which we found on the internet this week, whilst googling:
Have a happy new year, folks. And we all hope the upcoming year will be better than the last one, no?

We're counting on the Republican Utah and federal legislative super-majorities to make things better this year, right?  If not; why not, we ask?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Utah Political Capitol: A Most Sacred Trust – The Line Between Lawmaker & Paid Lobbyist?

"Conflict? What conflict?" Representative Ivory predictably responds

Via Pat Bagley:

"Rep. Ken Ivory has perfected a way to turn his seat in the Utah Legislature into a money making racket. Read this and tell me how our Republican run state isn't rotten to the core":
“I don’t see a conflict,” Representative Ivory told Utah Political Capitol, of course.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Salt Lake City Weekly: Prison Follies - The Real Reason for Moving the Utah State Prison is Money, and Lots of it

Keep the Joint at the Point!"... that's our take....
They can't tell you the real reason for the move—money, and lots of it—because that would require telling the truth.
John Saltas - City Weekly
Prison Follies
December 23, 2014

Really, the moving-the-prison idea just stinks. If construction costs are low, then modification costs at the current location would also be low. Just fix the damned thing.
John Saltas - City Weekly
Prison Follies
December 23, 2014

With Utah's 2015 legislative session looming a little less than one month hence, we'll revive our discussion of one 2015 legislative issue which is bound to find itself on the front burner, once the Utah legislature convenes on January 26, 2015. Specifically, we're referring to the pending proposal to re-locate the Utah State Prison.

In that connection we're delighted to present the below-linked December 23, 2014 Salt Lake City Weekly editorial, authored by none other than the ever-savvy John Saltas, City Weekly's publisher, which provides an ideal introductory prelude to the frantic action which we expect to see boiling in our real estate industry dominated legislature next year:
Check it out folks; it's an exceedingly "delicious" and "chewy" read.

"Keep the Joint at the Point!"... that's our take....

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Politico: Tea Partier Braces For Primary Challenge From The Establishment -Updated

Needless to say, we'll be sitting on the edge of our seat waiting to find out who will be Senator Mike Lee's 2016 challenger(s)
“All I can say is Mike Lee is an embarrassment to the state of Utah,” [Jon Huntsman, Sr.] said in an interview, calling Lee “an extremist” for his role in the government shutdown fight that he said cost his cancer research institute millions in federal dollars and hurt small businesses affected by the closure of national parks. “He’s been a tremendous embarrassment to our family, to our state, to our country to have him as a U.S. senator.”
Huntsman, who has longstanding ties to Lee’s family, added: “He’s tried to come in and see me several times. … I have no interest whatsoever in chatting with him.”
Asked if he had a response to Huntsman, Lee simply said: “I don’t.”

“Business leaders who are successful learn to compromise and move forward as necessary,” said Lane Beattie, the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, who said he has had “strong encouragement” from the business world to run against Lee. “Strictly speaking on behalf of businesses, the frustration is when you have people who refuse … to work together to come up with solutions that can move us forward.”

Jon Huntsman Sr., former Utah GOP Chairman, and beloved Utah philanthropist, considers Sen. Mike Lee an extremist and predicts that Lee will face a major Republican challenge in 2016, according to yesterday's story from the prominent online journalism organization, Politico:.
The Salt Lake Tribune is all over this story, too:
Over the course of the past four years, we've consistently railed about Senator Lee's embarrassing political extremism and general incompetence. Needless to say, we'll be sitting on the edge of our seat waiting to find out who will be Lee's 2016 challenger(s).

Howbout you?

Update 12/23/14 7:08 p.m.: Well whaddaya know; and looky here.  Seems that Jon Huntsman (the younger - former Utah Governor) now has his own US Senate Facebook candidate page:
Surprise of surprises? NO!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Breaking: Former Top Deputy in Utah Attorney General Office is Fired

We smell remedial legal action looming on the near horizon

Fascinating development in the still-beleaguered Utah Attorney General's office, as the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News report that Kirk Torgerson, a top aide in the Attorney General's office under John Swallow, has been fired after being on paid leave for nine months:
Torgerson has already "lawyered up;"; and we smell remedial legal action looming on the near horizon:
It is unclear if Reyes fired Torgensen for cause. Before becoming chief deputy attorney general under Shurtleff, which is a political appointment, Torgensen had spent years working for the state, a career position. Political appointees can be fired without cause; career employees need a substantiated reason to be terminated.
[Utah A.G] spokeswoman Missy Larsen would not comment on what Torgensen's status was at the time of his dismissal. Torgensen would have been eligible for retirement in August.
If he was a career employee, he can appeal the dismissal to the Career Service Review Office and seek reinstatement.
Beyond that, Tolman contends that Torgensen qualifies for whistleblower protection because he went to law enforcement with concerns about Shurtleff's interaction with Tim Lawson, a Shurtleff friend who has been charged with six felonies related to his trading on his relationship with Shurtleff. "He qualifies as a whistleblower; I've always felt that way," Tolman said. "He's the only one who stood up or tried to stand up to Shurtleff when he was doing some things. He was one of the first in the door with the FBI cooperating."
Our take? We'll go along with attorney Tolman on this:
Brett Tolman, Torgensen's attorney, said Torgensen was terminated as an at-will employee without cause. Tolman called it an unfortunate decision by Reyes.

"I know the attorney general wants to be seen as cleaning house but there's a way to do that without necessarily throwing someone under the bus that shouldn't be thrown. And Kirk Torgensen is that person."
"But to fire him a few days before Christmas and only 8 months before his retirement, I think it's shameful," Tolman said.
Don't let the cat get your tongues...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Breaking: Lawmakers Snub Governor’s Healthy Utah plan, Recommend Modest Medicaid Expansion

"Merry Christmas," downtrodden Utahns... from the Utah legislature! 

After a frenzied year of scurrying around and meeting with Obama Administration officials, and securing the necessary concessions to activate his "watered down" "Healthy Utah" Medicaid expansion plan,  Crackpot Utah GOP Legislators just "kicked" Governor Gary Herbert "where it hurts" yesterday:
"Surprise! Surprise!," responds one savvy SL-Trib reader. "Just more of the mean-spirited mindset of 'We've got ours, to hell with everyone else.' Disgusting pieces of trash posing as humans."

"Merry Christmas," downtrodden Utahns... from the Utah legislature!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

BREAKING: US To Normalize Relations With Cuba!

Yep: This is great economic news, as many US corporations are salivating to get into that Cuban market

Hay, folks... today's national news is REALLY BIG. Seems that our "Kenyan-born, socialist/commie, fascist, corporo-fascist, (Nazi) "muslim"US President" has just turned fifty-five years of crackpot US western hemisphere politics completely upside down! Read up, peeps:
Yep: This is great economic news, as many US corporations are salivating to get into that Cuban market. Marriott, Hilton, Coca Cola, Citibank, McDonalds, Facebook, United will all benefit. Many Canadian, Chinese and European companies already have head start, of course.

Better late than never, we suppose.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Senate Dems Find an Unwitting Ally in Ted Cruz [and Mike Lee]

Giddy Democrats could hardly believe their good fortune -- Meanwhile, most "sensible" Senate Republicans are "livid"

"Bestest Senate Buddies"
Eye-popping story frm MSNBC, reporting on the latest antics of Texas Senator Ted Cuz and Cruz's "bestest buddy" Utah Senator Mike Lee:
Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are facing a backlash of their own from Republican colleagues after scuttling a deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow lawmakers to leave town over the weekend and vote on the bill Monday.
The agreement between the leaders required the unanimous consent of members, but an unsuccessful attempt by Lee and Cruz on Friday to force a vote on a measure to defund President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration upended their plan.
The result was an extraordinary gift to Democrats, handed to them by unwitting allies: two conservative Republicans who plainly didn’t know what they were doing:
Read the full story,Utah lumpencitizens:
Let's focus further on the blowback:
Giddy Democrats could hardly believe their good fortune. Meanwhile, the other Senate Republicans – who didn’t know what Cruz and Lee were up to, and weren’t in a position to tell them what a mistake they were making – were livid. Many of them were eager to tell reporters – out loud and on the record – how badly their right-wing colleagues had screwed up. Indeed, Senate Dems posted an online collection of quotes from Republican senators bashing the Cruz/Lee gambit – and the list of quotes isn’t short. Asked for her reaction, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) added, I think this is ridiculous."

"What Democrat got thanks to Cruz and Lee: the opportunity to advance dozens of Obama nominees, some of whom might have otherwise failed.
 What Republicans got: nothing."
MSNCC reporter Steve Benen neatly sums it all up, now that the smoke has cleared from Saturday's surprisingly productive Senate session:
It didn’t have to be this way. If Cruz and Lee spent a little more time learning how the Senate works, if they’d bothered to check in with their own leaders about the chamber’s procedural rules, if they’d thought about the consequences of their actions, this would have gone much differently.
Democrats, however, are awfully appreciative of their ignorance.
And yet some folks are still asking why consciencious Utah citizens (including prominent "mainstream" Republicansstrongly support recent changes to Utah's political nomination system, changes which are squarely aimed at dumping "self-centered" and "posturing" Utah politicians. such as "erstwhile" Senator Lee.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Exclusive Poll: Majority of Utahns Support 'Count My Vote,' Oppose GOP Effort to Stop SB 54

In typical GOP fashion, the Utah GOP is now charting the course to construct its own "alternate reality"

Click to Enlarge Image
According to the latest Dan Jone poll, "Nearly 2/3 of Utahns support giving candidates a path to the primary ballot that is outside of the current caucus and convention system. 
A new statewide survey conducted by Dan Jones and Associates poll finds 62% support the "Count My Vote" effort to allow candidates to get on Utah's primary ballot through a petition rather than navigating the current caucus and convention system. Less than a third say they oppose "Count My Vote," UtahPolicy.Com reports this morning:
Utah GOP Chairman James Evans says he's not surprised by the numbers. "This poll is about the 'high-level' view of Count My Vote," he said. "These answers are not unexpected. Utahns support the idea of Count My Vote."

"Evans says they [the Utah GOP} will be in the field with their own polling beginning next week."

In typical GOP fashion, the Utah GOP is now charting the course to construct its own "alternate reality," it would seem:
"As for the numbers showing Utahns oppose the GOP lawsuit against SB 54, executive co-chair of Count My Vote, Rich McKeown said "It's been remarkable to watch a small group of people fight to preserve a system the majority clearly does not want. It's amazing to see the extent they will go to in order to preserve the status quo."

Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Readers.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune: Mike Lee Could Be Vulnerable If Count My Vote Changes Stick

Mike "Shut-down-the-government" Lee's in deep political trouble, wethinks

Tantalizing Salt Lake Tribune story, focusing on the upcoming 2016 General election, through the lens of Utah's new SB 54 dual-track political nomination system  Here are the key paragraphs:
The first crop of candidates to go through Utah’s new nominating process in 2016, if it holds up in court, will include Gov. Gary Herbert, the four Utah House members and — perhaps most notably — Sen. Mike Lee.
Herbert, according to a new poll, won’t have any problems. He’s got a 74-percent favorability rating.
Lee, though, does appear more vulnerable.
A slight majority — 52 percent — view him favorably, while 45 percent have an unfavorable impression, according to the poll released this week by the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University. Nearly one-third of those have a strongly unfavorable perception.
In fact, Lee’s overall approval rating of 52 percent is a substantial improvement from a year ago when, on the heels of waging an intense budget battle that led to the federal government shutdown, Lee’s favorability was at just 40 percent and 56 percent had an unfavorable impression, with 43 percent strongly unfavorable.
Check out the full Robert Gehrke story here:
Lee has of course been jumpin' through hoops and workin' like a dog to patch up his rock bottom approval ratings, in the interim since he and his pal Ted Cruz shut down the government in 2013:
Some politicos are still speculating about the real political motivation behind the Count My Vote movement however, according to Mr. Gehrke's story:
"To me, they just have an end game for a particular election cycle," [Utah GOP Chairman James} Evans said, although he wouldn’t name Lee specifically. "Everyone needs to ask the question: What else is going on here?"
Others are more direct.
State Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, who is committed to undoing the nominating changes in SB54, thinks the changes are squarely focused on ousting Lee. If SB54 survives, he said, he expects former Gov. Mike Leavitt, one of the founders of Count My Vote, to challenge Lee in a Republican primary.
So whaddaya think, folks? Does U.S. Senator Lee still have a giant "kick me sign" affixed to his back, despite our Utah electorate's obvious short-term memory deficit?

Our take?

Yep! Mike "Shut -down-the-government" Lee's still in deep political trouble, wethinks, notwithstanding ongoing Utah GOP shenanigans.

Remember what momma taught ya's: "You're judged by the company you keep." And moreover, while Utahns might be a mite "forgetful" from time to time, that still ain't quite the same as political amnesia, is it?

Monday, December 08, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune: Governor Herbert Lauds GOP For Suing Him - Updated

A callous disregard for the peoples' desire to improve the nominating process

By Blackrulon

I see via a story in the Salt Lake Tribune that Governor Herbert took the unusual step Saturday to "support the Utah Republican Party for suing him this week — as part of its effort to overturn the new law that changes how parties may select their nominees":
If the Governor was concerned about the law he could have vetoed the bill or allowed it to become law without his approval. It appears that he jumped on the bandwagon to approve the bill but now has received pressure to disapprove it.

Even for Utah this is a callous disregard for the peoples' desire to improve the nominating process. It seems he still fears a challenge from Becky Lockhart for governor. He is simply jumping to the far right Tea Party Wing to secure his renomination and reelection. Governor

Herbert was for SB54 before he was against it.

Update 12/10/14 10:22 a.m.: Uh-oh.  Looks like Governor Herbert has flip-flopped again:
Most excellent rimshot from Trib reader Skier Jim: "Who does Herbie think he is? Mitt Romney?"

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune: Rolly: GOP Suit Against Count My Vote Could Backfire

We're inclined to believe that Count My Vote petition negotiators capably "did their homework"

Fascinating Paul Rolly story in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune, suggesting that as the "chips fall" in the Utah GOP's anti-SB54 lawsuit, Utah GOP party boss "James Evans, with all his 'good' intentions, could be the best friend the Count My Vote advocates could have":
"...several legal experts have told me that if any part of the bill is found to infringe on a party’s constitutional rights, its the part that requires a political party to meet certain criteria in order to have its nominee on the general election ballot under that party’s official banner," Mr. Rolley reports.

Mr. Rolley sets forth those SB54 provisions which are most likely to to be vulnerable to constitutional challenge:
In order to qualify to have their nominee from the caucus/convention system appear as their designated candidate on the general election ballot, however, they must agree to certain rules set down by the law. They must change their threshold for a candidate winning the nomination at convention from 60 percent to 65 percent of the delegate vote. They also must have alternate delegates who can sub for delegates unable to attend the convention. And, they must allow unaffiliated voters to vote in their primary elections.
Mr. Rolley also identifies the statutory provisions most likely to be left intact:
Legal experts tell me that the courts have been consistent in upholding a state’s right to set the criteria for candidates getting on the ballot. More than 40 states already have some form of a direct primary. But political parties do have rights to set their own policies and rules. So if there is a chance of anything being overturned, it would be the rules imposed on the parties under SB54.
If that is struck down, however, the Count My Vote part of the bill — the signature-gathering process for direct access to the primary ballot — would still be intact because when the Legislature passed the bill, it included a severability clause. That means that if one part of the bill is declared invalid, it does not invalidate the rest of the bill.
Taking the foregoing into account, we're inclined to believe that in negotiating the SB54 compromise bill with the State Legislature, Count My Vote petition advocates capably "did their homework."

We'll be sitting on the edges of our seats,  eagerly waiting to find out whether a strong dose of "the law of unintended consequences" is in the cards for the "petulant" Utah party bosses," even in the event that the above-cited portion of SB54 is eventually struck down by the federal court, of course.

Howbout you, O Gentle WCF Readers?

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Standard-Examiner Op-Ed: Weber Commission Needs to Stop Being Disrespectful - Updated

More diplomacy and less drama, Mssrs. Bell and Gibson, please

We're less than delighted to report that there's more unfortunate "bad press" for our Weber County Commissioners Matthew Bell and Kerry Gibson this week, with yesterday's publication, in the Standard-Examiner online edition, of this relatively scathing guest commentary, reeling off a whole laundry list of recent public "faux Pas" committed by these otherwise fine "gentlemen."
Our hope is that, as a consequence of this latest instance of "bad ink," this all ends up being what's called a "teachable moment" for these two incumbent Weber County Commissioners, yes?

More diplomacy and less drama, Mssrs. Bell and Gibson, please. Keep in mind the tried and true Barry Goldwater axiom: "To disagree, one doesn't have to be disagreeable."

A word to the wise ought to be sufficient, wethink.

Just another helpful hint from your old pal Rudi, (who's fillin' in for Miss Manners this week)!

Update 12/5/14 6:00 a.m.: The Standard follows up yesterday's guest op-ed with a hard-copy edition house editorial of its own. "It was an unseemly display by the commission, which has unfortunately been mired in political spats. Commission Chairman Gibson should make an effort to lead the body in a more dignified manner," the SE editorial board intones:
Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Ones.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Wednesday Morning GOP SB54 Bait&Switch Mini News Roundup - Updated

Republican Party "civil war," anyone?

On the heels of our recent reporting concerning the ongoing GOP SB54 Bait&Switch fiasco, we'll shamelessly (but cheerfully) incorporate the following "mini news roundup," obtained via the ever politically informative UtahPolicy.Com.  Now that the petulant Utah GOP party bosses have filed their lawsuit, it seems that all hell has broken loose amongst and between the competing Utah GOP factions:
Utah's Democrats switch their position on the "Count My Vote" compromise while some GOP lawmakers support the Republican lawsuit against the law:
LaVarr Webb pens an open letter to Republicans who back the lawsuit against the CMV compromise law:
We'll continue to keep you informed, of course, as the developing political firestorm continues to engulf Utah GOP Party Chairman (and "payday" loan shark)  James Evans, et al.

Republican Party "civil war," anyone?

Update 12/2/14 1:00 p.m.: The Standard-Examiner also chimes in this morning on this topic with it's own strong editorial: "Hopefully a federal lawsuit filed Monday by the Utah Republican Party will fall flat on its face, efficiently dismissed by a judge," sez the SE editorial board:
Yep, folks, is a newspaper firing on all cylinders, wethink.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Utah GOP Sues State to Invalidate Count My Vote Changes

Tyrants? No... These GOP "party elites" are merely resorting to the courts for your own good

As a followup to our earlier reporting on the subject, we'll cast the spotlight on a couple of morning stories from the Deseret  News and the Tribune, which confirm that, true to their threat, The Utah Republican party has indeed filed its lawsuit, implementing the GOP strategy which we'll henceforth lovingly refer to as the "SB54 GOP bait&switch":
The Utah Republican Party has filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging that changes enacted during the past legislative session to the way nominees are chosen for office violate the party's constitutional rights.
"[The change] violates the party's constitutional right to free association and infringes on its rights to free speech and due process, its ability to control its own brand and message, and its authority over its endorsement, name, and emblems," argues a lawsuit filed in federal court by the GOP over the weekend.
The party is asking a federal judge to strike down SB54, which enacted the changes.
Check out the full stories here, peeps:
For the detail-oriented among us, you can check out the Utah GOP's 44-page federal complaint via this link:
Here are the plaintiff's "causes of action" in a nutshell, folks, laid out count-by-count:
  1. For Declaratory Relief Establishing The Unconstitutionality of SB54 For Violating The Party’s Rights
  2. For Injunctive Relief To Prevent The Deprivation Of Plaintiff’s Constitutional Rights
  3. Trademark Infringement
That's right, folks, our GOP "friends" are even claiming that the State Legislature has misappropriated their "party emblem":

No wonder the GOP party bosses are so "royally pissed off"

And lest you might leap to the conclusion that Chairman Evans and his ilk are behaving like "anti-democratic tyrants," remember; these GOP "party elites" are merely resorting to the courts for your own good. By denying you the right to directly participate in the Utah political nominations process, and by clinging to their precious "insider-driven" caucus/convention system, they're merely attempting to protect you lumpen Utah "sheeple" from yourselves, after all, right?

We'll keep you all posted as this case develops, and will keep our eyes peeled for the State of Utah's responsive pleading, once it pops up on the "interwebs," of course.

© 2005 - 2014 Weber County Forum™ -- All Rights Reserved