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.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Standard-Examiner: AUDIO: Hearing Gets Ugly Over Proposed Weber Recorder Cuts

A mere tempest in a teapot?  Or would Commissioners Bell and Gibson possibly benefit from a brief but intensive enrollment in charm school "boot camp?"

Thanks to a nudge from one of our gentle Weber County Forum readers, we'll cast the spotlight this morning on Wednesday's Standard-Examiner story, which memorializes Tuesday's Weber County Commission meeting, wherein "[s]parks flew as Weber County commissioners discussed the recorder/surveyor’s 2015 budget, laying bare factions that have simmered within the county for several months":
“We care, there’s no question” “The first thing I was told by your new appointed person, ‘why don’t you come over and run our office or show us how to do it.’ We’ll be happy to if that’s what you want. We’ll come over and do that, but that was a ridiculous statement,” “Figure out who’s going to run your office over there, pick a person, hopefully it’s you (Kilts), you’re the elected person,” “[I'm] really concerned about what kind of leadership we’re going to have in that office.”Sez Commissioner Matthew Bell.

“It’s a partnership, it’s a collaboration and I think that we need to get that straight right now that there is full confidence in the person that is elected, and you are equal in power,” [Commissioner] Zogmaister told Bell.
[Commissioner] Gibson, who frequently runs interference between Bell and Zogmaister, jumped in.
“You know what? I’m going to call that one garbage,” Gibson said as Bell interjected “Yes!” in the background.

Down in the lower comments seaction, one Standard-Examiner reader even suggests that "It seems these gentlemen commissioners have a problem working with women." Imagine that!

So whattaya think, folks?  A mere tempest in a teapot?  Or would Commissioners Bell and Gibson possibly benefit from a brief but intensive enrollment in charm school "boot camp?"

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Agrees to Pay Attorney Fees in Same-sex Marriage Benefits Case

Utah Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Missy Larsen: "The order speaks for itself"

Heartwarming story Jessica Miller/Hessica Dobner story from the Salt Lake Tribune:
The state of Utah will pay attorney fees for the plaintiffs in the Evans v. Utah case, which sought spousal benefits for same-sex couples wed in the Beehive State during a 17-day window when their unions were temporarily legal.
The state will pay $95,000 to attorneys for the eight plaintiffs, according to an order signed by U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball on Monday.
The order also makes permanent, a temporary injunction Kimball issued last May, directing the state to recognize the marriages and officially closes the case.
Here's Ms. Miller's full writeup:
"Utah Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Missy Larsen declined to comment, saying the order speaks for itself."


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune: GOP to Sue Over Deal That Lets Candidates Skip Utah’s Caucus System - Updated

No doubt about it; these latest Utah GOP power-grabbing maneuvers will be a true marvel to behold

Upon the publication of yesterday's Weber County Forum story, reporting on rumors about Utah GOP "legislative and legal plans to gut the law and obstruct intent of the compromise Count My Vote law, passed overwhelmingly in the 2014 Legislative Session, empowering voters by giving candidates an alternative path to the primary election ballot," little did we realize that we'd be following up on new developments a mere 24 hours later. The staff of the Tribune have been working like dogs on this story however.  So here's the latest, via the Trib's Robert Gehrke. Now that the November elections are in the past tense, it appears that the Utah GOP party bosses are pulling out all the stops and moving full speed ahead.Here's Mr. Gehrke's introductory lede to this morning's eye-popping Trib story, for starters:
The Utah Republican Party plans to file a lawsuit Wednesday, asking a judge to declare unconstitutional a deal to let candidates compete for the party nomination while circumventing the party's convention process.
Meantime, a state senator and opponent of the deal, Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, said he will once again sponsor legislation that would essentially obliterate the agreement, allowing parties to make their own rules when it comes to nominating candidates.
Here's the full story, Utah Sheeple:
Here's the nitty-gritty:
The GOP plans to argue in its lawsuit that attempts by the state to dictate the organization’s nominating process violates its First Amendment right to free association.
"My position has always been that the government doesn't have the authority to dictate how we select our nominees, period," said Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans. "A court will clearly have to define those boundaries and, absent that, the only boundary we have is what was passed in the law, and that is simply not constitutionally appropriate."
The lawsuit has been a long time coming and is a strategy that has twice been endorsed by the party's governing body and once received a vote of support from delegates. Evans said he plans to file the suit on behalf of the party on Wednesday.
It will then fall to the attorney general and the lieutenant governor to defend the law, SB54, a compromise with the Count My Vote group that received broad support during the legislative session.
And here's the addition kicker:
[Weber County's own Senator Scott] Jenkins, meantime, said Monday he will once again introduce a proposed amendment to the Utah Constitution which would plainly state that parties can pick their nominees any way they want, without interference from the state.
It would, in essence, wipe out the agreement struck in SB54.
"That dings Count My Vote pretty hard," he said.
Jenkins said he also plans to sponsor a bill that allows parties to decide who is allowed on their party primary ballot, even if the state is paying for the primaries.
Mr Gehreke further reports that "'Kirk Jowers, one of the leaders of the Count My Vote movement, said he has met with representatives from both [the Governor's and Attorney General's?] state offices and they have assured him they would defend the law 'with vigor.' 'We anticipate the state defending its law forcefully,' Jowers, an attorney, said. 'I think there really is zero legal question on the heart and soul of SB54.'"

We dunno, folks. Somehow Mr. Jowers's reassurances sound a mite like "whistling in the dark," No? The underlying fact that the Utah Governor and Attorney General are Republicans in this circumstance doesn't exactly inspire confidence, does it?

We'll keep you all posted on what we anticipate to be fast-breaking developments, of course.

No doubt about it; these latest Utah GOP power-grabbing maneuvers will be a true marvel to behold.

Update 11/26/14 9:20 a.m.: The Tribune chimes in this morning with a strong editorial, urging that SB54 should stand. "It was a reasonable compromise that should, at the very least, get a full election cycle tryout," says the Trib editorial board:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune Op-ed: Insiders Working to Kill ‘Count My Vote’ Reforms

Stripped of their former stranglehold over the Utah political nomination process, it seems that some GOP political insiders will stop at nothing to put themselves back in the drivers seat

Uh-oh folks. Seems that foes of Utah's March 2014 "Count My Vote" legislative compromise, which "statutorily established a sensible two-track system for Utah political nominations." remain hard at work, behind the scenes, attempting to once again re-establish plutocratic Republican Party "insider control" of the Utah political nomination process, according to one informative Saturday (11/22/14) Salt Lake Tribune op-ed.  Here's contributing author Kirk Jowers's introductory lede:
Senate Bill 54, the compromise Count My Vote law, passed overwhelmingly in the 2014 Legislative Session, empowering voters by giving candidates an alternative path to the primary election ballot. Now, I hear rumblings about legislative and legal plans to gut the law and obstruct its intent.
Check out Mr. Jowers's eye-opening full writeup, Weber County Forum political wonks, which describes possible new upcoming legislation, a possible lawsuit, along with a useful historical summary of "how we got here":
"If such an act of bad faith is attempted, it would trigger public uproar, risk a gubernatorial veto and prompt a major referendum campaign challenge," Mr. Jowers opines, quite rightly..

Back in April, we posted this:
And in a move which we'll characterize as a demonstration of exceedingly bad sportsmanship, it seems that the GOP crackpot faction ram-rodded through a convention resolution which would, if successful, reverse the landmark "Count My Vote" legislative compromise achieved during the 2014 Utah legislative session, which broke the GOP "extremist" nominations stranglehold, and statutorily established a sensible two-track system for Utah political nominations:
In the wake of the passage of this resolution, state GOP leadership remains "cagey" about precisely how this revisionary tactic would be implemented.  Nevertheless, we're sure that everybody will agree that the development of this story will be interesting to watch.
Consider yourselves "updated," folks. Stripped of their former stranglehold over the Utah political nomination process, it seems that some GOP political insiders will stop at nothing to put themselves back in the drivers seat.

This behavior is "exceedingly unsportmanlike," to say the very least.

We'll continue to carefully monitor this sleazy situation as it continues to develop, of course.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weber State University Game Day Thread: WSU v. ISU - Updated

“This game is an absolute critical part to our future,” says Weber State head coach Jay Hill.

With back-to-back wins the Weber State football squad will look to end its season on a streak as the Wildcats take on longtime rival Idaho State University this afternoon. Weber State will play the Bengals today at 2:30 p.m. in Holt Arena in Pocatello. Weber State sits at 2-9 on the season and 2-5 in Big Sky play, following last Saturday’s 34-21 win over Northern Colorado. Idaho State sits at 7-4 overall and is 5-2 in Big Sky Conference play. The Bengals still have hopes to qualify for the FCS Playoffs.

The Northern Utah media is all over the pre-game coverage:
Even the Tribune is getting in on the act:
You can follow the game online, via the usual live-streaming sources, of course:
In the wake of the 'Cats two-game winning streak, our  2-9 'Cats are pegged as (get this)  14-point favorites!

The Standard's Brandon Garside neatly sums it up, we think, concerning what's at stake for the Wildcats on the Holt Arena gridiron this afternoon:
“This game is an absolute critical part to our future,” says Weber State head coach Jay Hill. “I think it’s big for us to have all this momentum going into next season, and into recruiting. Our players know it’s big, and obviously Idaho State knows its big.”
Although the Wildcats haven’t lost to the Bengals since 2002, getting a win will be a challenging task, as the Bengals have yet to lose inside Holt Arena this season.
They’re 5-0 at home, so being able to get a win in their dome is a big deal,” said WSU defensive coordinator Justin Ena. “It also carries a lot of momentum into the offseason. Guys believe not only in the program, but in themselves. Our guys have gained a lot of confidence, and if they can just keep on being confident and just doing their job, we’ll be successful.”
GO!  Wildcats!

Update 11/22.14 5:00 pm Whatta a disastster , Wildcats fans: Wildcats fall to the Bengals,  46-28.

Update 11/23/14 8:00 a.m.: The Standard's Brandon Garside provides the post-game story:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune: Ex-Utah AG Swallow Faces a New Felony Charge

Sodden question: What other yet-uncharged allegations does SLC D.A. Sim Gill  have still simmerin' on the back burner?

On the heels of yesterday's news that Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings filed a motion in 3rd District Court to drop a charge for racketeering against former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, we learn from the Salt Lake Tribune this morning that Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has now upped the prosecutorial ante, with new criminal charge filed against John Swallow, Shurtleff's A.G. successor, and former co-defendant. Here's the lede from this morning's Jennifer Bobbner story:
Embattled former Utah Attorney General John Swallow faces a new felony charge for allegedly taking a Nevada houseboat trip paid for by a campaign contributor whom he also had defended in a state consumer protection investigation.
The new charge — a second-degree felony count of accepting a gift — brings the total tally against Swallow to 14 and reflects the nature of an ongoing probe, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said.
The charge, filed Thursday in 3rd District Court, is tied to a five-day Lake Mead houseboat trip prosecutors say Swallow took with his family in June 2010, while he was then-Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s chief deputy, at the expense of Jared Pierce.
Read up, peeps:
"It didn’t surprise us. We knew that it would be coming along," Swallow’s attorney, Stephen McCaughey, said of the new charge, thus triggering the question:  "What other yet-uncharged allegations does SLC D.A. Sim Gill have still simmerin' on the back burner?"

Thursday, November 20, 2014

KSL News: Prosecutors Ask Judge to Drop Racketeering Charge Against Shurtleff

The downside for Shurtleff? Davis County prosecuter Troy Rawlings plainly believes the nine other remaining criminal charges will "stick."

KSL news is reporting an interesting development in the Mark Shurtleff case, wherein the former Utah Attorney General had been charged with ten criminal counts of "public corruption":
SALT LAKE CITY — State prosecutors asked a judge Wednesday to dismiss one of the 10 felony public corruption charges against former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings filed a motion in 3rd District Court to drop a charge for racketeering, saying the state doesn't have a "reasonable probability" of convicting Shurtleff of that charge. He asked Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills to dismiss the second-degree felony charge without prejudice, meaning prosecutors could bring it back.
Shurtleff [still] faces nine other felonies, including bribery, illegally accepting gifts, improper use of employee position and obstructing justice.
Check out the full video story here:
"Shurtleff said he was pleased with the decision to drop the racketeering charge," KSL's Dennis Romboy further reports.

The downside for Shurtleff? Davis County prosecuter Troy Rawlings plainly believes the nine other remaining criminal charges will "stick."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Standard-Examiner: WSU VIOLATIONS: Math Teacher Completes Coursework for Football Players

Oh Dang! No sooner does the Weber State football program show signs of getting back on its feet, we receive this disturbing news, via the Standard-Examiner:
Whattabummer, eh 'Cats fans?

This is possibly worst news we Wildcats could receive, wethinks, as Coach Hill tries to rebuild the Wildcats into a Big Sky Conference "football power."

"DANG" pretty much sums it up, eh, my fellow WSU Wildcats Fans? Our WCF take? These academic fraud allegations may "fester, " just as they did many times for other colleges. Here are the most recent of many telling recent collegiate academic fraud examples however, for what it's worth,. Keep in mind that thisw is only one story of many.
Read up.WSU Football fans!
Update 11/20/14 7:20 a.m.: The Standard's sports-beat writer Jim Burton chimes in this morning with his own illuminating follow-up column:
Don't let the cat get your tongues, Wildcats fans!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Exclusive Poll: Utah's Liquor Laws Hurt Tourism and Economic Development

Peculiar" state we live in, innit?

Click to Enlarge Image
To kick off our Monday morning WCF discussion, we'll shine the spotlight on a last week's poll, which revealed, among other things, that "[a] solid majority of Utahns say the state's liquor laws hurt economic development and tourism in the state. Our poll finds 69% of Utahns feel the state's restrictive liquor laws put a damper on economic development and tourism":
Just like clockwork. the "telling" polling results concerning this Utah "hot button" issue provoked the Salt Lake Tribune to then unleash a flurry of followup stories and editorial commentary:
Governor Herbert ain't buying this new polling evidence however. Herbert "thinks Utah's liquor laws are effective and not hampering the economy, as some have argued." Herbert no doubt doesn't "give a fig" what Utah Lumpencitizens "think," we suppose :
Nevertheless, for the benefit of any WCF readers who may be concerned about our Zion's Zions's Curtain Law"silly", we invite you to check out the below-linked Salt Lake Tribune video story: featuring Utah House Representative Craig Powell, the GOP state legislator who plans to again run (for the third time) a "Zion Curtain repeal bill" during the 2015 Utah legislative session, as he and Melva Sine, ot the Utah Restaurant Association, now grapple with and "flesh out" the competing Zion's Curtain issue(s):
Alas, this 30-minute question and answer-style video presentation did not include input from the single Utah liquor law "stakeholder" whom, in the final analysis, will, in truth be "calling the shots." 

Keep your eyes on this space, O Gentle Readers, as we follow Representative Powell's courageous attempt to move his "remedial" bill forward through the 2015 "Churchislature."

"Peculiar" state we live in, innit?

Update 11/17/14 5:00 p.m.: Even the Standard Examiner editorial board is getting in on the act:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Weber State University Game Day Thread: UNC v. WSU - Updated

Having finally tasted sweet victory on the road last week, here's hoping the Wildcats are resolved to make winning a habit!

Fresh off its first win of the season, the Weber State football squad returns home for the final home game of the year as the Wildcats host the Northern Colorado Bears this afternoon at Stewart Stadium. Today's game will begin at 1 p.m. and will be Senior Day and Jamie Martin Day.
Weber State sits at 1-9 on the season and 1-5 in Big Sky play, following Saturday’s 24-12 victory at North Dakota.
Northern Colorado is 3-6 overall and 2-4 in conference play. The Bears are coming off a bye week last week.

Check out the WSU website for the full pregame story:
After sitting it out last week, the Standard is back on the bandwagon with it own pre-game hype:
'Cats fans who can't make it to the stadium this chilly afternoon can follow the game via these live-streaming sources:
Surprise of surprises, our  1-9 'Cats are pegged as 5-point favorites!

Having finally tasted sweet victory on the road last week, here's hoping the Wildcats are resolved to make winning a habit! .

GO!  Wildcats!

Update 11/15/14 4:10 p.m.: Weber State whoops Northern Arizona by a score of  34-21.  Next WSU Wildcats victim? Idaho State U.

Update 11/15/14 5:40 p.m.:  It's victory again for our boyz in Purple and White:
And here's a little something even more uplifting, straight from the WSU website...

Yeah, Wildcats!

Added bounus 11/15/15 9:21 p.m: Actually, it's been a pretty good weekend for Utah College Football, all-in-all:
GO Utah Football Programs!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Standard-Examiner: Our View: Politics and Religion

Back to the Deacon's Quorum for the twisted Bishop Paredes, we say
No one is de­ny­ing Pare­des, or any­one else, the right to crit­i­cize pols or take po­lit­i­cal stances. What’s be­ing crit­i­cized is the id­i­ocy of claim­ing that Sena­tor Reid is not a wor­thy Mor­mon be­cause he is a Dem­o­crat. That is an ob­nox­ious, back­wards sen­ti­ment that should be shunned by any sen­si­ble mem­ber of the Mor­mon faith, re­gard­less of party. One hopes that the ig­no­rance of us­ing party af­fil­i­a­tion to de­ter­mine some­one’s “rig­teous­ness” is an idea that will wither away.
Be­ing in­volved in the po­lit­i­cal pro­cess, whether as a Re­pub­li­can, Dem­o­crat, in­de­pen­dent, or with a third party, is most of­ten an ex­pres­sion of pa­tri­o­tism as well as al­tru­ism. It’s an ef­fort to im­prove our na­tion. When one falls into the ma­li­cious trap of in­ter­pret­ing di­verse opin­ions and stances as un­righ­teous, it is an un­healthy, ar­ro­gant abuse of both po­lit­i­cal and re­li­gious tol­er­ance and de­cency.
Standard-Examiner Editorial Board
Our View: Politics and religion
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Top-shelf editorial from this morning's SE hard-copy edition:
Our Weber County Forum view? This nitwit John Parades should be stripped by "The 'true' Church" of all his heretofore LDS church  "vestments."

Back to the Deacon's Quorum for Bishop Paredes, we say.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Standard-Examiner: Lack of Diversity in Ogden Police Draws Criticism

So what about it Weber County folk? Who's willing to advance their own solutions to further promote ethnic/racial diversity in our local police agencies?

To kickstart our Thursday Weber County Forum discussion, we'll highlight a couple of  Standard-Examiner items appearing during the past week, addressing the ethnic/racial makeup of the our local police agencies, particularly our Ogden Police department.

"Ogden City Police released demographics of their police force to the Standard-Examiner that revealed there are only two Hispanic officers in the department versus 130 Caucasian officers. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Ogden City’s population is 30 percent Hispanic/Latino.
The Weber County Sheriff’s Office also released stats indicating that they had four Hispanic employees in law enforcement out of 83, and 13 in the corrections department out of 286 people," SE reporter Andreas Rivera reports:
Although local law enforcement top brass say they are "always interested in hiring individuals with varying ethnic backgrounds to provide us an improved ability to communicate with many different folks as we serve the public," Ogden Police Deputy Director of Administration John Harvey says that "the department hires anyone with the right skills and interest in a law enforcement career, but that there just haven't been a lot of applicants from the Latino community."

Ogden Officer Jamie Garcia, a 22-year (OPD) veteran, names one possible factor accounting for the apparent lack of minority applicants. ”A lot of it depends on their own background, if you've had someone whose had poor experiences with law enforcement, whether it was in Salt Lake or in Mexico, then you can have (recruiting) difficulties,“ Garcia said.

And here's an more coherent and expanded version of Officer Garcia's outtake, via another online source: “If you were taught from the time that you could speak, from the time that you could understand speech, that police are to be feared and that they’re part of an occupying force that is there to circumvent the democratic processes and to strip you of your rights, then it’s very difficult for that department to come into your neighborhood and tell you that they respect you and that you should join their team,” says Phillip Atiba Goff, co-founder and president of The Center for Policing Equity at the University of California, Los Angeles. Achieving diversity in police ranks no easy task

Local advocate and former member of the Ogden Civil Service Commission, Christina Morales demurs however; and opines that a lack of applicants and interest is no excuse for such a disparity.
“They need unique recruiting ideas. Look at the cities with lots of Hispanic police officers and see how they do it,” Morales said. “If you have more ethnic officers, then you can recruit even more once they see more of their own in their local police department.”

And just like clockwork, the Standard-Examiner chimes in with its strong editorial opinion yesterday morning, "Critics are correct that the Ogden Police Department should recruit more Hispanics to its force. Junction City’s population is 30 percent Hispanic, yet there are only two Hispanic officers in the department compared to 130 Caucasian officers. An increase in Hispanic police officers would draw benefits in community policing, as well as many other advantages.
We’re not calling for a type of affirmative action, or preferences. Rather, we’re optimistic that there are enough qualified, talented law enforcement personnel who are Hispanic to choose from. But it requires diligence in recruiting. To be honest, most businesses, including the Standard-Examiner, need to increase efforts and work harder to attract qualified persons of color" the SE Editorial Board intones:
So assuming that achieving an ethnic/racial balance within our local police agencies, which mirrors, to some extent at least, the demographic makeup of our local communities is a worthy goal (and we believe it is,) how do we go about recruiting and hiring more minority police officers?  In that connection, we'll go along with Ms. Morales, and take a quick  "[l]ook at the cities with lots of Hispanic police officers and see how they do it,”

1) The Austin Police Department (TX) has formed a Hispanic Advisory Committee, to pass out fliers, produce radio commercials and ad campaigns and set up tables at campuses and community events in an effort to bring more diversity to the department:
2) Elgin City's (IL) police brass are approaching the problem by casting a "(much) wider" recruitment net:
3) Pittsburg (PA) is re-examining "onerous" residency requirements:
OK folks,  these are a few ideas, among many.  So what about it Weber County folk?  Who's willing to advance their own solutions to further promote etrhnic/racial diversity in our local police agencies?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ogden City Elected Officials Seek a 10% Pay Hike, Whilst The Standard-Examiner Dissents

Sodden query to the Ogden City Council:"What's the matter? Are you suffering from a self-esteem problem?"

Here's an interesting Ogden City-centered Standard-Examiner story, which we've kept on the back-burner for a week or so, as we awaited further story developments. "Ogden City thinks it’s time for their elected officials to get a raise," SE news sleuth Mitch Shaw reported last Friday.
Specifically "[t]he city is proposing a 10 percent cost of living and merit increase for its mayor position and seven council seats. If instituted, the pay increases would go into effect January 2016, just after the November 2015 election where the mayor’s position and three council seats are up for grabs, according to Mr. Shaw's above-linked 10/31/12 report.

Cutting to the chase, "If the proposed 10 percent pay raises are approved, the mayor’s salary would increase to $119,742. The council chair would make $15,272, the vice chair would make $14,176, with remaining council members making $13,068"

Surely as the night follows the day, the Standard-Examiner editorial board yesterday followed up on this brewing story with yesterday's editorial, assuming the role of the tight-fisted Ogden City watchdog. "Ogden should not increase the salaries of its mayor and city council members by 10 percent. That is simply too high a raise in today’s economic environment," says the Standard-Examiner.
For those finicky readers among us, we provide the link to the Ogden City Council's October 28 packet, where the details of this salary-hike proposal are laid out in full.  It's an interesting read, demonstrating that city officials and staff have definitely done their homework:  
By way of background we ran through this whole rigmarole in 2010, the last time Ogden elected officials' salary increases were on the table, with our article series treating the subject:
Our take? As we unequivocally said in 2010, we believe "(Ogden) Council salaries... remain at rock bottom among all Utah cities which which are governed under the Utah mayor-council form."  In this respect, therefore, we differ with at least part of the SE's cautious assessment of this measure. Current Council salaries still remain "way" too low, in our opinion, and will still remain out of kilter, compared to Council salaries in other comparable Utah cities, even with the proposed new pay increases enacted in full. Thus once again, we'll ask our Ogden City Council, just as we did in 2010: "What's the matter?  Are you suffering from a self-esteem problem?"

As for Mayor Mike's current $108,856 salary (plus benefits), we think our Ogden City Mayor is doing just fine, compensation-wise.  And thus, and in that respect, we agree with the tight-fisted Standard-Examiner, in arguing that a 10% pay increase is WAY "too much, in this economy.".

So what are your own takes on this, O Gentle Ones?

The world-wide web eagerly awaits your ever-savvy comments.

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