Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Funnies: Utah GOP Settles ‘Civil War’ over SB54

There's blockbuster political news this morning concerning the ongoing SB 54 squabble, as Northern Utah media report that "the bickering factions of the state Republican Party put aside their differences and took steps to ensure that the party will be able to have its candidates on the ballot in 2016."

Here's the lede, via Fox 13 News:
TAYLORSVILLE — It appears Republicans will be on the ballot in 2016 in one of the reddest of red states.
The Utah Republican Party’s Central Committee voted to comply with a new election law during a special meeting here on Saturday. The vote by an overwhelming number of committee members may end an internal party fight over the direction of the state’s most powerful political party.
Read the delightful full morning stories, folks:
"For all the complaints of, 'we don't have enough time,' they sure got that done quick. Now drop the lawsuit UTGOP and deal with [reality as it exists,"] sez one savvy Trib reader.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Standard-Examiner: Cities Gear Up For Candidate Filing Period Next Week

Needless to say, Weber County Forum is champing at the bit to get rolling with our 2015 Ogden Municipal Election coverage, with the same highly detailed reporting which we've provided over the past ten years

Lo and behold folks,  We're delighted to shine the spotlight on this morning's Cathy McKitrick story, heralding the beginning of the 2015 municipal election season.  Ms. McKitrick provides a robust writeup in this morning's Standard-Examiner, providing a preview of a few of the races lining up for November's Ogden City Elections, among other things. Here's the lede, peeps:
OGDEN — In odd-numbered years, residents get the chance to either run for municipal office or cast votes to determine who will occupy some of their city council seats.
And in two Utah cities — Salt Lake City and Ogden — mayors come up for re-election this year as well. In January, Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell announced that he would seek a second term... With municipal primaries scheduled for Aug. 11, Top of Utah municipal candidates have from Monday, June 1 to the following Monday, June 8 to file for office with their respective cities.
Check out the full story, Weber County Forum readers:
Sadly, veteran At Large Seat C's Councilwoman Amy Wicks will be stepping down:
“I think 12 years is as long as somebody should serve in that position,” Wicks told the Standard-Examiner. “I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, and that maybe it’s time for some new blood. We don’t have term limits but I’m going to impose those on myself.”
During those dozen years, Wicks said that several pieces came together to improve economic opportunities in Ogden, make it safer and expand amenities that draw people in and enhance quality of life in the city.
“I’ve enjoyed serving Ogden, and getting to know a lot of great people who are doing great things for the community,” Wicks said.
One task Wicks views as a loose thread is the inability to search minutes on the city’s website.
“I’ve been bringing that up for a couple of years now, and have been told it’s part of the website revamp,” Wicks said.
But in her book, that’s not acceptable.
“I hope that whoever fills my shoes will work in the spirit of transparency and inclusion of all members in the community,” Wicks said.
 Ward 4's Councilwoman Caitlin Gochnour will not be running again either:
Caitlin Gochnour, who is finishing her second term representing Ogden’s Ward 4, told the Standard-Examiner Thursday that she would not run for re-election.
“It was a really hard decision, and it will be difficult to step away from so many projects that I care so much about,” Gochnour said. “But I personally believe in term limits, self-imposed in my case.”
Gochnour said she now has a heightened appreciation for the democratic process: “It’s an opportunity for regular citizens like me to participate.”
Ward 2's Councilman Richard Hyer will be looking for a second term:
Ogden City Council Chairman Richard Hyer said Thursday that he intends to file next week for a second term. Before getting elected to the Ward 2 council seat in 2011, Hyer served 16 years on Ogden’s Planning Commission.
“I do enjoy serving the citizens of Ward 2,” Hyer said, “and I think I’m helping to make sure the city services get equally balanced throughout the whole community, and that the north end is getting some recognition.”
Ms. Mckitrick also puts the focus on newcomer Council hopeful, Luis Lopez:
Luis Lopez, director of the Community Education Center at Weber State University, will likely be among the first to file for Ogden’s at-large council seat being vacated by Amy Wicks, who is finishing her third term this year. Lopez is hosting his first campaign event on Saturday (May 30) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Sonora Grill, 2310 Kiesel Ave., Ogden. There, he intends to unveil his website,, and candidate Facebook page, Luis Lopez for City Council.
Ogden City residents who might be interested in throwing in their own hats for available elected Ogden City seats can find the information they need for candidate filings via the Ogden City website:
Added bonus via Utah Politico Hub:
Needless to say, Weber County Forum is champing at the bit to get rolling with our 2015 Ogden Municipal Election coverage, with the same highly detailed level of reporting which we've provided over the past ten years.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

High Country News: The Taxpayer Money That Fuels Federal Land Transfer Demands

Something to seriously consider, as Weber County Commissioner Matthew Bell stands for re-election in November 2016, wethink

As a followup to our recent reporting concerning Utah House Rep. Ken Ivory's Utah-based American Land Council (ALC) and its feverish behind the scenes efforts to to seize and sell off America’s national forests and other public lands, we stumbled upon this gem of an artice from High Country News, detailing the manner in which this shadowy group finances its lobbying in various state legislatures

Here's the lede, Peeps:
Since 2012, the American Lands Council has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to advocate and lobby for the transfer of federal lands to states. Such a move could dramatically change how these lands are managed, affecting anybody who makes a living in, lives near, recreates in, or simply loves the notion of public lands in the West. But who finances the demands?
The Utah-based American Lands Council, or ALC, is mostly funded by memberships, the majority of which are county commissions—that is, taxpayer-funded dues. In 2013, the last year for which records are available, the non-profit raised around $200,000 in contributions. About $157,000 of that came from memberships; $134,000 of that came from the coffers of counties. (Much of the rest comes from contributions from individuals and corporations, including Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing think tank supported by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.) Membership ranges from a “bronze” level, which costs $1,000 a year, to “platinum,” which costs $25,000 a year [Emphasis added].
Read the full story, folks:
Here's the kicker, Weber County residents:
Below here is a list of counties where taxpayers have helped support the American Lands Council’s agenda — whether they know it or not:
...Utah: Beaver, Box Elder, Cache, Dagget, Duchesne, Garfield, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Morgan, Piute, Rich, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Tooele, Uintah, Utah, Washington, and Weber
That's right, folks. Our "generous" Weber County Commission is kicking in $5,000 per year in Weber County taxpayer funds to help finance Representive Ivory's land-grab (whether you knew it or not). Here's the proof, straight from ALC's own website:
Something to seriously consider, as Weber County Commissioner Matt Bell stands for re-election in November 2016, wethink.

And what say you, O Gentle Ones?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Standard-Examiner: Wolf Creek Files Eminent Domain Action Against Summit

Looks like "peace-makin"" ain't in the cards

In the interest of kickstarting a possible WCF discussion, we'll take note of an interesting development in what we've labelled the ongoing Ogden Valley "Water War." Specifically, Standard-Examiner reporter Cathy McKitrick reported over the weekend that "[t]he Wolf Creek Water & Sewer Improvement District has launched eminent domain proceedings against Summit [Powder Mountain Group], in an effort to gain control of the land [five or six acres] on which the district’s sewer treatment plant, lagoons and irrigation pond sit, " [Links added].

Check out Ms. McKitrick's full story, folks:
Cutting to the chase, here's a nice thumbnail synopsis of the legal requirements of Utah eminent domain law, for the benefit of those Weber County Forum readers (Ogden Valley residents in particular) who may have a keen interest in carefully following and interpreting this fast developing story:
Upon our initial review of these above rules, it appears that Wolf Creek Water & Sewer Improvement District has already satisfied the the pre-condemnation requirements for the initiation of an eminent domain proceeding,and that this matter is now "ripe" for adjudication in Ogden's 2d Utah District Court.

A possible "fly in the ointment?" Summit has a concurrent unlawful detainer (eviction) action still pending against Wolf Creek Water & Sewer Improvement District, concerning the same "subject" property. The ultimate irony, of course, would be a scenario wherein Summit might manage to oust  Wolf Creek Water & Sewer Improvement District in this eviction action, prior the the Wolf Creek District's perfection of its separate condemnation action.

Several weeks ago the Standard-Examiner urged these two warring Ogden Valley entities to "bury the hatchet":
Sadly folks, that's just the opposite of what's happening at this juncture.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Happy Birthday to Us!

Thanks, Weber County Forum readers!

Why it seems like only yesterday that we were introducing Weber County Forum to the lumpencitizens of northern Utah; but whaddaya know, we celebrate WCF's 10th anniversary today.

Happy Birthday To Us!

We'll thus take this opportunity to offer our heartfelt thanks to the political wonks who've given us their enthusiastic support over these past ten years.  We believe that all-in-all, our little home-town blog has proven to be an important and unique community resource.

We couldn't have reached this important milestone, and accomplished the many significant things which we've achieved without the robust contributions of all of you who've stuck with us since our initial founding on May 15, 2005.

Thanks, Weber County Forum readers!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Surprise of Surprises: Utah GOP Suddenly Plans to "Move Toward" Complying with New Election Law - Updated

What a difference a day makes, eh gentle readers?

In the aftermath of Monday's WCF story, wherein we revealed that Chairman James Evans of the Utah GOP was conducting a survey to tap the lumpencitzens' opinions in re the his party's ongoing interest in thwarting the percived ill effects of the new SB54 "dual track"political nominations law, we find these two illuminating stories in the Utah online media today, seemingly indicating that stubborn Utah GOP "leadership" seems suddenly poised to engage in a major, 180-degree flip-flop.

"It doesn't mean we have to accept [the new law] or we have to approve it was done, but we have a responsibility as a governing body and the delegates have a responsibility to make sure we can be prepared for 2016 and it's my responsibility to make sure we can get to that point," GOP state party Chairman James Evans reluctantly admitted Tuesday.

Read up, folks.
What a difference a day makes, eh gentle readers, now that early polling results are rolling in, especially with GOP Chairman James Evans now realizing that he has a sane August GOP convention challenger breathing down is throat?
And BTW, here's another link to the ongoing GOP SB54 survey, for those possibly "neglectful" WCF readers who might have forgotten to throw in their own 2¢:
Update 5/14/15 8:00 a.m.: Republican leaders say they have a lot of lobbying to do in order get delegates on board with the changes required by the "Count My Vote" compromise that passed the legislature last year:
Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Ones.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Terrible Negotiating Strategy: The Utah Republican Party Goes All or Nothing on SB 54

To his friend James Evans, Lockhart would say that his legacy hangs in the balance.

On the heels of Utah GOP heavyweight Dan Liljenquist's scathing 05/0215 Deseret News guest editorial, former Utah GOP Chairman Stan Lockhart unleashed another blictering critique of current GOP "leadership's" handling of the SB54 candidate nomination compromise "problem" on the pages of Utah Politico Hub yesterday afternoon.

"Utah has gone over the last several decades from one of the highest voter participation States to one of the lowest. Endless debate abounds as to the reasons why," Mr. Lockhart asks. "[Because The Utah] Republican Party has demonstrated over and over again the last three years that they have no interest in more voter participation," he quite properly concludes.

Read up folks. We do believe Mr. Lockhart squarely "nails it":
Mr. Lockhart neatly ties it all up in his summary paragraphs, wethink:
The Utah Republican Party’s most recent proposals of a $10,000 fee for candidates to run as Republicans and a purity test for all Republican candidates are just more evidence of being out of touch with reality. This exclusionary thinking goes against the fundamental purpose of a political Party and makes the Party irrelevant in the entire discussion of getting more people involved in Utah’s political process. The more the Party makes outlandish proposals, the more they prove the CMV hypothesis that those with power within the Utah Republican Party are so power-hungry they won’t give up that power even if by doing so more Utah voters will get involved. It is a sad state of affairs. 
Many say that all of this Republican Party dysfunction is a failure of Party leadership to lead. As a former Republican Party Chair, I know just how difficult it is to lead a Party. The most difficult responsibility of a Party Chair is to propose Party direction that challenges Central Committee preference. Almost all Chairs face that dilemma and their legacy becomes how they handled those difficult issues. To my friend James Evans, I would say that his legacy hangs in the balance.
Our take? James. Evans' very survival as State GOP Chairman hangs in the balance, as Utah GOP warhorses such as Mr. Lockhart keep "piling on," (if you take our meaning):
Comments anyone? Ferris?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Online Survey: Utah Lumpencitizens Urged to Weigh in on GOP Candidate Requirements

We urge all Weber County Forum political wonks to throw in your own 2¢, inasmuch as befuddled Utah GOP "leadership" was gracious enough to ask

Well lookie here, folks. In its tireless effort to avoid the perceived ill effects of the of the SB54 candidate nomination compromise, the Utah GOP is conducting a survey.  Here's the lede from Lisa Riley Roche's full Deseret News story:
MURRAY — Salt Lake County GOP delegates were urged Saturday to participate in a state party survey about what requirements candidates must meet to run as Republicans under a new law being challenged in court.
"We do have to move forward and prepare for 2016," Utah GOP Chairman James Evans told the more than 1,000 county delegates gathered at Cottonwood High School for their annual convention.
He said the party can't afford to lose its focus on the upcoming election "because we don't want a Democrat to gain even an inch in Salt Lake County or anywhere else in this state."
Read the full story, O Gentle Readers:
Here's the "nitty-gritty":
The state party survey, which went out last week, lets Republicans weigh in on some of the controversial proposals that have surfaced to deal with changes made to the candidate nominating process in SB54.
The proposals include requiring would-be Republican candidates to meet with party officials, attest to their support of the party platform and, for the first time, pay a yet-to-be determined fee before being allowed to run.
The survey also asks whether Republican candidates should lose their party membership for choosing to bypass the caucus and convention system in favor of the newly available option of gathering signatures for a spot on the primary ballot.
Results of the survey, being conducted by mail and online, are scheduled to be discussed Tuesday at a meeting of the state GOP's executive committee. The final decision on the proposals will be made at the party's state convention in August.
A Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat to D-news reporter Lisa Riley Roche, for providing the link to the online survey, wherein Utah GOP "leaders" seem to be reaching out (surprise of surprises) to find out what Utah voters think:
We thus urge all Weber County Forum political wonks to click this link, fill out the survey and throw in your own 2¢, inasmuch as befuddled Utah GOP leadership (so-called) was gracious enough to ask for your input.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Utah Political Capitol: Colorado Group Files Complaint Alleging Utah Lawmaker’s Organization is Illegally Lobbying

Under Colorado law, a violatrion of the applicable statutes carry both civil and criminal penalties

Ivory: "Ethics? Schmethics!"
As a followup to our earlier reporting on the nefarious activities of Utah House District 47's Representative Ken Ivory, we'll highlight this blockbuster May 6, 2015 Utah Political Capital story, wherein reporter Eric Etherington reports that Mr. Ivory, and his American Lands Council (ALC) have landed in a bit of hot water, concerning alleged illegal lobbying activity in our neighboring Centenial State.  Here's the lede, folks:
Denver – A complaint has been filed against Utah Representative Ken Ivory’s (Republican – South Jordan) American Lands Council in Colorado, alleging that the organization has been illegally lobbying without registering in the state or reporting its income.
Under Colorado law, organizations are required to register to lobby with the state before they begin trying to influence the outcome of any legislation or an election.
“It’s different than the federal law,” says Peg Perl, senior counsel for Colorado Ethics Watch – the nonprofit that filed the complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State. “Under [the federal law], there’s a threshold and you can do a little bit [of lobbying] before you register. But in Colorado, you must do it first and right away.
The complaint stems from an email Representative Ivory’s American Lands Council (ALC) sent to Colorado residents on April 22nd, asking them to contact specific state lawmakers to persuade them to vote in favor of a bill that could advance ALC’s goal of taking control of all public lands away from the United States and giving it to individual states to manage.
Read Mr. Etherington's full story here:
"This isn’t the first time American Lands Council has run afoul of potential ethical violations outside of Utah. In February, a Montana state senator’s aide was asked to leave the Capitol after it was discovered that he was simultaneously being paid as a lobbyist by ALC," Mr. Etherington helpfully adds.

Added bonus:  Under Colorado law, a violation of the applicable statutes carries both civil and criminal penalties, folks:
Needless to say, Weber County Forum will be keeping a close watch, as Representative Ivory and his ALC organization attempt to blithely tiptoe around this latest legal blunder 

We'll keep you informed as this story develops, of course.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: The GOP Proposal to Interview Potential Candidates

One of the stupidest ideas to ever come forth in Utah politics?

In the interest of kickstarting a morning WCF discussion, we'll shine the spotlight on a new Utah Policy/KSL News survey, presented by Utah Policy's Bryan Schott. Here's the lead, O Gentle Ones:
Utah Republican leaders are toying with a proposal to form a committe to interview candidates who decide to use the new signature method to get on the ballot. The idea is to make sure they agree with the Republican platform. Our "Political Insiders" and readers think the plan is one of the dumbest things they've ever heard in Utah politics.
77% of the Republicans on our panel along with 74% of Democrats and 57% of our readers say the committee is is "one of the stupidest ideas to ever come forth in Utah politics."
Additionally, 85% of the Republicans in our survey disagree with the plan to interview candidates as do 91% of Democrats and 84% of our readers.
Check out the full article, for a full complement of charts and graphs, along with a sampling of select Utah Policy surveyee quotes:
So what about it folks? Is Utah GOP Chairman Evans's plan to "form a committe to interview candidates who decide to use the new signature method to get on the ballot" the dumbest idea ever?

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Dan Liljenquist: No Vetting, No 'Initiation Fee' — In Short, No Litmus Test for Utah Republican Candidates

Warhorse Davis County Republican Dan Liljenquist "gets into GOP Chairman James Evans' "grill" in a very big way

Despite the unprecedented success of Republican governance in our state, it is sad for me to see the Republican Party itself divided in an acrimonious struggle over how Republican candidates are to be selected.
Alexander Hamilton once said, “In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword.” Heavy-handed tactics will neither protect nor save the Utah Republican Party. If the party is to survive and thrive in the years to come, we must preach the principles of the party using persuasion, logic, compassion and kindness to continually grow, re-energize and renew our ranks.
In short, we must apply the principles of the Republican Party to the Republican Party.

Choice "words of wisdom" from from warhorse Davis County Republican Dan Liljenquist, in this morning's Deseret News online edition:
Note to Utah GOP Chairman James Evans:  Your days in Utah GOP leadership are clearly numbered, son, when hard-core GOP folks like Mr. Liljenquest are "getting in your grill" on the editorial pages of the Church-owned D-News.  Just sayin'...

Comments, anyone?

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