Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NPR: Could Supreme Court Decision Lead To Death Of The Gerrymander? - Updated

Sounds like we need to add Utah to the list of states pushing for an independent redistricting commission, with or without a citizens initiative, no?

Click to Enlarge Image
Here's another interesting story for US Supreme Court watchers, via National Public Radio (NPR):
The Supreme Court's decision on Monday to uphold the constitutionality of Arizona's independent redistricting commission has some hoping their model could now pave the way for other states to adopt a less partisan way of drawing congressional lines.
"There are a lot of efforts around the country to try and get commissions enacted, and now I think those efforts are going to go full-steam ahead," said Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a law professor at the University of Chicago who studies elections and redistricting. "Now that the Constitution has been cleaned up, the green light is definitely visible through this."
So far, two states — Arizona and California — have adopted the independent commissions, each created by voter referendum. Had the court ruled against the legality of those bodies, it could have affected as many as one-third of congressional districts — spurring not just a redrawing of lines there but also impacting other states that have commissions involved in some capacity.
The court's decision gave hope to gerrymandering opponents, who have long advocated for better ways to draw boundaries than by those who would benefit the most from them. (Here's a brief history of "gerrymandering" and how it got the name.)
"Now with California and Arizona on safe constitutional ground, maybe other states will look to them as a model," said Stanford Law School professor Nathaniel Persily, who filed an amicus brief in the case.
Read up folks:
In light of this latest SCOTUS decision, Utah is one of the states which could benefit from taking a fresh look at the manner in which Utah legislative districts are drawn, or so it seems to us:
Sounds like we need to add Utah to the list of states pushing for an independent redistricting commission, with or without a citizens initiative, no?.

Update 7/1/15 10:29 a.m.: A couple of impressive followup pieces, via the Salt Lake Tribune:
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," says the Trib editorial board.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Election Law Changes Spark Friction at GOP meeting

The Deseret News presents more evidence of crippling  Utah Republic Party dysfunction, with this morning's "telling story." Here's D-News reporter Lisa Riley Roche's lede:
SANDY — There was friction Saturday among members of the Utah Republican Party's governing body over how to comply with a controversial law changing the candidate nominating process that they're challenging in court.
The GOP's State Central Committee meeting at the Salt Lake Community College's Sandy campus started with a closed session with the party's legal counsel that lasted 1 ½ hours.
Afterward, a third of the 15 agenda items dealing with the details of the party's caucus and convention system for choosing candidates to represent the party were scrapped.
Debate erupted over several of the remaining proposals, including an amendment to the party's constitution stating that candidates with enough support at the party's convention "shall proceed to the general election."
Check out the full story, folks:
Sodden observation  If the Utah GOP wants to retain any credibiltiy and/or relevance in Utah, it needs to DROP its lawsuit, for starters.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Breaking: Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage Nationwide

This may be the best term a solicitor general has ever had

Via the Huffington Post, which reports that marriage equality is now the "law of the land."  Here's the lede, folks:
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that it is legal for all Americans, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, to marry the people they love.
The decision is a historic victory for gay rights activists who have fought for years in the lower courts. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia already recognize marriage equality. The remaining 13 states ban these unions, even as public support has reached record levels nationwide.
The justices found that under the 14th Amendment, states must issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex unions that were legally performed in other states. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. [Emphasis added].
Read the full HuffPo story here:
Needless to say, on the heels of yesterday's blockbuster SCOTUS decision, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli is "on a roll":
Keep your eyes on Weber County Forum, peeps, as we add important updates, whilst the inevitable pro/con reactions roll in throughout the day.

Updates 6/25/15: Just like clockwork, conservative heads are beginning to explode like popcorn in hot oil, all over the webosphere:
Marriage equality advocates and various other civil libertarian-types are greeting today's decision with open arms, of course:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Breaking: Obama Gets A Gigantic Win As Supreme Court Rules ACA Subsidies Are Constitutional 6-3

Over on the Republican side of the congressional aisle: Wailing, weeping and gnashing of teeth

Great news this morning for fans of the Affordable Care Act. Here's the lede from Politics USA:
In a decision that crushed Republican hopes of using the judicial system to gut Obamacare, the Supreme Court ruled by a 6-3 margin that the subsidies are constitutional under the ACA.
This defeat means that the Republican efforts to gut Obamacare have come to a grinding halt. The King v. Burwell case was the GOP’s last chance to get a court ruling that would effectively gut the ACA. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy sided with the majority and wrote the opinion.
Read the full story, Peeps:
Here's the money quote:
The Supreme Court said that subsidies were available to all Americans. The size of this victory for President Obama and Democrats can’t be underestimated. Republicans have been crushed by the High Court today as 6.4 million Americans will get to keep their affordable healthcare.
Over on the Republican side of the congressional aisle:  Wailing, weeping and gnashing of teeth:
Comments anyone?

Utah Policy: Constitutional Defense Council Declines to Use Public Money to Pay Legal Fees for Embattled County Commissioner

Lyman supporters – including GOP Gov. Gary Herbert – will insted donate private money to Lyman personally for his appeal and his trial costs

Following up on our earlier post on the topic, the Utah webosphere is ablaze with the good news that Utah taxpayers are "off the hook" for San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman's legal bills. Here's the encouraging lead from this morning's Utah Policy story:
Who says a public outcry can’t make a difference?
Or the threat of lawsuits?
Or an upcoming election?
After a closed meeting Wednesday, the state’s Constitutional Defense Council and the Utah Association of Counties came to an understanding:
The state WILL NOT spend $100,000 of CDC money to defend San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, should he decide to appeal his recent conviction in federal court for leading an ATV ride on a dirt road closed to such activity by the Bureau of Land Management.
Read the full story, folks:
Here's the interesting upshot, WCF readers:
Instead, any number of Lyman supporters – including GOP Gov. Gary Herbert – will donate private money to Lyman personally for his appeal and his trial costs.Herbert, who seeks re-election in 2016, will donate $10,000 to Lyman, said Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who chairs the CDC.
The $10,000 check will be written from Herbert’s political action committee, not personal funds, gubernatorial aides told UtahPolicy.
Added bonus: Utah Policy provides this interesting glimpse into one of our own Weber County Commsioner's stance on the use of taxpayer funds in support of scofflaw Phil Lyman's post-conviction defense:
Former GOP legislator, current president of the Utah Association of Counties, Kerry Gibson, a Weber County commissioner, told UtahPolicy that he had the votes on the CDC to provide UAC with the $100,000 requested to defend Lyman.
But after the closed session – in which Assistant Attorney General Tony Rampton briefed council members about the legal implications of the state getting involved in an individual’s criminal conviction appeal – Gibson and his fellow UAC members present decided to withdraw their official request for the $100,000.
So the CDC, their membership here, never took a vote, [Emphasis added]..
Write it down, so you don'r forget it, Weber County voters.

The rest of the Utah online media is all over this story, too:
A Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to Alliance for a Better Utah, whose "threatened" lawsuit seems to have made all the difference.

That's right.  Even in Utah"Sometimes the good guy wins. Now that's a Better Utah!" 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rolly: Big Debt Has Some Utah Republicans Grumbling

With the 2015 Utah GOP organizing convention looming in a short two months, we'll confidently predict that Evans' leadership days are "numbered."

Upside Down
Riveting Salt Lake Tribune column this morning, from journalistic heavyweight Paul Rolly.  Break out your Kleenex folks. We know this is gonna break your hearts:
The Utah Republican Party seems at first blush to be basking in its success and popularity.
After all, Republicans hold 24 of the 29 seats in the state Senate, 63 of the 75 seats in the House of Representatives, all five statewide elective offices, all five seats in Utah's congressional delegation and dominant roles in the county commissions around the state.
In most of the big races, Republicans usually win by 20 percentage points or more.
But underneath the surface, things don't look too rosy.
The state party is $118,000 in debt and insiders say that after the expenses of putting on the state convention in August, that deficit likely will rise to $200,000.
Check out Mr. Rolly's tantalizing full column, peeps:
Under the "leadership" of Utah GOP Chairman James Exans, Utah GOP fundraising efforts have all but dried up. 
Much of the buzz about the party's money problems centers on GOP State Chairman James Evans and puts the blame on his decisions to cozy up to the right wing of the party, leading to the alienation of larger group of party centrists.
In summary, we'll take particular note of this comment from savvy Trib reader MillsLevan:
Another casualty of one-party rule. Why donate when they're going to win everything anyway? There are no battles to fight, nothing to rally the troops. Add to that the lack of leadership on the part of the state chair and it's no wonder they're in trouble.
With the 2015 Utah GOP organizing convention looming in a short two months, we'll confidently predict that Evans' leadership days are "numbered."

Eh, folks?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Our View: Taxpayer-funded ATV Defense (Insulting)

Utah: "the most fiscally responsible state" (except when it's not)

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In the inerest of kickstarting some possible Weber County Forum discussion, we'll shine the spotlight on this morning's strong editorial from the Standard-Examiner.

Here's the lede:
The Utah Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands made a big mistake when it supported using taxpayers’ money to assist the legal defense of San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, who was convicted last year of a misdemeanor when he drove an ATV in Southern Utah’s Recapture Canyon, which is federally protected. The commission wants a legal analysis of the case.
However, the commission’s Republicans, which include Plain City State Sen. Scott Jenkins, are angling to have Utah’s Constitutional Defense Council spend as much as $100,000 to defend Lyman, who faces sentencing later this summer. The council, which will meet later this year, decides money to be allocated for states’ rights tussles with the feds.The 6-2 party-line vote by the commission is an insult to Utah taxpayers, who should not be given the legal tab for a county commissioner’s instance of political activism. If lawmakers want to pay the court bills of Commissioner Lyman, pass the hat among legislators, or pursue assistance from an interest group that sympathizes with Lyman.
Check out the full editorial, Peeps:
Remember, folks, Mr. Lyman has already been convicted at trial by a jury of his peers; so whatever taxpayer money that is wasted on this fool's errand will be devoted to a possible appeal:
The Standard deftly "nails it," in this "thumbnail" summary:
We respect that Utah lawmakers have an interest in states rights and any potential conflicts with the federal government. But that should not extend to paying the tab for law-breakers, which Lyman is. A Democratic member of the commission, State Sen. Jim Dabakis, Salt Lake City, has it right when he said, “He (Lyman) made the decision to have a public protest. Now he has to face the music.”
This is an editorial board "firing on all cylinders," wethink.

Utah: "the most fiscally responsible state" (except when it's not.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Utah Policy: Legislature Approves Wasting $2 Million for Public Lands Effort

Utah: The "best-managed state?"

Despite recent withering public relations setbacks,it seems that Utah House Rep Ivory's  crackpot quixotic land grab scheme is still gaining traction within the Utah Legislature, Peeps: Here's the lede, via Utah Policy's eye-opening morning story:
The Utah Legislature will hire three of the most respected and expensive local lobbyists to work on public land issues, but oddly enough the three won’t be able actually to lobby – since it is illegal under Utah law for the state to use taxpayer dollars to lobby.
Doug Foxley and Frank Pignanelli are well-known on Utah's Capitol Hill. They, along with former Utah Democratic senator Blaze Wharton, are part of the Davillier Law Group, a specially-grouped New Orleans legal/public relations team soon to be on an up to $2 million contract accepted Tuesday by the state Stewardship of Public Lands Commission.
Later in the day, (surprise of surprises) the Legislative Management Committee also approved the new contract. [Links added.]
That's right, people; the Utah State legislature is aboout to devote Two Million Taxpayer Bucks to this "fool's errand."

Read the full story, WCF Readers:
Utah: The "best well managed state?"


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Funnies: John "Pureheart" Patterson Update: Casper City Manager Announces Retirement

Keep your eyes peeled, Utah lumpencitizens - John "Pureheart Patterson" will soon be arriving in a Utah community near you

John "Pureheart" Patterson
Returning to Utah Very Soon
As every Weber County Forum reader knows, we're always interested in following up on the exploits of Ogden City officials, who've left Ogden City government, and moved on to "greener pastures. " Take the case of former Ogden City's former Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) ,John "Pureheart" Patterson, for instance:
And now, following up this disheartening 4/8/15 Casper (Wyo) Tribune news story, we now discover this, from one of our all-time "favorite" online news websites, namely "Oil City - Casper's Community Newstream":
Here's the good news: After four years, it seems that the steadfast citizens of Casper,Wyoming have finally gotten rid of former Ogden City Mayor Boss Godfrey's "right hand man."

And the bad news?
After his last day with the city, Patterson plans on moving back to where the grandkids are or where everyone vacations, the home base of Utah.
In a couple years, he may run for public office, returning to public service, but no official plans have been announced, these are all ideas he is kicking around, he said, [Emphasis added].
Keep your eyes peeled,Utah lumpencitizens.

John "Pureheart" Patterson" will soon be arriving in a Utah community near you... with future political aspirations.

Comments anyone? Ferris?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Standard-Examiner: Our View: Utah Needs Medicaid Expansion

We're hoping our Weber County legislative delegation has "their ears on"
Utah needs Medicaid expansion. We have it in our grasp but our pols won’t accept it. Instead, the Utah House offers the misnamed Utah Cares, a bare-bones “reform” that leaves far too many vulnerable Utahns without health insurance security; it’s also more costly than Healthy Utah.
Standard-Examiner Editorial
Our View: Utah needs Medicaid expansion

It’s a no-brainer that if we have the means, we should provide those in need with health care insurance. We have the money to provide more of Utahns health insurance. Yet so toxic is the term ”Obamacare“ that our Utah House can’t even support Healthy Utah, a Medicaid expansion plan crafted after negotiations between our governor and the White House.

What's a good, sound  cure for a s-l-o-o-w Ogden City news week? A spot-on Standard-Examiner edtorial, that's what.

Read the full SE editorial here:
Added bonus: this morning's accompanying cartoon is well worth the pr1ce of admission:

Nice work, Standard-Examiner editorial board!

We're hoping out Weber County legislative delegation has "their ears on."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Standard-Examiner: Ogden's Mayoral Race Heats Up With New Contender

Reached Tuesday by phone, Mayor Caldwell said he welcomes the competition

Sebasian Benitez, Mayoral Challenger
As our 2015 Ogden City municipal election cycle enters the mid-point of its first week, we'll highlight this morning's Cathy McKitrick story, providing an informative thumbnail profile of Sebastian Benitez, who's challenging incumbent Mike Caldwell, for the Ogden City Mayoral seat:  Here's Ms. McKitrick's lede:
OGDEN — A contender has come forward to challenge Mayor Mike Caldwell, a popular incumbent who is seeking a second term this November.
While Caldwell has managed to advance the city with such an even-handed consistency and forward-looking vision that most offer up praise rather than criticism, this political newcomer said he can offer a whole new perspective.
Sebastian Benitez, a 52-year-old immigrant from Paraguay who speaks five languages and owns his own business, said he respects and admires Caldwell but after significant prayer felt compelled to join the race.
“I want to give Ogden residents a different option,” Benitez said Monday evening.
Read up, Peeps:
There's more...
Reached Tuesday by phone, Caldwell said he welcomes the competition. “I look forward to the dialogue and debate. Its always healthier when you have a free exchange of ideas,” Caldwell said, adding that he “celebrates anyone who is willing to engage in the public process.”
Even though he's playing the Mormon card, Mr. Benitez has his work cut out for him, wethinks.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

2015 Ogden City Municipal Election Special

The Race is on!.

We're happy this morning to provide, via the Ogden City Election website, the full list of Ogden City candidate hopefuls who've declared their candidacies for the 2015 Ogden City Municipal election races. Three of four open seats will be contested, and only one cansidate will walk onto the Ogden City Council by default. Even Mayor Mike will face a challenger:
Council Member – Municipal Ward 2
Richard Hyer - Unopposed
984 East 950 North
Ogden, UT 84404
801‐782‐2865 rich@hyerfamily.net

Council Member – Municipal Ward 4
Dori Stauffer Mosher
2459 Tyler Avenue
Ogden, UT 84401
801‐725‐4185 Dori4ogden@gmail.com

Ben Nadolski
3211 Taylor Avenue
Ogden, UT 84403
801‐643‐4953 ben4ogden@gmail.com

John H. Thompson
1506 24th Street
Ogden, UT 84401‐2906
801‐621‐1809 johnhthompson@aol.com

Daniel Gladwell
1330 Boughton Street
Ogden, UT 84403
801‐644‐7396 Daniel.gladwell@gmail.com

Council Member– At Large Seat C
Eric Holmes
2916 Brinker Avenue
Ogden, UT 84403
801‐540‐0079 ebholmesy@yahoo.com
Vance Jay Jackson
678 31st Street
Ogden, UT 84403
801‐989‐6309 vance.j.jackson@gmail.com

Luis Lopez
1110 Suncrest Drive
Ogden, UT 84404
801‐686‐5685 luislopezforcitycouncil@gmail.com
Virginia Hernandez Reza
2427 Jefferson Avenue
Ogden, UT 84401
801‐686‐4077 ogdenites2005@hotmail.com
John Ogden
4155 Edgehill Drive
Ogden, UT 84403
801‐458‐3948 john.ogden@dla.mil

Mike Caldwell
1664 Cherokee Circle
Ogden, UT 84403
801‐689‐2675 mikecaldwell@hotmail.com

Sebastian Benitez
3310 Taylor Avenue
Ogden, UT 84403
801‐334‐0492 Sebasalicia@msn.com
Primary Election to be held August 11, 2015
General Election to be held November 3, 2015
Candidates listed in order according to the Master Ballot Position List as established by the Lt.Governor
Keep your eyes on Weber County Forum as the campaign season has now been launched. As per usual, we're fully resolved to provide the most robust 2015 Municipal Election coverage in the whole danged webosphere.

For more detailed information on these candidates, check out our "enhanced" 2015 Ogden Municipal Election Roster, which is also embedded in our right blog sidebar.Special thanks to Ogden City Recorder Tracy Hansen, for furnishing each candidate's Declaration of Candidacy, which documents are linked within this election sidebar feature.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Utah Political Capitol: American Lands Council: Accusations Against Ivory “Slanderous”

Pull up your Barcaloungers and pop up some Orville Redenbachers', folks.  This emerging "cat fight" will certainly be entertaining to watch

Following up on yesterday's Weber County Forum article, which slices and dices recent developments in the fast-developing American Lands Council (ALC) federal land-grab story, Utah Political Capitol reports this morning that the ALC has lashed back against recent allegations that its president, Representative Ken Ivory, has been engaged in unethical activities.

 Here's the lede:
On Monday, Republican Representative Ken Ivory (West Jordan) came under fire from the Campaign for Accountability (CFA), which accused Ivory, as the President of the American Lands Council (ALC), of being a “snake oil salesman” who was “engaging in an illegal scheme to defraud local government officials out of taxpayer funds.”
On Wednesday, the ALC’s Board of Directors formally responded.
“This week a slanderous attack was levied against ALC President Ken Ivory by a mysterious new group seeking to derail our mission of transferring federal public lands to willing states,” ALC wrote in a press release, adding that the allegation are “an orchestrated publicity stunt, the group filed consumer complaints alleging that ALC’s efforts to discuss with and educate the public about state control of public land is somehow, ‘fraudulent’,”
Here's the full story, folks. Watch the embedded video, too:
Surprise of surprises, Rep. Ivory and his ALC meal-ticket nonprofit have launched a "bullying" attack, even whilst accusing its accuser, Campaign for Accountability of "bullying."

Interesting sidenote: Within the above linked UPC story, author Curtis Haring mentions ALC's assertion that "BYU has a full law review article, 85 pages, hundreds of footnotes, that the federal government has a compact based duty to dispose of the land; they completely ignore that the Federalist Society, 40,000 scholars, professors, law students, have a complete legal analysis; they ignore that [eastern states] engaged in the same political debate and compelled Congress to transfer the lands to the states."

Here's a link to professor Kochen's BYU Law Review article, upon which Mr. Ivory's ALC apparently hangs it hat:
What Ivory's  ALC fails to mention... Professor Kochen's above-linked Federal Society "scholarship" (so-called) has been fastidiously, intricately and thoroughly debunked by actual legal scholars:
Remember, folks, truth is always a complete defense to a defamation action.

Moreover, Campaign for Accountability's complaints to public prosecutors are no doubt privileged, too:
Pull up your Barcaloungers and pop up some Orville Redenbachers', folks. This emerging "cat fight" will certainly be entertaining to watch.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Standard-Examiner: Officials Support Utah Public LandsTransfer, But at What Cost?

Perhaps its time for our Weber County Commission to cease wasting taxpayer money, no?

As a followup to our recent coverage of Utah State Representative Ken Ivory's feverish efforts to facilitate his quixotic federal land-grab, we'll cast the spotlight on this morning's Standard-Examiner hard-copy edition story, wherein veteran reporter Cathy McKitrick delves into the multiplicity if issues which led up to the lodging of multiple complaints against Rep. Ivory and his American Lands Council (ALC) non-profit lobbying entity during the past week.

Here's the lede, folks:
OGDEN — Four northern Utah counties are paying members of the American Lands Council (ALC), a nonprofit formed in 2012 to help western states regain control of federally owned lands within their borders.
So far, 21 of Utah’s 29 counties have joined the organization — including Box Elder, Cache, Morgan and Weber, counties that each subscribe at the “silver level” of $5,000 per year.
Now the ALC and its president — Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan — have come under fire for allegedly engaging in a scheme to defraud local governments of taxpayer dollars.
On Monday, the Washington D.C.-based Campaign for Accountability filed a complaint with Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, calling Ivory’s claims “spurious” that contributions to ALC would result in federal lands getting transferred back to the states.
Here's full story, WCF readers.  We invite you to read up:
Ms. McKitrick has done a yeoman's job of framing the issues for her Standard-Examiner readership, wethink; but we'll highlight this story element which particularly caught our attention.  In her typical investigative thoroughness, she's managed to interview two of our three Weber County Commisssioners, who are coughing up $5000 anually to support Mr. Ivory's ALC. Specifically we found this section of her story, containing remarks from Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson, to be particularly enlightening:
“We live in a state where nearly three-fourths of the land is federal land, and that has a huge impact on all of us — our schoolchildren, our families, our recreation, our economic development — all of those things are critical to us,” Weber County Commission Chairman Kerry Gibson said of the dilemma states west of the so-called “fault line” face because so much of their ground produces no property tax.
The ALC website, http://www.americanlandscouncil.org/whats_happening_in_my_state, displays a map of the United States showing the dividing line between eastern states that have very little federally owned land and those in the west that are drenched in red (signifying federal ownership) — Nevada being the biggest loser, with Utah ranking a close second.
By joining with other counties, Gibson said the western problem is finally beginning to gain some traction.
“This is an issue that’s discussed at every single National Association of Counties meeting we attend,” Gibson said.
That separation of east and west shows where the federal government reneged on its promise, Gibson believes.
“They [the federal government] stopped in the 1970s ... and did not fulfill the commitment that they made through the enabling act and through the Constitution to return those lands to state ownership,” Gibson said. (Emphasis added.]
Significantly, Commissioner Gibson twice refers to the federal government's "reneg[ing] on its promise," and failure to " fulfill the commitment that they made through the enabling act and through the Constitution to return those lands to state ownership,”

Sadly, Mr. Gibson's assertions find no legal support. In that connection, check out this scholarly legal analysis from the Univerity of Vermont Law Review (of all places) , which soundly and thoroughly refutes the claim that ill-conceived state laws, such as Representive Ivory's H.B. 148 (Transfer of Public Lands Act and Related Study (the same statutory mechanism he's proposing for other states,) is a constitutional way for Utah (or other states) to compel Congress to fulfill an ostensible promise in the Utah Enabling Act (or similar acts) to dispose of public lands. This article reveals that Congress never made such a promise and concludes that the TPLA and other such legislation is, and would be, unconstitutional.

Read up folks:
Here's more from Ms. McKitrick's story, folks:
Anne Weismann, executive director of Campaign for Accountability, said her nonprofit opened its doors about a month ago as a watchdog organization that uses research, litigation and aggressive communications “to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.”
Weismann had harsh words for Ivory, likening his marketing tactics to trying to sell people the Brooklyn Bridge.
“He’s been going around to the western states selling the idea that if you give money to his organization, states can pass laws to restore federal lands to states,” Weismann said of the land transfers she and others believe would be unconstitutional.
Our take? Even with the best of intentions, Commissioner Gibson and his gullible Commission colleagues have bought Rep. Ivory's flim-flam "hook, line and sinker." 

Perhaps its time for our Weber County Commission to cease wasting taxpayer money, no?

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Deseret News: Koch Brothers Group Launches Campaign Against Healthy Utah

Koch Brothers GO HOME!

Stirring political heads-up via Utah State Senator James Dabakis:
Senator Jim Dabakis today called the Koch Brothers pouring of money into Utah a disgusting attempt by the richest of the rich to come to Utah and steal affordable health care from more than 100,000 struggling Utahns. These men are here to fight for their personal interests and not that of Utahns. Koch Brothers GO HOME! Utah has enough right-wingers, last thing the state needs is the Tea Party gassed up on Koch billions. The Koch front group, Americans for Prosperityopened a Utah chapter just two weeks ago. Already, they are spending money-attacking working Utah families with a campaign to kill Healthy Utah! That these carpetbaggers would march into Utah with their billions is a sad, sad day for our state! Charles and David Koch hit a milestone recently, as a $1.3 billion boost to their collective fortune sent their net worth above $100 billion, according to Bloomberg News They are now the fifth- and sixth-wealthiest people in the world, [Links added.]
Read the disturbing DNews story WCF readers:
DNews reader Don O perfectly nails it in the comments section, wethink:
The Koch Brothers and their minions are way out of line on this one. Healthy Utah makes all the sense in the world, especially to those members of Utah society who are the most vulnerable and needy. Kudos to Gary Herbert for putting it forward and for doing all he can to stick with it. By the same token, Greg Hughes and his acolytes should feel ashamed for opposing it. This initiative alone guarantees Governor Herbert, and any Hughes opponent, my full support.
Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Ones...

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah ‘Snake Oil Salesman’ Rep. Ken Ivory Accused of Fraud for Hitting Up Counties in Three States for Public Lands Fight Donations - Updated

Land transfer » Environmentalists claim Ken Ivory is scamming local officials into backing a “snake oil” cause

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that there's more bad news for the ethically-challenged Utah House representative Ken Ivory, as the political watchdog group, Campaign for Accountabily, has reportedly filed complaints in three states concerning the activities of his American Land Council (ALC) non-profit "lobbying" entity.

Here's the lede, folks:
This is not the first time Utah Rep. Ken Ivory has been accused of selling "snake oil." But now his critics are calling him a crook.
In formal complaints filed Monday in three states, a watchdog group alleges Ivory, a West Jordan Republican, uses phony facts and arguments to scam local governments into giving taxpayer dollars to American Lands Council (ALC), the nonprofit he started in 2012 to champion the transfer of Western public lands to states.
The complaints focus on Ivory's practice of traveling the West, promoting land transfers to county commissioners and conservative groups and signing them up as dues-paying members of ALC.
"It's not simply a question of Rep. Ivory speaking his mind about what he thinks should happen. He is soliciting on the promise that if you give us money, we can get public land returned to your state," said attorney Anne Weismann, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Accountability. "More than half of the money they raise goes to him and his wife [Becky]."
Weismann submitted similar complaints to Utah, Montana and Arizona, asking their state attorneys general to investigate ALC's fundraising. She contends, as have numerous other critics, that all reliable legal and economic analyses of transferring public land to the states concluded the idea has no legal foundation and could prove costly to the receiving states.
Check out the full story, peeps:
"Ivory dismissed the complaints as 'a shameful and desperate political stunt' orchestrated by groups afraid of the broadening support land transfer is gaining," the Trib's Brian Maffly further reports.

Weber County is among twenty-one Utah counties contributing taxpayer funds to ALC, as regular Weber County Forum readers will recall.

Needless to say we'll be front and center following this interesting story as it develops.

Stay tuned.

Update 6/2/15 9:50 a.m.: After a little googling, we learn that the Northern Utah media are all over this story:
The cat's outta the bag, you might say...

Update 6/2/15 10:30 a.m.: Uh-oh. This story is now drawing the attention of the national media:
Looks like the story's going "viral."

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