Opinionated @ CFE

This is What Real Leadership Looks Like


It looks a lot like West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder. His take on UTOPIA:

So if you were mayor, what would you do? Walk away from the system, let it go dark and make your $147 million in payments over the next 30 years with nothing to show for it? Do you try to sell the network and take pennies on the dollar? Do you dribble in a little money so the network can limp along indefinitely, hemorrhaging cash along the way? Or do you take out a new bond that can grow your subscriber base to break-even point and beyond? A relatively small bond — 20 percent the size of the original UTOPIA bond — could do that.

Leadership is not complaining about decisions made in the past that can’t be undone. It’s not questioning whether or not the decision should have been made in the first place. It’s not endlessly blaming your predecessor for inherited problems. It means accepting the reality of your situation and choosing to make choices that lead towards the best possible outcome, no matter how painful or unpopular they may be.

If only other elected officials had the same strength. (I’m looking at you, Congress.)

Are Utah's federal fights worth it?


This last legislative session ended in Utah trying to pick some big fights with the federal government. From seizing federal land to bucking federal gun regulations to suing to stop the health care bill that just passed, our legislature and AG are digging in for a knock-down brawl. A lot of criticism has been leveled at them for the expense of these fights, but I’m starting to wonder if the potential payout isn’t worth it.


The Senate Nomination Race (no, the other one)


The press and most bloggers have been fixated on the current Republican nomination race for US Senate because, hey, the odds are in their favor of winning handily in the general election. Little attention is being paid to what’s going on on the other side, though. Sam Granato and Christopher Stout are currently vying for position on the ballot and what’s going on there has been rather telling.


What I Expect From a Candidate for State Office


I’ve already covered my requirements of someone running for federal office. In a lot of ways, managing a state can be even more complex than handling federal issues. Many problems tackled by the legislature are often based around narrowly-defined groups of people that cross political and sometimes geographic boundaries. It also requires more discipline since going into massive debt isn’t on the table as an option. Here’s what I expect out of anyone running for state office.


What I Expect From a Candidate for Federal Office


I very much enjoyed David Rodeback’s series of If You Want My Vote posts outlining his basic requirements of those running for local office. There’s a lot of sage advice in there for candidate and voter alike. In that spirit, I’d like to list a few things I want to see from candidates at the federal, state, and local level. There’s been way too many politicos insisting that “government” is some nebulous blob that’s the same all over. It’s not. Here’s what I want from anyone running for a federal office.


Eric Isom is No Friend to the Taxpayer


My jaw just about dropped when I saw that Qwest’s top lobbyist, Eric Isom, was running for a seat in the state legislature. (House District 15, to be exact.) He’s currently up against 3 other Republicans at the upcoming convention. What’s shocking about this is that if delegates in his district truly knew who he is, he’d be turned out on his head. In this post, I intend to full lay out why Eric Isom is completely unfit for public office in our state.

For starters, there’s the whole lobbyist thing. It’s bad enough that Sen. Howard Stephenson is both lobbyist and legislator, but to add one more to the heap? Mr. Isom comically claims that, if elected, he would resign his position as a lobbyist at Qwest and take another position with the company. How exactly does that resolve the conflict of interest? Even if he resigned from the company entirely, I doubt that would magically balance his votes as a lawmaker. I don’t know what other employment Mr. Isom would find given that his position prior to that was as a lobbyist for the GOP. Do you really want another professional lobbyist in the legislature?

As part of Eric Isom’s work with Qwest, he has sought out the elimination of price controls on basic phone service which sharply increased costs for customers across the state. Qwest is also reportedly seeking a $50M rate increase from you, the taxpayer, to finance their network construction plans. This is despite receiving over $2.7B in benefits from the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to build advanced fiber optic connections to every customer in the state and promote better competition for phone service. Do these sound like the actions of someone who’s looking out for the taxpayer… or looking for a handout for a multi-billion dollar corporation? Do you think he’ll stop doing it once elected?

It’s also worth noting that residents of Layton could see a nice, hefty tax increase thanks to the actions of Mr. Isom’s employer, Qwest. In 2004, Qwest successfully lobbied for SB66, a bill that placed strict financing restrictions on any municipality seeking to build a municipal telecommunications system. Layton was a part of UTOPIA at the time and was stuck with a commitment to build the network while not being allowed to bond for more than half of the total system cost. Imagine trying to build a skyscraper when you could only borrow half of the money! This restriction combined with Qwest’s frivolous lawsuit against UTOPIA, which was dismissed, has seriously degraded the financial health of the network and will likely cause increased taxes, decreased services, or both in Layton for at least several years. Do you want someone in office who would represent and push those aims?

Delegates and voters in Utah State House District 15, do not vote for Eric Isom. To do so is to encourage more malfeasance and corporate welfare at the hands of his current employer, Qwest.

The Untold Side of the Harry Reid Fracas


As someone who spent 14 years in Henderson, NV and still has a number of connections there, I’ve been watching what’s been said and reported about the canceled firesides for Harry Reid with some amusement. A lot of folks don’t seem to have the slightest clue as to what goes on in Nevada politics, nor have they bothered to find out. Many just charge on down the lane with their opinions despite having a very incomplete view of the picture. If they did, they would walk away with a very different take.


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