Opinionated @ CFE

Endorsement: LaVar Christensen for House District 48

May
20

Two years ago, I was very happy to support LaVar Christensen in his efforts to be my representative in the state legislature. Not only did his government philosophy and principles align nicely with my own, but he was also very responsive as a candidate, taking the time not just to personally respond to my questions and concerns, but to come to my house and answer them in person. His opponent, Trisha Beck, had the time for a 2-minute phone call during which she sounded very rushed and somewhat annoyed. Even had I found as much agreement with her positions, responsiveness in a legislator is crucial. There are many trans-partisan issues from my district (most notably the preservation of the township designation) that demand it.

I was perfectly willing to give Rep. Beck a shot and she how she did the job. Unfortunately, every e-mail I sent during both the 2009 and 2010 sessions went entirely unanswered. Compare that with the personal responses I received from Sen. Niederhauser, my state senator. Those responses were not too brief and often arrived within a couple of days, even during the height of legislative wrangling. He’s also held community meetings to brief us all on what’s going on in the legislature and respond to voters directly. Regardless of how you feel about his positions or votes (I’m not happy with his vote for HB 150), that kind of personal touch is commendable.

This year, LaVar wants a rematch against Trisha. While I did a lot of careful weighing and evaluating last time (I’m kind of obsessive that way), I already know which horse I’m picking. While I can appreciate that the life of a legislator can be very busy and stressful, there is no excuse for being a communications black hole. (I’ll get to you soon enough, Jim.) LaVar Christensen is the better choice in this district hands down.

Education Policy in a Nutshell

May
05

The attitude of the education establishment can be easily summarized: “Ask us to try something different and we’ll just call it a waste of time and money. In fact, just give us more money to do the same thing we’ve been doing with no kind of institutional change and expect better results. And if it doesn’t work, you didn’t give us enough money. Whatever you do, don’t base any part of our compensation upon results, just on how long we can outlast the others.”

Teachers unions always talk out of both sides of their mouths. They tell us that they are advocates for quality education, but their actions and primary function are all about the Benjamins. Individual teachers and administrators may care, but they are ground up like so much steak in the meat grinder of powerful interests more concerned with money than educating kids.

Legislators do the same thing. They talk a good game about local control and letting teachers excel. When it come down to it, most of them end up making a big pile of rules for teachers to follow that does nothing but soak up time and make it impossible to innovate. Many school boards are no better. They treat professional adults like small children who are incapable of making decent judgment calls.

Anyone who supports this kind of entrenchment is an enemy to both quality education and the taxpayer. Get rid of the grandstanding legislators, the overbearing administrators, and the money-hungry unions and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see some exciting things happen in education.

Constitutionalist is a Word without Meaning

May
04

A lot of people call themselves constitutionalists. Almost universally they claim a particular view of the US Constitution and what it means. And again, almost universally, that view is that of the anti-federalists. The implication is that federalists like Madison and Hamilton were heretics and can be conveniently forgotten when discussing the formation of this nation. That view is wrong.

I do not agree with the views of federalists. I do not subscribe to the notion that the balance of power should be tipped towards the federal government at the expense of the states. I do not support the idea that the Constitution is open to creative interpretations that turn it into a blank check for Congress. I do not think that Hamilton was even a particularly nice or honorable guy. And I do not think that their views can be written off since they were a very important part of the process of creating our nation’s founding document.

Constitutionalist and anti-federalist are not synonymous. To try and make them so it to try and re-write history.

Utah's Initiative Process is Far From Unconstitutional

May
02

Curtis Haring at Blue in Red Zion recently expressed his dismay at the failure to collect enough signatures to get the Fair Boundaries initiative onto November’s ballot. I supported this initiative because of the way that neighborhoods were often divided amongst several legislative districts. Examples of this include Tooele being split four ways and the Avenues being cut in half. Basically, the boundaries of many districts looked like the boundaries of many African nations, drawn not with consideration to who lived there, but to who wanted to control the land. Curtis says that the failure to get Fair Boundaries on the ballot means that the initiative process in Utah is blatantly unconstitutional. Despite my support of the initiative, I doubt I could disagree more.

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Arizona and Immigration

May
01

More supposed constitutionalists should be questioning the wisdom of what Arizona is doing. Controlling the border is clearly a federal responsibility. Just because they are doing a sucky job at it doesn’t mean you get to step in and take over. Remember how much it cheeses you off when the feds do that to the states?

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