Opinionated @ CFE

Where I Stand 2012: State School Board, Judges, and Ballot Questions

Oct
30

These are my picks for state school board, judicial retention, and ballot questions as part of a continuing series of who I’m voting for this election cycle.

State School Board 10: Dave Crandall

I’ll repeat what I said last time: more tech people in government is good, so I’m happy giving Dave Crandall another four years. I’m also very uncomfortable that his opponent, Nina Marie Welker, is touting her experience as a delegate as a reason to vote for her. Sorry, but you’ll have to do better than that.

Judicial Retention: No to All

The state of Utah has a website where you can evaluate judges based on feedback from jurors and attorneys. In theory, this is supposed to help you make an informed decision about which judges need to stay and which need to go. Personally, I find it rather worthless. Our legal system has all kinds of serious systemic problems in it, and many of those problems often come from a collusion between judges and lawyers. Judges almost always fly through retention elections with a victory rate that’d make any Congressman jealous. Are we really to believe that judges are really this far above reproach? I do not. As a result, I cast a no vote in the off chance that we change up the makeup of the courts and catch the occasional egregious offender.

State Constitutional Amendment A: For

Whenever mineral resources are extracted and removed from the state, the removing business must pay a severance tax. This constitutional amendment would require that a portion of this money be placed in a permanent trust to be invested and create future interest revenues. Given that the severance tax is a one-time revenue source, this seems like a smart fiscal move. I have no problems voting for this amendment.

State Constitutional Amendment B: Against

I have a big problem with making the tax code favor any particular group over another, even if it’s wrapped in good intentions. This constitutional amendment would allow military personnel who are deployed out-of-state for more than 200 days a year to be exempted from paying property taxes. While I’m sure that at least one person will call me an America-hater and insult my mother, I can’t in good conscience support this kind of exemption. Not only would it cause severe financial hardship in the towns closest to military installations, it would imbalance the tax code based on the voluntary choice of profession. I can’t see that this is a net benefit to the community, but rather a hand-0ut of sorts to a specific group. I have to vote against this amendment.

Salt Lake County Proposition 1: Against

Really? Another open space and parks bond already? Look, I like both open space and parks. I don’t have a problem paying for them. I do have a problem with issuing bond after bond after bond for them, inflating the cost to double what it would be if we paid out-of-pocket. I have to vote against this on principle to encourage the county to make me pay more for it now so that I can pay a lot less later. Learn to save up for these things, guys.

Where I Stand 2012: Salt Lake County Offices

Oct
30

These are my picks for Salt Lake County offices as part of a continuing series of who I’m voting for this election cycle. As a resident of an unincorporated township, these offices are especially important to me as they are, in effect, my city government.

Salt Lake County Mayor: Ben McAdams

This is probably one of the most difficult races I’ve had to weigh in on. This is one of the few occasions where I think we’re getting a chance to pick between the better of two goods, so I don’t have a clear choice to be made. While I believe Mark Crockett’s political positions match my own most closely,  general temperament concerns me. Several high-profile Republicans have opted to cross party lines and endorse Ben McAdams. More than a few of them have alleged that the campaign has threatened them with intra-party reprisals for doing so. Among them is Steve Urquhart, someone who I know to be honest and unlikely to make up something like this. I’m also a bit concerned at his adversarial tone in the campaign including during the GOP primary.

Ben McAdams leans a good bit left of where I do, but he’s a competent manager, and I believe he will carry out his executive duties exceptionally well. Given that the county is often providing services to and working jointly with cities throughout the county, I think his experience building consensus is going to be a much better asset to county government than matching my ideology so rigidly.

Salt Lake County Council At-Large C: Joseph M. Demma

The big question facing the county is between contraction in the face of wall-to-wall cities or an attempt to preserve things largely as they are. The shrinking direct tax base lost to incorporation leaves the remaining islands of county land in the position of incorporating, being annexed, or seeing a tremendous tax increase to pay for municipal services to an ever-shrinking base. While I’ve been very happy to not be a party of the city of Sandy (and it’s sales tax-obsessed mayor, Tom Dolan), I can see the writing on the wall that this is likely to end up changing Real Soon Now(TM) as Millcreek moves towards incorporation and drives the final nail into the tax base. As such, I’ve got to support the candidate that acknowledges this eventuality and tries to get ahead of it.

The county needs to move away from the 20% of the budget stuck in municipal services and focus more on its duties to provide the services delegated to it by the state. I’ve met Joseph Demma and think he’d do well carrying out this vision. Jim Bradley has left me with the feeling that he wants to keep things as they are. While I get that this is a popular idea for hold-out communities like mine (White City), I think we need to take our lumps now and move forward.

Salt Lake County Council 6: Max L. Burdick

This one has the same issues as the at-large race with a twist: I’ve known Paul Recanzone, one of the candidates, for a number of years and we share a passion for broadband policy. Outside of this, though, I don’t know that we can find a lot more common ground. The county doesn’t have a role to play in education (that’s handled by school districts), labor laws (that’s a state function), or the state code (a function of the legislature), but he takes positions on all of them. What about incorporation of townships? Parks and trails? The Unified Police District and Unified Fire Authority? I’m left with a feeling that there’s a lot of passion, but not necessarily for county issues. It doesn’t help that Paul leans a lot further left than I’d like either.

I’ve been happy with Max Burdick’s work so far, and I feel he’s on board for the county to make the upcoming transitions into a more focused role.

Where I Stand 2012: State Offices

Oct
17

These are my picks for state offices as part of a continuing series of who I’m voting for this election cycle.

Governor: None of the Above

Every so often, you get an election with nobody worth voting for. A lot of people will just hold their nose and pick one, either at random or whoever they believe will be the least bad option. No, not me. It’s either a good option or none at all (though if the choices are particularly bad, I may pick the worst one just to speed along the inevitable implosion). Unfortunately, the governor’s race is one such spot where it’s a choice between candidates that I don’t think have much right to be there.

(more…)

Where I Stand 2012: Federal Offices

Oct
16

Each election, I share who I’m voting for and why. Here are my picks for federal races this cycle.

US President: Gary Johnson

To say that this presidential election cycle has been disgusting would be an understatement. There’s been a constant clown car parade of candidates with whom I have not just disagreements on the issues, but find to be simply disagreeable.

(more…)

Bad Behavior has blocked 552 access attempts in the last 7 days.