Friday, June 12, 2009

Southern Utahns: The law is the law! (Except the ones we don't like)

There's probably a diagnostic code in the DSM for someone who voluntarily reads comments on the forums (masochist comes to mind). I am often scared amazed at the sheer hostility exhibited by posters there, but at least they're consistent, I told myself.

Not so. On the artifact-indictment case, we are mystified by the number of people shrugging, "Everyone does it," or "It's a dumb law," criticizing the government for enforcing the law and even blaming the prosecutors for the apparent suicide of indictee (and alleged recidivist), Dr. James Redd. In many instances, these are the same posters who screech, "THE LAW IS THE LAW!!!!!!!!!" every time some liberal scofflaw declines to kick an illegal immigrant in the shin.

This pick-and-choose attitude makes me suspect that many "Law is the Law" screamers probably violate laws left and right just because they don't like them. I guess I'll make a list of laws to read and decide whether I like them, starting with the most inconvenient ones, of course.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sen. Hatch almost does something newsworthy

Slow news day? That's the assumption when one sees a Tribune article about something that Sen. Orrin Hatch almost did that would warrant an article if he had done it, which he didn't.

Sen. Hatch almost hit a pedestrian. He did the same thing that every one of us has experienced at one time or the other: come uncomfortably close to an unseen bicyclist or pedestrian with our car, and then stress about how close it was. He even reported the non-event to Capitol security. He wasn't drunk, he wasn't speeding, it was raining -- this is newsworthy how...?

Utah's home-developer welfare bill: as hypocritical as it looks?

We're still amazed that our state legislators, who purport to decry government spending for private purposes, happily gifted their real-estate developer buddies with an almost gone $6,000 taxpayer-funded incentive for the purchase of new, unlived-in homes (i.e., for developers, not the poor schmucks trying to sell their existing homes).

Other than the dollar amounts, how is this different philosophically from the much-lambasted bailouts? Ivory Homes, etc., overbuilt and made unfortunate business decisions, so now they're getting taxpayer assistance. Sounds familiar...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Herbert's Lt. Gov - the dumbest Trib poll yet

On its website, the Salt Lake Tribune runs periodic "polls" to drum up clicks. I have never felt the urge to vote, but often find that I would not choose any of its options anyway, and they never offer None of the Above. This morning is a good example. The poll says:

My first thought -- "A conservative to get through convention, because that's all that matters in a statewide race" -- isn't a choice; nor is "a conservative whose views are not consistent with the majority of Utahns." I would be hard pressed to choose between those two.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

LDS Church, please relocate your Oquirrh Mountain temple

Opening an envelope a while back, I noted that it was an invitation to tour another new temple. I usually make time for those, so I turned to my computer to enter the date, time, and--what?! It couldn't be. It said South Jordan, but 11022 South 4000 West looks like Herriman, walks like Herriman, and quacks like Herriman, and even thinking about venturing into Herriman was enough to give me a headache.

My Herrimaphobia is entirely rational. I spent a week in Herriman one day last month. Actually, I spent three weeks there on three separate days, requiring progressively more therapy. The first time, after driving around aimlessly and calling the woman once again, I was finally told, "Oh, did I say I lived on X street? I meant Y."

On the second occasion, I talked VOU2 into joining me to see some furniture advertised on Craigslist. The conversation -- well, more like a monologue -- on that delightful trip went something like this, with certain words replaced for tender eyes:
"Where are we? . . . This place is a hole. . . . Are we still in Herriman? . . . It's not on my GPS. . . . What kind of idiot runs an ad on Craigslist for Helliman and doesn't put the coordinate? . . . Whoever laid out these streets was obviously drunk. This place is a [disappointing,] [confusing] [maze]! . . . I now hate this man, and I hate Herriman."

It is a known fact that there is something wrong with everyone who voluntarily lives or drives in Herriman. This new temple is too close. Please move it.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An ex-Utahn cleared after 22 years on death row - that's why we don't rush it, Mr. Shurtleff

A few years ago, we read about a former Utahn, Paul Gregory House, whose death sentence for a 1985 murder in Tennessee had been upheld, even though almost half of the appeals court judges believed he was not guilty -- not just that reasonable doubt existed, but that he was in fact completely innocent.

It took a few more years, and more appeals, until finally the United States Supreme Court said that House was entitled to a new trial. The Court went even further, stating that this was a case in which no reasonable jury could have found House guilty, and that the evidence pointed to "another suspect."

Prosecutors finally acknowledged that today, dropping all charges against House and clearing him after 22 years on death row. So now, we wonder, how does Mark Shurtleff feel about cutting off death row appeals?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

McMansion opponents: You're mad at the wrong people

It must be extremely irritating to have someone move into a nice neighborhood full of conventionally sized homes, and then poke everyone in the eye with a hideous McMansion. Fortunately or unfortunately, however, we live in America. We have a right to do what we want with our property, as long as it's legal.

And that's really the problem with most of these McMansion disputes in Utah: Planning and zoning ordinances allow them. We can't regulate bad judgment. We can't make people be good or considerate neighbors. All we can do is talk to our planning commissions and city councils about setbacks and restrictions before Mr. and Ms. Moneybags move in. It's the annoying but American way.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Jerry, yes it is

Read an interesting piece last week by not-one-of-my-usual-favorites, Gordon Monson. In it, Monson disagreed with Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's pronouncement that it is not his job to motivate his players.

I think it is, too. Yeah, they're professional, yeah, they should already be motivated, but sometimes you still have to state the obvious. Many Some years ago when I was coaching Junior Jazz, our neighborhood team was undefeated, two games away from the league championship. We were behind at the half, and I was frustrated. As we trouped downstairs, I exclaimed, "Guys, where's the energy? You've got to hustle!"

My best player than said, in all sincerity, "You didn't tell us to hustle!"

True. It actually hadn't occurred to me. But instead of saying, "I shouldn't have to," I accepted the criticism and said, "Well, I need you to, okay? Do you guys promise to hustle?"

They did, and they did. I know there's an age difference and a pro-vs.-amateur difference, but pro basketball players these days are basically just big kids. They've been spoiled and handled since their early teens. So yes, Jerry, the sad reality is that it is your job. Please do it. (But first, get rid of Boozer.)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A repost: The plight of the Enola Gay Hangar at Wendover

We don't usually do this, but this week's news that the Enola Gay hangar at Wendover has been placed on the list of endangered landmarks prompts us to reprint a post from August 2007:

This morning's Trib had a nice feature on Wendover, Utah. A couple of lines from the article struck a memory:
WENDOVER - The first atomic bomb. The world land-speed record. Wendover Will.
. . .
Toward war's end, Col. Paul Tibbets and the crew of the Enola Gay trained in Wendover to drop the first atomic bombs - dubbed Little Boy and Fat Man - on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Along with Smith, Tibbets is an icon in Wendover.
The crew didn't just train in Wendover. The Enola Gay mission actually launched from Wendover. On June 14, 1945, the newly manufactured B-29 was ferried from Nebraska to the army base there. On June 27, 1945, it took off from Wendover for the South Pacific. After stops at Guam and the Marianas Islands, the aircraft carried out its historic mission on August 6 and 9, 1945, dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrendered a month later.

The memory? Driving around on a quest for Mildred's, a restaurant on the Utah side that makes its own veggie burgers, noticing a historic marker, stopping to read it, and exclaiming, "THE Enola Gay?" The most important military mission in U. S. history was launched from Utah?

One reason it was hard to believe: This is what the hangar that housed the Enola Gay looks like now.

Granted, the Enola Gay's mission remains controversial. Co-pilot Robert Lewis himself wrote, "My God, what have we done?" Nonetheless, this mission has enormous military and historical significance. The hangar from which it was launched shouldn't look as though it has been condemned. To Utah legislators, we say: Next time you have an extra, say, $36,000 or so to spend, how about shifting some of it toward the long-envisioned restoration project out at Wendover. In the meantime, the project accepts donations via PayPal to the e-mail address support(at)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Wow - the Minuteman guy finally admits it's about brown skin

It's always interesting when the Minutemen guys say that their illegal immigration obsession isn't just anti-brown-skin racism. "Yeah, right," one thinks. "That's why your bunch lies in wait on the website praying that the next mug shot will have a slightly darker tone."

This morning, the Tribune's article about the Church's declination to become a law enforcement agency contained a remarkable admission:

Some LDS members are seriously questioning their faith as the church continues to recognize undocumented immigrants as worthy of baptism, temple entrance and missionary work while one of the faith's founding principles is to obey all laws, said Eli Cawley, chairman of the anti-illegal immigration Utah Minuteman Project.

"The risk that the church runs by supporting illegal aliens is
the risk of alienating their own white membership," Cawley said.

And there it is. It's about the skin color. It probably doesn't hurt to admit it, as we suspect most people already had formed that conclusion.

P.S. Cawley, anyone whose faith is so shallow that it can't handle one disagreement with the Church on immigration law - which has no religious or Biblical overtones -- has a bigger problem.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pandemic: We owe former state Rep. Sylvia Andersen an apology

Although we think the current swine flu threat is exaggerated (36,000 Americans die annually and hundreds of thousands are hospitalized with 'regular' flu), it does illustrate a need for preparedness.

Which prompts a fess up. Like Karl Rove and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who ridiculed the inclusion of pandemic preparation funds in the stimulus package, in 2006 we made fun of Utah state legislator Sylvia Andersen (R-Draper):
Strangest campaign issue. Most websites stuck to the usuals, education, health care, seniors, etc. But if Sylvia Andersen, the GOP Leg. 48 candidate, is right about her constituents' primary interests, that must be one distinct district. Her three main issues? Education, health care/insurance, and pandemics. That's right, pandemics. Andersen writes: “I understand that the majority (if not everyone) in our district is concerned by pandemic outbreaks - or natural disasters.” Yeah, they'll be taking to the streets soon on that. What do we want? Pandemic preparation! When do we want it? Now!
Although we wonder how much pandemic preparation was really on the minds of Andersen's constituents, she may have been on to something. Andersen was defeated in the GOP primary last year by Lavar Christensen, and we know what he thinks the biggest threat is...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Michigan GOP to Huntsman: If we wanted your opinion, we wouldn't be Republicans

So, Utah presidential candidate Governor John Huntsman Jr. was disinvited from a county GOP fundraiser in Michigan for not toeing the GOP line on civil unions. Remember the days when individual Republicans could have differing views on things and still be welcomed into the Big Tent? Neither do we.

My take on yesterday's lovefest about Utah's judicial "fitness" requirement

A kind third party bought me a seat yesterday at a function at the Alta Club called "Interpreting the Judicial Fitness Requirement under the Utah Constitution." Other than a whopper or two by Sen. Lyle Hillyard (R-Logan) and an occasional "B.S.-alert" from Rep. Kay McIff (R-Richfield), it was more of a makeout session. My notes are fuzzy, so these may not be exact quotes:

Moderator (President of the Utah Bar): "So, how about that 'fitness' requirement, huh? And note that my question did NOT mention Judge Hilder. No, I do not have Judge Hilder in mind at all."

Sen. Hillyard: "I assume that all judges appointed by Gov. Huntsman are qualified, so I have to dig deeper to find some way to torpedo them. Not that I've ever done that. And of course I'm not talking about Judge Hilder, either."

Rep. McIff: "When I was nominated for the Supreme Court, then Lt.-Gov. Olene Walker asked me if I was a conservative or a liberal. I told her to put me down as a 'reasonable.'" (True statement; McIff said this.)

Name-escapes-me: "I'm on a nominating committee. It's neat."

Bob Yeates with Gov. Huntsman's office: "All the governor wants in a judge is someone who is smart, charming, has good people skills, can run the hundred in 10 flat, plays the trumpet, wants to work for half pay, and doesn't mind getting grilled by a bunch of nincompoops about his divorce."

Chief Justice Christine Durham: "We love the senate. Please don't cut our funding."

Audience: "Zzzz..."

Rep. McIff: "By the way, I think politics played a role in the Hilder confirmation."

Audience: "Duh."

Sen. Hillyard: "What?! Hilder who? I can't think of a single instance in which politics decided a judicial nomination."

Audience: (Looks around for lightning bolt.)

Sen. Hillyard: "We have lawyers at all our meetings to make sure that senators don't ask inappropriate things. Well, except the private meetings, of course, but we just talk about the Jazz at those. Really."

Justice Durham: "I think you're great, especially the way you fund things, but I was just wondering. I hear that the NRA had a poster up at a local gun show recently that said, 'We got Hilder - keep the faith.' What do you think about that? I like your tie."

Sen. Hillyard: "NRA? What's the NRA? I never talk to lobbyists, especially the State Bar, by the way, because nobody trusts that bunch, and heck, look at the time!"

And that is how you avoid an elephant in the room at the Alta Club.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Super Dell or Super Dole?

We weren't surprised to see that (self-named) "Super Dell" Schanze is back in court again. We were surprised to see that he apparently applied for, and was given, a court-appointed -- i.e., taxpayer-paid -- attorney.

How could this be? According to the D-News, Schanze says he is impecunious, and owes more than $1 million in back taxes. So, a tax dodger gets a tax-paid attorney? I wandered over to Schanze's blog seeking insight into this seeming irony. As it happens, just yesterday Schanze posted his favorite quotes -- literally, his own quotes that he likes -- and from the sound of them, one wonders how he ended up on the public dole.
It is impossible for anything bad to happen to someone with a positive attitude. - Dell Schanze.
Are you positive?
Everyone starts from the bottom; the sign of the true champion is the one that works his way up the fastest. - Dell Schanze
What about the one that works his way down the fastest?
It is difficult having a lot because you want to share but many think you are arrogant for assuming others should want what you have. Dell Schanze
The solution, apparently, is to be impecunious.
Today’s genius is tomorrow’s idiocy – Dell Schanze
You're ahead of your time! Hey, maybe this explains it:
Don’t worry too much about the future. If you put your effort into the here and now then the future will already be polished when you get there. – Dell Schanze
"And when I say future, I mean taxes."
Those that can’t call themselves stupid now and then need others to do it for them. - Dell Schanze
You're welcome.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Local media's inconsistent practice of naming names

Yesterday, KSL/the Trib/the D-News announced that Salt Lake City cops had, once again, wasted taxpayer resources done some smashing law enforcement work, arresting a bunch of would-be prostitutes and johns on North Temple. This time, though, there was a twist: "They're going to name names!"

Like the proverbial car accident, I could not look away. Might I know some of the patrons? Inquiring minds wanted to know. But when I surfed over to tonight, I got . . . one name, of a guy who was a cop years ago. Whoop-de-do.

Did our local media decline to name names because they sensed this was a victimless crime that should remain a private matter between the men and their families? Maybe, but I doubt it. With our local media, there seems to be no rhyme or reason -- other than underlying speculation -- as to when names are named.

A few years ago, an acquaintance with a somewhat high-profile job was charged with embezzling nearly $100,000 from a well known local company. The News ran a piece on the charges, but omitted her name. I was relieved for her sake, but bothered as a consumer of news. Just the day before, the News had run a story on a much smaller theft in Davis County, and had named the person charged. What was up with that?

The bozo in Clearfield who shot a Carl's Jr. toilet remains anonymous, but the bozo who shot an Olive Garden chair in Provo was named. What's up with that? I don't favor trying people in the media, but a little consistency might make me less cynical.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What is wrong with all these Animal Control people?

Do you have to be a nincompoop to work at Animal Control (sometimes misnamed "Animal Services"), or does it just help? Some examples:

On today: Animal Control in Providence was going door to door to check on dog licenses. Yeah, let's spend our time going after people whose dogs haven't actually caused a problem. Mayor Randy Simmons put a stop to it.

A couple of years ago, Animal Control in Tooele was doing even worse: They were going door to door and ordering people to get rid of any pets over the technical limit, regardless of whether there had been any problem or any neighbors had complained. The city council put a stop to it.

A few months ago, Animal Control in South Salt Lake left a skunk trap out in the hot sun for an entire weekend, then tried to prosecute the guy who moved the trap out of the sun.

Last year, Sandy Animal Control picked up a 17 year old deaf cat on a sidewalk near its house and, unable to tell the difference between an old deaf cat and a sick cat, immediately killed it.

Recently, West Jordan Animal Control cited a woman whose dog got out while she was visiting her mother. That was fine, but they also cited her for not having her dog licensed in West Jordan. It wasn't good enough that it was licensed in Sandy, where she lives.

A while back, another Animal Control department in Salt Lake County cited a woman for having her gate open, even though her dog was still inside the yard.

Last year, West Valley was planning to use an inhumane gas chamber to euthanize pets.

Many other tales of Utahns' experiences with Animal Control; these are just a few that we've been able to verify or that have been publicly reported. What we can't figure out is whether Animal Control workers are told to be jerky, or does it just come naturally?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Once again, Mormons fall for a "low risk, high return" scam

I know this happens with all affinity frauds, that someone uses a claimed affiliation with a church or entity to sucker fellow members. But good grief, how many times are Mormons going to fall for the "42 percent annual return with little or no risk" line? Yes, these people are victims, and yes, the guy (if guilty) is a scumbag, but it's getting harder to muster up sympathy for people who either don't read the daily accounts of "too good to be true" scams, or somehow think they are entitled to high returns with low risk. Good grief.

Friday, March 13, 2009

KSL airs a dumb report about insulation rebates

An acquaintance was delighted a while back when an insulation contractor called her and explained that, if she qualified, she could get free insulation via a Questar / Rocky Mountain Power insulation rebate program. They blew insulation into her attic and she later noticed a drop in her energy usage, which is the whole point of the rebate program.

They did a good job. She didn't have to come up with the money herself. She didn't have to apply for the rebate and wait four months. It was a neat deal for her.

KSL, though, has managed to find something evil in this because -- brace yourself -- the contractor probably made a profit on the deal! What?!! And we assumed it was all pro bono!

This Debbie Dujanovic airs more than her fair share of contrived "exposes," but this may have been the dumbest. In fact, it should tell you something, KSL, when 98% of your commenters agree that the story is stupid, if not outright wrong.

KSL proudly reported that, as a result of their story, the energy companies are reducing their rebates. Great. Let's disincentivize a program that actually works. Now let's do an expose on charitable giving, because I hear that -- brace yourself -- people may be writing it off on their taxes!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

No wonder the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache forest service can't get firefighters

Recently, an acquaintance said he had been musing about Barack Obama's call for sacrifice. When he read that the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache forest service needed seasonal firefighters, he decided to bite the bullet, even though he would probably lose money being away from his regular job. He's an ex-military firefighter, in great physical shape, and I agreed they would be lucky to get him.

Later, he announced that he had given up on it. Was it the pay? No. The fitness test? No, lugging 45 pounds for 3 miles in less than 45 minutes would be child's play. It was the online application process.

Via Google, he found the website, and clicked on "Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Seeks Seasonal Workers." That took him to... a press release. OK. Then he tried "Apply Now for Forest Service Firefighting Jobs" and got...another press release. Then he clicked on "for information on applying," and got actual information. It said applicants can apply online - yea! So he clicked on that, and got...a website where you have to register even to be able to apply. Like us, he hates having to register to use a website.

Also on that page was an announcement that those who registered online between Feb. 2-11 might have had their location preferences erased (oops). He registered, but "Search for Jobs" didn't work on his Mac. Via several more clicks, he eventually found 269 jobs in Utah (they use the same process for all jobs; nothing specific to the Forest Service), tried to click on one, and got...sent back to the main menu again to start over.

If you do eventually find a job to apply for, you have to open yet another account -- and choose a password containing a combination of both upper and lower case letters, a number, and at least one symbol. "How the [heck] am I supposed to remember that?" he asked. Soon afterward, he was advised, "There was an unexpected problem processing your application" - but it didn't tell him what the problem was or how to solve it. Oh, wait -- he had foolishly not "created a resume." Clicking on that link led to another long application form, etc., etc.

I was skeptical that it was as "[darn] complicated" as he said, but when I tried it, I couldn't even get that far. I didn't see "Job Map," so I tried "Apply for a Job," but that didn't have a job- or state-specific search. Another link sent me back to the earlier page, etc., etc.

This is a family blog, so I can't print the second password he chose. Suffice it to say that it ended with an exclamation mark.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Larry Miller's death - lessons may be learned

It is a tribute to a man's influence when co-worker after co-worker call or come into your office, stunned, to say, "Larry Miller died." The last time -- actually, the only time -- I remember anything like it was when Elizabeth Smart was found.

Others will comment on Miller's legacy as a business man, philanthropist, controversial figure, etc. We want to comment on his legacy as a man with Type 2 Diabetes. Ever since his serious medical condition was revealed, we have both wondered what steps he was taking to control his diabetes. It wasn't any of our business, but, prior disagreements aside, we cared about his health. One of us being diabetic, we asked ourselves if he had changed his diet, was he monitoring his levels, etc.

Christopher Reeves' tragic accident increased awareness of stem cell research. The death of Gail Ruzicka's son increased awareness of drug abuse. Larry Miller's premature death may increase awareness of the serious dangers of Type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, Larry . . .

. . . with a gentle push and a mild arc, the cowhide globe hits home.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why is Mitt Romney selling his Deer Valley mansion?

We've been mulling it over since we read earlier this month that Mitt Romney's 9,514 square foot Park City mancave is for sale. Is Romneybot McMoneybags (TM Comedy Central) unloading his extra mansions to avoid a multiple-house-stigma in his next presidential run? At least some reports last summer opined that any Romney hope for a V.P. slot was doomed by the uproar from John McCain's inability to remember how many houses he owned. (As if that doesn't happen to all of us on occasion.)

Like everyone else, we were tempted by the priced-to-sell $5,250,000 tag and the sales pitch . . .

But ultimately it didn't suit our needs.

Now we know who is *really* clogging Utah's courts

Some interesting stories recently involving the case load in Utah's court system. Yesterday, D-News columnist Lee Benson mentioned that lawsuits by payday lenders comprise more than half of the Small Claims Court filings in Salt Lake County, and three-quarters of the filings in Utah County. Wow.

And who is complaining the most about boosting court filing fees, according to the Tribune? Debt collectors - because the vast majority of lawsuits these days are commercial, not "tort" or personal injury, as Republican lawmakers sometimes imply. The same has been true historically: Two years ago, I reviewed an extended period of Utah state court filings and determined that only 16% of the cases filed involved "torts." (I put "torts" in quotes because many Business v. Business lawsuits actually involve tort claims, such as trade secret misappropriation, fraud, etc. But uninformed people like Mitt Romney use the word "tort" synonymously with personal injury.)

For your insomnia cure reading pleasure, here is an actual typical filing day in Utah, as summarized by a commercial company. (Incidentally, the hospital lien cases were filed by our own Utah Sen. Steve Urquhart.)

3rd Judicial District Court Salt Lake County

Ronald C. Barker
JPMorgam Case Bank NA
1/22/2009 090901122 Fratto
Action for negligence and failure to act. The plaintiff deposited a check for $194,000 and the wired the money into two overseas accounts. One of the overseas banks said the money was part of a fraud and that the check was probably forged. The defendants should have spotted the fake check. The plaintiff asks for $124,000. Paid download

Colonial Pacific Leasing Corp.
Black Ridge Homes Inc.; Jaren D. Spencer
1/22/2009 090901149 Barrett
Account action. The defendants owe $99,000 for leased equipment.

Thor Construction LLC
D&F Construction LLC
1/22/2009 090901143 Faust
Account action. The defendant owes $25,000 for unspecified materials and labor.

Michael Landes
The Lodge at Snowbird Owners Association Inc.; Wayne G. Petty; Bob Bonar; Exchange Holdings Corp. VII; Ed Davies; Robert P. Shockley; Gippsland Basin Company LLC, a Florida company; Bass Straight Company LLC; Does
1/22/2009 090901145 Iwasaki
Deprivation without due process complaint. A lien for $10,000 was placed on the plaintiff's vacation home without adequate notification.

Aspen Press Company LC
Agape Printing; Kenneth Anderson; Shelby K. Duran
1/22/2009 090901152 McCleve
Open account action. The defendants owe $7,000 on an open account.

Sysco Intermountain Food Services Inc.
Jon Matonis dba Gandolfo's of Centerville; Patrick Hobbs
1/22/2009 090901144 Fratto
Open account action. The defendants owe $4,000 on an open account.

IHC Health Services Inc. dba Cottonwood Hospital
Progressive Direct; Jose Loyaza
1/22/2009 090901153 Peuler
Hospital lien violation. Cottonwood Hospital treated a patient who was injured in a car accident, and not covered by workers compensation.

IHC Health Services Inc. dba LDS Hospital
Property & Casualty Insurance of Hartford
1/22/2009 090901155 McCleve
Hospital lien violation. Cottonwood Hospital treated a patient who was injured in a car accident, and not covered by workers compensation.

IHC Health Services Inc. dba Intermountain Medical Center
Victoria Insurance Company
1/22/2009 090901156 Dever
Hospital lien violation. Cottonwood Hospital treated a patient who was injured in a car accident, and not covered by workers compensation.

Thomas Snow Removal LLC, a division of D. Thomas Companies LLC
Bennion Care Center
1/22/2009 090901146 Medley
Contract complaint. The plaintiff provided snow removal services to the defendant and has not been compensated.

Collin Van Kleeck
Mark Wisniewski; Dwell Properties LLC
1/22/2009 090901150 Medley
Contract lawsuit. The plaintiff purchased property from the defendant with the promise certain improvements would be made before the sale was finalized. Those improvements were not made.

Donita P. Smith
Aimco/Brandywine LP dba Somerset Village Apartments; Does
1/22/2009 090901137 Quinn
Slip and fall complaint. The plaintiff tripped while taking trash out to the dumpster in the dimly lit parking lot of the apartment complex.

4th Judicial District Court Utah County

Bryan Call; Call Auto Enterprises Inc.; Private Capital Group Inc.
BBP Alta LLC; BBP Makaha LLC; Does
1/20/2009 090400123 Taylor
Collection action. The defendants owe $1.3 million on a loan.

Vollkommen Construction LLC
Cody Heward; CK Holdings LLC
1/21/2009 090400170 Davis
Loan action. The defendants owe $218,000 on a loan.

John Marcum
J Ballard Homes Inc.
1/5/2009 090400086 Mortensen
Notice of transfer. The defendant sold a piece of property to the plaintiff with the intention of leasing it back. J Ballard Homes owes $38,000.

Granite LLC
Jason L. Holt; Kelli Holt; Wasatch Homes LLC; Wasatch Home Construction LLC; Jason and Kelli Holt Family LP; Jason Holt Construction Inc.; Wasatch Homes at Sand Dunes LLC; Wasatch Homes at Suncrest LLC; Wasatch Homes at County South LLC; Todd Heaps; Danielle Heaps; Steven P. Yandura; Jill E. Yandura; M&T Bank; Hartland Mortgage Centers Inc.; Citimortgage Inc.; Citibank NA; Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc.; Zions First National Bank; Does
1/16/2009 090400154 Taylor
Mechanic's lien. The defendants owe $25,000 for labor and materials on three different properties.

AFCC Limited
It's About Time Inc. dba My Girlfriend's Kitchen; Darlene Madison ; Brea Mefford; The Scenic Life LLC; Kevin Winder; Melissa Winder
1/8/2009 090100042 Maetani
Lease action. The defendant owes $19,000 in back rent.

Sierra Forest Products Inc.
Black Rock Building Group LLC dba Valley Mill Works LLC
1/7/2009 090100027 Maetani
Account action. The defendant owes $17,000 for wood products.

AFCC Limited
Rycorp Inc. dba Contours Express; Stephen D. Rollins; The Seven C's LLC
1/8/2009 090100043 Maetani
Lease action. The defendant owes $17,000 in back rent.

Sherwood Hockey Inc.
Norquay Investments LLC dba Crazzy Canuck Inc.
1/21/2009 090100160
Contract lawsuit. The defendant owes $12,000 for goods and services.

AFCC Limited
RedQ Inc. dba Sunglasses Only; Jay R. Bean
1/14/2009 090100122 Maetani
Lease action. The defendants owe $10,000 in back rent.

Mountainland Supply LLC
J Noyes Plumbing LLC; Justin Noyes
1/20/2009 090400159 Taylor
Account complaint. The defendant owes $8,000 for goods or services.

Sandra Harris
STN Inc.
1/12/2009 090100092 Maetani
Lease agreement. The defendant owes $6,000 in back rent.

Western Chain Link Fence Company Inc. dba Western Fence Company
C&B Concrete and Construction Company dba Wadsworth Custom Homes; David Garstin; Does
1/20/2009 090100143 Maetani
Account action. The defendants owe $6,000 in labor and supplies.

Moutainland Supply LLC
Lone Star Excavation Inc. Ron Wyatt aka Ronald O. Wyatt
1/16/2009 090400133 Taylor
Contract action. The defendants owe $6,000 for goods and services.

Western Chain Link Fence Company Inc. dba Western Fence Company
C&B Concrete and Construction Company dba Wadsworth Custom Homes; Augie Bove; Does
1/20/2009 090100144 Maetani
Account action. The defendants owe $4,000 in labor and supplies.

El Mexicano Market Inc.
Los Pericos Mexican Restaurant LLC
1/9/2009 090100041 Maetani
Bad check action. The defendant bounced several checks totaling $3,000.

Peachtree Estates Condominium Owners Association Inc.
Red Point Land & Development LLC
1/14/2009 090100039 Maetani
Account action. The defendant owes $2,000 for unspecified services.

Western Chain Link Fence Company Inc. dba Western Fence Company
C&B Concrete and Construction Company dba Wadsworth Custom Homes; Francois Rodriquez; Does
1/20/2009 090100142 Maetani
Account action. The defendants owe $2,000 in labor and supplies.

Department of Workforce Services
Susan Hayes; Primrose Retreat LLC
1/16/2009 090400140 Howard
Civil enforcement action. The defendant failed to deposit. $2,000.

Mountainland Supply LLC
Kasey King dba King Ranch
1/16/2009 090400142 Taylor
Account complaint. The defendant owes $2,000 for goods or services.

Urg Inc.
Ted Hansen; Rockpoint Holding LLC
1/20/2009 090100154 Maetani
Account action. The defendants owe $1,000 on an outstanding account.

Contractors Heating-Cooling Supply LLC
Rocky Ridge Air LLC; Richard Bunker
1/16/2009 090400144 Howard
Contract complaint. The defendants owe $1,000 for goods or services.

2nd Judicial District Court Davis County

Staker & Parson Companies
Maestro Builders LLC; Luke Watkins; Jared Barnes; Fitz Roy LLC; Sean D. Nelson; Sheri B. Nelson; Does
1/23/2009 090800091 Dawson
Contracts complaint.

3rd Judicial District Court Tooele County

Colonial Pacific Leasing Corporation
Double D. Excavation LLC
1/23/2009 090300120 Henriod
Contracts complaint.

3rd Judicial District Court Summit County

Business Commons III LLC
Ciralight Inc. dba Nature's Lighting; Jacqueline Stevens
1/23/2009 090500061 Lubeck
Contracts complaint.

George Fleming; Janis Fleming
DST Homes Inc.
1/23/2009 090500062 Hilder
Miscellaneous complaint.

Lynn Luke dba Rock Mountain Logs LLC
First Western Capital Co.; Century Windows & Doors LLC; Country Wood Homes LLC; Clayton W. Thorn
1/23/2009 090500063 Lubeck
Miscellaneous complaint.

5th Judicial District Court Washington County

Tracy L. Zachwieja
American Family Mutual Insurance dba American Family Insurance Group; Does; Roe Corporations
1/20/2009 090500251 Ludlow
Personal injury complaint.

8th Judicial District Court Duchesne County

Premier Bank
Tabby Mountain Ranch LLC; Gary Stringham; William W. Wall; Ray Schoenfelder
1/23/2009 090800018 Payne
Contracts complaint.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why are Utah's GOP legislators singling out autism?

Even after reading lots of press on Sen. Howard Stephenson's bill mandating coverage in private insurance policies for autism treatment, questions still arise:

  • Why just autism? Yes, early treatment is (or may be) beneficial and save cost later, but the same is true of many medical conditions.

  • Is it not incongruous for the president of the Utah Taxpayers Assocation to sponsor this bill? Isn't this basically a disguised tax, imposed on a limited segment of Utah businesses and employees?

  • If autism treatment is sufficiently beneficial to Utahns generally to overcome the usual GOP presumption against mandates, why not make it available to all Utahns through a statewide program, rather than only those with private insurance?

  • Are Utah legislators supporting this bill because, unlike other, less "popular" conditions, they happen to know more people affected by this condition than other conditions? (And, by the way, why is that?)

  • Should legislators apply the same analysis -- benefits of treatment + later cost savings -- to mandated coverage of other conditions? (For example: treatment of morbid obesity or coverage of prosthetics, which went nowhere.)

  • I'm not necessarily opposed to the bill; I often support mandated coverages. And I have no idea how VOU2 feels about the subject. I just can't figure out why Utah's Republican senators are singing the mandate tune on this one -- and only this one.

    Dear Utah cops: Fewer prostitution busts, more theft prevention, please

    Yesterday's D-News brought us news of another prostitution bust. Earlier this month, Salt Lake City cops snared dozens of would-be johns near North Temple and State Street, and State Street between 1300 South and 2100 South. On Wednesday, Murray police arrested four employees of The Pampered Male at 772 W. Spanish Oak Way (6130 South), for allegedly offering massage customers a happy ending to their visit.

    We know the exact addresses at which these services were offered because the News helpfully provides them every time they run a story about prostitution. (Coming soon: A Map This button on their website.) What we don't know is where my video camera is. Or my laptop. Or my digital camera with the photos of Chris Buttars pinching Scott McCoy's bottom.

    Crime -- the kind with actual victims -- is soaring in Utah. Recently, one relative had a car stolen. Another lost hundreds of dollars of inventory. A friend's car was ransacked. In addition to my departed electronics, copper pipes have been snipped right out of my new house.

    So it's with a bit of annoyance that we read about police officers spending an entire day trolling for disappointed johns on State Street. How many streets could have been patrolled in that time? How much faster could response time be on stolen groceries in Wal-Mart parking lots? Priorities, please...

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    I have finally figured out Chris Buttars' role in the Senate

    Years ago, I attended a social function with an eclectic group of invitees, including a member of an activist environmental group called Earth First! Chatting with him, he said something that put his group's "monkey wrenching" efforts into perspective: "Our job is to make the Sierra Club look reasonable."

    That observation came back to me this morning when I read another mystifying statement by Sen. Chris Buttars (R-West Pluto). Urging a state constitutional amendment to basically put the legislature in charge of death penalty appeals, Buttars told his fellow senators that there have been no executions in Utah for 20 years.

    When I read that, I thought, "Didn't we have that firing squad guy? And the guy after that? What about the hi-fi killer?" Granted, it took an entire 45 seconds on the computer to find the facts (these senators are so busy), but yes, we have indeed had three executions within the past 20 years: William Andrews, John Albert Taylor, and Joseph Mitchell Parsons.

    Could Buttars really be that clueless? I mused. Then it hit me: That's his job! His job is to make the other members of the Senate look reasonable by being a complete buffoon! All we can say is, you are very good at your job, Senator.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    Sen. Valentine starts to redeem himself

    Some of us who followed the Senate's torch-and-pitchfork confirmation hearings with Judge Robert Hilder were rather dismayed with Sen. John "He Hurt My Feelings" Valentine, who acknowledged that Hilder was qualified for the position, but voted no because Hilder had supposedly been disrespectful to the villagers.

    Valentine is partially redeeming himself by proposing a well-needed regulation of communications with judges by senators. Last year, for example, Sen. Chris Buttars sent a rant on Senate letterhead to a Fourth District Court judge who ruled against a friend of Buttars'. As described in the Trib, Valentine's resolution would set parameters, such as requiring such contact to be done openly and after the resolution of the case.

    These restrictions would preserve the integrity of the judicial system, respect the concept of separation of powers doctrine, and make sense. Ergo, they are doomed.

    Tuesday, February 03, 2009

    The incredible shrinking ethics bill

    We noticed in today's Deseret Morning News that -- prepare yourself -- Sen. John Valentine's ethics bill is getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller (kind of like Valentine's influence).

    According to the News, Valentine started out banning gifts over $10-15 to legislators. Then they could take the gifts, but would have to disclose it. In the latest version, they could accept gifts of up to $25, and no one would have to disclose it. At this rate, Valentine will be requiring gifts by the end of the session.

    Sunday, January 25, 2009

    Rep. Bigelow wants to eliminate continuing education for contractors - but why stop there?

    Rep. Ron Bigelow (R-West Valley) has proposed H.B. 249, which would eliminate the yearly continuing-education requirement for licensed contractors in Utah. Presently, that requirement is 6 hours of continuing education over a 2-year period.

    Continuing education requirements in Utah are a hodgepodge of micromanagement. Plumbers have no such requirements. Electricians do (16 hours per year). Mortgage officers do (14 hours every 2 years). Real estate agents do (12 hours every 2 years). Lawyers do (27 hours every 2 years). Psychologists do (48 hours every 2 years). Licensed social workers do (40 hours every 2 years). Occupational therapists don't. Speech therapists do (24 hours every 2 years). Certified dieticians don't. Professional engineers do (20 hours every 2 years). Pest control professionals do (24 hours every 3 years).

    Some of these requirements can be met by home study, some can't. Some can use online courses, some can't. Some have ethics requirements, some don't. Some have content requirement - for example, electricians have to take instruction on the latest code requirements, but lawyers can attend classes on any legal subject they find interesting.

    The contractor requirement is the laxest CE requirement we've seen imposed under Utah law. 3 hours a year is too much for these guys, especially as learning about new (greener) technologies becomes increasingly important in reducing our dependence on foreign oil? But if the issue is whether the legislature is operating counter to its "free market" mantra, that's a different question. Should professionals keep up to date in their fields? Yes. Should that be market-driven, rather than a requirement? One would assume that Republicans would think so.

    And if the legislature is going to decide continuing education requirements, how about some consistency? Why do social workers have to have a whopping 40 hours when real estate agents only have to have 12? And letting Utah lawyers go to any CLE that suits their fancy seems pointless. Frankly, we think much of the CE industry is just a money maker for companies that provide it, and it may be a time for a review of the whole concept. How about it, Rep. Bigelow?

    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    Utah should get first crack at the Guantanamo inmates

    So, Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha's offer to house Guantanamo detainees in his district is being evaluated as an economic opportunity for that state, apparently. Lots of federal dollars and jobs would be at stake, state reps note.

    We say no fair. Utah should have first dibs on housing toxic prisoners -- we already house all of the nation's toxic waste, after all. And I think we all know where the facility should be: Tooele County, of course. They'll house anything.

    Is there a risk? Not if it's done right. Besides, so what? We're talking money here. Some obvious precautions do come to mind, though:

    H.B. 224: Rep. Sandstrom wants lawsuits for swearing? (Seriously)

    H.B. 224, filed by Rep. Steve Sandstrom (R-Orem), is called "The Health Care Provider Abusive Work Environment Prohibition Act," and suffice it to say that Sandstrom might be an honored guest at the next Trial Lawyers convention.

    Under Sandstrom's bill, health care employees could sue employers (including governmental entities), co-workers, and independent contractors for workplace "abuse" that includes the use of "epithets," undermining of an employee's performance, etc., if a reasonable person would find it "intimidating" or "humiliating." Gee, no one has ever accused a co-worker of those things before.

    The bill says the abuse must be with malice, but it allows a court to infer malice in all sorts of circumstances, such as alleged expressions of hostility, alleged inconsistency with legitimate business interests, alleged failure to stop the conduct upon request, etc. In other words, the bill would make it virtually impossible for an employer to avoid a trial, because it would be easy for the employee to raise a jury question by simply filing an affidavit saying that one of these things happened.

    If the employee wins, a court can award back pay, front pay, punitive damages, emotional distress, attorney fees, and a singing telegram of apology. Well, maybe not the last one, but there is no cap on emotional distress or punitive damages for claims against co-workers or third parties.

    What the heck? This would be the most pro-lawsuit statute on the books. Even people who are (alleged) victims of racial or religious discrimination don't have it this good. So of course, inquiring minds want to know: Who among Sandstrom's family or friends is a health care worker who doesn't like her boss?

    Obama belts out a tune on Guantanamo?

    OK, it's a cheap shot taking advantage of a typo, but this headline from the Huffington Post earlier today was too hilarious:

    Obama - Yes We Can (Sing).

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    Guns don't kill toilets, people kill toilets (in Utah)

    Some events provide so much ammunition (so to speak) for ridicule that it seems wrong to blog about them somehow. Candy from a baby, that kind of thing. Nah.

    This morning, some idiot in the restroom at a Carl's Jr. in Centerville let his concealed weapon drop out of his pants onto the floor. It discharged, blasting the toilet. The puns have been flowing fast and furious on the comment boards:

    "Gives new meaning to being shot in the head."

    "He can just tell his wife he was shooting the s***."

    "Carl's Jr? That's probably not the first explosion that has occurred in that bathroom."
    And even the headline: "No. 1 (and No. 2?) with a bullet: Man's pistol blasts toilet to pieces"

    I just want to know the idiot's name. He deserves some kind of award named after him, like the "Could Have Killed Someone Award," or "Can't Keep It In My Pants Award," or something. By the way, is it legal to keep a bullet in the chamber? My Google project for the day.

    P.S. Maybe it's a good thing this happened, even if it did cause a woman heart palpitations. Who knows what heightened awareness of Toilet Danger might prevent?

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Love Corroon, but Europe?

    We come to this post with admitted biases: We think most foreign travel by local officials is a waste of taxpayer money. We also think that Peter Corroon is a man of integrity. So, what to think about Corroon's trip to Europe with UTA reps and the mayors of Bountiful and Ogden? And not just any old Europe, but Vienna, Munich, Zurich, Nice, Bordeaux, Monaco, and Paris.

    Corroon at least had a facial excuse for going, unlike the China 13 legislators two years ago, whose most articulate justification for traveling to The Middle Kingdom was "Uh . . . ." But come on. In this budget crisis? With no proposals submitted yet by UTA? You couldn't look at some video or talk with experts?

    We can buy some UTA reps going; they will have to come up with the ideas. But the mayors? You're not public transportation designers. We call . . . BooooooonDOGGLE!

    What cuts are legislators proposing for themselves?

    Thank you to The Senate Site for posting the initial list of budget cuts recommended by staff. Reading through it, a lot of the cuts / deferments seemed to make sense, but we were particularly interested in what kind of self-sacrifice the Legislature has in mind to demonstrate leadership. It's on page 48, and by "it," we mean this single item:

    Legislative staff may be reduced by 1.2 FTE per 1% reduction (18 FTE at 15%). Legislators would meet 1/2 day less per 1% reduction (7.5 days at 15%). Staffing for task forces and special requests will be limited. 2009: (-$1,484,200); 2010: (-$2,967,900).
    Not insignificant amounts, but we have a couple of thoughts / questions for you more experienced budget-readers:

  • What percentages do these cuts reflect? Unless we are misreading the chart, the list does not appear to identify the percentages reflected by individual cuts (vs. total percentages at the end). So we can't tell, for example, whether $1,484,200 in reduced staff expense is 1% or 50%.

  • When it says that Legislators would meet 1/2 day less per 1% reduction, is that a total for the entire year (for example, fewer interim meetings?), or that the regular session would be shortened? Because we'll be up there every day lobbying for anything that shortens the time our legisature is in session.

  • What about other cuts, such as the $300,000 stay-at-home bonus for legislators?

  • If there is anything in the legislative budget for travel, how about eliminating it?

  • Why not eliminate the constitutional review staff, since legislators ignore their warnings anyway?

  • P.S. May we assume that Sen. Howard Stephenson will stop insisting that his fellow board member's son-in-law be given a multi-million dollar contract for "textbook review"?