Monday, June 28, 2010

"Zero tolerance" for white-collar crime in Utah?

Poor Gov. Herbert, sometimes he's like doddering Grandpa Gary, who says things that are kind of out there, and we just pat his arm and say, "Sure, Gramps, That's right."

Yesterday, we read an article on how the sky is blue and grass is green and Utahns lost more than $1 billion to fraudulent schemes last year. The state has "zero tolerance" for white-collar crime, the article quoted Gov. Herbert. Oh, boy - where to start?

Also in the news yesterday: A man named Terry Wayne Brown used affiliation fraud to steal $35,000 from an Orem woman. He got 90 days in jail and restitution. A woman named Michelle Kittredge stole more than $500,000 from her employer, and got 6 months in jail followed by home confinement. In Weber County, a man named Bart Andersen who embezzled more than $250,000 from his employer at least got 1-3 years in jail, but with work release. And those are people who actually got charged by local prosecutors, those who haven't, say, had breakfast with a legislator...

Utahns don't want to pay more taxes to build more prisons, so maybe we can't complain about all this wrist slapping for white-collar crime. No tolerance for it? It's a nice thought.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Those darned competent day laborers

In an hour, I will head out to exercise my legal right to pick up a couple of independent contractors to help me mulch. I don't know of any law against this in Utah, and I could do it under Arizona's new law, too, because the places I go have cutouts. (Arizona's law -- which I have actually read -- prohibits picking up day laborers only "if the motor vehicle blocks or impedes the normal movement of traffic.")

I hadn't considered picking up guys off the street until a conservative GOP friend suggested it, and told me where to go. Before doing so, I tried:
  • asking co-workers for teenagers wanting to earn good $ through manual labor. Perhaps we have all grown too old together, because I no longer get Yeas on that. (Unfortunately, my own former source of labor had the nerve to grow up.)
  • using a professional labor service. For one job, they sent a guy who didn't want to do lifting and a scrawny guy, both in spite of my "heavy-lifting" warning. So long, beautiful kitchen island.
  • using a landscape service. For one job, I asked for 10 workers, and got 2. Oh, 10 guys showed up, but most took long smoke breaks every hour, or stood yakking even as I dragged piles of dead tree limbs past them.
  • placing KSL ads. My first yielded a former landscaper laid off for months, currently relying on Church assistance. Score! But after showing up a few times, he just faded away. I got no response to my next ads.

Finally, I drove, somewhat nervously, to a place suggested by my friend. "They surround the car," he warned, but just be firm. A Kentuckian named Louis was the first to my car, and as he helped me move some salvaged bricks, he didn't stop for smoke breaks, or stand around, and at times he ran even with fully-loaded tongs.

My next few experiences were the same: guys who wanted to work hard, well, and efficiently, and whom I had to urge to take occasional water and lunch breaks.

Were the first stream of helpers American citizens? I think so. Were the latest? I haven't asked, and they haven't told. (Unlike many KSL.commenters, I do not assume illegality from the mere fact of a person's race or name.) If they are not, all I can say is: I pay the same high hourly wage to everyone, I have insurance if anyone gets injured, and I work right along side them. Based on my own experience, can I say these men took jobs that Americans did not want to do? No, but they took jobs that Americans did not want to do well.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back from the quasi-dead

Geez, you go away for a while, and next thing you know it's been a year, not that anyone necessarily would have noticed. Voice of Utah is back now, and scared anxious to become immersed in Utah politics again...