Thursday, January 25, 2018

2018 SB 87 School Security Locks

[Update: The bill was amended to remove the ADA concern for the bill, but it still has a major life safety concern as stated below]

In 2011, during my first session as a new legislator, I heard the phrase, Dead kids make bad laws. I asked for more information and found that legislators, wanting to protect kids, have sometimes over reacted when a child dies in creating new laws. The goal was good, but they didn't take take to look at the different ramifications of the proposed law. In some cases it has taken years to undo the damage of the bad rushed bill.

Yesterday I became aware of a new such bill.

S.B. 87 School Security Locks

What does the bill do? 

This bill: amends the International Building Code and International Fire Code regarding: hardware height on a door for certain occupancies in lockdown or during a lockdown drill; and door operations provisions for locks and bolt locks, and latching and unlatching, for certain occupancies in lockdown or during a lockdown drill.

But there are dead kids, so the bill has to pass to make parents feel safer.

If the bill were to pass, is there a simple amendment that would save lives?

Lines 48 and 102. Change the words "two operations" to "one operation" on both lines.
What will that do?

It will allow children to get out of a classroom faster during an emergency and could save lives.

Won't that gut the bill?

No, there are already countless existing building code approved "barricade classroom function" locks on the market and many of the existing classroom looks can be field modified to allow the door to be locked from the inside of the room and not just the outside.

There is only one lock manufacturer that makes an aftermarket barricade classroom lock that can be opened from the outside with a special key that is the target of the bill. If the bill is amended, that lock won't be installed in schools, but other building code approved locks can be installed.

Won't that cost the school district more money? Not necessarily. The more expensive "Mortise" type locks, can be field modified saving money, providing the security and safety. The less expensive "Cylinder" type locks can be replaced with less expensive locks that allow the door to be locked from either the inside or the outside with a key, but allow the children on the inside to get out without a key or slowing them down.

Is there any other problems with the bill? Yes

for decades, the US Department of Justice has determined that the combination of the current International Building Code and the Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities ICC A117.1 is equivalent  to the building design requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADAAG) without dragging the architect into a civil rights law for liability.

As currently written, I believe SB 87 violates both ICC A117.1 and ADAAG and would NOT allow someone in a wheelchair to lock the door, but more importantly unlock the door to get out of the classroom.

Are you saying that in your opinion that SB 87 as currently drafted violates ADA and could open architects, district and the state to lawsuits re: ADA? Yes

So is the bill as originally drafted worse that than passing nothing? Yes

Is any related bill needed? Good question.

Any classroom I have ever seen has a lock on it that can be secured to protect the occupants, but the traditional "Classroom Function" lock requires a key to be used to lock the door from the outside (protects the teacher from being locked out and protects students from being dragged into a classroom and locked in and harmed. That isn't bad, but in the new age of shootings, it doesn't allow the door to be locked from the inside. The door always opens from the inside without a key in one operation.

The newer building code complaint "barricade classroom function" locks are the same as the old ones, but also allow someone on the inside to lock the door with a key. In a shooting situation, this is quicker and safer, but still allows someone on the inside (including in a wheelchair) to open the door with one operation and no key.

IF the Utah legislature wants to require certain new school classrooms to have the barricade classroom function locks, the ones that meet current code and allow only one operation to get out of the room and requires no key to get out of the room, they could substitute or amend the bill to require that.

Should the current bill pass? No

Can it be amended? Lines 48 and 102. Change the words "two operations" to "one operation" on both lines.

Is there a better option? Yes, debate whether or not it is good policy to require certain new classrooms to have the newer code complient locks that allow locking from both sides of the door.

What about the State Fire Marshall's office? If you go to the Governor's office, you limit what the state fire marshall's office can say and do, and they can not create policy. I personally met yesterday with the person in the office that gave the sponsor the language to change the building code. If Lines 48 and 102 were changed from "two operations" to "one operation" on both lines., he would not be personally opposed to the bill.

Disclaimer. I am an architect who has be using the building codes and has been designing to meet ADA and ICC A117 for decades.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Why the 2017 Homeless bill should have been amended before passage

In 2016 I voted FOR 2 Homeless bills, designed to help the homeless and AGAINST the one taking away Midvale's right to have any say in the shelter they had being year round or not. This last year, 2017, I was not in the House of Representatives and did NOT vote for the bill taking way West Valley's or South Salt Lake's ability to have any control as to where Mayor McAdams wanted to put the new shelter.  The proposed locations were terrible. 

As a Rotary member, we have been helping a center with a great record of helping single parents get housing and employment. 

http://www.familysupportcenter.org/lifestart-village/

After the bill passed in 2017, I provided specific location issues for sites proposed, and even the size of some of them. See:

https://fredcox4utah.blogspot.com/2017/03/salt-lake-county-homeless-shelter.html

I didn't say it shouldn't be in any one city, including ours. I personally spoke to Mayor McAdams more than once on this issue and attended all the public meetings. Each city had a place that would actually work, but they were not asked as I stated. Proposing on locating a homeless shelter next to a school for teen age girls that were expecting or recently became a single parent was more than silly, and that was just one of the several locations proposed. The Legislature voting to give the county mayor that power was dangerous. (Disclaimer, Sen. McAdams was the senator sponsor of several of my bills in 2011 and 2012 including my bi-partisan congressional district redistricting map proposal).

Did anyone realize that the  H.B. 441 Housing and Homeless Reform Initiative Amendments was going to be a bad bill and not just a funding bill? Yes. 

West Valley City officials told their representatives in the House and Senate that the Homeless Bill had this problem and not to vote for it as drafted.  All House Members voted for the bill initially, (one in Utah County eventually voted no) including the ones that heard George Chapman in the House Standing Committee tell them what the bill would do to city rights and that it needed to be amended. Our local State House Member voted for the bill.

One West Valley City State Senator, Sen. Thatcher, brought this issue up to the Senate during floor debate and had the bill passage put on pause, (circled) until the Governor's office promised that the cities would not be railroaded if the bill passed. It is surprising the House didn't have the same discussion.When that did happen, Sen. Thatcher was one of the first to cry foul.

Now that the proposal is to build the facility near the Jordan River Parkway, there is a new proposal to turn the Parkway over to the State as a State Park, with the main reason the Homeless near the river. It would have been better not to locate the facilities near the river in the first place.

It there any one thing that started the problem to where Homelessness in the areat got out of hand? 
I believe yes.

Many of the homeless that were downtown until the recent relocation were from out of state, and they were sent by other cities to Salt Lake City when past Mayor Becker announced: in 2014 to 2015:


"We are 90 percent of the way with the housing-first model toward eliminating homelessness for our chronically homeless in this city. It is an incredible national achievement that is recognized every day."—Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, at the Poverty Summit, Aug. 29, 2015

https://www.cityweekly.net/utah/problem-not-solved/Content?oid=2966986


Utah has its own share of problems in this area, without trying to solve it for other places in the nation. We will do better to follow programs that work, such as the Family Support Center LifeStart Village and not removing state and county funding for it and providing for programs that have not been tested or have proven to fail.



Saturday, December 2, 2017

Fred Cox for Utah House of Representatives District 30

I believe we must stand up and be heard or watch our constitutionally protected rights disappear. We can't continue to let government take over our lives.

That was the reason I ran for office when my State Representative, Ron Bigelow, stepped down to help the Governor at the end of 2010, and it is still so today.

It was one of the reasons I was awarded the Libertas 2016 Defenders of Liberty Award.

For 2015 and 2016, I was given a 100% rating from the Utah Taxpayers Association for voting against tax increases and looking out for the taxpayers. I also received a Salt Lake Chamber 2015 and 2016 Business Champion award for working to help Utah businesses grow. I worked hard to make sure the legislature didn’t ignore the idea of replacing the prison in Draper, which I believed would have saved over $100 Million, which has since been shown to be true.

I had the opportunity to serve in the Utah House of Representatives in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016. During that time I had a reputation of being willing to speak up and to fight for and vote for what I believed was right, no matter the opposition.

Bills I worked on are covered in more detail here:

I also had the reputation of reading though all of the bills I would vote on, and after the 2016 session a comedy song joked that I might have known other legislators' bills better than they did. During my service, I had one of the best floor attendance records of anyone in the House, with the exception of one rare House Judiciary Standing Committee meeting called during floor time where I missed 12 votes in 2015. They were the only ones I missed that year. I wanted to be in the chamber during debates and voting so I could hear both sides of an issue and see if a bill was ready, or needed to be amended or voted down. "Motion to Amend" was something I said more than once. I always voted for or against the bill no matter who the sponsor was or what party they belonged to.

I have been asked by many in the district to run again. I would appreciate your support, whether by endorsement for 2018 or campaign contribution.

For contributions, checks can be sent to:

Fred C. Cox, Campaign Fund
4466 Early Duke St.
West Valley City, UT 84120-5723

Online donations can be made though my Square account for
$5 to $250, or multiples of any of those.

For updated information, see my social media sites at:

including my blog at:

Thank you again for your interest,
Fred C. Cox for Utah House District 30

801-966-2636 home

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Count My Vote or Blank Check Vote

Updated based on current version.

Whether or not you agree that the caucus and convention system which did NOT favor the incumbent, wealthy or famous, as being a good thing, the New Count My Vote 2.1 is worse.
 
Currently you can at least watch what your legislator does during the session and if you don't like it, you can either run or help someone run against them by filing after the session ends.

CMV 2.1 changes the deadline to be selected by the party OR to submit signatures by the first business day after March 1st., lines 469, 476). (worse than CMV2.0)

They are saying we have to have the caucus and county and state party conventions during February, when the Utah Legislature is meeting!

This takes away part of the accountability of these elected officials.

Most of the bills will pass after the new proposed filing deadline and it will take time prior to qualify and so it would be two years until you have a chance to hold your State Representative accountable or perhaps four years for your State Senator or Governor depending on their end of term.

So much for accountability to the people. Is this initiative is written to protect incumbents?

Do we call this Count My Vote or Blank Check Vote?

https://elections.utah.gov/Media/Default/2018%20Election/Initiatives/Count%20My%20Vote%20Addendum.pdf

What is the major problem technically? 

The new CMV2 violates the Utah Constitution Art VI sec 1, (2) (a) (i) (B ) for lines 97 to 107.

IF they CAN constitutionally combine an initiative and a referendum of advance legislation, which the constitution has as separate powers and the state law has different requirements for, the state constitution is very clear a referendum can not repeal bills passed by a 2/3 vote of both legislative houses. This is written to include repeal of those, even before they exist, violating the part of the State Constitution they are using to create CMV2. 

Other major problems?

While it will cost less to get on the primary ballot under CMV2, it will cost a lot more to actually run and win elections making lobbyists and corporations, or the wealthy and famous even more powerful in elections.

There are no geographical requirements for signatures within a district or state so the potential of fly over counties and cities and area becomes much worse.

What should Count My Vote 2.1 actually change?

IF they really want to change elections, they should get rid of straight party voting as people can now get on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate with signatures bypassing the political parties, and have been able to for many years. They just have a harder time wining with straight party voting. CMV2 does nothing to help unaffiliated voters. That would.

The next thing they should look at is Ranked Choice Voting and not the expensive run off primaries that are part of CMV2, that have poor voter turnout and cost millions each election.

Ranked Choice voting Video

Don't sign their initiative. It makes elections worse and not better.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Granite Bond Proposal or Short Term Memory

Note, this is a copy of some random facebook posts. I will see if I have time to come back with something more formal.  

I like safe buildings. I do however feel I have been lied to. 

When GSD promoted the $256,000,000 bond last time, it was with the promise that they would not be raising taxes, which they already have for a different reason. Bonding for any more prior to paying off what they currently have goes against what we were told.

Yes, they promised no tax increase for the last bond, which they followed. I noted that the tax increase was for a different reason. Yes they need "permission" to raise taxes, in that they have to have a truth in taxation hearing after telling people they are planning on doing it and listening or ignoring all those that come to oppose the tax increase.

And yes, we were shown (for the last bond) a plan that had no tax increase in the future, which they either scrapped or decided it was bogus.

I don't like being lied to and yes they are related. Is 100% of the 12% property tax increase going directly to and only to teachers for a 12% raise? What percentage of the money coming from the State is going to capital improvements now and you do notice the end of this article. 

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865685951/Granite-School-Board-unanimously-adopts-12-property-tax-increase.html

For several years, the districts have asked the state to allow them to have an exception to use state money to some extent for capital improvements. That has been in state law with an ongoing sunset.

It is possible that will expire about the same time as the Jordan School District split solution. I was not in the #utleg when that solution was crafted, but I do know there have been new protections put in place to avoid another district being created and leaving the remainder with big problems.


What did they say last time?

http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=13571362&itype=NGPSID

Granite had been working on a $17 Million per year budget for new and fixed buildings, but decided to use it for the 2009 bond for over $256 Million. They were supposed to have everything all figured out until it got paid off and then use the $17 Million again for the same thing.

http://www.graniteschools.org/superintendent/2009/09/answers-to-bond-questions/
(Note, since I posted the above link, the district website has deleted this information. I have the screen shot, but the text has now been added below). 

When they borrowed the $256 Million, they promised they would pay if off before coming back. If they had paid off the current bond and then they decided they couldn't do it for $17 Million a year anymore that would be one thing, but not only did they sell the voters a line, they sold the investors a line as well


http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100419007196/en/Fitch-Rates-Granite-School-District-Utah-Bonds 

They have known the current seismic problems have existed for some time. I guess air conditioning was a higher priority for the $256 Million bond last time? How long before the $256 Million is paid back?

"Voters authorized general obligation bonding of $256 million in November 2009. As of June 2013, the district had issued $231 million and had remaining authorization of $25 million. The bond money has been used to rebuild Granger High School, Olympus High School, Oakwood Elementary, Woodstock Elementary, and the Hartvigsen School. In addition, the funding was used to build 2 new elementary schools (Elk Run and Armstrong), and to provide air conditioning for all schools in the district. The district plans to issue the remaining $25 million of bond authorization during the 2017-18 school year. The funds are budgeted to build a new elementary school and to purchase a school site."


For the New Proposed Bond, most of the rebuild/remodel for phase one do not have the " * Projects to be financed with bond proceeds (Utah Code 53A-18-102) ". According to the GSD mailer on the bond, only 5 of 31 listed school projects are being funded by the proposed bond.  So how is the district paying for those other projects? Will they issue another new bond in a few years or do they already have the money for those?

While the DA is investigating one school district re: this issue, it has not been reported they are also investigating GSD. Perhaps they should be.

http://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2017/10/23/critics-of-the-campaign-for-canyons-school-districts-283m-bond-are-eager-to-follow-the-money-if-only-they-could/


I received a well written Voter information tri-fold by GSD in the mail, addressed to Registered Voter at my address. Even though it was just one side of the issue and obviously has bias, it had great information. My complaint does not focus there.  


The GSD is advertising for the bond using district money, at least via Facebook. 

The ad doesn't not agree with the tri-fold and implies that all the projects are being paid by the bond, which appears to be false advertising, if the tri-fold is correct.

Everything I have seen shows the District is paying for the promoting of the bond.

Update:  There is a PIC or a PAC 
Approx. $30,000 has been raised to promote the bond, most large donations are from Architects (not me) or Engineers or Contractors that would benefit from the bond.

http://www.parentsforgranite.org/supporters/

PAC
 https://disclosures.utah.gov/Search/PublicSearch/FolderDetails/1414818

PIC
https://disclosures.utah.gov/Search/PublicSearch/FolderDetails/1414862

 UPDATE
From the 2009 Q&A from the District Website, recently deleted.


Answers to bond questions

1. How can we be sure the Board won’t raise taxes for this bond – like the ballot says they can?
The Board of Education has very publicly committed not to raise taxes to pay for these bonds.  Historically the Board of Education has kept its promises.  To break this promise would significantly compromise the ability of individual board members to be reelected.
2. What is to hold the board to their commitment?
The Board of Education unanimously approved the “project list.”  Historically the Board of Education has kept its promises.  To deviate from that list would significantly compromise the ability of individual board members to be reelected.
3. If we don’t live in the county can we still vote?
 Only residents of Granite School District will be involved in this election.
4. Will only two new elementary schools be needed in the West Valley/Magna area in the next 20 years?
We know the area  needs two right now and the pay-as-you-go strategy is not sufficient to build those.
5. Where did the $17 million come from?
The $17 million comes out of the capital outlay budget.
6. Where will students be located while our school is being rebuilt?
This will need to be evaluated.  It has been our practice to hold school in the existing building for school while the new building is built whenever possible.  Communities are involved in this planning.
7. What would happen if an unseen emergency/catastrophic need arises?
The district is insured for emergencies and catastrophes.  A significant contingency plan has been built into this bond and we are certain that we will be able to complete the list.
8. What schools will be air conditioned first?
As soon as the bond is passed we will develop a strategy for getting all schools air conditioned as quickly as possible.  It is unlikely that any single contractor would be able to do all the schools at once so we will consider multiple contractors and review their suggestions as to how to move most quickly.
9. How were buildings identified for rebuild?
A number of factors go into this identification, including such considerations as instructional appropriateness, age of building, seismic ratings, cost of maintenance, cost of utilities, condition of roof, stable student populations and so on.  Olympus and Granger High schools rose to the top of the list as did Oakwood and Woodstock Elementary schools.
10. Can we use swamp coolers instead of air conditioners?
There are a number of factors that make swamp coolers less desirable instructionally than air conditioning including noise, humidity and dust.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Why a Redistricting Commission may make things worse

UTA, an un-elected board doesn't work as good as most would like. Do we want another?

Both in 2016 and 2017, Rep. M. Nelson proposed rules (passed the House but not the Senate, yet) that would help solve the problem that happened last time, The redistricting committee had really good rules and goals, but then both political parties threatened law suits and many of the ideals were abandoned. If we could just get one or two specific Republican State Senators to go along, the new rules would likely pass. Those rules and having the elected legislature create the maps would work much better than having an "independent" redistricting commission, where the one independent person gets to decide. 

Even though I was not on the redistricting committee last time, I drew maps for the 2011 redistricting bills and some were officially voted on. My Congressional Map, "Hat and 3 stripes" was the most favored by the committee, prior to the political parties involvement. I even had a similar map Senate Sponsored by Sen. Ben McAdams, the only bi-partisan Congressional District Map. (No, it didn't pass).

The maps I drew to start with had one goal in place. To keep the districts as close to city and county lines as possible, using major roads or other obvious boundaries such as rivers, etc. I had the Congressional District divided with very few county or city boundaries crossed. My Party Chair threatened to sue the state if that map was adopted. I tried to make it fair. I wasn't trying to favor one party over the other, but didn't use any party stats to create it. I had the maps balance to one person. 

If the rules that the committee was trying to follow were placed as legislative rules, it would have avoided the threats of lawsuits for following them. The other side created state house and other maps down to just a few people, while to keep the county and city boundaries as close as possible, the state house and state senate districts needed more of a range, perhaps 2% to 3%. When they started doing that we started losing district boundaries that made sense. They made things worse. Another reason for the rules being adopted differently.


At least for the Utah House map, only one Rep. voted against the final map. 74 to 1. She won in 2012, I lost. It wasn't perfect, and I knew it would be tougher to win, but I voted for it because my area made more sense than other options.

 Remember Rep. Merrill Nelson lost years ago, because he wanted fair redistricting boundaries more than getting elected. I repeated that in 2012. If the State House boundaries were so bad, why did all but one democrat in the House vote for that map?

https://le.utah.gov/~2016/bills/static/HJR005.html

https://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/HJR001.html

 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Count My Vote or Blank Check Vote

So the Incumbent protection for the Utah Legislature and Governor is in the Count My Vote?

Currently you can at least watch what your legislator does during the session and if you don't like it, you can either run or help someone run against them by filing after the session ends. (March 1st, Line number 321).

This takes away part of the accountability of these elected officials.

Most of the bills will pass after the new proposed filing deadline and so it would be two years until you have a chance to hold your State Representative accountable or perhaps four years for your State Senator or Governor depending on their end of term.

So much for accountability to the people. Is this initiative is written to protect incumbents?

Do we call this Count My Vote or Blank Check Vote?

https://elections.utah.gov/Media/Default/2018%20Election/Initiatives/Count%20My%20Vote%20Application.pdf

Is this the only problems?

No, there is a typo on line 95, with a reference that isn't correct. How many other errors are there in this initiative? It clearly isn't ready.

What is the major problem technically? 

The new CMV2 violates the Utah Constitution Art VI sec 1, (2) (a) (i) (B ) for lines 88 to 95.

IF they CAN constitutionally combine an initiative and a referendum of advance legislation, which the constitution has as separate powers and the state law has different requirements for, the state constitution is very clear a referendum can not repeal bills passed by a 2/3 vote of both legislative houses. This is written to include repeal of those, even before they exist, violating the part of the State Constitution they are using to create CMV2. 

Other major problems?

While it will cost less to get on the primary ballot under CMV2, it will cost a lot more to actually run and win elections making lobbyists and corporations, or the wealthy and famous even more powerful in elections.

There are no geographical requirements for signatures within a district or state so the potential of fly over counties and cities and area becomes much worse.

What should Count My Vote 2 actually change?

IF they really want to change elections, they should get rid of straight party voting as people can now get on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate with signatures bypassing the political parties, and have been able to for many years. They just have a harder time wining with straight party voting. CMV2 does nothing to help unaffiliated voters. That would.

The next thing they should look at is Ranked Choice Voting and not the expensive run off primaries that are part of CMV2, that have poor voter turnout and cost millions each election.

Ranked Choice voting Video

Don't sign their initiative. It makes elections worse and not better.