Friday, February 28, 2014

The count my vote bluff do not negotiate with pirates

Word is reaching that Count My Vote is willing to stop their petition. A negotiation with the Utah Legislature.

Count My Vote = Pirates?
From a year ago:

Why would Count My Vote now "cave" ? Several good reasons, they wanted the Utah Legislature to bail them out.

1. They never had a well written proposed law.

2. Their Legal brief was finally discovered to be a con.

In a soon to be released counter brief it was discovered that Count My Vote / Buy My Vote based part of their argument on a minority opinion form the SCOTUS and not the majority opinion.  It shows that the Legal Brief put out by Count My Vote to be as flawed as the proposed law. Not only is the conflicting sections in Count My Vote going to give a judge pause and kick it back to the Utah Legislature to fix, and the 2% system obviously not treating candidates from different parties equally, but the whole premise of Count My Vote being able to stand up to the courts is flawed.

3. 2014 SB 2014 passed the Senate.

4. Protect Our Neighborhood Elections files a complaint with the Lt. Governor's office re: Count My Vote asking for signatures, perhaps even all to be thrown out.


The complaint outlines four accusations, which include the following:
1 – Only one of eight corporate donors for Count My Vote has filed the required financial disclosures with the Lt. Governor’s Office.
2 – Washington County School District member emailed Count My Vote materials from a school email account during school hours.
3 – Count My Vote signature collectors have, on documented occasions, verbally misrepresented the nature of initiative, going so far as to completely lie about it.
4 – Count My Vote petitions were allegedly left unattended in public places, which could have allowed anyone to sign without first having their identity verified.
What did Count My Vote do? They pulled in more money, this time from Sen. Orin Hatch, and they called in Mitt Romney, who likely was just acting at the request of Mike Leavitt.

It is in doubt that Mitt Romney is up to speed on the flaws of Count My Vote:

Passed problems with 2014 SB 54

Pirates or Just Cowards?
Count My Vote had their public hearings when the least number could come and even scheduled them during UEA and a Legislative Session.

"They have scheduled four of their seven public statewide meetings at noon during the week with two of those during a special session of the Legislature," said Fred Cox, a former state representative and opponent of the Count My Vote movement. "They also scheduled two of the required regional public meetings during UEA (Utah Education Association), so they don't seem to want the UEA teachers or their invited parents to attend."

Their Press Conference tomorrow is during the State GOP Central Committee meeting so that none of the GOP Party Leaders could be there.

Count My Vote: a Lexus lane to the ballot for the rich and famous. Always has been. With the proposed compromise it is just more obvious.

Fair Elections in Utah. It matters. You can remove your signature using this process:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why we should not have a new hotel funded with tax rebates

My concerns are the existing businesses that compete against this not only state sales rebate blessed business but likely also county property tax rebated blessed business.

I am not sure what taxes the city will rebate but likely will.

With a rebate on the taxes, after they are paid first, of up to $75 Million x 2 or x 3 IF you feel government has to help an specific industry get off the ground to help the economy - this proposal is better than some other options.

The fact that we have an existing same industry of multiple businesses in the target location that don't get the same deal it is totally unfair.

Also a lot of money. $75 Million or $150 Million or $225 Million is tax rebates.


Update: The final bill that passed the Legislature has money set aside to minimize the damage to other private businesses.

Disclaimer: One of my past clients has property in the area. It would be a benefit to my industry and possibly my firm for a hotel with large meeting room space to be built. The reason for me opposing this plan was because of free market principles and government competing in the private sector, or  picking winners or losers and finally cost.

Can something be done? The size of the Salt Palace Convention Center is a problem, too big and too small at the same time and it has not worked as well as it could with the private sector.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Do Not Move the Prison

Moving the prison will help Draper, at the expense of the rest of Salt Lake County and Utah. Lets move it to where we forget it? No, that really is a bad idea. Keep it to where it is close to colleges, hospitals, the courts, and lots of visitors and volunteers. We don't actually want the prisoners to stay prisoners.

There is enough room to add 576 beds and you wouldn't notice which would allow the few non-pod type facilities to be replaced. We also have this really cool system in Gunnison where the prisoners work with wild horses. For those prisoners that the Draper facility doesn't work, we have that option.

With the Mountain View (Corridor), the Draper Prison isn't the bottle neck it was. There are many acres of developable land in that general area that could actually be worth less if more land is added. Will it increase population in that area for schools, likely. Will the money end up going where the schools will be needed, not likely.

Where: In Salt Lake County? Why move it. Outside of Salt Lake County, further from resources and courts.

Don't move the prison.


I am an architect. Moving the prison would likely help my profession. I have drawn thousands of jail and prison cells many years ago, including working on the Gunnison Prison, Oxbow Jail, and others out of state.

I also invested 2 years as a volunteer for a church service mission at the Draper Prison. 

Update, what passed the Legislature was a decision to move the prison, sometime, somewhere weighing many of the concerns I have listed. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 SB 54 Elections Amendments

2014 SB 54 Elections Amendments, A proposal for the Utah Legislature to adopt Count My Vote, prior to knowing if they get enough signatures, and prior to a vote in November if they do. It provides exceptions, one of which would ruin the Same Day Ballot that the GOP is adding to increase participation for Neighborhood Caucus Election night.

Many citizens who attend their neighborhood elections and caucus meeting become interested in politics and get involved in their communities, the state and the nation. They meet and help candidates become elected. Some then later become candidates. This should be encouraged through education. SB 54, lines 796 to 800 ruins that and should be amended.  

Again, we need to amend it to allow greater participation by those that are new to the process. Delete lines 796 to 800. This will allow someone new to run the night of the meeting. We have and should have incentives to file and run for delegate or precinct chair prior to the meeting, but as drafted, the bill reduces participation.  

My letter to the Utah Republican State Central Committee:

Dear SCC members,

It is my opinion that if the proposed bill should be amended, particularly lines 796 to 800.
If not, the bill should not pass.

794 (b) permits members of the registered political party to vote for neighborhood
795 delegates remotely or by absentee ballot;

796 (c) accepts a vote cast remotely or by absentee ballot, under Subsection (12)(b), for a
797 period of not less than two days after the day on which:
798 (i) all delegate nominees of the registered political party have been identified; and
799 (ii) the name of each delegate nominee described in Subsection (12)(c)(i) is made
800 available to members of the registered political party;

The 2 day system in the bill for the caucus will ruin it.

You either can't find out that night who won any race, or
you have to file before you know who won.

Someone running for State Delete that night and losing and running for Prec. Chair or County Delegate if they lose goes away.

I have talked to Sen. Bramble last night [Tues. Feb. 4] about these concerns to no avail.

We, the SCC, have spent months coming up with a Same Day Ballot to solve the concerns and not ruin the meeting.
If not amended or deleted, lines 796 to 800 ruins the meeting.


as well as:

We have made huge improvements for the 2014 Neighborhood Elections.
For some of these, see:

For purposed of reviewing Sen. Brambles 2014 SB 54 bill, and to allow the Count My Vote language to be put directly in statute with an exception to parties that qualify for the 4 items covered in the bill, I am willing to temporarily look past many of the flaws from the initiative, since they may not apply. See:

I am opposed to changing the system we have to allow unaffiliated voters to affiliate the day of election. It has proven to decrease cross voting during a primary and still allow individuals to vote. I believe that requirement, "allow unaffiliated voters to affiliate the day of election" could be part of SB 54 on lines 792 to 793.

As you know, I am not in favor of changing the threshold percentage to avoid a primary.

I have no problem with electing alternate delegates, and we currently allow counties to do so.

If Lines 796 to 800, were modified to allow our Same Day Ballot to meet the requirements of lines 794 and 795,

we might have a bill to work with.

To replace the the threshold percentage item, the following items could be discussed:

legal notice requirements for caucus and convention and 
require election day affiliation for UAF so that law Isn't removed later. 
We could add voter info protection and 
remove straight party voting in the general. 
We could also fix the check a buck program so it comes out of the taxes of the person that checked the box instead of everyone else.

The final point is the bills timing. It is a big risk. See the critical dates from March 1st to May 15th.

Notice the bill would have to pass the legislature, both houses by March 13.
The Governor has until April 2 to sign or veto it.
The legislature has until May 12, to override a veto.

Count My Vote has until April 15 to get the signatures they need.
The county clerks have until May 1st to the 15th to verify the signatures and turn them in to the Lt. Gov. those that have requested to be removed.
The Lt. Gov. has until June 1st to decide if the number of signatures meets the law.

We do not know if between March 13th and April 15th if the number of signatures coming in will increase or decrease if the bill passes. It could either add fire to their initiative or crush it. It is a risky move. 

In a nutshell, 2014 SB 54 lines 796 to 800 must be amended or deleted before we even have something to discuss. (The 2 day requirement) it isn't the 48 hours it is the other requirements.

Fred C. Cox
Salt Lake County representative to the State Central Committee

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fred Cox for Utah House Distirct 30

"I believe we must stand up and be heard or watch our constitutionally protected rights disappear. As a former member of the State House for 2011 and 2012, I have been heard, standing up to protect your rights. That fight continues. "

Education Excellence, Clean Air and Water, States Rights and the Economy

Education Excellence
As a taxpayer and architect, I see the money spent on buildings and will continue to advocate for an improved balance between cost savings and quality to the process. I would hope we can reduce costs while still maintaining the quality.

Teachers often do not have the supplies they need, and in most cases deserve more pay for the critical work they do. Education Funding is too complex and funding doesn’t seem to make it to the classroom. We need to work to help make that better.

Clean Air and Water
I was the Salt Lake Solar Day 2012, "Greenest Republican in the State" for sponsoring 2012 H.B. 262 Building Code Amendments, and continued working to adopt the current IECC (energy code for houses and buildings) during the 2013 session. That bill passed and the current code is expected to be effective July 1, 2014. The amount of energy use and pollution caused by buildings is critical. I also worked for over a year to increase flexibility and ability for property owners to capture and use storm / rain water. At the end of the 2013 session, that bill passed the House, 75 to 0, and was signed by the Governor.

States Rights
The US Constitution specifically states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people". The US Government continues to trample on this and others of our constitutional protected rights. The government powers are not only separated in 3 branches, but between the Federal and the States.  This is an area that is worth fighting for Utahns.

Utah is the best fiscally managed state. Utah repeats this year as Forbes top 3 Best States for Business and Careers. We need to continue to improve. The Economy will grow when Government will allow it. In many cases Government is holding business growth back through too many regulations. 

We should play a role as responsible citizens in our communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.

We should engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that others come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.

I have no problem working with both parties. All four bills that I sponsored that passed the House in 2011 and 2012 were floor sponsored by a democrat senator.
I was the only member of the Legislature that sponsored a bipartisan congressional redistricting map, co-sponsored by a member of another party. I don't look at bills as republican or democrat sponsored. I vote on bills based on what the bill says and would do, and I have spoken against bills and spoken for bills based on the bill and not the sponsor or party.

Continuing Work
For the 2013 Session, I had prepared several bills. Due to the results of redistricting and the 2012 election I was able to transfer 4 bills to other legislators, and help to get those bills though both Houses and signed by the Governor. One bill was dropped when the state agency reversed their policy and it was no longer needed. A sixth bill was not needed when a similar bill was passed and signed into law. 

During the last year I have actively fought to improve our current system of elections and to educate those that the proposed initiative is flawed and will favor incumbents, wealthy and famous and will not improve our elections. For more information on this subject see my other blog: