Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why Keep the Utah Neighborhood Caucus and Convention System

Why Keep the Utah Neighborhood Caucus and Convention System?

The caucus system in Utah is the best way to make sure a grassroots process can win over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2 million in election funds.

We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, wealthy or famous. This is a good thing.

Our only problem with voter turnout is it has not kept up with the population increase. The voter turnout keeps going up but not as fast as the population. Some of that is the younger voters, where Utah has a larger percentage of them and they aren't, as a group, as involved. Some of that are those moving in and not understanding our system.

 If you are going to run as a Democratic candidate, you have to comply with their rules. If you are going to run as a Republican, you have to comply with their rules. If you want to run and not have those rules, you can run as an unaffiliated or independent, or run as a 3rd party candidate. “Count My Vote” is attempting to change all party rules by changing state laws by initiative, thus bypassing the political parties and the Legislature.

We already have a "bypass" system. It is called filing as an unaffiliated candidate. You go straight to the general election. So if Mr. Jowers, or Mr. Leavitt don't think they can win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions, they can run that way and spend the money. Why should they be a party nominee if they are going to bypass the party?

When people realize this "Count My Vote initiative will give them less of a chance to participate but give media and power brokers more power, they will not sign any initiative. This is a power grab by Lobbyists, and those that want to run for office but don't believe they can win if vetted by average citizens asking one on one questions.

I ask you to read these two of my Op-Ed articles:


We need to coordinate with college and university campuses in Utah so students know where their caucus meeting is, and where Utah residents can register to attend and participate.
We could make sure that neighborhood caucus meetings could be done in two hours, and the election results distributed not just to the county and state parties, but to those who missed the caucus, so they can learn who represents them and who to contact to make their views known. Any person who got a babysitter for two hours to attend a caucus meeting should be able to vote within that time frame.
The present system does not protect the incumbent, the wealthy or the famous.

Keep fair elections in Utah.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Problems with STEM

I have toured the Micron facility twice in Lehi, who has complained about getting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) employees locally. They pay their innovation engineers very well, but seem to have trouble getting enough of them. They have not complained about not being able to get experience with the degree, but some with a degree have said Micron and others also want experience and a skill set that the local candidate has had trouble getting. I have been told that L-3 has been willing to locally provide the required experience, but, I believe has recently been hit by the Budget Sequestration in 2013.

I know in the field of Architecture, (construction related, not typically listed in STEM) I had seen the UofU put out dozens and dozens of those with a Master's degree in Architecture. They aren't an architect until they are licensed, which requires at least a few years of experience plus passing a very hard licensing exam. The exam used to be over 4 days with the last part being 12 hours that you brought your lunch to. That piece took me 4 tries, over 2 years to pass. I was licensed (over 20 years ago) with 4 years of college, a 2 year degree and 7 years full time experience plus passing the test. 

That option is not available today. What is required, I believe requires the professional degree plus 3 years of experience, plus the test. Most take 6 to 8 years to get the BA/BS and a MA in Architecture not including the 3 years of experience. The option I took and what is required today, often take 11 years.

Working at a large firm, several years ago, I would see some of the recent graduates not have the required skills, let alone the required experience. I would see some with an AAS decree in architectural technology be able to function better in a firm initially where those with a MA from the UoU could. It was one of the reasons I transferred from the U to what is now SLCC and got the AAS degree with more experience.  Over the years I have suggested students graduate from SLCC in Architectural Technology prior to taking the U's classes. I know the U has worked hard to make sure their graduates have the required skills that were missing and have helped them get the experience as well.

Because consulting engineers in the field of producing documents to help construct buildings have similar requirements (to architects) to get their PE or SE to not only have the degree but also experience and passing the tests, that area seems to work well. The license is critical as unlike a doctor, who, if makes a mistake. can cause one person to die, if an architect or consulting engineer working with contractors make a major mistake, we can take out 20,000 people at once. Typically it isn't that big a number, but hundreds and sometimes thousands have and do die in collapses, fires, etc.

It appears now, looking from the outside in, that in the US, many of the STEM graduates do not have the required employment skill set AND experience to actually get the job they want in the field they have the degree in. That is either a communication problem, (knowing they need this experience as well), a curriculum problem, or an internship problem. Anyway, it isn't just pumping out people with STEM degrees. It appears many of the overseas graduates looking for work here have the required employment skill set and experience to actually get the job. I believe that is why some articles say we have plenty of STEM graduates, but why the employers are saying they can't find the STEM employees they need. We likely do need more graduates and more money in education in these fields and I believe The I-Squared Act will help, but only if this other issue is solved as well.

For more on the immigration portion of this subject, see:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Not a big immigration bill but lots of little ones

Immigration "reform". One big fight over a bill no one likes. Lets pick up the low hanging fruit.

The visa bill that Sen. Lee had and Sen. Hatch put in the the larger immigration bill. The I-Squared Act. Lets pull it back out and pass it separately. It helps grow our own engineers and math whiz experts, etc. (STEM) but allows companies to import those workers if we don't have them, while the private sector funds the STEM education for US citizens. We also should not force out of the country the high tech overseas student home after we educate them, to compete with the US. (They should be allowed to get a Green Card).

We need to fix legal immigration. The best plan I have seen is to have a decent no quota but sponsored system of immigration with the ability later to become a citizen, Rep. Dougall's bill 2011 HB 469 in 2011 has the first part of that.

See what I wrote about it prior to the SCOTUS decision.
with followup comments at:

It is the best bill that was supported by both sides of the immigration debate.
The bill is found here:
Based on the Supreme Court ruling, the majority opinion, congress needs to be involved.

We need a simple E-Verify law for companies 15 or larger to protect against ID theft. I tried to run a basic plan earlier this year which was fought by our own Salt Lake Chamber. Even the Salt Lake Tribune has said this needs to be fixed. See:

See also Item #4 at:

If the "big" US immigration bill passes it will just further divide us, just like the attempt to combine immigration bills in to one bill, 2011 HB 116 did. You get a bill that no one really likes. We need more consensus building and less compromise. If we focus on what we agree on, we can accomplish the most good.

It is great congress is talking, but trying to have one "all knowing" immigration bill isn't going to work. It hasn't worked for decades. Congress should run a bunch of small simple bills. Then we actually may get something that will help business, families, and our nation.

[update, I finally actually watched this, instead of commenting on it. The bulk of my comments are from concerns I raised at a government affairs committee meeting with a local chamber of commerce on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. I don't believe we need to wait between most of the bills, but Sen. Lee nailed my feelings and experience from 2011 Utah Legislature on Immigration reform]

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Messed up Utah primaries Which bad idea do you want

It appears the Count My Vote / Buy My Vote Group has decided their idea of bypassing the caucus / convention system was a bad idea. 

I agree.

Now they want to ruin our primary system. If you change the way our Utah primary's work as they are proposing, you could have two republicans in the general election ballot (or two democrats).

Much of the state there will just be republicans and part of Salt Lake County, just democratic candidates on the General Election ballot.  And this is a good idea?

They are going to poll everyone to see which bad idea we like. What do you bet they just poll 400 of us and call it good. How about running changes past the parties or at least the legislature? The states that are ruled by polls typically are ruled by Debt.

If the voters figure this out, none will sign on to this idea.

We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, wealthy or famous. This is a good thing.

Keep Fair Elections in Utah. Our Caucus and Conventions system. 

PS, if they want to really help voter participation, we have some ideas, if they have the guts to try.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My view We need to keep fair elections in Utah Deseret News

My op-ed for the Deseret News:

That system of discussion is being proposed to be removed from the neighborhood caucus meeting. We would be dropping off votes, but not meeting and discussing candidates and issues. We want neighbors discussing the best candidates and finding ways to improve this state and the nation. That is what is wrong with Washington, D.C. Many don't listen to each other in a meeting. They watch from their offices. We need to change that, not perpetuate it.
Perhaps the "Count My Vote" group should go watch "WALL-E" from Pixar again (the people on the spaceship).
We are talking neighborhood town halls. We aren't just meeting to elect delegates. I believe the Count My Vote group would ruin that.

The present system does not protect the incumbent, the wealthy or the famous. Keep fair elections in Utah.