Sunday, March 12, 2017

Salt Lake County Homeless Shelter

I hope the Governor vetoes H.B. 441 Housing and Homeless Reform Initiative Amendments unless Mayor McAdams does what he should have done in the first place: Contact all 17 cities and ask them for the location of the "best" site, IF their city is chosen for the men's only homeless shelter.

The 3 proposed locations in West Valley City are some of the worst places one could go. Mayor McAdams didn't even bother to involve West Valley City officials prior to the selection. West Valley City has tried to decrease homeless population along the Jordan River for years, and two of the proposed locations in the city are right there.

We have 17 cities in the County. We should have 17 locations on the short list and not 2 cities. The process shouldn't be NIMBY, but this has been mishandled.

Feedback (tell the committee what you think of the process or location):

Meetings (find out more and tell the committee what you think of the process or location):
[Update] New Open House Added:
Open House Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 West 3100 South, West Valley City 
Tuesday, March 21 6-8 p.m.

Committee and members:

Homeless Resource Center:

Local city leaders brace for a homeless shelter they’re powerless to stop

 New shelter to be in West Valley or South Salt Lake —
cities already bearing plenty of state burdens, residents say

Perhaps No City wants the shelter, but if all cities in the county were asked where one could go in their city, at least it wouldn't be located in the worst place it could go. 

In the legislative standing committee meeting, Mayor McAdams said he would put forward 5 locations for public comment but that those locations were not the only options and other locations would be considered and perhaps selected.

Legislative hearings/debates/public meetings:

House Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Standing Committee  March 6, 2017

House Floor Debate, March 6, 2017

Senate Floor Debate, March 8, 2017

Senate Floor Debate, March 8, 2017 (2)

Other audio and video is at:


We need to come up with the best sites, as it is clear the Mayor's committee didn't. It can't be Not In Our Backyard, it needs to be why a site is not a good location or why it doesn't meet their own criteria and we need to come up with a better choice. It is clear anywhere in the County (except SLC) is still on the table for the 3rd location shelter, if a better location is found.

Three of the sites are near the Jordan River, which the county and city have tried to make a regional asset and move the homeless population away from that.

The 2411 Winston St. Location is near a trax location, but is almost one mile to the Rancho Markets grocery store. The site is also too close to the Jordan River and will send foot traffic though the oldest section of Chesterfield neighborhood which is not able to support that kind of burden.

The 2249 Winston Street location is a little further from the same trax location, further to the Rancho Markets grocery store, just as close to Jordan River, and is apt to put foot traffic though the newest section of Chesterfield neighborhood.

The 1820 Printers Row, location is almost a mile from a trax station to the south. That trax location is a little closer than the trax station to the east on Winston St. Foot traffic between the trax station south of Printers Row, on Redwood Road takes foot traffic past Rancho Markets and also Redwood Elementary School

Am I missing a closer Grocery Store to these locations? I am familiar with the Rancho Markets location on 2470 S Redwood Road at the Latino Mall as I did the drawings for the mall and addition for the store.

3091 Main Street is closer to the Millcreek Station trax than the Printers Row location is to one, and the Salt Lake China Town grocery Store is not too far from the path between them. Is there a closer grocery store location? (yes, I did the drawings for the gate, the east building, gift store and restaurant for this project).

1144 West 3300 South is right next to the Jordan River, in the location West Valley has been working to remove the tents, waste and trash near the city's cultural center. It might as well be in West Valley City as well. It appears to be the worst location of the 5. It is the furthest from a grocery store, as far as I know, the closest one is the Kim Long Market on Redwood and 3500 S.

It appears 3 of the 5 are too close to the Jordan River and Printers Row location is too close to Redwood Elementary. That leaves 3091 S. Main Street out of the 5. I hope they have some better locations show up this week.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Keep it in Draper would have saved taxpayers $100 Million or more

In 2015, I made some "startling claims".

First, I stated that there was enough room at the current Draper Prison location to rebuild the prison, even if the state wanted a brand new 4,000 bed prison.

Second, I stated it would save the tax payers $100 Million or more to "Keep it in Draper".

and from this:

"Rep. Fred Cox, R-West Valley City, pushed the Legislature to reject the unanimous recommendation of the Prison Relocation Commission to build in Salt Lake City. He also didn't want it moved to the other potential locations in Grantsville, Eagle Mountain and Fairfield. Instead, Cox argued it is not only feasible to rebuild the prison where it is in Draper, but it would save as much as $100 million. "I still believe the Draper site is the best location," he said."

Now that the dust has settled from the 2015 legislative votes, what has happened?

For the land area, I was told they needed 500 acres. I said there was enough land in Draper that was vacant and even if they did need 500 acres, it could be phased and would still fit as there were around 680 acres the state owned at the Draper Prison site.

The "experts" claimed they couldn't build at the Draper Prison for security reasons, even though they didn't have any issues with expanding the Gunnison Prison while it is occupied. "That is outside the security fence", I was told. I reminded them I worked on the site plan drawings for the original Gunnison Prison and I was aware of that.  I also told them they could build at Draper out side the security fence and even proposed a construction access point that would not create a security problem.

Again, I am not an expert on prisons. I served as a volunteer at the Draper Prison for 2 years. many years ago I worked on the construction drawings for the Gunnison Prison, including the site and floor plans and also the site and other drawings for Oxbow in South Salt Lake, plus site master plans for several proposed prison locations around the county, while working for a local firm. I have spent 30 years designing sites for commercial shopping centers and other commercial sites. 

I was told I didn't know what I was talking about. I have been proven right on all accounts.

Later, when the "real" consultants were hired, instead of the "experts" from New Jersey and Texas, the state decided they only needed 323 acres west of the Salt Lake Airport and it would have plenty of room to expand.

Now that they are adding up the cost of the west of the Salt Lake City Airport location, they now need $100 Million more from taxpayers.

So the $80 Million in cash plus $470 Million in Bonds for the Prison has now increased to $570 Million in bonds plus the $80 Million in cash.

Wow! Who could have seen this coming?

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Do Not raise the tax on food

The number of people that are just getting by, without help, where food is the last thing on their budget, is too many. If raising the food tax increases the number of families needing outside help, including from taxpayers, it is the wrong thing to do. I fought this in 2011 (and since) and I hope it fails to pass this year. Go to the store even once and realize the $3 you have isn't enough to buy that can of chicken with the sales tax and you would not be in favor of adding back the full tax on food.

There are $3/4 B in other tax credits or reductions. Yes, something needs to change, but not starting there. 

Does the earned income tax credit help struggling seniors on a fixed income?

It has always made sense for a stable revenue for government to have a higher tax on food. However many people don't have a stable revenue to buy food. The reduced tax on food isn't going to make it easier to balance the state government budget but it does help the budgets of voters.

Some great articles on the subject:

Former State Rep. Holly Richardson:
"This year, it's straight-out a "revenue enhancement" or a tax increase called by another name.

"Here's the deal. It is only revenue-neutral to the state. It is not revenue neutral to people.

"Adding the tax back on food is regressive, meaning there is an inverse relationship between the tax rate and the taxable income. Clearly, the food tax negatively impacts families at the lower end of the income scale because — as is frequently noted — everyone needs to eat. An increase in the food tax balances the budget on the backs of Utah's working poor. The Legislature needs to look for others options." 

Former State Rep. Jim Nielson 
"Sure, that makes things stable for state government. Downright convenient, in fact. But a boon for the government can be a bane to taxpayers."

"To have stable sales tax revenues during economic downturns means the government takes more from taxpayers in bad times, regardless of our diminished ability to pay. We're asked to keep paying, even when we can't. Which begs this question: Just who do we as lawmakers represent, the government or taxpayers?"