Monday, May 4, 2015
ST.GEORGE I STAND ALL AMAZED. STANDING ON THE HILL SOUTH OF THE DIXIE CENTER AND CROSBY PARK THOSE GATHERED FOR THE APRIL 30TH COUNCIL MEETING STOOD WITH THE REMNANTS OF A SOCIETY THAT INHABITED WHAT WE NOW CALL ST.GEORGE CITY PERHAPS 2000 YEARS AGO. ARCHAELOGIST GREG WOODALL REPORTED THAT DISCOVERED ARTIFACTS AND STRUCTURAL EVIDENCE LED MEMBERS OF DIXIE ARCHEOLOGY SOCIETY TO BELIEVE THAT THIS DISCOVERY EXTENDED TO A PERIOD BETWEEN 500 AND 1200 A.D. THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND PERIODICALLY IS WORKED BY STUDENTS FROM S.U.U. AND DIXIE STATE UNIVERSITY HAS SHOWN INTEREST.
THIS ASTOUNDING DISCOVERY LIES IN THE MIDST OF ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING AND PROGRESSIVE CITIES IN THE NATION. SG CITY IS ENAMOURED WITH TRADITION AND APPRECIATES ITS PIONEER AND AMERICAN HERITAGE. LOOKING NORTH FROM THIS SITE YOU ARE PRESENTED WITH THE BEAUTY THAT SURROUNDS THIS VALLEY WHICH PERHAPS EXPLAINS THE FEELING OF A CONNECTION BETWEEN US AND THOSE THAT FIRST OCCUPIED THIS VALLEY 2000 YEARS AGO.
As Greg was speaking I looked upon the faces of those present and was pleased to see that all appeared in awe of the magnitude and importance of the physical evidence that has been accumulated in support of their proposal to have this site become an ARCHAEOLOGY PARK. As I browsed the site I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Karen Monsen, an associate of Greg’s who is I believe, affiliated with Dixie State University and an ardent supporter of education. Karen excitedly put into context the Economic, Educational, Historic and Community Benefits that await development of this Archaeological Gold Mine. I admit I was captivated by Karen and her ability to connect the dots in a meaningful way.
1. Archaeology site located at the confluence of the Virgin and Santa Clara Rivers with Freeway 15 access.
2. Hiking trails currently intersect site location making it a destination point and an integral part of city trail system.
3. The site is literally surrounded by PETROGLYPHS crying out for recognition and protection. Rock Art consisting of carvings of human figures, animals and symbols…..Which could easily be connected to existing trail system.
4. Within walking distance to Dixie Convention Center and Animal Museum and growing number of attractive Hotels.
5. Trail system that leads to Dinosaur Discovery Museum attracting tourist from all over the World presenting an education environment for children of all ages.
Truly the list seems endless as to multitude of benefits attainable by this proposal to establish an Archaeology Park. The clincher for me was the unbelievable view of the surrounding mountains that brought to mind the words of Charles H. Gabriel found in Church Hymn Book #193 that ended with “Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me”
Folks, understanding of the area’s Pioneer Heritage as well as its Native American Heritage is without question important to all of us…..Yet this is but a small part of the Historic Value that surrounds us. It would be a tragedy for us not to honor the stewardship placed upon us to go forward and care for and cultivate this beautiful planet called Earth.
Having said this let me ask you. Is it not more important and of a higher priority to spend taxpayer money on a project such as an Archaeology Park…..Say, than rebuilding a Rodeo Site that is sure to cost millions of taxpayer dollars…..to be utilized for 3 Days.
Oh, to be sure, I have come to understand that an effort is underway to bring other events to the Sun Bowl. Most certainly to help justify the spending of millions of taxpayer dollars on a multitude of events, I believe are designed to camouflage the intended beneficiary. A Rodeo Event supported by the outspoken…..City Councilman Hughes.
I believe decisions such as these should serve the greater good and not be used as a vehicle to further a political career. Supporters of Councilman Hughes are expected to say I am picking on Jimmie unnecessarily. Not so. I fully expect Councilman Hughes to one day be Mayor of SG City. At this point in time I merely question the soundness of his decision making abilities. Like many of you I believe he has an attractive dimpled smile and when all is said and done he is able to make Councilwoman Randall giggle like a high school girl. ALL KIDDING ASIDE, I love Jimmie’s youthful exuberance and I think we all benefit from a little giggle once in awhile, especially during a very boring council meeting.
To make my point on decision making abilities I offer the following exchange that took place. Listed under agenda item #2: Presentation and discussion regarding a possible water waste ordinance.
A proposal to establish an ordinance to fine ($25.00) those wasting water and who are non-responsive to requests to repair deficiencies and conserve water was presented by Rene Fleming, Conservation Coordinator. It appeared the suggested fine of $25.00 was deemed reasonable by all other members of council with the exception of Councilman Hughes. (Councilman Almquist was absent) Having heard the proposal Councilman Bowcutt stated “It’s a viable way to start the process” Councilwoman Arial stated “Fair as presented” Councilman Hughes stated “How often do we run into a problem? “Is it that big a problem? Councilman Hughes qualified his statement by saying “I am a little concerned, are we going to decide who is wasting water?” Mayor Pike stated “We have to deal more wisely with water rates, size of parcel. We have some tiers already”. Councilman Hughes “I’d rather see a rate structure. Hate to see people wasting water. I lose sleep over it.”
Folks, I believe Councilman Hughes raises cattle/cows. It follows that he has a vested interest in water conservation and water rates. Would it not be in the public’s interest to begin water conservation efforts in the form of an ordinance containing punitive language that defines egregious waste of water prior to implementing water rates for all?
Water is too important to allow it to become a political football, kicked around to enhance the image of political figures.
Thank you, ED BACA
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
AND AWAY WE GO WITH A MIXTURE OF PRIVATE ENTERPRISE TO INCREASE SALE TAX REVENUESAND A HANDOUT TAXPAYER MONEY FROM CITY GOVERNMENT KNOWN AS SPONSORSHIPS/ SEED MONEY – GIVEN TO PRIVATE AND NON-PROFIT ENTITIES
CITY ADAPTS TO WORLDLY GOALS - IMPERVIOUS TO INDEBTEDNESS MITIGATED BY ISSUANCE OF BONDS SEEKING IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HAPPILY LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS?
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT GROWTH COULD BE SLOWED SIMPLY BY LEAVING IT IN THE HANDS OF PRIVATE ENTERPRISE WITHOUT CITY SPONSHORSHIPS
City Council Meeting scheduled for April 23rd having been cancelled provided the opportunity to report on Council Meeting of April 16th. It began with members of the Lions Club standing at the podium…..Declaring the Lions Club to be a Community Service Organization that supports young people…..Coming forward this day to present the city with a check in the amount of $10,000 to be used in the building of the All Abilities Park. It was made known that this was made possible by the city’s Tremendous Support of the Sun Bowl Rodeo…..Brought about by the many years of City/Lions partnership. (Meaning City Sponsorship of Rodeo in which taxpayer money is spent to offset cost of Rodeo incurred by Lions Club. In effect the city assumes part of the financial burden the Lions Club would otherwise have to shoulder. From a layman’s point of view one hand washes the other. The Lions Club thus has money to give back to the city.) Hillary couldn’t have said or, done it any better. The mayor was quick to point out that the Lions Club helped to fill the depressed coral area (At no cost to city) thus enlarging the parking area. It certainly appears that the phrase…..AND AWAY WE GO aptly applies to the expected Re-building of the Sun Bowl which apparently is what the City and Lions are working up to doing. One can only wonder…..Which Construction Company will get the bid to re-build the Sun Bowl…..Perhaps one that has donated time, labor and equipment to other city projects at no cost. Time will tell.
HOWEVER, recognition should be given to all St. George Lions Clubs for their hard work in promoting events such as the Dixie Downs Horse Races held at the County Fair Grounds. Be it Horse Races or Rodeo’s…..The Lions Club can be expected to contribute proceeds to charitable causes…..No matter where the event takes place. Kudo’s to the Lions club for their commitment to the residents of Washington County. Please note that the Stock Show held at the County Fair Grounds was a credit to the YOUTH of our community and a rounding success. Perhaps it is time to move the Lions Rodeo to the County Fair Grounds. It most certainly would be a more prudent use of taxpayer money. This may be a mute-point now that the city has positioned itself to issue bonds (Indebting taxpayers for millions of dollars in order to acquire immediate cash) it can NOW move forward on many projects that may include the re-building of the Sun Bowl. In other words, city will be spending future Rap Tax Revenue now, not waiting 10 years for tax money to come in to city coffers…..IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION.
First Agenda Item: Council to consider approval of the financial report for March 2015. City Manager Esplin reported city’s sales tax revenue to be up over 6 percent and overall general fund revenues to be up over 4 percent from last year. City expenditures were reported to be down. This prompted the Mayor to say “Golf made some money” to which City Manager replied, “Not enough”. Gary, perhaps this is opportune time to recognize importance of PRIVATE ENTERPRISE by giving FREE MARKET PLACE its head. You may further reduce city expenditures and increase sales tax revenues by SELLING, shall we say half of city owned golf courses. Gary, just think of it. This could also release city from keeping its word to Dixie Red Hills Golf Members by having a private company invest its money into building a more desirable and profitable golf course and club house.
Folks, why is it that the city having grown out of its small town handicaps to development (Excuse the pun) continue to spend taxpayer money/sponsorships…..When it could relinquish its control by inviting Private Enterprise to develop the market place. COULD it simply be the desire to maintain power and authority by way of political favors?
Allowing public time to consider the above listed points, I gladly report to you that item 3A on the agenda did recognize PRIVATE ENTERPRISE. A zoning change was granted to Stephen Wade Auto Center for the building of a Mercedes-Benz dealership. This will allow private development of 2.2 acres that is to include construction of a 20,000 square foot facility that will provide employment opportunities and a much stronger tax base. Citizens of SG may look forward to financial relief by an expected increase in sales tax revenues. (Car sales are a major contributor to city budget.)
My friends we have covered a lot of ground in this article. No doubt I have been inspired to do so by what is taking place in national politics. Whatever your political persuasion may be, we as concerned citizens should be attentive to the direction government is taking, be it national or municipal government. You should know the City Council is now preparing a new budget. They will be deciding on where and how taxpayer money is to be spent in the budget year 2015-2016.
Therefore I will take the privilege of referring you and SG Council to an enlightening article entitled, Happily Living within Our Means – Ensign Jan. 2008. “Building on a foundation of solid spiritual and financial principles is the best safeguard against economic disaster.” I expect all of our elected municipal officials are aware of this…..Being that they are all members of the Church. I will none the less refer Council to item 3 of said article. “I will be cautious about incurring debt. Debt may be essential when purchasing an essential asset, such as a house, but it can destroy me when used to buy things I don’t need.”
Careful consideration should be given to “Things we don’t need”, like re-building Sun Bowl when County Fair Grounds are available at little or no cost to taxpayers.
Our condolence to Barbara Leadenham, co-owner of Senior Sampler upon the death of her father. Barbara remains in England with family and husband Peter has safely returned to St. George.
Thank you, ED BACA
Monday, April 20, 2015
LACKING FINESSE PLANNING COMMISSION PASSES THE BUCK TO COUNCIL MONEY TALKS AND BULLSH*T WALKS. TOP DEFINITION
GOOD POLITICIANS ARE THOSE THAT PROVIDE THE INFRASTRUCTURE TO MAKE SOMETHING WORK THAT REALLY ACHIEVE RESULTS. THOSE THAT JUST TALK THE TALK ABOUT VARIOUS ISSUES, ALL TOO OFTEN TO MAKE THEMSELVES SOUND GOOD WITHOUT ACHIEVING ANYTHING. By Teddy B 12/24/09 Urban Dictionary
WE ARE ABOUT TO FIND OUT WHAT OUR COUNCIL IS MADE OF
WHEN THEY TALK THE TALK ABOUT DIXIE SPIRIT – FAMILY VALUES – TRADITION – GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENTS WHERE IS NURTURING SENSE OF COMMUNITY TO BE FOUND?
City Planning Commission Meeting of April 14th may have intentionally or unintentionally set the stage for SG City Council to reveal itself…..You will be glad to know that I am not referring to Code Enforcement Reform or the blatantly obvious favoritism shown to the Lions Rodeo Event….Hidden under the guise of Tradition.
Folks, the Planning Commission is made up of citizens hand-picked by Mayor and approved by the City Council. Utah Code 10-9a-302. Planning commission powers and duties. The planning commission SHALL make a recommendation to the legislative body for:
(1) A general plan and amendments to the general plan;
(2) Land use ordinances, zoning maps, official maps, and amendments;
(3) An appropriate delegation of power to at least one designated land use authority to hear and act on a land use application.
(4) An appropriate delegation of power to at least one appeal authority to hear and act on an appeal from a decision of the land use authority; and
(5) Application process that:
(a) May include a designation of routine land use matters that, upon application and proper notice, will receive informal streamlined review and action if the application is uncontested; and
(b) Shall protect the right of each:
(i) Applicant and third party to require formal consideration of any application by a land use authority;
(ii) Applicant, adversely affected party, or municipal officer or employee to appeal a land use authority’s decision to a separate appeal authority; and
(iii) Participant to be heard in each public hearing on a contested application.
Renumbered and Amended by Chapter 254, 2005 General Session
Utah Municipal Code 10-9a-203. Notice of intent to prepare a general plan or comprehensive general plan amendments in certain municipalities.
(1) Before preparing a proposed general plan or a comprehensive general plan amendment, each municipality within a county of the first or second class shall provide 10 calendar days notice of its intent to prepare a proposed general plan or a comprehensive general plan amendment:
(a) To each affected entity.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT having been given with the listing of the above Utah Municipal Code sections I will review agenda item 7B: Consider a General Plan Amendment from Low Density Residential to Commercial. The proposal is to change the General Plan to allow for the future submittal of a commercial zone change. The property is located on the north side of 1580 East and River Road on approximately 1.4 acres. The applicant is River Road Inv. and Shefco. The representative is Mike Sheffield. (His father is Steve Sheffield the developer of the Summit Athletic Club/Jiffy Lube/Maverik. Steve is hoping to bring a commercial development to the big vacant lot located west of the Summit Club.)
The property in question is located on the west side of River Road where it intersects with 1450 South. The 1.4 acres is next to the north side of Bundy Lane…..It’s a dirt road below the backside of the St. James Homes that looks north to the Virgin River. You may have seen trucks dumping dirt to raise the Flood Plain level almost reaching the Virgin River. This agenda item only pertains to 1.4 acres. The large remaining acreage is not now at issue. Currently there are 3 to 4 homes located on Bundy Lane. They look like old farm homes and if you don’t look closely you will missing seeing the entry way to Bundy Lane. To a layman, it may appear to be a piece meal approach in developing the entire site where you see dirt being dumped. I have been informed that $500,000 has already been spent just to bring the dirt onto this site. This has been an expensive long term investment for the property owner (s) and you may determine for yourself how this ties into Utah Codes regulating General Plan Amendments.
This Planning Commission meeting began with all commissioners being present. Also present was Councilman Bowcutt, representing the entire City Council. It was made known to the applicant and public that this meeting was ONLY to address GPA and not any other issue. Development of entire site would be addressed at a later time. This, as expected, rubbed citizens the wrong way. Representatives from the Boulders, Saint James, Eagle’s Ridge, Eagles Landing, and Quail Valley Neighborhoods informed the Planning Commission that commitments made a year ago concerning this specific site are not being complied with. Resident Tim Martin asked that provisions of a year ago be considered in total…..Traffic Study, agreement to work with residents needs to be followed. Jinx informed Commission that this should not be done incrementally, “We are seeing pieces. We want traffic study included.” The Commission was told “There is more animosity, concern than you can imagine” brought on by the manner in which this issue is being processed. The feeling was expressed that Planning Commission should not have to deal with this piece by piece, “It’s a Sheffield Problem”.
Steve Sheffield informed the Commission and Audience that concerning the Westside River Road Investments “I have no interest on Westside” This has been turned over to son Mike Sheffield and his brother. Steve related that he in effect has retired from being a developer and is now employed by the company and serves as a consultant and advisor. Steve explained that he lives in the Boulders and that the development of this property has created unfavorable living conditions for him. Steve is now in the process of Ward Shopping in order to make the decision of where to move. To his credit Mike Sheffield expressed his willingness to work with neighbors in a belated effort to resolve issues. In describing the 1.4 acres where he plans to build a two story building that will house a Stevens/Henager Business College…..Mike Sheffield expressed a willingness to meet with neighbors and discuss mutual concerns. Mike Sheffield mentioned the fact that Bundy Lane was partially on his property. The city had evidently been lax when approving the roadway.
To further confuse the issue, Commissioner Beuehner stated “General Plan does not have force of law” This statement needs to be clarified if we are to better understand the power and duties assigned to the Planning Commission in dealing with GPA issues. It appears City Manager Esplin has his work cut out in providing direction to the Planning Commission. When it finally got around to the Planning Commission voting to approve the applicants request two of the commissioners had excused themselves and had left the building. A motion made by Don Beuehner to grant the request died as did the motion made by Todd Staheli to reach an amenable solution. The Buck was passed WITHOUT a recommendation.
Carol Bundy, a 34 year resident of Bundy Lane posed the question. What is best use for Bundy Lane? I caution you to be wise. Its 1.4 acres…..Maintain integrity of Lane…..Maintain safety.
Thank you, ED BACA
Monday, April 13, 2015
SGMT THE MUSIC MAN’S RIVER CITY GIVES MEANING TO THE PHRASE
“YA GOT TROUBLE, RIGHT HERE IN ST. GEORGE CITY”
WE HAVE OUR OWN CAST OF CHARACTERS DECIDING ON HOW THE RAP TAX WILL BE PARCELED OUT. PLACING THE CITY IN POSITION OF, SHALL WE SAY “PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS”
SHALL PROMISES MADE BE KEPT AND WILL THE PUBLIC VOICE BE HEARD
April 9th City Council Meeting: Mayor and City Council BUSY with more pressing matters elected to forego meeting with the public in order satisfy ever increasing demands upon their time. As I pondered on how best to approach the topic of fair distribution of the newly found wealth, (Rap Tax) placed in the hands of local officials…..And the many entities and projects Mayor Pike and Council have already named as soon to be beneficiaries of Rap Tax Money …..I was blessed with the prompting to attend the St. George Musical Theater’s presentation of the Music Man performed “At The Historic St. George Opera House”…..Made possible by SG City.
Upon entering the 1912 world of River City, Iowa my attention was first captured by the audience that was made up of young and old…..Who engaged in warm hearted conversation as they bathed in atmosphere of years gone by.…..Brought to life by SGMT cast of characters. I, being a great grandparent was captivated with the performing children…..Who epitomized a clean, wholesome appearance that included an exercise of good manners and respect for their elders…..Who comprised the remainder of the cast of characters. It soon became clear that real live SG families were actually performing…..Together as a family in this play. You could I think, actually feel, the effects of traditional family values…..Not only in the Play…..But in those alive today representing OUR community. It warmed your heart to know that moral values created in the time period brought to life by Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” actually exist today…..In Washington County, Utah!
Folks, I was transported to dreamland and my mind ran wild with corresponding imagines that connected this play with concerns taking place in our community today. In my mind I made the following connections.
In the play the infamous con man, Harold Hill, arrived and put into motion his standard scam with the intent of absconding with the local’s money. (I likened it with the manner in which the City is favoring pet projects/ distributing and spending Rap Tax Money). Hill sets out to fleece the townspeople of their cash while at the same time he endeavors to charm the fair maiden who is looking out for the city’s best interest, for if he can fool her, the town is his for the taking. (I likened this with how the City is going about getting us to believe that the Lions Rodeo is a sacred cow deserving of millions to build a New Sun Bowl). My thoughts are of course are fiction and only reflect my wild imagination. Folks, please note that any similarity to any of our City Officials is purely coincidental and not intended to demean the character of our elected officials. We all should be content to judge elected officials by their words and deeds and whenever possible hold them in the highest esteem.
SGMT is HONORING its Mission Statement: “The arts humanize humanity. St. George Musical Theater creates, promotes and encourages community participation in performing arts that uplift, inspire and educate, thereby increasing understanding, brotherhood, and joy in our community”. SGMT’s presentation of The Music Man lives up to its stated commitment to the public. Certainly we can expect to less from Mayor and City Council.
I fully expect Mayor Pike and Councilman Hughes, to one day HONOR their promise to Reform Code Enforcement. Heck, I am feeling so positive about this that I even expect Councilwoman Randall to join in and keep her promises on Code Enforcement Reform and Transparency. Now that’s saying something isn’t it?
WHAT DOES RAP STAND FOR?
WHAT CONSTITUTES A “RECREATIONAL AND CULTURAL FACILITY’? Recreational facilities include parks, playgrounds, golf courses, athletic fields, gymnasiums, swimming pools, trail systems, or other facilities used for recreational purposes. Cultural facilities include museums, theaters, art centers, music halls, or other cultural arts facilities.
“ARTS” IS A BROAD TERM. WHAT CULTURAL ARTS DISCIPLINES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR RAP FUNDS? Many disciplines are eligible including Performing Arts” visual arts, literary arts, historic preservation, arts education and more.
My friends, even in my wildest dreams I cannot imagine that this Council will continue in its efforts to manipulate the public into believing that the Lions Rodeo is more deserving than Dixie Red Hills Ladies’ Golf Assn. or Performing Arts Groups like SGMT.
In the closing acts of the play Hill begins to develop feelings for the fair maiden, he is faced with a dilemma – take the money and run, or stay for the love of a woman. I likened this to the City choosing the Rodeo over a fair distribution of Rap Tax Money. In my dreams I continue to expect Council to follow President Gordon B. Hinckley’s admonition and “Stand a Little Taller”.
I awoke basking in reality….. We can all be secure in the knowledge that all is not lost. SG City and Washington County are blessed with good and decent people. I joined in applauding a wonderful performance and drove home free of worry. My wife and I greatly appreciate the staff at SGMT and SG City for its support of the Performing Arts.
Note: On 4/7/15 County Commissioners appointed the board members who get to decide where County Rap Tax Money is to go. Action is awaited by SG City Council on who gets to decide where City’s portion of Rap Tax is to go. Thank you, ED BACA
Monday, April 6, 2015
MEANINGFUL EVENTS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL
April 2nd City Council Meeting began with invocation by Pastor Jimi Kestin, Solomon’s Porch Foursquare Fellowship Church. Pastor Kestin invited all to attend “Good Friday” celebrations and the upcoming “Stations of the Cross Walk” that introduces Easter Sunday. The Christian Community and the Interfaith Council come together each year to participate in prayers, song and scriptural messages.
Mayor Pike then issued “Elks Proclamation” as Tribute to Junior Citizens. “Youth Week City of St. George” was formally proclaimed. The Elks Club was recognized for its dedicated support to our youth. An Elks Club representative stood and declared, “We believe young people represent the nation’s greatest resource.” In furtherance of efforts to facilitate and improve the education of our youth the Elks Club, will on May 4th host an Annual Award Banquet for Washington County Youth. It is believed that this will bring total contributions made during a one year period to $100,000. The Elks Club supports a Drug Awareness Program, and a Youth Carnival Event and many other activities that are known to benefit youth efforts to become a more valued member of society. Kudos to the Elks Club!
Mayor Pike then allowed the Arts Community time to recognize the accomplishments of Roland Lee and Howard Putman for their contributions to the Arts and the betterment of the community. Each was given an Award for Outstanding Achievement. City Manager Esplin showing a rare sense of public humor made it known that Mr. Putman, while serving on City Council in 1976 made another great contribution. He selected a young, inexperienced young man to be the next City Manager. A position Gary proudly holds to this day. Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this. We have a tight knit community that has helped to make this city what it is today. Roland Lee was one of the three that created St. George Magazine which is now owned by the Spectrum Newspaper. He gets 3 Yahoo’s for this accomplishment.
COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC: Corinne Nyman, a young woman reportedly a volunteer at P.A.W.S. was given 5 minutes to address the Council. Corinne petitioned City to consider a Ban on the sales of Puppies at local pet stores. She cited the fact that Breeding Dogs were kept their entire life span in cages only 6 inches longer than the dog itself in each direction. Their cages were stacked on top of other cages. When they can no longer produce puppies…..one litter after another, dogs are summarily disposed of. All in all one could consider the treatment of Breeding Dogs inhumane. Breeders are believed to be licensed by U.S.D.A. and Council was requested to follow-up on possible violations of the law. The Mayor was courteous to Ms. Nyman, however, I did not hear any commitment to investigation allegations cited. Folks, I can only say that in light of the recent city scandal concerning the treatment of dogs and cats I was surprised not to hear the Council voice a greater commitment to the care and treatment of puppies and enforcement of applicable laws. A Mr. Bob Foster followed Ms. Nyman and supported her in her request for a follow-up investigation. In fairness to the city, recognition should be given to the great strides the city has made in improving conditions at the City Animal Shelter. We can only wait and see what action the city will take concerning this issue.
AGENDA ITEM-STAFF REPORTS: Melynda Thorpe, applicant requested city support to hold First Friday “George” Streetfest on Main. To be held the first Friday of each month beginning in June of 2015. Public can expect to see activities from Ancestors Square all the way to Tabernacle. Folks, we all know the city has a vested interest in promoting activity that will tie Electric Theater re- development efforts to the downtown business community. The City anticipates the Electric Theater venue will promote business and generate sales tax income beneficial to city. As expected the city approved the request. As a sponsor of event the city is able to make available to applicant the City Performance Stage and will do so for the first 6 months of its existence. Rental of City Stage was an issue referred to in a previous article therefore, I was not surprised to hear Councilman Almquist say that a private person was purchasing a stage that in the future could be made available to other businesses. I took this to mean that the city would not be going into the rental business making it unnecessary for businesses to seek to rent/use city stage. The city’s sponsorship may include $2,000 in support of event. The request is a local consent so applicant will not have to appear before Council each year. A new Special Events Ordinance is soon to be put in place spelling out new policies and procedures.
AGENDA ITEM – RESOLUTIONS: Consider approval of a resolution of the City of St. George, Utah declaring its official intent to reimburse itself from the proceeds of Bonds for certain capital expenditures; establishing the maximum principal amount of such expenditures; and authorizing incidental action. City Manager explained that city needs to issue Bonds in future for capital expenditures. Projects that are to be funded by Rap Tax that include engineering ……Any construction, has to in place now. City should consider need for 8 to 10 million dollars. Projects won’t be started before sale of Bonds. Recreation and Parks can all be started sooner with the sale of Bonds. Folks, as expected the Council voted in favor of this request.
It seems city cannot wait to get its hands on Rap Tax money to move forward on the many projects Council has ear marked as qualifying for Rap Tax money. This Council may even consider getting a portion of the 2 to 4 million dollars needed to refurbish the Sun Bowl out of Rap Tax funds. It appears there is no need to move the Lions Rodeo to the County Fairgrounds at little or no cost…..When you can spend millions of taxpayer dollars right here and make the Lions Club happy during this election year. Easy come, easy go. What do you think?
St. George is moving full speed ahead with everything except…..Code Enforcement Reform and Needed 24/7 Fire Stations. July 1st is fast approaching demanding attention to the 2015-2016 Budget. What do you consider a priority item and worthy of consideration? Maybe, just maybe funds can be found in support of the Dixie Red Hills Women’s Club. If not perhaps DRH can be asked to wait another 13 years to really be included in city budget. The way things are going Gary may still be City Manager and he may have other things in mind. Whatever the future may bring, we the citizens of St. George will soon find out how our tax dollars are to be spent. Thank you, ED BACA
Monday, March 30, 2015
RESPECT AND FAIR PLAY FOR WOMEN OF CITY
SUN BOWL - A PERFECT FIT FOR YOUNG WOMEN AND UTAH YOUTH RUGBY
DIXIE RED HILLS CLUBHOUSE - A TRAVESTY OF JUSTIC ENDURED BY LADIES
March 26th Council Meeting began with recognition of the Community Education Channel. For those who subscribe to Caple T.V. it’s a simple matter of turning to channel 22. A live presentation of City Council Meeting and if by chance you happen to miss it you can always watch replays. We have come to take televised city council meetings for granted as they have become common place. In our world…..Freedom of Speech is akin to breathing. It just comes naturally. Mark Mortenson, who sits on the Board of C.E.C. representing St. George City shared with us that C.E.C. does amazing things. It comes out of the confines of Dixie State University providing a litany of Public Service projects throughout Washington County. Although C.E.C. operates independently you may find representatives from other cities on the Board. City pays $1.00 per capita and the cable company collects $1.00 from each subscriber all of which goes to the successful operation of C.E.C. under the umbrella of Dixie State University.
City Manager Esplin reported that C.E.C. was first started to get information out to the public. To show how a particular service operates, something relative to city’s participation. Over the years the education channel has grown, bringing various production services to the public. Esplin suggested that C.E.C. could show case each construction phase of the Electric Theater or All Abilities Park showing the internal workings of the city. Mayor Pike offered the thought that city could introduce “some of our people.” Being the skeptic that I am, I immediately recognized the fact that giving a podium to a council member on an election year tends to give political advantage to those running for re-election. This was dispelled with the suggestion that presentations could be made by others employed in any number of city departments. All in all not a bad idea to bring the public up to date on who and what may be impacting the city at any given time.
FAIR PLAY WITH TAXPAYER MONEY
Putting this concept into practice I have chosen to connect a current day event that is deserving of recognition with one of past years that appears to have died on the vine. I ask that you keep in mind the Sun Bowl Rodeo and the male dominated Lions Club.
My thoughts turn to old fashion values. One is treating women with respect. This is exemplified by displaying respect and giving recognition to those who deserve it. I am of course referring to the women of the city. In support of this principle I will assume that we all admire and hold in esteem the women of our city. This should be matched with deeds.
COMMUNICATIONS FOR READERS TO PONDER (Segments: Between DRH and Council member.)
Date: 14th Nov 2008. I haven’t had any response from my last two emails. I guess I can understand your reluctance to reply. If I was in your position, I think my conscience would be bothering me, too. I am not going to say that we have been lied to, but I will say that we have reached a point where we find it hard to believe anything that comes out of a city office.
Date: 17 Nov 2008. So sorry not to have responded to your earlier email. We honestly thought the new club house would be up and running by now…..I am so sorry about this – I know it was begun and footings (or some of the ground work) done, but from what I understand it will be a while before it can be resumed. I’ll keep you posted.
Date: 17 Nov 2008. I apologize that you haven’t heard from me with your concerns. I have been out of town since the 10th……Please let me know if you haven’t gotten an answer yet on the clubhouse. You are correct that we have planned this project for some time and worked it into the budget finally. If you still have questions, I’ll get the answers for you.
Note: During the intervening years in which the Ladies of St. George were being put off as indicated by the above listed communications the Lions Club (I believe) appeared before the Council and requested and received financial city support in the form of “Sponsorship” for the Lions Rodeo Event. (To date promises made to DRH Ladies have not been kept.)
Note: Following presentation on C.E.C. the City Council gave approval to expand the use of the Sun Bowl by allowing Girls Rugby Matches with a potential agreement with the Utah Youth Rugby’s Girls Division. This fits in with Councils stated position to increase use of the Sun Bowl, for the intended purpose of justifying, spending of taxpayer dollars on the refurbishing of the Sun Bowl. To its credit Utah Youth Rugby, represented by Matt and Boyd Kenewisher stated that city would NOT be asked to waive fees for their use of Sun Bowl and in fact they would work to raise money in support of city improvement efforts. WOW! Is this refreshing news? It’s kind of like…..Ask not what your city can do for you, but what you can do for your city. Welcome, Utah Youth Rugby.
On its face does it appear the city is acting fairly and responsibly in how it uses city resources? Does it appear to you that the city favors the Lions Club over Dixie Red Hills Ladies Club? I cannot help but to think of President Hinckley who said “Who can put a price tag on the influence a mother has on her children, a grandmother on her posterity, or aunts and sisters on their extended family? We cannot begin to measure or calculate the influence of women who, in their own ways, build stable family life and nurture for everlasting good the generations of the future.” The women of DRH are such women and are deserving of better treatment. Thank you, ED BACA
Monday, March 23, 2015
TO GROW, TO ACHIEVE
GOOD, BETTER, BEST. NEVER REST UNTIL GOOD IS BETTER AND BETTER IS BEST. MOTHER GOOSE
March 19th City Council Meeting assured City growth will continue…..You won’t have to ask where as you will clearly see a changing skyline casting a shadow over the Virgin River, as it flows past the Young Single Adults Church Building and Millcreek High School. What a difference a Bridge Makes…..Mall Drive Bridge has brought with it a Huge Commercial and Residential Development. This is sure to provide a larger Property and Sales Tax Base for the City, placing another feather on City Manager’s cap. Perhaps we should pause and consider changing City name to something that will reflect Gary’s accomplishments. How does, ESPLINVILLE sound? My friends, it cannot be denied, Gary has had a profound impact on this once, small residential community. St. George has been propelled into what any incorporated business would proudly proclaim as a money making machine. I$ this what the city has become? A reflection on what we value and embrace?
AFTERTHOUGHT…..City may very well need every penny it can get its hands on. Especially if Code Enforcement Lawsuit against city ever makes it into a Federal Court Room where people will have to place their hand on Bible and give sworn testimony. More and more it appears city is willing to do everything possible, including sitting on their hands to keep out of court room. Isn’t that what it looks like to you, considering lack of action on Code Enforcement Reform?
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE…..I may have sounded critical of Councilman Almquist in the past concerning allegations of non- compliance with City Ordinances. It is equally important to recognize his good work as well. The Greyhawk Apartment Development referred to above is to cover an area of 11.75 acres and consist of 244 units. Gil recognized the impact upon Police and Fire Services this zone change will make as it clears the way for continued growth. Folks, 12 years of monitoring Council performance this is the FIRST time, I can recall hearing a councilman voicing a concern for the added demands being placed on the police as a result of Council Action. Gil acknowledged an increase in the number of calls as well as the heavy burden domestic calls place upon the police. An increase in number of traffic accidents and driving violations attest to need to improve traffic enforcement capabilities. High Tech/Computer generated crimes require additional manpower. In the past the issue of Public Safety appeared to be left in the hands of the City Manager and Mayor. It has not gone unnoticed that City Manager proudly touts the fact that the City does not adhere to National Standards on staffing police department. I know it pains Gary to hear what city pays for Public Safety…..I believe he prefers to spend money on Money Making enterprises. When pressed by Council to spend money on Pet Projects, especially those that will curry favor from those desirous of receiving public money. For example: City Sponsorship of Special Events. All too often in the past, Sponsorships have come at the expense of public employees. This symbol of duplicity of course pays dividends to those running for re-election and I am sure Gary never forgets that he serves at the pleasure of the Council. For this reason the willingness of Mr. Almquist to express concerns for Police and Fire is worthy of a commendation.
COUNCILMAN JIMMIE HUGHES MORPH’S INTO SANTA GIVING CITY MONEY AWAY
A larger Sales Tax Base makes it possible for Councilman Hughes to continue to expand his boyish appetite for giving city money away as he grows…..Not only to fill his Santa’s Suit, but grows the skill, talent, and expertise that casts him as a polished politician. I fully expect Jimmie will expend every effort to be re-elected this year as made evident by his actions of this night. Folks, this Council Meeting included a last minute addendum to the agenda. To consider approval of a Special Event permit for a Sun Bowl Concert. Simmons Media and St. George News are applicants. The City Council appears willing to Sponsor and Subsidize, every Event Possible at the Sun Bowl…..So that it can be said that the Sun Bowl is being used for something else other, than just the Lions Rodeo. This will surely justify future spending on Rebuilding the dilapidated Sun Bowl. How gullible must they think us to be? It’s all about the Rodeo! It always has been and it always will be. As expected, approval to use Sun Bowl for a concert easily passed. What happened next not only surprised and disturbed me, but I could clearly see the consternation on City Managers face. Three individuals representing the applicants proceeded to grease the skids with the magic words. We promote “Family Friendly” entertainment. Of course we all know that “Family” is very meaningful to Church members and public at large. They are sweet words indeed. What caused my eyebrows, to go up was the follow up request. The applicants asked Council to make available to promotors the City owned stage. This private enterprise made it known that the only place they could get a similar stage was in Las Vegas and that would cost them $4,000. To his credit City Manager expressed that it was not right for the City to subsidize a Private Business. Helping one business could be viewed as preferential treatment and be considered a disadvantage to other businesses they compete with.
THAT’S when I saw Jimmie morph into Santa. Jimmie appeared to jump at the thought…..If we can’t give them stage…..Lets RENT it to them. It was clear to me Jimmie was seeking a way to circumvent established fiscal principles and by so doing jeopardized city assets. He went on to suggest, surely we can find a way to get this done. City Manager displaying his frustration methodically explained that the city was not in the Equipment Rental Business and if the Council was to decide to go down this path, accepted business practices would of necessity need to be followed. The City Attorney then rendered his legal advice in support of the City Manager. If we are in Rental Business we have to be ALL in. Consideration has to be given to liabilities that would extend to city as well as need to protect the stage as a valued asset. City has to consider the cost for putting up the stage at the Sun Bowl. It would take 2 city employees at least 4 hours to do so. This is paid for by taxpayer money. Folks, the frustration having set in the City Manager sat back and contemplated the problem. I believe that he then remembered that he served at the pleasure of the Council. Giving the matter consideration it was suggested that the City could waive the $1000 fee for use of Sun Bowl, plus the 5% added cost associated with fee. If City was to sponsor the event the liability issues would go away making it easier for promoters to turn a profit. Money saved by Promoters could then be used to rent the stage from the city. These antics convince me that when Mrs. Esplin lays his head on his pillow at night he leaves a trail of tears wondering what he has done to deserve these blessings. My ending thoughts of this Council Meeting were, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.” Thank you, ED BACA