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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Independence Day & Pioneer Day Highlighted by Expression of Gratitude Throughout City for Blessings Received

The month of July can be looked upon as the month of gratitude for our nation’s independence and for those who suffered and sacrificed that we might find joy in blessings given us by our creator.

I will take the opportunity to utilize time given by cancelled City Council Meetings to recap a few of this month occurrences that gives us reason to be grateful…..While mentioning organizations and people who by their acts of service have touched my life…..And maybe yours as well.
Reported in July 10th City Council Meeting…..The Southern Utah Pickle Ball Association presented to the City a check for I believe, $22,600 to be used for additional lighting on the 24 Pickle Ball Courts located in Little Valley. This brought the total donated to the city to over $120,000.
Terri Kane, representing Dixie Regional Medical Center (Vice President Southwest Region-Dixie Regional CEO/Administrator) made what has become an annual appearance before the City Council…..To update the public on what is taking place at the hospital…..That truly impacts all of us and the quality of life we are able to enjoy in our communities. It was interesting to learn that Terri has worked for 30 years in in the medical field starting as a Bedside Care Giver. The public was informed that at present the Hospital has two facilities…..The Old Hospital that currently has 87 beds designated to the care of women and children, providing Out Patient Care. This facility is expected to be phased out over the next five years when it will be moved to the New Hospital Campus.
Did you know that the hospital has 300 to 350 Volunteers who give of their time in service to patients receiving Intensive Care…..That the hospital is identified as a non-profit organization that, while yes it does make money it also pays taxes……The Hospital is a blessing to the community and employees 2700 of our citizens…..Including 350 physicians. Terri said, we are a Service Industry…..We touch people…..We provide the highest quality of any of the 50 States…..We have Great People and beginning September 4th the Hospital will provide 24-7 Full Trauma Treatment Services.
Following the council meeting in which Terri Kane made her presentation I had occasion to be grocery shopping at Harmon’s. Lo and behold…..who do you think I ran into…..Yes, Terri Kane.  It seems she also has duties as a homemaker. Terri was not through for the day and it was late into the evening and I could see and appreciate the exhaustion she must be feeling as she met her duties as a wife. As my departed father-in-law use to say about exceptional people….. You cannot find a finer person. Terri Kane is top drawer.   Thank you, Terri for your service.
I was sad to hear of the loss of World War II Veteran, Sterling Davis. I am grateful to him for the close to 50 combat missions he flew which ended in his plane being shot down leaving him injured. Sterling Davis was an inspiration to me not only for his love of God and Country but for the example he was to me as a true gentleman and disciple of Jesus Christ. Thank you, Sterling Davis for your service to mankind.
I closed out my week having attended Parker Smith’s Eagle Court of Honor. I do admire and respect this young man for his dedication to service. I think of him each time I walk along the Dixie High School campus and enjoy the landscape Parker help to establish as his Eagle Scout project. I am grateful to Young Men’s President and Scout Master, Paul Clove for the leadership he provided to this outstanding young man.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention Mormon Battalion representative, Johnny Johnson who while now slow and methodical continues in his service to young men receiving their Eagle Scout award.  Johnny, my respect for your work ethic and dedication to service cannot be fully expressed.
As this month of gratitude comes to an end I look forward to the City Council addressing the “Promises Made” by then candidate for mayor, Jon Pike in which the matter of an Airport Board, Citizens Human Relations Commission, Water & Energy Board and the Reform of City Ordinances and Enforcement thereof takes place.  
Thank you, Ed Baca

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stand Up & Be Counted for Righteous Behavior, Mums the Word When Doing Wrong

This week an ill wind blew down on us from up north as a Public Outcry was heard following the arrest of two former State Attorney Generals. Our Governor was quick to state…..We hold our Elected Officials to a Higher Standard……This is what is usually said when we encounter inappropriate behavior on the part of those elected to serve the public interest.

Those northern politicians sure know how to put predominate church values in a bad light…..Causing us to walk around with our head bowed. But alas down south in in what is known as Dixie…..Where we proudly rally to the call of STAND UP AND BE COUNTED……IT’S DIFFERENT DOWN SOUTH…..OR IS IT? Consider this…..Northern Utahn’s  investigate and actually prosecute elected officials for alleged wrong doing…..And up north they actually have a public discussion on what needs to be done to fix a problem. Boy, are they confused?   Down south we adopt the “Mums the Word” philosophy.
July 17th City Council Meeting began with Mayor Pike putting a good face on         local activities and what local politicians are accomplishing.  We are starving for GOOD NEWS and have reason for wanting to disassociate ourselves from those naughty scoundrels up north…..After all, any missteps Dixie/Municipal politicians make are done solely with good intentions and therefore it is only right that voters be kept ignorant of any wrongdoing…. Curtailing public discussion appears to be the cure for what ails City Hall.…. Our politicians are above reproach and not to be criticized…..We are expected to be supportive of our fellow church members and be polite and at all costs avoid contention. Do We distinguish between President Almquist and Councilman Almquist ? Do we hold him to a Higher Standard? Should we?  Does the phrase….. Separation of State and Religion play a role in our thinking?
Is it any wonder that Mayor Pike is so willing to STAND UP AND BE COUNTED for the good things taking place here in Southern Utah…..While shying away from even acknowledging that Code Enforcement Issues remain unanswered by the acceptable norm……Hear No Evil…..Speak No Evil and See No Evil. Those boys up north need to come down south to learn how to make distasteful conduct go away and non-existent.  Our City Attorney and Manager must surely adhere to the principle….. “Silence is Golden” or “Lawyer Up”. I thought, the Mayor, tried to step away from negative connotations that may have extended from the weeks political disclosures and bravely attempted to put a positive spin on local accomplishments.
 This Council Meeting brought to light the hiring of Richard ‘Biff’ Williams as the new President of Dixie State University. Mayor Pike stood tall exuding confidence in this new found University President who apparently exceeded academic and professional expectations….A great acquisition to the community. 
Next, and I believe more meaningful…..was the recognition of Snow Canyon High School student….. Miss Emory Moody, as the National Winner of the prestigious…..Exchange Club Award that epitomized the true meaning of “Stand Up and Be Counted” for her work and deeds of accomplishment throughout her High School Years…..Citing Scholastic and Community Service Activities…..Miss Moody received a standing ovation…..Causing her parents to feel the love and respect…..Not only from our community, but from the nation as a whole.  Miss Moody exemplified the meaning of community pride in the youth of our nation. What a wonderful experience this must have been for her parents and grandparents.  Congratulations to Miss Moody who is to receive a full year college scholarship among other honors. 
The Mayor and Council appeared ecstatic with the opportunity to use the General Fund Amendments to this year budget…..as the gateway to report on achievements made possible by Mayor, Council and City Manager. They need to toot their own horn, especially in the light of failure to publicly move the ball forward on meaningful Code Enforcement practices as the inadequacies of local politicians remains so apparent. It was good to hear the unveiling of the new name for the City’s multi-purpose poverty resource center. It is now to be known as “Switch Point” with the motto, “It takes all of us”……to make meaningful change in the lives of those in need….And so it may to attain needed Code Enforcement Reform. 
Thank you, Ed Baca

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pioneer Spirit Alive & Well; Following 2 Week Absence Council Returns - Almquist Still Traveling - Council Unchained - Acts to Enforce City Ordinance on Smoke Shop

July 10th the lights were turned back on in the Council Chambers following two weeks of cancelled meetings. Playing catch up….Another Council Meeting scheduled for July 17th in Council Chambers at 5:00 P.M.

This week of Council activity began on an upbeat tempo beginning Wednesday at Fort Pierce Industrial Park. Hosted by Industrial Brush Corporation…..A Value Added Business under the leadership of company President, John Cottam…..who was kind enough to introduce the audience to his wife Joan and his two sons, James and Thomas…..all of which were active supporters and contributors in making St. George the new home for Industrial Brush Corporation. The building site is soon to be completed for this company that makes brushes for Industrial & Food Manufacturing Businesses. Helping to make this move to St. George was SITE SELECT PLUS…..formally known as Washington County Economic Development Council…..Who continues to be led by the most capable…..Scott Hirschi, Director.  Kudos and a well done to Mr. Hirschi who excels at bringing State and County Government together in a positive way. State and County business interests continue to flourish with Mr. Hirschi at the helm supported by the cast at Site Select Plus. 
Citizens of St. George should know that Councilwoman, Bette Arial was one of the first to arrive as a city representative. Cameron Cutler, Director of Public Works reported on transportation accomplishments for city. Mr. Cutler is proving to be a welcome breath of fresh air in city government……exuding a spirit of excitement for his work as a successful engineer…..And a refreshing expression of honesty and concern in city government. Please know…..Mayor Pike arrived and remained throughout the meeting. City Manager, Esplin (Who usually keeps a low profile)  and his aid, Mark Mortensen also made their presence known…..Overall, a good representation for the City with Theresa Foxley, Managing Director of Corporate Recruitment and Incentives with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
NOW…..If Only the city could do as well representing the City’s Interest in improving Code Enforcement Practices we might have something…. Equally  Meaningful take place……As it relates to keeping City Moral and Ethical Standards alive and well. With Pioneer Day approaching the Council did make more than a symbolic effort to show…..That it could, in the absence of Councilman Almquist, show a semblance of Moral Value…..Without fear of putting the City or Almquist in a Bad Light….As it fights a Class Action Lawsuit.  I can say this as there was no message conveyed by (The Absent) Mr. Almquist, as to his position/vote on enforcement of a City Ordinance that had to do with Revoking the Business License of Mike’s Smoke Shop for allegedly failing to comply with the Spirit of the Law…..Something we have been led to believe….. Mr. Almquist, may be well acquainted with (Spirit of the Law)….. And, may have found time or wanted to share with us had he been present. Well, council members present did have something to share with us.…..Councilwoman Randall had the courage to express her moral values and made the motion to REVOKE the business license of Mike’s Smoke Shop….. Which was, seconded by Bette Arial. Being the straight shooter that he is…..Councilman Bowcutt reminded us that he is a recovering alcoholic and expressed that his experience with substance abuse was such that he had no doubt that the owners of Mike’s Smoke Shop knew what was going on within the business. Being the consummate politician that he has evolved into…..Councilman Jimmy Hughes proceeded to waltz around the issue of a person having the right to decide what he or she might want to do with their body. (I have come to conclusion that Mr. Hughes is a Property Rights Advocate and believes that less government is better on most any issue)….. As Mr. Hughes spoke I started to uncomfortably squirm in my chair until I came to the conclusion that Jimmy has mastered the art of putting on a Dog and Pony Show…..Which I suspect he learned at the feet of our former mayor and missing city council member Almquist…..And so patiently I waited the final vote on the issue to revoke. Finally…..All, including Jimmy who finished waltzing around the issue voted unanimously to enforce a City Ordinance by revoking the business license.
There will be more to be said on those the mayor was counting on to head the review of City Ordinances and appropriate enforcement practices.

Thank you.  Ed Baca

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Importance of Oath of Office - Duty to Serve & Protect City vs Duty to Conceal Conduct of Past or Present Elected Officials- Transparency Needed

WE as a community appear to have a latent tendency to see things through Rose Colored Glasses or have a chronic infection of NOT wanting to know that Church Members may have strayed from the straight and narrow path. This is understandable since we know that ALL elected officials appear to set their moral compass by being active in the church of their choice.  Because of this essential fact we are very sensitive and reluctant to have a public discussion on matters of alleged misconduct…..AND UNDERSTANDABLY SO……NOT wanting to believe that our friends and neighbors may be subject to human weaknesses when holding public office.  HOWEVER in government, intended or unintended acts are of vital importance to a free society.  It’s how we hold government officials accountable to the public.    
Because Code Enforcement issues remain unanswered or measures for improvement are left wanting and not forthcoming….. It remains necessary for the public to demand an accounting. How much $$$  has already been spend on lawyers…..Seeking to delay and in keeping Code Enforcement Issues out of a Public Court Room, thus keeping the light of day from reaching the public. In the absence of transparency emanating from City Hall one has to ask…..WHO stands to gain from this obvious effort to deceive the public…..Who is really being protected in the shadows of darkness….. or is it MERELY a misrepresentation of facts as some would have you to believe. YOU DECIDE!
In the interest of TRANSPARENCY the completion of page xii of the Memorandum In Opposition to Motion to Dismiss filed In The United States District Court District of Utah; Central Division dated the 11th day of June 2014 is listed under item 21 and 22 of Statement of Alleged & Inferred Facts2. Filed by Aaron J. Prisbrey and Trevor C. Sanders, Attorneys for Plaintiffs.
21 Since the filing of the Amended Complaint, It has come to the attention of the undersigned that Mr. Almquist was in fact apparently “investigated” by code enforcement in 2007. Almquist told a local reporter “while he believes city officials were aware he has been conducting commercial business in an empty residential lot, hidden behind two of his rental properties, since 2007 . . . the city didn’t care and they were happy he had cleaned up the lot.” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said he is disappointed that councilman Almquist had been using the property for his landscaping business.” Michael Flynn, Did City Attorneys, Enforcement Officers Know Councilman Almquist Was Violating City Code? Is Almquist Still doing It?, The INDEPENDENT, Feb. 25, 2014. http://www.suindependent.com/news /id_5530 Did city-attorneys.-enforcement officers-know-Councilman -Almquist was violating city-code?-Almquist still doing-it?.html.
22 This specific allegation was not made in the Amended Complaint but according to Defendant is appropriate in this Motion as “”(a) district court may consider documents referred to in the complaint if the documents are central to the plaintiff’s claim and the parties do not dispute documents’ authenticity.” Defs.’ Mot. To Dismiss at 4. Since this is a document found in Defendant’s appendix, Plaintiff’s assume Defendants do not dispute the authenticity of it.
My friends this Memorandum in Opposition To Dismiss is 22 pages in length and I encourage you to obtain a copy of this public record.
Promises made during the last and I believe previous elections included a commitment by candidates to review and update City Ordinances and improve upon Code Enforcement Efforts. As of this writing NO ACTION or reports on how Code Enforcement is to be addressed or improved has been forthcoming from City Government.
THAT IS WHY it is necessary for this issue to be addressed…..Over and Over.  Until and Unless City Hall makes it a priority to keep the public informed it appears…..At least to me that Code Enforcement is to remain the mechanism in which political favors may be dispensed in support of the status quo.
What a shame that this issue cannot be resolved by publicly airing out deficiencies using the knowledge and expertise of many qualified citizens. It is my hope that the next City Council Meeting will not be cancelled so that we may move on to other topics of interest.   
Thank you,  Ed Baca

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Importance of Oath of Office; Keeping Your Word - Evidently Some Do and Some Don't

Washington County Republican Primary Race: Two strong, ethical republican candidates for the office of County Attorney. Both, Brock Belnap and Nathan Caplin were able to present desirable qualities…..Honesty and Trustworthy Attributes…..A reflection on how they live their private and public lives……Without a tinge of QUESTIONABLE private business practices.

I could not help but compare the County Political Climate with Municipal Political Antics…..Made known by the CITY ATTORNEY’S support of a Motion to Dismiss the Class Action Law Suit filed against the City….. Which as expected brought forth…..“Opposition to Motion to Dismiss”.  I will (with my limited abilities) attempt to contrast the behavior and performance of individuals that represent the two government agencies…..That revealed to us cause for concern as to how the City of St. George allegedly approves and implements  Code Enforcement Practices. (Kind of like IRS. Who is to be targeted and why? Abuse of power?)
The Character Differences of County and Municipal Politicians.
First, I wish to apologize for the unintended similarities that appear between U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder and City Attorney, Sean Guzman, as they both seem to have a propensity for deciding on which laws they chose to enforce.....Depending on the Political Climate and on who they may be trying to protect and serve. (Maybe, just maybe this could be cleared up with a clear and candid discussion on WHAT is going on with Code Enforcement or an explanation of Vacillation Practices on Enforcement).    
Since we have just recently been exposed to County Politics and gotten the measure of their Character, I will draw your attention to Municipal Politics.
SEEKING TO UNDERSTAND WHY CITY OPTED TO KEEP CITIZENS IN THE DARK AND UNINFORMED begs the question. Is failure to correct a wrong the RIGHT course of action or should the City “Buck  Up, and Do What is Right”?
I can best do this by bringing to your attention the Memorandum In Opposition To Motion To Dismiss…..*Hearing Requested* filed by Aaron J. Prisbrey and Trevor C. Sanders, Attorneys for Plaintiffs. (Dated June 11, 2014).
STATEMENT OF ALLEGED & INFERRED FACTS (REFER PAGE xii AND xiii)
V. Fourteenth Amendment Violations: Equal Protection, (Class of One).
56. The named plaintiffs are St. George residents, as are unnamed Plaintiffs they represent. Likewise Mayor Daniel Mc Arthur and St. George City Councilman Gil Almquist are St. George City residents.
57. Plaintiff John Rowley has been charged in the City’s ACE court with “Unlawful Commercial Activity in Residential Zone.
58. Mc Arthur is allowed to operate a recycling business in a downtown area of Defendant City that prohibits this business operation by zoning ordinances. See Pls.’ Am. Compl., at 70(e).
59. The City never investigated McArthur’s recycling business even though it operates in violation of the City’s ordinances, until a citizen organization made such a request for an investigation. Id.
60. The City never enforced its ACE ordinances against McArthur’s recycling business and has instead classified this business as a non-conforming use. Id. 70,116.
61. Councilman Gil Almquist is allowed to operate a landscaping business in a downtown area of the City that prohibits this business operation by zoning ordinances. Id. 70(d) 117.
62. The City never investigated Almquist’s landscaping business even though it operates in violation of the City’s ordinances, until a citizen organization made such a request for an investigation. Id.
63. The City never enforced its ACE ordinances against Almquist’s landscaping business even though it operates in violation of the City’s ordinances. Id.
I feel it important to have provided you with a brief view of what has been presented to the Court as this process moves painfully and slowly through the legal system. It is necessary because the City continues to experience the unintended consequences of inaction and confusion as to what the City should be doing in the area of Code Enforcement…..It impacts us each and every day….. Not to mention property values and concerns for those buying and selling property. 
Mayor, City Manager, City Attorney…..You can run, but you can’t hide………… DO YOUR DUTY! ……Keep your word to enforce all laws equally and fairly. (Who gets fined and who’s fines are waived? At least tell us how the game is to be played).
To the Citizens of St. George: Hold City Officials Accountable. It’s you duty to do so.

Thank you, Ed Baca

Monday, June 23, 2014

Transforming City Into a Tourist Attraction by Selling Its Residential Cultural Soul

June 19th City Council Meeting was declared to be one of the most important meetings of the year if NOT the most important…..Because it has to do with $$$$.....A public hearing to receive public input on amendments to the 2013-2014 fiscal budget and on the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget and unbilled water and energy services.

Acting on Mayor Pike’s request City Manager took center stage and articulated budget details.  Mr. Esplin was most adept in showing incoming and outgoing city money and doing so highlighted all of the goals and accomplishments that money can buy or the luxuries that the lack of money can deny its citizenry.  Mr. Esplin could have been a successful used car salesman as evident by the bopping heads of Mayor and Council when he described past and present goals.
It got even better when he outlined certified tax rate set by County Commission and explained the low level of property tax received by the city that made it necessary to increase sales tax revenues…..If we are going to be able to afford those wanted Luxuries we need to attract TOURIST……So the City can make more money to feed our lust…..not only for the necessities of running the city, but for satisfying our hunger for worldly goods and services. Acting as an extension of the Chamber of Commerce the City appears to be on target….. Meeting its objective to attract THE HUNGRY BEAST WE HAVE COME TO KNOW and LOVE…..The TOURIST.
Like an addict who has become a slave seeking its next fix the City can blame the State of Utah for keeping the Lion’s Share….. 80% of sales tax revenue…..Making it necessary for the City to feed our material/monetary hunger by becoming a magnet for TOURISTS……We love them and hate them for transforming our City into a Tourist City that has lost its identity…..A god fearing family oriented RESIDENTIAL community is fading away.
NO Mr. Esplin I don’t blame you. (Although it’s your vision being played out)…..  I hold the Mayor and City Council (Past and Present) responsible….. For succumbing to Worldly Temptations.
HOW do I dare to suggest such a thing? Even a hint of blame holding those elected to serve is in most quarters deemed unimaginable. After all are they not active church members who have taken an oath to obey and uphold ALL of the Laws or our City and State.  WHY do I do it and WHY do I dare to cast such aspersions? 
My friends all you have to do is look at how the City enforces or perhaps more importantly DOES NOT ENFORCE City Ordinances…..Inaction that is now SOUNDING the DEATH KNELL…..For the Environment that once was a safe haven for Family Oriented Living…...NOW tainted with tourists RENTING (SHORT AND LONG TERM RENTALS).....Loads of people coming and going, parking their cars and recreational toys at all hours of the Day & Night…..Thus destroying the peace and tranquility that home/family owners once enjoyed.   Of primary importance is how the City appears to practice Selective Enforcement……And fails to publicly discuss or explain its abdication of Code Enforcement responsibility.
It started innocent enough…..With good intentions……Bring in $$$$$ “Tourists” that will cause more motels/hotels to be built that will provide business that will generate MONEY!.....To do that we need sporting events to supplement the beauty that surrounds us…..We need Golf Courses, Ball Fields, RV Parking …… We didn’t know how much Short and Long Term HOUSING would be needed and when we did we opened the door to our Residential Communities….. To provide RENTALS……We became intoxicated for the need of more $$$$$ that IS now causing the loss of our precious family oriented neighborhoods.
MISMANAGED CODE ENFORCEMENT and a tolerant look the other way attitude has led to a Class Action Law Suit…..Details of which will be provided in future articles.  One has to wonder where the money will come from to pay for litigation and possible punitive damages. Perhaps the master we now serve and worship can show us the way.  What will it take to get the Council to ACT on the problem facing our city? Think about it.          
Thank you, Ed Baca

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

City Politics - Honesty or Deceit

DO WE PARK OUR CHURCH MEMBERSHIP AT THE DOOR WHEN WE ENTER CITY HALL AND PUT INTO PRACTICE THE BASIC VALUES OF RIGHT AND WRONG AS WE PRACTICE OUR POLITICS. (CHURCH MEMBERSHIP IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE ELECTED BUT WE ALL KNOW WHICH CHURCH OUR ELECTED CITY OFFICIALS BELONG). THAT’S WHAT IS SO DISTURBING WHEN WE SEE CODE ENFORCEMENT BEING DELAYED OR DENIED TO FURTHER POLITICAL INTERESTS OR AMBITIONS OR WHEN WE HEAR THE LOGIC APPLIED TO ENDORSING CANDIDATES.

RECENT EVENTS: Councilman Almquist purchased 3000 sq. ft. of land adjacent to his property from the City of St. George at a reduced price. Paid for this land with ….. Sulfur/Fertilizer that he gave the City about two years ago. He built a wall on this property prior to obtaining ownership. City Council approved this sale deeming that no conflict of interest existed and that the price and form of payment was OK.  ( THE PERCEPTION OF WRONG DOING OR FAVORITISM  REFLECTS POORLY ON OUR MORAL/ RELIGIOUS VALUES).

CLEARING THE AIR:  June 5th City Council Meeting included a Public Hearing to consider approval to sell City property, vacate a public utility easement and adjust the lot line for a parcel of land lying westerly of lot 39 of the Bloomington Hills No.3 subdivision. Warren Black was the applicant.  ( NOTE: MR. ALMQUIST ALSO RESIDES IN BLOOMINGTON HILLS).
Public Hearing made it possible for me to address City Officials and ask them to inform  public…..How DO YOU SET PRICE for sale of No Value Property and what form of payment is considered acceptable compensation? In the case of Mr. Black it was reported that he paid $1.00 per sq. ft. City Staff decided that this was a fair price. Reportedly NO ONE else has access to said property….. Declared by City Staff to be undesirable….. Of NO value to City. The City recognizes and accepts that owner of property adjacent to City property may have contributed to maintenance or improvement on said property….. And this could be factored into the purchase and considered a form of payment already made.
 ALL CITIZENS SHOULD BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO BID ON THE PURCHASE OF CITY PROPERTY REGARDLESS OF LOCATION…..NOT JUST THE PROPERTY OWNER ADJACENT TO SAID PROPERTY.
Based on information provided I concluded that the City has engaged in similar sale practices throughout the city and while on its face….The perception that Councilman Almquist may have received special consideration or treatment simply was not the case. Please remember…..PERCEPTION DOES MATTER regardless of which pew you sit come Sunday.
As to the issue and allegations that Councilman Almquist was given special consideration or given a wink and a nod that it was ok for him to do business in violation of a City Ordinance…..Well this is yet to be clearly answered and contributes to the suspicion that all people are not treated equally by City Government. (THE CITY MAY HIRE THE BEST LEGAL REPRESENTATION IN SALT LAKE CITY  TO GET THEM OUT OF THE MESS CREATED BY MISMANAGED CODE ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES…..BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE THE TRUTH AND YOU CAN’T KEEP THE PEOPLE FROM KNOWING WHAT IS RIGHT FROM WRONG).
POLITICAL ENDORSEMENTS: Clearly Mayor Pike has endorsed Nathan Caplin for County Attorney and has presented his reasons for doing so. I have not discussed with Bowcutt, Arial, or Hughes who they may be endorsing. I have been informed that Almquist has joined Pike endorsing Caplin……This does not surprise me even though rumor has it that Almquist has a Belnap sign on the property he purchased from City.  When asked his position City Manager Esplin stated he was neutral as he has to work with whoever is elected……And he is not a registered Republican. (IT WOULD BE NICE TO KNOW IF MR. ESPLIN IS NEUTRAL IN CITY COUNCIL RACES AS WELL).
Councilwoman Randall has endorsed Brock Belnap for County Attorney and has articulated 5 points for her decision…..Job  Experience, Education (WENT TO DIXIE HIGH), Has GRASP of ISSUES, Has Endorsements from Law Enforcement (HER SON IS POLICE OFFICER SGPD) And Constitutional Integrity and Philosophy.  I could not help but see the Image of Tara Dunn before me as I read Randall’s reasoning. I recalled Randall’s experience, knowledge, education, bankruptcy when she ran for City Council.  It is encouraging to learn that Randall places such high values on these very important qualifications. 
In all honesty I need to state that it causes me no small degree of discomfort to come to the realization that I am thinking like Randall and remain suspicious of Almquist….. For I have come down on the side of Brock Belnap for County Attorney. My friends I can tell you that over the years of monitoring and reporting on workings of City and County Government I have had the opportunity to present cases before Mr. Belnap….. That frankly questioned the honesty and integrity of elected officials.  I can tell you that Brock Belnap is a straight shooter and that I have full confidence in his ability to administer the office of County Attorney.   Please forward your comments and don’t forget to vote.
Thank you, Ed Baca