Thursday, August 11, 2011

Herald-Journal Meet the Candidates Night

I had the opportunity to participate in a "meet the candidate" discussion with the thirteen other candidates for this office. On the positive side, the number of voters involved is large enough that the Herald-Journal is willing to sponsor and report on this event, as is mentioned in the following article: Logan Council hopefuls state views at forum

It was an interesting experience, and there certainly were some nervous candidates as I sat there watching their reactions. The sad thing is that it was hard to tell who was the audience and who were the featured speakers as the current field of candidates is really quite large.

I expressed some opinions on what I felt were some major topics, of which I hope to address in a future blog post. I learned quite a bit about my opponents, in some ways based upon what they didn't say and in more subtle ways in terms of how they responded rather than what they actually said. I just hope that more voters of Logan actually got to see this, at least watch the video and perhaps at least read the article.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Back in the race again

I debated with my wife and kids about running for office again. It does seem to take a bit out of you to run for office and stick yourself out into the public eye, so it wasn't exactly a light decision. What ultimately got me interested in running for office was to have at least somebody who represents the citizens of the west side of Logan, or at least try to add some balance to the list of candidates that I saw.

Running for public office is an interesting experience I would recommend that every citizen have the opportunity to experience at least once in their life. It is a worthwhile experience so far as you do get to express your concerns and people do genuinely listen to you regardless of if they vote for you or not.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The role of Landlord Licensing

I've been following the debate and discussion over the role of the Logan City government demanding the licensing of landlords. Having sat through the municipal council meetings, listening to the arguments, and seeing the motivations of those in the city administration to enact this legislation, I have come to a conclusion about the law as currently written:

It is a bad idea and if left as it currently reads, I would vote against this legislation before the Logan City Council.

This is not a light decision on my part, and I do understand that there is also a crying need for some sort of governmental intervention to deal with abuses by some of the worst abusers of the tenant/landlord relationships that exist in the city. The legislation and proposed ordinance unfortunately won't deal with the very real problems that exist, and I certainly don't believe that the numbers both in terms of manpower available to the current city government and the costs involved with trying to inspect all of these apartments, mobile home trailers, and houses is going to be covered by this legislation. This is a hugely complex issue that is not nearly as black and white as it has been presented by the city administration.

Also, as a general principle I have noticed over the years of sitting on legislative bodies that often the "staff" doesn't either know or is telling the whole story. This is an ordinance that has been largely written by the staff of Logan City with only some minor tweaking by the municipal council. If I'm wrong on this point, I would love to be corrected and would be willing to retract this statement, but this is a significant issue in general for most legislative bodies. I will admit that the problem within Logan City pales in comparison to the problems that exist within our national government, where it is unusual for the congressmen to have even read the legislation before they vote on it, even if they are the formal "author" or sponsor of the bill. Even so, I see some of the same problems that exist here.

Another general principle is that most ideas for "reform", whatever they may be, are usually good intentions but would on the whole be better for government to simply not happen. One of the things that absolutely annoys me about legislators on all levels of government are those that brag about all of the legislation that they have passed and how effective of a legislator they have been. I am, however, more impressed with legislators and congressmen who can point out what legislation they have effectively killed or convinced others that it was a bad idea. Sometimes legislation of some sort should happen, and new laws enacted, but far too often new laws mostly strip away our liberty to act and lead to a continual degradation of our freedom.

A former employer (he was a grocery store head manager) pointed out an interesting principle that applies to rules of all kinds in life. This is even something I've paid attention to as a parent when laying down rules for my children's behavior. Basically, there are two kinds of rules: Reactions to the massive screw-ups of somebody who has caused substantial harm, and rule makers who wish to impose authority and control over others.

I see this wish to license landlords as a power grab and somebody trying to impose their governmental authority where currently none exists. While harm is happening, including a really sad example that was presented at the August 18th, 2009 council meeting where the public hearing on this ordinance was presented (a landlord lost all of his property due to a meth lab being built in his apartment and wiped out everything he owned), this ordinance doesn't really deal with these issues except to provide authority for the city to conduct inspections.... authority that the municipal government already has. All that this ordinance really does is to establish the principle of licensing of landlords, so that other future ordinances can be enacted to take that license away.

That is the other dangerous issue involved here. The power to license is also the power to impose authority and control. Police officers brag about the fact that a driver's license is a privilege and not a right. I am not completely sure when that happened, but there was a time, not really all that long ago even if it is before most who are reading this were alive, when a driver's license didn't exist. Creating a license when none exists is a way to create more authority for government and for the government to get into your life. A driver's license is now abused for purposes that have absolutely nothing to do with the operation of a motor vehicle as well, including for collection of child support, identification purposes to board commercial aircraft, and to enter into employment contracts. There is no reason to believe that a business license for landlords is going to be restricted only for the purposes of regulating the quality of rental properties and can be used for other social engineering programs in the future.

I know this is getting to ramble on quite a bit, and I haven't really addressed specifics to the ordinance. The point is that based on basic principles and philosophies, regardless of what the actual text of the ordinance proposal says, there are reasons to oppose this legislation. Furthermore, it is rather weak on even what it proposes to fix and doesn't really solve the problems.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back in the Game Again

I'm back, at least in terms of running for a seat in the Logan City Council again. There are a number of reasons why I decided to make another round of it, not the least of which is that I would like to be involved in the community and make my voice heard on important issues that affect myself, my children, and my neighbors.

As it turns out, I'm one of nine candidates for what is now two different positions. The election rules have changed compared to two years ago, so I'm in competition with more candidates this time around. That by itself will make this an interesting campaign, and I hope that I will have a chance to address several issues that impact the citizens of this community.

I'm also going to try and make this website a little more active in terms of addressing my concerns and opinions on what is happening in Logan City and some of the concerns that seem to keep coming up from time to time. I may not have everybody agree with all of my opinions, but there are things that can and should be done to fix some of the problems facing the city at this time.

If you are a resident of Logan, Utah, I would certainly appreciate your vote when the elections happen this fall. Even more important, I would love to simply see people come out and simply vote for anybody, and express at least your opinion so far as casting a ballot for those candidates who you think might act as a representative of your viewpoint.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Registration as Candidate

Today I took the time to head down to the offices of the City Recorder at city hall and file as a candidate for the municipal council. My goal with this blog is to provide a neutral place for my opinions and comments about my candidacy.

If elected, I would also like to make this a place for continued commentary and dialog about city government, with an option for citizens to "talk back" to a representative who would like to stay in touch with the voters of this city.

Logan, Utah is one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever visited or even lived in, and I have chosen to make it my home and the birthplace for all six of my children. At the same time, there are some real issues facing our community which I don't believe are being addressed properly, along with a growth of government services that seems to have reached nearly the point of absurdity. I hope to address these issues in specific blog comments at points in the future.