Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Davis County Clipper shows its bias for the Bountiful incumbents

I am attaching my comments to an online article that appeared in the Davis County Clipper from its Thursday October 22nd Edition.  The front page headline read: "Experience or new blood? Bountiful mayoral race hinges on change vs. stability."  There were a series of comments to the article, some of which were simply false and misleading. There was an attack on one of the supporters of challenger and Mayoral candidate Jeff Novak by a former Mayor of Bountiful, Bob Linnell. Mr. Linell claimed to refute the charges former Bountiful citizen Laura Bunker, made against the current Bountiful administration and city staff, in an endorsement email she wrote for Jeff Novak. In a short time the mud began to fly and concerned citizens passionately wrote rebuttals to one another. My comments are listed below.

"I find it interesting that as of 9:38PM on Saturday October 24th that there were 333 views to this article but only 5 people liked it. Tom Busselberg, the author penned a Headline "Experience or new blood? Bountiful mayoral race hinges on change vs. stability" that should have simply said; "The CLIPPER supports Joe Johnson and the incumbents for re-election" at least then it would have been more honest instead of an underhanded attempt to hide its bias.

In my opinion this election is not about finding blame for past decisions by the mayor or the two Council Member incumbents. The fact is, the longer a politician is in office the greater the chances that he/she will rub more people the wrong way. You can’t please everyone no matter how hard you try.

I believe that Mayor Johnson and Council Members Moss and Tolman have had some good accomplishments in the last EIGHT YEARS and now would have been the time to step aside and let others take on the mantle of leadership. It just makes sense to leave office at the height of your success so that no one can claim that your reason for running a third, fourth, fifth or longer term is motivated by selfish or sovereign desires! Look at history. Why did George Washington and Thomas Jefferson choose not to run for a third term? Because they knew that the longer one serves the greater the chance of that service leading to an entitlement mentality and at the very least they did not want the appearance of self-serving to be attached to their names.

It is unfortunate that people who have responded to this article online have stooped to mud-slinging, misinformation and character assignation in an attempt to protect their candidate. The TRUTH will always prevail and people who read these comments will certainly find the truth.

I am running for City Council for some of the same reasons that Joe Johnson ran for Mayor EIGHT years ago and that Fred Moss and Tom Tolman ran for City Council EIGHT years ago, because I have a great love for our city, a passion to work hard, roll up my sleeves and do my best to protect the interests of our friends and neighbors-the wonderful citizens of Bountiful.

Mayor Johnson, Councilman Moss and Councilman Tolman you have each achieved great things in your service over the last EIGHT years, unfortunately you now find yourselves on a path to career politics and more and more people in our communities and our country are saying “NO” to career politicians.

But since you have made the decision to run for a THIRD term, please encourage your supporters to be honest, civil and kind to your challengers. Whether or not you are reelected this time your term will one day come to an end and you will want to leave office with a legacy of honor and respect.

I am confident the Bountiful voters will choose wisely this election."

Phill Wright, Candidate for Bountiful City Council 

I read Bob Linell's comments one more time and discovered one last thing that supports my belief on voluntary term limits. I then added one more post to the Clipper's online article comment section.

"One more thought that came to mind as I read former Mayor Bob Linnell's comments. He only served TWO terms, four years on the City Council and four years as Mayor. Mr. Linell, thanks for your service and your example."


Phill Wright

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Meet the Candidates Night in Bountiful a Great Success!

I had the opportunity last night to participate as a candidate in the Bountiful Meet the Candidates night. Thanks to the League of Women Voters who has supported this forum for many years past.
I was overwhelmed at the number of people who came to meet me after the event. It was extremely gratifying to hear their positive comments and the pledge of support. I truly appreciate everyone who attended the meeting. Unfortunately more people did not take the opportunity to meet the candidates who want to receive their vote. Here are some of my observations;

Mayor Joe Johnson seemed very defensive on the issue of Ethics and Accountability in government and he strongly opposed the formation of any committee to report on future accusations of ethics violations. He expressed his belief that he was an honest and extremely ethical man. No one by the way, accused him of being dishonest or unethical and Jeff Novak his challenger made it clear that he never made any accusations on the ethics of Mayor Johnson or anyone else on the city council. Mayor Johnson was visibly irritated and highly emotional in his agitated response to the idea. Here is how I see it. If a person is honest and ethical they should have no worry about a citizen’s commission to check on them from time to time. Surely Mayor Johnson has nothing to worry about.

I noticed that along with the two incumbent city council members who obviously attended as participants in the debate that Council John Marc Knight also sat in the audience. I did not notice the presence of the other two Council members, Beth Holbrook and Scott Meyers. I was disappointed that they did not believe that it was necessary to show their support for such an important political event that will have an impact on our city. Now that I have said this, let me apologize in advance if they were there and I just didn’t see them or if they had other pressing obligations that kept them from attending.

I thought that Jeff Novak was incredibly prepared. He is obviously an intelligent and well qualified candidate for Mayor. He was articulate, concise, and considerate of others and the time he took for each answer and he kept his cool when he was attacked by the Mayor and Councilman Moss. I would rate his performance with an A.

Why would Mayor Johnson make the comment that his eight years has made him more qualified to lead as mayor then the challenger? When Mayor Johnson ran eight years ago he was the challenger against a current member of the City Council who by Mayor Johnson’s qualifying comments last night meant that Councilman Gordon was more qualified then Joe Johnson was at that time. It seems a bit arrogant to assume that only a sitting Mayor is qualified for that seat when there are numerous well qualified citizens throughout Bountiful. Mayor Johnson gets a D from me on that answer. Never assume that you are the most qualified at anything, chances are that there is ALWAYS someone more qualified somewhere.

Incumbent Fred Moss gets the “Long Winded” award for taking over five minutes to answer a two minute question. I felt sorry for the designated time clock lady in the audience who kept flashing the TIME END card at Fred and finally she gave up and dropped the card in her lap. Then Fred told her “I know my time is up but I have more to say so I’m going to keep talking.” Those of us on the panel were getting a bit frustrated too because he was eating into the time of all of us in the meeting. When Fred finally finished talking about the needs of the Bountiful City Power plant it was Tom Tolman’s turn. He wanted to yield his time to Fred but instead said a line or two and turned it to me. I think Fred was surprised that not only did I know something about Bountiful City Power but that I had facts and figures with me to back it up. After I spoke the question went to the Mayor and then was supposed to end with Jeff Novak who was at the end of this round. However, Fred was not done and wanted another two minutes for rebuttal. We were all amazed that he again kept talking after the signal to STOP. Fred, you get a D- for thinking that what you had to say was more important than anyone else in the debate last night.

Tom Tolman the other eight year incumbent made a statement that took me by surprise. He said that because he grew up in Bountiful and had pioneer descendants from Bountiful that he had a “right and responsibility” and that he had a “calling” to serve in Bountiful City government. Tom, I assume that you meant that due to the longevity of your family heritage in Bountiful that you felt a responsibility to serve in government to protect the heritage of your family and the community of Bountiful. I appreciate your love of Bountiful but anyone who wants to serve on the City Council has to be elected to that position by the community and no one can serve without receiving the majority of votes by the citizens in the community regardless of any “right” or "calling"they believe they have to the seat. Tom gets a C for failing to express himself in a way that does not make him look like an incumbent who believes he can continue to serve even if the people don’t vote him in for another term. I believe they call that Monarchy, we are a Republic, even in Bountiful.

Ernie Cox. Ernie, where have you been the last couple of months? You were insistent that you wanted to run for City Council even to the point of convincing Eric Hattabaugh to drop out of the race to avoid a primary runoff for the City Council seats, yet until last night I did not know if you were still in the race. You have no campaign signs anywhere in Bountiful and I have not seen or heard anything about you in weeks. I thought your comments last night were fine but when asked to describe the things that were done wrong and the things that were done right by the incumbents in the last eight years all you could say was that you did not think that they had done anything any different than you would have. I did not expect you to start listing your grievances with the decisions of the incumbents but I did expect more form you on that answer. I have to give Ernie and “Incomplete” because there just isn’t enough information to judge him on. Sorry Ernie, let’s hope you can get your message together and out in the next two weeks.

Obviously it would be a bit too biased if I rated my own performance. However, I do believe that I was well prepared and my biggest critic told me I did wonderful. My wife gave me an A. If you weren’t there you’ll just have to take her opinion for it. 

Overall, it was a great night and I enjoyed being a part of it. I really do appreciate the service of our Mayor and City Council over the last eight years. I know they have served to the best of their ability and I also know that if elected, I will most likely serve with one or more of them.

Mayor Johnson made another comment that we constantly hear in politics. He said that the current administration had worked hard in the last eight years and that there was much left to do and that they needed to serve another term to accomplish their goals. My response was that there will always be more to do and if you are that committed to a goal or a project for the city make sure that you get involved as an active citizen after your term ends and allow your replacement to take up the banner while you help him achieve your original goal.

Thanks again to all of you who attended the meeting it was quite revealing. I look forward to helping either Fred Moss or Tom Tolman assimilate back into the community so that I can pick up their torch and run with it! PLEASE VOTE WRIGHT on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 3rd

Monday, October 5, 2009

You can't go wrong when you vote wRight!

There is nothing more irritating for a voter than to support a candidate based on what they have learned from either listening to the candidate, reading the candidates campaign materials or even worse talking directly with the candidate and feeling satisfied with the information they received from the candidate to eventually vote for the candidate, and then shortly after the candidate becomes the newly elected official and takes office he does the exact opposite of what he campaigned on.

Unfortunately, this happens all too often in politics.  Those who know me know that I am a very passionate person but that I also listen to understand and then when I have formed an opinion I express it and then act upon it. I do what I say I am going to do.

There are several issues that I am extremely committed to.
  •  I will never, ever vote to liberalize our alcohol laws. These laws allow merchants to responsibly sale alcohol (their legal right), while at the same time protecting our families and children from irresponsible patrons who drink and drive. And they also help to keep our teenagers away from easy access to alcohol. For years Utah has had fewer alcohol related accidents or deaths than any state in the nation.  Liberalizing our laws even on a local level send the wrong message to our teenagers and also put more of our citizens at risk of loss of property or even life.
  • I will never, ever vote to mandate anything that is not totally necessary to protect life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness, i.e., I would not vote to "FORCE" our citizens to pay an extra fee and require them to recycle their garbage, especially after discovering that the overwhelming majority DO NOT want the mandate! 
  • I will not vote to take away the property of a law abiding citizen simply to improve commerce either public or private.  I will not encourage a city employee to harass and threaten a citizen with legal action simply because their mother in law has worn out her welcome according to some ancient and ill-conceived city ordinance. Instead, I would bring the ordinance to the attention of the council and either amend it, update it or simply do away with it. City ordinances should be designed to protect our liberties not take them away.
  • I will not vote to raise taxes due to municipal mismanagement of funds.  Tax increases should be the last resort after re-budgeting, tightening and reevaluating expenditures.  Most tax increases could be avoided with proper budget planning and then sticking to that budget.
I realize that it is easy to play the Monday morning quarterback, but some things are innate.  We are raised with them or we learn them and they become part of who we are.  I am not ashamed to say that I am a conservative, I AM A CONSERVATIVE!  But that doesn't mean that I can't get along with those who have opposing or even opposite views.  I have many friends who have different political ideas.  I understand the reality of getting along with people, even those who are not your friends or who don’t think the same.  But, I will not compromise my core beliefs!  They make me the person that I am. 

I don’t believe in compromising my integrity or my principles.  It is my goal to bring people to my side and not to lean across the aisle and not to expect to get dirty.  There are too many politicians who have soiled their integrity and conscience by leaning over to the other side to compromise who they are and what they believe.  I refuse to be another one of them.  This does not mean that I refuse to learn.  Surely there will be many issues that require creative thinking and even challenging decisions.  But I believe that if I keep my principles and values in check that I can make the tough decisions without compromising who I am and what I have promised to those who vote for me.

I give anyone who votes for me my word that I will not say what you want to hear just to get your vote and then do the opposite once elected.  I have made it clear who I am and what I believe.  If elected I will be true to myself and those who elect me and I will not simply fall in line just to become one of the good old boys. You as a voter are not looking for someone who will simply fit in.  You want someone who believes the way you believe, acts the way you act and will stand up for truth regardless of the political consequence even if it means a loss of popularity or expulsion from the club.

I have no intention to get into City Council and simply stir things up or create trouble.  I am confident that I can work with whoever wins the mayor’s race; I know both Mayor Johnson and Jeff Novak.  I know they are good men even though they see some things differently.  I know that either would not knowingly lead the city astray. I also know the existing Council members and I know that they each have their opinions on things and that there will be times when I am in agreement with some, all or none of them.  I can deal with that.  With your help I will win this race and I will be the voice, your voice that you may feel is often missing in our city.

I am Phill Wright and I am confident that I am the person you want to represent you in the Bountiful City Council.  Please, call me if you have other questions.  My cell phone is 801-540-3598. I ask for your vote on November 3rd.

I am confident you won't go wrong when you vote wRight!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Recession is over? Tell that to the 10% of Americans who don’t have a job.

With the recent statements lately by the news media that the recession is over you would think that we would no longer see those hefty unemployment reports each month that show first time unemployment claims in the hundreds of thousands. Do you think those people are feeling much better about being jobless now that the recession is over? What’s even more amazing is the government analysts have been talking about the “good news” in jobs because the amount of layoffs has decreased in recent months. Excuse me, but just because we have seen a decrease in the amount of unemployment claims doesn’t mean that we should get giddy over the ADP Report which shows that the private sector job market cut 254,000 people in September. Those jobs were held by real people. I don’t suspect that they are reading the report and having tailgate parties with their unemployed friends and neighbors celebrating the “good news.” Of course the Labor Department projects that number to be 200,000 but we have seen that their projections have been way off for months. Either way is this an indication that the recession is over?

What planet do some of the members of the news media live on? Dose their home planet have “good news” about their unemployment situation too? Let’s not all go out and buy a new car on this “good news” (of course, that program is gone now too). Instead, let’s look at the numbers and see how they REALLY add up.

Barry Habib of the Mortgage Market Guide did a great job of breaking things down. Here are his thoughts; “The population is growing, therefore the workforce is growing. There are 150M people in the workforce, and that number grows by about 1% or 1.5M people per year – simply due to population growth. Just to keep pace with that, the US needs to create about 125K jobs a month. So realistically, a loss of 200,000 jobs is actually means we are falling 325,000 jobs behind for just one month…which is enormous. Now consider that nearly 10% of the work force is unemployed – that’s 15 million people – a huge number of folks who are without jobs. And many people are not even counted in that data…If you haven’t looked for work in four weeks, you are removed from the ranks of “officially unemployed” people – but you might be discouraged, ill, dealing with family issues and therefore not seeking work. Taking those people into consideration brings actual Unemployment rates to about 11%. Then going on further, and counting the folks who have had to settle for part time work, as no full time positions were available – this brings the real rate of unemployment to about 17%! This is a whopping 23M people who are, for all intents and purposes – unemployed. This is more than the population of the state of Texas, or New York, or Florida…or actually any other state in the US other than California.
So how do we get back to the forty year average rate of unemployment, which was closer to 6%? And remember – for the past 15 years, which includes the 2001-2002 recession, the very worst rate of unemployment seen was about 6%. We’d have to see a drop in unemployment of 4%...which means 6M more people need jobs. If the target to reach this was over 5 years, the US would need to create 100,000 more jobs per month – ie: 6 million people divided by 60 months = 100,000 jobs per month. PLUS don’t forget, we need at least 125,000 additional jobs just to keep pace with population growth. This means the US needs to add 225,000 jobs per month minimum, consistently over the course of five straight years, just to get back to what we’ve become accustomed to being a normal level of unemployment.”
In the past 10 years – there was only one year when this level was achieved. It was 2006, during very good times, when we grew by 232,000 jobs per month on average over the course of the year. During the past 20 years, the average growth rate has been 91,000 jobs per month – and the very best 10 years were from 1991 – 2000, when we averaged 150,000 per month. So how do we get to 225,000 jobs per month on average for the next five years? Bottom line, we won’t. Expect higher unemployment rates to persist.”

I am not trying to let the wind out of anyones sails but the reality is that the recession is not over. Many think that we have not hit the bottom yet. We continue to see a rise in unemployment with more layoffs daily. And don’t be fooled by anyone who tries to cook the numbers or make bad news look like “good-news.” Bad is bad, good is good and we’re all big enough now to know the difference. Who knows how much longer we’ll be in this recession but my guess is that we have at least two more years before we start to see some recovery. Keep in mind all the news that got us here was based on the residential mortgage market mess and now we are looking for the next shoe to drop, the commercial mortgage market and that shoe is even bigger!!

If you've Never FAILED you've never lived.

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