Monday, November 16, 2009

Members of Congress play games while the country suffers


While our country is in the midst of the worst economic crisis in decades and unemployment is at 10% the worst in 26 years idiot members of our Congress sit playing Solitaire, catching up on Facebook or checking the sports scores in the middle of a budget debate! What is it with these people? Is this the appitemy of arrogance or what? I talked about Term Limits when I ran for City Council and I believe more than ever that we should limit the terms to members of our Congress and Senate so that we can clean out some of this waste. These people get elected term after term, create bureaucratic hogwash and laws, raise our taxes, try to shove a government mandated Health Care program down our throats all the while they are exempt from EVERY law that they inflict on us! They have the most cushy retirement plan in the world; they have their own health care program and they have a Three Day Work Week! How would it be? Vote these parasites out of office.

House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, pictured standing, far right, speaks while colleagues Rep. Barbara Lambert, D-Milford and Rep. Jack F. Hennessy, D-Bridgeport, play solitaire Monday night as the House convened to vote on a new budget. 

The guy sitting in the row in front of these two... he's on Facebook, and the guy behind Hennessy is checking out the baseball scores. These are the same “ELECTED” officials who can’t get the budget completed by October 1! I also find it incredible rude and shameful that these dimwits playing games don’t even have the common courtesy to respectfully pay attention when another member of Congress is addressing the body. If they were students their teacher would have kicked them out of class. Well guess who the teacher is YOU and ME and it’s time we kick them out of Class! After the talking ended and the games were won all that was accomplished was another 30 day extension! Yes, I am mad! This is outrageous!

In November of 2010 the entire House of Representatives will be up for re-election. That is 435 members of Congress and 33 Senators, one third of the Senate. I say any that have served for more than two terms should be sent home regardless of their party affiliation. We always hear the “seasoned” incumbents claiming that their seniority allows them to get more things done for their State (political party), yet if that is true why are we in the worst economic mess in decades? Don’t be fooled by the claim that we need to continue to send US Senators and Congressmen back year after year because they have earned seniority and can do more for us. This is a farce and the numbers prove it! If we cleaned house “Literally”, every two terms we could eventually get the corruption out. The framers of our constitution DID NOT envision career politicians. They were men of character and integrity and they assumed that anyone elected to public office would espouse the same love of country and the freedoms and protection afforded by the US Constitution. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the United States in 1932, but was inaugurated to office in 1933. He served until April 1945 when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was the only President to be elected to 4 terms. Two years after his death, the 22nd Amendment which limits the president to two terms, was passed in Congress in 1947 and ratified in 1951. It is amazing that Congress saw that a President should only serve two terms but they did not look in the mirror to recognize that they too should be held to the same standard.

We may never get federal term limits enacted by Congress, but we can surely enact them State by State by voting and making sure that we never allow our elected officials serve more than two terms. This way when they go home and can collect their huge government retirement and play Solitaire all day long if they like and no one will ever notice or care!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What I've learned from Local Politics

I just finished running for Bountiful City council and although I received almost 3,000 or the 6,600 votes I lost to a two term incumbent by about 4 points.  During my campaign I always made sure to be kind and thoughtful in how I referred to the two incumbents.  Neither of them are bad men, in fact, I think that they both are good men who have served the last eight years to the best of their ability. It is always hard to win against an incumbent simply because most people don't get to know the candidates and simply vote for the most recognized name.  We had a measly 23.5% voter turn out, a dream come true for an incumbent. I am confident if more people had the opportunity to get to know me that I would have won with a large margin, even against Fred Moss who garnered the highest vote count on election day. Voters want to be represented by able-minded, honest men and women of action and integrity.  Yet, most voters don't take the time to find out what their incumbents have or have not done for the city during their tenure in office. Let me give just three examples of where I believe these men failed to do what was best for the city:

ONE:  BUSINESS REVITALIZATION.  Moss and Tolman have had the last eight years to solve the business migration out of bountiful, yet they along with the rest of the city council failed. Bountiful has lost over 10% of its annual business tax revenue in the last two years.  The dirt pit formerly known as Five Points Mall still grows weeds.  Yes, there are three completed buildings but the largest building that houses mostly medical offices is loosing their largest tenant that currently occupies the entire second floor.  They are moving to Salt Lake, one more business leaving Bountiful. Although each of the council members has spent the last several years talking about the need to do something to re-energize old main street it has been all talk and no action.  Main street is becoming a ghost town strip. Our city has failed business over the last eight years.  They talk a business friendly talk but all one has to do is talk to the business owners of Bountiful to discover that Bountiful City is not business friendly.  I know the owner of a large Chiropractic business in Bountiful who recently built a new building in Bountiful.  He told me that he spent months and months arguing with the city about the plans for his building.  A former council member (Voted out two years ago) told him that his proposed business location on the corner of 200 west and 400 North was in a "residential" area and he would vote against it.  Anybody who drives to that area will discover that most of the neighbors are businesses not residential homes.  However, if you drive two blocks south you will notice the home of the former city council member.  When the business owner finally got the city to approve his building plans and then completed his building the city told him they did not like his ($100,000) electronic sign and that he needed to remove it!  He told the city to take a hike!  This is not business friendly. 

TWO: BOUNTIFUL POWER COMPANY. Our power company is in desperate need of two new transformers and an overhaul of the power plant on 200 west at a cost in excess of $28 million dollars.  Yet, Bountiful city continues to take $2.2 million dollars from the power company every year instead of using that money for the necessary power upgrades.  We have power poles, overhead lines and underground lines that are over 40 years old and far beyond their normal life expectancy.  These items are in critical need of repair and replacement but the power company now operates with a negative balance sheet each year because the city continues to scoops out $2.2 million annually. Councilman Fred Moss who owns two power companies of his own serves as the city's representative to Bountiful City Power yet, he continues to vote to take away $2.2 million from the Power Company each year.  Is this smart for our city?


THREE:  LIBERALIZING OUR ALCOHOL LAWS. Both Fred Moss and Tom Tolman  voted to  change our alcohol laws by giving a variance to a local restaurant to serve alcohol even though it is across the street from a public library. This was a mess from the beginning yet they, Mayor Johnson and the other council members never took responsibility for the misinformation and untrue accusations against good citizens of our community. Mayor Johnson even had  former Mayor Bob Linell write an extremely biased and completely untrue letter to the editor in the Clipper claiming that comments by Bountiful resident Laura Bunker regarding the alcohol issue with El Matador restaurant were untrue.  Laura later wrote a response with documented information including the official transcripts by the State of Utah that proved her comments were not only true but part of the official record with the State alcohol board. Neither the Mayor, former Mayor or anyone from the council issued an apology to Laura Bunker.

FOUR:  UNNECESSARY MANDATES. They also voted to FORCE via mandate, our citizens to pay additional each month to recycle their garbage. The idea of this was to extend the life of our landfill.  I would have voted against this phony scam that only adds money to the pockets of the sanitation company.  A better alternative would have been to recycle yard waste which represents 40% of the land fill waste.  We should have adopted a program such as the city of Provo did where they gave the residents an additional can to put their grass and yard clippings in to be turned into compost.  This plan in Provo reduced waste to the landfill and the city actually made a profit as the compost was sold.  Our city council would not even look at this issue. 

During my campaign I talked a lot about term limits.  I strongly believe that the longer a politician stays in office the more arrogant and selfish they become.  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both understood this and neither would serve more than two terms. Yet we have career politicians even in our own city who believe it is their "Right and even "Calling" as Tom Tolman said in the "Meet the Candidates" night held just a few weeks ago.  I  believe that Mr. Tolman would have received the lowest amount of votes if those who voted had heard him make those comments. I find it interesting that the Clipper didn't publish any comments from Councilman Tolman yet they quoted all of the other candidates.  His comment about serving on the city council being his "Calling" should have been printed and those who read it would have had the same shocked reaction as did all of us who heard him say it! I  believe that Tom is a good guy but he should not have run for a third term.  His only goal is to build an enormous History Museum in Bountiful, something that makes very little sense to do.  I don't believe that most who voted for him had any idea of his number one motivation to be on the City Council.

So what is the number one thing I learned from local politics? its all in the name recognition.  Even though I have a memorable name people tend to vote for the name they have heard the most over the years.  Unfortunately for me, they have heard the names Moss and Tolman more than Wright.  But the good news is that if I run again in two years I believe that my name will be among the names they have heard most.  Gee, maybe people will think I am an incumbent and vote Wright next time!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I fought a good fight!

I fought a good fight and I stayed the course. But in the end, the incumbents won re-election to another term now on their way of serving 12 years. Only 23.5% of the registered voters decided for the other 76.5% who would serve as the elected officials of their community. Joe Johnson will be the first Bountiful Mayor in decades to serve a third term. He defeated Jeff Novak 64.8% to 35.2% of the vote. Both of the City Council incumbents with Fred Moss taking 31.4% of the vote and Tom Tolman received 28% of the vote. I carried 23.6% and Ernie Cox got 17% of the vote. The incumbents got what they were hoping for, a low voter turnout which is always to the advantage of the incumbent.

I am so grateful to the scores of supporters, the nearly 3,000 people who voted for me and all of the wonderful people, who made phone calls, walked the neighborhoods, handed out campaign literature and did what they could to help with my campaign. I am indebted to my campaign manager Dalane England who dedicated countless hours to organizing my campaign. She is a true friend and a gem of society. Thanks also to her husband Mark for his longsuffering during the process. I am also very thankful to my beautiful wife Shaun for her undying love and support and to my children who all helped and understood the true meaning of the Primary song about how the children sang as the walked and walked and walked and walked. I love my family and all of my friends and the many, many new friends who believed in me enough to do what they could to support me in this election.

What's next? I love my community and I have no intention of disappearing. I will sharpen my skills and stay involved with the issues that impact Bountiful and my family. I will never become part of the 76.5% of registered voters who don't see the importance of being involved in their community and who allow apathy or indifference to choose their future. I am a fighter. I know that I have been blessed with a good mind, a kind heart, a love of country and community and I believe that it is my responsibility to use the talents I have been blessed with for the benefit of others. In two years there will be three city council seats up for election. Although I have not yet decided my plans, if I do decide to run I am confident that I will win a seat.

Thanks again to everyone who supported and voted for me. It took Reagan and Lincoln many attempts before they were elected to office. If I decided to make another attempt it will be due to their perseverance and inspiration. Until then, let's hope and pray that our city will be in good hands.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Election comes to a vote on November 3rd

This has been quite an experience for me running for Bountiful City Council.  I have made so many wonderful new friends and supporters and rekindled old friendships.  I want to thank my campaign manager Dalane England for her undying support, great advice and willingness to roll up her sleeves and dive into the work.  She is a wonderful person and a very patriotic citizen.  She is a gem in our community.  If I am elected much of the credit will be due to Dalane England.  Thanks also to her very supportive husband Mark!  There have been so many people who have willingly given of their time and resources to help with my campaign.  I truly appreciate each of them.  Thanks to all of those who opened their home to me to meet their friends and neighbors and learn about the issues that are most important to them in our great city. 

I also want to thank the incumbents who are each good men.  I know that they have served to the best of their ability.  Over the last eight years I have had the opportunity to work with each of them.  There were times when we agreed and times when we did not agree.  Although I believe that they each have some noble accomplishments over the past eight years, I strongly believe that eight years is enough.  I support any of these men if they want to find other ways to serve their community or state.  If they want to stay in politics there are many other opportunities. 

Our founding fathers never intended to create a constitution that encouraged men and women from our country to allow their service to become a career.  Most of the social and economical political problems in our government are caused by special interests who have attached their ideas and beliefs to the career politicians by funding their never-ending campaigns and then requiring pay-back by allegiance to their ideas though garnering the politician's votes while in office.

The same thing happens on a local level only we don't refer to it as the politician's allegiance to special interest groups but instead the politician becoming a member of the "Good Ol'boys club.  If I am elected to the city council I will not serve for more than two terms. If I believe that my service to the community was effective I may afterward consider a different office in politics.

If you have not voted yet I encourage you to consider what you have learned about me so far through this campaign.  Go to my website at www.phillwright.com and read up on the issues I believe are important to our community.  There is also a link to each of the news letters I sent to my supporters throughout the campaign. I believe that my ideas and views ring universal agreement with most citizens in Bountiful and I encourage you to vote WRIGHT on November 3rd.

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

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