Voice of Utah wrote a post in January that made fun of HB 76 and Rep. Frank a little bit. Rep. Frank eventually saw the post and responded with two posts of his own on his Under the Dome blog, claiming that his bill was misrepresented. (Rep. Frank's blog is currently inactive and malfunctioning--the formatting is all messed up and there were comments from Voice of Utah and others that no longer show up, though you can still read his posts and watch the embedded video. Notice his most recent post on Mar. 24th with his coded claim that teachers can't be Republican delegates.)
In that second post of Rep. Frank's, he titles specifically references the Voice of Utah blog and says "STOP THE LYING, DUDE…READ THE BILL… HB75 (2nd SUB) DOES NOT PROHIBIT MUNICIPALITIES FROM BUILDING COMMUNITY POOLS"
He types his command to not lie in caps while ironically ignoring the fact that the post in question specifically mentions the failed HB 76 and even quotes from it. The now missing comments contained some further disagreement about Rep. Frank's misinformation. Rep. Frank also specifically denies in his video in the first post that he is going after community "recreation centers, and swimming pools, and other local entities."
Wednesday's UPD gets a big hat tip for showcasing the recognition that Sen. Stephenson and Rep. Frank received from a national advocacy group for smaller government called the Reason Foundation. (I agree with many principles espoused by smaller government advocates. I definitely agree with the Reason Foundation's apparent push against mandated, universal preschool. I strongly disagree with Reason Foundation's ""Director of Education and Child Welfare," Lisa Snell, that all public education is wrong and that vouchers should be mandated in all states.)
The two Utah legislators were recognized as Innovators in Action for "getting government out of the business of business." The detailed interview with Frank and Stephenson is on pgs. 14-20 of the newsletter, but because of the unnumbered introductory pages, it shows up as pgs. 18-24 when I'm looking at it in Adobe. When interviewed in a setting outside of Utah, which government activities does Rep. Frank consider to be illegitimate?
Quoting Rep. Frank from pg. 16:
It’s my belief that government shouldn’t be in the business of business. For example, you’ve got some of our local governments that are providing rec centers, pools and other facilities that are going head-to-head with local, private gyms...
And on pg. 20:
As the inventory and accounting systems are further developed in the future, I’d like to see some of those “taboo” entities that were excluded through this process, reintroduced for further investigation—independent entities, public and high education, etc. ...
Every time we say “less,” we increase freedom. If we don’t do these things, we do just the opposite—take away someone’s freedom. Because I’m part of the process, I know that for a fact.
First, Craig Frank purposely misled his constituents. He heard the outcry criticizing his HB 76 bill which specifically addressed county and municipal functions and forbid even potential conflicts with conceivable businesses as detailed by Voice of Utah. He then misled voters by pretending the claims were false attacks on his HB 75 and denied on his local blog that he would get rid of community pools and rec centers. But when Rep. Frank discussed the bills with the national advocacy group whose water he is carrying (and who apparently sent "experts" to help convince the legislators to vote for the bill. See pgs. 19 and 20), he voiced his true opinions, apparently secure that either no one would see, or that no one would care. He may very well be right when speaking of his district.
Second, Rep. Frank has the sadly common view among extreme right-wing Republicans in Utah that education would be improved by being totally privatized. It's "business" that should be done by business, rather than a public necessity. Senator Stephenson predictably agrees and throws around the false boogie man of socialism to justify his extreme views. You can get quality cars and toasters on the free market...if you can afford them. So education would be better that way too...
From pg. 15:
Somehow we like the idea that free markets bring us the highest quality of food anywhere in the world at low prices, that we get quality cars and appliances, you name it…the free market works just great. But when it comes to the education of our children, socialism is good enough. When it comes to golf courses, socialism is preferable. When it comes to fitness centers, socialism is great.
I don't expect Representative Frank to lose his election, but I believe that is due more to party loyalty rather than the majority of his constituents holding his extreme views. I think most of them would be angry if Rep. Frank and Sen. Stephenson tried to force their ideological agenda by butting in on local rec centers, golf courses, or Pleasant Grove's rights to contract garbage service. The two legislators view public education as "socialism" and belittle anyone with views more moderate than theirs. I know Utah can do better than that.