Showing posts with label brad daw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brad daw. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Utah County Convention coming, mail and now packets of paper pouring in -- HB 150 is unconstitutional and overreaching

The county convention is Saturday and the county wide races are being hotly contended. I haven't had as much time to research as I would wish, so I am still working on what to do with assessor, auditor, etc., but I've got a pretty good feel of where I'm going with the two county commissioner spots and county sheriff. I tend to cast a favorable eye toward challengers, favoring term limits and non-career politicians, but I am leaning toward 2 of 3 incumbents in those races. The challengers are either less qualified or too arrogant and partisan for me to vote for.

I have received lots of email and postcards--5 or 6 color cards just today--and then tonight, a whole packet of papers delivered to my house with a collection of articles about the Brad Daw vs. Calvin Harper race for House representative. There were copies of 12 newspaper articles/blog posts criticizing Daw's HB 150. These were hand-annotated and highlighted in red marker. Impressive effort if all the county delegates are receiving this.

I heartily agree with the criticism of HB 150. Court review of forced searches is crucial. Rep. Daw keeps pulling out "The fed's have been doing this for 20 years and always had it upheld in court" defense, but that seems kind of hypocritical for a member of the Patrick Henry Caucus. I have not heard Rep. Daw or any attorney general give one instance of a child safety case being jeopardized by having to get a judge's approval before obtaining internet information. If the process is too slow, work on improving the process to obtain a warrant--don't bypass it. The very legitimate "slippery slope" argument in this case is augmented by Rep. Daw's original version of HB 150 allowing administrative subpoenas for any "criminal activity" using a computer. The bill was amended on Feb. 23rd or 25th to apply "only" to felony charges. It failed a House floor vote. The bill was substituted Feb. 26th to now allow government lawyers to obtain internet information without a warrant in the cases of child kidnapping and "an offense of stalking under Section 76-5-106.5." (Line 71 of the substitute bill at the link above) It now passed another floor vote and later a Senate floor vote, but interestingly, it split the Patrick Henry Caucus.

Also, if it is up to just a city, county, or state attorney's discretion, what happens when the stalking ordinance referenced in the law is applied politically? Mark Shurtleff may be the most egregiously political government lawyer, but administrative subpoenas are ripe for abuse because of politics or personalities at all levels they are permitted. Can you imagine if Lohra Miller (Salt Lake County district attorney) and that other guy in her office that have been publicly suing and attacking each other in the press for a couple years could get the other's internet information via an administrative subpoena obtained at their discretion? The particular stalking ordinance given administrative subpoena power was recently beefed up to give prosecutors extremely wide latitude in what constitutes stalking. Read some excerpts from Section 76-5-106.5 of Utah Code. The person could be charged if they violate the following conditions:
(b) "Course of conduct" means two or more acts directed at or toward a specific person, including: (i) acts in which the actor follows, monitors, observes, photographs, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property:

(F) uses a computer, the Internet, text messaging, or any other electronic means to commit an act that is a part of the course of conduct.
And this broad standard, communicating "about a person" on the Internet in a manner that would cause them "emotional distress" [(2)(b) in code], can now be used to get the internet information, including credit card information, of any internet poster a politically motivated government attorney deems to cause his/her buddies distress...without a judicially reviewed warrant." That's wrong.

There was only one item in the anti-Daw packet about something besides HB 150. It was a copy of the executive summary of Daw's 2007 HB 141 and a paper comparing it to "Obamacare" because it mandated catastrophic health insurance coverage. This was pretty dumb in my opinion. I do not support health insurance mandates, but much of the partisan opposition to them blithely ignores that they were a Republican idea to try and protect the market in the face of government mandates. I don't support Bob Bennett either , but his acknowledging the huge financial problems in healthcare and fiddling with possible solutions in his bill are not the reasons I won't vote for him (unless he ends up facing Cherilyn Eagar in a primary). So in this instance, one could ding Rep. Daw and many on the right for opposing ideas based on who proposed them rather than their merits, but this guilt by association doesn't fly with me. I've got other, more legitimate reasons to vote against Brad Daw.

I'll probably post again about these county races before Saturday, and possibly some more Daw/Harper comparisons if anyone is interested. (Well, very possibly if no one is interested too.) =)

.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The critics of the Utah County GOP incumbent protection policies were right, plus Houskeeper stirs the pot in District 60 caucus

Linda Houskeeper ran her campaign almost exclusively on changing the insider policies that keep power concentrated in the hands of a few individuals within the Utah County GOP. The automatic delegates were her main focus in cottage meetings and in her speech Saturday at the House District 60 Caucus. Houskeeper is a sincere, motivated person despite lacking some polish while speaking publically, and almost all of the delegates I spoke with shared at least some of her concerns. However, her focus didn’t always put her in the best of light. It made her seem like a one-issue candidate and came off as negative to a couple delegates I spoke with. Brad Daw is very articulate and down-to-earth and comes off as much more well-versed in the issues. Despite all of that, Brad Daw only garnered 60.4% of the delegate votes Saturday, meaning just one person voting differently would have dropped Daw below the 60% threshold, forcing a primary for the Republican nomination.

[Sidebar into automatic or ex officio delegate opinions. Very few delegates thought the practice was completely justified. Brad Daw said in reply to Houskeeper that he believed that all of the automatic delegates were elected at some time and their votes were justified. (Not an exact quote.) I don’t think most bought that. A very involved, conservative delegate explained that he was OK with the elected party officials of the county and state having automatic votes, but not with former party chairs having lifelong voting positions and the discretionary delegates appointed by the party chairman, currently Marian Monnahan, often in reward for things like organizing a fund-raising event. Others agree with Houskeeper that none of the automatic delegates should be allowed—that being elected in a vote of precinct chairs as party education chair or treasurer does not mean that you represent your precinct and should take a slot from someone else.

I fall more to that final side. I think that higher elected officials should be elected again in their precinct if they want a caucus vote, just like the “little guys” who show up and participate. The grass roots nature of the precinct caucuses should be preserved and voice given to those for whom higher political office is not desirable or feasible. I am not worried about the County GOP Chair or the Lieutenant Governor lacking a voice; the current office holders already have influence and a place at the table. Why should they automatically get two?]

The play-by-play:

Brad Daw gave his speech about his accomplishments and was clear and believable as usual. Linda Houskeeper started her speech making points about her being a normal person and not an insider. She recounted her first cottage meeting when Daw was first running for the legislature and that he answered a question about an issue, “I don’t know. I’ll have to ask the party how they want me to vote on that.” Daw is a nice guy, but if true, that is exactly the kind of insider garbage that people are mad about. There was a lot of whispering among the delegates here as they discussed her charge.

She then proceeded to use some homemade paper cut-outs of runners starting at different places in a race to make her point about automatic delegates. It was a good metaphor, but using cut-outs came off kind of silly. She explained how it wasn’t fair that 10 of 95 delegates in District 60 weren’t elected in their precinct meetings (That’s 10.5% if everyone showed up. Only 86 voted, leaving open the possibility that 11.6% of those votes were from automatic delegates.), and then she really started the minor uproar. She turned to Daw right in the middle of her speech and asked him if he would agree to have the automatic delegates in the room disallowed from voting. Everyone was taken by surprise and some delegates audibly gasped. Daw looked shocked and asked the District Chair, Ivan Keller, if he was permitted to answer her. While he deliberated, a particularly outspoken delegate in the back, former Daw primary opponent Calvin Harper, made a motion that the rest of the delegates vote on whether to include the automatic delegates. (He made a few other comments during the meeting as well.) It was seconded, but Keller ruled that it was out-of-order because the rules had already been voted on in committee earlier in the morning. There were a few minutes of confusion, and Lt. Governor Gary Herbert spoke up telling Houskeeper that he was an automatic delegate and intended to vote. Daw eventually replied that he believed all of the delegates had been elected in some fashion and deserved to vote.

Houskeeper then turned to some of the automatic delegates on the front row and asked them if they would voluntarily recuse their vote. None of them agreed. She made a final point about the delegates and finished. The room buzzed with delegates discussing the happenings and there was some argument about the motion to have the delegates vote on the automatic delegates. (If any of this is slightly out of order, sorry. It was a lot to remember.)

We voted and the box was taken to the central counting area along with watchers from both sides. There was free discussion for 10-15 minutes as we waited for the results. Herbert and Houskeeper apparently know each other personally and Herbert tried to broach the issue with Houskeeper. She said, “We just disagree on this issue Gary,” and turned away. Daw was visibly upset and quietly complained about it being a “cheapshot.” I’m not sure if he was referring to the ask-the-party comment or the attempt to disallow the automatic delegates. An automatic lifetime delegate named Ashby (or something very close to that) repeated the point to Daw that everyone had been elected.

And here’s my point. This Ashby guy was the GOP County Chair sometime in the past. He now is an automatic county (and state? I don’t know. Fill me in anyone?) delegate for the rest of his life. One more former chair and lifetime delegate named Shallenberger also lives in our district. I am not sure if he was there. I already explained how I don’t think that Herbert needs an automatic vote and I am making the fairly confident assumption that all 3 voted for Daw. There were other auto-delegates, but I don’t know their names or positions. What if any of the three I’ve discussed had been replaced by a local person from a precinct? Houskeeper would have achieved a primary if only one person voted differently, or if two of those three weren’t allowed to vote. The same situation happened in Rep. Grover’s District 61 and Rep. Tilton’s District 65 where his challenger reached 60% by two votes. I don’t know what percentage of their districts’ delegates are automatic, and it probably wasn’t the factor in Tilton’s race since he was the incumbent, but who knows? The automatic delegates, instituted in 2000 I believe, obviously played a huge role in these precincts and probably changed the results in favor of the incumbents, Daw and Grover.

Additionally, only 2 of the 7 contested races featured someone reaching 70% (including Sumsion who got 96% with his opponent apparently dropping out), which was the more reasonable standard until the year 2001. Another delegate and my father told me the rule was changed because Senator Orrin Hatch had almost been forced into a primary the year before (He was booed at the state convention my father recalled with a chuckle.) and the party insiders wanted to prevent a repeat. The threshold was lowered to 60% EXPLICITLY to protect incumbents, and this is common knowledge among longtime party participants.

If automatic delegates and the lowered threshold for a primary had not been in place, 5 of the 7 races would be into a primary, allowing the party rank-and-file to decide the outcome. That includes Senator Bramble’s race, despite his assertion that "I think misrepresentations and negative campaigning were proven to once again be an unsuccessful strategy…"
Final note—Lt. Governor Herbert addressed our caucus for a few minutes just before the results came back. He talked a lot about making a difference, but his first point was that the county and state party bylaws should match and that he was going to try to remedy the discrepancies. I, for one, will be watching to see if he keeps that promise. He repeated the good news from Friday that Utah has been rated the best-managed state in the nation. He ended by alluding again to the recent intra-party disagreements. He claimed that he appreciated divergent views in the party, but that he wanted to build consensus.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My first political convention and a few first-person tidbits of interest

“Wow!” was the first thought I had as I approached Orem High on foot after parking a block away. I wish that I had brought my camera. There were hundreds of signs covering every available inch of lawn and fence space. David Leavitt made an extra special effort to completely cover the school’s lawn as well as the fence of the neighboring house (assumably with permission). I really hadn’t understood what a spectacle the convention would be. Very interesting. I grabbed a donut and milk from one of the 3rd district candidate tables out front, had the doors held open for me by young men wearing Leavitt stickers, politely refused a Bramble ID badge lanyard, and then got my ID and info packet from the sign-in table.

It was crowded and interesting. I ran into two old BYU friends. They were both first-time delegates also, but even greener than I was last Fall in terms of political awareness. One found out I was now a teacher as I expressed my disagreements with the Parents for Choice in Education booth nearby. She immediately said “Oh. Then I’m against you. I teach at a charter school.” This surprised and saddened me. I think there are funding issues with charter vs. public schools as well, but I’m not opposed to them and vouchers would rob both. I told her why I was surprised and that I thought the problem was more about elements of the legislature setting us against each other over funding. We both recounted stories of funding snafus when students switch back and forth between the two mid-year. We didn’t have time to get into a good discussion on voucher funding, but we parted each more informed I think. She was frustrated that her charter school in Lehi has trouble filling its spots despite the overcrowding in local schools right now as they wait for the new jr. high and high school to be finished in Saratoga Springs. She said many didn’t like the dress code and other rules. I was surprised that those would be such obstacles in northern Utah County and that any charter school there had open spots.

The Senate Caucus was relatively uneventful as Senator Dayton is not up for re-election. Senator Dayton and other elected officials about broke their arms patting each other on the back, except for Representative Fowlke who stood ignored with a strained look on her face as Rep’s Daw and Grover got to take the microphone and talk about their accomplishments. Lt. Governor Herbert openly joked about running for governor during his spiel.

Lt. Gov. Herbert took one question and Sen. Dayton took a few. The first was a request to explain the I.B. program issues from the session. Sen. Dayton segued into her opposition to NCLB for awhile, but eventually came back to the same bologna she believes from her Eagle Forum sources. She acknowledged some of the positives of the courses which she cannot avoid now, but claimed that the classes are accountable to the U.N rather than local and state school board “if you look at the flowchart.” Here’s the interesting bit: she is preparing a bill for the ’09 session that will require parents to sign an “opt-in” release form for International Baccalaureate saying something to the effect that you are giving up your right to be governed by the school board. C’mon. I really have trouble understanding how intelligent adults believe all this stuff. The IB Board certifies if the IB classes meet the standard to receive their “credits” or stamp of approval. This is independent of the local school boards, but doesn’t take away their “sovereignty.” If the Iowa company decided that a batch of 11th grade Iowa tests from Utah were inappropriately proctored or something, they could rightly refuse to accept those tests as valid for their national data comparisons. This would certainly influence how the state viewed it, but the state would be perfectly able to count the test for their own purposes if they saw fit. These evil U.N. classes from International Baccalaureate are 100% under the jurisdiction of the school boards Senator. They have 100% freedom at the local level to choose curriculum, management, or anything they want. If they don’t follow certain standards of rigor and content required for I.B. certification, then they lose the right to receive a certificate and put a fancy name on their resume. That’s it. Utah would still be free to count those classes for credit, count the students, test the students, discipline them, etc. No one has to fly to Geneva or submit to the North American Union. An “opt-in” bill over a program that has parents clamoring to get in will just look even sillier than Senators Dayton, Stephenson, and Peterson already have.

The House Caucus was very interesting as things got a bit chippy, motions were ruled out-of-order, and Brad Daw avoided a primary by a single vote. This was a major surprise as I think almost no one gave Linda Houskeeper a chance here. I want to write about this separately, so I’ll come back to it.

The convention itself was interesting and fairly fast moving. I was very thankful for the strict time procedures on all of the candidate speeches. The “Reagan Award” was given to Utah County Clerk Bryan Thompson. I mentioned to my friend that I was very surprised by this, but I don’t think I was any more surprised than he was. Thompson didn’t expect the award, mentioned how surprised he was to receive it after the long lines at the Western States Primary Election, and thanked everyone for their forgiveness. It was kind of sweet and kind of weird.

The state office holders spoke. Chris Cannon got a little animated and inadvertently occasioned a funny moment. He said he supported Mitt Romney as the vice presidential pick and told the crowd that he wanted to hear from them if they agreed. In response, he got a quick, but hearty cheer. He then rhetorically asked if any one was opposed and received another fairly loud cheer. Hesitation, nonplussed look, and reply, “Ooooh, I guess there’s some of you.”

The candidate speeches were more varied, had more personality, and were more interesting. First, the Second Congressional District candidates spoke. My first ever attempt at a political joke for a National Junior Honors Society speech in middle school was about Merrill Cook (It was something about his being like the energizer Bunny—going and going—and my best friend and I thought it was hilarious. My mother vetoed the idea upon perusal of the final draft and instead supplied a Dan Quayle joke that was very successful), so I was happy to see him in person for I think the first time in my life. Kenneth Gray explained that we have three centuries worth of oil at $15 dollars a barrel in the shale of Eastern Utah. (Cannon claimed a comparatively pricy $20-$30 a barrel for shale oil.) And I am curious if the gregarious Don Ferguson running for the Second Congressional District is related to Joe N.P.C. Ferguson running for the Third Congressional District.

The Third Congressional District candidates were generally much more issues oriented and bashed the incumbent Republican congressmen more as opposed to the Second District guys who bashed Matheson and the Democratic majority. Joe Ferguson had an informative poster for his N.A.U. warning. I was sitting with another teacher whom I frequently agree with, but he is much more worried about the possibility of the N.A.U. than I am. He bought one of Ferguson’s DVD’s for 5 bucks to see what he has to say. I want to borrow it if I get the time.

Chuck Smith, running for the Republican nomination for governor against Jon Huntsman, started out pretty typically by explaining that “more efficient” government was an oxymoron. He then proceeded to tell us that he had spent the last 8 years devising a plan for less government to “take education out of tax funds altogether” or something like that, which I assume means privatization. We can check his website or literature for full details.

The State Treasurer candidates argued over who could survive longer in the desert with only a protractor and an abacus, and then results were announced. There will be no Republican primaries this year, which I assume is exactly what the party leadership wanted, minus the part about Rep. Tilton’s opponent winning 60% of the vote and securing the nomination. Rep’s Daw and Grover had 60.4% and 60.6% percent of their delegates’ votes respectively. Only 2 of 7 winners in contested legislative races garnered more than 68% of the vote. More on this tomorrow…