I will not tolerate political foot-dragging.
By the year 2020, humanity will have made it through two decades of the 21st century. Technology has appeared everywhere, in all aspects of our lives. The infrastructure that supports Utah’s society has barely progressed. As a result, it still relies heavily on out-dated technologies.
We have all the building blocks for an incredibly limitless future, as long as we use our resources wisely, and get our climate problems under control. It is imperative that we do this while we still have the proper resources to use. The time has come to elect a leader, that will catapult us into a more sustainable, green future.
Restore and Strengthen our Public Referendums
The citizens of Utah passed propositions 2 and 3. Our legislators on the hill actually had the gall to tell the voter base that it was pointless to vote. They told us they would simply re-write the laws no matter how we voted. So don't bother voting. What?!? What kind of politicians would say your vote doesn't matter? We don't live in a dictatorship. We elect leaders who represent us on the hill. Unfortunately, that's gotten a little screwy over the decades. The majority of Utah's leaders on the hill are members of the same Utah Republican good ol' boys club. Thus we've created a monopoly on power which moves as an unrestricted, unchecked and unaccountable elite. Does this bother anyone else? Because it sure as hell bothers me, and I'm ready to do something about it! We will restore checks and balances in Utah, as our nation's founders originally intended for us.
Prop 2 was a decent first-pass medical marijuana law, that would have allowed the herbs and flowers to be produced and distributed to vast amounts of sick and disabled people who just want safer medication. The law allowed limited licenses working within a somewhat regulated, but arguably still a free-market capitalist system. Under this law, individual business owners would take on the personal risk of producing and distributing medical marijuana (a schedule 1 federally illegal substance) if they receive permits from the state.
The re-write by our legislature places state employees in charge of dispensing and handling this schedule 1 substance inside state facilities, putting our State's charter in jeopardy. Our leaders are challenging the Feds (as they should) on the issue of Marijuana in the most reckless way possible (as they should not). This new law creates monopolies on production and distribution, even awarding half the contracts to foreign or out-of-state companies violating federal interstate commerce laws. This law also limits the remaining four licencees in Utah to deliberately create production shortages. These shortages will fuel higher prices, while strengthening Utah's currently robust and un-taxable black-market marijuana trade. The new law reads as if trying to create a powerful drug cartel. In my opinion, this is without question the goal. We need to stand up to crooked politicians and Vote Them Out!
Proposition 3 was a simple law. It basically said the citizens of Utah were tired of the excuses of our legislature, and they must implement the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion immediately, as written and signed to law by the federal government. No more changes, No more modifications, No more excuses. Recent studies have shown that as of July 2019 over 15,600 people have lost their lives due to Republican controlled states refusing to expand Medicaid. Read more about the study here in the LA Times.
Ignoring the full demands of the citizens, our Republican legislature quickly went to task re-writing them. Unfortunately, they did not understand the point of a referendum or what I would call, "the Memo From the People." We are tired of the lies and misdirection from the hill, so we used our constitutionally granted power as citizens to collectively pass a public referendum that side-stepped this stuck-in-the-mud legislature. The public does this when the politicians will not listen. It might hurt their feelings when we do this, but it is our right to draft our own legislation through public referendum.
Medicaid is a partnership between the federal government and the states, which is jointly funded by both governments. The Affordable Care Act offered 100 percent federal funding to cover the costs of newly eligible residents until the end of 2016. That money only went to the states that implemented the ACA's Medicaid expansion. Currently the federal government pays 93 percent of the total costs of expansion, with 2019 providing an estimated $62 billion to fund expansion. Source: the Congressional Budget Office.
In 2020, the federal share will drop to 90 percent where, barring a change to the law, it will stay. This leaves states on the hook for at most 10 percent of the total cost of enrollees. As opposed to the usual 25 to 50% of costs. In a state with a current 1 billion dollar surplus it seems downright criminal to deny this federally mandated expansion of Medicaid. Our government chose to re-write this referendum to exclude many of the most vulnerable individuals. If our legislature is being so fiscally conservative they should have accepted expansion when it was 100 percent funded. Who's idea was it to leave millions on the table and leave Utah's residents out in the cold? Our current legislature, that's who. Lets Vote Them Out!
Rethinking for a Green, Sustainable Inland Port, Enhanced with a Space Port
The proposed area for the so called "Inland Port," encompasses the last track of undeveloped open space in the Salt Lake Valley. The last roughly 16,700 acres of remaining open land between the mountains. Satellite views show a historic (currently dry) lake-bed which is soon to be paved over with warehouses and trucking terminals.
Unknown to the majority of the public, this land is already being used as an inland port. It is developing organically, and the result is hideous. The port is happening already, however, the design and infrastructure is terrible. We need to make sure our state planners don't ruin the ecosystem, as they did when they developed the mega-tech centers in Lehi, UT. We also need to force our leaders to take a good look at the possibilities available in the world with a little government intervention.
- We will create a task-force to rethink the inland port in a more Green, Citizen First, Cities First, and Climate First way.
- The Port plan will be updated to include improving and expanding the surrounding wetlands to incorporate in and around port buildings creating carbon-sinks which will offset carbon and clean our air.
- The Port should be limited in size within Salt Lake County so that it can be surrounded in nature parks, reducing the negative effects to residential areas, and wild life.
- The north-south expansion of the Port should be limited and its boundaries extended west with the main port split fairly between Salt Lake and Tooele County.
- The plan will be updated to include an extension further into the west desert with zoning for a Northern Utah regional Space Port to take advantage of the currently 350 billion space industry and be a big player as that industry grows to between $1 Trillion and $2.7 Trillion by 2040. For more details check out this article in Space News
- Zoning for a Hyper-loop cargo/human freight system will be put into place with plans to connect to neighboring Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arizona for wicked-fast transport of goods and people. With theoretical terrestrial speeds up to 700 mph, a hyper-loop will revolutionize our shipping industry and make our inland port the envy of the world.
No More Discrimination
The civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's should have wrapped up by the 70's and 80's, with total equality for all citizens. It did not.
Regardless of sexual orientation, age, ability, race, religion, gender identity, employment, education, etc. EVERY human being is an equal, and valuable member of society.
I will be your champion on the hill.
I will fight for you at every turn, and use whatever power I have at my disposal to protect you from harm and discrimination.
I say this to our LGBTQ+ community, our Muslim/Jewish/Christian communities, any and all other religions, our minority communities, and our foreign guests. I would like to apologize on behalf of the State of Utah for any poor treatment you may have received from anyone in our larger community. I will do everything in my power to return the great state of Utah to the course of friendship, fellowship, cooperation and respect for our fellow human beings.
As they say on my favorite little island of Key West, Florida, "We Are All Created Equal Members of One Human Family."
Prison and Law Enforcement Reform
Utah has a big prison population with a low effectiveness for rehabilitation, retraining, or re-assimilation into society after time is served. Did you know that, in Utah's prison system, a guard on duty can issue citations that automatically extend your prison sentence?
This type of behavior leads to potentially perpetual prisoners, paid for by the tax payers, with no chance of ever rejoining society. It is the responsibility of a Judge to issue sentencing, not a prison guard.
Utah needs to show its heart to our One Human Family.
Utah should be an example, to the world, of what a Mentor-State truly is. We should be a shining example of what a Rehabilitation-State could be.
I grew up in Utah learning about family, fellowship, and forgiveness. We will go after the roots of crime, and lift our fellow human beings up from the downward spiral of criminal behavior.
- The police in Utah are some of the most authoritarian I've ever met. I personally believe that our politicians, judges, law enforcement and any other public servant should, voluntarily, spend at least one week, or even just one full day in jail and/or prison. This is to understand what conditions we are imposing on fellow human beings. We should only pass laws when we truly understand the cost to our own humanity.
- We are allowing our prisons to undercut the free market using a workforce of underpaid, basically slave-labor. Prison labor should only be used if it's to the benefit of the free citizens, not for corporate profit. Prison labor should be used for an inmate to earn a shorter sentence. To learn valuable life skills. We could be using this workforce to restore wetlands, plant forests, grow crops, and build public works. All of this while providing good honest work and rehabilitation to this vulnerable group. Large corporations should go back to using local businesses instead of slaves.
- Non-violent drug offenders will be rehabilitated. Punishment does not cure addiction. We will move money away from the prison system and into rehabilitation centers and homeless/affordable housing.
- Our police need better resources. Better pay and better benefits along with new training programs that provide an emphasis on kindness and service. We need our police-force to be one that represents safety and trust. We can't do this without a proper budget.
Addressing Homelessness for Good
People living on the street, in a 1st world country, is absurd.
How could we allow this to happen, in the wealthiest nation on Earth?
Housing should be a fundamental right.
Years ago, Utah was applauded for promising to end homelessness. They had found that it was far cheaper to give someone a free house, than to incarcerate them. Then the funding dried up, as property values and population, sky-rocketed in Utah. New construction also didn't grow enough, thanks largely to the influx of new high-paid tech jobs, and new residents relocating from outside of Utah, for those jobs. Reuters recently published an article on the rise and fall of Utah's kind act of ending homelessness. "Once a national model, Utah struggles with homelessness."
The problem has grown so large that, in 2019, the state was short 54,000 housing units. Here's an article, from Ozy.com, with detailed information on Utah's current housing crisis.
The only solution to homelessness, and a housing crisis, is more deeply affordable housing, and lots of it! We need to rethink what is considered to be acceptable housing size. I would argue that it's no more than 80 square feet of space. Enough space to sleep, lock up your precious possessions, charge your phone, take a shower, and use the toilet.
Considering that size, we could fit thousands of new minimally sized housing units into tall skyscrapers. The breakdown of housing could be made up of the new minimum sized units along with mid-floors of affordable housing, and topped off with wealthy upper floor housing.
It's inappropriate that, in a housing crisis, our capital city chooses to build squat apartment buildings on ALL of the remaining open spaces in downtown Salt Lake City.
Short-sighted policies that gobble up all the land need to be tossed out the window. We are in a population boom! Let's fix this problem, in a future-forward way.
Restore the Great Salt Lake and Other Saline Bodies of the West
Our Climate is changing in Utah. It started over 14,000 years ago, with the collapse of Lake Bonneville.
Thousands of years later, Mormon Pioneers arrived on July 24, 1847, to an open, dry valley. They found an incredible salty, great lake, that was much deeper, and covered nearly double the surface area that it does today. Seeing the saltiness of the water as a waste of water, the settlers quickly began diverting fresh water before it reached the Great Salt Lake for agriculture, mining, home use and industry.
We continue to divert water today, and there is no sign of stopping. In fact, farmers are actually discouraged to reduce water usage, as they will lose their historic share of water if they do not use it.
We need to switch to modern drip irrigation systems, and allow farmers to reduce water usage without penalty. If they choose to grow something different, that needs more water, they should still own their share of the water.
Regardless of how water is used in Utah, the entire region has been drying out for over 14,000 years, and will continue to do so, but greatly accelerated by recent climate changes.
It's time we start thinking outside that box, and aim for new, and better solutions. It's time for us to create society-changing, grand public works projects that turn the clock back on climate change, and make Utah and the rest of the west more habitable.
I propose that Utah consider a solution to local climate change and poor air-quality.
Playing off concepts like Y-Combinator's flooded deserts, however we can keep costs lower by pumping sea water, rather than desalinated fresh water, into the collapsed and dried out saline lakes and salt flats. To offset the cost of such a monumental project, we will tie the in-land salt water aqueduct and pumping systems to a series of upper and lower reservoirs, which can be used as pumped hydro renewable energy storage systems. As we pump the water inland, we move water continuously toward the Salt Flats of the Great Basin, and ultimately fill the Great Salt lake, which is known to produce as much as 40 percent of the snow along the Wasatch Front due to lake effect. Thus tripling or even quadrupling the lake effect rain and snow generating conditions naturally. Desalination can now occur locally, allowing for more habitable land for people, and wildlife, across the west.
Anyone who lives in Utah, knows that more precipitation means cleaner air. Wouldn't it be great if the solution to the shrinking lake didn't require us to stop using water? In other words, how about a climate solution that doesn't require robbing Peter to pay Paul?
Protecting and Expanding Open Spaces to Restore our Climate
Recent studies have shown that increasing the number of trees on our planet by roughly 1 trillion, is enough to absorb and mitigate most of the human-caused climate changes for all the negative effects of CO2 expelled in the last 25 years.
It's imperative that we not only reduce our carbon production, but that we pull carbon levels down. There is no more efficient way to pull down carbon than planting trees. Read about the details here in Time Magazine.
As of July 2019, the current human population of Earth is estimated at 7.7 billion people. If we all planted our fair share of trees, we are responsible for planting roughly 130 trees, each. As of 2019, Utah's population is estimated at 3.22 million. That means that if we plant 130 trees for every resident in Utah, not only will we improve our climate, we will have planted 416 million trees in Utah!
Utah needs to do its share to solve the climate crisis.
It's time to, once again, make this desert bloom.
Renegotiate Mineral Extraction Contracts to Protect our Health and Environment
Has anyone noticed the mountains disappearing on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley? Those mountains caught snow in the winters, when they were tall enough, before they were deliberately shortened.
Near the Great Salt Lake, a giant mound of tailing, or toxic waste from ore mines, sits. This toxic waste catastrophe, as well as many other similar heaps throughout Utah, are the sad reality of our modern technological lifestyle. At our current rate of development, it will be at least 100 years from a far-flung future where we don't rely on finding minerals on Earth anymore.
Unfortunately, from what we know about Earth's terrestrial reserves, coupled with the growing consumption in both developed countries as well as the developing world, necessary elements for modern industry and agricultural production could be exhausted within 50 years. There's a great article hosted by Wikipedia with all the information on the future potential of asteroid mining.
While mining, here on Earth, must continue, at least for the short term in order to provide for a growing global population, it does not need to continue in such a destructive, dirty, and unbalanced way. The bulk of Utah citizens live downstream from various wealthy mining operations. It's time for them to clean up or get out of Utah.
More considerations for our local population's overall health and well-being must come from our leaders.
Rethinking Our Mass Transit System
Our booming population comes with booming traffic problems. City after city expands their freeways, yet the traffic always continues to grow. We need better efforts to get cars off our roads, rather than pushing to fill the roads with more.
- Utah will lead the nation by freeing up regulations to allow for self-driving vehicles, and Robo-Taxi services.
- Expanded mass transit system with more electric vehicles.
- Zoning and planning for Hyper-loop systems so that we are ready, and contractors are lined up, as the technology is refined.
Enact and Enforce Policies for Cleaning our Air and Water
Enough talking heads and foot dragging. We are going clean, and we are going renewable. Fossil fuels are amazing, however, they are extremely polluting and a limited resource. We knew the changes that needed to happen since the 1970's, but industry and conservatism led us down a path that is now destabilizing the entire world economy. Utah's economy is getting a makeover and clean air and clean water will be at the center of it. When we are finished cleaning our air, Utah's green example will be the shining example for the world.
If we cover dust producing lake-beds with water, increase electrification of transportation in every industry, pursue alternative and carbon-neutral energy sources for our existing fossil fuel infrastructure, and plant millions of trees, then we can have crystal clean air within our lifetimes.
Make sure you’re registered to vote. Utah allows online applications, updates, etc. Their site is here.