Zachary Moses will not tolerate political foot dragging. By 2020, humanity will have been chugging through the 21st century for two decades. Technology has popped up everywhere, in every walk of life. Yet our infrastructure that supports Utah’s society has hardly progressed, and still relies heavily on outdated technologies. We’ve got all the building blocks of an incredible and 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 resources to use. It’s time to elect a leader that will catapult us into a sustainable, greener and more futuristic-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.
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 or discrimination.
I say this to our LGBTQ+ community, our Muslim/Jewish/Christian communities, 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 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 our Utah 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, it is not the duty of a prison guard.
Utah needs to show its heart to our One Human Family. We should be an example to the world of what a Mentor-State 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 easily some of the most authoritarian I've ever met. There seems to be a disconnect. 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 it was far cheaper to give someone a free house, then to incarcerate them. Then the funding dried up as property value and population soared in Utah. New construction also didn't grow tall enough or affordable 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 as of 2019 the state was short 54,000 housing units. Here's an article from Ozy.com with detailed information on the 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 the 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 small size, we could fit thousands of new minimum 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 with the collapse of Lake Bonneville over 14,000 years ago. Thousands of years later, Mormon Pioneers arrived on July 24, 1847 to an open and dry valley. They found an incredible Salty Great Lake that was far deeper, and covered nearly twice 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 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 chose to grow something different that needs more water, they should still own their water share.
However, regardless of how water is used in Utah, this entire region has been drying out for over 12,000 years, and will continue to do so, greatly accelerated by climate change. It's time we start thinking outside this box, and aim for new solutions. Its time for us to create society-changing, grand public works projects that turn the climate clock back, and make Utah and the rest of the west more habitable.
The Great Salt lake is known to produce as much as 40 percent of the snow that falls along the Wasatch Front due to lake effect. I propose we consider a grand solution to climate change and poor air-quality. Playing off concepts like Y-Combinator's flooded deserts concept, except we keep costs down by pumping sea water rather than desalinated fresh water. We will pump the sea water into the collapsed and dried out saline lakes, and salt flats that cover the west. To offset the cost of such a monumental project we will tie the inland 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 for renewable energy storage, we move water continuously toward the Salt Flats of the Great Basin, and ultimately fill the Great Salt Lake. Thus tripling or even quadrupling the lake effect rain and snow generating conditions naturally. Desalination can now occur at the location where it's needed, 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 that we stop using water? In other words, how about a climate solution that doesn't require robbing Peter to pay Paul? Click here to learn about the issues facing the saline lakes of the west.
Protecting and Expanding Open Spaces to Restore our Climate
Recent studies show that increasing the number of trees growing on our planet by roughly 1 trillion is enough to absorb and mitigate the majority of the negative effects of human caused climate change for all the CO2 spewed in the last 25 years. It's imperative that we not only reduce our carbon production, but that we pull carbon down. There is no cheaper way to pull down carbon than planting trees. Read about the details here in Time Magazine.
As of July 2019 the current human population is estimated at 7.7 billion people. If we all planted our fair share of trees we are each responsible for planting roughly 130 trees each. As of 2019 Utah's population is estimated at 3.22 million. If we plant 130 trees for every resident in Utah, not only will we improve our climate here in Utah, we will have planted 416 million trees!
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
Anyone seen the mountains disappearing on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley? Those mountains catch snow in the winter...when they're tall enough, before they were deliberately shortened...
Near the great salt lake sits a giant mound of toxic tailing waste from the mine. This toxic catastrophe as well as many others throughout our state, are the sad reality of our modern, technological lifestyle. At our current rate of development, we are still at least 100 years from the far flung future that doesn't need to find any minerals on earth anymore. Unfortunately, from what we know of terrestrial reserves, coupled with the growing consumption in both developed countries and the developing world, necessary elements for modern industry and agricultural production could be exhausted within 50 years. Here's a great article hosted at Wikipedia with all the information on future potential asteroid mining.
While mining must continue during the short term in order to provide for a growing global population, it does not need to continue in such a destructive, dirty, and inequitable way. More considerations for our local population's health and well being is a must have for our leaders. The bulk of our citizens live downstream from these wealthy mining operations. Clean them up or get them out of the State.
Rethinking Our Mass Transit System
With our booming population comes 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, not 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.