Saturday, November 30, 2013

Recent Events

I commented earlier about the lack of rest room facilities at the 11th Ave. park.  It's gotten worse...  Since the kids soccer season is apparently over, the remaining port-a-potty has been removed, leaving nowhere except the bushes where a park user can relieve themselves.  I also noticed quite a turnout at the park on Thanksgiving, so it's not like the park is unused.

Also, while dining at the Cinegrill the other night, we were told they are moving.  A major reason is the new parking meters, which, in the server's words, has hurt the restaurant significantly.  So much for SLC govt. supporting small businesses downtown.

Friday, November 15, 2013



Number of Precincts


Precincts Reporting

100.0 %
Times Counted

17.1 %
Total Votes




Write-in Votes


Well, we lost.  But hopefully we raised some significant issues, and hopefully our elected officials
will seriously consider these issues.

And it was quite the experience, frustrating at times, but I did meet many interesting people
and learned there's much more going on in this city than I realized.  In general, my political
consciousness was raised considerably!

Thanks to all who voted for me and those who helped with the campaign.

I may continue this blog as a means to continue awareness of issues affecting District 3.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Meter Muggings

Not that the meters don't "mug" us for the hourly rate or the extended hours, there's also a real mugging issue with the meters.  Now that it's getting dark earlier, trying to feed the meters after 6:00pm poses a safety issue, especially at some of the meters outside the direct downtown area.  This was expressed to me by a young woman the other night who felt "creeped out" while feeding a meter in a very dark area near the Cinegrill.  There's no light around the meters (except for a minor glow from the small screen), and I can imagine the possibility of someone getting mugged while their attention is diverted to the meter.  I'm not trying to inspire some criminal activity, here, just pointing out, as was expressed to me, that there is a real safety issue with meter hours extended into the dark evening hours.  Another good reason to roll back the meter hours to 6:00pm

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Race

A good article on the District 3 race from the Trib...

Retiree taking on incumbent in Council District 3

Feel free to comment on the article here on on the Trib site.

Thanks for your support...


Monday, October 14, 2013

Parks and Port-a-potties

Click on the pic above...  it's an 11th Ave Park scene...  on a slow day.  Over the years, this park has seen a big increase in usage, from kids soccer to cricket contests.  Some days, the park is filled with sports participants, friends, and family.  The parking lot is filled, and spaces along the street are jammed.

Now look closely in the expanded pic, at an item circled on the left side...  One (1)!!! port-a-pottie for this park!  Here's a close up:

We are going to spend $110M (now $116M) on a new performance arts space of dubious need, yet we can't afford to install dedicated rest rooms in our parks.  Can you imagine what that port-a-pottie must look like after a day of kid's soccer?

Somehow, I think this city has its priorities confused...  Let's take care of what we have before we build something new.


For a number of years, the city has partnered with individual homeowners to install additional streetlights in cooperating neighborhoods (usually block by block).  I recently talked with an Avenues resident who brought up an interesting issue.  The city no longer maintains these added streetlights.  He, a retiree, has taken on himself the task of replacing bulbs, repairing light sensors, and even testing downward reflectors to reduce atmospheric light pollution.  He does this for several, but not certainly not all, blocks in the Aves.

Which brings up the question...  since the city now charges homeowners a streetlight fee on their water bills (essentially a property tax increase), why isn't the city now maintaining these streetlights?  Why does it fall to individuals to do the maintenance (hauling ladders around, contributing new bulbs)?  And what happens if this gentleman falls off the ladder one day (he's not getting any younger)?  Are there liability issues?  Anyway, if homeowners are paying a new fee, I think there's every expectation that these supplemental streetlights should be maintained by city crews.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cleaner Air

My comments at the Clean Air Forum last week:

Air quality is the responsibility of all of us, each one of us as individuals.  Our life style choices, our daily decisions, all affect our air quality.  We like to blame Kennecott, the oil refineries, our neighbor's SUV, even the Governor (and I suspect he deserves a fair share of the blame for lack of leadership on this issue), but it all comes down to each of us as individuals.

Most of us would like to make better decisions that reduce our contribution to air problems, and it helps to have good alternatives, particularly when it comes to transportation.  In this valley, we need better public transportation.  UTA should be congratulated for its excellent light rail system; however this has come about by sacrificing bus service to our neighborhoods.  In the Avenues, we now have worse bus service than several years ago.

I realize expanding public transportation options comes with a cost.  I'd support an increase in the sales tax allotment going to UTA if they would use it to expand service and lower fares.  I know tax is a dirty word around here, but it's not as dirty as our air in January.

In the eastern cities and European cities, public transportation is well integrated into daily lives; however, out west, it seems that we still have the old one man, one horse mentality.  Thankfully that may be changing.  Some recent studies indicate that the younger generation is buying fewer cars, even less likely to get driver's licenses.  I hope UTA jumps on this trend and provides the transpiration options that enhance this trend before people get frustrated and return to car purchases.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Clean Air

Please join me at the Main Library on Weds. evening for a discussion about clean air concerns.  Hopefully we will get some useful ideas.  Click on the poster for a larger, more readable size.

And Another One Bites the Dust

Literally...  my favorite downtown building at 125 S. Main will be razed for the new Performance Arts Center.  Officially, the RDA won't save it (other than some architectural features that will be used for display purposes in the new Center).

I also found out, contrary to my feeble memory, that the citizenry of this fine city & county were never given the opportunity to vote on this project.  $110 million or more for a performance center of dubious need that destroys the last of the great downtown historical interiors and we never had a chance to vote on it!

Then there's the mayor's brother...  

More on the Meters

The Downtown Alliance, using your tax money, recently published a survey touting the popularity of the new parking meters.  I looked into this survey a little further and found it significantly lacking.

First, the positive responses to the meters were almost exclusively based on the ability to use credit cards to pay for parking.  This make sense, and is a definite plus of the new technology, especially considering the increased parking rates.

I also noted on the Alliance web site that 75% of the respondents did not know that the meter hours had been extended until 8:00pm.  Who did they survey?  Daytime users?  The problem is not daytime parking meters, but the extended evening hours that discourage visits to restaurants and bars for nighttime entertainment.

Anyway, I stand by my campaign slogan:


PS...  for another view of the meters, check out this Trib column.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Street Fair Redux

Thanks for visiting us at the Avenues Street Fair.  The rain was welcome but shortened the event.  And thanks to all my volunteers who helped with the booth and especially with the wet teardown.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Fair will be held on Saturday, September 7, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on1st Avenue between P Street and U Street.

Check out our booth (and way cool banner) at the Avenues Street Fair tomorrow.  Bring your friends.  Sign up for lawn signs.  Our booth is between Q and R streets on the South side.

See you there!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Meters, Business, Blight, and Parking

The Downtown Alliance recently published a survey that implied that a majority of respondents like the new, blue parking meters.  Of course, the vast majority of the "like" was the ability to use credit cards, certainly an advantage considering the parking rates.  The Alliance also noted on its web site that 75% of the respondents did not know that the meter hours had been extended.  Huh!  Who did this survey (at the taxpayer's expense)?

Anyway, that said, the Alliance claimed that downtown businesses want the extended hours because their employees were parking at the meters blocking customer use.  Well, let's see...  at night most people working downtown are service people, bartenders, cooks, wait staff, etc., the lowest paid workers (except for an occasional, exceptional, tip night.  Considering that public transit is dubious at night, I can understand why evening workers need parking.

However, the lots downtown are usually quite empty at night.  Why can't downtown businesses subsidize parking for their evening workers, making them happier, more productive, and allowing meter stalls for customers (reverting to free after 6:00pm) and therefore drawing more business downtown?  The City could help...

The old Zephyr Club has been an downtown eyesore for a decade...  I think it's about time for some City action to demolish the gutted building and use that space for evening employee parking.  The eyesore is removed, the City pays the demolition costs for the property owner, and the parking problems are solved.

Too simplistic I guess, but you get the idea.  There are better ways to solve our problems than discourage evening downtown visits.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Democracy and Parking

The SLC City Council meeting is tonight.  However, due to the extended parking meter hours, it will cost us $4.00 to attend.  I don't know why they couldn't use the smart functions in the meters to allow free parking for the meeting, but I guess the powers that be are not creative or generous enough.  Makes for a conspiracy theory, using extended parking hours to discourage citizens from involvement in city government...  Nah...

Monday, September 2, 2013

UTA Comes Through... least on convenience.  UTA has announced a new FAREPAY card, preload with any value then use as needed, no expiration.  Finally... other transit systems have had this system for many years.  This card works great for those of us who use UTA but on an irregular basis.  Reduced fare cards available as well (for us geezers).  Good on buses, TRAX, and Frontrunner.  More details at this UTA page.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

This Ain't No Central Park

Not a pretty sight.  I've never been a fan of those downtown horse drawn carriages.  They just don't work on our streets which combine cars, buses, and now bikes.  The carriages are a major traffic hazard, just check them out sometime at North Temple and State Streets.  What a PITA.

OK, they an be romantic.  But we don't have a huge Central Park downtown where the carriages can travel without vehicular interference.  The collapsed horse the other day was only the latest of several incidences involving the carriages.  Better to take the carriages to Liberty Park, or Wheeler Farm, or the This Is the Place Monument.

A concerned citizen has started a petition to remove the carriages from downtown and save the horses.  Sign it out here...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Historical Preservation Pt. II

During the Olympics, I wandered into a Main St. building to view exhibits by the BLM and Forest Service.  However, I was amazed by the building interior itself.  I haven't yet found much historical info about 125 S. Main, but since the Olympics it has fallen into disrepair.  Checking the new Performance Art Center web page, it looks like this building may be scheduled for demolition.

I did contact the Utah Heritage Foundation for information on the building's future, and I received this reply:

"It is one of the great historic interiors left on Main Street and I know they’ve had difficulty preserving it in place with the program for the theater. I will let you know what I find out."

I managed a couple pics through the window which may give an ideas what we may be sacrificing from our great historical past for something only those who can afford $100-$200 tickets will use.

Historic Preservation Pt. 1

While attending the Capitol Hill Community Council meeting this week, I was reminded of the old Wasatch Springs Plunge building out on Beck Street (900 N. and 300 W.).  Since the Children's Museum moved to Gateway nearly 10 years ago, this building has remained unused, and unavailable to the Capitol Hill community.  Seems the City never has any money to renovate this site.   Better to spend $100M+ on a fancy performance center of dubious need than to preserve this building on the National Register of Historic Places.  A little web search found a few interesting articles on this building:

A commissioned study on the historic structure.

A National Park Service review with pics (large file).

A geothermal review.

It is my hope that the City Council can focus on the resources already in our communities rather than engaging in some sort of edifice complex with expensive new facilities.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

Seems like dog issues are quite controversial.  I like dogs, I really do consider them (wo)man's best friend...  it's a cliche but true.  And I don't pretend to know all the pros and cons of all the issues surrounding dogs, but off leash areas in parks seem to be one major issue.

To avoid the summer heat, I've been taking to the parks early in the mornings for some exercise.  I do see several owners enjoying the parks with their dogs off leash, even though it is clearly posted that dogs must be on leash.  Questioning them, they hold up their pop bags and show that their dogs are well controlled.  By the time the kids show up for soccer, or the cricket match gets started, the dogs are gone.

Seems like a good experiment in self regulation is going on with these responsible dog owners.  And I wonder if off leash areas could be extended to more park areas during the early morning or later evening hours.  Something worth discussion, anyway.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Metering Downtown Business Success

I initiated my campaign based on the downtown parking meters and their extended hours.  Paying an extra $2 to $4 in order to dine at my favorite restaurants really irritated me and apparently many others.  My understanding from comments and emails that many small downtown businesses have suffered significantly since the meter hours increased.

So what are possible solutions?  My first choice is to roll back the metered hours to 6 PM, as they were.  Then we can all enjoy a movie, dinner, and maybe a club without worry about the meters.

But the new solar meters offer other opportunities as well.  Remember the tokens?  I've had one small business owner tell me the tokens were great for building customer loyalty.  A token for one hour free parking was a great way to increase business.  The new meters offer a high tech solution.  Simply offer 1 hour free parking during the day, 2 hours in the evening.  Or businesses could simply take the customer's parking slot number and enter it into a smart app on a phone or computer and register the customer for free parking.  

I assume the technology with the new meters could offer other solutions as well.  Instead of bagging the meters during the holiday season (and attracting all-day parkers), the new meters could be adjusted to offer extended free parking hours but limit all-day parking problems.

Of course I assume that the millions paid for the new meters included sophisticated software that could enable these free parking opportunities.  Then again, was there much vision involved in the purchasing decision?


Thursday, August 1, 2013

City Weekly Article

Thanks to City Weekly for the fine article on my campaign.  Pick up a copy of the paper or click on the logo for the online article.

Tennis, Anyone?

I used to play a fair amount of tennis and often sought out the small courts located in the Avenues.  I took a look around at those courts the other day and was appalled at the condition.  Some of the courts were "under repair" so long that the under repair signs needed repair!

From C Street:  (Click on the pics for a larger viewing size)

Then I went past Lindsey Gardens...  depressing...

Finally, up on 11th Ave, there are a couple courts in operation, but others are locked out to tennis fans.

I can't believe it is so difficult for the City Parks Dept. to cut down a few weeds and install nets.  Yes, there is some concrete work needed as well.  Well?  Aren't we paying taxes for these facilities?  Maybe the City should repair our existing facilities rather than build yet another very expensive performing arts theater.

Finally, the 11th Ave Park volleyball court with an invisible net....  So pull the concrete out and replace it with sand.  Beach volleyball!

I guess what I'm getting at...  City Government needs to maintain existing facilities before spending money on exotic parking meters and unneeded arts buildings.  When what we already have is up and running and working well, the City can look at expanding arts and sports opportunities for SLC citizens as well as new technologies.

Vote for me!  Bring some common sense back to city government.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Parking at City Creek

I just heard this.  Restaurants at the new City Creek Mall cannot validate parking if they serve wine or beer!  Perhaps this needs some confirmation, but it appears another oddity in our odd SLC culture.  I suspect it has something to do with prevent drunk driving (or that's the excuse), but if you have a designated driver?

So, we have poor to none bus service to Downtown, the meters are expensive well into the evening, and we can't get parking validation...   what a way to enjoy Downtown.  It's easier to enjoy an evening in Downtown SLC if you live in the South Valley.  Drive to the Park & Ride, hop on TRAX, head Downtown for the evening, and return.  Can't do that from the Aves and CapHill.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Suggestions for UTA

A few of us from the Greater Avenues Community Council have informally discussed changes that would improve UTA service to the Avenues.  These suggestions are the result of responses from the community through an email poll.

Suggested UTA Changes

1.  Reroute the 3rd Ave and 6th Ave buses back downtown (2nd South), then loop them to the Guadalupe Station (Viaduct).  This restores downtown service to the Aves.

2.  The weekday 11th Ave bus must cross 11th Ave well before 8:00am, since the current morning bus does commuters no good (they can't get to work on time).

3.  Expand night service and weekend service to the Aves.  Restore the Saturday 11th Ave bus and possibly provide shuttle service at night to the Aves (similar to the Southwest Valley).

a. If restoring 11 bus service on the weekends is not possible, combine parts of the 11 bus route into the weekend 6 bus route.  Since the 6 runs only once per hour on Saturday (and should on Sunday as well), it should be possible for the 6 to go up to at least 11th Ave. and possibly to 13th Ave., while still making important stops at LDS Hospital and the Avenues Smiths (6th Ave & E St.).

b. This combined route could be employed late on weekday evenings as well, since the last 11 bus leaves downtown (185 S. State) at 6:41 PM and the 6 bus begins a once-per-hour schedule at 6:40 PM (from N. Temple Front Runner to the Avenues).  The last bus should be at least one hour later than the current last 6 bus to the U of U Medical Center (8:40 PM).

c. The last bus leaving downtown on Saturday evenings ( #6 at 7:47 PM) is also too early. 

4.  Examine options for improved spacing of the times for the 11 and 6 buses to and from downtown to determine if this would be more efficient.  (Frequently the 6 and 11 are nose to tail en route.)

If you have any other suggestions or comments, please send them to: or respond here on this blog.

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Candidate Info

I'm a 40 year resident of the Avenues; lower, upper, and middle.  It's a great place to live, especially since the Aves and CapHill are convenient to Downtown and the University.  However, this convenience is now compromised by City actions (those damn meters and their extended hours) and UTA route changes.  As residents of District 3, we need better representation that reflects our needs, that makes our lives easier, not more complicated and expensive.