Monday, December 22, 2014

City Council 2-Dec-2014: Park Bond Refinance, Vote By Mail, Park Maintenance Building


  1. Public Comment:
    I did not note down any public comments.

Consent Items

  1. MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for City Council Regular Session – October 21, 2014. Approved unanimously with minor changes

  2. MOTION: Ratifying the Mayor’s Appointments to the Highland City Economic Development Committee – Jennifer Frampton and Brent Reed. Approved unanimously.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gifts Beyond Christmas


Gifts smI’ve always enjoyed Christmas — giving is such a joy. I spend a significant amount of pondering what to give my wife and children. I’ve always enjoyed Christmas — giving is such a joy. I spend a significant amount of pondering what to give my wife and children. One year is particularly memorable because of the happy circumstance that allowed me to help my wife and daughter give presents to each other that they both would have loved for themselves. Here’s what happened:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

City Council 18-Nov-2014: Beautification Committee, Open Space Appraisals

There were about 25 people in attendance. Many were present to share their views on the appraisal process used to establish a value of the open space land which has been approved to sell to adjoining residents.


Friday, November 28, 2014

City Council – Vote by Mail Only

vote-by-mail 2The Lt. Governor has asked cities to consider implementing vote-by-mail-only for next year’s municipal elections. All registered voters would receive a ballot in the mail. The ballot would need to be mailed or submitted to the city prior to or on “election” day. This would be the only means of casting a ballot.

The city recorder asked each councilman to share their concerns (if any) prior to the upcoming city council meeting (2-Dec-2014), where this will be discussed. If you have a viewpoint on this issue please attend and share it with the council.

Here is a copy of the email I sent:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Educating for Seven Lives – William George Jordan

William George Jordan, was a strong advocate of changing the focus of education. In 1891 at the age of 27 he left his position as editor of Current Literature in NYC to lecture on “Mental Training” in Chicago. He had developed a series of 10 lectures on educating the mind:

  1. William George Jordan - 1910-08 - Americana - croppedThe Indescribable and Analysis
  2. Genius, Education and Habit
  3. Simplicity and Uniformity of Nature
  4. Memory and the Simplicity of Mind
  5. Reading, Observation, and Conversation
  6. Paradox: A Study in Polarity
  7. Inequality in Nature and Life
  8. Character—How best to Study It
  9. Trifles in Life and Mind
  10. Reserve Power in Nature and Life

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What’s the Matter with Education? – William George Jordan

William George Jordan - 1910-1William George Jordan, was a strong advocate of changing the focus of education. He argues that “there is not one single power, faculty, process or quality of the mind that is trained and developed by our present system of education. Our powers are not merely untrained—they are positively mistrained.” He says that “the theory of education, not as we get it from the ideals of educators but as it is evidenced in every detail of the system as it actually exists today, can be given in a single sentence: Education believes that by forcing a certain amount of knowledge, principally by means of textbooks, into the minds of children, that somehow in the divine mystery of mental processes this knowledge will not only be retained, but the mind of the individual will be exercised, trained and developed.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

City Council 21-Oct-2014: Ashford, Cemetery Policy

Thirty residents attended the council meeting. Fifteen were scout affiliated (youth, leaders, parents), thirteen were there to discuss the Ashford Care Center north wall, one about the Dry Creek trail closing, and one good friend (thanks Mike) came for moral support.


Highland Library outside

  1. Annual Library ReportHighland Library Board
    Blythe Shupe (Library Board Chair) and Kent Slade (Head Librarian) reviewed the status of the library and discussed metrics. There were some general questions. A broader and more detailed discussion will occur at an upcoming work session that will include the library board and city council (no date set yet).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Crimes of the Tongue — William George Jordan


The following is the 2nd chapter from William George Jordan’s first book, The Kingship of Self-Control, 1898. After elections are over, I often wish everyone had read this before the campaigns started. Oh well, I’m sharing it now. It is a great read anytime.

The Crimes of the Tongue

The second most deadly instrument of destruction is the gun—the first is the human tongue. The gun merely kills bodies; the tongue kills reputations and, ofttimes, ruins characters. Each gun works alone; each loaded tongue has a hundred accomplices. The havoc of the gun is visible at once. The full evil of the tongue lives through all the years; even the eye of Omniscience might grow tired in tracing it to its finality.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

City Council 7 Oct 2014: Ashford, PSD, Mail-In Voting

Fourteen residents attended the meeting. Most were either residents of the Ashford assisted living center or are associated with the facility (e.g. have relatives that live there or work there). Note, I particularly enjoy the interactivity that the mayor allows us to have with attendees. I believe it allows residents to feel that their voice is heard and provides us with the opportunity to learn.


  1. Public Comment:

    2014-10-07 Ashord N Wall

    The public comment time was used exclusively by the Ashford contingent. All comments (5) were requests that the council revise the code associated with the Senior Care and Assisted Living Overlay (SCALO) to allow a wrought iron fence to be built on the north side of the property (see yellow line on the image above) rather than a 6’ wall. The wall is required by code and has already been built on the east side of the property. The owner posted a bond in December of 2013 to build a wall on the N side in order to obtain a certification of occupancy from the city. Their comments included the following:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Highland Town Meeting 1-Oct-2014: Reducing the Speed of Traffic on Country Club Drive

The City Council and the Mayor heard from several residents of the City concerning the amount of traffic and the speed of the traffic on the east and west sides of Country Club Drive. The roads under discussion are highlighted in the map below.

2014-10-01 Town Mtg - Country Club Map

Here are the meeting notes courtesy of council member Jessie Schoenfeld:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bob Lansinger – Dear Friend and Colleague

Lansinger, Robert 003A dear friend and colleague, Bob Lansinger, passed away last week. He was a wonderful person with whom I quickly developed a great friendship when we started working together a little over 2 years ago.

I was his nominal “boss”. However,  I received more counsel and advice from him than I gave. Bob was a master of asking good questions and using them as a gentle teaching tool.

I really can’t recall a time when he was critical of anyone. He may have thought something could have been done different but he never turned that into a negative comment about an individual.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A “Powerful” Chance Encounter with William George Jordan

imageThe Power of Truth was written by William George Jordan and first published in 1902. My father encouraged me to read it for years and when I finally did I wondered why I had not read it earlier.  It affirms what most of us believe but don’t articulate. It offers insights into human nature that provides comfort and can inspire us to become the kind of people God would have us be. It is on my must read list.  This is one of the few books that you can turn to any page, put your finger anywhere on the page and find a quotable quote in the paragraph that your finger is on.

The Power of Truth was Jordan’s third book. The Kingship of Self-Control (1898) and The Majesty of Calmness(1900) preceded it.  In typical Jordan style the name of the book is also the title of the first chapter.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

City Council 16-Sep-2014: Roads & Park Usage Policy

Eighteen people attended the council meeting. Most (14) were from Windsor and were there to add their voice to the discussion on park usage policy. One resident stayed through to the end. A fair amount of emails had been sent to council members prior to the meeting regarding the development of a park usage policy. Specifically, these message voice their opposition to using Windsor Meadows Park for any organized sport activities. I had expected this to be a contentious meeting but it was not. Although people had divergent views everyone was respectful. I would count this as one of the better council meetings. Thanks to all who attended.

2014-09-16 Windsor Meadows Park
Windsor Meadows Park, 4.2 acres, pavilion, basketball court, playground 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Are We Wired To Succeed in Isolation?

imageI recently finished a short book by Steven Smith & David Marcum entitled Catalyst (no longer available), which I highly recommend to everyone. In it, they reference a study done by New York University Professor Evan Polman and Kyle Emich of Cornell where the following question was posed to 137 undergraduates:

“A prisoner was attempting to escape from a tower. He found a rope in his cell that was half as long enough to permit him to reach the ground safely. He divided the rope in half, tied the two parts together, and escaped. How could he have done this?”

Half the students were asked to imagine themselves as the prisoner locked inside the tower (“prisoner group”). The other half were asked to imagine someone else trapped in the prison (“imaginary group”). Forty-eight percent of those who imagined themselves trapped in the tower escaped, while sixty-eight percent of those who imagined someone else solved the dilemma (the prisoner unwound the rope and tied the strands together). Three more related experiments in the same study found that participants were more creative or had better solutions when thinking of someone else. The only variable was the switch from me to we. [p. 40-41]

In the specific experiment, students who pictured someone else being in the tower were 42% more likely to solve the problem than those who imagined themselves in the tower.

Here’s another interesting reference from Catalyst [p.46] regarding me-centric v. we-centric behavior:

Tribal Leadership coauthor Dave Logan discovered that 76 percent of company cultures are me-centered. The more me-centered the culture, the worse the company’s financial performance.

I found it comforting to know that we are wired to be more successful in solving problems when we are serving others. Could it be that Christ’s commandment to love our neighbor and serve others comes with the hidden blessing of being more creative? It makes me wonder what other hidden blessings are waiting to be “proved” with respect to these or other commandments.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

City Council Work Session 4-Sep-2014: Park Usage

The primary purpose of this meeting was to review and discuss the types of activities that would be appropriate for each city park.

Work Session 

  1. North Utah County Aquifer Association Project.
    The engineer involved in creating a report discussed the aquifers in N. Utah County and how they can be recharged, reviewed with us his report, and discussed a pilot recharge project being conducted in the AF debris basin. It was an interesting report.

    N County Aquifer

City Council 2-Sep-2014

Thirteen people attended the council meeting. Three stayed through to the end (sometimes there are none). For me the most interesting part of the council meeting were the public appearances. I was very impressed by Brandon and the follow-up he has done on dealing with complaint about the disc golf course. I especially enjoyed Devirl’s remarks after receiving his certificate. They were very positive regarding the direction the city is moving.


  1. Public Comment: There were about 13 people in attendance. 3 stayed until the end.

    • Brandon Balkman gave a short report on the Disc Golf course he helped establish at Beacon Hill Park. I was very impressed by the amount of time and effort he has put into this and continues to put into it. He shared with us a map of the course.

      Beacon Hill Park Disc Golf Course

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Spectacularly Successful Failure

In 1998 I was involved in launching a new product which fell flat in spite of a very successful start. At the time, I was the global head of marketing for a small public company. We had developed a prototype of a USB authentication token we called the iKey which, although it looks very familiar today, at that time it was a novel form factor.introducing_i-Key

Thursday, August 28, 2014

City Council 19-Aug-2014: Jeremy Barlow-Proclamation of Appreciation, Park Use, Enterprise Fund Analysis …

I arrived at the meeting about 30 minutes late. So I missed the public comments and the award presentation to Jeremy Barlow . Please refer to the formal agenda on the city website and the meeting presentation for more complete background info all issues. All decisions made were unanimous.


  1. Public Comment: There were about 25 people in attendance when I arrived. I expect there were 10 or 20 more there for the award presentation.

Presentations Discussions

  1. Proclamation of Appreciation – Jeremy Barlow.


WHEREAS, Highland City recognizes the importance of the Highland City Parks Department; and

WHEREAS, Highland City appreciates Jeremy and the time he works utilizing his qualifications, institutional knowledge and expertise for the betterment of Highland City; and

WHEREAS, Highland Glenn Park is within the boundaries of Highland City and is frequented by residence of Highland as well as visitors from surrounding cities for swimming and other recreating activities; and

WHEREAS, On August 5th 2014 Jeremy Barlow noticed a panicked father pulling his 3 year old daughter from the water in Highland Glenn Park and as while being brought to shore immediately noticed the seriousness of the situation; and

WHEREAS, Jeremy rushed to the aid of the Father and child and again immediately recognized the child not breathing initiated Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. (CPR); and after 40-50 compression revived the child.

Friday, August 15, 2014

City Council 05-Aug-2014: Deer, Riding Arenas, …

Note all votes cast for motions were unanimous. There was a passionate discussion on Highland Urban Deer Control Program. Please refer to the formal agenda on the city website and the meeting presentation for more complete background info all issues. All decisions made were unanimous.


  1. Public Comment: There were about 46 people in attendance.

The Effect of Praising a Poor Drawing

Italy SmallWhen I was in 6th grade my teacher gave an assignment to write a report on Italy. My report included a black and white population density map, that more closely resembled a poorly drawn boot than Italy. When the teacher returned the graded reports she held my map up as an example of something creative. While this made me feel good I was embarrassed because of the map's poor resemblance to Italy. However, her praise motivated me to do better (I wanted to please her again).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Highland’s Urban Deer Control Program – For or Against?

urban deer

The city administrator and mayor recently received a petition from a group of residents (98 signatories) who wish to repeal the ordinance allowing bow hunting of deer within city limits. Here is the text from the petition:

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Selling Ideas and the Politics of Me

I worked on the campaign of a primary candidate a couple of years ago (made phone calls, sent e-mails, distributed signs …). It was an interesting process and although the candidate I worked for lost I would do it all again. 

IdeaNow let me pause here for a second. You might be asking, why is he talking about this in the context of selling ideas? The answer is because regardless of what organization you are in, if you want to implement a new idea you need to sell it to multiple constituencies. For example, if you work at a services firm and have an idea on how to improve the project plan for a particular client project you have to:

Monday, July 21, 2014

City Council 15-Jul-2014: Deer, Road Safety, & 5-Year Road Maintenance Plan

2014-07-15 Highland Road Conditions

Note all votes cast for motions were unanimous. There was a good amount of citizen interaction on two issues: Highland’s Urban Deer Management Program and Safety and Road Condition Issues on W Country Club Drive. Thanks to those who participated: Dale Wheeler, Brian Cook, Linda Walton, Devirl Barfuss, Lynn Bullock, Dave Dorton, and Rachel Springer.

Please refer to the formal agenda on the city website and the meeting presentation for more complete background info all issues.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Highland 2014 Fireworks and Open Fire Restrictions

fireworks 1

The council received the following note from the Mayor’s office on Monday June 30th.

“Fire Chief Brad Freeman has discussed his concern regarding fire hazards due to upcoming holiday fireworks with Mayor Thompson and upon his recommendations Mayor Thompson has issued an Executive Order Restricting Firework and Open Burning for parts of Highland City. 

This order will stay in effect until the Chief and the Mayor feels the circumstances improve.  This order may also be increased or decreased the areas restricted during this time.   For your information I have attached the order and the map showing the restricted areas.  This has also been placed on the doors and front counter at city hall, on our website, distributed to the police department and Chief Freeman has provided a map to all firework stands in Highland for display. “

Below is a copy of the Executive Order:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

City Council 17-Jun-2014: 2014-15 Budget and Library Tax.

Budget 2


  1. Public Comment: There were about 50 people in attendance. 20 spoke, all in support of the library and keeping the dedicated library property tax. More on that later.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

City Council and Budget Work Session 3-Jun-2014

2014-04-29 2015 Budget Revenue Sources

Here is the meeting agenda with my notes in line (in italics)


  1. Public Comment: Just a few people were in attendance (15). Scott Smith made a few comments about the budget and city employees.

Monday, May 26, 2014

City Council 20-May-2014: Budget Public Hearing

Here is the meeting agenda with my notes in line


  1. Public Comment
  • An award was presented by the mayor to Karre Nevarez, a teacher a Westfield Elementary who worked with students that won several awards in local and state LEGO competitions. Student teams design, build, test and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Hidden Lesson in the Sermon on the Mount

Sermon On The Mount - 4

I recently learned a new lesson when reading the sermon on the mount Matthew 5-7. As I was reading I was struck by the number of times Christ referred to the Father. When I reviewed the chapters I found that there were 3 references to Him in chapter 5, 12 references in chapter 6, and 2 references in chapter 7. Here is how they break down:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

City Council Meeting 6-May-2014

Here is the agenda and my brief comments on each item:


  1. Public Comments
    Two residents from the Dry Creek development (southeast of Highland Blvd & 11800 N) expressed concern that the developer had not completed a fence along the S. side of 11800 N. A representative from Ivory was at the council meeting and agree to research the issue and report back to the council. Below is the summary page from his report. Click here to see the full report.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

City Council Budget Work Session 29-Apr-2014

Dollar SignsThe finance director (Gary LeChaminant) gave a high level review of the budget and the council asked questions as they arose. We had received a copy of the preliminary budget prior to the meeting, which I’ve uploaded to Google and made accessible to everyone. The spreadsheet I’ve shared has questions that I inserted as comments (cells with black triangle in the top right corner). Note, if you put your cursor over a cell with comments they will be displayed in a pop-up box. Gary reviewed my questions in advance of the meeting and added his responses to the relevant rows in the last column. I’ve highlight categories where the requested increase as a percentage exceeded the projected revenue growth.

Here are some quick bits of information:

Friday, April 25, 2014

City Council Meeting15-Apr-2014: Library Funding Discussion

Highland LogoThis was a very good council meeting (aside from the fact that we ended earlier than normal).  What I especially liked is that we were able to have a vigorous discussion and share differing points of view without being disagreeable.


  1. Public Comment: Most of the comments (7 out of 9) were about the library. I will summarize at the end of the post. One of the other commenters wanted more info about the trail system and shared a trail safety item; the trail sign near Caddy Lane is too close to the bike trail and riders risk hitting it as they turn onto the trail.
  2. Highland Fling 2014: Ron Jewett discussed the upcoming fling. He pointed out that they expect to raise significantly more funds this year than last. They are already well ahead of last year in terms of ads for the Fling Booklet (Good job Emily!). One issue is that because the Fling budget only reflects net costs (expenses less anticipated revenues) when they try to spend more than the budgeted amount difficulties arise even though there are offsetting revenues from sponsors. Our finance director will look into how this can be resolved.. Evidently public accounting practices make this less than straightforward. Here is a video from last year’s Fling that was put together by one of the sponsors.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

City Council Meeting 1-Apr-2014

The most interesting part of the council meeting was the Road Maintenance Presentation and Discussion, which I will discuss at the end of the post. Here is a brief summary of the votes which were taken:

# Description Pass/Fail
1. Motion: Ratify the Mayors Appointment of Kristi Vick to the Open Space Committee P
2. Motion: Ratify the Mayors Appointment of Scott Smith to the Library Board P
3. Ordinance: Amend Municipal Code 15.04.010, Adopting State Construction Code. P
4. Motion: Final Plat Approval for Pinnock Estates P
5. Ordinance: Amend Chapters 12.30 & 13.31, Removal of Neighborhood Trails P

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Issues and Information Meeting 2014-Q1

Mike KennedyMike Kennedy, our local state representative, joined me for my first Issues and Information meeting as a councilman. Thanks Mike! When Mike arrived at 6:50 PM we were the only two people in the meeting room. A few minutes later we were joined by one person and by the time people stopped coming (about 8:20 PM) over twenty people had attended the meeting.

The meeting was very interactive and since I was involved in the meeting I was not able to take notes. Lesson learned: ask someone to be the note taker for future meetings. Here is my brief summary which includes a link to the slides I used for my presentation.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

City Council Meeting Mar 18, 2014

Highland LogoBelow is the agenda with my comments in italics. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions (


  • Randy Paul – Economic Development
    Randy presented his views on what he sees as the most likely and best paths of growth for the city. In very short terms he does not see Highland seeing a lot growth in terms of businesses and he doesn’t think we should plan for that to be a significant source of revenue for the city. He does think that maintaining standards and services which make the city attractive to residents is one of the most important things the council can do. Subsequent to the meeting Randy sent an email to the council summarizing his points.
  • Kent Loosle – IASIS Healthcare, Mountain Point Medical Center
    IASIS is building a new hospital and medical office complex on the west side of I15 near the Thanksgiving Point Exit. Kent wanted to review the services that will be provided and share the desire of the IASIS to serve N. County residents.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Road Maintenance and Your Dollars

pot holesLast year as part of my campaign for city council I researched the issue of roads and wrote a post on the subject for my campaign website that I believe has continuing relevance so I am reposting on my regular blog. Here it is:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

City Council Meeting and Work Session 4-Mar-2014

Highland LogoThere were two items that were discussed at length in council meeting. The first was the minutes from the previous work session. Brian Braithwaite made the commend that the minutes should more accurately reflect the conversation so that someone in the future did not read them and incorrectly interpret the discussion. He offered a couple of points to clarify portions of the discussion. I agreed and did the rest of the council with his comments.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

City Council Work Session 11-Feb-2014

Highland LogoThe purpose of the work session was set goals for the city. The agenda for the meeting was as follows:

CALL TO ORDER – Mayor Mark Thompson
Goal Setting Work Session

Essentially the meeting had no agenda so each council member prepared based on their expectation of what the meeting would be like. Here is the text of an email I sent to council members prior to the meeting:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

City Council Meeting Feb 18, 2014

Highland LogoI had expected this council meeting to be somewhat exciting (translated contentious). Although there were lots of questions regarding the several zoning changes and strong interest from several residents and a developer the meeting was very cordial and the council was united in its decision. I want to thank those that participated (Gary Wright, Tori Gagon, Cori and Ryan Ollerton, Rebekah Kaylor, and Greg Nield) in the discussion for the professional manner in which they conducted themselves.

Below is the meeting agenda with my comments in italicized text.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

City Council Meeting Feb 4, 2014

This week’s agenda had only three motions, a presentation by Republic Garbage, and one staff report. Prior to the start of the meeting Kasey Wright gave a short presentation on Open Meetings, ethics and disclosures. He did a good job making it informative and fun.

Prior to the meeting Gary LeCheminant, city finance director, sent the council answers to questions that were raised last council meeting about the audit.

During the time allotted for council members to make comments there was an extended discussion on the changes to the minutes and agendas I requested last council meeting. We unanimously agreed that we wanted to include action items in =-the minutes as part of a summary section and to include unfinished action items in the agenda section. I volunteered to send a sample of what this would look like to the city recorder.

Monday, February 3, 2014

City Council Meeting Jan 21, 2013

Highland LogoDuring the council member comment time I asked that future minutes include a summary section that lists actions taken by the council and identifies requests of city staff. The requests should show up in the agenda’s of the following meetings until they are resolved. This request is not reflected in the agenda of the upcoming meeting. I will ask to have the council vote to support the concept at tomorrow’s council meeting but will do so with some reluctance because I don’t want city staff to feel like they don’t own their work product.

Monday, January 20, 2014

City Council Meeting Jan 7, 2014

I attended this meeting via telephone as I was out of town on business, Prior to the formal council meeting a 30 minute work session was held to listen to a sales pitch by representatives of Dubli, an online shopping portal that offers discounts to shoppers on purchases made at linked stores.

Workshop (Dubli) Summary

Anyone can sign up for a free Dubli account and receive discounts at stores (from what I saw the discounts ranged from 1% to 26% depending on the merchant and product) and travel sites linked through Dubli’s portal. Increased discounts are available for those who sign up for one of two levels of premium membership (Premium ~$60/yr, or VIP $99/yr).

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Why I Ran For Highland City Council

Rod Mann
I ran for city council in large part because I did not feel the city communicated well with residents. My strategy for running was quite simple. (1) Articulate a sincere positive message in person (door-to-door and in person meetings) and (2) support this with a flyer and online presence (web site and Facebook page). A number of friends helped me by handing out flyers and setting up home meetings. Most importantly, I had the support of many friends who simply told others about me. I sincerely believe that they were the key to my primary and and general election victories. There are too many to name individually but thank you.

Here is the message I put on my flyers and web site.