I was out of town for this meeting. I would normally have participated via phone but in this case I elected not to do so. I knew there would be a lot of discussion on two items (cemeteries and Blackstone) and thought that it would be best if those voting were full participants. I have participated twice via phone but found it difficult to provide input to discussions over the phone. This was Jessie Schoenfeld’s last council meeting. She has been an great asset to the city and has made many positive contributions to the city, especially in serving on the beautification, economic development and Highland Fling committees. She is a get it done person who puts in the time to make things happen. We often shared treats during long council meetings to prolong our tipping point. I will miss serving with you.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
This is a chapter from William George Jordan’s book Little Problems of Married Life. A book he wrote in 1910 at the age of 46. He did not marry until 1922. His insights on marriage are perhaps a function of having a close relationship to his family and being someone who truly cared about others. Once again his words demonstrate a keen insight to human nature.
Little Compromises for Happiness
This life of ours is a constant series of compromises, of concessions, of surrenders of what we hold dearest, and acceptances of what seems second best. That for which we have nobly struggled may fail us and we find what consolation we can among the wreckage of our hope. We make sacrifices of our desires on the altar of expediency; we pocket our pride in the interest of our purse; we smile over present loss in the hope of possible future gain. We travel along the line of ambition by slow freight when we had fondly dreamed of whizzing through on the “limited.” We surrender at the Waterloo of a hope and bravely look to regaining at the next battle. We bow to custom while we inwardly rebel at the obeisance. We play at battledore (a game, from which badminton was developed) between fear of the world on the one hand and approval of conscience on the other.
Saturday, December 5, 2015
I recently had a one hour conversation with Jonathan Johnson who is running against Governor Gary Herbert to be the 2016 Republican nominee for Governor. I was invited to ask him anything regarding his run for office. Before I get into details I want to note that I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. He was gracious, candid, and very likeable. I enjoyed getting to know him. As I thought about what I would ask him I reviewed two posts I’ve written on selecting candidates for office: “Questions for Candidates that Won't be Asked in a Debate” and “Selecting Candidates for Political Office.”
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
City Council 17-Nov-2015: Family Cemeteries, Park Bond Refinance, Final Election Result Certification
We had over 40 scouts from various units plus 12 interested residents attend the meeting. We had healthy discussions about most items but concluded with unanimous votes on the final outcomes. The next council meeting (Dec 1)should be interesting. We will make a final decision on whether or not to allow family cemeteries on private land. This issue was discussed in an article in the Provo Herald and in two news segments on ABC4 (this was the top news story – it must have been as slow news day) and Fox13. Since then the city has had some calls from residents on this issue. The responses have been split. My experience has been an initial negative response but after talking about it a little most people say yes, I wouldn’t do it, but if someone else wants to I don’t really care.
Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES
Monday, November 23, 2015
I attended a funeral this weekend of a wonderful young employee of Highland City who passed away far too young (Jill Ballamis). The opening hymn was Nearer My God to Thee. As we sang I was struck by the lyrics
E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me.
Still all my song shall be
Perhaps it was the nature of the event but I had never considered these words as I sang this hymn or their irony – if we want to be lifted up and nearer to God it often means we need to endure hard things such as being raised up on a cross. When teaching the 5,000 he fed with with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Christ said:
… to them all, If any man will come after me,let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?—Luke 9:23-25
As I get older I’ve discovered that those I admire, those who are incredibly giving, kind, and humble, invariably have experienced trials that could have caused them to be bitter and withdrawn. However, they dealt with them in a way that lifted them to a higher plain and brought them nearer to God.
Below is one of my favorite renditions of Nearer My God to Thee by Vocal Point
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
We held our 3rd meeting regarding Town Center Zoning. Our conclusion was that the simplest approach we to rezone the property for non-residential use only and that is what we asked staff to work on for discussion at a future council meeting. It is sad for me that we have had no resident input at these meeting. I imagine that the same drop in interest occurred after Toscana was approved. Yet that was the time to relook at zoning — not after a developer (e.g. Handcrafted Homes and the Blackstone project) filed for a conditional use permit.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
There were no local burning issues and no mayoral contest but there was a county sales tax increase on the ballot. We had a 20.1% voter turnout this municipal election as opposed to 2013 when we had a 32.8% turnout. That means that each voter who turned out represented not only themselves but four other Highland voters. Historically, municipal elections with mayoral races draw a bigger turnout than city council only ones. Also, there is a long term decline in voter turnout in Utah and across the nation. Below is a charts the shows the long term trend for congressional and presidential elections in Utah.
Monday, November 2, 2015
I occasionally feel like Mr. Bean looks when it comes to deciding whose box to check on the ballot. Let me share some thoughts on what I believe is important based on having served nearly two years on the Highland City council.
Elections are about selecting candidates for office who have both good character and sound judgment. It is less about how a particular candidate stands on a specific issue. When I ran there were a couple of things I was concerned about:
I have been “ponderizing” the following scripture for two weeks. I believe one could write and entire book on the topics it touches.
“16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."—Romans 8:16-17
But for the moment let’s focus on the “simple” thought that we are all children of God. As a parent I have come to understand what it means to love without condition. I love all of my children. At times I am happier for one, more concerned about another, or proud of an accomplishment yet my love for them is not differentiated based on their worldly success. I feel compassion when they have challenges even when their actions contributed to the problem because I know them. My love is for them strengthened when I see them serving each other, their children, and performing unselfish acts for others. I would do almost anything to help them in times of need regardless of any frustration I feel.
Now, do I get frustrated with them? Yes. Am I perfect. Good heavens, NO. But I do believe being a parent helps give us a glimpse of how God feels about us as we consider our feelings for our children.
He loves us without condition. He is happy when we succeed. He is pleased when we serve others and cares little for our material success other than to the extent we use it to help others and it reflects our personal development.
I guess it is stating the obvious to say that we need to be more like Him in all aspects of our life.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
We had an excellent turnout. Well over 60 people showed up to listen to the candidates talk about why they were running and respond to questions. I thought all candidates did an excellent job communicating their message and I thought the residents asked excellent questions. Examples include:
- You say you want to encourage additional business to come to Highland. What specifically would you do?
- Do you have a position on Sunday closing?
- Why was nothing done to revise the town center development code after Toscana was built?
- Why aren’t the bad roads being repaired?
- How much debt does the city have?
- Where do you stand on Prop 1 (county 1/4% sales tax increase for transportation)?
Scott Hart recorded this event (applause please). Here is what I like about each of the candidates along links to their videos:
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
On November 3rd the final votes will be cast on Utah County Proposition 1 which reads:
"Shall Utah County, Utah, be allowed to impose a quarter-of-one-percent (0.25% or the equivalent of 1 cent for every $4 spent) sales use tax for the specific purpose of transportation improvements such as roads, trails, sidewalks, maintenance, bus and rail service, and traffic and pedestrian safety features, with the revenue divided among the county, cities and towns, and the public transit provider within the County."
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
After our last couple of meeting that had very full agendas and went late it was nice to have a limited agenda meeting that ended before 9 pm.
We did hold a short work session (less than 1 hour) prior to the council meeting to discuss potential town center changes. The discussion basically centered on presenting a summary of our discussion from last time and then outlining possible directions for moving forward on Town Center Zoning (click here to see the presentation). The initial conclusion from the 1st meeting is that:
Monday, October 19, 2015
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Ezekiel: 16:49
The prophet Ezekiel in urging Israel to repent compares the sins of Sodom to those of Jerusalem. As I read this, the phrase which popped out for me was “abundance of idleness.” Benjamin Franklin discussed this topic in Poor Richard’s Alamanac, 1758.
“… I will tell thee My Friend, what Poor Richard says, Employ thy Time well if thou meanest to gain Leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a Minute, throw not away an Hour. Leisure is Time for doing something useful; this Leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as Poor Richard says, a Life of Leisure and a Life of Laziness are two Things. Do you imagine that Sloth will afford you more Comfort than Labour? No, for as Poor Richard says, Trouble springs from Idleness,and grievous Toil from needless Ease.”
When I consider the time I spend in idle pursuits I certainly have room to improve. As I considered Ezekiel’s call to repentance this week I made an extra effort to spend time on activities that benefit others rather than my own entertainment. As the week closes I can truthfully say I feel spiritually richer.
Just a quick note, I certainly don’t feel that having plenty (a fulness of bread) is bad. It is, however, when it leads to pride and idleness. If we don’t change voluntarily we’ll be encouraged to change by the negative impacts these traits have on society and our economic well being over the long term. We only have to read history to see this.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
There is much in the world to be concerned about. However, worry can paralyze us. We’ve all been there. The weight of the world is on our shoulders and there are so many problems that we just can’t seem to get started on anything. Jordan’s short treatise on “Worry” doesn’t necessarily tell us anything we don’t know but can strengthen our resolve to find peace and take action. I hope you enjoy this. It is a chapter from his book The Kingship of Self-Control. Links to downloadable versions of this book and Jordan’s others can be found in my post Books by William George Jordan.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
At the concluding session of General Conference today Elder Devin Durrant invited us to “ponderize” a scripture on a weekly basis. By “ponderize” he meant to select a scripture each week, place a copy of it somewhere where you can see it and then think about it several times each day. In doing so “words and phrases will be written on your hearts … and mind.”
Suzanne and I agreed to take up the challenge. I was immediately drawn to these verses in Acts (Act 1:10-11) as my first scripture, but resisted as it was not immediately apparent why:
10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
As I wondered why, the phrase “why stand ye gazing up into heaven” kept running through my mind. It occurred to me that the apostles were being asked why are you just standing here when you should be doing what Christ asked. That same sentiment could be applied to me this day. Why are you not doing something? You have been given wise counsel and direction. Act on it! How often have I attended a meeting, listened to a talk, or read a scripture where I felt inspired and then basked in the glow of the moment? However, later as life caught up with me, the thoughts were simply place on a stack of to do’s and never acted on. I’d rather not tall about that.
So here is my plan. I will for the next 6 months “ponderize” a scripture by selecting one each Sunday, posting it in the “Ponderize” section I put on my blog. Then during the week I will write a short post on this scripture with any insights I get that are generally applicable.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
On September 10, 2015 we held a Meet the Candidates event in the multi-purpose room of city hall. Each candidate met with the audience separately for about 25 minutes each. Audience members made each mini-meeting a totally difference experience by the questions they asked. Audience members all agreed it was a very informative evening.
Below is a quick poll to get your sense of what the key issues are that candidates need to address.
I will give a brief description of each meeting but you really had to be there to benefit from it. On that note, we are holding one more of these on Thursday October 22nd at 7 PM in the city council room at city hall (5400 Town Center W, Highland, UT 84003).
Friday, September 18, 2015
This meeting and the lead up to it provided me with a lot of food for thought. It was well attended ~90. The Blackstone town home project and the Highland Blvd / 11800 N intersection were the key issues which brought interested residents to the meeting. Interestingly enough, this is the first time I can remember that Toscana residents have added their voice to the discussion. Below are some of my thoughts on this issue.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
City Council 1-Sep-2015: Public Works Heroes, Blackstone, Highland Oaks, Highland Blvd-11800 N Intersection
Monday, August 31, 2015
The council and planning commission met together for the first of several workshops to discuss what, if any, changes should be made to the Town Center overlay zone. The mayor, 4 members of the city council and 8 members of the planning commission were in attendance. One resident, Devirl Barfuss, attended the meeting.
The 1 hour meeting was facilitated by a well regarded city planning consultant. He asked a series of 5 questions. We were given colored post-it notes to write our responses to each question (in some cases we could only provide one response, in others two or three). The responses were put on the wall and organized into general themes. I thought it was an interesting exercise and the results will provide a foundation for future meetings.
Below are the questions that we asked and as many responses that were given as I can recall. Please feel free to share your thoughts by responding to the poll questions and/or by using the comment section (e.g. if you selected other and want to share what that was).
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Soap box alert: I would like to share a personal frustration regarding much of the recent discussion regarding the town center. Now that another town home development is being considered (Blackstone) I have consistently heard how terrible the Toscana town homes are for the city. The specific complaints include; the internal streets are too narrow and seem confining, parking, and people who walk their dogs and do clean up after them. Other than the narrow internal streets (which I’m not sure how the visual issue impacts anyone other than those living in Toscana) the other issues can be found all over town. Parking is a problem near churches, parks, when neighbors have receptions, homecomings … . Owners not cleaning up after their pets is a problem everywhere. Just ask my neighbors. I’m sure my dogs have left deposits in the neighborhood when they’ve escaped.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
City Council 21-Jul-2015: Blackstone townhome project, Dry Creek Phase 3 trail, maintenance of parks …
The council chambers were full, primarily with residents opposed to the Blackstone project. The discussion was very civil and respectful across the board. THANK YOU! A couple of scout groups were also present. Please note, because of the intense public interest in the Blackstone project my summary of this item (#5) is quite lengthy and includes lots of references.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
The 2016 presidential election race has already begun and the 2015 municipal election season is fast approaching in my neighborhood. I have 3 sets of 5 questions I seek answers to when looking at candidates. These are not likely ones that will come up in a debate so I have to dig a little to answer them.
A Question of Character
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Last Sunday as we sang America the Beautiful at church my heart was pierced by the lyrics and tears began to roll down my cheeks. The words “God shed His grace on thee” led me to think of all the times in history that His hand rested upon our nation from its founding until today. Below are a couple of examples.
- The destruction of the French Fleet in 1746 recounted by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his ballad entitled “A Ballad of the French Fleet” was one such event.
- Washington’s victory at Boston on March 17th 1776 which was enabled by Colonel Henry Knox’s miracle filled retrieval of cannons from Ft. Ticonderoga (a 600 mile round trip journey) in the dead of winter is another.
There are however times when it seems He has left us. Of course the reality is that we have left him. The following is a preface from an earlier post on Columbus, Providence and the Discovery of America where I shared my thoughts on this subject:
Saturday, June 20, 2015
The council meeting was attended by 9 residents initially and then as the meeting progressed the initial attendees left and members of staff (14+) came to listen to the vacation accrual discussion. While we did not finish the meeting until midnight this was a good meeting with lots of healthy discussion on multiple important issues.
You will notice several references to the city council agenda in this report. The link is to my marked up version of the council agenda which I thought some might find interesting. By way of background staff uses a Dropbox account to share agendas and other documents with council members. I review these prior to council meetings, make electronic notes and save a version of the document to the Dropbox folder with a “- Rod” added to the filename. My notes include my thoughts questions and I have on issues we’ll be voting on, corrections to minutes, typing errors … . I think it is better for everyone when staff comes to council meetings aware of what the potential questions will be and other council members understand where I’m at on issues.
Monday, June 15, 2015
120+ residents attended the council meeting the majority were there to indicate opposition to the proposed Park Maintenance building located in Town Center South East of the police station. Many of the rest were there to ask for something to be done at the intersection of Highland Blvd and 11800 N where a recent fatal accident occurred. The accident was a result of a driver pulling out from 11800 N to turn left (south) onto Highland Blvd. Unfortunately, the driver pulled out right in front of a north bound vehicle on Highland Blvd which struck the turning vehicle.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
“No individual is so insignificant as to be without influence. The changes in our varying moods are all recorded in the delicate barometers of the lives of others. We should ever let our influence filter through human love and sympathy. We should not be merely an influence,―we should be an inspiration. By our very presence we should be a tower of strength to the hungering human souls around us.”—William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness, 1900
As a resident of Highland I’ve tried, both successfully and unsuccessfully, to influence the outcome of council decisions and now as a councilman I’ve done the same from a different vantage point. Below are my thoughts on how to effectively influence decisions:
Become as informed as possible about the issue at hand. Review prior council agendas and minutes on the subject (you can search prior minutes and agendas on the city website). This will take some time but I think you’ll find it worth the effort.
You are more likely to influence the council’s decision if you engage before the final council meeting on an issue. Most issues are discussed at multiple council meetings or work sessions and by the time the vote is taken opinions are generally fairly settled. The odds of swinging votes at the last second are pretty low.
Contact one or more members of city council to get their perspective and share your thoughts. Note, the phone numbers and email addresses for all council members are on the city website under government. If a topic is complex and hard to explain it is often best to meet in person or call to get more clarity. Face to face meetings also help to develop a personal relationship which may be of benefit on future issues.
Take any comments about how a particular decision maker thinks with a grain of salt unless you speak directly with the individual. For example, prior to a recent council decision I heard from someone that I had a phone conversion with a resident where I said I had made my decision and would not change it. There were two problems with this 1) I received no phone calls on the issue and 2) the perception of my view on the issue was wrong.
Develop an understanding of all sides of the issue. This will help you better defend your point of view and be more understanding of those who don’t agree with you.
If you draft a position paper or put together a PPT be sure the information on it is correct. When there are inaccuracies in your information your credibility becomes suspect. Sometimes even one incorrect item is enough to discredit your point of view.
Focus your argument on the most relevant issues and be succinct. A short letter is more likely to be read than a 3 page missive. If you are sending an email I would put your message directly in the email instead of sending an attachment. It increases the chance of your email being read and makes it a easier for someone to reply (think smart phones and tablets where you are limited to one screen at a time).
Take 5 minutes every two weeks to review city council agendas to see if there is anything on the agenda that is of interest or concern. They are usually posted on the city web site the Thursday prior to a Tuesday meeting (state law requires that they be available 24 hour before the meeting). You can ask to be notified by email when agendas and minutes are posted for city council meetings and the board meetings of various committees. Simply click on the “Notify Me” link located on the city’s home page. If you use Facebook you can like the following pages: Highland City, Residents of Highland. I post links my council meeting notes and events on them (as well as my council Facebook page).
Lastly and perhaps most importantly be kind and stay away from personal attacks. Here are some wise bits of advice from Dale Carnegie and Alexander Hamilton:
“Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.”—Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, 1937
“So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society. This circumstance, if duly attended to, would furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy. And a further reason for caution, in this respect, might be drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists. Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword.”—Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #1, 27 Oct 1787
The following short article is also a good read on the topic of kindness:
Thursday, May 21, 2015
15 residents attended the council meeting (half were scouts :) which was a bit disappointing since we were discussing the budget. The meeting was productive and I particularly enjoyed how the council was able to disagree without being disagreeable when discussing the budget.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
16 residents attended the council meeting.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
We received an updated 2015-2016 budget which included current YTD data for 2014-2015. I’ve updated the online budget data to reflect the data. Council members are still sharing ideas on budget changes that will put more money into roads and more appropriately allocate costs.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
On April 14 we held a budget work session. One resident attended, Tim Heyrend (a member of the planning commission), and was able to add value during the meeting. We asked for his viewpoint on several occasions.
The finance director walked through the budget using power point slides he had prepared.
As we reviewed the budget we identified areas of concern (e.g. revenue projection lower than we thought or could this item be reduced). All in all I believe we came up with the about 50K in revenue and a similar amount in cost reductions.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Once again it is time for the council to start reviewing budget proposals for next year. We recently received an initial 2015-2016 budget draft to discuss at a council work session on April, 14th (6pm at city hall). The budget draft also included a snapshot of where we are as of the end of Feb with respect to the current budget year.
I’ve put this information online in Google in an effort to help any residents who want to contribute in the budget discussion. Please feel free to come to the work session and/or share in questions or comments. You can also email or call me with questions before or after the meeting and I’ll do my best to respond.
The online spreadsheet contains multiple sheets. Below is a description of each sheet in the draft budget:
Thursday, April 9, 2015
“Facing the Mistakes of Life” is a short chapter from William George Jordan’s book The Crownship of Individuality wherein he discusses “mistakes”. He provides excellent advice on a subject with which many of us are intimately familiar. Links to downloadable versions of this book and Jordan’s others can be found in my post Books by William George Jordan.
Facing the Mistakes of Life
There are only two classes of people who never make mistakes,—they are the dead and the unborn. Mistakes are the inevitable accompaniment of the greatest gift given to man,—individual freedom of action. If he were only a pawn in the fingers of Omnipotence, with no self-moving power, man would never make a mistake, but his very immunity would degrade him to the ranks of the lower animals and the plants. An oyster never makes a mistake,—it has not the mind that would permit it to forsake an instinct.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
City Council 17-Mar-2015: Lone Peak HS Parking, Road Projects, Overnight Parking on City Parking Lots
Public Comment: None
- Representative Mike Kennedy: Mike thanked the council for being involved and invited members to come up to the capital next year during the session. He briefly discussed the session. Mentioned that he had voted against the gas tax increase, not because he opposed it, but because he received a copy of the last revision of the bill at 11:45 PM the last day of the session and he did not have time to review the changes. He also mentioned that there was no fiscal note attached and he does believe a vote should be taken on a tax increase without understanding its impact.
Monday, March 16, 2015
51 residents attended the council meeting this week, many of them were scouts. 4 residents contributed during the public comment portion of the meeting.
- Ed Dennis (Open Space Committee Chair): Thanked the council for the progress on Open Space issues and then reiterated his support for the dedicated library property tax and then read a prepared statement (I can’t find my copy I will add a link to it when I do).
- Shawna Larsen (Arts Council Chair): Shared with the council the news that they were able to raise enough donations ($13,500) to purchase a used Kawai Grand Piano. Note, since then the Arts Council received another significant donation which allowed them to purchase a new Yamaha Grand Piano (total cost $30,000).
- Jackie Healey: Expressed support for the library property tax as she didn’t want the library to worry about funding each year.
- Blythe Shupe (Library Board Chair): Reiterated her support for the library property tax and said it is only 2% of the total city budget. She also mentioned that a neighbor of hers who worked for Qualtrics (an online polling firm) said that he could help construct a poll of the residents. Blythe thought this would be done at no cost to the city.
Monday, March 2, 2015
12 residents attended the council meeting this week. One stayed through the entire meeting. I did not get her name but thank you for coming and for your comments near the end of the meeting.
Public Comment: None
Charlie Greenland presented poster of an aerial photograph of Highland City from 1958. Abe Day, a member of the planning commission, helped put it together. It has a key that can be used to identify the homes and who lived there. About 21 of the homes remaining standing today. Copies can be ordered from Mr. Greenland.
I asked Tim Irwin, the city council representative on the the library board, to “guest host” this post and he graciously accepted. I’ve put his comments before a copy of a presentation the library board delivered at the work session.
It is quite an honor for Rod to ask me to write a report on the library work session the city council had with the library board 2 weeks ago.
Included in this report is the presentation by the library board president, Blythe Shupe and I feel she did a very good job explaining the progress the Highland City Library has made over the last 8 years. The library is well managed and well supervised by very dedicated volunteers appointed by the mayor. To be clear, the purpose of the work session was to find ways the council could support the library and its goals. In my view of the council, all 5 members like the library. Some residents were misled in the last election thinking that 2 candidates wanted the library to be diminished some way. That was clearly a campaign tactic that did not resonate with the voters and it was in fact a false view held by the losing candidates. In the interest of full disclosure, I serve on the library board at the request of the mayor.
What is true is that there is some disagreement within the city and the council as to how to fund the library going forward. It is interesting that the board chair chose the following quote to start off the discussion:
Monday, February 16, 2015
There were 35+ people in attendance, most were scouts. It was a good meeting for them to attend. Brian Braithwaite paused the discussion a couple to times to let them know what why we were discussing a particular item and provided background information.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
About 20 residents from the Dry Creek and Bull River neighborhoods met with council members, the mayor, and city staff to discuss issues with the Dry Creek/Bull River trail (a portion which was closed last fall).
Monday, February 9, 2015
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
City Council 20-Jan-2015 Impact Fee Work Session, Youth Council, Audit, Park Maintenance Building Location
Please note the council meeting on Feb 3 will include a discussion of updates to the 2014-2015 year budgets. I put a copy of the Dec 2014 YTD financial statement and the proposed mid-year adjustments online so that if you are interested you can look at these. Just click on the links. You can download them into your local computer if you want to play around with them using Excel or Open Office. We will be starting the next year budget process soon and reviewing these will help if you want to participate in the discussions. You can look at last years budget info here.
Impact Fee Work Session
A work session was held 1 hour before the council meeting so that staff could provide an update to the impact fee assessment. No exact figures were provided. The point of the discussion was to discuss changes in state law with respect to impact fees and the potential impact to the city’s finances.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
I’ve done hundreds of presentations during the course of my career and sat through many more. Some of mine have been well received and others, to be kind, have been less than successful. Below are a few tips to keep in mind so that you are not that presenter:
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
No public appearances.
MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for City Council Regular Session – November 18, 2014. This was pulled and discussed at length later in the meeting. Part of the discussion centered around what are the legal requirements for minutes. Tim Merrill, city attorney quoted from Utah Code 54-4-203. Of late the meeting minutes have been very detailed (20+ pages). Tim suggested that they could be much more brief as long as they included the substance of what was discussed, proposed or voted on. Extraneous discussions need to be referenced. Shorter minutes make it easier for the public to review what transpired and would significantly reduce the length of time required to produce the minutes by staff. In the end the council unanimously agreed that future minutes should be more of a summary and that the portion of the Nov 18th minutes containing a heated discussion between the Mayor and council member Schoenfeld should be summarized. Note full audio recordings of each council meeting are available online for those who want to listen to the entire meeting at either the Utah State Public Notice website or the Highland City site.
MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for City Council Regular Session – December 2, 2014. Approved unanimously with minor changes
Monday, January 12, 2015
William 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 “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.”
Jordan advocates for a system whose “final aim … is to teach thinking, exercising the individual not in what to think, but in how to think, making all parts of his mental machine work individually at their greatest ease, smoothness and rapidity and in finest co-operation.”
In 1891 Jordan resigned from his position as managing editor of Current Literature, a prominent magazine devoted to promoting literature, to lecture on educational reform and a new model he called “mental training.” He moved from New York to Chicago and began to teach a series of 12 lectures called Mental Training: By Analysis, Law, and Analogy. Here their titles:
Jordon put to together a series of lectures in the early 1890’s on how to improve your mind called Mental Training: By Analysis, Law, And Analogy. He published a synopsis of these lectures in 1907 entitled Mental Training: A Remedy for “Education”. You might find this interesting as well.
The following is the third in a series of four articles on education (What’s the Matter with Education, Educating for Seven Lives, Modeling Education on Genius, Mental Training: A Remedy for Education) written by William George Jordan and published in The Forum, a well respected journal of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Jordon put to together a series of lectures in the early 1890’s on how to improve your mind called Mental Training: By Analysis, Law, And Analogy. He published a synopsis of these lectures in 1907 entitled Mental Training: A Remedy for “Education”. You might find this interesting as well.
The world’s most urgent need is not a new crop of geniuses. We could get along very comfortably even if we did not have a new great book, a new marvelous discovery, a new revolutionary invention, or a new superb painting or piece of sculpture for a hundred years to come. The great geniuses of the past still live in their works. They still speak their undying messages of revelation, beauty, truth, inspiration and wisdom. Though we have listened to them we have learned but a small part of their inspiring quality. We have not even begun to exhaust the genius of either past or present.