The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Upcoming New Face of the Provo City Council

Top Row L to R:  Kay Van Buren (Dist 4), Yancee Hardy (Citywide), Jim Pettersson (Dist 4)
Middle:  Gary Winterton (Dist 1), Howard Stone (Dist 4)
Bottom:  Bonnie Morrow (Dist 1), Gary Garrett (Citywide), Lindsay Wiblin (Dist 4)
Note:  Six Candidates for District 3 not pictured; Collage arranged in artistic manner not to favor any candidate
Friday marked the end day of filing season for four Provo City Council seat vacancies from a total of seven council seats including Districts 1, 3, 4, and a citywide seat.  We had a remarkable number of filings despite the recent stiffening of filing requirements by the current council.  Perhaps the remarkable number was due to all four council incumbents up for reelection chose not to run again.  Whatever the case may be, because the outcome of the Nov 8th elections will determine a majority of council seats, there is perhaps not better time than to get involved with city elections.  (See official Candidate List)
  • District 1 voters will choose between Bonnie Morrow and Gary Winterton on November 8.
  • District 3 voters will have a primary on Sept 13 to chose from the list of six candidates:
Tom Jarman
James E. Kallbacka
Jeff Marvell
Hal Miller
Glen K. Thurston
Richard E. Wood
  • District 4 voters will have a primary on Sept 13 to chose from the list of four candidates:
Jim Pettersson
Howard Stone
Kay Van Buren
Lindsay Wiblin
  • All voters will vote on Nov 8 between the two citywide candidates, Yancee Hardy and Gary Garrett.  (Note:  Find which district you're in on the Provo District Map)
In looking at the group as a whole, it is going to be an exciting election.  Some of the candidates have run before, while others are first-time-ever candidates for office.  I really appreciate the willingness of all the candidates to step forward and to provide us with differing options for change as we try and promote liberty among our citizenry.  I also salute the lame duck members of the council for their service with one final plea:  do not raise our property taxes up to 16% as you are now considering (Daily Herald, Jun 16) in contradiction to Mayor Curtis' proposed budget.
Many Provoans are finding themselves frustrated with their city government on a plethora of issues ranging from attempts to impose a daytime curfew, incessant tax hikes and fee increases, backyard pavement regulations, and building unnecessary roads and bridges on the west side. Yesterday, I sent out the following questionnaire to my District 4 candidates to find out where they stood on these many issues.  I expect to have a similar one developed shortly for city-wide candidates.  The questions cover a number of different hot-button topics.  There is also a movement within our district to get a forum scheduled for the candidates before the primary to increase voter awareness of the candidates.  Here is the questionnaire:
Did you support Prop 1 (Rec. Center bond)?

Do you support Opt-In or Opt-Out for curbside recycling?

Do you support the implementation of a RAP tax?

Should city property tax be eliminated, lowered, held, or raised?

Do you support the building of the Northwest Connector?

Do you support the council’s recent changes to campaign filing requirements?

Do you believe that a council member should resign if called to active military duty?

Do you support the current ticket policy whereby a fine doubles in 6 days and triples in 11?

What ideas will you bring to balancing the budget?

What has been your political party affiliation(s) for the past 10 years?

What future projects should the city fund?

Do you support tax increases and bond issuances being subject to a 2/3rds supermajority of voters?

What are your ideas for increasing revenue through growing the sales tax base?

What percentage of a backyard should a landowner be allowed to pave?

Do you support a daytime curfew for minors?

Do you support the redistricting of the city as to eliminate city-wide council positions?

Do you support the creation of a third interstate interchange for Provo?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Great Men Pray: Is The LDS Church Advocating POTUS Candidates?

Imagine as a Mormon going to church this week and finding the image on the right, poster-sized on the framed, ward display case bulletin board.  George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Barack Obama--all US Presidents--are seen with their heads bowed, eyes closed, hovering angel-esque above a LDS ward congregation also intent on prayer.  To the immediate right of the presidential portraits proclaims the caption:  "Great Men Pray."  In the youth classes, each youth is given a wallet-sized "Pass-along Card" with the same depiction as well.

Would such a poster cause you pause to think about the neutrality of the political position of the church?  Would you wonder why a poster of a sitting President who was actively campaigning for re-election decorated the same hallways as Jesus kneeling in Gethsemane or healing a leaper?  Would you ponder the singularity of such an event when no such other depictions of US Presidents adorned the hallowed passageways?

Although the LDS church created no such poster and the image is a photoshop of my own hand, it is however based on a similar 1956 poster depicted then with President Eisenhower instead of President Obama.  As in the case today with Obama, Eisenhower was running for re-election in 1956.

Elder Ezra T. Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve who was concurrently serving as Secretary of the Agriculture under President Eisenhower had this to say about the actual "Great Men Pray" poster (below) in the Sunday Morning (largest audience) Session of the October 1956 General Conference:

I was pleased, my brethren and sisters, as I read the report of the April conference and the remarks by Elder Mark E. Petersen, speaking as directed by the First Presidency, in announcing the series of new Church posters and cards for the benefit particularly of our young people, to note that one of them was going to be devoted to prayer. I wish there were time this morning to read the account of this particular card and poster on prayer. One will show the picture of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and President Eisenhower in the background, and then in the foreground a family group. At the top we will read: "Great Men Pray," and again at the bottom: "Be Honest with Yourself." (
Mormon-themed Blogger Keepapitchinin puts into perspective the distribution and church emphasis on distribution of the original posters and wallet sized cards from the series of BHWY advertising directed at the youth: "Be Honest With Yourself: The Background."  In fairness, at least the wallet cards attempted on the reverse side to explain the Presidential depiction of then current President Eisenhower by alluding to his time as a General in WWII:
Washington at Valley Forge — Lincoln before Gettysburg — Eisenhower on D Day — Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove — Jesus at Gethsemane and at Golgotha — all these have prayed (full text available h/t
By announcing the poster before the body of the church just a month before elections, could the poster have served as an over-zealous attempt by the church to influence its membership while staying technically neutral?  Furthermore, the governorship for the state of Utah was in chaos in a tight three-way race with incumbent Gov. Lee running as a Republican-turned-independent against strong Democrat and Republican contenders.  Both Lee and Republican Clyde both sought Eisenhower's endorsement, with Clyde (who would win) receiving a more current endorsement than Lee.  The issue of Eisenhower appearing in the LDS "Great Men Pray" distributions was addressed in Chapter 17 of Gov. Lee's biography "Let Em Holler" (Digital version avail at Utah State History) where the author was apparently unawares of the October announcement, instead crediting a post-election December date.  This raises the further question of did the "Great Men Pray" poster influence the outcome of a Utah gubernatorial election?

Bringing us to 2011, the issue of the involvement of the LDS into the political arena remains a poignant one for dedicated members such as myself.  We are currently dealing with a church who wants to influence immigration bills and to even formally lobby and praise the state legislature when it passes bills it likes.

Now the question before us is how much will the church want to promote or influence its two Mormon Presidential candidates:  Romney and Huntsman.  Although I don't worry about the church overtly supporting either candidate, as it has recently and repeatedly reiterated its neutrality stance (The Blaze, June 29, 2011), I do worry about the more subtle--yet potentially equally as powerful "Great Men Pray" types of support or advocacy the church may want to exert both pre- and post-election.

Mormons as a group are in the tank for Romney and to a lesser extent Huntsman.  Just today the Daily Herald revealed that Romney had secured support from 57 out of 80 Utah legislators, including 13 from Utah County.  Mormons will support the Mormon POTUS candidates just like blacks supported Obama in 2010, if for no other reason than their perceived political advancement of their minority.  For me I have a hard time supporting Romney who backed now ex-Sen. Bob Bennett in our grassroots push to replace him; and Huntsman is hard to swallow because he lied to his Democrat contender three years ago about his commitment to serve as Governor for his full 4-year term (Nacilbupera, May 2009).  While I'd take either Mormon over Obama in a wink and am glad they are both in the race, I am more appreciative of the multiple better-principled contenders for the Republican nomination I have to choose from.

P.S.:  For the die-hard Obama haters that can't imagine President Obama being a man of prayer, I derived the photoshop of Obama praying from this actual photo (White House Blog, Feb 2011) of Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast.  I don't hate Obama; I just hate his policies, lies, and lack of leadership.