Monday, February 3, 2014

Moving Provo Forward on Facebook

I apologize for not posting more regularly.  Since the election I've started a Facebook group together with a good friend and Provo native Christian Faulconer called "Provo Forward."  It kind of started out as a way for those involved with my campaign to keep the dialogue moving forward.  I've been pleasantly surprised by the response.  We've had several council-members post comments and even the Mayor has chimed in on occasion.

I'll continue to post now and again on issues that I feel require more in-depth explanation or information. It really is difficult at times to have meaningful conversations online.  While Facebook isn't perfect I've found its about as good as any place to talk about topical issues facing our city.  Anyone reading this post is welcome to join us.

Let's keep Provo moving forward!

Click here to join the discussion - Provo Forward

Friday, November 22, 2013

Congressional Reform

Yesterday the US Senate voted to change it's own rules and limit the filibuster option (from the required 60 votes to 51) for judicial and other nominees.
Democrats ditch historic U.S. Senate rule blamed for gridlock

This is not limiting all filibusters - just those to block judicial and executive branch nominees.  So Senators can still go "Mr Smith goes to Washington" on legislation - just not nominees...

To be honest I don't have a strong opinion on the use of filibusters when it comes to nominees.  But what this move represents is real change in the way Congress gets its work done.  I welcome the change.

People often complain that the problem with Congress is the people we send there - that "we just need new people."  I disagree.  We send new people to Washington all the time.  The problem with Washington is not the people, it's the rules of the institutions themselves.

If we want real change we need true congressional reform.

The current rules have been manipulated by both parties to the point that nothing is getting done.  Some might argue that's a good thing.  But when you consider how many things do need to change and how long and difficult it is to get a new law passed; you start to realize that something in the process needs to change. Something in the way legislation is debated and passed, or that a nominee is approved, a hearing is conducted, that monies are appropriated; Something in the way Congress conducts its business needs to fundamentally change.

I'm looking for new leaders willing to change the way things get done.  

New people with the same ideas don't get us anywhere.  Just as people with new ideas working in a broken system don't get us anywhere.  The good ideas and solutions to many of our nation's problems are out there.  But they will never see the true light of day under a defunct system.

The root cause of the problem in Washington is the process.  

UPDATE (11/25/2013):

Here is a nice follow-up article from the Christian Science Monitor that provides some context to my argument:  Washington blows up: Has American politics hit an all time low?

Also, The Provo Daily Herald published my letter to the editor. Funny though, the title they selected for the letter was kind of the opposite of my argument - it's NOT the people. It's the RULES: We need new people in Washington.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Economic Cooperation

I love to see this type of cooperation! 

In a recent article The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce and Corporate Alliance, a business networking company have come together help each organization achieve their goals.

On the surface you might thing the two would be competing for business.  But if you know how each works you can see how they really do compliment each other.  Also, if you know either of the groups leaders you wouldn't be surprised to see this sort of strategic partnership.

I got to know Vale Hale during my run for city council and found him to be very forward thinking, reasonable, humble, and open to new ideas.  I've known Corporate Alliance President Jeff Rust since high school.  We played against each other in basketball and Jeff was always better than me as I remember it.  Jeff too has those leadership qualities you would expect to see from a successful businessman. 

I'm proud of these two leaders and wish them well in their endeavors.  This is a great model for our community.  I believe there are opportunities for example, for Provo and Orem to better work together and embrace and respect each others strengths.  Why can't Provo help promote the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival and why can't Orem help promote Provo's Freedom festival? 

We can and we should.

Visit the following links for more information on each organization:

Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce

Corporate Alliance

Monday, November 11, 2013

Let us Never Forget - PFC Lloyd E Frandsen

As I thought about Veteran's Day today my mind didn't focus on the recent military efforts but those of my own family.  My family doesn't have a long pedigree of military service.  I have an uncle that served in Vietnam, but I've really never talked to him about his service.

My grandfather served shortly at the end of World War II.  As I understand it, he was sent over just as things were wrapping up and mostly avoided any serious conflicts.  He told me about breaking rifles in half on a ship and throwing the barrells over one side and the stocks over the other in a harbor somewhere near Japan.

My grandpa's older brother however did serve and die in World War II.  His name was Lloyd Elwood Frandsen.  My grandfather and he were quite close and my grandpa has told me a few stories about the two of them growing up in central Utah.  My father Lloyd was named after his uncle, my middle name is Lloyd, and my oldest son Connor's middle name is Lloyd as well.

I'm proud that I'm able in some small part to keep the memory of my great uncle alive.  I know he was special to my grandfather and I'm sad that the only stories I know of him are of his childhood and not of him as an adult.

As his grave marker indicates above, he was killed on March 11, 1944 on Bougainville Island which is part of the Solomon Islands.  I did a little bit of research on the WWII Pacific Theatre today and was surprised to find this little bit of black and white war footage taken from Bougainville on, of all days, March 11, 1944.

Bougainville, March 11, 1944 war footage.

There is no sound and it's hard to see the context of the footage, but it does in some way bring me a bit closer to my great-uncle Lloyd.  I also better appreciate the final moments of his life and what his surroundings were at that time. I never met Lloyd E Frandsen, but I'm proud to be his great-nephew and hope that I can always respect his sacrifice and service.

You can read more about the Bougainville campaign here.

Friday, November 8, 2013


I've posted a few things on the campaign facebook page and the Herald did a short follow-up article after the election, but I wanted to thank everyone again for their help and support and share a few post-campaign feelings. 

Losing (at this point by just 65 votes) is both disappointing and humbling.  Its nice to know that I had as much support as I did.  If you get blown out then it's pretty clear that people didn't particularly appreciate your message, but to lose by 65 is something in a way, if you have to lose, is something I think I can be proud of.

And kudos to Dave really.  I enjoyed getting to know him and sincerely feel he'll do well on the Council.  I have a lot of respect for Dave.  In the immediate days after the election I really didn't feel any animosity at all towards him or his campaign team.  They worked hard and so we did we.  

Some have said with the election as close as it was indicates that the city is divided somehow.  I don't think that's the case at all.  I like to think that people were impressed with both Dave and me as candidates and felt that either of us would serve Provo well.

The question I get asked the most is if I'm going to run again.  I tell people that it feels like I've just gone through child-birth, and to ask me so soon after the pain of a campaign, well I'm not particularly thrilled at the idea.  But I am keeping my signs for now and will make that decision in the far off future. 

In the meantime, I've really enjoyed talking about the issues, and want to be a part of the ongoing dialogue.  So I hope you'll check back on my blog for regular updates and posts. 

Lincoln (7) helping dad with a big sign
Finally, the last thing I want to say is how much I've enjoyed campaigning with my family!  I was gone a lot of evenings and Saturdays, but the most loyal and best, most hard-working campaign staffers I had were, Amy, Connor, Lincoln, Autumn, and even little Britton!  They can drop door-hangers in an entire precinct in three hours!  It really is impressive. 

The day before the election, Lincoln (our deep thinker) said; "Dad if you lose then we get to spend more time with you.  If you win, then we get to ride in the 4th of July Parade float." He then paused for a moment to think then said;  "I hope you win!" 

I wasn't quite sure what to make of that really...;)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Did you see the debate?

On Wednesday night the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce sponsored a debate with all of the candidates running for office in Provo.  I thought it was a great opportunity for people to see the candidates head to head.

Click on the following link to watch the debate:

Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Debate

Since this is the only debate that's been publicly recorded I invite you to watch and decide for yourself.

The first part of the debate covered the Mayor's race.  To get to my opening statement please forward the video to the 32:30 minute mark.

I think you'll find I had a number of specific and reasonable ideas including; a better working relationship with BYU (39:00 minute mark), retail economic development (47:15 & 66:30 minute marks), Bus Rapid Transit - BRT (57:00), working with the school district (50:35) and Ethics Reform (72:30).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Unity - A Page from Mayor Curtis' Book

Four years ago, then Mayoral candidate John Curtis called for greater unity in our city as part of his campaign platform.  I believe we’ve made important inroads in this area and I want to continue these efforts.

Campaigns often by their nature can be divisive.  I believe for the most part my opponent and I have each run issues-based campaigns.  We’ve had the occasional skirmish here and there but nothing substantive.  It has been an honor to run WITH Dave. And really, that’s the word – with - I’ve come to use more often than the term “against.” 

I really like our new city slogan; “Welcome Home.”  And just like in a home you have different members of a family with different opinions and desires.  The home has different rooms, features, a front yard, and a back yard. But all of those things make up that home.  I hope that I can be the type of representative that can recognize when certain areas of our home-city are being ignored.  Or that I can be the voice for a minority opinion that happens to be right, but may not be popular. 

In Provo we have many common values, beliefs, and characteristics that bring us together.  I hope that we can continue to build on these foundational pillars.  At the same time Provo is growing.  There is competition for resources, attention, and differences of opinion on the direction we take our city. 

Taken April 3, 2009 after a meeting in John's home.
I hope we can continue to have these discussions about these important issues in a respectable and constructive dialogue.  One of the things I’ve really come to admire about Mayor Curtis is that he really believes a good idea can come from anyone – regardless of party affiliation, area of the city, economic status, student, renter, homeowner, etc. 

I will take a page from the Mayor’s book.

As your next city-wide representative I will work to be more inclusive in giving all residents of our city a voice. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ethics in Provo

A number of people have indicated along the campaign trail that they are concerned about elected officials profiting whether financially or personally in some other way from their public service.  I want to share two ideas I would work towards implementing to help ensure the public trust in those we elect locally.

1. A two year “cooling off” period.

I would like to see former council members looking to lobby the city, wait at least two years before representing clients before the city – whether it be the Planning Commission, Council itself, Community Development, or seeking any type of contract with the city.

The idea of former officials turning around and lobbying the very bodies they were once a part of so soon after leaving office is in my opinion inappropriate.  This is what is referred to as the “Revolving Door” of politics.  The relationships and influence among former colleagues is too familiar immediately after leaving office.  This is something I’ve been concerned about at all levels of government for some time.  I wrote a short blog post about this topic over four years ago.  You can see my original post – “The Never Ending Revolving Door” here.

Our state legislature a few years ago passed a similar measure requiring a one year gap. I would like to copy that policy at our city level but I feel that two years is more appropriate given our city’s two year election cycle.

2. A city lobbyist registry.

Provo does not currently maintain a lobbyist registry.  Our State requires a lobbyist to register with the Lt. Governor’s office. I feel we should know who the lobbyists are in our city.  The state has already outlined a fairly reasonable registration and reporting process as a potential template to look to for Provo.

I’m anxious to start this dialogue.  I believe these two measures would likely meet little resistance from the Council and would go a long ways to establishing trust in our local officials.

This isn’t something I’m writing about for political expediency or simply because I’m a candidate.  Ethics in government is something I’ve been watching for some time.   I’ve listed several ethics related blog posts I’ve written over the years below.

Transparency ( 9/30/2009)

Declaring Conflicts of Interest on the Provo City Council (9/23/2010)

Ethics involving anonymous letters (7/13/2010)

My thoughts on offering staff positions to campaign staffers before the election (9/30/2009)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Can’t get into Zions or Bryce? Try Provo

Many of us have looked at our at federal government with great frustration and disdain over the last week or so as the Fed’s have shutdown our national parks.  With the federal government owning so much of our land in Utah, this is a big deal.  The surrounding communities near the Parks rely heavily on those tourist dollars to sustain their local economies.  It appears a short term solution from our Governor will temporarily fund the national parks. I’m pleased to see the proactive measures he’s taken.

While people were literally locked out of our great parks I wondered why more people don’t consider visiting Provo?  Provo Canyon’s colors are wonderful right now.  Sundance and Deer Creek Reservoir are just minutes away. The Canyon boasts two beautiful waterfalls – Bridal Veil and the Upper Falls with one of the best river trails in the country.  And let’s face it, if Rock Canyon were anywhere in Southern Utah it would be a state park or a national park by itself – it is that beautiful, and has a number of great hiking trails, and rock climbing features for climbers of all skill levels.

Oh, and did I mention the huge fresh water lake on our western border?  Boating, fishing, and camping are all available. 

In the Economic Development Strategic Plan the hospitality and tourism industry was cited as a potential economic opportunity for Provo to pursue.  With all our wonderful amenities I say why not? 

Provo is blessed with a number of natural treasures.  We may not be Zion’s or Bryce but I invite all those who are disappointed to not be able to see our national parks to spend a few days in the heart of Utah County.  I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Shutdown Solution - Let's get Local

Last night after dropping some campaign door-hangers with my family we went to Macy's for ice-cream (I've found ice-cream is the primary currency with my kids when it comes time for campaign help).  I think I might as well set up my campaign headquarters at the Macy's Deli because I probably bumped into six or seven supporters that stopped to ask me how the campaign was going.

One friend lamented how frustrated she was at the Federal Government shutdown.  Although, I'm running for local office this topic often comes up during my discussions on people's doorsteps.  Having spent some time back in Washington DC, first as a graduate student on the Senate side, and then as a Legislative Analyst on the House side a few years later, I can certainly sympathize with the frustration.

Even working on Capitol Hill I could sense how difficult it was to truly make a difference.  Even a member of Congress was still just one of 535 people clamoring to be heard; let alone the single citizen trying to petition the Federal Government for some sort of change.  That's why I'm excited for the potential opportunity to serve locally.

Speaker Boehner and Nancy Pelosi will never drive our streets. Their children and grandchildren will never go to our schools.  They are so far removed from our daily lives that in many respects it's insulting when they claim they understand what the average family or small business needs or goes through everyday.

While we all feel a sense of helplessness regarding our government at the federal level let's do what we can in our local communities.  We best understand our local challenges and are better equipped to come up with solutions. Heck, I'll take Mayor John Curtis over Harry Reid any

So to Congress, I say - grow-up, get back to work, and try to stay out of our way would you?