Comments about ‘Readers' forum: Ruckus about HB477’

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Published: Tuesday, March 22 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Esquire
Springville, UT

Everyone has their issue, so there is nothing wrong with protesting another outrageous action by the Republican controlled legislature. There are differences between the bills in the way they were handled, discussed and considered, and the writer of the letter seems to have missed this. The bottom line is the Republicans again gave us an awful session, the consequence of one party rule slowing taking away the freedoms we enjoy.

Selznik
Saint George, UT

I think you're missing the point. The "ruckus" was from the electorate -- the media merely reported it. You sound like you'd prefer a world without media. That would let the legislators do what they want in total secrecy.

Really???
Kearns, UT

We all pick and choose our battles. The media reported this shady deal passed by our legislature, and a majority of the public expressed our outrage. Apparently, the public didn't feel quite as strongly about the immigration issues as they did about legislator transparency.

John Charity Spring
Alloway, NJ

Unfortunately for the people of Utah, their legislature has become the laughing stock of the entire nation. Fortunately, Utahns were willing to put down their video games and ipods just long enough to do something about it.

Clearly, the Utah Legislature forgot that its state was founded upon Christian principles. Indeed, faith, love, temperance, and charity for all were the values upon which the state was founded. If the legislature had remembered this, it never would have attempted to foster corruption by enacting HB477.

Hopefully, the outrage of the people will put the legislature back in its place and convince it to return to the aforementioned Christian values. This corruption must be nipped in the bud before it spreads eastward.

Grundle
West Jordan, UT

Just a thought about the HB477...It was brought forth because there is a very real dialog that needs to take place concerning the management and openness of communications by our elected officials. The course of public business needs to be open to all as it is our business. On the other hand the personal communications of our public servants needs to be respected as well. Where is the line?

As I have contemplated the issue and where the line should be drawn. It is apparent that there is no easy answer. The real key is to make sure that the legislator representing you is ethical, honest, and transparent. How can we be sure that who we elect meets these criteria? Make smaller districts so the elected individual is unable to hide within his district. I live in Senate district 10 and I know three of the 10 individuals running for the open seat. If I don't approve of the three then I am shooting in the dark on the seven. My district is one of the largest in the state in terms of area and population.

Quite the dilemma.

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

Immigration only affects a portion of Utah.

And, supposidly by definition, 'only' the illegal portion of immigrants.

While I still feel that the immigration debate unfairly targets hispanic immigrants vs. say, danish ones....

HB477 affects us all.

Regardless of racial background, legal status, oreintation, etc.

We ALL who live in Utah answer to the Utah legislator.

And yet, they feel they do not need to disclose anything to their electorate.

That is why there is more outrage.

I agree with Really??? | 7:36 a.m.

As 1) HB477 affects us all in Utah.

and 2) Most of us are decended from immigrants at SOME point in our family history.

Or are some claiming to be 100% Native American now at the next 'Pioneer day?'

Considering
Stockton, UT

Loren makes a good point.

Whatever one's views on immigration, illegal aliens, or GRAMA, we need to remember something very important. While we often think of the media as an unbiased observer, dutifully reporting what is happening, when it comes to GRAMA the media has a vested interest of its own. It cannot even begin to claim to be an unbiased observer. It has what is classically known as a "conflict of interest."

Certainly the media has and will continue to cloak this conflict in the high sounding rhetoric of "the public good" or a "right to know." But don't we all think that our positions represent how to achieve the greater good? The media in particular often paraphrases Charles Erwin Wilson in proclaiming that "What is good for the media is good for the nation".

But, as the media often tells us about the right to own guns, with rights come responsibilities. If the media will not respect what are obviously private communications between individual constituents and legislators, then legal protections are needed. If the media abuses its power to engage on partisan fishing expeditions at taxpayer expense, then legal limits are needed.

Zed
Orem, UT

Well said John CS. As you may know from previous posts, I'm quite conservative, but I must tell you, this legislature is amazingly--no, I would say stunningly--arrogant. I've had the chance to deal with many of them on an up close and personal basis, and as much as I'd like to disagree with Pagan and others--whom I regularly do disagree with--they are correct on this issue.

It's a real life example that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. They did what they always do, but this time they got caught. They'll be right back to their old tricks next year, and hoping that the general populous isn't paying that much attention.

I don't know what the solution is, because I don't feel like electing more democrats is the answer as I fundamentally disagree with most of their tenets. However, we've got to find a way to get some honor, accountability and true statesmanship back into our state government. Otherwise, it's shenanigans like this we can expect in the future.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I'm glad the bill is getting another review. I'm pretty sure when people actually look at what's in it... they will realize it didn't end Democracy or put a dark blanket of secrecy over the legislative process.

I'm pretty sure they will find a way to get the REAL story on this bill out there and make the changes that are needed.

The clarifications to GRAMA were needed. Maybe they went too far, but I think that's mainly an assumption made by people who haven't read the actual bill and just responded to the howling and misrepresentations in the media (Note DMN editor Jay Evenson wrote an official retraction of his comments mis-representing what was in the bill on Sunday). Read it.

I hope this will give us a chance to get over the mis-representations and over-reactions and make sure the public knows what is ACTUALLY in the bill and make changes to the parts that actually are upsetting to the public.

I think giving more time for public comment and compromising on the problem_areas in this bill... is a GOOD thing.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Selznik | 7:10 a.m.

The ruckus was not only REPORTED by the media... it was LEAD by the media.

I haven't heard one word about this bill from my friends I talk with regularly on the street. or in the office, or around the neighborhood. Just in the papers.

Remember... the DMN editors (who are VERY ticked off about this) pick what letters get published. That may be why there have been literally DOZENS of letters published on this topic and almost NONE on Libya.

So don't just assume that if more letters against HB477 get published... that that reflects the exact ratio of approval vs disaproval. Only the letters the DMN likes (and they HATE this bill)... get published.

When the Media controls the message... they can make it SEEM like the public is saying ANYTHING THEY WANT.

===

That_said... I'm glad they are taking a second look at this bill, and even seem open to scrapping_it all_together. But I really think SOMETHING needs to be done. Unlimited and free GRAMA requests for ANYONE who wants them are getting so expensive... the requester (hint..media) needs to help absorb some of the costs.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

If legislators don't want us to have access to the phones and computers that we paid for, then maybe they should seek other occupations. I'm sure Energy Solutions or UDOT would have openings for them.

Grow thick skins. If you don't want the public to know what you're doing, then for one, you're probably doing something what. If not, why would you be all up in arms and angry over people wanting to know what you're doing... And two, find another job.

Teachers, restaurant workers, and those in health care all have to answer to someone. If legislators don't want to answer to their bosses (the people) then please step out of public office.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Free Press = Government Watch-Dogs for the People.

Knowledge is Power.

That's exactly how and why Totalitarian Regimes censor the media, so they can control the people.

Q: Why can't Conservatives who "love" the Constitution support this?
A: Because they are the ones caught in the media spot light.

Gotcha'

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The Real Maverick 10:52

HB477 didn't restrict ANY access to data on government owned phones or computers.

Read the bill AND the retraction of the misrepresentations of the bill in DMN Editorial Articles (Sunday DMN... see archives).

===

I think most Legislators can afford their own cell phone and their own computer... and they can use these when they don't want to use the issued phone or computer.

===

Who OWNS the phone, or the computer, isn't the issue. It's whether or not the COMMUNICATION was personal or not.

Just like ANY job... they shouldn't be using equipment their employer gave them to do their job for personal business.

Keep in mind... These people only work for the State 45 days/year. They have other jobs, and businesses they need to take care of (yes, even when the Legislature is in session). We should not pretend that we OWN them. Or that they can't have lives and take care of their family and businesses just because we elected them.

We DON'T "own" them!

They have private lives and businesses to take care of the other 320_days of the year.

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

'I don't know what the solution is, because I don't feel like electing more democrats...' - Zed | 10:04 a.m.


And THAT'S why the Republican leadership voted HB477 into law.

Because they are SO sure and SO arrogant, that they are willing to bet Republicans in Utah will continue to vote straight party line...

instead of what's the right thing to do.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

@2 bits;

Let them do their "private" business on their own equipment.

ALL, underline and bold that, ALL of the state's business needs to be open and available to the public.

Zed
Orem, UT

Pagan,

You're right. As I said, folks like me are stuck in a predicament...and I think there are a LOT of us out there. I'm more libertarian than conservative, but there is simply not a political platform with any real presence that is available as a legitimate alternative. The Democrat platform has its share malignancies that are as unacceptable to me as is this arrogance issue we're talking about. Believe me, I've given it a good deal of thought...

I wish it were not the case.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

To "LDS Liberal | 11:15 a.m. " did you even read the bill? It really isn't as bad as the media has made it sound.

It protects the email addresses of private individuals. Protecting them from being attacked by people with opposing views.

It also increases fees to get the records to help pay for the additional manpower needed to make those records public.

Tell us, are you against protecting the privacy of individuals? Are you also against people paying for the additional government resources that they use?

2 bit
Cottonwood Heights, UT

RanchHand,

What makes you think they DON'T do their private_business on their own phone and computer?

I think they do. Do you have any evidence they DON'T?

===

I agree with the part you underlined... the STATE'S business needs to be open and available. I totally agree with that.

But we also need to realize that this is a part time job (45_days/year). They have a life outside the legislature. We don't actually OWN_THEM (as many rabid posters have posted). We own their work.... not their private_lives. They have lives the other 320 days of the year and businesses, farms, families, etc, don't go away during the 45_day_session. They STILL need to communicate and take care of things.

===

I have no issue with access to 100% of the stuff on their WORK computer/phone. HB477 wasn't about that.

It was about access to their private emails, private facebook_accounts, tweets and texts.

They don't legislate in Facebook. The Media wants access to that to see who their friends are... to VILIFY the friends/family and get info about contacts they can use to make interesting innuendo_based stories insinuating questionable contacts.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Isn't it funny how some posters wrap themselves in American flags and rant about freedom yet will defend this bill that was even called an "abomination" by fellow repubs?

If legislators don't want to be watched by us, then they should find other jobs. I for one, will do my best to help them in this process at the next election. :)

Can't wait to vote these bums out! Sandstrom, Bramble, Herbert, and Wimmer, you boys are mine!

jsf
Centerville, UT

"the consequence of one party rule" Darn that thing called democracy, every time it sticks its head up one party ends up ruling. Esquire would like to try something called what, two party, three party rule. Oh no just liberal party rule?

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