Comments about ‘Richard Davis: Reforming Utah's caucus system would help education’

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Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21 2014 11:50 p.m. MST

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Salt Lake City, UT

The majority of the state money goes to education. The majority of my property taxes goes to education. All of my income taxes goes to education. Education for spending purposes already is the state's priority and passing Count My Vote would only give special interests more power to raise taxes.

To make a dent in some of the numbers like spending per student, you have to realize you would need more than $1000 per student increase. With 600,000 K-12 students, we are talking $600,000 million more just for Public Ed. Do you realize what kind of tax increase you are talking?

Why do you think the Utah legislature is open to try other options like targeting money for K-3 reading? Why do you think they are trying to get the Fed clammed public lands, since the Feds violated our enabling act with FLMPA?

Count My Vote is flawed legislation. It contradicts itself and the 2% signature requirement creates a bigger barrier than what we have. We want a system that doesn't favor incumbents, wealthy or famous. Count My Vote does favor those.

Salt Lake City, UT

When Utah tried a direct primary in 1937 to 1947, it came with a run off primary, so the majority would elect the nominee. When the voting turn out and the cost drove the public and the media to reject that system - a compromise, caucus/convention and run off primary was created. We have that today. Count My Vote not only removes the nominating for general elections using delegates, it removes the run off primary system we have and nominees will no longer be selected out of a 2 person race.

This proposed law will cost taxpayers millions, $1 Million the first year and almost that every 2 years, with about 1/2 of the unfunded mandate being picked up by the less populous counties, the ones that the same proposed law will cause to be flyover places where the candidates and elected officials won't come anymore.

The political royalty sponsors of Count My Vote loved the current system when the turnout to the neighborhood caucus elections meetings (GOP) was about 25,000, but when it exceeded 50,000 and 100,000, they no longer want that system because they no longer have the power.

Herriman, UT

This article is simply another hack job for the count my vote initiative. First of all, the story doesn't offer any suggestion on where the legislature would raise or reallocate funding to educations from. Where do they propose cutting costs from? The only other offer the option would be to raise income tax which would deal a hefty blow to the citizens of this state.

Also, the premise that caucus voters are not able to vote in alternate delegates will better represent their goals is simply not true. It seems quite improbable to think that those who hold an opposing view would be able to vote in different representatives in a primary election when Space when they can't muster up enough votes to elect different delegates. It seems much more likely and makes more sense to me for those who hold an opposing position to pool together and select different delegates in their local caucuses.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Mostly get rid of tea party radicals.

Getting Older
Riverton, UT

So, according to Mr. Davis, "Education experts already are warning that Utah students’ performance scores will drop significantly as Common Core standards are implemented soon." That is exactly why so many people are opposed to Common Core. Because scores will drop. Of course, if we just poor hundreds of millions of more dollars into education to implement Common Core they won't drop; except when they do drop anyway and we will be told it is because we didn't put enough money in.

Bountiful, UT

The Count My Vote proposals place voting squarely in the hands of rank-and-file partisans but not the nominating process. Their proposals grant another distinct advantage to candidates with money and connections at the expense of candidates who can relate to the rank-and-file voters.

Lehi, UT

I support Curtis Bramble's ideas as articulated in this piece. Reforming the caucus process is long overdue. It's time to allow Utah citizens to have an actual voice in the election process. Pretending that a stacked neighborhood meeting is adequate is wrong. The quiet and less blowhard types deserve a voice also. Make it happen.

Provo, UT

How much money does Education think they are entitled to? I mean, they have the vast majority of property taxes in the state. The entire income tax goes to education as well. What's next, they want the sales tax too? Maybe if we got rid of the teachers unions, which strive to protect child abusers all over this nation, we might get somewhere.

As for Count My Vote--there sure is a full court press from the leftists to push this through. Their goals have repeatedly been articulated--destroy anyone to the right of Obama. Why, exactly, should we listen to leftist propaganda again?

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It really won't matter to the notion of people control over government until we can eliminate or severely reduce the influence of business over politicians and the control of politicians over voting.

For 99 percent of us, the only source of information is the media and that assumes that churches do not try to control their members. The media is driven by business interests because they have the most money and are mostly owned and controlled by businessmen. As a consequence, business controls government and government in turn controls who gets rich. It's that last part the makes business want to control government.

People would like to be rich also but most of us are satisfied with just living and enjoying the parts of life that don't take a lot of money. Like raising a family. So we allow others to fight over the big stuff while we enjoy the peace of not being involved.

All this would be fine if the businessmen and politicians limited their fight to each other, but they always seem to want to fight with their weakest opponent, the people.

Springville, UT

Well written, I strongly disagree with a few points.

First, the statement that Utah's scores are expected to drop due to Common Core is not a function of funding. Experts note that test scores across America will drop, every single state. This reflects the new standards and tests, not funding levels. Common Core is its own very heated discussion.

Second, funding is not necessarily the solution to anything academic. In some boroughs of New York City, Newark, New Jersey, etc they are spending over $20,000 per pupil! And yet they have scores that are much, much lower than Utah's. This discrepancy does not mean that these other communities should cut funding, though it also does not mean increased funding will magically improve test scores. Vast amounts of research show there is a dramatic diminishing return on increased funding in education. More money is not the answer per se, What takes place in the classroom is the answer, which research validates. A clear focus of what is to be done in education is the first step.

Finally, this editorial makes a case that ending the caucus system trends to liberal, government expansionist views. Could it be any clearer?

Trust Logic
Brigham City, UT, 00

My friends won't agree with me on where to go to lunch. They are wrong. So I decided we should do a Facebook poll.

Not seeing the connection? Now you know how I felt while reading this article.

Claiming Count My Vote is the all powerful solution to everything you didn't get your way about before is going to end in disappointment.

There is one proven solution to education: involvement and dedication of students and parents!

Salt Lake City, Utah


So if Utah further reduces state income taxes down to say a $1.00 per taxpayer but they put "EVERYTHING" toward education that would be a great effort. Over the last thirty years Utah has dropped from the top 10 in the percentage of income they paid toward education (which was a good effort but not great because of ratio of children to adults) to the thirties, which is a poor effort particularly based on the ratio of children to adults.

Count My Vote would likely not change the number of republicans elected to state office, but would change them from the radical far right to more moderate members who did not have an anti-public school agenda.

Woods Cross, UT

While I agree that the caucus system and the closed republican primary are ridiculous, I don't see the same downfall of the Utah economy due to public education. While I agree education is a top priority and should be for each individual child and then state at large, I don't think the measure of our state's effectiveness should be per capita spending. That is a stupid measure. We have significantly more children than any other state in the Union. Why shouldn't our per capita spending be lower? Don't higher volumes bring per unit costs down in every virtually every environment? Then why not education? Do we really think it isn't possible to have say 50% more students with only 30% more overhead, buildings, and administrative costs? I think it is not only possible, but it is a reality. This isn't to say that there is no need for more education spending. Perhaps there is, but per capita spending is not the measure to determine that. The measure is if we have serious needs going unfulfilled because there is not money to fulfill them.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Count My Vote cuts out the caucus attendees . . . and places the nomination process squarely in the hands of rank-and-file partisans."


Buy My Vote actually puts the nomination process squarely in the hands of those rich enough to mount and finance a political campaign -- NOT into the hands of anything that could remotely be called "rank-and-file." Buy My Vote merely ensures that real, rank-and-file Utahns will have NOTHING whatever to say about who is nominated to represent them.

Your argument Prof, is based on standard liberal hubris -- the elitist notion of a "liberal man's burden." You insist that real people don't know what's good for us, and that we must be forced into doing the right thing by an appropriately eloquent, but disingenuously obtuse liberal taskmaster.

The fact that most real Utahns don't want to throw more money at education -- or any of hundreds of other liberal pet rocks and vote-buying scams -- doesn't justify insulating politicians from the people they represent.

Or pushing the nomination process into smoke-filled back rooms, where money talks and reason walks.

Provo, UT

I plan on asking potential delegates at our neighborhood caucus meetings if they support Count My Vote. If not, I shall vote against them. I also plan on voting against Sen. Bramble or those delegates who would vote for him. He has had years to change the system. His bill doesn't do enough.

Centerville, UT

It is very apparent, from these posts, that many Utahns believe all of their income tax dollars is earmarked to education. While it may be true that the dollars are designated for that purpose, it is not true that education is where all income tax dollars end up.

In the 1990's a state constitutional amendment was passed, which allowed a portion of K-12 education dollars to be diverted to higher education. These higher education dollars have been raided to pay for transportation.

So while you think your income tax dollars are all going toward education, they are not.

It would be wise for the legislature to maintain budget purity as they spend our money.

Likewise, many believe that increased funding will not translate into better learning.

Last year I attended my 6th graders "Back to school night". There were 36 desks in that classroom. How can a teacher teach 36 students as well as a teacher that has 20 students?

Utah gets away with low education spending because of the tremendous parent & community support towards children. But there is a limit to that. Education needs more money.

Vernal, UT

Everyone is entitled to their opinion; however, I have a serious concern about the research done by this writer and his opinion. Utah already spends the most, per capita, for its students. Does education need more money? Yes! But will that alone solve the problem? No. We need to dig deeper into the data. The majority of the children who are reading below grade level come from households that are more transient, have higher absenteeism from schools, and/or whose parents/guardians either can't or don't read with their children or raise them in a vocabulary rich environment. Count my Vote will not solve this. Does the caucus system allow for extreme viewpoints to take hold at the caucuses and in the legislature. Yes. But do we need to throw it out? No. If we throw it out, we also invite big money to control our legislature even more than they already do. Curtis Bramble has some good ideas of making the caucus system more balanced.

Salt Lake City, UT

I am totally opposed to count my vote. It panders to elites and low information voters who are unwilling to go to caucus meetings and investigate candidates and just plain get involved.

Tying CMV to education and forecast of lower scores is a nice segue but not believable.

I do think school scores are reflective of the student population and culture. Two generations ago Utah was predominately White Anglo Saxon Mormon (WASM), with mostly intact "traditional" families and lacked the myriad of distractions present in today's world. Reading, a fundamental educational activity, was a common pass time and education attracted college students from the upper quartiles of academic ability. Today, not so much.

Today we are multilingual, multicultural and varied in family grouping organization, many with single parent or both parents working. Today, many parents are ill-prepared for adulthood let alone raising a child. Schools are hyper-politically correct, focused on herding the stragglers and ignoring the achievers.

Giving more money to the present public education system without clear marching orders from competent adult supervision is a waste. IMHO at the present time, adult supervision seems to be lacking in government, academia and society in general.

Kearns, UT

It's a good thing that this is an Op-Ed piece. It is the biggest crock that I have read in a long time. Of course Davis's opinion doesn't reflect as the opinion of BYU.

The Caucus/Convention system is just fine. It gives people at the grass roots the opportunity to participate.

If his cherished Count My Vote passes, the next column will be how we should keep money out of elections because the candidates will have to raise a lot for a primary. The candidates will be listening to their contributors, not the voters. Of course the Count My Vote proponents are still upset that Bennett lost. How dare we average voters that cared enough to get elected delegates have any say. Only rich Establishment Republicans will ever get elected if this passes.

An Orrin Hatch wouldn't have a chance. Neither would a Mia Love. They weren't establishment at the time they first ran. They got in by impressing motivated voters, AKA Delegates.

With the caucus system, candidates listen to average voters elected to represent the will of the voting district.

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