Shouldn't taxpayers have the final say in the prison relocation decision?

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  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2013 12:52 a.m.

    2 bits,
    As someone that has worked on projects involving over 10,000 prison or jail cells, including Oxbox, Gunnison and many others, I believe you are wrong.

    The land around the existing prison will drop in price. You add that much more land available to develop and the existing won't be worth as much. Ask the local mayors.

    The thousands of volunteers will not be as close and it would also hurt the visitors coming. Both are used to help prisoners not to come back. Even if we could save a few bucks, at what cost? If you leave those two out, you will need more buildings than we need now.

    There isn't the higher education or hospitals where they have discussed moving it. The prison already can't get enough guards because they don't want to commute that far in the future.

    I wonder about the $500M to $600M to build a new facility, move, and demo the old one. Perhaps, but in this case it is the staff and the people that cost more.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 12, 2013 10:55 a.m.

    Prisons are "classical state needs", not "Extras".

    IF the prison is not moved... it has to be rebuilt where it is. It's too old and small to do it's job. The demographics of the area have changed a lot since 1951. It's no longer the best location for a prison.

    There are real reasons for moving it.

    If we want to keep it where it is... let your voice be heard. It will cost more money to rebuild in Draper, but if that's what everybody wants, you should get it.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    July 12, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    @2 bits Near the prison there are now thousands of homes on traverse mtn. At one time there were no homes there and our elected officials passed a law banning four wheeling and motorcycles from scarring the foot hills, an ugly sight for those in the valley. Thank goodness we don't have to look at those scars anymore.

  • Sandy Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2013 11:54 p.m.

    Love this article. Keep the prison where it is--an important reminder to us all. If it goes out of sight, it goes out of mind, and this should not be.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    July 11, 2013 5:54 p.m.

    It is said moving prison will create a profit. If so let the developers take the risk and the profit. Find a way to do this. Tax dollars should be spent on classical state needs, such as police and education and roads. State spending should be the basics only. We shouldn't spend money on extras like this.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    July 11, 2013 5:47 p.m.


  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 11, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    Of course tax payers should have the final say. But that doesn't mean we need a referendum for every decision. The way voters have the final say is by going to the public input sessions and making SURE your elected representatives involved in this decision know their job is on the line. Call your representatives. Bug them!

    I guarantee you... IF enough tax payers make sure politicians know they don't want this, and politicians know we will vote them out next chance they get IF they do it anyway... it won't happen. They want their jobs. They know you control whether they stay or they go. Use that power.

    I really don't think this is only motivated by real estate agents in the legislature. IF you've been to any of the meetings... you know there ARE some good reasons for moving the Prison. The new locations being considered may not be the most convenient locations (same issue when SugarHouse prison was closed). But the current location is not optimal anymore either. The valley has changed a LOT since the point of the mountain facility was built. There ARE valid reasons to move it.

  • Houston Cougar Houston, TX
    July 11, 2013 11:57 a.m.

    Excellent. As one who regularly visited a childhood friend in the prison, I affirm the argument that people wouldn't visit as frequently for a more distant prison. Although I'm currently a student 1500 miles away, I feel strongly enough about this to leave my first comment ever. Please, please get more public input before moving forward, legislature.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 11, 2013 11:56 a.m.

    The comments here show how little the "people" actually KNOW about this issue.

    Irony Guy,
    Do you really KNOW "Certain people will make a vast fortune when the prison is relocated"? I don't. Who are they? Can you name them? You seem to insinuate that you know "CERTAIN people" who will profit. Who are these Certain people? Or does "Certain People" just mean "any random developer"?

    Someday my kids will need a home to live in. What's so EEEVil about building new homes? We all need a place to live. Without evil developers... would YOU have a home?

    There are good reasons for moving the prison (other than profit for certain evil developers). But most people don't know them. All they know is the "EEEVil developer" rhetoric.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 11, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    Taxpayers should have a say, but they're rarely going to have enough information to make a wise decision. I would wager that, at best, it could be described as a knee jerk decision. Ask any taxpayer if money should be spent on anything and, as a matter of self interest, they will probably say no.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 11, 2013 11:08 a.m.

    Sorry to be cynical, but "government of, by, and for land developers" is a permanent fixture of Utah. Certain people will make a vast fortune when the prison is relocated, while the Utah taxpayers will be gouged for a new $billion prison in the desert. Just count up the number of real-estate developers in the Legislature. They along with Governor Realtor have no qualms about sticking it to the taxpayer in order to line their pockets and those of their friends. a

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    July 11, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    Good letter. Well argued and researched.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 11, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    We do have a say... Via our local representatives. If we don't like how they're representing is then maybe we should elect different folks? Maybe... A different party? So the GOP will finally be held accountable?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 11, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    We should have a say, but should every land decision be voted on? I think our say should come in the form of public hearings (not an election). If we must have an election for every State or county property transaction... we would never make any progress.

    What do most people know about the reasons for relocating things like a prison?

    All most people know is they hate developers and they suspect they are going to get something out of this... so they are against it. Fact is... it hasn't even been determined what the land would be used for IF the prison moved. I think it's a great idea to keep it in public hands, but that means the public (instead of a developer) would have to pay to deconstruct the facility and dispose of all the material and reclaim the land. If that expense isn't too high.... I think it would be great to keep it as open space.

    But really... what do most Utahns know about the details of moving the prison (only what they hear on the news... right). So should THEY decide? Basically that's letting the DMN decide.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    If the prison is relocated, the state should follow precedent and keep the property in public hands for public purpose, a la Sugar House Park. Maintaining public recreational open space amongst the rampant sprawl that characterizes the south valley will be seen as a prescient move in a few decades.

    Alternatively, place a twenty year moratorium on development so that no sitting legislator stands to profit from the move.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 11, 2013 7:49 a.m.

    Truth in Taxation. The truth is Ut, voted to give up that privilege. Ut. voted not to support the school's with nuclear wast. Ut. trusts their leaders.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 11, 2013 6:35 a.m.

    Taxpayers? Have any say? Ha, ha, ha. This is Utah; where do the campaign contributions come from, look there for those who have the "say".

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    July 11, 2013 12:08 a.m.

    But this is Utah.

    Where Land Developers and Corporations have all the says so,
    and TaxPayers just get stuck with the bills.