Utah democracy 'swallowed' by industrial lobbyists?

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  • Bill Ruesch Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    The next person calling our government a democracy deserves a slap in the face. Princeton scholars researched the question and has determined that we are and have been sliding toward an Oligarchy for some time now. The people can change it and bring Democracy back, but we are too divided to make it happen. Oligarchy we are, and oligarchy we will stay.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 11, 2014 4:03 p.m.

    2 Bits,

    You forgot to include ALEC in the accomplishments of the KOCH brothers. You know ALEC the group that hides in the shadows writing model laws for all the states to adopt.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    April 11, 2014 6:35 a.m.

    " In the end, our democracy, when vigorously utilized, does ensure that justice prevails over injustice."

    We'll see. On a number of issues.

    Utah's legislators never saw an ethic they couldn't defeat.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 10, 2014 4:39 p.m.

    Here's a better headline for the article...
    "Utah democracy - gulp - burp - 'swallowed' by industrial lobbyists?’


    The evil industrialists are not our enemy. They make many things we need to live our lives.

    We could get rid of all industry in the valley and we would STILL have air pollution (because of all our cars, heating our homes, generating electricity for our homes, our offices, our jobs (IF we still have them)...

    IF industries can pollute less... they should. But how do you refine gas and not generate some air pollution? How do you generate electricity (with TODAY's technology) and not generate some air pollution? How do you drive your kids to school or drive to your job... without generating some air pollution?

    Utah moms need to take a reality pill.


    @JoeBlow Far East USA, SC,

    The "gifts" I referred to, that are currently prohibited by Utah law... are things like meals, Jazz tickets, cowboy boots, etc...

    Campaign contributions are not illegal (yet).

    But even small gifts/bribes are.

    It's hard to prove empirically in law when campaign contributions are "bribes"... or just concerned citizens... If you have a way... let us know...

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    April 10, 2014 2:58 p.m.

    I've done a little advocacy on capital hill in Utah a few years ago. My advice to "cherise Udell" is not to get discouraged.

    Its' actually a lot easier than it used to be via todays various social media methods.

    What sometimes seems like a "cut and dried" issue to you may not be to a legislator.

    Try to keep as many advocates as you can pressing legislators, even it means they only send an email to THEIR legislator.

    Lastly, try to enlist the support of other lobbyists who might have a "lateral" interest in what you are advocating.

    For instance, UTA might want to help with clean air advocacy since that would put more riders on their transit. They've got DEEP pockets for lobbyists.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    April 10, 2014 2:22 p.m.

    The day after he won the election, in my state of Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker put signs up, all around the state border saying, "Wisconsin is Open for Business."

    Sadly, the past 4 years have taught us that he meant what he said.

    "Politics is not a game, it's an earnest business." Winston Churchill

    "When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators." P.J. O'Rourke

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 10, 2014 2:11 p.m.


    My solution will never fly. And I understand that our politicians, both R and D, love the power that their position brings them.

    My solution would be that individuals could donate some amount of money (say, $5,000) to any and all candidates. All donated money must be declared.

    Corporations, unions and any other entity could not spend over a certain cap in a year for political purposes. What is the cap? I don't know, but a total of $50 K would not be unreasonable to me.

    Additionally, no dinners, sports tickets, outings or anything of value could be given.

    Obviously, this would take a constitutional amendment to accomplish.

    Anyone found giving or receiving in violation of the law would spend mandatory time in jail, commensurate with the $$ size of their transgression.

    The goal would be that our elected officials would make decisions based on what is in their hearts, not what is put in their pocket.

    Just imagine how differently our politics would run and how much confidence the American people would have in the legislative process.

    One can dream.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 10, 2014 2:11 p.m.

    Re the Koch Bros bogeyman...

    I would think you would be a fan. Under one of your many personas you claimed to be a "Libertarian". Koch was the Libertarian Party's vice-presidential candidate.


    Google "David H Koch"...

    "David Hamilton Koch is an American businessman, philanthropist, political activist, and chemical engineer. He is a co-owner and an executive vice president of Koch Industries, a conglomerate that is the second-largest privately held company in the United States.

    Koch is a major patron of the arts and has contributed to several charities including Lincoln Center, Sloan Kettering, a fertility clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the American Museum of Natural History. The New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, home of the New York City Ballet was renamed the David H. Koch Theater in 2008 following a gift of 100 million dollars for the renovation of the theater. Condé Nast Portfolio described him as "one of the most generous but low-key philanthropists in America".


    But since he donated $$$ to the Tea Party... he's "evil incarnate" to Liberals. Like the guy who donated a few bucks to prop-8 campaign.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    April 10, 2014 12:56 p.m.

    St.George, Utah
    If it isn't already, Utah must be the Koch Brother's dream state.

    12:17 p.m. April 10, 2014


    I would not doubt it.

    Their father Fred died here in 1967.
    I reckon his ghost probable is still hanging around haunting the place.
    The "John Birch Society" he co-founded is alive, thriving and doing very well here to this very day.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    April 10, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    To "Cherise Udell" maybe the problem isn't the lobbyists, but your groups methods. The reason why the lobbyists anad the state representatives were talking and being friendly towards eachother was because they know eachother. Your group is new and has not spent the time getting to know the representatives and lobbying them that the professional lobbyists have.

    You are like the new kid who moves into a school and wonders why you are not treated like the kids who have been there for years.

    You have 2 ways of fixing this. You can work to get to know the representatives like the lobbyists have. Or, you can HIRE the lobbyists to use their connections.

  • ThornBirds St.George, Utah
    April 10, 2014 12:17 p.m.

    If it isn't already, Utah must be the Koch Brother's dream state.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    April 10, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT
    JoeBlow - Far East USA, SC,
    We already have laws in Utah prohibiting legislators from accepting gifts... I don't know if they work, but what more do you want us to do??

    11:25 a.m. April 10, 2014


    Gee, I don't know...

    Perhaps use the $1.2 billion NSA facility in Draper.

    Heavens knows we can track a citizen buying a candy bar it Smith's grocery with it,
    It should be able to spy $Millions of going in and out of Government officals bank accounts....

    That is, only if WE the people [of the people, for the people] want it to.

    The problem is -- Abraham Lincoln and his words are DEAD.

    In 2014, it's By the Corpoarations, For the Corporations,
    and like Mitt Romney said -- Corporations ARE people.

    Lincoln must be rolling in his grave.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 10, 2014 11:25 a.m.

    JoeBlow - Far East USA, SC,
    We already have laws in Utah prohibiting legislators from accepting gifts... I don't know if they work, but what more do you want us to do??

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    April 10, 2014 11:07 a.m.

    Opposition to so-called "clean air" legislation does not require lobbying or influence by industry -- it can be based on facts and logic. Some of that legislation would clearly hurt Utah economically while not significantly improving air quality, which is largely controlled by Utah's geography.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 10, 2014 10:40 a.m.

    "if we are going to restrict access to one group.."

    It is not about "restricting access". Politicians should meet with their constituents, be it Moms against pollution or an oil company.

    They should meet with these groups to understand their concerns and issues. It should be their jobs.

    But, meeting with them should not require major dollars. It should not require expensive dinners or golf outings. It should not require campaign contributions.

    When lobby money or campaign contributions are made, maybe it is quid pro quo and maybe its not. But if nothing changes hands, then there is no doubt.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 10, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    Who is the "biggest polluter" in Utah? It's not Kennecott. It's you and me. The exhaust from our cars is the biggest polluter in Utah. Unless you work from home or ride a bike to work, you're part of the "biggest polluter".

    Isn't it strange that those complain the loudest think nothing of the fact that they are they problem. It's always someone else's fault. There's always someone else to blame.

    I never have trouble contacting my state legislator or my state senator. I'm polite to them and they are polite to me. Just because they don't always vote the way that I wish does not mean that they are inept or corrupt. They represent the wishes of all the people, not just my wishes; but, notwithstanding that fact, they listen and they consider all opinions.

    If your representatives won't talk to you, either you need to elect different representatives or you need to work on your telephone "manners".

  • 2 bit Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 10, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    If the industry lobbyist are so evil... maybe we should not allow them to petition the Legislature.

    But be careful... if we are going to restrict access to one group... you are next (or somewhere down the line). Because once we accept that we can restrict access to people you don't like... it's only a matter of time before they get around to locking you and your group out.

    If Utah Moms against pollution have a Constitutional right to petition their government... so do industry lobbyists. They are people too. You can't say one person can petition... but another can't.

    The lobbyists represent their views... and Utah moms represent their views... neither should try to silence or have the other's right to petition the government revoked (IMO).


    RE: The "army of pro-pollution lobbyists"...

    Are they really "Pro-Pollution"?
    Or are the pro- whatever industry they are in?

    Is that industry just interested in creating more pollution?
    Or are they interested in producing a product you use... like gas, or salt, copper, milk... or disposing of hospital waste?

    You go to hospitals.. right?
    Somebody needs to dispose of the stuff they use to treat you...

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    April 10, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    Unfortunately, things will need to get worse before they'll get better. If the people want change and cleaner air, they'll have to do it at the ballot box. Currently, they don't want it bad enough.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    April 10, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    Sec : Senator, I have a Bob Smith on line one, he'd like to speak with you.
    Sen : Bob Smith? I don't remember any contributions from Bob Smith?


    Sec : Sir, I have Lockheed Martin on line two.
    Sen : Well put them on this instant!

    Capitalism means selling out to the highest bidder.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 10, 2014 9:22 a.m.

    I like the term 'industrial lobbyists'. Not so much that they represent industry as much as they lobby on what can be best described as an industrial scale. It's the same now in campaigning. We have average citizens who can support a campaign modestly, and then we have campaign supporters of industrial scale. They shall be heard first.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    April 10, 2014 6:35 a.m.

    "Industry" is what is written on the great seal for the state of Utah. That's where the state's values lay.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 10, 2014 5:43 a.m.

    Citizens United?

    You ain't seen NOTHING yet...

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 10, 2014 4:52 a.m.

    ALL democracy is compromised by money. All of it.

    Unfortunately, we tend to only complain about the money that taints the other side while turning a blind eye to the corruption in out own house.

    The Left complains about the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and big corporations and the Right complains about George Soros and Union contributions.

    In the now famous words "What difference does it make?" Is the corruption OK because it is helping your side?

    The money corrupts. It is meant to corrupt. Both R and D are corrupt. And it will ALWAYS corrupt.

    And just yesterday, the DN ran a editorial about how that money (read corruption) is good for the system.

    And half the country buys that baloney.