Friday, May 22, 2015

The Value of a Volunteer Lies in Giving Love and Being a Role Model

   It is the one-on-one volunteer I seek most, in wanting our prisons to have more volunteers. While attending the open house on the prisons Wednesday, I asked one of the officials what kind of things the volunteers were doing.
   Helping with family home evenings and church services and such, came the answer. He also mentioned a mentoring program. Those are good things.
   I reflect on what other things a volunteer might do. Just sitting and talking, would be one. Just listening to and offering advice. Or, you could teach them. A volunteer could teach them to read, or how to do math, or all about science.
   Here's what I'm thinking, though. The real value of a volunteer lies in how well that volunteer provides two things: love and being an example. You can be an example while conducting a FHE lesson in front of a classroom, but to give love is more effective when it is just one-on-one.
   The prisoner sometimes gets love, sometimes doesn't. Sometimes family members come in and show love, and sometimes the prisoner goes without any at all. That, then -- providing love -- becomes a value of the volunteer.
   Being an example? That is a huge need. So often we do not learn something unless someone shows us how. So it is, we don't change our our character unless we see someone model for us how we should behave. Now, do we leave the prisoner to find role models from fellow inmates and from his friends and family who come visiting?
   Or, do we bring in positive role models? Do we bring in volunteers who serve as examples?


Thursday, May 21, 2015

If the Site You've Got is the Best, Why Move?

   What makes for a good prison site?
   It should be as close as you can get to the services, such as the courts, the psychiatrists, and such.
   It should be close to the largest base of volunteers, which means built right into largest segment of the population.
   It should have adequate infrastructure: roads and utilities that can accommodate it.
   It should be large enough and open enough so the facilities necessary can be provided on it.
   Of the five sites being considered, four do not come close to equaling the current Draper site. The fifth, out past the airport, also probably is a little behind the Draper site.
   If the site you've got is better than the ones you are considering, why move?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

If the Goal is the Best Prison, Keep Your Eye on that Objective

   To those who would move the prison, who say the economic benefits demand it, I reply, Good governance is not always a matter of economics.
   You don't built and run a school but what it costs money. Your first concern is, How can we make our schools better. Yes, if all sites were equal, you might sell off one site for the property tax revenue it could generate, or because that site is in the center of a booming high-tech hub and the property could be used for that.
   But, the siting would remain important. It would have to be located in the community it aimed to serve, and, regardless what property you chose, it would mean that property could not be used for the commercial benefit it would have if a store or a housing development or something else went there.
   There a price you pay when you provide a service. Good governance demands that you pay the price.
   Much has been made of the fact those in the real estate industry are at the forefront of the prison relocation effort. I do not say that they are going to make a profit. What I do fear, is that they will see the question not from the viewpoint of which site will best be suited the best prison, but from the vantage point that property suited for high commercial development should not be squandered on a prison.
   Good governance should be the first priority. And, if you are compromising that in order to provide economic development, you are not keeping your eye on what should be your objective.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Non-Profits Should be Allowed to Say Who They Support

   Are we to remain silent about one freedom of speech that has been lost? I speak of non-profit organizations and their being outlawed from speaking their mind on who they support for offices.
   It just seems that being able to say who you support for public office is as much a matter of free speech as anything.

Monday, May 18, 2015

I Wonder if Sometimes 'Militia' is but a Cleaned-Up Term for a Gang

   It would not be true of all militias, but I wonder if sometimes "militia" is but a cleaned up term for a gang.
   Got wondering about that while thinking of the war between the Bandidos and Cossacks, Was wondering if some motorcycle clubs consider themselves militias when I read on a thread of a person saying the shooting at Twin Peaks in Waco, "will certainly be used as a pretentse for increased police presence among militia groups."
   That made me wonder more.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

It isn't a Party Unless You Can Toot Your Horn

   Would this be good of a political party? What if it sought to fill its primaries with candidates holding opposite views on current issues? One candidate who favored prison relocation, and another who opposed it. One candidate who championed Common Core, and another who despised it.  One who endorsed Gov. Herbert's Healthy Utah, and another who stood against it.
   What if the party sought to make each race, a race on a particular issue -- a referendum, of sorts, on that issue?
   The Democrats, in particular, often do not have two candidates filing for the same office. So, the party could keep a pulse on who was going to file, learn their stands, and seek out a candidate for each office with an opposing view on a key issue.
   If you wanted to participate in the referendum, you'd have to vote in the Democratic Primary, not the Republican. Since the Democrats are so in jeopardy of extinction in this state, they could use a little of this kind of pizzazz to swing more voters to their primary.
   And, consider it this way: It would be a service. The party would be serving the voters by providing them meaningful choices between candidates, and by providing them an opportunity to express themselves on the issues at the ballot box.
    Then, advertise the party this way:
   Your Democratic Party
   Where the Voters' Choice, is the Choice that Matters
    Or,
   The Democratic Party
    Because it isn't a Party Unless You Can Toot Your Horn

Friday, May 15, 2015

Instead of Shying from Primaries, the Democrats Should Embrace Them

   Okay, its not going to happen. Still, I like my idea from last night that the Utah Democrats re-spin and re-invent their party. They've long hailed themselves as the party of the big tent. This would make them that.
   Often, when the primaries have rolled around, they've had few races on the ballot. In many places, Democratic voters would turn up, only to learn there was no election at all in that precinct, for if there are no contested races, no primary is held there.
   So, what a massive change this would be. The party would seek to field at least two candidates for every race. And, it would strive not only to have contested races, but to have candidates with opposing viewpoints. If they found a candidate to run who favored more immigration as his or her big issue, then they would seek out a second candidate who opposed easier immigration. If they found a candidate who wanted more restrictive guns laws, they would search for a second who opposed such a move.
   That's big tent, rather than just accepting candidates who conform to the party platform, actually going out and seeking for candidates who go against the party platform.
   Then, as I intoned yesterday, they would have a media blitz coming up to the primary, spinning themselves as the party that gives the people a choice.
    Below are some of the pitches the Democrats might give as they invited the public to choose their primary over that of the Republicans, who have discussed vetting their candidates so that only those who agree with the party platform could run as Republicans.

Utah's Democratic Party
The Party of the People

Utah's Democratic Party
Pick the Party that Let's You Pick the Candidates

Utah's New Democratic Party
The Party of Choice, Because it Gives You Choice

The Democratic Party
Where Voting Means Choice

Utah's New Democratic Party
Where You Choose, and You Lead

The Democratic Party
Where Freedom Means Choice, Not Conformity

The Democratic Party
Choice is on Our Side