ROCK STAR! Councilman Rob Crawley offers Golf Course alternatives

Written By: admin - May• 21•15

THE FOLLOWING IS COPIED DIRECTLY FROM Councilman Rob Crawley’s Blog at www.cedarhillsrob.blogspot.com

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Tuesday night 5/19/2015 I read in the city council meeting a statement regarding my desires to do some research into options for the golf course.  Following is that statement:

Golf Course Options Analysis

Prepared by Rob Crawley

For presentation at city council meeting on 5/19/2015 

The golf course has been a subject of controversy in the City of Cedar Hills for over 10 years.  It is appropriate and good for the city to have discussions over the golf course as $13,650,000 has been spent on the golf course since its inception.  If we only count ½ of the community recreation center, the cost is $12,150,000 through June 2014.  For a city of our size with approximately 2,600 residences, the total cost from inception to June 2014 is nearly $5,000 per residence.  This is a very significant cost and should be analyzed on a regular basis.

Last year we had a decisions survey.  In that survey we found that 11% of residents surveyed said that their first order of business would be that they would close the golf course down if they were mayor for a day.  The only answer that got a larger response than this was regarding the commercial development South of Wal-Mart as that was a hot discussion item at the time of the survey.  We owe it to the residents to make sure that we analyze all options regarding the golf course going forward.

I don’t have a lot of answers at this point about what the best solutions are, but I would propose a short list of options that we currently have as follows:

1)      Maintain the status quo

2)      Convert the golf course to parks/cemetery/soccer fields/dog park, etc.

3)      Develop and sell the land

4)      Let the golf course go back to native

5)      Sell the golf course to a group that wants to operate the golf course

6)      A Combination of the above

 

I don’t have my mind made up regarding any of these ideas being superior to any of the other ideas.  However, all of these ideas come with challenges to overcome and costs to the city.  The overall goal in my mind is to find the solution that serves the residents best for the investment.  I would suggest the business formula, return on investment, adjusted to relate more to the city.  The formula would be 10-year project cost divided by average number of residents that use the service at least once a month or 12 times per year.  For the golf course, if I take the $11,800,000 (first 10 year expenditures less $1.5M of the cost of the Community Recreation Center) and divide that by 50 regular users of the golf course, I get 1 happy resident for every $236,000 spent.  I was told by several in the city that we have about 30 residents that golf regularly throughout the golf season.  I bumped it to 50 in the above analysis to make sure that I am not understating the number of regular golfers.

Let’s face it, we are in the golf business.  We need to think like business people regarding the golf course.  In business there are opportunity costs and sunk costs.  In business, you don’t make decisions looking backwords, but rather looking forwards.  Opportunity costs relate to what you could do other than your current plans.  You consider, what benefits you would forego by choosing one choice over another.  What residents would we neglect to serve if we keep the status quo?  The other cost that must be considered is sunk costs.  We have spent upwords of $7 Million developing the golf course that we cannot get back.  This should not be part of the equation on our future decisions.  This means that the debt that we are servicing should not be part of the equation going forward as that debt will need to be paid regardless of what choices we make with the golf course.  The golf course will not cost as much to maintain over the next 10 years as it cost to build originally.  I would estimate that over the next 10 years, the additional cash requirements would be between $2,000,000 and $4,000,000.  If we use $3,000,000 as the cost and divide that by 50 regular users, we would get $150,000 per regular user, which is less than the calculation of $236,000 for the first 10 years.

There are other considerations rather than just cost and utility considerations such as aesthetics and keeping city commitments.  About 29% of the homes in our city were built in conjunction with the development of the golf course.  It is very important that the city consider the desires of those nearby the golf course that would be affected by any changes that could be made.

Following are some additional considerations that need to be part of this discussion:

  • 1)      The first 10 holes are in a flood plain and would therefore would have to be planned carefully regarding what can be done with the acreage in the flood plain.
  • 2)      We are currently paying an outside group (Wilkinson) $3,351 yearly per acre to maintain our parks.  This includes maintaining sprinklers, tree trimming, pest control, mowing and fertilizing.  Any decision that requires maintaining green space will need a similar rate allocated to the cost.
  • 3)      We have 65 acres of golf course irrigated and manicured and 115 acres overall.  This means that a little under ½ of the golf course land has native foliage.
  • 4)      We are considering spending $300,000 on a golf maintenance shed soon.  If the city decided on an option other than the status quo, this could be $300,000 of savings.
  • 5)      The city has been planning on buying property East of Deerfield Elementary for approximately $1,800,000 plus attorney fees as there is currently a dispute regarding this purchase.  This money could be saved if the flood plain areas were used for soccer fields and baseball fields.
  • 6)      The original HOA agreement with Cedar Hills allows for 750 residences in the area covered by the golf course and surrounding developments.  Currently 728 residences have been built leaving on 22 remaining per the agreement.  This agreement needs to be analyzed by our attorney.
  • 7)      If an alternative plan to maintaining the status quo uses more or less irrigation water than our current plan, this could affect the need to spend $2,000,000 on a metering system.
  • 8)      There are many other considerations that will come to light as we discuss this further.

 

My goal is to present an alternative to the status quo for the golf course over the next few council meetings with the help of all willing parties.  I would suggest that we would present the best alternative to the status quo that we can come up with and if it looks like it is worthy of additional consideration, we move forward.  If the best plan is clearly inferior to maintaining the status quo, then we communicate that to the residents, help resolve concerns regarding the golf course and communicate that the best option for the city is to stay the course with the golf course.

Although this will cause some short-term conflict and discussion, we need to keep the discussion civil, intellectually honest and unbiased by past circumstances.  I hope that through this exercise we will have more oneness as a city and more of a spirit of cooperation going forward with less conflict.

 

www.cedarhillsrob.blogspot.com

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T H A N K   Y O U !   to Councilman Crawley for taking the time to do some extensive research and proposing alternative options for the golf course, in the face of intense opposition from the Mayor and others who have fought against this common sense discussion getting on the public record.   May you, along with other reasonable Council members and City Staff, please continue this important dialogue.

Please  continue to explore all options that might help resolve this expensive golf course burden to Cedar Hills taxpayers.

Readers can send Council Crawley a note to his email at…  rcrawley@cedarhills.org

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CHCRG defends a former CH employee – City Recorder Kim Holindrake

Written By: admin - May• 09•15

MAY 5, 2015 – Cedar Hills City Council Meeting

The following document prepared by Paul Sorensen, Curt Crosby, Jerry Dearinger, Ken Cromar & Sam Bushman was read into the record during Public Comments at the beginning of the meeting:

 

We, as members of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government, and non-resident radio talk show host Sam Bushman, respectfully invite Mayor Gary Gygi and the City Council to consider a request we make in behalf of a former employee.  We believe…

 

It’s time for the Cedar Hills Council to Correct a Serious Mistake

 

…Made against former City Recorder Kim Holindrake and restore her 6-years of retirement funding.

 

With the Change of Legal Representation – and a desire to restore trust with ALL Cedar Hills residents, we hope you’ll allow us to refresh your memory:

 

On May 1, 2012, 20-year veteran City Recorder Kim Holindrake was removed with a so-called “voluntary” “resignation” , along with then City Manager Konrad Hildebrandt and then Building Inspector Brad Kearl.

 

On Tuesday May 1, 2012, just hours before that night’s City Council Meeting, reportedly then Mayor Eric Richardson and then-City Attorney Eric Johnson presented 20-year Cedar Hills City Recorder veteran Kim Holindrake a “SEPARATION FROM EMPLOYMENT AND WAIVER AGREEMENT”and told her that if she did not sign the “voluntary resignation” agreement at that time the City Council would be asked to fire her that evening.

 

For many reasons, we believe this demand of her by Richardson and Johnson was wrong and unconscionable.  But, their threat worked.  An honest employee’s career career was destroyed and compromised.  What was done that day to destroy her career and reputation can’t be fixed, but at least the City of Cedar Hills can move to restore her 6 years of retirement that was compromised during that process.

 

Those who presented that agreement to her are the ones who should’ve been called into question.  And CHCRG did and has as documented on our website www.CedarHillsCitizens.org .  As you know, the Mayor resigned to plead guilty to bank fraud, and more recently, new legal counsel services in Kirton & McConkie has been secured.  They are now gone. But the damage is not.  But you as Mayor & Council are in a position to make some repair to her for what she suffered by providing her the 6 years of retirement that was compromised during that time.

 

[Editorial NOTE:  Please also see May 2012 CHCRG posting...

Daily Herald: “CH Mayor should resign” – 21 year vet City Recorder says she was pushed for “political” reasons

http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/daily-herald-ch-mayor-should-resign/ ]

 

Reading highlights from the Agreement that she was forced to sign should serve to firmly establish the unfortunate circumstances and duress she was place under as follows:

 

Under Item “5.  INDEMNITY/COVENANT NOT TO SUE

“I will never sue City….”

“I will not at any time hereafter file, participate in, or become a class member in any other complaints, charges, or legal or administrative proceedings against City…”

“If any board, agency or court assumes jurisdiction of any complaint, charge, or legal or administrative proceeding against City…. I shall request such board, agency or court to withdraw or dismiss with prejudice the matter and use my best efforts to cause the agency or court to withdraw or dismiss the matter…and I will indemnify City (pay) for all damages, costs, and expenses, including a reasonable attorney fees, that City incurs in defending any such matter:…”

“I will not voluntarily communicate or cooperate with or assist any other person, firm or organization that is suing or seeks to sue City…”

 

Under Item “12.  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF KNOWING AND VOLUNTARY RELEASE” it reads:

“I have carefully read this Waiver Agreement and I fully understand all of its provisions.  I have been encouraged and advised in writing to seek advice from anyone of my choosing regarding this agreement (including my attorney, accountant or tax advisor).  Before signing this Agreement, I have been given the opportunity and sufficient time to seek such advice.”

 

 

Remember, she was threatened with immediate firing if she did not sign the document at that moment.  We believe this is an unenforceable & unconscionable contract that was signed under duress and without the benefit of legal advice under threat of termination which would amount to firing “with cause” which meant termination of health benefits and any severance pay.

This travesty was forced on one of the finest and most honest employees the City of Cedar Hills has ever had or could hope to have.

Respected by her peers in the State, 20-year veteran Kim Holindrake had just been elected to serve as the new President of the Utah State Recorders Association.  Instead, her career was cut short under questionable circumstances.  It wasn’t right.  It wasn’t fair.  Her career and profession were unnecessarily compromised, and her ability to defend herself muzzled by a highly questionable contract.  Ms. Holindrake didn’t know such an onerous contract was questionable, but pursuant to CHCRG’s legal analyst Jerry Dearinger’s research we have determined that the agreement is likely unenforceable.

In an amazing and notable moment of instant karma, the very next day, May 2, 2012, Mayor Richardson was charged with allegations of fraud in Federal Court.  Despite CHCRG, a petition by Angela Johnson, and the Daily Herald editorial staff calling for his resignation, he did not.

We members of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government respectfully invite Mayor Gygi and the City Council to take advantage of this opportunity to at least make restitution to her name and reputation by doing the right thing and restore the 6-years of retirement she earned in service to all Cedar Hills residents during her 20 years.

We invite a response in writing from the Mayor, Council and City Manager, to inform us of your thoughts and intentions regarding this request.

Respectfully,

 

Paul Sorensen, Curt Crosby, Jerry Dearinger, Ken Cromar & Sam Bushman

CEDAR HILLS CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT

 

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Three Heroic Councilmen vote in NEW city attorney services – Hillary Pt 3

Written By: admin - May• 08•15

Request for Quotes (RFQ) resulted in six applicants for CH Attorney position.  Thank you.

  • Doug Ahlstrom
  • Stirba & Associates
  • Smith Hartvigsen
  • Heideman & Associates
  • Callister Nebeker & McCullough
  • Kirton & McConkie


NEW legal Counsel Kirton & McConkie wins majority of Council’s confidence

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

APRIL 21, 2015  -  For weeks City Councilmen Trent Augustus, Rob Crawley and Mike Geddes have been trying to take the City Attorney position out to open bid via RFQ – or “request for quotes” opening up the position to the possibility of new legal service approaches.

For weeks Mayor Gary Gygi, with political partner Council member Jenney Rees, have vocally fought and delayed their efforts to get the attorney RFQ on the Agenda.

 

Three votes win! According to Utah Code, with a five-member City Council, any two can force an item onto a City Council Agenda for discussion with or without the Mayor’s support.  Additionally, three Council member votes is all that is required to pass any agenda item.

These three fearless Council members had expressed great displeasure with what they saw as an abuse of power by the Mayor with a complicit city attorney Eric Johnson following his instructions, often seen as working together against the Council, city staff and citizens of Cedar Hills.

Leave no document trail. One of their many concerns was the fact, admitted by Mayor Gygi in Council meeting exchanges on the record, his unwillingness to document his position in writing on various items in emails (which are also public records), instead preferring to make himself available for “visits” in his office which would be off the record.

The Council members politely explained that they had learned through experience that they could not rely on the accuracy of the Mayor’s memory or portrayal of the details of those visits when communicated to others.  To date, the Mayor continues to avoid correspondence on substantive issues and his position on those issues.

Abuse of Power by Mayor Gygi & former attorney? The three Council members Augustus, Crawley and Geddes also expressed their displeasure with the Mayor’s use of the City Attorney as though his own against the Council and Cedar Hills residents.  The three also felt some of the legal advise was, given in a February 18, 2014 City Council Work Session, suspect in a number of areas including:

 

AUDIO CLIP #1

Attorney Eric Johnson admitted strategy to withhold public email by creating “attorney client privilege”:

Attny Johnson -Council Work Session 18Feb2014.15.00

 

AUDIO CLIP #2

Attorney Eric Johnson recommends “allegiances and alliances here” to the Mayor and each other, over allegiance the Cedar Hills citizens:

city-council-ws-audio-2014-02-18

(This is the entire Work Session recording, but quote reference starts at 24:10)


Augustus, Crawley and Geddes prevailed and the city attorney position finally went out as an RFQ to the public.  The city received six quality applicants; including five law firms and one individual attorney.  Longtime CH City Attorney Eric Johnson had filed an application but then retracted it, citing reasons in an undisclosed letter to the Council that reportedly complained about how his family had endured “persecution”.

CHCRG believes that the City Attorney Eric Johnson has too often been errant and misleading in much of his legal counsel to the Mayor and City Council.  With regard to the attorney’s perceived “persecution”, the facts show the exact opposite.

It has been the city attorney Johnson who has belligerent with, and defamed and maligned CHCRG and it’s members efforts to obtain the public email and communication records via the legal and lawful GRAMA request process.  He did so with the fabrication of questionable documents, press releases, and harassment, admittedly under the direction of Mayor Gary Gygi and was paid handsomely above and beyond his $2000 monthly retainer to do so.  These so-called “services” have resulted in known legal service billings costing Cedar Hills taxpayers approximately $250,000 over the last five years, possibly much more.

Some have expressed sadness that the Council would consider new legal counsel instead of Johnson.  Based on Johnson’s own public comments about serving as legal counsel to 200 Utah cities and towns, retaining 199 municipal clients should not adversely affect his finances too much.


CHCRG requests an Honesty AFFIDAVIT signed by outgoing attorney

We trust that the City Council will require Mayor Gygi secure an a signed and notarized Affidavit, sworn under penalty of perjury, from the out-going City Attorney Eric Johnson, before he can collect his final check.  This Affidavit should include, but not be limited to a sworn declaration that he has returned ALL city documents, files, notes, communication that are property of the City of Cedar Hills, etc., and a declaration that he did not destroy or conceal any City records or break the law at any time during his 10+ year tenure as Cedar Hills City attorney.

 

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Related Notes:

Run, Hillary Run for Mayor of CH part 3  — local similarities to national news

Hillary Clinton, who served 4 years as US Secretary of State under President Obama admitted destroying 32,000 records when she left office.  She decided for herself they were personal records and “not related” in any way to public records.  How convenient.  Similarly, our recent GRAMA request (see previous CHCRG post) for the Mayor Gary Gygi’s email records was reportedly determined by Mayor Gygi himself, when city policy required the requested records already be in the possession of City Recorder Colleen Mulvey so she, as the State trained certified Records Officer can fulfill GRAMA requests for public records.  Despite numerous written requests to the Mayor for explanation, he hid behind attorney Johnson and has yet to reply.

Hillary’s record destruction and complete control on her own private server in her home has understandably created suspicion.

According to one of many national news reports, the Secretary of State was required to sign Form OF-109 declaring honesty, under penalty of perjury, regarding US public documents:

Upon affixing his signature to this form, the outgoing official certifies under penalty of law that he has “surrendered to responsible officials all unclassified documents and papers relating to the official business of the government acquired by me while in the employ of the (State) Department.”

There’s even a warning to that effect in the Records Management Handbook:  Fines, imprisonment or both may be imposed for the willful and unlawful removal or destruction of records as stated in the U.S. Criminal Code.

In short, that is the law, which Clinton swore to uphold as secretary of state.

Coffin concludes by noting:  If Clinton signed Form OF-109, she should be prosecuted. If she didn’t, we need to know why not and who granted her that waiver. We don’t need a felon running for president.

 

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Open Letter: “Pleasantly surprised…”

Written By: admin - Apr• 10•15

 

Dear Mayor and Council Members:

I was very pleasantly surprised to read the City newsletter for April 2015 and find an article by Councilman Rob Crawley presenting a candid and different perspective on the proposed need for pressurized irrigation metering in Cedar Hills.  Mr. Crawley’s comments were enlightening and persuasive.

His perspective is in sharp contrast to continued comments by Mayor Gygi and Council Member Jenny Rees appearing in the newsletter over the last few months in their ongoing pieces “Mayor’s Minute” and “City Council Corner”.  Their articles are their personal opinions on issues facing the City that are disseminated on a monthly basis to City residents without an effort to include alternate viewpoints, either from fellow Council members or regular citizens.  In virtually all cases, Ms. Rees’ opinions echo those of Mr. Gygi.

If the stated goal of City leadership truly is honesty and transparency, we as citizens need the opportunity to hear differing perspectives, whether they be from other Council Members or fellow members of our community.  One way to help accomplish this goal would be to replace Ms. Reese as the sole voice of “City Council Corner” and have a different Council Member write that article each month.  Another possible change for the better would be to have the article provide brief, unbiased synopses of City Council meetings from the previous month.

Please consider the above comments and suggestions seriously.  They could be helpful in assisting you as leaders of our community to improve public perception of you as honest, transparent public servants striving to serve Cedar Hills and its residents .  Thank you for your service

Sincerely,

 

Cato L. Jones

Cedar Hills, UT  84062-8706

 

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Run Hillary Run! for Mayor of Cedar Hills — Part 2

Written By: admin - Mar• 10•15

We are sorry to report that there is another troubling development regarding records in CH discovered just today.


Late this afternoon during a phone conversation with the City Recorder Colleen Mulvey, CHCRG researcher and former CH Councilman Ken Cromar learned the public records she is responsible to maintain and protect are stored on a city-owned server, the location of which she claims not to know.  She said that she “believes” it might be stored “in the basement or upstairs” of the city building.

Ms. Mulvey’s job as the legal records officer and city recorder is to protect and maintain all city records.  How is that possible if she doesn’t even know where the server resides?

We discovered that it’s actually worse than that.

During our most recent January 16, 2015 GRAMA request for ALL communications between Mayor Gary Gygi and the City Council from Sept 5-8, 2014, that Ms. Mulvey wrote to CHCRG that it would cost “at least $70” to fulfill the request.  Today Mr. Cromar explained to the Recorder that a city official informed him that reason for the “at least $70” fee was because Mayor Gygi had instructed her to bill CHCRG accordingly because it would take him “at least” 2 hours at $35/hour to review his records to find those four days of communications.  She refused to confirm or deny the allegation.

There’s just one little problem with this story:  Mayor Gygi was required to have already surrendered those public records “within 30 days” of their creation to the City Recorder, as per city policy.
 

So, it appears that Mayor Gygi has put himself in the same position as Hillary Clinton in trying to manage and control the public record.

 

On the national level it has been reported that Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Chairman of the House Committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi will subpoena the ALL the government records which she kept on a private email account, stored on her own private server in her home.  She has admitted that ALL of her emails during her four years as Secretary of State under President Obama were done on her personal email account.

This is exactly what happened with then Mayor Eric Richardson who reportedly did ALL of his city business while mayor on his personal email account, prior to his resignation to face bank fraud charges and prison time.  This may serve to explain why CHCRG has questioned if it received all records it was legally entitled to.  CHCRG knew and declared that it did not receive ALL records requested in 2012, because the city attorney admitted that then Council members Jim Perry, Marisa Wright and Ken Kirk claimed to have innocently allowed city email record kept on their personal email accounts to be “automatically” destroyed after a few weeks by their email service providers.

March 5, 2015, the Politico reported, “…Former Secretary Clinton has left herself in the unique position of being the only one to determine what records the American people are entitled to,” spokesperson Jamal Ware said. “This has significant negative implications for transparency and government oversight, as well as for media and others who have a legitimate interest in understanding the secretary’s time in office.”

“Clinton has come under intense pressure since The New York Times reported Monday that she used a personal email address while at the State Department and that her electronic communication was not preserved on federal servers, a potential violation of the Federal Records Act.” (For complete March 5th Politico story…http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/house-committee-benghazi-clinton-email-subpoena-115795.html )


When Mr. Cromar asked Ms. Mulvey if Mayor Gary Gygi has the ability to access the server and alter or delete his communications, she refused to answer the question.

When asked how she accessed records in order to fulfill a request like ours, her answer was that she asked Mayor Gygi for his password.

“Do you manage and maintain all the city’s records, or not?” Cromar asked.  She replied that she did.  “Then why do you need to ask Mayor Gygi for his password?”  She said she didn’t have to, that she could over-ride his password.

Cromar followed up asking if this meant that Mayor Gygi had the ability to use his password to access, manipulate and/or delete records she supposedly maintained and protected.  She again refused to answer the question.

Cromar then asked if she had a back-up master file of all the city records so that no one could access, manipulate or destroy the city records?  She provided no reply.

When asked if she could assure that Cedar Hill’s records are preserved and unaltered from their original form, she again said she did not want to answer his question, but that she would get back to him.

This is troubling news in both CH and in DC.


It appears to many CHCRG members and other Cedar Hills residents, that much of the questionable activities taking place on the national level, seem to play out similarly on a micro level here in Cedar Hills.

Hillary Clinton has NO AUTHORITY to control, manipulate and delete any of the public record.  Neither does Mayor Gygi, the city recorder, attorney or anyone else in Cedar Hills.  Do CH’s & Hillary’s servers need to be seized to preserve the drives and information still embedded on them?

The question that begs to be asked is, “If Mayor Gygi has nothing to hide, then why has he been attempting to control and determine which records are released, and charge for his time on GRAMA record retrieval that are already supposed to be in the hands of the CH city recorder?”  Also, “Why has Mayor Gygi told the City Council he intends to avoid documenting his communications with them in writing?”

The City Council now knows of this development, as this article has relayed to them via email.

It now up to the Council to immediately fix this serious breech of protocol and insure that the public record is not accessible to anyone who may want to control, manipulate or delete the record, and to investigate Mayor Gygi and the City Recorder to determine if that has indeed happened already in CH.  If the Council does not choose to immediately investigate the Mayor and remedy this ethical and possible legal breech, then they should not surprised if they are considered complicit and part of a possible cover-up.


What was it within his emails that the Mayor may have hoped to hide in the GRAMA request? The emails included damning photographs showing that at least part of Mayor Gygi’s campaign was done from the city building.  The photos were altered to lower their quality.  When CHCRG protested, the original unaltered photos were provided.
Additionally, an explosive internal email from Councilman Rob Crawley exposing and questioning many alleged self-serving actions by Mayor Gygi.

Yes indeed, if Hillary’s campaign for President doesn’t work out well for her on the national level, she might want to move to Cedar Hills and run for mayor.  She would feel very comfortable in CH government.  But, warning to Mayor Gygi that he would have a run for his money, as Hillary Clinton most likely has just a little bit more “experience” than he does.
“Run Hillary Run!  for Mayor of Cedar Hills — Pt 3″ will provide new details as they are discovered in our on-going research.  They will be posted here.

Stay tuned to this website.

 

Run Hillary Run! for Mayor of Cedar Hills – Part 1

Written By: admin - Mar• 05•15

If indeed Hillary Clinton has self-destructed her run for the White House, maybe she could move to Cedar Hills and run for Mayor?  She would fit right in!

 

Compare these two headlines from 2015 and 2012:

 

2015 – Using Private Email, Hillary Clinton Thwarted Record Requests

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and AMY CHOZICK

MARCH 3, 2015  — New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/04/us/politics/using-private-email-hillary-clinton-thwarted-record-requests.html?_r=0

 

Compared to….

2012 – Mayor withholds his emails from City Records

May 24, 2012 – this Cedar Hills Citizens for responsible government website reported…   http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/mayor-withholds-his-emails-from-city-records-and-3-employee-resignation-contracts-now-public/

 

It seems to CHCRG that CH’s small town government has proven to be a microcosm of much that happens in the national news.

A series of articles with links below highlight Hillary Clinton’s apparent efforts to hide her actions as Secretary of State from the public record by using a private email account and her own private server from her home, and not providing those records to government control as required.  (This same kind of thing happened in Cedar Hills in 2012 when then Mayor Eric Richardson did ALL of his city business on his personal email account and wouldn’t provide it to the city recorder.)

F.O.I.A. requests (Freedom of Information Act, or GRAMA as they’re known in Utah) were ignored by Ms. Clinton and went unfulfilled, until 4 lives were lost in Benghazi and Congress convened hearings asking for testimony and all documentation including the emails.

That’s when the fact that ALL Clinton’s communications were done on her private email account, though she was warned against it.  She only provided information to Congress she wanted to, and hid behind her perceived personal privilege managing what and when records were provided to or kept by the government as required.  It appears Clinton believes that she is above the law.  Sound familiar to CH residents?  (Note:  Many GRAMA requested records in CH have been withheld from the GRAMA request by the claim of “attorney client privilege” as recommended by city attorney Eric Johnson.  No known direct relation to outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder.)

Utah’s own Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations prevailed this week, as Clinton’s highly unethical activity was finally exposed by the New York Times.  (see below)

Hillary Clinton may have self-sabotaged her well-known ambitions to take the White House in 2016.  Charges against her could include destruction of government records, bribery, illegal campaign contributions, and possibly treason.  She has apparently self-destructed, before her campaign for President could officially begin.

But, good news, if we try hard enough we might be able to convince her to move to Cedar Hills and run for Mayor.  We believe she would feel very comfortable based on the withholding of public records strategies promoted by recent Cedar Hills mayors.

And if perhaps Clinton is convicted and serves prison time, no problem, as the Mayor and Council will probably vote her some sweetheart deal to manage and personally profit by running the Cedar Hills golf course!  We could rename it “The Clinton Clubhouse”.

If you, dear reader, are interested in helping to fix Washington DC, you can start by fixing CH first.     Pass on this website link….

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FLASHBACK to Cedar Hills in 2012…

Mayor withholds his emails from City Records

May 24, 2012 – This CHCRG article documents that then Cedar Hills Mayor Eric Richardson conducted ALL of his city business from his personal account, and none from a city email address.  Our GRAMA request was attempting to get his public record emails into the city recorders office where the Request could be fulfilled.

http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/mayor-withholds-his-emails-from-city-records-and-3-employee-resignation-contracts-now-public/

CHCRG & The Daily Herald asked for his resignation. He was defiant until he faced prosecution for bank fraud and resigned.  For…

“The Top Twenty-two Tragic CH ‘Milestones’ in 2012”

please see http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/2012-cedar-hills-year-in-review/

 

FLASHFORWARD to Hillary Clinton news today:

Using Private Email, Hillary Clinton Thwarted Record Requests

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and AMY CHOZICK

MARCH 3, 2015  — New York Times

WASHINGTON — In 2012, congressional investigators asked the State Department for a wide range of documents related to the attack on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The department eventually responded, furnishing House committees with thousands of documents.

But it turns out that that was not everything.

The State Department had not searched the email account of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton because she had maintained a private account, which shielded it from such searches, department officials acknowledged on Tuesday.

It was only last month that the House committee appointed to investigate Benghazi was provided with about 300 of Mrs. Clinton’s emails related to the attacks. That was shortly after Mrs. Clinton turned over, at the State Department’s request, some 50,000 pages of government-related emails that she had kept on her private account.

It was one of several instances in which records requests sent to the State Department, which had no access to Mrs. Clinton’s emails, came up empty. …

…The State Department says it will now search the 50,000 emails Mrs. Clinton provided in response to Freedom of Information and congressional requests.

The White House, in its first response to the news, said it frowned on the practice of officials using their personal email accounts.

“What I can tell you is that very specific guidance has been given to agencies all across the government, which is specifically that employees of the Obama administration should use their official email accounts when they’re conducting official government business,” the White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said. “However, when there are situations where personal email accounts are used, it is important for those records to be preserved consistent with the Federal Records Act.”

But political groups and news organizations said requests for records related to Mrs. Clinton had repeatedly gone unanswered.

for complete NYTimes article see…

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/04/us/politics/using-private-email-hillary-clinton-thwarted-record-requests.html?_r=0

 

MORE national news LINKS…

 

House committee to subpoena Clinton emails in Benghazi probe

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_289563/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=Fwk8oDHY

 

Who Is Eric Hoteham? Clinton Private Server Listed Under Mysterious, Untraceable Name

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2015/03/04/clinton-private-server-listed-under-mysterious-untraceable-name/

 

Clinton’s E-Mail System Built For Privacy Though Not Security

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-04/clinton-s-e-mail-system-built-for-privacy-though-not-security

 

Maybe Hillary Clinton Should Retire Her White House Dreams

Maybe she doesn’t want to run in 2016,

top Democrats wonder. Maybe she shouldn’t.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/twenty-sixteen/maybe-hillary-clinton-should-retire-her-white-house-dreams-20150303

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Coming soon…

Run Hillary Run!  for Mayor of Cedar Hills – Part 2

Highlighting current CH Mayor Gary Gygi’s efforts and tactics to bully, withhold, and repress fulfillment of GRAMA request for his public document communications…

 

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Daily Herald: Former CH mayor-convicted-felon Eric Richardson awarded City contract at Golf Clubhouse grill

Written By: admin - Feb• 27•15

Cedar Hills Mayor Eric Richardson, left, speaks during a press conference at the Cedar Hills Public Safety Building Feb. 21, 2012. Current Mayor Gary Gygi is on his left and was a council member at the time. Richardson resigned, admitted his guilt to bank fraud and served time in federal prison. The city council approved a lease for Richardson and his partners to run the city’s clubhouse grill on Feb. 17 pending the attorney’s review of the document.

Councilman Zappala: Former Cedar Hills mayor turns his life around, starts restaurant business

February 27, 2015   •  Cathy Allred Daily Herald

 

CEDAR HILLS – Convicted ponzi co-schemer Eric Richardson has done his prison time and is back working with the city, as a Vista Pointe partner, and a few residents suspect foul play.

Richardson was found guilty in 2012 of bank fraud, and was sentenced to 366 days in federal prison followed by 36 months of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $110,000 in restitution.

He reported to prison on Jan. 7, 2013.

After his release, Richardson became a Vista Pointe partner, and the city council approved a lease Feb. 17 with Vista Pointe for golf pro café after reviewing the application and business plan twice, and making approval dependent on the attorney’s review of the lease agreement.

Resident Paul Sorensen watched the final applicant review process at the city council meeting.

“I was really kind of frustrated because it wasn’t really clear who else put a bid in,” Sorensen said. “It went rather quick and there wasn’t much information.”

If he had been a council member, he said he would have made sure they had at least real good applicants.

“And if no one wanted this bid, I would question whether we should go down this road,” Sorensen said. “And if they only have one, that’s a red flag.”…

 

…Conflict of interest

Elected officials said they had not anticipated a conflict of interest for the current mayor when they began the process soliciting for vendor applications November 2014.

“Basically the mayor has been given the authority to go and negotiate this, but the mayor has a relationship with Eric Richardson when he was the mayor and the mayor was a city councilman,” Councilman Rob Crawley said. “I’m afraid that there might be some talk about back room deals or political favors and that is a concern to me. I don’t want that.”  …

 

… Pros and Cons

Resident and representative for the Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government, Ken Cromar said if he were on the council he would have done things differently.

“If I were on the council, I would have rejected Eric Richardson’s application and reopened the application process to get additional bids,” Cromar said. “Have they no sense of propriety? Are they not embarrassed?”

 

For complete investigative report…

http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/cedar-hills/councilman-zappala-former-cedar-hills-mayor-turns-his-life-around/article_619fc48e-8fe2-5011-ba7c-234249100230.html

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Tribune: SLC golf system drowning in red ink, considers closing some courses

Written By: admin - Feb• 23•15

Public to weigh in on Salt Lake City’s troubled golf system

By CHRISTOPHER SMART | The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Feb 02 2015 03:00PM

 

Hearing » Unlike most of the city’s recreation programs, golf must be financially self-sustaining.

 
After months of jawboning about what to do with Salt Lake City’s golf system that is drowning in red ink, the City Council will hear from golfers Tuesday evening.

A public hearing is slated at the council’s regular 7 p.m. meeting in room 315 at City Hall, 451 S. State.

The eight-course system is more than $1.8 million in debt and has racked up some $23 million in deferred maintenance.

Suggestions on how to balance the books include closing some courses, raising green and cart fees and switching some courses to secondary water.

The council already has determined to close the Jordan River Par 3 in Rose Park.

Wingpointe also looks to be on the chopping block after the Federal Aviation Administration ruled that Salt Lake City must pay fair market value to its landlord, the Salt Lake City Department of Airports. The current rent of $1 would go to about $600,000.

The golf program is operated through an enterprise fund that is set up to be self-sustaining and separate from the city’s general fund. In the past, the City Council has refused to subsidize golf through the general fund.

Since 2001, rounds played on city courses have slipped 18.4 percent, according to an analysis by the Matrix Consulting Group. During that period, rounds at Wingpointe were down 30 percent, while Rose Park and Glendale were off 24 percent.

Wingpointe and Rose Park account for 84 percent of the $1.8 million debt, according to the Matrix report.

Further, Salt Lake City golf will lose another $1.5 million over the next five years if all courses remain open, the report said.

http://www.sltrib.com/home/2132008-155/public-to-weigh-in-on-salt

 

For a PDF of the Matrix report go to…

http://www.slccouncil.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Matrix-Consulting-SLC-Golf-final-version-02-08-15.pdf

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Daily Herald, CHCRG, & Radio Talk Show host Sam Bushman saves public records from destruction

Written By: admin - Feb• 23•15

Jerry Dearinger said it best, “Our goal is to save as much of the public record from destruction as possible.”  GRAMA requests result in a permanent record that the City cannot destroy.  It is city policy to destroy most public records after 12 months.  With modern electronic storage growing smaller and cheaper each year, CHCRG believes the city policy should be eliminated, so the public record can be saved.

The GRAMA request by the Daily Herald, 27 members of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government, and radio talk show hosts Sam Bushman & Tim Alders filed three separate GRAMA Requests for communications / emails / texts etc. between city officials.  The process began in October of 2013, and was dragged out by city officials under the influence of the city attorney Eric Johnson taking over a year before the documents were finally provided under questionable circumstances.

For example, there are 39 pages in the “Redaction Log” which average 40 listings per page.  From this total of approximately 1520 items, approximately 123 were listed as “attorney client privileged” and hence withheld from the public.  CHCRG members who endured the delays and group emails for weeks back and forth with the City, became highly suspicious of the final GRAMA report,  believing that embarrassing and potentially illegal activities where hidden within documents magically protected by this clever strategy of CC-ing the attorney.

It’s not what they gave us that we want, it’s what they didn’t give us that we’re most interested in.  (This can be likened to of the Obama White House redacting and withholding records from Congress in Fast & Furious, IRS records which “disappeared”, etc.  What Congress wants most, of course, is what the White House and the AG withheld, or “lost”, or “accidentally destroyed”.)

The city attorney Johnson provided questionable counsel to the City Council Feb of 2014 wherein he instructed them that by simply CC-ing any email to him “attorney client privilege” would be established and withhold them from the public or GRAMA request.  This attempted blanket protection strategy is not backed up by law, and court cases have proven it illegal.

Attorney Eric Johnson – February 18, 2014 – City Council Work Session

Unlawful strategy to establish blanket “attorney client privilege” protection of public records by simple CC to city attorney

click here…  Attny Johnson -Council Work Session 18Feb2014.15.00


Thanks to the tireless efforts of Sam Bushman and his reasonable approach and persistent questioning, he clearly demonstrated a City determined to spend thousands of dollars and countless hours to discourage citizens attempting to access the public record for their friends and neighbors.   Through the arduous process of meetings, officious emails, delay, obfuscation and otherwise lack of responsiveness by the City, CHCRG members are convinced that Mayor Gary Gygi, the City attorney Eric Johnson, Council member Jenney Rees and other officials’ claim of “open, honest and transparent” government has been proven to them a hollow claim.

It was often said by those seeking the records, “For people who claim they have nothing to hide, these city officials sure work hard to try to discourage our getting the public record.”

In the end, the Daily Herald, CHCRG members and Sam Bushman prevailed in preserving a portion of the public record available by city policy on the city website at http://www.cedarhills.org/node/3258 , thanks to our combined efforts.

Thanks go out to Sam Bushman & Daily Herald for looking out for Cedar Hills residents!

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CHCRG’s long-awaited GRAMA request incomplete and/or erroneously fulfilled

Written By: admin - Oct• 27•14

Jerry Dearinger, leader in behalf of 26 other Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government (CHCRG) members who GRAMA requested city email & text records wrote to the City Manager on October 10th saying…

“Non-completion and/or erroneous fulfillment of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government’s April 9, 2014 GRAMA Request.  Proper fulfillment requested.”

Sam Bushman & Tim Alder’s similar GRAMA request also send NOTICE to the City on October 8, 2014 regarding their GRAMA request’s “Non-completion and/or erroneous fulfillment”.  (see PDF #1 below) A recent call to the Daily Herald confirmed that they too did not receive an accompanying letter of explanation as required by law.

Apparently the City has been following questionable advice regarding GRAMA law provided by City Attorney Eric Johnson, which according to the State’s expert — State Records Ombudsman Rosemary Cundiff — analysis of the City’s obligation under GRAMA law.

Also, on a related matter, Ken Cromar – researcher for CHCRG, who request for one-month of Mayor Gygi’s emails, also received a response, but also without proper accompanying explanation by the city.  Cromar met with City Manager Bunker and encouraged him to seek advice and clarification on GRAMA law from State’s professional Ombudsman Rosemary Cundiff.   (see PDF #2 below)

The following is Jerry Dearinger’s letter from CHCRG in behalf of the group and 26 request signers:

 

October 10, 2014

 

David Bunker

Chief Administrative Officer

10246 N. Canyon Road

Cedar Hills, UT  84062

 

SUBJECT: Non-completion and/or erroneous fulfillment of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government’s April 9, 2014 GRAMA Request.  Proper fulfillment requested.

 

Dear Mr. Bunker,

First, may I offer my appreciation for the many good things you and the city staff do in behalf of me, my family and the good people of Cedar Hills.  Thank you.

As you know, on April 9, 2014, 26-members of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government signed under my name a GRAMA Request for specific city business email and text public records.  This request was similar, but not identical to that of the Daily Herald and Sam Bushman & Tim Aalder’s GRAMA Request.

Recently, I learned via the city attorney’s email to the mediation group and through an article in the Daily Herald that the fulfillment of our Requests was imminent.  I learned that Mr. Bushman had received an email notification that his request was ready, but I did not.  Later, I went to the City Office and learned that my GRAMA Request was fulfilled and ready for my pickup.

Upon review of the material, I realized the response disc is labeled “Daily Herald” and hence appears to be non-compliant and/or erroneously fulfilled for a number of reasons, the most significant of which is that the Herald reportedly agreed to narrow their request, while Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government did not.  There was no other documentation accompanying the disc.

One of the most important unresolved issues from the June 11th mediation meeting at the Highland Fire Station, was a clear understanding by all of what the City was agreeing to provide in the fulfillment of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government group and Sam Bushman’s GRAMA Request and our similar request.  During the mediation the city attorney said email records which had been printed to paper before destruction were no longer electronic emails, and would not be provided.  Mayor Gary Gygi disagreed with him and they debated that point in front of the group without resolution I could observe.  Since then, the City Attorney concluded and insisted that “we all agreed” on what the City would provide, but I and others including Mr. Bushman did not agree, thus making the attorney’s position inaccurate.

Also, while the Daily Herald agreed to limit their GRAMA request, to my knowledge, none of the Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government signers agreed to change our group’s request.  Therefore, our GRAMA Request remains unchanged, different from the fulfillment the Daily Herald’s altered request, and therefore an accurately responsive fulfillment of our GRAMA Responsive would have to be substantively different than the Herald’s.

Additionally, according to Utah Code Section 63G-2-205 my understanding is that the City is required to provide a letter of explanation regarding any portion of a responsive GRAMA Request fulfillment that is withheld, and our legal options regarding appeal, to whom, timeframe, etc, and other legal alternatives.  Such letter was not provided and/or the materials provided were erroneous and non-responsive to our April 9, 2014 GRAMA Request.  Therefore, it is our position that our Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government’s GRAMA Request has not been fulfilled as per GRAMA law.

In conclusion, as the Chief Administrative Officer for Cedar Hills responsible for such issues, may I respectfully invite you to send our GRAMA request with correct and accurate documentation as per State Code at your earliest convenience, so that our Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government group may determine what our options are, please?

Respectfully,

 

Jerry Dearinger – GRAMA Request submitter & legal analyst for…

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government

4211 W. Manila Creek Drive

Cedar Hills UT 84062

 

Sam Bushman’s letter requesting proper GRAMA fulfillment — PDF #1 …  Sam Bushman’s Oct. 8, 2014 letter to Bunker on erroneously fulfilled GRAMA request

 

Ken Cromar / CHCRG’s letter requesting proper GRAMA fulfillment — PDF #2 …    CHCRG – Ken Cromar’s notice of City’s non-completion of GRAMA request