Top 10 Stories of 2015

Written By: admin - Jan• 01•16

Top 10 Stories of 2015 forthcoming

Election Recap

Written By: admin - Jan• 01•16

Election Recap forthcoming

ELECTION: Unofficial Results – CHCRG helps Angela Johnson win Council seat!

Written By: admin - Nov• 04•15

Congratulations to Angela Johnson winning a seat on the CH Council.  This adds another conservative voice to help Councilman Rob Crawley serve CH families and protect their tax dollars.   (See CH's preliminary Utah County election totals below.)  

Thanks to CH Voters from CHCRG  20151104_115104

 

Angela's win will help the voice of the citizens be heard, especially as the Citizen's Initiative Petition next year to finally bring the future of the golf course to a vote of the citizens — which Rees and Geddes are against.  Despite the Mayor's "unbiased" Golf Finance Committee's questionable last-minute "conclusions" against Councilman Crawley's golf finance & options research, CHCRG successfully promoted ideas held by many in the community, that helped Angela to her breakthrough win! Congratulations to Angela, her campaign, her family, and all the CHCRG supporters time, resources and efforts in her behalf.

NOTE:  The questionable claims and political tactics used by city insiders during the election will be documented and explored on this website at a later time.  Their efforts did not surprise CHCRG.  We anticipated their public ambush of Councilman Crawley's golf research results, and for this reason announced over two weeks before the final day of the Nov. 3rd election, that CHCRG would be forming a committee to draft the Initiative Petition for a vote on the future of the golf course.  (see… http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/citizens-initiative-petition-drafting-committee-being-formed-proposing-vote-on-future-of-golf-course/ )

 

Utah County Votes "Against Tax Increase"

Also, the County voted "Against Tax Increase" of Prop #1.  The state-wide results will determine the fate of Prop #1.  This tax increase was actively supported by Mayor Gygi, Jenney Rees and Daniel Zappala at the Sept 8th Council Meeting. 

 

Thanks to Paul Sorensen

CHCRG is proud to have endorsed two excellent candidates in Paul Sorensen and Angela Johnson. (Note:  Paul & Angela did not seek CHCRG endorsements.)  Paul ran an honest, principle-based campaign, having knocked on hundreds of doors in CH to talk with the people.  As Paul's campaign mailer wrote, "[I] asked for your opinions", adding: 

While generally pleased with the direction of the city, I learned of some common concerns:

  • The vast majority is unhappy with heavy taxpayer subsidies for the golf course
  • CH residents still do not have promised parks, pools and other recreation opportunities
  • Mothers of young children expressed disappointment in lack of playgrounds & shade trees
  • CH residents are annoyed that road maintenance is delayed, when so much taxpayer $$ subsidizes the golf course
  • Many are concerned that the current Council didn’t protect CH’s small-town atmosphere zoning, which is now threatened by a high-density housing proposal south of Wal-Mart

Paul's key focus was to selflessly help residents learn important information about their city and to promote that the will of the people be heard.  With the forth-coming Citizens Initiative Petition drive for a vote on the future of the golf course, his efforts will pay off next year.  Thank you Paul & Diane!

 

Unofficial County Results

The following results are not final, but are unlikely to change with the late mail-in ballot and provisional ballot tabulations.  

Utah County ELECTION preliminary results 2015

 

Utah Co Prop #1 resultsfor all Utah County results please see…  http://www.utahcounty.gov/Dept/ClerkAud/Elections/Electrslts/2015General/Summary.pdf

 

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Citizens Initiative Petition Drafting Committee being formed proposing vote on future of golf course

Written By: admin - Oct• 14•15

After years of controversy regarding the profitability and benefit of the golf course, a fully-informed VOTE by the citizens of Cedar Hills on the future of the Golf Course is now proposed.

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government (CHCRG) has long sought to help inform citizens regarding important and valuable information city officials appeared unwilling to provide its residents at our website www.CedarHillsCitizens.org .

Most recently, Councilman Rob Crawley — a CFO financial expert, who has by his own admission spent four years researching and discussing the city’s audited financials and explored alternative to keeping the golf course operating at $550,000 per year in average losses (taxpayer subsidies).  He requested that the Mayor and Council allow him to publish his findings in the October newsletter, as an alternative view to other Council member golf-related postings, but was refused.  

Crawley decided to courageously take this information to CH residents directly, printing a flyer (with supporting documentation at his blog) with his own money, and distributing it throughout the city.  Some of the highlights from his research include:
 

–  The original presentation used to promote citizen support for its purchase from the original developer, said that the golf course would cost taxpayers $0 zero.

 

–  They also forecasted $150,000 in profits in year #1, with $400,000 in annual profits by year #10.

 

–  Ten+ years later, the results are in.  According to financial expert and Councilman Rob Crawley's research of the City's audited financial, the golf course to date has cost every household in Cedar Hills an average of  $4,739.

 

–  Crawley's research has also shown the golf course has cost Cedar Hills taxpayers $12.3 million in subsidies.


He believes, and we agree, that it’s time for the Voters of Cedar Hills to be fully informed and given a voice in the future of the golf course.  We trust you and support your voice!
Last night the Mayor’s so-called “unbiased” Golf Finance Committee voted on final touches to a document it will be publishing countering Rob Crawley’s findings.  

Therefore, after much consideration, and patient observation, we, a few of your fellow residents, from Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government are announcing plans to create a Citizens Initiative Petition Drafting Committee, being formed to draft legal language that via the Initiative that will require the city to fully inform citizens on various viable golf course alternative options (including new parks, trails, soccer fields, etc.) and require a citywide vote on future of golf course.  

This proposed Initiative Petition requiring a citizen vote will require time to formulate, and will NOT affect this November's City Council election.  However, we feel it important to inform the public of this Initiative Petition Drafting Committee so residents can also be aware of three NEW City Council candidates (non-incumbents) we believe most likely to support a successful Initiative Petition that will genuinely promote your being FULLY-informed and have the opportunity to VOTE citywide on the future of the golf course, so that this issue can be settled once and for all.  

The candidates we can highly recommend for your voting consideration are:
 

Paul Sorensen

Angela CC Johnson

Ben Bailey

(Note:  None of the candidates sought CHCRG’s endorsement.)


These candidates are selected over the incumbent Council member and avid golf supporter Mike Geddes, and Council member (city public information officer) Jenney Rees, both of whom have refused numerous request to fully inform the public of the year-by-year golf course losses (taxpayer subsidies) and Rob Crawley’s golf financial research and proposed options to the golf course.  Despite their request for our votes, have simultaneously stated that they are unwilling to promote a vote by the citizens on the future of our golf course.

The Initiative Petition Drafting Committee plans to hold its first meeting within 10 days, and will be comprised of invitees that may include candidates for Council, members of the Golf Finance Committee, CHCRG members and other interested parties that are genuinely willing to promote a fully-informed citizen vote on the future of the golf course.

For further developments, please regularly visit www.CedarHillsCitizens.org

 

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Councilman Crawley: Delivers Flyer with Info City won’t provide CH Voters

Written By: admin - Oct• 10•15

Councilman Rob Crawley is a financial professional.  Crawley states that he has been analyzing the city finances, as he promised in his campaign which got him elected for four years now, hoping to report his result to the Citizens of Cedar Hills..

Crawley’s research has focused on the controversial golf course and it’s $550,000 avg./yr. losses (taxpayer subsidies), and the long term trends.  He provided a report to the entire City Council (including incumbent candidates Jenney Rees and Mike Geddes) and Mayor in the hopes of gaining support to publish the information in the city newsletter to educate CH voters before the election.  He was refused.

Instead, Mayor Gygi decided to reconvene a golf finance committee which he claims is un-biased.  With time running out before the election, with no final results available, and Mayor Gygi refusing the information to be published, Councilman Crawley decided to take matters into his own hands in order to reach the people who elected him.

Crawley published a flyer with financial facts, and a “Option B” as a possible alternative to the golf course, printed it with his own money, and personally deliver many of the flyers door-to-door throughout the community from Oct. 7-10.

The following PDF is a copy of Crawley’s flyer, provide by him at CHCRG’s request for out readers…

PDF…  CH Councilman Rob Crawley Resident Letter 10-6-15 delivered citywide

In addition to the research and financial analysis provided on the flyer, Crawley invited readers to visit his blog where he posted pages of additional support documentation.

http://cedarhillsrob.blogspot.com

Could the Crawley Flyer Effect the Election?

The mail-in ballots have now been distributed citywide and sit in the hands of voters since Wednesday October 7th.

The impact of the Crawley flyer is unknown yet. For example, candidates who addressed the final question, “Are you in favor of a fully informed vote by the citizens of the future of the golf course?”, didn’t have the benefit of Crawley’s final financials analysis & “Option B”.  So, their comments were not yet fully informed.

Un-informed Candidate comments Oct. 1, YouTube available at…  http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/youtube-meet-the-candidates-highlight/

What remains to be seen is if the candidates will now fully read his flyer and supporting documentation, understand it, and reconsider their positions.

Stay tuned!

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YOUTUBE: Meet the Candidates – Highlight

Written By: admin - Oct• 09•15

On Oct. 1, 2015 a Meet the Candidates event was sponsored by the PTA at Cedar Ridge Elementary School.

The last question of the night was the most interesting highlight to share. The candidates respond to the following QUESTION:

“Are you in favor of a fully informed vote by the citizens on the future of the golf course?”

Responses were varied, and this highlight helped define key differences in the Candidates, and is worth VOTER attention.  Check out the YouTube at…

 

NOTICE –  October 10 update:

Related posting at… http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/councilman-crawley-delivers-flyer-with-info-city-wont-provide-ch-voters/

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Introducing CH Council Candidates – in their own words

Written By: admin - Oct• 05•15

Mail-in ballots will be showing up in the mail boxes any day.  The voting will then be open through November 3, 2015, with walk in voting at the City office until 8 p.m.

The Primary election, and recount narrowed the field of nine (originally 11) down to six.  (see… http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/ch-vote-recounts-changed-results-again-again-and-again/ )  There are three open Council seats, and voters will have up to three votes.  More than three votes will void the ballot.

CH voters can have he following candidates will be on the ballot with their flyers.  Here they are reaching out to you in their own words:

Introducing Paul Sorensen

2015 Election flyer – Paul Sorensen pg 1

2015 Election flyer – Paul Sorensen pg 2

Introducing Angela Johnson

2015 Election flyer – Angela Johnson

Introducing Ben Bailey

2015 Election flyer – Ben Bailey

Introducing Mike Geddes (incumbent)

2015 Election flyer – Mike Geddes

Introducing Jenney Rees (incumbent)

2015 Election flyer – Jenney Rees

Brian Miller – no flyer provided.

Please thoroughly investigate the candidates, their positions, and what it means to you and your family.  Then exercise your right to VOTE!

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City’s GRAMA response: Oops, sorry! The Free Golf records were destroyed!

Written By: admin - Sep• 28•15
The CH golf course is an expensive money losing enterprise being carried on the backs of CH taxpayers since it opened in 2004.  It promised $100K in profits year #1, and $400K per year by year #10.  Yet, it has never made one dollar of profit — in any year of its 10+ years of operation!   Not one dollar in profit!!
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Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government has long wanted to understand who, how, what, when and why so many many have been receiving FREE Golf and Free Golf Cart use, — without success.
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The City doesn’t deny that it allows all City employees, the Mayor and Counsel to play UNLIMTED free golf, which they have been receiving for years.  But getting at the public documents about it has been impossible.
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THREE attempts in five years have failed to produce one record accounting for the FREE golf.  The most recent GRAMA request for 2014 Free Golf was received saying in essence, we had free golf records for 2014, but due to software issues, the records no longer exist.  The only year that had records of free golf is the only year where they disappeared.
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See attached GRAMA request & City response PDFs…
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How can City Officials, if they are being responsible with the expensive assets they are entrusted, not have records who recieves FREE golf?  How can citizens learn if any members of the “impartial” Golf Course Finance Committee have ever received any FREE GOLF?
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Recently, Councilman Crawley discovered that former Mayor Brad Sears has been receiving free golf for years.  And apparently has been using some of the 30 free passes per week that he negotiated to give the original golf course developer Ken Briggs (seller).  (see http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/facebook-courageous-2001-ch-councilman-pete-cannon-golf-apology/ )   Historical Note:  Most CH residents aren’t aware that the golf course would’ve been there anyway.  If Mayor Sears hadn’t convinced the citizens to vote to buy the golf course from the Developer Mr. Briggs, he would have retained ownership and suffered all the losses.  Instead, CH families have had to cover $550,000 per year in subsidies with their tax dollars to cover the losses.  $12.3 million in taxpayers subsidies!  Not one dollar in profit.  What could we have done with in CH with $12.3 million?
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Reportedly, City Manager David Bunker implored the holder of the passes (The Briggs / Nelson group) to STOP allowing former Mayor Sears to use their free passes because he wasn’t part of the Briggs/Nelson group.  Reportedly, Sears had golfed free while Mayor in 2004, and continued to golf free ever since.  Sears had resigned his seat as Mayor early, June 1, 2004 shortly after the much anticipated promised profits, turned into massive losses on the city financial ledger.  Thanks in part to Bunker, after years of free golf from it’s 2004 opening, Sears has not used the Briggs / Nelson free passes yet this 2015 season.
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Unfortunately, our revised GRAMA request response from the city for one randomly selected week in August from last year’s 2014 golf season, resulted in the City attorney acknowledging that those records were no longer available, apparently because the city had allowed them to be destroyed due to software changes.   These issues pre-date the new, current attorney David Shaw of Kirton & McConkie.
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This is a troubling response for a number of reasons:
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1.  When the original GRAMA request of July 2, 2015 was made for ALL Free Golf records for the 2014 golf season, the city responded saying the estimated cost to retrieve the records was $700 because it would take 20 hours to produce the records.  Apparently, as in times past, this arbitrary high cost estimate was provided to discourage CHCRG in hopes that we would abandon our request, either that or, — the City is apparently selectively incompetent at keeping and managing records that may be questionable or controversial.  We, CHCRG,  didn’t blink and simply revised the request down to ask for only one randomly selected week in August of 2014.  Only then, was the City forced to admit that they didn’t have records because the City apparently destroyed them due to a software issue.  Our question is when did the city destroy them?  Who allowed or ordered that to happen?  What does Mayor Gygi, Council members / Candidates Jenney Rees and Mike Geddes know about Free Golf records and their destruction?  Do they know how the records may yet be accessed or rescued?  When were they destroyed?  Before or after our GRAMA request?
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2.  About five years ago Ken Cromar (former CH Councilman 1994 to 2000) made the first GRAMA request for ALL records of Free Golf.  The City responded that they didn’t keep records of Free Golf.  The City was encouraged to respect the public’s expensive golf course asset and to begin  accounting for all free golf.  That did not happen.
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3.  Approximately 2 years ago, Ken Cromar — while acting as CHCRG’s head researcher — dropped in to the Clubhouse and spoke with the previous Golf Manager Mr. Madsen and asked to see the Free Golf records.  He admitted they didn’t keep the records of Free Golf.  Additionally, he acknowledged that he had no idea how much the taxpayers paid each year to subsidize (keep open) the golf course.  Two weeks later we were surprised to learn that Mr. Madsen had resigned as the CH Golf Club Manager and had taken another job at another golf course.
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4.  Mayor Gary Gygi and public information officer Jenney Rees have never published the year-by-year golf course losses on the front page of the City Newsletter OR in the annual State of the City report, to correct the City’s misleading September 2011 Newsletter front page declaration that the golf course “cash flow positive” — just before the election.  This misrepresentation helped Gary Gygi and Jenney Rees get narrowly elected on their 2011 campaign that supported “our successful golf course”.
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5.  The City officials, specifically Mayor Gygi and public information officer Jenney Rees, and other Council members have refused to allow CH resident to be armed with golf course financial facts.  They have refused to allow financial professional and accounting expert Councilman Rob Crawley to publish his thorough report on the golf course losses and trends, or to inform the citizens of that potentially less-costly alternatives to the golf course exist — in the Newsletter BEFORE  the Primary this past August, or prior to the forthcoming FALL election.  Why?
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The golf course has averaged over $550,000+ / year in losses (taxpayer subsidies), and stole the entire $2.9 million collected to build a “pool & Rec Center”, and instead built a golf clubhouse, golf grill & wedding reception center.  Note: The golf grill closed in June due to lack of business.  See… http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/clubhouse-grill-elev8-permanently-closed/
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Most City Council members have refused to allow the Voters to become FULLY informed on the golf course at its $12.3 million in losses, or in the cost-saving alternatives with corrective publication in the front page of the Newsletter.
Only Councilman Crawley has fought to inform  and promote a citizen VOTE on the future of the financially troubled CH golf course.  He should be thanked for fighting in behalf of the citizens of Cedar Hills…  RCrawley@cedarhills.org
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City Attorney: City Manager runs CH – not the Mayor

Written By: admin - Sep• 25•15

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

 

Cedar Hills Councilman Rob Crawley posted an interesting document on his blog.  It was about the Council’s requested clarification by the City Attorney answering the question:

Who has the authority to run the City?

The answer is buried in the document details below.  But, the simple answer is that the key power and authority under State Code and CH City ordinance puts that power and responsibility in the hands of the City Manger David Bunker, — not Mayor Gary Gygi.

Mayor Gygi has raised concerns recently by his usurpation of powers in a number of areas, including micro-management and resulting alienation of the City employees.  This Council requested clarification from the new CH City Attorney  David Shaw who made it clear that the scope of the Mayor’s powers is closer to that of being the CH’s ceremonial public face in cutting ribbons, speaking at Eagle Scout events, etc., and chairing the City Council meetings — rather than the complete control he has reportedly pursued.

Here’s Councilman Crawley’s post & the City Attorney David Shaw’s letter to the Council, as taken and belatedly provided for you here from Crawley’s blog…  http://cedarhillsrob.blogspot.com

 

Over the last couple of years while I have been on the city council, there have been debate and occasional disagreement about the various duties and responsibilities of the mayor, city council and city manager.  I requested that our attorney spell out the boundaries for us as we move forward to hopefully limit the disagreements and debates over the next 2+ years that I will remain on the city council.  Following is his report:

 

TO:                     The Honorable Gary Gygi Council Member Augustus Council Member Crawley Council Member Geddes Council Member Rees Council Member Zappala

CC:                     David Bunker, City Manager

FROM:               David J. Shaw, City Attorney

Elysa Dishman

DATE:                July 21, 2015

SUBJECT:         Roles and Responsibilities of the Cedar Hills Mayor, City Council, and City

Manager

This Memorandum is in response to your request for our analysis of the roles and responsibilities of the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager for the City of Cedar Hills (the “City”) pursuant to Utah Law and the Cedar Hills Municipal Code (“CHMC”). Under the City’s current form of government, each of the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager have distinct roles under applicable law. Generally speaking, the Mayor is the “chief executive officer” who supervises, presides, and plays a role in formulating high-level policies and the strategic vision for the City.  The City Council is the legislative and governing body of the City and has executive and administrative duties that are not tasked to the Mayor.   The City Manager is the “chief administrative officer of the city” and manages the day-to-day operation of city functions.  For a side-by-side comparison of the roles and responsibilities of the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager from the Utah Code and CHMC, see Addendum A attached to this Memorandum.

DISCUSSION

Form of Cedar Hills Governing Body and the Utah Municipal Code

The governing body for the City of Cedar Hills is a council composed of six members, …

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For the complete posting see http://cedarhillsrob.blogspot.com

OR, open this PDF …  CH Attorney David Shaw on Mayor vs City Manager duties & responsibilities 2015 07 21

 

 

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INVITATION – To All Candidates for CH Council,

Written By: admin - Sep• 18•15

OPEN INVITATION

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To All Candidates for Cedar Hills Council,

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Congrats on making it through the Primary vote.
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We would like to introduce you — in your own words — to our Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government readers.
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So, we would like to offer you the opportunity to have your latest, respectful flyer or position paper (preferably a one or two page doc in a PDF format) that our readers can open.
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Each flyer will be posted with “Introducing Candidate for CH Council Jenney Rees”, etc., without any comment.
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May we invite your submission to our head Researcher at  KenCromar@BlueMoonProd.com  ideally by Wednesday night Sept 23.
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For those who choose not to submit, we will gather information regarding your positions as best we can, and provide that information to readers.  We would much rather have you state your own position in your own words.
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Until Then,
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Ken Cromar signature blue 3 lg
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Ken Cromar – Researcher for
Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government
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