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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CH Recount: Vote results changed again, again, and again… TIE!

Written By: admin - Sep• 08•15

Recount Produces Different Results twice, and ends in a tie! — Mail-in Ballot process proven insecure.

One poll watcher’s experience.

by Ken Cromar – former CH City Councilman
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When people vote, they expect that their vote will be properly counted, without mistakes or cheating.  
 

That’s why the law allows for each candidate to have a poll watcher to observe the ballots being counted.  Curt Crosby, a candidate for Cedar Hills Council, asked me to be his designee to represent him.  I agreed.  Wow!  What a roller-coaster ride it turned out to be.

 
First, Curt Crosby won the sixth and final slot in the Primary election on August 10th.  
Then, the straggler mail-in ballots were added to the count which gave a one-point win to Brian Miller.  Finally, Thursday September third’s recount produced a 8-vote win for Miller that was about to be announced to the public, until this poll watcher’s tally (mine) proved the City’s numbers inaccurate.  
After some quick recalculations the final result was a TIE between candidates Miller and Craig Clement.  This could result in a coin toss to determine the winner of the sixth place and a run at the November General Election!
 
Yes, elections in Cedar Hills are not without drama!  
 
In 1995, I was elected as a new Cedar Hills City Councilman by one single vote!  A recount found an incorrectly counted ballot.  That resulted in a two-point win for me.  For weeks, couples would come up to me and say it was their two votes that put me over the top.  All of them were right.  Every vote counts.  Or at least they should!  
 
The two previous CH elections of 2013 and 2011 also had concerns. We always seems to have some sort of election drama in CH. (more on that below)
 
Because of regular questions in our elections, Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government thought it would be wise to carefully watch Cedar Hills’ first experience with mail-in ballots during July and August.  On July 30th, the City Recorder met with candidate Council Candidate Curt Crosby, Sam Bushman and I to explain her procedures.  By the end of the visit she admitted that she could not say with 100 certainty that the ballot boxes, which not attended by sworn polling officers during the month it was in the City lobby, were not tampered with, and that she knew the election was honest and fair. 
 
Many, including the Mayor, have touted mail-in voting as wonderful because the numbers increase.  But, having higher voter percentages is meaningless, in fact dangerous to a fair election, if you can’t verify every vote is legitimate.  
 
In other words, just because there are more ballots in the ballot box to count, doesn’t mean they all got there legally and lawfully.  CH’s mail-in ballot process stretched out the number of voting days to 29.  And it essentially made each and every one of the approximately 2000 homes in CH a potential polling place.  That’s just not reasonable.  
 
Don’t misunderstand.  No accusations are being made here.  Even if there were, they could never be proven, because no one really knows with 100% certainty what happened to the ballots once they got mailed from the post office.  Therein is the problem with mail-in ballots.  This primary election proved to me that mail-in ballots have made CH’s election less secure, and more open to potential compromise and the stealing elections through mischief, mistakes and/or dishonesty.  
 
Here’s the various results and what I learned during Cedar Hills’ 2015 Primary election:
Chart with vote tallys
 
Why the Primary Vote and Recount anyway?  An Overview:
 
This years’  election there were 9 candidates for the three open Cedar Hills Council seats.  By law, that number had to be narrowed to six for the November General election.  The August 10th vote count, which went until 1 a.m. (it was exhausting!), resulted in the sixth and final slot being won by Curt Crosby with 268, four votes over Craig Clement with 264, and ten votes over Brian Miller’s 258.
 
Then, over the next few days straggler mail-in ballots, reportedly post-marked August 10th or earlier (reportedly, “none smeared”), produced nearly 100 late mail-in ballots which were counted two weeks later at the next Council meeting on August 25.  The results changed two candidates jumping past Crosby; with Brian Miller winning with 284 votes, Craig Clement with 283, and Crosby at 279.
 
The Recount Began
 
Crosby asked for a recount.  It occurred Thursday, September 3rd.  He appointed me, Ken Cromar, as his designee to watch the recount of the ballots.

So, the assumption would be that the recount of all the ballots would produce the exact same results, right?  Wrong.  Virtually every candidate’s final vote total changed.  
 
It was an intensely tedious process to recount all the mail-in ballots for the Primary election, sitting in a room with the ballots counters from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Retirees Glenn and Bobbi Dodge along with Connie Paxman did a wonderful job. I carefully watched over Glenn’s shoulder as he would speak out each name on each ballot and Bobbi and Connie would each mark their own tally sheet.  I also kept my own tally, which later proved critical to accurate final results.  The team was careful and attentive, and when errors were caught, Colleen Mulvey was called over to confirm errors and correct the count immediately.  
 
There were a number of interesting ballots; including one with no votes at all, and a couple with four votes when only three were allowed thus spoiling their ballot completely.   This was the case with at least one ballot, which cost my candidate, Curt Crosby, at least one vote.  But, Curt agreed with me that accuracy and fairness is paramount to a fair process.
 
When it was all over, we were exhausted and anxious to learn what the five precincts total came to, as we were too busy to keep a running total.  While Ms. Mulvey and Gretchen Gordon were gone to tally the numbers in their spreadsheet, I tallied my numbers.  When they returned Colleen announced that Brian Miller had won the final slot by eight votes.  This did not match my total which showed a TIE between Miller and Craig Clement.  They said they were certain their total was correct.  I assured them that mine was, as I had checked it twice.
 
They then called out the votes for each candidate precinct by precinct.  It was discovered that in Precinct #2 that Brian Miller had received 31 votes, not 39 as Mulvey’s total showed.  They went back to her office search for the error.  When she came back she brought the ballot envelope announcing that the three ballot counters had signed their names to the envelope certifying a 39 when it was actually 31.  It was apparently an error of transposing a 1 into a 9, but it was an honest error.  
 
In other words, had I not been there watching the ballot recount, and tallied the precinct totals myself, the City would’ve have incorrectly announced an 8-point win for Brian Miller.  Instead, we had a certified TIE vote between Miller and Craig Clement.
 
Yes, over the years, voting in Cedar Hills has been interesting and dramatic.
 
In 2011, I ran for Council with Jerry Dearinger and Paul Sorensen in a relatively tight race.  That year six of our poll watchers were NOT allowed to watch the ballot counts, and were told to listen from afar.  The six signed Affidavits declaring that they were not allowed to watch the ballots and confirm the markings.  They became instead vote listeners.  A recount was requested but not granted.  The laws have changed since then.  (There were many other irregularities which may be explained later.)
 
In 2013, the then appointed-Mayor Gary Gygi ran at least part of his campaign from one of the City buildings.  This was proven through GRAMA requested emails which contained photos.   (Note:  Gygi was appointed by the Council to fill Mayor Eric Richardson’s position after he resigned to face Federal Bank Fraud charges, a year in prison and $110,000 in restitution fines.) 
 
Going through the new mail-in process in CH I’ve learned how easy it would be to cheat an election, even just a few votes.  I will not share here the specifics, lest I give anyone ideas.  But, I’ve shared many of the examples Curt Crosby, Sam Bushman and I contemplated, with Scott Hoganson who is the Utah County Deputy Clerk Auditor in charge of elections.  He added our list to his own list of concerns and examples of how cheating is facilitated.
 
Conclusion: 
 
Again, it’s not a question of whether the count of the ballots that made it into the box was correct.  (4th time is the charm!)  The most important question is how the ballots got into the box, were they legal and legitimate, and were there any ballots that didn’t make it into the box.  With this mail-in system, we’ll never know!
The City officials involved with supervising the voting are not bad people.  In fact they are good people doing the best they can with the questionable system they are required to work under.
 
Election officials must be willing to contemplate that though most are honest, it is possible that some are willing to break laws and cheat elections to get “their guy” into office.
 
Not good enough though to assume honesty, but must implement measures to insure mischief-proof elections.  No one at the City should touch a ballot or guard or handle the box who is not a SWORN election official.
 
We will never know if this Primary election was tampered with or if the results are true and accurate.
 
We do know the opportunity for election tampering was there for at least a 29-day window.
 
Would it surprise you to learn that on the night of  August 10, just prior to the counting of the votes, I asked for the group’s attention, and explained that I was tearing up my ballot in protest over an election process I already knew was in question.  I stated that the City Recorder admitted on July 30th she did not know with 100% certainty that the ballot box or ballots put into the box were legitimate and untampered votes, nor that all cast ballots made it into the box.   I then unsealed the envelope for the first time, in front of the group.  I found that the required contents were all there, tore the ballot in half and handed the ballot to Colleen the City Recorder “in protest” on an election outcome I knew could not be certified as being completed without error or mischief.
 
I believe it would be wise for the City to reconsider the mail-in ballot approach and return to the proven safe and secure single-day voting approach of the past as quickly as possible.  We shouldn’t have to worry that the vote totals will keep changing again, and again, and again.

RECOUNT – Press Release / Open Letter to CH Voters from Candidate Crosby

Written By: admin - Aug• 28•15

PRESS RELEASE / OPEN LETTER to Cedar Hills Voters

DATE:  Friday August 28, 2015

RE:  Request for recount of mail-in voting in Cedar Hills granted.  Recount scheduled for September 3, 2015

CONTACT:   Curt Crosby – Candidate for Cedar Hills City Council – cell:  (801) 669-2211

NOTE:  All photos are authorized for use with a “photo courtesy of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government  www.CedarHIllsCitizens.org “.

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As a candidate for City Council in Cedar Hills, yesterday I submitted a written request to City Recorder Colleen Mulvey yesterday asking for a recount of the Primary election results.  She has responded to all candidates this morning in writing saying,

“Candidates,

“FYI –

“I have received a request for a recount of the votes for the 2015 Municipal Primary Election from candidate Curt Crosby.

“According to Utah State Code 20A-4-401, Mr. Crosby is eligible to request a recount, which means all ballots in all precincts for all city council candidates will be recounted.

“I have scheduled the recount of the votes for the 2015 Municipal Primary Election for next Thursday, September 3rd beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the city office building.”

Based on the August 10th Election Day vote count, I was the sixth and final candidate of nine winning by four votes, to continue into the General Election in November.  But, straggler mail-in ballots deemed by the City Recorder Mulvey to be legitimate, were counted during the August 25 City Council meeting canvas, changing the outcome to a 5-vote loss and a one-vote loss for fellow candidate Craig Clement putting Brian Miller into the General election.

Votes totals for the sixth and final candidate to go thru General Election positions as of:

                       August 10th votes   August 25 votes   Final Approved Total

Curt Crosby          268 *                             11                         279

Craig Clement      264                                19                         283

Brian Miller         258                                26                         284 **

          *    winner on Aug 10th totals

         **   winner based on Aug 25th totals

 

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In asking for a recount, folks need not assume that the request is an attempt to call into question our City Recorder Colleen Mulvey’s integrity.  Actually, I believe it likely the recount will produce the same results, but in the interest of all Cedar Hills voters the closeness, and the fact that the past three election cycles in a row in Cedar Hills have been clouded in controversy, legitimate voting deserves at least some level of confirmation.  Regardless the outcome of the recount, many questions regarding the legitimacy of the votes created by the imperfect vote by mail system, will never be known, nor will the accuracy of the outcome.  This is the problem created by the shallow thinking that higher voter numbers is good, when it may be artificially created with potentially fraudulent votes facilitated by mail-in ballots.

 

Recount Request was Carefully Considered

I’ve made the request for this recount only after careful consideration and was not a last minute decision.  Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government learned weeks before the votes were counted on August 10, that the prolonged process that has traditionally confined to one highly monitored day by sworn election officials, grows the opportunity for voting mischief to at least 29 days with highly unmonitored voting with ballots handled and supervised by unsworn election officials.  What has been traditionally one day of highly monitored voting at one or two specific locations in Cedar Hills, has now essentially grown to over 2,000 potential unmonitored home voting locations.  While I believe the vast majority of the households will vote honorably, it takes only one or two households of illegal voting to sway the outcome of an election, especially an election as close as our recent vote.

In Cedar Hills the Primary election’s ballot box was left out in the City lobby unsealed, without tamper-proof tape, and left unprotected by sworn election officials apparently for all 29 days of the mail-in ballot election process.  (see photo Evidence #A below)  Also, mailed in ballots were handled by non-sworn election officials opening the process to potential voter fraud.

CH Ballot Box 2015 07 30 no tamper-proof tape CH lobby July 29 - no tamper proofing 20150730_113649

I personally witnessed this on July 30th, when my appointed vote count watcher and former City Councilman Ken Cromar, along with radio talk show host Sam Bushman and I, met for about 45-minutes with City Recorder Mulvey in the City offices to discuss the voting process and “chain of custody” she is legally responsible to protect.  By the end of the meeting, Ms. Mulvey admitted that she could not with 100% certify that the ballot box was fully protected from potential ballot fraud.

 

Morning after vote count tamper-proof tape had not been applied 

Also, on August 11th, the morning after the election day vote count which I won, I, along with Cromar went to the City offices and asked to see the counted ballots envelopes, the brown paper bags and large envelopes were not sealed or protected with tamper-proof vote tape.  City Recorder Mulvey and city employee HR manager Gretchen Gordon taped them with tamper-proof tape in our presence.  We photographed the results.  (see photo Evidence #B below)

CH ballot paper bags after we asked them to have tamper proof tape added Aug 12 - CH ballot paper bags after we asked them to have tamper proof tape added Aug 12 - 20150812_105230 CH ballot envelopes after we asked them to have tamper proof tape added Aug 12 - 20150812_105114

Of what value is higher voter turn out artificially created by mail-in ballots, if we haven’t taken every precaution to protect the process from potential voter fraud?  While I disagree with Hillary Clinton on most all of her political positions, I absolutely agree with her when she was quoted as saying, “Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process.”

Utah County Commissioners have been in the news lately concerned about mail-in balloting by some cities. They determined not to allow the mail-in ballots for County voting issues, to safeguard potentially fraudulent mail-in voting, canceling out the value of the votes of cities who prefer traditional, verifiable voting.  During Tuesday’s Council meeting, CH Mayor Gary Gygi publicly chastised the Commissioners for their decision.

We have learned that Utah Representative Brad Daw of Orem has prepared two bills for the upcoming Utah State legislative session which offers alternatives to mail-in voting.

Scott Hoganson, the Utah County Deputy Clerk Auditor in charge of elections in Utah County, has also expressed concerns with mail-in voting.  Hoganson has reported created a growing list of examples of how the “chain of custody” of ballots can be compromised from the moment the County mails them out.  In the effort to create a false sense of higher voter involvement, meaningful ID requirements has been sacrificed for uncertified library cards and utility bills are unwisely allowed and thus has added illegitimate individuals on voting rolls, who are now automatically sent mail-in ballots exposing the election process to potential fraud.

With Tuesday’s canvas my neighbor and candidate Craig Clement lost by one vote.  My official vote count designee former Councilman Ken Cromar won his election in 1995 by one vote; before the recount found a spoiled ballot increasing the margin to a two-vote win for Ken.  It should be noted that each vote in any election is a potential two-vote swing in a different direction.

 

It’s not about the counting – It’s how ballots got in the box

This was not a last minute concern.  The unwise trend toward mail-in ballots has been alarming for months.   Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government has been researching what is called the “Chain of Custody” of mail-in ballots since February when the CH Council voted to go to complete mail-in balloting in an attempt to increase the number of voters.  What we discovered was the possible compromise of the mail-in voting process that could facilitate illegitimate voting by the extended time period voting could take place going from one highly monitored day to 29 days with gaps in security.  This begs the questions, is it worth increasing voter numbers, if the potential for illegitimate voting increases the possibility of canceling legitimate votes of legal voters and changing the outcomes of elections?  I believe the answer is no.

It’s not a question of if the ballots that came out of the ballot box were counted correctly, but rather if all the ballots put into the ballot box were put in there legitimately.

 

Cedar Hills election questions not new

I have been a candidate in the last three elections in Cedar Hills, 2015, 2013 and 2011.  Every election has been clouded in controversy:

Four years ago in 2011, the appointed ballot watchers for 3 candidates from Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government were not allowed to watch the count.  Six legally authorized candidate-appointed ballot watchers signed Affidavits the next morning explaining that they had been told to stand off to the side where they couldn’t see the ballots, and were only allowed to listen to the count. The request for a recount of the narrow vote was denied.  (Please see… http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/press-release1/ )

The same 2011 election, the City Newsletter promoted the falsehood on the front page that the City’s controversial golf course was “cash flow positive”, when indeed it was losing an average of $550K a year in taxpayer subsidies, and the city had loaned itself $1.7 million to cover the losses, — throwing support behind the City’s apparently hand-picked & supported candidates (see photo Evidence available upon request)

The same election found the three City promoted candidates break their voluntarily signed Utah State “Pledge of Fair Campaign Practices”.   (Please see…  http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/an-open-letter-to-the-gygi-augustus-rees-campaign/ )

The relatively close election results were short-lived as the Mayor resigned to face bank fraud charges, to which he pled guilty and went to prison to serve 1-year and was required to pay $110K in restitution.

The Council appointed one of those three questionably elected Council members Gary Gygi to be appointed Mayor.

Two years ago during the 2013 campaign, appointed-Mayor Gygi ran part of his campaign for Mayor from the City offices.  The GRAMA request for records that included photos was made, Mayor Gygi reviewed his records, rather than the City Recorder, and apparently provided inferior home print outs of copies the pictures, rather than the original high resolution images.  After numerous email exchanges the original unaltered photos were finally sent.   (see photo Evidence #C below)

Photo #3 of 8 - DSC_0308 Photo #2 of 8 - DSC_0307 Photo #6 of 8 - DSC_0311

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion 

Now in 2015, after the  mail-in ballots that arrived after August 10th were certified by Ms. Mulvey, reportedly postmarked August 10th or earlier, were counted during the Tuesday August 25 the City Council Meeting canvas, the vote total shifted putting me in 8th place five votes behind the final 6th spot, with the 7th place being only one vote behind.  Remarkably close.  It is noteworthy that my official vote count watcher designee Ken Cromar was refused the opportunity to witness the ballots being counted.  Hoganson later said Mulvey could have allowed it, and maybe should have allowed it in the interest of at least the appearance of transparency and fairness.

Again, to me this is not a question of whether the ballots in the box were counted correctly, but rather it’s the bigger question of how the ballots that were counted, actually got into the unprotected ballot box in the first place.

In conclusion, I’ve requested a recount as part of my duty to help insure as much as is possible the integrity of deficient and dangerous mail-in vote process.

Respectfully Submitted to the public for consideration,

Curt Crosby

9835 N. Meadow Drive

Cedar Hills, UT

cell:  (801) 669-2211

 

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Additional Contacts:

Ken Cromar

Candidate Curt Crosby’s vote count watcher designee

Former elected Cedar Hills City Councilman (July 1994 to Jan 2000)

Researcher for Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government

www.CedarHillsCitizens.org

kencromar@bluemoonprod.com

cell:   801-400-5900

 

Scott Hoganson

Utah County Chief Deputy Clerk Auditor

(in charge of elections in Utah County)

Ut Co Office:  801-851-8130

 

Colleen Mulvey

Cedar Hills City Recorder –

(in charge of elections in Cedar Hills)

CH Office:  801-785-9668

 

Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee

Ut Co Office:  (801) 851-8135

 

Rep. Brad M. Daw

District 60 – Orem

Email:  bdaw@le.utah.gov

cell:   801-850-3608

 

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Photo Evidence #A – see pics above

Actually July 30th, as the calendar had not been turned yet.

Note the ballot box is not sealed with tamper-proof tape and it sits out in the lobby unguarded by sworn election officials.

CH lobby Aug 10th still no tamper proof tape over opening – with non-sworn election official Mike Carson handling the box

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Photo Evidence #B – see pics above

Photo of ballot bags morning after August 10, 2015 election count — AFTER the tamper-proof tape had been applied at the request of Candidate Curt Crosby.

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Photo Evidence #C  – see pics above

GRAMA requested email containing photos of Gary Gygi’s campaign for Mayor being run from a City building.

 

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City’s Final Results

 

CH Primary 2015 08 25a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Herald: AF Canyon Vision committee dissolved, now what?

Written By: admin - Aug• 21•15

DAILY HERALD  –  August 12, 2015 5:00 pm  •  Cathy Allred Daily Herald

 

American Fork Canyon Vision is officially disbanded, and Utah County commissioners now are responsible for organizing any additional study or planning for the canyon.

“That group no longer exists; it has been dissolved,” said Shawn Seager, project manager for the AFC Vision steering committee.

Seager, who is also a Mountainland Association of Governments director, said there is no Aug. 20 formal public meeting as posted on afcvision.com.

“Right now the setting up of task forces and moving forward is squarely in the court of the commissioners,” said Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee.

For complete article…   http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/american-fork-canyon-vision-committee-dissolved-now-what/article_57d6e95e-c07d-5ef8-a4a7-5967d3684745.html

 

(NOTE:   The Preserve & Protect American Fork Canyon effort to date has been a success — but it’s not over.

Mark Allen’s story to empower the citizens is in direct contrast to Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi.  Our Mayor reportedly under-informed the CH Council regarding his efforts on the AF Canyon Vision Committee on a number of important issues.  He reportedly did not acknowledge the “considerations” he received from Snowbird including helicopter rides, a black tie event, etc., until after being confronted publicly by Council members.  His article in the July Newsletter supported Snowbird property rights and ignored acknowledging the desires of CH residents.  The Mayor rejected the public inviting his resignation from Committee in favor of a different CH representative.  The AF Canyon Vision Committee ultimately collapsed under a cloud of controversy.  

Numerous CH individuals have reported Mayor Gary Gygi’s sharing part of his political aspirations includes a run the Governor’s office.

Could this help explain his support of deep financial pockets of Snowbird owners against the desires of CH residents?

 

See VIDEO of CH Councilmembers’ and others’ comments at AF High School meeting July at…. http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/video-9-current-former-ch-council-members-attend-preserve-protect-af-canyon-meeting-at-afhs/ )

The public’s will was successfully heard and AF Canyon was protected — for now.

For more information on Preserve & Protect American Fork Canyon see…

AmericanForkCanyon.com

&

FaceBook – Preserve & Protect AF Canyon at…

http://on.fb.me/1MCVLmI

 

 

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American Fork Canyon Protector: Hero Mark Allen – Thanks!

Written By: admin - Aug• 21•15

 

 

 

 

Mark Allen image DH AF Canyon 55cbe7a675cf1

DAILY HERALD:   The man largely behind protecting American Fork Canyon: Mark Allen

Mark Allen with one of his horses in this undated photo.

August 13, 2015 11:00 am  •  Karissa Neely Daily Herald

Mark Allen of Lindon is definitely a modern-day hero to many – not for saving a person, but for saving a canyon.

Early this summer, Allen saw a Facebook post by American Fork resident Karen McCoy about the proposed Mountain Accord land swap of 416 acres of National Forest Service land in American Fork Canyon for 1,400 acres of private land in Salt Lake County’s Little Cottonwood Canyon. As he pondered how little the public knew about the swap, he decided to put his social media marketing skills to work. He contacted McCoy, and with photographer Willie Holdman, put together a dedicated Facebook page, Protect and Preserve American Fork Canyon, to get the word out.

“He wanted to make the page a clearinghouse for information. He said he was doing the Facebook page just to see if people were OK with the swap. If they were, then he felt like ‘it is what it is.’ But if they weren’t, then we’d go from there,” McCoy said. “He did it, and it just took off, it was crazy. The page took off and the public got involved.”

The page got almost 10,000 likes, and people started posting their own experiences and photos to the page. But Allen did not end his involvement there, letting the public find their way forward, and that is why McCoy, Holdman, and American Fork City Councilman Brad Frost call him heroic.

When the public started getting involved, and requiring more and more information, Allen was on the forefront gathering those facts and event times. All three believe that without Allen, the swap would have gone through almost completely unnoticed by Utah County residents and government leaders. As it was, the swell of public opinion and media attention halted the swap.

For the complete story see…  http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/the-man-largely-behind-protecting-american-fork-canyon-mark-allen/article_5365239e-754b-53dd-9ccb-89b095a217ad.html 

 

(NOTE:  Mark Allen’s story is in direct contrast to Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi.  Despite the Mayor’s efforts, the public’s will was successfully heard, AF Canyon Vision Committee dissolved and Mark Allen’s efforts to help citizens protect AF Canyon was successful.   See VIDEO of CH Councilmembers’ and others’ comments at AF High School meeting July at…. http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/video-9-current-former-ch-council-members-attend-preserve-protect-af-canyon-meeting-at-afhs/ )

Follow the effort to “Protect & Preserve American Fork Canyon” at…

http://americanforkcanyon.com

    &

FaceBook  –  http://on.fb.me/1MCVLmI  (bit.ly shortened link)

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VIDEO: CH Golf Finance Committee Meeting – Aug 6, 2015

Written By: admin - Aug• 13•15

At the request of Mayor Gary Gygi & Councilman Rob Crawley — in the public interest — the following is a YouTube video link, which begins a few minutes into the meeting as introductions are being made.

Apologies for the quality as the individuals did not have microphones and the City did not record the meeting, as per usual procedure.

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Councilman Crawley – Open Golf Course discussion continued…

Written By: admin - Aug• 12•15

Note:  The following is a continuation of Councilman Rob Crawley’s original July post on his blog at Blog: Rob Crawley Cedar Hills Blog  http://cedarhillsrob.blogspot.com/2015/07/over-last-couple-of-years-while-i-have.html, FaceBook Cedar Hills Chatroom, and CHCRG’s posting of “Golf Course Financial Report — Possibly most important doc in 10 years” at http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/golf-course-financial-report-possibly-most-important-doc-in-10-years/

 

Crawley’s Golf Course Discussion (Continued)

August 10, 2015

Following is the plan that I proposed to the golf course committee last Thursday as a “Plan B” to compare to “Plan A”, which is keeping the golf course:

For those that are new to the discussion, I will get you up to speed.

  • The golf course has continued to be a topic of strong disagreement between residents.
  • My goal (and responsibility) as a City Council member is to look at all options to see if there are any good alternatives to keeping the golf course that should be considered.
  • The Golf Course Finance Committee is again meeting to discuss first, how to reduce the losses of the golf course “Plan A”. Second, if there is another option that is preferable to keeping the golf course, “Plan B”.
  • My part in this is helping to develop an alternative to keeping the golf course (“Plan B”) that is the best possible alternative.
  • Finally the Golf Course Finance Committee will issue their recommendation on whether to use the ideas from the first part of our meetings and continue with the golf course or to move to the second option.
  • Hopefully in the end, if we keep the golf course, those that are against it will be satisfied that we have looked closely at all options and determined that continuing with the golf course is the best option and will be satisfied accepting our higher taxes to subsidize the golf course. If we don’t keep the golf course, hopefully it will be because we have found a better option for our city. Either way we are in a better position after having this exercise.
  • If it is unclear which way is better, then I suggest surveys or a citizen vote to resolve the issue. To further develop “plan B”, I will continue to look at what would be done with the golf course land if we pursue plan B.

Following are some highlights from plan B as conceived so far:

  • Holes 13, 14 and 15 would be sold or developed. To maintain a good amount of open space large lots would be zoned to be determined by the city council. I would suggest no less than .5 acre lots to be zoned here and probably on all golf course lots. It is hopeful that developing this area pay off the golf course debt. Whether we keep the golf course or not, some of this area will probably be developed as the city has set aside approximately 10 acres for development to help pay off the golf course debt.
  • Holes 11, 12, 16 and 17 directly border The Cedars “wagonwheel” development. I would recommend that the residents of The Cedars determine if they would like to sell a small amount of land for .5 acre lots in order to pay for development of these areas for parks. Parks generally cost $300,000 to $700,000 or more to develop depending on how much parking, how nice the playground equipment, if there will be additional items such as basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball areas, etc. The residents in these areas through town meetings would participate in the decision making process for these parks. The residents directly bordering these areas would be given a few feet extra of the land that was golf course area to ensure no reduction in property values for those directly bordering the golf course land.
  • Hole 18 and the driving range. These would be a similar concept as the previously mentioned holes. However, the city, with input from residents would decide how much to develop in order to make the most of the open space. At a minimum a beautiful park and splash pad is what I would recommend. Some may suggest selling a few more lots and having a swimming pool in addition to the park.
  • Hole 10 could be converted into a cemetery. There has been a lot of requests for a Cedar Hills Cemetery. The largest cost for most cemeteries is the cost of the land. I believe the costs would be minimal for conversion to a cemetery and it would self-sustain based on plot sales revenue.
  • Holes 1-9 are in Highland City and do not directly border any Cedar Hills homes. Because this area is not in Cedar Hills, it would not make sense to spend money beautifying this area or developing parks. I would suggest we put this area up for sale. Highland City is motivated to keep a good amount of green space in this area and not develop it too much so the price per acre would not be extremely high, but the area is over 60 acres and even a modest price of $50,000 per acre would give the city $3,000,000+ to pay off more debt. Whatever decision for this area should be self-sustaining financially as it is not in Cedar Hills City.

These are some initial thoughts and ideas for these areas. The committee will be getting feedback from our attorney regarding any adjustments to this plan that would be needed in order to do this legally. The plan will be adjusted as feedback is obtained from residents or our legal department.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1595779503974389/

 

FLASHBACK: A 2002 golf financial WARNING

Written By: admin - Jul• 27•15

 

In January of 2002 – a newly elected City Councilman Rob Fotheringham, a financial professional, wrote a letter to Cedar Hills residents the day before he was to be sworn in.  One week later Mayor Brad Sears published a Rebuttal. Ten years of audited city financials later, it is clear the warning was not heeded.   (See JPGs of their letters below…)

Fotheringham’s letter explained that the golf course purchase had been passed by CH voters the previous May of 2001, but was based on faulty information provided by then Mayor Brad Sears and the City Council.  Additionally, written promises to the citizens were being broken, causing “significant concern”. Fotheringham wrote to the residents:

“So Why am I writing? In anticipation of taking office I have been…doing some research…. …Using my professional experiences as a financial controller for the Intel Corp., … I learned some information that I believe you should be made aware of: …”

Fotheringham’s letter went on to highlight key points regarding the May 2001 election when the residents narrowly approved the golf vote:

  1. The promise the golf course would remain closed on Sundays was broken by a Council vote less than six months later.
  2. Many voters told him they felt cheated, regretted their vote for the golf course, saying they wouldn’t have voted for the golf course if they would have known.
  3. Financial concern that the golf course would take funds from the school system.
  4. The seller provided THK Associates projections of $150,000 annual — with over $400,000 profit growth by year #10 — by were faulty.
  5. The City (buyer) did not seek independent financial analysis, but rather trusted optimistic analysis provided by Developer (seller).
  6. Projected profits for the golf course were declared to be at risk.

 

Prior to publishing his findings for the citizens, Fotheringham had provided his research to the 2001 Mayor and Council for their review and corrections, in any. When none was received he published his findings for citizens. New Councilman Rob Fotheringham’s letter concluded:

“I feel that our elected officials have overlooked significant risks inherent in city ownership of the golf course, and that the Mayor issued a misleading flier to secure our support in the election of the golf course bond. These actions merit our scrutiny. …

“…Many of the decisions required of the Council are mundane and even tedious. But this is significant, and deserves our attention as concerned residents.”       (emphasis in original letter)

 

2002 Councilman Fotheringham’s warning letter was distributed at his own expense to the Cedar Hills community.

Since then, the golf course has averaged over $550,000 in losses (taxpayer subsidies) with 20 more years likely, which is a huge difference from the promise of $150,000 annual profits, no taxpayer money, no Sunday operation and no alcohol.   No wonder the golf course and $3.3 million clubhouse has drawn so much attention over the years.  Additionally, 10-years of impact fees were collected to build a swimming pool & rec center but a golf clubhouse, golf grill, and wedding reception center was built with the money instead.

New Councilman Rob Fotheringham letter to CH residents 2002 01 06 - golf financial analysis-1of2

 

 

 

 

New Councilman Rob Fotheringham letter to CH residents 2002 01 06 - golf financial analysis-2of2

 

Financial facts don’t cause contention, only people who fight against facts and withhold them from the public.

Here are the facts as reported days ago by current Councilman

Rob Crawley, also a financial professional (current CFO and former CPA) to the Mayor and Council. As of yet, the year by year golf course losses have NOT been reported to Cedar Hills citizens generally in the monthly Newsletter, the annual State of City report, or on the city website. Reprinted here:

 

YEAR BY YEAR GOLF COURSE LOSSES (Taxpayer subsidies)

by current Councilman Rob Crawley

  • 2004    $7,114,152
  • 2005    $ 105,260
  • 2006    $ (14,767)  (Used leftover funds from original loan, paid down some debt)
  • 
2007    $ 448,741
  • 2008    $ 848,418
  • 2009    $ 591,176
  • 2010    $ 429,747
  • 2011    $ 348,196
  • 
2012    $2,631,780  (much of this is the building of the rec center/clubhouse)
  • 2013    $ 786,541
  • 2014    $ 358,886  (Total spent to date through 6/30/2014 is $13,648,130)
  • 2015    $ 400,000  (estimate)
  • 
2016    $ 800,000  (estimate, includes $300,000 for a golf maintenance shed)

 

For more on 2015 Councilman Rob Crawley’s golf course financial findings and possible alternative options, please see our CHCRG posting…

Golf Course Financial Report – Possibly most important doc in 10 years

   http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/?p=1434

 

In 2002, one week Fotheringham’s letter, then Mayor Brad Sears provided a Rebuttal to Councilman Fotheringham’s letter. Considering 10-years of financial facts above, Sears’ sudden resignation as CH Mayor, and 10-years of continuous free golf he has accepted, — though the rebuttal is a mute point, it is provided for your consideration.   (see letter at bottom)

 

In a courageous act, Pete Cannon, a Councilman who originally supported and promoted the golf course purchase in 2001, has recently apologized for his part in promoting the ill-fated golf course.  (for details see Facebook: Courageous 2001 CH Councilman Pete Cannon golf apology — http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/facebook-courageous-2001-ch-councilman-pete-cannon-golf-apology/ )

 

The good news is that 10-years of financial facts makes considering alternatives to a golf course, such as trading it for parks, trails, soccer fields, a cemetery, etc., an easier decision.  20 more years of golf losses is not required.  Solutions can be considered that serve 100% of the community not just 10% who golf.  Many people are starting realize this and are promoting park & trails for the kids of Cedar Hills.

Mayor Brad Sears REBUTTAL to Councilman Rob Fotheringham's golf analysis 2002 01 15 pg1of2Mayor Brad Sears REBUTTAL to Councilman Rob Fotheringham's golf analysis 2002 01 15 pg2of2

 

 

 

 

 

 

FACEBOOK – Courageous 2001 CH Councilman Pete Cannon golf apology

Written By: admin - Jul• 20•15

Councilman Rob Crawley Cedar Hills Chat Room Facebook post about Questionable Free Golf

July 18, 2015 at 8:46 a.m. –

(Note: This version of Crawley’s post was removed by a moderator, but was resubmitted with the final two paragraphs removed – highlighted in BLUE below – and added a one paragraph conclusion.)

 

I raised the concern a little while ago on the forum about the original contract between the city and the developer. Based on our contract to purchase and maintain the golf course, the developer was able to enjoy charging a premium for the homes surrounding the golf course while pushing off the risk and costs of maintaining the golf course to the city.

This appears from hindsight to have been a very one-sided contract. Through my research I found that in addition to the sweet deal the developer got from the city, they were also given (in the contract) 50 years of gift certificates with 30 free games per week for those 50 years. An astronomical amount of free golf. I asked if anyone knew why we would throw that on top in this already lopsided contract. Nobody had a good answer.

I have called two previous city council members, who were here at that time, and asked them if they knew why this happened. I want to document these conversations:

First I called Pete Cannon and explained the above. His response to me at first was that he didn’t remember that we gave them free golf with the contract. But after recounting the contract and the fact that the land of the golf course was given by the developers to the city, he can understand why we would give some gift certificates to the developer. The city paid the developer for the costs of developing the golf course (I believe management fees were included in this, but no land costs). However, he was shocked that we would give that much free golf for that many years. At the end of the conversation I asked if there was anything he would like to add. He said that “for what it is worth, I am sorry for voting yes on this as it has cost the residents a lot of money.  The arguments for the golf course were convincing and we thought that it would be saving the residents tax dollars through profits. I wish I had been more conservative and voted no. I remember Ken Cromar pulling me aside and telling me that the golf course industry trends are not looking good and that the numbers would surely lead to losses. I wish I would have listened to Ken.”

The other previous council member I called was Terry Sparks. He said he didn’t remember anything about free golf for the developer and said it sounds excessive the amount they were given. However, he defended his vote for the golf course because the residents had voted by a narrow margin in favor of it and as an elected representative he felt it best to follow the voice of the people

I haven’t had a chance to talk to Mayor Sears about this yet, but I am troubled by his actions. I have heard from credible sources that over the last 10 years since the start of the golf course he has been golfing for free quite often and sometimes bringing friends with him to golf for free. I would think there would be a little more humility than to take advantage of his previous position and not help the golf course succeed by at least paying for his golf. I know two years ago in the golf course committee meeting that I was told that for his free golf he fixes divots he sees and informs the staff of any thing he sees that needs improvement. However, fixing divots is what all responsible golfers would do and suggestions for improvements are what the golf manager and employees are responsible for. Lately I have heard that he has been given gift certificates from the developer (part of the 50 years of 30 rounds per week) that he negotiated with the developer. This looks really, really bad.

I have been told that someone from our staff has confronted Mayor Sears on this issue. I have heard conflicting accounts about whether he has used any of the developer gift certificates this year or not. I would suggest that Mayor Sears apologize to the city for taking advantage of the situation that he was a key part of creating and pay for all of his golf in the future.

 

_______________

 

Monday July 20, 2015 – revised & re-posted by Crawley around 3:00 a.m.

[apparently same post – minus last two in BLUE above regarding former Mayor Brad Sears, until this last paragraph in conclusion…]

 

 

I still don’t understand why we gave so much free golf away to the developers. Mr. Cannon did mention that on hindsight we were getting free land. However, according to our agreement with the developer, we were requiring that land for open space and so thee land was really a liability as the developer was required to maintain the golf course on that land in exchange for getting higher density on the housing. The amount of free golf still doesn’t make sense to me.

Councilman Rob Crawley Facebook post - 2015 07 18

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1595779503974389/

 

 

[Final Note:  Councilman Rob Crawley is a current CFO, and former CFO for other companies and a former CPA.  

He has calculated the potential cost of 30 free golf games per week, for 50 years, at a potential cost of over $2,000,000.  No wonder some folks don’t want to discuss this issue and fight so hard against exposure.]

.

 

Meet the Candidates

Written By: admin - Jul• 18•15

The following is from Joel Wright’s Facebook posting about candidate responses at the July 14th Meet the Candidates event, and used here with his permission. (Edited for readability name consistency only.)  The meeting was not recorded, so having this is appreciated…

 

Candidates:

Curt Crosby

Chris Fowler

Benjamin Bailey

Jenney Rees

Paul Sorensen

Angela Johnson

Michael Geddes

Brian Miller

Craig Clement

 

 

Joel David WrightJuly 14 at 6:15pm

OPEN THREAD! Post anything and everything about the City Council debate tonight in the thread below.

 


                        

 How will you be a team player?

– Curt Crosby says you shouldn’t be if team isn’t doing the right thing.

– Chris Fowler says you have to work in teams in business. Can’t personalize things too much.

‪- Benjamin Bailey says it takes the whole team to accomplish a task. You won’t always agree, but you need to play nice. You’ll be insulted, don’t take it personally.

 


                        

 Thoughts on golf course?

– Jenney Rees says it is an asset the city has, must pay our debts. She’ll look at any option, but hasn’t seen one better than status quo. Course does add value to our city.

‪- Paul Sorensen says it is a divisive issue. He did extensive analysis. We have 10 years of history now. ‪Rob Crawley gave good options, and residents should decide.

‪- Angela Johnson says Rob has spent hundreds of hours. We need to look at options. We are losing about $500,000 a year on the golf course. The residents should vote on any change.

 


                        

 What is number one thing you would do to increase safety in the city?

 

– Michael Geddes says he doesn’t even lock his doors. He thinks AF police do a good job. Just thank them for their service.

– Brian Miller is a former prosecutor. He says he lives in Cedar Hills because it is so safe. We should look out for each other. Need to reduce target shooting and fires on our foothills.

– Craig Clement says he doesn’t worry too much.

 


                        

Can we build a community pool?

 

– Chris Fowler doesn’t know yet. He knows they typically lose money.

‪- Benjamin Bailey says it doesn’t look like we can afford it from taxpayers. He would like a community pool, but with so many so close, doesn’t think we can do it with taxes. ‪- – Jenney Rees says her kids would love a nearby pool, but too many pools nearby. Would add too much debt. Could do a feasibility study, and let residents vote on it.

 


                        

 What is most important issue facing cedar hills?

 

‪Paul Sorensen says it is what we do with out tax dollars. We are subsidizing golf course at $550,000 a year.

‪- Angela Johnson says AF Canyon needs to be protected. And our commercial zone very important. She doesn’t like the high density housing.

 


                        
What should be done with golf course?

 

‪- Brian Miller says we have a municipal golf course doing well. We are minimizing the costs for running it.

– Craig Clement says we need to sell the land to reduce the debt.

‪- Curt Crosby says the golf course is not what government should do. We shouldn’t force others to pay for the golf course.

 


                        

When does metering our pressurized irrigation make sense? (My question!)

 

‪- Benjamin Bailey doesn’t want to spend 2 million on it. But it will happen. Wants help paying for it.

‪- Jenney Rees says our water consumption is high. She would like to see how the water restrictions work this year. Thinks state might require cities to do it and provide funds for it.

‪- Paul Sorensen likes the restrictions we are trying. Need to look at other options. Might have more water than we think. Wants to wait also.

 


                        

Position on developing land south of Walmart?

 

‪- Angela Johnson says most residents don’t want high density housing. She says we need more land in commercial. A development more fitting to our community.

‪- Michael Geddes says that it isn’t city owned land.  The owners have property rights, so long as they comply with our laws. He would prefer something more than weeds.

‪Brian Miller says he would like a retail center, but Walmart has eliminated that. Want the right thing.

 


                        
Have you volunteered at a city event?

 

– Craig Clement has volunteered at fan festival and on planning commission.

‪- Curt Crosby has volunteered, but wasn’t wanted. Says you should just pick up the trash.

‪Chris Fowler says he has coached soccer for 4 years. And at Cedar Ridge.

 


                        Preferred committee assignments?

 

‪Jenney Rees says Family Festival and Planning Commission.

‪- Paul Sorensen says we don’t get to chose. He would chose golf committee and planning commission. City council should choose assignments.

‪- Angela Johnson says planning commission and Mountainland. Wants Mayor to allow city council to help chose the assignments.

 


                        

Support selling beer on golf course?

 

‪- Michael Geddes says the trash cans on course have lots of beer. Says it isn’t appropriate because young people working on course.

‪- Brian Miller says we are losing revenue on people who don’t come. It is something happening anyway.

– Craig Clement says he opposes it.

 

 

[Joel apologized that had to leave before questions finished, leaving his documentation incomplete.]


Original available at… http://www.facebook.com/groups/1595779503974389/