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Today's word on journalism

February 17, 2009

Why I miss my hate mail:

"It's an odd thing to admit, but in a perverse sort of way, I actually miss the wretched river, the rancid flow of puerile, nasty, sickeningly homophobic email I used to receive on a regular basis from the ultra-right and the Christian right and the Mormon right and the Bush-impaired whenever I would post a friendly, pointed column full of tangy liberal attitude. . . . . Oh, I miss all the lovely and positive email too, which outpaced the nasty stuff by a huge margin. But the hate mail was very special indeed, great fodder for live readings, for the reaction of horrified disbelief of anyone who saw it, for the charming reminder of just how ugly and violent and grammatically challenged the human animal can be."

--Mark Morford, columnist, (2/13/09)

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Smithfield votes to adopt new city government form

By Blaze Bullock

January 29, 2009 | SMITHFIELD -- The Smithfield City Council decided to establish a new six-member council sometime in the near future, at Wednesday's meeting.

The council voted 4-0 in favor of adopting the new form of government. Councilman William "Dee" Wood abstained from voting because he was absent during the presentation of the various options of government.

The Citizen Committee gave a PowerPoint presentation at the meeting where they strongly recommended the six-member council be adopted.

Smithfield had three options to choose from for their new government setup. The Utah Senate passed S.B. 20 on May 5, 2008, which would allow cities in Utah to have a five member council, six member council or a council-mayor form of government.

In the new government, the mayor is part of the council and is the chairperson. The mayor doesn't vote except in the case of a tie. The mayor is also the chief executive officer and is responsible for administration of the city.

The five-member council is basically the same as the six-member council but with a few slight differences, with the main difference being how many members are in the council, said Barbara Kent of the Citizen Committee.

The council-mayor form of government is usually used in bigger cities like Salt Lake and Ogden. In this system the mayor and the county attorney work full time in these positions and are paid by the city said Kent.

Smithfield would have to raise taxes on local businesses and citizens in order to pay the mayor and county attorney's salaries, said Citizen Committee member Kent Ward.

Ward stressed how expensive it is to have a full time mayor and that Smithfield doesn't have the population or the budget to do so.

Smithfield currently uses a city manager form of government and the time of the change is not known with specifics, said Mayor Chad Downs.

"I think that's the direction I'm gonna move the city in," said Downs. "I'm not gonna establish a time line but it's not gonna linger forever."

Janice Mikkelsen of the Citizen Committee urged the council to have good communication with the community, saying it would bring unity to the city.

Mikkelsen also said the council should inform citizens of the city's Web address in the newsletter. "This really helps the city government communicate with the citizens."

Jeff Gittins, a resident of Smithfield, said that he likes the idea of the new government set up. "I have no problem with the six-member council. I think that's good."

He also said that over time many powers have gone to the city manager and that he thinks the council should make sure those powers are redistributed to the mayor.

The citizens of Smithfield wanted the council to look at the possibility of forming a six member council, said Councilman Dennis Watkins. Watkins also said that he believes the six member council is the best of the choices for Smithfield.

"I think the conclusion that was drawn was the wisest one," said Watkins.

Various members of the Citizen Committee and the city council mentioned multiple times that the new council will give increased flexibility to its members.


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