Most of my day to day posts are on Facebook.com/ogdengladwell. Come over there and like my page!
One of my goals on city council is to always focus on the core responsibility of our city: public safety, fire and police protection, clean neighborhoods, clean water, clean air, quality education, city infrastructure, and access to transportation. There will be a future post on all these issues, but for my first post I want make clear that supporting the core services of Ogden city will always be my priority.
I love knocking on doors! I want to listen to you. If you would like to meet, call/text me now. 801-644-7396
I was out knocking doors on Saturday and knocked into Ricky Hatch. A nice fella with an even nicer wife- she had some ice cold lemonade for me on that hot day. Awesome. We chatted for a while.
He just posted on my Facebook: HERE. I thought I'd post here too since many of you are not on Facebook.
Ricky Hatch: Hello Daniel, Thanks so much for putting yourself out there and running for office! And thank you for going door to door to talk with Ogden residents. It speaks a lot to your work ethic and philosophy about public service. I know you're swamped with campaigning, but if you could answer a couple of questions for me, I'd appreciate it. I know we discussed these a bit at my house, but your response might be helpful for others who are checking you out. In one or two sentences, please describe what you feel is the fundamental purpose of government. What books, documents, and authors influence you the most as a person? As a potential public servant? Thanks so much, and thanks again for running!
Me: I believe the fundamental role of government at any level is to protect people, their liberty, and be a strong advocate of property rights. At the local level, I think our proper role is to provide strong public safety, provide clean streets, assist in smart economic development, and a constant and intense review of business operations. (two long lines)
Me (cont): As for books, I haven't had many opportunities to read what I want with three small kids and spending the last three years in school. Though here are some..
The McDonaldization of Society (Ritzer). I say this because there is one principle I learned in this book that really stuck. People like simplicity. I have used that as my mantra when briefing multimillion, very complex, Air Force budgets at work and I plan to do this with the people of Ogden when discussing issues. People are busy (much like the Commanders I brief), so they want a good, clean summary, how it affects them, and what the course of action is.
The Law (Bastiat)- an amazing book about the proper use of the law.
Leadership and Self Deception (Arbinger Institute), Naked Economics (Wheelan), and Mindset (Dweck) are others.
I love a good Freakonomics podcast too.
This is a follow-up to a post below. I have thought about this for a while but my views haven’t changed much. I definitely think vacation rentals should be allowed in our city but with far less regulations the planning commission is proposing. I think the powers of the market, through online reviews, will take care of most vacation rental issues.
I commend the planning commission for taking the time to draft these provisions, but I think they are overreaching too much. Which leads me to believe there are other ordinances they have drafted that need to be corrected. That will be a discussion for another time.
Here are the provisions outlined by the Ogden Planning Commission. My thoughts are below each proposal.
Provision 1: Permit their use in multi-family residential zones, but limited to one per linear block.
DG: One per block? This is bad and is the very definition of government overreach. If my neighbor has a vacation rental, there is no reason I should be excluded.
Provision 2: Require off-street parking for at least two cars plus 1/2-stall per sleeping room.
DG: This is a nice thought but nothing the government should be able to enforce unless it’s already an ordinance. If it’s already an ordinance, enforce it; there is no need to repeat here.
Provision 3: Require posting the responsible party’s phone number on the front of the residence at all times, and insure that individual can arrive at the house within 30 minutes.
DG: Again, sounds nice. But yet another senseless way the government is trying to get involved in markets it shouldn’t. I would venture to guess the owner already has their phone number easily accessible without the city telling them to do so.
Provision 4: Permit them in single-family zones only when the practice would cause a nonconforming residence to revert to single-family status.
DG: Vacation Rentals should be allowed anywhere.
Provision 5: Require at least one garbage can and one recycling container per site, and keep those receptacles out of view except on collection days.
DG: Is this a current ordinance?? I see garbage cans all over town. All over. If this is an ordinance, we need to provide resources to regulate this or we remove this from the ordinance code.
Provision 6: Require that short-term tenants keep their pets inside or on-leash when outdoors.
DG: I think this is a current ordinance- there is no need to reiterate. If this is not an ordinance, treating vacationers different is simply ridiculous.
Provision 7: Require that the residence complies with all building and fire codes, and gets inspected every two years.
DG: This is one I think makes sense. Only because there is a fairness issue. The hotels downtown all have to comply by these types of rules. If we don’t require short term vacation rentals to comply, they have an advantage over the hotels. Though, I am not sure too many vacationers would stay in an unsafe short-term rental.
Provision 8: Allow two people per bedroom plus two extra, but total occupants cannot exceed one person per 200 square feet of living space.
DG: This should be the decision of the homeowner. If they want to require this, that is their call, not the city’s.
Provision 9: Ensure that any room housing more than two people has direct access to the outside.
DG: Again, if the owner wants to provide this, great. This is not up to the city.
Provision 10: Establish business licensing framework along with transient room tax collection.
DG: Agree. Again if we are collecting taxes from the hotels, it’s only fair to have a register or a licensing framework to also tax the short term rental.
Provision 11: Impose severe fines for violations that would include advertising a vacation rental without a permit.
DG: Ok with this- see prior answer.
Provision 12: Limit outside signage to what is allowed for a home occupation business.
DG: Again there is already an ordinance for this. No need to repeat ourselves.
Provision 13: Prohibit alteration of the home’s appearance.
DG: Not sure what the commission's angle is here. If a homeowner is violating any ordinance through an alteration of their home's appearance, they should be fined in accordance with the ordinance whether the building is a vacation rental or not.
As you can see, most of my concerns are focused on the rights of the property owner getting run over by the government. This will be a common theme as you read and hear my views. If the government is involved, the impact should be very minimal.
It's all about property rights- much like my post coming up about chickens. This is a simple answer- backyard chickens are just fine. People like to be close to their food source, a sustainable food source, and the city shouldn't get to say whether that is good for us or not.
Been a little quiet since my last post. The 4th of July and us preparing for a party we are hosting at our house for our son has kept us a little busy. Hope you enjoyed your Independence Day- it's a wonderful day to celebrate! Truly a blessing to live in this country. We were at Yellowstone- enjoying a swim in the river, going on bike rides and walks through the forests. We were even able to ride our bikes in the local parade! Amazing place up there. A little of our fun here.
We are back to Ogden and ready to serve!
One of my primary goals while serving as your councilman is to get people involved. Here are three ways I plan to do this:
1. Transparency. This will be a common theme while I am out talking to you. As I mentioned here: as more people know what is going on in city government and how decisions affect their lives, they will naturally want to participate.
2. Create Community Councils. Each of these community councils will be a direct advisor to their councilman or councilwoman. For example, as councilman for Ward 4, I will have a council of 5-10 members who will represent the citizens between 23rd and 28th, everyone south of 36th, a hiking trails or recreation rep, a transportation rep, etc. Borrowing a quote from the secretary in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, there are sportos, motorheads, geeks, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies…, conservatives, military veterans, active military, bloggers, business owners, lawyers, retirees, students, immigrants, renters, widows, and many others living in our neighborhood. Every one of them has ideas. We need a place outside of the intimidating, formal, and somewhat stuffy Tuesday night council meetings where everyone can come and just talk about ideas.
3. Adopt a Block/Street/Park/Trail, Adopt Anything. There was an article about the increasing trash at Pineview Dam. It’s terrible that people don’t take care of their own trash, but it happens and will continue to happen. In that linked article, a local business owner (who makes amazing pork BTW) organized a cleanup effort and had great participation. People care about Ogden and they want to help but sometimes don’t know what they can do. My plan is to have a very simple program that will post lists of areas (a park, a trail, your street...) where people can adopt or come for a few hours and help cleanup. Numerous studies show that clean streets and cities have less crime. This will also give us something to take pride in.
Ogden is Awesome as my t-shirt says. These are just a few of the many ways we can keep it that way.
I just met with one of the Weber County Commissioners about the relationship between Weber County and Ogden City. I approached not knowing much and what I found out is there hasn’t really been a relationship at all before the current commission, new as of January 2015. They are working on how they can support the cities in the county while slightly adjusting how they conduct business. From my discussion, the county has always worked on revitalization, but the focus has been more about arts and culture of the area.
The county is shifting their focus to take on additional risks and focus on revitalization. Just as I discussed here, Ogden is prime and ready to expand the aerospace industry. There are efforts going on right now to build up the Ogden Airport so these aerospace firms want to come here. What needs to happen is for Ogden City and Weber County to come together frequently to ensure we are working towards the same economic goals. The county has resources the city might need; likewise, the city will have resources to assist the county. It simply doesn't make sense to have separate economic plans.
Ogden will need to have partnerships with not just the county but with the state, private industry, public ed, nonprofits, and many others to continue our growth and revitalization. For these partnerships to be successful the simple solution is this: sit down, find common ground, and work to those common goals. The partnerships we have are important to our city and I will work to improve on what we have and create new partnerships to make this place what we hope it can be.
There is an issue that will be discussed at the Ogden City Council meeting tonight concerning short-term Vacation Rentals. Just as the name sounds, this is when you or anyone rents out your home to someone instead of staying at a hotel or a friend’s. Popular websites include Airbnb or VRBO.
Before I get into the issue discussion, I would just like to say I believe most people in our society are decent, good people. The reason we have to consider such issues, and any government regulation really, is there are some who are not really good at being cordial and kind. We have a few options to approach this. The first is to regulate the entire industry, or sub-industry such as temporary vacation rentals, by disallowing the entire business. Then burden the code enforcement team and police department with more rules to enforce. This approach also takes from the freedoms and liberties we enjoy as property owners. Enforcement also costs resources.
The second alternative is we can address those who rent out rooms/homes as vacation destinations AND are disruptive to the neighborhood on a case-by-case basis. Most of the time, one won’t have any idea a neighbor on their very block is renting out a room, a floor, or the whole house as a temporary vacation rental. When there is an issue, like property damage, loud neighbors (or loud vacationers), street parking, or violation of any other code we already have in place we cite the owner or the renter and move on.
The third alternative would be somewhere in the middle like allowing the vacation rentals but with a few regulations.
I am for the 2nd option because we should always be open to innovation and new concepts, then letting the market decide if it’s a good idea or not. I love this idea that I, or anyone, could supplement my income by renting out my house for a night or two to earn a few bucks. Who wouldn’t take a few extra dollars to help with the mortgage payment, save up for vacation, or just take the kids to Fat Cats and the University Broiler for a night? On the other side, this creates competition with the hotels. Please don’t misunderstand, I enjoy staying in a hotel and they contribute to our society in a great way. However, if you have traveled in the last 4-5 years, you are well aware hotels are charging more and more fees. Short term vacation rentals are likely not to charge fees, and offer many other benefits which I won’t get into, which are good for the traveler. When there are choices, this creates a competitive market and drives prices down and is a reason for the hotel or rental owner to provide a better, higher quality product.
There are many other reasons like protecting our rights as a homeowner, which is a big issue requiring a several page paper itself, and how this is good for our economy. I endorse the use of short-term vacation homes and I hope the city council does too. I am going to tonight’s city council meeting to learn more about the topic; I will post a follow up to this later this week.
A message was posted on my Facebook page, here, and although the question was in jest, here is my answer:
Question: Daniel if elected what are your plans regarding budget for the Space Program in Ogden? Right now it doesn't exist but with your leadership I bet it could.
Answer: I'm with you. I am engaging with NASA and SpaceX to relocate from Cape Canaveral to a lot at BDO. We could launch there and drop the boosters in the Great Salt Lake or at the Utah Test and Training Range. It'd be perfect.
Joking aside we do have an opportunity to expand the Aerospace industry in Ogden. We have great institutions here in OWATC and Weber State graduating aerospace professionals. We already have a strong presence in advanced composites, Ogden airport is ready to expand, and next door is one of the largest aircraft depots in the world. We have several reasons for aerospace firms to relocate to Ogden. The infrastructure is here and we are ready to expand.
There are several industries here, not only aerospace, we can expand. When a company relocates, expands, or starts anew in today's environment, primary factors include an area's low cost of doing business, access to labor, infrastructure, but they are also thinking of their employees. Work/Life balance for employees is big in today's management considerations and that is why Ogden is the place to be; we have work and play for everyone. We are renowned for being one of the best places to raise a family. There are many reasons to do business in Ogden. We're Open!