Governments Must Never Perform Services That Free Markets Can Do

It was never my intention to be a land developer. I thought people could buy farmland and move onto it. Utah County has so many utility requirements that I had to develop and sell off lots to pay for them. For example, I could have used geothermal, solar and/or wind energy instead of having more than a half mile of trench dug and cable installed for Rocky Mountain Power.

Most people can only imagine there’s a lot of hoops to jump through.

The difficulty is fighting tyrannical governments and their hundreds of pages of stale, corrupted, inflexible laws, and dealing with their employee’s unrighteous dominion and animosity towards We the People.

If you’ve ever had to buy a service from the government or get their permission to do something, you know that they are usually awful to deal with. No service that private markets can render should be monopolized by governments.

I’ve attended dozens of county and planning meetings and have never heard the word liberty used outside of the Pledge of Allegiance. Some employees feel it is the proper role of government to provide for the safety, welfare and health of the people; they forget that Founding Fathers knew the property role of government was to protect liberty–your right to do whatever you please without government intervention as long as you don’t hurt your neighbors. There is a huge difference.

— Robert John Stevens, February 6, 2018

Should I take time off work to go to a job interview without first interviewing by phone?

Companies today show little respect for job candidates.  Rather than schedule a polite phone call, it is easier to email a link to a timed, online test or a link to schedule an onsite interview.

I received this email:

Thank you for your interest in working at Optimal Satcom. We will be conducting interviews on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at our office in Herndon, Virginia. Please use the link below to make an appointment for a time slot suitable to you:

Please arrive 15 min early in order to have time to check in and complete required paperwork. Our address is 600 Herndon Parkway, Suite 100, Herndon, VA 20170. A government-issued photo ID is required. The interview will start at your scheduled time, and should last 60 minutes. If you have any questions regarding scheduling, please call 703-657-8800.

My response:

Sorry I didn’t respond to this. When presented with potential contract or full-time employment opportunities, I prioritize them according to the efforts the company makes to contact me. For example, an initial personal visit to my office or a phone call from the party in need of software development to discuss their needs takes precedence over an email request for me to take vacation time from work and travel to an office hoping to get an interview by people to whom I’ve had no contact.

The best programming teams have no problem attracting talent. I’m looking for a great programming team to join, to help a bad team become better or to a help a good team become great.

I doubt I will get a response but if I do I will post it.

–Robert Stevens, January 30, 2018

Utah County Commissioners Create Earth Extraction Pit Monopolies

At today’s Utah County Commissioners’ January 23, 2018 Meeting, Commissioners Lee and Ivie voted to rezone many sections of land on West Mountain to a new grazing zone where no new mining or earth extraction operations are permitted to commence.

By doing so, they literally elevated the operations there to monopoly status. Pits are now free to raise their prices without fear of newcomers. The BLM and federal landowners were all excluded from the change because they asked to be. The small landowner probably didn’t have time to respond.

Although packaged and presented under the guise of protecting West Mountain for its beauty and natural resources, proof that this move was always intended to create monopolies is found in the UTAH COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION STAFF REPORT November 21, 2017 specifically says, “This new zone would maintain the grazing of livestock on the open range and the location of activities and land uses not appropriate near urban centers in the dry mountain and desert areas of the county, while preventing any new earth extraction operations and other potentially incompatible uses with residential and agricultural uses from commencing operation.”

By preventing new earth extraction options to commence, Utah County created cooperating monopolies. As Commissioner Greg Graves said in last Tuesday’s commissioner’s meeting, “Expect prices to go up.” Commissioner Graves today cast the only dissenting vote.

Under Utah’s Anti-Trust Laws, anticompetitive activities are illegal.

I’ve heard of government-created monopolies but until today I never witnessed their creation. Truly, today was a sad day for Utah County, liberty and free markets.

by Robert John Stevens, January 23, 2018

Utah County Commissioners Vote Against Privatizing Government Services

January 17, 2018

At the Utah County Commissioner Meeting yesterday, Commissioner Greg Graves revealed he had pushed towards the privatization of government services and that he and the other commissioners had visited a government who had privatized its services but he was voted down by the other two commissioners Bill Lee and Nathan Ivie.

I was shocked because months ago Commissioner Bill Lee told me he was all for privatization and they were going to visit a county government that had gone private–I think he said it was in Georgia.

Some government employees such as Brandon Larsen in Utah County Planning & Zoning provide excellent customer service. Brandon answers all of my questions, cites county regulations to support his answers and explain my options, and whenever he doesn’t immediately have answers he says he must talk to staff and then follows up by email with detailed answers.

Although I don’t always agree with the county planning and zoning regulations, I respect Brandon Larsen because he reads the regulations, tries wherever he can to improve them, and abides by them.

In contrast, Utah County Environmental Health provides the worst-quality customer service imaginable. They refuse to answer my questions or reveal the laws to which they must adhere. They ignore all my requests to explain their processes and scientific methods before, during or after performing services for which I pay. Whatever they rule is mandatory even when they make a mistake.

To make matters worse, they sick their lawyers on me—the same lawyers who instruct Environmental Health employees to not answer my questions and to route all correspondence with me through them.

Last week, Jason Garrett emailed me and said they would answer my questions if I cancel the underground water monitoring for which I paid. Can you imagine being treated with such contempt by a company who wants to stay in business?

When a business treats you well, you are happy and motivated to employ them or shop at their store. You are happy to return regularly or whenever necessity requires. Costco employees are great examples of excellent, friendly service—they always smile and talk to us and whenever we must return anything, they are always pleasant and willing. Over the years at least three Costco female employees good became friends.

Doug’s Auto in Orem is another excellent example of outstanding, personable service. Doug and his two sons Jake and Kirk always save us money and sometimes don’t charge us because of our loyalty. Even more importantly, they know our names, our vehicle history, explain problems and solutions clearly and treat us as friends.

I would be thrilled if Doug, Jake and Kirk come to my funeral.

When you are not treated well by a business, you may demand to speak to a manager who is usually anxious to help and ensure your satisfaction.If you are still upset, to prevent others from experiencing similar, awful service, you may file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or submit a bad review online on Yelp or Google Reviews.

Many employees outside of government have been fired for treating customers poorly but how often are government employees fired?

What recourse do you have when the government monopolizes their services and treats you with hostility? None.

by Robert John Stevens

Should Governments Seize Property and Ruin The Lives of Citizens Who Fail to Pay Their Property Taxes?

by Robert John Stevens, December 22, 2017

If you fail to pay your property taxes, should the government seize your property?

I’ve sat in several Utah County Commissioners’ Meetings where citizen appeals are reviewed. Each time county employees testify to the county commissioners that they sent property tax notices and still the taxes weren’t paid. Each time the commissioners unanimously deny the appeal and ruin lives.

This scene always reminds me of French revolution movie scenes where tyrants send innocent citizens to the guillotine.

Google, “What percentage of mail gets lost by USPS yearly?” How many times have you received someone else’s postal mail? Did you always promptly forward it? What if you are experiencing financial distress and cannot pay your property taxes?

There are approximately 600,000 citizens in Utah County. Guestimating 20% own property, that’s 120,000 property tax notices per year. If 1% of those are lost or stolen, then 12,000 landowners face property seizure.

Shockingly, the citizens who filed for appeals were not at the meetings. Why not? Probably because they felt they submitted valid reasons and expected mercy, forgiveness and civility.

Commissioner Bill Lee told me on Wednesday that it is the duty of every citizen to pay his or her property taxes and the tax notices are just courtesies. I have a great deal of respect for Bill Lee. He’s a fine person who has acquired a great deal of wisdom. At first, Bill’s argument sounded reasonable to me and then I remembered that most citizens in Utah County are Mormon, Catholic or Protestant and expect the county commissioners to Follow the Golden Rule as commanded by Jesus Christ and reiterated by modern apostles.

“Followers of Christ should be examples of civility…We should be wise in explaining and pursuing our positions and in exercising our influence…We encourage all of us to practice the Savior’s Golden Rule: ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them’ (Matthew 7:12).”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—Follow the Golden Rule.

If I were a commissioner I would never vote to seize the property of citizens who failed to pay their taxes. To exercise equal justice, I would approve appeals contingent upon reasonable accrued interest, not to exceed what local banks impose. There is no reason found in Christianity for governments to seize property and ruin the lives of citizens who are late paying their property taxes.

Government Regulations are the Cause of Utah’s Housing Crisis

by Robert John Stevens, October 26, 2017

Government regulations are the problem. For example, to build in Utah County it is highly likely you must build, pave and dedicate a road.

For example, a 3/4-mile road with the required 12″ of road base will cost $350k to $400k.

Dead ends, cul-de-sacs, dirt and gravel roads are not permitted. Roads must have a separate entrance and exit. Your driveway cannot, even for 1 foot, pass thru a private, interior road.

Expect to pay at least $27k for the required 9 acre-feet of water because monopolies monopolize, $25k for an at-grade wastewater treatment system, $8k to hook up your power, tens of thousands to bring utilities to your property, $9,500 to dig a 145-foot well.

Brigham Young urged young men to build a 10×10 home, and plant flowers and shade trees to attract a young lady. Now you cannot build less than 1,200 sq ft.

It is highly unlikely that you can buy raw land in Utah County, develop it, and build for under $350k.

Utah County is 2,144 square miles in which 2,003 square miles is land and not water; 96% is outside of the incorporated towns.

19th-century pioneers would have been denied settlement in Utah County.

Plenty of land but insurmountable regulations.

By the year 2044, the median home price will be $1.3 million. See — see Why Utah’s Wasatch Front is on course to become the Bay Area.

See also A. Scott Anderson: Time to act on housing affordability.

How the Constitution Has Been Twisted to Undermine the Free Market | Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

An excellent, must-watch speech on the foundational principles of the U.S. Federal Government and Constitution and how things have been changed from their original intent:

Do you stand with President Trump for our flag, our country, and our heroes?

by Robert John Stevens, September 26, 2017

Yes, but no. President Trump’s role is limited to the Executive Branch’s responsibilities as outlined in the United States Constitution.

Moral citizens of virtue cannot support corruption in government, unconstitutional wars of aggression, the forced redistribution of wealth, over burdensome taxation (aka theft), endless regulations, no representation in government, the steady advancements towards socialism and the disregard for inalienable rights, liberty and private property rights.

Should then the Pledge of Allegiance be to the flag, a ruler or to the country? Because the country is defined by the U.S. Constitution, perhaps we need a wording change.

It is the right of citizens to stand or kneel during the pledge. It is also the right of a professional athletes’ employer to fire them if they may contractually do so.

We need a president who is grounded on correct principles. Asking citizens to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance would be much easier if President Trump advocated correct, founding principles in voice and action. I recommend he appoint former Congressman Ron Paul as his tutor.

Or is this another distraction with a political goal in mind? Wrote Paul Craig Roberts:

The protests by black pro-football players by refusing to stand for the national anthem has come at an unfortunate time. It is playing into the hands of the military/security complex which is using President Trump’s loud voice challenging the “anti-americanism” to whip up patriotic fervor. It is amazing how people fall for it every time. The military/security complex and their presstitutes are creating public anger at those “attacking our country.” This anger will be turned from black football players to Russia.

With the public in its pocket, the military/security complex will increase its reckless provocations of Russia until we are all dead. — Washington Has Initiated Military Conflict With Russia