Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Referenda to Ride Again!

I continue to insist that zoning referenda are going to become a big issue for us here in Utah, and that it will not necessarily be good for planning.

Last week, the Salt Lake Tribune editorialized that while they in general don't think zoning referenda are a good idea, the decision in the Sandy court case was a good one. "We don't believe that every city zoning decision should be subject to referendum," the Trib wrote, "but this one isn't just any decision. ... This issue holds tremendous consequences for Sandy. It is right that voters will decide."

So what is the criteria for when an issue is "big" enough that it ought to be put to the voters, or "small" enough that it shouldn't? Who decides that?

And what does it do to the general plans of our communities when any relatively small group of voters can put the issue on the ballot when they don't like a particular zoning decision, but they were never around to participate in the preparation of the community plan? Will our plans mean anything at this point, or will everything be subject to spur of the moment referenda?

I don't have much problem with voters putting portions of the plan up for referenda vote, as long as all the issues get a clear hearing. But how do you guarantee that? Election campaigns today seem to be all about getting your viewpoint out and stifling that of the other side. Usually, the side with more money gets their viewpoint out better.

Now the Riverton folks are back at it, according to a story in this morning's Trib. "'We're hoping to do what Sandy residents have done,' Dennis Sampson, president of Riverton United, said Monday. 'We're pretty optimistic that we'll see a referendum.'"

And so it will now go. More uncertainty, more time, more ability of small groups of NIMBYs to stop projects that may actually be good for the overall community.

Lora Lucero, a planner and land use attorney with a consulting practice in Albuquerque, has recently written an article for Zoning and Planning Law Report on zoning referenda. Lora is counsel to APA's amicus curiae committee and was previously editor of APA's Land Use Law and Zoning Digest. Lora is working with an APA committee to developa policy statement on planning and zoning referenda.

Lora has said on APA's Ask the Author webpage, "I'm a firm believer in meaningful public participation -- not merely perfunctory participation. But I'm not convinced that the initiative-referendum process is "meaningful" participation.

"I think we need to keep in mind that there are very different types of citizen participation -- (1) participation in the planning process, (2) participation in the electoral process, and (3) participation at the ballot box with ... initiatives and referenda... .

"If the goal is to create sound plans for the future of the community, we should focus on #1. If the goal is to strengthen democracy, we should focus on #2. If the goal is to accomplish something that we failed to accomplish with #1 or #2 -- then we should focus on #3.

"I'm coming to the conclusion that when we see the citizen participation occuring at the ballot box, we're seeing an implicit failure in the planning process and the electoral process. Rather than focus the energy and resources of the planning profession on #3, I would recommend that we figure out how to fix or strengthen #1 and #2."

Well said, Lora.


At 4:46 PM, Blogger Planner Perplexed said...


Brilliant analysis from Lora and Wilf.

Does anyone really know how to do a better job of #1? I'd like to meet 'em, pick their brain and copyright their solutions.

I can't tell you how many times as a planner I have been blindsided by the public screaming about "lack of input" long after the proper time to have influence on a policy, development or plan has passed. One may argue that there is never a time when input is too late. But at what point is enough comment enough?

There must be a more effective way to teach the general public to put as much effort into the "ounce of prevention" as they seem to put into the "pound of cure".

At 11:34 AM, Blogger ARCritic said...

I think one problem is that most "General Plan" planning is so nonspecific that most people can't really conceptualize what the plan really means. When a developer comes in with a proposal that meets the goals of the general plan, then people begin to conceptualize things and that is when they start getting whipped into a frenzy.

But most people don't even start seeing the development proposals until they are before a city council at which time all the planning has been done and they then scream about the "lack of input".

Getting more people involved in the early "General Plan" planning, it seems to me, will require major insentives for them to attend the meetings and major investments in educating them (and that is if they are willing to be educated at all).

No silver bullet but cities, counties and other government agencies need to make much larger investments in the process, and yes that means significant $ which most are not going to be willing to do. They might spend it on a consultant or staff but not on really getting the public involved.

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Wilf said...

arcritic makes some good points. Particularly on the "vagueness" of general plans. It IS much easier to react to specific development plans rather than some broad statement in a general plan about what might be allowed in an area. But how do we go about making such general plans more "understandable?" It is not feasible to do site specific planning in a general plan.

I agree that it may take a greater investment in the process to develop a general plan -- it happens in some places, but not many.

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At 2:21 PM, Blogger vkk1_hypno said...

We all know the effects (and after-effects) of beer. But lifting a glass of cool liquid to your mouth on a scorching hot day, have you ever stopped to consider the processes and ingredients involved in making it? Well maybe not but here is the answer anyway!

Simply, beer is a fermented combination of water, barley, yeast and hops. The major variation in any beer is the type of yeast used in the fermentation process.

Let's look at the properties of this beverage.
Water is the main ingredient of beer. In the past, the purity of the water influenced the final result and was specific to the region of the earth from which it came. Today, water is filtered of these impurities, although pure water supplies are still ideally preferred by elite brewers.

Barley malt is an extremely important ingredient in beer as it is the main source of fermentable sugar. Many new breweries use barley malt extract, in either syrup or powder form, as this form ferments much quicker. It also contains many minerals and vitamins that help the yeast to grow.

Without yeast, beer would not exist. Yeast is a unique single cell organism that eats sugar and expels alcohol and carbon dioxide, two of the more recognizable ingredients of beer. Yeast comes in several variations, of which there are two major categories that determine the type of beer produced; Ale yeast and Lager yeast. If yeast alone were used the beer would be extremely sweet and therefore another ingredient needs to be added to reach the final product.

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant, a climbing vine plant that grows well in many differing climates. Hops contain acids which add bitterness to beer. Adding bitterness to beer helps to balance the sweetness, as well as acting as a natural preservative. Add more hops to the mixture and you will get a more bitter taste. This kind of beer is extremely popular in Britian and is simply referred to as "Bitter" (the original names are always the best!).

Variations of these ingredients create different tasting beers as well as having an affect on the alcoholic content.
When making your own beer many good resources are available which provide home brewing kits. It is important to read the ingredients of the packets in order to ascertain which has the best mixture according to your needs. One quick tip which many home brewers fail to adhere to is this: "Use fresh still water"!

Many have often sought information on how to make beer and the basic homebrewing equipment is not very expensive you can get what you need, for as little as $100.
In order to start making beer, you will need the following: A brewpot, Primary fermenter, Airlock and stopper, Bottling bucket, Bottles, Bottle brush, Bottle capper, and a thermometer.
In addition you can even use items from your kitchen to aid in the beer making. A breakdown of all the equipment is as follows: Brewpot A brewpot is made of stainless steel or enamel-coated metal which has at least 15 litre capacity, but it's no good if it's made of aluminum or if it's a chipped enamelized pot, (these will make the beer taste funny). The brew pot is used to boil the ingredients thus begins the first stage of beer making.

Primary fermenter

The primary fermenter is where the beer begins to ferment and become that fabulous stuff that makes you so funny and charming. The primary fermenter must have a minimum capacity of 26 litres and an air tight seal it must also accommodate the airlock and rubber stopper. Make sure the one you buy is made of food-grade plastic, as it wont allow the bad stuff in or let the good stuff out.

Airlock and stopper

The airlock is a handy gadget which allows carbon dioxide to escape from your primary fermenter during fermentation, it is this process that keeps it from exploding, but it doesn't allow any of the bad air from outside to enter. It fits into a rubber stopper, and is placed into the top of your primary fermenter. The stoppers are numbered according to size, so make sure you use the correct stopper for the correct hole

Plastic hose

This is a food grade plastic hose which measures approximately 5 feet in length. It is needed to transfer the beer from system to system, and it is imperitive that it is kept clean and free from damage or clogs

Bottling bucket

This is a large, food-grade plastic bucket with a tap for drawing water at the bottom, it needs to be as big as your primary fermenter, because you need the capacity to pour all the liquid from your primary fermenter into a bottling bucket prior to bottling up.


After fermentation, you place the beer in bottles for secondary fermentation and storage. You need enough bottles to hold all the beer you're going to make, the best kind of bottles are solid glass ones with smooth tops (not the twist-off kind) that will accept a cap from a bottle capper. You can use plastic ones with screw-on lids, but they arent as good for fermentation and dont look as well.

Whether you use glass or plastic bottles, make sure they are dark-colored. Light damages beer, i would recommend green or brown bottles.

Bottle brush

This is a thin, curvy brush which is used to clean bottles because of the the shape of the brush it makes it very affective at getting the bottle spotless. We haven't even gotten into how clean everything has to be, but we will, and the bottle brush is a specialized bit of cleaning equipment that you will require in order to maintain your bottle kit.

Bottle capper

If you take buy glass bottles, you will need some sort of bottle capper and caps, of course, and you can buy them from any brewing supplies store. The best sort of bottle capper is one which can be affixed to a surface and worked with one hand while you hold the bottle with the other.


This is a thermometer which can be stuck to the side of your fermenter, they are just thin strips of plastic which are self adhesive, and can be found in any brewing supplies store, or from a pet shop or aquarium. Not everything costs money though even some household equipment can be used.

Household items

In addition to the above specialized equipment, you will need the following household items:
* Small bowl
* Saucepan
* Rubber spatula
* Oven mitts/pot handlers
* Big mixing spoon (stainless steel or plastic)
So there you have the ingredients and the method to make your home brew, all you need now is to get yourself a beer making kit and your on the way to beer heaven.
Bar supply

At 1:11 AM, Blogger fish said...

What are your 50,000 thoughts a day creating?

Our thoughts create our reality. This is a simple truth known by all people involved on the spiritual path. It is one of the most taught universal principles in the personal development field. Yet it is one of the most misunderstood!

People practice visualisation, affirmations, they use hypnosis, subliminal programming or countless other tools to transform their lives. However they fail to recognise one key area in their lives that hinder these wonderful techniques from being effective.

They sit day after day visualising their perfect scene and yet nothing happens. Why? They have followed all the instructions to the letter! They have chanted and imagined! They have formed a colourful, vibrant scene in their minds and affirmed that this is their reality. Then all of a sudden things get worse! What is going on?

Would you like to know the secret? Would you like to know why these people get no results? Would you like to hear one powerful statement that explains everything?

Good. I will tell you why these people get no results or even opposite results to those they are aiming for -simply because of the following truth. Consciously controlled thoughts such as visualisations do not materialise - ALL thoughts materialise!!!
Most people believe that if they visualise for 10 minutes a day their lives will magically transform. This is not the case. You must change your core thinking. You think approx. 50,000 thoughts a day. How many of those thoughts are working against your ten minute visualisation?
You can control the thoughts that enter your mind by changing the way you view the world. You can decide which thoughts you give energy to and which thoughts you discard.

The thoughts that you follow and give energy to become more dominant than the thoughts you discard. Your subconscious mind records these as your dominant picture on the issue at hand. You then move towards this picture because your subconscious mind starts making your outside world reflect the picture that you have stored internally.
Your mind should be on whatever you want. The picture you need to have is a positive vision of you already having achieved your goal. To realise this vision you need to focus and concentrate. Remember thoughts are real, they create your reality.
Let's say you have been visualising a new house. You spend your ten minutes in meditation picturing yourself living in your dream home. You finish your session and get up feeling positive that you will achieve your goal. Then during the day you get a heating bill through the post and exclaim "Oh no look how expensive this is I cannot afford to heat this house". Where is your focus in the present moment? What are you affirming? You are telling your subconscious mind that you cannot deal with what you have. You are affirming that your life is not how you want it to be. If you knew without doubt that within a week you would be moving to your new home would you honestly be worried about a heating bill? Perhaps other doubts creep in like "I should be happy with what I have", or "I will never get this house looking the way I want it" and so on and so on.
These thoughts that are not aligned with your goal. You are not giving complete attention to what you want. Whilst you are dealing with these other lines of thought your attention is not on your goal.
If you are aware of your thoughts you will suddenly realise that you have spent much more energy on counter productive thoughts than on creating a dominant picture of the goal you want.
Point your focus in the direction of you're the life you want. Think about what you want NOT what you don't want. It's that simple.

Your focus determines your reality. Change your focus and you change your life. The Secret


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