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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pornography Addiction Pilot Program

As I’ve talked with constituents about issues in the community, one issue that keeps surfacing is pornography addiction in our youth. Studies show that 100% of our youth will be exposed to pornography before they graduate from high school. The porn industry is targeting children and youth, knowing that once they are addicted they will continue to fund this industry as adults.

Since Salt Lake County has a Behavioral Health department and the County Health department, I recently introduced them to a non-profit group called “Fight the New Drug.” 

“Fight the New Drug” has been featured in The Washington Post, Nightline, CNN, and The Huffington Post, and has presented assemblies in schools throughout the nation. They talk about pornography addiction, not from a moral standpoint, but in how pornography affects brain chemicals, relationships and society. These assemblies receive rave reviews as this group takes a very difficult subject and addresses it without being explicit or making it uncomfortable. It is not sex ed, but rather a simple explanation on how pornography works in the brain. You can visit for details. 

My goal is to have "Fight the New Drug" assemblies in every middle school, junior high and high school in Salt Lake County. We are piloting this program next month in Taylorsville so all stake holders can see what “Fight the New Drug” does and what their assemblies are all about. Bennion Jr. High and Eisenhower Jr. High will host assemblies on October 20. On October 21, Taylorsville High School will have two assemblies for their students. On October 21 at 7 p.m. a community meeting for parents, grandparents and others who may be interested will be held at Taylorsville High School (5225 S. Redwood Rd.) to discuss how to best talk to youth about this issue. 

Fight the New Drug also has a free, anonymous, online recovery program called “Fortify” that would be available to our county residents at no cost.

I anticipate we will need $100,000 to have “Fight the New Drug” in every middle school, junior high and high school in Salt Lake County over the next two years. I have private donors who are paying for this pilot program, and will continue fundraising to obtain additional private donors to fund other schools. There may be an opportunity for funding through a Behavioral Health RFP which will be going out at the end of the year. I will not be asking to add anything into the county budget. In some schools PTA’s fund these kinds of assemblies, but I would like to make sure it’s available in every school, no matter the financial situation.

We've already had some communities approach us with a desire to bring this assembly to their schools. Sandy City, for instance, said they would help fund this. A few years ago their Healthy Sandy committee hosted a “Fight the New Drug” parent meeting. Gordon Johnson, chair of Healthy Sandy said, “We had a full house when we held this meeting at Alta High and received rave comments. I was sitting by Greg Miller, CEO of the Miller organization who, like others in the audience, said it was outstanding.” He added, “Our city has identified pornography as a very serious problem that we need to aggressively combat and we consider the "Fight the New Drug" campaign to be one of the most effective ways of doing so.”

Get on board with our effort! There is a link to the side of this blog where you can donate funds which will go directly to "Fight the New Drug" to fund our county schools initiative.

Watch this video to see what Fight the New Drug assemblies are all about.

We appreciate KSL 5 for their news coverage of our efforts, as well as ABC 4's great news story.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

SLCO Public Works affects all of us

Did you know that if all of unincorporated Salt Lake County were one city it would be the second largest city in the state? Salt Lake County government has the responsibility of acting as the public works department for all of unincorporated county. And if you think your city doesn’t rely on the county for any public works services, think again (although not listed below, Salt Lake City does contract with the county for Animal Services, a division of Public Works). This department does a fantastic job in providing services that all county residences enjoy. The graphic below shows which service every city in the valley receives from the county:

The Operations division works hand-in-hand with virtually every city in the county to ensure that traffic signals work, the weeds don’t get overgrown and that roads are maintained and plowed.  Here are some interesting facts that you need to know:
  • ·       It is illegal to park your car on the side of the road from November to March because of the danger it causes to snow plows and other drivers when they have to swerve to miss your car. (Although each city has its own ordinances that address this issue.)
  • ·       The county makes it a priority to fix a pothole within 48 of it being reported. You can find their contact information here.
  • ·       The county keeps a list of pavement projects that need to be completely redone or touched up. You can find out about where your street is on the list by clicking here or calling 385-468-6100.
  • ·       Only the highest traffic areas will get paved at night, usually. Noise is the biggest factor, but to do major road projects at night causes lower quality of work because of fatigue and bad lighting. It also is pretty expensive because the county has to pay premium wages.
  • ·       If a tree falls in your front yard and blocks some of the street or a roadway and there’s nobody around to hear it….you still have to clean it up. If not, you can be sighted for public nuisance in not clearing the roadway from a tree on your property. 

A special thanks goes out to Public Works Director (and former Taylorsville Mayor from my district) Russ Wall, Operations Director Kevyn Smeltzer, and all of the men and women who keep the county running.