Chris Herrod: Immigration issue email circa 2009

>>> Chris Herrod 7/10/2009 11:28 AM >>>
July 9, 2009 – Information from Representative Christopher N. Herrod

Dear Representatives and Senators,

Over the past few months, a tremendous amount of misinformation about illegal immigration in Utah and SB 81 has been given. Salt Lake City’s Police Chief and others have propagated faulty information to the public. SLCPD gave me misleading and false information when I requested information to back up the Police Chief’s comments made on KSL radio. The most recent misinformation is the Sutherland Institute’s “Just the Facts” and a Deseret News’ Editorial which recited Sutherland’s “facts”. In order to save embarrassment for anyone who may be referencing Sutherland’s essay or the Deseret News Editorial, let me state that the Sutherland Institute clearly does not understand Utah’s correctional system especially “State Contract” inmates.

Sutherland claims to have obtained “county jail population.” According to their table, they claim that Beaver County has 370 county inmates (considering Beaver County has a population of only 6200 people, I would worry for Representative Noel’s and Senator Stowell’s safety when visiting Beaver County if something was not obviously wrong with statistics.) Sutherland does not understand that 361 of the 370 inmates are actually “State Contract” inmates and belong to the state. These inmates cannot be used as a sampling for county inmates and crime. Sutherland lists 80 inmates for Daggett County yet 68 of these are state inmates. Box Elder is listed as 125 but 36 are state inmates. Kane County is listed as 26 yet 10 are state inmates. Carbon is listed as 72 yet 6 are state inmates. All of these counties had “zero” immigration holds according to Sutherland’s data so removing them changes the percentage.

For Salt Lake County Jail, Sutherland lists only 29 inmates on federal hold. Yet, monthly reports by the Salt Lake County Jail from January to May of 2009 show no month with less than 85 inmates detained for an immigration hold. The average is 106.2 inmates. The average bookings per month were higher than Sutherland listed with an average of 3,086.4 inmates per months. This equates to an average of 3.44% of inmates on federal hold. This is significantly higher than the 1% Sutherland reported.

Correct for just the errors in Beaver, Box Elder, Carbon, Daggett, and Kane Counties as well as using an average of 3.44 % of inmates on federal hold for Salt Lake County, and the “undocumented” portion in county jails jumps to 5.2%. But there are still other factors which lead to an underrepresentation in county jails. Sutherland assumes that everyone who is illegal has been identified. If the county jail does not have a cross-deputized officer, many illegal aliens are never identified. This is precisely what part of SB 81 is trying to address. ICE has limited resources and cannot always make it to a county jail.
Sutherland did not account for recidivism rates. Obviously, if illegal aliens are deported even after their entire sentence is served, they will be less likely to be around for the cumulative effect of repeat offenders. Higher rates of outstanding warrants are also not factored by Sutherland. For example, of the 40 murders in the state of Utah in 2008, five cases have no suspects. Three have suspects/person of interests who have not been apprehended. All three are suspected illegal immigrants.

Sutherland fails to understand that illegal aliens can be deported by the courts rather than serve a full sentence. For example, Michele Ramirez was “sentenced to 78 days in county jail and deportation for her role in the shooting” of Diego Mendoza (see Was 78 days a full sentence for a role in murder had deportation not been an option? If not, then she is underreported in the county jail system. If the sentence would have been more than year, Michele Ramirez is completely unaccounted for in the state system as an illegal alien. These numerous flaws call into question Sutherland’s entire methodology.

Sutherland takes a snapshot rather than data for the year. They report Utah County as having only 10.1% Hispanics when bookings for all of 2008 show 23.33% Hispanic with 15.3% of all prisoners have some sort of immigration hold. Moreover, it is uncertain how Sutherland ever got 10.1%. A snapshot from January 1, 2009 has the jail at 21.1% Hispanic and another snapshot on July 1, 2009 has the rate at 22.2%.

Unfortunately, until better data is available, ethnicity must be used since race and ethnicity are often the only information available. According to the PEW Hispanic Center, 76% of illegal aliens are Hispanic (in the Utah prison system it is 85.5%) According to the PEW Hispanic Center, between38%-48% of Hispanics in Utah are illegal aliens. Until all police departments cross-deputize at least one officer, we will have to extrapolate illegal aliens from the Hispanic statistics. The only options are that illegal Hispanics are causing crime at a greater rate than the general population, legal Hispanics are committing more crime, or both categories are equally committing crime at a higher rate. It must be one of these three. I believe it is the first.

Ironically, Sutherland’s own data shows that Hispanics commit crime at roughly 50% higher than the general population. If Sutherland’s research is correct and illegal aliens do not commit crimes at a higher rate than the general population, then Sutherland is asserting that Legal Hispanics have a higher crime rate than illegal Hispanics. Does Sutherland really believe this? I certainly do not. This is precisely why so many legal Hispanics are against illegal immigration. Legal immigrants have gone through a screening process. Foreign students have as well. It only makes sense that legal immigrants have lower crime rate otherwise the U.S. is wasting a lot of money at embassies throughout the world.

Unfortunately this questionable methodology is a continuation of Sutherland’s faulty research last year of trying to use illegal alien population state prison population as proof that illegal aliens do not commit crime at a higher rate than the general population. Sutherland did not take into account lagging statistics (someone does not commit crime or get caught immediately – before an illegal alien gets sent to state prison, one may receive a lighter sentence for the first few offenses or deported during the criminal justice process). Federal prisons have now reached 40% Hispanic but this is only after years of increase in the Hispanic population in general (,5143,705293233,00.html).

Although Sutherland has been told about their erroneous interpretations regarding state prison population demographics, they have not yet addressed them. A much better indicator of crime would be arrest rates which show a dramatically higher rate of crime for Hispanics. Admittedly, these statistics may be uncomfortable for some, but it is our responsibility to deal with the “facts” and have an honest conservation about the problems this state faces. Political correctness is destroying this nation. I have attached information received from BCI about the arrest rates for Utah as a whole, Salt Lake City, West Valley City and Provo City.

The Deseret News Editorial

The recent Deseret New Editorial shows the lack of willingness on the part of the media to properly research and is in danger of losing all credibility as an unbiased informational source. They mentioned litigation of the Oklahoma bill, but failed to mention that only a small portion of the bill is being litigated. The Ninth Circuit, arguably the most liberal court in the nation, has already upheld as constitutional the entire Arizona Law which included the provisions challenged in Oklahoma. The Eighth Circuit has upheld a Missouri Law with similar provisions.

The Deseret News has failed to headline that Utah now has the fastest growing illegal immigrant population in the United States according to the Pew Hispanic Center. What they do not print shows just as much bias as what they do. According to Utah Department of Corrections, in 2008, 9.1% of those processed for murder in the state correctional system were illegal aliens. Illegal immigrants have nearly twice the number of children than the general population. How are we going to pay for this? With a $700 million state deficit looming for 2011, which programs are we going to cut or which taxes are we going to raise?

The Salt Lake Police Department – False and Misleading Information

Of greatest concern, however, is my recent experience of my GRAMA request with the Salt Lake City Police Department. I was given false and misleading information which should concern everyone. We may disagree on solutions for illegal immigration but we should at least agree that we as legislators should be given correct information and that police departments should not be misleading the public. Public perception about the integrity of all of Utah law enforcement departments depends on this.

On April 21st, I requested information to substantiate Chief Burbank’s comments on KSL radio where he was asked by Doug Wright about whether or not most of the crime was committed by “these folks.” Chief Burbank responded,

That is absolutely not based in fact. We arrest by far, more Caucasian males than any other population. In fact, one of the things we have done since the early 90’s is document our racial profiling concerns and so every single traffic stop, every single arrest, every report, every interaction our police officers have, we document. We are not dealing with, especially the undocumented but Hispanic individuals, at a higher rate than anyone else and the population in general. And we have proven that time and time again.

Doug Wright:

So we are talking per capita here.

Chief Burbank:

Yes, per capita. Yes. This is not the case.

Since Chief Burbank was actively campaigning against SB 81, I asked that pursuant to Utah Code 63G-2-204(3)(a) SLCPD respond to my GRAMA request within five business days. After seven days, I called to express concern and was told that the city attorney would be in the next day and that I would have to talk to her. I was surprised about the seemingly little concern about breaking the law. I asked legal council to call who was given a similar run-a-around, but after expressing concern about violations of the law, was told that the information would be forthcoming the next day. The next day, I received nothing.

On May 1st, I received a response which included the statement that “Chief Burbank’s statements were given as his opinion or belief and were not a recitation of statistical records.”(see attached GRAMA documents) Additionally, I received a document that stated that in 2008 Adult Arrests by SLCPD were 24.53% Hispanic and 75.47% Non-Hispanic.

Not satisfied with the answer, I requested all information used to produce the statistics and the percentage separated by category of crime. On June 2nd, the Salt Police Department also finally admitted that “The SLCPD does not keep race or ethnicity data on general police contacts that do not result in arrest” despite what Chief Burbank had said on the radio.

What was most troubling, however, is what the new data showed. It showed that SLCPD had included “Unknown” in the “Non-Hispanic” column the month before thus greatly skewing the data. “Unknown” are not “Non-Hispanic.” While 24.53% Hispanic is higher than the general population (despite the Chief’s claim) it is not so dramatic. But divide ”Hispanic” by “Hispanic” plus “Non-Hispanic” as any reasonable person would and the results become startling. The SLCPD’s own data shows that in 2008 44.25% of the crime in Salt Lake City was committed by Hispanics. To verify this, I contacted BCI which had the total crime in Salt Lake City as 46.78% with 81.82% of the murders and 75% of rapes being committed by Hispanics (see attached spreadsheet).

In other words, the information I received on May 2 was a lie (Webster’s Dictionary defines a lie as “anything that gives or is meant to give a false impression.”) This misinformation was given to an elected official trying to counter the arguments made by the police chief affecting legislation that the Utah Legislature deemed in the best interest of Utah and most Utahns agreed with (77% according to a Salt Lake Tribune poll). Giving misinformation is corruption which should concern everyone and unfortunately casts a shadow on all law enforcement agencies.

Had “white males” been any other group and such false information given about them, there would have been outrage. It is frightening when the rule of law does not seem to matter with those responsible for enforcing the law. I believe that such actions are against P.O.S.T. Code of Conduct in Utah which requires officers to keep “public faith.” Giving misinformation does not keep public trust. No police chief should see themselves above the law. The police chief’s job is to follow the law and maintain a civil society.

Chief Burbank also called SB 81 inhumane which shows complete ignorance of the world in which we live. Inhumane, is being forced to squat, having a stick stuck between your arms and legs, hung upside down, having your feet beaten to a bloody pulp and then being forced to walk a mile on a gravel road. It is watching your brother shot in front of you, having to chant “red terror” while watching teenagers shot to create fear, or having to adopt your niece and nephew because your brother and sister-in-law were assassinated on their front door step. Inhumane is having your cousin die in Kenya a year ago as a refugee while waiting five years to come this country legally because the United States currently has so many illegal aliens. These experiences all happened to my business partner. With all due respect, SB 81 does not compare.

Many refugees are also members of our community. These and other legal immigrants will be hampered in their efforts to bring their families and relatives by the continuing tolerance of illegal immigration. These groups should fear the police chief’s lack of actions. The chief’s actions will lead to more racial division rather than less, but instead, Chief Burbank continues to propagate that those in favor of SB 81 are against immigration. This is simply not true.

Chief Burbank fails to understand what it takes to keep a civil society. Respect for the rule of law is tantamount to this. Individuals obey laws that they may not like because they know that others will obey laws that others may not like. Otherwise, anarchy occurs where as one former Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice said, “everyone has a thousand oppressors.”

Chief Burbank and others have failed to paint the full picture about the extent of crime and now we have a major problem on our hands. Had he and the media not seen illegal immigration as victimless crime earlier, we would not be in the position that we are today.

Chief Burbank recently compared enforcement of SB 81 to Nazi Germany (Salt Lake Tribune – July 3, 2009). This is hyperbole at its greatest, but if comparisons to Nazi Germany must be made then it is important to remember that Nazism began as a police state. A police state begins when the police decide what is right or wrong rather than the duly elected leaders because an ideology or power becomes more important than the truth. This is exactly what Chief Burbank is doing. My wife, a legal immigrant said “he is putting his philosophy over the facts.”

We may not agree on everything or on how to solve the problem and prevent the problem from growing, but we should be able to agree that a police chief should provide accurate information and not let personal agendas get in way of the truth. The only way we can solve the situation is by having an honest, open conversation about the consequences of illegal immigration. We should acknowledge that increased crime is one of them.

One might ask why a part time legislator with no personal staff should have to check out the facts and GRAMA SLCPD rather than the press, but that is a question for another day.

As most of you know by now, increased crime is not my main reason for opposing illegal immigration (although it is a core constitutional responsibility of ours). Tolerating illegal immigration is wrong because it harms many legal immigrants and punishes those desperately trying to come here legally. In 2002, 13 million people applied for the 55,000 U.S. Green Card lottery slots. Where is the “compassion” for the 99.6% that did not receive a green card? Last year, 6.5 million potential immigrants applied. This is the greatest country in the world. We should not decide citizenship based on the willingness to rob others or break the law. This cheapens citizenship.

The media and other elites are in danger of losing all credibility with the public. According to poll in the Salt Lake Tribune, 78% of the citizens in Utah want SB 81 enforced. When will the elites realize that most Utahns are tired of being called racist, uncompassionate, or unchristian simply because they want the law enforced and believe that it is wrong to discriminate against the millions of people trying to come to this country legally?

I have attached the information I received from SLCPD as well as the statistics I received from BCI. The information should concern everyone. (I added the column on % of Hispanics using Hispanics and Non-Hispanics as the denominator – not including “Unknown Ethnicity”). I have also included information which shows how dramatically different U.S. immigration trends are today. This greatly concerns many legal immigrants as well as many potential legal immigrants.

Chris Herrod Email to members of the Utah State Legislature July 2009 with comments

Chris Herrod on: Defining decency in the media. Oh, and liberals in control at Deseret Media Corp.

Years ago, during the McCarthy Hearings, a response was made popular, “Have you no sense of decency?” Although years later, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, KGB files confirmed that many of those accused were actually helping the Soviet Union, but at that point, the truth didn’t matter as the classic line was already engraved in our societal psyche.

But today, a similar inquiry seems to be happening here in Utah.  In all my years of Utah politics, I have never seen such an effort to bully the legislature into passing any sort of legislation, as I have with Healthy Utah.  It’s an all-out attack by many of those who stand to profit – most notably the Utah Hospital association and the Utah Chamber of Commerce.  KSL’s Doug Wright seems to be on the warpath as well and has spared no hyperbole in his rhetoric against House members, especially House Leadership.

Frankly, I could handle the deceptive ads by the Utah Hospital Association … the tag line being “Designed by Utahns for Utahns.”  This can only be true, if you believe that a plan is actually designed by Utahns, when they go back to Washington and beg:

“Can we do this?” asks the Governor of Utah.

“No!” says the Obama Administration.

“Can we do this?”


“Can we do this?

“No, but you can do this.” says the Obama Administration.

“Okay, that will be Utah’s plan.”

Most of us wouldn’t consider this process as Utah designing Healthy Utah …. as Utah says “mother may I” to the ever growing federal behemoth.  Yet, that’s what Lane Beattie, Gail Miller, and Karen Huntsman would have you believe.

When many of these people started playing the “moral” card, I could still keep my composure (but I had to write a blog).


I could even handle the constant criticism of Utah being called rightwing despite Healthy Utah being solid left wing Republicanism.

I could handle the crocodile tears by the lobbyists making hundreds of thousands of dollars.  I could even handle the almost non-stop whining by Doug Wright evoking God and Country.

I could handle Speaker Greg Hughes getting criticized, more like crucified, in the media.  Conservatives are used to being fodder for the Desert Media Group which seems to have nothing better to do.  Greg’s mostly conservative, and unfortunately such is the lot of any conservative here in Utah.  Greg did a great job defending himself, however, on the Doug Wright Show.

Minute 54

Hour 1

and bleeds over to the next hour

2nd Hour

But what I couldn’t not handle is the taking the name of good man, Representative Jim Dunnigan, and slowly trying to chip away at his character.  I haven’t always see eye to eye with Dunnigan on policy issues but there’s no better man.  You see, Jim is a moderate, and he’s still being attacked by the media.

Doug Wright of KSL Radio had Majority Leader on his program but afterwards would say, “According to Dunnigan ….. “ trying to cast doubt on what Dunnigan had just said. Doug never took the time to verify the facts.  Doug even implied that Dunnigan had only spent 10 hours studying Healthy Utah which Doug opined that was nothing compared to governor.

Representative Jim Dunnigan knows more about healthcare than anyone I know.  He’s been on the healthcare task force from the very beginning and if he is not for Healthy Utah, there must be a good reason.  But rather than just accept that Dunnigan’s perspective is different than his, Doug has gone for an all-out assult on Dunnigan’s credibility as well as the House.  Just listen to Doug’s lack of balance and over-the-top and hard facts.

Doug Wright Show

And while Rep. Dunnigan can certainly take care of himself, I find it disgusting that now, when someone who is proudly moderate, but who sees the wisdom of looking at the facts, studying the numbers, and not succumbing to peer pressure, media pressure, campaign pressure, is attacked on his character.  Jim’s a conservative’s moderate … kinda of like a man’s man before it became politically incorrect to say… maybe best said a legislator’s legislator.  He makes his decision based on the facts before him, not what his “moderateness” would peg him or where Doug’s “liberalness” would want him to be.

I thought we wanted moderates who could bridge the gaps … oh, I guess, just moderates who agree with Doug Wright and if they don’t we will especially go after them.

This ringing endorsement might not help Rep Jim Dunnigan in his district … he probably doesn’t want it.  If it causes harm to his moderate credentials, for that I am sorry, jim, but I know of no more honest legislator than Jim Dunnigan.  His the perfect man, for the position of Majority leader now.   He’ll treat you fairly and that is why it bugs me so much when Wright his treating him so unfairly.

Have you no sense of decency Doug Wright?  How about you KSL Radio News?


McCarthy Welch Hearing Video

Chris Herrod on: Not being able to fire people because Anti-Discrimination is wrong.

Regardless of how one feels about SB 296, Anti-discrimination and Religious Freedom Amendments, the law has passed … now it’s time to look at the consequences.  The practical effect of Utah’s new law is quite far reaching and possibly fairly costly. Until other states adopt similar measures, Utah will most likely be put at a competitive disadvantage. Here’s why:

Utah has traditionally been a state with fairly strong “at will” protections.  “At will employment” means that one can be fired without cause for any reason … except for traditionally the big six – race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability … now add sexual orientation and gender identity. To the surprise of many, one can be fired for any other reason … liking the wrong color, the wrong football team, or the boss simply had a bad day.

The rationale behind “at will” status is that employment relations are voluntary which are protected by rights of association and the protection of the property rights of business owners … i.e. how to use their property/assets in the way they best see fit etc. “At will” employment also cuts back dramatically on paperwork which reduces costs!

Since companies have traditionally just had to worry about minorities or the other protected categories in the big six, the documentation for everyone else has been minimal.  Most companies won’t admit it … as extra documentation could be seen as discriminatory in and of itself … but companies more carefully document minorities and other protected categories … talk in private to any HR manager who doesn’t want successful lawsuits against them and they will admit that this is the case.

This additional documentation protects the company against unwarranted lawsuits … if a protected individual is fired, the individual could always pull the protected category card … I’m being fired because I’m too old etc., and then the burden of proof is on the company to prove otherwise.  While most minorities or individuals don’t pull this card, the documentation is needed because a single accusation can ruin a company or wreak havoc on public relations.

Obviously, pulling the protected category card isn’t effective if one is White and White is the majority.  With the number of women working basically on parity with men, the gender card isn’t see as a big as threat as it used to.  Utah is still fairly homogeneous compared to other states and so our HR costs relatively less in comparison to other states … this has long been a competitive advantage of Utah.

For the most part, it’s fairly obvious if an employee was in the big six … this was precisely the reason it was illegal … but this also meant that a company could know that it was prudent to have extra documentation before firing them.  Now, with SB 296 in place, almost everyone has to be assumed to be in the protected category since the characteristic protected is not obvious … one does not check the “I’m gay” or “I’m religious” on the employment application … this being illegal.   A company may very well find out for the first time that someone is gay or that someone has been offended religiously when they fire them. At that point, it’s too late to document anything.

A wise company will now recognize that in all practical effect, Utah is no longer an “at will” state and start documenting every action by everyone that could possibly be grounds for termination or when layoffs are needed.

I think I might brush up on my HR skills and apply for a job in Utah’ newest fastest growing sector.


Chris Herrod On: I can’t be racist, because EVERYONE is racist in their own special way.

As I was driving to Salt Lake yesterday, I listened to our old friend on the Doug Wright Show, who had a special program about officer-involved shootings in Utah.   On the show was panel consisting of SLPD Chief Burbank, Salt Lake County Sheriff Winder, a U of U sociology professor, and a representative from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. I was happy to learn from a KSL reporter that Utah Police shootings are actually down over the last decade, despite what seems to be a number of high profile cases recently.

Wright played a number of recorded comments from listeners, and the conversation quickly deteriorated into mumbo-jumbo psychobabble about the state of race relations. Doug actually took a not so veiled swipe at those that he recorded. Few of the concerns from listeners were actually addressed. Burbank somehow managed to bring illegal-immigration into the mix and went off on typical liberal analysis of the cause of all our social problems. To sum up the conversation, at one point it became five ‘ol white guys sitting around blaming whites for all our social ills in America (Yes, I now the Hispanic gentleman is Hispanic but Hispanics are actually considered white when talking about race). Actually Winder wasn’t bad, but at some point, I had to laugh as I pictured the image.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s no question that discrimination still exists, but racism exists in many forms and in many directions. Concerns of minorities should be listened to, but so should concerns of the majority, which were so quickly brushed aside during the program. When one really analyzes the overall conversation with an objective view, it actually had a surprising racial undercurrent that those on the panel, especially Wright and Burbank, didn’t seem to realize. Of course, there was no one there to call them on it, but they seem to be blind to actual racism, nonetheless.

Former Democratic Governor Richard Lamm of Colorado warned of not only “unloving critics,” but also of “uncritical lovers” of minority culture who:

“…explain all low performance and minority social problems as the effects of ‘racism and discrimination’. They generally brand all critical comments on minority under performance as ‘racism’ and blaming the victim.”

Governor Lamm cautioned that the conversation is not for the faint of heart – nobody knows that better than I … but that conservation can never take place, if opposing views aren’t given the opportunity to truly be heard, and echo chambers are simply assembled for the issuance of blame. Governor Lamm added:

“We need a candid public debate about what social glue is necessary to keep diverse people living together in peace. Tragically, one has to risk being called a racist to even begin a discussion.”

Sadly, no such courage on the Doug Wright Show today.

* * * * *

On a lighter note…Doug supposedly ripped me again on Wednesday. And, Kirk Jowers even declared that the Founding Fathers would be behind the destruction of the Caucus/Convention System. Strange.   Since the primary system wasn’t used until after the Civil War. Doug did encourage me to start my timer and conceded 11 minutes 15 seconds to the CMV cause. The only problem?! It was actually 7 minutes 49 seconds [12/17/14, 3rd Hour, 49:38 to 57:27, on CMV topic].  Darn.   Guess that means I’ll be comping him for the extra time ; )


More Photoshop Fun Time with Chris Herrod

Chris Herrod seems to have a weird obsession with two things

  1. Doug Wright and Paul Mero.
  2. Photoshopping Pictures (albeit badly)
  3. Sharing both items 1 &2 with others.

So with that being said, here is Chris Herrod photoshopping himself into a picture where he is spanking Doug Wright.

No. Really. Here he is. The smile on his face is weird. But whatevs.

Chris Herrod on: Doug Wright and Paul Mero are big meanies. So I will photoshop them.

As I am trying to get caught up on life, I’ve let lots of dumb comments slide over the past nine months, but hearing Doug Wright and Paul Mero talk on the radio, not once, but twice, has drawn me out of my self-imposed hiatus.  I first heard their comments about Donald Trump’s immigration rally while surfing the radio several weeks ago, but only after hearing the interview once again on the supposed “Best of,” did I make the effort to break my silence.

I’m a little rusty with writing blogs but here goes anyway:

Utah seems to be living in this weird nexus between “The Emperor has No Clothes” and Seinfeld’s “Bizarro World.”  Mero and Wright must believe that if they tell each other something in their own little bubble long enough that just the opposite of the truth will become reality. They must believe that their expertise and self-righteousness will somehow keep the masses silent about what’s really happening in our country.  They cling to their shallow belief that those opposed to illegal immigration are racists or nativists (to use Mero’s favorite phrase) much in the same way that Obama imagines that Americans cling to their guns and religion out of ignorance or fear.

Let me say upfront that it’s no secret that I’ve been no fan of Trump.  I did everything I could so that he would not be the Republican nominee despite constantly warning civic and political leaders for a decade that if they ignored illegal immigration that someone would use the issue to eventually win the Republican nomination.  I donated much of five months of my life to defeat Trump which probably cost me an election.  I struggled with the way that Trump treated people during the campaign especially Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina.  I’m greatly concerned about what seems to admiration of Putin despite the evils he does especially in Ukraine.  I’m greatly troubled by reports of his relationships with some women.  At times Trump has hurt the case against illegal immigration for us who understand the the true racism is tolerating illegal immigration . . .  one criticizes a judge with Mexican heritage not because of where his parents are from . . . but when he supports La Raza – a completely racist organization.  Trump could have easily picked up most of Cruz’s supporters immediately by simply saying after the convention, “I appreciate Ted’s congratulations and look forward to earning his supporters trust” rather than insulting him.

But having said this, I also try to be fair.  I’ve listened to multiple people who know Trump personally and insist that he’s different than his celebrity persona and raised an awesome family.  So I listened to Trump’s press conference in Mexico and admit that I was surprised. Trump can act presidential yet still stand firm on his commitments . . . a skill sorely missing by some of our recent presidents. I listened to the evening immigration rally in Arizona, thinking that I would finally be able to rub Trump’s flip-flop against my friends who supported Trump over Cruz . . . I thought Trump would surely cave just like almost every other leader has.  But to my surprise, Trump held true . . . and somewhat modified his tone for which I was happy.

But Paul Mero, formerly of the Sutherland Institute, said of the speech on the Doug Wright Show the day after:

I think that Donald Trump just doubled down on crazy again.  I guess his handlers thought that he was losing his supporters . . . his core support.  But I listened to the speech . . .  I guess I am trying to be kind of funny here  . . . but as the crowd was chanting “USA,” I just had that creepy feeling that they were chanting “Heil Hitler!”

Wright agreed . . .  not realizing that Mero’s comment is not any different than Hillary Clinton’s comments like “a basket of deplorables.” Such comments are arrogant, elitist, and let us commoners know how they truly feel about the majority of Republicans.  When Mero and Wright attack all of Trump’s immigration positions, they attack Cruz’s and the majority of Republican primary voters’ as well. The two presidential candidates with the “toughest” illegal alien positions won the vast majority of the primary votes.

But what’s worse, Mero and Wright sanctimoniously take up their air of superiority, and look down on those who actually suffer from consequences of illegal immigration.  They ignore those who have family members die while waiting overseas or have lost family members here to illegal aliens.  We recently honored those who died on 9/11, yet we lose more Americans ever year to illegal aliens than on that day 15 years ago.  Just because American citizens are lost in ones and twos, doesn’t make the deaths any less tragic especially since they’re so easily preventable.

In the end, Mero and Wright help others profit from illegal immigration and only encourage more of it with all the misery that comes with it. They scorn those who dare speak up about the injustices to their family members or dare ask “how I’m I supposed to survive?” Rightwing! . . . Extremist! . . .  Uneducated!  . . . and “Uncompassionate! . . . they snidely proclaim over and over again. Now add “Nazi” to their repertoire, but their responses might be much different if they ventured down from their towers of ivory to mingle with us regular folks.

As Mero and Wright ignore the poor, the middle-class, small business owners, and legal immigrants here and abroad, they show a level of contempt not often seen in history. With their plush lifestyles and failures to give voice to victims of illegal immigration, Mero and Wright might as well use Marie Antoinette famous line “Let them eat cake.”

Moreover, Mero and Wright continue to misrepresent the demographics of Trump supporters as much as Hillary Clinton does.  I was in Cleveland.  I saw the Trump crowd, and while some Trump supporters were occasionally mean, they weren’t lily-white as the mainstream media would have you believe.  There were countless immigrants among them who recognized that illegal immigration hurts them.  I had a great conversation with a Trump supporter, originally from China – a region of the world greatly discriminated by our toleration of illegal immigration.

I tried to temper my comments while I was the state director for Ted Cruz here in Utah so I didn’t blog about the great experiences I’ve had over the past 9 months  . . .  I have a hard time tempering so I just stopped commenting and writing altogether 🙂 . . .  While campaigning in Nevada for Cruz, I found that about a 1/3rd of the volunteers were either immigrants themselves or first generation Americans.  Rather than be frightened away by Cruz’s supposedly “tough” position on illegal immigration, many legal immigrants were drawn to the Cruz campaign because they know first-hand what we are losing.

The mere fact that 28% of the U.S.’s current legal immigrants and over 60% of illegal immigrants come from one country (which makes up less than 2% of the world’s population) is the very definition of institutional racism. So too is it when one race, which makes up only 7% of world’s population, gets 82% of the benefit of illegal immigration.  That one race of American citizens . . . African-American . . . bears the brunt of illegal immigration is racism as well and yet we turn racism on its head.  Unfortunately, our state has a checkered passed with the civil rights movement.  We fail to remember that it was not that long ago that a hotel which bore our state’s name discriminated against African Americans and yet we fail to understand that Utah continues with its own distorted twist on racism. Many Utahns quietly justify illegal immigration because those coming across our borders are supposedly “chosen” and Africans are not. Racism is racism whether it’s the majority against a minority or support of one minority over another minority.  We ignore recent essays that “unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”

As the U.S. nears record highs of the percentage of immigrants to the general population, it’s not racist to have conversations on whether we can handle this financially or even culturally.  Former Democrat Governor of Colorado has said that we avoid asking the question at our own peril.  Lamb adds:

We buy into “cultural relativism,” in which all culture are assumed to be equal.  I suggest that all cultures deserve respect and understanding, but they are not all equal.

Too many Americans believe that we have a divine destiny and that God will watch over us no matter how diverse we become or how hedonistic, selfish, myopic, or inefficient we become. This is a dangerous hubris.

Sadly, Mero, Wright, and the establishment Republicans, many of whom now lead the charge against Trump in Utah, still fail to comprehend that they are the ones responsible for Trump. They can pound their chests all they want but they . . . Governor Kasich as well . . .  created the environment for Trump to succeed.  They pushed elected leaders to ignore promises made . . . justified deceit because they knew better . . . and feared the Chamber of Commerce more than constituents.  They delude themselves by thinking concern that the injustice of illegal immigration is simply a fad and see more honor in Trump backing down and in lying than in keeping his word. Why can’t Mero and Wright see that America is tired of lies?

Mero and Wright cower behind a mic where they can simply flip a switch to cut off debate.  The only true debate Mero and Wright ever had about illegal immigration was at Thanksgiving Point in 2011.  The facts, commonsense, and even the audience were clearly not on their side. (The Sutherland Institute use to have a link to the entire debate. but now only edited sections can be found on youtube but still the ridiculousness of their arguments are obvious.)

I, dozens of legal immigrants, those who risked their lives overseas, and I am sure many other “crazies” and “deplorables” would be happy to do it again.

-Chris Herrod

The UnConCon on Polling

Last summer, during the height of the Presidential campaign. The UnConCon Blog went to Public Policy Polling’s website. Answering a call for “Utah Question Suggestions” someone as the UnConCon recommended several questions.

Link to original post here: 

Now. Based on the last post, you would think Craig Frank and Chris Herrod would want to run their own polls, since Pollsters are biased. But yet, here they are, offering questions to PPP to include on their survey of Utah.


Chris Herrod on: Being less biased than professional pollsters

I for one have rarely put much faith in polls–especially here in Utah.  Polls can be easily manipulated, especially if they don’t follow respected and generally accepted standards.   The National Council for Public Polls (NCPP) states:

Polls are not conducted for the good of the world. They are conducted for a reason – either to gain helpful information or to advance a particular cause.  [Link to NCPP here.]

Philosophically, I think polls are often used as a crutch.   When concerning core principles, a true leader should lead rather than stick their finger in the air in an attempt to simply get in front of the crowd. It takes courage to let people know how you feel BEFORE a poll is taken.   We need more leaders with the courage to espouse fundamental principles without being backed-up by a poll. But, that’s my personal opinion.

Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right? – Robert Orben, comedian and Pres. Gerald Ford speechwriter

Here in Utah, nobody seems to even question Dan Jones & Associates (a Cicero Group Company) – it’s almost heresy to do so. Interestingly enough, Dan Jones is married to the very vocal and opinionated (former) Democratic Senator, Pat Jones, who actively participated (while in office) in the running of the business and DJ&A’s focus groups.

The NCPP specifically states the first two questions asked by journalists regarding polls should be 1) who did the poll? and 2) who paid for the poll and why was it done?

Of course, there’s a financial incentive for the polling company to find results in favor of what the client wants. Reputable companies (which I believe Dan Jones & Associates is) try to mitigate the bias, but are not always successful. Even Dan Jones is fallible.

We live in a time when “Ph.D.” or any other title seems to give unquestionable authority to anyone who possesses it. However, just the opposite should be true, because good research is at the fingertips of almost everyone today. (In full disclosure, I may have a chip on my shoulder.   I’m a PhD flunky who got frustrated with the esoteric nature of the writing and ridiculousness of some of the research. Doctoral programs are often nothing more than a union card and equates to nothing less than academic hazing.   But, that’s a topic for another day).   The citing of good research (and the facts) should be the measure of validity and/or legitimacy—not simply a name or the reputation of a firm.


It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to find fault with the DJ&A’s poll. (The DJ&A poll is regularly cited by Utah Policy, Doug Wright of KSL’s Doug Wright Show [KSL 102.7 FM and 1160 AM], other media outlets, and proponents of Count My Vote.]

(Note to reader: Utah Policy was kind enough to give me the text, which I’m assuming is the poll question in its entirety.)


The recent Count My Vote initiative sought to change Utah’s party nomination process by allowing a candidate to gather signatures to get on the primary election ballot instead of having to go through the caucus convention system where convention delegates determine party candidates. Do you support or oppose the Count My Vote effort?


In the 2014 Legislature, a bill was passed as a compromise between some legislators and Count My Vote proponents. The compromise fulfilled the Count My Vote goal to provide an alternative way for candidates to get on the primary election ballot. It also preserved the caucus convention system as an option for candidates who wish to use that process. The bill opened primary elections to all voters, not just voters registered as political party members. Now the Utah Republican Party has filed a lawsuit against the bill, and some legislators want to repeal the bill or change it to give convention delegates more power in the nomination process. Do you favor or oppose maintaining the Count My Vote compromise bill as passed by the 2014 Legislature?

A fundamental principle in writing good poll questions is keeping the questions simple and free of biases (i.e leading words and phrases).  [Link to Qualtrics, Adobe Connect, or Survey Monkey here.]

Neither of these two poll questions are simple, and, both contain leading statements.

In Question #1, just the referencing “The Count My Vote Initiative” is a perfect example of a leading statement. It’s no secret that the term Count My Vote was focus group tested. To CMV’s credit, it’s actually a very good name—although deceiving. Question #1 referenced Count My Vote twice and Question #2 references it three times.

Once pollsters describe Count My Vote or SB54, bias is introduced into the question because what the CMV Initiative and SB54 actually do is up for interpretation. (See my previous blog on how Senator Bramble originally described SB54, and how he describes it now.) In Question #1, the Caucus/Convention System is described in a way that makes it seem restrictive or elite (I would assume this is on purpose). There’s no mention that anyone can become a delegate, or, how this system has ranked Utah #1 in the Nation in various categories, by various groups. (Unfortunately, many Utahns still don’t understand the Caucus/Convention System. It is to them what their neighbor, or Doug Wright, has told them it is. ) It’s biased to describe the CMV process in the body of the poll question and not describe the Caucus/Convention System equally, fairly, and honestly, too.

The polls are just being used as another tool of voter suppression. The polls are an attempt to not reflect public opinion, but to shape it. Yours. They want to depress the heck out of you. – Rush Limbaugh

In Question #2, leading terms are even more present, and the question farther from simplicity. The word “compromise” is used in the first sentence. Compromise has a favorable connotation; however, the political parties affected weren’t even involved. That’s quite a stretch from “compromise.” In the third sentence (Question #2), the pollster stated the CMV proposal (SB54) preserved the Caucus/Convention System. On the surface…perhaps. But, no one with credibility believes the Caucus/Convention System will be used (or viable) in a few years. One of Utah Policy’s own writers has stated that SB54 essentially neuters the Caucus/Convention System, so, it’s hardly unbiased to say SB54 preserves the Caucus/Convention System. In the fifth sentence, the pollster use the term “give more power.”   Using a term like “give more power” is a classic example of a leading statement (see previous sources cited).   And, the fact that we are even talking about a fifth sentence—and there’s even a sixth–shows how ridiculously far away from simplicity Question #2 went.

Now that I’ve done some research about legitimate and well-structured polling questions, I have to believe Dan Jones must be dreadfully embarrassed about Question #2, and hopes it doesn’t end up in a college textbook somewhere–as a bad example.

Had the pollster simply ask about SB54, or, “the CMV Initiative,” the results would have been more valid (unquestionably the “undecided” category would have been greater).  But, had the CMV poll been less leading, Doug Wright and the CMV folks wouldn’t have been able to use the questionable poll results as a drum-beating stick.  And, Rich McKewon calls the CMV movement a “noble cause.”

But, alas!  What else can we expect from the CMV folks?!  This is a perfect example of why so many people justly view polls with a healthy measure of skepticism.


Chris Herrod on: Being a better Republican than all the other Republicans in the swamp.

Someone challenged me about the corrupting influence of SB 54.

Obviously, anytime you have an entire industry that is created from a single piece of legislation, one would expect conflicts. For example, according to the SLC Tribune, Spencer Stokes owns “Gather” which is a signature gathering company.  Regardless of who you supported in the Governor’s race, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Spencer Stokes would be the one to mail to delegates the slimmest letter (at least in my memory) against Jonathon Johnson two days before the state convention.  (I would say the same about Johnson had he sent such a letter against Herbert two days before the convention so Governor Herbert couldn’t respond.)  Johnson campaigned on the fact he would repeal SB 54 which would have destroyed Stokes’ business.

Neither should it come as a surprise to find that Stokes, other lobbyists, and Count-My-Vote supporters gave heavily to Senator Bramble and his PAC as well.  One would expect that a signature gathering business which owes its birth and total existence to Senator Bramble’s SB 54 would donate to him. CMV supporters gave more to Bramble than I spent on my entire campaign.  This demonstrates why Utah has “Pay for Play” reputation.

Lobbyists benefit when races become more expensive because legislators become more dependent on the lobbyists for their money.  SB 54 and SB 114 make this worse.

Senator Bramble told me and others that he would raise a $1,000,000 if I ran.  Well, you can see his financial disclosure here.

Not a million, but he spent over $103,000 against my $12,767.30 (and yet I still won same-day voting but I lost in early voting and vote by mail . . .  vote-by-mail and early voting basically makes elections twice as expensive because all one’s literature must be sent out at least 3 weeks early and then again right before the election.  I found this out the hard way.)  But Senator Bramble must have had a harder time raising $1,000,000 than he thought.  Why else would he risk the following?


Senator Bramble controls the Utah County Legislative PAC (UCLP) which has caused a lot of controversy in the past. Some problematic entries in the UCLP’s financial disclosure:

Exp. Date Name of Recipient Purpose I L A Expenditure Amount
1/26/2016 Gather Signature gathering $4,000.00
3/8/2016 Utah Senate 3d House Legislative staff gifts $378.00
5/11/2016 G1 Consulting Voter ID, election analytics & survey $14,800.00

But I haven’t been able to find these expenditures as in-kind donations on Senator Bramble’s personal financial disclosure or others as according to the Lt. Governor’s office the law requires.   Bramble’s most trusted confidants in Utah County . . .  Senator Henderson and Representative McKell  . . .  don’t show anything either. I’ve yet to find a Utah County legislator that benefited from these expenses and so I can only assume that they were for Senator Bramble’s personal benefit.  Neither does any Republican senator in Utah show an in-kind donation.

In the grand scheme of things, failing to report an in-kind donation of $385 to the Senate 3rd House last year (and questions about who paid previous years) is probably not that big of a deal.  It’s not right but we all make mistakes.  (The Senate 3rd House provides meals, snacks, drinks, and other misc. support functions for senators.)

But what about a $4,000 donation?  A $14,800 donation?  When is it a big enough issue to express concern?  If Bramble were a conservative legislator, the democrats, the press, Pignanelli/Frank and Rolly would be all over it. They’ve gone after conservative legislators for much less.  But since it’s Bramble, and he’s pushing their agenda, I guess there’s no need to investigate.  Welcome to life in Utah . . . and politicians and the press wonder why their numbers are so low.

But the bigger issue for the election process.  Is it possible that such money or lack of disclosure made a difference in an election?  Who knows?  I assumed Bramble’s personal campaign disclosures were correct.  A donation from the UCLP for signature gathering would have spurred investigation on my part and I could have rallied additional support.  How much money does it take to flip 230 votes?   So I guess it’s safe to say, I was out spent over $120,000 to $12,500 or roughly 10 to 1?

But lobbyists’ money doesn’t affect elections, right?

Yet Senator Bramble uses the name of all Utah County legislators to raise funds and so many Utah County legislators probably aren’t happy that Senator Bramble used UCLP as his personal slush fund  – to pay Senate 3rd House expenses and for signature gathering which most Utah County legislators voted against.  Several legislators had a miserable Spring because of SB 54. There’s also the question of whether an in-kind donation is legal during the session is also an issue, but relatively minor.

In addition, Utah County Republican Party funds were co-mingled with the UCLP in 2008 when the party gave $54,000 to the UCLP.   Is it fair that these funds were used in an inter-party fight?  But once again, with the help of Senator Henderson and Representatives McKell and Gibson, the Utah County Legislative Pac is back in full-fundraising mode which raised $51,500 for a “Reagan Dinner” before the session.  Forgive my cynicism for not believing that all Utah County legislators will benefit equally.

And some say there is no swamp here in Utah.

-Chris Herrod