Saturday, March 26, 2011

PALMS is back in business...

I started the Provo Area Leadership Mentoring Society with my husband Gove in 2007. We offered weekly discussions throughout the school year and bimonthly book discussions during the summer months. After two years, we decided to take a break. We ended August 2009 having finally made it through all of the Federalist and Anti-federalist papers along with many other books.

Time passed..., I was happy...,then one day in the not so distant past, I wondered to myself and asked what would be coming next. Boy, was that a loaded question!

I don't recall if we decided to start PALMS before or after the protesting of early March and frankly it doesn't matter. The fact is we felt it was time to get going again.

Last night, we welcomed eight members of the community for a colloquium about Arthur C. Brooks' book, The Battle. Personal examples of what happened to one family when they decided to used government assistance while in school, and their decision to get off of all assistance because they felt more and more pressure to sign up for more and more help that they didn't even need.

Happiness has never lasted long when things are given to you. Happiness comes though earned success and our American welfare system does nothing to develop earned happiness. The thought of redistribution of our hard earned money through more taxing, knowing full well that the people who receive that money will have no idea how to use it to grow and improve themselves and continue to be unhappy because they are not willing to earn their happiness just makes me sick, sad, stunned, and stupefied.

Two books were recommended: 1st: A Item to Choose and 2nd Bridges out of Poverty

If you would like to joining us in April or May, please go to the link below for our reading schedule:

http://palms.gove.net/

P.S.
I will mention that the treat for the evening (and possibly future evenings) was (and might be again), Cinnabon cinnamon rolls that Gove made. He and I didn't have one, can you believe it! The verdict of the consumers was major thumbs up. Perhaps you will get lucky on Friday night as well. Just remember to bring your spouse.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Gove has been busy for a number of evenings posting at his website the details of our experience when we protested against Provo city's ordinance for a daytime curfew. Our goal is to provide what we did and learned leading up to the protest, the protest itself, and our actions after wards.


You can read and learn from two people who have never before been involved in such an activity.

Here is the link: http://www.provocitycouncil.com/home/

It seems to me that this information would be valuable to any group that is seeking help for the first time and needs some direction and guidance.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Does the city planning commission hear the citizens???

I'm attending my first planning commission meeting this evening.

Two big concerns are

1. The northwest connector road and
2. The connector road over on the east side from center street and seven peaks blvd. to 300 south.

This road on the east side sounds like it's something convenient for select people perhaps. It doesn't sound like the neighbors want this road at all. There will be 8 foot walls involved, lights, two right curves and a round about at each end. The projected cost is 1.5 million dollars.

The board is now talking about this as the public comment is over. It really sounds like this board isn't going to listen to the objections of the people! Not a single person came in favor of this road! Incredible!!! Then I heard that the 8 foot wall is a deal with the pipe lines being laid and the wall would go in without a road. Why do you need an 8 foot wall with pipes being laid? Are the pipes above ground. Highly doubtful. The city person said the group needs to offer an alternative.

How many people know about a 'Master Plan' for their city?? I never did. It sounds like as a home owner it is our job to learn about this plan before buying your home to see what is planned for in the future that could affect your property value.

This is crazy. The "wall" is the property of the state. I think the state being the state mental health hospital.

They voted to keep the road going forward. Now the citizens will have to present their protest to the city council.

Monday, March 21, 2011

They've gone global...

This morning, I received a call from what I think was a call center in India. I was told that the report on the kids bakery was in the Standard Journal and we would receive a digital copy of a plaque we could have made of the news report if I just gave the man, with the very heavy English accent, my email. I quickly looked on the web and could not find the Standard Journal and he could not tell me what state this journal was in, but I did find a web site in India that was carrying the article. I said no thanks as we already have many copies of our local Daily Herald paper.

BUT here's the amazing thing. The Associated Press did pick up the story and it's been printed or added to web news sites all over the United States (don't forget India). How funny. Well I guess that was ours/theirs fifteen minutes of fame at any rate.

Responding to truancy?

What, if anything, should Utah Valley communities do to combat school truancy?

The Provo Municipal Council has been considering a daytime curfew, making truancy -- skipping school -- a criminal offense. It formed a task force to study the issue. Within 24 hours, nearly 40 people signed up to take part. That may indicate some depth of concern, or perhaps the level of opposition.

Local authorities believe that enforcement is key to keeping young people from going off on the wrong track. A daytime curfew is designed to jolt parents and kids alike.

Yet the idea presents problems. Home-school parents and kids protest mightily that police can't tell the difference between kids skipping school and kids who are getting a better education outside the restraints of the public school system.

Besides, many argue, making truancy a criminal offense is extreme.

Out of Provo's 15,000 students, 2,000 have received a letter dealing with potential truancy concerns, but a lot of those letters deal with trivial matters like tardies. Only about 200 cases have been referred to juvenile court.

So perhaps heavy-handed truancy enforcement is a remedy looking for a problem.

Officials worry that truancy often translates into ruined lives. We would challenge that. Is truancy the cause of troubled lives? Probably not. It is a symptom.

Some education experts assert that 75 percent of chronically truant students will end up being high school dropouts. No surprise there. Being a dropout correlates to crime, poverty and other social problems. But correlation does not prove the cause.

In the Nebo School District, with about twice the number of students as in Provo, between 300 and 400 are in truancy prevention programs. About 85 kids will attend court.

Is that a large enough number to warrant heavy enforcement? And will enforcement save kids from their failing families? Probably not.

An alternative for Nebo District is the attendance court program. It tries to get the school, students and parents to work together to improve attendance and grades.

In the Alpine School District, out of 66,000 students, 136 students were seen in juvenile court last year for habitual truancy; 263 were referred to truancy school last year. Offered by the district in the evenings, it gives parents and students classes taught by a police officer.

School resource officers in each high school play a big role, Alpine officials say. Other places have tried a variety of steps, some of them eye opening.

Maybe technology can help. Districts across the country have instituted robo-calls exhorting students to get up and get to class. In other places, parents get automatic text messages if their children fail to show up at school.

Some districts have tried the upbeat approach. New York City has tried a program called WakeUP NYC. Automated calls from sports and entertainment celebrities are meant to get students motivated.

So imagine the phone ringing, and a kid who doesn't want to go to school picks it up and hears a taped message from a basketball legend: "Morning! It's me, Magic Johnson here. I won five NBA championships and an Olympic gold medal, so I'm calling the shots today. Get up out of bed, into school, try hard, do well."

Here the kid rolls over and goes back to sleep.

Other places are trying a tougher approach. Schools in cities such as Dallas, Anaheim, Calif., and Baltimore, Md., have tried having habitual truants put on GPS devices.

Will that solve problems in their home lives? Doubtful. But authorities can now track down those cutting class. And it gives teenagers a way to repel peer pressure: "Hey, I'd like to hang out, but with this thing on, I can't go anywhere with the cops finding me." We suppose, also, that gang members and other punks don't want to hang out with someone being so closely monitored by The Man.

When San Antonio tried such a program, grades improved and the attendance rate hit 97 percent for students in the program.

So there are ways to force kids to sit in a chair. We're not convinced that addresses their individual needs so much as it addresses a school district's need for seat time, since that's the way they get funding.

Civil libertarians have objected to the "Big Brother" aspects of the GPS program.

A more personal approach has been offered in more than 200 districts nationwide. That seems more promising. Check And Connect pairs up students with professional, full-time mentors. Among the mentors' tasks is checking on students' attendance.

Yet for all these efforts, some students are not reached. This brings up the question: Should they be in school in the first place? Provo School District is extremely reluctant to expel students for truancy. And in Utah education is compulsory.

Is it time to question the basic premise?

If a teenager is adamant about not going to school, there may be little to keep him or her there. Why not move them into trade programs and get them working?

Hard-core truants are unlikely to be gaining much even when forced to sit in a chair. The time and energy required to drag them into school may not be worth it.

Copyright 2011 Daily Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

City Council Meeting...it's a new beginning for me...

It's 5:10pm and here I am at the Provo city council study meeting. I missed the first item, and currently the council members are discussing increasing fees (Item B) for garbage, recycling, and yard waste cans. It sounds like they are thinking of three cans for $20 month. Black cans would go up to $12.50 /month. Motion to move to April 5th work session.

Item D: Next item sounds like the city wants to pass an ordinance to perhaps remove mining and quarrying in the city. Turley stepped down because he has interest in the case.

Item E: Turley wants to step down again over discussion regarding grading ordinance text amendment. It appears Turley has a construction business. Motion failed and I think it just died.

Item F: Intoxicating chemicals: This is about Spice and it appears that this is related to the new ordinance in 2010 that was passed. The repeal will remove the entire ordinance and I think it will occur tonight.

Adjourning...

How exciting, once the council left for dinner, we spoke with Genelle Pugmire, who is an informed reporter for the Daily Herald. She wanted to present some ideas that the Colonial Days organizers are doing this summer and she has invited our children and us to participate. This sounds like a great educational opportunity for families in Provo and Orem. This group is trying to put together a full time colonial village in the coming years.

Hey, the council just congratulated the employee of the month and as the council members walked by Gove and I, Midge Johnson stopped and said to Gove that she has heard that he is going to run. He didn't say anything and then she said he should go for it. Rumors. Where or who started this???

Public Comment: My neighbor Carol Walters is standing to express gratitude for the Switch Provo plan. She is mentioning a forum she is having in May.



The Downtown chair person is speaking about the money that was allocated to a park and is very concerned about the appearance of downtown. (CDBG monies).

Next person talking about Proco city code ch 2 section 70, she is directly talking about Turley earlier and how he talks about the issue and then goes down to the audience.






Consent Agenda:
Everett has question about #1 She is requesting to remove item 1 that it would be lengthy. She now wants everyone to know of the $20,000 blade grant for businesses to know about and not feel like it went under the radar. She wants to know how often a city code is repealed? She is talking about the intoxicating chemical compounds associated with the ordinance passed regarding Spice. If I follow at all. It sounds like there is now/new state law and so the city wanted to go with the state law.

It appears that some money ($150,000) is going to be taken from a park (Spring Creek Park) grant and be put back into downtown improvements. I think what Beck is saying is that it's rude to go back now when there is no one here from the park support group. This is sounding very underhanded to me. This money sounds to be from some Federal grant. Why is the council/city taking this money. I wonder how many projects are being funded from money we, the city doesn't actually have? Things are heating up between Turley and Everett right now. Turley is asking for transparency for this issue. Sounds like this is going to a work session for April 5th.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Siblings baking up business...

Siblings baking up business

Mark Johnston | Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011 12:25 am

From left, Eli Allen, 13, Bethany Allen, 11, and Mattia Allen, 10, cut, measure and knead dough for baking their own ten-grain bread at the Bethlehem Bakery at their home in Provo Wednesday, March 9, 2011. MARK JOHNSTON/Daily Herald

Sisters Bethany and Mattia Allen, along with their older brother Eli, make their way through the N. Eldon Tanner Building at BYU with a cart full of bread from their bakery and a log book in hand. From door-to-door they sell sourdough and 10-grain bread that they baked at home for some very appreciative customers.

These three entrepreneurs and their business plan are off to a good start, having already made a good impression on Ronald Seamons, the assistant dean of the Marriott School of Management, one of their top customers.

"They're a package deal. The bread is really good, but seeing these kids run a business is impressive especially when you know their ages," said Seamons, as he purchased a loaf of sourdough at his office.

Eli, 13, runs the Bethlehem Bakery in Provo with his sisters Bethany, 11, and Mattia, 10. All three are home-schooled by their mother, Nickie Allen, who likes to take their lessons a step further in preparing the children for the world.

After baking started as a fun hobby two years ago for their father, Gove Allen, the children soon got involved helping out where they could. But as they grew a little older, Nickie Allen decided she could include the bread-making in the lessons she taught in their classroom.

"Whatever we're doing we try to relate to real life," Nickie Allen said.

Soon the simple process of baking bread was helping teach lessons in mathematics, kitchen hygiene and safety, teamwork, public speaking and even business.

With Utah's approval of cottage food production operations, and after they earned food-handlers permits, Eli, Bethany and Mattia were soon baking a variety of breads and selling them too. All the while their mother enjoyed the satisfaction of watching her kids learn what she considered the most valuable lessons of all: that there is value in free enterprise and being entrepreneurs; they shouldn't rely on others to take care of them; and they should never feel entitled to things that they hadn't earned themselves.

"The reason we decided to invest in this was really for the education of running a business," said Gove Allen, who is an associate professor of information systems at BYU.

And invest they did.

An empty room next to their classroom at home has steadily been transformed into the Bethlehem Bakery. Industrial-sized kitchen equipment, which they purchased piece by piece from surplus sales, has helped make the process much easier for the children.

Every Wednesday they bake, and every Thursday they make their sales. The children work independently with ease and confidence, relying on their parents' help only for the challenge of making sourdough.

It is a lot of work on top of their everyday classroom assignments, and some days their mother says they can still be kids and not feel up for the task of baking. But it's all worth it when the reward of payday comes around.

Half of all they make goes back into the business. After that, they each put 40 percent of their individual take into savings, 10 percent goes to givings, 10 percent to tithing and the rest goes into spending.

"Sometimes I don't want to put so much into savings, why can't I have some more spendings?" asked Mattia upon explaining her financial plan.

Bethany puts a majority of what she earns into taking care of her pet rabbits, and Mattia enjoys buying toys and books.

Eli, though, "he'll take himself out to eat," said his mother.

At one time they even saved all their earnings to take nearly a monthlong trip to Virginia where they explored Colonial America.

"Whatever they want to govern I cannot say no to," Nickie Allen said. "When it's their spending money, it's theirs to learn from, and if it goes quickly, too bad so sad."

Just another lesson that Eli, Bethany and Mattia have learned by running the Bethlehem Bakery.

And while they may not all turn out to be business owners or accountants in future, (Eli's favorite subject is history; Bethany loves animals, and Mattia likes art), this experience will benefit them much more than reading from any textbook.

• More information for the Bethlehem Bakery can be found online at facebook.com/BethlehemBakery.

--Way to go kids! We love you!!

Mom and Dad

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Truancy plan needs input ... by the Daily Herald

IN OUR VIEW

Posted: Sunday, March 6, 2011 12:02 am

Provo Municipal Council and Mayor John Curtis acted prudently in pulling back a proposed truancy ordinance for further work. This complex issue needs more community input, which is just what city leaders are trying to gather.

The original plan would have allowed police to issue misdemeanor citations to truant students. This would bring parents, the court system, and consequences into the situation, rather than just transporting the student back to school.

Officials say truancy is a growing problem. They cite a 100 percent increase in habitual truants just in the last five years. Moreover, they add, truancy is often a harbinger of gang activity.

The tougher truancy law is meant to flash bright warning signals before a teenagers gets in real trouble, especially gang activity. Juvenile justice authorities say such early intervention is key.

City officials add that daytime curfews have helped fight juvenile crime in other Utah cities, including Logan, Ogden and Murray.

Questions remain, however. Truancy is itself a minor infraction. Linking it to gang behavior still could be a case of looking at correlation, not causation.

Gang members, or wannabes, cut classes. Yet so do Ferris Buellers who otherwise wouldn't run afoul of the police or courts. Separating the wheat from the chaff is crucial here.

Nor is it clear to us that the court system is always the right cure. That is, sometimes a bad cough is a symptom of lung cancer. But you don't make everyone with a cough submit to surgery.

Also revealing was Tuesday's protest by 250-some parents and children, many of them home-schoolers. For our usually placid community, that was a significant event. They mostly were worried that such students, who aren't locked into school buildings from morning to mid-afternoon, will be hassled by police.

Moreover, this trend will only accelerate in the future and make it harder to even define truancy. In years to come, an increasing number students will be taught by their parents, or attend cyber schools, or graduate early. It will be harder and harder for police to differentiate between gang members who are cutting classes and other children who are getting an education yet avoiding the factory-like routine of many conventional schools. In short, making truancy a crime already may be obsolescent.

To look at all these issues in more depth, Provo City will be forming a truancy and youth crime task force with representatives from law enforcement, the justice system, public education, home-schoolers, charter schools and other interested parties. That's a nifty idea. Much more thought and much wider perspectives are still needed.

People are already signing up for it at provo.org. If you're interested in joining that group, or just providing input, go http://ProvoTruancy.notlong.com. We encourage interested residents to look into it.

Commendably, city government has been chewing on this issue very thoroughly. Our advice is to keep chewing.

Posted in Editorial, Opinion on Sunday, March 6, 2011 12:02 am Updated: 7:17 am. | Tags: Truancy, Gangs, Provo, Gang Task Force, Home Schoolers

Interview with BYU Channel 11, day of protest...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ouch, those beads can really hurt....

Happy Mardi Gras
Hey Mister! Throw me something!

The truth:
I didn't write those previous posts. It was my good husband.

The result:
Now I'm even more writing shy. For example, a fellow Utah County citizen asked me to connect my blog with his to share ideas and concerns. I haven't had the heart to inform the poor guy that it wasn't my writing. No, I take that back. I'm sure there were at lest a few of my thoughts in all of that stuff regarding the curfew.

A new addition:
Hey, did you see my links for Provo? Over there on the right hand side, there's the mayor, the city, one councilman because that was all I could find, city council agenda/minutes, and city codes. Not a bad start for an amateur citizen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

News Clips...

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Congratulations! No daytime Curfew

Dear Homeshcool (and other) Political Activists:

Wow. You are amazing.

Last Friday, when Gove and I decided that we needed to do something about the proposed daytime curfew ordinance in Provo, we thought we were too late. The Mayor's office was pushing for the ordinance as was the Provo school district. Our reading of the city council suggested that there were enough in favor for it to pass.

We invited concerned citizens to come to our home to meet with council member Sterling Beck to see what we might be able to do to influence the vote. We were kicking ourselves for not getting involved earlier.

The response to our invitation was great. Our home was full with concerned citizens (homeshoolers and other) who wanted to help. At that meeting we established a strategy to defeat the proposed ordinance. We would organize a protest and invite anyone we thought sympathetic to our cause to join. Still, with less than 48 hours to the vote, I was worried that we were too little, too late.... Boy, was I wrong.

This community stepped up to the challenge in a way that I would not have believed possible. You got the word out. You sent email out. You posted comments on your blogs, You talked to your neighbors, You contacted news papers and gave interviews to reporters. You contacted television stations and later found yourselves expressing your concerns on the evening news. You put other plans on hold and made arrangements to attend the protest. The local news picked up the story of the planned protest and we got the attention of both the mayor's office and the school district office. The mayor found himself answering reporters' questions about why he was supporting an action that would give police the authority to arrest six-year-olds. I'd be surprised if Greg Hudnell (of the Provo School District) was not answering similar questions.

By Monday Night, Greg Hudnell had issued a letter of apology regarding his support of the proposed ordinance. By Tuesday morning, the Mayor sent a letter to the city council formally withdrawing his support of the measure. At that time, we had successfully defeated this proposed ordinance--daytime curfew for Provo would not become law (this time).

This was an amazing turn of events and it happened in an extremely short time.

But that was not enough. Even though the measure was dead, you showed up to the protest anyway. Observers who work in the city offices said that they had NEVER seen a protest of this size at the city building. Together, we sent a clear message to the City Council, to the Mayor's office, and to the school district: making laws that trample citizen's rights and ignore the constitution will not be tolerated.

An oh boy, they got the message. The protest was covered by every major news organization in Utah County as well as many freelance photographers. We also got state-wide coverage as both Doug Wright and Rod Arquette devoted substantial blocks of time on their talk radio programs to the events. The only thing we did not have was national news coverage, but with only 36 hours notice, that might have been a bit much to expect--maybe next time.

Representatives of the city council tried to diffuse the issue by announcing that they were no longer considering the proposed ordinance, but that did not discourage this group. By the time the Municipal Council Meeting began at 7:00, the count of protesters (every one peaceful and respectful) had reached 250. To their credit, the Provo City Council gave time in the meeting to allow everyone who came to express concerns on the issue individually. For more than two hours, the council listened to person after person express the concerns with the way this measure had progressed. Even though the measure had been defeated, I was very pleased to see how patient and attentive the council remained. Although a few speakers took an accusatory tone with the council, the addresses were overwhelmingly respectful, well reasoned and persuasive. The Council took the time to hear our concerns, and from my reading of the event, they really listened.

The youngest to address the city council was Olivia Holt (about eight or nine years old) and was so small that she could not see over the podium. The council had to ask her to step in front it so the council members could see her. Here's the link to the segment with her address: http://provout.swagit.com/player.php?refid=03012011-295 (she makes her comments at time index 18:22).

This has been an unbelievable victory in many respects. First, it is a victory for every citizen of and visitor to the city of Provo. More importantly, it is a victory for our community who came together in an amazing way to influence the path that a community would take. Every child who held a protest sign and chanted "no daytime curfew" to amazed onlookers will long remember the day. They learned that peaceful protest can have a real influence in our community. They learned that they can make a difference. They learned that when a concerned, motivated, and dedicated group makes their voices heard, people listen.

My congratulations on a great job.

Now, we need to be sure that we don't fall asleep at the switch. Even though we defeated this measure in Provo, we need to be ever vigilant that we do not let similar measures advance in any community. To this end, we are organizing a event to jointly celebrate this success and take time to reflect on what went right as well as what we could have done better. Here are the details:

Pizza party to celebrate the defeat of the Provo daytime curfew
Saturday, March 5, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Allens' Home in Provo (854 N 1375 W)
For: Anyone who feels they contributed to the victory
RSVP: veronnicaallen@gmail.com
The Allens will provide the Pizza, everyone else should bring a side dish.

We will take some time at this event for adults and interested children to have a retrospective discussion of what went right and what we could have done better. Please join us.

Again, thank you for your participation. I remain deeply moved at how you united over this issue. I am honored to be a member of this community.

Nickie Allen. (with help from Gove)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Protest Still on for Today

This morning Mayor Curtis, in a letter to the city council, withdrew the administration's support of the proposed ordinance for daytime curfew.

We are thankful for the mayor's willingness to consider the concerns of his electorate and seek a different avenue to address the city's truancy and gang problems.

However, it is more important now than ever that the protest that activity for the council meeting tonight remain on track. We have momentum now, and we have media coverage of the protest scheduled. The measure is still on the agenda for the Council Meeting this evening. This will not be the last attempt address truancy and gang violence and we need to get our message out that requiring citizens to carry ID to prove they have the right to remain in a public place is WRONG!

Please get the word out that this protest is still on and that it is more important now than ever.

Resposne to Melanie's comment

Here is a comment that was made on my post about our meeting with Sterling Beck. My response to the comment was too long to fit in the comment section, so I have reproduced the comment here and offer my response below.

Comment made buy "Melanie":

Thank you for getting involved. Your attempt to give information and solicit protest is great! Unfortunately, some of your facts are incorrect:
1: No public comment will be allowed during study sessions.
2: No signs will be allowed in Council Chambers.
3: Comments about items on the agenda will not be allowed during the first "public comment" portion of the meeting.
4: Getting to the truancy ordinance may take a very long time. Children could be sitting for HOURS -- an unrealistic expectation?
5. Sterling Beck has shown on several occasions that he does not understand the ordinance. You should have invited someone else to brief you.


Melanie:

Thanks for taking the time to express your concerns. I'm really new at this and I acknowledge that I may not have all the details correct about everything.

Let's take a look at your concerns one by one:

1. No public comment will be allowed during study sessions.

I was unsure about this myself, having never attended a study session, My husband and I went to speak with the Deputy Attorney for the City of Provo, Ryan Wood (a regular participant with the city council in council meetings) to find out when concerned citizens could address the council. He told us that it is common in study session for the council to hear from citizens on issues on the agenda. When Council Member Beck was at our house we also asked him about it. He said that while the council is under no obligation to hear from the public in that meeting, the regularly do. He made it clear to us that, the fact, the council does have the authority to clear the chamber for their discussion. I expect that based on the amount of angst that this proposed ordinance has generated in the past 48 hours has made some members of the council uneasy about the prospect of allowing citizens of Provo to be heard in this venue. According, it now appears that the council is going to attempt to consolidate the discussion of this proposed ordinance into the municipal council session which begins at 7:00 p.m. I do find it interesting that in the agenda (http://www.provo.org/userfiles/downloads/council/councilagenda-2011_03_01_public.pdf) the start of the study session is listed as 4:00 p.m. while in the study packet(www.provo.org/userfiles/downloads/council/study_packet_1-4-11.pdf) it is shown as 4:30. My guess is that this inconsistency arose in last-minute shuffling to change the nature of the discussion to be allowed in the study session. This is an inconvenience but not a big deal.

2. No signs will be allowed in Council Chambers.

This is exactly what Council Member Beck told us. Our intent in organizing a peaceful protest with signs is for public visibility, to raise awareness about the issue with the voters of Provo. Accordingly, our planned use of the signs is outside the city complex. we hope that as council members come and go throughout the day, the will see us and understand that this is an issue that concerns us greatly. We intend to influence the minds of council with respect to the disposition of the proposed ordinance through reasoned argument, not vociferous protest.

3. Comments about items on the agenda will not be allowed during the first "public comment" portion of the meeting.

Thank you for this correction. I had misunderstood this point. What this means for us is that in the three minutes blocks ought not be used to address specific concerns with the proposed ordinance. Instead, concerned citizens should use the time to express broad concerns with the future direction of the council.

4. Getting to the truancy ordinance may take a very long time. Children could be sitting for HOURS -- an unrealistic expectation?

This is true, although I'm not sure why you have suggested this as a correction. The nice thing about the council chambers is that it is equipped with doors. Through these, people enter and exit the meeting while it is in progress. You are right, it would be unrealistic for anyone to expect that young children could sit calmly through the Municipal Council Meeting--I have trouble my self. Our main goal for inviting children is to get them involved with the protest, to get them actively involved in stopping a law that could have a very direct and negative effect on their lives.

Apparently, we agree that trying to get children to sit still for hour after hour is a bad idea. Yet, this what Provo City School District expects of the children in their care. Perhaps this is one factor that leads some children to choose truancy over study.

5. Sterling Beck has shown on several occasions that he does not understand the ordinance. You should have invited someone else to brief you.

Of all your comments, this one concerns me the most. I find it troubling that you could would suggest that it is inappropriate to invite a member of the city council to address a concerned group of citizens about a matter before the council. Are you saying that I should have chosen a different member of the council or do you believe that all members of the council do not understand (or are not capable of understanding) the ordinance?

Incidentally, we did not invite council member Beck to explain the ordinance--we are more than capable of understanding the short (but very poorly written) bit of proposed law. We invited him to help us understand what to expect as we began a direct campaign to sway the minds of the council to stop seriously considering this proposed ordinance.

The language of this proposed ordinance is clear, although its implication are less so. Somehow there seems to be a general feeling in our society (I believe intentionally perpetuated by some members of the council) that ordinary citizens could not possibly hope to understand the meaning conveyed by the language of any proposed ordinance. Instead, too many people believe that they must rely on "experts" to understand and decide if it is good for us. You seem to be among this group by the assumption that you have made that Beck's attendance was to explain the measure to the attendees. I hope you will take time to read the proposed legislation yourself and see if you don't agree that this would give authority to police officers to arrest six year old, first-time truants. See if you don't agree that it makes it a crime for business owners to knowingly allow a compulsory school age minor to stay at his establishment during truancy hours. See if you don't agree that this ordinance allows an officer to take a child old into temporary custody and, upon being unable to contact that person's parent or determine the school from which he is absent from, deliver that person to the custody of the Division of Child and Family Services.

After you decide on these items for yourself, I hope you will decide for yourself if you are a supporter or an opponent to this proposed ordinance.