Saturday, September 14, 2013

Daring someone is not always a good idea - Maybe living up to it is!

Thanks to Dani Haskett for volunteering to cut my hair and to those who donated
to Primary Children's Medical Center
You know how you make a dare to someone, and then think afterwards, that maybe that wasn't the brightest thing you ever suggested?  Well I have one and it includes myself! A few years ago, in a meeting, I made the comment to a colleague from Sandy, Steve Fairbanks, that if he wore a dress to the Utah League of Cities & Towns general assembly, I would cut off my hair.  Well he did and somehow, he remembered that challenge.  I had hoped his old age, would have left him without memory or somehow he would have found compassion in his soul, but alas, nothing of the sorts.

With the knowledge that I would be leaving office and I had left an undone commitment, I decided to try and make lemonade out of a lemon.  Since I was President of the Utah League of Cities & Towns, I decided take advantage of our annual conference, the 2 year anniversary of the bet, and use my efforts to raise money for Primary Children's Medical Center.  Local officials from around the State made donations and the lady who cuts my hair, Dani Haskett agreed to come cut it for me.  Our theme was Healthy Communities, and every community in the State is served by Primary Children's Hospital.  Now while the length was debated and I did contemplate either a bald cut, or a shorter buzz, the dare never really clarified the length.... Also in my defense, Steve wore a pair of pants under the dress and when I challenged him on it, he correctly pointed out that I had not clarified any conditions of what would be required with the dress.  I think it was a fair exchange.  My hair is shorter than I've ever had it, I did it in public and kept my integrity in check.  Just going to think twice before I dare someone again!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Salt Lake City's Opinion Question - Vote No Please!

If you live in Salt Lake City, and are registered to vote, you received an opinion question, that has the likeness of voting by mail.  I've noticed many comments on Facebook, and others who have stopped to ask me questions and the response is the same puzzled look, why?  Inclination is to simply throw it away, but if you think it's a waste of your time and tax dollars, still vote no and either send it in, or deliver it to the City Recorder's office.  If you need a stamp, I'll personally deliver one to you.  The only thing more frustrating about this process is for it to have a majority affirmative vote.

The only thing consoling to me is that as I've explained the history of this question and process to many, including my 13 year old daughter, they have asked a fundamental and thoughtful question of why?  For the record, I didn't vote for it, didn't encourage it and DO think of it as a waste of money.

Having said that, the group, Move to Amend, did go through the process of placing a question through the initiative process on our ballot as outlined by State law.  While they did meet most of the qualifications of an initiative ballot question, they discovered after the fact an important omission. They missed a fundamental part of initiative law, asking for an actionable ordinance or resolution that the city council could actually take.  The courts concurred, yes they did take us to court but my colleagues were still sympathetic to their cause.  Some wanted to hold a separate election, but that would have cost us $450,000, which would not have been good, and illegal.  Some wanted to do vote by mail, near the election, but the county clerk indicated it would be too confusing to voters, which is true.

Many recognized, including me that time to time, either the council or a group of individuals may have questions that they would want to be asked, so we did develop a process, which had a high threshold and while not likely to be used often, is legitimate and could have value one day.  This group did meet that requirement, which is why you received the question in the mail as a voter.  The question, which seems harmless, is fraught with many potential and legitimate challenges if ever acted upon by the Federal Government.  However, that would be the proper forum for the discussion, not the forum of Salt Lake City and the City Council.  I voted no on placing it on the question, you should vote no to indicate that it's not the forum you would have chosen as well.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Anniversary Robert & Verda Mae - September 1, 1949

Robert & Verda Mae during honeymoon to Sun Valley, ID
Yesterday was the 64th Wedding Anniversary of my parents, Robert & Verda Mae Christensen.  While they have both passed away, my faith teaches me that their marriage is for eternity and so for me, I feel it continues on, beyond their deaths.  The life they began together and the children born of them, continues and hopefully our commitment does as well.  My parents were lined up by my father's sister, Ora Nell Christensen Folkman, who was a friend of my mother.  After a few years teaching school, Mom became a writer & producer for KSL Radio, where she had her own show.  She also wrote for KSL, their first TV commercial.  She was 27, had lived through World War II as a young lady, and was ready to raise her family.  My father, had recently returned from an LDS mission to Denmark, where he served just after World Ward II.  Due to his size and flat feet, he was unable to serve during the war, but became one of the few who had gone through and had completed most of his schooling.  My father, who had not dated, or at least more than once, fell in love with my Mom, and were engaged a few months later, and then married about four months after that, on September 1, 1949.
My parents just before their Marriage
My parents cutting their
Wedding Cake
Dad was nearly done with his schooling, and took a job as the manager of the Coke Cola Plant in Vernal Utah.  Mom, as traditionally done, quit her job at KSL and they were off to start their family.  Dad's plans were to finish his schooling by correspondence, but it would take a few years later before it actually occurred.  Life in Vernal had it's challenges, and the demands on my Dad were a lot, and his health took its toll. It would be one of a few times, during their marriage, that his health would be in question and my mother, who lost her own father at age six, wondered if she would be a widow herself.
Dad & Mom in front of their first
Rose Park home on 900 N after
he completed his schooling ( about four kids later)
After a brief period with my father's parents in Richfield, my parents moved to Rose Park, where my Dad had secured a job working for ZCMI Department Store.  While the eldest son Elliott had been born during their Vernal years (although Mom came to SLC for the birth), the rest of the children were born while residing in Rose Park.  In this home, Clayton, Milton and Maribeth were born.
Family photo without Carlton
As the family grew and the evaluated locations to expand, Rose Park came back as the place to stay.  My parents found a two year old home at 810 N 1500 W, belonging to someone from our church who had built it, but decided to move.  Spencer, Bradley, Nancy and Carlton were born while they lived here.  It became known as the family home, and my wife Cathy and I own it and still live in the home today.  My older brother Milton became ill at age 11 and died from blood disorder, that was a form of leukemia.  Milton only lived a few months after being diagnosed and my mother found herself expecting her youngest, Carlton Jay Christensen (that's me) to be born about six months later. Subsequently we have no photo with the whole family.
Carlton at age 1
Life in our family was a typical family experience and my parents were blessed to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, the marriage of Elliott & Jennifer, their eldest son and the birth of their eldest grandchild, Evan.  
Mom & Dad in front of their home at 810 N 1500 W
A few years later, on the last day of our summer vacation, my father became ill.  He was diagnosed about a month later  (August of 1975), with Hodgkins Disease, a cancer of the lymph system and died in January of 1976.  
Dad dictated to Clayton his autobiography in
his final few months of his life
My parents had always been active in the community and in our faith, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving both in numerous capacities, and Dad had just been released as the Stake President of the Rose Park Stake, due to his illness in November of 1975.  It was a pretty hard time for me, I was only 10, and I struggled with his loss for many years.
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While no family photo was every complete and my mother who became widowed at 53, would live nearly another 30 years, their marriage proved to be a living example of good people who love their savior and demonstrated an endless commitment to each other.  While our family is far from perfect, and we have all had our struggles, we were blessed with good parents who we knew loved us and did their best under the circumstances.  While yesterday came with little fanfare and celebration, I am thankful in my heart for their commitment to each other and in particular having that one more kid!  Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!
Family Photo taken in celebration of my parents
40th Anniversary