Tag Archives: Utah

Bea Gaddy and My Wish

Bea Gaddy doesn’t have anything to do directly with our Community Coat Exchange.  Bea Gaddy has everything to do with inspiring me to serve our community.

As a younger woman growing up in Frederick County, Maryland – about 50 miles west of Baltimore, I would watch with intrigue each Thanksgiving as the local news would air the piece about the huge Thanksgiving Feast organized by this amazing woman – Bea Gaddy. ( I have linked to her story and other sites below.)

Each year I would continue to be inspired by the stories published about Bea Gaddy and her efforts.  I would think to myself “I want to be like her when I grow up.”

I learned in 2005 about a community event in Rhode Island held every year the day after Thanksgiving – the Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange.  Inspired by it, I organized Utah’s Annual Community Coat Exchange held each year the same day, the day after Thanksgiving.  Each year of its existence I see that our Utah event is growing by leaps and bounds.  It is amazing to me the outpouring of support by people from all over for this effort.

And now Coat Exchange events are held coast to coast – with events in Kentucky and Oregon, in addition to the Rhode Island and Utah events.

As I have been reflecting on this event,  I have come to realize, on a small scale and relevant to my world, that my wish has come true, thanks to everyone in my life who has influenced me – my amazing and wonderful husband, my parents, my grandmother, my siblings, my children, my wonderful friends, and others in the world who have inspired and influenced me….

I have grown up to be more like Bea Gaddy.

My desire  is to continue to grow and serve our community in ways that all people will benefit from educational efforts such as the Community Coat Exchange. I hope that others feel inspired to serve the neighbors in the communities in which they live.






Bea Gaddy Places:

Bea Gaddy Bio

Bea Gaddy Women and Children’s Shelter




This article is originally hosted at: https://coatexchange.org/serving-the-community/

While written in the past, I post this each year.  Everything in it still stands.  Peace.

Dee’s Green Party of Utah Party Office Candidate Speech

Yesterday (June 24) the Green Party of Utah held its state convention. Candidates for party offices were elected and Dr. Jill Stein was our guest speaker.

I was elected to state delegate to the national Green Party and as a state Grassroots Coorindator.  This is the speech I prepared, part of it was earmarked for an acceptance speech, but we ran behind so I did not get to deliver it in person, so I offer a slightly modified version of it here.


Good afternoon , my name is Deanna Dee Taylor and I am a candidate for Grassroots Coordinator and  National Delegate. The following words, written by my husband Tom, hang on various walls in my home and serve as a daily reminder of what I believe.

I pledge allegiance to ALL life

in its interdependent diversity;

and to the Planet upon which it exists;

one World, under the sky, undividable

with harmony and balance for ALL.

I want to talk to you about the sunflower.

There is a project called the Fukushima Sunflower Foster Parent Project, launched in 2011 about two months after the nuclear power plant disaster. The hope was that sunflowers could be used to cleanse radiation-contaminated soil, as reported following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear crisis. But it was determined that sunflowers actually had little effect on removing radioactive contamination, so Team Fukushima decided to focus its efforts on reviving the economy. What happened next was nothing short of miraculous, as reported in the Japan Times in 2015.

The project distributed more than 12,000 bags containing 5 grams of imported sunflower seeds to schools, businesses, groups and individuals.

Ten tons of harvested seeds were returned the following year and were then used across Fukushima to grow sunflowers, make edible oil and process used sunflower oil for fuel. As a result, people came to visit Fukushima, helping to restore the economy. The project helped to create jobs, restore businesses, and build tourism through a charter bus system that developed the use of biofuel, processed from waste sunflower oil, to power some of its route buses.

Team Fukushima represented the desires of its people to restore life from disaster through the sunflower, which is also the international symbol of nuclear disarmament and of the Green Party. As a Green Party National Delegate, I plan to represent the members of the Green Party of Utah to the national Green Party in an effort to be active in the movement to restore the interests of our people TO our people, from the disaster of our political climate today.

Since I was a small child I have loved life. I have always felt a kinship to the planet. This passion has led me down many wonderful paths as I have grown. One of those paths led me to the Green Party 17 years ago. Today I formally reaffirm my commitment to furthering the values of the Green Party through my active participation in the Green Party of Utah, and through the example I strive to live each day in alignment with the Ten Key Values. My hopes and desires for the GPUT are to see it develop as a viable party in Utah to truly represent the will of the people of this state and offer REAL choices to the state’s voters of candidates who hold the interests of the people, of the environment, and of all life, ABOVE everything else!

Most of all, my heart is with our Mother who provides us the air we breathe and water we drink, and to whom I owe my existence.

Having served as Green Party National Delegate in the past, I am familiar with the role and responsibility of Delegate to fully represent the will of the GPUT membership on all issues discussed and up for vote at the national level. I fully intend to serve on the membership’s behalf to the National Committee of the Green Party and to ensure that the values upon which the Green Party is built, are a priority.

In the words of Petra Kelly, founder of the German Green Party – the FIRST Green Party – and leader in the disarmament and social justice movements– “If there is a future, it will be Green.”

Well, that future has arrived, Green Party of Utah! And we ARE green and growing!

“Land Grabs”? Look at the Utah Constitution

(This is a version of a post I wrote in ***2012***.  Some things never change!)

Efforts to seize the land in Utah that is protected from development by the Federal Government are continuing by Utah legislators and others. This has been an ongoing controversy that is gaining momentum with the election of Donald Trump to President of the United States. Utah legislators are doing everything in their power to persuade Trump to rescind all Monument designations.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Back in 2012, an article in Utah State University’s the Utah Statesman,(which is no longer available) on this very same subject quoted Morgan Philpot who was planning to run for Governor in Utah as saying that Utah needed to demand the feds to return the land to Utah.

“Our governors, in times past, have behaved like geographic-area administrators for the federal government,” Philpot said. “They are not. We are a sovereign state. That is our land — stolen from us.”

The 2012 article also quoted political science department chair from USU who says that the documented verbiage for control of the land when Utah became a state is being misinterpreted:

“Some members of the Utah Legislature believe a part of the legislation that allowed Utah to join the U.S. — the Enabling Act of 1894 — requires the federal government to dispose of lands it currently controls inside state boundaries.”

“I just don’t think that’s an accurate reading of Section 9,” Lyons said. “I think they’re taking it out of context.”

Lyons said the enabling act states even after Utah gained statehood, the federal government would continue to own a substantial amount of the land inside Utah boundaries.

“The national government owned this land as a territory prior to the creation of the state of Utah,” Lyons said. “The Enabling Act delineates tracts of land formerly in national government control that are ceded to the state of Utah … then it says, ‘But all the other federal land is ours and Utah has no claim to it.’”

Back to Philpot’s 2012 statement….Who is “us” ?

Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune
Bears Ears buttes sit high over the surrounding canyon country in San Juan County. The formations are at the heart of the proposed Bears Ears National Monument.

This sentiment continues in 2017. Utah’s Congressional Representatives are violating the Utah Constitution by pursuing the act of “retuning the land to ‘us'”. the most recent iteration of this controversy is over the desgnation of Bears Ears as a National Monument.

The notion that protected Utah lands should be in the hands of Utah’s government for economic growth is preposterous. The only people that lands should be “returned to” are the original guardians of the land (that really belongs to all life) – Native Americans.  Until that is agreed upon, the land should remain in its protected state from any type of development.



The Hiker 10


Detainees were put in shackles and transported to the county jail – two hours away.

June 17, 2016

I pledge allegiance To all life In its interdependent diversity.
And to the planet Upon which it exists
One world, under the sky, Undividable,
With harmony and balance For all.

~ Tom King, 2001 

I went on a “field trip” with friends on June 11, 2016  to study the biodiversity of the open land adjacent to the Utah Tar Sands Mine. We ended up being arrested. We are dubbed  ourselves “The Field Trip 10”, later known as “The Hiker 10”.

This field trip was not a direct action with anticipated legal consequences.  This field trip is an annual family tradition. Plants are studied and data are recorded in a field journal.  Comparisons are made from the previous year to witness the impact of mining on the land.

The Intergenerational Campout has been held at PR Springs on the Tavaputs Plateau for four years.  The campout is designed for people of all ages to come together to experience the beauty of the land, reflect on the legacy of future generations, witness the threat to all life forms as a result of man’s destruction, and provide education on the effects of industry on those life forms. By holding this gathering in the heart of the land that is victimized by destruction, citizens experience the direct impact on every living thing.

“Our kinship with Earth must be maintained; otherwise, we will find ourselves trapped in the center of our own paved-over souls with no way out.”

Terry Tempest Williams, Finding Beauty in a Broken World

Read the rest of the story here.




Here we go again: raising taxes on food

We  have long written here on the issue of taxes on food by the legislature to fund other areas.

This year is no exception to the head rearing of this ugly issue.

Bill Tibbitts of Crossroads Urban Center, an organization advocating for the rights of the poor, says:

Utah Representative Mike "Nuclear" Noel is proposing to double the sales tax on food to fund a cut to property taxes– which will disproportionately benefit large businesses– like one of the nuclear power plants Noel wants to bring to Utah.

Read Nuclear Noel’s bill here:

Nuclear Noel is also a proud supporter of bringing nuclear power plants to Utah:

Utah is among the few states that charge people to eat.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that in 2009:

  • Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia exempt most food purchased for consumption at home from the state sales tax. South Carolina is the state that most recently eliminated its sales tax on food (effective November 1, 2007).
  • Seven states tax groceries at lower rates than other goods; they are Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Five states — Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota— tax groceries fully but offer credits or rebates offsetting some of the taxes paid on food by some portions of the population. These credits or rebates usually are set at a flat amount per family member. The amounts and eligibility rules vary, but may be too narrow and/or insufficient to give eligible households full relief from sales taxes paid on food purchases.
  • Two states continue to apply their sales tax fully to food purchased for home consumption without providing any offsetting relief for low- and moderate-income families. They are Alabama and Mississippi.

The bottom line is that no one should have to pay extra for what is necessary for survival.  Eating is one of those necessities.  The food tax should be taken away entirely.

(Cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

Back to School?

 I think I am crazy.

I’m in the process of applying to graduate school……again.

I already have a masters degree and am applying for another, more closely aligned with the work that I do with students with disabilities.  It’s an opportunity that came across my desk not long ago, funded by a federal grant.  If I am accepted into this program my tuition will be completely paid.

But I’m 51.  And a little scared.

It hasn’t been too long since I was a student.  In the late 90’s I taught full time and went to school full time to get my special ed license – and did it in one year.  

I’m not nervous about my ability to be a student again while working full time.  I’m not nervous about applying to the program or writing essays or getting strong recommendations.  The thing that scares me the most is taking the GRE.    Yes, admit it, I’m scared of tests like this. Especially when the bar is getting over the 40th percentile.

I have never considered myself a good test taker.  I did horribly on the SAT’s at age 17 (and I mean horrible) which put a blemish on my self-esteem regarding taking tests.  And yet I was accepted into my school of choice due to the other things that made me a great student.  I did well on the comprehensive exams for my first masters(at least good enough to get the degree) that covered courses from the entire program (which took me 9 years to complete while teaching full time and having children).  

Why can’t they make an exception for people over 50?

How long has it been since I had to know by heart formulas like slope and geometry?  Decades.   Yikes.

I’m doing practice questions every day which really isn’t doing much good for my morale (at this point).  They just confirm how rusty I am.  The test is in February.  There are a lot of resources free on the internet to help me study.  Given all that, I’m still pretty nervous.  I don’t think it’s test anxiety, per se.  It think it is more a fear of not reaching the bar.

I still have time to build up my confidence, which I feel is key for this.  One thing going for me is my ability to think well when at the computer (the test is computer-based).  Check.  I feel that I am good writer. Check.  My experience will have to account for at least some of the knowledge upon which I can access from my brain archives.  Check.  I’m pretty good at basic mental math.  Check.  And I have the best cheerleader in the world helping me with this at home!

Deep breath.  Time to study.

The Solution to Funding Education: School Bus Ads

Utah is last in the nation in per pupil spending and at the top of the list in class sizes.  Yet legislators in Utah continually find ways to under fund and cut spending for the education of our state’s children.

Rep. Jim Bird, R-West Jordan, will be introducing a bill (again) to allow advertising on school buses.  His rationale:

….there’s little difference between placing an ad on the side of a school bus and the plethora of ads students already see at school.

“You go to a football game at any high school along the Wasatch Front and you see banners all along the football field,” Bird said in an interview. “This isn’t any different than that.”
(Bloomberg, December 29, 2011

Bird also hopes that school districts would use the money from the ad revenues for their transportation budgets so that “school buses wouldn’t have to be cut”.

Opponents of the bill realize this is not the way to fund education, for a variety of reasons.

Children are already deluged with ads on television, the Internet and even the clothing they wear. They are encouraged to buy products or persuade their parents to buy products nearly everywhere they go. Schools already sell advertising space on playing field scoreboards, on vending machines and sometimes on televised educational programs.

Enough is enough.

While we support more funding for schools, those funds should be collected in the usual ways. There are untapped revenue sources the Legislature should consider before succumbing to the easy-money lure of selling our kids’ attention to commercial interests.

(Salt Lake Tribune Editorial, January 6, 2011)

The idea of paying more taxes is always controversial, but for essential services, that include education, it’s a no-brainer. 

Rep. Bird’s bill would prohibit advertising like this on school buses.

We couldn’t possibly raise the tax on people with 15 children in the system while I continue to (happily I might add) pay my fair share despite my current lack of children. We couldn’t increase funds on extracting resources from our lands or divert funds away from paying off contractors…nope we have to whore out our children. Perhaps we should also require school uniforms and make sure that each school has a sponsor.

Hell, why not have individual classes sponsored as well? Math brought to you by Texas Instruments, Biology sponsored by Pfizer, Gym by McDonalds!

(Curtis Haring, Blue in Red Zion)

Legislators need to get real.  Teachers work very hard in this state to educate our children despite the lack of resources.  If you haven’t visited your child’s, or your neighbor’s children’s classrooms, do.  When you see the lights on in your neighborhood school after hours, you can bet that the cleaning people are not the only people working there.  Teachers spend the time needed – in and outside of school hours – to be sure their classrooms and curriculum are set up for your child to learn.

It’s time to stop skirting around the issue of under funding education and piecemealing funding ideas.   The Governor has put forth a recommendation in his budget to generating more money for schools.  Rational discussion and exploration is in order with sensible solutions put on the table.  The bill for ads on school buses is not rational or sensible. 

(Cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

National Security over all other securities: Get ready Utah.

Utah legislators have made it clear that they will do whatever it takes to keep the Federal Government from dictating the affairs of the state.

That is, except for spying on people.

Utah is about to be descended upon by the National Security Administration (NSA).

The Army has awarded a $1.2 billion contract to a construction consortium to build a spacious new data center in Utah for the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) cybersecurity effort.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it awarded the contract to Balfour Beatty/DPR/Big-D to erect a facility in Williams, Utah, that will be used for the NSA’s Comprehensive National Security Initiative, the NSA said in an emailed statement.

You would think that with all the controversy over federal government interference in state affairs by Utah’s legislators, that this would generate a lot of opposition from our state officials.  Not so.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said during his inauguration on Tuesday the state would be vigilant in keeping the federal government from pushing too far into the state. But the lieutenant governor said there is "absolutely no disagreement" that national security is an essential role of the federal government, and that the data center is welcome in Utah.

Back in November Utah Legislators made a big stink about accepting federal monies for education.
Just like a little kid stomping its feet, the Utah Legislature approved $101 million in federal money for Utah teachers. In a special session called by Governor Gary Herbert, lawmakers called the bill that created the funding “sinister” and the money itself “crack cocaine.” They also pledged an end to taking federal dollars. Governor Herbert was pleased they approved accepting the money.
(Standard Examiner)

I repeat:

They also pledged an end to taking federal dollars.

Senator Chris Buttars-R, West Jordan said accepting the money “consummates a takeover by the federal government of the legislative process.” Buttars also ripped up a copy of the Utah Constitution during an attempt to introduce a resolution to refuse the funding.

Yet now our state government is happily accepting an invasion of  a federal government agency which is using the "it will create jobs" bait to lure the legislators into believing that this project will be good for our state’s economy.  Never mind that this "job security" will be temporary.  Never mind the fact that NSA is at the forefront of eroding our civil liberties by collecting data without court orders on individuals.  Financial liberties over civil liberties – that’s what this amounts to.
Those who claim to oppose big government often love to quote Benjamin Franklin, who once said that “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” And yet in a quest for safety from potential unemployment and economic hardship, principles (and liberty) are thrown to the wind for what the Governor also claimed to be a “win, win, win” situation.
(Connor Boyack of Connor’sConundrums)
What would our founding fathers say?
Our founding fathers didn’t feel the lack of intestinal fortitude that required a vast security apparatus to see to their safety.
(Tom King, Utah activist)
My how times have changed.

As Connor Boyack states:

The NSA’s data center will largely be forgotten once it becomes operational. By then, the “godsend” of the 10,000 temporary construction jobs will be history. But the 1-200 individuals employed at the facility will continue their Orwellian mission of monitoring anybody they desire. Get ready, Utah: Big Brother will be camped out in your backyard.

(Photo taken by Dee in Maryland)

Winter Beauty at home


The Guv’s Fiscal 2012 Budget Recommendations

Governor Herbert’s Fiscal 2012 Budget Recommendations can be viewed in their entirety here:

Links to more information, reviews and articles on the Budget Recommendations can be found at this Google Search Engine Page.

I will be posting on select budget items throughout the legislative session.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)