Monday, August 08, 2005

The Gondola Story -- More Plot twists than a Dime-Novel

The Standard-Examiner's John Wright reports in this morning's edition on a story that's been simmering on the Ogden City back-burner for quite a long time now. The dream of a tram or gondola running up the mountain from Ogden City to Snow Basin spans at least three generations, as far as I can tell. I can remember my father talking about it back in the fifties -- back in the days when a drive to Snow Basin on the old road would occasionally turn into a four-hour ordeal, when the weather turned really nasty, or when a snow-slide blocked the road somewhere between Wheeler Canyon and the old Snow Basin parking lot.

The gondola dream has raised its ethereal head many times in the intervening years, but never with such passion as now.

Propelled by the "vision" of our "can-do" Mayor, and that shadowy group of "go-getters" which dubs itself "Lift Ogden," Ogden's gondola dream seems well within reach now, if only the money that's always been the obstacle to paying for it can somehow be found. There are people in our town who passionately believe they can get it done imminently, if only a little public money can be snagged to put it all together.

Of course this latest plan is much more grandiose than the five-decade-old dream that my father (and I) dreamed. Whereas we'd had visions of a mere tram or gondola running from the top of 27th Street straight up Taylor's canyon, the 21st-century incarnation of the dream is much fancier -- and more "visionary." What's apparently now on the front-burner, gentle readers, is a plan to "fold up the tent" on existing UTA bus route 603, which runs from downtown Ogden to the vicinity to Weber State University -- with at least five intermediate stops enroute. In its place will be substituted a high-speed gondola -- with zero intermediary stops. From that point it can hook up to another gondola, of course, presumedly to be financed at least in part with the suddenly-wealthy Chris Peterson's private funds, straight to the top of Mount Ogden.

The key to the whole scheme er... plan, is to label the downtown segment of the system a public transit upgrade. If local officials can somehow convince transportation bureaucrats in Washington (or Salt Lake City) that a non-stop high-speed cable transit system plainly designed to serve Earl Holding's Snow Basin is a legitimate improvement on a bus route that presently serves 1,664 urban riders daily, the public transportation ear-marked funds will surely flow into the coffers of Ogden City in a torrent, like a raging river of milk and honey. If this can be accomplished, we'll most certainly have that gondola system many of us have long dreamed about.

I really like John Wright's writing. Not only does he do the investigative footwork necessary to reporting the essential facts, his writing style is smooth and readable. He's as much a story-teller as a reporter, I think. This story, filled with detail and more labyrinthine plot conflicts than a dime novel, is particularly good, I think.

For example, Mr. Wright's article provides the following from Mayor Godfrey: "Godfrey said he is confident he can win the City Council's support for a gondola." (What a surprise!)

Yet only a few paragraphs later he provides this tantalizing information:

City Councilman Kent Jorgenson said the council has indicated it does not support using public money for a gondola.

"If they do a tram or gondola, then the mayor has to come up with private funds," Jorgenson said. "At this point, we haven't heard or haven't seen the (gondola) plan, so it's difficult to make any kind of observation."

Jorgenson said he is concerned that eliminating stops on a gondola route would reduce its effectiveness as a public transit system and revitalization tool. Like Brockman, he also expressed a desire to hear from the public.

Do you feel the plot tension, folks? What will the Jorgensen and the city council do?

What's really interesting is that Councilman Jorgensen works as a Utah Transportation Authority (UTA) Public Relations person by day. The UTA has apparently not come out in favor the gondola plan, and seems to prefer streetcars or trolleys, according to John Wright's report.

Query: Is there anyone on the Ogden City Council who understands the meaning of the term "conflict of interest?" Perhaps Mr. Jorgensen can "look it up."

And query #2: When was the last time the citizens of Ogden City ever heard Councilman Jorgensen ever say he wanted to hear from the lumpenpublik on anything?

See what I mean about plot conflict?

Be sure to read John Wright's story here.

As an added "bonus" you can view a PDF of the existing Ogden City UTA bus route 603 here.

I anticipate we'll have some spirited reader commentary on this story on Weber County Forum today, and in the days to come.

Update 8/8/05 10:10 a.m. MT: I am now informed by UTmorMAN that he has posted an article on the subject of this morning's John Wright article on his own the good in ogden blog.

Update 8/8/05 11:41 a.m. MT: It appears that the AP wire service has now picked up on the earlier John Wright story.

83 comments:

UTmorMAN said...

Rudi, you surely need to gain some education on this issue before making commentary such as this. To get another, very, very different view of this, take a look at the write up on my blog this morning (www.thegoodinogden.blogspot.com). UTA is most certainly not opposed to this project. Federal funding is also not something that is truly being pursued for this project. The bottom line is that it would be nice to have something done in a few years instead of around fiften years. The transit corridor mentioned is SPECIFICALLY from the transit hub to WSU, not places in between, just from the transit hub to WSU. I would be more than happy to get a call from you to give you the whole story.

RudiZink said...

With all due respect, UTmorMAN, I merely commented on this morning's John Wright story as written.

I have no particular ax to grind here. As a matter of fact, a gondola to Snow Basin has been a dream of mine for a very long time, as I said. I'm all for the project, so long as it doesn't hit me personally in the pocketbook, or impair the level of service of the public transportation that's already in place here in Ogden.

I'm interested, therefore, in promoting some balanced discussion here on these issues. That's why I posted my commentary.

You'll also note I've posted an update which links to your blog article. Perhaps you might reciprocate by posting my commentary somewhere on your blog.

Let's get the discussion going, so that we can sort out the facts from the fiction.

What say you about that?

UTmorMAN said...

I completely agree and understand your opinion. I guess I get a little testy about this issue because there is so much more to the issue that is never reported. As much as you try to educate people about what the actual plans are, the same old misconceptions still seem to prevail. I sincerely appologize if I seemed a bit testy, that was not my intention.

RudiZink said...

That's quite alright, UTmorMAN.

I experience that same gut-level reaction on the subject of eminent domain.

"I get it, why doesn't everybody else," I always say to myself.

Unfortunately if you consider yourself to be especially well-informed on any particular issue, you'll still come across lots of people who seem hopelessly ill-informed.

That's the nature of special knowledge. The more you understand about any subject, the "dumber" everyone else seems, at least from your own point of view...

I think that if you sincerely believe in something, you have reconcile yourself to the fact that you'll have to keep hammering your points again and again.

That's what I do. Have you noticed? ;)

You're a good guy, UTmorMAN, and I'm happy that you contribute to this blog.

And your apology, although entirely unnecessary from my point of view, is gratefully accepted.

dian said...

Thanks for the bus routes, Rudi. This is something I have been meaning to look up. Also, thank you for your diligence in exposing possible COI issues. These should really be disclosed, and thank you for doing it.

I'm confused about this tram issue.

Here is a direct quote from Wright's article:

"A UTA study has recommended that Ogden replace buses on the route with streetcars, or trolleys.

But some, like Mayor Matthew Godfrey, have other ideas."

And then it goes on to talk about the tram. So this is somewhat confusing, because what this says is:

Idea was to replace busses with streetcars.

It does Not say:

Idea was to replace busses with tram.

I went over to The Good in Ogden and read that commentary there, and what that seems to say is that, If the tram were somehow viewed by the Federal Government as a UTA upgrade, then it is possible that we would lose the busses in favor of it. It goes on to say, however, that funding for this tram from the Federal Government is an extremely unlikely thing to have happen.

I would be strongly opposed to losing the busses, since it would mean a trade of getting public transportation that goes one place and stops only three times at the cost of losing our entire current public transportation system.

However, The Good In Ogden went into alternative methods of tunding for the tram, tax increments and the like. This would then leave UTA alone, I would imagine, in spite of the fact that Wright's article goes on to talk about the virtues of trams vs. streetcars and vice versa.

See the confusion here? I think our questions are:

1.) Most importantly----does the existence of this tram mean that it will be Ogden's sole means of public transportation?

2.) If we want the downtown tram, do we want to pay for it ourselves using tax increment money? (There is an option here, I think---perhaps a private company would be interested in building it and running it.)

There are other questions, but I would really like a clear answer to #1 first.

UTmorMAN said...

By my understanding, this would only be used for the transit corridor that has been identified between the intermodal hub and W.S.U. From what I can tell, this will not eliminate busses all together in Ogden.

UTmorMAN said...

Also, dian,
the term used now would be a gondola. A tram is what they have at Snowbird, and is VERY different than what is being proposed in our area. I know that we all have heard about the Ogden Tram for years and years, and becuae of this we call it that, but the idea now is to use a gondola (which has many, many cars) as opposed to a tram (which only has two cars that seasaw back and forth; as one goes in one direction, the other goes in the other).

dian said...

Gondola, then, okay. Many cars as opposed to a few.

I read an interesting article in the Trib awhile back about the light rail. Evidently, there have been a few times when a parent pushing a stroller has pushed the stroller into the car and the car door has then shut and the light rail has taken off, leaving the distraught parent on the platform.

All of these incidents have ended happily, but I thought of this article when reading about the proposed gondola. I would assume that provision would be made for those with strollers or in wheelchairs. At least, I would hope so.

So what we are talking about here is a gondola, not a tram, and one that goes from the hub to WSU instead of the other proposal of the one going up to Snow Basin.

Is the construction of this tram currently under discussion contingent on the other one to Snow Basin being built? In other words, would Mayor Godfrey still want this downtown tram if the mountain one did not happen?

UTmorMAN said...

That I do not know.

amy wicks said...

I was at the UTA meeting. I heard that Federal funding for a gondola option to upgrade our transportation system would be very hard to come by.

There was talk of private investment at this meeting- from members of the "Lift Ogden" group. I would be very interested in the "Lift Ogden" plan- their website is not up, and the Council has not been made aware of their plan (or deal points, the proposal or even vague details).
From what has been presented re: a gondola thus far, I would put my support behind a street car upgrade for our transportation corridor. Not a dime of taxpayer money should be spent on the route up the mountainside. That is a private business venture that if built should be entirely privately funded, from feasibilty studies to construction.

On another note, addressing just the downtown to WSU system- I have been on many gondolas in states across the US and in Switzerland and New Zealand. Sitting in a gondola cabin with a bunch of skiers/snowboarders or tourists is one thing- riding a gondola as a method of public transportation is another.

Would there be cameras installed in the cabins to monitor activity? How would you feel if someone you were very uncomfortable with hopped in your gondola cabin and you were stuck there for the entire 20 minute ride, or at least until you reached the next stop (which could be far from what I hear). It seems to me that one would feel safer and more comfortable riding with strangers if you all are participating in the same activity and have that common ground. I'm not a paranoid or afraid, and I have lived and spend time in many cities and traveled the world as a lone female (I'm sure my mom worries at times). I would consider myself pretty fearless. I'm sure there are many members of the public that would not want to use a gondola public transit system for this reason.

Anonymous said...

John Wright went to the University of Florida.
He's just that damn good.

UTmorMAN said...

Of course there are going to be concerns Ms. Wicks. Aren't people going to be worried about their cars getting hit by a streetcar as has happened in SLC? Concerns are always going to be there, as this forum has definately displayed.

Enthused Citizen said...

A fine point to consider Amy, especially with the Mayor's new thought of reducing the stops en- route from many to 3. Seems this mayor will go to any lengths to ram a gondola transportation system through. I've mentioned this before, but can anyone give an accurate count as to how many people are hanging out at the Inter-modal Hub, waiting for transportation to Weber State University? Plenty of studies have been done, but I've yet to see that statistic.

I recently read someplace where a working lady, employed at Converges, does just fine getting to her job on the bus route. But with this gondola system, it seems she'll be greatly inconvenienced and much walking and waiting await her. I'm sure that this is not an isolated case.

I believe that several feasibility studies have been made, all of which put the gondola system last in line. Also, the general public is not overly supportive of this idea. And now, here's the Utmorman guy talking (shudder) "tax increment" funds. My gawd, the cost and inconvenience of this aerial transportation system is mind boggling. We have millions tied up in the Mayor's projects now. Do we need another, what, 60 million dollars more, comitted so people can ride through the air with the greatest of ease from Wall Avenue to WSU?

As Amy says, any aerial system that runs from town to Snow Basin should be totally funded by private sources. The Mayor would most likely disagree because his thoughts are that a tram, or gondola, running up the mountain side, would increase tourism (hell sakes, he's likening it to the second coming of the railroad) and therefore, the taxpayers should share in the financial burdens. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the rec center and have Gold's Gym and Fat Cats share in the monetary risk with cash up front, not just a lease that they can walk away from if the going gets tough.

Mark my words, this gondola/tram thing will be shoved down our throats, unless sanity prevails. Once the Gang of 6 gets something in mind, they run it through. And again, we must look at the results of their projects so far. I for one don't have much confidence in the way that they do business.

amy wicks said...

utmorman-
I lived in Denver during the time when the first leg of their light rail system was installed downtown. There quite a few accidents involving cars/pedestrians and the new rail cars. After some time people became accustomed to watching out for the cars, just like any other urban obstacle- and the accidents decreased significantly. Problems like that are easy to solve through awareness, education and the passage of time.

A public transportation system that has flaws that could potentially have a significant impact on ridership and perception of safety from the start is not a good investment in my opinion.

Have you even been in a heated or air conditioned gondola cabin? I have been on many, but never in one that was climate controlled like a streetcar or bus.

RudiZink said...

I don't know what the Std-Ex is paying him, anonymous...

but I'll bet it ain't half what he's worth!

Go Gators!

UTmorMAN said...

There are certainly more benefits than flaws, believe me, time will tell on this one.

Enthused: I don't believe that I said anything about tax increments. If I did, then correect me. And you are right, taxpayer funding should be the last option on something going up the mountain.

UTmorMAN said...

Ms. Wicks,
A transportation system that could have a huge impact on tourism and economic prosperity in our city should definately be considered, in my opinion.

Moroni McConkie said...

Can anyone shed more light on Lift Ogden -- who are they? Are they a genuine slice of Ogden or only the Allen-Richards mafia? What are their ulterior motives?

If a privately-financed gondola would demonstrably fill Ogden's coffers with tourist wampum, I imagine many people would be in favor of it. What I can't understand is how this private business initiative was linked to public transportation.

The UTA study indicates that gondola service from downtown to WSU would be slow. Aside from the fact that, as Enthused Citizen noted, the Intermodal Hub isn't exactly mobbed with commuters waiting to ride buses to WSU, how many automobile commuters are likely to switch to gondola service when the car commute is far faster? No one has demonstrated that the public is likely to use the gondola for its commuting needs. Its spurious link to public transportation makes suckers of us.

UTmorMAN said...

OK folks, has everyone forgot about commuter rail? UTA, mind you UTA (not the city) is planning on having many WSU students coming in on the train. As many as 33% of WSU students come from Davis county and it is safe to say that pretty much everyone at WSU hates the parking situation. It could take less time to ride a train into Ogden, get on a gondola, and go to WSU than it could to drive to the Dee Events Center (or other locations) parking lot and wait for a bus to take you to campus. This is only a bit of the potential ridership.

As far as lift Ogden goes, I will re-post the summary of the group on my blog (www.thegoodinogden.blogspot.com) to hopefully clear up some doubts. It is most certainly not simply a group of Allen, as some have suggested. It is a pretty large group of people who simply feel that it is time for this to happen. Because there are not many details avaliable, not many have been released. However, if people want details they are more than welcome to attend meetings.

EC said...

Utmorman, I picked up on the tax increment thing from Dian's post, right here, as she mentioned that your story on your blog brought up that funding source as one possibility and that its use would eliminate the UTA in some way.

Should have checked your commentary before giving you credit via another source. My mistake, my apologies.

By the way, your blog is nice looking and even though it's slanted toward the Gang of 6, you give good commentary. Atta boy.

One other thought: Will the gondola stop at the rec center and or at the $200 million hotel that some claim is waiting in the wings? Or will it just sail on by?

Former Centerville Citizen said...

Hey UTmorMAN, there's no way I'm driving my car to the commuter rail station in Farmington, waiting for the train, and then getting off of that and waiting for a gondola, before getting to Weber. A lot of us here in Davis are better off just taking bus 55.

UTmorMAN said...

Here's what I know regarding a stop at the mall, it is from the SE article today: "Godfrey is proposing to eliminate all stations considered in the study but three. He said if the gondola were to stop only at the Intermodal Transit Center, 23rd Street and Washington Boulevard (the site of the former mall) and Weber State, it would cost only about $20 million."

Another point is that even if the Federal Government approves of the streetcar project and decides to fund half of it, that still leaves the city come up with $50 million dollars. As mentioned before, the TOTAL price of an entire gondola system could be in the neighborhood of $20 million. That's quite a difference.

UTmorMAN said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
UTmorMAN said...

I posted an article written about "Lift Ogden" that recently ran in Street Magazine. View that article by clicking here.

David R. said...

That's nice, Utmornam. But it would be nice to have something a little more detailed and current.

Is this a legitimate group of citizens? Or is it another group of Ogden whackos similar to that CCFBOE group.

We're getting a little sick of ogden whackos who do their business under fake names.

Why won't these people identify themselves publicly?

Maybe the next Ogden project could be a good mental hospital with lots of concete and bars.

Please publish your memership list if you have one.

Steven Prisbrey said...

Amy, I don’t understand why you would support a street car over a gondola. If you do support a transit solution, then wouldn't it make sense to support an option that would take people off our roads re: in a gondola, create less road construction, and add appeal to Ogden?

You mentioned your travels to Switzerland and New Zealand, but I drive Salt Lake City streets often and find the Trax system at times to be very burdensome as they make traffic lights about 3 times as long.
Also, should we kill the gondola idea because we are worried some people might not feel comfortable riding with strangers?

Douglas Charles said...

This whole thing is such a farce. Centerville dude hit the nail right square on the head. Why would he go through all the BS to take a train from Centerville to Weber State when he can just get on the existing bus and get there faster and easier? If you look at these "studies" that they use to justify this crap you will see major projections of students from Davis
county. Well they just heard from one - not that they are listening or anything!

These rascals do this "study" game to perfection by the way. They get together and come up with some crazy notions then they shop around to their select list of companies that do "studies" and they hire one - on the tax payers dime of course. They usually cost fifty thousand bucks and up - sometime's into the many hundreds of thousands. The study invariably comes back with just the exact result that the cooks at city hall were hoping for. Imagine that!

The truth is that these companies that are suckling at this particular public teat all are aware of exactly what any given city customer wants from them. They would not stay in business if they didn't deliver a product that met the satisfaction of their repeat customers who are the city council/RDA Board/MBA Board, etc. When is the last time that any one in this readership has heard of a city commisioning a study that didn't end up supporting a project they were pushing?

In plain english, the "Study" game is riggedl. It is a scam used by some unscrupulous city administrations to get around the public tax payers. It is something they buy with our money so they can hide behind the study results and not have to truly justify their fantasy schemes

Another example of this could be the "study" that said the 25th street condo project was going to be a big hit. In fact every one of these goof ball deals that this group has involved us in have one of these jury rigged studies at its heart.

The nabobs that are making all these grandious plans for trolleys, or trams are creating a need right out of thin air. If a bus line gets busy as it appears the one from down town to Weber is, then add another bus for hells sake. They are one heck of a lot cheaper than all lthis other BS that is being proposed, and you can buy em as you need em.

This is all just one more example of run away government in action. These elected officials and their hired guns are tireless in their dogged pursuit of more and bigger empires. Most of the "needs" that these people of this ilk pawn off on the masses is just as this one is. That is a blown way out of proportion need that is very expensive for the tax payers - when a simple solution is right at hand if the "projected" problem does arise.

The carrying load for our main streets are grossly under utilized in relation to bus traffic. You could quadruple the busses on any given route and most people wouldn't even notice the difference. Check out any big city and see what I mean. If you haven't got 4 busses in every block, then it is a pretty light bus day! In New York or Chicago you will have 10 to 15 per block during rush hour.

At present rate of growth Ogden will need street cars or trams in about 100 years! We should jump through our butts now for that? I say the city has too damn many "development" people on the public dole and they sit around and think up this crap to justify the millions they are costing the tax payers with their salaries, perks, cars, insurance packages, staff's with all the same goodies and most of all power.

Bottom line there ain't no damn transportation crisis facing Ogden that reguires a train or a tram or a friggen gondola! It is just more ego driven empire building madness eminating from Clity Hall.

Keisha said...

"Should we kill the gondola idea because we are worried some people might not feel comfortable riding with strangers?'

Yes!

Another objection: Try to get your "stroller" (baby buggy)
into a hanging and swinging gondola some time. It'll be even worse when a couple of little old ladies try to get a-board in thirty seconds.

Some people in this community need to get real.

A Gondola project that only goes frm Ogden's downtown to Weber State college is the dumbest idea that Godfrey has ever cooked up.

I hope Godfrey is on the ballot this time.

The Counselor said...

Amy makes some darn good points. A gondola car is close, cramped, hot or cold and one could feel very uncomfortable sitting next to some meth freak out on a joyride because he thinks he's flying. At least on a bus, ya can move to the back or have the guy tossed off.

Why do we need to spend another 20-50 mil on transportation anyway. I keep wondering and hearing about all of those people standing in line at 23rd and Wall waiting to get to the college. Isn't there enough money already riding on those unfinished, stalled and financially troubled projects? Put the 20 mil toward the infrastructure or public services or capital improvements, or into an already existing project, the Marshall White Center, a roof over Union Station, not a swinging gondola system or a Trax....the population doesn't justify it. If it's really needed, buy some cool, San Francisco like cable car looking busses and give that a shot. Beats another 20-50 mil.

It seems like each and every new scheme the mayor dreams up is going to be our salvation, our tourist draw, the thing that puts Ogden on the Map. First it's the Union Square, with the new business/residential condo concept; then it's the High Adventure Recreation Center that'll have 'em coming from surrounding states and then the whole country; then it's the Riverway thing; then it was WalMart; and now it's the Gondola/Tram project, Matt's new railroad, that'll bring tourists here by the thousands, just to take a ride. I wonder what 23rd and Quincy looks like from 20 feet up? I'm sure some family in San Diego wonders the same thing and will plan their vacation around that. Gee-Zust!

This madness never stops. If it ain't one thing, it's another....spend, spend, spend; more haircut money; more tax increment money; more impact fees; let's do court. My gawd, these people are out of control.

And three stops! Three friggin' stops....the start at the Hub; 23rd and Washington, the FAR side of the mall; then Weber State. For what? What about the guy who lives on Harrison? Does he walk to the mall or the college to catch the gondola? What if someone gets airsick and pukes? What then? Wait till the car stops at the college before relief can be had?

For hell sakes, Mr. Mayor, finish up what's on your plate before you add another course. We're millions, MILLIONS, upside down and you want to spend more. Get a grip, man, as you are lthe definitive opposite of those alleged "obstructionists."

Filliaga....one more term!

UTmorMAN said...

Again, think about it: UTA identified the route, not the Mayor. Steve Prisbrey brings up another good point. Does anybody want a transit solution that will take up a lane of traffic in both directions. Have any of you driven along Harrison? Would one less lane there in each direction really improve the situation? The good thing about a gondola is that it takes up NO lanes of traffic.

Also, depending on the gondola used, they can hold up to 16 people. In addition, with short wait times and plenty of cabins, it might not be an issue of putting people in cabins when they don't feel comfortable with other people. They can simply wait for the next one, it is about five seconds behind it.

Another thought, Americans don't usually ride the bus. How many of you have ridden the bus? Do you currently like paying for busses with two or three people on them? Would more busses with two or three people on them really be a solution?
You have to make something that people will ride. Trax is an example of this. People ride trax, in part, because of the novelty factor to it. It is not a bus.

UTmorMAN said...

With regards to membership and the validity of the group. It is valid. It is comprised of a well-balanced group of citizens in Ogden numbering quite a few. I believe that if you ask members of the group, they are happy to talk about it.

Moroni McConkie said...

Will the Forum conduct a poll on the issue of gondolas as effective public transportation, quite apart from the tourism angle? The cheerleading on this issue distracts us from counting the votes. Incidentally, has the prophet spoken on this yet?

Anonymous said...

Counselor, At least the mayor is DOING something to make the city better rather than ranting around screaming that the sky is falling, everything is hopeless, and all projects are a failure. How does the saying go "Some look at what is and say why. I choose to look at what could be and say, WHY NOT?" Figure out which side of that fence yer on, pal!

Toad Hall said...

Having attended classes at Weber in the current past, I can say that the parking situation - not enough parking - gave me impetus to find a public transport way of getting there. I never did find the 'silver bullet' except to buy a mountain bike and ride there. I only live eight blocks away.

However, I would not have spent 10 minutes driving to intermodal hub and another 20 minutes riding the gondola to to Weber State. If there is really that much traffic, buses from the intermodal hub timed with the beginning and ending of classes should do the trick. It would be much better for those who come from Davis.

Trax seems to be the better alternative to the gondola. Large groups of people coming to Weber after work (as many of them are non-traditional students) would be better fed into the University by Trax to the intermodal hub to bus. People ride Trax because it is faster than driving. If you have ever been on I-15 heading north from Sandy during rush hour, you would beg to have a train to take you to the city.

The only use for the gondola would be one route to Weber. It seems inflexible and costly compared to a few buses. With buses you could take traffic to two sides of the University from one location with reduced travel time. I just don't see the case for the gondola with this in mind.

There are plans already to extend Trax into Davis and Weber Counties. Why not keep the gondola idea as a future possibility when the one to Snow Basin is finally built? That would make sense to me. From downtown hotels to Snow Basin via gondola. Stop at Weber State then if you want to. The whole idea just seems emminently impractical and costly compared to the alternatives.

Trax will be a UTA initiative. They will pay most of the costs because it works as a transport system. They could also be convinced to buy the buses to Weber. The city is out no money, and people's commute is made easier. Why build a gondola... I just don't see it.

Toad Hall said...

Anonymous... who is saying the sky is falling? Could you share an example of something that has been a tremendous success for the people of Ogden that has come from this administration? Could you share an example of how much money the city has made off of one of its investments? Could you share with us which 'vision' of Ogden we are supposed to latch on to (there seems to be about fifty disparate 'visions' of Ogden... it seems to be a cult-like message of 'catch the vision' when that has never been well articulated)? Could you share with us what capital improvements have been done to the city to make our lives better through all the expenditures of RDA money? The execution of the administration just seems to be abismal. Maybe I just haven't caught the correct 'vision'.

Toad Hall said...

As a caveat... I really should get going on something else... although this blog is damned fascinating, Rudi... thanks...

People do not argue with success. The people who have problems with this administration would have no soap-box or legs to stand on if it could show us resounding success. Instead, we are continually reminded that the administration 'knows best', and we are asked to 'trust' and 'believe'. I prefer hard facts to unwarranted belief.

I also have noticed that a major theme runs through these postings... the mayor and the administration as a whole are arrogant. Arrogant people dismiss others out-of-hand, even when it is in their best interest to listen.

Case in point:
I made a phone call to Stuart Reid during 2000 when I was first thinking of starting a business here in Ogden. I was involved with the Whichards in coming up with some high-tech 'fun-stuff' for then still operational Mall. I wanted some serious input from the city. There was a lot of money involved, and the plans seemed to dovetail with what the Whichards *said* they wanted to do with the Mall.

I got two sentences out to Reid, and I was treated to a rude, combatitive tone and insinuation in return. I was merely looking for information as to where to find information. I never dealt with the city administration again unless I had to buy something... like a business license. Maybe this is why this city has to spend sooo much money in 'buying' development through RDA funds, etc. Maybe other business people just simply can't stand to work with them.

dian said...

ec, here are the things I read on The Good in Ogden regarding public funding for the gondola. The specific words "tax increments" are not there, but here's what is:

" Roger Gardner, a consultant for such projects, said that it could happen, just not with federal government money. His suggested option was through tax-exempt revenue bonds through public agencies."

" The mayor said it best when he said something to the effect of,"Even if the (government) funds half of this project, it would still be cheaper for us to build a gondola by ourselves."

Amy's concern for public safety on the gondola is indeed a good and valid one, as is Keisha's comment about trying to load a stroller on a gondola. The liability issues here are immense.

There are many different demographic groups here in Ogden all of whom pay taxes to the city. The emphasis in these "projects" on attracting tourism at the expense of residents' well-being, (I refer here to the cuts or neglect of basic services, like clean water,)while, after all, it is the residents who have paid taxes believing that the city will fulfill its obligations to them in the way of infrastructural upkeep, in effect puts the well-being of the well-heeled tourist before that of the residents here.

By no stretch of the imagination could the demographics of Ogden imply that this is a well-heeled community as a whole. Economic statistics can be found in the census results of the year 2,000 on Wikipedia, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogden,_Utah#Demographics

Here is a quote from it:

" 20.2% of those under the age of 18 and 9.3% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line."

That is a whopping 29% of Ogden's total population living below the poverty line. This really needs to be addressed far more than a gondola, in my opinion, and the way to address it is not to provide the wage earners with dead-end jobs as workers in the big box stores or tourist industry. That is not the way to build a wealthy tax base---to think that since, so many people here are economically disadvantaged, the thing to do is create jobs traditionally held by the economically disadvantaged. That simply keeps them down, and leads to a general exodus of your best and brightest.

A community whose agenda involves maintaining the status quo of almost a third of the population living below poverty level, while enriching the municipality which will then, once again, build more tourist attractions which will provide lots of jobs replacing towels at pools, for instance, (which would not be the first choice of the WSU graduate,) is well on its way to constructing a ghetto. We will be left with a population which remains in Ogden for one reason--that they can't afford to leave.

The focus in City Government, therefore, should not be concentrated solely on attracting transient outside dollars. Municipal government, in my opinion, does not have a choice of where to focus its time and money without first fulfilling its obligation to the tax payers, in the way of providing a clean, safe environment. It's a matter of priorities, and the tax-paying, residents of Ogden, who, after all, pay the salaries of those administering local government, should really come first.

Former Centerville Citizen said...

I hate to be so nit-picky, but I'm afraid that your statistical reasoning isn't quite sound, Dian. To get an accurate number, You'd have to figure out the percentage of Ogden's population that is under 18, and then figure out what 20.2% of that is.

UTmorMAN said...

Of course dian,
Ski companies that move here have no high paying jobs at all, nor do any of the other companies that could move here. Just ask people in communities that benefit from tourism dollars, I am sure they will tell you that there is no money to be made at all. I spent Christmas in Sun Valley, It is pretty safe to say that the citizens there do pretty well because of tourism. Ogden has the opportunity beyond them, Jackson, Park City and all of the rest because it is close to the mountains, close to the airport, and located in a metropolitan area. This equates to many, many companies potentially wanting to move here as well as tourists wanting to stay here. I believe that we all want to improve the quality of life for the city, this is one way to do it.

RudiZink said...

Here's an interesting article I found whilst googling this morning.

Although I've skied at most of the major ski areas in Colorado, I've never been to Telluride.

I thus don't know whether the Telluride situation is analogous to our situation in Ogden, but I think the article is an informative read.

I'll incorporate a paragraph from the article:

"The gondola provides transportation between towns for people commuting to work, going to the grocery store or meeting friends, easing the burden of traffic between the towns. Beginner skiers and snowboarders can reach beginner terrain without the hassle of a car or bus. Parents can transport their kids to Children's Ski School in the morning. Local kids can ride it to and from school. All of this eliminates the need for vehicles between the two towns during the gondola's operating hours, thereby reducing air pollution and noise, and providing a much safer mode of winter transport."

The article certainly suggests that the system in place at Telluride amounts to something more than a basic gondola ride to the ski slopes. Maybe some of our WCF readers can help us out on this.

Read the article here

UTmorMAN said...

I hate to keep repoasting things on my blog, but there is a relevant article about the same type of thing going on in Vail. It should be up shortly.

RudiZink said...

Thanks, UTmorMAN. Perhaps one of us can post a link to your article here, once it's ready for display.

In the meantime, here's another article on Telluride's existing system, which contains this interesting language:

"The gondola provides transportation between towns for people commuting to work, going to the grocery store or meeting friends, easing the burden of traffic between the towns."

Hmmmmm....

The Counselor said...

Anonymous, that isn't a "saying," it's a quote of Teddy Kennedy's who quoted his brother, Robert, at Bobby's funeral. Sacrilege.

I'm not running about all fearful that the sky is falling, PAl. I'm introducing some cold, hard and sad facts about the pattern of failure that seems to have accompanied most of the Gang of 6's (thank you EC) projects, and as such, it stands to reason that this gondola affair will find itself on the same sorry, physically and financially stalled path. And this is especially so with really hair-brained schemes, such as this.

The rec center and WalMart might have some merit, but the way those guys went about handling things sent 'em to an early and COSTLY grave.

It's pretty freaking obvious which side of the fence I'm on and I don't see how ya missed it.

Seems to me the Mayor, in his infinite wisdom, which seems to always run contrary to the peoples' feelings, will try to build this thing come hell or high water, simply because he wants it built. What other reason is there, especially after now gone to the point of reducing the gondola system's utility to zilch....3 stops along the route from the Intermodal Hub to WSC....what the hell sense does it make to spend 20-30 million on something like that? Tourist draw? Yeah, right. Moving the hundreds, that soon will be thousands, of passengers from downtown Wall Avenue to the campus. Sure, that's it. Another glaring observation: I have yet to read ANYTHING about how this gondola will take care of the visually impaired, let along baby carriages, bike riders, and so on. Com'on, dude, you get real.

This one just don't make any sense. It's a complete waste of time and money, especially when our infrastructure is decaying more and more every moment. Maybe, if the Gang of 6 would show some concern about the infrastructure, present a plan or give some thoughts on that once in awhile, I could maybe go along with some of these project schemes. Until then, I have to line up on the side of the fence that says, "OPPOSED." Hope that clears your mind about which side of the fence I sit.

Remember, my counseling is free, but any contributions you feel like giving can be sent to the Filliaga Re-elction Committee.

amy wicks said...

Rudi-

Thanks for posting the info on the Telluride system. It was an example cited in one of the feasibility studies for the Ogden system.

There are several considerations to look at when trying to figure out how this may work in Ogden:

Mountain Village and Telluride are not car friendly, in fact, both towns at the end of a beautiful box canyon are very pedestrian-oriented.

The system is free for foot passengers.

Even though the towers for the system are low profile, there are days when it does not run due to high winds or thunderstorms. Are there ever days in Ogden when we have high winds or thunderstorms? Do we want to invest public money into a transportation system that can't function during inclement weather?

To address utmorman's comments on tourism- In my opinion tourism does not necessarily equal good paying jobs or stability in a community. I think you could safely say that most people in Sun Valley working in the tourism industry could never even dream of affording a home of their own there. How many homes in Sun Valley are second homes? Look at Aspen. How many people that work in the town actually live there? They don't, because they can't afford it, so they live in outlying communities like Carbondale and Eagle and burn through lots of fossil fuel with their daily commute.

Tourists leave money in communities through sales, restaurant and room taxes. This tax revenue can contribute to the general fund to cover basic services, infrastructure and capital improvements. Nobody could argue that those are bad for a community. The jobs that come with the tourism leave much to be desired- sometimes they are seasonal, pay is at the lower end of the scale, benefits like health insurance are rare and it's not a livable wage to try to raise a family on. Granted, you may have some execs visit and decide to move their companies to the area, but they are usually just a very small number of good paying stable jobs that add wealth to a community.

I can speak from experience on this one- some years ago before moving to Ogden I lived in Park City and worked in the ski industry. From my perspective, people work in that industry because you can get new gear every year for a great price (you could not afford it otherwise) and there are some intangible quality of life issues- your colleagues thoroughly understand the concept of a "powder day", which means some days playing in the snow takes precedent over work. Just don't get hurt because you probably don't even have the option of health insurance. Most people living in Park City working in any branch of the service industry have issues with affordable housing and healthcare. The population is transient and it's hard to develop a sense of community because of this. I grew tired of that and decided to move to Ogden, because there are many great people, a sense of community and history and above all of that charm, warts and all.

Are service jobs something that will keep WSU grads around and create good stable neighborhoods for families? Do people get an education with intent of working in the service industry- cleaning our hotels, staffing restaurants and working retail?

Steetcars are different from light rail. We would not lose a turn lane on Harrison. UTA will be making a community presentation on the various transportation options studied. I will keep you all posted on the date and location.

UTmorMAN said...

I could be wrong Amy, but I am pretty sure you lose some kind of lane with a streetcar going through. You would almost have to. But again, I could be wrong.

Also, people living in Sun Valley and Haley seemed to be doing pretty well, tourist or not. They lived and worked in the same communities.

UTmorMAN said...

And again, I tell you that Ogden's opportunity is very different. We have something that few, if anybody else in the world, has and can get many, many high paying jobs through this that will keep our WSU grads at home. Park City is not a valid comparison, we are talking about something totally different, I guess you could we are talking about the concept of a ski "city."

amy wicks said...

Are we talking about a gondola up the side of the mountain or a transportation system from the hub to WSU? The purpose of the study was to only look at defining a corridor between the two locations, and identify options to move people from point A to point B, looking to the future with commuter rail playing a part.

UTmorMAN said...

You sat at the same meeting that I did when the officials admitted that they may not have given sufficient evaluation to the potential impact of a gondola going up the side of the mountain. Of course, you may have left by that time because the presentation did go over time and some people had to leave.

Also, if these plans are not the way to go in Ogden, than what is? I have been to countless city council meetings and listened to you plenty, and I think that you are a good politician, but I have yet to get a feel for what you think will help Ogden. You even skirted my inquiry for you to explain your position on the rec. center debate (which I still want to know). Please enlighten us all, since you more than all of us actually have the power to do something.

OzBoy said...

UtMoMan your naivete astounds me sometimes!
I get from past comments from you and others that you are quite young and ernest, and I do admire that, and I would encourage you to continue your interest and involvement with government.

Please be advised that not all is as presented by politicians. You must always be very careful before you buy into any concept promoted by any politician, especially when it involves spending public money on pet projects that are highly debatable and will only benefit a very narrow slice of the citizenry.

Some of the things you come up with are really pretty astounding and point out your lack of understanding and experience in the real world.

Just a couple of examples from this thread:

"There are certainly more benefits than flaws, believe me, time will tell on this one."

I think this will be a good lesson for you on this point - if you remember it down the road. That is YOU will most likely find the opposite with "time" on this one.

"UTA (not the city) is planning on having many WSU students coming in on the train. As many as 33% of WSU students come from Davis county and it is safe to say that pretty much everyone at WSU hates the parking situation. It could take less time to ride a train into Ogden, get on a gondola, and go to WSU"

This statement has made the ridiculous leap from people not likeing the parking situation at WSC to this tram idea being a winner! Typical NeoCon manipulation of the facts to create a nervousness in the population which in turn creates an invironment for their grand schemes to thrive in!

I would suggest you re-read Centerville citizen on this thread on this subject! He is actually one of those fabled Davis county people talked about in the fabled "study" done by UTA. I would tend to believe him more than a bunch of political wonks that support the mayor and his sycophants in their mad dash to disaster!

I would also urge you to read the piece in this thread from the Charles guy. His presentation may be a little rough for your virgin sensibilities, but what he says is right on point and very pertinent to all of this stuff that plaques us here in the land of Oz.

"Another thought, Americans don't usually ride the bus. How many of you have ridden the bus? Do you currently like paying for busses with two or three people on them? Would more busses with two or three people on them really be a solution?"

Absolutely no rational person on this blog or in the general debate has suggested that more busses with two or three people on them is the solution. Once again you have bought into a disingenious propoganda line meant to ridicule the people who oppose the lord mayor's policies. It is called "diversion with smoke screen" a basic scoundrel tactic.

This bus deal is my favorite UtMoman, it really demonstrates your lack of understanding of the real world, the one outside the nice tidy little comfort zone you have placed yourself in. In all big cities in America and the World people ride the bus by the zillions!

There are hundreds times more Davis County residents that work and go to school in SLC than will ever be going to Ogden! There are many many busses that ply those Davis - SLC routes every morning and every evening. The same basic solution that already works in Davis - SLC will work in Davis - Ogden. It is an elementary solution that has been worked out thousands of times by thousands of cities. When the bus load gets to a maximum carrying capacity then light rail will move in to take up the over load - Just exactly like Sandy - SLC did with TRAX. Ogden is a long way away from that level of need. Our very ambitious mayor and city council are solving problems that we will not face for many many years down the road. Meanwhile the problems they were elected to solve go untouched and ignored - ie - the water system!

My guess is that your life's experiences so far have been confined to a very small horizon. This is making you very succeptible to the manipulations of this NeoCon group that has possesion of Emerald City at the present time. If you want a more balanced perspective of the big guy on nine, I strongly suggest you read "The Wizard of Oz". The mayor is the Wizard! He is selling the gullible a big plate of baloney. He is behind the curtain manipulating the levers!

One last thought: OGDEN IS NOT VALE, PARK CITY, TELLURIDE, or any other small mountain mining city that has been resurrected as a tourist town. It isn't now, and it never will be. We are not going to be the town at the bottom of the lift. That is the dumbest dream and propoganda line that has come out of the mayor's mouth ever. That is like saying if you build a marina on the lake that Gary, Indiana will become the new Newport! It totally ignores the reality of a large industrial city becoming a tourist town just like some quaint little place in the mountains. It's like comparing Mack Trucks to Porches!

Steven Prisbrey said...

Amy, forgive me but I feel your logic is one sided. You have only talked about getting people to WSU from downtown. Let’s not forget the opportunity to lure WSU students to downtown between classes or for work. I did attend WSU and guarantee that my friends and I would have taken a gondola downtown to shop, work, etc., just for the appeal that only a gondola, not a street car could offer. Imagine the thousands of college students coming downtown. We hardly see a handful of these folks now. Do you really think street cars would bring them downtown?

UTmorMAN said...

Ozboy,
First off, numbers are numbers and 33% of WSU students come from Davis County. Second, Don't tell me I have been confined. There were a couple of years where the bus and my two feet were my ONLY means of transportation. I have been in some of the biggest cities in the world and seen the way that their mass transit works first hand. I may be young, but that does not mean that I am sheltered and have not seen the world, because trust me, I most certainly have. Third, I never claimed that Ogden was telluride, vail, or any other place. I believe it to have much more potential than these places; much, much more. I do, however, respect your opinion, and as I have said before, rely on people like you to help me gain some experience.

Enthused Citizen said...

Good argument, people. No name calling, just facts. I'm proud of everyone for their civility. Allow me to share some facts and thoughts with you all:

Toad....Stuart Reid is a self ordained, self important individual, a legend in his own mind. His leaving town is definitely our gain. His legacy will be one of arrogance and "who are you to question me? I know best." He's mean spirited and a hyprocrite who hides his true personality underneath the veil of his religion in a false personna. All sweet and spiritual on Sunday but a man of mean intentions on Monday. I'd rather deal with an outright gangster....at least there one knows who he's dealing with and expects the treatment one gets.

Toad....I agree with your take on the City Administration. Facts do speak for themselves, and this "believe in us," dismissive attitude cooberates their failure/success ratio. Show us the numbers, the profit, of any one project. "Faith" and "vision" only go so far. It's flat time for them to share the facts with us before they can expect unbriddled enthusiasm and backing from the people.

Ah, Dian....how right you are. Ogden was selected as #44 out of 51 Utah cities, with populations over 10,000, in which to live. What a sad commentary for the one time 2nd biggest dog in the pack. Home values are $117K compared to $170K nationwide; household income is a pitiful $34K per year compared to $41K per year nationally; and people holding 4 year college degrees is 12% compared to Highland, in Utah County, with 30%. Seems that those with educations have moved out of town and I doubt any boon to the tourist industry will keep 'em here. The toursit industry, while it might bring in some dollars, doesn't do much for the educated work force, relying instead on low wage, tip making personel. I was interested as to Godfrey's response to these findings: "having a university brings down figures for home ownership, income and people with degrees." Brilliant.

Amy Wicks....The comparison to Park City and other resort communities is valid, for there the gondola system may work, as they are not "car friendly" places. Ogden most certainly is car friendly. I have long advocated the Street Car concept, a San Francisco Cable Car look- alike, gasoling driven vehicle, with no tracks or underground cables. Doesn't mean that that's the way to go, just means that there's an alternative that might be temporarily OK. Get the mall re-built, get the Tram from WSU to Snow Basin built and operating successfully (sure as heck would be a better tourist draw than an inner-city gondola), then re-visit the Trax type or gondola system. Until then, put some energy and money into the city's needs (infrastructure, project completion, public services, et al).

Utmorman....I think you spent more time trying to be flippant with your "ski company" post than presenting the facts. I've worked in Telluride and most of the natives live in their old, family homes while the ski-bums (a term of endearment) and other workers are transient and renters (4-6 to a small apartment type set-up). As for no money in either the major ski businesses or ski/tourism aspect in Jackson (the flippancy I earlier refered to), there is, for the owners. You might want to know that Descente has approximately 7 employees. Years ago, Ogden native Bob Burns moved his "The Ski" company from Ogden to Park City and finally to Sun Valley, with a hnadful of workers now employed. These guys are like the night life employees, basically low wage earners who depend on tips. That's the reality of their lives, and they love it. Working in that industry is one of the perks of working in that industry, along with what Amy mentioned, powder snow, ski gear and Tequilla Sunrises (you can see the same thing at Hawaiian and Southern Californai surf shops and night clubs). Those at the top of the food chain make lots of money, but the general worker isn't exactly rolling in the dough.

I'm not quite sure how you got to the "many, many companies potentially wanting to move here and tourists wanting to stay here," but you did. Seems to me that you change lanes by telling Amy that Park City and Ogden is not a valid comparison, yet justify Sun Valley and Jackson with Ogden because of the ski industry potential. Ogden is not, and never will be, a PC or Telluride. Ski towns have the bottom lift station right there on main street; Ogden has it's lift station 20 miles away. A ski community, sure; a ski town, no.

As for feeling comfortable with others in a small, claustrophobic cabin, it's not as simple as waiting for the next car. You don't know a person's behavior until you're locked inside with the guy, and with Godfrey's new, money saving design, you could be stuck with the fringe lunatics from 23rd and Washington to WSU, a slow ride to hell!

This is good debate, but I doubt the Mayor's listening.

dian said...

Centerville Citizen, you are absolutely right about my statistical misinterpretation. I would not have been offended in the least if you had taken it and run with it yourself, too. Feel free to check these figures too, since math was never my strong suit.

Will try to do it by the population numbers--it's easier.

Total population of Ogden in 2,000 = 77,226
Population under age 18 (28.8%) = 22,241
Population of poverty level under age 18 (20.2%) = 4,492
Population aged 18-24 (14.6%) = 11,274
Population aged 24-44 (29%) = 22,395
Population aged 45-64 (16.3%) = 12,587
Population aged 65 or older (11.3%) = 8,726
Population aged 65 or older in poverty (9.3%) = 811

Therefore, 811 + 4,492 = 5, 303, which is about 7% of Ogden's total population. However, this is not a valid figure to ascertain the true rate of poverty in Ogden, because it is only counting children and the elderly.

Actually, the fact that we had 4,492 children in the city of Ogden living below poverty level in the year 2,000 would indicate that a sizable number of the workforce who are the parents and/or extended families of those children, do also.

Referring then, to Quick Facts From the Census Bureau at: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/49/4955980.html

(which at this point I wish I had done to begin with,) I find that the poverty rate in Ogden in 1999 was 16.5. That was the latest figure they had. We can compare this to the poverty level of the State of Utah in 1999, which was 9.4.

Also, 2,000 was the year the United States economy took a nosedive. In other words, it was a 16.5% poverty rate here before things got worse.

I still don't think a gondola will fix this.

UTmorMAN said...

Yes, Descente has only a few employees, however they pump quite a bit of money into our economy each and every month by simply doing business in Ogden. When you get a number of companies, in which ski companies prefer to cluster, you get quite a few jobs.

Bonnie Lee said...

UtMoMan - there you go again spouting the mayor's line! Give us the facts and figures man, we don't want to hear any more of this drivel like - "Yes, Descente has only a few employees, however they pump quite a bit of money into our economy each and every month by simply doing business in Ogden".

It is all meaningless BS without real figures that can be proven. If you don't start thinking for yourself you and your blog are going to be written off as a propoganda tool of the Mayor's.

Does Descente manufacture any thing in Ogden? Do they ship and recieve products here that some how gets taxed? Do all of their US sales get filtered through the Ogden taxing authorities? Just how is it good for the average citizen of Ogden to have them here any more than any other 7 man satellite office of a large Japanese corporation?

So tell us exactly how much money Descente pumps into the Ogden economy and exactly how that comes about. Hey we are waiting for something positive from you, your the up-guy in town - just make it something true will you?

UTmorMAN said...

OK, Descente estimates that they pump around $100,000 dollars into our community by simply doing business each month. They have sales meetings every so often that occupy rooms in the local hotels; they really do quite a bit. They also occupy a warehouse that once housed "Dead Haven," and also occupy once vacant office space in a historical building in Downtown Ogden. You also need to remember that Descente is, worldwide, the size of Nike. This is no small stellite opperation. This is a company that has been on the cover of Time Magazine numerous times, as well as on Sports Illustrated quite a few times. Those baseball pants that are currently worn; it was them that developed that product. They are a large, worldwide corporation that has chosen to locate a main office and a warehouse in Ogden.

EC said...

The simple reason for Descente locating in Ogden is that Curt Geiger is a native son, former employee of Dean Perkins, Perkins, Ltd. $100,000 per month pumped into our economy because "they have sales meetings every so often that occupy rooms in the local hotels?" That, my young friend and co-poster, is one hell of a lot of hotel rooms.

Ski clusters, eh? Hopefully that will happen in Huntsman's Grand Scheme of Things. Ya see, there's a place to start, the ski business, not some wild-eyed recreation center or gondola system. Geiger knows his stuff, Descente's a giant, Japanese controlled entity, and it could attract other ski businesses. But when's the last time anyone heard Godfrey say anything about it? Doesn't matter, it's an example of what private enterprise may be able to do. Let's keep and eye on that, eh?

UTmorMAN said...

EC,
Hotel rooms are only a fraction of what they are spending their money on. The cluster philosophy comes from the ski industry, not Huntsman. Next time you run into Curt Geiger, ask him to explain it to you in full, because that seems to be the way it works.

UTmorMAN said...

We should all give Curt Geiger a great big thanks for what he has done, people thought he was crazy for wanting to move to Ogden, then once the folk from Japan came here and see what there is to offer, they told him this was americana and would be a good place for the company to be located. My hat goes off to him, and Mr. Goode, who sometimes goes a bit more unnoticed, but regardless headquarters a very high quailty and well known product right here in our great city.

UTmorMAN said...

Oh, by the way, here is the link to my blog. I finally re-poasted the article about Avon and also some interesting meeting handouts from the meeting that now a month and a half later caused all of this debate. click here to go to "the good in ogden"

UTmorMAN said...

Coming soon...or as soon as I can muster up some time, an article on my visit last year to Kellog, Idaho. If you remember, the Mayor mentioned it in that SE article.

EC said...

Ut, m'boy, "clusters" are Huntsman's brain child. The major league businesses all went to Salt Lake County and Utah County as political payback (medical, Hi-tech, etc.). Poor old Weber County was left out in the cold, but fortunately, Geiger was at that Governor's meeting and after the dust had settled, introduced the "ski industry cluster" idea to the Governor. There wasn't much call for that "cluster" down South, the North had basically nothing, and the "ski industry cluster" was born, with no objection or political ramifications because all favors, etc. had been paid when the "bigs" were dished out.

Granted, Geiger came up with the ski part, but "clustering" was the Governors doing. Close, but no cigar.

The neat thing about it is that if it catches on, and Descente is a big enough draw within the ski industry, Rossignol, Scott and others just might come. The sad thing is that Burns and some of the good old boys have been here and left.

I have a lot of faith in Geiger and if you recall, I've mentioned ski industry alternative several times in some previous posts. It could be a start.

Bonnie Lee said...

UtMoBoy you are still avoiding the question. You have been put on the spot to come up with specific numbers and information to justify your assertion that some how Descente is the tip of the wave that is going to "save" Ogden.

This out of touch dream of Ogden becoming the CITY at the bottom of the ski lift is way around the bend of reality! It defies logic, history and the fact that the ski industry is shrinking. To think that Ogden is going to somehow beat out Vail, Sun Valley, Park City, etc, etc, and become the great shining ski CITY that tops and out draws them all is incredibly stupid on the face of it.

Ogden and Snow basin had the very best and maximum amount of worldwide coverage during the Olympics, and after two years what do we see as a result? Yep, a couple of small operations came here and the main one was just a guy coming home!

When confronted with providing some semblance of proof of the viability of this goofy dream or the importance of Descente, you come back with more platitudes, generalities and "fluff" stuff that comes right out of the Mayor's and or Giegers PR book. But not facts and figures!

"Sales Meetings every so often that occupy rooms in the local hotels" and occupying space in a couple of existing buildings" does not seem to qualify them as our new saviours any more than this cockeyed scheme to build a high tech rec center does. Your average convenience store on any given corner probably hires more people and puts more money in Ogden's bank account than Descente does.

I am not against Descente and I welcome them to Ogden. They are a successful company as are most large Japanese conglomerates. They came here not because it was a great place to do business or because of any genius that the Mayor demonstrated, but because Gieger wanted to come home and he is their US sales rep!

The fact that Descente is the size of Nike, or has been on the cover of Time or markets baseball pants has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Another example of you adopting the disengenious tactics of the Mayor and trying to set a smoke screen to avoid the real issues facing Ogden. The truth is that they only have a satellite office in Ogden for the convenience of their US representative who is a native son. They do not pay a large amount of money into the cities coffers, and they are by no stretch of the imagination the great white knight riding into town to save the day. The Mayor and Council are only bragging and taking the credit for Descente being here because they have no victory stories of their own to trumpet about.

If they manufactured those fancy pants here in Ogden, if they paid local taxes on all that worldwide business, if they had 50 or a 100 good paying jobs here in town, I would say they might be in the "very important for Ogden" column, but they don't. Your acting as their PR agent to spread pleasant sounding fluff information isn't going to change the facts that in the over all scheme of things they really don't mean much to the average citizen in town.

Again, I have nothing against Descente, and I'm glad to see a local boy (Gieger) go out in the world and make good and then come back home and bring something with him. We need more like him for sure, and I am proud of him for his past accomplishments and for his present involvment in trying to make Ogden a better place.

So MoMan, we are still looking to you to prove these assertions that Descente is packing a lot of money into Ogden beyond some nominal business taxes.
Descente isn't going to reveal its financial information, and its a good bet that Ogden officials are not going to tell us the truth on this, so it is up to you, and you are not going to do it by repeating the same old tired lines out of some city or company feel good brochure.

We want facts, not smoke screens...

The Counselor said...

You got that right, Bonnie Lee....as nice as Descente is, it isn't quite what our fair haired young poster, Utmorman, thinks it is. If 5 or 6 ski entities did indeed form a Huntsman "cluster," then we might have something. Until then, we keep trying.

UTmorMAN said...

If the facts and figures were avaliable for me to post, I would gladly do so. Also, there are a lot of things in the works that it would be stupid to talk about until finalized. Any good business person knows that. With that in mind, this is going to have to be enough for you all.

Also, Curt Geiger is the VP, not the Pres of Descente North America, so don't go saying it was all him on the move here. I imagine a lot of thought went into it on all parts.

UTmorMAN said...

You have three companies now, how many more do you want?

The Counselor said...

A couple of things, young poster....are you insinuating that you are in on these highly sevretive "business" meetings between the world wide ski entities, and have been sworn to a code of silence and non-disclosure, and the powers in Ogden City Goverment. You leave us with a very tantalizing cliff-hanger: "there are alot of things in the works," and "this is going to be enough for you all." Strong stuff, Utmo, can't wait to hear what it is you're doing with all of these world class ski giants.

Three companies? If they're the ones I think they are, the answer to your question of "how many more do you want?" is just like high school lunch: I WANT MORE!

What, young poster, can you tell us about the hush-hush $200 million hotel who is waiting in the wings, until Godfrey's Recreation Center is built, until they come to town. Right now, there are 3 hotels, the Old Ben Lomond (forced to turn into a condo project), the one in the Eccles Building, and the old Hilton, and the vacancy rate is staggering. And now here comes a $200 million new kid on the block, all because of the Rec Center and Descente? Well, stranger things have happened. Is that your secret about "this is going to have to be enough for now?"

Anyway, your enthusiasm is cool, dude. Your energy level is high. Just don't get lost in the Mayor's minutia, D, m'boy.... :)

UTmorMAN said...

I simply participate in Lift Ogden. I don't believe that I am sworn to any code of silence put on by the city gov. or the Mayor, or anybody else.

Toad Hall said...

I don't think I have ever read such biting wit, counselor. It was a very enjoyable read. I roared.

I just wanted to make sure you knew it was appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Counselor, you will be eating your words someday soon, its seems the glass is always half empty with you dudes.

Toad Hall said...

Anon, anon...

The glass is not half empty... it's empty... I can't get any water because of the rust seeping from the aging water system. It all looks orange to me.

Saying that the posters on this board only view the glass as being half empty is like saying, "put on your blinders and follow me to the promised land". I just think the level of intelligence demonstrated by the city administration gives nearly everyone on this blog the willies. They haven't ever had a bang-up success that wasn't helped by the business community. Every time they get one of these hair-brained schemes, like the Rec Center, we can see the size of the city's deficit rising and see the amount of decay in our infrastructure. The city is not giving us what we pay for through tax dollars. They have no business being in business... in the private sector. They don't know how to balance a budget and spend our money wisely. Instead they galavant around buying land, kicking people out of Ogden, and crowing about how great its going to be with no citizens to worry about and lots of tourist pockets to pick.

Get real! We are not naysayers... we are business people and citizens who are concerned about the direction of this administration and council majority.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what kind of a business your running when your always posting your spew. All of the REAL Business players in Ogden are behind this city in its current endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Check out Bernlaw.blogspot for the real story.

WCF BS Detector said...

>>>All of the REAL Business players in Ogden are behind this city in its current endeavor. <<<

Please provide the list, "anonymous."

I'd love to see the list.

Most local businessmen I know believe Ogden City is the most business-unfriendly place in the whole western USA.

Name some names, or STFU.

googleboy said...

"Check out Bernlaw.blogspot for the real story."

That's good. UTmorMAN has dropped the ball, has proven himself incapable of advancing the Allen family party line, and now Mayor Godfrey's brother-in-law is drafted into the blogging act.

Hilarious.

Bring 'im on.

Gotta love this Shite.

Toad Hall said...

Hmm... well... the REAL players in business must be hidden from everyone's eyes. I hope they come out of the wordwork in full support of Ogden's fine administration... which seems to blossom with SLC and West Valley cast-offs. I wonder what the REAL story is behind Stuart Reid leaving... did the lawsuits name him personally? I wonder. Please tell the current REAL players in the business world, who apparently only you are privy to, about this site so we can get some intelligent conversation going, and I won't have to listen to this drivel.

The Mayor should be a fly on the wall as some of these REAL players discuss their business prospects here. The city should get out of the landlording business (which is I believe the only thing that our mayor has done outside of his political aspirations), and it should get into the business of being a city government. If he wants to be in business, he should leave office and start one without our tax dollars.

UTmorMAN said...

Actually googleboy,
I invited Bernie into this argument with an e-mail. He was sent by nobody, rather invited. I believe that it is good to have more people in what seems to be the few against many nature of this argument. Simply a little attempt at leveling the playing field some.

UTmorMAN said...

wcf bs dector,
beware of falling victim to what you are saying to the other poster:
"Please provide the list, "anonymous."

I'd love to see the list.

Most local businessmen I know believe Ogden City is the most business-unfriendly place in the whole western USA."

If you are going to ask for a list from somebody, than provide one of your own instead of simply asking for one then repeating basically what the origional poster said in the first place for which you criticized him/her.

UTmorMAN said...

Toad,
Attend a Lift Ogden meeting and take a look at the business people in this city who support what is going on.

Duke of Abernathey said...

Check out today's op/ed....the St Ex is against this idiotic gondola idea of Godfrey's, as any reasonable person should be. $20-45 mil for a 2 stop ride. Who in their right mind would go to the trouble? Much better stuff to spend OUR money on, like Lobbyists, using "our" tax dollars to hire some clown that will enable the mayor to take away "our" homes.

Toad Hall said...

UTmorMan,

The gondola is not the whole story... it is indeed... at this point... a minor plot diversion. Please share with us a few of the well-known local businesses who support all the initiatives that are now on the plate. You have attended the meetings, please don't hold out on us.

I know that there is support for a privately funded lift to Snow Basin and possibly Malin's Basin. That would be privately funded (matter-of-fact, I am for whatever private investor who would wish to build it). That is not the gondola we are talking about. Could you please share with us the rest of the story.

UTmorMAN said...

toad,
as I learned earlier today, it is simply not wise to go around saying names or ideas when I have not checked with them first. Like I said earlier, in order for me to not step on any toes, simply attend a lift Ogden meeting and take a look at who is present. Of course, not everybody attends every meeting, but usually there is a core there and if you talk with people there they can talk more about it. This is not an attempt to get people to our meetings, the room is usually pretty full as it is, but after the events of this morning, I am not about to go around and do things that could possibly offend anybody. I would be more than happy to advise everybody as to the next meeting, however, as of now no group meetings are scheduled.

By the way, the man who has purchased the property is Chris Peterson.

Jake Artikolate said...

The gondola is about the most STUPID idea on how to throw away $25-40 million that I've ever heard of. It's just another example of the Mayor's loosing his mind. What could $40 Mil do for our city, besides building this gondola that has no stations except the first and the last. Think hard you people in support of this lunacy, who in hell would want to ride it? If you really think it's a good idea, stand up to the pump and cut the city a "kick-start" check. Or are you fools all talk and no walk? Maybe you're just like that bunch of freeloading clowns who are going to run the bowling alley/climbing arcade>>>>on OUR nickle.

Who are these people, these jokes who give our money away and take away our homes and give them to big buizness. If all of this makes sense, why aren't you and the pip squeek Mayor snapping up those Onion Square condos and moving there families down there? Maybe then, once there are some people on the lower West side, there would be a need for the gondola, but as of now, there ain't none.

You'r all, each of you, just a bunch of monument building, money spenders who have no clue of what the good folks in Ogden think.

And this utahmormon boy who wnats everyone to Lift Ogden. What's that all about? Lift Ogden where? The only thing you fools have lifted is our wallets.

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