Saturday, July 29, 2006

Boss Godfrey Plays the Game of "CYA"

Van Image
Most regular Weber County Forum readers are at least vaguely aware of a 20-foot moving van that's been sighted at varous points in Emerald City, roaming the streets, or parked at strategic locations, such as the Lorin Farr Park Rodeo Stadium, or the vicinity of the downtown Municipal Bulding. The van is prominently outfitted on the back and side panels with large signs, intended to inform passing motorists of Mayor Godfrey's new traffic citation quota system, which has been discussed at some length in other articles on this site. The above cell-phone photo, submitted by one of our gentle readers, shows the back panel of the van. Similar messages are prominently displayed on the side panels.

According to a very reliable source, this van billboard project is the brainchild of members of the Ogden City Police Benefit Association, and has been funded by the donations of a hundred or so dedicated Ogden police officers. The object of the project is to inform the townsfolk of Ogden that Boss Godfrey has indeed put a price on the head of each and every citizen who navigates the city streets. There's no nice word to describe it. In his dogged obsession to turn every department in Ogden into a revenue-generating profit center, Godfrey has ruthlessly imposed a traffic citation quota system.

As is typical of Boss Godfrey, he tolerates no discussion or dissent on this issue, especially from city employees who normally cower under his imperial domination. Thus, he apparently donned his Sherlock Holmes hat last Thursday night, and conducted his own stake-out near near city hall. The van was obviously getting under his skin.

Around 7:15 p.m. he got lucky. At that time, the van, which had been parked at 26th and Harrison earlier in the day, was moved by one of the police officers' wives, and parked on the west side of Washington Boulevard (in front of the Municipal Building.) Super-sleuth Godfrey was right behind the van in his own vehicle, gesticulating and glaring at the officer's wife as she exited the van. Whether he spotted the van when it arrived downtown, or followed it from 26th & Harrison is unclear. (His residence is less than a block from the 26th & Harrison location.)

In a nutshell, the keen-eyed and incensed Boss Godfrey ultimately observed the policeman's spouse enter her own private vehicle, and subsequently depart from the Municipal Building area. Godfrey apparently "ran" the license number through the police vehicle ID system. (Whether the use of the computerized system in this instance and for this purpose is highly questionable.)

Finding that the private vehicle was registered to one of Ogden's Finest, Godfrey summarily ordered the watch commander to place officer Matt Jones on administrative leave within an hour or two. A lieutenant from the OPD arrived at Officer Jones' home by 9:00 p.m., to relieve Officer Jones of his weapon, badge, duty belt and Police vehicle. Formal "disciplinary action" is pending. There can be little doubt that this summary action, occuring in the dark of night, was precipitated solely by the previously-described event.

What's important to note is that all of these described activities, whether undertaken on the part of individual police officers, or by interested civilian citizens, have been done on off-duty time with the utilization of purely private resources. Elsewhere in America, public employees have the freedom to engage in off-duty political activity. This is even the law in Utah, per Utah Code Section 10-3-1108. Unfortunately, this appears NOT to be the condition in our bizarre little corner of the planet -- Matt Godfrey World -- where Boss Godfrey rules with an iron fist, by means of whimsical and paranoiac edicts conceived via metaphysical "visions" from his Exalted Throne on Nine.

In an intriguing aftermath to this pathetic above-described melodrama, Boss Godfrey has now apparently discussed this matter with his own legal staff, and has been belatedly informed that his actions taken on Thursday night were highly illegal. In his statement on Fox 13's news segment last night, he backtracks (with a completely straight face,) and NOW takes the position that the summary actions taken against the officer late Thursday night had "nothing at all to do" with the above described events. Whatever disciplinary action that's being taken against Officer Jones is directed at some other earlier misconduct committed by this officer, Boss Godfrey alleges. That's Godfrey's story, at least. Meanwhile, Boss Godfrey and his slavish minions rifle through Officer Jones's personnel file, hoping to dredge up something that will "stick." In military circles it's called "Covering Your Ass."

We've been "sitting" on this story since around 10:00 Thursday night, assembling facts and interviewing people with direct knowledge of this event, and were not yet quite ready to publish an article on this topic. Inasmuch as Fox 13 News "broke" this storly last night though, thus stimulating some discussion in the previous comments section, we are posting an article here, in order to entertain a "dedicated thread" on this topic.

We will update this article as the facts develop. Meanwhile, have at it folks. Please feel free to offer your comments and any additional information to which you may be privy.

Update 7/29/06 12:29 p.m. MT: We have just received confirmation from a highly-reliable source. Boss Godfrey's request for vehicle information was processed directly through police dispatch. Chief Greiner's voice is reportedly identifiable on the tape. This would tend to negate Boss Godfrey's Fox 13 News statement that he actually recognized Officer Jones, and would tend to support the logical inference that Godfrey may have needed to improperly utilize the vehicle identification system, (for purely political purposes) in order to identify Officer Jones's private vehicle. The plot sickens.

Update 7/31/06 7:35 a.m. MT: The Std-Ex finally gets around to reporting on this story, and the story headline gets it right, at least: Ogden officer under investigation; wife accused of protesting ticket policies. Reporter Janae Francis's Sunday evening phone interview with our Mayor apparently left Boss Godfrey on the verge of stammering.

49 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

An interesting story, on many levels. The idea of the Mayor of Ogden, skulking around the public streets following the wife of a city employee... and then using the resources of the police department to learn her name and home address. Well. Enough said about that.

I agree if the events occurred as you describe them, the Mayor's act was both demeaning [for him and the city] and reprehensible. Hizzonah has become miffed, we know, by people raising questions about his integrity. Well, spending his time as some kind of third class knock- off Sam Spade because he's miffed by someone exercising free speech rights on public streets in opposition to his policies is not how an honorable elected official behaves. Has me thinking yet again that Ogden needs to make sure it elects grown-ups as mayors in the future.

As for the legal questions involved: the paid professional sharks on both the city side and the police men's side [and I presume their organization will be actively, enthusiastically involved in defending the officer in this matter] will have to sort that out. Lots of interesting matters to address. For example, from what you've said, the officer was not driving the truck involved, parking it here and there [legally I presume] about the city. His wife was. Even presuming [for the sake of argument] that the officer is restricted in what he may say about city policy because he is a public employee, that in no way restricts his wife's free speech rights on matters of public policy. It's been a long long time, nearly since the Revolution, since it was legally presumed in this country that a wife had no ideas, opinions, views or legal standing separate from her husband's.

On the other hand, this is Utah....

That a policeman, even off duty, can freely criticize the policy of the city leaders he works for... well, that's a dicier question. [Note: I am not saying he should not have that right. I am saying, given recent court decisions, he may not in fact have it.] We will have to see.

As for the claim that the suspension involved other actions on the officer's part, not his wife's engaging in the heinous crime of truck parking on city streets: Hizzonah had better be rock solid on this. It may in fact be true [we don't know for a fact, yet, that it isn't], but if it's been dragged in only as CYA, Hizzonnah had better be damn sure that whatever is discovered in the officer's record as justification for a suspension has been used in the past to suspend other officers, that this instance is not a first time and unique suspension for whatever offense may be found. Otherwise, I suspect, the Mayor, and the city's taxpayers, are going to end up on the short end of a law suit.

It's going to get, as they used to say on Laugh In, "veddy veddy interesting."

A Humble Public Servant said...

There are many individuals involved in this "Van Billboard" project, not just Officer Jones and his wife. Mayor Godfrey must have staked the van out when it was being moved from 26th and Harrison to 2500 Washington. Officer Jones' wife was the driver of the van and Officer Jones picked her up, in his personal vehicle, after she dropped it off. The Mayor followed Officer Jones for several blocks before breaking it off. Less than two hours later Officer Jones had all of his police powers stripped and he was placed on Administrative Leave for “conduct unbecoming a police officer”. In this status, Officer Jones cannot work his secondary job and loses the desperately needed income.

Given the above FACTS, I would have a better chance winning the Power Ball Lottery than Officer Jones being placed on Admin leave for any other reason other than Lord Farqua had connected him to the Billboard Van.

This has been pointed out already, but needs to be repeated many times more. The Police and City Administration are now in a position that they have to find something wrong with Officer Jones, to justify their stripping him of his job, otherwise they will lose face and a civil rights violation lawsuit. We all know that they, the Administrators, cannot and will not let that happen.

If you believe that this is unjust, please write a letter to the editor, email the Mayor and the City Council. The Public Safety Officers desperately need your support

Dian said...

I saw the FOX story last night at 9 PM. Mayor Godfrey stated on camera that he had followed the truck "to see who was driving it," and then said something to the effect of that he did this because he thought it was a police officer, "and it was."

The version I heard was that it was the officer's wife who was parking the panel truck, and her husband, driving their family vehicle, picked her up after she had parked the truck, and that it was this family vehicle that the Mayor followed.

Shortly after the incident of the Mayor following the vehicle, a lieutenant showed up at the officer's home, relieved him of car, gun, and badge, and informed him that he was on administrative leave.

I am told that it is standard practice that, when placing people on administrative leave, they never tell them why.

But basically, what we have is an encounter of sorts between this officer and the Mayor, and then we have the officer placed on administrative leave hours later.

And then, the Mayor telling FOX that the leave has nothing to do with the incident above.

Well, if so, that is a very unfortunate coincidence. Because all during the day, there probably would have been ample opportunities to place the officer on administrative leave if that is indeed what was going on at that time. To wait until evening and visit the officer at his home shortly after this incident with the Mayor of course leads one to speculate that the two events are connected.

If they are, this possibly would be an instance of a municipal official using his position inappropriately. Would possibly come under the headings of oppression and intimidation, too.

I have no idea what has happened to the Council. Perhaps one or two of them will post here and enlighten us. The Council is our law making body, and for some reason, it is balking at amending the ordinance establishing the pay scale. Some individual members seem to be doing this while shrugging helplessly, as if they really wished they could do this, but it is beyone their power to do so.

Well, if they can't do it, who can? I think it is well within the scope of the Council's powers to do this, and therefore have no choice but to conclude that it is not doing it because a majority of its members simply do not want to.

And I have no idea why.

copperpenny1954 said...

Wait till little man gets a load out of the signs outside the 33rd ward on 26th street!

Come try and make these signs go away littl man. Bring a orange crate to stand on. You'll need it.

Southsider said...

Next time the government wants access to your phone records or library records, and you say no problem, I haven’t done anything illegal, remember there might be a Matt Godfrey using those records for his personal benefit!

dadgummit said...

Let's get some more of Mayor Godfrey's imtimidation tricks out for discussion.

The former City Recorder was a very efficient accommodating City employee. And then we read in the Standard that she was many months behind in her work so she no longer performed those duties by request of the administration.

At that time she refused public comment. Now the word is that the Mayor asked her twice to falsify documents prior to leaving office which she refused to do.

The interesting part is that those altered documents would have been prior to the end of 2005 which was the "Drop Dead" date on the Rec Center.

If this ex-City Recorder truly refused to alter documents then she deserves a medal and attorneys should be beating on her door to take her case.

Has anyone else heard this interesting development in the case of the "Ex-Ogden City Recorder"?

Dadgummit, she deserves justice if this is true.

Keeping Our Fingers Crossed said...

Rocky announced his retirement last night.

Will we be hearing something similar from Boss Godfrey soon?

Even an arrogant S.O.B. like Godfrey must have some awareness that he's politically washed up in this town.

Signed,

Keeping Our Fingers Crossed

dian said...

copperpenny1954 said...

Wait till little man gets a load out of the signs outside the 33rd ward on 26th street!

Come try and make these signs go away littl man. Bring a orange crate to stand on. You'll need it.


Have driven up and down 26th Street looking for signage on LDS wards and have found none. Where was this, and what did it say?

copperpenny1954 said...

Dian, it won't be there till Sunday Morning, just in time for Priesthood meetings!

dian said...

Boss Godfrey's request for vehicle information was processed directly through police dispatch. Chief Greiner's voice is on the tape.

If true, I hope nothing happens to that tape. Lost, destroyed, taped over inadvertantly, or something of that nature.

ozboy said...

I think it is against the law in Utah for any one, including peace officers, to access the license plate data base for any reason unless there is a law being broken, or suspicion of ILLEGAL activity.

If that is true, and there were no laws being broken by this van with the signs, then does it follow that the Mayor and Chief Greiner broke the law?

If so, who is responsible for enforcing that law and prosecuting this dynamic duo?

Can there be justice in Ogden in the face of this ill tempered and hubris laden Godfrey regime?

Some Dude in Ogden said...

If the mayor was in fact breaking the law, do you think that he'd knowingly do something illegal like that? Didn't I hear that he's a bishop?

WALLY said...

Rereading Utah Code Section 10-13-1108 I get the sense that (b) and (f) apply here.

(f) A municipal officer or employee may not attempt to make another officer or employee's PERSONNEL STATUS dependent on the officer or employee's SUPPORT or LACK OF SUPPORT OF a politiical party, affiliation, OPINION, committee, organization, agency, or PERSON.......

Well, it's obvious that Officer Jones is the fall guy for not supporting the PERSON of one Matt Godfrey.....ANOTHER municipal employee, BTW.

What would happen if all the officers had a relapse of the 'blue flu'.....are sgt's and Lt's exempt from disease and thus HAVE to report for duty?

How quickly could Barney Fife strap on that pistol, check to see that he has his one bullet in his shirt pocket and defend against drug dealers, thieves, bank robbers, pedophiles and all manner of crime that besets a city?

How quickly can he train a hundred or more cops to replace those he would surely place on administrative leave?

If this happened, would Roy, Layton, Clearfield and the other agencies who stepped in during the last epidemic refuse to do so this time in solidarity with their fellow officers??

HPS's...have the SLC media been contacted to run with this story of the Little Emporer who should be deposed?

Have CNN, Fox New, the AP been alerted?

What can WE do for Officer Jones?
Does he have children? School is starting...clothes, books and other incidentals to purchase.

SHAME SHAME SHAME ON YOU GODFREY AND GRIENER.

employee rights said...

Has anyone tought to give Rep. Neil Hansen a call about this, from what I understand He was the sponcer of the law that every one is talking about. He was a Ogden city employee till the mayor made it so hard on him that he doesn't work here any more. I have seen all to much of this in the city and I would hate to lose my job. but some one needs to call him about this law. maybe the police Associtation could call him on this law. I know that he is always willing to help.

Concerned Citizen said...

I just can not believe that Lord Mayor Godfrey hasn’t been brought before the Church’s court because he is not honest in his dealing with his fellow men and further more “His actions are not becoming of a member or the church”. That is right, you have his stake president that rather than bring him to a church court, figures that he needs to do spin doctor P.R. work for this situation. After all, should we expect anything differently from a former republican mayor protecting another republican mayor?

The scriptures best put it this way. “Don’t call that which is good evil or that which is evil good” It also says; 'By their fruits you shall know them." I believe another word for this is helps us to recognize the differences, this is called "The power of discernment."

However, I notice that when you hang around liars and you are taken in by their lies and you knew from the beginning that they are liars. You somehow loose that “power of discernment”. This is what you would call: “The consequence of one poor decisions and judgements.”

OgdenRules said...

I am so very disappointed in our mayor. This saddens me greatly. He should be protecting freedom of speech especially when it isn’t in his favour. I am embarrassed to have voted for him twice. This fool mayor needs to be censured by the city council. His actions are not those of a leader but of a coward. He has dishonored himself, his city, and his constituency. Very discouraging.

freud said...

Because this little person (in so many ways) is such a schoolyard bully....one wonders is this his MO at home also?

Do you think he's mean, vindictive, all knowing, powerful and dictatorial or worse to his family??

Or, being the poster boy for 'small man sydrome' in public he's a Milquetoast at home?

stop abuse of power said...

Even if the Officer was driving the van and not his wife, as long as he wasn’t in uniform or on duty. It is his constitutional right of free speech!!! Godfrey and Greiner just went too far. I hope their ready for the civil consequences. I for one will donate my saving and I know most of you will too. We will stop this ABUSE of POWER.

free speech said...

Does the Standard Examiner and Weber Sentinel have the guts to fight for the Officer and his wife’s right of free speech, or do they think their the only ones with that right? I hope they do make the right choice and fight for the Officer and his Wife?

stop said...

Ogden City Council members, we all know you read this forum. You’re the check and balance against this abuse. Are you with Mayor Godfrey and Chief Greiner? Or will you put an end to this abuse?

mercy said...

Copperpenny and Dian,

If you want to make a statement with a sign, Copper, and I applaud you!, I'am sure you know that you cannot place a sign ON the church building or lawn.

That would be a grossly inappropriate thing to do!

Also it may be treated as an act of vandalism and trespassing.

I will be down today and hope to see it across the street from the church.

In fact, I think it would be great to see signs popping up like daisies everywhere in Ogden...empty fields and yards, cars, etc. WITH PERMISSION, OF COURSE.

WE are not the lawbreakers here.

We wear the white hats in this showdown, right?

Anonymous said...

some clairifcations.

Godfreys Stake Pres. Is his uncle-in-law Reed Richards, second, he goes to the church building at 27th and tyler. and third if you would like to be one to take Godfrey to task, it must first go through his bishop, who is Bishop C. Cambell

dan s. said...

Fascinating story.

Got on the Fox13 news web site hoping for more information, and found nothing at all. In fact, their site is practically useless, with only two local news stories even mentioned, and only a paragraph each on those.

Then I opened up this morning's Standard-Examiner, and again found nothing at all. Very strange. Big article on the Peterson land grab, though, reporting that Peterson has hired himself a lawyer.

Doesn't seem to be anything in the Trib either. Where are the newspapers when we need 'em?

One more thought: While free speech is protected by the Constitution, personal harassment is not. I don't know the facts here so I'm not saying anyone has crossed the line from one to the other, but it would probably be wise for protesters to stay away from their targets' homes and churches.

sharon said...

WOW! The vision just keeps evolving.

Now Peterson, in his email to the SE makes this promise and yet another claim;

He wants to discuss with the Council how his'transit-oriented development' can benefit the area.

"Transit-oriented development is a relatively recent phenomenon in Utah and, despite our natural human tendency to be wary of the unfamiliar, has great potential to improve our quality of life along the CAR-CONGESTED Wasatch Front".

"blah, blah, blah.....I can maximize the benefits of my proposed transit-oriented development to benefit each of the key stakeholders.:

Well. When did we ever hear that this goofy gondola scheme is a 'transit-oriented development'?

I thought he wanted a 'gated community develpment'....that HIS gondola would run up the mountain to his resort....hardly alleviating 'the car-gongested Wasatch Front'.

Is the trail up to the Tyrolean Resort 'car-congested'?

Is he now going to unveil yet another aspect and tell us the gondola will run overhead along the Wasatch Front down to SLC and points in between, of course..above the freeway? That's where the 'car-congestion' is.

Of course, we also have a back-up along Harrison for a few minutes a couple times a day. Will enough people who are now causing 'car-congestion' along Harrison park their cars (somewhere?) and ride the goofy gondola down to WSU to alleviate this 'transit'oriented' problem?

But, what if all we needed to do was go to the hospital or the grocery store, how will getting off at WSU help us?

Then we have another 'transit-oriented development'...it's called how the heck do I lug myself, five little kids, a stroller, TO the store from WSU and then all that PLUS bags of groceries back TO WSU to ride the cramped hot (or cold) gondola crammed with kids, stroller, AND groceries?

If the weather outside is frightful....you can bet it ain't dee lightful IN the gondola either!

So, to do our civic duty and ease the car-congestion along our teensy bit o' the WF....we have to be inconvenienced beyond all
limits!

Listening to Peterson and his playpal, Matt, this scheme looks like a rat's maze.

We've gone from the 2000 dorm rooms downtown, to the rape of our beautiful mountainside, to redesigning the golf course (which may be well over a million or so bucks as noted by golf course builders), from 'million dollar footprints' down to '2nd homes' going for about $400,000.

Well, gee whiz, will those new figures really produce all that revenue they and the Geigers assure us will bail out WSU AND Ogden? Get out your calculator Lovely Jennifer.

When does Peterson make his pitch, with Matt and his atty in tow, to the Board of Regents? I'm sure they're waitng with delerious anticipation to hear THIS!

"Transit-oriented development" is just another small print non-existent 'money back guarantee' on that bottle of snake oil they are pitching to the slavish LO crowd and others who left their brains in the outhouse.

I hope this council will get its act together by jumping out of Matt's pockets and start acting in the best interest of Ogden and her taxpayers.

see, I Told you so said...

Many a times we think that because some one had an affair we think them as immoral.

I think that Godfrey feels that because he has never had an affair that he is always moral.

I think that there is many things that can be veiwed as immoral, When someone treats another without respect, love, kindness and forgiving, all may be just as immoral, I wish that we all could become the people of the community that would make a peaceful city, BUT when you have the leader of such a community, leading in such a childish manner, how can people follow and do the same, this is how wars and hatrad is fostered.

So mayor, please step it up to the next level and do the right thing and be honest, not only with yourself but others too. Then you will see how the intigrity works. I really is all about being honest with yourself.

There are alot of people that do see things that you are not doing so honestly. so re-evaluate your self and then will this community start to see some change for the good.

sharon said...

Cathy McKitrick writes in the SL Trib about "Leadfoots" being ticketed, and those nasty quotas, but doesn't give Ogden a mention.

abner said...

You nailed, SEE I TOLD....
because Godfrey hasn't had an affair, he sees himself as moral.

Too good (on you!)

On the other hand, he IS mean-spirited, revengeful, spies on citizens and misuses the police dept, intimidates, humiliates, and thinks of himself as all powerful....by his 'logic', should we call him Stalin?

IF we didn't live in this country..we'd be in danger of being put in the slammer for any acts he deemed unlawful.

The man, in my opinion, is a psychopath.

OgdenRules said...

Freedom of Speech is sacred in this country. Godfrey has clearly abused his power and trampled on it. He is immoral.
Without the first ammendment, he'd have no religion, no voice, and no LO. But if you don't hear his voice, and if you choose to oppose LO, he will use his position as mayor to slap you down. He also uses his office to impose his religion on others as well.

Pro Godfrey = anti first ammendment

abner said...

The problem, OGDEN RULES, is that Godfrey DOESN'T use his religion!

What he imposes on others is his own will and grandiose thinking.

Ogdenrules said...

Yup, thanks Abner;
I wasn't refering to his affiliation with the LDS Church. I was refering to his warped inner belief system which includes his interpretation of Mormon teachings.

Curmudgeon said...

Ahem. Several comments.

First: Mr. Godfrey's actions as mayor are and ought to be subject to public scrutiny and citizens can, and should, draw conclusions [favorable or otherwise] about them. But all this sermonizing about the Mayor's faith, and his views on martial fidelity and their presumed impact on his actions as mayor.... Well, that all seems way over the line of legitimate public criticism, and largely irrelevant to boot.

Unless he brings his religious beliefs in specifically to justify his actions as Mayor --- and he has not, so far as I know --- the question of how he stands in the eyes of his church is absolutely none of my business or the general public's. We elected him Mayor, not Pope. [Yes, folks, we did. We elected him. Twice.] Where he stands on the question of having affairs [I presume he's agin 'em, though I have not asked him, nor will I. Ever.] has no bearing that I can see on how he has conducted his office, and it too seems to me to be none of my business. Or the general public's.

ALL public officials can and should be called to account for are their actions [or, in some circumstances, their failure to act]. Nothing else is the public's business IMHO. And lord knows, there is more than enough to criticize in the Mayor's actions without ranging far afield to speculate on the state of his soul or his views on having affairs. Way over the line, people.

Second: in re: Dian's comments on the lack of newspaper stories on the truck and policeman's suspension matters. Consider this: the papers may not have a story they can go with yet. If, as I suspect, both sides have lawyered up, both sides may have been advised to clam up for the moment. And this involves a personnel disciplinary matter. Such matters are normally not discussed [nor in most cases should they be] by the city with the press until they have been resolved one way or the other. In short, the SE and SLT may not yet have a reportable story.

However much credence I may tend to put in what folks post on WCForum , such postings do not constitute evidence in themselves on which I would want to rest a news story unless the information could be confirmed by quotable sources on the record [this goes for my postings as well]. Absent that kind of confirmation, I wouldn't go with a story either.

Third: Transit Oriented Development. It's not just a buzzword trotted out by Mr. Peterson to make his real estate speculations and the Mayor's gondola plan look good. It's a recognized phenomenon, and there are proven technologies that lead to a great deal of TOD in cities like Ogden. Trolley lines for example. And funds are available from the FedGov to support and encourage TOD [e.g. if Ogden chooses the trolley option for transit between downtown and WSU, as the consultants it hired recommended, nearly all construction costs will be paid by the Federal Government and UTA, and operating costs will be entirely covered by UTA. If we build a gondola instead, construction costs will be entirely the city's responsibility, as will operating costs once it's built.]

The Wasatch Regional Council's study of what Ogden should do about transit development [the corridor study], dismissed the gondola as a viable mass transit option for Ogden. And when the Mayor applied to UTA for major funding for the gondola, and was told he'd have to establish it as primarily a mass transit plan, he [wisely] withdrew his request for funding [I suspect since he knew he could not establish the downtown to Peterson's Gondola gondola as a mass transit project].

What I suspect is happening now is that all the public education Smart Growth Ogden has been doing, pointing out that the gondola scheme is not a mass transit project, that it won't lead to much development except possibly at the end points, and that it may in fact depress business and development along the Harrison Blvd route because there will be no way for customers riding the gondola to get off in order to reach businesses they are gliding by, is having an impact. Mr. Peterson suddenly repeating "transit oriented development" as his new mantra is, I think, an attempt to bamboozle the public into thinking that the downtown gondola [to be built with millions of city dollars, not UTA or Federal money, since all attempts to get either to sign on to gondola construction have failed] is a mass transit option. The mayor couldn't convince the Feds or UTA or the Wasatch Regional Council that it was. So now Mr. Peterson will try to convince the public. Look for him to repeat the "TOD" phrase every other sentence from here on out. It's not true, of the gondola, of course, but that won't stop him, I suspect or his Amen Choir over at Lift Ogden from repeating it. Or, probably Hizzonah, who still has [last time I checked ]the City website telling people the gondola will connect downtown with Snow Basin.

dan s. said...

Curm.:

While I agree that newspapers should not rush to publish before they've got enough information for a story, it sure sounds like there's enough information here, already reported by Fox News, in fact. If, in addition, neither side is currently willing to talk to the press, then that fact itself is newsworthy and should be reported.

Meanwhile, I see that the Pizza Runner's sign has come out on the right side, as usual.

Anonymous said...

What is the "Pizza Runner" sign, where is it at, and what does it say?

Pizza! Hmmm now that sounds good. Do they deliver?

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

Well, in my experience, newspaper folk are loath to have to report that somebody else reported that something happened. They were in La. anyway. The editor I knew fairly well and worked with for a time in Baton Rouge, a cynical but kindly man as a rule, turned into a fire breather when his paper had to lead with "According to a copyrighted story in the Alexandria Town Talk,....." Small dogs and children had to be kept out of his way for days and people trembled for their jobs. He didn't much mind if it was an out of region paper. He didn't mind leading a story with "The NY Times reported yesterday that...." But to do that with an in-state competitor's story drove him wild. "Why the hell do they have the story and we don't?" If SE and SLT editors react the same way, and if the folks involved have indeed lawyered up and clammed up, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the SE and SLT hold off until they have stories of their own that don't have to be attributed to rival sources to report. And to a radio station to boot. But we shall see.

As for going with the Fox News story... well, my own view is taking anything labled "Fox News" [national or local] as reliable on its face is as a rule a very very dicey proposition. If a Fox News outlet led with "Sun Rises In East!" I'd get my compass out to check.

Curmudgeon said...

Anon:

Pizza Runner sign is right in front of the biz, on Harrison at 30th Street, right next to Grounds For Coffee. It says something like "Pizza Runner Supports OPD."

And yes, they deliver.

OgdenRules said...

Curmudgeon,

Thank you for your level-headed input regarding discussion of our mayor's personal religion.

I've spoken with people in his ward and the ward his in-laws attend and it seems clear that he is using his religion to further his political cause. I'm not knocking Mormons; I'm knocking Mormons who (on either side of the issue) behave as if this Gondola issue is a matter of Good or Evil. The mayor (and Allen Klan) would have us believe that good Mormons support LO. Leaders within the LDS church have made statements asking that members cool down on the gondola rhetoric. So while I can't make a case that he's used his religious beliefs to justify his actions as mayor; I think he's flagrantly using religion as a political tool.

I voted for him twice (that's probably why I choose to remain anonymous :) so I've tried to remain supportive of his office. But I keep thinking of the officer and his family who've been victimized by Godfrey, and my blood boils. What is this doing to morale at OPD? I'm certain they will continue to do their jobs as well as ever but if their superiors don't back them up they must find the job more thankless than ever. Assuming this "CYA" story is true, I have no more respect for Mayor Godfrey - he's a disgrace and should be censured or even sent to search the want ads. And if Greiner is involved he should be removed from his position.
I understand that emotional blogging is not productive so we should heed your advice and try not to sermonize but our blood is (insert profane adverb here) boiling!

dan s. said...

Curm:

I suppose you're right: The reason the S-E and Trib haven't covered the story yet is that they don't have anything substantive to add to what Fox (TV, right?) already reported. Thanks to this petty attitude, those of us who don't watch Fox will have to rely on wcforum for our news!

By the way, I don't see why it should matter that the story was broken by Fox rather than someone else. As Dian says, the mayor was interviewed on camera, so his words can stand (or fall) on their own.

Wait--it's after midnight so let's check Monday's editions. Still nothing in the Trib, but on the S-E web site I now see the intriguing headline "Ogden officer under investigation." Unfortunately, the article itself doesn't seem to be posted yet.

Everyone:

Pardon the commercial plug, but everyone in Ogden should support the Pizza Runner. (No, I have no personal connection to the business.) Their pizza is the best in town (I recommend the Dread Head Prima Vera and jalapeno popper sticks), they're locally owned, and their sign has been a refreshing source of humor and wisdom for many years. I still fondly remember the tram series from 1998, including the classic "I do not like green eggs and tram."

Rudi:

Thanks for inserting the links into my first post in this thread!

Anonymous said...

It Begins....

In the SE today the story titled, "Ogden of[fi]cer under investigation; wife accused of protesting ticket policies" says it all.

The story reads just like some Oliver Stone script where the mayor states that he does not know anything about the officer, but then later relates, "He said the real problem with the officer’s conduct was much worse than his wife driving the van." HOW IS HAVING THE OFFICER”S WIFE DRIVE THE VAN A PROBLEM AT ALL? What a fool to admit, first in the FOX spot and now in SE print, that citizen cannot exercise her constitutional right with out it being a problem.

You bet it was. The Officer's conduct of challenging Mayor Godfrey is the highest crime in the land. Now Officer Jones is going to pay and pay big.

It only took one weekend for these fellows to conjure up the story to cover their ass and their violation of Officer Jones’ civil rights. This action and their comments make me feel dirty as a police officer. I did not hire on to be one of Mayor Godfrey’s Nazi Brown Shirts! I took the same oath that Godfrey and the City Council took in which we swore an oath to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Why are they being allowed to blatantly shriek this oath to the side and rule by the power of one? WHERE IS THE CITY COUNCIL ON THIS??? Are they going to hide behind something and just let it happen?

I have described to you above the oath that we took. Let me tell you another oath that I make this day. I swear that I will not rest until those who have worked in this city government, who have abused their power, who have violated the basic individual rights of its employees, are brought to justice in the court of public opinion or a court of law. This oath includes the jelly fish like Council members Garcia, Wicks and Stevens, who to one face will say that they are doing all they can, but when it comes time to take action they say things like, “It is not procedure.” or “That will open up a can of worms.” and my favorite “I will do what every the leadership does.” In Utah law, those who know about a crime and have the power to stop it, and do not, are considered as guilty as if they committed the act.

What is happening here is that if Mayor Godfrey is allowed to railroad this officer, his power base and ego will expand to new lengths. What he is doing is creating an atmosphere where he can have a person, with a Smart Growth sign in their yard, arrested for littering! The action against Officer Jones is NO LESS BLANTANT.

ArmySarge said...

Curm - good comments on the religion aspect. However, i strongly disagree with your comments in regard to Fox. I sure hope you are not a CNN person. Theiot credibility is, well...there is none.

Finally, I have a question. Transit between downtown Ogden and WSU has been mentioned here a great deal. WHY? IF there is a problem there, I'm quite certain we can establish necessary improvement using buses. I see NO justification for even a trolley system! That is just more waste of FEDERAL money!!!!!!

Curmudgeon said...

Army:

On transit downtown to WSU: two points. The WRC study was aimed at anticipating the transit needs of Ogden about seven years and more out and beyond. And it had I think as a goal not only providing ways to move people along the downtown/Harrison corridor between the transit hub and WSU/McKay-Dee but also reducing traffic in the city, and fostering development [residential and business] along the route. Trolley development has proven effective in doing that in other medium sized cities. Increased bus transit has not.

The pros can explain at great length and in in ponderous statistic-laden prose that would put Sominex out of business if insomniacs could easily get their hands on it, but two more general arguments that make some sense to me are these: [a] trolley lines draw substantial investment in both residential and business properties because the lines are fixed. The rails are in the ground. They are not going to move. Bus routes change all the time. Trolley routes don't. So investors are, in light of the permanence of trolley transit routes, willing to invest more in long term transit-oriented development. And [b] people like to ride rails. Given a choice of rail transit or bus transit... even in cases where the bus transit is faster... more people choose rail. For some reason they like it better. Fun? Nostalgia? Who knows or cares. The numbers are convincing and drawn from many examples.

Locally, the example is TRAX. No, I don't think more buses over the same routes would today be carrying anything close to the numbers carried by TRAX in SL.

Sometimes, investment... of the public's money in public projects... is a good idea. Trolley transit would be a wise investment in Ogden [of mostly state and federal funds], and a good solution to the city's transit problems that are expected to develop along the trolley corridor over the next decade, beginning when the Frontrunner arrives.

PS: Not much of a CNN fan. It used to be good. It's gone downhill a lot. I watch Bob Scheaffer when I'm home in time. Old fashioned newsman, not just a talking head. I watch some MSNBC. Never Fox. When I really want to get depressed over TV news coverage, I watch the ten o:clock news out of SLC. Anyone of the three. An endless string of car crashes, rapes, murders, with, occasionally a warm and fuzzy feel good local story. Rarely, a real local news story thrown in. Amost never national news of any significance. Channel 2's "National News" at ten is likely to be about air pix of police chasing down a rogue trucker. And of course endless chatter, giggles and bad puns... I believe it's called "happy talk" in the trade... between the "news" [politely so called.] Absent the "Get Gephardt" ombudsman stories, I probably wouldn't watch at all.

ArmySarge said...

Curm - I really think you are being unfair to Fox. They seem (to me) to have both sides of an issue than ANY of the others. in addition, their viewing numbers are more that all the other CABLE channels COMBINED. I refuse to believe that there are that many whackos out there!

ArmySarge said...

I need to proofread my material...spelling errors, typos, etc, etc...shhheeeeeesh!

abner said...

Curm, where is your sense of humor?

That was a funny observation that SEE told...that if Godfrey hasn't had an affair...he thinks of himself as moral.

Lighten up, Man!!

Curmudgeon said...

Sarge:

On Fox, we'll have to agree to disagree. Its claim of "fair and balanced is" IMHO a sad joke. And saying it has more viewers is not necessarily a recommendation of its quality. "American Idol" has even more.

So we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. In any case, I get most of my news from print sources, not TV, and on line [I scan newspapers from around the country, different regions, about once a week, and scan maybe a dozen blogs regularly, ranging across the political spectrum from what I would consider far right, like National Review on Line to what most would consider far left, like DailyKos, and at several stops in between. Relying on print media [hard copy and on line], I can avoid all the blow-dried talking heads, the insanely irritating "happy talk" format of local news shows, the TV bias for news with good visuals [which is why economic news is so lousily covered by all mainstream news networks... economic news as a rule doesn't have good visuals], and the endless "he said/she said" approach to national news. [E.g. whatever the news, we get a twenty second sound bite from Newt Gingrich or Denny Hastert paired with a twenty second sound bite from Nancy Pelosi or James Carver which tv news directors seem to consider "coverage." Print media, happily, do a lot less of that.]

We've uncovered enough common ground on which we both can comfortably stand at WCForum to afford a disagreement on Fox, I think.

Oh, FYI: Rudi put me on to the free Google task bar [available via link from WCForum.] I've turned off many of its features which I don't use, but it has one that's proven very useful: a spell checker that works on blog text entry boxes, like this one. I'm about to run it now before I post this note. It's cleaned up a lot of my typos. You might find it useful too. I sure did. [It just picked out, and fixed, three typos in this post. I like free software that makes me look sharper than I am.]

ArmySarge said...

Curm - In spite of the fact that you glean your news from all (mostly) the wrong sources, I STILL want you to be the Mayor!!!

Curmudgeon said...

Sarge:

[Grin.]

Thanks for the endorsement, but I will have to decline on grounds of incompetence.

I know, I know, if incompetence were a disqualification for office, Congress would have a hard time making a quorum and the mayor's seat in Ogden would be empty at the moment.

But that's the point: we need someone in the office who is competent at managing a mid-sized city's affairs, who knows the turf, and has some experience that he, or she, can draw on. Hopefully we can tempt at least a couple into the race two years from now. Keeping my fingers crossed....

And the more I look at what's going on in Ogden, the more the city-manager form of city government looks attractive, and the less the mayor-council form does. Maybe switching back would be a good idea.
But that would mean being very careful about who we elect to the council, because under the city manager form, the Council would have very nearly unchecked power via its ability to hire and fire the city manager. Neither form comes with guarantees, unfortunately.

Still, what we have now isn't working. Maybe time to go back to the other form. Thinkin' on it.

mercy said...

SGT,

I still like Fox News...

I do think they have balance...also humor.

Curmudgeonly observations cannot sway me from MHO.

sharon said...

If you want to see a mayor/city mgr council meeting that is FOR the community, please attend Layton's.

They meet on TH nights.

So refreshing. Not a cop in sight to arrest the dissenters...wait, I didn't hear any dissenters.

Such polite exchanges, such respect for the audience.

I thought I was in heaven.

Go meet their humble, friendly mayor!

bonnie lee said...

Sharon

The same holds true in the Farmington City Council meetings. Sometime I leave the Ogden CC meeting early so I can go out to Farmington and get a reality check.

The council is made up of honest and dignified people and the mayor, Scott Harbertson, is soooo together, cool and very handsome to boot! (he is an Ogden boy after all)

Every one there is treated with respect and actualy listened to. I think that the entire Ogden City government should be required to attend these Layton and Farmington meetings to learn how it is supposed to be!

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