Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Stockholm Syndrome? Council Notes 7.26.06

By Dian Woodhouse

A definite feeling of camaraderie among Council members this evening. Perhaps this was because they had all ridden in the 24th of July Parade, which unfortunately I did not attend. Neither, it turns out, did Councilman Safsten, who apologized for this omission at the end of the meeting, whereupon Councilman Glasmann mentioned that they had kept announcing him in spite of his absence. One had visions of an empty convertible being driven down Washington Boulevard as an announcer fruitlessly called out Councilman Safsten's name. Could this be?

Mikel Vause for the Ogden Trails Network was the first speaker. The Trails Network's sunset date was up for extension, and Mr. Vause reported upon the accomplishments and goals of the organization, first thanking the Ogden City Council for allocating $10,000 for trail building and maintenance.

Read Dian's full article.

Biased editorializing comments: A few disturbing things. I am always disturbed by over regulation, and the regulation of tree species and their planting techniques seems a bit extreme. Ditto the new storm water pollution ordinance. I keep thinking there should be a better way to do this than making laws about it, charging fees, demanding permits, and fining people, some of whom, after all, will be constructing things and planting trees on their own private properties. I would really hope that the city work individually with people, rather than bullyingly enforcing ordinances. You know what I mean.

The new subdivision ordinance, where the Mayor, not the Council, holds public hearings. Further erosion of Council powers, it appears.

Also, a possible agenda item for the new Youth Council was the submission of a Youth Master Plan for the city. I personally object to the micro-management of urban inhabitants, and the thought that the Youth Council might be a training ground for a new group of future micro-managers is unsettling.

But these things are simply indicative of my opinions of what government should do (and not do,) as opposed to these others. And, like I said, there was a feeling of friendship there tonight. Even though I differ quite often with the proceedings, and am, shall we say, sometimes somewhat critical, I also find more than a few positive things. Good questions. Obvious concern. A few wonderfully comic moments.

I wonder if this is the Stockholm Syndrome.

As always, corrections, additions, and comments are very welcome.

26 comments:

sharon said...

More regulations, more fines, more punitive "welcomes" to builders from your haughty administration.
Couple that with the suggestion that Ogden encourage 'block parties' so folks will be involved in their 'community'.

Can we all say 'dichotomy'??

I groaned in dismay to learn that Janith Wright was appointed to the Planning Commission.

She's the veddy veddy close friend of Ed and Patty Allen, Donna Burdett, and of course, the huge Godfrey, Peterson and gondola supporter!!

How the heck was she appointed? Where the blazes are the thinkers and 'speaker ups' on that council??

Dian...you are so right. Too much micro-managing, and in my opinion, too many threats and fines to the very citizens we should be helping to solve problems, encouraging and welcoming.

sharon said...

PS

In my dismay over other events I neglected to applaud Mr. Mike Vause and the Ogden Trails Network for their very fine efforts. Isn't it interesting that more people are using the trails?

Please note the excellent commentary today in the SE dismantling Geiger's assinine brags from last week. Please take note of the wonderful trails, and outdoor activities EVERYONE has access to INCLUDING 'the first class ski resort' close by!

And all this beauty unmarred by a gondola!

Also, kudos th the Public Safety Commission. I do hope that ALL police and firefighters will have personal CO detectors soon.

It is a specious argument put forth by the 'lustrious potentate' that all firetrucks have a CO detector and so that's enough to ensure safety for all.

The three police overcome by CO and who very nearly died, were the FIRST RESPONDERS and so were overcome by the CO. NO firetruck yet on the scene that day.

Time IS of the essence when life hangs in the balance, and having ONE detector on a firetruck hardly seems like an adequate lifesaving plan for ALL who rush in to save others, putting their own lives at risk.

If money is scarce for personal detectors, I'm sure our A Team will step forward and ask that their car allowances be stopped immediately. I'm sure Ogden City employees who are receiving $200. annually to attend a gym will gladly 'take a hike' on the trails and give up that egregious perk at the taxpayers' expense.

They might save a life...besides their own.

Excellent reporting, Dian.

see, I Told you so said...

Dian,
Nice peice of work as always,
for the youth city council I thought that we already had one set up. was this done away with when the gang of six took over. I remember that Mary Dirks was on the council back in 99 or 2000.

By the way I was in denver a while back and I found that they had just built a wind tunnel like the one that is going up in downtown. I got to say this was a neat thing to see. but when I saw the price for the user. my eyes about fell out! Just for a 2, one minute session they were charging a meir, rap on the pan $48.00, that right folks for two, one minute sessions it is 48.00 bucks.

I sure hope that Gary neilson will be able to get all these people from around the world to come to ogden to ride this wounderful sports tunnel.

I really liked the editoral in this morning paper and how Bob geiger once again is not telling the truth, I'm glad that I'm not the only one that sees how they operate.

dian said...

Scott Schwebke has a good article in today's Standard Examiner focusing on the storm water pollution ordinance. He states that violations by the Ogden River will be $1,000 a day. (!!!!!)

I have not seen that area. I have heard, both in the newspaper and on this blog, that the river pollution is pretty bad because of nearby auto salvage yards. I have heard there are automobile parts in the river there---is there anyone doing anything about that?

If the salvage yards are polluting on a daily basis, perhaps this ordinance is a good way to go to prevent problems in the future. But is anyone addressing the existing problem?

Cleaning automobile parts out of a river is hazardous work, not something scouts or unskilled volunteers should or could be doing. But I am wondering if anyone has put out the word that we need this done and exactly what we need and how---like if there are old cars in the river, we will need a large truck with a winch and another truck to haul them out of there, etc., etc.

In my opinion, the city should pay to do this, especially as it has begun to extract fines from people polluting the river. If the ciry doesn't have the right skills and equipment to accomplish a clean up, I am sure it could find people who do. If our existing problem needs to be fixed, and if some of those car parts and pollution have been there for years, perhaps decades, before this ordinance was passed, I don't think penalizing the business owners is quite right.

$1,000 a day could be termed punitive, especially if enforcers went down right today and began levying this against those business owners to force them to do the clean-up. I hope this is not happening.

Anonymous said...

Sharon,
The "regulations, fines, more punitive 'welcomes' to builders are coming from the EPA to the state, and then to the city. The city is having to come into compliance with the state and federal regulations. Talk to your legislators first before your knee gets all out of shape jerking at the city. This is one of those unfunded mandates we all know and love.

Anonymous said...

Dian,
If you were at the meeting last night, you would have heard that for larger developers, these stormwater regulations have existed for some time. It is just now that the Federal and State mandates are kicking in for smaller developments.

You also would have heard that those people that are polluting are the ones that will be penalized under the regulations AFTER a warning is issued. Explain to me again how come you feel that is unfair?

Curmudgeon said...

See I told You:

Interesting editorial in the SL Trib this morning. Here it is in part:

A hard lesson: Local officials have duty to restrict building on landslides


Every county and city planning office in the state should have Utah Geological Survey landslide maps on their walls. When developers' building plans overlay the sites of landslides or potential slides, a red flag should go up and elected officials should pay it heed.

It only makes sense, and it wouldn't be difficult. UGS engineers have pinpointed every slide in the state, and they monitor earth movements. The data is there, available to all government officials and builders.

If Morgan County government had been paying attention to such data and using it to deny building permits, a lot of heartache could have been avoided. As it stands, at least one home has been destroyed by landslides in Mountain Green and others seriously damaged. Owners of the devastated half-million-dollar home are suing their builder and want an investigation into whether a County Council member who has ties to the development is guilty of ethics violations....

The homeowners are right to be angry. Although no law requires local governments to restrict building on land that is prone to move, a basic ethical standard should....

Caveat emptor, "let the buyer beware," is obviously good advice for all home buyers in Utah, who can learn from the hard lesson of their neighbors in Morgan County. There, greed and negligence have overridden ethics and duty, and property owners are paying the price.


As a public service, I wonder if we shouldn't make up a little packet for prospective buyers of vacation villas in Petersonville On The Bench. It would contain this editorial, copies of the various stories of homes unwisely built on excessive slopes in unstable places sliding down in Utah [there have been several recently], plus a copy of the Ogden zoning map which shows a good portion of the land Mr. Peterson wants to buy and build on as currently zoned unsafe for construction. I think it would make interesting reading for them, don't you think?

Here's the link to the full SL Trib editorial:

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_4094577

Curmudgeon said...

Dian:

You wrote: A few disturbing things. I am always disturbed by over regulation, and the regulation of tree species and their planting techniques seems a bit extreme. Ditto the new storm water pollution ordinance. I keep thinking there should be a better way to do this than making laws about it, charging fees, demanding permits, and fining people, some of whom, after all, will be constructing things and planting trees on their own private properties.

Well, in a perfect world, no doubt it would be better if everyone took care not to pollute streams, etc. But, sadly, that perfect world does not exist. We have a history and that history shows that voluntary regulation does not work. People pollute. They dump couches and old tires in streams. They dump chemical waste if they can get away with it. However sadly, regulation with teeth is necessary. We might argue over how to regulate, fine levels, etc., but that regulation [with fines or other consequences of some significance for failure to comply] is necessary seems to me beyond serious argument, based on our history nationwide, statewide and citywide.

And in western states, where water is scarce, there is a long, complex legal tradition involving water use, and downstream rights, etc. that comes into play as well.

So long as the regulatory system [whoever mandates it: state, federal or municipal] is sensible, is well designed to achieve the ends intended, and is not arbitrary or unreasonably burdensome, I don't have a problem with it, and in fact support it. Loudly. We all live downstream from somebody.

I'm not sure what the tree planting regulations involve. I agree that in an attempt to create by decree the city beautiful, Ogden has gotten itself involved in some silliness. [I recall the poor guy who, heeding calls for water conservation during the drought, decided to take out water-wasting grass from the strip between the sidewalk and the street at his home, only to find out that he'd violated a city ordinance that required that strip to be covered in vegetation. Native rocks interspaced with a cactus or two didn't make the grade.]

That kind of micro-management can get pretty silly. And counter productive in the midst of a drought. But not always. Some dryland cities, like I think Tuscon, AZ, have put in regulations banning Ky bluegrass lawns on new homes and banning exotic water-consuming trees, requiring new subdivisions to be landscaped with drought-hearty native plants as a water conservation measure.

Intrusive? Yes. But I can see it serving a greater public good. We all want water coming out of the tap when we turn it on. And Tuscon faces a bigger water crisis than we do. Are there other ways to achieve the same? Yes, but there is often strong public opposition to using them. Like for example tiering water rates, making the rate higher in steps for using increasing amounts [to encourage conservation]. But that means the wealthy can waste with impunity while a min. wage earning family has no choice but to conserve. I have problems with that too. Seems to me that vis-a-vis water, we all ought to be in the same boat. So to speak.

So, the issue is not perhaps as simple as it seems vis-a-vis planting regulations, etc. Though as I said I don't know the details or point of the Ogden new regulations.

dian said...

Anon,

I didn't say I thought it was unfair. I was talking about the businesses along Wall Avenue whom I had heard were somewhat responsible for years of pollutants.

There was a time here in Ogden when the simplest way to get rid of anything, be it a car or a couch, was to throw it in a waterway. It seemed that no one minded this back then.

I am not saying nostalgically that that was a good thing either.

But if the problems there have been decades in the making, I think it might be good for the city to pitch in and help with the existing problem of solid pollutants in the river. That's all.

And Curmudgeon, I could write a book on why I am against desert landscaping. I will, however, write only four sentences.

Ground cover keeps the dust down. (If you have ever been in a place with dirt roads, you will know what I mean.)

Ground cover keeps it cooler. (The sun can bounce heat off baked, bare earth almost like it does on a tarmac.)

Anonymous said...

See I told you so,

I just got back from denver also, This big wind tunnel that is used for skydivers uses alot of electricty and I can only wonder, too, like you if fat cats and golds gym will be able to make their 57,000.00 dollar per month payment, maybe that is why the price will be so high. but I can not understand how this will bring people to downtown if we don't have the econonmy to support something like that. I wish we had that kind of money in Ogden! don't you?

Godfrey Youth said...

"Also, a possible agenda item for the new Youth Council was the submission of a Youth Master Plan for the city."

Heil Der Fuhrer Boss Godfrey

copperpenny1954 said...

You missed the parade? Next year, come sit with us. I promise you, seeing the little man in office, hiding in the back seat of his car will be worth the time speant.

I yelled outto each CC person as they went past:

Jesse, I'm watching you and I expect better of you. You need to start standing up for us against the little man in office.

Ms Jenske, Thank you for your integrity! Thank you for standing up for the city of Ogden.

Glassman, I voted for you and I am sorry I did! I will never vote for you or your ilk. You are a total sell out! (he responded something but I didn't hear it. A woman close by heard him and yelled some nasty remark at him.which he then laughed in her face. Such a "cool guy"

My family always gets a bit nervous when the little man is within my eyeshot, as they know how I am.

Hey little man....MY city is not for sale to the higest bidder you can find. YOU cannot sell my Grandchilds future to your buddies and steal this city blind! YOU have NO integrity little man!

so next year, grab your lawn chair, your cooler, and bring the bull horn. You'll love the parades!

ozboy said...

The question of whether the fat guy from golds gym and his buddy from Fat Cats can make the $57,000 a month rent payment is interesting.

Not nearly so interesting as the same question would be if they were going to be paying the market rate in rent - which would be around $200,000 per month.

The building is roughly $20,000,000 bucks to the tax payers to build. Normal commercial rent is around 1% of value per month - thus the rent should be around $200,000 per month.
(Ask any realtor)

That means the tax payers of Ogden and Weber County will be subsidizing these two friends of Matt to the tune of $143,000 per month, or $1,716,000 per year!

Sure does pay to bask in the reflected glory of the little emperor, eh?

Bony1 said...

Thanks for the post about landsides Curm. What is it with Utah? Planners are not doing their jobs (planning is supposed to protect the health and safety and to promote the general welfare of the public, that's what makes it kosher constitutionally). Why is that developers get their way in this state? Cities, especially city planners, allow developers to build because they are afraid of asking questions and saying 'no' when they should. Planners are always changing City Plans or General Plans to allow developments. Why spend all that money on the plans if they aren't going to be followed. Yes, there should be flexibility, but we shouldn't be bending over backwards.

To me the Ogden City General Plan (I think it is referred to as Involve Ogden) is the key to prevent the Gondola/Resort/Housing Development from happening. Nothing in that plan indicates that this is where the city should be heading, it states the opposite (preserve open space, etc.).

Cities say they let developers build, because their developments will bring much needed $ to the community. Well, for one landside that impacts several houses (it has happened many times over the Wasatch Front over the past 5 or so years), all that profit is likely going to be lost. Not to mention the safety and health of the public.

I would like to know if a sustainability study/plan or engineering report has been completed for Malan's Basin and the golf course area. They are not suitable for building!

Curmudgeon said...

Bony1:

If such studies have been done, the results have not been made available to the public by either Mr. Peterson or the Mayor. Presumably one or the other paid for them.

Curmudgeon said...

Dian:

Interesting that you chose the term "desert landscaping" instead of "xeriscaping."

The later does not, so far as I understand it, require bare dirt. Xeriscaping does not involve turning lawns and yards into the equivalent of dirt roads.

As for sun reflection: yes, water-rich Ky bluegrass lawns are cooler. But, on the other hand, they need very large amounts of water to sustain. When the choice comes down to water for consumption and to flush toilets on the one hand, or green grass on the other, I know which I will prefer. And some cities are, in drought, at that point. Two years ago, e.g. Albuquerque, NM for one.

Besides, complaining about the sun reflecting off natural vegitation in Utah is a little like complaining about the heat in the summer in St. George or the rain in Seattle. Kind of comes with the territory....

If you are of the view that xeriscaping means turning lawns into the equivalent of dirt roads, permit me to suggest that you look into it a bit more deeply.

Anonymous said...

Ozboy.
I think you are right on with the rent thing. but don't worry, with all the money that is going to be pooring in here, I think it was a great idea of the little one, after all it could be losing money like the golf course and then we would be giving to chris peterson to be our savoir, maybe we should rename this city, peterson city, Oh there is a peterson town up the weber canyon. maybe chris got lost and decided that this is the place. and the mayor bought into it hook, line and sinker.

I wish the mayor had some eggs thrown at him at the parade,well there is next year year, right penny. then he would know what it look like when he gets egg on his face. let me know where you sit next year, that would be a great idea to have a mayor and cc party to really let those honable people know just how we feel.

btw, has any one seen the truck on 26th and harrison west side. great idea but hard to read.

ArmySarge said...

anon...diespite how much we dislike the Mayor (and NO one dislikes him more than I), we do NOT do things that way!!!!!

abner said...

egads, you anon's...is there a gnat's eye of creativity among you?

The anon who scolded Sharon and Dian sounds like one of our beloved CC members.

Can't you make up a name for yourself? Betcha we can!

Do the state and fed'l regulations set the fines at $1000. a DAY?

It shouldn't be a problem to make up the $1,463. on the rec center rent.

After all, Harmer thought paying for two empty floors wasn't a big deal.

Bonnie lee said...

It is really too sad that Ogden has so many people with so little faith. Equally depressing is how Bob Geiger is mocked when he proves with math the viability of the Gondola idea. I mean, math don't lie!

I just know in my heart that the Gondolas would be very successful if only given the chance.

If only .001 percent (that is one in a thousand) of the Chinese rode the Gondolas that would be a million riders a year! At $48 each, that is $48,000,000 dollars coming into our town each and every year! That would more than pay for both Gondolas in just one year or less. The rest could all be spent on our schools and more very excellent executives for the mayor to continue to create new opportunities for all of us.

WSU would have all of the foreign students it could ever hope for - all paying foreign tuition which would be un-calculable wealth. Our own home town kids could have free tuition as well as room and board!

These numbers don't even take into consideration India or Europe or Japan. The posibilities are endless, all we need is a little faith.

How could the money losing golf course ever even begin to compare with this guaranteed income for Ogden?

To me it is a real no brainer.

see, I Told you so said...

Bonnie lee,

I guess that you have been all over the world and can say that all these people have unlimited funds to just go anywhare and do anything. Let's get real. How many people will come here to see this ghost town. Have you counted how many of the buildings down town are empty.

and after the bank moves to the new mall site, what business is going to take up all the space in that building. I would really like to know what you are smoking because I would like to be in your dream world and escape all the real problems that we face day to day.

see, I Told you so said...

Oh and by the way,
the movie feild of dreams is just that a MOVIE!!!!

mercy said...

Bonnie Lee, 'dont'cha hate it when you tell a great FUNNY story and the dolt never gets it?

I also think you and I could open a good camera shop cuz we all know the Japanese are wonderful tourists and every ONE of them has an expensive camera of some type hanging from their necks. Right?

abner said...

Agree with you, Youth.

My first reaction was the Hitler Youth Corps.

We want to hand pick, train, and mass produce the next generation of der Fuhrer's scyophants.

How comforting to know these are the ones to take those appintments on the Planning Commission, fill the shoes of the A Team, and do the bidding of der fuhrer.

Wonder if they'll be blond and blue-eyed?

bonnie lee said...

Mercy Mercy. I am glad that you brought up the Japanese. It only adds more proof to the merits of the Gondola and Resort that Mr. Peterson is going to build.

There are 60 million Japanese! If we only got .01% of them - that is one hundredth of them - I mean that is very very few of them - riding the Gondola, that would be 600,000 thousand of them and that my friend is called big bucks spent right here in Ogden City USA! Now we all know that the Niponese are big spending tourists, so we can expect that they will each ride the down town gondola 3 times and the mountain gondola 2 times. Multiply that times $58 bucks a pop and all of a sudden you got some very very serious moola changing hands from them to us. It could sort of be our own little private Ogden's revenge for Pearl Harbor.

These fabulous numbers don't even begin to tell the real story! They will be shopping at all the super cool trendy shops at the Mall AND at the Tyrolllian Resort in Malan's basin. They will be blocking out hours of time in the parachute tunnel - I mean, common - that thing alone rents out at $48 bucks a minute, and we're talking HOURS! And you just know how the Japanese love to bowl! And Chriss will be charging them double for all of it because their foreigners and then we get to ride for free!

AND we haven't even mentioned Korea!

I can see no earthly reason why the citizens of Ogden should not put up the $50 or $80 million in venture capital to finance Mr. Peterson's Gondola/Resort project.

With the undeniable true facts as presented by our Mayor and the Descente team right there for all of us to examine, it just simply is an absoulute win win for every one involved and certainly for all of our tax paying citizens.

We all know that that rat infested and shabby old Mount Ogden Golf course is nothing but a drain on the city. Nobody but nobody likes it and it is quite the eye sore on the east bench between us and the mountains. This seems to me to be the perfect opportunity to unload it. As long as Mr. Peterson thinks he can rehabilitate the dump I do not think we should try to to dissuade him of that ridiculous notion. Lets just hope that he doesn't come to his senses too soon and end up suing us and trying to make us take it back.

mercy said...

Bonnie,

To be hospitable....I have a pot of chow mein simmering right now!

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