Thursday, August 31, 2006

Councilman Glasmann Jumps Ship; Resigns City Council Post - Updated

By Rudizink
I am one of those few who are fortunate enough to get into public office who believes that promises made to the people in order to get elected are sacred, and should be kept.
William Glasmann
Mayor of Ogden

From address to City Council
Jan 7, 1902
"This town is very exciting right now--developments are coming in droves." He [Councilman William Glasmann III] ended by "stating his willingness to serve Ogden in whatever capacity".
Focus on Downtown
Weber County Forum
August 22, 2006
We have just now received an Emerald City Council Press Release, confirming rumors that have been circulating for the past week:
"OGDEN, Utah (August 31, 2006)—On August 31, 2006, Council Member Bill Glasmann resigned from the Ogden City Council (At-Large Seat A) to take a position with the Community and Economic Development Department in the Ogden City Administration. The remaining members of the Ogden City Council will appoint a replacement for At-Large Seat A within 30 days, according to the defined process for Council Member replacement in Utah State Law and Council Rules of Procedure. The replacement Council Member will serve the remainder of Mr. Glasmann’s term (until December 2009)."
And what say our gentle readers about this not-so-surprising development?
Update 9/1/06 6:10 a.m. MT: The Standard-Examiner fills in some of the background surrounding Councilman Glasmann's council resignation, with this morning's informative Scott Schwebke story. Mr. Glasmann reportedly begins drawing a paycheck in his brand-new big-government job this very morning, wearing the very classy title "senior project coordinator" -- with Emerald City's Community and Economic Development Department. Ironically, he'll be wheeling, dealing and recruiting full-time for the very same Emerald City department that he repeatedly and vociferously slammed during the entire autumn 2005 municipal election race, when he told the voters Emerald City should get out of the real estate business. He'll be bringing down an annual $62,777 salary. And we're sure he'll earn every dime he brings home, as he grazes hungrily in the days ahead over the exceedingly bountiful Emerald City taxpayer trough.
The Salt Lake Tribune's Kristen Moulton also adds background to this truly poignant political story, briefly tracing the history of Councilman Glasmann's giant and highly-public political "flip-flop," and including a pithy quote from one "cowardly, scurrilous and anonymous" voice from the blogoshere who seems to have gotten particularly under the Std-Ex Editorial Board's skin, in recent days.
For our part, we now take Ozboy up on his suggestion to cut Bill Glasmann a "little slack," and hereby close the WCF book on Councilman Glasmann's short but notable political career. Having here provided our gentle citizen-voters of Emerald City a convenient discussion thread for the timely expression of their understandable disappointment and regret, we now cast Ex-councilman Bill Glasmann into political oblivion -- never to be again mentioned on the pages of Weber County Forum -- at least until the next time he royally screws up.
Update 9/2/06 7:02 a.m. MT: Council director Bill Cook has issued a second press release, correcting an error contained in his earlier press release of 8/31/06. The replacement council member who will be appointed pursuant to the city council process to fill Bill Glasmann's vacated seat will serve up to and including December 31, 2007, rather than for the full duration of councilman Glasmann's term (December 31, 2009) as was originally reported.

Much Ado About Nothing

By Rudizink

Geedubya has now left the building. We watched his pre-departure press conference this morning on Fox News 13, at Earl Holding's flagship Grand America Hotel, right here in the heart of Zion. He again exhorted his gathered Republican party faithful to "stay the course" and urged them to re-elect Utah Senator for Life Orrin Hatch -- to yet one more US Senate go-round. He referred to the GOP as the party of "fiscal discipline," and reminded us that we must "endeavor to persevere." He's back on-board board Air Force One now, headed south to Crawford, we guess. Our two days in the national political sun now begin to fade into memory; and nothing seems to have changed very much.

As our presidential visitation winds to a close, we thought it might be approriate to host a little news roundup, to spotlight the manner in which our local media covered this event. Our hometown newspaper did a bang-up job of reporting, we think, with two front-page stories in today's edition. Shad West's Love him or hate him focuses on some of the many demonstrations that occured around Salt Lake City, and reporter Ed White's article covers the legionnaire angle. This was an American Legion shindig, after all.

And the Deseret Morning News provides a good general write-up, summarizing the last two days' news, in a tidy nutshell here.

As an added bonus we'll also link to a couple of Salt Lake City blogs, which had a real heyday with this presidential event:

Oblogotory Anecdotes had a lot of fun with Rocky, and added a gentle chiding about mayoral bad manners.

The Third Avenue is not impressed by the protests. "That isn't to say that protests and marching in the streets in general is fruitless. The immigration march in the spring proved that protests are still very effective in the US. I just think protesting this president on this policy with this crowd is a waste of time and effort. But if it makes you feel better, have at it."

Wethinks Third Avenue has a definite point.

And Dee's Dotes really knocked themselves out over this, with a very eleborate photo gallery.

But what about it, gentle readers? Did we actually accomplish anything useful with this event, beyond cheap, self-indulgent entertainmant? Your blogmeister decided to ignore the whole thing and just go fishing for the past two days; and somehow he doesn't think he missed very much.

Comments, anyone?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Few Questions for a Wannabe-Developer & His Gondolist Fellow-travelers

By Rudizink

Once again, the time-tested axiom proves true: If you want to know what's going on in The Wonderful Land of Oz, read the Salt Lake Tribune.

Kristen Moulton scoops the Standard-Examiner as per usual, with this morning's very informative and timely story. Among other things, the article reports that the Emerald City council has propounded a few questions for wannabe-developer Chris Peterson -- 184 to be exact. Here's an excerpt from Kristen's article:

The Ogden City Council has come up with a plan - as well as list of 184 questions -- for handling the massive development project proposed for the city's east side.

In a document released Friday, the council details all the decisions likely to be required of it, along with decisions by the city's Planning Commission, the Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Transit Authority, Weber State University and other governmental entities such as Weber County and the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

"This is basically our attempt to outline for the public what the public process could be, said Amy Wicks, council vice chair.

Among the long list of questions are those that have flooded into City Hall since developer Chris Peterson of Sandy began sharing, during public forums last spring, his east-bench hopes.

A Weber County Forum tip o' the hat to Council Director Bill Cook, and also to his very capable and hard-working staff. We understand that these people have been working feverishly for months, meeting and coordinating with the various governmental decision-makers who will be called upon to review this "project;" and we are encouraged to see some of the fruits of their efforts. And wonder of wonders, all this information has been made available to we lumpentownsfolk on Boss Godfrey's own Emerald City/Gondolist propaganda website, leaving us to ponder how ever the council may have obtained Boss Godfrey's permission to post such useful information -- and such probing questions.

And what say our gentle readers?

Does it appear that our council is on the right track?

Update 8/29/06 11:33 a.m. MT: A full three days post-publication of Kristen Moulton's above-linked story, the local BDO-based fish-wrap producer which poses as our home-town newspaper breaches its recent gondola news blackout, and finally gets around to reporting on the council's 184 questions. "Better late than never," we suppose. "Yesterday's news today," we guess.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What Are They "Up to" Now?

By Rudizink

We at Weber County Forum watched with amusement the ongoing antics of our lovable Emerald City Gondola Cult, as they slowly ratcheted-up their gondola/land grab propaganda for almost a year.

Then, during the months of March and April, their marketing campaign kicked into high gear, with simultaneously-executed template-style Std-Ex letters to the editor, slick door-to-door pamphlet distribution -- and those crimson & white signs -- which popped up like gaudy mushrooms (our favorite fungus) all across the Emerald City landscape, literally overnight. These signs decorated vacant properties, curbside strips and gondolist lawns as far as the eye could see, all over the Land of Oz. The Lift Ogden folks plainly put a lot of concentrated effort (and money) into this propaganda blitz. It was obvious at the time that Bobby Geiger & Co. meant serious business.

Suddenly though, this veritable public-relations shock & awe blitzkrieg inexpicably withered to halt this month, just as abruptly as it had begun.

Nary a gondolist letter has appeared in our home-town newspaper in over two weeks. Neither Bob nor Dustin has distributed a single glossy brochure since July, at the very latest. Emerald City lawns, once festooned with gondolist signs and symbols, again assume the unadorned and slightly bucolic look and feel of the Mayberry USA that we all know and love.

And wonder of wonders, these folks, who have single-mindedly and recklessly split the community down the middle for the past year, and have strategically refused to answer even the most basic questions, now unabashedly call upon the only publicly-visible citizen opposition group, Smart Growth Ogden, to remove their own signs - the ones that remind the townsfolk to merely "Ask Questions."

Meanwhile Boss Godfrey, Chris Peterson's de facto personal real estate broker, is not-so-quietly packing the planning commission with his hand-picked gondolist adherents on the one hand, and joining the amen chorus in calling for community harmony on the other.

We swear we couldn't have made this kind of story up, even if we'd tried. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

The Std-Ex website has a useful article here, deftly illustrating the contrasting views in this truly bizarre current political stand-off.

The sane citizens among us are scratching our heads and asking: "Ok, what are they up to NOW?"

We now open the floor for discussion. Could it have something to do with the 800-lb. gorilla? Several of our sources privately hint that this might at least partly explain the gondolist zombie about-face.

What are our readers' theories?

Comments, anyone?

Grift Ogden Update 8/24/06 7:29 p.m. MT: Our talented friends at Grift Ogden published another brilliant new original art graphic on Monday. Shame on your humble blogmeister for not having linked this earlier. We hereby vow to check our email much more often in the future.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

WCF Housekeeping Note

Regular Weber County Forum readers will note a few changes in our display format this morning. Most notable of these is our reversion to a pop-up comments page, which can be expanded to full screen size, for more efficient viewing of some of our gentle readers' more long-winded comments.

We are also revising our entire "layout" template, to accomodate upgrading to Blogger/Google's new software release, which we intend to implement over the coming weekend.

Although we expect a few speedbumps over the next few days (the new upgrade is still a beta version,) the new software contains many enhancements which will significantly improve Weber County Forum's technical performance.

Among other things, you may expect some interruptions in comments functionality over the next few days; but please be assured that such problems will be only intermittent and temporary.

Focus on Downtown

Council Notes: 8.22.06

By Dian Woodhouse

A rather quick Council Meeting this evening, but worthwhile, nonetheless. All were present except Councilman Stephenson and Councilwoman Jeske. There were no minutes to approve, and after the pledge, four items under Common Consent were unanimously adopted.

Both the Public Safety Advisory Committee and the Trails Network Advisory Committee were extended by Ordinances until June 30th, 2009.

A public hearing was set for September 5th, 2006, regarding the proposed annexation of 2.811 acres of land located at approximately 800 North Washington Boulevard.

And a public input meeting was also set for September 5th, 2006, for a proposal "to provide certain zoning options of C-3/CO for properties generally located at 639 and 689 Washington Boulevard." The quoted part was from the agenda. This item will, if passed, amend the Ogden City General Plan by way of amending the Lynn Community Plan to allow for these proposed zoning options.

The next item was presented by City Planner Greg Montgomery, and involved amendments to the Ogden City sign ordinances. In a nutshell, Ogden's present sign ordinances simply will not do for The Junction, and so the sign ordinances will be amended in order to accommodate The Junction area only. The proposed changes had mainly to do with the size and type of signs allowed, and there were also some prohibitions, which included backlit signs or awnings and handwritten signs. Mr. Montgomery stressed that the signs had to be professionally done and be well kept up.

Councilman Safsten stated that these amendments were being made "to protect the value of the development," and made the motion to approve. Councilman Stephens seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

The next item, also presented by Mr. Montgomery, was a proposed resolution to approve projects funded through the Crossroads of the West Historic District. This district is located between 23rd and 26th Streets, and between Wall and Washington. Mr. Montgomery explained that the district has been awarded $5 million by Congress, which is parceled out in increments of $1 million a year for improvements. This year, however, we have only received $492,000. The reason for this was not gone into.

Be that as it may, there were four proposed projects by the Crossroads Committee:

1. Improve the south side of the Union Station, where the laundry building and trains are.

2. Allocate $70,000 for a grant to be used to improve a building currently on the Historical Register. It was not said whether they had a specific one in mind--it seemed that owners of these could apply for the grant, and the applications would be reviewed by the Landmarks Commission.

3. $100,000 allocated for promotion of the district.

4. Installation of "way-finding signage" in district, as in signs pointing the way to various points of interest. Very helpful to tourists and those who don't know what the area has to offer.

Councilman Glasmann made the motion to approve the above, Councilwoman Wicks seconded, and this motion too passed unanimously.

There was only one public comment, by Rulon Yorgason. He placed on the overhead projector a picture from National Geographic of two men standing next to a body of water, framed by mountains in the background, and holding onto what appeared to be a gigantic marine mammal. (I was later told upon inquiring that it was a channel catfish.) Mr. Yorgason then went on to point out that to some people, this was a picture of a a beautiful day--to others, the somewhat homely catfish would be termed ugly. He segued from here into the question of deeming something "blighted," stating, "We don't have an absolute standard for blight, but are working on ideology.

He zeroed in then on the Riverfront Project, challenging the Ogden City Council to do a walk through of the area. There were homes there, and businesses. "These people have been in limbo for so long," he said. "Why are we doing it?"

There were no Administrative comments. Attorney Gary Williams then asked Recorder Cindy Mansell to check back on the Crossroads Ordinance for wording, and this was done. Then came Council comments.

Councilman Stephens spoke first, beginning with praise of the recent opening of the Treehouse Museum, and of Mayor Godfrey's deeming August 19th "Elizabeth Stewart Treehouse Day," after its founder. Citing the quote, "It takes a village to raise a child," he compared the Treehouse Museum to such a village, where children will be able to learn, explore, be creative, and have fun. "It makes you feel like you'd like to be a kid again," he said. "My hat is off to the Treehouse and all those associated with it."

He then spoke of having received many calls and e-mails regarding the future appointments to the Planning Commission, and suggested that the public, in addition to stating to him what it did and did not want, might in future also include alternative suggestions and reasons for these views.

Councilman Glasmann spoke next, first drawing attention to the sparseness of the crowd tonight, stating that although nothing as controversial as last week was on the table at this meeting, still, important things had happened and are happening. "The River Project has many people moving out and being relocated," he said. "This town is very exciting right now--developments are coming in droves." He ended by stating his willingness to serve Ogden in whatever capacity.

Next was Councilman Safsten, who went into the question of what constitutes "blight." "The opposite of blight is not beauty, but something else," he said, and informed the room that the Council gets its definition of "blight" from the State of Utah. It is not a dictionary definition we are using here.

Last, Chairman Garcia spoke, making brief mention that it had been suggested to him that Ogden change its policy regarding ticketing of out of state visitors, as many other cities have done, being more lenient with them. The Council then adjourned to Closed Executive session to discuss pending litigation.

Editorial Comments: I have heard, although I have not confirmed this, that the Ogden City General Plan is rarely amended, if at all. And since the amending of the General Plan is a necessary step for the Peterson project to be able to move forward, this proposed amendment to the plan above, innocuous though it may be, is something to take note of.

I think Councilman Stephens' comments regarding public comments to him and other Council Members is a good one. Perhaps when e-mailing the Council regarding the Planning Commission, for instance, the public could suggest prospective people to serve. And rather than simply stating one's opposition to something or favor of it, one should also say why. Otherwise, what good will this do? We can't expect the Council to make decisions based solely on the personal preferences of individuals if those preferences are not backed up by anything.

Finally, being intrigued by the question of "blight," I looked up the Utah State definition of it that Councilman Safsten was referring to. It is Utah Code 17C-2-303.

As always, comments and corrections are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Spotlighted Article -- A Chronicle of Deception

By Rudizink

Weber County Forum regulars will recall a discussion held here a couple of months ago, wherein your humble blogmeister gave our gentle readers a rare homework assignment. Thinking at the time that "it would be a fine idea to set up a separate thread to document in one place the variey of lies and tall tales that have recently appeared in glossy brochures, crazed Lift Ogden spam emails, and even our beloved newspaper of record, the Substandard-Exaggerator," we elicited a spirited series of reader comments, with the ultimate intention of compiling them all on one of our archives pages with some clever title, such as "Emerald City Gondolist Tall-Tales," or something equally catchy.

Alas, like many projects of such grand scale, this project soon found its way to the back-burner (the back-back-burner actually;) and we never quite got around to creating our own tall tale compendium, despite our best intentions.

It's in that connection that we spotlight an article which we received last night from one of our gentle readers. It seems that one of our readers has not only continued diligently working on this homework project, but has in fact also completed your blogmeister's portion of the assignment as well.

We are thus delighted to be able to put the Weber County Forum spotlight on the following Dan Schroeder piece, which lists in meticulous detail the most "significant and documented factual deceptions committed by the principal gondolists...".

Entitled The Peterson Proposal: A Chronicle of Deception," this article is a scholarly masterwork, we believe. As set forth in the author's own disclaimer, the list is not comprehensive, but is limited to those items considered "significant and well-documented." Yes, gentle readers, there's much more.

We invite our gentle readers to give this article a good long read. We urge you to print it out and send it to all your friends and neighbors. We even suggest that you email it to everyone in your email address books. What the heck! Frame it and hang it on your living room wall.

A Weber County Forum "tip o' the hat" to Dan Schroeder for putting this all together. The gentle townsfolk of Emerald City refuse to be hoodwinked and befuddled, and we thank Mr. Schroeder for helping us keep the facts straight.

We'll be adding this article to our right sidebar later today. You'll be able to find it in our upcoming "crime & ethics" module.

Comments, anyone?

Monday, August 21, 2006

WCForum Crime & Ethics Violation Blotter

By Rudizink

In the wake of a troubling news story appearing on the Associated Press wire service this weekend, and on the basis of something received via email, we hereby launch what may well become a new Weber County Forum Feature: The WCForum Crime & Ethics Violation Blotter.

On the ethics violation side of the blotter, we think US House Representative Chris Cannon and his brother Joe starkly illustrate the dismally low level of ethics routinely practiced by some elected officials here in 21st century Utah. According to US District 3 Representative Cannon, it's quite alright to push legislation favoring his brother Joe's lobbying clients, so long as he and Joe don't literally share the same bedroom. They're not actually husband and wife, ferkripesakes -- just brothers -- Representative Cannon carefully reminds us. And who cares that Joe is into Chris for a lousy $.25-mil? That's mere chump-change for these high-powered beltway guys, after all.

Read all about Rep. Cannon's uber- tight ethical rationalization/justification here.

The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had a few gentle words to say about this story in Sunday's edition; and at least one dastardly Utah DemocRAT blogger is right on the money, we think, as he offers his two cents here.

And for today's crime story, we're posting the text of an email we received Friday from one of our gentle readers:

Good morning,

I paid $150 for this banner and put in on my truck on 8/16. It was parked at 12:30 p.m. on 8/17 at 1482 24th Street (pointed west on the north side of the street). Someone stole it before 5 p.m. He or she cut the lines holding the banner. I reported it to the Ogden PD, and the case number is 06-64012. The officer said it is a legitimate theft, and they are keeping an eye out, as it will most likely turn up in someone's garbage can (try *******'s). Just thought you should know how "childish" ******* and his supporters really are. Nice work, *******. This wasn't a $4 lawn sign.


A Gentle Reader
Now before we jump to any conclusions here re criminal intent or perpetrator identity, we believe we must consider the possibility that this was all just a big mistake on somebody's part. After all, this banner bears some resemblance to other signs that are now being scooped-up around town, upon the demise of one notable recent lawn sign campaign. Perhaps the banner was removed in error. Perhaps it's now hanging in the dorm-room of somebody with absolutely zero political connections. Who knows? it could have been swiped by anyone. We see no reason to point fingers.

Anyway... if anyone knows the whereabouts of this sign, please contact us through our email link. A public-spirited gentle reader paid serious money for this most excellent political message banner, and he'd definitely like to get it back, no questions asked (we're sure,) just like our old pal Bill Parker got his Johnny Cash pic back just last week, down at his Emerald City private club flagship, the venerable City Club.

Purloined political poster - click image to enlarge

Update 8/22/06 6:22 a.m. MT: Following the example of northern Utah opinion leaders Weber County Forum and the Salt Lake Tribune, the Standard-Examiner jumps on the bandwagon with this morning's editorial, scolding Utah's dynamic duo -- the Washington Beltway Brothers -- joined Siamese-style -- at the hip (pocket.)

Now that our hometown newspaper has developed a sudden interest in chiding public officials who demonstrate low-grade ethics, we invite them to send Ace Reporter Schwebke over to city hall to sniff out Boss Godfrey's Dustin Chapman planning commission nomination, which reeks to high heaven (the ninth floor, to be exact,) and will surely provide Don Porter and his crew ample new additional material for continued editorial griping.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Weekend Open Thread

By Rudizink

Once again "red-meat" news items trickle to a standstill this weekend in and around Emerald City, as always seems to be the circumstance during the waning weekends of August. Having this morning thoroughly searched local media sources in vain for some nutritional news morsel to satisfy our gentle readers' intellectual cravings, we once again turn to our gentle readers to set the tone, with this new weekend open thread. We confess that we do this with some trepidation, inasmuch as we already have a fairly robust discussion going under our previous article. By no means do we wish to cut that excellent Curt Geiger-inspired discussion short. Nevertheless, we believe that the ongoing discussion may be growing unwieldy now that 50+ comments have been registered, so we offer this fresh page-space now for our gentle readers' latest rants and ruminations.

What's on your minds this weekend, gentle readers? You may carry on the previous discussion here, or start up something entirely brand-new.

Your blogmeister will be out and about for the balance of the weekend, so we ask the last one here to please turn out the lights.

And a quick note to the moron troll who's been posting the now-deleted flames from his Sprint PCS mobile device: Rudi has duly recorded your IP address, and STRONGLY advizes that you read our WCF Comments Posting Policy... and behave yourself henceforth and forthwith.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sour Grapes from the Standard-Examiner

By Rudizink

One of the foundations of our modern American representative democracy is the public assumption that elected government officials will at least attempt in good faith to be responsive to the wishes of their constituents. We witnessed a praiseworthy example of representative democracy in action just this week, as our Emerald City Council, having been made acutely aware by public furor of its own public policy error, reversed course entirely, decisively corrected a clearly inequitable salary situation, and wisely rescinded Boss Godfrey's punitive public safety officer pay package.

We have no doubt at all that Tuesday night's council policy reversal was at least in part the product of public input, and that the council's corrective vote was the most positive sign of legislative health yet exhibited by our new city council. "The people just want us to do what's right," one council member remarked with a big smile after adjournment of that remarkable council session. Indeed, we believe the Council did just that on Tuesday night. We believe most of them got the same message.

Yet we read this morning's Standard-Examiner editorial, which comes off as remarkably "snarky" in tone. While the Std-Ex editorial writer sets forth a list of plausible issues that the council obviously may have taken into consideration before delivering its unanimous vote, the Std-Ex nevertheless deviates, and concludes with this editorial hogwash:
But back to the question of the City Council's flip-flop regarding the public safety evaluations: Did council members finally believe it was time to halt the ongoing embarrassment of at least one police officer and his wife -- and possibly others involved -- renting a moving van plastered with anti-mayor signs complaining about ticket quotas being parked around town? Either that, or maybe it was an opportunity to pin it all on the mayor, who had advocated for the job-performance ordinance which was nonetheless passed by the council in June.

Yet another theory may be the most believable of all: The Ogden City Council's decisions change with surprising agility according to the shifting winds of public comment.
"Shifting winds of public comment?" What shifting winds, we ask? It seems to us that the public only became aroused upon learning the true facts. And we have our Emerald City Firefighters and Police officers almost solely to thank for that. The Standard-Examiner deserves virtually NO CREDIT for educating its readership about the true issues here. As far as we're concerned, the Std-Ex has been too busy toeing the Boss Godfrey Party Line, and ridiculing the plainly successful OPBA public-educational campaign.

Except for the noble actions of "Ogden's Finest," the general public would still be mostly in the dark about oppressive ticket quotas, punitive pay-scales -- and of course the Godfrey Cash Cow Connection.

And "pinning it" on the mayor? If the shoe fits; wear it, we say.

We're also going to hammer two additional points here:

The "Blue Flu Epidemic" was not an abdication of public safety responsibilities, as the Standard-Examiner continues to shrilly and monotonously contend. It was merely a legally-conducted public demonstration, intended to shake the citizenry out of its stupor, in our belief. Neighboring police agencies adequately and gracefully filled in and took up the slack willingly, in a very apparent act of solidarity with their brother and sister OPD officers. We have heard from several police officers from neighboring or overlapping jurisdictions that "the shoe might be" sometime "on the other foot." And public safety was NEVER jeopardized during the weekend that the OPD officers staged their sickout. Contrary assertions are simply preposterous, we think.

The Std-Ex editors keep harping on the OPD rolling billboard, as if it were some sort of illegitimate ruse. In this connection we'll note that rolling billboards are a highly efficient and cost effective means of advertising, commonly used across the country. (In this connection we also make special note that Councilman Filiaga used truck-mounted billboards extensively here in Emerald City during at least his first successful council campaign, so this is really nothing new in the Land of Oz.)

We think today's Std-Ex editorial smacks of sour grapes, inasmuch as "Ogden's Finest" managed to skillfully disseminate their message, notwithstanding the efforts of the Standard-Examiner to keep a tight lid on the facts.

And what think our gentle readers about this?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nothing to Hide

Council Meeting 8.15.06

By Dian Woodhouse

The big news of the night is that the Ogden City Council, in a businesslike and efficient manner, did the following:

Adopted an ordinance to put the merit scale for police and fire back to where it was before this year, enabling officers to qualify for a 5% merit raise upon achieving a score of 3, instead of 4 or 5, thereby reducing the present ticket quota for the police, among other things...

Adopted therefore a new salary schedule for all members of the classified service, and...

Established an "Employee Negotiation Review Workgroup," contingent on written responses from the three employee groups, to review the employee negotiation process...

And tabled the appointment of Dustin Chapman to the Planning Commission for two weeks.

Here's how the meeting went.

Read the rest of Dian's detailed report here.

Brandy Lee fills in more detail on last night's council meeting with this morning's Deseret News story, and the Standard-Examiner also provides this Scott Schwebke report on page B-1.

Update 8/17/06 1:45 p.m. MT: In the interest of keeping our readers fully-informed on the most recent breaking news, we link this morning's Standard-Examiner story, in which Ace Reporter Schwebke informs the lumpentownsfolk that the city council won't consider the planning commission nomination of Godfrey-lackey Dustin Chapman for at least a few more weeks. Whereas word on the street is that Boss Godfrey couldn't have possibly picked a less appropriate replacement for the soon to be vacated commission seat, Godfrey claims to know "nuttin' from nuttin"."

And there's more news. We've received a substantiated report that Boss Godfrey will soon have opportunity to nominate yet another LO-inclined gondola zombie for the planning commission, upon today's informal announcement of the sudden resignation of current commissioner Ron Wheelwright.

Can the inevitable Bobby Geiger nomination be coming up soon? Certainly he and Mr. Chapman have similar "neutral" qualifications.

8/17/06 5:31 p.m. MT: Find more robust discussion on the KSL News Community Bulletin Board.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Double-header Tonight

By Rudizink

Thanks to reporter Brandy A. Lee's morning story, the Deseret Morning News provides us a partial preview of tonight's council double-header, during which the city council will address the two hottest political issues that have been recently boiling, here in the Land of Oz:

  • The proposed Dustin Chapman Planning Commission Nomination
  • Public Safety Officer Pay
In that connection we offer the these select exerpts from tonight's council agenda, which is available in full on Emerald City's most excellent website:
  1. Planning Commission Appointment. Consideration of the appointment of Dustin Chapman to the Planning Commission. (Approve/not approve appointment – roll call vote)
  2. Employee Negotiation Review Workgroup. Proposed Resolution 2006-22 proposing an Employee Negotiation Review Workgroup. (Adopt/not adopt resolution – roll call vote)
  3. Pay Standards. Proposed Ordinance 2006-51 amending Section 2-6-9 to amend the pay standards by rescinding the new standards recently adopted for classified employees and readopting the previously applicable standards; and providing that the ordinance will be retroactive to July 1, 2006. (Adopt/not adopt ordinance – roll call vote)
  4. Salary Schedule. Proposed Ordinance 2006-52 adopting new salary schedules for all members of the classified service; and providing that the ordinance will be retroactive to July 1, 2006. (Adopt/not adopt ordinance – roll call vote)
We believe tonight's agenda presents the ideal opportunity for our new council, which has been floundering a bit of late, to finally stand up and assert itself, and to correct some of the errors and bad management practices of the current mayoral administration, which have caused Emerald city considerable recent embarrassment.

We've already had plenty of discussion on both these issues, so we won't delve further into the merits here.

Instead, we call upon the handicappers amongst our gentle readership to predict how tonight's vote will shake out. Will Boss Godfrey's radical young pro-gondola accolyte land a seat on the counsel, despite strong evidence of personal bias and deceptive conduct? Will the council vote unanimously to correct the pay plan inequity which was the real core issue about which our public safety officers had rightfully complained? Will the council demonstrate a commitment to the highest ethical standards, and reject the "power politics" of the past? Will the council "choose the right?"

And one other thing. If any one of you has forgotten to contact the council, to register your own opinion on either of these topics, we are pleased to inform you that council contact information is just as close as this link.

Both Dian and your humble blogmeister expect to be in attendance at tonight's meeting, and we'll post a report as soon as we can.

In the meantime, let us hear your predictions. How do our gentle readers predict each individual member will vote?

Oh. One other thing -- and this on an entirely different topic. One of our gentle readers, the owner of a prominent downtown business, spent some time last night googling and burning the midnight oil, and compiled and submitted this wonderful digest of articles, relevant to the still-mysterious Chris Peterson project. Perhaps we can all stew on this material, while we breathlessly await tonight's council meeting results.

The floor is open, gentle readers.

Please don't let the cat get your tongues.

Update 8/15/06 9:55 p.m. MT: For those gentle readers sitting on the edges of their seats, awaiting the score from tonight's council double-header... we post this brief update:

  • Police and firefighter corrective ordinances: All three ordinances passed.
  • Dustin Chapman Nomination: Continued two weeks, while the council gathers more information and conducts an interview with the candidate.
Stay tuned for Dian's full write-up.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

UTmorMAN Fails to Adequately Cover His Tracks

Last Friday the Salt Lake Tribune published this Kristen Moulton article, revealing a dispute relative to the most recent Boss Godfrey nomination to the Emerald City planning commission. Although accusations had previously been made that The Evil One was busy stacking the commission with gondolist lackeys, Kristen's story kicked the criticism into high gear.

OGDEN - Opponents are accusing Mayor Matthew Godfrey of trying to stack the city's Planning Commission with members inclined to support the biggest project to hit Ogden in a generation.

Godfrey this summer nominated - and the City Council approved - a businesswoman who openly supports transforming the city's east bench with luxury homes as well as crosstown and mountain gondolas.

Now the City Council is poised to vote on another Planning Commission candidate who has been involved in the Lift Ogden citizens group, which is advocating the project proposed by developer Chris Peterson.

That candidate, as the article later reveals, is a local political operative by the name of Dustin Chapman. Regular Weber County Forum readers will of course recognize Mr. Chapman by his self-disclosed blogger "handle," UTmorMAN. Mr. Chapman is also prominently known to be the publisher of the now-defunct the good in ogden blog; and has also been an active contributor to WCF comments threads from time to time.

The problem here, as revealed by the article, is that Mr. Chapman seems to be soft-pedaling his partisan political credentials, prior to consideration by the council of an appointment to the open planning commission seat:

Godfrey is nominating Dustin Chapman, who began the pro-gondola Web site and has had what he calls "limited participation" in Lift Ogden, a pro-gondola citizens group.
Mr. Chapman, of course, has become well-known in the local blogosphere as a rabid gondolist, a very active and high-profile Lift Ogden member, and slavish proponent of anything and everything Godfreyesque -- particularly the Peterson/Godfrey Gondola Plan.

In updates to a previous article, we noted that Mr. Chapman has now "sterilized" the material on his blogsite. Whereas the good in ogden blog had formerly been the "go-to" site for pro-gondola propaganda, ten months of highly partisan political postings have now "mysteriously" disappeared. In our view, this facially-deceptive act of removing this previously-published material amounts to the internet equivalent of "document shredding," as we noted in the below-linked 8/12/06 WCF article update.

In that connection, we have begun a little "deep research" to try to unearth some of the "cached material" that Mr. Chapman saw fit to hide or delete. In this connection we now provide a link to an archive page which consists of the excised data that we have managed to compile so far: UTmorMAN Fails to Cover His Tracks. (This is "missing" text from some of UTMO's deleted blog posts, people. If you're going to click any link at all on this page, this one is a "must see.")

One of our gentle readers suggested that we set up a separate article on this subject; and we are doing that now (although perhaps belatedly.) Readers who would like to have more background on this story, should read the updates and comments here.

We propose that our readers regard this article as one dedicated solely to the Dustin Chapman nomination.

We'll also be moving one or two of the more recent relevant comments from the former article comments section here, in order to provide focused discussion on this topic.

If all goes well, we hope to stimulate a discussion sufficiently robust to warrant emailing this article (and comments) to all council members prior to Tuesday night's meeting.

Who will be the first to comment?

Update 8/14/06 7:23 a.m. MT: A full three days after publication of Kristen Moulton's detailed and probative article, the Standard-Examiner finally gets around to at least mentioning the brewing Dustin Chapman nomination controversy, in this classic example of tepid Std-Ex-style "he said-she said" reporting. The web version headline nicely encapsulates the text of the article, we believe -- pure mumbo-jumbo.

The Std-Ex once again lives up to its unofficial banner motto: "Keeping the Top of Utah in the political dark since 1993."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Murmurings of a Council Change of Heart

By Rudizink

Both the Salt Lake Tribune and Standard-Examiner report this morning what appears to be a breakthough in the pay dispute that's been boiling in Emerald City since June 13, 2006, when the city council adopted its budget, incorporating Boss Godfrey's plainly "punitive" pay plan, giving public safety employees "second class status" in merit pay evaluations. From this morning's Kristen Moulton story we receive this encouraging information:
Heeding complaints from police officers and firefighters that a new pay system is unfair, Ogden City Council leaders want to throw out part of the new plan and return to the old.

Council Chairman Jesse Garcia and Vice Chairwoman Amy Wicks also will ask their colleagues at Tuesday's meeting to hire a certified mediator to work with all parties to scrutinize and fix the salary-negotiation process.

"There was a breakdown this year, and it's important we make an even playing field for police and fire and make sure it doesn't happen again," Garcia said Friday.
Whereas council leadership had earlier refused to revisit the issue, and to seriously reconsider bringing public safety employees' merit pay standards up to par with all other Emerald city employees, it appears there has now been a 180-degree council leadership change of course, if not an outright epiphany.
Under the proposal, officers and firefighters can get merit raises when they score a 3 or better on a performance evaluation - as in past years and like all other classified city employees this year.

Under the June ordinance, police officers and firefighters had to score a 4 or a 5 to get merit raises.
The Standard-Examiner's intrepid Ace Reporter Schwebke also furnishes additional information on this sudden and heretofor publicly-unforeseen turnabout, including this quote from Councilwoman Jeske, the sole councilmember who has been publicly consistent in urging the council to restore police and firefighter pay equity:

"I'm happy to see that it finally may happen," she [Jeske] said, "Members of the City Council have had a change of heart. We all know the salary negotiations procedures must be changed. This is one step to make that road easier to go down."
We're frankly puzzled that the issue took so long to regain the council's attention. In the interim since the passage of facially defective pay ordinance, this story (and its permutations) has been widely and very negatively reported and discussed across the northern Utah media landscape. During over a month's council indecision, Emerald City government has in fact now been allowed to become the laughing stock of the state. What is now a political crisis could easily have been forestalled at the outset, had the council earler paid more careful attention to the inherent unfairness of the pay matter disposition.

As gentle reader ArmySarge wisely (and rhetorically) opined in an earlier comment section: "Why can't the council just do what's right?"

The above stories indicate the council may now be moving in that direction. Let us hope that there are at least five council members next Tuesday night who are willing to listen to, and act upon, the wisdom of ordinary folks like ArmySarge and Rudizink. We've been waiting for this new council to "find its legs," and get out from under the "Gang of Five" council's "rubber stamp" legacy. Could today's stories finally signal a more dominant posture from the council we all counted upon in November to "step up" and "stop the (Godfrey) madness?"

What say our gentle readers? Will the council, however belatedly, finally "do the right thing?" And will our gentle readers continue to do their part in this matter -- "contacts links" are available in our WCF sidebar -- to praise them for this sudden apparent turnaround, and to encourage them to "choose the right?"

Nevermind. We already know the answer to at least that last question. For the rest, we'll have to wait for Tuesday night.

The floor is now open for comments.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fleshing Out the Peterson "Plan" - UPDATED AGAIN!!!


Searching for UTmorMAN's Vanished Blog Posts

By Rudizink

On August 9, Dian provided us detailed narratives on the previous night's regular council meeting and work session. Of particular interest to us was Dian's description of the work session "presentation," wherein Chris Peterson's attorney, Tom Ellison, outlined a series of proposed "steps," which would amount to a wholesale "scrapping" of Emerald City's existing zoning and planning scheme as it relates to Peterson's Gondola/Golf Course/Residential Development/Resort Project. Dian described it quite accurately, we think, as "...[substitution of] a development agreement that will itself constitute the regulatory process for the project."

We obtained yesterday a copy of a July 21 letter Chris Peterson letter, addressed to Mayor Godfrey, which squarely addresses the subject of Mr. Ellison's Tuesday night presentation. Having reviewed this letter ourselves, we would suggest that its text sets forth the "Approval Process" portion of the Peterson proposal with more particularity, we believe, than even the earlier oral presentation. Several readers have privately expressed to us that they would like more detail in the information provided by Mr. Peterson so far. We have therefore uploaded this document to an archive page, which can be accessed by clicking this link.

Although we've done our own review of this document, we'll resist for the moment the offering of our own micro-analysis. Instead, we thought we might throw it out for reading and discussion amongst our gentle readers.

Having said that, we will note three aspects of this proposal that we find particularly troublesome:

  • Unrealisticaly "Tight" Timelines: The document sets forth a series of timeline "phases," the first of which (entry into a "pre-development agreement" by August 4, 2006) has already lapsed. It seems to us that even the series of "approvals" proposed in the proposal's "Initial Phase" were far too complex to have been reasonably expected to have been performed within the timeframe set forth in that section. We believe the anticipated timelines set forth in the other "phases" are likewise hopelessly unrealistic, and simply cannot be met, except by short-changing the public process that the citizens all expect and deserve.

  • Illogical Sequence: Our initial impression is that the presentation of these proposals piecemeal, in the absence of any information about Mr. Peterson's general purchase proposal, puts the cart completely before the horse. What we believe Mr. Peterson ought to have done, is to have laid his complete and entire proposal on the table, together with the approval process proposal portions contained in his letter and oral presentation. The expectation that the city council should be expected to remodel our entire scheme of zoning and planning prior even to the presentation of a firm purchase offer, (which would set forth the respective general duties and obligations of all parties to the transaction,) goes far beyond unrealistic, into the realm of the preposterous.

  • Absence of Information re Purchase Price & Terms: Although this aspect of our concern is really a sub-set of the defect described in the preceding paragraph, we find it astonishing that Mr. Peterson has yet to inform anyone how much he proposes to pay for the targeted properties, or what "financing terms" or other concessions he might expect. Price is the most important element in any purchase or development transaction; and the absence of any discussion of this fundamental contract element leaves us doubtful about Mr. Peterson's seriousness.
So how about it gentle readers? Why not give the "Peterson Letter" a read? Although we understand that the turgid "legalese" may put off some of our gentle readers, we're sure that there are others who are fully capable of dissecting and commenting upon this relatively short document.

We're hoping here to tap "the wisdom of the crowd" on this, (and keeping our fingers crossed.)

Who will be the first to comment?

Update 8/11/06 11:07 a.m. MT: One of our gentle readers, OgdenLover, submits this Kristen Moulton tidbit via email. Our old pal UTmorMan, who for a while operated a rabidly pro-Godfreyite blog, is Boss Godfrey's selection for a Godfrey-vacated planning commission seat. No better way to ram the Peterson proposal down the throats of the townsfolk within the narrow timelines that Chris Peterson proposes, we guess, than by packing the planning commission with shameless Godfrey "brown-nosers."

Update 8/12/06 4:29 p.m. MT: Being the curious type, your ever-inquisite blogmeister travelled over to our old pal UTmorMAN's now-abandoned blogsite, The Good In Ogden, and found that not only has our pal quit posting on his blog -- he's committed the ultimate sin in the blogoshere -- deleting almost a year's worth of posts. Now that he finds himself one of Boss Godfrey's chosen ones, and has been nominated for a city planning commission seat, his slavish pro-Godfrey work product of at least ten months has now vanished into the cyber-ether. This is the cyber-equivalent of document-shredding as far as we're concerned. We believe that this devious and evasive suppression of highly-partisan prior political activity, which entirely deprives our city council of VERY relevant information, highly pertinent to his proposed planning commission appointment, can only be interpreted as an intentional act intended to deceive the council, and to mendaciously subvert the appointment process.

See for yourselves: Here's a link to UTMO's blogsite:

Your humble and ever-curious blogmeister will devote some time over the weekend employing obscure search engines, to try to uncover cached copies of some of the material that UTmorMAN has deleted. Nothing ever truly vanishes from the internet. We'll let our readers know what we come up with. Sounds like a fine project, dontcha think?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Print Media Chimes in Again On "Quotagate"

"Will Ticket For Food" - Click to enlarge image

By Rudizink

We've received numerous reader inquiries via email on the subject of yesterday's Boss Godfrey press conference, requesting more information on this event. Weber County Forum registered a near-record number of page loads yesterday, so it's obvious that many gentle readers are attentively following developments in the the ongoing Vangate/Quotagate saga.

In the interest of keeping our readers abreast of the most recent developments on this topic, we link two print media articles, appearing in today's Salt Lake Tribune and Standard-Examiner, respectively.

Kristen Moulton provides a nice fact summary, together with useful background information in this article; and Scott Schwebke contributes the Standard-Examiner's two-cents here.

We'll leave it up to our gentle readers to analyze, compare and discuss the versions of the facts presented in these two articles.

Let us continue the discussion here.

We offer our thanks, BTW, to gentle reader Trueogdenlover, who helpfully furnishes today's most excellent graphic header.

We've been vacillating between the terms Vangate and Quotagate, but don't consider ourselves to be married to either of these descriptions. Reader suggestions are welcome on this subject. Just what kind of "gate" is this story anyway? Who knows? Perhaps we can start up a dark humor version of last year's "Name the Mall" contest.

Comments (or suggestions,) anyone?

Update 8/10/06 8:47 a.m. MT: The Godfreygate disaster continues to unfold, with another article in the Standard-Examiner, and yet another on the KSL website.

Although several city councilmembers are reportedly feeling warm and fuzzy about Boss Godfrey's referral of this bag of snakes to Mark Decaria's office, the gentle viwers in KSL Newsland ain't buying Godfrey's spin at all.

Update 8/10/06 12:24 p.m. MT: Gentle reader Dian now brings this fact-illuminating Brandy A. Lee article to our attention, in the comments section below. A WCF hat tip both Deseret Morning News reporter Brandy Lee, and to our always-alert & gentle reader Dian, who seems to have been especially on-the-ball in finding all the good stuff this morning.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Are They Serious? Are We? - Updated

City Council Work Session: 8/8/06

By Dian Woodhouse

I have attended almost four hours of various City Council functions this evening. I am better off than those actually serving on it, however, since they attended at least five. I will therefore start with the Peterson proposal, which occurred in a Council Work session after the regular meeting, because that, in my opinion, is a new, important, and momentous occurrence. Other momentous occurrences will come later.

The purpose of this Work Session was to impart information about the proposed project to the Council. Bill Cook began by welcoming us all, more chairs were brought to the work session room, and we were informed that there would be no public comment. He then introduced Chris Peterson and his attorney, Tom Ellison from Stowe Reeves Law Firm.

Chris Peterson began by stating that, as he had begun this project and talked to people he respected, two strategies became clear. The one was to take the traditional path of development, involving creating a proposal and presenting it. The second was the view that members of the public would appreciate the opportunity to be included while the project was still a concept. He chose the second.

During his talks with members of the community, he was "encouraged about how much people care about their community," and also by the good ideas that were generated as to how to make the project better. Some of what people wanted was: continued urban access to the mountains, more stops for the gondola, parking lots around these stops, and an assurance that the housing development would indeed lead to the building of the resort. In a meeting with the Ogden Trails Network, for instance, he was asked if he could put a trailhead at a higher elevation. The concerns regarding WSU were---"Help us with our parking problem." Also a land shortage for expansion--could land be worked into the deal for the property Peterson wants, and also that WSU could benefit by having a "campus life." Also, a "link" from the land WSU owns by the Dee Events Center to main campus would be favorable for them.

But Peterson was not there tonight to talk about how these things could be accomplished. Instead, he and Tom Ellison were there to talk about how to put something together that works best for everybody. He introduced Mr. Ellison, who would discuss the process, and ended by stating that "Tarzan never let go of the last vine until he had hold of the next vine," and the forthcoming process discussion would be along those lines.

Read the the rest of the article.

But they want us to show them that we're serious, by doing the things outlined above. Are we? Are they???)

Update 8/9/06 2:22 p.m. MT: We have just now received from Dian her report on the events at last night's council meeting, which preceded the above-described "work session."

Among other things, Boss Godfrey (with a completely straight face) apparently once again publicly reitered his denial of the existence of any ticket "quota" system, notwithstanding the admitted existence of a written policy requiring all police officers to write a fixed number of tickets in order to qualify, at least in part, for merit pay increases. How this oft-repeated statement squares with a common definition of the word "quota" leaves us feeling frankly mystified. Then again, many of we lumpentownsfolk simply don't have the "Godfrey Vision," we guess. As we have recently come to understand, normal definitions and conventions common to the "outside world" simply do not apply in our strange inverted universe known as MattGodfreyWorld.

Read Dian's Council Meeting Notes: 8/8/06 here.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

To Protect, To Serve, and To Tax -- Updated

By Matt Mossbarger

One of the main roles of government is protect its citizens from harm. The Nation has the military; municipalities have the police and fire departments. Somehow though, in Ogden, the role of government is not necessarily to protect as much as it is to “generate revenue”. The golf course is on the auction block because it does not meet the aforementioned criteria of generating revenue.

No one is talking about selling the police department though, because it can generate big bucks for the city. In the city’s Performance Evaluation Standards for police officers, definite quotas have been set. The City Council then pegged the merit raises for police officers to a 4 or greater on their performance evaluations. What do the merit evaluations have to do with city revenue? Tickets… and lots of them, and lots of money from those tickets.

Police officers must now write more tickets in order to get a raise in salary. In the pursuit of a meager 5% merit increase after years of no increase, police are now required to write a certain number of tickets according to their job title. Patrol and Master Patrol officers, whose main job it is to keep us safe from burglars, thieves, murderers, and drugs, are now required to write 5 citations a week with 3 to 5 of those citations being hazardous condition citations (drunk driving, reckless driving, etc.). Traffic and Master Traffic Officers are required to write 8 tickets per day. How much money is that?

The force has 13 Traffic Officers and 48 Patrol Officers. If everyone wants their raises, there must be a total of 240 tickets from the Patrol Officers and 624 from the Traffic Officers per week. Tickets come in all flavors and sizes, but the average ticket is estimated at $80. The city stands to gain big money from those tickets: $69,120 per week, $276,480 per month, or $3,317,760 per year.

The reason this became such an issue this year is that the city now has the methods and means for getting the whole pot of money. The city’s recent establishment of a Municipal Justice Court allows it to keep all the tickets and revenue in house. The state used to get much of the revenue, but the money can now remain solely with the city. The city now has all the pieces in place for a “revenue generating” machine.

This affects the average citizen of Ogden in many different ways. In fact, an outright tax on the citizens would have been more kind. The citizens, now fair game for tickets no matter how small the infraction, are facing higher insurance costs, loss of productivity while waiting for the officer to write the ticket, and increased crime. Increased crime? Oh yes. The police cannot patrol as much as they used to because they are too busy writing tickets for the city. The city is also only adding officers in the Traffic Division, even though we need more narcotics and patrol officers and detectives, who are overloaded with cases.

The police have been trying to combat the problem through making the citizenry aware of this change in policy. In exercising their First Amendment Rights and guarding their integrity, the officers are placing their jobs on the line. In one alleged incident, an officer’s wife was recently seen by Mayor Matthew Godfrey while she was getting out of a panel truck that had billboards protesting this change in policy. Allegedly, the Mayor then watched the officer’s wife as she met her husband, who was there to take her home. The Mayor then admitted following the off-duty officer and his wife, who were in a personal vehicle, for a few blocks, because “I thought I recognized the officer” as recorded on Fox 13. Two hours after being followed, the officer was met at his home by a lieutenant who relieved the officer of his badge, car, gun, and all other police equipment. The officer is now on “administrative leave” and, also allegedly, calls to the Mayor’s Office the next morning unveiled the fact that he had been “fired”. The story appeared on Fox 13 the next day.

The message is obvious. Don’t rock the boat; shut up and write tickets. The city of Ogden needs intelligent leadership, and we need to be safe in our streets. The citizens of this community should not put up with this silent tax from the city.


This article, originally dated July, 29, 2006, appears as a guest editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner. The author has graciously granted Weber County Forum second publishing rights, for which courtesy we thank him. Links have also been added by your ever-humble blogmeister.

Update 8/8/06 3:43 p.m. MT: We are posting this short update to confirm rumors circulating in the below comments section. Yes -- Boss Godfrey held an impromptu press conference early this afternoon, outside his throne-room on the municipal building ninth floor.

The purpose of this press gathering -- to announce that the Matt Jones internal investigation, together with all other issues pertaining to the Vangate controversy, are now being handed off to Weber County Attorney Mark Decaria's office for an independent investigation.

Among "other" issues specifically mentioned during this press conference -- and to be investigated by Mr. Decaria's office -- all issues surrounding the possible misuse by Boss Godfrey and/or Chief Greiner of the BCI computer database.

According to Mayor Godfrey, Mr. Decaria's investigation will be broad in scope, and will look into possible legal and ethical violations.

That's the gist of it. There were no other significant new factual revelations. Boss Godfrey has apparently told his story, and he's sticking to it.

We are pressed for time this afternoon, but will review our notes, and may possibly update this addendum later this afternoon.

Monday, August 07, 2006

City Council Discovers a Potential Conflict

The Vangate brouhaha is front page news in Emerald City again this morning, with this Scott Schwebke story headline, blaring beneath the Standard-Examiner banner: "Van raises free speech concerns."

The gist of the story is that it's finally dawned on at least one councilmember (namely Councilwoman Wicks) that City Attorney Gary Williams has an inherent conflict of interest in his capacity as legal advisor to the council in this matter, inasmuch as he is also the official legal representative of Boss Godfrey, the individual whose rash actions set this whole mess in motion.
Garcia stopped short of calling the request for an opinion from City Attorney Gary Williams a formal investigation into the July 27 incident involving Officer Matt Jones. Jones could not be immediately reached for comment. Garcia said he would like to know whether the First Amendment free speech rights of Jones and his wife have been violated.

“I would be interested in seeing what’s going on,” he said. “I am getting calls and e-mails daily about it. I want to make sure we have answers.”

Williams, who represents all municipal departments including the administration and City Council, declined to disclose his opinion on the van incident to the Standard-Examiner.

“My legal opinion has to be reserved for my clients,” he said.

An opinion from Williams would help address questions and concerns from residents about the van incident, City Council Vice Chairwoman Amy Wicks said.

“I’m concerned because it has caused a lot of citizens to be upset with what’s happened, and police officers are upset,” she said. “It’s a bad situation that needs to have some resolution to it soon, or it’s going to fester and get worse.”

It’s possible the City Council could hire a private attorney to provide a legal opinion since Williams is in the “awkward” position of representing both the council and administration, Wicks said.
"Awkward" is a gross understatement, we think. Williams is also the guy who'll be called upon to apply his considerable legal talent to bail Boss Godfrey out, euphemisticly speaking, and provide Chief Greiner much-needed political cover.

And in a truly unique reportorial tangent, Ace Reporter Schwebke meanders for a few paragraphs into an examination of the manner in which Vangate may be affecting the ongoing District 18 State Senate race:

Former Ogden Economic Development Director Stuart Reid, a Democrat who is challenging Greiner in November’s General Election, said he considers the chief a friend and declined to comment on the van incident.

“I made the decision that I’m not going to say anything bad about him,” Reid said.
Before we leap to the conclusion that Reid is behaving as a mere patsy for his Republican opponent, we must recall Reid's experience in his unsuccessful 1999 Salt Lake City mayoral election race. Although Reid had been leading in the polls prior to November of that year, Rocky Anderson came from behind and trounced Reid late in the game, after Reid's campaign "went negative." We're sure the memory of this setback is still painfully fresh in Reid's mind, and that whatever he does with respect to the Vangate controversy, he'll do with the utmost caution.

So what about it, gentle readers?

What say you about all this?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Kickstarting a Weekend Open Thread

News has been a little slow today, so we thought it might be desirable to set up an open thread -- something we haven't done at Weber County Forum in a while. For newcomers, an open thread is "open topic."

And we'd like to thank gentle reader Jason Rusch for the creative and highly amusing graphic image that we've embedded in today's article header.

The floor is open. Discuss anything you like. What's on our gentle readers' minds this weekend?

Update/Trip down memory lane 8/5/06 6:59 p.m. MT: One of our gentle readers now emails us a link to Fox 13's recent television broadcast. Caution: Do not try this at home unless you have a broadband connection. If you'd like to save this video to your own hard drive, you'd better do it now, as we're told that it will only remain online for about a week.

Who said it's a slow newsday?

Update 8/6/06 8:29 a.m. MT: This morning's Standard-Examiner edition features several topical items, including a strong editorial, which is highly critical of the actions of Boss Godfrey and Chief Greiner:

But what is the mayor doing shadowing protest trucks and calling on his police chief to run license plates of off-duty cops? And why is Greiner, who's also a candidate for state Senate, complicit in this action?

The actions by Godfrey and Greiner may not have violated the law regarding police administrators running plate numbers through police dispatch. But this much is certain: Godfrey and Greiner are their own worst enemies, and have engaged in the kind of strong-arm tactics that are disproportionate to the circumstances.

Furthermore, this is a cartoonish way to operate city government. Such pettiness leaves Ogden open to mockery, which in this case is entirely justified.

And speaking of matters "cartoonish," Calvin Grondahl outdoes himself, and proves once again that "a picture is worth a thousand words," with this brilliant and truly priceless cartoon commentary.

Last but not least, please don't miss Joan Carter's morning letter to the editor, which meanders from a comical comparision between Boss Godfrey and Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau, toward something decidedly "darker."

Comments, anyone?

Friday, August 04, 2006

City Council Ready To Untangle Boss Godfrey's Mess

By Curmudgeon

Excerpts from this morning's Salt Lake Tribune story:

Rising tension in Ogden over police and firefighter pay raises and free-speech rights has City Council members ready to step into the fray.

"Something has to be done," said Amy Wicks, vice chairwoman of the council. Councilmen Bill Glasmann and Rick Safsten agreed.

"This is not good. This is a black eye on everyone: the council, the administration, the police and now the public is affected," Glasmann said.

"This has gone from a disagreement at the bargaining table to too many conflicts and bitterness," Safsten said. "I'm extremely concerned about the status of things."

However, Safsten said he has confidence the chief acted properly. "I have confidence in Chief Greiner," he said.

"I'm getting calls and e-mails and people saying you can't just stand by while the mayor and chief of police are walking all over the police officers," Wicks said. "People think officer Jones ought to be able to express his opinion and his wife should be able to express an opinion."

Council contact information is available in the Weber County Forum "Government Toolkit," located at the top of our left sidebar. Keep the pressure on our City Council to treat Ogden's Finest fairly. Demand pay equity for our firefighters and police officers, and urge the Council to set up an independent investigation for Officer Matt Jones. Ogden Police Officers have gone out on a limb to inform the citizens of Emerald City about the existence of Boss Godfrey's traffic citation quota policy. We Townsfolk are therefore obliged, we believe, to stand in solidarity with our public safety officers, and to do our part, by vocally letting the council know exactly what we think about this administration's shabby and cold-hearted practices.

And a Weber County Forum "tip of the hat" to Kristen Moulton for scooping the Standard-Examiner yet again.

Update 8/4/06 2:39 p.m. MT: Readers of the KSL News website are having another field day, commenting on today's brand-new Boss Godfrey Super-sleuth story installment. For a few good laughs (about 70 so far,) be sure to check out the KSL Community Comment Board.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Boss Godfrey Sticks to His Preposterous "Cover" Story

They've told us we don't have freedom of speech at the workplace. Now it looks like they're pushing that to off-duty and your family members, as well.

Ogden Detective Shawn Grogan
Ogden cop linked to protest van put on leave
Salt Lake Tribune
August 1, 2006

I consider it a “gray” area whether officers' off-duty free-speech rights are broad enough to allow public criticism such as those carried by the moving van.

Ogden Chief of Police Jon Greiner
Ogden cop linked to protest van put on leave
Salt Lake Tribune
August 1, 2006

Off-duty officers and their families are free to express grievances regarding salary issues without fear of reprisal.

Brian Barnard
Salt Lake City Attorney
& First Amendment Litigator

Van focus of Ogden inquiry
August 1, 2006

The Northern Utah print media are all over Emerald City's ticket quota/officer suspension story this morning, with articles in both the Salt Lake Tribune and Standard-Examiner. For the convenience of our gentle readers, we provide links to Kristen Moulten's excellent report, and Scott Schwebke's latest reportorial tour-de-force.

Boss Godfrey and Chief Greiner continue to stick to the preposterous story that Officer Jones's summary suspension had "nothing to do" with Super-sleuth Godfrey's Thurday night stake-out, or the suppression of First Amendment rights. And a new wrinkle seems to have been added to the administration's posture: That the OPBA allegedly lied about the organization's involvement with the informational panel van project. The administration continues to pursue its draconian reprisal, and persists in painting itself into a corner which may ultimately result in the filing of a potentially-messy civil rights lawsuit.

As to the accusations of "lying," (and judging from his past performance,) we think Boss Godfrey may indeed be projecting.

And what are our gentle readers thoughts today on the latest developments in this matter?

Update 8/2/06 2:34 p.m. MT: For the sake of the continuing reader discussion, and in the interest of those unfortunates (like that attorney guy in Washington, D.C.) who don't have this morning's Boss Godfrey/NeoCON Propaganda Organ edition readily-available for purview, we link today's Scott Schwebke followup story, which uncovers new and seemingly conflicting "facts" surrounding the Super-sleuth Godfrey Caper, and builds the groundwork for the heartless and scurrilous all-out retaliatory personal attack on Officer Jones that many of our gentle readers have predicted.

Update 8/3/06 10:45 a.m. MT: Not to be left out in the cold in the reporting of this story, The Deseret News' Brandy A. Lee files this story in today's morning edition, which is filled to the brim with interesting tidbits. Among these, Utah State Representive Neil Hansen is now calling for an independent investigation.

And Ace Reporter Schwebke continues his series of reports this morning, affording Chief Greiner further opportunity to dig himself in even deeper. We presume Chief Greiner doesn't subscribe to the old cowboy saying: "When you're standing in a hole -- quit digging."

Speaking of old cowboy sayings -- Boss Godfrey was apparently having so much trouble keeping his story straight that he's now reportedly "Gotten Outta Dodge."

We swear we couldn't make up a story like this if we tried.

Update 8/3/06 11:43 a.m. MT: Gentle and alert reader Dian furnishes us a link to the KSL News website, where a print version of last night's 10:00 broadcast story has been uploaded. Be sure to check out KSL's viewer comments section, where 38 comments have already been logged.

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