Wednesday, August 23, 2006

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.

29 comments:

sharon said...

I had made the assumption that each of us emailing the Council/mayor with disapproval for his recent proposals to the PC had told why we were against them.

It's a good idea to suggest other NAMES. I wondered in an earlier thread if the PC members could do that as they know just what they do and what kind of experience, etc is needed on the PC.

Giving a speed read to the definition of 'blight', I suppose there are areas in Ogden that qualify because of 'criminal activity and unsantiary conditions.'

However, overall, Ogden doesn't fit into the framework the mayor has broadcast so often while promising the gondola will lift Ogden to UNblightness!

Thanx for another good job, Dian.

the meaner me said...

Dian,
You are practically restoring my faith in humanity. I admire your effort to shine a light on the City Council to help all of us hold them accountable.

Curmudgeon said...

Glassman Disagrees With Mayor?

Thank you again for your report, Dian. And I think some very interesting things did happen at the meeting. For example, it seems that Councilman Glassman differs with Mayor Godfrey [sometimes a wise thing to do] on very important matters. You reported: Councilman Glassman 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."

That was especially interesting since this morning the Standard Examiner reported that Mayor Godfrey is upset by the idea of citizens becoming involved in public affairs and asking questions. [Link?] He wants Smart Growth Ogden to remove yard signs which urge people to "get involved" and "ask questions." Mr. Glassman urged people last night to stay involved in public affairs, to continue to attend Council meetings. I wonder why the mayor finds that idea so upsetting he wants lawn signs encouraging people to do it removed. Very curious. Most mayors I know of encourage greater public involvement in civic affairs. Mayor Godfrey, apparently, opposes it.

Which of course makes me wonder this: just what questions doesn't the mayor want asked? And why doesn't he want them asked? What's he afraid of?

And Councilman Glassman noted, absolutely correctly, that Ogden is apparently experiencing a development boom. Lots of smart growth is happening right now. [See for example Mr. Safsten's comments on the opening of the new Tree House Museum on the old mall site.] And not a gondola to be seen. Imagine that. Apparently, Mr. Glassman does not think Ogden is in the "downward spiral" the Mayor likes to cite as a reason to sell the largest park in Ogden to his real estate speculator friend, Mr. Peterson.

I think Mr. Glassman should be congratulated for encouraging Ogden citizens to get, and stay, involved in public affairs, and to keep asking questions about city governance. He is absolutely right. And the Mayor, who, the SE reports, opposes asking citizens to get and stay involved and to keep asking questions about how their city is governed is --- as he so often is of late --- wrong.

I find it embarrassing to have Ogden led by a Mayor who thinks it part of his role as an elected public official to discourage broad public involvement in civic affairs.

althepal said...

This comment by Glasmann certainly caught my attention:

"He ended by stating his willingness to serve Ogden in whatever capacity."

What the hell is THAT supposed to mean?

Does this telegraph some kind of weird "lateral career move?"

I'm going to be VERY disappointed with Glasmann if he pulls a Mark Johnson job switch on us, now that he seems to be finally learning the government ropes.

dian said...

I, in turn, really appreciate those who read these reports and comment on them. It has long been my belief that the public is far from being apathetic--the public is constantly accused of this and I think it unfounded. I think people Want to know what goes on in government at all levels. Although government is accountable to us, it is we who are responsible for those in it, and so of course we want to know what they're doing.

I'm glad Curmudgeon has brought up the latest--covered in both the Standard Examiner and the Salt Lake Tribune, regarding Mayor Godfrey's request to Smart Growth Ogden and Lift Ogden to please remove their signs. I object very strongly to the very making of this request.

I would not, at this point at least, state that this request implies a threat to those who do not comply with it and remove their signs. But I do draw attention to the current situation of Matt Jones, our police officer who is on administrative leave because his wife was seen parking a van displaying signs unfavorable to the Mayor. In view of that recent event, this request of Mayor Godfrey's, as well as being ill-timed, does indeed at least communicate official displeasure with those who display signs.

This is not right for a public official to do, in my opinion, and I am surprised that the Mayor is not taking into account the happenings of a mere three years ago, when Bruce Edwards successfully won a lawsuit against Ogden City on this very issue.

Judge Baldwin stated, “ The sweeping inclusion of the ban understandably would dismay the average American, who given this nation’s proudly proclaimed history of special respect for individual liberty and private property, would be surprised to learn that he could not display flags, religious symbols, political placards, or even bumper stickers from the windows of his vacant building.”

More information about that lawsuit is linked below:

Free Speech Triumphs in Ogden, Utah
Second District Court Overturns City’s Ban on Core Political Speech on Private Property

dian said...

Althepal,

"In whatever capacity," was not a direct quote from Councilman Glasmann, I don't think. At least, I did not write it down as such. The impression made by his closing remarks was that he was more than willing to do anything he could to serve Ogden during such an exciting time.

Just wanted to clarify that.

was there said...

Dian-

Your report is correct.

"In whatever capacity," was a direct quote from Councilman Glasmann.

sharon said...

Regarding Godfrey's whining over SG not taking down their signs, it occurs to me that this is a ploy as he gears up to perpetrate another name for the PC.

Hoping we'll scratch our collective heads and wonder, 'now did we see a LO sign in that guy's yard? nope, guess he's unbiased."

RIGHT!

Good for Bruce Edwards...Bravo Judge Baldwin.

LL likes this equation best: no questions = no answers

He hasn't answered the questions asked him a year ago by SG.

My sign stays planted. I was heartened to read Mary Hall's comments today in the SE that 30 more asking citizens want the signs too.

I also think that now that the Gen'l Plan has been amended, albeit for a seemingly innocuous cause; nevertheless, the recent precedent has been established. Bears watching.

I should hope that all Council persons will continue to have the lofty goal of serving our city to the best of their ability.

I hope to see some names put forth for the PC by you good 'in the know' readers here. Perhaps some PC members will post here?

Anonymous said...

I'm not really anonymous. My name is Caril. I have TWO SmartGrowthOgden signs in my business window, right across the street from the mayor's office. I hope he can see them when he looks out his window because they are going to stay there.

I believe in asking questions. Otherwise, why have a brain - or a heart?

Anonymous said...

When has Matt Godfrey ever cared about the contention and division any subject has brought to our city? His whole time in office has been just that. I really wonder what he's up to.

Anonymous said...

If a name for Planning Commission is suggested on this site, wouldn't that automatically show them as a "pawn of the SGO side?" Any suggested names that show up here wouldn't have a chance!

Britney Spears said...

Great idea, anony!

We could persuade Godfrey to nominate Rudi to the planning commission!

He could delete all his posts and be on there just like Dustin!

Curmudgeon said...

Anon:

I understand that some members of the Council have asked to receive names of people suitable for Planning Commission nomination. If you know of any, please submit their names, along with a letter explaining why you think they'd be a good choice, to a Council member. Throwing names up on a blog is all well and good [and sometimes lots of fun], but if you want a suggestion taken seriously, I'd put it in a note to a Council member and copy the Mayor's office, or put it in a note to the Mayor and copy the Council. Either way.

matt G said...

Rudi for Planning Commisioner
Makes perfect sense
Every one knows that
he is not biased
in any way.
Makes sense
to me.

Matt G.

ArmySarge said...

Caril - where and what is yrou business. I will buy some of yrou stuff, even if I dont't need it!

Curmudgeon said...

Sigh.

The front page of today's Standard Examiner has another story perhaps worth talking about on WCF where questions about the ethics of elected officials seem to come up with some frequency. The story involves Rep. Patricia Jones [D-Holliday] who is running, as a Democrat, for a seat in the Utat State Senate. The problem is, she regeistered recently as a Republican.

Why? In order to vote in a Republican primary election for a candidate [unnamed] she favored. Since Republican Party rules permit only registered party members to vote in primary elections, she was, she says, "forced to register as a Republican."

That is a large and odorous pile of horse manure. She had no business, as a Democrat, voting in a Republican primary. And the suggestion that she was "forced" to do it is exactly the kind of "the dog ate my homework" excuse elected politicians offer up when they get caught doing something unethical that helps turn many, especially young people, away from politics altogether.

Why shouldn't she have changed her registration to vote in the Republican primary? After all, the laws permit her to do that. Here's why: it was dishonest. That should be a simple enough idea for even the dimmest of elected officials to grasp. It was dishonest.

Sailing under false colors is never an ethical thing for an elected official, or a candidate, to do. Never. Ms. Jones owes an apology to the Republicans of her district for interfering in their primary election.

I know, I know, the Democratic Party opens its primary elections in Utah to all comers. That is the Party's right because in Utah the parties make their own primary election rules. [By the way, open primaries are a very bad idea, in my view. I can see permitting independents to vote in a party's primary election as an exercise in party-building. But registered members of another party should never cross over and cannot do so, honor intact. Neither parties nor laws should encourage them to behave dishonorably.]

It's hard enough to convince the young who are staying away from the polls in appalling numbers every election, that all politicians are not alike, that "they all do it" is not an acceptable excuse for unethical conduct.

And it absolutely can not be done at all if parties don't criticize their own for unethical conduct when they become aware of it. Democrats can no more give Ms. Jones a pass on her election day dishonesty than Republicans can look the other way at Congressman Cannon's using his powers to do legislative favors for his lobbiest brother's clients. Ordinary Democrats like me, and party leaders, need to say, publically, that what Ms. Jones did is not acceptable. Just as ordinary Republicans and party leaders, and in particular Mr. Bishop, need to say, publically, that what Mr. Cannon did is not acceptable.

Yes. It matters.

ArmySarge said...

I am SHOCKED! S H O C K E D!!!!!
Are you saying that a "D" did a no-no?? Say ti isn't so..........

sharon said...

Curm...I soooo agree with you!
Mrs. Jones has been dishonest. Just like the Cannon Bros. are skating on very thin ethical ice.

Both (all three) need to be censured by their parties.

Matt Godfrey, it has been told many times, registered Republican so he could be a delegate!

We know of his dishonesty. We know what a democrat his daddy-in-law is...hard to fathom that Ed would smile so benevolently on this kid mayor if he was truly republican.

Expediency at all costs. It's in both parties. Shame on them.

And tho I asked for names, I now say that was a bad idea. For yes, any names appearing here would be considered UNbiased. You nailed it Curm..and whoever asked the same question...send your UNbiased names to your council members.

If you are acquaintedd with the PC members, I suggest that you enocurage them to remit names to the mayor also. THAT should carry some weight.

Curmudgeon said...

Army:

Well, if I'm going to thump R's when they cross the line, seems to me I have to thump D's just as hard. Harder, maybe, since they're my people.

More broadly, things aren't going to change much until each party begins to hold its own members accountable for unethical conduct. Dems will always point out Republican ethical problems; Republicans will always point out Democratic ethical problems. And it will all be dismissed as "just politics." The primary responsibility for keeping a party's elected officials on the straight and narrow is that party's own leadership. And failing that, that party's own membership. Not only is it the right thing to do, for the country. It's also, in the long run, the smart thing to do for the party involved.

Think how much better off the Republican party would be today if a few years ago the members of Congress had said to Tom DeLay, "hey, Tom, fund raising is one thing, but this is going off the rails. This Abrahamov thing is way over the line. Back off or step down as leader." But they didn't. They first tried to change the rules after he'd been indicted so he could remain House leader [with Bobble Head Rob Bishop nodding yes with the rest] until that became so embarassing they had to change the rules back again [with Bobble Head Rob Bishop again nodding yes with the rest.] Some leadership. Or think how much better off Matt Godfrey would be if his Republican compatriot Chief Greiner had said "Sorry, Matt. Can't do it. Can't run the plate for you. Not allowed. You know better, Matt." But he didn't.

Are there good signs? A few. To take my party for example, look at Cong. Jefferson of La. He's not yet been indicted for a crime, but serious allegations have been raised about him and they appear at this point to be credible. And what did the Congressional Dems do? They removed him, by vote, from his key committee post. Even though party rules did not require it. Even though he has not yet been charged with any crime. Even though he is an African American Democratic Congressman from a battle ground state in which the Democrats must have black voters in large numbers to win anything. Even though the Congressional Democratic Black Caucus opposed the move. For one, I'm proud of my guys. It was the right move, to retain public confidence in the Congress. And in the party. If he's exonerated, in the end, he'll get his ranking member post back. And that will be the right thing to do then.

But, as I said, if I'm going to go after Elephants for moral turpitude, and I am, I have to go after Donkey's for the same, just as hard or harder.

Of course, of late, you guys are providing a lot more opportunities. The Leavitts' cosy "charitable" trust; Sen. Bennett's quietly taking thousands under the table to pay off decades old campaign debts; Mr. Cannon's... oh, let's just say interesting... legislative services provided to his brother's clients. And of course, Hizzonah The Mayor's junior G-man episode and Forgettful John Grenier's aiding and abetting.

I'd like to see the leadership of both parties, and failing that, the rank and file of both, raising holy hell with their own people, publically and loudly, when elected officials start claiming that sub-paragraph 27, line 6, codicil 14b makes it OK for Congressmen to fly to Scotland to play golf on a lobbiest's dime, so long as they say "fact finding" three times on the plane going over and coming back, with their fingers crossed.

outraged said...

And Godfrey shouldn't have asked Greiner to run the plate in the first place.

And Godfrey shouldn't have been following a citizen down the street like some molester.

And Godfrey shouldn't have followed a car to 'see who was driving."

And Godfrey shouldn't have such thin skin that he has to control other people's comments and rights to speak out against him.

And Godfrey and Greiner are equals in this deplorable situation of stifling free speech.

And both are vindictive, small-minded bullies.

God help us if Greiner OR the dishonest Reid are elected to the UT Senate.

Godfrey looking for a legacy? He'll leave a rotten one if either of these morally bankrupt men are elected!

A little bird told me said...

I heard that Lard Ass Mark Johnson is going to run for Mayor, he wants to see that the narrow minded vision is carried through to the end. What do you all think of that?

HUH?? said...

Hummers for everyone!

see, I Told you so said...

Now, now, all of you think that the closed primary is a good idea.
well if the republicans want to close their primaries then why should we as tax-payers pay for their primary.
if the republicans don't want just any tom, dick or harry to vote in the paimary then have the 50% plus one rule at the county convention.
but when you start to use the taxpayers money then lets not limit who and who can't vote in an election.
once you do that, which the republican party has done, then you have cut all those people out of the democratic process that have to be nutreal, such as religious leaders, judges, and those that can not show bias. so if the repulicans want a closed primary then they should have to pay for it. end of debate.

mother, baseball and apple pie said...

as for Markie Johnson running for mayor, does he really think that people will vote for him when he resigned to take a job with the adminstation. if he quits midterm, that show he would do it again. I would not and will not vote for someone who quits midterm.

Anonymous said...

Dear ArmySarge,

Caril, here. For many years people have been working to improve Ogden by making it an arts supportive city. You can visit many of them and help create an open, flourishing city by joining in the First Friday Art Stroll - on 25th Street from Union Station to ArtStop, along Washington Boulevard (both ways), then to the Eccles Community Art Center and WSU's Kimball Visual Arts Center.

Go see the arts and crafts, talk to old friends and make new ones, see what is happening and have a good time. There is more than one way to build a city!

My family is making its contribution to grow the City we love. I know that's one more reason it is disappointing to have the mayor continually run Ogden down in order to promote his own vision. He might attract even more business if he offered more than sour grapes.

Butt Head said...

You said Hummer, Ha, Ha,Ha

Curnudgeon said...

On Improving Downtown Ogden

Interesting op ed piece in this morning's Standard Examiner by someone named Aaron Nilsen, an Ogden attorney. [OK, OK, not everyone makes wise career choices; don't be judgmental.] He reviews, some, the history of 25th Street and various [competing] plans for its regeneration.

He warns against homogenizing and sanitizing 25th Street in order to "save" it to the point that no one would recognize it. Ends up arguing for something like this: Let 25th Street be 25th Street. In that regard, the lead article in this week's City Weekly is interesting too. It's the one with "Bye Bye Sugarhouse" [or something like it] on the cover. Reports that now that Sugarhouse is a hot neighborhood, the SLC Planning Commission is rapidly "improving" it out of existence, okaying mall developments stuffed with blow-dried, sanitized chain store constructions that are driving out the pedestrian traffic and small locally-owned businesses that made the neighborhood intersting, pedestrian-friendly and a fun place to live and shop in the first place. Which is pretty much what Mr. Nilson is worried will happen to 25th Street.

By the way, while you have the latest City Weekly in your hands, be sure to check out the "Hits and Misses" column, which has a brief item about our Very Own Mayor Matthew Godfrey's escapades as a "junior G-man." [Hey, that's what the CW called him, not me. Honest.]

Curmudgeon said...

See I told You...

Well, we'll have to disagree on this. Primary elections are an integral part of the electoral process and as such, I have no problem with them being paid for, as are other key parts of the electoral process, by the taxpayers. Particularly given the country's history with respect to primaries. Used to be, after the Civil War amendments made it illegal to discriminate against voters in elections on the basis of race, southern states got around that by deciding that primary elections were exclusively each party's business, and each party could exclude whoever it wanted from its primaries. Like, for example, blacks. So having state regulation of the primary process seems wise, and having primaries considered to be, in some sense, part of the public's oversight responsiblities, seems a good idea to me.

Now, about open primaries: still a bad idea. When you open them to all, by law, as some states, like Missouri, do, you get situations like this [happened in a recent Missiouri primary election I am told.] Republicans had a no-contest primary going [only one candidate]. Dems had, for the same office, a three-party race under way. And so apparently many Republicans crossed over to vote in the Democratic primary for the candidat their party's leaders thought was the weakest of the Democratic candidates, so the Republican nominee would have the best chance of winning the actual election to follow. This kind of manipulation of the other party's nomination process, is not healthy. For the state of Missouri or the nation. And it's the open primary system that permits it.

If we are to have a party system, and no one's come up with anything that works better that I can see, then each party should be in control of its own nominations. And yes, the primaries should be run by, and paid for by, the state to insure a reasonable level of fairness.

So, as I said, we are going to have to disagree about this.

Curmudgeon said...

Comment moved by blog administrator to new article thread

© 2005 - 2014 Weber County Forum™ -- All Rights Reserved