Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Kudos to the Emerald City Council

Council Gives the Peterson Non-proposal Nonsense the Heave-ho.

By Gentle Reader Sharon

Well, kudos to the Council tonight! Of course, we shouldn't have had to be at that meeting to discuss a 'process' for the non-proposal and pipedream of Godfrey/Peterson/Ellison in the first place!

However, we were there..a full house too.

Only one person spoke in favor of the nonsense...one woman seemed a bit confused by the whole 'process and resolution' and didn't know which side of the fence she was on.

We all know what happens to people who sit on the fence...they get splinters in their bums.

The rest of were adamantly opposed to giving one more moment of time, energy and taxpayers' money to this scam.

I thought that Susan Van Hooser was articulate and right on the ball tonight. She shot out the gate to be first to propose the motion to vote AGAINST (not just 'table') the resolution. This was seconded by Doug Stephens...then Stephenson and Safsten immediately countered with their motion to approve the resolution with a lot of high falutin' words in defense of the resolution smudged so heavily with Ellison's fingerprints.

However, cooler heads prevailed and the vote was properly taken on the Van Hooser motion and it passed 5 to 2...with all in favor EXCEPT Stephenson and Safsten. No surprise there.

There was applause for this clear headed Council as the meeting ended.

Many of us went up to shake hands with the members and thank them for LISTENING to the people. Ms Van Hooser said that since she's been on the Council as of Sept 29...she's rec'd only ONE remark in favor of the Godfrey/Peterson gondola/land grab. She eloquently reminded the Council that the people's wishes must be heeded.

A young man from Bonneville high school stepped to the podium to ask if the people can vote on this non-proposal and one other question, which I don't recall at this moment. He waited...no answers forthcoming from the Council members...so he turned away and sat down.

That's a question that has been asked many times of this Administration over other issues...the answer, young man, is this: "This is a Republic, and the mayor was elected to make decisions for us." That from the mouth (either side) of the Grand Wizard his very own self.

It was so refreshing to have Boy Scouts from three troops there tonight. They led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and stayed for the entire meeting. Two Scoutmasters spoke. The young men were working on their Citizenship badges. One speaker alluded to them and suggested that Chris Peterson should be attending these meetings but HE wouldn't earn a Citizenship badge. Laughter ensued.

I thought that the remarks made tonight were passionate in defense of Ogden's beautiful natural treasures. I believe the last speaker said it all: "Put NOT FOR SALE signs on our precious open spaces".

Chair Garcia really took hold tonight. The best I've seen him in this role. Also Vice Chair Wicks enumerated all the times that Godfrey told the Council plans were forthcoming...and nary a word...since '05.

Some reminded the Council that Peterson himself has said that if WSU doesn't sell their land...'nothing happens'...well, let us hope WSU follows the Council's lead and just says NO.

It is time, as Ms Van Hooser reminded us, to get on with other important business: The Junction, River Project and FrontRunner is coming.

Will we be ready?

112 comments:

Michael Anthony said...

it is refreshing to see Ogden's City Council finally fill the role they were elected to.

This Godfrey, Geiger, Peterson Gondola scam has gone on far too long. It has cost the citizens far too much time, money and anxiety. Hopefully tonight's council action will finally put a bullet in the head of this horrid Gondola monster.

Mayor Van Hooser anyone? It is interesting that the only member of the council that was not elected is emerging as the intellectual leader and a true representative of the people (unlike the last appointed member who was there only for the mayor). It is also strange that the only people on the council with any balls are the women. Tonight's action does give us a little bit of hope for Garcia and Stephens though. Maybe they are slowly growing a pair themselves?

Stephenson and Safsten are both up for election in the fall. Let's dump them both. Neither one of them represent the citizens of Ogden. They both are Godfrey sycophants and knowing dupes.

ArmySarge said...

I often criticize this council. I now offer my hearty congratulations for a job well done!

observer said...

Michael...how does one become a KNOWING dupe?

Only in Ogden, methinks.

You are correct though. Jeske, Wicks and Van Hooser are a formidable trio when they work together.

I suppose the Geiger guys are in Vegas with Godfrey (so bobby G wasn't snarling at us) telling the big lie to the ski companies...all about how they can step out their door onto the gondola to Malan's.

SUCK ERRRRS!

althepal said...

"Unknowing Dopes" is more like it.

Rick Safsten said...

Hopefully the name-calling children have gone off to school and we can get back to a civil conversation...

I am interested to understand more of the history behind the development of the Mt. Ogden Golf Course. Can anyone recall the discourse that went on the city when the Mt. Ogden Golf Course was developed? What were the citizens saying then when the city sold off green space, parklands to George Hall to build the gated community?

If anyone reading this was around then, I would be interested in what was said in the city at that time.

Thanks.

Rick Safsten said...

Sharon,

It is important to remember that last night's resolution was on the PROCESS, not the PROPOSAL. It was not a vote on the proposal, which, as we all know, does not yet exist.

The negative response from the public in the meeting and received via telephone, e-mail, and letters by the council is undeniable.

That does not mean that we can run away from dealing with the issues. The status quo in Ogden is unsustainable. Here are some facts that the City Council AND the community must come to grips with--even if Mr. Peterson NEVER gives us his proposal.

#1) The city is not currently receiving revenues sufficient to pay for the operations, let alone improvements, at the Mt. Ogden Golf Course. What will we do about that? Do we want a tax increase to pay for the operations and improvements at the Mt. Ogden Golf Course? Where do the funds come from to pay for the shortfall?

#2) What will we do about the lands under ownership or under option by Mr. Peterson?

#3) The city's finances are solvent, but are nothing to brag about. What are we going to do about it? Expanding the tax base helps the city to avoid raising taxes to respond to the ever-rising increases in the cost to run the city. Are we serious about this issue? Or, are we simply going to pass the problems onto the next council or generation? Do the residents of Ogden have the will necessary to avoid tax increases by finding ways to expand the tax base? I am not saying that Mr. Peterson's proposal would help expand the tax base. We don't have his proposal so we don't know exactly what fiscal impact (positive or negative) he would have on the city.

#4) The city has made dramatic cuts in several departments and operations over the last several years to avoid raising taxes and to respond to the higher costs of running the city. These cuts have been met with large opposition. There is a large amount of congnitive dissonance going on when someone opposes budget cuts in the city and also opposes virtually all development which would expand the tax base. What would those folks have us do?

I told you so said...

Tommorrow Rep. Neil Hansen will be presenting his bill HB0255 Prohibition of Citation Quotas (N. Hansen)
The committee meeting will be held:
Thursday, 1/25/2007
8:00 AM
Room W025, West Office Building, State Capitol Complex

For any of those that would like to let the administation know how un happy this has made the citizens in Ogden.
get on the phone and let the people know that is time for the public to be heard and to show up and speak up on this.
this is where the public hearing is.

Anonymous said...

To Rick Safsten,

Do you just like to scare people or do you want to solve problems?

I say cut the business development dept. and apply the money to all the other departments. Get rid of all of Godfrey’s high dollars mouth pieces and apply to the money to all of the other dept.

According to the Organization of Utah Taxpayers, Ogden City is currently spending way more money in business development than any other city in Utah. Looking at our budget, if we just cut back in that area (and not entirely) and cut back in our RDA type project spending we could eliminate our budget deficit.

Go look at our budget and start comparing our expenditures to those of like sized and similarly situated cities with in Utah. Then let’s start looking at improving inner city Ogden. That will both save cost to certain dept within the city and add to the city coffers as things improve in tax value there.

Safsten, do you want to help solve the problem or just find someone else to do it for you?

Ogden got to where it is by people in positions like yours that just wanted to hand off the problem to someone else for a quick fix. Of course those offering the fixes then were pursuing some type of business opportunity that they convinced the likes of you that would solve Ogden's problems. If you truly want to help fix our problems you’re going to have to dig into what our problems are. There is no quick fix for Ogden! We need to address the state of our inner city to make it a more desirable place to live again. This will take time and commitment.

You can only sell off land and avoid the real problem until you’ve sold off all the land. When you get down to selling off the parks I’d say you’re getting pretty desperate. Actions like that in retrospect will prove more damaging than you think. Who wants to live in a community without parks?

Are you up for the work (if so roll up your sleeves and start tearing apart the books) or just in the position for the glory?

Rick Safsten said...

Anonymous,

Where to begin? First of all...don't be frightened. Nobody is asking you to be afraid.

The budget for the city's economic development department is actually not very large at all, contrary to public perception. The large budget you are referring to belongs to the Redevelopment Authority.

The city does not have a budget deficit. State law makes it illegal for cities to have a budget deficit.

When you compare our budgets to other cities of similar size, you will see that our tax rates are very high. They are high because our property values are relatively low, the amount of taxable properties are relatively low (WSU, Fed. Govt, etc...) and we have a poor retail sales tax base.

How do we turn that around? We cut city expenses, work to bring in businesses that pay taxes, etc...

I am willing to address these issues---are you?

Tec Jonson said...

Mr. Safsten,

You are obviously one person among several who still do't get it. The Urban Gondola is a myth. There is need for study. I am not against Peterson acquiring some acreage to build a base station and develop his own land via mountain gondola. You have conveniently ignored much evidence that a gondola system is not a transit system and thus...we do not need to sell the golf course or any other land to finance it. DONE DEAL!!!

Let's stick to that specific topic and resolve it. Listen again clearly, There is not one single urban Gondola system in the world. Find me one and we will talk about it. Our transit needs, nor the parking needs, nor success of, a proposed mountain resort depend on a gondola which cannot provide the transit utility our community needs. Why is it that you and other supporters cling to this. I have researched it and I would be first to endorse an urban gondola if it were appropriate. So must we continually revisit the stupid golf course sale when IT IS NOT NECESSARY.

The mayor and peterson continually refer to experts that can show it's utility. Well then let's here from them and decide then, instead of all this scrambling like no one but experts can provide some analysis or answers. If Doppelmayer thought this was such a great idea they would be up here with booths and educating us on the utility of their system. instead, I assure you, they are sitting in their offices chuckling and waiting for Ogden to pull together a 4.5 mile contract for them. Would they want to jeapordize that with facts. Hell no. They will, like any astute business not draw judgement and certainly sell us a gondola system like they would to anybody else. Of course they would not want to promote a sale that is so stupid, but they would surely be comfortable allowing us to make the mistake on our own. You have shown you are unwilling or unable to understand the transit issue and transit conveyances and thus should be voted out as this community faces many key decisions over the next several years involving transit zoning and corridors.

I pity those who live in a shell of protected logic. Unwilling to view things in the objective, resolve with fact, and move on, never to revisit that which has proven inappropriate.

I hope you do not see this as name calling. Please do not use that to ignore the obvious, there is no case for an Urban Gondola and thus we keep our Parklands. Win-Win...you lose

sharon said...

"Work to bring in businesses that pay taxes..." That seems to be the prudent thing to do.

Ogden will soon have a new and exciting business at the airport. This business will eventually employ 180 to 200 persons. Most of these employees will have technical skills and be paid above averge salaries.

What good news for Ogden. BTW, this company did not come to our city with its hand out for 'tax breaks'....
How novel is that?

Mr. Safsten, how do you suggest we entice restaurants, fast food 'joints', bookstores, shops with interesting wares, perhaps a bakery to locate in the area of the FrontRunner debarking visitors?

I wish the city had spent the time and energy its invested into a pipedream into REAL businesses that pay taxes, so that Ogden will be ready to welcome all those visitors we hope to entertain.

Will a half dozen more ski equipment companies be enough to bring folks up to Ogden on FrontRunner?

Too bad the Shupe Williams building burned down, isn't it? That was destined to become a lovely museum...celebrating our County's heritage. I could envision that, along with Union Station as being a real tourist stop.

How nice to sit inside a bakery with delicious aromas while enjoying a cup of coffee and a croissant. How charming to enjoy a sandwich under an awning in a sidewalk patio.

How can I help, Mr. Safsten?

Tec Jonson said...

This continued revisiting of the golf course sale is akin to walking into a wall thinking there shoud be a doorway there. The evidence shows that a doorway there is inappropriate based on the floorplan and obscured framing. But they're persistent, and will continue to walk right smack into that damn wall insisting there should be a doorway there. Hope your forehead is O.K.

Jason W. said...

The problem with Mr. Safsten's argument -- which is the exact refrain the Lift Ogden zombies have been spouting for two years now -- is that there is no evidence to suggest this non-proposed project has any economic benefit or is in any way a financial panacea.

In fact, there's much research and data available to allow a reasonable adult to reach opposite conclusions:

1. The urban gondola cost has never been finalized (new estimates are around $60 million). How many people would ride it and when? Who would these people be? Who is willing to drive to Wall and pay a fare (even if it's reasonable) to ride a gondola when it's 10 or 100 degrees outside? None of these questions can be answered, but logic dictates that the prospect of an urban gondola is a financial albatross, not a gilded conveyance that brings gold to all those lucky poor souls who live along 23rd Street and Harrison, the route to Ogden renaissance.

2. Residential developments such as the gated community envisioned take between 20 to 30 years to pay for themselves with property tax revenues in terms of services. In the short run, Ogden would actually lose a lot of money on this one (see any local municipality that is looking to develop what we already have, which is a downtown business district and outlying manufacturing bases). The downtown redevelopment and the continued recruitment of high-paying manufacturing and other skilled jobs will help our tax base; the promises of rich Austrian tourists boarding silly gondolas and zipping above the heads of gang members on 23rd Street will not.

3. The roadless resort is not feasible, and never will be built. Never. It's a baiting strategy because, as Mr. Integrity the mayor told the SL Trib editorial board, he believes the zipping cars would go to Snowbasin. I don't know how many more Sinclair executive denials of this claim have to be made before they starting suing Ogden City.

4. The whole idea is stupid. Really, really, really, really stupid. As as a speaker suggests, we are all being made fools of because of it.

Tec Jonson said...

Well Ric,

You have conveniently excused yourself from the conversation, it seems, just as the facts, and the challenges roll in.

I hate to make your visit to WCF so uncomfortable. I would surely love to have a conversation with you either here or in private. I'll buy lunch. I'm a real civil guy. In fact, let's go ride the Snowbasin gondola together and observe it's operation and I can explain to you in simple words and pictures why this is not apllicable to our needs. I hate to see a guy who is so well meaning get caught up in such distortion. I would much rather help you get the facts so you can have some solid ground to stand on.

Rick Safsten said...

Tec,

Let's forget about the gondola for now and focus on my points. If the gondola idea went away tomorrow, almost all of my previous points would still exist.

I have never given a public declaration or opinion on the gondola proposal primarily because it does not exist. When/If we get the proposal, I will give my opinion on it. In the meantime, I would appreciate it if people would not make assumptions of my opinions on the matter.

Tec Jonson said...

Rick, you are again mixing the issues. "The Gondola Proposal" is a pretty broad statement given the enormity nad co-dependence of this non-proposal.

The other issues are seperate and can be dealt with outside of "The Gondola Proposal" so I would prefer not to mix them...oranges and apples as they say

I am sticking to the single point of ...If a gondola is inappropriate as a transit conveyance for Ogden ...BIGGER FRIGGIN' CAPITALS please ...WE DO NOT NEED TO SELL THE GOLF COURSE.

It is backwards logic to say that if the golf course is losing money then lets look at selling =it and investing the money in a gondola system for a non-proposed resort.

Sheez..is that so hard to absorb

Tec Jonson said...

Just because a gondola proposal does not exist is not an excuse to not get informed. In case the proposal comes through, It would be handy for you to be informed on these things now or then but sooner than later. Who will you look to for your facts. I would always prefer to be informed sooner than later. I never in my education conveniently set aside the opportunity to get informed just because I am not in need of that information at the moment. Maybe I'm a junkie for factual stuff. Better than wallowing in disinformation. Thje fact is that "The Gondola Project" is on many folks minds and in many conversations. How can anyone have a conversation about it at all if they know nothing about gondola systems?

Tec Jonson said...

You say you will give your opinion on it later when a proposal comes forth. I'm not looking for your opinion. Opinions are something people own and can be based on very little beyond emotion or supposition. I am offering you facts so you can move on and bolster your POSITION..whatever it may be. I am confident I can present to you immense factual information that will relieve you of fence sitting and allow you to initiate some leadership on this issue.

Tec Jonson said...

The USA is preparing for a war with Iran. A proposal has not been brought forth, yet military movements are clearly situating themselves. Many politicians will hold their opinion until a proposal is formally introduced . In the meantime, the opportunity to get informed, passes many of them by, so that when the day to vote on a resolution comes, they only have their opinion to guide them. HAving passed on the opportunity to get the data earlier that a war with Iran is a bad idea, they vote for the resolution anyway because the general consensus and emotional sway is they pose a threat to someone.

Follow the steps that took us to Iraq... same path. All founded in disinformation...WMD, Chemical weapons, War on Terror...blah, blah blah

Many parallels to the Peterson Proposal.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Safsten mentioned that the city budget is (of course) balanced because of a State mandate to that effect. However, what will happen in the future when bills for current projects come due? Who is paying for the Rec Center, for the Ogden River Project, the municipal portion (if it comes to pass) of relocating St. Anne's? [I won't even mention municipal indebtedness for cost overruns on an urban gondola.] Just how are all these projects being funded? By long-term municipal indebtedness, the proceeds from the Shupe Williams fire, or is there really a Santa Claus?

The piper will demand payment eventually, and I don't get a sense of good overall money management coming from City Hall at present.

It was pointed out here several months ago that the Mayor was massaging the Golf Course numbers to paint the blackest possible picture of its finances. Even if it is operating at a loss, that is no reason to sell the land it sits on. The Golf Course is a service provided to the citizens. Do other municipal parks operate at a profit? I don't see kiddies putting quarters into meters before running on the grass.

I am deeply troubled by an administration that carries on about a supposed $300K loss and then turns around and commits the city to spending millions on, not one, but several diverse projects.

Rick Safsten said...

Tec,

When did I say I am not trying to be informed? (Hint: We have received tons of information from the beginning. )

When did I say that selling the golf course was a "good idea?" (Hint: there are many alternatives to fixing the golf course question)

When did I say that the gondola was a good idea for "public transit?"

Who said (besides you) we are preparing for war with Iran? I know the Iranian President said he will destroy the US and Israel, but I don't take it personally.

I'll stick with much more dire issues such as "Beer Sales on 25th Street" and "Licensing Cats."

Tec Jonson said...

Rick, I may have read a little more into your posts...but I'll respond to this one more clearly.

"When did I say I am not trying to be informed? (Hint: We have received tons of information from the beginning. )"

What info do you have that prevents you from not clearly rejecting any part of a "forthcoming" proposal that has to do with an Urban Gondola. It should be quite clear that it is the concept or possibility of selling the golf course to finance an urban gondola instead of pursuing the UTA recommendations that has most of the opposition fired up. You do Peterson and the city a disservice by not getting the facts and deciding one way or another the appropriateness of an urban gondola. To not get this clear now, continues to hi-jack our transit options. If the city clearly positions itself as not interested in selling the golf course to finance a gondola then Peterson can write his proposal without it or just hit the road...

"When did I say that selling the golf course was a "good idea?" (Hint: there are many alternatives to fixing the golf course question)"

Glad to hear you say that.

"When did I say that the gondola was a good idea for "public transit?""

I haven't heard you say that it is clearly a bad idea. The mayor has cleverly claimed it is not a transit option. yet he still promotes it and UTA won't have both a streetcar and gondola. You may have not said it's a good idea for "public transit" but to hold it as an option as part of an impending proposal leaves the gate open and diverts focus from real public transit. Maybe you think it's still a good idea in the context of a Peterson Proposal but not as transit. It is time for you to get that part of your position out in the open. It will also clarify your position on the golf course sale. No gondola, no need for a golf course sale. The gondola is either a good or bad idea based on the cities needs, not Peterson's. Move on to our real transit needs.

"Who said (besides you) we are preparing for war with Iran? I know the Iranian President said he will destroy the US and Israel, but I don't take it personally."

It's all over the news...Carrier group and patriot missile cruisers positioned. Bush claims not, but what has he said about Iraq that gives us any confidence in anything he says. These things have a way of developing within a stream of conversation and a vacuum of leadership and opposition. Do you really know the Iranian president said this. Who is your translator. Everything he has said comes filtered through so many channels. Does it bother anyone that we never see a verified translation of these statements and all we get snippets out of context.

"I'll stick with much more dire issues such as "Beer Sales on 25th Street" and "Licensing Cats.""

Are you serious? What part of those issues have the potential to break the city and saddle us with a non-transit conveyance wrought with cost overruns while the rest of the Wasatch Front gets LiteRail and transit corridors.

dan s. said...

Councilman Safsten,

You've raised some good questions, but once again I get the impression that you don't really want to resolve these issues--you just want to argue.

Do you really want to have an honest, intelligent discussion of the golf course finances? If so, then please put all the relevant facts on the table, as well as any assumptions or constraints that you think are important. How does the per-acre public subsidy for the golf course compare to that of our other city parks? Why has the subsidy increased so much in the last six years? Why do certain line items in the golf course financial statements vary by even more from year to year? Where is the money going, anyway? To what extent are costs being charged to Mt. Ogden golf course when they're really for El Monte or for the soccer fields at Mt. Ogden Park? Why did John Patterson tell the Council only a few years ago that the golf course was doing fine financially? What do you think would be a reasonable subsidy for the golf course, if any? Would you even call the subsidy a subsidy, since the presence of the golf course obviously raises the value of adjacent property and hence contributes to Ogden's property tax revenue? What do the golfers, and the golf course staff, suggest when they're asked how to reduce the subsidy?

Your second question ("What will we do about the lands under ownership or under option by Mr. Peterson?") is not necessarily one that the government needs to answer. If Peterson never comes forward with a development proposal, then the obvious thing for the government to do about these private lands would be nothing. But there's always the possibility that some other public or private entity could try to acquire these lands, either for development or for preservation as park lands. If you have any opinions about this, please share them.

Your questions about the overall city budget and finances are so broad that one hardly knows where to begin. Your premise, however, seems to be that there must be a silver bullet solution to all the city's problems. Sorry, Councilman Safsten, but there ain't no silver bullet solutions. However, if things are really as bad as you say after seven years under the current mayor, then maybe one thing to try would be a new mayor. Some other ideas that I like are to bring back the streetcars (Portland's streetcar has already generated over $2 billion in private investment) and to do everything we can to encourage mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development in appropriate neighborhoods as identified in Ogden's General Plan. Oh, and quit wasting money on ridiculous schemes to bus the homeless out of downtown.

Anonymous said...

WCF members and readers I have been watching this whole thing go down from my perch here in SLC and am glad to see your city council didn't ignore the people just to make the mayor and Mr. P happy at your expense (and what an expense it would be). It doesn't appear to be over yet, but it’s good to know that not everyone can be fooled into thinking that Mr. P is doing what he plans for the benefit of Ogden. He is doing it do benefit himself at the expense of whomever it has to be (in this case the city of Ogden and its residents). I hope that your city council will continue to speak for the people and not for the mayor. Good job to all at WCF!!!

dorothy littrell said...

Councilman Safsten-
Common sense dictates that if the Golf Course is losing money:

1. raise the fees like the course in Harrisville plans to do

2. look into the transfers of monies from the Golf Course fund which I understand are quite murky reading and that backup is unavailable.

3. transfer any funds due back to the Golf Course so the financial picture is true and accurate.

Since I never get to rebut you in a Council 3-minute session I would like to hear your explanation of how the old RDA Project debts which will never be repaid continue to be carried forward on the Ogden City books.

If you would just close down your Redevelopment Department and fire all their high-priced "experts" that keep thinking up more projects that don't work in order to justify their jobs I think Ogden would be a lot more solvent.

Every time you give away tax increment to bring a business or jobs to Ogden you are the ones reducing the revenue.

Rick Safsten said...

I am running out of time that I can use to respond to the issues. However, here are some quick responses.

Silver Bullets: Of course there are no silver bullets. The council has used many different tools to address the issues of the city. Econ. Dev. is just one of them, but is always in the forefront, it seems.

Homeless Shelter: The council was given additional information last night and hopes to have more this week. Let me defer on this issue for later. The current director of the shelter is supportive of a new site per a letter received with his signature. He knows better than you or me what the shelter needs.

Tax Increment: There has got to be an understanding within Ogden of RDA debt (not Ogden City debt) and how tax increment works. I will not re-explain how it works now. However, suffice it say that to confuse RDA debt/tax increment with general city debt is simplistic and not accurate.

Let's not deal with Iran/Global Thermonuclear War and Ogden City in the same postings! The city council does deal with RDA, Cat Licensing and lot's of other issues---thankfully we can leave Armeggedon to others.

Chris Peterson Land- Dan S.--the government doesn't have to do anything, necessarily. I agree. That is, until he decides he doesn't want people on it one day. What then?

Public Transit-- The gondola doesn't operate like a bus. The streetcar won't operate like a bus either one either. This discussion is going to be very long. For now, I will say that the gondola--at best--would move people between downtown to WSU--and up to Snowb...Malan's Basin. (ha ha). That's it. I think that "public transportation" and the "gondola" are 2 different issues. I don't confuse them as one.

Golf Course: Dan--I want to talk more about this, but cannot at this time.

Rick Safsten said...

Dorothy,

You and I are not too different with respect to the point of fixing/clarifying/accurately assessing the cost and expense requirements for the golf course, along with several other entities within the city's control. We are philosophically closer than you may think on this issue.

However, to say that RDA activity in Ogden steals revenue is not accurate. Again, there has got to be a better understanding of tax increment and how it works. Tax increment doesn't work until something actually gets built. IF the project would not have been built without tax increment, how can it be stealing from anything when it is built? If we are "stealing"--it is because the project isn't being built in another city, county, state or country, which I don't mind doing at all.

Monotreme said...

Councilman Safsten,

I am proud to be a resident of your ward (in both the LDS and municipal senses of the word).

I can think of two possible projects which would be a better focus for the council than this nonsense Chris Peterson non-gondola non-mass transit non-proposed non-proposal.

1. As Sharon has mentioned already, the Frontrunner has the capacity to transform Ogden. We should provide business opportunities tied to the location of the train stop. Let's get on top of that.

I was recently in Mt. Kisco, New York, about 50 miles north of Manhattan. I rode the train from the Mt. Kisco station to Grand Central; the trip took about an hour. When I returned to Mt. Kisco, my rental car was in a park and ride lot. Within a block of me were: a hardware store, dozens of ethnic and other restaurants, coffee shops, small groceries, galleries, and shops for tchotchkes. We have the beginnings of this at 25th Street (excuse me, Historic 25th Street). Let's talk as a city about what else we want to have planned around the Frontrunner station "anchor". What sort of shops? What sort of recreation? (Probably not faux skydiving.) What sort of mass transit? How will we connect this mass transit hub with the economic hubs of WSU and McKay-Dee?

2. Whatever happened to the idea of a Hispanic-themed shopping plaza or mercado at 24th and Monroe? I think it would be a great thing to have something that looks like the central plaza of a Spanish city there. Have you ever seen the plaza mayor in a Spanish city? They are both commercial and tourist hubs for a reason. A well-designed plaza would be an aesthetic, cultural and economic boost for Ogden. Let's at least take a good look at it. For that I might even support tax breaks for a developer who puts the proposal together and gets it done — a model much preferable to eminent domain, I think.

As far as the golf course, I echo the call of others on this blog for transparency in the golf course finances. Show us the money, as it were. Then we can discuss the best route to fix it — for example, conversion to parkland, increases in taxes and/or fees, or whatever. One thing I do know: building houses on it increases property taxes, but also increases the load on the city services budget. I'm not convinced that it's the best way to solve our budget problems in Ogden.

My personal bias is that the best way is for Ogden to provide a reasonable mix of big and little, employers and residents, retail and services, and so forth. Nothing in excess — not a Riverdale, but not Huntsville either. Let's all work together to make the future happen. The so-called "gondola proposal" was divisive; a reasonable discussion of Ogden's future should be unifying.

Rick.Safsten said...

Honey, is that you?!

Jason W. said...

If Mr. Safsten's golf course discussions with the council/Mr. Integrity involve the name Earl Kemp, then we are in serious trouble. If the city hires a management company in an effort to cut losses, and is looking at Kemp, it better also look at the books and what he's done to Overlake in Tooele, Glen Eagle in Syracuse, Logan River in its namesake city, and perhaps others in other states.

all amped up said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tec Jonson said...

all amped up,

better lay off the crack pipe

Tec Jonson said...

Mr. Safsten,

I was referring to the Iran situation in the context that when a leader talks enough about an issue and builds the hype, by the time there is a vote of resolution(to go to war OR to build a gondola) there is already so much momentum and so much materiel positioned that there is no turning back. By continuing to waffle on your URBAN gondola position you essentially take responsibility for it's current status and future progress. You will be held accountable.

dorothy littrell said...

Mr. Safsten-

RDA debt still has to be repaid by Ogden taxpayers in the event an RDA Project doesn't fly.

And there is proof that Ogden has several of these old RDA debts which have long been on the books.

The outside auditor's report every year calls attention to these deficit balances and the usual City answer is that they will be taken care of....only they never are.

There will come a day of reckoning.

You have certainly shown that you are no expert on tax increment.

Rick Safsten said...

Dorothy,

The RDA and the city are 2 different entities. Each RDA project is different, but usually the RDA debt is backed by future inflows of tax increment. They are not backed by a guarantee of the city's general fund.

If the city's general fund is not legal collateral of the RDA project, how would it be legally obligated to fund the debt?

There are old RDA projects that have not generated the tax increment or have not paid their obligation. These must be dealt with (along with the other things we have been talking about) but the shortfalls are not obligated from the general fund, or general fund revenues.

Rick Safsten said...

Tec,

I have thoughts, concerns, etc...about the Urban Gondola question, but have no position because I have no proposal regarding the urban gondola.

How can I be "waffling" when I have no stated position?

It is prudent to base a position on an actual proposal rather than trying to second guess what it will contain. There is no fire here, in my opinion, so what's the rush?

The Iran/Thermonuclear Bomb threat and the urban gondola question contain slightly different urgencies.

Tec Jonson said...

Rick,

Can you explain the difference between a Thermonuclear bomb and just an atom bomb? Sounds like vernacular padding to sound more threatening. I think Bush has been using it recently to help him get the "nucular" out of his terminology.

Aside from that, I'll stick to Ogden's issues, as when I attempt to draw parallels it only allows more tangential dodging.

I do admire your stomach to carry on here.

Tec Jonson said...

Rick,

I still have to say that being prepared to stand for or against a potential urban gondola proposal based on facts, not the mayor's or CP's hype, would be to your advantage if or when the time comes.

Rick Safsten said...

To the Halls,

I want to post a public apology to the Halls for offense created in a posting I submitted earlier today. What I wrote was not meant to offend. I wrote a purposeful request for historical information on a transaction involving the Halls. I served with Mary Hall on the council and have likewise known George for several years. In no way was my posting intended to cause ill feelings and I regret that it did. My intention to gain information was sincere and was done soley on my own part with no cynical or ulterior purpose.

Ogden is too small a town for secrets and I have no desire for creating personal offense.

I spoke with someone last night at the council meeting with whom I have very strong political disagreements and told this person that, in the end, we are all still neighbors. I believe that and apologize to the Halls for what happened.

Monotreme said...

Tec:

I'm not Councilman Safsten, but I know the answer.

Short and sweet version:

A-bomb = conventional nuke = fission bomb (usu. uranium) = nuclear weapon

H-bomb = fusion bomb (usu. plutonium 'trigger' + deuteurium 'fuel') = thermonuclear weapon

From the reports I've heard (not necessarily reliable), it sounds as though the Iranians are working on a fission weapon.

Let's get back to discussing Ogden, though.

Tec Jonson said...

Pretty close Monotreme, thanks

Wikipedia says,

There are two basic types of nuclear weapons. The first are weapons which produce their explosive energy through nuclear fission reactions alone. These are known colloquially as atomic bombs, A-bombs, or fission bombs.

The second basic type of nuclear weapon produces a large amount of its energy through nuclear fusion reactions, and can be over a thousand times more powerful than fission bombs. These are known as hydrogen bombs, H-bombs, thermonuclear bombs, or fusion bombs.

Tec Jonson said...

Monotreme,

Glad you brought up 24th/ Monroe

In my view this is the residential heart of Ogden. I don't live there but not far. There is so much potential in that area yetr it gets absolutely no attention from the city. If they do not get out in front of any development there, we will likely see just another strip mall if anything at all. There is a golden opportunity to set the stage architecturally and lead the way to reinvestment in that area of town. If left alone the decay will continue.

Tec Jonson said...

I recently toured a home for sale near 24th/monroe. It was spectacular what the owner had done yet they were prepared to settle for so little. Neighboring homes and multis were so run down as were many residents. So sad that redeveloping that corner in anticipation of a transit corridor could increase the tax base substantially yet gets no play.

sharon said...

The "Hispanic Center" was hyped for awhile...but then someone suggested to me that an INTERNATIONAL Center would be nice.

I agree...Polish, German, Hispanic, Greek etc restaurants, bakery and shops would be lovely.

I think that would be a very big draw for tourists and locals to enjoy. We are a diverse state and celebratting other cultures in such a manner would be charming.

Perhaps we could have a monthly "Culture Night" with entertainment of some type showcasing that ethnicity?

Good police and other security measures would make this International Square a big draw for local families too.

dorothy littrell said...

Mr. Safsten,

You are correct in that Ogden City and the RDA are 2 separate entities.
That is part of the problem.

The RDA incurs debt and supercedes the City Council but the members are one and the same people.

I call the RDA a secret government over which we have no control. Taxpayers get no vote on RDA projects but taxpayers are impacted by the debt the RDA creates.

You are naive indeed if your belief is that taxpayers do not foot the final bill. Evidently there have been others on the Council who shared this belief.

Just who do you think takes care of the shortfall? Every bond that is issued affects the City's credit rating and debt limits. There comes a point when the City can borrow no more.

Please address me as Mrs. Littrell. I prefer that friends call me Dorothy.

Bill C. said...

Dear mr. Safsten, I have to wonder how serious,or disengenuous you are when you state you want the truth about the golf course finances. Are you ready to confront the elephant in the room and publicly air so much dirty laundry? Time, nor my limited clerical skills will allow me to continue here,but I would welcome some sort of forum,or just face to face discussion on this topic.

Tec Jonson said...

Sharon,

It may be difficult to dictate the array of shops in a given development. Many attempts at this fail. Still a complete redevelopment is overdue A facelift or another strip-type mall should be strongly discouraged. This is the pedestrian center as well as the residential center of the city. It needs a development of a various sized retail bays and an anchor. There should be less parking, street front shops and a plaza to encourage some life.

sharon said...

I agree...but an International Square would be welcomed I think.

With very tight security.

Also, Our efforts and attention need to turn to developing a FrontRunner Square also....

THAT could be done a lot faster than the 10 to 20 years Ellison admitted the gondola/resort plan would take!

It was soooo cold out this aft. that I wondered how many people would enjoy being in an unheated gondola 'snailing' along up to Malan's.

michael said...

Well, there is one case where the city and the taxpayers are going to pay through the nose regardless of this discussion about RDA debt and who is ultimately responsible for it.

It is the new mall that is currently being built. Mr. Safsten, his buddy the mayor and the rest of the old lame duck council promised the citizens for several years that the tax payers would never be responsible for any costs or losses with the new mall. Then at the end, just before the old council departed, they snuck in the old switch and bait trick wherein the whole deal would be guaranteed by the profits from the Business Depot - the only damn successfull project the city has. Not only that, but they hocked any potential profit from all of the other RDA projects in town. The results is that the citizens will never see any benefit from any of the RDA's if the Mall is not profitable.

The BDO profits were supposed to be dedicated to Ogden's much suffering infastructure, now they are pledged to make up any shortfalls in the Mall. So essentially if the highly speculative Rec Center and mall doesn't perform as the wildly optomistic mayor claims, then we along with our water, sewer and street systems are screwed.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

If you can't tell by now, Mr. Safsten chooses to see the world as he wants it to be rather than as it really is.

He doesn't care to listen to the residents of Ogden either or else he would have backed off on his support of the Peterson project based solely on the issue of retaining the open space. Something that is very important to the residents but an issue that he just can't seem to hear (unlike 5 of the other CC members).

No sense in wasting your time on him until November.

Anonymous said...

Awesome job on voting NO to "The Hub's" bait & switch scam, I guess Mayor Goofy will want a Wally-mart down town now Yea.

ArmySarge said...

To Mr. Safsten: Is the Mount Ogden Golf Course making money or losing money? If it is losing money, why the Mayor not dumped it as he did the Union Station? Actually, the city has NO BUSINESS at all even running a golf course - it should be a PRIVATE enterprise!

Rick Safsten said...

The Mt. Ogden Golf Course, as its own cost center, is losing money. El Monte Golf Course is breaking even. That is a fact. The city has several operations within it, including things like the Airport, Golf Courses, Sewer, Water, Refuse, etc... Each of these is tracked individually so we can tell which are covering their expenses and which are not. It also enables us to see what funds are available for future capital improvements. Some accounts are better off than others.

The BDO revenues were used as collateral for the improvements going on in Ogden. This was necessary to get the financing for the project. However, the budget plan for the projects do not foresee actually needing the funds. Those are famous "last words," but if the BDO revenues are eventually needed for the project, it will be for something that has already generated a revival of our downtown. I am glad to have done something to make a difference for our city than sitting unhappily with the status quo hoping that someone else would do something.

The generation of value in the city is the greatest favor we can do the for the taxpayers in Ogden. You can interpret that in several ways, and I respect that. However, having a boarded up, hulking, former mall building languishing in our downtown was not an option, in my opinion.

There was plenty of debate during the mall project discussion, but there were no viable alternatives presented for the former mall site, contrary to some accounts. The approach we have taken has already generated a building and development boom in our downtown and is changing the landscape. I personally know there is more to come. The city council is already seeing parking constraint issues (with apologies to Dan S.) coming in downtown which is a good problem to have.

Not everything has been perfect. I have found, however, that I would rather be on the side making a difference than on the side that will always find excuses why we can't.

Cynics do not contribute
Skeptics do not create
Doubters do not achieve.

There is always room for debate on how we proceed, but we have got to keep moving forward.

Do not interpret this as an automatic opinion regarding the Peterson deal. I haven't seen the proposal, so I haven't made an opinion. I am hearing the concerns and ideas from the community and believe that I understand them. I want to make a final opinion based on all the issues with a bona fide proposal in front of me on paper.

Curmudgeon said...

Dear Councilman Safsten:

First, thanks for taking the time to engage on the issues here. Appreciate it.

Now, two points about your recent post regarding moving forward and doing something rather than nothing:

1. I don't know if the current downtown mall development was the right way to go or not. Jury still out. I hope it becomes a great success. If the Mall redevelopment works as a generator of more business, residences, and rising property values, then that, it would seem, somewhat diminishes what the Mayor insists is the urgency of his gondola/gondola real estate development scheme with Mr. Peterson. If the project you supported, and the allied River project work, it would seem that Ogden is progressing, business activity is rising, property values are going up [according to the SLTrib and SE residential property values are rising in Ogden, significantly], and when you throw in the expected impact of Frontrunner as well, the "need" for selling off the Mt. Ogden parklands seems to me much diminished.

Second point: there is, as you note, no Peterson plan as yet. But there is, as Tec noted, a great deal of information available about the feasibility of a flatland downtown to WSU gondola available. Enough, surely, to draw some reasonable conclusions about its wisdom and probability for success. Furthermore, the Mayor and his Lift Ogden Amen Chorus have been flogging this thing for nearly two years now without as you note providing the information necessary to evaluate their claims fully. No feasibility studies, no market studies. Just cheerleading and mis-information. This has been presented, without any substance as simply a marketing campaign for a chimera called the "Peterson proposal" which has been promised again and again and as yet never delivered. And it has cost the city a lot already. I was there when WFRC told the Planning Commission that the delays so far have been costly, in that instead of getting the Ogden transit project out of the gate two years ago and in line for UTA funding, we are still stalled, have made no application, have yet to the the alternatives analysis [next required step] and environmental studies, so that now we will, if we finally move, be behind all the projects and money requests coming out of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake and Utah counties. And the only reason Ogden has not moved is that the Mayor's office dragged its feet after the WFRC study came out [favoring trolley transit as Ogden's best option] so he, Mayor Godfrey, could push the gondola/gondola scheme as an alternative. Enough is enough.

From my own POV, there's another not inconsequential point as well: the Godfrey administration and Lift Ogden Amen Chorus have no credibility left on this issue. So much mis-information has been put out as part of the marketing campaign [Dan S. has identified a great deal of it here, and on the Sierra Club website. SGO has identified misinformation on its website as well] that Administration statements about what the [you agree] non-existent Peterson Proposal Gondola/Gondola and real estate develpment scheme will achieve for Ogden that the administration simply cannot be believed on this matter. As I type this, for example, the Ogden City Website still has posted the claim that the gondola/gondola they mayor wants to build will deliver thousands from downtown Ogden to Snowbasin. [Yes, I just checked. It's still up there.] In short, Councilman, on this matter the Godfrey administration and its Lift Ogden Amen Chorus are simply not to be believed. They have no credibility left.

Along the same lines, please compare the way the Administration/ Lift Ogden have dealt with the public on this issue, and the way other groups, like SGO and the Sierra Club have done so. The former have resorted from the first to vast promises of huge benefits, but have provided no [I repeat no] credible information to support their claims.[Feasibility studies, market studies, etc.] SGO and the Sierra Club, on their websites, have posted original documents obtained by GRAMA requests, the texts of studies, or links to them, verifiable, sourced information about rail tranist's impact on other mid-sized cities, etc. All of it sourced and documented on the sites. Compare that, if you will, with the FAQs still posted on the City Website. That comparison alone should, and I hope will, make it evident to you why so many of us no longer think the administration's statements on this issure are credible. Add to that the recently revealed fact that Mr. Ellison's attorney drafted the Administration's proposed Mixed Use Ordinance, and the fact [revealed in his letter to Mr. Cook] that changes Mr. Peterson wished in city ordinances should be managed in such a way as to not draw public attention and comment, and it becomes clear, at least to me, how much this non-existent Peterson proposal has affected, and is affecting, city policy and planning. I would hope you are asking, as so many others are, this question: if there is no Peterson proposal yet, if we haven't seen it, then why is the Administration working to alter city zoning ordinances in anticipation of it? Why was Mr. Ellison's draft of a Mixed Use ordinance presented as the administration's draft? Why are city employees receiving advice from Mr. Peterson's attorney to arrange things so that public notice of what is happening will be minimized and public comment avoided? [See Ellison's letter to Mr. Cook, link posted on WCF. It's one of the documents Dan S. turned up via GRAMA request.]

We've had two years, now, nearly of smoke and mirrors and no substance from the Godfrey/Peterson/Geiger troika. And still no plan. Enough. It's time for Ogden... and the Council... to move on. Now.

sharon said...

BRAVO, HUZZAH, AND MUCH APPLAUSE..CURM,

A great discourse from you...if it didn't take more than 3 minutes, you should read it over the podium at the next CC and PC meetings!

Good on ya.

sharon

Jason W. said...

Councilman Safsten:
As the above poster has noted, there is plenty of evidence for you to draw an educated conclusion regarding whether selling the golf course for, at most, one-third the cost of an urban gondola is a good idea. As to the purported losses Mt. Ogden suffers, we have stacks of GRAMA requests, related corrspondence, city documents, billings and more that prove Mt. Ogden is being billed for sewer expenses, unrelated fleet expenses, the parking lot and tennis courts adjacent, and is paying debt service on an unrelated sewer fund the city was supposed to forgive years ago, via John Patterson's own suggestion.

So answer the question honestly and face the consequences: Do you still think the urban gonolda is a good idea?

Rick Safsten said...

Curm,

There is much contained in your post and I have read what you said carefully.

This is not meant to be a counter-point to your post, but I would like to explain the situation all councilmembers are in as opposed to the general public or even the mayor.

When it comes to development proposals, the Council/RDA are the only ones who vote. The mayor does not have a direct vote and neither does the public. (I know there is a call for a referendum on this, but I will leave that discussion for another time.)

It would be unethical for me to pronounce my vote on this, or any other issue that comes before the council, before the actual vote. The reason is that the moment I proclaim support/denial for something prior to a vote, it shuts down any further public input. It implies "the fix is in." It implies that the public need not talk to me anymore because I have made up my mind.

The mayor can espouse anything he wants because he doesn't have a vote. The public is in the situation.

What if the public had mass positive input for a project and I prematurely gave a statement that I would vote for the project? What would that say to those in Ogden that still opposed the project? It would tell them don't bother calling, because it won't make a difference, even if the vote has not happened, yet.

Premature, vocalized position statements on future votes by councilmembers shuts down public input, shuts down opportunity for negotiation, and tells people that the votes are always done in advance and the council voting process is a sham.

I have read the concerns you have regarding the actions of others. But that should be dealt with by other ways than demanding a vote amongst the council before the formal question is even formally proposed.

Thanks for the chance for civil dialogue. It needs to continue.

copperpenny1954 said...

Concerning the MT.Ogden Golf Course, just this morning, I was reading the SE and low and behold, there is a short blurb on the Ogden Update page. Seems MT Ogden Golf Course, has been rated one the best among the best places to play, in the golf Digest.
I don't understand why the city wants to get of it?

dan s. said...

Councilman Safsten:

Your faith is impressive. But as long as you're taking the time to write, I'd prefer to see not just testimonials of faith but also some documented facts and figures. If that makes me a cynic, a skeptic, and a doubter, so be it.

As a small example, here's a documented fact: In FY 2000, the year Mayor Godfrey took office, the net operating loss of the Mt. Ogden Golf Course was $177,308. In FY 2005, the net operating loss was $330,882. Now, with these figures in mind, perhaps you could tell us how large a net operating loss you think is reasonable. If you think $177,308 is reasonable but $330,882 isn't, then I'd suggest you launch an investigation into what changed between 2000 and 2005, and find out who's responsible for the 86% increase. On the other hand, if you think even $177,308 is unreasonable, then please explain why you think it's unreasonable, and also explain to us why you weren't publicly complaining about it in 2000. You have, I believe, served on the Council during this entire time.

p.s. Just read your most recent post, and almost couldn't believe my eyes. Wasn't it just Tuesday night when you said (according to the newspaper), "Why did we bother to create a resolution if we were only going to vote it down?" In that one sentence you expressed more contempt for public input than I've heard from any other Ogden official except our mayor.

Rick Safsten said...

Jason W.,

Regarding the Golf Course... Every department is charged for expenses related to their operations. For example, the city council office is charged for phones, computer support, fleet expenses, etc..because the city council office uses these city resources. This is how the city tracks and appropriates their expenditures. It is entirely logical that the golf course be charged for sewer, fleet, and other expenses. Did you know that the golf carts are a part of the city's "fleet?"

Your point about "sewer fund" debt is a big issue. The sewer fund loaned the golf course funds a long time ago. Should, or should the city not forgive that debt? Great question. We need to discuss that. By the way, there is alot of that type of discussion that is going to hit us very quickly. It's about time to settle these things once and for all.

I want to Regarding the Urban Gondola... I have more questions of the Chris Peterson proposal than I would have answers: My questions are:
#1) Who pays for the gondola?
#2) Who pays for the on-going operations of the gondola?
#3) Who pays for the gondola if the ridership plummets during a bad tourism year?
#4) What real impact will the gondola have on the neighborhoods?
(visual, stops, etc...)
#5) Who would really ride the gondola?
You may all assume we have the answers to these questions, but without the actual proposal in hand, we do not. There has been alot of input already on these questions, of course, and I have read them. But, I want to see what the proposal would say to these questions.

I am disinclined to think the urban gondola is something the city could operate on its own.

Tec Jonson said...

Rick,

Just because there has been no formal proposal from Peterson, does not mean you do not have the opportunity to research gondolas and determine if it is appropriate for our needs. It should be quite obvious that when, or if, a proposal arrives it will indeed include the urban gondola, as it is still being very actively promoted by the mayor at the SIA show and everywhere else. There is no indication that it is being dropped form their plans. You still have not addressed my insistence that you have a civic responsibility to get yourself informed about transit and TOD(Transit Oriented Development) which in many cities generate something like a billion dollars per mile or two of redevelopment. How can you ignore these substantial community enhancing developments just because the Peterson proposal hasn't come forth. Are you holding your education on other issues aside until you really need to know about them. Pretty narrow view, if you ask me. If you took the time to learn about the latest in transit and it's impact on cities already deployed(like SLC) and compared to the gondola plan you would be doing yourself and your constituents a great favor. Are you waiting for experts to come knocking at your door. You have skirted the issue by saying the gondola is not transit. Mincing words... OK So it's not transit. Lets research conveyances, their relative costs, benefits, appropriate deployment etc. Quit sqirming around the obvious. I would be glad to share with you in private, and quite civilly what I know about transit and gondolas. (I seperated them for your benefit)

Rick Safsten said...

Dan S.
The fact remains the council asked for the resolution to be drawn up and the council amended the resolution based on public input that was received. I was at a loss as to what factually changed 5 minutes before the meeting and when the vote was done. Public input has been received for months on the process and rightfully so. I did not give my public position on the vote before the vote and respect the vote of the majority of the council, but I can still asked the council, "What Changed?"

Tec Jonson said...

"I want to Regarding the Urban Gondola... I have more questions of the Chris Peterson proposal than I would have answers: My questions are:
#1) Who pays for the gondola?
#2) Who pays for the on-going operations of the gondola?
#3) Who pays for the gondola if the ridership plummets during a bad tourism year?
#4) What real impact will the gondola have on the neighborhoods?
(visual, stops, etc...)
#5) Who would really ride the gondola? "

Rick,

Good questions, I suppose, but they are gondola-centric. You make no attempt to ask is a gondola appropriate. If that questioned were answered for you clearly, then all the rest of the questions have absolutely no bearing.

Tec Jonson said...

Let me rephrase...

If the gondola were shown to be inappropriate for our needs by your own research, then your above questions are immaterial.

I have always practiced using the appropriate tool for the job. Using a hammer to drive a screw quickly reveals its in poor utility. Even a little research could reveal that without making a fool of oneself in the woodshop. Same deal with our transit issue.

Tec Jonson said...

Take a look at this year's snow cover. A resort in Malan's Basin would be seriously hurting. This would be one of those bad tourism years and few would be riding a gondola to ski such shabby conditions. The city would be swamped in debt and screwed. A transit corridor on the other hand would not depend on tourism as it serves the everyday residents of the community with tourism as a sideline. Get the picture???

Tec Jonson said...

1. how long will it take to drive a screw with a hammer?

2. How much will the hammer cost?

3. Will the screw hold once it is hammered in?

4. How heavy a hammer do I need for the job?

Jason W. said...

Thank you for your response, Mr. Safsten, regarding Mt. Ogden GC. My first point is that the sewer fund loaned the golf course money years ago, but those funds were used to upgrade the tennis courts, not ton improve the golf course. We have the documentation to prove it. I am certainly aware that the golf carts are part of fleet, but my point is that Mt. Ogden is being billed for fleet charges that are wholly unrelated to the golf course operations, such as water trucks going to Jaycee Park; sewer expenses for the park across from the WC Library are billed through the golf course enterprise line item; mowers and other enormously expensive equipment that Parks & Rec uses for the municipal building ampitheater are being billed to Mt. Ogden. Also, there is evidence that prior councils (of which you were not a part) mishandled the debt structuring of Mt. Ogden as to put it at a distinct disadvantage in repayment, since a large part of the revenues the city received from the East Bench at 29th were redirected to other city projects, rather than the golf course for which they were intended, increasing the mortgage on the land that wasn't donated, if you will. Furthermore, El Monte, a nine-hole operation has a larger maintenance crew than does Mt. Ogden, at 18 holes. They have cut administrative and other staff to the bone, have volunteers doing much work, yet still manage to provide conditioning that is far superior to any golf course in the area. As far as the urban gondola is concerned, I can answer your questions:

1. The public pays for the gondola and its ultimate failure because we gave up our land and the $5 million Mr. Integrity thinks he has raised is based on selling $35,000 sponsorships to local businesses -- brilliant! Inevitably, because the $50 million mistake is in the midst of construction, we'll be told to bond to finish it.

2. Chris Peterson pays the first year of operations, after which the project is bankrupt due to extreme shortfalls and we'll be left with rusting towers along our municipal thoroughfares. Again, brilliant!

3. There will be no ridership to plummet.

4. It's enormous and entirely detrimental.

5. You (perhaps), Brandon Stepheson, the Geiger families, the Godfrey family, the Allens, John E. Lindquist and Royal Eccles. Maybe John Patterson will take a ride or two. Perhaps Thomas Moore and Mark Johnson, too.

Tec Jonson said...

I think I just hit on the necessity of the gondola for Peterson's Folly.

His guests, after a day of skiing the crowded, narrow, and severely chopped slopes of Malan's will realize at closing they are to weary for a hour long gondola ride back to downtown and they will opt to stay in The CP hostel. Very tactful indeed.

I can say after riding 6 to 8 gondola rides at Snowbasin and the requisite descents thereof I am flat tired of riding in the gondola. It's a long ride of 12 minutes. It's not the leg burn that gets to me, it's the prospect of sitting in the gondola at this stage of the day for another run. Chairlifts are even worse. I lovce the gondolas for keeping out of the weather but a day is a day.

Snowriding at Malan's, I would dread the ride back down to town for 25 minutes to an hour depending on my choice of embarkment earlier in the day. I can't wait to get those damn boots off and get into some dry and warm pajamas. Yes, I climb into my comfys, apres, in the Snowbasin lot many days.

Tec Jonson said...

Jason,

I doubt even any of those folks will ride it. The dream as regurgitated over and over is hopping on the gondola at lunch and taking a few runs before the afternoon appointments. Guess what....Lunch is over as you pass over WSU provided your office is only walking distance from the gondola base at the hub(few are). By the time Bobby and Curtis finish a couple of runs and ride down back to the office it's DARK!!!

I never have seen the Geigers at Snowbasin and it's only 30 minutes from downtown. What a joke.

Tec Jonson said...

Question 4. impact on neighborhoods...unfortunately zilch. The gondola will do nothing for the neighborhoods in the positive. That is the point Mr. Safsten...

A transit corridor, on the other hand will generate uncalculable investment to the tune of a billion or more. Yes, Peterson's 500 million is absolutely something to sneeze at in that light. Imagine a complete revival of the core of our city(and I DO NOT mean downtown) we are talking about no less than 20 immediatly adjacent blocks will be completely revitalized and create a huge street scene and invite hundreds of shops and several thousands of jobs. @00 jobs from Amer?? It's a start, but a drop in the potential bucket.

Bill C. said...

Dear Mr. Safssten,it may be a good idea to do a small amount of probing on your own, with the publics wishes in mind.Clearly the people want both the golf course and open space to remain as is period.I won't presuppose to know you values or belief system but,some things are more important than money.Part of your values I hope,include honesty,and I suggest you find out if this debt the golf fund was saddled with,wasn't in reality a wish list for parks and recreation,which was the department that actually spent the money.I also wonder if Cliff Goff could not have nipped this in the bud when he interjected himself into the fray last summer with his phony heal the community jargon.He was involved in creating the debt.May just be his definition of honesty excludes omitions

Bill C. said...

Speaking of omition,one of Mr. Goff's fellow council members told me,a good deal of the money went to the Lorin Farr swimming pool.

Curmudgeon said...

Speech Possibly of Interest to WCF

Just received notice of the following, and thought it might be of interest to WCForum readers, posters, lurkers etc...

Talk on the impact of urban transit systems on neighborhoods. Tuesday, February 13, 2007, University of Utah
S. J. Quinney College of Law, Room 106
12:10 p.m.

Natural Resources Law Forum and the Wallace Stegner Center for Land,
Resources and the Environment

Green Bag Series

The Other Side of the Tracks: How Transportation Facilities Can Make
or Break Your Neighborhood


Featuring D.J. Baxter Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Salt Lake City Mayor's Office.

Description of program [shortened by Curmudgeon]

As users of a transportation system, we care primarily about how comfortably and efficiently it moves us or our goods from one place to another. We are less concerned about how various
elements of the transportation network impact their hosts - the communities through which they pass. Too often, roads and rails emphasize capacity and
throughput at the expense of neighborhood compatibility. Numerous
examples in our own communities illustrate the destructive and
divisive power of poorly-designed or poorly-located transportation
infrastructure. On the other hand,
thoughtfully-conceived transportation
systems can stimulate growth, foster economic activity and social
interaction, and strengthen community identity. Although transportation systems' primary objectives are the movement of people and goods, their
success or failure should be judged not only by their capacity and
speed, but also by how they impact the communities in which they are located.

A native of Williamsburg, Virginia, D.J. Baxter advises the Mayor on
transportation, land use, urban design, and other policy issues, leads the City's federal lobbying efforts, and works with city department heads and division directors to guide long-range
planning for Salt Lake City.

Much of D.J.'s work focuses on transportation issues. D.J. supervised
the planning, design, funding, and development of Salt Lake City's
Intermodal Transportation Hub and serves as the Mayor's liaison to the
Utah Transit Authority, Union Pacific Railroad, and various local and
federal agencies. In 2001, D.J. was
awarded an international research fellowship by the German Marshall Fund
to study transportation land use planning, redevelopment, and transit
system operations in Europe.He has also spoken at conferences around the country on issues such as smart growth, clean air policies, transportation issues, and land use planning.

Danny said...

Now hold it a minute.

The posters are offering credible data here that the "financial problems" with the golf course may be at least partially due to a monetary shell game years ago?

Not that a public park should be profitable, mind you. It’s one of the legitimate things we pay taxes for – public recreation – as opposed to illegitimate things like subsidies for favored businesses.

But here the little ol’ golf course is carrying Lorin Farr pool and who knows what else? It’s a moot point of course since 99.9% (conservatively) of the public want to keep the golf course as a golf course as well as the rest of our open space. But I’ve been giving credibility to the mayor’s comments about the park losing money (not that I really care – the amount is peanuts.)

But now come to find out that even his golf course numbers are cooked! What will be the next shoe to drop?? Is there no bottom to this?

Scott said...

I find Mr. Safsten's defense of the BDO revenues as necessary for the Mall project to be a bit disingenuous.

He says: "The BDO revenues were used as collateral for the improvements going on in Ogden. This was necessary to get the financing for the project."

I think the point made by "Michael" was that the citizens of Ogden had been repeatedly assured by the Mayor and the old council that the public and our treasury would never be tapped to finance any of the Mall development and that it would all be financed by future tax increment money. (free money in their way of thinking!)

When the pro's at Boyer realized that the High Tec Center and Mall could not gaurantee the repayment of the loans to build it, the mayor and council betrayed the repeated promises to the citizens and in fact we are now backing the project to the detriment of our infastructure and other pressing municipal needs. The high tec center and mall have the potential to drain every cent out of the BDO and ALL of our other various RDA projects. They were all put in hock to this very risky venture.

Mr. Safsten compounds the deception with even more smoke when he said: "However, the budget plan for the projects do not foresee actually needing the funds. Those are famous "last words," but if the BDO revenues are eventually needed for the project, it will be for something that has already generated a revival of our downtown."

If the plan didn't foresee needing these funds why was it necessary for the BDO guarantee to begin with? If the funds are needed it will be because the project failed which makes it difficult to see Mr. Safsten's logic that it will have generated a downtown revival.

Also the "former mall building" was in private hands and paying property taxes, including I believe the increment portion that was going toward the old RDA debt which now goes unpaid. When the city bought the mall, through several highly questionable transactions, it took the mall off the property tax roles thus negatively effecting every one in Weber County including all of our public schools. (Yes the old mall was itself a product of a very ill concieved RDA project put together by local politicians that ignored our infastructure while playing developer)

Mr. Safsten also said: "there were no viable alternatives presented for the former mall site" As I recall there were several alternatives, including a major one from City Ventures. Unfortunately none of them fit in with the mayor's great dream of the High Tec Rec Center. I think the pro's from these other companies all made that clear - the Rec center as a down town mall anchor was just not viable and so they all took a pass because the mayor (and Safsten's council) would not budge. In other words, the mayor and Safsten (who controlled that council) apparently thought they knew more about this sort of thing than the big developers did. Again, the only reason Boyer is doing the deal is because they will rake off all the profit if any, and BDO will guarantee against any losses. Incidently, the Boyer contract requires their approval before the city can allow any competing businesses in any city RDA zones. This is part of the reason that the proposed hispanic shopping area on 24th could not be built. There was no more RDA increments left and Boyer didn't want any competition.
One has to wonder how this provision will effect the River project in the future.

As to Mr. Safsten making a difference, I think that is highly debateable and I look forward to the upcoming election season to see what the citizens think of him, his grin and his business genius.

Only time will tell, but I think it is highly probable that the difference that Mr. Safsten will have made will be in helping to create a total financil disaster that will take Ogden 20 or 30 years to crawl out of. For our sake and his I do hope that this is not the case.

As to his little "cynics, skeptics and doubters" ditty, I have to say that this is vintage Godfrey/Safsten contempt for the people - much like Marie's "let them eat cake" remarks. Any one that questions them and their grand schemes are losers and bad people. For example he and the mayor label any opposition as "naysayers and cave people", thus insulting and devaluing a very large segment of our city.

It is time to finish what was started in the last election by sweeping these self possesed and arrogant people from office and getting the city government back in the business of taking care of public safety and our crumbling infastructure. I am sure that Mr. Safsten believes in what he has done, but I believe that he is destroying the city's financial health with his "good" intentions and "brilliant" business mind.

sharon said...

Thanx for the info, Curm. I'd like to attend that. Did you attend the excellent talk on the same subject in the Alumni House a yr or so ago?

No doubt about it...if we are serious abut 'revitalizing' our downtown and neighborhoods...the streetcar as a mode of transportation is it.

Rick...I can't believe a smart guy like you can't get on board with the majority of your fellow citizens.

Even a Martian would've been converted by now! Assuming he can read.

Dan...you are spot on...Safsten did insult and dismiss all the CC attendees who spoke against the resolution and 'process' Tu nite. Too bad we couldn't have rebutted with..."why bother to let the people speak, if we aren't listened to??"

Rick...you're a better man than this. Please be honest and acknowledge that you have enough 'knowledge' about Godfrey's vision and that you DO have an opinion. That fact was demonstrated by your vote Tu nite.

The mayor may not vote (publicly)...but he wields somekindapower it appears to us.

Curmudgeon said...

Hooo, boy, Sharon, you are just determined to make be be a contrarian, aren't you.... [And yes, I was at the transit presentation last year.]

Some of us seem to have forgotten the origins of the Council's idea of establishing a procedure for dealing with the Peterson proposal: the Council originally embraced the idea to establish its control over the approval process, rather than leaving it to the Mayor's office to block out. And several members who recently voted to kill it were solidly behind it when it was first introduced.

Now, much has changed since the Council first floated its procedure plan. Several promised delivery dates for the Peterson Proposal to actually appear have come and gone. Several Council members have been heard to doubt now that one will ever appear. Much evidence has emerged that Mr. Peterson, aided and abetted by Mayor Godfrey, has been trying to manipulate changes in the zoning ordinances to suit the needs of the plan he has not chosen to reveal. The duplicity of the advocates for the plan, whatever it is this week [as I recall the Mayor offered yet another version about ten days ago, promising that Mr. Peterson would have details for a new incarnation of it not involving sale of the golf course, soon.] And the the current version of the procedural plan touted by the Administration involved deletions specifically requested by Mr. Peterson's attorney on behalf of his client. And citizen's speaking at the meeting, and contacting members on the Peterson issue and on the procedural plan have made their displeasure and wishes clear. And so on and so on.

Enough has changed that I can see why Council members who originally supported the procedure plan, and sought public comment on it, would now conclude that it was no longer the course of wisdom. That's certainly a defensible position. But, to be fair, Mr. Safsten's point that this was a Council plan from the git go,that it still was as it came up for a vote last Tuesday, is correct as well [at least the procedure plan minus the Ellison/Peterson changes].

So what it comes down to, finally, it seems to me is this: Those Council members who thought the situation had changed enough over the last year that the Council was no longer interested in trying to lock up a procedure for dealing with a Peterson proposal, should one ever wander out of where ever it is currently hidden and appear in public, voted "no." Those who thought it was still the course of wisdom to have the Council define in advance a procedure for considering a Peterson proposal, should one ever appear, voted "yes." Hardly seems a lynching matter to me, either way.

A much greater concern, to me, than how the vote on the procedure plan went, is the administration's continuing attempts to alter the Sensitive Area Overlay ordinance in accord with Mr. Peterson's preferences [specifically, ending the ban in such areas on construction on land with a slope in excess of 30 degrees], and to draft [as Dan. S put it once] a "Resort Development Ordinance" to create "no zoning zones" in the guise of a Multiple Use Ordinance, again to serve Mr. Peterson's preferences.

That is where, I think, the real danger now lies. Votes on those matters will be far far more significant, I think, than any vote [either way] cast on the procedure matter last Tuesday. Far more significant.

Rick Safsten said...

Sharon,

The resolution the other night was petitioned to the City Council by who?--none other than the Ogden City Council. The resolution went through months of public input and was amended by the Ogden City Council in response to the public input.

You and I have been in many meetings together. With all due respect to those in attendence (a great sacrifice of time and effort on everyone's part) what factual information came uniquely from that meeting? What came from that meeting that wasn't known by you and me, already? If there was no new information and if the council didn't like the resolution in the first place, why did the council offer the resolution to itself for a vote? Why not just kill it in the beginning?

Did you notice that there was not even an effort by the council to amend the resolution during the course of the meeting? There was no effort to even try to make it appealing. Again, if we didn't like it at all, why bother to put it on the agenda in the first place? Let's spend our time on something else if we were just kidding on this resolution.

Yes, I do have an opinion on the topics of:
The Urban Gondola
The Mtn Gondola
The Mtn Resort
The Sale of the Golf Course
The Hillside Housing Development
The Issue(s) of Greenspace
Lots of other things.

Those opinions are based on what I know today. New information or proposals may come forward to change my opinions.

Based on input from the public, I know a majority of the residents of the Mt. Ogden Community today do not want the Urban Gondola, at the very least, and are against the sale of Mt Ogden golf course as the basis for financing for the Urban Gondola. I get the feeling there is more concern about losing the greenspace (parklands) on the foothills than an intrinsic love of the Mt. Ogden Golf Course, for the golf course's sake.

People are talking alot about "open space" and "greenspace." I am interested if those people really believe that a golf course is truly the best way to preserve open space, when, by definition, it is not open to people unless they pay money and they still have to play golf. Yes, people can sled and do other things on it during the winter, (if there is snow) but don't try walking on it any other time without having paid your fees. A golf course certainly has a different accessibllity and habitat than the surrounding foot hill land. Just some thoughts. And, yes, I do golf whenever I can. I love the game---if only my clubs worked better. Regards...

Jason W. said...

The sensitive overlay removal and Ellison-written, Andrea Lockwood "edited" so-called zone text are again up for public discussion at a Planning Commission meeting on February 11. Although the CC would have to adopt these as recommended by the PC, we need to put as much pressure on the PC as possible so as not to unilaterally remove protections such as the slope restrictions, or recommend the adoption of the Ellison-written, unapplicable no-zoning "mixed-use" zone. They are not bound to send along these two issues to the CC, and they seem to be reasonably able to incorporate public input. Also, a friend of mine went to the first couple of days of the ski industry trade show in Vegas and said Godfrey was chatting up the gondola going from downtown to Snowbasin left and right. He doesn't even deny it anymore.

Anonymous said...

especially when, three of the men on the council give the little man what he wants, your right he doen't have one vote he has three votes.

Jason W. said...

Mr. Safsten, I believe you are dead wrong as to the feeling that the majority of the community does not want to preserve Mt. Ogden as a golf course; its intrinsic value and beauty as a golf course are unmatched, as is its unique location on the mountainside blended with trails and other parks. It is unparalleled not only in Utah, but in western states. If you have played there the last two years, you have seen the vast improvements in conditiong, playability, and even design. It is one of Ogden's greatest assets, yet Mr. Integrity has waged a campaign to devalue it as difficult so he can sell it at a cut rate to his close associate with whom he shares conflicts of interest. It's a mountain course, sure, but it's become far more playable than, say, Glen Eagle in Syracuse. The public deserves the right for the city to provide affordable golf to its citizens; that's why we pay greens fees. As a piece of unmaintained green space or park, it actually would lose 80% of its intrinsic value. And I, along with many, many friends, prefer to play at our publicly owned facilities, rather than giving money to for-profit operators (the Ogden Golf & Country Club) who have touted the silly urban gondola-to-nowhere. I would hope as a councilman you would spend your time at your own municipal course, or are you a Country Clubber?

aunt fannie said...

Safsten--

Your arrogance is coming through.

My family loves going to Mt. Ogden Park. We love to picnic there.
We pay no fees.

Tell it like it is., please.

Rick Safsten said...

Aunt Fannie,

Please... Read my posting more carefully. Your need for reading glasses is coming through. Disagree with what I say, but at least get the difference between Mt. Ogden Park and Mt. Ogden Golf Course.

Jason--Why on earth would you think I am a Country Clubber? Have you seen what I drive? It would be the ugly, rusting, 13-year old truck. I prefer El Monte over Mt. Ogden and I have only EVER golfed in those 2 courses in Northern Utah. I am very partial to Ogden and don't cross the city limits with my golf clubs.

dan s. said...

Minor correction to Jason's 3:09 post: The two zoning ordinances will come before the Planning Commission on February 7 (not 11). I know that many folks are getting tired of meetings, but for those who have the stamina, I think this will be a good meeting to attend. 5:00, City Council chambers.

Councilman Safsten: Besides golf, many of us value the golf course for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, wildlife habitat, clean air, storm water retention, peace and quiet, green space to look at, and dark skies at night so we can see the stars. Then there's the other 60 acres that our mayor wishes to sell, which include some of Ogden's most popular trails. (I hope you won't repeat the Godfrey party line that Peterson would improve the trails by routing them between fairways and patio homes. I asked Peterson last August if he knows of another golf course, anywhere, with hiking trails through its interior, and he said no. The reason is because it's not feasible to put hiking trails through the middle of a golf course without either creating safety problems or using up a whole lot of acreage that could otherwise be devoted to houses.)

dan s. said...

Councilman Safsten,

By the way, I salute you for your (and your golf clubs') loyalty to Ogden. Perhaps you could gently suggest to the Ogden City webmaster that our two public courses be given top billing on this web page, rather than appearing in the number 4 and 5 slots after the Country Club, Barn, and Ben Lomond. The separate page for the Mt. Ogden course could use some further sprucing up, perhaps a map and some more photos.

Rick Safsten said...

Dan,

I agree with your sentiments about the benefits of the Mt. Ogden Golf Course. I believe the drive on Taylor Ave. on the north end of the Park/Golf Course is possibly the most beautiful view in Ogden. My statement simply regarded my belief about the true purpose of open space and that a golf course was not the perfect definition for the reasons I gave. The true definition of open space is not a critical issue. Just my thoughts...

Curmudgeon said...

In re: the golf course. It would also probably help some if Mayor Godfrey spent less time saying, in public, that Mt. Ogden is not a golfer friendly course, and more time touting its virtues. Really is remarkable to have the Mayor of Ogden publically dissing its only 18 hole public course. And then complaining about not enough people playing it.

In Re: Jason's suggestion that we need to put as much pressure on the PC as possible so as not to unilaterally remove protections such as the slope restrictions, or recommend the adoption of the Ellison-written, unapplicable no-zoning "mixed-use" zone. Permit me to suggest, as a friendly correction, that "pressure" is not a wise tactic to apply to citizen volunteers [the members of the PC are not elected] serving on public commissions. What could be effective, I think, is to provide them with information about the proposed ordinances that will help them make the best decision for Ogden. Points of view they haven't considered, possible or likely consequences that have not occured to them, alternative approaches with a greater probability of working better, etc. Kind of hard to "pressure" someone who's serving as a volunteer on an un-elected commission that takes up an un-godly amount of their time. And in any case, most folks react badly when they think they are being pressured to do something. I know I do. Pressure of a sort might be effective on an elected official who hoped to be elected again. But not on PC members.

We need to remember that what those of us who choose to contact the PC members are engaged in is lobbying. Since the possibility of making huge donations to an election fund is not in play here [Republicans preferred lobbying technique], we need to remember that the most effective lobbiests tend to be those who can provide decision makers with the best and most compelling information on an issue before tham. Absent corruption [buying influence], that really is how it works in lobbying much of the time.

Tec Jonson said...

"Yes, I do have an opinion on the topics of:
The Urban Gondola
The Mtn Gondola
The Mtn Resort
The Sale of the Golf Course
The Hillside Housing Development
The Issue(s) of Greenspace
Lots of other things. "

Mr. Safsten,

You never addressed my point that your questions are gondola-centric and above I guess Transit Corridor ranks with "Lots of other things" several notches below gondolas. Want to address your gondola-centric view and why you refuse to give some balance to transit(gondolas are not transit-you and godfrey said that)

sharon said...

Rick,

Thanx for your reply. I think it disengenuous of you to suggest that nothing new came out of Tu's meeting.
What we all heard loudly and clearly is this: KEEP YOUR MITTS OFF OUR GOLF COURSE AND OPEN SPACES!

Actually, I don't know why y'all even went thru that silliness of wasting your time and ours with a 'resolution' to 'process' what isn't there.

It's like a young woman wasting years of her time dating a slug who purports to want marriage but never produces a ring and a date!

Time to move on to real issues. I asked the other night if the city already has a 'process' in place to deal with prospective builders...didn't get an answer.

If the 'process' is on the books...move on. Don't mess around with rezoning when you don't know if you'll ever receive a valid proposal from Peterson. IF you do...it will take a long time to look at it...and plenty of time to 'process' the doublespeak...and how long does it take to say: "OUR GOLF COURSE AND OPEN SPACES ARE NOT FOR SALE TO ANYONE FOR ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY".......Harrisville said it!

The meeting should have informed you that the majority of our citizens want a HANDS OFF sign on our lands....the teen from Bonneville asked y'all if we ever get to vote....well, no...but we do speak up. Try paying atention to US, not an invisible 'developer'.

Rick Safsten said...

Sharon,

Of course, the message of "Hands Off" has been heard. I have heard it very clearly for several months. Was that message really new to you that night? It wasn't to new me and we have been in several of the same meetings.

However, the resolution had nothing to do with that point. It was regarding the process, not the proposal.

sharon said...

Rick, Rick, Rick,

Wasn't new to me that we citizens are erecting vocal HANDS OFF OUR LANDS signs.

Thot they must be invisible to you.

The resolution was about the non-proposal and how to deal with it.

Emporer's clothes again. Somebody is nekkid as the proverbial blue jay...are you shivering?

concerned citizen said...

Rick, how can you say that the resolution had nothing to do with the Chris Peterson project? I was given a copy of a letter that Dan S. obtained through his GRAMA request that Bill Cook sent to "Tom/John" on Oct. 27, 2006. I was told that the "Tom/John" were Tom Ellison and John Patterson. That letter reads: "Per the discussion that we had yesterday in our Leadership meeting (Council Leadership and Mayor), the Council will be proceeding with the adoption of a resoluion regarding the "project". The anticipated date for adoption of the resolution is November 14th. This means that we need your feedback right away (no later than Friday, November 3rd). The date chosen is important given that the Planning Commission is moving forward with public hearings on Nov 1st regarding the mixed use zone and sensitive areas and the Mount Ogden community plan will become very public again in November (according to Greg Montgomery). Thanks for your assistance." and signed by Bill Cook. Ellison's reply suggested changes that they wanted made, and those changes were made to accommodate them! He indicated that they were almost ready to meet with the council, but not in a public meeting. They want to meet "under the radar" so as to not make any "noise." WOW!! All kinds of bells and buzzers should have gone off for you, Rick! Or has Godfrey made you immune to them with his "one-on-one" secret meetings with you and the other Council members? Jeske is the only one who has the balls to tell him "No." But there it is, Rick! "the Council will be proceeding with the adoption of a resoluion regarding the "project". Proof that the mixed-use zoning and the sensitive overlay zoning along with that resolution are being pushed for approval to make it easier for Peterson to take control of the golf course! THANK GOD THE MAJORITY OF THE COUNCIL ARE NOT AS BLIND AS YOU AND STEPHENSON! THEY VOTED AGAINST IT! Can you really justify voting for that resolution? I know that you and Stephenson mentioned the many hours that you had spent on that resolution and the steps, but when something is wrong, it's wrong! Spending a lot of time on it, doesn't make it right! You still have the steps that you can follow -- they are established no matter how the council votes! So really that time was not wasted.

Monotreme said...

We should be sure to have the City Council put into place a "process" so that if a Kansas tornado causes a house to fall on The Wicked Witch of the East, thereby destabilizing local politics, we are prepared for the resulting onslaught of Winged Monkeys.

(Oh, and let's get some help from The Wicked Witch of the West in helping us write the resolution. She knows Winged Monkeys best, after all.)

Anyone who would vote down a resolution setting into place such a "process" is just a naysayer and has no alternative plans for Ogden's future.

Rick Safsten said...

Concerned Citizen,

Let me explain myself again. Of course, the resolution had all kinds of things to do with the Peterson project...and other current issues, as well (Mt. Ogden Comm. Plan, Sensitive Overlay Zones, etc...). The resolution dealt with the PROCESSES we are using and will use for these things. It wasn't meant to be an "Up and Down" vote on the Peterson Proposal, itself. That is what I was trying to say.

Rick Safsten said...

Sharon,

A councilmember could have been adamently against the concept of the invisible Peterson Proposal and voted whole-heartidly for the resolution the other night. Their position would be, "Let the process kill the project."

The city council has been preached at for years about the need for more processes and now, I feel, we are being told by some, "just kidding."

I hope everyone has a good weekend. I have to sign off for awhile.

RudiZink said...

G'mornin' Rick. Welcome back.

We gots an old cowboy axiom fer ya this mornin':

"If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'."

Just a helpful tip from yer old pal Rudi.

;-)

dan s. said...

monotreme: Brilliant!

All: For the record, I happen to agree with Councilman Safsten that a vote for or against the resolution (apparently) had no legal implications and therefore had no necessary link to being for or against the Peterson proposal. In other words, the vote was purely symbolic. However, sometimes symbolic gestures matter. I'm actually not bothered by Safsten's vote for the resolution; I can see why a reasonable person might have done so, even though I wouldn't have. However, I was very bothered by a couple of his remarks during the discussion. I mentioned one of them above. The other was when he claimed that the reason Ellison was shown a draft of the resolution back in October wasn't because Ellison is Peterson's attorney--it was because Ellison used to be a city planner and is very experienced in these things (winged monkeys...). From my perspective in the back of the room, it was obvious that this assertion didn't pass the laugh test.

Jason W. said...

I appreciate your reply concerning El Monte, Mr. Safsten, and your choice in patronizing our munis, both of them. Ogden City golf as a whole is healthy and has many of the personnel and physical assets in place now to actually turn a profit within a couple years, if you resolve the misplaced debt issues and remove Mr. Integrity's duplicitous accounting and billing orders. And Curmudgeon's milquetoastian evenhandedness makes me laugh sometimes, much like the gesticulations of a clown. Pressure being brought to bear by the public, upon anyone who purportedly serves the public's interest, whether he or she is elected or not, to do the bidding of the public is the most reasonable way to effect change in civil scenarios; pressure does not have to have a negative connotation, nor does it mean using heavy-handed language, threats or intimidation. Rather, it is, by show of force in person and in communications, the articulation that this majority of the citizens served is opposed or for a certain action item or decision. Lift Ogden and Mr. Integrity have not been effective purveyors of pressure in this sense, because they have no influence to wield, as the public inherently does. Rather, for two years, they have been fascist in their campains, using the threats of pending economic doom if the public doesn't cede to their wishes; they have been communist in their propoganda, that The Great Leaders -- Little Mr. Integrity and his Geigerian Cabal of Community Saviors -- will deliver us all unto a shared Utopia if we simply follow their course and build the Gilded Gondola that saves Ogden from its many forms of malaise; they've taken a page from the Nazis in identifying all those who attempt to offer rational arguments in opposition as destroyers of their own community. They have repeatedly and in public attempted to intimidate the city council because they represent Ogden's "business community." Dropping someone in a pressure cooker is one thing; using the collective will of a citizenry to bring polite pressure on a civic body to perform its duty is another. Now, back to the ball juggling you may go.

Bill C. said...

I am not sure I caught the lead in,but,during the post vote comments,Mr. Stephanson was praising the dept. of ecconomic development. Just what has been their involvement? I recall the the first Lift Ogden meeting held at the chamber auditorium,the Mayor boasted of this being his idea,how he first approached Chris P. That story has since changed,but,given the disappearence of Mr.P.with the lack of concrete numbers for this project,could be a little light cast in their direction could be fruitful.Gramas anyone?

Curmudgeon said...

Jason:

The point of lobbying is to be effective. For those serving by appointment on public panels, experience I think shows that attempts to pressure them [in the usual sense of that word] are not particularly effective and sometimes end up being counter-productive.

You write that pressure does not have to have a negative connotation, nor does it mean using heavy-handed language, threats or intimidation. An interesting idea, but somewhat undermined by what follows, where you suggest that PC members who don't vote as you want them to will be acting in support of "fascists" and "communists" in the city government. If you think approaching PC members that way can be effective, have at it.

dan s. said...

bill c:

My past GRAMA requests have asked for all correspondence between Ogden City and Mr. Peterson, Mr. Ellison, or anyone who works for them. In response to these requests, the city provided absolutely no correspondence that involved the economic development department. If such correspondence exists, it would be illegal for the city not to have told me about it. Of course, they could still have had endless meetings or phone conversations, or sent written correspondence but not kept copies. I'm sure that this sort of thing goes on to some extent, but I find it quite remarkable that the only correspondence provided in response to my request was with the planning office, the city attorney, and the city council office--regarding the two pending zoning ordinances and the just-rejected council resolution. So there are three possible conclusions: (1) documents of correspondence were illegally withheld; (2) everyone has been extremely careful not to keep copies of any correspondence; or (3) nobody has had anything else to discuss with Peterson.

ap-preciate chuh said...

The Old Cowboy Axiom is priceless.

Thanks for this post.

Bill C. said...

Mr. Safsten,it's good to hear you note that the most beautiful scene in Ogden includes the Mt.Ogden golf course.This could be preserved permantly by the Council not approving new zoning recomendations from the Planning Commission,if our efforts to persuede them fail.(30% slope prohibitions)The only non-city owned property affected would be the Rasmussen's,and thoughout the community planning process for the Mt. Ogden plan it was desired that property be purchased by the city for preservation. I have two suggestions for accomplishing that end.Ramp tax,or taxing patrons at the rec. center and Golds Gym.How could they object given the huge underwriting they're receiving.All the money going to a fund that cannot be touched for any other purpose. Under these conditions the fund could also accept contributions from local philanthropists,knowing the money can go nowhere else.Like the Mayor's list of donors that were willing to make up the shortfall for the GONDOLA.I refer you to the General Plan,you helped create. If you feel time spent on this resolution may have been in vain,how about the General Plan.One other thing,annexing the face of Malans should not be concidered as a means of justification for eliminating current open space.

Debbie Dew said...

Did anyone really read concerned citizen's post? Bill Cook in his letter said: "Per the discussion that we had yesterday in our Leadership meeting (Council Leadership and Mayor)." So what does that mean? Were Jesse and Amy there and went along with the scheme? Did they inform the Council? And it sounds like Bill Cook is working on both sides at the same time! Who does he REALLY represent -- the Council? Or the Administration? Is he the reason that the Council doesn't seem to do anything proactive? No wonder the citizens are getting screwed! The Mayor has compromised everyone who works in that Municpal Bldg.! You can't trust a damn soul down there! That letter explains why we are getting mixed messages from Jesse and Amy. This is very serious in light of all the decisions that will have to be made this year! This is the whole letter that was sent to Tom Ellison and John Patterson:

Dated Oct. 27, 2006, To: "Tom/John" "Per the discussion that we had yesterday in our Leadership meeting (Council Leadership and Mayor), the Council will be proceeding with the adoption of a resoluion regarding the "project". The anticipated date for adoption of the resolution is November 14th. This means that we need your feedback right away (no later than Friday, November 3rd). The date chosen is important given that the Planning Commission is moving forward with public hearings on Nov 1st regarding the mixed use zone and sensitive areas and the Mount Ogden community plan will become very public again in November (according to Greg Montgomery). Thanks for your assistance." and signed by Bill Cook.

I am just flabberghasted! How do the rest of you feel about this?

Baltimore Sun said...

Baltimore Sun 12/31/2006

Call it crazy, even for Baltimore, but two-thirds of Inner Harbor visitors say they would gladly spend $7 to glide along the waterfront - up to 95 feet above street level - in a ski-lift-style gondola proposed for downtown, according to a new state study.

The survey, which predicts that as many as 1.9 million people would hop on the gondola every year for the view - not to mention the novelty - is encouraging news for Trey and Peter Winstead, who came up with the idea three years ago to ease traffic and carry foot-weary tourists along the harbor.

Far from a trend in urban transportation, gondolas are nevertheless getting a look in some cities as an alternative to streetcars and monorails, both of which gained popularity over the past decade.

Anonymous said...

What I have a problem with is that Councilman Safsten thought that the proposed resolution on Tuesday night was a good go forward document for the city to use. When in fact there was no real accounting for the viability of the project nor any real understanding as to the City's actual interest in the project is before we are required to start making changes to our city ordinaces and spending city money on the yet to be defined project.That's not smart business.

In fact that resolution was a very skillfully written one sided document that was structured for the expressed intent and purpose of obligating the city morally to proceed with the project while convincing the residents psychologically that they had no say in the process before the project really came to the vote. And then when it did come up to vote there would have been so much effort and momentum already extended that it would have been hard to stop it at that point even if one wanted to. But of further concern is the fact that the Mayor has been systematically removing all of the subsequent checks and balances from our system so that even if Council were to vote NO, he has postured the deal in such a way that he can get around the Council to make the deal come together.

The fact that the councilman considered the resolution presented on Tuesday night a good resolution (he was trying to get it to a vote), in the form that it was presented, causes me to have serious concerns as to his business skills and experience.

Also concerning is the fact that he is ignoring the City's residents (not just Mt. Ogden Comunity) interest in the retention of our open space. He seems willing to give the open space up irrespective of what the residents want. Now that what I can representation!

Tec Jonson said...

Not sure about the Baltimore post but it looks like a gondola choir member attempting to make some kind of point. Probably Bobby G returned from SIA all fired up. Here is the full text. Nothing definitive and Baltimore's plan has the Gondola spanning ...water and the water front. A far cry from slinging the thing over a city that needs a few more stops than 2 or 3. Still this thing is a long way from being built.



Call it crazy, even for Baltimore, but two-thirds of Inner Harbor visitors say they would gladly spend $7 to glide along the waterfront - up to 95 feet above street level - in a ski-lift-style gondola proposed for downtown, according to a new state study.

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The survey, which predicts that as many as 1.9 million people would hop on the gondola every year for the view - not to mention the novelty - is encouraging news for Trey and Peter Winstead, who came up with the idea three years ago to ease traffic and carry foot-weary tourists along the harbor.

Far from a trend in urban transportation, gondolas are nevertheless getting a look in some cities as an alternative to streetcars and monorails, both of which gained popularity over the past decade. Portland, Ore., for instance, is expected to launch its newly constructed aerial tram this month.

"Once it's built, residents and tourists will wonder how they got around without it," said Trey Winstead, who is meeting with city economic development officials about the proposal. "Anytime you try to do something new, just like Harborplace, you're going to run into people who say you can't do it."

Winstead acknowledges that skepticism - that it would work, that it would be safe, that it would make money, that it wouldn't be an eyesore - is the biggest hurdle facing his out-of-the-box idea. The study, he argues, offers at least one answer: That people would ride it.

The study was paid for, in part, by a $38,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Of the 1,218 people interviewed, 44 percent said they would be "very likely" to give the gondola a try and another 23 percent said they would be "somewhat likely." Tourists were slightly more willing than local residents to get on board, but the difference between the two groups was small.

As proposed, the $35 million, privately funded system would carry eight-passenger cable cars from the Baltimore Convention Center to the western edge of Fells Point, with two stops along the way - one at the World Trade Center and the other at Pier Six. At 12 mph, the trip would take about seven minutes. A day pass would cost $7.

"If it were here, I'd get on it," said Laura Mongelli, 31, standing near the World Trade Center. The Bethesda resident, visiting the Inner Harbor with her family, had done a lot of walking.

Critics abound. Some are concerned that the cable supports and the cars would be an unsightly addition to the skyline. Others speculate that interest among riders would fall off after the first few years. Those survey participants who said they would not ride the gondola offered a simple explanation: They'd rather walk.

"I think that's a little off the landscape that was originally intended," said Carl Stahlman, a 35-year-old Ellicott City resident visiting the Inner Harbor. "I think that would kind of throw off the whole backdrop."

The 60-page study was conducted by Baltimore-based Kittelson & Associates Inc., and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Surveys were conducted during peak foot-traffic times, such as when an Orioles game let out, as well as during nonevent weekdays.

Portland's 3,330-foot tram is already shuffling doctors back and forth from the Oregon Health & Science University's Marquam Hill campus. The $57 million system will be open to the public in mid-January.

A similar system has carried sightseers from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island in New York City for decades. In Pittsburgh, a funicular railway moves passengers up the side of an incline for a skyline view - though that system uses a cable to pull cars along tracks.

The Baltimore Lift, as the Winsteads call it, isn't the first time a tram has been proposed for Baltimore. City officials considered building an elevated people mover during the 1970s but ran out of money. The idea was revived briefly when Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened.

For now, the Winsteads are answering questions about design and safety and trying to get city leaders on board. M.J. "Jay" Brodie, president of the Baltimore Development Corp, oversees an Inner Harbor task force that heard the Winsteads' pitch a few months back. Brodie acknowledged skepticism, but said, "I think it's not impossible."

What intrigued him the most, Brodie said, is the idea of a device that can carry people from one side of the growing Inner Harbor to the other. As waterfront development continues eastward, he said, there might be a demand for a transportation system besides walking and water taxis.

"I think it was generally well received," Brodie said. "We peppered them with questions about how it would look, what are the economics. They have been following up."

The Winsteads' study estimates that the project would need 1.4 million riders a year to break even - less than the number of people who visit the National Aquarium or Camden Yards.

"People shouldn't write off ideas because they've never been done before," Trey Winstead said. "It will work extremely well for the city if people can get over that hurdle."

Tec Jonson said...

Speaking of the SIA show...Last year the snowboarding side is raucous as hell with open drinking, dj's and bands, hired hotties in halters and miniskirts, trash everywhere, bleary eyed team members, a real party.

The skiers side was all quiet, staid, furry coats and ski suits, no trash, no hotties, no music and lots of bored looking sales people.

The mayor would be one fish out of water on the snowboarding side. No one there looked like they were ready to talk about Ogden, or anything but where are the escorts and liquor.

I love the snowboard industry.

mercy said...

Remember that Baltimore is rife with crime also. Ogden's city leadership is rather baltimorean, wouldn't you say?

Anonymous said...

A couple of questions and observations to build on;

What is the population of Baltimore? Over 635,000
What is the population of Ogden? Maybe 80,000

Number of visitors to Baltimore in 2004 for gondola project to draw from? Over 11,400,000
Number of visitors to Ogden in 2004? A whole lot less than Baltimore!

How long is the Baltimore's gondola? Only one mile
How long is Ogden's gondola? 3 1/2 miles

What the cost estimate of the Baltimore's gondola? $35,000,000, (So far)
What the cost estimate of Ogden's gondola? At least $20,000,000 ("at least" is a safe bet by the mayor but not believable)

Cost per Baltimore ride? $7/ride
Cost per Ogden ride? $1.50/ride (remember too that WSU students don't pay 100% of fare nor do transfer fares)

Number of rides per year on Baltimore gondola to break even? 1,400,000/year
Number of rides per year on Ogden gondola to break even? $64,000 question!

Questions, acknowledged by the developer of the proposed Baltimore gondola, not answered in the study - that it would work, that it would be safe, that it would make money, that it wouldn't be an eyesore.

observer 1 said...

Ahhh, we don't need a gondola to attract businesses anymore. Didn't you read the paper?

Amer Sports is here because they get to put the Salomen name on the side of a building.

I thought Godfrey and Amer said it was because of the gondola that they've settled here, but apparently having your name on a building is soooo much cooler and sexier!

Bye Bye Gondola!

dan s. said...

Tiny correction to anon just above: The length of Ogden's proposed urban gondola would be 4.5 miles, not 3.5. That's from the Intermodal Hub to the foothills behind WSU. Add another 2.4 miles for the mountain gondola, if it ends at the top of Peterson's property.

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