Thursday, February 14, 2008

Powder Mountain Development Update: Is Legislative Leadership Dragging its Feet?

The clock keeps ticking while remedial legislation reportedly gathers dust on some lawyer's desk

The Powder Mountain town incorporation story is once again on the Standard-Examiner front page this morning, with a well-crafted article by Marshall Thompson, providing updated information on the heroic effort of our Weber County neighbors in Ogden Valley to prevent a fair sized portion portion of the area's unincorporated neighborhood from being gobbled up by Utah's newest developer-controlled company town.

Today's article emphasises the tight timeline now bearing down upon these valiant folks. While the Powder Mountain developer still remains optomistic that town incorporation could be achieved within two weeks' time, the two remedial bills which would thwart the develeloper's backhanded efforts have more or less stalled in the legislature. The Ogden Valley citizen activists grow suspicious:
“I think it’s being held up, and it’s moving slower than it should,” said Richard Sorensen, a Huntsville Town Council member who helped pass a resolution opposing the massive development last year.
And those suspicions are certainly NOT unfounded:
One unforeseen problem was that Senate President John L. Valentine, R-Orem, and Speaker of the House Greg Curtis, R-Sandy, both described the proposed amendments as unfair to developers and pledged to delay their passage. [Emphasis ours].
While "freshman" House District 8 state representative Froerer attributes the legislative delays to to the tight scrutiny being given to the text of the two bills by the legislature's legislative attorney staff, we're not quite sure we're ready to swallow that entirely.

Speaker Curtis "declared in January that he has a conflict of interest when it comes to land issues because his law firm represents several developers." So why, we ask, does he seem to be dragging his feet? Why hasn't he handed it off to somebody else in House leadership who doesn't have a conflict? Our BS-O-Meter is jumping off-scale even as we feverishly post his blog entry on our keybord. Somebody needs to build a fire under his and President Valentine's feet.

One possible way to do that, we think, is to sign the petition, folks.

In the event you haven't done that already... you can find it here. As mentioned in today's Std-Ex article, over 300 Utah residents have already jumped aboard (339, to be exact, as of the time of this posting). And for the most up-to-date news on this topic, we remind you to check out Ogden Valley Forum. Lots of good information on this subject there.

On the other hand... if you'd like to see Ogden Valley become the next Park City... ignore this article (and the petition) entirely.

Comments, anyone?

Update 2/14/08 9:55 a.m. MT: Whilst reading through some of the excellent material on Ogden Valley Forum this morning we stumbled upon this wonderful article, reporting on one of the developer's "sales meetings" which are being held to beat down small groups of Ogden Valley residents one by one. The article provides some good analysis and also provides at least a glimpse of the aggressive evil corporate foe that Ogden Valley residents are up against. We're pretty sure the author won't mind our taking this liberty. (The article was "broken at the fold," and difficult to link, so we just unceremoniously copied it to our own storage site.) Read up, gentle readers. You won't believe your own eyes at the audacity of these Powder Mountain development folks.

We'll also note that we've now added a direct graphic link to the Powder Mountain petition in our right sidebar.


citizen said...

Sign the petition AND write your legislator and senator.

This should be a high priority for everyone.

listen to the people said...

It's too bad that these fat assed legislators can’t remember who voted for them. They apparently don’t want to listen to their constituents, but would rather protect the gifts and campaign contributions that come their way for ignoring the voices of the people who elected them.

The legislators in this state are out of touch and need to be voted out at the next election.

This is what happens when one arrogant party rules the legislature

citizen said...

It may be true that they are fat assed, forgetful, and need to be voted out.

But Powder Mountain and other developers are in there getting heard.

We need to be heard too. There are lots of us. We need to speak up on issues like this.

jill said...

My question is, why on Earth did the Utah League of Cities and Towns push for this bill last year (as referenced at the end of the article)? This is an atrocious bill that has dire consequences for cities and towns and their residents, and anyone in the position that the ULCT is in should have realized that this is BAD POLICTY. Who is the ULCT working for? What is their motive? We, citizens, are getting dumped on from every direction. Who's hands are not in the developers buckets?

Minor Machman said...

The only way to send a message they will hear is at the polls in November sad to say. I have been doing everything humanly possible from petitions to putting the Town and Valley up for sale to news and TV editorials and letters, yet they still do not listen. And I suspect our voices will be similarly ignored on this issue as well. We simply HAVE to replace every legislator who accepts gifts and collects "campaign contributions" for special interest groups.

Do you know for example that your tax dollars are being used against you? The League of Cities and Towns and the Association of Counties uses our tax dollars to pay lobbyists to lobby against us? How sick is that? And if you go to you can list your legislators who take from special interest groups and who need to be replaced in Nov.

By the way if you find an honest and principled legislator please send me an email with that person's name so I can help get them reelected. The list is very short.

This is some very serious business folks. It is not time for cynicism or apathy. It is time for citizen ACTION. Sign the petition by all means and call and write emails and letters. But do not forget to vote in November! We (the people) must regain control over the legislature.

Bill C. said...

Just who runs this Legislature, Kim Jong Il?

Lionel said...


No, it is not Kim Jong II. It is actually much worse than that. The Utah legislature is run by a consortium of special interest groups and their lackeys by the names of Curtis, Valentine, Bramble, Clark and several more evil operators. The main special interests are the Real Estate association, the Developers, the lawyers and the publicly financed League of cities and towns.

They collectively are plundering the citizens of this state and getting away with it because of the "R" behind their names and the presumed association with the dominant religion.

Bill C. said...

Funny you should mention it Lionel, channel 4 news ran a story last night about how the Utah NAACP is asking for Buttars to resign, for making derogatory racial remarks on the Senate floor during debate, it's on camera and it's bad. No other news outlet has picked it up yet. And Valentine hasn't called for his censorship.

public employee said...

The sad thing is that the Legue of Cities and Towns is nothing but a front for an association for the people making a living as Administrators for cities and counties.

The league is a huge get together for them to address ways to screw over the citizens, and carreer employees IE:cops and other types who work for the cities.

They (the League)do not have the taxpayers interest at heart with the advice they provide to the local Administrators who run the cities and hose the citizens. It's nothing more than an exclusive club for the fat cats who make the circuit.

citizen said...

I do empathize with all the vitriol.

But the fact is, these guys will often listen if people contact them.

And as far as getting them replaced, you need somebody BETTER to do that.

We need to work for change here, not just throw bricks, as fun as that is.

I suspect all know this already, but it seems worth saying.

frank said...


The black hearted and evil Greiner was able to get his Senate Committee to kill Neil Hansen's ticket quota bill today.

A real man of the people ain't he?

Curmudgeon said...

You're right in general --- the remedy is at the polls. But there are cases on record in which public protest can change legislative minds as well as public testimony about the [presumably] unanticipated consequences of ill-planned bills. There's a good example in today's SL Trib here.

SLTrib also has a story up in re: Gov. Huntsman saying Buttars' fate should be decided by the voters who put him in office. The Governor is right. Buttars is a buffoon and his oafery regularly appears on national blogs, holding the state of Utah and its voters and its legislature up to [sadly] much deserved ridicule. But Sen. Buttars has been duly elected by the voters and [presumably] represents them as they wish to be represented, because they re-elected him. There is no way around that. Huntsman is right, on this point at least. We get the government we deserve. God help us....

Too bad said...

Commrade Froerer voted against the HB 264 in the house, just another thing to remember this fall.

Minor Machman said...

Mr. Crumudeon sir, I agree there are cases but far too few. For example; (1)we asked nicely via two petitions with more than 1000 signatures and comments for reassessments. (2) We met with the Commissioners and Assessors and asked again. Rebuffed at every turn. (3) We sent in our elected Representative to try to get the rebates Davis Co. gave to those with more than 24% increases (we saw 114% increases) he was turned away after three meetings. (4) I and others met with Assessors and Commisssioners at least a half dozen times with proof of the inaccuracies and again asking for fairness and equity. No soap. (5) I turned to confrontational tactics and put the Town up for sale and most of the Valley joined in. (6) We wrote letters to editors, guest commentaries, went on TV. (7) We organized a Town Hall mass "Appeals" session and hundreds showed up. (8) We carried more than two hundred appeals from a 212 trash can (families) Town and two petitions to the Assessor again asking for simple fairness and accurate reassessments. The Commissioners (Zogmaister) wrote on the front page of the Standard Ex. "We have examined Bell's complaints and find no merit to them." The record number of appeals caused the assessor to finally capitulate but only partially by hiring an "independent appraisal firm" from SLC to do all the Huntsville Town appeals, yet not the valley appeals. Many including me still do not know what the results of our appeals filed on 17 Nov. are. And the few who have are saying they are being charged as much as another $40,000 more than the original--- just to twist the knife don't you see...
(9) We drove to SLC and testified before the 19 Sept Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee. A hundred people all saying we need tax property tax relief and reform. (10) More interviews more TV spots, more letters, more lobby efforts continued including trips to Leeds and St. George and countless hours of researching and emails and organizing three coalitions - all with the same purpose "to have a bill which would reform the current TNT property Tax scheme emphasizing fairness and ability to pay. (11)Meetings with Senator Stephenson at his offices as the President of the Utah Taxpayer Association, (12) Meetings with Senator Neiderhauser, Represent Dougall, even Froerer produced nothing but a sympathetic shoulder to cry on and stalls, excuses, and indifference. (13) More hours of individual briefings and meetings with selected legislators for seven months. And nothing. No action. No prospects for action.

So I think I have earned the right to recommend more significant action. And the only relief and reform we will ever see from the corrupt and manipulative jerks who are firmly entrenched in our legislature is to get rid of them and thereby "replace and repair" our legislature. I once was naievely wide-eyed and innocent giving everyone the benefit of a doubt and the opportunity to do what is right. But no more. Having been around the Capitol and seen and listened to what really is going on there it is clear that many if not the majority need to be flushed like the ____ they are. And replaced with people who understand what a conflict of interest is, for beginners, (divided loyalties) and who will commit to forcing ethics reform, campaign finance reforms, property tax reforms, and much more. But hey...that's just me.

I appreciate what you are saying and the hope you extend. But they have truly earned our disdain and distrust. MM

Curmudgeon said...


We're not disagreeing in the least. The solution is at the ballot box. Only point I wanted to make was that citizen lobbying sometimes achieves beneficial results and so is worth doing.

After all, we know those twenty or so calls to the County Commissioners were enough to overcome the wishes of thousands of fare paying fair goers and of the Weber County Fair management....

All the lobbying you did, the testifying, the petition signing, too may form the basis of a campaign against the election of one or more of the commissioners or legislators who stiffed all of those who took part in lobbying them, so in the end the effort may not be in vain. [Note: may not.]

Though the commissioners and legislators are in their "free" period at the moment... the meetings and sessions farthest from the next election. American voters have notoriously short attention spans and memories, sad to say. Most of the real looting [at every level, national, state and local] goes on I suspect in the six months following an election, because the looters know they won't really have to answer for much of anything for another 18 months... or another three and a half years... by which time very few voters will remember or much care about what they did [or didn't do] in the six months following their last election.

thomas Jefferson said...

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Minor Machman said...

I am telling folks to go the and see for themselves how much taking has been going on. The beauty of this institute and the data they produce is it has a very long memory indeed. Good points Crum.

And Thomas J. I sure hope it is with the metaphoric blood of tyrants and not patriots come November.

Bill C. said...

The Utah legislature goes a long way to forward the notion of abandoning represenative government and adopting a more direct democracy. We live in the "Information" age, our population is very well wired, and can be informed if they make an effort. Citizen inititives seem to be the only way the people get what they want. It would be much tougher on special interests and our represenatives don't really give a damn about the common folk anyway. It would go a long way to stop corruption, those fat bastards from Utah County would be of no use to their special interests, the sourse of their personal porcine decadence.
Of course there would be some tough sledding, and it would be every citizens duty to try and encourage participation and keeping informed. But could it be any worse?

TJ said...


In a perfect world it would be the metaphoric blood of patriots and the real blood of tyrants!

TJ aka T-2

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