Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Southwick Parole Hearing Set For December... What???

Not to worry folks -- the Std-Ex editorial pranksters were just having a little fun with a "crafty" teaser headline
Our prediction? Val Southwick won't be coming home for Christmas

By Curmudgeon

Sometimes, I have to wonder about news judgment at the Standard-Examiner. It's running this morning, front page of the Top of Utah section, big bold black letter headline, this story: Southwick Parole Hearing Set --- "Man Convicted of Fraud to Go Before State Board in December".

I reacted as, I suspect, the Std-Ex intended its readers to react: What? The man convicted of the biggest fraud in the history of Utah is up for parole after only six months? After being sentenced to nine consecutive 1-15 year terms? What the hell?

So I read the story. Here's the first paragraph:
The state Board of Pardons has set a December parole hearing for imprisoned Ogden financier Val Southwick, but he’s not going anywhere. Setting the hearing is the policy norm for all inmates whose cases do not involve a death, said Jim Hatch, board spokesman. “All inmates, except those with a homicide, automatically have an original hearing after serving six months,” he said. “The fact he’s having this hearing doesn’t mean there’s been any review done or any kind of quick release anticipated. It doesn’t portend a release at all.”
So I have to wonder... where's the story? He's up for a mandated first hearing six months after being incarcerated, as all who have committed non-lethal crimes or crimes not involving children undergo. That's it. The lead paragraph and more further down makes it clear he is not going home for Christmas. So, where's the news? Why did this essentially nothing story lead the Top of Utah section with a bold all-across-the-page headline? Or was tricking people into reading the story the goal all along?

I don't know. Maybe putting "Southwick" in the headlines as often as possible works as well as putting "gondola" in the headlines to sell papers. But there seems, really, to have been no real story here, and certainly not one justifying banner headline treatment on the front page of the local news section.

33 comments:

RudiZink said...

Remember, Curm. The blaring headline was hidden well within today's newspaper.

Thus its hard to imagine that this would sell more newspapers from newspaper racks... except for people with x-ray vision.

I do agree however that it was a misleading headline.

Headline composition is an art unto itself, BTW.

With regard to the above-referenced article, today's headline broke all the rules.

Who amongst us @ Weber County Forum, we ask however, would deny our home town newspaper the licnense to play a little joke on its readers from time to time.?

After viwing and contempating this several times, I'm convinced the Std-Ex editors have a great sense of humor and also an appreciation of the "politics of the absurd"

That's my take... and I'm stickin' to it!

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

OK, good point about the headline being inside. Maybe it was just a slow --- very slow --- news day.

Other fun headline in the paper today... front page of the free site: Enjoying the 'Nay' sayers. It's about kids enjoying the rodeo horse parade.

Should have been "neigh" sayers or course... unless the headline writer was suggesting the horses in the parade were all opposed the Hizzonah's flatland gondola. Damn smart mounts, if that's the case. [grin]

OgdenLover said...

Maybe the SE wanted to make sure Godfrey knows when the hearing is, so that he doesn't miss another chance to plead for Southwick's release.

Jason W. said...

Ahh, but Good Old (?) Curmudgeon isn't averse to voting for Addled Dr. Ed Allen, gondola jagoff and candidate for the Utah House of Representatives, despite his unabashed public support for one of the worst criminals in the history of the state. You stay classy, Good Old (?) Curmudgeon.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Curmudgeon said...

Jason:

One more time.... Allen is NOT running for City Council or County Commissioner. He is running for Lou's seat in the Utah House. When you can convince me that having that seat filled by another lap dog of Bramble/Curtis/Buttars will serve the district, and the state, better than having a Democrat Allen fill it, I'll change my mind. But, given that he's got a solid Democratic voting record in the Senate, you've not even begun to convince me of that yet. Endlessly intoning "He likes the gondola!" or "He's Godfrey's father in law!" doesn't come close to doing the job, Jason.

David said...

On Sunday July 6, 2008 a Mormon Home Teacher and a perspective Missionary companion came to my house. The discourse was terse and hostile. The Missionary complained that my opinion about Val Southwick was misplaced. After all Val had given him $500.00 for his soccer cost and had driven him around in his Porsche. Val had revealed that Val wanted never to be poor like his father. I stated that Val had stolen money from investors in the largest embezzling scam in Utah’s history with Ves Corp. No problem there. He did not mean to do it he had just bought property in Las Vegas that didn’t pay off. After all he was a moral man in the Forest Green Ward. The Home Teacher had no idea what I was talking about even though Val was his daughter’s Sunday School Teacher. I guess no one had the foresight to disclose this information to flock. The Bishop of the Forest Green Ward who by his silence had either been fleeced or embarrassed that Val could lurk around and sign the Ward and others up for a crack pot scam.

Moroni McConkie said...

Thanks to David for this enlightening anecdote. The "perspective" missionary's willful blindness toward Southwick's brazen perfidy is the same disease that made Elder Godfrey's third term possible. There is no antidote. To stay sane in Ogden you have to be willfully blind to the prevailing willful blindness.

Jason W. said...

You are again writing out of both sides of your Godfrey, Good Old (?) Curmudgeon. Addled Dr. Ed is not fit to hold any public office of any kind, and you are either so issue-and-fairness-oriented-blind or stupid, and I have a hard time believing the latter is the case; you chastise Val "Leshem" Southwick for pulling off the biggest scam in Utah history, yet you allow your "solid Democratic voting record" candidate to spout off about how he's supporting the godawful criminal and that those whom he swindled were "bearing risks as investors"? And it's not Lying Little Matty Gondola Godfrey I'm gagging about, it's your boy, Eddie! Ask the ahole next time you have a meeting, genius, about Val Southwick, about Lift Ogden, about his pronouncement regarding "my GONDOLA." Addled Ed's actions and positions matter on these and all relative political issues, for Christ's Honest Sake, in any contest, whether it's determined by appointment or election. Jesus, I feel like I'm lecturing one of your doltish 19-year-olds you "instruct." Addled Ed purports to represent your district at the state level. Holding this office means he has influence over
or input to a vast field of issues, one example being land use and development. Guess what? Your jagoff buddy not only supported the theft of public lands for a daydream circus ride -- a scheme you often criticize -- he engineered the damn thing. Oh, sorry, he has a "solid Democratic voting record"? He thinks Southwick was the victim of market fluctuations and technical violations, not a perpetrator of the worst fraud in Utah's existence? Jesus God, man, you are in the bell jar. Ooops, God help me, I'm lapsing into Randism territory. Get me my meds, stat!

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Jason W. said...

And, Professor, Buttars is not in leadership; he's a whacko and national embarassment, but why put him in your Wingnut Troika? Or, as we golfers like to say, Shank Triumvirate. Try Senator Valentine, Doctor Clueless. I still love ya, though, and you're not a Geiger, although you're about as obstinate as George W.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

dan s. said...

The Democrats in Lou Shurtliff's district are in a tight spot, especially if they support WSU. During Peterson's dog-and-pony show on campus two years ago, Allen was overheard saying "They're all idiots up here." Not a desirable attitude for someone who wants to represent the university in the legislature.

Curmudgeon said...

David:

Did your visitor know that Mr. Southwick pled guilty? That kind of takes the wind out of the "he was just unlucky in investments" sail, doesn't it?

As for the Scarlet O'Hara defense ---"As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!" --- offered up by Mr. Southwick ["Val had revealed that Val wanted never to be poor like his father."].... Well, most crooks don't want to be poor. They why they steal. If that's the best defense of his actions his supporters have got, they're pretty much grasping at straws and they know it.

As for his generosity... the problem is, the money he was so generously giving away was, evidently, mostly loot skimmed from his marks. This has happened to others, of course. Many Houston charities scored big time from contributions from Enron the Company and from Ken Lay, the individual. Not their fault, of course, and if the money had been spent for the purpose for which it was given, not much to be done about it. But in those circumstances, I'd feel a little sheepish about it nonetheless.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan S:

He's not my dream candidate for that seat, by a long shot. But until someone convinces me it would be better for the state and district to have the seat move to the R column and swell the Bramble/Curtis/Buttars majority than have it held by a former Democratic state senator with a strong Democratic voting record, I'll be voting D on the day.

David said...

Now that is the whole problem which I shall disclose against my better judgment. The Home Teacher talked before about the Cayman Island’s. Which has companies that we both discussed that a hoard of them being in a 2000 square foot home. There was 150 in that local. He knows better.

OgdenLover said...

If Ed Allan were elected to the Legislature, how many other "mayoral power play" items will we see tacked on to pending legislation at the last minute? I'm afraid electing him will be giving Godfrey keys to the kingdom.

As a lifelong liberal Democrat, it hurts me to vote Republican, but I honestly think it will be better for Ogden to do so.

dan s. said...

Curm,

Do you know anything about Allen's opponent other than his party affiliation? If so, please share it.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

I believe he was head of the Tech College in Ogden, and retired from that, or resigned. Beyond that, I don't know anything specific. I imagine we'll all be getting some campaign lit by and by that may shed a little more light.

Curmudgeon said...

OL:

You wrote: If Ed Allan were elected to the Legislature, how many other "mayoral power play" items will we see tacked on to pending legislation at the last minute?

Fair enough concern, except that I'd remind you that what makes such last minute undercover power plays possible is the overweening power of the Republican leadership [Curtis et al], which is based on their substantial majority. I'm hard put to see how increasing Bramble/Curtis/Buttars majority by an extra seat will do anything to lessen such midnight legislating. If anything, seems to me, it will make it easier for them.

It seems painfully clear on the evidence so far that Hizzonah has exactly zero trouble getting legislation he wants introduced [or snuck in] right now, thanks to his Republican cronies. How adding another Republican to the majority will limit that, I do not see.

Curmudgeon said...

Sadly, preying on co-religionists seems to be a growth industry. This story ran last night on Channel 2 News, the Get-Gephardt section. It's about a Utah woman, elderly, who lost her entire retirement savings, over a million dollars, when she placed it with a fellow church member to invest for her in Treasury bonds [he said]. She now depends on charity to get her utilities bills paid. Why did she do it? "I trusted him," she said. "He was in my ward." He went to her church.

Turns out, the guy was banned by the feds from taking money for investments based on a scam in California, where he raised money for faith based, biblical investing. Interesting Get Gephardt segment.

dan s. said...

"It seems painfully clear on the evidence so far that Hizzonah has exactly zero trouble getting legislation he wants introduced [or snuck in] right now, thanks to his Republican cronies. How adding another Republican to the majority will limit that, I do not see."

Curm, I'm having trouble figuring out how strong a claim you're making here about the past/present situation. Getting legislation introduced is and should be easy--all you have to do is find one legislator who cares enough to introduce it. Getting legislation passed is another thing entirely. Now, our mayor has succeeded to some extent in both, but it would be an exaggeration to say (not that you did) that he's had zero trouble getting his legislation passed.

Here are the controversial examples that I can think of off the top of my head:

(1) Eminent domain by RDA's. The legislature took away this power over our mayor's very loud objection, then partially put it back. Still a net loss for Godfrey.

(2) Civil Service Commission. The legislature made it optional for cities of Ogden's size, rather than mandatory. Net gain for Godfrey, but not what he really wanted which was to do away with it entirely.

(3) RDA director. The legislature mandated that the mayor be the RDA director, taking away the city council's power to hire someone else (even though that power had never been used in Ogden). Net gain for Godfrey, though it's unclear how much difference it really makes in practice. (Salt Lake City had a separate RDA director yet they said the legislation wouldn't affect the way they operate.)

We can only imagine what other legislation our mayor lobbied for but didn't get. He surely tried to get some gondola funding and was turned down.

In any case, however much you might dislike the legislative leadership (for largely legitimate reasons), I don't think it's fair to refer to them as Godfrey's "cronies".

If anyone in the legislature is a Godfrey crony, it's Senator Greiner--after all, he works for Godfrey and isn't at liberty to disobey the mayor without jeopardizing his job. What worries me is that Ed Allen would surely become Godfrey's principal crony in the House. A bill introduced by Greiner in one chamber and Allen in the other would have bipartisan support--always an advantage, even in Utah. And it doesn't even have to be a bill. What will probably happen is Greiner and Allen will have a quiet meeting with President Millner to inform her that WSU won't get any funding for more buildings, or for anything else it wants, until it agrees to sell its foothill land for development. With no advocate in either chamber, what choice will WSU have?

Curmudgeon said...

Dan;

No argument at all about Republican Greiner being Hizzonah's legislative lapdog.

But the last sentence you post --What will probably happen is Greiner and Allen will have a quiet meeting with President Millner to inform her that WSU won't get any funding for more buildings, or for anything else it wants, until it agrees to sell its foothill land for development. With no advocate in either chamber, what choice will WSU have? --- seems to me to exaggerate significantly the influence those two legislators would have in this matter, if your speculation works out as you think. If WSU had no defenders in the legislature but this one rep and this one sen, it's toast anyway. I think its legislative support is substantially stronger than you do.

dan s. said...

Curm,

WSU lies physically in Senate District 18 and House District 10. Sure, there are other supporters of WSU in the legislature, but I think it would be hard for them to oppose the will of the two legislators who actually represent the university's immediate neighborhood. And historically, the name I've heard most often mentioned as a champion of WSU has been Shurtliff (and that of her predecessor before her). Do not underestimate the importance of the House District 10 seat in determining WSU's future.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

To which I'd just note that Lou is supporting Allen.

But the questions you raise, and your speculative concerns [clearly shared by others] seem to me perfectly appropriate issues to raise with the candidate. There will [I presume] be during the campaign open forums at which voters can ask questions of him. And of his opponent, certainly. Bring these questions up specifically, and see what answers you get. That's what campaigns are for.

Jason W. said...

Good Old (?) Curmudgeon:

Geiger, Geiger, Geiger, Geiger, Geiger, Geiger, Geiger, Geiger...

Just kidding. But you're a being a brain-dead dolt on this one.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Jason W. said...

*you're being

Curmudgeon said...

Ah, Jason.... To my suggestion that the questions Dan raised would be appropriate to raise with the candidates themselves, your reply is that I'm "being a brain dead dolt."

I defer to the brilliant logic of your argument, and the overwhelming evidence it presents in support of your views. Why, I don't see how anyone could fail to be convinced by such clarity of thought and tightness of reasoning.

Must really be nice, Jason, to live in a world where you've convinced yourself that you can win any argument and convert anyone who thinks differently than you do by simply calling them names.

That's not the world most of the rest of us live in, of course, but I imagine it must be very pleasant for you to live there.

Rant away, Jason. I'm checking out of conversation on this topic with you, effective now. There doesn't seem much point to continuing.

Jason W. said...

Boo hoo! Waaa! It is rather pleasant to dwell in this world of mine, you brain-dead dolt, Good Old (?) Curmudgeon! I am also crying as I type because of your "effective now" conversational edict.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

dan s. said...

Curm,

If I ever get a chance to bring up these issues with the candidates (plural), I will. But I'll keep in mind that the last time I spoke with Ed Allen, he lied to me.

I've never met Shurtliff but I have gotten some impressions from various sources. I suspect that she is a gondolist, but not so aggressively so that she would have played hardball with WSU on that issue. Allen, as the mayor's father-in-law and founder of Lift Ogden, is most definitely prepared to play hardball.

googleboy said...

OWATC President Brent Wallis Announces Retirement
Chamber Announces Wall of Fame Recipient

Curmudgeon said...

Googleboy:

Thanks for the post and info on the Republican candidate.

I do note he has been active in Ogden Weber Chamber of Commerce matters. Very active: He has served on the boards of the Ogden Weber Chamber of Commerce....

And since the OWCC has gone joyously over the cliff, blindly braying its support for an unexamined Peterson Proposal before there was a Peterson Proposal [come to think of it, one never did emerge, did it?] and for the flatland gondola, we can as fairly ask of him as of Mr. Allen whether he plans to use his position as a state representative, should he win, to further those projects by holding University development up until the U. agrees to sell its benchlands to Peterson... Dan's speculation about what would happen if Allen were elected.

dan s. said...

Curm,

Yes, let's ask both candidates this question. But in the case of Wallis, we'll first have to ask whether he personally thinks it would be a good idea for WSU to sell its land. His affiliation with the Chamber does not establish guilt by association. Allen, on the other hand, has already made his personal view on this matter abundantly clear.

Curmudgeon said...

Dan:

You wrote of Wallis: His affiliation with the Chamber does not establish guilt by association. No, it doesn't. Nor did I suggest that it did. I'd never simply assume that a member of a broad membership organization like the Chamber necessarily endorses everything the Chamber official endorses. [We both of us know Chamber members who do not.] And I'm a member of several organizations which take stands that, occasionally, I do not share. One is the Democratic Party. Another is the Sierra Club.

But Wallis' long time close involvement with the Chamber does raise questions, and not trivial ones, since the Chamber has been one of the leading tub thumpers for the unexamined, and un-submitted, "Peterson Proposal" and associated flatland gondola schemes for, I think, coming up on three years now.

So, as you say, let's ask. I'm all for the public asking candidates serious questions in public places. It's good for all concerned.

Maybe the SE editorial board could ask similar questions in its interviews with the candidates too.

al said...

Many members of the chamber do not agree with the gondola concept. The zealous Chamber mouthpiece Dave Hardman on the other hand.....ahem.

Curmudgeon said...

Al:

No argument. I know Chamber members who have not drunk the cool-aid Hardman is pouring.

However, Hardman is the head of the Chamber, he is its public face, and he represents official Chamber positions to the Council and other public bodies. That he's been caterwauling support for an un-examined and never fully submitted "proposal" and gondola scheme for close to three years now does indicate substantial support in the Chamber for those positions.

Which makes it important, I think, to ask Mr. Wallis where he stands on WSU being legislatively... oh, let's say "encouraged"... to sell its benchlands to support Hizzonah's gondola pipe dreams.

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