Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Breaking: The Weber County Commission Adopts North Korean-style Politics by a 3-0 Vote

Corporo-fascist Powderville News Flash

By Curmudgeon

This morning, the all-Republican Weber County Commission voted, 3-0, to approve the incorporation of Powder Mountain as a town, and agreed to appoint the mayor and council members for the town from a list submitted [and approved by] the Powder Mountain Resort developers... oh, excuse me, I meant of course by the independent civic minded folks who petitioned to have Powder Mt. incorporated as a town. Heaven forfend anyone should confuse them with the Powder Mt. Resort developers.

We'll update this article today as further information flows in.


Curmudgeon said...

The SE has a brief, unsigned story up on what happened that is very sympathetic --- undeservedly so I'd say --- to the Commissioners up on its free website. Link here.

Particularly amusing is the report's claim that the commissioners showed some "backbone" when they asked... more like begged... the Powder Mountain Developers to please, pretty please, submit more names for the Mayor's position than one, and more names for the Powder Mountain Town Council than five, and to give them more than three days to look them over so the Commissioners could at least pretend to actually making a decision. Their sad begging to be allowed the tiniest of fig-leaves by the Powder Mt. Developers to make even a lame attempt at covering their shame was painful to watch. The Council members' grovelling constituted "showing some backbone" only in a world where the word "backbone" has lost all significant meaning.

althepal said...

I'm sure the Commissioners weighed their options, and determined that Craig Dearden doesn't have a credible Democratic challenger in November.

Thusly he and the rest of the Commission believe they can promote developer interests, and screw over Ogden Valley residents in the process.

That's how it pretty much shakes out, methinks.

If you democrats have an alterative to Dearden, when will you put up your candidate's website?

Curmudgeon said...

I attended the Weber County Commission meeting this morning as the all-Republican commission voted unanimously to approve the petition of Powder Mountain developers to create a new town, Powder Mountain, without permitting the prospective residents of the town to vote on whether they wished it to be created, and providing that the developers should name, by fiat, the town’s Mayor and City Council. I am embarrassed that such a thing could have happened in my county and my state. We all should be.

When the Commission got to the Powder Mountain agenda item, Mr. Dearden led off with extended comments. He took substantial time [his coming re-election campaign no doubt firmly in mind] trying to explain why he did not want to do what he was going to do: vote in favor of incorporating Powder Mountain as a town, and giving the developers the choice of its mayor and council. His excuse was, in essence, that Rep. Curtis and Sen. Bramble made him do it. He said he had no choice, that the law passed by the legislature was the law, that he had been a policeman for 25 years, and he could not bring himself not to obey the law, so he was going to vote “yes.” Sadly, Mr. Dearden forgot another quality required of policemen: courage. He seemed not to understand that being an elected public official charged with pursuing the public good, and protecting the rights of the citizens who elected him, also can, sometimes, require courage — not the physical courage of the beat cop, but courage none the less. The ethical courage necessary to, sometimes, stand up and say “no” when “no” is the only thing for an honorable man to say. Sadly, Mr. Dearden could not summon up that kind of ethical courage this morning. Perhaps when Mr. Dearden campaigns for re-election this fall, he can summon up the honesty to answer questions from constituents this way: “I’ll have to get back to you on that. I have to ask Sen. Bramble and Rep. Curtis and the Utah Real Estate lobby what I am permitted to think about the matter. When they tell me, I can tell you.” If he does that, he will at least run an honest campaign.

Ms. Zogmeister hit her most embarrassing moment [and there were many to choose from] when she asked for more names from the developers from which to appoint a mayor and council. She wanted more names, she said, in order for this to become “a good process.” I cringed. Nothing can make the appointment of a mayor and council by fiat of the Powder Mountain developers “a good process,” and Commissioner Zogmeister knows it. It would be fascinating to know by what incredible pirouette of sophistry she has managed to convince herself... or to fool herself... that this abandonment of her constituent’ fundamental right of representation can possibly be made into “a good process.” She should be ashamed of herself.

Mr. Bishoff delivered himself of a long speech, claiming he was worried because he did not know if any of those named by the developers to be Mayor and Council had an interest in the Powder Mountain resort, and he worried, he said, that anyone who did might have a conflict of interest when, in their capacities as mayor and council members they had to vote on matters involving the Resort. [Gee, ya think?] Of course, he then provided the Powder Mountain officials a way out, noting that while the law might not require them to recuse themselves on grounds of conflict of interest when matters involving the Resort came before them, a sense of ethics would. Right. Sure. I have full faith in the developer’s hand picked mayor and council to act in a disinterested and honorable way for the public good rather than the Resort’s interest. Mr. Bishoff’s embarrassing speech rested entirely on the fiction that Powder Mountain, The Town was somehow distinct from, different from, Powder Mountain, The Resort. Mr. Bishoff knows that is a fiction. Ms. Zogmeister knows that is a fiction. Mr. Dearden knows that is a fiction. But they all solemnly pretended to believe, today, that it was not.

There have been times in American history when one person, or a small group, made history and either advanced or preserved liberty by having the courage to stand up and say “No. This is wrong. I will not be a part of it.” Think of Rosa Parks. Or all the Patrick Henry’s who, when push came to shove, found the courage in their own times and circumstances to say “Give me liberty!” Today, in the Weber County Commission chambers, the Commissioners issued their own ringing cry that Ogdenites and Americans in generations to come can remember. It was this: “Curtis and Bramble made us do it!”

That’s what seems to represent honor and courage on the Weber County Commission these days.

Curmudgeon said...


The Democratic candidate for the Weber County Commission, running against Dearden, is Lewis Johnson. He is a resident of Huntsville, and is currently a math teacher in Weber County. He served six years in the Navy as a nuclear submarine reactor operator and scuba diver. He's also worked as a truck driver, carpenter, and electrician, so he's experienced in earning a living the hard way. He's also taught, besides, math, science and shop. He has a B.A. and M.A. Former public service includes serving on the Town Board of Huntsville, and as the president of the Huntsville Secondary Water System. Hard put to see why you'd think him not a credible candidate for the job.

I will grant you, he is not a realtor and, so far as is known, he is not a member of any realtor's organization or the Utah real estate lobby. Doubtless from the Utah Republican Party's point of view, that means he's not qualified for the job. From my point of view, his not being a realtor or a member of the Utah realtor's lobby is a primary qualification for the job.

althepal said...

I'll consider Mr. Johnson "credible" once he publishes a website.

He can tout his "credentials" there.

Where is it?

righty said...

So, will somebody please tell me what we pay the commissioners good money for if all we truly need are some rubber stamps? This whole process has been anti-democratic baloney.

Curmudgeon said...


There's a bare-bones web page
here. A real web page is coming.

al said...

I just got off the phone with a friend who attended the Weber County Commission meeting.

The six proposed by developers are:

Alvin Cobabe (90 years old)

Council Members:

LaVar R. Lowther- Alvin Cobabe's Grandson

Jamie Lythgoe- Alvin Cobabe's Granddaughter

Rick Stearman- Powder Mountain Road resident and affiliated with the Hill (AFB) Ski Club

Erin Stokes- of Juniper Lane. Was involved in golf at Wolf Creek, is a real estate agent with Century 21. Was head of the host program at Powder Mountain...and has already laid her cards on the table.

Steve (Nielsen???) Owns a home at Powder West and also owns a home in Eden. He just put a bid in to do snow removal for Powder Mountain parking lots and adjacent areas.

al said...

I forgot to add that Lavar Lowther is on the Powder Mountain Water and Sewer Board.

Time to take the gloves off said...

Now is the time for concerned citizens whose voting rights have been taken away to sue. Maybe the ACLU of Utah who always defend the US Constitution should be contacted.
I also remind those voters which dominate party put them in this mess. I'm glad I live in Ogden and not in the valley.

danny said...

There's no way to sugarcoat the fact that Republicans did this, across the board. They could have fixed it too, and didn't.

And it was Republicans that gave the golden enema of $30million taxpayer dollars to Dave Checketts, after he asked for half that much!

I'm a Republican but I won't be voting Republican for many years to come.

Take it to the bank.

Bill C. said...

Rudi, you're quite silent on this one. Your beloved party showed zero backbone locally, reinforcing the fact that under republican control, corruption and disregard for the true American mythological lie that all men are created equal is the expected norm. Next time you mention China's abuse of human rights, think about what has just taken place here.
As for your party's mantra about judges legislating from the bench, will that be the final nail in the coffin? Afterall, the legislature overwhelminly passed this law, what local judge would have the gall to go against the state, God and the large Corporate interest?
I guess we can expect Earl Holding to annex, sorry, incorporate the south side of Ogden Valley now.
Our local republicans have no room to act appalled at Senator Stevens of Alaska, he never hid his arrogance and greed.
I still love you Rudi, that's why I need to point out that your dingy has a hole in it, and is sure to sink. Get off the boat.

sad day said...

What happened to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC?

It's a sad day for the Republic and I can't believe the members of the party of Abraham Lincoln allowed this to happen.

Curmudgeon said...

Sad Day:

The Republican Party of Utah is, at the moment, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Utah realtors and developers lobby, which fill its coffers dependably every two years. It will continue to be so until some Republican officeholders begin to lose their jobs as a result of their willingness, even eagerness, to sit up, beg, lie down and roll over on command from their keepers.

Mr. Darden, one of the Timid Three who voted today to deprive their constituents of the right of representation and the vote, would be a good place to start. He is running for re-election to the Weber County Commission in November.

a vote for Johnson said...

Well said, Curm. This once registered republican and now independent is supporting Lewis Johnson, a credible and formidible opponent who will represent ALL of Weber County with integrity.

democrat said...

There goes your dictator REPUBLICANS again. You voted for them and supported their election campaigns.


carolinafirst said...

Mr. Dearden is the one running for re-election.

He needs to go!

Momma Mia said...

I do not think this development at Powder Mountain is going to be done simply because of the current fiscal crisis in this country.

That is too bad for the developer but it saves the Valley.I hope the Cobabes got their money up front because it isn't going to happen now.

dan s. said...


Unfortunately, a lot of damage can be done here even if nothing actually gets developed any time soon. I suspect that the new town council will immediately try to rezone the property to allow higher density. Then the property will be subdivided (on paper), and ownership of the lots will be divided among the various investors so it becomes impossible to reassemble them into larger parcels. Then, after the residents elect a representative council which decides to unincorporate the town, the damage will be done. Land owners can sell later, at great profit, whenever real estate values go up again.

Minor Machman said...

Srin Stokes works and speaks for Century 21 and District 8 Representative Gage Froerer. Froerer, who was one of many Realtor corrupted legislators who passed HB 466 without any debate nor questions which allowed this whole travasty in the first place.

The Realtor Association (Kyler, Kohler, and Ostermiller) are all lawyers who literally write the statues (laws) and then give them to their lapdogs to pass. Gage Froerer is such a lapdog and he needs to also be removed from office for incompetance. He has sponsored many bills written by and for the Realtor Association and served as the past President of this nefarious organization which is running Utah into the ground while claiming to represent "Private property rights". Ask the Powderville prospective residents if they feel their private property rights are being "represented" by Erin Stokes, Century 21 and spokesperson for Gage Froerer, your very own District 8 Representative?

Curmudgeon said...

SE has a fuller account this morning of the Weber County Commission's shameful decision yesterday, front page story by Charles Trentelman. Link here.

danny said...

So we have the commissioners fretting about their vote. Whoopty doo.

Suppose the commissioners were all on the take? Would the outcome have been any different?

Did they work with the legislature of their own party to stop this? Did they do anything effective? No.

Sweet Mary. All they had to do was vote "No" and then say they had issues that needed to be addressed.

Courts defer to things like that all the time.

The Republican commissioners gave the SOBs all they wanted, and the public got nothing. What else is there to say?

Curmudgeon said...


Item in Paul Rolly's column in this morning's SL Trib provides a nice illustration of how developers buy the influence they need in the Republican-dominated Utah State legislature. Link here. From the column:

Wendell Gibby, the radiologist and developer on whose behalf Sen. Chris Buttars scolded a judge and threatened Mapleton city officials for their opposition to Gibby's development, had his employees donate to Buttars' campaign, then reimbursed them through bonuses, one former employee claims. Gibby's name does not show up as a contributor in Buttars' campaign-disclosure forms. But three employees of Novorad, a medical-software company owned by Gibby, contributed $4,000 to Buttars during the first week of September 2007.... Novorad employees Paul Shumway and Robert Ahlman made $1,000 contributions each to Buttars on Sept. 4, 2007. Employee Ronnie Dickerson made two $1,000 contributions... according to Buttars' campaign disclosure forms.

Shumway said simply, "I don't want to discuss it," when asked if he was reimbursed through a bonus by Gibby. Ahlman and Dickerson did not return my calls. The three employees do not live in Buttars' West Jordan district, and they don't show up on any other campaign report.... Several legislators, including... Buttars in the Senate, have put pressure on Mapleton to give in to Gibby's demands by threatening to sponsor legislation that would hamper cities' planning and zoning authorities. Buttars, who at the time was the chairman of the Senate Judicial Confirmation Review Committee, wrote a scathing letter last year to a 4th District judge who ruled in Mapleton's favor on one aspect of the land dispute.

dan s. said...

Today's article was not one of Trentelman's best.

Tuesday's vote brings almost to a close a contentious battle between Powder Mountain ski resort and residents of Ogden Valley over whether, and how, Powder Mountain will expand.

Surely nobody believes this. The battle will continue for years--probably decades--under any scenario. And I've never heard of any valley residents opposing expansion under the existing zoning, which would allow over 1200 additional dwelling units. So it's "how", not "whether".

Some of those who would be residents of the new Powder Mountain town are opposed to the creation of the town.

This one sentence, buried near the end of the article, is the only attempt to represent the viewpoints of the many residents who are being given no say in the decision to incorporate or in the selection of the mayor and town council. Where are the quotes? I was standing right there when Trentelman interviewed two of these residents. And the word "some" gives no hint that 40 of these residents have already organized and elected their own government in exile, as the Standard-Examiner reported on February 25.

Finally, Trentelman should have pointed out that three of the six nominees are members of the same family.

Let's hope there's a follow-up article. Soon.

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