Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Powder Mountain Update: Weber County Commissioners Tell the PM Developer to"Stick It"

Our all-GOP County Commission gives a pushy developer a dose of political reality

Great news from the Weber County Commission meeting this morning. By unamimous agreement, all three Commissioners, Bischoff, Zogmaister and Dearden alike, took no action on this morning's chief agenda item -- appointment of a brand-new Powderville Mayor and Council. The matter wasn't merely tabled. It's now officially "off calender."

It was an interesting session indeed. Commissioner Zogmaister opened up the discussion by referring to the enabling statute, the grandfathered SB466, noting that the County Commission was not legally restricted, even under this now repealed but "grandfathered" law, to limit itself to considering the Gang of Six list submitted by the developer's sponsor/incorporation petitioners. Furthermore, our all-GOP Commission reminded everyone in attendance that the Commission had spent substantial time broadening the Powderville mayor/council applicant list.

In the course of this overly time-consuming interviewing/vetting process, the Commission had expanded the list, Zogmaister said, according to these criteria: 1) the applicant is of legal age, registered and eligible to vote; 2) The applicant has resided within the Powderville boundaries for at least a year; 3) The applicant has demonstrated capability to devote him/herself to the monumental task of forming a new town, and to be devoted to the goal of "promoting the best interests" of the town of Powderville.

Ultimately, the County Commission had compiled a list of nineteen vetted and qualified names, according to the Commissioners. The developer nevertheless rejected all of the new candidates!

From there, the Powder Mountain developer's plan went haywire:

Brooke Huntzt, the Powder Mountain attorney "mouthpiece," was summoned to the podium by our All Star County Commissioners, and Jan Zogmaister asked the crucial question:

"What criteria did you use to reject the new additions to the Commission's list?"

The developer's mouthpiece dodged the question, saying to the guffaws of probably 60 people, that the vetting of the mayor/council candidates was not her job. After that, the Commission summoned up to the podium a couple of Developer Lackeys, Like "Mara" and "Melissa."

As to the constantly-posed question by all the Weber County Commissioners (what criteria did you use, exactly to whittle down the Commissions's list?), none of these lackey spokesmen ever explained rationally why they rejected the bulk of the qualified Powder Mountain Commisioners' list of nineteen.

At the tail end of the discussion, Commissioner Bischoff said, "We thought we were moving ahead in good faith. It's obvious now that's not what's happening," he said.

It's back to the drawing-board for the greed-head Powder Mountain Developer, obviously.

We offer a hearty Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to Commissioners Bischoff, Dearden and Zogmaister, for standing up for their Ogden Valley constituents.

The ball's back in the developer's court. They can either re-engage in negotiations with the County Commision... or go to court.

The Commission has now thrown down the gauntlet.

We'll be popping our Orville Rickenbacker and pulling up our barca-loungers to see what happens next.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

Update 8/19/06 4:04 pm MT: Our good friends at Ogden Valley Forum this afternoon also offer up a great post on this topic.

12 comments:

ozboy said...

There is a high odor that comes with this whole subject. It still seems to me that the underlying concept of a private company having sole appointment authority for representatives of the people is unconstitutional at its very core. Has any of the effected people who live in the proposed Powderville boundaries investigated this? Is any one going to take this one to court? Does the commission have the balls to stand up to this distinctly un-American concept and force a court action? Does "taxation without representation" fit this scenario in any way? And finally are any of the Powderville residents thinking about a little "rope and a lonely tree" remedy for this attack on their freedoms?

Powdervillian said...

The developers have been rubbing the commissioners faces in it for a couple of months now. Do you blame them for just being sick and tired of it? When Jan asked the unanswerable question of the lackies even they, who are paid PROFESSIONAL LIERS, couldn't come up with a reasonable and acceptable answer. What are the developers thinking? Are they really that arrogent or are they desperate?

Caesare said...

As to the legal question posed above, the pro developer deputy county attorney said there cannot be lawsuit until there is "harm". He also said the commissioners were bound to follow the law even though it may deny equal protection to the resident homeowners. This is nonsense, the Commissioners have the option of using judgement instead of blind acceptance.

Think of the civil rights days in some places in this country where is was against the "law" for some minorities to even vote some 45 years ago!
Many citizens and leaders stood up and ignored those laws. It just takes intestinal fortitude, not a law degree.

danny said...

The county commissioners showed public spirit and courage today. It was a fine day for representative government. I hope the commissioners enjoyed it - standing for something and talking straight.

In cases like this, I have learned the best course is to follow one's conscience. I suspect that's what they did today.

Now, if they will just stay that course.

Curmudgeon said...

Well, well, well... they may actually be vertebrates after all.

But let's think about what happened a little, before jumping to Rudi's giddy euphoric conclusions.

1. Two weeks ago, the same All GOP County Commission was told by the County Attorney that the members had no choice, and were required by law, to incorporate the town, despite the residents having no say in the matter, and despite their also having no say in electing town officials. After a lot of whining and moaning, the Commissioners did just that, by unanimous vote, pointing out that the attorney had told them they had to do it. Then Mr. Dearden praised the public spiritedness of the Developer-selected Mayor and Town Council nominees, while asking that more names be produced. Appointment [not election] of town officials was then delayed to today.

2. Today, the same County Attorney informed the same Commissioners that under the law they must accept the Developer's shills for Mayor and Town Council. [Just as he had two weeks ago told them they must agree to create the town, and so they did.] But this time, they rejected his legal advice and refused to appoint town officials nominated by the developers.

Which raises, naturally, the question of why the All-Republican County Commission meekly tugged their forelocks two weeks ago and said "the lawyer made us do it" but two weeks later, insisted "the lawyer can't make us do it"?

And one wonders why whatever reasoning they used [contrary to legal advice] this time to justify not acting could not also have been used two weeks ago to block the incorporation entirely.

Here's a guess: their phones and email boxes have been crammed by angry voters and Weber County GOP strategists have been painting dark pictures of November. And in the intervening two weeks, they've become frightened enough of the angered electorate, which inexplicably seems to consider the right to vote and elect public officials important enough to matter, to actually do the right thing.

In the end, finally, and two weeks later than they should have, they've discovered some spine and, in fear of the electorate, have done the right thing. Good for them. [Dare we hope they'll find it an invigorating experience and want to do it again?]

It remains to be seen what will happen now, and whether they will stick to their guns if the Commission [or the Commissioners] are sued by the smash and grab artists [aka Powder Mountain Petitioners, aka the developers]. We shall see.

nomo PowMow said...

Sorry Rudi,
But I have to agree with Curm on this one (this coming from a registered GOP who will be Independent prior to November).

Having sat through many of the Commission meetings over the past two years or so with sporadic attendance prior to that, the meetings are nothing more than a "rubber stamp" party. Can anyone remember a time when the Commissioners had a split vote on anything? Their votes are always unanimous, and generally not in the best interest of their constituents.

Today was the first exception in years, and we do applaude the three for FINALLY having the testosterone to draw the line, albeit maybe a dashed line.


We still think there needs to be some house cleaning this November in the House, Senate and most importantly, the County.

Lewis Johnson is our man - we need a free thinker willing to take a stand!

Curmudgeon said...

From the SE's story [on its free page] on the WC Commission refusing to name town officials from the Developer's list:

Carabello [spokesperson for the developers/petitioners] said she was disappointed with the decision. She was unsure of what action Powder Mountain would take, only saying they would act quickly while avoiding being reactive.

If anyone out there would like to take a stab at explaining what in the world "they would act quickly while avoiding being reactive" might mean, I'd appreciate it. In context, it strikes me as meaningless.

Lester said...

Why even have a county commission is the county attorney tells how to vote? Seems like we could save a whole lot of money if we just did away with the whole commission and their staff and let the attorney make all the decisions.

Curmudgeon said...

Lester:

Well, to be fair... one of the County Attorney's job is to explain [when asked] the legislature's intent regarding laws affecting the County Commission to the Commissioners. And I think the County Attorney in this instance, both two weeks ago and today, did in fact accurately summarize the intent of the bill Mr. Curtis and Mr. Bramble slithered through to passage at the command of their real estate and developer masters. They did intend that towns could be formed without giving the majority of the residents of them any say in whether they wished a town to be formed or not. And they did intend that the developers, once such towns were formed, be permitted to pick docile shills to run things for the developers, thus stripping town residents of the right to vote for two years. I can't fault him for his summary of the legislative leadership's intent.

Of course, a County Attorney who looked upon his role as being something more than a well-fertilized potted plant would also have recognized that he has a sworn obligation to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and he might therefor have been well within a reasonable interpretation of his responsibilities as County Attorney, to have raised the question, with the Commissioners, of whether the Developer's Dream Bill, by depriving citizens of the right to vote for two years violated the provisions of that constitution.

But he didn't. And nor, sadly, did the Commissioners. I suspect by their actions two weeks ago agreeing to incorporate the town of Powder Mt. they may have left themselves with not much of a constitutional leg to stand on with respect to appointing town officials, since by their act last week they stated their belief that the original bill was in fact constitutional. We shall see....

Wade said...

So I attended the Rob Bishop's "town hall meeting" as he called it. It was pretty much your normal GOP garbage - drill, drill, drill and don't forget that we should drill. Oh, and send more money on U.S. military. Taxes suck and abortions are worse than killing a boys father for oil.

I was informed by Mr. Bishop that India (the country) just recently matched the U.S. in a war game, which is why the U.S. should increase its military spending.
I googled this and the U.S. in 2002spent about 349 billion compared to India's 14 billion a year. But according to Mr. Bishop the U.S. would have lost the games had it not been for the U.S. having better pilots.

It appears that our elected officials (Mr. Bishop) are not doing the job that the people appointed them to do.

Spend our money wisely.

Blister said...

Bishop is just another hack that fills an empty suit. These losers don't care about the people or the country, they just care about being reelected.

Powder is their game.

Vote against any incumbent in office, it's easy to remember and it will result in change. It will rattle the old time hacks in office as well.

Fern said...

Bishop's suits are made by Omar the tent maker. They are decidedly un-stylish which is understandable when you consider how much blubber they have to cover. He looks absolutely horrible in them by the way. I swear the man has gained at least 80 lbs since he moved to Washington and got the big raise over his school teacher pay and what he could rip off the Utah tax payers from his position in the Legislature. He is the classic know nothing pig slopping out of the public trough, in his case literally and figuratively.

Utah sure has a way of electing embarrassing politicians!

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