Sunday, September 14, 2008

Boss Godfrey Lays Another Egg

More behind the scenes maneuvering by our devious little mayor

By George K.

Here's another big egg laid by the Godfrey administration! More behind the scenes maneuvering by our devious little lying mayor! A couple of weeks ago, a council member asked the council staff about an unheard of campground being built on the south side of Park Blvd. near the stadium. Mr. Cook reported that he had been unable to find anything about it and suggested Mr. Patterson be asked if he knew anything about it. He did! Surprise! Surprise! It will be a campground for kayakers, bicyclists and other sport enthusiasts. When asked how it was being paid for, the council was told that it wouldn’t cost much and was being done “in-house.” When asked if it shouldn’t have been placed on the capital improvement improvement plan, the reply was, “Oh No. It won‘t cost very much.” Chair Wicks asked who would use it and was told “kayakers, hikers and sport enthusisasts hopefully. We don’t want any transients.”

Then Scott Schwebke lets the cat out of the bag in this morning's Standard-Examiner article, "New campground taking shape in downtown Ogden.” No wonder there haven’t been any fees decided upon – it’s never been discussed because it’s never been presented to the council!

Is this a foreshadow of what we can expect in the future of how Godfrey will get other projects done? Does anyone know if this kind of devious, underhanded way of doing city business borders on mismanagement and/or malfeasance?

40 comments:

John said...

Is the city going to have constant police presence at the new campground? That is the only way they could get me to camp there!

WhatWardRUin said...

the campground is just the beggining. there is a refurbished train car going to be placed at the frontrunner stop that patterson and godfrey are working behind the scenes on as well. again, city crews and tax payer dollars at a cost of over $50,000. of course, the true costs will be white washed just like they were for the campground.

disgusted said...

this whole camp ground thing runs counter to the propaganda that godfrey has been spewing.
his high adventure theme has been all along that these types of activities that we are developing in our city are supposed to attract big spenders and yet his own front man in the article mentions that these kinds of people prefer to stay in a tent instead of a hotel. has godfrey rrealized that his own people are targeting the wrong people.
and get real a camp ground in the middle of town. how do you legally stop anyone from using it.
btw i have never heard of the high adventure committee. i wonder if the city council approved the members and whether they have been holding open meetings with a scribe.

disgusted said...

who are the members of this public but secret committee and when and where do they meet.

Hobo Joe said...

I can't wait to move in!

WhatWardRUin said...

the committee meets the second thursday of the month 9AM 7th floor of the godfrey tower. memebres are the usual suspects; 100% godfreyites. not a single detractor in the bunch.

WhatWardRUin said...

i forgot to mention it is chaired by patterson.

dan s. said...

Like many of Godfrey's proposals, the campground might be a very good idea. But there are a host of potential pitfalls: sanitation, public safety, competition with private campgrounds and hotels, and of course, the long-term costs for staffing and upkeep. Today's article made it clear that the administration hasn't thought through any of these issues. Instead, they're just forging ahead and hoping that the problems will solve themselves. If they don't, the administration can always come crying to the City Council (or perhaps the RAMP committee) for financial help later on. It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

A couple of years ago, when I was still on the city trails committee, we discussed the need for a toilet at the 29th Street trailhead. Mr. Benford informed us that a toilet facility of the type used in the city's parks would cost over $100,000. The Forest Service told us that a pit toilet of the type they use would cost much less, but some folks felt that within the city limits people would expect flush toilets. I wonder what's planned for the new campground, and who's paying for it?

The High Adventure Committee, incidentally, is another committee created solely by Godfrey without oversight from the City Council. I don't know whether this committee is operating within the parameters of Utah's open meetings law. Oh, and Josh Jones isn't just a committee member; he's also a city employee.

wsu_alumni said...

I have recently found out that the toilet structures at both Glassman Pond by McKay Dee Hospital, and the one at the Kayak Park each cost $120,000.
I have heard rumors that the campground will get "donated" toilets to help with the expenses. Personally, if I were going to camp there, which I won't be, I would much prefer something a little more, well, a little less "out-doorsy" than the basic campground outhouse. And if I lived right around those parts, I sure wouldn't want your basic hole in the ground, one-man shack with a 1/4 moon carved in the door. As "disgusted" has stated, there is no way to keep unwanted people out of there. I guess they could have the local businesses send their staff over in rotating shifts to maintain these outhouses, and maybe offer them free rock-wall climbing tickets, or free movie passes. Hell, the city has tons of extra money to be thrown around. I'm sure they've got it covered. Why worry your pretty little heads??
If you let yourself get all upset about the cost of this, then you will be that much more inclined to get upset about other future developments, like the traincar and its costs, etc. How much can you take in one term? Or 3...

Curmudgeon said...

Just a comment on the notion that this little city campground will take business from private RV campgrounds that also rent tent space, or take business from downtown hotels... comments based on about 30 years experience tent camping [alone and with family] all across the west.

1. People who might be drawn to the city tent camp are not folks who would be staying at the Marriott if the camp wasn't there. Or the Embassy Suites. Or the Holiday Inn. Or the Ramada. Motel Six, maybe.

2. Similarly, I don't think the RV parks will be competing for the city tent campers. I used to do a lot of tent camping around the west alone... later with family... and I stayed at an RV camp renting tent space only twice. Not a good experience either time. I doubt they are competing for the same market [so to speak]. I could be wrong about that now, since it's been awhile for me, but I don't think so.

disgusted said...

what do the neighbors think of this.
what are the noise ordinances when theres a party going on in the camp ground and how do you regulate it as to when it can be used or not. is it a year round camp ground since they say its available for all of the various high adventure junkies which i have to assume means winter sports as well. are camp fires going to be allowed during the high fire season or when air quality issues are present.
i wonder what the zoning is in that part of the city.
has the planning commission presented to the city council a variance in zoning for this camp ground.

on the inside said...

Disgusted,
According to John Patterson, it is within approved zoing restrictions, and nothing had to be changed.

disgusted said...

on the inside
are you meant to use the word restictions.
id like to see the zoning that allows for camping out in the middle of town.
maybe we should camp out in the street in front of godfreys house.
that must also be an approved zoning.

on the inside said...

Disgusted,
I admit I had trouble with deciding whether to use "restrictions" or "requiremens" and they still don't seem right. Maybe allowable is a better word.

Bill C. said...

So, finally we have very clear evidence that lying little matty and his cohorts actually do listen sometimes. Recall Catlyn's comment about the type of folks that would be interested in the icecycle? Folks that sleep in their cars. Well now they can share a river front camping experience with the growing numbers of homeless.
Disgusted, the only neighbors are dead people buried in the Ogden cemetary and further west some larger apartment complexes.
The campers will be a short walk from a fat juicy steak served under an imitation covered wagon at the Prairie Schooner.
I'm not sure exactly what super devious angle is behind this particular location, but it seems to me the land around the former 21st pond is far better suitd for this purpose, but the option on that property is held by the bacon magnate, broke gadi. And the pond, formerly used and owned by the public has been given away, for the exclusive use of a small waterski seller that was lured to town by gifts, money and favors.

ogden observer said...

Bill C.,
Remember Godfrey wants EVERYTHING downtown so he can say people are downtown once again. What a joke! Instead of giving the residents what they want and need, retail shops, he only thinks of what visitors and tourists want and need. If the people who voted for him aren't having second thoughts about voting for him, they will soon!

WhatWardRUin said...

i have a real concern about access for emergency responders. is there a hydrant nearby? have they given any consideration to how fire and medical personnel get into this campground. ever tried to evacuate an injured person from a remote area? it would be nice if the city thought about fire fighters when they throw these things together.

chief said...

WWri,
Godfrey doesnt give a rats ass about firefighters, he hates them. The plan is just like many of the others he has devised, without thinking and planing.

drewmeister said...

Just when you think the mayor can't pull a more stupid idea out of his ass, he goes and proves us wrong.

Call me crazy, but the location of this place makes me think it'll just increase crime. But, whatever.. those in power get whatever they want. They always do.

Bill C. said...

On futher review, Doesn't Fort Buenaventura Park all ready have camping? Maybe this high adventure committee is being led by the nose in the wrong direction, and one needs to question the haste and secrecy of what thier doing.
There is a tunnel that goes from the Union Station, west past the last track, almost to the Weber River. With the addition of a foot bridge, and Utilizing this tunnel the two can be connected. This would provide campers with a vey short walk right into the downtown area, 25th st. There seems to be all ready services such as restrooms and such there. Wouldn't it be wiser and less costly to have put the money into expanding an all ready exsisting location set up for exactly that purpose? This would also expose visitors to many different aspects of the history of the area, trappers, Indians, pioneers and the railroad. I think that the kayak park is also located right there.
Seems to me this bunch is so infected with mayorial driven tunnel vision, no pun, that they overlook the obvious and practical.

Curmudgeon said...

Ahem.

On the campground: I seem to recall that the idea came from a Council member, didn't it? Originally? Caitlin, wasn't it?

Seems like way way too much heartburning-in-advance and predictions of disaster for such a small project. May work out well, may not. But all this major angst over this little project seems over the top to me.

There are things to be concerned about here. If it's true the Council asked its staff to find out about the campground, and the staff was unable to, that is a problem. But hardly a new one. The administration has a long record of not keeping the Council informed of what's going on in the city and of actively concealing its actions. [Remember those email Dan S. turned up via GRAMA involving the UTA grant.]

And I flat don't believe the set-up cost is $14,000. I don't think you can put up a bus bench with a bad weather cover for $14,000 these days. So some more digging needs to be done about that.

But in the end, folks, it's a mini-campground in the city, located to be convenient to kayakers. Maybe a good idea. Maybe not. We'll have to see how it works out. But I can't help shaking the suspicion that a lot of the heartburning springs not from some kind of reasoned analysis of the project itself [about which at this point we have very little information beyond its location], but from the fact that it's a Godfrey administration project.

Bill C. said...

Curm, the location of the lying little matty clandestine campgroung is miles from the kayak park, which is next to Fort Buenaventura. The only reason I can see for it's location is to fill an area that's been vacant for awhile. Other uses of that area historicly have been transients and guys like Cavendish cruising for nookie.
Face it Curm, this should have been vetted by the public and Council, the location is the wrong one, and the clandestine nature of the whole thing stinks.
I wonder if this is a precurser for building high adventure horse corrals? Urban high adventure trail rides.

Curmudgeon said...

Bill:

You wrote: Face it Curm, this should have been vetted by the public and Council, the location is the wrong one, and the clandestine nature of the whole thing stinks.

Not disagreeing at all about Council involvement in the planning, nor about the clandestine nature of the process. On those points, as I noted above, we agree.

As for the location, again, maybe it's a good idea, maybe not. If it's in a site that could use some up-grading and more public traffic as a way to improve it, it might work. I don't know. But there seems to be an awful lot of angst, as I said, over a small project. May turn out well. May not. We'll have to see.

amy wicks said...

It's my recollection that some months ago during a discussion of the potential economic impact of having a the ice tower facility downtown, Councilmember Gochnour mentioned that many people participating in "high adventure activities" usually camp or stay in their cars. I believe she mentioned a family member who travels as an example.

I can not recall any council member suggesting spending taxpayer dollars on a city owned campground for out of town outdoor enthusiasts not wanting to contribute to our local economy by staying in a hotel.

The campground was the administration's idea and was only mentioned in passing to the Council as something on a long wish list of items.

Any capital improvement project in Ogden City with costs over $10,000 must have a plan document outlining rough cost estimates and basic information on the physical characteristics of the proposed project and need for the project. This is then submitted to the City Council for approval with a review by the Planning Commission as well. Projects are then approved and funded as part of the budget process.

I am not aware of any such document for the campground being built.

Curmudgeon said...

Amy:

Thanks for the clarification.

Q: if the project was launched in violation of the ordinances or codes, will the Council pursue the matter?

Amy Wicks said...

The end of the second sentence in my previous post should say- I believe she mentioned a family member who travels to climbing sites and stays in his car.

Bill C. said...

Other considerations for the camping at the fort idea.
It's next to the kayak park. There is plenty of room for expansion.
The tunnel comes right out at the Union Station, that all ready has a visitor information area.
The intermodal transpartation hub is right next to the Union Station, so wouldn't need thier vehicles to get around.
And last but not least, didn't Patterson want to put a bmx tract out on the old dump property? That's right there also.
Historic 25th st. is right accross the street.
Last but not least, the Fort itself could use the exposure. Most residents don't even know what is out there or the role it played historicly. Everyone wins, wait, this is Ogden.

Curmudgeon said...

bill:

You raise questions that might reasonably be expected to arise if the proposal had gone through Council and/or public review first... as Councilwoman Wicks suggests it should have, since its cost... even the suspiciously low $14K number... is sufficient to trigger a review procedure involving the Council.

disgusted said...

as i recall the council granted their staff a certain about of financial authority. could it have been mr cook that authorized the spending on behalf of the council but without the councils input.
just wondering or i may be way off course.
if not mr cook then once again the mayor did not follow the city ordinances. if so is this action worthy of the council legally taking him to task.
nowhere is it written that he can only be knocked off his thrown by a big charge.

Come visit our waste refuse center! said...

After the election Godfrey removed several long-time volunteers from committees and commissions because he said while canvassing the city he heard people say over and over again they wanted to get involved, but just didn’t know how.

Based on some of the threads above I was curious about how easy it is to find volunteer and committee information and went to the Emerald City Homepage. Nada. I looked under the site map, alphabetical references and several other links. I can find nothing indicating which city committees are currently funded by my tax dollars and asked to act on my behalf or anything about how I could get involved if I wanted to be part of one. I was able to locate committee agendas, but each time I tried to search for meeting minutes, I got an error message. Only minutes that involve the city council appear to be easily accessible.

As I looked for volunteer information at www.ogdencity.com, one phrase kept popping into my head…”wow does this site SUCK!”

If you click on the parks link from the homepage, there are no pictures of parks with any real impact. But you do get some lovely pictures of city dumpsters and garbage cans (that look to be snapped with someone’s low-end camera phone). I realize both waste management and parks may be under the same funding umbrella, but now that we’re an internationally-know outdoor recreation metropolis maybe we could put the info about garbage collection day and dial-a-dumpster on its own refuse page.

Even the recreation link has a terrible design with pictures so small and of such a poor overall resolution they have no significant impact. As a Gen-Xer, if I was browsing city Websites and took a look at Ogden’s there would be nothing special to draw me to the city (they put the dump info on the parks page?!#).

If creating a “buzz” to have International or US tourists flock here to spend money is one of the administration’s big goals (which I hope they do as long as they stay in a hotel and don’t make plans to build “vacation homes” on our bench), where is the link on the homepage to “COME VISIT OGDEN” in giant print with some kind of flash media that alternates one photo at a time that’s actually large enough to catch someone’s attention?

Check out www.seattle.gov or www.bozeman.com or www.cityofboise.org for some sites that might actually draw in potential tourists and have info easily accessible. The Bozeman site isn’t the official city site, but looks like it’s been paid for specifically by the city’s chamber or council to draw in potential visitors and businesses.

From Boise’s site it’s also very easy to see all of their committees as well as volunteer opportunities. Boise is a bigger city than Ogden, but on an overall scale very comparable.

Curmudgeon said...

Come Visit:

But... but... but... if we had had dramatic and attractive photos of, say, Mt. Ogden Golf Course up on the web page for the previous few years, more people may have come to play it, and then think where we'd be?

Come Visit Our Waste Refuse Center said...

The Mayor doesn't even showcase his own pet projects on the site. It's very amatuer. Maybe that's why most of the county spends more time on the blog each day than the city's site. There's something worth looking at or reading.

Come visit our waste refuse center said...

I did a bit more exploring on the city site and did find some volunteer links, but absolutely nothing so far on how to volunteer directly for the city (the links take you to national and statewide volunteer organizations).

I event clicked on the "youth" link in the topical index thinking they may have info about Marshall White or other programs that need volunteers there. When you click on youth it brings up "Failed to get any items" on the screen.

Since we've got time (and funding) to prosecute kid's parents when they're caught spray painting buildings (which is very wrong, expensive for taxpayers and businesses, and ugly), maybe we could invest a few bucks in putting some info on the site for kids in the community -- aren't we supposed to be family friendly Ogden now?

Not every kid can afford the hourly rate for surfing at the Junction. What's available for them in the city?

drewmeister said...

Come Visit:

Now, now, enough with this so-called "logic" of yours. You must remember, when the Mayor has spoken, the thinking has been done. To question his decisions only demonstrates your fallibility and shortcomings.

Now run along you little scalawag, and maybe drive a little fast down Washington so you can get a ticket and help fund Chief Greiner's pension. We've all got to do our part to help the community!

disgusted said...

Come visit our waste refuse center

you stated "After the election Godfrey removed several long-time volunteers from committees and commissions because he said while canvassing the city he heard people say over and over again they wanted to get involved, but just didn’t know how."
his response stated above to justify his actions was a good sound bite but the reality was that he removed only members from almost all volunteer committees that he felt were not his loyal followers. he then stacked the deck.
you will not see a list of members because a lot of the members of one committe are the members of another committee or their brothers or sisters or mothers or wifes are the members.
you will not see or find a way to become a member because you have to be hand picked by the man on the throne and if you become aware of a committee and try to become a member you will be rejected unless or until you prove your allience or someone from inside give you a letter of recommend.

Curmudgeon said...

Come Visit:

Disgusted is correct. The proper term to describe what the Mayor conducted regarding various citizen advisory committee is a purge.

Mayors who are interested in governing well understand the importance of having a wide range of opinions, experience and points of view --- and even opinion consistently in opposition to their own --- on advisory committees. Committees so composed can act to find the weaknesses in Administration proposals, can generate ideas and refinements that often make the Administration more successful and save it from errors. [Want an example? Take a look at how Abraham Lincoln structured his cabinet. Or how FDR appointed cabinet heads and advisers who fundamentally differed with each other -- and not infrequently him --- on matters of policy, so that he would have a range of options presented to them, and argued for and against before him as well. Then compare that with the yes-men cabinets of G. Bush and the purged advisory committees of M. Godfrey.]

Good elected executive officers value differences of opinion and welcome internal critiques of the plans and proposals. Poor ones don't --- and the public pays the price.

Bill C. said...

Curm, correct me if I've misinterpreted your long last post, but it sounded to me as if you said, in a very long round about way, that lying little matty gondola godfrey is a shitty mayor.

come visit our waste refuse center said...

Curmudgeon,

Funny you use the Lincoln example.

I have often thought about sending the mayor a copy of “Team of Rivals” to learn how our country’s most revered president successfully guided a country through its most divisive period. I doubt he’d read it, but it’s a pretty big book and he could use it to stand on when he’s at the podium.

My mom has always used the phrase, “Don’t cut off your nose despite your face.” From a very early age she wanted her children to learn that working well with others, even when you have a disagreement that you can’t necessarily resolve, is part of maintaining successful personal and professional relationships. It’s better to focus on what you do have in common. No matter how old you get, for most of us I think it’s a challenge to work with those who may have opposing viewpoints, but the most successful groups I’ve worked with have always been the most diverse.

By not picking the best qualified, most enthusiastic people to serve with him, he’s accomplishing less while he serves as mayor. I’ll bet he often hears what employees think he’d most like to hear, rather than the truth.

By the end of his twelfth year as mayor, the city will be a direct reflection of his leadership style and ability as no one who dissents in any small way is a part of the administration or its community-related activities whatsoever.

Curmudgeon said...

Bill:

I've been saying he's an inept administrator for about two and a half years now. [Haven't you been taking notes?]

When saying that here, I usually like to provide a reason for drawing that conclusion. Which I did above.

George K. said...

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