Sunday, September 21, 2008

Changing Historic 25th Street District Zoning: Another Knuckleheaded Boss Godfrey Idea

The Weber County Heritage Foundation weighs in on the subject of a proposed 25th Street Historic District rezone

Last Thursday, we featured a wonderful article from the Utah Heritage Foundation blog, presenting sound and rational reasons why Boss Godfrey's pending scheme to enact a broad zoning modification within Ogden's Historic 25th Street District ought to be summarily rejected by the Ogden City Council.

To our great delight, this morning's Standard-Examiner features a fine follow-up piece, a guest commentary by Susan Van Hooser, president of another Utah historic preservation political heavy hitter, the Weber County Heritage Foundation. Ms. Van Hooser's article presents yet more cogent argument supporting the proposition that the Council ought to firmly but politely tell Godfrey and his Windsor Hotel developer pals to make like real "high adventure recreation" folke... and "take a hike." Check out Ms. Van Hooser's full text below:

"Raising building height limits on Historic 25th Street a bad idea"

Ogden City has a good thing going with our Historic 25th Street. It's plain that now is no time to let Godfrey and his cronies screw it up.

A Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to Ms. Van Hooser and the Weber County Heritage Foundation, for weighing in energetically and unequivocally on this very important subject.

For those readers who haven't already contacted the City Council about this, we link Ogden City Council contact information here. Remember, time is running short. The Council will consider this proposed zoning change on Tuesday. Snoozers will be losers.

Reader comments are invited as always.


danny said...

Two comments,

1. Please give us more Susie, much more. Rather than writing letters, become a decision maker again.

2. How come it took a year, after swallowing one or two hundred grand of public money, for these California Windsor Hotel investors to realize they needed to raise to roof so much? How come it seems like everyone associated with Godfrey can't find their behind even with a bell on it?

On another subject, the Dow is off 150 right now, and is down 400 or so from it's Friday peak. This bailout using a trillion borrowed dollars is not calculated to save bank shareholders (note what past bailouts did to AIG, FRE, FNM, BStears shareholders) and I don't see how this bailout gets people out borrowing and spending again.

Note that politicians used to say we need to increase wages and salaries to get the economy going, and now they say we need to get people CREDIT so they can get spending again. It seems remarkable to me.

crow said...

Great piece indeed. Slick talkin' developer friends of the Mayor and apparently Bernie Allen trying to get this ordinance changed. They were able to weasel it through the Landmarks and Planning Commissions, but I cannot think of any coherent reason the City Council would pass this. The mayor has been after our beautiful natural environment for years, now he's after the gems in our built environment. No asset in this community is safe w/ Godfrey at the helm. Why, oh why, was he re-elected?

wsu_alumni said...

He was re-elected, if I remember correctly...because people were intimidated by his thugs at the polling places. So I heard. Among other reasons.

Curmudgeon said...


Sorry, WSU, but I don't think the evidence supports a claim that Mayor Godfrey won via intimidation at the polls, etc. There were contested ballots and disallowed ballots, but as I recall even if all of those had been allowed and all had been credited to SVH, it would not have been enough to overcome the Mayor's 400 vote margin. It would probably have made it somewhat closer, but no more than that.

It was a hard fought campaign. He had the advantage of incumbency, a lot of financing and professional campaign management. Yet, given all that, running against a thinly financed first time candidate with volunteers for campaign workers, he had to publicly surrender the idea of selling Mt. Ogden Park to his accomplice in order to win even as narrowly as he did.

But win he did. No point to pretending otherwise.

see, I Told you so said...

Are you overlooking the fact that the clerk did not and I say did not count some 1500 ballots and yes that could have changed the out come of that election.

Curmudgeon said...

see I told

Source, please, for that many valid votes going entirely uncounted? And even so, to have tipped the election, those ballots would have had to break better than 950 to SVH and only 550 to MG to have changed the election result. [That's 63% for SVH, 37% for MG.] Given the overall election returns, that kind of lop-sided result highly wildly improbable.

I'm not happy with how the Mayoral election turned out either, SITY. But I think the evidence is clear that Hizzonah won it. Narrowly. But he won it.

Debbie dew said...


I don't understand how you came up with what the required votes should have been. With only a 450 vote difference, saying Susie would have had to have an additional 950 votes does not compute.

The 1500 votes referenced by WSU was reported in the SE. There are pictures of one of Godfrey's poll watchers, sitting next to Judge's table with Godfrey's brochures on her lap saying, "Re-elect Mayor Godfrey." It is against the law to have ANY campaign materials within 150 feet of a polling place, and poll watchers are not allowed to say anything to the voters, but she was asking the names of the voters at the Dee Event Center. All the mayoral ballots cast there should have been cisqualified! And you don't think it was intimidating to have the Mayor's brother at the Taylor School polls asking people how they were? He was a poll watcher who violated the election laws by speaking to voters!

Godfrey did not legally win the election -- he weaseled his way back into office!

Curmudgeon said...


With 1500 uncounted ballots, SVH would have had to take 950 of those 1500... actually, a bit more than that... to make up the 400 plus votes she was short in the overall count.

Did the County poll administrators [they are appointed by the County, not the city] violate both the spirit and the letter of the election laws at certain precincts? Absolutely. There's not much question of that. The ACLU investigation turned up evidence that that happened, as did the County's internal investigation. The conclusion of both was that training of election poll workers was sloppy, and that at some polling places they made ill-informed and bad decisions.

So, no argument on that. Whether those ill informed and bad decisions resulted in an election that would have gone the other way without them is very doubtful. As for the intimidation factor... sorry, DD, but I susptect 99% of the voters who voted that day would not have recognized the Mayor's brother if they tripped over him... or have been intimidated by a "hi, how are you?" into changing their secret ballot if they did recognize him.

I understand the disappointment of losing a hard fought election. I share it. And there have been elections stolen in American history without doubt ["Landslide Lyndon's" election to Congress for example; or Bush's election in 2000]. But the evidence does not support the claim that Godfrey's election last year was one of them. He won by the skin of his teeth against a first time underfunded candidate. It was a hell of a fight. But he did win.

math tutor said...

Debbie Dew, do some math. VH needed to pick up 450 additional votes without Godfrey picking up any additional votes. Hence if VH got 450 out of the 1500 in question, that would mean MG would've picked up the other 1050 and only widened his lead. That's why VH would've needed to get 1000 (not 950) of the 1500 in question, because MG would've gotten the other 500. But this would've meant VH picked up 500 more votes than MG, enough to put her ahead.

lehman said...

The owners of the building have actually been sitting on the money for a year waiting for the City to devise a plan that allows them to exceed the current height limit. This ordinance revision is the City's and Developers' dismal and short-sighted response to the height limit issue. Not only is the City doling out huge wads of cash to developers/friends of the Mayor, but they are also changing good and long-standing ordinances that might stand in their way. Enough is enough.

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