Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mayor Godfrey Hammered by Both Citizens and the City Council

City Council Notes 9/16/08

By George K.

I haven’t seen such a lively Council Meeting for at least a year. There were only two items on the agenda, but there was a large crowd and the meeting went for more than two hours.

The Council was considering a rezone of 370-378 Goddard which is a vacant lot and an old house across the street from the Odyssey Elementary School. The owner of the properties, David Griffiths, has a used car lot that is just south of Sandy’s Restaurant. When he first approached the City Council, he said that he did not plan to use the Goddard street access to the properties because Washington Blvd. would be the main access to his car lot and he intended the vacant lot to store extra cars accessed from the used car lot and he had no immediate plans for the house. He emailed the Council yesterday, saying that Washington Blvd would soon be under reconstruction and he would need access from Goddard, but would limit use so that it did not interfere with the high volume of parents delivering and picking up their students. Rich Moore from the Ogden School District read a letter from Supt. Noel Zabrishie who was unable to attend. The letter cited several concerns of the School District and asked that the Council take the safety of the students into consideration when making their deliberation. After some discussion, Council member Brandon Stephenson moved that the rezone be adopted because he felt that Planning Commission would limit the Goddard St. access according to the minutes. The motion passed 6 to 1 with Council member Jeske voting “No.” She said that she was concerned for the safety of the students and referenced the email they had received asking for access via Goddard.

The other item on the agenda was the reconsideration of the temporary ordinance for C-1 and C-2 zones of neighborhood businesses located throughout the City that was adopted 5 to 2 September 2nd. It seems that several members of the Council had been contacted and asked to reconsider their vote. Council member Jeske moved to reconsider the ordinance and Council member Gochnour seconded it. Council member Garcia explained that an educational community center had been in the process between WSU, Ogden School District and the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College for some time, and would be curtailed by the temporary ordinance that halted any new construction in the areas being considered for the zoning change. The developer indicated he was ready to go forward with the plans for the educational center and an office building within the next 30 to 60 days. During public input, several residents of the neighborhood spoke against reconsidering the ordinance stating that the Council should wait for public input through the community plan that is in the process of being redeveloped. They urged that the historic nature of the East Central neighborhood be retained. However, the ordinance that had been adopted allowed for continued work on the old Safeway grocery store, including the facade which had a Hispanic architectural design. Mayor Godfrey poured out a tirade against the developer would put up anything he wanted and added that he and his associates had contacted members of the Council and asked them to reconsider the ordinance. He then sarcastically asked Council member Jeske why she was shaking her head. With barbed arrows in her voice she replied that she had been contacted by a representative from WSU who had stated that WSU, the Ogden School District and the ATC had jointly been working on developing a community educational center. The Mayor replied that he had been in contact with WSU but hadn’t heard anything about it in an apparent effort to discredit Council memberJeske. But he apparently failed because Council member Jesse Garcia amended the motion made by Council member Stephenson that adopted the proposed temporary ordinance, but added that an educational center and business office be allowed in all the zones being considered. It passed unanimously.

Before opening the meeting to public comments, Chair Wicks read a prepared statement regarding excessively high utility bills. She told the audience that the Council had received a great deal of feedback on the new water rates and knew they were concerned. She said that packets were available to them on the table outside the Council Chambers that explained the rate structure. She said that the Council was working closely with the Administration and looking at options, and that they would be discussing the water rates at their Thursday work meeting. She invited the public but noted that they would not be allowed to comment.

The Mayor said that he could give recommendations right then and there. They were to eliminate the $7.00 surcharge per 1,000 gallons of water over the allotted amount, and go back to the $2.36 surcharge. He said that the City could provide rebates or credits as appropriate retroactive for the months of June, July, August and September.

During the public comments, several citizens of the Lorin Farr neighborhood expressed concern about the campground that the City recently constructed on Park Blvd. Their concerns ranged from fear of an increased presence of an undesirable element to their neighborhood, the cost, that they had not been informed and consulted about its construction to concern for the rodeo participants who used the area during the rodeo. Most of them stated that there would be a need for the campground to have some kind of security presence 24/7/365. The Mayor said that they had not decided what kind of security would be provided, but a steward may be on site at all times. He said that the $14,000 cost was greatly inflated, although he never did say how much the cost would be. During the Council’s comment time, Council member Gochnour asked if the Pioneer Heritage Foundation had been consulted. She said that she had heard that they were very upset with the location of the campground. Council member Jeske asked the Mayor if the campground was included in the Neighborhood Community Plan and the General Plan, and told the audience that the Council had not been informed either of the campground. Vice Chair Stephens read from a prepared statement two or three pages long, and said that he was concerned that the Council had not been involved in any discussion of the campground and ended with the statement that the Pioneer Heritage Foundation may pull its support of the Pioneer Day celebration. The Mayor then responded with, “Be fair, Doug. You never asked the questions about the campground or they would have been answered. Be fair, Doug.” He indicated that at a work meeting, CAO John Patterson had told the Council about the campground, and that it had been discussed several times. Chair Wicks said that the she recalled the campground being mentioned as part of the Mayor’s “wish list.” Points were made by most of the Council members that revealed that the Mayor had acted without Council input, and they were very unhappy about it.

Editor's Note: Scott Schwebke also provides his own writeup this morning, on the topic of the water bill rebates mentioned above.

16 comments:

John said...

Thanks, George K., for the report on the Council meeting. I have missed Dian's and Curmudgeon's reports. I wish that I had attended the meeting last night. It sounds like it was pretty interesting.

I am proud of Council members Gochnour, Jeske and Stephenson for taking the Mayor to task. Kudos to them!

Curmudgeon said...

GK:

Thanks for an excellent write up. I'm particularly interested in Councilman Stephen's comments. He's been the most consistently pro-Administration voice on the Council for years and, with some infrequent exceptions, a reliable pro-Administration vote on contested issues. It seems the Mayor's arrogant and contemptuous treatment of the Council has convinced Mr. Stephens that it's time to say "enough!" He sided, as I recall, with the rest of the Council when it voted unanimously to require the Administration to inform the Council of who it wanted to sell city RDA property to [which the Administration had refused to do in the Bootjack matter when it asked approval to sell an RDA parcel downtown but refused to tell the Council who it wanted to sell it to.]

Again,that the Mayor's hamfisted administration and arrogant lack of respect for the Council and its responsibilities as the legislative arm of Ogden's municipal government, have pushed even Councilman Stephens into opposition is, I think, significant.

Thanks again, GK. Excellent work.

George K said...

Curmudgeon,
It was my pleasure to report last night's meeting.
But I believe you have Council members Doug Stephens and Brandon Stephenson confused. It is Councilman StephenSON who has consistently supported the Mayor and all his hair-brained projects until recently when he has sided with the Council a couple of times when Godfrey has been extremely unethical. But Stephenson does seem to have developed some sense of reality and ethics.

George K said...

Last night there were three Council members who did not say anything about the campground nor the underhanded way it was handled by the administration and they were: Council members StephenSON, Johnson and Garcia. I've seen a lot of growth in Council member Stephens since he assumed the responsibilities of the Vice Chairman position. And of course, the women have always been the backbone and brains of the Council.

drewmeister said...

I love how the Schwebke article makes it seem like the greedy council is just out to grab everyone's money to fund water system improvements, and makes no mention whatsoever of the fact that they wouldn't have to if Godfrey hadn't pissed all the BDO money away on the Jackass Centre!!

dan s. said...

I'm very curious about the water rates. This is another example of where someone needs to look at the numbers, make sense of them, and explain it all to the public in a comprehensible way. Nobody in the government or the media has yet done that, and I suspect nobody will.

On the inside said...

Dan S.,
You might get some insight as to the water rate structure if you attend the work meeting Thursday night.

The Council spent months on receiving citizen input, and information from a consultant. The thing that was not taken into consideration was the very large yards of some residents. In an effort to encourage conservation of water, the Council increased the surcharge which as we have learned is too high.

The Council was told that the increased rate would total between 80 cents to $2.00 each for the three utilities, however, the total has amounted to $20. to $50. which has never been explained I believe it was Council member Stephens who requested that Laura Lewis of the consulting firm be asked to attend Thursday's work meeting.

Curmudgeon said...

George K:

I should have said "one of the most" consistent supporters. Stephenson is unquestionably the most consistent supporter of the Administration. Hasty typing. Mea culpa.

Stephens, however, has been over the years a consistent and reliable supporter of the Administration on most contested issues. Not all, but most.

I rather like Stephen's style on the Council. He sees himself, I think, as a conciliator. Watching him at work sessions, he keeps looking for middle ground, for ways to bring a divided council together on ground the different sides can agree on. That's a good approach to have on a Council that is often sharply divided.

I think Stephens has given the benefit of the doubt to the Administration more often than I would have over the years, and has been willing to defer to executive authority more often than I would. The statement you quoted suggests he's moving some away from that tendency.

dan s. said...

on the inside,

Yeah, I'm sure I could figure this out if I invest a bunch of time in it, by attending Thursday and, more importantly, by getting hold of all the raw data and crunching some numbers myself. Wouldn't be hard.

Problem is, I'm too busy to take on yet another task that really should be the job of the government and the professional journalists.

Sorry if I sound a little exasperated.

Jason W. said...

We are all dreaming of the day OTown reaps the vast economic windfall carried by these peripatetic high-adventure shower-shunners, destined to camp in Tom Cavendish's cruising grouds, forsaking amenities in order to pay top dollar for adrenaline rushes in faux outdoor settings, such as the Jackass Center or an encapsulated ice dildo, open for icy thrill-seekers in August. In a deepening recession and horrific financial climate, I am sure glad Lying Little Matty Gondola Godfrey has created an economic engine that is impervious to global and national downturns: high-adventure recreation! Everyone is hurting moneywise these days, unless you're a pathological, apopleptic douchebag who works for a clothing salesman Daddy who reeks of onions and dreams of gondolas and sewerless castles and shit orbs. And to think we'd never have these problems if only THE GONDOLA were pushed through! Then again, we probably would have run into the following difficulties about 12 times a week:

Sep 17th, 2008 | SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Bulgaria's prime minister and other government officials were trapped for about an hour Wednesday when cable cars malfunctioned during the inauguration of a new ski resort, state radio said.

No one was hurt, but the officials were stuck in the packed gondolas about 30 meters (100 feet) above the ground before being rescued by emergency services, Bulgarian National Radio reported. State radio said the cause appeared to be a power failure.

A BNR reporter who was covering the inauguration said that when the power went off the gondolas slid slowly backward, colliding with each other.

It wasn't immediately clear if the victims were rescued from the gondolas or the power was restored to bring them back down.

An official at Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev's office declined to comment on the mishap.

The accident occurred at the new Kartala resort, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the capital, Sofia, and the cause of the possible power failure was not immediately known.

Environmentalists had staged protests against construction of the ski resort, arguing that it was causing irreparable damage to forests and wildlife on Mount Rila.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

Bill C. said...

Frat boy, would the uncontrolable desire to head-butt women be considered to be a defining trait in those suffering from apoplexy? Happy Greek Week.

Anonymous said...

blah!

lionel said...

Bill

"head butting women" is not what you are trying to make it out to be.

It really isn't a bad thing - if one has the proper motivation. In the case of our very own head butter bobby, he is obviously working with an extremely comprised intelligence, he does know however that grass does not grow on a busy piece of real estate, and by doing his head butting on a regular basis he believes that he will develop a more pronounced forehead and thus be even more like his hero the moral midget on nine with the extended frontal lobe.

So you see Bill, in this case his head butting does have a greater purpose and should be forgiven.

Jason W. said...

I also have knowledge that Lying Little Matty Gondola Godfrey holds the following verse sacred, for it was read to him by Wayne Peterson, leader of his own famed Squirrel Patrol, while the two of them were off on their taxpayer-funded(potential) European love affair years back:

In a Gondola
by Robert Browning
(1812-1889)

The moth's kiss, first!
Kiss me as if you made believe
You were not sure, this eve,
How my face, your flower, had pursed

Its petals up; so, here and there
You brush it, till I grow aware
Who wants me, and wide open I burst.

The bee's kiss, now!
Kiss me as if you enter'd gay
My heart at some noonday,
A bud that dares not disallow
The claim, so all is rendered up,
And passively its shattered cup
Over your head to sleep I bow.

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

the lovely jennifer said...

Mr. Jason W - thank you for that bit of poetic waxing

Nice relief from, 'specially when read from the perspective of your introduction.
*******

This I would offer to LLMGG, were I to attend one of his ti-rades:

(A. Pope said it right)

.. [your] Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,

Much fruit of sense beneath is RARELY found.

[emphasis added]

George K. said...

Comment moved to top shelf

Post a Comment

© 2005 - 2014 Weber County Forum™ -- All Rights Reserved