Thursday, October 30, 2008

Emperor Godfrey Fiddles While Ogden Burns

Leshemville arson crime spree continues unabated

Just as gentle reader Drewmeister tipped us yesterday morning, the Standard-Examiner is now reporting that the arson crime spree continues in the Leshemville neighborhood, notwithstanding the fact that authorities already have one suspect in custody. The Std-Ex has two stories this morning on its live website, along with a short video clip:

Spree continues after arrest of arson suspect

Sharp-eyed readers will notice the fire trucks and firefighters who were again dispatched to the scene, public safety resources which have been wasted at least 11 times this year, while Boss Godfrey and Mr. Leshem have continued to sit on their thumbs.

We'll go along with the Drewmeister and ask: Just how long will Mssrs. Godfrey and Leshem continue to procrastinate on the task of eliminating this persistent and dangerous River Project Area nuisance?

Is it going to take having some innocent citizen injured or killed, to compel the folks who are responsible for this ridiculous mess to finally get off their fannies and bring on the bulldozers?


drewmeister said...

So they say that just Mancuso's fires alone cost $100,000 for the fire department to handle; why is this put on the taxpayers? If the city will charge a (normal, non-FOM) resident for the cost to bring their yard and property up to code, it seems reasonable that if properties sitting vacant and unmaintained and in BLATANT violation of code for more than a year are burned, that the bill should be sent to California?

What happens to normal folk when a house fire is put out by the FD? Does the city normally say, "Oh, hey, don't worry about it, it's on us", or do they issue a bill for services rendered?

Oh, btw, first post! Yaay!

Southsider said...


I saw a spot on the TV news last night (either KUTV or KSL: can't remember, and can't find on the net this morning) where they said it cost $1,000 per hour to fight fires, but $10-15K to demolish a home. The implication was no big deal. They seem to have gotten the $1K figure from the Ogden Fire Dept.

Of course, part of the demo cost was removal of toxic materials, which I think you'd still have to do in addition to the demo of the burned building. So whatever the FD cost, it's still a cost.

Moroni McConkie said...

Bring on the bulldozers, indeed. How were we ever persuaded to spread our knees for our civic savior, Gadi Leshem?

Can't help but recall how, after Bernard Goetz shot a few thugs who attacked him in a N.Y. subway car (yes, "Whatever Bernie Wants, Bernie Goetz ..."), there were those who wanted him to run for NY mayor.


OgdenLover said...

A neighbor said on TV that Mancuso had some mental problems and evidenced attention-seeking behavior. He hypothesized that she would confess without realizing the seriousness of her confession. That's just one person's opinion, but it's worth considering. Also, neighbors reported seeing a man lurking around the later-burned houses.

In general, it is pretty unusual for women to commit arson. I am sure the OPD was under great pressure to nab "the arsonist", and the cops on the beat did what they could given the circumstances. MY beef is with those higher up who seem to have accepted Mancuso's confession without investigating further.

Curmudgeon said...


Bad idea, billing the property owner for fighting the fire.

Fire fighting is a community service, and a vital one, paid for by taxes. We'd all be outraged, and rightly so, if our home caught on fire, we called the fire department, they put it out... and then sent us a bill. We pay for the protection, via our taxes.

There may well be reasonable grounds for billing Mr. Lesham for knocking the dangerous eyesores of the Leshamville slum down. But billing him for firefighting is not a good idea and could set a bad precedent. Policy born of a desire to "get Gaddi" [as I think your suggestion probably was] --- or to "get" anyone --- is very often bad public policy.

OgdenLover said...

Mea culpa. I wrote too soon, but why do we have to go to the SL Trib to learn these things? According to this article, Ogden arson suspect to undergo mental screening, the police were continuing to look for other arsonists. At least that's what we were told this morning.

ozboy said...

Don't know why good old Gadi just doesn't call on his major league big time Hollywood producer pal Rupert solve this Leshamville dilimma by making it a part of his next academy award winning opus and burn the whole damn area down in one big made for the movies fire! I mean Hollywood big shots like Rupee usually pay big money to create major fire scenes. This one is just sitting there waiting for these creative geniuses. They could save a few million in production costs and get rid of the eyes sore in one svelte swoop. Just as Rupee did the magnificent "Jaws 13", he could make more movie history with "Fire 6".

While he is at it he could stage former mayor Goff's great train wreck! (or was that Meacham?). Maybe he could re-route some tracks through Leshamville and have the great fire started by the great train wreck! The possibilities are endless with these creative giants of our era!

And Moroni, I like your idea for this poor deluded broad for mayor! She couldn't possibly do worse or be more corrupt than what we have now.

Curmudgeon said...


Thanks for the SLTrib link... but sadly the Trib writer, Lindsay Whitehurst, seems new to the story, and not as up on the background as she should be. Consider this from the story: Mancuso said she set the fires to attract attention and speed up the project, which has been in the works for months, according to police.

First, it's poor writing because it's unclear, and can be read to convey different meanings. Never good in newswriting. Did the police tell Whitehurst that the river project as been "in the works for months?" That's what her article seems to say, but I doubt the Ogden police told her that. Did Mancuso say the project was "in the work for months?" Possible, and Whitehurst's sentence might be read that way too, but Mancuso, a resident of the area certainly would know that the project has been in the works for years... many years... not for "months." If she's sane, that is.

Putting reporters with no background in hand on a story can lead to gaffes like the one in the SL Trib story above. The simplest of checking would have, should have, turned up for Ms. Whitehurst correct information about just how long... how endlessly, achingly long... the River Project has been "in the works," even if we take the start of the project as the city's first purchase of a residential property, or the option on one, in the zone. It's more important... always... for a newspaper to get it right rather than to get it quick.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

Maybe it was Mancuso's planning for the fires that has been in the works for months?

It is unfortunate that we are seeing a decline in reportage and writing skills across the board in almost all of the remaining news papers.

We have become accustomed to poor quality in the SubStandard, but it is most discouraging to see the Tribune slipping like this.

By the way, Moulton and McKitrick, both with the Tribune, are still doing great work. Too bad they don't put one or both back on the Ogden beat.

Moroni McConkie said...

This just in ... Utah Opera Company has chosen Leshem-ville as the outdoor proscenium for the finale of its production of The Ring Cycle, Godfreydammerung!

Curmudgeon said...




Curmudgeon said...


Ah, yet a third possible reading of the same sentence.

H.L. Mencken, Ben Hecht and William Allen White must be spinning in their graves....

monotreme said...

I haven't been going to crime conferences for 35 years like some people I know.

Still, I know that false confessions are well-known to psychologists and are a pervasive (if small) part of errors made by police.

I strongly suspect that if they had continued to question Ms. Mancuso, they could've gotten her to confess to the Kennedy Assassination (perhaps even both!) and the drowning of Mary Jo Kopechne as well.

The fact that these arsons continued as she was incarcerated is prima facie evidence that she either did not commit the crimes in question, or that she was not the only person committing the crime in question.

drewmeister said...


I was not simply saying that the city should automatically bill Leshem for his fires; I was asking, does the city bill a property owner in the event of a fire? I really don't know. I've never (knock on wood) had to experience a fire, so I don't know how that works.

Yes, I am in a "get Leshem" kind of mood; but only getting him for what's fair. He should be paying the city tens of thousands of dollars for his properties that are in violation just like the hundreds of other people who get code violations every year. The city should have long ago taken the liberty to remedy the violations and bill him for not only the cost of the remedy but the daily fines they charge anyone else. And, *if* it is standard procedure for the property owner to pay some sort of fee in the event of (multiple) fires, he should be charged every red cent or issued a warrant for his arrest if he fails to cough up the dough.

Curmudgeon said...


OK. Sorry. Read more into your query than you intended.

Been thinking on your post some since it went up. I've never had a fire either [knock on wood], but I'd be livid if I did, and got charged by the FD for putting it out.

On the other hand, there are public services of a sort not unrelated to urban fire fighting that people do get charged for. I recall the expense of fighting some of the bench fires on forest service land started by kids get charged to their families. And people who have to be pulled off rock ledges and such, mountain rescues, get charged to the rescued now as a rule.

But then, I don't think the rescue services are tax funded to the extend that fire departments are, nor does the Forest Service get city taxes for fire fighting.

However, OFD EMS units do charge for peeling people hit by cars up off the pavement and hauling them to hospitals. That I do know from personal experience.

So, upon reflection, your question was a better one than I thought it was at the time.

disgusted said...

if gadi it a responsible land owner he should be responsible for providing secrutity for his investment properties.

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