Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The G-train Pressures the Council for a Second Bite of the Re-zoning Apple

The Emerald City Godfreyites continue to "bark up the wrong tree"

The Standard-Examiner reports this morning that Ogden City Landmarks Commission Chair Sue "G-train" Wilkerson continues pushing the administration's effort to broadly modify the zoning ordinance pertaining to Ogden City's Historic 25th Street District. From this morning's Scott Schwebke story:

OGDEN — An Ogden Landmarks Commission member is asking the city council to reconsider its decision to reject an amendment that would have allowed exemptions to a 45-foot height restriction ordinance for Historic 25th Street buildings.
Sue Wilkerson, who has served on the Landmarks Commission for 3 1 /2 years, said Monday the council’s Sept. 23 decision should be revisited because it was based on flawed information.
The prescribed process for bringing up a council decision for reconsideration is provided by Section 16 of the Ogden City Council Rules of Procedure:

16. Reconsideration
A. Any Council member who has voted with the prevailing side of a question may move at the same meeting to reconsider the question at the same meeting, or at the next available Council meeting. If a question has failed by a tie vote, members who voted against the question shall be considered to be on the prevailing side. [Emphasis added]
Whether any of the five prevailing council members on last Tuesday's "nay" vote (Wicks, Garcia, Gochnour, Jeske & Stevens) will succumb to Wilkerson's lobbying pressure is something, of course, that can't be predicted with absolute certainty.

One thing is clear however, in our view. Wilkerson and her fellow Godfreyites have missed the main issue here. Although they trot out several dilatory and peripheral issues, such as whether the council's decision to reject Boss Godfrey's proposed ordinance may have been (hypothetically) founded in some part upon flawed information, they nevertheless continue to overlook the single pivotal issue in this matter, i.e., the broad wording of the now defeated ordinance amendment, which would have stripped the council of zoning approval power, and ceded it to a pair of unelected volunteer advisory commissions.

Unless and until the Godfreyites are prepared to offer a more narrowly drafted ordinance, which would preserve the council's zoning approval authority, we believe it's unlikely that anyone within the prevailing majority of the city council will be willing to take a second look at Windsor Hotel re-zoning.

As it stands, Wilkerson and her fellow Godfreyites are "barking up the wrong tree," in other words, we think.

Before closing, we'll also link (without our own editorial comment) the latest Godfreyite anti-council smear letter, appearing in this morning's Std-Ex:

Ogden should make inner city upscale

The fun never ends in Ogden City politics.

We'll leave it to our gentle readers to enlighten the blogosphere about the true meaning of all this.

25 comments:

Bill C. said...

Rudi, you linked the article twice and missed the letter.

Bill C. said...

Thank You,

See the back room deals said...

https://ucrs.state.ut.us/ucrsppc/public.html?Target=pppcpubStatementOfOrganizationInfo&PEID=10807

Look at who is involved in the bribes at the capitol. the link is the PIC that was pushing for the voucher vote

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

Even a much revised ordinance that did not cut the Council out of reviewing future zoning variances in the Historic District would still leave on the table a substantive matter: would changing the height limits on Historic 25th Street endanger the street's designation as a Historic District? I notice that Ms. Wilkerson, in her bill of particulars urging a rehearing, says that the WCHF letter saying the change would endanger the street's Historic District status has been "withdrawn" by the organization because it normally does not get involved in zoning matters like this. She does not, however, say that the substance of the letter --- that granting the variance would endanger the street's Historic District status --- was incorrect. It was withdrawn for procedural and policy reasons by the WCHF leadership, not apparently because the concerns expressed in the letter had no merit.

So, even with a stripped down ordinance, if the Godfrey Gaggle will not, or cannot, deal effectively with the claim from credible sources that the variance would put the street's Historic District status at risk, the Council should not rescind its decision. If they can successfully refute that claim, then perhaps the Council ought to look again at the request for the variance, but in a form that does not remove the Council from reviewing future decisions on similar requests.

Bullet Sponge said...

You're getting your organizations mixed up. The WCHF (Weber County Heritage Foundation) did not rescind their letter as far as I know. Barbara Murphy's (State deputy preservation officer) letter was rescinded by her boss.

But to reinforce your point, it was rescinded not because it was wrong, but simply because they would prefer not to weigh in on the matter (which I consider ridiculous. OF COURSE they should be weighing in on the matter).

dan s. said...

It's hard to imagine that the SHPO letter was written in bad faith. The most likely explanation for the letter being "withdrawn" is that someone in the Godfrey administration (perhaps Harmer) pulled some strings and put pressure on SHPO.

Meanwhile, both the Weber County Heritage Foundation and the Utah Heritage Foundation remain on the council's side on this matter.

RudiZink said...

The SHPO has NOT "rescinded" the Murphy letter. Nor has the SHPO rupudiated it.

Here is the SHPO's position on the letter:

"Martin told the Standard-Examiner on Monday that the letter had been sent to the city council in error.

“It was sent without my review,” he said. “We don’t normally weigh in on local ordinances.”


Scott Schwebke gets it exactly right. Read Schwebke's article carefully.

"Rescission" is Wilkenson's own spin:

"The letter has since been rescinded by Wilson Martin, who is Murphy’s boss, Wilkerson said.

Big difference.

George K said...

Dan S.,

I believe you are absolutely right about the Godfrey administration throwing its weight around. Harmer would be the logical one since he told the Council that he used to work for the Utah Historic Preservation Office.

It ought to be another interesting Council meeting. According to Schwebke's article, it looks like Sue Wilkerson is going after Councilwoman Jeske. I have faith in the councilwoman, she has held her own with Godfrey and the Geigers in the past.

Council members Wicks, Stephens, Garcia, Gochnour and Jeske, don't let Sue Wilkerson's blustering intimidate you into reconsidering or rescinding your vote. You voted for what was in the best interest of Ogden. You were given incomplete information upon which to base your vote, which is Godfrey's mode of doing business with the council -- then he wonders why they don't trust him? Be sure you have all the information the administration has. How many other Historic 25th Street property owners are planning to ask for a height variance once that ordiance is passed. How will those requests and changes affect the Historic District?

dan s. said...

Rudi,

Thanks for the correction; you're absolutely right. I was incorrect to say the letter was "withdrawn".

Curmudgeon said...

Bullet Sponge:

You're right. I got the groups mixed up. Thanks for the correction.

O-Town Politics is Too Funny said...

"...it looks like Sue Wilkerson is going after Councilwoman Jeske."

Not a very smart idea for the well known 25th Street Tramp, Wilkerson.

Attacking Jeske, the most popular city council member, is a loser tactic, for sure.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Moroni McConkie said...

Dale Johnson lives at Union Square and is on its condo board. I thought he was smarter than his letter to the editor about historical integrity would indicate. This is a real disappointment.

He attributes last month's demolition of 146 W. 25th (the old building west of Shin Sei restaurant) to the council's wise decision not to strip itself of zoning approval power. The Standard has inexplicably not seen fit to report on that matter, but one assumes it was between the building's owner, Scott Van Leeuwen of The Gift Shop, and the city.

He also links (in his own brain, anyway) the closing of Angelo's to the same council decision. Just goes to show, the booboisie will believe whatever it wants. How soon will the flying saucers land? It's pathetic.

really??? said...

OK, so G-train says the Council acted inappropriately for paying attention to a letter which the head of the SHPO says was sent out without his review. Then the SHPO head added "we don't normally weigh in on local ordinances." So what part of historic preservation (the HP in SHPO) doesn't it's head understand? They're the State Historic Preservation Office but they don't weigh in on historic preservation issues within the state of Utah?

Curmudgeon said...

MM:

Yes, Mr. Johnson's letter sadly displays the kind of anger-driven irrationality we've come to expect from the Godfrey Gaggle. For example, he complains of the Council that "members have done everything in their power to sell short any plans that Mayor Godfrey has had for this city."

Well, let's look at the record: (a) the Administration recommended the Ogden RDA [aka the Council] selling the Windsor property to the current owners for rehab as a historic property. The Council approved the sale. (b) The administration recommended giving the developers a subsidy from the city to make historic rehabilitation of the property economically feasible. The Council agreed. Apparently, what Mr. Johnson objects to is not that the Council opposes all the Mayor's recommendations, since plainly, it has not. What has Mr. Johnson unhappy is that the Council only approved most of what the Mayor recommended this time instead of all of it.

Mr. Johnson, in his anger, flatly ignored the facts on the record. I understand why he did this, since the facts do not support what he wants SE readers to believe. It is sad, really, to see people so bereft of good arguments on their side that they're reduced to the kind of fact-free exaggerations in Mr. Johnson's sad letter.

danny said...

I fear that if Sue Wilkerson can't get the vote changed, Godfrey will fire her too, like he did with Harmer this week. In her case that will mean funneling the city's sweet HUD deals to somebody besides the G-train.

Off topic, this is a fun video

Take all your money out of the market, he says.

Now that the market is down over 30% he finally says, "sell!"

This is a huge story:

US Gov't Steps Toward Socialization of All Banking

This means companies can't borrow money, and are indebted, and need to roll it over, so the US government will lend it to them.

So everybody from GE to Beto's can go to the Fed and ask for a loan if the bank won't give them one. It's a big deal because even solvent companies need credit to meet payroll sometimes.

I keep wondering, "Is this really happening?"

It really looks like the end our our financial system to me - very historic times we are living in.

In the recent Batman movie, there is a line: Some men want money, and some want power. But some just want to watch the world burn.

That last type of man may be the only kind that enjoys the next few years.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny, Danny, Danny....

Don't you know we have a CEO as president? Don't you remember how all those free market worshiping Republicans crowed about G. W. Bush's election, that now at least we had a CEO as president, and by god the economy would be run right for a change? Surely you can't have forgotten....

Sounds like you're just a naysayer to me....

danny said...

Curm,

I realized only after the fact that my post included imagery of incompetent leadership, failure, and Mexican food.

DON'T Click Here

But if you do, think of Godfrey's staff meeting late at night, right before Beto's closes, talking about Sue Wilkerson's failures, and it may help.

Monotreme said...

No one else has commented on this rather strange Tim Gurrister piece in today's paper.

(Full disclosure: I know Mr. Studebaker, and we don't "pal around," as Ms. Palin would have it, but we do have a nodding acquaintance.)

Isn't that what attorneys do? File lawsuits? Here it was, I thought that was their job. In fact, Mr. Studebaker is well-known for this, having argued one of his 4th Amendment cases before the US Supreme Court last year. (He lost, 9-0, but them's the breaks.)

Where's the news peg?

Could it be that Mr. Gurrister has been enlisted to do a (rather pointless) "hatchet job" on Mr. Studebaker?

ozboy said...

Way off topic here, but I just got this email from a usually reliable political source in Washington. Thought I would throw it out there for comment. Does any one know anything about this? Sounds too good to be true, but then you just never know. The one thing about it that I find highly unlikely is the accusation that democrats and liberal republicans are keeping a lid on the whole deal.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ever heard of the Bakken Formation?

GOOGLE it or follow this link. It will blow your mind.

http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911

The U.S. Geological Service issued a report in April ('08) that only
scientists and oilmen knew was coming, but man was it big. It was
a revised report (hadn't been updated since '95) on how much oil
was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota; western South
Dakota; and extreme eastern Montana .... check THIS out:

The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska's
Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to eliminate all American
dependence on foreign oil The Energy Information A dministration
(EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable... at $107 a barrel, we're looking at a resource
base worth more than $5.3 trillion.

'When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see
their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea.' says Terry Johnson,
the Montana Legislature's financial analyst.

'This sizable find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field
found in the past 56 years,' reports The Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It's a formation known as the Williston Basin, but is more commonly referred to as the 'Bakken.' And it stretches from Northern Montana, through North Dakota and into Canada. For years, U.S.oil exploration has been considered a dead end. Even the 'Big Oil' companies gave up searching for major oil wells decades ago. However, a recent technological breakthrough ha s opened up the Bakken's massive reserves... and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 PER BARREL!

That's enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 41 years straight.

[And if THAT didn't throw you on the floor, then this next one
should - because it's from TWO YEARS AGO, people!]

U.S.Oil Discovery- Largest Reserve in the World! Stansberry
Report Online - 4/20/2006 Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface
of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve
in the world is more than 2 TRILLION barrels. On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction.

They reported this stunning news: We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth. Here are the official estim a tes:

- 8-times as much oil as Saudi Arabia
- 18-times as much oil as Iraq
- 21-times as much oil as Kuwait
- 22-times as much oil as Iran
- 500-times as much oil as Yemen- and it's all right here in the Western United States.

HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this!? Because the DEMOCRATS, environmentalists
and left wing republicans have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil.

James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we've got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East - more than 2 TRILLION barrels. Untapped. That's
more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports The Denver Post.

- - - -

Don't think 'OPEC' will drop its price - even with this find? Think
again! It's all about the competitive marketplace, - it has to.
- - - -

[Got your attention / ire up yet? Hope so! Now, while you're thinking about it ... and hopefully P.O'd, do this:

Take 10 minutes and compose an E - mail; fax or good old-fashioned letter to all your friends and associates. Alert them to the fact that democrats and 'liberal'
republicans have been and will continue to obstruct all plans to make America independent of foreign oil.

If you don't take a little time to do this, then you should stifle yourself the next time you want to complain abo ut gas prices . . . because by doing NOTHING, you've
forfeited your right to complain

Monotreme said...

Ozboy:

I don't purport to be an expert on petroleum geology, but Snopes has a report on this that revises the estimates downward by a factor of more than 100.

Crudesader said...

Ozboy,

No doubt the bakken field is a great find for sure but not a Prudhoe Bay and you're right it is light crude oil about 42 degree API gravity and very sweet. There's a lot of activity going on up there and I recently heard the exact production number (in the range of 125,000 to 150,000 B/D) as I recall, but it will never be the size of field that the communication that you received would suggested. Also even if it were to be developed to twice its existing size, remember that the U.S. consumes the equivalent of 22 million barrels of oil per day.

drewmeister said...

8th Leshamville house burning at this moment.

Bill C. said...

Comment moved to new article

George K. said...

Comment promoted to main article

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