Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Hint of Some Non-rancorous News In Ogden

Something good we can probably all agree about

By Curmudgeon

Amidst all this ulcerous rancor of late, Ogden could use a little good news, and the Standard-Examiner provides it this morning here. Mr. Schwebke reports that a refurbished railroad dining car [donated anonymously] will in about six weeks open at the Frontrunner station as a visitors information site, serving out of town visitors arriving by rail a the transit center. [NB to Mr. Schwebke and the Std-Ex general: can we please follow the lead of UTA and stop referring to the Transit Center by the god-awful term "Intermodal Hub?" An intermodal hub sounds like something my mechanic says I need replaced under the car soon [$247.36 plus labor]. It does not sound like someplace to catch a bus or train.]

Ramrodding the project is Mr. Richard Brookins, Ogden's fleet and facilities manager. The city will lease out space in the dining to a vendor of snacks and soft drinks, and the city expects over five years to thus recover the approximately $35K it will cost to put the car in service. Dean John Goddard [WSU School of Business] expects WSU marketing students will work there as volunteers, particularly during festivals and other large events. [I fear for Dean Goddard's job: doesn't he know WSU is committed to undermining all efforts to improve downtown Ogden? Doesn't he know WSU's official policy [according to Godfrey Gaggle cheerleader B. Geiger] is to do nothing to assist in helping the city prosper? Didn't he get the memo?]

The dining car/welcome center is a good idea. So is this: "A directional sign to various areas of the city will be constructed next to the car." Imagine that. What is it now, three months or so after Frontrunner starts running, after having had three years notice that it was coming, and somebody in Ogden finally figures out it might be a good idea to have signs at the station telling arriving passengers how to find... oh, say, Historic 25th Street or The Junction? Well, better late than never, I guess.

26 comments:

Moroni McConkie said...

Good catch, Curm, on Dean Goddard and his subversion of WSU's treacherous vendetta against downtown Ogden.

dan s. said...

Jeez, Curm, try to be a little more careful with names, eh? John B. Goddard is the name of the WSU business school, not its dean, whose name is Lewis Gale. Oh, and it's been over five months since FrontRunner began operations, not three.

But yeah, this is a great example of one of the many projects we can all agree on. The City Council voted for the funding allocation unanimously at Tuesday's meeting. And yet I predict that certain elements of the citizenry will continue to accuse the council of opposing "everything". Of course, it remains to be seen whether the city can do a decent job of running the operation.

And you're right to point out that this is long overdue. It's tempting to look back and speculate on who's to blame for the long delay, but I'd rather look ahead.

Curmudgeon said...

dan:

Sorry. Cutting back and forth between windows, mixed up the names. Point's the same, though. My bad. Thanks for fixing it.

A Cross Roads Committe Member said...

This project was first suggested by the Cross Roads of the West Committee because of the obviious confusion of visitors getting off the FrontRunner observed by some of the committee members. We wanted something that could be put up quickly, but then it went to the city administration and it turned into a major project costing around $35K. I believe the Cross Roads Committee offered to contribute some funds to the project.

Just wanted the credit to go to the right source.

Curmudgeon said...

CR:

Whoever had it, it was a good idea. I'm just still astonished that no one in Ogden... not the 25th Street merchants assn., not the Chamber of Commerce, not the Planning Dept... figured out over the three years they knew FR was coming, that at the very least some signage would be necessary to direct strangers arriving by train to Ogden's main attractions. But you guys had a good idea and I'm glad to see it's now being implemented. Kudoes too to whoever it was who donated the railcar.

A Cross Roads Committe Member said...

Curm,
I think everyone thought that it was someone else's responsibility and that someone else would take care of having some signage up. It does seem that it should have been the city who started the ball rolling. But Godfrey had the city busy with his velodrome and trying to sneak the campgrounds past the council.

what will it cost us said...

What are the citizens paying business development folks, the frineds of the mayor that were hired to promote the city for if they couldn't see a need to direct the tourists off the train when they arrived in Ogden? Maybe it would be in the cities best interest to hire people that have some background and common sense rather than friends and relatives of the mayors supporters.

curious 1 said...

Off thread but I have noticed a billboard on Harrison for Ed Allen, has the mayor paid for his father-in-laws campaign signs? Has he also helped Neil Hansen's opponent as a pay back for running against him in the last election?

I do think the mayor will try and stack the legislature with his friends to have an effect on city concerns. I can see privatization coming to community parks, centers and recreation areas that compete with private businesses.

Curmudgeon said...

Curious 1:

If the Mayor spends his own money to support Allen or Peterson or anyone else, that's his right. You have the same right to buy signs for Hansen or Willis if you want to.

The only possible reason the public might complain about the Mayor's paying for campaign signs for people he supports [and I don't know that he is; you just asked whether he was] would be if he was doing it with city funds. Not even our mayor could be such a damn fool as to do that.

Curmudgeon said...

Also off topic, but bad news for Ogden. Mervyns is closing all of its remaining 149 stores nationwide after Christmas. It will promote its usual Christmas sale as a "Going Out of Business Sale." I didn't see that in this morning's SE, but the story is reported in the New York Times here.

Figuring maybe 100 employees overall per store [sales, management, maintenance, executive offices, buyers, etc], that means another 15K jobs will disappear nationally before Bush leaves office, and the Newgate Mall will lose one of its anchor stores, and Ogden will lose another hundred or so jobs. The SE is already feeling the pinch. Mervyns normally includes a fat four color multipage ad in the SE's Sunday edition. This Sunday, the Mervyns's ad is one page. One.

Republican mismanagement of the economy is coming home to Main Street faster and faster now. If we're foolish enough to put another Republican at the top for another four years to continue the Bush policy of welfare for the corporate wealthy, we may yet turn this into a depression.

OgdenLover said...

While Curm is bashing Republicans, I can't help asking if anyone else has noticed the similarities between how Sarah Palin and Matt Godfrey run things? Personal vendettas and lying about accomplishments are two examples. Maybe we can send Matt to Alaska - they're used to his way of doing things.

dont like him, dont have to said...

Ogden Lover:

The little pecker wouldnt last 10 minutes in Alaska.

I dont care for Sarah Palin, but she has more balls than Godfrey does.

And yes you are correct, she and Godfrey do practice the same methods of doing business, I believe it's the Republican party way gone bad.

What it will cost us said...

In case you want to see where your Ogden dollars go you can look up what our officials and yes business development personnel make, at over $65K a year, it will buy a lot of Japanese clothes.

utahsright.com

PPK said...

Where did the magical figure of 35K for this railcar actually come from? So far, pretty much everything that Ogden City has put out there for us at some initial low-end cost quote has turned out to be THOUSANDS of KKKKKKK's more than said initial quote. Just wondering where that figure came from....and what it includes as well as EXCLUDES. Buyers beware. It's a fantastic idea, for sure. Just not totally convinced that it can be established for such a low cost. Will be interesting to find out AFTER it's done what the total taxpayer cost ends up being. After donations..of course.

I'm VERY disappointed and saddened about Mervyns!! It's one of the few places you can go to get decent family items for reasonable cost!! Say it ain't so!

As far as who's idea it was or wasn't for the railcar, let's see, I think Curm is right in that it is astonishing that no one/department/entity he listed thought of this earlier. BUT, here's an interesting point: you have Dave Harmer-director of BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT making around $106K/yr who somehow didn't exactly drum up this grand idea of the railcar, yet he has been very much on-board (no pun intended) with the new CHECK CASHING place going up on the corner of Washington and 12th street! VERY nice. Very very nice. Go, Dave, Go. As in...hurry up and leave already.
ANOTHER CHECK CASHING PLACE???? Are you kidding me???
Does anyone here have ANY idea at all what the Utah laws are on bad checks now?? Not sure of any link to it off hand...but look it up. AND DON'T WRITE ANY BAD CHECKS!

So...to sum it up: Bye bye Mervy's, hello railcar at ??? cost, and welcome to 550% check cashing store. Or...welcome to Emerald City. Jeez.

WhatWardRUin said...

ppk;
you make a couple of very good points. first, i have a friend that is a contractor and bid parts of the rail car project. he said the city crews are putting in the utilities, but the material costs for the pipe/trench/asphalt/connectors is about $14,000. the foundation for the car is reinforced concrete foundation, similar to what would be in any building. the train car is about 90 feet long and 10 feet wide. it is in deplorable condition. needs new roof, floor, walls, windows, interior finish and fixtures, new mechanical and electrical, and also has to be moved to the site and set with a crane. $34,000 is john patterson's normal teaser cost for the city council. he knows they won't say no to $34,000, but they may well have reservations about $120,000+ which is the true cost. just like he did with the campground. he got challenged when the cost was over $10,000, so it is magically now under $6,000 according to patterson. the true cost of the campground will be over $100,000 before all is said and done, but patterson nevers worries about the end cost.

second, i agree that harmer should have been out in front of the rail car welcome center. he is the city's chief business and tourism hunter, but he is too busy recruiting ski companies with a dozen or so employees while layton and riverdale are building new retail centers. lets hope his replacement has more intuition and intelect and not just another spineless godfrey mouthpiece.

PPK said...

figures.
Just when you think there is something good to believe in around here, you find out it's just one more b/s "good news" story to try to get everyone to believe their is some small piece of good in the worst of Ogden. How pathetic.
I suppose the reasonable thing for me to do here would be to question your input WhatWard. But it's easier to believe your input than the SE or the administrations, because theirs always comes up as a lie....or without any merit, just like you pointed out on the campground.
So if admin tells SE $35K, does the SE have any way to verify that number? Probably not...but hell, worth an ask.
I hope you and your contractor friend are wrong, Ward. But my gut tells me you are not.
It would be such a shame if even a great idea like the railcar had to be viewed as yet another financial scam by the administration.
Hell, if given the chance to vote to spend my taxes on either the railcar for $100K or the campground....I'd vote for the railcar in a heartbeat!!
Why can't we ever VOTE on these options???

PPK said...

Sorry, got flustered there for a minute. Forgot to say that if the admin would just TRUST that people of OGDEN just MIGHT be open to good ideas if given half a chance to be included in them from the get-go. Rather than finding out after the commitments are made that this is what they are stuck with, like it or not.
But that issue has been discussed to death in here, and to date, the admin hasn't seemed to get on board with that idea.
Just can't trust the taxpayers to be smart enough to know what's best for their own town I guess. We're all just a bunch of nincompoops who should just sit down and shut the hell up while the little wizard and his clowns run ...or I mean RUIN our town for us.

WhatWardRUin said...

have to disagree with you on your last post ppk. the tax payers did have their say 12 1/2 months ago. what they said they wanted is sitting in the mayors office downtown. if we can't elect a more capable leader than godfrey, why should we be trusted to make any other decisions?

PPK said...

Right you are, Ward. Right you are.

disenchanted said...

Curm, do you really think Bush is entirely to blame for the economy? I suppose it has nothing to do with de-regulation and Clinton slashing interest rates so everyone could have their own home? You're right, we need another democrat in office so he can provide short term, band-aid fixes that only last about the length of his term.

X-Mil Democrate said...

Disenchanted;
At least we did have a budget surplus when Clinton left office, and we weren't paying contractors billions in a war of oil.
When Bush leaves office we will have a deficit that will last a generation to fix and pay off. I would rather have a Democrate in office that at least considers everyone than a Republician that only considers himself and his rich buddies.
I hope the next President puts those contractors billions back into a strong military. Lets have the GI's cooking food and guarding Americians, rather than paying a contractor gross sums for the job done.

Curmudgeon said...

disenchanted:

Well, D, Bush and his Merrie Band has been in power for the last eight years. It's been his --- and the right wing of the party's --- philosophy of deregulation, of "getting government off the back of business" that permitted the entire derivatives market to develop wholly unregulated [the credit default swaps and mortgage-backed derivatives that melted down recently leading to the present crisis.]

I find it amusing that Republicans, who assured us that electing Bush as our first "CEO President" would lead to sound business management of the economy and a much more prosperous America than we'd had under Bill Clinton, now insist they really had nothing to do with what happened in those eight years. It was all Bill Clinton's fault.

And look at the results of having a right-wing CEO Republican president for eight years. Average income of the American middle class family has [adjusted for inflation] declined in the past eight years. Bush may well leave office as the first two term president in modern American history whose administration manage no net gain in jobs overall.

Eight years of Bush at the helm, and the Republican ideology that tax cuts are the cure for everything, and we have a metastasizing national debt, growing unemployment, a stock market in free fall, and massive economic crisis. After eight years in power, isn't it time Republicans found something other to say about the Bush years than "it's Bill Clinton's fault!"

Peon said...

Curm,

You’ve been around long enough to know and you follow events close enough to know that we didn’t get into this current economic situation by actions taken just by Bush and the Republican Party. The democrats contributed to the current situation as well. I wish it could be so black and white but its not.

Rather than haggling about who is at fault, let’s talk resolution of the problem. This means tighter regulations and reserve requirements for banks, security firms and insurance companies. These changes should require that each of these industries be stand alone rather than integrated less we have the same results 10 or 15 years down the road.

We know we must pay for the bale out that our government has put together and the hole that we’ve dug for ourselves and our children into with our deficit. The government needs to go after those that have profited the most from these excesses in the markets and those who have also been protected most by our tax dollar bale out.

Tax laws should be enacted and be directed at the super rich in this country. Directed at the top 1% of the wage earners of our population, they are the ones that benefit most from our economy and they are the ones that have found a way to get around the tax laws (or should I say they are the ones that pay our politician to write the tax laws for their advantage) rather than paying their fair share. Limiting their deductions and write off to fixed dollar amounts like they do ours with health care, child support and education costs would be a good start. Their fair contributions would go a long way to repairing our economy and our deficit.

Curmudgeon said...

Peon:

You wrote: Rather than haggling about who is at fault, let’s talk resolution of the problem. This means tighter regulations and reserve requirements for banks, security firms and insurance companies. These changes should require that each of these industries be stand alone rather than integrated less we have the same results 10 or 15 years down the road.

Fine by me. That will require, then, re-passing those portions of the Glass-Stegall and other New Deal regulations that were stripped out by Sen. Phil Gramm and other mostly Republican "get the government off the back of business" chanters. I concur completely.

You wrote: We know we must pay for the bale out that our government has put together and the hole that we’ve dug for ourselves and our children into with our deficit. The government needs to go after those that have profited the most from these excesses in the markets and those who have also been protected most by our tax dollar bale out.

Again, no argument from me.

You wrote: Tax laws should be enacted and be directed at the super rich in this country. Directed at the top 1% of the wage earners of our population, they are the ones that benefit most from our economy and they are the ones that have found a way to get around the tax laws (or should I say they are the ones that pay our politician to write the tax laws for their advantage) rather than paying their fair share. Limiting their deductions and write off to fixed dollar amounts like they do ours with health care, child support and education costs would be a good start. Their fair contributions would go a long way to repairing our economy and our deficit.

Again, no argument from me... except to point out that the Republican candidate, and his party, flatly oppose your solutions as being socialist.

There is enough blame to go around on the creating the mess, and I would never argue Democrats played no role... especially Congressional Democrats, as backboneless a collection of political gutless wonders as you are ever likely to see, year in and year out, in one place. But I have to tell you, Peon, I find it really funny that Republicans, who like to trumpet themselves as the Party of Personal Responsibility and Fiscal Conservatism, are now bleating in re: the economic melt down and ballooning of the national debt "It's Bill Clinton's fault!" It really is funny... or would be, if we weren't going to put another half trillion on the national credit card this year, and a full trillion more on the credit card next year, no matter who wins.

Curm the worm said...

Curm, a trillion here a trillion there, pretty soon your talking about real money! Hey its just paper printed up by an out of control government. I say get out there and convert all these worthless portraits of dead presidents into something of value like oil, chocolate and good whiskey. Oh, and don't forget your tithing.

Peon said...

Curm,

I don't disagree with your assumption of what the Republican Party's view would be of my recommendations but then I’m also concerned that the Democratic Party would respond that the tax should be more broadly distributed down the income levels to those making say $250,000 dollars per year. The Democratic Party has protected the ultra rich in the past just as much as the Republican Party. Additionally the Democratic Party would most likely suggest that more unearned tax credits be passed out instead of addressing the real root cause for many of our nation’s problems in labor, that of requiring employers to pay a living wage.

The top ½ of 1% of the wage earners in this country control over 42% of this nation’s wealth and have annual earnings that start at about a million of dollars per year. To include a wage earner making $250,000 per year in the highest ranking for the purpose of generating increased tax revenue is nothing more than an act of concealment of the truth of the relative wealth of the very few in this nation by the use of dilution. The inclusion protects the exclusivity of the top echelon by presenting an insurmountable tax obligation for those that get classified in their ranking but reside at the bottom of that ranking. Will those making $250,000 per year be upper middle class, yes, but they will never have close to the same life style of those at the top of that ranking. The former has more in common with the rest of the peons of this nation than they do with the latter.

They do not belong in that same ranking for tax purposes. Most of the tax programs written in the past and most likely in the future to address this ranking will be oriented to the larger demographic numbers ($250,000 to $500,000) of this grouping rather than be written to what would be a more revenue enhancing gain that would be accomplished by going after that ½ of 1%. Tax rates for this ranking are high enough, what is needed to address the higher echelon of this ranking is the reduction or limitations of their ability to write off deductions or limiting their ability to reclassify ordinary income as something else that thus allows their earning to be taxed at a lower rate. In effect raise their tax rates by removing the tax elimination vehicles that they use to lower their tax rates.

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