Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Morning Emerald City News Roundup 11.26.08

Putting the heat on the gangstas, and emulating Riverdale Road south of 12th and Wall

We'll make brief note of two items in the news today, relevant to Emerald City issues:

1) The Standard-Examiner's Kris Shawkley reports that "Ogden Police Chief and State Senator Jon Greiner will again present a controversial gang bill" that died in the Senate upon adjournment of the 2008 legislative session.

The bill, which is actually a souped up loitering statute, faced opposition last year from the ACLU and other civil libertarians, this morning's article reports. The chief objections of the bill's opponents revolve around potential racial profiling issues and the relatively subjective standards which would permit police authorities to categorize individuals as gang members.

From the tone of the article, Std-Ex readers might be tempted to conclude that the re-introduced bill might face an uphill fight this year. Looking back at the bill's status last year however, we're going to go on record and predict that the bill will clear both the Senate and House this year in quick legislative Jon Greiner slam dunks. The bill breezed through the Senate last year by a 16-10 votes, and merely got stalled in the usual end-of-session logjam.

Contrary reader views are welcome of course.

2) The Std-Ex reports this morning that the Ogden City Council has, despite the looming recession, once again taken the Godfrey bait, reallocating $1 million in capital improvement funds to that shopping center project at 12th and Wall Avenue. The section of roadway adjacent to this new shopping center will "spur commercial development on other neighboring parcels south along Wall Avenue to 17th Street, and west from 12th Street to Gibson Avenue," according to city deputy director of community and economic development Richard McConkie. It will become Ogden's answer to Riverdale Road, McConkie confidently predicts.

Needless to say, we're brimming with joy over this. We don't have half enough bumper to bumper traffic in Ogden already.

And about the cool 1 mil that the council has dedicated to soil contamination cleanup: The City will "seek" reimbursement, business development manager Tom Christopulos says. We're not quite sure what Mr. Christopulos means by this. Ace Reporter Schwebke apparently didn't have the curiosity necessary to ask the obvious followup question. Hopefully though, Ogden City will work out a binding contractual arrangement with the landowner and the developer, PRIOR to spending all that taxpayer dough.

Well? The blogosphere eagerly awaits our readers' ever-savvy comments.

27 comments:

danny said...

. . . well let me be the first.

As far as Greiner, I say, "Please Jon, come by so I can shake your hand, o great one." Perfect. As far as the concerns - I couldn't care less about profiling, racial or otherwise. If Mormons were forming gangs and hanging around intimidating people, I would assume and expect myself to be watched more carefully than the non-Mormons.

The people who are "concerned about profiling" are the real racists.

I love this law and I thank Greiner for pushing it. This guy is a treasure trove of good anti crime legislation.

As far as the cleanup on Wall and 12th, they should sue the crap out of the Dairy Farmers of America to pay for it. The DFA, with their protected monopoly and federally- sanctioned price fixing should at least pay for their messes.

As far as the city allocating the $1M ahead of time, it's the wrong way to do it, but what else is new?

Fly on the wall said...

How about the owner between DFA and the new developer Gary Baur?

He bought the property for a song and has profited for the past fifteen years knowing very well that the hazardous material was there. In fact, he owns a hazardous wate clean up company, Lincoln Envrionmental. It wouldnt surprise me if the contamination wasnt partly caused by his company, dumping cleaned up waste from other sites on the property.

I am totaly against spending tax dollars on this type of mess when the people with deep pockets knew and ignored the problems. It's just another case of the middle class taxpayers bailing out the wealthy and the developers.

Curmudgeon said...

Well, Danny, we disagree again. I am not at all comfortable, given past performance of police departments in the US over the last century of so, giving them such broad powers to exercise subjective judgments as this bill will give them. They will have the authority to order people who are not committing any crime, and who are not engaged in any illegal activity, to leave anyplace --- including, say, a city council meeting? --- a policeman wants them to leave, without the officer having to offer any reason whatsoever in justification. That is far too broad a power to grant any government in a free country.

"I don't like the looks of you, bucko. Move on and if you come back within eight hours, I'll arrest you for the crime of coming back within eight hours when I told you not to." No, Danny. Not without the person involved being engaged in some illegal action at the time.

At recent political conventions, we saw mass arrests of demonstrators, who were hauled off, jailed, then released without charges [deliberately so] as a way to keep them off camera while the conventions were under way, and as a way to forestall subsequent law suits [hence release without charges or trial].

The potential for abuse in Greiner's bill is too great to justify its passage. Though I expect the usual crew of slack-jawed mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers [aka "the Republican majority"] will adopt it. And then we will all have to deal with its unintended consequences. Think "Developers' Dream Bill" for an example of how that works.

Not Fooled said...

On the 12th Street project, Mr McConkie said that the State of Utah EPA has notified the dairy farmers co-op that the land was contaminated by them and that they are responsible for the cleanup costs. When asked how dependable the farmers co-op was and how long it would take to recoup the money for the cleanup, Mr. McConkie reported that their past record was good and they had done the honorable thing in cleaning up other contaminated areas, but he would not say when the City could expect to be reimbursed. He said that it could be one to three years if the co-op was was in a cooperative mood or it could be years if it took litigation. He indicated that the increased sales tax would recoup the $1 million in a short three year period. The Council balked at giving up the capital improvement projects that the Mayor had designated with Councilwoman Jeske stating that she thought that the money should come from CIPs that did not affect people because all the ones the Mayor had chosen did, i.e., sidewalks, trails, the air conditioning at the Union Station, etc.. Chair Wicks was fast to state the same concerns. The Mayor said that the money would be repaid to the projects before the City was ready to begin them because of the new fiscal year, and Ms. Jeske said, "Then it will be another year before the funds are available." The Mayor ensured the Cuncil that would not be the case. WE SHALL SEE! we've heard his promises before!

The Council and Landmarks Commission held a work meeting after a closed executeive session. The Landmarks Cmmission with their huge ego is not willing to oncede that the Council and the Mayor are the ruling bodies in the City. If the Council does not agree with the Commission's decision, then they want a special meeting held to discuss the problem. They are not willing to concede one iota or even follow the Planning Commissions procedure of accepting the Cuncil's decision with a satisfactory reason for voting differently. It was evident that the Commission believe they are so superior in intelligenece that no one should dare question them (even the State Historial agencies). It is sad that for all the good that they do that they let their egos get in the way of real progress. Maybe it is time for for at least two who seem to run the commission and have served MORE THAN TEN YEARS be replaced.

Mayor Godfrey, why doesn't your ten-year rule apply to EVERYONE?! Could it be that one is your daddy-in-law's brother and the other is willing to stoop as low as Scott Brown to accomplish your desires?

danny said...

Not fooled:

Thanks for the great write up. I was wondering about those things.

Curm,

Come back from liberal land. Nobody is throwing people out from attending a city council meeting and calling it "loitering." But if some kids are hanging around a gas station leering at people and intimidating them, then yes, I don't mind the cops telling them to leave - judge and jury.

You don't have a constitutional right to hang around wherever you want.

Get off the cops backs, show them some trust and let them show a little good faith in return, as I think they almost always do.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

Kids hanging around a 7 11 harassing people is actionable right now. No new gang law needed to deal with that. So your example is evidence for why the Greiner bill is not a good idea, not the reverse.

As for this..."You don't have a constitutional right to hang around wherever you want." Well, Danny, actually, you do, if the place is a public street or sidewalk and you are not doing anything illegal.

Monotreme said...

Compare and contrast.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." -- Amendment I, United States Constitution.

"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself--anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face...; was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime..."
- George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5

what will it cost us said...

Why can't they legislate good laws such as baning cell phone use while driving, that seems to me a more deserving law for all the citizens.

As to the $1M giveaway with the city sidewalks, trails and A/C for Union Station not happening, where can I get in line. With a recession here, the old Fred Meyer building still empty, it should of been a Smith's Marketplace, how can we assured of the return of $10M in 15 years. Will it end up costing the taxpayers again for revenue that never comes available. Show us the real data and stats how you assume it will turn a profit. I see a lot of stip malls empty and for lease. Wasn't the Junction suppose to not cost the taxpayers anything.

dan s. said...

Although I don't intend to follow in Monotreme's footsteps and cancel my subscription, articles like the one on the 12th and Wall "center" [why is it never called an "edge"?"] make me wonder whether I'm wasting my money.

For the second time, Mr. Schwebke has shown no interest whatsoever in how, exactly, the city will "seek reimbursement" from the DFA--and what the prospects are for actually getting reimbursed.

For the second time, Mr. Schwebke steadfastly refuses to call a strip mall a strip mall.

And what's this about it being "near" the planned Walmart, which will actually be more than a mile away? Instead the newspaper should ask about the impact it will have on Stop&Shop, a locally owned grocery store only 3 blocks away. And they should be asking why the Fred Meyer building, across the street, is still unoccupied.

Finally, the newspaper should consider the track record of city officials' predictions that new construction projects would be completed within a certain amount of time, and present this information as context to the latest optimistic predictions.

Jason W. said...

One problem with Senator Greiner's legislation is that its enforcement is too broadly applicable; if similarly clad youths are congregating in a public park, not engaged in any illegal behavior, an officer can determine nascent gang activity and order these people to disperse. This offends me, as does the fact that it's patently profiling and discriminatory toward Hispanics, blacks, and bikers. Will three people in UMF vests outside Angelo's be ordered away for eight hours? Will we grinders knocking back reebs on Mt. Ogden GC's patio -- wearing similar hats and logoed jacketsn -- be ushered away from the facility? Would this have applied to all those douchebag, Descente-wearing idiots who stormed the City Council chambers, chanting: "Take the next step! Take the next step! Take the next step! Take the next step!"?

THE SKI IS BEAUTIFUL BLUE

RudiZink said...

Once Chief Greiner's bill is again presented to the State legislature, we're gong to assume larger and broader issues will pop up.

In that connection we'll reprise this most excellent STD-EX article of 8/13/07:

Suppression vs. Prevention

Greiner's bill leans toward the "suppression side" of the argument, indeed. And its passage will probably also reflect the "suppression"philosophy of the heavily GOP overweighted Christian Wingnut Utah Legislature as well... not that that's necessarily bad on this issue.

Here's something interesting however, from the side of the proponents of the "prevention" argument":

Gang Wars The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the Need for Effective Public Safety Strategies

The nut of it is that some evidence demonstrates that suppressive laws tend only to reinforce gang values, ethics, and mores and to further bind together together gang members in their antisocial groups, and to make these antisocial groups more cohesive. When the police bear down, these "suppressive" measures only increase antisocial behavior, so goes the argument.

It's only 107 pages. Take your No-Doz first!

Queen of Hrearts said...

Off with their heads! OFF with their HEADS!!

Another Disgusted SE Reader said...

Maybe the reason Schwebke doesn't report on "how, exactly, the city will 'seek reimbursement' from the DFA--and what the prospects are for actually getting reimbursed" is because he would then be reporing the questions that the Council members ask and receive answers because it would show that the Council members DO have brains and try to do their job of asking questions and getting information which is against the Standard's policy -- according to them Godfrey is the only who has any brains and is capable of thinking! Too bad the Standard doesn't have any competition in reporting Ogden's news (and it is doubtful that they do that.)

Actually Stop and Shop and Wangsgards were mentioned last night and what the impacton them would be. Staff told them thatWin-Wright actually likes the competition with Wal-Mart, Costco and Sam's Club. Also the Council asked what was happening with the the Fred Meyer building and if it looked as though there were any tenants on the horizon.

But all these items are mundane and don't make headlines like pitting Council members against the Mayor which seems to be Schwebke's favorite ploy. And, Dan, you said, "Finally, the newspaper should consider the track record of city officials' (I take you mean the administration)predictions that new construction projects would be completed within a certain amount of time, and present this information as context to the latest optimistic predictions." I will add that the administration ALWAYS says that the taxpayer will NEVER have to pay for the project! That would be reporting the truth -- another thing that seems to go against the Standard's grain.

With you all the way, Dan S.!

Can't be Fooled said...

I forgot to report that our "superior all knowing" Landmarks Commission started to chide a Council staff member because he did his job too well!! He had no right according to them to go to outside agencies for information! I find this kind of reasoning narrow and small-minded! Do they think that they are the only ones who are entitled to specialized information?! If so they are a danger to the City and free and open government! The Mayor has created a dangerous group to do his bidding!

Looking for Honest Reporting said...

Curm, Mono and Disgusted SE Reader, there is one small hope ahead and that an honest, caring newspaper company would buy out the Sandusky and the Ogden in the toilet bunch. Maybe we would have a local newspapeer again. I have to agree with Mono - we sure don't have one NOW!

danny said...

It all boils down to this. White liberals pretending gangs of minority youth are not a problem, when they know full well they themselves would never go near such persons, and while they have no regard for the law abiding poor, including minorities who have little choice of where they can live and shop. In fact, I suspect minority populations would support Greiner's laws more eagerly than I would. But no, let's hear witey on the bench tell us how the Constitution was written to protect loiterers and intimidators as long as they are black or brown.

And to top it off, let's just assume that the police don't know who gang members are and are bent on harassment, so we can assign them to their doubtless Orwellian role. Yes, that makes so much more sense than assuming the police are fellow citizens who act in good faith doesn't it?

Sometimes some of you do sound like the kooky fringe.

danny said...

After reading Rudi's citations, I would add that yes, the "Jesus Loves You, Brother" approach is better, much better, than a law enforcement approach, as it is better for most everything.

The only problem is someone has to have the time and inclination to do it. (Any takers?)

In the meantime, disperse the gangs and give the police the tools they need. I have no problem with it at all. Keep up the good work, Greiner.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

Good lord, Danny. You need to get out of the bunker now and then. Walk around. Meet some people. Get a look at the real world. Nothing other than scary isolation could induce someone to write complete crap like this: "It all boils down to this. White liberals pretending gangs of minority youth are not a problem....".

Being card-carrying white liberal myself, and knowing a great many others all across the land, I know of exactly none... not a single one... who thinks or even pretends that gangs are not a problem, or that black gangs or Hispanic gangs or pacific islander gangs [add more if you like] are not a problem. No sane person thinks that. The disagreement, Danny, is over the best way to tackle the problem, not whether the problem exists.

Nor do I know any liberals, not a single one, of any color, who thinks, this: "But no, let's hear whitey on the bench tell us how the Constitution was written to protect loiterers and intimidators as long as they are black or brown." Not one. Where in the world are you getting this drivel?

Come out of the bunker, Danny. Meet some real people, especially liberals. Get some information first, some reality-based information, and then perhaps you won't embarrass yourself again as you did above, setting up an imaginary straw man that exists nowhere else but in your fevered mind, so you can knock him down.

disgusted said...

does anyone know who the yes votes were for the 12th and wall project amoung the city council members.

Machster said...

My comments are based upon the "debate" between Danny and Curm about gangs, who they are, and how to go about solving the problems they often create. And then I added a few political opinions of my own. So shoot me!

Begin with the Police forces (all those who wear uniforms and carry weapons).
-Consolidate multiples of overlap and inefficiency.
-Bust up empires. No South Ogden, Ogden, Clearfield, Roy, Sunset, etc. Police forces. And no State Troopers, and Weber or Davis (etc.) Sheriff's officers and deputies, campus police etc. Consolidate and share assets without duplication nor overlaps. A friend and I once counted 2,300 people in Weber County who wear uniforms and carry weapons... That is assinine!
-No more overweight budgets or officers. Trim both. Assign overweight officers to bicycle patrols until fit for duty, meeting weight standards. Tell them you care about their health and mean it, as good supervisors should.
-No more "Detroit Parade floats" for cop vehicles. No more big trucks. Save money by using subcompacts with synergy drives.
---No more high speed chases, as they endanger both sides of the race PLUS innocent bystanders/drivers(re last week's funeral for NSL officer).
-Homeland security millions ($) have been allocated to vastly improved communications. Use them to locate and trap offenders, instead of kid's games of chase, which kill innocents.
-Use money saved from small fuel efficient patrol cars to increase officer pay. Raise and incentivise morale. Raise officer esteem.
-Eliminate assinine Godfrey/Grinear traffic ticket quota systems. Most cops are decent and nice people who hate nit picking, BS tickets. Improve traffic police officer morale.
-Train officers better. Let them have the flexibility to make judgements. In Europe, officers are also lawyers, and do not give ridiculous quota system tickets for misunderstood traffic signals (covered for example) to little old ladies. A couple of courses at WSU night school (paid for by us of course) should suffice. Allow officer morale to improve because they are treated with dignity and respect versus suspicion and distrust.
-Begin a comprehensive system of old fashioned alternative training for our most lethal aged juveniles and delinquents.
--For law enforcement officers who actually like kids, and want to help them stay out of trouble, instead of the typical cynical slam dunk them all into jails and juvenile courts, incentivise them to work with youth.
--How?...At community teenage centers. Use some of that RAMP money ligitimately for a CHANGE. Also use Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Federal money honestly FOR A BIG CHANGE! Previously CDBG money has for years been fraudulently used for water lines and infrastructure only, mandated by the Weber Area Council of Governments...our mayors in other words, have so completely screwed over the system, until little or no more Federal Grant money is forth coming to Utah, by the way.
But the resources, when honestly applied, should be used for local community Teenage Centers, where adult mature chaperones oversee behavior. Law enforcement in plain clothes could, for example, earn merit points toward promotion or bonus' or both, and/or possibly overtime, given common sense money saving management.
---For example, instead of State Troopers, and Weber Co. Sheriff's vehicles being washed at the expensive Sonic Car Wash on Riverdale and Wall, have troubled teens assigned community service wash the vehicles.
---Instead of freebies given out by donut and cafe's to officers, who eat too much anyway, make them pay for what they get. If it is good for legislators and the Governor's staff, it is good enough for every public servant. Treat them as respected adults, not poor second class public servants.
---Give those youth who hang out at 7-11s and such...and who allegedly intimidate the more timid souls among us, something else to do in a better and warmer (or cooler in the summer) place. Don't violate constitutional rights, give them a ride to the teen center where they can shoot pool, play ping pong, dance, sing into a karoke, have fun... the only cost...a signed ticket with clear straight forward rules which must be followed while on the premises.
---Build trust by expanding "neighborhood policing", having consolidated and centrally scheduled officers walk the neighborhoods and getting to know the people and their kids.
---Stop the three to four cars responding to simple traffic stops, and stupid attempts to find "something else wrong with the driver or the vehicle" mentality. Stop it and repremand those idiot types, that give all police and law enforcement a bad rap.
-Pass Rep. Hansen's Bill against quota systems for tickets, do not lobby against it.
-Reject Sen. and Police Chief (I still can not get my head around that one!) Grinear's Bill as simply stupid and inappropriate.
-Have juvenile counselors and guidance counselors work to build reward programs for "gangs" who turn the corner and do good things for the communities.
----Help them with ideas, plans, and encourage good behavior instead of practicing overzealous thugury which entrenches gang negatives more intensely. You always catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

-Get rid of Dearden and Grinear. Both good men and well intended, but apparently have never been exposed to old fashioned "common sense" budgetary and enforcement management. Pat them on the back and say Thanks for a job done....well. It's time for some significant new approaches.

These are a few off the cuff ideas and recommendations. There are many many more with an ounce of thought and time put into it. And you out there could likely add much more to the good ideas list and common sense dollars savings lists.

There is no need for Grinear's Orwellian and unconstitutional legislation. It will cause more valuable time to be wasted and likely millions in wasted legal fees (our tax dollars). There is no need for "Swat Team Training facilities costing 21 million dollars (a Dearden favorite). There is a need for reasonable men and women to agree on reasonable and common sense approaches to organization and budgetary planning. And there is an every increasing need for some proactive and very common sense, time proven, and old fashioned approaches to policing juvenile delinquent behavior while nurturing and encouraging positive alternative behaviors.

The "Rambo" machesmo element needs to be purged and replaced with a mature, adult, intelligent and common sense approach at every level. And for God's sake! Some reasonably bright management and leadership for a CHANGE!

Machster

Curmudgeon said...

Machster:

I don't know enough about the nuts and bolts of police work to know if every suggestion you make is a wise one and will work. But I like the general approach: ask of all policies, practices, procedures: is this cost effective? Is this "crime effective" --- i.e. will it in fact do what it is intended to do? That approach is the starting point, or should be, for all attempts to improve policing and to reduce crime. And I like as well your ideas... with which I agree... about not going too far, not putting too much unmonitored and discretionary power into police hands. Not because cops are proto-fascists eager to stomp anyone they please at random. Most of the ones I've known over the years have been, as you say, decent men and women trying to do a difficult job as well as they can. But because excessive discretionary power will, sooner or later, be abused. Anyone who's looked at American urban history with some seriousness [particularly 19th and 20th century] cannot, I think, come to any other conclusion based on the mountain of evidence that is there for those who bother to look.

The reason we need to keep a close eye on proposals, like Greiner's, that go too far is not to tie the hands of police men and women who are doing the best they can with the [often too limited] resources we give them, but to limit the damage that can be done, and will be done if we are not careful, by the few among them who are not.

WhatWardRUin said...

The funds for the cleanup could have come from one of two pots of money;1) the CIP projects funded for needed infratstructure repairs, or 2) a secret pot of money that Godfrey has stashed for Washington Blvd. parking lots (straight from the mouth of Scott Brown) reportedly over $1.5-million. How is it that Godfrey has slush money when the first quarter report shows the City $1.8-million in the hole, and that is after two rounds of budget reductions to balance the budget. Wonder where that budget balancing money is really going? Of course, Godfrey chose to raid the CIP accounts and the Council followed right along without much hesitation let alone actual research. Remember that $34,000 rail car cafe? The total cost to date is now $118,000. Wonder who is paying that cost overrun and why someones head isn't on a chopping block for lying about the true cost of the project? That John "the ladies man" Patterson is some kind of smooth talker.

Bill C. said...

Hey folks, by the time this gang issue become a criminal matter and the cops have to deal with it, it's too late. Grieners bill does nothing towards solving the problem. You've got to get to these kids while they're young, real young, before the gangs get a hold on them. For you tax fanatics, it means spending alot of money in poor neiborhoods. Providing constructive activity to keep them off the streets. Head Start and after school programs, real rec centers, not like peewee's playhouse where one needs a pocket full of cash to enter.
Instead of the Jackass Center, a real rec center should have been built in anothe local, further north and east, that would cater to the at risk youth of this community. The Marshal White Center should be invested in and upgraded as well.
Spending all this money on some assinine high adventure artificial indoor/sometimes outdoor recreation is senseless. This stupid endeavor can't produce the jobs these kids will need and for all purposes excludes them entirely. How can you expect these kids to embrace a society that ignores them and appears not to give a rats ass about their well being?
By the time they become a law enforcement issue, it's too late, and much costlier to deal with down the road.

Machster said...

Good GRIEF Charlie Brown! I find myself actually agreeing with Bill
C. and Curm!

Machster

PS If the SE actually was a bona fide newspaper and organization, they would have investigative reporters. And the investigative reporters would publish actual information about how CDBG and RAMP money (both our Federal money and local tax money) is being misused and fraudulantly spent. About how the RAMP committee and the WACOG have completely lost sight of the intended uses for all that money. And the news would be helping to hold those mayors and RAMP Committee members accountable to the public. We must rely upon them (the SE) for transparancy in a mystic and secretive culture (LDS). And they (the SE) should also expose the Utah Realtor Association, its phoney PACs and lobby payola schemes at the municipal, County, and State levels. M. Thompson has the information, (I gave to him personally) but apparently not the fortitude to expose the "hens which lay SE golden eggs" ($ for Real Estate and Developer ads).

Sad, really and getting more sad with each day we have "the bishop in charge". The editorials sound like KSL editorials, nothing but fluff and without news or opinion worthy content. No longer worth a read through.

disgusted said...

was anyone at the city council meeting where the 12th and wall project funding was voted for.
if so i would be curious to know which members vote for and which ones voted against the funding

drewmeister said...

You've got to be fucking joking. Where the hell is my free giveaway money? I can do a lot of things with a million or so dollars. And I promise I'll pay it back.

Monotreme said...

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