Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Morning News Roundup

Two Standard-Examiner items worthy of note

By Curmudgeon

Two must-read items in Sunday's Standard Examiner. The first is a front page story by Scott Schwebke reporting that the Godfrey Administration's "independent citizen's committee" [politely so called] toured Mount Ogden Golf Course with a representative of Jack Nicklaus's golf course design firm, discussing the possibility of making MOGC and Jack Nicklaus designed course. Mr. Schwebke notes that the Nicklaus representative was doing the walk-over in hopes of getting the re-design job, or as one member of the committee put it, "he was interviewing for the job."

The story also reported that Ogden city has been, for the better part of a year, working with a local design form on a "gentleman's agreement" --- i.e. no fees paid --- but that part of the agreement was a guarantee that the city not reveal the name of the local firm. Godfrey "refused to say" if that firm was Nicklaus'. The eight members of the so-called independent citizens committee were told "in no uncertain terms" not to reveal the name of that firm. The Mayor said he made it "very clear" to all committee members that releasing the name would be a dishonorable and unethical thing to do and would bring "shame on them."

Two points worth noting: first, the Mayor's claim that he was determined to keep hands off the committee's operations so it would not be unduly influenced by the Administration is getting to look more than a little ragged. He met with them first to pitch his ideas. He provides meeting space and staff support. And now we learn that he arranged a walk over with the city's consultants on golf courses, and he's dictating to the committee what it may reveal and what it may not. While piously insisting he's keeping hands off. Uh huh. Right.

Second: we see again this administration's preference for proceeding in secret and for keeping all its minions sworn to secrecy... even its "independent citizen committees." Uh huh.

To be fair, the story does point out that at least one member of the committee is not happy with the Nicklaus "hire us!" recommendations, and is heading up the so-called "sub" committee that is presenting the one million dollar redesign that would keep MOGC as a mountain course. The Nicklaus group wants to make it over into a valley-meadow course like El Monte.

[I pass over in diplomatic silence the rich opportunities for sarcasm inherent in Hizzonah presuming to lecture anyone on what constitutes ethical an honorable conduct in public affairs.]

The second item is a very interesting Charles Trentelman Wasatch Rambler column, reporting a conversation he had with Robert Geiger, in which Mr. Geiger makes it clear he intends to continue to "expose" [so to speak] WSU's alleged "anti-business" attitudes, and in which it becomes clear that Mr. Geiger and his associates absolutely do not intend to let the gondola/gondola scheme drop.

Trentelman's column is worth a careful read. Note how, in it, Mr. Geiger displays the trade-mark arrogance of a Godfrey Gondolista: anyone one or body that does not accept without question his particular ideas about how Ogden should change is, by right of not accepting his ideas, "anti-business" and opposed to Ogden's betterment.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Utes 25; Wolverines 23

Utah upsets Michigan at home
The Utes put the game on ice early; then play solid defense for a big upset win

From the Salt Lake Tribune (two minutes ago):
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Utah football team opened its season with an upset road win at Michigan on Saturday.
The Utes had a 22-10 halftime lead and a 25-10 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. But the Wolverines scored two touchdowns and trailed 25-23 after missing a two-point conversion.
Then the Utah defense reasserted its dominance. The Utes stopped Michigan inside its own 20 with less than two minutes to play, getting a turnover on downs. Utah proceeded to essentially run out the clock.
Watch out, Cougars... the Utes are back on track. BCS Bowling, here we come. This Johnson kid is starting to look like a real quarterback. Louie Sakoda is definitely NFL-bound: four field goals today; one from 53 yards! And what a killer defense.

And what say our fellow Utah grads & fans about all this?

What say you, Jason W?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ace Reporter Schwebke Reports From Denver

Our very most-favorite Std-Ex reporter puts national politics on the Weber County Forum discussion front-burner

It was something of a disappointment for us early this morning, as we dashed out to the front porch to fetch this morning's hard copy edition of the Standard-Examiner. Hoping to find the latest installment of Scott Schwebke revelations, concerning Boss Godfrey's secret Mount Ogden Golf Course Committee, we unfortunately came up dry.

Our Ace Reporter did provide a worthy front page story this morning, however. It seems that Mr. Schwebke has now received a higher Std-Ex calling. Mr. Schwebke has apparently been dispatched to Denver, to report on the final day of the Democratic Party National Convention. For those readers like your blogmeister, who hang on Scott Schwebke's every word, be sure to read this morning's Scott Schwebke story, together with the accompanying news wire companion piece:

"Davis Dems: Obama's oration courageous"
"Democrats get lift from convention; now it’s Republicans’ turn to soar"

Each of these above articles refer to Democratic Party nominee Barack Obama's rousing acceptance speech of last night. It was one danged fine speech indeed. For those who missed it, be sure to check out the Huffington Post website, for a triple-threat combo including the full video, the written text, and some useful editorial/reader analyisis:

"Barack Obama Democratic Convention Speech"

And while we're on the topic of national politics, there's also news from the Republican camp. Mitt Romney is out, as a possible John McCain V.P. pick:

"McCain picks Palin as running mate"

We can hear the sound of champagne corks popping in Democratic Party campaign offices all across the State of Utah.

Let's hear it from our gentle readers.

What did you think of Obama's speech? Will it give the Democrats a big bump in the polls? Was last night's Democratic party extravaganza evidence of true reconciliation between the Obama and Hillary factions? Does McCain's V.P. pick signal a GOP abandonment of the "center" of the American electorate, and a capitulation to "social conservatives" (and various other GOP wing-nut extremists?) Will the selection of a female GOP V.P. candidate soak up the votes of a substantial number of still disaffected Hillaryites? Did John McCain play it smart by picking a female running mate... or is McCain just plain nuts?

So many questions... so few answers...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jeremy Peterson Sets the Record Straight

GOP candidate for Utah House of Representatives District 9 joins the Weber County Forum Discussion

By Jeremy Peterson
GOP Candidate
Utah House District 9

Interesting remarks on your site from Saturday. Its obvious to me that nobody has a clue who I am or where I stand. Interestingly, one of the commentators on the article emailed me demanding information. I invited them to call me so we could chat. I haven't heard from anyone.

You might find my blog insightful... or boring. It's me. I am a real estate uber-nerd.

I am also definitely NOT a minion of the mayor. I have spoken to him four times in the last four years. I know him less than I know the guy that changes my oil.

Just thought these are things you should know since there seemed to be A LOT of erroneous (and some downright mean-spirited) conclusions drawn on little if any information.

Finally, I am not secretive. If you want to know where I stand, I invite you to give me a call.


Jeremy Peterson

Professional Realtor/Associate Broker
Terra Venture Real Estate
Cell: 801-390-1480
Fax: 702-946-0959
Blog: Ogden Insights

Editor's addendum: One of our gentle readers sent us an interesting 2002 Weber Sentinal article, which is quite relevant to the Legislative District 9 election discussion. Historically, Mr. Peterson's relationship with The G-Train has been anything but cozy:

From that article we find this fantastic quote, from Godfrey loyalist corporo-fascist party apparatchik Sue Wilkerson, referring to Mr. Peterson:

“People like to live where they have a sense of history. We have
these laws to protect people from themselves because they are
not smart enough to make the right decisions on their own.
Property rights are no different. If they don’t like the rules they
can move to Mexico. The guidelines should be 10 times
tougher,” Wilkerson said.
About Peterson, she said, “He blatantly chose not to follow the
rules. Had he applied for a permit like required, he would have
been guided through the process.”
When asked about the constitutional rights of the property
owner, Wilkerson said, “I’m not a close study of the
Constitution. It’s illegal to steal. Knowingly breaking this law is
the same as stealing.”
We'll add that we've taken the time to discuss with Mr. Peterson his relationship with the Godfreyite Ms. Wilkerson, and that we're satisfied it is confined to real estate business, and not politics. No need to take our word for it however. Those who have questions should take Mr. Peterson up on his invitation directly, and give him a call.

Comments are invited, as always.

Secret Golf Course Committee Meeting Postponed

The Skipper is miffed and threatens to quit

By George K.

Scott Schwebke provides another great article about the golf course committee fiasco this morning, headlined “Golf course meeting postponed.”

Oh My! Poor little ole Kent "The Skipper" Petersen says “I might get unhappy and just quit (as chairman of the committee).” Mommy! They hurt my feelings! I don’t want to play any more! Now, we have TWO immature simpletons trying to tell us what to do with the golf course!

It also seems that the committee has met several times without giving proper notification. According to Mayor Godfrey they didn’t think it was necessary because “they were meeting in an informal ad-hoc capacity and hadn’t been established by a city council ordinance.” How long has Godfrey been mayor? Almost nine years and he doesn’t know that state law requires that all government-sponsored committees need to give public notice?! He knew that minutes had to be taken and provided his executive assistant for that. But then it’s the Godfrey way -- to meet and conduct business secretly! Besides he didn’t want city council members and the public to attend; and they might just do that even though they weren’t invited if the meetings were publicized.

Petersen said that he isn’t “happy with the situation. I agreed to chair the committee to take a good honest look at what’s going on.” We wonder if that is really possible, when he made it known during his city council campaign last year, that he thought selling the golf course was a good solution for the City.

We think that maybe Petersen has finally acknowledged that the golf course is an asset, not a total liability, when he now says he favors more corporate-sponsored events to erase the course’s operating losses. Would you also recommend to the Mayor that an adequate number of golf carts need to be purchased for Mount Ogden Golf Course, so that the profit from those events wouldn’t have to be spent on renting and transporting enough golf carts for participants of the events?

I noticed that Mr. Schwebke noted in his article the author of the statement of why the golf course was losing money, instead of making it appear to be fact. Thanks, Scott.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Bush Recession Comes Home to Roost in Red State Northern Utah

Dig deep, gentle readers; If there is a god watching, She'll be pleased

By Curmudgeon

Kristin Moulton has an interesting piece on the Salt Lake Tribune website this evening, illustrating just what eight years of Bush and Republican mismanagement of the economy is doing to us right here in Weber County. She reports that:

Weber County social-service providers decided Wednesday to appeal to a usually dependable source for those in need: their neighbors. United Way will make an appeal for $200,000 in emergency funding likely to be needed this winter by families just a utility or medical bill away from homelessness....
Since spring, shelters, food banks, the state Department of Workforce Services and low-income medical clinics have seen an explosion in need....
Beside raising a pool of cash to help those in crisis, the group asked an Ogden school-board member about using a vacant school for an overflow homeless shelter.
"Families just a utility or medical bill away from homelessness...." The gal can write.

The article is well worth a look. And if you can afford it, dig down a little deeper than maybe you're used to to help out the United Way, the Utah Food Bank, or Catholic Community Services. It'll be a mitzvah. If there is a god watching, She'll be pleased.

Update 8/28/08 7:31 a.m. MT: Charles Trentelman covers the same story Ms. Moulton did, in a front page story in today's Standard Examiner. Trentelman's piece includes substantially more detail.

Deseret News: General Dynamics/Jet Aviation Deal won't affect plans for Ogden

Jet Aviation remains committed to its plan to set up Hinkley Field operations in the fall

On August 27 we published this reader-submitted article, announcing that General Dynamics had agreed to acquire the Swiss aircraft maintenance and service company Jet Aviation. During our discussion of this announcement, at least one of our readers expressed concern that this percipient aquisition might jeopardise Jet Aviation's earlier announced plan to set up shop at Ogden's Hinkley Field.

The Deseret News furnishes some new information this morning on the subject, which we'll interpret as "optimistic." From this morning's Deseret News story:

Jet Aviation's acquisition by General Dynamics Corp. is "not really" a factor in whether it goes forward with plans to put operations in Ogden, a Jet Aviation spokesman said Monday.
Patrick Sniffen, vice president of marketing and communications for Jet Aviation, said that while the company has yet to act on a financial incentive from the state of Utah, the company is working on the business model and is optimistic to have some activities operating in Ogden early next year.
"We're optimistic that this is going to occur," Sniffen said. "At this point, I'm not hearing any reservations from our folks here ... From the information I've been given, it's all systems go." [...]
"The Ogden matter really predated the General Dynamics deal, so while there will be some consideration, it's not really a factor in the decisionmaking process at the moment," Sniffen said. [...]
Jet Aviation, a Swiss company, said in May that it had signed a letter of intent with Kemp Development Inc. of Ogden to have Jet Aviation Ogden in operation by this fall, adding up to 200 people over the next two years. Sniffen said Monday that some maintenance and other operations could be in place as early as January or February.
While none of this amounts to a "done deal," at least nobody seems willing to say that Jet Aviation's original expansion plan has been cancelled, or even put on "hold," either.

We're filing this one under the topic heading, "Keeping our fingers crossed." What a shame it would be, we believe, if poor old FOM* Mel Kemp were to be jilted a second time in a row.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

*Friend of Matt (Godfrey)

Boss Godfrey At Odds With the Council... Again

Emerald City: A "republic" ruled by a dictator

By George K.

Reporter Schwebke reveals that the Mayor is once again at odds with the Council in his story in the Standard Examiner this morning, headlined "Conflict over Mount Ogden course."

He did a great job of reporting Councilwoman Gochnour's comments last night at Council Meeting. I found it most interesting to read that Kent Petersen did not receive the word that some of the Council members wanted to serve on his now infamous golf course committee. I wonder if that's what happened to the list of suggested committee members that Councilwoman Jeske gave the administration. I understand that Councilwoman Gochnour's list was given to Todd Brenkman. There's a couple of different scenarios about what happened to that list: 1) Todd gave the list to Godfrey and he didn't give it to Kent or 2) Godfrey told him to conveniently misplace it.

It's most interesting that Kent Petersen said that he doesn't want the committee influenced by the administration nor the council, but he allowed Godfrey to attend the first meeting and give the opening statements! This whole process and the committee are a joke and a mockery of democracy. But then Godfrey's favorite saying is, "We don't live in a democracy, we live in a republic." I'll go one further -- "We live in a republic ruled by dictator!"

The criticism I have of Schwebke's reporting, is that he repeats Godfrey's position on the golf course without really finding the cause for the decline of golfers. There is nothing wrong with the design of the golf course -- that's what makes it unique and a challenge to play. Because of lack of money, personnel and equipment to keep the brush cut back, the fairways have narrowed some. That's a management problem... and maintenance problems aren't a priority at Mt. Ogden for Mr. Brenkman.

I am glad to see that Mr. Schwebke reports that the council is having problems dealing with the Mayor's chicanery. On the whole, it was a good article.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ace Reporter Schwebke Further Peels Back the MOGC Committee Veil of Secrecy

Our intrepid Ace Reporter Schwebke keeps on digging

In a followup to Thurday's Standard-Examiner article, Scott Schwebke continues to peel back the veil of secrecy surrounding Boss Godfrey's Mount Ogden Golf Course Citizens Committee. Our intrepid Ace Reporter has been doing further digging, and offers this morning a new article, laden with a few more morsels of fact:

1) First in order of importance, this morning's Std-Ex story reveals (for the first time publicly) the names of the individuals serving on the committee (We've made a half hearted attempt to augment this list with online information links (highlighted;) and certified Gondolists are marked with a "G"):

Kent Petersen (G)- Chairman
George Heiner (G)
Ron Kasina - Weber County Economic Development Director
Mike Mathieu - Ogden Fire Chief
John Lindquist - (the article doesn't specify whether John Jr. or Sr.)
Kent Nichols
Hoyle Sorenson
Jay Wadman (G)

2) Next in order of importance, Mr. Schwebke reports that another "subcommittee" of eight members has gotten the jump on the main committee and has already put together a list of suggestions to improve MOGC on the relative "cheap" (under $1 million).

3) Mr. Schwebke informs us that Boss Godfrey continues to insist that the "main" committee doesn't operate under his administration's thumb, notwithstanding other facts reported by Mr. Schwebke this morning, i.e., a) that the committee meets in a conference room adjacent to Godfrey's office and b) that all meeting minutes are recorded by Godfrey's own executive assistant.

4) Last but not least, Mr. Schwebke relates that "Main Committee" Chair Kent Petersen has apparently declined to appoint neither Council Member Gochnour nor Jeske to the committee. Kent wants to avoid administration and council "influence," says "The Skipper," with an "honest to Gawd" completely straight face.

That's it for now, folks.

Take it away, O Gentle Ones.

Trentelman to Ogden's Gondola Lemmings: "What's Up?"

The Std-Ex's top columnist muses about the "odd" timing of recent Gondolist rants

The Standard-Examiner's Charlie Trentelman provides a tiptop column this morning, questioning the timing of the recent flurry of "Gondolist Sour Grapes Rants", which we've also discussed recently in this collection of Weber County Forum articles.

Charlie's morning's column provides a brief but focused discussion and analysis of the underlying facts, and then poses for the Std-Ex's general readership a few of the questions we've also been asking here at Weber County Forum:
"[M]y question is the timing of this obviously coordinated attack. Why now?"
"So, one has to ask, what’s up? Why is WSU suddenly being blamed for someone else’s failed developments? Is this an attempt to blame WSU for a coming bigger failure?"
"So, Bob, what’s really up? Why the flurry of letters?"
Although we confess we differ with Mr. Trentelman's assumption That Boss Godfrey and his pack of loyalist gondola lemmings actually regard the Godfrey-Peterson Landgrab/Gondola Scheme as "dead," we applaud Mr. Trentelman for raising these questions in the public press.

Reader coments are solicited as always, of course.

Monday, August 25, 2008

National Demo Convention Kicks Off Tonight!

Pre-convention musings from your ever-gentle WCF Blogmeister

OK folks. The Democratic National Nominating Convention kicks off in about five hours. We'll be glued to the tube, just like all other hard-core Utah political wonks over the next four days.

Just a few political observations before the National Democratic Party convention finally goes into TEEVEE prime-time:

One commentator sez the Demos have the greatest party-partisan political advantage going into convention since the Nixon era!

Democrats Begin Convention With Most Advantages Since Watergate

Is it possible that the Demos could blow their seeming big advantage yet again?

At least three other political commentators say Obama's candidacy might not have the easy sledding that's hoped for. Rumors persist that Hillary Clinton supporters will mess up the whole Obama coronation, and throw a wrench into Demo party unity:

Hillary: Not out of it yet!
Die-hard Clinton supporters to air grievances outside convention
Clinton to have own floor whips at Dem convention

In spite of the Clinton Machine's machinations however, there is definitely good news for Democratic Party convention-goers this week in Denver. In the midst of a convention environment where convention attendees will have to deal with seriously-tightened security measures, the Denver Police will be cutting typical Democratic Party national delegates a little well-deserved slack:

City panel to cops: Hold off on pot arrests during Democratic Convention

The Democratic Party: The party of Cheech and Chong?

We guess we'll be finding out all about THAT this week.

Pull your Barca-loungers® in front of the Big Screen, folks.

We'll be loving and looking for a good Demo intra-party political scrap during the next week; and this one's bound to be danged good fun!

The Prudent Bear: The Great Consumer Crash of 2009

A comprehensive and comprehensible overview of the current U.S. economy, via the Prudent Bear website

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself-Well...How did I get here? [...]
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

Talking Heads
"Once in a Lifetime" (YouTube)

It is only when the tide goes out, that you know who was swimming naked.

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett Quotes

Fantastic guest commentary from the Prudent Bear inventors' website, under the headline "The Great Consumer Crash of 2009." Here's the lede:

“It is easy to ignore the storm if you look at the opposite horizon. When the storm reaches your location there can be no more ignorance.”
I hate to tell you, but the storm has reached your location and it is a Category 5 hurricane. The levees are leaking. Ignore it at your own peril. The 6,000 sq ft McMansion buying, BMW leasing, $5 Starbucks latte drinking, granite countertop upgrading, home equity borrowing days are coming to an end. The American consumer will not go without a fight. For the last seven years the American consumer has carried the weight of the world on its shoulders. This has been a heavy burden, but when you take steroids it doesn’t seem so heavy. The steroid of choice for the American consumer has been debt. We have utilized home equity loans, cash out refinancing, credit card debt, and auto loans to live above our means. It has been a fun ride, but the ride is over. We can’t get steroids from our dealer (banks) anymore.
Read the rest of the article here.

This is the best comprehensive article on the present condition of the U.S. economy that we've come across in quite a long while -- lots of charts and graphs, considering various important economics "data sets," -- presented in language clear enough even to be comprehensible to readers who are unschooled in the jargon of academic economics, we think.

Something to think about the next time you hear some cable network talking head predict the economy is set to "recover" in 2009.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

WSU Officials Respond to Vile Gondolist Accusations

Four eminent members of the WSU community set the record straight

Over the course of the past several weeks, we've entertained ourselves discussing a recent short series of weekly Standard-Examiner guest rants and whines, within our own series of articles, which we've playfully dubbed the 2008 Gondolist Sour Grapes Series. In a total of 86 reader comments, our gentle readers have discussed and commented on these three Std-Ex articles, all of which criticised Weber State University in general, and WSU President Ann Milner in particular. We've critiqued, set forth facts, dissected and sliced-and-diced. This morning however a couple of WSU officials themselves bring out their own carving knife.

In this connection, don't miss this morning's pair of Standard-Examiner guest commentaries, wherein several WSU faculty members and the Chairman of the WSU Board of Trustees provide their own retorts, and finally set the public record straight:

"Weber State needs commitments to turn dreams into reality"
"WSU Board of Trustees chairman responds to accusations"

Once again, Mssrs. Geiger, Hitzig and Ballantyne find themselves holding the short end of the "credibility" stick.

We don't know why these Gondolists subject themselves to this.

Masochists... we guess.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fascinating New Data From Ogden's House Legislative District Nine

Leg 9 Godfreyite legislative GOP candidate surfaces with a top-notch website

Interesting info popped up via email today from House District 9 GOP candidate Jeremy Peterson's GOP campaign manager, re the Leg. 9 upcoming House District Nine legislative race, in connection with our continuing effort to fully build out our 2008 Weber County Candidate Roster. Here's GOP Leg. 9 House of Representatives challenger Jeremy Petersons's new website:

Political upstart Jeremy Peterson has now beaten the five-term incumbent Neil Hansen to the punch, with a feature-filled campaign website.

When will the incumbent Neil Hansen follow suit?

Being the curious type, BTW, and not knowing who the hell this Jeremy Peterson guy is... we googled.

Seems from state records that the Republican candidate in House Legislative District 9 (Jeremy Peterson) is a realtor, who hangs his associate broker's real estate license with an Ogden real estate company called "Terra Venture"

And who Is the agency broker for Terra Venture? This is too funny... Terra Venture's agency broker is ... strangely enough... the G-Train!

Oh my! Small world, innit?

Standard-Examiner: Bids Solicited to Audit Ogden Code Enforcement

The Ogden City Council prepares to take a good long look at the behavior of Boss Godfrey's Lawn Nazis

Interesting article in this morning's Standard-Examiner, reporting that the Ogden City Council is taking action to look into Boss Godfrey's policies and methods re zoning code enforcement. From this morning's Scott Schwebke story:

OGDEN — The city council is soliciting bids from consulting firms to conduct a management audit of Ogden’s code-enforcement operation. [...]
The audit is being undertaken because the city council has received numerous complaints from residents about code-enforcement citations, said Councilwoman Dorrene Jeske. [...]
The management audit will focus on city zoning enforcement, housing enforcement and weed-abatement activities.
In fiscal 2007, the city conducted 15,781 zoning and nuisance inspections, according to information provided by the city council. Of those, 1,824 citations were issued because property owners failed to correct violations. Prosecuted in Ogden Justice Court were 89 cases.
The management audit will analyze code enforcement policies and operations. It will also evaluate rules and procedures, customer service, record management, financial practices and other functions.
The audit will include recommendations for improvement.
We don't know whether the Std-Ex's recent stories about Ella Williams's brown lawn problem became the straw that broke the camel's back; but we will volunteer that we find it encouraging that our Council is now taking a serious look into the operations of Boss Godfrey's Emerald City Lawn Nazis.

And once the Council's auditors set to work, we hope they'll take a good long look at the City's code enforcement (or lack thereof) in the area surrounding the Ogden River Project. An argument can be made, we think, that code enforcement should be suspended across the City, unless and until our city's code enforcement personnel have borne down hard upon Ogden City's most notorious FOM* zoning code scofflaw.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

*Friend of Matt

Friday, August 22, 2008

Powder Mountain Update: The Standard-Examiner Comes Out Swinging

Added bonus: An important definitional distinction from Eden resident Darla Van Zeben

The Standard-Examiner comes out swinging this morning in connection with the Powderville incorporation fiasco, with about as hard-hitting an editorial as we've ever seen from our home town newspaper. This morning's opening paragraphs set the tone:

The utter freakishness of the town-incorporation law passed by the Legislature in 2007 continues to defy common sense in Weber County.
Members of the Weber County Commission are in a bad spot. But by attempting to find an ethical, moral solution to their quandary, they are, perhaps, violating the law. A really bad law, mind you, but a law nevertheless.
On Tuesday commissioners once again refused to rubberstamp a list of town council and mayor appointees from the creators/developers of Powder Mountain Town. Their reasoning: Maybe it’s possible to put a shine on this lump of ... coal.
From there, the Std-Ed editorial board launches a no-holds-barred editorial barrage, landing haymakers on the parties who bear chief responsibility for the "utterly freakish" Powder Mountain mess, i.e., our bone-headed state legislature, (whose passage of SB-466 amounted to legislative malpractice,) and the greed-head developer (who has arrogantly taken advantage of the legislature's chain of errors.) You can read this morning's full Std-Ex editorial here:

"Powder town, chapter 2"

And whatever you do, don't forget to take a gander at another fantastic Calvin Grondahl cartoon, which springboards off this marvelous Commission Zogmaister quote, appearing midway through today's Std-Ex editorial: "Commissioner Jan Zogmaister’s sarcasm was apropos when she remarked that if those people were appointed, a family reunion could constitute a quorum of city government."

And while we're on the Powderville subject again, we'd like to draw our readers' attention to another fine new article appearing on Ogden Valley Forum. OVF has published this morning a guest editorial by Eden resident Darla Van Zeben, who articulates a definitional distinction between Powderville "petitioners" and "petition sponsors." Confusion over this terminology is causing friction in the Powderville neighborhood, Ms. Van Zeben reports, and we thank Ms. Van Zeben for helping us distinguish between the two groups, who vary considerably, we'll speculate, in their "culpability" in re this matter:

"From the Powderville Neighborhood"

That's it on the Powderville topic this morning, folks.

Comments are invited, as per usual.

Update 8/22/08 1:58 pm MT: We'll also note in passing that Ogden Valley Forum, our friends, allies and cohorts throughout this entire Powder Mountain Incorporation Mess, have yet another new article on the Powderville topic ths morning.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

An Argument Against Re-naming Constitition Way

A little history from a long-time Ogden political activist

By Catherine Feeny
Former Regent
Daughters of the American Revolution
Golden Spike Chapter

Your suggestions for new names for the street leading to the Mount Ogden Golf Course are very clever, fun, and original, but please don't consider changing the present name of Constitution Way. Let me tell you how it received that name. In 1987, the National President of the Daughters of the American Revolution suggested that all the chapters in the country try to get a park or a road named after the Constitution of the United States, as a means of celebrating the Bicentennial of its adoption.

As the Regent of Ogden's Golden Spike Chapter, I asked for and got permission from Mayor Robert Madsen, Ogden's mayor at the time, to name a street in Ogden, and he chose this street, leading to the Mount Ogden Golf Course.

A date was set, and a program planned for the occasion of the street dedication. It consisted of two distinguished, gentlemen of Ogden, as speakers, explaining the importance of the Constitution and paying honor to it. Following that, "The Men of Song" delighted everyone with several lovely, patriotic songs. The yellow ribbon across the road was cut by Assistant Mayor, Dr. Clifford Goff, who declared the street to be named "Constitution Way."

After this, the hundreds of red, wnite, and blue gas balloons were launched into the air. They had been blown up earlier in the morning by a boy scout troop and held from "taking off" by being contained in a parachute, borrowed from Hill Field, staked to the ground.

It was thrilling to see all those balloons rising into the sky, and to complete the celebation, Farr's Ice Cream bars and drinks from a Coca Cola machine were provided as refreshments for all present.

So, as you can see, it was a meaningful undertaking, and since none of the other suggested names actually give directions to get there, why can't there just be some signs on Harrison, perhaps, telling people the golf course is on Taylor Avenue between 29th Street and 32nd Street? Once they get to Taylor there is a sign, and they will be able to see the club house beyond the very impressive expanse of green lawn, bordered by the stretch of beautiful, white fence.

Our Constitution has survived over 200 years. I would hope Constitution Way might have a decent longevity. Think of it as strong, lasting, and something to be proud of. Surely it needs to survive and help to resist any attempt to remove or revise the golf course it leads to. Instead of spending 6 million dollars to make "so-called" improvements, why not use some of that money to subsidize this jewel, that it is in our community, if necessary? However, that might not be needed for the long term, since more rounds of golf are being played there, recently, I understand.

Save it, and don't change any of it, please.

New Info on Emerald City's Mysterious Mount Ogden Golf Course "Citizens Committee"

Ace Reporter Schwebke ever so slightly peels back the committee's veil of secrecy

Over the course of the past several weeks, rumors have been circulating about the existence of a mysterious "citizens committee," secretly operating below the public radar screen, with a rumored dual agenda of studying the operations of the glorious Mount Ogden Golf Course, and making recommendations to Boss Godfrey's administration which might improve MOGC's purportedly ailing bottom line.

This morning's Standard-Examiner has an article which now confirms the existence of this committee, and provides a few further details, ratcheting up public awareness of this committee's makeup and agenda a couple of clicks, from "mysterious" to "murky."

Ace Reporter Schwebke's morning story peels back this committee's veil of secrecy ever so slightly, with the following trickle of essential facts:

1) The Committee is chaired by Kent Petersen, who is otherwise lovingly known here on Weber County Forum as "The Skipper", a dyed-in-the-wool Godfrey henchman, and certified, card-carrying Gondolist.
2) MOGC operations research and recommendations are at least part of the committee agenda.
3) The committee purportedly "operates independently of the Godfrey Administration".
4) Boss Godfrey maintains "It’s important that the committee operate without oversight from the administration, so it can provide objective recommendations."
5) Council members Jeske and Gochnour have applied for membership on the committee, so far without success.

However grateful we are for the Std-Ex's confirmation that this committee does indeed exist, (along with a few other meager story details,) we're afraid this morning's Scott Schwebke story is a journalistic "dud," and actually raises more questions than it answers. In this connection, we'll pose the following questions off the top of our head -- just for starters:

1) Has this committee been officially commissioned or sanctioned by the Godfrey Administration; and if so, does it operate under Godfrey's authority... and with his blessing?
2) If this committee is actually an independent citizen investigative and advisory group (as Boss Godfrey insists,) will the Godfrey Administration accord its recommendations any greater weight than any other citizens' committee which might also be formed to study and make recommendations on MOGC issues?
3) Is this committee open to the addition of new members who are interested in MOGC issues?
4) Does this committee conduct its business openly and transparently?
5) Can regular lumpencitizens attend and participate in its meetings?
6) Is The Skipper willing to publicly reveal his current committee membership roster?

So many questions... so few answers.

The floor is open, gentle readers. The world blogosphere anxiously awaits our readers' ever-knowledgeable input. Is there anyone within our WCF readership who can shed more light on the makeup, agenda and operations of this shadowy "citizens committee?"

Weber County Forum is always at its best when we appeal to our readers to ferret out the facts.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Heads-up for Ogden Economics Wonks and Investors

I.O.U.S.A.: LIVE with Warren Buffett, Pete Peterson & Dave Walker plays in Ogden tomorrow evening

From the stellar investment website, via gentle reader Dorothy Littrell:

Fathom and Roadside Attractions present I.O.U.S.A.: Live with Warren Buffett, Pete Peterson & Dave Walker in an exclusive one night event in select movie theatres nationwide on Thursday, August 21st. This event will include the critically-acclaimed documentary, I.O.U.S.A., and a LIVE discussion about America’s economic crisis and what we can do to change course. [...]
From the producers of Wordplay and the studio that brought you Supersize Me, the must-see documentary I.O.U.S.A. uncovers the source of critical economic concerns that touch the lives of every American. A tapestry of archival footage, hard data and candid interviews woven together, it paints an authentic profile of today’s economic condition. Solutions for how we can impact this nationwide crisis and evolve into a more fiscally sound nation for future generations are offered by the documentary’s powerful conclusion.
“May be to the U.S. Economy what An Inconvenient Truth was to the environment.” - Reuters
Check out the trailer:

The special Ogden one-time screening is calendered for 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, August 21, at Tinseltown Theater, at the Newgate Mall, 36th & Wall Avenue. Tickets will be available at the door. Readers in other U.S. cities can find tomorrow's local screenings here. In a political environment where most folks are fixated on the two hopeless economic dunces who are running for the office of President of the United States, this special screening provides lumpencitizens a golden opportunity to find out what's really rotten in the good ole U.S. of A.

Powder Mountain Update: The 8/19/08 Commission Meeting Post-mortem

Post Commission meeting article roundup

This morning's Standard-Examiner provides a fairly decent report on yesterday's Weber County Commission session. It likewise explains the relative postures of the Powder Mountain developer, vis-a-vis the the County Commission, now that the commission has declined, for the second consecutive hearing, to act as the developer's docile rubber stamp, and to refuse appointing a mayor and council from the developer's hand-picked lackey list. Std-Ex reporter Di Lewis is new to the Ogden Valley beat; but her rendition of the facts is nevertheless accurate, we think, except for this minor historical error:

New owners of Powder Mountain Resort announced last year they wanted to expand Powder Mountain and filed to incorporate into a town in January after requests for rezoning were denied. [Emphasis added].
As our regular readers will recall, the Powder Mountain sponsors filed their incorporation petition in mid-January of this year, thus depriving the County Commission of any opportunity to consider the developer's then-pending rezone request.

As to the current status of the Commission and Developer with respect to each other, we believe this paragraph from Ms. Lewis's morning story frames the current situation quite accurately:

Deputy County Attorney Dave Wilson told commissioners if they declined to act for a second time, the petitioners could meet with the commission and expand or explain the 11-person list they presented or take legal action.

For our readers' reference, the Standard-Examiner has also helpfully posted the most recent (and Commission rejected) Powderville candidate lists on its live website.

While we're back on the Powderville topic, we'll also provide links to the latest posts from our friends, the citizen activist stalwarts at Ogden Valley Forum:

Weber County Commission refuses to Act
(Includes 8/12/08 Commission meeting audio files)

The PERPS of Powderville Act III
(Excellent Kim Wheatley analysis and rant)

That's it for now, folks. It would appear that the current Commission/Developer stalement may provide us as at least a short interlude, during which we can all catch our breath, in anticipation of the next round in the Powderville slugfest.

Comments are invited, as always.

Short Treatise on the Topics of "Conflicts of Interest" and "Separation of Powers"

A little free legal advice from one well-respected local legal practitioner

Fine guest commentary in this morning's Standard-Examiner, responding to Sunday's Scott Schwebke story, wherein Boss Godfrey unleashed his latest cry-baby temper tantrum in the public press, concerning the Ogden City Council's recent practice of employing private counsel for second opinions and in "conflict of interest" situations.

While Sunday's article provoked a fairly robust discussion here on Weber County Forum, our discussion was nevertheless slightly oblique. Whereas we merely nibbled around the edges of the ethical principles necessitating employment of independent counsel in certain instances, this morning's editorial piece squarely addresses the "conflicts" and "separation of powers" principles which are regularly violated when our city council relies upon Boss Godfrey's lawyers for the drafting of documents and ordinances, and in the rendering of legal opinions. For a well reasoned and concise nutshell legal treatise on the subject, be sure to read Deb Badger's most excellent morning guest editorial, which, as an added bonus, also makes a cogent and highly persuasive argument for the council's employment of permanent in-house staff counsel:

"City council needs independent legal advice"

A Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to to local barrister Deb Badger this morning, for going public on a topic we've been hammering with various council members for years.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Powder Mountain Update: Weber County Commissioners Tell the PM Developer to"Stick It"

Our all-GOP County Commission gives a pushy developer a dose of political reality

Great news from the Weber County Commission meeting this morning. By unamimous agreement, all three Commissioners, Bischoff, Zogmaister and Dearden alike, took no action on this morning's chief agenda item -- appointment of a brand-new Powderville Mayor and Council. The matter wasn't merely tabled. It's now officially "off calender."

It was an interesting session indeed. Commissioner Zogmaister opened up the discussion by referring to the enabling statute, the grandfathered SB466, noting that the County Commission was not legally restricted, even under this now repealed but "grandfathered" law, to limit itself to considering the Gang of Six list submitted by the developer's sponsor/incorporation petitioners. Furthermore, our all-GOP Commission reminded everyone in attendance that the Commission had spent substantial time broadening the Powderville mayor/council applicant list.

In the course of this overly time-consuming interviewing/vetting process, the Commission had expanded the list, Zogmaister said, according to these criteria: 1) the applicant is of legal age, registered and eligible to vote; 2) The applicant has resided within the Powderville boundaries for at least a year; 3) The applicant has demonstrated capability to devote him/herself to the monumental task of forming a new town, and to be devoted to the goal of "promoting the best interests" of the town of Powderville.

Ultimately, the County Commission had compiled a list of nineteen vetted and qualified names, according to the Commissioners. The developer nevertheless rejected all of the new candidates!

From there, the Powder Mountain developer's plan went haywire:

Brooke Huntzt, the Powder Mountain attorney "mouthpiece," was summoned to the podium by our All Star County Commissioners, and Jan Zogmaister asked the crucial question:

"What criteria did you use to reject the new additions to the Commission's list?"

The developer's mouthpiece dodged the question, saying to the guffaws of probably 60 people, that the vetting of the mayor/council candidates was not her job. After that, the Commission summoned up to the podium a couple of Developer Lackeys, Like "Mara" and "Melissa."

As to the constantly-posed question by all the Weber County Commissioners (what criteria did you use, exactly to whittle down the Commissions's list?), none of these lackey spokesmen ever explained rationally why they rejected the bulk of the qualified Powder Mountain Commisioners' list of nineteen.

At the tail end of the discussion, Commissioner Bischoff said, "We thought we were moving ahead in good faith. It's obvious now that's not what's happening," he said.

It's back to the drawing-board for the greed-head Powder Mountain Developer, obviously.

We offer a hearty Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to Commissioners Bischoff, Dearden and Zogmaister, for standing up for their Ogden Valley constituents.

The ball's back in the developer's court. They can either re-engage in negotiations with the County Commision... or go to court.

The Commission has now thrown down the gauntlet.

We'll be popping our Orville Rickenbacker and pulling up our barca-loungers to see what happens next.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

Update 8/19/06 4:04 pm MT: Our good friends at Ogden Valley Forum this afternoon also offer up a great post on this topic.

Breaking: General Dynamics Acquires Jet Aviation

Pretty big stuff for Ogden's Hinkley Field

By Danny

Big news for Ogden this morning:

General Dynamics to buy Switzerland's Jet Aviation:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense contractor General Dynamics said Tuesday it will buy Jet Aviation for about $2.25 billion in cash, seeking to expand its Gulfstream jet business and tap into fast-growing overseas demand for luxury private planes.
With the purchase of Zurich-based Jet Aviation, General Dynamics adds a worldwide network of aircraft maintenance centers and service centers where wealthy individuals and cash-rich governments can outfit private jets with plush interiors and custom features.
Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics will acquire all of Jet Aviation's shares from current owner Dreamliner Lux S.a.r.l, a company controlled by the British investment fund Permira Funds. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year if it clears regulatory scrutiny.
(Jet Av recently announced they were going to the Ogden Airport in place of the defunct Adam Air.)

So that means General Di will be at the Ogden Airport. Pretty big stuff.

Powder Mountain Update: Town Government Appointments Set for This Morning's Commission Calender

Commission hearing convenes this morning at 10:00 a.m.

The Standard-Examiner carries a reminder of the morning's Weber County Commission meeting, during which the Commission is likely to appoint a mayor and town council for "Powderville," Utah's newest town:

OGDEN — The proposed list of candidates for Powder Mountain’s mayor and city council is up for review today at the Weber County Commission meeting.
Powder Mountain representatives were told at the Aug. 5 meeting to come back in two weeks with more names for consideration and the commission would also compile a list to provide more selection.
The county commission meets at 10 a.m. in the commission chambers of the Weber Center, 2380 Washington Blvd.
Ogden Valley Forum has further information here, (including a tantalizing heads-up on a planning commission appointment which also shares this morning's Commission agenda.)

Will the Commission appoint a town government which reflects a cross-section of the citizens who've been dragged kicking and screaming into town incorporation, or will the Commission mimic the cowardly posture of the 2007 legislature, and throw scores of Powervillians under the heel of the corporo-fascist, greed-head developer jackboot?

We'll soon find out.

We're planning to have one of our own reporters in attendance; and if all goes according to plan, we'll post a full report early this afternoon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ogden City's Biggest Problem -- Its Knuckle-headed Mayor

One gentle reader drops a dime on Boss Godfrey

By George K.

Ogden is faced with numerous problems, but I think that the biggest problem is the Ogden City Administration. We’ve heard about it for years from businesses who have tried to start their business in Ogden, from other victims of Godfrey’s “Yard Nazi Patrol,” and Ogden’s “ticket quota” who are going six miles over the speed limit! The problem is the UNCARING and UNCOOPERATIVE ACTIONS of the City’s administration and personnel who are carrying out Boss Godfrey’s orders because of his constant need for more revenue to fund his pet projects!

He won’t raise property taxes because that would make him look bad, but he has no conscience when it comes to assessing fines and fees! Fining an elderly 83-year old woman because her lawn is brown due to a broken water pipe that causes her basement to flood every time she watered is a perfect example!. There are hundreds of examples – to list a couple of others: The ordinance that the Council passed in 2005 at the administration’s urging that uprooted a handicapped accident victim who was living in a motel because he was unable to take care of a home or apartment and on a limited income so that he couldn’t afford to hire someone to help him. I wonder where he is now – probably had to move out of Ogden altogether because of a stupid, uncaring ordinance that limits the time anyone can live in a motel to 90 days! Also, look how the City treated the owner of the old motel located on the Ogden River and wanted to open a restaurant serving Indian cuisine. Ultimately, they put a moratorium on all properties in the neighborhood until they could change the zoning and redevelopment requirements!

Did you read the article in the Business Section of Sunday’s Standard“Put your city on the map”? Godfrey has effectively stolen downtown Ogden from long-time residents of Ogden and given it to tourists and young athletes with his “outdoor recreation mecca!” You can’t find one retail store, grocery store or pharmacy in the Junction to accommodate the people who are supposed to buy the condos being built or the renters of the proposed apartments to be built because all Godfrey wants is a recreation center for downtown and the only businesses he pursues are companies that are outdoor recreation oriented or ski companies! Maybe we could get REAL businesses interested in moving to Ogden instead of to Layton and Riverdale if Ogden’s administration took a hint from Washington Terrace’s and Roy’s philosophies for attracting businesses, i.e., selling quality of life, and helping businesses to get up and running as quickly and easily as possible. Instead, Godfrey is always putting down Mt. Ogden Golf Course – he’s too blind to see that businesses look for quality of life amenities such as good, affordable golf courses, open spaces and trails along with good schools and transportation system – the things that Godfrey has opposed except for the schools possibly (his children attend private schools, so who knows?)

There is a letter to the editor in this morning's paper that indicates that it was the mean-spirited code patrol that was to blame for the mistreatment of Mrs. Williams. What he doesn't realize is that the code enforcers do Godfrey's bidding or lose their job. I do agree that Mr. Sant could be better mannered, but then why would he want to be the only one of Godfrey's goons that treated the residents of Ogden with respect?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Sunday Morning Whining From Boss Godfrey

A short essay on a few things our Ogden City Mayor fails to "get"

Can we see by a show of hands how many of our readers nearly lost their breakfast after opening up this morning's Standard-Examiner hard-copy edition? There was Boss Godfrey's grinning mug right their on the front page, whining and complaining about the Ogden City Council yet again. We'll incorporate a few text passages from this morning's Ace Reporter Schwebke story:
OGDEN — The city council’s periodic use of a private law firm to render opinions on municipal issues is adversely impacting its relationship with the administration, says Mayor Matthew Godfrey.
Godfrey said he’s troubled by the “secretive nature” of the Salt Lake City firm of Chapman and Cutler, which has been retained by the city council.
He also complained the administration is kept in the dark regarding the law firm’s work on the council’s behalf.
Memo to Boss Godfrey: Chapman & Cutler are the council's lawyers. The "secretive" part involves attorney-client confidentiality. Ask your lawyer, Gary Williams, to explain it.

And then there's the issue of conflict of interest... you know... those occasions where Boss Godfrey's lawyer (Gary Williams) can't ethically represent both the Administration and the Council. Council Director Bill Cook obviously "gets it":
Bill Cook, the city council’s executive director, defended keeping Chapman and Cutler on retainer. The city council uses the law firm sparingly when it believes the municipality’s legal staff has a conflict of interest because it’s already advising the administration on a particular issue or when it wants a second opinion, Cook said.
“The city’s legal staff does a great job,” said Cook. “It (the use of Chapman and Cutler) is only done if it’s better that an outside attorney is involved.”
City Attorney Gary Williams "gets it" too:
Gary Williams, the city’s attorney, said his responsibility is to impartially advise the administration and city council on legal issues.
There are times (conflict of interest situations) when it may be appropriate for the council to seek outside legal advice, said Williams, declining to explain when that could occur. [parenthesis added]
Query: How come Godfrey can't "get it?" Learning-disabled, we guess.

And one more crucial question: How come Boss Godfrey tattles to the Standard-Examiner any time he doesn't get exactly what he wants?

Even a cold heart like Godfrey needs an occasional warm shoulder to cry on, we suppose.

And here are a few other Schwebke passages we also really liked:
Several council members expressed displeasure during a recent work session that they learned after the fact that Rob Jolley, the city’s lobbyist, and Ogden Management Services Director Mark Johnson succeeded in amending Senate Bill 294.
The amendment gives Godfrey complete executive control over the RDA.
“It’s a big issue for me,” City Councilwoman Caitlin K. Gochnour told Godfrey during the council work session, expressing disappointment that she didn’t know about the amendment in advance. “It’s a big issue for Ogden.”
A Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to Councilwoman Gochnour for sticking to her guns, and refusing to pick up the tab for Mr. Jolley, Boss Godfrey's ethically-challenged legislative lobbyist. Caitlin's another grownup who obviously "gets it."

And before closing, we'll briefly comment on the $20,000 retainer the council is currently negotiating with current private counsel, Chapman and Cutler. Here's our advice to the council: Jump on it. Judging from the council's excellent performance since they hooked up two years ago with their own private attorneys, we believe these Big City lawyers are worth every dime they get.

The floor is open to our readers' ever-gentle comments.

Powder Mountain Update: Two More Articles from Ogden Valley Forum

A County Commission meeting reminder, and some eye-opening tax analysis

Just to keep our readers up to speed on the Powderville situation, we'll highlight two new Ogden Valley Forum articles this morning.

First, we find a reminder of the County Commission's Tuesday hearing. The text is brief, so we'll incorporate it in full:
This is a call for all Valley residents to attend the Weber County Commission meeting on Tuesday, August 19th at 10:00AM. It appears that the Weber County Commissioner's will name the makeup of the Powderville town council.
It will be noteworthy to see if they name a representative council, or a town council packed with Cobabe family members and employees from Powder Mountain.
Since there are so many potential conflict of interest issues with the original list submitted by Powder Mountain, we will find out how much intestinal fortitude our Weber County Commissioners are willing to display.
It's our understanding that the Commission will now be choosing from a significantly expanded Powderville citizen candidate list, rather than a narrow roster of the ethically-conflicted "gang of six" whose names were cherry-picked and arrogantly submitted by the developer for a "hoped for"Commission rubber stamp. Indeed, Tuesday's meeting will give the lumpencitizens a golden opportunity to see exactly what the Commission is really made of. Will the Commission select a town government which represents a cross-section of the regular folks who were dragged unwillingly into the developer's company town; or will the Commission meekly roll over, and commit several scores of its constituents to fascist-style dictatorship, under the jack-boot of the developer's corporation? We guess we'll find out on Tuesday, won't we?

Next, we'll turn to the latest Kim Wheatley tome, in which Dr. Wheatley provides some thoughtful tax analysis, founded upon a fair amount of diligent research. Among Dr. Wheatley's conclusions, based on Weber County tax records: Upon completion of the town incorporation process, the Powder Mountain developer will enjoy the bulk of the economic benefit flowing from the incorporation of Powder Mountain Town, while the citizens who are unconnected with the developer's resort project will pick up 95% of the economic tab.

Don't let the cat get your tongues, O gentle ones.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

2008 General Election Update: Weber County Candidates List

The 2008 Weber County candidates short list is now ready for viewing

We'd like to announce that for our Weber County Forum readers' convenience, we just now uploaded a complete 2008 Weber County General Election Candidates List to our storage site. This list represents a fairly significant amount of grunt-work; and at this point we believe its probably about ready for prime time, although we do expect to correct and update it at regular intervals. We'll fatten out the Presidential candidates section after the upcoming Demo and GOP conventions, of course.

Our newly compiled list is available here.

In the same connection, we'd like to invite candidates of whatever political persuasion to submit any links and sites that we may have inadvertently omitted.

Up until now we've been googling up online info all on our own, and we can use all the help that we can get.

Thanks in advance to all candidates. We hope the information will prove to be useful for Weber County readers and candidates alike.

We'll further note that this list has also been added to the 2008 Elections module in our right sidebar for easy future reference.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Challenge to Rename an Ogden City Street in Golf Vernacular

Clever suggestions are invited

By Dorrene Jeske
Ogden City Councilwoman

Since the Mt. Ogden Golf Course is a regular and constant topic here on Weber County Forum, I'm going to take this opportunity to announce that the City Council is seeking a new name for "Constitution Way" or "Constitution St." How many of you know where it is in Ogden? Well, it's the little street upon which the club house for Mount Ogden Golf Course is located. This will not be a contest, but a way to just have some fun coming up with a catchy name for the street. I'll give you a hint -- we're looking for a name that has to do with golfing.

Have fun! And let's have some good, clever suggestions.

Editor's note: Please submit your suggestions to the Ogden City Council here. Don't forget, however, to also register your suggestions with this blog.

We'll definitely lobby for the really good ones.

Gondolist Sour Grapes Series Part III

Another pathetic cheap-shot from the Godfrey/Gondolist Brown Shirts

For those readers interested in crank correspondence, we call our readers' attention to this literary gem, appearing in this morning's Standard-Examiner letters section. In this, the latest in the ongoing Std-Ex "Gondolist Sour Grapes Series," Ogden Gondolist Bob Ballantyne blows off a little pent up steam, and lashes out with another cheap shot at Ogden's beloved WSU:

"Weber State should be more accountable"

In an earlier article comment, gentle reader Moroni McConkie remarked about the striking resemblance between one unyielding gondolist (Bobby G.), and the last loyalist standing in the aftermath of President Richard Nixon's fall from grace (Bebe Rebozo.)

As to Mr. Ballantyne, we believe we can draw another historical analogy: Every now and then we read in the news about some WWII Japanese soldier rescued from some remote South Pacific jungle island, still dressed in tattered military jungle fatigues, entirely oblivious to the fact that the Emperorer of Japan surrendered over six decades ago.

Years from now, as Boss Godfrey's Gondola Landgrab Dream becomes merely a faded memory... Bob Ballantyne will still be waving the Gondolist flag, dressed in the tattered uniform of the defeated Godfrey Brown Shirts. Perhaps he didn't get the memo announcing that Godfrey had surrendered, and promised not to sell the park.

Sad. Very sad, we think.

Standard-Examiner: Time to Alter the Water Discussion

A strong editorial call to citizen action

We'd like to highlight a truly fine editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, dealing with the aftermath of the Ella Williams lawn situation. The editorial takes a quick waltz through the facts of the case, examining the equities and Stalinesque approach of the city in re this matter, and then quickly gets down to the "bigger issue."

"Time to alter the water discussion," the Standard-Examiner proclaims in its headline; and Weber County Forum believes the Std-Ex editors hit the nail squarely on the head.

We hope our readers will take the time to read and consider this morning's Std-Ex editorial, in which connection we incorporate the following substantive paragraphs:

But the larger issue, it seems to us, is the way our communities remain wedded to the notion that attractive yards and landscaping are only appealing when they include vast expanses of lawn -- preferably of the Kentucky bluegrass variety, which gulps water like a pack horse at the end of a long trail.
We live in a desert. Our water resources are finite. We should be doing more to encourage people to plant less lawn, or at least of varieties that aren't so thirsty. We should begin pondering whether xeriscaping should be encouraged in new developments. The basic economic model is that if demand goes up, the prices fall; if enough businesses and homes begin to employ xeriscaping rather than traditional lawns, shrubs and trees, maybe it'll become more economical.
At the very least, we should be having this discussion. And maybe someday, we can thank Ella Williams and her brown lawn for being the catalyst we so desperately needed.
If we lumpencitizens are going to embark upon such a discussion, why see no reason we can't start it off here.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Scott Brown Returns to Boss Godfrey's "A" Team

Ogden's Creative Financing Guru does a reprise on the Ogden City payroll

Just as we predicted earlier in the week, this morning's Standard-Examiner reveals that former Ogden business development manager Scott Brown is back on the city payroll. Just like Godfrey lackey Stuart Reid, Mr. Brown will be again drawing an Ogden City paycheck, after a short stint in the private sector. Scott Schwebke provides the complete lowdown, from which we glean these key facts:

OGDEN — The city is launching an aggressive effort to persuade the Internal Revenue Service to construct a new building downtown that could employ at least 1,000 workers.
That effort will be undertaken by Scott Brown, a former business development manager for Ogden who has been rehired for six months to specifically work on the IRS project, said Ogden Community and Economic Development Director Dave Harmer.
Brown, who will be paid $34,000, has been employed temporarily because of his past success in helping the IRS relocate to a pair of buildings downtown, Harmer said.
“We need the help. He does have skills that we want to make use of.”
Further down the article, Mr. Schwebke launches into an eleborate narration, concerning the prospect of construction of a new IRS building on a site already pre-selected by the city, at 23rd Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Diligent reporter that he is, Mr. Schewbke contacted IRS officials for confimation. Strangely, the IRS seems to know nothing about any new downtown buildings:
Bill Brunson, a spokesman for the IRS, said Thursday he is not aware of any immediate plans by the agency to build an additional facility downtown. He said he would check into the issue.
Go figure.

We also found this story element to be most interesting:
In addition to the IRS project, Brown will determine the feasibility and costs for the construction of a downtown velodrome, a specialized arena that would feature indoor tennis, cycling and archery.
Godfrey has said he envisions the facility being used to train cyclists for the Olympic Games.
Hold onto your wallets, lumpencitizens. Now that Scott Brown's back on Boss Godfrey's "A" Team, we see a couple of rounds of new bonding in our trusty Weber County Forum crystal ball.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Lobby Like No Other Wants a War Like No Other

Interesting political perspective from one of America's great libertarian websites

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The Avalon Project - Yale Law School
Washington's Farewell Address

This is the long odyssey that has brought us here tonight. By standing with Israel today, each of you has joined that journey and taken up the torch that was lit in God's promise to Abraham 4,000 years ago, and carrying it forward to spread that light.

Senator Joe Lieberman
Lieberman Address to Christians United for Israel
July 16, 2007

Great morning article from the most formidable libertarian-style website, AntiWar.Com, regarding the apparent Iran War run up:

"The Lobby Like No Other Wants a War Like No Other"

Solid fact statement and analysis, we believe, regarding the effect of GOP "Bible Thumpers," and their dangerous and inane influence upon American foreign policy.

Who Knows? It May Run in the Family

Small People sighting in Nampa Idaho

Gotta say this is extremely interesting, something submitted by gentle reader Montreme, who said:

This was something Mrs. Monotreme and I found when driving through Nampa, Idaho recently.
Godfrey's Used Cars and Little Man Auto Care sharing the same space. Who would've dreamt it?

Who knows? Maybe it runs in the family.

Thursday Afternoon Emerald City News Roundup

Professor Schroeder graciously fills in for the obviously overburdened Rudi

By Dan S.

Since Rudi has apparently been too busy to comment on today's news, let me point out a few interesting items.

Today's most entertaining article was this report by Scott Schwebke, on how Riverdale's mayor has complained about the Standard-Examiner's coverage of the Hansen foot-shooting incident. Be sure to read Don Porter's especially amusing remarks.

In this article we also learn that Managing Editor Andy Howell has some concerns over Mayor Burrows's use of a taxpayer-funded utility bill insert to voice his opinion. We can only hope that Howell will next turn his attention to the inappropriate uses of taxpayer-funded resources by another of our local mayors.

In other news, the Standard-Examiner has a localized version of a wire-service article on the increasing conflicts between motorized and nonmotorized trail users. Be sure to check out the terrific quote from the conservation chair of the Ogden Sierra Club!

Turning to the issue of mass transit, UTA has announced that the extension of the FrontRunner to Pleasant View will be in operation by the end of September. And the New York Times reports that cities across the U.S. are considering streetcars as an increasingly viable form of mass transit. The article mentions Salt Lake City as one of these cities, but not Ogden.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday Morning News Round-up

Bits and pieces on a slow news day

As per usual, we've been scouring the web for news stories of local interest this morning. News is a mite slow today however, to say the least. We did nevertheless find several items we thought to be worthy of sharing, just to get the discussion going:

Here's something for Burger King fans. This one ought to whet your appetites, we think:

Video shows Burger King employee bathing in sink:
XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) - Some workers at a Greene County restaurant are in hot water with the health department, after an employee took a bubble bath in a store sink.
It happened at the Burger King on Orange Street in Xenia.
A four-minute video posted on captured the employee, self-described as Mr. Unstable, bathing nude in a large stainless steel sink as several other employees and a store manager looked on.
The video began making its rounds on the Internet Monday morning. One of the recipients was Greene County Health Commissioner, Mark McDonnell.[...]
All of the employees involved were fired.
And this one speaks volumes about the encroachment of technology upon personal privacy, in our modern "Big Brother" surveillance state:

Google's Street View captures the moment a drunken Aussie keeled over outside his home:
A man who fell asleep in a drunken stupor on the grass outside his home was horrified to find his embarrassment posted on the internet.
He had been drowning his sorrows over the death of a friend and collapsed after climbing out of a taxi.
As he slept off his excesses, a car-mounted video camera passed by to record pictures of the street for Google's StreetView website. [...]
Within days a photographic record of the neighbourhood and its unusual presence was available for worldwide viewing.
During the course of the past year or so we've all fretted about the crime and gang violence that's largely concentrated in fairly small section of our inner city. Here's how a small Arkansas city approached a similar problem. This is right up Boss Godfrey's alley, it seems to us:

Arkansas city neighborhood under 24-hour curfew:
HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) - Helena-West Helena Mayor James Valley says he ordered a round-the-clock curfew and heavy police patrol in a ten-block section of town because the neighborhood was "under siege with repeated gunfire, loitering, drug dealing and other general mayhem." [...]
Thursday night, 18 to 20 police officers carrying M-16 rifles, shotguns and night-vision scopes patrolled the "curfew zone." They arrested about eight people and confiscated drugs and loaded weapons.[...]
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas says the curfew is "blatantly unconstitutional" and has demanded that Valley lift the order immediately.
The ACLU: Pantywaists!

Consider this an open topic thread, if you like.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Three Kind-hearted Souls Rescue a Damsel in Distress

Through the kindness of strangers, one Ogden City woman is released from the clutches of the Ogden Lawn Nazis

This morning's Standard-Examiner reports that several kind-hearted souls have already stepped up to rescue that 83-year old damsel in distress, whose story we discussed here on Saturday. Here's the gist, per Charlie Trentelman:

On July 24, she got the city's warning letter. A neighbor, seeing her distress, called the Standard-Examiner.
Williams said that after her story ran Saturday, her phone rang off the hook and at least one TV news crew showed up.
"I haven't had one minute's peace. KSL (news) called, and I've just had calls from everybody," she said. "Just one constant thing after another."
Amid all that, she said, someone fixed her sprinklers. [...]
Williams said the job was done by three men, one each from Layton, Roy and the Mount Ogden area of Ogden, whose names she didn't even get written down.
They showed up, fixed her sprinklers and left, she said.
"They had to dig up and replace some broken hose," she said. "They worked about seven hours that day, and they wouldn't take a dime for it."
Over the weekend, several of our readers commented on the possibility of conducting a humanitarian rescue operation. If any of our readers were among the three participating in this act of beneficence and generosity... don't be shy. Please step up and take a well-deserved bow.

More Good Ink for Ogden

National Geographic Adventure magazine jumps aboard the "high adventure" bandwagon

By Curmudgeon

More good ink for Ogden. Yet another national circulation magazine --- National Geographic Adventure this time --- names Ogden a high-adventure good investment, the Tuesday Standard Examiner reports.

From Brooke Nelson's story:
OGDEN -- Called the "Disneyland for adrenalized adults," Ogden made National Geographic Adventure's top 12 picks for the next great adventure town. Fifty cities nationwide were named, and 12 were selected for extended write-ups in the magazine hitting newsstands today....
The article mentions easy access for residents to river rafting, water skiing and park areas, specifically highlighting the newly built 148,000-square-foot Salomon Center. It also mentions the city's close proximity to Salt Lake City and Olympic venues like Snowbasin Ski Resort, and the city's plans to continue to improve outdoor opportunities.

The article does not explain how all this could possibly have happened without a flatland gondola whisking adventure seekers from downtown to Weber State and back... a curious omission... unless "the city's plans to continue to improve outdoor opportunities" is a veiled reference to the currently dormant gondola/gondola scheme.

Snark aside, this is very good ink for Ogden, and it's going to be a little harder to dismiss a National Geographic publication as some little magazine of no impact and few readers, etc. The simple fact is, the Administration's marketing plan, offering Ogden as a kind of High Adventure base camp is generating a great deal of good publicity for the city. And grumbling about it based on some kind of "if it generates good press for Godfrey, it must be bad for Ogden" assumption makes little sense to me.

All this good press in a variety of national magazines and newspapers, some with a very broad circulation [like The New York Times] and some with a more limited niche readership [like Rock and Ice Magazine] having been achieved without even one gondola in place, or now even one being proposed, much less two, suggests to me, very strongly, that Ogden can [and clearly has] achieve some significant appeal to outdoors oriented sportsmen and women, travelers and businesses without what Hizzonah used to claim was the vital lynch for the whole marketing campaign.

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