Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This Morning's Std-Ex Article Fails to Consider All the Facts

A further examination of Mayor Godfrey's misplaced priorities

By George K.

Today’s Standard-Examiner article, “Council teeters over $2.2M in recreation funding is misleading and written from Godfrey’s point of view. Both Godfrey and Schwebke seem to forget that the Council has the final say on the FY2010 budget; and I have confidence in Wicks, Gochnour, Garcia and Jeske to use their usual good common sense when the vote is taken – they’ve always voted in favor of the Ogden taxpayers.

The Godfrey quote: “’This fits the council’s strategic plan as well as that of the administration,’ he said,” is also misleading because the administration and the council have not reached a consensus on joint goals for the City. As far as the Capital Improvement Plan goes, there are a number of projects that are listed for a five-year period so that they aren’t overlooked. Godfrey has placed his “toys” list ahead of many other important projects, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the funding is there for them – it really is only a “wish” list, according to an explanation of the CIP list that I was told.

Apparently, Schwebke ignored the voting results of the Council’s ranking the first time of the Capital Improvement Plan that did not include Jeske’s vote. Even that ranking placed the velodrome, the BMX track, skate park, and the equestrian trail behind general road projects, curb/gutter/sidewalk replacement, trail development, dedicated bicycyle lanes, etc. The projects that lost out to “Godfrey’s ‘toys’" were the urban riverway enhancements, trees, street marking enhancements (striping – a safety issue), tennis court resurfacing, traffic sign improvements (also another safety issue, which makes one wonder where the priorities are of the Father of the City -- Godfrey -- and his three stooges on the Council. Thank goodness for the four level-headed members of the Council.

In a smart aleck response to a taxpayer’s email, Godfrey asked him for his suggestion(s) to revitalize downtown Ogden (one of the Council members showed me the mayor’s email). My response to Godfrey is this:

Maybe others would have some confidence in your immature decisions and questionable support of questionable types: (Val Southwick and Gadi Leshem), if there was some evidence that you ever finished project such as The Junction and the River Project. Finishing those projects would revitalize downtown. Those projects are 8 to 10 years old and never were completed, even when the economy was booming. Why should we think that your latest list of "toys" will revitalize downtown Ogden during a recession/depression? How about making Gadi Leshem finish his project or break it up into doable-sized projects for other developers? You've started these projects; finish them, before you ask for other "revitalization projects."

Reader comments are invited, as always.

28 comments:

Bill C. said...

George, once again we see lying little matty's re-occuring strategy of somehow trying to twist the perception into the Council's "bad", for allegedly reneging on a committment. The gondola examiner is complicit in attempting to further promote that illusion despite the fact that they've reported quite the opposite in past write-ups. Again, by intentional ommission of the facts, they are as dishonest as lying little matty in this case.
As for the River? I'm quite confident that gadi will soon come to the realization that lying little matty has played him like a fiddle, using gadi's greed and ego for furthering one of his (lying little matty) urgencies, consolidating property along the river, leading to what appears to be gadi's ultimate self-destruction. I'm sure being pushed along by an urgent lying little matty.
Consider for a moment the size and scope of this endeavor...
Gadi's never developed anything. They claimed he had, but if they had any proof there's been plenty of time for it to be produced.
So, here comes some guy claiming to have a vast source of cash flow, and willing to play.
Instead of breaking it into incremental, doable pieces, lying little matty suggests that by securing all the property up front, gadi can have the whole project for himself.
No real developers even considered assaulting this whole enchilada in one bite, you think lying little matty actually thought gadi could?
Some say lying little matty has treated the thorazine addled vest sporting peterson in the same fashion, thus the deteriation of their relationship.
George, I'm affraid we haven't seen the true depths this dishonest, unscrupulous little narcissist can approach, Val Southwick we recall, provided his personal inspiration.

Curmudgeon said...

Sorry, GK, but you seem, as often happens here, to be confusing reporting the comments of Hizzonah, Mayor Godfrey, with endorsing or supporting them. I wouldn't quibble for a moment with your characterizing Hizzonah's comments in the article as misleading, but using the presence of those comments to brand the article itself as an administration puff piece is nonsense. Someone might just as easily pull out the quotes from Councilwoman Wicks and argue they "prove" the SE are anti-Godfrey.

Nor did I find anything in the article to suggest that the SE [or Mr. Schwebke] has "forgotten" that it's the Council that decides such matters. The whole article... second one this week I think... dealt with the Council's consideration of Godfrey's proposals, and what the Council might or might not do regarding them.

As for the headline --- “Council teeters over $2.2M in recreation funding” --- I'm not wild about it either, but keep in mind the reporters generally do not write the headlines over their stories. And secondly, as your own post notes, the division on this matter last time seems to be 4-3. Thats close enough to me --- one member changing changes the outcome --- to make kvetching over the term "tetters" mere quibbling.

As for Schwebke's alleged "ignoring" of the previous votes to place projects on the list: the earlier story this week and this one were both about the Administration's attempts to change the order of projects on the list. Can't see how that adds up to either the reporter or the paper ignoring the previous votes placing items on the list.

Your differences with the administration I share. Your charging Hizzonah with being misleading I have no quibble with. Your dismissing the story as pro-Godfrey propaganda, though, cannot be sustained on the evidence.

not John Maynard Keynes said...

An addition to Curm's post - note the "teaser" at the top of the paper referred to the mayor's "toys."
As for the Mayor's case that these things should be adopted by the council because
they fit "the council’s strategic plan as well as that of the administration." Just because something fits into a plan doesn't mean that it is fiscally responsible to put it in the budget at this time. It's one thing for the federal government to engage in deficit spending to stimulate economic growth. Quite another for cities to try and do so.
The mayor's line is always, we need this to revitalize the city. It will pay for itself with increased tax revenues. Well, we were told that we had to finance the Junction because it would revitalize the city. Still waiting for the revitalization ...

JOHN SPENCER said...

Bullshit, Curm. GK got it exactly right, as always.

mayor needs to tell the truth said...

Why doesn't the council ask the mayor to account for the embezzlement of the taxpayers money that went to a special interest group that the mayor has ties to.
I would not give him a dime until he answered all the questions about the theft of these funds.
If you need more info I think that there are others elected officials that know just what I'm talking about, that can answer the questions, but it is the mayor and his friends that have taken this funds.

Bill C. said...

Oh no, not the foundation? Shirtleff's too busy with the BCS and hiding from followers of Warren Jeffs to be bothered by crooks in Ogden.

hail to the would-be king said...

curmudgeon, why not critique the Mayor's actions instead of the comments by George K -

You are one critical s.0.b

Your sole purpose in participating in this forum is so you can tell us all how stupid you think
we are and how brilliant you think you are-

God help your wife

curiousity personified said...

What makes Curmudgeon believe he qualifies as such an expert at everything no matter what it is?

If he does teach at Weber State as I have been told that he does I am very curious as to his training and background????????

Curmudgeon said...

Hail:

If you read my post, you'd have noticed that I agreed with Mr. GK's criticisms of Hizzonah, Mayor Godfrey's comments. And I've been posting criticisms of Godfrey's management of city affairs here for years.

In the post you're complaining about, I disagreed with GK's claim that the SE article was a Godfrey puff piece, and I gave reasons why I thought he was wrong about that. Seems to me, that is pretty much what a public affairs blog is for: people post their opinions on public issues, others agree or disagree with them, and explain why they think as they do. And discuss their differences. You, for example, came on board to criticize my post, [though I note you offered no reasons why you thought I was wrong, no evidence to support your arguments].

And you engage in a little mind reading, claiming to have discovered my "sole purpose" for posting on WCF: to "tell us all how stupid you think we are." Not once did I call GK "stupid" or question his intelligence. All I did was say I thought he was wrong about the SE's article. I'd be a damn fool to question GK's intelligence, or anyone elses, just because he happened to disagree with me about an SE article.

In fact, Hail To, in the three years or so now I've been posting here, I have never called anyone on WCF "stupid." Not once. Not ever.

You sure you've been reading my posts and not someone elses?

I do admit to calling an idea or two that's been trotted out here dumb... like the flatland gondola from downtown to WSU Hizzonah wants to build for example. But never have I called anyone here stupid, dumb or any variation of those.

Curmudgeon said...

Curiosity:

What qualifies me to comment here on public affairs in Ogden and Weber County? I have the best possible qualification: I'm a citizen of both. There is no better qualification for taking part in public discussions about how the city and county are being governed. At least I can't think of any. And if you range back over my several years of commenting here, you won't find me claiming to be "an expert" on much of anything, except my professional field [American Revolutionary History].

George K. said...

Curmudgeon and NJMK, since you were not at any of the referenced work meetings, you have no idea that most of what Godfrey said borders on out and out lying. I was being kind when I called him “misleading.” Schwebke receives a copy of the packets the Council members receive so I know he has a copy of the CIP rankings. That is why I say his article ia misleading. Also, Schwebke has been seen hanging around the Municipal building and the elevators and leaving with the Mayor. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, he always contacts Godfrey after he receives a quote from Council members who hold a different opinion than Godfrey’s. To some of us, it is obvious that Schwebke’s reporting does favor Godfrey.
I also think that the headline and lead-in line (or “teasers”) in this article infer that Godfrey will get his way with the CIP projects, and give no credit to the Council as a ”checks and balance” tool to protect the City and its residents.
Curmudgeon, you posted, ”What qualifies me to comment here on public affairs in Ogden and Weber County? I have the best possible qualification: I'm a citizen of both. There is no better qualification for taking part in public discussions about how the city and county are being governed. At least I can't think of any.”
I can think of one -- attend the meetings so that you know what you’re critiquing is really as you make us believe. You do make some of us who write on this blog feel that we don’t know what we’re writing about, when in actuality, we have more knowledge of the subject than you, but you always have to criticize and make it seem our point of view and information have no merit. You are so busy "nit-picking" that you miss the points that we're trying to make.

Curmudgeon said...

GK:

Once again, the entire article was about what the Council was considering doing with respect to the capital improvements projects list. Manifestly, then, the paper was not ignoring the Council's role.

No, GK, I don't attend all Council work sessions and meetings. I've attended many over the last several years, wrote some of them up for WCF. But not nearly all. At the ones I did attend, a great deal was covered that did not appear in the paper. Mr. Schwebke... any reporter covering night time council meetings of any sort... generally has space reserved [fairly limited space] to report on the meeting, on deadline, very quickly. The SC's policy is for the reporter to focus on what he thought was the lead issue, and to leave other topics for later coverage. [I know, because I asked why only one topic appeared in a story on a council meeting I attended that covered several.]

As for the reporter following the Mayor seeking responses to Council comments... well, that's kind of his job. He's also tagged after Council members at the end of meetings, and people who've appeared before the Council in the public comments section, getting reactions. There is a danger there. It can lead to he-said/she-said reporting, which I don't much like [and have said so repeatedly here], but it is the kind of reporting that is current in the media these days, and not just at the SE. About Mr. S "hanging around" city hall. That's his job too, or part of it. He wouldn't be doing his job if he wasn't there a lot.

Again, I found nothing in the article that indicates the reporter was unaware of the previous rankings of the projects. His story was, after all, about the Mayor's attempts to change the existing rankings.

Not sure what you expected of the SE on this. A headline screaming "Mayor Lies To Council Again!" maybe? You're not going to get that. I don't know of any daily paper that would headline a story that way, or tilt its reporting that way. Judgments like that belong on the editorial pages, not in brief news stories covering council meetings. I've posted here many times, for several years, items noting Hizzonah's dissembling, just for the record. So have many others. But "Mayor Lies!" is a judgment a reporter should not be making in an on-deadline news story. His job is to report the mayor's statements on the issue at stake --- he did that. To report on Council members or citizens speaking at the meetings who think differently than the Mayor. He did that. And to report an update on what the Council did [or did not do] at its meeting. He did that in this story too.

There are times when the SE should do more and should have done more, particularly when it accepts a statement by an elected official as factual and does not check it against the record. And I've posted here, repeatedly, calling the SE out when it does that. But it didn't do that in the brief story that you didn't like, so far as I can see. It was not and was not intended to be investigative journalism. It was a straight news story about a Council meeting, and I don't think it was a Godfrey puff piece.

GK, your posts are always interesting, and often very much on target. I enjoy reading them and I learn from them often. But they're not holy writ, GK. I think at times you're wrong about some of the things you conclude. And I say so. Sorry if you interpret someone daring to disagree with you as some kind of insult. It wasn't. And at no point in what I posted in response to you did I suggest in any way that your views "had no merit." I disagreed with part of your conclusions. This is a public affairs blog, GK. People are going to disagree, sometimes, with some of what you say. Best get used to it. It kind of comes with the territory if you're going to post on a public affairs discussion blog.

Another WCF Participant said...

Curm,

GK is right, you nitpick posts by others on this blog to the point of ignoring the point of the post. Who made you judge over everyone who posts here?

Bill C. said...

Hey guys, Curms all right. Every once in a while he comes off as a defender of the lying little admistrator, and I know it truely hurts him. After all, if the only information you get is from the gondola examiner, how else would you interpret what you've read.
I understand and share his desire for the gondola examiner to survive, even unbalanced, misleading and inacurrate stories spark public discussion and focus folks on things that otherwise they tend not to pay attention to.
After all, he is very intelligent, and seems to always eventually come down on the right side of these issues,(addled eddy the exception) so, cut the guy some slack.
He's alot closer to the impossible "fair and balanced" than the idiot O Reily that markets himself as such, though I wonder whay he'd want to be.
Frankly, lying little matty's constant dishonesty has eliminated any reason for ever taking him at his word, and I have to believe even the folks at the gondola examiner realize that.

Richard said...

Curm is a detractor. He detracts from aricles being posted and points being made in a thread. Is he for Godfrey or for the truth?

Curmudgeon said...

Another WCF:

You ask: Who made you judge over everyone who posts here?

Well, Another, this is a public blog. Anyone... you, me, GK, Rudi, Bill C., Oz, Monotreme, Dan S., Og Lover, Tec... anyone... who posts on a public blog had better be ready for people who disagree with what they post to say so. If I had a dollar for every time someone disagreed with what I've posted here, I'd be typing this on the deck of a beachfront condo in Maui while scantily clad winsome lasses brought be soothing libations in hollowed out pineapples with little fancy umbrellas as swizzle sticks, instead of here in the cold having rode a city bus to take me to work. Besides, the claim that I disagree with everyone posting here is nonsense. Not even close. Let me point out again, that I agreed with GK on Hizzonah's dissembling. All I disagreed with was his claim that the article was a Godfrey puff piece. And I gave the reasons I thought so. That's all.

Public affairs blogs are for discussion of public matters. If all you want is to read people saying "yeah, I think so too!" to what you already think, head on over to one of the many many blogs run by the rabid Left or rabid Right where you'll never be bothered by reading an opinion that disagrees with your own. Sounds deadly dull to me. Happily, that is not how Rudi has structured WCF.

Curmudgeon said...

Richard:

Ah, Richard. I disagree with GK not about the Mayor's dissembling [about which I've posted here many times over the years], but about whether the article was a Godfrey puff piece, and from that you seem to have concluded that somehow, I'm a Godfrey supporter. That's funny, considering that I worked in the campaign of two of those who ran against him last time, supported Council members who I thought were not likely to be Godfrey sycophants on the the Council [two of them won, one of them didn't], and I've been posting here criticisms of Hizzonah's painfully weak grasp of what ethical conduct requires of an elected official, and of his cronyism, and his poor business judgment and his unfortunate penchant for secrecy in the conduct of city business, and I've been doing it for years.

Bill C. said...

Curm, you left out lying little matty's penchant for prevarication.

Curmudgeon said...

Bill:

Aw, Hell, Bill. The list on Godfrey is so long, if I included everything on every post, there'd be no room for anything else....

ozboy said...

Hey, I'm with all you Curmudgeon bashers. In fact I just simply hate all pointy headed, intelligent and logical people who poke holes in my hasty, illogical and just plain dumb ramblings. It is a huge pain in the ass to have my brilliance deflated by this damn infernal logic from the likes of Curmudgeon.

I say let's get a rope!

Curmudgeon said...

Oz:

Nice to know I'm appreciated! [Grin.]

PS: this is being posted from an undisclosed secure location.

disgusted said...

curm,

i think some of the criticism youre receiving is warranted and some is not. you are though constantly trying to drive the bus. some of the posts are accurate too in that you find it easier to take exception with others comments than to simply state or strengthen your own comments or opinions on a given subject.
as bill c says youre on the correct side of most issues in mho but you also like being a monday night quarter back a lot rather than doing the digging or research or attending the meetings yourself. when you don’t put out the effort on a given issue you should take the back seat rather than correcting those that did put out the effort or do your research rather than trying to put your worldly or ethical spin on it.
you cant always drive the bus.

Zion Zorro said...

Well, Sometimes Curmudgeon seems to be the only one around with a drivers license to drive the bus. Somebody has to keep the damn thing from going off the cliff when those with learners permits get behind the wheel.

Seems to me the people that are complaining about him are the ones he caught in faulty logic or just plain talking out of their butts.

I for one appreciate his intellectual and well written take on the issues that come up on this site. I also think the blog master does an incredible editorial job in presenting the subjects herein.

Great site, glad I read about it in the local paper a couple of weeks ago.

disgusted said...

Zion Zorro
quite the perspective. id almost say that this is curm using an anonymous. but youre wrong if its anyone job to keep it from going off the cliff its rudi.
im not here to bust curms butt because a lot of times i agree with his opinion on any given subject but i also like to hear what other people want to say and they shouldnt have to be schooled for what they are thinking.

Curmudgeon said...

Disgusted:

You, and others here, seem sometimes to think disagreeing with someone, and saying so, is rude or insulting. It's not. [None of my replies to GK, for instance, were rude or discourteous. I disagreed with one [and only one] of his conclusions, said so and gave my reasons. Hard put to see how that was rude in any way.] You really can't have much of a discussion about public policy without disagreements surfacing, being stated, and then being discussed. If saying you disagree with someone and explaining why counts as rudeness, then there not only isn't going to be much, but cannot be any, worthwhile public conversation here, or anywhere else.

By the way D, I don't post here as anything but Curmudgeon. Ever.

disgusted said...

curm

what I read in george ks article was that he felt that the se article had not brought out strong enough what he thought was a major consideration in the meeting.
in george ks article which was titled “This Morning's Std-Ex Article Fails to Consider All the Facts” gk tries to alert the readers that the cip budget list had been re-arranged by the mayor relative to the priorities established by the city council. and that the paper was basically suggesting that the mayors priority listing was the listing favored by both the mayor and the city council with the paper quoting the mayor as saying “This fits the council’s strategic plan as well as that of the administration”. that was his major point. he felt the paper was misleading by including the mayors comments that suggested that the city council was on board with the priority listing.

i can see too that others could construe amy wicks comments as balancing out the article with her comments relative to the toy list.

the difference being that amy wicks comments show the divide and godfreys comments trying to suggest a consensus. his point was that from his witnessed view of the meeting that the paper chose to spend more ink in support of the mayors interpretation of the outcome of the meeting where he had seen more divide.

he was simply trying to alert us to the division.

curm unless you were at the meeting i don’t see how you can conclude that he misrepresented what took place verses the papers interpretation.

Curmudgeon said...

Disgusted:

You ask: unless you were at the meeting i don’t see how you can conclude that he misrepresented what took place....

I did not say GK misrepresented what took place at the Council meeting. I disagreed with his characterizing the article as a Godfrey puff piece. To put it a little differently, but not much, I disagreed with what he concluded about the article, some of which seemed to me, then and now, unsupported by what he posted.

disgusted said...

curm

george k was out to inform the readers of his posted article on this blog that the meeting was more divisive than the se article lead the readers to believe. he took exception with the se article in that it did not elaborate enough on the divisiveness of the meeting and thus felt that it was written from the administrations point of view which suggested a stronger consensus among the administration and the council relative to godfreys toy projects.
but since you brought it up amy wicks and the city council were mentioned 4 times and godfrey and the administration was mentioned 7 times in the se article. by far and away the story by number of paragraphs and word count centered on the comments of and views of the administration and not the council. that to me would suggest a slight lean to the story.
i for one appreciate george k attending the meeting and reporting back to the forum.

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