Thursday, April 30, 2009

Southeast Bench Water System Improvements Preliminary Design Report

A straightforward proposal to save Emerald City water customers $1.6 million

By Dan Schroeder

Here's an electronic copy of the year-old engineering study on the southeast bench water tanks:
This report was presented to the City Council at its work session two weeks ago. I attended that work session and got a hard copy of the report, but soon realized that it needs to be distributed more widely. I'm grateful to Mr. Frisbee for going to some effort to obtain an electronic copy for this purpose.

The most important page from my viewpoint is page 11 (13 in the pdf numbering), which shows that the two existing tanks that serve zones 1-3 have more than enough capacity for existing customers, including emergency storage and fire flow. Therefore the proposed 1.25 million gallon tank is entirely for the purpose of facilitating future development.

In my mind the City Council should amend the Capital Improvement Plan to remove authorization and funding for the 1.25 million gallon tank. This would save water customers $1.6 million. If future development, either by WSU or elsewhere, makes such a tank necessary, let the developer pay for it.

The proposed site for the 1.25 million gallon tank may be obsolete, based on what we heard at the work session. Instead they're now talking about putting it farther south, on WSU land, to be accessed from the top of Beus Drive. However, nothing is final so the location could easily change again.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

Edwards Removes His Offensive Signage

Historic 25th Street Association intervenes and offers to mediate

As a followup to Saturday's story, this morning's Standard-Examiner announces a tentative solution to the Bruce Edwards/Ogden City F-bomb signage stalemate, which has filled our lower comments section with 133 highly intense comments during the past week. Thanks in part to the efforts of a member of the Historic 25th Street Association, who has offered to mediate with the city, this unfortunate chapter in 25th street squabbling may well be on its way toward reaching a cooperative and relatively friendly final conclusion. Read Scott Schwebke's encouraging writeup here:
Owner removes offensive sign
We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that everybody involved will continue to behave like grownups, and that this unfortunate tempest in a teapot will soon fade away as just another colorful story in the long annals of colorful Two-five Drive.

Reader comments are solicited, as always.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Godfrey Is Still Up To His Old Lying Tricks

Godfrey hasn’t changed his tune one half note and is just as devious as ever!

By George K.

Schwebke’s article in the Standard Examiner this morning tells about Godfrey’s denial of trying to sell the Marshall White Center or turn it over to an organization to manage it. Here's the lede:
OGDEN — Mayor Matthew Godfrey assured several concerned Marshall White Community Center patrons Tuesday night the city has no plans to close the facility.
“Rest assured, there is no conspiracy to shut the doors of the Marshall White Center,” Godfrey said during a city council meeting.
However, Marion H. Duffy, an Ogden resident, told the Standard-Examiner that City Councilman Jesse Garcia presented a different picture of the Marshall White Community Center’s future when he met with her and about a dozen of the center’s patrons Monday.
Garcia said he told the patrons its his understanding that negotiations are under way by the city’s administration to turn the Marshall White Community Center over to another agency.
The city council asked the administration in a meeting more than month ago about repairs to the boiler at the Marshall White Community Center, at which time John Patterson, the city’s chief administrative officer, indicated negotiations are taking place with another agency to run the facility, said Garcia.
Patterson was not in attendance at Tuesday night’s city council meeting to offer an explanation regarding the purported conversation. [Emphasis added].
Schwebke reports that “several concerned Marshall White Community Center patrons” were assured there were no plans to unload the Marshall White Center. The middle section of the Council chambers was filled by these “concerned patrons” last night; and close to a dozen of them spoke in defense of the Center. To me that is more than “several.” Some gave testimony as to how the “water aerobics” program had helped them and how much they depended on it. One gentleman from Weber Human Services told how he had taken some mentally ill people to the Center and how much it helped them and he really depends on it to help those with whom he works. Others spoke highly of the other programs for youth to seniors and all mentioned that it was the ONLY community center in Ogden or any of the surrounding communities and a number of the patrons are from surrounding communities bringing their shopping dollars to Ogden.

Godfrey hasn’t changed his tune one half note, and is just as devious as ever! The only thing that has changed is that more people now are more aware of his lies and deceit. We have also learned that we need to keep our eyes on him every second and have hundreds of ears listening throughout the city, since he does everything behind the scenes, in spite of his claims that he would tell those patrons, the press and the Council if he ever did anything . I wonder how long he thinks people will fall for his lies!

Std-Ex; Missions Fulfilled

Families remember teens, urge crowd to hold no ill will, say 'loss is temporary'

By Democrat

Very good article by Deanne Winterton and Scott Schwebke today:
Missions fulfilled / Families remember teens, urge crowd to hold no ill will, say 'loss is temporary'
May God Bless the Jasper and Strebel families; the victims of a high speed crash.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Envision Ogden: The Standard-Examiner is Lured Down A Money Laundering Scandal Blind Alley

Hopefully Mr. Schwebke will soon get back on track... Follow, the money, Scott!

To kick off the morning discussion, we'll shine our Weber County Forum spotlight on a remarkable Scott Schwebke story in this morning's Standard-Examiner. It's remarkable, we believe, because it misses the two main issues of the Envision Ogden/FNURE money laundering scandal, which has been the subject of at least four Std-Ex articles and stories over the past few weeks.

Somewhere along the way, Mr. Schwebke has allowed himself to be distracted by the always highly vocal Godfreyite Mr. Geiger, and has let his reporting be led down an insignificant blind alley.

First, both Mr. Schwebke and Mr. Geieger seem to be entirely missing the main point of the campaign finance ordinances of Ogden City, which are intended to provide a transparent money trail for the lumpencitizens to objectively determine sources and expenditures of campaign donations, and NOT to provide campaign donors some fail-safe protection for their donative campaign contribution expectation interests, like those of Mr. Gullo. Gentle reader Dan S. does a nice job of explaining this issue in a comment under this morning's Std-Ex article:
This article fails to mention the most important difference between Youngberg's contributions and FNURE's:
Youngberg's contributions were completely open and transparent. They were reported on his disclosure statements in a timely manner, and everyone had access to these statements well before the November election.
FNURE was created for the sole purpose of concealing Envision Ogden as the principal source of campaign funds for Johnson and Eccles. It never filed a disclosure statement with anyone, and we still don't know who controlled this "organization". Envision Ogden eventually did file a disclosure statement with the IRS, but that happened several months late, well after the election.
The whole point of campaign finance disclosure laws is to let the voters know who is paying for campaigns. Johnson, Eccles, FNURE, and Envision Ogden apparently consider these laws an annoyance, rather than a legitimate part of a democracy.
Secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, the Standard has entirely neglected, and the various individuals who've commented on this story have for the most part failed or refused to address what ought to have developed to be the main issue of this story, namely whether it was ethically proper and/or lawful for Boss Godfrey to have "loaned out" the Salomon Center to one political cohort (the Envision Ogden PAC) for what turned out to be a political fundraiser which provided $20 thousand in campaign funds to two other Godfrey cohorts (Eccles and Johnson.)

Utah Code Section 10-3-1108, which specifically provides that "a municipal officer or employee may not use municipal equipment while engaged in political activity," would suggest that this action may have been a violation of Utah law. Such a violation, of course would be subject to relatively harsh penalties (given the large dollar amount in question), pursuant to the provisions of Utah Code section 10-3-1013.

We find it disappointing to stand by and observe as the Standard-Examiner "takes the bait," and allows its reporting to be diverted to what we deem to be a minor wrinkle in this story at most, as it has done with this morning's Scott Schwebke writeup. Hopefully Mr. Schwebke will soon get back on track.

Follow the money, Scott!

Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Ones.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ogden Razes Houses for Riverfront Project

Silver-tongued spokesman forBoss Godfrey's broke-ass Leshem "moneyman" insists his client is "working closely with Ogden"

By Curmudgeon

Interesting story up today in the SL Trib today. Here's the lede:
Ogden » Growing impatient with the California developer of the proposed Ogden Riverfront Project, the municipality began demolishing eight rundown houses this week along Grant Avenue.
Most of what's in the story is what the Standard-Examiner reported long ago, but there are a few little tid bits worth noticing. For example, Keith Morey, Ogden's community development manager, said Ogden is hoping to "keep something happening" on the River Project, "for Leshem or, perhaps, another developer." Perhaps another developer? Do tell. Reporter Christopher Smart also noted that:
In January, Morey had said that Ogden was looking for a partner for Leshem so that demolition could get under way.
Ah ha! In January Ogden was trying to find Lesham a partner so the demolitions could begin. It is now April and the city's going ahead on its own nickle. Evidently, no partner was found willing to put the albatross of the stalled River Project around his own neck.

Mr. Alex Auerbach, described as "a spokesman for Leshem," said that "Leshem was working closely with Ogden" and that Ogden was going ahead with the demolition only because it was "more cost-effective" to do it that way. Then, donning his Official Mr. Rogers sweater, and humming "It's a Wonderful Day In The Neighborhood," Auerbach insisted "The city has not grown impatient with Leshem."

And the beat goes on....

Transit Project Detours Washington Improvements

Boss Godfrey's dilatory tactics delay important safety-oriented street repair project

Interesting front page story in this morning's Standard-Examiner, reporting that a $10 million UDOT road improvement project, which had been planned "to improve safety and travel along Washington Boulevard from 26th to 36th streets," has been put on indefinite hold. From this morning's Scott Schwebke story:

OGDEN — A Washington Boulevard road improvement project costing at least $10 million that was slated to start next month has been delayed pending a decision on a possible streetcar or bus route from downtown to Weber State University and McKay-Dee Hospital Center.
The Utah Department of Transportation project was scheduled for completion in October to improve safety and travel along Washington Boulevard from 26th to 36th streets. But UDOT has decided to put the project on hold until a combined alternatives analysis and environmental impact study is completed by the Utah Transit Authority, the city and others to determine the preferred mode of transit and location of a route between the intermodal hub at 23rd Street and Wall Avenue and Weber State and McKay-Dee on Harrison Boulevard. [...]
It’s prudent to delay the road improvements until after the selection in July of a transit mode and route for the five-mile corridor between the intermodal hub and Weber State and McKay-Dee, said Randy Park, a special projects manager for UTA.
The impediment? Boss Godfrey's proposed 30th and 36th street east-west public transit corridor "legs." “Rather than put it (the improvements) in and then have to undo it and tear up the street, we have decided to let Ogden decide where the streetcar or bus rapid-transit system should go,” Vic Saunders, a UDOT spokesman remarked.

So in addition to the 3-1/2-year delay on the street car project that Boss Godfrey caused by his foot-dragging after the 2005 release of the Baker Study, (which already picked a 26th Street east-west corridor as the preferred route,) important safety-related Washington Boulevard repairs are also now being put on the back burner because of the further dilatory actions of Ogden City's gondola-obsessed mayor.

Nice work, Boss Godfrey!

Special thanks to the 7,247 Ogden citizens who voted for the little feller in the 2007 election.

Reader comment are invited as always.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Standard-Examiner Editorial: A Call For Greater Transparency in Public/Private "Partnerships"

A top order of council business... to determine the identities of Leshem's Ogden Riverfront Development Co. investors
OK, but these developments involving the Ogden River Project, a 60-acre long-term project, concern us. We're spending money to tear down these buildings. The public needs to be confident that the business model and investors lined up are capable of bringing the river project to completion.

Standard-Examiner Editorial
OUR VIEW: Public and private entanglements
April 26, 2009

Top notch editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, generally arguing for greater transparency in public/private partnerships. The Std-Ex editors also specifically zero in on the undisclosed and reportedly fractured investor interests in Ogden Riverfront Development Co., L.L.P., and the prospective difficulties in confirming these anonymous investors' financial capability:
OUR VIEW: Public and private entanglements
Although the city council certainly has its hands full with a variety of projects simmering on the council front burner, it seems to us that recent revelations relative to the River Project are developing an aroma reminiscent of the Bootjack Stealth Transaction, wherein Boss Godfrey secretly transferred one downtown RDA property to his friend Chris Peterson, behind the city council's back. A top order of council business, therefore, would be to determine exactly who these investors are; or so it seems to us.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bruce Edwards Drops An "F Bomb" on Emerald City - UPDATED

Downtown property owner may be charged with a misdemeanor unless he removes obscene language painted on windows of his building
And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love
You make

The Beatles
The End --Abbey Road Album
Recorded 23rd July 1969

Bruce Edwards officially went off his rocker today, spray painting an F Bomb on his own building. Here are the stories from the Standard-Examiner and Salt Lake Tribune:
Property owner may face charges for obscenity
Ogden feud heats up with threats and grafitti cusses
Update 4/25/09 8:00 p.m. MT: Here's an instructive JPEG image from the Trib:

So what say our ever-gentle readers about all this?

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Faulty Logic," Brought to You by Bob Geiger

A Twisted Magnum Legal Opus straight from the reeking bowels of the Godfrey Brain Trust

We'd like to alert all our gentle readers to a downright comical discussion developing over on the Standard-Examiner website, in the comments section, under yesterday's Std-Ex article, 'Envision' head speaks up / Shreve defends political contributions as means to 'promote Ogden's outdoor vibe'.

It seems that good ole Mr. Faulty Logic himself (Bob Geiger) has emerged, posting under the screen names Is it??? and Wow. Little Bobby has apparently rubbed his two semi-functioning brain cells together and concocted a theory that it was okay for Boss Godfrey to loan out the Salomon Center to political action committee Envision Ogden for free, divert $20,000 of the taxpayers' rightful "Sneak Peak" revenues to Envision Ogden, launder them through a bogus entity (FNURE - evidently to hide the true source of funds,) and then funnel them to his two "Godfrey Ticket" candidates Eccles and Johnson.

And why does little Bobby think this is okay? Because council candidate Dirk Youngberg donated what remained of his own campaign funds to four other council candidates when he dropped out of the 2007 race.

Okay... we confess we don't get the logic. As one Std-Ex reader said in a Std-Ex article comment, "It's an apples to llaamas" comparison.

And as an added bonus this morning, we'll add a pointer to a delightful and classic multi font/color Bobby Geiger email rant which was circulating around Emerald City email inboxes last night, a document so far hasn't appeared anywhere else on the web that we know of. Within this marvellous example of ill-reasoned crank correspondence, our readers will be able to bone up on the intricacies of Little Bobby's theory, and witness the fruits of the Godfrey Brain Trust in full flower. We're entirely sure it will bring a smile to the face of any Weber County Forum reader who peruses it. This is some wacked-out material our gentle readers will definitely not want to miss:
• Faulty Logic, by Bob Geiger
We're also tempted to warn our pal Boss Godfrey that "With friends like Bobby, who needs enemies;" but we won't. Godfey never listens to us, despite all the sound advice we constantly spew out.

Your ever-savvy reader comments are invited, as always.

And while you're at it, why not mosey over to the Std-Ex site and lodge a comment or two? It may be an otherwise slow news day, but this will nevertheless give our readers something particularly useful to do.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dorrene Jeske Still Needs $300 Bucks to Bail Out From The MDA Lockup

A last minute pitch for your generous contributions

Here's a quick followup on Tuesday's WCF story, wherein we urged our readers to help Councilwoman Jeske make bail.

We just got off the phone with Dorrene a couple of minutes ago. Although she's received many generous pledges and donations, she still remains about 300 bucks shy of her $1200 goal. She's scheduled to surrender herself to MDA authorities at high noon today.

Readers who'd still like to make a contribution or pledge to keep her outta the pokey can reach Ms. Jeske at these phone numbers:

Home: 782-5827
Cell: 814-1937

Special thanks to any readers who are willing to give Dorrene a last minute helping hand.

Your blogmeister is getting in his car to deliver his own check right this minute.

Envision Ogden Head Honcho Abe Shreve Speaks Out Yet Again

More Abe Shreve "blabber" from this morning's Scott Schwebke story

What a difference a couple of days make. After literally years of stony silence, Abe Shreve, the founder of the shadowy political action committee Envision Ogden, has come out from whatever rock he was hiding under, and "gone public" in the Standard-Examiner for the second day in a row. WCF of course had the opportunity to discuss Mr. Shreve's earlier written statement yesterday. In the same connection, our readers certainly won't want to miss this morning's Scott Schwebke story, which apparently reveals the fruits of Mr. Schwebke's further interview(s) with the heretofore elusive Mr. Shreve:
'Envision' head speaks up / Shreve defends political contributions as means to 'promote Ogden's outdoor vibe'
It's blockbuster material which Mr. Schwebke delivers to his readers this morning. Just to kick off our morning discussion, we'll carve out a few of the story tidbits which we found to be particularly interesting:

1) Shreve frankly admits that " was always the organization’s intent to support political candidates who share its mission of making the city an outdoor sports mecca." This surprisingly candid admission would seem to confirm that Envision Ogden was intended to play the role of a political action committee from the beginning, and would support the inference that the June 2007 Salomon Center "Sneak Preview," was indeed originally intended to serve as a "stealth" campaign fundraising event, as many of us have long suspected. The implications of this ought to be particularly troubling for the Godfrey administration, which apparently "loaned out" the "rec center" to EO for the night, and then stood back in silence as revenue raised from this event was evidently diverted from Ogden City's coffers and "laundered" by EO through FNURE into the campaigns of "pro-Godfrey" council candidates Eccles and Johnson shortly thereafter.

2) Significantly, despite his outspoken statements, Mr. Shreve wilfully "declines" to identify any members of the even more shadowy campaign funds middleman, FNURE. In this connection we'll once again refer to Ogden City Municipal Code Section 1-8-3 (B), which sets forth the following prohibitions:
B. Anonymous: The acceptance of anonymous contributions is prohibited. Any anonymous contributions received by a candidate or personal campaign committee shall be transmitted to the City Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund.
C. In Name Of Another: No person shall make a contribution in the name of another person or make a contribution with another person's funds in his or her own name, and no candidate, member of a personal campaign committee, or political campaign committee shall knowingly accept a contribution made by one person in the name of another person or made by one person with the funds of another person.
While it may be true that FNURE may not have been technically required to file disclosure statements with the Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office as a political action committee under provisions of the Utah Code, we are in agreement with Jim Hutchins. Even in the absence of controlling provisions within Utah statutes, the anonymous donors behind FNURE are nevertheless not relieved from compliance with the obligations of the above Ogden City campaign disclosure ordinance. The undisclosed FNURE "members" are anonymous donors plain and simple, within the plain meaning of the ordinance; and the acceptance of such anonymously donated funds arguably constituted violations of Section 1-8-3 (B) and (C) by 2007 candidates Eccles and Johnson. Somehow, we don't believe Mr. Shreve's own silence on the subject helps out his favored 2009 council candidate, Blain Johnson, very much at all.

3) Last but not least, we'll highlight the remarks of City Council Chair Amy Wicks, who was "ruled out" by Mr. Shreve as a prospective recipient of EO campaign funds during the 2007 municipal election, mainly due to her 2005 "nay" vote on Boss Godfrey's reckless "Junction" bonding:
Wicks said in an e-mail to the Standard-Examiner she disagrees with Shreve's claim that she doesn't support local high-adventure recreation.
"I don't know if Mr. Shreve even knows my stance on high-adventure recreation," she said. "If he would have asked, or talked to anyone who really knows me, he would have found out that, at the time of the 2007 election, I was the only council member who regularly uses the Ogden area trails for hiking and biking, enjoys whitewater kayaking and uses the Ogden Kayak Park and area rivers for this purpose." [...]
Wicks stands by her vote on the Salomon Center.
"I did not vote to support using taxpayer funds to build the Salomon Center," she said.
"I still don't agree with using funds from operating revenue from Business Depot Ogden as a guarantee for the bond payments and to make up any shortfalls on payments for the recreation center/mall debt each year.
"If public funds are to be used for large, expensive facilities like recreation centers, there should be a decision by the public to spend the taxpayer funds on a project of that magnitude and they should have a say in what the facility offers."
Thank goodness for elected officials like Amy Wicks. It's great to have at least a few fiscally responsible grownups like Wicks occupying seats on the Ogden City Council; and we're delighted that Mr. Schwebke included her comments within today's story. Hopefully in the upcoming election, the voters of Ogden will have the wisdom to elect a full slate of city council candidates of similarly prudent philosophy. It goes without saying that this is something to seriously consider as we move forward into the 2009 municipal election season, during the worst economic recession since the great depression.

And one more thing: Nice work, Mr. Schwebke!

As far as today's discussion goes, we've barely scratched the surface with our above observations and editorial comments. WCF readers are now invited to chime in with their own ever-savvy observations and remarks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Abe Shreve Letter: Envision Ogden Supports Those With a "Greater Vision" for Ogden

Breaking: After years of deafening silence, Envision Godfrey Ogden Head Honcho Shreve suddenly "goes public"

By Bill C.

Just up on the Standard-Examiner website, a letter to the editor from Abe Shreve, check it out. Unadulterated blather, straight from the fall guy for Boss Godfrey's cabal:
Envision Ogden supports those with a greater vision for Ogden
Have at it, O Gentle Ones.

Emerald City Citizen Asks Council to Formally Investigate Possible 2007 Campaign Finance Ordinance Violations

Report of 4/21/09 Ogden City Council meeting

By Monotreme

The Apr 21 Ogden City Council meeting was pretty much a boring event. Councilmembers Gochnour, Stephens and Stephenson were excused, and the only business accomplished were basically "consent" items, including a resolution to mark Make A Difference Day May 7 and some rezoning requests which seemed non-controversial.

A gaggle of high school age men and women were present, working on school projects.

Some guy Jim Hutchins stood up and addressed the council. (He was kind enough to give me a copy of his remarks, which I reproduce here.) He made a joke about having to give his name and address, when so many anonymous people are circulating in Ogden City these days. He then said:

I would like to respectfully request that the council exert its authority and investigate two recent matters which affect the citizens of Ogden City.
The council has the authority to investigate matters pertaining to the welfare of Ogden City. Under Robert’s Rules of Order, 'a deliberative assembly has the inherent right to make and enforce its own laws and punish an offender, the extreme penalty, however, being expulsion from its own body.' Those laws certainly include Ogden City Ordinances.
Further, under the Utah Code, the council in a council-mayor form of government has the right to 'appoint a committee of council members or citizens [emphasis his] to conduct an investigation into: an officer, department, or agency of the municipality; or any other matter relating to the welfare of the municipality; and delegate to an appointed committee powers of inquiry that the council considers necessary.' This right of investigation is also mentioned in the document, “Ogden City Government Structure”, which is distributed by this council.

The first matter has to do with campaign finance ordinances. Ogden City Ordinance 1-8-3, 'Contributions to Candidates', reads, in pertinent part...

B. Anonymous: The acceptance of anonymous contributions is prohibited. Any anonymous contributions received by a candidate or personal campaign committee shall be transmitted to the City Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund.
C. In Name Of Another: No person shall make a contribution in the name of another person or make a contribution with another person's funds in his or her own name, and no candidate, member of a personal campaign committee, or political campaign committee shall knowingly accept a contribution made by one person in the name of another person or made by one person with the funds of another person.

Yet, we have a situation where an organization, Friends of Northern Utah Real Estate, received money ($20,700) from Envision Ogden and paid out the same amount of money (minus $10) to two candidates for office, Councilman Johnson and Mr. Eccles. Yet, no one seems to be able to name any of the people involved with Friends of Northern Utah Real Estate. If no one in the organization has a name, is that not an 'anonymous' organization making an 'anonymous' donation?

Therefore, I am respectfully requesting that at a future meeting, one of the council members introduce a motion creating a committee to investigate whether Envision Ogden, Friends of Northern Utah Real Estate, Councilman Johnson, and Mr. Eccles violated Ogden City Ordinance 1-8-3.

Second, I would respectfully ask the council to consider another committee of inquiry, this one to determine why city funds, taxpayer funds, were used for construction of water tanks on 36th Street."
His three minutes of righteous indignation then ran out, and he closed there.

He told me he is looking for someone to attend future council meetings and make the same request, in their own words, each session until something is done. Volunteers should apply herein.

Neither council nor city administration had any response for the record. The meeting was then adjourned.

Editor's addendum: Scott Schwebke provides his own story on this topic in this morning's Standard-Examiner, which includes remarks by the heretofore elusive Envision Ogden Head Honcho Abe Shreve, who suddenly seems to have come out of hiding:
Campaign donations under scrutiny
Reader comments are invited, as always.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Councilwoman Jeske Needs to Make Bail

Please help Dorrene get outta the pokey

Bad News For Emerald City this morning. Councilwoman Dorrene Jeske is in a heap o' trouble, is about to be incarcerated and desperately needs to make bail. Read the disturbing details here:
Wanted - Jailbird Dorrene Jeske
Dorrene has always been there for us when we've needed her. Let's everyone pitch in with a generous helping hand.

Std-Ex: Leshem Denies Ownership of Eight Derelict River Project Properties

After aggressively assisting Gadi assemble the properties, Ogden City gets stuck holding the bag for demolition

By What Would Jesus Say

My oh my, I just read the article in the Standard Examiner this morning about the demolition of houses in the river front project which was reported in this earlier WCF article. It seems as though the rats are beginning to jump the sinking Matt Godfrey ship.

Gadi denies owning the properties, Godfrey doesn’t know who owns the properties, and the Bank (Centennial Bank) won’t say who owns them.

By the way, a couple of weeks ago I noticed a list of possibly troubled banks in Utah, and lo and behold, Centennial is one of them.

So the mayor has his city paid staff strong arm people into selling options on their homes to help Gadi, now the city will have to place a lien on them after demolition, and Gadi craps all over Godfrey.

It could only happen in Ogden; it's getting better all the time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Standard-Examiner: Team of WSU Professors To Explore Godfrey's $146 Million Golf Course Makeover Scheme

Notably, Dean Gale doesn't seem to be exactly champing at the bit to get moving on this

Interesting Ace Reporter Schwebke article this morning concerning Boss Godfrey's $146 million Mt. Ogden Golf Course makeover scheme, from which we'll carve out a few excerpts. At this early juncture, WSU appears to be playing right along:
OGDEN -- A team of professors will explore whether a hospitality and tourism management degree should be offered at Weber State University that may complement a proposed $119 million Mount Ogden Golf Course hotel.
Several faculty members are interested in evaluating the hotel proposal being floated by the Mount Ogden Golf Course Committee, said Lewis R. Gale, dean of Weber State's John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics.
"An opportunity has been presented," Gale said. "We want to know if we can help."
Lest our readers grow alarmed, and leap to the conclusion that there are those of influence at the WSU campus who have already bought into this project, we'll just say that we believe WSU's current posture is exactly right:
The formation of the Weber State faculty team to review the hotel component doesn't mean the school has formed an opinion about the committee's proposal, Gale said. [...]
"What we are doing is not signaling support or lack of support. It's an opportunity that has come up. We want to be involved early on."
As an owner of a property adjacent to the Mt. Ogden Golf Course, and a public university which might reasonably expand its degree offerings to include a program in "hospitality and tourism management," University officials have an obligation, we believe, to weigh all the options and return a well reasoned decision on the merits, which is exactly what we believe University officials will do.

Moreover, WSU officials have been the undeserving target of blistering criticism from the Godfrey Slime Machine in the past, for not playing along with Godfrey and his fellow big spending schemers. WSU officials thus have every reason to at least "go through the motions" on this.

Notably, Dean Gale isn't exactly champing at the bit to get moving on this. "It hasn't been determined when Weber State faculty will begin evaluating whether the university should offer a degree to complement the proposed hotel," Dean Gale says.

And on a slightly different note, here's an interesting Kent Petersen quote from further down today's story, referring to "prospective" financing for this latest Godfrey boondoggle:
The complex, which would include 150 time-share units and 200 condo/hotel units, could be built without taxpayer money by a private developer or a major resort company like Marriott, Petersen said.
This raises some interesting questions, we believe. Does Boss Godfrey actually have a private developer/hotelier already lined up; or is this just another Godfrey/Petersen pipe dream? Hopefully Mr. Schwebke will find the time to start digging on this.

So what say our gentle readers about this latest development?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Standard-Examiner Is Running One Hell Of An Op-ed Page Today

Local focus, local or state authors, and filled with chewy pieces, nicely argued

By Curmudgeon

OK, I realize today's main topic is going to be Mr. Schwebke's continuing to dig into the campaign financing scandal involving Hizzonah and Mr. Johnson. And that's as it should be. But as we congratulate the SE for continuing to uncover more and more of the story, we don't want to lose sight of another good page this Sunday. The Standard is running one hell of an op-ed page today. Three interesting and controversial pieces, all well composed, all chewy, and all local to Ogden or to Utah.

First there's a piece by Prof. R. C. Wadman [WSU, Criminal Justice], discussing the appalling carnage guns achieve in the US each year, and calling for amending the Second Amendment to limit gun ownership rights. Mr. Wadman cannot be passed off as just another damned anti-gun liberal. He writes:
Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George Walker Bush, these are the people I voted for. But on this issue -- America in general and my political party in particular, has lost its way.
Next, there's a piece by Ronald Mortensen, Ph.D., a retired Foreign Service Officer, taking to task the SL police, the Utah state police, and others, for, as he puts it, preferring to "maintain good relations with Utah's rapidly growing illegal alien community." He discusses at some length the price Utahns [and Americans more generally] pay for the resulting identity theft by illegals here.

Finally, there's a piece by State Senator Patricia Jones, the Utah Senate Minority Leader. She talks about how a legislative minority, even a very small one, can contribute a great deal to the public good by its actions in the legislature. It's a piece of the quality those who log onto the NY Times or Washington Post websites are going to get to read. [Though I couldn't help but think after I finished reading it that both the nation and the Republican Party would be a lot better off if the minority leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate approached their role in Congress as Ms. Jones does her role as minority leader in the Utah Senate.]

All told, one hell of an op-ed page this morning. Local focus, local or state authors, and filled with chewy pieces, nicely argued [even the ones I disagree with some] that folks not taking the SE aren't going to find on the national news sites.

Nicely done.

Standard-Examiner: Aardema Rejected Envision Ogden Cash Offer

Ace Reporter Schwebke continues to peel back the facts on the Envision Ogden/FNURE campaign donation money laundering scandal

Tantalizing story in the Standard-Examiner this morning, as Ace Reporter Schwebke continues to peel back the facts on the Envision Ogden/FNURE campaign donation money laundering scandal. To kickstart the discussion this morning, we'll focus on a few of the more interesting story angles, and offer some very brief editorial commentary of our own.

First, according to this morning's story, Sheila Aardema, (who was narrowly defeated by now city councilman Blain Johnson,) was offered Envision Ogden campaign dough early during the 2007 municipal election campaign; but for ethical reasons, she turned the shadowy organization's bribe donation down flat:
OGDEN -- The meeting lasted only about an hour, but it was long enough for Sheila P. Aardema to realize she couldn't accept the tempting offer.
It was around mid-July 2007 and Aardema had barely filed as a candidate for an at-large city council seat when Abraham Shreve, who heads Envision Ogden, visited her East Bench home.
Shreve had a tantalizing proposal.
He told Aardema that Envision Ogden, which was formed purportedly to promote the city's high-adventure recreation offerings, might be willing to provide money for her bare-bones campaign.
"He said 'We have money to give candidates,' " Aardema told the Standard-Examiner, recalling her conversation with Shreve. "He said that he had influence with people that wanted to improve Ogden."
Aardema knew an infusion of cash could help her campaign, but she flatly refused Shreve's offer.
"I told him no thank you," she said. "I just wanted to be able to stand up for myself and not be obligated to someone else."
Aardema said that while Shreve was stunned by her rejection of the offer, she stands by her decision, given the recent controversy surrounding Envision Ogden's campaign contributions to City Councilman Blain Johnson, who defeated her in the 2007 election by 65 votes.
"I think Abe thought I was a little bit crazy for turning him down," she said. "I'm so glad I did what I did."
Kudos to Ms. Aardema, we say. Sadly, integrity such as hers is becoming a rarity in modern American politics.

Next, we learn that Envision Ogden Head Honcho Abe Shreve, one of the several participants in this scandal who could shed some real light on the subject, is still laying low and keeping mum, of course:
Shreve did not return numerous phone calls from the Standard-Examiner seeking comment on Envision Ogden's decision to provide Johnson with campaign funds or its political activities.
Efforts to contact Shreve in person at his job at Keller Williams Success Realty in South Ogden were also unsuccessful.
Seems to us that an "honest" and "influential" fellow like Mr. Shreve would be speaking up, if these donation transactions were on the "up and up." Perhaps his lawyer, Blain Johnson (who's also keeping his lip buttoned,) has counseled Shreve to keep his mouth shut.

Next, here's a story tidbit that jumped out at us. Boss Godfrey flatly denies that his campaign received any 2007 Envision Ogden contributions:
Godfrey said he also didn't get any campaign donations from Envision Ogden and FNURE, but might have accepted funds if the two groups had offered them because of their support for high-adventure recreation.
"I'm willing to accept campaign funds from groups that I agree with," he said. "I certainly agree with recreation."
Notwithstanding Godfrey's denial, we'll refer our readers to Envision Ogden's own IRS Form 8872 - Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures, dated 12/31/07, which bears this highly revealing and conflicting notation (See Schedule B [Expenditures] line item 23):
Recipient's name, mailing address and ZIP code Name of recipient's employer Amount of Expenditure
SOS Staffing NA $ 1184
3025 Washington Blvd Recipients's occupation Date of expenditure
Ogden, UT 84401 NA 09/12/2007
Purpose of expenditure
Mayoral campaign signs [Emphasis added]
In view of this strikingly incongruous information, perhaps the Godfrey campaign will be filing its own belatedly amended campaign finance disclosure form in the very near future, in a manner similar to Godfrey cohorts Eccles and Johnson.

A Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to Mr. Schwebke this morning for the fine reporting. Hopefully this won't be the last story in what's turning out to be a highly illuminating investigative journalism series.

Comments anyone?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Boss Godfrey Administration Finally Gets Off Its Ass Re Gadi Leshem

Eight Gadi Leshem firetraps appear to be getting Orders to Show Cause from the erstwhile "asleep at the wheel" Boss Godfrey administration

Here's something interesting for our readers' consumption on yet another otherwise slow Emerald City news day. One of our sharp-eyed readers sent us an electronic copy of Boss Godfrey's April 17, 2009 Administrative Review Meeting Agenda, which would seem to suggest that the administration is at long last getting off its ass, and taking formal action against at least one owner of the firetrap properties within the Ogden River Project:
Mayor’s Administrative Review Meeting Agenda April 17, 2009
We travelled to the parcel search section of the most excellent Weber County website, and gleaned ownership info on the eight "dangerous buildings" which were the subject of Boss Godfrey's April 17 meeting. Here's the information that we found:


And who is the investor/principal who hides behind the Ogden Riverfront Development Co. Ltd, corporate shell?

Boss Godfrey's hand-picked Ogden City River Project savior, of course, the broke-ass Gadi Leshem, naturally.

We've been screaming bloody murder about the city's lack of action in this matter for over a year; and our friends at the Standard-Examiner have been raising holy hell about it too. So far however, the financially prudent voices in our community have been greeted with a giant Godfrey administration yawn.

So at this juncture we'll once again appeal to our gentle and savvy readers to help explain the meaning of all this. Has Boss Godfrey finally finally grown fed up with his erstwhile buddy, Gadi Leshem, who didn't even have the decency to donate anything more than a measly ten grand to Godfrey's 2007 reelection campaign? Or, on the other hand, is Boss Godfrey moving in the direction of giving formal notice to Gadi merely to placate the critics, and to do what Gadi should have done over a year ago (demolish his dilapidated vacant structures) at the taxpayers' expense? We talked to an official in Ogden City Government by the way, who told us the cost to the taxpayers for the city's demolition of these properties would average out at around $10 thousand a pop.

Just for fun on a Saturday afternoon, we'll also reprise and re-display this mood setting WCF Five Star rated Don Porter Video Piece which is embedded in the above-linked Std-Ex editorial:

Chime in people. Ignore the wonderful weather. Please stay indoors and post your comments during this latest episode of what experienced Utahns call "false spring."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ogden Tea Party Aftermath: A Std-Ex Reader Letter

This Tea Party Phenomenon may be more politically important than most folks think

Here's more on Ogden's April 15th Tea Party rally, in which connection one misguided Standard-Examiner reader labeled the event a "success," within the lower-linked web article:
Ogden tea party was a success
Unable to resist the temptation, your blogmeister already chimed in under the Std-Ex reader letter with this:
A success? I don't think so.
Mssrs. Hodges, Cottam and Staffanson missed the entire point which drew hundreds of thousands of Americans into similar protests across the country.
The tea parties weren't about "taxes.' The whole point was about irresponsible government spending. The idea originated from this Rick Santelli rant, as you may recall:

Traders revolt! Call for new Boston Tea Party! Say Founding Fathers rolling in their graves!

And you people had the most reckless Utah government spender right there in your clutches, i.e., Matthew Godfrey; and you applauded him when he made a statement that is 180 degrees contrary to his big spending policies over the past nine years:

"I think it's fantastic to have citizens engaged and who care about what's going on, and who care about and are trying to make a difference with the politics of our country.
So first I think our responsibility as citizens is to hold our elected officials like me responsible, and say we are not going to stand up, we're not going to all any more of this spending at will, at creating these deficits at will, hoping that at some time the economy miraculously turns around creating enormous surpluses that we'll be able to pay off this astronomical debt. So I want to applaud all of you, and be consistent in the message that this is irresponsible. It's irresponsible today; it's certainly irresponsible for my children and our grandchildren; and it has to change.
Stimulus packages are fine, as long as there's a way to pay for it today, as long as there's a way to make it happen with existing revenues, or taxes that we're willing to increase today, to pay for that stimulus.
So thank you very much for coming out, and I join with you in the plea for responsible government."

You people bought it hook line and sinker.
Your rally was thus a dismal failure.
Somebody should have brought a rope.
We believe there are masses of lumpencitizens in this country who are so fed up with the two major political parties and the cretins they elect, that the time might be ripe for a revolution in American politics.

From your blogmeister's point of view, it's amusing to watch the stumbling Republicans try to round these disaffected people up, and bring them into the GOP fold. Likewise, we get our giggles watching The Lefties (dare I say the Democrats) ignore or mock the problem, and try to pretend a mass of politically-alienated people does not exist in the era of the "messiah" Obama.

This Tea Party Phenomenon will be very interesting to watch.

Curiously, here at Weber County Forum, we've assembled a group of people who are willing to act as political non-partisans... politically disaffected people who've learned to cast aside partisan political ideology and rhetoric (for the most part) , and work cooperatively for frugal, transparent and honest government.

Could the WCF blog community be a model for a new political consciousness in America?

Our bet is a resounding YES!

So what say our gentle readers about all this?

Looks Like Idiots Have Taken Over the Ogden City Website

The new Ogden City website looks aesthetically better than the old one, but someone really needs to watch the content

By Get Real

I've spent an hour or two prowling Ogden City's newly designed website, and suffice it to say I'm not impressed. Here are a few oddball pages from the new site, which in my opinion, seems to have been taken over by idiots:

Extreme! Radical Ride! (those terms have not been cool since I left elementary school)

Off road? Does this mean off trail? I sure hope not. Do we want to encourage parking in neighborhoods, or at established trail heads with parking?

We have sea kayaking? I think they may mean flatwater kayaking Note: there is not a map to the kayak park in Ogden City.

What about real skydiving?

Do you "ride" trails when you hike?

BMX? I don't think they allow bikes in the skatepark.

The Junction has vibrant retail? Ha ha ha!

I will say the new website looks aesthetically better than the old Ogden City website, but someone really needs to watch the content.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Alternate Reality Department: Boss Godfrey Boards the Lumpencitizen "Responsible Government" Bandwagon

Boss Godfrey indulges in a rare economic policy self critique

The Standard-Examiner reports this morning on yesterday's Ogden City Municipal Building Tea Party event, which reportedly drew a surprisingly good turnout, despite the late winter storm. Boss Godfrey watchers who didn't attend missed a great opportunity to bask in the glory of the Lord on Nine, as Blessed Boss Godfrey graciously descended to ground-level briefly to address the masses in attendance and "join" them in their call for responsible government. Much of it is captured in a remarkable video clip which is embedded under today's Std-Ex web article. Watch and listen. We swear you won't believe your own eyes and ears. The Godfrey segment begins 59 seconds into the video. Remember, gentle readers, this is the very same Boss Godfrey who advocated a $146 million Mt. Ogden Golf Course makeover boondoggle only a mere week ago:

Here's the full text, so 1) you won't have to transcribe it yourselves, and 2) you can read it over and over again in sheer wonderment:
"I think it's fantastic to have citizens engaged and who care about what's going on, and who care about and are trying to make a difference with the politics of our country.
So first I think our responsibility as citizens is to hold our elected officials like me responsible, and say we are not going to stand up, we're not going to all any more of this spending at will, at creating these deficits at will, hoping that at some time the economy miraculously turns around creating enormous surpluses that we'll be able to pay off this astronomical debt. So I want to applaud all of you, and be consistent in the message that this is irresponsible. It's irresponsible today; it's certainly irresponsible for my children and our grandchildren; and it has to change.
Stimulus packages are fine, as long as there's a way to pay for it today, as long as there's a way to make it happen with existing revenues, or taxes that we're willing to increase today, to pay for that stimulus.
So thank you very much for coming out, and I join with you in the plea for responsible government.
It's great to have observed Boss Godfrey suddenly board the responsible government bandwagon, even if only for a day. And for a few seconds we believed he even embraced and understood these principles he was espousing, even though we knew his lips were undoubtedly moving when he uttered these astonishingly self-critical statements.

So what say our readers about all this? Is Boss Godfrey genuinely converted to responsible government spending? Is it possible that Boss Godfrey was unaware of his own economic policy self-critique?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ogden Tea Party Today @ Noon

A propitious opportunity to express your displeasure at the Little Lord's reckless spending policies

In our never ending effort to keep our readers abreast of interesting public Emerald City events, we highlight this morning's Standard-Examiner story, providing info on today's Tea Party protests, which are set for three Utah locations, including Ogden. Here's the lede:
OGDEN -- Utahns upset with excessive government spending, massive bailouts and high taxes plan to come out in force today to protest.
Thousands of so-called "Tea Party" events have been scheduled around the nation, with most planned by members of the Libertarian Party.
Several will also be held throughout Utah, including Ogden.
The demonstrations are a play on the Boston Tea Party protest in 1773, when Americans tossed loads of tea into Boston Harbor to protest the British tax on imported tea.
Jason Hodge, who helped organize the Ogden event, said he hopes Utahns of all political affiliations will attend.
For those readers who'd like to check out the Ogden event, here are the particulars:

The scheduling of the Ogden event on the City Hall south lawn seems particularly propitious to us. We urge everyone to attend, pitchforks and torches in hand, to shake your fists at the big spenders in the Municipal Building ninth floor throne room. It's not that we're urging the hijacking of Mr. Hodge's event, but clearly the lumpencitizens of Emerald City have a very special case to plead.

Any readers who attend this event are of course invited to report back here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Std-Ex Letter: Envision Utah Has No Association With Envision Ogden

Envision Utah Community Relations Manager sets the record straight

News is again a mite slow around Emerald City this morning, but after some searching, we did find one Weber County Forum-topical item on the Standard-Examiner website which ought to be of interest to our gentle readers. Kevin Fayles, Community Relations Manager for Envision Utah, has submitted the following letter, disavowing any connection between his organization and apparent trade name copycat Envision Ogden:
Envision Utah has no association with Envision Ogden
Although it's sometimes said that "imitation is the most sincere form of flattery," this is the sort of flattery that Envision Utah can well do without; and we're thus delighted to help Mr. Fayles differentiate his organization from the politically suspect Emerald City-situated knockoff.

Intrepid WCF reader Dan S. has already visited the Std-Ex site and left his savvy and rapier-like comment :
However, it seems likely that Envision Ogden chose its name in the hope that some of Envision Utah's good reputation would rub off. Whether that's the case or not, it's astounding that so many companies made contributions of $1000 or more to Envision Ogden without even asking whether it was a legal entity.
We encourage our other readers to follow suit with their own comments, either here, on the Std-Ex site or both.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Std-Ex Letter: The Envision Ogden/FNURE Money Laundering Scandal Returns To The Public Spotlight

One Standard-Examiner reader urges a closer look at Envision Ogden fund-raising and campaign donation activities

The Envision Ogden/FNURE money laundering scandal is back in the public print spotlight this morning, with the below-linked Standard-Examiner letter to the editor, under the title "City can't 'amend' FNURE violation," urging that fund-raising and campaign donation activities of Envision Ogden deserve a closer look. This letter appears on the Std-Ex site under a slightly different title:
Why weren't donors informed of Envision's activities?
We agree with Ms. Hamer. If the various individuals involved in the Envision Ogden/FNURE donation conducted themselves with an intent to deceptively misrepresent the true source of funds, criminal violations of the applicable Ogden City ordinance would have been irrevocably committed when all elements of the crime were completed, and would not be susceptible to the "cure" remedies which would be otherwise available to alleged perpetrators in cases of mistake, inadvertence or excusable neglect. This unresolved question would then come down to these actors' knowledge and intent, according to our own analysis.

Despite all the recent public hoopla, the principals in this story continue to keep mum, claiming, like movie mafiosi, that they "don't know nuttin from nuttin." What's apparent is that folks like Councilman Johnson expect this story to blow over before the 2009 municipal election.

Let's not let that happen, gentle readers. Keep on sending your letters to the Std-Ex.

And here's another humdinger of an idea. Inasmuch as Councilman Johnson is a sitting city councilman, who attends most council sessions, he ought to be publicly grilled on the subject at least once a week. Seems to us that at least one lumpencitizen ought to address Mr. Johnson during the council's allotted 3-minute public comments segments in each council meeting from now on, with something like this, (with our apologies to the Watergate Era's Howard Baker):

"What did you know about Envision Ogden and FNURE, Councilman Johnson; and when did you know it?"

We need to keep these people's feet to the fire on this issue, folks. Is there anyone else within our gentle readership who can offer other suggestions as to how we can keep this story on the public attention front-burner, where it belongs?

Std-Ex Letter: Adopt Minimalist Plan and Consider Plan B Later

Good economy or bad, Boss Godfrey's $146 million golf course makeover proposal is a non-starter

Thoughtful letter in this morning's Standard-Examiner by Ogden resident Frank McFarland, arguing in favor of a "minimalist" solution to the Mt. Ogden Golf Course's deferred maintenance problems, and suggesting an application to the Obama administration for federal stimulus funds. We incorporate Mr. McFarland's essential paragraphs below:
This is the perfect opportunity to fall back to the proposal of Hoyle Sorenson in which he proposed doing a minimum amount of repair and upgrading to make the course more playable for the average golfer, thereby increasing income from the facility. His careful estimate was less that $400,000, as I recall.
With the Obama administration begging for anyone to take money, I would think that $400,000 to $500,000 could be obtained from the stimulus plan if the appropriate people took action now. This would certainly be a "shovel ready" project and would provide some immediate employment for a fair number of people. Half a million dollars, at this point in the recovery plan, would be peanuts! This would prove, once and for all, whether this course can be made profitable without destroying it.
It will be years before the economy recovers sufficiently to consider Godfrey's $70 million scheme, or even any plan as presently proposed. By then, we will know if the "minimalist" plan worked and if not, proceed to plan B, whatever that might be.
The half-million dollars spent, will be long forgotten and Ogden can press forward on whatever the city council considers best for the course.
Unfortunately, as to the prospect of obtaining federal stimulus money, Ogden City is probably out of luck. In January, congress reportedly inserted language in the stimulus package bill "to prevent federal stimulus money from being used for zoos, aquariums, golf courses, swimming pools and casinos."

Notwithstanding the probable unavailability of federal financing however, one thing is clear. Boss Godfrey has sadly neglected the golf course throughout his nine years of governance. If the city council is to do anything at all about bringing the course back up to par, it should at least carefully consider the minimalist solution proposed my Mr. Sorenson, even in the absence of prospective federal funding.

As for Boss Godfrey's 4/9/09 Mt. Ogden Golf Course makeover boondoggle, we'll go on record in urging the council to send it back to Boss Godfrey right now, even before he makes his formal proposal, with a paste-it note attached, suggesting that hizzoner put it where the sun doesn't shine. The sheer lunacy of spending $146 million, as a highly speculative cure to a relative chump-change $200 thousand revenue shortfall, ought to be painfully obvious, even to hopelessly obsessive big-spending visionaries like Boss Godfrey. At three times the cost of The Junction project, which has been a $750 thousand/year taxpayer albatross since 2005, (despite Godfrey's earlier promises that it would never put the taxpayers "on the hook,") this plan is plainly a non-starter, good economy or bad.

As an added bonus, we'll also spotlight another reader letter appearing on the Std-Ex live website, which focuses on Godfrey's general public recreation deferred maintenance "blind spot," which is definitely not confined to the Mt. Ogden Golf Course.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Science Saturday Night; The Exponential Progression of Information Technology

Information age overload on video, for your Saturday evening enjoyment

Intriguing video on the exponential progression of information technology, sent to us by a gentle reader. Although we can't vouch for the accuracy of the data, we nevertheless thought it was danged thought-provocative and entertaining anyway. Check it out:

200 million registered users on myspace? Yikes!

Could be a signal of the end of civilization, for sure.

Comments, anyone?

Boss Godfrey's Dog & Pony Show: Selected Excerpts From The Mayor's 4/9/09 MOGC Development Proposal

Raw material to put earlier reader comments in context

We received a hard copy of Boss Godfrey's 4/9/09 Mount Ogden Golf Course Redevelopment Proposal yesterday, which runs upward of 200 pages. We'll be poring over it this weekend, and will likely publish it here in electronic form early next week. In the meantime, Dan S. has provided us a few selected exerpts, which touch on some of the issues discussed in comments under yesterday's WCF article and yesterday's Standard-Examiner story. We also incorporate Dan's introductory text, which identifies the material which he's helpfully selected:
These are just a few noteworthy pages that I scanned:
• An almost unreadable map, showing the condo area farther north, covering some of the current golf course.
• The section on the proposed snowboarding area, claiming it will pay for itself while providing no information on operating costs.
• A financial page that raises far more questions than it answers.
• Four pages from the consultants' market analysis, showing that they think the condos will be on flat ground accessed from Taylor Avenue,and that none of their "comparables" are in urban Weber County.
These were among the most information-dense pages of the report; the
rest is mostly fluff.
Honestly, this whole thing is a waste of the city council's time.
Mount Ogden Golf Course Redevelopment Proposal - Selected Excerpts
Although this material is presented in raw and abbreviated form, we hope it will prove useful to put earlier reader comments in context, at the very least. Beyond that, even these brief glimpses would seem to reveal a lack of the kind of thoroughness which ought to be evidenced in such a report.

Further reader discussion is invited here, as always.

Std-Ex: Dems to Review County Attorney Candidates' Resumes

Mark Decaria's now vacated Weber County Attorney slot is on the verge of being filled

We'll highlight this interesting and information rich story from this morning's Standard-Examiner, revealing that the Mark Decaria's now vacated Weber County Attorney slot is on the verge of being filled. We incorporate Tim Gurrister's lead paragraphs below:
OGDEN -- Resumes from the three candidates with hats in the ring for the Weber County attorney's job are now being distributed to the 100-plus members of the county Democratic Party's central committee.
Those documents key the process of selecting a replacement for Mark DeCaria, sworn in this week as a 2nd District Court judge.
For the Democrats, the process is brief. State law calls for the party to forward the names of three candidates to the Weber County Commission, from which that body will make its selection.
Barring something unforeseen, the three names the committee has to date - Ogden lawyers Brian Florence, Chad McKay and Dee Smith - will be automatically forwarded by the committee at its 5 p.m. Friday meeting in the Weber County Library, 2464 Jefferson Ave.
Among other things, Mr. Gurrister includes brief resumes of the three contenders; and from our viewpoint, there is one who clearly stands out. Candidate Florence built a rock solid reputation as a fearless and fierce litigator over his thirty years of practice in Ogden. He's what we would call a "lawyer's lawyer;" and would seem to be the hands-down choice to us. Putting Mr. Florence in charge of the Weber County Attorney's office would kick up that office's prestige and performance more than a notch or two, we believe.

Having said that, we do realize the situation is slightly more complicated. And in that connection we ask our gentle readers this: Between these three candidates, all of whose names will no doubt be forwarded to the Weber County Commission for the final selection, who would be YOUR first choice... and why?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Boss Godfrey's 4/9/09 Dog & Pony Show: The Aftermath

The estimated project price tag doubles nearly overnight

This morning's Standard-Examiner carries a front page story, reporting on Boss Godfrey's Mt. Ogden Golf Course makeover boondoggle, which the Godfrey administration presented at last night's city council work meeting. Shockingly, the price tag as the project is presently projected has been bumped up a bit with typical Godfrey adminstration mission-creep. The project is now reportedly projected to cost the taxpayers $146 million, more than double the $70 million cost reported just a few days ago. Check out Scott Schwebke's morning story here:
Golf course proposal tees off / Committee presents its $146M improvement plan
We'll dispense for the most part with our own editorial comments, except to note that Godfrey-lemming Councilmember Brandon Stephenson is apparently wild about the proposed project:
Councilman Brandon Stephenson said he's impressed by the report's detail.
"I really liked the ideas presented and the sources of funding given and all the options," he said.
Of course Mr. Stephenson never saw a Godfrey grand scheme that didn't drive him wild with excitement; and as the last surviving "rubber stamp" member of the 2003-05 "Gang of Five" council, we really could expect nothing less than that.

And what are the sources of the funding that Councilman Stephenson gushes about? Mainly a high adventure hotel... and condominium sales, of course, pretty much the same funding sources underlying most other underperforming or stalled Godfrey signature projects, such as Godfrey's Junction Project and Gadi Leshem's Renaissance Village (The River Project).

We'll also use this article as an opportunity to invite our gentle readers to comment on the project as it's now revealed, in which connection we'd particularly love to hear from readers who attended last night's Dog & Pony Show. We hope everyone who attended had a danged good time.

The floor's open O Gentle Ones.

The blogosphere awaits our readers' ever-savvy comments.

Stop Spending Our Future - The Crisis

A short video to help our readers put recent reckless government spending into historical perspective

Wake up, people!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Boss Godfrey Dog & Pony Show Tonight

Boss Godfrey to unveil his long awaited $70 million Mt. Ogden Golf Course makeover plan

Just to kick off the morning discussion, we once again remind our readers of the city council work session this evening, during which Boss Godfrey will unveil his long awaited $70 million Mt. Ogden Golf Course makeover plan. We have good reason to believe that this is one event that Emerald City citizens will not want to miss. Here are the date, time and location particulars, for those lumpencitizens who'd like to attend:

Date: April 9, 2009
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Place: City Council Work Room – 3d floor - Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Boulevard

In this connection, we'll highlight this morning's Standard-Examiner Viewpoints puff piece, wherein Boss Godfrey's hand picked Golf Course "Citizens" Committee Chairman Kent Petersen (affectionately known around these parts as "The Skipper") waxes on about how his committee labored hard over the past year, "independently" coming up with the very same "plan" which Boss Godfrey had already "preordained" even prior to selecting the committee. Funny how that all worked out, innit? Be sure to read up. It's a real beauty -- custom designed to get the taxpayer juices flowing:
The Mt. Ogden Golf Course: Ogden's gemstone
We don't know whether there will be any earth shaking surprises tonight, as the general details have already been revealed fairly thoroughly here and here. Nevertheless, everyone loves a grand Boss Godfrey Dog and Pony Show; and we expect something exactly of that sort to be on the council agenda for tonight. And perhaps (hope springs eternal here in Emerald City) part of tonight's presentation will include an explanation of how the taxpayers will be expected to pay for this boondoggle.

Added Bonus:The Skipper will be there to strut his stuff:

Kent "The Skipper" Peterson

This is definitely one event you're not going to want to miss, as we already said.

And don't let the cat get your tongues. There's plenty of material in this morning's Kent Petersen op-ed to discuss. If ever there has been a Std-Ex guest commentary ripe to be sliced, diced and ginsu-knifed, this is it, we think.

Who will be the first to comment? Who will be the last?

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