Sunday, May 31, 2009

Walsh: Capitalist, Mormon, Dad -- and Under Indictment

More serious political blowback for the Utah GOP pro-school voucher faction

There's more on the simmering Shurtleff/Wimmer/Koerber scandal from Rececca Walsh's column this morning, in the Salt lake Tribune:
Walsh: Capitalist, Mormon, Dad -- and under indictment
Gentle reader Curmudgeon boils it all down, and offers this savvy story summary, in a lower comments section:

Walsh suggests in her column, which deals with the Wimmer/Shurtleff scandal --- their alleged efforts to shield a major right-wing supporter from investigation --- that, in order to understand why Wimmer and Shurtleff were willing to intercede on behalf of Koerber, we take "Deep Throat's" advice: follow the money.

From Walsh's column:
Koerber... and his stable of Franklin Squires companies and board members gave more than $500,000 to the state Republican Party and individual pro-voucher candidates in 2006.
Follow the money...
A full year-and-a-half after the Utah voters' repudiation of Utah's radical school voucher program, the pro-voucher, (ideologically corporo-fascist) faction of the Utah Republican Party continues to suffer serious political blowback.

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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Marshall White Center: OWPAC Submits a Written Management Proposal - UPDATED

Another important political story you won't find on the Std-Ex "Live" website
UPDATED: The story is now up on the Std-Ex "Live" site. Better late than never, we guess

Startling news this morning in the Standard-Examiner hard-copy edition. After months of secretive backroom negotiations, Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership (OWCAP) has delivered a signed written proposal to take over management operations at the Marshall White Center. Scott Schwebke's opening paragraphs provide the gist:
OGDEN — The Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership signed an agreement Friday with the city’s administration to begin managing the Marshall White Community Center on July 1.
However, the contract won’t become effective until Mayor Matthew Godfrey signs it next week, said John Patterson, the city’s chief administrative officer.
Godfrey said he plans to review it and hopes to sign it Monday.
“I think this will be very positive and exciting for the community,” he said. “OWCAP will provide more services and resources as well.”
The agreement won’t affect any existing services at the center, will keep its indoor pool operating for at least six months, and should enable OWCAP to assume all financial responsibility for the facility early next year, Patterson said.
Disturbingly, the Ogden city council, (the Ogden City government branch which is charged with sole authorty under the Mayor-Council form of government with respect to matters of policy,) even now remains entirely out of the negotiation/discussion loop. This from City Council Chair Any Wicks:
City Council Chairwoman Amy Wicks said in a Friday e-mail to the Standard-Examiner that she hadn’t received a copy of the management agreement from the administration.
“The Ogden City Council is still waiting for the contract,” she said. “We have been left out of all discussions and negotiations regarding turning this Ogden city taxpayer-owned facility over to a nonprofit organization and so have other important stakeholders in our community.
“I am open to looking at options to help the Marshall White Center, but it needs to be done in a manner which involves all who have a stake in the center. That includes the Boys and Girls Club, Community Aging Services, Weber Human Services, facility users, neighbors and the City Council,” Wicks said.
“I am very disappointed that this never occurred before the mayor decided to negotiate a contract with OWCAP.”
Grab that popcorn and pull up your Barca-loungers, folks. It's evident that the Council/Administration showdown, which Godfrey has been so carefully choreographing, and which we've been forecasting for the last couple of weeks, is now forming up on city hall center stage. We'll predict right now that it won't be long at all before we all find out who really wears the pants in the Emerald City government "family."

Comments, anyone?

Saturday Morning News Roundup

Two items: Sugarhouse streetcar on track with a three-year timeline; Good investigative journalism lands Attorney General Shurtleff in the hot seat

Not much to write about from the Standard-Examiner this morning, but here are a couple of interesting items from the Trib, submitted by Gentle Reader Dan S:

Dunno what you might already have in mind for Saturday, but here are a
couple of items from the Trib:

1. Sugar House streetcar could be up and running in only three years:
Sugar House streetcar? It may be closer to reality than you think
Although we haven't heard much about the Ogden streetcar recently, the "management committee" continues to meet every two weeks with the next meeting coming up this Tuesday afternoon. Mayor Godfrey is arguing for a more expensive loop downtown (instead of both ways on the same street), and for renovating an existing building to use as a maintenance center for the streetcars. The consultant recently floated the idea that we might want a streetcar within downtown but a bus line up to WSU. And Godfrey, the consultant, and UDOT are all still trying to push it off Harrison and onto other roads where it'll be used less.

2. Corruption in the attorney general's office?
A.G. denies political pressure swayed Koerber case
This story was mentioned in a lower comment thread, with a link to KSL. Good investigative reporting and an example of what we need and deserve from our home town newspaper here in Ogden.
Have at it, gentle readers.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Marshall White Center: Ogden Council and Boss Godfrey Remain on a Collision Course

Boss Godfrey keeps his fingers crossed... in classic Godfrey brinksmanship fashion

The Marshall White Center is again front page news this morning, with a pair of Standard-Examiner stories which indicate that the Godfrey administration and the city council remain on a collision course with respect to 2010 MWC fiscal year funding.

1) Contrary to the earlier representations of Boss Godfrey that negotiations with the OWCAP non-profit for a takeover of the center were proceeding smoothly, Ace Reporter Schwebke's morning story delivers this unsettling news:
OGDEN -- The Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership will insist that the city continue to pay operational costs and employee salaries at the Marshall White Community Center before it agrees to run the facility.
OWCAP is interested only in managing the center's programs and can't afford to fund the facility, said Donald Carpenter, the nonprofit organization's administrator.
As a result, the city would have to continue covering the center's expenses, he said.
"We would submit monthly bills (for the center's operational expenses to the city). There would be no other choice but to walk away (from a management contract) if they won't live up to that part of the agreement."
Notwithstanding this apparent and potentially fatal negotiations glitch, Godfrey is evidently still operating on a wing and a prayer. Rather than recognizing that the administration and OWPAC yet remain some distance from a meeting of the minds, and simply reinserting $350 thousand into the 2010 budget, Godfrey has instead carved out about $168,000 from various line items from other city departments -- about half of the funding necessary to keep the MWC doors open though the 2010 fiscal year. In classic Godfrey brinksmanship fashion, the administration appears to be keeping its fingers crossed that OWPAC will eventually enter into some kind of agreement... and succeed in obtaining grant funding later in the year. And on that subject, OWCAP's own statement on the subject isn't encouraging at all:
"We might be interested in acquiring a lease (for the center) in the future as grants come together," [Laura Traum, program manager for OWCAP] said.
Time for the folks on the city council to assert themselves as the grownups in city government, we think. If Godfrey refuses to reinsert the necessary funding into the 2010 budget, the council should do so themselves.

2) In a companion story, Mr. Schwebke reports that the lumpencitizens are also forming up en masse to demand restoration of MWC funding. Read all about yesterday's NAACP rally here.

Given the current uncertain posture of Ogden City/OWCAP negotiations, we believe its unlikely that the parties will reach an agreement which is satisfactory to all involved parties and stakeholders prior to the June 26th fiscal budget approval deadline. Hopefully Boss Godfrey will take his lumps gracefully this time around.

Our compliments to Scott Schwebke this morning, by the way, for digging out and providing this most interesting material.

Standard Examiner: Ogden City Red Meat News Double Header

Nutritious red meat political material, following a significant Standard-Examiner red meat news blackout

The Emerald City red meat news days are back again. After a fairly significant Standard-Examiner news drought, two hard-hitting lumpencitizen letters to the editor have popped up on the Std-Ex live website this morning. Andy, Ron and Doug and the other editors on the Standard-Examiner editorial board my lack the sack to post anything critical of Boss Godfrey, but we'll give them credit; at least they're prominently posting such material, penned by involved and well informed lumpenitizens, right there in the Std-Ex online "letters" section. We'll reel these letters off in no particular order. They're both hard-hitting and right on the money, we believe:

1) Here's a good one from Ogden Home Boy Bill Critchlow, wherein he takes the Standard-Examiner to task for its inexcusable neglect regarding the still unresolved Envision Ogden money laundering scandal, and the probable illegalities surrounding Boss Godfrey loan of the publicly owned Salomon Center to his political cronies for his 2007 Salomon Center campaign fundraiser:
Envision Ogden always intended as a political organization
Everyone in town seems to be aware of the "elephant in the room" which Mr. Critchlow mentions... except for the folks at the Godfrey House Propaganda Organ, of course. If our home town newspaper is serious about maintaining what little they have left of their credibility, they'll hopefully awaken from their journalistic Rip Van Winkle Sleep sometime soon, with Mr. Critchlow's savvy reminder.

2) And here's another good one from David Smith, a warhorse Emerald City citizen activist, and a man everyone (except Trentelman) trusts. Mr. Smith draws a bead on Mayor Godfrey's well demonstrated incompetence, and makes a strong and timely pitch to his fellow Ogden citizens to the effect that we need a full slate of competent and mature adults to fill council seats for the upcoming 2009 municipal election:
We need strong Ogden council candidates
Mr. Smith is correct. Duty calls, fellow Ogden citizens. We know the city council job only pays about $1.35 an hour or less, taking into consideration the long hours and backbreaking effort our so-called part-time council puts in. Nevertheless... imagine a new city council padded out with the likes of more knuckleheaded Godfreyites like Stephenson, Johnson, Peterson (the Skipper) and Eccles... and God forbid... (gulp) Geigers. Cross-town ski gondolas, velodromes and a bulldozed Mt. Ogden Golf Course, anyone? That's what we'll get unless serious grownups queue up with applications for the four council seats which will be up for grabs in the upcoming 2009 municipal election.

Frightening thoughts indeed; and don't let the cat get your tongues.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Salt Lake Tribune: Boss Godrey Wants to Dump the Marshall White Center

Godfrey tells Marshall White Center patrons to "Go hang out on the street"
"His (Mayor Godfrey's) kind of recreation is paid recreation," she said, noting that many central Ogden youths can't afford such things.
"He's telling a significant number of people to go do something else. And that something else is, 'Go hang out on the street.'"

Betty Sawyer
President, Ogden NAACP

Mayor wants to drop rec facility from budget
May 28, 2009

This morning's Salt Lake Tribune picks up on the Marshall White Center brouhaha, with this Chris Smart story, which focuses on the sharp contradiction between between Boss Godfrey's obsessive compulsion "to bill Emerald City as the future recreation capital of America..." and his recent actions to cut Marshall White Center funding from the city budget, and to farm out management responsibilities to the non-profit Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership (OWCAP) .

Mr. Smart provides an accurate and tight fact summary, and foreshadows a possible "showdown with the City Council." (We think that's nearly a sure bet, inasmuch as the council still remains entirely out of the loop; and the proposed OWCAP management contract, which Godfrey had promised to produce early this week, still hasn't found its way to the city council.)

We applaud Mr. Smart's initiative in obtaining a few choice quotes from Ms. Sawyer too. We believe the NAACP's take on this story represents a very important story angle.

Strangely, Ogden CAO John Patterson was unavailable to deliver the administration's ("he said") side of the story. Could it be that he was too busy, working out at the Salomon Center, with the free employee pass which he receives as a city employee perk?

Hopefully this morning's Chris Smart story signals a renewed resolve on the part of the Salt Lake Tribune to take a closer look into the ongoing political shenanigans in Ogden. We're all waiting for someone in the print news media to do some sleuthing on the Envision Ogden/FNURE money laundering scandal, which our home town newspaper, the Standard, still mysteriously treats as a non-story. And many of us also sit back in absolute astonishment, as no one in the print media has yet demonstrated enough curiosity to examine the probable illegalities surrounding the 2007 Salomon Center "Sneak Preview/Godfrey Campaign Fundraiser." Seems to us a blockbuster story like this would be a reportorial magnet for a young, enterprising and up-and-coming reporter like Chris Smart. The pending question? What (if anything) is holding him back?

Reader comments are invited, as always.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to Lawfully Conceal the Source of Campaign Contributions

A modest proposal from one Ogden citizen

By Dan Schroeder

Imagine that I decide to run for city council this fall. To run a competitive campaign, I figure I’ll need about $25,000. Now I certainly don’t have enough time, or enough friends, to go around and raise that kind of money locally. Fortunately, I won’t have to, because I do have one donor who is willing to fund my campaign all by himself: Osama Bin Laden.

Now some might object to this scheme, but in fact it’s completely legal. Ogden’s campaign financing ordinance puts no limits on the size of contributions, nor does it prohibit contributions from foreign nationals.

The ordinance does, however, require that I disclose the source of my campaign funds. The idea, I guess, is that the voters have a right to know where my money is coming from. But if, for some reason, I don’t want the voters to know that my campaign is being funded by Osama Bin Laden, I can get around that in any number of ways.

The first and easiest way is simply to ask Osama to wait until late October before sending me the money. Then I won’t have to report his contribution until several weeks after the election. I can easily get most of my vendors to wait until late October before being paid, and if I need a little money sooner than that, I can just lend it to my campaign and pay myself back after Osama’s check comes in.

But that’s just the beginning. I can do much better.

Instead of having Osama write me a check directly, I can ask him to send the money to my Aunt Rose, a dear woman who would do any favor I asked. Aunt Rose will then write me a check in her own name, and I’ll report her as the source of the $25,000 campaign contribution. Then the voters will never find out where the money really came from. And according to the city attorney, this is still completely legal.

If I’d rather not bring poor Aunt Rose into it, I could instead form my own political action committee, or 527 organization as it’s known to the IRS. I think I’ll call it My New Underground Revolutionary Ensemble, or MNURE for short. I’ll never have to register this organization with the state or the city, or tell anyone at all who MNURE actually is. To avoid IRS disclosure rules I’ll have to ask Osama to limit his contribution to only $24,999. Then he writes a check to MNURE, MNURE writes a check to me, and nobody ever learns where MNURE got the money.

A variation on this scheme would be for MNURE to run my campaign on its own, paying my vendors directly. Then the voters would never even learn how much money I raised or spent. Ogden’s ordinance technically does prohibit this variation, but that part of the ordinance is unenforceable because the government can’t take away MNURE’s First Amendment right to get involved in a political campaign.

Finally, if I don’t like any of these schemes, I could simply lie: I could report that I got the money from Aunt Rose when it really came from Osama Bin Laden. Unless a citizen tracks down Aunt Rose and gets her story, I’ll never get caught. And even if I do get caught, all I have to do is amend my disclosure statement at that time and the problem will be cured--at least according to our city attorney’s interpretation of the current ordinance.

Of course that interpretation is a pure fabrication on the city attorney’s part, and at least the revised version of the ordinance that’s now before the council clarifies what the law really says. However,under the new proposed version, the city attorney would never be under any obligation to review or respond to a complaint that I’ve lied about the source of my money. And if the city attorney eventually does get around to prosecuting me, my crime is a mere infraction, punishable by a fine of no more than $500.

In the unlikely event that I’m faced with such a fine, I’m sure that my friend Osama would be happy to reimburse me for it.

Editor's note: Dan informs us that he delivered a slightly abridged version of this proposal during the Public Comments portion of last night's city council meeting. All council members were in attendance except Blain Johnson. Also in attendance were John Patterson and Gary Williams.

Update 5/27/09 8:04 a.m. MT: Today's Standard-Examiner has a brief overview of the proposed revisions to the city's ordinance:
Ogden council puts campaign finance reform on the table
Update 5/27/09 10:13 a.m. MT: Gentle Reader Dan also has a short article on this topic on own blog this morning. It seems that City Attorney Gary Williams is a mite lite in the humor department, especially when it's he who's the butt of the "joke":
Laughing at Politics
Who will be the first to comment?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Legislative Ethics: It's Time to Amend Our State Constitution

Utah deserves an independent ethics commission

Fine guest commentary in this morning's Deseret News, by Jeffrey L. Novak, Chairman of the Coalition for Ethics and Accountability in Government:
Utah deserves independent ethics commission
Once again the same familiar pattern was repeated by the 2009 State Legislature. The Utah electorate was screaming for legislative ethics reform. Once again the 2009 session was kicked off by grand statements from the legislature that a serious effort would be made (this time) to enact robust ethics reform legislation. Once again the legislature dawdled, quarrelled, sat on its thumbs and finally delivered laughably paltry legislation which (even with the utmost generosity extended to the legislature) could only be described as "meager and weak."

Forty other states have already decided that it is necessary to divorce the oversight of ethical conduct from their legislative systems.

Time for Utah to adopt a system whereby somebody other than the foxes are delegated the responsibility of guarding the hen house, we believe.

If it takes a constitutional amendment to accomplish this, let's get to it, Utah Lumpencitizens.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Law Lets Cities Create Gang-free Zones, But None Are Using It

Another pie-in-the-sky program that no one is actually willing to implement

By Curmudgeon

Recall the law passed this last session, introduced by Ogden Chief of Police and State Senator Greiner that permitted cities to declare "gang free zones," allegedly to make controlling gang violence easier? Are you wondering how many cities, finally freed by Chief/Senator Greiner's law, have created Greiner gang-free zones?

According to a story in the SL Trib today, the answer to that question is: none. Not one. Including Ogden, where Chief/Senator Greiner says the plan is "on hold."

Looks like Mayor Godfrey's penchant for dreaming up and fighting for controversial and divisive pie-in-the-sky programs that no one is actually willing to implement [think year round outdoor ice towers and downtown indoor water parks and flatland urban gondolas] has spread to Chief Greiner. Wonder what proposal that no city wants to implement Greiner will dream up to tie up the legislature in pointless debate next session.

Special Announcement: There's a Brand New Blog in the Ogden City Blogosphere

Weber County Forum extends a hearty welcome to Emerald City's newest blogger

Although news is again a mite slow this Monday morning, there is one important item we'd like to announce. We're delighted to provide a plug for a brand new blog in the Ogden blogosphere, published by a man we all know and trust.

Regular WCF readers are already familiar with the smart and savvy WCF contributions of gentle reader and contributor Dan Schroeder, of course.

Well, Dan's gotten himself bitten by the blogging bug and graduated to publishing his own blog, wherein he'll be doing the things set forth in his introductory post:
This blog is a place for sharing thoughts about stuff I do, from teaching physics to environmental issues to local politics. Basically I need a place for unpolished or self-indulgent writing that I wouldn't put elsewhere. Thanks for reading.
Dan's already posted several interesting articles; you can navigate to his blogsite via this link:
Dan's Diary
Those of us who've enjoyed the high quality of Dan's previous blog offerings already know he's set a high bar for himself, of course. Knowing Dan however, we have no doubt there's a lot more equally great material coming up.

We're sure that this is one blog all Emerald City citizens will want to bookmark; and we encourage everyone to mosey on over there to check it out.

We've also added a link to our sidebar, of course.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Dan!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

SL Trib: Love Mayor Godfrey or Hate Him, He Gets Credit for Energizing Ogden

Added Bonus: "He Said, She Said Journalism: Lame Formula in the Land of the Active User"

Just to kick off some kind of on WCF today, we'll direct our readers attention to this morning's Salt Lake Tribune story, the latest from reporter Chris Smart, who recently replaced Kristen Moulton as the Trib's "Ogden Beat" reporter. If you're a fan of "he said/she said journalism", a modern psuedo-objective journalistic form of reporting, whereby reporters spill out a few conflicting quotes, report them as if they all carried equal weight and make no attempt to try to separate out who’s right from those who are wrong... you're going to just love this story:
Love Mayor Godfrey or hate him, he gets credit for energizing Ogden
We won't however be overly critical of Mr. Smart at this point. He's new on the Ogden scene, and obviously has plenty to learn. Moreover he probably had a tight deadline to beat. Nothing like a he said/she said puff piece to at least introduce the illusion of "fairness" and "balance" to the reporting of a heated and complicated debate... and still allow a reporter to make it home in time for dinner. And if a reporter like Mr. Smart leaves his readers helpless in sorting out which of his "sources" are faking it more... so what?

And while we're on the subject of he said/she said journalism, we're delighted to engage in another WCF-patented neck-snapping segue, and to shine the spotlight on a truly deep and profound article on the subject, which we googled up earlier this week. For a truly robust critique of this surprisingly popular reportorial style, with enough footnotes, links and references to choke even an old school journalist, you're definitely not going to want to miss this one:
He Said, She Said Journalism: Lame Formula in the Land of the Active User
We hope our readers will devote the time to plow through the latter article and offer their own comments and impressions on this topic.

In closing, we also present this highly instructive graphic image, gleaned from the pages of the most excellent

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Keillor: London Newspaper's Dogged Exposé the Best Show in Town

This holiday Sunday morning, maybe Keillor's column should be on the Standard-Examiner editors' reading list

By Curmudgeon

Many here [myself among them] have complained about the Standard-Examiner's curious unwillingness to report on [much less investigate or take an editorial stand on] how Envision Ogden was allowed to use the taxpayer-funded [and at the time, taxpayer owned] The Junction to stage it's "Sneak Peek" political fund-raiser [some of which funds went to support the re-election of Mayor Godfrey and some of his pet council candidates]. As one poster here put it, "who gave Envision Ogden the keys to The Junction?" Damn good question. The SE has not reported on the matter, or even so far as we know bothered to ask the Godfrey administration to produce a copy of the contract --- there must have been a contract, right? --- between Envision Ogden and Ogden City covering use of The Junction for the fund-raiser.

And the SE's editors have bemoaned [in several columns] the fate of daily newspapers and dicey future of the business, and the danger to republican government if the daily press goes under. [True enough.]

Well, the editors of the SE might want to take a look at Garrison Keillor's column this morning's SL Trib.. It's about how the London press forced the resignation of the Speaker of the House of Commons [first time in three centuries] by uncovering a financial scandal and cover-up at the House of Commons.

House members who do not live in London can be reimbursed for expenses ""wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred to enable you to stay overnight away from your main home." What London's Daily Telegraph discovered was that House members were charging the ratepayers

2,000 pounds for a 37-inch high-def plasma TV set; 1,625 pounds for a garden table, chairs and parasol; 7,000 pounds for a new kitchen; 519.31 pounds for a week at the Bide-A-Wee holiday cottage; 100 pounds to remove moles from a garden; 725 pounds for a cherrywood mirror; 600 pounds for the removal of wisteria; 2,200 pounds for the cleaning of a moat; 2,000 pounds to repair a pipe under a tennis court; 5,700 pounds for a portico; 115 pounds for a handyman to come and change light bulbs . And, Keillor continues, the paper kept after the story -- "on and on it went, day after day, a tide of savory details."

What was the result of all this, besides forcing the Speaker to step down for attempting to hide what was going on? Keillor nails it:

The other part of the story is that Telegraph sales are up by 10 percent, which is one answer to the question all newspapers are asking these days. If you print stuff that people are avid to read, they will buy your paper, and there is nothing people love more than to savor the embarrassment of the high and mighty. Which makes the Standard Examiner's curious aversion to covering the Envision Ogden "Sneek Peek" political fundraiser at the public-financed and public-owned The Junction all the more remarkable. Perhaps a paper that partook a bit more of the Progressive era "muckraking" tradition would not only serve its readers better, but count more northern Utahns among them.

The SE is on my daily reading list, first thing every day. This holiday Sunday morning, maybe Keillor's column should be on the SE editors' reading list. First thing.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Emerald City Council Considers Campaign Finance Disclosure Amendments

An invitation to our gentle readers to examine a new proposed ordinance amendment, and to offer their own comments, plaudits and critiques

Earlier this morning, Gentle Reader Dan Schroeder provided a helpful heads up on an item which is set for the city council's upcoming Tuesday agenda. Specifically, the council will be considering a newly-drafted campaign finance disclosure ordinance, clearly designed to address some of the problems arising from the recent Envision Ogden Money Laundering Scandal:
a. Campaign Finance Disclosure. Proposed Ordinance 2009-39 amending the Ogden Municipal Code by amending Chapter 8 of Title 1 to revise Campaign Financing Disclosure requirements. (Set/not set public input for June 2, 2009)
In connection with this, we'll post in raw form a pair of documents we received yesterday from Amy Sue Heaton, Communications Specialist for the Ogden City Council:
Press Release - City Council Considers Campaign Finance Changes
Proposed Ordinance Amending Chapter 8 Of Title 1
We're pressed this morning with real-life business, and thus don't have the time to subject these documents to our usual micro-analysis. We have taken the time nevertheless, to give the new proposed ordinance amendment at least a quick once over; and we thus offer (just to get the discussion going) our quick first-glance impressions of a few of the strengths and weaknesses of the current draft of the new proposed ordinance.

Here's a provision we liked a lot:
Paragraph 1-8-3 F. [Personal Use; Prohibition:] A contribution shall not be converted by any person to personal use. For purposes of this subsection, a contribution or donation shall be considered to be converted to personal use if the contribution or donation is used in a manner that would cause the candidate or former candidate to recognize the monies as taxable income under federal tax law.
Enacting this provision would be a positive change, we believe. Campaign contributions should not be morphed into a candidate's personal windfall.

We were positively impressed with the revisions of the newly renumbered Paragraph 1-8-6. These reworked provisions would distinguish between inaccurate disclosure statements which are filed wilfully, and those that that have occurred through mere inadvertence. No "quick cures" would be available henceforth under these provisions for disclosure statements which are fraudulently filed.

And here's a change in an existing provision that we don't like very much at all:
1-8-7 A. It shall be an infraction, punishable as provided by Section 1-4A-1 of this code, or its successor, for any person to violate any provision of this Chapter or to fail to file when due any required campaign finance statement or report specified in this Chapter or to 10 knowingly or willfully falsify or omit any information required by any of the provisions of this Chapter. [Emphasis added].
Currently, violations of Ogden's election ordinances are proscribed as misdemeanors, with existing penalties which allow violators to be removed from office, with the additional sanction of barring such violators from holding office in the future. We believe a softening of penalties would send the wrong message to potential violators. Election law violations ought to be considered serious offenses against the body politic, and such violations, if proven, should be punished with appropriate severity. This one, in our mind at least, ought to be a deal killer, at first glance at least.

That's it from us on this topic for now folks. We're pressed for time, as we said.

We're hoping that our tight schedule won't inhibit our gentle readers from devoting their own time toward offering their own comments, plaudits and critiques, however.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Marshall White Center: The Very Dumbest Story to Hit the Standard-Examiner Front Page Within Memory

Unless and until a firm and binding written Marshall White Center proposal is presented for examination by the council and the lumpencitizens, Mr. Godfrey's accusations that some conscientious folks are "flip-flopping" is entirely without rational merit

This morning we'll call our readers' attention to what in our ever humble opinion could be the very dumbest story to hit the Standard-Examiner front page within memory. Ace Reporter Schebke's lead paragraphs provide the thoroughly amusing setup:
OGDEN — Mayor Matthew Godfrey is challenging City Councilman Jesse Garcia’s questioning of the administration’s negotiations with Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership to operate the Marshall White Community Center.
Godfrey said in a letter that Garcia is familiar with OWCAP’s plans for the center because he has been privy to the proposal from the outset.
“You have known all about OWCAP’s proposal from the beginning. In fact, you knew about it before I did,” Godfrey wrote to Garcia in a letter obtained by the Standard-Examiner. “I have been told on multiple occasions that you have expressed your support for their proposal at Marshall White. I have spoken to you twice about this and on both occasions you indicated you were supportive. Why are you now pretending you don’t know anything about it and are not supportive?
“We involved you very early on in order to find an arrangement that was better for everyone. You agreed (to) work with the community and the council regarding what was happening and why.
“Instead, you decided to rally people against this before an agreement was reached with OWCAP and as far as we have heard you have never brought this up to your fellow council members.”
With his inimitable straightforward style, and in classic west side Ogden vernacular, Councilman Garcia characterises this latest Boss Godfrey screed as exactly what it is:
Garcia said he isn’t surprised by the tone of Godfrey’s letter and described it as a “cover your butt” attempt by the mayor because the administration left the council out of the loop in its negotiations with OWCAP.
Rather than get drawn into the he said/she said catfight that seems to be forming up on the pages of our home town newspaper, we'll just get back to basics.

We spoke with Councilman Garcia this morning, and here's what he told us:
• Although Garcia was generally aware that the Godfrey administration was engaged in ongoing negotiations with the non-profit Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership (OWCAP), he was never directly involved in negotiations himself, and was therefore not privy to the details of such negotiations. Nor has he ever seen any written proposal;
• Although Garcia had indicated to the administration his general open-mindedness to considering an OWCAP management takeover in concept, his ultimate support would depend of course upon the nature of the proposal which would ultimately emerge from the negotiations. In essense, Mr. Garcia's posture closely resembled that of the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board;
• Garcia felt completely blindsided by Godfrey's proposed 2010 budget, in which Godfrey had removed funding from the Marshall White Center. It was at this point that Mr. Garcia apparently came to the conclusion that he was being double-crossed; and it was then that Garcia decided to publicly speak out.
What should be painfully obvious to even the most rabid Godfrey supporter is that Godfrey's accusation that Garcia was "familiar with OWCAP’s plans for the center because he has been privy to the proposal from the outset" is rubbish. Even Godfrey admits that a final agreement with OWCAP has not yet been reached. At present, a firm, enforceable and publicly-transparent written proposal does not exist, except in vague, Godfreyesque, ephemeral conceptual form. As always, "the devil's in the details," innit?

Keep your eyes on the ball, people. Unless and until a firm and binding written proposal is presented for examination by the council and the lumpencitizens, Mr. Godfrey's accusations that some conscientious folks are flip-flopping is entirely without rational merit.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Councilwoman Jeske Sets the Record Straight Yet Again

At least one Ogden City Council member has the sack to address citizen issues directly. Where we ask... are the rest?

One fantastic Councilwoman Jeske Update follows in the paragraphs below... for those readers who are concerned about Boss Godfrey's 36th Street Water Tank Fetish... and other mind-numbed Godfrey priority fetishes...

Here's a most excellent Dorrene Jeske response to the concerns of another well-respected WCF reader, (all of which was earlier-buried in an article comments section below).

From Councilwoman Dorrene Jeske this morning:
The Council has taken some steps on the water tank construction at the top of 36th St. The Administration started the construction using funds from the water tank and pipe lines project at the top of 46th St. We asked for an amendment to CIP and project. Administration said that an amendment wasn't needed. We asked Gary Williams for his opinion and he told the Administration that there was enough difference in what was planned and approved and what they are doing that it needed to go to the Planning Commission and that is where it is right now. The Council will have the opportunity then to approve or disapprove the project.
Council leadership is showing more backbone than it ever has since I've been on the Council. Amy and Caitlin are proving to be a great and strong team.
Be patient. Government policies and procedures require that proper process is followed and everything takes so much time that it seems like everything is moving in slow motion.
Last night at our work meeting, we met with the department directors and heard their reports and future plans. John Arrington explained why it looks like the golf course cost the City more than $400,000. during FY2009. I'm sure that the Mayor will use this as an argument for letting a private party manage the golf course. Mr. Arrington explained that in 2007 no payments were made to the debt service accounts. He said that through better management of the golf course that past two years, Mount Ogden has improved its revenues and its financial picture. Mr. Brenkman told us that public support has been heart-warming, and they were in the middle of their first tournament this year and it is a success.
He informed us that Ogden High's Girls Golf team used the course as its home course and had taken State two years in a row. But he also said that it was discouraging to answer the phone and have people surprised that they were still open because of the controversy surrounding its future. They would benefit from some positive publicity for a change.
He said that everyone who were participating in the tournament were amazed with the improvements made and what a beautiful "gem" it is. Those who haven't played the course for years have vowed to return! The volunteers have made fantastic improvements in such a short time.
He said that they were able to purchase 20 new golf carts which has really helped because so far this year they haven't had to turn anyone away.
They are proceeding with three planned projects to make the course more playable. Mr. Brenkman said that this year is Mount Ogden's 25th anniversary and he has scheduled a fundraising tournament for June 20th.
-Dorrene Jeske.
We''ll comment in passing that it's great to have Councilwoman Jeske boldly setting the record straight once again, and once again offering her newest comments, just as she does fairly regularly here on Weber County Forum. With the exception of Chair/Councilwoman Wicks, who posts her own comments semi-regularly, sadly, we haven't heard from any of the others at all.

Where better to communicate with the Ogden voters than here at WCF, we humbly ask?

There's room for council improvement here too, wethinks. Of course, that opinion may well be that of "just us." We admit we're biased. We believe our elected government officials should keep in close touch, and that WEBER COUNTY FORUM is just the place to do that.

Comments, pleaz...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Suspicious Leshemville House Fire Kicks Off the 2009 Emerald City Arson Season

Leshemville demolition and site prep on the cheap... courtesy of the taxpayers and the OFD

Emerald City's 2008 arson spree seems to be having a reprise, after a short winter season respite. The Standard-Examiner reports that Ogden firefighters responded last night to a suspicious fire at 1893 Childs Avenue, squarely in the heart of the Ogden River Project area... the blighted river front acreage to which we affectionately refer as Leshemville, to be exact:

View Larger Map

There are a couple of aspects of this story that we found to be particularly interesting:
Less than four minutes after the call came in at 10:15 p.m., Ogden Fire Department and police had arrived at 1893 Childs Avenue to find fire burning in an empty, boarded-up house, with the blaze spreading into the attic. At that point, it was a matter of protecting the surrounding property, said deputy chief Chad Tucker.[...]
Within minutes of the firefighters cutting a hole in the roof, the old home was engulfed in high flames, which melted the siding on the neighboring house to the north.
We don't know whether it was a particularly hot fire or not. Nevertheless, we wonder what might have happened if this fire had gone undetected, and the Ogden Fire Department had not quickly arrived on the scene. With the fresh spring vegetation, the entire neighborhood could have been engulfed. Imagine the situation a month or two hence, when that neglected vegetation (and adjacent abandoned wooden and vinyl-clad structures) would have been more thoroughly dried out by the summer heat.

We thought this tidbit to be quite interesting too:
[Deputy chief Chad] Tucker said this was the first fire in this area in several months and because the neighborhood was scheduled for already demolition, the fire department was planning to drill fires for homes in the area [Emphasis added].
That's what we'd call making the best of an already bad situation... Leshemville demolition and site prep on the cheap... courtesy of the taxpayers and the OFD.

Who will be the first to comment?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Std-Ex: Ogden Lays Out 2010 Fiscal Goals

It appears we're about to see some political fur fly

We didn't want another day to slip by without shining the spotlight on yesterday's Standard-Examiner story, in which Scott Schwebke reports that the city council has adopted an overall blueprint of goals and objectives which will provide a foundation for the council, as city policies are developed and approved over the 2010 fiscal year. Mr. Schweke's lead paragraphs provide the gist:

OGDEN — The city council has set ambitious goals for fiscal 2010 aimed at improving the local economy, making neighborhoods safer, providing quality services, increasing public involvement in municipal government and protecting the environment.
The goals include specific objectives the council hopes to tackle between July 1 and June 30, 2010.
“Throughout the coming year these goals will provide a foundation for the council as city policies are developed and approved,” City Council Chairwoman Amy Wicks said in a prepared statement.
City Council Vice Chairwoman Caitlin Gochnour said the goals provide a unified vision for Ogden.
“This has been a great opportunity for the council to come together and unify our ideas into specific goals that will improve our community,” she said in a prepared statement.
For the convenience of our readers, we've also obtained an electronic copy of the council's "goals document," which is viewable in Adobe PDF format here:
Ogden City Council Goals — FY2010
Our brief examination of this document reveals objectives which are mainly broad in scope; but the document gets right down to specifics in at least one instance, in which connection we'll incorporate this notable paragraph from paragraph 9 a, wherein the council resolves to support diverse community activities and events:

Invest in City owned recreation facilities for all residents regardless of age, including the Marshall White Center, Lorin Farr pools, and the Centennial and Bonneville trails. [Emphasis added].
As Gentle Reader George K. observes in a comment under a previous WCF article, it appears that Boss Godfrey is preparing to do battle with the Council over the future fate of the Marshall White Center; and we'll also accordingly observe that the council appears to have drawn a firm line in the sand with respect to this issue.

Pull up your Barca-loungers and break out the Orville Redenbacher's, folks. It appears we're about to see some serious political fur fly in Emerald City, within the next month or so.

(We've also filed the council goals document within our sidebar module "Government Toolkit", by the way. It will of course remain available there for future reader reference.)

Reader comments are invited as always.

US National Debt Clock

The clock just keeps on ticking

Hmmmm... this is certainly interesting:
U.S. National Debt Clock

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Despite Godfrey Administration Misrepresentations to the Contrary, The Data Reflect Significant Marshall White Center Patronage

Patterson and Godfrey, how about telling us the truth!

By George K.

I have spent the last 24 hours researching information about the Marshall White Center because Godfrey does not present all the facts.

I have a list of the 9:00 AM Water Aerobics class and there are 31 members. The 10 o’clock class has about the same number of members, but I don’t have names and phone numbers for those members. The original class grew so much that it had to be divided because the pool was too crowded to do aerobics.

Someone indicated that most of the members of those aerobics classes did not live in Ogden. From my list of members, I can determine from telephone numbers that there are 6 from Ogden Valley, 1 from Pleasant View, 7 from North Ogden, 6 from Ogden and 4 are cell phone numbers and can’t determine the city. The members from The Valley make a day of their trip to Ogden – they do their shopping at that time and also eat while they are in town. Someone should inform Godfrey and Patterson that is sales tax revenue!

Marshall White has an impressive record of receiving grants and being a partner with several agencies to provide numerous programs and activities. Here are some of those partners and the number of participants from different monthly reports:
1. Annual Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by Mt. Ogden Lodge # 20;
2. Black History Week, Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast, 300 attendees; The Quest for Black Citizenship Luncheon, speaker, Ms. Essye B. Miller, R.A.M.P. Grant funded luncheon.
3. Gift of Love Christmas Dinner, 450 attendees, helped many families with food and warm clothes.
4. Gift of Love – Thanksgiving Dinner, sponsored by Project Success, hosted by Marshall White Center – dinner was served to between 880 people and 150 meals were delivered to the homebound. Approximately 100 volunteers helped.
5. Ogden/Weber Community Action conducts Head Start classes.
6. Boys and Girls Clubs have increased their membership from 33 to 130.
7. MWC and the Second Baptist Church have partnered on several very successful projects.
8. Fremont High School leases the pool for its swim team.
9. USA/ABF Boxing Invitational
10. Karate/Self Defense Class
11. Kayak Roll Classes
12. Jr. Jazz Basketball League
13. OCR Adult BasketballLeague
14. Family Literacy services
15. USDA meal services for Head Start students
In spite of what Godfrey and Patterson say, MWC is being used a lot! Just like everything they do, the Godfrey administration henchmen lie and misrepresent the facts.

Patterson and Godfrey, how about telling us the truth!

Political Blogs More Accurate Than Newspapers, Say Those Who Read Both

Political bloggers hold an edge with shared readers when it comes to the trust factor

Here's a fascinating day-old item from the Brigham Young University news website. The lead paragraphs provide the gist:
According to research by a Brigham Young University political scientist, people who closely follow both political blogs and traditional news media tend to believe the content on blogs is more accurate.
Professor Richard Davis reports this and other blog-related insights in Typing Politics, a new book published by Oxford University Press.
“Blog readers still get most of their news from regular news sources, but they are concerned that they are not getting the whole side of the story there,” Davis said. “They suspect habitual bias in the traditional news content.”
Our gentle readers can check out the full article here:
Political blogs more accurate than newspapers, say those who read both
This isn't exactly earth shaking news to those who regularly read political blogs, of course, although it may put a few old school print media journalists suddenly off their feed. And we'll add that there's something to be said in favor of the media positioning of bloggers, who generally avoid oppressive advertiser and other truth-killing entanglements... and at least make a yeoman's effort, usually without much monetary compensation, to ferret out the truth.

A hat tip to the fine folks at the most excellent KVNU Radio Blog BTW, who first unearthed this most interesting story.

Reader comments are invited, as always.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Std-Ex Letter: Boss Godfrey Should Focus On His Incomplete Projects

Attempts to resurrect old, rejected plans may leave Godfrey's constituents feeling deceived

Thanks to an email tip from another alert reader, we'll kick off the discussion this otherwise slow news Monday morning, by featuring an exceedingly well-crafted letter to the editor, which popped up on the Standard-Examiner website late last week. We believe it's right up Weber County Forum's alley, topic-wise; and we're sure you'll all agree:
Godfrey should focus on incomplete projects
About 18 months ago, in the midst of a hotly contested mayoral race, Mr. Godfrey shocked the city by reversing his stance on the sale and development of Mt. Ogden Park and golf course indicating that he had heard the voice of the people.
Not only would he abandon his efforts to build a gondola and engage in massive development of that property, including the undeveloped foothills above the golf course, but he further promised to do all in his power to protect it in perpetuity. His victory, by merely 400 votes, casts serious doubt on the likelihood that he could have been re-elected without this change of heart.
Recently, a "redesign" committee appointed by Godfrey (without the knowledge or approval of our city council) submitted suggestions for multi-million dollar changes to Mt. Ogden Golf course and surrounding properties. Parts of those changes include selling portions of the land, building a lodge, a winter sport park and 350 condominiums.
This plan differs in form, but not substance from the plans the mayor tried to push through during his prior term and sharply contrasts with the, "I've heard the voice of the people", speeches that barely allowed him to retain office. While the unpopular word "gondola" hasn't yet appeared openly, there are hints it has not gone away either.
Perhaps Godfrey could focus on his incomplete projects (e.g. the River Parkway development) as opposed to trying to resurrect old, rejected plans which may leave his constituents feeling deceived.
Valerie Bentley
Ms. Bentley provides ideal fodder for discussion, as our readers launch into another new work week, wethinks.

Have at it, O Gentle Ones.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Marshall White Center: Std-Ex Double Header

The Editorial Board and Trentelman chime in

There are two excellent pieces in this morning's Standard-Examiner, regarding the Marshall White Center funding dilemma. The Standard weighs in with a strong editorial, advocating open-minded consideration of an Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership operations takeover, upon condition that current services and programs (including pool operations) remain intact:
OUR VIEW: Keep Marshall White Center strong
Charlie Trentelman also takes a thoughtful look at the situation in this morning's Wasatch Rambler column, and issues a strong critique of the Godfrey administration's "hamfisted" approach to the problem:
Change is bad enough. Botched change is the worst.
We'll defer our own analysis, and volunteer that we agree with every single word in this morning's two fine Std-Ex pieces.

Beyond that, we'll also emphasize the important point we made in our last Thursday's WCF writeup on this topic:
Unless and until a firm and binding agreement is reached with OWCAP, with iron-clad provisions which precisely define OWCAP's rights and obligations, it would be the height of irresponsibility for the council to allow MWC funding to fall off-budget.
The council should not be swayed by Godfrey's slippery assurances that an acceptable OWCAP agreement may be in the works. Absent a written agreement that's satisfactory to all key MWC stakeholders, MWC funding should remain on budget.

And for those hard-core readers who'd like to have a look at Boss Godfrey's current (and plainly defective) proposed budget, it's up on the Ogden City website and is viewable here:
Proposed Budget - Fiscal Year 2009-10
Reader comments are invited, as always.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Governor Huntsman Prepares to Jump Ship

Could the percipient accession of Gary Herbert to the Governor's post signal a harsh Executive Branch tilt toward the Utah political right?

Here's an interesting item this morning: Utah's Governor Jon Huntsman, who was re-elected to his gubernatorial post only last November, with an overwhelming 77.6% of the vote, has suddenly announced his upcoming resignation, contingent upon his pending appointment as U.S. Ambassador to China. This morning's Salt lake Tribune story provides the lede:
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. will resign from office to accept President Barack Obama's nomination to serve as his ambassador to China.
Sources told The Salt Lake Tribune that an announcement is scheduled for today. Huntsman is in Washington, D.C., and calls to his spokeswoman and various staffers were not returned Friday night.
Huntsman would still have to be confirmed by the Senate, a process that could take weeks or even months. Typically, governors who have been nominated have not resigned until after their confirmation.
To label this out-of-the blue development a "surprise" would be a gross understatement, we believe; and we're certain that many Utah political moderates are staggering around this morning in a state of shocked disbelief. Huntsman's relatively middle of the road political posture has garnered broad support across the entire Utah political spectrum; and as the SL-Trib notes in a companion article this morning, Huntsman's resignation, and the percipient accession of Lt. Governor Gary Herbert to the Governor's Office, could very well signal a sharp tilt in the Utah Executive Branch, markedly to the right.

We'll confess that we're at a loss to explain the meaning of this development. Does this move on Huntman's part represent an effort to distance himself from Utah politics, in preparation for a 2012 presidential run? Is this prestigious appointment part of a pre-emptive Obama plan to take Huntsman out of the 2012 race? Does it evidence Huntsman's abandonment of the difficulties of elective politics altogether, and his desire to finish off his political career on the plush ambassadorial champagne and caviar circuit? Is Huntsman leaving the Governor's office of his own volition... or was he pushed? Perhaps a few of our readers will be willing to weigh in with their own opinions on this. Frankly, this one has us completely stumped.

So many questions... so few answers.

Before closing, we'll also present the opinion of Utah Libertarian Andrew MCullough, who offers an excellent suggestion about how Huntsman can make the best of this new ambassadorial opportunity:
Tonight it is reported that Governor Huntsman will shortly be appointed U.S. Ambassador to China. Congratulations, Governor. Sounds like a great job. But it brings up an interesting question. Is there any chance you could take a few more Utah Republicans with you as staff? How about Senator Buttars and a few of his cohorts? Please give it some thought. This could turn out to be a great boon for our State.
Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Standard-Examiner: Emerald City is Technically Broke

Spotlight on John Patterson's 5/14/09 "sequestered funds" gaffe: Sometimes even the most loyal and devoted key insiders will occasionally slip up and tell the truth

Fascinating Scott Schwebke followup story this morning on the Marshall White Center funding dilemma, which was the topic of yesterday's WCF article. After years of reckless administration borrowing and spending, Emerald City appears to be perched on the brink of technical insolvency. City revenue is tight for a city that's compelled to make an annual $3/4 million bond payment for an ill-conceived downtown money pit, and Godfrey asserts we're down to making some hard budgetary choices. We incorporate Mr. Schwebke's lead paragraphs below:
OGDEN -- About $350,000 would have to be trimmed from city operations to cover costs for the Marshall White Community Center if the municipality doesn't turn the facility over to Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Matthew Godfrey said Thursday night.
Godfrey discussed during a city council work session the rational for eliminating funding from his proposed 2010 fiscal budget for the Marshall White Center.
As the budget was being finalized, negotiations with OWCAP for a possible take over of the center were continuing smoothly, said Godfrey. As a result, it was decided no money would be included in the budget for the Marshall White Center which would lessen the amount of severe funding cuts for other departments, he said.
It appears to us that the entire MWC operation may find itself on the chopping block unless one of the following happens:

1) The Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership (OWCAP) nonprofit (or some other white knight) quickly comes to the rescue and assumes financial responsibility for future MWC operations;

2) The Council sends Godfrey back to his throne room on nine, instructing him to cut a further $350 thousand from his administrative budget.

If we were sitting on the Ogden City Council, we'd be strongly urging our council colleagues to adopt Plan 2. This is what the state legislature did (twice) to Governor Huntsman during the last legislative session, leading to a balanced fiscal year 2010 state budget; and we believe the city council should follow suit. What the heck. Godfrey could close the budget gap by canning three or four of his bloated and overpaid Economic Develpment Department "A" team, and nobody would notice the difference. None of them are doing anything useful these days anyway, it seems to us.

And here is by far the most interesting and revealing paragraph in this morning's Scott Schwebke's morning writeup, wethinks:
Godfrey also said John Patterson, the city's chief administrative officer, mispoke earlier this week when he told the Standard-Examiner that funds eliminated for the Marshall White Center were in a reserve account and could be restored if a deal with OWCAP fell through. In order for the city to fund the Marshall White Center money would have to be cut from other city operations, he said.
Dang rights Mr. Patterson misspoke. Neither the Council nor the public are supposed to know about "sequestered funds" or secret administration slush fund accounts. Patterson definitely put his foot in his mouth this time, much to Boss Godfrey's obvious annoyance. But assuming for speculation's sake that Patterson spoke the truth, and that such a slush fund may indeed exist, we wonder how many dollars Boss Godfrey may actually have squirreled away? Perhaps the Council should call in Ogden City Controller John Arrington to find out. The council could have him testify under oath.

Mr. Patterson's inadvertent gaffe of course illustrates the primary problem for an administration like Godfrey's, which routinely operates by stealth, secrecy and deceit. Government secrets are difficult to keep, even under the most favorable circumstances. Sometimes even the most loyal and devoted key insiders like Godfrey henchman John Patterson will occasionally slip up and inadvertanly tell the truth.

The floor is open O Gentle Ones. The world blogosphere eagerly awaits your ever-savvy comments.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Councilman Garcia Stands Up For Marshall White

Read Councilman Garcia's plaintive letter to the citizens of Emerald City below

More news this morning about Boss Godfrey's least favorite Emerald City amenity, the Marshall White Center. Ace Reporter Schwebke informs us this morning that negotiations are in progress with the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership nonprofit, whom Godfrey hopes will enter into an agreement to take over responsibility for operation and management of the center. The fly in the ointment? The ever-optimistic Mayor Godfrey, apparently operating in his usual "count the chickens before they are hatched" mode, has already removed MWC funding from his proposed 2010 budget, even in the absense of a binding OWCAP/Ogden City management agreement. Read Mr. Schwebke's illuminating morning writeup here:
Garcia: Save Marshall White/Ogden councilman asks to restore funding for center
We'll offer our own take on this; and we'll be brief: Unless and until a firm and binding agreement is reached with OWCAP, with iron-clad provisions which precisely define OWCAP's rights and obligations, it would be the height of irresponsibility for the council to allow MWC funding to fall off-budget. Councilman Garcia is already complaining that the council is out of the loop regarding the ongoing OWCAP negotiations. Just imagine the possibilities for Godfrey chicanery if non-budgeted MWC funding decisions were left to the sole discretion of the Mayor's office, with necessary operational funds "sequestered" and disbursed, without council control, from another Godfrey "slush fund," at Godfrey's whim.

Among the items up on the Std-Ex website this morning is a plaintive 5/13/09 email letter addressed to the city of Ogden City, the text of which we'll incorporate here:
To the citizens of Ogden:
City funding for the Marshal White Center is at risk. The budget that has been proposed by Mayor Godfrey eliminates all City funding for the Center.
I requested information form Mayor Godfrey about his intentions for the Marshal White Center' future and have received no response from him. Then the budget came to the Council with no funding after the Mayor told citizen's in a Council meeting that it would remain open.
I am going too ask the Council to restore the funding for the Marshal White Center. Financial support for the Center from the City is critical to ensure that it remains open and continues to provide all of the current services to our community.
I urge all concerned citizens to let the Council know your opinion. Two public hearings will be held on the city's budget on May 25th and June 9th.
Jesse M. Garcia
Ogden City Councilmember
Municipal Ward 1
We're confident our gentle readers will know what to do... and they can do it here:
Ogden City ouncil Contact Information
Before closing, we'll also make note of one unresolved bone of contention which is lightly mentioned in Mr. Schwebke's writeup. The MWC operates a swimming pool, which is currently used for a variety of existing MWC programs. The Godfrey administration is however strangely non-committal about future pool operations under prospective OWCAP management; and Patterson declines to say whether OWCAP would keep the center's pool open. In this connection we note that this morning's story reveals that OWCAP would like to add six to eight classrooms to its current MWC operation. For those who are familiar with the MWC layout, take a wild guess where those classrooms would be built. This is of course merely one of the issues which we believe ought to be resolved by written agreement, before the council agrees to alter the MWC status quo in any manner.

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Three interesting items to provoke a Weber County Forum morning discussion

By Curmudgeon

Three more Standard-Examiner items worth noting this morning. First, this headline: "Dems tap Smith to replace DeCaria as Weber attorney" .

Ah, if only it were true. Mr. Smith was chosen not by "Dems" but by a unanimous vote of the Weber County Commission, all three members of which are Republicans. [Which has me wondering whether the three elected Republicans on the Commission chose from among the three names sent it by the Weber County Democratic Party the candidate the Commissioners thought least likely to win the job at the polls come November. Mr. Smith will be, as was Mr. DeCaria before him, the County's only elected Democrat. Link to the story and the SE's headline gaffe here.

Second, there's a story about the RDA selling land downtown to someone to develop Phase Two of the Union Square condo project. We measure progress here in Junction City in small ways. For example, from the story, this:

The development would be geared toward buyers who want to live in an urban setting near a host of amenities, including the FrontRunner commuter rail system, a possible street-car system and several retail projects such as a Wal-Mart Supercenter planned at 20th Street and Wall Avenue, Allen said. [Allen is the developer of Phase II.] Note: proximity to a planned streetcar line mentioned as something that would make the condos attractive to buyers. Not proximity to a gondola ride [which was touted in the advertising by the planned developer of the Windsor condos], but a street car. Progress --- however small, but progress none the less.

Finally, on a topic which we discussed on WCF last week, a blistering editorial in today's Salt Lake Tribune, headlined "Coddling Criminals," taking the Lt. Governor to task for his saying he does not intend to enforce the recently passed law requiring candidates to report campaign donations within thirty days of receipt. I especially liked this:

While the law has some teeth, it is unfortunate that those teeth are attached to a dog that refuses to bite, or even growl.... Failure to enforce the law is a gross dereliction of duty by Herbert. Exactly right. And that is an editorial with some bite to it. No shilly-shallying, no "but, on the other hand"-ing. Hebert is a toothless dog by his own choosing, and has promised to commit "a gross dereliction of duty" in office. Yup.

Kudos to the SLTrib editorial board.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Did Boss Godfrey Call the Standard-Examiner "On the Carpet?"

Hearsay reader allegation: Boss Godfrey took the people from our home town newspaper to his special school for obedience training

y David S.

If you've noticed the tone of the Standard Examiner has turned very pro-Godfrey lately, here's why.

Trentleman told me Godfrey called a meeting at the newspaper and told them they were all "anti growth" and he chewed them out.

So before the meeting, we had articles about the river project failure, Leshem's bankruptcy, and Godfrey and Johnson's money laundering. It was all newsworthy stuff, but not favorable to Godfrey so it was deemed "anti growth".

Now we have articles about some tiny blurb in an obscure magazine, old news about Godfrey looking for federal money to prop up Leshemville, and an article saying the dustbowl at 12th and Wall is "on track." It's all old, pointless news, but it is "pro growth" because it's pro Godfrey.

And Godfrey's meeting was also perfectly timed to make the newspaper gun shy about reporting his recent diversion of water money to start subsidizing the destruction of the bench land with water rate payer's money.

It's clear by the end of Godfrey's meeting the newspaper people had their noses on the floor and have been obedient ever since.

Things happen for a reason.

Comments, anyone?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lame Excuses For Boss Godfrey's Continuing Incompetence, Courtesy of the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board

Sadly, Std-Ex Publisher Lee "Gondola Boy" Carter and a few other non-journalists on the Std-Ex Editorial Board have again seemingly gone haywire, and continue to offer lame excuses for the staggering incompetence of our Little Twit Mayor

We don't want this post-mother's Day Monday afternoon to completely slip by without drawing our readers' attention to this morning's Standard-Examiner lead editorial. It seems that the Boss Godfrey House Propaganda Organ is back on track, making excuses for Boss Godfrey's dismal performance during his 2-1/4 mayoral terms:
OUR VIEW: Recession a development killer
We're going to take a wild guess, and assume that today's editorial mainly represents the views of Std-Ex publisher Lee "Gondola Boy" Carter, and a the majority of the corrupt and mindless pro-Godfrey Chamber of Commerce types who inexplicably sit on the Std-Ex editorial board, and NOT the opinions of the professional journalists who are SE editorial board members. We doubt that sensible and objective professional journalists like editors Doug Gibson and Andy Howell would publish tripe like this, without a good solid nudge from the Godfreyite people who are REALLY in charge at the Standard. Godfrey's latest Std-Ex editorial board excuse for Godfrey's continuing years-long business incompetence? What else: the current recession.

And just to keep it all in perspective, and for those who are keeping track of Godfrey's offrail projects, here's the short list of Boss Godfrey's failed projects, most of which were already failures before the advent of the current recession:

The River Project, which has been Godfrey's flaky pet project for something like eight of his nine years at the mayoral helm, and it has now completely launched off-rail. - DOA, as a practical matter.

The Windsor Hotel Project - DOA.

The Larry Myler Hotel and Wading Pool Project - DOA.

Stuart Reid's Ashton Square - DOA.

The Junction Profect - Not technically DOA, but bleeding taxpayer dollars at a rate of $3/4 million per year minimum. This year, with the Flowrider Repair, this boneheaded money-pit project cost the taxpayers a cool $1 million plus.

As we all know, there are many more of these moribund, failing and DOA Godfrey projects, some of which the little twit hasn't even mentioned to the City Council or the press.

Frankly, there's only so much energy that any reasonably well-intentioned Ogden citizen/blogger can practically devote toward putting together into a story like this.

Consider this a brief and incomplete list of failed and DOA Boss Godfrey projects.

Let's hear it from our gentle readers about the many other failed Boss Godfrey projects which we omitted in our haste to post this article.

There's a municipal election coming up.

Most of these projects were in failure mode even in the "good" times, but aren't doing so hot during the current recession, either.

Wethinks we need a complete list.

Don't forget to chime in with your comments and list additions, people.

As a special treat, we'd like to hear from that twisted Cavendish guy, who tries to blackmail people, and still swears, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that Godfrey is a "genius."

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