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.

29 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

As you note, Rudi, both excellent items in the SE today and well-worth a careful reading. Mr. Trentelman's column particularly, which emphasizes the Godfrey administration's trade-mark "ham-fisted" approach to public policy, it's penchant for secrecy [which in fact makes it more difficult for the Mayor to achieve his ends], and its truly impressive inability to learn from its own mistakes.

From Mr. Trentelman's column:

The city needs to figure out a better way than yelling "Surprise!" to start that discussion [about the MWC's future]. It needs to let a public that depends on city facilities know what's going on, in detail, well in advance. Until it does, it's going to continue to be accused of hiding stuff, following secret agendas and ignoring the people so it can help build fancy commercial recreational centers that people who use Marshall White can't afford. Exactly. [I'd have said "justly accused," but close enough....]

In the end, it's hard to avoid concluding that Godfrey & Co. don't know what they're doing and haven't a clue about how effective public administration is done. If they keep on shooting themselves in the foot, as they have done over and over again, they'll truly earn the title of Utah's very own "Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight."

The Lovely Jennifer said...

Don Knotts is rolling over right now.

TLJ

Curmudgeon said...

Ah, TLJ, you're right. For a movie about Hizzonah's administration [doubtless entitled "Dazed and Confused"], Don Knotts would have been perfect to play the lead....

anonymous employee said...

Patterson states the pool is only used by a "handfull" of people. The number of people using the ifly is probably dwarfed by this "handfull".

blackrulon said...

It is always interesting to see the reasons for not supporting something in the community. Whenever the administration wants to close something they claim useage is small. I thought that the good a activity did for the community as a whole would have some bearing on the activity. More people golf than use the trail system but money is still spent to maintain the trails. When will the push to close the pool at Lorin Farr park start? Lets see some actual verifable numbers to support the claims of being little used. MATT GODFREY MUST RESIGN

danny said...

As Curm would say, Hmmmmm.

1) The Standard started reporting straight news a few weeks ago for a change.

2) The Standard got a call from Godfrey ripping them for their coverage.

3) The Standard started running fluff stories and old news about Ogden to please the mayor.

4) The Standard got ripped in the WCF.

5) The Standard started reporting actual news again, and doing so more impartially.

Cause and effect.

As somebody who was once encouraged to say what other people wanted me to say instead of the truth, I can tell you it feels a lot better to tell the truth all the time regardless of what some want.

I can only hope the people at the Standard are are experiencing that range of emotions now too. Telling the truth is good.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

I wish the SE trembled at the power of the Weber County Forum and altered, on short notice, its news and editorial policy as a result. But I doubt that's how they make their decisions, Danny.

Probably be wise to remember that (a) it is not the Ogden Standard Examiner. (b) Most of its subscribers do not live in Ogden city. (c) I'd be wiling to bet that most of its readers are not policy wonks like you and I are, and if ten percent of its readers could tell you what or who Envision Ogden is, I'd be surprised. If five percent could tell you who or what FNURE is, I'd be surprised. [But then, Mr. Schreve and Mr. Paterson can't or won't tell us that either.] (d) It has printed enough news, and commentary, over the last couple of years that the Godfrey administration was probably not overjoyed to see in their morning papers, that claims that the paper is "in the mayor's pocket" [or variations thereof] just won't stand up on the evidence. If every time the SE printed a piece thought to be pro-Godfrey, and every time it then printed a piece thought to be not-pro Godfrey, that represented a drastic change in editorial direction, its editors would have serious whiplash neck problems. There is no overall pattern that I can see over the past two years. Some poor judgment --- e.g. the Godfrey re-election endorsement --- sure, but no more than that.

Has it not printed stories I think it should have? Yes. Has it printed stories it shouldn't have? An op ed piece or two, maybe, but articles? I don't think so. Does its reporting fall short, particularly in the general area of fact-checking the press release statements of elected officials? Yes, I think too often it does. And we ought to whale em' good when they do fall short. But is that evidence that Godfrey dictates news policy? I don't think so.

And the notion that the SE went into screeching reverse in the face of WCF criticism... well, Danny, I wouldn't bet the baby's new shoes on that one.

Ben Bradlee said...

Danny, as usual you got it wrong. The amount of power that you think Godfrey and the WCF have over the Standard is laughable. What obligation or purpose would the paper have to promote the positions of either one? From what I'm told by people who work at the Standard that the paper's editors and reporters never consider what Godfrey or the WCF thinks or believes when it prints a story. It just doesn't enter into the equation. And why would they care what Godfrey of the WCF think? You can postulate all you want about the timing of stories to the imagined influence of Godfrey and the WCF, but it just isn't so. But it's a fun grassy knoll theory to pursue. Maybe Oliver Stone would be interested? From what I know about the highly ethical journalists at the Standard, they publish stories without fear or favor.

Curmudgeon said...

Ben:

You wrote: the paper's editors and reporters never consider what Godfrey or the WCF thinks or believes when it prints a story. While I agree with you generally, let us not forget that there have been a couple of occasions on which news which broke in WCF ended up in the SE [once or twice credited] --- for example, when Dan S. published here what his GRAMA requests turned up regarding the administration's attempt to keep from the Council that the city was using federal grant money washed through UTA to pay for a gondola consultant's work.

So, while any claim the SE hops to WCF's tune is very doubtful, as you said, there have been some occasions on which what broke here ended up as news there.

And on the other side of the equation, Hizonah is the duly elected Mayor of Ogden City, and as such I imagine he has more access to the op-ed page [if he wants to exercise it], and to Officer Country at the SE than others do. That's not a criticism, necessarily. Election to public office always carries with it greater access to media. It's one of the perks that comes with winning. [See Bobble Head Rob Bishop's latest SE op-ed piece trying to sell us on his sudden conversion to fiscal conservatism, for example.]

So I'm not sure I'd make the denial of Mayoral or WCF-al influence quite as categorical as you do. Almost, but not quite.

Ben Bradlee said...

Ok, I'll give you that the paper considers all sources of information regardless of where it comes from and then publishes based on what it can prove or what is relevant.

disgusted said...

ben bradlee

where do you come off with so much inside knowledge.. dont make me laugh.. highly ethical journalists at the Standard, they publish stories without fear or favor.
hopefully they have turned a new leaf and will listen to danny advice.. telling the truth is good.
ill add one more .. digging to find the truth rather than depending on the administration to hand feed you.

Ben Bradlee said...

Even when the paper publishes the truth if it doesn't follow what you believe, it isn't being truthful. It can's win. Shouldn't balanced reporting include opposing viewpoints, not just the WCF or administration view point. Somehow telling just the WCF side is good journalism while including the adminstration's side is bad journalism. Shouldn't stories have both sides.

Curmudgeon said...

Ben Bradlee:

You ask: Shouldn't stories have both sides? Well, no. Not all stories have two sides, or at least not two equivalent sides. In such cases, "he said/she said" journalism does the reading public no service. Example: When some world-renowned scientist speaks locally on recent discoveries in evolution, papers will [because of their false belief that all stories have two sides] hunt up some creationist who'll dutifully provide a quote or sound bite to the effect that evolution cannot be true because it contradicts the bible which says the world is only 6000 years old .

So no, Ben. Not all stories have two sides that deserve to appear in every telling.

That said, I'd agree that some at WCF [not all, but some] would like to see nothing but anti-Godfrey stories in the SE, and who interpret every story that could possibly be taken as favorable to the administration as the result of undue influence or shoddy spadework.

All of which is getting a long way from the theme of this thread: the SE's two [I think] excellent pieces in today's paper regarding the Godfrey administration's plans for the Marshall White Center: the main editorial and Mr. Trentelman's Wasatch Rambler column.

Bill C. said...

Ben, when the mayors's side is predicated on lies, secrecy and deceit, there are not 2 sides.
Curm, just this week I watched the old black and white Monkey Trial on PBS, the world was created on October 28th, 4000 BC, according to the pastor that won the verdict. That's close to 6000.

What will it cost us said...

Since Morgan had to let go some high paying jobs, why can't the Ogden City Council cut the mayors budget so he would let go some of the development team that have failed the citizens.

With such nepotism and favoritism in hiring the mayors backers and friends it seems a good way to clean house.

Tough economic times calls for deep cuts in everyones budgets. If the City Council goes along with the Mayors budget without any changes they have also failed the citizens of Ogden.

Curmudgeon said...

Bill:

I think more recently, the Young Earth Creationists have pushed the age of the earth back to 9000 years. Not sure why. A re-calculation of the "begats" perhaps. Or maybe it has to be nine thousand to account for Noah's flood carving the Grand Canyon.

Sigh....

Abe Glasmann said...

It's exquisitely ironic that this reader has chosen the name Ben Bradlee as his nom de plume.

During his tenure as managing editor of the Washington post in the early 1970's, Bradlee backed reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they probed the break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. Ensuing investigations of suspected cover-ups led inexorably to Congressional committees, conflicting testimonies, and ultimately, to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. For decades, Bradlee was one of only four publicly known people who knew the true identity of press informant Deep Throat, the other three being Woodward, Bernstein, and Deep Throat himself. Wikipedia: Ben Bradlee

These were the heady days of investigative journalism in America, a far cry from the flimsy and lazy he said/she said nonsense that's ubiquitous in the print media (especially the Standard-Examiner) today.

What a shame there are no real Ben Bradlees in the modern world of journalism. Cowardly modern journalists are digging their own graves.

Bill C. said...

Curm, not that I put that much stock in carbon dating and archeologists, but, we have sites quite local in the great basin here, dating 13,000 years ago.
Does that mean that first came man, then shortly thereafter he created a God to explain all his shortcomings, lack of understanding and eventually hope for the future?

Uncle Francois said...

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

Bill C. said...

Not to alarm anyone but, how and when this planet and all the lifeforms that exist all started, no one knows. It can't be explained as of yet, and may never be. The question is why not simply accept that as fact?
Almost all societies on this planet from the begining have origin stories, and refer to themselves as the people. Why have we in this hemisphere adopted the Jewish story, which really isn't alot different than most of the rest, as certain? And for the truely ignorant, most are monotheist, there's nothing that unique in that concept. The Jewish tradition seems to be the only one that's unwilling to accept the mystery of it and thus puts limits and a description on what or who this mystery seems to be.

Henry Drummond said...

"God created man
and man being the gentleman he is
returned the favor"

Ogden Dem said...

It appears that the salaries within the business and economic development office are approximamtely $1 mil (based on Utah Rights web site) yet look at all of the boarded up and vacant downtown buildings. Exactly what is that million paying for?

Monotreme said...

OgdenDem:

Or, better yet, we need Ben Bradlee to come back and explain how the ever-fair and deeply probing S-E isn't reprinting Mayor Godfrey's spin of "an annual loss of $1M for the Economic Development Dept".

What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, Mayor. Explain to us why the Marshall White Center expenses and golf course expenses are described as "losses" while the Economic Development expenses are ... what? An investment? Throwing money down a rathole?

OgdenLover said...

Meanwhile, no one has answered the question "Who is FNURE?" With the new Governor-elect, it looks like the illegal use of the Salomon Center, Envision Ogden, and FNURE will all be swept aside.

There are so many Godfrey Administration scandals, that it's easy for one to provide a distraction for the others. We need to keep asking and not let things slide into oblivion.

disgusted said...

Abe Glasmann

well stated.

RJ Svengali said...

Bulldoze it.
Allow the land to go wild, collecting Boones Farm and Pabst Blue, twisted dirth paths straight to rat couches under decaying trees, the odd drifter campfire.

Encourage local muffins to build board and brick bike ramps as big as a snot nosed kids imagination, send them their every saturday morning to play army; dirt clod wars taking no prisoners.

Call it Summertime.

George K. said...

Sorry, RJS,

Can't accept your suggestion! You are not apparently community minded, nor do you care about young people and seniors.

George K. said...

George K. comment promoted to the front page

4qgodfrey said...

god i need to get out of this town.

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