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.

18 comments:

Dorrene Jeske said...

To add to Amy's response to Bat_girl, the Council has not approved anything.

Since Rudi brought up the issue of campaign finance, I am copying below a copy of the email that I sent to Bill Cook, but I have not received a response yet:

From: Jeske, Dorrene
Sent: Tue 5/26/2009 2:30 PM
To: billlcook@city.ogden.ut.us
Subject: A Question

"Bill,

I have a question: Was it legal for the city to allow EnvisionOgden to use the Salomon Center for the "Sneak Peek" event? If it was illegal, do we need an ordinance or something to prohibit the use of city buildings by political organizations in the future?

I've been asked that question several times and I'd like to be able to give a knowledgeable answer. Also, I told a couple of the insistant people that I would find out.

Thanks!

Dorrene"

Most council members serve on the council and fulfill their responsibilities to their constituents conscientiously. We spend hours studying the issues and don't vote on them without much consideration. We also consider comments and information received from the public before making a decision.

BTW, Dan, I really did enjoy your comments Tuesday night. You were very clever in making your points. Thank you for coming to Council meeting and voicing your concerns.

Thanks to all the others who commented also.

Curmudgeon said...

Dorenne:

Bill C. says he GRAMAed the city for documents relating to letting Envision Ogden use the then-city owned Junction for a political fund raiser, and was told by the city that there were no, repeat no administration documents relating to the Envision Ogden fundraiser at the Junction. No contracts. No emails. No letters of intent. Nothing.

Perhaps it might be worth asking Mr. Cook as well how the city managed to permit a political fundraiser on city property to which tickets were sold, and which hundreds of people attended, without generating a single Godfrey Administration document of record.

And thanks for at least asking the questions the Standard Examiner deems unworthy of notice.

Bill C. said...

Another interesting bit of lying little matty deceit seems to be at play here. The Marshall White Center is a public recreation Center, by it's very specific nature one has to realize that it's a service, and therefore cost money to provide. OWCAP has only one similarity to the Marshall White, which in reality is only perception, disadvantaged and minorities.
It's true that Marshall White has focused on the needs of these demographic groups, but not exclusively. No one is ever turned away due to any demographic classification, it is a public recreation center and serves the whole public. Check out the rec basketball leagues, you'll get the picture.
Owcap, on the other hand is specifically funded and targeted for these demographic groups, but public recreation services have nothing to do with their purpose. They just need a building and have no desire or need to dive into the recreation arena. This is no valid comparison what so ever, that's why Dr. Carpenter has been so tight lipped. They have no desire to provide public recreation or maintain a swiming pool.
I am not belittling Owcaps function or purpose, it's rightious enough, but to present this as a viable substitute is outright balderdash.
If space will allow their use of the facility in conjunction with the real purpose of the Marshall White Center, great, if not, find them another building.

RJ Svengali said...

Bulldoze it.
No selves respecting Dead-End kid would be caught there, `cept maybe Spanky.
And he wasn't even a dead-end kid. ;>

Tell the little tyrants to go kick cans in a back alley somewhere, roll a hoop around the tabernacle grounds, play cowboys and indians past dark, or sneak into the Saturday cinema show.

It was never that fun to stay at the YMCA; what are they teaching this generation?

democrat said...

Dorrene,

Your my hero!!! Will you give a copy of that letter to Schwebke when you see him. That question needs to be answered by the Administration and the public must know!!!!

Germ said...

Please tell me exactly which loft you live in on 25th Street, RJS, so I can go over to your place and personally kick your ass.

Ozboy said...

Germ, why don't you just give him your disease instead? Kicking folk's asses, or even threatening to, is not very nice ya know.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, Svengali likes to toy with people using word games. He is actually quite good at it, he raised your hackles apparently.

Keep em coming Sven, you make us smile, think and squirm - depending on your mood of the day.

RJ Svengali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg said...

RJS,

Iinstead of telling children and teenagers to come up with their own entertainment and activities, recalls to mind one of my grandmother's axioms -- "An idle mind is the devil's playground." I would rather tell you to go chase your tail! I don't find your smartass remarks funny as OzBoy does.

Brett said...

I just saw this press release:

"Contact: Matthew Go"dfrey, Mayor
Phone: 801 629-8111
danaebrown@ci.ogden.ut.us


Ogden City Kicks Off “2nd Annual Ogden Retail Challenge”

“We are looking for retail entrepreneurs with unique concepts that will set Ogden apart.” – Mayor Matthew Godfrey
Ogden Utah – June 1, 2009 - Mayor Mathew Godfrey announced today that Retail Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to compete for cash prizes and incentives to help launch their new retail businesses in downtown Ogden.
In the past four years, Ogden City has made substantial progress in revitalizing the Downtown Area. The competition is another way that retail entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to be part of the on going revitalization.
The competition is designed to assist entrepreneurs in developing their retail business plans. After they have a business plan in place they can submit it to the Retail Advisory Board. The Board will review the plans and award one $10,000.00 first place and two $5,000.00 runners-up.
Business counseling, training, computer resources and hard copy materials will be available to the winners as well as access to additional capital. The Retail Advisory Board will meet with the new businesses once a month to help mentor them through the first year of business. The Board will provide support and strategies that will help maximize the new retail business’s potential.
Contest applications and details are available online at www.ogdencity.com or you can stop by the Business Information Center at 2036 Lincoln Ave., Suite 105, between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday.
For more information on how to apply, call The Business Information Center at (801) 629-8913.
Application Deadlines: July 31, 2009

Winners will be selected: September 11, 2009"

The Mayor wants to cut the $50,000 to the Union Station that helps with maintenance and minor repairs and incidentals, but he is back at his old game of finding a way to give his "friends" (maybe another Geiger) $10,000. of taxpayer money. In such a tight ecomony, he can't find anything for employees or provide the services to the community that are the city's responsibility, but he can find money to give his "friends!" Someone needs to send Godfrey back to Kindergarten. Maybe then some of the things that we learn there might enter that thick skull!

Curmudgeon said...

The Standard Examiner has posted a story, by Scott Schwebke, on an NAACP rally to save the Marshall White Center. Link here. Here's the lede:

OGDEN -- Under the shade of a leafy tree more than 50 people gathered Thursday to prepare for what they believe may be a heated battle to keep the Marshall White Community Center in the city's hands. The rally held on the center's grounds was organized by the Ogden Chapter of the NAACP which opposes a proposal by the city's administration to transfer management of the facility to the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership.

Dorrene Jeske said...

Curm,

Thanks for the news! Also, the Council has the Marshall White Center on our work meeting agenda on June 11th before the budget is approved on June16th. Hopefully by then, we will know what plans the Mayor and OWCAP have for the Center.

Another issue of great concaern to many in the community,the 36th St. CIP Amendment is tentatively scheduled for our work session on June 18th. The Mayor is scheduled to attend this work session to answer concerns and questions the Council members have.

As always the work sessions are open to the public or you may voice your concerns to a council member before hand.

naysayer said...

tv news channel 13 had a story tonight on the mwc. story ended with the reporter talking to patterson.
patterson says the naysayers have twisted the facts and that the pool will be staying open. seems to me that patterson has twisted the fact based on the impressions left by him and godfrey in the standard on the fate of the pool.
which is it patterson pool or no pool. on tv its pool and in press its no pool. im a little confused.

Curmudgeon said...

Naysayer:

And of course, as we all now know, what Mr. Patterson says to the press on one day can be reversed by his boss the very next day. Recall Patterson's assurances that money for the MWC was escrowed in the budget, and merely had to be released if the lease fell through. Next morning, Hizzonah da Mayor had to correct him; the MWC operating funds had in fact been zeroed out by the mayor in his proposed budget. Nary a dime left.

Strangely, on that occasion, Mr. Patterson did not call the Mayor a "naysayer." Imagine that.

Ozboy said...

Off topic here, but I just read the latest chapter in the evolving story of this Koerber pyramid schemer, his state legislator buddy and the State Attorney General who had lunch a short time before the Attorney General's office declined the State Securities Division's request to prosecute the same Koerber pyramider. The State Securities Division then forwarded the investigation to the Feds who are now prosecuting - based on the evidence that Attorney General Shurtliff said was insufficient to prosecute on. And the beat goes on!

The KSL story is here: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=6638121

I am looking forward to the always good analysis of these events from the ever astute WCF readers.

Curmudgeon said...

Oz:
Thanks very much for the pointer to the KSL story. The roaches are scurrying for cover as the light shines in. State Rep. Wimmer, Koerber's personal state legislator, who arranged the cozy little breakfast meeting between Koerber and Shurtleff designed apparently to get the state to back off its investigation of Koerber, now claims "I mostly ate breakfast and didn't pay attention." Sure. Right. Arranged the meeting for his campaign supporter and right-wing buddy, and then concentrated on his scrambled eggs and didn't hear a word. I believe that. And in the tooth fairy too.

Shurtleff tried immediate denial, but when KSL went after documents to fact check Shurtleff's denials [Standard Examiner please note], Shurtleff changed his story as fast as Mayor Godfrey changes flak-and-spin by his CAO Patterson. And that means fast. From the KSL story:

Shurtleff's spokesman declined an interview request Wednesday but confirmed the meeting, saying, "They had breakfast. The attorney general heard this guy complain, and that was the end of it." He told us the Attorney General's Office did ask the Utah Division of Securities for more information about the case but, quote: "We didn't get any."

KSL filed records requests with both the Division of Securities, which was investigating Koerber, and the attorney general to see if we could verify that. Late Thursday afternoon, the Attorney General's Office changed its story. Its spokesman now says he "misspoke" and "the Division of Securities had drafted a civil action against Koerber," but the Attorney General's Office didn't pursue it, citing a lack of "evidence."
Uh oh. The Utah Republican Party's version of "omerta" seems to be unraveling and it's approaching "every man for himself" time.

This could get really interesting. Especially since KSL seems to think its responsibilities as a news operation permitted it to use GRAMA to fact-check Shurtleff's claims. Imagine what might happen if other news operations [which shall remain nameless but whose initials are SE] did the same as a matter of course on Ogden government stories.

Clint said...

If Godfrey succeeds in shutting down the Marshall White Center, it will set Ogden race relations back fifty years.

I lived in Ogden in the sixties.

We definitely don't want to go back there.

Ozboy said...

Time out! I need to pop up some corn and settle in a bit, this could be a good show!

Thanks Mr. Curmudgeon, you never disappoint with your take on scripts like this.

It is a bit sad to think that some news papers, particularly in Ogden, are in the situation where they are afraid, or cannot afford, to expose political shenanigans, and worse yet get outshone by local TeeVee news and their 30 second story format.

This incident and Shurtliff's handling of, and his attitude toward it reminded me of the time that a committee of tried, true and upstanding citizens of Ogden arranged an appointment, without the help of a friendly Republican legislatore, with the "AG" by themselves. They had collected a large body of evidence that might show criminal conduct on the part of certain city officials of the current administration and they wanted to ask the State Atty General to look into it. The appointment was made and due to the importance the Attorney General placed on the matter, the committee of citizens were assigned to the newest and lowest para-legal on staff. The lawyer in training had already learned the lessons of placating the public very well and was able to keep the whole matter contained at that level. No attorney or investigator were ever aloud to review the matter.

I'm sure that had that committee been hooked up with the AG by a friendly GOP legislator they would have met with the big guy hisself - before being blown off.

I guess in the "real world" of Utah politics an AG with ambition has to pick and choose his battles.

It will be interesting to see how the other Utah media handle this story. I Wonder how this will wash with Shurtliff's Washington ambitions?

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