Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wednesday Morning City Council Meeting Post Mortem

Piecing the story together: Boss Godfrey blows his top, et cetera

Just as we predicted on Monday, there was reportedly plenty of interesting action at last night's city council session. Inasmuch as nobody has sent us a comprehensive report however, we'll try to piece it all together from several other slightly more fragmented sources:

1) For starters, Scott Schwebke provides more evidence that Boss Godfrey may be completely "losing it;" and spotlights our Emerald City mayor's latest highly entertaining antics, in this morning's Standard-Examiner story. Read Mr. Schwebke's report about Godfrey's most inelegant public meltdown here:
2) Apparently "a lot more went on at the council meeting than is described in this article," as Dan S. sets forth in his following remarks under the Std-Ex comments section. Among other things, the Council did conduct some actual business, although Godfrey also hogged a little more time, and mustered up more venom, to gratuitously administer "tongue lashings" to several Emerald City citizens too, according to Dan's brief bullet point narrative:
  • The council approved a $300,000 federal stimulus grant application to fix up some retail space on the east side of Washington. Council member Wicks voted no, because this would benefit a property owner who is delinquent in paying property tax. Council member Johnson recused himself because one of the property owners is a client of his.
  • The council approved a $4/month sewer rate increase, passing along to customers an increase in what the city is being charged by the sewer district.
  • The council passed an ordinance putting new restrictions on accessory buildings (such as sheds) on residential lots.
  • The council tabled the campaign financing disclosure ordinance, after agreeing to try to strengthen it in several ways.
  • Besides lashing out at Garcia, the mayor personally attacked two citizens (one was me) who had spoken on certain issues.
3) We would also like to deliver our high compliments to Gentle Dan, who delivered Twitter-style real time updates last night, straight from the council chambers, via his trusty iPhone. We thought Dan's approach was quite innovative; and we're hoping to encourage and promote more of this "live blogging" technique in the future. In fact, we're making a note to ourself to make a conscientious effort to accomplish just that. You can read Dan's comments, by starting out with this post, and then scrolling down from there:
That's it for now, gentle readers. But we do invite anyone else to chime in with their own reports, anecdotes and observations.

Have at it, Emerald City Lumpencitizens.


what would jesus say said...

Godfrey's outbursts show what an immature and incompetent leader he is.
There is a time for confrontation about subjects, but airing the dirt in a public forum is truly unprofessional and childish.

I also have a hard time believing the comments the Mayor made about lying, when he is the worst offender.

blackrulon said...

What is the status of the increased sewer charge? My total Ogden City utility bill has increased +99% from April 2002 to May 2009. I conserve water (never exceed miminum amount allowed) recycle whenever possible and take my green waste to the city recycling station. My service has not become +99% improved. Despite the mayors claim of no tax increases my cost has nearly doubled. What have I gained with these increased costs?

Tom said...

It is rather amusing that Mayor Godfrey, the most prolific liar in Ogden government history, has the arrogance to accuse any one else of being a liar!

I know the honorable Jesse Garcia and he is no liar. I know the dishonorable Mayor and I can guarantee you that he is.

The late, great Johnny Ace said...

I'm sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

I've had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

Keisha said...

It's also fascinating to catch a glimpse of the thorougly nasty creature which resides under Godfrey's phony choir-boy veneer.

Bill C. said...

I'm sure it was just a little premeditated, lying little matty's assault on Garcia last night. He's done it before, as a distraction that Schwebke always falls for which results in becoming his coverage the next day. It's funny to hear the master liar throw out such ludicrous charges of falsehoods at the members of the Council followed by a statement that he's going to hold them to account from now on. This from the very mouth that has never been truthfull with the Council, a fact well documented, even by the gondola examiner.
It's no wonder that lying little matty would want to have the focus on the Marshall White Center, an argument he may have a slight majority of public opinion, sad but possibly true. The last thing he would want all over the front page is the discussion of campain reform, it could lead to the publication of a very long list of what could very well be criminal activities by him and his supporters, something they've for the large part avoided so far.
Curm, you can continue to appologize for the gondola examiner and Andy Howell all you want, but here is another fine example of their passive cover-up.

Curmudgeon said...


Hizzonah is usually well-composed and in control of himself on public occasions. I'm wondering if his embarrassing loss-of composure last night is a sign that the wheels are coming off the Godfrey Wagon, and he knows it. That his actions in office, and their consequences, and the fact that he's demonstrated to the Council and the rest of the city that his word is no good [reneging on his agreement with the Council re: assigning legislation to be worked on by City lobbyist] have undermined his credibility not only with the Council, but with a good part of the Ogden business community that was once solidly in his corner. Did anyone else detect an overtone of desperation in his unseemly performance last night?

I don't hear nearly as much uncompromising support for Hizzonah and his administration from the Chamber of Commerce clique as I used to.

You can't manage a city by favoritism, bullying, secrecy and dissembling and not have it come back to haunt you eventually. I wonder if last night's temper tantrum isn't a sign that for Mayor Matthew Godfrey "eventually" is now. And he knows it.

Ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

Nice thought - the mayor realizing the wheels are coming off - but I somehow doubt that his overwhelming hubris would allow him to recognize that truth. It seems that every thought he has, every public statement he makes, every thing he does is filtered through that dense layer of arrogance and false sense of superiority.

I do not think we will ever see him admit to any mistakes. He will always have excuses as to how his failures are some one else's fault. That is one of the hallmarks of true losers, they never take ownership of their faults therefore they never learn from their mistakes and so are destined to keep repeating them.

Curmudgeon said...


You wrote: "Curm, you can continue to apologize for the gondola examiner and Andy Howell all you want, but here is another fine example of their passive cover-up.

Oh, I don't think so, Bill. Writing to a close deadline [the story was posted on line by midnight], the SE went with the fireworks. I suspect many, if not most papers would have. [Though I wouldn't have. The Mayor's embarrassing performance would have been in the story, but not the core of it and certainly not the lede.]

If the SE's reasoning was: "go with the MWC story because, if we are to cover only one Council Meeting story via quick write-up, that's the one most readers will want to know about," I think they're probably right. I suspect more of their readers are interested in the MWC matter as opposed to the campaign finance reform ordinance.

That doesn't mean my Ideal Hometown Newspaper [The Curmudgeon Daily Intelligencer and Price Current] would have made the same decision. News judgment these days requires a delicate dance in the narrow zone between what readers want to know and what they need to know [or put a little differently, what they ought to want to know.] The Curmudgeon Daily Intelligencer and Price Current would have split the story with a brief summary of the news about the MWC [pool closing] and the Mayor's bad behavior, a brief summary about the putting off of the campaign finance ordinance and why, followed by a teaser promising fuller a fuller account of the Council Meeting in Thursday's paper.

But I don't think you can argue with the fact that more of its readers probably wanted to know about the MWC matter than the campaign finance reform matter.

Hell, Bill, probably a good number of readers would have preferred these headlines:

Mayor Says Jon Cheated on Kate! Angry Garcia Says Jon Faithful, Kate Strayed! "What About The Children?" Wicks Asks?

Bill C. said...

Curm, if that were true, the gondola examiner would have run a front page article and headline on the mayor slapping his wife in the patrol car. It was well documented on Bruce Edwards windows for 3 years, a full deposition of an Ogden City policeman.

Ed J said...

Bill C said,

"the gondola examiner would have run a front page article and headline on the mayor slapping his wife in the patrol car. It was well documented on Bruce Edwards windows for 3 years, a full deposition of an Ogden City policeman"

Bill C - what are you talking about?

Curmudgeon said...


Sorry, Bill, but I think you're comparing apples to rutabagas. The events at the Council meeting were public events, on the record, and all related to the conduct of the public's business. What you're describing above is a domestic problem. If it reached the point of charges being filed, or divorce papers, or someone needing medical attention as a result, I'd report it. But probably not otherwise.

I'd agree, absolutely, that there is no justification ever --- beyond self defense that is --- for a man hitting a woman. But it's not news every time it happens either. Maybe on "E!" but not in the daily paper.

Any newspaper, any news operation, print or electronic, has to make decisions about what is primarily private conduct [which the public has no reasonable need to know, and certainly no particular right to know, regardless of how juicy a bit of gossip it might be and how many people might get a delicious little thrill knowing it] and what is not.

I wouldn't have printed that story either, Bill.

what would jesus say said...

Hey Blackrulon, Godfrey claims to have not raised taxes since in office. My property taxes to the City went up %250.00 this last November. High water fees, sewer fees, that means higher taxes to me.

what would jesus say said...

Should be $250.00

Ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

Where can I subscribe?

The "Curmudgeon DIPCee"! Who said print journalism is dead? Why just when the whole industry is hanging by a thread along comes Mr. C and saves it. Pure genius that man is.

In regard to your comment to Bill C. - I would suggest that here in the "up is down and black is white" world of the Godfreyites apples and rutabagas are in fact the same thing - as long as the Mayor says so.

Curious 1 said...

Since the mayor stated that MWC pool will close on Jan 1 and being that Golds Gym is being subsidized by the city then all those using MWC should have free passes. I base this on observations that the city pays for more of the lease than Golds Gym for the building. So as tax payers do we own 100% of the Solomon Center and if so then the City Council should demand public use.

The taxpayers has repaired the flowrider for more than running the MWC for a year. Less people use the flowrider in a year that would use the MWC in a month.

If the administration can fund Solomon Center repairs, find money for the repair of the information train from a slush fund, and keep using BDO funds for bond payments instead of lowering our water and sewer bills then funding for the MWC is a no brainer for a smart city.

taxpayer said...

Curious-Unfortunately for us we are not being run as a "smart city". Business men in the proper circle of friends don't even have to pay their taxes to get the city to go to bat for them for federal funding, while the average citizen who lets his lawn get too dry or too long better open up his wallet to pay.

Wm III said...

Who's the delinquent property owner rec'ving the money?

George K said...

You are right. It was an interesting although long meeting last night. The crowd broke out in laughter during the campaign reform discussion that referred often to the fact that Ogden was fashioning their ordinance after Salt Lake's when Councilwoman Jeske remarked that the political environment in Ogden differed greatly from Salt Lake's and Attorney Williams remarked that he definitely had to agree with her. That was the only light moment in a rather tense 3-hour long meeting.

Several ladies who participate in the senior's water aerobics spoke again in defense of keeping the pool open.

The Mayor was not the only one who lost his cool last night. Council member Johnson took a minute to vent his his frustration saying that he was tired of hearing accusations and innuendos by a small group of Ogden citizens during the Council's comment period. I guess if he can't take the heat which he generated in my opinion, he shouldn't run again this fall.

During the Council's comment period, Vice Chair Gochnour said that she felt that the Marshall White swimming pool, the only year-round pool that Ogden City has, was too important an asset to close down and turn into classrooms which is Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership's plan. Vice Chair Gochnour stated that there numerous places where classrooms were available, but not swimming pools. Councilwoman Jeske said that she agreed with Vice Chair Gochnour.

Bill Cook said that the Council had received a copy of the MWC/OWCAP contract in the office yesterday afternoon.

It is my opinion that we have not heard the last of the MWC's struggle to stay intact.

History is truth! said...

Well if the Godfrey wants the truth, we will see if he can handle the truth, when all this goes to the police in one form or another. Boy did the little boy open his mouth once too many times. I have had it with this guy and now I'm going to see that the truth comes out.

woodstein said...

Listen to Godfrey go ballistic at Tuesday's council meeting

Anonymous said...

Nice link!

Fan of the Weber County Assessor website said...

Wm III said...

Who's the delinquent property owner rec'ving the money?

This is all public information obtained from the Weber County Assessor website. I am assuming only one council member took the time to look into who Ogden is entering into a business venture funded by taxpayer dollars with.

2314 WASHINGTON BLVD (delinquent taxes- $5,018.76)
Powder Puff LLC
EDEN UT 84310
Registered owner of the property since October 2006. 2008 taxes were actually paid. Amount owed appears to be from 2007.
Only one of the properties listed below is technically involved with the project, but both connected buildings have the same ownership:
2324 WASHINGTON BLVD (delinquent taxes- $4336.67)
2318 WASHINGTON BLVD (delinquent taxes-$4,419.83)
MN VALLEY CA 94941 (should be Mill Valley according to postal code)
Registered owner of the properties since November 2007- looks like property taxes on both parcels have not been paid since current owner purchased the property.
2326 WASHINGTON BLVD (delinquent taxes-$3,306.01)
OGDEN UT 84403
Property owner since October 2004

Looks like there are other delinquent properties on the block- the parcel owned by London Connection LLC ($2,863.68).

Want to find out more about the ambiguous LLC organizations? Search at:

Dan McEntee of South Ogden(you may recognize the name from the Bingham Cyclery riverfront project) is the registered agent for OGDEN PROPERTIES IV LLC.

Interesting stuff.

Curmudgeon said...

So, the much-maligned SE, accused yet again of running interference for Hizzonah, has put up an audio link to Hizzonah's embarrassing temper trantrum so that folks can hear for themselves.... Imagine that.

George K said...

Fan of the Weber County Assessor website,

Thank you for the great post and very interesting information.


Planning Commission meeting tonight to discuss the 36th Street water tank project.

Bill C. said...

Ok Curm, I may have picked a less provacative example, but that one just popped into my head. I concur, men that hit women deserve no, zero, respect, and I find it hard to believe that the faithfull living on the east bench don't share our sentiments. I had heard that wife beating was condoned and expected in the religion of Mohamed, but I didn't think it was also a tenet here in Zion. Perhaps its unavoidable when maintaining 3-4 wives, and since polygamy was abandonned it just got overlooked.
But my point is, you say you expect the gondola examiner to respond like a tabloid instead of actually printing real news that has and does affect the whole community.
The real story is along the lines of Catlyn's comments, which are very consistant with what Jessie was saying. This is the only opportunity available and it should not even be discussed without an equal alternative. All programs should remain and continue under any agreement, or there should be none.
Someone should try a little demographic breakdown, and lets see what's really going on.
Ogden is somewhere between 30-40 % hispanic, add to that the percentage of black people and you have almost half your constituants.
Now the Marshall White Center was established to serve the less fortunate, mostly from those demographic groups as a subsidized recreational opportunity, the only one in Northern Utah. What percentage of Ogden City's budget does the 350,000 to half a million required spending to maintain and run the programs and facility represent? This money is about all those demographic groups recieve in specialized spending,as opposed to how many millions this insane sociopathic liar wants to spend on the possibly 1-2 % of half crazed adrenaline junkies by providing artificial indoor cheep imatations of outdoor activities that they think look fun on tee-vee, yet have never really tried, and the artificial indoor approach is the only way for someone to turn a buck on them. That someone always seems to be a campain contributer to the lying little sociopath as well.

Bill C. said...

One more comment from the SE audio link. Does Blain Johnson really expect folks to believe he has gained all these new clients because of his long storied career in the legal proffession? It couldn't be his position on the Council,RDA and of course extreme coziness with the mayor and his cronies, could it?

MWC Fitnes Fanatic said...

I was at the council meeting June 2 and the premeeting meeting. As a citizen new to this arena, I felt the SE article by Schwebke was pretty accurate and straight-forward. The mayor's outragious harangue did overshadow, in the article, the issues of the day, especially the one I was interested in, MWC. The premeeting work session was uneventful.

The new programs listed are fine, if the idea is to change the whole focus of MWC from a recreation center for the community to a reform center for problem citizens and citizens with problems. As it is currently set up, membership doesn't imply anything negative.

Six more months is great, but we need to exercise for a lot longer than that. Ben Lomond HS pool is much farther away for most and not available in the morning.

Can't Head-Start put classrooms at Grammercy School? All the students there will be going to the new school being built in my neighborhood, Shadow Valley (which initially they said would be a park with a walking trail).

I've only been to two (2) meetings and I definitely get the feeling the mayor is the problem. I wish all my self-reichous neighbors could see that. (How do you spell that word???)

wcforum is great. It's writers all seem to agree with my opinions. hmmm....

It seems to me, having both the Solomon Center and the Marshall White center provides a good balance for the city's recreational needs.

A safe track to walk on would also be useful with a "19th hole" selling healthful foods (non-processed fruits, vegies, whole grain items and non-dairy choices).

Curmudgeon said...


You wrote: But my point is, you say you expect the gondola examiner to respond like a tabloid instead of actually printing real news that has and does affect the whole community.

You're putting words into my mouth, Bill. I did NOT say I expected the SE to "respond like a tabloid." I said it had a choice between reporting the MWC story out of the Council meeting OR the campaign finance ordinance story [given its "one story line only" police on late council meeting reporting], and that the SE, not unreasonably, choose out of those two the story that probably more readers were interested in. Neither choice would have involved "responding like a tabloid."

I did say, and still think, they let the Mayor's intemperate rant take over too much of the story, and become the lede when it should not have been. Said that last night on the SE site, and again today here. But when an elected official goes off like that at a public meeting, gotta tell ya, Bill, I know of very few papers --- real daily papers ---- that would not make that a major element of their story.

We don't disagree about the MWC and the importance of keeping it open and all its current programs operating, Bill. My only disagreement with you is your trying to make the SE's story evidence of pro-Godfrey bias. It's pretty thin gruel for that purpose.

Danny said...

On April 29th the SE ran an article where Godfrey was being asked about the Marshall White pool, and Godfrey was reassuring people.

On May 23rd, the SE ran and article where Godfrey was saying that any closure of the pool would be carefully weighed for pros and cons, and he seemed to indicated the pool was to stay open.

Now, on June 3rd Godfrey lashes out at Garcia, calling him a liar in public. Also, in that article we read Godfrey's intention is to close the pool after all, early next year.

It seems pretty obvious Godfrey is the liar. When somebody notices he is lying, all Godfrey does is call the other person a liar and yell at him in public like the juvenile Godfrey is and has always been.

Godfrey, always incompetent at finance and management, is becoming incompetent at lying, deception, and manipulation as well.

Or perhaps, it's just getting harder for him because everyone - EVERYONE - knows he's a liar now.

How can anyone - ANYONE - do business with a known liar, who will cut anyone's throat, and make a fool out of himself at any moment? How can Godfrey now be effective at anything?

BTW, it is nice the SE is here to cover these things and the WCF is here to fill in the many blanks.

Dan S. said...

Up above, "meeting alert" mentions tonight's planning commission meeting. Unfortunately I wasn't able to rearrange my schedule to attend this meeting. But I just looked for the meeting agenda on the city's web site and it's not there. Has anyone seen the agenda? Does anyone know exactly what the planning commission is being asked to do with regard to the water tanks?

Curmudgeon said...

Fitness Fanatic:

Thanks for the eyewitness report.

BAT_girl said...

Mr. Schwebke's article is drawing good comment queue. Don't miss it:

AND thanks again, Fitness Fanatic, for your user report on MWC. Get some more friends and users of MWC to report their desire to keep MWC and its pool open as a fitness center. Lots of Ogden City Council members read these WCF comment queues.

Monotreme said...


We have some pretty clever and funny people in Ogden, don't we?

Strange that none of them seem to be big fans of the Mayor, whose only supporters could fairly be described as soulless jerks.

Table this table that said...

You should have been at the Ogden City Planning Commission meeting tonight. Passed the Ogden East Central Community Plan. Tabled Union Square phase 2 due to design problems. Tabled water tanks due to lack of information. Someone in attendance who challenged the plan and the commission listened and wants more information. Some concerned commissioners and distraught city engineers trying to defend the plan. That in a nutshell on five hours meeting. Will have work session on it in a few weeks then back on the agenda. Some interesting stuff. You shoulda been there...

Dan S. said...


Thanks for the report. I'm glad the public will have more time to provide comments on the water tanks.

Dan S. said...

Strange: On the Ogden City web site, under the Government menu, a link has been added at the very top to "Audio Excerpt Council Meeting (6-2-09)". It's a large file and I don't have time to download it now, but I'm guessing it's the exchange between Godfrey and Garcia. Why would the mayor want that posted on the city's web site?

Curmudgeon said...

Anyone know if work has stopped on the altered water tank project that the Mayor ordered without obtaining the prior approval of the planning commission and Council that the city attorney ruled he should have gotten and still needs?

Danny said...


Perhaps Godfrey is so clueless that he thinks that audio link is favorable to him, as crazy as that sounds. Godfrey may be really losing it. It's obvious Garcia is on the level and the mumbling mayor is trying to trap him. Godfrey failed to do so, and is so stupid he is confusing what his goal was with what actually happened.

It looks like Godfrey is trying to slander Garcia before a city council election, just like he did last time! Godfrey is getting to be so tired, stupid, and predictable.


It sounds like the Planning Commission has stopped Godfrey's tank project for now. If so, then perhaps the part time city council members have outmaneuvered Godfrey and his full-time, million dollar staff. In doing so, they have stopped Godfrey from using water money to start his golf course redo and have interrupted his plan to sell the city bench land to a hotel and condo developer.

Which, as Godfrey tries to go forward with it, illustrates yet again what a liar Godfrey is, since he said, in writing that he would leave the golf course alone and would not develop city bench land, in order to win the last election, which he did by only a very small margin.

On another subject, on the SE site somebody asks how Godfrey, a reflexive liar, can have a temple recommend. Well, not only that, word is he is now on the "high council" of one of the LDS stakes in Ogden, serving under a "stake presidency" comprised of big fans of his. It appears not only do they give him a recommend, the "stake presidency" are using a high visibility church calling to try to rehabilitate his image to the people of that stake and Ogden generally.

Curmudgeon said...

Table This/That:

Thanks for the summary of the PC meeting. Interesting that the Mayor could not get his pet by-fiat alteration of the water tanks project fast-tracked through the Planning Commission. Kudoes to the Commission for insisting that it receive all the information it deems necessary before reaching a decision. The commission may ultimately decided to recommend the changes the Mayor arbitrarily made as sound ones. I don't know. But whatever decision the PC ultimately makes will carry with it more credibility because the Commission insisted on practicing what the Godfrey administration so rarely does: research first, then conclusions.

Could what happened at the PC meeting last night be more evidence that general confidence in the Mayor's judgment is eroding? That his long record of poor decisions and imperious conduct is coming home to roost? That his assurances, which have so often proven to be not worth much, are no longer being accepted at face value by some who, some years ago, might have accepted them with few questions?

Are the wheels coming off the Godfrey Wagon?

Curmudgeon said...


We agree on much about which you posted, compadre. But we part company when you comment on the Mayor's standing in his church. The Mayor's relationship with his church, and specifically who that church gives a temple recommend to and who it does not, is (a) Matt Godfrey's business and (b) the LDS Church's business. It is absolutely none of mine, since I'm not LDS. Nor is it the general public's business.

Danny said...


Sadly, when church leaders try to rehabilitate a political figure using the church it is the public's business in the sense that if reflects adversely on the public's view of the church.

Your statement about it not being your business is valid, but you cannot say what is the public's business. The public decides that, not you.

Curmudgeon said...

Comment moved to front page

Table this table that said...

The city planning commissioners were asking some very direct questions about why this plan was needed costing over 9million dollars versus what this citizen who is a professional on tank and pipe engineering gave a presentation and alternate ideas that would cost less then 2million and solve the probllems of storage and pressure. The city engineers were frustrated and fumbling at this mans information and the planning commissions desire to hear more. The chair asked directly to Greg Montgomery if there was a hidden agenda in this proposal. He said he know none and was very quiet during this presentation. You can tell they smell something fishy as many of them expressed the concern of the cost and the potential environmental disruption to get this done and some unknown reasons that do not seem to be apparent. Much of the justification is based on future growth. Future growth where? The only place in this area is above Mount Ogden golf course. The engineers talk about WSU future growth and the hospitals needs. It appears as a smoke screen. These poor guys have to face the bosses today and you could see when they walked out like their jobs were on the line and marching to the guillotine. I urge those who understand this subject and have information that you come to the next city planning commission meeting in July. The work session does not let guests speak but listen in on the session which is scheduled in two weeks. They invited this gentleman to come and give a presentation of ideas which you could tell the engineers were not happy about. Now isn't that an interesting idea, to listen to alternative ideas. What the city wanted was to get approval quickly since the second tank to go up higher then the 5million gallon tank isn't in the c.i.p. and needs city planning approval to get it to city council to add to the budget. Please attend. Too many questions need to be answered. This is crucial and is on the plate now.

Anonymous said...

Aint no way anyone is going to build any higher on the bench, at least for a generation.

Let us repeat: No. Way.

Let our grandchildren reap the windfall profits of the shortsighted transfer of city property to a new mayors friends.
Mr. Godfrey has had enough backroom sluice to last his family well into 2020.

Enough is enough.
We don't want to fund every child of a developers private college experience.

And, leave the animal habitat alone.

You hear that, Mr. Godfrey?
No. Way.

Curmudgeon said...


The church's involvement, as a powerful political institution in Utah, in framing public policy --- e.g. the liquor laws --- absolutely is the public's business. But an individual's relationship to his church --- Mayor Godfrey's to the LDS Church or anyone else's to that or another church --- is not. That much, or even most, of the public would like to know something does not make that something legitimately the public's business.

Dan S. said...

Curm: I see your point but I'm having trouble drawing a line in the right place.

To pick a hypothetical example from outside Utah, what if John Kerry had been elected president and then the Catholic Church had threatened to excommunicate him if he didn't appoint a "pro-life" justice to the Supreme Court? (I'm not saying that would have happened--just what if.) Then would the president's relationship to his church be the public's business (in the sense that the news media should report it)?

Curmudgeon said...


Yes, because the Church would be trying to materially affect public policy by its threatening excommunication. But [to keep with your Kerry/Catholic example, and again, hypothetically speaking] if some enterprising scandal monger discovered that Kerry's priest learned he'd not been to confession in the last six months, and warned him his immortal soul was in peril, that would be none of the public's business.

I was thinking of the point Danny raised largely in terms of how a newspaper might [should] treat the matter. Curmudgeon's Daily Intelligencer & Price Current would not print anything regarding Godfrey and a temple recommend [on ground it's an entirely private matter, even though he is a public person]. It would print the excommunication threat story because it's an attempt by a church to affect public policy. It would not print the Kerry-missing-Mass matter because, again, it's a wholly private matter, even though he's a public person.

Public persons, even presidential candidates, even presidents, have a right to privacy involving wholly private matters. I wish more of them would just flat out say now and then to nosy interviewers "that's none of your business." And even a firm "that's none of your damned business" now and then would not be amiss.

Dan S. said...


Ok so far, but now what if (in the same hypothetical situation) there's no proof that the church is formally threatening the president with excommunication, but there are rumors circulating that the he is being pressured by the church? How credible do the rumors have to be before Curmudgeon's Daily Intelligencer & Price Current starts asking questions?

Curmudgeon said...


If they're credible, they're not rumors. They're credible reports. Unless you're publishing the modern equivalent of Hedda Hopper's column [CDI&PC would not, of course], rumors shouldn't get printed until they're confirmed enough to no longer be rumor but have become "credible reports."

CDI&PC's reporters would start asking questions about a rumor right away. That's what good papers, and reporters, do: track down and check out rumors until they become, if there's anything to them, credible reports. But they don't see the light of print until then.

Un-checked and un-corroborated rumors don't get printed at CDI&PC. Not even really really really juicy ones. Not even if they're about Hizzonah. Or Orin Hatch. Or Dick Chaney. [ No, not even then.]

Ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

I am having a difficult time understanding your take on the Church and their position in Utah. I would say that the overwhelming number of things the church does, and gets involved with, has a lot to do with "materially affecting public policy" which seems to be the central point in your above discussion with Dan.

The "Church" is the most PR Savvy organization in the whole country. There is very little that happens within the Church that does not get vetted by the PR department. The greatest and most righteous (in my opinion) leader in the Church history - the late and great Gordon Hinckley - was a career PR man, and his replacement President Monson has been an apt student of the art for 50 years of serving under him. In other words the church is all about PR and swaying public opinion including as it pertains to who gets called to which calling.

Appointing the Mayor to a high position, given his notoriety as a major league public liar, is almost certainly an effort by the higher ups to sanitize his reputation and thus that of the church.

How long you lived here anyway? I mean this is basic Church/State 101 here in the land of Zion.

Curmudgeon said...


We're in agreement right up to your penultimate paragraph. Then we part company. I've seen local church politics [meaning within congregations, not The Church as an institution] in several states now: Protestant version [several brands], Catholic version, Jewish version. Lots of things involved. Egos, disagreements about congregational matters [usually to build or not to build], ambitions, even family connections. To assume that what goes on in a local congregation necessarily [or even probably] involves High Church-As-Institution intentions seems to me doubtful. Even in Utah.

This whole discussion got started over the question of whether Mr. G. had a temple recommend was any of the public's business. That seemed to me at the start, seems to me now, an entirely personal matter between Mr. G. and his congregation. Not news, and none of the public's business. Or mine.

Been here eight years, Oz. Not a bulb-eater, but not exactly just off the boat [prairie schooner] either.

Ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

There are churches and then there is "The Church". Very little of what you related about your experiences and observations really fits "The Church". It is a world unto itself. Also I am not assuming anything, I know as does most every one who was born into it what the real deal is. Having a Temple recommend is in fact every ones business contrary to what you may "assume". The Church membership and the vast majority of voters in Utah are one and the same which of course is why we keep electing people like Godfrey, Bramble, Clark, Valentine and their ilk.
Bottom line is you are an outsider and just simply do not know what goes on in the inside and your assumptions are not accurate.

curious gentile said...


Ozboy has a point. I see a couple of problems that must be worse in Utah than other states. For one thing, most politicians are not just church members but hold positions of authority in the church. Therefore they can use their church connections to push their political agenda. I wouldn't have a problem with that except churches are supposed to stay out of politics if they want to keep their tax exempt status. Also the LDS church controls its members more than other churches do. They won't excommunicate a politician for voting the wrong way, but they can still punish him. As a voter I want to know what role the LDS church is playing in politics so I think newspapers should tell us what church positions politicians hold.

Curmudgeon said...


Possibly, Oz, possibly. But I don't think so. Once you get down to the local level, seems to me, folks is folks more often than not. Of course "The Church" in Utah is a powerful political institution, just as the Catholic Church is a powerful political institution in Boston [and therefor in Massachusetts], or in New Mexico, and as the Baptist Church [several varieties thereof] is in darkest Mississippi. But in none of those instances, or in Utah, should a person's personal standing in his or her own faith be a public matter. I'm hard put to think of what might be more a private matter than that. And any voter --- of any faith --- who refuses to vote for a candidate who is not "right with God" [by the voter's own definition of what that might mean] is downright un-American. The founders decreed that there be no religious test for holding office for very good reasons. "He's not a good Mormon" is no more a sound reason to vote against a candidate in Utah than "he is a good Mormon" is a sound reason to vote for him.

Sadly, many voters are un-American on election day by that standard. I know that as well as you do [and not only in Utah by any means]. However, that fact in no way makes it a good idea in public discussion to begin parsing the state of a candidate's --- or a mayor's --- standing in his church.

As for newcomer false assumptions: I've noticed, Oz [and I am not attributing this to you, but others who post here and elsewhere] a tendency to assume that whatever it is they don't like that's going on is, somehow, traceable to and blameable on the LDS Church. We see a lot of that every time a scam artist preys on gullible LDS investors by touting his own religiosity. [E.g. Mr. Southwick.] I've seen the same scams by alleged Baptists in Baptist areas and by alleged Catholics in Catholic areas. But folks there didn't blame the scammingg on the alleged faith of the scammers, as happens with some frequency here. A crook is a crook, and those of them who use religion as a come on and so callously fleece the faithful come in all flavors.

So, Oz, I'd suggest the possibility that some here over-attribute influence to the Church-as-Institution as often, perhaps, as you think I under-attribute it.

Coupled with, not being LDS myself, I'm flat incompetent to even have an opinion as to whether a particular Mormon deserves [or doesn't] a Temple recommend. It's not only none of my business. Not being one of the faithful, I'm no more competent to judge that than I'm competent to judge whether a Catholic is in a sufficient state of grace to receive communion with sinning.

We have lots to discuss in re: Hizzonah's mismanagement of Ogden City. Lots to discuss in re: his bumbling incompetence at public administration. And on much regarding both topics, we agree, Oz. Getting involved in discussing Temple recommends seems to me not only none of my [or the public's] business, it seems a useless distraction from much more important matters.

BAT_girl said...

curious gentile:

Thanks for your above comment on separation of church and state. UTAH needs a lot of help in that domain.

Time for a Ogden City Mayor who is gentile and not from Utah.

I am glad I do not live in SLC. I like the demographics in O-TOWN/ Weber much better. I am very excited to be working for the 2010 federal census in Weber county.

Curmudgeon said...


You wrote: I think newspapers should tell us what church positions politicians hold.

This hardly seems a problem in Utah or anywhere else. Usually one of the first things a candidate lets you know in his propaganda is that he's a regular church-goer [whatever the church]. I'm hard put to think of a candidate recently in Utah [any level] who didn't manage to make that known during the campaign.

But I have no problem with papers reporting the a candidate is a member of this or that church. What I don't think is my business is whether candidate X is a good member of this or that church.

As for churches staying out of electoral politics to keep their tax exempt status: I'm with you on this. The rule was challenged by several [mostly fundamentalist] churches in the last election, and will be again. The Bush administration did nothing to enforce the tax code requiring churches [to keep their tax free status] to stay out of electoral politics. It remains to be seen if the Obama Justice Department and IRS will do any different. I am not optimistic.

Ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

You just simply do not get it. There are very few people not born into it that do. You only know what you see from the outside which is only a small part of the real experience. Your comparisons to other churches and your experiences with them do not work. No other church or belief system is like the Mormon church. No other church has the same kind of organizational system and the tentacles of control that go to every level in their member's lives. By the way, I have a great appreciation for the Church and its history and have studies it extensively, from the inside and outside.

But fear not for you too will have the opportunity to accept the gospel after you shuffle off this mortal coil. If you choose to accept the only true church then it will all become clear to you. Don't worry, I will submit your name to the proper authorities for your post life dunking.

As the old saying goes: "Ya better watch out or the Marmons will get you!"

curious gentile said...


Yes, most candidates tell you whether they go to church. But how am I supposed to verify the rumor that Godfrey is on the "high council" or find out who else this gives him authority over? Inquiring minds want to know.

Curmudgeon said...


We're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one, Oz. And your argument that no one not born here could possibly understand is, too, one I've heard in every state I've lived in. Got told it regularly in Louisiana and Illinois and Wisconsin. Sometimes, Oz, people who have not been born into and lived most of their lives in a particular culture can see more, understand better, because they come from a different environment and have had different experiences, than the natives [so to speak]. Not always, but sometimes.

Ciao, paisan. I have to leave now to organize a neighborhood watch. There've been chilling reports that environmentalists have been seen riding bikes only a few blocks away. They'll be on my block soon for sure if we don't step up the patrolling.

Ogden Dem said...

As a LDS member in Ogden and a member of the same LDS stake as Godfrey it is absolutely NOT my business whether he holds a temple recommend or not just as it would not be his business whether I hold a temple recommend or not.

And it should not be an issure on this site!

Ogden Dem said...

Oops - my last line should have read issue not issure.

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