Friday, July 31, 2009

Another "Hot' Night" in "Booming" Emerald City

Leshemville was once again the very "hottest" Godfrey "high adventure" neighborhood again last night... down there in Ogden's Official Arson Zone

By Godfrey's Smarter Cousin

Here's a story which suddenly popped up on the SE live website this afternoon:
Officials question man after fire burns abandoned Ogden home
If you like tall and hot licking flames, glowing coals which used to be inhabited residences... and the faint aromatic hint of airborne asbestos wafting all over Weber County during the wee hours of a hot July Wednesday morning, then 1962 Childs Avenue in Leshemville was YOUR "hap'nin place" late, late last night, fer sher.

Some Emerald City partiers were DEFINITELY NOT limited to whooping it up at da Junk-shun, which is even now already coming off as mundane, square and "broke."

Nope. For those folks who like to spend Emerald City summer nights sitting next to an exciting & glowing outdoor bonfirefire, Leshemville was definitely the place to be in the wee hours of this morning:

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The hanging question, of course is this: When will our visionary mayoral hero do something about this, before some innocent citizen is ultimately burned to death, or before some brave Ogden firefighter (who shouldn't be risking his/her life on stupid rear-guard actions,) is maimed for life or killed, protecting structures which ought to have been bulldozed years ago?

Of course, the Standard-Examiner gave our little mayor a firm dressing down on this subject not so long ago, which advice Boss Godfrey of course blithely ignored:

Unfortunately, the Standard has never again "sassed' "His Worship, Lord Mayor of Ogden" on this topic ever since.

Equally unfortunately, with our pathologically narcissistic Mayor Matthew Godfrey sitting at the Emerald City Wizard's control panel, hiding as he does behind the curtain, the little fella obviously won't process any information which doesn't come in psychically, through that giant high gain antenna, which receives broadcasts straight from Godfrey's Bronze Age God-mentor Hisself, via the antenna Godfrey had surgically implanted by space aliens during his childhood, within his Giant Divining Rod Forehead!

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


Jersey Jim said...

Damn! What ever happened to Jason W. anyway?

Native said...

Dude, what is a "giant diving rod forehead"? It makes no sense.

Are you suggesting that Leshem has hired someone to burn down his houses? Has anyone ever suggested this? Maybe it's true.

RudiZink said...

Re: ""giant diving rod forehead."

LOL. That's "technical jargon," Native,devised by WCF comment humorist Jason W.

OgdenLover said...

Could Jason have meant "divining rod forehead"?

Joe Jones said...

I wonder, has Ben Quick moved to town. I remember that his daddy did a job on good old Will Varner and others and that Ben basically took the heat for all the fired barns and such but in the end, Jodie was the punk in the scheme of things.

Now, for those of you who don't understand. check out "The Long Hot Summer." It somehow seems to apply to Ogden and the Summer of 2009.

Not making light of these fires, for many people are now without homes. The only good I do see them doing is that once in awhile (and pray they don't spread to occupied residences), one of the vacant junk piles in Gadiville goes up in smoke and clears away some unsightly debry.

I wonder why the City just doesn't bulldoze that entire area, clean it up and begin work on the River Parkway, or whatever it's called. Didn't Ogden get some kind of river grant that could be used in this way?

monotreme said...

According to S-E Editor Andy Howell, who apparently is an expert on all things civic and ethical, it's jesss fine to take grant money and use it for whatever purpose a skilled administrator like Mayor Godfrey wants to put it to.

I'm sure the River Project grant has been dumped into the Junction money hole. That's where everything else has gone: golf course, water projects, etc.

Biker Babe said...


that sounds like more fodder for the GRAMA request committee - find out where the money went; it's always about finding out where the money went.


monotreme said...


No point in finding out. It has been clearly established, in the S-E comment thread linked above, that even if money was moved from the River Project grant to other uses, that Flatlander, Andy Howell, and local prosecutors would find nothing wrong with that.

Recall that a similar, well-documented diversion took place with the American Can Building, via the Ogden Community Foundation, and everyone here in ethically-challenged Utah was just fine with that.

If there's no follow-through, then finding out the money was diverted will just result in an angry Monotreme but not accomplish much else.

monotreme said...

Just to follow up, statements like this one from Pureheart Patterson make me just a mite suspicious of what is going to happen with the grant money:

"It's a very worthy project that will have impact on clean water and economic development for the city," [Patterson] said. [Emphasis mine.]

Apparently, it was dumped into the "Economic Development" chute at City Hall, and we all know (or suspect) where that comes out.

Curmudgeon said...


Two points:

1. At no point did I say there was "nothing wrong" with the Administration using the RAMP funds for unauthorized purposes, nor did I suggest that if money was diverted from one project to another without authorization, there would be "nothing wrong" with that. [I don't mind mixing it up here on matters on which we disagree, Mono. But don't make up stands I never took and attribute them to me.]

I did say the RAMP funds matter seemed to me more evidence of incompetence than criminality, and that there seemed to me nearly no chance of a successful prosecution on those grounds. The RAMP funds were not switched by the Mayor to another project. They were, after all, used for the Ice Tower Project, which is what RAMP granted the money for. It just was used for planning/design work [which was not permitted] rather than for construction. That was not permitted, the administration got called on it, and the City had to return the money plus interest, as it should have. But I don't think you're going to have much luck getting folks not already opposed to the Administration fired up about money used for the project it was designed for, just not for the right part of the development and construction process. You can try, of course, but I suspect it's going to look to most non-wonks like malfeasance or incompetence --- a screw-up --- not venality, corruption or criminality. If the Mayor had shifted the money to the gondola, or used it for babes, booze and fast cars, you'd have an effective issue and a good criminal case to make. And if you want to argue incompetence on the evidence, have at it. I'll join you. But not criminality or corruption. The evidence of that, on the RAMP matter, just isn't there.

2. As for this --- "I'm sure the River Project grant has been dumped into the Junction money hole." --- well, Mono, if you can find evidence of this , you'll have nailed them shifting money approved for one project to another one. That's a lot more serious. But it will take evidence, Mono. More than you [or me or anyone else] simply being sure" that's what happened. Nobody's offered any yet. If they find some, you won't find me arguing there was "nothing wrong" with that.

monotreme said...


I hate to argue semantics, but when I say "nothing wrong" I mean "nothing criminal or unethical", which I think is exactly what you have said and are saying.

At this point, it really doesn't matter if someone catches the administration red-handed shifting funds from the River Project to the Junction. The same thing happened with the American Can Building, was well-documented, and not so much as a slap on the wrist ensued.

A large part of that is because opinion makers refuse to properly identify what is illegal.

Please tell me we agree on these facts: John Patterson wrote a letter to RAMP (undated, but apparently pre-dating the decision to move the structure to a downtown location) promising to correctly administer the funds. Subsequently, RAMP money was shifted into accounts where it did not belong. Later, the money was replaced (after the end of the fiscal year) by John Gullo.

You say that's incompetence. I say it's illegal. So far, your point of view has prevailed, but that doesn't mean I've changed my mind, it just means I've become more cynical.

Biker Babe said...


andy howell be damned ... incompetence (similar to ignorance) is no excuse to break the law

and prosecutors unwillingness to prosecute just exacerbates the ripple effect -- and leaves the same road open for travel in the future


p.s. Speaking of roads and travel, anyone see all the Very Cool motorcycles and Cars downtown today?

Curmudgeon said...


First, I'm not arguing Mr. Howell's position. I don't represent him or the SE and he can and does make his own arguments. I'm arguing my own POV, period.

Second: of course incompetence is not an excuse [justification] for breaking the law. The problem is, I'm not convinced the Administration broke the law if it, out of its oft-demonstrated incompetence [not taking the time to become fully conversant in the details of the grant restrictions] used the money for design of the same project the money had been granted for, instead of construction costs.

I've spent many years at Universities, and seen many grants administered by universities, by departments and by individual professors. Administered a few myself now and then. And there have been a few occasions where a university or department or faculty member used grant funds in unapproved ways [in nearly all cases I know of, inadvertently -- and before you ask, no, not me.]. The remedy was: they had to refund the money misspent to the granting agency. Nobody went to jail. Nobody should have.

Curmudgeon said...


Times change. Things change. It's been a long time since the razzle dazzle days of the Ogden Community Foundation. A long time. Just by way of recent example, the SE back then wasn't writing editorials calling on the administration to abandon a whole market basket full of the Mayor's obsessions --- year round outdoor downtown ice towers, velodromes, and the like. Nor had the River Project fallen through. Nor had Mr. Gaddi's legal and financial problems surfaced. Nor had the paper taken editorial notice of the Leshemville mess. Nor did Ogdenites read almost weekly of another Leshemville abandoned property going up in flames. Nor had the balance on the City Council shifted so that it no longer can be counted on to support without much question anything the Administration sends down. [Recent vote on MWC funding for example.] Nor had the Chamber of Commerce Godfrey Cheerleading Team [which made a lot of noise four and five years ago in support of Hizzonah's obsessions like the flatland gondola] gone silent.

Seems tactically unwise to simply presume, as you seem to, that coverage of and public interest in serious malfeasance will necessarily receive the journalistic "pass" they got four and five years ago.

But, Mono, ya gotta pick your fights. When you don't [recall Ms. Littrell's ill-advised and ill-timed suit to have the Mayor removed from the ballot last election], the results are not good. The chances, I think, of working up any kind of substantial public outrage over the RAMP funds are slim at best. About as slim as the chance anyone could be successfully prosecuted for criminal conduct in the matter.

monotreme said...


This is where I'm cynical. Mr. Howell's recent comments indicate that nothing has changed.

There is no one – not City Council, not the courts, not individual citizens, not the Standard-Examiner – who are willing to stand up and say, "this is wrong".

Don't blow sunshine up my a**.

monotreme said...

Who is willing to stand up and say, "this is wrong".

Curmudgeon said...


Lots of people have said it was wrong. Me included. The question is not and has never been "was it wrong?" The question is: was it illegal, and even presuming it was, technically, could it be successfully prosecuted? I think the answer to both those questions is "probably not."

And if you think editorial stands in our Home Town Paper in re: the Godfreyista gang are today unchanged from what the were five years ago, or four, or even two or three... well, we disagree about that too.

Biker Babe said...

curm: who is "we" ?


Curmudgeon said...


As in "well, we disagree about that too?" Me and Mono. Above post was replying to him. Though, it seems, sadly, that you and I disagree some as well.

Biker Babe said...

well, maybe ...

incompetent being no excuse -- still fits where it comes to use and/or abuse of grant monies, criminality aside

you cannot have a grant already funded and claim you didn't know it was wrong to spend the money the way you did ... it should be clear before you get the grant what the conditions are

at least any right-minded person would know the rules before asking to use someone else's money -- especially if they want to use any of it in the future

not only does he wear his hat bass-ackwards, he shoots himself in the foot as well


Curmudgeon said...


As for Hizzonah shooting himself in the foot, a lot, we could not agree more.

But as for this --- "you cannot have a grant already funded and claim you didn't know it was wrong to spend the money the way you did ... it should be clear before you get the grant what the conditions are" --- that's actually always so.

Some grants are complex [particularly federal ones] regarding what can and cannot be done with the money on a particular project. It's not at all unknown for people with the best of intentions and as honest as the day is long to run afoul of a detail or sub-paragraph as amended etc. Universities that handle a lot of grants often hire people --- a bunch of them --- with special expertise in grants management to avoid inadvertent problems.

So grants often really aren't all that simple, and when you throw in grant management by Ogden's very own "Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" --- well, you can imagine the possibilities. Hizzonah's administration has a long history of fumbling grants and screwing up funding guidelines. His administration give UTA fits administering Ogden grants. The Administration's incompetence in this particular area is of long standing and well-established. Which is why I don't have any problem at all believing they simply screwed up yet again with the RAMP money.

Biker Babe said...

I worked in a grant management office at a local university - and as compliance officer, I was in charge of making sure the line of communication was clear all the way down to the person receiving the funding -- as suggested on the SE article re: Gullo fixing the problem with a donation -- there needs to be such an office in place in the administration to be sure these things are clear from the point of writing the proposal.

IF you throw in grant management by Ogden's very own Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight -- well maybe some sort of paper trail could be tracked - provided documentation of notification, and sign-off of agreement to understanding and adhering to the guidelines from the beginning - the word of mouth doesn't work as valid bread crumbs - even though hizzonah seems to think so, as in the case of MWC in re: Mr. Garcia.


Curmudgeon said...


You suggest: there needs to be such an office in place in the administration to be sure these things are clear from the point of writing the proposal.

Works for me. I wonder if anyone in the Administration is tasked with monitoring compliance. That'd be interesting to know.

As for the "trail of bread crumbs" as a lousy means of effective communication and monitoring: yup. Absolutely. Though it does preserve one thing that might come in handy now and then for certain administrations: deniability.

Dan S. said...

We've seen numerous examples of how the Ogden City administration misuses outside grants and/or uses them as private pots of money that can be spent without being appropriated by the city council. Look at the federal "bus facilities" grant that nearly funded $250,000 worth of gondola studies; look at the UTA grant that was funneled to the train car welcome center and only appropriated after the fact; look at the grant for the American Can building. And I suspect that the examples we know about are just the tip of the iceberg.

RAMP, at least, has gotten wise and now provides money for major projects only on a reimbursement basis, after expenditures are documented.

Biker Babe said...

Curm - monitoring the compliance may be done, but the big question would be is it effectively communicated in a timely manner, with the caveat that the receiving party understands the compliance issues ...


Bill C. said...

Dear Curm, babes, booze and fast cars would be money well spent, a gondola, on the other hand would be a capital offense. A ramp grant after all is for recreation. Urban gondolas are the domain of insane idiots.
While on the topic of insane idiots, wouldn't you think that Gary Williams and his large well paid legal staff should be able to figure out the do's and don'ts of simple ramp grants?
Curm, there is no legit excuse for this one, period. If the City attorney can't even read and interpret a simple County ramp grant, is he qualified , oh wait, it's Gary Williams. Sorry.

Curmudgeon said...


As per discussion with BB above, I don't know if the city had [or has] anyone whose job it is, specifically, to monitor grants to make sure the city is in compliance. But if so, I doubt that person is the City attorney. He might come into it if the administration specifically asked for his opinion about a particular point. But if those spending the money for planning/design thought it was OK, they'd have had no reason to ask.

You want to go after Williams, focus on the FNURE matter. He deserves a full drubbing for that one. [Corrupting the electoral process is a serious matter and should never be winked at, as he did. Not even for municipal council elections. Not even for dogcatcher, if that post was elected.] But the RAMP funds matter? Naw. Incompetence, si. Criminality, no.

Rockford said...

Who is FNURE really?
Was it a hand shake in a backroom downtown, notes shredded immediately afterward?
Was it a late night powwow in a bench home attended by "those seven local developer/mortgage/real estate guys"?
Will there be a body found in a smoking home downtown, that is somehow traceable to the whole matter?
Is this the beginning of a really taut small-city noir film?
Will Sidney Greenstreet make an appearance?

Who owns the water rights?

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