Sunday, July 26, 2009

Standard-Examiner: Time to Force Boss Godfrey to Finish What He's Started

If Ogden City receives a taxpayer bailout, its terms should be strictly conditional

There's a top notch editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner which we'll present for today's discussion, addressing the Junction Money Pit Dilemma, and the Godfrey administration's recent self-confessed request to the RDA Taxing Entity Committee, to provide Ogden City a taxpayer-borne bailout from the administration's back breaking Junction bond debt. The opening paragraphs provide the gist:
Although hampered by the same recession difficulties that have stalled economic development in many other communities, The Junction is still a big plus for Ogden city. It provides a safe place for Top of Utahns to shop, dine, play or be entertained. It has a great ambiance and environment. We can be proud that it has replaced a deserted mall in the heart of Ogden.
There is a money pinch, however, that has prompted Richard McConkie, deputy director of community and economic development in Ogden, to request a 12-year extension, from 2014 to 2026, on The Junction tax increment district. This would provide some relief to the project's bond debt, which is $22.4 million.
If this is granted, it should come with the condition that the city focus on specific measures that have already moved ahead. We're talking about The Junction and, for example, the Ogden River Parkway project. It's time to put an end to efforts to build a hotel/golf facility, or an ice wall, or a velodrome, etc. The current economic situation requires continued focus and discipline from city administrators. [Emphasis added.]
In publishing this morning's editorial, the Std-Ex public joins the throngs of other Godfrey watchers who've painfully observed the now predictable process over the past 8-1/2 years, whereby Godfrey leaps from one ill-conceived multi-million dollar project to the next, without ever finishing any of those which were already underway.

Kudos to the Std-Ex for coming out publicly on this. If the RDA Taxing Entity Committee is persuaded to go along with Godfrey on this bailout proposal, it should explicitly make its cooperation contingent upon Godfrey's abandonment of any further crackpot schemes.

While Godfrey has amply demonstrated his capacity to cook up new projects, and to bully fiduciary decision makers into setting them in motion, he's also demonstrated near absolute managerial incompetence in shepherding such projects to completion.

Remember, folks, the still incomplete (and technically bankrupt) Junction project has been "in progress" for almost eight years; and for a full 44 months it looked like this. As for the River Project... here's its current status after a similar 8 years' dawdling. At the current juncture, the River Project situation actually appears to be deteriorating... Boss Godfrey now apparently doesn't even know the identities of the private investors who should be moving this project forward.

In truth, there's more that needs to be done with respect to both of these projects than even a competent manager could be expected to achieve in the 2-1/2 years which remain of Godfrey's quickly waning third mayoral term.

Godfrey is a like a narcissistic little kid who receives a new toy, plays with it for a few hours, then tires of it and asks mommy for a new one. It's time for the grownups in local government to administer a little "tough love," we think. Time for Taxing Entity Committee, if they're inclined to go along with this bailout, to set some firm conditional ground rules.

Added Bonus: Don't miss Cal Grondahl's spot-on editorial cartoon, by the way.

Comments, anyone?

48 comments:

Ogden Dem said...

Since the previous Ogden Mall was an RDA project, the Ogden School District did not receive any tax money from that project. Then the 20+ acres lot sat vacant for about four years, still no tax dollars going into our schools for that location. Now The Junction, another RDA project and still no tax dollars going into our local school district.
Enough is enough, I support the $300,000 being paid to our schools and the city is getting off lightly on this deal; let's take the money for those payments out of the Business and Economic Development money, they don't appear to be using it wisely anyway.

Janie C. said...

Grondhal's cartoon says it all about the Ogden Mayor's ability to govern.

Jennifer Neil said...

Just a friendly reminder:

There IS an upcoming Ogden City Municipal Primary Election for some City council seats ... one very good way to bring about change if you don't like the way things are done in City Government is to cast your vote:

CLICK HERE for voter registrations reminders, instructions and information.

Jennifer Neil

tom said...

from the Standard comments:

After reading the following in the first paragraph -

"The Junction is still a big plus for Ogden city. It provides a safe place for Top of Utahns to shop, dine, play or be entertained."

- I had a feeling the whole piece would be a bunch of BS.

"Shop" at the Junktion? Just where does one do that and what is there to buy - other than a passel of day glow arcade games?

The whole concept of a bowling alley and penny arcade as a down town anchor was totally stupid and ill conceived to begin with, is currently proving its idiocy evidenced by the hundreds of thousands - if not millions - the city is actively losing on it and it has absolutely no potential to ever be anything but an unmitigated disaster.

There have been a number of citizens who have been pointing this out since the very beginning of this fiasco, but they were labeled "Naysayers" by the incompetent mayor and totally ignored by the Standard. In fact the Standard's finger prints are all over this boondogle - what with their unwavering support of the mayor's serial idiocy and their endorsements of him during the elections.

OgdenLover said...

Tom,
There's a FedEx store in one of the buildings facing Washington. I'm sure many people often think of going there and just going wild buying rubber bands and paper clips in such a safe environment.

Like you, I did a double-take when I saw "shop". Have the SE editors even been there, or do they just take Matt's word for everything.

Danny said...

I suppose I should be grateful that the SE is becoming aware of the sun than has been burning them in the face - that being that Godfrey needs to cut out the dreaming and get to work trying to remedy the messes he has already started.

But the SE still misses a lot. They still rely on Godfrey to fix his mistakes. In fact, Godfrey has proven that he should get out of the picture altogether.

What would have happened had the mall been allowed to foreclose and be auctioned? What could have been? We will never know. Instead, we have a fiscal morass in one location of the city after another, brought upon us by people with absolutely no financial qualification who were led only by their own hubris.

Godfrey is not the solution to his fiascos. He is not the solution to anything. He is the problem. He needs to get out of business and let the market work.

Even at a national level, our financial woes were brought on by government, which now grows even larger to "solve" the problems they created in the first place.

The SE is learning but they have a long way to go.

(BTW, great cartoon.)

Curmudgeon said...

Well, let's see: the Junction is built. The city is on the hook for millions in bond payments. Complaining won't change that unless someone invents a time machine in the near future. Many of The Junction's as-yet unleased venues are retail space. I took the editorial to mean, simply, that it is now in Ogden's best interests to concentrate on making The Junction a success overall, and that means on establishing it as not only as a game space and dining venue, but also a shopping venue. Have to say, I'm with them on that. It's there. We're on the hook. Making it work ought to be a top priority of the Mayor, the Council the Development Office, and we haven't got the time or resources to waste on pipe dreams an like ice towers, gondolas, velodromes and similar Mayoral obsessions. I pretty much agree with all that.

Some here like to insist, every now and then, that what they call "the Gondola Examiner" would never, but never print anything critical of or displeasing to the Godfrey administration. That isn't true since we've had over the past couple of years a number of stories and editorial pieces that cannot have pleased Hizzonah. [Mr. Porter's video piece on the Leshamville slum properties, for example.] Today's editorial is another illustration. Hizzonah could not have been happy to read the SE calling for abandoning the gondola [which Hizzonah insists he has not given up], the outdoor all year ice climbing wall [ditto] and the velodrome [ditto] over his bacon and eggs this morning.

Was it the editorial I would have written? Nope. [But then, they rarely are.] On balance, it wasn't bad. The SE is, editorially, coming around I think to a non-rose-colored-glasses understanding of the hole the Mayor has dug for the city, and if it's not yet where many of us in these parts are, it's trending that way. The rose-colored glasses seem to have been put aside. This is good as is, on balance, the editorial.

northogdener said...

careful curm on your comment on a time machine....godfrey will want to build that next.

Curmudgeon said...

North:

LOL. But only if it could be suspended from gondola lines.

Nice, North. Still chuckling.

what would jesus say said...

Time machines and pipe dreams...Whay next?

Northogdener said...

Ahhh...pipe dreams. Mayhaps we could put something in that, smoke it, and godfrey would make sense.

Blaine Carl said...

We, like just about everyone else, is mired and stuck in the economic downturn. From California to NYC to Europe, Japan, etc., there's economic chaos.

What the hell's wrong with the Mayor asking for a little "creative financing?"

As for the economy: this too will pass and another bus is just around the corner.

As for The Junction: we're in it so lets ensure it works through some positive methods, rather than always carping on what was done in the past. It beats having "the hole" smack dab in the middle of town.

And yesterday there was a fire than displaced 83 some people/families. Godfrey was on the scene, conversing in Spanish, doing what a good Mayor should do. Where are the positive comments about that? I noticed that Spansih speaking Jesse Garcia's name was not mentioned, however. He is a Councilmember, is he not?

RudiZink said...

"And yesterday there was a fire than displaced 83 some people/families. Godfrey was on the scene, conversing in Spanish, doing what a good Mayor should do. Where are the positive comments about that?"

Well... you just brought to topic to the surface, didn't you?

Discussions of stories like this are the lifeblood of Weber County Forum.

Thanks for bringing up this aspect of the story.

Perhaps your comment will stimulate further blog discussion.

RudiZink said...

One more thing, Mr. Carl, since you asked.

"What the hell's wrong with the Mayor asking for a little "creative financing?"

In case you haven't noticed, Carl, the world economy crashed as a result of the Mickey Mouse games, (i.e., "creative financing") which were played during the 2000's, the late 90's and some of the 80's. As a matter of fact, it was Boss Godfrey's "creative financing," which got us in trouble in the first place, when Godfrey's financial mad technician, the notorious Scott Brown, gave up on pursuing legitimate municipal bonding in mid 2005, and made a deal with the equivalent of a municipal bonding loanshark, and finally got the bonding he needed, with a contingent security pledge upon BDO revenues.

"Creative Financing," as it's been practiced probably throughout you whole young lifetime, is deader than a doornail now.

That's why business pople who only entered the business community in the nineties or 2000's cant quite figure why they can't get a loan without "good" collateral.

I could go on; but I won't... unless you require further proof.

So in a situation where the whole danged economic world has been brought to its knees by "creative finacning," you're just asking for one last "Godfrey fix." right?

Wake up and smell the coffee, Blaine. World credit markets will never get back to what you've considered to be "normal" during your apparently short lifetime.

And Godfrey is now "toast."

booster said...

i like drinking and eating at the junction. i also like the theatre better than other local theatres. i think everyone should lease a space in the retail section, and operate their pipe dream store.

RudiZink said...

Good point, booster. Although we can't expect everyone to set up shop at The Junction, we can always hope a few well-heeled civic boosters with Ogden civic dedication, home town pride and financial capacity will deign to sign leases and set up shop there.

Now that we're inextricably locked into the Junction, it's in all our best interests to find a way to make Godfrey's originally ill-conceived plan work.

Bravo!

Howbout you?

Blaine Carl said...

Mr. Zink, I recall the days when corporate raiders and junk bond dealers (Oliver Stone's Wall Street) were the rule. Corporate greed morphed into the days of the golden parachutes and the eventual collapse of Wall Street, the housing market, the bank system, etc.

And I agree, so called "creative financing" did play a major role in the economic collapse, but other factors were just as involved. It took the whole, not just the occassional piece, to get us where we are. Things like "Lyer's Loans," exorbitant interest rates, out of control corporate spending, unqualified board members making decisions about corporate dealings that they knew nothing about, and on and on and on.

This whole thing didn't didn't happen because of Scott Brown or Matt Godfrey--there were others involved--but their actions did play a role. My argument, if a person of, as you say, my age may pose such debate, is that the Ogden gang was no different than the other gangs in other cities. Sure, some things didn't work out; but others did. And even though we have to borrow from BDO to get through this period, we still have a viable development that in time will probably work.

This isn't the time for "I told you so." This is the time for strapping on our combat boots and trying to figure out what we can do TODAY, to make this work and move forward progressivly.

Hope we hear more about yesterday and how these good people will find some comfort.

Curmudgeon said...

Blain:

You wrote: This isn't the time for "I told you so." This is the time for strapping on our combat boots and trying to figure out what we can do TODAY, to make this work and move forward progressivly.

Ok, fair enough, and that was I think the main theme, or one of them, of the recent SE editorial. However, moving forward from this point will involve more decsion-making, and so I'd argue that those who made the decisions, which turned out to be poor ones ought to display just a bit of humility and caution in making new demands upon the public purse. And their proposals "going forward" need to be vetted, with a careful and slightly jaundiced eye, by an independent city council before being acted upon.

I'd argue that one [but only one] of the reasons we slid down the chute of "can't fail" projects that failed was that five or six years ago, the Mayor had in place a Council that routinely rubber stamped proposals coming from the administration. Exceptions were extremely rare. I'd argue that if we go on in the old way, approving without diligent probing new suggestions from the same people who made the old ones, we run a serious risk of compounding errors rather than "moving forward progressively."

Part of the problem is systemic: the Mayor holds his job full time and has at his disposal a full time staff to amass arguments, data, etc. in support of his proposals. The City Council members are part timers, some holding down full time day jobs, and they have at their disposal minimal staff support with which to adequately vet administration suggestions. There is, I agree, no short term solution for this.

But all of this makes it essential, in my view, to make sure the Council is, to the fullest extent it can be, an independent body willing to take the time to vet administration proposals, and to [in the cliche' so beloved by politicians and reporters these days] "ask the hard questions." A Council of yes-men [think Mr. Stephenson cloned] would make "moving forward progressively" difficult if not impossible. Particularly given this administration's distaste for disclosure and penchant for concealing from the Council [and public] what it is doing. [Many examples possible, but let me here remind you of three: (a) violating its agreement with the Council regarding tasking the city lobbyist and not informing the Council (b) the emails Dan S. turned up via GRAMA in which Godfrey appointees spoke of the importance of keeping the Council in the dark about funding sources for gondola studies and (c) the administration's two year long effort by the Administration to resist filling the Sierra Club's GRAMA request --- twice upheld now by the courts .]

Curmudgeon said...

Ah, Blaine, Blaine, Blaine, you've let your mask of disinterested impartiality slip a bit. You wrote:

And yesterday there was a fire than displaced 83 some people/families. Godfrey was on the scene, conversing in Spanish, doing what a good Mayor should do. Where are the positive comments about that? I noticed that Spansih speaking Jesse Garcia's name was not mentioned, however. He is a Councilmember, is he not?

Well, no comment required, really. I'd expect the Mayor to be at a major fire involving a lot of people made homeless. And to pitch in reassuring those needing it if he could. He was, as you note, doing his job. Not sure that calls for particular praise. I expect my Mayor to do his job. As for Mr. Garcia, did the fire department contact him to notify him of the fire when they were called out? If not, cheap shot, Blaine. Finally, I hope it isn't so that there were no Spanish speakers among the police or firemen called out to work the blaze. IF there truly were not, perhaps we need to start offering a little bonus pay to those who are, or become, bilingual.

TLJ said...

RE: setting up shop at the Junction:

What about the empty stores right across the street? Shouldn't they be set up for shoppers first? They were here first.

I'm just saying...

TLJ

Amy Wicks said...

Councilmembers are not generally notified of fires and other similar situations while in progress. Exceptions would be things like ongoing health/safety issues, such as water service interruptions affecting large parts of the city, flooding or similar situations.

Curmudgeon said...

Amy:

Thought not. Thank you for the note.

Bill C. said...

So, has lying little matty been at all the fires down in gadi's disaster? My guess is no, but one should consider the possibility of his attendance at this one may have something to do with who owns it. Could just be one of his and Ben Louges.

Blaine Carl said...

Curm, that was one of the most informative, logical and profound posts I've ever read. Rubber stamp councils are dangerous, but that's politics. And shouldn't a City, like anyone in the private sector, be able to invest in itself? Many cities have, and many cities have prospered.

The Junction is not a failure. Those there pay their rents. The problem is that premises that should have been leased have not been leased--yet. They will be, but until then I suppose we'll have to subsidize the debt. Not what anyone wanted, but that's what we got. Which isn't to say we should be charging off on new and highly speculative projects. Finish up what's on the board and put our energy into making those entities work.

The Council, after giving this much thought, is at a disadvantage to the Administration, due to its part time status as opposed to the Administrations full time status. That, and I'm not sure how many Council members have experience in hard ball business and or higher degree business education. The Council members do a fine service to the community, but do they really understand the "ins and outs" of running and maintaining a municipality or major league business?

As for Jesse and the other Council members maybe not being around the fire--I'm just giving the Mayor a well deserved kudo and not being critical of others. It was a holiday weekend and Council members can't be expected to show up at every fire, etc. My comment about Jesse was due to a question I had after reading the story: was this fire in Jesse's Ward and if so, and if Jesse had been around, it would have made sense if he would have shown up to give comfort to those in need, many of who are not overly proficient in English.

I too hold criticisms for the Mayor, but Bill C's comments about fires in Gadiville, and the Mayor was there because he may have owned the property, are way over the top and just serve to show that regardless of something good that the Mayor does, guys like Bill the Golfer will find cause for castigation. And this serves no-one nothing. It just shows what a blinder wearing individual constantly stoops to, especially those who do not get involved except for their constant mud slinging.

Curmudgeon said...

Blaine:

You wrote: As for Jesse and the other Council members maybe not being around the fire--I'm just giving the Mayor a well deserved kudo and not being critical of others.

On giving the mayor a pat on the back for working the fire, no complaints from me. But as for your claim that you were "not being critical of others...." Sorry, Blaine, that one won't fly. When you wrote this --- "I noticed that Spansih speaking Jesse Garcia's name was not mentioned, however. He is a Councilmember, is he not?" --- you were absolutely taking a swipe at Councilman Garcia. And an un-called for one, at that.

Nothing wrong with being partisan in an election season. [It is rumored I have on occasion been so myself, once or twice.] But if you're going to take a swing at a Councilman, or any other candidate for that matter, do it straight up, and don't pretend butter wouldn't melt in your mouth and that taking a jab never entered your mind.

Bill C. said...

Well blind blain, speaking of blinders. Let's compare stacks of grama requests, or attendance at Council meeting or planning commission meetings.
Judging by your comments you have no clue as to what's transpired over the last 8 years. Ever get off your ass and attend a Council Meeting? I can tell you haven't, you take a backhanded slap at Jessie, a man that has honestly served this community for years, while trying to defend and praise the most dishonest conniving scumbag that ever held office in this town, who's blinders need opening.

Blaine Carl said...

Alright, Amy--if a fire that destroys the homes of 80-90 people isn't a "health and safety issue," I don't know what is. Now, I'm sure the Council members don't get called on every fire, but that's not my premise. My premise is that Godfrey was there and performed a public service, regardless of whether or not he has an ownership stake in the property (as this Bill C raises). As for Jesse, isn't he constantly making a point of representing the people in his/that area (Ward 1, I believe)? That tragic fire was a good opportunity for him to perform, whether or not it was in Ward 1. It wouldn't matter if he were there during the blaze or after it had been extiguished. What matters is that those unfortunate residents were and are in trouble, and many of them don't speak English and have some difficulty understanding how our system works. I've read Jesse's words to that effect, and his presence would have been soothing. Maybe he's communicating with some of them now. I hope so, for they need his representation, just as they need the Mayor's.

But please excuse me, for the above was supposed to have been a response to Ms. Wicks, and I got carried away. So here goes: now, Amy strikes me as a fine,fairly capable and concerned Council member. I have, however, read some of her comments about the Council being a part time body and most Council members having jobs which makes it difficult for them to attend various functions and or be available for many situations. We citizens elect people to serve the public and administer the running of a multi- million dollar corporation. That's some serious business, folks. Maybe it's time we have a full time Council instead of the Strong Mayor/Council body we now have. That way we would have full time Council representation, as well as a full time Administration, and then there would be no "the dog ate my homework" excuses for not being fully prepared and available (tongue in cheek but you catch my drift) for whatever. Also, I'm somewhat puzzled as to why Ms. Wicks won't sit down with the Mayor and have a chat, except at those Leadership Meetings. I'd lay odds on it that if the CEO at her place of employment summoned her to come to his office, she would. So what's the difference here? Her refusal to meet with the Mayor only increases the animosity that exists between the majority of the Council and the Administration. There's an old saying, "keep your friends close but your enemies closer." Wise words, those. I also doubt that should Ms. Wicks privately meet with the Mayor that the Mayor could sway her. The benefit here would possibly be an olive branch and a sense of where the Mayor's coming from and how he thinks. What is happening between the Council and the Administration is not good for the City, and something has to give.

Blaine Carl said...

OK--Curmudgeon--your turn. Please don't tell me I'm taking a "swipe" at Garcia. You may interpret my words as such, which is your right, but you really can't put yourself into my mind and assume you know my reasoning behind my comments. But perhaps, as they say in national government, "a better choice of words" would have served me better.

Now, I don't know if the fire was in Jesse's Ward or not, but our Hispanic citizens surely could have used him regardless. Even now, after the flames have been put out, those displaced citizens, especially those who struggle with the English language and the way our system works, could use him. Even if they're not in his Ward, Jesse's a Councilmember, Curmudgeon, who should be ready, willing an able to help those in need. This is not a political "swipe" or a "swing" at Jesse, it's merely my interpretation of the incident. Like you assumed my reasoning behind my comments, I'm NOY assuming why Jesse was not there. I was simply wondering, especially after reading Jesse's comments on his representing those who may be less fortunate than others.

The Mayor was there but I didn't read of any other offical being on hand. This horrible event would have been a good place for those who represent the people to lend a hand and to comfort them, all politics aside.

So Curmudgeon, please don't tell me I'm taking a shot at Jesse or any of those who were not there (if I were taking a political shot, you'd see it in spades; you wouldn't have to twist it out of my wording). Jesse simply stands out because of his language speaking abilities and his representation of his race, culture and neighbors. According to the newspaper, it was those people who were in dire straights and needed some assitance.

One last thought--your thoughts of Godfrey having a then had a rubber stamp Council back in the Mall/pre Junction days are fairly accurate. But as I said, "that's politics." You better get over it, drum up support and then go to the polls and elect candidates that will represent the people instead of serving one political persuasion or the other. One only has to look as Washington D.C. and the Sotomeyer hearings--Obama is stacking the deck there, just as Bush, Clinton, Carter, Reagan, Johnson, Kennedy, hell, all of 'em, have done. And that's the Supreme Court, Mr. C., a body a little more august than a rubber stamped Ogden City Council. Except for the enormity of those offices or positions, there's really no different than what goes on in Ogden politics. Any change has to be made at the polls and whatever the outcome is, we have to except it.

I'm finished.

Blaine Carl said...

Bill C--you're the guy in blinders. My comments are my opinion, that's all. Sure the Mayor has done some things that are quite underhanded, but he's also done some very fine things for Ogden. Don't rant and rave, use vulgarities and such, just because someone gives the Mayor his due when he deserves. I could go on debating with you, but one gains nothing by besting a fool.

Curmudgeon said...

Blaine:

Readers, like me, can only draw conclusions based on what someone has written and posted. Let's agree, then, your post in re: Mr. Garcia, might as you suggest have been better phrased so as to make your meaning clear and so as to avoid misreading.

As for the rest of your post above, particularly this: --- The Mayor was there but I didn't read of any other official being on hand. This horrible event would have been a good place for those who represent the people to lend a hand and to comfort them, all politics aside. --- I refer you to Councilwoman Wicks' post above.

Night, BC. I've enjoyed the conversation.

Curious 1 said...

If 80-90 peoples home burned it might be one of the mayors. I remember a comment in renting where the mayor encouraged renting to illegals since if they didn't pay on time you can turn them in and always ask for cash.

The mayor took all of the properties he owned out of his name since it was an embarassment since they were run down. I also remember he used his charge cards to finance the homes he bought, probably before he had an election fund to tap into from no bid contractors that built the Junction.

Bill C. said...

Well Blind blain, since you're not aware, the Councilman that represents that district is Doug Stevens, and of course the at-large seats of Amy and Dorrene. Your instant reation and comments about Jessie may reveal a naive underlying hint of racism.(they all look the same)
Spoeaking of naive, just name some of the good this mayors done, you keep suggesting this premice is true, please give us some examples.
One other little bit, you seem to believe that governing Ogden City is like running a large Corporation, I totally disagree. The purpose of a corporation is singular, to make money. This is not anyone interpretation of what the governments functions should be, not on the left or the right, not even the fringes.

Curmudgeon said...

Been thinking on one comment of BL's above, about shouldn't cities be allowed to invest in themselves? Well, of course... but the ways cities invest in themselves is by building [and maintaining] roads, water systems, fire and police protection and the infrastructure necessary to make them effective, public parks and common areas. Investment in all those areas make cities more attractive places to both live and do business and bonding to achieve them is not only common but proper.

Bonding, however, to invest in speculative commercial ventures, or to subsidize same... well, that's another matter IMHO.

Blaine Carl said...

You know, Curmudgeon, I basically that a city's investment in itself should be (1)serve and protect the public; (2) maintain the infrastructure; (create and maintain recreation and educational pursuits, and so on. But, you know, this costs money, and if the tax base can't float the boat, how do we continue thse kinds of investments?

I'm merely looking at the way many cities across the nation, through TIF, et al, have rebuilt their structure and feel that Ogden is and was no different. Granted, the way some of these RDA projects came about wasn't to many of our likings, but we have them, are stuck with them, and I hope those in trouble become viable and suceed.

And, we should learn some lessons about faulty speculation nad how to avoid that in the future. Investing at any level, from the young family buying its first home, to a corporation buying a city block in San Francisco, to a stock purchase, a corporate leverage takeover, to the Secondary Money Market, is damn risky. But that fact should not proclude investing or rolling the dice when the research has been done. Occassionally we win, occassionally we loose. My premise is: it is way TOO early to label The Junction a failure. That's coming from a position of politcs, not financial reality. How many other businesses had to acquire subsidy for a time, until they got on their feet?

The problem here is the use of taxpayers money; but what say you and the others if and when the Junction becomes solvent and we reap some benefits. Give it time. We have to--because it's there and it ain't going away!

Now, Bill C--let's see, there's Fresinius (millions in taxes coming our way over its new expansion; did you forget that?); there's the IRS Phases 1,2,& 3 (if you knew half of what you were talking about you'd understand that it takes a gigantic effort on the City's part to establish those projects even though the Feds chose Ogden to do so--they just don't happen, they take an immense amount of work from both the Administration and the CED before going back to the IRS and City Council for approval); there's WalMart (even though you seem against it, it will generate millions of dollars to City coffers over the years; there the American Foods, Inc.; there's the clearing of distressed property for the State Court Building; and the list goes on.

You need to move on regarding the MOGC and look at the overall picture of how Ogden is turning around. If you had your way, we'd still be slugging along with vacant and non-moving projects, while you play $2.00 Nasaus with your cronies. It takes more than 18 holes to understand how a city corporation works, a corporation that HAS TO generate revenue to provide the public services needed.

You see Curmudgeon, I told you you would know when I took a shot at someone. No twisting of words here, or in my other posts to Bill C. I just called it as I saw it: the guy is vulgar and juvenile in his post and does nothing to further the cause he claims to represent.

I too enjoyed last nights dialogue with you. Thanks for you dignified responses. They have been extremely thought provoking.

monotreme said...

Blaine:

We're all pretty close here.

The key phrase in your last post is:

But that fact should not proclude investing or rolling the dice when the research has been done.

There is no evidence that any such research was done before the Junction was built. The same can be said for the flatland gondola, or Ice Tower, or velodrome, or any one of a dozen other silly projects.

For example, I would predict that a simple and cheap marketing study would show you that closing the Junction on Sundays reduces business by a significant percentage. Larry Miller knows (knew) this, because the cinema is open on Sunday. I didn't much care for Mr. Miller personally, but I have to admit he was a good businessman.

Our Mayor and his advisors, on the other hand, are not.

wildcat said...

re: the Mayor's helping out at the fire over the wknd. Yes, good that he was there. But did we really need the quote from his side-kick praising him and his "communication skills"? made it seem like this was a campaign stop for the mayor - that he was attempting to score political points off of this tragedy. One more question: are there no fire personel or police officers who speak spanish?

Blaine Carl said...

Very profound, Monotreme. I don't agree with The Junction's Sunday closures either. That project needs to generate as much revenue as possible, especially with the flat economy and the help needed from BDO.

I realize many things went askew during the planning and inception of The Junction. I myself was not thrilled with the bond debt and the fact that, even though the RDA debt purpotedly doesn't come back to the citizens, it REALLY does.

It was a roll of the dice, but homework was done. Harmer got some terrific deals on the bonds and other finacing interest rates (even though many are opposed to Tax Increment Funding). Business Development put things in place at a pace quicker than imagines and red tape was cut to ensure a quick build out by those private investors (Earnshaw, Boyer, etc.).

And now, it's there, with Wells Fargo a major league anchor tenant. I'm sure that Boyer, Wells Fargo, et al did their homework, compiled their findings with the City, and then everyone went to work with high hopes of success. And I think it's way too early to say The Junction isn't a success and won't be. Again, that's political fodder for those who the Mayor has ticked off by being unscrupulous in things like the gondola, the golf course, and some of those weird ice castle/velodrome projects.

But, as posted above, he and those that serve, have been successful in many ventures. Maybe we aren't fans of Gadi Leshem, but he dropped millions here and put his sack on the line, along with Larry Miller, David Earnshaw, PRI, Boyer and others.

Goodness sakes, let's not just focus on the negatives, let's focus on what we have and how to make more viable.

Appreciate your comments.

i told ya so said...

"It was a roll of the dice, but homework was done."

Sorry to have to contradict you, Blaine, but the necessary "Due Diligence Homework" was NEVER done. The Godfrey runup to the "Junction Project" in 2005 was based on "blind faith," and nothing else.

There was never an independently prepared feasibility study on the Junction project. There wasn't even a discernable business plan. When the Junction project was approved by Godfrey's Lame duck Rubber Stamp Council in late 2005, the Godfrey planning geniuses hadn't even put togather a pro-forma anlysis.

The Junction Project was doomed from the "get go."

With an ex-pizza delivery boy like godfrey running the show in Ogden, it should come as no surprise that Ogden taxpayers are now losing their shirts.

Even back in 2005, when the Ogden City Council Godfrey rubber stamp zombies, i.e., Donna Burdett, Kent Jorgenson, Rick Safsten, Fasi Filiaga and Brandon Stephenson voted to approve the Junction bonding, the die was cast.

Ogden city is now laboring under a heavy debt obligation which won't be resolved until my grandchildren are all grown up.

Yes. We have to do everything we can to mitigate the debt albotross that Godfrey and a few others have paced around our necks.

On the other hand, we have to learn from our mistakes.

Therefor it's extremely important, as we move toward the 2009 municipal election, to make sure that we elect the most mature candidates possible, and that we reject any candidates who even remotely bear the Godfrey taint.

Blaine Carl said...

I Told Ya So and others--I keep hearing that NO Due Diligence was done by the Mayor/Administration and I wonder how you know this? Are you sure? Have you perused the public records? Are you "one of the emplyeed disenters? Or what?

I don't disagree with you, I'm just curious to know where and how you got your information.

When 22 million dollars in bonds are issued, the issuer has to have something in writing, besides blind faith. Perhaps the Due Diligence was done by the CED, passed along to the Administration and things went from there?

I realize there was much speculation on how things would work, how revenue would be generated, etc., but damn, there were a lot of capable business people involed in looking at this. It turned out that nobody had a crystal ball and ALL didn't go as planned. But, much of it did and all hope is not lost.

I believe the information one needs to give a financial institution (bank, insurance company, any of a host of money lenders) in order to get a financing, is both collaterial and a well documented pro-forma/balance sheet/earnings statement on the ability to re-pay the money. And I'd bet a dime to a dollar that those items were provided when Harmer secured the $22.4 million in bonds.

As Monotreme said, "we're all getting pretty close here." I'm encouraged by sound, reasonable and dignified debate of the issues rather than some of the crude, coarse, name calling personalized vulgarities that some send forth. They diminish the writer's cause just as much as some of the underhanded sneakings of the Mayor has effected his.

Thanks to ya'll for your descent, thought provoking posts. They go far to help one understand and to maybe unravel some of the problems.

Curmudgeon said...

BL:

In re: Bill C. Bill and I have our differences about the importance of civility on line, and on the effectiveness of in-your-face responses, which he is given to at times. However, Bill is indefatigable in digging out information from city sources. When he gets on to something he thinks people should know, he stays at it until he ferrets out what he's after. He will not quit.

You may not care for his style on WCF. I often don't myself. But you'd be making a mistake to dismiss him as someone inconsequential and not to be taken seriously. Others have made that mistake and come to regret it.

Just a friendly word of unsolicited advice....

Bill C. said...

Blind blain, nice try, lying little matty is responsible for the IRS and Fresinius, no one falls for that except new arrivals that know no better. At least give Mecham his due, the rest of your listcould be attributed to the folks at the state as much or more than this mayor. I'm surprized you didn't list I-15 or the Frontrunner. I also noticed you omitted the American Can and the 1200 jobs you were touting for the gondola, but thats not territory suitable for trying to prop up your lying little prevaricator is it.
And I would appreciate it if you could point out any vulgarities in any of my posts. I suppose you'll be hard pressed to find one and after an exaustive search you'll end up feeling like a steaming pile of mayorial smelling excrement.

ozboy said...

The only due diligence that was ever done on the Junction was an amateur and self serving piece of drivel produced by Fat Cats. The rest of the numbers and projections were pulled out of several different hats, and perhaps some unmentionable body orifices, by Brown, Harmer and Godfrey.

This lack of due diligence was brought up a number of times in the public comments sessions of the city council meetings. It was also discussed on the WCF a number of times. There were a bunch of different explanations from the Mayor as to the due diligence deficiency. His answers varied from praise for the Fat Cats "study", to promises that other more detailed studies had been done or were in progress - to what he did most late in the game - flat out stone wall the subject and anyone who brought it up.

The bottom line is that this sorry farce passed through all the loosey goosey financial checkpoints and so called financial safe guards with a nod and a wink - and the tax payers on the hook - which is all the bonding companies cared about to begin with. Hell, there were commissions to be made and the tax payers were on the line - what more due diligence did any one in the financing chain have to do? It was not financeable in the market place, not even in the incredibly wild and corrupt market that was in full bloom when this whole fiasco was conceived and born, so the tax payers were duped into stepping up to the line and guaranteeing the loan.

There were a number of citizens tried and true who were warning of the folly, but the mayor, the council, the Chamber of Commerce and the Standard pretty much ignored them as a bunch of negative naysayers. The wisdom of the peanut gallery was ignored and as us early TeeVee kids know, that is a big mistake.

The whole Junktion concept was a loser when it was rambling around in Godfrey's feverish little brain and it is a loser now that it is costing every tax payer and citizen in Ogden City and Weber County millions in cash down the PeeWee Godfrey Playhouse hole.

My observations and opinions and I'm stikin to em...

Blaine Carl said...

And so it continues on this thread--the "in your face" style of Bill C. Sure, he can probably dig out some information from the public records and pass that research along to those who need to know. Well, duh, so can many others. One only has to read Mono, Dan S., Curmudgeon & Ozboy to realize that. And the way they provide such information is dignified, well versed, logical and without these personalized, insulting and vulgar castigations of the Mayor/Administration (Ozboy gives the Mayor some colorful shots, but they don't smack of juvenilistic bilingsgate). I'm at a loss, though, Curmudgeon, how I'd come to regret dismissing such foul drivel of this Bill C because I'm dimissive of it? Oh well, cum se, cum sa.

And Billy M'boy, you only have to read your latest post to catch my drift. Your mature and uplifting phrase, where you claim that after "exhaustive research" I'll come up feeling like "a steaming pile of mayorial smelling exrement" only goes to reconfirm my premise. Your descriptive writings leave much to be desired. In fact, most graffiti makes a better read.

My point is that you probably possess some informative value but your vulgarity laced presentation leaves much to be desired. Written with less derogatory language would probably search your purpose better and be prone to making those who disagree with your position at least give in some consideration, rather than dismissing it because of your vile wordings.

And oh yeah, I won't be doing any "exhasutive research" to find your written vulgarities--I read enough of them presently and a little of that goes a long way.

Try to behave.

In It For The Laughs said...

Ah c'mon Mr. Carl. Let your hair down a little bit. Half of the posts on WCF are geared toward reader entertainment.

Sheryl said...

Thankfully, Weber County Forum ain't no County Club... nor a Disco... nor even a Sunday school class either.

All we wanna do is have some fun when the sun goes down on Washington Boulevard!

:-P

Bill C. said...

blain, you only responded to the excremental portion of the post, what about the rest?
Your little list sounded like a godfrey disengenuous campain flier, and his little intro at the debate at the conference center.
You must remember, the one where he held up a blank piece of paper and claimed it proved that the taxpayer of Ogden wasn't responsible for RDA debt.

Blaine Carl said...

Bill C., the list could grow, but why? Like the little list, you would only find fault in a bigger list--and not really get your facts straight. For an alleged tenacious digger, as Curmudgeon points out, I think you come up with fool's gold, not the real thing.

Point: The IRS, Phases I & II were culminated by Harmer/Brown, with Boyer being the developer; IRS Phase III is in the works and spearheaded by Christopulos/Waterfall (who replaced Harmer). All of this was done near and after Glen Mecham's demise.

Point: Fresenius expansion was initiated by Fresenius, Godfrey and then completed by Harmer/Christopulos in late 2008/early 2009. Again, may former Mayor Mecham rest in peace.

Point: The American Can and American Foods, both initiated by the Godfrey Administration and executed by the Harmer directed CED.

I did not mention I-15 nor the Frontrunner, as you did, simply because those projects don't apply. The I-15 was Fed/State and the Frontrunner was the UTA. Why you would bring those 2 projects into the dialogue is beyond me, as the Godfrey Administration never took credit for those (why would it?) and I doubt anyone in his or her right mind would use them to "prop up" the Godfrey bunch.

Point: the 1200 predicted gondola jobs? Again, there's nothing there and using that is just your way of trying to minimize some of the pro-Godfrey arguments.

But at least you cleaned up you language a little. Now we might pay a bit more attention to diggings. It maybe than you're learning alittle something.

Anyway, this topic bores me so good luck and regrets. If you'd write your posts without all of the causticity, you might find that you are advancing your cause in the same way the others seem to do.

Bill C. said...

Blind blain, you gofreyites never cease to amaze. He must give you guys lessons in how to articulate falsehoods.( or more to point) Baffle them with bullshit.
You must be one of the new guys , recent transplants I mentioned earlier.
So, untill lying little matty can come up with a troll that has some time and background in this City I feel obligated to teach you a little.
Dave Harmer couldn't have had anything to do with the IRS situation, he was first employed by Ogden City in late 2003 or early 2004, after he was shown the door by Jon Huntsman at the state.
His first job was public works director for about a year before he moved into the ecconomic development arena.
You seem to also not have a good short term memory because the Gondola Examiner, just this year ran a piece about this so-called phase III IRS thing in which they quoted the local head saying they have no future plans for expansion.
Only geiger believed the mayors line of BS on that one, probably as a fallback option (hope) on the old building he bought next to the viaduct while he was entertaining his addled gondola dreams and collecting data on all traffic on I-15 from the Arizona border to Idaho. These figures also went a great way toward the 1200 job claim.
Stick around and follow this blog, you will actually learn something.
Oh, and thanks for complimenting all my friends on this forum, there is a reason for all our freindship that may be real foriegn to the lying little matty groupies, what bonds us is simple honesty.
Oh, and who wouldn't have bent over backward to accomidate Fersinius? You weren't suggesting that lying little matty had something to with their need to expand were you?

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