Friday, September 25, 2009

Boss Godfrey's Latest Political Trick: Secret Non-public Candidate "Debates" -- UPDATED

Three City Council Candidates thwart Boss Godfrey's latest attempt to make a mockery of the democratic election process

UPDATE: Boss Godfrey has a change of meds
... errr... heart

Ogden City municipal election clock ticks to within 38 days of the November 3, 2009 zero hour, Ace reporter Schwbeke reports this morning, (a mere two days after the release of Godfrey's bogus golf course survey) , on Boss Godfrey's latest attempt to make a mockery of the democratic election process. We learn from Mr. Schwebke this morning that agents for Boss Godfrey's Propaganda Television Station, Channel 17, staged a command performance taping yesterday, on the ninth floor of Ogden City Municipal Building, of a thinly-attended dog and pony show, which the Standard-Examiner politely calls a "debate":
Majority of council candidates attend debate
Although some creative editor in a dark back room at the Std-Ex (cleverly adopting Mr. Schwebke's phrase "a majority of city council candidates") attempted to create the headline illusion that some form of "debate" occurred during yesterday's private taping, the truth of the matter, as reported by Mr. Schwebke, is that the only thing which may have resembled debate occurred in the the Ward 3 race, wherein incumbent Doug Stephens and challenger Patrick Dean both did obediently show up on command, to field a series of questions, carefully composed by Boss Godfrey's own employees at the TV Station. As to the other three races we wonder... did Godfrey's employees from the Godfrey Propaganda Channel have the audacity to go ahead and tape three "empty chair debates?"

We applaud the three council candidates, Blair, Garcia and Van Hooser, who politely declined the TV station's attempt to to possibly rig the election process. Apparently these candidates were wise to the hard lesson learned during by Ms. Van Hooser during the 2007 Mayoral election: If you appear for a taping in front of Boss Godfrey's Channel 17 television cameras, you can expect to find the taped footage mercilously sliced, diced and ginsu-knifed, with heavily edited segments broadcast constantly on the Mayor's Propaganda Station, and in even more far-flung places such as YouTube.

We believe these three candidates demonstrated considerable wisdom in holding out for legitimate debates, conducted by disinterested neutral parties, in venues where the general public can be in attendance. Hopefully all eight candidates for the four open city council seats will be hearing from more trustworthy debate moderators, such as the Weber County League of Women Voters, very soon.

We'll add that we were pleased that Mr. Schwebke at least saw fit to include paraphrased quotes from two of the candidate non attendees, explaining their rationales for declining to attend an event which had the makings of a Godfrey-style political ambush. We were even more delighted to read the emailed comments from Council "B" Seat candidate Bart Blair, which articulately explained some of Mr. Blair's reasons for giving this Channel 17 production the thumbs-down. Unfortunately, Mr. Schwebke's morning story provides only excerpts from Mr. Blair's emailed comment. For the benefit of those readers who'd like to read Mr. Blair's full response to Mr. Schwebke, check out the entry which Mr. Blair made to his campaign blog last evening:
Channel 17 Debate - By Bart Blair
Maybe it's just us... but we'll ask the question anyway. Does it seem to our gentle readers that Mr. Schwebke's story left out Mr. Blair's most important and salient points?

That's it for now, O Gentle Ones.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Update 9/25/09 5;15 p.m.: We just received a Boss Godfrey Administration press release through the usual roundabout sources, (the Godfrey administration continues to leave WCF off its press release email list) revealing that the increasingly deranged Boss Godfrey, who's apparently been recently suffering from a particularly exceptional bout of grandiose manic madness, has finally decided to at least temporarily refrain from televising the three "empty chair 'debates,'" wherein candidates Blair, Garcia and Van Hooser refused to "participate" in Godfrey's sham Propaganda Channel #17 dog and pony show:
We can only speculate about Godfrey's sudden reversal on this. Perhaps Gary Williams told Godfrey frankly that to air these one-sided segments would invite an ass-kicking in the courts. Perhaps Godfrey's handlers finally got him back on his much-needed medications. Who knows?

So what say our gentle readers about this?

Update 9/26/09 8:30 a.m.: This morning's Standard-Examiner carries a padded out version of the back-pedaling Godfrey Administration press release which we published as an update yesterday evening:
Candidate no-shows may nean few debates on Ch. 17
While it's our opinion that it doesn't offer much beyond what we've already provided above, we'll let our gentle readers be the judges of that.


Bill C. said...

It seems to be that the thing these lying little matty candidates are trying to make an issue is the perceived animosity between the Council and the administration with the fault lying with the Council.
I offer two things to think about.
It was a cozy Council that allowed the financial mess that this Council is having to deal with.
Ogden City Schools will be shortchanged significant revenues till 2030 and BDO money wasted as a result of that Councils stupidity and willingness to go along with the idiotic mayors scheme.
Had subsequent Councils not acted appropriately, how much deeper in debt would this City be?
One other thought, if the emphasis downtown had of been on shopping rather than slumlords and bogus artificial indoor recreation we'd be alot further along. I don't know about all of you, but I still have to shop. The ecconomy hasn't stopped our need to buy things, it's just made us prioritize better, and 3 minute windtunnels, dumping cash in a penney archade and spandex ain't high on anyones list.

Curmudgeon said...

The SE's record of being played by the Godfrey team in this Council campaign remains intact.

Let's look at the facts, some of which actually appear in the story[!]. (a) The Mayor's office --- not Channel 17, but the Mayor's office --- told the candidates when to show up at the Mayor's personal TV station, to take part in a "debate" at which the questions would be chosen and asked by the host of the Mayor's own TV show. (b) That if they didn't show up as directed, their time would be given to their opponents, creating in effect [at public expense] a campaign video for their opponents use between now and election day. (c) The only acceptable answer was "Sir, yes, Sir!" or, the Mayor's staff made it clear, an issue would be made of their failure to take the bait.

Happily three candidates refused to be coerced into this sham "debate" . Of course, Mayor Godfrey's three pet candidates [Garner, Haines and Phipps] didfollow orders and showed up. Sadly, Councilman Stephens felt compelled to show, probably because his opponent made it clear he would show. I wish Stephens had had the courage not to allow himself to be coerced into making campaign tapes [at public expense] of a sham debate to aid the Mayor's ticket. [Is Stephens running now as a Godfrey-ticket candidate? I hope not. His ability to be an independent on the Council who can broker compromise solutions to problems will be seriously impaired if he is.]

I suppose there are newcomers to Ogden who may question whether Channel 17 is the Mayor's personal station. A little history may make the matter plain for them. When a school bonding issue was up before the voters some years ago, which Mayor Godfrey opposed, he went on his personal TV show on his personal TV Channel to urge the defeat of the bond issue. And when supporters of the school bond issue asked for time on Channel 17 to reply, the Mayor and his pet TV station manager said no. Despite the fact that Channel 17, then and now, is supported with public funds. Though, of course, the SE's readers didn't learn that in this morning's story.

I noticed that Mr. Schwebke's story included no information about what was said at the debate. The whole story was about who showed and who didn't. You'd think it might have occurred to him an his editors that if the debate itself generated nothing newsworthy --- how could it, with the host of Godfrey's TV show tossing mushball questions mostly to Godfrey's pet candidates? --- that the whole purpose of the event was to generate a news story about who refused to appear on the Mayor's summons. Mr. Schwebke got spun, as did his paper, yet again.

Consider these two items from the story: (a)"Doug Jardine, who hosts a monthly talk show with Godfrey that airs on Channel 17, moderated the video taping and formulated questions ...." and (b) "The debates were meant to provide an objective forum for candidates to connect with voters, said Bill Francis, manager of Channel 17.... Although Channel 17 operates under the purview of the city’s administration, Godfrey had no involvement in the taping, Francis said."

The Mayor's office oversees the station; the host of the Mayor's own weekly TV show decided what questions would be asked at the "debate" the Mayor's office arranged; and yet the manager of the station says "Godfrey had no involvement in the taping." The only real questions remaining are these: how long did it take Mr. Schwebke to stop laughing out loud when Mr. Francis said that to him? How long did Mr. Schwebke's editors take to stop laughing out loud when they read that in the story? And finally, once they regained control of themselves --- it must have taken a while --- why did they run this laugher of a story? If I were a news editor [or a reported], I'd be mortified to allow myself to be played like that.

If the SE newsroom is going to continue to perform spinning pirouettes for the Godfrey Ticket in the news columns of the SE, they might as well go out and buy tutus and dress for the role.

keisha said...

"Does it seem to our gentle readers that Mr. Schwebke's story left out Mr. Blair's most important and salient points?"

You mean this?

"During the Primary election the Mayor endorsed my opponent with out even calling or sitting down with me to find out where I stand on the issues facing our city. The Mayor called thousands of citizens of Ogden with a recorded message telling them he supported my opponent. For this reason I do not believe the Mayor or his office should be facilitating any kind of debate especially one aired on the city's public television station.

Yeah. I'd say the lily livered Schwebke left something out!

You're a master of understatement, Rudi.

Just the facts, ma'am said...


Doug ... Jardine hosts the mayor's monthly call in show on channel 17. I don't know if our community could handle that much BS dished out 4 times per month.

It's absurd to claim that the debates would be neutral and unbiased. I'm my understanding that Jardine handles media and PR on an as needed basis for the mayor's office. I'm impressed with the candidates that are smart enough to see that.

Curmudgeon said...


Thanks. Monthly not weekly. But they're run more than once, aren't they? Thanks again for the correction. Always happy to have something I got wrong corrected.

Jim Hutchins said...

I think we should be awfully proud of candidates Van Hooser and Blair, and Councilman Garcia, for not being pawns in yet another Matthew Godfrey scheme.

The Standard-Examiner appears to have enough pawns to fill up all remaining squares on the chessboard. I wonder when they will confront the fact that they've (frequently) allowed themselves to become the Mayor's ward newsletter.

Jim Hutchins said...

I'd like to alert WCF readers to the Deschamps letter to the editor, which just appeared on the S-E website.

In it, Mr. Deschamps dutifully repeats the Phipps meme: "they wouldn't come because it was on the 9th floor." That no one except Mr. Phipps said this seems to bother Mr. Deschamps not one whit. You can't let the facts get in the way of a good campaign slogan.

Danny said...

Three words:

Kill Channel 17

Curmudgeon said...

Note to Standard Examiner: "Channel 17 may not show all debates" would have been an accurate headline, as would "Mayor Godfrey may not show all debates" or even "Pureheart Patterson, Godfrey CAO, may not show all debates." But not "Ogden City may not show all debates."

Mayor Godfrey is but one part of Ogden's city government.It is true that on certain ceremonial occasions, and on those occasions when he and the Council agree on matters, he can accurately be said to speak for Ogden City as a corporate entity.

But it is not true, as the headline implies, that whenever Godfrey speaks, Ogden City speaks and in the same words.

I notice too that Hizzonah seems to be distancing himself from being responsible for the debate and what his very own personal TV station does with them. The press release claims that Godfrey Administration Chief Administrative Officer John Pureheart Patterson is in fact the debate decision-maker. Now, that's news [which, by the way, we didn't read in the Standard Examiner].

The press release has an odd first sentence: "Ogden City is currently reviewing the videos of the debates that were taped on Thursday, September 24, 2009 to decide whether or not they will air the debates where the other candidate did not show up."

They? Ogden City is an it, not a they. Could it be that Mr. Pureheart Patterson has been spending so much time with Hizzonah these days, that he's begun thinking of himself in the imperial "we" [as in Queen Victoria's famous "We are not amused!"]

Finally, I wonder if the SE will notice the true intent of the press release: to give the "they refused to debate!" meme legs for one more day. I'm betting the editors will, as usual, tug their forelocks, genuflect to Hizzonah, and pretend not to notice. Any takers?

Claudius said...

Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

"Always happy to have something I got wrong corrected"

Reminds me of the guy who claimed he had only been wrong once in his entire life and that was when he thought he was wrong once but it turned out he wasn't.

Your analysis of the Godfrey/Ch 17 scam was superb incidentally - which of course ain't unusual for you. What amazes me is that the Standard never seems to get your analysis of their shameful performance even though said analysis are invariably astute and coming from a "friend" of theirs.

Your "friend" the Standard really is a sorry assed excuse for a newspaper, and Schwepke is usually rather inept and incompetent. Both are real bush league dontcha know! If it wasn't for Trentlman and Gibson the paper would not be worth a bucket of warm spit! (thank you John Nance Garner)

Monotreme said...

I might also point out to Mayor Godfrey that it's a cheap shot to belittle your opponent by using the diminuitive of their name.

Ms. Van Hooser's signs, and her campaign filing, is as Susan Van Hooser.

Her friends call her Susie, not Suzie.

Unless he wants us to start calling him "Matty", and his sidekick "Johnny", I'd suggest he treat Ms. Van Hooser with the respect she deserves as a former council member and current candidate.

I would also note that he doesn't belittle his male opponents in the same way. His cavalier and condescending attitude towards women is well-documented.

Curmudgeon said...


You wrote: Your "friend" the Standard really is a sorry assed excuse for a newspaper... real bush league dontcha know!

Just two points: we're talking about its political reporting. There is much else in the paper that does not suffer from the problems with its municipal political reporting and editorial non-stands [e.g. bemoaning acronym anonymity in state level campaign funding while not noticing the same in Ogden]. There's much else of interest in the paper that doesn't suffer from the same problems as the municipal political reporting.

Second: I am sad to say, Oz, there is another possible explanation for the sad performance of the paper reporting Ogden municipal politics of late --- its Phipps/Godfrey tilt in the newsroom [reporting Phipps' phony claim of the Thurber endorsement as an example of his high character and integrity; its not asking next day when the second phony endorsement came to light why Phipps never mentioned it in discussing the Thurber problem, since he knew about it then; its never having asked Phipps why he listed two endorsements he didn't have on his mailer, but did not list one he did have --- Mayor Godfrey's; and now the "debate" matter which didn't report that the summons to candidates came from the Mayor's office, not Channel 17, didn't report the main element of Mr. Blair's reason for not taking part --- and so on and so on and so on.] Its getting increasingly difficult not to credit the rumors that have been circulating for some time that the SE's corporate owners informed the editors that the SE was a pro-Godfrey paper, and commanded its content to reflect that.

drewmeister said...

Holy fuck batman. Why are my tax dollars supporting this?

Daryl said...


I feel sorry for the people of integrity who work at the Standard. Yes, regardless of what some people on this blog say, the Standard does have some good and honest people working there. In fact I would venture to guess that the vast majority of them fit this category. It must be pretty difficult and disheartening for these people to see their corporate bosses openly pander to the mayor and his constant corruption and dishonesty.

Curmudgeon said...


I've been thinking the same of late, Daryl. The folks at the SE got mortgages to pay, medical insurance to keep, and food to put on the table like the rest of us.

As I read, again this Saturday morning, another painful example of what passes as good campaign journalism at the SE these days, I try to keep in mind Upton Sinclair's quip: ""It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."

[Today's Godfrey Ticket Tilting piece is not available on the free SE site so I can't link to it. Sorry.]

constitutional rights said...



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