Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Prospect of Full Council Debates Ain't Quite Dead... Yet

An invitation for control-freak Boss Godfrey to butt-out of the council debate situation

Boss Godfrey's Channel 17 command performance Council Candidate "debates" are back in the news this morning, with this Scott Schwebke story, which reports that full debates, with ALL candidates in actually in attendance, may yet be on the near horizon. Having apparently learned at least something from the botched first round of so-called debates, where three out of four council races had only one candidate in attendance, Mr. Godfrey has now made a slightly more polished overture, in a form which more closely resembles an invitation than a royal summons. Sadly however, a reading of this document reveals that the Mayor's office still apparently clings to the notions that a) the administration and/or its own agents should select the "independant" debate moderator, and that b) the whole affair should be managed by his Godfrey Propaganda Channel TV Station.

Whether Mayor Godfrey (or anybody else) will succeed in hosting a real candidate debate this go-round is anybody's guess; although Mr. Schwebke also offers this encouraging Susan Van Hooser quote:
Van Hooser said she hasn't decided whether she will attend a rescheduled Channel 17 debate and plans to meet with other city council candidates this week to discuss scheduling a voters forum that's fair for everyone.
"I just want to make sure everybody has the same information and find a venue that's comfortable with all the candidates," she said.
"Whatever we will do, we will decide as a group."
Here are a few helpful off-the-top-of-the head queries for Boss Godfrey, control-freak extraordinaire:

Why not just stand back, and let the candidates arrange the details of their own debate? Why does Boss Godfrey continue to place himself in the middle of this? Candidate debates are an American tradition, with well-developed and time-honored protocols. Why not wait for the candidates themselves to choose their own mutually-agreeable moderator, venue and ground-rules? It seems to us that we could actually have a high quality candidate debate, if the Mayor's office would merely take its grubby mitts off the situation. For reasons which are unclear to us however, Mayor Godfrey continues to aggressively insert his office into the middle of this can of worms. And as far as a Channel 17 TV broadcast goes, why does Godfrey insist that the candidates pick up the tab? Seems to us that if Channel 17's Bill Francis wishes to televise the debate, he could (and should) enter into a suitable arms-length agreement with the candidates to tape it at its own expense (and pay for the broadcast rights), just like other television stations do.

In short, we believe that Boss Godfrey should simply butt-out of the situation... and what say our gentle readers about that?


Southsider said...

From the SE article:

"Mark B. Hains, ... Van Hooser, his opponent.

David Phipps, ... his challenger, Blair.

Garcia, ... his opponent Neil K. Garner"

Kind of interesting, the SE says Hains & Garcia have "opponents", yet Phipps has a "challenger." Does the SE feel that Phipps already holds the seat?

Curmudgeon said...

This morning's Standard Examiner debate story is well worth reading.

First of all, the Administration has now officially abandoned the pretense that the planning and conduct of these so-called debates were entirely the business of Channel 17 and that the Mayor's office was in no way involved. [Claims by Mr. Francis that the Mayor's office was not involved that appeared in the SE's two previous stories on the sham-debate are absent from this one.] The SE posts via link a new offer from Mayor Godfrey's CAO, Mr. Patterson, to the candidates to take part, under the same terms the administration offered them before. Mr. Patterson does promise them an "independent" moderator to decide on the questions and ask them. Who this "independent" moderator will be or how he will be chosen he does not explain. Imagine that.

The article is worth looking at too for this: the SE has at last gotten around to asking the Mayor about the robo calls for Mr. Phipps he is alleged to have made during the primary. And how did Mr. Godfrey answer? From the story:

Godfrey refused to say Monday whether he made a recorded telephone message endorsing Phipps.

My my my. While members of the Godfrey ticket are prancing about on the SE's front pages making a show of their willingness to take part in sham debates arranged by the Mayor's office in the name of providing voters with information and full disclosure, the Mayor clams up. "Did you make the calls?" the SE finally got around to asking him. And our "full disclosure we just want to provide the public an opportunity to know" Mayor replies "That's for me to know and you to find out. Ain't sayin' and you can't make me! Neener neener neener!"

Appropriate for a middle school playground at recess, maybe. But embarrassing coming from the Mayor of Ogden City.

The article is well worth reading start to finish. Here and there within it, the SE commits journalism. Will wonders never cease....

ozboy said...

Mr. Francis, Pure Heart Patterson and the rest of the dissemblers on the mayor's team are at it again.

One example of this is their angle of - if you don't like the 9th floor location you can pay the station to have it somewhere else. Here is the statement from their latest disingenuous offer to debate:

"....it (the mayor's office) was the only available venue with full cabling. If you don’t like the venue, Channel 17 is willing to relocate all of the necessary film equipment to a location of your
choice, but Channel 17 would need to be reimbursed for the cost of such re- location."

They would have us believe that this debate can only take place where there is "full cabling" available. This, like so much of what comes from the Godfreyite camp is pure unadulterated bull shit. In this day of modern video equipment one no longer needs to be tied to a facility with "full cabling" ie a studio. All they need to tape a debate would be a portable video camera or two (every video camera made in the last twenty years is portable incidentally) - an extra microphone to supplement or replace the one built into the camera, a couple of lights - also portable - and the whole production is good to go.

I know about this sort of thing as I owned an ad agency and production company and produced many hundreds of TeeVee commercials - both local and national.

These Godfreyite guys are just such compulsive liars I truly believe they would lie even if the truth were better for their purposes.

Rockford J. said...

Because of this brand new Godfrey-manufactured conflict the moderator, or moderators, will need to have more than the usual amount of skill in this area.

Might we suggest asking the WSU honors department to use this as a civics project, perhaps with the indomitable Ron Holt in the big chair?

One notes that Godfrey just "let go" his previous executive assistant, and rehired the always personable and well-dressed Cristy Shaw?
One would think she knows more about just about every topic discussed regarding local politics than anyone 'cept maybe the Mayors wife.

As for venue, three cameras and a competent 4 person crew with simple home computer equipment could stream it live to my computer or channel 17 with minimal hassle or set up.
A pro could make it look like PBS with the same gear.

I have watched 17 on numerous occasions, and my opinion is that all the cabling in the world wont help the bland local-TV color palette, uninspired depth of field and POV, or canned and flat sound.

Modulate for a typical viewer, guys. This is 20010.

Jay Asquith Cavendish said...


This sounds interesting!

OgdenLover said...

So even if this "debate" were to air on COMCAST Channel 17, it wouldn't reach citizens who don't subscribe to that company. Why not just rent a hall or use the City Council chambers (if that would accomodate enough people) and do it live. Any video could be shown (unedited) on the SE's website, I suppose. Would WCF be able to accomodate something like that, Rudi?

marian said...


Great idea! The council chamber debate for council candidates, video taped and well advertised, would be the best option for those citizens who really want to participate. Have two or three for the convenience of the voters who want to attend. Ogden high auditorium if enough people were interested. The council election of four years ago had at least two debates and maybe more.

Putting something like that together would be a much better use of the mayor's time and our money, but then the mayor doesn't seem to want a fair election, he wants his hand picked candidates to win and will do anything and use any city resource he can get a way with to win.

Curmudgeon said...

Where is a relatively minor matter. How and who are not. Where will the questions come from? Who will decide which ones get asked? And which ones don't? The current magnanimous proposal from Pureheart Patterson on behalf of Mayor Godfrey leaves tacky little questions like that happily vague.

[Have to admit, when I read Mr. Patterson's claim that the [unnamed] moderator would be "independent," this question flashed into my mind: "He's asked Councilman Stephenson to moderate it?"]

The other little gem from this morning's article [besides Hizzonah's refusing to answer the SE's question about the robo calls], was this:

Godfrey said Blair's claim that a debate on Channel 17 would be slanted is untrue. "If the accusation is that the questions would be biased, everybody (watching the broadcast) would know that because they would hear the question being asked," he said.

As the Mayor knows full well, if you have your man deciding what questions to ask, he also necessarily gets to decide what questions not to ask. And questions carefully not asked are far less likely to be noticed by watchers.

And the beat goes on....

just me said...

I think Suzie is scared to debate.

Oh Henry said...

Yeah, "Susie" got soundly thrashed when she went up against Godfrey a couple of years ago and her being afraid to debate again sounds just about right to me. Whoever is running her campaign, then and now, should think real hard about pitting her against anyone when it comes to this forum.

Channel 17 said...

My only point of posting on this sight is to provide a link to the debates that are online and to explain a couple things. I also understand that no matter what I say it will be bent and twisted to meet the objectives of this blog. www.utahvod.com/debates
Take a look for yourselves and please explain how any questions, format, location are unfair or slanted. I have invited Dan S. to come and sit down with the mayor and have an open discussion on the station which I've also done in the past. He has refused my invitations in the past but maybe now he'll accept. I'm easy to contact so if anyone has any questions about CH17 ask me.
-Bill Francis The Imagination Co.
Ogden/Weber and Davis Ch17 Manager

RudiZink said...

LOL, Bill. Since you didn't take the time to actually read and study today's WCF article, I'll inform you that your video piece is already embedded in today's article. Click the highlighted text which in the main article which says "first round of so-called debates", and you'll find the video record of your three "empty chair 'debates"" there.

Here's my take on the trouble with you Godfreyites: You have no hesitation to drop in for a "drive by" post, but make no effort at all to absorb the wealth of information which is available on Weber County Forum.

Glad to have you aboard anyway.

Don't be a stranger.

Curmudgeon said...

Mr. Francis:

Let me suggest something. Look at this from the POV of a Council candidate who is not supported by the Mayor. He receives a summons from the Mayor's secretary, not from you, to appear at a "debate" the arrangements for which he was not consulted about. He is told the questions will be selected by the host of the Mayor's own TV show. And he is also warned by the Mayor's secretary that if he won't agree to show up on those terms, Channel 17 will give their time to their opponent, and so air, repeatedly, a public-financed campaign tape for their opponent repeatedly until election day [the one-candidate empty chair "debate"].

Then he reads in the Standard Examiner your statement that the Mayor had nothing whatever to do with organizing or conducting the debate. One day later, he reads in the SE that the Mayor's office [not you] is going to decide whether the "empty chair" debates [politely so called] will be aired. And he reads again, your insisting the Mayor's office has nothing to do with the debates.

And the very next day, he reads in the paper that "the administration" [not you] is "willing" to give the no-show candidates another chance, but under the same terms: the Administration will pick a moderator, decide the questions to be asked [and not asked]. This time, however, the Administration makes no pretense that Channel 17 [you] are making any decisions about the debates. It's all being done out of the Mayor's office and by the Mayor's staff.

Given all of that, Mr. Francis, if you were not a Godfrey Administration candidate for the Council, would you think the head of Channel 17 [you] had any credibility left on this matter? That his word could be trusted? And would you think the debate was likely to be "fair and balanced" as planned, staffed and operated by the Mayor's office?

Answer honestly.

Dan S. said...

Bill: As I said over on the S-E site last night, I have zero recollection of ever meeting you in person, much less of you ever offering to put me on Channel 17.

If you are serious about your invitation, please email me privately and we can discuss the details. I would be happy to accept provided that all parties can agree to some reasonable conditions in advance, in writing. But I'm beginning to think that your "invitation" is merely rhetorical.

AWM said...

Phipps used the word "growth" 9 times in 8 questions on the Sierra Club Survey/his challenger "ZERO" on the same form. Apparently he doesn't drive I-15, Riverdale, or the 89 to work...

Downtown said...

We would consider instating a partial building permit moratorium on new single-family residential dwellings in the city of Ogden, until central Ogden is cleaned up and restored, and all mixed use condo/shopping development is complete.

We have 72 more units going in at the Union Block. That is a lot more foot traffic by the train station, which is fantabulous for 2 Bit Sreet , Jasohs, The City Club, and Tonas; and, whoever has vision and a hundred thousand dollars or so to see what they are made of, and ponies up and leases the vacant Pappas building.

AWM said...

Downtown...I like the way you roll. Phipps should be an easy mark for Blair. Stating growth 9 times in 8 questions on the (of all places) Sierra Club Survey shows a low level of situational awareness for O-towns temprament right now related to this issue.

Curmudgeon said...


Oh, I don't know. The Ogden Sierra Club collected the statements from as many candidates as possible with the intent of making them easily available not just to Sierra Club members, but to the wider community as well as the press. They're up there verbatim, unedited and without comment, so the candidates can be seen [or read] speaking for themselves in one place, their answers there to be compared and contrasted by any one who cares to look.

If I were a candidate and was invited to post my replies on the Ogden Sierra Club site, I don't think I'd try to target my answers just to club members. I think I'd want to answer as if the whole Ogden community was going to read what I wrote.

Besides, being a card carrying OSC member myself, I think it's wrong to presume all SC members are, somehow, anti-growth. Can't speak for others, but the questions I want to ask a candidate who thinks growth should be the goal for city government include: what kind of growth? At what cost [both in terms of dollars and quality of life]? What will the long term impact be? Have probably unintended consequences been anticipated? And so on.

Growth can be smartly done --- hmmmmm, there's an interesting term: "Smart Growth" --- or it can be badly done. It can be done in such a way as to enhance both the prosperity and quality of life of a city's residents, or it can be growth in the sense that cancer is a growth: destructive rather than constructive.

So being for "growth" by itself doesn't tell us much. As usual, the devil is in the details.

AWM said...

Curm, concur with your in-depth assessment...however, for the SC membership at large it is a "red Flag" raising trigger word..your point not withstanding

AWM said...

Compound that with the real-estate background and an apparent history (however short) of support for O-Towns incumbant mayor and I can see eyebrows raising among the collective membership.

disgusted said...

noticed a comment at the end of the mark hains debate that the mediator was suggesting the mayor was wanting 3 more debates to follow this series of debates all on channnel 17 of course.

i would much rather see any debates on a more neutral ground with a more neutral mediator. with questions provided by an audience or the general population rather than questions generated by someone so close to the administration.

Channel 17 said...

I asked some very simple questions in my previous post and so far no one has answered so I ask again.
Before I posted the debate videos, many on the WCF had it all figured out - that the questions would be slanted and one sided. But now that the videos are on line not one comment has been made about the questions. Why? Let's keep the focus on the debates and if you want me to continue to be a part of this blog I would suggest everyone stop hiding and tell us your full names and what you do. Starting with Rudi, some of already know but for those who don't tell them. Dan I am serious about a debate with you and the Mayor but because how everything gets distorted on this blog I want all dialog open to the public so everyone can see what the process is, please give me a detailed list of what you want your conditions to be. For those who come to read the comments on this blog but refuse to no longer leave comments because you too have been attacked please e-mail me at 17@utahvod.com I want to hear your stories and if I gather enough complaints I think it might make for an interesting documentary, and I would also like to interview on camera Rudi and those behind many of these comments so if you really believe in what you say come forward and stop hiding behind this blog. -Bill

ozboy said...


OK, I looked at your "debates" and listened to the questions and answers. I agree with you that the questions themselves were fair and the production was good. The moderator was also good and most of all not dull and boring like so many moderators are.

I think the real problem that you seem to be avoiding in all of this is the sheer distrust that exists in the community for the mayor and his method of operation, his arrogance and his perceived dishonesty. Mr. Curmudgeon seemed to have laid it out pretty good in his comment and I am anxiously awaiting your reply to him.

I would think it impossible for you to not understand this deep distrust and how it played into the absent candidate's decisions to not participate based upon the fact that the mayor had his finger prints all over the process.

I also must say that based on my professional experience the candidates that did appear and who are generally considered to be those backed by the mayor, seemed rather well prepared and I would not be surprised if it were learned they had been given advance info on the questions. Not accusing, just suspicious. Mr Phipps in fact at one point said he had seen the questions although he very quickly caught himself and said he was joking. Given the atmosphere of distrust I'm not so sure he was.

I do not think it unreasonable for the missing candidates to have the same suspicions that their opponents, who are on the Godfrey ticket so to speak, would be given a tactical advantage by the mayor - after all he does have a known history of campaign hijinks. It was no secret to them that this was a mayoral production and once again the man is highly distrusted by lots of folks in these parts.

I would suggest one way to mitigate this reasonable distrust is to give all the candidates a copy of the debate questions in advance so there can be no chance of unfair advantage. Another way would be to have the questions formulated by a completely independent third party acceptable to both sides of this chasm and opened only at the time of debate so there is no chance that any one has seen them in front. This could also remove any distrust in you conducting the debates on the 9th floor.

From a production point of view I thought it looked good and came across as a quality piece - congratulations.

Rudi -

I think the WCF ought to stage a candidate debate in addition to what Mr. Francis and the administration is doing. The more debates we have the better chance more voters will come to know the candidates and their positions. You could call it the alternative debates, or the debates for all the people not just the Godfreyites. You could stage it according to the fair rules of debate as outlined by Mr. Curmudgeon in a prior post. You know, let the candidates or their representatives negotiate the terms - moderator, location, etc. Have a debate that no one can question the integrity of. (I don't think any one could have a problem with this Jardine fellow even though I understand he is the mayor's shill. He was pretty good I thought) Whoops, did I just compliment a couple of Godfreyites? Yikes, I'm slipping!

So there ya go Rudi, I challenge you and the readers of the WCF to go for it and stage an honest debate for da real folks!

Wm III said...

Downtown said, "whoever has vision and a hundred thousand dollars or so to see what they are made of, and ponies up and leases the vacant Pappas building." ...

In 1994, Brewskis was $100G ...

This year, we looked at Pappas bldg and to bring to code, remodel, equipment, etc the estimates ranged in the quarter million dollar range ...

And you're just a tentant ...

Dan S. said...

Bill, this isn't the appropriate place to negotiate terms for a Channel 17 appearance. It's just plain inconvenient, for one thing. Also, I'm sure that when you communicate with the mayor (or his staff) about what will and won't be broadcast on Channel 17, you don't post those discussions on a blog for everyone to read. So already you're giving the mayor preferred treatment and I don't appreciate that.

I've just sent you an email outlining a basic framework for a potential Channel 17 discussion between me and the mayor. Please respond by email, not here. If you ever find that I distort what was said in our email correspondence, you're welcome to quote the emails or post them here in full.

Meanwhile, I find it interesting that you would publicly solicit complaints about this blog, and that you would propose to film a documentary about those complaints using public funds. Do you have any understanding of the term "conflict of interest"? I'll end by quoting an excerpt from the SPJ code of ethics:

Act Independently

Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

Journalists should:

—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
— Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
— Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
— Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.

done said...

Bill, you hit the nail right on the head. People who sit around and complain all the time have no real idea what it takes to make a go of it in the current economic state. They have no clue of the efforts and cost of starting up a businesses nor the headwinds they face. On the other hand, it costs nothing and there is no risk sitting around complaining about stuff and pretending you know something about everything.

Dan, I find it interesting that you subsist on public funds as well and those funds offer you the opportunity to go around acting like a "journalist" but do it under the guise of a blogger or concerned citizen. Yet everything you do is one-sided and never looks at other possibilities. Perhaps you might reflect on your own ethics as well.

Channel 17 said...

Dan, First of all the Mayor has not been involved in any of my requests about you, just like the debates. I also think you need to understand that CH17 is a very small part of my client base infact its not even in my top 10 of my biggest clients. The reason I help with the station is because I want to see Ogden succeed and CH17 it is a powerful way to get information out. All equipment used for the productions are owned by my company the Imagination Co. If I decide I want to do a production like exposing WCF it's up to me to find funding. I was not paid any extra to do these debates and I was not paid any extra when I did the debate 2 years ago with Suzy. I do these cause I believe its important to Ogden and to me , I know you volunteer your time as well to things that are important to you. Just so you know since my post last night I've already recieved a lot of interest. Also back when I tryed before to leave comments and ultimatly was put in WCF dungon LOL as Tom F. loves to say I found I was there with many others including the Giegers. I'm betting they would be very interrested in this as well, perhaps a sponsor.

Curmudgeon said...


You wrote: People who sit around and complain all the time have no real idea what it takes to make a go of it in the current economic state.

Don't know how to break this to you, Done, but many of the folks you complain simply "sit around and complain all the time" have... well, jobs. They work for a living. Right here in Ogden, many of them. They volunteer for city service on committees and commissions, some of them, and volunteer their time for a wide variety of other public service groups. Swear to god they do. Some of them have run, and still run, businesses. Successful ones. Honest.

It is a conceit of the Godfrey Gaggle that those who dare not to genuflect to the Mayor's wishes involving whatever ill-advised enthusiasm he has embraced at the moment [think very expensive year round out door ice climbing popsicles a downtown street corner, or a $35 million-dollar plus public owned flatland gondola tourist ride from downtown to WSU --- the list goes on and on] are idle complainers who, as you put it, who do nothing but "sit around and complain all the time."

Hell, Done Said, why not use the terms of the Godfrey script exactly, and call them "naysayers."

You have some substantive point to make, have at it. But claiming those who think differently than you about public matters do nothing but "lie around complaining" merely highlights your lack of substantive arguments to make. You can do better, surely.

Curmudgeon said...

Channel 17:

You wrote: when I did the debate 2 years ago with Suzy.

Surely you meant to say "Susan Van Hooser" or "Councilwoman Van Hooser."


beaver said...


A documentary about how some locals had their feelers hurt on a small-town political blog? By the people they routinely dismiss as naysayers, detractors, and idiots?


Run right home and clear off some mantle space for your Oscar.

Channel 17 said...

Surley you have always meant to say Mayor Matthew Godfrey or Mr. Godfrey.

Zero Mostel said...


You could call your documentary "A Funny Thing Happened To Me On The Way To The Forum"

Like getting schooled.

Curmudgeon said...


We're going to have to disagree on the questions. They were fair but they were not good questions. The questions put were way too vague and general. And the moderator did not require the candidates to answer them with any specificity. Ever. No follow ups when they dodged. And wow, did they dodge.

Let's look at the Hains interview as an example. Question one was did he agree with the city's general policies for promoting growth, and what would he, as a councilman do to continue them, or what would he do differently. Hains reply: I think we should recruit more businesses to Ogden. [Was he asked in a follow up question, how? No. Did he address that in his first reply? Not beyond saying we have great things here in Ogden. Need to tell businesses about them so they'll come here.]

Q2: MOGC What are a couple of specific things you'd suggest doing about the MOGC matter? Hains: "Something needs to be done." Maybe make the course more playable. Try to draw tourists. "We need to look at all the issues and decide what."

Q3: What's the main job, as you see it, of the Council with respect to the role of the Mayor and administration? Hains: I believe in checks and balances. Polarization is bad. We all need to work together.

Q4: There's been no city tax rise for a while. Do you see a need for one? Hains: Bringing more business to Ogden will bring more revenues. If we bring more businesses to Ogden, we won't have to raise taxes. [Any follow up question about how he would do that? No. ]

Q5. What "specifically" can a city council member do to reduce crime in Ogden and improve law enforcement? Hains: Police do a good job. Every one should have a Neighborhood Watch. I'm pro business. If we bring more businesses to Ogden, there will be more tax money to hire more police.

Q6: [Very odd question, this]: There seems to be a divide in Ogden between older residents who don't want change, and younger more active ones --- bike riders, kayakers, etc --- who do. What is the right amount of change, and what can the Council do to appease both groups. [Appease?] Hains: Change is inevitable. Bring more business to Ogden. Manage change so it benefits all.

Q7: What is the most important issue facing Ogden, and what would you do about it? Hains: Council and Mayor need to communicate better, work together. We need to work together for the good of all.

See what I mean, Oz? And the moderator asked no follow up questions that might have required the candidates to indicate even their familiarity with issues or Council and Administrative matters over the previous two years.

Were the candidates asked, in such a way that they'd have to actually take a stand, about any of the hot button issues of the previous two years? The ice tower? Velodrome? City debt? River Project? Water rates? No.

It matters as much, Oz, what is not asked, often, as what is. Were any questions at all asked about the city's debt, for example, and recent increases to it? No. Do you think that's something candidates ought to be asked about? I do.

And before anyone asks, if one of the candidates I support gets up there and mouths the kind of meaningless blather Mr. Hains did in response to puffball questions, I think the moderator absolutely ought to ask very pointed follow up questions

Sorry, Oz. Not good questions. Not good format. One way to get some specificity might be to have a candidate's forum, at which the public can come and ask questions. I'd expect the Godfrey ticket supporters to show up with specific questions for the other candidats. And I'd expect the other candidates' supporters to show up with specific questions for the Godfrey ticket guys.

But what Channel 17 staged was an exercise in pablum generation. Or so it seemed to me.

dumber than a brick said...

Amusing that Curmudgeon defends the people who sit around and complain as being people who have jobs when we all know he's a retired history professor with nothing to do but sit around and complain.

Curmudgeon said...

Channel 17:

OK, Mr. Francis, fair question. I put up my post moments after hearing your moderator, about to start his session with Mr. Hains, that "Suzy" didn't show. Had I not just heard that, I'd not have put up the post.

When I write to the SE regarding the Mayor, I refer to him as Mayor Matthew Godfrey or Mayor Godfrey. I don't think I've referred to him otherwise there. If I did, it was wrong of me and I'll apologize for it. But I don't think I did.

If I were posting here, or was on a panel somewhere, commenting on the Mayor's performance in my capacity as a faculty member at WSU, I would refer to him as Mayor Matthew Godfrey or Mayor Godfrey. He was elected by the people of Ogden, and so is entitled to be addressed by the title the voters conferred upon him. Similarly, Channel 17 aired debates between Mayor Matthew Godfrey and Councilwoman Susan Van Hooser, Mr. Francis. Not between Matt and Suzy.

On a blog, however, slightly sardonic tongue-in-cheek references are fine with me. And so, sometimes, the Mayor becomes "Hizzonah." You post here in your capacity as head of Channel 17, you get addressed, by me as Mr. Francis. You want to post as Just Plain Bill, and refer to me as "the Prof," or "Teach" or "the Pedant," have at it. Perfectly all right with me.

Time, place and forum matters, Mr. Francis.

Hope that answers the question you raised.

Curmudgeon said...

Dumber Than A Brick:

I would be helpful if you got your facts right. The 130 or so students who are this very day and tomorrow taking the exams I prepared for them would be surprised to learn that I've got no work to do.

They'd probably be even more surprised to hear that when they get their graded papers back.

Go Wildcats! Meow! said...

So, the gentleman works as a Professor of History most of his life, retires honorably, and now has an interest in civics.
This person spent his life educating young adults and others.
and is polite and balanced, even when persons do not show him the same respect.

And you make the allusion that he is "dumber than a baked ceramic construction material"?

Teachers are as important as soldiers to a city on the hill.
Persons who show an active interest in civics are the hill the city rests on.

I for one read this blog partially to find out what the Professor you dismiss as "dumb" has to say about the days events.

Jim Hutchins said...

Done, Channel 17, et al.:

I'll be sure to post links to my resumé along with any posts I make.

I'm happy to do that, as long as you do the same.

I'd be happy to stack up my knowledge, skills and abilities against yours any day of the week.

Ditto if you want to just stack up "contributions to the well-being of Ogden citizens".

The reason I don't normally do that is that I don't think it's necessarily relevant to list my qualifications when commenting on this blog.

But since you brought it up, I'm sure we'll see you posting under your real, true name along with a list of contributions you've made to Ogden or to society generally.

Bring it.

ozboy said...

Mr. Curmudgeon

We are not in disagreement at all on our own respective takes of the "debate".

I think your expectation is that it would be a debate in the classic political sense, whereas I see this Godfrey sponsored "debate" as modern day show biz. The questions, tho pretty lame and general, gave the performers some basic direction to perform their respective sales pitches. I kind of compare it to the old Hollywood Squares TeeVee show where the comedian guests were given the set up questions in advance that the host was going to ask so that they could have a clever joke ready.

Had all candidates been given the questions in advance, like I strongly suspect the Godfreyites were, then I think they would have been fair questions and could have sparked some interchange between opposing candidates based on their individual "pitches and answers". I think the questions did have the potential to open up pandora's box to the real issues had the "debate" been set up and run in a fair manner. Course it wasn't so the whole thing is academic anyway.

By the way, I loved your abridgment of the "debate" questions and the candidate's answers!

Curmudgeon said...

Go Wildcats:

Thank you for the compliment. Much appreciated.

But I'm not quite done poisoning young minds in the classroom yet. [grin] Gettin' close, but not quite yet.

But you're right to point out the absurdity of those in Ogden [pretty much anywhere] who, lacking anything substantive to contribute to an argument about public affairs, decide to attack those who are retired as lazy slackers with nothing to do but complain.

I wonder if they'd dismiss a retired person agreeing with them as nothing but a yawning layabout with nothing to do but grouse. Somehow, I doubt it.

Then of course there's the Standard Examiner which recently opined in an editorial that having a full time day job was a disqualification for serving on the Ogden City Council as anything but a back bencher. Is the SE really suggesting that only the retired, the unemployed, or the independently wealthy should hold leadership roles on the Council? Seems to be something like that that the paper is arguing.

[By the way, can't help wondering if Dumb wrote a letter to the SE complaining about the editorial, explaining to them that the retired are simply lazy layabouts who should not have any role to play in civic matters. Surely he must have, que no?]

As for me, I like the idea of a Council composed of a good mix of Ogden's residents: those with full time jobs, those retired, those partially retired, those working at jobs that allow them lots of flexible hours, those with and those without families, LDS and non LDS, men and women, and so on. A good council should have on it, eligible for all roles on it, people who live the life, and understand the problems of, a good cross section of Ogden's citizens.

Apparently, the SE thinks differently.

Thanks again for the compliment, GW.

Bill C. said...

Dear Mr. Francis, thank you for being so open in displaying your negative bias regarding this forum and those that participate here. No one will need to bend and twist anything you say here, no need to, but it very clear that all of this is being done regardless of what you claim, by the mayor.
I find it interesting that your seemingly biggest desire is to stage a debate between the mayor and Dan. I didn't know that the office of mayor was on this ballot this time round, or that Dan wants it.
Which brings me to my real issue, these Council races have nothing to do with the mayor other than his personal interest as a citizen of Ogden and given the arrangements for the operation of ch.17, have nothing to do with you either.
While we all would be thrilled to watch Dan devour the mayor it would serve as nothing more than a distraction from what really matters right now.
I can't help but feel that what's gone down so far has been nothing more than another diversion in an effort to stop or hinder a real entity from organizing and staging real debates, with pertanent questions that don't allow the administration to define the issues.
If any broadcast were to be arranged I would suggest UEN KUED or a network that actually has the ability to reach the public. If your outfit were allowed to broadcast it I suggest you sign a waiver that allows no excerps or editing and requires you to broadcast it in it's entirety.

what a world is MattGodfreyWorld said...

Good one Bill C. What's obvious is that Bill Francis has his brown nose nose firmly implanted up Matthew Godfrey's butt.

Curmudgeon said...

One more try....

Mr. Francis posted here, as invited, under his own name, and his posts have been civil. When he posts something that won't stand up on the evidence, have at him. But the name-calling simply reinforces [particularly for those not familiar with WCF who, given the current WCF bashing going on the comment columns of the SE, may be stopping by for the first time to see what it's all about] exactly wgat Mr. Francis and Blake F. and the rest of the Godfrey Gaggle like to pretend: that WCF is a snake pit of invective and nothing more.

Take him on in the same terms he takes on those of us he disagrees with. Fair's fair and it's more effective too. It really is.

Bill C. said...

Curm, I didn't call him one name, suggest his faculties lacking or any of that.
Anyone reading his post knowing what's transpired and the sourse of all communication being the mayors and patterson's offices, knows he's not sincere, he just want's Dan to help the mayor steal the attention from this election and the mayor's weak recruitments.
Oh, by the way, the mayor had City employees out in the rain staking out the high adventure pygmy pony trail along the river today. And we thought it was just a joke. Saddle up the palamino, high adventure urban equestrian thrills will soon put Ogden on every travel brochure from Sheridan Wyoming to Galvaston Texas, ye-ha.
Is Alfred P. a cowboy?

Bill C. said...

Oh, one other tid-bit. The high adventure intercity memo from the mayor to department managers stated, we will no longer be using the term Velodrome, though the geigers thought it sexy the public thinks it a joke. It will now be called a fieldhouse, please use this substitute in any further propaganda.

Public Access said...

Most of the programming on Channel 17 seems to repeat itself, no doubt because producing it is expensive and the contract between the vendor and the city doesn’t include additional programming.

In tight economic times, why not turn the station over to the media students at Ben Lomond and Ogden High Schools. What an amazing opportunity to get kids involved and out in the community. It would have been great to have seen one of the Tiger’s first winning football seasons in years broadcast on our hometown channel – the Scot’s games too. What about basketball, soccer, tennis, swimming, track, band performances, pieces promoting attendance of school musicals & concerts, etc…

Since the office/studio where the vendor is currently located is adjacent to the mayor’s office, it also makes sense to film all city council meetings and run them unedited. Provo and SLC residents have easy access to public meetings – including city council and planning commission meetings – via their version of city television stations.

The city should still contract with a private vendor, “Imagination” or whichever company submits the best bid proposal, for additional pieces on the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to promote new and existing businesses – that’s an important role in the community and the pieces should be done by professionals.

But if businesses could also be mentioned as sponsors at local broadcasts of sports events, they’d probably get better ratings and more mileage. Imagine what the local ratings would be for something like the Iron Horse game. I would think you could get pretty good sponsorship.

High school students, possibly even some WSU students as well, are often on the cutting edge of this technology and if monitored by an advisor I’ll bet we’d get a great result with additional coverage and students getting more of a feel of what’s it’s like to work at a television news station if that’s their career goal.

I did an Internet search for other Utah “Channel 17s” and this is what it pulled up. There are probably a lot more, this is just what I could easily locate.

One great example is Park City’s television station. They’re currently running XTERRA - US Championships 2009 that took place in the Ogden valley last weekend. It’s a great spot. You can check it out at http://parkcity.tv/. This is the type of local programming about our community that might be more available if the station

Salt Lake’s Channel 17:

Davis County’s Channel 17 (also currently run by Imagination – looks identical to Ogden’s station):

Provo’s Channel 17:

Other sites of interest that came up regarding government access programming and channels:

Curmudgeon said...


Can you put up a link to a copy of that directive about "It's not a velodrome, it's a field house" ? [It's not a sow's ear, it's a silk purse!"]

Ah, what's in a name....? [Didn't somebody famous ask that once?]

So many possibilities this opens up. "It's not an ice climbing tower, its a VACAV [Virtical Artifical Climate Assent Venue, but who's gonna remember?]" Or "They're not 300 condos going up on the benchlands, they're PRAMs [Public Residential Access Modules.]

And of course we can play the game too. "Why, MOGC isn't a money-losing operation. No sir, it's a Local Business Funding Stimulus Unit."

Yeah! That's the ticket!

Dan S. said...

Mr. Francis:

You really don't understand what "conflict of interest" means, do you? If you did, you wouldn't publicly admit that you might produce a documentary on Weber County Forum funded by the Geigers. Of course, that's no worse than a "debate" coordinated by the mayor's office. (Do you honestly believe that the mayor never talks to John Patterson?)

You are not a journalist, Mr. Francis. You are a mercenary propagandist.

Dan S. said...


My day job isn't relevant to this discussion. I blog entirely as a volunteer, on my own time.

Bill C. said...

Well Curm, been sworn to secrecy on that one, seems the mayor feels he can fire any civil servant for questioning one of his schemes or letting the public in on how he operates, or should I say intimidates City employees.
This kind fellow likes his job and would love to keep it, he's real close to the big action you know, handing money to the mayors cronies and pondering zoning changes and hight requirements that could jepordize the Historic designation of 25th st. just for Fisher because he might make more money if the Star Noodle were taller.
This guy even told me that the mayor is all ready playing politics with the Councils open space committee having uncle Greg stack it with his supporters. Who'd a thunk.
So, sorry Curm, we'll just have to wait and hear the administration's next mention of the field house, then we'll know.

Ya Gotta Luv it said...


PRAM! Ya gotta luv it baby.

In a few years we could all be taking the TRAM from our PRAM to the DAM - FAM!!!*

*F___king "A" Man

Curmudgeon said...

Ya Gotta...


"Don'tcha just love it when a plan comes together?'

Rockford J. said...

Tonight, the old boarded up petulant-frenzy-created eyesore on 25th street called, no not Helena, Star Noodle, had a giant Elect Flipper Phipps sign stretched lightly crooked, tacked with nails, along the cracked exposed-board eaves.
Silence; then, as my grand son says, LOL.

Just Saying said...

This appeared in the S-E and it pretty much sums up the debate issue.

Three council candidates duck and run

Ogden City had a strange anomaly happen. Three city council candidates duck and ran for cover from the media because of the potential to show their true colors and lack of original thought in front of the camera. The published reasons I have seen from those candidates range from "It needs to be on neutral ground" to "The moderator would have asked biased questions." Both statements concern me.

Maybe I am asking too much of a candidate, but I expect that someone who would be serving on our city council would be able to respond to questions given to them no matter how "biased" they might seem. I don't expect my representatives to know everything; but I do expect them to have the mental capacity required to ask the right questions and to think for themselves. The best evidence of this is also admitting when you don't know an answer and need time to properly research an issue and come to a decision.
Also, the last time I checked, the Ogden City Municipal Building belonged to Ogden residents. How much more "neutral" can you get? I also expect that a candidate for council would not be scared to debate issues in the Municipal Building where I would want them to debate issues every week as part of their job. To that end, if a council member disagreed with the mayor on any issue, I would fully expect them to debate the mayor whether in open meetings, in his office, or on a street corner. A fundamental part of the job description for the council is to provide the proper check and balance of the administration.
What good does it do me as a constituent to have council members who are afraid of the mayor and the municipal building?
These three races are already won -- the candidates who showed up would get my vote. Whatever their other qualifications or shortcomings at least they are willing to show up, listen, and debate; which means they appear to meet the minimum qualifications of a councilman, unlike their opponents.

Troy Herold


Rockford J. said...

I agree with you, Troy, on many points you bring up, mostly, the need for a city councilperson to be a nimble thinker, generally.

But glibness does not equal good governance, and many a good debater I would not allow on my property to clean my pool, let alone be trusted with the heavy responability of civic office.

The are instances of wisdom and good leadership too numerous to enumerate from persons quite past wanting to take part in a dog and pony show of lively "maybe biased" questions. Ben Franklin comes to mind.

Debates for public office transpire much the way described by these run away canidates, wihtout it being an issue. I would suggest that it is a false issue, generated from the school of any news is good news.

I think that, in general, this might increase interest in the election amongst some who were disinterested before, so in a I certainly don't approve way, It is a good thing.

Given the distrust that currently exists between our branches of government, not always a bad thing, mind you, I am of the mind that some of the stay-aways requests should be considered at face value, and move on to a measured and scholarly debate.

And then let them all sling mud till election day. This will probably get ugly no matter what we do.

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