Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Virtual Glut of 2009 Municipal Election Pieces

We hardly know where to start

This morning's Standard-Examiner is chock full of Municipal Election 2009 pieces, so we'll offer some very brief introductory commentary and then provide some links.

First, we find in our morning Std-Ex a pair of dueling guest commentaries, wherein the two main factions on the Ogden City Council defend their positions with regard to the 8/4/09 Marshall White Center veto override in particular, and in the process, provide insight into their respective views about the roles of the Administration and Council in the Mayor-Council form of municipal government in general.

For a robust and politically astute (dare we use the word "glorious?") defense of the council's role as a "strong, separate, independent and co-equal branch of municipal government," check out the council majority's position statement:
Why we voted to override the mayor's veto
And for the viewpoint of those in the council minority who would return Ogden's legislative branch of government to the second-class, groveling and boot-licking ways of the rubber stamp council of 2003-05, be sure to read the opinions of Godfrey lackeys Brandon Stephenson and Blain Johnson on the subject. It'll be good for a few laughs, if nothing else. There's no doubt in our mind that these two fellas would help usher in "The Imperial Despot" form of government in Emerald City, if the statutes of the State of Utah would permit it:
Why the veto override was a mistake
Next, we'll put the focus on this morning's Std-Ex lead editorial, which in part draws a bead on At-large Council "B" seat candidate David Phipps, with respect to the two false endorsements which he clumsily included in his recent pre-primary campaign mailer:
OUR VIEW: Phipps' election faux pas
Although the Std-Ex softly criticizes Mr. Phipps for his apparent lack of attention to detail in this instance, the Std-Ex editorial board declines to accuse him of having "crossed the line" between actions which would constitute a mere "faux pax" and something "more serious." As we already opined before, it's the position of Weber County Forum that Mr. Phipps already blundered across that line, when he candidly revealed the false Thurber endorsement on 9/20/09, even while he mendaciously and wilfully concealed his contemporaneous knowledge of the equally false Johnson endorsement. From our point of view, we have serious doubts about whether Mr. Phipps would have mentioned the latter mal-endorsement at all, if not for our own WCF story on 9/20/09, in which gentle reader George K. let the Johnson endorsement cat out of the bag.

Finally, we'll refer our readers to Andy Howell's "Behind the Headlines" morning column, within which the Std-Ex executive editor announces the Std-Ex's intention to again endorse candidates for each of the four open council seats. With the Standard's previous 2007 endorsements under our belts and digested, we'll ask our readers: Whaddaya think of that? Do you believe the Standard did a good job in its 2007 endorsements; or are you still experiencing heartburn? Do you have any ideas that we could pass on to the Std-Ex editorial board about how they might improve their in-house endorsement process? What do you think about the propriety of newspaper endorsements in general?

As a matter of fact, we'll ask our readers what the think about any and all of the above.

The floor is open for your comments, O Gentle Ones.


Curmudgeon said...

In re: the editorial. It ignores another odd thing about Mr. Phipps flyer. Not only did he include on it two endorsements he did not have. He did not include on it an endorsement he did have: Mayor Godfrey's endorsement. As we know now [and as the SE still has not told its readers], Mayor Godfrey was making robo-calls supporting Mr. Phipps in the primary.

SE readers don't even learn that in a front page story today [not available on line] regarding the possibility that Channel 17 will not air most of the sham "debates." The SE finds room in the story, though, for Mr. Phipps to criticize his opponent for being anti-Godfrey, while insisting the he is not pro-Godfrey. And no mention that Godfrey did robo calls for him. This is what passes for campaign journalism at the SE these days.

Something else odd about this morning's front page story. Consider: the story about the debate [politely so called] which reported nothing said at the debate but only reported on who did and didn't show up and why, ran in the Metro section, I think. And yet a story that Channel 17 may not air the debates [?] for which only one candidate showed has become front page news.

The story has, of course, again Mr. Francis of Channel 17 insisting the Mayor had nothing whatsoever to do with arranging or conducting the debates. It was, he says, Channel 17 all the way, trying to be "fair and balanced." And yet the press release on which the story is based [put up by Rudi last night] comes not from Channel 17 but from... wait for it... Mayor Godfrey's office. Just as the summons to the candidates to appear for Channel 17's sham debate did.

Imagine that. [Oh, you'll have to imagine that last part. The SE isn't letting its readers known.]

David S. said...

I remember at the veto override meeting concerning Marshall White, the mayor went on an on about the US Constitution, separation of powers, and blah blah blah. In dishing out what seemed like an hour of pablum, he never addressed the issue!

When he was done, Amy Wicks said the issue was about closing the Marshall White pool. (The mayor intended to close it, and the council told him to keep it open.)

In one sentence, she fully rebutted the mayor. It was a matter of policy, which is up to the council. That's all there was to it.

Monotreme said...

There were actually two wonderful phrases from the Stephenson-Johnson piece that had me giggling with delight.

Never has a city council tried micromanaging the activities of an administration in this way anywhere in the state of Utah, maybe even anywhere in the entire country.

Get hyperbolic much?

However, the real problem is that the majority of Ogden City Council members do not communicate effectively.

Occam's Razor says you're wrong.

Danny said...

You read the comments of the two Godfreyite councilmen - comments obviously written by Blain Johnson - and you have the sense that they think that by changing the subject they can effectively lie. Rather than address the issue - closing the Marshall White pool - they talk about everything and anything else they can think of.

And the the newspaper is mute.

I like this video of a congressman grilling a Fed lawyer, while the lawyer tries and tries to deflect.

Zero Hedge Video

It would be nice if there was some way Godfrey could be grilled in this fashion. Problem is, he games the system to the point that he can lie with almost complete impunity with no way he can be called to task or cross-examined on his statements.

Thank goodness for the Internet, and it's no wonder mainstream media continues to decline. Thank goodness for freedom and alternate sources where we can see the truth.

Ray Vaughn said...

this is somewhat off topic but it deserves discussion. The New London Connecticut property grab which reached the Supreme Court in 2005 is kaput. The projected 3,16 jobs and yearly income tax revenue of 1.2 million dollars has not happened. A thriving neighbohood in New London Connecticut was destroyed and now is basically a vacant lot. This was the case which provoked state legislatures nationwide to change how property is seized for private development. Yes, Ogden Utah has something in common with a failed property grab in Connecticut.

Ray Vaughn said...

Correction; I meant to say 3,169 jobs. Do the projections and promises sound familar?

Curmudgeon said...


The SC got that one wrong. Flat wrong. Increasing the tax base should not be a sufficient "public purpose" to justify eminent domain seizures. Particularly [as we and those former home owners know only too well], the issue was not in fact "increasing the tax base" but only "potentially increasing the tax base."

And I am sad to say, some of the majority included justices whose rulings I generally find sound including in this instance Justice Ginsberg.

Much of what the court does, much of what it has always done from the Marshall court on, has involved balancing public good against private right. It is sometimes a difficult call. This one was not, or should not have been.

Bad decision. I suspect it will not be controlling precedent ten years from now. Which of course in no way helps the homeowners wrongfully dispossessed.

Perhaps the Mayor who rammed it through, if he's looking for work, should apply to the Godfrey administration for a development office job. He'd find himself right at home I think, in an administration that threatened to go to eminent domain proceedings, if necessary, if homeowners in Ogden's very own vacant development [the River Project] refused to sell.

Monotreme said...

"Never has a city council tried micromanaging the activities of an administration in this way anywhere in the state of Utah, maybe even anywhere in the entire country."

Never has anyone written something so stupid in the history of the world. Maybe of the universe.

Danny said...



Your dissection of the Blain Johnson quote shows why Johnson must do the bidding of Godfrey in return for the business Godfrey throws him - it's because Blain Johnson is a hack.

He is perhaps the greatest hack in Ogden, and possibly in the world, possibly in history. Hey look at me exaggerate. Godfrey, can I have some money now too, like your incompetent suck ups?

Monotreme said...


I dunno, I figured it was vintage Godfrey. Maybe Patterson.

Godfrey loves the puffery ("tallest ice tower in the world", "greatest high adventure destination in the Milky Way", etc.)

If Mr. Johnson did write it, it's still pretty funny, coming from Mr. FNURE himself.

Ogden Dem said...

Request clarification - if I read an earlier WCF article correctly Mark Hains spent more money than his campaign collected, is that allowable?

And if no one in city or council government cares about the donors whether they are fictious or not what is the point of campaign laws, such as they currently are?

ozboy said...

Is it my imagination or computer illiteracy that prevents me from finding the two articles by the differing council factions, or the Howell piece, on line in a place where one can make comments?
Does the Standard not want people commenting on these articles?

Is Andy Howell full of crap or what?

Is the article by the two Godfreyite councilmen weak and diversionary or what?

Does their piece completely ignore the point that the communication problem, that they lay at the feet of the five honorable council persons, is really the fault of the mayor?

Do they not know that there really is no meaningful communication with Godfrey unless you agree with him? Or are they just being disingenuous (ie lying bastards)?

Have they ever differed with Godfrey on a subject and then had any meaningful "communication" with him? I have tried and I can tell you that the arrogant little bastard will not acknowledge any position no matter how sane, well researched or factual it is unless he already agrees. It is his way or the highway always on any subject. Pretty sad considering he is the most incompetent and dishonest politician in Ogden's history.

Curmudgeon said...

Og Dem:

Candidates, all levels, charge stuff during the campaign with expectation of paying the bill off in 30 days when donations come in, or when they loan themselves campaign money, or give it to themselves. Not out of the ordinary at all.

OgdenLover said...

"And if no one in city or council government cares about the donors whether they are fictitious or not what is the point of campaign laws, such as they currently are?" - Ogden Dem

As a taxpayer and voter, I care. I want to see who is supporting the candidates and I want others to be able to see it as well. What we need is a judiciary that cares about enforcing the campaign laws. That seems to be lacking around here.

Regular WCF Reader said...

Regarding today's Standard...

I submitted a caption for the weekly, "You Caption Cal" contest, the cartoon with the corn maze. I may be biased, but I think it was much better than any the Standard chose for voting this week.

"I'm sorry Mayor Godfrey. That route won't work for a gondola either."

wildcat said...

I'm still waiting to find out why Johnson and Stephenson voted not to override. Nothing in their editorial addresses that issue. To say that the real issue here is not what powers belong to the mayor and what powers belong to the council, but is the fact that the majority of council members don't communicate very effectively doesn't address the issue. The ed by Wicks et. al. did a great job of communicating. Moreover, so did the bill they passed and the veto they overrode. Are Johnson and Stephenson suggesting that if they had just communicated their position with the mayor better to begin with he never would have vetoed the bill? Sure thing, guys.

Curmudgeon said...

Reg. WCF Reader:

LOL. So do I. Still grinning. Wonderful!

Curmudgeon said...

A query about reporting on Ogden business in the SE:

About a year ago, a coffee shoppe acquaintance who works at Auto Liv was talking about reduced hours, layoffs, etc. and I seem to recall the layoffs being reported in the paper.

Ran into him again this morning. Mentioned that the WSG reported this week that GM was hiring back 3000 of its laid off workers, and starting new shifts at some plants. I wondered if this was having any effect at Auto Liv. He told me he was working overtime hours now, and the company was tapping temp firms to pick up extra help.

That is certainly very good news for the Ogden economy, that Auto Liv is ramping up production and bringing in more help. Here's my question: was the increase in work, staffing and production reported in the SE? May have been and I may have missed it. Just in general seems to me bad economic news [layoffs, production cuts] gets headlined --- as it should --- but that upside news often doesn't.

Did I miss the story?

Jennifer Neil said...

I spoke personally (as in face to face) with Mr. Blair and Ms. Van Hooser - and both said the Mayor's office personally called them about the debate for Channel 17 - not the TV station. I had hoped they would get on this forum and provide their input.

I saw Ms. Van Hooser at the Farmers Market yesterday, and she added that not only had the mayor's office called her, but the person calling had told her they would run the "debate" with or without her present. Her main reason for not attending: they gave her less than one day notice, and she had a very important personal appointment scheduled for the same time that could not be rescheduled.

Don't believe everything you read in the paper ... there's always another side or facts left out - and who knows what would have been left out of the ch. 17 debates by the editors at the behest of the administration.

I agree that the debates should be coordinated for a time when all candidates can be present, at a neutral location by a neutral part (think League of Women Voters) and the public should be able to ask questions as well ... not just the questions formulated by ch. 17 ...

J Neil

Curmudgeon said...


Mr. Francis insists he and the Mayor's pet moderator both have "come out of a background in television news" and so know how important it is to be "fair and balanced."

Seems to me anyone with a background in TV news [other than Fox News Network or Radio Havana] would know how these things are done. Had Mr. Francis or someone from his station --- not the Mayor's secretary --- contacted all the candidates, said Channel 17 would like to host a debate for Council candidates, and invited them to a meeting where they could all, together, agree on matters like the format, and agree on a moderator all were comfortable with as being unbiased and fair, and agree on where the questions would come from [the public, maybe?], etc., then Channel 17 might have performed a real public service.

But Mr. Francis didn't do that. He simply said to the candidates... or rather, the Mayor's secretary did... that "this is what we're going to do; the mayor's pet moderator will pick the questions and ask them. Show up or we'll give your time to your opponent." E.g., "my way or the highway." Which seems really to mean in this case "Mayor Godfrey's way or the highway." As usual.

Jennifer Neil said...

Curm :

um ... I think that's what I said ...


Curmudgeon said...

AW, JN, you know me: never say in ten words what you can say in 153 if you try. [grin]

Dorrene Jeske said...

Curmudgeon said, "In re: the editorial. It ignores another odd thing about Mr. Phipps flyer. Not only did he include on it two endorsements he did not have."

One thing that I find very strange is that most printers will not accept any endorsement without a signed statement by the endorsee. How did Phipps get past this and who printed the endorsements? Was it the SE? If so when did they change they change their policy? I had to have a signed statement by each endorsee which took me more than two full days to obtain all the signatures.
Something really smells about this! Or is it more proof that Godfrey tells the editors at the SE what to do.

Phipps comments about the debates leaves little doubt that he is another "Yes" man for Godfrey when Schwebke reported that he said that "Candidates who refused to attend the Channel 17 tapings are indicative of the decisiveness occurring between factions in Ogden. Phipps said, 'The city is not being divided along the lines of pro-Godfrey and anti-Godfrey. It's being drawn along the lines of anti-Godfrey and those who bee\lieve in openness and want to work together." He manipulates words as well as Godfrey. No wonder Thaine Fisher brought him to Ogden from Phoenix a year ago to run for my seat.
Not in the news or mentioned by anyone in Phipps camp is the odd situation that a big time realtor RENTS the house he is living in on 25th St. He doesn't even pay property taxes to Ogden! And he wants to represent the taxpayers of Ogden!

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