Sunday, October 04, 2009

Boss Godfrey Again Puts the Cart before the Horse

Godfrey announces St. Anne's Center groundbreaking ceremony; St Anne's Board responds, "Slow Down, Mr. Mayor"

By Curmudgeon

They're at it again! The Godfrey administration is trying to give the St. Anne's Center the bums rush out of downtown, and just as happened before, the St.Anne's Board is not sitting still for it. [Charle's Trentelman's story can be found here:
Moving time for St. Anne's?
It's quite a tale reporter Trentelman has to tell. Seems Hizzonah, Mayor Godfrey and his gaggle have announced a ground breaking ceremony for a new St. Anne's Center to be built out of downtown. Only problem is, St. Anne's Center says its way too early for a ground breaking ceremony, and they're not going to show until they have a signed agreement with the city about the move, which they don't have yet. From the story:
The city and the directors of St. Anne's Center agree it is time to move the homeless shelter from central Ogden to a location on Pacific Avenue, but St. Anne's officials are resisting a city effort to hold an Oct. 14 groundbreaking until they have details in writing.
The Administration notified the Standard-Examiner that the ground breaking ceremony would take place, that it's inviting the Lt. Governor, and that it has "a major donor" to help build the new St. Anne's --- nameless of course --- "already on board." [We can only hope it's not the same nameless donor who the Administration said was on board with the money for the ice tower, only it turned out, he wasn't.]

It seems the Administration announced the groundbreaking ceremony without bothering to inform, much less invite, the St.Anne's Board. From the story:
Asked about the groundbreaking, several St. Anne's officials, including Graham Lovelady, treasurer of the board of directors, said the board didn't know anything about it.
Mayor Godfrey's CAO, Mr. Patterson, insisted however "it was all still going to happen." [He didn't quite say "Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!" to the St. Anne's Board. Not quite.]

Trentelman reports that the St.Anne Board held "an emergency meeting Wednesday night" and "voted to tell Ogden to slow down." The Board wants "a signed memorandum of understanding before it proceeds." [Seems the St. Anne's Board has learned the hard way, as have the rest of us, that the Mayor's word is no good. We want it in writing, the Board insists. Smart people.] What must the signed agreement include? This, say's St. Annes: "basic stuff like, here's what we're going to do and here's what we expect the city to do. And it will include things about the land swap."

A spokesperson for the St. Anne's Board put the matter so plainly, it's possible even the Mayor and Mr. Patterson [both out of town yesterday] might understand it: "We're not going to be pushed into something if we're not ready."

There is much else in the story about the history of St. Anne's in Ogden, and the history of its relations with the Godfrey Administration. All well worth reading.

But you would think after finally wiping the egg off its face for its last grand announcement of an agreement with St. Anne's about its moving to 12th Street when it hadn't agreed at all, the Administration would have learned something. Apparently not. What it has not learned yet, evidently, is that "agreements" involve the cooperation of all parties involved, not just the Mayor.

Good story. Good work by the SE. Hope we see more of it.

28 comments:

get er' done said...

well, this is the way this is done in Ogden, and all you nay Sayers should just trust the mayor and let him do this because that is why the city is just soooo beautiful and the mayor will show you how this is going to be and then you will just have egg on your face.

OgdenLover said...

This was a well-written, researched article because Charlie Trentleman was involved. Too bad he isn't also involved in writing about City Hall.

Curmudgeon said...

OL:

I agree, CT is a good reporter and knows how to push past first responses. But, credit where credit is due, the SE editors not only ran the story, they ran it in a prominent place: top of the TOU section with big headline. They could have spiked it. Or gutted it. They did neither. Nor did they simply go with the Administration's press release regarding the [alleged] groundbreaking ceremony. The SE fact-checked it first. Good on 'em.

Dorothy Littrell said...

I think I speak for many of the potential "bank of donors" for the new enlarged St. Anne's facility when I say that it will be a cold day in hell before I again donate to a new building for St. Anne's without ALL the facts having been presented.

Before I give a dime I want to see some construction plans of the building. I want to see the financial plans and have the source of finances disclosed besides a "Fund Drive".

This sounds like the usual half-cocked Godfrey plan that always winds up a disaster.

If Ogden City is going to raise the funds I want to see a plan constructed on the lines of the building plan that the Eccles Community Arts Center had for their dance studio additon so that I can review it and I will know what is going to happen to my donation.

Jim Hutchins said...

I noticed that Mr. Patterson and Mayor Godfrey, both of whom work full-time for the citizens of Ogden, are "out of town" Thursday and Friday.

Yet, the same S-E that criticizes the part-time, job-holding Council leadership for their unavailability, says nothing.

This is not the first time, either. I don't have time to document it -- maybe someone else will -- but it seems to me this happens most of the time when the Godfrey Administration gets caught with their pants down. I know it's certainly not the first time.

I suppose consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. By that standard, the S-E editorial board has huge minds.

OgdenLover said...

Maybe Godfrey and Patterson are off in Europe studying homeless shelters.

Biker Babe said...

Shouldn't agreements of such a grand scale be in writing ... with every single minor and major detail included in the document, signed by both (all) parties, notarized and approved by those in authority to approve (which is not JUST the mayor) with someone besides the city attorney making sure everything is in order and binding with no loopholes and hidden traps should the funding go awry - thus putting the T/P on the hook for yet another godfrey boondoggle?

line (from famous movie): "Run away, run away!" comes to mind in regards to G&P at times like these, as Jim said.

just sayin

BB

Curmudgeon said...

Well, I don't know, JH. Seems a little early to pull the trigger on the SE for having a double standard on this. Are the Dynamic Duo traveling on city business? [There are, after all, legitimate reasons for the Mayor and his CAO to be out of town on city business.] We don't know. Or perhaps they're taking vacation days? They're entitled to them, after all, as full time city employees. We don't know. Maybe there's some critical meat here the SE might have chewed on, but we just don't have enough information to draw that conclusion, seems to me.

The problem with the editorial that went after Councilwoman Wicks was that it provided no evidence to back its criticisms. Editorials often appear following a news story the previous week on which the editorial comments. Not this time. If the SE had sound evidence of a problem on the part of the part-time Councilwoman, it certainly did not spell it out in the editorial.

In any case, the SE was alleging a long standing pattern of [it claimed] unreasonable unavailability. The Mayor and Pureheart being out of town two days, and so being unavailable to return a reporters' calls, is hardly comparable.

I suspect, when the latest example of administrative arrogant incompetence blew up on them [the St. Anne's board not only didn't know about the ceremony to break ground in a new St. Anne's, but hadn't yet signed an agreement with the city regarding the move], both Hizzonah and Pureheart would have preferred they were here to do damage control. Maybe to yell at the SE's editors and threaten to hold their breath until they turned blue unless the SE agreed to change the story. Or something equally mature.

Rockford J. said...

Godfrey should know by now that his manipulative technique of pushing forward with a confident "can't go wrong" attitude, has indeed gone terribly wrong, and that he must fall back on the adepts 2nd choice: good leadership and wisely using the trust and confidence built over the course of his time.

We are screwed.

Dan S. said...

Perhaps this is an appropriate place to mention that the mayor failed to make a promised appearance at Friday's opening reception for the Wilderness Quilt at Union Station. I was asked to help publicize this event by circulating an email saying the mayor would be there. The S-E article promised the same. Then, 10 minutes before the event began, the organizers learned that Godfrey was sending Mark Johnson to take his place.

Ray Vaughn said...

Jim Hutchins & Ogden Lover; No need to criticize Mr. Godfrey and Mr. Patterson for being unavailable. I am certain that they were busy looking for a neutral location to hold city council debates.

ozboy said...

Seems like the folks that run St Anne's, bless their hearts, know what so many in Ogden do - that is whenever the mayor or Pure Heart are talking the odds are they are lying.

This latest incident is "Deja vu all over again" (Thanks Leo)

Wm III said...

Oz:

Thanks Leo?

I think it's thanks Yogi ...

where are they, who's in charge? said...

Maybe Godfrey and Patterson are hiking the appellation trail. No wait, Godfrey speaks Spanish and maybe he is in Argentina. ya that is it. that is where they are. no wait. crime is high in Ogden and they are at Godfrey neighbors again and putting them in a head lock.

ozboy said...

Wm III

Yep, my dumb! Thanks for correcting this non-baseball fan.

Danny said...

Here's what's going on.

Godfrey has raised only minimal funding to move the center.

He wants to get the project underway however since Steve Kier will do the project and needs the money now.

Once started, Godfrey will find a way to toss St. Anne's out of their present location, creating a crisis situation that someone else will have to fix.

It's easy to predict the future all all related matters where Godfrey is concerned. One simply assumes the most corrupt, insensitive, self-serving motives are at work and goes from there.

There is a 99% probability of being correct, which ain't bad.

rose said...

"..hiking the appellation trail..."

LOL

OgdenLover said...

Danny,
You say that Steve Kier would do the construction on a new St. Anne's. Has this gone out on a publically-announced bid? Am I naive for thinking that it would?

RudiZink said...

Danny, I believe you're definitely on to something here. Frankly, I've been scratching my head over the past couple of days, wondering why Godfrey is in such a rush to stage a "groundbreaking ceremony," which would normally be a mere ceremonial event.

Query whether the staging of such a ceremony might actually be a "triggering event," which might, for instance, somehow spring forth funding for the planned Kier Corporation Dormitory Project, which has been associated with the St. Anne's land swap.

Godfrey's seemingly ludicrous insistence that this ceremony be moved up to a ridiculously early point (which would even precede the execution of a binding agreement between the parties) most certainly indicates that there's probably something "in background" which the ever-secretive Boss Godfrey has not yet divulged.

Too many times, the lumpencitizens have had to dig to find the true hidden agendas behind Godfrey's seemingly bizarre proposals. Sadly, this seems to be another instance of that.

Curmudgeon said...

OL:

According to the story, Keir would not necessarily be doing the St. Anne's Center construction. The city is talking to Keir about building "a separate, for-profit, 140-unit single-room occupancy complex adjacent to the new shelter."

It's all a little vague. The separate single-room occupancy complex [what's that in English?], being for profit and privately owned, would not come under bid requirements. It won't be a public project. Of course, that raises the question of why "the City" is talking to Keir about building a private for profit facility. I'd like to know a little more about that, since Godfrey administration public/private building projects have proven in the past [when they actually get built, that is] very very expensive for the taxpayers in the end. Presumably the owners are expecting to contract with Ogden to provide low end single room housing for the indigent and homeless poor? Something like that? Or will it be a public project leased to a private contractor to operate? [Think Marshall White Center.] As I said, the precise relationship between Keir, the "private" parties or party involved and the city is a little unclear at this point. Might merit a little SE digging.

Even if Keir were to build the St. Anne's building, St. Anne's too is a private operation. It's not a public agency, and its building is not public property, so St.Anne's can hire whomever its board chooses to hire to build facilities for it, I imagine, with having to comply with public-project bid requirements.

RudiZink said...

Here's a wild guess, Danny, Ogden Lover and Curmudgeon; and I'll readily admit its pure speculation:

Has Boss Godfrey's Washington lobbyist, Mr. Lee, put his thumb on some yet undistributed Obama stimulus money, which was originally designated for "shovel ready" projects?

Aside from the fact that the Dormitory Project doesn't seem to be what could be fairly described as "shovel ready," this speculative scenario would certainly otherwise "fit" the reported facts.

Gets interestinger and interestinger, dunnit?

Rockford J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ozboy said...

RJ

How Jesus like of you! I am amazed how much compassion could be rolled up in one philosopher from Ogden!

As for me, I think we ought to feed the rich to the poor! Most of the "fat cats" are corpulent and I'm sure would be quite nutritious and delicious if sauteed slowly with a little olive oil. Yum Yum

Rockford J. said...

The more homeless shelters you build, the more poor, non-tax paying citizens will be using and straining public health and human services.
Build a million units, and they would all be full in a single season.

Its like giving free food to starving people. The more starving people you give a free lunch to, the more free-lunch-seekers you help create. If you feed people for free, award them free housing, arrange free medical care...
What are we trying to do here, create some sort of commune-layabout utopia?

As for building them a shelter?
I say put some old box cars on the edge of town, and leave them to their own little self-willed reality. Maybe have the Elks or Eagles visit early in the morning and rough them up once in a while, just to keep the thieving-gypsy whores and drug dealing and scam-running Fagans and Olivers on their toes.

The last thing the homeless need: more opportunities.

Homer S. said...

Mayor Godfrey make baby Jebus cry.

OgdenLover said...

Rockford J.,

I haven't heard such mean-spirited sniping since I left the Deep South. I'm betting you consider yourself a good Christian.

It all goes back to the "sainted" Ronald Reagan who cut funding for the indigent mentally ill and dumped them out on the streets. Today, a decent proportion of street people are returned soldiers with PTSD who are incapable of holding a job and can't find or afford housing. Hopefully, stimulus funds to the VA will help them get the care they need and deserve.

Be thankful that you have a roof over your head. One major catastrophic illness and any of us could find ourselves looking for a box to live in.

A Little Bird said...

Besides providing money to the Kier Corp., this little bird knows that Godfrey wants to do a land swap with St. Anne's, but St. Anne's wants to retain the Binford property and lease it so that they have a continual income source. Sounds reasonable to me, but Godfrey won't hear of it. He has to have control of everything downtown and that is why he is in such a hurry to get things going at the new site.
Kudos to St. Anne's Board of Directors and the Director of St. Anne's! They learn their lessons well and remain committed to their original purpose.

If only the city council would learn from the times that Godfrey and Patterson dump on them! The city would be in better condition now. I wonder if the gall that the council has swallowed in past projects isn't bitter enough and that is why they keep asking for more. Or is it a lack of conviction and courage?

Curmudgeon said...

Little Bird:

If you're right, and St. Anne's wants to retain title to its present site, and lease it for income, then, seems to me, what it's hoping for down on Pacific is not a "land swap" but a donation of land. That's a very different thing.

If that is what St. Anne's is looking for, I couldn't say if it would be wise for the city to agree. Possibly, possibly not. The city would get the center out of downtown, which the Administration clearly wants, and, presumably, a business would locate at the old St. Anne's site. But would that parcel, if still owned by St. Anne's [a non-profit] be subject to the same taxes as a commercially owned site? I don't know that either.

Whether the move is arranged by land swap or land donation would be, clearly, a matter for negotiation. The point is, if Little Bird is right, those negotiations have obviously not been completed. As St. Anne's Board pointed out, they have no written agreement with the City. And so announcing a ground breaking on the assumption that the two parties would reach a mutually acceptable arrangement was way premature.

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