Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ogden City Council Debates: Back in the News For the Second Time This Week

Lots of tantalizing questions to discuss this morning

To kick off this morning's reader discussion, we'll highlight a pair of Ogden City municipal election stories provided by the northern Utah print media:

First, we'll provide a link to this morning's Salt Lake Tribune story, wherein we believe reporter Chris Smart got the facts mostly right:
Candidates opt out of city-sponsored debate
Although Mr. Smart does report that Ogden City officials have offered to move Channel 17 cameras to wherever alternative venue the candidates choose, he misses the boat in failing to tell his readers about "the catch": that any agreed venue outside the ninth floor studio (across the hall from Boss Godfrey's throne room) would require somebody other than the city to pick up Channel 17's "travelling expenses".

We won't gig Mr. Smart for this minor omission however, inasmuch as he does get the main point right:
Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey isn't up for re-election this year. But that doesn't mean he's not at the center of campaign-season rancor.
Three candidates running for Ogden City Council opted out of a recent debate sponsored by the municipality, citing concerns that a government forum is improper for election campaigning.
While a Godfrey spokesman said the mayor wasn't directly involved in setting up the debate, his shadow seemed to fall over it...
And on the heels of yesterday's WCF report that the council candidates are themselves setting up a non Boss Godfrey-sponsored debate, we receive this encouraging news this morning from the Standard-Examiner, whereby Mr. Schwebke reports that all eight council candidates are set to meet today, in an attempt to work out their own alternate debate venue and ground rules, and possibly cut the meddling Godfrey administration entirely out of the deal:
Candidates discuss logistics - Debates, forums, sponsorships and formats on minds of hopefuls
We see lots of interesting possibilities here. Will the candidates themselves succeed in amicably working out the necessary details in the this single meeting? Will there be holdouts for a Channel 17 broadcast? Council challenger David Phipps has candidly expressed his preference that these proposed debates be featured on the Godfrey Propaganda Channel. Will he and his Godfrey Ticket comrades then refuse to debate at a neutral forum such as WSU, for instance? Will the citizens of Ogden City be treated to another set of "empty chair" debates? Or alternatively, will Emerald City voters finally get the legitimate and robust question and answer sessions that they deserve? And tangentially we'll ask this question: Does WSU or any other reasonably available neutral party or entity even have the technical capability itself to tape and broadcast a new set of debates? Is Channel 17 the only practical alternative, if the voters are to see a video broadcast at all?

Lots to discuss this morning as we said; so we'll thus turn the floor over to our readers without any further ado.

Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Ones.


Curmudgeon said...

Sacre bleu!, Rudi, you buried the lead!


RudiZink said...

LOL, Curm.

Exactly right!

Rose said...

Godfrey shenanigans = fail.
No empty chairs at WSU, for the win.

Ray Vaughn said...

I am troubled by a comment by Jphn Patterson " can't be shown on channel 17 unless they are sponsored by the city" DOes that mean that all programming, such as programs highlighting business on 25th street is city sanctioned and sponsered by the city? It was not long ago that a program touting Roosters was shown on channel 17. Are the businesses that get highlighted on channel 17 are the only ones that Ogden city supports? What about other business that never gets shown on channel 17? Are they not friends of the city. Programs touting a business are basically free advertising. What recourse do the ignored business owners have? This seems to be a rather selective endorsement of certain business and their owners and a rather pointed statement of what the city, using my tax dollars and cable franchise fees considers acceptable to the city.

what will it cost us said...

Ray, seems that businesses that are the mayors friends are seen over and over. Descente was featured adnauseum on the channel a year ago, over and over.

I thought public taxpayer funded channels had to feature local folks without a regard to their politics.

Wm III said...

Channel 17 also featured The City Club ...

Channel 17 was paid by H25 business association with our "vastly increased" membership dues ...

What I mean is, they were supposed to be paid by H25 - whether Channel 17 has ever rec'd payment, I wouldn't have a clue ...

Bill Parker

Curmudgeon said...


But I will give the SLT points for this: In it's first story regarding the sham-debates at The Godfrey Channel, the Trib reported that it was the Mayor's secretary who was contacting candidates about the debate arrangements [and threatening that their time, 30 minutes, would be given to their opponents on the Godfrey Ticket if they didn't agree to show]. The SE is into its fourth story on the sham debates, and it still hasn't told its readers that.

And we have the curious decisions by the SE news editors regarding placement of the four stories the paper has done so far. Let's look at the record:

Story No. 1: reports that three candidates refuse to show. Location: inside pages.

Story No. 2: reports that Godfrey CAO Patterson "may" decide not to air the empty chair "debates." Location: front page.

Story No. 3: reports that Godfrey CAO Patterson is "willing" to offer declining candidates another chance to take part. Location: front page.

Story No. 4: reports that Candidate Van Hooser is arranging a meeting of all candidates so they can agree on debate arrangements all will find fair and balanced. Location: inside pages.

Don't know what others think, but I find the news judgment that determined the placement of the four stories... odd, to say the least. Funny how a story that's not primarily about Godfrey administration decisions suddenly reverts to back page status, isn't it?

Curiouser and curiouser....

Ray Vaughjn said...

Wm III; Whether or not H25 paid or was extorted to pay more is interestinh. However all citizens of Ogden support channel 17 with tax dollars and comcast customers pay a "franchise fee and a city channel capital contribution" This means that channel 17 should be available to all city residents and business in Ogden city. "events can't be shown on channel 17 unless they are sponsored by the city" John Patterson. Ogden residents are paying for this channel by various methods. This channel should be made available to those who are paying to support channel 17.

Wm III said...

I'm sorry Ray ... I think I may have confused you ...

Our H25 dues were raised to pay for TV ads and other questionable marketing ploys ...

I didn't mean to infer Channel 17 raised the production costs to us ...

Sorry for the confusion ...

Bill Parker

Biker Babe said...

do we ever get a schedule as to when anything will be shown on ch. 17? comcast guide always just says local government programming

just sayin


Curmudgeon said...

The problems regarding Channel 17 [aka "The Godfrey Channel"] would not exist if the Mayor had the vaguest idea of what election to his office requires by way of ethical conduct.

Channel 17 is supported by taxes. Any decent Mayor would, therefor, understand that it cannot and must not be run as his personal political fiefdom. Anyone with a decent grasp of ethical conduct would, if he goes on the air to oppose a school bond issue, not only permit, but insist, that time be made available on the community channel for those who thought differently than he did on the matter. But our Mayor didn't. He refused to allow time on The Godfrey Channel for supporters of the bond issue.

When Mayor Godfrey was in the throes of his flatland-gondola obsession, he had Channel 17 air pro-gondola interviews with Mr. C. Geiger [an enthusiastic gondola booster] over and over and over again. And other pro-gondola "shows" as well. It got so bad, it seemed like Ogden's allegedly "community channel" had become the "All Godfrey, All Geiger, All Gondolas, All The Time" channel.

Those who thought the Mayor's plan to sell Ogden's largest public park to his real estate developer friends to finance a $35 million dollar tourist ride from downtown to WSU asked for time on Channel 17 to present their views. Mayor Godfrey refused. Any Mayor to whom ethical conduct mattered would not only have permitted his opponents time to make their case on the city's tax-supported community channel, he'd have insisted on it. But our mayor didn't.

Can't really blame Mr. Francis, except for his laughable claim that the Mayor's office has "nothing to do" with arranging or conduct the sham debates. He works for, reports to, the Mayor's Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. Patterson. The Mayor's office clearly decides what goes on Channel 17 and what does not, as Mr. Patterson conceded in today's story.

So, seems clear to me: if we had a Mayor in office to whom ethical conduct mattered, Ogden would have in Channel 17 a true, community, tax-supported channel. Instead, we have Matthew Godfrey in office, and we have the tax-supported Godfrey Channel. Which channel is now actively engaged [surprise surprise!] in trying to arrange for the Mayor a rubber-stamp City Council.

Imagine that....

Mike B. said...

I for one would not want to be Mayor Godfrey if, upon finally leaving office in several hundred days, he has not delivered as promised to Cris Petersen on the corridor to Cris' Malans Basin Ski Resort.

In Chicago, it would look like a drug overdose with a male companion in a small seedy hotel.
In Los Angeles, it would look like a small plane accident on a chartered hunting trip.
In Malawi, it would look like a anonymous head on a pike, outside a luxurious compound.

I don't know how it would look in Utah.

Biker Babe said...

Mike B
except the head wouldn't be anonymous -- everyone know what he looks like!

just sayin


wildcat said...

This is a question that I would like to see posed to all the Council candidates at this "debate/forum" should it ever happen: what do you consider to be the proper sphere of authority for the mayor and what do you consider to be the proper sphere of authority for the Council?

ozboy said...

I suggest every one who appreciates the small ray of sunshine from Mr. Smart email him and let him know how much you appreciate it - and urge him to do the folks in Ogden a huge favor and pursue more Ogden election stories over the next month. I already have.

Ray Vaughn said...

In the last mayoral election a debate between Susan Van Hooser and Matthew Godfrey was held at WSU. And shown over and over again on channel 17. Did either of the candidates pay any expenses to have the debate videotaped? Did either candidate pay any of the expenses associated with the debate? Was the debate covered by channel 17 or did they just shown the debate aqs filmed by a 3rd party? John Patterson has said that channel 17 only shows programs and events sponsored by Ogden city but the rodeo is run by a outside group. A debate should be held, filmed and offered to channel 17 to see if they will air the debate without any involvement by channel 17 employees or any editing of the debate.

Curmudgeon said...


Be better, maybe, to nail it down more specifically:

Recently, the Mayor of Ogden vetoed a provision of the budget passed by the Council. The Council by a 5-2 vote over rode the Mayor's veto. The Mayor then said he would ignore the Council's vote and do as he pleased anyway. Here is the question. It is in two parts:

Would you have voted to over-ride the Mayor's veto had you been on the Council then, and if the Mayor ignores the Council's vote in the coming year, and you win election, what action would you, as Council member, recommend the Council take?"

Jim Hutchins said...

Ms. Van Hooser has posted the following to her Facebook Wall:

What: Council Member Candidate Forum
Hosted by the Weber County Womens Legislative Council

Where: South Ogden City Senior Citizen Center
580 39th Street

When: Tues @ 7:00pm

Everyones invited to come and meet the candidates, see you there!

Ogden Dem said...

Ray V - the Ogden School district pays Channel 17 to record and broadcast their Students of the Month program and that is NOT city sponsored - Patterson is wrong.

ozboy said...

You Demoncrats are always attacking our honorable city officials!

I'll have you know "Ogden Dem" that John Patterson has a pure heart and therefore is incapable of being wrong.

Would you like a little salt? It might make those words taste a little better as you eat them - like I'm sure you will when faced with such pure Godfrey like logic.

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