Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rep. Hansen Apologizes to Phipps

Let's not over-focus on the technicalities surrounding Mr. Phipps's residency

Fascinating story in this morning's Standard-Examiner, wherein Scott Schwebke reports that House District 9 Representative Neil Hansen has graciously issued an unsolicited apology to Ogden City Council Seat "B" Candidate David Phipps, for his perceived overreaction to information he received from the Salt Lake County Elections Office on or about October 14. This information of course launched a Weber County Forum article on the subject the following day, and provoked a most robust discussion in our lower comments section. Read this morning's full Scott Schwebke story here:
Ogden lawmaker apologizes for accusations about candidate
We applaud Representative Hansen for taking the ethical high road on this, and for recognising and correcting his own mistake. While we believe Rep. Hansen's action in obtaining and releasing the information that Mr. Phipps had voted in his old Sugarhouse precinct in 2008, (even while claiming simultaneous residency in Ogden) was entirely proper, we also agree that Rep. Hansen is right, and that he may have at least slightly overstepped the bounds of political civility in offering this quote in Mr. Schwebke's Oct 19 2009 Standard-Examiner story:
"There is some dishonesty about his residency and there needs to be some accountability," Hansen said, adding he obtained the records on behalf of a constituent whom he declined to identify."
And just to set the record straight, it's the above statement which Rep. Hansen appears to be apologizing about... and we believe that's the only statement he needs to apologize about.

Rep. Hansen has plenty of political juice in Ogden, and we congratulate him for recognizing that drawing ultimate conclusions about Mr. Phipps's honesty or lack thereof is not his proper role, and that the opinion of a politically-influential state legislator, if left un-retracted, could carry undue weight. The role of determining ultimate legal culpability is reserved for the proper legal authorities of course, as Rep. Hansen remarks in today's SE story:
Hansen said in a phone interview Monday it isn't his place to judge whether Phipps is an eligible candidate and hopes an investigation will be launched promptly to sort out his residency.
"That's between him and the legal system," he said.Hansen said one issue that needs to be sorted out is if Phipps, as he claims, was a resident of Ogden at the time of the 2008 election, was it legal for him to vote in Salt Lake City?Conversely, Hansen said, if Phipps was a legal resident of Salt Lake City, did he meet residency requirements to file for city council?.
What Rep. Hansen neglects to mention however is the court of public opinion, another legitimate venue to weigh conflicting claims on the eve of a municipal election. While we congratulate Rep. Hansen for his magnanimous gesture in apologising to Mr. Phipps for comments which were arguably excessive, we also doubt that Rep. Hansen would criticise Ogden voters for themselves weighing the facts which Rep. Hansen initially laid out.

And in that connection we do believe questions regarding Mr. Phipps's residency are crying out to be resolved. And we do believe the circumstances surrounding Mr. Phipps's November 4, 2008 Salt Lake County vote reflect on Mr. Phipps's character and fitness for office. The citizens of Ogden are certainly entitled to weigh the facts on their own, without resorting to the the opinions of any State Legislator, although we'd also view it as advisable to avoid drawing any firm conclusions until all the evidence is in.

Having said that, we'll issue a caveat: Let's not go overboard on this. The issues regarding Mr. Phipps's residency will ultimately be resolved. As Mr. Schwebke reports in this morning's story, third-place seat "B" candidate Jennifer Neil has already filed a complaint in this matter; and during the course of the proceedings which will result from this procedural step, we recommend that we all stand back... and let the wheels of justice grind on. The residency issues will all get sorted out, one way or the other, we believe.

And in the same connection we'll refer to a Dan Schroeder comment lodged under the above-linked Oct 19 2009 SE story. Remember, there are plenty of other troubling issues surrounding Mr. Phipps's candidacy:

For the time being at least,
let's not over-focus on the technicalities surrounding Mr. Phipps's residency.

There are plenty of other fish to fry, no?

48 comments:

Jennifer Neil said...

WCF Readers - this morning's Hansen apology article included a snippet about my complaint - but only that I had filed one, then Mr. Phipps responding with accusing me of dirty politics!

Here is the substance of the complaint I filed:

"Ms. Mansell,
Having recently spoken with you on the telephone on the referenced issue, I wish to inform you that I am filing an official Letter of Complaint, which is attached under this cover. ... I am taking issue with the times and places on record for Mr. D. Phipps’ residency and voting history, which we have rules (Utah Code Annotated, Section 20A) about which ALL are required to follow in regards to voting and running for office in Utah. My purpose for this complaint is merely to bring about an investigation and discovery of the facts, for the benefit of the voters in Ogden, who deserve to know the truth about their candidates.

(main letter):
Ms. Mansell,
I am filing this letter of complaint as a formality and as a service to the voters of Ogden. I do not seek Mr. Phipps' removal from the Nov 3, 2009 municipal election ballot. I would prefer to let the voters decide this issue. However, I would like a finding of fact: whether Mr. Phipps did, or did not, violate Ogden City ordinances pertaining to the municipal election. Whether he did, or did not, the voters need to know the facts before casting a vote for Mr. Phipps or Mr. Blair.

Utah Code re: municipal elections and residency:
20A-9-203. Declarations of candidacy -- Municipal general elections.
(1) (a) (i) A person may become a candidate for any municipal office if:
(A) the person is a registered voter; and
(B) (I) the person has resided within the municipality in which that person seeks to hold elective office for the 12 consecutive months immediately before the date of the election; or …

20A-1-102 DEFINITIONS: …
(21) "Election" means a regular general election, a municipal general election, a statewide special election, a local special election, a regular primary election, a municipal primary election, and a local district election. ...

In the case of the 2009 Ogden Municipal Elections, the primary election was held on 09/15/2009. Since the code 20A states “12 consecutive months immediately before the date of the election,” – this is of great importance in the subsequent finding of facts in response to this complaint, as there is nothing documenting Mr. Phipps residency before 09/15/2008.

Mr. Phipps produced a lease for the 1083 25th St property dated 9/27/2008, the 1027 E Ramona Ave, SLC property was sold on 10/22/2008, the family moved to Ogden Valley 10/30/2008, Mr. Phipps voted as a SLC resident on 11/04/2008, the Phipps family moved into the 1083 25th residence 12/9/2008. Some of these dates overlap, if they did indeed move in 12/09/2008. "

**********************************

The documentation from Weber County Election office says they have no record of Phipps being registered in Weber County prior to July 2009 ... he claims he tried to register before the 2008 election.

The page of the lease for the Ogden home he didn't move into until December 2008 is dated 9/27/2008 - which is not a complete 12 months before the Primary Election on 9/15/2009 ...

City Attorney Williams had told Cindi Mansell that "Election" meant the General Election - either of them could have checked the code, Even Williams should have KNOWN the code and its definition of Election included Municipal Primary Elections ...

Just the facts, Sir.

How dare he accuse me of Dirty Politicking, when all I did was a little research and found the truth.

If I was doing anything relative to dirty politicking I would be trying to get back in the race and I am not - I just think the voters need to know that some dirty politicking is going on elsewhere and others are trying to get around technicalities or blame others for their mistakes.

Jennifer Neil

Biker Babe said...

um ... if Neil Hansen accuses David Phipps of voter fraud then apologizes ... shouldn't David Phipps apologize to Jennifer Neil for accusing her of Dirty Politics?

js

BB

Libby N. said...

Several years ago I owned the property Phipps "lives" in. It has changed hands a couple of times over the years. Every time I drive down 25th street I look at that house. For months now I have thought it looked empty and it made me a little sad since I loved the neighborhood and the house is a wonderful old house built in the 20's. Phipps is such a liar. We may bitch about things on this blog, but we don't fabricate videos and lie about the candidates we don't agree with...we don't need to.

history tells all said...

Well, I believe that we eat what we sow. I think once again this shows just what kind of person Neil Hansen is and just what kind of people that we have running for city council. I know that the truth will come out and when they want to call it dirty politics, they don't have any thing else to stand on. We have the truth, the law, and honesty of a great state Representative to stand up for what is good here. Thank you Rep. Hansen

peace in zion said...

I wonder if Hansen and Phipps Stake President had anything to do with this apology?

OgdenLover said...

Once again the SE writes a headline that gives an inaccurate version of the story. Yes, Hansen apologized, but the headline gives the impression that his accusation was incorrect and that Goliath was picking on poor little David.

ozboy said...

Schwepke once again demonstrates his lack of integrity, intelligence and competence as a reporter.

In order to get the real story in his write up, one has to dig pretty deep to see that Hansen did not forgive the crime, but only apologized for the personal slight he felt he dished out to Phipps. A huge difference.

A casual reading of this article, which is what a large number of people do, leaves the impression that Phipps has been exonerated of the underling election crimes at the heart of the issue. That is obviously not the case if you read it carefully.

The other disgusting Godfreyite spin the disingenuous Scwepke put on the story was portraying the honorable patriot Jennifer Neil as a sore loser practicing "dirty politics". Nothing could be further from the truth, as her actions were in the best tradition of people with integrity in politics. Yet Schwepke ended the article on that note which he, and the morally bankrupt naybobs at the Standard, know will leave a lasting impression on the casual readers.

I wish a pox on this disgraceful excuse for a newspaper and the ever lame Schwepke.

Stephen M. Cook said...

The reporter gathers facts as per instructions from the editors desk.
The editors write the headline, as per the owners expectations.

Follow the money.

Man bites dog said...

haven't been in a newsroom lately huh Stephen? Copy editors write the headlines 90% of the time.

cancer ridden said...

You know neil I love ya but sometimes you put your foot in shit, just saying

Resident said...

Bottom line is Hansen apologized.

I disagree with him doing so, and feel it makes him look foolish.

All he did was investigate, and tell what he discovered.

He did nothing wrong. Apologizing makes it seem like he did.

And the Godfreyites will make hay out of it.

Apologizing for nothing is dumb.

Curmudgeon said...

OK, first of all, this was news, and significant news, and the SE had to cover it.

Rep. Hansen made a mistake in not simply issuing a written statement saying that the questions he raised were and are sound ones, but that he was wrong to suggest they had already been legally answered, that he should not have announced Phipps to be guilty of vote fraud. [He should not have, and the apology was proper.] Instead, he did it verbally, which left Phipps free to expound on his interpretation of what Hansen had said [" he said I was 100% right"] and Hansen to deny it, and the little Oprah/Dr. Phil show was off and running in the article.

I'd fault the article for pushing way way down at the bottom Hanen's making it clear he was not backing off his earlier claim- --- that he did not see how Phipps could be a resident of Ogden and yet vote in SLC, or if he was a voter in SLC be simultaneously and properly a resident of Ogden. That needed to be near the top so readers got right off a clear idea of what Hansen was apologizing for,and he was not retracting.

Including the Phipps cheap shot at Ms. Neil was also unwarranted.

But the apology was news, and the SE was right to cover it prominently.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Anonomous Biten Dog

Last time I was in a newsroom was on a field trip to the LA Times back in 73.

You are right, it should have read: Copy editor; not: editor.

But, whatever.

Curmudgeon said...

Stephen and Man Bites:

Stephen: NYT reported some weeks ago, that as papers downsize, they are laying off copy editors left and right, and in some instances, eliminating the position entirely, relying on reporters to vet their own work which is then printed as it comes in.

I have no idea what the copy editor situation is at the SE. I hope they still have them on the job.

Man Bites: You asked Stephen when he'd last been in a newsroom. Been over to the SE lately, MBD? They don't have a Newsroom any more. They have a Content Center. No, honest. I am not making it up. Swear to god, it's true. Management is bustin' its britches with pride about the change, though rumor reports some grumbling among the proles....

Danny said...

Pussies.

I'm surrounded by pussies.

Phipps is a liar and a fraud. He misleads deliberately and constantly.

His time in Ogden is not a technicality. It shows he is a carpetbagger.

The corners of Phipps' mouth turn up when he talks which some people like. That's all this airhead has going for him.

Merle said...

Resident

I agree with you on Hansen's apology.
I think it is the most incredibly dumb thing he has ever done.
Apologizing to to a crook for calling him out on a crime? Really? What was he thinking? or was he even thinking?

Mayor Matthew Godfrey said...

OK now this is irriating.

On the Standard page, below the article, are comments from "May Smith" and "Ogden Business". These aliases are for people who are on my city staff, typing away on city time.

(Since nobody will say anything good about me I must pay people tax money to do it, for the good of Ogden.)

Well, some others have registered with those names and are now posting.

In effect, May Smith and Ogden Business are now debating themselves, making my aliases looks stupid.

Why must I always look stupid?

I am the mayor. Respect me.

By the way, I am offering free Kool Aid the day after the election for those who vote for my men Phipps, Hains, and Garner - taxpayer funded, of course.

Thomas B. said...

There is something very fishy about this apology from Rep Hansen. I looked up the original article and read it several times looking for anything that Rep Hansen should have apologized for. For the life of me I could find nothing that was the least bit offensive that Rep Hansen said. Following are all that was mentioned of Rep Hansen in the original article"


OGDEN -- A state lawmaker is questioning whether city council candidate David Phipps has met residency requirements allowing him to legally seek office.

Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, said Thursday he has received records from the Salt Lake County Elections Division indicating Phipps, who is running for the council's At-Large Seat B post, may not be in compliance with a state law that requires him to live in Ogden for 12 consecutive months prior to the upcoming Nov. 3 general election.
--------
--------

"There is some dishonesty about his residency and there needs to be some accountability," Hansen said, adding he obtained the records on behalf of a constituent whom he declined to identify.

---------
---------

Hansen still questions whether Phipps moved into his home in October 2008.

----------
----------

Hansen said Phipps, who lives a block away from him, began living in the house in early December 2008.

In addition, Hansen said, an online blog posted by Phipps' wife, Janelle, indicates she and her husband and children planned to move into their home on Dec. 9, 2008.
-------------------------


Can some one please show me anywhere in the above that Rep Hansen said or did anything out of line? It appears to me that he was only doing his duty as a representative of the people in Ogden, some of who were concerned about the apparent irregularity in David Phipps' voting in Salt Lake and registering for office in Ogden.
All of these are very legitimate concerns and what Rep Hansen is quoted as saying in the first article was well within boundaries. There was in fact "some dishonesty" concerning Mr. Phipps residency, and that is all Rep Hansen said. That is certainly not something he should apologize for.

I applaud Rep Hansen for the original article, and I highly question his motives for the second containing the apology. It looks to me like he needs to apologize to all the people who believe in him and look to him for leadership for this uncalled for apology to some one who clearly broke the law.

Apologizing to law breakers for pointing out their violations is not what real leaders do. That is called caving into pressure or following hidden agendas. Rep Hansen has disappointed me and all the people of Ogden that have believed in him.

Danny said...

Thomas B.

What Hansen did, and his motivation, is weak-mindedness. Doug Stephens is another of the breed. (But I believe Dean is a stealth Godfreyite.)

Something happened. Phipps, or some mutual acquaintance, sat down with Hansen and gave him a sob story. Hansen caved.

This is considered being "nice".

I view it as a defect.

There are too few who will say, "Here is where I stand. Stand where you will."

Godfrey assumes his constituents are weak and apathetic. He assumes those who question him can be dissuaded out of a desire "to get along" or "to be nice".

Hansen was a man for a few weeks. But he has once again joined the ranks of mice.

Bill C. said...

Please don't jump to such a conclusion about Neil. That's all he was appologizing for, concluding that phipps broke the law. That's up to the proper authorities to determine.
Now I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but, Neil has managed to loudly bring up the question of phipps residency once again, for all the electorate to be reminded of. The gondola examiner did all they could to minimize the impact, but the fact is, folks have been reminded of this issue one more time, very close to the finishline.
Regardless of squirrel patroller carters preference, his editorial staff, knowing the facts, will be hard pressed to offer any endorsement to phipps. No way in hell.
So, perhaps Neil has been around the block once or twice.

Just ask said...

I think that we should all really focus on will people vote for Phipps, because he broke the law, or on Hansen who is always the gentle man that he is and then we criticize him for being that gentleman.
I would suggest that you all ask this question. If Phipps even wondered if he committed voter fraud as the law has suggested, then should he not go to the authorities and turn himself in to clear his name? Would that be the honorable thing to do here?
Would anyone here even have the big round things to call him and suggest that. Or is this something that Rep. Hansen should do in behalf of all you whiners.

stan said...

Bill C

I do appreciate Hansen, but it is astounding that he offered this apology to an obvious dishonest carpetbagger who with out doubt lied to salt lake and ogden election officials.

It doesn't take a judge and jury to determine if some one was dishonest when the simple facts of Phipps's voting and filing for office are so plain and simple. He lied and the official records are very clear on that. I'm with the above poster, I think something is fishy here and I do not think it bodes well for Hansen's future political position here in Ogden.

I do agree with you about the fact that the Standard reluctantly put the story out there once again, which is good even tho they did spin it to make it look like Phipps is innocent to the casual reader.

Jennifer Neil said...

and in the same breath of accepting an apology for someone allegedly smudging his character, Phipps takes a moment to clearly slam mine without apology. "The whole thing smells of dirty politics," [Phipps] said. "It's a shame."

Can you say hypocrisy? (Random House Dictionary #2: a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.)

Danny said...

For perhaps the first time, I was ahead of the Great Bill C.

Yes, I did speculate that Hansen's move was intended to raise the issue once again - even a personal cost.

And yes, what I know is based on the admittedly unreliable SE reporting.

But if true, this gave Phipps another chance to sing his song too, which he did. And it enhanced Phipps' name recognition.

Note that in this article, Blair is not mentioned at all.

So if it was a strategy, it backfired. Indeed, it gives the SE an excuse to endorse Phipps - saying the issue of his residency has now been "settled."

Hansen could have raised the issue again by elevating it with perhaps his legislative contacts, and had them then call the paper.

In the end, I think he did the nice thing, for the nice reasons. In other words, he dropped his pants and bent himself over the hood of a Buick for Phipps.

Bill C. said...

Stan, a judge and jury aren't who'll make the determination, Ogden City will have to. Neil's keeping it on the front burnner puts alot more pressure on our local election officials, and you may recall they've not faired all too well lately.
It stands to reason that with how phipps has bungled this from the getgo, he'll be dead in the water and there will be no undo pressure on our local election officials when they examine all the evidence and determine his inelligibility. He'll bag his lease and move back into his father's palacial Ogden Valley digs where his family spends almost all their time anyway, and continue to try and find any tennants for Spain and Fisher, provident partners, before they collapse under the weight of overshooting the moon in this ecconomy.
I wish someone had questioned phipps on the only reason he has been in Ogden, provident partners, and has he ever done business with an Ogdenite.

blake fowers said...

Oh that felt sooooooooo good.

OgdenLover said...

Mayor Matt said ...I am offering free Kool Aid the day after the election....
Will that be the cyanide-flavored Kool Aid or the other flavor?

Curmudgeon said...

Bill C:

You wrote: It stands to reason that with how phipps has bungled this from the getgo, he'll be dead in the water.

I wouldn't assume this, Bill.

Marv said...

Curm

You have it right about not counting Phipps out. I believe this bungled move by Hansen could boost Phipps' chances a lot. He not only got his name out in the press, but there are a lot of people who will only see the headline and/or skim the article and go away with the belief that Phipps has been cleared of any wrong doing and even endorsed by Hansen. This was a real dumb move by Hansen, unless he was actually trying to help Phipps which is a good possibility. I am very disappointed in Hansen and will never vote for him again.

rumor control said...

I heard a rumor that Phipps is going to pull out of the race because the heat is to much for him. Is there any truth to this?

Curmudgeon said...

RC:
I would doubt that very much, given Mr. Phipps comments to Mr. Schwebke.

Kid Charlemagne said...

So how would you all have proposed that the S-E cover this story? It quoted Hansen got his side and then got Phipps to respond. Would you have preferred that the paper not cover it all? Wish as you might the paper can only print the facts about Phipps' residency at the time he voted in 2008. What's more interesting is the motive for Hansen's apology and why a state lawmaker is inserting himself in what is essientially a local election issue.

sign dude said...

I'll just note that there are many houses with Hains and Blair signs. Does this mean that Hains' supporters won't back Phipps? Or that Blair supporters won't back Van Hooser? or something different entirely?

Biker Babe said...

Kid Charlemagne: Mr. N Hansen is also an Ogden resident, and lives in the same neighborhood as Phipps -- perhaps he has a concern for local politics because HE LIVES HERE!

js,

BB

Jennifer Neil said...

sign dude:

I have Blair & VanHooser signs on my fence. They are still passing out signs, election's next week.

TLJ

OgdenLover said...

Anyone know when the next set of financial disclosure statements will be released?

Dan S. said...

Financial disclosures are due today, so they should be available from the Recorder's office tomorrow.

Buckshot said...

I am going to donate to the Phipps campaign a one-way bus ticket for himself and his family, right on back to Palookaville.

What a maroon.

Bill C. said...

Curm, the only race that's gotten any press is Blair, phipps, the reasons for the coverage have always been due to some blunder by phipps. I should hope that idiotic audacity coupled with questionable motivations as well as stupid gaffs all along the way would overcome the gondola examiners poor attempts to cover for this lackey of lying little matty and fisher in the minds of the electorate.
phipps has only two objectives for being here, facilitate east bench development for the mayor, and of course try and save fishers hind end. He's already being compensated by both. Were he elected millions of public dollars and assets would be transfered into private hands, Provident Partners would entirely consume all remaining RDA money and the east bench would take on the look of Laguna Hills. People aren't that stupid are they?

Resident said...

If people read nothing else, they should read Bill C's comment, above.

Curmudgeon said...

Bill:

I have no problem with your analysis of why Phipps is here in Ogden and what he's here to do. But I do not think by any means he's dead in the water in this election. I wish I did believe that. Maybe next Wednesday morning I will. But not now.

Curmudgeon said...

Comment bumped to front page

Jennifer Neil said...

AARRGGHHH!

TLJ

Jennifer Neil said...

received a response from City Recorder's office: Phopps's residency has been cleared by the Lt. Governor's office; I called the Lt. Governor's office for clarification - and they 'splained it all to me. Okay, fact finding in that matter is done.

They are however, still concerned about Phopps voting in SLC in Nov 2008 ...

to be continued

TLJ

tin man said...

Fascinating. The Lt. Governor who has prominently offered his endorsement of Garner, another Godfreyite, thinks that Phipps committing voter fraud is no big deal.

Hmm.

Curmudgeon said...

Easy, Tin Man. It has not yet been established that Mr. Phipps is guilty of voter fraud, which is a crime. Certainly his curious inability to notice that he'd moved to Ogden when he when he was still voting in Salt Lake City merits investigation. But it's not wise, nor is it fair, to insist that someone is guilty of criminal conduct who has not yet been arrested or indicted, much less tried.

I agree Mr. Phipps' confusion about where he lived when he voted merits investigation, absolutely, particularly since he's offered himself up for election in Ogden. But it's early days to announce him flat-out guilty of criminal conduct.

pat said...

And seing OJ Simpson was found Not Guilty in a crimnal trial, and sinse Adolf Hitler was never sent to jail, and now godfrey isnt gilty. i can have them all to my howse fer to babysat, right?

ozboy said...

Pat

Actually Adolph Hitler was sent to jail. It was in his early days of attempting to overthrow the existing German government. He spent his time in the slammer writing "Mein Kampf" which turned out to be sort of a blue print for the holocaust that followed.

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