Monday, October 19, 2009

Standard-Examiner: Outlet Stores in Downtown Ogden?

The real puzzle is why the SE permits itself to be played like a violin

By Curmudgeon

This morning's Standard-Examiner has another painful example of Ogden's home town paper's inability to distinguish between news and campaign-driven speculations by Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey:
Outlet stores in downtown Ogden? Mayor says deal could be announced in November
From the story:
The city expects to announce an agreement next month with one or more companies to establish retail outlet operations in three vacant buildings on the east side of Washington Boulevard, says Mayor Matthew Godfrey. Godfrey declined to identify the companies the city is negotiating with.... A terraced parking structure could eventually be built behind the outlet operation depending on customer demand, said Godfrey, who hopes other retail businesses will also open along the east side of Washington Boulevard.
And he expects to make the announcement in November. Isn't there an election coming in November? Why, it seems there is! Imagine that.

Could it be the purpose of announcing the Mayor's intention to announce, probably after the election, that three un-named companies, or maybe one, may sign leases to locate on Washington is to boost the election chances of the Mayor's candidates for Council seats? Is it possible that didn't occur to the SE's editors?

Since Hizzonah has so often announced things were going to happen that never did, it's hard to figure why he'd not wait until he had leases in hand from companies he could name before going public --- unless the goal all along was to influence the election if he could in favor of his pet Council candidates.

The real puzzle is why the SE permits itself to be played like a violin by the Administration over and over and over again.

Back in the days when the SE had a newsroom instead of a Content Center and editors who made it a point of pride not to permit themselves to be played by politicos, here's what would have happened with Hizzonah's latest press release reached the SE newsroom. The News Editor would have called Mr. Schwebke over and said:
"Scott, call the Mayor's office and tell them if they won't name the companies they say they're close to signing, so we can check the story out, we're not going with this. Without the names, this is not news we can verify, and we're not running it two weeks before the Council election. Tell him when he can give us a date certain on which a company he can name is going to sign a lease, to call us back and we'll print it. That the Mayor hopes business on Washington will pick up isn't news. We're not that desperate for copy. I'll print a lost dog story first."
Sadly, that's not what happened.

55 comments:

Betty B. said...

Curm, you are way off on this one. What does this have to do with the election? The last time I checked the mayor isn't up for reelection. The mayor is a newsmaker regardless of how you feel about him, and newspapers do speculative stories all the time such as troop build ups in Iraq, etc. The mayor should be in the know. It's not like some random guy on 25th Street speculating. I've been wondering what might go in those buildings and I understand from several people the mayor has briefed some members of the city council on the outlet stores. I think newspapers should try to be a ahead of the curve and not always wait for official actions. I'm sure the newspaper will follow this story and if nothing happens will report that too

Ed J said...

Betty B
Does the B stand for bamboozled?
You're the one way off on this one.

Curmudgeon said...

Betty B:

No, the Mayor is not up for re-election, but he was making robo calls for one of his pet candidates in the primary. Why, even the SE reported that.

Yes, the Mayor should be in the know. But we have, remember, a long list of projects our in-the-know Mayor announced were going to happen that didn't. [The downtown hotel/water park; the Reid condo block; the "major donor" on line for the downtown ice climbing tower; Ernest coming to the River Project, and so on.]

The problem with the story, BB, is that it is at this point not verifiable. No company is named. No date given on which leases will be signed. As I noted above, if the Mayor had named the companies, that would be news. Had he given a date on which even one of them was going to sign a lease, that would be news. But he didn't. And the SE gives this "news" it cannot check out front page banner headline treatment two weeks before the Council election in which the Mayor, and some of his major supporters are strongly backing particular candidates? Sorry, BB. You may not see a connection there. I do.

If this happens, if three outlet companies, or even one, actually signs a lease to locate on Washington Blvd., I'll be among the first to congratulate the Mayor for his work to make it happen. It would indeed be good news for Ogden if it does happen. [I might note that bringing outlet stores to Ogden was one of the ideas often discussed as a way to improve Ogden business without gondolas by the people the mayor used to call simply "naysayers," so he's a little late to the idea. But that doesn't really matter much: if he succeeds in actually signing three companies, or two, or even one, it will be news and deserve a prominent place in the SE. But that has not happened yet, however much you, I and the mayor hope it will happen.]

But the Mayor announcing that he hopes to announce in a month or so that three [or maybe one] outlet stores, none of which he will name, will come to Washington and that he hopes other stores will come too just isn't news. And it's certainly not news the SE can verify before printing --- two weeks before an election in which the Mayor and his supporters are playing a significant role.

Biker Babe said...

Curm,
What bothers me a bit is this: mayor is quoted as saying : "We are crafting an agreement in a way that ALL parties share the risk."

Then he says: "The city is leasing the buildings at no cost to the municipality." Ok, so the city won't be paying for the LEASE, but what else is there we could be on the hook for?

hmmmm

js,

BB

googlegirl said...

Vision Meets Reality

Ogden Resident said...

Does anybody notice that May Smith (regular, verbose poster on the SE website) sounds less and less like the old lady she pretends to be, and more and more like John Patterson, Godfrey's chief of staff?

It is interesting the degree to which this impostor ties Phipps and Hains to Godfrey.

Thanks "May", that's exactly where I was going too.

Oh, and yes, we know that about 99% of Godfrey's "in the works" plans do not come to fruition but rather, become a disaster and taxpayer black hole.

Biker Babe said...

I was thinking more of Booby ... er, Bobby Geiger.

js,

BB

sticky residue said...

js is just as lame as just sayin



js,


sr

Biker Babe said...

stick it sticky

JS

BB

Stephen M. Cook said...

This press release is not news; it is becoming increasingly clear that the SE needs print competition.
They say there is no room for two small papers during this readership decline? How about one paper?

An enterprising person looking for a business start-up could do better, using as reporters the students from the Bonneville, Ogden, and Ben Lomond high schools Journalism/English programs, an old hand-roller press from Ogden Blue, and an interested advisory staff from Weber State U.

The SE is becoming an embarrassment.

twobitter said...

Biker Babe, you nailed it. It bothers me more than a bit. That sentence was the only newsworthy part of the article, and therefore the headline should have read:

TAXPAYERS AT RISK FROM GODFREY RETAIL PROPOSAL

Ray Vaughn said...

I wonder what journalistic ethics Scott Schwebke applies to his stories. Merely using all Godfrey handouts/press releases for his bylines is wrong. I am not a lawyer or a journalism teacher but it seems that he is basically guilty of plagarism. Taking other peoples words and ideas and claiming them as his own work is a serious lapse of known journalistic ethics.

Biker Babe said...

stretching a bit this morning, Ray?

js,

BB

Curmudgeon said...

Ray:

I think the SE is printing the kind of reporting its managers want. If they wanted more aggressive skeptical reporting with respect to elected officials pronouncements, they'd get it. But press-release journalism seems to be what they're asking their reporters to do, and their reporters are doing it. If they signed my paychecks, I'd do the kind of reporting my editors wanted too.

Dorrene Jeske said...

Curm,

Thanks for remembering that Sharon Beech and I were proposing the city look at outlet stores for downtown (even an outlet mall similar to Park City's at the site of the current Junction) when I ran for the Council in 2005. We were about laughed out of Ogden by the Geigers and a few other Godfreyites. I laughed outloud when I read the headlines today how the Mayor has finally come around to accepting outlet stores in downtown Ogden.

Another note that adds to your suspicion that the announcement is election propaganda is the fact that this is the first that I or the Council members have heard about it. We met with the Mayor last Tuesday night after the RDA meeting and he said nothing about the possibility of outlet stores coming to Ogden. Who doesn't communicate with whom?

I hope it is for real! We really do need retail stores downtown -- as not all of us go downtown to play games. We have to look elsewhere for clothing and other needs. There are a lot of Ogden residents who drive many miles to shop at the outlet stores.

Curmudgeon said...

Off topic [sort of] but in fairness, I want to point out that the SE is running today two linked important local news stories [both by Mr. Trentelman, who covers water stories for the SE]. The first story, link here , reports on WSU geography professor Dan Bedford's recently completed study comparing the fate of the Aral Sea with the current [and future] situation of the Great Salt Lake. [The Aral Sea, once one of the world's largest inland basin salt seas, was all but destroyed by the Soviet Union's decision to divert the rivers feeding it to agricultural uses instead. What happened is generally recognized now as one of the world's greatest man-made ecological disasters.]

The second story, link here, reports that Utah's water resources department is gearing up a new study for a pipeline to take 220,000 acre feet of water out of the Bear River for use in the Cache Valley. The scheme was originally adopted by the legislature nearly two decades ago and has apparently now been taken off the shelf and dusted off again though construction is not slated to begin, if it does, until 2025.

Both stories deserve a reading. Both stories are examples of a local paper doing significant reporting on locally important issues.

If we're going to thump 'em when they drop the ball, as the SE did on Hizzonah's announcement of his hope to announce, we ought as well to credit the paper when it does what it should be doing, and does it well. As it did in this morning's two water stories.

Curmudgeon said...

Dorrene:

I wondered when I read it if the reporter recalled that the supposed "naysayers" had raised the idea of outlet stores in Ogden long ago. Certainly the Mayor wasn't going to mention it. Why not remind Mr. Schwebke too? After all, city politics and management is his beat.

As for the Mayor not bothering to communicate with the Council... so, Dorrene, what else is new? Of course, I can guess why he didn't this time. Someone on the Council might have reminded him how hard he and his gaggle laughed at the idea when you and others raised it some years ago.

Bill C. said...

Curm, thanks for remembering, I've advocated many times for 5 years an outlet mall, except I was proposing the river project area or the old mall sight. I was seriously labeled a naysayer.
Now lying little matty is tossing this one out to enable folks the get the impression that things are cooking and of course to justify his gift of fed money to his buddy and Phipps confidant, Fisher.
This was was back when geigers were talking Gucci, Paris Hilton and boatloads of foreign tourists flocking to Ogden to ride the urban gondola to exactly nowhere. Perhaps he's been informed now how ridiculus his his original pitch was to the citizens of the community.
14 million for a veladrome, a couple million for an indoor outdoor icicle, a downtown gondola port hotel with an accompaning waterpark, wading pool and slippery slide, within 2 blocks of 3 very vacant exsisting hotels, then in a sudden glimpse of reality, he had to refinace the bonds, he'd all ready tapped his ability to spend and only had a penny arcade to show for it.
In a rare moment of clarity he peciled out his recent op-ed, it started with him stating that all these wonderful things he working for are things nobody does, he admitted it, but then digressed back to his crooked little childish fantasy for the rest of the peice and finished by concluding that he's decided, and that's where we're going.
How strange it must be in the minds of the foolish followers of this lying little nut case, where golf is not outdoor recreation but indoor iceclimbing, indoor archery and indoor bicycling are.
I can't wait to hear him launch his propsal for his 4 million dollar pygmy pony trail from the Rodeo grounds to Rainbow Gardens running right thru El Monte golf course with a giant tunnel under Harrison Blvd. This coupled with his urban campground and his yet revealed all ready paid nearly $30,ooo in 2006, for study and design of another artificial kayak park,(Rodeo Lorin Farr Whitewater Park) Will be his justification for removal and closing of the heavily used public amenity, Lorin Farr Pool.
The people always must give up things they have and value and in return recieve a huge bill for nothing they want,need or desire.
Progress, standing on a cliff, jump or take the long winding trail down, which do you prefer?

ozboy said...

It seems like a whole lot of whoop-de-do over an unidentified outfit maybe bringing a dented can and second hand store to the heart of a High Tech Hi Adventure sports mecca like Ogden.

Now if the mayor were talking about some major brand factory outlet stores like they have in Park City, like Mrs. Jeske was promoting, then I would say it was worth the excitement, but they aren't! The mayor is talking about some sort of "Dollar" Store or retail left over outlets. The kinds of stores that are usually off in an industrial or old run down areas, not at the heart of a mega million dollar, publicly financed, down town remake.

And the line about spreading the risk around is pretty chilling given Godfrey's miserable record of looting the public treasury for a seemingly endless line of loser projects. My gut feeling is that the tax payer's of Ogden are once again going to take it in the shorts big time for yet one more loser project of the mayor's.

momba said...

I think I heard some years ago that Godfrey was part owner of a dollar store franchise. Can't remember any details but I thought he was "related" to the Family Dollar stores.

Curmudgeon said...

Well, I think it'd be prudent to wait and see which [if any] outlet stores actually sign leases for Washington Blvd. locations. [Maybe it'll be a Gucci outlet shop and Paris Hilton and her entourage will ride the Front Runner to Ogden after all!] And we ought to wait until we see the terms which Ogden City agrees to get them to come here. As Biker B. noted above, we don't know what the equal risk provisions will involve or even what all parties sharing those risks means. [The owners of the buildings and the outlet stores? Or the outlet stores, the building owners, and Ogden taxpayers?]

My own view is, if Dollar General Stores opens a shop in one of the buildings, and it becomes a very successful shop, all to the good for Ogden. [Be a little hard, though, to square with the administration's recent dire warning to the RDA Board that if it isn't permitted to run up a few million more in debt to entice a swank hotel to the big vacant lot at The Junction, we'll have a 7 Eleven going up there before we know it.]

But again, if three successful outlet shops of any stripe can be established in those venues, or two, or even one, without putting vast sums of taxpayer money at risk yet again, I'm all for it and will be applauding loudly when it happens.

Ray Vaughn said...

No need to about 7Eleven stores coming to Ogden. In the past few years 2 different 7Eleven stores has left town.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Funny, we would like to see every single !ADVENTURECITYODGEN! that Mr. Bill describes above built, and built yesterday; we would add of course our own favorite, that of a giant catapult for base jumpers somewhere on the cliffs above 9th street; the biggest and best skate park anywhere in the world; alpine-style jump ramps for mountain bikes, and more cowbell.

Problem is I don't think the city taxpayers should be on the hook for one slim dime of the costs associated with the above.
Basics, like a few city parks well-tended and a city square or two, perhaps a trail along the river; sure.
But golf courses, water-parks, and ski chalets? If they are viable, let private money plan, construct, and run them. The city can promote the hell out of !ADVENTURECITYOGDEN!, and get investors and tourists and hot betty-boarders to come in Subarus and Lexus'; but they need to buy their own ticket to ride.

No citizen subsidies of private businesses; no more back-room partnerships until the current crop is complete.

Anonymous Employee said...

What would be wrong with a 7-11, wouldn't have to lay out cash to get them to come(unless it's a friend of Godfrey, of course) and it would probably make a lot more money than the Junction.

Britney and Paris said...

Well with this latest news regarding a new Ogden Dollar Store, and a couple of "broken goods merchandisers" on Washington Blvd., I don't think you'll be seeing any of us visiting your town very soon.

We were promised a gondola; but instead we get low budget thrift stores in Downtown Ogden?

Forget us. We'll pop up next in a real winter recreation town, like Park City.

We always had the feeling that your dork mayor, Matt Godfrey, was totally low budget, but until now we had no idea.

south bench said...

I wish someone either with the city or with Larry Miller would pull down those cheap-looking palm tree things from out front of Golds Gym. They are so damn ugly, and I believe are only a temporary installation, according to the NEC.

Wm III said...

South bench ...

Tie a bow on the palm tree things ...

They'll be gone in 60 seconds ...

COULD, COULD, COULD, said...

I wonder if the standard asked just what is the risk and how much would the taxpayer be on the hook for. May be we could get woodbury to fork over the 5,000,000.00 that the mayor gave them. I just think that Dorene should call the paper and let them know that it was her idea and if the mayor would have listen to her four years ago we would have had them here by now. So much for the mayor listen to the people or the council for that matter.

Be reasonable said...

Vaughan needs a class in journalism to understand the meaning of "byline." So much for the plagarism stuff.

Dorrenne was talking about hi-end outlets buack in that time period, not what Godfrey is espousing.

And Curm, again, here you go with the journalism thing. If you were in business and not a professor, you'd understand that most principals in business deals don't like their names put out there until the deal is signed and put in the can. So, not naming the outlets is common practice.

The Mayor and the CED have been working on restoring Washington's East side for several years now. This "possibility" is news and we should keep our fingers crossed that it happens. Also, this would seem to be the work of Business Development, not the folks who are running for council positions. If memory serves correct, the election is the first Tuesday in November and I doubt the Mayor will make any major announcements prior to that. Therefore, it would seem that this announcement has absolutely nothing to do with getting votes for any of the candidates.

Get a grip people and hope this works. It's a pretty good news story and its timing seems to be coincidental to the upcoming election. Business goes on during the campaign season, whether Curm thinks it should or not.

Maybe the Geigers will have a ski clothing outlet come to town. They certainly have the contacts. Seems that once again, Ozboy is about the only guy who understands what's going on.

Ray Vaughn said...

Be reasonable, Sorry I do not have time to take a journalism course. I am still waiting for the business development class Blaine Carl said he was going to offer.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Again, read what you critique; the newspaper story fails POV, relevance, and fact check.

Blight on the east side goes back decades, retail has came and went on those scant three blocks, while the structures have crumbled and been leveraged to the point of being untenantable under the current debt structures.
All types of local businesses would fill that street quickly, if the banks did not expect 4 dollars a square foot, for barely serviceable buildings.

The businesses that risk and invest to move into downtown deserve the credit if they succeed, not the Mayors Office.

Bullet Sponge said...

You can use articles like this as a drinking game. Every time you see the words "could", "would", "expect", "no cost", or "won't name" take a drink (beverage of your choice, preferably from Roosters so you get the full Mayoral vibe). You'll be wasted or even dead by the time you get to the end of the article. We call it "Schwebke Shots".

Curmudgeon said...

Be Reasonable:

About companies not wanting their names made public until deals are finalized: I know that is often the case. That in no way changes the fact that, absent the names, the recent announcement contained no news that could be verified. Front page banner headlines for an unverifiable announcement that announced that a month from now the mayor hoped to announce something? Sorry. I have higher standards for what constitutes front page banner headlined news than that. So should the SE.

Second: You wrote this: "If memory serves correct, the election is the first Tuesday in November and I doubt the Mayor will make any major announcements prior to that. Therefore, it would seem that this announcement has absolutely nothing to do with getting votes for any of the candidates."

Sorry, but the fact that he wouldn't be able to announce anything for certain until the election was over is why, I think, he announced his hope to announce in a month. Putting out today's unverifiable press release was the only way he could have this story which he can't announce actually until a month from now affect his candidate's chances.

As for this: "Get a grip people and hope this works. It's a pretty good news story and its timing seems to be coincidental to the upcoming election. Business goes on during the campaign season, whether Curm thinks it should or not."

Of course I hope it works out, and I've said so here and over at the SE site. But this story contained no news beyond Hizzonah's hopes. Nothing verifiable. Which is why its announcement now seems odd to me. When he can name the companies and the signing date, it will be news and the SE can properly put it on the front page. But not this non-story of the Mayor's wishin' and hopin' and dreamin' now, just before the voting in which he is playing a significant role.

I think, BR, you are being a little naive about both the SE's news judgment [politely so called] and the timing of today's non-news.

ozboy said...

Mr. Reasonable,

Ozboy don't know shit from shinola. If he did he wouldn't be making comments on this site concerning a bunch of seriously lame shit like this latest cheap crap from Godfrey about the coming dented can stores! Would he?

AWM said...

Oz Boy's 12:25 pm post hit the nail on the head...not much more to add after that to this poor excuse of a news story..

Stan said...

Curm

It's for damn sure the Standard would never have gone with this front page story when the Glassman's ran the place. They were much too good of newsmen, and their BS detectors were way more finely tuned than the paper's current bean counters & so called newsman. They were not nearly as naive as "Be Reasonable" when it comes to political story planting and what constitutes a real news story from campaign hype.

Biker Babe said...

just wonderin' - why can't I find any information about a city Economic/Development office on the City website, but they always mention it and their staff in the paper?

js

BB

zuna said...

BB-
Economic Development is separated into several different divisions w/in the City; try looking at Business Development, Redevelopment, and Community Development on the City's website.

what a crock o crap said...

Hell, even the D.I. left town, and we have a Savers on 17th and Wall, they sell cheap distressed shit already. What a crock, and insurance salvage company to our downtown. WTF?

Elvis said...

Ray Vaughan....is this an acronym for "Rave On," by Buddy Holley?

Sounds like it, for that's really all you do.

heeads up said...

when i think of matt godfrey i think two words: anal raper prison sex. wait tghat is three words

Ray Vaughn said...

Sorry Elvis, my first choice Blaine Carl was being used.

Biker Babe said...

zuna - all I got was the RDA page, and all it does is explain tax increment financing (basically) - no business development, no community development, no staff or contact information

sorry, unless there's a back door I don't see it

js,

BB

sticky residue said...

BB Did you change to js because I told you how stupid it was a couple of weeks ago. Don't be so insecure. Just Sayin Just Sayin Just Sayin
js
sr

Ogden Dem said...

Biker Babe - here is the website for Business Development, there is not much here but then again they don't do much.
http://www.ogdencity.com/DepartmentDivision/BusinessDevelopment.aspx

ozboy said...

For Seventy Million bucks the tax payer's get a Penney Arcade with Bowling Alley and a "Scratch and Dent" specialty store next door?
I mean common Mr. Mayor, you promised a whole Hi Adventure life style city center complete with upscale restaurants, chi chi shops, hi end condo's and Prada and Gucci!

Where is our Prada and Gucci Mr. Mayor, whatya mean scratch and dent specialty store, you promised us Gucci!

Curmudgeon said...

Since the topic has shifted a bit to the matter of public subsidies to attract businesses, I thought I'd post a link to an interesting story in today's Wall Street Journal about the state of Iowa's plan to lure Hollywood to Iowa with massive tax rebates and subsidies. It's become a disaster, and film companies are now fleeing the state and the taxpayers are left holding the bag. Link to the story is here. Enjoy.

Godfreyite Dildo said...

Sorry Vaughan, but I think Elvis and Carl have left the building. Somehow, BC must have gotten to you, for you seem to be waiting for an encore.

You're wasting time, dude. Nobody, least of all BC, really cares, only you and a couple of other fanatics that just don't get it. As far as the main concert goes, it's history and doesn't mean a thing in the grand scheme of things.

Get a life and maybe do something substantial besides whinning on the blog.

G'narg the Oblique said...

We notice you following the Blog, and doing a bit of whining yourself, G-Dildo.

Note to taxpayers: doing nothing is usually the best course, and the cheapest in the long run; usually and especially, when it concerns non-essential services.

Example: if a salesman tells you: "the sky is falling, quick, open your wallet!", well, you get the picture.

Donald Duck said...

Follow the blog? Naw....just an occassional peak because now and then it's good theater. Until, of course, the blogmeister changes things up to suit his point of view.

Ho-humm. Nothing here really changes except that many things ain't exactly what some think they appear to be.

Quack.

we know this jerk said...

Boy old Bill, tell the voters one thing and then do another, Glasmann sure has gotten prolific on the blog lately with his blog bashing. He must be back snorting dandruff

Ray Vaughn said...

Godfreyite, Did you get tired of posting on the S-E site as May Smith? I have notices a recent trend from the mayors supporters. Anyone who questions their actions or decisions is anti-Ogden or a whiner. Why are they so afraid to explain actions or discuss the results of their decisions? We do have the right to questions the actions and results of elected public servants. By th way Elvis Buddy Holly is spelled without a "e"

Joe, Blaine, Bill, May, John, etc. said...

"the" is spelled with an "e."

And now I'm May Smith....how many has that been? 5, 6? This has been fun at times, but the inuendo bores me and shows just how easy you are.

Time to move on to other pursuits. You all keep this up and I doubt there will be ANY change.

Doug B. said...

J,B,B,J,M,J

What does it say about you if you are hanging around a blog that bores you?
Maybe you would be more stimulated if you spent your time on the mayor's or Blake Fowers blogs. Real stimulating stuff going on there for sure. Maybe you and May Smith could get together and really get into some deep, meaningful and intellectual discussions.

Oh yeah....and Shadows too said...

An occassional laugh and a little chain pulling, Doug B. That's all it says and all it's worth.

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