Monday, November 16, 2009

A Couple of Potential Red Meat Items on Tomorrow's Council/RDA Calenders

The council is presented with a chance to correct a Gang of Six Council error; and the nasty subject of Eminent Domain arises on the tomorrow's RDA agenda

There's nothing in the Northern Utah print media which we could properly label as nutritious Weber County Forum political red meat this morning, but there are a couple of potential items looming on the near-horizon. We scoured the Ogden City website for tomorrow's Council/RDA agendas... and here is what we found:

1) This from tomorrow's city council agenda:
8. Reports from the Planning Commission:
a. Hotel/Motel Stay Limit. Consideration of Petition 2009-13 eliminating the provision that restricts length of stay in a hotel or motel. (Receive public input. Deny Petition or request ordinance be drawn – roll call)
We last railed on this subject back in 2005. It appears that the council now has the opportunity to correct another heavy-handed Gang of Six Council error. The "90 Day and Out" ordinance passed in 2005 was a a clear case of Administration and Gang Of Six Council overreaching, which unfairly impacted both low income families and the property owners who operate Ogden motels. Now that the planning commission is making this recommendation, we urge the council to repeal the ordinance without delay.

2) And speaking of overreaching, we discover this most disturbing item on tomorrow's RDA agenda:
6. Reports from the Administration:
a. Eminent Domain Authorization for Ogden River Redevelopment Project Area. Proposed Resolution 2009-8 authorizing the use of eminent domain to acquire certain real property located in the Ogden River Project Area. (Adopt/not adopt resolution – roll call vote)
From appearances, gentle readers, it now appears that Boss Godfrey once again demonstrates his penchant for government tyranny. Godfrey labels the few downtown property owners who haven't yet rolled over for River Project purchase offers as "holdouts." For our money, we'll label them "American property owners," with tangible property rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

It'll be interesting to observe how the RDA Board approaches this. In our view, the first question the council needs to ask is this: Given recent developments with respect to the languishing River Project, does a viable project actually exist? We're painfully aware of Gadi Leshem's financial troubles. But what about the shell company, Ogden River Development, LLC, for which Gadi serves as a front man? Has anyone bothered to identify the principals with ownership interests in this shadowy California LLC? Have either the mysterious company or its principals been in any way vetted? And what about a development agreement? In the event that the Ogden RDA is rash enough to initiate condemnation proceedings, what guarantees do Ogden taxpayers have that this new group of "investors" who'll wind up owning these "holdout" target properties have the will or financial capacity -- or even an operational plan -- to undertake this highly ambitious project? And has Ogden City put an actual developer under contract yet? That important detail was still unresolved the last time we looked at the subject.

Seems to us any talk of initiating eminent domain proceedings is laughably premature at this point. Seems to us that the RDA Board needs answers to all of the above questions, before it undertakes any act at all in the direction of dispossessing the few River Project property owners who actually pay property taxes. Seems to us the RDA Board needs to gather some important preliminary facts before it buries itself more deeply into this project, which for all intents and purposes now appears to be D.O.A.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

Who will be the first to wipe away those weekend cobwebs and offer a comment?

Update 11/16/09 11:45 a.m.: Thanks to a tip from sharp-eyed Gentle Reader Ray, we now have a link to the Ogden River Development, LLC website, which displays the same half-assed approach that's so very typical of "Friends of Matt." Unlike the River Project however, this website can at least boast that its "under construction," which is a lot more than can be said for that Godfrey Albatross -- The River Project, once again.

The website is reassuring, innit?

Don't fail to chime in with your comments.

51 comments:

what will it cost us said...

I would also add that any property within 500 feet of any property proposed for emminent domian status be fully paid up in current taxes before emminet domain can be considered.

With most if not all of the river project in arears for back taxes seems foolish to take property from those that are current and add them to the problem. I would also add that the city cannot act as a middleman or broker or contract with an agent such as Sue Wilkerson to act on the cities behalf. This stems from the city negoiating with property owners and then turning the prorerties over to a private enterprise. The property owners assumed they were dealing with the city which put undur stress to sell.

I do agree that the city needs to disclose the LLC owners and make them clean up the property, pay any back taxes, or emminent domain their property a blight and re-coup any taxpayers monies that have gone for clean up and or demolition and develop or at least make the area a park.

If I was looking at Ogden for my business the still boarded up buildings and vacant rubbish strewn homes and empty lots around the river would make me look elsewhere.

OgdenLover said...

Don't forget that the city was also trying to get several feet of property from homeowners whose land abuts the river. Those landowners were not happy because they would lose their land yet the city still wanted to require them to maintain it.

Germ said...

Having wiped out my own weekend cobwebs, I'll ask this:

With respect to Gadi Leshem's "shell company," does our Ogden City Council have any idea who we're dealing with, in connection with the California Ogden River Development, LLC?

I'm not on the Ogden City Council, of course; and I couldn't be there if ever elected, mainly because, as an Ogden HOMEBOY, I'd physically beat the crap outta Godfrey, Stephenson and Johnson at EVERY council meeting.

That's just me, of course.

Fisher King said...

Having wiped out my own weekend cobwebs, I'll ask this:

With respect to Gadi Leshem's "shell company," does our Ogden City Council have any idea who we're dealing with, in connection with the California Ogden River Development, LLC?

I'm not on the Ogden City Council, of course; and I couldn't be there if ever elected, mainly because, as an Ogden HOMEBOY, I'd physically beat the crap outta Godfrey, Stephenson and Johnson at EVERY council meeting.

That's just me, of course.

Curious reader said...

Is it plausible to consider that Eminent Domain is being discussed as a prepatory step in condeming and taking the property that Leshem and his various LLCs owns? Maybe the Adminstration has had enough of Leshem and his financial difficulties that have caused his delay in performing as the River Project's developer. After all, a project can't move forward until all encumberances have been removed, from the legal Title aspects that cloud a property to a property owner not cooperating and throwing a wrench in the gears.

Maybe there's more to this than meets the eye.

And maybe not.

Just curious.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Which is it? Fisher King? Or, Germ. Sure wish some of you would post under a solid name, so that people could come to your door and make vague threats, instead of coming to mine.

On another note: I can build a better placeholder page, one with interesting, if slim, content, in about 1 hour.

Bush league.

RudiZink said...

"Is it plausible to consider that Eminent Domain is being discussed as a prepatory step in condeming and taking the property that Leshem and his various LLCs owns?"

You're just kidding, right?

germ said...

Make it Fisher King, Stephen, since you're so anal.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Not anal, just amazed at how many people are too cowardly to attach their own names to a opinion about a civic matter.

So, don't be one of them. Post your name.

Fisher King said...

I have a job with Ogden city, so I can't post my name for obvious reasons, Stephen.

Just take me for my word right now.

Stephen M. Cook said...

What a nonsense excuse; a coward is a coward is a coward, they always have a reason for hiding in shadows. If you are afraid of Ogden City, snort, I am sure you freakin are terrified everywhere you go. Cause you know, that is your SHADOW! RIGHT THERE!

LOL, sheesh. Use your name.

Fisher King said...

Easy to say, Stephen, since your livelihood and family's future doesn't depend on keeping publicly quiet.

I did several google searches on you, by the way.

Let's just say you're not prominent in Ogden City politics.

If you actually had a city job (which you don't) I doubt a bigmouth like you would risk speaking out at all.

Curmudgeon said...

I'm with Fisher King on this one.

Anonymous political commentary is as American as apple pie. If it was good enough for Madison, Hamilton and Jay [who all wrote the Federalist Papers as "Publius"] or good enough for John Adams ["Novanglus"] and John Dickinson ["A Farmer in Pennsylvania"] then it ought to be good enough for WCF now.

People want to post under their own names, good on 'em. But to suggest that there are no legitimate reasons for not doing that, or that all who do not post under their own names are cowardly, is nonsense.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Yeah, google this:
I live at 125 25th street. My phone is 801-786-9649.

Note:
I would never work for anyone that required me to act like a coward; just would not do it. It is not in my blood.
The right and responsibility to speak ones mind about public matters is important to stopping tyranny, even petty would be tyrants such as our Beloved Mayor.

Besides, If i took such a cowardly stance, taking such a suck-up job, the kids would deride me to my grave.
I taught them to behave in a more honorable fashion.

You are probably a nice person, just a little mousy and fearful so,you know, whatever.
Try courage of your convictions as a guide post in life. At least you can say, as they come for you with torches and pitchforks: I was not a coward when I was given freedom of speech by the war dead,l I stood up, and was counted.

You are welcome.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Curm: Look in the mirror?
I fail to see the similarity between the founding fathers and agitators, and Ogden City Government. Really a stretch.

I guess the next step is to say Nazis that kept quiet when their heart told them not to go work the camps... but that would be Nazi hyperbole. Just as claiming anonymity is important on a civic blog, for most, only shows cowardice.

Stand up. Or sit down. Be anonymous. But really, it looks silly as hell.

ozboy said...

Stephen

What's a smart young fella like you who is so full of himself doing hanging out on this blog with a bunch of "cowards"? Of all the people who post here, there are only a small handful who use their own names. Do you think we are all cowards? Using a nom de plume is a great old American political practice. Maybe you ought to get a grip and focus on the message and not be so concerned with who is delivering it.

Incidentally, if the city did use ED on any of this property in question they would have to come up with the fair market value and buy it. ED doesn't allow the city to just take land, and I'm not sure where the city would get the money considering how financially devastated it is already. Of course Godfrey could have another scamster in the wings who will finance him throwing Gadi overboard.

Figuring "fair market value" could be difficult in this case. If this property that may be a target of the incompetent mayor is owned by someone not in the Godfreyite movement, then the city would most likely put a very small value on it. If on the other hand it were property belonging to one of the mayor's cronies, then he could put a huge value on it, have the tax payers buy it at the inflated value, and thus once again enrich one of his cronies at tax payer expense. With Godfrey's track record of sneaky insider dealing, I would not be surprised to see this as one more case of cronyism on his part.

As it pertains to the discussed eminent domain issue, the Lesham properties do in fact meet the main criteria for RDA eminent domain action. They are a classic example of blight, which the cleaning up of is the only official reason for RDA eminent domain actions to begin with. So it would make perfect sense for the city to in fact use ED on the Lesham disaster. However, I'm with Rudi on this, it is extremely unlikely that Godfrey would unleash this development tool on his pal Gadi - unless of course he intended on having the tax payers bail his good old crooked California buddy out of a bad deal.

Curmudgeon said...

SMC:

You were arguing, I thought, that anonymous political commentary was cowardly per se. I merely pointed out that anonymous political commentary is as American as apple pie and has been since the founding. You may find the history of anonymous commentary in American political life uncomfortable for your argument. Sorry 'bout that. The history is what it is, whether it's convenient for your argument or not. I'd also note, as did Fisher King, that it's easy to go all over holier-than-thou about real name posting when it's not your job at risk.

And let's make sure everyone notices that it was your post --- not one of mine --- that illustrated Godwin's Law:

Wikipedia entry for Godwin's Law: Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 which has become an Internet adage. It states: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." The term Godwin's law can also refer to the tradition that whoever makes such a comparison is said to "lose" the debate.

Fisher King said...

How nice for you. Stephen. Unfortunately for the rest of us, whose financial worlds don't exactly revolve around us, we have to to hold our tongues when it comes to complaining about our tyranical Bosses.

Lucky for you that you can speak out under your own name without retribution.

Unfortunately that's not how it works out for the rest of us, who have to depend on steady jobs to feed our families.

Lucky you.

How does it feel to pontificate from your Ivory Tower?

squeek said...

Funny, my daughter just told me that when I was serving with the US Military, that there were PLENTY of things I could not type on a civic blog, as per my orders.

So, there you go; she is usually right!

OZ: I post, and read this blog, because I am a polisci junkie. Big time. I think it sucks donley that you all use Fake Names. I have no idea why most do it. If it is out of some sort of ironic bent, I think that is funny.

I may post here using a similar rhetorical device, later.

But to say it is because you are afraid of toppling the house of cards you built, or because of some boss-boogyman, well that is lame as hell. Silly. And, cowardly.

And I was a History Tutor and SI leader at WSU, back in the day...
I know most of the History department, and you all put me on the track to my legal career.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Fisher:
See? Retribution. Fear of retribution. In broad daylight in 2010. Fear.

Sad.

Stan B said...

Cook

The more you ramble on about this issue of anonymous posting, the more your effeteness shows. Not only that, but it is just plain silly for an intellectual light weight like you to be taking on a seasoned old heavy weight like Curm! You are only setting your self up for public humiliation by doing so. Do you really want to remove any doubt that some on this blog have about your intelligence?
A smart feller like you ought to be a little more careful about the battles he picks.

Stephen M. Cook said...

What is your point, Stan?

General Ripper said...

OK squeak; your're a military man whose used to operating under the chain of command, where everything you digest will come out with "the voice of authority!

Welcome to the America you swore to defend, sonny.

Here in the rational American civilian world, we examine arguments for their own validity, and don't resort to the "voice of authority" to evaluate rational argument.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Good point, although, consider the source also comes to mind.

Stephen M. Cook said...

...and hey, I am not interested in going toe to toe intellectually with anyone who posts here.

I do strongly disagree with people posting anonymously. I think the reasons given are weak, except: you do it out of a superior sense of humor, which is cool.

As for the other reasons, cowardice, plain and simple.

Fisher King said...

"I do strongly disagree with people posting anonymously'

Easy for you to say, since you apparently live on an inheritee ticket, and have no skin in the game with regard to keeping a job.

As for the rest of us who are employed by Ogden City, we'll keep on posting anonymously, according to the American tradition.

Got a problem with that? Too bad, Stephen.

If you try to ignore or compromise us as we continure to post anonymously to get the truth out... we'll just talk around your lame objections.

Marion said...

Stan

I liked your use of the word effete. I wasn't sure exactly what it meant so I looked it up.

"affected, overrefined, and ineffectual"

Perfect choice of words for this Stephen Cook. For some time now I have been amused by his silly postings on this site. He sure is impressed with himself, that's for sure. I suspect there are not many who know him personally who share the opinion however.

I also thought your reply to him was very clear on what your point was. It apparently went right over his head! I don't mean to put words in your mouth Stan, but I do believe you were trying to be polite in telling Stephen that he was being a real dumb ass. Something he obviously doesn't get.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Cool. No problem. Post away, anonymous man/woman/thing? As long as you take responsibility for your having to lurk, slink, and cower before Mighty Matt Godfrey. LOL.

You keep saying, "I have to do this, I am afraid of doing that", kind of a victims mentality, yes.

People are doing things to you, and because of this you cannot do what you want? Poppycock.
So, you sold your freedom for a chance to lick Godfrey's boots.

Your call. Like I said, not in my character, the whole licking boots and cowing thing. Wouldn't do it for real money, let alone for a city workers pittance.

I am glad that, due to my past and deliberate actions, I do not find myself with such a weakling as a nemesis. I honestly could not sleep nights if I was afraid that Matthiew Godfrey had my balls in his tiny little paws.

Because, I do not blame others for my having to slink around. If I was slinking, it would be my fault.

Not Mayor Matthiew Godfrey!

Stephen M. Cook said...

Marion:

Thank you for your input. I will take it under advisement. I will file it under, "anonymous poster thinks I am not impressive". And consider the source: kids, at night, spraying shaving cream on our auto. Gotta take that real seriously, so I will. Again, thank you for standing up for what you believe. LOL.

Fireman Joe said...

Stephen-There are plenty of us who have been here longer than the petty little man who will do whatever it takes to destroy an employee he doesn't like. My balls were placed in his hands by the voters.

Dan S. said...

Rudi: The RDA agenda entry refers to "certain real property". Have you looked at the text of the resolution itself to see whether it authorizes use of eminent domain only on a small number of specific properties, or if it's a carte blanche authorization of eminent domain for the whole River Project area?

Biker Babe said...

Commentary on Eminent Domain and what to do with the unknowns hiding under the Ogden Riverfront Development degenerates into debate on posting comments under one's real name!

Nice segue? I think not!

js,

BB


.... p.s. LOL

Fireman Stephen said...

Fireman Joe: good point. Biker Babe: degenerates, or degenerate? :^)

AWM said...

RudiZink..on the OTHER topic..what would be an acceptable time for folks to stay in motels?. Bringing up the issue of the disadvantaged is fine but most motels/hotels are not set up for long term living due to a number of reasons..take a low income family..where do the kids play?...in the parking lot? on the street?...90 days seems like a decent amount of time while looking for a perm residence in a "neigborhood". They're named Motel/Hotels after all for a reason. People shouldn't expect to set up long term residence there..Thats what apartments, duplexes, single family residence etc are for

Stephanie R. Crook said...

So, where is Ogden City allocating money from to fund acquisitions via eminent domain, if they are indeed? I wish we could give the city the benefit of the doubt when projects like this are brought up, unfortunately they do not have a very good track record.

A humble public servant who shall remain nameless said...

Dan S.,

The resolution is for specific properties, not carte blanche for the whole project.
There is no action with properties owned by Leshem or Ogden River Development, LLC (whoever that may be). Wouldn't it be nice if these property owners would keep their taxes current and properties safe and free of graffiti, trash, fire hazards, weeds and other code violations at their own expense?

Snuggles the Fire Bull said...

"Wouldn't it be nice if these property owners would keep their taxes current and properties safe and free of graffiti, trash, fire hazards, weeds and other code violations at their own expense?"

Yeah. That would be really, really nice. And it is not going to happen. There is no citizen outcry, none. Most people who live in Ogden either don't know, don't care, or are just nameless folk with no real weight whatsoever.

Not surprised said...

Somewhere in all the bullshit "I am hollier than thou and really a brave guy," didn't this Cook fella bring up the military in his diatribe?

Tell us Steven "The Tough" Cook, by answering Jack's question in the "A Few Good Men" movie: did you ever stand a post?

If you haven't, or if you never wore a military uniform, don't dishonor those of us who have by inserting this into your offensive, "llok how great I am" ramblings.

Tough guy, my ass.

Stephen M. Cook said...

Not a tough guy, Mr. Anonymous Whatever. Just not afraid of Godfrey, and did not arrange my life so that I had to cower before idiots with rubber stamps.
I can speak my mind, about any topic, to anyone, anytime. I cant imagine living otherwise; it would make me physically ill.

I aced the ASFAB, and fall into the slot that is regularly considered considered for special assignment.
I served as a Combat Signaler, 31K, in the US Army from 1988 to 1992. Love the service; still practice the skill set required, and taught these skills to my children. I work for the US Military in other capacities, from time to time.
The IRR currently loves me, like the wobble-head that I am. ;>

I have yet to hear a good reason for posting anonymously, other than a long-time city employee who would risk city-employee sanction, or someone who does it out of a superior sense of humor.
I doubt that is the case with most of the posters here.

Not surprised said...

I stand corrected....

What works for you, works for you. But I'm not sure if, because of that, any of us should pass judgement on others for doing what works for them.

Curious reader said...

Merely floating a question, Mr. Zink. After all, partnerships and associations, whether personal or financial, don't always go on forever. Some collapse and the collapse is generally a two sided coin, regardless of one's take on why things went the way they did. Take a look at your own history and you'll probably notice some of the above have gone in the opposite direction as you originally expected.

Being that the Mayor likes cranes in the air, and the River Project is nothing but a sore spot for both he and the Administration, not to mention downtown and Ogden as a whole, something that probably would not enhance the cultivation of investors, et al, plus the Mayor's propensity to run his course regardless of who or what is in the way, my scenario is a possible likelihood. Possible, but most likely not probable. It is a fun idea, though, is it not?

Again, just a float....that apparently didn't get many, if any, on board. But this is a blog, a forum to toss about ideas, hypothesis, and the like. That being said, the dogmatic negativity of an idea that one puts forth, an idea that doesn't fit into the neatly wrapped personal philosophical packages of many of the posters that I read here, does sometimes surprise me (quite verbose....my apologizes).

RudiZink said...

"Take a look at your own history and you'll probably notice some of the above have gone in the opposite direction as you originally expected."

I'll tell ya's what, "curious reader," go back and read the 2000+ articles I've posted here.

Find one single time where a Godfrey Project that we criticised ever panned out.

I challenge you to do that, because I already know it won't happen.

Be my guest. Show me the one time I was wrong about a half-baked Godfrey project, brought to us by an ex-pizza delivery boy, who still has a gaggle of dumbasses supporting him, notwithstanding his strikingly dismal performance record.

CR said...

Zink, you've been spending way too much time riding around with "Odd Ball's," crew. Odd Ball, played by the irrepresible Donald Sutherland, was the Sherman tank commander in "Kelly's Heros," who had to keep telling many in his crew,

"Oh, you with the negative vibes."

And by the way, I was talking about the collapse of partnerships and associations, not a history of successful Godfrey projects, that might lead to the "float" that I presented.

Geez, Louise....easy boy.

Biker Babe said...

CR -- you find a need to explain who is OddBall ... why? ... and it's "Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?" .... or "always with the negative waves."

js,

BB

Dan S. said...

Comment bumped to front page

Stephen M. Cook said...

Comment moved to new article

CR said...

How does posing the hypothesis that the Mayor may have run his patience with Leshem and want to move on the River Project produce negative waves? Biker Babe, you need to keep up with the whole thread here and I think you've been swallowing too much gasoline when you syphone someone else's tank to fill yours.

Try some WCForum Kool-aid and you'll feel better.

Oh yeah, and not everyone would know who "Odd Ball" is, ya dig? Just adding some facts to my fun little joust with the Zink man.

Just a thought

pointless anonymity said...

Kelly's Hero's? That movie was made before most alive today were even borne!

Biker Babe said...

Pointless

... watch it ....

js,

BB

CR said...

BB

The above comment from Pointless Anonimity basically shows why I explained who "Odd Job" was. Not everyone here is as old as you.

Anyway, this blog thing seems to work much better if you respond to what's been written instead of questioning or berating the reason it was. And then there's the "...watch it...." threat?

Hmmm. All those negative vibes.

Back to the theme: It is too bad, though, that the eminent domain vote was aimed at those three smaller property owners instead of the one major property owner.

Curmudgeon said...

CR:

You wrote: "Back to the theme: It is too bad, though, that the eminent domain vote was aimed at those three smaller property owners instead of the one major property owner."

Sorry, CR, but if it was an abuse of the city's eminent domain powers to take the three small parcels, it would be no less an abuse of the city's eminent domain powers to take the Lesham-associates' property.

The city should not be using eminent domain authority to take people's property for the benefit of any private development or use --- the size of the parcel involved doesn't --- or shouldn't --- matter.

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