Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 End-of -Year Wrap-up

Added bonus: A reader invitation to chime in with nominations for the most humorous, ironic, politically embarrassing and/or otherwise significant stories to have been revealed on the Emerald City scene during the year 2009

Well, it's New Year's Eve, as another memorable year draws to a close. And here at Weber County Forum, no year can be regarded as complete without offering our readers a glance at humor columnist Dave Barry's anual year-end wrap-up. So here's the 2009 version, folks, straight from the pages of the Miami Herald:
Dave Barry's year in review: 2009
And when you're done with that, we invite our readers to chime in with their own nominations for the most humorous, ironic, politically embarrassing and/or otherwise significant stories to have been revealed on the Emerald City scene during the year 2009. And just to get the ball rolling, we'll ask our gentle readers... how about these?

Continuing revelations regarding 2007 municipal election campaign contribution corruption?

Boss Godfrey's shockingly candid apology for Dining Car/Tourist Information Center cost overruns, and John "Pureheart" Patterson's subsequent admission that he's an idiot?

Stories involving Boss Godfrey's hand-picked "blue ribbon" "Citizens'"Golf Course Committee, which ultimately produced the exact recommendation which Godfrey watchers expected?

Boss Godfrey's incessant and seemingly incurable Gondola Obsession?

The public financial collapse of Ogden River Project "moneyman," Gadi Leshem, perhaps?

Boss Godfrey's highly fortuitous Capital Improvement Fund misappropiation bailout?

Stories related to Godfreyite council candidate David Phipps, chronicling the campaign "meltdown" of arguably the most inept council candidate in the history of Emerald City?

Lots of stories to choose from during the past year.

Who will be the first to comment?

And yes... Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Standard Examiner: Community Development Manager Leaves Ogden

That's three department manager departures in a single week's time

There's eye-opening news in this morning's Standard-Examiner, wherein Scott Schwbeke reports the departure from Ogden City of yet a third Ogden City department manager. On the heels of last week's announcement that Community & Economic Development Department Director Scott Waterfall and Public Works Department director George Benford had tendered their resignations, we now learn this morning that Community Development Manager Keith Morey has also "jumped ship":
Community development manager leaves Ogden
Over the 10-year course of Boss Godfrey's municipal governance, we've seen department heads retire from time to time... but now we mark three such departures within the period of a single week; and we therefore can't help but wonder whether there may be some hidden significance in this remarkable cluster of top executive resignations.

Mere serendipitous coincidence? Or are the metaphorical "rats" leaving the sinking Godfrey ship? Are the wheels finally falling off the Boss Godfrey Wienermobile?

We of course encourage our readers to chime in on this otherwise slow news day with your comments, to help us decipher the true meaning of all this.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Standard-Examiner Letter: Firefighters Grateful for Standard Subscription

A gentle anonymous benefactor comes generously to the rescue

While not exactly red-meat news, we've come upon something this morning, (whilst extensively googling), which put a smile on out face; and which we believe to be worthy of note.

Remember back in July of this year, when our penny-wise and pound-foolish mayor was cutting "nonessential" expenses (like window washing and newspaper subscriptions) "to the bone," in a comical attempt to address Ogden City's financially embarrassing $2.2 Million Tax Revenue Shortfall?

Ogden Firefighters were left in the lurch as a result of the City Administration's miserly cost cutting measures of course; and Standard-Examiner subscriptions were cancelled for all Ogden firehouses, leaving Ogden Firemen (and Firewomen) little to do but twiddle their thumbs between Leshemville fire emergency calls.

Well.. we found some good news on the SE's Live! Website backpages pages this morning, as we said; and we're pleased to inform our readers about another wonderful display of the Christmas spirit, inasmuch as a gentle anonymous benefactor has generously come to the rescue:
Firefighters grateful for Standard subscription
A Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat to you this morning, Mr./Ms. Anonymous Donor!

Good show!

We never cease to be amazed and humbled (sniffle) by the overwhelmng generosity of the "classy" citizens of our great little blue-collar town, i.e, Ogden.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Salt Lake Tribune Editorial: End Double Dipping

Another Northern Utah newspaper jumps aboard the anti-double dipping bandwagon

We'd like to highlight a good strong editorial in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune, in which the Trib editorial board jumps aboard the bandwagon, in condemning the peculiar Utah practice of public employee double dipping:
End double dipping
As our regular readers will of course recall, the Standard-Examiner carried its own editorial on the subject about six weeks ago.

We're delighted to find our northern Utah print media lining up to advocate the legislative abolition of this egregious and costly practice; and we'll thus be keeping our eyes peeled for a similar Deseret News editorial piece in the near future.

Meanwhile we'll reiterate a closing comment from our 11/20/09 WCF article on the subject:

Note to our "fiscally conservative" state legislature: Are you listening?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nobody In the Mt. Ogden Neighborhood Should Answer Their Door After Dark

Seems that Boss Godfrey may be now working the Mt. Ogden Park neighborhoods after sunset, to sell his East Bench Bulldozer Plan, whilst handing out freebie "Mormon Blessings" along the way

This is interesting. We've learned from several property owners along the periphery of Mt. Ogden Park that Boss Godfrey seems to be "walking the voting precincts," even though an Ogden City municipal election is not imminent.

Reports say that Boss Godfrey has been ringing doorbells and pounding doors along Taylor Avenue (right across from Mt. Ogden Park) after dark.

Here's what's reliably reported to have happened on last Tuesday night:

Boss Godfrey showed up at the doorstep of the wife of an ex-city councilman from the sixties after dark, around 8:00 p.m. (Coincidentally, as Ogden City olde-timers will possibly remember, it was her councilman husband who hammered-through the Malan family Mt. Ogden Park parcel as a donation to Ogden City.)

Like an aggressive door-to-door salesman, Godfrey managed to get his foot in the door that night, and invited himself "in."

Once he was inside, he expounded on the great things he had planned for the Mt. Ogden Park neighborhood, asked this poor woman to support him, and volunteered that Mt. Ogden Park would never be changed "within her lifetime."

Finding out that she was suffering from "health problems," he also mentioned that he was "on the Mormon High Council," and administered a "free" Mormon blessing before he left.

Another little old lady on the street heard a similar doorknock. Instead of answering the banging on the door however, she called the cops. An OPD squad car was dispatched to the site immediately.

We don't know whether Godfrey's door-knocking was interrupted that night by one of "Ogden's Finest."

Nevertheless, we're gonna suggest that nobody in the Mt. Ogden neighborhood should answer their door after dark.

Warning: It could be "the insufferable little lord" knockin' on your door.

And one other thing. If you live in the Mt. Ogden neighborhood, and Godfrey knocks on your door during his apparent door-to-door campaign to build good will for his gargantuan $143 million condo/hotel/golf course boondoggle... we'd love to hear all about it.

Post Holiday Emerald City News Roundup

Another Wal-mart Supercenter milestone; and a chance to take another shot at a loyal Boss Godfrey lemming

In the aftermath of "the world's most popular holiday", we'll attempt to get back in gear, with a short Emerald City news roundup this morning. Although northern Utah news sources aren't exactly brimming with nutritious red meat news this a.m., there's still enough to at least kickstart a reader discussion, we think:

1) Mainly for archival purposes, we'll make note of yesterday's Standard-Examiner story, which reports that "a drainage issue has been resolved, enabling work to resume on a planned 147,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter at 20th Street and Wall Avenue":
Drainage issue cleared for Wal-Mart project
This project has of course been "on" and then "on hold" for more times than we can count; and we thus suppose it will be a great relief to finally get Wal-mart onto the city tax rolls sometime in early 2011, we guess, assuming it moves forward smoothly from here.

Of course Boss Godfrey says the arrival of his long-awaited downtown Wal-mart spells nothing but good for the city economy:
The supercenter is expected to draw a large volume of customers and should increase business traffic for other stores downtown, Godfrey said.
"It's good for merchants in the area," he said
Whether this is true we do not know; but we will submit that Godfrey's general assertion that Wal-mart Supercenters are "good" for neighboring businesses does remain a matter of some considerable public debate.

So what say our gentle readers? Will Boss Godfrey's soon-to-be coming Wal-mart Supercenter spur a wave of economic growth in in our downtown area and be a boon to existing businesses? Notwithstanding the fact that Boss Godfrey's long history of economic development pratfalls, we must remember that "even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then," (according to the old folk ax).

Or will this mega-marketing goliath leave a slew of boarded-up smaller existing businesses in its wake?

2) For those who'd like to take another shot at Godfrey sychophant Rich Combe, whose 12/16/09 letter to the editor provoked a fair amount of reader discussion here on Weber County Forum on the same date, we're pleased to observe that Mr. Combe's pay-to-play mini-opus made the Standard-Examiner hard copy edition this morning:
Godfrey's contributors wanted success in Ogden
We therefore happily give it a brief reprise, for those readers who'd like to take another bite of the apple, and offer further comment in the SE and/or WCF reader comments sections. Feel free to take another shot... if you don't believe we've already beaten the topic to death.

That's it for now folks.

Who will be the first to break the post-holiday comment ice?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Coming Face to Face With The Real Christmas Spirit

Saved from a horrible situation by a Saint named Jesus

By Ozboy

On Christmas I look back to another time and another place where I came face to face with the real Christmas spirit.

It was back in the early 70's, Bill Glassman and I had been promoting concerts together. We had a lot of fun and some success in the beginning, but our last show a few months before that Christmas season we had busted out big time and I was flat broke and wondering what the hell I was going to do next.

The show was a Leon Russel concert in the Salt Palace, and although it was terrific and a real crowd pleaser, Bill and I had made way too many wrong guesses and it was a financial disaster for us.

So there I was in Ogden, I had already sold the Bentley a couple months before to pay some of the debt I had incurred and I didn't have enough money to get back to LA where I lived at the time. (Bill and I still laugh at how we drove a Bentley into the Salt Palace to do the show and left in a 62 VW that we had to push to get started because the battery was dead)

So there I was as Christmas was only a few weeks away and I didn't have enough money for a bus ticket back to LA and the comfort of my friends and a temporary job I had lined up. I did have enough for a ticket to Cedar City, so bought it and off I went.

Later that very cold and snowing night the bus pulled into Cedar City and the driver announced we were there. He knew some one had bought a ticket for Cedar City. I opened my eyes, looked out the window and saw nothing but blowing snow and ice. Most of the people on the warm bus were asleep. I sure as hell didn't want to get off and into that winter night, so I pretended to be asleep - hoping the driver would just forge on. He didn't. So he went down the aisle checking every one's tickets until he finally got to me. He shook me "awake", found I was the one and without further ado kicked me and my meager bag of stuff off the bus into that cold, dark and lonely night. The "bus" station was just a small all night gas station a few miles north of Cedar and was manned by a very unfriendly attendant who begrudgingly let me stay inside until 5AM when he decided to shut down and go home because of the winter storm.

So there I was beside the road in a winter snow storm, cold, hungry and feeling the blues big time. There was very little traffic but I had no choice but to stand there on that road with my thumb out hoping that some one would stop and pick me up.

After about an hour as I was numb with cold and getting very desperate, an old beat up 62 Chevy came down the road. It was going very slow and for the 5 minutes or so I watched him approach I hoped and prayed with every thing I had that he would stop. He did! I jumped in and the warmth from inside that car was heavenly.

The guy behind the wheel was a Mexican about fifty and he said he was going as far as Las Vegas - if his car held out that long. As we crawled along that highway through Cedar and down the long canyon toward St. George and out of the storm, he told me how he had been up in Montana cutting Christmas trees and he was on his way home to El Centro and hoped to make it by Christmas so he could be there for his wife and 7 kids.

The dawn appeared and we left the storm behind as we crawled into St. George. Just as we pulled into town the old Chevy breathed it's last.

Knowing my lack of funds and options, the driver offered to buy me a bus ticket to LA, as he was going to the bus station to get himself a ticket for El Centro. I took him up on his generous offer. We made it to the station, he bought the tickets and off we went on the same bus as far as Las Vegas after which we took separate busses.

At the station in Vegas I asked for his name and address so that I could send him the bus fare back when I made some money. I was really set back when he wrote down his info and gave it to me. His name - Jesus Saintz! Nothing could have been more appropriate in my circumstances than to be saved from such a horrible situation by a Saint named Jesus!

I never saw Jesus again although every Christmas season I think of him and wonder how his life has been. Yes, to me Jesus really did live and really did save wayward travelers along the highway.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Eating Tips

A short list of sensible Holiday Eating Tips, just to help maximize our readers' 2009 celebratory holiday experience

As we now stand poised on Christmas eve, it occurred to us that many of our readers would be attending dinners, buffets and open houses, in celebration of the holiday season. In that connection, we thought it would be helpful to post a list of sensible Holiday Eating Tips, just to help maximize our readers' 2009 celebratory holiday experience. We googled of course; and there were plenty of good "sensible" articles to choose from. But here's the one we liked the best (This one was submitted by one of our alert readers, btw):

Holiday Eating Tips

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

11. Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Have a safe and at least a semi-sane holiday, folks.

Feel free to chime in with your own sensible tips... or treat this as another open-topic thread.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Standard-Examiner Editorial: "OUR VIEW: Gun Supporters Gone Wild"

Unlike the Standard, we're not quite ready to completely dismiss the Gun Owners of Utah organization as a complete pack of right-wing looniebirds

As an apparent followup to Monday's news story, the Standard-Examiner carries a strong editorial this morning, condemning Gun Owners of Utah's (GOU) opposition to the UEG Ethics Reform Initiative, which GOU contends would lead to a (de facto) gun registry system in Utah:
OUR VIEW: Gun supporters gone wild
While The Standard dismisses the GOU's objection outright, as an "idiotic" outburst from the Utah right wing fringe, we're not going to take that bait. We've studied GOU's online legal analysis, and we do believe GOU makes some arguable and legitimate points.

Specifically, GOU's main two-pronged argument is predicated upon language in the proposed inititive. The surprisingly cogent analysis starts out with this:
The gun registration requirement in the Government Ethics Reform Initiative can be found in two portions, both of which are on page 13. The first of these would require every member of the Utah State Legislature to submit a written "disclosure statement" each year to the Utah Independent Ethics Commission (a state-level commission that does not currently exist, but which would be established if the initiative passes). This disclosure statement would need to include the location, nature of, and fair market value of any property, real or personal, tangible or intangible (other than a primary personal residence), in which the legislator or spouse, directly or indirectly, holds an interest which is or is proposed or likely to be the subject of…. regulation by any public body."

A firearm constitutes tangible personal property, and private ownership of a firearm is subject to stringent regulation by the Utah State Legislature, the Utah Department of Public Safety, the United States Congress, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (among others), each of which is "a public body." Thus, we believe that firearms clearly fit into the category defined by the initiative. Which means that, if you’re a state legislator, you and your spouse will have to provide the Ethics Commission with a written list of all your guns, the estimated value of each gun, and where each gun is kept. And you’ll have to do this every year.
And here's the second "prong" of the main argument:
GOUtah! and most other gun-rights groups have consistently opposed ANY law that requires ANY citizen to provide ANY government agency with a list of his privately-owned firearms. ANY such law is a gun-registration law, pure and simple, even if the text of the law does not include the words "firearm" or "register". The portion of the Government Ethics Reform Initiative described above therefore qualifies, in our opinion, as a gun-registration law. But there’s more! The second part of the registration requirement, also on page 13, says: "The disclosure statements…. contemplated in this section of this Act shall be accurate and complete; they shall be signed by legislators under penalty of perjury; and they shall be available for inspection and copying by any member of the public."

This means that if you leave one of your guns off of the disclosure statement, you’ll be guilty of perjury, which is a felony in Utah. Any felony conviction will permanently strip you of your right to possess a firearm. What’s even more alarming is that these disclosure statements will be "available for inspection and copying by any member of the public." In other words, if you’re a state legislator, any burglar or gang member will be able to make a copy of your disclosure statement, which lists all the firearms owned by you or your spouse, how much each of your guns is worth, and where they’re stored. Thus the registration clause of the Ethics Reform Initiative is even worse than existing gun-registration laws in other states, which at least keep such information confidential.
The GOA anlysis also makes a few other interesting "minor" points. We thus urge our readers to check it out with an open mind.

While the SE is correct in its contention that as a member of the general public, "If you own a gun, the ethics initiative next year is no threat to you," we also believe that the language of the initiatative, which arguably sets up a subclass (state legislators) who would be subject to gun registration, is sufficiently troubling to give Utah gun rights advocates a legitimate case of heartburn. Thus, we're not ready to blow off this organization as a complete pack of right-wing looniebirds.

As regular readers are aware, of course, Weber County Forum has been a strong advocate of the UEG Ethics Initiative; and in that connection we remain steadfast in our continuing support. We'll add that your blogmeister is also a strong Second Amendment supporter. Having said that. we'll go on to argue that while GOU may have found a flaw in the initiative language, we do not believe that flaw to be fatal however. As everyone knows, the legislature will set to work tweaking the initiative once it becomes law; and it seems to us that carving out an exception to disclosure requirements for privately-owned firearms would be a quite non-controversial matter of early legislative business.

No need to throw out the baby with the bathwater, we believe. Notably, even the GOU organization concedes it's in support of 99% of the reforms contained in the initiative. So we thus urge Utah gun rights advocates to sign the petition, and then lobby for necessary legislative tweaks. In that sense of course, we'll go along with the Standard-Examiner in supporting the initiative, and add that the UEG Initiative may very well be Utah Lumpencitizens' first and last chance to enact broad legislative ethics reform in Utah. Let's not blow it over a few minor and easily correctable defects, folks.

For those readers who haven't yet signed the petition, by the way, petitions await your signatures at these locations:
UEG Petition Locations
That's our take; and we're stickin' to it.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Standard-Examiner: Tacos To Go May Have To Move, Says Ogden

Leave it to Godfrey to take a business that's thriving and find a way to make their life more difficult

By Capitalist

On yet another topic, the Standard-Examiner reports that the Godfrey administration wants to slap a bunch of new requirements on sidewalk vendors:
Tacos to go may have to move, says Ogden
Leave it to Godfrey to take a business that's thriving and find a way to make their life more difficult. I say it ain't broke so don't try to fix it. Let the market decide how many sidewalk vendors can be on a block, subject to some reasonable safety requirements.

Update 12/23/09 10:17 a.m.: Scott Schwebke reports this morning on the council's taco stand regulation aftermath:
Taco stands limit set at 23 downtown
Looks like a pretty sweet deal for those twelve street food vendors already "in place."

Standard-Examiner: Ogden Air 2d Worst In US

The SE tones down the headline for its searchable online news edition

By Curmudgeon

I picked up my dead-tree copy of the Standard-Examiner this morning to be greeted with this wonderful headline:
By Ra, there's a headline to warm the cockles of an Ogden Development Office headhunter, trying to sell Our Fair City as a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts --- so long as they don't breathe much, that is.

When I went to the on-line edition, though, there was a different headline on the story. On-line [and so searchable from out of state] the head line read:
Not quite the eye-grabbing impact of OGDEN AIR 2ND WORST IN US, is it?

But when the legislature meets, the Usual Suspects will gather in Salt Lake and give the usual speeches about the damned environmentalists with their communistic/socialistic whining about having clean air to breathe which will, the legislators intone on cue, "cost jobs and cost money." And after the speeches, we'll get the usual raft of "message bills" introduced targeting environmentalists instead of getting environmental legislation that might actually help matters.

I wonder how many jobs are lost and money to Ogden by headlines like this morning's in the SE? I wonder how many other cities, pitching businesses in competition with Ogden will include the SE headline and article in their presentations. I'm damn sure Ogden won't in its presentations.

Red Air Alert day today, by the way. The Utah Legislature's Republican Majority recommends breathing as little as possible until tomorrow at the earliest.

Boss Godfrey's Proposed 36th Street Water Tank Agenda Item Is Dropped From Tonight's Council Calender

We'll post notice here at WCF when the matter is put back on calender

On Sunday, we posted an article providing a heads-up about this evening's (12/22/09) City Council meeting, wherein an item concerning approval of Boss Godfrey's proposed 36th Street water tanks appeared on the original Council agenda.

Please note that this item has now been pulled from tonight's Council calender. The amended agenda is linked below:
Sorry about the false alarm, folks. The Council has apparently decided (quite rightly, we believe) that it will need to have further discussion regarding this item.

We'll keep our eyes peeled, however, and post notice here on WCF when the matter is put back on the Council calender.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Special Note From Gentle Reader Ozboy

What Emerald City needs is an independent "Finisher"

By Ozboy

I saw today where Waterfall is quitting the Economic and Community Development Director's position to become a judge. The incompetent and dishonest mayor is going to conduct a nationwide search for a suitable replacement! What a crock of crap that is. I will bet a hundred bucks right now that the person who replaces Waterfall will be another insider crony of Godfrey's that doesn't know doo about development - just like Waterfall doesn't! They ought to fire the whole damn lot of the people in the so called "Biz Development" Dept. It would save the tax payers of Ogden two million bucks a year and would have absolutely no ill effects whatsoever. What they need is to conduct a nationwide search for a "finisher" - someone who isn't part of the Godfreyites and who has a proven track record of actually finishing projects successfully, not someone who is just going to start up more loser deals to continue the rape of the tax payers started by this current band of incompetents.

Standard-Examiner: "City Fine-tuning Ogden River Project Details"

The Standard Examiner prints yet another hilarous "Godfrey announces that he expects to announce" story

By Curmudgeon

The Standard-Examiner has finally gotten around to following up on a story it printed two weeks ago which informed its readers [source: Mayor Godfrey] that an un-named developer newly chosen for the River Project [to replace the Mayor's earlier disastrous choice of Mr. Leshem] would submit a development plan to the city by the "end of the week." The end of the week came and went. No plan was submitted. Another week went by. No plan. Now the SE has, at last, followed up on the first story with a new story that includes an explanation --- kinda sorta --- from the administration of why no plan has yet been submitted:
City fine-tuning Ogden River Project details
The Godfrey administration's new story is that it hopes that a development plan will be submitted "soon." [It is unclear whether "soon" in Godfrey-speak is a longer or shorter period than "by the end of a week."] It seems the developer, who the Mayor still will not name [though he hints he has two more waiting in the wings if the current un-named developer decides the project is too risky to get involved in] is "fine tuning" things. What things?. Arranging tax-increment funding to pay for key parts of it. From the story:
"Discussions between the administration and the developer currently center on how tax increment financing may be used to assist the river project, said Godfrey." [A synonym for "tax increment funding" is "public subsidy."]
The story two weeks ago noted that 60% of the property in the River Project area is still owned by the Leshem and associates group, and that it hasn't been figured out how that uncomfortable fact will be handled by the new [un-named] developer, provided enough public funds can be provided to entice him to take on the project. And what has today's story to say about that problem so clearly identified in its story two weeks ago? That it hasn't been figured out yet how it will be handled by the new [un-named] developer.

And of course the new story ends with the SE's traditional ending for SE River Project stories: "Lesham could not be reached for comment."

And the beat goes on....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Important Council Meeting Coming Up On Tuesday

Boss Godfrey's proposed 5-million gallon 36th Street water tank is on the agenda (item #1 on the list of top Emerald City open space threats)

We'd like to provide our readers with a quick heads up about an item appearing on the agenda for this coming Tuesday's (12/9/09) Ogden City Council Meeting. Over past months we've devoted a fair amount of electronic ink to the subject of the Godfrey administration's proposed top of 36th street waters tanks; and this subject now returns to the calender for the council's consideration and deliberation:
7. Administrative Reports.
a. CIP Amendment – 36th/46th Street water tanks and transmission line. Consideration of proposed Ordinance 2009-72; an ordinance modifying the FY 2008 through 2012 Capital Improvement Plan by making adjustments to project WU095 and adding projects WU100 and WU101 as detailed in the project briefs. (Receive public input; adopt/not adopt ordinance – roll call vote)
In connection with this, we also link the council's 12/22/09 council packet, which consists of a brief summary of the Administration's proposal, an analysis of project obstacles and proposed solutions, fiscal notes, a necessarily-lengthy chronology of events, a proposed municipal ordinance amending the city Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), three exhibits and several other associated documents, etc..

In a nutshell, the Administration is proposing that the council go ahead with the 5 million-gallon 36th street tank (whose cost seems to have increased), and that the council allocate the remaining $800,000 to engineering studies and land acquisition--but not construction--for the 1.25 million gallon tank and associated transmission lines.

Reading between the lines, it's also apparent from the series of documents enclosed in the packet that council leadership and staff have devoted a fairly substantial amount of effort over the past few months, in cooperation with the city's administration and engineering staff, to work out the "kinks" in the project. Moreover, and much to our alarm, it seems pretty clear that council leadership has probably committed itself to approving the Administration's proposal, even though the matter has never been deliberated by the full council, nor fully addressed by the public.

Adding insult to injury, information in the packet reveals that council leadership may be growing wary of a provision in the underlying Water Horizon bonding documents, which purportedly requires that 85% of bond proceeds be spent by June 11, 2010. As to this latter wrinkle, we'll speculate that Boss Godfrey is once again up to his old tricks, and has again painted the council into a corner with his usual calculated strategy whereby Godfrey gives the council nothing but yes/no choices, where "no" is unacceptable (i.e., don't spend the bond money at all) so they have to say "yes."

As we editorialized back in May of this year, we at WCF are also wary too... wary of at least three items in Boss Godfrey's bag of tricks which threaten our east bench open space. The 36th Street water tanks are of course at the top of the list.

Emerald City lumpencitizens urged the city council at least four months ago to hire their own independent independent engineer. Since then the council has however apparently been sitting on it's collective thumb. We're therefore going to go out on a limb and predict that the council's approval of Boss Godfrey's 5 million gallon 36th Street water tank is probably a fait accompli.

Nevertheless, we'll encourage our more optimistic readers to attend Tuesday's council session, and to contact the council with their own viewpoints through our WCF council contact link in the interim.

In a worst case scenario, meeting attendees can report back to WCF about the big smile which will be on Boss Godfrey's face when he receives his early Christmas present. And who knows? Maybe we'll get lucky. Maybe the council will rethink the whole half-baked situation and we'll experience a holiday miracle.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Salt Lake Tribune: The Tonight Show' Sings to Orrin Hatch, Mormons

Just a little light humor to kick off a Friday morning open topic thread

Amusing piece in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune. Be sure to watch the video:
'The Tonight Show' sings to Orrin Hatch, Mormons
In reference to our inimitable Utah senior senator's little holiday ditty, believe it or not, the song's reportedly "tearin' up the charts". In fact it's currently right in there at #19 on in free mp3 downloads, between Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" and "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas. We'll add that it's disappointing, we believe, that our junior senator, Bob Bennett, never, ever comes up with good stuff like this.

And for those possibly humorless readers who might interpret the Tonight Show's satirical retort to be an exercise in Mormon bashing, we'll disclose right now that we consider it to be a harmless joke... and so do our good friends from The Mormon Times. This puts us in pretty good company we think; so please don't anybody get your panties in a bunch this morning.

Just a little light humor to kick off a Friday morning open topic thread.

Have at it, O Gentle Ones.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Standard-Examiner Letter: "Godfrey's Contributors 'Wanted Success' In Ogden"

In our view, the current Emerald City "pay-to-play" system needs a stake driven through its evil heart

An interesting Standard-Examiner letter to the editor popped up on the SE Live! Edition website this morning, in response to Dan Schroeder's earlier letter, which was published in the SE hard-copy edition on December 11. As we stand mired within yet another S-L-O-O-O-W Emerald City news day, we invite our readers to have a look:
Godfrey's contributors wanted success in Ogden
We gotta snarkily say, if you read between the lines, the headline truly does encapsulate the gist of the story. The headline truly says it all.

The author, presumably Ogden landscape contractor Rich Combe, apparently finds no problem with a situation where sweetheart contracts are routinely awarded to "paid in full" Friends of Matt (FOM). These folks constitute a highly-deserving "who's who" list of Ogden Boosters, and are thus deserving of certain special "advantages," Mr. Combe seems to suggest.

And if Mr. Combe's following paragraph isn't an outright, unabashed defense of the campaign donation pay-to-play system which seemingly exists under the governance of the Ogden City Administration, it certainly comes within spittin' distance," or so it seems to us:
Let's not start finger-pointing and attempting to stir up misconceptions about our local companies or administration. Why wouldn't anyone want the city to put as much money as possible right back into local businesses? These companies have almost always got to bid any work they provide and they get an advantage because they are local and we should want them to be doing the work. By contracting with local companies it means the money for purchases or projects stays right here in our community; they hire a larger local supplier chain and keep money moving within our area. [Emphasis added].
Mr. Combe warns that he hopes "...anyone who wishes that these companies discontinue support of Ogden has a lot of money to pick up the gaps." And in that connection we'll suggest that none of these All-star Ogden Boosters should cease "funding and contributing to events, teams, our schools, non-profit organizations and many other worthwhile causes." If these "special" individuals and corporate entities are sincere and community-minded Ogden Boosters, surely they'll keep on doing that, and there will be no reason to worry about any "gaps."

Special note to Mr. Combe: It's not the true community service efforts that the lumpencitizens are complaining about, but rather the obscenely bloated campaign warchests, coupled with with the special interest privileges and perks which seem to invariably flow to "paid up" FOMs, which cause severe lumpencitizen heartburn.

As a sidenote we'll add that we believe our city council did a fine job in amending Ogden's campaign finance ordinance this year, to provide reasonable individual campaign finance limits. As Gentle Reader Dan S. earlier observed, there's evidence that these ordinance amendments did level the campaign finance playing field in this year's Municipal Election; so in the future, we'll be lobbying the council for an outright ban on corporate contributions.

It's our sincere hope that folks with attitudes like Mr. Combe's will become a dying breed here in Emerald City, as we lumpencitizens carry on our quest for honest, transparent and ethical government. In our view, Bos Godfrey's current Emerald City pay-to-play system needs a stake driven through its evil heart.

That's our opinion; and we're stickin' with it.

Update 12/17/09 11:42 a.m.: For Dan Schroeder's most excellent retort to Mr. Combe on this subject, be sure to check out his comment in the SE article comments section:
Subtle Difference
So what say our gentle readers about all this?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Standard-Examiner: Apparel Firm May Consolidate Ogden Locations... in Layton

Does this spell the beginning of the unravelling of the Boss Godfrey's "Ski Hub Concept"?

Fascinating new development on the Ogden City business development front. Scott Schwebke reports this morning that Descente Ltd., the first of a dozen or more ski companies to have moved to Ogden during the past several years, is now considering "flying the coop." We incorporate Mr. Schwebke's lead paragraphs below:
OGDEN -- Descente Ltd. is considering relocating its North American corporate office and warehouse from Ogden to Layton, a company official said Tuesday.
The winter sports apparel firm is involved in talks to consolidate the corporate office and warehouse in a single facility in a Layton business park, said Ryan Westenskow, chief financial officer for Descente North America.
"It's more efficient (to have one building)," said Westenskow, who declined to provide the address of the Layton building under consideration by Descente, which is headquartered in Osaka, Japan.
"It's suitable for what we need."
Descente's North American corporate office is presently at 2550 Washington Blvd., and its warehouse is at 159 23rd St., both in Ogden.
Here's the full story for those readers who'd like to bone up:
Apparel firm may consolidate Ogden locations in Layton / Winter clothing company says efficiency is key
Mr. Schwebke also reports that this news came from out of the blue, and hints that it's apparent that Ogden City officials feel they've been blindsided:
John Patterson, Ogden's chief administrative officer, said he was unaware that Descente may move to Layton until contacted Tuesday by the Standard-Examiner.
"I would hate to see it happen," he said. "They are such a fixture here."
The city has made proposals to Descente that include consolidating local operations under one roof at its 23rd Street warehouse location and or in a facility at Business Depot Ogden, said Mayor Matthew Godfrey.
"Clearly, we want them to stay right here in town," he said. "We've made them very attractive offers to do so."
We confess we're at a loss to explain the true meaning of this startling development. Does this spell the beginning of the unravelling of the Boss Godfrey's "Ski Hub Concept", we ask? Or are the Samurai from Osaka merely jockeying for a sweeter "sweetheart deal" from the Ogden City Administration?

One thing's for sure. We already know that Descente Ltd. operates with a bean-counter mentality, and that Descente's Osaka executives really don't give a hoot about Ogden... or its economic revival. And there's one thing more: The departure of Descente would have a fairly significant economic impact on Ogden, inasmuch as this company's Ogden payroll is a purported million dollars a year, and Descente allegedly pays $125,000 annually in sales tax to Ogden City, according to a 5/2/06 statement from former Descente Ltd. CEO Curt Geiger, (see the article linked directly above for details) .

Time for Boss Godfrey and his bloated Economic Development Department drones to get off their keisters on this, we believe. It should be painfully obvious that it serves no long-term economic benefit to initially land these ski companies, if they later "hoof it" to a neighboring city.

Time for some fancy dancin', wethinks:

Prominent Ogden City Prima Ballerinas

Strap on yer dancin' shoes, Matt and the Boyz!

And what thinks our gentle readers about all this?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ogden City Council Report

A very productive and informative trip to the Municipal Building, all in all

By Dan S.

This afternoon I was honored to attend the City Council's farewell party for Jesse Garcia, thanking him for his 16 years of service. The council's conference room was packed with Mr. Garcia's friends and supporters, plus the city council staff and a few other city staff. Chair Wicks presented Mr. Garcia with a framed montage of official city council group photos taken over the last 16 years, as well as a separate framed collection of four Cal Grondahl cartoons from the Standard-Examiner, all featuring Garcia. The festive event was catered personally by Pete Buttschard of Rooster's.

The council meeting itself was relatively short. First on the agenda was presentation of the city's FY2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Copies of the report were distributed to the council members, as well as to councilmember-elect Garner who was in attendance. The presentation focused on the high quality of the report as determined by the auditors and another organization that follows such things. For the fifth year in a row, the city received an award for the quality of its CAFR. The council will now review the report and discuss it at a work session in mid-February. It appears that the new report is not yet posted on the city's web site, but I assume it will be soon.

Next on the agenda was a council resolution to approve the renewal of the city’s Recycling Market Development Zone. This zone coincides with the city’s manufacturing zones, and allows businesses in those zones to obtain a 5% state tax credit for investments related to recycling. The modest program has been in place for ten years, and according to Richard McConkie of the Business Development department, about six businesses have obtained the tax credits so far.

The final agenda item was approval of a long list of modifications to the council’s Norms and Procedures, which set forth procedures for carrying out council business. Mr. Cook verbally summarized the changes, but his summary was much too quick and cursory for me to absorb all at once. Incidentally, during the reception for Garcia, I was pleased to learn from Mr. Cook that the council intends to start posting its full agenda packets (aside from closed-session items) on the Internet for public viewing early next year.

At the end of the agenda, as always, was the time for public comments. This was my reason for attending the meeting. Given that the year will soon end and some council members will soon step down, I wanted to make a final attempt to finish up some business. First I held up a piece of campaign mail that I received from then-candidate Blain Johnson in fall 2007, and quoted from it the following sentence: “Our elected officials must be responsible and accountable to the community we serve.” I then reminded the council of two incidents that call for more accountability.

The first was Councilman Johnson’s agreement to assist Thaine Fischer, in late 2008, in his application to the city for a zoning ordinance change. The Utah Municipal Officers’ and Employees’ Ethics Act (Utah Code 10-3-1305) requires that whenever a municipal officer accepts compensation for assisting someone with business before the city, the officer first file a written disclosure statement. Mr. Johnson failed to do that, and in fact did not file his disclosure statement until March 5, after I had submitted a GRAMA request for it. In accord with state law, I filed a complaint with the mayor regarding this matter on May 22. After hearing nothing for more than four months, I inquired again with the mayor in October and received a letter saying that “the matter has been assigned for investigation and review.” Tonight I stated to the council that although violation of the Act is technically a felony, I was not asking that Mr. Johnson be charged with a felony but merely asking that there be a public acknowledgment that these incidents had occurred--in order to deter future, more serious, violations.

Secondly, I brought up the matter of Envision Ogden and Friends of Northern Utah Real Estate. It was on February 19, 2009, that I discovered that FNURE was nothing but a shell entity, created to conceal the source of over $20,000 in campaign contributions. Because FNURE’s address was the same as that of Mr. Johnson’s law office, I immediately sent him an email asking who FNURE was. He never replied. So tonight, in the name of accountability, I asked him again (probably for the last time): “Who is Friends of Northern Utah Real Estate?”

There were no further public comments, so it was then time for comments from Mayor Godfrey. He stated simply that the investigation into the Ethics Act violation had been turned over to an entity outside the city, so the city now has no control over when a determination will be made. (He did not say when the matter was first passed on to the outside entity, but I would assume that this happened after my second inquiry, in October.)

Comments from the Council came next. Mr. Garcia thanked everyone for the good wishes expressed earlier that afternoon. Then Mr. Johnson said that he had always been honest in conducting the city’s business and done nothing wrong. (He neither acknowledged nor answered my question about FNURE.) Finally Councilman Stephens said some general good words about Councilman Johnson and his two years of service on the council.

When the meeting adjourned and people were leaving the room, Mr. Johnson walked past me and said simply, “You are a piece of work.” (Several months ago, the last time I tried to speak to him, he said only “I got nothin’ to say to you.”) Then John Patterson pulled me aside and chastised me for publicly humiliating Mr. Johnson so near the end of his term, when (according to Patterson) I already got what I wanted when Johnson decided not to run for reelection. Patterson also said that in his opinion, Mr. Johnson was an asset to the council and had raised its average IQ over the last two years. In response, I first defended the IQ level of the rest of the council, then told Mr. Patterson that he has no right to speak for what I want, and that in fact, what I want is elected officials who are honest and who obey the law, no matter how high their IQ. Patterson acted as if he was completely ignorant of what FNURE had done, so I gave him a quick refresher course before he went into the work session (which I didn’t attend).

Finally, on the way out of the building, I happened to see City Engineer Justin Anderson. I asked him about the southeast bench water tank proposals, and he said the proposal for the 5 million gallon tank will probably be coming back before the council fairly soon--but the higher, 1.25 million gallon tank behind WSU seems very much up in the air. I also asked him about the Ogden River restoration project and he stated that the contract had been signed, before the deadline passed.

All in all, it was a very productive and informative trip to the Municipal Building.

Standard-Examiner: Public Easement to Remain Open in Wolf Canyon -- UPDATED

Chalk it up as another victory for the Ogden Valley citizen activists in their ongoing battle against the Powder Mountain developer greed and oppression

As a followup to Sunday's WCF article, we're pleased to learn that the Weber County Commission has unanimously voted today to preserve year-round access on the public easement in Wolf Canyon:
Wolf Canyon Trail to stay open all year / Ski resort's request to restrict access denied
"All three commissioners said they did not see why the resort could not carry out safety measures while still preserving public access on the trail."

As Dan S. also reported in the previous article comment section, "about a dozen citizens spoke against the proposal, and it was apparent that the commissioners had also received quite a few emails expressing the same sentiment."

Chalk it up as another victory for the Ogden Valley citizen activists in their ongoing battle against Powder Mountain developer greed and oppression.

Update 12/18/09 10:00 a.m.: The Standard-Examiner chimes in this morning on this topic, congratulating the Weber County Commission for its sound Tuesday public policy decision:
OUR VIEW: Keeping trail open right call
Ogden Valley Forum also has a few choice words on the subject this morning:
Keeping Trail Open Right Call

WCF Makes the Std-Ex Front Page

Something tells us that our hit counter at the bottom of the page will get a pretty good workout today

Well looky here, gentle readers; in the wake of Saturday's rant, our little backwater blog has made the Standard-Examiner front page:
Web site backs off using Mayor Godfrey's name
Something tells us that our hit counter at the bottom of the page will get a pretty good workout today; so we guess we owe Mr. Schwebke our thanks for the free publicity.

We'll however refrain from offering any further editorial comment, except to say that our dispute is now settled, and that Mr. Williams and I have agreed to offer no additional public comment on this matter.

The fact that your blogmeister chooses to remain tight-lipped however, doesn't mean that our readers need to follow suit.

Who will be the first to comment?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Emerald City Open Topic Thread

Added Bonus: Time to finally get another great idea into actual production, we think

To our considerable frustration, real Emerald City red meat political news is again completely absent this morning from all the northern Utah print media, so we've decided to kickstart a new week's discussion with an open topic thread.

But before we turn over the floor for our readers' random comments, we can't resist linking a humorous BBC article which we stumbled upon this morning (after some extensive googling), just to get the conversation going. Here's the lede from the BBC article cited above:
An arcade game that allows people to vent their anger at bankers has proved so popular the owner keeps having to replace worn out mallets.

Inventor Tim Hunkin introduced "Whack a Banker", which is based on the older "Whack a Mole" game, at his arcade on Southwold pier in Suffolk. Instead of players hitting pop-up moles with a mallet, within a set time, the target is pop-up bald figures. Mr Hunkin said the game was "proving very popular".
"I keep having to replace worn-out mallets," he said.
Naturally, this news sent our minds racing, inasmuch as we already "invented" a similar gaming device way back in the summer of 2008:

Imagine hundreds of these devices, strategically scattered through bars, convenience stores and video arcades all over Emerald City. We could dub them "Whac-a-Matts."

Time to finally get this great idea into actual production, we think. Once we do, we're certain we'll be soon raking in the dough.

That's it for now. Please treat this as an open topic thread.

What's on your minds this morning, gentle readers, as we begin another gruelling pre-Christmas holiday work week?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Standard-Examiner: Wolf Creek Trail Public Easement Threatened With Restrictions - UPDATED

We encourage our steely-eyed WCF readers to show up at Tuesday's County Commission meeting en masse

For those readers interested in preserving Weber County trails system access rights, we'll highlight an item in this morning's Standard-Examiner, involving Ogden Valley's Wolf Canyon Trail. Here's Di Lewis's lede:
POWDER MOUNTAIN — A popular Ogden Valley hiking trail on a public easement has been bulldozed into a wide swath and may become private property for part of the year.
The Wolf Canyon Trail leads to 160 acres of public land via an easement on private property that is part of an out-of-bounds area of Powder Mountain.
The trail is part of the Weber Pathways system and a popular destination for summer and winter outdoor enthusiasts. A public hearing and vote on closing public access for part of the year is on the Weber County Commission’s Tuesday meeting agenda.
Eden resident Alan Wheelwright said it is sad to see the trail destroyed and turned into a 15-footwide track.
The resort has the right to modify the trail as long as public access is preserved, said Curtis Christensen, Weber County engineer. The easement doesn’t exclude the rights of private-property owners, he said.
“They are requesting that, during the wintertime, they rescind the public rights because there is some avalanche control that needs to take place there. Plus, it may interfere with other uses, such as a ski tour,” he said.
Check out the full story here:
Access to trail at issue - Public use of area may face restrictions
As Weber County outdoor enthusiasts will recall, this trail leads to the controversial 160-acre parcel once owned by Rulon Jones, former linebacker for the Denver Broncos. It is now back in public ownership, thanks to a group of residents of Ogden Valley who sued the County and took the case all the way to the Utah Supreme Court where they prevailed.

For those readers who might be keen on addressing this issue, and opposing any County Commission action which would limit the lumpencitizens' hard-earned easement rights to this important feature in our Weber County trails system, it might not be a bad idea to attend this Tuesday's commission session.

Although we couldn't find Tuesday's commission agenda on the county website, we'll remind our readers that
County Commission meetings are generally held most Tuesday mornings (unless otherwise publicly noticed) at 10:00 a.m. in the County Commission Chambers, 2380 Washington Boulevard, Ogden.

If you'd like to verify the exact time of Tuesday's meeting, call the Weber County Commission office at (801) 399-8406.

We believe Ogden Valley resident Robert Fuller gets it exactly right:
“Keeping it open is in the public’s best interest,” he said. “(Restricting access) is a chance for a profit entity to utilize public land. It’s just another way of closing people out of public lands.
“They’re whittling down time the public can use it, which is the point of having it there. There is [an] absolute right of the public to use that, and it’s a bad idea to intimidate the public out of using it.”
We thus encourage our steely-eyed WCF readers to show up at Tuesday's meeting en masse.

Update 12/14/09 10:47 a.m.: We've checked with the Weber County Commission office, and the above-referenced public is indeed set for 10:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, December 15, 2009, at the above-indicated Council Commission chamber venue.

Ogden Valley Forum is also covering this story too, and raises the question why notice of this meeting has not been posted on the county website, pursuant to the 24-hour notice requirement prescribed by Utah state law.

Weber County officials do inform us that the meeting agenda has been posted on the Utah State website however (see paragraph F, item 2), but offer no explanation as to its absence from the county site, (although we will submit off the cuff that the the Commission is probably thus in adequate compliance with necessary public notice requirements).

For those readers who can't make it to the meeting, here's the County Commission's bulk email contact link, so our readers can register their opinions about this ham-handed landgrab with all commissioners beforehand:
(Be sure to specify in you email that you'd like copies distributed to ALL commission members.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

No Humor In the Ogden City Hall Throne Room

A frustrated Boss Godfrey bears down on local online media

Here's something definitely disturbing for those who value a free press in Boss Godfrey's Amerika. We got this letter via snail-mail today from Ogden City Attorney Gary Williams, indicating that Weber County Forum has apparently struck a raw nerve with the ever-humourless Boss Godfrey:
Gary Williams 12/11/09 Letter
It's evident that Boss Godfrey is a mite tee-ed of about these satirical parody posts, and that he possibly takes himself WAY TOO SERIOUSLY:
Donny Dolittle's Election Parody Posts
Of course that's probably easy for us to say, since it's Boss Godfrey who's the butt of the joke.

You'd think a "man" in the public limelight like Godfrey could take the good with the bad. In the wake of last month's election defeat however, wherein Godfrey's two rubber-stamp realtor candidates got handed their ass, it looks like the little twit is now ready to play dirty.

We'll weigh our options as we contact Mr. Williams about this on Monday morning.

In the meantime we'll ask... is there any sentient being who didn't take these posts "tongue in cheek?"

KSL News: NASA Contractor Laying Off Another 800 Employees

Let Nature take it's course. Nature works. Godfreyism doesn't

By Danny

I don't know if anybody saw this. It's ATK Systems I'm talking about:

Video Courtesy of

That's a total of 1350 relatively well-paying jobs in the "Top of Utah" gone.

As Godfrey continues to ask the city council for subsidies for his big, bloated government and staff, implying things are getting better, the city council should consider reality.

"Reality": The opposite of "Godfrey."

Or, they could vote for more of Godfrey's "spend-o-rama" and look forward to more and higher paid bureaucrats, more dusty vacant lots, and more vacant business space.

OR, they could cut government spending and regulation, and let Nature take it's course. Nature works. Godfreyism doesn't.

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Truth Revealed Again in the Standard-Examiner "Letters" Column

We do hereby declare this day to be Dan Schroeder Day!

For those who missed it the first go-round on Weber County Forum, check out today's Dan Schroeder's hard-hitting letter, wherein this gem of a regular WCF reader/contributor again properly criticizes the Standard-Examiner in the hard-copy edition, for it's, shall we say, the Std-Ex's "Soft Approach" to the ethical breaches in Boss Godfrey's tyrannical Ogden City Government?

Here it is again, for regular readers who've forgotten, and especially for new readers who've googled Weber County Forum just today:
Many ethical breaches in Ogden
This one definitely deserves a reprise.

Given Dan's most excellent earlier contribution to the WCF blog today... we do hereby declare this day to be Dan Schroeder Day!

Standard-Examiner: Candidates' Final Reports Filed

One regular WCF contributor aptly suggests that the morning's Std-Ex lead "misses the point"

The Standard-Examiner reports this morning that the final 2009 Ogden City Municipal Election financial disclosure reports are now on file with the City Recorder's Office:
Candidates' financial reports filed
For those readers who'd like to fully peruse these newly submitted (12/3/09) campaign finance disclosure statements, we've consolidated them with all previously filed statements for permanent online display here:
2009 Ogden City Municipal Election Financial Disclosure Reports
To kickstart this morning's discussion, we'll incorporate some additional material submitted to us by regular Weber County Forum contributor Dan Schroeder earlier this morning, including the following thoughtful analysis, which nicely puts these campaign disclosure statements into real-world context:

The lede for this story should have been that none of the candidates had large funding advantages over their opponents. This is news because it's a radical change from just two years ago, when the Lifty candidates (Godfrey, Johnson, Eccles, and Petersen) out-raised and out-spent their opponents by factors ranging from 2 to 6. This year the Lifties couldn't rely so much on the Godfrey machine to raise their campaign funds, as Envision Ogden did for Johnson and Eccles in 2007. Moreover, they couldn't rely too heavily on any of their deep-pocket contributors, since contributions are now limited to $1500 per donor. The Smarties, for their part, seem to have finally realized that it takes $10k to run a serious at-large Ogden City Council campaign; the days when you could win without even putting up yard signs are long gone.

The article does point out several of the interesting details of the candidates' finances. Most remarkable is the Hains $5650 deficit, which is presumably just another way of saying that he donated (or loaned) that much to his own campaign. The various contributions from PACs, corporations, and elected officials are also noteworthy.

But the article is curiously inconsistent about whose large contributions are mentioned and whose aren't. The two significant omissions are Hains and Phipps. (Dean received no new large contributions since his last report.) Hains received $1500 from The Boyer Company, $1479 from a new PAC called Forward Ogden (operated by Blain Johnson and Royal Eccles, according to the Lt. Governor's web site), and $500 from the Utah Apartment Association. Hains also received $1500 from the Utah Association of Realtors which he disclosed in late October, but which the Standard-Examiner has yet to report; this contribution is especially newsworthy because Hains had already received $1500 from the UAR's local affiliate so it was a likely violation of the $1500 per-donor limit. Phipps received $1500 from Steve Waldrip of Eden, which he should have disclosed before the election but apparently didn't.

Other noteworthy details: Dean's campaign was funded mostly by Dean himself. Garcia and Garner each spent over $14 per vote, thanks to the low voter turnout in their ward.
As an added bonus, Dan has compiled and submitted this handy table, to conveniently allow our readers to make quick comparisons at a glance. (Click to enlarge image):

A Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat to Professor Schroeder for his special effort in assisting in the interpretion of the consolidated campaign financial disclosure data this morning.

All other WCF readers are invited to chime in with their own observations, theories and interpretations, of course.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Standard-Examiner Letter: "Compensation For Firefighters "Clarified'"

Come on, Mr. Johnson! Look at the realities of the work that firemen and police officers do!

By Brett

No one has commented on Mark Johnson’s letter to the editor, “Compensation for firefighters clarified,” that appeared in Tuesday morning’s Standard-Examiner, so I will.

Mr. Johnson, Ogden City does have quite a few good, dedicated, courteous and helpful employees, but they also have some that are rude and bad employees. To compare the wages of the firemen (and police) to the employee who sits safely behind a desk is like comparing apples to oranges! I think it is an insult to the City’s firefighters and police officers to try to compare the two. When was the last time an employee sitting behind his desk doing his job was shot to death, or had a burning roof fall on him, or inherited health problems because he/she was doing his/her job?

An Ogden City employee from director to custodian is not held in the same esteem as a firefighter. You should remember that when it comes budget time. If justice were really done, all directors and managers would take, at least, a 20% reduction in pay and John Patterson should take a 30% cut so that the firefighters and police could be paid closer to what their worth. And the directors and managers would still be paid more than they are worth!

Come on, Mr. Johnson! Look at the realities of the work that firemen and police officers do! They keep us, the citizens of Ogden safe while risking their own lives. Police officers never know what they will have to face when stopping a car. When was the last time that YOU risked your life for an ordinary Ogden citizen?! And you make double what most firemen and police officers make with all your expense accounts on top of your salary!

Put our taxpayer dollars into the wages of the firefighters and police officers, who are on the job helping, saving and serving the citizens of Ogden, many times at the risk of their own lives. The fat cats on Ogden City’s payroll should not receive any kind of pay increase – they are already paid too much!

I am not the spouse of a firefighter or police officer, just a citizen who appreciates the real workers on the Ogden City payroll.

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