Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Important Planning Commission Meeting Set For Tomorrow (Wednesday) Night

The Planning Commission is called upon to deal with Water Horizons Project mission creep
Updated with newly submitted documents

This morning we'll provide our readers what we hope will be a timely heads-up on a couple of items set for tomorrow's Ogden Planning Commission agenda:
• 5:30 p.m. 3. Request to Amend Capital Improvement Plan, to allow construction of water tanks at 36th Street. (Attachment B) (Recommendation to:) City Council
• 6:00 p.m. 4. Conditional Use Permit/SA Review, for construction of a five-million gallon water tank at approximately 1800 E. 36th Street. (Recommendation to:) Final Action
As our regular readers are aware, as part of the City Council's
Water Horizons project, our city council had originally approved the construction of a water tank at the top of 46th St, and pumping stations along the east bench. Early in the spring however, the council learned that its carefully crafted plan had suffered some characteristic Godfrey mission creep, and that Boss Godfrey was busily (and quietly) engaged in preparing to install $5-6 million water tanks at the top of 36th street instead. After some council-administration wrangling, (and a referral to city attorney Gary Williams), Mr. Williams advised that there was enough difference in what the Council had planned and approved, and what Godfrey was doing, that the matter needed to go to the Planning Commission for the issuance of a new conditional use permit (and a subsequent Council amendment of the city's Capital Improvement Plan.) Thus this matter is once again set for tomorrow's Commission agenda for "final action," after being continued from an earlier 6/17/09 commission hearing.

Early in the course of the development of this story, Boss Godfrey offered the excuse that there had merely been some unfortunate clerical confusion, and that the Council's approval of the tank at the top of 46th street had resulted from a typographical error, in a circumstance where the 46th street designation had been inadvertently substituted for an intended reference to 36th Street. Godfrey asserts that he didn't intend to misinform the Council, in other words.

Whether that's true we do not know. However, thanks to The Standard-Examiner, we do have some interesting new information. According to
Ace Reporter's Schwebke's 6/29/09 (yesterday) story, the construction of the tanks at 36th street are "justified" by new engineering reports, and other circumstantial factors which would make a top of 36th street location a more favorable choice. That's what Godfrey's mouthpieces are telling us, at least.

As for the content of those new reports, we all remain in limbo. During our
most recent discussion of this matter, there were at least three reports sitting on Gary Williams's desk, awaiting his review, in connection with Dan Schroeder's pending GRAMA request.

Whether Dan is now in receipt of these documents we do not know. Hopefully he'll be able to provide electronic copies for display here on WCF however, in advance of the Commission's Wednesday evening hearing.

Of course we
already know the real reason Boss Godfrey prefers the 36th Street location.

That's it for now, gentle readers. We hope at least a few of you will put tomorrow's Commission session on your calenders, even though we lumpencitizens (yeah, the ones who pay all Godfrey's bills) will walk into tomorrows meeting (hopefully with steely eyes and torches/pitchforks in hand,) essentially blind to the necessary and relevant"report" information.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Important Marshall White Center Public Hearing Suddenly On Calendar This Morning

ATTENTION -- All Marshall White Center supporters!
Post Meeting Update: Matthew Godfrey: "Man of the People."

By Brett

Mayor Godfrey will be holding a "Mayor's Administrative Review Meeting" (MARM) this morning, 10:00 AM, in the "9th Floor Conference Room," Municipal Bldg., 2549 Washington Blvd.

The agenda includes: "Public hearing for the consideration of approving and ratifying of the Management Agreement and 2nd Amendment to Lease Agreement for the Marshall White Center building facility and immediately adjacent parking and yard area at 222 28th St."

We would remind Godfrey that the "Management Agreement and 2nd Amendment to Lease Agreement" does not comply with Ogden City policy, and therefore is illegal.

We have more news for Godfrey: The agreement and 2nd Amendment need to be ratified by the Council -- not him.

Is he just testing the Council? This meeting has the potential of being very interesting.

Remember this is a "public hearing" and everyone is invited! It will be interesting to see how he handles the crowd. Mr. Craig Hall, Attorney for the Council, tried to tell Godfrey that his conference room is not appropriate for this public hearing.

We all should be there so that if Godfrey takes the Council to court, this hopelessly late-scheduled "public hearing" will be another point against him.

Update 6/30/09 7:30 a.m. MT: This morning's Standard Examiner carries a Scott Schwebke story, confirming that Boss Godfrey continues to "stay the course" in his effort to turn the MWC over to OWCAP, notwithstanding the formidable public turnout of protesting MWC advocates at yesterday's Administrative Review Meeting, and despite continuing uncertainty about the future of the pool operation:
OWCAP will get center; pool still in limbo
Matthew Godfrey: "Man of the People." The looming Administration-Council showdown reels forward unabated.

SL Trib: For Sale: Utah lawmakers

Why hire a lobbyist when you can buy direct?

By Curmudgeon

The SL Trib just put up an interesting editorial headlined "Lawmakers for Sale." Here's the lede:
"For Sale: Utah lawmakers. Why hire a lobbyist when you can buy direct? Your generous campaign contributions will purchase access, referrals, intervention, votes and legislation."
We made up that ad. State office holders aren't quite that blatant. In fact, they'd tell you they can't be bought. But, due to the state's lack of caps on campaign contributions, and lawmakers' reluctance to put reasonable limits in place, that's the message they send.
And from further along in the piece:
And Utah candidates are raking in the property, with the big bucks coming in big chunks, primarily from corporations and political action committees. Five-figure donations are common.
It wouldn't happen in most states. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Utah is one of just six states that allow unlimited campaign contributions to candidates for state offices. And it's one of just 13 states that place no limits on donations to political parties and political action committees.
The whole editorial is well worth a read.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"PureHeart" Patterson Indicts Himself... AND the Godfrey Administration

These are not honorable people

By Curmudgeon

There is a remarkable op-ed piece in this morning's Standard Examiner. It is by John "Our Hearts Are Pure" Patterson, Mayor Godfrey's Chief Administrative Officer. It is largely an attack --- a public attack --- on Councilman Garcia , denying that the Administration has engaged in public attacks on "Jesse." [Throughout the piece, Mr. Patterson refers to Councilman Garcia dismissively as "Jesse."]

The main thrust of Mr. Patterson's public attack relates to several gang control ordinances the Administration wanted passed some years ago, during the period Councilman Garcia was head of the Council. Mr. Patterson complains that the Council did not adopt the ordinances rapidly enough. Here's what happened next, according to Mr. Patterson:
A frustrated police official raised the repeated concern about the lack of progress on the ordinances and suggested it was because Jesse had a gang-involved son. I passed that on to Councilman Brandon Stephenson, who confronted Jesse in a May 14, 2007, e-mail. Within eight weeks, after seven months of waiting for Jesse to place them on an agenda, the ordinances were passed.
So, because the Council was taking more time to examine the proposed ordinances than the Administration liked, Mr. Patterson passed on a rumor involving a family member of Mr. Garcia from an un-named "police official" to the Godfrey administration's most compliant shill on the Council, Mr. Stephenson, who then obediently "confronted" Councilman Garcia with the anonymous rumor, and... and what? Hinted that if he didn't move the ordinances to adoption, and damn fast, the anonymous rumor would be revealed? What other possible purpose could there have been to Mr. Stephenson "confronting" Mr. Garcia with Patterson's anonymous rumor?

Two months later --- not two weeks, but two months --- the Council adopted the substance of the gang control ordinances. Mr. Patterson seems fact proud of his whispering the anonymous rumor into the compliant ear of Councilman Stephenson, and offers his passing it on to Mr. Stephenson on the sly as proof that there was no "public" attack on Councilman Garcia.

An anonymous rumor involving a family member of the Council head, slipped quietly to the Administration's most spineless lackey on the Council hoping to move ordinances to adoption more quickly: that's what the Mayor's CAO did. And he's proud of having done it.

Proud.

"Pureheart" Patterson has indeed indicted someone by his SE op-ed piece this morning: himself and the Administration he works for.

These are not honorable people.

Yesterday's Emerald City News Today

Tell us it ain't true, Virginia: The ever-financially tight-fisted Boss Godfrey uncovers possible "double dipping" in Emerald City?

Fascinating story in yesterday's Standard-Examiner. The ever-financially tight-fisted Boss Godfrey alleges that somebody at The Marshal White Center may have been "double dipping." Read the troubling details here:
Did Ogden employee double dip at center?
The story is still young enough that nobody's naming names yet, but we found these Ace Reporter Schwebke paragraphs to be highly illuminating:
"You can't work the same hours and get paid by two organizations," he [Godfrey] said.
John Patterson, the city's chief administrative officer, said the double payment had been going on since September.
The city's personnel policy prohibits employees on the clock from moonlighting for another organization. "Employees may not receive any income or material gain from others outside the city for materials produced or services rendered while performing their jobs with the city," the policy states.
(Okay, we know you've probably already guessed where we're going with this.)

What about Ogden Police Chief/State Senator Greiner? As our six-figure salary-compensated police chief, he's supposed to be available to do his job 24/7, No? He's supposed to be constantly "on the clock," isn't he? Yet as everyone knows, he spends at least 45 days per year lolling around the state legislature, and probably at least an equal amount of time attending committee meetings and caucuses when the legislature is out of session, even while drawing his full Ogden City salary. So will Mr. Schwebke soon be reporting that Boss Godfrey is cracking down on Chief Greiner... for his own "double dipping?" It seems to us that what's good for the goose is also appropriate for the gander.

And what about our newly appointed Community & Economic Development Director Scott Waterfall? Has he continued to draw his own Ogden City six-figure salary while still simultaneously working in his highly lucrative law practice? Strangely, nobody seems to have seen either hide or hair of him since his appointment in October. Has he resigned from his law firm and closed up his law practice? Is he busting his butt behind the scenes serving Ogden City alone? Or is this another egregious example of double dipping?

And please don't tell us that these anti-double dipping rules only apply to the "little people."

We'll add that we''re sorry to be tardy in highlighting yesterday's Std-Ex article; but we'll also note in passing that we believe we were unfairly criticized in the Std-Ex comments section yesterday, for failing to promptly highlight this most troubling double dipping story.

For the record, we've had the audacity to take most of the weekend off, as we often do (whether anyone notices it or not.)

And to be slightly more specific... let's just say that we've been "hiking the Appalachian Trail," and leave it at that. Okay? [Grin].

Have at it, O Gentle Ones.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Ogden City Run-Around

One citizen’s efforts to become informed by reading reports that he paid for

by Dan Schroeder

I sometimes get the feeling that there are two different Ogden City Administrations. Most of the administrative staff are great people who will go out of their way to help when you have a question. But as soon as news of your inquiry reaches a sufficiently high level, the door slams shut and they do everything they can to stonewall.

Case in point: I’m currently trying to learn more about the proposed water tanks on Ogden’s southeast bench, so I can provide informed comments to the Planning Commission and perhaps help others do the same. Until this month, I’ve had no trouble getting relevant information on this issue from city staff--especially from Craig Frisbee, the head of the Water Department.

Now the situation has changed completely, as you’ll see from this chronology of my experiences...

Wednesday, June 3:
At its evening meeting, the Planning Commission tables a motion to grant a conditional use permit for the proposed 5 million gallon water tank at the top of 36th Street. (I was unable to attend this meeting and didn’t learn until that morning that this item would be on the agenda.)

Thursday, June 4:
I call the Planning Department and request a copy of the staff report on the water tank proposal; they email it to me immediately.

Friday, June 5:
Blogmeister Rudi does a little research and discovers that there was a 2005 report on the city’s water system prepared by Sunrise Engineering. This report would undoubtedly shed light on the purpose and need for any new water tanks on the east bench.

Tuesday, June 9 (approximately):
I call Craig Frisbee and leave a message asking to see the Sunrise Engineering report. He returns my call promptly, and says he’ll have to look for the report and will get back to me in a day or two.

Tuesday, June 16:
After hearing nothing for about a week I call Craig Frisbee again, and leave a message asking about the Sunrise report.

Wednesday, June 17:
The Planning Commission holds a work session to discuss the water tank proposal. A copy of the executive summary of the Sunrise Engineering report is included in their agenda packets, and I obtain a copy from the Planning staff. At the meeting, City Engineer Justin Anderson attempts to answer questions about the 5 million gallon tank and the smaller, higher tank that is also proposed.

Thursday, June 18:
Craig Frisbee finally calls me back, saying he doesn’t have the Sunrise report and that I’ll have to talk to Justin Anderson.

Friday, June 19:
I reach Justin Anderson by phone and ask to see the Sunrise Engineering report and any other consultants’ reports that will shed light on some the things he said at the work session. He describes another engineering report (by Bowen and Collins) that I would probably want to see, but explains that he is not permitted to show me either of these reports unless I first file a formal GRAMA request with the city. I immediately draft the GRAMA request and file it with the City Recorder’s office that afternoon, leaving a copy in Anderson’s mailbox.

Monday, June 23:
In response to my GRAMA request, Anderson provides the City Recorder’s office with copies of the Sunrise report, the Bowen and Collins report, and a third report that may also be relevant.

Friday, June 26:
City Recorder Cindi Mansell informs me that the three reports are under review by the City Attorney’s office, and that the soonest I might get to see them would be Monday, June 29.

So here it is, the weekend before the Planning Commission will decide this matter, and I still don’t have the information I need to write my comments.

Of course, this example pales in comparison to the Sierra Club’s attempts to obtain city records related to the gondola proposal. We’re now two years into that process, and still a long way from settling the matter. In a few days, though, I hope to have a bit more news to report.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thinking of Running For City Council Office?

Four Emerald City Council seats open; filing period begins Wednesday, July 1

Here's a quick heads-up for those readers who may be thinking of throwing their hats into the ring for the 2009 Emerald City Council races. Filing for the four council seats which are up for grabs this go-round begins this coming Wednesday, July 1, 2009, and closes at 5 p.m. on July 15th. You can check out the city website for additional details:
Four Council Seats Open in Upcoming Election
For a quick overview of the whole process, from the initial filing for office to the ultimate demands of service once a candidate is elected to office, the Deseret News carries an informative article this morning, which even includes some savvy quotes from Emerald City's own four-term council veteran Jesse Garcia:
Want to run for office?
And for any prospective candidate who might be dissuaded from running for office, for lack of insider knowledge about running a local political campaign, we invite you to check out the book that's been listed during the past couple of weeks under our Amazon.Com ads module in the left sidebar:
"How to Run for Local Office"
Your blogmeister has campaign managed three successful local government campaigns in the past, and served as an advisor in dozens more. If your blogmeister had written a campaign manager's primer based on his own experience, it would have looked a heckuva lot like this one. The vast and detailed "nuts and bolts" information contained in this book, if conscientiously studied and applied, will allow any political newcomer to come off the starting line with confidence, looking like a relative pro; and we thus recommend this "how to manual" with our strongest endorsement.

That's it for now, O' Gentle Ones.

Reader comments are invited, as always.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Morning Emerald City News Roundup

2009 City Council election preview; Ogden scores $ 1 Mil for the Ogden River Project

We'll highlight two news stories from the Standard Examiner this morning, both of which relate to topics regularly discussed here at Weber County Forum:

First, Ace Reporter Schwebke provides us partial preview of the upcoming 2009 council race, and pins down the present intentions of the four council incumbents whose terms will expire at the end of the year:
• Jesse Garcia - Intends to run for another term
• Doug Stephens - Intends to run for another term
• Dorrene Jaske - Undecided
• Blain Johnson - Undecided
Of the two undecideds, it seems to us that Johnson would be the most vulnerable to being knocked off, in the event he decides to make another run, for at least a couple of reasons.

First problem: The FNURE/Envision Ogden scandal. While Gary Williams refuses to prosecute, and Johnson is still playing it "cute," you'd better believe this as yet unresolved issue will be a heavy political burden for Mr. Johnson to bear during the short 2009 municipal election sprint.

Second problem: Johnson's dismal council meeting/work session attendance record. When Johnson was sworn in as our At-large seat "A" council member in January of 2008, we asked how a busy young practicing lawyer could manage to fulfill the duties of an Ogden City council member, in what amounts to a full-time job. The answer of course: he can't. In fairness to his Ogden constituents, (and to his own clients,) we thus call upon Mr. Johnson to step aside, and make room for another candidate with the time and energy necessary to properly fill the very demanding council role. In the event he does choose to run, he can well expect to be hammered hard on these issues, and in our view, his prospects for re-election don't look so hot.

As for Councilwoman Jeske, we're hoping she'll make the decision to run again, assuming her doctor gives her the green light. She's been a voice of council prudence and reason over the past 3-1/2 years, and a keystone for our current council of "grownups." If she runs, she'll win, wethink.

In other news, Mr. Schwebke reports this morning that Ogden City has made a significant "score," with yesterday's approval of a $1 million Water Quality Board grant, earmarked for the rehabilitation of a polluted mile long downtown section of the Ogden River.

Great news for Ogden wethinks.

It will be up to our city council of grownups, of course, to make sure that this money isn't blithely frittered away on some other "visionary" Godfrey project.

That's it for now, Folks.

Who will be the first to comment?

Update 6/25/09 8:50 a.m. MT: Be sure to also check out Dan's #1 comment in the lower comments section. He's highlighted several more morning news stories, and added significant new material to broaden this morning's discussion.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Powder Mountain Update: The Standard-Examiner Calls Upon The Legislature To Fix Its Powder Mountain Blunder

An admittedly iffy proposition with two Republican dominated state houses
Memo to the Legislature: Will you please summon the courage to fix this mess in 2010! If there's to be a town in Powder Mountain, all residents need to have a say. Developers should not play an inordinately large role in creating it and hand-picking who runs it. That's common sense.

Standard-Examiner Editorial
OUR VIEW: Powder Town saga continues
June 24, 2009


Strong editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, calling upon the State Legislature to fix the Powder Mountain mess that it foolishly created in 2007, cravenly ignored in 2008 and treated with malignant neglect in 2009:
OUR VIEW: Powder Town saga continues
The slapstick Three Stooges style spectacle of the legislative and judicial branches of Utah government passing the problem back and forth between themselves, without any one of them accepting responsibility for fixing this government-caused blunder, would be downright hilarious if it were happening elsewhere, and not in our own Weber County community, we suppose.

A Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to Doug Gibson and the Std-Ex editorial board for this morning's fine and hard-hitting editorial. The question which remains, of course, is whether anyone in the legislature is listening.

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quick Reminder: Ogden Raptors' Home Opener Set for Tonight

Gobs of entertainment bang for the buck

Quick reminder for Ogden area baseball fans. The Ogden Raptors' home opener is set for tonight at the sweetest little downtown ballpark in the land, Lindquist Field. Just to whet your baseball appetites, we'll shine the spotlight on this morning's Standard-Examiner's Digital (paid) Edition 2009 season preview, along with today's Std-Ex "Live" website profile of the Raptors' new manager, Damon Berryhill (don't forget to click on the excellent embedded slide show). For the full team roster, season schedule and other useful info, check out the Ogden Raptors' website.

For those readers who've never attended an Ogden Raptors' game, we'll just say the Raptors provide gobs of entertainment bang for the buck. Seasoned Raptors fans of course already know what's up.

We'll add that it appears that tonight's weather will cooperate for a comfortable night in the ballpark, and that there seems to be nothing pressing in the way of competition on tonight's boring city council agenda [yawn].

So there you have it folks. Let's hear no excuses. We hope at least a few of your will make it over to the ballpark, to support the home town team, which draws more people into downtown Ogden for a typical single game night, than Boss Godfrey's Salomon Center attracts in a week.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chief/Senator Greiner's Hatch Act Hearing is Postponed

With luck, we'll see a final resolution of this matter, sometime prior to the expiration of Greiner's first Senate term of office

Last Thurday, gentle reader blackrulon posed this compound question in one of our lower comments sections: "... [W]hat is the status of police chief Greiner and the conflict in having both a state senator position and the chief of police job? When can we expect a ruling?"

We don't know whether Mr. Schwebke has been reading the blog for good reportorial ideas, but he's nevertheless johnny on the spot with a Greiner Hatch Act dispute update this morning, in which he reports that Chief Greiner's federal Merit System Protection Board Hatch Act violation hearing, originally set for this month, has been continued to October 20, 2009:
Ogden PD Chief hearing postponed / Jon Greiner could go before an administrative law judge in October
Reading between the lines, it's apparent that the federal Office of Special Council will be filing a motion for summary judgment sometime in advance of the newly set October evidentiary hearing, to test whether Chief Greiner's quite innovative "Perkins defense", (which would theoretically insulate Chief Greiner from federal Hatch Act jurisdiction as a matter of law, by vesting sole federal grant funds approval and administration authority in Ogden CAO John Patterson and Assistant Chief Wayne Tarwater respectively) ... holds water.

With luck, we'll see a final answer to blackrulon's latter above question, sometime prior to the expiration of Greiner's first Senate term of office (January 2011).

Comments, anyone?

Update 6/22/09 11:07 a.m. MT: KSL News is covering this story too:
Hearing on Ogden police chief's candidacy delayed
Don't neglect to check out the many"interesting" KSL reader comments.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Morning Emerald City News Roundup

A few Standard-Examiner hits and misses on a slow news day

By Curmudgeon

Another slow news day, so maybe there'll be space to look at a few of the SE's Sunday Morning hits and misses.

1. Hit: The long and photo-rich stand-alone section on Hill AFB, past and present. Nice job. The SE free on-line site has a long intro article by Mr. Trentelman, but you'll have to spring for the print edition to read the many many other articles in the Hill AFB section. It's worth it.

2. Miss [a little one]: On p. 10 of the Hill section ["The Sky's The Limit"] there's a photo of a six engine B-36. The caption reads: "A B-36 Peacemaker sits at Hill AFB." Well, there is a word they use in the Air Force to describe what the B-36 is doing in that picture [look at the shadow on the ground beneath it.] It's a technical term, but I'm sure the SE could have found a retired flier to help them out. The term is called "flying." It's in the air, guys. Landing but still airborne. "Sits?"

3. Hit: front page article headlined: "Admiral: It's Fantastic Here --- Mountains Lure Veterans to Retire in Utah Sans Tax Breaks." Well worth a read, and it highlights something I've wondered about for years [and mentioned a time or two here]: why the devil isn't Ogden promoted as a prime -- and I do mean prime --- retirement area? There are people who dream of spending their retirement sweltering in places where the season barely changes and for whom shuffleboard is their idea of getting exercise. There is a place for such people. It's called Florida. But for those who like their seasons to come in fours, who are looking for reasonable housing costs, small city environment, big city amenities close by and scenery and outdoor activities year round that just cannot be beat? There's a place for such people. It's called Ogden, Utah. I'm all for promoting Ogden as an outdoor adventure base camp for visitors. But we're missing a beat not promoting it as well as a retirement mecca, I think. As the admiral in the story says, there are those mountains....

4. Miss: the SE ran today a letter to the editor by one George F. Fleming of Farr West. Here is how it begins:

"My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it. --- Barack Hussein Obama."

Mr. Fleming then goes off on a rambling attack on President Obama for having said that. Problem is, President Obama did not say that. The alleged quote was made up by a reporter satirizing both Obama and McCain as they campaigned, praising the US and calling for change in the speeches both gave. The quote then was picked up by right wing bloggers and talk show hosts, and attributed exclusively to President Obama. Snopes has the story here.

Recently, Mr. Trentelman has written on why blogs are not news sources as papers are, and one his reasons was that all sorts of false information gets onto blogs without anyone bothering to fact check. My my my. And here the SE prints a phony presidential quote without the slightest indication that it's not true. Evidently, no one on the editorial page staff bother to see if President Obama had in fact said what the letter quoted him as saying. [Doesn't anyone in the SE editorial offices know how to google something?] Nor did they ask Mr. Fleming to provide a source for the quote he insists is from President Obama --- before the paper printed it. Seems like some of the slipshod practices Mr. Trentelman finds in blogs have worked their way into the SE's offices as well. Not good.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Kickoff to Another Weekend Open Open Thread

Zero Red Meat News in Emerald City this weekend; so we'll just set up an open topic thread

Due to the dearth of Red Meat News in any of the still-surviving traditional (newsprint and ink) Northern Utah traditional print outlets, we've decided to set up an open topic thread, which is something we haven't done in quite a while. Here are a few items we found this morning, during hours of intense and news-hungry googling, just to kick off the discussion:

1) With all the rain in Ogden in what increasing seems to be developing into the the climate change version of the year the world had no summer, you kind-hearted souls who harbor young children and canine pets as part part of your families need to look out for toxic mushrooms. Protect your kids and pets. The weather has been unseasonably wet, which creates the ideal culture for poisonous mushrooms. Watch out! Young kids and pet canines will gobble them up, and possibly suffer fatal liver and kidney failure shortly thereafter.

2) The Standard-Examiner editorial board today basically argues that Ogden City should soak up every dime of Obama federal stimulus money that it can get. We completely agree with this. Of course Bill C. has already raised his own objections.

Perhaps the best solution will be for Ogden City to aggressively pursue these grants, under the careful supervision of the grownups on the Ogden City Council, of course.

3) The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Head Honchos of the UTA appeared yesterday before the US Congress, requesting that Congress should cut the red tape, and allow percipient projects, like Ogden's Streetcar Project to settle into a better and more intelligent"fast track."

We won't hold our breath as to whether any of this will mitigate Boss Godfrey' stalling tactics; but we do like the fast track idea.

Remember.. this is an open topic thread...

Don't let the cat get yer tongues....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ogden Council Expects Marshall White Center Budget Veto

Time for a little gentle Municipal Ward 3 lobbying?
It seems ridiculous that we should entertain the idea of closing the pool. I see it as devaluing city assets.

Amy Wicks, Ogden City Council Chair
Ogden's City Council funds community center; mayor hints he's not done fighting
June 19, 2009

He [Godfrey] doesn't want low-income people to survive in this community. He should be fighting for it, not trying to get rid of it.

Joyce Frye, MWC supporter
Ogden's City Council funds community center; mayor hints he's not done fighting
June 19, 2009


The Salt Lake Tribune has now (at long last) picked up on the Marshall White Center story, and reports in this morning's Chris Smart story that Ogden council leadership expects Boss Godfrey to exercise his line item veto power, to strike MWC funding from the FY2010 budget, along with the council's carefully crafted public policy statement. Curiously, this result would leave Marshall White in precisely the same predicament which Godfrey intended from the outset, zeroed out of the budget and left entirely unfunded.

At some point it would probably make sense for Councilman Doug Stephens's Municipal Ward 3 constituents to begin the lobbying process, as he would be the logical swing vote to enable the council to override Godfrey's expected veto. Doug has demonstrated in the past his receptiveness to citizen input; and there's no reason to believe the same would not be true in this case. It goes without saying that Boss Godfrey will be predictably putting on the full court press himself, of course. Nevertheless, Doug has also proven in the past that he's fair and independent, and far from susceptible to being "played" as a Godfrey pawn. Above all, we believe, Doug Stephens has a strong dedication to doing what's morally and ethically "right." Doug can be contacted via the info on this page:
Councilman Doug Stephens - Municipal Ward 3
It also goes without saying that any citizen contact should be decorous and logical ... (not that any of our gentle readers would ever behave any other way.) Doug is of course a no-nonsense guy, with an exceedingly low tolerance for rudeness and/or buffoonery.

If you do decide to contact Doug, be sure to include your true name, address and any other necessary contact information. That way Doug can be sure he's taking the pulse of the citizens whom he represents.

(And by the way... the developing reader discussion under the above-linked SLTrib article is becoming a mite lop-sided. Why not leave your own comments there, just to set the record straight?)

Have at it, O Gentle Ones.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ogden's #1 Drama Queen Doesn't Know What He'll Do Yet; But He Swears He'll Do Something Dramatic

"Council policy threatens the executive powers of the mayor's office," Boss Godfrey whines

By Jim Hutchins

The Standard-Examiner is reporting reporting this morning that Mayor Godfrey is threatening the council with either a veto or legal action.

Read these sections of the Utah Code and tell the S-E and this blog what you think. You're an adult. Don't just take the Mayor's or the Council's word. Read for yourself and make up your own mind:
Utah Code Section 10-3b-202
Utah Code Section 10-3b-203
Who will be the first to comment?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Live Blogging from the Emerald City Planning Commission

Read Dan Schroeder's real-time reporting on Boss Godfrey's attempt to gain planning commission approval for a new $5-6 million water tank at the top of 36th Street

Attention Gentle readers. Dan Schroeder is presently situated the Ogden City municipal building, notebook computer in hand, waiting for tonight's Ogden City Planning Commission work session to begin. On tonight's agenda is a discussion of the proposed 5 million gallon water tank above the top of 36th Street. He'll be live blogging tonight, reporting on the effort of Boss Godfrey to gain planning commission approval for the proposed new water tank at that location.

Powder Mountain Update: Powder Mountain Dispute Isn't Even Close to Being Over Yet

Judge Ernie Jones: "It's not going to matter what my ruling is. It's probably headed to the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals."

The Standard-Examiner carries an excellent story this morning regarding yesterday's Powder Mountain court hearing. According to Di Lewis's morning report, the Powderville citizens' post-hearing legal posture is nowhere near so bleak as we earlier presumed.

Rather than simply ruling against the Powderville citizens and the Weber County Commission outright, Ms. Lewis reports that Judge Jones has seemingly thrown the problem right back in the Commission's lap, with an oral ruling from the bench that the Commission still retains discretion in the matter of preparing an initial Powderville Mayor/Council candidates list. From this morning's Std-Ex story:
While Jones said the commission does have some authority to create the list of candidates, he also said the list must be approved by the developers. The developers are still able to strike names from a commission list if they have a legitimate reason, Jones said, but did not specify what qualifies as a legitimate reason.
And we found this passage, also quoting presiding Judge Ernie Jones, to be particularly revealing:
Jones said he understands the importance of the decision, but issued his opinion Tuesday because he expects the case to be appealed.
"It's not going to matter what my ruling is. It's probably headed to the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals," Jones said.
We believe Judge Jones is probably right about this. In their current current post-hearing legal postures, neither petiitioners nor respondants will be satisfied with the interim result. All parties to the proceeding reportedly suffered at least a partial defeat. Assuming the accuracy of Ms. Lewis's report, (and barring any possible voluntary compromises between the parties,) it's likely that all litigants in this proceeding will be headed to the appellate courts, once Judge Jones's formal written decision is issued within the next couple of weeks.

We'll keep our eyes peeled. As soon as Judge Jones's written decision is made publicly available, we'll be sure to post it here.

For those who are still looking for a quick resolution to this ridiculously attenuated brouhaha, we'll offer this simple advice:
"Don't hold your breath; this matter isn't even close to being over yet."
Your savvy reader comments are invited... as always.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Council Approves FY2010 Budget With Specific Earmarks For the Marshall White Center and Lorin Farr Swimming Pools

Council Attorney: "Boss Godfrey is obligated to follow City Council policy."

By Bill C.

One very intriguing city council budget session at City Hall. Turned into a showdown; and this time the Council didn't even blink.

As we all know, the Marshall White Center was at the center of all this; and I must say the Council truly shined.

The budget portion opened with Bill Cook giving a presentation that clearly defined the roles of the Mayor and Council in our form of government, with emphasis on the the Council's duty to set City policy. He then explained that the Mayor is obligated to follow all City policy, by statute. Since the budget is an ordinance, the Council included a clear statement of City policy with regards to the funding of the Marshall White Center, including intentions of providing a pool as well as all current levels of service.

As the discussion progressed, the mayor began to filibuster. This included of course his usual assault on Jesse with his claim that the Council had been informed all along the way, for about 20 minutes. Finally Amy impressed on him that in order to get anywhere they must move on. After a couple more interruptions by the mayor the discussion progressed. When the mayor next interrupted, he again made threats and warnings that the Council was heading for a train wreck.

Finally, when the discussion was clearly focused on the legality of what was being discussed, the Council's own lawyer, Craig Hall, came to the podium. Not only did he explain the law regarding the Council's proposed action, he questioned the legality of how the mayor conducted this contract, pointed out how the mayor didn't follow proper procedure and that the city attorney Buck Froerer made mistakes with the contract. Gary Williams couldn't counter, so he proceeded to ask for an opinion on the hypothetical assumption that had everything been done properly, and due to the fact that the contract had already been signed, what takes precedent. "Policy," said the council's attorney... "the mayor is obligated to follow City Council policy."

After more discussion, in which Brandon Stevenson made a complete lackey of himself, the Council voted on the amendment which earmarked full funding to the MWC for the fiscal year 2010. The amendment passed.

For good measure, Caitlin offered another amendment along the same lines for the Lorin Farr pool, also earmarking funds as a matter of policy... it also passed.

You can be very proud of your Council tonight folks.

Two other things of note: Gary Neilson (Golds Gym) spoke about how the city should not compete with the private sector when it come to non essential services. Funny he never offered to extend a deal at a reduced rate to the affected seniors or poor that make up a significant portion of the clientele of the MWC.

And last but not least, I rather doubt Schwebke will mention that the mayor included in his threats, on more than one occasion, how much this will "cost the residents" if the Council goes through with this.

In his narcissistic, egocentric and petulant state of being, he went after the people of Ogden. They'll pay for this, he said.

Sweet.

Update 6/17/09 7:15 a.m. MT: Don't miss Scott Schwebke's own post-meeting writeup over on the Std-Ex live website, which gentle reader WACWB linked in the lower comments section during the wee hours:
Godfrey: Council on collision course / OWCAP to manage Marshall White, to receive $337,450 from Ogden
All in all, we believe that Mr. Schwebke did a pretty good good job of laying out the facts and capturing Boss Godfrey's anger and angst, now that the council has drawn a firm line in the Emerald City political sand. Once again we hope our readers will also mosey on over there to lodge a few savvy remarks.

Update 6/17/09 9:27 a.m. MT: The Deseret News is following this story too:
Ogden Council fully funds Marshall White Community Center, expects veto
Have at it, O Gentle Ones...

Powder Mountain Update: 2d District Court Judge Jones Rules In Favor of Fascist Tyranny

Breaking: Surprise of Surprises: Ex Powder Mountain ski patroller judge (and frequent PM skier) kisses up to his old boss (and his apparent current favorite ski area operator)

We just received this email from one of the Powderville citizen litigants re today's Powder Mountain Court hearing:
If you guys haven’t heard already, we lost the case. Judge Jones ruled for the developers.
That's it for now, folks. That's all the information we have, at this point at least.

Consider yourselves the first of the Utah general public to be "in the know."

Proposed new state motto: "Utah...the top-most bastion for U.S. corporo-fascism" (corporate welfare.)

We'll follow up with more information when it's available.

Feel free however... to blow off any pent up steam right here.

The world-wide blogosphere is sitting on the edge of its seat, watching developments in this story. (Believe us - our web stats software reveals that this story is being closely followed all across the big blue bulb):


Don't be shy, Gentle Readers. Let us know what you're thinking is on this topic.

Update 6/17/09 11:14 a.m. MT: Readers who've been referred to this article from the Ogden Valley Forum blogsite should be sure to read today's new WCF article, which provides some useful (and possibly encouraging) new information:
Powder Mountain Update: Powder Mountain Dispute Isn't Even Close to Being Over Yet
Have at it OVF readers.

OWCAP Curtly Rejects the City Council's Management Agreement Modification Overtures

Query: Did Councilwoman Wicks and Council Director Cook secretly elope last week?

Well... three days have elapsed since our last Marshall White/FY 2010 update, and according to this morning's Scott Schwebke story, there have been no buzzer-beating breakthroughs or compromises. Negotiations apparently remain at an impasse. Nobody has evidently been successful in pulling that rabbit out of their hat.

Although Mr. Schwebke reports that Council Chair Wicks took the initiative, and transmitted a letter to OWCAP, respectfully requesting an amendment to the Godfrey/OWCAP management agreement/lease, to provide continuing pool operations beyond January, 2010, OWCAP Chairman George Garwood responded with the diplomatical equivalent of "Go to Hell!" (...or worse.)

Adding insult to injury, we invite our readers to Ms. Wicks' letter and Chairman Garwood's curt response, wherein his rude two paragraph slap-down is addressed not to Council Chair "Amy Wicks," but rather to to somebody named "Amy Cook." (Perhaps it's possible that Councilwoman Wicks and Council Director Bill Cook eloped last week, although we don't believe this is a real possibility... inasmuch as Mr. Cook has one wife already.)

Although we don't want to make a big deal out of this probable clerical error, we do believe this Garwood gaffe provides a helpful glimpse into George Garwood's administrative sloppiness, which can't possibly bode well for his organization's future management of the Marshall White Center.

And back in his city hall ninth floor throne room, Boss Godfrey is reportedly gloating at the mischief he's made, wherein the council has been successfully painted into a corner, and now seems to be leaning toward funding the MWC for the full 2010 fiscal year. A big spender like Godfrey of course can't conceive of any reason the council might want to provide an economic cushion for the fledgling MWC new management, as it embarks upon MWC operations in an admittedly underfunded present condition, with $3.2 million "hoped for grants" remaining yet unfulfilled.

The Council meets tonight to approve the city's final FY2010 budget. In this connection, we invite anyone who might attend tonight's meeting to provide us a report of tonight's results, via the lower comments section.

Speaking of reader comments... the floor's open.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Powder Mountain Update: Powderville Oral Arguments Set for Tomorrow A.M.

Breaking: The Powderville litigants face off for their first courtroom slugfest

Breaking news in the heretofore languishing Powderville lawsuit. Late this morning we received a reader email, suddenly informing us that the matter has been set for oral argument tomorrow morning, before the Honorable Ernie Jones, the 2d District Court Judge who's presiding over the case. We incorporate the full text of this missive below:
The Powder Mountain town incorporation court hearing is tomorrow morning at 9 am in Judge Ernie Jones' courtroom at the Second District Court.
For your convenience, copies of the briefs from all sides that have circulated in this case are attached. They make some interesting reading (if you have a free afternoon). Of particular interest is the shortest, Weber County's 2-page brief from 5/18/2009.
FYI, at the hearing tomorrow there will be no witnesses and no testimony. This will all be legal arguments by the attorneys.
Judge Jones disclosed that he was on the Powder Mountain Ski Patrol for 20 years, but has been off of that for the last 10 years. He does ski at P.M. often. He indicated that he did not recognize any of the names of the petition sponsors or citizen plaintiffs. The citizens are pleased to have the case heard by a judge who is familiar with the area and topography.
Well over half of the voters in the proposed town remain opposed to the incorporation.
See you tomorrow!
As an added bonus, our alert reader has indeed sent us a selection of pleadings and legal memoranda, which will presumably serve as the basis for argument during tomorrow's hearing. We accordingly link them here, in chronological order (for lack of a more logical arrangement):
Powder Mountain Briefs for 6/16/09 Oral Argument
Unfortunately, we did not receive copies of all the parties' initial pleadings (Petitions, Responses and any possible Preliminary Motions), but for those who are willing to plow through the legalese contained in the above court papers, we believe these memoranda and briefs will provide enough information to allow savvy readers to get the drift on the legal issues involved in this matter.

Comments are invited as always... and we do hope that at least a few of our readers will take up our gentle reader's invitation, and make it down to the courthouse tomorrow morning to witness The Big Show. It isn't every day that we have the opportunity to see Evil Tyranny slug it out with Righteous God-given American Liberty, in a lowly Ogden City-situated court. It's another round in an old-fashioned American battle that's going on between political good and evil, of course, since the time of OUR NATION'S FOUNDING, people. And it's happening right here, in our own back yard.

Update 6/15/09 3:15 p.m. MT: Be sure to check out Valley's most excellent Ogden Valley Forum article on this subject too.

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

Update 6/15/09 6:50 p,m. MT: For those readers carefully following this story, Ogden Valley Forum also provides this helpful Powder Mountain fiasco timeline.

Get outta your shells, people. What happens in Ogden Valley directly affects those of us in the relative bench-front "flatlands" too.

Where do Ogdenites prefer to recreate? The Godfrey family chicken farm in Harrisville? From what source do you get your culinary water?

Gimme a break!

Time to Rethink the City's Ogden River Project Grant Application

The hoped for $4 million proposed grant is not representative of a genuine effort to restore the river at all; its priority and guiding design is to accommodate someone's personal development project

By Bill C.

Since it seems to be another slow news day, allow me to digress.

If it were up to me, I would withdraw the grant application for the river restoration project. I would also charge the mayor with misappropriation of funds for the study done by the firm in Colorado. Why?

This grant is not representative of a genuine effort to restore the river at all; its priority and guiding design is to accommodate someone's personal development project. (We thought it was Gadi Leshem's, but he has since declared it not to be).

You may recall when Bobby Kennedy was hoodwinked and used at the American Can building, that we were told this was Gadi's effort, his development and his restoration firm. The presentation showed the restored river with condos and apartment buildings, as well as retail all crowded along it's banks. The design and presentation even went so far as to give the impression that Gadi owned and controlled the river itself, designated public fishing areas and a water feature that could be used for a small fee.

This grant and the study are in no way the byproduct of any effort towards the public good, but represent the interests of a private entity trying to get public money to fund their effort.

Knowing the properties will be scraped clear of all existing structures, I suggest the City Council commission a real study of a true restoration( all natural), with only the river itself in mind. The purpose to be to actually restore the river to it's pre-channelled natural healthy state. Then prepare a new grant application based on that with an ordinance that will insure no future encroachment from development.

This should in no way impede the progress of any future river development project, it only places the river's well being as the priority.

The way this thing has turned out seems very similar to how the mayor tried to twist transportation around in an effort to put $250,000 of public money into Chris Peterson's hands.

It's wrong and it's not too late to correct it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Councilman Garcia: Council Not Told City Wouldn’t Fund Marshall White Center - UPDATED

Kindly Councilman Garcia duels it out with Lord Torquemada
My purpose on Tuesday was to let the city council and the community know that Councilman Garcia has not been honest. For some reason he is trying to "play both sides" by being publicly outraged while privately supportive. It is not right or ethical for an elected official to play these kinds of games. In the past, we have sat quietly while this kind of thing transpires. We have now decided that we have a responsibility to the public to let them know when these kinds of things are taking place. I will face the wrath of some of the city council members for exposing this kind of behavior but the people of Ogden deserve to know the truth.

Mayor Matthew Godfrey
Garcia playing both sides of the Marshall White Center issue
June 6, 2009

My position on the involvement of the Ogden Weber Community Action Partnership (OWCAP) with the Marshall White Center has been repeated and consistent: I am supportive in concept, but my support has always been contingent on funding for the services provided at the center.
If funding from the city and other grant sources was to be in place, I committed to express my support to the rest of the council, but I would never promise to “ensure...other council members are persuaded” to give their support.
This administration knows full well that my attendance at private meetings does not constitute notification to the city council at large. [...]
In this case, I was never told that the administration had no intention of providing any funding for the center. That came as a complete surprise and obviously affected my view of the future success of the management of the center by OWCAP.
It was not me, but rather the administration that kept the council and the public out of the process. The council didn’t even receive a draft of the agreement until nine days ago.

Councilman Jesse Garcia
Council not told city wouldn’t fund Marshall White Center
June 14, 2009


On June 6, 2009, the Standard-Examiner provided Boss Godfrey his own private editorial page soapbox, where he inelegantly regurgitated this odoriferous and petty screed. Fair is fair; and this morning's Std-Ex carries Councilman Garcia's firm but gentlemanly retort:
Council not told city wouldn’t fund Marshall White Center...
Or...
Kindly Councilman Garcia duels it out with Lord Torquemada.
A more striking contrast in style and demeanor would be difficult to imagine. Notably, Garcia never actually comes out and says what the rest of us know to be true: Godfrey is a liar.

Who will be the first to comment?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ogden's Rising Utility Rates

One geek's analysis, with a constructive suggestion at the end

by Dan Schroeder

On June 2, 2009, the Ogden City Council voted to raise sewer rates by another $3.92 per month. Being a numbers guy, I took this opportunity to try to put this increase into context and help everyone understand whether or not our utility rates are too high.

First I dug up my own file of utility bills, going back to when I bought my house a little over ten years ago. I added up the bills for each calendar year, adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, and plotted it as a bar graph:


So, for example, my total city utility bill (water, sewer, storm water, and refuse) increased by 50%, over and above inflation, between 1999 and 2008. Much of that overall increase came from a sharp increase in sewer rates that began in 2006 and has continued each year since then. The graph doesn't yet show the newly approved sewer rate increase, which will add another 8% (compounded) to the total.

I should explain that my utility rates are about as low as they can be for an Ogden homeowner. I use very little water (usually less than 1000 gallons per month), and I've opted for the smaller, cheaper, trash barrel. For sewer and storm water I pay the same flat rate as nearly everyone else. (Ogden's utility rate schedule is linked here.)

On the graph I've also included my property tax payments to Ogden City, which have increased a little faster than inflation over this time period. Notice that the city has always collected more from me in utility payments than in property taxes--and the relative share from utility payments is growing.

Mayor Godfrey periodically brags that he has lowered Ogden's property taxes since he took office in 2000. Perhaps that's true in some abstract mathematical sense, but it's simply a fact that my property tax has increased by 11%, above inflation, since 1999. In any case, unless you live in a very expensive home while using relatively little water, any change in your Ogden City property tax has been small compared to the increase in your city utility bills.

After I presented these facts to the city council at its meeting on June 2, the mayor fired back. He said he found it "ironic" that an environmentalist such as I would complain about sewer rates when the cause of rising sewer rates is "outrageous" federal environmental laws that put stringent requirements on discharge of pollutants such as copper.

My initial response regarding copper discharge standards is printed in the news article linked above. The article also points out that the current rate increase is to fund a major increase in the sewage treatment plant's capacity--not to improve the quality of the discharged water. But one of the anonymous comments under that article mentioned utility rates in Salt Lake City. Time for more digging.

It's easy to look up Salt Lake City's rates for utilities and refuse collection. Based on these rate schedules, I determined that if I lived in Salt Lake City I would pay the following monthly amounts:

Water: $9.75
Sewer: $5.60
Storm water: $3.00
Refuse: $8.25
Total: $26.60

For comparison, my total monthly bill in Ogden is now a little over $51.00. In the graph above, the rightmost column shows my hypothetical Salt Lake City utility payments for 2008. I also looked up Salt Lake City's property tax rate, which is 6% higher than Ogden's, and included the hypothetical SLC property tax for a house of the same assessed value as mine. (You might object that my house would be worth more if it were located in a typical SLC neighborhood. True enough, but if we include that effect we should also factor in SLC's higher average wages, which enable people to pay higher housing prices...)

All four components of SLC's utility bills are lower (at least for a customer like me) than Ogden's. But the biggest difference by far is in the sewer rates: $5.60 compared to $18.49 (and rising). Why?

The explanation has nothing to do with onerous environmental regulations, as Mayor Godfrey would have us believe. Salt Lake City is subject to the same federal regulations as Ogden.

Part of the explanation may be that SLC's sewer system is run more efficiently, or that their customers aren't being forced to subsidize a major expansion to accommodate growth on the suburban fringe. Someone should look into these possibilities.

Much of the difference, however, is simply because Ogden charges a flat rate for being hooked into the sewer system, while Salt Lake's sewer rates are based on average winter-season water use. (They ignore summer use because irrigation water doesn't go into the sewer system.) So in Salt Lake, if you flush your toilet fewer times, you pay less on your sewer bill. This only seems fair. And for a customer like me who uses very little water, the benefit is substantial.

Unless you believe in socialism, there's no reason why Ogden shouldn't also adopt a sewer rate schedule that's based on winter water use. Besides being more fair, this would give everyone an incentive to use less water--and reduce the need for even more upgrades to our water and sewer systems in the future. I therefore suggest that the city council and administration begin working now to revise our sewer rates in this way.

Ogden City Attorneys: Ogden Residents Incapable of Rational Thought

Once again, our community suffers negative repercussions, due to the acts of a ham-handed mayor who has driven the citizenry to a condition of near civil war

By Monotreme

I would be interested in seeing some discussion of the legal argument regarding this morning's Tim Gurrister story:
Ogden residents kept from this jury?
The case concerns a wrongful death suit against Officer Matt Jones, who was at the center of the Vangate incident that WCF readers will remember from July 2006.

Editor's addendum: Once again, our community suffers repurcussions, due to the acts of a ham-handed mayor who has driven the Ogden citizenry to a condition of near civil war.

Friday, June 12, 2009

John Patterson: Boss Godfrey and Donald Carpenter Are Pure As The Driven Snow

Big decision for the city council coming up on Tuesday
I don't know what it's like to be black and I don't know what it's like to be Latino; but I do know what it's like to be fat and poor.

Kelly Farley, OWCAP board member
Godfrey, OWCAP defended for Marshall White plans
June 12, 2009

The motivations are pure and the hearts (of Godfrey and Donald Carpenter, who heads OWCAP) are pure;" they are only doing this because they want what is best for young people."

John "Pureheart" Patterson, Godfrey henchman
Godfrey, OWCAP defended for Marshall White plans
June 12, 2009


Just as Scott Schwebke promised in last night's real-time tweetfest, this morning's Standard-Examiner carries a recap of last night's city council public hearing. Although Mr. Schwebke reports that a parade of residents (we're guessing the event drew a packed house) "questioned the management agreement and requested that the contract be amended to guarantee that the pool stays open," the chief architects of this fiasco, Boss Godfrey and Donald Carpenter, were missing in action. Too cowardly to face the music, we assume. As a consolation prize, they did send their two comic relief stand-ins, however, who provided the two embarrassingly ridiculous above quotes. It's pretty clear from Mr. Schwebke's report, by the way, that the only persons speaking in favor of the OWCAP turnover were Mssrs. Farley and Patterson.

According to this morning's story, the closing of the pool is a major (maybe THE major) sticking point. Whether amending the management agreement to ensure that the pool stays open would be a compromise worthy of pursuing is anybody's guess; but it might be worth a try, we suppose.

Assuming that nobody succeeds in pulling a rabbit out of their hat over the weekend however, the city council is now backed up against a drop-dead deadline. Under state law, the council must have the FY2010 budget approved by next Tuesday, June 16, 2009. We expect therefore, that it will be a long weekend for our intrepid city council members, as they're faced with one of the most difficult decisions in memory. Time to put on our thinking caps, we think.

So what approach should the council take, gentle readers? Should they ignore Godfrey's proposed budget and insert their own line item, funding the Center at its previous $350 thousand level, with a specific instruction that it shall be disbursed only for continued MWC operations under the current management structure, with a strong prohibition against expending this money in any other manner? Should they hold out for a management agreement amendment mandating continued pool operations during the term of the OWCAP agreement, as suggested above? Should they simply admit defeat, and do as Ozboy predicted, inelegantly roll over, and then stand back and watch, as this half-baked Godfrey plan fails of its own internal stupidity? And suppose they fail to approve the budget by the deadline. Would that be the end of the world?

What other options does the council have at this point, gentle readers?

The world wide blogosphere awaits your ever-savvy comments.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

OWCAP Ducks Tonight's Marshall White Center Public Hearing

An early glimpse into the anti-public attitude of Godfrey's chosen Marshall White Center private sector management team
"No matter what I say, they will attack me, and I would probably attack back," he said. "There is potential for a dogfight, and I don't feel like being in a dogfight. There is a signed contract. Why do we need a meeting? It's a done deal."

Donald Carpenter
Aministrator, Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership

OWCAP leader says he's not going to meeting on Marshall White future
June 11, 2009


"It's unfortunate," Cook said, adding the city council hopes to use information from the meeting to assist it in finalizing the city's fiscal 2010 budget, which is slated for approval Tuesday. [...]
"It's not done until he has money, and the council hasn't made a decision (about funding for the Marshall White Center)."

Bill Cook
Director, Ogden City Council

OWCAP leader says he's not going to meeting on Marshall White future
June 11, 2009


Interesting new twist in the Marshal White Center story. Far from just throwing in the towel, and acquiescing to Boss Godfrey's back room decision to turn the center over to the OWCAP non-profit, the city council has set up a special public hearing at tonight's 5:30 p.m. work session, to take public comments, as the council considers the Godfrey/OWPAC management agreement, within the context of the yet to be approved FY2010 budget. OWCAP Director Donald Carpenter however has suddenly announced he won't deign to show up for this meeting.

It's apparent we're already getting an early glimpse into the anti-public attitude of Godfrey's chosen Marshall White Center private management team, as OWCAP Director John Carpenter can't for the life of him imagine why the grubby lumpencizens (or the council) should have any say regarding this matter. This brand of petulant behavior doesn't bode well for the future, we believe, if Godfrey succeeds in installing OWCAP to run the center.

Ace Reporter Schwebke has the story about Mr. Carpenter's last-minute council/lumpencitizen snub here:
OWCAP leader says he's not going to meeting on Marshall White future
Needless to say, with or without Mr. Carpenter's attendance, tonight's work meeting is one which steely-eyed Ogden City Godfrey watchers will not want to miss.

Update 6/11/09 4:11 p.m. We checked with gentle reader Dan this afternoon. Notwithstanding his two most recent Live Bogging posts, Dan will be properly taking the night off tonight... to celebrate his birthday with special friends.

We'll chime in right now on behalf of all Dan's MANY WCF friends and wish him a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

In his absense, we're led to believe that Scott Schwbeke will be reporting tonight's work session a in realtime, via Twitter.

This will be very interesting. If Schwebke reports tonight's council work session proceedings in realtime, how will he clear his usual sappy, pro-Godfry reporting, minute by minute, with his Godfrey administration handlers?

We suppose we'll soon find out.

Don't blow it, Schwebke!

Tonight's event, which starts up in about one hour, is bound to be very interesting, fer shure.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Standard-Examiner: City Council Amends Campaign Ordinance

On balance, a step in the right direction

By Dan Schroeder

Today's Standard-Examiner has an article (bottom of front page) on the campaign finance ordinance. The article is also up on the S-E live site:
City council amends campaign ordinance
Here are the first few paragraphs:
OGDEN — On the heels of a recent controversy, the city council Tuesday night amended the municipality’s campaign finance disclosure ordinance.
City Councilwoman Dorrene Jeske, who was the only person to cast a dissenting vote, said the ordinance amendments weren’t stringent enough. City Councilman Brandon Stephenson wasn’t present for the meeting and didn’t vote.
The amendments have been under consideration for about a month and were tweaked last week to include several additional provisions.
Those additions include a provision limiting individual campaign contributions to city council candidates to $1,500 and to mayoral candidates to $5,000.
Another provision was added requiring that campaign contributions of $750 or more within seven days of the election be reported within 24 hours.
As noted above, Jeske's principal objection was changing the criminal status of a violation from a class-B misdemeanor to an infraction. The argument given for this (by City Attorney Williams) was that virtually everyone else in Utah does it this way.

In my opinion, an even more serious problem is the removal of the so-called 10-day complaint period. Specifically, the ordinance now gives the city recorder and city attorney much more discretion to simply ignore evidence of violations if they so choose (or if the mayor, who has the power to fire them at any time, so directs them). Although some members of the council expressed a desire to undo this change, most of them seemed to feel that they couldn't do so without the city attorney's permission--and the city attorney didn't give them permission.

Also, in my opinion, the $5000 limit on contributions to mayoral candidates is unlikely to have any discernible effect. I suppose it will prevent such contributions from growing even larger in the future. But if you look at Godfrey's contributors during the 2007 campaign, there were only 9 who gave more than $5000 and none who gave more than $10,000. In virtually all cases, a $10,000 can easily be split into two $5000 contributions either by dividing it between two spouses or by dividing it between a business and the person who owns the business. Unfortunately, the new ordinance puts no special limits on corporate contributions. (Federal election law prohibits corporate contributions, and applies contributions from a partnership toward the limits of the individual partners.)

Still, on balance, I believe this ordinance is a step in the right direction. The limit on contributions to city council candidates is reasonable. The more frequent reporting requirements will give voters much more timely information. And the new reporting requirements for PACs (actually taken from state law) will discourage the use of PACs to conceal the source of contributions. Any one of these three changes would have discouraged or prevented the 2007 FNURE fiasco.

The floor is open for reader discussion.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Another of Those "Ten Best Places to Live/Retire" Lists is Out

Unfortunately, Godfreyville didn't make the list

By Curmudgeon


Another of those "ten best places to live/retire" lists is out. This one from US News. Here are the criteria it the paper used to compile the list:
In selecting our Best Places to Live for 2009, U.S. News took a thrift-conscious approach: We looked for affordable communities that have strong economies and plenty of fun things to do. The cities we selected are as distinct as America itself--ranging from a quaint suburb to a live-music mecca. But whether you prefer hiking through the Rocky Mountains, pulling a fish out of the Atlantic Ocean, or grilling hot dogs at a college football tailgate, here are 10 places that will fill up your daybook without emptying your wallet.
I am saddened to report that Ogden, UT did not make the list. The ten cities that did were [in order, top choice to last] Albuquerque, N.M.;Auburn, Ala.; Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Durham, N.C.; La Crosse, Wis.; Loveland, Colo.; San Luis Obispo, Calif.; St. Augustine, Fla.; Upper St. Clair, Pa.

[NB: It is unknown whether any of the top ten cities boasts a flatland downtown gondola, nor did US News comment on why its selection criteria, inexplicably, did not include municipal flatland gondolas. ]

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