Monday, August 31, 2009

Ogden City Decides How to Blow $310 K in Federal Stimulus Funds

Boss Godfrey funnels federal stimulus dollars to select private property owners

Upon the earlier request of gentle reader disgusted, we'll belatedly refer to an article which inexplicably appeared this morning only in the Standard-Examiner hard-copy and Digital Edition versions this morning, but not in the Live! Edition:
Ogden starts using stimulus funds/City hopes rehabilitating buildings will boost downtown development
For openers, here's our above-named reader's setup on the subject:
Rudi
You need to post the article in todays paper local section about the city funneling dollars to private property owners on washington and 23rd to fix up their buildings. the city is going to lease the building from the fom who own the buildings and then the city is going to try and sub-lease the buildings per the article. City bd admits that its a hard time to rent out space.
Sounds like another drain on the residents
It's late in the day, so we'll skip our own analysis and simply open a thread dedicated to the discussion of today's Ace Reporter Schwebke story. Sorry disgusted; we'd intended to put this up earlier in the day... but we got distracted and flat forgot.

In the interest of keeping this and other threads on topic, we'll also move the several reader comments which have already been lodged in response to disgusted's earlier query over here.

Have at it disgusted, and the two other readers who have demonstrated interest in this topic. At Weber County Forum, we always aim to please our gentle readers.

Another Brake Failure-related Fatality on the Powder Mountain Road

6 - 8 Life Flight helicopter rescues from Powder Mountain to area hospitals over the weekend

Excellent article up on Ogden Valley Forum this morning, leapfrogging off a story carried this morning by the Standard-Examiner, reporting that there's been another brake failure-related fatality on the Powder Mountain road. Read Larry Zini's full writeup here:
Fatal Accident on Powder Mountain Road
Today's OVF article is chock full of informative links, and also offers an eye-opening Powder Mountain spokesman comment. And be sure to read the Standard-Examiner and KSL News comments sections, where online reader/commentators again point out the sheer insanity of building a Mega Ski Resort (or holding major public events) at the relatively inaccessible Powder Mountain site, which is dependant upon rinky-dink and dangerously steep access road.

In addition to the rollover fatality, OVF also reports "a huge weekend for Life Flight as they made some 6 - 8 flights to area hospitals" over the weekend. Quite an astounding drain on public rescue resources for one resort over one weekend, we think.

If the greedhead Powder Mountain Developers have their way with their Powderville Township Power-grab, we'll confidently predict we ain't seen nuttin' yet. Imagine the slaughter on state highway 158, if the Powder Mountain Resort succeeds in increasing traffic along that road by a factor of ten.

Who will be the first to comment?

Update 9/1/09 9:07 a.m.: Carlos Mayorga provides a front page followup story this morning, which has been appended to the Std-Ex story linked above.

Ogden City Primary Election Voter’s Guide for 2009

Weber County Forum Special Guest Commentary - (Parody) 

Dear Friends,

I, your mayor, have been on a roll lately. I just got the tax increment for downtown extended, so I have School taxes and County taxes I can bond against for twelve more years. The depleted borrowing capacity of Ogden City can no longer stop my vision.

Plus, I have the city council lined up to vote for my new water tanks at 36th Street so I can build my gargantuan motel and condo project at the golf course, paid for by city water bills.

Just like all little piglets know – when I suck one teat dry, I just find myself another one!

Anyway, now that I have the water rate payers covering the cost of my golf course “handoff” and construction project, I’ve been able to start calling contractors to do the deal for me. As you can see from the expression on my face, I’m getting some very favorable responses! I’m glad to say that even in today’s economy, there are still plenty of contractors and bankers who are willing to take a big chunk of “public nuisance” land off my hands for next to nothing!

But I’m getting off track. Today I wanted to let you know about the people running for city council, while showcasing my own personal favorites. I even utilized the help of my business development office, to give these recommendations a professional quality. So without further adieu, please consider my recommendations.

At Large Seat B – David “Alfred E” Phipps

David’s nickname is “Alfred E” because that’s what everyone called him when he was a kid. This race is so important to me I had a campaign portrait commissioned for him (with his tie straightened). Like everything I do, I think it turned out rather well, don’t you?

“Alfred E” Phipps is very sensitive to Ogden issues. You can see for yourself in his letter to the editor, where he refers to Ogden as an “armpit” and an “unsafe place”.

No wonder he chose to have his business office located in Layton! So the next time you’re in Layton to get away from the drive-by shootings in Ogden, stop in, and tell him “Hi”. His address and real estate profile are here.

In his letter to the editor, you’ll notice he also did a super job of lying about all the debt that I’ve piled on, and made it sound like you taxpayers would never have to pay for any of it! He wrote his letter 2 years ago to help me get re-elected, and since then, taxpayers have been paying through the nose for the Salomon Center debt!

Now I know you people keep knocking me on my record. But notice that Alfred E not only has a keen sense of how bad things look after ten years of ME as mayor, but he supports me anyway. No wonder I love him! He’s loyal! Vote for “Alfred E” Phipps!


In his letter to the editor, you’ll notice he also did a super job of lying about all the debt that I've piled on, and made it sound like you taxpayers would never have to pay for any of it! He wrote his letter 2 years ago to help me get re-elected, and since then, taxpayers have been paying through the nose for the Salomon Center debt!

Now I know you people keep knocking me on my record. But notice that Alfred E not only has a keen sense of how bad things look after ten years of me as mayor, but he supports me anyway. No wonder I love him! He’s loyal! Vote for “Alfred E” Phipps!

Municipal Ward 1 – Travis “G-Trav” Pate

If there’s one guy who is more dyed-in-the-wool, pro-gondola than even me, it’s Travis Pate. He’s had some trouble holding a job, but he sure could hold a “Lift Ogden” sign when he worked for the very pro-gondola Chamber of Commerce. He’s also a close associate of my personal friend Sue “G-Train” Wilkerson. That’s why people call him “G-Trav” Pate.

Now, you’ve probably all heard about the basement room under the home of Jay Asquith Cavendish. It’s where an important new committee meets – one that I formed between the Chamber of Commerce and the Realty people called the... Supreme Committee of Real Estate Workers – United!

Since the Chamber of Commerce meets there, we call the meetings “Down in the Chamber with the Chamber.”

Here’s a picture of G-Trav all dressed up in his curly wig and suit, getting ready to plot ways to borrow money from banks and spend it on building projects – in other words, plotting ways to Lift Ogden!

We’ve held many important meetings in this basement with our city’s rightful leaders, and have had many good times there. And G-Trav fits in perfectly with our group!

So whether you want to see the gondola get built, love borrow-and-spend government, or just want to give an unemployed guy a break, vote for G-Trav Pate!

At Large Seat A – Mark “Stinky” Hains

Stinky Hains has only one person running against him so you won’t get to vote for him until the general election on November 3. But I wanted to introduce you to him right now anyway.

Nobody knows whether “Stinky” got his nickname from 14 years in the real estate business, or from the expression he gets on his face whenever he smells fresh air blowing off undeveloped land that could be plowed under for new houses!

But you can see at his website that Stinky is an avid photographer. And you have to admit, looking at his self-portrait you can almost imagine him sniffing the stink from the undeveloped hillside! You have to admit, Stinky is one accurate photographer!

In addition to paving every inch of open space into row houses, what Stinky wants is for Ogden to get moving – literally! Whether you love or hate me, you have to admit, I make people want to MOVE – if I'm not actually forcing them to MOVE! And as a real estate guy, that’s what puts money in Stinky’s pocket. In fact, it’s the only thing that puts money in his pocket!

Real estate people are used to getting what they want, so expect to see a lot of campaign signs to buy Stinky’s election, paid for by the... Supreme Committee of Real Estate Workers – United!

And the next time you see some disgusting, wasteful open space, pinch your nose and remember to vote for Stinky Hains!

In Conclusion

Now I admit, my list of candidates this time around may be a little forgettable! So to help you remember those who will rubber stamp the mayor's plans – people the mayor respectfully calls his “Godfreyites” – take a minute to click and print my...

“Mayor Godfrey's Clip and Carry Guide to the Primary Candidates”

Now I was going to write some additional comments, but I'm told the bank is on the phone. They’re going to pull their Salomon Center loan again and then re-issue it, so they can charge another $1 million fee, which is no problem, since these guys are always good for a very reasonable 1% kickback! Like I said, I'm on a roll!

And remember, if  I can get a bunch of my rubber stamps on the city council you won’t have to worry about anything. (And it won’t make any difference if you worry anyway, since none of my Godfreyites will listen to what anybody tells them except me!) So be sure to take my “clip and carry guide” to the polls with you on September 15!

Once again here's the link to my  “Clip and Carry Guide to the Primary Candidates – Vote on SEPTEMBER 15th”

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Oddball Standard-Examiner Editorial: Say No to Lobbyists

Query: Does the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board actually read their own newspaper?

By Curmudgeon

A newspaper's editorials are, plainly, expressions of opinion, and in the nature of things, the SE will publish, now and then, editorials with which sensible, sober readers will disagree. That is to be expected. But this morning, the Standard-Examiner editorial board has embarrassed itself, the paper, and, sadly, the city it serves with a lead editorial that leaves me wondering if the Editorial Board reads their own newspaper. It's going to take them a while to live this one down:
OUR VIEW: Say no to lobbyists
The editorial considers the Council's plan to hire its own lobbyist. The SE does not like that idea. It rightly finds the origins of the idea in the Mayor's tasking the lobbyist he pays, Mr. Jolley, to work for legislation to give Mayor Matthew Godfrey "firm control over the Ogden Redevelopment Agency." Council members, the editorial explains, "said the action was taken without their knowledge or approval." No. The action was taken without their knowledge or approval. The Mayor didn't deny it. He said he didn't have time to let them know. This was reported in the SE. So there is no "he said/she said" element to this. It was done without the Council's knowledge or approval. I read it in The Standard Examiner.

So, what is the SE's solution to the problem? That Ogden should have no paid lobbyist at the legislature. That City officials should represent Ogden before the legislature, and that Mr. Jolley should be let go at a savings of $40K a year to the city. What the editorial dos not so much as mention is that this is precisely the solution advocated by the Council last budget year when it zeroed out the budget line for Mr. Jolley's pay. Cut it out entirely. At which point the Mayor hired him again anyway, paying him out of the the Mayor's discretionary funds. The Council adopted the SE's solution; the Mayor ignored it and unilaterally decided to keep his personal lobbyist on the city payroll. I know that happened. I read it in The Standard Examiner. The editorial board must have skipped that issue.

But it gets worse. [Hard to believe, I know. But it does.] The editorial suggests that Ogden will "look ridiculous" if it has two lobbyists working at cross purposes, and that the Mayor and Council should agree on what they want to lobby the legislature for. Well, first of all, the Mayor and Council did agree that Mr. Jolley would work only on matters both the Council and Mayor agreed he should work on. The Mayor promptly violated that agreement to, as the editorial puts it, give himself "firm control over the Ogden Redevelopment Agency."

So, the Council endorsed the idea of no lobbyist, and it agreed with the Mayor to joint lobbying goals --- note, precisely what the editorial calls for. The Mayor ignored the "no lobbyist" idea by re-hiring Mr. Jolley when the Council cut funds to do that, and by ignoring the council when giving Mr. Jolley his marching orders. But does the editorial then conclude that the problem is the Mayor? It does not.

As for Ogden "looking ridiculous" if the Council and Mayor disagree before the legislature? Nonsense. If they disagree about proposed legislation, the legislators need to know that so they don't assume Mayor Godfrey's personal wishes represent the views of Ogden City Government. The founders embraced the principles of "separation of powers" and "checks and balances" for good reasons. The SE Editorial Board seems unfamiliar with either concept. Either they all slept through high school civics, or a majority of the board was raised in Brigham City and had Rob Bishop for a history teacher. That would explain the Editorial Board's appalling ignorance of these fundamental principles of American government. It would not excuse it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Morning Emerald City Open Topic Thread

We'll offer several suggested discussion topics, for starters

News is again slow on this Saturday morning; so we'll set up another weekend kickoff open topic thread. Before we turn over the floor however, there are several items which we'll suggest as topics for discussion.

First, we'd like to once again remind our readers of our upcoming Ogden City municipal election primary, which is set for September 15, 2009. According to our countdown clock that's ticking away in the right sidebar, this important preliminary event is coming up in just over 16 days. And while we continue to do daily updates to our Council Candidate Roster, this Weber County Forum-hosted web resource remains far from complete nevertheless. So we'll accordingly provide everyone with a further gentle nudge:

If you happen to be a 2009 council candidate, or know a candidate who's running for a council slot, we'd like to again extend our invitation to contact us at rudizink@yahoo.com. Although we're already observing significant traffic to our candidate web pages, there's still time to add their email addresses, internet links and other data prior to the typical visitor traffic surge which we expect to begin within the next week or so. There remain several candidates for whom we have been able to gather and display only the most basic information, while others have provided information which is quite robust. It's been our experience over the years that our candidate web pages generate web page hits in the tens of thousands per election cycle, so it would be a shame, we believe, for any serious council candidate to miss out on this no cost opportunity to get their information out in front of our large audience of web savvy potential voters. This is the internet age, Ogden council candidates. Old fashioned lawn signs, fliers and doorknob hangers simply don't get the job done by themselves anymore.

Next, we'll dredge into our reader comments section and bring to the front page an item which WCF reader Dan S. mentioned down-thread last night: "On another topic, did anyone notice today's editorial (and the accompanying cartoon)?" Dan was referring of course to this top-flight Doug Gibson editorial piece , and this most excellent Grondahl cartoon. Never before have we witnessed the Standard-Examiner question the propriety of mixing routine utility billing with outright political propaganda. We found the Std-Ex's sudden critical posture to be quite refreshing, to say the least, of course.

As every Ogden City property owner is painfully aware, the Ogden mayoral administration engages in shameless political electioneering year-round, at a level which makes Kaysville Mayor Neka Roundy's recent ethical lapse seem to be the act of a political amateur by comparison. Seldom does an Ogden City water bill ever arrive without pro-administration propaganda of one kind or the other.

So for purposes of today's discussion, we'll raise a question Std-Ex reader Flatlander posed in the comment section beneath the above-linked Std-Ex story, with reference to the Standard's seemingly sudden conversion to the view that water bill electioneering is unethical:
We could look at it, ...as a bit of self-serving hypocrisy or an application of selective conscience, since the paper [inexplicably] endorsed Godfrey for re-election.
Or, the alternative, we could look on it as a sign that the SE's ethical radar has in the intervening two years been cranked up a notch or two, that it now finds questionable conduct it didn't officially notice two years earlier. We could, in short, take it as evidence of improvement.
Seems to us this editorial is worthy of further discussion here on WCF.

Last but not least, we'll direct our readers' attention to this morning's Salt Lake Tribune/Kurt Kragthorpe column, focusing on Weber State University's current posture, as it begins marketing Coach Mac's 2009-10 football squad. The article presents an interesting overview of the unique circumstantial facts which lead WSU Athletic Department officials to believe they can significantly increase the numbers of fannies in stadium seats this season. As hard-core WSU football fans, we hope they'll succeed in reviving local interest in what is probably the most high adventure spectator sport in Ogden.

That's it for now, WCF readers. Follow up on our suggested topics, or feel free to hijack this thread for a discussion of your own making.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Boss Godfrey Lies

The Godfrey administration fudges on the facts, in order to rake in $1 million in federal stimulus dough

Sorry folks, due to personal calender business, it's taken a little longer this day to discuss this morning's red-meat Standard-Examiner story, which reports that the city council and the Godfrey administration are once again at odds, because Boss Godfrey has again unilaterally decided to divert council earmarked funds toward another of his pet projects. This time he's misappropriating $275 thousand taxpayer dollars, which had been designated by the council to pay for storm drain improvements along Harrison Boulevard, which were to be funded by the most recent Ogden City bonding for water system and related improvements.

Read Mr. Schwebke's full story here:
Council questions project funds / $275,000 in storm water cash to go to Ogden River restoration
Same ole garden variety Boss Godfrey dealing behind the scenes in secrecy scenario, we think... but the that's not the whole story at all. There's MORE:

Adding insult to injury, your blogmeister has talked today with several property owners along the Ogden River whose properties would be affected by the million in dollars that the Godfrey Administration seems to have tentatively reeled in, at least prospectively, in federal stimulus funds.

According to riverside property owner Ray Jensen, he doesn't know a single Ogden riverside property owner who would be willing to "go along" with the the grand Ogden River Remodeling Scheme, which would transform the Ogden River into a beachfront for soon to come tourist kayakers, river surfers and other touristy types. According to the proposed maps Mr. Jensen and other riverside property owners have been studying over the past few weeks, the proposed encroachment upon his and other riverfront properties would gobble up 60-70 feet or more upon their own properties from the present riverbank.

In order to receive the $1 million grant, and in order to implement Boss Godfrey's scheme
to turn the Ogden River into another MattGodfreyVille amusement park feature, he'll have to bring property owners whose properties directly abut the Ogden River owners into line.

That's one of the several explicit conditional criteria for the the awarding of that $1 million dollar grant, by the way.

So far the Godfrey administration has already lied about this, and misrepresented to the state officials who administer the stimulus funds that all property owners are "on board," notwithstanding that none whom Mr. Jensen knows are actually "in the bag." Sounds like the same old broken Godfrey record, dunnit? So what else is new?

How will Godfrey accomplish this and make it all come true? Will he make these aggrieved property owners a fair offer at taxpayer expense; or will he resort to the power of eminent domain?

Nothing ever changes in Ogden City, where our administration officials will lie like rugs to rake in a little more grant dough.

This story will be a fun one to watch as it develops.

We''ll be standing back watching development of this story with glee.

And what say our gentle readers about all this?

Who will be the first to comment?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Open Space Meeting Tonight at 7 P.M.

First chance to provide your citizen input toward amending the Emerald City General Plan

Here's another quick reminder of tonight's meeting, wherein city officials will initiate the process of developing a city-wide open space plan:
Heads Up On An Upcoming Open House Meeting: Development of An Ogden City Open Space Plan
As we said before, the process will be similar to what happened with the Mt. Ogden Community Plan; and the final document will then become part of the city's General Plan, which is an ordinance that carries the force of law.

We hope every interested Weber County Forum reader will plan to attend.

We'll keep this space open for post meeting comments, or interim comments, for that matter. And who knows? Perhaps, if we're lucky, some enterprising reader will provide live blogging.

So who will be the first to offer their pre-event comments?

What would our readers like to see, in the direction of preserving open space?

Update 8/27/09 6:29 p.m. Per intrepid Ogden city activist Bill C., carved out from the lower comments section:
Hey folks, hope this ain't too late but, get to this meeting tonite. The darkside will be there trying to place more post-its than we can. Now is not a time to be complacent.
One more reason for the proposition that the real Emerald City Lunpencitizens should show up for tonight's open space meeting en masse.

More Whining Emanates From The Ninth Floor Boss Godfrey Throne room

Mark Johnson and his lobbyist buddy, Mr. Jolley, really could use some serious baby sitting

The Standard-Examiner reports this morning that there's more whining emanating from the ninth floor Boss Godfrey throne room, due to the recent disclosure that the Ogden City Council is in the process of hiring its own lobbyist to represent its interests during Utah's 2010 legislative session. Read Scott Swebke's full story here:
Two lobbyists for Ogden?
The big spending Boss Godfrey, who employs his own lobbyist to the tune of $40 thousand per year, gripes that the council will be wasting taxpayer money, by agreeing to a further $10 thousand annual lobbyist stipend.

And Godfrey has the further audacity to suggest that the council can share the lobbying services of lobbyist Robert Jolley, who's already on the administration payroll. Godfrey apparently has a short memory. The last time the council tried that course of action, it didn't work out very well at all. Some outspoken folks even suggested at the time that that the behavior of Mssrs. Godfrey and Jolley had been downright sneaky. Imagine that.

Yessirree. We're four-square behind the council on this. We interpret the council's apparent decision to hire its own lobbyist as a healthy sign that our council is heartily embracing its newly rediscovered role as a separate and coequal branch of city government.

Not only that, we believe Mr. Johnson hit the nail on the head. Mark Johnson and his lobbyist buddy, Mr. Jolley, really could use some serious baby sitting.

That's it for now.

The floor is open for your ever-cunning commentary.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is a St. Anne's Land Swap In The Works?

Another baby step step forward toward fulfillment of another twisted Boss Godfrey obsession

In the interest of keeping the discussion moving along this morning, we'll direct our readers' attention to an item appearing on page 2B of the Top of Utah section, reporting that the council adopted an ordinance at last night's meeting which could possibly pave the way for that St. Anne's Shelter land swap, which has been a focus of Mayor Matthew "Blessed Whitebread" Godfrey's obsession for the past several years. Scott Schwebke's opening paragraphs provide the gist:
OGDEN — The city council adopted an ordinance Tuesday night that may enable the construction of a $10 million apartment complex in West Ogden for the homeless served by St. Anne’s Center.
The ordinance, which amends the city’s municipal code, allows low-income multiple-unit housing in manufacturing zones provided it’s part of a campus or in the same building as a homeless shelter.
In addition, the ordinance requires that counseling and other lifestyle services be offered at the campus.
The ordinance is tied to a proposal from Mayor Matthew Godfrey calling for the city to give St. Anne’s about 2 1/2 acres at 33rd Street and Pacific Avenue, zoned manufacturing, for the construction of new shelter, said John Patterson, the city’s chief administrative officer.
Under Godfrey’s proposal, St. Anne’s, in exchange for the Pacific Avenue property, would give the city the land that houses its existing shelter at 137 W. Binford St.
Here's the full Scott Schwebke writeup:
New ordinance clears way for possible St. Anne’s move
Unlike the last unfortunate go-round, Mr. Schweke's story indicates that the St. Anne's board of directors won't be completely blind-sided by a proposal to move St. Anne's and its homeless clients out of sight (and out of mind) this time, although Ogden CAO John "Pureheart" Patterson does frankly admit that this latest effort to whisk St. Anne's off to the Ogden boonies still isn't exactly what you'd call "a done deal":
"St. Anne’s board of directors has not yet agreed to the land swap proposal, said Patterson, who estimated it would cost the organization about $4 million to build a new homeless shelter."
Inasmuch as St. Anne's will need to come up with multi-millions in dollars to build a new facility, logic dictates the query, where will the construction money come from? Sounds like a big nut to crack, for a charitable institution which serves the homeless. But what do we know? We're just a cranky blogger, after all, with a mere 30 years experience in real estate finance. Perhaps St. Anne's has a money tree growing out there somewhere, for all we know.

We''ll therefore continue to watch the St. Anne's story as it develops; but we certainly won't hold our breath waiting for an early upcoming announcement that the City and St. Anne's have entered into a binding agreement.

That's it for now. And yes, we do recognise that yesterday's blockbuster article is "a tough act to follow." But time marches on ineluctably, dunnit?

You're all welcome to chime in with your own 2¢ on the latest manifestion of the St. Anne's topic nevertheless.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vision Meets Reality

Sixteen Godfrey chickens that haven't exactly hatched

By Dan Schroeder

The Standard-Examiner recently published a commentary by Mayor Godfrey, bragging about some of his accomplishments and reminding us of his "high adventure" vision for Ogden's future. In response, I'd like to thank the mayor for giving me this opportunity to publish a little list that I've compiled.

When an elected official has been in office for nearly a decade, I think it's appropriate to judge his visions in light of his record. Mayor Godfrey's record has its bright spots, as he repeatedly reminds us. But to get the full picture, we need to look at what he actually promised once upon a time--and compare those promises to the current reality.

So I offer this modest list as an additional basis for community discussion. I don't claim that the list is complete, or that it fairly represents the mayor's full record. Nor do I mean to give the mayor all the credit for either the original promises or the difficulty in fulfilling them. (In many cases the news media played a significant role in puffing up our expectations.) Still, all of these projects are closely associated with the mayor's "vision" for Ogden, and the list is long enough to refute anyone's contention that these shortcomings are due merely to occasional bad luck, or to the recent economic downturn.

Here, then, are some of the facts that Mayor Godfrey's commentary didn't mention:

ProjectThen...Now...
River Project
"Construction on the ambitious river project, in the works since early 2001,
should begin in 2005, with the recent approval of a developer's agreement between the Ogden Redevelopment Agency and Cottonwood Partners Management LTD." (January 16, 2004)
Except for the Bingham's building, there has been no new construction in this 60-acre area. The residential blocks have been virtually abandoned and plagued by a
series of arsons.
Ernest Health
"Done deal" according to a news article based on statements from the Ogden City administration (June 7, 2008).Ernest missed its deadline to finalize the land purchase; property is back on the market.
Midtown Hotel
"An Orem company plans to begin construction later this year on a $100 million hotel at The Junction downtown development." (January 10, 2008)"Canceled".
Ashton Square
"Construction is slated to begin in August and will last about 14 months." (May 24, 2007)"It's off the table for now and for the foreseeable future."
Earnshaw Building
"Construction on the Earnshaw Building is slated to start within a couple of months and end in about a year." (February 21, 2006)Construction has slowed to a crawl. Signs in the windows promise that the first tenant, Deseret Books, will move in later this summer. The owner owes over $24,000 in delinquent property taxes.
Junction Leases
Lease revenues from Boyer were projected to bring the city over $300,000 annually by 2010. The Ogden City administration was willing to pay Boyer to add two more floors to its office building because they "wouldn't have much difficulty leasing" the space (May 31, 2006).Even at four stories, the office building is mostly unoccupied and its only tenants are those that moved from across the street. Overall, the Boyer properties have generated no lease revenue for the city and "there is not anticipated to be any in the near future."
Junction Property Tax
"In the year 2015 ... the redevelopment district expires and community entities begin receiving the full benefit of the tax income from The Junction." (Newspaper
advertisement from mayor's office
, May 31, 2007.)
At the request of the Ogden City administration, the district's expiration date has been extended for an additional 12 years. Some taxing entities will receive partial "mitigation payments" during this time, but the rest will receive no tax revenue from the Junction.
Windsor Hotel
"Ogden Properties ... is conservatively estimating the project to be finished by spring next year" (June 24, 2007). In a development agreement with the city, the building's owner pledged to comply with all "applicable rules, laws and ordinances".After the city council declined to amend an ordinance to increase the height limit on 25th Street, the owner canceled the project and threatened to demolish the building.
American Can Building
Was to have housed Mt. Ogden Scientific, Fresenius Medical Care, and 1st Contact Technologies (April 23, 2005).None of these "high tech" companies ever moved in. The building has been renovated and a portion is now occupied by Amer Sports, but much of the building remains vacant.
Adam Aircraft
Promised to bring "hundreds of new jobs" (March 16, 2005).The 55 Ogden employees were permanently laid off in January 2008. The company ceased operations soon thereafter, and its taxpayer-subsidized 91,000 square foot building is empty.
Ryan McEuen Amphitheater
"It is hoped that the amphitheater will open in 2008 to coincide with the completion of a commuter rail line... Patterson said." (September 10, 2006)The site is still occupied by a landfill and a portion of it is posted for sale. Patterson says the city is "continuing to work" on the project, but McEuen says there is "no timeline for construction".
Ice Climbing Tower
"It will go up this year", said John Patterson (April 25, 2007).$200,000 RAMP grant had to be returned to the county because matching funds were never raised.
High-Adventure Campground
"Campground for rock climbers may arrive soon in Ogden" (July 23, 2008).Work on the campground began in September 2008 but abruptly ceased soon thereafter and has not resumed after nearly a year.
Velodrome
Mayor Godfrey "is hopeful that fundraising can be completed by the end of next year, enabling construction to be finished in 2011." He predicts that the city's contribution will need to be "more than $100,000". (September 6, 2008)No funds have been raised yet for this $15 million project. The city's $2 million RAMP application was rejected in early 2009. The application promised that the city would contribute $2 million.
Via Ferrata
Supposedly open to the public for a $25 fee (November 18, 2005).Never got a business license from the county.
Malan's Basin Resort
"The next few months will see trail work start on a new ski area entirely on private land at Malan's Basin which will be completed in time for the 2007 season" (Ski Press Magazine, August 19, 2005). Plans for the resort were to be made public by fall 2005.Some ski routes have been cleared of trees and brush, but no other construction has taken place and no plans have been released.

Reader comments are, of course, most welcome. Should other items be added to this list? How can we better understand the difficulties that the mayor has encountered in carrying out his vision? And most importantly, where should Ogden go from here?

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Grist For the 36th/46th Street Water Tank Discussion Mill

Reprise of a great Std-Ex letter; and an alternate plan to save the lumpencizens over $5 million in taxpayer bucks

We're delighted to note that David Smith's August 18, 2009 letter to the editor, which we previewed on Weber County Forum last week, has made the Standard-Examiner editor's cut, and landed on the Std-Ex editorial page this morning. It's a danged good letter, so we'll give it a well-deserved reprise here:
Godfrey uses one outrage to pay for another
The Std-Ex's comment section is a mite light on comments so far however, so we'll encourage our readers to visit the Std-Ex site, to throw in your own 2¢.

And David's letter, which pulls no punches in condemning Boss Godfrey's outrageous attempt to hijack the City Council's Water Horizons plan, provides the ideal leadup to what we have to offer next:

Added bonus: So while we're now once again back on the subject of the 36th/46th street water tanks, and David Smith has properly set the mood, we have an added bonus for our readers this morning. Ogden resident Rob Garner has sent us a copy of his alternatative S.E. bench water system proposal, the same proposal he unavailingly presented to the planning commission earlier in the summer. Needless to say, Godfrey's in-house engineers gave this proposal a cool reception, in that it provided a relatively cost effective method to achieve the goals of the City Council's Water Horizons plan, without the "necessity" of expending millions of extra dollars for the installation of Boss Godfrey's latest pet project... the 36th street water tank boondoggle.

Here's how Mr. Garner sums it up in the conclusion to his most excellent article:
The alternative system that I proposed above will not only meet all of the original project objectives but will also save the city at least $5 million dollars in construction costs. Additionally it will give the city’s water system more flexibility and an opportunity to actually offset some of its cost through the sale of city surplus water.
This proposed amendment which you are being asked to approve is a deviation from the original proposed CIP budgeted project. In fact it actually fails to accomplish the intentions of the approved Water Horizon project by not addressing the immediate needs within the southeastern part of the city and then some time in the future when these needs are addressed it will be at additional costs over the original proposal. Please do not find this amendment to be in compliance with the general plan.
For those who'd like to read on, we'll just say that it's with great pleasure that we invite our readers to check out Mr. Garner's full text article:
Alternative S.E. Bench Water System Proposal
Looks like a great plan to us. Needless to say, we especially liked the part about saving five million bucks.

Hopefully the council will hire their own independent engineer to evaluate the various proposals which are on the table, Mr. Garner's included, and be loaded for bear when they again meet to discuss the issue on September 22d.

With a little extra effort on the council's part, we believe Godfrey's effort to hijack the Water Horizons plan can be thwarted, and Ogden City can save millions of dollars in the process.

Amazing what can happen when the talents of interested and well-informed lumpencitizens are tapped, innit? Boss Godfrey should write that down so he doesn't forget it... but sadly... we know that he won't.

Take it away, O' Gentle Ones.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Godfrey Visionary Dream Re-Run: "Ignore the Blunders, There's A Grand Godfrey Scheme In The Works"

It's all "part of the plan," Godfrey reassures his loyal lemmings

We'll direct your attention to the Standard-Examiner editorial page this morning, where our readers will find a thinly-disguised 2009 municipal election campaign piece, posing as a Matthew Godfrey guest commentary. In the wake of Boss Godfrey's most recent public relations setback (in a long daisy-chain of PR setbacks,) we suppose that the Godfrey brain trust thought it would be a good idea, now that we're on the cusp of the 2009 election, to remind wavering Godfrey Lemmings that there's a grand strategy at play here, that Emerald City Citizens must ignore the ever-recurring Godfrey pratfalls, and that they all must keep the faith, as our visionary mayor moves Ogden City inexorably "forward" toward claiming its destiny as the world's most famous kiddie playpen:
Ogden's strategic plan
Yeah, we've all heard the story before, about how Ogden will be saved from ruin, and transformed into a land of milk and honey, all because of the helpful suggestion of a homesick ski industry haberdasher. In fact, we've heard this story so many times, (as one gentle reader remarked in an early morning email missive,) that this morning's guest commentary ought to have been labelled by the Std-Ex as a re-run.

If Godfrey had offered some real economic facts and figures this morning, to demonstrate the impact of his "recreational theme" to date, rather than reiterating another rendition of the Godfrey high adventure recreation "I have a dream" speech, we'd have something substantial to discuss this morning. As it stands, we're stuck with another mindless Godfrey puff-piece.

Have at it, O Gentle Ones.

Godfrey wears a giant "kick me" sign on his back this morning, wethinks.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Morning Emerald City Open Topic Thread

We'll lead off first with a couple of provocative Std-Ex letters to the editor

News is a mite slow this morning in the wake of last night's frenzied Council work session, so we thought this might be a good opportunity to fire up an end of work-week open thread. But before we turn the floor over to our gentle readers, we did dredge up a couple of discussion-provocative items from the Standard-Examiner website, which we'll present as suggested topics to kickstart this morning's discussion:

First, we'd like to shine the spotlight on this Std-Ex letter to the editor, from Ogden resident Jeffrey J. Campbell, who obviously doesn't like Boss Godfrey very much at all. We don't know Mr. Campbell personally, but we do get the distinct impression that's he's the kind of straightforward guy who doesn't characteristically mince words:
Godfrey not telling the truth
Nevertheless, we'll join with Std-Ex reader Tom in noting that Mr. Campbell definitely "has Godfrey's number."

Next, we'll direct our readers attention to a second Std-Ex letter, authored by a respected Weber County Forum regular with whom we ARE all quite familiar. Be sure to check out David Smith's latest and most excellent contribution to the Std-Ex:
Godfrey uses one outrage to pay for another
And yes, Mr. Smith also has Godfrey's number. Of course we already knew that.

We do hope that these two letters will ultimately wind up on the editorial page of the Std-Ex one day soon, at which point we may discuss them again. But our attitude on a slow news day like today... why wait to join into the conversation? Both of these letters have already generated comments from Std-Ex readers. Perhaps t's time for our own WCF readership to leap into the fray.

We invite our readers to expand the discussion upon the above-suggested items, or to start up a new conversation on any other topic that floats your boats.

Have at it O Gentle Ones. The world-wide blogosphere eagerly awaits your ever-savvy utterances.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Powder Mountain Jackals Are Turning On Each Other

Reader query: Are the Powder Mountain Developers now set upon a course which will ultimately lead to their own self-destruction?

By Curmudgeon

According to a Standard-Examiner story today by reporter Di Lewis, the Powder Mountain jackals are turning on each other. Suing each other, accusing each other of dishonesty and skulduggery. Millions of dollars are involved between them. Imagine that.

Another SE Story by reporter Lewis reports residents' claims about the extent of the developers' attempted extortion of the unfortunate residents of Developerville [aka Powderville]. From the story:
Developers have offered to lend the town $750,000 for the first three years of operation, but [town resident Jim ] Halay said that was in exchange for unlimited development at the resort. If the town government refuses that proposal, he said, they will be looking at about $8,000 in taxes per home to pay for police and road maintenance.
Editor's note: There's certainly never a dull moment these days in the formerly bucolic Ogden Valley, now that these self-cannibalizing developer jackals have taken up residence in the neighborhood. We'll also readily confess that we're experiencing more than a wee bit of Schadenfreude, after reading this morning's blockbuster news. And we'll ask our gentle readers: Are the Powder Mountain developers now set upon a course which will lead to their own self-destruction? Well... there's always hope.

Who will be the first to comment? Lets hear it from the Powdervillians!

Update 8/20/09 2:32 am. MT: Upon the sage advice of one of our gentle readers, we offer a hearty but belated Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to Std-Ex reporter Di Lewis this afternoon, for her fantastic reporting of today's blockbuster scoop, which logically leads us all to the belief that the Powder Mountain developers may be now in Meltdown Mode.

Better late than never, we suppose.

Important Ogden City Council Work Session Tonight

A heads-up on an ideal opportunity for the lumpencitizens to help nip another hare-brained multi-million dollar Godfrey scheme in the bud

Here's a quick reminder of tonight's council work session, wherein the council will discuss a proposed amendment to the City’s Capital Improvement Plan regarding water tanks proposed on the Southeast Bench around the 36th Street area. For more information, please refer to our August 15, 2009 article, where we examine the matter in more detail. Additional information is also available within the council's August 15, 2009 press release. Here are tonight's time/location coordinates:

Date: Tonight, August 20, 2009
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Ogden City Council Chambers

In a morning comment under an earlier article, Dan S. admonishes that the ultimate outcome regarding the water tank installation will likely have broad implications, including possible increased impact on our open space. Dan's not just whistling Dixie here, by the way. It's not just our trails system which is in jeopardy here. What's clear at this point is that Mayor Godfrey's proposed 36th street tank installation is geared toward providing the foundational infrastructure for his harebrained $146 million top of 36th street Mount Ogden Golf Course Redevelopment Proposal, which would include condos, hotels, a possible gondola station, along with numerous other high impact bells and whistles.

The city council is bending over backwards to obtain robust citizen input on this issue. Citizens have been invited to express their ideas and views with comments being limited to five minutes. Comment cards will also be available at the meeting and any comments may also be e-mailed to citycouncil@ogdencity.com.

Hopefully tonight's meeting will generate a robust turnout by Ogden City residents who'll be willing to offer their uninhibited input. A 36th street water tank installation would constitute an irreversible step toward another multimillion dollar taxpayer-borne Godfrey boondoggle; and tonight's council work session presents an ideal opportunity for the lumpencitizens to nip this hare-brained Godfrey scheme in the bud.

We'll now open this topic for immediate discussion. Later reports from those WCF readers who attend tonight's meeting are also warmly invited, of course.

Take it away O Gentle Ones.

Update 8/20/09 1:13 p.m. MT: We just got this seemingly good news in our email about tonight's work session from somebody who posts under the psuedonym "Film At Eleven":

This just in in. Standard-Ex will be tweeting tonight live from city city council work session:
Poor ole Scott Schwebke. For some reason he can't bring hmself to post with his own name on Weber County Forum. How sad it is that even now he refuses to come off his "high horse," and to directly relate to the the Emerald City Lumpencitizens.

Sad, very sad indeed!

Update 8/20/09 5:21 p.m. MT: For what it's worth, it's our understanding that Scott Schwebke will be tweeting live from tonight's work meeting. Here's the Std-Ex Twitter link:
Ace Reporter Schwebke's live Twitter tweets
What the hell, we'll take whatever we can get.

Hello, Mr. Schwebke. are you there? Over!

Update 8/20/09 5:38 p.m. MT: We now learn that Dan S. is also inside the council chambers, and will be doing his own live blogging tonight, on behalf of Weber County Forum:

I'm here at the council work session, ready to live-blog what I can! All council members are present except Mr. Johnson. Mr. Franke is giving the council an overview of the process, -Dan S.
Check out Dan's live posts, by opening, viewing and periodically refreshing our lower comments page.

Update 8/21/09 7:53 a.m. MT: The Std-Ex provides a post-work session writeup on its Live! website this morning. Read Scott Schwebke's online story here:
Ogden residents don’t want water tank atop 36th

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Powder Mountain Update: Another Powder Mountain Developer PR Blunder

Congratulations to the meatheads of the Powder Mountain development group for ham-handedly helping splash the Powderville situation all over local newspapers and the internet.

We don't want the day to slip away without shining the spotlight on today's most excellent lead editorial, wherein Standard Examiner editorial page editor Doug Gibson reveals to his Std-Ex readership the folly of the Powder Mountain developers' heavy handed treatment of our valiant Ogden Valley citizens, in connection with these citizens' sudden expulsion from Ogden Valley Balloon Fest activities over the last weekend.

We're naturally inclined to be in agreement with the Std-Ex''s strong editorial stance this afternoon, particularly inasmuch as this morning's article embraces every point and argument which we raised in our most recent article on the subject. But today's editorial goes far beyond what we ranted about earlier. This morning's truly fine Std-Ex editorial gets down to the essence of the situation, and hammers the most important point of all (the one we left out) ...Powder Mountain has once again lost this latest public relations skirmish.

A Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat to Doug Gibson this afternoon. The same to the Std-Ex editorial board.

Congratulations to the meatheads of the Powder Mountain development group too, for ham-handedly helping to splash of the Powderville situation all over local newspapers all across the country... and all across the internet.

Seems that Herr Doktor Cobabe, and his greedhead developer tyrant spawn, and their various associates, lose every public relations skirmish they ever engage in.

And they lost this one big-time.

Reader comments are of course invited as always.

Big Meeting Today At Noon: Will the Ogden RDA Taxing Entity Committee Roll Over, and Become Willing Investors In The Floundering Junction Project?

Time to test the Taxing Entity Committee's ethical mettle

Here's another quick reminder of today's upcoming event. The Ogden RDA Taxing Entity Committee (TEC) meets today at noon, on the third floor of the Ogden City Municipal Building, to consider whether they'll go along with the Godfrey administration's proposal to extend The Junction’s tax increment district, and allow Ogden City to to continue exploiting 100% of the project's tax increment until the year 2026.

During the last TEC meeting, the mayor's proposal was met with a cool reception, and the committee voted 7-1 to table the proposal and look for other alternatives. In the interim since the last meeting however, the Godfrey administration has been fiercely lobbying, and spreading a little money around, so it's anybody's guess how this matter will turn out if it's put to a vote this afternoon.

We've already gone on record in strong opposition to this knuckleheaded plan of course, which if approved by the TEC, would place all these taxing entities in the posture of voluntary investors in the Junction project, a position which would be in direct conflict with their proper role of service providers for the taxpayers, whom these government entities are designed to serve. As we've already pointed out, a vote in favor of this proposal by any TEC member would be adverse to the economic interests of the taxing entities whom such committee members represent. Time to test the TEC's ethical mettle, we suppose.

For those who'd like to bone up on the subject pre-meeting, we invite you to check out Dan's most excellent Special Reports.

We'll now open this article for immediate reader comments; and we'd likewise welcome any post-meeting reports from those WCF readers who may attend today's event.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Oh, My! apparently, and according to the most recent report, the "Brothers in Ogden" have bent down and decided to serve "Blessed Boss Godfrey."

Update 8/19/09 3:00 p.m. MT: We just received this update from one of our most reliable sources within city hall. The TEC committee did indeed roll over in spades this afternoon, and adopted Boss Godfrey's flawed bailout plan whole hog:
The Taxing Entity Committee approved the extension of the mall RDA with a 6-2 vote – Weber County did not support the extension but also did not raise concerns. The Board will be seeing an action item on this in the near future.
Chalk this up as another big win for the "good ole boyz network" in Ogden. We all know who they are.

Shame on the Ogden School District representatives, by the way. They should be looking after their already underfunded school district... but apparently real revenue isn't their top priority these days.

We obviously still have a lot of work to do in Emerald City, fellow lumpencitizens, in our ongoing effort to root out the Godfreyite trash.

Sad, very sad.

8/20/09 9:46 a..m. MT: Scott Schwebke his writeup in today's Standard-Examiner:
Ogden RDA extends Junction tax increment district by 12 years
It's a sad commentary indeed, about the poor quality of the taxpayers' representatives on the Taxing Entity Committee.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dunning Reminder: Ogden to Consider Reissuing Up to $32 Million in Bonds Tonite

The Std-Ex reports on another Boss Godfrey plan to put Ogden in hock up to its eyeballs

For those who may have neglected to put the matter on their calenders, we'll issue another dunning reminder of tonight's RDA and City Council sessions, wherein the Council will consider the re-issance of up to $32 million in Junction Project bonds. Although we posted an earlier article on this subject, we were at the time at a complete loss to explain the meaning of this cryptic item, which was included (in varying form) in both the RDA and Council agendas:
9. Reports from the Administration:
a. Tax Increment Revenue Refunding Bond. Proposed Resolution 2009-4 authorizing the issuance and sale of not more than $32,000,000 aggregate principal amount of its taxable revenue refunding bonds; and related matters. (Adopt/not adopt resolution – roll call vote)
Fortunately, Ace Reporter Schwebke is johnny-on-the spot this morning with a pretty decent full report:
Ogden to consider reissuing up to $32 million in bonds
And yes indeed, our speculation in our earlier article was correct, assuming Mr. Schwebke got the facts straight. Indeed, tonight's agenda item is all about the Bank of New York's revocation of the Junction bonding letter of credit, AND Boss Godfrey's proposed tax increment bailout as well.

And here's the kicker. The substitution of Wells Fargo Bank (WFB) as the new Junction letter of credit bond guarantor will cost the taxpayers at least an additional cool $1 million:
Wells Fargo plans to provide a new letter of credit to the RDA on the reissued bonds that will not exceed $32 million.
That includes about $1 million in bond issuance costs resulting in an additional $80,000 in debt service annually for The Junction through 2030, said Mike Goodwin, the city’s treasurer.
And here's another interesting factor. WFB apparently wants to substitute as collateral utility franchise tax proceeds in place of BDO lease revenue income:
The bonds would be secured by lease revenue from the Salomon Center, tax increment funds and utility franchise tax proceeds. Lease revenue from Business Depot Ogden would no longer be used as collateral for the bonds.
Sounds like a situation made to order for our big spending mayor, as he courts that new hotel franchise which he's been pining for, over so many years. With that BDO revenue freed up, there'll be plenty of dough to generously "incentivize" a prospective new hotelier, or any Godfrey crony who might come up with another ambitious development scheme.

And one reliable source informs us that if this new bonding scheme is adopted by the RDA and Council, the principal balance of the Junction loans will jump to an amount in excess of the price of the original bonding. So if our source is correct, after four years of paying the existing bonds down, Emerald City will be in even deeper hock than we were in 2005.

Hopefully the RDA/Council will table this matter tonight, and seek outside legal and accounting advice. If there was ever a time when the council shouldn't take Godfrey's word for something... it's now.

And we're also scratching our heads wondering how the Bank of New York can lawfully pull the plug on the existing letter of credit. Letters of credit are usually irrevocable. Irrevocability is the whole point of having letters of credit, in fact. What good is a letter of credit if it can be voluntarily revoked at any given moment? In this connection, that's one more reason the council should not jump into this. Time to for the council to confer with independent legal council, we believe. The whole story smells mighty fishy to us.

The question also arises: What's the downside (if any) if our RDA/Council simply refuses to go along with this sudden "emergency" re-fi?

That's it for now. Hopefully one of our readers will show up for tonight's neetings and come back with a report.

Lots to talk about here in advance of tonight's meetings. So what say our gentle readers about all this?

Update 8/18/09 8:18 p.m. MT: For what its worth, here's a link to Scott Schewbke's Twitter tweets. Significantly, according to Mr. Schwebke, it appears that the council has decided to table the matter, and reset it for public hearing three weeks hence:
Council formally sets public hearing for Junction bond reissuance to Sept 8.
Great interim result, we think. This will give the council ample time to carefully examine the issue, and to determine independently who's telling the truth... and who's not.

Tuesday Morning Emerald City News Roundup

Legislative ethics and public employee double dipping are the hot topics of the day

There are a couple of quite interesting items available through the northern Utah print media today, both of which deal with fixing the corruption in Utah government:

First, the Standard-Examiner carries a top notch editorial, urging Utah voters to sign the petition for a "2010 ballot initiative that will do what the Utah Legislature has failed to do for so long — enact ethics reform with teeth."

Among the proponents of this pending voter initiative measure is the Fair Boundaries Coalition, which is promoting the establishment of a non-partisan committee which would oversee the redistricting process to follow the decennial census in 2010. The redistricting element is a matter which has of course been earlier discussed here at Weber County Forum.

With Kim Burningham and David Irvine leading the charge, it's immediately clear that this citizen initiative drive won't be an amateur act. We wholeheartedly agree with the Std-Ex that "it’s time voters got the chance to impose strong ethics regulations on lawmakers via the initiative process."

Keep your eyes on WCF. We'll be closely monitoring this story, and will provide information on how to sign the initiative petition as this matter progresses.

Secondly, the Salt lake Tribune carries a story on a topic that's also near and dear to out WCF hearts, public employee double dipping. Here's the gist, from this morning's Cathy McKittrick story:
The nearly $3 billion projected shortfall in the state's public employee retirement fund has city, county and state officials scrambling to find where to cut costs and shore up the pension plan that covers 156,000 current and retired workers.
Some lawmakers are eyeing double-dippers as a great place to start -- referring to those employees who have retired, are collecting a pension and have come back to work for the same or a different state agency.
"The biggest problem with double-dipping is that we're required by state law to pay them their 401k in the same amount" as had previously been contributed to the pension fund, said Sen. Daniel Liljenquist, D-Bountiful, who co-chairs the Legislature's Interim Retirement Committee.
That mandate is now costing the state somewhere between $10 million and $17 million annually, Liljenquist added.
"Where do you reach the point to cut off a rich benefit like that?" he asked. "To my knowledge, no other state does that. It's very lucrative and it makes sense to tie that down."
Placing restrictions on public employees who retire and rejoin the government work force without continuing contributions to the pension fund is one option being explored to address the retirement shortfall.
While it's probably true that the legislature can't do much about existing 401(k) plans which are already vested (the same may be true with regard to vested pension benefits) , we're hoping that the legislature will, at the very least, put new safeguards in place to prevent this problem from arising in the future.

In closing, we'll adopt the savvy remark from one SLTrib reader in the article comments section:
I strongly disagree with the concept of double or triple dipping. As far as I'm concerned the folks who do this are abusing the system and its wrong. If a person is going to retire from government employment, fine...retire. Thank you very much for your service. But as stated by other readers, its not right that a person be allowed to retire from a state position just to come back 6 months later and get rehired in the position he or she just retired from. That makes no sense. The legislature needs to fix this...now!
That's it for now, gentle readers. Who will be first to comment?

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