Saturday, January 02, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Garcia Pledges to Remain Advocate For Minorities

A well-deserved tribute with an added bonus: A little trip down memory lane

Uplifting Scott Schwebke story in this morning's Standard-Examiner, wherein a number of city officials (Boss Godfrey included) pay well-deserved tribute to Ogden City political heavyweight Jesse Garcia, who's now departing the city council, after sixteen years' dedicated service, zealously representing the interests of the citizens of Ogden City's Municipal Ward 1:
Garcia pledges to remain advocate for minorities
In addition to a series of stirring tributes, Mr. Schwebke also significantly devotes two brief paragraphs to at least one "striking" instance where Councilman Garcia had been seriously "at odds" with the now-complimentary Mayor Godfrey:

A striking example of Garcia's differences with Godfrey came in 2007 when he opposed efforts by the mayor's administration to have Utah Transit Authority earmark $247,500 in federal grant funds for engineering, planning and other studies for an urban gondola system.
Those funds have been designated to the city for a street car transit alternative analysis but the gondola project aimed at linking downtown and Weber State University has not come to fruition.

Regular readers will recall the developing story in 2007, all of which we've assembled here in our Weber County Forum Secret Gondola Study Collection.

To refresh our readers' recollection, and for a little trip down memory lane, here's the Secret Gondola Study story story in a nutshell:

At some point in 2006, Mayor Godfrey's Washington lobbyist finessed a $247 federal public transportation grant, which, as per custom, was turned over to the Utah Transit Authority, as local funds administrator. Godfrey did not report to the council the allocation of these funds; and they were only inadvertently revealed to the council months later.

Although these funds were designated with Ogden City as the intended beneficiary, Boss Godfrey adopted the preposterous position that these funds did not belong to Emerald City, that they were not subject to the authority of the Ogden City Council, but that they were instead placed at UTA's sole disposal, and for disposition at its sole discretion, toward a previously commissioned gondola engineering study.

Godfrey's mendacious words still ring in our ears: "It's not our money!" said Boss Godfrey, (with his fingers crossed behind his back, and his toes crossed inside his shoes). Ultimately, when the smoke cleared, after at least one citizen GRAMA request, a blistering Std-Ex article... or two, and the public release of a series of incriminating emails establishing that the Godfrey Administration (and possibly the UTA) had attempted (and colluded) to hide the true material facts from the city council, it turned out that these funds were indeed subject to disposition by the Ogden City; and (thanks in large part to Councilman Garcia's efforts), Godfrey and the UTA quietly backed down, and the heretofore disputed funds were ultimately earmarked by the council for the now ongoing street car transit alternative analysis, (as the Standard now reports with undue modesty).

(For the full un-abridged story, we again urge our readers again to check out our previously linked Secret Gondola Study Collection.)

As Councilman Garcia vacates his Ward 1 Council seat, we join in his tribute. As Councilwoman Gochnour says, "He will be missed."

"Sorely missed" we'll add: "Don't it always seem to go... you don't know what you got til it's gone?"


Ogden Res said...

Godfrey says nice things about Garcia now, after:

Godfrey had city employees consistently slander Garcia for years whenever Garcia dared to disagree with Godfrey

Godfrey had his cronies spend thousands on his hack candidate, Neil Garner.

Godfrey got what he paid for. And the voters in Garcia's district got what they deserve - somebody who will not listen to them, because Garner will take all his orders from Godfrey.

No one isall good or all bad said...

It is true that in our world nothing is all bad or all good. This remains to be true for Mr. Garcia. As a councilman he has a list of great accomplishments that has advanced our community. These are well publicized. However, there is a flip side to Mr. Garcia that has not been so well documented. In 2006, during an illegal aliens right rally that shut down 25th street, a lone 61 year old women was standing on the sidewalk with a shirt that had an anti-illegal immigration slogan on it. It was not offensive in nature, but was definitely contrary to what the rally was all about. Now imagine 200-300 illegal aliens marching up and down 25th street, the road was closed and I was assigned to conducted traffic control, with Mr. Garcia in the lead. All of these illegal aliens and Mr. Garcia see this old lady. They surrounded her yell at her “Yes we Can” in Spanish. I’ll give it to the lady, she was a tuff one and stood her ground, not responding to any of the yelling, but just stood there. I was very worried that the lady would be hurt and that the rally could escalate. I got between the crowd and her and asked Mr. Garcia to do something to help de-escalate the situation. His response was, “I want you to arrest her!” and pointed to the lady. I was momentarily dumfounded and then reminded Mr. Garcia that there was this little thing called the Constitution and I had no further right to arrest the lady than I did anyone in the rally. I again asked him to help de-escalate the situation, to which he said, “Well she doesn’t look like one of my constituents.” He then walked off. Another officer and I had to stand around the women until the crowd moved elsewhere.

This situation shows the other true side of Mr. Garcia. He wants constitutional rights only when he favors the situation. But I think that his comments that a 61 year old lady, who happens to be white, does not look like one of his constituents is about a racist a comment as one can get. I don’t necessarily think that this situation tells all about Mr. Garcia, but it does speak volumes. I also don’t think that he is the greatest thing since sliced bread just because he disagrees with Mayor Godfrey. (Enemy of my Enemy is my friend sort of thing).

I think that Mr. Garcia could do his community wonders if he would lead a crusade against the gang problem in Ogden. Since so many of his family members are gang members this would give him some creditability on both sides of the fence and all involved would support him.

I don’t think that Mr. Garcia, as a politician, is any more or less than a liar, cheat, or pushing his version of community development that anyone in the Godfrey administration. I don’t think anyone one is all good or all bad.

Danny said...

It is sad that some Hispanics (as well as blacks) seem to be quite racist - that is probably why Garcia lost the mayoral election and is perhaps why he was not re-elected - he is perceived as representing Hispanics only (as well as the fact that so few in his district bothered to vote).

When Garcia says that he is going to continue to be an advocate for low income people and minorities, I would have preferred he had said he would be an advocate for low income and DISADVANTAGED people. Why differentiate on the basis of race?

That being said, there were many times when Garcia stood up to the mayor, and took the full force of all the slander, mudslinging, and attacks that our taxpayer money can buy, as Godfrey used the city treasury and city employees as he always does, to do whatever he wants, and in that case to attack Garcia.

Garcia may have a blind spot on race - it may be the poor whites in his district chose to be represented by a white rather than not be represented at all. But what they got was truly nothing at all. At least Garcia represented somebody in his district. All Garner represents is Godfrey and his sleazy cronies.

Tammi Diaz said...

Utah Transit Authority cut back service to save $500K, Keeps BONUSES Worth $600K. It is not about improving Pubic Transit it about BONUSES. A Good Bus System does not bring in the Huge BONUSES.
Catmeow Public Transit:

Edward said...

Tammi - you're right, UTA's a bunch of weasels who care more about their bonuses than they do about doing things right. In fact, I think after the Ogden City Admin they are the biggest bunch of weasels (as far as a public servant org goes) in the State. But what does that have to do w/ Garcia? Although I didn't agree w/ Garcia much of the time, I will miss him on the council.

Colonel Jessup said...

garcia is a roach and I'm glad for the guy that did nothing for our city to be gone

Wondering out loud said...

I recall when, a few years back, Jessee missed some City meetings so he could attend a ralley in SLC in support of illegal aliens.

I'm wondering if this is how he plans to stay involved?

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