Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Powder Mountain Update: Important Public Information Session Set For The State Capitol on Thursday - UPDATED

In a very real sense, the ball is now decidedly "in the citizens' court."

As regular Weber County Forum readers are well aware, over the course of the period since Rep. Froerer's HB 218 stalled in the Senate Government operations Committee by a 3-3 vote, the Powder Mount Developer, the Weber County Commission and representatives of litigants in the Powder Mountain citizens' lawsuit have been engaged in intense negotiations, in a last minute effort to arrive at an agreement which would settle issues in contention, take the Powder Mountain town incorporation proceeding off the table and render Rep. Froerer's remedial voter rights legislation moot. Unfortunately, it's now evident that these negotiations have broken down, according to information which we received via email yesterday from Rep. Froerer:
I just got off the phone with Comm. Dearden and he communicated too me that they are not going to sign any deal at this late hour.... Let me make myself clear there will be no deal before the end of the session. If this is something the citizens in Ogden Valley want done now is the time to pull out the stops and put the energy into passing my bill...
Within yesterday's email, Rep. Froerer also informed us that he has scheduled a public information session at the State Capitol for Thursday, the details of which Rep. Froerer provided to us in a telephone conversation late yesterday evening:
What: Public information briefing and question & answer session on the subject of HB 218 and related matters.
Where: Senate (East) Building, Utah State Capitol, Room #215
When: Thursday, March 4, 2010, 12:00 p.m. (noon)
Formal Agenda: AGENDA - HB 218 – Disincorporation of Powder Mt. Town
Rep. Froerer further informs us that both he and Commissioner Dearden will be present to provide updates on Rep. Froerer's bill and the status of negotiations between the various adverse parties, as well as information about how Ogden Valley citizens (and indeed Utah citizens in general) can now (and once again) assist Rep. Froerer in his effort to push his bill toward passage in the Senate.

We'd also like to salute Rep. Froerer and Comm. Dearden for their continuing efforts to permanently resolve this matter one way or another, and for scheduling a public meeting which will add much-needed transparency to the process and hopefully alleviate the most recent lumpencitizen heartburn.

We likewise urge citizens who are interested in this matter to put Thursday's meeting on their calenders and make a special effort to attend this important event. In a very real sense, the ball is now decidedly "in the citizens' court."

We'll have our own WCF reporter in attendance, of course, and will accordingly report back upon the conclusion of the meeting with details and proposed citizen-activist strategies.

That's it for the moment, Gentle Readers.

Who would like to offer their comment?

Update 3/2/10 3:01 pm.: We've now updated this article with the specific assigned committee room number, and added a link to the Formal Meeting Agenda above.

14 comments:

Ray said...

So what would be the best way to make our presence and desires known and maybe get some attention? Show up in masse? Fill a Front Runner car with Powder Citizens and walk to the capital? How do we get our politicians attention? Times running out!

Curmudgeon said...

Ah... Rudi. That the WCC will not sign an agreement before the end of the session is not news. If you listen to the tape of the committee meeting you put up a while back, you'll hear Dearden tell the committee that no agreement would be completed before the end of the legislative session.

Sorry, Rudi, but the Froerer explanation is starting to fray a bit about the edges. Not too many days ago, you were praising him Froerer pulling his bill from the committee, thus preventing a second vote on it the next day ---- by the way, the fact that Froerer pulled his bill from the Committee you left out of your summary above, inadvertently I'm sure --- saying how clever he was to keep it in limbo rather than risk its being sent to the Senate for a floor vote because Evil Forces were poised to kill it there. Now, suddenly, it's urgent that it go to the floor? His pulling the bill from committee not looking like such a good idea now? And the reason given is he's just learned that no agreement with the WCC will be final by end of session, which Dearden said flat out at the committee hearing days ago?

Sorry, Rudi, but Oz's take on Froerer's tap dancing [that it's designed to make him look good, not to actually work] is looking a lot more probable now.

RudiZink said...

Great idea, Ray. I've now forwarded your comment to Rep. Froerer.

And to the ever curmudgeonly Curmudgeon I say this:

1. Rep Froerer never pulled his bill from committee; he merely held in abeyance (for less than a week) to accommodate the ongoing negotiations.

2. I believe that putting a hold on the bill was a smart tactical move inasmuch as it a) demonstrated a "good faith" attempt to allow the negotiation process to be completed, b) its pendency provided a added bargaining leverage in a situation where passage of the bill was not certain, and 3) served as a demonstration to those Senate legislators who might have yet believed that the parties hadn't devoted sufficient previous effort to negotiate to demonstrate that the parties had faithfully negotiated until all prospects of reaching settlement had been indeed exhausted.

As to Comm. Dearden's Committee testimony, my recollection is that while he conceded that he didn't expect a full and final settlement prior to the end of session, he did believe that the parties were close to completion of a written "Memorandum of Understanding," an occurrence which unfortunately failed to "pan out" in the period following the last Senate Gov Ops Committee hearing.

I say now's no time to abandon ship aand start pointing fingers.

And what say our other WCF readers aabout all this?

Dan S. said...

Curm:

As Rudi says, now is not the time to start pointing fingers. If HB 218 fails to pass by the end of the session, you'll have plenty of time for that between then and election day. And I'll join you.

Meanwhile, lobby those senators!

Dental Floss Tycoon said...

Hell, haven't they bulldozed most of Ogden Valley yet?

What are they waiting for, the cops to remove the mud hippies from in front of the heavy equipment, or have they chained themselves to the door of progress, once again.
Either way, eventually Eden will look like South Chicago.

Property owners with a foresight will buy all of the land available, and sell it to Walmart in a few years, and move to Montana.

ozboy said...

I believe that Froerer has a wonderful opportunity in show biz. He is actually a pretty good actor as witnessed by his mastery of the Powderville script written by his puppet masters in the GOP leadership (so called). Hell, if the voters of Weber County ever wake up and throw the bum outta office he could make a fortune in Hollywood. Even better than that, he most likely could land a leading part in "Saturday's Voyeur" that annual play in Salt Lake that celebrates all things GOP and Utah.

LMAO said...

OZ is as usual "spot on"!Interesting that HB 269 is merely a redo of HB 296.

HB 296 (2007)
HB 296 Substitute (2007)
H.B. 296 Substitute Approval of Subdivisions (Froerer, G.) - Bill Status.Votes

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi and Dan:

I am all for having the bill go to the floor, be passed, be signed by the Governor and become law. And have been doing what little I am able to to make that happen. I'd be delighted if Froerer's bill is adopted.

That said, the tap dancing he's been doing, and the explanations for it, for me, don't add up. Outrage that the bill was stalled by a 3-3 vote [two of the three nay votes coming from the committee's two Dems], which outrage I shared. Hope that by the re-vote next morning, at least one, preferably both, would change their votes. Some anecdotal evidence that was going to happen, but I don't know that for certain. No one does. Never wise to count any vote as certain until it's cast. Only way to have found out was to let the matter come to a vote next morning.

But Froerer suspended the bill [sorry if "pulled" was not the right term], so no second committee vote took place. Much praise from some quarters for clever tactic, hints that had it gone to the floor on the first committee vote [which Froerer said he wanted], it would have been killed there by pro-developer legislators. I'm a little hard put to understand Froerer's disappointment at the tie vote bottling up the bill in committee, when the very next morning, Froerer suspended it in order to make sure it didn't go to the floor where he feared it would be killed? Huh? Something there doesn't add up.

Now it's announced as "news" that the WC Commission and the developers will not sign an agreement by end of session, which Dearden told the committee days ago [it's on the tape]. This alleged "news" [days old] convinces Froerer to change tactics again, and he calls for a "Public Information Meeting" [not sure exactly what the legislative status of a "Public Information Meeting" is, if any. Sounds like a press conference to me.] Still no word if he will, or if he can, bring the bill back before the committee for another vote to send it to the floor.

Starting to look too clever by half to me. But if it works and he can get the bill through to the floor and then through to passage [which I am urging every legislative Democrat I can to support], I'll be delighted and be happy to give him full credit.

If I did MySpace [which I don't], I'd change my status to "Skeptical" about now. But I could be wrong. Have been before. Hope I am this time.

Grizelda said...

The main issue for Valley citizens is what they are going to lose in any "deal". The affected homeowners may benefit from no incorporation, but there is a much larger issue at stake if Powder Mountain obtains unlimited development rights as a trade off for dropping the incorporation effort.

We will have to rely on our Weber County Commission to protect the Valley from density increases that will destroy the Ogden Valley General Plan.

This process should return to the Ogden Valley Planning Commission's 19 recommendations that prompted the filing for the incorporation for guidance. Of course if some kind of "Sweetheart" deal has already been agreed to, and kept from the public, we are right back where we started.

Laura said...

sigh...hope hope hope.

Save the Valley said...

Emily Dickinson said " Hope is a thing with feathers
that perches in the soul"

It is going to take the good people of Weber County to put a stop to this madness. It is instructive to all that if they can make a mistake in the legislature that results in the developers using that mistake as leverage to destroy the General Plan in Ogden Valley, who knows whom will be next?

Laura said...

I've never met a person who has had their toe purposely smashed, step out of the way and say, "Gee, I'm so sorry my foot was in your way."

Thursdays meeting can do volumes to move this issue ahead if handled right.

Danny said...

My understanding is the two Democrats decided to vote it out of committee.

So vote it out of committee already.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

I've heard the same, but experience suggests, with legislators, it is not wise to assume you have a vote until the vote is actually cast. Recall poor Sen [or is it Rep?] Urquart who thought he had a 4-3 agreement to vote his sex ed bill out of committee the night before the vote. The next morning, he couldn't find a single member of the committee who would even make a motion to send the bill to the floor. Seven stoney silent faces. So while I hope the two Dems have come to understand the error of their ways, will vote to send the bill to the floor if given another chance, I wouldn't assume anything until the votes are actually cast.

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