Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ogden City Property Confiscation Committee Hearing Thread

A whole new thread, for the benefit of those who'd like to live blog, or otherwise report on tonight's Ogden City RDA "blight hearing."

We just received this missive in a lower comments thread:
Are you interested in postings from the Ogden City Confiscation Committee hearing tonight?
I'm passing through Ogden and would be happy to do so.
If so, where would I do that? Here?
-Lone Gunman
The answer of course is a hearty "YES;" and in response to this inquiry, we're thus setting up this whole new thread, for the benefit of those who'd like to live blog, or otherwise report on tonight's Ogden City RDA "blight hearing."

Yes, Lone Gunman, we're happy to take you up on your gracious offer!

Have at it, O Gentle One(s).

We'll be standing by for what might well turn out to be a very lively event.

Let's just say "we're all ears."

Update 4/14/10 3:15 a.m.: Special thanks to drive-by podcaster Lone Gunman, who dropped into town last night and offered a spellbinding and gut-busting play-by-play narration of last night's farcical Godfrey Administration blight hearing presentation. Trust us, folks. You owe it to yourselves to check out LG's wry running commentary from last night's meeting, down there in our lower comments section.

Update 4/15/10 3:00 p.m.: Lucky us. The Ogden City Internet Technology Crew have finally gotten around to putting up the video of Tuesday's RDA meeting onto the City website. Check it out! Select the April 13 meeting from the lower video menu:
Ogden City Council Videos
Watch the Five Boss Godfrey Comrades (Blair, Garner, Gochnour, Stephens and Stephenson) awaken from the dead of sleep at the end of a very long and boring meeting, and then rubber-stamp Boss Godfrey's right-wing socialist land-grab agenda, which was already their plan in the first place.

A Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat to Councilwomen Van Hooser and Wicks, the only two apparently fiscally-responsible grownups left on the Ogden City Council.

50 comments:

The Lone Gunman said...

New in town. Don't know names.

Bureaucrat describing how enacting eminent domain requires approval of 80% of property owners. Don't know if that means 80% of persons or 80% of assessed value.

The Lone Gunman said...

City council behind dais. In front of dais, table set up with bureaucrats talking to the public.

Pass the No-Doz. Charisma-deficiency.

Now asking for written comments to be handed in. Gochnour says they can comment later. People told to make copies for all the council members.

Bureaucrats thick as flies.

The Lone Gunman said...

Pretty decent crowd of commoners too. About 30% full.

Bureaucrat talking about how they will present evidence of blight and there will be cross examination.

Who will cross, I wonder?

The Lone Gunman said...

McConkie says the reason we are doing this is the property owners can't get anything going.

Strange, since new fun center across street!

Says press has been kind to Ogden, lots of traffic on Washington, but people "have no reason to stop."

Pity, after what, 12 years in office so I hear with current mayor, bureaucrat says people have no reason to stop.

City not wanting to tear down and take over. Wanting to "work with" owners and bring "city's tools" to the owners.

Washington going up to Adams. Don't remember other streets.

Very boring, droning speaker.

The Lone Gunman said...

Interesting how they are proposing putting a bunch of horrible bores in charge of massive area to "revitalize" it.

Paid consultant speaking now - Springmeyer.

Says he did a survey, and as such recommends blight designation.

Didn't mention whether blight designation will likely generate more or less fees for him going forward.

althepal said...

"Interesting how they are proposing putting a bunch of horrible bores in charge of massive area to "revitalize" it."

LOL!

The Lone Gunman said...

Making the area sound like a real hellhole.

I better make sure my lawn is mowed when I get home in case this guy needs another area to study.

Area is Washington to Adams, 20th to 24th.

Persons living in this area may now grab family jewels and shriek.

Wicks asking good questions. This woman is no shrinking violet.

The Lone Gunman said...

Consultant showing selected pictures.

No kidding, one condition of blight is "weeds."

And here I thought I was being facetious.

Unsanitary and unsafe condition on 70% of area in question.

The Lone Gunman said...

Said there are a number of LUST sites.

Ears perked up.

Leaking Underground Storage Tanks.

Ears perked back down.

Only 2% of area had environmental issues.

Once the bulldozers roll, I wonder if it will still be only 2%

The Lone Gunman said...

Computer battery down to two hours.

Ability to stay awake listening to boring speakers down to 1.5 hours.

The Lone Gunman said...

Big problem identified:

Buildings in area do not meet current seismic standards.

Duh.

There goes the whole city, I guess.

Get out of your wonderful old house while you can. The city is coming to save you.

Van Hooser asked if consultant has been in neighborhood. Consultant says he has walked the street in neighborhood.

Thank goodness. I was starting to think he was a hack.

"The finest house in Ogden could be in this area and could be adversely affected."

Stevens "So it's the area around my home that could be affected."

Consultant. "Yes".

Whaaaaaa?

The Lone Gunman said...

Crime:

Said calls for service not higher than comparable area.

The Lone Gunman said...

Oops.

Said crime IS higher in project area.

VanHooser noted that is not surprise since Washington is high traffic and lots of traffic citations.

The Lone Gunman said...

The Lone Gunman is going to surf the Web for awhile.

Consultant killing me slowly.

The Lone Gunman said...

Gochnour speaks.

Notes that she lives in very nice neighborhood and by consultant's standard the homes in her neighborhood would be considered blighted.

Must not live next door to Stevens (who lives in nicest home in Ogden apparently.)

Consultant says it's a multitude of standards.

Leaning on theory "If you can't dazzle 'em with facts, then baffle 'em with BS."

"Don't think about it. This is hard and you are stupid. Just trust me."

Curmudgeon said...

Most telling comment so far:

Says... lots of traffic on Washington, but people "have no reason to stop."

Pity, after what, 12 years in office so I hear with current mayor, bureaucrat says people have no reason to stop.


Exactly. 12 years and investment of many millions of public dollars in The Junction, which borders the proposed blight zone along Washington Blvd. And people have "no reason to stop." Uh huh. Jaysus...

The Lone Gunman said...

Property owners will now cross examine the consultant.

Daniel Tavish: 95% is considered to have four or more blight factors? Doesn't believe it.

Consultant told him his question was out of order. Tavish politely withdrew.

John Bowen: Said he guess he is in a hellhole. Junction open for a year and has higher vacancy than blight study area! Hahahahaha! Good one. How do we compare with Ogden and the state.

Consultant said Bowen is out of order and irrelevant.

Bowen tried to interject. Consultant told him to shut up he was not done talking then went on for five minutes. Actually getting quite snippy. Says whole city could be blighted. They are just looking if this selected area "qualifies" as blighted.

Astounding! This guy just bared his own proverbial butt!

The Lone Gunman said...

John Bowen earnestly entreating consultant.

Consultant raising his voice. Says he has a picture of a mattress and a downed fence.

Photos were in adjacent area to Bowen's.

You Ogdenites appear to have some spunk. Seems to be catching the consultant off guard.

Now saying Bowen is right - he will change the report - but does not affect finding of blight.

Okaaaaay . . . .

Multiple consultants/bureaucrats going after Bowen.

Your taxes at work.

The Lone Gunman said...

Bowen peeling varnish off these guys.

Consultant says whole city could be called blighted. The area in question was "chosen".

City council's eyes on consultant. Seem to be somewhat uncomfortable with Bowen.

The Lone Gunman said...

Looks like reporter and photographer are here.

Resident pointing out mattress in question is on city property.

Consultant didn't say whether mattress came from trunk of his car.

Resident saying process seems tilted. No time for prep for citizens. Something about frequent change in property ownership a cause of blight.

That must be why fun center area not blighted. Property never changes hands - always vacant.

Pointing out crime comparison zones were not comparable.

This woman is on planning commission!

Sad, how residents treat these bureaucratic snakes with so much deference - even this woman - a member of the planning commission!

The Lone Gunman said...

A lot of questioning of consultant.

Consultant raising his voice again.

My guess is city council is getting bored.

Consultant seems smart. Public seems concerned but not as knowledgeable.

Hard to fight a foe who is working off your paycheck and does this for a living!!

The Lone Gunman said...

Planning commission member is for the mayor, for the fun center, sold her property for the fun center, got a raw deal, is for the city council.

Bureaucrat complimenting her now for keeping retailing in her property.

Mayor Godfrey says we are not going to tear down. We are going to incentivize people to fix up. We need parking. There are a host of challenges and we need a tool. We need to spend a lot of money. We will rebate tax money off investments back to owners. Tax increment. Not heavy handed. Mayor is freehanded Santa Claus.

The Lone Gunman is not queer, but if he was, the mayor . . . .

At least, he SAYS he's all that!

"We are in a cycle of insanity."

No kidding. Direct quote.

The Lone Gunman said...

Mayor Godfrey is human machine gun mouth.

Planning commissioner gets screwed, but loves Ogden and loves it all.

Pity she is too old to ask for phone number.

The Lone Gunman said...

Brett Maughan owns the Weber Center.

Which factor is the Weber Center deficient in?

Consultant:
Criminal activity
Vacancy
Unsafe Conditions

The Lone Gunman wonders if he is living in alternate universe. Weber Center is nice building, no?

Consultant saying area was chosen. Weber Center is in it. Tough nuts, basically.

Maughan has a lot of experience with blight. Says 100% of the time when area is blighted the property value goes UP. Says he is guilty by association. Worries taxes will go up.

Left to go take pills for bipolar disorder.

The Lone Gunman said...

Nobody has said why this area was "chosen" or who "chose" it.

Regarding parking, the mayor made a point of saying this would help him get a new garage.

My guess: contractor who will build garage helped "choose".

Curmudgeon said...

"Incentivize people"?

Jaysus....

The Lone Gunman said...

Question:

Can't you provide incentive without "blight" designation.

Consultant:

There are no grants. All money comes from tax increment.

Ie People fix up property. Extra tax money goes not to city general fund, but to special account mayor can use to build parking garage for benefit of people in area as well as for benefit of mayor's contractor friend.

The Lone Gunman said...

Consultant said the words "parking garage" four times in three sentences.

Describing things you can do with tax increment.

Parking, parking, parking, parking, something, parking garage, something else, parking . . .

The Lone Gunman said...

Again, the kicker:

80% of public in area has to vote for this.

Lady asking if she gets to say how much her property will be taken for.

Consultant says she can go to court if she doesn't like it.

Cross examination over.

Now public speaks on it's own to provide evidence or non evidence of blight rather than cross examination. Nobody stands.

General presentations next from interested persons. Nobody.

Now, general comments.

Curmudgeon said...


Lady asking if she gets to say how much her property will be taken for.

Consultant says she can go to court if she doesn't like it.


This is a change. The official line of the Administration just a few weeks ago was, as I recall, that no eminent domain takings were planned in the proposed redevelopment area.

The Lone Gunman said...

Empire Printing owner.

100 year old building. Will he be shown the door?

Somehow, nobody is talking much about eminent domain. My guess, this is for a reason.

This is the bait and switch.

The Lone Gunman said...

Same guy:

Ogden is hardest place to get anything done - massive regulation. Everyone agrees.

He's not getting how this benefits him.

The wheels of progress are rolling but the individual has no good way to provide input, he says.

The Lone Gunman said...

Great story:

Lady bought property in this area. Was told city wanted this area to do well.

Was set upon by bureaucrats. By the time they were done, she was out $20,000 to get the bureaucrats off her back.

She is wondering what the deal is this time. Does she get tax increment money?

Consultant: Hahahahaha! No frigging way! Tax increment goes to city panel not property owners. But she could ask for some of the money. Maybe the panel would give her some. No speculation on whether she could also get a date with hot movie star if she asked for it.

She already got a $20,000 shafting for investing in Ogden. What will this one cost? she asks.

Code violation engforcements are not the consultant's problem. It's not related.

Curmudgeon said...

LG:
It's her fault. If she'd just brought Mr. Lesham in as a partner, she probably wouldn't have had to worry about code enforcement for quite a while. If ever.

The Lone Gunman said...

People filtering out.

Sheesh, these people are so outgunned.

Mayor speaking. This is a way for you to receive money.

(I thought the consultant said they would get no money.)

Mayor says this is a way to improve the area. We want to involve you. We have to take this first step to move forward. This is just a way to get tools. Mayor wants to hear your stories. We don't write the codes (a lie). We want to work with you.

If this guy was taller he'd be up to his neck in chicks. He's a smooth talker, he is.

The Lone Gunman said...

Another planning commission member - Ian Heuton.

Says people will want to do this when they find out about it.

Says you need to do this so it brings everyone up - so everyone will invest because the dumps around are getting better.

Talks about 50% faster than the mayor.

The Lone Gunman said...

Ian Hueton still talking, quote:


ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatat

blight is good ....

The Lone Gunman said...

Mayor:

Giving examples of how eminent domain is good, so good, so very good.

The Lone Gunman said...

Ian Hueton is sitting by the newspaper reporter and talking to him.

Some lady is thanking the mayor. Says her building fed her family. Appreciates the mayors comforting words.

The Lone Gunman said...

David Smith said that the IGA property was blocked by the mayor, and so he cannot be believed when assurances are all he gives since the mayor said that property would only be held up for a few months but still sits years later.

The mayor said Smith doesn't know what he is talking about and he is only doing good.

One wonders: How does a member of the public question the actions of the mayor, when the mayor can shoot him down and the person cannot redirect?

The Lone Gunman said...

Comments are drying up. Comments are dying out.

Another guy is saying there is too much regulation. Says keep eminent domain off the table.

Yet another guy questioning eminent domain. Consultant says you gotta have 60% of value and 75% of owners have to ask for eminent domain.

I'm getting bored. Signing off.

Mitch said...

Ah yes! almost three hours into the meeting... The Godfrey lovefest!

Hey LG! Is the council alive and breathing? Has anyone checked their pulse?

Keisha said...

Uh-0h!

At 6:58 PM Lone Gunman reported this:

"Computer battery down to two hours."

It's NOW 9:13.

Looks like we'll have to read Schwebke's story in the morning, to found out how it all shook out.

lone gunman appreciator said...

Thanks for the Lone Gunman - pretty smart for just passing through - will donate money to this site for an entertaining view of Ogden getting screwed again - it's better to laugh than cry

Dan S. said...

Wow--LG puts the rest of us occasional live-bloggers to shame. Thanks!

Curmudgeon said...

I'm curious, did the Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce have a spokesperson there last night to present the CofC's opinion about the latest proposed Redevelopment Zone? Used to be, not long ago, whenever Hizzonah presented one of his momentary brainstorms to the Council [flatland gondolas etc.], the Chamber had someone there to say how wonderful it was all going to be. The Chamber seems to have been largely AWOL in public of late when Hizonah's latest brainstorms were being floated [all year outdoor ice climbing towers, etc.]

Was the Chamber present last night?

Sat through one damn long meeting said...

Curm,

No Chamber goons or Geigers for that matter.

Lone Gunslinger, your live account of the meeting is beyond comparison and your wit makes it all somewhat bearable.

Here's Schwebke's lame attempt at an article:
http://m.standard.net/topics/ogden-city/2010/04/13/four-block-ogden-area-designated-blighted-redevelopment-renew-downtown

Curmudgeon said...

TY, Sat.

drewmeister said...

Dan, on behalf of myself and all other WCF reader lemmings, we demand you retract the part of your statement where you referred to yourself (and others) with the word "shame". My heroes are not synonymous with the word "shame". ;-)

However, Gunslinger, your accounting and analysis was stunning - that's the only word I can think of to describe it. It was certainly one of the best I've ever seen. We are all indebted to your courageous suffering of the insufferable.

And to Ms. Wicks and Ms. Van Hooser - thank you for standing up for what's right, whether your reasons were that use of eminent domain for more properties when we've got hundreds of acres of boarded up and abandoned RDA property already is, IMHO, just plain wrong - or whether it was because it's irresponsible to be rushing into these sorts of decisions period. Thanks.

Curmudgeon said...

Just want to note that in this morning's SE story on the meeting, Mr. McConkie again went on the record saying no eminent domain proceedings are planned for the new RDA.

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