Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Ogden City Property Confiscation Committee Declares Four-block Downtown Area Blighted

The sky's the limit when your City Council gambles with other peoples' money, we guess

Scott Schwebke reports this morning on the results of last night's Ogden City Property Confiscation Committee (RDA) Hearing, and reveals that Boss Godfrey-style right-wing crony socialism remains alive and well in Emerald City. Here's the gist:
OGDEN -- By a 5-2 vote, the city council, acting as the municipality's redevelopment agency board, agreed Tuesday night to declare a four-block area in the east-central section of the city as blighted.
City council members who voted against the designation were Susan Van Hooser and Amy Wicks.
Read the whole sad story here:
Four-block Ogden area designated as blighted; redevelopment to renew downtown
Fasten your seatbelts and hold on tight to your wallets, folks, as our new council majority of five (Comrades Blair, Garner, Gochnour, Stephens and Stephenson) throw fiscal conservatism to the wind, pick up where the financially reckless 2004-05 Gang of Five Council left off, and embark upon yet another round of foolhardy, borrow-and-spend, tax increment-financed BIG SPENDING.

Sadly, eight short months since the taxpayers bailed out Boss Godfrey's money-losing, tax-increment financed Junction Project Scam, it's blatantly apparent that our dreamy and fleeceable City Council has learned absolutely nothing from the experience.

The sky's the limit when your City Council gambles with other peoples' money, we guess.

Update 4/14/01 12:26 p.m.: Per Dan S:
Meanwhile, a separate SE article provides more detail about what the city has in mind for part of this area: Redevelopment of four buildings on the 2300 block of Washington by an Virginia outfit called Octagon Capital Partners, and a parking garage behind these buildings. The parking garage would have 250 spaces and cost $4 million (i.e., $16,000 per space). It would be built by the city and financed by a 20-year bond, repaid through a special assessment district encompassing properties that would benefit from the parking garage. [2d link added by your Blogmeister]
Thusly, the Boss Godfrey plot sickens!


hmmm said...

Sounds like the latest scam being proposed by the Godfrey Gaggle is stepping on the toes of one of his cheerleaders, Janith Wright.
I wonder how much she like him now?

Curmudgeon said...

I wish they'd delayed the vote for a few weeks to gather more information and input from residents. Two things in particular seem to me should have been examined more fully:

1. The consultant admitted that some of the examples he offered to illustrate blight in the area were in fact not from where he said they were from. He insisted that made no difference, that the area was blighted despite the mis-labled examples. Probably true, since the standards for declaring an area blighted are so ridiculously loose nearly any 4 blocks in the city could be so designated. Nevertheless, the mis-located examples of blight have me wondering what else the city's highly paid consultant mis-labled, mis-located, didn't keep as good track of as he should have. Maybe nothing. Maybe a lot. Given this, some time to look into what else, if anything, was mis-labled would have been wise, if for no other reason than to demonstrate to the public that the Council was proceeding carefully.

2. Do the property owners/residents in the four block area favor a blight designation and RDA for their properties or not? Seems to me it would be relatively easy... and wise... for the Council to have asked them. And (a) if a majority of the property owners in the proposed area, and (b) if that majority included those who own a majority of the parcels in the area want it, the Council would have a much clearer mandate from those directly involved to proceed. As it stands, we have no idea whether the property owners in the area favor the Mayor's plan to "help" them or not. We should know before proceeding. So should the Council.

Billy said...

This is fantastic, just the shot in the arm Ogden has needed. Maybe this will open up the door to such vital projects as parking garages? What on earth is Ogden doing to its downtown?

Curmudgeon said...

By the way, occurred to me this morning, after reading the SE's latest story about Ogden's just-announced coming to a neighborhood near you soon "High Adventure Kiddie Playground" that the consultant last night probably got off message --- the Mayor will not be pleased --- when he referred repeatedly to a planned parking garage in the new RDA without once describing it as "Ogden's High Adventure Parking Garage."

All those consulting fees, and he couldn't stay on message....

Anonymous said...

The same thing Dirks did 30 years ago after we voted it down twice. You've got to watch those visionaries, it's called a land grab.

Ed J said...

Our new council majority of five Comrades Blair, Gochnour, Garner, Stephens and Stephenson are fucking idiots.

Let me repeat. Our new council majority of five Comrades Blair, Gochnour, Garner, Stephens and Stephenson are fucking idiots.

drewmeister said...

What Ed J said.

Jennifer said...

I would have thought Mr. Blair & Ms. Gochnour would have voted NO on this one.



p.s. even with the mayor going on about spend, spend, spend ... and more tax increments! How many more years of Ogden's life is he going to mortgage away?


ozboy said...

I'm not sure, but the outrage expressed herein about the new "blight" designation may just be a lot to do about nothing.

All RDA's are not inherently bad, this one may fall into that category.

The city states that it has no intentions of acquiring any of this land - by outright purchase or by eminent domain action. If the city keeps its word, a huge IF as long as Godfrey has his hand in it, then what is the real harm in this action by the city council?

As people around this site are fond of saying, "the devil is in the details". Until all the details are known about this latest project, then it is hard to see the down side of it.

One question, amongst others, that I do think is pertinent is - will this new RDA area be subordinated to the Boyer company like every other RDA area in the city is?

Skippy said...

I'm with you on the point of all RDA's not being inherently bad. They have been used successfully throughout Utah and elsewhere for good. However, it is hard not to remain skeptical in Ogden. It may be nothing, or it may be something huge - and that's the problem with this administration, you never know which way it will go (maybe that's why there is so much expressed outrage). Hopefully, it'll end up being nothing- time will tell. Until then it is important to keep demanding information and answers (especially for the property owners).

Curmudgeon said...

Oz and Skippy:

You've both put your finger on what is, for me, the key matter. Provided no eminent domain takings for the benefit of private holders are involved, the RDA might --- might --- in the end work out well. But the people pushing for it, Hizzonah and his gaggle of advisers, are the same people who assured us the Juntion wouldn't cost the taxpayers a dime. That turned out to be expensively not true. They're the same people who recommended a city-subsidized sale of the Windsor Hotel to a developer who agreed to rehab it under existing zoning laws. He didn't and the property still sits there, empty after the city forced the previous owner out, declining daily. They're the same people who told us the River Project would be a tremendous success. It now bosts one, count 'em one, new building with three businesses in it, and the largest collection of vacant lots in the city, and a collapsing former residential district which painfully illustrates what real blight looks like, now that the city has forced the former residents out. In time, arsonists may remove that particular Godfrey "success" from Ogden's downtown scene. The same people who tried to have the city, on its nickel and its risk, add two more floors to the still largely un-leased office block on the SE corner of the Junction. [Happily, the Council then said no.]

The RDA might end up being beneficial, but given the long history of bad business decisions, often perhaps driven by cronyism, I have not much confidence that under this Administration it will. My disappointment with the Council has to do with the members not having developed much humility based on past performance regarding the Mayor's --- and their --- ability to manage such projects to successful outcomes.

Dan S. said...

Meanwhile, a separate article provides more detail about what the city has in mind for part of this area: Redevelopment of four buildings on the 2300 block of Washington by an Virginia outfit called Octagon Capital Partners, and a parking garage behind these buildings. The parking garage would have 250 spaces and cost $4 million (i.e., $16,000 per space). It would be built by the city and financed by a 20-year bond, repaid through a special assessment district encompassing properties that would benefit from the parking garage.

Curmudgeon said...

Also note that the SE has parts of last night's meeting up on its website.

it's all the way you see the world- said...

This crap has been done before- i.e., the old ZCMI store was remodeled for county offices with parking - only parking is for employees -

Go to the next block South - the parking lot out back where the old bowling alley stood - beautiful parking lot but only for employees unless you get a special invitation there to see a government employee-

Why can't government employees walk a few blocks like every body else does?

Interesting that someone mentioned Mayor Dirks - He was another idiot as far as taxpayer funds but the present idiot has put Dirks in the shade.

County Commissioners would do well to remember that every year they still subsidize the operations of the Dirks dillies such as the Egyptian Theater and the Conference Center which will be subsidized into etermity.

Why doesn't Godfrey remember that forever subsidy when he complains about giving some funds to the Mt. Ogden Golf Course?

And will someone please explain to me what in the hell a hub hotel is - Sounds like maybe Godfrey is moving St. Anne's up there-

I wonder how the Marriott and Ogden's other downtown hotels feel about having taxpayers finance a hotel and/or a hotel parking lot to compete with them for travelers who are stupid enough to want to stay in Ogden overnight to enjoy the High Adventure Center and other amenities?

Michelle Malkin said...

How do you spell wealth redistribution? Tax-increment financing

Fireman Joe said...

Wasn't The Junction supposed to revitalize the area to the east?

Blight on the east, big building for sale on the south, empty, weed filled lots to the north, Riverfront project now to become a playground, go Matt go!!!

BAT_girl said...



The more people attend and speak up, the more likely we will be heard.

gop-er said...

Fireman Joe.
The Junction was supposed to revitalize ALL of Ogden, if I recall correctly. But of course there was supposed to be gondola connecting the Junction to WSU and Malan's Basin. That's probably why downtown is still full of empty bldgs.
if only we'd listened to the Mayor and the Geigers

AWM said...

" Why can't government employees walk a few blocks like every body else does?" question?

so thrilled to finally get the picture said...

Tonight I took the time to go down to the Junction area to check out what has been designated blighted, et cetera cetera-

After driving around and inspecting it thoroughly a light bulb turned on for me-

The reason Ogden has to clean up empty buildings and crumbling retainer walls in parking areas in the "blighted area" is because OGDEN IS GETTING A BRAND NEW LDS TEMPLE, THE LIKES OF WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE!!!!!


For those of you who were not born LDS or have not converted to LDS, snuff is a brown powder that people put in their mouths to masticate to spit out in a steady stream or who push it around in their mouth with a twig off a bush that has been chewed thoroughly to create what is called a "toothbrush" by those addicted to the habit.

'Course it does seem rather expensive to spend $20 million to create a parking garage so people can park their cars to go to the new temple.

Makes one speculate if 250 spaces at a cost of $16,000.00 per parking space is going to be enough to take care of the overflow.

Maybe they should actually consider 4 floor of parking stalls?

David S. said...


I sent a letter to city council telling them to watch, this is all about a parking garage, so Godfrey's contractor cronies can feel good about writing him a check for the next election. And, voila! Here we have this article.

Meanwhile, the LANDLORD for the Marketstar building is sitting on a parking garage that the city GAVE him.

And meanwhile, as I told the council, the old IGA building on 24th sits vacant, because Godfrey BLOCKED them from fixing it up. They had a tenant lined up and everything.

(Godfrey made fun of me for saying that - he said he wondered when the black helicopters would show up, ha ha. But it is the truth. He blocked it.)

Thanks for nuthin' some of you council members. Try to be more thoughtful next time.

Oh, and will they do anything about Godfrey using city funds to pay Greiner's fines? Not unless Godfrey asks them to, I'll bet.

Dorothy Littrell said...

Next BIG question:

Who is going to pay for the security personnel to patrol the three or four floors of parking stalls to keep visitors from being mugged, molested or raped when they park there?

Just remember the nightmare of incidents that happened at the old Ogden City Mall parking terrace for a period of time-

I know - I was mugged one Friday evening about 5:30 after I crossed the street from Inkleys and entered the Southwest corner of the old Mall on the first level.

I spent the night in a local hospital in intensive care with Dr. John Reis checking on me all night.

I broke 3 fingers fighting to keep my purse. They are still crooked.

I learned one thing from the mugging which is to try to throw your purse as far away and as far up as you possibly can to divert attention to where it may land and then run like a rabbit..

But, more importantly, never enter a parking terrace alone and I learned that lesson long before Ogden was overrun with illegals and druggies.

Disgusted said...

The City Council once again disappoints me in their myopic vision. If any of them did a little research of recent Ogden City history they would have asked why the city needs a parking structure when they just gave one away that was situated equal distance from the Junction as the proposed new one. Frankly the one the city just gave away was actually more accretive to the city in that it supported the convention center functions that take place there as well as it could have meet the needs that will be used to justify the proposed new structure.

But the big picture that everyone is missing is the loss of tax revenues to the general fund. You see, it’s the general fund that provides the budget that operates the city. When the city diverts money from the general fund or removes revenue sources from the general fund the city is left with only one other major source to acquire funds from in order to operate the city. By turning this into a blight area and by the city’s use of tax increment financing to fund this project area, the city will for the next 20 years divert away any tax revenue contributions that have been or will be generated off of this property area. In other words the general fund of the city lost an existing revenue source for the next 20 years and as such, you ladies and gentlemen, will have to make up the lost difference plus you will not have that project area contributing to off set your tax obligations for a long, long time.

As the administration ties up more and more general fund tax generating properties in projects areas that get reclassified as RDA projects that utilize tax increment financing, the more Ogden residents will take on the larger and larger responsibility within the city to provide financial support for services to be provided by the city. Bottom line, your taxes will go up and up faster than that of other communities.

Jennifer Neil said...

So Thrilled:

FYI - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will rebuild and update the Temple, complete with new and improved parking for Temple Patrons. They take care of their own and it has always been so ... no need to park in Boss Godfrey's parking garage across the street. Godfry will not make a dime off the Church, they have enough to pay their own way - they manage money the right way. I really don't think they undertake any building project without having the $$$ to just pay for it.


ozboy said...

David S

Your above post reminds me once again just why it is that you should be mayor instead of the phony little imposter we currently have sitting in the office.

It sure would be a great service to the beleaguered citizens of Ogden if you would change your mind and go for it next election.

Angelo J. Roma said...

Gouchner is in my municipal ward. Looks like I'm going to have to try my chops at another Council run next year.

blake fowers said...

Hey, David Smith
Don't dare listen to Ozboy about running for mayor. I know that he makes promises to help people and then he walks out on them in the middle of the campaign. I know he did this to Glassman, then he gets up set when Glassman resign to work for Godfrey. You would think that he would wise up. That is Ozboy for you.





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