Thursday, June 17, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Ogden Mayor Proposes $50,000 Study of Golf Course Winter Sports

It's ironic that the mayor wants to pay a professional to study this extremely small idea, when he finds no need to pay professionals to evaluate his big ideas

By Dan S.

The Standard-Examiner finally has an article about Godfrey's winter sports study proposal:
Ogden mayor proposes $50,000 study of golf course
Let's use a little common sense here. It's highly unlikely that winter activities at the golf course will ever make a profit. As soon as you try to collect fees, you've gotta pay staff to be there whenever the facility is open. Charge for towing kids up a sledding hill? Most of them would probably just walk. Charge for admitting them to a hill covered with artificial snow? Then you'd have to fence it off--another hassle and expense.

The snowmaking idea has some merit, but why pay $50,000 to study it when the same price would buy the snowmaking equipment itself? How do I know? Because Ogden submitted a RAMP grant application a few months ago, asking for $56,000 to buy portable snowmaking equipment. For that matter, $100,000 is apparently enough to create a whole winter sports park, including a rope tow, because Ogden submitted another RAMP application for just that. (The winter sports park was to be down by the Ogden River, across from the stadium.) So $50,000 for a mere study is way out of proportion.

It's ironic that the mayor wants to pay a professional to study this extremely small idea, when he finds no need to pay professionals to evaluate his big ideas. Where is the feasibility study for the Junction? For the velodrome? For the ice climbing tower? For the River Project? For the Malan's Basin resort? Or, for that matter, for the golf course?

4 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

Nice work, Dan. Nice digging, all of it from public records. [Sort of digging newspapers used to have their reporters do, isn't it?]

Donald Trump said...

Sell the golf course, build luxury homes high on the bench, build a gondola, build a hotel. These are the only solutions that Godfrey will accept. When do I get my $50,000 fee?

ozboy said...

Dan

You ask where is the feasibility study for the Junction - as if there wasn't one done at that time. I believe you might be mistaken on that.

I am not inclined to actually research the question, maybe the city could spring loose a few thousand and do a study on it. However, I will dive down into my old musty memory file and say that I seem to recall that there was a "study" done that actually supported the mayor's dogged attempts to build Lagoon Light in the heart of the land of Oz.

The "study" consisted of asking a few people what they wanted in the new biz anchor to be built in our then world famous mud hole. I think most of the people who were "polled" were senior citizens who congregated in the two malls for their indoor winter power walking. The majority of those stressed how important it was to incorporate room to exercise & make sure they still had a place to do their morning constitutionals inside and out of the weather.

Well, as he is wont to do, the littlest incompetent empire builder stretched, messaged and construed that input from that extremely small cross section of walking geezers into proof positive that the overwhelming majority of Ogden citizens wanted a full on high tech recreation center and were more than willing to pay for it with their good faith and credit. Oh, he also stressed at that time, actually promised and solemnly swore, that the whole damn thing would actually never, never, ever, ever, cost the tax payers one thin dime because it was all going to be built with miraculous free RDA money. The lying bastard!

By the way, the Standard did at least two public surveys at that time wherein the large majority of respondents said they did not want, nor approve of spending a huge pile of tax payer money on, such a boondoggle. I believe the Standard's numbers against the High Tech recreation idea was 65% to 70%. This was the only survey ever done that actually included a large cross section of the city residents. The Standard, suckups to the mayor that they are, very quickly and conveniently buried and forgot all about their own surveys that showed the damn idea was unpopular.

It seemed to me at the time, and I believe it has been proven out since, that Godfrey doesn't give a squat about the results of truly independent studies while he absolutely adores those so called "studies" done at his request by his cronies that give the results he wanted to begin with.

In the case of the Junktion, it appeared at the time that there was no real public support for building it other than in Godfrey's own trumped up and bush league "survey" of walking seniors and of course his own gaggle of sycophants, most of whom made money off the deal.

Incidentally, I believe that the whole "study" game is rigged by these far reaching local government officials. They come up with some off the wall scheme that makes them feel absolutely brilliant, then in order to justify spending boat loads of public money on said scheme, they commission a "study" to determine the feasibility of said idiocy. The contracts for the "study" always goes to one of their cronies who already knows just what the politician wants the so called "study" to say. They of course oblige and provide the results that is wanted. If they don't give the politico's what they want, then they simply don't get any of the study contracts in the future.

Does any one reading this ever recall Godfrey, or any other hack politician, coming up with an expensive scheme, commissioning a "study" and then not getting back results that fully support their initial idea?

Dan S. said...

Oz,

I share your cynicism about studies--especially after our recent experience with the Ogden transit study. I think outside consultants do have their place, when a local government lacks the technical expertise to make an informed decision. But when it's clear from the outset that the politicians want a certain answer from the consultants, then the whole exercise is usually just for show.

I do think the City Council could make some effective use of outside consultants, if they would take the initiative to do that. Instead, they hand the money to the administration, let the administration hire the consultant and define the scope of the study, and then dutifully approve whatever is being proposed when the answer comes back as expected.

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