Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Morning Open Topic Thread

Talk about whatever you want to talk about

Freedom of expression... that's what the World-Wide Blogosphere is all about.

Rant on, O Gentle Ones.

Your blogmeister will be taking the weekend off...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Standard-Examiner: HAFB a "Preferred" Site for F-35, Says Congressman

Whatever you do, GOP Senators Hatch and Bennett, and GOP Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz, try to not screw this up

Good news for the local economy this morning, as the Standard-Examiner reveals that Hill Air Force Base is apparently on the inside track for deployment of the first two operational squadrons for the advanced F-35 stealth fighter.

Congressman Rob Bishop said he was informed Thursday by top Air Force Officials that Hill Air Force Base (AFB) has been selected as the Air Force's "preferred alternative" for the location of the first two operational squadrons for the advanced F-35 stealth fighter.
Operation could begin as early as July 2013, according to Bishop in a press release out of Washington, D.C.
Officials indicated that Hill would likely obtain a third operational squadron mid-2019, assuming the F-35 program remains funded and on-course, he said.
For those who are unaware, Hill AFB is "one of Utah's most significant magnets of economic activity," according to the Utah Economic Development Department:

Covering parts of Davis and Weber Counties, Hill AFB is the largest single site employer in the state. It accounts for nearly 50,000 direct and indirect jobs, pumps approximately $3.6 billion annually into the Utah economy, creating $2.3 billion in personal income and annual state tax revenue of $192 million, according to estimates for 2009 from the University of Utah's Bureau of Economic and Business Research, which studied the economic impact of closing Hill AFB prior to the last round of military base realignment and closure (BRAC) efforts.
With the recent paring down of HAFB mission capability, it's great to observe that we're first in line to replace the old with the new, technology-wise.

Yesiree, the F-35 is one hot bird; and it would be great to have a few squadrons of these parked in Emerald City's back yard for the next few decades. More... ? Just axin'

And a quick cautionary note to our Utah GOP congressional delegation. Please be extra nice to President Obama over the next few months. As this morning's article emphasizes, "the decision is not one-hundred percent concrete until the final Environmental Impact Statement is complete." Whatever you do, GOP Senators Hatch and Bennett, and GOP Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz, try to not screw this up.

A word to the wise is sufficient, we hope.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Standard Examiner Editorial: Newspaper Exposed High Salaries in One California City

Does this morning's editorial send a subtle signal that the Standard-Examiner will be turning over a new leaf?
What happened in the small, working-class Los Angeles suburb of Bell... is a lesson in the power of the press and how the lack of a local, daily newspaper with strong reporting resources helps unethical and corrupt public officials to escape detection...
We wonder, though, how many other public officials are behaving outrageously without an adequate press to keep note?

Standard-Examiner Editorial
OUR VIEW: Newspaper exposed high salaries
July 29, 2010

Before 2007, the Standard-Examiner printed every guest commentary I submitted (I think there were about four). Yet during the last three years I’ve submitted seven guest commentaries, and they’ve rejected all but two. The two that they printed steered clear of any direct statements about Mayor Godfrey; the five that they rejected all pointed out facts about the mayor that the Standard-Examiner has downplayed or ignored.

Weber County Forum
Ogden Administration Uses Tax Dollars to Deceive Citizens
July 27, 2010

On the heels of Tuesday's scathing Dan Schroeder piece, the Standard-Examiner follows up this morning with this elegantly timed editorial, slapping the Los Angeles Times on the back for exposing the government corruption in one California city:
OUR VIEW: Newspaper exposed high salaries
We're not quite sure how to interpret the timing of this. An oblique mea culpa, perhaps?

Does this morning's editorial send a subtle signal that the Standard-Examiner will be turning over a new leaf? Will the Standard-Examiner henceforth devote its own strong reporting resources to detecting and reporting government corruption in Emerald City?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ogden Administration Uses Tax Dollars to Deceive Citizens

Yet another commentary that the Standard-Examiner refused to print

By Dan Schroeder

This month marks the third anniversary of an audacious fraud carried out by the Ogden City administration, paid for by Ogden City taxpayers.

In July 2007, the administration published and mailed a utility bill insert with an article loudly proclaiming that The Junction was “a good investment”. That’s a matter of opinion, of course, but the article based its claim on a fraudulent statement of the facts.

The article said the city’s “original investment” in The Junction was merely the $6 million purchase price for the property, never mentioning the additional costs of tearing down the old mall, building the Salomon Center, and so on. In fact, the city had to borrow nearly $40 million to finance The Junction, and will eventually have to pay back all of that, plus interest.

The article also “projected” that The Junction would generate over $2 million in property tax during 2007, when in fact it generated less than $150,000. This factor-of-14 error was not mere over-optimism. By July 2007 the assessed values of all the Junction parcels were known, and the actual 2007 property tax could easily have been calculated.

Finally, the article projected more than $3.2 million in Junction property tax for 2010. The actual property tax this year will be very close to $1 million. Basically, the article’s unnamed author assumed that the two undeveloped parcels at The Junction would each end up being worth as much as all the rest of The Junction put together. Even in the best economic times, that never would have happened.

A similar article making some of the same outrageous claims was published as a taxpayer-funded advertisement in the Standard-Examiner on May 31, 2007.

Again, whether The Junction is actually a good investment is a matter of opinion. Perhaps it has increased the values of nearby properties, or perhaps its intangible benefits outweigh its high cost. But the numbers that the administration used to make its case were fraudulent.

Unfortunately, this is not the only example of the administration’s use of publicly funded communications to deceive citizens.

Just two months later, in September 2007, the administration published a utility bill insert claiming that Ogden’s violent crime rate had decreased 43% between 1999 and 2006. The same claim appeared in a taxpayer-funded Standard-Examiner advertisement on August 30. When the state and federal governments later published statistics that were supposedly based on the same data, they showed no significant change in the violent crime rate.

We eventually learned the reasons for the discrepancy. First, the administration was inflating the 1999 crime rate by using an absurdly low population estimate, left over from the 1990 census. And second, the administration had inexplicably stopped including some categories of crimes in the statistics starting in 2005, even though those categories were included through 2004.

It can hardly be a coincidence that all of these dishonest communications appeared during Mayor Godfrey’s 2007 reelection campaign. And in fact, some of the same deceptions were copied directly into the mayor’s campaign mailings. Sadly, Americans have grown accustomed to politicians telling lies in campaign advertisements. But it’s a much bigger problem when they spend public tax dollars to broadcast those lies on the government’s behalf.

During the 2009 election season we saw more inappropriate uses of taxpayer-funded communications for electioneering. First the administration used the city’s public web site to prominently broadcast a verbal attack by the mayor on an incumbent City Council member who was running for reelection. Then the mayor’s office attempted to use Channel 17 to dictate the time, place, and format of a series of debates between City Council candidates.

State and local laws prohibit government officials from using public resources for political purposes. Whether these laws apply to the cases I’ve described, however, is probably open to interpretation. It’s up to the city attorney to interpret such laws, and the city attorney answers to the mayor. In fact, Ogden’s city attorney has repeatedly interpreted these very same laws to the mayor’s advantage, and to the disadvantage of his opponents.

Could the laws be clarified to reduce the city attorney’s discretion? Perhaps this type of abuse will eventually get the Utah Legislature’s attention, but I’m not holding my breath.

A better law at the local level might seem easier, but it may not be. Ogden’s City Council has adopted procedures that make it virtually impossible to pass an ordinance without the blessing of the city attorney. Again, the city attorney answers to the mayor.

The 2011 campaign season is now only a year away. If we want better laws, now is the time to pass them--before we know who the candidates will be. I hope the Ogden City Council will make this issue a priority and crack down on the unethical use of taxpayer-funded communications.

Addendum: This commentary was submitted to the Standard-Examiner earlier this month. A few days later I received a response from editorial page editor Doug Gibson indicating that it would not be published, but inviting me to submit a much shorter version as a letter to the editor. In response to a further inquiry, Mr. Gibson explained: “I don’t think the topic is fresh enough. It has been rehashed many times, including on your blog.”

How are we to interpret Mr. Gibson’s explanation? True, the topics in my commentary have been discussed many times here on Weber County Forum, and even mentioned in passing on my personal blog. But the majority of this content has never been mentioned at all in the Standard-Examiner. Are we to understand that thoroughly discussing a topic on a blog disqualifies that topic from being discussed in any detail in the local newspaper? That seems to be what Mr. Gibson is saying.

But I don’t think he’s telling the whole truth. Before 2007, the Standard-Examiner printed every guest commentary I submitted (I think there were about four). Yet during the last three years I’ve submitted seven guest commentaries, and they’ve rejected all but two. The two that they printed steered clear of any direct statements about Mayor Godfrey; the five that they rejected all pointed out facts about the mayor that the Standard-Examiner has downplayed or ignored.

Added Addendum: Now that the 2010 property assessments are available, here’s an updated version of the Junction property tax graph that I published last year:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Export Sales Growing in Weber, Davis and Morgan Counties

More manufacturing operations, please... forget the goof-ball hotels

Apparent good news for the Ogden economy this morning, as the Standard-Examiner reports the latest economic research data from the prestigious Brookings Institute. Here's the lede:
OGDEN -- Davis, Weber and Morgan counties posted the 15th largest growth in export sales among the nation's 100 biggest metropolitan areas between 2003 and 2008, according to a national study released today.
The study was completed by the Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. It analyzes export activity for the 10 largest metros in the Intermountain West, including the Ogden-Clearfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Weber, Davis and Morgan counties.
The purpose of the study is to examine why exports are important to the national economy, as well as why metro areas are vital to exports.
Read the full SE story here:
Export sales growing in Weber, Davis and Morgan counties
Be sure to check out this Brookings Institute PDF, which serves as the foundation for this morning's SE story:
Export West: How Mountain West Metros Can Lead National Export Growth And Boost Competitiveness
After a laborsome search of the Brookings website, we were also able to come up with an online Ogden-Clearfield profile, which fleshes out the particulars of the local data, and further substantiates the information provided in this morning's SE article:
Profile for Ogden-Clearfield UT MSA
In this connection, we believe the Brookings Institute hits the nail on the head with this:
To reset its economic trajectory, the United States needs to connect the macroeconomic goal of increasing exports with the metropolitan reality of export production. Public and private sector leaders at the metro level need to collaborate and engage actively to leverage already extant export concentrations to create good paying jobs at home.
In our view, our national and local economies will never recover from the economic doldrums which were induced during the wave of U.S. manufacturing "outsourcing" which occurred during the last two decades, (when substantial portions of the U.S. manufacturing base were transferred offshore,) unless and until a robust manufacturing base is re-established in the U.S.

We're thus delighted to observe that our local economy is in the forefront in building an export-oriented manufacturing capacity; and we'd therefore like to convey these words of wisdom to our elected Ogden City officials:

More manufacturing operations, please... forget the goof-ball hotels.

And what say you about this, O Gentle Ones?

Great Moments in Corporate Media History

Too funny:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Six Months to Go Until The Largest Tax Hikes in History

What will be the effect on the economy - and on your family budget?

By Danny

Anybody else looking at sources like this?
Six Months to Go Until The Largest Tax Hikes in History
Here are the tax brackets for 2010, married filing jointly:
$0 – $16,750 10% 10%
$16,750 – $68,000 15%
$68,000 – $137,300 25%
$137,300 – $209,250 28%
(Presumably that covers most here, but it goes up from there. . .)

Unless congress acts, on January 1 of 2011 these will jump to:
$0 – $16,750 15%
$16,750 – $68,000 28%
$68,000 – $137,300 31%
$137,300 – $209,250 36%
For someone making taxable of $68,000 per year, that is a tax increase of $7,500 per year in federal tax.

Also, the child tax credit drops from $1000 to $500 per child. So if you have four kids, that's another $2,000 per year in federal tax on top of the $7,500.

Given the size of the deficit, and the spending habits of the present congress, what are the chances they will fix this?

What will be the effect on the economy - and on your family budget?

Editor's addendum & disclosure: Gentle reader Danny submitted the eye-opening main article; your blogmeister took the editorial liberty of providing the helpful links.... and the following bonus video, of course. (We do hope Gentle Reader Danny will approve of these editorial additions):


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ogden Pioneer Day 2010

We'll keep this thread open for anybody who desires to chime in about today's events, or anything else, for that matter, which lifts our readers' skirts

Happy Pioneer Day, folks. For those laggards who who haven't yet made plans, we've gleaned today's calender of events from the Ogden Pioneer Days website:

JULY 24 ~ Saturday
7:00 am Kiwanis Club Community Pancake Breakfast Ogden Municipal Gardens
9:00 am July 24th Parade Washington Blvd 35th - 20th St
Following the Parade Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum Open House Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum (2148 Grant Ave.)
12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Pioneer Skills and Crafts Fair Fort Buenventura (2450 A Ave.)
6:30 pm Pre-Rodeo Events & Entertainment Ogden Pioneer Stadium
7:30 pm PRCA Rodeo “Pioneer Day State of Utah Holiday” Ogden Pioneer Stadium

Miss Rodeo Utah Coronation Ogden Pioneer Stadium
Following the Rodeo Fireworks Ogden Pioneer Stadium

Don't miss today's Std-Ex writeup about this morning's Big Parade:
Ogden Pioneer Day parade promises diverse spectacle for all
With Ogden funmeister Doug Stephens in charge it's bound to be a real doozy.

And as the Standard-Examiner admonishes this morning, use common sense... and don't get yourself killed:
OUR VIEW: The Pioneer Day spirit
We'll keep this thread open for anybody who desires to chime in about today's events, or anything else, for that matter, which lifts our readers' skirts.

Update 7/25/10 8:00 p.m.: For the many readers who are Googling for Emerald City post-Pioneer Day reports (believe us, our web stats software says there are plenty of them,) the Standard-Examiner has the lowdown on yesterday's parade:
People don't mind summer heat, but keep water bottles handy at Ogden Pioneer Days parade
It's still not to late to chime in, folks.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Salt Lake Tribune: Legislative Leadership is Bought and Sold on the Hill

Contributions from one legislator to another are not illegal under current Utah law... the law needs changing.

Enlightening guest commentary in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune, wherein former Utah legislator and current Utahns for Ethical Government Chairman Kim Burningham spills the beans about the grubby Utah legislative leadership selection system, wherein Utah legislative leadership positions are sold to the highest bidder, via a sleazy, lobbyist-financed payoff racket worthy of a Baghdad street bazaar:
Legislative leadership is bought and sold on the Hill
This morning's SLTrib article has a bad link to the Lieutenant Governor's Campaign Finance Disclosure site, so we'll provide here a working link, for those readers who'd like to dig in and prowl around:
Lieutenant Governor's Office Disclosures
For a representative example of what you'll find there, here's House Speaker David Clark's most recent disclosure form, which is mentioned in Mr. Burningham's article:
David Clark - 2010 primary
We believe that Mr. Burningham hits the nail squarely on the head with this:
Where lobbyists supply money, and leaders use that money to increase influence, much power is transferred to a few leaders and the lobbyists who influence them. [...]
Contributions from one legislator to another cited above are not illegal under current Utah law. The law needs changing. The safest approach would be to prohibit such exchanges of money. The Utahns for Ethical Government initiative petition does precisely that. If would-be leaders want to help their friends, they should do so from their own wallets, not somebody else’s.
One more reason to sign the UEG petition, folks! (Scroll down the page to find a petition location within your own county.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Standard-Examiner National Commentary: Obama, Talk Radio and Road Rage, Sort Of

Ahah! The ubiquitous Obama bumper sticker... a sure fire way to spontaneously spark lively but uncomfortable confrontations with members of the talk radio set

Offbeat Standard-Examiner editorial piece by Los Angeles Times columnist Peter Mehlman this morning, which leads off thusly:

My mother doesn't like to talk to me on the phone when I'm driving, so she made her point that the world is in worse shape than she'd ever seen it in her 80-plus years, then hung up. I diluted her grim words with rock radio and was thoroughly enjoying an Eagles' song I'd hated in 1975 when a man in a Dodge Caravan honked and motioned for me to roll down my window.Actually, for the sake of accuracy, I didn't notice he drove a Caravan until later, when I was homicidally tailing him up and down side streets.Anyway, my window down, the 60(ish)-year-old man said, "So, you're listening to music, huh?"
My eyelids crinkled: Excuse me?
Then he said: "You should listen to talk radio so you can hear how Obama is ruining the country."
The light turned green. My lane was slow enough for me to pull my jangled faculties together and remember the Obama sticker on my rear bumper. There are roughly 9 trillion Obama stickers in L.A., so right off I knew I wasn't dealing with a novice maniac...
Ahah! The ubiquitous Obama bumper sticker... a sure fire way to spontaneously spark lively but uncomfortable confrontations with members of the talk radio set.

Happily, we came upon a solution to Mr. Mehlman's problem this morning whilst Googling... the Obama Bumper Sticker Removal Kit:

And yes, gentle readers. This promotion is for real (we checked.)

Chalk this up as a blatently transparent attempt to keep the WCF discussion purring along during yet another aggravating Pioneer Days Holiday red meat news lull.

Feel free to respond to this article on-topic, or treat this as an open topic thread.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Plenty of Work Left to Make New Hotel a Reality

For reasons which should be fairly obvious, we believe this is a project which must be closely watched

Ace Reporter Schwebke gets back into the groove on the Junction Hotel Project story this morning with a writeup which reveals a few more facts and opinions regarding the proposed financing for this project:
Plenty of work left to make new hotel a reality
Among the most interesting new fact revelations are these:
1) Specifically, the Ogden Redevelopment Agency has been allocated on behalf of Sequoia Development about $9 million in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds for hotel construction.
2) The state also has allocated the RDA $3 million in Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds for construction of the parking garage that would be owned by the city.
Up until now, Mr. Schwebke's reports have been rather vague about the nature of this new proposed bonding; but with the terminology we've highlighted above, we're now able to refer to online documents to find out a little more about the basic mechanics of this proposed bonding:
Recovery Zone Bonds - Low Cost Financing Options
Notably, both Recovery Zone Facility Bonds and Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds are bonds which are issued by municipal entities, as borrowers. This of course clears up the question about who the primary obligor would be in this proposed transaction. Yes, gentle readers, it's the Ogden RDA, the issuer of these bonds, which will be ultimately "on the hook" if and when this project goes forward.

Having made that observation, we'll refer you to this Richard McConkie quote:
The RDA will have no obligation to pay off the bonds if Sequoia Development defaults, said Richard McConkie, city director of community and economic development. If that occurs the lender could sell the hotel to recover the debt, he said.
With all due respect to Mr. McConkie, we do not believe this above statement accurately squares with the true nature of this proposed bonding. What happens, we ask, if Seqouia were to build out the project and default, for instance? While it's true that the lender in this transaction (the bond holder) would have recourse to the property security (the hotel), what happens if there's a deficiency in the property's selling price after foreclosure? Who would then be "on hook" for that deficiency?

The Ogden RDA, that's who.

Although the facts still remain fuzzy at this early stage of this proposed project, we believe this is a project which must be closely watched by Ogden City taxpayers. The last time that we were promised the taxpayers would not be "on the hook" for an ambitious Boss Godfrey Junction project, it didn't quite work out as advertised, did it?

Who will be the first to comment?

Standard-Examiner Editorial: A Ridiculous E-petition Rule

A Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat to SE editorial page editor Doug Gibson and the full SE editorial board, for continuing to stand tall on this issue.

Another fine editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, blasting "Utah political leaders" generally, and Lt. Governor Greg Bell specifically for enacting an Orwellian "interim rule" which would in effect require online citizens initiative petition signators to have a petition gatherer physically looking over their shoulders while "signing" an online petition:
OUR VIEW: A ridiculous e-petition rule
As Utahns for Ethical Government lawyers prepare to take Lt. Governor Bell back to court, there's one thing all lumpencitizens can do to eliminate the legal confusion, folks.

Sign a paper petition, folks! With the August 12 UEG Ethics Initiative Petition submission deadline fast approaching, we urge all WCF readers to carve a few minutes out of your busy schedules, travel to one of the below locations where petitions are available for your signatures and take the affirmative step of letting obstructionists like Greg Bell know the will of the Utah lumpencitizens will not be thwarted:

Weber County
• Joyce Wilson (Senate District 18) 979 27th Ogden, UT 801-941-1613
• Ogden-Weber UniServ (Senate District 18) 939 25th St Ogden, UT 84401 801-399-3746
• Lou Shurtliff (Senate District 19) 5085 Aztec Dr Ogden, Ut 84403 801-479-028
• Dr. Ed Allen’s office 3860 Jackson Ave. Ogden, Utah

We're within "spittin' distance" of gathering the requisite signatures in Weber County to help qualify this measure for the ballot, folks. Take it from us, your signature CAN make a difference in this instance.

A Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat to SE editorial page editor Doug Gibson and the full SE editorial board, by the way, for continuing to stand tall on this issue.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Standard-Examiner Editorial: OUR VIEW: Burn Vacant Homes

It's time to move it forward, Ogden Council
Our suggestion to Boss Godfrey: Put those worthless drones in the overly-bloated economic Development Department to work on this right now. Tell 'em to drag out their calculators, get together with OFD and City Engineers and Public Works and crunch the numbers. We're sure the city council will be delighted to allocate the funds to complete this long overdue project post-haste, once relatively firm numbers have been ascertained. It's time to quit shooting the bull on this. It's time to accomplish something useful for once.

Weber County Forum
Fire Chief Proposes Burning Vacant Ogden Homes
July 9, 2010

The Ogden Fire Department's request to burn the vacant homes in the Ogden River Project area for firefighters' training purposes is a great idea that Junction City leaders should fund as soon as possible.[...]
The city council needs to take charge and get the homes demolished to move the river project ahead.

OUR VIEW: Burn Vacant Homes
July 18, 2010

Another straight-to-the-point editorial this morning from the Standard-Examiner, following up in tandem on our earlier WCF commentary, and making another strong case for the immediate commencement of Ogden Fire Chief Mike Mathieu's proposed Leshemville fire demolition project:
OUR VIEW: Burn vacant homes
We're mystified that the Administration and Council are not already aggressively moving forward on this. What are they waiting for? Warmer weather?

(Click to enlarge image)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Morning Open Topic Thread

Who will be the first to chime in on any of our suggested topics, or open up a discussion all your own?

Red meat Emerald City political news, our preferred Weber County Forum diet, is a mite scarce this morning, so we'll set up an open topic thread, just to keep the WCF reader discussion humming along. As a prelude to turning the floor over to our ever-savvy readers however, we've identified a few items which might be worthy of reader comment; and we'll thus reel them off one by one:

1) The Standard-Examiner carries a hard-hitting editorial this morning, urging congress to find the courage to rein in its reckless spending:
OUR VIEW: A bankrupt America?
Although we're in complete sympathy with this editorial, we're wondering whether the SE Editorial Board might be wasting valuable space aiming its message toward the pols in Washington D.C. We have serious doubt that this editorial will be the hot topic in the halls of congress this morning; and in this connection we'll therefore humbly suggest that the SE go back to the drawing board and consider repackaging this message and redirecting it to our local BIG GOVERNMENT borrowers and spenders, right here at Ogden City Hall. Although the federal government can't really go bankrupt in a technical sense (the feds can always "print money" when federal revenues fall short,) local governments like Ogden City can actually go broke when they continue to borrow and spend like there's no tomorrow. Seems to us that the SE should remind our local elected officials of that, at least occasionally.

2) It appears that Utah officials are making great progress in the blockbuster story which broke yesterday, suggesting that somebody had breached the security of a state database. And this morning's SE story now reveals that two individuals who apparently broke into a Utah Department of Workforce Services computer, and spammed various Top of Utah newspapers and law enforcement agencies with a list of "1300 suspected illegal immigrants" have now been identified and placed on administrative leave:
Two Utah Department of Workforce Services workers behind illegal immigration list on leave
It's evident that Utah authorities are serious about getting to the bottom of all this; and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is talking about serious felony time.

We believe Governor Herbert hits the nail on the head with this: "I think it's an immense hypocrisy to talk about taking people to task for being illegal and doing so by breaking the law," which also brings to mind the old jail-house ax, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

3) Last but not least, we'll refer to yesterday's SE story, which, believe it or not, was one of the SE's top stories on Friday, adding new meaning to the term "slow news day":
Pickleball courts coming soon
Although we'd originally decided to ignore this story, we're now dredging it up and placing it on the WCF front page, due to the robust debate which broke out in the SE reader comments section between SE readers Neal Cassidy and Bob Becker on the issue of whether "Gullo's private funding of the courts means the city council does not have to adopt a Capital Improvement Plan amendment prior to construction of the courts, because no municipal funds are being used."

Tempest in a teapot? We do not know; but we will opine, just to advance the discussion, that we side with Mr. Cassidy on this, and argue that Gullo's donation does fall into the category of city revenue; and will argue that it therefore ought to have been the subject of a Capital Improvement Plan amendment, (you know, like the last generous donation Mr. Gullo made to Ogden City government.)

That's it for now, O Gentle Ones. Who will be the first to chime in on any of the above topics, or open up a discussion all your own?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Former Emerald City Councilman Kent Jorgenson Is In The News

Yes, Kent is moving on... let's wish him well as he helps people in Africa

By Danny

Kent Jorgenson is in the news.
Kent in the news
Remember him? He was part of the Saftsen gang who gave us the black hole Salomon Center that will bleed us all for the rest of our lives.

He was part of the group that trusted the notorious liar, Matt Godfrey, who said no public funds would be used for the Sal Center, then had the fools vote BDO funds to back the loan, while the banksters cheered his acumen at looting the city for them.

Yes, Kent is moving on. Let's wish him well as he helps people in Africa. Since people in Africa can never seem to get their act together, people like Kent will always have something to do.

Developer In Default: Bank Has 'Solutions' To Finish Building In Ogden's Junction

A real confidence builder for building a hotel, parking structure, etc. with public backed loans

By Ray

According to the Standard Examiner this morning the Junction's Earnshaw Building is in default for its 6.2 million dollar loan:
Developer in default: Bank has 'solutions' to finish building in Ogden's Junction
Hmm... thats a real confidence builder for building a hotel, parking structure, etc. with public backed loans.

Standard-Examiner: Bonds OK'd for Hotel, Parking Garage in Ogden

Our fear is great that the Ogden Council/RDA is allowing this project to be shoved down the taxpayers' throats without adequate time for cool deliberation

Surprise of surprises. A mere two days after our Ogden City Council/RDA Board voted "to approve [a] letter supporting the allocation of two tax-exempt bonds totaling $12 million" for the Junction Hotel Project, the Standard-Examiner reports this morning that "State officials agreed Wednesday to allocate to the city about $11.3 million in tax-exempt bonds for construction of a hotel and underground parking garage at The Junction":
Bonds OK'd for hotel, parking garage in Ogden
That's what we call a rapid response, folks. It's evident that the Obama stimulus funds which are feuling this bonding effort has been burning a hole in the Utah Department of Community and Culture's pocket, and that the ball is back in Ogden City's court once again.

In yesterday's SE story on this topic Council Chair Gochnour provided a quote suggesting that the RDA Board was merely locking in its bare request, and that the decision on whether to formally sign aboard this project would come at some point down the road, after careful and deliberate evaluation of the facts:
"It's a great opportunity for the city to get this funding," said Council Chairwoman Caitlin Gochnour. "We're just showing our support at this step of the process.
The RDA board will have an opportunity to review or tailor its support with further information in the future, she said. [Emphasis added].
Well, folks, at the frenzied rate with which this matter is proceeding, it's evident that "the future" to which Ms. Gochnour refers is NOW.

Adding aggravation for Ogden taxpayers who are watching this rapidly developing situation is the fact that neither the Standard-Examiner nor the Council/RDA itself has clearly explained the true mechanics of this proposed multi million dollar bond funding. This morning's SE story again refers to "allocat[ion] to the city," which would logically imply that the primary new obligor under this arrangement (The Ogden RDA) would be assuming obligations founded on presently-existing bonds. Nowhere in any of the previously published stories or reports has it been suggested that the Ogden RDA will be issuing any new bonds, yet the true source of these bond funds remains entirely foggy. Did some other Utah municipality previously qualify for these bond funds and then back out? If so, why? Did the Utah Department of Community and Culture issue an underlying bond itself; and is it now scrambling to find another sucker to take on these already-bonded obligations?

Our fear is great that the Ogden Council/RDA is allowing this project to be shoved down the taxpayers' throats without adequate time for cool deliberation. As we opined on 7/12/10, there are many facts and feasibility issues which yet need to be resolved before the council should jump into this project with both feet.

So what about it, gentle readers?

Now that the Council/RDA has gone out on a limb and requested to participate in this bond funding, and now that the that the pressure is on, will our seriously outgunned City Council be shamed into signing on to this risky deal?

The world-wide-webosphere awaits your ever-savvy comments, O Gentle Ones.

Don't let the cat get your tongues.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Standard-Examiner Editorial: OUR VIEW: UTA Misses the Bus

Crony government conducted in the dark: it's how we do things here in Boss Godfrey's Ogden

Fine editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, lambasting Utah Transit Authority (UTA) officials for their secretive rerouting of Ogden's downtown bus routes. Here's the lede:
This week the Utah Transit Authority rerouted bus service that used to travel and stop along Historic 25th Street.
And how did UTA notify the public of this change? By posting flyers on the buses and at the affected stops.
That may be a good way to advertise for a lost pet, but not for a transit organization to notify the public of a change in service.
Read the full editorial here:
OUR VIEW: UTA misses the bus
And the SE editorial board hits the nail squarely on the head, we believe, with this:
Considering the bad publicity UTA has received of late regarding executive pay, you would think the agency might want to bend over backwards to improve its public relations. A simple meeting to give people the opportunity to raise their concerns could have gone a long way. Such a meeting could have brought up issues that UTA, the city and the merchants hadn't even considered. Even if no one showed up, UTA would have shown they were willing to do more than what was required.
As SE reader Bob Becker aptly notes in a comment beneath todays SE story, "Crony government conducted in the dark: it's how we do things here in Matt Godfrey's Ogden. And, apparently, at UTA too."

Have at it, O Gentle Ones...

Standard-Examiner: Ogden OKs Letter of Support / City Seeks Funding for Hotel, Parking Garage at The Junction

Once again it appears to us that our part-time City Council has been seriously outsmarted and outgunned
It's a great opportunity for the city to get this funding, We're just showing our support at this step of the process. The RDA board will have an opportunity to review or tailor its support with further information in the future.

Caitlin Gochnour, Council Chairwoman
Standard-Examiner: Ogden OKs letter of support
July 14, 2010

We have a significant need. This is not the last point in the process. We are simply moving down that path.

Terrence Bride, OBDD Senior Project Coordinator
Standard-Examiner: Ogden OKs letter of support
July 24, 2010

The Standard-Examiner reports this morning that the City Council has taken the Godfrey administration's bait, and voted unanimously last night "to approve the letter supporting the allocation of two tax-exempt bonds totaling $12 million":
Ogden OKs letter of support / City seeks funding for hotel, parking garage at The Junction
Although SE reporter Roy Burton carefully notes that "[t]he letter does not bind the council to approve the bonds," we have serious doubt whether the council will ultimately have the wisdom or political will to put the brakes on this project, once Housing and Community Development Division of the Utah Department of Community and Culture approves this massive bonding, Boss Godfrey moves us farther "down the path" to municipal bankruptcy, and puts on the full court press for more reckless borrowing and spending.

Once again it appears to us that our part-time City Council has been seriously outsmarted and outgunned.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah’s Transit-funding Train May Run Out of Track

The way Republican Senate candidate Mike Lee sees it, Congress shouldn’t spend a dime on local transit or road projects

By Dan S.

Here's an interesting article from the Trib that says Mike Lee is totally opposed to bringing any more federal transit (or highway) funding to Utah:
Utah's transit-funding train may run out of track
Does this mean the Ogden streetcar is dead for the next six years?

Bad Science: Jeremy Laurance Is An Angry Man

“Churnalism” – reporters turning out copy direct from press conferences and releases, without checking, to feed the insatiable news machine

By Curmudgeon

On the general WCF topic of press-release journalism and not checking facts: found on line a new term for it: "churnalism." Here's the quote:
Goldacre is right to highlight the fact that there is too much “churnalism” – reporters turning out copy direct from press conferences and releases, without checking, to feed the insatiable news machine.
Churnalism. I like it. Of course, found it in a long screed by a writer for The Guardian, who argues that it's not a reporters' job to fact check claims made by people they interview. Uh huh.

Anyway, found it on the badscience blog site:
Jeremy Laurance is an angry man
Editor's addendum: Dan Schroeder also has a related article on his Dan's Diary Blog, which deals generally with fraudulent numeracy, but also touches upon our home town newspaper's ever too frequent "churnalistic," "news reporting" transgressions:
Detecting Bad Data
From Dan's article, here's the money quote:
At the local level, relying on a single authority is the rule rather than the exception. The Ogden Standard-Examiner almost always prints the word of local government officials as if it were fact, with no questions asked. Despite the detailed exposés on Weber County Forum, the Standard-Examiner has yet to report that the Ogden government manipulated its crime statistics, or that the government’s revenue projections for the Junction development were fraudulently overblown.
Comments, anyone?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Room for More Ogden Hotels?

Kudos to the Standard-Examiner for continuing to dig out the facts and focus on the feasibility issues pertinent to this story

By Curmudgeon

Interesting Scott Schwebke story in this morning's Standard-Examiner:
Room for More Ogden Hotels?
Much of interest in it, and well worth a careful reading. But first off, kudos to the SE for ferreting out the name of another of the hotel-building companies interested in building at the Junction that Matthew "Stonewall" Godfrey's administration was refusing to make public as recently as a week ago. Nice work. Now keep digging.

Also kudos to the SE for making central to the story the question of whether investing public money in a new downtown high-end hotel is prudent in the current business climate and when the occupancy rate for Ogden's three existing downtown hotels ran at about 60% last year. The story, let us note, was not reported simply as "two companies vying to build at the Junction," but focused instead on raising doubts about whether any company can build and operate a successful hotel downtown just now or in the foreseeable future. And whether public money should be gambled that one can. With opinion from people in the field on both sides of that question included.

It's a chewy story; read up.

CNN Money: 100 Best Places to Live in America

Sadly... Emerald City doesn't make the list

By Curmudgeon

CNN Money has up this morning a list of the 100 best places [mostly small to mid-sized cities] to live in America. Ogden is not on the list. Four Utah cities are [South Jordan and Orem in the top fifty, West Jordan and St. George in the next fifty.]
100 Best Places to Live in America, 2010 edition
Now I grant you, the standards for selection seem a little suspect [Orem in the top fifty, Ogden not on the top 100 list?]. But since Hizzonah likes to tout Ogden's making these little lists of "best places" whenever it does, thought it might be interesting to highlight this one. I'm sure the City won't.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ogden's Farmers Market Kicks Off the Summer of 2010

Saturdays 8-1, July 10 to September 25, 2010

For those readers who are looking for an interesting and enjoyable Ogden downtown venue this morning, we provide this helpful reminder that Ogden Farmer's Market kicks off its 2010 season, on Ogden's Historic 25th Street this morning @ 8:00 a.m. Check out this nifty video, which will help you get into the spirit:

Click this link to learn more:
Get Fresh In Downtown Ogden
And while you're ambling about Ogden's Two-five Drive this morning, keep your eyes peeled for this logo.

In this connection, we're told that Utahns for Ethical Government volunteers will be circulating petitions at the Farmers Market from this morning through mid August.

Weber County is within spitting distance of filling up its quota to qualify the petition for the ballot.

Despite the most recent efforts of the evil anti-ethics forces to squelch the voice of the people, we're optimistic that the lumpencitizens of Weber County will do their part to put the local petition drive over the top, and to bring robust ethics reform to the legislature.

Have fun, folks... and don't forget to chime in with your observations about this morning's Farmers Market event.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Peery's Restored Egyptian Theater Unveils Wall of Fame

Ogden's movie theater history is as colorful as old time Hollywood itself

By: Movie Buff

I read an article in today's paper about the Egyptian Theater opening up, or adding to, its Wall of Fame pertaining to those who helped "save the Egyptian":
Peery's restored Egyptian Theater unveils Wall of Fame to honor its benefactors
Nice touch, and I'm glad that a group of concerned citizens moved forward to save this wonderful, old building. I doubt, however, that there will be much traction regarding the Cinedome, a fine old theater but not quite up to the par of Ogden's movie houses.

Ogden's movie theater history is as colorful as old time Hollywood itself. Ogden was home to four indoor theaters back in the old days. The Egyptian and Ogden (located between Washington and Adams on the North side of 25th, immediately West of the White City Bowl and Dance Emporium) were owned by the Perry family. The Orpheum was located south of the Ben Lomond Hotel (today, the curved State Office Building’s there) and the Paramount sat on the West side of Kiesel Avenue (now occupied by the Federal Building parking lot), both theaters owned by the Glasmann family. As a caveat, both families fostered quite colorful Mayors for this fine town of ours, but since I know a little more about the history of the Orpheum and Paramount, this article is about those two theaters. The Egyptian Foundation can provide all the necessary history for that theater, and hopefully the Ogden Theater. I'd imagine that Ozboy could provide some detailed history about Ogden and both of these fine Ogden families, along with the some of the other movers and shakers from this once glorious era.

Eden Liquor Agency Shuts Its Doors

Another example of Utah government's unreasonable hammer on business

By Ray

Same department that closes profitable state liquor stores is shutting down the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) package store in Eden. Note from Eden Liquor Agency:
To whom it may concern:
Due to an unreasonable and un-meetable financial demand by the (DABC), the Eden Liquor Agency has been closed!
We're sorry to see this inconvenience imposed on the residents and visitors to Ogden Valley and hope that the DABC will choose to award another Type-3 Package Agency contract to the valley instead of saving the funding currently allotted.!
And the beat goes on...

Fire Chief Proposes Burning Vacant Ogden Homes

It's time to quit shooting the bull on this... time for the worthless drones in the overly-bloated Economic Development Department to accomplish something useful for once

We took the day off yesterday, but for the sake of archival consistency we'll make note of yesterday's Standard-Examiner story, wherein Scott Schwebke reports the latest angle on the Administration's plan to demolish the forty or so abandoned and derelict residential residential structures within the Leshemville fire trap (River Project):
Fire chief proposes burning vacant Ogden homes
Notably, even in a scenario where it's proposed that the Ogden Fire Department may do the initial demolition by fire, the projected price tag keeps going up. Even as late as June of this year, Economic and Community Development Department manager Richard McConkie estimated this demolition and site prep could cost as much as $500,000. The projected price tag now: $564,000. Even that figure is "fuzzy" however, inasmuch as "the cost of debris removal won't be known until after the homes are burned," says Chief Mathieu.

Seems to us that the cost of hauling the rubble from this demolition ought to be readily calculable, assuming there's somebody in Ogden City government who can do the relatively simple math. The volume of material could be easily calculated for each of the residential structures. The price list for landfill dumping is available online. Surely there's somebody in the Ogden City Public Works Department who'd be able to calculate labor costs, assuming the job would be done by the city in-house. Same with fuel expenses. Same with Fire Department labor expense. Surely Ogden City already has the equipment, bulldozers and large end dumps, so equipment costs would be relatively negligible.

Although we're concerned that Chief Mathieu's plan may raise air quality issues which haven't been anticipated by what appears to be a highly compliant Utah Division of Air Quality, we also believe this project is of sufficient importance that it should be right there "on the front burner," so to speak.

Our suggestion to Boss Godfrey: Put those worthless drones in the overly-bloated economic Development Department to work on this right now. Tell 'em to drag out their calculators, get together with OFD and City Engineers and Public Works and crunch the numbers. We're sure the city council will be delighted to allocate the funds to complete this long overdue project post-haste, once relatively firm numbers have been ascertained.

It's time to quit shooting the bull on this. It's time to accomplish something useful for once.

That's our take and we're stickin' with it.

So what say our gentle readers about all this?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Bonds Sought for Ogden Hotel Project

Here we go again with another Boss Godfrey borrowing and spending spree

By Curmudgeon

The Standard Examiner reports this morning "[t]he administration is seeking support from the Ogden Redevelopment Agency to obtain $12 million in tax-exempt bonds from the state for construction of an underground parking garage and an upscale multistory hotel at The Junction."

Read the full story here:
Bonds sought for Ogden hotel project
I don't know if this particular project is a sound one or not. But the Administration's statements asking for the Council's support of bonding for it should be sounding alarms on the Council, for we've heard much the same from the Administration before regarding projects that collapsed.

For example, the article says this:"In addition to Sequoia Development, two other firms are interested in pursuing the hotel project, said John Patterson, the city's chief administrative officer. He did not identify the companies." Uh ho. More companies eager to invest megabucks in Ogden that the Administration assures us are there, but which it cannot name. Like the manufacturers outlet stores the Administration assured us were coming to the three city-rehabbed commercial properties on Washington, but which it wouldn't name? Which stores never showed. Or the exporters of Chinese jewelry the Mayor discovered on his taxpayer-funded trip to China who he could not name but he assured us were eager to come to Ogden? They didn't. Or the exporters of "high end Mexican goods" the Administration would not name eager to locate in Ogden. Nary a sign of them so far.

And now Pureheart assures us two more companies are "interested" in the downtown hotel construction project... but of course he won't name them. What a surprise.

But there's more: Terrence Bride, Senior Project Coordinator for the city assures the RDA that the Administration is "confident the city's application for the bond funds will win approval from the state." How nice. Of course, the Administration was also "confident" private donors would provide $1.4 million in funding for Mayor Godfrey's Downtown Outdoor Year Round Ice Climbing Popsicle. No donor funding appeared and the project died. And of course the Administration was "confident" the City would never have to pay a dime for the Junction's construction bonds it guaranteed. We know how that worked out. And of course the Administration told us it was "confident" that Mr.Lesham would complete the River Project as promised. He didn't. The list goes on and on. But Mr. Bride is "confident" about state funding for the garage. How reassuring.

Finally, has the administration provided full information to the Council regarding the project and its projected funding, so the Council can make an informed decision? Ah.... no. From the story: "Actual support from the RDA for the parking garage and hotel project may come at a later date as more information from the administration becomes available, Gochnour said." Wonderful. On the basis of what the Council Chair concedes is incomplete information, she apparently wants to proceed with the letter endorsing the bonding now, in hopes that Hizzonah will condescend to tell the Council more later. How touching, particularly since the Mayor hid from the Council Chair and the rest of the Council and the public its request to UTA to change Ogden downtown bus routes, a change which flew in the face of the Council's commitment to encouraging public transit in Ogden. "You can trust us. We'll tell you what you to know later, after you've committed to the project we won't fully inform you about now" seems sufficient to satisfy the Council these days.

What's that old saying? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me ten times, shame on me?" Something like that.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Suspicious Men at Park: Lewdness Suspected

Front page Ogden crime news... on a slow news day

By: Monotreme

Today's front page (FRONT PAGE!) story by Scott Schwebke tickled me, but not in a good way:
Suspicious men at park: Lewdness suspected, Ogden police increase patrols of Simmons Field
What I liked most was the delicate way he approached the subject matter:
The parking area is the predominant meeting place in Ogden for this type activity, and law officers haven't received a large number of complaints about other locations, said Police Chief Jon Greiner.
Also, while I would likely be offended and maybe even put off my feed by seeing such things, the one thing I would most definitely not be is threatened:
"The suspicious activity creates a perceived threat of their security," [Conley] said.
I'm pretty sure that males engaging in "that type activity" are not in any position -- literally -- to threaten me with a knife or gun.

If this is front page Ogden crime news, then I'm all for it.

Weber County Forum Housekeeping Note

Despite the latest Google glitch, our readers' always savvy reader comments will remain the best info on Weber County Forum.

It appears that Google, which is frankly one of the most inept (but well capitalized) powers in the World-Wide Webosphere is now screwing up royally.

Over the course of the last few days, we've seen WCF comments consistently disappear into thin air. And our comments counter at the bottom of the article pages no longer accurately states the number of comments posted under each of our articles.

Please continue to post your comments though, folks.

In the end, your blogmeister will continue lodging your ever-excellent comments, even though we may have to do it manually.

Believe us... despite the latest Google glitch, our readers' always savvy reader comments will remain the best info on Weber County Forum.

And Not to Worry, folks... Mother Google is even now working feverishly on the problem.

Too funny, no?

Standard-Examiner: UTA Reworks Ogden Bus Routes

Ogden's unsightly Ogden bus-riding riffraff will will no longer have convenient access to Ogden's lower 25th Street

This morning's Standard-Examiner reports that Gentle Reader Curmudgeon's 10/28/10 speculation is correct, and that the UTA has indeed modified its Ogden bus routes numbers 603 and 612, to keep 25th Street whitesome and delightsome, and to prevent, among other things, "...mass gatherings that occur in front of businesses due to transfer or stops":
UTA reworks Ogden bus routes
Steve Conlin, current Historic 25th Street Business Association president wrote his letter on April 14, requesting that the unsightly Ogden riffraff board busses on 26th Street; and here we are less than three months later with the major downtown bus stops now to be relocated from Ogden's Downtown destination hot spot, 25th Street, to the relatively barren region of 26th. That's what we call "political juice."

And for those wondering about the Ogden City Administration's commitment to convenient and efficient downtown public transit, those riders of routes 603 and 612 will have plenty of opportunity to think about it, as they're trudging in the dark back and forth between 25th and 26th, or sitting at a dimly lighted bus stop at 26th and Grant. As Mr. Schwebke notes in this morning's above linked story, the Boss Godfrey Administration joined with Mr. Conlin in requesting this boneheaded plan.

So what about it, gentle readers, is your blogmeister the only one miffed about this seemingly knuckleheaded plan?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Strip Club Not Ready to Shut Down

It appears to us that Lighthouse Lounge owner Mr. Chevalier is holding the most important legal card in this matter

The Standard-Examiner reports this morning that the Ogden City zoning issue respecting the Lighthouse Strip Club is far from over, and that club owner John Chevalier has filed an appeal of Boss Godfrey's decision to shut down all sexually-oriented operations at the club by July 6. Barring a resolution favorable to Mr. Chevalier, it looks like there's going to be a big legal battle:
Strip club not ready to shut down; Lighthouse Lounge owner says Ogden city ordinance is illegal
As we reported in an earlier WCF article, Mr. Chevalier has already lawyered up; and he once again sets forth his legal posture in today's Jessica Miller story:
"We believe the ordinance is illegal," Chevalier said. "Their new ordinance does not follow state law. To get rid of a sexually-oriented business you have to let them (recoup) their investment or repay them. They are still just saying get out."
Being the curious type, we Googled, and happened upon an interesting online legal brief by Salt Lake City lawyers J. Craig Smith and Scott M. Ellsworth, which we believe, (at least upon cursory review,) accurately states the applicable Utah law on the subject, and fully supports Mr. Chevalier's above point:
The Utah Law of Nonconforming Uses
Here's the controlling legal principle of Utah law (from the above linked brief,) which we believe will make Mr. Chevalier the ultimate winner if this matter winds up in court:
If property is in lawful use prior to the enactment of a restrictive zoning ordinance, and the new zoning ordinance prohibits the use (thereby rendering the use "nonconforming") the property is generally held to have a "grandfathered" or "vested" right to the nonconforming use.
It thus appears to us that Mr. Chevalier is holding the most important legal card in this matter; and we're hoping that Boss Godfrey will therefore exercise wisdom, and negotiate a solution which will not force the adverse parties into court. Having said that, we also recognize that Godfrey enjoys wasting taxpayer money tilting at legal windmills, so we'll stand by with abated breath, and continue to watch this matter as it develops.

So what say our gentle readers about all this? Will Boss Godfrey negotiate a solution which will keep this matter out of the courts? Or will Emerald City's Despot on Nine continue to exercise his iron hand, and do his part to foster a full employment economy for Utah lawyers?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

7/6/10 Emerald City Council/RDA Work Session: Hotel Development and Additional Parking at the Junction Are On the Agenda

Many question arise, including whether the timing is right for this $30 million mayoral pet project

By: Disgusted

On the RDA agenda for next week is one of the Administrations pet projects:
Ogden City Council/RDA Work Session Agenda July 6, 2010
The administration thinks they have found free money from the Feds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, $18 million to be exact and they want the State to reallocate an additional $12 million (3 & 9) of similar funds for a hotel development and additional parking at The Junction. Of course all of this would be bond money (most likely acquired from a financial institution) and the resultant debt would either have to be collateralized by either revenues or assets or both. Unless the administration has truly found free money (which I don’t believe is the case) the Fed involvement is only to make the process easier to get the funds, not to pay the debt service on the funds.

Before the RDA board drinks the cool-aid they need to ask a lot more questions and have a much better understanding of the risks before they commit the residents.

The administration as usual has made the process painless for the RDA members and has even prepared a nice little letter for his lap dog board chair to sign in an effort to secure the State portion of the bond funding.

The council staff has even suggested the following questions for the board members to ask;
1. Please give an overview of the project and the need for the bond funding as a financing tool.
2. Please describe the City’s liability on the bonds and the source of repayment.
3. Please explain how the job creation numbers were calculated.
4. What would be the consequences if the Board decided not to support the application?
IMHO there are several other questions that need to be asked so that the city doesn’t end up with another zero net gain to the bottom line and some $30 million more debt that it is collateralized for on its books.

Finally in light of the earlier comment I lodged under a previous article, probably the biggest question would be, is this the right timing for a project like this?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Why We Celebrate the 4th of July

It's the 4th of July; and everyone's celebrating... But what the heck ARE they celebrating...?

It seems to be a mystery to some...

Sad... very sad.

God bless America!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Life In The Nanny State of Zion

By: Curmudgeon

There's a story up in the SL Trib describing yet another of the joys of life in the Nanny State of Zion:
Utahns busted for buying Wyoming fireworks, beer
From the story:
On Thursday and part of Friday, the Utah Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies used undercover cars to catch people bringing out-of-state fireworks and alcohol into Utah.
In Evanston, Utah police watched the parking lots of fireworks and liquor stores for customers with Utah license plates.
Josh Peters, of Salt Lake City, was one of them. On Thursday, he and his brother bought four cases of beer, some mortars, bottle rockets, a fountain and firecrackers at Porter’s Fireworks and Firewater. A dark blue car with tinted windows and Nevada license plates followed them onto Interstate 80. When they crossed into Utah, an undercover officer turned on flashing lights and pulled over the brothers.
“He admitted to sitting in the parking lot [at the store] in his Nevada-plated car, watching us loading it in,” Peters said.
The officer confiscated their beer and fireworks and cited Peters with two misdemeanors.

The story went on to note that UHP officers generally confiscate only fireworks that are illegal in Utah --- i.e. that shoot sparks 15 feet or more into the air or 10 feet or more horizontally. I'm fine with that. We live in forest and brush fire country and mentally challenged knuckle-draggers set of such fires practically every year. The UHP said they've confiscated people bringing in fireworks that shoot a hundred feet in the air. No problem with those confiscations and citations for me.

But confiscating beer? On 4th of July weekend? Because it's not taxed in Utah? Damn, that's just plain un-American.

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