Saturday, September 04, 2010

Andy Howell: Taxpayers’ Money Shouldn’t Be Helping ‘Favorite’ Businesses

Is the SE finally recognizing that Boss Godfrey has served too long and has forgotten who he answers to?

Last week we published this article, criticising the Godfrey Administration for last month's water bill mailer, (which contained free advertising for select private 25th Street Association businesses), and slamming the Standard-Examiner for failing to to blow the whistle on this Friend of Matt (FOM) favorable practice.

In the interim, it appears that the SE crew has been carefully stewing over this. And in that connection we'll refer our readers to this morning's Andy Howell column, which indicates that Boss Godfrey's recent act of political favoritism has struck a raw nerve with our home town newspaper:
Taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be helping ‘favorite’ businesses
From this morning's column:
One of the main arguments behind the Tea Party movement is that government has no business determining which businesses are allowed to fail. That should be the function of a free market. Call it financial Darwinism.
When politicians are in office too long, they forget their role. They tend to get comfortable, showing favoritism as they build up their own political alliances under the guise of an “end justifies the means” governance.
This is why we are seeing longtime incumbents in Congress having so much trouble in primary elections this year.
I don’t believe in term limits because that’s the function of elections.
But even on a local level, elected officials can serve too long and forget who they answer to. [Emphasis added]
Over the course of the past 10 years, the Standard-Examiner has regularly tiptoed around Boss Godfrey's serial indiscretions. In context, we thus have a couple of queries for our gentle readers:

1) Now that Boss Godfrey has stepped on the SE's toes, could this latest Godfrey blunder amount to the straw that broke the camel's back?
2) Is the SE finally recognizing that Boss Godfrey has served too long and has forgotten who he answers to?

For our part, hope springs eternal... and what say you?

19 comments:

OneWhoKnows said...

God Bless Us One & All !

justme said...

It really takes guts (balls if you prefer) for the Standard to complain about unfair treatment at the hands of their Golden Boy when said GB has been screwing the citizens of Ogden from day one and the SE and its Editors have been complicit all the way.

Ogden's 25th Street is one of the few bright lights to emerge from the three-term Godfrey mess. So the city is supportive of somthing that we all approve of (FOR A CHANGE) and so what if it cost the Standard a couple of bucks! You've been lapping up the cream Howell so now it's payback time.

Curmudgeon said...

Mr. Howell's bi-weekly columns about the SE and its workings are always interesting [as are Mr. Greiling's], and this one is especially so, as Rudi notes. And I too noticed the final sentence. My my my.

But let's not get too excited about the scales having finally fallen from the eyes of the staff in officer country at the SE. For example, in looking for reasons the Mayor's administration might have done what it did --- free ads for some businesses on 25th Street but not others --- Mr. Howell did not so much as wonder whether the Historic 25th Street Association's marketing director being a long time campaign supporter and political ally of the Mayor had anything to do with it.

Still, it was good to see that Mr. Howell sought his answers from the Mayor. As for Hizzonah's frequent explanation for his administration's ethical gaffes --- that he was barely aware of the decision, that someone else made it, that he doesn't sweat the small stuff, and on and on and on --- Howell wasn't buying. Good.

Mr. Howell notes, correctly, that the free ads for some but not others distributed by the city does not raise a First Amendment problem. As for it's being illegal on other grounds, Howell thinks it may not be. I couldn't say. But it does raise and ethical problem, and so it might be wise to recall here [and to remind Mr. Howell] of what Hizzonah, Mayor Godfrey said when his administration was in ethical-conduct problems: that if something was legal for the Mayor to do, then it was ethical for the Mayor to do.

I've thought Mr. Howell's [and now Greiling's too] have been "must read" items in the SE for a long time. This morning's column is a good example of why.

Curmudgeon said...

Justme:

Sorry, JM, but you're wrong on this one. Ads delivered free for some merchants on Historic 25th Street but not others is wrong. Ads delivered free for any merchants, on or off 25th but not others is wrong. It is unethical conduct by the Mayor and his administration. Note, please, that the free ads were only for merchants in the Historic 25th Street Association, not for all merchants on Historic 25th Street.

Mr. Howell, speaking on behalf of the SE, got this one right. Without in any way ignoring the SE's editorial [and, occasionally, reportorial] tap-dancing around Hizzonah's ethical lapses in the past, I'm hard put to criticize Mr. Howell for getting it right this time.

Dan S. said...

Utah Code Section 10-3-1304(2):

It is an offense for an elected or appointed officer or municipal employee ... to ... use or attempt to use the officer's or employee's official position to ... secure special privileges ... for others.

Utah Code Section 10-3-1310:

... any person who knowingly and intentionally violates this part ... shall be dismissed from employment or removed from office and is guilty of:
     (1) a felony of the second degree if the total value of the ... assistance exceeds $1,000;
     (2) a felony of the third degree if ... the total value of the ... assistance is more than $250 but not more than $1,000 ...
     (3) a class A misdemeanor if the value of the ... assistance was more than $100 but does not exceed $250; or
     (4) a class B misdemeanor if the value of the compensation or assistance was $100 or less.

Danny said...

Wow. Where to begin?

There is much to learn here.

First, the posts are correct in noticing that the SE has ignored Godfrey's corruption and cronyism, (and as Dan S. has so often noted, his overt lawlessness) and has only now become bothered by it, and only now, because it has potentially taken a few pennies from the SE's own coffers.

Second, the posts are correct that the SE makes some good points about propriety in government vs. business dealings.

But the full connection of the two points has been missed, specifically, that the SE is so greedy, self serving and corrupt that it ONLY has a beef with the Mayor from Hell when he shaves THEIR nickels and then, rather than to simply be honest and say so, they couch their objections is sonorous reaching to noble principles.

Meaning, they really couldn't care less about those principles or any other ones, but only use them, like they (the SE) uses everything, as a means of self service.

The circle of corruption is on full display.

But not to worry. Already, Godfrey has found a way to reimburse the SE for their lost pennies, and will inform them of it shortly.

Therefore, the noble principles of the proper role of government will once again go into the trash can at the Standard Examiner.

blackrulon said...

I am amused when the current administration takes full credit for the success of 25th street. Almost all of the business that is located on the street began under previous administrations. The last significant change Godfrey supported was to change the zoning and status of the Marion hotel.
the revitilization of the street has its roots in efforts of past years.

Wayne said...

Good points everyone. Of all the ridiculous things this Ogden Administration has done over the past decade, this is what the Standard has chosen to finally gripe about? What a bunch of self-serving SOBs, they could care less about this town. What a disservice to our community.

Curmudgeon said...

Wayne:

Sorry, but this is not a minor issue. The Godfrey administration providing taxpayer funded special privileges to select merchants, privileges that are not available to all merchants, is not a minor issue. Particularly since the special favors this time only went to merchants associated with one of the Mayor's major campaign contributors. You can fairly ding the SE not having gone after the Mayor for former ethical lapses, you can't fairly complain that it was a minor issue that finally got Mr. Howell's attention Crony government is not a minor issue. Ever.

Dan S. said...

Just off the top of my head, here are a few earlier examples of the Godfrey administration's apparent violations of Utah Code 10-3-1304(2):

* Preparing rezone petitions on behalf of Gadi Leshem
* Transferring purchase options to Gadi Leshem
* Lobbying for the sale of public property to Chris Peterson
* Selling the former Bloom's property to Chris Peterson
* Transferring the American Can Building to private interests
* Entering into no-bid contracts for the secret gondola study, river restoration design, and probably many other projects
* Sponsoring a fundraising event (the Tour De Drome) for the Ogden Community Foundation
* Helping Envision Ogden raise money by directly soliciting contributions and by allowing them to use the Salomon Center

I don't mean to imply that all of these violations should be prosecuted. For example, some of these actions were approved by the city council, and I doubt that any jury would convict an official in those cases. (Note to city council: Please don't vote to approve any more of the administration's illegal acts!)

On the other hand, some of these violations definitely should be prosecuted. Maybe some day...

Curm, perhaps you can rank these violations for us, and tell us where the mailing of the advertising flier falls along the scale from major to minor.

wayne said...

Curm,
Never said this was minor(sorry it may have been implied as such), just compared to some of the other inappropriate undertakings by the City - it isn't quite as nefarious.

justme again said...

Curm, if we consider all of the BS that both the Mayor and the SE have perpetrated against the good citizens of Ogden the "serious" offense of free mailing for some and not for others must fall somewhere near the middle of the scale.

I'm sure you've noticed that preferential treatment for some - in this case the two-bit association, is a Godfrey trademark. No doubt nefarious actions by the Mayor are a matter of concern but he's been up to these shenanigans for a long time now. In my mind this latest example is one of the lesser in a long line of mayoral excesses.

Dan suggested that you rank this latest favoritism issue in his list of Godfrey violations and he noted that the list was far from complete. It might be informative for all of us to see what you come up with.

BTW Curm, I am no stranger to being wrong but your unequivocal pronouncement to that effect seems to carry with itjust a whiff of pomposity. How about I don't agree or I think your mistaken? You'd sound much less like a pompous ass.

Jerry said...

But he is a pompous ass!

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Curmudgeon said...

Just me:

Sorry, but when I think someone is wrong about something posted here, I'm likely to say so. And when someone thinks I'm wrong about something I post here, I expect them to say so. Unless one or the other of us descends into name calling, I don't see anything either impolite or pompous about doing that.

Guess we'll have to agree to disagree about that.

Wink said...

Watch for one of the 25th Street Association merchants making a run at the Mayors office next election.

Any guesses? About half could not make a serious go because of rampant documentable past drug use/tawdry behavior/anti-Mormon sentiment.

Can you be a "hot tub swinger on cocaine" and still be electable as a Mayor in a large Utah city?

Any guesses?

justme said...

Curm:

If you think I'm mistaken just say so, no problem. You needn't be sorry because you believe I'm wrong. I do have a problem with "Sorry JM but you're wrong on this one." The implication here is that JM is wrong simply because Curm - the arbiter of the WCF - say's so. It's a fine point to be sure but it is, once again, the reason I resorted to the "pompous" label.

Now, in the interest of peace please accept my apology for the "pompous ass" comment. Rash and unnecessary on my part, to be sure. Pedagocic would have been a better choice if a label was really necessary.

Curmudgeon said...

JM:

No offense taken. If that was the worst I've been called over the years in public forums, I'd be delighted.

Pedagogically yours,

C.

JS said...

JM

You had it right the first time!

dave said...

Wink

You wrote about future Ogden mayoral candidates:

"About half could not make a serious go because of rampant documentable past drug use/tawdry behavior..." and "Can you be a "hot tub swinger on cocaine" and still be electable as a Mayor in a large Utah city?"

Maybe and maybe not mayor, but if memory serves, it certainly is possible in the case of the Ogden City Council!

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