Sunday, December 26, 2010

Standard-Examiner Editorial: OUR VIEW: Council Adopts Bad Idea

The Standard-Examiner is exactly right... this mendacious "secret straw poll" procedure, sneakily crafted to sidestep the technical requirements of Utah's Open Meetings Act, amounts to nothing less than an audacious violation of the spirit of the law

It's important that the council consider the straw poll system. This is an effort to depoliticize the election process and strengthen the working relationships of Ogden City Council members.

Council Chair Caitlin Gochnour
Secret ballots on Ogden City Council's agenda
December 20, 2010

It [secret balloting] makes the election of officers less political ... and gives the council ability to vote how they believe. It allows less animosity and keeps those elections from being a polarizing event that keeps us from being able to do the work of the council.

Councilman Brandon Stephenson
Secret ballots on Ogden City Council's agenda
December 20, 2010

It's never a good idea to try to reduce council animosity by taking away from the public decisions and rationales that they have a right to hear about. In other words, the secret straw polls should not be used as anger-management therapy.

Standard-Examiner Editorial
OUR VIEW: Council adopts bad idea
December 26, 2010
Tip-top editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, joining with Weber County Forum in condemning last Tuesday's 5-2 Council decision to "switch operating procedures to allow secret, anonymous straw poll balloting for nominating and selecting its chairman and vice-chairman each January":
OUR VIEW: Council adopts bad idea
The Standard-Examiner is exactly right. This mendacious procedure, sneakily crafted to sidestep the technical requirements of Utah's Open Meetings Act, amounts to nothing less than an audacious violation of the spirit of the law.

Weber County Forum Tips O' The Hat go all around this morning... to Council members Van Hooser and Wicks, who voted against the amendment... and to the Standard-Examiner editorial board, for publicly saying what needed to be said.

And to the rest of the council (Blair, Garner, Gochnour, Stephens & Stephenson), who decided to hide their council leadership votes behind a veil of secrecy... a very nice bronze "consolation" trophy:

Clearly there are five council members who just don't "get it."

Don't let the cat get yer tongues, O Gentle Ones...


ND said...

Off topic but it looks like the county comish is going to discuss the expansion of the conference center at Tuesdays meeting.....

Curmudgeon said...

SE editorial board got this one right, and a nicely written editorial too. Liked the crack about the Council's acting in secret not being a substitute for anger management therapy.

Council Chair Caitlin "Behind Closed Doors" Gochnour has become not only a disappointment in that office, but an embarrassment. We've come to expect Sophistry in the service of self-interest from the likes of Mr. Stephenson. I had not expected it from Councilwoman Gochnour.

Disgusted said...

This editorial would have been more meaningful BEFORE the vote.

Dan S. said...

Has a Utah court ever ruled that this is legal? I kinda doubt it. Perhaps the S-E should take it to court.

ozboy said...

My guess is that Stephenson wants a secret vote in the hope that it will increase his chances of actually getting elected to a leadership position. I believe he is the longest serving council member, yet he has never been elected leader or asst. leader - in spite of his throwing his hat in that ring each year. Maybe if the public doesn't know who voted for the knuckle head he just might make it! Given his 100 percent up Godfrey's butt school of counciiling, I can see where the rest of the members would be embarrassed at sustaining him in a leadership position. I mean, his grovelling to Godfrey really does get nauseating some times!

Curmudgeon said...

Not quite 100%, Oz. There have been a couple of times Hizzonah went too far even for Mr. Stephenson. [E.g. his threatening to ignore the Council over-ride of his veto of MWC plans. He voted to require the Mayor to tell the Council who he wanted to sell public land to when the Mayor was having his henchmen tell the Council it had no right to even ask that. One or two others.]

But Mr. S. does indeed hold the record on the existing Council for uncritical support of Godfrey administration proposals, not matter how whacked out they were [flatland gondolas, year round downtown out door ice climbing popsicles, selling Mt. Ogden park to realtor FOM, etc. etc.]

Bill C. said...

Curm, you lay out quite a case not only depicting Stephensons own insanity, but how irrational and insane it would be for an existing Council member to actually vote for him to hold any leadership capacity. A secret ballot would be the only way Brandon would garner,(no pun) any votes.

Torque said...

Someone is getting ready to play a trump card. This is part of a longterm gambit, began way back in 2007.


I had no idea Blair would vote this way; I am disappointed that instead of addressing real needs in this town, he is casting his vote with the "big spender" crowd.


1. Voting for chair and vice chair will be performed in "secrecy".
2. Investigations into illegal campaign contributions are "hilarious".
3. Another hotel (with hot tub), a climbing popsicle and a gondola will solve financial challenges in Ogden.
4. Spend, bond, tax, accumulate debt....................

1. Is anger management therapy needed and required for all city council members?
2. Is Blain Johnson innocent or guilty? (Did he use the alleged funds $12,000+ to help win his election?)
3. Do elected officials and city employees always know what is best for business?
4. Happy New Year?

BlackDan "ND" BikerTorque said...

Seems to me that the secret straw poll is just another version of the secret posters here on the blog. There are some exceptions, like Dan in the Hat who takes up about 1/2 the comments on any and all subjects, but really, what's the difference between the secret poll and the secret blog names, other than the governmental business should be transparent. But then, when the hell has it ever been that way?

donk said...

Speaking of secret posters Black seem to qualify.

It appears that the current edition of the OCC has adopted a conciliatory policy toward our erstwhile mayor. Great idea Caitlin but it won't work and I'm very disappointed that you do not realize it.

Getting along with the mayor is only possible if you are willing to cooperate one-hundred percent with whatever his latest scheme happens to be and thus far it appears that you are very cooperative. Another hotel in Ogden, get real.

I suppose the notion that we voters might find more than one or two Council members willing to attempt to represent our needs and wishes is no longer a viable proposition.

Whatever thinking (or lack thereof) that led to your present mistaken notion that you can accomplish anything meaningful by cooperating with the mayor, well, you need to go back to the drawing board folks.


BlackDan, Your answer:
"other than the governmental business should be transparent"

what will it cost us said...

Secret poster here, since in the past I have been verbable abused via phone by both of the Geigers.

Posting on a blog is very different than an elected body who wants to avoid embarassing themselves on how they vote, or may come back election time to help their opponent.

Like most who post here it is to stir up discussing of an issue, sometimes a bloody soapbox but usually to amuse myself. But the feelings and thoughts here are my own, not sugar coated or hyprocritical. My integrity is secure sometimes my spelling isn't.

I do appreciate this forumn to try to educate the public that cares about Ogden.

Next election I'm sure some of the council won't run again, interfers with her social life on the east bench.

Anonymous said...

This is not a secret post.

blackrulon said...

BlackDan Posting on this blog and others is the only voice sane residents of Ogden have. I have appealed directly to city council members and the mayor and was brushed off or told my opinion had no merit or validity. Some city officals, elected and non-elected, make thinly veiled threats about my voicing an opinion or thought they considered "against what we are trying to accomplish in Ogden". A truly open form of government would strive to fully open the process. Sadly, we do not seem to have that form of government in Ogden.

Jennifer said...

Speaking of the Geigers:

Went to Christmas Village and there was a "Descente Haus" with a plaque that read: donated by "Geiger and Wood, stone masonry company" or some such. I have pictures.


fracrade: a charade that is broken

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