Thursday, March 31, 2011

Breaking: Boss Godfrey's NOT Running Again

We'll update this article through the day, as additional news stories roll in

Just got off the phone. Word's just in. According to one of our gentle readers (Neil Hansen) who attended this morning's municipal building press conference...

Godfrey's NOT runnin' again.

We'll update this article through the day, as additional news stories roll in.

Update 3/31/11 10:53 a.m.: Read Godfrey's pre-press conference announcement obtained and submitted a coupla minutes ago by Dan Schroeder:
Update 3/31/11 11:19 a.m.: The Standard-Examiner is now carrying this politically-uplifting story too:
Update 3/31/11 3:37 p.m.: The Salt Lake Tribune is also now running a version of the this story, which includes a series of weird, pro-Godfrey reader comments, touting the big spending right wing socialist Boss Godfrey as some kinda outgoing local hero:
Looks like time for some of us who know the real story to get online and set the record straight.

Update 3/31/11 9:00 p.m.: For some genuinely creepy video footage of yesterday's press conference, view the KSL News and Standard-Examiner sites:

City Weekly "Best of Utah 2011 Nightlife" Ratings: Two Great Ogden Clubs Top the List

Really no surprises here for those WCF readers who already patronize these two great Ogden clubs

City Weekly has come out with its Best of Utah 2011 Nightlife ratings this morning; and two great Ogden hotspots top the list:

Brewski's - Best Ogden Club:

The Kokomo
- Best 50th Birthday:

For those WCF readers who already patronise these two great Ogden clubs, there are really no surprises here, of course. Still it's great to see Brewskis' Bill and Heidi and The Kokomo's Eddie and Cindy honored in print by City Weekly this morning for their extremely customer-friendly efforts.

And for those readers who haven't checked them out... get on down there right this minute for a nice Breakfast Ramos (or whatever)... and tell 'em Uncle Rudi sent ya's.

Salt Lake Tribune: False Pretenses - Reasons for HB477 Fall Apart

Fantastic story that's playing out here, as the shabby behavior of Utah legislative leadership is ever so publicly laid bare

Eye-opening Salt Lake Tribune editorial this morning, following up on the theme of Tuesday's WCF article. Here's the lede:
It isn’t the things we don’t know that give us trouble, Will Rogers said, it’s the things we do know that just aren’t so.
As more digging is done into the reasons why leaders of the Utah Legislature found it necessary to make their nearly successful attempt to gut the state’s open records law, it becomes more apparent that many of the offered justifications for the action were just not so.
A public outcry resulted in the bill of goods known as HB477 being repealed last week. But as the postmortems continue, it appears more and more clear that many of the lawmakers who supported the bill did so based on faulty information provided to them by those they should most be able to trust — their leadership.
Read the full Trib editorial here:
Fantastic story that's playing out here, as the shabby behavior of Utah GOP legislative leadership is ever so publicly (and painfully) laid bare.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Standard-Examiner Guest Editorial: Imbalance and Secrecy in Utah

This strong guest editorial is sensible and true and a 180 degree far cry from some of the crap that Ed Allen has put up on the net fairly recently

This is one great guest editorial piece from Boss Godfrey's father-in-law, Ed Allen, for once, from today's Standard:
This strong guest editorial is sensible and true and a far cry from some of the crap that Ed Allen has put up on the net fairly recently, like when he was very recently blindly touting his plainly botched brain-dead son-in-law:
Bravo to Ed, this time, at least. We won't hold his earlier-demonstrated stupidity against him for now.


Standard-Examiner: Godfrey to Announce His Political Plans

Any guesses as to what the little feller's plans may be?

By Ozboy

Well I see that the Street Car subject seems to be drawing a big yawn here today.


How about the announcement on the Standard site from Godfrey that he is going to make an announcement on Thursday about his political future?
Why is he forever announcing that he is going to make an announcement anyway? Why doesn't he just cut the middle man out of the deal and make the friggen announcement already?

Any guesses as to what the little feller's plans may be?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Streetcar Project To Be Discussed Tonight By Ogden City Council - Updated

3/29/11 City Council Notes
By: Brandon Chase Bell
Trolley District Community Advisory Network
A City Council Work Session is scheduled for tonight immediately following the Special City Council Meeting at 6:00 p.m. (there is not a set time for the Work Session, rather it begins immediately after the Special Council Meeting ends, which based on past experience has been approximately 7:00-7:15 or so).
In addition to discussing the Open Space Plan, the City Council will discuss the Streetcar Project and options regarding the “preferred alternative” for the Ogden/Weber Transit Corridor Alternatives Analysis. Also, Council member Van Hooser will give a presentation on transit issues based on a recent Rail-volution Conference she attended.
Meeting Information:
Ogden City Council Work Session
March 29, 2011 – immediately following the Special Council
Meeting that begins at 6:00 p.m.
City Council Chambers – Third Floor
Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Boulevard
Streetcar Project Update and Issues to Be Discussed:

Important City Council Letter Sent on February 14
th, 2011 to WFRC, UDOT, and UTA
The information packet for the meeting contains a lengthy review of the Streetcar Project and efforts to bring a modern transit system to the Ogden area. It states that, most recently the city council sent a letter to the Wasatch Front Regional Council, Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Transit Authority on February 14th, shortly following the City Council meeting in January with the WFRC where UTA, and UDOT representatives were also present.
The text from the City Council’s letter relating to Harrison Boulevard and the Streetcar Project are as follows (as contained in the information packet for tonight’s meeting):
Harrison Boulevard
1. We [the Ogden City Council] are interested in pursuing a corridor study for Harrison Boulevard with UDOT as the lead agency and are willing to contribute 50% of the funding required for the study (contingent upon the Mayor agreeing). We request that this study commence as soon as possible.This corridor study will assist the City with decisions that need to be made relative to the Transit Alternatives Analysis and needed operational improvements can be clearly defined.
2. We have concerns with the proposed expansion of US 89 south of Harrison Blvd. and how this increased traffic would be handled by either Harrison or Washington. Further information would be helpful.
Transit Alternatives Analysis
3. We feel strongly that 25th Street should be an alternative route in the Transit Alternatives Analysis and be shown as such in the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). We were surprised that the mode for the “Ogden Streetcar Project” was changed from streetcar to bus rapid transit in the plan. We look forward to receiving a recommendation from the project’s stakeholder group and considering the options further. (Emphasis added)
This letter is significant news in the streetcar project and it’s long history. Many Ogden residents feel that a 25th-Harrison alignment has been needlessly ruled-out as an option. There has been longstanding, consistent, and overwhelming public support voiced in Ogden for a 25th-Harrison streetcar alignment. Our City Council has now taken the opportunity to formally request that it not be ruled out as an alternative, and that a 25th-Harrison alignment be taken forward as a potential alignment in the final Alternatives Analysis, that will eventually be finalized and released by UTA.
We are glad that the City Council has acknowledged this public support of a 25th-Harrison alignment and given voice to the will of Ogden residents in writing this letter to the Wasatch Front Regional Council, Utah Department of Transportation, and the Utah Transit Authority. Additionally, the City Council has also responded in this letter to UTA’s sudden change of plans in suggesting a Bus-Rapid Transit as the transit mode, when for quite some time now, the general consensus and discussion has revolved primarily around a streetcar system.
Tonight’s meeting is an important moment in the process of bringing a modern transit system to Ogden, hopefully along the right route, and the right mode of transit. As the meeting is a City Council Work Session, public comment is not allowed. However, attendance tonight is important to show continued public support for a 25th-Harrison Streetcar alignment, and a streetcar system, as opposed to UTA’s recent suggestion of a Bus Rapid Transit project. Please attend tonight’s meeting and be sure to express your support, in person, to members of the City Council for a 25th- Harrison alignment, and for a streetcar transit system specifically, both before and after the meeting.

Update 3/30/11 9:00 a.m.: For those following the Street Car Topic discussion, one of our gentle readers who attended last night's council meeting provides the following meeting summary concerning the council's posture on the 25th- Harrison alignment:

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Open Government Battle Not Over

Nope. The sky wasn't falling. Yep. They lied to us. And yes, they're gearing up to do it all over again

Excellent Standard-Examiner editorial this morning, echoing the words of gentle WCF reader "Paul Revere":
The Standard is right. The legislature's attempt to "hastily install a law that limited the right of citizens and media to have access to government business" was "a deliberate, insidious, anti-democratic move;" and Utah citizens would be wise to anticipate more of the same, as a handful of legislative tyrants mendaciously begin the process of conducting "planning workgroups and special sessions to make changes to the state's Government Records Access Management Act."

It's pretty clear that legislative "leadership" such as Sen. Michael Waddoups and Rep. Becky Lockhart will continue to resort to whatever extreme devices they can exploit to create a "sky is falling" atmosphere surrounding the current GRAMA law, just as they did in the runup to the initial passage of HB477. And in that connection, we invite our readers to check out this morning's astonishing Salt Lake Tribune story, which demonstrates the outright dishonesty employed by HB477 adherents as these authoritarian legislators whipped up fear-driven HB477 support during the final few hours of the 2011 legislative session:
From the Tribune story:
As Utah lawmakers argued why they needed the now-repealed HB477 to shield more records from public release, leaders repeatedly said their staffers had been swamped by records requests in 2010 and spent more than 400 hours filling them.

But an open-records request from The Salt Lake Tribune shows the Legislature can produce no records to substantiate that claim, and attorneys now say it was an estimate. Related records that do exist suggest that the estimate may have been high.

Also during debates, lawmakers worried aloud that the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) could force disclosure of their personal emails or texts.

However, the documents obtained by The Tribune show that whenever such records were requested recently, the Legislature denied them, saying they were not public under GRAMA (without changes sought by HB477).
Nope. The sky wasn't falling. Yep. They lied to us. And yes, we'd be wise to heed the warning of this morning's Standard editorial, as the forces of government despotism crank up the "fear machine" for another craven assault on Utah's Open Government Laws.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Yesterday's News Today: Monday Morning WCF Back-burner Cleanup

So many questions... so few answers

News is a mite slow this morning; so it's time for a little Weber County Forum backburner cleanup. Here are a couple of noteworthy news items which appeared in the northern Utah public press during the last week, which we never quite got around to spotlighting for discussion:

1) Following up on our March 13, 2011 article, wherein we reported that the Boss Godfrey administration had calendered a (statutorily unauthorized) "motion for reconsideration" of the Ogden City Records Review Board's March 3, 2011 decision, (which had ordered the Godfrey Administration to produce a list of potential Field House donors to GRAMA applicant Dan Schroeder), the Salt Lake Tribune reported on Thursday that The Board unanimously (and unceremoniously) denied the city's desperate and dilatory motion:
It's a commendable written ruling from the Review Board, wethinks, constituting more evidence that Utah's GRAMA law (slow and tedious though it may be) works as it stands, bends over backwards to protect a public agency's privacy interests and requires no further tinkering.

A Weber County Forum Tip 'O the Hat also goes out to Dan Schroeder this morning, for his dogged persistence in this matter.

2) By popular request we'll shine the "high beam laser " WCF spotlight on this truly oddball Tom Christopulos guest editorial, which appeared in Saturday's Standard-Examiner:
Many of our readers have been inquiring behind the scenes why the Standard published this extravagant, inaccurate and shamelessly self-promoting Godfrey Administration puff piece.

So what about it O Gentle Ones? Is the appearance of this over-the-top Christopulos-drivel a sign that it's municipal election season again? How much of the data provided by Mr. Christopulos survives a fundamental "fact check test?" Is there any Godfrey Administration press release at all which the Standard will refuse to publish? Are we doomed to see our hometown newspaper, the Standard, which has performed so marvellously of late in connection with the HB477 kerfuffle, revert again to its old sleepy, Godfrey Administration-facilitating self?

So many questions... so few answers.

Who will be the first to comment?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Double Dipping at Ogden City Police Department! - UPDATED

Greiner says: "I didn't do anything wrong"... And the beat goes on...

By: Biker Babe

Anonymous complaint cries: Double Dipping at Ogden City Police Department!
City Atty Williams says: "We were very careful to comply with all laws"... when he really means: "We were very careful to find all the loopholes and maximally utilize them for our (and FOM's) benefit."

And of course Greiner says: "I didn't do anything wrong."

And the beat goes on...



Update 3/29/11 10:23 a.m.: For those readers who've been standing by with abated breath, awaiting the posting of the above-linked "double dipping" story to the SE Live! (free) site, we're delighted to inform you that the story is now up in all its glory:
Have at it, O Gentle Ones.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Growing Like a Third-world Country

As rational a discussion of this idiotic "growth for growth's sake" phenomenon as I have ever read

By: Ozboy

There is an excellent opinion piece in today's Salt Lake Tribune about "growth for growth's sake." It is written by a WSU professor, Eric C. Ewert and is about as rational a discussion of this idiotic phenomenon as I have ever read.

Several of the more pertinent paragraphs:
"From business people to elected officials to community leaders, Utahns embrace growth with the fervor of a religious zealot. In fact, not to grow, or to not grow fast enough, is labeled failure in our calculus of economic development.
"Utahns, it seems, have conflated “quality of life” with “quantity of life.” Somehow we have decided that more is always bigger, better and more desirable. For a business person thinking simply, more people means more customers and more money. The reality is, though, that once a certain threshold is reached, another business will open to handle the demand and compete with the first."
"Well, like the out-of-control cancer cell, eventually the host organism loses its quality of life, gets sick and dies. Utah has a chance right now to leave a high quality of life to its future generations, but will we be wise enough to slow and plan for growth?"
See the complete article here:

Standard-Examiner: Utah Legislature Repeals HB477

The forces of government tyranny haven't given up yet

By Paul Revere

Despite the finality implied by this morning's Standard-Examiner headline and story, this is not over.
We need to continue to be vigilant and bring pressure on all of our legislative representatives. If we are not, they will slip in the most onerous parts of HB 477's provisions and get a new bill passed in a special session.

Update 3/26/11 9:13 a.m.: From an examination of yesterday's House and Senate vote tallies in connection with the HB477 repeal bill (HB1001), here's a list of our Weber County legislative delegation, broken down by their postures regarding HB1001:

1) Voted "Yes" (to repeal HB477):
2) Voted "No" (NOT to repeal HB477):
3) Missing in Action (Absent/No Show/Voted with Feet):
Hopefully all Weber County political wonks will be carefully keeping notes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Morning HB477 News Roundup -UPDATED

Update: As some are prone to say in Utah- HB477 was "repilled"

Okay people. Governor Herbert's HB477 repeal bill has been drafted; it's been placed on today's calender; and Herbert is confident that it will be passed in today's special session:
In a curious twist, original HB477 sponsor John Dougall is sponsoring the repeal bill in the house, bringing down the ax on his original legislation, all the while still insisting that HB477 was nevertheless a danged good idea:

And adding to the circus atmosphere, GOP tea-party darling Jason Chaffetz, the guy who sets the gold standard for Utah GOP "conservatism," came to town yesterday and stuck his thumb in the eyes of Governor Herbert and neoCON Utah GOP legislative "leadership," by signing the petition to put the repeal of HB 477 on the ballot:

“Why fix something that isn’t broken?” Chaffetz said. “Had I been governor, I would have vetoed it.”

Gotta love dat Chaffetz guy, no?

Update 3/25/11 4:50 p.m.: (Per Al) ... As some are prone to say in Utah- it was "repilled":

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Morning HB477 News Roundup

Let's not take any chances, people. As the Standard-Examiner urges, it's time to contact our Northern Utah Senatorial delegation
Let’s see how far the monsters go. Hillyard, Waddoups, Lockhart—it’s my hope that someday those names are as scary to children as Adolf, Muammar or Saddam.

Salt Lake City Weekly - John Saltas
March 23, 2011

Basically, HB477 allows them to keep secret text messages and e-mails they send to and receive from lobbyists, contract bidders and their legislative cohorts so you don't know what's behind their governance. They can spin it all they want, but that's the crux of the matter.

Standard Examiner Editorial Board
Editorial: HB477 Is Your Fight
March 24, 2011

Two hard-hitting editorials from our Northern Utah print media this morning, City Weekly and the Standard-Examiner (front page placement, no less):
Charlie Trentelman adds few choice words too, skewering our spineless Governor and Machiavellian Senate "leadership" from his ever-excellent Wasatch Rambler perch:
And as we stand one day shy of tomorrow's "special" legislative session, we now learn that...

1) Rep. John Dougall, the sponsor of HB 477, and the nitwit who started this whole mess, now says the measure should be repealed:

2) There may actually now be enough votes in the Utah Senate to repeal HB 477 during Friday's Special Session...

Let's not take any chances however people. As the Standard-Examiner urges, it's time to contact our Northern Utah senatorial delegation, if you haven't already done so:

(Once again we'd like to thank our palz @ Utah Policy Daily, for helping us come up with a few of the above links.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Repeal HB477; Maintain Openness

Don't forget to tell your Senator that his vote intertwines with his job security

Fine editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, ripping two out of three of Spinmeister Gary Herbert's HB477 "goals," identifying repeal as "the sole necessary step" and urging SE readers to "let their Top of Utah state senators know" that repeal is exactly what we want:
The SE cuts straight to the chase and helpfully supplies the names of those northern Utah Senators who'll be called upon to unravel this HB477 mess on Friday, so we'll reel them off here in live link form, for the convenience of those readers who'd like to do some lobbying this morning:
The word from the DNews is that votes for Senate repeal are still a few shy, so don't forget to tell your Senator that his vote intertwines with job security, just as the Standard suggests.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Wasn't There Another Ogden Mayoral Candidate Mentioned in Today's Paper?

All this speculation about a "weakened" Godfrey, etc.

By: John "Pureheart" Patterson

Wasn't there another Ogden Mayoral candidate mentioned in today's paper?
All this speculation about a weakened Godfrey seems to suggest NOW is the time for someone in this WCF cabal to file for Mayor and give it a run.

Tuesday Morning HB477 News Roundup

Gov Herbert speeds HB477 toward repeal... then again, maybe not

According to this morning's Standard-Examiner, Gov. Gary Herbert plans to call the legislature into a special session on Friday to repeal HB 477:

Whatever happens on Friday depends, of course, on whether the very Machiavellian Senate President Mr. Waddoups manages to organize Senate opposition to block that move, due to (get this) the "cost of holding a special session":

And in another interesting twist, the legislative majority announces the members of a working group to consider changes to HB477, which group includes (and no, we are not making this up) Ogden City's own Mark Johnson:

(Remember, folks, neoCON Senator Scott Jenkins is Boss Godfrey's cousin - wink, wink.)

Meanwhile, and notwithstanding the Governor's the call for a special session, HB477 opponents continue with their ongoing petition drive, "just in case":

And in an interesting background sidebar, former Former Governor Olene Walker says she was "amazed" by the speed that HB 477 was passed by lawmakers:

(Special thanks to our friends at Utah Policy Daily, who helped round up some of the above story links.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune: House Republicans Say They Will Repeal HB477 - Updated

Of course,the House Majority Leader, Ogden's Very Own Brad "Free Lunch For Me!" Dee, is still defending the bill, and the way it was passed

By Curmudgeon

Trib reporting this afternoon that the Utah Republican Caucus, meeting in yet another secret session, has agreed to repeal HB 477:
Of course,the House Majority Leader, Ogden's Very Own Brad "Free Lunch For Me!" Dee, is still defending the bill, and the way it was passed. He blames all the complaints on the press:

Dee, R-Ogden, blasted newspaper and television coverage that he said was “extremely biased,” and said changes will be made to state’s records act.... “There must be something done to GRAMA...” Dee told the Trib.

He was a little vague though on why something must be done to GRAMA except to provide a thin and tattered fig leaf of justification to cover the Republican majority's shame at having their raid against accountable, open, transparent government blow up in their faces.

Lockhart and Dee said legislators believe GRAMA... has been used for fishing expeditions, trying to make public intimate details of lawmakers’ private lives in order to humiliate them. “I know of requests for other representatives that concern me a great deal,” Dee said.

So, did Speaker Lockhart [who also blamed everything on press exaggeration] or Free Lunch Dee offer any examples of private correspondence that had been unearthed by GRAMA requests? Ah, no. Not a single example. [Probably because, as both of them know, the GRAMA statute already protects private communications from being made public by GRAMA request.]

Notice how carefully Free Lunch phrased his concern: there have been, he said, "requests" made under GRAMA that concern him greatly. He did not say those requests were successful or that the purely private correspondence he was concerned about was made public.

And as for this from Dee --- Some members in their “other capacities” advise young people who communicate by text messages, he said, and those shouldn’t be made public. --- he's being completely disingenuous. Of course say communications between a legislator who is also, say, a psychologist and the children he counsels should not be made public. What Free Lunch leaves out of his "Chicken Little The Sky Is Falling" whine is the fact that such communications were not made public under the GRAMA statute which protected purely private communications.

But hey, why let honesty get in the way of peddling a belated rationale to explain away, if you can, the disaster the House Majority's HB 477 has turned out to be. Blame it on the press and be dishonest about what the GRAMA law said and did --- Rep. Free Lunch Dee at work.

Update 3/22/11 9:26 p.m.: Trib now reporting Sen. Waddoups says Sen. Republicans will block repeal. Waddoups says no Republican Senator has told him he favors swift repeal:
Time to contact your state Senators and let them know Waddoups needs to hear from them that they support swift repeal:

HB477 Daily News Roundup - Updated

HB477 support... unraveling faster than a bad wig at a retirement home

In the wake of Saturday's HB477 news, wherein we learned that former House Speaker David Clark and three other Southern Utah [GOP] legislators are "calling on Gov. Gary Herbert and the Legislature to repeal a bill restricting public access to government records," the Standard-Examiner now reports this morning that two Northern Utah GOP legislators are likewise following suit and calling for HB477's repeal:

And it looks like Rep. John Dougall, the chief sponsor of HB477, is now doing some serious flip-flopping, claiming he wanted more time to study his own ill-conceived bill:

Our readers should be reminded that Rep. Dougall only lies when his lips are moving.

And here's some interesting data from the latest KSL Poll:

... [T]he respondents seemed preoccupied with GRAMA, with 84 percent saying it was somewhat or very important to them personally. Eighty-three percent said they should have access to elected officials' text messages, which would be protected under the controversial HB477, now set to take effect July 1. In addition, almost 90 percent said the process used to craft the changes to GRAMA was probably or definitely inappropriate.

Read the full KSL story here:

That's it for now; but we're sure we'll have much more later.

It's obvious that HB477 support is unraveling faster than a bad wig at a retirement home.

Update 3/21/11 11:26 p.m.: This just in from the Associated Press, via the SE Live! Site:
Ambiguous as hell... hard to say what Governor Gary actually intends...

Standard-Examiner: Stephenson to Run for Mayor of Ogden

Wake us up in November when it's all over

Aha! Just as foreshadowed in this November 2010 Standard-Examiner story, Godfrey sock puppet Brandon Stephenson announces his 2011 Ogden Mayoral candidacy, via this morning's blockbuster Michael McFall writeup:
And now that Brandon has thrown his hat into the ring, here's how we at Weber County Forum see the 2011 Mayoral race shaping up:

Wake us up in November when it's all over.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

HB477 News & Opinion Redux

A few more news and editorial items, just to keep our marathon HB477 discussion on track

1) Surprise of surprises, this morning's annual Standard-Examiner legislative report card assigns a well deserved "F" grade to the Utah legislature for "Open Government":
Hmmm... an "F" grade? Isn't there anything lower than that?

2) Former Ogden City Councilwoman Dorrene Jeske makes a strong public statement regarding the Utah GOP's sudden lurch toward fascist-style government secrecy, with this morning's scathing Letter to the Editor:
We'll be keeping a close eye on the attrition of other warhorse Utah Republicans, as they recoil in embarrassment from the shameful actions of the current batch of goose-stepping anti-government transparency drones. Additional sodden question: What happens to the Utah Grand Old Party when they run out of olde-tyme warhorse Republicans like Dorrene?

And here's a pair of stirring SE morning print edition letters, from "stirred up" SE readers and Karl Powell and John Wojciechowski, respectively:
Now that HB477-topical reader letters are finally starting to trickle in to the SE print edition, we have a strong psychic sense that the SE editorial page will be a very hot venue in the days and weeks to come.

4) Former Utah House Republican member Sheryl Allen has an op-ed piece in today's SL Trib, supporting Rep. Powell's claim that he feared his bills would be killed by the House leadership if he didn't quietly knuckle under and vote for HB 477. Happens all the time, says Allen, and her op-ed piece gives examples:
That's it for now, Gentle WCF readers.

Just a few more news and editorial items... to help keep our marathon HB477 discussion on track.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Utah Legislative GOP Begin "Eating Their Own"

They're not half bad eatin' either, provided you add the right "special" sauce

For those who missed the late night reporting in last night's comments section, yesirree, THEY (the Utah legislative GOP) are indeed "eating their own" (they're not half bad eatin' either, provided you add the right "special" sauce). KSL news provided the first rumblings of this scrumptious "non-gourmet menu item" last night...
And the Salt Lake Tribune carries a generously fleshed out full serving this morning (with all the trimmins, YUM)...
We'll definitely be keeping our eye on what seems to be a fast developing intra-Utah GOP (classic family buffet-style) mini-civil war.

And yes: We definitely crack ourself up.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Shooting Fish in a Barrel: More Developments in the HB477 Brouhaha

We'll leave it to our ever savvy readers to separate the "bull" from the "ticky."

More developments in the HB477 brouhaha. In truth, rounding up news updates for this simmering story is like shooting fish in a barrel:

1) The frenzy to repeal HB477 makes for some strange political bedfellows, as the Salt Lake Tribune reports:
2) Another masterful Standard-Examiner guest commentary from government transparency watchdog, Dr. David Cuillier:
3) And last but not least, our friends at Ogden Valley Forum shine the spotlight on House Legislative District 8 Representative Gage Froerer's "rationale" for supporting HB477 (and "gutting" GRAMA):
That's it for now, O Gentle Ones. We'll leave it to our ever savvy readers to separate the "bull" from the "ticky."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Turn Over the Donors List

Weber County Forum: Don't be such a stubborn little &@#%!

Sound editorial advice for Boss Godfrey as we enter the March 13 to March 19 "Sunshine Week". Here's the SE "long version":
Here's our "shortened" WCF version:

Godfrey! Don't be such a stubborn little &@#%!

More HB 477 news...

Keep those cards and letters coming folks and don't forget when it comes time to consider this and other stunts as these folks as they come up for re-election...

By: Ray

story :
Here's the lede:
March 16th, 2011 @ 10:42pm
By Paul Nelson
SALT LAKE CITY -- A prominent state lawmaker is asking the state legislature to repeal HB477, a recently-passed law that will restrict the public's access to certain types of government information, like voice mails and text messages.

Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, said Wednesday he believes GRAMA laws need to be changed, but he doesn't believe HB477 is the right law for that. He said he looked into what the bill would do to open records laws after he voted for it.
Also, Salt Lake Tribune editorial today headlined:
Keep those cards and letters coming folks and don't forget when it comes time to consider this and other stunts as these folks as they come up for re-election...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ogden Approves Amended Anti-discrimination Ordinances

A rare Ogden City Council "Kumbayah Moment," wherein almost everyone seems happy with a "compromised" outcome

Both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Standard are reporting that the Ogden City Council passed amended anti-discrimination ordinances last night, thus avoiding an earlier-threatened Boss Godfrey veto:
Since both newspapers are reporting this story as something of a rare Ogden City Council "Kumbayah Moment," wherein almost everyone seems happy with the "compromised" outcome, we'll resist the temptation to go against the flow and hammer the all-too-obvious argument that last night's two amendments leave "holes" in the ordinances gaping enough to drive a whole fleet of Mack Trucks through.

Standard Examiner Guest Commentary: Lawmaker Regrets Vote on HB477

We'll be keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be hearing similar words of contrition from our own heretofore unrepentant Weber County Legislative Delegation very soon

Top-notch Rep. Kraig Powell guest editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner. Mea Culpa-wise, soul searching Utah Republican apologies seldom (like never) get any better than this:
You Go, Rep. Powell, we say! High time your tyrannical GOP colleagues got taken to the woodshed by one of their own.

Notable editorial advisory at the foot of Mr. Powell's rant, hopefully opening the door to other GOP legislative confessions:
The Standard-Examiner will gladly print any apologies from Top of Utah legislators who voted in favor of HB477 if they desire.
With a little bit of luck, and some overdue soul searching on their own part, we'll be keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be hearing similar words of contrition from our own heretofore unrepentant Weber County Legislative Delegation, ( i.e., House Representatives Galvez, Wilcox, Froerer, Peterson and Dee... and Senators Christensen, Jenkins and Reid) very soon.

There's at least some remote possibility of that happening... Right?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More HB477 Blowback

Governor Herbert to receive the highly prestigious SPJ "Black Hole" award

Surprise of surprises, there's more HB477 blowback this morning from all points of the northern Utah editorial and news reporting compass:

The Standard-Examiner editorial board reminds us that it wasn't just the citizens' right to know which was stricken down this week as a result of the passage of HB477. Uppity Utah citizens also got slapped silly by SB165, of course, which pretty much makes mincemeat of the citizens' right to petition their government:
And the story's developed somewhat from last night's early reports that Rep. Kraig Powell had been apologizing for his vote in favor of HB477, saying he feared reprisal from Republican leadership in the legislature.

The story's now all over the pages of the Deseret News, KSL, Tribune and Daily Herald. Speaker Becky Lockhart says (of course) there was no pressure on Powell to vote in favor of the measure; and weirdly enough it appears that (in the absence of any pressure whatsoever) Rep. Powell himself is now reportedly backpedaling on his original version of the story too:
This morning's Standard-Examiner reports that the Society of Professional Journalists plans to "honor" Gov. Gary Herbert with their highly prestigious "black hole" award:
Gotta say that one will be one great fit for Herbert's trophy case.

That's it for now, O Gentle Ones.

Who will be the first to chime in with their own 2¢?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune: House GOP Held Most '11 Deliberations in the Dark

Kickstart to an Open Topic Thread ....If "they" close their meetings, what are "they" hiding?

Submitted by: Ray

Salt Lake Tribune article this am:
Reversing a trend estab­lished over the past several years, Utah House Republicans opted to meet almost ex­clusively in closed-door cau­cuses this year, arguing that meeting out of the public eye gave them a chance for more candid discussion...
Hmm... these guys just don't get it. As the "closed doors" and boondoggles such as HB 477 happen I hope the voting public gets it and votes for real transparency at the poles.

Who will be the next to comment? Well.....?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ogden Administration Requests Redo of GRAMA Appeal

Ever-tenacious mayor really doesn’t want to release his Field House donor list.

By Dan Schroeder

Ten days ago I reported that I had won an appeal hearing before the Ogden City Records Review Board, which decided that Mayor Godfrey’s spreadsheet of prospective field house donors is a public record and must be released. The Board then took a week to write up its decision, which I received Wednesday afternoon.

At the same time, however, the city attorney’s office sent me another document: a formal-looking “motion to reconsider,” with 12-page memorandum attached, asking the Board to redo the hearing and reverse its decision. I’m hard-pressed to describe this stunt in neutral terms, but here is a copy of the letter I sent to the Board the next day.

In brief, there are four reasons why the Board should either ignore or reject Ogden’s “motion”:
  1. There’s simply no provision for such a “redo” motion in any statute, ordinance, or policy.
  2. Ogden defends its ability to make such a motion on the basis of a single sentence, quoted out of context, from a 1997 Utah Supreme Court case that merely said an administrative board had the authority to go back and clarify an earlier decision in light of changed factual circumstances.
  3. In this case, however, there are no new facts. The administration simply feels that it can do a better job arguing the case the second time, and has marshaled some new legal arguments in its memorandum. But there’s no reason to give the losing party a “second bite at the apple.”
  4. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the 30-day time period during which a party can appeal the Board’s decision to District Court. A second administrative hearing would cause yet another delay and make the judicial appeal deadline ambiguous. But a judicial challenge would be expensive, and the administration may even have to pay my attorney’s fees if it loses.
You can also read about Ogden’s “motion” in the Salt Lake Tribune and the Standard-Examiner.

This incident highlights the difficulty that a citizen faces in trying to get access to public records that the government wants kept secret. Even when the law says a record is public, the government can erect multiple roadblocks in the way of someone who tries to obtain it. First the government can delay its response to a request for several weeks. Next the government can unilaterally declare the record exempt from disclosure. The requester can then appeal, but that introduces another delay. The appeals board is appointed by the government, and the government can spend taxpayer dollars on professional attorneys to research the law and argue its case before the board. Even if the requester wins the appeal, the government can continue to spend taxpayer dollars taking the case to District Court.

And in the present case, the government can try to make up completely new rules in the middle of the process.

Throughout this process, the requester’s only real advantage is the GRAMA law itself, which says that records are public by default, and the burden of proof is on the government to show otherwise. Unfortunately, the newly passed HB477 will (if it takes effect on July 1, as seems likely) put many additional records into GRAMA-exempt categories, and shift the burden of proof onto the requester in close cases. It will also discourage citizens from making GRAMA requests in the first place, by allowing the government to charge practically unlimited fees for fulfilling all but the simplest requests.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Morning HB477 News Roundup

Looks as if the currently raging HB477 controversy ain't goin' away anytime soon

We'll briefly set forth the following list of this morning's HB477-topical stories, which represent, wethinks, a quite thorough survey of new stories appearing in the public press since our last WCF article on this topic:

The controversial HB477, which delivers a GRAMA-gutting blow against Utah citizens' access to most electronic government communications and many other electronic records, may be headed to the ballot as a group of citizens file an initiative petition to force a public vote:

Protestors briefly took over the Capitol building Thursday night as part of a rally against HB477:

Joel Campbell, a BYU professor and lobbyist for the Utah Press Association, goes on record with this morning's Standard-Examiner guest editorial, denying that members of the Utah media "were unavailable or unwilling to talk," and spilling the beans that HB477 sponsors closed media opponents entirely out of the discussion, despite numerous earlier attempts to help educate legislators about the existing GRAMA process:
And here's a hard-hitting Tribune editorial you're definitely not gonna wanna miss:
Looks as if the currently raging controversy ain't goin' away anytime soon; and something tells us the the legislature's anti-public information kook faction may have a made a major tactical mistake, in going toe-to-toe with the Utah media in this instance.

(A hat tip to our friends at Utah Policy Daily, btw, for helping us round up a fair portion of our fairly fancy collection of helpful morning links.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Standard-Examiner: New Concerns Arise Over Government Records Access Changes

Additional SE revelations concerning wet-behind-the-ears freshman House Rep. Dixon Pitcher's disconcerting initiation into the flim-flam political practices of the most dysfunctional legislative body in the land

In the wake of last night's reader comment, wherein gentle Curmudgeon pointed out that the second vote on HB477 had reduced House support from the original 61 (veto proof) votes to just 42 (non-veto proof) votes on final passage Friday, Standard-Examiner reporter Loretta Park expands on this story angle and delivers a whole flurry of interesting comments by freshman House District 10 Representative Dixon Pitcher, who forthrightly admits that he was initially hoodwinked by an inaccurate information poop sheet, which was apparently distributed on the floor of the House by the GRAMA-gutting bill's supporters and/or sponsors just minutes before the first House vote. Here's one example:
"I voted for it based on incorrect information that was given to (legislators)," he said Wednesday as he pointed to a blue paper that highlighted problems with the current Government Records Access Management Act.
Read the amazing (and vaguely amusing) SE story here, which, among other things, contains additional revelations concerning the wet-behind-the-ears Rep. Pitcher's disconcerting initiation into the flim-flam political practices of the most dysfunctional legislative body in the land:
Adding further humorous interest to this story is our arithmetic-challenged Governor Herbert's steadfast contemporaneous statement that a "gubernatiorual veto would have been overriden anyway," even though that statement is demonstrated to be preposterous, by anyone who can do the basic calculations (like the Salt Lake Tribune's Robert Gehrke, for instance):
Adding further to the black comedy relief is Senate President Waddoups' surprising apology for ramming this admittedly-flawed bill through both bodies of the Utah legislature without even the slightest hint of public discussion, notwithstanding the fact that he was frankly and even gleefully confessing only days ago that this was exactly his original strategy and intention.

This whole fiasco will definitely be fun to watch, as our Keystone Kops-style legislature struggles to cover their ass, and scrambles to unwind this comedy of errors (and web of outright lies) within the next ninety days.

And speaking of the "comedic" aspects of this story... It "really only hurts when we laugh," of course:

Ha. Ha. Ha. OUCH!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Ogden Mayor Promises to Veto Discrimination Ordinances

Looks like almost a full year of council effort stands to be wasted, just as Godfrey suggests

Not to be overlooked amidst the continuing furor surrounding HB477 is this morning's story from the Standard-Examiner, reporting that"[b]y a 4-3 [non-veto proof] vote, the city council adopted ordinances Tuesday night prohibiting housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity":
To no one's surprise, Boss Godfrey eagerly stands by, veto pen in hand. Of course he never favored this ordinance in the first place, with or without the two "amendments" which the council majority rejected last night.

Looks like almost a full year of council effort stands to be wasted, just as Godfrey suggests, unless the constituents of Godfrey sockpuppets Garner, Stephens and Stephenson can somehow persuade these recalcitrant council members to have a sudden change of "heart."

Governor Herbert Signs HB477

Herbert Quote of the Year: “Our goal (in 'gutting' GRAMA) is open and transparent government"

By: The Lovely Jennifer

He signed it!
After trying to placate those who expressed concern against this atrocity with false empathy and hope, saying out of interest for the many voters who didn't like it that it needs to wait and bear more scrutiny... he signed it anyway.


Update 5/9/11 7:30 a.m.: Amazingly, and despite the fact that the Governor rolled over and went along with the legislative majority, some pathologically paranoid legislative legislative Republicans still feel like Herbert "threw them under the bus" amid the controversy surrounding the bill:
As one clever reader quips in the SLTrib article comment section, "What better use for a bus?"

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Four Strong Editorial and News Pieces Slamming the Utah Legislature's Arrogant and Slap-dash Passage of HB477

Great to see the Standard aggressively standing up for the people's right to know, No?
Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel.

H.L. Mencken
American journalist, essayist and all-round curmudgeon
September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956

Putting to rest at least some of our WCF readers' fears that our home town nespaper might drop the ball, the Standard-Examiner hard copy edition charges outta the gate this morning with four (count 'em 4) strong editorial and news pieces exposing and slamming the Utah legislature's arrogant and slap-dash passage of the GRAMA-Gutting HB477. For our readers' convenience we've gathered them up and will reel off the online versions in no particular order. Here's ample evidence that the Standard can capably serve the community as a genuine old-fashioned crusader/juggernaut newspaper... when it sets its mind upon it:
Hopefully the SE will likewise continue to put the pressure on our anti-citizen legislative majority in the days to come, and keep the corporo-fascist legislative faction sizzling in the withering heat of the public glare.

Read up, folks. Great to see the Standard firing on all cylinders and aggressively standing up for the people's right to know what's happening in its own government... a government which the now-jilted Utah citizens already pay for with their own hard-earned tax dollars, No?

Monday, March 07, 2011

New Article: Big Anti-HB477 Rally Tomorrow at the Capitol!

We sincerely hope you'll all mark your calenders and plan to attend

Here's an irgent missive we received late this afternoon from our friends at Utahns For Ethical Government. Various anti-HB477 groups will be gathering tomorrow for a noon rally at the State Capitol:

Friends and Supporters,

We urge all of you to attend a RALLY at the CAPITOL tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8th at NOON to oppose the government secrecy embedded in HB 477 (amendments to GRAMA, the Government Records Access and Management Act). A big turnout is needed. (The Tribune announced the rally on p. 1 of today's paper.)

We urge you to send an email message (in your own words) urging the Governor to veto the bill. Go to his comment website at

Here is the message we sent:

Dear Governor Herbert:

UEG urges you to veto HB 477, a bill that severely restricts public access to legislative information. For a Legislature that keeps saying that disclosure and transparency are enough to ensure good ethics, HB 477 is the height of hypocrisy.
1) The bill was rushed through in the final days of the Legislature, and it is unlikely that even all legislators know all that's in the bill.
2) The bill reverses the evidence standards and requires members of the public to demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that the information should be disclosed. Instead, the government should still be required to demonstrate why the information should not be made public.
3) The bill increases the costs of obtaining documents by allowing indirect and administrative costs to be charged to those seeking the documents, further burdening the right to access public information.
4) The bill provides excessive protection to texting and instant messaging even when they contain important legislative information that the public has a right to access.
In short, this bill is a severe restriction on the public's right to know and reduces the concept of freedom of information to a mere shell of its former self. It deserves a quick veto. Utahns for Ethical Government is a nonpartisan coalition of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and unaffiliated voters who are are committed to meaningful legislative ethics reform.
We sincerely hope you'll all mark your calenders and plan to attend:

Be There!!!

Salt Lake Tribune: GRAMA Getting Run Over by Fear of Transparency - Multiple Updates

Criticism of HB477 spreads far beyond Utah over the weekend

Added Bonus:
Check out the legislative majority's "pained weekend attempts" to justify, ratiionalize and defend their HB477 tyrannical action

New Update(s):
We'll definitely be standing by in rapt fascination, to see what happens next, and will most certainly "be happy to post our continuing anti-tyranny updates to this WCF article until the cows come home"

By: Curmudgeon

The SL Trib has an interesting article up this morning on the reaction around the nation to the Utah Republican Party's rejection of transparency and open government:
Here are just a few of the highlights:

Let’s be real,” [Chip]Stewart, a media law professor at Texas Christian University, said in a Tweet on Saturday, “what’s happening in Utah is more of a threat to democracy than anything in Wisconsin or under Obama; we must be transparent!”

Point after point, Utah’s record laws are going to be more backward than a Third World country’s,” David Cuillier, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Arizona, said Sunday. “That’s not hyperbole.”

“It’s gotta be a lobbyist’s fantasy,” said Charles N. Davis, a University of Missouri professor specializing in open-government laws. “ ‘Give me your cell phone number, Mr. Legislator, and we can have a private text conversation 24/7, even if you’re on the floor.’ ”

“To be clear,” the [Student Press] Law Center added, “this bill is about protecting the ability to govern corruptly and about nothing else.”

That's just a sampling. The full article is well worth a read.

Added Bonus Editor's Addendum: And whatever you do, gentle readers, don't miss the legislative majority's pained weekend attempts to justify, rationalize and defend their tyrannical HB477 action via what are rapidly (and sadly) becoming Utah's top two "official government pro-tyranny spin sites":
Considering the quality and tone of reader comments under each article, we're wondering whether our arrogant Utah GOP legislators may have finally succeeded in "jumping the shark" with the heretofore asleep Utah electorate.

So what say our gentle readers about all this?

Update 3/7/11 1:58 p.m.: Does a sign of the bright heat and light of lumpencitizen-compelled anger at Utah gummint suddenly arise on horizon? Looks like there's some serious neoCON backpedaling going on here. Will the Corporatist GOP Morons in the state legislature come back to reality, in re HB277? Somethin's definitely shakin' at the moment in Utah Gummint. Read this hot-off-the-press SLTrib story to learn all about it:
Remember: "Cockroaches don't like the light of day, and will scurry away when you pick up whatever it was they were hiding under." - anon

Don't think for a moment that the frenzied torrent of mail messages and angry Facebook comments isn't helping to make the tyrants in the Utah legislature take at least a little pause in their anti-democratatic obsessions.

We'll definitely be standing by in rapt fascination, to see what happens next.

Update 3/7/11 3:00 p.m.: In an earlier comment, Gentle Reader Blackrulon wondered whether the Standard would continue to beat the drum on the HB 477 issue. Happily, SE Editorial Page Editor Doug Gibson has already answered that question with this brand-new and fierce Political Surf Blog article, published just a few minutes ago:
Additionally, we learn from Curmudgeon that the St-Ex also published this exceptionally powerful Charles N. Davis guest op-ed piece within the last hour or so:
Great to se the SE continuing to mercilessly hammer the Utah legislative tyrants on this. We'll also add that we'll be happy to post continuing anti-tyranny updates to this ever-expanding WCF article until the cows come home.

Update 3/7/11 3:45 p.m.: Hmmm... According to Paul Rolly via Curmudgeon, it appears that the Utah Fascist pro-HB 477 Coalition may be suddenly falling apart:
Keep checking back. At the current pace, who knows? We'll probably have another dozen or so great anti-tyranny articles linked within the next coupla minutes.

Update 3/7/11 6:27 p.m.: This just in from the SLTrib website:
What a Steaming Crock! Ignore the inaccurate headline. According to the actual Trib story, the legislature isn't really "recalling HB 477," but rather the ever-slimy "Senate President Michael Waddoups" [says] "the move is [merely] to allow lawmakers delay the effective date of HB477 for a few months," so that the ever-honorable state legislature can fix the current half-baked legislation (and so the present public furor will die down, of course).

As old Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested, "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."

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