Saturday, July 30, 2011

Standard-Examiner Guest Propaganda Piece: Business Campaign Donations Are Not Unethical

No Doubt About It: If you liked Boss Godfrey, you're absolutely gonna love "Godfrey's Sockpuppet"

A glance at this morning's Standard-Examiner editorial page reveals that Ogden City mayoral candidate Brandon "Sockpuppet" Stephenson continues to get ridiculous mileage out of his sophomoric "Personal Rebuttal Screed," as he feverishly scrambles, and presses his campaign to unequivocally position himself as the ideal mayoral candidate/suckup for the extremely well-heeled corporate special interests:
If you liked Boss Godfrey, you're absolutely gonna love "This groveling Sockpuppet Stephenson," folks.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tuesday Evening City Council Heads-up

Important Agenda Items: Approval of the deal for the Kevin Garn "Hot Tub" Hotel parking garage; Approval of the open space plan; An obvious attempt by Boss Godfrey to tie the hands of the future mayor with a "golden parachute" Chief Administrative Officer appointment

By Dan S.

Tuesday's council/RDA agenda is on the city web site and the big item is approval of the deal for the parking garage immediately north of the Kevin Garn Hotel. Garn will pay $750,000 for the property but has five years to do so. Meanwhile, the city will give him a grant of $550,000 out of the capital improvement fund (of which $244,000 is coming from sale of the land for the new IRS building)

The city will also lend Garn an additional $550,000 out of the sewer fund, which apparently has plenty of cash on hand (hardly surprising as I look at my latest bill). Garn would again have five years to repay this loan.

Here are the applicable council packets:
Also on Tuesday's agenda are approval of the open space plan (revised to restore some of the language describing city recreational programs and facilities such as the Marshall White Center), and appointment of a new Chief Administrative Officer to replace John Patterson.

This last item is an obvious attempt by the current mayor to tie the hands of the future mayor. As presented, it is not an interim appointment but a permanent one, which would entitle the appointee to six months severance pay if the future mayor wants to hire someone else instead.

Salt Lake Tribune: Ogden Mayoral Candidates Make Their Pitch

We'll extend an invitation to any Weber County Forum readers who attended this event to step up and share any anecdotes, observations and/or impressions which Ms. McKitrick may have left out

The Salt Lake Trib's Cathy McKitrick provides a story on last night's "Meet Your Next Mayor" 2011 municipal election event, with brief thumbnail summaries of the main campaign themes of at least some of the seven Ogden City mayoral candidates who made the effort to be in attendance:
Ms. McKitrick also reports on the impressions of several of the 80 Ogden residents who showed up for this campaign kickoff event, including remarks from Wayne and Sheila Crosby, who told Ms. McKitrick that they like Brandon Stephenson "because of his business background." What they neglected to mention... Mr. & Mrs. Crosby are Mr. Stephenson's in-laws. Brandon is married to their daughter, fercripesake. Why they failed to bring up this significant potential candidate bias is anybody's guess. Probably slipped their minds, we suppose. We'll leave it up to our readers to decide of course whether this disconcerting failure to disclose their familial relationship with Mr. Stephenson reflects in any way on the integrity of the candidate himself.

There's nothing up on this story from the Standard-Examiner yet; but we'll be keeping our eyes peeled, just in case Mr. Schwebke wakes up from his coma, and files something, even a little bit late.

We'll also extend an invitation to any Weber County Forum readers who attended this event to step up and share any anecdotes, observations and/or impressions which Ms. McKitrick may have left out.

Have at it, O Gentle Ones.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sockpuppet Brandon Stephenson Takes the Offensive in the Emerald City Mayoral Race

It's nice to know actually, who the "bad guys" are so early in the game though, ainnit?

As a followup to yesterday's WCF article, we'll reveal that we just took a trip over to mayor candidate Brandon "Sockpuppet" Stephenson's campaign blogsite, where it appears that he's not just playing defense, but is actually taking the offense on the corporate contributions issue. He's published his totally lame "Personal Rebuttal Screed" right there at the top of the page (right there in front of God and everybody), effectively announcing to all the corporate/special interest world (each and every one) that he's up for sale to the highest corporate bidder(s):
Gotta hand it to "Sockpuppet" Brandon, as he lamely attempts to conflate the libertarian "individual business/economic liberty" core philosophical position with the philosophically antagonistic and fuzzy corporo-fascist "what's good for general motors is good for America position," and thereby marshalls all possible philosophical arguments (however internally self-contradictory) and nevertheless shamelessly postures (slut-like) for the support of the sleazy yet politically powerful Corporate Real Estate Development lobby.

Make no mistake people. The Ogden Ethics Project's proposed voluntary forbearance in re corporate donations should in no way put The Sockpuppet off his feed. It in no way prevents corporate officers, directors, shareholders or owners of non-corporate business entities from donating individually to Brandon's campaign. Any and all of them can support Mr. Stephenson's campaign individually, under their own true names, subject to Ogden City's ordinance-provided contribution limits (just like everyone else), even if Brandon voluntarily forswears corporate donations. It in no way conveys an anti-business message at all. Although we hate to brand any candidate a "liar" so early in the election cycle game, it seems to us that's exactly what "The Sockpuppet's" doing, even now.

What's happening here though, people, is that "Sockpuppet Brandon" is forthrightly telling all the voters of Emerald City that he's willing to stick his neck out as Emerald City's next bought-and-paid-for real estate developer shill."

Not that that's bad in and of itself. It's nice to know actually, who the "bad guys" are so early in the game, ainnit, eh, O Gentle Ones?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune: Mingle With Mayoral Candidates in Ogden Thursday

If you like politicians like Boss Godfrey, ethically shaky souls who believe that all political acts are ethical, unless barred by specific criminal sanctions... you're gonna love Sockpuppet Brandon Stephenson for Mayor!

The Salt Lake Tribune's all-star Ogden beat reporter, Cathy McKitrick, provides us a handy heads-up regarding tomorrow's "Meet Your Next Mayor" 2011 municipal election event, wherein "one of Ogden’s eight mayoral candidates has organized [as] the first forum for residents to informally quiz this season’s hopefuls":
Emerald City political wonks should consider this a useful and timely reminder of tomorrow's 2011 campaign event; but Ms. McKitrick's article also provides more eye-opening information:
The Ogden Ethics Project, a grassroots group, has asked the candidates to forego corporate campaign contributions and avoid loopholes allowing donors to exceed current caps of $1,500 to council candidates and $5,000 to mayoral candidates.
The fly in the ointment? Boss Godfrey Sockpuppet/2011 Mayoral Candidate Brandon Stephenson, (the very same Brandon Stephenson who's now serving out his third Ogden City Council term of office, all the while having never mustered up sufficient council colleague support during that time even to have gotten himself elected to any minor council leadership post) is now throwing down the gauntlet to those who might wish that the 2011 Ogden Municipal Election might at long last be conducted in an atmosphere of the highest standards of ethical civility. Here's Mr. Stephenson's (possibly unintentionally abusive) Money Quote. And NO, we are not making this up!
I have included the copy of your "Ethics" checklist as you requested. Please also note my personal rebuttal to the absurd suggestion that business campaign contributions are unethical (harrumph!). [Emphasis added].
And we also link below Mayoral Candidate Mr. Stephenson's full press statement, along with two PDF attachments, for the benefit of the more detail-oriented amongst our WCF readership:
One thing's definitely sure with this mayoral candidate, "Brandon", wethinks. If you like politicians like Boss Godfrey, ethically shaky souls who believe that all political acts are ethical, so long as they conform to any individual candidate's own possibly twisted sense of political morality, and unless they are barred by specific criminal sanctions... you're gonna love having Sockpuppet Stephenson as Mayor!

That's our take and we're sticking to it.

We "rest our case," in other words.

So who will be the first to comment, hmmmmm.....????

Salt Lake Tribune: Friends, Family Bid Farewell to Ogden Activist

No doubt about it folks, gentle reader and frequent WCF contributor Dorothy will be sorely missed

It's our bittersweet pleasure this morning to direct our readers' attention to a fine Cathy McKitrick piece, paying tribute to our friend, Ogden community activist and and frequent Weber County Forum contributor Dorothy Littrell, "who passed away July 6 — at the age of 83 — and was laid to rest July 19. But for many, her legacy lives on":
As an added bonus, we'll link the full text version of Grandma Dorothy’s 10 rules to live by, which appears only in abbreviated form in the SLTrib left sidebar:
This latter expanded document provides considerable additional insight into Ms. Littrell's exceptional character, wethinks. No doubt about it folks, gentle reader and frequent WCF contributor Dorothy will be sorely missed around these parts.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Standard-Examiner: "Big Bill" Derails Ogden Streetcar Idea

The stalling and ultimate killing-off of an Ogden Streetcar system -- one of Boss Godfrey's most significant self-perceived mayoral achievements?

Disheartening news for Ogden Streetcar advocates this morning, as the Standard announces that "Mayor Matthew Godfrey says his administration has abandoned a proposed $160 million streetcar system because the price has derailed the project":
It appears, at least at this point nevertheless, that our Ogden City Council intends to "soldier on," keeping alive PB PlaceMaking, Inc. consultant GB Arrington's ongoing streetcar "viability" study and also possibly commissioning a further "'Life on Harrison' study to determine the type of development that may occur along the 25th Street-Harrison Boulevard route, as well as how to handle traffic." Nothing wrong, we think, in getting our municipal "ducks lined up," in the event that favorable Streetcar funding opportunities might somehow materialize in the future.

In the short run however, it may be that Boss Godfrey may have a legitimate point, if an $80 million construction price tag is an accurate estimate. A transportation project of that magnitude would indeed be an extremely tough nut for the Ogden taxpayers to crack. And we'll go on to speculate that upon his retirement from "public service" in January of next year, Boss Godfrey, (who was denied his precious Gondola system by many of the same people who've strongly advocated for a cross-town streetcar system), will consider the stalling and ultimate killing-off of an Ogden Streetcar to be one of the most significant self-perceived paybacks achievements of his 12-year reign of mayoral petulance and tyranny.

So who will be the first to throw in their own 2¢? Is the Streetcar idea truly dead, or merely on life support? Will Boss Godfrey get the last laugh on this? Does a lame duck mayor's abandonment of a popular proposed project have any real significance at all in the long run?

The world-wide blogosphere eagerly awaits our WCF readers' ever-savvy perspectives on these important and intriguing questions.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pioneer Days Weekend News Roundup/Wrapup - UPDATED

Plenty to discuss as the 2011 Pioneer Day Holiday wraps up, Yes?

A few semi-chewy weekend back-burner items for our gentle readers to gnaw on, as they trickle in from our L-O-N-G (and H-O-T) Pioneer Day weekend:

1) For the benefit of those folks who've been living under a rock, Ace Reporter Schwebke finally got around to reporting on Sunday the results of the July 12, 2011 Council Session, wherein the Ogden City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Board, voted unanimously to essentially give away 6.1 acres of land in the River Project area, with an assessed value of $2.4 million, to SouthRiver LLC, for a planned development of townhouses, apartments, and retail space:
Boss Godfrey is of course thrilled and says "it's gratifying to know that construction will finally be starting," (after languishing under his ham-handed mismanagement for the last nine years or so.) If Boss Godfrey's clownishly-executed Ogden River Project isn't a classic real-life illustration of why local gummint shouldn't get involved or even dabble in ambitious and intricate real estate development, by the way, we'll be hard pressed to find anything which could possibly be more persuasive.

2) Despite some questions about the selection process used by the Casper (Wyoming) City council, the Casper Journal reports that Casper's municipal legislative body has now cured all legal defects, and has now formally given its official approval (by a 7-2 vote) to hiring John "Pureheart" Patterson as their new city manager. It's in this connection, of course, that one of our sharp-eye WCF readers asks the obvious question:
3) We're hoping you're all no worse for wear after a Pioneer Days celebration which, (taking into account the mega-tonnage of fireworks and other personal incendiary ordnance which has been blown up or otherwise ignited in our Emerald City neighborhoods over the past month)... has plainly gone on for way too long (if you know what we mean and we think you do.)

Utah's legally sanctioned "24/7/30 Annoy Your Neighbors Kit"

Update 7/25/11 3:52 p.m.: Just to flesh out as fully as possible the entire array of discussion items which we may have inadvertently failed to address over the now dwindling Pioneer Day weekend (and in the recent past), we're pleased to add this Dan Schroeder 7/23/11 WCF comment to the mix:
Plenty to discuss as the 2011 Pioneer Day Holiday wraps up, NO?

So who'll be the next WCF Reader to chime in?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pioneer Days Holiday Open Topic Thread

Above all else, remember: "Don't ingest the fireworks."

Due the the ongoing dearth of news over the Pioneer Day weekend, we've decided to do something we haven't done in quite a long while... set up an open topic thread. Before we turn the Weber County Forum floor over to our readers, however, we'll present some brief holiday-relevant advice, gleaned from that fountainhead of prudence and bastion of good sense, the Deseret News:

SALT LAKE CITY — Folks celebrating a long holiday weekend probably have plans to avoid food poisoning and firework-related burns. But while you're looking at summer safety, tell the kids and pets not to lick the sparklers, pyrotechnics or glow sticks. Put on your mosquito repellent. Pack an extra bottle of water to avoid dehydration. And warn your couch potato friends that while it's good to get back into the game, don't do it too fast.
That's right, people. And once again... above all else, remember: "Don't ingest the fireworks." Toxic exposure to fireworks and glow products are more common than people might think, according to Barbara Insley Crouch, executive director of the Utah Poison Control Center.

Here's the full lowdown, folks:
That's it for now, O Gentle Ones.

Talk about whatever floats your boat.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Standard-Examiner: What's Brewing? A Beer Tax

What happened to the No New Taxes edict from our Republican brethren?

By: Ray

New Topic-What's Brewing? A Beer Tax- According to the Standard-Examiner, our esteemed pro-business legislature is considering a 5 cent a can tax on beer to support county jails:
Their justification is "inmates admit they have an alcohol problem." Well most Utah residents have a weight problem so perhaps we should tax Jello for medical costs. What happened to the No New Taxes edict from our Republican brethren? Just another way for the dominant religion to screw the non-LDS population and feel righteous about it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ogden's First Mayoral "Meet the Candidates" Forum Calendered For 7/28/11

If ya snoozes ya loses of course, as the old saying goes

Gotta hand it to Ogden mayoral candidate Steve Van Wagoner. With the 11/8/11 Ogden Municipal Election not quite "looming" on the horizon a full 110 days hence, he's nevertheless already set up the first mayoral "Meet the Candidates" forum for next week. Check out the info below for further details:
Event: Press Release - Meet The Candidates Running For Ogden City Mayor
Date: Thursday, July 28, 2011
Time: 5:30 -7:30 P.M.
Place: Ogden’s Ben Lomond Hotel (2510 Washington Blvd.)
Here's hoping that a substantial body of Weber County Forum political wonks will be able to be in attendance, important candidate questions in hand, to grill Ogden Mayoral candidates a week from tomorrow night.

And speaking of questions you'd like to see posed for our 2011 Mayoral candidates, feel free to start posting your own queries here.

If ya snoozes ya loses of course, as the old saying goes.

New York Times: Letting Bankers Walk

Shouldn't we hold bankers accountable for their actions, just like everybody else?

Eye opening Paul Krugman Op-ed piece in the New York Times, speculating about the reasons that federal officials have been giving "kid-gloves treatment" to banks that have engaged in abusive mortgage practices. Here's the lede:
Ever since the current economic crisis began, it has seemed that five words sum up the central principle of United States financial policy: go easy on the bankers.

This principle was on display during the final months of the Bush administration, when a huge lifeline for the banks was made available with few strings attached. It was equally on display in the early months of the Obama administration, when President Obama reneged on his campaign pledge to “change our bankruptcy laws to make it easier for families to stay in their homes.” And the principle is still operating right now, as federal officials press state attorneys general to accept a very modest settlement from banks that engaged in abusive mortgage practices.

Why the kid-gloves treatment?
For Krugman's savvy analysis, read on:
We don't often agree with the Keynesian Krugman; but we do believe he's spot-on in this practical, nuts/bolts instance.

So what about it O Gentle Ones? Isn't Krugman correct? Shouldn't we hold bankers accountable for their actions, just like everybody else? If not, why not?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bicycle Fun: How to Get the Best Outta Your Sturdy Bicycle

Here's something interesting and more than slightly invigorating on a S-L-O-W Weber County Forum news day:
Sadly, this is something you'll never be able to do @ Boss Godfrey's totally lame INDOOR REC CENTER .

We're filing this enlightening video for good reason... "high adventure" athletic inspiration.

No political implications, please. Just enjoy is all we can say, hehehe.

The above shouldn't be confused with this, BTW, wherein PeeWee Herman, perennial winner of the "Boss Godfrey Lookalike Contest" is again a dead ringer for The Little lord on Nine in this exciting but totally off-topic bicycle video:
A Weber County Forum Tip O" The Hat, by the way, to gentle reader OneWhoKnows2 for the much-appreciated up-page "Way Back Home" link!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Two Morning News Stories Spawn Election Issues

Some good questions to ask Ogden's mayoral candidates

By Curmudgeon

Two stories up this morning, one in the Trib, one in the SE, that suggest, I think, some good questions to ask Ogden's mayoral candidates.

The Trib one is about Ogden's new police crime center monitoring the city's cameras, and plans for increase surveillance. Particularly interesting are the last paragraphs which report that several studies show such monitoring has no appreciable effect on crime rates:
The other, in the Standard-Examiner, is on double-dipping in the Ogden PD --- i.e. people who retire and are rehired at the same jobs so they pull both pension and pay checks for the same job. The Ogden Civil Service Commission declined to assert jurisdiction in the Sgt. Blaine Clifford matter; and now the case appears destined to be headed back to the District Court:
Definitely worth a read. Drop a quarter if you have to and take a look. And youir blogmeister will be most certainly looking for statements about double-dipping from the candidates.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Van Hooser Runs for Ogden Mayor; Others File for City Positions Here & Elsewhere

Our thanks to all late filing Council Candidates who responded to our dunning reminders, and turned two out of three Council contests into actual election "races," (albeit at the last minute)

The Standard-Examiner reports the final results in the Ogden City 2011 Municipal Election candidate filing process this morning, with a Scott Schwebke story first centering on mayoral candidate Susan Van Hooser, but then meandering through a rundown of other candidates from not only Ogden, but much of the Top of Utah:
For a list which is more concise and locally focused, check out this online Ogden City website doc, which is marked "final" and dated 5:00 p.m., 7/15/2011:
In the days to come, keep your eyes on our ever-expanding right sidebar election module too, where our more detailed Mayoral and Council Candidate Rosters have been and will continue to be updated with online links, news stories and other informative candidate information.

With a grand total of seventeen candidates signed up for the Mayor and Council races, we'll predict a spirited 2011 campaign for all candidates except Council incumbent Caitlin Gochnour, who'll miss out on all the fun, since (barring a late opposition write-in campaign) she will be running unopposed for reelection to her Ward 4 seat .

We'd like to thank all late-filing Council Candidates who responded to our dunning reminders, and turned two out of three Council contests into actual election "races," (albeit at the last minute). And yes, we do believe we have a full slate of quality candidates across the board.

And a Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat goes out this morning to Ogden City Recorder Cindi Mansell, who worked beyond the call of duty, and delivered all seventeen 2011 Candidate Declarations into our hands for online publication by 5:01 p.m. yesterday.

In closing, we'll also ask the pregnant question: "By a show of hands, how many WCF readers are relieved that Boss Godfrey didn't suddenly change his mind about retirement... and throw his hat into the ring at the last minute?"

The floor's now open for those readers who'd like to chime in or even blow off a little steam.

Update 7/16/11 10:48 a.m.: The Salt Lake Trib's Cathy McKitrick devotes some morning ink to the 2011 Ogden Muni Elections story too:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Another Candidate Files for Ogden Mayor - UPDATED

And yet another gentle reminder that the filing period for municipal races ends at 5 p.m. tomorrow

HomeFollowing up his July 12 Standard-Examiner story, Mr. Schwebke reports this morning that yet another candidate has entered the race for the Ogden City Mayor's office, this time a local Realtor by the name of Steve Van Wagoner, whom regular readers will remember as an outta town investor with at least a one-time percipient property interest in Ogden's Berthana Ballroom Building. Here's this morning's SE writeup:
We'll file this story in our right sidebar election module, which we expect to be filled out with a full list of mayoral and council candidates by the weekend. And in that connection we'll offer yet another gentle reminder that the filing period for municipal races ends at 5 p.m. tomorrow. As we mentioned in yesterday's article, the slate of Council candidates still remains appallingly thin. It's impossible to have a real city council race, when two out of three "races" feature candidates who are running unopposed, if you know what we mean, and we think you do. Yes. Almost every eligible Ogden resident will be running for Mayor by 5:00 p.m. Friday, of that we have absolutely no doubt. What's REALLY NEEDED here in Emerald City however... is MORE Council candidates!

Be sure to click on the graphic in the upper right corner, BTW, just so everyone will be clear about one of our inherent WCF biases.

The floor's open for your wry comments... and council candidate applications, of course...

Update 7/15/11 10:00 a.m.: Wow! We just received word that two-term veteran Council incumbent Councilwoman Amy Wicks filed this morning to run again for her At Large Seat "C," and have accordingly added her candidate info page to our right sidebar 2011 Muni Elections module:
Definitely good news for fans of smart and frugal city government!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Heads-up On a Couple of Time-sensitive Events

The filing period for Ogden City municipal elective offices is fast drawing to a close; and the 2011 Redistricting Committee is coming to Ogden tonight

Although red meat news is in short supply this morning, we'll give our readers a heads-up on a couple of time-sensitive events.

1) The filing period for Ogden City municipal elective offices is fast drawing to a close. As set forth in this morning's Standard-Examiner story, "[t]he filing period for municipal races ends at 5 p.m. Friday [July 15]":
While we're up to our eyeballs with candidates who've already filed (or announced their intentions to file) for the Mayor's office, the candidate slates for City Council offices still remain slim, with solo candidates still remaining unopposed for two of the three contested Council seats. Now's no time for apathy, gentle readers. If you're at all inclined to throw your own hat in the ring for one of these contested Council eats, you should be aware that time for your candidate filing is fast running out.

It's in that connection that we'd like to give aspiring Council candidates a little nudge. In truth, no conscientious citizen likes it when people run unopposed. C'mon prospect Ogden Council members... we know you won't let that happen, right?

2) The 2011 Redistricting Committee is coming to Ogden tonight (July 13th.) They will be at the Ben Lomond High School Auditorium, at 1080 9th Street. The meeting begins at 6 PM. The Salt Lake Tribune carries an interesting article in this connection, highlighting the local implications of the 2011 redistricting, as it will likely effect Ogden's House Legislative Districts 9 and 10 (among other Districts):
Tonight's public hearing represents the last local opportunity to throw in your own 2¢. So we urge readers who are concerned about the outcome of this redistricting matter to plan to attend.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Open Space Plan Up For Final Approval

Document is packed with good but vague wishes.

By Dan Schroeder

Immediately after tonight’s important RDA Board meeting, the city council will meet as the city council to consider final approval of a new Open Space and Recreation Plan.

The council announced its intent to create this Plan nearly two years ago, and some of us spent endless hours in meetings during late 2009 and early 2010. The plan was then drafted by the Planning Department staff, approved by the Planning Commission, and modified by the City Council in preparation for tonight’s final adoption.

Interested citizens will want to download and review the Plan. As usual, you can get the full agenda packet from the city council web site. For an abridged version that includes the Open Space and Recreation Plan but not the other agenda items, click here.

As is typical with such documents, the Plan is full of good wishes, expressed in language that is mostly too vague to have any teeth. Does it offer any real protection against unwanted development of our precious parks and open spaces? The lawyers would have to argue over that.

Fortunately, the Plan isn’t the only mechanism by which the council can protect open space. The council has also expressed its intent to rezone all of Ogden’s existing parks to prohibit any residential or commercial development. Then even if the administration tried to sell park land for development, the buyer would have no vested right to build on it (unless a future city council changes the zoning again). According to council chair Caitlin Gochnour, the Planning Department has promised to draft the rezone ordinance within 90 days.

Another awkward aspect of the new Plan is that it would completely replace the existing Parks and Recreation chapter of Ogden’s General Plan. For the most part this replacement is appropriate because the subject matter would be redundant. However, the existing Parks and Recreation chapter also includes detailed discussions of city recreation programs and developed recreation facilities such as the Lorin Farr Pool and the Marshal White Center. It is troubling that the council apparently intends to remove all reference to these programs and facilities from the General Plan.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ogden Poised to Give Away Land Valued at $2.4 Million - UPDATED

River Project agreement on tomorrow’s city council agenda.

By Dan Schroeder

The Ogden City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Board, will decide tomorrow night whether to give 6.4 acres of land in the River Project area to SouthRiver LLC for a planned development of townhouses, apartments, and retail space.

The assessed value of the land is over $2.4 million, but SouthRiver would pay little or nothing for it. Instead, the RDA would receive tax increment on the development. Tax increment is the additional property tax generated by a new development, which in redevelopment districts, for a period of time, goes to the RDA rather than the usual taxing entities.

News reports in April had indicated that SouthRiver would pay the RDA $741,000 for the property, but that has apparently changed.

The terms of the SouthRiver agreement are described in tomorrow’s 293-page RDA agenda packet, a 62-megabyte download from the city council web site. I’ve removed the many pages of architectural drawings and geotechnical studies, and compressed the rest of the packet into a 3.4-megabyte file that you can download here.

Despite its tremendous length, the agenda packet contains no estimate of the amount of tax increment that the RDA will collect from the project. Tom Christopulos, Ogden’s Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development, said he couldn’t provide such an estimate but that a detailed consultant’s report on future tax increment for the entire River Project area would be released in a few weeks.

Based on the stated value and timing of the SouthRiver development, my own best estimate is that its tax increment generation will come to a little under $1 million by 2019, when tax increment collection is scheduled to expire.

As some of us anticipated, the city intends to ask for an extension of tax increment collection on the River Project redevelopment area past 2019. The documents in the agenda packet indicate that the extension would be for seven years, which I estimate would generate a little over $1 million of additional revenue from the SouthRiver project for the RDA. The extension would have to be approved by six out of eight members of the Taxing Entity Committee. The city, Weber County, and the Ogden School District each get two votes on the committee; the Utah Board of Education gets one vote; and the last vote represents the Weber Sewer District and other smaller taxing entities.

The SouthRiver development area is shown in the map below, along with the rest of “Phase 1” of the River Project. Current assessed values are indicated for all parcels (click to enlarge).

The townhouses would be in the yellow-shaded area along 20th and Grant, referred to in the agreement as Section 1. The apartments and retail would be in the orange-shaded area along the river, referred to as Section 2. The new Bingham Cyclery building is on the blue-shaded parcel, while America First Credit Union owns the pink-shaded parcel. The two unshaded parcels along Washington Blvd. are owned by the RDA but are not part of the proposed agreement. According to Christopulos, the hope is that these two parcels can be sold for approximately their assessed values in a few years after the economy improves. (Note that this map differs from an earlier version that I created on the basis of information that was apparently incorrect.)

The 69 townhouses in Section 1 would be built in four phases, with the property transferred to SouthRiver separately for each phase, contingent on 80% completion and occupancy of the prior phases. The schedule calls for construction to begin this summer and for the entire project to be completed by the end of 2014.

If the proposed tax increment extension is approved, SouthRiver would pay nothing for the 6.4 acres of vacant land. If the extension is not approved, the terms of the agreement require SouthRiver to pay Ogden $258,952 for the Section 2 property, but to be reimbursed for most or all of this expense from whatever tax increment is later collected on Section 2.

In addition, the agreement calls for the RDA to perform “soil mitigation activities” to remediate the inadequate soil compaction in the area. Christopulos indicated that the RDA would pay either the city or a contractor to do this work. There would also be an estimated $400,000 cost for materials and fuel, which could be paid by the RDA or by the city’s Capital Improvement Fund, according to Christopulos.

Meanwhile, the RDA owes approximately $3.7 million in debt associated with purchasing and clearing the land for this portion of the River Project. A bank loan with a balance of $1.7 million was recently repaid by borrowing the same amount from a city reserve fund, according to Christopulos. The RDA also owes $2 million to the city’s refuse fund for a loan made from the proceeds of the insurance settlement from the burning of the Shupe-Williams Building in 2006. Christopulos said that both of these loans are accruing interest and that the plan is to repay them using tax increment revenue, together with proceeds from the eventual sale of the two parcels along Washington Blvd.

If absolutely everything goes according to plan, including the SouthRiver development, the sale and development of the two additional parcels, the development of the America First Credit Union parcel, and the tax increment extension, then it appears to me that Phase 1 of the River Project might barely generate enough revenue for the RDA to pay off the existing debt. If even one of these stars fails to align, it will fall upon the next administration to deal with the budget shortfall.

Update 7/13/11 9:00 a.m.: The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Council/RDA last night unequivocally voted to get moving on the SouthRiver LLC project, approving the proposed development agreement by a unanimous 7-0 vote:

Standard-Examiner: Marshall White Center Now Thriving

So exactly who was the naysayer in this instance?

Following up on the theme set forth in the Standard-Examiner on August 12, 2010, Scott Schwebke provides another encouraging story about the "total turnaround" of Ogden City's Marshall White Center (MWC):
As regular readers will recall, it had been Boss Godfrey's plan two years ago to cut off all city funding to the MWC ; and the Ogden City Council fought back. The Center however is now fully funded and enjoying unprecedented success, thanks to the visionary foresight and dogged persistence of our Class of 2008-09 City Council majority (Garcia, Gochnour, Jeske, Stephens and Wicks).

And yes... keeping the pool open turned out to be a great idea, too... didn't it, Boss Godfrey? So exactly who was the naysayer in this instance?

So who'll be the first of our gentle readers to throw in their own 2¢?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Deseret News: Southern Baptist Gay Marriage Story a Hoax

One reason we ought to count our blessings that we have the Standard-Examiner as our local paper and not the Deseret News

By: Curmudgeon

For those among the WCF brethren for whom bashing the Standard-Examiner is a popular sport, I submit the following as a reason we ought to count our blessings that we have it as our local paper... and NOT the Deseret News. First the opening paragraphs of a recent DN story:
A story in Saturday’s Deseret News erroneously reported that a Southern Baptist leadership group had recommended that the Southern Baptist Convention approve gay marriage. The story, on page 2 of Saturday’s Deseret News Faith Section and posted online, also erroneously reported on a resolution from the group in which they “repented” of past homophobia. The story also appeared online. The story is completely false.
How it happened is explained in the DN's forthright mea culpa:
And worth posting too as a gentle reminder to the SE of the wisdom of not only checking to see if a press release really came from who it says it's from, but of the wisdom of fact-checking its content as well. Even if it's from the Mayor of Ogden City. Any Mayor of Ogden City. PS: On the other hand, kudos to the DN editors for running a no-bones-about-it full-throated we-screwed-up correction story instead of a measly unobtrusive note under "Corrections" someplace few would see it.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Ogden Farmers Market Begins With A BANG!

The first "shootout" starts at 9:00 a.m,

We just checked this morning's weather report; and it looks like it'll be a great day for this morning's kickoff of the 2011 Ogden Farmer's Market, (notwithstanding the hourly gun-play):
If you decide to take a stroll up and down Two-five Drive this morning, why not check back in with Weber County Forum later, to let us know how it all went down?

Friday, July 08, 2011

Another Valiant WCF Soldier Moves On to "the Great Unknown"

This is a message from the Littrell family:

We are saddened by the passing of a great woman, our mother, Dorothy E. Littrell.

She passed on Wednesday morning at 2:28a.m.

Services will be held Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 1:00pm, at Leavitt's mortuary, 836 36th Street, Ogden, Utah 84403 (801) 394-5556.

Her obituary will be published in the Ogden Standard Examiner on Sunday, July 10 and Sunday July 17.

We realize that an e-mail may seem impersonal, but given the number of friends and contacts she had, individual contact would be very cumbersome.

We thank all of you for being her friends. She will be sorely missed.

Love to all,

Paul, Molly and family.

Update 7/10/11 9:00 a.m.: The Standard-Examiner carries Dorothy's obituary this morning:

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Press Release: Ogden Ethics Project Asks Candidates to Adopt Voluntary Campaign Finance Limitations - UPDATED

Once candidate responses have been compiled, we'll plant a link in our own 2011 Municipal Election sidebar module

Encouraging news in advance of the 2011 Ogden City Municipal Elections, as The Ogden Ethics Project, a nonpartisan organization formed in May, announces that it is asking all Ogden City municipal election candidates to adopt a set of voluntary campaign contribution limitations.

The limitations are intended to close loopholes in Ogden’s existing campaign finance disclosure law, ensure that voters know the sources of candidates’ funds, and encourage all candidates to represent a broad spectrum of citizens rather than just a few special interests.

Read the organization's 7/6/11 press release for the full lowdown:
You can also visit the OEP website for a thorough analysis and description of the broad underlying problem(s) which have precipitated this commendable citizen effort:
Once candidate checklist responses have been compiled and posted to the OEP site, we'll plant a link in our own 2011 Municipal Election sidebar module, of course.

Update 7/7/11 8:54 a.m.: We now learn from one of our sharp-eyed readers that Cathy McKitrick's own SLTrib writeup on this topic has been published online within the last hour or so:
Update 7/8/11 8:41 a.m.: Interesting that the Standard hasn't picked up on this story yet. Whaddaya think folks? Is there any significance in the SE's inattention to this story?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Patterson Job Offer May Violate Law

Looks like Patterson's landed squarely within his own "comfort zone," no?

It appears that our announcement of John "Pureheart" Patterson's recent appointment to the Casper, Wyoming city manager job may have been a mite premature, folks. Patterson's not even under contract yet, and allegations of illegality already surround his new office:
Did the Casper City Council break the law even prior to swearing Patterson in to the city manager's post? Looks like Patterson's landed squarely within his own "comfort zone," no?

Salt Lake Tribune: Liquor Lawsuit - Action Against SB314 Worth a Try

Glad to see industry taking on this "job killing legislation" passed by our esteemed free market politicians

By: Ray

From the Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board this morning:
Here's the gist:
The stakes are high enough, the outrage fresh enough and, given the unpredictability of our cur­rent U.S. Supreme Court, the law fuzzy enough that the flyer the Utah Hospitality Association is taking by suing the state of Utah over one of its most recent, and most ridiculous, liquor laws is well worth the effort.
Understandably peeved over SB314, a new law that treats adult customers as children and honest merchants as drug pushers, the professional association that represents clubs, restaurants and such has given up trying to talk reason to the Legislature, governor and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission and has taken the lot of them to federal court.
Common sense and modern times are on the side of the barkeeps and restaurateurs. But, in Utah, that and five bucks will get you a beer. If you can find one. The law limiting the number of bar and dining club licenses by not only the size of Utah's population, but also by the number of law enforce­­ment officers it hires, has left the supply of licenses trailing far behind demand. That damages the state's economy for no reason other than a groundless claim to be saving innocent Utahns from the clutches of Demon Rum.
I'm glad to see industry taking on this "job killing legislation" passed by our esteemed free market politicians. Using their own argument for allowing cake fireworks, "We can't police it, everybody wants them, and they just buy them in Wyoming and idaho anyway," ought to be reason enough!

Monday, July 04, 2011

WaPo Editorial: On the Fourth, A Declaration We Still Must Live Up To

The Standard-Examiner carries the full text of the Declaration of Independence on its editorial page today, which is fitting and proper, as we again commence celebration of our American Independence Day:
As the Washington Post's editorial board reminds us this morning however, we as a nation "still struggle to live up to the Declaration of Independence":
The fly in the ointment? Even today, 235 years after our nation's founding, there are still some folks in the USA who haven't yet come to grips with the POLITICALLY RADICAL IDEA "... that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. . .” part.

Food for thought as we all set out to celebrate the 235th year of our nation's liberty.

Have a safe and sane holiday, folks!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Casper Journal: Casper Names Patterson New City Manager

The poor folks in Casper have no idea what a hole he is going to put in their pocket books

By Ozboy

Well it looks like we won't have Godfrey's lap dog John Patterson to kick around anymore. The Casper Journal announced yesterday that Casper, Wyoming has hired him as their new city manager:
The poor folks in Casper have no idea what a hole he is going to put in their pocket books before he is through with them.

So so long Johnny boy, you are a nice guy, but a complete political hack who has been devastating to poor Ogden's city treasury.

Update 7/2/11 7:10 a.m.: The Standard-Examiner is carrying the story too:

Friday, July 01, 2011

Council Approves Resolution to Encourage Civil Dialogue During Public Meetings

Who will be the first to chime in with their own Ogden City Council Meeting Godfrey Administration Brow-beating Beatdown Horror Story Anecdote(s)?

One of our alert readers has tipped us off on an encouraging recent Council Resolution, adopted without fanfare on June 28 of this year, designed to Encourage Civil Dialogue During Public Meetings:

(Click image to enlarge)

We've gotten numerous comments expressing outrage at the way Godfrey and Patterson personally attacked Dan Schroeder after he spoke at a council meeting regarding the field house a few months ago. And who can forget the public hit-job Boss Godfrey pulled on The Utah Heritage Foundation's Kirk Huffaker, who had the actual temerity on 12/7/10 to offer his expert opinion to the Council on the questionable "wisdom" of raising building height limits on Two-Five Drive? We called upon the council to offer its apologies to Mr, Huffaker in the latter instance; and we also wonder if these incidents didn't play a role in the adoption of this resolution.

Of course, there had been many earlier incidents of the same type. Regular WCF readers will especially remember when Godfrey attacked George Hall during another meeting on the height limit ordinance for 25th Street. And at earlier times, Godfrey attacked Mitch Moyes and David Smith and many other Ogden citizens who merely showed up at their Ogden City Council meetings, simply to express their citizen opinions. Then there was the notorious Scott Brown incident...

So what about it, O Gentle Ones? It might be fun to take a trip down memory lane and recall some of these episodes... dontcha think?

Who will be the first to chime in on this topic and lead the discussion, with their own Ogden City Council Meeting Godfrey Administration Brow-beating Beatdown Horror Story Anecdote(s)?

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