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.

23 comments:

Dan S. said...

Here Mayor Godfrey has displayed his petty spitefulness with unusual clarity for all to see. He would rather prove himself right than do what's best for Ogden.

Godfrey has been claiming for six years that we can't afford the streetcar, even while the professional experts tell us it's an idea worth pursuing. Just a few weeks ago at the last transit stakeholders meeting, after Godfrey gave yet another speech saying we don't have the money, Mick Crandall (formerly of UTA and now a consultant on transit planning) replied that if every transportation project that didn't have enough funding at this stage were to be abandoned, we would have no transportation projects at all and we'd be getting around on foot.

Four years ago, with Mayor Godfrey's endorsement, Weber County voters approved an additional quarter-cent sales tax for transportation. About half of the funds raised will inevitably be spent on new highway projects, mostly out west. Most suburban politicians, and the real estate speculators they rub elbows with, would love to spend the second half on highways as well. Then Ogden would be left with nothing but a rubber-tired circulator "trolley", even though Ogden generates half of the county's sales tax.

Apparently this is what Mayor Godfrey wants, because he'd rather throw this money away than be proved wrong about the streetcar. He knows full well that his latest announcement is an invitation to county officials to commit all the sales tax funds to highway projects, leaving none for a streetcar no matter what his successor might say. It's the last in a long series of self-fulfilling prophecies.

The city council, and the new mayoral candidates, need to react loudly, asking county officials not to rule out the streetcar until after Ogden has had a chance to put together a viable proposal. We may also need to wait for the economy to improve, or for some other unexpected development. But we need to be ready so we can grab the opportunity when it does arise.

rudizink said...

Great comment, Dan.  Thanks!

Tired taxpayer said...

I find it amusing that all of a sudden Godfrey cares about the cost of something. 4.1 mil for the American Can parking structure,  6 mil to purchase the Ogden City Mall, 20 mil for the Salomon Center (with leases that nowhere near cover the bond costs), parking for the hot tub hotelier, environmental clean up of the Winco site, demo and cleanup of the river project mess, 40+mil for the proposed fieldhouse/velodrome.... I could go on, but I won't. 

I'm not commenting on the value of the projects or wisdom in spending public dollars on some of these things. My point is that he doesn't seem to have a problem bonding and spending taxpayer dollars. 

Dan S. said...

Thanks, Rudi. Neglected to mention that I'm typing this from the FrontRunner!

Big Bill said...

Despite the misleading newspaper headline, I swear I actually had nothing to do with derailing the Streetcar.

Sceptical said...

I dunno, Big Bill.  Looking at your pic, you certainly resemble Ogden City's Mark Johnson.  

Bob Becker said...

Off Topic For Rudi:

  Yr server rejecting email from me.   Regardless of what kind of good taste on your server's part that suggests, wanted to pass the below to you FYI:

[Rejected msg]:

Rudi:    Came across this scary article about the Big Brother prospects of the kind of devices Double Dip is proudly bringing to Ogden. Didn't want to post it as off topic on the important street car thread, and the last Crime Center tread is too low down now to post it there. So sending it to you for your info/possible future posting:http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1353264

rudizink said...

I do NOT  believe "my server" is rejecting any  reader posts.

Weber County Forum is, and will always continue to be the most robust forum for Utah citizens.

Post to your hearts' content, O Weber County Forum readers!

Please skip the "whining," however.

rudizink said...

Here's the deal, Bob. If you try to post to the  WCF/Disqus comments system, you'll be able to do that with no trouble ... since you're Disqus whitelisted on Weber County Forum.

I have no idea, btw, where your above-cited  gibberish came from

Bob Becker said...

Once again, I tried to email the link about the Massachusetts "big brother"
matter, at an address I've emailed you at before, and I got the "mess" as
you call it I posed above saying your server refused to accept the email.
All I wanted to do was get you the link to the Massachusetts story because
it's a topic WCF dealt with in the past, and I couldn't find a convenient
place to post it just now. I posted it as a way to get you the information
when the email kicked back to me as being refused by your server. I
expected you'd just take the post down and save the link. Instead I got
your post saying you didn't believe your server had rejected an email and
suggesting I was whining.

Don't understand what you're so upset about. I tried to email you the link.
Google said your server refused it and I posted the text of the email on WCF
as an other way to get you the info. That''s all.

I suggest you take down this entire exchange, and just save the link to the
Massachusetts article to see if its something you might want to put up
later.

B

rudizink said...

I'm not upset, Bob.  I'm more concerned about how our WCF nested comments are now dwindling down to one-line comments!

Bob Becker said...

Then take 'em down. This is a conversation that should have been conducted by email, and would have been if your server was accepting email from me, which it wasn't.  

JustSayin said...

I love u rudizink.  You people are lucky to have him running his ant1-nazi blog!

Rudizink said...

Wrong.  My email server hasn't been "down" in over six years.

BlameJohnsonNotMe said...

RUDI for persident!  I actually thought the picture looked more like Blain Johnson....hey wait, let me put my contacts in!  haha

Danny said...

Rudi's article and Dan's assessment below are golden:  Solid, pure, true, and well said.

PPK said...

The beauty of a good magic act: keep your audience focused on something completely different than where the ACTUAL trick is being performed (unnoticed). Then tada! You have a GONDOLA! ;)
Just a thought...

Vote VAN WAGONER said...

We need to evaluate the city
as a whole and stop letting “public” transit be dictated by single areas of
interest. The plan that I will pursue as your mayor will encompass Ogden as a whole
connecting the dots of our community. The Cost is large but achievable and
projects worth pursuing are not easy nor will they come without criticism. I
will be the elected leader with vision and will work side by side with city
council to make a plan that works for all of Ogden City and the greater Weber
County.

Tired taxpayer said...

Van Wagoner-

When you mention persuing a plan- does that still include the gondola you were so excited about in February of 2007? Can I refresh your memory?

http://activepaper.olivesoftware.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=U1NFLzIwMDcvMDIvMDcjQXIwMTcwMQ==&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom

A California developer says he is willing to spend millions of dollars to transform a downtown strip club into a top-flight music venue if an urban gondola project materializes.
Steven Van Wagoner, who, along with several California investors, is poised to buy the historic Berthana Building at 315 24th St. in mid-April for nearly a million dollars, briefly discussed his plans Tuesday night with the City Council.
The council did not comment on Van Wagoner’s presentation or his request that they support the gondola project.
Before the council meeting, Van Wagoner told the Standard-Examiner the Berthana Building that houses the Lighthouse Lounge, which he described as a “strip club,” would undergo $4 million in renovations if the gondola is built.

Vote VAN WAGONER said...

Thanks for the question.
When I first moved to Ogden I was originally excited to hear about the gondola project. After learning more about the project I found that it would take public
lands and give portions to private developers along our foot hills in
order to help subsidize the expense and allow an ability to profit
sooner instead of taking private risk and recognizing profit later.The developers I learned from in California and had worked with, knew
that they had to work hard and that if they took calculated risk that
over time they typically would do pretty darn good on their investment.
Seemingly over the past ten years in Ogden real estate folks have
forgotten that concept or just simply have become greedy with closed
door deal making. Under my administration as Mayor of Ogden, closed door
deal making will come to an end.
Our open space is off limits to development and we owe future
generations at least that. I am often on the trail system with my family
and couldn’t imagine nor ever want to see our open space with more
boxes built on it. I love the wilderness and feel the most in my element
when outdoors, enjoying what Ogden has to offer, on our mountains and
along our rivers. Under my administration I will support open space in
Ogden and take additional steps to protect this space, as the treasure
that it is. You can read more about my plans at:
http://votevanwagoner.com/

blackrulon said...

A  name change is all that is necessary to obtain Matthew Godfreys support of a streetcar  route. I suggest we rename it as  ground level gondola hightech outdoor recreation downtown revitiliztion investment magnet.

Tired taxpayer said...

So you were a naive cheerleader who lands in town and proceeds to very publicly advocate for something without checking the facts…something that was obviously a very contentious issue in our community and this aspect of the situation would be apparent to any outsider. Surely you must have better judgment than that if you hope to hold the position of mayor.
 
I don’t care that you use the trails. I see Godfrey there occasionally too.  I see nothing on your website regarding your plans to take steps to protect open space. You may want to do some spelling and grammar edits. A group of people is not a “click”. I believe “clique” is the correct term.  

Crslassen said...

Van Wagoner ,
you are a joke and why is it that no one you are associated with or have associated with have anything good to say about you or your candidacy? Talk to the business owners on 25th street about this joker and their thoughts about him and what kind of mayor he would be for ogden

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