Thursday, September 22, 2011

Big Mayoral Debate Tonight

If you feel like this event is coming out of the blue, you'd probably be right

Do you have an empty gap in tonight's evening calender? Looking for a little something to whet your political appetite? Here's news of an evening event which may just fill the bill, submitted to us via email by yet another sharp-eyed and alert WCF reader:

Particulars are available at the Ogden City website:
If you have a "gut feel" feel that this event is coming out of the blue, you'd probably be right. Except for a short blurb in this morning's SE section B sidebar, it appears that tonight's event sponsor (the craven Lame Boss Godfrey "Boss Godfrey".

We'll leave the lights on in the lower comment section of course, for those readers who might wish to chime in before, during or after this event.

Update 9/22/11 7:03 p.m.:

Well Lo & Behold, and Surprise of Surprises, Dan Schroeder is now live blogging from the Council Chambers "debate!"

Do be sure to "read up."

Update 9/23/11 10:00 a.m.: The Standard is carrying the story too:


blackrulon said...

Isn't scheduling a debate between the candidates a bit premature? Considering that Ms. VanHoser can ask for a recount and the results might change the mayoral finalists.

rudizink said...

LOL.  Over on Facebook, former city council candidate Courtney White offers his preview of tonight's debate event:

‎"Do you agree with stealing
tax payer money and giving it to land developers?" Caldwell:"yep!"
Stevenson:"Me Too!". Sounds like it will be riveting ;)

Donk9 said...

I'm wondering who might profit from a meager turnout for this event. Short notice could be intentional or merely a screw up. Given the history of our City Administration either is possible.  

BiberBabe said...

you mean like when they changed the streetcar information seminar from inside the muni bldg to outside in the middle of winter?


Bob Becker said...

The "debate"  [q and a in plain English] will be shown on The Godfrey Channel [17]  presumably several times over the next few weeks. I don't think they're counting on turnout much to give it a news bump.

rudizink said...

It should be plainly obvious to all Emerald City political sophisticates why Boss Godfrey and His Godfrey Channel 17 lackyes didn't widely publicize this event.

This soon to be recorded Faux Debate is basically a studio TV production, which doesn't really work well for Godfrey's purposes, with  annoying Ogden City Citizens arriving at this "dog and pony show,"   and gumming  up the works.

rudizink said...

You're exactly right, BR.

No doubt about it.  If Godfrey's free propaganda Channel stages a totally bullshit debate before all the votes are certified, where does this whole process lead us anyway? 

blackrulon said...

Sample question-do you consider Matt Godfrey a great mayor or the greatest mayor?

Dan S. said...

Coming to you live from the Ogden City Council chambers! Candidates are seated and doing sound checks. Only a couple dozen in the audience.

Dan S. said...

Moderator is describing format. Two-minute answers, two-minute responses, one-minute rebuttals. Coin flip for first question, Stephenson allows Caldwell to answer first.

Dan S. said...

First question: Current administration has had successes, controvery, and detractors. Do you accept the label "Godfreyites"?

Dan S. said...

Caldwell's response: I've avoided forums and blogs, and been called a number of things. I've run this campaign on a results-based platform. Putting me in one camp is extremely unfair. I work for the county, not the city. We've had a lot of successes recently (cites examples of recent WSJ articles), has been result of collaboration among many parties.

Stephenson:  I've been called worse than a Godfreyite. On council over last 8 years I've supported Godfrey when I believe he's right. I helped get city council votes for Salomon Center which created synergy that Ogden needed, lynchpin for Junction, regional attraction. I have a passion for making Ogden a place where people from outside want to come in. If that makes me a Godfreyite, I'll accept that.

Moderator:  How would your administration differ?

Caldwell: In the collaborations that I'd bring in, reaching across lines bringing many people to the table. Relationships. That's how we brought in Lance Armstrong.

Dan S. said...

Next question: Current administration has tried to make Ogden an outdoor recreation center. Is that your vision and if not, what is?

Stephenson answers: That's a piece of the puzzle but of course not all. Besides high-adventure recreation, I'll also focus on aerospace engineering with HAFB just around corner, WSU, etc. Bring in higher-paying jobs. High adventure is important, we need to celebrate this and make sure everyone knows how wonderful Ogden is.

Caldwell: I agree that's part of it. It helps to define who we are, tells a story about Ogden. This began just after the Olympics, thousands here for torch run, GOAL Foundation brought 70,000 people into downtown last year. When we started chasing high-tech companies ten years ago, people didn't know what we had here. Now they know we offer a great lifestyle for their employees. That's the biggest benefit to outdoor recreation theme.

Stephenson:  I can't reiterate enough that even though high adventure is important, there's more. For example, I've been an advocate of Business Information Center helping businesses grow and keeping them here.

Dan S. said...

Next question: How does your job creation plan differ from your opponent's?

Caldwell: I haven't heard a lot about Brandon's so I'll tell you about mine. There's been a lot of momentum recently, the system isn't broken and I'm not going to jump in and change a lot. Mentions recent recognition for second-highest job growth rate.

Stephenson: It's a lot of hard work. You have to target the right companies, then go and get them. Already our economic development people are are bringing in 1000 jobs per year but we can do better. [He's talking faster than I can type.] Blah blah blah deregulation easier to do business.

Caldwell: I met this afternoon with Weber Economic Development Corp. and some of Ogden's economic development, etc. They said our biggest weakness is marketing of Ogden. We're helping this with events, etc.

Dan S. said...

Next question: What do you see as the one to three greatest challenges facing the city?

Stephenson: Where do we start? First, economic development and jobs. Second, stabilize our most troubled neighborhoods; we do this by bringing in business which brings dollars to invest; we've taken dollars from BDO lease revenue and put it into neighborhood redevelopment. Work with nonprofits, make it expensive to be a slumlord.

Caldwell: The two biggest things are the economy (keeping it humming), and education. I have a friend who brought a solar company here but none of them live here because of low test scores. We need to work on home ownership which will also reduce crime. I've helped bring IB program to OHS; mayor's office needs to work with district to improve education.

Stephenson: My three children who are in school are in Ogden City schools...  I'm currently working with YMCA (with schools...).

Dan S. said...

Question: What could the police department do better to create safer neighborhoods?

Caldwell:  We've seen some fantastic trends. One thing is that police department could get involved in code enforcement to confront gang and drug homes. Good landlord program is critical. I've toured real-time crime center, ... technology....  After-school programs are a critical part to get kids into healthy environment. I spent 8 years as a troubled youth counselor...

Stephenson:  Our police department does a lot of things really well. They lack a little bit in community policing; currently 8 members, who have so many other jobs; I propose fewer traffic officers and more community police officers.

Caldwell:  Community police officers can be involved in after-school programs. Easier to approach officers on bicycles.

Dan S. said...

Next question: Gondola, streetcar, police blimp. Where do you fall on these ideas?

Stephenson: I like to be open-minded. Gondola was never a real project. Blimp is entirely different; I'm an advocate of giving police as much technology as possible so I support the blimp with appropriate guidelines. Streetcar is too expensive but I'm open-minded and if we can make it cheaper, I'd be for it.

Caldwell: I've talked with a lot of people about the gondola. It wasn't so much about the gondola as selling east bench open space. Very divisive still after all these years. Streetcar is a great concept; federal funding is not available right now but pendulum might swing so we need to continue conversation. I've looked at police blimp which may have some unique uses in industrial areas, fires, etc., but I don't want to see it flying over residential areas.

Stephenson: We need to come up with a plan for Harrison Blvd., connections into North Ogden, other transportation issues, potential of a downtown circulator.

BlameJohnsonNotMe said...

So Mr. Caldwell can't get 10 minutes into the debate without mentioning Lance Armstrong?  Is anyone surprised???  (You know, the guy he admits he does not have the juice to influence to come to Ogden.)  Welcome the new Sockpuppet to Ogden politics.  Hey Mike, once you get in there will be nowhere to hide, your opinions will be documented and your "mentor" will be long gone!  You'll deserve everything WCF throws your way. 

Dan S. said...

Next question: If the city had a windfall of $1 million, where you would you put it?

Caldwell: $1 million doesn't cover a whole lot.

Moderator: Make it $10 million.

Caldwell: Look at ways to help the schools, partner with RAMP to provide an asset like a better aquatic center, which would also help seniors. Also help police, city recreation programs, after-school programs. But we'd put this on the table and work with the city council. Recognize municipal employees and make sure they're compensated.

Stephenson: Those are all great ideas. A good balance is where I would focus. Small business loans, inviting businesses into BDO. Infrastructure is an issue, sidewalks. We just spent $50 million bond on water projects but there's another $50 million needed. We're also working on downtown, transit corridor, walkable promenade along Grant Ave. It's the city council's job to determine where it goes.

Caldwell: Another consideration is federal grants that require matching funds. So before we spent any money, I'd meet with council and other groups to find ways to leverage funds with federal grants to make the dollars go as far as possible.

Dan S. said...

Question: What makes you the best candidate, relative to your opponents weaknesses?

Stephenson: I've served on city council for 8 years so I understand how the city runs; I'll come running into the job. I have a master's degree from WSU. I'm proven in business, with 25 years of private sector experience, both small and corporate business. This makes me grit my teeth with how slowly government runs, makes me work to push government in order to get any movement at all.

Caldwell: I've had four positions as either president, CEO, or board chair. I've been in leadership positions, managed 50 employees. I've encouraged employees to get them invested. Olympics, etc. Mayor is not a dictator but must inspire people to get involved. Leadership sets me apart.

Stephenson: I've been engaged in various other organizations: three years as chair of Ogden Housing Authority. (Lists other board memberships.) Business experience... I do understand budgets through council experience.

Dan S. said...

Question: What are your weaknesses?

Caldwell: I haven't been in the city government and it would take a little while to figure that out. But that's why you have appointed officers who are professionals. I imagine city isn't too different from county.

Stephenson: I'm a big picture thinker and I rely on people to understand details for me. I've never managed multiple levels comparable to city government.

Caldwell: No further comment on weaknesses.

Dan S. said...

Yes-no questions:

If you're elected mayor, will you change department heads? Stephenson: No, they work well together.

Caldwell: No, not right now.

Will you agree not to take a pay raise?

Caldwell: That's set by the city council so I'm not looking for a change.

Stephenson: I would accept the new, higher salary that we approved last year.

Dan S. said...

Question: How would you describe the mayor's role?

Stephenson: He's the implementer; the doer. To a degree he's working off of policy decisions by the city council. If something's going to get done it's because the mayor proposes it and implements it. Makes the city go round.

Caldwell: CEO of Ogden City. Solve problems that come up. Be chief cheerleader for Ogden, work with others to bring attention to Ogden City. Reach into other communities.

Stephenson: Yes, connect with WSU, school district, county, etc.

Dan S. said...

Final question: Fill in the blank: "If I haven't accomplished [blank] after four years, I don't deserve to be reelected."

Caldwell: I'd like to see 3000 jobs, increased home ownership, [missed other item].

Stephenson: If you can't see a change downtown, retail, people walking around, then I could say I don't deserve to move on. Also feeling safe in our neighborhoods, families moving back in. People choose to come to Ogden.

Moderator: Mr. Caldwell, are you saying if you don't do those things, you shouldn't be reelected?

Caldwell: I think these are achievable goals but we can't foresee what the economy will do...

Stephenson: That's exactly what I'm saying.

Dan S. said...

Concluding remarks:

Stephenson:  Ogden is a fabulous place that I have a passion for. People need to be engage and focused and I hope that whoever becomes mayor, all of us will stay involved to make economy vibrant, community, safe neighborhoods, stable educational system. Mayor doesn't make a big difference but what does is everyone gathering around and working together.

Caldwell: I agree it's not one person. I've been doing that for the last 8 years. We've been motivating people to get involved, have pride in place. Going through a campaign is an amazing experience. We have two good candidates. Ogden's going to see a different tone through this campaign and election. Ogden's going to have a great future.

Bob Becker said...

Disappointingly vague but i expected it to be.  Job growth: everybodys for it.  Nobody offered any specifics beyond cheerleading for Ogden.  

Disconcerting Caldwell thinks gondola to WSU not a problem, only selling park to finance it.  But not as disconcerting as Stephenson now claiming gondola he supported tooth and nail was never a viable project at all.  Doesnt say much about his business judgement , does it.  Wonder what he ll support if he gets to be mayor that he ll decide years and millions later wasnt ever viable at all?   The downtown field house vellodrome indoor water park?  

Curious moderator never asked about that....  or is it?

On balance:to Caldwell narrowly on points because Stephenson made no bones about his being the stay the couse status quo candidate.

Dan S. said...

I was sitting near the moderator (Brian Mullahy of Channel 2 news) so when the event ended, I asked him who wrote the questions that were asked. He said he wrote and modified quite a few of the questions but he received an initial list of suggested questions from Bill Francis of Channel 17. I then asked Bill if he wrote those questions or if he had input from others and he said he did get input from others "here", pointing upward. I took this to mean that there was input from city staff on higher floors in city hall. When I asked him to name names, he refused. I said if he wouldn't give me the names, I would report that the questions were influenced by city staff but that Bill Francis was unwilling to name those staff members. He said he didn't want to report that. He repeatedly brought up Weber County Forum and his past grievances against WCF, and said he knew that I and WCF would distort whatever he said. Our conversation continued for quite a while, with Mullahy chiming in at times to assure me that he had the final say on all the questions and he wasn't pressured to ask (or not to ask) any particular questions.

Spanish Inquisition said...

"You'll deserve everything the WCF throws your way."


You mean endless anonymous posts from about 4 people using names that were learned in the 5th grade in 1974?

Bob Becker said...

There's more here, SI, than that.  Dan's periodic articles, for one thing.  And more. 

But I agree, the comments can at times get petty.  I'm trying to think of something that came up in the "debate" [politely  so-called]  less worth taking not of, for example,  than Mr. Caldwell mentioning Lance Armstrong's coming to compete at Snow Basin.  Of all the things both candidates said,  and didn't say, that's the one BJNM thought worth noting?   

Bob Becker said...

TY, Dan.  I just found it curious that the Mayor's current megabucks obsession [the fieldhouse/velodrome/track/indoor water park] didn't come up at all.  Would have been interesting to have heard the two asked about that one specifically. 

I did like that a few of the questions evidently caught both candidates without prepped and pre-digested answers at the ready.   And that the questions were generally succinct and direct.  

Dan S. said...

Mullahy specifically said afterwards that one of his goals was to ask questions in a way that would get the candidates away from merely repeating their stump speeches. I think he did a pretty good job at that.

But I thought the questions failed to significantly distinguish the candidates' positions on issues. That's partly because the candidates don't have many differences on the issues, at least that they're willing to talk about. But it would have helped to bring up the field house, and maybe the river project, and a few others where we would expect the candidates to differ noticeably.

Spanish Inquisition said...

If the best argument you can put forth is that "WCF sucks as just as bad as Fox News, MSNBC and Huffington Post," that's not saying much.

But I'll agree with you...of all the things that could have been said (or not said) Lance Armstrong isn't the biggest offense. :)

(P.S.: My original response to your post is "under consideration" by the blog moderator.  You may never get to see it.)

BlameJohnsonNotMe said...

One final plea to the corporations who are considering contributing to the Mike Caldwell or Brandon Stephenson campaigns or who already have.  How about donating that same amount to the Rescue Mission, Salvation Army or St. Anne's Center?  Does anyone really believe a few extra dollars will effect the outcome of this mayoral race? 
And how about Caldwell's answer to the million dollar question......"A $1 million doesn't cover a whole lot."  This clearly defines Mike Caldwell's philosophy and prefaces his future for Ogden in regards to tax and spend.  Yes, it appears Caldwell enjoys collecting, using and spending tax payer's money on his "favorite" projects just like previous city administrators. 

rudizink said...

Yeah, BJNM, but here's the rub.  Who are you gonna vote for this year?  Godfrey's Sockpuppet?

Seems like we're in the horns of  dilemma here.

Which one of these Tweedle-Dee-Teedle Dum mayoral candidates is the lesser or greater evil?.

This s a question we'll be taking up on WCF in the days to come.

Time to start the difficult process  of distinguishing one from he other, wethinks.

blackrulon said...

Who to vote for? Stephenson, who will fully continue Godfreys reign of error or Caldwell, who will find new ways to screw Ogden.

Jennifer Neil said...

I just received an email in re: a similar debate slated for the two Council Seats' candidates that will also be broadcast on channel 17.  A tentative date of Wednesday October 12th has been set aside for this event.  I have given my RSVP that the date/time will work just fine for me.  Right now they are in the process of gathering question input from the community ... pencil in the date: 10-12-2011 for the Council Debate.


Jennifer Neil said...

It seems here that Caldwell is implying the high-tech companies we are "chasing" will bring their own employees with them, rather than go with the local educated workforce,  que no?


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