Thursday, October 06, 2011

Yet Another Mayoral Debate Tonight!!

Watch out for the input of Chief Administrative Officer (Mark Johnson, who answers to Mayor Godfrey); who also has ultimate control over all content that is broadcast on Channel 17

Per Rudizink, via Dan S:

"Don't forget that the mayoral candidates are having yet another debate tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the city council chambers". This one will again be televised on Channel 17. Here are the time/date/location particulars:
Thursday, October 6, 2011, 7 – 8 p.m.
Ogden City Council; Chambers, Ogden Municipal Bldg, 3d Floor.
According to city policy, City Chief Administrative Officer (Mark Johnson, who answers to Mayor Godfrey) also has ultimate control over all content that is broadcast on Channel 17, so it'll definitely be interesting to see how it all shakes out with this bureaucratic Godfrey aparatchik in charge of everything:
  • October 6, 2011 - Mayoral Debate - Channel 17
We'll again keep the lights on for any pre/intra/and/or post-debate comments and/or rants.

Don't let the cat get yer tongues, O Pretty Please (with sugar on it.)

Update 10/6/11 7:00 p.m.: Listen up folks! Dan S. is now live blogging from the mayoral debate.


Bob Becker said...

Caldwell: We need a good flagship bookstore downtown, and a unique grocery like Whole Foods.
Both would be nice, but whether Ogden could/would support them is another question.  I'm not at all sure it could/would. 

Carolyn Saam Bennion said...

Thanks Dan!

Dan S. said...

Morning-after analysis...

Once again it's apparent that the two candidates' platforms are virtually indistinguishable. We did hear last night that Stephenson is promising to lower property taxes, though he didn't clarify whether that's on an absolute basis (which happens automatically when property values rise) or in a relative sense (which would require action on the city's part). From Caldwell we heard some proposals for reorganizing city departments: code enforcement would move to the police department and economic development into the mayor's office. Stephenson talks more about bringing big box retailers to 12th Street, while Caldwell talks more about eclectic shops downtown--but that's just a matter of emphasis, not disagreement.

Instead, each candidate's main talking point is that his background shows him to be more qualified to become mayor. Stephenson has been inside the city for 8 years as a council member and takes credit for many of the good things (especially RDA projects) that have happened during this time. He also has the perspective of a private business owner and employee. Caldwell has ten years of experience with the county, managing government budgets and employees. He takes credit for many of the successful events that have brought in tourists and improved Ogden's reputation.

The most interesting aspect of the whole event was that write-in candidate Patrick Conlin was invited to participate. A place on the dais was initially marked with his name, and the moderator made a point of stating, at the beginning of the program, that Conlin had been invited. Notably, Conlin was not invited to the previous, otherwise similar event on September 22. Why the change? Obviously because on September 26, a write-in candidate filed for the city council at-large seat C, and the administration now suddenly wants to legitimize write-in candidates in any way it can.

Onewhovotes said...

Caldwell's proposal to move economic development into the mayor's office and code enforcement into the police department sounds like a consolidation of mayoral power.  Putting code enforcement into Greiner's control  looks to me to potentially be a very bad plan as code enforcement as structured has been used as a retaliatory tool by the current administration.  How much worse if it is under the control of Greiner?   

Dan S. said...

I can't see how either of these moves would make much difference. Ultimately, however things are organized, everyone reports to the mayor.

If someone can produce hard evidence that code enforcement has been used as a retaliatory tool, I'd love to see it. I did once ask a code enforcement guy about all the grass and weed violations in Leshem City (when it was still standing), and he said that was "political", implying that he wasn't going to issue any citations.

Dan S. said...

It's eerily quiet with so few people in the room--quite a change from the pre-primary events.

Moderator is Doug Jardine, the guy who moderated the pre-primary debate.

Dan S. said...

First question: If budget shortfalls, what would be first thing to cut and why?

Caldwell's answer: Need to sit down with council and look at whole budget, take time to look for places to be more efficient. I don't come in with a sword in hand looking to slice and dice; it would be a collaborative approach.

Stephenson's answer: I've had lots of experience tracking budget while on council. Would ask all department directors to contribute a certain percentage to make up shortfall. Iterative process. Would need to communicate with city council.

Caldwell rebuttal: I've managed three different county departments, significant budgets, and had experience cutting to weather economic hardships.

Dan S. said...

Stephenson's opening statement: He understands how the city works and this is important for the next mayor. Also business background. Excited for the opportunity to make Ogden a better place.

Moderator is joking around.

Caldwell opening statement: Ogden is one of the most unique places. Has worked with organizations on revitalization and rebranding. Need someone who can bring many others in the table. We need someone who can reach across boundaries to WSU, county. Has been president/CEO/board chair. Will bring new ideas and fresh approach after 12 years of one administration.

Dan S. said...

Next question: What are the two largest issues facing the city and how would you deal with them?

Stephenson: First, bringing jobs to our community; second, economic revitalization of downtown. Current administration has done a stellar job at bringing jobs. 1000 jobs per year. I'd tweak this to go after not quantity but quality. Target companies that could fill our empty downtown office space. Continue to fill out Junction (e.g., Garden Hilton hotel), retail not just downtown but also Wall Ave. and 12th Street.

Caldwell: Jobs and economic development is very important. Ogden was recently recognized as second best for job growth. Would put economic development directly under mayor instead of within community development department. We also need safe neighborhoods. Companies want neighborhoods for their relocating employees. We need to stabilize neighborhoods with more home ownership.

Stephenson: Ogden needs to create an atmosphere where business can thrive. My experience on council gives me insight into permitting problems and such. Need mentality change inside the city so people want to help business rather than check off a checklist.

Dan S. said...

Question 3:  If elected will you lower taxes and fees.

Caldwell: Everybody wants to, but the way to do it is to raise revenue. I've worked hard the last ten years on tourism, which brings in revenue and can ease tax burdens on locals. Was president/CEO of Convention and Visitors Bureau. I don't look to raise taxes or fees. Would like to make rates more understandable and transparent.

Stephenson: It is my intent to decrease the property tax rate. Fees should represent the cost of the service. City council is looking at places to decrease rates where they're unfair. To make up for lower taxes/fees, we need to increase business revenue, sales tax, property values.

Caldwell: I've got experience in doing that, managing $5 million budget. Transparency is critical so people understand where taxes are coming from and going.

Dan S. said...

Question 5: What kind of retail do we need downtown and how will you bring it?

Caldwell: We've had a good start. Eclectic. Recreation outlets. You can find big boxes anywhere. To bring retail we need a critical mass of people downtown and we've worked at that with downtown events. We need something unique and we can bring that back. Downtown residential living will also help.

Stephenson: As I've talked with residents and knocked on doors, the consensus is we need places in Ogden to buy shoes and apparel. It's not just downtown. We also need to create retail corridors to compete with Riverdale and Layton. Competition from North Ogden is a risk. Need to deal with empty Fred Meyer and Stop N Shop.

Caldwell: We need a good flagship bookstore downtown, and a unique grocery like Whole Foods for people to walk to. The empty buildings on 12th street are indeed critical.

Dan S. said...

Question 4: What is your plan to make our neighborhoods safer?

Stephenson: Police Department does a good job at enforcement but we need to work on community policing... Police also needs better equipment and improved technology to give officers an advantage.

Caldwell: We need 60% home ownership to stabilize neighborhoods, rather than 80% rentals as some of our neighborhoods have now. We already have some good programs to encourage home ownership. I would move code enforcement into the police department so they could better go after drug houses. Real time crime center allows proactive policing. Getting police out of cars and into neighborhoods.

Stephenson: We do have high rental rates in some areas; it's unrealistic to say we're going to turn them into owner-occupied. We do need to deal with slum lords. Need to work with good landlord program.

Dan S. said...

Question 6: Ogden is culturally diverse. Is it possible to make every citizen feel a part?

Stephenson: Maybe not every single citizen but as we revitalize neighborhoods, we need to take different needs into account.  YMCA wants to build community center, do ESL classes. Work with nonprofits, neighborhood councils.

Caldwell: Diversity is a great part of this community and will continue to be. We need to create opportunities. All of those people need to be represented. We've got a big Latin population but not all the same. Work with leaders and churches. Be available.

Stephenson: I've been working with a group on north end of town, working with a group to engage with community. People need to understand what resources the city has. We put together a community fair for neighbors to come and find out what's available. Community plans bring ideas from citizens.

Dan S. said...

Closing statement from Caldwell: I've spent the last 10 years helping create a community where we want to live, work, and play. I've worked with school board, daughters in Ogden schools... been in the trenches doing that. Organized 16,000 volunteer hours. Experience managing big groups of people. That type of getting people to buy in is critical. I've asked to be judged by the results I've produced over the last 10 years.

Closing statement from Stephenson: It's important for Ogden to become a place where me and my family want to live. My kids also attend Ogden City schools. Make this a community where people want to live. On city council I've participated in every major decision: Junction, Winco, etc.  Sometimes there's controversy and we need someone who understands how to push things through. Make Ogden run smoother, where businesses want to come and be, and people and families want to live.

rudizink said...

Thank you, Dan.  Your extraordinary efforts to keep Ogden voters informed are much appreciated.

Dan S. said...

Coming to you live from the Ogden City Council chambers, it's yet another mayoral debate!

Candidates Stephenson and Caldwell are seated at the dais, and there's a space for write-in candidate Patrick Conlin but they've just given up on him and taken down the sign with his name on it.

About ten of us are seated in the audience. Several are wearing "I Like Mike" Caldwell t-shirts.

Onewhovotes said...

More than like.  We, who are not able to attend, are becoming dependant on Dan's narrative.  THANKS DAN!

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