Sunday, November 27, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Godfrey Looks Back at 12 Years as Ogden Mayor

We'd expected a whitewash; and it's a whitewash that we got

Thanks to Friday's timely heads up from former Ogden City Councilwoman Dorrene Jeske, we were forewarned that a Standard-Examiner Godfrey Administration "retrospective" was coming up; and lo and behold, it's right there at the top of the S-E front page, under Mr. Schwebke's byline this morning:
We'd expected a whitewash; and it's a whitewash that we got. File this story under "Puff Pieces" or "Alternate Reality Department," folks.

Although we hardly know where to start, we'll hit a few of the low points:

1) The Gondola(s)/ Mt. Ogden Park Fiasco. Weber County Forum political wonks will well remember the five year municipal "civil war" over Boss Godfrey's gondola obsession, which split our community down the middle, over Godfrey's plan to sell our crown jewel Mt. Ogden Park to finance a couple of gondolas to serve Mr. Peterson's hopelessly ill-conceived (proposed) Malan's Basin Ski Resort. In a marvel of historical revisionism, Mr. Schwebke spruces up Ogden City history this morning and lets Godfrey get away with this throwaway quote: "When it became apparent there was not going to be a proposal from him (Peterson), we backed away." WCF readers will of course not need to be reminded of the true reasons that Godfrey at least publicly dumped his gondola obsession on the eve of the 2007 Municipal Election campaign kickoff, i.e., flagging job approval numbers and a gondola project which was politically toxic in and of itself.

2) The Junction Money Pit. In truly mind numbing disregard for the truth, Schwebke allows Mr. Godfrey to "re-frame" the downtown Junction Project, a boondoggle which required a full bond re-financing in 2009, but which even today costs the Ogden taxpayers upwards of $600 grand per year in public subsidies. This project was originally billed as one which "wouldn't cost the taxpayers a red cent," we note in retrospect. In any scenario other than the upside-down alternate Godfreyite universe, this project would be recognized for exactly what it is, a gigantic economic flop.

3) The 2007 Ogden Municipal Election. Mr. Schwebke breezes through Godfrey's 2007 re-election with this: "In 2007, running on a platform of reduced crime and increased economic development, Godfrey won a third term by defeating challenger City Councilwoman Susan Van Hooser." That's it.

And here's at least some of what Mr. Schwebke leaves out, concerning the totally messed up 2007 election:
Ah yes, the 2007 Election was far more memorable than Mr. Schwebke or Mr. Godfrey would otherwise lead us to believe. Thankfully for Boss Godfrey, the slavish "Ace Reporter" Schwebke continues to cover Boss Godfrey's back.

4) Godfrey's Secret Gondola Study. And in closing, here's another memorable Godfrey administration moment in time, (which Mr. Schwebke also forgot to mention), which nicely illustrates Boss Godfrey's mendacity and complete disregard for our City Council's role as the City's co-equal government branch. Take a little trip down memory lane folks, and recall the time Godfrey tried to hide and misappropriate a $250 thousand Federal Transportation grant from the Ogden City Council, and then got caught red-handed in a highly-incriminating GRAMA produced email paper trail, like the proverbial kid with his hand in the cookie jar.

That's it for now, O Gentle Ones, although we do realize we haven't even scratched the surface in our own Boss Godfrey Retrospective.

Time's a ticking however, WCF readers, so we'll hit the "publish" button now, and rely upon our Gentle WCF Readers to fill in the other parts that we left out.


blackrulon said...

Interesting take on history by Scott Schwebke. It could not have been better written by Richard Burwash.

Biker_Babe3 said...

I may have an aspiration after reading the entire article: that is,
the act of inhaling fluid or a foreign body into the bronchi and lungs, often after vomiting.


Bob Becker said...

There are three ways the SE could have gone with this story:

1. Purely a  "Godfrey Recalls His Years In Office"  story. Had it chosen this option, the paper would have only had to report, accurately, what Hizzonah said about his term in office and his assessment of himself and his accomplishments.  No other opinions necessary  for that kind of story.

2. But the SE chose instead to do a broader piece, one that purported to be reporting on the Godfrey Years in retrospect.  Once the paper included interviews with others [Mr. Hardman, Rep. Hansen, Councilwomen Jeske and Van Hooser for example] it was clearly no longer simply a "Godfrey Remembers" piece, it was something considerably broader. Or it hoped to be.  And once that choice was made, it was up to the SE to make sure (a) it got the facts right [e.g. there was never a proposal by the Mayor to build a gondola from downtown to Malin's Basin, only from downtown to WSU], and to provide accurate context for the Mayor's more self-serving statements. This the article often failed to do. 

3.The third option would have been to do an assessment of the Godfrey years, which included his own assessment of them, the assessment of others, and research into the record, including articles published by the SE itself in order to reach conclusions about the Godfrey Years.   Sadly, the SE opted as it usually does for a "he said/she said" approach to reporting [option #2 above], and so dodged having to draw any conclusions, even ones based on its own reporting over the past 12 years.  

Danny said...

This shows the danger of a news media in cahoots with the government.

Schwebke sits at Godfrey's feet, takes his propaganda, then prints it.

Were it not for Dan Schroeder and this blog, no one would know the truth.

Bob Becker said...

Came across the following quip today that's maybe not wholly irrelevant to this conversation:

An editor is someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff. - Adlai E Stevenson.

Rosemary Hoffman said...

Let's not forget "this is a republic, not a democracy" as an excuse for running roughshod over the citizens and Council.

OneWhoKnows2 said...

Hey, he's a real peach!  Turns out he wasn't the mayor he thought he was.  He'll probably go to work for Ogden City Economic Development or the Standard Examiner soon after people forget using his name in vain as often as they do presently.

Dorrene Jeske said...

BB says the article has aspired her, I've been thinking again about writing about politics in Ogden, but when I sat down to do it, I really couldn't decide where to start and it's such a wide field that I have to narrow it to a manageable  content size.  I'm thinking maybe I should just write about my experience as a council member.  It probably won't sell as many copies as writing to help new council members be aware of the hazards of a strong mayor government. 

After reading the article, I’m thinking again about writing a book about my experience as a council member instead of writing about politics in Ogden.  When I sat down to write my book, I didn’t know where to start.  I have to narrow it down to a manageable content size.  Also I need to take into consideration what would interest the most people so I could hopefully cover the expense of printing it and advertising.  I’d like to let people know the truth about the Godfrey administration and why the Council was so cautious about most of Godfrey’s proposals.  I’m tired of the Standard and others ignoring ALL the facts and only presenting what Godfrey wants.
I’m open to suggestions as to which way to go.  Writing to new council members and councils about the pitfalls of a strong mayor government might have a wider appeal, but would be more difficult to write than just relating the problems of working with an egotistical, ethically challenged mayor.  So HELP!  Please give me some ideas.

Dorrene Jeske said...

That's crazy!  I started some comments, but they disappeared so I started again, and as you can see above, I ended up with both comments.  Sorry - these computers can still play tricks on you even when you think you know how to use them.  Pardon my goof.

Onewhovotes said...

How about broadening the primary premise to something that would and/or could include both.

Dorrene Jeske said...

The campaign premises are usually current issues facing the community and change often.  The individual candidate decides which issues are a concern to him that he/she wishes to address and hopefully do something about if and when elected.  Too often once in office, a candidate will find it difficult to keep his/her promises. 
Is that what you were asking?

Gee Whiz said...


Godfrey was colorful, and corrupt.  In that sense, he was different from most politicians, and the same as most.

I suppose, and hope, that in a fairly short time his memory will fade and nobody will care.

It was interesting while it lasted, but soon, Godfrey and his rogues gallery will be gone, and we can get back to enjoying our lives after all these years of angst.

blackrulon said...

Lets compare Matthew  Godfrey to James Michael Curley. And by that I mean lets send him to prison.

BikerBabe said...

It really isn't a Strong Mayor form of government Ogden has ... Only Mayor Godfrey forced it to be by hook and by crook and by tantrums and intimidation and playing "father Matt knows best" ...

Administration and Council are on equal ground according to all the rules and documents and ordinances in the city's file.



Dorrene Jeske said...


You speak the truth!  Most council members are aware of that, but for some reason beyond my comprehension they let Godfrey get away with all his deceit, temper tantrums, violations of policies, State law and misappropriation of city and federal funds.  Some of us tried to have him answer for violating the trust and authority of the office of mayor, but those who had the final word chose to ignore the facts and evidence presented to them.  .

Biker_Babe3 said...

so happy he's leaving ...


Ogdentaxpayer said...

Don't forget the 5 million dollar law suit.  woodbury got.

Ogdentaxpayer said...

What ever happen to the 3,000,000.00 dollars that the Ogden community foundation has, did godfrey pocket that money, and that is the reason he did not run again.

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