Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of Year Ruminations

A couple of notable web stories for your enlightenment, enjoyment and mirth, as we thankfully also watch our Boss Godfrey Countdown clock tick down to ZERO minutes

As a followup to yesterday's Weber County Forum article, whilst we ineluctably approach the end of the year 2011, here are a few notable web stories for your enlightenment, enjoyment and mirth, as we thankfully also watch our Boss Godfrey Countdown clock tick down to ZERO minutes. Added Bonus:

Boss Godfrey gets his ass kicked to the curb at high noon on Tuesday:
Okay, well anyway, here's more on the original topic...
(Don't blow this one off, People. It's actually pretty danged good.)

Here's a little something for people with short attention spans:
So what are your most or least liked stories of 2011, folks?

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: The Year in Civil Liberties

All in all, it’s been a mixed bag of a year in America; but on the civil liberties front, things were particularly grim

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin
Historical Review of Pennsylvania

What does 2012 hold for us? Only time will tell. But as Jane Addams, the first U.S. woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize advised, “America’s future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence we must watch what we teach and how we live.” If we want to avert certain disaster in the form of authoritarianism, then we’d do well to start teaching the principles of freedom to our young people right away and hope the lesson sticks.

John W. Whitehead - ANTIWAR.COM
2011: The Year in Civil Liberties
December 29, 2011

Eye-opening end-of year American civil liberties retrospective by John W. Whitehead of ANTIWAR.COM. Here's the lede:
It’s been a year of populist uprisings, economic downturns, political assassinations, and one scandal after another. Gold prices soared, while the dollar plummeted. The Arab Spring triggered worldwide protests, including the Occupy Wall Street protests here in America. Nature unleashed her forces with a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, flooding in Thailand and Pakistan, a severe drought in East Africa, and a famine in Somalia. With an unemployment rate hovering around 9.5%, more than 4 million Americans passed the one-year mark for being out of a job. After a death toll that included more than 4,500 American troops and at least 60,000 Iraqis, the war in Iraq officially ended. At the conclusion of their respective media circus trials, Casey Anthony went free while Conrad Murray went to jail. And Will and Kate tied the knot, while Demi and Ashton broke ties. All in all, it’s been a mixed bag of a year, but on the civil liberties front, things were particularly grim.
Brief article "highlights":
1) Welcome to the new total security state
2) GPS tracking and secret spying on Americans
3) Internet surveillance
4) Intrusive pat-downs, virtual strip searches, and screening stations
5) More powers for the FBI
6) PATRIOT Act redux
7) Drones over America
8) Increased arrests for recording encounters with police
9) Terrorism liaison officers
10) Fusion centers
11) Merger of the military and the police, and the establishment of a standing army
12) Court rulings affirming the right of police to invade our homes without warrants
13) Bringing the war home
Read up, folks!
Comments, anyone?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Video of Snowbasin Patroller Using Expletive Spurs Outrage

More evidence of the sheer power of the internet social media

In the aftermath of the recent pepper spray kerfluffle, there's more evidence of the sheer power of the internet social media this morning, with the below-linked Standard-Examiner story reporting on the effect of yet another online video which has "gone viral." In this instance however, this latest internet-based feeding frenzy has become a local public relations nightmare for your blogmeister's favorite ski area, Snowbasin. Here's the lede:

OGDEN — A video in which a Snowbasin ski patroller is seen reprimanding a snowboarder before directing an obscenity toward another guest has gone viral, sparking an online discussion as to whether snowboarders are singled out at ski resorts.
Read this morning's full S-E story here:
For reasons unknown, the Standard neglects to post a link to the subject video. That's okay. That's what community blogs like Weber County Forum are for:

Harassment at Snowbasin from Garden Stories. on Vimeo
For our Facebook enabled WCF readers, we'll provide a link to the ever-expanding (526 comments as of this moment) Facebook status page, which is prefaced by a Snowbasin spin statement, which to our ears sounds a mite half-hearted under the circumstances, in our view:

We at Snowbasin Resort had an incident yesterday for which we have received much deserved criticism. We are frankly embarrassed by this situation and have taken measures to prevent this type of incident occurring in the future. Snowbasin strongly believes in treating all of our guests with respect. We strive to deserve the respect and exceed the expectations of everyone visiting our resort.
You can follow the full Facebook discussion here:
Yikes! It thus comes as no surprise that Snowbasin execs are suffering from a severe case of heartburn.

Added bonus: Our friends at Ogden Valley Forum are covering this story too:
So what about it, O Gentle Ones? Having viewed the video evidence, does it appear to you that Layton snowboarder Austen Knudson was "shredding" out of control? Is the above Snowbasin spin statement sufficient? Or does Mr. Knudsen deserve something more apologetic, like a complimentary lift ticket or season pass, perhaps? And what about the potty mouthed ski patroller himself? Is this ski patrolman guy the sorta fella Snowbasin management believes to be competent to continue interacting daily with Snowbasin resort's customers? As somebody who's employed scores of employees over the years, I'll volunteer that I'd be strongly inclined in a circumstance such as this to give the offending ski patroller his walking papers.

And here's a query to those among our WCF readership who regularly cruise the slopes of Snowbasin. In your experience are snowboarders "singled out" for harassment at ski resorts like Snowbasin?

Have at it folks. The world-wide blogosphere is standing by with abated breath, awaiting your ever-savvy utterances in re this important local topic.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Breaking: Greiner Out As Ogden's Police Chief - Updated

By Smattguy:

Hot off the press... Dateline Ogden Wed, 12/28/2011 - 4:36pm... Per the Standard-Examiner: GREINER FIRED!!!
No word whether Ogden City will foot the bill for a further Federal District Court appeal.

Who'll be the first to comment?

Update 12/28/11 6:27 p.m.: The Salt Lake Tribunes's Christopher Smart is all over this story, too:
"The decision on whether to appeal the Merit System Protection Board’s ruling in federal court was up to Ogden Mayor-elect Mike Caldwell," according to the SLTrib.

Selected Morning Items for Ogden Political Wonks - Updated

A "bird's eye view" of Ogden City economic development programs; the downtown Ogden IRS building nears completion; bonus submission from Gentle Reader Bob Becker

Just to get the conversation going this morning, we'd like to direct our readers' attention to a couple of interesting items on this morning's Standard-Examiner business page:

As a followup to last Wednesday's column, focusing on the role of Weber State University as an "economic engine throughout Northern Utah," Ogden homeboy, hotshot business entrepreneur and Grow Utah venture capitalist/business startup mentor Alan Hall delivers his second of what the Standard-Examiner expects to be a series [by] individual professional community columnists sharing their experiences and advice with readers. This sounds like a danged good idea to us, so we'll jump aboard the bandwagon this morning and provide a link to this morning's Alan Hall column, which sets out upon the ambitious task of providing "a high level overview of Ogden key's economic development programs" :
Considering the complex and labyrinthine nature of meddling in the local Ogden City economy by the Boss Godfrey administration, we believe Mr. Hall has done a serviceable job of boiling it all down. With the exception of neglecting to make any reference to Ogden City's high density housing projects, we believe Mr. Hall's done a good job this morning all-in-all.

Having said that we also have to admit, however, that we winced a little bit when we came upon Mr. Hall's closing paragraph:
As we look to the future, it is obvious that Ogden will continue to play a major role in economic development. We commend past mayors and city councils for their commitments in this important area and anticipate even more focus on this topic from new government leadership in the months to come [Emphasis added].
So what about it, O Gentle Ones? Does Mr. Hall deserve high marks for this morning's "bird's eye view" column, or is Mr. Hall starting to sound like a government intervention cheerleader?

We'll also make note of this morning S-E story, which reports that "construction on a $21 million Internal Revenue Service facility downtown is nearing completion":
If the prospect of hundreds of Internal Revenue Service re-locating in downtown Ogden doesn't spell good news for Ogden Ogden restaurateurs and retail businessmen, we frankly don't know what could.

So what about it, folks? Can anyone see any downside to this?

That's it for now O Gentle Ones.

Who'll be the first to contribute their own 2¢?

Update 12/28/11 10:18 a.m.: Added bonus... Here's something that just came in from Gentle Reader Curmudgeon, via a comment beneath a lower article:

SE reporting this morning on the Sears corporation planning to close 100 to 120 under-performing Sears and KMart stores nationwide, and possibly more:
National press speculating on whether Sears has begun a death-spiral and will be the nation's next major chain store failure.

If one of the stores closed is the Ogden mall store, that mall will be in big trouble, having lost two of its three anchor store [Mervyn's at one end, Sears at the other.] If that happens, Mayor Caldwell may begin his term with a major hole being blown in Ogden property and sales tax revenues right off the bat. Be best for Ogden if (a) it's mall store is not on the target list for closing, and (b) Sears manages to right its ship and return to profitability.

Not good news, especially on a day when the Trib reports on the miserable snowpack in Utah, that one resort has not even opened for the season, and the there's more snow on the ground at the ski area closest to Las Vegas than there is at any Utah resort:

Think snow!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Morning Back-burner Cleanup

Don't hesitate to chime in on any of the above topics, or start up a brand new topic all your own

Just a few back-burner items to kick-start the Monday morning post-Christmas day discussion. We hope you all had a wonderful holiday, just as your Weber County Forum blogmeister did:

1) On Thursday, the Deseret Morning News reported that Saratoga Springs Mayor, Mia Love, will be entering the Utah District 4 Congressional race, under the GOP banner:
Refreshing news, we're sure, for those who might have previously believed that all Utah Republicans were home-grown, pasty-faced "priesthood holders." Gotta say we love Ms. Love's campaign slogan too, which immediately sets her apart from the rest of the Utah District 4 congressional candidate pack:
You can send a whole bunch of Wimmers to Congress. You can send a whole bunch of Sandstroms to Congress. You can only send one me.
And as far as we're concerned, here's the Mia Love "money quote":
This is about leadership. It's not about throwing bombs or throwing messages out there and hope they stick. It's about tackling problems.
Refreshing, we reiterate... to say the least... and we do wish Ms. Love our best.

2) Savvy and Informative op-ed in Friday's Salt Lake Tribune, wherein BYU professor and regular Trib contributor Joel Campbell provides a year-end legislative wrap-up of "the best and worst of Utah Freedom of Information in 2011." The 2011 legislature's ham-handed effort to "gut" the Utah Government Records and Management Act GRAMA (HB477) of course comes out the worst of the worst. No surprise there:
The watchword for the 2012 legislative session? The vigilant lumpencitizens of Utah will need to continue keeping a sharp eye on the sneaky pols on Capitol Hill, as we have our own sneaking suspicion, (after also gazing into our own crystal ball), that these secretive bastids haven't yet given up their plot to take their Utah constituents out of the public information loop.

3) The final results are in from our WCF "cursive writing" reader poll, which we ran in response to the Standard-Examiner's 12/21/11 editorial, with 83% of 18 respondents going along with the Standard's position that "schools [should] continue teaching our children cursive":

Click image to enlarge

We'll leave it up to our gentle readers to explain the "true" meaning of these polling results.

Don't hesitate to chime in on any of the above topics, or start up a brand new topic all your own. Helping to blow out post-holiday mental cobwebs is just one of the many services we provide here at your Emerald City home-town blog, of course.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas, Everyone!

Barring any red meat news stories over the Christmas Holiday weekend, we'll see ya'll back here on Monday morning

Definitely the most talented "Christmas Carolers"... ever!

As an added bonus... Happy Christmas, everyone!

That's right, The War is Over, technically speaking, at least.

Barring any red meat news stories arising over the Christmas Holiday weekend, we'll see ya'll back here on Monday morning.

Friday, December 23, 2011

MSNBC: Pucker Up for Pickle-juice Cocktails

Sodden query: How did the "Word of Wisdom" conforming BYU trainers ever find out about this?

Pickle Juice, the "trendy" holiday "chaser", per the MSNBC website:
Weirdly enough, pickle juice also appears to be popular with the BYU football program:
Sodden query: How did the "Word of Wisdom" conforming BYU trainers ever find out about this?

Comments, please.

Just axin', LOL.

The GOP’s Payroll Tax Debacle -Updated

So what about it Gentle WCF Readers? Did the Obama administration seriously outmaneuver the Congressional GOP Tea Party faction on this issue, or what?

The Democrats set a trap and the Republicans walked right into it. By rejecting an ostensibly bipartisan “compromise,” the Republican House was portrayed as obstructionist and, even worse, heartless — willing to raise taxes on the middle class while resolutely opposing any tax increases on the rich.

Washington Post Op-ed
The GOP’s payroll tax debacle
December 22, 2011

The GOP’s performance nicely reprises that scene in “Animal House” where the marching band turns into a blind alley and row after row of plumed morons plows into a brick wall, crumbling to the ground in an unceremonious heap.
With one difference: House Republicans are unplumed.

Washington Post Op-ed
The GOP’s payroll tax debacle
December 22, 2011

Spot-on Washington Post op-ed for our WCF readers' perusal this morning from WaPo neoCON columnist Charles Krauthammer, concerning the U.S. House of Representatives' ham-handed handling of an eleventh hour "final compromise," which ushers in a WAY too short two-month payroll tax holiday for 160 million middle-class Americans, an outcome which even the most die-hard Congressional Republican obstructionists privately conceded to be inevitable.

Here's the lede:
Now that Congress has reached agreement on what must be one of the worst pieces of legislation in years — the temporary payroll tax holiday extension — let’s survey the damage:
Check out the full editorial here:
And the upshot?
Note the toll it is already taking on Republicans. For three decades Republicans owned the tax issue. Today, Obama leads by five points, a 12-point swing since just early October. The payroll tax ploy has even affected his overall approval rating, now up five points (in six weeks) to 49 percent.
While your blogmeister seldom agrees with anything that Krautheimer spouts, I have to agree with him on this. This GOP tactical blunder will haunt the Grand Old Party through the 2012 presidential elections, methinks.

So what about it Gentle WCF Readers? Did the Obama administration seriously outmaneuver the Congressional GOP Tea Party faction on this issue, or what?

Will this issue have lingering political traction continuing into November, 2012?

Wake up, people!

Update 12/23/11 8:48 p.m.: Oh my! Looks like the White House is already making political hay with this. Here's a letter which your blogmeister received in his email inbox a coupla hours ago:
Gotta admit we're curious about how the White House latched onto our email address.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Rising Number Of UAVs In American Skies

Godfrey's crime blimp: A mainstream law enforcement concept?

Thanks to a morning submission from one of our sharp-eyed and alert Weber County Forum readers, we'll again bring one of our favorite Emerald City topics to the community discussion forefront. We've had plenty of merriment and mirth over the past few months talking about Boss Godfrey's crime blimp, so we're delighted to place the most recent urban aerial surveillance news story back on the WCF front page again.

This go-round however, the story has a significantly different twist. Whereas we'd earlier believed that Godfrey's crime-fighting blimp had been merely another bizarre expression of our lame-duck Mayor's sometimes crackpot mind-set, similar to Godfrey's Giant Refrigerated Climbing Tower, for instance, we learn this morning from Josh Marshall's Talking Point Memo website that Godfrey's Crime Blimp is actually a fairly mainstream concept, if we take what's happening in other American communities into account:
Whether the proliferation of American-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is part of the larger "militarization" phenomenon which is being increasingly discussed across the World Wide Web we simply don't know. But it's interesting to consider Ogden's aerial drone project in a wider context, isn't it?

So who'll be the first to throw in their own 2¢?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Special WCF Video Feature: Ron Paul Kicks Faux News Neocon Talking Heads' Butts

Electability: Does Ron Paul Have It?

With GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul basically kicking ass in the early GOP caucus states, like Iowa, even though the GOP neoCON establishment tries to pretend that Ron Paul really doesn't exist, here's a highly-entertaining and creatively crafted video link, featuring a cleverly photo-shopped Ron Paul, along with the evil Faux News publisher Rupert Murdoch, together with many of the other faces of Murdoch's idiotic NeoCon Faux News hired hands. Wethinks this video will especially appeal to younger voters, particularly those attuned to the Matrix "franchise" series of popular movies, which dramatic works have also most recently called into question probing issues in re the pervasive and all-to-obvious corporate take-over of America:

(In truth, by the way, we do believe that the American patriot Ron Paul is well suited for this movie part.)

Just a little something slightly special from your ever-cranky blogmeister on an otherwise S-L-O-W Emerald City news Wednesday, folks.


Standard-Examiner: OUR VIEW: Don't Let Cursive Die

Chewy editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, unequivocally condemning the abandonment of the teaching of cursive writing in our increasingly dumbed-down American public schools:
Fine accompanying Grondahl political cartoon too:

So what about it gentle WCF readers?

Is this latest and most-trendy move toward eliminating the teaching of cursive writing a "good thing"?

In that connection, please check out and vote in our new WCF poll, which we link here, and also place in our right sidebar:

Never a dull moment on your home town blog, Weber County Forum, eh?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Returning the WCF Spotlight to the Jon Greiner Hatch Act Predicament

If you haven't yet voted, click the poll link below

With a mere 10 days remaining before the deadline for the filing of a U.S. District Court appeal, there's more action on the Jon Greiner Hatch Act story this morning, as the Standard-Examiner editorial page features this emotionally charged letter from one irate South Ogden City resident, who writes "in support of upholding the Hatch Act and firing Chief Jon Greiner." Although Ms. Francis goes a little overboard in conflating Greiner's Hatch Act predicament with Ogden's (perfectly legal, although ethically questionable) "double-dipping" problem and although she makes what we'd consider to be entirely unfounded accusations about "dishonesty and misuse of federal and state tax dollars for himself and his special handful of unlawful officers," we'll nevertheless put the focus on Ms. Francis's morning letter, because we believe she is correct in her major premise (taking into account the evidence that that Greiner had "signed off" on a half-dozen federal grants during his 2006 Utah Senate campaign), i.e., that the federal Office of Special Counsel has made the prima facia case for Greiner's violation of the Hatch Act, and that Mayor-elect Mike Caldwell should "do the right thing and let Greiner go":
And while we're on this topic again, we'll also shine the spotlight on several of the other Greiner/Hatch Act topical letters which are lighting up the S-E online website, but which haven't found their way to the S-E hardcopy edition, (at least not yet.)

In this brief and concise 12/14/11 S-E submission, Harrisville resident William Hart raises the "indispensability" issue, and further opines that Ogden's "good ole' boy system is inefficient," and that OPD leadership could benefit from "fresh management" and "renewal":
As to Mr. Hart's points, we're absolutely certain that lower ranking Ogden police officers, who've been stymied in their efforts to move up the OPD career-advancement ladder, couldn't be more in agreement.

And last but not least, we'll direct our readers' attention to this truly crazy cranky online letter, penned by prominent Ogden businessman and sometimes real estate developer J. Kelly Goddard, who takes strong exception to the Standard's strong December 14 editorial and accompanying Grondahl editorial page cartoon. His solution to the Greiner dilemma? Round up a crowd of his pro-Greiner rich guy "mover and shaker" friends to "buy" our home town newspaper and then "shut it down." If you're thinking that Mr. Goddard fancies himself as part of the 1%, you'd be most certainly right, wethinks:
In truth, we're not quite sure what to make of Mr. Goddard's letter. What about it, WCF readers? Is Goddard simply engaging in a little "hyperbolic venting," or should Standard-Examiner management genuinely consider this a not-so-veiled threat?

Here's a new screen-shot of the Standard's still ongoing poll, by the way, where the S-E poses the question, "How do you think Ogden should handle the Jon Greiner situation?" Turns out that a whopping 85% (of 160 respondents) go along with Ms. Francis, Mr. Hart and the Standard and believe that Greiner should go:
Click to enlarge image

If you haven't yet voted, click the poll link below:
That's it for now, O Gentle Ones.

Who'll be the first to throw in their own 2¢?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Morning News Roundup

Several interesting items for another Emerald City Christmas season S-L-O-W news day

1) On the heels of Wednesday's Standard-Examiner story, which reported that the National Transportation Safety Board was "urging all states to impose total bans" on cell phone usage while driving, "except for emergencies," the Standard now carries a story reporting about how "Ogden area drivers see the merit in cellphone restrictions to make the road a safer place":
Just to get into the spirit of this issue, here's our own take on what ought to be at least a minimal safety standard...
Limit your cell phone usage to one at a time whilst driving, please, folks. Steering your vehicle with your elbows is no way to make the road a safer place!

2) And this is interesting, wethinks. As a followup to the news that North Korea is suddenly deprived of the "leadership" of "the [possibly] most unhinged dictator on the planet," here's a revealing "companion piece" from our pals at "The Onion":
And here we'd previously believed The Onion only published over-the-top parody, right?

3) And last but not least (and while we're posting about the departure from the public stage of world-class nutjob dictators), here's a Standard-Examiner letter to the editor which we simply couldn't pass up:
Good job, Donn Owen.

That's it for now, O Gentle Ones.

Don't let the cat get your tongues...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune Guest Editorial: Utah’s Archaic Convention System

Duelling editorials: What about abolishing Utah's "quirky," one-of-a-kind caucus/convention candidate nomination system and substituting a direct primary nomination system?
Can the caucus system improve? Absolutely. The problem is not the caucus system, it is low constituent participation. I agree with State Republic Chairman Thomas Wright, who said, “Let’s spend ... time and energy educating people ... and encouraging them to participate.”

Greg Erickson - Salt Lake Tribune
Keep Utah’s caucus system
December 10, 2011

Utah voters deserve to collectively decide who should be on the ballot. The direct primary nomination process works with enormous success in the election of municipal officers, and the sky has not fallen, nor are candidates bankrupted.
It’s high time to extend that system to legislative and statewide offices.

David R. Irvine - Salt Lake Tribune
Utah’s archaic convention system
December 17, 2011

Chewy Salt Lake Tribune guest Op-ed this morning from Salt Lake City-based attorney and former Utah House Representative and also former Davis County Republican Party Chair David R. Irvine, who responds to this earlier SL-Tribune Op-ed piece, and argues instead for abolition of Utah's "quirky," one-of-a-kind caucus/convention candidate nomination system and the substitution of a direct primary nomination system:
So what about it, Weber County Forum political wonks?

Is Utah District 23 Republican Senate candidate Greg Ericksen correct in his assertion that Utah's current caucus/convention nomination should be preserved, inasmuch as convention delegates (and precinct caucus attendees) are better prepared and more engaged, intelligent and in tune with the issues than regular citizens?

Or on the other hand does Mr. Irvine truly "nail it," when he points out that the present system is merely "a continuing testament to the corrupting influence of unregulated money in our election process and the desire of incumbent legislators to make their re-election as easy as possible by providing a very effective way to kill off would-be opponents?"

Moreover, can Utah's paltry 15 percent participation by eligible voters in Utah’s "closed" primary elections (even on those rare occasions where such primaries are held) be explained by the fact that savvy Utah voters know the system has already been rigged in the party conventions?

Would the adoption of a direct primary nomination system, such as is successfully used in Utah local and municipal elections, significantly increase voter participation in state and federal elections?

So what say our Gentle Readers about all this?

The world-wide blogosphere is sitting on the edge of its seat, eagerly awaiting your always-adept utterances.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Standard-Examiner Letter to the Editor: Ogden Should Stand Up Against Hatch Act

Sodden Query: Will Mayor Elect Mike Caldwell pick up on the latest polling results in re Firing Chief Greiner? If not, we predict his administration will have "a long haul."

On Thursday last, we predicted what we expected to be "a series of stories and letters to the editor attempting to justify Boss Godfrey's percipient filing of an appeal with the U.S. District Court of Monday's adverse ruling, wherein the federal Merit Systems Protection Board "upheld a judge’s 2010 ruling that the city must remove Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner or forfeit about $215,000 in federal grants because of a violation of the Hatch Act."

Turning to the Standard editorial page this morning, just like clockwork, that's just exactly what we're getting this morning, with some guy from North Ogden (of all places), calling upon our local officials to stand up for Chief Greiner and say to the federal government, "Quit trying to "bully" us, and cram your bias, politically motivated opinions down our throats":
"Mayor, don't let the federal government "bully" us this time, or it will never end," adds the slightly foamy-at-the-mouth North Ogden resident Dee J. Russell, hitting his lame "key talking point" again for extra emphasis.

When it comes to specific suggestions about how to deal the the legal predicament Chief Greiner and Boss Godfrey find themselves in, other than to generally resist the "bullying," Mr. Russel unfortunately comes up a little bit short. We'll however assume that he's NOT suggesting that Boss Godfrey roll over and fire Da Chief, who's also "served Ogden city and the state of Utah and the federal government in the armed services with Honor" (Mr. Russell also reminds us).

For a neat and tidy list of all the possible options available to Boss Godfrey, we'll refer back to another this WCF article of last week, which provided a link to a still ongoing Standard-Examiner poll, which asks the timely and probing question:
We visited the SE site just a coupla minutes ago, by the way, and took a screenshot of the poll results to date, where 85% of 156 SE reader/respondents haven't bought into Mr. Russell's B.S. and unequivocally opine that "Greiner Must Go":

Click image to enlarge

These interim results mean that this "lame ass" Mr. Russell's an "outlier," no?

Sodden Query: Will Mayor Elect Mike Caldwell have the political wisdom to pick up on this? If not, we predict his administration will have "a long haul" even from the get-go.

Comments, anyone?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Election Reformers Pull back From 2012 Target

Added Bonus: Year end greetings and and a status update from our friends at Utahns for Ethical Government

Late last month we breathlessly linked this Bob Bernick story and reported that "there's now a movement afoot to alter the rules regarding the nomination process in Utah, a movement which would avoid the predictable intransigence of the Utah Legislature altogether, and bring Utah into conformity with other "caucus/primary" nomination states through a more "grass roots" oriented means."

According to this morning's hot-off-the-press Salt Lake Tribune story, our enthusiasm may have been a mite hasty, as the Trib is now reporting that the "push to change Utah’s nominating process... is being put on hold for now, but backers say it could be back in 2014.":
The University of Utah's Kirk Jowers, provides the gist:
Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, said his group remains convinced that something needs to be done to boost Utah’s voter participation, and that changing Utah’s unique convention system for nominating candidates could do that.

But looming deadlines and tough standards to get on the ballot make it difficult to get the ballot initiative before voters in the coming election year.

“It seems the most prudent course is to give ourselves enough time to see if the Legislature can take some actions to help our state get back to where it should be” in terms of voter participation, Jowers said. “If not, we’ll obviously keep all options open for 2014.”
As we said in out earlier article on this topic, "We'll be standing by. This one will be fun [and interesting] to watch."

Added Bonus: And speaking of citizen-driven ballot measures, here's a link from our friends at Utahns for Ethical Government, the last grassroots group to successfully engineer a statewide citizen initiative petition drive to place grass-roots oriented legislation on Utah ballots:
Gotta add that we're pleased to observe that the folks at UEG and Jowers' Alliance for Good Government organization seem to be cooperatively pulling in tandem.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Standard-Examiner Editorial: OUR VIEW: Greiner Must Go - Updated

Dump the chief... Good job, Std-Ex

By: Ray

From this afternoon's Standard-Examiner editorial:
Ogden city Police Chief Jon Greiner needs to end his tenure as Ogden's police chief, and Ogden's mayor-elect, Mike Caldwell, needs to be the one who states that forcefully.
Read the full editorial here:
The Standard Examiner is right on! This online article goes on to make a strong case for Mayor elect Caldwell to do the right thing. Dump the chief. Good job, Std-Ex.

Update 12/14/11 7:24 a.m.: The above-linked editorial has this morning found its way to the SE hard-copy edition.

A Second Reminder of Tonight's Various Ogden Council/RDA Sessions - Updated

Special thanks to professor Schroeder for devoting the extra time and effort to fleshing out some of the other topics which are on the Council/RDA table tonight

As a followup to Sunday's Weber County Forum writeup, which narrowly focused on the Godfrey administration's "stealth" proposal to "extend the Ogden River Project Redevelopment Area tax increment period through Tax Year 2027," we'll issue a second reminder of tonight's various Ogden City Council/RDA sessions, which include a variety of other interesting and important agenda items, as more particularly set forth by WCF reader/contributor Dan S. in Sunday's article comments section:
Just looked over all the agenda packets for tomorrow's meetings, and there's a lot in there.

The River Project materials indicate that the project's budget has been cut from the original estimate of $105 million down to a revised estimate of $85 million. The projected tax annual tax increment has correspondingly decreased. About 28% of the tax increment is being passed on to the taxing entities, so they're not losing out completely. The debt to other city funds stands at $3.7 million and it says the city will have to shell out at least another $2 million, with "similar, if not greater, levels of public assistance" for the Lincoln-to-Wall phase.

Also on the RDA agenda is an agreement with the new anonymous owner of the Earnshaw Building for use of additional parking spaces, allocation of some parking structure space for a chiller, and an "aerial easement" for a pedestrian walkway between the parking structure and the building. It mentions that the number of condos in the building is being increased from 28 to 40.

The City Council special meeting agenda includes the long-awaited rezone of most of the city's public parks to the "open space" zone. This will provide some additional protection against any mayor who tries to sell off park land, because the land couldn't be developed without another rezone by the council.

The Council work session agenda includes a meeting with Laura Lewis, their water rates consultant, to review the current water rates and the work that went into establishing those rates four years ago. This is the first step in the process of revising the rates to address several concerns that have come up in recent months.
For the convenience of those WCF readers who'd like to dig in even a little more deeply, we link all of tonight's Council/RDA packets below:
Special thanks to professor Schroeder for devoting the extra time and effort to fleshing out some of the other topics which are on the Council/RDA table tonight.

In accordance with our usual practice of course, we hereby dedicate this thread to any Ogden City political wonks who'd like to comment before, during or after tonight's meetings.

Update 12/14/11 7:15 a.m.: The Standard-Examiner reports this morning that the RDA Board last night scheduled the Godfrey administration's proposed Ogden River Redevelopment Project Area Extension for a January 17, 2012 "public hearing":
We'll also extend our additional thanks to Dan S. for providing last night's real time Council/RDA real-time meeting reports.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Officials Still Weighing Options After Hatch Act Ruling Against Ogden Police Chief

Added Bonus: Why not mosey on over the the Standard-Examiner website, where our home town newspaper is running a poll?

The Standard-Examiner is back on the Jon Greiner Hatch Act story again this morning, under the hard-copy edition front page headline, "Greiner deadline looms." Here's the lede:
OGDEN -- No decision has yet been made by city officials regarding the status of Police Chief Jon Greiner, according to Mayor Matthew Godfrey.
Greiner remains on the job despite a U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board ruling that the city must fire him by the end of the month or forfeit $215,000 in federal grants because of a Hatch Act violation.
Here's the online edition version:
Greiner and the Godfrey administration continue to dawdle on this problem, perhaps hanging their hats on the possible legal precedence of a 2004 Merit System Protection Board case, wherein "[Administrative Law] Judge William G. Kocol found that the [Henderson, Nevada] city's [Hatch Act] compliance program removed [Nevada Assemblyman and Henderson City Assistant Police Chief Richard] Perkins from any interaction with federal funds, and thus kept him in compliance with the law":
In 2006, Ogden City belatedly initiated a similar Hatch Act Compliance Program, of course, stripping Greiner's authority for the administration of any federal grants, and ostensibly transferring all such authority into the hands of then-Ogden Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) John "Pureheart" Patterson.

The legal fly on the ointment in Greiner's case is that at the time Greiner commenced his 2006 Utah Senate campaign, and prior to the time that the Godfrey Administration adopted its own Hatch Act Compliance Program, Greiner had already "signed off on a half-dozen federal grants worth more than $1 million and already in place," a fact which fatally distinguishes Greiner's situation from that of Nevada Assemblyman Richard Perkins.

For a little more background, check out this 2008 Weber County Forum article which we posted on this subject:
While we can't predict how this will eventually all work out, we've already opined on this subject. Given the choice between 1) throwing Greiner overboard and 2) forfeiting $215 thousand in federal grants (and racking up further taxpayer-funded legal expenses) the rational course of action is a true "no brainer," wethinks:
It's time for Boss Godfrey to face the music. Godfrey and Greiner "rolled the dice" and "crapped out". The Ogden City taxpayers should not bear the further burden of Chief Greiner's (and Boss Godfrey's) legalistic bravado, with $215 thousand in federal grants at stake and big-time legal expenses continuing to accrue.
And for those WCF readers who'd similarly like to publicly express their own views, why not mosey on over the the Standard-Examiner website, where our beloved home town newspaper is running a poll which propounds this most-timely query:
That's it for now, O Gentle Ones.

Have at it.

Update 12/12/11 3:00 p.m.: For the curious among us, you should navigate to this SE page, where the latest results of today's latest SE online poll are fully revealed:
Looks like upwards of 80% of the poll respondents are into "shuffling Jon Greiner off to Buffalo" No?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah group Files Hatch Act Complaint Against Kanab Lawmaker

If successful, Friday's Hatch Act complaint could force House Representive Mike Noel out of the Utah Legislature

Seems like only yesterday that Gentle Reader Bob Becker linked a Paul Rolly column, which queried whether the Hatch Act, the same federal law which is giving Chief Jon Greiner major heartburn, wouldn't apply to GOP Utah State Utah House Reprentative Mike Noel (R-Kanab).

Well Lo & Behold, here's something interesting only two days later from the Salt Lake Tribune website:
Amazing how that worked out, no?

Tuesday Night Ogden RDA Agenda Item: Ogden River Redevelopment Project Area Extension

We dunno why the Ogden RDA TEC committee "rolled over" again... maybe they were afraid that Godfrey would throw another of his "world famous" temper tantrums

To kick off this morning's Weber County Forum discussion, we'll dutifully highlight an important matter suddenly coming up, seemingly "out of the blue," on Tuesday night's 12/13 RDA/Council Study Session Agenda:

5. Reports from Administration:
b. Ogden River Redevelopment Project Area Extension. Proposed Resolution 2011-25 adopting an amended budget for the Ogden River Redevelopment Project Area as approved by the Taxing Entity Committee on November 10, 2011. (Set/not set public hearing for January 17, 2012 – voice vote)
There's an interesting notation buried in Tuesday night's RDA Board packet, revealing that the Godfrey administration has been "stealthily" working behind the scenes to make the RDA Board's scheduling of the proposed January 17, 2012 "public hearing" what will probably amount to a mere "formality":

November 10, 2011
The Taxing Entity Committee met on November 10, 2011. The TEC unanimously approved extension of the project area to 2027.
Thus the Godfrey administration has quietly succeeded in the veritable "dead of night" in persuading the RDA Taxing Entity Committee (TEC) to agree to recommend that the RDA Board extend the Ogden River Project Redevelopment Area tax increment period "through Tax Year 2027 (an Additional Eight (8) Years)"

Yesiree folks, in the waning days of the Godfrey administration, the Little Lord is tying up another "loose end." Just as in 2009, when this same committee voted to "bail out" the financially-floundering and taxpayer-burdensome Junction Project Money Pit, Boss Godfrey once again resorts to the same game plan and succeeds once again in getting the Ogden RDA TEC to meekly "roll over," thus depriving the taxing entities who depend on a reliable stream of tax revenue to defer collecting that revenue for another eight years... (thereby opening the door for yet another expensive round of Ogden RDA bond refinancing.)

Frankly, we don't know what's wrong with the members of the Taxing Entity Committee, whose primary ethical obligation ought to be the protection of the tax revenue streams of the entities whom they (theoretically, at least) are supposed to represent.

Maybe they were afraid that Godfrey would throw another of his "world famous" temper tantrums.

And while it is true that it'll be the Ogden RDA Board will have the final say on this, the proposed January 17, 2012 RDA "public hearing" will predictably be a "mere formality," as we said.

The floor's open, O Gentle Ones. Who will be the first to throw in their own 2¢?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Ogden "Incentivizes" New Showroom for Auto Dealer

What's with John Watson getting RDA tax credits?

By: Smaatguy

Speaking of handouts... What's with John Watson getting RDA tax credits? Looking at the time frame it looks like he's getting them after he decided to expand. Like he's going to bug out of town and buy new real estate and build new without $10 to $20k credits?
What a waste of taxpayer money. Watson planned that expansion long ago. Now Westland and the rest will also want to suck on the taxpayer teat.

Comments, anyone?

Science Saturday 12/10/11 -- Latest Science Updates

WCF Reader Science Query: Did any of you try to breathe Ogden's "Neptune-like air" this morning?

In the spirit of continuing to breathe new life into Weber County Forum's sometimes neglected Science Saturday series, here are a few of this week's "Science" stories for your personal perusal, folks

1) Okay. This settles it. Henceforth, we're going to cease blithely referring to American politicians as "rats" on Weber County Forum. The latest "rat study" reveals that's an insult to rats:
From now on we'll merely resort to the more accurate generic (and non-scientific) term: "Sleazeballs," or locally... "Godfreites."

2) Fascinating Wired Science story which goes a long way toward explaining this interesting recent internet phenomenon:
Pepper spray seems to be the ideal tool for police officers who shouldn't be employed in the "field" of law enforcement anyway, NO?

3) Here's another good one, in the context of the continuing search by astronomers to find a human-habitable substitute planet to which the beleaguered human race can migrate, once the Evil Koch Brothers manage to make planet earth UN-inhabitable:
Some naysayers complain that "the planet’s a bit big for life to exist on the surface. The planet is about 2.4 times the size of Earth. It could be more like the gas-and-liquid Neptune..."

No hay problema with these naysayers WCF readers! Did any of you try to breathe Ogden's "Neptune-like air" this morning?
HEY! With all the toxic hydrocarbons in Emerald City's air, Ogdenites would feel right at home on Neptune-like Kepler-22b, wethinks.

That's it for now, O Gentle WCF Science Freaks. Don't forget to chime in with your own possible Nobel Prize-winning comments and alternate crackpot theories.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Final 2011 Ogden City Municipal Election Financial Disclosure Statements

We'll be sitting on the edges of our seats waiting to find out whether Boss Godfrey-style crony capitalism will remain a feature of Ogden City government under Mike Caldwell's new administration

Thanks to a tip from another sharp-eyed and alert Weber County Forum reader, we're reminded that the final 2011 Ogden City Municipal Elections financial disclosure statements were due for filing on December 8, 2011. We've accordingly updated our archives pages to reflect these new filings, which are now available online. You can view these documents here, imbedded within each individual candidate page:
Among these document there is one which we found to be particularly interesting, which reports a total of $3,000 in last minute donations to Mayor-elect Mike Caldwell from two Gadi Leshem-controlled entities in Chatsworth, California, i.e., Riverwalk Company LP and Ogden Riverfront Development Company LP:
Although we're aware that Mr. Leshem may have recently fallen upon difficult economic circumstances, it's also apparent that Mr. Leshem recognises that the name of the political game in Ogden City may very well remain "Pay to Play," even upon the departure of Mayor Godfrey.

Will Boss Godfrey-style crony capitalism be a feature of Ogden City government under Mike Caldwell's new administration?

We'll be sitting on the edges of our seats waiting to find out.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Overall Hatch Act Questioned by Director of Federal Agency

The Ogden City taxpayers should not bear the further burden of Chief Greiner's (and Boss Godfrey's) legalistic bravado
The Hatch Act injects the federal government into state and local contests thousands of times a year, its penalties are inflexible and sometimes unfair, and it is out-of-date with the 21st-century workplace. There's bipartisan consensus that this law needs an update.

Carolyn Lerner, Director, U.S. Office of Special Counsel
Overall Hatch Act questioned by director of federal agency
December 8, 2011

Passage of [a Hatch Act] amendment would not reverse a recent Merit Systems Protection Board ruling involving Greiner.

Ann O'Hanlon, Spokeswoman, Office of Special Counsel
Overall Hatch Act questioned by director of federal agency
December 8, 2011

And so it begins, as we find on the front page of the Standard-Examiner this morning the first of what we expect to be a series of stories and letters to the editor attempting to justify Boss Godfrey's percipient filing of an appeal with the U.S. District Court of Monday's adverse ruling, wherein the federal Merit Systems Protection Board "upheld a judge’s 2010 ruling that the city must remove Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner or forfeit about $215,000 in federal grants because of a violation of the Hatch Act":
Don't get us wrong, O Gentle Ones. We believe Jon Greiner's been one helluva good police chief... the best in modern times, perhaps. Unfortunately however, his case (and the city's case as well) is hemmed in by the underlying facts, which regrettably demonstrate that "Greiner violated the Hatch Act because he signed off on a half-dozen federal grants, valued at more than $1 million, that were already in place during his successful 2006 state Senate bid."

Even assuming that the Hatch Act were to be amended by congress to "allow state and local employees to campaign for elected offices in partisan political races," such a result would not affect the outcome of Greiner's case at all, inasmuch as he's bound by the law that was in effect in the time of the violations, as Ms. O'Hanlon accurately states in the quote above.

As we opined in Tuesday's WCF article, it's time for Ogden City's administration to "do what's right," and "cut the taxpayers' losses." Unfortunately, it's clear that one way or the other, Greiner must go.

While some (Godfrey for instance) may argue that Chief Greiner is "indispensible" in his role as Ogden City Chief of Police, we'll remind our readers of what one great WWII general and revered French patriot had to say on the subject:
"The cemeteries are full of indispensable men." -- Charles De Gaulle
It's time for Boss Godfrey to face the music. Godfrey and Greiner "rolled the dice" and "crapped out". The Ogden City taxpayers should not bear the further burden of Chief Greiner's (and Boss Godfrey's) legalistic bravado, with $215 thousand in federal grants at stake and big-time legal expenses continuing to accrue.

And Chief Greiner should look at the bright side. Once relieved of the heavy burden of administering the OPD, triple-dipper Greiner will still have several well-funded retirement accounts to "milk," and plenty of extra free time to perfect his golf game.

Update 12/8/11 12:30 p.m.: The Salt Lake Tribune's Christopher Smart is all over the story, too:

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Mother Jones: 13 Reasons Why Newt Will Never Be the GOP Nominee

These American "tea party patriots" should be whipped up to a political frenzy over this presidential candidate issue ... of course that's not what's happening at all

With the millions of bright and competent people in the USA, can anyone explain why this moron Gingrich is the current frontrunner in the GOP presidential candidate pack? It's the most important job on this planet, we'll remind you all.
Your blogmeister can't "esplain it."

Maybe you can.

Where are the lame-ass "tea partiers"? You know... these people who incessently refer to "The Founding Fathers", whilst they simultaneously proceed to eviscerate the U.S. Constitution?

These American "patriots" should be whipped up to a political frenzy over this presidential candidate issue ... of course that's not what's happening at all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Breaking News From the Standard-Examiner -- Feds: Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner Must Go

First item of business for Mayor-elect Mike Caldwell, once he takes the oath of office on Jan 3, 2012? Firing Chief Greiner, that's what

Bad News for Boss Godfrey and Jon Greiner, Godfrey's Chief of Police. The Standard-Examiner is now reporting that federal Merit Systems Protection Board has rejected Chief Greiner's Hatch Act appeal. Here's Scott Schwebke's lede:
OGDEN — By a 2 to 1 vote, the federal Merit Systems Protection Board upheld a judge’s 2010 ruling that the city must remove Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner or forfeit about $215,000 in federal grants because of a violation of the Hatch Act.
Read the full story here:
Turns out that the Standard-Examiner was right. And Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff was wrong, of course, (as usual). Clearly, Greiner should have been cut loose and given his "walking papers" long ago.

We don't know how much this frivolous appeal has cost Ogden City taxpayers since its filing in 2010, but you can bet the farm that it's a boatload of cash. Upper five figures (at least) would be our educated guess.

First item of business for Mayor-elect Mike Caldwell, once he takes the oath of office on Jan 3, 2012? Firing Chief Greiner, that's what. This Hatch Act litigation nonsense has gone on for WAY too long.

Mayor Caldwell now has an early opportunity to set the tone for his administration by simply doing what's right, and cutting the taxpayers' losses.

We'll obviously be watching closely, folks.

Standard-Examiner: John L. Smith to Become Next Weber State Football Coach

So what about it WSU fans? Is John L. Smith the guy we need to kick up Coach Mac's program up to the next level?

Good news for Weber State University football fans, as the Standard announces this morning that WSU officials have retained a new coach, to fill Coach Ronnie Mac's now vacant coaching slot. Here's the lede, folks:

OGDEN — John L. Smith’s career is coming full circle.

Smith, who played linebacker and quarterback for Weber State College from 1968 to 1971 and began his coaching career as a grad assistant at the school a year later, will be officially announced today as the ninth head coach of the Wildcats.

Just as it did with the hiring of Smith’s predecessor, Ron McBride, Weber State has reached back for a coach with name recognition and a previous tenure as the head coach at another in-state school.

Read the full Roy Burton story here:
Gotta say the guy has an impressive resume.

So what about it WSU fans? Is John L. Smith the guy we need to kick up Coach Mac's program up to the next level?

Update 12/7/11 10:00 a.m.: Two more stories from the Standard-Examiner:

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