Thursday, March 31, 2011
Just got off the phone. Word's just in. According to one of our gentle readers (Neil Hansen) who attended this morning's municipal building press conference...
Godfrey's NOT runnin' again.
We'll update this article through the day, as additional news stories roll in.
Update 3/31/11 10:53 a.m.: Read Godfrey's pre-press conference announcement obtained and submitted a coupla minutes ago by Dan Schroeder:
Update 3/31/11 11:19 a.m.: The Standard-Examiner is now carrying this politically-uplifting story too:
Update 3/31/11 3:37 p.m.: The Salt Lake Tribune is also now running a version of the this story, which includes a series of weird, pro-Godfrey reader comments, touting the big spending right wing socialist Boss Godfrey as some kinda outgoing local hero:
Update 3/31/11 9:00 p.m.: For some genuinely creepy video footage of yesterday's press conference, view the KSL News and Standard-Examiner sites:
City Weekly has come out with its Best of Utah 2011 Nightlife ratings this morning; and two great Ogden hotspots top the list:
Brewski's - Best Ogden Club:
The Kokomo - Best 50th Birthday:
For those WCF readers who already patronise these two great Ogden clubs, there are really no surprises here, of course. Still it's great to see Brewskis' Bill and Heidi and The Kokomo's Eddie and Cindy honored in print by City Weekly this morning for their extremely customer-friendly efforts.
And for those readers who haven't checked them out... get on down there right this minute for a nice Breakfast Ramos (or whatever)... and tell 'em Uncle Rudi sent ya's.
Eye-opening Salt Lake Tribune editorial this morning, following up on the theme of Tuesday's WCF article. Here's the lede:
It isn’t the things we don’t know that give us trouble, Will Rogers said, it’s the things we do know that just aren’t so.Read the full Trib editorial here:
As more digging is done into the reasons why leaders of the Utah Legislature found it necessary to make their nearly successful attempt to gut the state’s open records law, it becomes more apparent that many of the offered justifications for the action were just not so.
A public outcry resulted in the bill of goods known as HB477 being repealed last week. But as the postmortems continue, it appears more and more clear that many of the lawmakers who supported the bill did so based on faulty information provided to them by those they should most be able to trust — their leadership.
Utah GOP legislative leadership is ever so publicly (and painfully) laid bare.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
This is one great guest editorial piece from Boss Godfrey's father-in-law, Ed Allen, for once, from today's Standard:
earlier-demonstrated stupidity against him for now.
Well I see that the Street Car subject seems to be drawing a big yawn here today.
How about the announcement on the Standard site from Godfrey that he is going to make an announcement on Thursday about his political future?
Any guesses as to what the little feller's plans may be?
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Trolley District Community Advisory Network
Important City Council Letter Sent on February 14th, 2011 to WFRC, UDOT, and UTA
Update 3/30/11 9:00 a.m.: For those following the Street Car Topic discussion, one of our gentle readers who attended last night's council meeting provides the following meeting summary concerning the council's posture on the 25th- Harrison alignment:
Excellent Standard-Examiner editorial this morning, echoing the words of gentle WCF reader "Paul Revere":
Standard is right. The legislature's attempt to "hastily install a law that limited the right of citizens and media to have access to government business" was "a deliberate, insidious, anti-democratic move;" and Utah citizens would be wise to anticipate more of the same, as a handful of legislative tyrants mendaciously begin the process of conducting "planning workgroups and special sessions to make changes to the state's Government Records Access Management Act."
It's pretty clear that legislative "leadership" such as Sen. Michael Waddoups and Rep. Becky Lockhart will continue to resort to whatever extreme devices they can exploit to create a "sky is falling" atmosphere surrounding the current GRAMA law, just as they did in the runup to the initial passage of HB477. And in that connection, we invite our readers to check out this morning's astonishing Salt Lake Tribune story, which demonstrates the outright dishonesty employed by HB477 adherents as these authoritarian legislators whipped up fear-driven HB477 support during the final few hours of the 2011 legislative session:
As Utah lawmakers argued why they needed the now-repealed HB477 to shield more records from public release, leaders repeatedly said their staffers had been swamped by records requests in 2010 and spent more than 400 hours filling them.Nope. The sky wasn't falling. Yep. They lied to us. And yes, we'd be wise to heed the warning of this morning's Standard editorial, as the forces of government despotism crank up the "fear machine" for another craven assault on Utah's Open Government Laws.
But an open-records request from The Salt Lake Tribune shows the Legislature can produce no records to substantiate that claim, and attorneys now say it was an estimate. Related records that do exist suggest that the estimate may have been high.
Also during debates, lawmakers worried aloud that the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) could force disclosure of their personal emails or texts.
However, the documents obtained by The Tribune show that whenever such records were requested recently, the Legislature denied them, saying they were not public under GRAMA (without changes sought by HB477).
Monday, March 28, 2011
News is a mite slow this morning; so it's time for a little Weber County Forum backburner cleanup. Here are a couple of noteworthy news items which appeared in the northern Utah public press during the last week, which we never quite got around to spotlighting for discussion:
1) Following up on our March 13, 2011 article, wherein we reported that the Boss Godfrey administration had calendered a (statutorily unauthorized) "motion for reconsideration" of the Ogden City Records Review Board's March 3, 2011 decision, (which had ordered the Godfrey Administration to produce a list of potential Field House donors to GRAMA applicant Dan Schroeder), the Salt Lake Tribune reported on Thursday that The Board unanimously (and unceremoniously) denied the city's desperate and dilatory motion:
commendable written ruling from the Review Board, wethinks, constituting more evidence that Utah's GRAMA law (slow and tedious though it may be) works as it stands, bends over backwards to protect a public agency's privacy interests and requires no further tinkering.
A Weber County Forum Tip 'O the Hat also goes out to Dan Schroeder this morning, for his dogged persistence in this matter.
2) By popular request we'll shine the "high beam laser " WCF spotlight on this truly oddball Tom Christopulos guest editorial, which appeared in Saturday's Standard-Examiner:
Standard published this extravagant, inaccurate and shamelessly self-promoting Godfrey Administration puff piece.
So what about it O Gentle Ones? Is the appearance of this over-the-top Christopulos-drivel a sign that it's municipal election season again? How much of the data provided by Mr. Christopulos survives a fundamental "fact check test?" Is there any Godfrey Administration press release at all which the Standard will refuse to publish? Are we doomed to see our hometown newspaper, the Standard, which has performed so marvellously of late in connection with the HB477 kerfuffle, revert again to its old sleepy, Godfrey Administration-facilitating self?
So many questions... so few answers.
Who will be the first to comment?
Sunday, March 27, 2011
By: Biker Babe
Anonymous complaint cries: Double Dipping at Ogden City Police Department!
- DOUBLE-DIPPING - Anonymous complaint accused Ogden Police Department of manipulating rules for retirees
And of course Greiner says: "I didn't do anything wrong."
And the beat goes on...
Update 3/29/11 10:23 a.m.: For those readers who've been standing by with abated breath, awaiting the posting of the above-linked "double dipping" story to the SE Live! (free) site, we're delighted to inform you that the story is now up in all its glory:
O Gentle Ones.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
There is an excellent opinion piece in today's Salt Lake Tribune about "growth for growth's sake." It is written by a WSU professor, Eric C. Ewert and is about as rational a discussion of this idiotic phenomenon as I have ever read.
Several of the more pertinent paragraphs:
"From business people to elected officials to community leaders, Utahns embrace growth with the fervor of a religious zealot. In fact, not to grow, or to not grow fast enough, is labeled failure in our calculus of economic development.and...
"Utahns, it seems, have conflated “quality of life” with “quantity of life.” Somehow we have decided that more is always bigger, better and more desirable. For a business person thinking simply, more people means more customers and more money. The reality is, though, that once a certain threshold is reached, another business will open to handle the demand and compete with the first."and...
"Well, like the out-of-control cancer cell, eventually the host organism loses its quality of life, gets sick and dies. Utah has a chance right now to leave a high quality of life to its future generations, but will we be wise enough to slow and plan for growth?"See the complete article here:
By Paul Revere
Despite the finality implied by this morning's Standard-Examiner headline and story, this is not over.
Update 3/26/11 9:13 a.m.: From an examination of yesterday's House and Senate vote tallies in connection with the HB477 repeal bill (HB1001), here's a list of our Weber County legislative delegation, broken down by their postures regarding HB1001:
1) Voted "Yes" (to repeal HB477):
- Brad J. Galvez (R) - House District 6
- Ryan D. Wilcox (R) - House District 7
- Gage Froerer (R) - House District 8
- Jeremy A. Peterson (R) - House District 9
- Dixon M. Pitcher (R) - House District 10
- Brad L. Dee (R) - House District 11
- Richard A. Greenwood (R) - House District 12
- Scott K. Jenkins (R) - Senate District 20
Weber County political wonks will be carefully keeping notes.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Okay people. Governor Herbert's HB477 repeal bill has been drafted; it's been placed on today's calender; and Herbert is confident that it will be passed in today's special session:
And adding to the circus atmosphere, GOP tea-party darling Jason Chaffetz, the guy who sets the gold standard for Utah GOP "conservatism," came to town yesterday and stuck his thumb in the eyes of Governor Herbert and neoCON Utah GOP legislative "leadership," by signing the petition to put the repeal of HB 477 on the ballot:“Why fix something that isn’t broken?” Chaffetz said. “Had I been governor, I would have vetoed it.”
Gotta love dat Chaffetz guy, no?
Update 3/25/11 4:50 p.m.: (Per Al) ... As some are prone to say in Utah- it was "repilled":
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Let’s see how far the monsters go. Hillyard, Waddoups, Lockhart—it’s my hope that someday those names are as scary to children as Adolf, Muammar or Saddam.
Salt Lake City Weekly - John Saltas
March 23, 2011
Basically, HB477 allows them to keep secret text messages and e-mails they send to and receive from lobbyists, contract bidders and their legislative cohorts so you don't know what's behind their governance. They can spin it all they want, but that's the crux of the matter.
Standard Examiner Editorial Board
Editorial: HB477 Is Your Fight
March 24, 2011
"leadership" from his ever-excellent Wasatch Rambler perch:
"special" legislative session, we now learn that...
1) Rep. John Dougall, the sponsor of HB 477, and the nitwit who started this whole mess, now says the measure should be repealed:
2) There may actually now be enough votes in the Utah Senate to repeal HB 477 during Friday's Special Session...
Let's not take any chances however people. As the Standard-Examiner urges, it's time to contact our Northern Utah senatorial delegation, if you haven't already done so:
- Peter Knudson
- Allen Christensen
- Scott Jenkins
- Stuart Reid
- Jerry Stevenson
- Stuart Adams
- Dan Liljenquist
- Lyle W. Hillyard
(Once again we'd like to thank our palz @ Utah Policy Daily, for helping us come up with a few of the above links.)
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Fine editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, ripping two out of three of Spinmeister Gary Herbert's HB477 "goals," identifying repeal as "the sole necessary step" and urging SE readers to "let their Top of Utah state senators know" that repeal is exactly what we want:
SE cuts straight to the chase and helpfully supplies the names of those northern Utah Senators who'll be called upon to unravel this HB477 mess on Friday, so we'll reel them off here in live link form, for the convenience of those readers who'd like to do some lobbying this morning:
- Peter Knudson
- Allen Christensen
- Scott Jenkins
- Stuart Reid
- Jerry Stevenson
- Stuart Adams
- Dan Liljenquist
- Lyle W. Hillyard.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
By: John "Pureheart" Patterson
Wasn't there another Ogden Mayoral candidate mentioned in today's paper?
WCF cabal to file for Mayor and give it a run.
Gov Herbert speeds HB477 toward repeal... then again, maybe not
According to this morning's Standard-Examiner, Gov. Gary Herbert plans to call the legislature into a special session on Friday to repeal HB 477:
Whatever happens on Friday depends, of course, on whether the very Machiavellian Senate President Mr. Waddoups manages to organize Senate opposition to block that move, due to (get this) the "cost of holding a special session":
And in another interesting twist, the legislative majority announces the members of a working group to consider changes to HB477, which group includes (and no, we are not making this up) Ogden City's own Mark Johnson:
(Remember, folks, neoCON Senator Scott Jenkins is Boss Godfrey's cousin - wink, wink.)
Meanwhile, and notwithstanding the Governor's the call for a special session, HB477 opponents continue with their ongoing petition drive, "just in case":
And in an interesting background sidebar, former Former Governor Olene Walker says she was "amazed" by the speed that HB 477 was passed by lawmakers:(Special thanks to our friends at Utah Policy Daily, who helped round up some of the above story links.)
Monday, March 21, 2011
Trib reporting this afternoon that the Utah Republican Caucus, meeting in yet another secret session, has agreed to repeal HB 477:
"Free Lunch For Me!" Dee, is still defending the bill, and the way it was passed. He blames all the complaints on the press:
Dee, R-Ogden, blasted newspaper and television coverage that he said was “extremely biased,” and said changes will be made to state’s records act.... “There must be something done to GRAMA...” Dee told the Trib.
He was a little vague though on why something must be done to GRAMA except to provide a thin and tattered fig leaf of justification to cover the Republican majority's shame at having their raid against accountable, open, transparent government blow up in their faces.
Lockhart and Dee said legislators believe GRAMA... has been used for fishing expeditions, trying to make public intimate details of lawmakers’ private lives in order to humiliate them. “I know of requests for other representatives that concern me a great deal,” Dee said.
So, did Speaker Lockhart [who also blamed everything on press exaggeration] or Free Lunch Dee offer any examples of private correspondence that had been unearthed by GRAMA requests? Ah, no. Not a single example. [Probably because, as both of them know, the GRAMA statute already protects private communications from being made public by GRAMA request.]
Notice how carefully Free Lunch phrased his concern: there have been, he said, "requests" made under GRAMA that concern him greatly. He did not say those requests were successful or that the purely private correspondence he was concerned about was made public.
And as for this from Dee --- Some members in their “other capacities” advise young people who communicate by text messages, he said, and those shouldn’t be made public. --- he's being completely disingenuous. Of course say communications between a legislator who is also, say, a psychologist and the children he counsels should not be made public. What Free Lunch leaves out of his "Chicken Little The Sky Is Falling" whine is the fact that such communications were not made public under the GRAMA statute which protected purely private communications.
But hey, why let honesty get in the way of peddling a belated rationale to explain away, if you can, the disaster the House Majority's HB 477 has turned out to be. Blame it on the press and be dishonest about what the GRAMA law said and did --- Rep. Free Lunch Dee at work.
Update 3/22/11 9:26 p.m.: Trib now reporting Sen. Waddoups says Sen. Republicans will block repeal. Waddoups says no Republican Senator has told him he favors swift repeal:
In the wake of Saturday's HB477 news, wherein we learned that former House Speaker David Clark and three other Southern Utah [GOP] legislators are "calling on Gov. Gary Herbert and the Legislature to repeal a bill restricting public access to government records," the Standard-Examiner now reports this morning that two Northern Utah GOP legislators are likewise following suit and calling for HB477's repeal:
And it looks like Rep. John Dougall, the chief sponsor of HB477, is now doing some serious flip-flopping, claiming he wanted more time to study his own ill-conceived bill:
Our readers should be reminded that Rep. Dougall only lies when his lips are moving.And here's some interesting data from the latest KSL Poll:
... [T]he respondents seemed preoccupied with GRAMA, with 84 percent saying it was somewhat or very important to them personally. Eighty-three percent said they should have access to elected officials' text messages, which would be protected under the controversial HB477, now set to take effect July 1. In addition, almost 90 percent said the process used to craft the changes to GRAMA was probably or definitely inappropriate.
Read the full KSL story here:
It's obvious that HB477 support is unraveling faster than a bad wig at a retirement home.
Update 3/21/11 11:26 p.m.: This just in from the Associated Press, via the SE Live! Site:
Aha! Just as foreshadowed in this November 2010 Standard-Examiner story, Godfrey sock puppet Brandon Stephenson announces his 2011 Ogden Mayoral candidacy, via this morning's blockbuster Michael McFall writeup:
Weber County Forum see the 2011 Mayoral race shaping up:
Wake us up in November when it's all over.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
1) Surprise of surprises, this morning's annual Standard-Examiner legislative report card assigns a well deserved "F" grade to the Utah legislature for "Open Government":
"F" grade? Isn't there anything lower than that?
2) Former Ogden City Councilwoman Dorrene Jeske makes a strong public statement regarding the Utah GOP's sudden lurch toward fascist-style government secrecy, with this morning's scathing Letter to the Editor:
Utah Republicans, as they recoil in embarrassment from the shameful actions of the current batch of goose-stepping anti-government transparency drones. Additional sodden question: What happens to the Utah Grand Old Party when they run out of olde-tyme warhorse Republicans like Dorrene?
And here's a pair of stirring SE morning print edition letters, from "stirred up" SE readers and Karl Powell and John Wojciechowski, respectively:
SE print edition, we have a strong psychic sense that the SE editorial page will be a very hot venue in the days and weeks to come.
4) Former Utah House Republican member Sheryl Allen has an op-ed piece in today's SL Trib, supporting Rep. Powell's claim that he feared his bills would be killed by the House leadership if he didn't quietly knuckle under and vote for HB 477. Happens all the time, says Allen, and her op-ed piece gives examples:
Just a few more news and editorial items... to help keep our marathon HB477 discussion on track.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
For those who missed the late night reporting in last night's comments section, yesirree, THEY (the Utah legislative GOP) are indeed "eating their own" (they're not half bad eatin' either, provided you add the right "special" sauce). KSL news provided the first rumblings of this scrumptious "non-gourmet menu item" last night...
Salt Lake Tribune carries a generously fleshed out full serving this morning (with all the trimmins, YUM)...
Utah GOP (classic family buffet-style) mini-civil war.
And yes: We definitely crack ourself up.
Friday, March 18, 2011
More developments in the HB477 brouhaha. In truth, rounding up news updates for this simmering story is like shooting fish in a barrel:
1) The frenzy to repeal HB477 makes for some strange political bedfellows, as the Salt Lake Tribune reports:
Standard-Examiner guest commentary from government transparency watchdog, Dr. David Cuillier:
Ogden Valley Forum shine the spotlight on House Legislative District 8 Representative Gage Froerer's "rationale" for supporting HB477 (and "gutting" GRAMA):
O Gentle Ones. We'll leave it to our ever savvy readers to separate the "bull" from the "ticky."
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Sound editorial advice for Boss Godfrey as we enter the March 13 to March 19 "Sunshine Week". Here's the SE "long version":
"shortened" WCF version:
Godfrey! Don't be such a stubborn little &@#%!
KSL story :
March 16th, 2011 @ 10:42pmAlso, Salt Lake Tribune editorial today headlined:
By Paul Nelson
SALT LAKE CITY -- A prominent state lawmaker is asking the state legislature to repeal HB477, a recently-passed law that will restrict the public's access to certain types of government information, like voice mails and text messages.
Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, said Wednesday he believes GRAMA laws need to be changed, but he doesn't believe HB477 is the right law for that. He said he looked into what the bill would do to open records laws after he voted for it.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Standard are reporting that the Ogden City Council passed amended anti-discrimination ordinances last night, thus avoiding an earlier-threatened Boss Godfrey veto:
Ogden City Council "Kumbayah Moment," wherein almost everyone seems happy with the "compromised" outcome, we'll resist the temptation to go against the flow and hammer the all-too-obvious argument that last night's two amendments leave "holes" in the ordinances gaping enough to drive a whole fleet of Mack Trucks through.
Top-notch Rep. Kraig Powell guest editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner. Mea Culpa-wise, soul searching Utah Republican apologies seldom (like never) get any better than this:
Notable editorial advisory at the foot of Mr. Powell's rant, hopefully opening the door to other GOP legislative confessions:
The Standard-Examiner will gladly print any apologies from Top of Utah legislators who voted in favor of HB477 if they desire.With a little bit of luck, and some overdue soul searching on their own part, we'll be keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be hearing similar words of contrition from our own heretofore unrepentant Weber County Legislative Delegation, ( i.e., House Representatives Galvez, Wilcox, Froerer, Peterson and Dee... and Senators Christensen, Jenkins and Reid) very soon.
There's at least some remote possibility of that happening... Right?
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Surprise of surprises, there's more HB477 blowback this morning from all points of the northern Utah editorial and news reporting compass:
The Standard-Examiner editorial board reminds us that it wasn't just the citizens' right to know which was stricken down this week as a result of the passage of HB477. Uppity Utah citizens also got slapped silly by SB165, of course, which pretty much makes mincemeat of the citizens' right to petition their government:
last night's early reports that Rep. Kraig Powell had been apologizing for his vote in favor of HB477, saying he feared reprisal from Republican leadership in the legislature.
The story's now all over the pages of the Deseret News, KSL, Tribune and Daily Herald. Speaker Becky Lockhart says (of course) there was no pressure on Powell to vote in favor of the measure; and weirdly enough it appears that (in the absence of any pressure whatsoever) Rep. Powell himself is now reportedly backpedaling on his original version of the story too:
Standard-Examiner reports that the Society of Professional Journalists plans to "honor" Gov. Gary Herbert with their highly prestigious "black hole" award:
one great fit for Herbert's trophy case.
That's it for now, O Gentle Ones.
Who will be the first to chime in with their own 2¢?
Monday, March 14, 2011
Submitted by: Ray
Salt Lake Tribune article this am:
Reversing a trend established over the past several years, Utah House Republicans opted to meet almost exclusively in closed-door caucuses this year, arguing that meeting out of the public eye gave them a chance for more candid discussion...
- House GOP held most '11 deliberations in the dark - By ROBERT GEHRKE
Who will be the next to comment? Well.....?
Sunday, March 13, 2011
- There’s simply no provision for such a “redo” motion in any statute, ordinance, or policy.
- Ogden defends its ability to make such a motion on the basis of a single sentence, quoted out of context, from a 1997 Utah Supreme Court case that merely said an administrative board had the authority to go back and clarify an earlier decision in light of changed factual circumstances.
- In this case, however, there are no new facts. The administration simply feels that it can do a better job arguing the case the second time, and has marshaled some new legal arguments in its memorandum. But there’s no reason to give the losing party a “second bite at the apple.”
- Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the 30-day time period during which a party can appeal the Board’s decision to District Court. A second administrative hearing would cause yet another delay and make the judicial appeal deadline ambiguous. But a judicial challenge would be expensive, and the administration may even have to pay my attorney’s fees if it loses.
Friday, March 11, 2011
We'll briefly set forth the following list of this morning's HB477-topical stories, which represent, wethinks, a quite thorough survey of new stories appearing in the public press since our last WCF article on this topic:
The controversial HB477, which delivers a GRAMA-gutting blow against Utah citizens' access to most electronic government communications and many other electronic records, may be headed to the ballot as a group of citizens file an initiative petition to force a public vote:
Protestors briefly took over the Capitol building Thursday night as part of a rally against HB477:
Tribune editorial you're definitely not gonna wanna miss:
ain't goin' away anytime soon; and something tells us the the legislature's anti-public information kook faction may have a made a major tactical mistake, in going toe-to-toe with the Utah media in this instance.
(A hat tip to our friends at Utah Policy Daily, btw, for helping us round up a fair portion of our fairly fancy collection of helpful morning links.)
Thursday, March 10, 2011
In the wake of last night's reader comment, wherein gentle Curmudgeon pointed out that the second vote on HB477 had reduced House support from the original 61 (veto proof) votes to just 42 (non-veto proof) votes on final passage Friday, Standard-Examiner reporter Loretta Park expands on this story angle and delivers a whole flurry of interesting comments by freshman House District 10 Representative Dixon Pitcher, who forthrightly admits that he was initially hoodwinked by an inaccurate information poop sheet, which was apparently distributed on the floor of the House by the GRAMA-gutting bill's supporters and/or sponsors just minutes before the first House vote. Here's one example:
"I voted for it based on incorrect information that was given to (legislators)," he said Wednesday as he pointed to a blue paper that highlighted problems with the current Government Records Access Management Act.Read the amazing (and vaguely amusing) SE story here, which, among other things, contains additional revelations concerning the wet-behind-the-ears Rep. Pitcher's disconcerting initiation into the flim-flam political practices of the most dysfunctional legislative body in the land:
"gubernatiorual veto would have been overriden anyway," even though that statement is demonstrated to be preposterous, by anyone who can do the basic calculations (like the Salt Lake Tribune's Robert Gehrke, for instance):
black comedy relief is Senate President Waddoups' surprising apology for ramming this admittedly-flawed bill through both bodies of the Utah legislature without even the slightest hint of public discussion, notwithstanding the fact that he was frankly and even gleefully confessing only days ago that this was exactly his original strategy and intention.
This whole fiasco will definitely be fun to watch, as our Keystone Kops-style legislature struggles to cover their ass, and scrambles to unwind this comedy of errors (and web of outright lies) within the next ninety days.
And speaking of the "comedic" aspects of this story... It "really only hurts when we laugh," of course:
Ha. Ha. Ha. OUCH!
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Not to be overlooked amidst the continuing furor surrounding HB477 is this morning's story from the Standard-Examiner, reporting that"[b]y a 4-3 [non-veto proof] vote, the city council adopted ordinances Tuesday night prohibiting housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity":
"amendments" which the council majority rejected last night.
Looks like almost a full year of council effort stands to be wasted, just as Godfrey suggests, unless the constituents of Godfrey sockpuppets Garner, Stephens and Stephenson can somehow persuade these recalcitrant council members to have a sudden change of "heart."
By: The Lovely Jennifer
He signed it!
- Governor Herbert signs HB 477
- Despite rally, guv signs law shielding records
- Herbert signs GRAMA bill over protesters' call for veto
Update 5/9/11 7:30 a.m.: Amazingly, and despite the fact that the Governor rolled over and went along with the legislative majority, some pathologically paranoid legislative legislative Republicans still feel like Herbert "threw them under the bus" amid the controversy surrounding the bill:
SLTrib article comment section, "What better use for a bus?"
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Standard-Examiner: Four Strong Editorial and News Pieces Slamming the Utah Legislature's Arrogant and Slap-dash Passage of HB477
Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel.
American journalist, essayist and all-round curmudgeon
September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956
- OUR VIEW: Herbert must veto HB477
- Rep. Brad Dee values public input, but avoided it to gut GRAMA
- HB477 the opposite of open government
- Governor wants more input, discussion before changing government records act
Read up, folks. Great to see the Standard firing on all cylinders and aggressively standing up for the people's right to know what's happening in its own government... a government which the now-jilted Utah citizens already pay for with their own hard-earned tax dollars, No?
Monday, March 07, 2011
Here's an irgent missive we received late this afternoon from our friends at Utahns For Ethical Government. Various anti-HB477 groups will be gathering tomorrow for a noon rally at the State Capitol:
We sincerely hope you'll all mark your calenders and plan to attend:
Friends and Supporters,
We urge all of you to attend a RALLY at the CAPITOL tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8th at NOON to oppose the government secrecy embedded in HB 477 (amendments to GRAMA, the Government Records Access and Management Act). A big turnout is needed. (The Tribune announced the rally on p. 1 of today's paper.)
We urge you to send an email message (in your own words) urging the Governor to veto the bill. Go to his comment website at www.utah.gov/governor/contact/
Here is the message we sent:
Dear Governor Herbert:
UEG urges you to veto HB 477, a bill that severely restricts public access to legislative information. For a Legislature that keeps saying that disclosure and transparency are enough to ensure good ethics, HB 477 is the height of hypocrisy.1) The bill was rushed through in the final days of the Legislature, and it is unlikely that even all legislators know all that's in the bill.In short, this bill is a severe restriction on the public's right to know and reduces the concept of freedom of information to a mere shell of its former self. It deserves a quick veto. Utahns for Ethical Government is a nonpartisan coalition of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and unaffiliated voters who are are committed to meaningful legislative ethics reform.
2) The bill reverses the evidence standards and requires members of the public to demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that the information should be disclosed. Instead, the government should still be required to demonstrate why the information should not be made public.
3) The bill increases the costs of obtaining documents by allowing indirect and administrative costs to be charged to those seeking the documents, further burdening the right to access public information.
4) The bill provides excessive protection to texting and instant messaging even when they contain important legislative information that the public has a right to access.
Added Bonus: Check out the legislative majority's "pained weekend attempts" to justify, ratiionalize and defend their HB477 tyrannical action
New Update(s): We'll definitely be standing by in rapt fascination, to see what happens next, and will most certainly "be happy to post our continuing anti-tyranny updates to this WCF article until the cows come home"
The SL Trib has an interesting article up this morning on the reaction around the nation to the Utah Republican Party's rejection of transparency and open government:
“Let’s be real,” [Chip]Stewart, a media law professor at Texas Christian University, said in a Tweet on Saturday, “what’s happening in Utah is more of a threat to democracy than anything in Wisconsin or under Obama; we must be transparent!”
“Point after point, Utah’s record laws are going to be more backward than a Third World country’s,” David Cuillier, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Arizona, said Sunday. “That’s not hyperbole.”
“It’s gotta be a lobbyist’s fantasy,” said Charles N. Davis, a University of Missouri professor specializing in open-government laws. “ ‘Give me your cell phone number, Mr. Legislator, and we can have a private text conversation 24/7, even if you’re on the floor.’ ”
“To be clear,” the [Student Press] Law Center added, “this bill is about protecting the ability to govern corruptly and about nothing else.”
That's just a sampling. The full article is well worth a read.
Added Bonus Editor's Addendum: And whatever you do, gentle readers, don't miss the legislative majority's pained weekend attempts to justify, rationalize and defend their tyrannical HB477 action via what are rapidly (and sadly) becoming Utah's top two "official government pro-tyranny spin sites":
Utah GOP legislators may have finally succeeded in "jumping the shark" with the heretofore asleep Utah electorate.
So what say our gentle readers about all this?
Update 3/7/11 1:58 p.m.: Does a sign of the bright heat and light of lumpencitizen-compelled anger at Utah gummint suddenly arise on horizon? Looks like there's some serious neoCON backpedaling going on here. Will the Corporatist GOP Morons in the state legislature come back to reality, in re HB277? Somethin's definitely shakin' at the moment in Utah Gummint. Read this hot-off-the-press SLTrib story to learn all about it:
Remember: "Cockroaches don't like the light of day, and will scurry away when you pick up whatever it was they were hiding under." - anon
Don't think for a moment that the frenzied torrent of mail messages and angry Facebook comments isn't helping to make the tyrants in the Utah legislature take at least a little pause in their anti-democratatic obsessions.
We'll definitely be standing by in rapt fascination, to see what happens next.
Update 3/7/11 3:00 p.m.: In an earlier comment, Gentle Reader Blackrulon wondered whether the Standard would continue to beat the drum on the HB 477 issue. Happily, SE Editorial Page Editor Doug Gibson has already answered that question with this brand-new and fierce Political Surf Blog article, published just a few minutes ago:
learn from Curmudgeon that the St-Ex also published this exceptionally powerful Charles N. Davis guest op-ed piece within the last hour or so:
SE continuing to mercilessly hammer the Utah legislative tyrants on this. We'll also add that we'll be happy to post continuing anti-tyranny updates to this ever-expanding WCF article until the cows come home.
Update 3/7/11 3:45 p.m.: Hmmm... According to Paul Rolly via Curmudgeon, it appears that the Utah Fascist pro-HB 477 Coalition may be suddenly falling apart:
anti-tyranny articles linked within the next coupla minutes.
Update 3/7/11 6:27 p.m.: This just in from the SLTrib website:
Trib story, the legislature isn't really "recalling HB 477," but rather the ever-slimy "Senate President Michael Waddoups" [says] "the move is [merely] to allow lawmakers delay the effective date of HB477 for a few months," so that the ever-honorable state legislature can fix the current half-baked legislation (and so the present public furor will die down, of course).
As old Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested, "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."