Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Morning Weber County Forum News Roundup

Several items in the Northern Utah print media news item morning queue, just to keep the local political news discussion going here at Weber County Forum

1) As a followup to last week's Ogden Redevelopment Agency Board Work Session, wherein the RDA Board discussed "a proposed purchase contract and development agreement for The Four Foods Group, LLC, in connection with the opening of a new Kneaders Bakery And Café at 1951 Washington Blvd.," The Standard reports on the outcome of this week's RDA Board seession, wherein the Ogden RDA applied the finishing touches, and "approved a property sale and development agreement with The Four Foods Group LLC, which will bring a Kneaders Bakery & Café to Ogden as part of the river project":
We'll chalk this up as a feather in the cap of new Ogden mayor Mike Caldwell, and as additional circumstantial proof that Ogden voters who wisely rejected mayoral candidate Brandon Stephenson's 2011 mayoral bid, didn't need an Godfreyite Ogden City Council retread to maintain the Ogden River Project's "momentum" after all.

2) Fine editorial from the Standard, duly noting that the commencement of "another legislative session in Utah brings another needed call for better ethics."

"Utah legislators have made tiny, baby steps toward ethics reform within the past couple of years, but they still fall short," the editorial board aptly observes.
The Standard editorial reels off a short list of Utah Legislators' documented ethical misdeeds, including Rep. Jack Draxler's spending of "$500 of campaign cash for a condominium in Salt Lake City," and former Utah House Speaker Greg Curtis's slimy diversion of "more than $31,000 of his leftover campaign cash to other legislators."

While we're pretty much in agreement with the overall message of this morning's editorial, we will make one slight exception: We do believe that it's probably perfectly ethical for a political candidate who's loaned personal dough to his own campaign to reimburse himself from his campaign fund, once later donations have rolled in, so long as his disclosure forms properly disclose that that such personal monies are clearly designated as "loans" at the outset, and additionally, so long as these reimbursements don't include "accrued interest."

We'll also opine that we probably won't have to endure editorials similar the one linked above, once the UEG Citizens Ethics Reform Initiative is placed on the November 2012 ballot. We have a high degree of confidence that Utah Lumpencitizens possess the common sense and ethical integrity to set Utah campaign ethics rules aright, even though their elected representatives often don't exhibit these noble character traits themselves.

3) The Salt Lake Tribune this morning reveals that the Richard Burwash lookalike, West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder, the serial Utah civil defendant who's running under the GOP banner this year for the Office of Salt Lake City Mayor, continues to play the role of the "political loose cannon," as his county-wide mayoral campaign now sparks an internecine battle within the Salt Lake County Republican Party:
Weirdly, Winder is now attacking Salt Lake Republican Party Chair Julie Dole, who had the temerity to write Winder a letter (at Winder's original request) proposing that he keep out of the SL County Mayoral race, so that the reeking stench of his "dirty political laundry" wouldn't taint all the other 2012 GOP races. Winder contends that in doing her (unpaid volunteer) job, and trying to protect the best interests of other Utah GOP candidates, and the Salt Lake County GOP as a whole, she's "violating a party bylaw requiring officers to be neutral until delegates select candidates for office."

We'll continue to keep our eye on this story, O Gentle Ones.

Weird, innit, that a nice-looking young feller like Winder, who appears to be so danged clean-cut and acceptable (by Utah standards) could actually harbor such a warped "me, me, me" mentality and turn out to be such a self-centered and self-delusional "political dork?"

Go figure...


Lurker said...

Look into Winder's eyes.  If you disregard Winder's BAD Grecian Formula treatment, and actually look  into Mike Winder's eyes, there's something of a commonality with Heaven Gate's Marshal Appelwhite, I believe:


Dan S. said...

Here are some additional details on the Kneader's deal, to put it in the context of earlier analysis of the River Project such as this article.

Kneader's will be purchasing most of Parcel 7, which fronts on Washington in the middle of the stretch between Park Blvd. and 20th Street. The sale excludes a narrow strip along the north of the parcel and a broader strip along the west. As reported, the sale price is $267,795, which comes to $7.28/sq.ft. The assessed value of the parcel is $10/sq.ft., so the city isn't getting an especially great deal.

To make matters worse, the deal obligates the city (RDA) to pay for soil remediation (up to $55,000) and to pay for construction of two short access roads into the parcel (estimated at $50,000 to $60,000).

In return, the city (RDA) will collect tax increment on the property, and none of this tax increment will go to the buyer.  I estimate (very roughly) that the RDA's share of the tax increment will come to about $100,000 over the 15-year duration of the recently extended tax increment collection.  Another $40,000 or so will go to the taxing entities over this time period.

According to the plans in the council's agenda packet, the Kneader's building won't be especially large--about 300,000 square feet. The rest of the lot will be mostly asphalt devoted to parking and a drive-through lane. There's also considerable landscaping and a good-sized patio.

Tom said...

You are kidding about giving Caldwell credit for Kneaders, right?  You are saying he's been here for less than four weeks and he brought in a new business on his own?  

Trying giving just a smidgen of credit those guys down in Business Development.  I have a feeling they were probably courting this deal for a while.  

Maybe they earned their wages this week? 

blackrulon said...

I tend to agree with your assessment on who deserves praise for this deal. By the way I am still waiting for Caldwell to return the post election campaign donations from Gade Leesham.

rudizink said...

With a change in administration, Kneaders could have easily pulled the plug on this deal prior to signing on the dotted line. The fact that Kneaders seems to be still moving forward with this project implies confidence in the Caldwell administration's
ability to keep the momentum going, and to competently preside over a healthy
downtown business environment.  This confidence inures to some extent of course to the
crew in the economic development department, who haven't dropped the
ball.  But in truth, those desk jockeys "in  Business Development" have been merely doing what they're paid to do.  That's why Caldwell deserves primary credit, AFAIC, Tom, just as he'd likely deserve the primary blame if the deal had fallen through.

Dan is an idiot said...

Dan, as usual, you are an idiot if you think that the county's assessment of market value is the same as a licensed commercial appraisers.

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