Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Ballistics Reports Arrive; Stewart's Preliminary Hearing Set

Time to get the show on the road, wethinks

The Standard-Examiner reports this morning a couple of important developments in the Matthew Stewart shootout case.  According to this morning's Tim Gurrister story, the long awaited ballistics reports have been completed by the Utah State Crime Lab and were provided to prosecution and defense counsel last Friday.  With the Crime Lab's logjam out of the way, Stewart's three-day preliminary hearing is now set for October 31, a full 9 months and 27 days after the January 4, 2012 incident:
Time to get the show on the road, wethinks.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

No Evidence of Net Job Growth in Ogden

New Ogden jobs were offset by losses, while surrounding suburbs grew.

By Dan Schroeder

Ogden has added thousands and thousands of jobs over the last ten or twelve years—right?

We read about Ogden’s tremendous job growth so often that it has become almost axiomatic, no longer requiring evidence or proof. But job growth has political consequences, and in politics it’s wise to question everything. How many jobs has Ogden really gained in recent years?

As far as I’m aware, nobody has ever made a careful attempt to answer this question. So in this article I’ll give it my best shot. The answer, believe it or not, is that there’s no hard evidence that Ogden has had any net job growth at all.

The claims

First let’s review the job growth claims that have been made in recent years. These claims have come in two varieties.

The first type of claim is that Ogden has added so-many-thousand jobs over a certain time period. The earliest example that I know of was in a campaign brochure that Mayor Godfrey mailed to voters when he was running for reelection in 2007. The brochure states that “Ogden has recruited 6,755 new jobs since Matthew Godfrey became mayor.” It then enumerates the jobs added by 16 specific companies and developments:

25th Street
51
American Can Complex
262
Business Depot Ogden
3,100
Fresenius Medical Expansion    
1,400
Twin Rivers (IRS)
1,400
Kemp Gateway Center
1,000
Hampton Inn and Suites
32
Ogden Blue
10
The Junction
250
Spolar Building
15
Business Information Center
5
Williams International
194
The River Project
150
US Foods
230
Union Square
56
Ski Companies
515

These numbers actually add up to 8,670, easily exceeding the top-line claim of 6,755. But the list obviously includes some redundancy (e.g., ski companies at American Can and BDO), as well as some chickens that hadn’t actually hatched (e.g., Adam Aircraft’s thousand-or-so jobs at the Kemp Gateway Center).

In any case, it’s clear that this list includes only companies and developments where the city administration is taking credit for “recruitment”; it omits job gains that happened without any such government involvement, and it doesn’t subtract off any job losses that occurred over the same time period. Notably, the list also includes some employers that merely moved jobs from one location to another within Ogden, such as the IRS (which moved quite a few jobs into downtown) and the Standard-Examiner (which moved from downtown to BDO).

Similar claims about new jobs have been coming up ever since. In early 2010, a reference to “7,000 added jobs” appeared on the mayor’s official blog and in an almost identical article in the city’s At Your Service utility bill insert. Wondering where that figure came from, I filed a formal records request with the city at that time, asking for “any and all records itemizing or documenting the creation of approximately 7,000 jobs in Ogden City during recent years.” Amazingly, the city found no existing records that were responsive to this request. However, Community and Economic Development Director Richard McConkie replied with a memo containing a list similar to the one above, minus the duplications and wishful thinking.

By the time Godfrey left office last winter, the total had grown to 8,000 “recruited” jobs, as stated in a “Done list” that his office provided for a Standard-Examiner front-page story, and on the web site of his new consulting company. During the 2011 Ogden mayoral campaign, candidate Brandon Stephenson credited the Godfrey administration with bringing in “about a thousand jobs a year.”

But again, these numbers include some relocations within the city, and they completely ignore any simultaneous job losses.

The second type of claim seems to address these shortcomings, because it’s based on official government employment statistics. Last September, the Standard-Examiner reported that the Ogden area ranked high in two different third-party analyses of the government numbers. First we were ranked second in the nation in percentage job growth during the second quarter of 2011. Then, just two weeks later, we were ranked first in percentage job growth between August 2010 and August 2011.

But the “we” in these statements—as in nearly all the statistical rankings of cities that you periodically see in the news—is not Ogden City. It’s the Ogden-Clearfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Weber, Davis, and Morgan counties. While Ogden is still the largest city in the Ogden-Clearfield MSA, it now accounts for only 15% of the area’s population and (as we’ll see below) about 25% of the total jobs. It’s not at all clear that rapid job growth in the MSA implies rapid job growth in Ogden City.

Although the Standard-Examiner was careful to distinguish the MSA from the city, the politicians who have repeated these claims haven’t been so meticulous. During the 2011 mayoral campaign, candidate Mike Caldwell stated that “we” had been recognized as “the second best community in the nation at job growth.” After the election, Mayor Godfrey’s “Done list” claimed that his administration “led the nation in job growth for the past 12 months.” His consulting company’s web site says that “when we left that community they were leading the country in job growth.”

To see what these MSA-level statistics really mean for Ogden City, we’ll need to look at employment data on a finer geographical scale. We’ll also look at longer time periods, to see whether these superlative rankings reflect a true trend or merely a brief statistical fluctuation.

County-level employment data

Fortunately, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does provide employment data at the county level. It’s released less often and less quickly than the MSA data, so it gets much less attention from the press. But it’s there for the taking at the BLS web site, under “Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages - QCEW.” You can use an interactive tool to extract data from 2001 through 2011. With more patience, you can download data tables in spreadsheet format dating back to 1990. The web site seems to have data tables going all the way back to 1975, but the ones from before 1990 are in a format that I can’t readily decode. Although the data is released in quarterly installments, it includes separate employment numbers for each month.

(For completeness, I should explain that the BLS employment data don’t quite include everyone who works for pay. The major exclusions are uniformed military and those who are self-employed or informally employed. In any case, these are the data that virtually everyone uses, and the omissions should have little effect on the trends. A further complication is that the monthly releases of MSA-level data (called Current Employment Statistics, or CES) use a rather different methodology (based on a survey of selected employers) than the QCEW (which uses unemployment insurance paperwork). For the Ogden-Clearfield MSA, this difference has generally caused the CES numbers to be higher than the QCEW numbers by a little over 1%. Again, this makes essentially no difference in the long-term trends, as long as you consistently use one data set or the other. Finally, please note that the QCEW data for 2011 are still considered preliminary, subject to future adjustment.)

I’ve downloaded and compiled all the available employment data since 1990 for Weber, Davis, and Morgan counties, which together make up the Ogden-Clearfield MSA. (Click here for a spreadsheet of this data.) Unsurprisingly, Morgan County contributes only 1% of the total jobs. Of the other 99%, Weber County provided more than half until about 2001 and Davis has surpassed Weber since then. Here, without further ado, is a graph of the numbers of jobs in Weber and Davis counties from 1990 through 2011.


What does this graph tell us?

In Davis County there are substantial but predictable seasonal fluctuations, caused mostly by the construction industry and Lagoon. Aside from these fluctuations, job growth in Davis County was remarkably steady from 1990 through 2007. The Great Recession then caused a dip for a couple of years, but the preliminary numbers for 2011 indicate job growth that was strong enough to completely replace the lost jobs and surpass the pre-recession peak.

In Weber County, overall job growth has been slower. Furthermore, Weber County experienced a period of almost no job growth from about 1997 through 2003. But there was a period of extremely rapid job growth during the mid-1990s, and a smaller growth spurt during the mid-2000s. Then the Great Recession erased most of the latter spurt, and the 2011 data show (preliminarily) that few of the lost jobs have been replaced.

Of course, Davis County’s higher rate of job growth is closely tied to its higher rate of population growth. From 1990 to 2010, Davis County’s population increased by 63%, while Weber County’s population increased by 46%. But even on a per-capita basis, Davis has added more jobs than Weber. The precise connection between population and jobs depends on commuting patterns (more Davis County residents work outside their home county), on demographic factors (what fraction of residents are in the work force), and on the unemployment rate (which is higher in Weber County than in Davis). A thorough discussion of these relationships is beyond the scope of this article, as is any opinion on whether elected officials should focus on job growth as an end in itself.

Getting back to the previously mentioned claims about recent job growth in the “Ogden area,” what these county-level data tell us is this: From 2010 to 2011, nearly all of the job growth in the Ogden-Clearfield MSA was in Davis County, not Weber.

Let’s look specifically at the questions asked by the two studies mentioned above. The first study compared the second quarter of 2011 to the first quarter, applying a seasonal adjustment to offset the predictable seasonal effects. After this adjustment, the study found that the Ogden-Clearfield MSA’s job gain was 1.8%—remarkable for such a short time period, given the state of the national economy. But when I apply similar seasonal adjustments to the county-level data for 2011, I find a second quarter job gain in Weber County of only 0.1%, and a gain in Davis County of 0.9%. (You can more or less see this in the graph if you mentally average over the seasonal fluctuations.) So these data do not corroborate the impressive job gain—second in the nation—that last summer’s newly released (but preliminary) data seemed to show. And the gain that did occur was almost entirely in Davis County.

The other study from last September compared August 2011 to August 2010. It concluded that the Ogden-Clearfield MSA gained 7,200 jobs during that time period, for a first-in-nation percentage increase of 3.7%. Here, however, are what the county-level data show for the same time period:

  Jobs gained   Percentage increase
Weber
370
0.4%
Davis
4,861
4.8%
Morgan
102
5.5%
Entire MSA    
5,333
2.8%

Notice that 90% of the added jobs were in Davis County.

This example again shows that it was premature to declare the Ogden-Clearfield MSA tops in the nation based on the preliminary data released last September. A 2.8% overall gain would have put Ogden-Clearfield in sixth place, which is still nothing to be ashamed of. The revised monthly CES data show an even greater discrepancy from last year’s numbers: only 3,400 new jobs, for an increase of 1.7%. Note that the 2011 numbers are still considered preliminary, so further revisions are quite possible.

Both of these examples highlight an important lesson: Journalists should pay a lot less attention to rankings of metropolitan areas based on short-term changes calculated from the latest, newly-released employment data. In all likelihood the rankings will change as the numbers are revised over time. And even if the numbers weren’t revised at all, such rankings are subject to erratic fluctuations depending on exactly which time period you look at. For example, in the most recent ranking by the same source as the study just described, the Ogden-Clearfield MSA ranked 70th out of 100, with job growth of only 0.36% from April 2011 to April 2012. Rather than snapshots, we should be looking at longer-term trends.

The long-term trends for Weber County tell a mixed story, but one conclusion is abundantly clear: There was no abrupt and miraculous change when Mayor Godfrey took office in January 2000. In fact, contrary to the prevailing wisdom, Weber County gained twice as many jobs during Mayor Mecham’s two terms in office (1992-1999) as during Mayor Godfrey’s first two terms (2000-2007). And while the Great Recession certainly wasn’t Godfrey’s fault, Weber County wasn’t immune to the recession either: Half the jobs that the county gained during Godfrey’s first two terms were lost during his third.

Zooming in to cities and neighborhoods

Of course, Weber County isn’t the same as Ogden City. If we really want to assign credit (or blame) to Ogden’s political leaders, and assess those leaders’ claims about thousands of added jobs, we need employment data on a finer geographical scale.

Such data does exist. But there’s not enough of it, and it must be used with care. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LED) program has a fantastic online database with a geographical user interface called OnTheMap. It currently contains an employment data set for each year from 2002 through 2010, which you can query for any geographical area of any size. However, in order to protect the privacy of individual employers and employees, the data is deliberately blurred on fine geographical scales. In practice, the results appear to be usable for a city the size of Ogden, and even for parts of Ogden covering at least a few square miles. (Like the data on the BLS web site, the OnTheMap data is ultimately based on employers’ UI reports and therefore omits the military and those who are self-employed or informally employed.)

Here is an OnTheMap-generated image showing the density of jobs in Ogden and vicinity during 2010, with darker shades of blue indicating higher job densities (click to enlarge):


As you can see, the biggest concentration of jobs is in downtown Ogden, followed by the area of WSU and McKay-Dee Hospital. Next in job density are the Ogden Industrial Park and the area around Newgate Mall, followed by broader areas including Business Depot Ogden and much of South Ogden, Washington Terrace, and Riverdale.

According to OnTheMap, there were 49,988 jobs within the Ogden City limits during 2010. That’s about 56% of all the jobs in Weber County, and about 25% of all the jobs in the Ogden-Clearfield MSA.

And how has Ogden’s job total changed over time? Answering this question is trickier, because OnTheMap’s data for earlier years (prior to 2010) does not include employees of the federal government. This is a problem because Weber County’s largest employer is the IRS, and the total number of federal jobs in the county is nearly 7,000 (according to the QCEW data). Most of those federal jobs have always been within Ogden City, but OnTheMap gives us no way to determine how many might have moved between the city and the suburbs. To make matters worse, OnTheMap’s 2010 data, which does include federal workers, does not provide a separate count of those workers. So you can’t even subtract them off to make a consistent comparison to the earlier years. Fortunately, OnTheMap does classify jobs by the type of work, and virtually all of the federal jobs seem to fall in the “public administration” category. So by excluding this category, you can at least make comparisons for non-government jobs (that is, also excluding state and local public administrators).

In the graph that follows, I’ve plotted two data sets each for Ogden City and, for comparison, Weber County. (Click here for a detailed spreadsheet.) For either city or county, the upper, darker line is the total number of jobs in OnTheMap’s database—excluding federal jobs except for the final, disconnected point. The lower, lighter line shows all jobs except those in the public administration category, thus presumably excluding virtually all federal jobs even in 2010.


And what do these graphs tell us? It certainly appears that Ogden has lost jobs, over this time period, even as the county as a whole has gained a modest number of jobs. According to these data, Ogden did gain more than 3,000 non-federal jobs between 2006 and 2007, but this gain was more than offset by declines before and after; the net loss in non-public-administration jobs over the whole time period was about 2,000, or 4.8%. Of course, it’s possible that some of this loss could have been canceled, over the same time period, by a transfer of federal jobs from the nearby suburbs into Ogden City. But any such transfer probably wasn’t large, since we know that most of the federal jobs have always been within the city limits. We also know from the QCEW data that there was no county-wide growth in federal jobs over this time period.

To compare to the Godfrey administration’s claims about thousands of “added jobs,” we would also need to know what happened between 2000 and 2002, and between 2010 and the present. It seems unlikely that Ogden added jobs during the earlier time period, when the county as a whole actually lost about 1,300 jobs. Could Ogden have gained enough jobs over the last two years to undo the apparent loss of two or three thousand over the previous decade? It seems unlikely, though not impossible. We’ll find out eventually, after more recent data has been added to OnTheMap.

If Ogden as a whole hasn’t gained any net jobs, what about just downtown? I asked OnTheMap for a report on just the central city, from 20th Street to 30th and from the railroad tracks east to Monroe. The answer? This area lost more than a thousand non-public-administration jobs between 2002 and 2010. (The biggest loss was probably from the downsizing of the AOL / Teleperformance call center.) On the other hand, we know that the IRS transferred more than 1,000 jobs into downtown between 2002 and 2003. With additional transfers to the new IRS building that just opened this year, it’s possible—though hardly certain—that downtown Ogden has seen a modest net job gain since 2002.

More dramatic job gains have occurred at Business Depot Ogden. OnTheMap indicates that employment there grew from about 800 in 2002 to about 4,000 by 2007 and nearly 4,700 by 2010. These numbers roughly confirm those that have been put out by the Godfrey administration. But over the same time period, the Ogden Industrial Park has lost about 2,800 jobs. More generally, job gains in some parts of Ogden seem to have been more than canceled by losses in other parts.

Summary

I apologize for the excessive length of this article, but when the facts contradict the conventional wisdom, they require a lot of documentation. With the documentation now out of the way, here’s a summary of the main conclusions:
  • Last year’s superlative job-growth rankings for the Ogden-Clearfield MSA have not withstood the test of time, as more accurate data have become available.
  • The Ogden-Clearfield MSA has still added jobs faster than most of the country, but these gains have been driven mostly by growth in Davis County.
  • Weber County gained far more jobs during the mid-1990s than at any time since. The county’s smaller job growth spurt during the mid-2000s was mostly undone by the Great Recession.
  • Jobs data for Ogden City are incomplete, but seem to indicate a net loss of about 2,000 jobs between 2002 and 2010.
  • Downtown Ogden lost private-sector jobs between 2002 and 2010, but these losses were probably outweighed by the transfer of IRS jobs into downtown.
  • Business Depot Ogden has added about 4,000 jobs over the last decade, while the Ogden Industrial Park has lost about 2,800 jobs.
  • Politicians’ claims about Ogden’s thousands of added jobs do have a factual basis, but they include many jobs that merely moved within the city, and they ignore concurrent job losses.
These conclusions raise many further questions. Some readers may prefer to focus more on the quality of jobs than their quantity, while others may consider Ogden’s unemployment rate to be more important than the absolute number of jobs. The government databases contain endless numbers that can address these questions, although their accuracy declines as one gets into the finer details. This also means that with a little data dredging, anyone with a political agenda can easily paint a much brighter—or much gloomier—picture of Ogden’s economic situation.

Finally, let me emphasize that this analysis is not meant to be a criticism of Ogden City’s employer recruitment efforts. The data do raise the question of whether there might be room for improvement in the area of job retention. But the recruitment efforts have obviously borne considerable fruit, and that fact cannot be dismissed.

There are at least two possible ways to reconcile the city’s successful employer recruitment program with the simultaneous lack of net job growth. One possibility is that some recruitment efforts have merely steered employers into certain specific locations, rather than actually bringing them into the city. The other possibility is that without recruitment, there would have been fewer job gains to offset the inevitable losses. Like the Red Queen, Ogden may need to run as fast as it can just to stay in the same place.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Science Saturday 7/28/12

Read up, people... Edumacate yourselves!

Well "what the "heck." Time for yet another edition of Weber County Forum's ever-popular Science Saturday feature, wethinks.  Here are a coupla good ones for this week:
Good news for Billionaires, maybe.  We guess we''ll all find out what will happen with "Billionaire Robots" (like the Evil Robotic Koch Brothers), for instance when the smoke finally clears.

And here's another eye-opening article that we urge our WCF Science Specialists to carefully examine:
This is a great article wethinks, which esplains: How something so mundane as yam farming in Africa may have altered the local human genome in an amazingly short period of time and arguably contributed to the sudden rise of sickle-cell anemia.

Read up, people; and edumacate yourselves about these important issues.

Comments anyone?

Deseret News: Utah High Court to Decide If Legislative Ethics Initiative Gets on November Ballot

Justices question lawmakers' motives in tightening signature requirements

What happened here was the goal post was raised after the ball was in the air.
Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee
Utah high court to decide if ethics initiative gets on November ballot
July 26, 2012
Listening to the debate, what we needed was a Urim and Thummim to interpret this statute.

Just to keep Weber County Forum readers abreast of developments in the Utahns for Ethical Government legislative ethics reform citizen initiative petition matter, we'll link to Thursday's Deseret News story, which reports on this week's oral arguments before the Utah Supreme Court:
While this D-News story doesn't really provide any reliable clue about how the full five-member Utah Supreme Court panel may be leaning with respect to its ultimate decision in this matter, we do believe it's important to inform our readers that the case has now been argued before the Utah Supreme Court, and that all parties to this proceeding are hoping for an expedited ruling "as early as next week."

We'll be keeping our fingers crossed, eh folks?

Update 7/30/12 8:00 a.m.: More on this story from the Salt Lake Tribune:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Some Things Change in Ogden While Others Stay the Same

Mayor’s office touts prescription drug drop-box, Forbes ranking

By Dan Schroeder

It’s the last Thursday of the month, and Ogden newspaper subscribers know what that means: time for the monthly “Ogden Update” nearly-full-page advertisement from the mayor’s office!

In this month’s installment you can read about upcoming events like the Tour of Utah bike race and Night Out Against Crime. You can also read about the recently opened Hilton Garden Inn and about the new plans for twice-weekly commercial air service between Ogden and Mesa, AZ.

There are two more items, though, which I think are especially noteworthy.

First, at long last, the city has announced that a year-round prescription drug disposal bin has been installed in the lobby of the downtown Public Safety Building at 2186 Lincoln. The bin is available to residents from 8 am until 10 pm daily.

Regular Weber County Forum readers will remember how more than a year ago the city council proposed an ordinance requiring the installation of such a drop box. Police Chief Greiner objected loudly, for reasons that never made any sense. To all appearances, the Godfrey-Greiner administration was against the idea merely because the council was for it. Needless to say, the controversy-averse council backed down.

Although there’s no sign that the city council is any less timid than last year, we now have a new mayor and a new police chief. It would appear that the new administration is less petty, and the drop box has been installed with a minimum of fuss.

A second noteworthy item appears under the headline, “Forbes ranks Ogden, Utah, #6 Best City in US for Business and Careers.” Here’s a scan of this short blurb (click to enlarge):


What you would never know from reading this is that the Forbes ranking doesn’t look at individual cities; it looks at metropolitan statistical areas, for which the government publishes the most up-to-date economic data. The distinction is critical in our case because the Ogden-Clearfield MSA includes all of Weber, Davis, and Morgan counties. Ogden City accounts for only 15% of the MSA’s population and only 25% of its jobs. So the chances are that a high (or low) ranking for the Ogden-Clearfield MSA says more about Davis County and the Weber County suburbs than it does about Ogden City. Without further information, there’s no basis for the mayor of Ogden to take credit.

Of course, the distinction between Ogden City and the Ogden-Clearfield MSA never stopped Mayor Godfrey from taking credit whenever the MSA did well in one of these rankings. When it comes to puffy political rhetoric, Mayor Caldwell is proving to be no different.

Wharton: Why is There a Hill Air Force Base?

HAFB: 24,621 jobs keeping Utah citizens off the federal welfare rolls

Blowing Up the Utah Desert
Informative "hot off the press story" of local interest this morning via the Salt Lake Tribune, asking and then answering the question, "Why is there a Hill Air Force Base?"  One helpful Trib reader volunteers an answer too, "Why? Because it turns out-Utah is a Pretty Great State -to bomb. They can practice bombing by blowing up sections of Utah."  The fact that HAFB is a short flight from the desert Utah Test and Training Range west of the Great Salt Lake, is part of the answer of course; but check out Trib reporter Tom Wharton's morning writeup for the full skinny:
Mr. Wharton reports that "[t]he fact that the Great Depression left 20 percent of Utah’s population receiving federal relief showed a need for a project to put people to work;" and that the project had the support of the "Ogden Chamber of Commerce, which even acquired 3,000 acres for the possible base...".

Bet'cha you didn't know that.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Clearing Utah Liquor License Logjam Helps Lure LongHorn Steakhouse Chain

Just imagine folks, the economic boon for Utah, if our meddling Utah legislature were to get its grubby mitts off bogus liquor license market manipulation altogether

It looks like Governor Herbert's "quick fix," wherein the Utah legislature responded to Governor Herbert's call to action, and held a 1-1/2 hour special legislative powwow to to relieve Utah's long-festering liquor license "bottleneck", is already yielding favorable results, according to the Salt Lake Tribune story:
Just imagine folks, the economic boon for Utah, if our meddling Utah churchislature legislature were to get its grubby mitts off bogus liquor license market manipulation altogether.

Just a thought.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pioneer Day 2012 Special

The anthem of the Mormon pioneers, in the spirit of Pioneer Day

In the spirit of Pioneer Day we'll embed this visually dramatized version of "Come, Come, Ye Saints" (originally "All is Well") sometimes considered to be the anthem of the Mormon pioneers.


This hymn was written by William Clayton on April 15, 1846, as his Mormon pioneer caravan rested at Locust Creek, Iowa, over 100 miles west of its origin city of Nauvoo, Illinois.

This song has special meaning for your blogmeister and his family, folks, inasmuch as just prior to writing the lyrics, Clayton had received word that his wife, Diantha Farr Clayton, the sister of your blogmeister's great-great grandfather, Lorin Farr, had given birth to a healthy boy in Nauvoo, about which event Clayton stated in his journal that he "...composed a new song—'All is well.' I feel to thank my heavenly father for my boy and pray that he will spare and preserve his life and that of his mother and so order it so that we may soon meet again."

As an added bonus, we'll reprise another version of this stirring and uplifting hymn, performed by Texas gee-tar virtuoso Mark Patrick Abernathy and last linked on Weber County Forum three years ago. This version's our personal favorite; and frankly, we can't get enough of it:


Have a safe and sane Pioneer Day, folks; and here are the lyrics, for those musically-inclined readers who might be compelled to sing along.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Utah's Top Two 24th of July Holiday Celebrations Cleverly Compared and Contrasted

Not all Utah 24th of July celebrations are cut from the same green Jell-O mold, pardners.

We'll highlight a couple of morning Standard-Examiner articles with a unique slant.  The S-E's Beckey Cairns has done the reportorial footwork to put together these two stories, cleverly contrasting and comparing Utah's top two 24th of July holiday celebrations.  Not all Utah 24th of July celebrations are "cut from the same green Jell-O mold, pardners":
Not exactly the kind of red meat political fodder you'll usually find on Weber County Forum, but nevertheless interesting, informative and creative, we thought.

So what about it, WCF readers; what are your plans for our unique late July Utah holiday, wherein we honor our proud pioneer legacy and western tradition?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ogden Shootout Defendant Wants New Judge on Forfeiture Case

 Defense counsel move to mercilously provide an avenue to let Weepy Judge Decaria "Off the Hook"

A coupla interesting articles in the Northern Utah media, peripherally concerning what we've been lately labeling as Ogden's Matthew Stewart Shootemup Case.  Both the Standard and SLTrib report this morning report that there's been a peripheral development in this case:
The Government wants to seize and sell Stewart's home to add profit to its profitable drug bustin' enterprise, but dang, apparently a few "legal glitches" still need to be resolved, like a "weepy and biased"  former Weber County Attorney, who's now serving as the assigned District Court Judge on this property forfeiture case.

Added bonus:  Check out the Utah State Bar article embedded within the SL Trib story, which summarizes the somewhat muddy  rules for judicial disqualification in Utah:
Looks like another potential  issue for Stewart on appeal, no?

ACLU of Utah Files Amicus Brief In Utah Supreme Court Arguing That Ban On Electronic Signatures In the Initiative Process Is Unconstitutional

It's about time that the ACLU got involved in this landmark litigation, wethinks

Encouraging development in the Utahns for Ethical Government citizens initiative case.  

Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, along with cooperating attorneys David C. Reymann and Chad R. Derum, filed an amicus curiae brief to the Utah Supreme Court in the case of Utahns for Ethical Government v. Clerks for All Counties in the State of Utah. In its brief, the ACLU of Utah argues that a ban on counting electronic signatures in the initiative process violates the Utah Constitution.
“We are heartened by the Utah Supreme Court’s willingness to hear from the ACLU of Utah on this critical issue,” said John Mejia, Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah.
“A ban on electronic signatures in the initiative process is not just a burden for some out-of-state Utahns, but a complete exclusion from participation.“
Click the link below for full details, including links to the ACLU's amicus curiae brief (it's a humdinger):
It's about time that the ACLU got involved in this landmark litigation, wethinks.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Person in Goat Suit Wanders Ben Lomond Peak - Updated

Sodden query:  Are we getting a glimpse of what a hot Ogden news story will look like in the post-Boss Godfrey era?

Ya gotta know that it's a slow news day when a story like this makes the Standard-Examiner hard-copy edition front page, just as it did this morning:
Goat outfits are the current fashion rage, of course; why you can even buy a trendy goat costume on the internet.

Ben Lomond Goatman
So what about it, O Gentle Ones?  Is the guy in the goat suit who's prowling around Ben Lomond Peak possibly "photograph[ing] goats or scout[ing] them out in preparation for the upcoming hunt," as Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation outreach manager Phil Douglass speculates?

Or is the Ben Lomond Goat Man merely making a bold fashion statement?

The world-wide blogosphere awaits our gentle readers ever-savvy remarks concerning this important topic.

Update 7/19/12 11:48 a.m.:  Too funny. Fox News (Utah) is now all over this story too:
Stand by as this story goes viral, as Fox News reports that "this story ain't over yet."

Update 7/20/12 7:00 a.m.: The Standard is all over the goat man story again this morning, with this followup piece by intrepid SE reporter, Mr. Schwebke:
Sodden query:  Are we getting a glimpse of what a hot Ogden news story will look like in the post-Boss Godfrey era?

Update 7/20/12 8:16 a.m.:  Per Facebook friend Jamie Carter: "Goatman now has a fan page. He deserves it":
Update 7/24/12 10:00 a.m.: The tantalizing Ben Lomond Goat Man mystery has now been solved, according to the killjoys at the Standard and Trib, proving once again that some stories are better left to the imagination.:
Update 7/28/12 10:45 a.m.: Here's a followup column we're sure none of our WCF readers will want to miss:
Perhaps Mr. Medred makes a valid point.

Latest Developments Related to the Matthew Stewart Shootemup Case

"Justice delayed is justice denied..." and can can we see by a show of hands how many within our savvy Weber County Forum readership are buying Commissioner Zogmaister's story?

For archival consistency, we'll post links to two Standard-Examiner stories reporting on the latest developments related to the Matthew Stewart shootemup case:

1) Setting of a preliminary hearing for Matthew David Stewart was postponed as officials wait on the completion of ballistics tests from the Jan. 4 shootout with police.
The Standard reports that "[Judge] Hyde opted to set another scheduling conference for July 30. At that time a preliminary hearing date, likely in October, will be set for three days."

"Justice delayed is justice denied", according to the old ax; and it's now been 6-1/2 months since the January 4 incident.

So much for Stewart's Sixth Amendment right to a "Speedy Trial" in this matter. "What's the holdup," we ask?

2)  The Standard reports that "Weber County has canceled the contract of veteran defense attorney Randy Richards for indigent appeals." "It’s not because of his sometimes controversial representation of Matthew David Stewart, accused in one of the most hotly debated crimes here in years," sez the Standard-Examiner, also quoting Weber County Commissioner Jan Zogmaister:
"Stewart’s family and friends say the dropping of Richards from the public defender roster is just another episode in what they see as questionable handling of everything related to Stewart," the Standard adds.

So how about it, O Gentle Ones? Can we see by a show of hands how many within our savvy Weber County Forum readership are buying Commissioner Zogmaister's story?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Latest News in the Huntsville 7/4/12 Parade Story

Insiders' view of the Huntsville 7/4/12 Parade story... the plot thickens

At risk of seeming to be overly fixated on the Huntsville July 4th Parade topic, we'll again post the latest from the Standard-Examiner in what seems to be a never-ending maelstrom of discontent. Here, Ogden Valley resident Bruce Ahlstrom puts together a fairly good rant:
Just so's you can keep up on the even more recent developments in this story, we'll simply send you to the Experts in Ogden Valley politics, Ogden Valley Forum, of course.

Be sure to check out the "chain of consciousness-style" Greg Anderson video which is helpfully lodged on OVF:
Comments, anyone?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Garden Inn (Hot Tub Hotel) Opens "Quietly"in Downtown Ogden

Good news for hot-tubbers in Ogden

For those who may have missed it in this morning's Standard-Examiner, regarding the so-called Hilton Garden Inn, better known to WCF readers as Kevin Garn's Hot Tub Hotel, ex-Utah state legislator Garn's Godfreyite vision is now open for business in downtown Ogden:
We do believe that former/resigned/disgraced State Senator Garn deserves a further round of applause beyond the last, for managing to ram this project down the Ogden City taxpayer's throats, with a truckload of Ogden taxpayer subsidy cash, courtesy of crazed former Mayor Boss Godfrey.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Standard-Examiner "Behind the Headlines" Column: Sometimes Knowing When a Story is Ready to Publish is a Hard Decision

Will the 346 citizens who've already signed the petition demanding a Standard-Examiner apology find this morning's Andy Howell column to be sufficient... or will they stand their ground and hold out for something even a little more formal?

As a followup to Thusday's WCF writeup, we find an Andy Howell "Behind the Headlines" column in this morning's Standard-Examiner, which amounts to a detailed and forthright account of how the Huntsville 4th of July parade story developed, and how the SE corrected its erroneous first report [in the print edition] of what the sign on the back of the float actually said:

Click to enlarge image
As gentle reader Bob Becker notes in last night's reader comment, "the chronology of how it all happened is very interesting."  Here's this morning's full Andy Howell column.
Buried within this morning's column is what could pass for an apology to the citizens of Huntsville Town, we suppose: "I sympathize with their feelings and am sorry the witness got the sign wrong," managing editor Andy Howell says.

WCF reader query: Will the folks who are running the petition demanding a Standard-Examiner apology find this morning's column to be sufficient? Or will the 346 citizens who've already signed the petion stand their ground and hold out for something even a little more formal?

We'll close with this observation, folks.  This morning's Andy Howell column renders Andy's 06/29/2012 column more than a mite ironic and prophetic, dunnit?
So who'll be the first to throw in their own 2¢?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Huntsville 4th of July Parade Kerfuffle Isn't Dead - Updated

The beleaguered citizens of Ogden Valley kick up the discussion a couple of  more notches and aggressively take the offensive

After last week's updated WCF story about the poorly reported Huntsville 4th of July Parade kerfuffle, we were convinced the story had pretty much played itself out. But we were wrong. The story wasn't dead... far from it. In that connection we'll highlight two interesting new developments which indicate that the story still has strong legs of its own:

1) Charlie Trentelman provides a typically level-headed Wasatch Rambler column this morning, reporting about the backlash from this badly reported story, and coining a new term for our local political lexicon.  Charlie's advice to Huntsville Mayor Jim Truett and the rest of the Hunstville City officials who've been victimized by a tide of cranky and outright nasty phone calls: "When Obama Derangement Syndrome takes over, unplug the phone":
2) There are however some in Ogden Valley who don't believe that simply ignoring the problem is an adequate approach.  In that connection we'll link this morning's Ogden Valley Forum story, which reports that the beleaguered citizens of Ogden Valley are kicking up the discussion a couple of  more notches and aggressively taking the offensive.  And their target? The Standard-Examiner:
Yep, they've put together a petition and are demanding an apology from the newspaper who hastily bungled the reporting in the first place, thereby unleashing that wave of misinformed criticism which has tarnished Huntville's community reputation literally around the globe, according to Mr. Trentelman, at least:
They're not doing badly so far, by the way, with well over 250 signators already subscribed to this petition, which went online only yesterday.

Nope, The Huntsville 4th of July Parade Kerfuffle isn't dead... not by a long shot.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Every Cowboy You Ever Knew

Classic Video: Say "Howdy" to some of those Cowboy Movie Heroes from your youth

Submitted by: OneWhoKnows2

If you grew up watching westerns like I did as a kid, this will bring back some memorable names and faces, especially at the end where they show the 'bit' players.

The faces are familiar, but some of their names were never big. Great piece.

One look at this film clip and you'll be young and old all over again. It is "brand new" even listing 2011.

BUT WAIT -- THERE'S MORE!!!! Ever wonder just who all those minor characters were who populated western after western with a few lines and a familiar face?

Well, the clip has pictures and names -- so after 50 or so years -- say "Howdy" to some of those general store, saloon keeper, blacksmith mini-heroes from your youth.

Just click on the "Those Old Westerns" image and enjoy...

Click to play this amazing video

Fantastic Video Rant Circulating Around the Webosphere

Click on the little "share" icons in the WCF article footer, O Gentle Ones, and join in all the fun

Fantastic video rant circulating around the webosphere;  so danged simple and yet so eminently accurate and sensible that we're giving it our prestigious and highly-coveted WCF Five Star (★★★★★) rating.  Listen up, folks. Caution for our more tender-eared readers: the below video contains language which is a "mite salty". Beginning scene of the new HBO series The Newsroom explaining why America's Not the Greatest Country Any Longer... But It Can Be:


We'll be doing our danged best to help it "go viral" on the World Wide Web.

So howbout you?

Click on the little "share" icons in the WCF article footer, O Gentle Ones, and join in on all the fun.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Salon Dot Com: [Why] I Left Facebook

Who'd like to join in this conversation on another tediously slow Emerald City news day?

Chewy Salon.com post for our WCF readers who've been recently mesmerized by Facebook and other online social networking media:
Sodden queries:
  • Have you ever considered deleting your Facebook account? Why did you stay?
  • Do you agree with this reader comment, " It's like the Hotel California: you can check in but you can't ever check out"?
  • Is there any truth in this compound query from "gentle" Salon.com reader VerbalRemedy, who starts off  his possibly overly-cranky comment thusly: Next up in HTT* Essays ? 
  • "I Don't Even OWN a Television"
  • "Why I Refuse To Get A Cell Phone"
  • "You'll Never Catch Me in a Horseless Carriage"
  • "These Kids Today and Their Rock-n-Roll Music"
  • "Flouridation Is Coming To Get You"
  • "If You Aren't A Fruitarian You're Part of The Problem"
  • *HTT=Holier Than Thou
So who amongst our Gentle Readers would like to join in this conversation on yet anotherwise tediously slow Emerald City news day?

They're back: The Utah League of Women Voters Is Asking Tough Questions

 This time, the gloves are off

Good news for Weber County Forum political wonks this morning from the Salt Lake Tribune's Peg McEntee, who announces this morning that the Utah League of Women Voters, recently missing from Utah General Election scene, are gearing up this year to re-enter the 2012 political discussion with new resolve.  Here's the lede:
They're Back...
A note to candidates for state and federal offices in November: The Utah League of Women Voters is asking tough questions and it wants answers now.

After a hiatus of a few years, the nonpartisan league is resurrecting its voter’s guide, which should be available at its online site on Sept. 1. It had discontinued it because so many candidates just wouldn’t answer the questions.

This time, the gloves are off. If the candidate doesn’t respond, the league will make a point by noting it in the guide.

"A nonanswer is an answer," says Jenn Gonnelly, a co-legislative director who worked on the questions.
Check out the full story, folks:
The League's 2012 voter guide goes online on September 1, and with great delight, we've already reserved space in our right sidebar for this eagerly anticipated pre-election resource, of course.

Go, good ladies of Utah, go!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Paul Rolly: Legislators Flip-flop on Their Own Intent

Feast your eyes on the desperation of  the ethically corrupt GOP dominated Utah legislature, folks

As a followup to yesterday's UEG Citizens Ethics Initiative Petition update, we'll now highlight Friday's Paul Rolly story, which proves that our lumpencitizen unfriendly Utah state legislature continues to play all the mendacious angles to prevent the 100,000+ citizens of Utah who signed the petition from ever seeing this landmark legislative ethics reform measure appear on the Utah ballots.  Rolly reports that legislative leaders want lawmakers to weigh in on the suit at the Utah Supeme Court level with an amicus curiae brief, clarifying that it was the Legislature’s intent to impose an April 15 petiton deadline, which would technically operate to disqualify the initiative measure from the November 2012 ballot, contrary to Judge Shaugnnessy's earlier 3d District Court ruling:
Feast your eyes on the desperation of  the GOP dominated legislature, folks, as "legislative leadership" (so-called) pulls out all the stops to thwart the apparent public will to impose robust and and pervasive ethics reform upon our ethically-corrupt Utah legislature.

Kinda makes you proud, dunnit, O My Utah GOP Friends?

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

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Utahns for Ethical Government News Update: Our Appeal to the Utah Supreme Court

First, a big and heartfelt thanks to all those who responded to our request for financial help... And now it's on to the Utah Supreme Court

By: Utahns for Ethical Government

Dear Supporters,

First, a big and heartfelt thanks to all those who responded to our request for financial help. Thanks to you, we actually exceeded our $15,000 goal and can proceed to fully pay for our survey as well as pay our current and upcoming court filing fees and minimal operational costs, as we prepare our appeal to the Utah Supreme Court. Your response was heart warming and very much appreciated.

Second, you may have read an account in the newspaper of the final lower court ruling by Judge Todd Shaughnessy of Utah's Third District Court. We mentioned in our earlier communication that the Judge ruled a few weeks ago that UEG had one year in which to gather signatures ( :-), while at the same time ruling that e-signatures could not be used for our initiative (:-(. A surprising third ruling was issued after a subsequent hearing before the Judge on certain facts remaining in dispute. The ruling states that the count of eligible signatures must be based on the number of votes cast for President of the U.S. in 2008 rather than on the number of votes cast for Governor in that election. This is a significant difference because several thousand more people vote for President than for Governor. The judge's decision was based on a 2011 Utah law that stiffened the requirements long after our actual signature gathering effort had been completed. We believe that we collected enough signatures under the old requirement but not enough if we are bound by the new requirement.

We were surprised and dismayed to discover that all of us could work so hard to gather signatures believing that one standard existed, and then learn after we have completed our work that the standard was changing! We, of course, think that applying the 2011 law is fundamentally unfair, but it has a basis in law that we will be challenging on appeal as inapplicable in our case.

The Utah Supreme Court decision will be very interesting and important to all Utahns. We are finalizing our appeal at this moment, requesting an expedited decision because of the time pressure as the election approaches.

We will continue to keep you posted.

Yours in solidarity,

Kim Burningham, Chair
Utahns for Ethical Government

Dixie Huefner, Chair
UEG Communications Committee

Friday, July 06, 2012

Standard-Examiner: Some Sickened by Anti-Obama Float in Huntsville's Fourth of July Parade - Updated

 In truth, we're not sure what's causing everyone get their panties in such a bunch

At risk of coming off as being "late to the party" on this topic, we'll put the spotlight on this morning's Standard-Examiner front page story, which reports about the ruckus created at Huntsville's 4th of July parade on Wednesday, when somebody... (nobody seems to know whom) rented a limo and rolled down Huntsville's main drag with what we'd label a "political parody float," with a faux President Obama and gaggle of youthful costumed "Secret Service extras" in tow.

Here's the full SE story... be sure to check out the irate reader comments, which as of this very moment already number 75 and rising...
And via the ever-excellent Ogden Adventures Blog (OAB) (yesiree, it's also inked in our WCF sidebar), here's an image of this of this controversial float, which is raising one helluva fuss:

Dastardly 4th of July parody float
And just to capture the spirit of what we'd label playful political parody, here's another good 'un:

Obama imposter adds to the Huntsville merriment and mirth
For a full array of topical parade photos don't miss yesterday's OAB blog post:
In truth, we're not sure what's causing everyone get their panties in such a bunch.

Maybe one of our more astute gentle readers can explain it all to us.

Update 7/7/12 7:05 a.m.:  The Standard follows up yesterday's story with this one, proving up the old ax that there are at least two several sides to every story:
Congrats to the Standard for being honest and forthright:
The parade entry featured a presidential-looking limo, with one banner that read: “Huntsville welcomes Obama: The Farewell Tour?” Another banner took issue with the recent Fast and Furious gun scandal, proclaiming, “Ask about our assault gun plan. Call Eric Holder.” [Link added].
The banner’s wording was reported incorrectly in Friday’s story about the float, based on information provided by several people who had been at the parade.
Here's the incorrectly reported line from the original SE story:
But it was the banner on the back of the limo that some riled spectators say went too far. It read, “Plan B: Assault Guns.”  
 The moral of the story?

Verify your facts before you allow your panties to get all bunched up.

That goes double for rookie S-E reporters who allow themselves to get way too worked up while the regular editors are out of the office for the holidays, wethinks.

Update 7/8/12 12:19 a.m.:  Nice wrap-up on Wednesday's overblown Huntsville 4th of July Brouhaha, from where else?  Our friends in the know at Ogden Valley Forum:

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Clubs Deserve Due Process

The Utah DABC bullies will ultimately learn about the legal concept of "due process" the "hard way," but not before Ms. Harwood has been forced to expend thousands of more dollars for her legal defense

Top notch editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, illustrating the bass-ackwards approach of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control toward the hapless licensees whom this bull-headed agency regulates:
While Utah law mandates that a Utah restaurant or bar patron's drivers license information be collected by an "electronic age verification device," and added to an electronic database for short-term access by DABC officials or law enforcement authorities, the same regulatory provisions require that such information shall be purged from that database after seven days.  In the instant case however, the boys at the Utah DABC didn't even reportedly take action until fourteen days after the alleged violation, seven full days after the "collected" electronic info had been deleted.

Plainly wethink, this matter ought to have been tossed out at the first DABC administrative hearing,  in the interest of fairness, if for no other reason.  But that's not how works in Utah, where the very state regulators who ought to be at least to some extent looking after the interests of the licensees whom they regulate, prefer at every opportunity to give their Utah licensee charges the needle.  As it stands, therefore, the Utah DABC bullies will ultimately learn about the legal concept of "due process" the "hard way," but not before Ms. Harwood has been unnecessarily forced to expend thousands of more dollars for her own legal defense, of course.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

2012 Independence Day Special

Real patriotism, anyone? That's what we're talkin' about!

A little something different to contemplate on Independence Day 2012 --
A Made in America Challenge:
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Real patriotism, anyone?

That's what we're talkin' about!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Standard Examiner Editorial: Correcting Hypocrisy


Another SE Guest Editorial from the Utah GOP "Fringe"

How weird. Connor Boyak, total Utah Cleon Scousen-style throwback Mormon nutcase, somehow gets a pass from open minded SE editorial pager editor, Rudi's good pal, Doug Gibson, for the publication of this self-serving screed:
Never let it be said that the Standard ever excludes the publication of editorials which sometimes express the most extreme views of those "on the political fringe," we guess.

That's all good, right?

If not, why not?

Breaking: Fire Burning at Mouth of Ogden Canyon

Illegal fireworks? Be a good citizen and call the cops. 

Firecrackers were popping all over Ogden's East Bench late into the wee hours this morning, and the Standard is now reporting the predictable and inevitable results:
Freedumb!
OGDEN (8:06am) -- Firefighters are working to extinguish a fast-moving fire near the mouth of Ogden Canyon.
About 40 to 50 homes on the east side of Maxfield Street and along 1300 South have been evacuated as a precaution.
No structures have been damaged, although fences at several homes were damaged by the flames.
The fire was first reported about 6:30 a.m., according to Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Schwank.
Here's this morning's full Standard-Examainer story:
If you see or hear fireworks going off anywhere east of Harrison Boulevard, or in the other areas set forth in Ogden's extended 2012 fireworks ban, folks, we suggest that you behave like  responsible citizens and immediately call the cops.

Update 7/4/12 1:00 p.m.:  The Standard carries two reports on the Ogden Canyon fire's aftermath, which include the disheartening news that Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Matt Schwenk is operating on the theory that "someone purposely set the fire":
As SE Reader Brian G also remarks in a comment beneath the second above linked SE story, "A HUGE thank you needs to go out to the fire fighting crews for their precise response that prevented this from becoming much, much worse!"

Monday, July 02, 2012

Salt Lake Tribune: Former Nuisance Waterway Now a Prime Attraction in Ogden

A Weber County Forum  Tip O' The Hat this morning to Dan Schroeder, for once again setting the record straight

Turning to our back-burner Ogden City topical news queu on this, yet another uber-slow news day, the Salt Lake Tribune's Cathy McKitrick provides a little something for Ogden City residents to crow about as we stand mid-way through a long holiday weekend:
In her possibly over-yeomanlike efforts to provide background to this story, Ms. McKitrick slips in this quote, from former Ogden City Mayor Boss Godfrey, who in truth, effectively paralyzed the economic health of the Ogden River project area with a heavy-handed Big Government-style "economic development" interference for many years:
Reached by phone Wednesday, Godfrey called the award "a great honor, especially from an organization that was so helpful in making it a reality."

"It was highly controversial at first," he said of the project he introduced a dozen years ago to redevelop several blocks around the Ogden River. "We never would have been able to clean up the river without cleaning up what was around it."
Fortunately SL Trib readers have sharp-eyed and alert Ogden City community activist Dan Schroeder to counteract the self-serving Boss Godfrey spin:
Controversial?
Yes, the redevelopment project on 60 acres surrounding the river was (and is) controversial. The city declared the area "blighted" and scheduled for demolition years before coming up with the money to actually carry out its intentions. The property owners naturally stopped maintaining their buildings, turning a marginally blighted area into a badly blighted one. Shady back-room deals with prospective developers and a continuing debt of several million dollars have added to the controversy.
But that's the redevelopment project--not the river restoration. The ex-mayor has it exactly backwards when he says that the former was necessary for the latter. In fact, most of the redevelopment project has still not happened, yet the river restoration is now complete. With hindsight, it would have made far more sense to carry out the river restoration before even attempting to begin any redevelopment.
There was also some controversy with the river restoration itself. Some of the money for it was illegally diverted from other projects without city council approval. Some of the contractors were hired without competitive bidding. These were unnecessary controversies, which a more grown-up mayor could easily have avoided. And finally, there's the fact that most of the cost of the restoration ultimately came from residents' utility bills, which are among the highest in the state. While I don't mind paying for projects like this, it would be wrong to spend that kind of money without a little controversy.
A Weber County Forum  Tip O' The Hat this morning to Dan Schroeder, for once again setting the record straight.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Daily Beast: 9 Best Reads on Obamacare Ruling

The latter one is bound to appeal to those libertarian-style anti-corporo-facists among us, wethinks

At risk of running this week's Obamacare Supreme Court discussion into the ground, we're linking a pretty good post-ruling news/op-ed roundup from one of our national blog favorites, Newsweek Magazine's "The Daily Beast"

Via The Daily Beast: "The verdicts came in quickly from advocates and opponents of the Affordable Care Act. Here’s a look at the most astute commentaries about the Supreme Court’s decision":
And just so's our politically-wonkish Weber County Forum readers won't think we've been goofing off all weekend, here's another good one we found whilst feverishly Googling this morning; you know... just for good measure.
This latter one is bound to appeal to those libertarian-style anti-corporo-facists  among us, wethinks.

So what "thinks" our Gentle WCF Readers about all this?

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