Thursday, August 01, 2013

Standard-Examiner: Ogden City Ordinance Ruffles Feathers; Election Could Decide Fate of Backyard Birds

Or... Backyard Birds Could Decide Fate of  Council Incumbents

Weirdly enough, it looks like we're seeing the first murmurings of a genuinely devisive campaign issue in the 2013 Ogden Municipal election race, as the Standard this morning reports that "Results from the upcoming Ogden City Council elections could determine the fate of backyard chickens in Ogden for the next four years."

We look at it the other way around of course, and wonder: "Could backyard birds decide the fate of council incumbents?" we ask.

 According to this morning's Randi Weston report, the battle lines are being drawn, with incumbents Doug Stephens and Bart Blair standing historically opposed to the raising of backyard poultry by Ogden lumpencitizens, whilst their council challengers Turner C. Bitton and Courtney White, in the Ward 3 and At-large "B" races, respectively, cry foul over the council's current anti-backyard chicken stance:
There's no word on the positions of any of the other council candidates, although Ward 1 incumbent Neil Garner appears to be anti-chicken too.

"Although not directly noticeable by looking through the city ordinances online, chickens are not allowed within Ogden city limits," Ms. Weston's morning story reports. And Ms. Weston says a real mouthful,  in light of  woefully "muddy" condition of the existing Ogden City "chicken ordinance":
Thankfully, the very trendy website provides a "plain English" summary of the current Ogden ordinance, framed in language unladen with the usual Ogden City legalistic gobbledygook:
For a little background reading concerning the circumstances precipitating this highly polarizing issue, here are a couple of recent articles on that topic:
And for those who'd like to examine the plethora of material which the council considered the last time the Ogden Council considered the Ogden backyard chickens issue, check out the November 27, 2012 Council work session packet which includes the draft of a proposed (but ultimately rejected) ordinance, pro and con citizen correspondence and a marvelous collection of local news articles addressing the "urban chickens" issue:
Added bonus:  As cited in this morning's S-E story, navigate via this link for a glimpse of the chatter occurring within in the "backyard chicken underground":
Nope.  The issues forming up as we approach the November Municipal election don't have the quite the pre-election gravitas of Gondolas, Downtown Money Pits, Velodromes, Giant Downtown Icicles or creepy Money-laundering Scandals, but in an election season which has been so far a mite ho-hum, we'll take what we can get, so long as it will motivate Ogden voters, and drive them to the polls, we guess.


Dan S. said...

The common thread between this issue and the utility bonding issue is administration fear-mongering. The council, during its work sessions and meetings, gives the administration unlimited time to argue its position--and the administration uses this time to paint horror stories of what might happen if the council dares to disagree with its recommendation. Which of the city council candidates, if elected, will stand up to this treatment and change council procedures so the administration no longer has unlimited opportunity to engage in fear-mongering?

Dan S. said...

It should also be pointed out that there is a racist element to chicken opposition among Ogden City officials. When confronted with evidence that several surrounding communities allow chickens without serious problems, they subtly suggest that Ogden is different because of our large Hispanic population. The claim that "not all Ogden residents can be trusted" is often meant to evoke images of Hispanics.

rudizink said...

the general information of anyone whi might be a "mite" curious, here's a screenshot
from the 11/27/12 Council packet, listing those cities in Utah which
already allow chickens in residential areas, under varying criteria:

smaatguy said...

Well thank goodness we have a spare 28 million lying around just in case all these chickens go wild and plug up the sanitary sewer.

LibertyinUtah said...

Wow.. I'd love to see this come up in a debate. I wonder if they would use this argument when someone of Hispanic heritage, like myself, was in the room..

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