Monday, September 30, 2013

Standard-Examiner: Mansions May Be Coming to Ogden's Riverside

Mayor Caldwell and the Ogden RDA: Clearly "on mission" with the primary Ogden RDA raison d'etre

Eye-opening morning story from the Standard-Examiner concerning the latest Mike Caldwell Administration/ Ogden Redevelopment Agency "tweak" to the still-struggling Ogden River Project:
OGDEN — Large mansion homes along the Ogden River? They could be coming, and the city says they would help clean up what has been one of the city’s rougher areas.
The city council last week approved a city real estate purchase of 4.16 acres at 1810 Gibson Ave. The Ogden City Redevelopment Agency bought the land from Richard L. Christiansen and paid $425,000 for it.
The parcel of land could be the starting point for a large residential development of about 10 acres along the northwestern end of the Ogden River.
As of now, the city is calling the development “Gibson Grove,” and it would feature town homes, condos and several “mansion homes” that would be tucked away at the end of a private road with immediate connection to the Ogden River Parkway.
The plan currently calls for 48 condos, 39 town homes and five mansions.
Read up, folks:
And here's the kicker:
On the very site of what could eventually be Gibson Grove sits an abandoned building that provides shelter to transients. Ogden Police Officer Kevin Mann said he finds transients illegally camping out in the building on a weekly basis.
Brandon Cooper, deputy manager for Ogden’s economic development department, said the city is currently exploring options to raze the building.
"An abandoned building that provides shelter to transients?"  S-E reporter Mitch Shaw said a "real mouthful" there, wethinks.  In this connection, check out this illuminating video from and earlier S-E story on this Gibson Avenue topic:

Added Bonus:  From last week's RDA packet, we've gleaned this image, which preasumably provides a preview of what these proposed Gibson Grove "mansions" will look like, within walking distance of the newly remodeled Ogden LDS Temple:

While we suppose we could all quibble about the architectural aesthetics, we believe we can all agree that it's a heckuva lot better than the structure which is presently in place, right?

The primary raison d'etre for the Ogden Redevelopment Agency is to "encourage private investment in blighted areas of the community;" and Mayor Caldwell and the Ogden RDA are thus clearly "on mission" with this project, we believe. In contrast with certain other misguided Ogden RDA projects which have been clearly "off mission," Weber County Forum is delighted to give this project a giant "thumbs-up."

So what about it, O Gentle Ones? Is there anyone among our collection of Ogden political wonks who will argue that Ogden City ought not pursue this project at full throttle? 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

2014 Utah General Election: Ogden Doctor to Challenge Rep. Bishop for Congressional Seat

Tantalizing question:  Will there soon be "a 'Doctor' in the House" in 2015?

A full thirteen months in advance of the 2014 General Elections, Utah's upcoming First Congressional District race is already heating up, as Ogden Physician Dr. Peter Clemens announced at a Friday (9/27/13) fundraiser that he'll be "running" for Republican Congressman Rob Bishop's U.S. House "seat," under the Democratic party banner:
Those WCF readers who are social networking-inclined can follow Dr. Clemens campaign via Facebook and Twitter:
We also find the rudiments of an under-construction website online, for those WCF readers who'd like to volunteer and/or make an early campaign contribution:
As we've learned the hard way, getting at the wily Congressman Bishop's House Seat is easier said than done.

A Weber County Tip O' the Hat to the good Dr. Clemens for getting the ball rolling early, along with best wishes for a robust and competitive campaign.

Tantalizing question:  Will there be "a 'Doctor' in the House" in 2015?

You know. A trained physician who can capably operate a proctoscope?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

WSU Homecoming Game Day Thread: Weber State U. Hosts Sacramento State - Updated

Lets all doll up in purple, get out to Stewart Stadium and "put some butts into some seats"

Big doings today on the Weber State campus, where our (1-3) Weber State Wildcats  will square off this evening versus Big Sky Conference opponent Sacramento State Hornets (1-3) for each team's first 2013 Big Sky Conference gridiron battle.  Notably, the "Wildcats hope to end a three-game losing streak that coincides with three difficult road games," and "[t}he angry Hornets are looking to create some buzz for themselves after losing a heartbreaker in overtime last week to Southern Utah."

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Stewart Stadium.  Hopefully, rabid WSU fans will show up in force, on a day which is shaping up for perfect football weather. Adding further excitement to tonight's gridiron tilt:  It's  WSU Homecoming Week, folks!

The Standard-Examiner has a couple pre-game stories, of course, just to set the mood:
And here's a little something from the Deseret News:
Even KSL News is getting into the act:
Here's the pregame viewpoint from the Sacramento Bee, the Hornets' home town newspaper, wherein we find this dismal historical stat: "Ogden, Utah, is a place where the Hornets are 0-8." :
If the Vegas odds provide any real "guidance," it looks like this actually may prove to be a pretty competitive football contest, one worth watching, although for the fourth week running, our Wildcats remain "underdogs" (slightly, at least):

Click to enlarge image
Big Sky TV is back in action tonight with this live video feed, featuring Carl Arkey:
You can catch the live streaming audio here, of course:
Our "Purple Posse" desperately need your support this week; so what say you? Lets all skip the live broadcasts, doll up in purple, get out to Stewart Stadium and "put some butts into some seats" for once, at least. No lame excuses, please.

See ya's at Stewart Stadium.

Update 9/29/13 7:18 p.m.:  Hornets lead 14-0 at the half, thanks to a multitude of dumb WSU penalties and turnovers.  "It coulda beeen worse," Carl Arkey remarks, when Sac State muffs an easy 39-yard field goal as the halftime clock runs out.

Update 9/29/13 8:45 p.m.:  Final score, Sac State 31, WSU 3. Sacramento State comes out on top @ Stewart Stadium for the first time EVER.  Looks like it'll be a l-o-o-o-n-g conference season, Wildcats fans.

Update 9/30/13 7:00 a.m.: The Standard's Roy Burton provides two scathing post-game stories, brimming with frustration:
"Time for some big changes or the program might not survive," opines one disgruntled Wildcats fan.

Update 9/30/13 6:15 a.m.: More naval gazing  from the Standard's Roy Burton:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Standard-Examiner: Our View: GOP Should Heed ‘Count My Vote’ - Updated

A Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to the Standard-Examiner for unequivocally standing up on this issue
“Count My Vote,” ...would do away with the caucus and allow all candidates to move to a primary. We believe a primary is the most inclusive system. The caucuses are a reflection of citizen populism, and that has been a positive. However, the caucus system also prevents many from having a voice in choosing their party’s candidate. And the low percentage of voters in recent elections may be a reflection of the state caucuses being dominated by political factions which are outside the mainstream. Utah should join most of the nation in implementing a primary voting system.
Standard-Examiner Editorial
Our View: GOP should heed ‘Count My Vote’
September 27, 2013
Minor modifications to the caucus system by the state Republican Party probably won’t be enough to sway voters to retain the current caucuses.
Standard-Examiner Editorial
Our View: GOP should heed ‘Count My Vote’
September 27, 2013

Top-notch editorial from the Standard-Examiner, leaping aboard the Count My Vote bandwagon, and joining with Weber County Forum in leading the charge amongst the Utah print and online media to replace Utah's bizarre and un-democratic caucus/convention nomination system with a sensible and citizen-inclusive procedure, whereby each Utah lumpencitizen can actively participate in the candidate nomination process with their own direct primary vote:
We'll be standing by, waiting for other Utah media opinion leaders to follow suit.

Special note to the Utah Eagle Forum and their radical ilk, who are now on the verge of becoming an endangered Utah species:
Your days of tilting Utah politics toward your narrow and extremist political agenda are numbered.
A Weber County Forum Tip O' the Hat to the Standard-Examiner for unequivocally standing up on this issue.

Update 9/28/13 9:00 a.m.:  Following the lead of the Standard-Examiner, the Deseret News steps forth with this blockbuster editorial, blowing the doors off the argument of the Eagle Forum crowd, i.e., that the current caucus/convention system "mitigates" the influence of "big money" in Utah politics:
Bully for the Deseret News.  We'll be standing by with abated breath, of course, to hear something similar from the Salt Lake Tribune

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune: Attorneys: Count My Vote Proposal Passes Legal Muster

The signatures of fifteen past Utah Bar Presidents ain't a half-bad touch either

There's encouraging news for supporters of  Utah political nomination reform from the Salt Lake Tribune this morning, as Robert Gehrke reports that the folks of Count My Vote, who are hell-bent to replace the state’s current and decidedly undemocratic caucus/convention nomination process with a direct primary election procedure, have completed the next important procedural step in qualifying their Utah citizens initiative petition for general circulation, pursuant to Title 20A Chapter 7 Section 202, which provides that once an application for an initiative has been submitted, the Lieutenant Governor reviews the measure. The application will be rejected if the measures is "patently unconstitutional," "nonsensical," could not become law if passed, contains more than one subject, or does not clearly express the subject in its title.

Here are the key paragraphs from the Salt Lake Tribune:
Count My Vote organizers delivered a letter to the lieutenant governor’s office signed by 15 past presidents of the Utah State Bar, vouching for the constitutionality of the group’s proposed election reform.
The letter and an accompanying 21-page legal memo state that the Count My Vote proposal of replacing the current caucus-and-convention system parties use to pick nominees with direct primaries is clearly constitutional and would address a "compelling" interest — increasing voter participation.
"We believe the initiative would not impose any burden … on party associational rights because parties would remain free to endorse favored candidates, select nominees without state input, and determine which voters participate in their primary elections," the letter states.
Read the full article here:
And here's a PDF copy of the above-referenced letter for our WCF readers' own review:
Even upon casual reading it ought to be clear that this proposed citizens initiative petition does "pass legal muster;" and the signatures of 15 past Utah Bar Presidents ain't a half-bad touch either, wethinks.

What say you, O Gentle Ones?

Time to get this show on the road, don'tcha think?

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    Invitation to Tonight's Town Hall Meeting

    A "golden" opportunity to "grill" our "full*" Weber County House legislative delegation, in advance of this year's 2014 legislative session

    Thanks to a tip from one of our gentle readers, we're pleased to belatedly announce this evening's upcoming political event:

    Join Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, and Utah House Representatives Gage Froerer, Jeremy Peterson, Dixon Pitcher, Lee Perry, and Ryan D. Wilcox, in a Special Town Hall Meeting hosted by the Walker Institute at Weber State University.

    Here are the space-time coordinates:

    Town Hall Meeting: Conversations with the Utah House
    Date: September 25, 2013
    Time: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
    Place: Shepherd Union Building, Room 3313A

    Here's you "engraved" invitation, which we received late yesterday evening:

    Don't miss this "golden" opportunity to "grill" our "full*" Weber County House legislative delegation, in advance of this year's 2014 legislative session.

    * Rep Brad Dee: Missing in Action?

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    Salt Lake Tribune: Utah GOP Chairman: Count My Vote Will Prevail if Party Fights Change

    The oderiferous essense: Average Utah lumpencitizens are simply too danged dumb to nominate their own candidates via a Direct Primary Nomination System

    The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Utah GOP Central Committee, the month-to-month governing body of the Utah Republican Party, met Saturday (9/21/13) to plot their strategy to fight against the "Count My Vote" initiative, among other things.

    Party Chair James Evans took a "pragmatic" view, and lectured the gathered Central Committee  that if Utah's "ruling" party continues to "fight change," the Utah Caucus Nomination System is doomed:
    Click to enlarge image
    These "elite" Utah Republican Party political aparatchiks again took no action to address this looming issue, of course.

    Remember, folks, "elite" Utah caucus-elected convention delegates are smarter and better informed than you.  When you distill the Utah GOP argument down to its basic oderiferous essense, average Utah lumpencitizens are simply too danged dumb to nominate their own candidates via a Direct Primary Nomination System.


    Update 9/23/13 10:06 a.m.: Fascinating Deseret News commentary this morning from Bob Bennett, who was ousted in a recent Utah "nomination primary." Here's his take, in a nutshell, for what it's worth:
    Set aside the question of whether or not these choices were wise ones; my point is that the current closed convention/primary structure does not shield the process from the power of political money.
    Read up:
    Bennett's right; and he would know, no?

    Update: 12:47 P.M 1250 PM:  Somebody  please  "esplain" why the main local discussion of this issue seems to be happening on Facebook, and not on Weber County Forum.

    If you don't use it; you will lose it, in Re WCF, as the old saying goes

    Saturday, September 21, 2013

    Weber State University Game Day Thread: WSU v. McNeese State

    WSU Coach Sears: "Happy to (finally) return to playing against someone at our own level."

    WSU v. McNeese State
    Our Weber State Wildcats definitely have their hands full again this evening, as they travel to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to face the McNeese State University Cowboys  at Cowboy Stadium/Louis Bonnette Field in a game set for kickoff at 6:00 p.m. (Mountain Time).

    The Cowboys boast of a 3-0 season record and a No. 2 national rating in scoring offense (51.7 points per game), whilst our hapless Wildcats (1-2) are coming off successive blowout road losses to NCAA FBS Division powerhouses Utah and Utah State.

    WSU coach Sears certainly isn't about to write this game off however, as "the ’Cats are happy to return to playing against someone at their own (FCS) level."

    Just to get your Wildcat fan juices flowing, here are the pregame writeups from the Standard and the Tribune:
    And for the other side ot the story, read what the Lake Charles, Louisiana-based American Press newspaper has to say about tonight's cross-continent Saturday evening gridiron contest:
    Sorry, folks.  Seems the bookmakers don't seem to be laying odds for this game. So for those sports "punters" among us... you're on your own.

    You can catch the live streaming audio here, of course:
    And as an added bonus, rabid WSU fans can watch the live Cowboys' streaming video broadcast here, provided you're willing to cough up that measly seven bucks:
    And what are the magic words?  That's right... Go Wildcats! 

    Update 9/21/13 8:52 p.m.: Final score: McNeese State 43, WSU 6.  Dang!

    Update 9/21/13 10:00 p.m.:  The Trib is the first to carry a post-game story:
    Update 9/22/13 7:15 a.m.:  Better late than never, the Standard's Roy Burton chimes in with his own morning writeup:

    Friday, September 20, 2013

    “23 Murders in 1987” Claim Still Uncorrected After Nearly Two Weeks

    Another sign that all is not well at the Standard-Examiner

    By Dan Schroeder

    It was the top story on the front page of the Saturday Standard-Examiner, and it began like this:
    Late in 1988 Ogden officials to their civic relief proclaimed the city was no longer the murder capital of Utah. 
    Numbers had dropped below 1987’s watermark of 23 homicides, then-Mayor Cliff Goff announced at an Ogden City Council meeting. The 1987 tally having exceeded Salt Lake City’s total.
    Twenty-three homicides in Ogden in a single year! More than Salt Lake City! Yet we now know that this statistic is absolutely pants-on-fire false. And the Standard-Examiner knows it’s false. And after nearly two weeks they still haven’t printed a correction.

    As Weber County Forum reported the following day, I checked the “23 homicides” claim against the freely available FBI data as soon as I saw it on September 7.  According to the FBI, Ogden had only six murders in 1987, and this number was typical for the late 1980s. (The online FBI data go back only to 1985.) I immediately posted a comment to this effect on the Standard-Examiner web site, along with a graph of the FBI homicide data for both Ogden and Salt Lake City (which had 13 murders in 1987, somewhat on the low side for that era).

    I naively hoped that my comment and graph (not to mention the Weber County Forum coverage) would be enough to prompt someone at the Standard-Examiner to verify the error and print a correction. But by Tuesday, September 10, no correction had appeared. So I emailed the reporter, Tim Gurrister, to make sure he had seen my comments, and to ask him more about the “23 murders” claim.

    Mr. Gurrister replied that he had seen my comments, but he expressed some skepticism about the accuracy of the FBI data. He also explained that the “23 murders” claim was based on his vivid memory of what Mayor Goff said at a city council meeting that Gurrister covered soon after he began working for the Standard-Examiner in late 1988.

    At that point I speculated that Mayor Goff really had said something about 23 murders or deaths, but that either he or Mr. Gurrister had gotten mixed up over the locations, or time frames, or types of deaths that were included in the statistic.

    Unable to quench my curiosity, I then emailed Ogden City Recorder Tracy Hansen, and asked whether she could quickly check her electronic archive of city council minutes for any such statement by Mayor Goff.

    Ms. Hansen’s reply came back after less than an hour. She had searched the minutes for all of 1988 using the keywords “murder” and “homicide”, and found no relevant statements at all by Mayor Goff. She did, however, find a brief statement on the subject that he made on March 16, 1989. The minute entry reads in full:
    Mayor Goff re: “Murder Capital”.
    Mayor Goff reported that he received a call from a reporter at the Deseret News today. She indicated that so far this year, there have been no murders in Ogden and eight have occurred in Salt Lake City. The Mayor discussed the need to eradicate the image of Ogden as the “Murder Capital.”
    So it’s absolutely true that Mayor Goff was concerned about Ogden’s reputation as a murder capital. It’s even conceivable that he made a similar statement at a 1988 meeting that wasn’t recorded in the minutes, and that he mentioned the number 23—but if he did, the city has no record of it.

    Mayor Goff’s statement in March 1989 came after the presentation of the Ogden Police Department’s annual report to the city council. That report was for calendar year 1988. The minutes from March 1988 show no statement by Mayor Goff upon the presentation of the report for 1987, the year of the alleged 23 murders. Ms. Hansen generously offered to dig both of these reports out of her (non-electronic) archives, and I accepted. A few hours later, the extraordinary Ms. Hansen emailed both of these newly scanned documents. The reports are concise and informative, so I recommend that interested readers take a look at them: 1987 OPD Annual Report; 1988 OPD Annual Report.

    The annual reports essentially confirm the FBI data: five homicides in Ogden in 1987 and nine in 1988. The reports also include statistics on Ogden traffic fatalities: ten in 1987 and nine in 1988. And the reports include some historical data from earlier years:

    Year     Homicides     Traffic fatalities

    In short, Ogden averaged about six murders per year during the “murderous” 1980s. The minor discrepancies with the FBI data probably come from inconsistencies in how to classify certain manslaughters and automobile homicides. I can’t find any reasonable way to obtain the number 23 from the data in the OPD reports.

    Of course I immediately forwarded these reports, as well as the city council minute entry, to Mr. Gurrister. At that point he acknowledged that some sort of correction to the “23” claim was called for. He later told me he’ll be writing a follow-up article, but due to his other assignments he couldn’t predict when it would appear.

    We all make mistakes, and I commend Mr. Gurrister for admitting his mistake and being willing to correct it. I’m less sympathetic to the Standard-Examiner editors, who obviously saw no need to fact-check such an outrageous and undocumented claim, and who seem to be in no hurry to print a correction. Perhaps they’re overly intent on reinforcing the narrative that Ogden has miraculously recovered from a crime-ridden past. Or perhaps they’re just stretched so thin, trying to put out a daily paper with inadequate staff, that they no longer have the luxury of caring about accuracy. Either way, this incident is yet another sign that all is not well at the Standard-Examiner.

    Alternate Reality Department: Ogden School Board Renews Superintendent's Contract for Two Years

    The knuckle-headed Ogden School Board crosses over into... The Twilight Zone

    Alternate Reality Dept.
    Some stories we read in the Standard-Examiner simply defy rational explanation. Try this one on for size, O Gentle Ones:
    Bob Becker "nails it," down in the S-E comments section:
    So, the CEO of OSD got $50k in bonuses while laying off school librarians and over-crowding classrooms. This is the Lehman Brothers model of executive compensation. This school board would likely have voted the Captain of the Titanic a fat bonus as they scrambled aboard the lifeboats.
    We're filing this one under the topic label "Alternate Reality Department," inasmuch as the knuckle-headed Ogden School Board has clearly crossed over into... The Twilight Zone.

    As school board elections approach in November of 2014, the lumpencitizens of Ogden City certainly have their work cut out for themselves, no?

    Thursday, September 19, 2013

    Count My Vote Launches Initiative to Dump Utah's "Quaint" Caucus/Convention Nomination System - Updated

    Democracy in Utah - What a concept
    "We're confident people want a change." "We're the only state where a handful of people, just a handful of people, routinely choose" candidates.
    Former Governor Mike Leavitt - Deseret News
    Count My Vote launches initiative to change Utah's primary elections
    September 18, 2013
    "In the process, as it exists, every [election] year there are legislators who get elected by 30 or 40 people and there are literally thousands of people who don’t get a chance to have their voice heard."
    Former Governor Mike Leavitt - Salt Lake Tribune
    Count My Vote launches effort for direct Utah primaries
    September 18, 2013
    "The current path to get on the ballot through the caucus and convention system ensures that only the most narrow ideological selection of candidates is available to Utah voters. Those politicians have to run on an extremely limited ideological platform to appeal to the extremes."
    Bryan Schott - UtahPolicy.Com
    Bryan Schott's Political BS - Held Hostage by the Caucuses
    August 29, 2013

    On the heels of the rejection of serious Utah election nomination reform  by the Utah Republican Party apparatus, Both the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune report that "[o]rganizers of the Count My Vote movement filed paperwork with the lieutenant governor’s office Wednesday, officially launching their bid to replace Utah’s system of nominating candidates with a direct primary system":
    Needless to say, right-wing wacko Utah power brokers, such as the Utah Eagle Forum, are absolutely apoplectic over this development:

    "Why do you think these extreme elements want to hold on to the current system? Because it gives their issues a stronger voice. Moving to a primary to nominate candidates means more broad-based campaigning and appealing to a larger slice of the electorate," says UtahPolicy.Com's Bryan Schott:
    We'll be standing by awaiting details of the upcoming petition drive of course, folks.  When the petitions are available for distribution and your eager signatures, our ever-gentle WCF Readers will certainly be the first to know.

    Democracy in Utah.  What a concept.

    Update 9/19/13 7:26 a.m.: As a bellwether indicator of just how stressed-out these right wing Utah wackos are, at the prospect of turning the political nomination process over to the broad-based Utah electorate, we find that no fewer than four "ubiquitous," cut/paste, anti-democracy, pro-caucus status quo "talking points" have already been "lodged" in our comments section below.

    Update 9/20/13 9:36 a.m.:  Via Bob Bernick: "Regular ole citizens should love the CMV petition. For it gives them a chance to recapture the nominating process of their particular political parties. In a one-party dominate state like Utah, the more people who get the chance to vote on a GOP candidate the better. It is as simple as that":

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Standard-Examiner: Snowbasin Resort Development Plan Moves Ahead in Morgan County

    Will Godfrey's heretofore un-sated Gondola passion be finally quenched?

    Interesting story in this morning's Standard-Examiner, reporting that "the Morgan County Council will vote Oct. 1 on a proposed Snowbasin resort plan that a local planner says will eventually double the number of dwelling units in the county":
    Remember, folks, Morgan County economic development is now former Ogden Mayor Matthew "Gondola Boy" Godfrey's private sector consulting turf.

    So what about it, O Gentle Ones?  Gaze into your ever-infallible crystal balls. Will the proposed public financing and construction of a multi-millon dollar gondola be the next hot issue dividing Morgan County lumpencitizens?

    Will Godfrey's heretofore un-sated Gondola passion be finally quenched?

    Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    Standard-Examiner: DUP Irritated at Perceived Snub from Ogden Mayor

    Sodden Question: Is it time for the lumpencitizens of Ogden to up the ante with a written inquiry to Miss Manners?

    Interesting story in this morning's Standard-Examiner.  Almost a full month after this angry letter to the editor, and almost two months post-blunder, the Standard finally gets around to reporting on how Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell somehow managed to ruffle the feathers of one of Weber County's most prominent and conservative historical preservation organizations, the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, by ham-handedly failing to show up at what ought to have been a routine "ribbon cutting ceremony" event:
    Highly probative comment from veteran WCF and frequent S-E comment board contributor Bob Becker, tidily framing the issues and identifying some still-unanswered questions:  
    Mayor Tenspeed tick off someone in the newsroom? The DUP still being miffed six weeks later, and after the organization's letter to the editor appeared weeks ago, justifies a long news story about their still being miffed? If they're still in a snit six weeks from now will we get another story? We don't even get an explanation of why, his office having accepted the invitation and confirmed it the day before, Hizzonah didn't show. Staff messed up? Mayor didn't say that in the story. Did he just opt to do other things instead and stiff the DUP? We don't know. I'm hard put to find any real news here. Why is the SE still flogging this?
    So what about it O Gentle Ones? Can future socio-political Mayoral gaffes such as this be avoided by simply assigning Mayor Mike's calender management system to somebody on Mayor Mike's staff; or is it time for the lumpencitizens of Ogden to up the ante with a written inquiry to Miss Manners?

    Just axin'

    Salt Lake Tribune: Lt. Governor Bell Calling It Quits - Updated

    Perhaps it's time for beleaguered Attorney General John Swallow to start thinking about the long-term pecuniary benefits of private sector employment himself?

    Interesting story from the Salt Lake Tribune, reporting that Utah Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell, freshly "cleared" of criminal allegations by the Davis County Attorney's office, seems also to be "freshly cured" of his motivation for public service, and is flying the financially-stifling coop of Utah government, and re-entering the private sector:
    "Bell, a former real estate attorney, said the recession took a toll on his [real estate] industry, creating financial strain. That and the need to shore up his footing for retirement — he turns 65 next month — prompted him to make the move," the Trib's Robert Gehrke reports.

    Bell currently brings down a measly "$104,000 plus benefits," according to Mr. Gehrke's story.

    The pending question:  Which fat-cat Utah real estate lobbying firm will soon be adding Mr. Bell to their payroll?

    Special note to beleaguered Attorney General John Swallow:  Perhaps it's time to follow Lt. Governor Bell's lead, and start thinking about the long-term pecuniary benefits of private sector employment yourself.

    Just a helpful thought from yer old pal  Rudi.

    Update 9/18/13 6:15 a.m.: The Standard provides a followup story, rife with speculation about possible candidates for Lt. Governor Bell's replacement:
    State Senator Stuart Reid? Give us a break!

    Monday, September 16, 2013

    SL Tribune Guest Piece: Irvine: Utah School System Slips

    If you like crappy schools in Utah, be sure to vote straight-ticket "Republican" again in 2014

    Red meat news is slow this Monday afternoon; so we'll reach back into our back burner files and post something extremely excellent to fill the gap. Here's a great SLTrib guest editorial from one of the Ogden City's schools' most-righteous agitators:
    Yes!  Electing pro-public education legislators and School Board members is a cause we'll be promoting on Weber County Forum right up to next year's Utah legislative and local School board elections.

    A Weber County Forum Tip 0' Hat to the ever-wonderful Kim Hatch, and to the Utah Democratic Education Caucus for putting on the political pressure and helping to spread the word about this all-important topic.

    If you like crappy schools in Utah, be sure to vote straight-ticket "Republican" Legislators and School Board Members again in 2014:

    looks like a real "no-brainer" to us, LOL!

    Saturday, September 14, 2013

    WSU Game Day Thread: Weber State at Utah State

    Standing on the electronic sidelines, keeping our fingers crossed

    Our Weber State Wildcats definitely have their hands full this evening, as they travel to Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium, where the Utah State Aggies will play host in the Aggies home-opener. Game kicks off at 6:00 p.m., Wildcats (and Aggies) fans. Yep, folks, our valiant Wildcats football squad take the field against an FBS powerhouse this evening, for the second week running.

    The local print media have been all over this story this week, so here's the pregame lowdown from the Standard and the Trib: 
    Needless to say, with USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton actively in the hunt for a Heisman Trophy, this story angle has also provoked plenty of extra pre-game hype
    And here's another interesting story angle, focused on several WSU Coaching "alums" who now fill the USU coaching ranks:
    Embedded below we provide the "Live Odds, Pointspread & Totals" via Yahoo! Sports

    Click to enlarge image
    39 point underdogs?  Ouch!

    And for those videophiles among us with a cable or satellite subscription, here's the video feed.  (Select WSU v. USU in the right panel):
    Failing that, you can also catch the live audio via the Cats' and Aggies' "flagship" radio stations of course:
    No, we're not expecting miracles, WSU fans; but we'll be standing on the electronic sidelines, keeping our fingers crossed. A respectable performance and no injuries; that's all we ask... although a miracle wouldn't be half-bad either.

    Keeping our fingers crossed

    PAX VOBISCUM, everyone (except for the Aggies Football Team)!

    Update 9/14/13 5:28 p.m.:  Hot off the press from the Standard:
    Comments, anyone?

    Update 9/14/13 9:10 p.m.:  Final score:  Utah State 70, Weber State 6.

    Update 9/15/13 6:30 a.m.: The Standard provides the post-game story and stats:

    Friday, September 13, 2013

    John Swallow News Roundup - Episode XLVII: U.S. Prosecutors "Dump" Federal Bribery Investigation

    Out of the woods? Not yet...

    Confirming rumors which were making the rounds last week,  both the Standard-Examiner and Tribune report this morning that "[the] federal bribery investigation against Utah Attorney General John Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff, has been closed and no federal charges will follow, multiple sources said Thursday":
    Needless to say, "Swallow was buoyant." '"I’m having a good day,' Swallow told the Standard-Examiner in a phone interview. He said he was surprised and pleased that the federal investigation was closed as fast as it was."

    One down and another half-dozen to go, we suppose, whereby we'll reel off the Swallow investigative matters which still remain pending:
    While Swallow is clearly breathing a sigh of relief, he certainly isn't out of the woods yet; and with yesterday's citizen call from the House Investigative Committee "asking Utahns who know anything fishy about our chief law enforcement officer to come forward," who knows what other and further accusations are yet to pop up?
    Sit tight, O Gentle Ones. It's far from "over."

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    John Swallow News Roundup - Episode XLVI: House Investigative Committee Sails Forth On Its Maiden Cruise

    Meanwhile, back at the U.S. Attorney's Office, it's business as usual

    There's significant development in the John Swallow Three-ring Circus, as the Standard Examiner reports that the Utah House committee tasked with investigating Attorney General John Swallow holds its first public meeting this morning at 9:00 a.m.:
    The Salt Lake Trib's Robert Gehrke provides a deep profile of Steven Reich, the "hot-shot" New York lawyer who heads the team of other hot-shot lawyers who'll assist in the pending House investigation, and "bills out" at the eye-popping rate of $740 per hour.
    In other John Swallow related news, the Utah State Elections Office investigation into whether Swallow violated campaign finance laws could have its whole task wrapped up by mid-December, according to heavyweight Bob Bernick:
    Business as Usual
    Meanwhile, back at the U.S. Attorney's Office, it's business as usual:
    That's it for now, folks; although we're getting the strong "psychic vibe" that there's plenty more to come.

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

    Update 9/11/13 5:00 p.m.: More interesting info from the San Francisco Chronicle, of all sources:
    Don't think for even a minute that this is just a local Utah story. 

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    More Corporate "Freebees" from the Ogden City Council? - Updated

    Fattening the purse of the latest corporate welfare recipient developer, to the tune of $1,000,000

    Interesting agenda items popping up on tonight's Ogden City Council and Ogden City Redevelopment Agency Board calenders:
    Click to enlarge image
    3. Reports from Administration:
    a. Mixed Use Master Development Agreement – Ogden 20th Street Investors. Proposed Resolution 2013-16 approving the Mixed Use Zone Master Development Agreement for the Ogden Bend Master Planned Community for the Development of land generally located between 20th Street and the Ogden River and between Grant Avenue and Lincoln Avenue together with land between the Ogden River and 18th Street and between Kiesel Avenue and Grant Avenue.
    Here's the nitty-gritty:
    Developer Responsibilities:
    • Complete the development in accordance with all laws,including the Riverbend Master Plan
    • Phase the project and submit documents for approval in accordance with the MUMDA
    • Meet all Open Space and Trails Requirements outlined in the Master Plan
    • Construct all on-site public infrastructure and convey to the City
    • Meet and confer regarding Development Application Denials
    • Meet and confer regarding Development progress
    Ogden City Responsibilities
    • Bend over backwards to "facilitate" this project
    • Cough up an additional $1 million in tax increment to fat-cat develper
    The bottom line?

    Ogden City, along with an administration-compliant Ogden City Council will apparently be fattening the purse of the latest corporate welfare recipient developer, to the tune of $1,000,000.

    Projected "net value" to we Ogden City Taxpayers  after this project is completed? Well who knows?

    Sodden question: If Ogden City is such a great place to invest, why do the one-trick-ponies of the Ogden City  Economic Development Department (holdovers from the Godfrey administration) find it "necessary" to continue to "bribe" these "developers" (and current property owners) into "investing" in Ogden?

    Just "axin.'"

    Update 9/11/13 6:30 a.m.: Looks like the Council and RDA jumped in with both feet:
    Mixed Use Master Development Agreement – Ogden 20th Street Investors. Proposed Resolution 2013-16 approving the Mixed Use Zone Master Development Agreement for the Ogden Bend Master Planned Community for the Development of land generally located between 20th Street and the Ogden River and between Grant Avenue and Lincoln Avenue together with land between the Ogden River and 18th Street and between Kiesel Avenue and Grant Avenue. Resolution adopted, vote: 7-0
    A full twenty months into the Caldwell administration, the taxpayers of Ogden are still paying through the nose to "clean up" Boss Godfrey's "messes;" and BRIBERY even now remains as Ogden City's #1 economic development tool.

    Update 9/16/13 6:30 a.m.:  Via the Ogden City website, here's the video of the 9/10/13 RDA meeting:

    Monday, September 09, 2013

    Standard-Examiner Review: Top of Utah Districts Compensate Teachers About the Same (?)

    First things first: While Superintendent Smith busily "guts" the Ogden Public School System, he's not the least bit shy about "wallowing up" to the public trough

    Interesting story in yesterday's Standard-Examiner reporting on the relative salary parity of school district administrator and teacher salaries across the Ogden, Weber, Davis and Box Elder school districts (ostensibly) "showing the four districts more or less are in the same boat with base pay rates":
    One notable outlier: Ogden School District's Superintendent Brad Smith, whose base $120,400 salary is augmented by a unique contractual "perq," allowing him "receive up to $30,000 in [annual] performance pay in addition to his base salary."

    Smith has thereby banked an additional $53 thousand in "performance pay," over the past two years, the S-E article reports.

     “To my knowledge, I’m the only superintendent in the state that receives performance pay,” Smith said, regarding this one-of-a-kind "entitlement," exhibiting little effort to wipe the giant smile off his face.

    We have to hand it to Superintendent Smith for his sheer gall in "wallowing up" up to the public trough, while meanwhile, he busily proceeds with his agenda of "axing" school librarians, tossing 250 "reading coaches" overboard, "canning" adult education, and otherwise driving the Ogden School system into the ground.

    And in the wake of  the first round of letter-grade latest test scores, it would appear that Superintendent Smith is well on his way to a further 2013 performance pay windfall, of course.

    First things first, eh, Superintendent Smith?

    And the beat goes on...

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

    Sunday, September 08, 2013

    Heads-up On Next Week's Upcoming WSU Campus Event: Unleashing the Power of Free Enterprise for Clean Air & Energy

    Bob Inglis, a former Congressman from South Carolina, will share his conservative plan that utilizes the free enterprise system to address our need for both energy and clean air

    Via another sharp-eyed and alert Weber County Forum reader, we're delighted to provide a heads-up concerning an important upcoming two-day series of local events:

    "Could you post that to WEBER COUNTY FORUM. I bet there are people on WCF who would be interested in the event @ Weber State University. Because of all the other events Bob Inglis is participating in while he is in Utah, the afternoon time was what he had left for Weber State University appearance?" Gentle Reader Eleanor asks.

    Needless to say we're delighted to comply with this request, in which connection we provide our afternoon WCF contributer's full attached flyer, rendered below, in web-friendly html form:


    Unleashing the Power of Free Enterprise for Clean Air & Energy

    Bob Inglis, a former Congressman from South Carolina, will share his conservative plan that utilizes the free enterprise system to address our need for both energy and clean air.

    Join us for one of three public events:

    Tuesday, September 17th

    Location: The Hinckley Institute, University of Utah
    Time: 11:00 to 11:50 am
    Place: Orson Spencer Hall, Room 255

    Location: Shepherd Union Building, Weber State University
    Time: 3:30 to 4:30 pm
    Skyroom (Room 404B)

    Wednesday, September 18th
    Time: 7:30 to 8:30 pm
    Place: Gore Auditorium


    Bob Inglis is guided by the principles of free enterprise and economic growth, limited government, and accountability. In 2012, Bob launched the Energy & Enterprise Initiative to offer a conservative approach to solving our nation’s energy and climate challenges.

    One need not take a side in the debate regarding manmade global warming in order to support improvements in US energy policy. Instead, by eliminating subsidies for all fuel types and making all fuel types accountable for their costs, free enterprise will make clear the best fuels for our future. Reduce taxes on something we want more of –income – and tax something we arguably want less of – carbon pollution. It’s a win-win.” Art Laffer, Economics Adviser to President Ronald Reagan

    Sponsored by


    Mark your calenders, folks.  Seems to us these scheduled presentation should have mass local appeal, for those of us who struggle 365/24/7 to breathe Utah's gawdawful air:

    Another sunny day in Mormon paradise

    Standard-Examiner: Ogden Sheds Image as Murder Capital as Homicide Tally Drops

    Eye popping headline; faulty data and conclusions
    Utah Murder Capital? NOT
    Uplifting Tim Gurrister "puff piece" in yesterday's Standard-Examiner, gleefully announcing that Ogden City "no longer" "enjoys" special Utah eminence in the field of intentional homicide:
    Mr. Gurrister has done some fancy research, it seems, gleaning theories from all the Ogden City Leading Lights, each of whom offers his own explanation for Ogden's precipitous fall from "felonious grace":
    1. Ogden City law enforcement authorities: a) increased manpower and funding; b) the Trece gang injunction.
    2. Veteran Ogden defense attorney Bernie Allen: a) Roe v. Wade; b) Urban renewal.
    Thanks to Ogden City watchdog Dan Schroeder, however, we'll cut to the chase. Via yesterday's email, the Good Professor puts this story in context. The problem with Mr. Gurrister's story? Faulty data:
    According to the official FBI tally, Ogden had only six murders in 1987, not 23. The online data go back only to 1985, but six was a typical number for the "murderous" late 1980s. Ogden had more than four murders in 2002 and 2005, and the only year since 1985 when Ogden had more murders than Salt Lake City (four vs. three) was actually 2009.

    The minor discrepancies between the FBI data and the sources used for this article are probably due to inconsistencies in the classification of some homicides. (For one thing, the FBI data include "non negligent manslaughter".) The explanation for the discrepancy in 1987 must lie elsewhere, but I'm inclined to trust the FBI data over an anecdote attributed to Mayor Goff.

    The bottom line is that the murder rate has steadily declined in both Ogden and Salt Lake City in recent years. Statistically, the decline in Ogden hasn't been any faster than that in Salt Lake. The national murder rate has also been declining over this time period. There's no statistical basis for attributing the decline to the gang injunction, or to the number of police officers, or even to urban renewal.
    Dan also provides this illuminating graphic, gleaned from official FBI statistics, which illustrates that Ogden City has never been, at least within the time frames mentioned, "Utah's Murder Capital":

    Eye-popping headline? Yes.

    Reliable conclusions and data? No.

    Yep. It's that old "Garbage in; garbage out thing," folks:

    Comments, anyone? Ferris?

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