Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Fresh From the Ogden City Recorder's Office: 2013 Ogden City Election Candidate Financial Disclosure Statements (Second Set)

1-2-3-GO! Don't hesitate to offer your own opinions of "what's up" in the ongoing Ogden Council 2013 election campaign finance free-for-all

With a little more that 60 days left to tick down on our right sidebar 2013 Ogden City Municipal General Election clock, we're pleased to present the Second Set of  timely-filed Ogden City Council campaign finance disclosures, which are linked and summarized in the handy table below. Click the highlighted links to see how each of these candidates is doing with his or her fundraising, and perhaps even more importantly to find out which Ogden City "political kingpins" are "voting in advance" with their checkbooks:

Candidate ContributionsExpenses
Municipal Ward 1
Neil K. Garner $1500$80
Pamela Stevens$0$0
Municipal Ward 3
Turner C. Bitton $1505$355
Doug Stephens$510$0
At-Large "A"
Stephen D. Thompson$100$702
Marcia L. White$3118$2714
At-Large "B"
Bart Blair$0$0
Courtney Jon White$120$129

Front-runner among the "big-time" fundraisers remains At-large "A" candidate Marcia White, who can now boast of  a cumulative total of $13,133 in contributions to date, which during this reporting period notably includes a whopping $1500 contribution from the Northern Utah Association of Realtors, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Biggest and Baddest PAC in the Land.

On the other end of the campaign finance spectrum is At-large "B" Council incumbent Bart Blair, who's so far raised a grand total of exactly $0 (zero) dollars, and has "expensed" a mere $25 "filing fee" out of his own pocket, it would seem, raising the question of whether Councilman Blair believes his race against second-time council challenger Courtney White is already "in the bag," or whether Blair's just quietly bowing out of the race with a "bag" over his head.

Check out all this this new data, folks; and don't hesitate to offer your own opinions of "what's up" in the ongoing Ogden Council 2013 election campaign finance (not so) free-for-all.



James Humphreys said...

Rudi, I would like to point out that you pointed out the big bad realtors, but didn't balance that out with most of the funds she received were from individuals again and Marcia's only other reported PAC money in this period was from the AFL-CIO Union. I am not saying you don't have reason to not like realtors, but there is a balance to be struck. We at the campaign have worked hard to make sure Marcia's message is appealing to a broad range of people. We want people to understand her enough that they can see how good it would be to work with her. Support from both the Realtors and a Union seems like a good balance. She has also received Equality Utah's endorsement.

rudizink said...

I dunno, James. Seems to me that the NUAR holds a "special" place in the hearts and minds of Utah lumpencitizens.

James Humphreys said...

True enough. But Realtors as a group contribute to more campaigns than any other group in the entire state. All independent agents have a vested interest in the communities they serve. I actually prefer funds from them over developers directly in municiple elections. Always have to wonder what developers want. Still it is worth noting that all but 2 contributions were from people who are directly friends or family of Marcia and like all of her other contributions she has received very little PAC money at all. That should something compared to most leg and state elections.

rudizink said...

Fair enough. And in that same vein I suppose it's equally worth noting that Ward 1 candidate Neil Garner's $1500 NUAR contribution is the sole contribution logged during this second round of campaign finance disclosures,

Pollyanna said...

Look at the bright side with regard to Councilman Blair. Insofar as he still hasn't pocketed any campaign contributions at all, he's obviously not in anyone's pocket, unlike those candidates who are beholden to greedy real estate interests, such as Marcia White, Neil Garner and Doug Stephens.

Bob Becker said...

Don't be too quick with the "fair enoughs," Rudi. The realtors' lobby contribution to the White campaign constitutes about 50% of the money she raised this period. Half. Add to that the $500 she took last period from the Mayor [on whose policies she will have to vote if she is elected to the Council] and it's enough to keep me in the "undecided column" for now.

Endorsement by Equality Utah is certainly a plus. However, as a Council member, the great majority of matters which will come before her for her consideration are not matters directly bearing on Equality Utah's issues. Her being anti-gay rights would be enough for me to consider a "no" vote. Her being for them is not enough for me to, by itself, justify a "yes" vote for a Council position. There are too many other matters that she'll have to vote on [financial ones, environmental, development, etc.]

Pocketing campaign money from the Mayor is disturbing. Not helped by the realtor lobby money. Can't help but wonder what Hizzonah and property floggers are expecting in return for their generosity.

Haven't made up my mind yet. Absent her taking a check from Hizzonah, I'd have been leaning White a while ago. This report and the her getting half her new campaign funds from the realtors' lobbyhas done nothing to shift me back in her direction.

James Humphreys said...

Bob, let's do so more math. You are only looking at 2 contributions of the more than 60 different contributors she has. And all but 4 of those contributions have been from individuals. And most of the individuals live in Ogden. She has raised more than 13,000.00 and the contributions you mention make up a total of 2,000.00. In the grand scheme, the fretting over 2 contributions and such a small amount of money seems rather a thin way to determine if a candidate is puppet for someone or bought and paid for.

I think you are much more open minded than that. She has released a very strong statement on the council's role. She has attended numerous events and she is constantly on the phone with actual voters. I think all of these things bode well for her.

Dan S. said...

I would dispute the claim that White has released a strong statement on the council's role--or that she has released a strong statement on anything at all. After making every reasonable attempt to discern her views on a whole variety of issues, I'm still completely in the dark.

James Humphreys said...

Dan, you asked specifically what she would legislate. The answer seems clear. If she believes the council should be setting the tone and vision for the city and the Administration should be implementing the plan created and approved by the council, then she believes the council should lead on all legislative issues. There is not one or two, but all issues should be managed by the council first. The council should not be consulted and asked their opinion after the Administration formulates a plan, which has happened continuously under the previous Administration. She believe quite clearly the Administration should be cooperating with a Council that takes the lead in setting the direction the city is moving. That seemed rather strong to me. And given how much you have disliked the previous Administration, I would think you would be very pleased with that type of viewpoint.

Bob Becker said...

Mr. Humphries:

Re: most of her contributions are from small donors. I see you've been reading your "Campaign Tactics 101" textbook. That reply is the standard one for every candidate at every level who has questions raised about big donations from what are usually called "special interests." Since nobody thought George W. Bush ( to take just one example) was more likely to shape policy in response to Ma and Pa Kettle's $50 contribution than by the millions he got from the petrochemical industry, it's really not a very convincing reply. Though it is a popular one with campaign managers. The Northern Utah realtors' were, let us recall, recently in full-throated support for of a plan to sell Mt. Ogden Park to real estate developers to finance a flatland gondola backed by a mayor to whom they'd given campaign money. I don't think my caution regarding their latest donation is unreasonable.

Re: Mayor Caldwell's check. Let me tell you what I expected of a council candidate. I expected him or her to return the check, with a polite note expressing thanks, but adding that council candidates ought not to be accepting campaign money from mayors whose proposals they'd have to review if elected. In these post-Swallow days especially, it just doesn't look right. Sadly, that didn't happen. It should have.

Keep campaigning. I'm still undecided.

rudizink said...

And here's another thing, Bob. We know "our" good friend James Humpreys is a political insider within in the Marcia White Campaign.

With no bad intentions, we therefore ask this:
Isn't it time for Mr. Humphreys to properly disclose his true relationship with the Marcia
White campaign?
Weber County Forum thinks so. And howbout you?

Bob Becker said...

I assumed he was Ms. White's campaign manager, and speaking here for the campaign. I also assume she's being advised to keep her campaign general and thin on specifics (since clear stands on issues inevitably alienate somebody). Except re: Equality Utah issues. She can't fudge on those ( nor I think would she want to) w/o locking herself into a Romney Box. She's front running at the moment, is way ahead on cash, and so long as that stays so, running in the mushy middle probably makes campaign sense. Won't make issues voters happy but absent some polarizing local matter, how many of them are there likely to be?

She, or her handlers, have made only one potentially damaging misstep so far I think: the mayor's check. If she'd declined it, she'd have owned the ethics/independence issues straight out of the gate. And in post-Swallow Utah those are good issues to own.

James Humphreys said...

I am merely an adviser. I am not the campaign manager. The campaign has released specifics on her feelings with the role of the council and is uploading information on her vision for the city. We have also received requests for information from the Sierra Club and others and I believe it is Marcia's intention to release those questions and the answers she provided. Marcia is a good personal friend that lives near me and I admit I am a bit biased. However all of the information I have posted with regard to the questions about contributions is accurate and helps ensure a more balanced review of the situation.

I believe everyone on this forum appreciates the work and time given by so many to ensure good information is available. Often times, such as with the County and Powder Mountain, this forum is one of the few places that highlights these issues and makes sure the citizens have extra information.

I do not represent Marcia ever without permission and have been specific about that in other posts. I never wish to speak out of turn. I have been a member of this forum for several years now and have followed many of you for a long time. I am pleased Marcia is running and just want to ensure that all of us have a complete picture.

Bob Becker said...

Ah. i was mistaken. thanks for the correction. Bob

Dan S. said...

James, the statement on the role of the city council that Ms. White has released falls considerably short of saying that "all issues should be managed by the council first." And rightly so, because it would be impossible to implement such a policy. The statement does imply that *some* issues should be managed by the council first, but I honestly can't tell whether that means one piece of legislation per year or a hundred. That's why I asked, on Facebook, for an example of a piece of legislation that she would like to introduce. Not only did Ms. White not answer the question; I'm now unable to find it so it appears to have been deleted.

James Humphreys said...

I understand your thoughts Dan. Let me see if I can sum this up. The concern of me and many others has been that the council, under the last Administration, was they were reactionary to all of the ideas of that Administration. Marcia believes this is backwards. As a complete representation of the city, she wants to the council to set the overall agenda. To ensure there is a plan for all departments and development. She believes the Administration should not just consider every prospect brought to it, but that the projects should be weigned against the needs of the communities where they are proposed and see if they fit in to the scope already outlined by the council. Since clearly some of that developed plan is missing, she believes the council needs to address all of these right away and have not just master plans for one or two departments but for all departments and for the city as a whole. Every plan must be integrated and benefit all residents. so yes, Dan she believes the city should take its direction from the council and the Administration is tasked with implementing those plans, not vice a versa.

Dan S. said...

James, you're being awfully abstract. I can't tell what you have in mind when you say "prospect" or "project" or "plan".

I do have one piece of news for you: The council is just as reactionary under the current administration as under the last one. The administration, for all intents and purposes, sets the council's agenda. The administration drafts all legislation that comes before the council. The council gets its legal advice from attorneys who answer to the mayor. During council meetings, the administration has unlimited time to present its point of view on any given piece of legislation; anyone with a different point of view gets three minutes, and only at such a late stage in the process that by then the council has already made up its mind. The administration gets unlimited time to rebut any and all public comments before a vote is taken. The council relies on the administration, or on consultants hired by the administration, for factual information on all technical matters such as engineering and finance. Council staff spend most of their time parroting what the administration has told them.

James, you saw this yourself when you were lobbying for the nondiscrimination ordinances. In that case it was the city attorney who held things up for about a year, on behalf of the mayor. That wouldn't have happened under the current mayor, but it's because the current mayor's views on that particular subject are different--not because the city attorney has any less power than before to hold up legislation. In fact, I can't think of a single council-initiated piece of legislation that has come forward in the 20 months since the current mayor took office. At least under Godfrey the council got sufficiently agitated to put up a fight roughly once a year.

Getting back to Ms. White, I'd like to know whether she would work to change any of this and if so, how. The platitudes in her statement demonstrate no actual understanding of why the council is currently so weak or what it would take to change that. Secondly, I'd like to know what issues, if any, she feels strongly enough about to put up a fight for them if necessary, introducing her own legislation and pushing it through the process in the fact of potential resistance from the administration.

blackrulon said...

Bob, Should Ms. White return the donation directly to Mayor Caldwell or should she send the check to Gadi Lesham?. That would be returning Caldwells contribution and also showing Caldwell how to return campaign contributions to a disgraced develope.

James Humphreys said...

Naturally Marcia will have to articulate that. I can only point out the things I know about and refer to what she has already placed in the public domain. I do like that there is something to discuss at least. There seems to be more from her to review than any of the other candidates in any of the races in our city. That seems promising to me.

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