Saturday, November 02, 2013

Standard-Examiner Ogden Ward 3 Endorsement - Our View: Bitton for Ogden City Council

A WCF rant and a brief questionnaire

Tick, tick, tick, etc.
As the little digital clock doohicky in our right sidebar ticks down inexorably toward Tuesday's 2013 Ogden Municipal Election 7:00 a.m. polling date, we'll jump on the opportunity to shine the light on Ogden election politics once again this morning, by linking the "Fourth and Final" installment of the Standard-Examiner's city council endorsement special article series, in which the SE editorial board goes w-a-a-y out on a limb and (surprise of surprises) "picks" the political newcomer over and above the experienced 2-term Ogden Council incumbent, in the ever-important "North-side" Ogden Ward 3 City Council race.

To the Standard's credit they do "let 'the incumbent' down easy", shall we say?
This was a very competitive race. Both candidates are qualified to be on Ogden's city council. Doug Stephens, the incumbent, has served with distinction. Both of these candidates would likely have been endorsed in other council races. However, they are pitted against each other, and Bitton merits the nod. 
Click to enlarge image
Read up, folks.  It ain't every day that our home town newspaper throws a member of the Ogden political establishment under the bus:
As to our own opinion on the subject, we agree with the Standard up to this point:  Both Stephens and Bitton are highly-qualified candidates.

Here's where we differ, however. Although we agree that Stephens and Bitton are both top-notch candidates, unlike the Standard, we don't believe you need the S-E editorial board, or even a cranky blogmeister, to tell you what you're supposed to think. We believe, under the circumstances, that the Standard's posture in re council recos is extremely useless, self-centered and overbearing, and that the Standard ought to have refrained from making a reco in this very close race.

So in that connection we'll once again refer you to our WCF candidate profile pages, to which we've devoted dozens of hours over the current municipal election cycle to rounding up all the best web links, articles and other materials to enable you to make your own best choices.  Make your own minds up, O Gentle Ones:
One more oblique side-note before we close up shop for the day and turn the floor over for your comments. Specifically, we're wondering how many of you, upon clicking the above Bitton endorsement link, caught the weird juxtaposition of these two weirdly-placed page elements, i.e., 1) the Standard's Bitton "un-paid" endorsement on the left, and 2) Stephens' "paid" campaign ad on the right:

Click to enlarge image

Here's a little quickie quiz, folks, lodged to elicit your ever-savvy impressions of how these jaggedly cognitive-dissonant page elements wound up side-by-side on the same page this morning:
  • Pure serendipity;
  • Savvy ad buying by the Stephens campaign;
  • Despite the Bitton endorsement, the Standard "threw Stephens a bone"; and/or;
  • All or none of the above. 
That's it for now, O Gentle Ones.

Please don't hesitate to offer your savvy answers to the above "questionnaire." 

Over and Out!


Steve O. said...

I don't get to vote in this one (wrong ward), but this would have been a tough choice for me. Both Doug and Turner are friends (I have both their signs on my front lawn), and both have definite but different strengths. Having said that, I'm glad to see the Standard Examiner editorial board is impartial enough to consider giving non-incumbents their recommendation. One thing I have to say about Turner - he's energetic and ambitious almost to a fault. I get tired just being around him. If he gets elected, the Ogden City Council better hold on for the ride.

rudizink said...

"...but this would have been a tough choice for me."

Me too, Steven. My take? The Standard should have simply deferred, rather that to force a "close call."

Dan S. said...

The Sierra Club also had trouble deciding between these two candidates, so we ended up endorsing both of them!

rudizink said...

Endorsing equally good candidates is what smart people would do. So... what's up with the Satandard-Examiner???

Bob Becker said...

Sorry, Rudi, but (a) making recommendations in close-call races is exactly what a newspaper not led by "wee tim'rous beasties" ought to be doing. And (b) I can't shake the impression than had the SE ducked a nod in this race, you'd have dinged the paper for being gutless. And finally (c) WCF's opinion of Mr. Steohens seems to have mellowed some from the dark days of Hizzonah Mayor Godfrey's reign when WCF often, as I recall, considered Stephens one of the Council's all-too-timid Godfrey toadies....

rudizink said...

Wrong, Bob. We resolved early in this election season to refrain from election endorsements, except in possible cases where opposing candidates were clearly unfit for serving in the offices they might have been running for, a circumstance which is clearly absent in the current races. Face it , Bob, you grow ever more Curmudgeonly in your encroaching "elderlyness," LOL.

RebelWithACause2 said...

It is my pleasure to announce that I am endorsing Doug Stephens for another term on the Ogden City Council. I have known him longer than the Standard Examiner has, and I know him to be an honest and trustworthy leader (I have worked under his leadership) who can be depended upon to keep his word and do what is best for our city. It seems unnecessary to me to replace such a fine, decent person as Doug, who wishes to continue serving, with another individual who is unknown to us and untried. If Doug were not running,it would be another thing.

blackrulon said...

If you base your endorsement of Stephens on the fact that his opponent is "unknown to us and untried" then all challengers for a position to a place held by an incumbent are unknown and untried. All incumbents running for reelection wish to continue serving, otherwise they would not be running for reelection.

inquiring mind wants to know said...

Can someone please tell me one thing that Doug Stephens has done in his eight years on the council? I know he's voted for stuff, but what has he done besides vote? Showing up for ribbon cuttings doesn't count.

James Humphreys said...

In 2009 the city created an emergency water management plan in the even of serious drought conditions. That plan has been ready for used but was not needed to enacted until this year. We handled our potential major shortage much better than cities like Highland and Lehi this year. The champion of that plan and driving force, Doug Stephens, That is one.

inquiring mind wants to know said...

What exactly do you mean by champion and driving force? I guess he voted for it and said nice things about it in meetings.

James Humphreys said...

I mean Doug was concerned and he went to the Administration and Council and worked hard to make sure Ogden developed a plan to manage these scenarios. He was the primary reason we had a plan to implement in the first place.

Bob Becker said...

An endorsement under a pseudonymn i
s not worth much. If you think so highly of the candidate put your name behind the endorsement.

FinanceWatcher said...

I find it interesting that the Standard selected to support this young man. Did no one read his financials? He bought a suit and shirt and
tie with campaign funds. Over 450.00. He bought himself lunch it looks like every
day and he paid for a 26.00 haircut from his campaign funds. Does he
need this job to pay rent? This makes me leery.

Dan S. said...

The Water Shortage Management Plan is a good thing, and the city did implement parts of it (mostly those that are voluntary) this year, though not until rather late in the season (, so I'm not convinced that the plan has had much effect so far. Doug Stephens took the lead on this issue among the council members (e.g.,, though it's not clear from the minutes how much role he was playing by the time the plan was adopted a year and a half later (

The important thing to remember, though, is that this is a drought response plan, not a plan for conserving water during normal times. The administration's position is that residents should use as much water as possible up until the supply runs short, and start conserving only after that. That way the city gets more revenue from selling more water. (Of course, this also means that it's much harder to get people to conserve when the supplies do run short, because they won't have planned ahead with water-wise landscaping, for example.)

The city's position is embodied in its water rates. About half of the city's water revenue comes from base rates that don't depend at all on how much water is used--and it's always been that way. In late 2007 the council enacted a progressive rate structure that encouraged water conservation at least at very high levels of use, but the highest rate tier was repealed after less than one season. The 2012 rate revision further shifted the costs from the big users onto the rest of us. Doug Stephens voted with the majority on all of these rate changes. The only council member who has consistently pushed to encourage water conservation is Amy Wicks.

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