Saturday, November 30, 2013

John Swallow Update, Episode LVIII: The Impending Post-resignation Replacement Selection Battle

To our friends of the Utah Democratic Party persuasion: "Go for it," we say!

There's a fascinating new development in the John Swallow Three-ring Circus, as Utah's major political parties jockey for position in the partisan battle to pick a new Utah Attorney General in the wake of John Swallow's impending December 3, 2013 resignation. While the Utah GOP lays plans to select a successor A.G. from Utah GOP ranks, Utah Democrats are hinting at a lawsuit. Although there are multiple online stories presaging this impending battle, we'll put our main focus on Tuesday's (11/26/13) KSL-News story, just for the sake of simplicity.  Here's the lede:
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Democrats contend embattled Attorney General John Swallow wasn't legally elected, and because he can't resign from an office he didn't hold, Republicans shouldn't get to pick his successor.
"It's rewarding the party of the evildoer," said Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis. "So why should we go back to the Central Committee of the Republican Party, the people that got Swallow in there in the first place, and say, 'Here, take another crack at it?"
State Democratic leaders say voters should choose the next attorney general, and Gov. Gary Herbert can call a special election in June.
"This gentleman was not elected by the voters under Utah law. He committed a cheat and a fraud on the Utah voters," said Joe Hatch, a Democratic Party lawyer and former Salt Lake County Council member.
Democrats called their shot in a news conference Tuesday that could lead to legal maneuvering with the GOP majority over how to replace Swallow, a first-term Republican.
And check out the accompanying video, folks, which lays it all out in a nushell:


Was Swallow's one year term of office void ab initio?  Very interesting legal question, wethinks. Odds are, this is an issue which will be soon decided by the Utah courts.

As the KSL article notes, there are several additional benefits to Utah taxpayers in the event that the Democrats do succeed in their effort to have Swallow's 2012 election judicially "nullified" on the ground of fraud:
  1. Swallow would be likely required to disgorge the $104,000 (annual) salary which he pocketed during the year 2013
  2. Swallow would be deprived the "vesting" of his $12 thousand annual pension, amounting to a calculated "lifetime" sum of $156 thousand, based on the life expectancy a typical caucasian Utah male who would begin drawing this benefit at the age of 65.
$260 thousand's a fairly tidy sum, any way you cut it. So to out friends of the Utah Democratic Party persuasion we say: Go for it!

We'll also put the spotlight on another interesting development of relatively minor note, thanks to Stephen Dark, yet another amazingly dedicated SLCWeekly reportorial sleauth:
Yeah, a $3000 "bonus" looks like peanuts in comparison to the sums above.  And it certainly pales in comparison to the $1.5 million in taxpayer funds it took to swallow out. It does nevertheless reveal, we believe, the extent to which, over the course of  his 4-year "public service" tenure, Swallow has treated the Utah treasury as his own personal "piggy bank."  Moreover, "it all adds adds up," right?

Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Ones.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Standard-Examiner: WSU Football Coach Jody Sears Fired

The Standard-Examiner this morning reports some essential news for Weber State University football fans.  In response to the hanging question concerning WSU head Coach Jody Sears' continuing job security in the aftermath of a 2-10 2013 season, it turns out that there are big changes in store for the WSU football program:
No doubt about it WSU fans, It's a tough time in America to to be a football coach with a "losing" record.

WSU Athletic Director Jerry Bovee says he hopes to move quickly to replace Sears:
"We're going to be very methodical about it, we're going to make the right decision and we're going to look at what our options are," he said. "Obviously, we need to expedite it because every day we don't have a coach on board here you lose a day of recruiting. As soon as possible, but we're not going to go so quick that we don't make good decisions."
Bovee adds that "[a]ny members of the current staff who are interested in applying may do so."

So what do you think, folks? Does current WSU offensive coordinator Robin Plugrad, who put together a fairly respectable win/loss record at the University of Montana, and is already involved in ongoing player recruiting, enjoy the inside track to step into the WSU head coaching job?  Or will his other past professional difficulties compel WSU Athletic Department officials to look elsewhere to fill the top WSU football coaching spot?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Robert Gehrke: Why is Swallow Waiting to Leave? Money May Be the Reason

New Utah State Motto: "Idiocy Elevated?"  

Swallow and company
Here's the latest from the John Swallow Three-ring Circus, folks.  Will the  mind-boggling John Swallow news developments ever come to an end, we ask? 

On Saturday, KUTV News asked the question:
"Yesterday I met with the governor and the chief of staff and I informed then that I would be stepping down," a somber Swallow said.
A day later, however, John Swallow is still the A.G. His letter of resignation is post-dated.
"I delivered and tendered to the governor's office a letter of resignation indicating that would be resigning from this office effective Tuesday, December 3rd at 12:01 AM," he said.
In other words, his last day on the job will be Monday, December 2, 2013. That's 11 days from John Swallow's announcement that he is leaving until he will actually leave. Why the delay? It's a good question.
"The answer comes down to burning a little vacation time. He's leaving for a week for a previously scheduled vacation over the week of Thanksgiving," explains John Swallow's spokesperson, Paul Murphy:
Yesterday evening however, it seems that Salt Lake Tribune journeyman journalist Robert Gehrke, after a little bit of digging, has come up with a more complete and plausible answer to this interesting question:
Attorney General John Swallow’s Dec. 3 departure date — announced when he submitted his resignation last week — may be more than just a convenient time to wrap up his time in office.
It could mean tens of thousands of dollars for his retirement, money he never would see were he to bow out just a few days earlier.
By making it past Dec. 1, Swallow will have accumulated four years in state government, a magic threshold that qualifies employees for the pension system.
That means the soon-to-be-former attorney general will be able to collect a state pension of about $12,000 a year once he reaches retirement age.
That amount comes on top of a separate state pension, pegged at about $2,000 a year, he was already eligible for after his six years in the Utah House.
Read Mr. Gehrke's atonishing writeup here:
So can we see by a show of hands how many of our gentle readers are surprised by Mr. Swallow's purely self-serving behavior, as he wallows up to the public trough, even as he exits the public scene in abject disgrace?

Additional sodden question:  How is it possible that in our (purportedly) fiscally tight-wad state, where most public pensions have been placed on the chopping block, an "elite public servant" such as Swallow can qualify for thousands of dollars in pension benefits after serving on the public payroll for a mere four years, especially on the heels of a Utah House investigation which has already clipped the Utah taxpayers for a million and a half bucks? How idiotic is that?

So many questions... so few answers.

Utah: "Idiocy Elevated?"

Perhaps our Gentle Readers can help us out on this?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Official 2013 Municipal Election Results -- All Weber County Municipalities

Congratulations to all the winning candidates, and thanks to all unsuccessful challengers who helped make this year's election one one of the smoothest-running election seasons in years

Via the Weber County Clerk's Office, we'll close out our coverage of our recently-complete 2013 Ogden City Municipal Election with these now official results, gleaned from County Clerk Ricky Hatch's just now-released 2013 Election Summary Report:

OGDEN CITY COUNCIL - AT LARGE
SEAT A Total
Number of Precincts 45
Precincts Reporting 45 100.0 %
Total Votes 3857
THOMPSON, STEPHEN D. 1384 35.88%
WHITE, MARCIA L. 2457 63.70%
Write-in Votes 16 0.41%

OGDEN CITY COUNCIL - AT LARGE
SEAT B Total
Number of Precincts 45
Precincts Reporting 45 100.0 %
Total Votes 2966
BLAIR, BART 2904 97.91%
Write-in Votes 62 2.09%

OGDEN CITY COUNCIL -
MUNICIPAL WARD 1 Total
Number of Precincts 8
Precincts Reporting 8 100.0 %
Total Votes 307
GARNER, NEIL K. 304 99.02%
Write-in Votes 3 0.98%

OGDEN CITY COUNCIL -
MUNICIPAL WARD 3 Total
Number of Precincts 11
Precincts Reporting 11 100.0 %
Total Votes 1096
STEPHENS, DOUG 605 55.20%
BITTON, TURNER C. 487 44.43%
Write-in Votes 4 0.36%

You can view the official results in all other Weber County municipalities here:
With the exception of that single Riverdale City Council race which "may" still be subject to post-election litigation, as to our 2013 municipal elections, we'll call it a "wrap."

Congratulations to all the winning candidates, and thanks to all unsuccessful challengers who helped make this year's election one one of the least contentious and smoothest-running Ogden City election seasons in years.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weber State Football Game Day Thread: Idaho State v. Weber State

Wildcats hoping for bookend victory to end 2013

Our cellar-dwelling Weber State Wildcats (1-10, 0-7) close out their Big Sky Conference season at home this afternoon, where they'll host and almost equally downtrodden Idaho State Bengals (3-8, 1-6) football squad at 1:00 p.m. at Stewart Stadium. Looking at the bright side however, the Bengals are "riding" a 44-game "road" losing streak, and haven't beaten the Wildcats a Stewart Stadium since 1984.  Whew! We'll be keeping our fingers crossed, hoping history repeats.

Here's the pre-game setup from the Salt Lake Tribune and Idaho State Journal, reflecting each team's high hopes to end the season on a "happy" note:
And as an added bonus, the Standard's Roy Burton provides a little extra pre-game "tension":
Here's how the Vegas prognosticators see this game shaping up. Woopie! For the first time this season, as mere 3-1/12 point underdogs,our Wildcats won't be demoralized by crushing long odds:

Click to enlarge image

'Cats fans who can't make it to the game can catch the game via the usual online sources, of course:
We'll keep the lights on for anyone who'd like to comment on the game, as per usual.

So what about it Wildcats fans?  Will our WSU Wildcats football squad exit Stewart Stadium later this afternoon in their happy place? Will Coach Sears keep his job?

Go Wildcats! 

Update 11/23/13 4:15 p.m.: Final Score: WSU 32, ISU 7.  Today's WSU victory is O So Sweet!

Update 11/24/13 11:30 p.m.:  Roy Burton provides two Standard-Examiner post-game reports:
Hearty congrats to our victorious Wildcats!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Utah Attorney General John Swallow Tenders His Resignation: The Aftermath - Updated

Keep your eyes on this page, as additional frantically-prepared stories and analyses continue to roll in

As the oderiferous John Swallow political era winds to a merciful close, the Utah political webosphere is awash with frenzied reports and analyses in the wake of yesterday's Swallow resignation:
And here's a particularly interesting story from the Trib. Let the post resignation inter-party squabbling begin:
We'll make it a point to update this page, of course, as additional frantically-prepared stories and analyses continue to roll in.

Update 11/23/13 10:00 a.m.:  Uh-oh.  There's more:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Utah Policy.Com: Breaking: Swallow to Resign by Friday - Updated

So long, John.  It's been nice knowin' ya's.  NOT!

Just as the Standard Examiner reports that the cost of the State House of Representaives John Swallow  impeachment investigation has racked up a cool $1.5 million in billed overhead, Utah Policy.Com delivers this blockbuster news:
Sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, tell Utah Policy that Attorney General John Swallow will resign from office by Friday.  Swallow has reportedly cut a deal with investigators to resign from office in order to avoid criminal charges. As part of the deal, Utah Policy is told, he will be slapped with a civil fine for campaign finance violations.
Read up:
Took him long enough, didn't it? We guess he had to wait it out for the best "plea" deal.

Is there anyone amongst our Gentle WCF readership who isn't murmuring the words, "good riddence?"

So long, John.  It's been nice knowin' ya's.  NOT!

Update 11/21/13 11:19 a.m.:  The Trib's now all over this story, too:
Update 11/21/13 5:30 p.m.:  As Roy Orbison would say. "It's Over":
Comments, anyone?  Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Ones.

2014 General Election Kickoff Special Event: Sheriff Terry L. Thompson Clay Turkey Shoot Fundraiser

Lock and load, O Gentle Ones, for the single most clever and unique Weber County political fund-raising event within memory

In accordance with our policy of keeping out readers informed of all things political in and around our Weber County home ground, we're delighted to provide a heads-up for our old pal Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson, concerning what appears to be his 2014 General Election campaign kickoff event.  Dust off your trusty scatter-guns O Gentle Weber County Forum firearm fanciers, and join Sheriff Thompson on Saturday to blast away at a few clay "birds," folks. Unlike some ill-conceived local firearms-centered events around these parts, this one will be well-supervised, won't put the neighbors in danger, and is open to you, the general public.  That's right.  You're all invited. Here's  the full "skinny" from Sheriff Thompson's flyer, which we've incorporated below:. 

--o0o--
 
SHERIFF TERRY L. THOMPSON
SPORTING CLAY TURKEY SHOOT FUNDRAISER

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2013
11AM – 4PM (or until done)
WHITE PEAKS Elk Ranch
8194 S. hwy 89 Willard

COME JOIN US FOR A FUN SHOOT AND LUNCH
$20 DOLLARS FOR 21 BIRDS AND LUNCH
ADDITIONAL BIRDS $10 DOLLARS EACH ROUND
FINE SHOOTING = ADDITIONAL PRIZES!

SUPPORT THE SHERIFF THAT SUPPORTS THE 2ND AMMENDMENT
HELP RE-ELECT SHERIFF THOMPSON!!

Your Host: Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson
--o0o--

Lock and load, O Gentle Ones, and join in on the fun, for what's gotta be the single most clever and unique Weber County political fund-raising event within memory.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Riverdale City Disqualifies 2013 Municipal Election Council Race Winner - Updated

Next stop... Ogden's 2d District Court?

Riverdale City Arithmetic
No sooner do we close the books on the 2013 Utah Municipal Elections, than we receive some red meat information from one of our sharp-eyed WCF readers, highlighting a still-lingering problem in one neighboring Weber County Municipality, where Riverdale City officials have set the stage to disqualify one city council candidate from the November 5 race which he actually won, by a narrow 18-vote margin, over the next runner-up. Here's the set-up, via the text of an email we received last night from Gentle Reader Actuary321:
This is going to be breaking in the news tomorrow (hopefully) but Riverdale's City Recorder has decided that having received numerous complaints including 3 formal complaint from Riverdale Municipal Candidates, she has decided that she is no longer comfortable with her decision to allow Gary Griffiths to stay on the ballot even though he missed her deadline of the 28th of October (as opposed to every other city and the states deadline of the 29th) for filing of the Financial Disclosure documents.
You can find the election canvas information including her letter to Mr. Griffiths at the following link:
Riverdale November 19, 2013 City Council Agenda/Packet
From the above-cited council packet, we've extracted this letter, by which City Recorder Herrick delivers the bad news to Mr. Griffiths.

The fundamental problem here? The Riverdale City Recorder's and Attorney's offices staff apparently lack the technical expertise to perform a simple, automated days-between-dates filing deadline count. That's how we see it, at least. Whereas the applicable Utah code section (Utah Code 10-3-208) provides that "(ii) Each candidate for municipal office who is not eliminated at a municipal primary election shall file with the municipal clerk or recorder a campaign finance statement: (A) no later than seven days before the date of the municipal general election," Riverdale City Recorder miscalculated Mr. Griffith's drop-dead filing date,  incorrectly calculating October 28 (one day too early) as Mr. Griffith's last day for his finance disclosure filing, rather than October 29, which would have been correct last date.

This election glitch was earlier highlighted in this November 8, Standard-Examiner story, of course, wherein intrepid S-E reporter Mark Saal reported that both Utah Lieutenant Governors office officials and "Jennifer Morrell, Weber County elections director, confirmed that Griffiths didn't miss the deadline":
Those readers who'd like to dig a little deeper into the contorted facts can read Riverdale City Recorder Ember Herrick's full S-E comments section fact recitation and rationale right here:
It appears at this point that Riverdale City election officials may be hanging their shabby hats on this document, by which those gummint folks seem to be arguing that Griffiths may have "waived" his right to the protection of the above-cited state statute and instead agreed to conform to the earlier "botched" October 28 deadline date:
Next stop (assuming Mr. Griffiths has the requisite "spine"):

Next Stop: 2d District Court (Ogden)
We''ll continue to keep a close eye on this story of course, and and will be sure to let you know how it all wraps up.

Update 11/20/13 8:30 p.m.: Better late than never, the Standard is all over this epic fiasco this morning.  Mark Saal reports that state elections director Mark Thomas believes that Riverdale City is likely to lose in court, and that Mr. Griffiths has already "lawyered up":
As an added bonus, check out yesterday's opinion letter from Utah Lt. Attorney General Spencer Cox, which provides additional "ammo" for Mr. Griffiths' impending lawsuit:
Yep; the ball's now in soon-to-be Riverdale City Councilman Griffith's court.



Comments, anyone? Ferris?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Public Invited to Hear How Ogden School District Uses State Core in Student Education

Special Note to our friends of the Weber County Democratic Education Caucus: This is an event where some of your "peeps" need to "show up," wethinks.

Over the course of the past few months we've rededicated ourselves to closely following all the "action" in re our absolutely dysfunctional Ogden School District, in anticipation of next year's Ogden School Board elections, wherein we expect asleep-at-the-switch Ogden School Board incumbents to fall heavily, due to their obvious ineptitude, en masse.  So in that connection, we'll put the spotlight on tomorrow's Women's Legislative Council of Weber County event, wherein Dr. Rich Nye, director of assessment, research and evaluation for Ogden School District, will "talk about understanding the Utah State Core and how the Ogden School District uses the state core in regard to student education":
We're putting out the word of tomorrow night's event via our usual online sources, i.e,  Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and the ever VERY trendy Tumblr.

Special Note to our friends of  the "Weber County Democratic Education Caucus" This is an event where some of your "peeps" need to "show up in force," wethinks.

Bob Bernick: Reid to Retire from Legislature in 2014

"I'm outta here for good, just as promised" says the "much beloved" outgoing Utah State Senator

Breaking news from Utah Policy.Com's Bob Bernick.  Looks like State Senator Stewart Reid (R) - District 18, Godfrey Mayoral Administration re-tread, and a much-beloved long-time fixture in Ogden/Weber politics, is "bagging" his Utah Senate seat, and throwin' in the political towel for good, bringing a 20-year political career abruptly to its final end:
“This will be the end of my public service,” said Reid, 67, meaning he has no plans to ever run for office again.

"There is good public policy in having short-termers, who come in and then leave quickly," Reid adds, in an uncharacteristic display of political wisdom.

A Weber County Forum Tip O' The Hat to Reid, who pledged to limit his senate tenure to one single term, and is apparently makin' good on his word.

Can we see by a show of hands how many folks believe that Senator Reid will be "sorely missed?"

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weber State Football Game Day Thread: Weber State v. Montana - Updated

A Wildcats win over the Montana Griz may be a tough nut to crack (but so what?)

Click to enlarge image
Good news for hard-core "Cats fans, as our Weber State Wildcats (1-9, 0-6) are back on the road this afternoon, facing their Big Sky Conference rival, the University of Montana Grizzlies (8-2, 4-2), on Washington-Grizzly Stadium at 12 p.m.; "High Noon," as they say in rustic Montana.

Needless to say, a WSU win over the Griz may be a tough nut to crack for our Big Sky Conference bottom-dwelling Wildcats, as the Grizzlies now not only occupy the #2 position in Big Sky conference standings, but are also 7th and 8th-rated in the Sports Network Top 25, and the FCS Coaches Top 25 polls, respectively.  Adding insult to injury, Weber State hasn't beaten Montana in Missoula since 1987
But seriously... so what? They're our Wildcats squad; and we love 'em unconditionally, right? 

Here's the pregame sports-writer setup, the first via the Standard-Examiner, along with a couple of "good ones," the latter with surprisingly sentimental "local Missoula Missoulian flavor":
Yep.  The presence of former Griz head coach Plugrad as the 'Cats offensive coordinator represents the x-factor in this afternoon's gridiron matchup.

As has become our WCF custom this year, here's the bad news from the bad boys in Vegas:

Click to enlarge image

Wildcats +28?  Ouch!

For the convenience of Wildcats fans who aren't keen on traveling north into the frozen tundra along with our weather-proof Wildcats squad, and braving this afternoon's prognosticated Missoula Blizzard, you can catch the game from the comfort of the old homestead via the usual online sources, Orville Redenbacker's and hot toddies readily in hand:
Clutch your purple blankies and repeat the mantra over and over again, ever-loyal 'Cats fans:

Go Wildcats! (etc.) 

Update 11/16/13 1:43 p.m.: Wonder of wonders, the Wildcats trail by a mere 14-6 score at the half. Will WSU Offendive Coordinator Pflugrad get his "revenge" for his shabby treatment by Montana officials? Stick around, folks. At this point in the game, considering the feverish way the Wildcats are playin', we will not, and cannot, rule out that possibility.

Update 11/16/13 3:30 p.m.:  Wildcat football falls 42-6 at Montana. The 'Cats come home to Stewart Stadium to face Idaho State for their season finale next week.

Friday, November 15, 2013

John Swallow News Roundup: Episode LIV

A back-burner update of the latest happenings in the John Swallow Three-ring Circus

Swallow "Swallows"
 Episode LIV
As we trail off into the weekend, we thought today's lull in red-meat news would provide the ideal opportunity to squeeze in a back-burner update of the latest happenings in the John Swallow Three-ring Circus, since we last chimed in on the subject.  So, Gentle Readers... here goes:

1) As a follow-up to our earlier WCF story, wherein we reported that "every single byte of John Swallow's communication from every single electronic device covering every single time period in question has 'mysteriously' disappeared into the ether," The Tribune reports that The Utah Attorney General’s office and lawyers for a House Committee asked a judge Wednesday to sign an order giving investigators access to information needed to try to piece together [the] swath of Attorney General John Swallow’s missing electronic data.  If 3rd District Judge Su Chon agrees to the request, investigators would gain access to copies of hard drives and servers in the office, while preventing the release of private health data that might be stored on the devices":
Why House investigators would settle for mere "copies,"  rather than the the original hardware itself, is the sodden question which to date remains unanswered however, in your blogmeister's never-humble view.

2) Trib reporter Tom Harvey raises to the question of whether former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and his chief deputy John Swallow may have "looked the other way" with respect to a Utah-based, Shurtleff/Swallow cronyesque 2009-10 poker money laundering scam: 
Cha-ching! So went the sound of money rolling into St. George’s SunFirst Bank. Lots of it. From across the nation. Tens of millions of dollars coming in, going out.
It lasted from late 2009 for almost a year. But at some point early on, the poker companies shuffling all that cash wanted assurances that processing online player payments in Utah — a state, ironically, dead set against gambling — was indeed legal, even though they already had convinced St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson, his partners and bank officials that it was.
So to whom did they turn? Perhaps even more ironically, to two of the state’s top cops: Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and his chief deputy John Swallow.
 Here's the nitty-gritty :
Shurtleff knows nuttin' from nuttin' about the whole grubby deal, of course:
3) Trib heavyweight columnist and reporter Robert Gehrke revealed last Friday that the House investigative committee has significantly expanded the scope its investigation, well beyond the list of alleged Swallow misdeeds which have been reported by the Utah press over the course of the past year:

"House investigators are [now] targeting Utah Attorney General John Swallow’s campaign cash, issuing nine new subpoenas Friday, primarily for documents related to the network of consultants and political action committees that fueled his 2012 run for office. The demands for records are extensive, focusing on campaign consultant Jason Powers, his business Guidant Strategies, and a series of PACs and nonprofit political organizations that he controls," Mr. Gehrke reports:
No more "lost" data,
he hopes
It appears that House investigators are casting an extremely wide net, searching for evidence of influence peddling, or other nefarious misdeeds on the part of the beleguered Mr. Swallow, far beyond that which has already been placed in public view.

We'll assume that Special Counsel Steven Reich, and the rest of the House investigative committee crew will be keeping their fingers crossed that the subjects of this new round of subpoenas haven't suffered the same kind of catastrophic electronic data storage failures experienced by poor ole John Swallow, no?

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

Update 11/15/13 12:00 p.m.:  Fine editorial from (who else? the Trib) which we unfortunately "missed" in our above "roundup," until it was brought to our attention by yet another sharp-eyed and alert WCF reader:
Comments anyone?  Ferris? Hows the stink in your neighborhood?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Standard-Examiner Guest Editorial - Tea Party-type Shane Story Sez (With a Totally Straight Face): "Ogden District Making Progress'"

The time to fix the problems with the Ogden School Board happened yesterday...It's WAY past time to get seriously moving on this, folks

Humdinger of a guest editorial in the Standard-Examiner, wherein soon to be un-elected Ogden School Board Chairman Shane Story finally comes out of hiding, and responds publicly to the crushing series of recent revelations in re the Ogden School District, including, but not limited to Fired Librarians, Volunteer Reading Coach "kill-offs", "snuffing" Adult education, Flunking politically important tests, committing gross fiscal malfeasance and now the distressing news that Ogden School District teachers are fleein' in droves, whew!

And the latest insult to Ogden school system "management" (so-called), to which Mister Story finally responds publicly, after a long silence... to yesterday's strong Standard Examiner editorial, perhaps?
Alternatively and/or collectively however, it might have also been this hard-hitting and troubling S-E reportorial piece which brought soon-to-be ousted dimwit Ogden School Board Chairman Story outta his shell:
Finally, after these harsh Standard-Examiner slams, our little "tea-party-style" Ogden School Board "pipsqeek," Mr. Story, finally steps into the fray, and tries to esplain away why, even under his brillliant "leadership," the Ogden City School District still doesn't still quite "cut it" yet:
Added bonus: Check out the S-E comments section, wherein a stunning variety of actual Ogden City school-teachers set the record straight.

Too bad that they can't all post under their own true names, lest Mr. Story and Superindent Smith might "render them" into involuntary retirement.

Mark your calenders, folks.  The Ogden City School Board election comes up in a mere 12 months,wherein this constant Weber County Forum meme has never been so true:


Bottom line, here's what we expect to be the result in the upcoming 2014 Ogden School Board Elections, despite Mr. Story's self-serving spin, and assuming that the heretofore "sleepy" Ogden Lumpenproletariat get off their derrieres and come up with more than a few decent replacement candidates:


The time to fix the problems with the Ogden School Board happened yesterday.

It's WAY past time to get seriously moving on this, folks, say we.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Standard-Examiner: Stephens Officially Wins Ogden City Council Race, Bitton Concedes

Reluctant "kudos" to the "Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors", the overall "Big Winners"

The Standard-Examiner reports that Ogden City election officials have pressed out the last remaining wrinkle in the 2013 Ogden City Municipal Election races, as Mitch Shaw reports that the remaining 471 provisional and absentee ballots have been counted, and that two-term Ogden Ward 3 incumbent Doug Stephens has prevailed by a vote of 603 to 487, while challenger Turner C. Bitton has gracefully conceded defeat:
Congrats to our old pal Doug for his election to a third council term, and a giant Weber County Forum Hat Tip to Mr. Bitton, who ran a thoroughly energetic and well-fought campaign.

Further kudos (albeit reluctant ones) to the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors, which donated the usual 1500 bucks to Stephens, along with the other three prevailing council candidates Bart Blair, Neil Garner, and Marcia White, proving once again, now that latest Ogden Municipal election season draws to a close, that election-wise, "Realtor Cash is King" in Junction City, just as always, making this greedy real estate development lobbying group, once again...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day Federal Holiday 2013 Special Tribute

Heartfelt thanks to those who "signed a blank check to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to, and including [your] life.'"

In honor of today's Veterans Day federal holiday, Weber County Forum offers a heartfelt salute to all Americans who've served our country in the U.S. military, past and present.


Here's what this holiday is all about, as your blogmeister sees it:


Our deepest thanks for your service to our country, U.S. military veterans, active duty and national guard/reserves personnel.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Weber State Football Game Day Thread: Southern Utah v. Weber State

So here goes again, everyone. Repeat after your blogmeister: Go Wildcats!

Click to enlarge image
Our hard luck ridden Weber State Wildcats (1-8, 0-5) return home to Stewart Stadium this afternoon,  where they'll step onto the gridiron at 1:00 p.m. to battle it out with their Big Sky Conference "in-state rival" Southern Utah Thunderbirds (6-3, 3-2), in the hope of busting out of their current "eight-game losing skid," while the Thunderbirds seek redemption after last year's "stinging" 24-22 defeat.

Here's the pre-game setup from each team's home town newspaper, the Standard-Examiner and the Cedar City Spectrum, respectively, for what it's worth:
Second-year coach Jody Sears hopes the Wildcats are "on the verge of a breakthrough," [of course], as "true freshman quarterback Austin Chipoletti has thrown for over 300 yards in back-to-back games and WSU scored its most points in a game since the opener in last week's 45-24 loss at Portland State."  

Who knows?  If the 'Cats defense can just step it up "a mite" for this game, our Wildcats could surprise everybody today, especially those infernal Las Vegas oddsmakers, who've cold-heartedly (shall we say) installed our WSU Wildcats as 11-1/2 point underdogs:

Click to enlarge image

Although everyone involved would prefer to find you all attired in your purple gear, with your "butts in seats" this afternoon at lovely Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart Stadium, basking in what's shaping up to be perfect football weather, here's where "stay-at-home 'Cats fans" can "vicariously" catch the live game action:
So here goes again, everyone.  Repeat after your blogmeister:

Go Wildcats!

Final, Final: SSU, 27,  WSU 21. Now that coach Sears has failed to fulfill the minimum terms of his coaching contract, i.e., achieving a measly four wins this season, we say it's now time for this loser to GO. And what say you, WSU Football Fans?

Fire Coach Sears? Snoozers will always be losers!

Update 11/10/13 6:34 a.m.: The Standard's Roy Burton provide the post-game stories:
Next stop: The 'Cats meet the Montana Grizzlies (5-1,7-3) on Saturday in Missoula.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune: Mitt Romney Backs Primaries Over Caucuses, Conventions

The days of observing crackpot fringe groups hijack neighborhood caucuses and nominate nut-jobs to important Utah elective offices are numbered

Another GOP heavyweight with substantial Utah political influence leaps aboard the bandwagon, while the organizers of Count My Vote now actively circulate their citizens initiative petition, designed to dump Utah's quirky caucus/convention system and replace it with a more broad-based and democratic direct primary nomination process:
There will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth in the Utah Eagle Forum and Sutherland Institute bunkers this morning, wethinks.

The days of observing crackpot fringe groups hijack neighborhood caucuses and nominate nut-jobs such as Chris Buttars, Carl Wimmer and Mike Lee (just to name a few) to important Utah elective offices are numbered, we'll confidently predict.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Utah Political Capitol: Lawmakers Angered by Attorney General’s Deleted Emails and Data

Shades of the Richard Nixon presidential era?

Eye-opening morning story from Utah Political Capitol, who prefaces the latest John Swallow Scandal development thusly: "You know it is bad when the national expert says the data loss is like nothing he has ever seen":
“We have encountered a series of troubling circumstances...," says Steven Reich, lead investigator for the Utah House investigative committee which is currently looking into impeachment charges against Utah Attorney General John Swallow.

Ask yourself how it's possible that every single byte of communication from every single electronic device covering every single time period in question has "mysteriously" disappeared into the ether.

Shades of the Richard Nixon presidential era?

It's certainly beginning to smell like that, innit?

So what say our Gentle Readers about all this?

So... Is anyone really surprised about this latest disturbing revelation?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

2013 Ogden Municipal Election Real-time Tallies - Updated

A good time to "nuke up" a bag of Orville Redenbachers®, as you sink into your Barcaloungers® to view tonight's real-time vote count action

As is our exceedingly proud eight year tradition at Weber County Forum, and as we promised in this morning's early "Election Day" heads-up, we're once again delighted to furnish a link to Ogden City's nifty online vote tally link. This real-time online utility is up and running right now. Helpful hint: Update your Flash Player if it doesn't properly display on your screen.
Yeah, we know.  The tension in the Ogden City races (two of them) still remains unbearable. But even though the polls close at  8:00 p.m., we've learned the hard way that initial vote counts probably won't start rolling in until around 9:00 p.m.or later.  So exercise some patience, folks. Good time to "nuke up" an extra bag of Orville Redenbachers®, wethinks, as you sink into your Barcaloungers® to view tonight's inevitably thrilling vote count action.

And for those of you who might be inclined to offer up your 2013 Ogden Municipal Election Day comments, plaudits, wisecracks, jaded remarks, or just plain ole garden variety gripes, the floor's now officially open for whatever you have to offer, even before the final vote tallies roll in.

Update 11/5/13 10:35 p.m.: All precincts have reported and here are the unofficial results:

Ward 1
x-Neil K. Garner - 254 (100%)

Ward 3
x-Doug Stephens - 523 (56%)
Turner C. Bitton  - 407 (44%)

At-large "A"
x-Marcia L. White - 2106 (64%)
Stephen D. Thompson - 1174 (36%)

At Large "B"
x-Bart Blair - 2511 (100%)

So what say our WCF readers about all this?

Ogden Municipal Election Special: 2013 Ogden City Municpal Election Game On!

Exercise your voting rights, O Gentle Ones... "Use 'em or lose 'em!"

Unless you're an Ogden City resident who's been living under a rock, you're "wise" to the fact that Ogden City Municipal Election Day rolled around just a few minutes ago, coincidentally with the final down-tick of our "snazzy" right sidebar election count-down clock. Yep, the polls opened at 7:00 a.m. this morning, and will remain in business until 8:00 this evening at all Ogden City voter precinct polling places.

Here's hoping you'll all make it over to your local polling location to cast your ever-important votes. Although the "killjoys" of the Ogden City Administration have summarily removed some of the excitement from the faithful exercise of you "civic duty," by enforcing those nit-picky Utah campaign financial disclosure rules, and thus disqualifying two candidates from two of the four prevously "contested" races, we still have four fine candidates running in two still-fiercely contested races, namely, second-time candidate Stephen D. Thompson and first-timer Marcia L. White in the At Large "A" contest, along with two-term council incumbent Doug Stephens and challenger  Turner C. Bitton, who are fighting it out tooth and nail in the council Ward 3 race.

And try to look at it philosophically, Ogden City lumpencitizens.  Unlike some some other Utah folks in some other Utah communities who won't have the opportunity at all to choose their own municipal elected officials for the 2014-16 term this morning, you at least have some choice in the matter, however pared-down those choices may be.

Oh yes.  As an added bonus, we'll incorporate this image of the flyer we received just this morning by mail, from the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors, (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the "Biggest  and Baddest PAC in the Land"), which donated the usual 1500 bucks to candidates Bart Blair, Neil Garner, Doug Stephens and Marcia White, just to give you a little something extra to think about as you enter the voting booth today, and to add to the overall mirth and merriment of your voting experience

Click to enlarge image

This verbiage reads like a press release straight out of de facto Mayor  Mark Johnson's Economic Development Department, dunnit?

Still unsure about the location of your Ogden polling place, despite our placement of a link above (which you probably neglected to "click")?  Let that be no obstacle to the exercise of your civic responsibilities, as you can almost effortlessly obtain the location of your designated polling place (among other tidbits of important information) right here:
Try it; you'll like it
Exercise your voting rights, O Gentle Ones"Use it or lose it," as the old saying goes.

The polls are now open, people! Get on down and...

VOTE!

Added Bonus: We've also set up a separate thread for later this evening, by the way, (we've pre-set it to automatically post @ 7:30 p.m.), with a link to the Ogden City Recorder's Office "boffo" live online vote tally software, so you can follow tonight's vote count in real-time. Therefore, be sure to check back here later.

And in the meantime... the floor is open for your intra-day election related comments.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Standard-Examiner: Ogden School District Teacher Departures At 7-year High

"Let us hope the trend of uncommonly high departures extends to school board incumbents at the next election"

Via comment board heavyweight Bob Becker, we adopt this pointed and concise comment, which we'll shamelessly incorporate as our morning article lede:
Interesting article that finally puts some hard numbers to the many comment-board rumors of experienced teachers bailing on OSD. It seems they are, in unprecedented numbers.
Props to the reporter for not simply repeating the Supt's speculations as to the causes, and tracking down teachers who fled to ask them why. Good work.
Let us hope the trend of uncommonly high departures extends to school board incumbents at the next election.
Read the distressing full Standard-Examiner story here:
And where does "the buck" stop, O Gentle Ones?


Mark your calenders, folks.

The 2014 Ogden School Board Elections are coming up a mere 366 days hence.

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!

Weber State Football Game Day Thread: WSU v. Portland State

Will today be the day that our Wildcats turn their season around?

Joy of joys, it's Weber State football game day once again, whence our heretofore underachieving WSU Wildcats football squad ( 1-7, 0-4) comes off a "restful" bye week and travels north to Portland, Oregon (official city motto: "We have a streetcar and you don't"), for tonight's gridiron contest against the Portland State Vikings (4-4, 1-3) Kickoff's set for 2:00 p.m. (Mountain) at the Portland City Corporation's most impressive ELD-WEN Field:

Beauteous, ainnit?

Here's the pre-game setup from the Standard-Examiner and the newspaper down south, O ever-eager Wildcat fan[atic]s:
While Portland's three local newspapers devote not a single byte of electronic ink to this afternoon's important Big Sky Conference tilt-off, here's the local pre-game perspective from the Portland State website:
Dang.  Even though Portland State probably can't exactly be regarded as a Big Sky Conference powerhouse, for the eighth straight week, our WSU Wildcats nevertheless remain Las Vegas oddsmaker underdogs:

Click to enlarge image
Once again, Wildcats fans can catch this afternoon's action though real-time live streaming audio and video (from the usual online sources, of course):
And just to get your Wildcat juices flowin', we've bullet-pointed these possible pre-game WSU "bright points," fastidiously gleaned from the articles linked above:
  • Weber State has won the last five meetings in the series, including the last three trips to Portland.
  • The Wildcats have won five of eight Big Sky Conference games played at JELD-WEN Field.
  • In the 'Cats' last game (MSU v. WSU) "ace" quarterback Chipoletti and the rest of the WSU squad actually "got their groove on" (well, almost).
  • Coming off a bye week, a previously battered WSU squad is all rested up. Although they barely practiced on the field at all, they thus had plenty of extra time to engage in useful "off-field" game simulations on their trusty team-issued X-boxes, right?
  • It's reaching the point where Coach Sears' job security might possibly be on the line, so if Sears knows what's good for him, this afternoon's game will no doubt involve a little extra "crackin' of the whip," if you know what we mean (and we think you do.)
So what do you think, 'Cats fans? Will today be the day that our Wildcats turn their season around?

Yep.  We think so.

GO WILDCATS!

Right?

Update 11/2/13 4:09 p.m.:  PSU on top 24-10 at halftime. Vikings with 165 yards rushing, WSU with 18.

Update 11/2/13 5:24 p.m.:  For those who have or haven't been closely following the WSU football program, here's the score of tonight's BIG game: PSU 45; WSU 24. WHATTABUMMER!

Update 11/3/13 8:00 a.m.: The Standard provides the post-game story:
 Next up:  Southern Utah, 1 p.m.next Saturday at Stewart Stadium.

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