Friday, July 31, 2015

Standard-Examiner: Ogden City Council Relinquishes Streetcar Dream For Now

Laughably, at least one UTA official attempts to paint this decision in an optimistic light

Just like clockwork, the Standard-Examiner provides a morning story which we foreshadowed earlier this month. Cutting to the chase, on Tuesday night, it seems the Ogden City Council delivered the Ogden Streetcar Project, ten years in the making, its final Coup de Grace.   Here's Cathy McKitrick's lede, folks;
OGDEN — In a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Ogden City Council propelled the city forward on a transit path that had been scrutinized for more than a decade.
The selected 5.3-mile route will connect the city’s Intermodal Transit Center at 2350 S. Wall Avenue to Weber State University, the Dee Events Center and McKay Dee Hospital by way of 25th Street and Harrison Boulevard. And Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was chosen over streetcar as the mode of transit, mostly due to cost. While a light-rail streetcar system would run about $220 million, BRT comes in around $60 million.
“There truly was a lot of good information for either mode and route,” said Bill Cook, executive director for the City Council. “But when it came down to it, it’s viewed that this route and mode are affordable and doable.”
Read the full story, folks:
Laughably. at least one UTA official attempts to paint this decision in an optimistic light:
Utah Transit Authority Project Manager Hal Johnson held out the possibility that BRT could actually serve as a stepping stone to streetcar some time in the future.
“Looking at BRT versus streetcar, there’s a bigger upside with the streetcar,” Johnson said. “But it’s going to be very hard to obtain in the local and federal funding climate that we’re in.” But by moving forward with this project, Johnson said it “sets some stones across the river so we can continue to progress . . . and this can evolve into something different and more as the community changes and evolves as well.”
Our take, Ogden Streetcar fanciers?  Don't hold your breaths for an early revival. Stick a fork into it... if you take our meaning.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Standard-Examiner: Our View: How to Screw Up Medicaid

Another top-notch editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner

Remember, my fellow Utahns:  Always Vote Republican!

Here's the lede from this morning's SE editorial, Peeps:
We're not at all surprised at the cypher of a Medicaid deal that a six-member group has "reached" to expand Medicaid in Utah. No one really expected the group to accomplish much; nevertheless, it's disappointing each time we consider what vulnerable Utahns lost when the House rejected Gov. Gary Herbert's Healthy Utah Plan.
Through patient negotiation, the state had managed to retain its autonomy and compromise with the Obama administration, accepting the funds necessary to expand Medicaid per the Affordable Care Act. The state Senate wisely endorsed Healthy Utah.
Alas, a majority of the House allowed their loathing of all things Obama to supersede Medicaid progress, and rejected the deal, offering a piddling alternative ironically dubbed Utah Cares.
Read the full editorial, Ogden Lumpencitizens:
That's right. Rather than accept "free" Medicaid money from the Feds, the current crop of Utah GOP legislators would prefer to impose a new "medical provider" tax, which Utah hospitals and doctors will promply greeet with new fee increases.

Remember, my fellow Utahns:  Always vote Republican!  And I say this in the name of JESUS CHRIST AMERICA! Amen!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Intrigue in Utah — Will the Salt Lake Tribune Be sold? Or Even closed?

Where that locally-situated White Knight, we ask?

In the interest of kicking off a wee bit of Monday morning WCF dicussion, we'll cast the spotlight on this boffo story, which provides a fantastic summation of the Salt Lake Tribune survival dillemma, along with chewy bits and pieces from newspaper industry experts, concerning the Ttib's "cloudy" future.
Where that locally-situated White Knight, we ask:
Huntsman's  devoted his fortune to curing cancer.  So why not spend a few extra measly bucks to curing Utah's cancerous newpaper problem, we ask?

So many questions; so few answers, yes?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Salt Lake Tribune: Breakthrough — Utah GOP Leaders Reach A Deal On Medicaid Expansion

With recent reports exposing how these crackpot Gang of Six Republicans have "blood on their hands"... The Gang of Six decides to "punt" again.

Via Utah's most honest and honorable State Senator, James Dabakis:
NO KUDO's! I will leave it for others to be pleased. I am not. I am aggravated. Utah should give up it's ego about a 'Utah solution' and just take full Medicaid Expansion NOW. Not some 2nd rate, yet to be worked out, then sent to the legislature, then on to Washington for approvals and waivers!
'Broad conceptual framework' after more then 2 years of negotiating--with their own caucus-that is not a cause to give thanks, it is a shove to finish up with full expansion!
Read up about the latest tiptoeing around the primary Utah Health Care issue (medicaid expansion) by Utah's Republican Death Panel, err, we mean the Utah GOP's Gang of Six:
Gentle Reader stepfordson nails it completely in the Trib Comments section:
As always, family health and welfare come first in Utah... Right behind developers, mineral rights, gun rights advocates, cattle ranchers, payday loan lobbies, banks, fighting gay rights, getting rid of non-existent wolves, reforming school testing, eliminating sex education, building roads and goblin toppling. If you are still waiting for the state to do something about air quality, water quality or global warming, take a number.
How many months will we have to wait until this crackpot plan gets shot down by our federal authorities? How many uninsured Utahns will die in the interim?

Okay. With recent reports exposing how these crackpot Republicans (and their Koch borothers-supported legislative cronies) have "blood on their hands"... The Gang of Six decides to "punt" again.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Utah GOP Legislature: While Medicaid Debate Drags On, Utahns Are Dying

Utah legislative Death Panels, anyone?

As the Utah GOP "Gang of Six" keeps on dithering about Utah Medicaid expansion, we'll shine the spotlight on two kick-ass Northern Utah media articles which truly highlight the sheer heartless sleaziness of the Utah GOP majority, who rule our Utah State legislature with a Cruel Iron Hand:

Both the The Trib and Utah Policy carry compelling stories, illustrating how at least one Utahn died, due to the Utah GOP's crackpot opposition to the incorporating of AFA provisions into Utah Medicaid law:
There have been many more unnecessary deaths, of course.

Utah Legislative Death Panels, anyone? Check out the current Utah Gummint death panel photo image, which we've embedded above.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Salt Lake Tribune Editorial: Feds Can’t Steal Land They Already Own

And one other thing:  Keep on voting Republican, Utah Sheeple

Most excellent Salt Lake Tribune editorial commentary this morning.  Here's the lede setrup:
How can you steal something you already own?
That's the Mad Tea Party question that occurs upon hearing that the Utah's Rep. Rob Bishop has predictably gone ballistic over President Obama's move to protect hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land by proclaiming new national monuments in Nevada, California and Texas.
The congressman condemned the action, calling it a "shameful power move, which makes states and citizens fearful that the federal government can invade at any time to seize more lands like bandits in the night."
Seize? Bandits?
All the land covered by the order is already federal property, property that the president is duty bound to leave to the next administration, and to future generations, in at least as healthy a state as it was when he found it.
Read the savvy full Trib editorial, folks:
We'll be patiently awaiting Rep. Bishop's Koch Bothers'-laden propaganda retort, we guess.

And one other thing:  Keep on voting Republican, Utah Sheeple.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday Funnies: 25th Street, Ogden, Utah: The Most Sinful Town in America!

The evidence still exists; and it doesn't take much "digging"to flush out the evidence

Here we go again. Here's another half-assed blog post, questioning whether Ogden City's notorious downtown tunnels ever actually existed:
Here's your blogmeister's take on this:
Speaking as a home-grown native Ogdenite, I can personally attest that I've seen evidence of the tunnels first hand, people. Years ago, downtown Ogden sidewalks featured featured glass panels, designed to illuminate the tunnels from above. You'd have to be fairly long in the tooth (like me) to remdember this, of course. Go to any of the old bars on 25th street, however, and ask for a tour of the basement areas. What you'll find there are recently added brick partitions, clearly designed to seal off access from these tunnels. The evidence still exists; and it doesn't take much digging to flush out the evidence.
Embrace your wonderful historical legacy, Ogden Lumpencitizens!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Standard-Examiner: Ogden Mayor's Race Starts to Take Shape

"No guts; no glory," we guess

With the 2015 Ogden City Elections looming in a short four months, we'll cast the spotlight on yesterday's Standard-Examiner story, which delves into the issues surrounding the Ogden mayoral race.  With her usual reportorial zeal, veteran SE reporter Cathy McKitrick has interviewed both candidates, incumbent Mike Caldwell, and challenger Sebastian Benitez, and has produced a robust writeup, concerning the issues which separate these two mayoral office-seekers.

Read up, folks:
Ogden Mayor's race starts to take shape
We gotta hand it to M. Benitez, we'll  observe.  It takes a lotta guts for an Ogden City employee/contractor/underling to step up and challenge a sitting mayor (his boss) for his job, don'tcha think?

"No guts; no glory," we guess.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Standard-Examiner: Our View: Ogden Needs a Clean Transit Route - Updated

Kiss your dreams of a downtown fixed rail system bye-bye, folks

Via the Standard-Examiner, we'll cast the spotlight on this afternoon's UTA open house and followup City Council Meeting, in anticipation of where a final decision concerning Ogden City's long awaited downtown public transit mode and route from Ogden’s transit hub at 25th Street and Wall Avenue to the university and hospital:
Today, at 4 p.m., Utah Transit Authority and Ogden City host an open house presenting the preferred route and mode of public transit to connect downtown to Weber State University and McKay Dee Hospital. It’s in the third floor lobby of the Ogden Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd. Afterwards, the council meets in 3rd floor chambers at 6 p.m. where the same information is presented, followed by a public hearing where opinions and concerns can be expressed. Get your voice heard there. On July 28, the City Council will vote to adopt the route and mode.
Here's the full story, WCF readers:
The Standard is fully aboard UTA's "preferred" route and mode, the plan which seems to be chiseled in granite, of course:
We think that the Technical Advisory Committee made the right decision to pick Bus Rapid Transit running along 25th Street to connect downtown Ogden to Weber State University and the McKay-Dee Hospital, both accessed via Harrison Boulevard on the east side of the city.
Kiss your dreams of a downtown fixed rail system bye-bye, folks.

Update 7/9/15 11:22 a.m.:  The Standard is johnny on the spot with this post-mortem report.  The headline tells the whole story, wethinks:
Savvy comment from WCF regular Bob Becker, wethink:
An earlier story on this had someone (with UTA?) noting that a BRT route via 25th would "replace" the 603 bus, currently the most heavily used bus route in Ogden. But BRT will, as planned, have fewer stops between downtown and WSU, resulting in less public transit service all along the route, not more. I am still concerned that UTA continues to look upon this upgrade as primarily a Frontrunner to WSU and back enhancement, not one to imorove service over the whole current 603 route. And BRT will imorove the Frontrunner to WSU time less than two minutes. And have a fraction of the TOD impact rail would have. BRT seems like a penny-wise pound-foolish long term decision to me.
"Penny-wise pound-foolish long term decision?"  Yes.  We heartily agree.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Dabakis Factor: After Tap Dancing for 2 Years, Just Take Medicaid Expansion!

Ahem! We've embedded the within contact links for the obvious reason

Top notch morning op-ed piece via Utah State Senator James Dabakis, publisher of the "The Dabakis Factor":
The Supreme Court has decided - it's the law of the land.
Utah, quit stalling. Take full Medicaid Expansion. 'The Gang of Six' Republicans (Gov Herbert, Lt. Gov Cox, Senate President Niederhauser, House Speaker Hughes, Senator Shiozawa and Rep Dunnigan) are deciding who will live and who will die. They are negotiating on whether the state should accept Medicaid Expansion--or not. They are taking their sweet time. The Medicaid Expansion decision is the biggest single issue to face the state in a generation and our state seems paralyzed, unable to make a decision.
The reason this is taking so long is not because this is a tough call. 73% of Utahns agree--Utah should take the Expansion. But the politics are tricky. The right wing of the Utah GOP is adamant--NO to Obama healthcare for low income folks. So the conundrum --do what's right and alienate the most active part of the Utah GOP or stall and delay. So far delay is winning.
Red states like Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada have taken the health coverage. Utah is irresponsible to not take this paid-for health care for our low-income neighbors. These are families that simply cannot get insurance at the marketplace. Please 'Gang of Six', get some urgency in your snap--pretend that 123,000 low-income Utahns' lives may be depending your decision---because it's true. Pretend it is your family that does not have health care.
'Gang of Six', can't we speed this up? [Contact links added].
Read up:
"This is $747,000,000 a year flowing to Utah low-income families by 2021. Talk about economic development! Dithering has already cost Utah $350 million in 2014 and $374 million in 2015. Plus, even if the 'Gang' finally hammers out a 'Utah Plan' and the legislature and the Utah TeaPeople allow the plan to go forward, that Utah Plan would still has to go to DC for approval. That could take years (thanks Obama!). Yet, Full Medicaid is already approved and funded," Senator Dabakis adds.

Ahem! We've embedded the above contact links for the obvious reason.

You know what to do, WCF Readers.  Do it on the internet.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

July 4, 2015 Independence Day Special

Above all, have a safe and sane holiday, folks

Just to set the stage for this week's Fourth of July l-o-o-ong holiday weekend, we'll cast the spotliight on a couple interesting articles/essays, theorizing about the broad cultural and historical peculiarities surrounding our nation's so-far successful founding:
As an added bonus, here's a third.  Although we don't necessarily agree with this article' s analysis and conclusions, this one's chewy enough to deserve a spot on today's Weber County Forum holiday reading list, wethink:
As an added bonus, we'll provide a couple of holiday admonitions, folks:

1) Remember to keep your pets safe, Peeps. Although our nation's pets have vowed to refrain from "going apeshit" this year, a word to the wise ought to be sufficient (we hope):

And if you're one of the many Utah residents who've recently returned from Evanston, WY, with that obligatory trunk-load of high-explosive ordnance, (which you're eagerly planning to ignite overt long holiday weekend,) and see this sign planted on your neighbor's lawn, please demonstrate some empathy and neighborly respect:

We hate to come off as a nag, but please (pretty please with sugar on it), keep in mind that many of your neighbors are nowhere nearly as enamored of "things that go boom," than "some" cretins who reside alongside all of us in our relatively compact and densely populated community.

Above all, have a safe and sane holiday, folks.  Hopefully we'll all emerge from this year's Independence Day holiday at least relatively intact.

Updates 7/4/15:

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