Friday, September 25, 2009

Meet the Candidate Night – City Council Edition

It is now time to see how the City Council candidates did. On September 3rd we had our annual meet the candidate night. I quickly posted the next day a summary of the Mayoral debate questions and ranked each answer. The city council candidate also debated this same night and gave some great answers. I have held my post regarding the city council answers until today. This allowed us to focus on the Mayoral Primary. So for your weekend listening and reading pleasure here is my analysis.

The Candidates are as follows:

  • Russ Porter
  • Bryan Benard
  • Lamont Camp

For your listening pleasure, I recorded the debate and I have divided it into sound bites that you can download and listen to. I have chosen my favorite and my least favorite answer for each question. I will give each candidate who has the best answer "1 Point" and the second place candidate will get "1/2 Point". The person with most points wins the night.

  1. Introduction: All three candidates gave a two minute introduction. You can listen to it here: (cityintroduction)
  • Bryan Benard wins the best intro category. He was clear and concise with his message. He gave a great summary of who his and then made it clear w why he was running. His statement, "Listen first & then Act" impressed me and became a Bryan's theme of the night. Bryan really appealed to the people of South Ogden. Great Job Bryan. -- 1 point
  • Russ Porter gave a good intro and appealed to long time residents. However I felt little isolated since I wasn't in the age group of people he said he was concerned about. Also I was confused when he said things are going well, but yet things need to be changed. What needs to be changed? -- ½ point.
  • Lamont Camp's greatest strength is his passion for the city. You can hear it in his comments. He gave a brief and simple summary of who he is but nothing really about why he is running. He had two minutes and only took about 50 seconds, take all the time you got man, make us believe!
  1. How will you enforce ordinances and zoning laws? You can listen to it here: (cityzoning)
  • Russ Porter is my winner on this topic. He appeared to have a better knowledge on how we can improve enforcement. I liked his analysis of the process in place and that it is too slow or broken. Let's focus on fixing it. -- 1 point
  • Bryan Benard pushed for community members policing each other; in turn having them communicate with council members about problem areas. This idea is good in theory, but I have stopped reporting people because nothing gets done, I am sure others have as well. Plus I personally have attended city council meetings and talked about problem areas or damaged parts of town. Did anything happen, no? So his idea is good in theory but real change needs to be made before residents will take it serious. -- ½ point.
  • Lamont Camp was a caught off guard being the first to answer; however his goal would be to encourage pride in the community. Pride would encourage people to not let their properties become dilapidated. However, the problem is also with rental units, absentee landlords etc. Pride in the city isn't going to fix that. The see us a cash cow.
  1. What do you want your legacy to be? You can listen to it here: (citylegacy)
  • Russ Porter wins the question. Honestly this was a tough one. I liked Russ's and Bryan's answers a lot and went back and forth about 10 times. In the end I decided to ask myself the following question: If I were to tell my children about Russ or Bryan and their time on the council what would I say? Bryan was a guy who listened or Russ was a guy who made this place safe so we can live here. Putting it like that, Russ wins. -- 1 point
  • Bryan gave a great answer and I am sure many of you could go either way. His presentation style is perfect and he really hit it home. In the end he came up a little short to Russ's answers. -- ½ point.
  • Lamont really spent most of the time talking about his early firefighter days and then reiterated what everyone else said.
  1. Traffic – Are you willing to negotiate with UDOT? You can listen to it here: (citytraffic)
  • The prize goes to Bryan Benard! Bryan really outshined the group on this answer. Not only does he have the experience with negotiating speed limit and street changes. He negotiates for a living! Who better to help us then someone who does this everyday? Great answer Bryan. I loved it when he said, "I will get to the bottom of this, and I will get it done." You know what, I believe him. -- 1 point.
  • Lamont takes second place for me. The main reason is because he answered the question. He said yes, he would negotiate with UDOT and came up with some additional ideas to help things along. Lamont suggests we partner more with the surrounding cities, the county and others to help push this through. Good job Lamont. -- ½ point.
  • Russ Porter – He appeared to be knowledgeable regarding the issue and appears to be passionate as well. However he didn't demonstrate any real solution to solve the problem, he just stated what we already knew.
  1. How are you in Personnel Management and Financial Planning? You can listen to it here: (citymanagement)
  • Bryan once again wins. His personnel management strength comes from what he does for a living. Not only is recognized as one of the top employment lawyers in the state, but he counsel people on how to manage employment issues. With all of this and his business ownership he rises to the top. – 1 point.
  • Russ Porter takes second, but it was close. I gave this Russ, because I know he has more management skills then he explained. As a coach I am sure it he has learned some management skills; in addition to him teaching 210 high school kids. I liked his desire to relate to the people and work with them. -- ½ point.
  • Lamont Camp has had a lot of jobs and responsibilities. However none of them are in actual management positions. Though he may have directed some teams, I didn't feel his management style came forward.
  1. What are your top Priorities for the City? You can listen to it here: (citypriorities)
  • First place goes to Bryan Benard. Mr. Benard added an important addition to the regular list priorities; he reminded us of the need for smart growth. We truly are limited on our land and ability to expand in South Ogden. He wants to insure our resources are guarded and growth is done in a smart way. In addition he had ideas of increase programs for our senior citizens and youth. – 1 point.
  • Russ almost won this one for me. Most of his answers were the same as everyone else's of the night: safety, enforce codes, etc. But he struck a chord with a solution to increase property values. He is right; if we do the things he suggests, people will move to the area. However that isn't everything that goes into property value increases. Also he mentioned the rec. center, but I have to correct him and let Russ know it is a $2 million dollar gym facility not a rec. center. -- ½ point.
  • Lamont Camp had a good list of priorities similar to everyone else's. He made a good sound bite attempt with pushing us to have pride in our country. In the end, it didn't push me over the edge.
  1. How would you revitalize 40th Street north and rental properties? You can listen to it here: (city40th)
  • Bryan Benard takes this round. Bryan suggests we take all of the ideas along with the current strategic plan, put them on paper and then make them happen. Find community leaders in every area that can help spear head projects and goals, and then push the ideas into action. The time for planning is really over, now is the time to act. Bryan really hit it on the head for me. Everyone has ideas on how to make this happen, but has it really been focused? Has it really been put into action? Finally he stressed code enforcement to push landlords into compliance. – 1 Point
  • Russ Porter didn't sell me on his answer. Russ suggests we need city leaders to be more approachable and to give more resources to law enforcement to get the "bad people" out. He also mentioned neighborhood watch programs for the city. Interestingly enough I have a neighborhood watch sign in my area, but I don't know who is watching. His ideas have real potential, but they need some more refinement. – ½ Point
  • Lamont Camp says this is the main reason he is running since he lives north of 40th (For the record he lives about 4 blocks north, so not quite to the areas we are talking about). I found it interesting that he took a jab at the Police and Fire departments; especially since they were hosting the event. However in the end he had no real solution for the problem. For this being his main reason for running, I would have expected some real solutions to the problem.
  1. Is our Sewer system adequate and what can we do to improve it? You can listen to it here: (citysewer)
  • Lamont Camp wins this one for me. He seems to have a more in depth understanding of what is going on with our systems. He has seen the work done, helped in the cleanup of floods and knows areas that need to be improved next. – 1 point
  • Bryan Benard took second, he explained a few good ideas of being cautious and to start making sure our infrastructure and sewer system is working properly. This makes good sense, however this is already happening. The city government has been doing this already by using a snake video camera system to see which pipes need to be updated. – ½ point
  • Russ, well, gotta give it to him for being honest. He didn't know anything and didn't have an answer; however he was honest about it. Style points earned!
  1. Closing Remarks. You can listen to it here: (cityclosing)
  • Russ gave the best closing for me, but once again it was close between him and Bryan. I really liked how he stated, "I will never take my vote lightly." That was important to me. I want someone who really research the issues before they vote and then vote for the items that will affect the majority. He made some great statements and I was impressed. – 1 point
  • Bryan is a great speaker. He did a great job through the whole debate and he had a great closing. I can tell he loves South Ogden and wants it to be successful. In the end you could sum up everything he said with on word—listen. Bryan wants to be the kind of person who listens. I am not a fan of leaders who make a point to say, I won't promise anything. Bryan said those words and so I dropped him down in this round. Nothing wrong with making some promises and standing up for it, it can be done. – ½ point
  • Lamont truly loves this city. You can hear it in his voice, but I didn't get anything new from him. It was a simple closing and he summed up his thoughts. I didn't see it as a successful closing.

Final Score:

  • Bryan Benard WINS with 7 points.
  • Russ Porter did great and comes in second with 5 points.
  • Lamont made a great effort getting 1 ½ points.

I think we have some great candidates for city council and I encourage all to study their platforms closely.

This post is open for you all to debate on my interpretation of the night, please feel free to comment.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Missing woman found

I guess our missing South Ogden woman has been found. She came home today on her own accord.

I am glad she is safe and hope her family is doing better.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Missing South Ogden Woman

Hello all.

One of our own has gone missing. A South Ogden resident and neighbor Linda Deschner hasn't been seen since Sunday. Here is a link the Standard Examiner article:

Please be on the look out and spread the word.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Final Election Results for South Ogden Primary

I just received the final vote numbers. They will be presented tonight at council, so I guess you can still consider these as"Unofficial." John Bradley gained a few votes on Vick Mattson, enough for me to call a recount.

Final Votes: 1118

  • Jim Minster – 376
  • Vick Mattson – 277
  • John Bradley – 266
  • Rick Westmoreland – 199

Now on to the general election…what will happen next?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Remembering Golf City and the fallout.

Today in the Standard Examiner there was a small letter to the editor stirring the Golf City pot once again. (See Letter Here). Connie Ott (who is a neighbor to Lamont Camp running for council) reminds many of us of the debate and how the majority at the meeting wanted Golf City to remain open space. She demands we think long and hard on who we vote for council and remember Golf City. This letter pushed me to think about Golf City and what this vote really means.

I only played Golf City five or six times, I wasn't a resident of South Ogden when this all happened. However before living in here, I remember hearing rumblings of Golf City and its eventual demise. Since moving to South Ogden many people have been kind enough to explain their versions of the great Golf City debacle. Though I am not fully clear on all the details, one thing I do know for certain: A large group of people (some may say a majority) was against the idea and the council voted the other way.

There are a lot of people still bitter about this decision made by our city council. The last two elections have been marred with Golf City comments and we have seen council members come and go because of it. My blog gets about 30 hits a week with people typing into google: "Golf City, Voting, City Council" and other variations. People want to know who voted, who didn't, what was the closed door meeting about, why were we not listened to, etc.

I don't blame them for feeling this way, this is in part of why I write this blog; to express my feelings about such issues. Interestingly enough, the two people who advanced in the primary were supporters of the change to the Golf City zoning, meaning Jim Minster and Vicki Mattson voted for the zoning change. The one person to vote against it, John Bradley, missed passing Vicki Mattson by 14 votes.

So either the fallout is beginning to dwindle or people don't care anymore. Either way the most important thing to remember is when the people stood up for something they believed in, the council didn't listen. Many of the candidates running are promising you they will listen to your problems and if the majority wants something they will support it. Look deeper into their eyes and see of this is really true. Don't be afraid to ask them about Golf City and where they stand.

Hasn't the Golf City fallout been amazing to watch? Please feel free to comment on your feelings; I think many still need to discuss this issue.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And the winners are...

I spent the night at the South Ogden city office awaiting the results with many of the candidates. It was a tense evening as we waited nearly two hours for the final results. Many of the council members joked about the old way of doing it. Writing it up on a chalk board and manually tabulating the paper ballots. Sometimes they were there until midnight. It was a fun evening of jokes and laughter but underneath it all laid the tension of who would win.

The final votes came in about 10:30 and the winners are:

Jim Minster - 370 votes
Vicki Mattson - 275
John Bradley - 261
Rick Westmoreland - 194

There are over 100 provisional ballots left and they will be tabulated by the 22nd.

I am amazed at these numbers. The political clout and connections that Vicki and Jim have is impressive. I really expected John and Rick to be up at the top. In the end this has been an amazing primary campaign and will continue to be an even crazier general election.

Congrats to all who ran, it takes a lot of guts to get out there and run for office.

P.S. Vicki did talk to me about being nice to her on my blog and she cleared up any miscommunication. Thanks Vicki for that and great job.

Also, I think we beat the standard with our results and tweets, thanks to everyone who followed the updates.

Monday, September 14, 2009

No Financial Disclosures Required for Primary Elections

I was hoping to post the financial disclosures of each mayoral candidate so you could see who is donating to their campaigns. However, South Ogden City ordinance doesn't require they submit one. They only submit financial disclosures for the following reasons:

1. If you lose the primary, you submit 30 days after (why submit if you lost???)
2. If you are in a general election, then you submit 7 days before the election, but not before a primary. (So just trust they do everything right, until the general election)

This is a little silly, since this limits the amount of info we could use for voting in the primary.

Maybe the new mayor can work on more full disclosure and accountability.

Where to vote tomorrow

As many of you all know, the primary election is officially tomorrow. A number of you took advantage of early voting; however a number of you will be voting tomorrow. To help with your voting, I have put together a little info to help you find your polling location.

The South Ogden City website has this same information, but since there are so many typos on the website I thought I would re-distribute the information here:

As usual the voting will begin at 7 am and ends at 8 am. This year there will be two polling locations. You precincts are divided in half among the two locations.
  • Precincts 1-6 will vote at City Hall (40th Street)
  • Precincts 7-12 will vote at the Browning Armory. (Highway 89)
Here is a copy of the precinct map from the South Ogden City website. It should help you find your precinct and polling location.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hearts of Courage – Story of a local Ogden man and his escape from death.

I decided we need a Sunday break from politics -Here is a nice little Sunday post for everyone about a book I read last weekend.
Many years ago, at the age of 13, I had the opportunity to hike up the Uintah mountains with my scout troop. It was four mile, full pack hike up the mountain where we camped near a lake and then hiked back down. At one point in the adventure, I became separated from my group and was lost for nearly two hours. My troop was in a panic and I was worried I would be lost forever. With the limited survival skills I had, I found a place to stop on the trail and waited for my rescue; fortunately this came quickly. There is a vividly memory of my scout master finding me and hugging me. He then took me to our camp and I enjoyed the rest of the trip. This was not the case for Joe Tippets in the book Hearts of Courage, by John M. Tippets. He instead took the teachings from his scout master (and many others) and lasted much longer in a climate much worse.

Joe Tippets, a local Ogden, Utah man, experienced the ultimate test of survival in the Alaskan mountains. His plane of six people crashed over Alaska in the early 1940's. Somehow he survived with only torn blankets for shoes, limited supplies, and a copy of the Holy Scriptures. In the end, he spent nearly a month in the snow; surviving the ordeal with limited injury and helping three more of his comrades to safety.

This short and captivating book, written by former American Airlines Credit Union CEO, John M Tippets tells the story of his father and his escape from death. Mr. Tippets uses his father's own words to help tell the story of The Gillam Plane crash of the 1940s. A crash that covered the newspapers at the time, even making headlines in the New York Times. The adventure has been forgot in today's time only to be revived in vivid and exciting detail by Mr. Tippets and his desire to bring his father's story to life.

Many elements are intensely documented and researched, including easy to read maps and photos of the crash site. I was engulfed in the story and was unable to put the book down. Jon has done an amazing job of channeling his father's spirit in the story and brings to life this amazing journey. Quickly my wife picked it up and felt the same. It was then I knew I had to write a review about it this book.

What made me fall in love with the book was Joe Tippets faith. I was amazed at his desire to pray and keep the group together. Joe made strong efforts to carry his scriptures with him, even when searching through snow and frozen waters for rescue. His keen sense of God, God's plan for him and his family kept him pushing through even some of the hardest part of the trip. Even when he thought he was near his final moments, he wrote a letter to his wife demonstrating once again his faith in God, "Try to keep enough money invested so you can give the kids a college education and be sure they both fill missions."

The theme I found in this book was all about LIVING for what you believe. Many people say they would die for their religion, but Joe Tippets challenges us to live for it and follow the path of God. This is how his life was before and after his adventure. He was the first Branch President of the Mormon (LDS) Church in Alaska, later became a Bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency.

To learn about an Ogden, Utah man who helped change the lives of those around him you will need to read this book. To know what he did to survive and how he turned to the Lord to find his way through the Alaskan mountains you will need to read this book. Finally to grow spiritually from his testimony you will need to read this book.

You can pick the book up at any Deseret Book or at

Friday, September 11, 2009

Standard Examiner Mayoral Candidate Survey and Taxes

The Standard Examiner published a great survey of questions for our mayoral candidates. It is truly worth a read for those who are still debating on whom to vote for. You can read the full article here:

Each candidate was asked the following questions:
  1. Where do you see the city in the next five years, and what would you do to make that future a good one?
  2. What are some of the things you feel are of great concern to those you would serve?
  3. South Ogden has partnered with the school district in the past year to build gym space for both the school and the city. Do you think it's a worthwhile venture to partner with other entities to fulfill the needs of your citizens?
Some of these questions were touched on during our "meet the candidate night", but in this forum the candidates have been able to expand on their answer a little further.

The topic I would like to highlight is question #2. It is directly related to #3 because of how each candidate answered the question.

I find John Bradley's answer to be very interesting. He states, "We cannot pay more taxes," and " officials should vote the way the majority of citizens want." I couldn't agree with this statement more. But then why did John Bradley vote to raise your taxes this year for a gym space the majority of us said we didn't want. Even the majority attending the meeting said they didn't want it or wouldn't use it. I sound like a broken record on this topic but see the following posts - (See Here and Here)

Vicki Mattson also notes in her answers, community members are troubled with their property taxes. Yet she voted to increase property taxes this year for this same gym space.

Jim Minster exclaims the economy is the biggest issue and we need to watch out for those on a fixed incomes. Well guess what, Jim voted to raise your taxes too.

Rick wasn't on the council, so he didn't vote for this tax increase. However he does recognize the worry we all have for increased taxes. He also recognize there was potentially not a true need for the gym in the first place.

I open the topic to you all to discuss the tax increase you all will be feeling when it comes time to elect a new mayor.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who is BenJoe voting for South Ogden Mayor?

With all the campaign signs around, many people have asked why I haven't put a sign on my lawn yet. The reason is because I have not made a decision as to whom I am supporting for mayor. During this entire campaign, I have felt this has really been a two man race between John Bradley and Rick Westmoreland. They have the best credentials, education, and experience to hold the office of mayor.

I have studied the issues of both candidates. I have met both of them and heard them debate the issues of our fair city. This blog has chronicled my research of the topic through numerous blog posts. They both are extraordinary men who bring an amazing presence to the city. South Ogden is a better place because of who they are. However everyone must take a chance and choose whom they feel will be the best for the job and I am happy to say I have made my decision.

I am officially supporting Rick Westmoreland for Mayor. Rick's education, experience, work ethic and overall knowledge of the system has impressed me. His down to earth style and love for the city has won me over. Finally, his overwhelming desire to improve the lives of those around him has me sold.

I encourage you to vote for Rick Westmoreland for Mayor.

P.S. Rick also won our online poll for mayor with 84 percent of the vote.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

South Ogden Newsletter - Becoming a Patriot

Council member Wayne Smith wrote a fantastic article in this months newsletter. Many of you will be getting this in the mail in the next few days. (or download it here) This is a must read for all who live in South Ogden. His theme centers around becoming a patriot and what this means to us here in South Ogden.

Primary elections tend to bring out a small number of voters. But those who do vote are often very well informed and active in the political process. This doesn't mean you have to politically active or minded to vote in the primary; quite the contrary, anyone can vote in the primary election whom is registered. However many will choose not to vote; Mr. Smith explains by choosing not to vote you are,
"abdicating your right to influence government and allowing the will of others, who's opinions may be contrary to yours, to prevail."
That statement really hit home for me. It pushed me to want to want to be even more involved and to truly become a patriot. As Wayne said in his piece, being a patriot doesn't necessarily mean you fought and died for this country (howver those people are patriots). Instead being a patriot means you loved and defended this country by any means possible.

What an amazing way we have to show our love for this country and to defend the democracy we have. We can vote. Take the time study the candidates, even if just a little. Then go out and vote this week.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Who are you voting for South Ogden Mayor?

With the primary election ending in the next few days, many of you may be already voting.

If you have or not, we have setup an anonymous poll on the left side. Fell free to click and tell us who you would like to see as mayor. This is a non-scientific poll, but could be fun.


Remember, if you have not remember the 15th is the last day. Early voting will be allowed from Sept. 8th through the 11th. Then of course on the 15th from 7 am to 8 pm.

To find out where you vote on the 15th - Click Here

Friday, September 4, 2009

Meet the Candidate Night – Mayoral Edition

Last night the Fire Department held their annual Meet the Candidate night at the new library in Washington Terrace/South Ogden. The crowd was one of the best I have seen at a political event for the area. Each candidate did their best and represented themselves as well as they could. However not all of them shined as bright as the others. Four mayoral candidates and three city council candidates were present to answer questions and meet the public. Since the Mayoral primary is coming up, we will focus only on the Mayoral section of the debate. I will save my city council portion for after the 15th.

For your listening pleasure, I recorded the debate and I have divided it into sound bites that you can download and listen to. I have chosen my favorite and my least favorite answer for each question. I will give each candidate who has the best answer "1 Point" and the second place candidate will get "1/2 Point". The person with most points wins the night.

  1. Introduction: All four candidates gave a two minute introduction. You can listen to it here: (Introduction)
  • For best Introduction the point goes to John Bradley. He was clear and concise. He explained his experience and why he would be the best candidate. John has lots of experience in law and business and gave a great introduction. – 1 Point Bradley.
  • Rick Westmoreland gave a similar introduction as to John's and played on the crowd with his volunteer work and more. He did a good job, but came up short to John's intro. – ½ Point
  • Jim Minster talked about his service and time in the community. He did well, but not much energy in his remarks. Most of the time was spent on talking about his city council accomplishments; but remember the council is a group, not just one person.
  • My bottom was Vicki Mattson. Like Mr. Minster all she talked about was all the city council things she has done and why those accomplishments make her a great mayor. I felt it was bland and not very appealing.
  1. How will you enforce ordinances and zoning laws? You can listen to it here: (Zoning)
  • For best answer I give it to Rick Westmoreland. With the experience he has as a prosecutor, he understands what is needed to prosecute an ordinance or zoning violation. He gave a solid argument for public involvement to help clean up areas. The main point is that the resources are not there to make it happen and the Mayor can bring the community together and help clean up these areas. – 1 point for Rick.
  • John explained in full detail what the ordinances do and can't do. He seemed to know where the holes were in the system. This is something the council can improve on. The ordinances are old and need to be updated. He almost had me sold on his answer, but why haven't they already done this if they know the problem. – ½ point.
  • Jim Minister said about the same as everyone else, but interestingly he seemed to have just noticed it was a problem since he decided to run.
  • My least favorite answer was Vicki Mattson. Her answer was full of random statements. She claimed this was the number one problem she hears and has been addressing the problem for awhile but it is still getting worse. She says the solution is to form committees to find out what to do. In addition, she stated that we shouldn't police people and then turned around and said we should tighten ordinances so they can be enforced. I was confused in the end.
  1. What do you want your legacy to be? You can listen to it here: (Legacy)
  • The best answer to the legacy question goes to Vicki Mattson. She hit it on the head of what public service is all about. She hopes to be fair and honest. But in the end she recognized the decisions you make will affect the whole community; therefore your decisions can't just be for the good of the one. Instead it needs to be for what will make the whole community better. Great Answer Vicki – 1 point.
  • Rick Westmoreland had my second favorite answer, but I wish he would have spent more time going into more specific details. In the end I felt he truly wants to be remembered as a man of integrity. ½ Point
  • John was close in my book on this, but in the end I felt he had little confidence he would be remembered (even if it was a joke). I think he would be surprised how much people remember.
  • Jim Minster was last for this question. He talked a lot about being the guy who listens and helps people get stuff done. He had little energy in what he was saying and I felt it wasn't much of an answer.
  1. Traffic – Are you willing to negotiate with UDOT? You can listen to it here: (traffic)
  • Rick Westmoreland wins it for me on this, mainly because he appears understand more fully the system of UDOT and how to work with them. Negotiations will need to not just be with UDOT but with our legislators who have authority over UDOT. I liked his creative solution to the problem. 1 Point
  • John almost took Rick on this one. He is trained in negotiations and knows how to work with these types of people. My reasoning is simply track record. I have seen Council Member Sallee Orr practically take this issue on her by herself and if John is so good at it, why hasn't more been done already. ½ point
  • Vicki is on the DOT committee and has been working to make something happen. Is she willing to do this, yes, has she been successful no.
  • I am sorry to say Jim's was my least favorite. In reality he didn't answer the question at all and his only solution was to start a letter writing campaign. Not a great answer.
  1. How are you in Personnel Management and Financial Planning? You can listen to it here: (Management)
  • Jim Minster takes the prize for this one. He explained his experience of managing departments, companies, and has time as a fire chief. He has dealt with many personnel issues and kept things under cost and on a budget. Great job on this. Can he apply these skills to a corporation the size of South Ogden, that remains to be seen, but he did a great job answering the question. 1 point.
  • John Bradley has managed a staff of people and worked with all sorts of personnel situations. In addition he has started his own business with his wife, but no real formal training in fiscal policy. It was close between him and Jim. ½ point.
  • Rick Westmoreland was my number three on this. If had a little more financial experience he may have moved up;. Not much management or financial experience in his answer; however he has started his own business and has worked on budgets in his office. Not enough for points though.
  • Vicki didn't make it happen for me on this one. Though she has good management experience with Albertsons, I just can't feel her management skills. On the fiscal side she stated the city foresaw the decline in our economy a couple of years ago. Well I want to know where she got her crystal ball, because everyone else in the world missed this one. South Ogden City has been in the red most of this year and didn't make budget cuts until the economy was in full recession. We had surplus money as early as last year and didn't spend it pay down debt of fix the budget. She was wrong on this issue. (See these posts from city council meetings for more info, )
  1. What are your top Priorities for the City? You can listen to it here: (priorities)
  • Rick Westmoreland gets the point. His number one priority would be to increase revenue sources for South Ogden. Not just bringing in new business, but to go after grants and federal money. According to Rick, on our budget we have no federal grant money coming in for public safety. There is $4.2 Million available ready for the taking, he would be the guy to go get it. His last priority was more accountability in Government which is a huge issue for me. – 1 point
  • John Bradley almost won this for me. He had a great list of things that make sense. Commercial development, public safety, planning and zoning, public works and finally recreation. But Rick's solutions were very creative and exciting. – ½ point
  • Jim Minster had two good points, one we need work on the economy and two bringing in new businesses. His points were valid but not much backing it up. How is he going to fix the economy? Jim mentioned cutting more budgets, but not cutting services. That is hard to do, especially since we have cut the budget already 12 percent.
  • Vick didn't answer this question well. She seemed to be all over the place and talked about current business owners as her top priority, then safety, followed by public works. It didn't seem she had any real list of priorities or solutions for South Ogden. Wasn't a good answer.
  1. How would you revitalize 40th Street north and rental properties? You can listen to it here: (40th)
  • John Bradley wins this one. He had some great ideas of creating new zones and incentives to encourage people to improve their areas. This would include grants and funds to encourage people to move into the area and build up those homes. He made an interesting statement that we need to increase incentives; so homes on streets like Raymond Ave can be beautiful and make people want to move there. (Um…I live on Raymond). In addition people need to help each other and police each other. – 1 point
  • Rick Westmoreland stressed public safety. Those areas have become un-desirable because of crime and other issues. We need to increase funds to enforce codes and laws to help these areas become cleaned up. We need to be willing to invest extra time and money to make those areas beautiful. ½ point
  • Vicki Mattson spent most of her time talking about down town and how she would like to see more business coming to South Ogden. She recognized the new Mercantile and how wonderful it is. Interestingly she mentioned the city was going to start doing low interest loans for housing. I wonder that money is coming from or if I have to pay for it? Vicki was coming up with lots of ideas like new condos, etc. I don't feel she fully answered the question. She should have talked about her Good Landlord law idea.
  • My last place answer will be Jim Minster's. Jim actually spent his whole time talking about the elderly on country club drive. His point is taken, but he didn't fully answer the question.
  1. Is our Sewer system adequate and what can we do to improve it? You can listen to it here: (Sewer)
  • John Bradley did the best with this question. He had full knowledge of what has happening, solutions to fix it and ideas to improve it. In reality this is a softball question. John had great inside info to help him answer it and articulated himself well. Good job. – 1 Point.
  • Rick dropped it on this one. In the end he began to explain great ways to fund such a problem, but he himself didn't seem full convinced this was an immediate issue. I wish he would have spent more time on how he would avoid raising our taxes and how he would fund these programs. His answer was good, but not good enough for full points. – ½ point.
  • I am not really sure what Jim was talking about at the first, but then he just told us what we already know. I kind of feel like he was just copying whatever John said. It was kind of a Paula Abdul Idol moment.
  • Vicki Mattson missed it for me in the end. She did a good job identifying the funding problems we have to improve our sewer system; however she seems to be under the impressions that we have received so many grants that we have been able to update almost the whole cities infrastructure. After listening to this one about five times, I am still not sure if she answered the question.
  1. Closing Remarks. You can listen to it here: (Closing)
  • Rick Westmoreland had the best closing remarks. He gave a full explanation of what the Mayor's office does and how he would make it work. I liked his understanding of the different branches of government and where the Mayor's role is in this system. His goal is to motivate and encourage this city to continue to grow. I was impressed with this final remarks and his passion for South Ogden. – 1 Point.
  • Vicki summed up her understanding of the Mayoral role and how she would fill that. She made a little potshot at one of Rick's comments and in turn repeated a couple of things Rick said. But overall she represented herself very well and her knowledge of the job. – ½ point
  • Jim Minster summed up a lot of what he said throughout the night and gave his pledge of love to South Ogden. Nice statements but nothing to remember.
  • John took a huge hit at Rick in his closing statement. He began by saying the same things Rick did, but in some ways it may have been better articulated. He then made specific potshots at some of Rick's comments and how he knows the most about government. But the part that killed it for me is when he talked about how he was the most well balanced person. He mentioned he was a business owner, involved in community and active in church. Once he started playing the church card and engaged in a character debate over who was the better individual in the room—I lost him.

Final Score:

  • Rick – 6 points – He won 4 of the debate questions in my book. - WINNER
  • John – 5 points – He won 2 of the debate questions.
  • Vicki – 1 ½ points – She won 1 of the debate questions.
  • Jim – 1 point – He won 1 of the debate questions.

The forum is open for you all to debate on my interpretation of the night, please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

St-Ex Letter to the Editor Calls for New Leadership

An interesting letter to the editor from a local South Ogden resident - Jim Daily. Jim is an off and on visitor of city council meetings and always has an opinion or two about government. He sounds off today in a little letter to the editor that I found interesting (See Here)

Jim attacks the decision to building the new rec. center gym facility with the new South Ogden Junior High. He is a little incorrect with his information, I don't believe sales tax was ever an option to pay for this, but a property tax increase was. However I do agree with him that we should not have raised our taxes to pay for this. Especially since it is going to be a basketball gym that many have admitted they will never use (including the current Mayor). Remember, citizens of South Ogden took a survey in 2007 and said they didn't want a tax increase for something like this. (See Here) 65 percent said a rec. center gym facility was not worth a tax increase. Your leaders didn't listen to you and then raised your taxes.

One more thing to consider as you vote this year.

Candidates on Twitter, Facebook and the Web

In connection with today's Standard Examiner editorial on twitter (See Here), I am excited to see many of the candidates for Mayor making attempts to use Twitter and the Web. South Ogden City has been tweeting for about a month now. However they are missing the boat on its usefulness. They have about 22 followers last I checked, but they have refused to follow anyone back. I think people forget that communication is a two way street. If you want twitter, blogging, facebook, etc to be useful you have to communicate with the people not just announce things. Talk to the people of South Ogden.

Follow South Ogden here: Http://

As for our Mayoral Candidates here is what I have found as far as websites, facebook and twitter:

Jim Minster:

Vicki Mattson:

Rick Westmoreland:

John Bradley:

I am surprised more candidates are not embracing all of these tools, they are FREE! If I have missed any of their websites please let me know and I will update this page. But from looking at their signs and google searches I can't find anything. If your website doesn't come up on google, how will people find you?

Congrats to those who are trying to actually communicate with the people.