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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Powder Mountain article-Counter Point!

If you read the article today on Powder Mountain in the Standard Examiner, you will find how a supposedly non biased article can be slanted to fit any view desired by excluding other points of view.

Let’s dissect this article with known facts and see how it stands up for unbiased reporting:

1. Mr. Lowther sounds like he is the only homeowner that is not wealthy that will be affected by this forced incorporation.

FACT: Mr. Lowther is in the minority number of affected homeowners that favor the forced incorporation, a majority oppose it.

2. Mr. Lowther said “I think the best way is to have the local people control what’s going on rather than people that don’t live in the Valley and have no real concern for what’s going on up here.”

FACT: NONE of the Petition Sponsors for the Powder Mountain incorporation live in Ogden Valley.

3. Jamie Lythgoe said she is uniquely qualified for the position after working with the OV planning commission. Lythgoe also said she does not foresee any problems with a conflict of interest. She said “I don’t think anyone has a hidden agenda.”

FACT: The Planning Commission Procedures regarding Conflict of Interest Part A, reads: “A Planning Commissioner to whom some private
benefits may come as the result of a Planning Commission action should not be a participant in the action.” It also states, “The private benefit may
be direct or indirect, create a material, personal gain or provide a distinct advantage to RELATIONS or to friends or to groups and associations which hold some share of a person’s loyalty.”

FACT: Does Lythgoe mean like working (as she did) on the OVPC and at the same time the Town Incorporation plans behind the scenes? A conflict is already fact in our opinion and where is the concern for the public trust anywhere to be found?

In October of 2007 Planning Commission Chairman Louis Cooper and Assistant County Attorney Chris Allred were quoted in the Standard-Examiner
that they were both under the impression that the Cobabe family had sold
all of their interests at Powder Mountain. In addition, Monette Hurtado
was quoted as saying, “ As to the specific ownership, I don’t know the details.
” Ms. Hurtado also said “She did disclose that her family sold all their land.”

More Facts: The Cobabe family still owns over 200 acres up in the Powder Mountain area, yet the leaders of this County refuse to address any conflict of interest.

5. The Standard Examiner reporter today wrote “Having three people from the same family's appointees has been a concern for opponents of the town”

FACT: It is the Weber County Commissioners that have opposed the family weighted list submitted by Powder Mountain in the two Commission meetings. The eloquence of Commissioner Jan Zogmaister was apparent when she stated they “could have a family reunion and have a quorum”.

One has to wonder why today’s Standard Examiner Article omitted the fact that the Powder Mountain representatives failed to answer the Weber County Commissioner’s questions on why Powder Mountain did not include any names of individuals interviewed by the Commission and a Powder Mountain representative for town council other than signers of the petition, Cobabe family members, employees or potential employees of Powder Mountain.

6. Mr. Lowther said “ he does see many potential benefits from the development, though, such as lower taxes and acquiring green space to compensate for development.”

FACT: When was the last time anyone around a big development saw their property taxes go down? The property taxes have jumped across the Ogden Valley due to all the new development in the past 4 or 5 years. Consider what will happen if Powder Mountain puts in their so called “World Class” resort next to our Valley? Your property value may go up, but that may only help if you want to sell. If you stay put, you are probably going to share in the dubious “glory” of substantial increases in property taxes in the future.

Larry and Sharon Zini


Squirt said...

Rule A in the county rules on Conflict of Interest is pretty clear. Even though Jamie Lythgoe recused herself on the final vote on Powder Mountain, she knew the verdict was already in on the Powder Mountain rezone and she had failed remove the conditions recommended by the OVPC.

Rule A says a member of the Commission "shall not be a participant" if there is any benefit. She participated in all those OVPC planning meetings prior to the final recusal. I wonder who she thought she was fooling?

Anonymous said...

I have mentioned on several occasions that Jamie Lythgoe and the Cobabe family, estate, et al should release for public review the sales agreement between themselves and the Powder Mountain developers. Failure to do so raises suspisions of further conflicts germane to financial incentives paid to them by the developers if zoning/density is changed. I believe this to be the case unless proven otherwise.

Squirt said...

Excellent point above! The Cobabe's will never release anything because if would confirm the Conflict of Interest suspicions. The Weber County Commissioners and County Attorney should investigate the matter, but won't touch the story. It shows why we should vote against all incumbent county office holders in the coming election. De Caria needs to go as do all three Weber County Commission members, one by one.

Skibo said...

It is possible that if a lawsuit is filed involving Powder Mountain that all the parties will be called to testify under oath including our lame Weber County Commissioners and OVPC Commission members. They should also put De Caria on the stand as well, since he has been fully aware of the possible conflict, yet done nothing to investigate.

Anonymous said...

For someone with so many "Facts" it is funny how many of them are wrong and biased.

Skibo said...

I suggest reading the transcripts of the OVPC meetings would be helpful for anyone who has doubts.

Remember, we all took the journey from "my family sold all the land up in Powder Mountain, to the admission " We still do own 200+ acres (later on the PM tour), to " I don't really know how much land my family still owns up there," when Lythgoe finally came clean halfway through the process.

Would it be unreasonable for someone in the County government to say to Lythgoe, " Until you sort all this out regarding your family holdings, you must recuse yourself from any Powder Mountain discussions? Did that happen? No! Wonder why?

Other suggested reading would be the Conflict of Interest rules for Weber County.

RudiZink said...

Weber County Resolution and Ethics Pledge

Skip The Dog said...

Interesting that Lowther does not disclose that he was one of the original sleazy petition signers that he and relatives circulated behind the backs of their neighbors. Why should he be surprised that the owners would select him to be on the Powderville Council, he is qualified by virtue of family connections.