More trail stuff, more twits

My column tomorrow is an interview with Gib Wallace, the retired Bureau of Reclamation planning engineer who spent the last 20 years or so designing and helping build the trails that we all love. It was a fun column to do because one of the more enjoyable things about being a columnist is the chance to talk to people about what they enjoy, or what they value, wehther it is newsworthy or not. In Gib’s case it is, but he’s the exception.

You will note, as you go through the column, that Gib avoids discussing the political storms swirling around the trail thing. The Weber County Forum is alive with rumor and supposition, but Gib is a “let’s just do this” sort of guy and is trying to avoid getting into the middle of all that. I don’t blame him.

I’m happy to get into the middle of it all, of course, with the caveat that I don’t print anyone’s rumor or supposition as anything but that, and then only with care. Rumors, frankly, give me the fantods, and I’ve got a very very sensitive “fantod detector.” 

People who post stuff to the WCF, or other places, often wonder why I, or some other reporter, doesn’t  just grab their posts as revealed wisdom and run with them. As I explained in a previous reply to a post, we don’t do that for a very good reason: It’s our name on the story and we have to be careful about what we run.

Listening to President Obama last night tell a reporter that he’d taken a couple of days to express his “outrage” over the AIG bonuses because “I wanted to know what I was talking about” was good to hear, and expressed my attitude precisely.

I do think Ogden’s administration needs to do a lot more public information work on this trail construction thing and other east bench plans. A situation where members of the press, and city council, get angry phone calls from people because of perfectly legitimate water line work is proof, on its face, that someone did a bad job of informing the public of what is going on.

But that’s what we’re here for at the paper, which is also a topic of another column, probably Sunday.

Now I’m a Twit: In addition to this lovely blog, and my newspaper column, you can now find me on Facebook and Twitter. My screen name on twitter is ctrentelman, so I’m easy to find.

And, yes, when I told my wife I was a twit she said “and this is news, how?”

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4 Responses to More trail stuff, more twits

  1. Thanks for commentary. I couldn’t agree with you more that the Ogden admin. needs to better disclose their plans. It seems nothing but “oops, sorry” is coming out the mayor’s office. 1. “Oops, we dug in the wrong place in Taylor’s Canyon, sorry.” 2. “Oops, we way under estimated the cost of the info car at the Front Runner station, sorry.” 3. “Oops, we didn’t mean to disclose the location of the velodrome, sorry.” 4. “Oops, we meant to tell you we we’re digging at the top of 36th street, not 46th street, sorry.” Is our mayor losing control of his office? Or is this some sort of “better ask forgiveness than permission” policy? Or is there some other explanation I’m missing?

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    well, actually, we ran at least one story late last year saying the tank had been moved to the top of 36th Street, but it was a small mention in a larger story. I feel, very strongly, for something as big as destroying trails, that they should have pulled a major public communications effort, something along the lines of “We’re going to rip the trail up. Don’t hate us.”

    Or something like that.

  3. dan s. says:

    Even the latest Ogden utility bill insert, in which the major article is on the water system upgrades, completely omits any mention of the new tanks above 36th Street.

    Or to give another older example: Last year the city decided to impose a very high punitive rate on excessive amounts of water use. The problem was, they never told anyone about it. Then when summer came along and some people’s rates skyrocketed, everyone was shocked. Reminded me of the Doomsday Machine in Dr. Strangelove: what good is a deterrent if nobody knows about it? (The punitive rate has since been repealed.)

  4. ctrentelman says:

    well, i think i said, and will be saying again, that the city does a really crappy job of communications.

    I told that to the water people yesterday and urged them to let us help them get the word out on, for example, some widespread shutoffs they are planning in conjunction with the water line installation work.

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