As a first reason to reelect him, Mayor Ogden claims he “successfully defended the city against two lawsuits,” an audacious reformulation of reality.
City Council is empowered by Idaho law to set policy; the mayor is empowered to carry it out. Sugar City’s involvement in both lawsuits was chosen by the mayor without consulting the council. Without him, there would have been no lawsuits.
In June 2017, believing an administration should act lawfully, Citizens for the Rule of Law enumerated legal violations on a zoning application and requested the council reconsider its decision from May 2017. The obvious solution was for the council to correct violations and reconsider the decision. But the mayor chose not to bring the request before the council, thus prompting Citizens to petition the Court to return the application to the council. This happened in April 2018. Not only did the mayor lose, but the Court declared his defense frivolous and required the city to pay part of Citizens’ costs – an extraordinary example of “successfully defending the city.”
In May 2018, Lerwills sued three defendants: “the City of Sugar City,” and Councilmen King and Waddell. Since the purpose of the lawsuit was to disqualify the two councilmen from voting, no action was required by Sugar City. Yet the mayor chose to “defend” the city by abandoning it and joining the Lerwills’ suit to undo the recent election. How his helping undo the election constitutes defending the city is a mystery.
Mr. Odgen’s previously documented use of the phrase “the city” refers to himself and his minions, not the people or their elected officers. “Successfully defended the city” means “had his way.”
It came at terrible cost. The community remains divided so long as the administration scorns the law, such as recently approving a building permit and a variance without involving P&Z, such as legislation currently underway to place P&Z under the mayor’s thumb. Combined financial cost of the two lawsuits elected by the mayor is more than $300,000. People are frightened even to speak after witnessing abuse dished upon Councilwoman Ball on March 6, 2019, by the mayor, Mr. Barrus, the city attorney, and Lerwills’ attorney.
What Mr. Ogden “successfully defended” were his pride, his illegitimate way of doing business, and his vision of Sugar City, a vision not shared by the large majority who elected Ball, King, and Waddell to the City Council.
You can reach Vaun Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org