Finance Letter Submitted with Campaign Finance Disclosure

I submitted the following document with my campaign finance disclosures on September 6, 2011, but the city would not publish it.

Sierra Club ask’s the Candidates.

1. Please describe your background and why you are qualified to serve as Ogden’s next mayor.

I don’t already work for the city, county, or city council and I will not operate with the same status quo mind set. I am fair but principled and lead by example. With pride I served our country as a United States Marine and received multiple meritorious promotions for exceptional service. I have experience in building businesses with strong foundations that provide stability for the livelihood of others. I currently serve my community as the President of the Historic 25th Street Business Association and listen to the members of this association by making the right, but hard decisions, to the benefit of all. My real world experience, combined with strong ethic and integrity, will move Ogden forward for all 83,000 citizens. I will work for all of our interests in Ogden, and will not be a “single area of interest” mayor. I will work on your behalf, by listening and planning with your city council, to insure cautious budgeting, and expeditious implementation of plans for the benefit of you and your city.

2. In brief, why do you want to be Ogden’s next mayor?

Our government should be working for the people. I look forward to building on the many successes of Ogden. Our area is unique with opportunity for sustainable growth in the many areas of interest in our community. We have many underutilized assets such as airports, railway, empty buildings and parks that cost us money. Working for the citizens, we must limit the government intervention in the private sector where government has no right taking risk at the expense of the tax payer. I have a branding concept called Made in Ogden that will not cost tax payers money but brand Ogden for generations to come. The goal is to support and bring product development back to our area and with pride, a seal will be stamped on product developed and distributed from here in Ogden. We have many businesses already here producing products, and we will champion those while in the process of attracting new businesses such as aerospace, technology, medical, as well as the core business of the outdoor recreations business. The Made in Ogden concept will build off of the past 10 years of attracting outdoor recreation headquarters to Ogden and will start the next step of bringing their core business to Ogden. It is important to have the outdoor recreations headquarters in Ogden but now we need to further develop those efforts toward the next step. Ogden needs the employment that comes along with their core business of product development, sales, distribution and service. Ogden is positioned with underutilized assets for distribution such as the above mentioned airport and railways, in addition to empty buildings, to support this type of growth. Our time to continue to shine is now. We are uniquely positioned for growth and by having leadership with consistent and sound government policy provides an atmosphere that existing local businesses can expand and new business can thrive. Working together we can simultaneously bring all level of jobs back to our city and brand Ogden as the place that does it better. I will insure that our low cost of living is maintained by limiting out of control government spending while the growth in our community is occurring.

3. If you were to propose changes in Ogden’s zoning ordinances to improve the quality of life and business in Ogden, what changes would you propose (if any), and why?

Zoning ordinance changes are definitely something my administration will need to take a look at to be more consistent and citizen friendly.
We have books of ordinances and regulations that may no longer be applicable to the current needs of the community. Working with staff and council I will look forward to make sure we thin out bureaucracy that costs money to maintain and adds frustration to so many citizens and businesses. Ordinances need to be looked at to make sure that their intended purpose is working or if there is a need for improvement. The way to identify deficiencies with minimal cost is by listening to the constituents of Ogden and by taking action as needed. We need to think about a pro conservation approach to make sure we are not limiting owners from utilizing their property in the most sustainable way. Because of such complex times, I would look at ways to insure basic rights to self reliance, such as the chicken ordinance. I also know that we need to look at some of the time restrictions on parking that encumber commerce around our city and irritate customers. Signs ordinances have many issues with room for improvement to better serve our businesses and we could better identify sizes of real estate banner signs. I think everyone will agree, and if so I would champion, that we need to limit the number of political campaign signs which would include a permit with regulations to follow. Signs can be a useful tool but they also pollute the community if not done with balance.

4. Ogden City, UTA, and other stakeholders have recently studied alternatives for a major transit investment in Ogden, to connect downtown with the WSU area. Do you support this proposal and if so, what are your views on the various alternatives being considered?

We need a comprehensive transportation plan focusing on Ogden City as the county seat but connecting the region as a whole. I would build from the discussions and focus more on connecting all areas of interest in the community and sharing information. Over the past 10 years we have talked about gondolas, street cars, trolleys and bus routes to better serve the communities growing transportation requirements. These conversations have often been guided by single areas of interest and have not taken into account all of Ogden and the growth of greater Weber County. As a community we need to discuss how we connect all current economic business centers and plan for those that need to be built. While connecting main points of interest, such as the airport, business centers, universities, tech colleges, hospitals, and schools we build in progression of importance. With a comprehensive transportation plan geared toward transit oriented development, we also need to insure the plan services concentrated living neighborhoods, which could spur quicker revitalization of neighborhoods.

5. Through the Weber Area Council of Governments and the Wasatch Front Regional Council, Ogden’s mayor can influence transportation investments throughout the county and the Wasatch Front. What changes, if any, would you propose to the current regional transportation plans and priorities?

Immediately end conversations about expanding Harrison or 36th St.

Build a vision with the Council to invest in a sustainable future, building toward a comprehensive transportation plan that would include many options of public transit with expansion of identified bicycle, skateboard, horse and pedestrian corridors. Discuss a long term plan, then have each city decide what is best to service their community. Together set a deadline for plan collaboration whereas everyone discusses the growth trends along the greater Wasatch Front and Weber County. We listen to one another and compromise to make a plan that will benefit all of Northern Utah residents and guests. Our population is growing, our roads are becoming more congested, our air quality may decrease, and we need to work together to come up with a comprehensive plan that is forward thinking, and benefits all while distributing the cost appropriately.

6. As mayor, would you encourage or discourage further development of private and/or public land in Ogden’s foothills? Please explain.

We must uphold the principals of private property rights and make sure all public land open space is protected for future generations to enjoy.

7. Would you encourage or discourage the development of a resort in Malan’s Basin, or a tram or gondola on the west side of Mt. Ogden? Please explain.

I am on record in 2007 supporting the concept of the Gondola but never saw a plan to make a full decision. If the plan included taking public lands, I would not support it. If the plan included any liability to the tax payer of Ogden City, I would not support it. I would consult the council and the citizens for input with any decision that may impact the community and work with city council to make sound decisions.

8. Do you favor designating a portion of the National Forest lands above Ogden as federally protected wilderness? Why or why not?

No, I think the best stewards of local lands are the local people. Working with organizations I think we can adequately protect our local lands for future generations to enjoy and I would be very hesitant of encouraging further federal regulation of the National Forest. Further I have met with Forest Service and I was told the designation may take an act of congress which could take over ten years and may impose restrictions limiting dogs, bicycles or other uses.

9. A major portion of Ogden City government is devoted to water, sewer, waste, and recycling services. What changes to utility rates and services, if any, would you propose to encourage more sustainable use of resources?

Utilities are one of the largest expenses to our households in Ogden. We need to get away from being so reliant and in the process losing our sovereignty. Our city council adopted measures to increase our water and sewer with an approximate combined revenue increase of $6,000,000 dollars last year. We are hurting our seniors and others with fixed incomes because of the current and complicated fee structure. They simply can’t afford central services such as water. This is not right. Council can’t wait until the next mayor to fix the problem and needs to make immediate reductions now. The city council has elected to use funds that were designated for the infrastructure to be used on other projects and as a consequence you’re paying for it. As the city government we will work toward leading by example and reducing use of resources. As stated in question 3, we need to look at ordinances with a pro conservation approach to be smart about how the city grows forward.

10. What other environmental issues would you address if elected?

A cost effective approach to limiting water waste at our 43 parks where the sprinklers run during rain storms. Potential employment stimulator, slowly converting utilities demands on city buildings to a balance of the other sustainable alternatives. Innovating away from wasteful manufacturing and becoming a more consciousness community educating all businesses and homes about decreasing their impact over time. We need to encourage that buildings are built with the most efficient standards and that bi-product such as emissions are controlled with guidelines to protect our children and our environment. We need to teach alternatives and encourage innovation and creativity within our schools to further environmental issues.
Lastly, the dog food plant needs to improve the air quality that is omitted at times!

11. Would you be interested in receiving the endorsement of the Ogden Sierra Club? (We communicate our endorsements to our members but not directly to the public. Endorsed candidates may choose whether or not to mention our endorsement in their campaign communications.)

Yes, I value the contributions to Ogden City by the Ogden Sierra Club and would accept the endorsement.

Questions by the Standard Examiner

1)      What is your opinion of the 12-year tenure of Mayor Godfrey?

Mayor Godfrey has had successes as well as challenges and has done his best to lead us toward his vision.

2)      Do you think an Ogden streetcar system is economically feasible?

Yes, however I think we need to expand the idea to develop a comprehensive transportation plan to connect all the dots of Ogden City, as the current street car plan is only one part. The focus needs to be a comprehensive transportation plan that connects all areas of interest in our community. Public transportation has to be easy and affordable for people to use and reliable seven days a week. A complete transportation plan needs to incorporate main rail, light rail, street car and busses. We need a plan connecting our neighborhoods to the tech colleges, universities, hospitals, and business clusters such as the Washington, Harrison, Downtown, 12th Street, Business Depot Ogden, Ogden Industrial Park, Ogden Airport, and more. Once Ogden City develops our plan we should share the information with the surrounding city staff/councils and let them develop their plan. Once we all have a plan to connect the greater Weber County area, together we can go for state and federal funding.

3)      List three initiatives, or main themes, of your administration if you are elected.

Made In Ogden – A product development and manufacturing concept where we stamp a Made in Ogden Seal on product made here in Ogden Utah. It will go beyond the stamp to help existing business stability and opportunities for growth. Being centrally located on the CANAMEX trading corridor, in addition to having history on our side, Ogden is in the unique position to have organic job growth.

Job Growth- Identify old ordinances and regulations that are no longer applicable and update or eliminate as needed.  Implement sound business policy that is consistent across the city. Build public transit systems that enhance the community and connect the community with key business clusters for easy access to the jobs.

Infrastructure – With staff and council make a plan to end deficit spending in our local government. Plan to pay off all city debts over the next ten years. Invest in our infrastructure to make sure our sidewalks are safe for all ages and abilities. Fix roads that have been damaged and forgotten about. With staff and council start building toward sustainability and green industry development. Build toward a comprehensive public transit system that includes the surrounding cities and a larger picture to service the greater Weber County.

4)      Do you agree with the Ogden Ethics Project that candidates should not accept campaign contributions from businesses and unions and other business-related groups?

YES, I have accepted all five additional guidelines set forth by the Ogden Ethics Project. With these types of contributions I know that my personal integrity will never be swayed as my convictions are strong. I don’t believe that to be the case in most political campaigns or arenas. We have watched our elected leaders take contributions with favors owed as the consequence. We must end the practice of leading for the wealthiest and lead for all of the people of Ogden.

5)      Why should people vote for you instead of the other candidates?

I have a proven record of leading by example and leading with consistency. I am fair and I believe in equality for everyone. I believe in transparency. I believe that our government belongs to the people and operates best when the ideas of the people are heard through public discussion and debate. I believe in real business growth, organic business expansion, and limiting the public/private partnerships in the business sector at the expense of the tax payer. I am concerned that we are losing too many businesses and believe we can do more to invest in our infrastructure to retain existing business and attract new businesses. I have all of Ogden City and our many interests at mind. I will lead us together through current struggles and the many challenges that we will face in years to come. I am a leader that will listen.

6)      What do you think about security measures in Ogden, including the crime center and upcoming police blimp?

I think technology is very important, but I don’t think these new security measures are the best way to use our tax dollars. I think the most effective type of security measures are community policing efforts. I think it is important for officers to live in the community they work so the members of the community can build a rapport with that officer and the officer can identify the specific needs of an area. In an effort to build pride in our neighborhoods, I would like to see citizen community watch committees that actually work and communicate with a specific neighborhood officer. Having a direct link to an officer will increase response time for the community.  The blimp is a new idea and I commend the innovation, but I don’t see how it will be effective for security measures here in Ogden City. I do believe that when you can centralize information the dissemination to those on the ground can be more effective, but I don’t think the emphasis on camera surveillance from the crime center is the most important. I believe that our police department has the finest men and women working for us and believe we need to arm them with the tools necessary to be successful.  Rather than fighting crime through blimps and cameras, I believe we need to heavily work towards preventing crime through teaching, educating, and collaboration.


Van Wagoner will not take Corporate Campaign Contributions

Van Wagoner is the only candidate that is not accepting campaign contributions from companies and corporations.
Click here to see all candidates positions on corporate campaign contributions including which candidates are willing to accept political contributions from corporations.

When asked by a business owner why he would not accept his contribution, Van Wagoner stated, ” Use that money for hiring another employee, and if you need a write off, donate your money to The Marshall White Center, Youth Impact, or another Non-profit that is making a difference locally.” Van Wagoner does not believe that companies and corporations should be contributing financially to campaigns. During the debate on August 24, 2011 Van Wagoner stated ” We need someone to hit the ground running. As the next mayor I will work for everyone of you.”

Below is a copy of Van Wagoner’s voluntary checklist.

Vote Van Wagoner Newsletter August 22, 2011

Questions From You

1. What motivated you to run for Mayor of Ogden?

I chose to run for Mayor because I feel that some of the candidates running for Mayor have their own interests at heart rather than the interests of Ogden City as a whole. The community of Ogden deserves more then to stand by and watch candidates either buy the race or treat it like a popularity contest. I served my country in the Military and have always served the community I live in. I am the president of the Historic 25th Street Association volunteering on average 50 hours each month. As president I have seen firsthand the closed door deals that are made in Ogden and have brought those to an end. Companies and individuals should be hired off of merit and qualifications for the job, not who their friend’s are. I want an Ogden City government that is working for all the people and the many interests in Ogden. I want an administration that works with the city council that the voters have elected to represent their community. I want to stop government participation in the private sector, where  Ogden City attempts to pick winners and losers in a free market system. I want to see our near 300 miles of sidewalks improved for the use of all abilities and ages. I want to see a transportation plan that meets today’s needs and looks to the future identifying trends that we will need. I want to see existing community assets fully utilized before building more empty boxes. I also want to see a balanced budget.

 2. How long have you lived in Ogden?

I was born and raised on a farm in Midway, Utah. I moved to California as a teenager and I moved back to Utah in 2006. I choose Ogden as my home and the place to raise my family. I have lived here for 6 years.

3. What is your background, education and leadership experience that you believe will help you be   a good mayor?

I am honest and I have integrity that will not be challenged by special interests. I have ethics and I am the only candidate for mayor not accepting campaign contributions from companies or corporations. I am a born entrepreneur and have always had my own business. I owned a electrical integration company in California for many years and sold it to move back to Utah to raise my children. In 2003 I started a product development company out of Austria and the north American rights were later sold to Austrian interest. I started a commercial development company with the motto “we fill empty buildings” out of Southern California. Earlier in life I served my country in the USMC and was meritoriously promoted several times for my ability to lead. I also attended Orange Coast College and I have traveled around the world with a company that produced movies for National Geographic. I have real world experience and have no bad habits picked up by working for the city, county or city council.

 4.  What do you want to see accomplished in Ogden immediately and in the future?

I want to see a Mayor and City Council that work together to benefit the people of Ogden City that they were voted in to serve. I want to see a focus on our infrastructure. I want to see a balanced budget. I want to see a comprehensive transportation plan that takes all of Weber County into account. I want to implement a Made in Ogden program that will bring all levels of jobs into our community. I want to see a Job-centric focused administration. I also want to see the highest priority made toward our Education System. In order to make all of this happen, I will work with our council and the other leaders in our community through a transparent form of government.

5.  What do you see as the highest priority?

Jobs, Business Stability, Transportation Plan, Infrastructure, Transparency, Plan to pay down city debt.

 6. What would you do to assure that the things you believe are of highest priority be accomplished?

Listen and build consensus with Ogden City constituency. Work and communicate with your city council sharing all information in a timely fashion. Plan, budget, implement.

7. In what ways do you believe the current administration has done a good job and what would you do differently?

The current administration has been successful at rebranding Ogden City with the ”Ogden, It’s all within reach” outdoor concept. I would continue that success and build off the efforts of the current administration. I would build off success with a branding campaign I am calling “Made in Ogden” I would like to focus on all level of jobs. With “Made in Ogden” we will focus on product development and product distribution to take advantage of our empty buildings at the BDO, Ogden Industrial Park, Rail lines, Airport and geographic location centered on the CANAMEX trading corridor. Consistent government policy can help make this successful.


Register to Vote

Meet Van Wagoner



Family Life

A father of two girls and the husband of a beautiful woman, family life should always come first.

We have a rich history in Ogden of being proud and taking pride in our families. I moved to Ogden to raise my family with respect for people and appreciation for the outdoors. I have often said we are a family of families and we need to work together to raise the quality of life for everyone.

When there are so many demands pulling parents away from the dinner table, we need to remember that the one hour a night around the family table is one of the most important to our children’s development and the bonding a family has while eating, laughing and talking about the day. We need to exercise positive decision making and keep traditions of family strong.  We need to encourage more time with the family and more time teaching our children to take responsibility for their actions and give back to their community. We need to be mindful that not everyone can afford the same time but we can all pick up a little slack where needed.


Entrepreneurs built this community and the many names associated to greatness from the 1800’s forward will continue to grow. Ogden was built on strong principals with dedication to a hard work ethic. Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the life blood of our economy. We should continue to encourage initiatives to further the development of future generations of creative thinkers.


I have never lived in a Community like Ogden, Utah.

The city is unique to any other place I have ever lived or visited. The strength of the community perserveres through challenges and comes together when needed.

Citizens of Ogden give back to their community. Together uniting as volunteers and donating back to where we live.

Individuals, businesses, foundations and other organizations pool resources to host successful events and make changes that positively impact life in Northern Utah.


Pride in our Neighborhoods

Our relations with other cities and especially Weber County are fragile and have been negatively impacted and together we will need to work toward opening the communications and building each other up. I often have heard that our inner city is a ghetto and that our citizens don’t feel safe.

Folks we don’t know ghetto and the neighborhoods in Ogden that are often talked about as being “the bad neighborhoods” just need a nudge of leadership and someone to help them find that pride again.

We don’t need to hire more police officers; we need more effective leaders leading them. We need leaders that lead by example doing what they say and saying what they do. We have an outstanding police force but they can’t do it alone.

As neighborhood communities, we need to raise the bar, holding each other accountable, teaching our kids right from wrong and lending a helping hand beyond our own street. Pride in your neighborhood comes from the home and doesn’t need government intervention.

Our government can help outline some goals for teaching the youth that: this is your city, your neighborhood, and your home.

Together lets be proud of all Ogden neighborhoods, not just the street you live on.

Protect our open space

Open space is off limits to development.

When I first moved to Ogden I was originally excited to hear about the gondola project. After moving back to Utah in 2007, to raise my children with the appreciation for the outdoors, I am on record stating that myself with a few friends from California were willing to invest a considerable amount of money in the old Berthana Ballroom, a building I had purchased, located on 24th street should the gondola project be built and that it may not be financially feasible with out the attraction for more people. After learning more about the project I found that it would take public lands and give portions to private developers along our foot hills in order to help subsidize the expense and allow an ability to profit sooner instead of taking private risk and recognizing profit later.

The developers I learned from in California and had worked with knew that they had to work hard and that if they took calculated risk that over time they typically would do pretty darn good on their investment. Seemingly over the past ten years in Ogden real estate folks have forgotten that concept or just simply become greedy with closed door deal making.

Our open space is off limits to development and we owe future generations at least that. I am often on the trail system with my family and couldn’t imagine nor ever want to see our open space with more boxes built on it. I love the wilderness and feel the most in my element when outdoors, enjoying what Ogden has to offer, on our mountains and along our rivers. Under my administration I will support open space in Ogden and take additional steps to protect this space, as the treasure that it is. I would like to see our inner city youth take advantage of our trail system so that future generations continue to  hold mother nature in the highest regard. I would propose that we help Marshal White Center in developing a Ogden Nature program so we can expose our youth to the trails and enhance their development and love for the outdoors.

Protect our History

The character of Ogden has been built over one hundred years with history and traditions left behind. We are fortunate to have these valuable assets to study and preserve.

As Tow-Mator said in CARS “you don’t know where you’re goin’ until you know where you had been.” We must Protect our History. Our buildings are precious community assets with railroad traditions that will forever be remembered along with memories of the people who contributed. As we grow forward, we need to realize we are leaving behind history for future generations to study. What will they say on how we did as a community, as comparisons thru time will be made?

Our traditions of family, entrepreneurship, community and history must live strong, stronger than years past and be held to the highest standards.

History is written everyday and if elected, during our administration we will hold everyone accountable to the highest standards.



MADE IN OGDEN is a local manufacturing and production concept of:

We build it.

We ship it.

We support and service the product manufacturing needs for small to large scale businesses across the world.

Although local customers are the most important, we no longer live in an isolated economy and we need to take advantage of the global economy.

Our businesses need more patrons and the world holds these customers.

It is time to bring manufacturing back to the United States and Ogden is in the absolute perfect position to serve as a hub for innovative solutions. Instead of company incentives based off of future promises of employment, together let’s explore an official MADE IN OGDEN seal so companies that are developing products and goods can be proud of placing the seal on products that are made here, sold here, and shipped around the world.

By supporting this concept we can insure better quality control over products because we have a diverse work force. And we can develop jobs that are long term, and consistent paying with opportunity for advancement.

The myth that you can develop a product overseas for less, is just that, a myth. Not only are those products being developed with substandard human conditions, the products may also contain poisons and other materials known to be harmful to our society. For those that have developed a product out of the country you know the challenges of making sure all details are being followed once you leave the plant. It’s a costly balancing act which is weakening our position in the world. I believe if given a choice Americans would rather buy products with the official MADE IN OGDEN seal.

Outdoor Recreation

With the latest renaissance of Ogden we have embarked on the well known program “Ogden, Its all within Reach”, an Outdoor Recreation theme which has the perfect setting here in Ogden.

This is a great start. We need to continue to support these types of operations, however we need to encourage these companies to bring their core business here to Ogden. Not only do we have the ability to produce world class products here but we also have history working on our side with the remaining rail routes reaching from harbor to harbor and boarder to boarder.

Additionally, because we are centrally positioned on the CANAMEX corridor, we are uniquely positioned to harness greater potential with the outdoor recreation companies and we have only began to recognize the synergy that will be here in Ogden expanding the employment base.

Aerospace Industry

One industry that is already here which could expand development is the AeroSpace Industry.

Little is known about the contribution of job creations and product development from this sector because they put their head down and work forward. This sector doesn’t boast nor buff its own apple for the hard work they do locally because of the top secret projects that they may be working on. They’re doing great work and we need to continue to encourage similar businesses to bring their product development to Ogden to expand the employment base.

Health Care

Utah has been known for first class Health Care for decades. As we get older the industry is one of the fastest growing. They are continually looking for ways to innovate and get smarter. Health care encompasses a wide range of services and products from mineral supplements, medical equipment, cancer research and general health care such as IHC and HCA Systems. Continuing to find cures and create innovative equipment and techniques will insure Ogden and the greater area more jobs and global recognition in the industry.

Long Term Development

The above industries have been innovating away from wasteful manufacturing and becoming greener with each year and our community could challenge all businesses to leave a neutral carbon foot print. To encourage the development of environmentally conscious manufacturing, Ogden should be on the fore front of another industry which could contribute some of the highest paying wages in the region. The innovation in the energy savings industry and other supporting technologies need to be implemented across all of Utah starting in Ogden. We need to encourage that buildings are built on the most efficient standards and that bi-product such as emissions are controlled with guidelines to protect our children and our environment.


Together these industries could take us into a future where everyone wins.


Let innovate together Ogden.


Copyright 2011-2012 Vote Van Paid for by Vote Van Wagoner Campaign Committee 2012