(Public invited to be heard 3/24/09)
-Edited for print version appeared in Times Call opinion section on 3/31/09
Mayor Lange and members of council, I’m here on behalf of our non-partisan organization Vote Longmont, to voice concern over the upcoming local elections this November.
While it may be only March, ordinances and committee selections are being made that could affect this election. An Election Task Force was formed in response to the election of Councilmember Santos due to a large group contribution to his campaign. Other groups and organizations have shown similiar support for current and past council members, so this was not unique to Councilmember Santos. Considering that, I appreciate his cooperation and participation in the task force.
Attempts have been made to limit the rights of citizens in this community both by some members of this council as well as public speakers who frequently show up to speak of or post online insidious statements that the upcoming election will be bought by groups backed by big money.
Now that the campaign finance reform ordinance was passed, albeit with some last minute amendments, the upcoming selections of the Election Committee is something all concerned citizens should be watching closely. Council members and applicants need to follow the rules of the application process. The application process is open and the requirements and dates are posted on the city website. There should be no last minute rush of post deadline applicants, like that of previous board selections…some of which were for boards that had already received qualified applicants.
I encourage the general public to watch the selection process very closely as a little over half of this council up for re-election. Citizens should keep an eye on cronyism, voting blocs, and possible conflicts of interest. If this process is not done correctly, this Election Committee could become a kangaroo court with subpoena power targeting its political enemies.
Please remember that this election is supposed to be non-partisan, and for the sake of transparency, council should be reminded of that when selecting members for the commission that fairness be given to all applicants.