Ya know, I was just going to let the creative rewriting of history last week in the Times-Call Open Forum go. But now this nonsense has spread to the Denver Post and the Longmont Ledger. In some kind of feeble attempt to rehabilitate a destroyed public image (and for good reason), former Longmont City Councilmember Karen Benker has found time to comment on two of her monumental failures – and the main reasons why she was trounced in last Novembers election by Katie Witt. Speaking of which, she still hasn’t conceded or congratulated the victor of that race. An opponent she laughed at and her clueless compadre Sean McCoy called a “city council wannabe“. Better than a “city council hasbeen” I guess.
Along with Ms. Benkers followers who prayed (to what God I have no idea) for Twin Peaks Mall owner Panattoni‘s demise, she has the gall to say “it’s a good thing” the city didn’t get involved with them. No, it’s because of the dismal former Bloc of 4 that stalled things that we still don’t have a theater there or much of anything else. It’s fitting that she uses the words “dead shopping center” after she publicly proclaimed it a “dying mall” – she should know, she helped kill it. Twin Peaks Mall was Karen Benker’s “Waterloo” (a popular phrase these days), and she paid the deserved price at the ballot.
Further showing her completely out of touch attitude, she says we should just plop down millions of dollars and buy some or all of the property. HELLO, thanks to her previous council’s wasteful spending we aren’t exactly flush with money, how misinformed does someone have to be to not know THAT? A show of hands…how many people think the City of Longmont has millions of dollars, say $15 million, to shell out on this? Anyone? Didn’t think so.
And the nerve to put her and the Bloc of 4’s failure on this new council by asking, get this, “So does this new council have the vision and energy to get Twin Peaks Mall revitalized?” And the ending is even better, “Or will it make excuses, dither some more…“. This is the absolute LAST person to ask this question. Maybe she should have asked that question of herself when she was the swing vote that basically put the mall exactly where it is right now.
And then there’s the Denver Post story about church growth creating conflict. Out from a prairie dog hole comes Ms. Benker again, who up to this point has been “unavailable for comment” for Times-Call stories about, well, anything to do with Longmont, but is more than up for some church bashing in the Post. The Longmont Ledger just copied and pasted this story, where it magically added another reporter, Electra Draper. (Side note: why is this publication still around? All I get in my RSS feeds from them are obituaries, pet adoptions, and copied stories from other newspapers. That, and wasted free papers up and down my neighborhood).
This story is chock full of laugh-worthy lines. “Former Longmont City Councilwoman Karen Benker said she consulted with several pastors in the community before she cast the only “no” vote against annexing (LifeBridge).” Huh? Later on she says “I take my faith very seriously. But I don’t regret my vote at all. This wasn’t a church issue; it wasn’t a religious issue…” IF IT WASN’T A RELIGIOUS ISSUE, THEN WHY DID YOU CONSULT SEVERAL PASTORS? Or do they have this up to now unknown special knowledge and insight on annexations and residential and commercial development? I wonder how many of these pastors disagreed with her, but considering she knows better she just ignored those voices. Personally I’m doubting the entire “consulting” thing, or it was one of those screwball churches that worship cheese and dirt.
She wasn’t done yet: “So many churches have a mission of helping the sick and incarcerated and, in my opinion, they shouldn’t be building strip malls,” and she knew LifeBridge wasn’t going to do that – or was incredibly uninformed. LifeBridge said a developer would do that, and sure enough, as the Post story reported, they’ve transferred that very land for that very purpose. She’s wrong (along with her hairbrained followers) and LifeBridge was truthful. But a large majority of voters already figured that.
It’s a damn good thing that people like Ms. Benker in her capacity as city councilmember, and entities like “What’s In It For Longmont” and the hateful crowd that now populate their spun off “FreeRange Longmont” website can’t be sued into oblivion by a group like LifeBridge (or can they?). But since Longmont, thanks to the above, has lost just about every decision regarding LifeBridge, it will be the City of Longmont who pays LifeBridge’s and Firestone’s legal fees. Which means we all will be paying those fees. I don’t see the church going after them to recoup that money, they don’t have to. But maybe the taxpayers who are picking up the tab (and that’s all us residents) should demand justice and get some of that money back.
This whole debacle has given Longmont a black eye that will be talked about for decades. Never forget who led these people in their quest against a Longmont church, that one “no” vote, the one who hosted petition parties against this church at her house as a sitting councilmember, the one who attended WIIFL meetings and bake sales, and who made sure Twin Peaks would become a “dying mall“. Longmont voters “consulted” facts and common sense and gave Karen Benker the boot.
I cannot tell you how many times city employees, from all levels, have come up to me since the election and are ecstatic that she is gone. I am not exaggerating. Everything you heard about her (much of it here) was true…and worse! Even I was surprised, as hard to believe as that may be. I even held back repeating some of the truly nasty rumors that were circulating. I never mentioned her “faith” (don’t know, don’t care) nor was I the one who was incorrectly identified as posting that “Kill The Christians” nightie. Yet another lie from her leftwing nutjob brigade.
So Longmont, pat yourself on the back. You did yourself a much bigger favor than you realize in changing the makeup of the city council. Now follow through and remove the remaining remnants of the Benker Bloc in 2011. Think of it as unfinished surgery where you accidentally left a couple of tumors behind.