St. Vrain Valley Voices: Mayor exceeded his authority

(A version of the following was printed in the 2/11/12 Times-Call)

It’s disappointing to see the self-proclaimed “Mayor for Everyone” Dennis Coombs so easily steered and persuaded by the more radical elements in the area. Just when you thought jobs and the economy should be the most pressing matters, along comes Mayor Coombs’ handlers to remind you that social issues like “marriage equality” are more important. I recall Republicans nationally making this same mistake and paying dearly for it.
Longmont Area Democrats President John Bigger, similar to other liberal/progressive commentators in the Times-Call’s comment section, have once again missed the entire point of this “teachable moment” in our local city charter rules, and the rule of law. The “issue” (of gay marriage) isn’t really the issue, and as more than one commenter made clear, and I’m paraphrasing, “it’s all right to break or bend a rule every now and then as long as it furthers an agenda I agree with.”

I’m sure then they would feel right at home with those that bomb abortion clinics – same rationale.  (This was deleted by the TC editorial staff)

Getting past the obsession our liberal/progressive friends have with nationality, skin color, genitalia and what people do behind closed doors — all people they feel must be categorized and pandered to — let’s try to keep the discussion between the ears, not between the legs.

Regardless of what city staff had to say about Mayor Coombs’ actions, it may be instructive to look at the actual pledge he signed. Here are some highlights:

“The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the recognition and extension of full equal rights to such unions, including family and medical leave, tax equity, and insurance and retirement benefits, and opposes the enshrinement of discrimination in the federal or state constitutions.” “(Cities that favor marriage equality for same-sex couples) are the places where today’s entrepreneurs are most likely to choose to build the businesses of tomorrow.” “We stand for the freedom to marry because it enhances the economic competitiveness of our communities…”

All council members are sworn to uphold the constitutions of the United States and Colorado. Yet this pledge clearly states opposition to these documents as they don’t currently “enshrine” marriage equality. Apparently, Mayor Coombs and his supporters feel they can be selective in which parts of his swearing in are adhered to.

In that pledge you won’t see any caveat stating “even though we are attaching ‘mayor’ to our signature on this ‘mayors’ pledge,’ we express this opinion only on behalf of ourselves and this is not the position or policy of any city.” Only after being asked about this by the Times-Call did Mayor Coombs volunteer up that information. Immaterial, and too little too late. Mayor Coombs clearly broke Rule 23 in our City Charter about representing the city.

When Dennis Coombs announced his candidacy, he cited the city’s action, or inaction, on the Dream Act as his main reason for entering the mayoral race. There was lots of public input and discussion among council members on that issue. No mayor or council member went outside of council and decided, even if they lost the argument, to publicly support the Dream Act with the title “mayor” or “Longmont City Council member.” So ignorance of what was acceptable in non-local issues like this is no excuse.

Mayor Coombs was voted in by fewer than 200 votes out of more than 20,000 votes cast, which is something he should keep in mind when he takes on an issue like this that’s sure to bring controversy with it. It’s possible that a majority of voters in Longmont may agree with him on this issue. But others who are aware of procedure and process don’t appreciate our elected leaders forgetting they’re not dictators.

Mayor Coombs should show his fellow council members and the residents some respect and remove his name from the “mayors’” list and bring it up in a council meeting for a public discussion and a council vote. He very well may get the votes on council to speak on behalf of the city as “mayor” on this issue — and that will be fine. The way he went about this was shady and borderline unethical.

Chris Rodriguez is an 11-year Longmont resident and editor and publisher of LongmontPolitics.Com.
Musings after the fact:  In what appears a lame attempt at “tit-for-tat”, Mayor Coombs’ supporters are using something Councilmember Katie Witt did on behalf of the Mitt Romney campaign.  I personally didn’t talk about it because I didn’t know about it, and I wouldn’t have as I try not to repeat others – especially the mentally deranged.

What I find humorous about it is that Mayor Coombs’ supporters are in essence admitting that he broke RULE 23 if she did!  So why all the whining and complaining about the rest of us pointing out what you already know to be true?  I will point out one not-so-subtle difference in these two situations, one word, MAYOR.  Also known as the “ceremonial leader” of the city council – or “Dear Leader” if you prefer.  I don’t see where Katie Witt signed a pledge, although someone else (the Romney campaign) made their own list of supporters that she appeared on.

And then there are those that said if they knew she supported Mitt Romney they wouldn’t have voted for her.  These are what we call liars, or just inept.  She was high up in the 2008 Mitt Romney campaign for Colorado, a year before she was elected to Longmont City Council.  These people didn’t and wouldn’t have voted for her regardless, and they know it, so save the charade.

But you know you’ve won the argument when a couple of things happen:  First when there’s an overly sickly fawning type of letter in support of Mayor Coombs (by Teresa Lichti) short on facts but long on love, and then when they go after you or your spouse based on your appearance (probably also Ms. Lichti or her fellow haters).  Yeah, I know, pretty ridiculous considering the appearances of some of the Lovely Ladies of the Left in Longmont (not).  You know the saying “just one look”, and in this case it’s followed by “will make you lose your lunch”.

About Chris Rodriguez

Chris is the editor/publisher of LightningRod Blog - as well as founder/editor of Wrongmont, Longmont Advocate, Vote!Longmont, Longmont Politics, the LightningRod Radio Network, as well as being the original Longmont Examiner. Chris is a writer and talker - whether it be blogs, podcasts, music, or public speaking. When he's not heard on Air Traffic radio, he can be heard on his podcasts or seen in the local paper causing trouble.
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