The Longmont Years: 2012-2013 Airport Master Plan success, and plans to move

This is the final installation of the long and winding road of our activities while residing in Longmont, Colorado.  We pick up in early 2012 where we’d already talked about and even came close to moving 6 years prior, but I had one last piece of unfinished business before we left:  coming full circle back to the Vance Brand Airport, where it all began. Continue reading…

The Longmont Years: 2009-2011 Breaking the Bloc

In this installment, we pick up in early 2009 after apparent local political burnout – or so I thought.  The previous two years were hectic, to say the least.  Output increased in quantity and quality, both in the written and spoken word.  By the end of ’08 I had gone back to one of my first loves: aviation.  But staying away from local politics was apparently not in the cards. Continue reading…

The Longmont Years: 2007-2008 YourHub, LifeBridge, The Bloc, Longmont Advocate, Vote!Longmont, and podcasting

In the previous post, I talked about how we came to end up in Longmont and the beginnings of my (and our, including my wife) various activities there, specifically in the political arena.  This next section only covers 2 years, but insanely busy and active years they were, read on… Continue reading…

The Longmont Years: 2000-2006 Coming to Longmont, and Wrongmont

It’s not with a heavy heart, but actually a quite light and airy one, that we bid adieu to the city we’ve called home for the last 13+ years; Longmont, Colorado.  But fear not, I still have to work there for a few more years, live close enough to be affected by it, and may once in a while throw some tax dollars its way.  Happily I’ll be throwing less toward Boulder County. Continue reading…

Moving target

I always get a chuckle when one of the lefty screwballs in the area point out that I used to run this or that website, as if I’m ashamed of it.  (Hint: I’m not).  I even point out over there in the upper right-hand corner all of the former sites I’ve run throughout the years.  I’m glad to see the entries from those sites still get traffic.

Some may assume I had to change site names for one reason or another, that I had to dupe readers into thinking they were reading some new site from some new guy.  Of course the flaw in that logic is I sign my real name to all of the entries on those sites.  I changed site names over the years partly out of boredom, short attention span, strategy, whatever. Continue reading…

Percy Allen Conarroe, March 3, 1927 – June 15, 2013

percyIt was an honor and privilege to call Percy Conarroe a friend and confidant.  If you’ve read this website or its earlier versions you saw that he was a contributor of great value.  He passed away recently at the age of 86.  In true Percy fashion, he didn’t want flowers but instead requested that you write a letter to the editor about something you care about.  I’ve tired of the local paper turning down my opinion pieces while they let far worse through, so being the editor of this website I’ll write here about something I care about – or in this case someone I cared about, Percy Conarroe. Continue reading…

Musings from the wilderness

Life is good, especially when you flush out those that never should have been part of your daily existence.  This includes former friends, political enemies, and even some that may be political allies.  The offers and requests for getting back into, or remaining in, the political game haven’t slowed, but my response has been the same: no thanks.  Like I said, life is good. Continue reading…

Just asking . . .

Why, in this modern age, does it take so long–usually over two months after work starts–to replace a road bridge in Boulder County? Recent examples: the bridge just completed on 95th Street over Boulder Creek; now one on Niwot Road over the Feeder Canal, and another one on 95th Street just south of Longmont over Lefthand Creek—all with closures and some with seemingly lengthy detours. Still being worked on is a bridge over Boulder Creek at Highway 52 and east county line. Fortunately, one lane has been kept open there for traffic.
Continue reading…

Longmonts foreclosures, and other governmental failures

Just a snapshot for those that still think things are going so swimmingly in Longmont. Below is a map (which should automatically update) of foreclosures throughout the city. The first week I started tracking these was April 11th, which is why Blue (the first color I used) is predominant, as it depicts new and old foreclosures in that newspaper section. Afterwards, the other colors are just the new additions by week.

View Longmont Foreclosures in a larger map

In the KEY below, you can see new and total entries by week. These are in the Saturday Longmont Times-Call in the Classifieds D section, and these take up most of the Classifieds section. It appears that these foreclosures must run for five (5) consecutive weeks in the paper. Other information included in these foreclosures (which I did not include here) are the names of the people that are on the deeds, the amount originally loaned, the loan balance, and the date of auction.

Blue= 4/11/09 16 new entries (41 total)
Red= 4/18/09 20 new entries (55 total)
Green= 4/25/09 8 new entries (47 total)
Yellow= 5/2/09 9 new entries (48 total)

I waited until I had a few weeks of data to see trends before posting this map and these numbers. One thing to keep in mind when looking at the total numbers when 50 or so don’t seem so bad – there are surely many more, they’ve just run out their 5 week requirement to be published in the paper. While things peaked on 4/18/09, the new and total numbers are fairly stable and the total number is actually higher than the first tracking week of 4/11/09.

One troubling thing when looking deeper into the foreclosures is the differences between the original loan and the amount owed. No doubt there are always seconds and lines of credit taken out on a home when it’s appreciating. But many of these homes were bought (or refinanced) when values were already sliding, so enough appreciation to get a second appears unlikely. Some loans were short term and some looked like no payments were ever made at all. Still others could have been loans over 100% of the homes value.

Stealing from the future
Just a hypothetical, philosophical question here: how is taking out several thousand dollars on a second/line of credit (some are over $20k), and then just walking away not stealing? Is it really any surprise that banks are failing all over the country given this situation? Many were forced into dealing in these sub-prime mortgages or face sanctions from the government (thanks to Barney Frank and friends), and lent money to people with income/debt ratios that were set-ups for failure – for the lender and borrower – and we all are paying for it, and will for decades.

Cold hard truths
Not everyone can buy or own a home. Putting someone into a home they can’t afford, instead of renting permanently or temporarily to save money, is not doing that person a favor. In every one of these foreclosure notices is a story; many paid several thousand dollars (again, some over $20k) lowering their balance, only to lose their home (and all the money they paid into it) trying to keep their word on a loan.

Meanwhile, while these people are struggling to hold on (some surely are still in these homes), the City of Longmont is playing tiddlywinks with more people who can’t afford homes and throwing money at affordable housing programs. Great, more future failure. If the next fact doesn’t bother you, nothing will: In a recent City Council meeting, it was revealed that some homes in the affordable housing program have gone into foreclosure. But that’s not all – not only did you (if you’re a taxpayer) help fund getting someone into one of these homes, some of these people got out seconds/lines of credit, trashed the house, left it, and took the money from the second/line of credit with them – which you will also help fund. Taking it in the front end, and the back.

End affordable housing
This is surely not going to make me popular, but someone has to say it.
Longmont should temporarily (or better yet, permanently) end all funding in its budget for affordable housing. First, help, where possible, people in foreclosure, if they are suitable candidates – in other words, can they keep up payments? Second, (and this is after foreclosure candidates are taken care of) look into affordable renting assistance. Isn’t the overall goal to get people off of the streets and into warm places? That doesn’t necessarily mean home ownership, and it’s a mistake (in my opinion) to make that risky leap, for the city and the potential affordable housing candidate.

Rights, not guarantees
The Declaration of Independence says you have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – which was actually a tweak on a passage from the Virginia Declaration of Rights‘ “the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety” – which itself was a tweak on John Locke‘s “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions“. These are rights, not guarantees, not promises, and definitely not endowed by a government entity like some program that gives away breaks on homes at the expense of others (taxpayers in this case). This is not to say government can’t help in these situations, it can and should. But it needs to do it smarter and differently.

One example
I’m going to disagree with someone I rarely disagree with, Councilmember Mary Blue, who I believe is perhaps one of the best councilmembers we currently have. She made a statement about not being able to tell the difference between the affordable homes, the Habitat for Humanity homes, and the regular homes in her neighborhood. Ironically, a couple of weeks before she said this during a council meeting, a friend of mine who lives in the same neighborhood painted a completely different picture – that the ratio of these homes is too high, that some bigger homes are wedged and surrounded by these smaller homes that stick out and bring down home values making it nearly impossible to sell – regardless of the market. Some of these homes have also been abandoned. Whatever positives came from these homes was apparently only temporary.

That is one but one example of this failed system, as is the foreclosure map above, and you probably are aware of stories in your own neighborhood along these lines. People can point blame in whichever direction that helps make their own personal points: banks, sub-prime lenders, borrowers, over-regulation, under-regulation, unemployment, or bad luck. For more than one reason, my pick is bad government, whether elected or appointed bureaucrats, nationally and locally. What’s being done nationally and locally is not helping, only exacerbating and extending the misery.

You’ve heard of pro/anti/smart growth, this isn’t about big/small government, it’s about smart government. Currently, ours isn’t very.

Longmont Times-Call staffers invited to work as valets at owner’s Christmas party?

(Submitted by Brigette Rodriguez)

(This way for your journalism degree?)

Report the news…or park the bosses car? It’s being reported that staffers at Longmont’s Daily Times Call newspaper have been asked to act as valets at a private party for Ed Lehman, who is the publisher of the paper.
Does this include the writers? I personally hope the below article is a joke as I don’t want my editors at Examiner getting any ideas! I’m lousy at parallel parking. I also took a sharpie and drew a line on my garage wall to show me where to line up the antenna to my mini-van so I don’t plow into the house.
Hey…cool, a Lexus! Continue reading…