From time to time, Longmont City Councilmembers other than the Mayor get their chance at being Acting Mayor. Karen Benker has done it a couple of times, once was fine, the other was a little shaky. At the December 16 council meeting, Gabe Santos got a shot at it and he uttered what’s sure to be the line of the year. He asked that Mayor Lange and Mayor Pro-Tem Benker be recalled!
I’m a fan of getting right to the point, no mixing of words. But this is unprecedented! Has Chicago-style politics (that would include the Illinois governorship) come to Longmont? No, it was just a faux pas when Mr. Santos was asking that these two members be un-sequestered from a Longmont Area Economic Council (LAEC) discussion, and was pretty funny (or extreme hubris! I’ll go with the former)
Speaking of the LAEC, why do I get the feeling that some on council are still unsure of what this organization does? Councilmembers McCoy and Levison asked questions that made it appear they’re not totally familiar with their mission. I heard a couple “is that correct”, followed by “no, it’s not”, and financial numbers that weren’t too close to reality, like membership fees.
What I really was getting a kick out of, and shocked at the amount of restraint LAEC President John Cody showed, was the added demands put on the LAEC by the same people who wanted to cut it fairly severely, especially Ms. Levison, who made the most requests and also wanted the harshest cuts. To his credit, Mr. McCoy was the one earlier who found $30,000 from other funds to cover some of Ms. Levison’s cuts in LAEC, and he did move the issue forward at this meeting after getting his questions answered.
But some of the points and questions were a bit much, like the LAEC needs to find jobs for the laid off people at the turkey plant, and find them here in Longmont. Not a whole lot of turkey plants in the area. And a recurring theme from some on council, but to a much greater degree from their fellow travelers, is this non-stop attack on former administrations to the point of ridiculous. Case in point here was towards former Mayor Leona Stoecker coming from Mr. McCoy. It sounded petty and vindictive, and it was also clear he didn’t know exactly what she was doing (which sounds like a positive thing for the city) and that it wasn’t coming from the LAEC contract. No “double dipping” like he was accusing.
The whole Mall issue, which took up a couple of hours, I’ll leave for later. But there were a couple of other interesting things that I’d like to take a couple quick hits at: Karen Benker wants a tax on Internet sales. I only bring this up as it’s ironic that she was also pushing, and succeeded, at drastically cutting the credit local businesses get for the paperwork needed to actually report those collected taxes.
The city’s Use Tax projections are a bit thin, like off by a third! Guess what makes up a big chunk of Use Taxes – building permits. Can anyone say Lifebridge Union Development? (say Firestone as you do). Or how about the Mall for that matter, and the stalling that’s lead to no building activity there.
Finally, the board appointments seemed to go a little smoother than usual, except for a little argument between Mr. Santos and Mr. McCoy, as the latter started straying from the rules council agreed to. It also looked like council, once again, allowed a late applicant (late as in applied at the council meeting) to be considered and appointed.
In other cases it was a new applicant perhaps not familiar with the rules and deadlines (what’s the point of those anyway, right?). In this case, it was someone already on the board they were applying for completely unaware of the vacancy! Stunning. Surprised this applicant wasn’t passed over out of the obvious ineptitude. Then again, I’m not.