“Would You Please Recall The Mayor?”

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.

LA032: Vulgar signs, Marxmiller lawsuit, campaign limits, and the Election Task Force

December 8, 2008 Show

Blue Christmas by Wiser Time

Longmont Examiner’s “Longmont Lights” about
Roosevelt Park Ice Rink Continue reading…

“Complete Waste Of Time”

At the December 2 Longmont City Council Meeting, the topic that took up most of the night was the recommendations from the Election Task Force. What none of you saw on television, and many attending possibly missed was the anger, and rightly so, from some on the task force at the councils vote. The comments “complete waste of time” and “six months for nothing” were heard.

When I talked to some of them after the meeting, I told them they must’ve seen this coming. In my comments to council I was concerned that the minority opinion of the task force would become the majority vote on council. And it did.

Forget for a minute your opinion on contribution limits, which was the main issue at the council meeting. This group was formed to do a job. There were diverse opinions and they worked hard since May. They met every other week through July, then once a week after that. I could only attend one of the earlier meetings, but it was obvious they had their work cut out for them.

Lots of people said negative things about this task force at Public Invited To Be Heard, but how many of them showed up at any of these meetings? My problem isn’t so much the dollar amounts, it’s the discarding of the well studied and organized majority opinion and all the work this task force did over the last several months.

Task force members Doug Brown and Chris Colelli made some of the best arguments and comments of how the group came to the conclusions it did, and I’ll probably pull some of their audio for my next podcast. The warnings were that if you mess with one part of their work, it will have ramifications on other parts. And that lower amounts could lead to legal challenges. These pleas were ignored.

Also ignored were some of the numbers from the city’s satisfaction survey. While people did vote in favor of the idea of contribution limits, what was more interesting were the limits they voted for. Combining all limits (individual, group, and in-kind) 48.6% of those surveyed voted for between $500 to No Limit on campaign contributions.

So where is council getting this idea that contributions should be $100 or $200 like many of them said? Not from the task force, not from the survey, so where?

I’m guessing from some of their unelected vocal supporters. Ironically, these same people (and councilmembers for that matter) complain about past councils being owned and ran from some shady influences in town. How is this any different? Just because you now agree with it, does that make it alright?

LA030: Reporters as valets, City Council bombs in poll, and opinions on each councilmember

November 24, 2008 Show

I’m The One, Pick Me by Modern Science

Longmont Times-Call staffers as valets?
by Brigette/Longmont Examiner

Continue reading…

Elections 2008: Please stop voting

(submitted by Brigette Rodriguez)

Time’s up. Please put down your pens. Stop the collective groaning. Why are people still doing THIS?

You can stop now. It’s over and done. Even the election graffiti art at the corner of 3rd and Lashley in Longmont shows that it’s over. Go take a look if you don’t believe me. The children and the police and the firemen? Yep…they also know.

If you didn’t like the outcome and think that the clerk is still counting ballots, she’s not. Go back and read your voting instructions, it said postmarks by Election day don’t count if they are received AFTER the election. According to Jessie Cornelius, spokesperson for the Boulder County Clerk’s office, “While it’s unfortunate that some voters miss the deadline, it’s normal to receive ballots after Election Night. This is not considered a high number. The 242 late ballots came from Boulder County, out of state and overseas.”

I personally think it’s now time to leave the Boulder County Clerk alone. She’s busy. The post office, they’re busy too. The holiday’s are coming…read all about it!
Just save your “I voted” sticker for our upcoming local elections next year…and VOTE on time.
With local elections, races can be decided by a small percentage, who knows if those 242 would have made a difference in at least one of our local races.

Was it the length of the ballot or were you catonic from all the election coverage or too busy watching those “Don’t vote!” you-tube videos? Post a comment and tell me why you may be one of those who merits a “I THINK I voted sticker.” No, we won’t come hunt you down with a sharpie and change your sticker.

And as I so loudly got to say (thanks guys!) when I was an election day judge: “THE POLLS ARE CLOSED!”

(Election Day 2008 artwork by Gamma Acosta)


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…

LA029: Birthday Bash Music Show!

November 17, 2008 Show
Birthday Bash Music Show

Even though it’s my birthday, here’s a gift of music from the bands I’ve discovered since the shows inception in April. This is a mix of hard rock, comedy, pop rock, alternative, religious, jazz/groove, and ballads. I’ve met some of these artists, or have had contact with nearly all of them via email. Most are based in Colorado, some right here in Longmont. They are all worth a listen, so visit their Podsafe Music Network links for more information on each artist. Continue reading…

My name is Old Glory

Go outside. See how many American flags are flying today.
I counted five this morning in Longmont during carpool. They were outnumbered by the campaign signs that were still out.
Five. That’s it. Did people forget? Read these below stories about people in Longmont who can’t forget.
I still see the face of one of them when he accidentally wandered into my picture at a memorial in DC. He reminds me every year not to forget.
My father in law is probably wearing his 1st Cavalry shirt today. He reminds me every year not to forget.
My youngest son still remembers picking up and righting all the small American flags at the Vietnam memorial. He reminds me every year not to forget.
I remember the faces of the soldier statues at the Korean War Memorial at dusk. They remind me every year not to forget.
The Veterans Parade passing by the “All America City” banner on Main Street in downtown Longmont reminds me every year not to forget.
An article from the appropriately named Denver Forgotten Communities Examiner showed me that my fellow Examiners didn’t forget.
I went to Google something today. They also reminded me not to forget.