LA028: Council’s stunning lack of understanding, and Skyline’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

November 10, 2008 Show

City Council Watch

Every Little Thing by Modern Science Continue reading…

Examiner straw poll for Longmont, Colorado

(from Brigette, the Longmont Examiner)
Examiners from major cities across the country conducted a straw poll of voters to better understand their
habits leading up to Election Day. Respondents were randomly selected to participate and asked a series of questions listed below.

Question 1: Have you been polled before today on election issues?

» Results of the Examiner nationwide straw poll

Yes No
5 2

Question 2: On Election Day, did you vote for the same candidates that you intended to vote for prior to arriving at the polling location?

Yes No
7 0

(Out of 17 people polled, there were 10 people who had no response)

Question 3: What was the single most important issue to you in this election that affected how you voted?

Abortion. Future of the country. The honesty , integrity and transparency of the candidate. In general I would have to say it was the Economy. On a local level it was education (Mill levy and Bond ). Whether or not the candidate was supportive of a women’s right to choose. Conservative family values for people and free enterprise capitalism for business and the economy. Fear of Obama.

SUMMARY: As a participant in the election process on election day as well as one of the organizers for Vote! Longmont, I observed that the majority of people in this neighborhood district were prepared and knowledgeable of the issues. In addition to the above straw poll, I was informed that 80% of voters in my neighborhood district early voted or requested mail in ballots and wait times in at least two of the districts were minimal. There were also many first time voters, as well as their proud and encouraging mothers. Families showed up to vote together and if not, they made sure to check the poll book to see that their brothers, husbands, and wives had voted. There were also many young children observing their parents voting.

Due to the high turnout and newly registered voters, there was an increase in provisional ballots that were cast. In addition to that, the clerk and recorder’s office made an eleventh hour decision to accept mail in ballots at polling locations in an effort to assist voters. The clerks office is working diligently to get all those votes counted, read more HERE about how it’s going.

Conversations with others included reports of transportation provided to get voters to the polls and people knocking on doors on election day to remind voters that they have not voted. Frequently throughout the day the poll watchers outnumbered the voters at one polling location. Problems at two precincts I observed were minimal with election officials and voters alike who were tirelessly patient and friendly.

Too bad the nastiest of this election campaign couldn’t have gone as smoothly, but the “can-do” attitude won’t expire on election day and it still remains here in Longmont.

Election Night Scoresheet

Like I’ve said before, I enjoy predicting elections, and usually do fairly well at it. This one though? The variables involved and combinations of possibilities are nearly too mind boggling to nail it down one way or the other. I may tweak a few numbers here and there right up to Election Day, but for now I see more combinations of Electoral College Votes (ECV’s) for Obama to reach the magic number of 270 than for McCain. My initial guess is for Obama to end up with either worst case 273 or best case 311 ECV’s.

But how and when will we know? The networks are already saying they won’t be in any great rush to declare a winner. They are also gun-shy over relying too much on their exit polls, which in 2004 gave John Kerry false hopes during the afternoon on Election Day. The networks also don’t want people tuning out too early, so they’ll likely drag this out as long as possible. In Colorado’s case, we might not have a clear vote count until after midnight, if we’re lucky. So, again, what’s the best way to gauge what’s going on?

I put together a scoresheet of when each state’s polls close, how many ECV’s they are worth, and indicated in bold the important ones to watch. Some states straddle more than one time zone, but the times given (all Mountain Standard Time) are usually when each given state concludes the majority of its voting. So, here they are.


5:00pm VT(3) / VA (13) / SC (8) / GA (15) / KY (8) / IN (11)

5:30pm NC (15) / WV (5) / OH (20)

6:00pm ME (4) / MA (12) / NH (4) / CT (7) / NJ (15) / PA (21) / DE (3) / MD (10) / DC (3) / FL (27) / TN (11) / AL (9) / MS (6) / IL (21) / MO (11) / OK (7) / 6:30pm AR (6)

7:00pm KS (6) / MI (17) / NY (31) / RI (4) / WI (10) / LA (9) / MN (10) / TX (34) / NE (5) / SD (3) / NM (5) / CO (9) / WY (3) / AZ (10)

8:00pm ND (3) / IA (7) / MT (3) / UT (5) / NV (5)

9:00pm CA (55) / ID (4) / WA (11) / OR (7) / HI (4) / 10:00pm AK (3)


How crucial states go between 5pm and 6pm will pretty much decide who the winner is, that is IF the networks show the tallies in a timely manner. If Obama wins VA and OH, it’s pretty much over for McCain. If these are split or if McCain wins both, it’s going to be a long night, and the next two important states to watch will be NH and PA. Considering the idea of a split (or else why even go any further in this discussion?), if McCain were to win OH, then that might point to strength in PA, especially western and central PA. If McCain were to win NH, that would indicate weakness for Obama in some of the supposedly locked up blue states down the line. I tend to think McCain would win neither of these states.

So if it’s still a race by the time CO’s polls close, it then all comes down to three states: CO, NM, and NV. There’s little doubt that Obama will win the west coast and HI, equaling 77 Electoral votes. In just about any scenario, these will be the states that put Obama up over 270 EV’s. If Obama hasn’t reached 192 ECV’s before the west coast polls close, he won’t reach 269 (a 269-269 tie would go to Obama through the House of Representatives).

And here is where the dreaded slow counting expected for Colorado comes in, if it comes to this scenario. If either candidate is 9 shy of 270, Colorado will be under the microscope and attorneys will be flocking to our state in record numbers, a few per county, and we may not know the final results for a day or two.

So, I hope that helps you in weaving through the multimedia nightmare that might be awaiting us on Election Night. The eventual winner may not appear that way (based on ECV’s) for quite a while, but the keys to watch for above should give you a clue of how it’s going along the way.

LA027: City Council rules of procedure, executive sessions, and Benker right on Public Safety Tax

October 27, 2008 Show
Even by Wiser Time
Every Little Thing by Modern Science
City Council Rules (Of Procedure)” with contradictory city council positions and comments Continue reading…

City Council Rules! (Of Procedure)

In yet another contentious Longmont City Council meeting on October 21, there was one bit of irony I couldn’t let slip by. Councilmember Sarah Levison brought up City Council RULE 19: RECONSIDERATION in opposition to a motion Gabe Santos made which would effectively reverse a motion she made the previous week.

The rule reads: After the decision on any question, any member who voted with the prevailing side may move to reconsider the decision at the same meeting or at the next meeting at which Rule 25 permits final or official action on the subject question. Rule 25 spells out when there will be meetings, whether they’re regular or study session, and public postings of these meetings and their agendas.

At the September 23 regular session meeting, City Manager Gordon Pedrow told council they had a decision to make about a meeting on November 4 (Election Day) or November 11 (Veterans Day). Council voted to have an early and abbreviated meeting on November 4. The minutes for that meeting aren’t available yet, and Mayor Lange said it passed but didn’t say if it was unanimous or not. Ms. Levison said “I do not want to meet on Veterans Day”, so it’s assumed she voted for November 4. So she may have well voted with the “prevailing side”, as Rule 19 specifies.

But, on October 14, Ms. Levison brought this issue up again and tried to get council to reconsider having a meeting on Veterans Day, stating that she didn’t know that not having it then meant having it Thanksgiving week. Two problems with this: first, Mr. Pedrow stated during his comments on September 23 as they were considering this, that this indeed would mean a meeting during “Thanksgiving week”. Secondly, when she brought it up for reconsideration, it wasn’t during the same meeting or even the next meeting. Did she violate the very rule she was trying to use for her own purposes?

Granted, it may be debatable that a meeting date is a final or official action. But since this decision, it has been posted on subsequent agendas that the November 11 meeting has been cancelled. Either way, Ms. Levison went back on her earlier statement, and I could not find a single councilmember who spoke in favor of meeting on Veterans Day. So why bring it back up for reconsideration?

What Mr. Santos wanted reconsideration of was a questionable vote last week where two councilmembers abstained from voting. City Attorney Clay Douglas made an on-the-spot decision involving this issue, which he now seems to be reversing, which changes everything and should make that earlier vote invalid. So, in reality, this is not a reconsideration at all. It’s a clarification and correction.

This is an undecided item and might get resolved behind closed doors next week at yet another Executive Session. By Mr. Santo’s count, this should be the 21st of these types of “closed to the public” meetings.

That must be a record, and not one to be proud of. The new councilmembers promised a more open and accessible governing body when they ran for election. This staggering amount of closed door meetings proves, beyond any doubt, the contrary.

Biden’s a walking “Daisy” ad

Back in 1964 in the presidential race of Democratic President Lyndon Johnson and Republican Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, there was a television advertisement put out by the Johnson campaign called the “Daisy” ad. It signaled the beginning of what today we call negative advertising, and still remains one of the most controversial political advertisements ever made. It proved negative ad campaigns worked, and this one was only aired once. Pandora’s Box was forever opened that day on this subject, and like today, I guess the ends justified the means.

The point of the ad was to scare voters about Senator Goldwater, and his comments about using nuclear weapons in Vietnam, a war the Kennedy/Johnson administrations started. So on top of Vietnam, we can also thank these people and their party for the negative ads everyone seems to complain about these days.

Well, someone in this race has made a case that electing Democratic Illinois Senator Barack Obama for President could have similar consequences. Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy…Remember I said it standing here. If you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he’s gonna have to make some really tough — I don’t know what the decision’s gonna be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it’s gonna happen.

What’s “gonna happen”?

Oh, by the way, this is not a negative ad from the Republican Party, this is Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, all but assuring us we’re going to face near imminent attack, or something, if his running mate wins! He didn’t stop there: I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate…And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you – not financially to help him – we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re rightgird your loins.”

I have problems with those that vote strictly for reasons of personal gain, and I know some that are doing that very thing, which is their right. And while I can make the best out of just about any situation, it’s not inconceivable that I’d personally benefit from higher pay (but hopefully not high enough to hit Obama’s idea of “rich”), an improved collective bargaining contract, and possibly a bloated and very nice retirement deal with an Obama presidency. How’s that? Politicians always look out for their own pay, health benefits, and retirement plans, and when they do, some of us reap those rewards. That doesn’t make it right though.

But it’s hard to find a silver lining on a promised and guaranteed attack or crisis. At first I thought he meant a financial crisis requiring tough and uncomfortable decisions affecting us all, like a full fledge Depression. But he didn’t mean that at all, he meant something big, 9/11 big. Otherwise, why would he throw in the line about girding our loins, and how it’s not going to be apparent that the decisions President Obama will make are “right” initially? Is that admitting error before the fact? Some kind of pre-emptive lowering of the bar?

Talk about instilling confidence. And people make fun of Sarah Palin? This Biden is a walking, talking gaffe-o-matic. Let’s just hope this prediction of his, no matter who wins, is just another one of his many insertions of foot in mouth.

LA026: Police & firefighter unionization, Brandon Shaffer no friend to voters, and Longmont becoming laughing stock

October 20, 2008 Show

Oxygen by Dusty Hughes

Longmont 2A – Collective bargaining of police and fire employees Times-Call Editorial rebuttal by Mike Violette/CO FOP Continue reading…

“Laughing Stock of the Community”

While I was trying to pull together some audio for my next podcast, (which originally was going to be completely devoted to the Police/Firefighter bargaining issue, and hopefully still will be), I ended up with way more sound than I can use in one show just from the most recent Longmont City Council meeting of October 14, 2008.
Of course the line of the night, and if you suffer through the entire meeting you will surely agree, was Councilmember Mary Blue’s statement “We’re already the laughing stock of the community, we just want to compound it”. And this was before most of the ridiculous and tedious antics that made this meeting go nearly until midnight. Ms. Blue couldn’t have been more correct. But I’ll add, it isn’t all of council that is a laughing stock, and some of that stock resides in the crowd that often attends and makes fools out of themselves in Public Invited to Be Heard.
Ms. Blue’s main point was the haphazard way in which this current council goes about the business it tries to conduct in chambers. As I predicted, they are behind and floundering on the current budget, and it doesn’t help when councilmembers stray from the agenda and bring up all kinds of motions that go nowhere and waste time. Best example in the last couple of meetings is Councilmember Sarah Levison. I’ve never seen so many motions die due to no second, or voted down when a second actually occurs.
Nearly every one of these pointless motions could be a story or Times-Call article in themselves. For instance, anyone remember how council voted down having a meeting on November 11th, Veterans Day, well, because it’s a holiday and the whole veteran thing? At a late hour, Ms. Levison tried to revive this and sneak it into a part of the Consent Agenda. Sean McCoy tried to second it, but when councilmembers Karen Benker and Mary Blue said they’d remove their own second from the original Consent Agenda motion, he backed off. But boy did they want to undo the previous NO vote and to heck with veterans.
Even after City Manager Gordon Pedrow made it clear there were no more funds for any projects unless other projects were cut or unfunded, Ms. Levison still tried to move some projects from “unfunded” to “funded”. In one case there was a question of conflict of interest to the point Ms. Levison had to remover herself from voting. It failed anyway, more time wasted.
Another item which I found extremely troubling, but I believe I predicted this as well some time in the last few months, was when Ms. Levison wanted to skip the hassle of waiting for the Election Reform group and just put in the budget money for publicly financed campaigns! I know I said somewhere that this group, which Ms. Levison helped put together, would come forward with suggestions, but that council would disregard what didn’t fit their narrow agenda and vote in what they wanted and ignore this group by and large. I didn’t expect it to happen so blatantly and as rapidly as this! Much more on this and reaction from this group upcoming on this little gem.
Believe me when I tell you I’m only scratching the surface on council’s recent meetings. Watch it for yourself; it’s not something to be proud of. I’m glad to see Councilmember Blue put it the way she did, because she was right on the money. We’re in the midst of a sad and often befuddled governing body currently. It does not give me pleasure, nor does it Ms. Blue I assume, to have to point out this obvious sad state of affairs. See the price for not paying attention even for local elections?

Brandon Shaffer: Not a voter’s best friend

How would you feel if you, along with almost 700,000 other Colorado voters (equaling 65.9% of the voters), voted one way but a newly elected representative tried to overturn that result, more than once? Worse yet, how would you feel if that representative voted to take away the right for you to vote on that issue again?

That’s exactly what current State Senator Brandon Shaffer did with Senate Bills SB06-223 and SB07-046. These two bills, which Senator Shaffer co-sponsored and voted in favor of, would’ve effectively overturned Amendment 36 (this amendment would have changed the way in which the state apportioned its electoral votes). The latter senate bill had an amendment to it that would “refer to people under referendum”, Senator Shaffer voted NO. Bottom line, he wanted to undo the voters will in 2004 and not give them a chance to be heard again on this issue.

Why would he do this? These bills were the brainchild and pet projects of Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon. You didn’t think Mr. Shaffer moved up the ranks to Assistant Majority Leader in the Senate so quickly just on looks, did you? When you’re a good soldier for your leader and your party, there are perks. I asked the question, but didn’t get an answer, as to how often Senator Shaffer voted against his own party. On all the important bills that I looked over he towed the party line straight down the line. Even if that meant undoing and silencing your vote.

Bipartisan? Independent? Hardly. Tell Mr. Shaffer you don’t like your vote played with and vote NO on retaining him in his State Senate District 17 seat.

Other local representatives of note on this issue: Representative Jack Pommer (Dem-11) voted similarly to Senator Shaffer, and is running for re-election. Representative Paul Weissmann (Dem-12) should be commended on this issue for killing it in his committee.