Just when you thought it couldn’t get much more pathetic, Longmont politics hit an all time low recently. And who would be leading that charge, Councilman Sean McCoy, of course. You weren’t expecting anyone else, were you?
At the July 15th Longmont City Council Meeting, my wife got up to speak at Public Invited To Be Heard. She spoke about our organization Vote! Longmont and all the work she put into setting up for Rhythm on the River. It was substantial, trust me. She created a voting booth out of a recycled refrigerator box obtained from a local business. She coordinated our location at the event. She arranged my John Adams costume. She worked long hours making hundreds of bookmarks with our site name on one side, and fun election links for kids on the other. She made up copies of literature about election and registration deadlines, current school board issues, info on local businesses to encourage local shopping, and the “meet your council member” fliers. There was NO partisan literature, unless you consider a book by the League of Women Voters and a copy of the U.S.Constitution by the Cato Institute overtly partisan.
I could care less what a classless buffoon says or thinks about me. I deal with them all the time, no sweat off my back. But Mr. McCoy took it beyond just me with the following: He came up to our booth, and as I saw him formulating his zinger, I put out a hand and offered him one of our Vote! Longmont bookmarks. He said ” I wouldn’t take any of your garbage” and quickly walked away. My 12 year old son was sitting right next to me, actually closer to where Mr. McCoy was when he said this. He insulted all the work my wife put in to this project (we are a team) and showed no respect for the fact that my minor son was right there.
I mostly laughed it off, but my family was furious. As much as I tried to talk my wife out of it, she dealt it out to Mr. McCoy to the point where he responded immediately, something you don’t often see at council meetings. Here were his pearls of wisdom:
” Well, I’m just gonna address that real quickly and the issue was is that it wasn’t just all that, so folks out there the public understand. It was also a blog from a cons..uhh cards from her husbands conservative blog that was uh being handed out there too. And uh a lot of other things. And what we don’t know is uh what was actually said to every one of those parents about what uh each of us as councilmembers stand for in her husband’s perspective. So, I would just like that to go on the record as well.”
Some people just don’t know when to stop when they’re way behind. Notice he didn’t deny saying it, again, in front of our son? But let’s go through the myths and lies one at a time:
MYTH/LIE #1: My cards weren’t being handed out. My cards were off to the side and were only handed out or even mentioned if someone asked. It wasn’t our main focus. He wasn’t standing in front of those cards anyway.
MYTH/LIE #2: ” Conservative” blog. I cover Longmont issues. Last I checked city council is supposed to be non-partisan, we shouldn’t even know their party affiliation. Apparently, Mr. McCoy showed his poorly played hand here with his obvious disdain for ” conservatives“. I’ll remind people that this very issue is being taken on by the Election Reform Committee. I don’t care how people label me as I’ve been called a right and left wing whack job. But recently, I’ve been told I wasn’t a conservative, by a couple of non-conservatives! Nice try.
Also, our Vote Longmont website rotates ads from both parties. Quite often, a Jared Polis ad appears, is he a conservative? (Answer: no)
MYTH/LIE #3: ” And a lot of other things“, yes, those other things were the above mentioned not even close to partisan literature, including info on Mr. McCoy’s current council.
MYTH/LIE #4:Speculation and assumptions of what we were telling parents who came up to us. You know, I’m called a lot of things, stupid isn’t usually one of them. It would be public suicide for me to show a lick of partisanship in a large visibility venue like this with this voter registration drive. I would be taken to task for time immemorial. Not to mention we were told by the organizers that we couldn’t be partisan anyway. So is Mr. McCoy alleging we broke the rules of Rhythm On The River based on a guess? A totally unfounded accusation.
Hate to burst any councilmembers egos, but people don’t know who you are for the most part. What some know, they hear or read from the Times-Call (if they receive it) and bloggers like me. Mr. McCoy intimated I slandered him or others on council. Again, a guess. And an untrue one. Like I’m going to have THEIR “meet your councilmembers” literature and rip on them IN FRONT OF KIDS! Who would do such a thing in front of kids? Oops, well, I wouldn’t.
We’ve been on the front page of the Times-Call with this voter registration drive saying we would register anyone, party doesn’t matter. So he’s calling us liars there, too. When kids asked how they should vote, we never steered them in any direction. We had no partisan literature. I was in costume as a President whose party was neither Republican nor Democratic.
Here’s the best part and further proof of his complete lack of any foundation for his ridiculous comments: Yes, we registered several voters – NONE REGISTERED REPUBLICAN! Woops, there goes that partisan idea. And that mock election we had? We had 172 votes, OBAMA WON BY A 2-1 MARGIN!Woops, there goes another preconceived notion. We even posted the results on our website that night! If my ” perspective” was on display that day, I must not very convincing and his anti-conservative (apparently) leanings have nothing to worry about.
Later on, Mr. McCoy hinted our organization was not ” legitimate“.This borders on slander. I’ll remind him we were certified by the Colorado Secretary of State. We could, by the way, be as partisan as we like, many voter registration drives are, we chose not to be. But how are we any less legitimate than any other group in attendance at this event?
He then, as an ” educator“, asked the City Manager to look into not allowing groups like ours to ever return to a city sponsored event. But since he brought this up, there was a group that was roaming the event with clipboards trying to register voters, and they were overtly partisan. They had no booth and probably were not registered with the event organizers. Were they a “legitimate” voter registration drive? I’m sure Mr. McCoy will dig deep into this.
At this point I’d like to thank the City of Longmont for sponsoring this event and assigning us a great location, too! We were asked to be located there and provide an activity for the area.
Then as if right on cue the near weekly name-calling commenced, this time he accused us of ” phony patriotism“. Very nice. People in Ward 3 should really be proud.
One of his fawning apologists said to Mr. McCoy that the ” politics of personal destruction” are here in Longmont, or some laughable nonsense. But in a way she was right, for once, perhaps it is. In the person of Mr. McCoy and his ilk in this city.
Lastly, Mr. McCoy tried to deflect the blame for the mere mention of the poor returns of the City Survey. Take a look at your words and actions, Mr. McCoy, and you’ll find part of the reason. We respect the members of council and the time they put in. I’ve even complimented Mr. McCoy from time to time on my podcast. But I will call officials out and hold them accountable as I always have. Mr. McCoy words and actions disgrace the office he was elected to.
The following is a speech made to Longmont City Council by Brigette Rodriguez of Vote! Longmont on Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Mayor Lange and members of Council,
Most of you are used to seeing my husband Chris up here. I’m here tonite to talk about our non-partisan organization called Vote Longmont. I have the primary responsibilities of our organization. We started it as we felt that not enough residents are either registered voters nor are they showing up to actually vote. We are certified by the Colorado Secretary of States office to help people register to vote and in addition our website provides Longmont residents with current local initiative links and information. We have been very busy this year for obvious reasons with the national election coming up.
Last weekend we had the opportunity to have a booth at our first large event, Rhythm on the River. In addition to working with the Boulder County Clerk who was at a different location at the event, we were in an area sponsored by the Longmont Museum called the Discovery District. This area is a family oriented area and we offered an activity called “Discover Voting”. We had 172 children cast their ballots for President in a voting booth I had created for our mock election. Many parents as well as the museum director thought this would inspire them to one day become more civically involved. My husband was even dressed up as 2nd President John Adams. Our booth also offered a convenience to parents who themselves wished to register or update their voter registrations while their children were doing activities in that area. One six year old who voted in our booth even cutely asked me “who would you vote for if you were a kid?”
We had many people visit us, including teachers and council members. We received lots of positive feedback and one councilmembers child even voted in our voting booth. But I’m disappointed about the behavior of Councilman McCoy who came into our area. I had stepped away to pick up more flyers from the Longmont City Council booth and found that he had visited our area when my husband and son were staffing the table. When my husband offered him one of the hundreds of bookmarks we had handed out, he replied “I wouldn’t take any of your garbage.”
That “garbage” consisted of flyers about deadlines for voting, how to verify your voter registration, links to contacts for the current school district bond and mill levy override issue, information on local businesses to encourage shopping local, and interesting enough…the flyer for “meet your council members.” I spent weeks preparing for this event. I would have expected better behavior from a councilmember and a school teacher at that, especially because my 12 yr old son was witness to this.
Our project wants to encourage people to be involved in their community and what their city council is discussing. Actions like this make me also not surprised to read in the paper today about the low percentage of city surveys that have been turned in. I am not a member of the lunatic fringe as Councilmember McCoy likes to put it, but a member of your community.
There was a proposed agreement to simplify the Hwy 119 corridor with adequate access points and signal spacing. It had nothing to do with urban sprawl, or as Longmont City Councilman Sean McCoy calls it “green field sprawl”. Watch the video below and see how it’s twisted and convoluted, if you can follow.
If you can make it through the stammering, you’re probably asking how does signal spacing and access points encourage “green field sprawl” exactly? And the Weld County Commissioners are in the business of growing a city (Longmont) beyond what Mr. McCoy believes it can handle? He threw out the “exceptional benefit” a couple of times, taking lessons from Ms. Levison? Again though, this isn’t a land grab, so what’s the point with this term? Then he brings up the never incorporated town of Freedom “in some peoples understanding” as he put it, what some people, like two? And mentioning Freedom, an idea hatched to put the brakes on the Union Lifebridge development, he gives yet another indirect backhand to this church and its members.
Then he said we need to spend more time on urban renewal. What’s the largest urban renewal project that’s been in the news for the last few months? Twin Peaks Mall, a project he has continually voted against. So there’s some talking out of both sides of the mouth there.
But he’s not alone on this city council when it comes to applying a double standard when it comes to Lifebridge and the Mall. …to be continued.
It was 232 years ago, on July the 2nd actually, that these United States of America declared its independence from Great Britain. While there are no surviving records of the speeches given on that day, someone did put up a YouTube video from HBO’s ” John Adams” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7Y1ougODMo (a DVD set and book I highly recommend) of what John Adams might or may have said. There are written recollections of his speech, but also debate about how accurate this version is.
But going through some of Mr. Adams quotes at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_adams.html among other sites, it’s probably not too far off. But here is a direct quote from the man himself, in one of the many letters he wrote to his wife Abigail, ( from the book “John Adams” by David McCullough) ” The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”
Below are portions of the Declaration of Independence (minus the list of grievances), mostly written by Thomas Jefferson. In many ways, this day we celebrate should also be sort of a Thanksgiving Day. These brave men deserve our thanks for doing what few would probably do today. They deserve our thanks for in essence signing their death warrant by their involvement with this document and rebellion ( Benjamin Franklin: ” We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately“). They deserve our thanks for ” doing things not because they are easy, but because they are hard“, to paraphrase another Massachusetts president, John F. Kennedy.
We read and talk of history.They wrote it. They lived it, every day. In our busy, everyday lives, how often do people stop and contemplate what these patriots did to make much of what we take for granted possible? When they vote? On the 4th Of July? When they visit a location of historical importance? Maybe never for some. Or worse, perhaps it’s looked at as a bygone era with quaint customs, documents, and proclamations – only worthy of filing away, rewriting, or reinterpreting. This infliction knows no party affiliation. And apathy is not a suitable excuse.
So, enjoy the document below, and think of how it could apply in today’s world. Also consider it when you hear people whine that ” the political races are too long and/or start too soon“. For some of us, there is no end, there is no beginning. There just is.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient suffrance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connection and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
There was a front page article in the Daily Times-Call on Sunday June 29, 2008 entitled ” Landowners in Limbo” which tells the story about land and business owners around the area where the FasTracks station is supposed to be built.
I watched with interest the June 3, 2008 Longmont City Council when they talked about this subject. When I saw the map on the screen, it sure looked like the station’s parking lot was located where Budget Home Center currently sits. If you were like me, as you watched this, you probably assumed that some deal had already been discussed and that the land owners were aware of this plan.
Apparently, according to this article, they weren’t.
Councilman Brian Hansen did ask about the smaller property owners, to which the answer was that they could pool together and be part of the larger development, but ” they haven’t explored in any detail” this idea – and it sounds like they may not have shared this idea with the land owners either.
I’ve frequented Budget Home Center quite a bit over the years, and figured that the competition from Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware was just too much for them, and they might fade away for the purposes of this light rail station. According to Budget’s owner Butch Vernon, that is not the case. Besides not hearing anything from RTD, he’s hoping they will relocate his business or compensate him so he can relocate it himself.
Unfortunately, a spokesperson for RTD said they do use eminent domain and will resort to condemnation if no agreement can be made with the land owner. In other words, they’ll just take it if they want it.
Is that what the voters in Longmont really voted for? Light rail at any cost, regardless of the human and business debris it leaves behind? All you anti-big box store (like Home Depot) types who defend smaller local businesses (like Budget Home Center), where are you on this one? (I hear crickets, and hypocrites)
What is with this trend of trampling all over property owners rights in Longmont? Some examples: the attempt to take Emery Street to the detriment of surrounding property owners. The fiasco with Lifebridge and other property owners near Union Reservoir, stalling into oblivion plans to work their own property. George Marxmiller and the city’s virtual taking of some of his property and denial of release of his liability, making him risk everything. The property owners of the Twin Peaks Mall area, and the hoops they’re being required to jump through. And now this.
And who’s making all this noise and doing all this meddling? Little tyrants running around with probably little to not much property of their own, since they probably can’t afford to live in their own little nirvana to the southwest? So if they’re going to be miserable settling for Longmont, the rest of us have to share in their misery? The same types who want to mold Longmont into something other than what it is, and not something better. Some were even elected!
This is what you get when you just let bureaucrats, and their fawning citizen apologists, run roughshod unchecked and not held accountable. Not to worry, what are the odds of this happening to, or affecting, you? Probably higher than you think.
(SEE UPDATE AT END OF STORY) One of the things I’ve always liked about blogging was the ability to be more current than other traditional sources of information, like newspapers and weekly magazines. I found that I could ” scoop” or beat the paper by a day or two, or even a week or two, on stories of interest to citizens in the community. Connections and networking are the keys, that and taking some chances since I don’t have to answer as much to advertisers or an ownership company.
If there’s one thing I consider a weakness of my podcast, it’s that since it’s a regularly scheduled weekly show, it may lose out on the chance to be on the frontlines of breaking news. I also am aware that the shelf life of each show is not good as the news I covered 4 weeks ago may be old news, or obsolete. To fill in the gaps, I considered recording ” quick shots” 3 to 4 times a week so I could deliver timely updates. Many other podcasts do a version of this, but they also have things like a staff, with writers and producers. I wear all of those hats here.
After a couple of weeks of hard thinking and conversations and consultation with listeners and friends (who I thank and consider all of your thoughtful input), I was pretty much advised to leave it alone. The best piece of advice I received was to use the written form (like what you’re reading now) for the “quick shot” idea, which is what I did for years anyway. Like they say, sometimes the best ideas are the simplest and most obvious. I could do an entire blog series or podcast just on Podcasting.
But with that “quick shot” ( gun shot and ricochet sound effect) theory in mind, here’s an update on something I covered in great detail in one of my more downloaded podcasts: Butterball Vs. Clyde Ioerger.
I’m writing about this because it’s yet to break in the papers, even prior to Butterballs press release. Their request for vacation of Emery St was supposed to be on the June 24th Longmont City Council meeting agenda. I know you regular listeners always check the agenda (that comes out on the previous Friday), and if you did you’d see it’s not on the agenda. Why?
They have suspended the application to vacate Emery Street.
They claim it is partially due to the increased cost of turkey feed (corn) and fuel, and the bombshell that they are about to layoff nearly 25% of the workforce at the Longmont plant. That’s over 200 employees. Because of the timing of that news, they’ve decided against pursuing this street takeover at this time.
If you’ll recall, they said if they didn’t get Emery Street, they may have to curtail their operations. And they used the employee numbers to remind us how many people they employ, and how many could be lost. I called it a bluff, and this news doesn’t much change that opinion. If this street issue was the cause of 200 lost jobs, it would be in their statement (as of this writing, it is not stated as a factor). That tactic would possibly payoff with some on City Council, maybe sway a couple of votes, regardless of how the Transportation Advisory Board or the Planning & Zoning Commission voted on this issue ( against and a split vote, respectively)
But I believe the reasons given by Butterball are the real reasons. Doesn’t take a financial genius to see the ever spreading toll that higher corn prices and fuel prices are taking, whether you’re a business or not. Yeah, I know, pointing out the obvious again.
While this is good news for Mr. Ioerger and all who seek protection of property rights (and Emery Street is OUR property, all of us citizens), it’ll probably be overshadowed in the press by the very bad news indeed for those laid off employees. I’ll leave it up to them to decide who’s to blame, but it’s neither Mr. Ioerger, Butterball, or City of Longmont policies.