Longmont/Firestone Dustup Pt.3

VIEWER WARNING: This piece is bound to really irritate some people. I’m well aware of the anger this will illicit, and your expected complaints have been considered. I try to be constructive when I criticize, but sometimes it’s nearly impossible. This is such a case. In the interest of completeness, and sharing this continuing story, I submit the following:

So far, I’ve reported on Firestone’s Trustee Board meeting, now it’s Longmont‘s turn. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot said about Firestone’s comments, but I suspect there will be as Firestone just approved the Firelight Park annexation.

But there was this…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZnG9kXAsnk

In it, Longmont City Councilmember Sean McCoy rips into Firestone’s Mayor Mike Simone over his comment ” LifeBridge was forced to “walk away” by the election of an anti-religious faction to the LongmontCity Council“. He also took offense to the ” immoral” description of Longmont made by Trustee Steve Curtis. He said he found it ” very unethical on this individuals part“, meaning Mayor Simone. He basically threatened a lawsuit for slander.

Where to begin.

I’ve been to ONE Firestone board meeting, and I’m not an elected official or anything, but even I know that they are a Board of Trustee’s, NOT a City Council. Members are called Trustee’s, NOT Councilmembers. I’m starting to agree with several people who have mentioned to me this constant habit of getting peoples names wrong (and I guess titles now) and how it shows a total lack of respect. In this case, it’s Firestone’s leaders. In other cases, well, you listen for it yourself.

Next, Mr. McCoy’s complaining of ” inflammatory” comments. Some of us about fell out of our chairs on this one. This is the same guy who called people he disagreed with (we’re talking citizens here, not elected officials) ” the lunatic fringe“. He also said in the same breath how Longmont shouldn’t talk ” smack” about Boulder, yet it’s alright for Longmont to do that to Firestone? Watch the 1/29/08 video again ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEo7ZF3eKYU ) and replace Boulder with Longmont, and Longmont with Firestone in the appropriate places and context. I know some of you hate it when I point out total hypocrisy like this, but it speaks for itself here.

Then this outrage over the ” anti-religious” comment. Here’s the problem: On 1/8/08( http://denver.yourhub.com/Longmont/Blogs/News-Politics/Commentary/Blog~412831.aspx), Mr. McCoy made the point of his detachment from the Lifebridge issue as he said he and the other new members of council didn’t vote on Lifebridge. So in essence, he’s saying the new council had nothing to do with what happened to Lifebridge. If that’s the case, then why would he take offense to Mayor Simone’s inference that an anti-religious faction was to blame when THEY HADN’T EVEN BEEN ELECTED YET AND OBVIOUSLY COULDN’T VOTE ON IT, as Mr. McCoy himself made clear as his closing point on 1/8/08?

Mr. McCoy tried to make the case that other factors caused Lifebridge to pull out (remember the ” 600% of Longmont residents” nonsense?). He must not have believed that nonsense himself, most people I know didn’t buy it, and obviously the Firestone Board of Trustee’s didn’t swallow that line either. His anger over this comment revealed that his 1/8/08 comments were a whitewash, otherwise why would this sting so much?

To be fair, is it possible Mr. McCoy was truly outraged over being called ” anti-religious? Absolutely. I assume most public officials are concerned with the image they put out. They wouldn’t want to be publicly called ” anti-religious“, true or not, for fear of alienating over half of their constituents. Then again, insulting constituents is getting to be a regular occurrence for Mr. McCoy. Let’s now add leaders from other cities and the press to the list, the same press ( Times-Call) he bought ad space from during his campaign. Very consistent and principled, not.

What’s the point of all this? I know I won’t be popular holding these officials accountable in this fashion when it needs to be done, and I find no joy in doing it. But these are our elected representatives. They should avoid embarrassing themselves, and the rest of us, and I’m hoping they might look at and listen to themselves, and learn from it in the future. And you wonder why so many people (not just in Longmont) are apathetic to the issues and these officials? I’m trying to get more people involved, this doesn’t help.

Longmont/Firestone Dustup Pt.1

I was fortunate to have been one of only a couple people who attended both the 3/17/08 Firestone Trustee Board meeting and the 3/18/08 Longmont City Council meeting. Both were very interesting and will take a few parts to cover it all.

First up, the Firestone meeting. Mayor Mike Simone gave quite a speech, eliciting applause from most, but also outrage by others. I met Mayor Simone and told him Longmont residents should have a chance to hear his thoughts. Suspecting the Times-Call would probably not print what you are about to read, I offered to publish it, to which he happily agreed and sent me the following. This is a response to a 3/11/08 Times-Call Editorial entitled ” On leadership and land grabs“. The bold print is Mayor Simone’s responses. The underlined words were emphasized by Mayor Simone as well.
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Firestone’s move to snag 74 acres on Longmont’s eastern border is a shock. It’s not a surprise. (No, it’s not a surprise–our board has been consistent in calling for towns and cities in this area to expand their master plans so they have adjacent borders, effectively leaving urban development to the municipalities and not Weld County. It was Longmont who decided not to participate in the Weld County Partnership group–a group dedicated to dealing with the problem of uncontrolled urban development by Weld County)

After all, Firestone’s the town whose leaders held school district money for ransom last year (the money was not the school district’s but was unethically extorted from new homeowners by bullying municipalities into serving as their middle men). The town caved and coughed up $186,000 in development fees (no, unethical impact fees) to the St. Vrain Valley School District after the district threatened to sue. Then town leaders threw a tantrum and decided to no longer collect $645 per house from developers (let’s be correct-homeowners) whose homes help overfill the schools. (again, unethical and possibly illegal extortion of money from new homeowners by trying to work around the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision that school districts cannot mandate impact fees).

Now Firestone’s up to new tricks. They’re working to crash Longmont’s eastern gates, even after Longmont and Boulder County spent millions preserving land east of Longmont. (Longmont and Boulder County has and has had the ability to buy whatever land it wants for a buffer. Firestone has never annexed any property whose property owners didn’t ask to be annexed. Testimony in front of Firestone’s Planning Commission and e-mails I’ve received from current property owners appear to make a case that Longmont has held its neighboring property owners hostage by not giving them a hearing–essentially “taking” their property to maintain a “free” buffer.)

Firestone made a plan to reach down Colo. Highway 119, almost to the Boulder County line, and annex the 74-acre Fairview Estates property. (Firestone began reevaluating its current master plan well before Firestone was aware of Fairview or LifeBridge Christian Church. Our reevaluation began when Weld County approved almost 4000 homes on our northern border. Firestone never “made a plan” to annex Fairview Estates-that comment is just a bold faced lie– They came to us and asked us to annex them-I’m not aware of anyone on this board who contacted anyone from Fairview Estates). Coincidentally, the Fairview property would make a terrific stepping stone if Firestone wanted to grab (Firestone has never “grabbed” anything whose owners didn’t ask to be “grabbed”) LifeBridge Christian Church’s Union development next door. LifeBridge, you’ll recall, walked away from Longmont after the Union annexation was set to go before voters. (LifeBridge was forced to “walk away” by the election of an anti-religious faction to the Longmont City Council.)

Establishing clear boundaries around municipalities is a useful practice. It helps give each an identity and preserves land on the periphery. (The only way you can ethically “preserve land” on your periphery is to buy it) Longmont attempted to create a buffer to the east. Firestone decided it didn’t care. (Firestone also thought there was a buffer around its town but Weld County‘s current policy eliminated that possibility. Firestone understands to create a buffer it will have to buy property or property rights. Longmont is naive if it thinks it can create “free” buffers in Weld County.)

That’s typical of the Firestone leaders’ Wild West approach to intergovernmental relations. (This is an interesting comment. It seems to echo Mr. Auer and his “Longmont First” slate of candidate’s ill informed and incorrect comments about intergovernmental relations. I guess this is a continuation of the T-C’s biennial attempt to influence Firestone’s elections by now trying to prop up and give legitimacy to Mr. Auer and his “Longmont First” slate of candidates.)

Does Firestone want a reputation for being a rogue town that bends over backwards to snatch land from its neighbors? (Very misleading T-C. Nobody is “snatching” anything. Frederick and Longmont have changed their master plans and annexed property outside their growth boundaries. Firestone is considering doing the same. You can’t “snatch” property that you don’t own. Longmont may think they “own” property outside their borders but I suspect the affected property owners think differently)

That uses development fees as a bargaining chip instead of using them to improve the schools that serve its children? (the school board is a governmental agency with the power to tax its residents. Instead of trying to work around your voters by trying to impose unethical impact fees, ask your voters for a tax increase. If you can’t justify it to the voters, you don’t deserve it.)

We hope Firestone residents will consider that question when they consider who should fill four open seats on the board on April 1. (The T-C’s attempt to affect Firestone’s election continues again this year–but of course they will try to make you believe they are an “unbiased” journalistic entity. A man, who I have never met, walked into my office this morning and was concerned about the T-C’s obvious bias in favor of Mr. Auer. I explained to him they are a private company and can do what they want. I also related how the Times-Call has decided they don’t want to print any editorials “they believe” are “personal” concerning a candidate-this only applies to the “Longmont First” candidates it appears.

Well, where have they been for the past 6 years? The only editorials I can remember the T-C printing concerning me and our town board are nothing but personal attacks-including the one I just read. Let’s review their words about this town board from the editorial I just read-snag, ransom, caved and coughed up, tantrum, tricks, crash, grab, Firestone decided it didn’t care, Wild West approach, rogue town, and snatch. )

So there you have it in one editorial. A Boulder County media outlet doing what they can to convince the voters in Firestone to allow a Boulder County school board along with the newly elected Longmont City Council, to run our town.
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Up next, further comments on the above statement, more reporting on this meeting, and Longmont City Council’s reaction.

Hesitate To Emulate

I know, and you know, there is a contingent here in Longmont that wants to be Boulder Jr. Some of these seem to feel Boulder can do no wrong and that they walk on water. We also have a councilmember who works for the Boulder Valley School District who tells us we shouldn’t speak ill (” smack?”) of our neighbor to the southwest. But if some of us are going to look up to this city and their ways, we must also acknowledge their mistakes, learn from them, and not repeat them.

Previously, I mentioned the Twin Peaks Mall, and the path that it is on, which is similar in some ways to what happened in Boulder. Are we going to follow that example and see a slow bleed, years of dormancy, and a resurrection that was long overdue? Or are we going to learn from Boulder’s mistakes and avoid losing years of sales tax revenue, along with an eyesore in a high visibility area?

Another somewhat similar scenario is developing on Longmont’s eastern boundary. The “no growth” or “slow growth” seems to be more of a Castle Longmont mentality. Instead of a moat of water and alligators, or burning oil, this wished-for version is untouched, undeveloped, open space. Boulder County even tried to take land from Weld County as open space (paid with Boulder County taxpayer money, but not technically IN Boulder County) to stop development and continue this hoped-for buffer.

This concept costs a lot of money. This is prime real estate on a heavily traveled highway between I-25 and Longmont. It also takes a lot of influence on Weld County, which Boulder and Longmont don’t seem to have. Longmont turned away a large development ( Lifebridge), preceded by public trashing of the present and future Super Walmarts, and the message was sent that Longmont is somewhat closed for business and has gone protectionist and isolationist.

The message was heard, and Firestone’s (or Mead’s or anyone else in Weld County) reaction is the consequence. ” You turn them away in a prime area? We’ll be more than happy to fill the void“, was basically the response. A “void” is exactly what some in Longmont wanted, at the expense of landowners in Weld County who sit on solid gold along Hwy 119.

Mission accomplished, Longmont could easily now be cut-off and isolated, but probably not in the way some had wished. How is this similar to Boulder? Think Broomfield. Think FlatIron Crossing.

There is much to like about Boulder, but it isn’t infallible in its decisions and policy making. Try as some may to emulate Boulder, there is a huge difference that shouldn’t be overlooked: Longmont can’t afford to make the same above mistakes Boulder made; we don’t have the finances, influence, or political capital to blunder on their level.

I’m hoping that in 6-7 years we aren’t looking at a boarded up, fenced-in mall, and booming financial activity just OUTSIDE our sales tax collecting grasp. All sectors of the city will suffer from the choices that bring us to that. The time to realize it and act is NOW. Those on council or committees (past and present) may be term-limited out by then, but some of us will never let people forget who brought us to that point.

Time to choose your legacy.

Longmont And Its Future

In the previous story I talked about the Twin Peaks Mall and its shaky future. In this I’ll widen out the topic to include possible changes we could see in Longmont‘s short and long term future. These are not necessarily things I wish for, just the way I see things progressing based on trends both here and in other cities.

Six years ago, if I told you that just beyond McDonalds and the car dealerships near Hwy 287 and KenPratt Blvd would be a whole new multi-lane boulevard with stores and restaurants galore, where currently empty land sat, you probably wouldn’t have believed it, right? Around the same time if I told you that there would be a Super Walmart on Hwy 287 and Hwy 66, that seems to always have a fairly full parking lot, you probably wouldn’t believe that either.

Well, Harvest Junction and the beginnings of commercial development along Hwy 66 are here, and I expect more of the same, if Longmont wants to thrive and survive. Those two locations sit on two freeway exits from I-25, one a gateway to Boulder, the other a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. And both are gateways to Longmont.

The area east of Hover, where the mall and the older Walmart stand, is a different story. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it blighted, but it’s seen better days. I suspect that Walmart will close, especially when the new Super Walmart is built on the east side of town, and the mall will continue to languish. I just hope the same mistake Boulder made isn’t repeated here with a fenced in and boarded up shopping center in a high visibility area.

What to do with that land? I heard and liked the idea of a new theater, that’s a start. How about something more than a movie theater, how about a performing arts or possible concert venue? Make that area the entertainment center of the city, maybe of the region? The loss of shopping won’t be much of a loss with all of the stores right across the street on Hover, and may even lessen some of the competition on some of the businesses on Main Street.

Longmont needs a nice movie theater and is losing money to those cities around us who have wised up and put in state-of-the-art theaters with stadium seating. While I’m not sure Longmont could support something along the lines of the Budweiser or Broomfield Event Centers, I think the citizens could and would support a new performing arts complex. And I think non-citizens would come here for movies, plays, and concerts given the right circumstances.

GUEST EDITORIAL

I recently received the following submission from a longtime follower of this site, Rich Yale. Over the years Rich has been a regular in the Open Forum section of the Times-Call and has always had something interesting to send my way. Here’s his latest, enjoy.

The 2007 Campaign by Karen Benker for Mayor of Longmont offers a fake cure for her phony charge Council “rubber-stamps” development applications. Rights serve as rules of interaction between people and Government, and as such, they place restraints and obligations upon the actions of collective Council actions as well as upon groups including Benker’s noisy minority. Continue reading…

Longmont ballot issues

Here are some anonymous opinions sent to my site about three ballot issues in the upcoming Longmont election.

AGAINST Longmont Issue 2C: Open Space Sales Tax Extension
Extending this tax until 2034 would be the height of fiscal irresponsibility in view of the tight city budget. Longmonters are already heavily burdened with three open space sales taxes from Boulder County. The last thing the city needs is to go into $31 million more debt with repayment costs of $59.5 million to buy bonds for additional open space. There are far greater spending priorities. This tax was narrowly passed by voters in 2000 with a term of 20 years. The issue should be brought back to the taxpayers when it expires in 2020, not now.

AGAINST Boulder County Issue 1A: Open Space Sales Tax Extension
After 89,000 acres purchased, three sales taxes and nearly $200 million debt, it’s time to put the brakes on Boulder County‘s runaway open space program. The commissioners have devoted far too many resources toward open space, resulting in money being siphoned away from vital county services such as infrastructure, public safety and social services. Excessive open space in Boulder County has proved to have many unintended consequences, most notably unaffordable housing in Boulder. The average sale price of a 3-bedroom home in Boulder is more than $525,000. Boulder also has a weak business climate due to high sales taxes and stifling environmental restrictions. The new Twenty Ninth Street retail center performed poorly in its first year. Broomfield formed its own county several years ago to allow dynamic projects like FlatIrons Crossing and the Broomfield Event Center to flourish. Defeat of Issue 1A would allow this portion of open space sales taxes to expire at the end of 2009 and help to reduce the stranglehold that open space madness has on the county economy.

AGAINST Boulder County Issue 1B: Transportation Sales Tax Extension
Issue 1B is an unneeded extension of a redundant transportation tax. A hefty 1.0% Regional Transportation District (RTD) sales tax is already assessed in Boulder County for transit needs. Road projects are also funded from state and federal sources. In the 2007 Boulder County budget, the commissioners granted a disproportionate $46.2 million for Open Space Funds compared to only $15.2 million for the Road Fund. County voters soundly defeated a similar “transit and trails” sales tax a year ago. The same should be done for this unnecessary sales tax extension.

We all shine on(?)

In the August 14 Times-Call there was an article titled “Let it shine” about the recently installed solar power system at the Boulder County Courthouse. This is the photovoltaic variety that turns sunlight into electricity, not the kind used for hot water heaters that heats up a fluid that in turn heats the tank. I’ve looked into both types and found them fairly expensive and would lead to a lot of panels on my roof. Something I’m sure my homeowners association would look sideways at.

This system in Boulder cost $83,500 for 46 panels, that’s a lot of panels, but that’s not really a bad price. The article said this array could provide power for 5 2,000 square foot homes. Well, that seems like a stretch. Extrapolating what they paid, that means I could power my home for $16,700, from my own past research I can tell you that number is a little low. No, a lot low. Triple it and you’re getting warm.

The possibility of a backwards running electrical meter is enticing, but the payback usually takes several years. To make it a little more bearable, Xcel Energy provides rebates for up to half of the cost, that’s huge. Ahh, but here’s the rub: If you live in Longmont, forget about that rebate. When looking into this I spoke to both Xcel and Longmont Power, they both verified Longmont residents who get power from Longmont Power are not eligible for this great deal. Yet the City of Boulder is?

I think what Boulder did was great with a pretty sweet incentive from Xcel. I hope this, and the Times-Call article, bring attention to this policy in Longmont and the city makes this energy saving technology more attractive to its residents. Now, are these two companies who installed this (Namaste Solar and Independent Power Systems) going to match that price (extrapolated of course for home size) for us non-government entities?

Boulder County Districting Scheme

Boulder County is broken up into three districts. District 1 is basically the City of Boulder west of Hwy 36, Jamestown, Ward, and Nederland. District 2 is the part of Boulder east of Hwy 36, Louisville, Lafayette, Superior, and part of Erie. District 3 is Longmont, Niwot, Lyons, and points west. How the county is split up and the amount of districts is not the issue as much as how the county commissioners are elected.

Each commissioner resides in one of the three districts and no two commissioners can reside in the same district, meaning the commissioner for District 1 can live in District 3, and 3 can live in 2, and 2 can live in 1, or some other combination. So your representative can and may live in a different district, and not be as familiar with your districts issues as he should. That’s not representative government, and a loophole that should be closed.

In Longmont, the city is broken up into wards. The way it works is that, for instance, only the people who reside in Ward 2 can vote for Ward 2’s candidates. Those candidates must also reside in Ward 2. In addition, there are “at-large” seats, including the Mayor position, which everyone in the city can vote on, but at least you’re guaranteed a seat on the council that is meant just for your part of the neighborhood. But in Boulder County, everyone in the county votes for all three districts. People in Superior vote for who will represent Longmont, and vice-versa. The reality is that the residents in the City of Boulder select all three commissioners. And that’s exactly how they want it. Again, not representative government.

Boulder’s model doesn’t apply to State Senators or Representatives, or the U.S. House of Representatives. Those are broken down into districts and you only get to vote for your district candidate, not the next district over, or all of the districts. This scam is better than gerrymandering (a form of redistricting in which electoral districts or constituency boundaries are manipulated for an electoral advantage). Why bother with that when you can rig the system this way? Some fallout from this unfair setup is, according to a Times-Call editorial, a high-ranking county official changed his party affiliation to have a snowballs chance at a victory. “Hey, comrade, join the party if you want that spot.” To that I say “Nyet“!

Obviously, the easiest fix would be to allow voters to only select the commissioners in their own district, period. Those candidates should also reside in that district. You could even add a couple of “at large” commissioners that everyone could vote on who would represent the entire district. That was the idea behind the “Drive For Five” initiative a few years ago. Alas, that didn’t pass because voters in Boulder said so. Any other change would be nearly impossible to pass for the same reason. If we aren’t the “City and County of Boulder”, then the City voters shouldn’t be the final word for the rest of the county. In another article, a different approach: seceding from Boulder County.

Boulders For Brains

Like many of you fellow Longmont residents, it gets old having to endure our city from another planet to the southwest. The latest nonsense, also known as “par for the course”, was a mandatory assembly at Boulder High School put on by CU’s Conference on World Affairs.

I haven’t seen any coverage or comments in Longmont’s Daily Times-Call, and if I missed it, sue me, I have a life. There’s been some coverage by the Rocky Mountain News, but not a whole lot anywhere else.

If you are easily offended, skip the next section as I’m going to repeat some of the quotes used in this assembly. Keep in mind, this was intended for kids as young as 14, and they had to attend, it was not optional.

So, here’s what passes for acceptable public education, Boulder-style: “I am going to encourage you to have sex and encourage you to use drugs appropriately”

“I want to encourage you to all have healthy, sexual behavior.”

“We all experiment. It’s very natural for young people to experiment with same sex relationships…certainly probably one of the most appropriate sexual behaviors would be masturbation.”

“That’s the thing they don’t tell you about condoms. If you’re lucky enough to get them on, and you still stay hard, it’s hard to stay hard. And another thing, it doesn’t feel as good.”

“Even today, there are psychiatrists who will do sessions under the influence of ecstasy. If I had some maybe I’d do it with someone…”

I get no joy repeating that swill, and since I’m not a tabloid reporter, I don’t get paid to do so. Just thought you’d like to know. Pretty self explanatory, you be the judge.

The school and the district are running from the press on this one, at first acting outraged, then defending it. But regardless if you think this behavior is acceptable or not, and I feel sorry for you if you do, is this an appropriate use of our tax dollars?

Are school representatives beyond question about what our children are exposed to? In our dealings with local school officials, they do act above any possible scrutiny and how dare we ask questions about our own kid’s education. Sounds like these Boulder types are no different.

Personally, I see this as just another attempt by the schools to drive a wedge between parents and their kids. I’ve seen it over the years as a student and as a parent. Step by step, that’s how these types work, gradual indoctrination. In another era, taken a little further, this had another name – Hitler Youth!

Extreme comparison? Not as much as you think. Others, including some of the students, have said these clowns were trying to be “cool”, to speak at their level. I’m not going to give them that easy way out; there was a clear agenda here.

I haven’t seen the St. Vrain Valley School District weigh in on this, and I’m publicly asking them to take a stand, one way or the other. There’s plenty of committee’s, departments, and board members – anyone will do. We aren’t paying you to be politically correct or to ride the fence. I’m sure the Times-Call would be more than willing to give you a large space on their editorial page, use it. Your silence on this issue will signal solidarity with your despicable Boulder counterparts.

How They Voted: Okinawa Pork aka HR-1591

This is the first of many “How They Voted” editions. It’s an expansion of the limited space the local paper gives to how your local representatives voted in issues of interest. I plan on limiting it just to the Longmont and East Boulder County area representatives at the local, county, state, and federal levels.

First up, HR-1591 “Making emergency supplemental appropriations for fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes”. Others have come up with catchy names for it, I came up with “Okinawa Pork” without putting much time or thought into it. This is the House bill to fund (or defund or underfund) the war in Iraq, but added in are all kinds of things that have nothing to do with it, like spinach, shrimp, peanuts, and shellfish. It’d make me angrier if it didn’t make me so hungry.

My take, and others you’ve probably read as well, is it’s an insult to our troops laden with earmarks (pork) to garner enough votes to pass. A little something for constituents back home, you know, the kind of thing that many congressmen were (rightly) lambasted for prior to the last election. Once again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

So how did our reps vote? Mark Udall (Dem-Dist2) voted YES. Marilyn Musgrave (Rep-Dist4) voted NO. It passed 218-212 mostly along party lines, far from being veto-proof. I visited both of their websites to see if they had any comments on this bill. Rep Musgrave did not (site could be more current), Rep Udall did, here are some excerpts and some random comments: ” Many Americans are frustrated and angry because we are four years into a war the president assured us would be short and decisive”…I have swampland to sell you if you buy into assurances of ease and timeliness when it comes to wars or police actions.” So long as our troops are in the field, we must provide them what they need”

Apparently, what they need is “… scaling back our military mission in Iraq”. This has been called the “slow bleed” and “redeployment” bill, depending on which side you sit. Now here’s the pork: ” I am pleased that the Colorado delegation was successful in persuading the House leadership to include financial assistance for farmers and ranchers” I’m not sure who was part of the delegation, it doesn’t state, but we at least know Mr. Udall was part of adding unrelated earmarks.

I’m all for helping out those in need, whether it be from blizzards to natural or manmade disasters, but why as part of this bill? These are the kinds of games that tick off the general public. Politicians wonder why there is such disdain and apathy out there, here it is.