Longmont’s supposedly fair campaign act

How often do you see quality videos for candidates or issues right here in Longmont? (Not counting craptastic anti-religious rantings, which of course are not quality). Well, here’s one for a certain city councilman who’s up for re-election. Enjoy.

As the video says, Produced by Longmont Advocate and not authorized by any candidate or candidates committee IAW LFCPA Pg 3.” What’s that? That’s the new Longmont Fair Campaign Practices Act (IAW means In accordance with), to some meant to even the playing field, but in reality it complicates things so much that your average citizen will just avoid doing anything related to elections, including and most importantly excercising their Freedom of Speech. That includes donating how ever much money you like, within reason, but who defines “reasonable”?

But as you know, I write opinion and commentary, here and several other places including in print in the Times-Call and YourHub (Denver Post). I also did podcasts, or audio commentary, and lately commentary through videos. I’ve been doing this for several years, not just around election time. But back to this LFCPA Pg 3, it talks about “electioneering“, and more importantly what shall not be considered an “electioneering communication“:

1. Any news articles, editorial endorsements, opinion or commentary writings, including all electronic communication, or letters to the editor printed in a newspaper, magazine or other periodical not owned or controlled by a candidate, or agent of a candidate committee, issue committee or political committee;
2. Any endorsements or opinions aired by any broadcast facility, including cable or satellite not owned or controlled by a candidate or agent of a candidate committee, issue committee or political committee; or
3. Any communication by persons made in the regular course and scope of their business or any communication made by a membership organization solely to members of such organization and their families. (emphasis added)

I think that about covers me, as I’m not owned or controlled by anyone, nor am I an agent for anyone or anything – except the excercising of free speech. I also didn’t spend any money making this and future videos, or got paid to do it. I don’t have to pay to distribute these writings, audio or video, but I may play along with this silly “indicia” the city has instituted – which is sort of like a trademark signifying you’ve registered with the City Clerk. But I think that’s geared more towards 527’s, which I’m not. But you never know, I may want to make my own mailers, which will cost money.

Go read the new ordinance, see if it will make you want to participate more in the process, or less. My guess is less, which is exactly how incumbents want it to be. Better yet, test it in court, I’m sure someone will sooner or later.

Pommer fesses up, pays up, sort of

So much for the supposed partisan attack machine. Yes, someone to look up to and admire. Actually, by the quotes given below, sounds a little Forrest Gump’ish and hapless. Unlike some other whiners in town, I won’t stomp my feet DEMAND you all admit I was right. The comment at the end of the Face The State piece is a good one: all you chumps who contributed money to his campaign, did you know you were funding this kind of ineptitude? Yes, he wrote the check from his campaign committee funds. Jokes on you!
———————————————

This from the Denver Post:
File this under “embarrassing”
A Boulder lawmaker is socked with $20,000 in late fees for missing numerous finance-report deadlines.
By Jessica Fender

It’s stupid. It’s embarrassing.
And, really, there’s not a good explanation why it happened, says Rep. Jack Pommer.
The Boulder Democrat missed multiple campaign-finance report-filing deadlines and racked up about $20,000 in late fees over two years.
“I screwed up a lot of paperwork,” said Pommer.
Lawmakers who miss monthly disclosure deadlines accrue fines of $50 a day. Part of Pommer’s debt, which began accruing in 2007, was sent to a collection agency and amassed more late fees.
Pommer, a member of the legislature’s powerful Joint Budget Committee, on Tuesday wrote the secretary of state’s office a check for $15,000 taken from his campaign account. The withdrawal wiped out his funds on hand.
Pommer said he had no new expenditures or fundraising to report, and it was a matter of logging on to a state website and pressing a button.
The delinquency was first noted by Face the State, a conservative blog and news site.
The lack of disclosure incensed Colorado Ethics Watch.
“All candidates, but especially incumbent officials, are expected to strictly adhere to legal requirements for transparency in their campaign activities,” said Chantell Taylor, director of the watchdog group. “Rep. Pommer shirked those obligations by ignoring the well-established campaign filing deadlines, and this is not the first time.”
Pommer also missed deadlines when he first arrived at the House but asked then-Secretary of State Donetta Davidson to waive the fines. She did.
Pommer, a former businessman, acknowledged that bureaucracy has never been his strong suit.
“I had a great business partner, who was really good at paperwork, which is why we didn’t go out of business,” Pommer said.
———————————————
And this from Face The State:
Pommer pays up

Hours after a Face the State report exposed Rep. Jack Pommer, D-Boulder, for owing close to $20,000 to the state for fines relating to delinquent campaign finance reports, he appeared in the Secretary of State’s office, check in hand and ready to settle.

Pommer forked over $15,000 to the Secretary of State, writing a check from his campaign committee. He has appealed to the Secretary of State for a waiver of the balance, which includes $4,050 for his latest delinquent report and outstanding fees from the state collections agency.
Details of his assessed penalties and appeal for a waiver can be seen here (PDF).

Either Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, a Democrat, or Deputy Secretary Bill Hobbs will make the final call on waiving the balance of fees owed by Pommer.

It’s good to see that Pommer finally filed his report from January and was so quick to pay his outstanding fees once they were publicized. But writing a check for $15,000 from his campaign committee raises another issue: would his donors be glad to know their generous contributions went to pay late fees for irresponsible filings? We think not.
Pommer did not return calls for comment.

Pommer has no time for campaign rules


Face The State has broken the story that State House Representative Jack Pommer (Democrat – District 11) owes nearly $20,000 for delinquent filings. The entire article can be found here, but here are some highlights:

He sits on the powerful Joint Budget Committee and chairs the House Appropriations Committee“, sounds sort of like US Representative Charlie “tax cheat extraordinaire” Rangel (Democrat – NY), doesn’t it? These types that make the tax rules for the rest of us, yet can’t be bothered with following any rules.

Since 2006, Pommer and his registered agent David Kirk have filed at least five delinquent reports, one of which is still accumulating fines.” “Pommer successfully ran for re-election in 2008, and has yet to file his report on contributions and expenditures due January 15, 2009“. Apparently you can see all of these reports, including being sent to collections, at the Secretary of State’s website (view it here click on View All Scanned Documents). Mr. Pommer and Company appear to not be very responsive to email, or snailmail to his home address or his registered agents address.

What a great example representing us!

Mr. Pommer also made the news last week when he accidentally let out the following admission:
(also from Face The State) “Weaning somebody off a subsidy is God awful painful when somebody gets used to having somebody else pay for them. When you take that money they howl, they scream, and they fight like crazy to keep it.” Oops, was his mic supposed to be on? While I find the old time western imagery of his “God awful painful” description entertaining – sounds like something straight out of “Old Yeller” – he accidentally let out the leftist argument for keeping people down and nearly into servitude with these social programs that do far more harm than good.

This is that age old complete nonsense that people have bought into for decades, that the Democratic Party is for the little guy. Can this permanently be put to rest? It’s one of the biggest lies ever told. Keeping people in their place through intentional separating based on circumstances (the left is superb at class warfare) often is nothing but intentional or unintentional racism.

Do people at times need help? Absolutely, but the left’s idea of help is permanent reliance on government mostly for the purpose of votes and office retention. Are there exceptions? Are some of these types genuinely concerned for the plight of these people? Perhaps, but those are diluted by the ones doing it purely for political reasons. With Mr. Pommers admission here, he just doesn’t want to have to put up with the racket made by his constituents who are so used to all this free government cheese. He knows he’ll be reminded “hey, we voted for you, we expected this to continue” just like Betsy Markey is being reminded how she got into office and what’s expected of her.

Of course the irony in Mr. Pommers case, and no doubt hundreds of other representatives at various levels, is that they, while they campaign, tell these same people “remember what I’ve given you (actually what the taxpayers through the government have given you) when it’s time to vote. Those big bad other guys may cut it off, don’t forget!” Sounds like mobsters, but that would be giving mobsters a bad name.

If you’d like to contact Representative Pommer, I’d like to say he can be reached (but it appears he can’t be reached) at (303)866-2780 or jack.pommer.house@state.co.us . Good luck.

Wanna run for office in Longmont? First hire a lawyer and accountant

As if it isn’t difficult enough already to find qualified people to run for city offices, I wonder if it’s a mistake to keep adding to the red tape that we expect them to cut through in order to be elected. Is it reaching the point of having to hire a lawyer and an accountant in order to run for the office of dog catcher? Continue reading…

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?

Give It A Rest


When I first heard Councilmember Sarah Levison repeatedly bring up the Brennan Center for Justice as a “non-partisan” organization to help frame the new Campaign finance reform, I, and I assume others, let it go trusting Ms. Levison was just trying to do what was best for Longmont.

In a recent Longmont City Council meeting, Ms. Levison mentioned how some members on the task force were getting tired of hearing about this organization. Now the truly “non-partisan” nature of this group is coming in to question.

In the September 13, 2008 New York Times, the newspaper of “record” (or lining birdcages, and fewer birdcages every day) spun very nicely a story of getting the word out to former convicted felons, often as they are just barely out of prison. Who’s getting this word out and actively pursuing these people? First there’s the Voter Registration Drive (VRD) organization that gives the rest of us VRD‘s a bad name, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Just Google them, (add ” Obama” to the search and it gets really interesting) the results will be “voter fraud” across several states.

Next up is the ACLU, NAACP, the Sentencing Project, and…the Brennan Center for Justice. Neither presidential candidate chose to be involved with this operation, but the NY Times noted ” Last month, Obama campaign workers took down a sign at their headquarters in Pottstown, Pa., that said ” Felons can vote,because it might have sent the wrong message.” That can be taken a few ways, you decide for yourself. But the point is ” the company you keep”, etc.

Then there’s the NY Times article entitled ” A Book Club Courts Liberals” about the Progressive Book Club. This is all well and good, as there are all kinds of book clubs, including a Conservative Book Club. But if the Brennan Center was non-partisan, it would advertise for both, or neither. I can’t find any mention of the Conservative Book Club on Brennan’s site, but the NY Times article had this: ” Participating organizations, which will also advertise the Progressive Book Club on their Web sites and help recruit members, include the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law; the Foundation for National Progress, which publishes Mother Jones magazine; and the Wellstone Action Fundand ” alliance partnerDaily Kos. Again, the company you keep, and the above are far from middle of the road groups like Ms. Levison claims Brennan is.

Just a quick glance at Wikipedia says they’re a ” progressive” institute named after Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan who (according to Wikipedia again) was ” Known for his outspoken liberal views, including opposition to the death penalty and support for abortion rights.” Some of you might recall his claim of the death penalty as being ” cruel and unusual” punishment describing in gruesome detail this process, apparently having more sympathy for hardened criminals than the innocent unborn.

But the center’s naming after him, and the connections above are all just a coincidence, is that what we are lead to believe?

If Ms. Levison wants to use them as a resource that works out for the best interests of Longmont, fine. Even if they are partisan, that’s fine, too (unless they are a non-profit organization). But can we dispense with the charade of this organization (Brennan) being above politics?

( emphasis added in NY Times quotes)

(Illegal) signs of desperation?

A couple of weeks ago I was going to write a piece about the lack of candidate signs around town. Since then I’ve seen some sprouting up. Anyone else notice these signs in places you don’t normally see these placed? Like in railroad track right-of-ways, landscaped areas not in front of homes, or greenways in front of businesses. In other words, places you wouldn’t or couldn’t ask the property owners permission. You can read the ordinance yourself at http://www.ci.longmont.co.us/code_enf/ord/political_signs.htm. Longmont’s Code Enforcement Division is supposed to enforce this. It appears either they are choosing not to, or they are making a half-hearted attempt to remove some signs, only to have other improperly placed signs replace them.

I can only report what I see with my own eyes, and all of these signs so far are Richard Juday signs. Knowing this statement will elicit cries from his supporters of ” attack” or ” partisanship” (in a non-partisan election), let me educate some of them with a little flash from the past.

Excerpts from the October 2004 edition of The Yellow Scene (used with permission) “…Longmont’s city council are bending rules of their own to sway votes on November’s municipal ballot issue…we agree with Chris Rodriguez, webmaster of www.wrongmont.com who noted that Pirnack’s letter in the September (2004) issue of CityLine crosses the line… CityLine is the city’s monthly newsletter included with residents’ utility bills…However, Mayor Pirnack used it to urge citizens to vote for FastTracks and against Ballot Question 2A, the proposed police and fire collective bargaining agreement. Rodriguez claims this letter breaks the Fair Campaign Practices Act which is part of our state constitution. That law states: No…council of the state or any political subdivision thereof shall…expend any public moneys from any source, or make any contributions, to urge electors to vote in favor of or against any: (A) State-wide ballot issue.. (B) Local ballot issue…The point is that if city council wants to campaign, they can do so on their own time and money. For public officials, spending taxpayer dollars to advocate a political position is against the law – even if they think it shouldn’t be.”

Pretty strong charges against our then Mayor and council, you know, the ones Mr. Juday’s supporters demanded had to go? So allow me to be ” equal opportunity” in calling bullflop on questionable campaign practices: Whoever is placing these Juday signs are knowingly or unknowingly placing them against city ordinance. I’m going with the former, as some are so blatantly displayed in places anyone used to seeing these signs can figure out they’re placed questionably.

Many have been up for over a week, and more keep getting erected. Are we to believe Mr. Juday or his supporters haven’t seen these (we’re talking major streets here) or aren’t aware of them? They are either aware of them, don’t live in Longmont, or are not very observant people. Let this get your attention: Each one is a separate violation for each day it stands. And the results of the election, win or lose, don’t change that.

Others have pointed out questionable financial disclosures in Mr. Juday’s filed campaign reports (not responded to), and his broken pledge not to accept monetary contributions (not responded to). Add these signs to the list. If someone can’t win honestly, not only do they deserve to lose, they don’t deserve to run.