Symbionic Smackdown

Anyone catch the “talking out of both sides of his mouth” example given by Sean McCoy at the 1/29/08 Longmont City Council Meeting? On one hand he said “we have to be very careful as council members here not to say things that smack about our sister city of Boulder“. Hmm, okay, fair enough, setting some ground rules for council members. But of course that’s not what he was really saying, follow along.

You can view it at the following YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEo7ZF3eKYU

He went on to say he’s “kinda get a little tired of that“, of what? Council members talking smack about Boulder? Who does he mean? In the next breath he says exactly what he really means: ” the lunatic fringe has kinda taken it upon themselves to use that as a divisive and in a way of separating out the community“. He then went on to describe the “symbionic” relationship between the two cities. So the message is we must bow to the altar that is Boulder and we need to “give that respect to them“. If not, you’re part of the “lunatic fringe“. Count me in!

By my count, this is at least the second time Councilmember McCoy has directly insulted a large chunk of Longmont residents. The first was insulting supporters of Lifebridge and his ridiculous theory of how 600% of Longmont was against the annexation. Alright, then how does he explain the paltry 31% who voted for Richard Juday, one of the anti-Lifebridge annexation leaders? Only off by 569% there. And those 6,000 signatures he spoke of, odd how only 4,338 voted for Juday, isn’t it? I thought we had a strong message by the petition? I always thought that was a sham, and the election partially proved it.

It’s not hard to jump to the conclusion that had the Lifebridge annexation remained on the ballot it would’ve been very close. I believe some members of council and the general public got an incorrect reading of the overall public’s mood towards “change” and the Lifebridge issue based on November’s election. I also believe Lifebridge read a little too much into it and based their decision to pull out of the process based on it. But that’s just my guess. Juday’s supporters can’t tell me they weren’t surprised that he didn’t get more of the anti-annexation petition signer’s votes, or the Levison vote from November.

How does this relate to Councilmember McCoy and his repeated insulting behavior? While he was one of the few that actually got a majority in the November election, and maybe thinks he has some political capital to spend (by attacking opponents), he needs to take a harder look at what just happened in the special election. He appears to not be very observant or see warning signs when in that very same council meeting two people got up in Public Invited To Be Heard and tore into Councilmember Benker for basically doing the same thing in a previous meeting. Yet he did it anyway.

The main problem I see is the poor example he’s leading, especially to his often abrasive supporters. If it’s alright for him to behave that way, what’s to say his less, hmm how to put this, diplomatic followers won’t be emboldened to really cross the line?

GUEST EDITORIAL: Rich Yale on City Council

From time to time I’ll run a letter submitted to me when the author asks that it be, or approves of it. I try to run things that are fairly unique and not rehashes of other peoples writings locally or nationally. This next letter fits that bill, whether you agree with it or not. I’m also a believer in “if someone has something better to say, and a better way of saying it, why copy or alter it?”

With that in mind…

Amoral opportunity on City Council exploited by 4 Continue reading…

2007 Election Autopsy Pt. 1


The election numbers are all in, and there’s enough fodder for several stories, so let’s get started with Part 1. 

Let’s get this out of the way first, as I know you’re all dying to know how the great prognosticator (me) did, being I’ve written about predicting elections. The Nintendo Wii has this cool polling feature called the “Everybody Votes Channel”. What I like about it is not only do you vote, but you also get to predict how the vote will go. Quite often my predictions do not correlate to my votes; this local election was no different. In the 11 votes I was able to cast (Mayor, council, school district, and ballot issues) I scored 82%, or 9-2. That doesn’t mean that’s how I voted, just how I predicted. Ever the finger on the pulse…etc.

The two I got wrong? SVVSD District G between Schiers and Bohaning, which I picked the latter, and was the last race to be called, and by a razor thin margin. So I can accept that. The other one was, ironically, my own Ward, the race between Rawlins and Hansen. The Times-Call, and Hansen himself, mentioned what a surprise it was. I had noticed more Hansen signs around this ward, but in the end I think it was a couple things. First, Rawlins youth, which I didn’t see as a disadvantage, could’ve been a factor to some voters. Second, the implication Rawlins was “hand picked” by some “good ol’ boy network“, which I never bought, probably didn’t help. The Times-Call endorsement may have turned voters away as well. Lastly, the gamble of this “gang of four” to run as a block of candidates may have been enough to put Hansen over the top.

Surprises to me? The margin Roger Lange won the mayors seat by. I figured he’d win, but not by the largest margin of any of the council races. Karen Benker, more than any other candidate, ran on the anti-Lifebridge annexation and her sole “no” vote on it. Lange voted for the annexation and I don’t remember seeing him apologize for it. More people voted on this race than any other, and Benker was soundly defeated. Is this an indicator of how the Lifebridge vote will go in January? Hard to say, I think Lange had name recognition and more council experience on his side.


I can’t say for sure, only by what I hear and read, but I never got the impression that people disliked Lange. I can’t say the same for Benker. I think it may, may, have played into peoples minds that no matter who won, the other would still be there on council. The only difference being whose seat would sit vacant for almost 3 months, and from what pool would the next councilmember come from. Turns out it will be Lange’s “at-large” seat, so anyone in the city can run and vote on it. With Gabe Santos getting over 6,000 votes for the at-large race he lost, it makes sense to put him at the top of the list of potential candidates in January.

But I could be all wrong about the above, but a 9-2 chance I’m not.  (Gabe Santos did run in the special election, and won handily)

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…

A Tax By Any Other Name

Part of the problem of trying to stay as topical as possible (as in matters of current interests, not a cream), is that as time goes by, it may become less relevant. Keeping that in mind, here is an issue in the upcoming (4/10/07) Longmont City Council meeting: Revised Airport Rules and Regulations by Code.

I was watching a recently Tivo’d council meeting when the idea of charging Mile Hi Skydiving (MHS) a $1 per jumper fee came up. The councilmember for my ward, Doug Brown, is a nice guy that I’ve had numerous occasions of having friendly conversations with. His eyes lit up with the possibility of this fee, he was doing some fuzzy math figuring out the thousands of dollars that could come the city’s way. Continue reading…

Public NOT invited to be heard

There was no love coming from the City Council on Valentines Day ’06. Here is the document (dead link now) limiting your access to locally elected officials. The normally accepted procedure was to have 5 minutes at the beginning and end of each meeting for “Public Invited To Be Heard”. As an occasional speaker, it took time to whittle it down to fit that time frame in some meaningful way. Then somewhere along the line they decided to cut that time. My personal opinion is that this came about from all the Walmart protesters that would go one after another for quite some time, usually repeating each other, and may have pushed the limits of what the councilmember’s would tolerate. I waited for it seemed about 30 speakers, all about Walmart, just to get my airport issue addressed. I could’ve gone between them but didn’t want my point lost in a subject that the city had already made their mind up about.

So down came the hammer. The first step was a 5 minute limit on the first 12 speakers, but #13 on only had 3 minutes, so much for planning out your comments to fit the time allowed. Now you get 3 minutes, period, 1st, 10th, 20th, doesn’t matter. In the old days you didn’t have to put your name on the sign-up sheet, now if you don’t you don’t get your turn until the end of the meeting (regular session only, study session there is no public invited to be heard at the end). Here’s my problem with this: I usually did not put my name on the list for one reason, if someone else already spoke to my issue, I didn’t waste councils time and repeat them. If no one else did, then I’d raise my hand and speak, usually last. But now, if the only way I or anyone can be heard is to sign up, then we all will and possibly waste more of council’s time that could’ve been saved by avoiding duplication.

The bone thrown out by council was this 30 minute chitchat with a couple members of council before the session. This was to be done on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month. You have to sign up for it, and the member may spend 1 minute listening to you, or 29 minutes listening to someone else, in no order and at the discretion of the council member. Recently they cancelled a meeting, cutting these 30 minute get-togethers down to ONCE in March. They point to the possibility of contacting members via phone or email, I’ve done that plenty in the past, results are spotty. Try it for yourself.

I usually agree with Mayor Pirnack on most issues, but this is one I’ve never agreed with. One of her main goals was more public involvement in city issues, something I took to heart, hence this blog/site, etc etc. But this change in procedures (technically known as R-2006-12) goes totally against the Mayor’s stated goal, which I believe is a worthy goal.

I share that goal with my encouraging people to get involved and follow what goes on in their community. Instead of trying to have all the answers, I’d rather nudge you to ask more questions. You’re paying for it in one form or another, get your moneys worth.
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UPDATE: According to the Times-Call “City Talk” section, City Council members face-to-face meetings are now only on the fourth Tuesday of every month. The above resolution still says “twice a month”. Watch for it to totally disappear.