Appointing pawns and puppets

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that the liberal Bloc of Four on Longmont City Council has made a number of pure agenda-driven city board appointments since last December, all by four yea votes from the Bloc contrasted to three dissenting votes from the other council members. One of these appointees was a pesty animal rights activist known as Prairie Dog Woman. Apparently these partisan shenanigans from progressive-controlled city councils are nothing new to Boulder County, as described in the commentary below by former Boulder mayor Bob Greenlee.
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From the Boulder Daily Camera:

Greenlee: Their way or the highway
Sunday, April 5, 2009

Boulder’s City Council is consumed with an overwhelming desire to exercise ultimate control over nearly everything. When it comes to selecting citizens to serve on its many boards and commissions there’s apparently little room for dissent. Council recently rejected all six candidates for an open seat on the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustment with councilmember Macon Cowles suggesting that all the applicants had direct ties to the development community and might “unbalance” the board. Such unbalanced hyperbole came despite the fact that the city’s own Web site says applicants “must be qualified by experience and training to act upon matters relating to building constructions.”

The only plausible explanation for rejecting all six of the entirely qualified applicants was a fear that at least one vote might be different from council’s preferred outcomes. It’s hard to maintain balance if just one person might disagree with the council’s will. Such obvious bias shows how deeply flawed the whole advisory board scheme has become. Instead of representing a variety of citizen input on matters of public policy the current council only seems interested in appointing pawns and puppets.

The six rejected applicants are appropriately upset over having been given the heave-ho. Any one of them would have provided a welcomed balance to the zoning board and private property owners. Each of the candidates had some modest background or technical expertise in dealing with Boulder’s perverse, fickle, and ever-changing zoning regulations. The rejected candidates were probably the most qualified group of citizens to apply for a spot on the board in recent years. Obviously the council wasn’t looking for people who might have provided some guidance in interpreting or fine-tuning the complexities of regulations and real world situations. Members of council who rejected the applicants believed that at least some or all them had hidden agendas and might actually challenge council’s preferred outcomes. The real agenda was council’s desire not to be challenged.

Your current City Council continuously engages in an endless display of posturing. This coming Tuesday, it will likely increasing the tax money it will appropriate in order to fund its Climate Action Plan. It will pretend to hear from the public who may or may not welcome a tax increase and then it will vote to approve the hike it has already concluded is absolutely necessary in order to achieve an elusive Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas objective that Boulder voters approved two years ago. All this despite the fact that the effort is largely symbolic if not entirely unnecessary given that whatever happens in Boulder will have no meaningful impact in reversing our planet’s ever-changing climate. It will, however, make a number of citizens feel good and there’s nothing more important than that.

It’s interesting to note that there are at least a few Boulder citizens were willing to challenge the wisdom of spending even more money on the CAP. One citizen who supports a tax hike did wonder about the viability of the program questioning whether the funds collected so far have done any good. Remarkably a spokesperson for PLAN-Boulder County asked whether or not there was any direct relationship between simply spending more money rather than demonstrating any actual results. Progressives love to equate spending someone else’s money for things they covet without being too concerned over whether or not anything of actual value is achieved.

The current worldwide recession has done more to curtail any excess carbon concerns than anything Boulder could conceive of. Thousands of China’s polluting factories have been shuttered and most of India’s steel mills have closed. But having more carbon action money means being able to exercise greater control. Now that’s something City Council apparently can’t live without.

Bob Greenlee was a member of Boulder’s City Council for 16 years and served his last 2 years as mayor. Write him at: robertdgreenlee@aol.com