LA021: Meddling in Firestone Union annexation, and 2008 election predictions

LA-w-ChrisSeptember 15, 2008 Show

Even by Wiser Time

Testing Your Meddle” about Firestone
and Lifebridge Union annexation Continue reading…

Election Prediction Update

Every six weeks or so I like to go back to Intrade (www.intrade.com) and see how people are placing bets on which way the election is heading. The last time I checked it was back in the first week of August, with the Democratic nominee (Intrade just lists DEM and REP in the state-by-state picks) was up 311-227 (Electoral College Votes – need 270 to win). I personally put it closer than that, putting the Democratic candidate up 279-259. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then.

According to the latest numbers, things have tightened up considerably in the race. They have the Democratic nominee winning 273-265, I have the Republican nominee winning 274-264 (for the sake of simplicity, we’ll just say Obama(Dem) and McCain(Rep) from this point on). The difference? One state. Colorado.

Last time around, “Unaffiliated” had the highest amount of registrations in the state. According to a recent AP article, Republicans now hold that edge, which means the majority of those registered in Colorado are either Republicans or Unaffiliated, which could be important swing voters. But on the Democratic side, it shows their Senate candidate (Mark Udall) with a 73-26 advantage over Republican Bob Schaffer. I think it will boil down to how much early voting there is, and the many ballot initiatives and who they bring out to vote. With a glance at some of these (TABOR-killing initiative, definition of a “person”, and ending race preferences) I give the edge to Republicans showing up more, which should amount to more McCain votes. The polls, which had Obama up by as many as 9 points, have gone back and forth on who is leading, amounting an average of an ever shrinking Obama lead that’s less than most margins of error.

Besides Colorado, which is the closest on Intrade (54-45 Obama), there are a couple other states that are close, a couple are surprises and weren’t in this category 6 weeks ago. New Hampshire is the next closest with it now 56-45 Obama. I left this in the Obama category, but there is something for Democrats to be worried about here: the last time I checked registrations, “Unaffiliated” held the lead at 44%, second place was Republicans with 30% and then Democrats with 26%. This was a surprise, and may have changed some since, but these numbers don’t usually jump up or down more than a few percentage points over the span of a few months.

Next is Nevada at 58-45 McCain, where registrations are nearly identical between the two parties, I expect McCain to carry this state. Then New Mexico at 60-45 Obama, which is a 13 point drop in the last 6 weeks, but many more Democratic registrations, so even though this is right in McCain’s backyard, I still give it to Obama. Then Virginia, which shows 61-42 McCain (registration numbers weren’t available), and while this may get close, I still think McCain will carry it. Lastly, Michigan, which I never guessed would make this list, is showing 62-40 Obama. While it may get some attention, the only way I see McCain winning this state is if there’s some unforeseen landslide. The rest of the states have larger spreads than this, including Ohio and Florida (McCain), and Pennsylvania (Obama).

Lastly, Intrade has a Presidential Election Winner betting option. The last contracts were 52.4 McCain to 47.1 Obama. If there truly is a greater than 5% gap in the popular vote like this, there should be an even greater gap in the Electoral College totals. But it’s not all gloom and doom for Democrats: Intrade shows them keeping control of both houses of Congress, and it’s not even all that close.

LA020: Police split on unionization, despicable behavior from the Left, and City Council Watch

LA-w-ChrisSeptember 8, 2008 Show

Fuzz by Lords of Fuzz

Police Split On Union

Predictable, Typical, Despicable” behavior by the left Continue reading…

Disrespect From The Podium

At the July 29th Longmont City Council meeting, the issue of putting Police and Firefighter unionization on the ballot was the hot issue. There’s lots to talk about (and lots of audio to pull from this meeting for my next podcast), but I’ll just hit a couple initially.

I watched the entire thing, there were lots of speakers, from both sides. Before I go much further, I’ll remind people I was one of the PD/FD’s biggest supporters for their 2004 drive. My old Wrongmont link is still on their website to this day. I’ve been a union member in open and closed shops for over 27 years, so save the history lesson and emotional speeches. Now, as they say, with all that being said…

I thought each side made very good points, some spoke better than others. I could almost say I feel strongly both ways on this issue, not something I normally say, and probably won’t advocate either way. Make up your own minds.

But I will say the most compelling and convincing presentation was by Police Chief Mike Butler. It was mostly for nothing as it appeared those that voted in favor of the union had made up their minds long before he made his statements. But there was one speaker for the union side who got my attention the most, FOP President Stephen Shulz. He spoke fairly eloquently and had a good command of his organizations positions. But he blew it at one point, to me anyway, with his obvious lack of respect for an elected official, Councilmember Gabe Santos.

The question was asked why now, why again, after the union vote defeat in 2004. Mr. Shulz brought up Mr. Santos’ defeat in the November election, why did/should he run again? There are so many differences in these two scenarios, not to mention the total unprofessional behavior of a city employee towards a city policy maker. First off, Mr. Santos lost by a 46% to 41% margin, not a majority win by Sarah Levison. The unionization vote of 2004 lost by a 55% to 44% margin, much to my chagrin. Not a landslide, but a fairly clear majority.

Secondly, what did Mr. Santos’ two campaigns cost the city? Candidates self fund their campaigns, either from their own accounts or from contributors. In both elections, the city had to fill vacant positions, it wasn’t optional. In the union’s case, they will be the only Longmont related issue on the ballot (said at the City Council meeting), it is optional, and will cost the city about $75,000. I don’t recall Mr. Santos’, or any candidate, demanding not only to be put on the ballot, but also have the city pick up the tab. But that’s what the FOP is asking for. I probably wouldn’t have brought that up, except for this unnecessary cheap shot during the council meeting.

It showed an arrogance, and an impression that the needed four votes were in the bag. Along those same lines, some councilmembers felt outraged that the opinion was floated that they were “bought off” for this vote, but I’ll save that for another time.

For now, someone needs to explain that if the FOP is willing to show that kind of attitude BEFORE there even is a bargaining contract, BEFORE the voters even have a say, why would any reasonable person believe that they won’t be even worse in negotiations IF/WHEN they achieve collective bargaining? I don’t like painting the FOP with this broad brush, and think they have some valid points, but Mr. Shulz repeatedly said he spoke for the FOP. Regardless if they won tonight, this behavior won’t score well with the voters.

“Phony Patriotism”

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.

Vote! Longmont


I’ve been a follower of politics since I was a teenager subscribing to Time Magazine. I was usually pretty good at picking winners of elections; I’d just follow trends, do a lot of reading, and follow my gut. Over the years I’ve made a hobby of picking presidential elections, getting better each time with 2004 topping out at correctly picking every state except one, Wisconsin, which was pretty close.

Apparently my interest in this stuff is not the norm based on low voter registration rates and turnouts come election time. Ever since starting up my Wrongmont rantings, an ongoing theme has been to hold elected officials accountable, and one great way is to vote them IN to office, or vote them OUT.

At times it appears interest is on the rise based on more people showing up at City Council meetings, petition drives, and activist groups. But the steady decline in voter activity has continued. I figured talk with calls to action wasn’t enough, so I took the next step and got certified as a Voter Registration Drive by the Colorado Secretary of State. You need this certification to collect voter registration forms, try it without this, it’s all bad.

I also built a website with links and phone numbers to make it as easy as possible for people to find out their registration status and fix it if need be. My wife Brigette has also gotten us a choice location at Longmont’s Rhythm On The River event this summer. We’re looking at other venues to set up a table and get people registered.

Within a day of making the front page with our smiling faces on the Times-Call, we started getting emails and phone calls. My wife helped get info to an 18 year old working a McDonalds drive-thru window who was registering for the first time in his life. I spoke to a 90 year old gentleman who called our home. He had just moved and was unsure of his registration status, so my wife mailed him a form, some instructions, and a self-addressed stamped envelope with the Boulder County Clerks address on the front.

Since then we’ve received emails and calls from people who may think WE are the Boulder County Clerk, not this self-funded little operation. One in particular saw our story but had no internet capabilities, so I just gave her the direct number to the county clerk. It’s been fun so far and we’ve only just begun which we hope will turn in to more voter registrations, and come election time it’ll turn into higher voter interest, and more importantly, TURNOUT.

Step Right Up, Place Your Bets

It’s too bad you can’t gamble in this country on politics. What, are people worried it might make politicians cheat? HAHAHAHA. That was a good one, sorry.

So we’re on the eve of a special election here in Longmont. One thing I’m glad to see is way more people jumping in than usual, whether it’s in the Open Forum of the Times-Call or websites and blogs. Lots going on, lots being said, how will it impact the final result? Again, I don’t mind if I’m wrong on a prediction, and since I already sort of made one earlier about this election, I’ll follow up on it.

I said that Gabe Santos would lose the November election, but win the special election. This was before anyone officially entered this latest race. Now let’s go through what’s different about this race, events that may have shifted things, etc.

Turnout: This is the great unknown and any prediction is tough not knowing how this will go. In November’s election 15,086 people voted for the at-large seat. Special elections tend to not bring out as many voters, at first I figured 80% of November’s turnout. But this cycle has been different, the Times-Call did a large story about this, and maybe the turnout will be about the same after all.

Candidates: In November’s election Santos received 6,319 votes, or 41.9% of the vote. Paul Tiger received 1,758 votes and is not running this time. I can’t see why someone who voted for Santos in November would change it now. Tiger endorsed Richard Juday, not sure how many people caught that, not sure if it matters to Libertarian voters, and not sure if it helps! (Sorry Paul, people like us don’t always help with our endorsements). So I gave 60% of Tigers votes to Juday. To give 100% of Sarah Levison’s votes to Juday though is a stretch and pretty presumptuous.

The DeLay Factor: Zip, nada, zero. The people that hate Tom DeLay probably weren’t going to vote for Santos anyway. The people who already voted for Santo’s or have no problem with DeLay may have been offended by this stretch of “guilt by association”. Even if you spot a couple hundred votes for this, which is a couple hundred too many, doesn’t affect the outcome.

“Attack” Ad: Apparently, some voters (supposedly just Republicans) got a mailer that wasn’t too friendly towards Juday. I seriously thought it was a hoax or someone trying to “punk” Juday and his supporters. But apparently it really went out. Oddly enough a quote supposedly from my website was on it. I can’t remember where I saw that, but I sure didn’t write that quote and it wasn’t ever on my site. Anyway, who does this ad help/hurt? Those that were going to vote for Juday anyway – this only reinforces their feelings, and they probably didn’t receive it anyway, only heard about it. Those that would lean against Juday – this would reinforce them also, and they probably did receive it if it only went out to one party. So, stalemate? I don’t think so.

In today’s Times-Call they talked about voters by party affiliation. Increased Republican turnout (those receiving these ads) is a bad thing for Juday. These may be people that didn’t vote in November, and also probably people that were not happy with Lifebridge’s treatment, courtesy of Juday and his supporters. Many of these people probably don’t want to be Boulder Jr. either. Like this ad or hate it, I don’t remember ever seeing anything quite like it for a Longmont election, and its impact could be huge.

Final Days: Also in today’s paper were some political ads and op-eds by Santos and Juday. Juday’s ad said “Please, before responding to attack material”…visit his website for solid information. His editorial was titled ” Longmont deserves better“, not sure if he titled it or the Times-Call. I know the point was to say elections shouldn’t be so dirty, but the title implies what Longmont has now (in council or anywhere else) sucks. Yeah, voters like hearing that, being blamed for any and all ills. Juday spent much of his piece being on the defensive, not where a candidate wants to be in the final stretch. Add to that voluntarily not accepting donations and returning checks a week before the election? While it may be noble, I guess, signs and advertisements take money. If there’s a perception a candidate is throwing in the towel (not saying he is), most voters want to vote for a winner, not someone who wraps up his campaign before Election Day.

Santo’s editorial was titled ” Longmont‘s community cares” and the contrast between these two messages and these two editorials are worth some votes. Perhaps a lot of votes. I’m sure some detractor can find something to pick apart in Santo’s editorial, but it was fairly positive from start to finish. Let’s just see their last paragraphs, remember, these are sort of the closing arguments, they matter: Juday: “On my website you may see some corrections to distributed misinformation”. Santos: “I’m inspired by what I see, and I wish to give it back. I believe I am the right choice for City Council. I respectfully ask for your vote. If you have already voted for me, please accept my most sincere thank you.” Hey, it was longer, take out a sentence or two to make it even. End result is the same.

Conclusion: Based on the previous election, possible turnout, candidates actions, advertising (good and bad), signage, money, and intangibles, let me throw out this prediction: Santos 7,333 (48.6%) / Juday 6,144 (40.7%) / Baxter 1,509 (10%) / Write-in 100 (0.7%). Knowing that prediction alone could drive a few people to get their voting butts in gear, and knowing I could be all wet on those numbers and outcomes, there it is. Yep, another plurality, not a majority. And if 595 votes swap, different outcome.

I’d like to see some thoughtful prognostication(s?) (in other words, spare the wishful thinking). No one’s prediction should be held against them, unless they turn out to be clairvoyant geniuses! Can’t gamble, but can have bragging rights – until the next election.

Lazy Voters

Lazy voters. I probably don’t mean what you think when I use that term. I’m not talking about people who aren’t registered, or are and don’t bother to vote, or have no idea when there’s even an election. There’s probably a better term, and I’m not pointing towards the apathetic here either.

One type of person I’m talking about is the kind who waits by their mailbox for brochures telling them how they should vote. The other ones are the kind that read others opinions and based on them figure they should vote totally opposite to it. Intellectually lazy and taking the easy way out.

An example was a letter sent in to the Times-Call not too long ago. Only credit I’ll give this guy (can’t remember the name, wouldn’t repeat it if I did) is he was ” smart” enough to give his name. In reality, he made himself look like a dunce. He was fairly insulting as he sarcastically thanked a somewhat regular writer, Percy Conarroe, for stating his position so now this guy could know how NOT to vote.

It’s one thing to think like that or to actually vote like that, but to make assumptions on Mr. Conarroe’s knowledge and experience, as if it’s inferior to this writer’s, is just that, an assumption. And a risky one at that, as it leaves this brain surgeon hanging out in the wind, unless of course he’s right. He’s more than likely not (even if he is a brain surgeon).

I’d never met or had any contact with Mr. Conarroe, but was now curious about him after this slime job. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of having a conversation with him. Not only was he very personable, he’s also a former editor and publisher for a couple of major newspapers. For someone of that caliber to go out of their way to compliment me was truly and honor and showed what class he has, unlike the detractor above.

I asked him about this letter, he said it was nothing new and was used to it, along with far worse things including death threats back in the day. I could imagine so, once learning what he used to do. So this conversation verified what I figured; that Mr. Conarroe was not deserving of the insults, and this detractor showed himself as an uninformed buffoon. I guess we just have to say we’re supporting who we’re really NOT supporting and he’ll be totally confused. Too late.

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)