Can of Worms

At the April 29, 2008 Longmont City Council meeting, at the late, nearly eleven o’clock hour, something interesting happened. Quite often, the most interesting things happen during “Council Comments” at the end of every meeting, it’s worth Tivo’ing.

In the Times-Call of the same date, there was a story about Lifebridge Church. It, according to the paper, ” submitted amassive open records request to the city, asking for public documents spanning 20 years.” So it sounds as if the attorneys of Lifebridge delivered a mountain of paper (massive) for this request! Oh, the tree’s who paid with their lives, er, leaves. I’m sure it was meant that the result of this request will be ” massive“.

At the City Council meeting, Councilmember Karen Benker asked City Attorney Clay Douglas about this and it turned into a fairly long discussion covering emails, phone calls, and the recording and reporting of these. Some of you may not have been aware, but every correspondence you send to city council, and presumably city staff, is of the open record variety. And, when councilmembers receive these, they are to forward them on to city staff for retention.

I got the strong impression this hasn’t been followed by some on council. And there seemed to be concern about “personal” emails, and when items are confidential and when they aren’t. It sounds like very little is private when it comes to just about any correspondence between constituents and their city council members. If the constituent states that it is confidential, there could be some coverage there. But it doesn’t go the other way, that is, from the councilmember to the constituent, according to Mr. Douglas.

Apparently, the proper way for a councilmember to respond to an email is for them to CC the reply to the appropriate city staff email address so they get a copy of the original email and the response. I guess if they don’t reply, they should just forward the email on, but that wasn’t made clear. And it was also implied that if the councilmember replies and forwards the reply on, it must include the original email from the constituent or the Open Records Act was not properly followed.

I email councilmembers from time to time, and not to “fish” for a violation of this act, but for valid questions. I’m sure some of you do as well. Just for fun, in your replies from council, check the “From” area to see if anyone is in the CC list. It’s possible it was a blind CC, but why would a councilmember want to hide the fact they followed procedure, and the law for that matter?

The question of recording telephone conversations came up, and Mr. Douglas said ” any communication“, which might be construed as including telephone calls. But something else he said here got my attention: ” A telephone conversation among councilmembers if it involves the requisite three members or majority can become an open meeting, and affording the public access to that can pose its own challenges.” Catch that?

To me, that says if there is a conference call between 3 or more members, that we the public can and should have access to that conversation. My question is does that apply to emails sent between councilmembers to more than one other councilmember? And, how about get-togethers outside of council meetings that include 3 or more councilmembers? Especially if they discuss city business?

This could get interesting, and I doubt Lifebridge was aware of what that request has and could evolve in to. I’ve done requests of city records before, usually airport related issues, and have always found the City Clerks Office more than helpful in this area. I hope they aren’t about to get swamped.

Which “Agitators and Aggressors”?

At the 3/25/08 Longmont City Council meeting, Sean McCoy, in his recurring role as appointed insulter, took aim this time at a website. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNslIi6DAM4


He called them ” surrogate agitators and aggressors“, and thanked the Longmont Police for showing up to the meeting, apparently for ” his and his family’s protection.” Would this be the same Longmont Police that Mr. McCoy accepted a $1,000 donation and Times-Call advertisement from, and are now pushing to make it so they can never donate to a campaign in Longmont again? Might they have been there because of reports of a regular attendee carrying a good size knife on him at council meetings? Did this genius know that? I’m betting not.

But since Mr. McCoy is accusing people exercising their Freedom Of Speech, which include phone or “robo-calls”, with terms like this, and feels the need for police protection for these robo-calls, I’d like to ask him for some consistency.

There were emails sent out that said a similar thing as these robo-calls, ” you need to come to tonight’s meeting“. These were sent by members of Progress Now Action, and while it clearly has an anti-Lifebridge tone, here’s the most hilarious part: Some were sent to current Lifebridge members! In some cases multiple emails sent to separate accounts of the same member! Talk about utter stupidity.

And here it is…
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Subject: FW: Your support is needed at a critical time for Longmont
Date: 3/25/2008 1:29:55 P.M. Mountain Daylight Time
From: info@progressnowaction.org
Reply To: jen@progressnowaction.org

XXXX,
Kaye Fissinger, a ProgressNow member in Longmont, asked me to forward you an urgent update on the LifeBridge/4C Development. I’ve forwarded her email below.

To: Jen Caltrider
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008
From: Kaye Fissinger
Subject: URGENT – We need Longmont residents to attend the City Council meeting TONIGHT

Fellow Longmont Residents,

Earlier this year Longmont residents banded together to prevent a proposed annexation by the LifeBridge/4C Development Corporation. The proposed annexation would have cost Longmont residents thousands in taxpayer dollars every year.

Now, LifeBridge is at it again. This time they’re trying to get the land for their development annexed through the City of Firestone.

The Longmont City Council is poised to vote for annexation of three pieces of open space on our Weld County border for use as open space. If Longmont annexes this open space land, we will effectively prevent Firestone from annexing the LifeBridge development and protect wildlife habitat.

I want to invite other Longmont residents to join me at the LongmontCity Council meeting tonight to make sure the City Council knows that Longmont residents want this open space annexed.

The City Council meeting starts at 7:00 pm at City Hall, 350 Kimbark Street in Longmont.

Last night, Longmont residents were subjected to robo calls designed to further LifeBridge’s cause. The message urged residents to keep the City Council from annexing the property in question. So, we expect LifeBridge supporters to turn out in force and we need to make sure that Longmont City Council hears our voices as well.

Thanks again. I look forward to seeing everyone tonight at the City Council meeting.
Kaye Fissinger
Longmont Resident
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Well, now, as the SNL Church Lady would say, isn’t that special? Of all the people who got up and spoke at this meeting, I don’t remember seeing a single Lifebridge supporter. It was a cacophony of the usual anti-Lifebridge crowd. Using Mr. McCoy’s logic and his worrying that the robo-calls would bring out people that meant him harm, in reality, it was the above email that appeared to have more impact based on who showed up and who spoke. ” Lifebridge is at it again“? “…w e will prevent Firestone from annexing the Lifebridge development“? “…make sure the City Council knows…” ? That sounds pretty accusatory, negative, aggressive, and agitating, possibly more so than the robo-calls.

Why do I get the feeling Mr. McCoy won’t chastise them in the same manner?

Mr. McCoy, who were you meaning when you said ” and others” during your accusations? Did you mean Progress Now Action? If you meant them or someone else you should say it. I’m sure you don’t want to appear to be inconsistent or partisan. Cherry picking can be a dangerous and embarrassing thing if you, a) either don’t have all the facts, or b) don’t know what you’re talking about.

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.2

In the previous story, I ran Firestone’s Mayor Simone’s comments he made in the 3/17/08 Firestone Trustee Board meeting. There were more comments by other trustee’s as well. You might recall that this meeting was rescheduled from the previous Thursday as not enough board members showed up. There was some speculation this occurred because there was disagreement amongst board members, some might be purposely boycotting the meeting, or maybe some cold feet. Based on the comments I heard at the meeting, that speculation was false.

Until I get an actual tape or transcript of the meeting, here were some notes I jotted down from comments by some of the trustees: Butch Walb talked about the Longmont hoped-for buffer, that Longmont was basically saying “we don’t build, neither should you”. Sharon Falcone talked about enclaves and that buffers aren’t always good, using the example of some of Weld County‘s Mixed Used Development (MUD) areas that are not very attractive and were poorly planned, and have and could in the future be in areas cities might like to serve as buffers.

Charlie Thomas was for the extension of the Master Planning Area to the west, and that Longmont should’ve done more up to this point if they were interested in this area. Dennis Berton was also in favor of the Master Plan and didn’t want any more ” checkerboarding” of cities and enclaves. Steve Curtis was against Longmont’s buffer concept, and called it ” obscene” and ” immoral“. He was also in favor of the updated Master Plan. Julie Crowder was not present.

Mayor Simone was last to speak with the previously posted comments. Although he stuck pretty closely to those comments, he delivered it with the anger and outrage fitting the words. The comment ” LifeBridge was forced to “walk away” by the election of an anti-religious faction to the Longmont City Council” had the most visible impact as a couple of people stormed out of the meeting immediately after hearing it. While those people milled around in the lobby for the remainder of the entire meeting, and some of them after the meeting was over, they never returned to the meeting itself.

Something I didn’t expect was the ” swearing in” of citizens who spoke at this meeting. They had to answer “I do” or something similar to the question by the Mayor ” do you swear to tell the truth, so help you God?” or something like that. I’d just never seen that before. The other thing I noticed, which I thought was great, was the public reading into the record of emails and letters sent to the city about the item on the agenda. Granted, a city the size of Longmont may not have the time to do such a thing at their council meetings, but it was refreshing nonetheless.

I link to Tri-Town Online on my website, but rarely comment there, and it seems most of those people have a great deal of dislike for Mayor Simone and this Board of Trustees. I had forgotten that the print edition of YourHub for Longmont also goes to residents of Firestone (which surprisingly it and the other Tri-Town cities don’t have their own Hub), and I’d just recently written a story (” Hesitate To Emulatehttp://denver.yourhub.com/Longmont/Blogs/News-Politics/Commentary/Blog~438770.aspx ) that apparently got the attention of some of the members of the Trustee Board. While I didn’t get up to the podium at this event, and kept a low profile in the very back of the room, turns out I had some readers (and fans) in the crowd and on the board. That was different.

Up next, one Longmont city councilmembers angry response to this Firestone meeting.

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.

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?

Meet The Bobbleheads!

Now for the lighter side of recent and upcoming events: As a former councilmember recently put it, there’s this ” new generation” of Longmonters. They really aren’t that new, or fresh (another word used by said writer), and some are downright frightening. Some aren’t even from or in Longmont – as pointed out by Councilmember Mary Blue in a recent meeting.

After getting the last council meeting of 2007 on DVD from the library, I have a better nickname for them: The Bobbleheads! Why, you may ask? Quite simple really, and pretty funny, too. On accident I had the disc running at fast speed, it was a riot!

You see, there’s this self-appointed group of complainers who feel empowered as they think they got a mandate on the last election. Nevermind, as previously proven, that their candidates actually did not get a majority of the vote, not even 47%. But that’s not a valid point, I guess. Anyway, they were out in force at a recent council meeting and figured they’d sit in front, that means being on camera. When one of them would say something, they’d all nod in agreement, and then look around to their new friends on council for validation. The cumulative result was something I rarely see at council meetings: COMEDY!

Of course, what was actually coming out of their mouths was anything but nice or respectful – unless of course they were addressing their new friends on council. The topper was at the end, four and half hours into the meeting, when one of them had the gall to rip into Mayor Lange for volunteering to be on some committee, basically saying that he couldn’t be trusted. Sometimes you just have to point out the obvious to some people, and he did, that no one else would volunteer for it! And that includes these clowns’ four friends on council. They were asked repeatedly, none would step up. So you get what you get.

I suspect that first meeting was the high point (or low point depending on your point of view) of their attendance, and since they didn’t get their way on leaving the Lifebridge Annexation on the ballot, the slow feeding-on-their-own frenzy I spoke of before should begin soon. Here’s a bonus: one of their own is running for council, Richard Juday. Just thought you’d like to know, that is if you planned on voting.

So if you Bobbleheads are thinking of utilizing this nickname, and I bet you wish you came up with it yourself, remember where you got it. Maybe if you spent less time running from action to action being ” over-reactionaries” (go ahead and use that, too), you could escape the groupthink and dream up something original. Yeah, I know, not likely. Enjoy.

600% Can’t Be Wrong

I hate being misquoted, so in the interest of fairness I’ll include every word of councilmember Sean McCoy’s Lifebridge comments on 1/8/08.

“Umm yeah, last lastly I’d like to point out is a uh couple things that were kind of misleading in in the press here as of recently and uh one in particular was uh uh the uh Union vote. Uh myself uh uh Councilmember Hansen, Coucilmember Levinson uh not one of us voted on that to uh uh uh much the chagrin of uh some of those that weren’t keeping track of current affairs. But uh that’s uh a real issue that I feel is uh kinda sad that uh uh people are suggesting that uh by the very fact of uh some of us getting on here in council that that drove them away. I think what drove them away is uh their own uh information that they gathered and the fact that six thousand voters got in and uh signed petitions and uh were going to send them a clear message.
If you do any statistical analysis or data collection you’ll find out if they do a thousand uh polls and they come up with six hundred uh people in support of something that’s about sixty percent on about a hundred thousand people and often times that gives you a pretty decent uh uh idea of where people are at. We technically under our last census have eighty one thousand people here in Longmont and six thousand signed that that’s six hundred percent of the people. That was the reason why they chose to go elsewhere. So I would like that to be perfectly clear and also I’d like that to be pointed out in our uh communication to the uh uh public using our public forums so that people understand that I didn’t vote on that and I don’t believe these other members did either.”

A quick tip: people are bound to remember the very issue that pretty much propelled you and your pals into office. That, and the election party pictures in the Times-Call of all of you and the leaders of the anti-annexation petition. Now, why would ANYONE think you or any new member of council was against the Lifebridge annexation? A quick Google search also brought up:

Meet city council candidate Sean McCoy
YourHub.Com Longmont
Boulder Daily Camera Q&A – Sean McCoy
The SouthwesternWeldCountyUnion, LifeBridge annexation, is another prime example of the current city council’s failure to identify good residential and commercial development that shows an exceptional benefit to the city. A change is need on council and I what to be that change. So as a future city council member I see the overturning of the Union Life Bridge annexation as a good thing and have supported the individuals working on bring transparency to Longmont’s government and their commitment to community based decision making back to council. “

Rocky Mountain News
“In the three City Council races, the three candidates on record opposing the LifeBridge annexation appeared on their way to winning seats. “

Rocky Mountain News
“Also, city council candidates Sean McCoy, Sarah Levison and Brian Richard Hansen have said publicly that they oppose the annexation.”

The Agenda
I stand by my statement that the previous CC showed disregard for the people of Longmont who wanted that land to remain open space.”

Can fool some of the people some of the time.

Hyperventilating Hypocrites

The last Longmont City Council meeting of 2007 was so chock full of nuggets just waiting to be mined. Here’s one of my favorites, an example of “it’s alright for us, but not for you!”

Days leading up to this meeting, Lifebridge Church pulled their plans for annexation into Longmont. The question for the council was whether or not to leave the question on the ballot. Was there really any question? Seemed like a “duhh” moment to me, and I know they have to go through the formality of removing it properly, that’s not the issue. The issue was that some of the people, not all, that circulated the petition against the annexation strongly requested it stay on the ballot. A message needed to be sent, doggone it!

City Attorney Clay Douglas rightly pointed out it was pretty much a moot point, but that simple point was apparently lost on some people. One of the petition supporters rightly said that the end result was the same as if the question passed (as in NO to annexation), so the goal was reached, what was the point? Still missed on some. What some petition signers may not have known or believed (even though some of us have been repeatedly saying it) was that some of the petition backer’s motives were more than simply overturning the YES council vote on annexation.

They were after the punishment and embarrassment of Lifebridge and some members of City Council. Their request to keep this on the ballot is one example. The fact some of them said they’re now moving against Weld County on the Lifebridge issue is another. They also wanted there to be some kind of act of council to make it so Lifebridge couldn’t come back later and try again to annex. There were even some members of council asking the City Attorney about this ridiculous concept – so they bought right into this anti-Lifebridge mentality. Makes them no different than the angry mob that supports them.

Some have been writing lately that the new council had nothing to do with Lifebridge pulling out. The above is yet one example. Here’s another: remember the smiling faces of the people bringing the anti-annexation petition to the city clerk on the front of the Times-Call? I’ll give you one guess ( 4 actually) of who they strongly backed for city council. Who was leading that pictured group? Their current candidate Richard Juday, who was also, I believe, the campaign manager for one of the new council members. It’s all intertwined. If there’s any doubt, just ask one of the new council members or candidates where they stood, and where they stand, on the annexation, and Lifebridge in general.

So the people who wielded their right to petition government don’t want people they disagree with to have the same right to petition, which could include a church submitting plans and permits. They can muddy it up saying that’s not really what they mean, but that’s what it amounts to. City Attorney Douglas mentioned that when an annexation is denied there is a process to reapply and there may be some time restrictions. But this annexation was approved and voluntarily pulled. There is nothing stopping Lifebridge from resubmitting it or starting where they left off. Fat chance they will, so those against it can rest easy. Or can they? More on that in a bit.

I assume some of them are steamed that they spent a bunch of their time and money on something that’s become moot and pointless, but they still got what they wanted. Apparently that’s not good enough, and I’m betting half of you that signed the petition didn’t sign up for a crusade against a church. Feel free to say as much publicly, embarrassed or not.

The rich and fragrant irony of it is this: I’m hearing rumors of other petitions and recalls. Not by corporations or churches, but just ” normal everyday people“, the kind the anti-annexation crowd claimed to be. Suffice it to say those people will not like these petitions, but who said everyone liked their petition? Who knows, maybe one of the petitions is in favor of Lifebridge, plenty of people have been writing in how they feel they were railroaded. What’s good for the goose, and all that.

But I do have one question, what if that question stayed on the ballot and people voted FOR the annexation? What then? It was baseless wishful thinking to assume it was a slam dunk, sort of like saying a ” blue tide” would sweep in Karen Benker as Mayor ( nope) and this supposed mandate from a new majority (actual votes say, again, nope).