Somebody Trying To Hide Something?

Different people in different ways make my work easier. Some people are outspoken, often offensive and abrasive. Then once in a while they screw up and try to bury it. Then other people, occasionally anonymously, do some of the footwork and get the information to me either directly or indirectly. I’m more than happy to be another outlet to get that information out to a wider audience. Nearly all of this latter group I’ve never met, emailed, or spoken to. And credit is deserved.

The people backing Richard Juday for City Council in this upcoming election are spending much of their time trying to smear opposing candidates. Yet at the same time they’re being very sneaky about hiding certain things their candidate has written in the past. The TakeBackLongmont website has been out in front defending against the smears on Gabe Santos, and has been blistering towards Mr. Juday in some of his comments conveniently removed from his website. You can find a link to a cached version of it at their website.

Another reader sent me a link to Mr. Juday’s Report of Contributions and Expenditures, click on it to read it, it’s public information. You’ll see some familiar names, including most of the often mentioned “bloc of 4″ as already reported in the Times-Call. Oddly missing is an “in kind” contribution from the person who’s maintaining his website, or is that service free, or self administered? Only reason I ask is over these pages that were so abruptly pulled down. What was on the Science Vs Creationism page? Some of your potential voters might like to know.

(Pay attention Councilmembers Benker, McCoy, Levison, and Hansen, these questions are for you also, as you either accepted Mr. Judays support in your races, or have donated to his candidacy, or both. You can either respond publicly, or get repeatedly asked and publicly embarrassed. Remember the more open and listening council idea? Here’s to see if you really meant it.)

Mr. Juday wrote of big box stores and his obvious disdain for them, which is his right. But what he removed from his website was his idea, or approval of this: ” write down license numbers and trace them to residence” in reference to finding out who’s shopping where. Or having the customer report his city, if asked. He’s toned that down to its current version of ” recorded zip codes of shoppers.” So we have a choice of ” Big Box” or ” Big Brother” thanks to Mr. Juday and friends. Also, Mr. Juday needs to respond to whether he approved or encouraged the questionable practice of secretly videotaping signers of the Lifebridge anti-annexation petition. He proudly led his group to city hall with those petitions, if he’s the leader, he needs to answer. If I hear ” no big deal” over this, I can’t imagine the people being taped unknowingly would agree.

Here’s what it boils down to. Mr. Juday and his pals in and out of council don’t like places like Walmart, BestBuy, Costco (funny they don’t mention Target, quite a big box) and want to make it hard on them to do business. Not only that, they look down on you for shopping there and want to collect information on those of you that chose to go there, whatever your reason. This is NOT Longmont, at least not the Longmont I chose to move to. This is elitist thuggery and if Mr. Juday and those on council that lean with him don’t answer these important points, they should be held accountable, severely. And no answers equal agreement with these comments and actions.

I’m not asking you to vote for a particular candidate, but I am asking you NOT to vote for this candidate, Mr. Juday. If you have a problem with the new members of council over this, take it up with them, but they were already elected.

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).

Having It Both Ways

If you’re like me, you’re probably getting tired of people blowing hot air out of both sides of their mouth. Here’s an extreme example: ” I don’t mean to offend, but you’re a scum sucking pig“. Oh, no, they didn’t mean to offend, right. Or, here’s a good one: ” I really support the troops, don’t question that, but all of their commanders are corrupt and/or clueless, and let’s go see that film that portrays those troops as raping and murdering thugs, but I still support them.” Guess you can fool some of the people some of the time.

Getting closer to home, we have this “Megachurch” situation, as it’s being called now. The rest of us know it as Lifebridge’s Union Annexation. There will be a special election for it in late January ’08, the question is should it or shouldn’t it be annexed as part of Longmont. The anti-annexation crowd (they don’t like being called ” anti-Lifebridge“, a ” cabal“, or who knows what else) is trying a new approach, but repeatedly stating they aren’t condemning church members, nor attacking them. Uh huh.

Usually right before or after these disclaimers they go right on ripping into those they disagree with. Maybe we need a trip down memory lane to see what this anti-Lifebridge cabal (oops) has let slip out from some of their members. Some of which you probably haven’t seen or heard, and wish you never had.

Even though I think I’ve made it pretty clear I’m in no way affiliated with Lifebridge, the assumptions and attacks on my unstated religious affiliation began. When that went nowhere, it was on to my ethnicity. Let’s see, since my ” last name is Rodriguez” I must be either ” running one of those “landscaping” businesses using a bunch of illegals for labor” or my ” brother is in home building” or I need to get a ” job washing dishes“. They also remind me ” Colorado is built on slave labor from Mexico friend – don’t push it“. Wow, they put me in my place.

I got a nice chuckle when one of their leaders (another one, Richard Juday, is running for city council by the way) out of the blue claimed he was ” born again“. Yet there was no shortage of comics and comments fairly derogatory towards people of faith. But the “born again” part gives him “street cred”, I guess, to rip on everyone else. Hypocrite is overused, how about … “wrong end of a horse”?

Speaking of horses, I don’t really have one in this race, so I am not offended if I offended anyone. I’m also not running for anything, or have multiple websites trying to derail something (Lifebridge), or ran a petition drive secretly videotaping those that signed. OOPS, you signers not know that? Ah, but don’t worry, they told you they are just normal, everyday people, JUST LIKE YOU, probably you’re neighbors, remember? If those are your kind of people, you belong together; you should support them and their candidates. Here’s a pat on the head…and a SUCKER.

The Costs Of Elections

Some astute visitors to my site (aren’t they all?) voiced their concerns about the possibility of a costly special election to backfill a city councilmember seat. As some of you have probably read, three current council members are running for Mayor. If Roger Lange or Karen Benker win, their seat will become vacant and since there is a specified amount of time left in that position, another election must be held to fill it. This could cost between $50k and $100k at a time when we’re hearing about shortfalls in revenues and cuts in services in the city.

The third councilmember running is Doug Brown, who is being term-limited out of office. (Campaign Manager hat on: Doug, how often can politicians say they’ll save you money and/or save some city services if you “vote for me”, and really mean it, and can deliver on it? Okay, hat off). If Mr. Brown wins, basically the city saves a bunch of money. But there’s a two thirds chance we’ll be forking out for a special election. Since I’m sure it’s part of the city charter, there’s not much we can do about it. The only future options are to not allow current council members to run for Mayor, or to not backfill vacant seats, whether due to promotion (to Mayor), sickness, or death. I don’t see either of those options as realistic, so we’re stuck with what we have.

This got me to thinking about another costly ballot situation: The Union/LifeBridge annexation issue. Here we’re being asked, no, told, that we must pony up somewhere between $60k and $100k to put on the ballot a question of overturning a city council decision to annex this development into Longmont. This is not an up/down decision on whether it should be built, just if it should be part of Longmont. That’s an important distinction. I’ll assume the petition gatherers made that clear to the people who signed it.

One of the petition gatherers said ” the buck and a half it would cost per voter is a rare bargain to have the community speak on so significant a question.” Up until now I was pretty much staying out of this issue, but some of these people’s comments and tactics can’t go unchallenged (and no, I’m not a member of Lifebridge). Where to begin with this claptrap. First, 6,000 people signed this, that’s what, less than 10% of the population in Longmont? Yet they have the right to charge the rest of us a ” buck and a half” for anything? Who died and declared you…well I better not say “God” that might offend them. How about we divide the fee amongst the 6,000 petition signers, that’s only somewhere between $10 and $17 each, what’s the problem?

Second, that’s not just a charge ” per voter“, that’s something everyone who pays sales and use taxes will pay for. People complain about elected officials unfairly raising taxes, how about a small minority of unelected citizens? Is that okay?

Third, although I may at times disagree with council votes on issues, they were legally elected to represent us. How long has this been going through all the processes required? This wasn’t just sprung upon the poor, unwitting citizenry. And the vote wasn’t even all that close, 6-1. But some people didn’t like it. Well, I don’t like a lot of decisions they make, does that give me the right to force the rest of the city residents to pay for it? I don’t think so. Lastly, I suggest you Google “union annex”, and visit both sides’ websites and educate yourself. Check the maturity level, and if you’re easily offended, don’t bother. That is, unless they start deleting.

I’m not saying you should vote for or against this ballot question, I’m just pointing out that IF this makes the ballot, the damage’s already been done financially to an already weak city budget. I better not hear these same types complain when the city cuts another $60k to $100k worth of programs and services. At least we know in part who to thank.