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.

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.

Misleading facts & endorsements about election

Sorry if the flurry of numbers and stats put you to sleep, but there were some misleading comments backing up an endorsement that I couldn’t let just slide by. Especially since in a previous blog entry delving into the numbers on the last election I already went through this, and I really hate repeating myself.

A former city councilmember, Tom McCoy, painted a picture of sore losers, a new generation of “Longmonters”, and a supposed mandate from the majority of voters. Now for those pesky facts. Only two races actually won a majority, Mayor Lange and oddly enough McCoy’s son Sean McCoy. The rest were pluralities, where as the winner did not break 50.1%, also known as a majority. Hey, I can’t help it if people don’t know the difference.

You know something else that’s not talked about a lot? 40,051 total votes were cast for Mayor and City Council members, the ” new generation of city councilpeople” McCoy speaks of received 18,453 votes. The other candidates received 21,598 votes. Now there’s a majority, 53.9%46.1%, a majority against Benker, Levison, McCoy, and Hansen. So where’s this so-called mandate? You won’t find it because it doesn’t exist. Nice try though.

So based on that ” fuzzy math” one should throw their full support behind Richard Juday, right? And apparently Longmont is about to become a player in the space industry as Mr. Juday could bring primary jobs here from his “fresh contacts” as a retired NASA employee. This would be funny if it wasn’t so offensive coming from a former councilmember who was no great friend to our aviation community.

Remember how I once wrote how some endorsements help, and others don’t? If you can make those numbers and statements justify your vote, then I guess you have your candidate.

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…

Do Endorsements Matter?

Who do you trust with endorsements? They’re coming out of the woodwork right now for the upcoming election, and even one for the Lifebridge Annexation which isn’t even on the ballot.

Endorsements can either be a blessing, or the kiss of death, depending on your views. Something I figured was going on was verified in a recent letter in the paper: ” If you endorse this guy, I’m voting for the opposite!” was basically how it went. I’m going to assume most people figure in more than just that when picking a candidate, but you never know.

“Belonging” is important to some people. A club, a party, an association, a loose group of like-minded people, etc. Sometimes these groups, especially political parties, send out their mailers with their roster of picks. It’s so easy to just take this along with you to the voting precinct. Or take the suggestions of your little activist group, with the only question being ” how do we think and vote about this?” Yes, endorsements just make life easier – for the unthinking or easily steered.

Now to specifics on this election. The Times-Call has endorsed candidates Lange, Rawlins, Santos, and Finley and is in favor of the Lifebridge/Union annexation. Longmont’s Fraternal Order of Police and Longmont’s Firefighters’ Association have endorsed candidates Benker, Hansen, McCoy, and Levison. The anti-Lifebridge group, as far as I can tell, has only publicly endorsed Benker for Mayor, and of course is against the Union annexation.

While endorsements do have their place, usually in the back of your mind as you prepare to cast your vote, it’s okay to question those that would have you vote a certain way. Don’t be a lockstep lemming, even if you agree with your fellow lemmings 90% of the time. If you have to “walk off the reservation”, that’s alright, it’s called being in-de-pen-dent, give it a whirl.

Fair Access For All

A local subject near and dear to my heart is access to local government, as written a few months back here, and in appearances before city council. My main beef was the reduction in access with restrictions put on speakers during “public invited to be heard”. So you’d think I’d be ecstatic about council member (currently running for Mayor) Karen Benker‘s comments in a story titled ” City needs to listen more” with quotes like “I think government hasn’t been listening like it should.” “Sometimes it’s a matter of respect, listening to folks…” Well, you’d be wrong. Here’s why.

I was somewhat a regular at city council meetings, not always speaking, but occasionally. If someone spoke to my issue in a coherent way, I didn’t bother getting up as to not waste anyone’s time. I made phone calls and sent emails, and while I always acknowledge that these people had lives outside of council, I was usually responded to with the same respect I showed them. Then things started to change, and while I had my suspicions why, I was never quite sure until recently when an unnamed source within the city verified my suspicions.

As I suspected in an earlier piece, it was our local cabal that floats from action to action that brought on the change in policy. They’d go on and on for an hour or so, repeating themselves, tying up meetings, and shutting the rest of us out of our access to our representatives. Sure, they’ll cry their ” freedom of speech“, but what about ours? Does theirs rate higher or something? I think not.

You pick the topic: Walmart, anti-growth, Walmart, Lifebridge Annexation, and of course, Walmart. And usually they’d be on the losing side come vote time, as would Ms. Benker. That’s no coincidence; this same group is backing Ms. Benker for Mayor, as well as candidates Levison, Hansen, and McCoy, the “block” of candidates sharing ad space you may have heard of. So what’s the answer to being on the losing side of votes? Shut down meetings with these tactics. Very democratic, not.

I’m not asking for less access or speech for anyone, just equal and reasonable access without some ulterior motive. Since it appears Ms. Benker is the undeclared leader of the above mentioned group (recently referred to as her “noisy supporters”), there’s no way I could ever consider voting for her or the others above if they share this twisted version of representative government.

Election’s Only The Beginning

There will be a special election in early 2008 in Longmont, we’re just not sure yet who or what will be on the ballot. If Roger Lange wins the Mayor seat, his ” at-large” seat goes up for grabs and Karen Benker remains the Ward 2 councilmember. This means more than likely the two candidates who didn’t win the “at-large” seat in November’s election will run for this seat. Not a bad deal, a second chance at winning a seat. So it’s possible that two candidates that go at each other very well could later be sitting next to each other in city council chambers.

On the other hand, if Karen Benker wins the Mayor seat, her Ward 2 seat needs to be filled by a special election. I don’t know if any of the at-large candidates actually live within Ward 2, but if they don’t, someone we don’t currently know of will have to hustle and get some signatures to run for it.

The other item is the Lifebridge Annexation question. The 10/17/07 Times-Call article may have left a few confused about what really happened in the most recent City Council meeting, hopefully as you read this or soon it will be a little more clear. They ” agreed” to put it to voters, but won’t actually ” vote” to put it on the ballot until October 23 or November 13. This may be just a small procedural issue, but if I’m reading past stories correctly about this, they may not necessarily vote YES to put it on the ballot. Then what happens?

I suspect they will vote to put it on the special election ballot, or expect pitchforks and torches at their doorstep. There always is the option of rescinding their earlier annexation vote and leaving it up the next council to handle it. On the surface this may seem a victory for the petition gatherers, as an election is not a sure winner. But in reality the new council may vote the same way, probably not 6-1, but 5-2 or 4-3 is very likely.

I’ll ask some of you to remove your rose colored glasses in your hoped-for election outcomes, and ponder this prediction. Here is the future (post special election) council: Lange (Mayor), Rawlins, Benker, Blue, Levison, and Santos. Ward 3 is too close to call, but even if McCoy wins, that’s not an anti-annexation friendly council. Of course this all changes if Benker becomes Mayor, but not by a lot. And it is just my prediction, which might not be worth the paper this is printed on.

Don’t be in a rush to cast that vote. Watch the candidate forum that is being played on Channel 3, visit the candidate’s websites and read their positions and platforms. Call or write them, see where they sit on issues important to you. Be suspicious of the ad pushing a ” block” of candidates, not saying you shouldn’t vote for them, but beware the ” package deal“. Unless you prefer someone else to do the thinking for you.

Longmont Election ’07 update

This upcoming election will be a mail-in ballot election. You have to be registered by October 9th to receive a ballot. They can’t make it a whole lot easier, let’s see if we can bring up the low turnout numbers.

Here is an update of the candidates for Longmont City Council. Also, I want to share a link to a website I stumbled across that I thought was pretty informative.

http://community.livejournal.com/longmont/22611.html

It has a ward map, pictures of candidates, and something I haven’t touched on – ballot initiatives and school district candidates. I found this by accident, don’t know the author, and he doesn’t know I’m linking to it. But when I find something worth sharing, and/or when someone’s just done a better job, why not expose more people to it?

There have been a couple of changes to the candidates running:

Current council members Roger Lange, Karen Benker, and Doug Brown are the candidates for the position of Mayor. This is an at-large position, everyone in the city can vote for this spot.

One of the At-Large seats is up for grabs, the candidates are Gabe Santos, Paul Tiger, and Sarah Levison. Like the Mayor position, anyone can vote for this position.

Ward One Councilmember. To vote for this seat you must live in the ward. Aaron Rawlins, James DeVore, Brian Hansen are the candidates.

Ward Three Councilmember. Same rules apply as with Ward One. Sean McCoy and Bonnie Finley are running for this seat.

There are a lot of hot topics in this city. Figure out which ones are important to you and find out where the candidates stand on them. Instead of complaining that you were snookered by politicians after they’re in office, get your questions answered before you vote for them. This isn’t rocket science.

City Council Needs You!

November’s not that far away, and that means election time for Longmont’s City Council. We’re bound to see some new faces as three members are being term-limited out, and one won’t be seeking re-election. As in the past, I’ll put the candidates on my site so you can get to know them. Although I’ve yet to endorse anyone, which could be the kiss of death anyway, the more people involved, the bigger the turnout, the better. This is an off-year election, not a general election, so interest usually runs pretty low. But with the possibility of turning over the majority of City Council, we should pay attention.

First off, the Mayor position. Mayor Julia Pirnack is being term-limited out, and I thank her for her service. This is an at-large position, everyone in the city can vote for this spot, and anyone in the city can run. So far, current councilmembers Roger Lange, Karen Benker, and Doug Brown have announced they are running.

Ward One Councilmember
. This ward is generally the east-northeast side of town currently being served by Doug Brown, who is being term-limited out of his seat. To run or vote for this seat you must live in the ward. Aaron Rawlins has announced his candidacy.

Ward Three Councilmember
. This ward is generally the northwest side of town currently being served by Marty Block, also a member being term-limited out of his seat. Same rules apply as with Ward One. Sean McCoy and Bonnie Finley are running for this seat.

One of the at-large seats is held by Fred Wilson, and he is not seeking re-election. Like the Mayor position, anyone can run and vote for this position. Gabe Santos, and Paul Tiger are running for this position.

All I’m looking for from a prospective council member is accountability and accessibility to their constituents first, and their staff members second. Remember who runs this city, you, the council, not some of these staffers who hide behind you, safe from the voter’s wrath. Don’t look for new and interesting ways to spend our money with more taxes and fees. Find ways to get more value out of what we pay, and find ways to lessen that burden, all the while being fair to your employees.

Candidates: Speak your mind, get heard, and good luck.