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.