The Longmont Years: 2007-2008 YourHub, LifeBridge, The Bloc, Longmont Advocate, Vote!Longmont, and podcasting

In the previous post, I talked about how we came to end up in Longmont and the beginnings of my (and our, including my wife) various activities there, specifically in the political arena.  This next section only covers 2 years, but insanely busy and active years they were, read on… Continue reading…

Percy Allen Conarroe, March 3, 1927 – June 15, 2013

percyIt was an honor and privilege to call Percy Conarroe a friend and confidant.  If you’ve read this website or its earlier versions you saw that he was a contributor of great value.  He passed away recently at the age of 86.  In true Percy fashion, he didn’t want flowers but instead requested that you write a letter to the editor about something you care about.  I’ve tired of the local paper turning down my opinion pieces while they let far worse through, so being the editor of this website I’ll write here about something I care about – or in this case someone I cared about, Percy Conarroe. Continue reading…

LP025: Presidential debate, Longmont Candidate forum and an OHOFOL sounding ROAR

On Episode 25 of Longmont Politics, Chris gave his impressions of the U.S. Presidential Debate, as well as the Longmont Debate & Forum.  The main event was the debate between Congressional District 4 candidates Cory Gardner and Brandon Shaffer.  Their debate brought up the issue of NISP (Northern Integrated Supply Project), and how Mr. Shaffer would not answer the question of if he supported it.

Next was Longmont Ballot Question 300, which is to ban fracking.  A new group called Main Street Longmont has put out mailers and a TV ad, as well as their website  On the other side, Our Health Our Future Our Longmont (OHOFOL – pronounced AWFUL) has a goal of raising $45,000 and has so far raised less than $600.  But at least they have some great prizes for your non-tax deductible contribution.

Chris also made some off-the-cuff remarks about rumors of people thinking of running for mayor of Longmont in response to Dennis Coombs lackluster job, and sets the record straight on VoteLongmont!

Music played in this show was “Oxygen” by Dusty Hughes – courtesy of Music Alley.

Join Chris Rodriguez and his guests as they talk about the topics of the day. While the show will lean towards Longmont, Colorado with emphasis on politics, there’s no limit to where the show might go and may apply to your hometown. Leave a voicemail which we may use on-air at (720)924-1080                                                            

For more information check out our website www.LightningRodRadio.Net

Community comes before party in local elections

(As printed in the 10/13/11 Times Call Opinion Section)

Re-elect Mayor Baum; challenger not ready to lead

I usually don’t pay attention to local political party affiliation. Until Election Eve 2009, when a former Longmont Area Democrat president created a blog titled Common Ground. In it, he wrote that regardless of his own partisan bias that “community comes before party affiliation.” Continue reading…

Trio of Longmont councilmembers don’t deserve re-election

(An edited version of the below was printed in the Times Call “Voices of St. Vrain” Opinion section on 10/7/11)

Our election is less than a month away and there are three council members up for re-election who no longer deserve to represent us because they have made their personal and partisan politics too much of how they govern Longmont. Continue reading…

Reveal lawsuits’ cost (Times Call letter to the editor – published 9/8/09)

It’s time for the City of Longmont to tell it’s residents the running total for costs involved in the ongoing lawsuits and appeals with the town of Firestone over the LifeBridge Union annexation, including the monthly cost for the attorneys in this particular case. We’ve heard a lot about the open space involved and how we need to keep Longmont a “free-standing” community. But, this is an election issue.

City council members who are up for re-election have taken public positions on this as have candidates who are running. Councilmembers Karen Benker and Roger Lange, as well as candidate Kaye Fissinger have stated publicly that they support the city continuing the lawsuits. Councilmember Gabe Santos has asked during a council meeting that it be dropped, and candidate Katie Witt has stated publicly that it also be dropped. Because the legal aspects of this issue have been discussed behind closed doors, the voting public deserves to know the amount that this is costing the taxpayers of Longmont in order to make an informed decision this November and properly weigh whether a candidates postion is valid based on the pros and cons of this important campaign issue.

Promote transparency and allow the voters to make an informed decision, including what voting for a candidate and his/her position on this means and the cost or benefit to them. Anything less is a disservice to the voters of Longmont and they deserve to know the facts.

Brigette Rodriguez
Coordinator, Vote! Longmont


Longmont Citizens against throwing our money down the toilet: Longmont residents begin online petition regarding Lawsuit against Firestone annexations

Times Call online poll results regarding the lawsuit against the Firestone annexations

Primer for upcoming Longmont elections

I get asked all the time things like “how do we get rid of these losers“? and “I want to recall councilmember X“, and “when’s the next chance to vote them all out“? So, in an ongoing series I’ll try to break down the current makeup of Longmont City Council and who’s up for re-election and who’s not. The recall issue, that’s a little more complicated, but I’ll get to that later.

First off, Longmont has 7 councilmembers including a Mayor. 4 are “at-large“, including the Mayor, which means everyone in the city gets to vote for those seats. 3 seats are for the 3 particular wards in Longmont. Only people who live in each ward can vote for that wards candidates. Here’s a map of the wards:

If that image is a little blurry, check out this link from the city’s website.

The current races that will be on this November’s ballot are for Mayor, Ward 2, and 2 At-Large seats. Here are the candidates, listed in order of their announcements (from our Vote! Longmont page)

Roger Lange (incumbent) (Times-Call announcement)
Dan Benavidez (Times-Call announcement)

Ward 2
Katie Witt (Times-Call announcement)
Karen Benker (incumbent) (Times-Call announcement)

At-Large (2 positions)
Gabe Santos (incumbent) (Times-Call announcement)
Alex Sammoury (Times-Call announcement)
Kaye Fissinger (Times-Call announcement)
Jonathan Singer (Times-Call announcement)
Bryan Boothby (Times-Call announcement)
Bill Van Dusen (Times-Call announcement)

As you can see, 3 of the current councilmembers are not up for re-election, that will occur in 2 years. They are:
Ward 1 – Brian Hansen
Ward 3 – Sean McCoy
At-Large – Sarah Levison
But recall is always an option. Personally the way I feel about recalls is this: if people are stupid enough to vote these people in, well, they get what they deserve. Also, recalls are expensive. I’ve been told that to get something like this on the ballot it would cost around $75,000. That could turn out to be double that if the recall is successful and another special election is needed to fill the seat.

With all that being said, sometimes it’s cheaper on the city as a whole to get rid of a problem than to leave it in place. A good example is the ongoing very expensive litigation with Firestone, which is being allowed to continue and progress by Lange, Benker, McCoy, Levison, and Hansen. Lange and Benker will have their fate decided by the voters in November, but the other three will still be around. Might be cheaper in the long run to get rid of 1, 2, or all 3 of them to change the course of this sinking ship.

Of course it would be insane to consider putting into office any candidate who favors the continued wasting of money. Kaye Fissinger has made it more than clear she intends to continue down this road. I’d like to hear the other candidates stance on this, and will post it here. Obviously, based on his motion to end the Firestone litigation, Gabe Santos wants this all to end. Ward 2 candidate Katie Witt has expressed her disapproval of these endless lawsuits and appeals in the Times-Call and her blog. And unless Mayor Lange changes course soon (like yesterday) this issue could doom his candidacy and continuation of his role as Mayor.

Endorsements? Like I said before, an endorsement from me might be the kiss of death for some candidates, but after we get the final list of candidates (around August 24th) I might make some suggestions, and maybe even predictions later on.

Longmont City Council: Vote! Longmont at public invited to be heard

(Public invited to be heard 3/24/09)
-Edited for print version appeared in Times Call opinion section on 3/31/09

Mayor Lange and members of council, I’m here on behalf of our non-partisan organization Vote Longmont, to voice concern over the upcoming local elections this November.

While it may be only March, ordinances and committee selections are being made that could affect this election. An Election Task Force was formed in response to the election of Councilmember Santos due to a large group contribution to his campaign. Other groups and organizations have shown similiar support for current and past council members, so this was not unique to Councilmember Santos. Considering that, I appreciate his cooperation and participation in the task force.

Attempts have been made to limit the rights of citizens in this community both by some members of this council as well as public speakers who frequently show up to speak of or post online insidious statements that the upcoming election will be bought by groups backed by big money.

Now that the campaign finance reform ordinance was passed, albeit with some last minute amendments, the upcoming selections of the Election Committee is something all concerned citizens should be watching closely. Council members and applicants need to follow the rules of the application process. The application process is open and the requirements and dates are posted on the city website. There should be no last minute rush of post deadline applicants, like that of previous board selections…some of which were for boards that had already received qualified applicants.

I encourage the general public to watch the selection process very closely as a little over half of this council up for re-election. Citizens should keep an eye on cronyism, voting blocs, and possible conflicts of interest. If this process is not done correctly, this Election Committee could become a kangaroo court with subpoena power targeting its political enemies.
Please remember that this election is supposed to be non-partisan, and for the sake of transparency, council should be reminded of that when selecting members for the commission that fairness be given to all applicants.

October Surprises

With the increasing popularity of mail-in and early voting, the prospects of “October surprises”, or at least the effectiveness of them, decreases. George Will wrote about this recently and his apparent problem with early voting. I disagree.

Everyone should vote, of course the problem of every vote being legitimate is a problem with organizations like ACORN around, and the people who support them, like Barack Obama and the congressmen who put in the recent bailout language a provision to divvy up profits towards groups like, and possibly including, ACORN. Gladly, that language has been removed, but who inserted it? And who demanded it be stripped out? Possible Surprise #1.

But back to the point, no one wants to be standing in a long line for hours on Election Day, watching the magic hour of 7pm creeping closer and closer and voters left wondering if they’ll be able to vote at all. With way too many amendments here in Colorado, the wait could be long unless people do some serious studying ahead of time. Or, people will just not even bother to vote on these amendments. What a waste of time and effort for the people who brought these issues to the ballot.

So with incentives galore, many people will probably opt for early voting (info at our Vote! Longmont site), so those October “surprisers” need to get to work early. What could be looming on the very short horizon? A few possibilities, and surprises usually work against the guy people know the least about, in this case Obama. John McCain’s been around a while, a fact his detractors chortle with glee about as they point out his age. But with that comes familiarity, not a whole lot of surprises are possible or probable when it comes to this candidate.

But with Obama, the questions just don’t go away, regardless of his “Fight The Smears” campaign. First, there’s the ACORN and bailout connection above, then the story about his convicted felon buddy Tony Rezko apparently tiring of prison and may want to sing like jailbirds often do to cut a deal. Next up, Obama’s “truth squad” in Missouri being called out for what they are by Governor Matt Blunt. If you missed it, here it is:

“St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

“This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election.

“Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts – not a free society.”

Pretty harsh, and not from a commentator, pundit, or partisan blogger. Next up is a story circulating about the Jopek family asking Obama to no longer wear the bracelet he mentioned at the recent debate. They made this request last March! First he made a smarmy glance towards McCain after saying “I got one, too”, and then couldn’t remember the Sergeants name.

Lastly, I cant believe we’ve heard the last of his ties to unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, and Obama’s connection to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacle, you know, the underlying reason we find ourselves in the mess we’re in requiring this bailout?

These are all very serious issues and not likely to go away after the election, regardless of its outcome. By all rights, Obama should be 20+ points ahead of McCain in an election year that should heavily favor the Democrats, especially facing a party that’s been in office for 8 years. It’s fairly normal over our course of elections to have this pendulum swing in such situations. The only recent example when it didn’t happen was 1988, when Bush Sr. took over for Reagan – but it was just delayed 4 years. Then again, look who the Democrats put up against Bush, Dukakis for crying out loud. Even Dan Quayle couldn’t lose that election for Bush.

So why isn’t Obama way ahead when he should be? All of those questions above, and the general questions “Who is this guy? Why should I just take it on faith he’ll do alright while he’s receiving on-the-job training?” Wasn’t that Hillary Clinton who asked that second question?

For Obama to win, he needs to hit it out of the park repeatedly over the next couple of weeks, make no mistakes, and pray not a single one of the above issues get any legs in the press for any amount of time. In other words, hide, lie, and cover up your true self, or else people wont elect you, no matter how many hundreds of millions you raise and spend. What a great campaign strategy!

LA017: BoCo Fair Parade, bronx cheers for progressive council members, Benker tantrums, and “fringe” festival

LA-w-ChrisAugust 17, 2008 Show

Even by Wiser Time
Vote! Longmont at the Boulder Co Fair Parade
I Love A Parade

Hallelujah by 38 Acres
Union Annexation heads to Firestone Ballot
City Attorney Clay Douglas “retires” Continue reading…