Truth about contributions buying votes

Alright, this issue needs to be cleared up once and for all.

There are people in town trying to rewrite history about contributions to city council members – or just don’t know what they are talking about.  Part of the reason we are in this whole mess with the Longmont Fair Campaign Practices Act (LFCPA) and the Election Committee (EC) all comes down to a $5,000 contribution to Gabe Santos from the Longmont Association of Realtors.  But here’s what the people who keep mentioning this either have conveniently forgotten or don’t want you to know:

During the 2007 election cycle, Karen Benker, Sean McCoy, Brian Hansen, and Sarah Levison received a combined $4,800 from the Fraternal Order of Police and the Longmont Police Officers Association.  As some people may remember, I supported the police/firefighters in their first attempt to collectively bargain, but it lost at the ballot and we had to live with the results.  I gave each side of this issue a fair shake for the 2008 election, which the voters passed on the second attempt.

But here’s the rub:  Gabe Santos never proposed or voted for anything that would favor the Longmont Association of Realtors.  The same can not be said for the former “Bloc of 4″ when it came to the matter of placing the police/firefighter question on the ballot.  Without council’s support and the votes of these 4 council members, they would have had to go through the petition process.  People can argue whether this was ethical or not – but the same people who keep mentioning money buying politicians and how they vote, including recent comments by Brian Hansen, need to remember this situation.  Using their logic, police/firefighter organization money bought the votes of Benker, Hansen, McCoy, and Levison.  Can’t have it both ways.

I personally don’t have a big issue with individuals or organizations lobbying their elected representatives.  But I do prefer those representatives to show a little independence, and they should at least make an attempt to not appear they were bought by certain contributors.  Gabe Santos has passed that test, but by the very definition of the former Bloc’s supporters, they have not.

…or is this one of those double standards again?

About Chris Rodriguez

Chris is the editor/publisher of LightningRod Blog - as well as founder/editor of Wrongmont, Longmont Advocate, Vote!Longmont, Longmont Politics, the LightningRod Radio Network, as well as being the original Longmont Examiner. Chris is a writer and talker - whether it be blogs, podcasts, music, or public speaking. When he's not heard on Air Traffic radio, he can be heard on his podcasts or seen in the local paper causing trouble.
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One Response to Truth about contributions buying votes

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m concerned not so much about local groups contributing to candidates they support. I am concerned about outside money coming from Denver and Montana, that don’t have the best interests of Longmont at heart. About $10,000 that helped the new members get elected in 2009 is from a radical organization whose website says “Donate now to defeat gang green.” How does this help Longmont? Why can’t we work together on issues, rather than buying into rigid positions on issues?! Caring for our community is neither left nor right, neither pro- nor anti-anything. However, I am concerned how this outside money will influence their votes, and if they will vote against everything that’s remotely healthy for our environment just because they are aligned with such a radical anti-environment stance. Again, not helpful for the Longmont we all love.

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