Rewriting Mall history

Seems in this current election cycle some people are trying to rewrite history when it comes to the Twin Peaks Mall.  Let us never forget who’s squarely to blame for the current situation and who has blood on their hands.  So lets look back over the last 3+ years to get a feel for what occurred and how it was written about as it occurred.  
A reminder:  As you read the below, keep in mind Mayor Bryan Baum wasn’t even in office yet, yet his detractors try to pin the blame on him.

Longmont And Its Future
As far back as Feb ’08 the warning calls were being put out about what was about to occur at the mall.  This story didn’t lay any blame, it just warned of what could happen – and what ultimately has happened.  Can’t say they weren’t warned

Hesitate To Emulate
Who should we hesitate to emulate?  Boulder and the sad state they let their mall deteriorate into.  I asked, “Are we going to follow that example and see a slow bleed, years of dormancy…?”  Apparently so.  I warned the then council (including Brian Hansen, Sean McCoy, and Sarah Levison) of the following:  “I’m hoping that in 6-7 years we aren’t looking at a boarded up, fenced-in mall, and booming financial activity just OUTSIDE our sales tax collecting grasp. All sectors of the city will suffer from the choices that bring us to that. The time to realize it and act is NOW. Those on council or committees (past and present) may be term-limited out by then, but some of us will never let people forget who brought us to that point.

Time to choose your legacy.”

Mall-itics Pt. 1
Ahh, the first sign of certain councilmembers playing politics with the Twin Peaks Mall.  Those would be Levison, Hansen, and McCoy, because at this point Karen Benker was somewhat supportive of the mall – which would later evaporate.  A quote, “If this is mishandled and derailed by a couple members of city council with an obvious agenda, they shouldn’t feel so safe in that full term if we see a boarded up fiasco where the mall sits. We’ll know exactly who’s to blame, and that is a cause I could get behind (a recall).”

Mall-itics Pt. 2
Here’s where the insults to the mall owner began, with of course Sean McCoy.

MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2008
Mall-itics Pt. 3
Here, Sarah Levison gets in on the act and starts attacking the mall owner.

TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2008
Mall-itics Pt. 4
This is coverage of a mall open forum with fireworks galore.  Former councilmember Mary Blue singles out the three councilmembers against the mall redevelopment.  One guess who they are.  (Answer: Levison, McCoy, and Hansen)

Mall-itics Pt. 5
A continuation of Pt.4 – but one interesting side note was this:  The next speaker chimed in, and this wasn’t mentioned at all in the Times-Call article, and I’m sure the speaker would like her councilman, Brian Hansen, to be aware of her comments, as she said he’s basically ignoring her. She said she voted for Brian Hansen and she lives near him, and that he has his own thinking, but doesn’t poll his district to see what they want, and that he won’t listen to her. After the meeting, someone else asked how in the world he got elected in the first place.

Mall (Un)Developments
Here I exclaim that “Longmont’s blowing it” and ask the following question:  “How can procrastinating on this and basically doing nothing be better than at least approving something, specifically Phase 1 which would bring a new movie theater, a couple of new anchors and improvements to the current infrastructure?”  Alas, the fateful decision was made to do nothing.  Remember, this was at a time when something couldhave been done.

Work With? Or Work Over Panattoni? 
Here’s where Councilmember Benker turns on the mall owner and sides with Levison, McCoy, and Hansen– essentially sealing the malls doom.

Longmont’s Mall theater solution: Netflix!
Who remembers this gem?  Councilmember Brian Hansen, in one of his shining and typical moments, argues against a new theater at the mall as everyone just stays home and rents Netflix DVD’s anyway.  Sarah Levison rips into the mall owner’s other property, the quite successful Harvest Junction, as “strip mall stuff“.

Here I gave a warning to Councilmember Benker:  “These things have consequences.  Whatever the reason, all of the citizens of Longmont suffer over this council’s inaction, stalling, and stonewalling of this issue. If nothing happens with Twin Peaks Mall before November, regardless of your newfound and returned support, the stalling by you and the consistent non-support by your fellow councilmembers (Levison, Hansen, and McCoy) will be a major election issue. Count on it.”  She didn’t heed this warning and was removed in the November election.

MONDAY, MAY 18, 2009
LIFT frustrated with city council over city mall
Here, contributor Greg Burt chastises those stalling on city council.

Benker’s irresponsible “dying mall” comment
Councilmember Benker starts hammering the nails into the malls coffin.

Benker’s achilles heel: The Twin Peaks Mall
This was a summary to voters why Councilmember Benker was a large part of why the mall was on the eventual slide to where it sits today.  The same argument can be made towards Councilmembers Levison, McCoy, and Hansen – actually more so.  At least at one point Councilmember Benker was in favor of moving forward with the mall.  These three were always a consistent vote NO on the mall.

The voters spoke loud and clear and Councilmember Benker was voted out of office by a clear margin in 2009.  The same needs to occur in the election of 2011 with the last remnants of the “Benker Bloc” aka “Bloc of 4.

Time for a “Bloc of None”.

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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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