(An edited version of the below was printed in the Times Call “Voices of St. Vrain” Opinion section on 10/7/11)
- In 2007, upset over donations made to a newly elected councilman, she began a campaign to overwrite city campaign finance laws that led to our city being sued. The committee formed to ‘oversee’ it also needed costly attorneys to ‘enforce’ it. The end result? A bitter partisan campaign season, a hefty cost to the Longmont taxpayer, and campaign finance laws that went back to almost exactly how they were before.
- She helped to stall the Twin Peaks Malls redevelopment, despite overwhelming outcry from citizens to do something (anything) with it while it was still viable years ago. At a town hall meeting, she stated that she personally thought the developer Panattoni had more money on the books than they were showing. Now that the mall is in foreclosure, her personal opinion appears to be wrong. Ironically, it was also at a Coffee with Council meeting that year that she had showed off her Tiffany earrings and thought the mall should have a Tiffany store. (Apparently the TC thought mentioning Sarah’s Tiffany earring comment was maybe too “personal” and didn’t include it in the final. Bummer…would have been even funnier given how the evening before this printed, during the candidate forum on 10-8-11, she had decided to stand up and “show off” her entire outfit.
- During city budget discussions a few years ago, she (and former councilwoman Benker) had met with a senior citizen group who told her of their own financial struggles. The reply to them? The seniors should hold garage sales to raise money. Coincidentally, during a council meeting on budget discussions, she wanted the city to take a closer look at getting the taxes from garage and estate sales.
- Citizens have stated via surveys, meetings, letters to the editor that they would at the very least like movement on the mall to include a new theater. Hansen’s personal opinion? At a Town Hall meeting, he suggested they instead rent from Netflix, because he does.
- He is not accessible to constituents, yet seems to find time for those who share his “green” ideas. Many complain he doesn’t answer their emails. His own city voice mail told callers “do not leave a message.”
- Recently he asked to see the donation list for Longmont citizens who want to volunteer for the city’s Affordable Housing Task Force. I’d like to point out that councilwoman Witt, who was appointed last election cycle, earned the most money out of all the candidates and did so by going door to door and meeting her constituents. Many of her contributions weren’t large and came from the everyday citizen of Longmont, not outside influences as he insinuates. Are we to block ALL of them should they chose to apply to volunteer for the city?
- He uses his council position to insult others, including church goers, realtors, developers, businessmen, neighboring public officials as well as journalists and bloggers who talk about his record. Has called them the “lunatic fringe.” People who are active volunteers and contributors in our community and are working towards keeping Longmont viable, creating jobs and working to keep housing moving in a positive direction. He once unsuccessfully attempted to have the city manager prevent community groups he disagrees with (aka “phony patriots”) to have a booth at city events. There is also a campaign Twitter page of his opinions, for everyone to read and develop a negative opinion of Longmont.
- The Times Call has been subject to his personal vendettas. He pushed to have the city pull advertising dollars out of the paper because he didn’t like what was being printed elsewhere in the paper, apparently forgetting that those advertising dollars were part of the reason why the Times Call was one of the largest employers of citizens in Longmont.
- As part of his elected paid for council job, he is required to attended city boards and commission meetings. His record of attendance is documented at a dismal 40%. In conclusion, after having watched as all three of these council members have worked to block the appointments of qualified people who volunteer for city boards…it’s time the citizens vote to prevent their re-elections.
Brigette Rodriguez is an 11 year resident of Longmont and is the Coordinator of Vote! Longmont, a voter education and information website for Longmont residents. She has been immersed in local politics since 2002.