When they have nothing else, they lie

Well, seems that a contributor and donor of in-kind contributions for the Karen Benker campaign has just libeled me on the Boulder Weekly website.  I keep being reminded since I’m a public figure, I just have to get used to crap hurled at me from all directions regardless if it’s true or not.  Usually it’s the Times-Call who will run some half-baked letter from an equally half-baked Longmont citizen who spouts off over me, by name.  “Rules of the game” I’m reminded by them.
I don’t mind it most of the time, until it’s a flat out libelous lie.  Like this one.
(UPDATE: The fine folks at the Boulder Weekly have removed the false accusation below, and I sent my thanks to them.  I’d still like to know where this guy thinks he saw the following:) Continue reading

Benker’s support melting away

The last campaign reports before Election Day were turned in Wednesday, and it isn’t looking good for Karen Benker.  Her financial support, which says a lot about her overall support in the community, continues to dry up.  She only raised $325 between 10/18 – 10/25.  By comparison, her opponent Katie Witt raised $1,555 in the same time frame.
Ms. Benker’s funds on hand with a week left in the campaign was a meager $340.  Ms. Witt’s: $5,419.

Ms. Benker’s total fundraising as of 10/25 came to $7,930.  Ms. Witt: $17,290.

The extent of Ms. Benker’s expenditures was a fairly forgettable ad in the Times-Call on Oct 24th.  I follow such things fairly closely, and I had to go find it to remember what it said, and if we forgot, it probably didn’t even make it on the radar of voters who don’t pay a lot of attention to the campaign.  But this ad was full of the usual falsehoods:

  1. Only candidate that signed the laughable civil campaign pledge.  She’s kept this pledge by filing one complaint after another with the Election Committee and using it as her free campaign tool.  She’s only shown herself to be vindictive, spiteful, and a crybaby.
  2. You are a great member of council, city is better because of you” or some such nonsense.  Yes, it’s terrific, just look at all the failure and blight just in her ward alone.
  3. Brandon Shaffer’s worthless endorsement, big woop.
  4. “..woman of high integrity..hard work on Clover Basin”  This is from someone who sends out fawning Benker emails to her neighbors in Clover Basin.  Tip: they don’t all agree with you, well, the ones that know the facts of how Ms. Benker about drove a stake into this neighborhoods heart with her ill advised “put it on the ballot” idea.  Integrity?  Please, see #1 again.

Exploding hits” to a mediocre website is nothing to crow about.  I hope she’s not paying too much for that service, it’s pretty poorly designed, and is just a whine-fest of what all those nasty people have been saying about her – nevermind it’s all true.  And what’s with having weird characters (Ø’s and ü’s) for bullet points?  People know where to get the “real facts”, and where to read fairy tales.

I guess the phone banks for her are in action, a whole 2 or 3 people, and I’m sure we’ll see the expenditure somewhere for the list they surely had to buy – but haven’t yet.  Odd.  Or are they using an old list filled with all those thousands of ballots that have been returned as “undeliverable“.  Which is a fitting term for this candidate.

2007 Progressive experiment has failed

Here is my Guest editorial that ran in the Tuesday October 27, 2009 Times-Call.  I didn’t title this piece, but they did:
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Vote Out The Progressives
The “2007 Progressive Experiment” in Longmont has failed.  At least it’s been entertaining to watch and write about, but to the detriment of the city as a whole.  We can’t say we didn’t give it a try, but this regressive Progressive majority on city council has proven to be a real loser of an idea and voters need to undo the mistake of 2007.To refresh memories, in 2007 Longmont had a block of candidates take over the majority of city council.  This majority includes Sean McCoy, Brian Hansen, Sarah Levison, and Karen Benker – who actually was soundly defeated in her quest for Mayor, but unfortunately remained in office.  Mr. Hansen and Ms. Levison squeaked in with less than a majority and mostly due to third candidates who split the vote.  Mr. McCoy won by a majority, but Ms. Benker lost by a majority.Even to the bloc’s most strident supporters, they must agree these have been two very divisive and controversial years.  They have also been two very unproductive years rife with costly lawsuits, dwindling tax revenues, and furloughed city employees.  Our council meetings are often 4 hour marathons that end with bickering and indecision.  Procrastination is their credo.

Therefore, a clean sweep and removal of all council members in office prior to 2008 needs to occur.  Mary Blue is retiring, which is a shame as she’s been an exception and an exemplary representative.  Gabe Santo’s joined the council in January 2008 and has often been the sole dissenting vote on some of the bloc’s more ridiculous maneuvers – and deserves to be retained in his at-large seat.

Unfortunately, Council members McCoy, Hansen, and Levison are not up for re-election.  But they can be dealt with in 2 years, or sooner via recall.  Candidates Fissinger, Benker, and Van Dusen are more of the same of the failed regressive Progressive majority we now find ourselves saddled with.  Voters should learn from past mistakes and not repeat them with these candidates.

Mayor Lange, who I respect, admire, and have always supported and voted for in every race he’s even run, has tilted one too many times in favor of this failed bloc.  The denied motion and second (from Santos and Blue, respectively) to end the losing battle with Firestone and LifeBridge was the straw that broke the camels back for me and many other citizens.  When Firestone came to Longmont with an offer of the land that would meet Longmont’s request for this so-called buffer, which in reality is a red herring that doesn’t now nor will ever exist, Mayor Lange and this council turned them away, proving to me this was nothing more than an expensive turf war and an attempt to financially bleed Firestone and LifeBridge.  I’m not a member of that church or a resident of Firestone, but this act was appalling.

Unlike other council members who have been downright rude to me in the presence of my children, Mayor Lange has indelibly left a positive impression on one of my sons to which we are eternally grateful.  While I can’t support him in this race for the other reasons above, I will also not engage in mudslinging or negative attacks that might benefit his opponent, Bryan Baum, who I support.

The same cannot be said for Karen Benker.  Some cities have elected donkeys, dogs, or hoboes to city council.  I would back such a candidate in opposition to Ms. Benker.  Alright, my tongue is slightly planted “in cheek” with that comment, but the actual sentiment is not too far off.  Ms. Benker is basically the leader of the bloc, and as such, sets the tone for the bitter divisiveness the bloc embodies.  A vote for her is a vote for the failed last two years.  About the only thing Ms. Benker has on Katie Witt is her so-called experience.  But this experience has not resulted in a better outcome for the citizens of Longmont.

I would also argue Ms. Benker’s “experience” when she was Ms. Witt’s age was probably similar to Ms. Witt’s now.  Everybody has to start somewhere.  Incumbency and a self-inflated resume shouldn’t be the main deciding factor in who’s more fit to serve.  Sometimes a fresh outlook and differing life experiences breathe new life into an otherwise stale and stagnant situation.  Unfortunately, this current council majority is worse than stagnation, it’s actually regressing.

So consider the past and the future when you cast your vote, and not some selfish allegiance of what you think a candidate is or isn’t.  And there’s really no good reason not to vote, please exercise this right.

Benker calls for even higher fees?!

Sometimes I wonder if Karen Benker wants to lose this election.  Maybe she has plans for running for some other office in 2010.  Because with still a lot of ballots not yet sent in, a week to go before Election Day, and with a financially struggling constituency, why would anyone in their right mind propose a tax increase?  A significant one at that.  Oh, I know, it’s not a tax, but a fee.  Whatever. Continue reading

Benker’s complaint costs city hundreds

At the October 26 Election Committee meeting, one of the many complaints that Karen Benker has brought forward was found to be a violation, with a fine of $600.  This was in reference to Longmont Leadership Committee for filing a report of an Independent Expenditure 3 days beyond the 72 hour requirement.

(UPDATED AND MORE ACCURATE INFORMATION BELOW)

So in the first completed action by this committee under the Longmont Fair Campaigns Act the city just netted $600.
Unfortunately, the cost to get that $600 was probably in excess of $1,800!
How’s that?  The special prosecutor they hired specifically to do these cases charges around $200 per hour, but the backup attorney stood in at $190/hour, he was there for 5 hours.  In addition, they also have a special counsel separate from the prosecutor, again hired specifically for this committee.  They charge $185/hour, she was also there for 5 hours, so put that all together and you end up with $1,875 spent to squeeze $600 out of an organization.
So the city just lost $1,275, and this case cost more than triple the amount of the fine leveled.
Brilliant.  And this case could have gone either way, imagine if no fine was leveled!
So when you people who have been very vocal about the City Council having no empathy for your financial situation – levying new taxes, I mean fees – now you have a poster child for it.  Karen Benker.  I expect she’ll be crowing about this “victory” (nevermind most of her other complaints, and those of her surrogates are getting tossed out by the Election Committee) and has no problem with the special prosecutor and special counsel she voted for being the only ones to actually make any money out of her hissy fit.  Meanwhile, us taxpayers pick up the tab.