Citizens speak out over Firestone legal actions

At the August 4, 2009 Longmont City Council meeting, several speakers came to the podium during Public Invited To Be Heard to voice their opinion about the ongoing legal battle with the Town of Firestone. It was something to behold, and most of these people should be proud of themselves. A couple of others should hang their head in shame, along with some councilmembers.

What was impressive was the diverse group of speakers and how they put across their feelings on the subject. I didn’t know or have ever seen a good lot of them, which made it even better. I heard in the lobby that it was about 10-3 against the lawsuits/appeals and secret meetings this council has been holding. The couple who actually spoke in favor of throwing more of our tax money down the rat hole and to hell with relations with our neighboring city were no big surprise, but were vastly outnumbered and outmatched by some of the other speakers.

My wife and I spoke, but there were 3 others in particular who really dealt the best blows, and totally caught me by surprise. One didn’t hold back, stating odds of Longmont actually winning an appeal (not good), and actually uttering “bloc of 4” and then directed his ire towards Sean McCoy when he started grinning and rocking back and forth in his chair, obviously ticked off. One was a realtor who said “really it’s a bloc of 5” and let them have it. And one was a young guy who chastised councilmembers for their lack of order, specifically (but not by name) Sarah Levison for speaking over Gabe Santos. Tough acts to follow.

The overwhelming message being sent was support for Gabe Santos’ motion to end the lawsuit and appeals against Firestone, and to end all the secret Executive Sessions and release the tapes of those meetings. They were reminded of their campaign promise of open, transparent government, to which I added “but like other politicians from the top down, that promise apparently had an expiration date.”

What will council do with this? I’d guess nothing, completely ignore it, it doesn’t fit the agenda of a majority on council, so it will go nowhere. Sorry speakers, better luck next time.

I reminded council this will be a campaign issue this year and in 2 years when Levison, McCoy, and Hansen are up for re-election. We already know how one candidate feels about this as At-Large candidate Kaye Fissinger is ecstatic that the lawsuits will continue. How about you other candidates, including Karen Benker? We obviously know how Gabe Santos feels, as well as Mary Blue (she seconded the motion, but is not running for re-election), and Mayor Lange (he killed the motion).

I have a challenge for every council candidate: you submit to me in the comments section where you stand on this issue (and stay on topic, don’t ramble or make a speech) and I’ll publish it. If not here, make your voice heard on this somewhere, don’t even try to duck this important issue. I’ll make sure to point it out if you do.

Longmont running out of moves

Back in May 2008, I wrote a piece called “Longmont, Take The Deal” where I said it was just about checkmate on this idiotic crusade against Firestone and Weld County over the Union annexation. It came as no shock or surprise to hear the news that Longmont got its rear end handed to them from the courts over this. (Times-Call “City’s annexations ‘null and void’ Judge: Longmont ‘abused its discretion’”)

Much of that Times-Call article sounds familiar – as it was exactly what I warned about over a year ago. Let’s go back, shall we? Continue reading

Response to Firestone Mayor Auer’s Times-Call editorial

Congratulations Mayor Auer for hitting the nail on the head. You could not have said it more eloquently. Firestone’s situation comes down to one thing, The U.S. Constitution.

LifeBridge owns the land and has the right to use it as it sees fit. Longmont does not own the land but had the opportunity to welcome LifeBridge into the city had it not been for a few on city council and a few isolationist wackos. Continue reading

A progressive assault on Longmont-area churches

News is out that the city of Longmont has spent $68,073 in legal fees to thwart the Firestone annexations that would facilitate the LifeBridge Union development. This spiteful expense of taxpayer dollars–pushed by left-wing Progressives Sean McCoy and Karen Benker on city council–is even more outrageous considering the current skintight city budget situation.

The Boulder County commissioners have been just as vengeful in their notorious dealings with Rocky Mountain Christian Church. Recently it was revealed that Boulder County has spent a staggering $1.1 million in legal efforts to prevent RMCC from expanding its church facilities on its own property in Niwot.

What’s going on here is clearly a violation of religious freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. One could argue that our local churches worship the Creator as defended by our nation’s founders, while the new wave of Progressives in Longmont and Boulder County worship the environment (i.e., the Holy Grail of Open Space).

Regarding the Union project in relation to Longmont and Firestone, we repeatedly hear from the green-extreme crowd, “We need to protect Longmont’s eastern borders!” Take a look at the images shown below…

2002

Source: Project LifeBridge Master Plan

2007

Photo: Jill P. Mott Longmont Times-Call

As I have pointed out many times, large housing developments already exist to the immediate east and west of the LifeBridge/Union site; commercial development stands to the south, and there is plenty of city-owned open space to the north in the reservoir surroundings. How in the world would a build-out of the Union plot break up Longmont’s eastern borders?

The only possible point of contention would be the Fairlight (FairView) property areas that are truly on Longmont’s eastern border, but this too was addressed in a spirit of compromise by Firestone and the 4C Corporation. It was described by Firestone Mayor Chad Auer in a Times-Call commentary last December…

“When I took office, I promptly appeared face-to-face with Longmont’s City Council and told your leaders that I was committed to investigating common ground on this regrettably decisive issue (Union). Because open space and a community buffer were central desires of Longmont, I presented a written proposal in which the Fairlight property (hundreds of acres between Union and Longmont) would be available to Longmont for use as both an open space corridor in the flood plain of Union Reservoir and a common sense community buffer. Unfortunately, the offer was soundly rejected by Longmont officials.”

So Longmont had its chance. If it couldn’t afford to buy the immediate eastern border properties as open space, tough luck. Let us hope that the foundations of free enterprise and religious freedom will not be lost if we are truly to progress in the 21st century.

Community service? Just ask LifeBridge

The recent (Longmont) National Day of Service put on by local Democrats was admirable, except perhaps for the suspicious “write letters in support of change” activity.

However, as Chris Rodriguez and others have noted, our Progressive friends should be careful when gloating about their newfound service to the community. These are some of the same people (not all) who have unmercifully demonized the motives of LifeBridge Christian Church throughout the entire Union annexation saga–first with Longmont and now with Firestone.

The truth is, LifeBridge is all about community and always has been. The goal since the beginning of the Union project has been to diminish the barrier between a church and the surrounding community. LBCC does far more community service time and number of projects than our local Hope and Change crowd can ever “hope” to achieve.

For example, the annual Time to Serve campaign carried out by LifeBridge members for two weeks each December produced the following results in 2008: Volunteers numbering about 450; service for an average of two to eight hours on 53 different project opportunities with 28 organizations and agencies. LBCC also had projects at their other sites in the Tri-Towns area and in Johnstown.

LifeBridge will again be a major force in the annual Community Food Share drive to be conducted April 8 through 21 this year. See the Jan. 29 Times-Call editorial: Food Share helps take edge off hunger

Local Progressives are certainly welcome to continue their service to the community, the more the better. But what makes their efforts so laudable toward “change” when LifeBridge has been the essence of community service in Longmont for decades?

Hopenchange™, Longmont style

Just when you thought you’d had enough to lose your lunch on, Longmont has it’s own helping of Hopenchange™. Granted, it’s not nearly as eloquent as the real thing, but witness the gushing (and reading with the hands) of our city’s version of President Obama’s inaugural speech, courtesy of councilmember (and rumored Mayoral candidate) Sean McCoy.

Were you moved? Or was that just part of your digested food shifting around? But Mr. McCoy is right in some respects; some change is needed here closer to home. He asked, via Obama’s speech, whether our government works. The local version doesn’t seem to be working so well. He also mentioned “does it help people find jobs”? This coming from one of the most anti-business, anti-growth councils, where open fields (aka “green fields”) don’t pay building permit fees or much in the way of property taxes. All things to keep in mind as services are cut, wages are frozen, and city workers laid off.

And those of us who manage the public dollars…(pause)…will be held to account”, you got that right. I would’ve paused too at that point given this council’s propensity for procrastination when it comes to making serious decisions, chicken’s not withstanding. If this council wants to “put people at ease”, as Mr. McCoy put it, how about putting their political career where their mouth is and make some kind of pledge of self term limiting or stepping down for their performance, or lack thereof? I know, not likely.

The other form of Hopenchange™ that’s getting a little old is the weekly gloating about “service”. Doing things for charity or good causes loses some of its luster when you go around bragging about it. Most people I know who donate food, clothes, money, and time do it because they want to, and don’t have to be forced or reminded to by a group of people. They also don’t wear it like a tiara in public, “hey, look what I did, did you?” I’m not sure what the mindset is here, do they think it’s a small minority of people who give, in whatever form that is? Do they think because they maybe don’t give year-round as much as they should, the rest of us are like that, or feel some guilt?

Ironically, these are the same types who relentlessly tear into organizations that donate on a level that dwarfs their own once in a decade events – oh, like Lifebridge. The only time I heard someone from Lifebridge go through the long list of community services they provide was when one of these other people asked, in their usual snotty way. Otherwise, Lifebridge, like the majority of people, don’t need a “call to service” to serve. They just do it, and they don’t constantly remind everyone about it.

Community service? Just ask LifeBridge

The recent (Longmont) National Day of Service put on by local Democrats was admirable, except perhaps for the suspicious “write letters in support of change” activity.

However, as Chris Rodriguez and others have noted, our Progressive friends should be careful when gloating about their newfound service to the community. These are some of the same people (not all) who have unmercifully demonized the motives of LifeBridge Christian Church throughout the entire Union annexation saga–first with Longmont and now with Firestone.

The truth is, LifeBridge is all about community and always has been. The goal since the beginning of the Union project has been to diminish the barrier between a church and the surrounding community. LBCC does far more community service time and number of projects than our local Hope and Change crowd can ever “hope” to achieve.

For example, the annual Time to Serve campaign carried out by LifeBridge members for two weeks each December produced the following results in 2008: Volunteers numbering about 450; service for an average of two to eight hours on 53 different project opportunities with 28 organizations and agencies. LBCC also had projects at their other sites in the Tri-Towns area and in Johnstown.

LifeBridge will again be a major force in the annual Community Food Share drive to be conducted April 8 through 21 this year. See the Jan. 29 Times-Call editorial: Food Share helps take edge off hunger

Local Progressives are certainly welcome to continue their service to the community, the more the better. But what makes their efforts so laudable toward “change” when LifeBridge has been the essence of community service in Longmont for decades?

GUEST EDITORIALS

Let it go, Longmont

The people of Firestone have spoken in favor of annexing the Union site. Why continue to fight, Longmont ? Time to let it go.
Longmont’s Mayor Roger Lange stubbornly insists that the city must protect its eastern buffer. It’s an argument that makes no sense in view of the current lay of the land around the Union property.

The image/graphic shown below is from LifeBridge & 4C–produced more than five years ago, but remains illustrative today. (click to enlarge)

LifeBridge/Union is already surrounded by development on three sides…the large Meadow Vale housing development to the east…the Vista Commercial Center to the south…and the LongView community to the west. To the north, there is plenty of city-owned land for Union Res. and surroundings, enough for expanding the reservoir if needed.

Building Union doesn’t change any of these entities, nor does it disrupt Longmont ‘s eastern boundary. If Union has Meadow Vale on the east side, LongView on the west side (both in unincorporated Weld Co.), plus increasing development on the south side of Hwy 119–how in the world is the Union plot compromising Longmont’s eastern buffer? Clearly, this bogus argument shows partisan politics at its worst from our city leaders.

Further pursuance of this matter amounts to pure spite by the Longmont City Council, and a disgraceful waste of city time and resources.
Dave Larison
——————————————————————-
Dear Mr. Mayor,

The comments in DTC this a.m. over Longmont ’s official attitude about the Firestone Election define to me just how far the City of Longmont has fallen in esteem with the general public in less than ten short months. I have not seen the Administration make a full disclosure to the People of Longmont what the costs of these lawsuits against Firestone will be. And a professional presentation defining, not white washing, the systemic risk is to the city’s financial system the new Council’s blunder has presented the public from the hostile business atmosphere policy that drove LifeBridge out of the City’s jurisdiction after Council approved the project to the people of Longmont .

Right now Council’s policy is popular with a handful of people constituting an oligarchy in a City of almost 100,000 people which (these people) do not represent nor have anything in common with except breathing the same air. There is more to the responsibilities of being on this City Council than just representing introverts posing as social progressives to the exclusion of any other interest or purpose in life. Many people have seen government destroy their 401ks and retirement programs; blame for drop in property values starts at home, the mortgage crisis situation and repossessions right now has stabilized and there are less resale homes on the market now than this time last year. So what’s holding back recover is primarily City policy and that will come out in public as time and events move on beyond the election.

Even though it is not required by law, wouldn’t it be prudent and politic to make a full disclosure to the public before an uncontrolled witch hunt starts of its own initiative?

Richard Yale

Testing Your Meddle

Knowing that the Longmont YourHub is shared by the Tri-Towns area, and Firestone in particular, I thought I’d share a message to our neighbors to the east.


I’m sure many of you are sick of outside influences, like Longmont, meddling in your business. The obvious business I’m talking about here is Lifebridge/4C and the Union annexation you are about to vote on. You’re right; you should be able, as a stand alone community, to decide your own destiny.



But you should also learn from others mistakes. Like Longmont, Firestone has a group of outside influences trying to disrupt and interfere in city business. In Longmont’s case, we had a group which included non-Longmont residents, and funding from unknown sources. Members of that group are now included in the anti-annexation Firestone group, and have sent out emails and letters to Firestone residents clearly identifying themselves as part of the Longmont group and other politically motivated groups.


They successfully drove a wedge between Lifebridge Church and city government, and between citizens. From reading comments over at TriTown Online, it appears they’ve done the same to your community.


They spoke at Longmont City Council meetings asking voters of Firestone to vote for the current Firestone board, and spoke glowingly of your new mayor after ripping your old one – yes that’s right, I’m talking about Longmont council meetings. But when the board you elected came to the same conclusion as the board they replaced, that love affair was over. They just couldn’t get over the fact that the old board they loathed, and the one they thought would set the world straight were in agreement on this annexation, meaning both were in disagreement with them! How dare they, the outrage! People thinking independently! I can almost hear them now “but you OWE us!”


Their ploy worked in Longmont. They got an anti-annexation majority (or as former Firestone Mayor Mike Simone put it “anti-religious”, you decide for yourself) on council here. They thought they got it there, too. This is the kind of meddling you should be bothered by and turn away. I’m betting that’s difficult as they put themselves into your business at every turn. Go to a Town Board meeting, you’re bound to see them.


You should also question the ones with the endless questions. Asking questions in and of itself is fine, but if you really pay attention, there are no suitable answers to these types of people. They don’t really want to know, read carefully and you’ll find there’s absolutely nothing that can be said to alter their agenda, the questioning is a game.


We in Longmont can’t vote on this, which is a shame, many of us live closer to this proposed development than most in Firestone. We in Longmont also may suffer financially as this development grows and siphons off tax revenue and building permit fees that should’ve been ours. We in Longmont suffer due to an inept majority on our own city council and the long term damage they and their willing followers have done to this city.


Learn from our mistakes and let our loss be your gain.

GUEST EDITORIAL

The Colorado Plan in Action
by Dave Larison

Did it seem odd last fall when left-wing Denver based groups such as ProgressNowAction and Colorado Ethics Watch were so adamantly involved against LifeBridge Christian Church and its fully legitimate Union annexation process into Longmont?

Think again. It was a prime example of a larger scheme–a strategy brilliantly detailed by Fred Barnes in his recent Weekly Standard piece, “The Colorado Model–The Democrats’ plan for turning red states blue.”

Barnes reveals that a small group of rich liberals in Colorado, literally a Gang of Four consisting of mini-George Soros types, has discreetly helped to form an infrastructure of organizations within the state to 1) go after conservatives viciously, 2) help left-wing ballot issues get passed, and 3) magnify alleged wrongdoings against Republican candidates.

These tax-exempt 527 groups do not directly contribute to candidates, so they avoid regulation by the Federal Election Commission. The plan infrastructure also involves leftist bloggers and activists, plus certain on-air personalities, resulting in a loud “echo chamber” of liberal noise. The mainstream media has little choice but to give it coverage.

Since campaign finance reform reduces the amount of money that people can directly contribute to candidates, the newest legislation plays right into the hands of the Gang of Four, who can put millions of dollars into the 527’s and make them that much more influential on the political landscape.

Republicans too have their influence groups in Colorado as well a number of conservative talk-show hosts, but they generally don’t have the big money individuals to match the liberal infrastructure supported by the likes of the Gang of Four.

So voters be aware as the 2008 election season moves into high gear. If an issue or candidate represents what is right and responsible, what appeals to traditional American values, you can bet The Colorado Plan will be in full force trying to devilishly stop it.

Dave Larison is a retired NOAA meteorologist and has lived in Longmont since 1980.