Our Vote! Longmont organization was in the August 2ndBoulder County Fair Parade.We also received a trophy for 2nd Place in the “Organizational” category!(8/5/08 Times-Call Pg A-3)
Was it the theme?The parade theme was “Back to our Roots”.As we passed the judges desk, the announcer introduced us: “Vote! Longmont encourages Longmont residents to register and vote in all elections, especially at the local level.VOTING IS THE ROOT OF DEMOCRACY.Be informed..get involved..VOTE! LONGMONT”
Was it the music?We had a medley of songs playing, pumping out of my PA system.We started it off at a fairly low volume, but people kept yelling to turn it up.We HATE quiet parades.We were wedged between a couple trucks with big engines, so the high volume was a good counterbalance.We had people along the route dancing and singing along.At a couple points the PA system tripped a circuit breaker.Yep, it was loud.
Was it the mascot?We had our basset hound as our official Vote! Longmont “Am-basset-door” barking and howling out the passenger window.
Was it the float design?We had our banner on the front.We had our voting booth in the back.We had red, white, and blue “fringes” along the sides – considering the (supposedly) Lunatic, Disconnected, and Fanatical Fringe were there as part of our entry.
Was it the free stuff?The entire route, Brigette was handing out hundreds of pieces of candy (red/white/blue saltwater taffy), bookmarks (also known as “garbage” to Longmont Councilmember Sean McCoy), and election and registration information.She also gave these to the judges, couldn’t hurt.Keep in mind this was a hot day on blacktop.
A funny side note: in the staging area we were right next to the Boulder County Democratic Party entry (see picture of the Obama Boat).More than once we were confused as being the lead for their procession, by citizens, elected officials, and candidates alike.Everyone that came up to us were friendly, even after they figured out who we were, or weren’t.One in particular was U.S. Congressional candidate Jared Polis.We had a friendly chat, talked about his ads on our Vote! Longmont site, which he was aware of and thanked us for.He was also aware we probably wouldn’t be voting for him (most of Longmont isn’t in the district he’s running for).
So, it was a fun time, a nice surprise to actually win a trophy, and best of all, the organizers already called us hoping we’ll return next year!
The following is a speech made to Longmont City Council by Brigette Rodriguez of Vote! Longmont on Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Mayor Lange and members of Council,
Most of you are used to seeing my husband Chris up here. I’m here tonite to talk about our non-partisan organization called Vote Longmont. I have the primary responsibilities of our organization. We started it as we felt that not enough residents are either registered voters nor are they showing up to actually vote. We are certified by the Colorado Secretary of States office to help people register to vote and in addition our website provides Longmont residents with current local initiative links and information. We have been very busy this year for obvious reasons with the national election coming up.
Last weekend we had the opportunity to have a booth at our first large event, Rhythm on the River. In addition to working with the Boulder County Clerk who was at a different location at the event, we were in an area sponsored by the Longmont Museum called the Discovery District. This area is a family oriented area and we offered an activity called “Discover Voting”. We had 172 children cast their ballots for President in a voting booth I had created for our mock election. Many parents as well as the museum director thought this would inspire them to one day become more civically involved. My husband was even dressed up as 2nd President John Adams. Our booth also offered a convenience to parents who themselves wished to register or update their voter registrations while their children were doing activities in that area. One six year old who voted in our booth even cutely asked me “who would you vote for if you were a kid?”
We had many people visit us, including teachers and council members. We received lots of positive feedback and one councilmembers child even voted in our voting booth. But I’m disappointed about the behavior of Councilman McCoy who came into our area. I had stepped away to pick up more flyers from the Longmont City Council booth and found that he had visited our area when my husband and son were staffing the table. When my husband offered him one of the hundreds of bookmarks we had handed out, he replied “I wouldn’t take any of your garbage.”
That “garbage” consisted of flyers about deadlines for voting, how to verify your voter registration, links to contacts for the current school district bond and mill levy override issue, information on local businesses to encourage shopping local, and interesting enough…the flyer for “meet your council members.” I spent weeks preparing for this event. I would have expected better behavior from a councilmember and a school teacher at that, especially because my 12 yr old son was witness to this.
Our project wants to encourage people to be involved in their community and what their city council is discussing. Actions like this make me also not surprised to read in the paper today about the low percentage of city surveys that have been turned in. I am not a member of the lunatic fringe as Councilmember McCoy likes to put it, but a member of your community.
VIEWER WARNING: This piece is bound to really irritate some people. I’m well aware of the anger this will illicit, and your expected complaints have been considered. I try to be constructive when I criticize, but sometimes it’s nearly impossible. This is such a case. In the interest of completeness, and sharing this continuing story, I submit the following:
So far, I’ve reported on Firestone’s Trustee Board meeting, now it’s Longmont‘s turn. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot said about Firestone’s comments, but I suspect there will be as Firestone just approved the Firelight Park annexation.
In it, Longmont City Councilmember Sean McCoy rips into Firestone’s Mayor Mike Simone over his comment ” LifeBridge was forced to “walk away” by the election of an anti-religious faction to the LongmontCity Council“. He also took offense to the ” immoral” description of Longmont made by Trustee Steve Curtis. He said he found it ” very unethical on this individuals part“, meaning Mayor Simone. He basically threatened a lawsuit for slander.
Where to begin.
I’ve been to ONE Firestone board meeting, and I’m not an elected official or anything, but even I know that they are a Board of Trustee’s, NOT a City Council. Members are called Trustee’s, NOT Councilmembers. I’m starting to agree with several people who have mentioned to me this constant habit of getting peoples names wrong (and I guess titles now) and how it shows a total lack of respect. In this case, it’s Firestone’s leaders. In other cases, well, you listen for it yourself.
Next, Mr. McCoy’s complaining of ” inflammatory” comments. Some of us about fell out of our chairs on this one. This is the same guy who called people he disagreed with (we’re talking citizens here, not elected officials) ” the lunatic fringe“. He also said in the same breath how Longmont shouldn’t talk ” smack” about Boulder, yet it’s alright for Longmont to do that to Firestone? Watch the 1/29/08 video again ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEo7ZF3eKYU ) and replace Boulder with Longmont, and Longmont with Firestone in the appropriate places and context. I know some of you hate it when I point out total hypocrisy like this, but it speaks for itself here.
Then this outrage over the ” anti-religious” comment. Here’s the problem: On 1/8/08( http://denver.yourhub.com/Longmont/Blogs/News-Politics/Commentary/Blog~412831.aspx), Mr. McCoy made the point of his detachment from the Lifebridge issue as he said he and the other new members of council didn’t vote on Lifebridge. So in essence, he’s saying the new council had nothing to do with what happened to Lifebridge. If that’s the case, then why would he take offense to Mayor Simone’s inference that an anti-religious faction was to blame when THEY HADN’T EVEN BEEN ELECTED YET AND OBVIOUSLY COULDN’T VOTE ON IT, as Mr. McCoy himself made clear as his closing point on 1/8/08?
Mr. McCoy tried to make the case that other factors caused Lifebridge to pull out (remember the ” 600% of Longmont residents” nonsense?). He must not have believed that nonsense himself, most people I know didn’t buy it, and obviously the Firestone Board of Trustee’s didn’t swallow that line either. His anger over this comment revealed that his 1/8/08 comments were a whitewash, otherwise why would this sting so much?
To be fair, is it possible Mr. McCoy was truly outraged over being called ” anti-religious” ? Absolutely. I assume most public officials are concerned with the image they put out. They wouldn’t want to be publicly called ” anti-religious“, true or not, for fear of alienating over half of their constituents. Then again, insulting constituents is getting to be a regular occurrence for Mr. McCoy. Let’s now add leaders from other cities and the press to the list, the same press ( Times-Call) he bought ad space from during his campaign. Very consistent and principled, not.
What’s the point of all this? I know I won’t be popular holding these officials accountable in this fashion when it needs to be done, and I find no joy in doing it. But these are our elected representatives. They should avoid embarrassing themselves, and the rest of us, and I’m hoping they might look at and listen to themselves, and learn from it in the future. And you wonder why so many people (not just in Longmont) are apathetic to the issues and these officials? I’m trying to get more people involved, this doesn’t help.
Anyone catch the “talking out of both sides of his mouth” example given by Sean McCoy at the 1/29/08 Longmont City Council Meeting? On one hand he said “we have to be very careful as council members here not to say things that smack about our sister city of Boulder“. Hmm, okay, fair enough, setting some ground rules for council members. But of course that’s not what he was really saying, follow along.
He went on to say he’s “kinda get a little tired of that“, of what? Council members talking smack about Boulder? Who does he mean? In the next breath he says exactly what he really means: ” the lunatic fringe has kinda taken it upon themselves to use that as a divisive and in a way of separating out the community“. He then went on to describe the “symbionic” relationship between the two cities. So the message is we must bow to the altar that is Boulder and we need to “give that respect to them“. If not, you’re part of the “lunatic fringe“. Count me in!
By my count, this is at least the second time Councilmember McCoy has directly insulted a large chunk of Longmont residents. The first was insulting supporters of Lifebridge and his ridiculous theory of how 600% of Longmont was against the annexation. Alright, then how does he explain the paltry 31% who voted for Richard Juday, one of the anti-Lifebridge annexation leaders? Only off by 569% there. And those 6,000 signatures he spoke of, odd how only 4,338 voted for Juday, isn’t it? I thought we had a strong message by the petition? I always thought that was a sham, and the election partially proved it.
It’s not hard to jump to the conclusion that had the Lifebridge annexation remained on the ballot it would’ve been very close. I believe some members of council and the general public got an incorrect reading of the overall public’s mood towards “change” and the Lifebridge issue based on November’s election. I also believe Lifebridge read a little too much into it and based their decision to pull out of the process based on it. But that’s just my guess. Juday’s supporters can’t tell me they weren’t surprised that he didn’t get more of the anti-annexation petition signer’s votes, or the Levison vote from November.
How does this relate to Councilmember McCoy and his repeated insulting behavior? While he was one of the few that actually got a majority in the November election, and maybe thinks he has some political capital to spend (by attacking opponents), he needs to take a harder look at what just happened in the special election. He appears to not be very observant or see warning signs when in that very same council meeting two people got up in Public Invited To Be Heard and tore into Councilmember Benker for basically doing the same thing in a previous meeting. Yet he did it anyway.
The main problem I see is the poor example he’s leading, especially to his often abrasive supporters. If it’s alright for him to behave that way, what’s to say his less, hmm how to put this, diplomatic followers won’t be emboldened to really cross the line?
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