More City Council Buffoonery

Anyone happen to catch tonights Longmont City Council meeting? Once again the simple task of choosing applicants for advisory boards descending into utter nonsense. How hard is this?

For the board in question, there were 4 applicants, and 3 positions: 2 primary and 1 alternate. The deadline was somewhere around 10 days ago, as a clear answer was not given by the City Clerk of when this was. So if you, like me, looked at the City Council agenda that came out last Friday, and every Friday before each meeting, there were the applications of the nominees.

It’s been the opinion of more than a few that our new majority on council is cherry picking candidates for these appointments. One of the applicants put on his application that his neighbor, Councilmember Karen Benker, was who advised him of this spot. Hmmm, okay, we’ll let that go for now.

So, councilmembers had a few days to consider the 4 applicants. But at the council meeting, Sean McCoy lets it be known that he and Brian Hansen have submitted 2 applicants of their own, AFTER THE DEADLINE! I bet you can see where this is going.

Councilmember Mary Blue had recused herself prior to this as she had a family member in the list of applicants. Gabe Santos brought up the point that one time he had put in an application for a board after the deadline and there was no special rule change or consideration for him, and there not should be one for these two applicants. So they put it to a vote: should council suspend the rules of the application deadline for these two applicants. Here’s where I think City Attorney Clay Douglas made a mistake: while Councilmember Blue was recused from the vote involving her relative, she should NOT have been recused from her vote on this change of rules. Do you want to guess how this vote went? Yeahs: Benker, Levison, McCoy, and Hansen.

So, not only does this out of control bloc blatantly disregard the rules that have been in place for I’d guess a long time, they make it so they can vote on it, and pass this questionable procedure. And no, they didn’t vote to change an ordinance or any resolutions, you know, the stuff that makes the rules they’re supposed to follow. They just wormed their way around it. Very democratic.

Lastly, want to guess who made the cut for this board? One of the primary members was the aforementioned Benker-invited nominee, the other was one of these late and very questionable additions. Councilmembers had all of maybe a few minutes to look at their applications, if that. Note to some councilmembers: when some people say you’re doing a great job, maybe they’re not talking about YOU specifically.

(Illegal) signs of desperation?

A couple of weeks ago I was going to write a piece about the lack of candidate signs around town. Since then I’ve seen some sprouting up. Anyone else notice these signs in places you don’t normally see these placed? Like in railroad track right-of-ways, landscaped areas not in front of homes, or greenways in front of businesses. In other words, places you wouldn’t or couldn’t ask the property owners permission. You can read the ordinance yourself at http://www.ci.longmont.co.us/code_enf/ord/political_signs.htm. Longmont’s Code Enforcement Division is supposed to enforce this. It appears either they are choosing not to, or they are making a half-hearted attempt to remove some signs, only to have other improperly placed signs replace them.

I can only report what I see with my own eyes, and all of these signs so far are Richard Juday signs. Knowing this statement will elicit cries from his supporters of ” attack” or ” partisanship” (in a non-partisan election), let me educate some of them with a little flash from the past.

Excerpts from the October 2004 edition of The Yellow Scene (used with permission) “…Longmont’s city council are bending rules of their own to sway votes on November’s municipal ballot issue…we agree with Chris Rodriguez, webmaster of www.wrongmont.com who noted that Pirnack’s letter in the September (2004) issue of CityLine crosses the line… CityLine is the city’s monthly newsletter included with residents’ utility bills…However, Mayor Pirnack used it to urge citizens to vote for FastTracks and against Ballot Question 2A, the proposed police and fire collective bargaining agreement. Rodriguez claims this letter breaks the Fair Campaign Practices Act which is part of our state constitution. That law states: No…council of the state or any political subdivision thereof shall…expend any public moneys from any source, or make any contributions, to urge electors to vote in favor of or against any: (A) State-wide ballot issue.. (B) Local ballot issue…The point is that if city council wants to campaign, they can do so on their own time and money. For public officials, spending taxpayer dollars to advocate a political position is against the law – even if they think it shouldn’t be.”

Pretty strong charges against our then Mayor and council, you know, the ones Mr. Juday’s supporters demanded had to go? So allow me to be ” equal opportunity” in calling bullflop on questionable campaign practices: Whoever is placing these Juday signs are knowingly or unknowingly placing them against city ordinance. I’m going with the former, as some are so blatantly displayed in places anyone used to seeing these signs can figure out they’re placed questionably.

Many have been up for over a week, and more keep getting erected. Are we to believe Mr. Juday or his supporters haven’t seen these (we’re talking major streets here) or aren’t aware of them? They are either aware of them, don’t live in Longmont, or are not very observant people. Let this get your attention: Each one is a separate violation for each day it stands. And the results of the election, win or lose, don’t change that.

Others have pointed out questionable financial disclosures in Mr. Juday’s filed campaign reports (not responded to), and his broken pledge not to accept monetary contributions (not responded to). Add these signs to the list. If someone can’t win honestly, not only do they deserve to lose, they don’t deserve to run.