The Longmont Years: 2009-2011 Breaking the Bloc

In this installment, we pick up in early 2009 after apparent local political burnout – or so I thought.  The previous two years were hectic, to say the least.  Output increased in quantity and quality, both in the written and spoken word.  By the end of ’08 I had gone back to one of my first loves: aviation.  But staying away from local politics was apparently not in the cards. Continue reading

Home stretch of Longmont 2011 Election: Turnout and projections

Predicting voter turnout is never an easy task, especially in off (or odd) year elections like this years.  Predicting actual winners is equally difficult as it all boils down to who gets out the vote and who doesn’t.  I’ll try to make a stab at these with educated guesses based on past history and trends. Continue reading

Trio of Longmont councilmembers don’t deserve re-election

(An edited version of the below was printed in the Times Call “Voices of St. Vrain” Opinion section on 10/7/11)

Our election is less than a month away and there are three council members up for re-election who no longer deserve to represent us because they have made their personal and partisan politics too much of how they govern Longmont. Continue reading

Rewriting Mall history

Seems in this current election cycle some people are trying to rewrite history when it comes to the Twin Peaks Mall.  Let us never forget who’s squarely to blame for the current situation and who has blood on their hands.  So lets look back over the last 3+ years to get a feel for what occurred and how it was written about as it occurred.   Continue reading

Truth about contributions buying votes

Alright, this issue needs to be cleared up once and for all.

There are people in town trying to rewrite history about contributions to city council members – or just don’t know what they are talking about.  Part of the reason we are in this whole mess with the Longmont Fair Campaign Practices Act (LFCPA) and the Election Committee (EC) all comes down to a $5,000 contribution to Gabe Santos from the Longmont Association of Realtors.  But here’s what the people who keep mentioning this either have conveniently forgotten or don’t want you to know: Continue reading

2009: What a year!

2009 was quite an eventful year for the City of Longmont, regardless of where you stand on the issues.  Obviously, it was better for some than others.  Personally, it was pretty busy but overall pretty satisfying, too.

So lets go through it, month by month: Continue reading

Longmont never leaned left

(The following guest opinion appeared in the November 24, 2009 Longmont Times-Call)

One of my more favorite hobbies is to collect data, sift through and crunch the numbers, and then try to make some sense out of it or look at it in a slightly different way.  I’m a political junkie, especially when it comes to elections, so I’d like to put to rest this falsehood that keeps floating around town. Continue reading

Longmont Mayor Election analysis

The 2009 Longmont Election had four council seats up for grabs, including the office of Mayor.  Running for re-election was long time councilmember and one term mayor, Roger Lange.  There was some chatter that he couldn’t run for mayor due to term limits, but it didn’t get much traction, I never gave it much credit, and it became a moot point as it turns out.  Initially, Dan Benavidez announced he was running, but dropped out before collecting petitions.  Jeff Thompson did collect enough signatures, ran for a short while, but then also dropped out of the race.  Eventually, the race boiled down to two candidates, Roger Lange and late into the race was political newcomer Bryan Baum. Continue reading

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.