I Love A Parade


Our Vote! Longmont organization was in the August 2nd Boulder 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! LongmontAm-basset-doorbarking 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!

Lazy Voters

Lazy voters. I probably don’t mean what you think when I use that term. I’m not talking about people who aren’t registered, or are and don’t bother to vote, or have no idea when there’s even an election. There’s probably a better term, and I’m not pointing towards the apathetic here either.

One type of person I’m talking about is the kind who waits by their mailbox for brochures telling them how they should vote. The other ones are the kind that read others opinions and based on them figure they should vote totally opposite to it. Intellectually lazy and taking the easy way out.

An example was a letter sent in to the Times-Call not too long ago. Only credit I’ll give this guy (can’t remember the name, wouldn’t repeat it if I did) is he was ” smart” enough to give his name. In reality, he made himself look like a dunce. He was fairly insulting as he sarcastically thanked a somewhat regular writer, Percy Conarroe, for stating his position so now this guy could know how NOT to vote.

It’s one thing to think like that or to actually vote like that, but to make assumptions on Mr. Conarroe’s knowledge and experience, as if it’s inferior to this writer’s, is just that, an assumption. And a risky one at that, as it leaves this brain surgeon hanging out in the wind, unless of course he’s right. He’s more than likely not (even if he is a brain surgeon).

I’d never met or had any contact with Mr. Conarroe, but was now curious about him after this slime job. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of having a conversation with him. Not only was he very personable, he’s also a former editor and publisher for a couple of major newspapers. For someone of that caliber to go out of their way to compliment me was truly and honor and showed what class he has, unlike the detractor above.

I asked him about this letter, he said it was nothing new and was used to it, along with far worse things including death threats back in the day. I could imagine so, once learning what he used to do. So this conversation verified what I figured; that Mr. Conarroe was not deserving of the insults, and this detractor showed himself as an uninformed buffoon. I guess we just have to say we’re supporting who we’re really NOT supporting and he’ll be totally confused. Too late.

Election Autopsy Pt. 2

This next part about the recent election has to do with who voted, and more importantly, who didn’t.

Roughly, half of the residents of Longmont are registered to vote, and roughly half of those actually did vote. About 17,000 people bothered to vote, that’s pretty sad. With a turnout that low, no one on either side can claim any mandate, message, or claim “the people spoke”. Barely anyone actually won by a majority (50.1% or higher). But, of those that did win in city council, the new majority comprises a different direction.

Which candidates won solely because they were part of a ” bloc” of candidates? Or how many got in because of an anti-incumbent or anti-good old boy network attitude with the voters? In other words, who didn’t get in based on their own merits? 1? 2? 3? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. If you say none, you’re fooling yourself.

LIFEBRIDGE ANNEXATION IMPACT
More than likely because of who got elected, and the comments they and their “supporters” are making, Lifebridge Church has decided against trying to annex into Longmont. So the special election in January will not include a question about this item.

Lifebridge says they’ll still build at the Union location, and even though Mayor Lange said that the perception that they are not welcome isn’t true, you can’t blame them for having that concern. This prediction is worthless now, but I believe a majority of the people in Longmont are not against this annexation or the church, but a majority of possible voters in a special election might have been. Again, you have to look at who voted and how they voted in November. Odds are only the truly committed (and many need to be) would have come out for a special election on this, and a lower number than the half that voted before.

So for now this issue isn’t one. Or is it? My claim all along is that these anti-annexation people weren’t just against this, and I’m either going to be proven right or wrong in the not too distant future. Based on some of their comments, many of them are outright anti-religion, anti-churches, anti-Lifebridge, you name it. They’re anti-a lot and not pro-much, except hearing themselves rant. Their next move: stop the entire project, period.

The way I see it for Lifebridge, this isn’t such a bad thing. Pull up stakes in Longmont, go to friendlier environs in Weld County, build as you like (probably cheaper with less regulations) and watch Longmont come begging in a few years for you to annex. Cooler heads usually prevail, and when these flat-earth no-growthers are through scorching Longmont with their great ideas, they’ll be replaced or be forced to adapt. Question is, when will their moonbat supporters turn on them – these types always do. Even when they win, they get angrier and start eating their own. It’s entertaining to watch actually.

JANUARY SPECIAL ELECTION
Well, now that the main event is off, there is an empty city council seat to be decided. You have a choice between Gabe Santos and Richard Juday. Mr. Santos lost the at-large seat in November, but pulled in 6,000 votes, no small amount. Mr. Juday didn’t run in ’07 but did in ’05 where he got about 900 votes. Does that point to a lopsided victory? Afraid not. Mr. Juday was part of the anti-annexation drive and helped get in this “bloc” of candidates.

You’ve seen my comments about the supporters of this, if you were against the annexation and liked that “bloc”, than Mr. Juday is your candidate. If on the other hand you were one of the many who slept through the last election only to cringe at what we ended up with, or if you are unhappy with the treatment Lifebridge has received – and now is about to leave Longmont for good – than Mr. Juday is definitely NOT your candidate. Mr. Santos was previously endorsed by the previous Mayor ( Pirnack) and the Times-Call, you have to decide if that sways you one way or the other.

Just make the effort to actually vote, it’s the only way to get a proper reading on what the citizenry is really thinking, not just some of them.

Election Autopsy Pt. 1

The election numbers are all in, and there’s enough fodder for several stories, so let’s get started with Part 1.

Let’s get this out of the way first, as I know you’re all dying to know how the great prognosticator (me) did, being I’ve written about predicting elections. The Nintendo Wii has this cool polling feature called the “Everybody Votes Channel”. What I like about it is not only do you vote, but you also get to predict how the vote will go. Quite often my predictions do not correlate to my votes; this local election was no different. In the 11 votes I was able to cast (Mayor, council, school district, and ballot issues) I scored 82%, or 9-2. That doesn’t mean that’s how I voted, just how I predicted. Ever the finger on the pulse…etc.

The two I got wrong? SVVSD District G between Schiers and Bohaning, which I picked the latter, and was the last race to be called, and by a razor thin margin. So I can accept that. The other one was, ironically, my own Ward, the race between Rawlins and Hansen. The Times-Call, and Hansen himself, mentioned what a surprise it was. I had noticed more Hansen signs around this ward, but in the end I think it was a couple things. First, Rawlins youth, which I didn’t see as a disadvantage, could’ve been a factor to some voters. Second, the implication Rawlins was ” hand picked” by some ” good ol’ boy network“, which I never bought, probably didn’t help. The Times-Call endorsement may have turned voters away as well. Lastly, the gamble of this ” gang of four” to run as a block of candidates may have been enough to put Hansen over the top.

Surprises to me? The margin Roger Lange won the mayors seat by. I figured he’d win, but not by the largest margin of any of the council races. Karen Benker, more than any other candidate, ran on the anti-Lifebridge annexation and her sole ” no” vote on it. Lange voted for the annexation and I don’t remember seeing him apologize for it. More people voted on this race than any other, and Benker was soundly defeated. Is this an indicator of how the Lifebridge vote will go in January? Hard to say, I think Lange had name recognition and more council experience on his side.

I can’t say for sure, only by what I hear and read, but I never got the impression that people disliked Lange. I can’t say the same for Benker. I think it may, may, have played into peoples minds that no matter who won, the other would still be there on council. The only difference being whose seat would sit vacant for almost 3 months, and from what pool would the next councilmember come from. Turns out it will be Lange’s “at-large” seat, so anyone in the city can run and vote on it. With Gabe Santos getting over 6,000 votes for the at-large race he lost, it makes sense to put him at the top of the list of potential candidates in January.

But I could be all wrong about the above, but a 9-2 chance I’m not.

2 Voters, 3 Ballots!?

Today’s our lucky day. While most of you only get to vote once, we get an extra vote! The city or county must like how we think, otherwise why would they give us an extra ballot? I must have greased the right palms.

Yep, that’s right, we, actually Mrs. Wrongmont, got two ballots for the price of one. They’re identical in every way, so she wasn’t counted as two different people ( some might disagree). I’ve never seen this before, but if it could happen to us, what’s to say it hasn’t happened to other voters in the city/county?

Our extra ballot has a date with the shredder, but what would you do if this happened to you? Sell it? Submit it? Frame it? Would their election machines catch the duplicate? Is there a law against voting twice if you received two ballots?

Strange and interesting stuff.

Longmont ballot issues

Here are some anonymous opinions sent to my site about three ballot issues in the upcoming Longmont election.

AGAINST Longmont Issue 2C: Open Space Sales Tax Extension
Extending this tax until 2034 would be the height of fiscal irresponsibility in view of the tight city budget. Longmonters are already heavily burdened with three open space sales taxes from Boulder County. The last thing the city needs is to go into $31 million more debt with repayment costs of $59.5 million to buy bonds for additional open space. There are far greater spending priorities. This tax was narrowly passed by voters in 2000 with a term of 20 years. The issue should be brought back to the taxpayers when it expires in 2020, not now.

AGAINST Boulder County Issue 1A: Open Space Sales Tax Extension
After 89,000 acres purchased, three sales taxes and nearly $200 million debt, it’s time to put the brakes on Boulder County‘s runaway open space program. The commissioners have devoted far too many resources toward open space, resulting in money being siphoned away from vital county services such as infrastructure, public safety and social services. Excessive open space in Boulder County has proved to have many unintended consequences, most notably unaffordable housing in Boulder. The average sale price of a 3-bedroom home in Boulder is more than $525,000. Boulder also has a weak business climate due to high sales taxes and stifling environmental restrictions. The new Twenty Ninth Street retail center performed poorly in its first year. Broomfield formed its own county several years ago to allow dynamic projects like FlatIrons Crossing and the Broomfield Event Center to flourish. Defeat of Issue 1A would allow this portion of open space sales taxes to expire at the end of 2009 and help to reduce the stranglehold that open space madness has on the county economy.

AGAINST Boulder County Issue 1B: Transportation Sales Tax Extension
Issue 1B is an unneeded extension of a redundant transportation tax. A hefty 1.0% Regional Transportation District (RTD) sales tax is already assessed in Boulder County for transit needs. Road projects are also funded from state and federal sources. In the 2007 Boulder County budget, the commissioners granted a disproportionate $46.2 million for Open Space Funds compared to only $15.2 million for the Road Fund. County voters soundly defeated a similar “transit and trails” sales tax a year ago. The same should be done for this unnecessary sales tax extension.

Longmont Election ’07 update

This upcoming election will be a mail-in ballot election. You have to be registered by October 9th to receive a ballot. They can’t make it a whole lot easier, let’s see if we can bring up the low turnout numbers.

Here is an update of the candidates for Longmont City Council. Also, I want to share a link to a website I stumbled across that I thought was pretty informative.

http://community.livejournal.com/longmont/22611.html

It has a ward map, pictures of candidates, and something I haven’t touched on – ballot initiatives and school district candidates. I found this by accident, don’t know the author, and he doesn’t know I’m linking to it. But when I find something worth sharing, and/or when someone’s just done a better job, why not expose more people to it?

There have been a couple of changes to the candidates running:

Current council members Roger Lange, Karen Benker, and Doug Brown are the candidates for the position of Mayor. This is an at-large position, everyone in the city can vote for this spot.

One of the At-Large seats is up for grabs, the candidates are Gabe Santos, Paul Tiger, and Sarah Levison. Like the Mayor position, anyone can vote for this position.

Ward One Councilmember. To vote for this seat you must live in the ward. Aaron Rawlins, James DeVore, Brian Hansen are the candidates.

Ward Three Councilmember. Same rules apply as with Ward One. Sean McCoy and Bonnie Finley are running for this seat.

There are a lot of hot topics in this city. Figure out which ones are important to you and find out where the candidates stand on them. Instead of complaining that you were snookered by politicians after they’re in office, get your questions answered before you vote for them. This isn’t rocket science.

Vote Every Day

Why wait for elections to vote when you could vote every day, several times if you like. Of course, I’m talking about the old “voting with your pocketbook”. Your impact is probably far greater than you realize. It’s all the greatest things about this country neatly wrapped up: capitalism, democracy, and freedom of association, speech, and choice.

Sometimes it takes a little digging and research to find out if your money is going to someone you want it to go to. Sometimes it’s easy. Let’s take our local government for starters. If you like how the city is running, shop there, give not only the businesses some income but also some taxes to your city. This applies to the county and state level, too. With the internet, it’s not that hard to shop out of town or out of state. If you are going to shop at a store that has multiple locations, you can pick which county you want to give your money to. If you don’t agree with your city, county, or state representative, you can try to contact them (good luck with a response), or you can just find out what they do for a living and do your business elsewhere. If you like them, show them with your purchasing dollars.

Large, multinational corporations might be a little harder to pinpoint on where they stand on the issues. There’s plenty of talk about Walmart, if you don’t like them, don’t shop there. If you side with them, spend your money there. Figure out where you spend your money, whether it be fast-food restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, whatever. It’s possible that issues and agendas that are extremely important to you may not be well served by how you spend your money. Being an informed consumer means more than finding bargains. Once in a while, substitute coupon clipping with a quick check on places you shop.

Lastly, more people are getting their points across in more ways than ever, be it letters to the editor, call-in recordings, blogs, websites, and advertising. Our community is no different, and it’s good to see all the involvement. Take note of these people; some are doctors, lawyers, teachers, business owners, many aren’t one-timers, and are usually consistent with their point of view. If you like what you see and want to help them, find out more and support them in a way you see fit. If, on the other hand, they consistently infuriate you, make your point by giving your hard earned money to someone more like-minded. This is not a call for a ban on anyone, just smart voting through informed spending.