Mayor Baum: “Having to listen is ridiculous”

It looked like we were going to get through the Council Retreat without a Baum being dropped, but at the close of the retreat a political atomic warhead was launched.

Longmont’s anything-but-illustrious Mayor Baum “brought it up for discussion” that he wants to limit the entire Pubic Invited to be Heard (PITBH) to only 30 minutes after which each council member would have three minutes “to dispel public untruths”.  If he doesn’t get agreement for this arrangement, he plans to move PITBH to the END of the evening.  He claims that the “business of the city and council is more important” than listening to the public’s concerns, their love for their community and their passion for government in the interest of ALL of the citizens of Longmont.  He thinks “it is ridiculous to have to listen for an hour and a half.”

Now, of course, these “public untruths” that he wishes to dispel are not untruths at all. In Baum’s eyes and in the eyes of his acolytes and foot soldiers, any difference of opinion is an “untruth.”

But there’s more to this story than differences of opinion.  We have a mayor who intends to strangle other voices.  He never intended to listen to all of Longmont.  He came to office with an agenda, an agenda to undo as much of the progress made during the last two years as he can.  He campaigned on a platform denying the legitimacy of past actions and denying the current economic realities that impact our city’s opportunities for economic development.

As I’ve done for over two years, I’ve continued to attend the council meetings, pre-sessions, and retreats (with few exceptions).  While I really shouldn’t be, I’m blown away to find these newly elected officials claiming credit for the actions of the past council for whom they have only contempt.  I’m blown away to hear them now claim that the national macroeconomic conditions are impeding further progress on redeveloping the mall when this message was loud and clear from the previous majority.

Cynicism in the extreme.  A lack of integrity off the charts.

Periodically over the last two years, Times-Call bloggers have thrown out the possibility of recalling Sean McCoy, Sarah Levison and Brian Hansen.  It continues even though the balance of power has decidedly shifted.  Why would it matter to them, you ask?  As long as there are alternative voices on Longmont’s city council, the new majority’s agenda, their thinking (or lack thereof) and their decisions will be questioned and disputed.

Baum also wants to limit questions from council members to staff or other presenters to ONE.  Astonishing!  That might work with Katie Witt, who has a demonstrated inability to string more than one thought together at a time.  However, I doubt sincerely that he would apply such restrictions uniformly—especially to himself.  And I doubt sincerely that the new majority even needs to “ask questions” since they come to council with their decisions already made.

All of this maneuvering is about establishing the Republican “permanent majority” which was planned some 40 years ago and that Republicans have been executing ever since.  And make no mistake, these local Uber Republicans were elected with the money and assistance of the machine in place to accomplish just that objective.  Silencing opposition, whether it comes from the public or from the council dais, is the intent.

McCoy, Hansen and Levison were polite in responding to this unexpected turn of events.  And it must have been very difficult.  McCoy stood up strongly for the preservation of free speech, democracy and transparency.  He had to repeat this message several times.  And it undeniably fell on very deaf ears.

Hansen insisted that this change be brought to council for a public discussion.  (City Manager Gordon Pedrow said it would be on February 16th study session agenda.)

Levison stated that the public typically comments at first reading.  By second reading , she said, it’s too late to have influence.  She also pointed out that if PITBH is moved to the end of the evening, the council business and the subjects that the public wants to address have already been discussed and decided.

Baum closed with:  “I’m the Mayor and it’s up to me.  I can set this up any way I want.”

These totalitarian tactics must not and will not stand.  On the heels of the Supreme Court decision of, by and for the corporation, our republic and our democracy is in genuine jeopardy.  Longmont is a microcosm and meant to be a beachhead.   Let the battle be joined.

  2 comments for “Mayor Baum: “Having to listen is ridiculous”

  1. M. Douglas Wray
    February 1, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Campaign promises? (falls off chair laughing) But seriously, they DID promise to be more transparent. I guess the new definition of transparency is ‘Don’t Ask / Won’t Tell’

  2. February 1, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Right on target, Kaye !
    This pre-agenda by the Foul Four is merely playing out as decided by the Team once they had been selected to take over and eliminate any social or environmental concerns from “City business.” The fact that they continue to meet in secret to shape up their unanimity
    { Illegal prima facie } must be exposed & countered continually.

    “30 minutes after which each council member would have three minutes “to dispel public untruths”.’ This aspect is not merely serious censorship, but is the formal structuring of a dictatorship. THAT is precisely what the Baum, and his minders & mentors, intend for Longmont.
    It is crucial thaT the Public point out the hypocrisy of the new Council’s game; viz… The use of “secret meeting” to decide policy, I have lost count; somebody said they have already held 5 “Executive sessions.” Did they not publicly campaign on their promise to STOP having “Executive sessions” ?
    They are consumed with preening in self adulation about successful programs initiated by the recently deposed City Council, & Mayor.
    Their desire to avoid scrutiny applies to policies as formal procedure: many of their actions are conducted AFTER full hearings have closed, & are snuck in approaching the midnight hour under “Closing comments.” Also, be aware that the mayor verbally assaulted me in obvious rage, in the aisle of C Chambers immediately after the Election Committee public meeting with C Council. He falsely accused me of not respecting that they are really nice guys & considerate, threw his finger in my face twice, and said that I (meaning all of us) are being disruptive & disrespectful, etc etc. It’s funny, being as I had just complimented him on the EC – Council meeting, and have made NO mention whatever of his recent crimes, as did 6 or 8 “public” citizens {& rightly so}. His active rage at not being able to publicly exterminate the EC, & me in particular, carried over to my being accused of the exposure of his character and uncivil actions.
    As Gabe Santos, in a very friendly manner at close of EC meeting said as to my expressed chagrin at the acrimony of the attacks on the EC,
    “Well, Strider, welcome to public life.”


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