There’s skin. There’s thin skin. And then there’s no skin at all. The latter appears to be the apt description of Longmont’s Mayor. Perhaps he put it all into the quid-pro-quo game.
KCRN 1060 AM and the Best of Longmont have created a live broadcast between 6 and 7 PM called “Mondays with the Mayor”. It seems, however, that Mayor Baum considers this an exclusive opportunity to pepper the airways with his personal ideology.
It’s a new show and is broadcast live from Buzz Coffee. I was present to observe Mayor Baum demonstrate his intolerance—again. And in so very many ways!!
Today’s guest was Jonathan Singer, President of the Longmont Area Democrats. As always, Mr. Singer’s humor is quick and witty. Such a marvelous contrast to the dour and humorless Mayor Baum, a characteristic so typical of the rabid right – whether in Longmont or across this great country.
After Mr. Singer introduced himself to the Longmont listeners, he quipped, “So we have a mayor and a president.” I’m confident that brought a chuckle to some and some head-banging to others.
One of the first questions asked of the mayor was about tuition equity at our Colorado colleges and universities. Many of Colorado’s immigrant students are effectively blocked from fair tuition rates because their parents, here without documentation, brought them to Colorado. These are good, dedicated students who have demonstrated their ability.
Baum’s reply was the typical deflection used by right wing ideologues. But before he was finished talking the truth slipped out. (He just can’t help himself. No matter how his handlers try, and no matter how far up the food chain they go, they won’t be able to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear.)
Baum’s solution to high school seniors hoping to go directly into college, is to continue to live in the shadows while seeking naturalization. Now that, of course, takes years. Clearly Baum, cares little for the plight of the immigrant community and particularly the Latino community, a substantial part of Longmont’s population. Baum spoke of immigrants who seek the help of attorneys for naturalization as being “victimized by their own people.”
“Their own people!” Isn’t that lovely. And I suppose that we’re to accept HIS word for this. Since you have no skin, Mayor Baum, perhaps you can “show us the beef”. He spoke of gathering a “consortium of attorneys” to assist. I certainly hope these attorneys are not descendents of Longmont’s presumably buried KKK history.
But, Baum wasn’t done. Oh, no!
A young student asked Mayor Baum about Longmont’s density per population of gangs and what could be done about this. The young man is black. The first question out of Mayor Baum’s mouth, “Are you in a gang?” Had the question been asked by a white student, I seriously doubt that Baum would have asked the same question.
2 + 2 = 4, Longmont. I’m sure that those who frequently post racist comments on the Times-Call article blogs are delighted to have elected one of their own. The rest of us are simply nauseated.
But Mayor Baum, wasn’t done picking fights with those who don’t agree with him. Don’t forget, this program was viewed by his political allies and operatives as a way to burnish an image of Mr. Nice Guy. Sorry, Charlie, it won’t wash. Perhaps the losses should be cut.
This was my first experience with “Mondays with the Mayor”. So I took the opportunity to ask about an issue that means a great deal to the Longmont community – Twin Peaks Mall.
I asked the mayor why the community hasn’t been given the complete set of facts about Panattoni’s ability to redevelop the Mall. Since the Times-Call has failed to report the numbers that are relevant to understanding the company’s ability to proceed, I took the opportunity to provide that information.
Panattoni purchased the Mall in 2007 for $37 million. The boom led to a bust and now the Mall is worth only $17 million. And that is likely not yet the bottom for the commercial retail market. Panattoni put $8 million down on the property. Bank of America, who holds the paper, now requires 50% equity in order to refinance. Panattoni is “underwater,” meaning they owe more that the property is worth.
Baum doesn’t dispute the data, he merely tries to claim that this is “old news” and “everyone knows this”. No, Mayor Baum, “everyone” doesn’t know this. Not the other members of the council outside the well-described “Baum Squad”. Not the public. But the Times-Call, who oh-so-carefully reported in generic terms so that the gravity would remain hidden, undoubtedly did know.
Mayor Baum, I read the Times-Call. EVERY DAY. These numbers were never published. They first appeared in an email from Council Member Katie Witt and were revealed on www.freerangelongmont.com. And unless you don’t read the Times-Call, your statement to the contrary about the availability of this specific information is, yes, “Disingenuous, sir.” And that was the nice way to put it.
Again, the skinless mayor, had to have a retort (amongst his many incivilities), when he addressed me as amongst those who are not “well-connected”. Yes, Mayor Baum, I’m not a part of the Longmont oligarchy. And I’m proud of it. I “speak truth to power” so that the ordinary Longmont citizen can live his or her life trusting that city business will be taken care of—to the benefit of us all. I “speak truth to power” to expose what goes on behind all those Wizard of Ozian curtains.
When Singer asked about the Longmont Fair Campaign Practices Act, Baum suggested that the convoluted “in-kind” method that he used in the recent campaign is the way reporting should be done. Does he really expect the public to swallow that dollars spent “in-kind” are any different than donated dollars or that somehow they are more open and transparent?
Come-come, Mayor Baum. The Longmont community is not that gullible. Keep insulting them and see where that gets you.
And let’s not forget that Baum previously explained that he didn’t want his hands dirtied by political money. Spoken like a man with a very guilty conscience. The opportunities to ask Mayor Baum, “What did you know and when did you know it?”, are the gift that keeps on giving.
Mr. Singer asked the mayor what other opportunities might be available to help the environment since Baum ferociously torpedoed Longmont’s opportunity to participate in the Governor’s Energy Office’s matching grant program for solar photovoltaics. Predictably, he once again “went postal”.
This mayor has no respect for the environment. He’s a climate-change denier. He’s an oil-gas-and-coal man who was catapulted into office by the rabidly anti-environmental Montana organization Western Tradition Partnership. He’ll throw a bone once in a while in a feeble attempt to obscure his attitude toward the environment and hoodwink the public. Don’t expect the Longmont that your kids will live in to be protected by him or his supporters. They’ll take theirs NOW, thank you.
So, Mayor Baum, you can talk to the community on Monday nights, but this is not a pass to spread your corporatist ideology or advance the agenda of the oligarchy. Your inner sanctum knew what they were getting when they voted for you. The rest, victimized by the Times-Call political water torture for two years and frustrated over the economic conditions prevailing in Longmont and throughout the nation, thought they were getting a fix-it man, new blood.
In fact, they have gotten everything they were sick of in 2007 and before. The community will figure that out – sooner or later. Truth eventually rises to the surface. All the lipstick you apply will not change that.