Longmont leadership lacks vision

Address to Longmont City Council, December 15, 2010

In 2009 I ran for an At Large seat on the Longmont City Council. I spoke of branding Longmont as northern Colorado’s Green City.

A core component of my campaign was the pursuit of a conservation, renewable energy business park. My website (www.kayefissinger.com) still exists and as part of the vision statements it says:

“I envision a light industrial/business park that can be the home of renewable energy and conservation businesses that will expand well-paying primary jobs in our community. “

Approximately 5,000 of Longmont’s voters embraced this idea by the votes they cast for me.

My opponents, who now sit on this council, pooh-poohed this pursuit of clean, green energy. They claimed that focusing on this as part of Longmont’s economic development was not warranted.

Since then, the community has seen this council reject an effort to hold a contest amongst businesses and others to encourage green residential improvements – at no cost to the city. We have seen this council reject matching funds from the state to add to the use of solar energy in Longmont.

The shortsightedness of this council and its long-standing group of economic supporters was made vividly apparent in an article in today’s Times-Call.

The print headline above the fold heralded Tech jobs on the way – Regional manufacturing park could employ up to 10,000.

The article covered the partnership between NASA and the State of Colorado to create a technology park likely to be about one million square feet of space with 10 percent committed to testing labs, and 90% for manufacturing. The park will focus on attracting small- and mid-size companies in the two fastest-growing industries in Colorado, aerospace and clean energy.

Towards this end Governor Ritter and NASA held a signing ceremony yesterday covering their agreement. The partners seek to establish this park in close proximity to CU, CSU, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the School of Mines.

Yet buried in the second to the last paragraph was a statement that Jody Cody of the Longmont Area Economic Council had not been contacted about potential sites for the park.

Not been contacted! Where is the initiative for which we have paid $150,000 to $200,000 to bring employers to Longmont? Are we to wait until we are contacted? This is unacceptable. Longmont has physical space. Longmont has talent. It should be aggressively pursuing the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of Green – Green Energy and its Green Money.

Has this council and its allies been sending the message that we don’t believe in green technology? That we will take it if it’s offered but we have no vision that includes its pursuit?

I certainly hope not. But if I’m wrong, there are those in our community who need a “come to Jesus” moment on this subject. We can’t win the game if we are not playing the game.

  1 comment for “Longmont leadership lacks vision

  1. FRED BATES
    December 23, 2010 at 11:29 am

    What do you call “economic development” if it’s neither economic, nor development? (a) a “fix”; (b) cronyism; or (c) ignorance ? Yet I understand the city is about to consider dropping its affordable housing development quota system, whereby a percentage of new-build residences must be “affordable,” or else the builder must offer land and/or cash to the city for construction of affordable homes. Of course, one could argue that nearly all of the homes in the city are now “affordable” (if potential buyers have an income, that is). Perhaps the city’s vision now is one of a limited number of mansions, surrounded by squalor. That really does sound like feudal Europe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *