This is about civility, decency and the democratic process. As a member of the now-defunct Longmont Election Committee, I have encountered a consistent political agenda from certain members of City Council, and especially from the mayor, Bryan Baum. The Election Committee was empaneled under the Longmont Fair Campaign Practices Act of 1998, to provide transparency and to limit the unfair influence of big money, outside money and secret money in our home-rule city.
The Election Committee came under immediate and relentless attack, including a suit in District Court against the city, which the new majority on council forfeited, granting $68,500 to the plaintiffs, who were represented by Scott Gessler, now Colorado Secretary of State. Gessler has now refused to mail ballots to registered voters who did not vote, for whatever reason, in the 2010 election.
Last year when a solar tech company owner spoke at council, supporting a local solar initiative that would draw him to move his company to Longmont, the mayor sharply put him down and told him that our city did not need what he had to offer.
This summer, when the city employees’ health care plan came before council after a year of study of competitive bids, Mayor Baum berated Human Resources director Bobby King, city manager Gordon Pedrow and council member Katie Witt for approving of the choice of city employees to go with the Kaiser plan, thus saving the city more than $600,000. He told Mr. Pedrow, “Didn’t I discuss my alternative with you in my office last spring?” Mr. Pedrow replied that his job is to take instruction from a majority of City Council in public session, not the private preference of one member.
These actions represent a pattern and attitude that is detrimental to civil discourse.