Leaders we can trust

Our ballots arrived today and will likely be back in the mailbox tomorrow; it’s election time again and here in lovely Longmont the contest between incumbent mayor Dennis Coombs and ex mayor Brian Baum is heating up. Mr. Baum is placing a lot of stock in the settling of several lawsuits during his tenure, while Mayor Coombs is running on his record which is exemplary, especially during our unforgettable flood.

It occurred to me that just about every politician in America would have you believe he or she was a “Proven Leader” which in some cases means they led their constituency down the road to hell and despair as we’ve seen in Detroit. Other proven leaders have never proven much of anything but I guess if you were elected mayor at some point you get bragging rights. “Proven Leader” ranks right up there with “Lowest Prices” and an offer to sell a bridge.

Real leadership shows up when a crisis never before experienced strikes. That’s when someone steps up, takes charge, stays calm and, well- leads. Rather like Mayor Coombs during the flood, come to think of it.

Mark Udall and Dennis Coombs, Longmont 2013

Mark Udall and Dennis Coombs, Longmont 2013

While Mayor Coombs quietly went about his business in the face of our recent disaster, he had little time for grandstanding and media posturing. I  suspect most citizens have little time to watch reassuring TV clips while undergoing evacuation as their homes are being destroyed; nonetheless I did read a criticism from a blog supporter of Mr. Baum, who felt our mayor should have had a larger profile during the crisis.

Perhaps had he been seen on TV desperately hanging on to a lamp post in the midst of debris and downpour this critic might have been satisfied. Mayor Coombs however is not a reporter for a local TV station, and thank God for that.

Meanwhile, I’ve been recalling certain events from  last October. A petition to ban fracking had been handily approved with over 7500 signatures. Question 300 was on the November ballot and would be approved by over 60% of voters- and more Yes votes than the total cast for both Coombs and Baum. Longmont had spoken.

How many recall last October 2 when a full color ad sponsored by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association  appeared featuring seven ex-mayors including Brian Baum? This was followed by a mailer echoing the ad. The only thing these ex’s had in common was that six of them were one-term mayors. So much for the rewards of proven leadership.

Remember this mailing? Check out the bottom left corner - see anyone you know?

Remember this mailing? Check out the bottom left corner – see anyone you know?

No one in Longmont had ever heard so much as a syllable about fracking pass their lips while they were in office, but now, on a sunny day in October, they’ve become experts. They assured us our water was safe, the environment pure (except around places like Trail Ridge Middle School) and that a ban on fracking within city limits was just plain foolish.

Were these seven paid for their appearances? One presumes so. Are they still in the warm embrace of the Oil & Gas Association? I don’t know, but some cynics might assume they are. However, nothing on that issue but deep silence comes from Mr. Baum’s camp. Not a peep unless you happen upon the end of an interview on his web site in which Mr. Baum states that he would defend the ban “As such” – whatever that means- but settle- and drop the part of the case which challenges present state regulations.

If this makes you comfortable, cast your vote for Mr. Baum, who may well be joined with incumbents Santos, Sammoury and Finley. That’s all Longmont needs- another 4-3 split council promising weak- if any- defense of last November’s vote.

On the other hand, Mayor Coombs will push the will of his citizens and the voices raised last November against fracking, will vigorously defend Longmont’s best interests and will continue the calm leadership which marked his first term.

Longmont spoke last November. This time around let’s give Mayor Coombs an overwhelming victory- one which tells Colorado we have not only spoken but are now shouting; I urge you to support and re-elect Mayor Coombs.

Coombs. Accountius, Christensen. Three we can trust.

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