Karen Benker

Public has a Right to be heard

What honest politician wouldn't LOVE this much public involvement?

Citizens getting involved and speaking out - only tyrants discourage it.

Recently there was a Letter to the Editor in the Times Call talking about limiting City Council’s Public Invited to Be Heard which is provided for at city council meetings on Tuesday nights.  Public Invited To Be Heard allows every Longmont citizen up to 3 minutes to talk to their locally elected representatives to tell them what they think about an issue.

As a former city council member for 5 years, there was no doubt that there were times that I wished folks would “hurry up” or “summarize their thoughts.  However, I always reminded myself about what America stands for. Here, in this country, we are allowed free speech and we are given the right to talk to our elected council members. While this might be inconvenient for elected officials, I feel strongly that citizens need to speak out and let their representatives know what is on the minds of the people they work for.  Remember, the voters are the ultimate decision makers.  City council members work for us.  How can they govern if they do not know how citizens feel about an issue?

We all have a right to speak out.   When someone decides they want to run for public office, this is the job that they agreed to perform.  Ducking out on this public duty is not the kind of person we want representing us. Elected officials need to listen.

Matt Jones for House District 12

Matt Jones 2010

Matt Jones 2010

Residents of Louisville, Lafayette and parts of Longmont have a reason to get excited.  We have an outstanding Democratic candidate for Colorado House District 12. His name is Matt Jones. He is endorsed by our current state representative Paul Weissman and by Cindy Domenico the county commissioner that represents East Boulder County.

They know his vision for Colorado- they agree with it and they know he can get it done.

He knows the importance of access to health care because Matt has experienced a major health crisis without health insurance. It was really hard but he has come out stronger as a result.

He knows the importance of strengthening our Colorado economy and how to tackle Tabor to get it done.

He knows the importance of a good education for all and will work to make it happen.

Vote for Matt Jones in the primary on August 10.  You will be glad you did.

From one who knows

Letter to the Editor [Longmont Times-Call] May 24, 2010

The Times Call hit a new low this past weekend. Their scathing attack on Councilmember Sarah Levison was despicable.

The Times Call owes an apology to the council woman for taking conservative politics to an even nastier level.

She stood up and fought for funding clean council campaigns in our city, while the Gang of Four started to gut the Longmont Fair Campaigns Practices Act. Someone has to stand up for our democracy! Thank you, Sarah.

Karen Benker

Finish FasTracks Sooner, not Later

Imagine what could happen if RTD’s FasTrack rail line is extended to Longmont in the next few years!  While it’s possible that the train will still come to Longmont, it is also possible that Longmont may be dropped from the FasTracks system.

If Longmont were tied into the RTD rail network, we could:

  • have easy access to various employment centers as far south as the Denver Tech Center,
  • attend no-hassle baseball, football, or basketball games in Denver,
  • catch a plane to DIA, and
  • attract others to our city to boost our local economy.

While rail was promised to Longmont in the FasTracks election several years ago, it might not be built.  Why?  Because RTD has run out of dollars and they are now looking at potentially shortening the rail lines.  Clearly, Longmont would be negatively impacted since we are at the end-of-line for the Northwest Corridor.

The RTD Board recently voted to postpone a November metro-wide tax ballot measure.  While I think it is a smart move not to raise taxes in this broken economy, we must remind RTD to place an initiative on the ballot within the next two years.  Otherwise, why would a resident in Lakewood or Denver vote to approve another RTD tax increase once they have their rail line built?

To ensure that we get the rail that we were promised, we need to talk to our elected officials and ask them to continue their good work on behalf of Longmont residents.  Why should Longmont continue to pay $12 million into RTD coffers to build rail and provide bus service in other cities?

And maybe we should ask our City Council to shift their priorities.   Let’s work on getting our city a rail line rather than another airport runway to be used only by corporate executives.