M. Douglas Wray

Disagreeable Me

Five ‘Truths’ You ‘Cannot Disagree With’
Conservative Propaganda Fact
1 You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. You cannot legislate the poor out of poverty by legislating the wealthy into prosperity.
2 What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. What a wealthy person received without working for probably came from what another person worked for without receiving.
3 The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. But banks can, through fractional reserve banking, in which the wealthy create wealth by putting the working class into debt.
4  You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. But you can multiply wealth by inventing money, again through fractional reserve banking.
5  When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them; and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation. But who is working, and who is living off of their labors? The wealthy lay around the pool, counting their dividends, while the working class pays for their largess in the form of bailouts and subsidies.
6 (Insert bullshit about trickle down, voodoo economics, etc.) A consumer economy cannot be prosperous if the consumers are impoverished.

A few more points about #3:

“The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from someone else.”

If this doesn’t demonstrate that the author of this only cares about money, then I’m not sure what does. Let’s try this out with a few items that a few people might care about the government providing and see how this “truth” is borne out, shall we?

“The government cannot give someone a financial safety net to guard against economic and circumstantial events that are outside of that person’s control without taking away someone else’s financial safety net to guard against economic and circumstantial events that are outside of that person’s control.”

Weird. That didn’t turn out at all. In some magical way we actually *can* provide this kind of a safety net without taking away someone else’s safety net, for the reason that the needs of a safety net are amortized across the population as a whole.

Okay, let’s try it again:

“The government cannot give one individual access to clean water and unpolluted air without removing someone else’s access to clean water and unpolluted air.”

Damn. That turned out weird again. I wonder what’s going wrong? It’s as if there are material things that the government can provide that can be ensured for all people without having to take that very same thing away from anyone.

Alrighty, one more time. I’m sure it’ll be a “truth” that I can’t disagree with this time:

“The government cannot provide for the basic subsistence and shelter of one individual without denying someone else basic subsistence and shelter.”

What the …? How is it that we keep finding things that the government can provide that don’t result in the type of direct accounting of dollars that the “5 truths” above describe?

One last try:

“The government cannot provide an individual with a basic level of security from foreign threats without removing someone else’s basic level of security from foreign threats.”

Well, golly. How can it be that the military provides a benefit for everyone at the same time? That’s just impossible – except it’s not.

Thanks to all the folks that contributed to this.

jon-steward

You Bet Our Lives

Enstrom 280FX Shark (G-ZZWW), built 1990, photographed at the Heli-Day, Kemble Airfield, England. Taken by Adrian Pingstone in August 2003 and released to the public domain.

Enstrom 280FX Shark (G-ZZWW), 1990
‘Useful load’ 930lbs, 225HP, 7′ x 28.7′, 2,600 lbs
Photo by Adrian Pingstone Aug 2003

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive for owners and operators of the Enstrom Helicopter Corporation.

It issued the EAD because they had “…evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition … is likely to exist or develop in other products of these same type designs.” i.e. this brand and model of helicopter. So, spontaneously, a part can break off, a rotor blade detach, causing the aircraft to immediately plummet from the sky, crash and burn furiously. The swath of destruction from the Engstrom 280FX crash in Erie very easily could have been in the middle of a neighborhood – instead it was a training flight and over an open field.

A witness, still obviously shaken from the experience, relates that she “…thought it was coming down on our house.” I can’t imagine the carnage that might have occurred that Monday afternoon if it had been over the homes when the culprit part ‘separated.’ Must be a lot of force involved – the witness said they saw “…an explosion happen at the top of the helicopter.” The FAA EAD indicated the crack that likely caused the crash had “…existed, undetected, for a significant amount of time before the separation.”

Literally a 2,600 lb flying time bomb.

Makes me wonder what could have happened if this part had failed during a reckless stunt while buzzing a residential neighborhood at 100 MPH while at only 200′ altitude. That no doubt window-rattling* maneuver could very easily have turned into one of the darkest chapters in Longmont’s history involving millions of dollars of property damage as well as injuries/deaths.

Thankfully it did not, but based on the crash in Erie it may well have been only a hairs-breadth chance.

Or if this had happened anywhere but an empty road:

Luckily, the owner of that company is respectful of his neighbors and surely is taking great care not to have another incident.


* saber-rattling?

TC Sale Delicious Irony

From TimesCall.com

NEW YORK — Digital First Media, the operator of The Denver Post, Daily Camera, Longmont Times-Call, Colorado Daily, Broomfield Enterprise and Colorado Hometown Weekly, announced Friday that it will “evaluate and consider strategic alternatives” that could lead to the sale of some or all of the company.

CEO John Paton said the company has retained UBS Securities to review a full range of alternatives — including selling the entire company, selling regional clusters or doing nothing.

“We believe we have many options available to us to maximize the value of our businesses for our stockholders and the board of directors has therefore decided to assess the full range of these opportunities,” Paton said.


The Times-Call, despite FRL’s continuing calls to moderate comments and require identification of commenters has stayed the course and now the newspaper finds itself again on the chopping block.

This comment in particular stands out:

AsokAsus

More deckchair rearranging. The death of print media is inevitable, and shifting to digital publication means nothing but competition with billions of other well-established websites which are already far better organized than the virtually unreadable digital newspaper sites, but even worse for the print publishers, ad revenue per ad is at least one ten thousandth less for a digital ad vs a print ad.

Bottom line is that printed newspapers are dead and their brands are worth zero. And quite frankly, it couldn’t happen to a better bunch considering that the bulk of newspapers have been unrelenting in blatantly pushing a s0cia!istic, “Progressive” agenda for decades instead of engaging in objective news reporting. So, basically, good riddance to bad rubbish.


Yes, the Times Call, that bastion of ‘Progressive’ thought. *COUGH*

No more bully pulpit for this bully.

No more bully pulpit for this bully.

To the extreme right of Longmont – your house organ has imploded and your pet hate-blogger has moved on. My advice is to clean up your act and start working to help Longmont. FRL is willing to publish your articles but you’ll need to stop trying to blame all your ills on the left.

Free Range Longmont is still here despite years of smears and lies aided and abetted by the Lehman family via the Times-Call. Now we get to see them hoist on their own petard.

The irony is truly delicious.

Here’s wishing the legions1 of anonymous hate posters a not-so-fond farewell and hoping the Times-Call gets the wire-brush cleaning2 its needed desperately for decades.


1.

Longmont's self-proclaimed 'First Lady'

Longmont’s self-proclaimed ‘First Lady’

Maybe not legions, perhaps just one or two very dispepsic hate-mongers?

2. As in all the Lehmans gone (waving merrily) Bye!!

The Trouble With Jared

First published at ColoradoPols by Whiskey Lima Juliet.
Full disclosure, I think Jared’s one of the best congressmen the state of Colorado has ever had. The fact that he’s shaking up the establishment Dems is proof I’m right. -FRL

Congressman Jared Polis

Congressman Jared Polis

I recently read the Eli Stokols hit piece on Jared Polis “The Trouble with Jared” and I thought “the trouble with Jared?” How about the trouble with the Democratic Party. The “Trouble with Jared” is, he is a Democrat and it appears the rest of the Party has forgotten what that means.

While the Denver insiders fret about the fact that they still can’t control Jared, the rest of Colorado is cheering him on. Jared is a leader. Leadership was explained to me by my military father and my time in the military, I grew up understanding that leadership is sometimes lonely. Jared is always on the right side of being a democrat. Jared’s a disrupter, he always has been. He is out there being the change the Democrats wanted to see. And it appears he is always alone on the right side of history.

He was making the establishment unconformable when he started his schools for recent immigrants at a time when the Democrats in the state were campaigning on passing the toughest immigration laws in the country.

They were mad as hell when he proposed Amendment 41 to limit gifts and free dinner from lobbyist to law makers. That pissed off a bunch of the “buy me and my friends’ tickets to all of ball games, galas and expensive dinners in exchange for my vote on your issue” elected officials. (Yeah, you know who you are)

Then there was my favorite move by Jared, he supported the cannabis industry.

He honestly supported it. He did not give the behind the door cowardly response of, “Well, Wanda, of course we support not locking up minorities, but I have tough race and I am too much of coward to actually let people know what I think” crowd. Jared was upfront about his approach. And like all of his decisions, he was unwavering and on the right side of the issue and on the right side of history. He introduced a bill in Congress to legalize marijuana only to have his home state actually do it a few months later and now the NY Times is calling for Congress to take up his bill.

While Jared is making the political class “nervous” they might be wise to tune into what the people of Colorado are saying. We are in desperate need of bold leadership and a vision for the future. To be honest, can any of you give one example of vision from any of the elected officials? Supporting Oil and Gas is not visionary.

The trouble with Jared, is that he belongs to a party that is increasing out of step with Coloradans and they are spinning their wheels trying to take him down a peg. He is rich, he is gay, he is outspoken and he wears bow ties with polo shirts. They have no idea how to handle him. And I love it. And apparently, so do the voters of Colorado.

Read the rest of this great article at ColoradoPols.

In both the public and private sector, power is the power to hide

From SunlightFoundation

by Emily Shaw

In academic definitions of power, power is equated with influence over others. In Max Weber’s frequently-cited formulation, power is “the chance of a man or a number of men to realize their own will in a social action even against the resistance of others.”  Harold Lasswell similarly describes politics as the art of determining “who gets what, when and how” and examines how individuals influence others to achieve those outcomes.

In the 21st century, the power to influence runs up against the internet-enabled equality of informational arms. When regular people can see how influence is being exercised, that influence can be highlighted and discussed — and is counterbalanced by public recognition of its antidemocratic effects.

In order for power to preserve itself, it now uses its influence to hide.

Read the rest at SunlightFoundation.com


I’ve watched this exact phenomenon happening in Longmont, starting with the 2009 city council election; powerful forces were set in motion and secret deals were very obviously made.

The numbers are clear, the election was bought and paid for.

Gabe Santos

Longmont City Council member Gabe Santos

Under no circumstances should Gabe Santos be left on council – he’s tied directly to corruption and his own supporters admitted being in on the hidden attacks waged in his campaign’s name.

Funny how it all spins down and around to oil.

Watch Santos fight tooth and nail for fracking at all costs – that’s what his masters paid for years ago, likely when he was working for Tom Delay.

She Still Hates Democrats

Nice to know I have someone to watch over me!

Nice to know I have someone to watch over me!

Born to provoke our ex-First Lady is (apparently). Not satisfied with wearing masks and throwing barbs she point-blank has to blurt out her hatred for Democrats periodically, much like the La Brea tar pits routinely bursts bubbles of black putrescent decay.

Longmont's self-proclaimed 'First Lady'

Longmont’s self-proclaimed ‘First Lady’

This is a person who styled herself ‘First Lady’ of Longmont when her husband Bryan was mayor. Obviously, her idea of ‘representing’ the city was a bit vague. More than half of Longmont votes Democratic – Ms. Baum certainly wasn’t their ‘First Lady’ – more like ‘Fist Lady’*.

She believes, as does her husband, that their political opponents should ‘do penanace’ just for opposing them. This continued monitoring proves just how obsessed she is with that.

And then there’s her dedicated hate website aimed specifically at me and my deceased wife Marilyn** that mentions her concealed carry permit. There’s a word for this.

There are some on Longmont’s Lunatic Fringe that give one pause.

Brittle and strident at the best of times, I can only imagine her intentions.

Any Democratic candidate that runs is fair game for her hate – witness the puppetshow around a local pizza place. Provoke until your opponent reacts, then hold up said reaction as proof of ill will.

I believe Ms. Baum’s endless jihad against me, my website, my family and my friends is ample proof that Longmont’s Lunatic Fringe will never embrace bipartisanship.sb_longmont_city_council_mtg_2

Far from it.

Consider that when you’re choosing candidates for council.


* in the friendliest way, of course!

** went live days after CO laws about defaming the dead changed. Classy.

Jones, Singer and Foote Townhall Longmont Jan. 30, 2014

Rep. Jon Singer, Mike Foote and Matt Jones

Rep. Jon Singer, Mike Foote and Matt Jones

Three Democratic legislators held a townhall in Longmont at Front Range Community College on January 30, 2014. Residents turned out to ask questions about higher education support, family issues and the ALEC-controlled Highway 36 contract. Lots of great discussion. Mike Foote, John Singer and Matt Jones took turns responding to questions and discussing legislative issues.

Rep. Singer at one point referenced his well-worn shoes, reflecting on how the wear reminded him of his constituents and what they’re dealing with daily. Jon’s been a great rep so far – he’s the soul of civility and compassion.

Two darker moments: a gentleman politely but very determinedly brought up the issue of a meth house that’s wrecking their neighborhood, despite constant complaints and police action. It’s a mess and I encourage the city to move quickly.

DSC_0049-gun-rights

“You’re all liars”

The second downbeat note was a gentleman of some distinction making the clear and unequivocal observation that all three of our representatives were ‘liars’ and had ‘violated their oaths’ – needless to say you could practically hear the audience bristle. I’m pleased to say no one interrupted him or shouted him down. Our representatives politely responded, rebutted all of his points and gave him his hearing. He left immediately afterward and was unavailable for comment.

Don Haddad of St. Vrain Schools spoke briefly from his seat in the crowd and had good points about funding and how it directly affects the classroom.

Laverne Johnson, Mayor of Lyons was also in the crowd and had a few comments. She was greeted warmly by the audience.

FRCC President Andrew R. Dorsey

FRCC President Andrew R. Dorsey

Front Range Community College President Andrew Dorsey also spoke a number of times and underlined in concrete terms how his work on shared credit had benefitted the entire Community College system. He also mentioned FRCC’s new machining program. Mr. Dorsey’s a great speaker and a steady hand for the college. I admired how he took the questions about his position and responded eloquently and politely.

DSC_0052-delgatoMembers of the student governance group were also present and spoke briefly but engagingly. I invite the students to submit articles and links to their blogs. FRL welcomes FRCC students!

I’m glad I had the time to attend, a well-done event and great chance to talk to your reps, FRCC’s student organization did the community a great service. Thanks folks!!

Here’s the photoset at Flickr.

Coloradans eye rulings around country in favor of local fracking bans

sign_no_oilfield_traffic

John Tomasic – first published on The Colorado Independent December 23, 2013

BOULDER — Supporters of local bans on the oil-and-gas drilling process known as fracking celebrated a key legal victory in Pennsylvania last week, where the state supreme court ruled unconstitutional a law that sought to override local zoning initiatives in the state.

Colorado, like Pennsylvania — and states like California, New York and Ohio — is the site of a tug of war between state and local communities over drilling regulations. In the last two years, five Colorado towns on the heavily drilled northern Front Range have passed bans on fracking, drawing lawsuits from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association lobby group that have been either officially or tacitly supported by the state. The Association’s suit against the city of Longmont is scheduled to be heard this summer.

The news from Pennsylvania spread quickly over social networks in Colorado.

If the Colorado Oil and Gas Association cannot be persuaded to drop the lawsuits that seek to undo the results of fair elections, then we hope and expect Colorado courts to similarly recognize the rights of voters and respect the principle of local control,” said Our Broomfield, an anti-fracking group that passed a ban in that city in November.

“In Colorado, cities and towns should have the right to use zoning laws to protect the public from the toxic industrial process of drilling and fracking,” said Clean Water Action spokesman Gary Wockner. “We are optimistic that Colorado will follow Pennsylvania in allowing local control for local governments.”

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method of extraction where millions of gallons of water are mixed with chemicals and sand and blasted through drill holes deep into the earth to break up rock formations and loosen gas. Although the oil and gas industry has conducted fracking operations for 60 years, new horizontal methods have greatly increased the effectiveness of the process and have spurred a major drilling boom gas fields around the country.

Thousands of wells now dot the Wattenberg field in north-eastern Colorado. Bloomberg News reports oil-and-gas production has hit half-century record highs in Colorado. Trucks move equipment and frack fluid across great agricultural stretches north of Denver day and night but also increasingly through the region’s cities, towns and subdivisions, setting up drill pads in backyards and next to schools and apartment complexes. Site drilling goes on for months at a time, nonstop, filling neighborhoods with lights and noise twenty four hours a day. Residents have grown increasingly concerned over possible threats posed to health, safety and the environment and they have watched the value of their homes drop.

In Colorado, bans on fracking have so far passed in Boulder, Broomfield, Fort Collins and Lafayette in addition to the first ban passed in Longmont. The Colorado initiatives join a movement across the U.S., where more than 380 local bans have passed according to Food and Water Watch. Governor John Hickenlooper has opposed the bans. He says he’s sympathetic to residents but that it is the state’s responsibility to regulate the oil and gas industry, which he believes would be hobbled if drillers had to navigate a patchwork of varied local rules and regulations.

The ruling in Pennsylvania comes as the Ohio Supreme Court weighs a similar case. Two courts in New York have decided in favor of local regulations on drilling and the New York Supreme Court may soon take up the question.

2013 Longmont election big win for Progressives

Dennis Coombs, Mayor of Longmont

Dennis Coombs, Mayor of Longmont

Monday November 11th the City Council members for Longmont were sworn in – among them returning mayor Dennis Coombs. Here’s our photos.

Two new members were also sworn in –

Polly Christensen

Polly Christensen

Polly Christensen replaced Alex Sammoury and Jeff Moore replaced Katie Witt, both winning handily – no recounts this year.

Coombs sailed to victory with a 16% (Correction – 17.84%) margin over his opponent Bryan Baum, breaking out early with a large lead that Baum never managed to match, despite running scandal-free this time around. A push poll of unknown origin may actually have hurt the right-wing candidate by attempting to spread scurrilous rumors and deeply offending voters.

Jeff Moore

Jeff Moore

Sammoury and Witt were pleasant and appeared to be relieved at leaving City Council. Alex said he’d ‘…try and miss them…’ on Tuesday evenings, clearly being ironic. Witt pronounced ‘…you haven’t seen the last of me…’ and was greeting by laughter from the audience.

Well, I suppose we can hope

StephBaumTweets_111213Despite pronouncements from the right that Longmont is a ‘conservative’ town, the ‘left’ ran off two conservative candidates and defeated a tea party ex-mayor decisively. An obviously-planned kerfuffle over a months-old crabby note from Polly Christensen was clearly the Baum’s payback for being ‘pooched‘ in the last election. Super-classy for Abbondanza owner Bob Goff to not only save the note, but put it in the hands of Longmont’s First ‘Lady’ of muck-raking, who cackled gleefully about it. Love how she’s eager to see a fellow Longmonter in the ‘poor house’ – kinda clashes with her sweet, fundraiser persona…

Polly had this to say about her note to Goff:

“Usually Abondanza is my son’s and my favorite place for pizza, wine, and Parchesi. I was exhaused and was feeling a bit accosted by politics at a place where I was hoping to relax and NOT think about politics. I overreacted to the signs in the window and the political stickers on my leftover box. I wrote this cranky note on a scrap of paper. It was ill-considered, harsh, and unnecessary. I regret not just walking away and getting some sleep.”

Longmont's self-proclaimed 'First Lady'

Longmont’s self-proclaimed ‘First Lady’

Interesting tweet about the ‘Old Guard’… and the Pro-Tem vote was planned…? Really?

So, all in all a very interesting night and terrifically revealing of how deep the wounds of the last election were and how badly the right wanted revenge – any revenge.

Bruised from Celebrating

YEE HAAAAA!!!!!!

Photo courtesy of tumblr

Gun crazies in Colorado are stroking themselves to the point of bruising after the success of their NRA-backed putsch.

I’ve read story after story crowing about how Morse and Giron reacted to their loss. The flapping-in-the-breeze lunatic fringe is blurring they’re so wound up with vengeful glee. Easy kids, you’ll wear a sore spot.

I’m surprised Greg Brophy isn’t walking around with ammo belts and a sombrero in the capitol building. No, really, wait for it. Sigh. Looking for the campaign gaffe of the decade? Keep your eyes on him. He’ll deliver in fine form when the chips are down.

And the stories keep rolling in: a young man shot without reason after a car accident, two road-ragers trade hot lead and end up cold meat, a sailor goes on a shooting spree, an 83 year old man shoots his wife for putting the lid on the ketchup too tight, etc, etc, etc!!

This is NOT a win for common sense or safety. The legislation limited the size of magazines. No more ‘mine’s bigger’ and I can imagine that upset a lot of folks. The NRA did a fine job of ginning up anger and ‘they’s a-gonna take yer gunz!!!!’ fear in the orange-vested hearts of rural Amurika.

So I’m guessing requiring real background checks is out of the question now that the NRA has two scalps dangling from it’s gore-dripping belt. Lovely. So we can expect more and worse incidents. Oh, and whatever you do don’t speak up and complain or ‘conservative watchdogs’* will track you down and see to it you’re out of your job. Yes, the ‘fear’ tactic is in clear use.

As one wit on Twitter quipped: “Clean kill on that one.”

Indeed. Sadly, common sense was also a casualty.

* Paid agents?

Governments turned vicious

728931_35025540-have-a-doubt

Really? REALLY?

The Coloradoan published an article on July 16, 2013, that contains some of the most offensive attacks on Colorado citizens that officials of government have leveled – at least in recent history.  The article’s title gives you more than a hint at what’s in store:  “Energy summit speakers: Fracking critics scaring the public, driving up home heating costs.

Critics are “scaring the public!” Not on your life. But with language like this, certain elected officials and appointed charlatans certainly are.

It’s no surprise that Barbara Kirkmeyer, Weld County Commissioner, would level the kinds of charges at citizens who seek to protect their health and safety and the health and safety of their families, friends and communities. The evidence of toxicity is mounting daily and it will only grow more certain.

“Fracking detractors are trying to ‘scare the crap out of everybody with the wrong facts and making things up,’ said Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, who was moderating the discussion between Lepore and Anadarko regulatory affairs manager Brad Miller,” reported The Coloradoan.

No, Commissioner Kirkmeyer, the only people who are putting the public in harm’s way and “scaring” them are the likes of YOU and those with whom you associate.

Readers, go back up a paragraph and re-read.  So Kirkmeyer was moderating (that’s a laugh) Lepore and Anadarko.  What’s to moderate?  There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the three of them.

Let’s go up the power ladder to the state government.  Who’s scarin’ who, Mr. Lepore? Lepore is director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and he takes his ideological marching orders only one degree removed from Colorado Governor Hickenlooper.  Hick’s not called Frackenlooper for nuthin’.

Lepore must have had a wild hare up his backside at the “Summit.”  Here’s what The Coloradoan had to say about Lepore’s ridiculous accusation:

“Colorado’s chief oil and gas regulator panned critics of fracking and local public officials trying to regulate the energy industry on Tuesday, saying they’re working hard to drive up the cost of home heating and cooling.”

“Working hard to drive upt the cost of home heating and cooling.”  (Hmmm – maybe that wild hare was coming from rather than…)

Mr. Lepore, have you looked at the rush of applications for liquid natural gas terminals so that the industry can sell to the highest bidder overseas?  I gather you have no problems with fracked gas penetrating the lungs of young and old and all in between.

But lest I give the impression that ALL elected officials (with their pals in the oil and gas industry) are out to trash Coloradans, I want to give a shout out to Councilman Gerry Horak of Fort Collins and Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez, neither of whom were given a spot on the panel.  Horak told the paper:

I hear the opposition demonized,” he said, adding that demonizing concerned citizens is the easiest thing the industry can do to make themselves look foolish.

(You got that right, Mr. Horak!)  And Guitierrez pointed out the obvious, that the “summit’s” fracking discussion was “unbalanced in favor of the industry.”

But there’s one more whopper in the newspaper’s story.  Sit down for this one.  When asked if anything was done to propagandize our kids (excuse me, I think they erroneously said “educate”) in order to improve the industry’s public relations, Anadarko’s Miller said, “We have to educate the youth and start there, and we also have to educate the general public as well,” he said. “Both of those programs need to start now. The industry is starting that.

Kirkmeyer talked about “crap” and she was partially right, because it looks like everything that was said at their arrogantly named “summit” was just that — CRAP

I encourage every Coloradoan who reads this post and the article to spread the word widely.  The public needs to know.  And by the way, Colorado school districts, keep the industry out of the classroom no matter how much money they offer to buy your loyalty and dependence.

Mayor Dennis Coombs running for re-election.

From the Times-Call:

Dennis Coombs, Longmont's new mayor

Dennis Coombs, Mayor of Longmont

LONGMONT — Mayor Dennis Coombs announced Wednesday that he would run for re-election.

Coombs, who won his first term by a hair’s-breadth margin two years ago, is the first to enter the 2013 mayoral race and the third candidate overall for the Longmont City Council. Parks and recreation board vice chairman Rick Accountius is running for the Ward 2 seat held by departing Councilwoman Katie Witt, and Councilman Gabe Santos is defending his at-large seat.

It’s been a busy two years. In that time, among other things, Longmont has seen a new city manager, new oil and gas regulations, the first steps on the Twin Peaks Mall redevelopment — and legal action related to the last two issues. On the whole, Coombs said, he’s proud of the council’s record. But, he added, it is the council’s record and not just his own; his main role, he said, has been to help bring people together.

Read the rest at the Times-Call

Dennis’ campaign has a Facebook page – Coombs4Longmont2013 – drop by and give them a Like!

You can also find the campaign on Twitter at Coombs4Longmont

Adult Education Graduation – June 20, 2013

DSC_0134-ThrillOfGraduationThe Adult Education progam of St. Vrain Valley schools had their final graduation ceremony on Thursday June 20, 2013. I believe there were 100 graduates, all obviously thrilled to have their prized diplomas in hand. I heard stories about overcoming adversity to get an education, mothers working and going to school and the powerful support of friends and family. These are people working hard to achieve the American Dream, they embody the basic principles that America was founded on. And they make me very proud. Thank you to the staff for all their work and thanks for inviting me to attend! I hope you like the photos, glad I could be on hand!

Here’s the entire photoset – you can also go directly to the Flickr set by clicking here.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157634238206045″]

Here’s two of the speeches I heard:

J. Ruben Saenz

J. Ruben Saenz, 2013

J. Ruben Saenz, 2013

I am a Mexican by birth and an American by naturalization. I am originally from Ojinaja Chihuahua Mexico, a small town on the border with Texas, in 1979 I waved goodbye to my country and moved to New Orleans, which is a multicultural city, it was there, that for the first time in my life I was exposed to a wide variety of languages and dialects, that awakened in me a passion for languages and gave me an idea where to direct my steps to.

I came to this school with two purposes: a) when I left my country, even though I had already some academic achievements, I did not bring with me any transcripts to accredit my education, I decided therefore, to get a high school diploma from an accredited American institution. b) Having obtained a High School Diploma entailed also a personal challenge, the intellectual exorcism of certain fears, concerns I had regarding subjects I struggle with when I was young, math to be specific. Those fears have been conquered, it was a challenge that in the end was well worth it, in fact this second time around, it was actually fun.

To retiterate what I mentioned earlier, getting a High School Diploma was most of all a personal challenge, which I was able to accomplish the only way success is achieved in this life, through hard work and effort.. By the way, my appreciation and respect for all the ladies who are graduating tonite, what you’ve accomplished is commendable. It’s all the same, through hard work and effort were you able to juggle school and a job, while at the same time taking care of your families. It goes to prove that you ladies can accomplish anything if you wish: the sky is the limit, and may this High School Diploma be just the beginning of a series of academic achievements.

As for me, I plan to pursue my goal, which is to grow in the exciting field of translation and interpretation, which by the way I also became certified on just two days ago from the Community College of Aurora. It’s a very demanding and challenging career, but at the end of the day, I thrive on challenges.

For us Latinos, the family plays a crucial role in our daily lives; I dare to say that just as it was for me, for many of the Latinos gathered here tonight, we are what we are, thanks to the unwavering support of our respective families. We Latinos, regardless of our ages and whereabouts, in a way, we actually never left home. Even though we did, we’ll always carry wherever we go a piece of it.

And last but not least, I would like to thank on my behalf and that of my fellow students, The Board of Education for this unique academic opportunity offered to us, thanks also to all the teachers, Mrs. Hena, Marcia, Betsy, Rebecca, Susannah. Thanks to all the substitute teachers and volunteers for donating your time and effort. I apologize if I omitted anyone.

In closing, I would like to make a small personal comment regarding the closure of this school, it’s a shame that other adults, minorities as well as young people, won’t be able to benefit from a quality education. This just gives us a glimpse of where the priorities of our leaders are.

On this note congratulations to teachers and students for a job well done and good luck to all in the future.


Douglas Joel Guzman Cerna

Douglas Joel Guzman Cerna - 2013

Douglas Joel Guzman Cerna – 2013

First of all I would like to thank the creator of life, honored guests, fellow graduates, staff and friends. My name is Douglas Joel Guzman Cerna. I’m from Nicaragua and I’m 36 years old. I came to the U.S. when I was 15 years old. I went to school in North Carolina for about three years. Then, I quit school and I started working. I started meeting many people who encouraged me to stay in school but I never listened to them. I would like to thank all those people that have been in my life in so many different ways. Also I would like to thank the negative people too, because they encouraged me to prove them wrong.

I came to Adult Education with the hunger to learn more and to earn a high school diploma, what the inside of me had always wanted. I came to that point and made that decision, and now I did it, with my efforts and the good teachers I had.

My family has been all the people that I have met in my journey of this life. I have been learning from them, from the way they live their lives and the way they treat me. It has been awesome. Even the negative people have helped me because I done what they didn’t expect me to do.

My plans are that one day I will be an architect because I have been learning a lot about construction. As you know when you have the desire to do what you want, you do it; there’s nothing easy but you can do it. Nobody will do it for you. I hope one day that I will reach my goal to be an architect just like I have reached this goal of my high school diploma.

I would like to thank the District Board of Education and the St. Vrain Valley School District for providing the opportunity to earn my high school diploma. Thanks to all and God bless all of us.

 

Berthoud Day Parade 2013 Photos

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My wife Tammi was part of the team that manned the Happy Tails Dog Ranch and Sun Pony Ranch float in the Berthoud Day Parade on Saturday June 1, 2013. I don’t have details on all the floats so this is just my photos of them as I walked the parade staging area after photographing the Happy Tails Dog Ranch crew. LOTS of great entries! Not the least of these were the equestrians – LOTS of impressive horses, rigs and riders. The Back Country Horseback folks were particularly well-done I felt.

It was fun to see all the agricultural tools – turned out in high style, looking like new in most cases and amusingly aged when not. I refer to the Jeep tow truck. What a fun vehicle!

Anyway, there’s over a hundred images – they’re hosted at Flickr so you can go there and download the 6Mpx images. (Best my little D40 will do.) If you’d like to use any or all of these images, I’d appreciate a credit of “Photo by FreeRangeLongmont” but it’s not mandatory. Please feel free to use without attribution.

Berthoud’s a great town and has a ton of spirit, I hope folks enjoy these images as much as I did taking them. Berthoud Days will be on my schedule next year for sure.

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