M. Douglas Wray

Memorial Day 2012 – A three star family’s tribute

Three stars in our window

Three stars in our window

I was born in 1957 in San Diego, California. My father, George Wray had served in the Armed Forces as did numerous relatives. The Korean war had been over for four years, the Vietnam War was three years away. Eisenhower was President and America was catching her breath and leaning into the race to the future. John F. Kennedy was eyeing the White House.

My childhood memories start when I was four, that’s the earliest I can recall clearly. The town I grew up in, Apollo, was deep in rural Pennsylvania northeast of Pittsburgh; squarely in the middle of the Rust Belt. Allegheny Ludlum’s Vandergrift steel manufacturing plant was still running and nightly ‘slag dumps’ into the Kiskiminetas River were still popular evening entertainment. Cautionary tales by relatives in the steel industry made it clear that men were ‘consumables’ and only the vigiliant and the lucky survived unscathed. At age six I was quite familiar with amputation scars and missing limbs – most of the adults I knew had one or the other. Coal and cargo trains ran regularly and I walked railroad tracks virtually every time my friends and I went hiking. The sound, smell and feeling of huge trains rumbling or roaring by fill my memories of that time. When I saw the movie Stand by Me I could empathize closely with the boys as they crossed a railroad bridge. Memories of the smell and feel of wood, creosote and hot metal come back sharply.

My memories of childhood are also littered with the jingo and propaganda of the Cold War. We heard in school what monsters the Communists were and television brought images of nuclear bomb tests – horrifying that our enemies had such things. More horrifying was the fact that such things existed at all. I was a smart kid (or so my teachers kept telling me); I understood what “10,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit” meant. Hot as the surface of the sun, literally ‘hell on Earth.’ Even as a boy I realized no human being should wield such force and knew without a doubt that if we ever actually used them in earnest, we’d strip this beautiful world down to naked molten rock – a giant slag dump. So I grew up living in fear that one day the madmen ‘running the world’ would go wild and kill us all. I still remember the ‘duck and cover’ drills that I knew abundantly well meant absolutely nothing – there’s no escape from an atomic attack.

My brother in law David Hill served in the Vietnam war. I remember his visits when he finished basic training and before he left to go overseas. When he came home he dealt with PTSD (usually during thunderstorms) and the depression that accompanies it. He died recently of cancer induced by exposure to Agent Orange.

In recent years I lost my wife Marilyn to lymphoma as well as my parents to aneurism and heart failure. Things weren’t going well at all. Then I met my future wife and life started getting better again.

My fiance had four children and had lost her husband to a heart attack triggered by a congenital condition likely caused by prenatal prescription drugs whose effects on mothers and children were not yet known. So death-by-industry was a very personal experience for us both.

When we decided to live together, one of the items she brought with her was a Service Flag with three stars on it- one for each family member serving. It hangs in our front window, slightly lower than our American flag as per tradition. There is no question in our home about ‘honoring the troops’ – those ‘troops’ are our family members.

To all the families in Longmont, Colorado and the rest of the United States who have family serving in the Armed Forces, you have our tribute and our comradeship. When our government decides to send troops or bring them home, we feel as you do – grief or relief since it could mean the loss or rescue of our dearest hearts.

On this day I pay homage to all my family and friends that have served our Nation – as well as the millions of servicemembers and their families. We remember you every day but most especially today – when the United States stops briefly to bow its collective head and say a prayer for the lost and those in harm’s way.

God bless the service families today, we stand with you.

May they all come home soon and may we ‘study war no more.’

Romney visit in Ft. Lupton – Wed. May 9

Taking with both hands

We just received word that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is making a stop near Fort Lupton tomorrow morning (Wednesday). Romney will reportedly give a speech at an oil drilling facility northwest of town at 10AM.

It’s terribly short notice, but we need you to join us tomorrow morning to counter Romney’s visit.

K P Kauffman Company Inc.
10137 County Road 19, Fort Lupton
Click here for a Google map

For months, Romney and his right-wing allies have claimed that energy production in America is being “held back.” But it’s not true: domestic oil and gas production is actually at its highest level in years, and America even exported refined petroleum products last year.

Rather than calling for responsible development of our natural resources, Romney and his friends in the energy industry are pushing for an irresponsible rollback of environmental and health protections for citizens who live near energy production.

Don’t let Mitt Romney frack our future: join us tomorrow in Fort Lupton.

We’ll have “Romney in the Tank for Big Oil” signs for everyone, or bring your own! And above all, thank you for standing up at a moment’s notice for Colorado’s clean air and water.

Mile High Arrogance

This is what a ‘professional’ at Mile High Skydiving considers funny: sending a community activist* a large-format mailer (source has been verified**):

Large-format envelope, they paid extra for this middle finger.

containing a low-grade laserprinted color poster:

I don't find this admirable at all - it's crude and high-school childish.


and a crude, cheaply-made bumper sticker:

When will this one land on Airport Road?


Nothing says ‘little town’ more viciously than immature thugs with money and idle time.

The thing is, they seem to spend their time and money (but not much) doing ‘pranks’*** when they really need to be working more on their safety record:

I have to say, from a personal point of view, this information does not inspire respect in me.

In fact, something like this, in my opinion, has the aspect of an upraised middle finger.

Longmont, every time you hear that loud droning remember: you “love airplane noise.

Get used to more of it.

All the time.

Every day.

And night.

*  Who’s fighting a nuisance his business is creating. Oh, and the members of the organization – all homeowners.

** Mile High’s management gleefully admitted to doing it in an article in the Longmont Times-Call.

*** That I suspect nearly no one finds funny. It’s in the same class as soaping car windows and flaming bags of poop on doorsteps.

Call it what it is: Sedition

President Barack Obama

A recent letter to the Times-Call proves (again) that the ‘editor’ has no concept of what’s protected speech and what’s sedition. A common problem for right-wing ‘news’papers.

In ‘Criminal in the White House‘ Ron Klein of Berthoud states in regard to our President:

“He needs to be removed, prosecuted and punished under the law.”

Removed“? Really? How so?

I’ve noticed the chest-puffing blowhards always dance around this point, knowing full well the penalty that would occur if they came right out and voiced their secret desires.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Sedition:

Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority.

Typically, sedition is considered a subversive act

The difference between sedition and treason consists primarily in the subjective ultimate object of the violation to the public peace.

So the purpose of sedition is to incite discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority.

What it boils right down to is that the birthers, like angry un-potty-trained children, absolutely refuse to obey the law. Like an angry child in a poopy diaper they only manage to smear it everywhere and disgust everyone with the filth and stench.

To quote David Brown from his hate-rant, “No, there will never be “enough” and with that he neatly sums up the birther movement – “never enough” – these are partisans so dead-set on getting their way that they would tear down the country and use the bricks for weapons.

Contrary to Mr. Brown’s lies, “the left” is not trying to surpress free speech – if the right wants Obama impeached, go right ahead and prate for that all you like. That’s the legal method. What we’re sick of hearing are the barely-veiled calls for violence and insurrection with the calls for him to be “removed” – make no mistake, force is implied by the use of that word.

For the Times-Call to publish such violent anti-American jingo is dismaying at least and proves again that there is still a lingering cancer that has tendrils throughout the organization.

Longmont deserves better.

Heroes of the GOP

From AmericaBlog:

Aging former rock star, Ted Nugent, recently endorsed Mitt Romney for president.  Two weeks agoRomney’s son Tagg had this to say about Nugent’s endorsement.

Does Tagg Romney think it was cool and great when Ted Nugent called Barack Obama a “piece of sh*t,” and when he called Hillary Clinton a “b*tch”, during the 2008 campaign – while waving two machine guns in the air?  Here’s what Nugent said at the time (video):

“I was in Chicago last week.  I said, hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these, you punk [holds up two machine guns].  Obama, he’s a piece of sh*t, and I told him to suck on my machine gun.  Let’s hear for it.  I said Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless b*tch?

Nugent had more violent rhetoric about President Obama this week, after having endorsed Mitt Romney for President.  The Secret Service doesn’t appear amused.

Read the rest at AmericaBlog.

Charles "Russ" Russel Lyman - GOP HD 12 candidate

Charles "Russ" Russel Lyman - GOP HD 12 candidate

Wow. The campaign hasn’t even started and the wild-eyed gun rhetoric is on 11.

I suppose it’s to be expected – hard line GOP partisans know it will take a virtual miracle1 to get Romney elected and that has got to be pissing them off… badly.

They’ve had to listen to years of those DFHs bad-mouthing their ‘mission leader’ (Dubya) while a… a… (whisper) (censored) was in their White House. Even the oft-summoned spirit of Saint Ronnie the Tax-Fighter was no help, in fact he was an embarrassment to the Tea Party. The once-proud lockstepping Grand Old Party was splintering like cheap patio furniture in a hillbilly family brawl.

So it makes sense they’d turn to their (ahem) spiritual leaders… and if anyone’s consumed more spirits than ole’ Uncle Ted I don’t know who it is. One thing’s for sure though, Teddy Bare Nugent is a perfect symbol of today’s GOP electorate: clueless, hateful, crazy and armed to the teeth.

Something tells me we’re going to be seeing a lot more of folks like Teddy – on Fox ‘News,’ at rallies and GOP Assemblies… and on posters… and YouTube videos… etc, etc, etc.

Boulder County was truly lucky to see one of the very first emergences of ‘grass roots’ GOP heroes – the Colorado Statesman reported on just one such firebrand: Charles “Russ” Lyman. When I read the article I was shocked2 not to find a photograph of this charismatic powerhouse that “…brought the crowd to its feet…” so I made it my business to locate this beacon of GOP hope.

When he mounted the lectern3, suddenly I started to feel some of that magic – or it might just have been my breakfast burrito doing a rerun.

Good luck Mr. Lyman – the hopes and prayers of the Boulder County GOP clearly go with you. May the spirit of the Motor City Madman show you the way.

1. You know, like the golden plates… that were returned to an angel.

2. Shocked I tell you!!

3. It was perhaps that very turn of phrase that called forth the spirit of my burrito.

Boulder County GOP Packs It In

In a surprise move today the Boulder County GOP announced that it was “disbanding and ceasing operations” citing “people just aren’t buying it anymore.”

Read the rest at The Blue Line.

(originally post on 3/31, updated to 4/1 – FRL)

Civility vs Sincerity

Rush Limbaugh, de facto head of the GOP

With this guy as a spokesman, calls for 'civility' sound a teensy bit insincere.

It’s time for the GOP to wise up and realize that insincere apologies for brutal insults just don’t measure up.

‘Conservative’ media figures have had a long and storied career tossing around insults that would get the man-on-the-streeet a knuckle sandwich the moment they were uttered. What drives this? Why do they persist in this stupidity? Simple: their listeners are worse. Far, far worse. And the GOP tacitly endorses it by silence (or it is just lack of any moral courage?)(I’m guessing the latter). Some of the ‘humor‘ coming from far-right media is stomach-turning and blatantly racist not to mention misogynist. These once-owners of the ‘moral compass’ are clearly far off course and losing ground fast. The career demise of Glenn Beck clearly didn’t send a strong enough signal that the sane people in America had really had enough.

Just based on the stream of personal attacks aimed at local Progressives it’s pretty clear that Longmont’s ‘right’ simply doesn’t see their own hypocrisy either. Bonnie Finley’s campaign site calls for ‘civility’ while listing some of Longmont’s most persistent hate-spewing mouthpieces. These figures continue to etch away at the community with acidic attacks delivered most often from behind anonymous pseudonyms – with the eager and obvious assistance of the Times-Call as well as local AM radio low-end internet ‘radio.’ One has to wonder at their obdurate refusal to realize that their tactics aren’t ‘winning’, much like Charlie Sheen when deep in debauchery. Well, it did get them a majority on council but at the cost of a deeply-divided electorate now roused and demanding answers about the current fracking mess – which Witt, Sammory and Finley are apparently loath to deliver.

The right in Longmont also has a long and storied history of under-the-table collaboration and coordination – at least it sure seems that way to some folks. The way LongmontReport.com popped into existence and began personal attacks on Kaye Fissinger and myself – literally the day after an article linking Gabe Santos to Tom Delay was to many a clear indication of a well-oiled and well-connected hate machine. Combined with an e-mail leaked by horrified staffers wherein Santos himself declared ‘Let the attacks begin‘ and followed by his campaign manager telling people to ‘do the things they had agreed to do’ (but carefully avoided describing, as you would with any illegal/unethical behavior you didn’t dare expose) should be enough to demand answers. The appearance of a new anonymous (don’t they ever learn?) attack site was as predictable as another Rush ‘joke’. The fact that the site has gone largely silent during tax season surely seems indicative that the owner is busy just then. Significant glance at Gabe Santos.

A multi-year smear campaign on two council members, coordinated I believe by the now-ex-mayor and his wife, was successful in shifting the majority of council to the right – unfortunately at the cost of his seat (and a considerable bruise thereupon). And funny… but that very year the oil companies descend on Longmont and council has to be all-but-bludgeoned to hold them off. Sammory and Witt have opposed any slowdown of the fracking efforts – but can’t offer any good reasons why. Their constituents are encouraged to ask them that question and demand accountability – just as their invisibly-leashed attack dogs constantly yip for it on far less vital topics (but are now avidly lapping up the pro-fracking propaganda).

So it really comes to down to what’s needed – civility or sincerity. Can we count on our conservative councilmembers to be honest about their ties to the oil and gas industry? Or must we find the connections and expose them? Here’s a big chance for our new conservative majority to do the right thing or, like Limbaugh, find themselves headed for the ash heap of history.


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Untenable positions

Coombs made it clear it's NOT the city's position - Katie Witt has not.

I’ve been following this Coombs marriage equality hullabaloo since the Greeley Tribune broke the story several weeks ago (nice catch Times Call…). And, I’ve been fascinated by the arguments made by those who say he overstepped his bounds.

They act as armchair lawyers in order to hide their own prejudices. Most of those who make an argument against Coombs signing the list say that he was in violation of City Council Rule of Procedure 23. A rule which reads,

“No member of Council, employee of the City, or Council appointee shall state a position or policy of the City until said position or policy has been adopted by affirmation or resolution of Council. No restraint on individual expression is hereby intended, so long as the narrator clearly indicates that the position expressed is his or her individual opinion and not the position or policy of the City.”

Now, do me a favor. Read that again, starting where it says

“No restraint on individual expression is hereby intended.”

Go ahead…read it.

It says that as long as the member of council clearly states that the position he or she is expressing is their own position, not that of the council or the city, then it’s fine.

In Scott Rochat’s article that introduced the story to Longmont (and unleashed Rodriguez and the rest of the Baum Squad’s attack dogs) Coombs says, “This isn’t the council’s position or the city’s position.”  I don’t know how much more clearly he could have stated it. Those who say Coombs “stepped over the line” are out to push their own prejudice agenda, simple as that. They’ve seen the second half of City Council rule 23, and they choose to ignore it.

If that’s not the case, and I’m way off base here, then why haven’t they come out against Councilmember Katie Witt?

Since last year Councilmember Witt has gone around flaunting her support of Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. She’s taken an official position on the 2012 Presidential Election. However, not once have I ever heard her say, “This isn’t the council’s position or the city’s position” like Coombs did. So, are we as citizens of Longmont supposed to believe that, pursuant to City Council Rule of Procedure 23, the City Council has endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential Election? I sure as hell hope not.

Councilmember Witt is in clear violation of rule 23. One starts to wonder just why these same folks who are supposedly, “standing up for the rules” have been silent in regards to Councilmember Witt. Oh, that’s right. They voted for her. If they really do want to stand up for the rules, then it’s time for the Baum Squad to stop the hypocrisy, and call out Katie Witt.

Little Thompson Observatory welcomes 50,000th visitor

The 18-inch Tinsley Classical Cassegrain

On Wednesday 25 January 2012 at 7:00pm the Little Thompson Observatory (LTO) in Berthoud welcomed its 50,000th visitor since opening its doors in June 1999.

The LTO is a non-profit all-volunteer observatory that is open to the general public any night of the year by appointment and on every third Friday of each month for a Public Star Night. For more information, please go to the website www.starkids.org.

The group attending the celebration was Scout Troop 787 under the leadership of Jared Meier from Loveland, with about 15 scouts and 3 or 4 parents/leaders.

The LTO awarded the scout troop a plaque commemorating this event.


[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157629093526815″]

Editor’s note: I volunteered to rebuild the Little Thompson Observatory website in 2008. The more I worked with the group of volunteers that had built and now run the observatory the more impressed I became. I had just gotten the site fully operational and handed off when my wife Marilyn was diagnosed with cancer. The team picked up the slack and ran the site with no assist whatsoever for several months until I was able to return to duty as volunteer webmaster.

I’m deeply honored to be part of the team that operates this observatory. If you ever want to see your tax dollars at work and rugged individualists doing good work with their own time and money, come visit the LTO. The telescopes are provided by the Telescopes in Education program and the control software is donated by Software Bisque. Everything else is community donations and volunteer manpower. This facility is a real gem. —MDW

City Council 1-10-2012

This is the meeting wherein this occurred:

Councilwoman Finley : limit public's time to thirty minutes

Councilwoman Finley : limit public's time to thirty minutes

Council Member Finley moved, seconded by Santos, to direct staff to change the Council agenda to have a 30 minute time limit at the first Public Invited to Be Heard.

Council discussed this topic at length.

Council Member Bagley moved, seconded by Coombs, to table the motion until an unspecified time. Vote was taken the motion to table and it carried: 4-3 (Finley, Levison, and Santos dissenting).

— City Council Proceedings, January 10, 2012 (PDF)

Let me jog your memory about the last time this happened:

Having to listen is ridiculous” —Bryan Baum 2010

Mayor Baum “brought it up for discussion” that he wants to limit the entire Pubic Invited to be Heard (PITBH) to only 30 minutes after which each council member would have three minutes “to dispel public untruths”.  If he doesn’t get agreement for this arrangement, he plans to move PITBH to the END of the evening.  He claims that the “business of the city and council is more important” than listening to the public’s concerns, their love for their community and their passion for government in the interest of ALL of the citizens of Longmont.  He thinks “it is ridiculous to have to listen for an hour and a half.”

Look at their expressions. Do they look like they care about what citizens think? The ex-mayor is already crowing about his connections benefitting his business. Isn’t that exactly what they accuse their opponents of doing?

Could this concept now be quietly buried under a nice little memorial and never brought up again? Unless of course the perpetrators are ready for an equal and opposite reaction.

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State Senator Neville (R-Littleton) revives ‘Constitutional Carry’ bill

2nd Amendment + idiots = civil war

Photo courtesy of Geekolgie.com

The last time the NRA and pals tried to sneak this through it got soundly defeated. But never let it be said that Colorado’s gun enthusiasts give up easily.

Colorado State Senator Tim Neville, R-Littleton (email) has snatched up the fallen flag of ‘Constitutional Carry‘ and decided to run with it. Clearly he’s courting NRA members (and don’t forget that tasty, tasty money!) for his eventual reelection bid.

I suspect the bill will look a lot like the last one (previous House Bill 11-1205 – the new one is SB-25) – it’s passed the Colorado House and is currently in the state Senate.

Gun rights organizations are pimping the daylights out of it and urging their members to ‘turn up the heat’ on state Senators.

Here’s some background info on Constitutional Carry and an editorial at the DenverPost.

Here’s something that should alarm even the most politics-resistant person: the folks supporting this endorse (and heartily so) arming blind people. Oh, what a great concept that is. “Firing blindly” takes on a whole new (and horrifying!) meaning.

No. NO. NO! Call your state Senator and say no to this insanity again: Directory by District.

Erie Rising

There’s a new blog in Erie – here’s their latest post:

Welcome to the website dedicated to Erie, Colorado families and our concerns regarding the natural gas drilling and fracking in our community.  

On this site, we will post articles, news links, comments, concerns, and responses with the intent of enabling and empowering Erie residents with knowledge and understanding of the serious issues and development in our community.

As a community we are simply asking 3 questions:

How does Hydraulic Fracturing (aka “fracking”) affect our health?
How does Hydraulic Fracturing  affect our children and environment?
How will Hydraulic Fracturing affect our property value?

We are not experts on the issue; we are fellow concerned parents and residents who are in the process of becoming knowledgeable about natural gas development in our area.  We do not hold all of the answers, but we will post the information we receive and share it with you so that you too are enabled to make your own conclusions about the issues at hand.

If you have an article you would like to share, please email it to us erierising@gmail.com and we will post it for you! We will do our best to post information from all sides as we know this is a very volatile issue.

Please join us to protect our community and our children!

When Longmont went dirty

Ms Baum, you brought dirty politics to Longmont. I received in the mail dirty political attack campaign mailers from the Steve Monger of the Longmont Leadership aka Western Tradition partnership and from you Ms. Baum. You go after citizens who don’t agree with you. It’s not right what you do. It’s shameful what you do.
— blog post by “Onion” on the article BoCo Dems get first look at HD 11 contenders – Times-Call.com

Some people can lose an election and move on (no pun intended).  Some people can’t.  One has to wonder who in the dangerous duo from November’s election is having the most difficulty, ex-mayor Bryan Baum or the ex “First Lady”.  It’s a toss-up.

Bryan seems to have great difficulty letting go.  Would you be surprised to know that he’s still doing the “Monday with the Mayor” radio broadcast, but under a nominally different banner?  Oh, yes, not making that one up.  News flash, “has-been-mayor” Baum, your term is over.  And in spite of a retained conservative majority, at least you cannot continue to damage Longmont.  No matter how much you stroke yourself, you did cause much damage.  It was delineated in the Moving Longmont Forward mailer.  Could it be that you actually do not recognize the harm you’ve caused?  Naw, not likely.  That you have to protest so often and so publicly suggests that even you worry about having been exposed.  Don’t worry.  Those who agree with you won’t hold your skullduggery against you; they applaud it.

As to Bryan Baum’s other half…  I know the usual expression is “better half” …but it this case there is no “better.”  Stephanie seems to have as much difficulty with truth as her husband does.  She led the way in 2008 with the notorious “pink letter” (reproduced below).

A recent Times-Call article gave her the opportunity to get back in the game.  Likely she chafed at having to keep her mouth shut for two years lest she damage her husband’s re-election chances.  She needn’t have worried.  Baum did that quite well all by himself.   First out of the gate, in the article about the first forum for Democratic HD 11 contenders, Stephanie Baum demands that no one support Jonathan Singer in his House District 11 race because he supported Moving Longmont Forward.  Another news flash, this one for the ex-First Lady., Mr. Singer does not endorse lies and that is why he was able to support the mailer exposing your husband’s record and behavior.  Mr. Singer has personal experience with your husband’s bullying.  He chose not to expose him, a kindness that others would not have been so inclined to offer.  Had the contents of that telephone conversation been revealed to the public, your husband would have lost by a landslide.

In Stephanie Baum’s tit-for-tat on the Times-Call website, back and forth, she effectively dared “Onion” to produce a copy of the “pink letter” and demonstrate the attacks that were leveled.  Free Range Longmont is happy to oblige on their behalf.

The irony of all of the protestations by the Baums is their selective memories not only of the launching of negative campaigning in the 2008 campaign, but ready acceptance of the most vile of political campaigning that Longmont has ever experienced, namely the “The Longmont Leader.”

For those who may have preferred to forget, this was a newspaper-style**, 11” x 17” 8-pager that spent most of its ink in inarguable attack.  Ink, by the way, that was paid for by Western Tradition Partnership, an organization that never was, never will be a local voice (except perhaps to hide contributions by those who do not have the courage to display their agenda publicly).

I am not so naïve as to believe that this will be the last word on political lies and political attacks.  Pandora’s Box was opened by Gabe Santos and Stephanie Baum was more than happy to wield an ax.  In the process, they changed Longmont’s politics for the indefinite future and invited the the likes of Scott Shires (responsible for the first attack piece in the 2008 election and connected to political hit sites) and Western (now American) Tradition Partnership.  I’m certain Longmont hasn’t heard the last of them – they have a lot of money and an agenda.

Transcription of the “Pink Letter” sent to Longmont voters during the 2008 Special Election. Underlining is preserved from original. Color-highlighted text is FRL emphasis. Spelling errors in the original have been marked ‘sic’ to indicate they have been left unchanged.

Stephanie Baum

January 18, 2008

Dear Friend,

I am writing you today as a mother and a neighbor – please forgive me for my informality – as I have never felt called to send a letter like this.

Normally, I am satisfied to take my son to karate practice, plan play dates with other moms and their kids, and spend my free time keeping up with friends through email.

But I have become gravely concerned about our community of Longmont and the sudden change in direction it has taken.

I have lived in Longmont for nine years and have come to love this community and have developed many deep friendships here. Longmont has grown precisely because it is a beautiful, safe place with strong values, where a family can thrive.

That’s why I care deeply about the kind of leadership my son and daughter, Chase and Brooklynn, and I see in Longmont and across our great state of Colorado.

The future of Longmont is important enough that I wanted to personally write to you about Gabe Santos, who is the common-sense Republican running to bring balance back to Longmont City Council.

I first met Gabe over 7 years ago, at a welcome reception in the home of his in-laws, Van and Diane Stow, whom I’ve known for years.

When I met Gabe, I remember thinking “oh great, another Big City guy moving to our little town,” but as soon as I spoke to him I realized he was anything but a “Big City guy.” His engaging personality is obviously one of the many reasons why his wife Vicki fell in love with him.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re recently seen an organized assault on Longmont by a radical element attempting to distort Gabe’s record and hide their harmful agenda, in an effort to take over city council.

I have believed for some time that this sort of negative campaigning is degrading the way we act and feel towards each other.

In response to the distasteful broadsides being directed at my friend Gabe and at some people of faith in our community, I have some nice – and true – things to say.

I know Gabe Santos is a good and decent man. He has spent his entire adult life serving others.

My husband coordinates the Salvation Army bell-ringing for the Longmont Rotary Club, and Gabe rang the bell more than any other Rotarian this year. Gabe and Vicki chaired Longmont’s Relay for Life, taking over for us in that capacity.

My husband Bryan and I have been very active with local non-profits here in Longmont, and Gabe and Vicki have the same passion that we do in those endeavors. Gabe so often puts the needs of others before his own.

He has served his family by providing for them and being a “hands on” dad with his involvement and support – we can’t go to Art Walk, the Halloween Parade, the Festival on Main, Oktoberfest or any other of a number of community events without running into Gabe, Vicki and their daughter Sylvia.

He worked with city government through Focus on Longmont to ensure our community is a great place to live both now and in the future, and Gabe helps meet the needs of others by volunteering with the Longmont Ending Violence White Ribbon Campaign and working with the Education Summit to improve our childrens school experience.

When Gabe told my husband and I that he was going to run for City Council, we knew right away that Gabe’s integrity and wisdom would make him a great city representative.

That feeling hasn’t changed.

As far as his leadership, I would definately(sic) feel safer with Gabe’s kind of policy on public safety, reasonable growth, restraining taxes and spending, and respecting citizens’ private lives than someone who would choose to divide the city further.

And unlike his opponent, Gabe doesn’t plan to spend his entire life on the government payroll – he knows what a challenge life is for families and businesses, which is why today he’s working as an accountant and studying to become a CPA.

Now, honestly, I wasn’t sure what his opponent stood for, because he seems to change or obscure his views on some of the most important issues our city faces today.

In fact, his opponent, Richard Juday has even gone so far as to delete at least four pages from his website – pages that contain very troubling comments about being “more like Boulder;” attacking the beliefs of people of faith; and the most significant one…his promise not to take campaign contributions.

That’s why, when I looked online at the City Clerk’s campaign finance report, I tell you, I was in for a surprise!

The first that jumped out at them was the number of radical left-wing Democrat activists who were supporting Mr. Juday. Many of the same donors are on record supporting cadidates who push a tax-and-spend, anti-family agenda.

Forgive me, but those groups and individuals – which include many of the same Boulder radicals who recently ran a smear campaign against our neighbors at LifeBridge church – do not share my vision for a strong future for Longmont families.

I looked for names of people whom would show some balance, but truthfully, Juday seems only to be supported by the Boulder County Democrat(sic *) Party, MoveOn.org types (whom I’ve never seen active in our community), and out-of-state donors.

Now, I know it takes money to buy yard signs and run a campaign, but when I saw the list of “zero-growth” Boulder Democrats backing Mr. Juday, I decided to look up his vision for the future, and it’s apparent from his own campaign materials he wants to turn Longmont into “Boulder-lite.”

I know Boulder – I grew up there, and my parents still live there. Businesses and families are fleeing “the People’s Republic of Boulder” because of it’s city government’s radical anti-growth policies and dangerous social engineering projects and experiments.

Longmont’s realtors and small businesses are obviously very concerned – because the last thing our local economy needs is repressive taxation and regulation on our housing. That’s why the Longmont Association of Realtors endorsed Gabe Santos.

Now I, like everyone, want to enjoy our surrounding and be a good steward of our environment – but I also know that Longmont’s long-held policies of smart and well-planned growth are the biggest reason our taxes have not skyrocketed like we’ve seen in Boulder.

That’s why I also agree with Gabe about cutting waste in City government to maintain our open space, in a way that doesn’t increase the tax burden on middle class families.

His opponent believes tax increases are the way to go, and several of Richard Juday’s tax-and-spend city council members have already voted to reverse existing, sensible cost-cutting measures in the interest of buying support from government bureaucrats.

Gabe’s belief in fiscal restraint will translate into stronger parks, library, and recreation for all our children over the long term – without creating a heavy-handed bureaucracy that micromanages our every move.

That’s how I know that Gabe is definately(sic) against Mr. Juday’s proposed scheme to institute an “inner-governmental agreement” to “track individual shoppers by their license plate numbers,” while we are inside browsing supermarket aisles.

I know that’s hard to believe – that’s why I posted his deleted pages on my blog, www.takebacklongmont.blogspot.com (and yes, those are my cute kids in the blog’s photo!!)

So, it’s now clear to me why Gabe’s opponent has done everything to hide his own views – candidates with such Big Brother schemes have to cloak themselves – because they don’t stand for anything I believe most Longmont families would agree with.

So it turns out the Boulder radicals are actually the ones propping up Gabe’s opponent.

Our community has several important issue facing us, including public safety and gangs, infrastructure, and responsible growth. I am gravely concerned about the kind of future a city councilman like Richard Juday would give us.

In the end, it comes down to money – lots of it given to Juday from outside our district, and the rest from partisan operatives willing to deceive voters in their attempt to turn Longmont into another “Boulder-utopia.”

I am asking you to find your mail-in ballot, and cast your vote for a family-friendly vision for Longmont’s future that I hope you and I share.

With the underhanded campaign against our community and on Gabe Santos – a truly good man – coming from Richard Juday’s campaign and the radical special interests that support him – I’m not sure I can stomach his vision for Colorado’s future.

So, in the end, I just thought I’d let you know what’s been on my mind.

If you’d like to talk, please give me a call at 303-946-9507.


(signed) Stephanie Baum

P.S. It has been a blessing to know Gabe Santos and to work with him in our community.

I guarantee, if you will cast your vote for Gabe on the mail-in ballot you recently received, you will love him as a city councilman, as much as his family and those in Longmont already do!

Please remember to vote for Gabe Santos before January 29th.

Scans of original mailer pages used for transcription.

Stephanie Baum

Councilman Gabe Santos

* It’s not the ‘Democrat’ Party of Boulder County, it’s ‘Democratic’ – this is a common and oft-repeated extremist-right slur/purposeful ‘mistake’/hyper-partisan rhetoric.

** Gee… golly… it looked so real. I believe on purpose. Some people believe anything “the newspaper” tells them.