Shari Malloy

Vote for the Candidate That Reflects Your Values

City Council races are non-partisan.  Josh Goldberg and Tim Waters are registered Democrats. Russ Lyman is a registered Libertarian.  Of the three candidates for Ward 1, the only one who repeatedly  references partisan politics is Josh. In their Letters to the Editor, his supporters do also.  At the Longmont Democrats candidate forum in early January, Josh said “I’m a Democrat. I wake up a Democrat and go to bed a Democrat. “ Yet at the League of Women Voters and Sustainability forums this week, Josh opened with, “I am not tied to a political party.”  Tim has never made any reference to party affiliation. Russ did not attend either forum.

Much more important than party affiliation are integrity, experience, core values, and vision.  A registered Democrat, I volunteered for Roger Lange, a life-long republican, last fall, because he impressed me in these areas.  I support Tim Waters for the same reason.  This race appears to be between Tim and Josh. Distinctions between these two relative to their expressed values and vision include the following:

~Affordable Housing: Tim supports reinstating Longmont’s Inclusionary Housing Clause (requiring Developers to provide at least 10% affordable housing or pay cash in lieu).  Josh does not.

~Wildlife:  Tim supports fiercely defending our 150-foot riparian setback from encroaching and damaging development along our St. Vrain Greenway.  Josh does not.  Indeed, his employer, Lefthand Brewery has purchased property adjacent to their facility and has been actively lobbying city council and boards with their plans to build an amphitheater well within the 150-foot setback.

~Growth: Tim supports reinstating Quality of Life Benchmarks (including traffic) and advancing green building codes/standards for smart and sustainable growth.  Josh’s references to managing growth have been very vague at best.

~Campaign Contributions: Tim’s campaign has been funded completely by people.  The only organization that has contributed is the Sierra Club ,who has endorsed him. Developers, Lenders, Realtors, Investment Companies and a Law Firm have largely funded Josh’s campaign.  Business can contribute up to $610 compared to the $240 limit on individual contributions.

A link to videos of these forums is posted on Tim’s website timwatersforward1.com. Please educate yourself, use your voice and vote.  It matters.

Follow the Money: Bonnie Finley = Developers

Developer funded and owned.

Developer funded and owned.

Longmont residents are fortunate that all city council candidates must report contributions at certain stages before Election Day. Some critical info came from the first reports candidates filed last week. We have eight candidates for three seats this election. Three candidates are incumbents. All have received the majority of their funding from the land development/real estate industry. A fourth new candidate has also received this same package of construction funding. We’re talking thousands of dollars…Four candidates have not received nor accepted this special interest money – these candidates are Joan Peck, Paul Rennix, Sarah Levison, and Ron Gallegos.

I’m speaking about publicly tonight because it’s important and the good people of Longmont need to know from where council candidates are getting their contributions. Very sadly, money in politics translates to influence. These developers, builders and realtors give candidates money because they want to have influence on their decisions regarding the future of our city. As constituents, we are curious about how beholden these candidates, if elected, might be to these special interests when making decisions regarding land use, development, affordable housing, the St. Vrain corridor etc.? One has to wonder what these special interests expect in return for their very large “donations”?

Do they hope it will assert influence in tonight’s discussion about Affordable Housing? For instance, the Construction Defects Law that Councilwoman Finley keeps bringing up. This state law helps to protect people whose homes and finances are hurt by poorly done construction. Like other professions, builders need to be held accountable for their work and homeowners should have some recourse when that work is poorly done. Ms. Finley’s repeated accusation regarding its negative impacts on new development ultimately aims to benefit developers at the expense of regular people. Her suspicions are unfounded and a waste of staff time to “investigate” as we can all see there is a building bonanza happening.

Similarly, we have the City’s old inclusionary zoning clause that the 2011 City Council nixed. This clause mandated developer’s make10% of new housing designated affordable housing or provide cash in lieu. Why hasn’t this council reinstated this? While Inclusionary zoning is not the whole solution, certainly it would help and be a step in the right direction—that direction being serving people & not just lining the pockets of the land development/real estate industry.

This council has been wringing your hands for far too long regarding affordable housing. People are hurting while the profiteers can’t count their money fast enough. Now we see big money being poured into certain candidates for city council. What are we to think? It certainly helps inform me, as I get ready to cast my votes for Ward 3, at large and Mayor.

Lost Teaching Moment

bad_idea_sign_crossbonesAs a recently retired teacher of 33 years, I am disappointed to observe how Twin Peaks Charter Academy handled the teaching moment Evan Young’s graduation speech presented. When they could have taught tolerance and freedom of speech/expression, instead they taught intolerance and suppression of free speech.

Evan Young is a shy, witty and very intelligent young man. He happens to be gay and wanted to weave this fact into his valedictory graduation address where he spoke about the importance of respecting others — whether or not you agree with them. It’s ironic Evan was not given the very respect his speech was about.

Outing Evan to his father was wholly inappropriate. Informing Evan minutes before the ceremony began that he would not be allowed to speak added insult to injury. Not acknowledging Evan as valedictorian was punitive. Throwing him under the bus in their public statement was a cheap shot. Four missed opportunities to afford Evan, a 4.5 GPA student with a scholarship to Rutgers, basic respect and dignity. Evan deserves better, and so do taxpayers.

Because Twin Peaks Charter receives public monies to operate, the SVVSD superintendent and school board have an obligation to pursue this matter. While charter schools are exempt from direct oversight by the school district, this does not mean they get a waiver to discriminate. At the very least, Twin Peaks Charter Academy owes Evan and his parents a formal apology. They also need to provide assurances to taxpayers that measures are being taken to ensure they will not discriminate in the future.

If Twin Peaks is not able to meet these reasonable criteria, their charter should be revoked. Hopefully, Twin Peaks will take this opportunity to rectify their lost teaching moment into a lesson involving self-reflection, reconciliation and improvement.

Singer a Thoughtful and Dedicated Public Servant

Photo by Doug Wray - Free to use if attributed 'Photo by FreeRangeLongmont.com'

Jonathan Singer – HD11 Representative

Colorado Representative Jonathan Singer, servicing most of Longmont, is a passionate public servant who has spent his life fighting on behalf of the under privileged and the underserved. As a social worker, he fought to get children out of abusive homes. In the State House, Representative Singer has enlarged his commitment to all of Colorado’s kids and working families by toiling to streamline and enlarge child welfare services, to support job growth, to implement fairer labor practices, and to fight for first responders suffering from PTSD. Defending the rights of every single Coloradan, Representative Singer, proudly supported Colorado ASSET and Civil Unions. A member of the House Appropriation Committee, Representative Singer believes in smart, fiscally responsible government.

Representative Singer cares and takes the time to listen to all of his constituents. If you’ve had the chance to meet and talk to him, then you know this is true. Representing Longmont, Lyons and Allens Park, Representative Singer’s flood relief bill was the first bill introduced in the Colorado House this session.

We are certainly most fortunate to have such a thoughtful and dedicated public servant representing us at the Capital.

2013 Colorado Legislature: on the right track with successes

Colorado Capitol dome. Photo by Charles Hanson.

Colorado Capitol dome. Photo by Charles Hanson.

While our national political leaders continue to be embroiled in gridlock at virtually every turn, our state legislators accomplished a great deal this past session. Although the bulk of the political media coverage has been on fringe issues (guns and rural Colorado), lawmakers were focused on jobs, schools, child welfare, voter and civil rights, immigration and the environment. Colorado is a better place to live, learn, love, work and raise children because of the 2013 legislative session.

Here are just 10 of dozens of good bills Democratic majorities in both houses achieved in 120 days:

  1. The ASSET Bill. Colorado’s undocumented students who graduate from high schools will now pay the same in-state college tuition rate as their peers. People with college degrees break the poverty cycle, help strengthen our economy, vote, contribute more to the tax base and are less likely to be in the corrections system.
  2. Making voting easier by sending all voters mail-in ballots. This bill will save counties $4.9 million over the next two years by making elections more efficient.
  3. Legalized civil unions, allowing thousands of committed same-sex couples to have critical legal protections and responsibilities. By recognizing civil unions, Colorado will see its revenue grow by nearly $5 million over the next three years.
  4. Increased tax credits to struggling families to help with medical and child care expenses. The benefits of this bill are self-explanatory.
  5. Limiting high-capacity magazines from 30 to 15 rounds and requiring universal background checks for gun sales. Legally purchased high-capacity magazines were used in both the Aurora Theater and Newtown school shootings. Universal background checks will make every Colorado resident safer.
  6. Reforming the way Colorado contracts business. In 2010-2011 alone, Colorado signed contracts with out-of-state vendors in the amount of $794 million. This bill brings our tax dollars back to our state while focusing on wages and benefits for workers as important considerations.
  7. The Colorado Clean Renewable Energy Bill will create good-paying jobs in rural areas while providing new sources of clean wind and solar energy.
  8. Allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s training and licenses. This law makes Colorado fairer and safer. It reduces our insurance rates because of fewer uninsured motorists and also saves public resources in court time for driving without a license or insurance.
  9. Creating sex ed programs in the schools that are medically accurate and provide age-appropriate information on birth control, abstinence, healthy relationships and disease prevention. This bill will reduce teen child bearing in Colorado, which costs taxpayers and society dearly.
  10. Colorado’s 16- and 17-year-olds can now preregister to vote when getting their driver’s licenses. This good-for-democracy bill will increase civic responsibilities/participation, reduce voter registration errors and save on form processing.

Good things are happening in Colorado thanks to our state legislators. In and around Longmont, this includes Reps. Jonathan Singer and Mike Foote and Sens. Matt Jones and Rollie Heath. We elect people to lead and get stuff done. Our current slate of Colorado legislators is doing just that.

Rep. Cory Gardner’s anti-environment record

In three months in office, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner has quickly positioned himself as one of the most anti-environmental members of U.S. Congress. Ignoring poll results indicating his constituents want Congress to protect the environment, Rep. Gardner keeps voting against clean air, clean water and public health protections.

Rep. Gardner voted to block the EPA’s ability to protect Americans from climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions (HR 203).

Rep. Gardner introduced a bill to fast-track oil drilling off the shores of Alaska and undercut the EPA’s ability to keep Alaska’s air clean.

Rep. Gardner voted for HR 1, a massive budget bill containing 19 amendments and riders gutting protections for clean air, clean water, wild lands and wildlife.

Longmont and all Colorado residents deserve better. Please urge Rep. Cory Gardner to stop voting against clean air, water and public health protections. Our economic recovery depends on protecting our environment and health.

Clear Choice for CU Regent

Colorado voters must elect Melissa Hart to the CU Board of Regents. Serving six-year terms, those elected will steer CU through the most significant financial crisis it has faced in a long time. What kind of university will we have in six years? Will CU be so elitist it serves only a small segment of the population? Will it become largely privatized? The values and commitments held by Board members help shape the principles that guide CU.  At-large candidate, Professor Melissa Hart, teaches in CU’s Law School and is a generation younger than her opponent and former banker, Steve Bosley, a 1968 graduate.  We deserve strong, experienced advocates for public education to serve on the Board.  Hart will fight for affordable and accessible education and insure CU’s continued role as an economic driver for Colorado.

The choice is clear.

Shari Malloy

Insuring Unity and Improved Governance

There are two steps Michael Bennet could take to insure Democratic Party unity in Colorado after the divisive primary campaign. First, he could relieve some of Andrew Romanoff’s campaign debt (similar to what President Obama did with Hilary Clinton’s campaign debt). Second, he could commit to working hard for the swift passage of The Fair Elections Now Act (FENA), which would allow federal candidates to run for office with fair election funding, not having to rely on corrupting large money contributions from special interests. The Aug. 9 issue of The New Yorker Magazine has an article entitled “The Empty Chamber” showing that US senators spend 50% of their time fundraising, when they should be spending that time representing the interests of their constituents. Senator Bennet, who only recently became a co-sponsor of this legislation, needs to go farther, and become a champion of it.

Shari Malloy
Longmont CO  80501

Clean up Colorado Elections

6269.61Volunteers are collecting signatures to get publicly financed elections for Colorado state offices.  Ballot Initiative #53 gets Big $$ out of politics, and restores democracy and voter confidence. If passed, candidates for the Colorado legislature and statewide offices will have the option of accepting public funds for their campaigns.  In exchange candidates agree not to use or accept private, corporate or special interest money. This measure will change the way government works in Colorado!

Candidates who voluntarily chose public funding can focus on issues.  When elected, these public servants will be free to represent everyone—not just the special interests that funded them. Anyone can consider running for office if it’s not all about the money chase.  Initiative #53 is truly a game changer.

More volunteers are needed to collect signatures to meet the July  deadline. This effort will dramatically increase democracy in our state. To find out how to get involved, go to www.cleancampaignscolorado.com.

Thank you Ms. Markey

Sunday, Congress passed the most important reform to America’s health care system since Medicare in the 1960s. After years of fierce debate, 14 months of intense GOP misinformation and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in opposition by industry lobbyists, health care is finally coming to all Americans —and peace of mind to millions more about the health care they already receive.

The health reform bill President Obama signed into law is not perfect, but it does reign in the worst excesses and abuses by greedy insurance companies.

While several of these reforms will take time being fully implemented, many major benefits take effect immediately.  Three of the 18 immediate provisions include; no denying coverage to children with pre-existing medical conditions, eliminating annual and lifetime limits on coverage, and new tax credits for small businesses offering health insurance to employees.  This landmark bill also immediately requires 80% of premium payments go to actual medical costs, not desk jobs, executive bonuses and additional profits.  Premiums can only go up if medical costs go up.

My 88-year-old father, who has great health care coverage thanks to Medicare and VA benefits, tearfully told me he’s grateful he’s lived to see Health Insurance Reform legislation pass.  I’m grateful also.

Thanks to all the brave representatives who recognized the critical need for reform by voting to support this historic bill.  Specific thanks to Congresswoman Betsy Markey, for voting her conscience, putting people before politics and insurance industry profits. This courage is truly what makes our country great.

Split Estate – Friday 6:30pm – Firehouse 5

Courtesy of “Split Estate”, Red Rock Pictures

http://www.splitestate.com/

Split Estate will screen this Friday, February 12th, at 6:30 P.M. in the Community Room of Longmont Firehouse #5 at Airport and Nelson Roads.

Director Debra Anderson will be present to answer audience questions following the screening.

Split Estate is a compelling documentary that maps a tragedy in the making, as citizen in the path of the new drilling boom in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West struggle against the erosion of their civil liberties, their communities and their health.

Close to home, hydraulic fracturing, or fracing as it is frequently known, is occurring on farmland east of Union Reservoir and Longmont .

“Split Estate is a moving portrait that highlights important questions regarding the safety of hydraulic fracturing near our local communities.”

U.S. Representative Diana DeGette, Colorado

Gang of four Council partisan lock step voting

Note: It was this address by a citizen that caused the mayor to make a very snide remark. Watch that video here.

I’m seeing a very concerning pattern from the new majority consistently voting in partisan lock step.  This includes the mayor, Councilwoman Witt, and Councilmen Santos & Sammoury.

Specifically, in the 2 months since you’ve been elected the four of you have:

  1. Chosen petty partisanship in Board assignments.  By removing Councwoman Levison as representative of Planning & Zoning and voting 4-3 to seat Councilman Santos having less credentials and not even expressing a desire for this seat on the list of preferred boards you had each provided.
  2. You 4  denied the Board of Environmental Affairs the same stature as other City Citizen Boards for no apparent reason.
  3. You 4 voted against endorsing the Da Vinci project – an innovative & creative contest encouraging the building of green homes. The endorsement would cost Longmont nothing in time or money but held the potential of shining a very positive light on Longmont by promoting a growing industry.  Again, petty partisanship prevented this worthwhile gesture.
  4. The 4 of you voted to empower Wal-Mart to renig on their promise to build a Sam’s Club rather than another Super Wal-Mart.
  5. The 4 of you voted against using federal stimulus money to continue the Solar rebate program – the kind of program that, again, puts Longmont on the map for innovation and smart energy-saving partnerships that spur private sector job creation. Adding insult to injury, the mayor growled at a citizen who challenged this decision at last week’s open forum.

Finally, 3 of you appear to have violated the Colorado Sunshine Law. This statute prohibits any governmental body of 3 or more from meeting to discuss public business in private.  These meetings must be publicized & open to citizens. On Dec. 11, Mayor Baum, and councilmen Santos & Sammoury met in the back of these chambers after attending  the Election Committee and were accompanied by the City Attorney.   Someone overheard one of you say  “So do we have enough for a meeting?”

While I also saw the 4 of you talking, I did not intend to make an issue of it. However, it’s sadly ironic that tonight you’re intending to gut our Fair Campaigns Practices Act which addresses transparency, integrity and accountability in government.  Therefore, I am compelled to come forward about what appears to be a violation of our Sunshine Law and ask that the minutes from the December 11 private meeting be made available to the people of Longmont.

My hope is that the very partisan, lock-step voting pattern, as well as the mindless rejection of energy and environmental conservation programs is not a harbinger of more poor judgment to come.

Remarks I shared at Longmont City Council on 1/12/10

Earlier today I attended the Martin Luther King celebration in these chambers. The City put together a beautiful and inspirational program. When I looked at the posters of MLK and President Obama together, I felt both hopeful and melancholy. Hopeful to think of how far we’ve come, and melancholy as I realized how far we still need to travel to end discrimination… As my friend Strider reminds me, “It’s a long march.”

While that’s not what I came to speak about, I was inspired. See, I too have a dream. My dream is to keep Union Reservoir Wild. This dream started in 2001, when the City of Longmont had a contract on 315 acres at Union for Open Space. Due to a glitch in the contract, the landowner was able to get out of this contract when Lifebridge Church doubled the offer the City had made.

I was on a organized bird walk at Union 10 days ago where we saw 7 bald eagles, 2 golden eagles, 2 norther harriers, 1 coyote, 2 foxes and a flock of about 100 horn larks. All this is 70 minutes. Union Reservoir and the wildlife it supports and surrounding land is precious and needs protection.

My ultimate dream is that Lifebridge has a change of heart and decides to sell this land back to the city to be kept wild as was the original plan.

My new short term dream is that the organizers of Heavens Fest realize the incredible jewel Union Reservoir is and rethink the location of their event. I was thinking Main Street would be far superior for the following reasons: 1) They know hoe to do large festivals–accommodating 20,000+ people. Extending a couple blocks might be necessary if there will be 35,000+ people.
2) There is regional and local RTD services to Main Street and from Main Street all over Longmont. 3) Downtown businesses would get an economic boost and lots of great exposure. Frankly, Union attenders would travel east, north, south in addition to those that might come west into Longmont. A more central location increases the likelihood of dollars staying here. 4) The Main Street location would not have a negative impact on Land & wildlife. 5) Shuttles could be arranged from the fairgrounds etc. to offset parking.

Heaven Fest maybe a good idea. It’s just not a good location.