News

Surprise! Ken Buck Shows Up for Work!

Longmont Area Democrats had their “with or without Ken Buck town hall meeting” and guess who showed up? The man himself. Think activism doesn’t have any effect – there it is. Buck started out on the defensive and got more shrill as the meeting wore on. He hacked his way through a series of questions, tossing out rhetoric, GOP talking points and some good ole fashioned bullshit – which the crowd called him out on. It got tense a few times and I think the organizers wished they had a whip and chair – but the Dems calmed down and Ken didn’t run away (as GOP candidates are wont to do when faced with any substantive resistance). It was a great meeting – the Dems were fired up and Buck scurried away with his pants still smoking, staff hustling to keep up. Thanks to Shari Malloy who asked me to shoot this meeting – and a special thanks to everyone that came and spoke!

Photos at Flickr.

My friend Kate Beier asking Ken Buck a question:

Merciful God

Saw this on Facebook from Joel Tooley, Lead Pastor at Melbourne First Church of the Nazarene.

What I am about to write and what you are about to read may make some people very uncomfortable, if not angry.

That is not my intention nor is it okay with me to cause anyone to stumble. That being said, what I experienced tonight was so dramatic that I cannot help but reflect on it and share what I experienced.

A few days ago, people across the United States heard the news that our newly elected President would be visiting Melbourne, Florida – our hometown. It is no surprise to many that I do not support many of the objectives and “campaignisms” of Donald Trump. I know many people who voted for him – friends, family, church people who all voted for their own reasons. The point of this experience is not to relay all of the reasons why I think he should not be the president. Those points are moot – he IS our President.

Now, I am enough of a sentimentalist that when I found out THEEEE President was coming to town, I got online quickly and reserved two tickets.

The tickets were being given away by the Trump-Pence campaign; I found it odd that the tickets indicated that this was not a government/White House event & that this was a campaign event. I have, of course, posted a joking post about that earlier. What I discovered was that by hosting this as a campaign event, Mr. Trump could determine who was and was not allowed in the venue. If he came on an official visit, they could not prohibit anyone from entering and he couldn’t sell his campaign merchandise.

So, in essence, he was only allowing his supporters in the room. Well, with a few exceptions…

I talked my 11-year-old daughter into coming with me. After all, how many times do you get to see the President of the United States in person – let alone in your hometown? I was eager for her to have this experience. It has to be a pretty cool thing, as a kid to see Air Force One, the President and the First Lady.

The event started at 5 PM; we got in line at the venue shortly after 2 PM and the line was already pretty long. There are several mini stories to be told about that experience but don’t need to be told for this post. Suffice it to say, it is always an intriguing sociological experience to be surrounded by people in line for something for which they are fanatics – whether it is for a movie premier, a live concert, the release of the latest beanie baby or Cabbage Patch kid. Fanatic people are fascinating to me.

While I am not a fan of Trump, I certainly did not want to come across as a vigilante protester while standing amongst some of his most adoring fans. I truly wanted to see if what I was going to witness in person was any different than what I had observed on TV.

The entry into the event was very impressive. I have always admired the professional posturing of the Secret Service, including those from our own local law-enforcement who were on duty serving in this capacity. These are women and men who should be highly commended for placing their lives on the line.

We entered the venue at 3 PM, two hours before the event started. As we entered, everyone was being handed pom-poms and Trump campaign signs. The hosts made sure everyone had a sign in their hand. Someone shoved one into my hand and gave pom-poms to my daughter.

I felt like a sheep in wolves clothing.

Music was playing loudly throughout the venue as it filled up with hundreds of people. I would guess there were eventually at least 3000 people in the room. It was nowhere near full, but there certainly were a lot of people there. From my view, the crowd was 99.9% white folk. I did see a row of about 10-12 supporters who were black, wearing T-shirts that said, “Trump and Republicans are not racist” – they were positioned in the seating area directly behind the podium.

We were about three rows of people from the very front and had a very good position to view the President and the platform. As people were coming in, there was a lot of excitement and a strong sense of patriotism. Approximately every 15 minutes, the music would be a little more enthusiastic and party-like. I posted my play-by-play feedback of “God bless the USA!” in an earlier post…it was almost church-like. People sang along, raising their hands and were emotionally moved by this anthem. It was intriguing to watch.

People were being ushered into a deeply religious experience…and it made me completely uncomfortable.

I love my country; I honor those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and I respect our history and what we stand for, but what I experienced in that moment sent shivers down my spine. I felt like people were here to worship an ideology along with the man who was leading it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the song per se – it was this inexplicable movement that was happening in the room. It was a religious zeal.

You might liken it to the experience fans would have after their favorite team won the Super Bowl – faces painted, banners flying, confetti in the air and celebrating.

But this – this was deeper.

A couple of local politicians got up to bring greetings followed by state representative, followed by one of our Congress representatives. A soloist sang, “God bless America” and there was a strong sense of patriotism in the room. A pastor got up to pray and repeatedly prayed throughout his prayer, “Thank you for making this the greatest nation on earth…in Jesus’ name.”

Uh-uh. No. No way, josé.

Pastor, this is not the greatest nation on earth. The greatest nation on earth does not exist. Are we a great nation? Definitely. But there are many other great nations as well. Pastor, you have your eyes on a different kind of “greatness” and certainly a different kind of kingdom. Shame on you for praying those words in Jesus’ name!

Suddenly, the music changed from the pep rally theme to something that seemed more Star Wars themed. The crowd went crazy and turned towards the opening of the airplane hangar that was the venue, just as Air Force One pulled up.

What a magnificent sight! That enormous airliner is absolutely breathtaking. The crowd was going wild; signs waving in the air, people cheering, and every cell phone was positioned to take photos and video. As the First Lady and the President emerged at the top of the stairs, the air was electric! It really is a magnificent image to see in person!

As they entered the venue and walked to the platform, there was terrific celebration. I have been in the room when other Presidents were in a similar mode – it is always such a meaningful experience to be that close to them, regardless of whether or not you view them with adoration. Theeeee President of the USA!

The First Lady approached the platform and in her rich accent, began to recite the Lord’s prayer.

I can’t explain it, but I felt sick. This wasn’t a prayer beseeching the presence of Almighty God, it felt theatrical and manipulative.

People across the room were reciting it as if it were a pep squad cheer. At the close of the prayer, the room erupted in cheering. It was so uncomfortable. I observed that Mr. Trump did not recite the prayer until the very last line, “be the glory forever and ever, amen!” As he raised his hands in the air, evoking a cheer from the crowd, “USA! USA! USA!”

Just as the President begin to speak, a short grandmotherly lady in front of us asked me if I would help hold her walker – the kind that has a seat built into it. She said, “I need to climb up on it and hold something up.” Such an odd request at such an odd place at such an odd time. So, I helped her.

She held a pillowcase that had something written on the front of it, words I could not see. She climbed up onto the seat, wobbly-legged and held the sign up above her head. People in front of her turned around and started jeering and yelling at her. After holding her sign up for about 10 seconds, she climbed back down and thanked me. I asked her what her sign said – it read, “You had your chance, now resign!”

The very first words out of the President’s mouth were the words of a bully. That is not simply one person’s perspective, it is factual. He immediately began badgering and criticizing the media; like a bully inciting a crowd.

Now, do I think the media needs to be held to a high standard and be able to be held accountable? Absolutely! The media as a whole has become sadly non-journalistic and more entertainment, in my opinion.

Call it what you will, but I was completely dumbfounded as the most powerful leader in the world began his speech by badgering the media. The crowd began screaming angrily at the entire press corps that was present.

He could have said something inspiring and worthy of a Tweet or Facebook post, instead he emerged as an overly powerful bully. Literally, everything that he began speaking about evoked this angry response from the crowd. Immediately following the words of prayer that Jesus taught his followers…

It was then that I heard two ladies off to my left chanting, not yelling or screaming but chanting, “T-R….U-M-P; that’s how you spell – bigotry!” They repeated the rhyme over and over.

Two ladies in front of them began seething and screaming in their face while shaking their Trump signs at them. Another couple standing behind them started screaming at them as well. One of the chanting ladies had her eight-year-old daughter on her back; the other had a severely disabled child in a wheelchair in front of her. As they continued chanting, the people around them became violently enraged. One angry man grabbed the lady’s arm – that’s when I went into action. I barged through the crowd and yelled at them to back off. My heart wasn’t racing; I just instinctively became a protector.

I didn’t actually want a Trump sign, but one of the volunteers had shoved it into my hands as I walked through the door earlier; “Make America Great Again!” That sign probably saved someone from getting hurt. I held the sign close to my chest as I positioned myself between the chanting protesters and the angry mob. My 11-year-old daughter was clinging to my arm, sobbing in fear.

The two angry, screaming ladies looked at me, both of them raised their middle finger at me in my face and repeatedly yelled, “F*#% YOU!” Repeatedly.

I calmly responded, “No thank you, I’m happily married.” Their faces and their voices were filled with demonic anger.

I have been in places and experiences before where demonic activity was palpable. The power of the Holy Spirit of God was protecting me in those moments and was once again protecting me and my daughter in this moment.

I raised my voice and calmly said, “These ladies have the right to do what they are doing and they are harming no one; this is America and they a right to express themselves in this way. They are harming no one.” A couple of other people around me stepped in and supported me in protecting them as a barrier, as well.

My daughter was shaking in fear as she clung to me. The one man behind the protesters shoved himself forward, grabbed the lady by the arm and screamed with multiple expletives, “I’m going to take you out! This is my president and nobody has the right to disrespect him and nobody has the right to keep me from hearing him!”

I wish I could have captured the expressions of that man on camera. I will never forget him.

The little girl on her mother’s back was crying, completely frightened. I leaned forward and reassured her in her ear, “Your mommy is being brave and we will not let these people hurt you. You are afraid because these are angry, awful people. We will not let them hurt you or your mommy. You are being so brave and your mommy is doing something very brave.”

That’s when another lady screamed in my face that what I was doing was un-American. I just chuckled and responded, “What I am doing is completely American – I’m standing up for people who are being bullied – it doesn’t matter if I agree with them or not. You came here to see the President, now ignore these ladies, turn around and enjoy the show.” Without explanation, they calm down and turned around to hear what Trump had to say.

The two protesters then moved towards the back and left the building. I got a couple of high-fives and “thanks for stepping up for them” from bystanders . I wanted to say, “Thanks. Where were you when the the demons were screaming and fists were getting ready to start swinging?”

Once again, the environment reminded me of some church experiences I’ve had. Bystanders.

I have no clue what Trump was saying at that point – draining the swamp, vetting refugees, and other things. Oh yeah, I heard people chanting, “Build that wall, build that wall!”

I realized then that we were not listening to someone presidential, we were listening to someone terribly powerful.

My kid was shaken – she had just seen some of the worst of humanity. We edged ourselves away from the front of the room to the opening of the hangar so we could get a clearer picture of Air Force One. I wanted to give her at least one positive presidential memory.

The crowd was much thinner at the back of the room, people were leaving by the hundreds. Outside, there were two jumbotrons set up for a potential overflow – there really wasn’t a need for them. There were maybe a couple of hundred people outside watching on the big screens.

Not too far behind that group was a large group of protesters.

Inside, Trump had rallied the group by giving a little bit of attention to the “paid protesters outside.” Now, I can’t speak for all of them, but I asked a few where they were from and why they were there – every single one of them were from different cities in Florida and could quickly articulate why they were there. They were not paid protesters – not the ones I spoke with.

I’m trying to separate how I actually feel about this man and his campaignisms. I know why people voted for him; I know why people voted against his opponent. But, at the end of the day, what I felt from his leadership in this experience was actually horrifying. There was palpable fear in the room. There was thick anger and vengeance. He was counting on it. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that it would not have taken very much for him to have called this group of people into some kind of riotous reaction.

Now, not everyone in the room was a part of the angry mob mentality – I looked around the room and saw many people who could quite easily be folks from my neighborhood, folks from my church, folks who were planning to go grab a bite to eat at Cracker Barrel afterwards. Folks who truly wanted to see America “great.” The people who support the Republican Party want to see some needed changes in the government – the people that were there for that reason, are by and large good folks. But those are not the people the President was inciting – they are not the people he was leading. He was rallying the angry, vigilant ones.

As we began to leave, I knew my daughter could not possibly care less about Air Force One or the fact that she saw the President of the United States and his wife, in the flesh. I truly had hoped that she could have had that sentimental experience.

What she WILL remember is the angry, violent man screaming demonic vitriol at a child and her mother. She will remember the two ladies screaming at her Dad, her pastor – flipping the middle finger and using the F word repeatedly.

Now, I know there are people who are convinced that I am jaded and cannot fairly give this man a fair chance. Perhaps that’s true. But please remember, especially those of you who know me well, I am a student of culture and human behavior. I am not a stubborn, close minded individual who likes to stick to the status quo. I know there are people who long for me to see the good things about this President and to talk about THOSE things. I know there are people who want me to realize that not everything he is doing is bad and that every President has their strengths and weaknesses and…

I know there are people who, when they see these words and hear my thoughts will feel badly because perhaps they can’t like me as much as they once did because they don’t agree with me. They want me to like the President that they like – they want me to see him the way they see him.

I’m sorry. I cannot. You see, the angry, F-word-spewing man is what has been depended on throughout this campaign and is the one who is still being counted on to sustain the message. I tried.

As we left the room, these words were echoing in my mind, “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done…”

At the end of the day, I’m a citizen of a nation – I have a leader who God is very aware and who has tremendous responsibilities. I MUST and will pray for him. I’m a citizen of this world and I must continue to see beyond my own limited world view to seek ways to obediently serve Christ. But greater still, I am a citizen of a different kind of Kingdom – the Kingdom that strives for peace, mercy, kindness and a love-relationship with the King of kings.

May God have mercy on me.

Unity in the Community 2017

From the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce:

Unity in the Community is a Chamber premier event that welcomes business, non-profit and political leaders from the region and the state. Unity is open to the public at no charge and provides a unique opportunity to network with a vast number of representatives from the business, political and non-profit sectors.

Date and Time: Feb, 23 2017   5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
RSVP Deadline: Feb, 22 2017 at 05:00 pm (Please call 303-776-5295 if past deadline)
Location: Plaza Convention Center, 1850 Industrial Circle, Longmont, CO 80501 (Map)
Cost: Chamber Member:  $ 0
Non-Member:  $ 0
Seats: Limited Seats Remaining


Cory Gardner – photo by MDWray

I’ve been informed that Cory Gardner might very well be there.

If you’ve been trying to see him or ask him a question, this might be just the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

Please be sure to attend and take LOTS of photos and videos – FRL is happy to publish your best. Always fun to see Cory’s face when he’s being asked a hard question.

Enjoy!

Littwin: Gigantic, enormous, colossal, unpresidented women’s march drives Trump mad

From the Colorado Independent:

These are, as they say, early days. And as the nascent Trump era progresses — if that’s the right word — we will continue to see things we’ve never seen or heard before.

For starters, we’ve never heard an inaugural speech like Trump’s American carnage address.

We’ve never seen a counter-inaugural demonstration drawing an astonishing 3 million across the country, many of the protesters wearing pussy hats and many carrying signs about a president keeping his tiny hands off the First Amendment. If you think you were stunned by the turnout — the 100,ooo-marchers-strong aerial shot of Civic Center is a remarkable testament to those Coloradans trying to take their country back — imagine how Trump felt.

We’ve never seen a press secretary, on his first day, ordered by the president to read out a pack of lies about, of all things, crowd size and insist they were true – period. Or see a presidential counselor say the lies were actually “alternative facts.” Or see Orwell cited quite so accurately quite so early in a president’s tenure.

We have seen Trump embarrass himself many times, but never quite as he did, as president, at the CIA, standing in front of the wall honoring the CIA dead, using the occasion to accuse the press of willfully deflating his inauguration numbers and of falsely creating a rift between him and the intelligence agencies that he had compared to Nazis.

We’ve never seen a president, in his first days, hold a meet-and-greet with congressional leaders and tell them the already clearly debunked lie that he had lost the popular vote only because 3 to 5 million illegal immigrants voted for Clinton, who apparently was not smart enough, as several observers have pointed out, to wield these voters in, say, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

He can’t let go — of anything. He can’t move on — from anything. Getting elected isn’t enough. It has to be the greatest election. The most colossal crowds. A global movement. And still that won’t satisfy. We can only imagine what the GOP congressional leaders were thinking – that they have to pretend for four years that this is remotely normal. Remarkably, in the face of Trump’s allegation of massive voter fraud, no one called for an investigation. A better response, of course, would be to call for an intervention.

Read the rest at the Colorado Indpependent.

Oil and gas ‘third party validation’ and message control

Kaye Fissinger #123

Kaye Fissinger, Longmont, CO.

In mid-May, I went into “enemy territory” to hear what the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) had to teach regulators from oil-and-gas-producing states and the ex-officio industry that it actually represents. The IOGCC is similar to the COGCC, but on steroids.

The IOGCC conference had two sessions on “crisis communication.” The first had presenters from the Ohio oil and gas regulatory body and the second was led by a regulator from our own COGCC. The 2013 flood was the example in his presentation. What an incredible whitewash of the event as it pertained to oil and gas and a textbook example of message control! The second presenter was none other than Karen Crummy, communications director for CRED and Protect Colorado.

CRED is the organization that keeps bringing you (ad nauseum) TV ads about how great and wonderful fracking and oil and gas are. Never mind that their visuals do not reflect environmental realities. Protect Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence is the issue committee against Yes for Health and Safety over Fracking. George Orwell would have been so pleased at Protect Colorado’s name. Remember the Church Lady? She would have said, “Well, isn’t that special?” to the first place position of the environment.

Yes for Health and Safety is gathering signatures to place the constitutional amendments No. 75 (local control) and No. 78 (mandatory 2,500-foot setbacks) on November’s ballot. The health and safety of all of us is precisely what these amendments are all about. It’s time to get the state’s priorities straight, and the only way this can happen is a change in the state constitution. The legislature has failed the people. Governor Hickenlooper is even worse.

Here are the kickers from the regulators’ bedfellow, the oil and gas industry — in how to handle the public in a crisis. And No. 75 and No. 78 are certainly a “crisis” from the oil and gas industry’s perspective.

  1. Get out there first.
  2. Get out there loud.
  3. Control the message.
  4. Get “third party validation” for the oil and gas industry talking points.
  5. Tell people that their health and safety comes first, even if they don’t mean it.

The fourth is a doozy! Think about the University of Boulder oil and gas economics studies by the Leeds School of Business. These studies used industry modeling and gave the decision for releasing the results to that very same industry. No chance that a message other than one in support of their talking points would ever see the light of day. The Boulder Weekly did a thorough investigative report called “Behind the Curtain” that connected all the dots between Leeds and the industry.

And the latest report from the COGCC on Initiative 78 was requested by Mayor Tom Holton of Fort Lupton, also a COGCC commissioner. Holton regularly plays footsie with the oil and gas industry. And that report is ripe with flaws and omissions. Just what the industry was looking for.

See how “third party validation” works?

A good authority, at an earlier IOGCC conference, heard publicly that CRED was created because of Longmont’s success in overwhelmingly passing the ban on fracking and its waste products.

As it turned out, Coloradans can’t trust the Colorado Supreme Court either. Older folks might remember an ad from decades ago that said “a little dab will do ya.” Now its “a little phone call will do ya” with a well-laid foundation by the oil and gas industry that dates back a century or more.

Because the Colorado courts have said that Coloradans’ constitutional rights as already enumerated are essentially irrelevant, we have no other choice than to make it monumentally clear that the state constitution says otherwise. No wiggle room and no establishing priority of rights by the Colorado Supreme Court when it comes to oil and gas and the people.

State law does not override the constitution and preemption is state statute, not an article in our constitutional. At least not yet. If you see people asking for your signature on No. 138, don’t sign. This initiative enshrines preemption into the state constitution. If you do sign, you will be giving up your rights to health and safety, potentially in perpetuity.

Kaye Fissinger is president of Our Longmont.

Comparing the Choices

Bruce Lindner, Portland, OR

Bruce Lindner, Portland, OR

So I’m reading this morning that the GOP has adopted two more policies to be included in the official convention platform next week: To build Trump’s wall along the border with Mexico and to recognize pornography as a public health crisis. Let me see if I have this right.

  • The proposed wall, which even the party’s hitherto favorite son, Jeb Bush, said yesterday was a stupid idea, would achieve nothing.
  • Pornography, which as far as I know isn’t lethal, is a “public health crisis,” but 300 million guns on our streets and in our schools, churches, night clubs and movie theaters, which take the lives of 30,000 Americans per year … isn’t.
  • The presumptive nominee, a man with precisely ZERO political experience, has accused the current President—the first African-American President in our history—of being to blame for any racial divisions in our society today. Yet he himself just DECLINED an invitation to speak before the NAACP, the nation’s premier and possibly most respected civil rights advocacy group. Cat got your tongue Donald? That’s a first.
  • The GOP platform also calls for “continued conservative fiscal principles.” Right. The last time they held the White House, they ratcheted up federal spending by 85%, cut revenue by 25%, passed two tax cuts largely benefiting the top 1%, launched two catastrophic wars, none of which was budgeted for, and plunged the nation into the deepest recession in 80 years. This in contrast to the current administration who pulled us out of the recession and increased federal spending by a whopping 6% (or 11% over the level he inherited).
  • The CEO of the party’s official media organ, Roger Ailes, suddenly finds himself in competition with Bill Cosby for most allegations of sexual harassment and lewd behavior. Is he innocent until proven guilty? Sure. But based on statistics alone, it’s hard for any rational person to believe all of the women who’ve come forward thus far with similar allegations are lying. Yet he still controls what Republicans hear, and perhaps more importantly, what they DON’T hear. What say you Rupert? Isn’t it time for Sexy Roger to go on a sabbatical for a little R & R?
  • And no GOP convention platform can be complete without mentioning their continued pledge to abolish and outlaw a woman’s Constitutional RIGHT to make her own reproductive decisions. Rather than respecting a 43 year old Supreme Court decision, they defer to pressure from the religious community and violent groups who firebomb Planned Parenthood clinics and murder physicians who perform abortions. Because their mission is to “defend the sanctity of life,” don’tchya know.

So let’s see… Vote for the sexist, racist, fascist, xenophobic, pathological liar who’s backed by the overwhelming support of Republicans (and their secretive brethren under the hoods and sheets), many of whom want to take America back to the good ol’ days of Jim Crow, Bible lessons in public schools, submissive women, puritanical “morality,” crushing economic policies, a nation where guns are defended over human lives and the cries of inequality from Black Lives Matter are called “threats from a terrorist group” by their most-admired television personality, Bill O’Reilly.

Or I can vote with the Democrats, who, imperfections aside, have overseen 7-1/2 years of economic growth, a party that’s inclusive of ALL races, religions, sexual preferences, and hold a position that the Constitutional RIGHT to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness *must* override the GOP’s warped reinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment fetish for guns in our bleeding society.

Thanks Reince. But I’m with her.

Fracking Forum Features Foolishness

If you’re looking for entertainment in Longmont, no one serves up better than the Longmont Republican Women. Their recent forum “The State of Fracking in Colorado – A panel discussion” was one of the best comedy performances I’ve seen so far in 2016.

Ken Buck

Ken Buck clearly enjoyed the open bar

Featuring none other than Ken Buck, Weld County’s well-lubricated supporter, the oil barons favorite semi-roughnecks Matt Lepore (Director, Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission) and Dan Haley (President, Colorado Oil & Gas Association).

Longmont Councilman Brian Bagley, Moderator

Longmont Councilman Brian Bagley, Moderator

Doing an admirable job as straight man was Longmont’s Ward 1 City Council member Brian Bagley. I have to say his material and delivery were on point, making it child’s play for the Three Spooges to work their magic on the audience.

Moderator Bagley asked the setup questions and the Spooges knocked em down – without interference from those pesky Dems who chose to sit out this comedy cavalcade.

Matt Lepore gave an outstanding theremin-like performance in which he lulled the 99% GOP audience, crooning that they had nothing to fear from fracking. Mesmerizing!

Matt Lepore, Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commision "See? It's magic and it works!"

Matt Lepore, Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission
“See? It’s magic and it works!”

Dan Haley, President, Colorado Oil & Gas Association doing his very best Stan Laurel impression

Dan Haley, President, Colorado Oil & Gas Association doing his very best Stan Laurel impression

Dan Haley was a bit lackluster compared to Lepore (no small feat that!) and routinely seemed to be thinking “I Dunno…” before looking over at Buck, clearly wishing he could be as thoroughly soused.

Bagley’s questions covered a lot of territory and included questions about citizen initiatives. The Spooges responses ranged from “pshaw” to “balderdash” and were well-received by the mostly white-haired well-heeled crowd. One especially high point was when asked about safety concerns, Ken Buck burbled on about how fracking was safer than oil tankers “…like the Exxon Valdez…” and “…pipelines…” to which the crowd responded with howls of glee. I have to say I’ve never seen a complete lack of integrity used to such good comedic effect.

The crowd included some of Longmont’s quasi-luminaries as well as some career politicians clearly hoping to garner some media exposure. Here’s the ones FRL spotted:

Paul Danish Soon-to-be contender for Boulder County Commish

Paul Danish
Soon-to-be contender for Boulder County Commish

Dale Bruns Bruns Concrete & Construction

Dale Bruns
Bruns Concrete & Construction

Sean Conway Weld County Commish at large

Sean Conway
Weld County Commish at large

Greg Brophy Melon farmer

Greg Brophy
Melon farmer

WHOOPS! Not quite incognito...

WHOOPS! Not quite incognito…

There was even a lobbyist!

John Clarke Clarkestrategies

John Clarke
Clarkestrategies

As I left the event, feeling almost light-headed from all the Ben-Gay fumes, I was politely accosted by none other than LRW’s ever-so-gracious President, Rebekah Vicknair! She oh-so-politely asked me if I would stop leaving “…things…” on their Facebook page. I apologized for exercising my First Amendment rights but reminded her gently that I still had such rights – assuming Mr. Trump didn’t win the election. I suggested that if she and her cohort would be willing to reveal the name of the person behind the slur on my dead wife, I’d give them a permanent pass. I also mentioned Longmont’s one-time GOP mouthpiece and she demurely feigned ignorance. Truly, a comedienne of soon-to-be-legendary stature! I salute you Ms. Vicknair for your unstinting commitment to comedy. It made me laugh out loud.

Has the GOP Gone Insane?

From Salon:

Trump supporters first pepper spray, then yell “n****r lover” to 15-year-old protester in Paul Ryan’s hometown

pepper-spray

(Credit: Conservative Outfitters)

Police in Janesville, Wisconsin, are searching for two Donald Trump rally attendees who pepper sprayed and sexually assaulted a 15-year-old anti-Trump protester outside the Republican presidential frontrunner’s rally on Tuesday. Video of the incident shows other apparent Trump supporters shouting “bitch” and “nigger lover” to the teenager as she attempts to walk away with pepper spray in her eyes.

“Damn, Donald, back at it again with the white supremacy,” read 15-year-old Alex Drake’s topical protest sign, according to video that captured the incident. As another protester raised a sign that read, “Black Lives Matter,” the crowd of mostly older white Trump supporters began chanting “All lives matter,” attempting to drown out the Janesville teenager:

Law enforcement in Janesville, home of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, said that “a male in the crowd groped the 15 year girl, when she pushed him away; another person in the crowd sprayed her.” Video of the incident shows Drake confronting a man she says touched her breast before she reached out to strike him:

Another video shows one Trump supporter yelling to “get that bitch out of here,” after the teenage girl stumbles from being pepper sprayed

“Goddamn communist, nigger lover! Get out of here,” another Trump supporter can be heard shouting.


This is an open message to the Colorado GOP – some of your members have clearly gone completely off the rails and are attempting to incite riots.

I would hope that the few sensible people in your organization understand how incredibly awful and destructive such an event could be. Is this what your party has become? You want to cause a public melee?

Over the years FRL has been attacked repeatedly by extremists in your party howling for public condemnation when one of our stories upset them. Now something like this happens and you’re conspicuously silent.

Where is the condemnation of this act? Your failure to disavow this barbarity is telling.

Can I expect to see myself, family or friends attacked viciously for using our First Amendment right at political rallies?

I would strongly encourage you to caution your more extreme members not to commit violence against protesters – the backlash could be terrible and disgrace the CO GOP forever.

Donald Trump isn’t a candidate – he’s a symptom. Republicans in Colorado are well advised to distance themselves from him if they expect to maintain any semblance of respectability.

Donald Trump: A Litany of Lies

Photo courtesy of Newscorpse.com

Photo courtesy of Newscorpse.com

In just the last seven days Trump has lied nine times:

  1. Trump said his university had an ‘A’ rating by the Better Business Bureau.
    False: The BBB responded that Trump University had a D- rating.
  2. Trump said his steak and wine businesses are booming.
    False: He doesn’t own those companies at all… they just bought his name.
  3. Trump said Obama lied and that the real unemployment rate is up to 35%.
    False: The unemployment rate is 4.9% and Obama doesn’t generate the reports.
  4. Trump said Obama made the army weaker.
    False: Army generals said it’s the leanest, strongest and most powerful it has ever been.
  5. Insurance companies are hurting because of Obamacare.
    False: Health insurance industry stock has increased by 400% in the last seven years.
  6. Insurance companies have laid off millions of employees because of Obamacare.
    False: Insurance companies have hired in record numbers in the last four years.
  7. Obama is destroying the economy.
    False: Every sector of the economy has improved in the last seven years.
  8. Trump said he didn’t know who David Duke was.
    False: Trump has talked about David Duke many times in the past.
  9. Trump said Hillary is about to go to jail for using her email on her phone.
    False: It has been determined over and over again that she did nothing illegal.

Comparing Collateral Damage

Bush Administration

  • 13 Embassy Attacks
  • 66 Deaths
  • 3 US diplomats killed
  • 22 Embassy employees killed
  • Investigations [ 0 ]

Reagan Administration

  • 10 Embassy Attacks
  • 318 Deaths
  • 1 US ambassador killed
  • 18 CIA officers
  • 254 Marines
  • Investigations [ 1 ]

Obama Administration

  • 2 Embassy attacks
  • 4 US deaths
  • Investigations [ 13 ]

Cost to taxpayers for partisan witch hunt: $14 Million.

This is what the GOP thinks is more important than serving the American people.

Throwing it All Away

From US Dept of the Interior

Secretary Jewell Announces Proposal to Reduce Methane Emissions, Wasted Gas on Public, Tribal Lands

Proposal Would Limit Venting, Flaring and Leaking from Oil & Gas Operations to Reduce Waste and Harmful Emissions, Provide Fair Return to Taxpayers

1/22/2016

Date: January 22, 2016
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov
Matt Spangler (BLM) 202-912-7035

WASHINGTON – As part of the Interior Department’s reform agenda for a cleaner, more secure energy future, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today proposed to update 30 year-old regulations in order to reduce the wasteful release of natural gas into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations on public and American Indian lands. The proposed rule on venting, flaring and leaking will help curb waste of our nation’s natural gas supplies, reduce harmful methane emissions and provide a fair return on public resources for federal taxpayers, Tribes, and States.

“I think most people would agree that we should be using our nation’s natural gas to power our economy – not wasting it by venting and flaring it into the atmosphere,” said Secretary Jewell. “We need to modernize decades-old standards to reflect existing technologies so that we can cut down on harmful methane emissions and use this captured natural gas to generate power and provide a return to taxpayers, tribes and states for this public resource. We look forward to hearing from the public on this proposal.”

U.S. oil production is at its highest level in nearly 30 years and the nation is now the largest natural gas producer in the world, providing an abundant source of clean-burning fuel to power and heat American homes and businesses. At the same time, venting and leaks during oil and gas operations are major sources of harmful methane emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. U.S. methane emissions are projected to increase substantially without additional steps to lower them. The proposal announced today is consistent with the Obama Administration’s goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 – 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.

Currently, vast amounts of natural gas from public and Indian lands are lost through venting, flaring and leaks from oil and gas operations. Between 2009 and 2014, enough natural gas was lost through venting, flaring and leaks to power more than five million homes for a year. States, Tribes and federal taxpayers also lose royalty revenues when natural gas is wasted – as much as $23 million annually in royalty revenue for the Federal Government and the States that share it, according to a 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

Developed by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM), the proposed rule would require oil and gas producers to adopt currently available technologies, processes and equipment that would limit the rate of flaring at oil wells on public and tribal lands, and would require operators to periodically inspect their operations for leaks, and to replace outdated equipment that vents large quantities of gas into the air. Operators would also be required to limit venting from storage tanks and use best practices to limit gas losses when removing liquids from wells. The new measures would also clarify when operators owe royalties on flared gas, and ensure that BLM’s regulations provide congressionally authorized flexibility to set royalty rates at or above 12.5 percent of the value of production.

“The commonsense and cost-effective measures we are proposing reflect the recommendations of several government studies as well as stakeholder views and tribal consultation over the last two years,” said Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider. “These updated regulations, which would be phased in over several years to allow operators to make the transition more cost efficiently, would not only get more of our nation’s natural gas into pipelines and delivered to market but also reduce pollution and cut greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to climate change.”

The BLM’s current rules addressing venting and flaring were adopted over 30 years ago, long before new technologies unlocked vast new natural gas supplies in the United States. Recent technological advances allow operators to produce more oil and gas with less waste. About 40 percent of natural gas now vented or flared from onshore Federal leases could be economically captured with currently available technologies, according to the 2010 GAO report.

Several oversight reviews, including studies by the Interior Department’s Inspector General and the GAO, have raised concerns about the waste of gas from oil and gas operations on public lands and found BLM’s existing requirements insufficient. Several states, including Colorado, North Dakota, Wyoming, and most recently Pennsylvania, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have also taken steps to limit venting, flaring and/or leaks.

“It’s time to modernize our regulations to reflect today’s technologies and meet today’s priorities,” said BLM Director Kornze. “By asking operators to take simple, common-sense actions to reduce waste – like swapping out old equipment and checking for leaks – we expect to cut this waste almost in half. The gas saved would be enough to supply every household in the cities of Dallas and Denver combined – every year.”

The BLM has worked to ensure that the proposed regulations would not impose conflicting or redundant requirements. In developing this proposal, the BLM looked to the States’ requirements and worked closely with the EPA to align the agencies’ proposals as much as possible, consistent with specific statutory authorities and responsibilities. The BLM is committed to continue coordinating with the EPA, as well as with individual States, to streamline regulations.

In developing this proposal, the BLM engaged in substantial stakeholder outreach, including a series of public forums in 2014 and 2015 to consult with tribal and state governments and to solicit stakeholder views. The BLM held public meetings in Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C., as well as separate tribal outreach sessions. The agency also accepted informal comments generated as a result of the public and tribal outreach sessions.

The public will have 60 days to submit comments on the proposal once it is published in the Federal Register. The BLM also plans to hold a series of public meetings on the proposed rule in February and March.

A fact sheet on the proposed rule is available here. The proposed rule can be found here, along with the Regulatory Impact Analysis and Environmental Assessment.


Fact Sheet On Methane And Waste Reduction Rule

OVERVIEW: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to update its regulations to reduce the waste of natural gas from flaring, venting, and leaks from oil and gas production operations on public and Indian lands. The proposed rules, which would be phased in over several years, will help curb waste of our nation’s natural gas supplies; reduce harmful air pollution, including greenhouse gases; and provide a fair return on public resources for federal taxpayers, Tribes, and States.

The BLM’s proposal would require oil and gas producers to take commonsense and cost- effective measures to reduce this waste of gas, modernizing the existing, more than 30-year-old oil and gas production rules and bringing them in line with technological advances in the industry.  In addition, the proposed rule would modify the existing royalty rate provisions to better align with the BLM’s authority and enhance flexibility, but the rule would not raise royalty rates.

FACT: The BLM’s onshore oil and gas management program is a major contributor to our nation’s oil and gas production.  Domestic production from over 100,000 federal onshore oil and gas wells accounts for five percent of the nation’s oil supply and eleven percent of its natural gas.  In Fiscal Year 2014, the production value of this oil and gas exceeded $27 billion and generated approximately $3 billion in royalties.

FACT: Large quantities of natural gas are wasted during oil and gas production.  Between 2009 and 2014, oil and gas producers on public and Indian lands vented, flared and leaked about 375 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas.  That’s enough gas to supply about 5.1 million households for a year.  These losses create a myriad of problems, including: releasing harmful emissions, including methane, into the atmosphere; safety issues, if not properly handled; and waste of a valuable domestic energy resource.

FACT: Taxpayers are losing out.  States, Tribes and federal taxpayers also lose royalty revenues when natural gas is wasted – as much as $23 million annually in royalty revenue for the Federal Government and the States that share it, according to a 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

FACT: The proposed rule would minimize waste of natural gas. The proposed rule could save and put to productive use 41 to 56 Bcf of gas a year – enough to supply up to about 760,000 households each year. Overall, the rule would reduce flaring by an estimated 41 – 60 percent and venting by roughly 44 – 46 percent (compared to 2013 rates).

FACT: Inaction is not an option. Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, accounts for nine percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and almost one-third of that is estimated to come from oil and gas operations. U.S. methane emissions are projected to rise substantially without additional steps to lower them.  Several states, including North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and most recently Pennsylvania, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have also taken steps to limit venting, flaring and/or leaks.

FACT: The proposed rule would reduce emissions that worsen climate change.  BLM estimates that this rule could avoid an estimated 164,000-169,000 tons of methane emissions per year, equivalent to 4.1-4.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. This is also roughly equivalent to eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions from 860,000 – 890,000 vehicles.

FACT: The proposed rule’s benefits are projected to outweigh its costs.  Using conservative assumptions, the BLM estimates that the rule’s net benefits could range from $115 to $188 million per year.  Benefits include revenues for operators from sale of recovered natural gas and environmental benefits of reducing methane emissions and other air pollutants.

FACT: Impacts to operators are expected to be minimal.  Many oil and gas operators are voluntarily taking steps proposed in the rule to reduce wasted gas and improve operations.  The BLM estimates that the annual cost to industry of implementing the rule will be $125-161 million.  Individual, small business operators may see profit margins reduced by roughly one- tenth of one percent, on average. About 40 percent of natural gas now vented or flared from onshore Federal leases could be economically captured with currently available technologies, according to the 2010 GAO report.

FACT: The proposed rule reflects stakeholder outreach through public meetings and tribal consultations.  The BLM conducted public and tribal meetings in 2014. In addition, the proposal will now be open to a 60-day public comment period, during which the BLM will hold another series of public meetings and consult further with Tribes.  The BLM will also continue to coordinate with individual states, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, to avoid inconsistency or redundancy in regulations.

PROPOSED RULE OVERVIEW

The Mineral Leasing Act requires the BLM to ensure that operators “use all reasonable
precautions to prevent waste of oil or gas.”  Important elements of the proposed rule include:

LIMITING ROUTINE GAS FLARING

  • Currently, there is no upper limit on how much an operator can flare.  The proposal would phase in, over several years, a flaring limit per development oil well, averaged across all of the producing wells on a lease.
    • Year one limit: 7,200 thousand cubic feet (Mcf)/month/well;
    • Year two limit: 3,600 thousand cubic feet (Mcf)/month/well; and
    • Year three limit (and thereafter): 1,800 thousand cubic feet (Mcf)/month/well.
  • Estimated to affect about 16% of existing wells, which account for about 87% of gas flared.
  • Applies only to flared associated gas from production wells, not flaring from exploration or wildcat wells or during emergencies.
  • Provides an exemption if meeting the limit would cause an operator to cease production and abandon significant recoverable oil reserves under a lease.
  • Operators could comply with the proposed flaring limits by: expanding gas-capture infrastructure (e.g. installing compressors to increase pipeline capacity, or connecting wells to existing infrastructure through gathering lines); adopting alternative on-site capture technologies (e.g. compressing the natural gas or stripping out natural gas liquids and trucking the product to a gas processing plant); or temporarily slowing production at a well to minimize losses until capture infrastructure is installed.
  • Also improves disclosure of flared volumes by requiring metering when flared volumes reach 50 Mcf/day.

PRE-DRILLING PLANNING FOR GAS CAPTURE

  • Currently, there is no mechanism to better align timing of well development and pipeline installation.
  • Before drilling a development oil well, operators would need to evaluate opportunities for gas capture and prepare a waste minimization plan, which must be submitted with an Application for Permit to Drill.
  • The plan must meet various requirements, and must be shared with midstream gas capture companies to facilitate timely pipeline development, but plan details would not be enforceable elements of the permit to drill.

DETECTING LEAKS

  • The proposed rule will require operators to use an instrument-based leak detection program to find and repair leaks.  Operators could use infrared cameras or other methods approved by the BLM; smaller operators (fewer than 500 wells) could alternatively use portable analyzers assisted by audio, visual and olfactory inspection.
  • Operators would begin by inspecting twice a year.  If they consistently find few leaks, they would be allowed to inspect annually, while if they consistently find more leaks, they would be required to inspect quarterly.
  • The proposal is similar to EPA’s recent proposed rule requiring leak detection and repair for new wells and facilities, as well as leak detection and repair requirements in Colorado and Wyoming.

REDUCING VENTING

  • Except in narrowly specified circumstances, operators would be prohibited from venting natural gas.  Exceptions include emergencies and venting from certain equipment subject to proposed limits.
  • Operators would have to replace all “high bleed” pneumatic controllers with “low bleed” controllers within one year in most instances, tracking requirements in Colorado and Wyoming.
  • Operators would generally have to replace certain pneumatic pumps with solar pumps, if adequate for the function, or route the pumps to a flare (if one is available on-site), similar to Wyoming and proposed EPA requirements for new and/or existing pumps.
  • Within six months of rule’s effective date, operators would have to capture or flare gas from storage tanks that vent more than six tons of volatile organic compounds (Volatile Organic Compounds)/year.  This is expected to affect fewer than 300 tanks and is similar to EPA requirements for new tanks and Colorado and Wyoming requirements for new and existing tanks.
  • Operators of new wells (drilled after rule’s effective date) would generally not be allowed to purge those wells into the atmosphere; and operators unloading liquids from existing wells would be required to use best management practices.
  • Operators would be required to capture, flare, use, or re-inject gas released during well completions.  This would affect only conventional well completions, assuming that EPA finalizes its proposed rule for all hydraulically fractured well completions and recompletions.

CLARIFYING AND REVISING ROYALTY RATES

  • The proposal revises existing royalty provisions for onshore oil and gas leases to specify a royalty rate at or above 12.5 percent for new competitive leases, consistent with the statutory authority in the Mineral Leasing Act.
  • This modifies the existing regulation, which sets the rate at 12.5 percent and leaves the BLM no discretion to raise the rate as conditions change.
  • The proposal responds to findings and recommendations in audits from the Government Accountability Office and Department of Interior Office of Inspector General.
  • The BLM does not currently propose to raise royalty rates for new competitive leases.
  • The proposed rule also clarifies that royalties would apply only to gas flared from wells already connected to gas capture infrastructure. This reduces burden on operators to submit applications for approval to flare royalty-free.

Exxon’s inconvenient truth

This Guest Opinion first appeared in the Times-Call (FRL)

Back in the day when Exxon was just a gigantic oil company, before its merger with Mobil, Exxon had its own inconvenient truth. Based on investigation by Inside Climate News (ICN) as well as research by the Los Angeles Times in conjunction with a project at Columbia University, in the late 1970s and early 1980s Exxon scientists conducted pioneering research on climate change.

The ICN article is the basis for the following. In July 1977, James Black, one of Exxon’s senior scientists, gave a sobering report. From a written version he recorded later, Black said: “In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.”

In 1978, Black gave an updated report to a larger audience of Exxon scientists and managers. According to a written summary of his talk, Black warned: “Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.” Among other things, Black also predicted that rainfall might get heavier in some regions, and other places might turn to desert. In the written summary of his 1978 talk Black said: “Some countries would benefit but others would have their agricultural output reduced or destroyed.”

In 1982, Exxon developed a primer on climate change and carbon dioxide. Again, from ICN: Marked “not to be distributed externally,” it contained information that “has been given wide circulation to Exxon management.” In it, the company recognized, despite the many lingering unknowns, that heading off global warming “would require major reductions in fossil fuel combustion.” The ICN article continued: Unless that happened, “there are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered,” the primer said, citing independent experts. “Once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible.”

Exxon continued with its climate change research, an issue that posed an existential threat to its oil business, until the late 1980s. Exxon scientists even were permitted to publish at least three peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals on their ground breaking research.

Unfortunately, in the late 1980s Exxon shifted tactics to stressing the uncertainty of research into the greenhouse effect. This change apparently was due to financial considerations and was not based on any research challenging its previous findings. Since then, Exxon and climate-change deniers have been successful in preventing effective action on this issue. We have lost 20 to 25 years when steps could have been taken, and now the window for alleviating the worse effects is much smaller. Every year we delay taking effective action means that future actions will have to be much more draconian or the effects of climate change will be far worse.

It appears as if nothing very constructive will be achieved during the current talks in Paris. The fossil fuel industry still has sufficient clout to stop effective action. Distressingly, the U.S. is pushing voluntary national reductions. There would be no requirements since each nation does what it wants when it wants. On top of that, there would be no enforcement mechanism to hold a nation to its commitment.

Talk about perversion— the worse climate change impacts will initially be experienced by those nations that had little to do with causing climate change. The U.S., a key contributor to the increase in greenhouse gases, will generally initially suffer lesser impacts. Coming generations, including the young children and grandchildren of today, who have had no role in causing climate change, will face the greatest suffering. Those generations aren’t going to think kindly towards us and our lack of action.

Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics who lives in Longmont.

I Think They’ve Peaked…

Eat shit!

Sometimes you can only say it so nicely.

Well, once again the cowards are getting their asses handed to them.

I watch the right wing online and one particular site spewed the most ridiculous lies and distortions for months, hammering away at the recall backers. The anti-union rhetoric was disgusting, especially in the state that hosted the Ludlow Massacre. Feh. The “thugs” in CO have already clearly identified themselves.

Here’s what Westword said about them:

Political Blog Colorado Peak Politics is Denver’s Best Political Blog.

Because of the secret-secret nature of this blog, it’s not entirely clear where it’s based.

Golly.

Why are right wingers in Colorado such scaredy-cats? Too afraid to put their name on their work? Or just unwilling to admit who’s pulling their strings? It’s very obvious that there’s fundy money and oil money at work.

Also, to those who whine about FRL censoring ‘opposing views.’ Bullshit. I’ve posted comments that were CIVIL. The rules are simple. The people bitching are just louts that want to make FRL a cesspool like the Times-Call’s virtually-unmoderated comments. When the hero behind Not So Bonita fesses up, then, maybe they can post comments here. Till then, to hades with them.

As for this wingnut echo-chamber, I don’t see ANYWHERE to comment. What courage.
Update, LOL, they’ve turned on comments apparently. Not a lot of folks agreeing with them.

Obviously they’re not interested in what anyone has to say.

And it seems to run both ways, based on the election results.

Big Kisses kids.

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.