News

Time’s Up – NEXT

Wow. Mayor Baum simply does not like being criticized. Ever. At all.

Here’s the full remarks of the citizen who was so brusquely cut off:

My name is Judy Lubow, and I live at 106 Granada Court in Longmont. I’d like to comment on 3 topics so forgive me for speaking very quickly.

I am very concerned about the fate of Longmont’s Election Committee and the entire Fair Campaign Practices Act. Recent 4 to 3 votes of Council gutted the City’s defense of the Act in the lawsuit brought against it, and also raised the possibility of alternative roles – or no roles – for the Election Committee. It seems to me these votes indicate an objection on the part of the conservative Council majority to the very concept and goals of the Fair Campaign Act and the Election Committee. These goals are to fairly regulate the amount of money spent on political campaigns, and to make sure the campaigns are run according to fair and transparent reporting rules.

Personally, I believe the great majority of American people are heartily sick of the huge, wasteful and corrupting sums that are presently being spent on political campaigns. I believe our citizens want campaign finance limits such as those found in Longmont’s Act. I urge all members of Council to respect this longing for real reform, and support both the Campaign Act and the Election Committee.

The next comment concerns the proposed permit for Heaven Fest to hold a mega-festival, drawing tens of thousands of people to the Union Reservoir. It is my understanding that the City will only be charging the promoters a paltry $50 for the right to hold what amounts to be a 2 week event at the Reservoir – if you include the proposed set up and tear down time. I wonder: do any of you have any idea how much a commercial venue would charge for such an event? I have been finding out. So far, I have only been able to talk with the Red Rocks Amphitheater staff. Red Rocks would charge 11% of the entire gross, and would do that for merely a single concert of less than 10,000 people, and only for a one day rental. In other words, our city is giving away our Reservoir to the Heaven Fest operators for basically nothing, while commercial venues would be charging tens of thousands of dollars more – if not hundreds of thousands, for an equivalent mega event. That means, our city taxpayers are essentially subsidizing this event for a huge amount of money. I don’t think that’s right.

Lastly, I was distressed when, at last week’s council meeting, our Mayor castigated a member of the public who had a different opinion than the Mayor about solar energy rebates. Certainly, people can have differing opinions. But the mayor – a public official in his official capacity – should not be browbeating a citizen for having different views, and certainly should not be advising a commenter to move out of the City. In my opinion, such treatment was beneath the dignity required of the office and, hopefully, will never be repeated.

Long Ol’ Row to Hoe

It’s been a long row ta’ Hoe, Now,

From Ducktown to Longmont

& I pray there’s still More yet to come.

I been pushin’ this Plow over hard, stony Ground

Tryin’ ta plant Y’all some Trees an’ some Flowers

‘n’ I’ve seen many cold Dawns

and strode mostly Alone

While I worshipped the Sun an’ the Snow

‘n’ I’ve carried the Story of All I’ve encountered,

& I’m tryin’ ta make sense of it All.

SomeOne gave me a Mission

I been tryin’ ta be True to

As I Plowed every step of the Way –

Yet, my Guides have been scattered

Wearin’ many Disguises

While I’d listen to what they might Say.

SOME spoke Backwards — Some Frontwards

Some Screamed and then Cursed

First at Me then at That which I Love

But I’ve searched for the Meaning

In Whatall I’ve Encountered

As an oft-Cryptic Sign

From Above.

Now, Confusions ha’ plagued me

Many Dangers waylaid me

As I ran up this crooked ol’ Trail

I keep getting’ back Up

From th’ Swamp an’ th’ Muck

Prayin’ Someone might Stand for my Bail.

But the Night has been Long

Stifled many a Song

That my Heart has been longing to hear –

‘n’ I try even now, though I still ain’t learned how

to dispel that Ol’ Demon — my FEAR.

And He keeps right on Lurking —

Crushing all of my Working

For Love Beauty Justice

And Truth.

So my Path kep’ on Windin’

To Escape the Confining

Prison Walls which have Stolen my Youth.

& I Run up the Mountain

shout my NAME to the Stars

then return to my hovel a l o n e

Knowing NOTHING is Promised

but to DO What I Came For

and to Stand up an’ Sing You

My SONG.

Strider © 1/17/2008

Why I am Opposed to the Heaven fest Music Festival at Union Reservoir

I’m a resident who appreciates Longmont’s small town, quiet atmosphere. I don’t relish my town becoming the site of an annual, multi-day, large scale rock concert, with all the noise, congestion, environmental degradation, traffic jams and inconvenience that it would entail.

I don’t think this event should be a “done deal”, in spite of the gushing enthusiasm expressed for it on the part of one of the local newspapers, some local business groups,  and many of the conservative members of the City Council.   I’m worried that the City hasn’t even asked the threshold question about such an event: do Longmont citizens really want our town – and sensitive public lands – being taken over by 50,000 people for a huge, loud, multi-day event?  This isn’t being touted as a one time event.  The promoters openly say they are looking for a permanent home, to have the event come back year after year, hopefully gaining in size each year.  On their website, the Heaven Fest promoters say that the event has basically doubled in attendance each year.  So what does that mean: next year’s attendance will be 100,000 concert goers?  Our town is only approximately 88,000 people-strong.  We’ll be swamped by such huge numbers of people.  I say the initial 50,000 applied for is too much.  I’d prefer to stop it before it starts, before it becomes entrenched.  Personally, I wouldn’t be happy to see other huge events come here either – such as the Kinetics Conveyance Race which apparently is no longer welcome in Boulder.  In my opinion such huge events belong in stadiums, not small town scenic reservoirs.

The Heaven Fest promoters have been talking to City staff for several months about using the Union Reservoir as their concert venue, even though the Reservoir is a sensitive wildlife area.  It doesn’t appear that City staff as of yet have raised a peep of an objection to the Reservoir usage.  The Reservoir is a wetlands area that provides foraging, nesting, migration or general habitat usage for bald eagles, great blue herons, ducks, geese, pelicans, pheasants, white-tailed deer, raptors, songbirds, shorebirds, coyote, fox, raccoons, etc.  In spite of this sensitive ecosystem, the Heaven Fest promoters want to use this or adjoining open space land for campers, RVs, massive parking, 7 stages, multiple events, and numerous vendors.   And they want this ecosystem to be subjected to a deluge of 50,000 people in a two day period, with build-up and tear-down for the event expected to last an additional ten days.  Our Reservoir was never intended to be subjected to such an onslaught.

It doesn’t appear that the City is taking its own permit ordinances into account, in its haste to get its hands on hoped for – but unsubstantiated – claims of revenues.  The Longmont Municipal Code sets very high standards before a public use permit involving the public lands can be issued.  Chapter 13.37 says that the City Clerk shall not issue a special use permit if any of a variety of problematic conditions would be found to occur.  These supposedly deal-breaking conditions include a finding that the event would unreasonably obstruct public access; or would generate unreasonable noise; or would bring a crowd so large as to threaten the public peace; or would be likely to result in excessive damage to the property in light of that property’s prior usage or current condition; or would conflict with the scheduled use of the property.

In my opinion, a fair analysis of Heaven Fest’s request for a two day loud noise permit, to accommodate 50,000 concert goers, parking for 15,000 vehicles, the use of 7 stages, several nights of mass overnight camping, plus an extended ten day preparation/dismantling process, would show that all of the above conditions would be violated at the Reservoir.  If reasonably obeyed, our City Code would not tolerate the issuance of a permit for this event.

I support the spirit and intent of the City Code, and say: “Keep Union Reservoir Wild.”  Just say no to huge events like the proposed Heaven Fest concert.

Letter to the Editor – Firestone Lawsuit

The Longmont City Council recently voted to initiate settlement discussions in its lawsuit against the Town of Firestone. The Firestone lawsuit was and is a hot-button political issue for many people in Longmont.  It concerns Longmont’s willingness to contest the proposed development plans of the Life Bridge Church on property annexed by Firestone, which is so near to the Union Reservoir.

Many folks are disappointed by Council’s settlement decision because we continue to be worried about the impacts of the proposed LifeBridge development on quality of life in Longmont.  For example:

  • The planned Life Bridge development is putting Longmont’s eastern boundary  at risk of being swallowed up into undifferentiated urban sprawl.
  • The planned Life Bridge development would put the equivalent of a new town right on the edge of Longmont’s eastern border.
  • Longmont has a very substantial financial investment in the Union Reservoir and surrounding properties – almost $75 million dollars.  This huge public investment would be negatively impacted by the Life Bridge development and by Longmont’s loss of control over what happens around its properties.
  • The sensitive environmental ecosystem in and around Union Reservoir would be seriously compromised by a development the size of Life Bridge.  This at-risk ecosystem includes bald eagle plus migratory bird habitat.

I am not surprised that the newly elected City council – which now is controlled by a majority of four conservative members who are very pro-development – would vote to settle the Firestone lawsuit rather than proceed with it.  That doesn’t mean that we folks who were concerned with the Life Bridge mega-development are any happier with it.  We will be following the settlement negotiations and continue to make our opinions heard.  The issue isn’t over – it is too important to forget.

Be Alive ad campaign funds misused? 12-20-09

Be Alive in Longmont, a contractor to the City of Longmont, received City taxpayer funds to advertise a partisan ad on December 20, 2009, in the Longmont Ledger and possibly in other media venues.

I find the fact that City taxpayer money has been used to pay for an advertisement extolling the virtues of a partisan politician, who happens to be our present Mayor, Mr. Baum, is personally offensive. In addition, I believe it is also an unethical use of taxpayer funds for political purposes, even if that was not the intention of the ad. The City has just come out of a rather ugly political campaign in which Mr. Baum was a candidate. Why is the City spending its limited funds to advertise to the public the virtues of a politician in that campaign, or any politician? It’s not an ad that says that the Mayor is doing his job as a Mayor. No, it’s an ad saying what an exceptional guy he is, a (quote) “community pillar with generations of support” and other personal superlatives. The Mayor’s campaign manager couldn’t have spun it any better, and our tax dollars should not be used to further any politician’s career. At the very least, it creates the appearance of impropriety and is unacceptable on that basis alone.

Furthermore, the ad uses our taxpayer dollars to say that Mayor Baum takes his family to two particularly named Longmont restaurants. So, now our taxpayer money is not only favoring a particular politician, it is also favoring two out of the dozens of great restaurants that exist in Longmont. Again, the misappropriation of taxpayer funds for biased purposes, unacceptably favoring certain Longmont businesses over others, is reprehensible.

I don’t believe the City could, on its own, use City funds to run such a biased and inappropriate advertisement. I certainly don’t think the City can avoid responsibility for this ethical lapse merely by running the money through a contractor. I have never heard of either the federal or the state governments running ads saying what a great person the present incumbent was, and I don’t think the City government has any greater right to do this than the other branches of government

For all the above reasons, I urge the City’s Attorney’s Office to investigate the use of taxpayer funds for this inappropriate ad. Further, I think the moral murkiness surrounding this ad provides a valuable insight into why Longmont’s Fair Campaigns Election Committee should be maintained and strengthened. As our Founding Fathers knew so well when they created our Constitution, politics – and power – brings out the worst in people, in everyone. I believe we need all the help we can get in making sure Longmont’s campaigns are fair and above-board.

Comments to Council 1-5-10

We’ve hearing in the newspaper about the proposed Heaven Fest Christian music concert which – if a City permit will be granted – will be held at the City’s Union Reservoir this July.  Unfortunately, we’ve only been given the rose-colored, glowing “good” side of the story.   As a citizen of Longmont, I am concerned about the potential negative consequences of permitting this event to go forward – or others like it – without a fair and adequate analysis being done of the actual costs and benefits to the City.

Think of it -Heaven Fest is promoting on its website that it will have room this year for more than 50,000 concert goers.  A concert of this magnitude – 50,000 concert goers – would attract to our small city for a multi-day event, a clientele whose population would almost double the population of our City.  This is no small matter – it is huge.  I am very concerned that our City is rushing into this permitting process, without having given enough thought to the potential negative consequences.

For instance, has anybody in the City contacted the City of Boulder and found out why the Kinetics Races, which had been held in Boulder and had attracted huge crowds similar to those expected by Heaven Fest – was no longer happening in Boulder?   Has anybody found out what the actual costs of the Kinetics Races were to the City of Boulder, such as the police, cleanup, or power-related expenses, as well as finding out what the quality-of-life and environmental impacts had been?  Similarly, has anybody from the City of Longmont gotten an opinion from the Division of Wildlife or other bona fide wildlife expert, concerning what the possible negative effects on wildlife and plant life might be, of placing such a huge amount of people into the environmentally-sensitive Reservoir?

These are serious questions – and I don’t think they have been adequately analyzed yet.  Even larger questions than these, I believe are not being addressed.   These are: do the citizens of our small town really want to be deluged by crowds as large as those expected at Heaven Fest, and do they really want our recreation areas to be turned over to huge commercial ventures?  I, personally, have serious reservations about these kind of ventures being held on our public lands, and I imagine others do to.  Yet such concerns are not even being mentioned, much less being addressed.

So I urge Council and the City to slow down the freight train here, and give much more adequate consideration to whether the huge Heaven Fest event is an appropriate event for our City.  I am not convinced that it is.

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.

Left Hand Hosts Haiti Fundraiser

Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing Company will host a fundraiser to raise money for the victims in Haiti.

“Left Hand for Haiti” will take place on Jan. 21, 5-8pm, at the Left Hand Tasting Room. The event will include a live band, food, a silent auction, a representative from local nonprofit “Colorado Haiti Project” and, of course, beer.

All donations, funds from the silent auction, tips for the band and $1-per-pint sold will go directly to the Louisville-based Colorado Haiti Project, which has given aid in Haiti for more than 20 years.

For information on Left Hand, visit lefthandbrewing.com or call 303.772.0258. For info on the Colorado Haiti Project, visit coloradohaitiproject.org.

January 2010 Yellow Scene

Foxymoron

From the Daily Camera Letters online:

Fair and balanced?

Yeah, right

My wife and I watched 60 Minutes with interest last Sunday to discover that Sarah Palin had to ask Joe Biden if she could call him Joe at the vice-presidential debates so she wouldn’t make the mistake of confusing his last name with Obama’s. She ended up calling him O’Biden anyway.

However strange that was, your story in Monday’s paper topped it. Fox News hired Sarah Palin as a political commentator and analyst. Her response? “It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news.” Fox News fair and balanced? Now that’s an oxymoron.

And Sarah Palin as a Fox political analyst? That’s even better, my wife said. That`s a Foxymoron!

RON SMARON
Boulder

Ice Rink expects profit in 2010

From the Times Call:

Longmont ice rink expects 11.5 percent profit from 2009

By Scott Rochat
© 2010 Longmont Times-Call

LONGMONT — The Longmont Ice Pavilion is becoming a moneymaker for the city.

According to preliminary 2009 numbers (which don’t become final until March), the ice rink took in $146,956 during the year while spending $131,752. That comes to $15,204 of revenue, or roughly an 11.5 percent gain.

“It was just awesome,” said city recreation manager Jeff Friesner.

“This is becoming the place to be in the wintertime,” agreed Mark Mann, who manages the ice rink.

The 2009 figures reflect the last half of the 2008-09 skating season and the first half of the 2009-10 season. The season ends March 14.

The news is a welcome turnaround for a rink that once was on the chopping block. In October 2007, the Longmont City Council cut the rink from the budget due to its operating costs; at the time, the ice pavilion was making back no more than 60 percent of its expenses.

A new council gave the rink a second chance that December. Skaters didn’t take long to make the most of it. The rink broke even in 2008 and drew an estimated 21,000 people to the ice for the 2008-09 season.

“I would comfortably say we’ll easily surpass that figure,” Friesner said of this season’s expected attendance.

Read the rest at the Times Call

Heaven Fest not popular with neighbors

Officials, neighbors talk about 2 previous Heaven Fest events

Event could bring 30,000 people to Longmont

By Rachel Carter
© 2010 Longmont Times-Call

BRIGHTON — John Jukkola is happy Heaven Fest won’t be in his back yard this summer.

And he doesn’t want to see the Christian music festival return.

“I’m glad they’re gone, and I hope they don’t come back, but Longmont needs to know what they’re in for,” Jukkola said Tuesday afternoon in his shop on his 60-acre property on Weld County Road 4, about a mile north of the field where Heaven Fest was held the past two years.

Read the rest at the Times-Call

Cognitive Dissonance Overload

One of the anonymously insane commenters at the TC blurted this out:

mfrede, sorry that you don’t get it. We have to rescue progress from the so-called progressives. We need a liberal, not a libertarian, social order with deeper values than material advances. Your idea all pre-existing traditions or values are by definition just so much unprogressive baggage is as philistine as it is laughable. Pseudo progressives pose danger of fanaticism, authoritarianism, abuse of power, exploitation or abuse of the old and the young, corruption, rigged elections and harm to minorities. In our confused discourse, some people who embody these very threats have disguised themselves as liberals. Their deep intolerance and intimidatory techniques in pursuit of license and power must be resisted in the interests of preserving a decent, fair and free society. That is why I am a progressive.

Wrangler, Longmont, 1/15/2010 12:21 AM

This is so twisted up logically it hurts to read.

The person behind this pseudonym should really seek psychiatric help immediately… obvious loss of connection to reality.

I mean, this person is so spooky they should be required to wear a yellow shirt with thick black diagonal stripes at all types to indicate ‘hazard’.

Anyone this mentally disrupted shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

laughing

Here comes the Baum Squad!

The Baum Squad

The new Longmont City Council is sworn in – and at. These are images from Flickr.com and may take up to thirty seconds to load. Please wait.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157622668572919″]

A few educational notes about public photography

The following is from Petapixel and is the text of a reference on photographers rights. If you’d like to submit a photo to Free Range Longmont, please be sure these rules have been observed:

  1. You can make a photograph of anything and anyone on any public property, except where a specific law prohibits it. i.e. streets, sidewalks, town squares, parks, government buildings open to the public, and public libraries.
  2. You may shoot on private property if it is open to the public, but you are obligated to stop if the owner requests it. i.e. malls, retail stores, restaurants, banks, and office building lobbies.
  3. Private property owners can prevent photography ON their property, but not photography OF their property from a public location.
  4. Anyone can be photographed without consent when they are in a public place unless there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. i.e. private homes, restrooms, dressing rooms, medical facilities, and phone booths.
  5. Despite common misconceptions, the following subjects are almost always permissible:
    • accidents, fire scenes, criminal activities
    • children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
    • bridges, infrastructure, transportation facilities
    • residential, commercial, and industrial buildings
  6. Security is rarely an acceptable reason for restricting photography. Photographing from a public place cannot infringe on trade secrets, nor is it terrorist activity.
  7. Private parties cannot detain you against your will unless a serious crime was committed in their presence. Those that do so may be subject to criminal and civil charges.
  8. It is a crime for someone to threaten injury, detention, confiscation, or arrest because you are making photographs.
  9. You are not obligated to provide your identity or reason for photographing unless questioned by a law enforcement officer and state law requires it.
  10. Private parties have no right to confiscate your equipment without a court order. Even law enforcement officers must obtain one unless making an arrest. No one can force you to delete photos you have made.

These are general guidelines regarding the right to make photos and should not be interpreted as legal advice. If you need legal help, please contact a lawyer.


Here’s a few more good references on photographer’s rights:

The Photographer’s Right by Bert P. Krages II, attorney at law. PDF Pocket Ref.

Photography & the First Amendment

Know Your Rights: Photographers

The Anti-Solar Mayor

Video from Longmont City Council Open Forum January 12th, 2010. Listen to our new mayor’s remarks to a citizen asking for reconsideration of the solar tax credit.

Unbelievable.