Tag Archive for American Legislative Exchange Council

How did we get here?

Our country is being hijacked right in front of us.

Our homes and safety are being hijacked

How did we get here?   As a nation, a state, a community, how did we get here?

How did we lose so much of our humanity that we would by word and deed and law allow the profit of the few to trump the genuine needs of the many?

How did we get to the point where our President listens to an industry and apparently accepts their lies, their propaganda, or perhaps just doesn’t want to be crosswise with it and those with whom it has sway during an election year?

How did we get to the point where our Colorado legislature allows an industry to write legislation with the likely help of organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council?  I ponder the word “exchange” in its name.  In exchange for what?

How did we get to the point where our governor, elected to represent all of the people, runs interference against communities who DO want to protect the health, safety and welfare of their citizens?

How did we get to the point where our Attorney General in collusion with the oil and gas industry threatens legal action against communities who dare to seek to preserve our quality of life, paramount of which is our health?  Do you know that the oil and gas industry has threatened to bankrupt communities who don’t fall in line?  It will not surprise me when they try to do the same to Longmont, even in the face very tepid regulations.

How did we get to the point where members of our own city council value business above all else?

When did we lose our humanity?

Longmont’s ALEC impersonators

The following address was presented to the Longmont City Council at its July 26, 2011 meeting.

ALEC

Big money crushing the little people

ALEC. No, not Alex with an X; ALEC with a C

It’s a acronym. It stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council – a secretive front group of hundreds of corporations that are investing millions of dollars a year to write business-friendly legislation at the expense of the middle class, the working class and those in poverty.

ALEC develops and distributes model bills to state elected officials, with the intent those bills be passed in as many state legislatures as possible. ALEC has drafted more than 800 model bills for state legislators, including efforts to privatize everything from schools to prisons, to weaken workers’ rights, and to make it more difficult for citizens to vote,

ALEC develops model bills in task forces where only private business interests and legislators participate. Sound familiar?

ALEC is lobbying in state capitals across the country, all while claiming to the Internal Revenue Service that they are a charitable organization. By claiming to be a charity and calling participating legislators “members,” ALEC attempts to evade disclosure of its lobbying, allows corporate members to deduct their payments as charitable contributions rather than non-deductible lobbying expenses, and does an end-run around state ethics laws.

Longmont, a local home rule municipality, doesn’t have this level of sophistication. Nonetheless, the corporate business interests in this community and in surrounding communities are engaging in very similar practices. They only need to place a phone call to a like-mined council member, schmooze at the Chamber or the Rotary, and contact sympathetic staff members. And the results are fundamental ordinance changes that remove policies that benefit the environment and the community in general and replace them with ordinances that benefit a corrupt ideology and the bank accounts of developers, realtors and all of the businesses aligned accordingly.

The Longmont City Council has:

  • Eliminated Inclusionary Zoning and, as a consequence, has damaged irreparably the city’s Affordable Housing Program and the interest of not only future participants but those of current participants.
  • Eliminated storm water provisions knowing full well, and taking pride in the fact, that the State of Colorado lacks the resources to assure compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency requirements. In some cases, these permits have been reduced from $2000 to $50. Staff and certain council members are at risk of breaking their arms as they pat themselves on the back over this one.
  • And then there are the lawsuit settlements that have transferred nearly $200,000 of taxpayer dollars into the coffers of their ideological allies – Scott Gessler, LifeBridge Church, and Dean Lehman’s Times- Call.

There are other ethical affronts, but three minutes is insufficient to name them all. It’s a crying shame that Longmont has stooped so low and joined in principle with the likes of ALEC.