Tag Archive for Firestone

Foote raises $15,000 in 5 weeks

In the five weeks since he Mike Foote announced his candidacy for Colorado House District 12, Foote reports that he’s accepted a record total of $15,589 in contributions and that the donations are the most ever raised in a single quarter by any HD-12 candidate.

Pending approval from the Colorado Supreme Court after the recent state house and state senate boundaries reapportionment, House District 12 is in east Boulder and southwest Weld counties. It includes portions of Longmont, the entire cities of Louisville, Erie, Dacono, Firestone, and Frederick and half of Lafayette.

“It’s exciting to see such an outpouring of support,” said Foote, a Lafayette Democrat. “We’ve worked hard to spread our positive and progressive message over the last month. I’m humbled by the reaction.”

Foote is a deputy district attorney with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office. He has prosecuted major white-collar and other criminal cases, winning justice for victims of embezzlement fraud, Ponzi schemes, arson and other violent crimes.

“Public service is about solving problems, and voters appreciate someone who will work hard and effectively every single day to address the important issues facing our state,” Foote said in his press release.

Foote also reported $12,410 cash on hand and $2,579 in expenditures for the quarter ending September 30th. More information on Foote can be found at www.mikefoote.org

IGA with Firestone ill-advised

Presentation to Longmont City Council, May 24, 2011:

What's the secret THIS time?

They say that the “devil is in the details.” But sometimes the devil is in statements so broad that you can drive a Mack truck through them. Such is the case with the Intergovernmental Agreement between Longmont and Firestone .

I’m not so naïve as to believe that this isn’t already a done deal. After all, staff is recommending it and it is to appear on Firestone’s Agenda two days from today. This is a prime example of the need for much more transparency in negotiations. While there is certainly time for an Open Records Request between now and the Public Hearing, I can’t help but wonder how many staff emails and notes would be declined public access as “work product.” And while I have no knowledge about the final vote count on this, there is no doubt that there are already four pre-determined “yes” votes or the item would not have been advanced to first reading. Guess which four I’m referring to.

Sections 3.0 and 8.0 set forth notification requirements, but lo and behold there’s no substantive penalty for failure. Both state that failure to comply with notice requirements will not invalidate the subject annexations, zoning or subdividing of any parcel of land located within the Union-St. Vrain Planning Area established by this Agreement. And Section 10.0 states that “each Party expressly waives any right to claim against the other Party any damages for any breach or violation of this Agreement.”

Section 6.0: “Firestone and Longmont agree to cooperate with each other to the extent possible (and
with respective special districts) in planning for construction for future utilities, including
but not limited to water and sewer lines, which are reasonably necessary to serve future
development within their own borders…”

Does the public know that within days of LifeBridge withdrawing its Longmont annexation request that a member of the Water Board asked staff to investigate the possibility of selling Longmont water to LifeBridge, fully expecting some kind of development to still occur? It’s in the record.

And then there’s County Road 26. Longmont was all set to give away a portion of the Hernor Open Space to LifeBridge for the realignment of CR26. Better to forfeit open space than require LifeBridge to align the road using some its property. Let Longmont pay. Socialize losses; privatize profits.

Section 4.3: “Firestone and Longmont agree to cooperate on a road alignment and design necessary to accommodate the reservoir expansion and other land uses adjacent to the roadway alignment.”
Translation = the giveaway is at a minimum “back on the table” if not quietly agreed to out of view of the public.

The foregoing is not exhaustive, but it’s more than enough to 1) send staff back to the drawing board or 2) scrap any IGA with Firestone altogether.

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The Intergovernmental Agreement between Longmont and Firestone was advanced to Public Hearing and Second Reading on a 5/2 vote with Council Members Hansen and McCoy dissenting.

Rail Park in Longmont: $$$ LifeBridge

Address to Longmont City Council, January 11, 2011:

You have before you tonight a City Council Communication on a Rail-Served Industrial Business Park. While portions of this communication are not inaccurate, they are far from the full and true story.

City staff is promoting the use of properties south, southwest and southeast of Union Reservoir for use as a massive, several hundred acre industrial park served by a rail line. Much of the property in question was purchased by LifeBridge Church and/or its elders and high-ranking members.

The collapse of the residential and commercial markets have left LifeBridge and company with near-dead options for their land speculations on our eastern border. Apparently some members of city council and like-minded members of city staff now think that a Rail-Served Industrial Park is an excellent idea to get LifeBridge’s fat out of the fire.

Parcels identified as being owned by the Highway 119 Holdings LLC are true on their face, but they are at the very least misleading. Highway 119 Holdings LLC is an entity established by Church Development Fund to “hold” the properties it acquired from LifeBridge as deeds in lieu of foreclosure. Let me repeat that: DEEDS IN LIEU OF FORECLOSURE.

The Times-Call wrote an article almost a year ago about the LifeBridge Church and its properties both off Highway 66 and in southwest Weld County. As water carriers for LifeBridge, the Lehmans framed this as something other than deeds in lieu of foreclosure. WRONG. For those like me who have taken the time to read and analyze the Prospectus available to Church Development Fund investors, it is in black and white. These properties were taken to avoid legal foreclosure and to refinance the mortgages on the existing church and adjoining properties. The Fund will be holding them until such time as LifeBridge or others can make money and expand Dominionism.

Beyond this, Union Reservoir and its vicinity is a unique Longmont geographical and topographical feature. It is valued by the community for its environmental and wildlife character and its low impact recreational opportunities.

Please — Knock it off. I’ll be darned if I want to see this community that I now call home and expect to call home for the remainder of my life denigrate its unique resources for the sake of speculators making money.
And while we’re at it, show us the work product of the Firestone/Longmont Intergovernmental Agreement. Much of the property identified is either officially annexed into Firestone or is on target to be official. Pull back that curtain now and show the public what’s going on behind it.

If you can demonstrate that the market will support an industrial rail park in Longmont, by all means consider it. But do it for the right reasons. You have other land options. Focus on those and leave the area around the Union Reservoir alone.

Longmont power brokers launch perpetual electioneering

Same hammer, different beat(down)

Longmont has, for decades, been governed in the interest of a few select individuals and companies. This long-standing oligarchy remained successfully unchallenged and comfortable until the fall of 2007.

The first hint of trouble for these power brokers occurred when the citizens of Longmont rose up against the annexation of the LifeBridge 350-acre project south of Union Reservoir. A petition for a referendum to reverse a Longmont City Council ordinance had never before been successful, so it was not initially taken seriously. But the signature-gathering effort produced almost one-third more signatures than were required to place the matter before the voters in a special election.

On the heels of this success, the citizens of Longmont elected a council majority with a view to a different future.

When the new majority took legislative and legal action to block Firelight Park and the LifeBridge project from annexation into Firestone, all-out war was declared on what they referred to as the Benker Bloc (after former City Council member Karen Benker) or the Bloc of Four. These properties and developments were owned by members of city power brokers, chiefly developers and real estate special interests, many of whom are also members of LifeBridge Christian Church.

From that point forward there was a fierce determination to reclaim Longmont for the interests of the few, rather than the many. The rhetoric talked about “taking back Longmont.” The current mayor’s wife Stephanie Baum even had a blog with that name.

The first front in this war was the Longmont Times-Call. The conservative politics of the Times-Call has never been a secret. (See “Is there a bias? You tell me.”)

Out of hours of council discussion on a variety of topics, the Times-Call published a constant drumbeat of strategically chosen topics prominently placed above the fold with headlines chosen for their negative implications. Quotes within articles continued its derogatory objectives, and slanted coverage was given to positions that the paper opposed.

Letters to the editor were selectively placed to enhance the political position of the Times-Call and of those in the community and on council that it supported. Opinions of the community were further manipulated by the timing of OpEds solicited and printed.

The Times-Call hammered mercilessly on the “Benker” council.

After the November 2008 Democratic mandate at the national level, conservatives recognized that they could be headed for a permanent minority. At the local level, the heavy artillery appeared from both within and outside Colorado targeting the swing community of Longmont.

Operatives and their money came from D.C./Virginia, Montana, and from the Tom DeLay organization, Coalition for a Conservative Majority, who made no secret of its focus and targeting.

Scott Gessler, Republican candidate for Secretary of State, manufactured a lawsuit against the city and its Fair Campaign Practices Act. The LFCPA established sensible contribution limits and provided for greater transparency and disclosure. Only 19 words were struck from the Act because of the court’s temporary restraining order.

The Times-Call created a political improvised explosive device of its own with its court challenge of council executive sessions for legal advice on the annexation lawsuits—knowing full well that council actions were legitimate.

These strategies and tactics were very effective in agitating the public.

Rabidly anti-environmental and property rights absolutist organizations like Western Tradition Partnership (WTP) and Coloradans for Economic Growth bankrolled the attack campaigns during the 2009 election season. The winning candidates claim they had neither connection with, nor knowledge of, the activities of the WTP front organization Longmont Leadership Committee. If you believe that, then I have some beachfront property along the Gulf coast you might like to see.

Upon election, the new majority needed no other votes than their own to force settlements of these lawsuits, effectively using taxpayer dollars to reimburse campaign activities that placed them in office. The $182,000 dispersed to their endorsers to “settle” the lawsuits give a whole new meaning to publicly-funded campaigns. ($100,000 to LifeBridge/Firestone, $68,500 to the Longmont Realtors Association and Western Tradition Partnership plaintiffs and concealed donors, and $13,500 to the Times-Call.)

The incredible irony is that Mayor Baum and his troops have claimed and continue to claim that citizens’ free speech rights have been violated by the LFCPA. Given the content of the mailers that Longmont voters received from Longmont Leadership, that would be humorous if it weren’t so deplorable. The new majority has voted to dismantle the portions of the Longmont Fair Campaign Practices Act that provide for the most transparency, accountability and enforcement that is free from political influence.

The new council and those it represents want opposing speech squelched. They floated a balloon that popped when they sought to limit and rearrange the timing of the Public Invited to be Heard section of council meetings.

However, the best way to silence opposing voices is to remove them altogether from the council where their views receive a weekly airing. And that’s exactly the objective. The remaining three council members have been targeted for extinction. Sarah Levison received the opening shot across the election bow by blogger Wrongmont Rodriguez in the Times-Call on May 22nd.

The objectives, the strategies, the tactics are now exposed. This cat is out of the bag! The community will no longer stand for a repeat of the politically deplorable behavior from the take-back-Longmont crowd that has occurred since the 2007 election. Elections do, indeed, have consequences.