We are learning that the majority of our City Council members differ from the leaders of the recent past. Leona Stoecker, Julia Pirnack and Roger Lange were conservatives in the traditional meaning of the word. They were moderate, prudent stewards of our community. They also were well informed. I did not always agree with them, but I respected them.
In contrast, our current majority is radical and does not appear to be well-informed. For example, the majority voted to end the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, despite the fact a task force had recommended a moratorium to study possible reforms and the minority on the council urged that the ordinance be revised, not summarily ended. The mayor implied the ordinance had never been effective and said it isn’t fair to developers. Councilwoman Witt compared the ordinance to a failed recipe that should be scrapped. Councilman Sammoury suggested a new committee composed of bankers, developers, two council representatives and staff members to figure out what should replace the ordinance. The discussion revealed large gaps in basic information, but the majority, which included Councilman Santos, charged ahead to vote.
The ordinance was adopted more than 15 years ago under Mayor Stoecker and revised under succeeding mayors. It was one part of a housing policy designed to encourage a housing stock that meets the needs of the people who live and work here. The Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance was intended to ensure that people such as firefighters and teachers who work in Longmont could buy a home here and that these homes not be segregated in one part of the city.
It is truly radical to scrap one part of a housing program that has contributed so much to the quality of life in our city. Conservatives reform. Radicals tear things up by the roots.