Tag Archive for Longmont 2011 election

Longmont’s October Surprise

Photo by M. Douglas Wray ©2011 FreeRangeLongmont.com

Shell game?

Well, well, well, it looks like hizzoner Bryan Baum has pulled a fast one just in time for the election.  Or maybe, just maybe, the real fast one was pulled by NewMark Merrill.

NewMark Merrill (NMM) was hired by Panattoni to salvage Twin Peaks Mall.  NMM specializes in distressed properties and the mall has certainly been distressed.  NMM was supposed to pull Panattoni’s fat out of the fire.  It appears that NMM let the fat sizzle until there was nothing left to sizzle and then “signed a contract” to pick up the property at a fire sale price.

Panattoni, good shopping center free marketer that it was, bought high and had to sell low.  Actually, it would be interesting to know just who the seller is and who the buyer is in this latest iteration.  Chances are that Panattoni may be toasting champagne.  They put $8 million dollars down and likely took in sufficient revenue since July of 2007 to justify an $8 million dollar investment, at least to break even.

As to the $37 million dollar purchase price (according to insider Council Member Witt), it’s likely that Bank of America is holding the bag on this one.  And there’s likely not much money in that bag.  $8 million from Panattoni.  Perhaps another $8 million from NewMark Merrill, if the sale eventually materializes.  Golly gee.   Poor B of A.  It will have lost somewhere in the vicinity of $20 million.

If this “high finance” wasn’t pathetic, it might actually be funny.  We the American taxpayer likely subsidized that loss at least in part.  Bank of America was a big bank bailout beneficiary.  And it’s been leading the way in foreclosure fraud since the crash of 2008 by hiring paper pushes to sign off on foreclosures without reading the documents or verifying who actually held the papers to what.  There might actually be some sort of divine justice in the B of A episode – if you believe in Karma.

We’ve all heard about the fox guarding the hen house.  It seems that NewMark Merrill positioned itself to take advantage of a potential purchase just at the right time.  Barely more than two months away from formal foreclosure, NMM steps up to the plate and makes an offer – an offer that at least somebody couldn’t refuse.  NewMark Merrill came aboard the Twin Peaks Mall freight train in July 2010 and in the ensuing 15 months learned all it needed to know.  Wouldn’t you like to be in on insider trading, insider trading in commercial real estate that is.

But that’s bidness for ya.  One man’s meat is another man’s carrion.

Baum is making all kinds of back room promises to be sure.  Make no mistake about that.  It’s in his bloodstream.  Former Mayor Julia Pirnack likely did something similar in the spring and early summer of 2007.  She couldn’t keep her promises because the makeup of Longmont City Council changed.  The 2007 council took its fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Longmont seriously.  They refused to put the city on the hook for $15 million in bonding and forfeit all property taxes and 90% of sales taxes for the blighted area for 25-30 years.

If the deal actually is a deal and not just a campaign stunt as suggested by one of Baum’s backers in his/her Times-Call blog comment, I heartily recommend that the community not let its desire to see something good happen with the mall cloud its collective judgment when somebody, somehow comes knocking at city hall’s door with a hand out.

Longmont can benefit from a productive mall in a prime location, but only if it doesn’t buy a pig in a poke when it comes to a public-private partnership.  Remember, NewMark Merrill is getting the property at the cheapest possible price.  They should not need financial assistance of any kind from Longmont.

Free Range Longmont Endorses: Sean McCoy for Ward 3

A native of Longmont, Sean McCoy has a long and dedicated history of service to the community.  He learned about public service and Longmont’s concerns at the foot of his father, Tom McCoy, who served on Longmont’s City Council for 22 years.

McCoy has served on Longmont’s Planning and Zoning Commission, on Boulder County’s Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission, and currently is Longmont’s representative at the Boulder County Consortium of Cities.

Entrenched special interests have “ruled” Longmont for most of the last few decades.  Sean McCoy does not hesitate to challenge these interests.  Nor does he hesitate to challenge those segments in our community who espouse ideas that are seriously detrimental not only to the Longmont community but to Colorado and the nation.

McCoy is direct and unequivocal in his statements.  In an age where elected officials often make statements that are intended to cause listeners to interpret according to their personal interests and beliefs and obscure actual intentions, McCoy leaves no doubt as to his position on issues.  Some have denigrated this characteristic.  It should, however, be praised for both its honesty and its courage.

Disingenuous elected officials do Longmont no service.  For two years, Longmont has endured much too much of this from some members of Longmont’s city council.  Not only is it time to end this, but it is also time for more not less candor from our elected representatives.

Sean McCoy deserves to remain on Longmont’s City Council.  He has been doing his best at “keeping them honest.”

Free Range Longmont Endorses: Brian Hansen for Ward 1

Brian Hansen

It is hard to beat the ringing endorsement of Brian Hansen that was presented by Ruby Bowman.  Free Range Longmont fully agrees with everything Ms. Bowman wrote.

As Chair of Longmont’s Board of Environmental Affairs, I can attest to the exceptional value that Brian Hansen has provided to environmental issues by virtue of his doctorate in Analytical and Environmental Chemistry.  Hansen is a proud advocate for the environment at all policy levels.  He understands the ramifications not only to our quality of life but to our economy that will result from failures to address the environmental issues that threaten our future.

Hansen provided great insight and understanding during the Board of Environmental Affairs development of the “Commercial Green Points” program.  This program is based on the International Green Construction Code but allows builders and developers flexibility in meeting the programs requirements.  It is more than unfortunate that this program has not been brought before the current city council.  The existing make-up makes it all but certain that the program would be rejected.  The current majority led by Mayor Brian Baum is hostile to environmental concerns.

It should not go without saying that Brian Hansen is thoroughly prepared on all issues that come before the Longmont City Council.  Hansen challenges those organizations that have contracts with the city and does not hesitate to question their reports when information contained in those reports is suspect.

Brian Hansen is a strong protector of Longmont’s assets and deserves to be returned to City Council as the representative for Ward 1.

Free Range Longmont Endorses: Dennis Coombs for Mayor

Dennis Coombs 2011

Dennis Coombs, candidate for Longmont Mayor 2011

Longmont is badly in need of a fresh start at the helm of the city’s leadership.  It needs someone who is courteous and respectful.  It needs someone who will genuinely consider the many and varied viewpoints within our city.  It needs someone who will make decisions based upon thorough and insightful analysis.  It needs someone with a proven track record in business, and especially in small business.  It needs someone who will set the city’s agenda on the basis of the betterment of the community and not on the basis of rigid ideology.  It needs someone who is not ego-driven.  It needs someone who will keep the needs of the people and city of Longmont at the forefront.

For these reasons and many more, Longmont needs Dennis Coombs.

Our current mayor, Bryan Baum, has divided the city and inflamed passions.  It is as if he is powerless to do otherwise.  Longmont cannot tolerate another two years of more of the same.

It’s time for a change.  It’s time for true leadership.  It’s time to begin again to realize the full potential of a community with much to offer.

Elect Dennis Coombs

Coombs: The clear choice

The following endorsement of Dennis Coombs was offered by Robert Miner.

Dennis Coombs, Longmont's next mayor

Longmont’s upcoming mayoral election offers a clear choice. We get to choose between hope and fear; compromise and divisiveness; between a man who has created jobs and built one of the most successful businesses in Longmont, versus a man who has proven to have the professionalism of a schoolyard bully. We get to choose between Dennis Coombs and Bryan Baum. In my mind this is no choice at all. Dennis Coombs has spent the last 31 years working to make Longmont the best community on the Front Range. Meanwhile, since being elected in 2009 Bryan Baum has broken promises, bullied members of the community, and proven that his hostile ideology is wrong for Longmont.

In 2009, I voted for Mayor Baum. I believed him when he said that he would work to get the mall fixed. I’m a lower-middle-class worker who is tired of having to drive to Boulder to see a movie in a decent theater. Baum campaigned on one promise: Mall redevelopment. All it takes is a drive down Hover to see that he has broken that promise.

Dennis Coombs is a compassionate individual. He’s known as “The Pumphouse Guy” but he’s really so much more. Coombs has worked for charities like Habitat for Humanity and Children’s Hospital. He’s served on the LDDA, and proven that he has the leadership skills needed to bring this city together. When my ballot comes, I’m making my choice for a man who will be a true mayor for everybody. I’m choosing Dennis Coombs.