Tag Archive for Longmont 2011 elections

Behind-the-scenes story of oil and gas in Longmont

Who's behind all the oil and gas influence? Western/American Tradition Partners

Who’s behind all the oil and gas influence? Western/American Tradition Partners

Once upon a time not too long ago, our terrific city was growing and evolving. Not in the usual sense of the words, but in forming a fresh identity that would lead us forwards in this new century. That is the best, most meaningful definition of “home rule,” albeit not the legal one.

And then along came the oil and gas industry. The behind-the-scenes story began in 2009 when Longmont first lost control of its elections to outside interests with big money to spend. An organization known then as Western Tradition Partnership, now American Tradition Partnership, slipped into Longmont elections more or less under the radar. It fully funded a political committee who attacked candidates that it perceived as being unreceptive to their intended future agenda.

WTP/ATP is an IRS 501c4. It doesn’t have to reveal its donors. But its mission makes it clear just who those donors are. ATP is funded by extraction industries and backers who support that agenda. What do I mean by “extraction industries”? In a nutshell – mineral extraction. And for the purposes of Longmont, that means oil and gas. And that means fracking.

WTP (ATP) funded a slate of candidates to redirect the vision for Longmont. Their motive, vague and blurred at the time, was to pave the way for oil and gas drilling by means of hydraulic fracturing inside Longmont; and in doing so, to transform our fair city into something we would not recognize or want.

Bryan Baum, a former mayor now serving as a proxy for the oil and gas industry, made his motives clear in early 2010 when he stated that he wanted the city to get into the oil and gas business by exploiting its own mineral rights. I watched for council agenda items on minerals. They did not appear. But they WERE there – hidden from view, without the knowledge or consent of the Longmont public, but as part of an ATP-sponsored and council majority endorsed trajectory to invite the oil and gas industry to bully its way into Longmont, leaving Longmont citizens and the city to pick up after them.

The oil and gas industry’s intention to drill in Longmont came out of hiding in an ATP election survey in October 2011. And with that, “all hell broke loose.” It was staff’s intent to bring a TOP Operating conditional use permit before the Planning and Zoning Commission in November 2011. That, as they say, would have been that. Longmont would have been fracked and we wouldn’t have known what hit us.

As the people of Longmont became aware of what was in store for their hometown, over and over they said, “Oh, no you don’t. This is OUR Longmont and we get to say whether or not we get fracked.”

Over 8200 people signed the petition sponsored by Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont to place Question 300 that prohibits hydraulic fracking and fracking waste disposal inside Longmont city limits on our ballot. Now there are those with big, big industry money behind them who are trying to silence those voices and hand over the keys to this great town to the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas companies and their trade associations (28) from all over the country and even Canada have contributed nearly a half million dollars to defeat the will of the people of Longmont. How high will that total go? One million dollars? More?

You’ve seen their eight full-page ads with seven mayors pretending to care about the health and safety of Longmont, all the while shilling for the industry who would pollute our air and water and threaten our property values by using false and deceptive quotes from politicians they’ve never supported (and likely never will) to manipulate Longmont voters. They’ve spent or accrued almost $338,000, including television ads and eight mailers. They’re determined to stomp Longmont into submission.

In 2009 and 2011 another industry spent huge sums of money (over $600,000) to make Longmont believe that they cared about us. Longmont voters saw through that scheme and sent them packing.

Pay no attention to the “wizards” on this smokescreen. Tell the oil and gas industry and their local puppets, former or current, that you want them to go away and stay away. This is our Longmont that they are trying to destroy and we won’t allow that. Constitutional and moral rights are on our side.

Vote Yes on 300 to stop them from fracking Longmont.

Free Range Longmont Endorses: Sarah Levison for Council at-large

Sarah Levison speaks to community at Longmont Chamber of Commerce/Times-Call Candidate Forum

The choice for this council seat is without dispute Sarah Levison.  Levison is the most well-informed candidate on the Longmont City Council on all issues that are brought before the council.  She doesn’t simply rely on information provided by city staff.  She reaches out to experts to gain their insights and knowledge and uses this information to shape the best courses of action for the city of Longmont.  Her network of resources is both broad and deep.

Levison devotes considerable time to Longmont boards and commissions as well as the Colorado Municipal Leagues (CML) and the National League of Cities (NLC).  She serves on the CML policy committee and the NLC steering committee for finance, administration and intergovernmental relations as well as the Youth, Education and Family Council and the panel for Democratic Governance

As a 14 year resident of Longmont, Levison has long been active in the community. She served on Longmont City’s Economic Vitality Taskforce and is a former neighborhood group leader for the Historic Eastside Neighborhood Association.

Levison has been a strong and tireless supporter of fair and open campaign practices against those on Longmont’s current council who sought to weaken Longmont’s campaign transparency regulations.  She also strongly resisted the destruction of Longmont’s Affordable Housing Program that resulted from the elimination of the 10% new home set-aside that provided geographic diversity and a funding source for other aspects of the Affordable Housing Program.

A vote for Sarah Levison is a vote for the betterment of Longmont.

Baum annouces. Is Santos next for mayor?

Santos challenging Baum?

Bryan Baum has announced that he is running for a second term of Mayor of Longmont. He made his announcement last Wednesday night in the very friendly setting of “Pints and Politics” sponsored by the Longmont Chamber of Commerce. It’s not enough that Baum is taking his marching orders from the long-standing power brokers of Longmont, but he has chosen to rub the community’s face in it with his relationship with those same individuals.

The announcement has removed some of the questions about the intentions of the far right extremists of Longmont. Although two years ago Katie Witt announced her intentions in March, it’s still a little early to announce.

One has to wonder if Baum made his early announcement to “clear the field.” Although Mayor Pro-Tem Gabe Santos and Baum vote the same on almost every issue, I can’t help but wonder if the announcement was made early in order to dissuade a challenge from Santos. Some tell me that there is tension between the two and that some of the Republicans in our community would prefer that Santos was the city’s mayor.

Almost no one has done more damage to the city of Longmont than Bryan Baum. And the worst of it is that he’s not done even for this term — much less a second term should he win. His mouthpieces, who also wreak considerable damage, claim that he’s undoing the two years of a progressive majority for Longmont. In fact, he’s undoing decades of progress. And all of this is coming from a political ideology that is absent any moral foundation.

If the city council retains an extremist majority, Longmont will be a place that causes much shame and even more distress to our residents’ future in Longmont.