Tag Archive for 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.

Another view of the mayor

Photo by Free Range Longmont

Bryan Baum: "I'm a capitalist pig"

“Since his election two years ago, Mayor Bryan Baum has worked tirelessly on behalf of the city and its residents.” This is stated in the Times-Call’s editorial on Wednesday, “Baum merits second term as mayor.”

Well, actually, something seems a bit wrong about that observation. In a recent Times-Call article, “Backers don’t want outsiders in debate” (Sept. 24), Mayor Baum publicly described himself as a “capitalist pig.” The exact quote as printed is, “I’m a free-market guy. I’m a capitalist pig.”

What that means is that the mayor has represented, tirelessly, in the past two years, only those folks in Longmont who think of themselves as capitalist pigs. That could hardly refer to the majority of residents here, nor would it seem to represent the best interests of the city.

Yes, there is an elite club in town that is delighted with the policies, remarks and voting record of the current mayor, no doubt about that. The local coalition of business and financial interests, developers, pro-growth advocates and various anti-government sectors will certainly do all they can to keep Baum in the mayor’s seat.

The rest of us may have a different view on Election Day.

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

Ninth & Main design atrocious

I had the unfortunate opportunity to view the rendering of the new project proposed for Ninth and Main that was in the paper on Sept. 24. Are they serious? I realize we need revenue but, honestly, that is atrocious. Not to mention it is overscaled for the site.

Why would anyone design a tower on the corner of a major urban and pedestrian intersection with no windows or doors? Is that an elevator? The two facades have absolutely no relationship to each other.

I’m all for progress but we need to have good designs that Longmont can be proud of and that will last for generations. There are dozens of tasteful projects that have a similar scale, size and program in downtown Louisville, Boulder and Fort Collins that they can use as examples. I hope the city strongly rejects the design.

As we move forward let’s make sure it is in the right direction. Who reviews these types of urban projects? Is there some formal method of protest I can look into? Can we start an architectural review committee? That is simply embarrassing. Is everyone asleep? Am I they only one complaining about these things?

» Image of proposed building

Re-elect Brian Hansen

Brian Hansen

Re-elect Brian Hansen to the Longmont city council. He has the hands-on experience, both as a Longmont business owner and a sitting member on council, to tackle the complex issues facing our community

As CEO and president of his pharmaceutical research and development company, Brian Hansen understands the challenges Longmont businesses are experiencing during periods of economic downturn. He has had to make difficult decisions regarding the downsizing of his company in order to keep it a viable business. He knows how important it is to live within his means.

As a council member, he serves as liaison for several important city boards: the Water Board, Board of Environmental Affairs, and the Windy Gap Committee. He represents Longmont on the Boulder County Resource Conservation Advisory Board and is a member of the county’s Energy Task Force. Brian Hansen is a strong supporter of our open space program.

As a former Chair of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, I have worked with Brian on city matters. I have found him to be a remarkable individual who thoroughly analyzes problems and comes up with productive solutions. He takes the time to discuss, and, more importantly, listen to constituent concerns regarding critical city issues, such as making railroad crossings safe for children to cross in the Kiteley Neighborhood. I have seen firsthand his commitment to improving the quality of life for his constituents of Ward I.

There is no doubt Brian Hansen has the leadership qualities necessary to move Longmont toward a more caring and prosperous future. His work ethic, extensive educational background (PhD in Analytical and Environmental Chemistry) and business acumen make him the ideal person to represent the residents of Ward I on council. Re-elect Brian Hansen so he can continue his good work for the people of Longmont!

The Green Collar Economy

Please join us for the October meeting when Strider Bentson will lead the discussion on

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems

by Van Jones

Saturday October 15th, 2011

11.00am (coffee will be served)

723 Main Street, Longmont

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems is a 2008 book byVan Jones. It outlines a plan for simultaneously solving socioeconomic inequality and environmental problems. The book has received favorable reviews from Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, Laurie David, Paul Hawken, Winona LaDuke and Ben Jealous.

The book is a detailed proposal for a “green new deal”. Jones describes the opportunity to create thousands of low- and medium-skill jobs that help conserve energy (for example, insulating older homes and buildings) or use alternate energy sources (solar panels). He emphasizes that these would be local jobs that could not be exported. With appropriate incentives and programs, the jobs could be created in inner cities and thereby help lift people out of poverty. According to Jones, Americans can ensure the “approaching green wave lifts all boats,” and calls for a mass movement to tackle the United States’ ecological and economic crises.

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

Support “Occupy Wall Street”

Join us in supporting this historic movement sweeping the country! Now over 250 locations!

Demonstrate your support for
Occupy Wall Street
with a rally on Main Street in Longmont

WHEN: Monday, October 10, 2011 from 5:00 to 6:30 PM

WHERE: 723 Main Street. Or look for us at the corner of 7th and Main

WHAT TO BRING: A sign or banner and your wonderful spirit

Baum’s “used car” salesmanship

Photo by M. Douglas Wray ©2011 FreeRangeLongmont.com

Longmont's getting malled

Mayor Bryan Baum came into office on a wing and a promise.   And in the black art of “used car” salesmanship, he’s hoping you won’t notice the sleight of hand.

During the 2009 campaign Baum repeatedly chastised the 2007 City Council on their progress on reviving Twin Peaks Mall and claimed that he would make it happen.  And what has been Mayor Bryan Baum’s position on the Mall since his election?  “Oh, well, there’s nothing we can do about it.  The Mall is private property and the city has no control over it.”

Mayor Baum, you knew all along that this was private property but you chose to use the state of the mall to agitate your way into public office.  Voters are getting mighty exasperated with politicians making promises that they don’t keep.  And you made a whopper.  No matter how you cut the mustard, you have done nothing.  Fool them once, shame on you.  Voters won’t be fooled twice.

Longmont Mayor Bryan Baum - Dim moment

Longmont Mayor Bryan Baum - Dim moment

During the run-up to the 2009 city election Mayor Baum totally dismissed the previous council’s action to “blight” the mall and surrounding properties.  And we all know that the qualifications for “blight” are broad enough to drive a Mack truck through them.  It would have been just as supportable to deny a blighted condition.

The 2007 Council also arranged for mall development experts to conduct a two-day charette in October 2008 to determine how the entire mall area might be designed and developed to meet the many needs of the citizens and City of Longmont.

The community might be very interested to know that when the final chapter of that event was to be presented – the financial analysis by Panattoni – their computers (all of them?) failed and there were NO numbers produced.  More than curious.

The city was negotiating with Panattoni on how Tax Increment Financing (TIF) might be used, but Panattoni wanted $15 million in bonds for Phase I only, an outrageous amount of exposure for the city.  To pay off these public bonds, Panattoni wanted to use 100% of all new property taxes and 90% of all new allowable city sales taxes collected at the mall to construct their version of Phase I.  The public benefit to the city would have been a mere 10% of new sales taxes generated.  Panattoni further disregarded not only the ideas generated in the charette, but disregarded the public’s input from numerous public meetings on Twin Peaks redevelopment.  Their “my way or the highway” negotiating position caused the negotiations to break down.

Incidentally, lost property taxes to our schools from TIF have to be backfilled by the state.  As everyone knows, budget shortfalls at the state level have resulted in repeated cuts to education.

Panattoni purchased the mall at the height of the development craze in July 2007 for $37 million.  And it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that intentions were expressed, if not promises made, to Panattoni by the sitting council at the time of the purchase.  In February the mall was valued at $17 million.

Panattoni hired NewMark Merrill, a shopping center management firm known for specializing in distressed properties, to handle the mall’s myriad of problems.  Just recently Bank of America placed Twin Peaks Mall into foreclosure.

The Baum SquadBut then I suspect that foreclosure was anticipated by those that Baum has called “connected.”  Connected, in this case means Longmont’s “Old Guard,” its oligarchy, select movers and shakers within the business community but far from all of Longmont’s business community.  It certainly does not include those council members who are not part of the Baum majority.

If/when the mall is sold, it clearly will be a short sale.  How low the fire sale price goes will depend on how big a bath Bank of America wants to take.   Panattoni put $8 million down on the property.

Should Longmont be fortunate to have a new mall owner – one that is not looking for a deal that includes the sun, moon and the stars – I hope that Longmont will have a mayor who will look out for the interests of the entire community and not one who will give out the city’s PIN on yet another wing and a promise.

Did you miss it?

In case you missed the Longmont Candidate Forum that was held at the Longmont Progressive Center on September 7th, you have the opportunity to see it (or see it again) on Comcast Channel 8.

The candidate video will air during the following times:

Wednesday, September 28th at 10:00 AM
Friday, September 30th at Noon
Saturday, October 1st at Noon
Monday, October 3rd at 10:00 PM

You can also watch the video at YouTube and see photos from the event below:

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157627627498156″]

Baum’s dictatorial ways are wrong for Longmont

During the City Council meeting of August 2nd, City Manager Gordon Pedrow found it necessary to chastise Longmont’s current (and hopefully former) mayor Bryan Baum with the following words, “We take direction from a majority of the council in public meetings, not from individual members in a private office.”

The comment was prompted by the mayor’s insistence that he had given Pedrow instructions about city employee insurance. This incident demonstrates that Baum fails to understand that governments are organized as a collaborative effort.

Some cities (Los Angeles is an example.) are run by a mayor who functions as the city’s manager. Others, like Longmont, have a city manager who takes direction from a council majority.

Unfortunately Bryan Baum refuses to comprehend the limits of his role. In Longmont, the mayor is only one of seven votes. He does not get to “call the shots” as Baum seems to think so. And he sets the agenda only to the extent that he can garner four votes.

Bryan Baum sees his role as dictatorial in both style and content. Longmont will never have a civil government, in every sense of the word, until Baum is removed from office. He bullies city staff. He twists the arms of council members with similar ideologies when they stray from the fold. And he only stopped insulting other council members and the public when he was warned about being caught on camera in an unfavorable light. He’s delegated that role to those who are not up for re-election this year.

Longmont is a charming city. It needs a mayor that reflects the best of Longmont, not its worst. It needs a mayor who can give Longmont a fresh start towards progress, cohesiveness and congeniality.

Bryan Baum is not that person. He is not that mayor.

“Women’s Voices, Can you Hear us Now”

Longmont Progressive Center

Following the audio presentation of “Women’s Voices, Can you Hear us Now” that was taped at the Conference on World Affairs, four very impressive women will lead a 45-minute panel discussion.

The event will be hosted by the Longmont Progressive Center on Thursday, September 8th at 6:30 PM. The Longmont Progressive Center is located at 723 Main Street.

The four accomplished women speakers are:

Tina Packer, founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company, is one of the country’s foremost experts on Shakespeare and theatre arts. She created Shakespeare & Company in 1978 to be an American company of the highest standard that holds language at its center.

Nina Alvarez is an award-winning television journalist, producer, and filmmaker. Her experience spans from network news to reality to feature documentary, working in Latin America, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa.

Kavita N. Ramdas served as president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women from 1996 to 2010. She currently serves as a senior advisor to the Global Fund for Women. Last fall, she was appointed visiting scholar and fellow to Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) and the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS). Ramdas also chairs the Expert Working Group of the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health of the Aspen Institute.

Jihan “Gigi” Ibrahim is a 24-year-old citizen journalist and political activist with the revolutionary socialists in Egypt. She participated in the planning and preparation for the recent demonstrations there, living in the now-famous Tahrir Square and talking to representatives from the foreign media.

Longmont has new natural resources manager

Kimberly Shugar - Longmont's new Natural Resources Manager

(This is an update – FRL finally got a photo of Ms. Shugar – thanks Kimberly!)

In an email to city staff Dale Rademacher, Director of Public Works and Natural Resources for the City of Longmont, announced that Kimberly Shugar has accepted the position of Natural Resources Manager for Longmont.

Shugar has a very interesting and comprehensive background that should be a strong incentive for Longmont to improve its natural resources management practices.

Shugar is currently with the South Florida Water Management District as the Department Director for Intergovernmental Programs. She has extensive experience in land acquisition, water, and overall ecosystem management and preservation, said Rademacher.

Shugar brings a strong environmental background having served as Director of Ecosystem Projects with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. According to Rademacher, “she managed and coordinated environmental restoration projects in areas including Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades.”

Longmont has long needed someone whose first priority is open space and the environment. It is hoped that her background in land acquisition, water, and ecosystem management and preservation will be a strong asset in protecting the environmental resource of Longmont’s Union Reservoir and in acquiring and protecting the surrounding lands.

Kimberly Shugar begins her post with the City of Longmont on June 30th.

Foote, Deputy D.A., Announces Run for HD 12

Mike Foote, a long-time Deputy District Attorney with the Boulder County District Attorney’s office, has announced his candidacy for the Colorado State House of Representatives in District 12 in 2012. Foote pledges a commitment to progress, community, and public service.

For the past seven years, Foote has prosecuted major white-collar and other criminal cases in the Boulder office, winning justice for victims of embezzlement fraud, Ponzi schemes, arson and other violent crime. “In the District Attorney’s office, I work hard to make sure offenders are held accountable.” said Foote. “Now, I want to use my problem solving experience to help east Boulder County families overcome the current challenges they face. For many residents in the district this includes the opportunity to have a good job, get ahead and provide a great education for their children.”

Foote graduated from Indiana University, the University of Colorado School of Law, and received a master’s degree at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

Foote is also the founder of the Colorado chapter of the progressive Truman National Security Project. He served as a prosecutor in the Durango District Attorney’s office before moving to Boulder. Foote began his career in public service by organizing events and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for working student scholarships at Indiana University.

“Mike is one of the most committed and persistent attorneys I’ve ever worked with,” said Stan Garnett, Boulder County District Attorney. “He believes strongly in fairness and supports this community and its families. Boulder County needs him at the state capitol.”

House District 12 is in east Boulder County and includes the cities of Louisville, Lafayette and a section of Longmont. The Colorado Reapportionment Commission, an appointed group that is redrawing state political districts, is considering proposals that could change the Longmont neighborhoods in the district or add a portion of Superior. The current House District 12 representative is Democrat Matt Jones. On August 18, Jones announced he will run for the open state senate seat (Senate District 17, currently occupied by term-limited Brandon Shaffer) in 2012. Foote is also a Democrat.

Foote and his wife, Heidi, live in Lafayette and have a two-year-old daughter and another girl on the way. He enjoys the outdoors and the open space and trails in Boulder County, likes to ski and is an avid cyclist.

“For the last 14 years I have served my community and I look forward to doing the same at the state capitol,” said Foote. “We live in a great place, but we have challenges. We need the right policies to move us forward.”

Housing and hosing

If you can't afford new, you're not allowed to own: Exclusionary zoning.

Well, the city of Longmont has finally rid itself of that pesky inclusionary zoning program. Unintended consequences of that decision are: the inability to leverage private capital necessary to build work-force housing; the inability to finance needed repairs such as roof replacement on a family rental property or an elevator replacement on a senior housing project; and limited ability to support the purchase of lots by Habitat for Humanity.

As a six-year member of the city’s Affordable Housing Technical Review Committee, I reviewed real projects like those above that were supported by the city’s Affordable Housing Fund financed through the inclusionary zoning program. During that period, thousands of frail elderly, handicapped and persons in low-paying jobs benefited from these publicly supported housing investments.

The next time a City Council member hears from a Longmont teacher or a police officer that they have taken a job in Johnstown or Frederick because it’s closer to “home” where the housing is cheaper, I hope they will remember the decision to eliminate the inclusionary zoning program.

The next time a local housing development project misses out on the opportunity to bring millions of dollars in outside investment, (e.g., the Hover Crossing Senior housing project) due to lack of local commitment, remember this decision.

The next time economic development advocates come to the city with reports that lack of work-force housing is a hindrance to attracting new business, remember this decision.

These will be unintended consequences of the elimination of the inclusionary zoning program.

Reconstitute the affordable housing fund through a different funding mechanism. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!