Tag Archive for Matt Jones

Council gives thumbs up to “local control” — or not

A funny thing happened at “the Forum,” that is, City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Toward the end of the meeting, assistant city manager Sandi Seader reported on the 100-plus bills in this year’s state Legislature that she is tracking on behalf of Longmont. She wanted direction from council.

Seader is tracking one bill that proposes to make installing residential fire suppressant sprinkler systems compulsory throughout the state.

An ever-lugubrious member of the council’s majority spoke passionately about the importance of “local control.” She’d just hate to see anyone building a home in Longmont being forced to install a ceiling sprinkler system just because the state says so. Unanimous agreement. Local control, yes!

Later, HB 1277 was described (kinda). Sandy paused, then meekly agreed with a usually quiet councilwoman who had quickly opined, “This doesn’t change anything.” Two other councilmen agreed.

The bill’s title is: “Concerning Strengthening Local Governments’ Regulation of Oil and Gas Operations, and, in Connection Therewith, Strengthening Local Government’s Zoning and Land Use Authority Over Oil and Gas Operations.”

In the real world, this bill changes the very basis of the state’s pre-emption of all meaningful local control of oil and gas drilling and extraction.

It simply and succinctly says that “local government regulation of the impacts of land use and development (including oil and gas operations) furthers the state’s interest in orderly land use and environmental protection.”

Without HB1 1277, Colorado state law and case law sustains that the extraction of oil and gas is so vitally important to the state, that only the state can regulate it. The viewpoint of the tyrannical Colorado Oil & Gas Commission is that home rule and local control must be pre-empted.

Without HB 1277,

Can the city zone hazardous multiple gas well pads to the city’s heavy industrial zone? Nope.

Require setback distances from wells to actually protect the people in homes, hospitals, churches, schools, parks, playgrounds, surface waters and home property values? Nope.

Refuse to allow large gas wells on city open space and wildlife sanctuaries?  Nope.

Prohibit open pits of toxic waste water?  Nope.

Set noise levels?  Nope.

Monitor and regulate toxic emissions?  Nope.

Inspect the well and well site?  Nope.

Have city fees and/or fines to recoup city expenses of monitoring and inspecting the well?  Nope.

All of the above local land use and zoning prerogatives are currently pre-empted for oil and gas wells.

HB 1277 clearly states that “an operator” (oil and gas corporation) “is also subject to zoning and land use authority and regulation by local governments, as provided by law.”

The summary of HB 1277 states that it “clarifies that oil and gas operations are subject to local governments’ authority, as well as the authority of the oil and gas commission. The bill establishes that oil and gas operations are subject to the same local control as is established for other mineral extractions.” That is, a lot of Local Control.

HB 1277 concludes: “Safety clause. The general assembly hereby finds, determines and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety.”

HB 1277 is on one side of one piece of paper.

An ever-bellicose council member thundered: “This bill does NOTHING! We gave Representative Jones (the bill’s sponsor) a whole long list of things we wanted. This is only one sheet of paper.” Holding and shaking the piece of paper above his head he roared, “It’s not worth the paper it’s written on!” and tossed it aside.

Council voted to not support HB 1277. Instead, it was relegated to the bin of the hundred or so bills on Ms. Seader’s city watch list.

Strong local control over home fire sprinkling systems? Hell, yes! Longmont’s government lobbies for it!

Stronger local control over oil and gas drilling and wells? Hell, no!  Longmont’s council will not endorse.

It really would be funny, if it weren’t so pathetic.

Let’s all, as individuals, contact the House Local Government Committee members to support HB 1277.   It is scheduled for hearing Monday afternoon.

Contact information is available at LongmontROAR.org.

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.”

Matt Jones Announces State Senate Bid

Current State Representative Matt Jones will continue the fight for middle class Coloradans

Jones formally announced his candidacy for state senate in Senate District 17, which covers portions of eastern Boulder County including Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville, and western Erie. The seat is currently held by Brandon Shaffer, who is term limited. Jones is currently serving his 4th term as a State Representative.

Matt Jones returned to the Statehouse in 2010 when he handily won the primary election for House District 12, Longmont, Louisville and Lafayette, by ten points and the general election by 28 points. He previously served three terms in 1987-1993.

His co-chairs include former State Representative Paul Weissmann, County Commissioners Cindy Domenico and Ben Pearlman, former County Commissioner Jana Mendez, District Attorney Stan Garnett, Sheriff Joe Pelle, and former 22-year Longmont City Council member Tom McCoy.

“As a senator I will be even more able to get Coloradans back on track and feeling stronger than before,” Jones said. “I will continue to work on bipartisan solutions to create jobs, fund quality education, and provide affordable health care and a clean environment. Our current economic adversity further stokes my passion to ensure opportunity and security for middle class families.”

Jones added, “I want to thank Senate President Brandon Shaffer for his leadership and tremendous service to the citizens of eastern Boulder County.”