Tag Archive for mayor

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.

Where’s the skin?

Ruh Roh

Bryan Baum 2010

There’s skin.  There’s thin skin.  And then there’s no skin at all. The latter appears to be the apt description of Longmont’s Mayor.  Perhaps he put it all into the quid-pro-quo game.

KCRN 1060 AM and the Best of Longmont  have created a live broadcast between 6 and 7 PM called “Mondays with the Mayor”.  It seems, however, that Mayor Baum considers this an exclusive opportunity to pepper the airways with his personal ideology.

It’s a new show and is broadcast live from Buzz Coffee.  I was present to observe Mayor Baum demonstrate his intolerance—again.  And in so very many ways!!

Today’s guest was Jonathan Singer, President of the Longmont Area Democrats.  As always, Mr. Singer’s humor is quick and witty.  Such a marvelous contrast to the dour  and humorless  Mayor Baum, a characteristic  so typical of the rabid right – whether in Longmont or across this great country.

After Mr. Singer introduced himself to the Longmont listeners, he quipped, “So we have a mayor and a president.”  I’m confident that brought a chuckle to some and some head-banging to others.

One of the first questions asked of the mayor was about tuition equity at our Colorado colleges and universities.  Many of Colorado’s immigrant students are effectively blocked from fair tuition rates because their parents, here without documentation, brought them to Colorado.  These are good, dedicated students who have demonstrated their ability.

Baum’s reply was the typical deflection used by right wing ideologues.  But before he was finished talking the truth slipped out.  (He just can’t help himself.  No matter how his handlers try, and no matter how far up the food chain they go, they won’t be able to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear.)

Baum’s solution to high school seniors hoping to go directly into college, is to continue to live in the shadows while seeking naturalization.  Now that, of course, takes years.  Clearly Baum, cares little for the plight of the immigrant community and particularly the Latino community, a substantial part of Longmont’s population.  Baum spoke of immigrants who seek the help of attorneys for naturalization as being “victimized by their own people.”

Their own people!”  Isn’t that lovely.  And I suppose that we’re to accept HIS word for this.  Since you have no skin, Mayor Baum, perhaps you can “show us the beef”.  He spoke of gathering a “consortium of attorneys”  to assist.  I certainly hope these attorneys are not descendents  of Longmont’s presumably buried KKK history.

But, Baum wasn’t done.  Oh, no!

A young student asked Mayor Baum about Longmont’s density per population of gangs and what could be done about this.  The young man is black.  The first question out of Mayor Baum’s mouth, “Are you in a gang?”  Had the question been asked by a white student, I seriously doubt that Baum would have asked the same question.

2 + 2 = 4, Longmont.  I’m sure that those who frequently post racist comments on the Times-Call article blogs are delighted to have elected one of their own.  The rest of us are simply nauseated.

But Mayor Baum, wasn’t done picking fights with those who don’t agree with him.  Don’t forget, this program was viewed by his political allies and operatives as a way to burnish an image of Mr. Nice Guy.  Sorry, Charlie, it won’t wash.  Perhaps the losses should be cut.

This was my first experience with “Mondays with the Mayor”.  So I took the opportunity to ask about an issue that means a great deal to the Longmont community – Twin Peaks Mall.

I asked the mayor why the community hasn’t been given the complete set of facts about Panattoni’s ability to redevelop the Mall.  Since the Times-Call has failed to report the numbers that are relevant to understanding the company’s ability to proceed, I took the opportunity to provide that information.

Panattoni purchased the Mall in 2007 for $37 million.  The boom led to a bust and now the Mall is worth only $17 million. And that is likely not yet the bottom for the commercial retail market.  Panattoni put $8 million down on the property.  Bank of America, who holds the paper, now requires 50% equity in order to refinance.  Panattoni is “underwater,” meaning they owe more that the property is worth.

The Baum SquadBaum doesn’t dispute the data, he merely tries to claim that this is “old news” and “everyone knows this”.  No, Mayor Baum, “everyone” doesn’t know this.  Not the other members of the council outside the well-described “Baum Squad”.  Not the public.  But the Times-Call, who oh-so-carefully reported in generic terms so that the gravity would remain hidden, undoubtedly did know.

Mayor Baum, I read the Times-Call.  EVERY DAY.  These numbers were never published.  They first appeared in an email from Council Member Katie Witt and were revealed on www.freerangelongmont.com.    And unless you don’t read the Times-Call, your statement to the contrary about the availability of this specific information is, yes, “Disingenuous, sir.”  And that was the nice way to put it.

Again, the skinless mayor, had to have a retort (amongst his many incivilities), when he addressed me as amongst those who are not “well-connected”.   Yes, Mayor Baum, I’m not a part of the Longmont oligarchy.  And I’m proud of it.  I “speak truth to power” so that the ordinary Longmont citizen can live his or her life trusting that city business will be taken care of—to the benefit of us all.  I “speak truth to power” to expose what goes on behind all those Wizard of Ozian curtains.

When Singer asked about the Longmont Fair Campaign Practices Act, Baum suggested that the convoluted “in-kind” method that he used in the recent campaign is the way reporting should be done.   Does he really expect the public to swallow that dollars spent “in-kind” are any different than donated dollars or that somehow they are more open and transparent?

Come-come, Mayor Baum.  The Longmont community is not that gullible.  Keep insulting them and see where that gets you.

And let’s not forget that Baum previously explained that he didn’t want his hands dirtied by political money.  Spoken like a man with a very guilty conscience.  The opportunities to ask Mayor Baum, “What did you know and when did you know it?”, are the gift that keeps on giving.

Mr. Singer asked the mayor what other opportunities might be available to help the environment since Baum ferociously torpedoed Longmont’s opportunity to participate in the Governor’s Energy Office’s matching grant program for solar photovoltaics.  Predictably, he once again “went postal”.

This mayor has no respect for the environment.  He’s a climate-change denier.  He’s an oil-gas-and-coal man who was catapulted into office by the rabidly anti-environmental Montana organization Western Tradition Partnership.  He’ll throw a bone once in a while in a feeble attempt to obscure his attitude toward the environment and hoodwink the public.   Don’t expect the Longmont that your kids will live in to be protected by him or his supporters.  They’ll take theirs NOW, thank you.

So, Mayor Baum, you can talk to the community on Monday nights, but this is not a pass to spread your corporatist ideology or advance the agenda of the oligarchy.   Your inner sanctum  knew what they were getting when they voted for you.  The rest, victimized by the Times-Call political water torture for two years and frustrated over the economic conditions prevailing in Longmont and throughout the nation, thought they were getting a fix-it man, new blood.

In fact, they have gotten everything they were sick of in 2007 and before.  The community will figure that out – sooner or later.  Truth eventually rises to the surface.  All the lipstick you apply will not change that.

Mayor doesn’t want ‘scrutiny’

Some content from TimesCall.com

Our mayor point-blank says:

“…I didn’t want the scrutiny.” and “I didn’t want people picking everything apart like they seem to like to do. I wanted to stay out of that fray, and I did.”

One has to wonder about someone that put $4,000 of his own money into his campaign and yet doesn’t think the voters deserve to know what it was spent on. For all we know there were hired thugs blogging for him daily… hm.

A commenter on the story, George S. had this to say:

Bryan’s baum-shell: “I didn’t want the scrutiny.” That speaks volumes. Politicians who say that have something to hide, and whining that the Election Committee is biased against you is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Cockroaches run from a light. The Longmont Leadership folks, Wrongmont and Katie Witt didn’t want the scrutiny either. And their Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and developer pals sit there like the “see-no-evil” monkeys.

What a conundrum for the Times-Call. Baum’s buddies are your big advertisers and country-club pals. And yet you’ve editorialized forthrightly in favor of open government and sunshine laws for decades, and a statement such as “I didn’t want the scrutiny” should make your spidey senses go to DefCon 5.

So which will guide you, Times-Call editorialists? Your ad revenue or your principles? Unfortunately, I’m betting the former. Standing up for what’s right is uncomfortable, but I’m betting you’ll decide that getting the cold shoulder at Fox Hill is worse.

George S., Longmont, 1/20/2010 9:59 AM

and when the mayor’s wife attacked his assertions, he also had this to say:

Stephanie, “being scrutinized by his opposition as to who gave him what” goes by another name: openness. Wouldn’t you want to know that about your opponents in the next election? All declawing the EC does is protect candidates from scrutiny whose funding really needs to be scrutinized. If a council member votes to grant a big zoning change to the XYZ Widget Company or the First Tax-Sheltered Megachurch of Perpetual Profit, shouldn’t we as taxpayers and voters (and you as managing his opponent’s campaign) know if that council member holds stock in that company, is a member of that church, or has received contributions from those who do and are? Bryan said that HE didn’t want the scrutiny … but who else on his slate of candidates is he also protecting from scrutiny? If everything is so above-board, Stephanie Baum, I’m sure you won’t have any trouble, right here in this thread, naming for us the members of Council who are, for instance, members of LifeBridge church. For the record, so the electorate knows. If you dodge my queston, it’s yet another scrutiny-avoidance that will speak volumes.

George S., Longmont, 1/20/2010 2:59 PM

You know, I’d think the mayor’s wife would have the wits to stop trying to defend him, she’s doing more harm than good.

She’s also clearly as thin-skinned as her husband, leaving a comment about a post at my political humor blog ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’:

Too all, please ignore my typo at the bottom of my earlier post – “t-shirts” became a mildly vulger typo. Some people think this is newsworthy enough to repost on their blogs. I would image the adults in the audience would recognize we’re all human and typos are just that. The children among us will giggle and point and make fools of themselves. Decide for yourself which group you fall in to.

Stephanie Baum, Longmont, CO, 1/20/2010 7:27 PM

That’s hilarious Ms. Baum. Your husband, the mayor, says something as childish as ‘…well I guess we should all get up and leave…’ when criticized by citizens and you call his opponents ‘children’.

Pretty obvious to the casual observer who needs to grow up.

Your hard-core partisanship during the election was obvious and hateful and your husband is clearly of the same stripe. The public is watching now and neither of you are acquitting yourselves well.