Tag Archive for money

Lessons to Be Learned

I think one of the factors in passing Initiative 300 to ban fracking is that many in Longmont are tired of having out-of-town big businesses spending large sums of money to influence Longmont issues. This would not have been so bad had the oil and gas interests made any attempt to provide pros and cons and state their positions and the reasons for their position. Instead, just like the telecom industry on the fiber optics issues, glossy fliers inundated our mailboxes with very little truth.

Certainly there are many things to consider in a complex issue. The oil and gas industry, in the fliers they mailed, and by their compliance, the seven former mayors, failed to take seriously the considerations of the community. No mention of lost property values and quality of life. These cannot be denied. One council person said it affects only a few people, something like a tax paid by the few and the unwilling. I don’t think that is how we should support our neighbors.

It remains a question as to whether the former mayors just signed on without a chance to vet the fliers or whether they agreed with everything that was contained in each flier. I do not have a problem with former mayors or city managers joining in the debate as long as misinformation is not part of the discussion.

The argument that the fracking process has not caused any contamination or harm to people is totally misleading. Contamination has occurred right here in Longmont. It is a distinction without a difference. Whether the contamination occurred because of deep underground activity or at the surface does not change the pertinent facts. Any industrial process is prone to mishaps. Having the mishap occur next to homes of schools is not acceptable.

Benzene exposure may not be any greater than that encountered at a service station, but we all should have the right not to be exposed by the actions of others. What is a real concern is the undisclosed other chemicals. While some companies are willing to disclose, most are not or only under very limited circumstances. My guess is that no one knows the toxicity of many of these chemicals and certainly not the toxicity of the mixtures. This is already an issue with Longmont water and other water departments when they try to plan for response to a release that affects our water. You cannot plan to treat chemicals whose identity you do not know.

I am glad Longmont stood up on principle. It is a principle the 81 other communities that have objected to fracking in their communities should also stand up for. Personally, I believe fracking can be a viable process when done correctly and in appropriate locations. Accidents will happen, but strong precautions are needed and easily afforded by this extremely profitable industry. We must insist that Oil and Gas Conservation Commission act in a responsible manner that makes decisions in the interest of all Colorado residents.

It was particularly grievous that threats of increasingly large dollar amounts were presented for loss of mineral rights and used at the last minute as a scare tactic. Nowhere was the loss of surface value and property values discussed. Nowhere was it mentioned that some families would be unable to move because they could not get enough money for their homes to buy an equivalent house somewhere else. It was also not lost on many of us that none of the former mayors, the governor, members of the Oil and Gas Commission, or drilling companies management volunteered to live near a fracking site.

Maybe there is a lesson somewhere in this. If you want to gain public support, be straightforward and discuss pros and cons. Do not tell mistruths or half-truths. Then you may have a better chance of gaining the outcome you desire. This should also apply to commercials for and against candidates. Are we teaching our young that telling lies to get a desired outcome is acceptable?

There are maybe other lessons to be learned from this year’s elections. In a large number of elections, money did not win the election, but it did smear the democratic process. Unfortunately this money was used to smear candidates and mislead voters and non-voters alike. I saw in this paper a few days ago that it is illegal in Colorado to provide false information to influence the outcome of initiatives, and I assume, selection of candidates.

Bob Norris has lived in Longmont since 2000. He has spent 30 years as an environmental consultant and a long time ago did research on hydraulic fracking leading to two U.S. patents.

Small-town politics

Interesting article (in the Times-Call -FRL) Dec. 18 on nonpartisan council election. I moved here in 1963. Nothing has changed. In the old days the city’s old guard, Republican Party and Longmont Realtors Association controlled city government.

My first experience with city government was the zoning of the land between 17th and 19th avenues, Oligarchy on the west and railroad on the east. Land was to be R-1, then the word got out, R-5. At council the motion was R-2, passed so fast we didn’t get to ask what R-2 is.

Ken Bickers, the political science professor quoted in the article, said he “loves local politics.” It would be interesting if Ken would study the election four years ago when the old guard lost the city 4-3. How did this happen? Two years ago the council changed back 4-3. Did the Realtors buy a seat on council with a $5,000 donation in one race? Outside money was an influence in this election.

The election two months ago gave the old guard and their groups a 5-2 vote.

Another interesting study would be the party registrations of the 22 appointments to the housing task force. I’ll bet that only a couple of Democrats were appointed. Small-town politics still exists. Money still talks in elections at all levels.

Amendment to Fix Congress

Forwarded to FRL by Phil Skergan, thank you Phil!

The content of this post is free for any to copy and distribute.

Public Property = We OWN IT.

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people,
it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government
– lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.

—Patrick Henry

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971… before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land… all because of public pressure.

Forward this web page to a minimum of twenty people; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.

This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

  1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
  2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
  3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
  4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
  5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
  6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
  7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
  8. Members of Congress may not accept gifts, meals, trips, etc… from lobbyists, etc… They will always pay their own way and use approved expense accounts.
  9. Corporations are banned from political speech, as that right belongs to individuals and to nonprofit organizations chartered for political speech, funded by individuals, and reporting all donations.
  10. All voting districts will be determined by independent commissions adhering to sensible criteria that disregard political party affiliations and emphasize common geographical interests.
  11. After MoC’s and high-ranking officials in government leave government, they may not lobby for or work in an advisory capacity for the industries that would benefit from their contacts in government or legislation that they have shepherded.
  12. Anyone meeting the requirements as a legitimate candidate for Congress will receive funds allocated by the government for their campaigns to use as needed. No other funds will be used for their campaigns.
  13. To allow for more than two-party rule, all Federal elections will operate on an “instant runoff” basis, so that the people’s most preferred candidates win elections where three or more candidates run on a ballot.
  14. The House and Senate may not adopt rules that preclude majority rule. No single-party control, no easy filibusters, no supermajority votes not specified in the Constitution. Control of the houses of Congress will be shared in the proportion determined by the outcome of elections.
  15. All candidates for government posts sent to the Senate for confirmation will receive prompt attention, without political delays, or the candidates will be accepted without the consent of the Senate.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!

If you agree with the above, pass it on.

Media losing respect and credibility

From the Sunlight Foundation:

By Paul Blumenthal on 07/27/10 @ 11:52 am

A blogger with an actual name–Andrew Breitbart–posts an edited video that leads to the firing of an employee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Shirley Sherrod–due to the constant media pressure from Fox News and other mainstream television outfits.

When the full, unedited video came to light, Sherrod was vindicated. Despite this, Breitbart refused to apologize, constantly shifting his rationale for releasing the edited video. All of this happened and now CNN talking heads are calling for a “gatekeeper” to watch over anonymous bloggers. They want to regulate anonymous blogging:

“There are so many great things that the internet does and has to offer, but at the same time, Kyra, as you know, there is this dark side,” Roberts said. “Imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t taken a look at what happened with Shirley Sherrod and plumbed the depths further and found out that what had been posted on the internet was not in fact reflective of what she said.”

This is the proverbial canary in a coal mine for Progressive organizers – when muck-rakers like Breitbart can disrupt government operations it’s time to examine how much influence the far right has over the media.

The Longmont Times-Call’s policy of not moderating their public website comments encourages vicious attacks with complete immunity for the attacker(s?).  The number of anonymous ‘handles’ has grown dramatically and any time a Progressive speaks up there are numerous hateful and insulting remarks made. The key thing to remember is that ALL of these ‘handles’ could easily be the same person registering numerous times* to ‘catapult the rhetoric’ – as Dubya used to say.

I’d like to encourage our readers to register at the Times-Call’s website using their own names as a ‘handle’ and speak out against this form of hard-right bullying. You will find me there as ‘MDouglasWray’ and I welcome your active support.

As always, you’re welcome to speak out here at FreeRangeLongmont.

If you’ve sent something to the Times-Call and they declined to print it, please send it to us. Also, if you’ve had something printed by the Times-Call and you feel it was edited in some way to dilute your message, send us  a scan of the printed version and what you originally submitted. We’ll publish both to show what you meant to say and what the TC let the public see.

The public deserves to know when for-pay media is filtering the public’s words.


* possibly with the Times-Call’s active assistance

Gessler blowing money like there’s no tomorrow

Scott Gessler, Republican candidate for Colorado Secretary of State

Scott Gessler, Republican candidate for Colorado Secretary of State - spending money like it's going out of style

From ColoradoPols.com:

Gessler Just Keeps Pissing in the Wind
by: Colorado Pols
Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 10:31:58 AM MDT

We’ve been fascinated with the campaign of Republican Secretary of State candidate Scott Gessler over the last year, but not in a good way. For most of the last 18 months, Gessler has been spending his campaign cash as fast as he can raise it; in 2009, he brought in almost $87,000 but spent an incredible 86 percent of that money.

Gessler managed to contain himself (somewhat) in the first quarter of this year, raising $53,000 but spending only $38,000, which for Gessler just about qualifies him as Scrooge McDuck. But then there was the reporting period that ended on May 26, a one-month time frame during which Gessler brought in $16,363 but spent $18,045, most of which went to consultants and rent (hint: if you are paying consultants more money than you are raising, you might want to consider changing consultants).

When you add it all up, since he first began his campaign in Q1 2009, Gessler has raised a solid $156,057…yet has spent $130,725, for a cash-on-hand amount today of a little over $25,000. For you math whizzes out there, that means Gessler has spent .84 cents out of every dollar raised, and we’ve only just made it to June.

Folks, we’ve never seen a candidate, for either Party, with a consistent burn rate this high.

Gessler has actually out-raised incumbent Democrat Bernie Buescher, but while the latter has brought in abut $137,000, he still has $74,125 cash on hand. That’s just poor campaign management when you have outraised your opponent over the course of 18 months but only have a third as much money in the bank. And that’s what makes Gessler’s campaign one of the worst statewide organizations we’ve seen in the last 10 years.

I’d like to point out that Longmont’s new conservative majority also raised and spent gobs and gobs of money to put total incompentents on council – and they won. Gessler has the eager support of Longmont’s right-wing oligarchy who, flushed from their recent success are dabbling in larger issues.

Voters are advised to look carefully at who’s backing Mr. Gessler – follow the money and you’ll find wealthy developers eager to build their soon-to-be-foreclosed projects.

Read more about Scott Gessler:

Scott Gessler: By the company he keeps

What’s behind this curtain?

Scott Gessler’s Fundraising Black Hole

Reception in Longmont held by the financial oligarchy

Who benefited from outside influence?