Tag Archive for politics

Marriage Equality – a personal viewpoint

Ray John Rodriguez - Longmont, CO

Ray John Rodriguez - Longmont, CO

Open Letter to Governor Chris Christie and his Vote Against Marriage Equality:

Dear New Jersey Governor Chris Christie,

I am writing this open letter in the hopes that you or someone you know or someone who can vote in your state will read.

I remember watching you on Oprah’s Next Chapter where she shared dinner with you and your lovely wife and kids. What an engaging, thoughtful and charismatic man you proved to be to me. Today you vetoed the Marriage Equality bill that was passed by the New Jersey Legislature. I guess that’s politics for you.

As a young gay man from Longmont, Colorado, this issue is very important to me. I know that Marriage Equality is only one step in the right direction for full human equality, yet some may assume that Equality is a single issue. In fact they look down on it politically as such. When Marriage Equality affects every aspect of those who are in a loving family, explain to me how this is just one issue. Inheritance (yes if you die your life-long partner if not protected by marriage can be robbed of all that you earned together by distant relatives because the law doesn’t consider you anything more than a roommate), hospital visitation (imagine going to say goodbye and denied the last words together), employment (yes in America you can still be fired JUST for being gay), homelessness (if you are kicked out of your home by your parents because you are gay, 1 in 4 gay high school students face this reality). Explain to me how Equality is ONE issue.

While I respect people’s right to adhere to their private and personal religious values, there is a difference between that and having their religious values literally enforced on the rest of society by robbing rights of those who do not share their religion. In ten years when LGBT Equality is a reality, my husband and my children will look back at votes like yours the way people look at white supremists today. Definition of supremist: One who takes supreme authority for him/herself; one who believes in the supremacy of one race, sex, or social group.

Mr. Chris Christie, you believe only heterosexuals deserve Marriage. By definition that makes you a heterosexual supremist. It took one vote that affects the community in so many ways to paint you in such a dark light. In time, you might be deserving of another episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter. However right now, the way I feel for my gay brothers and sisters in New Jersey, you are but a footnote in Americas Timeline that needs to be elected out. I guess that’s politics for you. In the words of State Senator Pat Steadman, “…the kind that puts people in the back of the bus.”

Respectfully Yours,

Ray Rodriguez

A brief review of history

Longmont Citizens Getting Involved

Longmont Citizens Getting Involved

Dear Longmont,

Our history includes the following:

The European settlers’ business expansion westward almost annihilated the Native Americans and the buffalo. They totally disregarded all human decency to gratify their desire for profit.

The big agriculture business showed no regard for the environment as it attempted to overproduce crops in this area and created the dust bowl, losing precious topsoil to the winds, and almost destroying our agricultural land.

Both of these historical events resulted in widespread human suffering here in Colorado.

Now we have the big energy business preparing to harvest another huge profit, with no regard for the well being of our citizens.

We are not realizing any net benefit from the drilling activity but we are exposed to all of the risks.

We are not ignorant. We are not apathetic. We have courage and determination. We are voters. We are a majority.

We are American citizens defending our own territory.

We will not allow anyone to pollute our environment and  waste our water resources  no matter how formidable their economic resources and political influence are.

If the big fuel business wants to drill here, it will have to use a method that does not involve  hydraulic fracturing.

What is the alternative method to extract this fuel?

Until that question is answered and analyzed, we cannot issue a drilling permit.

There is no need to rush;  take all of the time you need to formulate an answer.

Which Party is This?

  • Which party prides itself in being the party of business? The party that pushes for deregulation, the easing of wage costs, and environmental and safety concerns in the interest of profits?
  • Which party has as it’s cheerleader, their own 24/7 news channel that pushes propaganda, while resorting to demagoguery of the opposition?
  • Which party is openly hostile to organized labor, even going so far as to trying to eliminate collective bargaining contracts in the name of fiscal conservatism?
  • Which party has made it integral to their platform, the rounding up and deportation of “illegal foreigners?”
  • Which party has stood steadfast, for so-called “values issues,” demanding recognition of only traditional marriage, while declaring enmity for homosexuals?
  • Which party insists on closer alliances between church and state, even declaring the country as a “Christian nation?”
  • Which party is circumspect of “the others” amongst us, challenging their patriotism, their loyalty, their right to build places of worship where they choose, and even their God?
  • Which party hypes the fear of communism, and accuses anybody to the left of them of treason?
  • Which party disdains intellectualism, and mocks any scientific research that contradicts official party dogma as folly?

Give up?

If you said the Republican party, congratulations, you get 1 point.

But if you said the Nazi party, you get 10 points. They were after all, the ones who crafted this platform. All the Republicans did, was co-opt it and wrap it in Old Glory.

Fascism. Sinclair Lewis was dead right.

Public has a Right to be heard

What honest politician wouldn't LOVE this much public involvement?

Citizens getting involved and speaking out - only tyrants discourage it.

Recently there was a Letter to the Editor in the Times Call talking about limiting City Council’s Public Invited to Be Heard which is provided for at city council meetings on Tuesday nights.  Public Invited To Be Heard allows every Longmont citizen up to 3 minutes to talk to their locally elected representatives to tell them what they think about an issue.

As a former city council member for 5 years, there was no doubt that there were times that I wished folks would “hurry up” or “summarize their thoughts.  However, I always reminded myself about what America stands for. Here, in this country, we are allowed free speech and we are given the right to talk to our elected council members. While this might be inconvenient for elected officials, I feel strongly that citizens need to speak out and let their representatives know what is on the minds of the people they work for.  Remember, the voters are the ultimate decision makers.  City council members work for us.  How can they govern if they do not know how citizens feel about an issue?

We all have a right to speak out.   When someone decides they want to run for public office, this is the job that they agreed to perform.  Ducking out on this public duty is not the kind of person we want representing us. Elected officials need to listen.

Fouled Forever by Fracking

This is a typical well

Fracking leaves scars, above and below the surface.

I have very strong misgivings about the XL pipeline proposal.  Governor Brownback tells us that it will bring “good times” to Kansas but I have good reasons to doubt it.

When I was a child, some seventy years ago, we moved to a farm about ten miles north of the little town where I now reside.  In an area adjoining our barn lot, there was a small pond of blue water.  The clay for several yards around it was also blue and I questioned about it.  I learned that it was a “sluice pond” from a gas well that had been attempted there many years before.  Gas and oil occupy the same underground areas and one cannot drill for one without finding at least small quantities of the other. In that case, the water and oil had been drained off into this little pond in that unsuccessful search for gas.  That same small piece of ground will still be blue and totally barren of vegetation, but that was a small operation.  Periodically, some drillers will go back to old wells and try low-pressure “fracking” in order to salvage a bit more gas from that well.  It was done a mile from our little lake house where we had a well of potable water.  After the fracking, the well was hopelessly fouled…. forever!

In traveling the length of Kansas in order to visit your lovely state, I was struck by how green western Kansas has become with the assistance of the gigantic irrigation systems which allow the growth of many crops that are not thought to be indigenous to the climate.  This cropland that spreads throughout the whole of western Kansas and Nebraska is the reason for the sobriquet of “Breadbasket to the World.”  The fresh water which nourishes those fields as well as all the large cities west of Wichita is a large underground deposit, called the Oglalla Aquifer, dating back to the melting glaciers from the last Ice Age.  We are aware that it will not last forever and so conservation practices have been instituted for its maximum protection.

Can one even imagine the disaster, not only to Kansas and Nebraska but to the world as a whole, should this precious water deposit become fouled by a massive leak of crude oil into its midst?  A huge share of the wheat-producing land in the world would be instantly removed from availability, world famine would be increased exponentially and the entire region returned to empty desert.  There is nobody who can guarantee that such a leak would never happen and there is not enough money in the world to compensate humanity for its loss.

Than, again, why should we tolerate it?  This is Canada’s oil, bound for re-sale all over the world.  There are refineries closer than Houston and no reason why Canada should not build their own refineries closer to the source of the product, and there must be routes for its disposal that do not endanger such a precious resource of an equally-precious deposit.  I applaud the President for his courageous demand to wait for further investigation of the environmental impact before giving further consideration to tis potentially-disastrous project.

Extreme Inequality or Democracy?

Reposted from CounterCurrents.org

Last autumn, likely due to the Occupy movement, there was a shift of media attention from debt reduction and the cutting of vital public programs (for example, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) to the issue of extreme wealth and income inequality in America. Extreme inequality is of concern for many reasons, but Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis provided perhaps the most crucial reason when he said: ” We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both . “

Many of those who support grossly unequal outcomes attempt to distract the public from the critical extreme inequality in wealth and income here by stressing equal opportunity as the key. Incredibly, they seem to think that we have equal opportunity in America. However, Paul Krugman ‘s January 8th column , ” America ‘ s Unlevel Field “, clearly points out that the playing field in the U.S. today is definitely not anywhere close to being level.

Despite the terribly unequal opportunities that exist, Americans have generally accepted the idea of some reasonable level of wealth and income inequality. The public ‘ s acceptance sprang from the idea that some people have special talents or make special contributions that merit greater rewards.

However, two factors have undercut this support. First, there is a weakening of the connection between reward and merit. In addition, we have now reached an obscene level of inequality that is exemplified in a report from the Heritage Institute . Based on data from 2000, the Heritage Institute showed that CEO pay for major U.S. corporations was wildly out of line with those of our economic competitors. For example the average pay for CEOs in Japan was 10 times the average worker’s wage compared to 531 times here. Of the 26 countries in the report, Brazil had the second largest inequality with a value of 57.

The obscene rise in this inequality in the U.S. is striking, going from a value of 24 times in 1965 to 42 times in 1980 to 85 times in 1990. More recent data show that the U.S. value declined from the 531 times in 2000 to well over 300 times the typical worker’s pay in 2010 . Note that the comparisons are affected by how many major corporations are included in the studies. For example, another estimate for the U.S. in 2000 was 300 times compared to the 531 times mentioned above; regardless, the U.S. is way out of line compared to our economic competitors and the change over time is appalling.

The Heritage Institute report included 2004 and 2006 quotes from Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, that address both merit and extreme inequality. According to the report, in a May 2004 letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett wrote about the inadequacy of corporate governance structures among U.S. companies. “(If) Corporate America is serious about reforming itself, CEO pay remains the acid test.” Buffett added: “The results aren’t encouraging.” Buffett criticized lavish pay packages and the “lapdog behavior” of directors, calling the situation an “epidemic of greed.”

In a 2006 shareholder report, Buffett stated: “Too often, executive compensation in the U.S. is ridiculously out of line with performance.” “Getting fired can produce a particularly bountiful payday for a CEO. Indeed, he can “earn” more in that single day, while cleaning out his desk, than an American worker earns in a lifetime of cleaning toilets. Forget the old maxim about nothing succeeding like success: Today, in the executive suite, the all-too-prevalent rule is that nothing succeeds like failure.”

Extreme inequality is even more problematic when it results from questionable behavior and/or political connections. Consider that those in the financial sector, whose unethical and immoral practices almost collapsed the financial system, were not held accountable for their actions. Talk about the lack of a moral hazard! Instead, besides initially profiting from fraud, they became even wealthier due to the taxpayer-funded bailout of the financial sector.

Changes in the tax system played a major role in increasing the level of inequality in America over the past decades. For example, the corporate share of federal taxes went from 28% in the 1950s to an average of roughly 10% over the 2001 to 2010 period. In addition, the top marginal individual tax rate dropped from 91% in 1954 to 35% today. Cuts in the top capital gains taxes for long-term gains from 28% to 15% have primarily benefited those at the top of the wealth scale. Politicians have also greatly weakened the estate tax that worked to lessen inequality somewhat. These changes certainly have played a major role in creating the extreme inequality we see today.

Our method of financing political campaigns, some would call it legalized bribery, makes it particularly easy for large corporations and the wealthy to push for tax reductions and tax loopholes at the expense of small business competitors and the public. Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill) and Perfectly Legal : The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich–and Cheat Everybody Else , two books by Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston, provide numerous examples of this corruption and other questionable business practices by large corporations. America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? and several other books by investigative reporters and twice Pulitzer Prize winners Donald Barlett and James Steele also address how the tax code is manipulated to the benefit of the rich and powerful. In The Tyranny of Oil , Antonia Juhasz details how huge energy and financial corporations greatly profit from their corruption of the political system, and how the public bears the cost. Among her many examples are the government’s failure to enforce anti-trust laws and its creation of the “Enron loophole”.

If compensation were indeed based on merit, Americans could accept a reasonable level of inequality. However, as shown above, besides merit, income and wealth are often linked to many other factors, including the corruption of politicians.

Given the dire straits – high levels of unemployment and underemployment, homelessness, lack of health insurance, home foreclosures, huge credit card debts and college loan debts, shortages of food – that many Americans face today, our extreme inequality is intolerable. The current situation demands a drastic overhaul of our corrupt political/economic system to end and to prevent future extreme inequality. Unless we act now, control by the wealthy and powerful will be solidified.

Ron Forthofer a retired professor of biostatistics from the University of Texas School of Public Health. Since his retirement,he has been a volunteer for peace and social justice. In addition, he was a Green Party candidate for Congress and for governor of Colorado.

State Senator Neville (R-Littleton) revives ‘Constitutional Carry’ bill

2nd Amendment + idiots = civil war

Photo courtesy of Geekolgie.com

The last time the NRA and pals tried to sneak this through it got soundly defeated. But never let it be said that Colorado’s gun enthusiasts give up easily.

Colorado State Senator Tim Neville, R-Littleton (email) has snatched up the fallen flag of ‘Constitutional Carry‘ and decided to run with it. Clearly he’s courting NRA members (and don’t forget that tasty, tasty money!) for his eventual reelection bid.

I suspect the bill will look a lot like the last one (previous House Bill 11-1205 – the new one is SB-25) – it’s passed the Colorado House and is currently in the state Senate.

Gun rights organizations are pimping the daylights out of it and urging their members to ‘turn up the heat’ on state Senators.

Here’s some background info on Constitutional Carry and an editorial at the DenverPost.

Here’s something that should alarm even the most politics-resistant person: the folks supporting this endorse (and heartily so) arming blind people. Oh, what a great concept that is. “Firing blindly” takes on a whole new (and horrifying!) meaning.

No. NO. NO! Call your state Senator and say no to this insanity again: Directory by District.

Say No to Cougar

[quicktime width=”300″ height=”45″]/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/JoeBassmanCouncilAddress_01032012.mp3[/quicktime]

Joseph Bassman

Mr Mayor and Members of the Council,

City Council will soon vote on a request by Cougar Land Services for an oil and gas survey on city property for Anadarko Oil.

The survey does not benefit our city. The data will be Anadarko’s private property, and Cougar will pay us only a few dollars per acre for our permission.

Longmont derives absolutely no benefit from the survey unless one believes that it’s beneficial to invite the oil industry further into our entire city for a drilling bonanza.

Oil and Gas well drilling is racing towards Longmont. There will soon be hundreds of wells within the city at Union and at Sandstone. The entire city of Longmont is located within the Wattenberg oil field, the richest of the Niobrara. Perhaps even the richest oil and gas ‘play’ in the United States. And there will be many hundreds of additional wells within our city in the near future.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission regulations in the Wattenberg are exceptionally lenient. Since the COGCC refuses to differentiate between municipal urban areas on the one hand and rural agricultural land and oil fields on the other, those lenient Wattenberg rules also apply the within our city.

In its proper place, oil and gas facilities might be acceptable. In an urban environment, there is no net benefit. Each well represents an intensive industrial activity using tens of millions of gallons of poisoned water that require quarantine forever, thousands of tanker truck deliveries, and round-the-clock disruptive drilling and fracking using lights and equipment that requires 40,000 horsepower to operate. For many hundreds of wells, the scale and impact to our city are at least alarming, if not terrifying. The cost to the health, safety and property of our citizens far outweighs any royalties that the city government might receive.

We are looking to City Council to protect our community.

And surely, the City Manager, City Attorney, and their staff must be looking to you for formal, public, guidance so they can responsibly fulfill their assignment to update our regulations. You’ve received and considered the opinions of your advisory boards, but now let us hear your true personal feelings about the place of oil and gas facilities in our lives in our city.

Tonight, proclaim to your constituents, your advisory boards, and to city employees that our city has a guiding Principal:

Proclaim: “Our city government will not promote, encourage, or enable oil and gas development even one inch beyond what is forced upon our community by the COGCC”.

Instruct the City Manager to create regulations that protect our community to the fullest extent possible. Use Longmont’s city boundaries to shield us from the personal, economic and physical damage that oil and gas facilities will cause in an urban setting.

Say “NO” to Cougar. Your vote on Cougar will be your personal stand. If you are averse to having oil and gas facilities within our city limits then say “NO” to Cougar!


A Roadmap for Achieving Responsible Oil and Gas Regulations

  1. Ensure that the public understands the situation that Longmont faces. In a nutshell: On average, in the Wattenberg, the value of the oil and gas under our homes is close to the value of our property and home on the surface. The Oil and Gas is probably owned by somebody else who feels relatively unconstrained exploiting this wealth using dangerous and disruptive industrial processes in an urban environment. (See map below)
  2. Establish a guiding principle for creating an administrative and regulatory system to protect our community. The principal should be that our city government will not promote, encourage, or enable oil and gas development even one inch beyond what is forced upon our community by the COGCC.
  3. Use the document, Oil and Gas Regulations: A Guide for Local Governments, as a fundamental resource. This was created by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, DOLA. The purpose of this guide is to provide a broad perspective to help municipalities in Colorado come to terms with, and shape the way in which they individually wish to work with the industry to address the concerns of the community.
  4. Adapt Saguache County’s 2008 regulations to fit our situation and use as our first draft. DOLA provides several case studies as a guide for considering local community issues. DOLA’s first reference is to Saguache County which utilizes Performance Standards and Operational Conflicts Special Exemptions, both of which are noteworthy.
  5. Strengthen the draft using best practices from Laplatta, Gunnison, Rio Grande, and other counties and cities. (Especially those cited by DOLA) Also use the CU Law School directory of state-wide regulations as a reference guide.
  6. Update the draft of our regulations to comply with recent COGCC rulings.
  7. Release the draft for Advisory Board and public review. Be open to new ideas and strategies. Don’t hesitate to incorporate additional reasonable requirements and tactics.
  8. Use Indemnification and Insurance to protect the property and interests of our citizens. Use fees. Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement costs. Indemnification for lost property values. Insurance against damage, disasters, negligence, environmental clean up, infrastructure build-out and degradation, emergency response, and end-of-life site restoration.
  9. Establish an Oil and Gas Department Just as we currently have a Building Department we will need a Gas and Oil Department to administrate and enforce our regulations and to protect the safety of the public. This is a multi-billion dollar enterprise just within our city. The department manager should be intimately knowledgeable about the Colorado Gas and Oil Industry and will be our official ‘Designee” to the COGCC. Give this department the mission of working to re-establish our community’s home rule rights regarding oil and gas facilities.
  10. Do not sell or lease mineral or water rights for the purpose of drilling, fracking, or production of oil and gas within our city.
  11. Place all revenue from pre-existing contracts into a municipal fund to be managed by the new Oil and Gas Department. Use the fund to mitigate the losses and damage that can be expected in our community from drilling and fracking.

Submitted by Joseph Bassman, 3414 Lakeview Circle, Longmont CO Jan 3, 2012

The Wattenberg Field

The Wattenberg Field

Oil and Gas Wells are Surrounding and Invading the Cities of the Wattenberg Field.

joseph.bassman@gmail.com

January 3, 2012

Erie Rising

There’s a new blog in Erie – here’s their latest post:

Welcome to the website dedicated to Erie, Colorado families and our concerns regarding the natural gas drilling and fracking in our community.  

On this site, we will post articles, news links, comments, concerns, and responses with the intent of enabling and empowering Erie residents with knowledge and understanding of the serious issues and development in our community.

As a community we are simply asking 3 questions:

How does Hydraulic Fracturing (aka “fracking”) affect our health?
How does Hydraulic Fracturing  affect our children and environment?
How will Hydraulic Fracturing affect our property value?

We are not experts on the issue; we are fellow concerned parents and residents who are in the process of becoming knowledgeable about natural gas development in our area.  We do not hold all of the answers, but we will post the information we receive and share it with you so that you too are enabled to make your own conclusions about the issues at hand.

If you have an article you would like to share, please email it to us erierising@gmail.com and we will post it for you! We will do our best to post information from all sides as we know this is a very volatile issue.

Please join us to protect our community and our children!

Presentation: Neo-Liberal Economics

Strider Benston, civil rights activist

Strider Benston’s long and passionate dedication to political activism — dating back to his days of knowing and working with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — as well as his deep and contextual appreciation for American history, will inform his upcoming presentation on Neo-Liberal Economics.  You will come away knowing more about how deregulation, privatization and the so-called “rule of the market” has destroyed what was once great about America’s economy and morphed it into our present day gap between the very wealthy and everyone else, thus eliminating the concept of the “public good” and “community”.

Please join LAD as we are proud to host this event.

Strider Benston presents:

“Neo-Liberal Economics”
Wednesday, January 4 at 6:30pm
723 Main Street
Longmont

When Longmont went dirty

Ms Baum, you brought dirty politics to Longmont. I received in the mail dirty political attack campaign mailers from the Steve Monger of the Longmont Leadership aka Western Tradition partnership and from you Ms. Baum. You go after citizens who don’t agree with you. It’s not right what you do. It’s shameful what you do.
— blog post by “Onion” on the article BoCo Dems get first look at HD 11 contenders – Times-Call.com

Some people can lose an election and move on (no pun intended).  Some people can’t.  One has to wonder who in the dangerous duo from November’s election is having the most difficulty, ex-mayor Bryan Baum or the ex “First Lady”.  It’s a toss-up.

Bryan seems to have great difficulty letting go.  Would you be surprised to know that he’s still doing the “Monday with the Mayor” radio broadcast, but under a nominally different banner?  Oh, yes, not making that one up.  News flash, “has-been-mayor” Baum, your term is over.  And in spite of a retained conservative majority, at least you cannot continue to damage Longmont.  No matter how much you stroke yourself, you did cause much damage.  It was delineated in the Moving Longmont Forward mailer.  Could it be that you actually do not recognize the harm you’ve caused?  Naw, not likely.  That you have to protest so often and so publicly suggests that even you worry about having been exposed.  Don’t worry.  Those who agree with you won’t hold your skullduggery against you; they applaud it.

As to Bryan Baum’s other half…  I know the usual expression is “better half” …but it this case there is no “better.”  Stephanie seems to have as much difficulty with truth as her husband does.  She led the way in 2008 with the notorious “pink letter” (reproduced below).

A recent Times-Call article gave her the opportunity to get back in the game.  Likely she chafed at having to keep her mouth shut for two years lest she damage her husband’s re-election chances.  She needn’t have worried.  Baum did that quite well all by himself.   First out of the gate, in the article about the first forum for Democratic HD 11 contenders, Stephanie Baum demands that no one support Jonathan Singer in his House District 11 race because he supported Moving Longmont Forward.  Another news flash, this one for the ex-First Lady., Mr. Singer does not endorse lies and that is why he was able to support the mailer exposing your husband’s record and behavior.  Mr. Singer has personal experience with your husband’s bullying.  He chose not to expose him, a kindness that others would not have been so inclined to offer.  Had the contents of that telephone conversation been revealed to the public, your husband would have lost by a landslide.

In Stephanie Baum’s tit-for-tat on the Times-Call website, back and forth, she effectively dared “Onion” to produce a copy of the “pink letter” and demonstrate the attacks that were leveled.  Free Range Longmont is happy to oblige on their behalf.

The irony of all of the protestations by the Baums is their selective memories not only of the launching of negative campaigning in the 2008 campaign, but ready acceptance of the most vile of political campaigning that Longmont has ever experienced, namely the “The Longmont Leader.”

For those who may have preferred to forget, this was a newspaper-style**, 11” x 17” 8-pager that spent most of its ink in inarguable attack.  Ink, by the way, that was paid for by Western Tradition Partnership, an organization that never was, never will be a local voice (except perhaps to hide contributions by those who do not have the courage to display their agenda publicly).

I am not so naïve as to believe that this will be the last word on political lies and political attacks.  Pandora’s Box was opened by Gabe Santos and Stephanie Baum was more than happy to wield an ax.  In the process, they changed Longmont’s politics for the indefinite future and invited the the likes of Scott Shires (responsible for the first attack piece in the 2008 election and connected to political hit sites) and Western (now American) Tradition Partnership.  I’m certain Longmont hasn’t heard the last of them – they have a lot of money and an agenda.


Transcription of the “Pink Letter” sent to Longmont voters during the 2008 Special Election. Underlining is preserved from original. Color-highlighted text is FRL emphasis. Spelling errors in the original have been marked ‘sic’ to indicate they have been left unchanged.


Stephanie Baum

January 18, 2008

Dear Friend,

I am writing you today as a mother and a neighbor – please forgive me for my informality – as I have never felt called to send a letter like this.

Normally, I am satisfied to take my son to karate practice, plan play dates with other moms and their kids, and spend my free time keeping up with friends through email.

But I have become gravely concerned about our community of Longmont and the sudden change in direction it has taken.

I have lived in Longmont for nine years and have come to love this community and have developed many deep friendships here. Longmont has grown precisely because it is a beautiful, safe place with strong values, where a family can thrive.

That’s why I care deeply about the kind of leadership my son and daughter, Chase and Brooklynn, and I see in Longmont and across our great state of Colorado.

The future of Longmont is important enough that I wanted to personally write to you about Gabe Santos, who is the common-sense Republican running to bring balance back to Longmont City Council.

I first met Gabe over 7 years ago, at a welcome reception in the home of his in-laws, Van and Diane Stow, whom I’ve known for years.

When I met Gabe, I remember thinking “oh great, another Big City guy moving to our little town,” but as soon as I spoke to him I realized he was anything but a “Big City guy.” His engaging personality is obviously one of the many reasons why his wife Vicki fell in love with him.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re recently seen an organized assault on Longmont by a radical element attempting to distort Gabe’s record and hide their harmful agenda, in an effort to take over city council.

I have believed for some time that this sort of negative campaigning is degrading the way we act and feel towards each other.

In response to the distasteful broadsides being directed at my friend Gabe and at some people of faith in our community, I have some nice – and true – things to say.

I know Gabe Santos is a good and decent man. He has spent his entire adult life serving others.

My husband coordinates the Salvation Army bell-ringing for the Longmont Rotary Club, and Gabe rang the bell more than any other Rotarian this year. Gabe and Vicki chaired Longmont’s Relay for Life, taking over for us in that capacity.

My husband Bryan and I have been very active with local non-profits here in Longmont, and Gabe and Vicki have the same passion that we do in those endeavors. Gabe so often puts the needs of others before his own.

He has served his family by providing for them and being a “hands on” dad with his involvement and support – we can’t go to Art Walk, the Halloween Parade, the Festival on Main, Oktoberfest or any other of a number of community events without running into Gabe, Vicki and their daughter Sylvia.

He worked with city government through Focus on Longmont to ensure our community is a great place to live both now and in the future, and Gabe helps meet the needs of others by volunteering with the Longmont Ending Violence White Ribbon Campaign and working with the Education Summit to improve our childrens school experience.

When Gabe told my husband and I that he was going to run for City Council, we knew right away that Gabe’s integrity and wisdom would make him a great city representative.

That feeling hasn’t changed.

As far as his leadership, I would definately(sic) feel safer with Gabe’s kind of policy on public safety, reasonable growth, restraining taxes and spending, and respecting citizens’ private lives than someone who would choose to divide the city further.

And unlike his opponent, Gabe doesn’t plan to spend his entire life on the government payroll – he knows what a challenge life is for families and businesses, which is why today he’s working as an accountant and studying to become a CPA.

Now, honestly, I wasn’t sure what his opponent stood for, because he seems to change or obscure his views on some of the most important issues our city faces today.

In fact, his opponent, Richard Juday has even gone so far as to delete at least four pages from his website – pages that contain very troubling comments about being “more like Boulder;” attacking the beliefs of people of faith; and the most significant one…his promise not to take campaign contributions.

That’s why, when I looked online at the City Clerk’s campaign finance report, I tell you, I was in for a surprise!

The first that jumped out at them was the number of radical left-wing Democrat activists who were supporting Mr. Juday. Many of the same donors are on record supporting cadidates who push a tax-and-spend, anti-family agenda.

Forgive me, but those groups and individuals – which include many of the same Boulder radicals who recently ran a smear campaign against our neighbors at LifeBridge church – do not share my vision for a strong future for Longmont families.

I looked for names of people whom would show some balance, but truthfully, Juday seems only to be supported by the Boulder County Democrat(sic *) Party, MoveOn.org types (whom I’ve never seen active in our community), and out-of-state donors.

Now, I know it takes money to buy yard signs and run a campaign, but when I saw the list of “zero-growth” Boulder Democrats backing Mr. Juday, I decided to look up his vision for the future, and it’s apparent from his own campaign materials he wants to turn Longmont into “Boulder-lite.”

I know Boulder – I grew up there, and my parents still live there. Businesses and families are fleeing “the People’s Republic of Boulder” because of it’s city government’s radical anti-growth policies and dangerous social engineering projects and experiments.

Longmont’s realtors and small businesses are obviously very concerned – because the last thing our local economy needs is repressive taxation and regulation on our housing. That’s why the Longmont Association of Realtors endorsed Gabe Santos.

Now I, like everyone, want to enjoy our surrounding and be a good steward of our environment – but I also know that Longmont’s long-held policies of smart and well-planned growth are the biggest reason our taxes have not skyrocketed like we’ve seen in Boulder.

That’s why I also agree with Gabe about cutting waste in City government to maintain our open space, in a way that doesn’t increase the tax burden on middle class families.

His opponent believes tax increases are the way to go, and several of Richard Juday’s tax-and-spend city council members have already voted to reverse existing, sensible cost-cutting measures in the interest of buying support from government bureaucrats.

Gabe’s belief in fiscal restraint will translate into stronger parks, library, and recreation for all our children over the long term – without creating a heavy-handed bureaucracy that micromanages our every move.

That’s how I know that Gabe is definately(sic) against Mr. Juday’s proposed scheme to institute an “inner-governmental agreement” to “track individual shoppers by their license plate numbers,” while we are inside browsing supermarket aisles.

I know that’s hard to believe – that’s why I posted his deleted pages on my blog, www.takebacklongmont.blogspot.com (and yes, those are my cute kids in the blog’s photo!!)

So, it’s now clear to me why Gabe’s opponent has done everything to hide his own views – candidates with such Big Brother schemes have to cloak themselves – because they don’t stand for anything I believe most Longmont families would agree with.

So it turns out the Boulder radicals are actually the ones propping up Gabe’s opponent.

Our community has several important issue facing us, including public safety and gangs, infrastructure, and responsible growth. I am gravely concerned about the kind of future a city councilman like Richard Juday would give us.

In the end, it comes down to money – lots of it given to Juday from outside our district, and the rest from partisan operatives willing to deceive voters in their attempt to turn Longmont into another “Boulder-utopia.”

I am asking you to find your mail-in ballot, and cast your vote for a family-friendly vision for Longmont’s future that I hope you and I share.

With the underhanded campaign against our community and on Gabe Santos – a truly good man – coming from Richard Juday’s campaign and the radical special interests that support him – I’m not sure I can stomach his vision for Colorado’s future.

So, in the end, I just thought I’d let you know what’s been on my mind.

If you’d like to talk, please give me a call at 303-946-9507.

Sincerely,

(signed) Stephanie Baum

P.S. It has been a blessing to know Gabe Santos and to work with him in our community.

I guarantee, if you will cast your vote for Gabe on the mail-in ballot you recently received, you will love him as a city councilman, as much as his family and those in Longmont already do!

Please remember to vote for Gabe Santos before January 29th.


Scans of original mailer pages used for transcription.

Stephanie Baum

Councilman Gabe Santos

* It’s not the ‘Democrat’ Party of Boulder County, it’s ‘Democratic’ – this is a common and oft-repeated extremist-right slur/purposeful ‘mistake’/hyper-partisan rhetoric.

** Gee… golly… it looked so real. I believe on purpose. Some people believe anything “the newspaper” tells them.

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.

Disgust at Council members behavior

Councilman Gabe Santos

During the December 20, 2011 City Council meeting, I presented the Mayor and Council members with an informational DVD titled, “What You Need to Know About Natural Gas Production,” produced by Dr. Theo Colborn of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange. With Fracking being such a hot issue facing the City, this movie contains pertinent information that will help Council members understand the consequences of exposure to chemicals resulting from natural gas drilling.

However, I was shocked when Councilman Santos handed the DVD back to me at the end of the meeting. His unwillingness to understand all sides of an important issue is a very bad sign. When I complained to him about his refusal, he accused me of threatening him.

Well, let’s take a look at this from the other side.

By forcing me to take back the DVD, Santos bullied me. Bullying is defined as: “Using superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants. This behavior is not indicative of a public servant I want to serve my community. It is a disgrace to the City for a Mayor Pro Tem to use these tactics.

I also want to address the disrespect showed to our independent experts who were there at the request of Longmont citizens. They brought forth crucial information about the dangers of fracking and its waste of our precious water. But not one Councilmember could muster a single question for them – and then Phil Doe and Wes Wilson were ridiculed for not showing proper decorum. COGA representative Schuller’s comment about purported ‘misinformation’ in Wes and Phil’s presentations comes from the arrogant stance of an Industry Insider.

Emergency landing on Hover

For years I have opposed extending the runway at Vance Brand Airport. My concern is safety. Planes fly as low as 400 feet over our home. The 80-decibel aircraft noise that routinely stops conversation in our backyard is troubling, but at least it is not terrifying.

A few years ago a plane crashed in our driveway and I returned home to find the driveway blocked by firetrucks, ambulances and sheriff’s cars. Yesterday it happened again, this time on busy Hover Street; just another harmless crash done with a dead engine in full emergency conditions. How many times will we turn a blind eye to these crashes and the tragedy that will happen someday? How will you feel when you lose a family member in such an avoidable tragedy?

What will it take to deliver this message to the City Council?

Remember the airliner crash in the Hudson River in New York and the fortunate survival of all? A flock of geese brought that aircraft down. We have thousands of geese circling inside the flight pattern each afternoon. No aircraft crash has yet been reported but just think about the possibility of it happening over downtown.

Why doesn’t the City Council take into consideration these safety issues? They keep touting that increasing air traffic over Longmont will bring in business and jobs. That is just pie in the sky thinking. They should consider the safety and well-being of residents.

Rank has its privileges

Real leaders inspire, not intimidate

I was trained to be an army officer during six months of officer candidate school in 1966. And to this day those months were the best education in human relations I ever received; better than all 17 years of formal education spent earning a BA and MPA. The concept and pitfalls of RHIP were dispensed in daily doses during that training, mostly warning us against it. My three years of active duty as an officer showed me why. I ran into two types of army officers: good ones who never resorted to RHIP, and lesser men who found many ways to abuse it.

I separated from the army in late 1969 and it seems I have been waiting for the right cue to express my intense dislike of people who abuse their rank. Recent letters to this paper dealing with the privileges of Members of Congress have provided that cue. You know the ones I’m talking about, where MCs should buy their own health insurance, and join Social Security for retirement benefits. Where their term of office should be limited and then each incumbent shown the door.

I once taught citizenship merit badges to Boy Scouts and emphasized that everyone in Washington, D. C. worked for them. I hesitate to say that now.

During my army training I saw the company commander stand aside and wait his turn in the chow line until his men had been served. On active duty I saw a general officer treat his aide, my best army pal, like a slave requiring him to pay for everything and then submit a bill to be reimbursed a month later—this from a man who was paid at least ten times that of his aide. He did it because he could, not because he should.

After army service, I returned to graduate school and confounded one professor by saying Up the Organization was the best management book ever written. Why? Because author of the book, Robert Townsend, the CEO of Avis, paid people lower in the company’s management structure more than he paid himself! This would be inconceivable today with multi-million-dollar CEO pay regardless of results. But sadly, the only remnant of the practices in that book is a special parking place for employee of the month.

I eschew the cult of the individual. Men who fail to mention the people around them who contributed to their success never impress me. I admire Nolan Ryan, Hall of Fame pitcher who dwells on the plural personal pronoun WE, and you know he means the rest of the team and his wife who is always sitting beside him. If you watch any sports on TV you’ll see players pointing at each other recognizing contributions. This simple acknowledgement came from Dean Smith, an extremely humble basketball coach at my university. Coach Smith was big on we.

My grad school dean once said no one in public service would get rich because it was supposed to be a privilege. His profound words certainly applied to my public service which I’ll always consider an honor and a privilege. But at the highest level of public service, RHIP has been abused, is being abused. If Congress were an army officer, no one would follow.