Tag Archive for Sean McCoy

Fracking — coming to a location near you

Plans are being prepared by city staff and others to allow drilling for gas and oil on Longmont properties.  The mineral rights involved are substantially owned by others with Longmont owning only surface land, although the city itself does own some mineral rights.

TOP Operating, a drilling firm, has already held a neighborhood meeting in conjunction with the city for those in the vicinity of Union Reservoir, Sandstone Ranch and the Sherwood property at County Road 20-1/2.  The company’s representative, Dale Bruns (of the LifeBridge/West Union development infamy) also appeared at the October Water Board meeting and Bruns and the owners of TOP Operating appeared at the Board of Environmental Affairs October meeting.

Cougar Land Services, a seismic survey firm that has requested a permit to conduct surveys on Longmont property, is expected to appear before the two boards in November.  The purpose of the seismic surveys is to locate additional oil and gas under Longmont properties.

The TOP Operating plan is to access 80 to 100 wells through five drilling pads located on the Bogott and Adrian water and open space properties west of Union Reservoir that are owned by Longmont, at Sandstone Ranch, on the Sherwood open space property and one additional site.  These plans include directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Drilling preparations could begin in as little as two to three months.

Frack You Longmont

Frack near Longmont? It's no fairy tale.

Mineral rights issues are complex. Those of you who have seen “Gasland” and/or “Split Estates” will understand that there can be surface land rights and mineral rights for the same piece of property.  Most landowners only own surface rights.  Federal and Colorado law actually permits owners of mineral rights to locate on surface-owned lands of others to drill for the oil and gas (mineral rights) that they own.  In most cases, property owners have acquiesced and leased to them — in some cases for revenue, in some cases for some control over location and/or the number of drills.  If these companies so choose, the can erect a vertical drill for every well.  Outrageous, but true!

While there can be many wells of oil and gas near each other, today’s technology allows for drilling directionally or horizontally to access several of these wells through single drilling sites.  Fracking now makes many of these sources economical for the oil and gas industry.  Fracking uses a combination of water, sand and a chemical cocktail to break apart shale rock and release trapped oil and gas.  Fracking is a serious threat to water supplies regardless of industry propaganda to the contrary.  There are also other environmental hazards with fracking.

About three weeks ago, Longmont voters received a telephone poll conducted by American Tradition Partnership (ATP), formerly known as Western Tradition Partnership (WTP).  Among their many questions was, and I paraphrase, “Would you be OK with oil and gas drilling on Longmont’s open space?”

American Tradition Partnership is rabidly anti-environmental.  They are funded by the oil, gas and coal industries.  Even more significant, the organization is amongst the nation’s best liars who have never had a relationship with shame, and likely never will.

ATP/WTP fully funded Longmont Leadership Committee in the 2009 Longmont election that conducted the ugliest political campaign in Longmont’s recent memories. That election ushered in a majority on city council that espouses a radical ideology. In this year’s election, American Tradition Partnership has openly endorsed Bryan Baum and Health Carroll and opposed Sarah Levison and Sean McCoy in Longmont’s upcoming election.

Mayor Baum raised the issue of Longmont’s mineral rights at the 2010 council retreat.  The subject was not openly resurrected after that time and most of us who are concerned about potential drilling wrongly assumed that the subject was going nowhere.  It is my belief that American Tradition Partnership has acted with the mayor and his block on council since the 2009 election, if not before.  The dots connect.  In essence ATP/WTP is receiving payback for the support provided to elect Baum, Santos, Witt and Sammoury.

This latest turn of events is appalling and our options are limited.  We are losing control of our city and our environment.  Let your voice be heard in whatever forum you have available or feel comfortable in using.

Free Range Longmont Endorses: Sean McCoy for Ward 3

A native of Longmont, Sean McCoy has a long and dedicated history of service to the community.  He learned about public service and Longmont’s concerns at the foot of his father, Tom McCoy, who served on Longmont’s City Council for 22 years.

McCoy has served on Longmont’s Planning and Zoning Commission, on Boulder County’s Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission, and currently is Longmont’s representative at the Boulder County Consortium of Cities.

Entrenched special interests have “ruled” Longmont for most of the last few decades.  Sean McCoy does not hesitate to challenge these interests.  Nor does he hesitate to challenge those segments in our community who espouse ideas that are seriously detrimental not only to the Longmont community but to Colorado and the nation.

McCoy is direct and unequivocal in his statements.  In an age where elected officials often make statements that are intended to cause listeners to interpret according to their personal interests and beliefs and obscure actual intentions, McCoy leaves no doubt as to his position on issues.  Some have denigrated this characteristic.  It should, however, be praised for both its honesty and its courage.

Disingenuous elected officials do Longmont no service.  For two years, Longmont has endured much too much of this from some members of Longmont’s city council.  Not only is it time to end this, but it is also time for more not less candor from our elected representatives.

Sean McCoy deserves to remain on Longmont’s City Council.  He has been doing his best at “keeping them honest.”

Don’t defile Longmont’s Open Space

In a recent Guest Opinion, I wrote about Western Tradition Partnership.  WTP funded a Longmont political committee that waged an ugly political campaign to elect Mayor Bryan Baum and council members Gabe Santos, Katie Witt and Alex Sammoury.

Western Tradition Partnership is primarily funded by the oil, gas and coal industries.  WTP is now known as American Tradition Partnership.

Last week ATP polled a substantial number of Longmont voters.  It was an extensive poll.  The poll clearly promoted Baum for mayor and at-large candidate Heath Carroll.

American Tradition Partnership is rabidly anti-environmental.   Halfway through the poll, a second agenda became evident.  Their questions about renewable energy were designed to push respondents to respond negatively to green energy.

But the question that should alarm all of Longmonters was this, and I paraphrase, “Would you be OK with gas and oil drilling on Longmont’s open space?”

American Tradition Partnership is calling in its chits.  It spent money to elect the above-mentioned candidates and now its secret contributors want something in return.

Over the next four weeks Cougar Land Services, already operating in Weld County, will seek permission to perform seismic surveys on our open space.   Make no mistake, this is a precursor to drilling with the belief that it will pass the next council.

Our open space belongs to the people of Longmont and must not be disturbed, defiled and degraded.

If you want to end this threat to Longmont’s open space, you have no alternative but to vote against Bryan Baum and those on his preferred slate.   Protect our environmental, recreational, agricultural and water assets from drilling and likely some hydraulic fracking.  Vote in Dennis Coombs as Mayor and return incumbents Sarah Levison, Brian Hansen and Sean McCoy to council.

This land is our land.

Expect outside influence with negative mailers in 2011 election

They did it before, they'll do it again

The slate of candidates for Longmont’s 2011 election is now determined. Technically, the races for mayor and city council are non-partisan races. That simply means that political parties and their registered voters do not determine candidates in a primary for a general election against candidates from competing political parties. It does not eliminate alignment with political parties or political philosophies. Nor does it mean that campaign tactics that we see in state and national elections will not occur.

The divisions that are so obvious at the national level exist in Longmont as well. They exist on our city council because they reflect the divisions in the Longmont community.

In the Longmont 2009 election, very large sums of money were funneled in support of the rightwing four-person majority of the current city council (Baum, Santos, Witt and Sammoury) by an organization known as Western Tradition Partnership (WTP). Such campaigns are not supposed to be “coordinated” but analysis of campaign reports from 2009 cast doubts.

WTP is rabidly anti-environment and is absolutist on the issue of property rights. They go well beyond belief in a free market into an orthodoxy that believes that if you must have government, its purpose should be of, by and for business interests to the exclusion of all else.

Western Tradition Partnership has surfaced around the nation, but mostly in the West, to target candidates with a “D” after their name or who are known or perceived be to a Democrat in any way, shape or form. The Montana Political Practices Commission stopped just short of accusing the organization of corruption and there was testimony to indicate that some of their money likely came from out of the country and found its way into American elections.

Western Tradition Partnership funded the Longmont Leadership Committee who waged a viciously negative campaign against Karen Benker and Kaye Fissinger. It went so far as to include Sean McCoy in their Longmont Leader “newspaper,” even though he wasn’t running in 2009. McCoy does not back down from deeply held convictions against Crony Capitalism. He is committed to clean, open and honest government. That is enough to put him on the radar of people and organizations that believe they have a birthright to power and government control.

WTP now goes by the name American Tradition Partnership. It is an IRS 501c4 tax-exempt, non-profit organization restricted by law from engaging in predominantly political purposes. But that hasn’t stopped it in the past and it won’t stop it going forward. IRS enforcement is virtually nil and when investigations are launched, they are well after the damage has been done.

Expect much more backdoor negative politics in Longmont’s 2011 election. The names may not be the same because past publicity has exposed them locally, statewide and nationally.

You will receive slick mailers that will slant truth and reality, if not invent outright lies. They did it before and they will do it again. They will target the three incumbents that have been on their radar since 2007 – Sean McCoy, Sarah Levison, and Brian Hansen. They will probably target Dennis Coombs as well – for no reason other than that he is challenging Bryan Baum, whom they adore because he embraces their orthodoxy and is a climate-change denier. Denying the realities and evidence of climate change is the first and foremost mission of WTP/ATP or whatever name it will be this time.

And don’t be surprised if independent mailers even seek to divide Longmont’s Democrats. These political committees know what political party you belong to if you’ve declared. There will be almost no limit to their strategies and tactics.

Money bought the 2009 elections and it will be used again to attempt to buy the 2011 elections. And they are counting on Longmont voters to be paying attention to anything or everything else and to rely on negative mailers to make their decisions about who should establish policies for their city. You will know which candidates they support by who is negatively targeted. By cui bono. Who benefits?

It’s not Longmont and its citizenry that they care about. It’s power for extreme and irrational causes and support for some very, very special interests, local and beyond.

An Open Letter to Congressman Cory Gardner from Councilman Sean McCoy

Dear Congressman Cory Gardner,

Longmont City Councilman Sean McCoy

I am the Longmont City Council Member representing Ward 3. As the local elected official “on the ground,” I must tell you that I am very concerned and extremely disappointed with your recent voting record.

You framed your campaign and platform around job creation and fixing the economy for all economic households in your district and throughout the country. However, you have consistently wasted time, “One-upping,” your fellow freshmen congress members, over who can cut more from the budget and in the process hurt the most needy amongst our shared constituents.

Please remember your votes have a lasting effect on our community and its people.

Specifically, what do your following “Affirmative” votes have to do with job creation?
1. Prohibiting use of federal funds for Planned Parenthood,
2. Prohibiting Federal Funding of National Public Radio, and
3. Abolishing Federal Financing of Presidential Election Campaigns.

Why have you failed to work on jobs and opportunities for the communities that you represent?

Your votes appear to be promoting a social agenda and are unconnected to the goals of economic recovery. These are not the issues of the majority of our constituents. We (my constituents and I) expect you to stop playing political games with their lives and livelihoods as well as long-established community supported programs.

Your votes to terminate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and reduce funding the Economic Development Initiative are particularly egregious and detrimental to the City of Longmont’s efforts to provide needed services and maintain employment in our community.

In short: “Grow up.” Place the genuine needs of our constituents ahead of ideologies that drive the small and radical segments of our district, ward and nation. Holding the government hostage by avoiding compromise is wrong.

I will remind you that on a global scale, the popular uprising in Egypt wasn’t just instigated because that country had a corrupt leader. Nor was it a case of too much government. The uprising occurred because Egypt had a corrupt leader combined with too little regulation to offset the predatory practices of out-of -control capitalism. In reflection, they had too little government to protect and support the people’s needs.

Pretending to fix the national condition by reducing budgets and breaking down government so it is so ineffective, inefficient and radically smaller isn’t a rational solution for most people. Furthermore, the “Tea Party’s,” irrational mantra of the untested economic theory of an unconditional “Free Market System,” doesn’t compute to rational thinkers in this world’s most successful societies where they know emphatically and correctly, that you don’t balance budgets on the backs of their societies’ most vulnerable members while giving overt advantages to the most wealthy of those same societies.

Shame on you, Cory Gardner. Stop being so radically out of touch with the Longmont community’s priorities. I/we expect you to lead with compassion and common sense and not follow the poor examples I see in you so far and in your closely politically aligned colleagues. It is inexcusable for you to be solely responsive to the deep pockets that helped pay to get you elected. Your behavior reflects a disturbingly high level of corruption.

Your votes suggest a larger personality flaw that indicates an inability to understand, empathize and support others by showing compassion to those that are less fortunate in our country.

Finally, I expect – no, I demand – that you to drop your support of these radical “Policy riders,” because they are emphatically not the values of this community. Your efforts to reduce government spending must consider all aspects of the budget, including the Entitlement of the “Military Budget.”

Thus far, your votes and decisions cause nothing but serious harm to the American people. Your actions are far from just or in the best interest of either my Ward 3 constituents or the constituency of the 4th Congressional District

Sincerely,

Sean P. McCoy
Longmont City Council Member Ward 3

City of Longmont violates First Amendment

Baum and friends have no respect for your rights

Stand up, Speak Out!

On Wednesday July 28, 2010, the City of Longmont received a letter from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. The letter indicates that a complaint has been registered with Americans United because the city “has provided a fee waiver, to ‘Worship and the Word Movement, Inc.’ for the administrative and operational costs that will be incurred by the Longmont Police Department for the group’s event ‘Heaven Fest 2010’…”

Americans United informs the City “that it is unconstitutional for the City to provide a benefit, such as a fee waiver to a religious organization when the City does not provide the same benefit to other organizations.”

An Open Records Request earlier in the year revealed that the Longmont Police Department (LPD) has a standard contract that requires special events to reimburse the LPD $50 per hour for administrative and coordination fees.

Emails between the LPD and Valeria Skitt, Longmont City Clerk, reveal that the Police Department abandoned the charges when Skitt emailed Commander Jeffrey Satur saying , “These numbers seem like a bit much given that they aren’t requesting officer assistance, we are requiring it.” The email went on to say, “This will come as a really big surprise to them at this late stage of the game.”

Commander Satur explained in a subsequent email “why we charge for our administrative costs.” He said, “These meetings are time consuming and take away from our primary duties. As such, at a time when resources were scarce, we felt it important for the event coordinators, not the tax payers, to pay for this loss.”

As of February 26, 2010, Commander Satur indicated to Ms. Skitt that the Longmont Police Department had devoted “at least 10 hours of planning.” He said that he did not “know how many planning meeting we have left, but I’m thinking 20-25 hours.” The cost for the hours devoted and the expressed estimate amounted to $1,750.00.

The License Agreement between the city and Heaven Fest was signed on March 9, 2010, and did not included charges for administrative costs. Subsequent to the execution of the Agreement, the Longmont Police Department spent considerable time between March and June developing the Traffic Plan for the event with the Weld County Sheriff’s Department and the State Patrol.

An email from the City Clerk indicated that no amendments to the original License Agreement were executed.

The letter from Americans United cites several cases in support of the complaint.
“The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ‘mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.’”

Americans United asks that the City “take steps to ensure that this fee is either applied equally to all events, religious and non-religious alike, or that it is not applied to any event.” If the first option is selected, the city would need to “rescind the waiver and collect all applicable fees for ‘Heaven Fest 2010.’”

Mayor Bryan Baum and Mayor ProTem Gabe Santos are in Japan until August 3rd. At its Regular Session council meeting on Tuesday, July 27th, Council Member Sean McCoy was chosen to act on behalf of the City in the absence of Baum and Santos.

When asked about the letter, Acting Mayor McCoy responded, “The Constitution is the nation’s fundamental document. All elected officials have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. The city takes this matter seriously and will work to resolve any issue that may exist.”

Americans United expects the City of Longmont to respond to its letter within thirty days.

According to its website, Americans United “is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.”

The author of this article is the complainant in this matter.

Baum: Voters’ (Buyers’?) Remorse

Not what the public expected

No one's singing along

Tuesday city council meetings continue to be a challenge to the digestive system. And the reason for this is the colossal mistake the community made last November when it elected Bryan Baum as the city’s mayor.

After the cameras have been turned off and before the recorders are turned on, the true Bryan Baum surfaces.

The difficult issue before the council on Tuesday was the ordinance limiting open carry of firearms in government buildings. Despite a preponderance of speakers at Public Invited to be Heard (PITBH) who saw this ordinance as a Second Amendment issue (though Supreme Court rulings support the ordinance), discussion amongst council members made it apparent that the council was poised to pass the ordinance into law.

Dictators don’t like to lose. But since Longmont governance isn’t an on-the-books dictatorship, Baum found himself democratically challenged.

Over and over and over again he stated his positions opposing the ordinance in spite of the fact that it was clear he was not going to get his way. He even interrupted his right-hand man Council Member Gabe Santos who made a compelling argument in favor of the ordinance. His only ally was CM Katie Witt. Because Baum could not face reality, a consistent condition for him, the discussion proceeded ad nauseaum.

I’ve attended nearly every council meeting since November 2007. It is only since Bryan Baum assumed the mayor’s chair that our council meetings have been acrimonious and humiliating for the city. Former Mayor Roger Lange was a gracious man who always allowed his fellow council members to raise questions and present opinions before he offered his own. Not Baum, it’s not only his way or the highway, it’s his way first and foremost, last and only.

Tuesday’s agenda was considerable. That prompted Council Member Sean McCoy to ask for a point of order when the discussion was no longer productive. Not surprisingly, Baum threw yet another of his typical fits and insisted that he should have the floor to say anything he wants for as long as he wants and as many times as he wants. He was losing and he just couldn’t stand it.

Eventually a vote was taken passing the ordinance (5-2) and eventually the council meeting ended. But that wasn’t the end of it. Oh, no. Baum couldn’t wait to have it out with CM McCoy. McCoy was having a reasoned discussion with Santos when Baum stormed up to him, calling him a name that rhymes with the nickname for Richard that is often a synonym for the term. And if that wasn’t sufficient, McCoy was threatened with retaliation if he ever raised a point of order (“interrupted” him) again. There was more, but I didn’t hear it all.

At Final PITBH, a member of the community who attends most council meetings spoke in dismay that Baum and Witt didn’t see the merits of an ordinance that would serve as some measure of safety for the city’s employees and residents who come to city facilities to do business or to attend council meetings. Exercising his first amendment rights, this individual chastised both Baum and Witt for the likely support their votes would garner with the NRA.

Baum couldn’t have that either. So he shanghaied the speaker after council for daring to speak out against him. So that he wouldn’t be overheard, Baum pulled the man aside and read him the riot act. Now how’s that for diplomacy and treating members of the community with respect! And this was far from the first time Baum raked a member of the public over the coals. That’s a story far worse and for another time and place.

Compare this behavior with the massive dose of high fructose corn syrup that is the mayor’s dance of self-aggrandizement at the beginning of each council meeting. Do not misinterpret, those who are celebrated are deserving, but that’s not what prompts the mayor’s smiles and handshakes. Mayor Baum, most people can discern the difference between genuine praise and caring and opportunistic grandstanding.

So here’s some good advice to weather the Baumbastic storm until November 2011, stock up on Reglan and take it 30 minutes before the Council meetings convene, whether you’re watching on television or in the halls of government.