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Ando's Longmont Voters Guide

Ando’s Voting Guide for Longmont’s November 7, 2017 Election:

 

 

These are my notes from the recent video series that was produced by The Longmont Channel over at longmontchannel.com. Introduced ever so succinctly by the talented, dazzling, and charming Dr. Linda Bond, the series is a good chance to hear from the candidates and I recommend you check it out. It’s good to have some video of these candidates because they are all very different kind of folks who have widely varying communication styles. I found this aspect to be very interesting. The Longmont Channel who produced the series put no official restrictions upon the remarks of candidates. I mean, I’ll bet they weren’t allowed to say motherfucker or whatever but nothing was topically off limits. The following is a bit of an info dump with some commentary mixed in. I tried to capture the essence of the speeches I saw and make honest observations. I’m not trying to tell you how you must vote but I will go ahead and let you know which candidate I’d recommend in these races. Please do vote for someone you believe in. That’s all I really ask. It’s one of the easiest ways for our leaders to know what we want for our city. That being said, I promise to give honest appraisals.

 

Mayoral candidates:

 

Brian Bagley, Roger Lange, & Sarah Levinson

 

Why does the Mayoral race matter? Their perspective plays heavily into what the council works on. I’ll be writing about these folks in the order they appear in the videos. Big issues I expected to hear addressed: Homelessness, Fracking, Cannabis Rights, Economic Strategy, & Water Rights.

 

Brian Bagley:

Served on Council for 6 years so far. Currently serving as a councilmember and mayor pro tem (in other words he’s already the mayor when the mayor isn’t available). Why does he want this job? “Being mayor is different than being a councilmember in one very important way. The mayor sets the agenda for the city.”  He is very clear and confident when talking about his policies. I’d say he is easily the clearest communicator running for this office. Mr. Bagley seems to know what the fuck he’s talking about too. Here are his goals, which he clearly enumerated in his speech:

  1. “Foster a thriving economy”
  2. “Solve our emergent homeless and transient problem”
  3. “Plan for smart growth”
  4. “Safeguard our water”
  5. “Protect our residential neighborhoods from heavy industry such as fracking”
  6. “Establish common sense affordable housing solutions”

 

He made a tough but principled decision and left the Republican party last year when they nominated Trump as their official candidate for President. I find that to be refreshingly honorable. As for the homeless and transient problem building in our streets Bagley notes that, “Although we must have compassion, should have compassion, inviting these travelers into our town and the negative consequences they bring such as drug use and crime must stop.” It’s a balanced sentence no one could really argue with but I’m not really sure what specific policy it represents. Does he mean we shouldn’t openly invite homeless people to move to town? Is someone doing this now? He also cautions against “the risk of unchecked growth” and notes that “we have precious little land left to develop here in Longmont. As such, we have to be careful about how we proceed with these remaining development opportunities. … I believe that fracking belongs outside our city. … That is why I fought (for) and implemented local regulations that prohibit fracking in our residentially zoned neighborhoods and establish a defacto ban on fracking in 98% of Longmont.” He is very serious about protecting Longmont water from being sold to companies who want to frack with it or communities that want to use it for fracking on our borders.

 

Full disclosure: Mr. Bagley came on our podcast last season and seemed to be a genuinely good dude. I can’t say we agree on everything but he did vote against some overreaching cannabis policy I spoke out against a while back that would have allowed police to do warrantless raids on homes in Longmont that had cannabis plants growing within. The law was fucking bullshit and dangerously authoritarian. Brian made a principled decision and it earned my respect. He’s not a cannabis guy at all but he did do the right thing in my opinion. I haven’t met any of these other mayoral candidates.

 

No mention of cannabis rights in his remarks.

That’s disappointing and a missed opportunity to address an important issue.

I can recommend a vote here. He'd be a good mayor. 

 

 

Roger Lange:

Mr. Lange is a former Mayor and councilman. I haven’t researched his background other than seeing that he left office in 2009. I came to town in 2009 and the economy has been rocketing upward ever since. See how easy it was for me to conflate my arrival to town with the success of the economy? It was easy. My guess is that if Mr. Lange could make such a connection with his term as mayor or councilmember he would have. I’m a little bothered that he makes no mention of any policy or proud success from his terms as mayor or councilmember.  He’s lived in Longmont for over 40 years. I think that is beautiful. Good for him for knowing a good thing when he sees it. He speaks in a slow measured monotone. He’s the only candidate that is obviously reading his speech off of cue cards just below the camera (this is my own observation and not backed up by any other evidence than some steady back and forth eyeball movement and some bland inflection). His vision of Longmont seems well encapsulated by one of his first statements in his speech “Longmont is a unique community with a small town feel that everybody appreciates and enjoys.” He’s the only candidate willing to generalize about the whole population of the city. It struck me as pretty benign but strange to assume that everyone wants Longmont to feel a certain way.

 

As for why he wants the job, he listed one specific goal:

  1. “As Mayor it would be my goal to consistently make and measure decisions, which will positively impact the quality of life here in Longmont.” … … This seems like a basic job requirement for mayor. I’m not sure how this kind of a point got such a prominent position in this speech. His goal is to do a good job? I believe him but it’s a strange thing to say and a strange way to say it.

 

He also noted that he would like to “ensure that future growth is responsible growth.” I didn’t hear any of the other candidates that would vote the other way on that one either.

 

“As Mayor I will fully support maintaining appropriate resources for our public safety needs. I will work to ensure that the city is being fiscally responsible with its spending and costs.” In general, I love a politician that is fiscally responsible. The problem is usually one of defining the word “responsible”. He is very concerned that the city council has shown interest in investing in more water storage capacity. He thinks we wont need the water and that investing in it would likely mean a tax increase.  “I will work to see that Longmont is competitive in attracting high paying clean jobs to our community. If incentives are appropriate to attract business to our community, I will insist that the cost benefit to Longmont is clear.” I assume he means tax breaks for large companies thinking of moving to town. “As your Mayor I will listen to all residents and stake holders, aiming to accomplish what is in the long term best interest of our community.”

 

In general, this guy seems well intentioned and proudly basic in his approach. I’m sure he’s a great guy but I don’t believe he really expects to or wants to win. There hasn’t been a serious ad campaign for him in the form of signage or even Facebook ads, something a doughnut shop would invest in if it were fucking “Fritter Friday”. How can a candidate from a major party have such little effort put into their campaign? In my opinion, and I want to stress that this is only my own opinion, the Republican party may have freaked out when their golden boy Brian Bagley left them over Trump last year. They may have realized that they didn’t have any other young, bright, and energetic people who wanted to run under their banner. Maybe this is their version of staying on the ballot instead of obviously giving up. It’s still pretty obvious though due to the unawareness the candidate showed of local issues. Bummer. Maybe he cares about things like fracking and homelessness but he didn’t prioritize them in this essentially important chance to speak his mind to the community.

 

No mention of the homelessness problem in his remarks.

No mention of cannabis rights in his remarks.

No mention of fracking in his remarks.

Disappointing on all counts. How does one go out of his way to promise to give incentives (assumedly of the tax variety) to big companies but not mention the obvious real world concerns the city is facing?

 

I’m unimpressed and would have liked to see some real ideas or some competitive energy at least.

 

Sarah Levison:

She’s served for 8 years on council.

“I am running for Mayor of Longmont because I love this city where I’ve lived for 20 years and raised my children. I want to help make it the best, work, live, learn, and have some fun.” She seems upbeat and bright. “I have a unique ability to identify a need in our city and then apply what I know to bring innovative solutions forward.” She also noted, “My work ethic drives me to educate myself on issues I don’t know about.” That should be a requirement for anyone in public service but in the current political climate is it reassuring to hear.   

 

She is very strong against fracking in Longmont. “I passed the city’s first oil and gas regulations and defended our charter amendment that banned fracking. “I got the ice rink reopened after the previous Council wrote it out of the budget” This shows a willingness to listen to seemingly unimportant comments from the public and work to respond to those concerns. “I promoted the city’s first ‘Hackathon’, an event which brought our high-tech community together.” That event played into the creation of the Tinkermill. Concerned about the poverty and homeless situation.  “While on council I created an anti-poverty program that has succeeded in lifting families out of poverty.” She noted in her speech that affordable housing would need to be a top priority in future development. I think any practical person would agree. She seems dialed in to local issues and sounds like she’s been communicating with the community. She talks like a team player and I really love that in a politician.

 

No mention of cannabis rights in her remarks.

Disappointing.

 

Her campaign is as weak as that of her Republican counterpart. It’s like a fucking secret with these people. That’s a drag but I can still recommend a vote here. She'd be a good mayor. 

 

The Longmont Channel also has videos from the people running for city council and I hope you’ll go check them out. Some seem good, some seem weak, some are obviously reading their comments. Next time I may raise donations for mirrors for these folks to practice in before these speeches. I think it would help.

 

As far as the “at large” seats are concerned:

I recommend checking out the comments of Polly Christensen who publicly supported the ban on fracking, the protection of cannabis rights, teamwork in politics, and FasTrack. She’s been serving on city council for 4 years. She’s the only candidate in the race who was publicly supportive of cannabis rights in this whole series of speeches. I think that is a sign that she knows that those rights are in danger and sick people need her protection. She seems like a good choice for our community by my estimation. I’d recommend a vote here.

 

Aren Rodriguez seems like a great choice as well. He’s involved over at Arts Longmont as secretary and treasurer. That’s a really good sign. He’s pretty clear about his goals, which are growing our infrastructure, providing affordable housing, moving Longmont toward renewable energy, and creating a more inclusive community. Fuck yeah. This guy seems practical and plugged into the culture of our city. I’d recommend a vote here.

 

As far as Ward 2 is concerned:

Between two good choices I think I’ll recommend Marcia Martin who seems like an earth conscious, economy conscious, and sustainability conscious candidate. With her focus on clean technology and mass transportation, I believe she’d be a good addition to council.

 

Thank you to The Longmont Channel and Dr. Linda Bond for this wonderful video series, which was so informative.

 

Go to the websites of the candidates for fuller information on their beliefs and policy ideas. I’ve only covered what they spoke about on our local TV channel. Please do make time to vote on November 7th.

 

Upcoming Events:

  • October 17, 2017
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    Tasty Weasel Tap Room ,  Longmont, Colorado
     
  • October 20, 2017
    Grossen Bart Brewery ,  Longmont, CO
     

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