City of Longmont
Dennis Coombs x
The incumbent, Bryan Baum, is owner and senior wealth manager at Baum & Blockhus Wealth Management Services, while Dennis Coombs is a co-owner of the Pumphouse Brewery in Longmont. Both endorse Ballot Question 2A, to let the city use its own fiber-optic network, and both support expanding the Vance Brand Municipal Airport. Their views diverge, however, when it comes to things like the revitalization of Twin Peaks Mall. Baum is a firm believer in private property rights and stops short of dictating what should be done at the mall, while Coombs has allowed for the possibility of the city acquiring the property, as a last resort. We like Coombs’ willingness to expand urban farming opportunities, such as issuing more permits for backyard chickens and expanding the number of hens that can be kept. Baum, on the other hand, says a large concentration of chickens can hurt adjacent property values, and he believes urban farming is better suited for open space. Baum supported the discontinuance of affordable housing requirements for developers, while Coombs was in favor of modifying the program instead. We are endorsing Coombs.
Longmont City Council
Sarah Levison x
Four people are running for this seat: Heath Carroll, owner/funeral director at Carroll-Lewellen Funeral & Cremation Services; former city councilmember Ron Gallegos, a financial consultant and artist; incumbent Sarah Levison, a homemaker; and James Young, who works in retail at Atlas Flooring in Boulder.
Judging from the responses we received to a questionnaire we sent the candidates, as well as their past experience and performance at debates, we are impressed by Levison and Gallegos, although Gallegos’ suggestion to eliminate the city judge and her staff seemed a bit extreme. Levison is waiting to receive all information about the proposed expansion of the Vance Brand Municipal Airport before she takes a position, while Gallegos is in favor of expansion because he says it would be a competitive advantage in attracting business to Longmont. Gallegos wants to begin condemnation of the Twin Peaks Mall, raze it and construct a new mall with a convention center, hotel and performance/arts center. We’ve got a slight lean toward the incumbent. Vote for Sarah Levison for Longmont City Council Member At Large.
Brian Hansen x
This race features five candidates: incumbent Brian Hansen, owner of a pharmaceutical research and development corporation; Paul Tiger, a self-employed electronics supplier; attorney Brian Bagley, a senior lecturer at CU’s Leeds School of Business; student John Daniels; and Suzzanne Painter, a marketing professional and small-business owner.
All council members and candidates seem to be speaking with one voice on Ballot Question 2A: Pass it. The issues on which we see subtle differences among the candidates include their stances on how to revitalize the Twin Peaks Mall, on recent efforts to roll back affordable housing requirements for developers, on the proposed expansion of the Vance Brand Municipal Airport, and on how to heal political rifts between the conservative “Old Guard” and environmental left contingents in town. On these issues and others, our views are most closely aligned with the incumbent, Hansen. Vote for Brian Hansen for Longmont City Council, Ward 1.
Sean McCoy x
In Ward 3, Bonnie Finley of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry is taking on the incumbent, Sean McCoy, a teacher for the Boulder Valley School District.
Asked about political tensions in Longmont, McCoy says the conservative “Old Guard” believes “we have enough park land, open space and social programs that would benefit the middle class and working poor, where I feel that those are the issues that help draw a highly skilled workforce to Longmont and give character to our community.” Finley advocates leaving all of the old “lines in the sand” behind us and moving forward with a new vision for the future with civility. We stand with McCoy on most other issues, including his vote against eliminating affordable housing requirements for developers and his questioning the need to expand Vance Brand Municipal Airport. We did, however, like Finley’s answer to our question about the need for more urban farming, like backyard chickens and goats: “If the economy gets much worse, we will all need chickens and goats in our backyard.” (We hope the new City Council in Longmont will do more to facilitate urban farming.) Still, we’re going to vote for Sean McCoy for Ward 3.
If passed, 2A would allow the city of Longmont to begin fully using the fiber-optic network it installed in 1997. Currently, the majority of the fibers in the 17-mile network are unused, and the city is exploring the creation of its own municipal telecommunications utility. The ballot question is needed because of legislation passed in 2005 that prohibits cities from offering telecommunication services without sending it to the ballot. Some say that law was passed at the behest of major telecommunications companies, like CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) and Comcast, in an effort to prevent cities from doing exactly these sorts of things. And the last time this question came before Longmont voters in 2009, the Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association was the primary contributor to a $250,000 “No Blank Check” campaign that successfully defeated the measure. Industry opponents claim that the initiative could put Longmont residents at financial risk, and they point out that the city already has plentiful options when it comes to telecommunications services.
But we — along with every Longmont City Council member and candidate who responded to a Boulder Weekly questionnaire — agree that the city should be able to use its own network, despite the corporate powers’ concerns about losing market share to a new competitor. Taxpayers have already invested in this network and should benefit from it. We strongly urge a YES vote on Longmont Ballot Question 2A.
City of Longmont Ballot Question 2B
This one is fairly straightforward. Should Longmont Municipal Judge Diana VanDeHey be retained in office for two years? We endorsed her retention two years ago, and while there are some isolated cases of people being unhappy with decisions she has made, on the whole there hasn’t been a massive public outcry about her performance, so let’s keep her.