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Home / Articles / News / News /  Power struggle
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Thursday, November 3,2011

Power struggle

Anti-muni campaign: Canvasser was working for the other side

By Jefferson Dodge

A representative from the anti-municipalization campaign in Boulder is claiming that a former canvasser misrepresented himself when he was hired to go door-to-door.

Cory Nadler, owner and partner of Rocky Mountain Voter Outreach (RMVO), which was hired by the Boulder Smart Energy Coalition to canvass against municipalization prior to this week’s election, claims that a Boulder Weekly letter-writer was not completely honest about his ties to a pro-municipalization campaign when he was hired by the other side as a canvasser.

It was one of the final salvos in an election battle where both sides claimed they were victims of dirty pool.

Landon Bain, in an Oct. 27 letter to the editor printed in Boulder Weekly, describes his experience going door-to-door for RMVO, which was also hired to canvass against the city of Longmont’s telecommunications ballot question. Bain wrote that shortly after being hired, he began to think he and the other canvassers were “just indoctrinating people with an expensive misinformation campaign.” He and others quit working for RMVO, he says, because of a feeling that they were being asked to “spread lies.”

Nadler says Bain’s description is false. “My company, Rocky Mountain Voter Outreach, takes both the written and unwritten rules of politics very seriously with regard to every single campaign we work on and project we run,” he wrote to Boulder Weekly.

Nadler claims that Bain, who has volunteered and written for New Era Colorado, which backed the municipalization effort, took the job just to infiltrate the canvassing organization and learn about its tactics.

“If a volunteer for the Renewables Yes campaign can ‘lie’ his way through two weeks of fake work for the Boulder Smart Energy Coalition, what else might he and his fellow (truthful?) volunteers be misinforming Boulder about?” Nadler wrote.

“The truth is that Landon has been playing the dirtiest kind of politics anyone can play. He spent much of the month of September pretending to be someone he was not. A close look at Landon’s blogging and Twitter account show Landon’s connections with New Era Colorado (one of the main groups working in favor of 2B and 2C), and the Renewables Yes campaign. Landon Bain was no political newcomer; he weaseled his way on to the staff of the campaign he was fighting against and pretended to go out and speak with voters on behalf of a campaign that he was trying to sabotage all along.”

Bain denies the claims. He says he saw the job opportunity on Craigslist and didn’t know what he was getting into.

“When I first started, I had absolutely no awareness of the issue at all,” Bain says, adding that he actually agreed with the anti-municipalization stance initially.

Bain adds that he had never written about or volunteered for the pro-municipalization effort, and that New Era had not jumped into the debate when he took the job. He says his work for New Era has consisted primarily of getting University of Colorado registered to vote.

Bain also says he did nothing to sabotage the anti-municipalization campaign; he stuck to his script going door-to-door. “Never at any point did I do anything that would get me fired from the Boulder Smart Energy Coalition,” he says. “I just decided at some point that it wasn’t the right side to be on.”

Nadler counters that Bain did not include his work for New Era in the employment history section of his job application and gave no reason for quitting; he just stopped showing up for work.

Bain says he didn’t include New Era on his application because it was volunteer work, not a paid position or internship.

Nadler also accuses Bain of attempting to get RMVO canvassers to switch sides and campaign for 2B and 2C. Bain says he never tried “poaching” anyone, but he acknowledged that he shared his views on the issue with the friends he made.

“I really don’t think he went into it with any intention of being a mole,” says New Era Executive Director Steve Fenberg.

Unofficial election results show that 2B and 2C passed with slim majorities.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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