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.