There’s More Than One Issue. Really.
Judging by the recent press clippings, you’d guess Longmont is a one-issue town. But there is much more to discuss in these races than the Lifebridge annexation, even if that is the issue that will have voters picking their candidates. Longmont faces major redevelopment projects from the so-called “Parking Structure” on Main Street to potentially razing Twin Peaks mall and starting over. There’s also the issue of playing nice with others—something the current council shied from when other Boulder County cities asked for some cash to study a regional tax-sharing program. Council simply said no, which could be something it regrets down the line.
Karen Benker over Roger Lange and Doug Brown (withdrew)
Lifebridge. Lifebridge. Lifebridge. Lifebridge. Are there any other issues of importance in this race? Of course, but since two current city council members are vying to lead the city, their take on the controversial annexing of the church development has its place. Karen Benker is the one candidate who voted against bringing the development into Longmont limits—she thinks legit questions like how much of a tax shelter the church will try to claim were answered too vaguely since the city will end up supplying $800,000-plus a year in services. Moving on, Benker is a fresh voice who wants to redevelop Main Street and the Twin Peaks Mall simultaneously so they can coexist and not steal business away from each other. Proposing an urban renewal district encompassing both projects is an idea that could have some legs. This is not to say Roger Lange won’t be a good mayor. He shares some similar ideas and takes a moderate, practical approach to improving the city of Longmont. And we’ll certainly be happy in knowing we’ll still see him serve on council for another two years.
Brian Hansen over James De Vore and Aaron Rawlings
We love smart people. Brian Hansen has a Ph.D in analytic chemistry from the University of Colorado and has spent the last 10 years building his R&D Pharmaceutical Company in Longmont. He’s incredibly intelligent and is using a green platform to solve many of the city’s issues. Although Longmont’s utilities aren’t large enough to qualify for mandatory renewable energy levels dictated by the state legislature, Hansen would like to see Longmont meet them anyway. He also thinks with some incentives and proactive marketing, the city can lure more small businesses such as his own. The city could take advantage of a renewable energy push by bringing in companies that feature eco-friendly research and development. Oh, he thinks the city jumped the gun in approving Lifebridge and would like to see Longmont at least sit at the regional tax-sharing discussion table. Despite disagreeing with many of The Yellow Scene’s stances—Lifebridge, revenue sharing—Aaron Rawlings almost grabbed the endorsement with an intelligent, youthful approach to running for office.
Sean Patrick McCoy over Bonnie Finley
You couldn’t have two more opposite candidates running for office. In our notes for each respective candidate, we worried Bonnie Finley was too friendly to growth, and Sean Patrick McCoy wasn’t friendly enough. When it comes down to it, however, Sean Patrick McCoy will be the one that better leads Longmont into the future. He wants to tie the rate of residential growth in Longmont to school capacity. He’d like to see new development take place in the urban, downtown corridor, replacing areas of blight and serving as infill for Longmont. McCoy also wants to lure a cultural and performing arts complex (privately funded, to boot) that could generate millions for the local economy. His work with the city’s planning and zoning commission and Boulder County parks and open space combined with his enthusiasm has us believing he can pull it all off.
Sarah Levison over Paul Tiger and Gabe Santos
This race has already received plenty of attention, and not necessarily for good reason. One candidate, Paul Tiger, plead guilty recently to charges he pulled a gun on a construction worker. Tiger joked about the incident, in which he was ordered to give up his guns for two years, saying it has given him a boost in notoriety in this race. Pulling a gun on anyone is far from a laughing matter, something we couldn’t overlook. Sarah Levison has a long history of fighting for what she believes is best for Longmont. She thinks the city erred in approving the Wal-Mart on Highway 119 and County Line Road. She also would have like the city to pitch in $7,000 to participate in a Boulder County tax revenue sharing study. Levison didn’t just let her protest go unnoticed—Google her name, and you’ll see it splashed all over newsprint as a voice at city meetings. And, she has a bold idea that could help keep Longmont’s shopping dollars inside city limits. It’s called retail rewards, which would essentially give residents a say in how a portion of their sales tax dollars are spent.
Yes on ballot issue 2A
What’s one of the best ways to increase revenues for a city? Tax someone else. Which is essentially what a lodging tax does. Tax the folks who sleep in Longmont’s many hotels. Err, hotels? There really aren’t too many lodging options yet, but that will change, and the city should grab those lucrative dollars when they are available. It will be add 2 percent to hotel bills and will still keep Longmont’s tax lower than many of its neighbors. It’s expected to bring in $290,000 annually to the Longmont Area Visitors Association. That number could spike significantly once Main Street lures a chic boutique hotel.
Yes on ballot issue 2B
Storm water projects
It’s always better to be proactive with infrastructure projects, which is why it’s a good idea to give the city the OK to issue 20-year bonds for four storm water projects that will help protect businesses and homes in the event of a 100-year flood. Basically, get these projects done before a major flood happens. It’ll be much cheaper that way.
Yes on ballot issue 2C
Open space tax extension
There’s one constant throughout Boulder County: Residents love open space, which is why extending the sales tax of only 2/10ths of a penny is a no-brainer. The money raised will help acquire, improve and maintain open space in Longmont through 2034 instead of 2020. ?