March 2, 2005 Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting of Longmont Area Democrats, March 2, 2005

Submitted by Kathy Simon

Co-President Lee Springer called the meeting to order at 7:04 pm. He congratulated four members of LAD for being elected to Boulder County Democratic Party positions: Deb Gardner, Tim Haywood, Dale Lanan, Bob Roy.

The resolution to send to Sen. Ken Salazar was read again and passed on a vote by raising hands. The resolution:

“Longmont Area Democrats have expressed concerns regarding your speech in support of Alberto Gonzales and your vote to approve him for US Attorney General. Our reason for concern stems form our belief that Alberto Gonzales does not support democratic or American values.”

Fundraising ideas are coming forth. Eileen Penner presented the possibility of buying 50 seats at the new California Actors Theater in Longmont. This would be in the month of May when a musical is playing, probably on a Thursday night. The goal is to sell the 50 seats to ourselves and our friends at a higher price and we would keep the funds raised.

State Sen. Brandon Shaffer spoke briefly about progress in the state legislature. He mentioned the Emergency Contraception Bill and the Childhood Immunization Bill plus the work on the Tabor issues. He announced that David Ahrens does work for the Shaffer office on Mondays and Wednesdays now, in addition to Pat Davis who coordinates in-district events. On March 19 in Louisville another “Dome on the Range” event will be held at the Blue Parrot Restaurant beginning at 11:00 am. On March 26 a fundraiser will be held; watch for details soon.

It was noted that on Feb. 26 several LAD members attended the Larimer County Dinner to hear Ed Shultz.

Mary Blue moderated a discussion featuring two guest speakers from Longmont City Council, Tom McCoy and Karen Benker. Tom has been on City Council for over 21 years, while Karen has been on for two months now.

Tom mentioned that while Tabor handcuffs the city council, we still need to revitalize Main Street, especially from 7th to 17th streets. Open Space issues are helped by Boulder County on three sides, but we need more help from Weld County in the SW Weld County areas. Two big developers there are Puma and the LifeBridge Church.

Karen reviewed her government background: eleven years with Gov. Roy Romer dealing with budget and finance, and eight years as an RTD Board Member. She has recently been appointed to the DDAL (Downtown Development Authority of Longmont). She recommends that the city have both a “rainy day fund” for unplanned emergencies and a “savings account” for planned projects. The proposed parking garage in downtown may have mixed-use on top of it and condos surrounding it. FasTracks Task Force plans two station stops in Longmont, possibly the sugar mill as the eastern terminal and the flour mill on Terry as the downtown stop. Therefore we need to plan to build for riders by adding housing and mixed-use facilities, plus parking.

Questions from the audience included asking what we could do to help with the LifeBridge Church issues (contact all the city council members and contact some church members). Tom McCoy stated that the city must first annex the east property owned by the church in order for the city to have any control.

Karen’s main question is “Where should Longmont’s eastern boundary be?” Former City Councilman Gene Shimel stated that we should have a referendum and let the people vote on that very question, and then do whatever they vote for. Shari Malloy recalled how she once carried petitions to have an initiative, the Times-Call opposed it, and it failed. She now suggests that we try to have a true independent Economic Impact Study to see if we are talking about new revenue or distributed revenue. Revenue sharing amongst communities was also mentioned as a solution.

Tom mentioned that a trail is planned around the Union Reservoir.

Much discussion centered around the advisability of trying to develop North Main Street while at the same time allowing a Super WalMart to come to north Longmont, and the pros and cons of having the east church property annexed to the city. Tom reminded us that he did not vote for the Super WalMart, and feels that we need to annex the east church property in order to be sure enough park space is planned there.

Mary Blue stated that it is predicted that Longmont will grow by 20,000 and in light of that prediction we should attend the City Wide Community Summit all day April 16.

Other audience concerns were centered around “transitional zones” and “historic neighborhood” and the Ahlberg and Times-Call plans on the west side of Main Street.

Tom brought up Metrovision 20/20 several times. According to it there are four cities that will always be “stand-alone” towns. Longmont is one, along with Brighton, Boulder, and Castle Rock.

There is a need for the city to provide affordable rent for non-profit organizations (such as LAD) to hold regular meetings. Several private locations are available, but public facilities are much more expensive.

The futures for Tom McCoy and Karen Benker? Tom is term-limited, but Karen may run again.

New Business

After the guests concluded their discussion NEW BUSINESS was handled:

One new fundraiser is our COOKBOOK; please turn in your recipes. Contact Wanda Sterner at wrshome@comcast.net and be sure to put the word “recipe” in the subject line.

Bob Roy, the new House District 11 Chair, will be contacting all present precinct chairs to see if they are willing to continue in those positions.

He also displayed the precinct map of Longmont with blue pins marking precinct chairs homes, and invited all present to place a blue pin at the location of their homes.

He also asked for volunteers to sign up to watch or attend the meetings of city council and the school board. We still need volunteers for these meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday nights; please contact Deb Gardner at deb_gardner@comcast.net

The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be on April 6, 2005, 7 pm at the Longmont Coop at 2130 N. Main. The guest speaker will be Sen. Ron Tupa of Boulder.

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