Friday, March 30, 2007
Violators often return while the ticket is being written. Excuses run the gamut, says Scruggs, who volunteers four hours a week. “’I didn’t realize it was illegal,’ ‘I wasn’t hurting anybody,’ ‘I was only in there a few minutes;’ those are the big ones,” he says. He’s also heard that “this business doesn’t have handicapped customers;” “I’m running errands for my disabled sister/father/aunt/friend;” or “they bought it from someone who said they could use it.”
“I even had one guy just tell me ‘It’s worth the risk, it’s better than valet parking’,” says Scruggs.
Now that’s a bonehead deserving a ticket.
Read the article at TheYellowScene.com.
Does this mean the school district needs more money? The level of outreach appears to be based on staunch financial need, not just a desire to get more parents and the public involved in activities. Of course, given the District's budget scandal a few years ago from a mixture of arguably criminal mismanagement and lax Board oversight, the District still has a lot of ground in the trust department to make up before more school bonding will pass.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
I've written about my issues with Wal-Mart along with other folks' comments on this blog, plus a Yellow Scene article about why I don't shop there. I'm not a front-line advocate against them, just a person who has not shopped at their stores for years based on their operational philosophies. They always cause an interesting discussion, and their impacts on communities' budgets make them impossible to ignore. Do you shop at Wal-Mart? Do you take into account various social/economic/labor/environmental philosophies when choosing a vendor of things or services to buy?
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Unfortunately the reality of blog posts and comments is that people can choose a name (or not) to ascribe to submitted comments; mandating people create and verify a Blogger profile just takes time and only results in a moniker (or perhaps their real name if they choose). People who "get" blogs understand that using your name or some moniker is what leads to some credibility and rapport with other readers over time - for example, on this blog when Spicoli, Cyclorado or Alex says something it adds to their online persona amongst the regular readers. For what its worth, anonymous posts are taken with a grain of salt and don't have the weight or respect of those that have a name.
In my case everything I post has my name on it, so you know where I'm coming from. Bottom line this is an aspect of digital communication that can't be overcome - it's an online forum for all comments, regardless of source or attribution.
I intend the blog to facilitate discussion and the majority of comments have been good for debate. The "regulars" set a mature tone for comments and the anonymous readers are just part of the territory of the digital world.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Erie and Longmont belong to the Positive Weld County Partnerships committee, and much of those communities future growth will occur in or be affected by adjacent growth in Weld County.
In January Longmont City Council passed a resolution of support for the Partnership, noting that "Weld County one of the fastest growing areas in the nation with a projection that its population will grow to 250,000 by the year 2020." They also highlighted the need for the group to address these concerns: 1) meaningful intergovernmental agreements that respect municipal planning area; 2) Land use vision and execution, and 3) Compatibility of municipal land use with county and adjacent development.
Following a meeting Thursday the group may disband, as the sentiment of "agree to disagree" seems to have taken hold. Unfortunately the challenges of regional planning have burnt out the majority of people at the table.
Monday, March 26, 2007
I've heard of a few people who want Erie to secede from Boulder County or Niwot should annex into Longmont. What do you think of this one?
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Mark your calendars for April 14th, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., to meet with your State elected representatives. Representative Dianne Primavera, along with Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, have scheduled a Town Hall meeting to speak with the public and local officials regarding local and state issues. The meeting will be held in the Boardroom at Superior Town Hall, 124 E. Coal Creek Dr.
Fitz-Gerald could be replacing Rep. Mark Udall this fall, who plans to run for Sen. Wayne Allard's US Senate seat.
Ask them why they think raising small group health insurance rates is a good idea, as they are contemplating with HB 1355. Or better yet tell them to support SB 203 which will require mortgage brokers to be licensed in Colorado. Looking around Rock Creek at the for sale signs should help raise this issue to the top.
Dialogues are free and professionally facilitated. All views are welcome! To register or for more information, contact Leslie Irwin, Coordinator, at 303-443-0419, ext. 117 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The insights possible in this kind of running workshop can really change stereotypes you may not even know you have. In a similar vein, my involvement with Intercambio de Comunidades has given me a wider perspective than I had growing up and is helping me connect with people I wouldn't have otherwise met. Consider it.
While the pace of development may be slowed by such caps, I will be curious to see how many times a developer has been turned away because we were already at the limit. And cap or no cap, I'm really curious to know if the affordable units being built at Eagle Place will be rented to current struggling Lafayette residents (first choice), struggling Lafayette employees who would save on transportation costs if they could live in town (second choice) or if they are open to everybody in which case Lafayette is just a magnet for other town's economically unfortunate.
Back in April of last year, when Eagle Place was going through final approval, Councilors Frank Phillips and Kerry Bensman supported requiring Eagle Place to prioritize an ongoing preference to Lafayette residents according to the Community Housing Guidelines and provide compliance reports to the Administrator of Lafayette’s Affordable Housing Program on a semiannual basis for reporting to Council.
This motion failed with five other Councilors voting against it. Such a frequency of analysis was deemed unacceptable to the majority of Council. Great.
Instead a motion passed unanimously that “one year from the issuance of the final certificate of occupancy the applicant shall submit a report to the City Council detailing the status of occupant’s relative to the Lafayette preference requirement of Section III. B of the Community Housing Guidelines.”
So we'll see, long after the election, who is truly being served by this particular affordable housing project.
You can read more about it in the Erie Review.
Friday, March 23, 2007
So down came the hammer. The first step was a 5 minute limit on the first 12 speakers, but #13 on only had 3 minutes, so much for planning out your comments to fit the time allowed. Now you get 3 minutes, period, 1st, 10th, 20th, doesn't matter. In the old days you didn't have to put your name on the sign-up sheet, now if you don't you don't get your turn until the end of the meeting (regular session only, study session there is no public invited to be heard at the end). Here's my problem with this: I usually did not put my name on the list for one reason, if someone else already spoke to my issue, I didn't waste councils time and repeat them. If no one else did, then I'd raise my hand and speak, usually last. But now, if the only way I or anyone can be heard is to sign up, then we all will and possibly waste more of council's time that could've been saved by avoiding duplication.
The bone thrown out by council was this 30 minute chitchat with a couple members of council before the session. This was to be done on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month. You have to sign up for it, and the member may spend 1 minute listening to you, or 29 minutes listening to someone else, in no order and at the discretion of the council member. Recently they cancelled a meeting, cutting these 30 minute get-togethers down to ONCE in March. They point to the possibility of contacting members via phone or email, I've done that plenty in the past, results are spotty. Try it for yourself.
I usually agree with Mayor Pirnack on most issues, but this is one I've never agreed with. One of her main goals was more public involvement in city issues, something I took to heart, hence this blog/site, etc etc. But this change in procedures (technically known as R-2006-12) goes totally against the Mayors stated goal, which I believe is a worthy goal.
I share that goal with my encouraging people to get involved and follow what goes on in their community. Instead of trying to have all the answers, I'd rather nudge you to ask more questions. You're paying for it in one form or another, get your moneys worth.
As a great local writer prepares to take leave, here is a link to the article. An excerpt:
Perhaps more than any other Soviet bloc nation, East Germany devolved into
a frightening, oppressive police state. The dreaded secret police, or Stasi,
made it its mission to "know everything" about its citizenry. By 1989, when the
Berlin Wall came down, it was estimated that the Stasi had as many as 91,000
full-time employees and a terrifying 300,000 citizen "informants."
Thursday, March 22, 2007
East of Longmont, the LifeBridge development approved by Weld County would include over 300 homes. In this case, LifeBridge worked out a voluntary deal with the St. Vrain Valley School District to pay $1400 per home to the District to cover some of the future costs of the anticipated new students the development will house. Now the Longmont City Council has been asked to annex the development into the City. However Longmont doesn't allow such fees to be paid and the City Council is thinking of changing their rules to allow this.
Some of the rationale in the past against such voluntary fees is that they can't truly match the costs, however such direct compensation is appropriate if you're going to approve a developemnt in th first place. This is a great tool to have developers assume more of the the true cost of their project - of course, these costs end up being passed on to the new homebuyers. Fair enough. The homeowners/parents of the kids should be paying into the school district, not simply the person building a home for sale.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Read more - if you can stand it - here.
So I was eager to continue the discussion immediately following the election. Now it shall go off tangentially into the realm of niche watchdogs. I applaud their interest, as someone should do it, however the EastBoCo readers have made it clear this is a dead horse whose beatings have become irritating. So long, annexation debate.
Next steps: Gigantic protests during the site plan review and demands to involve the Army Corps of Engineers to do wetlands analysis. Woo hoo!
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Boulder County against Rocky Mountain Christian Church in Niwot that sought legal clarification of the county's authority to quash the church's expansion plans. The county asked for a declaratory judgment at the time it issued its denial in February 2006, requesting a determination from the court as to whether its decision was in keeping with the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
The act prohibits governments from enacting land-use regulations that place a "substantial burden" on the free exercise of religion.
In dismissing Boulder County's suit late last week, the court said the dispute between Rocky Mountain Christian Church and the county is already being handled in federal court as part of a separate and more comprehensive suit filed by the church against the county after its request to more than double the size of its facilities at the corner of 95th Street and Niwot Road was denied.
That lawsuit, in which the church claims that the county's decision violated the federal religious protection law, goes to trial in September.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
John discussed the role of economic incentives: they aren't the be-all lure, just the final deal maker to bring companies over the tipping point:
There is often a a perception that incentives play a huge role in economic development. This is typically untrue. Incentives usually act as a tie breaker on a deal. But the advice I would give is to focus incentives on the type of activity you want too encourage. For example, in Longmont we focus on higher paying jobs and R&D activity. In addition to expressing the community's interest in a given company, targeted incentives help to grow your economy in the way you want it to grow.
Read the full transcript of his chat here.
Monday, March 19, 2007
- The current efforts to curtail meth-related crimes (forget fines for pot with the destructive impacts meth has)
- What is the next step for when the current IGAs expire?
- Increase the protection/support for agland production on undeveloped land
- Facilitate a shared-sales tax commercial development somewhere to have a test case to analyze
- What is the latest on the Rocky Mountain Christian Church?
- Is it possible to create IGA-like relationships re: minimum stream flow?
- Comp Plan changes - see my comments below
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Back in 2005 the County made a resolution based on a series of concepts (support of Kyoto, vehicular pollution, support of Amendment 37, etc.) to address sustainability within the land use code. This has led to the details of the current proposals which have three main tenets (by my description): increase the use of green building materials, offer transferable development rights and protect the neighborhood character of given areas from inappropriate development. (The County refers to this as Structure Size.)
What I heard at the meeting was a rationale and acceptable concern for the impact of pollution-caused climate change. I agree with the premise and the building materials requirements are not necessarily onerous; that's worth debate though. The TDR concept has skeptics based on how the County's ownership of much of the potential land used in such a system skews the reality of market-based decisions. Yet another long conversation can be had there. But the concept is valid.
It's the third area that moves into the more subjective realm and I felt came across as flat out anti-growth. Not balanced, slow, responsible, green, or any other such growth sentiment. Just plain "no more period." People who already live in unincorporated Boulder County will love the philosophy implied in the new rules of searching for the appropriate kind of development that in actuality I believe will never be found. With this foundation setting the tone for the County's approval processes, I believe it will be increasingly more convoluted and expensive to meet the standards of "neighborhood character". Under the guise of this type of potential appropriateness being attainable, the sentiment of absolutely no more growth will stifle the reasonable development rights of property owners.
This is a gut feeling opinion, I was shown how this is not the case by County planners. Still, the gist of what I read at the meeting makes me feel like an absolute anti-growth sentiment is at the root of the new rules. Hence my attack on property rights assertion.
Friday, March 16, 2007
I'm checking with Karen and this is a public request for LDT (Lafayette Deep Throat) to contact me.
That's because the "record" button on a recorder set up to document the 15-year-old girl's interview was never pushed, according to sources close to the case."
Could this source also be the Lafayette Deep Throat? Or are there more leakers? I'm sure the DA and the police were not anxious for this news to hit the papers...
Notwithstanding my remarks about residential efficiency being a threat to riparian corridors (see my Yellow Scene article "Wasteful Watering Not All That Bad" from July 2006) it's still a good idea to avoid watering the sidewalk for 2 hours or losing half your mid-day sprinkler spray to evaporation.
To that end, Superior has announced the following Free Irrigation Audits for residents:
The Town of Superior is partnering with the Center for Resource Conservation this summer to bring our customers the "Slow the Flow Colorado" program. This is a FREE irrigation inspection program available to Town of Superior water customers who have automatic sprinkler systems watering turf. The program is designed to reduce your water consumption while maintaining an attractive landscape. A trained specialist will evaluate your system for irrigation efficiency, identify and list repair items, formulate a watering schedule, and give you valuable information on how to irrigate more efficiently for your specific landscape.
To qualify you must be a Town of Superior water customer, have an automatic sprinkler system and must be present at the time of the audit. Contact the Center for Resource Conservation at 303-441-3278 ext 17 to put your name on the wait list or visit www.conservationcenter.org to schedule online.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Read why this is a problem for the Boulder County District Attorney.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Read the rest of my March Yellow Scene article here.
Any thoughts for such an organization in Louisville? Lafayette? Superior?
I know this forum gains steam when we're griping and challenging each other. How about letting me know something that working or could work? I hope the answers don't take too long to surface.
If you're an elected official, point out something a fellow representative is championing you respect.
To make it easy, you can even mention something restrictive you think is a good idea, i.e. fines for pot.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Superior wants to have more flexible language to reduce the payment in case analysis shows a lesser level of usage. Their comments tonight will reveal the level of confidence they have in Louisville's previous analyses. The IGA could fall apart on Superior's resistence to an absolutely firm invoice from Louisville. Superior's new Town Manager Scott Randall will get to hit the ground running with this on his plate.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
First is the FBI admitting they illegally monitored thousands of Americans. And they insult us with claims of unintentional human error and computer gliches. This happens because I believe there simply are people who are nosy, who like digging around just to see what they will find out. Under the auspices of national security or looking for some particular type of crime, there are people who get satisfaction and a sense of power from getting to look at people who don't know they're looking. After all apologies and claims of accountability, no one will actually be punished. If I saw more accountability I would be slightly less cynical.
Chose your rationale for government authority. On balance I will take the risks associated with privacy and freedom over the fuzzy hodge-podge of well-meaning and nefarious motives for governtmental nannyism.
Second example - the details to Jefferson County officials' alleged theft of files kept on the personal details to an outspoken County critic and the subsequent publishing of those details plus their contradictory explanations.
These things happen even though we're paying attention. This is why my skepticism runs deep.
Friday, March 09, 2007
On February 27, an unidentified problem with the Diebold Company’s equipment prevented the election scanning machine from printing the election tape. Because of this and to reassure the public that the vote count was accurate, Lafayette’s City Clerk called for a recount. This recount was performed on March 8 and March 9 and the results are as follows:
- Number of Precincts - 1
- Precincts Reporting - 1 (100%)
- Times Counted - 6,426
- Total Votes - 6,424
- Times Over Voted - 0
- Number Of Under Votes - 2
Yes - 3,512 (54.67%)
No - 2,912 (45.33%)
Our efforts to bring a grocery-anchored retail shopping center to County Line Road and
Leon Wurl Parkway should payoff in the near future. Independent market analysis suggests
Highway 7 retail and commercial development near Vista Ridge will mature in the next
three to five years.
Though the timing of significant commercial activity along I-25 and Highway 52 is more difficult to predict, the Board will continue to provide the leadership to realize our economic development goals and the patience to ensure the quality as well.
Simply put -the Board will not lower our quality standards for retail and commercial
development in exchange for a quick fix.
Can Erie have patience and continue to thrive? Absolutely.
Read the full statement in the Erie Edition newsletter.
Will the 78.2 million baby boomers drain the federal budget? Will they settle down and retire? Or will they continue to be active contributors to their communities and to society? How will the baby boom generation change the way Americans and Coloradans grow older?
Two Colorado foundations want to know. The Colorado Trust and Rose Community Foundation are conducting the Colorado Boomer Survey to understand what the baby boomers want and need to live healthy, fulfilling and useful lives their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond.
The Colorado Boomer Survey will provide the two foundations with information to help them, their grantees and their philanthropic partners plan future efforts that consider not only what baby boomers need to remain actively engaged in their communities, but also what they have to offer.
The Colorado Boomer Survey is open to any Coloradan aged 55 to 65. It takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Today the results of the recount in Lafayette's special election should be known. Nothing on the City's website about this; we'll rely on the newspapers apparently. I hope to find out sooner directly. Wouldn't this be a great issue to hear directly from the Mayor, Chris Berry, or maybe the City Administrator - some paragraph of explanation?
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Search Diebold and "fraud" or "flaws" and you'll find plenty to raise eyebrows.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Will Louisville's known challenges with stagnant retail growth limit their prospects? Or will Hwy 42 Revitalization and FasTracks lure more ambitious and visionary leaders? And what of the StorageTek property? So many possibilities. Pontificate if you will...
Monday, March 05, 2007
In this month's Yellow Scene I have written about the newly created Erie High School Education Foundation, an organization hoping to improve the academic offerings to the students - and graduates - of Erie H.S. Seems educational improvements are surging in interest, at least in some places.
A scary, compelling and fascinating excerpt of a powerpoint program from a futurist called "Shift Happens" is making its way around the internet. There are powerful statistics and projections made in this 6-minute program that should make everyone over 15 years old realize just how fast and exponential change is happening. Just watch it.
Check it out here. This topic is worth way more comments than we've all had on Lowe's or pot possession.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
There will be three open houses when citizens can check out the proposed Boulder County Comprehensive Plan (BCCP) Sustainability Element. County Land Use Dept. staff would like to discuss with everybody these topics:
- Expansion of the Transferable Development Rights (TDR) Program
- Trends and Possible Limits to Structure Size
- “Green Building” Concepts
The proposed new rules impact development in unincorporated parts of Boulder County. Dates:
Tuesday, March 6, 2007: 5:30 PM-8:00 PM
Where: Third Floor Hearing Room - Courthouse
Thursday, March 8, 2007: 5:30 PM-8:00 PM
Where: Third Floor Hearing Room - Courthouse
Wednesday, March 14, 2007: 5:30 PM-8:00 PM
Where: Third Floor Hearing Room - Courthouse
I've made my concerns about property rights known before; I'll be reading through the documents they have provided before making more assertions. Alex - "I'll be back..."
Thursday, March 01, 2007
What's the quote in yesterday's Daily Camera by Jeremy Gregory all about? "This isn't the only avenue to stop this".