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November 15, 2011 01:06 AM UTC

Why Are Longmont Politics So Crazy, You Ask?

  • by: Colorado Pols

The city of Longmont has featured very lively municipal elections for the past couple of cycles–first there was the 2009 takeover of that city’s government by Republicans non-partisans out for revenge over a development battle between the city and LifeBridge Church. This year, fights over city council races and the narrow defeat of conservative Mayor Bryan Baum were highlights in another very tense and acrimonious season.

There’s more than meets the eye here: in both 2009 and 2011, a “grassroots” group called Western Tradition Partnership has been heavily involved in spending on Longmont municipal races. Western Tradition Partnership, formerly represented by now-Secretary of State Scott Gessler, played in campaigns against Democrats at the legislative level infamously all over the state, as well as gaspatch local races like Garfield County. In 2009, they waged a successful and nasty personal campaign against the opponent of conservative up-and-comer Katie Witt in Longmont.

So what’s Western Tradition Partnership, a political hit group closely tied to the oil and gas industry, bothering in Longmont city government elections for, you ask? As the Longmont Times-Call reports today, that would be the same interest they always have. The kind of thing that becomes public with clockwork predictability right after the election is over.

Oil and gas drilling, one of the main topics for the night’s study session, is somewhat controversial. During last week’s public comment time, five residents asked the council to find some alternative to a proposed multi-platform drilling site near Union Reservoir…

Anadarko Petroleum has hired the Cougar Land Company to do a 150-square-mile “seismic survey” to search for other possible deposits. The survey extends from East County Line Road east to Platteville, including some city-owned land.

Both proposals are being reviewed by the city’s water board, parks and recreation board, and the Board of Environmental Affairs. The TOP proposal is expected to reach the planning commission for a public hearing by early 2012. Its ruling can be appealed to the City Council…

Public works director Dale Rademacher said the city’s power to regulate drilling generally stems from negotiated conditions — how the roads will be maintained, what kind of cleanup will be done and so on — and zoning rules. Some Front Range communities have been looking at tightening those rules and studying how far they can go before bumping up against state requirements.

“The ultimate question is whether or not it’s being challenged through the court system,” Rademacher said.

And with that, Western Tradition Partnership’s generous spending in Longmont races suddenly makes sense! It’s worth nothing that they appear to have been at least partly successful: although Mayor Baum was replaced with a less oil industry-friendly figure in Dennis Coombs, two other city council incumbents were defeated–at least one of these defeats partly attributable to WTP involvement. While the city can’t stop the drilling from going forward in absolute terms, they have a great deal of flexibility to negotiate for better terms and protections. Or, they can make things really easy–and cheaper–on the oil companies who want to fracture drill under Longmont’s Union Reservoir and elsewhere around town.

Anyway, there’s a hearing tomorrow as the Times-Call reports–we might know soon how good of an investment Western Tradition Partnership’s campaign in Longmont has been.


15 thoughts on “Why Are Longmont Politics So Crazy, You Ask?

  1. Anadarko that employs Matt Carmichael?

    The same guy who spoke at the Media Stakeholder Relations – Hydraulic Fracturing Initiative 2011 meeting in Houston a couple weeks ago?

    NOTE: this meeting’s theme was

    Working together as an Industry to Leverage Mass Media, Social Media & Community Support to Overcome Public Concern Over Hydraulic Fracturing

    This is the guy who made these recommendations to the meeting attendees:

    “If you are a PR representative in this industry in this room today, I recommend you do three things. These are three things that I’ve read recently that are pretty interesting.

    “(1) Download the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual [audible gasps from the audience], because we are dealing with an insurgency. There’s a lot of good lessons in there, and coming from a military background, I found the insight in that extremely remarkable. (2) With that said, there’s a course provided by Harvard and MIT twice a year, and it’s called ‘Dealing With an Angry Public.’ Take that course. Tied back to the Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency [Field] Manual, is that a lot of the officers in our military are attending this course. It gives you the tools, it gives you the media tools on how to deal with a lot of the controversy that we as an industry are dealing with. (3) Thirdly, I have a copy of “Rumsfeld’s Rules.” You’re all familiar with Donald Rumsfeld – that’s kind of my bible, by the way, of how I operate.”

    Look out, citizens of Longmont. Anadarko is out to divide and conquer err, “win your hearts and minds.”

    h/t Colorado Independent & DeSmogBlog

    (audio of Carmicheal’s talk available at DeSmogBlog)

    1. Please never ever attend a sales seminar. You will never be able to visit a car lot again without paranoid fear you’re about to be “psyopp’ed.”

      Meaning sold. You’re about to be sold. Somebody is about to try to convince you of something. Using – oh no – a SALES TECHNIQUE!

      Are you aware you sound ridiculous?

      1. However, I don’t recall any of them starting with the proposition that customers were insurgents, nor did they espouse the use of lethal force.

        Although it raises interesting possibilities: “buy this used Corolla or I’ll torture your child” could be a huge boost to commissions.

        1. But these tactics are meant to persuade civilians so none of what you describe is necessary. The irrational fear spread by the left about energy production is so crazy that even John Hickenlooper has to talk people off the ledge. Psychological operations is not mind control. Psyops is just persuasion. It’s nothing more than sales.

          Only the paranoid…


            It is the Subcommittee’s judgment that if action is not taken to reduce the environmental impact accompanying the very considerable expansion of shale gas production expected across the country – perhaps as many as 100,000 wells over the next several decades – there is a real risk of serious environmental consequences and a loss of public confidence that could delay or stop this activity.


            A pair of environmental monitoring wells drilled deep into an aquifer in Pavillion, Wyo., contain high levels of cancer-causing compounds and at least one chemical commonly used in hydraulic fracturing, according to new water test results released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency.

          2. discusses fighting and killing insurgents.

            So fuck you–anyone who thinks that its just dandy for shadowy organizations to use counterinsurgency tactics against suburban parents worried about the health of their children is one sick asshole.

            1. Is ArapaGOP’s constant refrain on how terrible and ‘ripe’ voter fraud is, without ever offering any evidence.

              Then calling people concerned about real (and increasingly documented) problems with energy development ‘paranoid.’  

              I mean for a hack he’s not very good.  Someone needs to review their ROI.  

              1. Who, I might add, didn’t advocate for starting wars exactly.  You might brush up on him.

                But the fact is the Anadarko guy did compare the suburban mom and kids concerned about contamination from fracking and other problems with oil and gas drilling as ‘insurgents’ and recommended a particular book which is not so much a philosophy of the strategy of conflict as a tactical field guide to its particulars.  

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