|Who On Loveland's City Council Supported McWhinney's
Request to Stop I-25 / U.S. 34 Safety Improvements?
Loveland - May 1, 2009
The most common inquiry LovelandPolitics.com received from readers last month was the question "where
does my representative on Loveland's City Council stand on the I-25/U.S.34 improvements?"
Councilman Rousey and Mayor Pielin have attempted to revise history in the past two weeks by pretending
they never favored a 5th amendment to the city's agreement with McWhinney that would have stopped
near-term improvements to the I-25 and U.S. 34 interchange and release the money put aside for the
improvements to McWhinney.
Two Councilors, Cecil Gutierrez and Kent Solt, stood firm against amending the MFA (Master Financing
Agreement between Loveland and McWhinney) to gut the upgrades. Both Councilmen asked tough
questions of both Chad McWhinney and city staff regarding the proposed amendment to the city's
agreement with McWhinney during the April 7, 2009 council meeting. Councilman Walt Skowron also
indicated he could not support the measure in its current form (April 7) but left open whether he might if
certain changes were made to the proposed amendments.
At least three appear to have violated Colorado's open meetings law by colluding with McWhinney in private
regarding their support of the issue before the April 7 meeting. Councilwoman Carol Johnson, who sought
a job with McWhinney in the past while also pretending to represent residents on council, perhaps made the
Johnson read from a prepared statement possibly prepared by McWhinney regarding her position on the
issue. Her statement perpetrated the now exposed misinformation by McWhinney that a "Fortune 500"
company was on the verge of coming to Loveland if only McWhinney could have the money set-aside to
complete I-25 and U.S. 34 interchange. Agrium Inc., the company in question, is not a Fortune 500 company
and new evidence surfaced by the Loveland Reporter-Herald indicates even Loveland Mayor Pielin knew this
but failed to disclose the information to his colleagues at the meeting.
Chad McWhinney and Rocky Scott of McWhinney tried to abandon the now false (a mystery Fortune 500
company will not come unless you do this) argument during meetings with Larimer County officials. They
indicated the argument was a compromise worked out in private meetings with Loveland's City Council
members who were concerned with the public's reaction to Loveland allowing McWhinney to take the $12
million set aside by the Metro District for the interchange improvements.
The City of Loveland changed the official city website to no longer tout the improvements of the I-25 and U.S.
34 interchange as benefits coming from their tax agreements with McWhinney. Only private meetings
(reported here first March 25) precede the City Manager directing staff to remove the item from the
website. How could he know the council's decision before the public meeting to decide the issue originally
scheduled for April 7, 2009?
During the April 7, 2009 City Council meeting the Mayor and Councilors Daryl Klassen, Carol Johnson,
Walt Skowron and Glenn Rousey all indicated support for the jobs vs. transportation safety argument.
David Clark argued a different tact by saying the interchange wasn't very dangerous while Councilman
Heckel complained about people complaining. One source within city hall has informed LovelandPolitics that
Councilman Larry Heckel was so concerned about the public's reaction to their scheduled vote on this
matter April 21, that he asked police to be present in case violence errupted from their decision. It seems
very unlikely that advocates for improved public safety would endanger the public to push their agenda.
At the April 7, 2009 council meeting, Councilors Gene Pielin, Carol Johnson, Glenn Rousey, David Clark,
Larry Heckel and Daryl Klassen all expressed openly their support for McWhinney's proposed 5th
amendment to their agreement with the City of Loveland that would have diverted funds put aside for
promised highway improvements.
By the time Loveland's city attorney redrafted the agreement to be voted upon at the April 21, 2009 counicl
meeting, most of the councilors were under tremendous pressure. Larimer County, City of Greeley, CDOT
and most importantly the citizens of Loveland were demanding the council hold McWhinney to their
agreement to repair the intersection of I-25 and U.S. 34. McWhinney pulled the item from the agenda and
publicly agreed to make the interim improvements they had promised.
Specious Argument Exposed
As reported here first, the argument that a Fortune 500 could only locate in Loveland if the highway
improvements are postponed and the money taken by McWhinney was specious. The company, a small
subsidiary of Agrium Inc., is not a Fortune 500 company nor is the parent company. Even worse, jobs would
not be brought to Loveland by the deal as they employ people already in Greeley and Loveland today and
the alternative site they are considering is only 2 miles from McWhinney's Centerra District. With or without
a new McWhinney subsidy the jobs are coming closer to Loveland regardless through efforts of the
Northern Colorado Economic Development Council.
Below was reported by LovelandPolitics.com the day before the April 21, council meeting;
How the Loveland City Council will vote now that the rationalization provided has been largely debunked is
anyone's guess. Chad McWhinney will normally pull an item from the agenda if he isn't sure about the outcome.
The fact his request to amend the MFA (Master Financing Agreement) remains on tonight's agenda is a strong
indication he is confident at least 5 councilors will support the amendment request.
McWhinney apparently determined it wasn't going to be approved and pulled the item. Supporters of
McWhinney who prepared to attend the meeting were notified by phone around 4:00 PM the same day of
|Above: Mayor and five councilors make comments
April 7, 2009 in favor of amending agreement with
McWhinney to stop I-25/U.S. 34 improvements
|For Amendment: Pielin, Clark, Rousey, Johnson, Heckel and Klassen
Against: Gutierrez, Solt and Skowron