TED Curator Paul Mueller announced he will be seeking a seat on the Loveland City Council this November. Mueller is the second candidate to announce he is seeking a seat on Loveland’s City Council representing Ward IV (see story on Dave Clark). Loveland Mayor Pro Tem Cathleen McEwen recently resigned early from her position on Loveland's City Council. In November, Loveland residents will vote on which candidate may serve-out the last year remaining in her term.
LovelandPolitics was informed last week that Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez asked other potential Democratic candidates in Ward IV to “stand-by” because a “super-star” Democrat named Paul Mueller was contemplating running for the seat.
LovelandPolitics sent an email to Mueller’s Loveland accounting firm two days ago inquiring about his potential candidacy but did not receive a response. Subsequently, Mueller announced his candidacy to the Loveland Reporter-Herald while also taking out nomination papers from Loveland's City Clerk to make his candidacy official.
An accomplished CPA, Mueller and his wife Teresa moved to Loveland in late 2008. They purchased a home on Via Del Oro for $340,000 in a Boyd Lake subdivision in October of the same year and almost immediately began seeking leadership positions in Northern Colorado. Within a year Paul Mueller joined the Loveland Chamber of Commerce Leadership course while contributing to a plethora of local charities while also serving on a number of volunteer boards and commissions.
A perennial volunteer who seeks media attention for his activities, Mueller has potentially landed more articles about himself and his accomplishments in the Loveland Reporter-Herald than any other newcomer to the community in recent memory. In addiiton, Mueller also has an office in Estes Park, Colorado where he has sought attention from local publications as well. Paul and his wife Teresa purchased a home located at 222 Ute Lane in Estes Park in 2005 for $630,000 that they still own.
As a partner in the Texas accounting firm Mann Frankfort Stein & Lipp in Houston, Mueller built his professional reputation and career in Houston, Texas. Mueller’s local firm, Mueller & Associates, CPA, LLC , is in some ways the antithesis of a typical accounting firm. While most accounting firms and their partners are described as modest and understated, Mueller's firm is the opposite. Hardly an event occurs in the non- profit or local business communities that Mueller and his firm do not seek some role in supporting, promoting or leading. Mueller's success in gaining notoriety for every event he and his wife might be involved in is well documented and legendary.
While participating in a product survey for an accounting software may not appear newsworthy to most, Paul and his wife Teresa successfully parlayed a product survey invitation they received into a public announcement, resume item and even a 500 word story in the Loveland Report-Herald last year. (see story)
Mueller holds the license for the local chapter of a national organization calling itself TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). The local chapter, TEDxFrontRange, held an event in the Rialto Theater last May that drew an audience of over 300 participants using the title “Ideas Worth Spreading." Promoted and partially funded by Loveland’s Cultural Services Department and Loveland staffer Marcie Erion, the event received rave reviews in the Loveland Reporter-Herald while raising Mueller’s notoriety once again in Loveland.
Eric Mueller, Paul Mueller's son, works in New York City for the TED organization full time as the Media Production Specialist. Paul credited his son with bringing him the idea to initiate a TED chapter in Loveland. TED is owned by the non-profit Sapling Foundation which was created by Chris Anderson. Followers of TED refer to themselves as "TEDsters."
While TED claims to be an apolitical organization, critics point to the pejorative references of Republicans by TED's most prominent national speakers. In perhaps the most widely distributed and viewed presentation by TED, Psychologist Jonathan Haidt lectures on the “The Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives."
In his presentation that can be viewed on YouTube, Haidt shows a political map of the United States that shows red colored states (Republican Party majority states) as “DumbF#ckistan” while the blue coastal regions (Democratic Party majority states) are labeled as “America.” Haidt repeatedly describes liberals as naturally more open minded, well-travelled and open to new ideas while he describes conservatives as inevitably their opposites.
Described by political scientists as the L. Ron Hubbard movement of the new millennium (founder of the Church of Scientology), TED promotes a new pop-culture understanding of human history using technology, arts, creativity and pseudo-psychology with overt references to Eastern religions. Like the Tea Party, participants are encouraged to become active in their community using the values they are taught. Unlike the Tea Party, TED activists claim they have no political, cultural or moral agenda.
Like the Church of Scientology, TED supporters use innovative titles instead of traditional ones to describe their roles in the movement. Mueller’s self-bestowed title as “Curator” of TEDxFrontRange aligns him more closely with a politically neutral title instead of those used by other community leaders that carry certain political or religious implications.
Loveland’s Keynote TED Speaker
Peter Kageyama, who seeks an expanded role for local government, is the polar opposite of the Tea Party activists who believe local government is already too intrusive in private lives. Kageyama was Mueller’s choice as the keynote speaker for his first TED rally in the community. Mueller announced Kageyama's acceptance of his invitation to speak while planning Loveland's TED conference during a City of Loveland Cultural Services Department board meeting with city staffer Marcie Erion. see notes from the meeting.
Seeking greater spending and involvement in the social lives of its residents, Kageyama wrote in the UrbanoPhile weblog on June 24, 2011, “Politics has played a key role in this dilemma. Politicians don’t want to appear frivolous and insensitive to fiscal challenges, so they say “no” to things that make a city fun, like the arts, culture, design, landscaping and events.”
While Kageyama may believe the state's constitutional role envisioned for municipalities of only protecting the “health, welfare and safety” of its citizens is outdated, Kageyama advocates an even more ancient practice of emotional and social dependence on a city-state. In ancient Greece the various city-states demanded loyalty oaths from its citizenry for the particular Gods of that city.
In Kageyama's talks and writings he cites the example of a project called “Marry Durham” in which 1,600 residents of Durham, North Carolina participated in what he calls the largest “civil union” in history. Described in his presentation and book of the same title, For The Love of Cities, Kageyama advocates that residents “marry” their city by taking public vows to “shop local, protect the environment” and “cherish diversity.”
As a TED activist, Mueller is also an advocate for increased city spending in areas of arts, entertainment and public cultural events. At the same time Mueller looks for greater involvement and commitment from the citizens of a community in exchange for the increased social spending.
Whether TEDster Mueller will also coordinate a mass “civil union” for Loveland residents, if elected, to marry their city government and take public vows of loyalty to Loveland remains to be seen. The Loveland Reporter- Herald, a sponsor of TEDxFrontRange, published a commentary written by Paul Mueller in which he described his first Loveland rally for TED, “It was great to see a broad spectrum of Loveland come together to openly think about and discuss our future on the Front Range in a forum free of political agendas and polarization.”
The contest between Dave Clark and Paul Mueller for Ward IV will be a contest between two very different political philosophies struggling for control of the city’s resources. Given the current split on council, the victor in the Ward IV election this November will decide the majority.
Clark represents a more traditional view of limited government while he believes in leaving moral teachings to churches. Mueller, on the other hand, is clearly on the side of a more exalted city hall that seeks to influence both the cultural and political lives of its residents through public ceremonies and more spending for the arts and public entertainment.