NEWS BLOG
LovelandPolitics
Loveland's Independent News Source
Loveland - October 22, 2012

This election season has been a busy one for Loveland resident Bob Massaro.  As Chairman of the Larimer
County Democratic Party House District 51 (
which includes Loveland), Massaro has been supporting the
campaigns of partisan Democrats for state and national offices while also volunteering for Paul Mueller's
bid for Loveland's City Council.  According to Massaro's LinkenIn page, Massaro is an "
Independent
Political Organization Professional"
which means any contribution to a political campaign using his
professional skills will need to be disclosed by the candidate as an in-kind contribution.

For nearly a decade Massaro has worked diligently to create a Democratic majority on Loveland's City
Council by working exclusively for Democrats running for Loveland's City Council against both
Republicans and independents.  Largely successful, Massaro can brag about helping Loveland Mayor Cecil
Gutierrez, Joan Shaffer, Ralph Trenary,  and now maybe Paul Mueller get a seat on Loveland's Council.

The
Ward IV City Council election is being held in conjunction with the national presidential election to
replace Cathleen McEwen who resigned in the third-year of a four-year term.  Former Councilman Dave
Clark and Loveland CPA Paul Mueller are both competing to fill the final year of McEwen's term in the
current election.  Seen as a moderate on council, McEwen changed her party registration on November 7,
last year from Democrat to unaffiliated.  Former colleagues of McEwen informed LovelandPolitics McEwen
tired of the overly partisan nature of council colleagues Joan Shaffer, a Democrat party organizer, and
Mayor Cecil Gutierrez who treated her poorly after discovering she changed her party affiliation to
unaffiliated.

Political Fellow Travelers
Historically, Bob Massaro and his wife Carla battled the Loveland Reporter-Herald which was often
described as "moderately Republican" in its candidate endorsements and local reporting bias before being
purchased by the The Denver Post.  Massaro once bragged that he and his wife owned five different mobile
phones they used to call the RH Line playing different voices to create an appearance of a larger public
reaction to any given Loveland issue they were trying to influence.

When supporting Democrat John Case's run for Loveland City Council against Republican Donna Rice in
2010, the Massaro's were critical of Rice for injecting appeals to partisan labels during her council
campaign and attempted to get more attention to the issue in an effort to discredit Rice.  However, the
Reporter-Herald disagreed and endorsed Rice in an editorial entitled, “
Partisanship has no place in our
local government
.”  The local newspaper also reported partisan activities by various candidates thus
refusing to endorse the Massaro's view (same as this year) that just one candidate was playing the
partisan card to get elected.

During the same 2010 campaign, Loveland Reporter-Herald Editor Ken Amundson sparred with Carla
Massaro via email defending his newspaper's decision to cover accusations of partisanship against both
candidates instead of just the Republican.  

Carla Massaro signed one email as "
disappointed again" while challenging the newspaper for printing a
letter by local Republican and former State House Representative Jim Welker supporting Rice that
incorrectly implied Case received monies from Colorado State House Representative John Kefalas.  In his
response sent to Carla Massaro on February 15, 2010, Amundson wrote,
"I'm well aware of the letter,
Carla.  There's a difference between free speech and controlled speech. While we do screen letters, we
will permit people to say things that we disagree with
."

Loveland-Berthoud Association of Realtors - Newspaper Bias

In Bob Massaro's October 14, Letter to the Editor on behalf of Mueller's campaign, he attacked Mueller's
opponent for an independent mailer sent out by the National Association of Realtors (see column on the
right) and failed to disclose either his official capacity with the Larimer County Democratic Party or role in
Mueller's council campaign.

Unlike 2010, the Massaro's complaints hit a nerve with Loveland Reporter-Herald reporter Tom Hacker, a
registered Democrat, who subsequently wrote a series of damaging articles beginning October 12 slaming
Clark.  The
first article assailed only the Republican council candidate Dave Clark for being favored by an
independent Realtor group whose endorsement was sought by both Clark and his Democratic opponent
Paul Mueller.  Clark was unaware of the support until after the group sent out their mailer which was not
connected to Clark's campaign but did promote Clark's candidacy.    Another
article by Hacker on October
16, erroneously referred to the PAC contribution as a "gift" to Clark's campaign which would have been a
violation of the law; no correction has been printed by the Reporter-Herald to date on this error.

The Massaros later organized a public protest with a few friends and fellow political travellers apparently
out of anger over the Realtor's endorsement and expenditures supporting Clark.  The Loveland Reporter
Herald (Jessica Maher) covered the small protest on October 14, again failing to identify Bob Massaro
(center in the newspaper's large picture of the tiny protest) as a Larimer County Democratic Party official
or as a volunteer of the of the Mueller for Council campaign.  Instead, the article quoted Carla Massaro's
prediction they would have more protests to voice  
"outrage that a super PAC can come to town and buy
an election in a nonpartisan race."  
The article only identified two participants as those who circulated
the petitions to pass campaign finance in Loveland.  Because Bob Massaro is not independent of Mueller's
campaign he will likely need to disclose time and money spent organizing the protests as campaign
contributions to Mueller's candidacy to comply with Loveland's campaign finance disclosure laws.

One board member of the committee responsible for passing campaign finance reform in Loveland,
Carmen Weston (wife of LovelandPolitics publisher) stated in reaction to the Reporter-Herald articles,
"Bob Massaro saying there is no place for partisanship in local city council races is like Santa Clause
saying he doesn't believe gift giving should be part of Christmas.  If readers were fully informed of all
Bob's affiliations and activities his statements calling for a non-partisan local election would be seen
as comical."

Despite attempts by the former Editor of the Loveland Reporter-Herald to keep a balanced approach on
local campaign coverage, it appears his caution to Carla Massaro regarding the difference between
"
controlled speech" and "free speech" have come true as the newspaper appears to now be complicit in a
lie of omission by only reporting the partisan connections of the Republican candidate.
Democrats Close Ranks Behind
Council Candidate Paul Mueller
while accusing his opponent of being partisan in local race
Loveland Campaign Finance Reform

The Loveland Reporter-Herald has
falsely reported,
"Clark's report to the
city does not include a campaign
gift of $8,244 from the
Chicago-based National Association
of Realtors' political action
committee, or PAC."

The Loveland-Berthoud Association of
Realtors endorsed Clark after
interviewing both candidates who were
seeking their support.

Barbara Koelzer, government relations
director for the Loveland-Berthoud
Assoc. of Realtors called the
Reporter-Herald stories, "ridiculous" that
claim a national PAC is trying to
influence a local race.  Koelzer pointed
the money comes from the local
chapters.

Koelzer told LovelandPolitics,
"We
interviewed both candidates and
Clark's answers were more
consistent with our concerns over
real estate issues
."  Koelzer said the
organization made no gift to Clark's
campaign or even spoke with Clark
about an independent expenditure their
national chapter made by way of a
mailer supporting Clark's campaign after
an endorsement by the local group
which is prohibited from contributing to
Clark's campaign since it is a
corporation.

Loveland's campaign finance reform
measure amended Loveland's Charter
to prohibit contributions by corporations
but not LLC's (limited liability
companies) or other entities.  The
measure was mostly copied from the Ft.
Collins measure by Loveland attorney
Mark Shaffer (candidate for State
House) when it was proposed.

The U.S. Supreme Court has protected
freedom of speech (1st amendment) by
striking down any attempts to limit
independent expenditures not
connected to a campaign.  
The
Supreme Court has even ruled
Corporations may also make
independent expenditures.
Loveland Resident Bob Massaro is
Chairman of the Larimer County
Democratic Party House 51 District.
(Loveland)