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Entry for February 11, 2008 - RH Editorial Is Yellow Journalism

In most towns, a large cash subsidy of taxpayer's money by elected officials to a business owned by their own campaign contributor would spell scandal but in Loveland, the Reporter-Herald calls it "Council invests in the future" (see Editorial Feb. 9, 2008). Whether due to incompetence, ignorance or just plain yellow journalism, the editorial shamefully misleads readers by perpetuating myths that are contrary to the facts.

Absent any precedent, policy or even defensible reasoning; the Loveland City Council directed staff to prepare a resolution providing a known local activist and campaign contributor to at least three on the Council nearly $1 million to assist him in moving the location of his business OUT OF downtown Loveland to a new location in Loveland he has yet to identify. As members of the public shouted requests to speak, Mayor Pielin banned public comment on the controversial item during the meeting.

At the very least, Councilors (and the Mayor) who owe their seats on Council, in part, to the contributions of the business owner of Colorado VNet need to remove themselves from voting to give that company cash for the purpose of “business development.” In the meantime, the Reporter-Herald has chosen to act like a clapping seal by applauding the effort without apparently researching any of the facts behind the deal. They even attacked one of only two Councilors who had the courage and integrity to ask whether or not this makes sense for the City of Loveland taxpayers - Solt and Gutierrez.

The pretense for the gift of public funds? The company, Colorado VNet, promised to move only 14 jobs into Loveland from Longmont and like every entrepreneural start-up promised to bring more jobs in the future as the company grows.

Colorado VNet is a limited liability corporation, but the majority owner is apparently unwilling to make a personal guarantee for the complete sum of money being given to him as a "cash incentive" by the City of Loveland. Any responsible steward of the public's trust would try and link the money he is being given to the promise of creating jobs - instead the Council chose another model where possibly half of the money is paid upfront whether he creates new jobs or not.

Real business development involves bringing NEW employers to Loveland. In addition, cash incentives are a dangerous game. Councilman Gutierrez tried to point out to his colleagues the MILLIONS Pueblo, Colorado lost in cash incentives to companies that relocated there and later closed their doors. His colleagues (especially those who received campaign contributions from Coloraod VNet's owner) failed to ask tough questions or even consider the risks. SEE STORY.

Shame on the Reporter-Herald Editor for failing to inform his readers of what is happening. Instead of reporting the facts surrounding the "cash incentives" and controversy they instead attacked Councilman Cecil Gutierrez for trying to be a good steward of the public's trust since he voted no.

2008-02-11 08:41:07 GMT
Comments (11 total)
Please refrain from making any accusations of criminal behavior unless the individual was already convicted in a court of law –this is why the previous post was removed. tries to keep this forum as open to your SUBJECTIVE opinions as possible but cannot allow posts that may be libelous.

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2008-02-11 17:54:41 GMT
It was a sad commentary, that editorial. The ReporterHerald editors seem to be saying,
"well, everyone else is doing it...that's why I did it...".
That's the defense a poorly-brought up child uses to justify some bad action on his or her part.
Hey, venture capitalism if fine for people putting their OWN money on the line...but it is not ok to gamble with others' (taxpayers) $$.
Furthermore, the RH editorial is flat wrong when it suggests such incentives are used everywhere around here. That is simply not the case. Our nearest and largest neighbor, Fort Collins rarely gives any incentives, and doesn't use cash incentives at all. Yellow journalism? You're being kind. These days, it's just a marketing publication...nothing more. I know, I shouldn't subscribe but my husband did it.

2008-02-12 00:10:20 GMT
Yes, it was quite frankly shocking to see these guys vote to give money away with so little information. I have never heard of paying for a company to move when they haven't even decided yet where to move. I will not be surprised if they don't move from downtown to Centrra on our nickel.
2008-02-12 23:12:55 GMT
Imagine, paying a company to move the bulk of all their employees out of downtown Loveland?

Right industry but wrong approach City Council.

Please, in the future, try and have a plan and also talk to strangers instead of only people you already know or have done business with in the past. It is a big world outside Loveland and that is where high-tech jobs could be coming from if business attraction were really a priority instead of just the campaign slogan of some lazy and synical old men.
--Tired of the Same Garbage
2008-02-14 00:17:39 GMT
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
--You call me synical?
2008-02-14 00:18:58 GMT
Look at Mchinney's website and see how many articles in the Reporter-Herald are linked to their site. It is like the Reporter-Herald archive is their list of press releases promoting the company.

I wonder if the former Reporter-Herald reporter, Alicia Beard, who now works for McWhinney counts her time at the Herald as to when she started working for McWhinney? She seems to have written McWhinney press releases at both locations so together she has worked for McWhinney a long time.

Does her benefits package reflect the real time of her loyal service?

--Loveland's Silent Majority
2008-02-14 02:53:32 GMT
Figures the two Democratic Party councilpersons are the only one standing up for taxpayers!
2008-02-14 05:11:00 GMT
I must admit as a Republican it was strange to see the Democrats at the meeting arguing for free market economy and less government intervention while the "Republicans" wanted to give away tax dollars and subsidize business ventures while expanding the city government's power and influence over a once private economy.

Do Heckel, Pielin, Klassen, Ouch/Rousey or Johnson know what the Republican Party was founded on? They appear to have no moorings or philosophical basis in local governance. When a friend wants money or the McWhinney's want favors they become a bunch of dancing poodles instead of locally elected Republicans.

What is also odd is that infinity symbol on somebodies arm on the front page. Is this really a joke or has someone really tattooed themselves with the McWhinney symbol?

The Nazis used the Hindu sign for infinity (swastika) and they were all about private/public partnerships when they merged national industry with government objectives.

Be careful Loveland, people too easily impressed by money and power who lack moral and philosophical moorings are unpredictable and start to believe the end justifies the means.

Councilman Klassen said it perfectly on this very issue when he stated at their last meeting, "I probably have fifty good reasons why not to vote for this deal but since in the end it accomplishes our goal i am going to support this (paraphrased of course since I don't remember exactly.)

Annexation at any price and by any means is not good for our city nor are the people too easily impressed by money on our Council.
2008-02-14 06:19:48 GMT
Art, that is very insightful but I disagree. The McWhinney's don't control our police department yet - it is the last independent part of the city they don't control.

In the meantime, I still use the Herald for my bird cage lining and not much else since I can't trust what they write.
2008-02-15 17:00:11 GMT
I too have been surprised when the Republicans, especially in Colorado, abandoned a free-market approach and seem to tell us, "business cannot succeed unless government subsidizes it." I admit I started politics in the Reform party and so have never been a Republican, but am still surprised ...

2008-02-18 03:17:32 GMT
The "old guard" on Loveland's Council are beyond partisan politics. They don't even respect the constitution and the limits it places on governmental power.

They robbed us for the next 25 years from being able to elect people to set the taxes for Mchinneyville or even decide how the money is spent. They voted to take private property through eminent domain because KB Homes wanted cheap property and they have ignored the public process and met and decided spending issues in private for years.

Now they have filled the community with crappy housing the building inspectors couldn't red tag because the builders on the council would improperly get involved.

Walt Skowron and Cecil Gutierrez (a Republican and Democrat) are the only ones with balls enough to stand-up to the tireless special interests trying to control our town.
2008-02-21 05:55:31 GMT
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