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Entry for May 31, 2007
The view from above is better than below.   This is an aerial image of the I-25 and Highway 34 interchange.

Do you support the RTA plan to raise taxes for regional transportation projects?  Any comments you may post them here.
2007-06-01 06:27:33 GMT
Comments (31 total)
2007-06-01 06:28:24 GMT
The Greeley Tribune has an editorial supporting the RTA (May 25) and makes no mention of any "minority report." Will you post that here so we can read it? Thanks
2007-06-01 17:12:01 GMT
Does anyone have a list of the RTA members and their jobs. I didn't know Rich Shannon has such an obviuos conflict of interest. Who are the "citizen" members?
2007-06-01 17:13:56 GMT
I also read that lousy editorial in the Greeley Tribune. They really should do their homework.
--Agent M
2007-06-01 19:35:20 GMT
Thank you for breaking this story. AN EXCELLENT POINT. Kyle - I think the RTA is nothing but realtors and developers.

Loveland already has one of the highest vacancy rates in the state and certainly along the front range. The current apartment glut has destroyed good landlords who just can't compete with the city subsidized housing and the McWhinney's new properties renting for less bacause they make the taxpayers pay the cost of their infrastructure.

2007-06-01 23:18:46 GMT
People in loveland should start a campaign against the rta recommendations until all mcwhinney promised projects are taken off the list.

I will pay higher taxes and support regional cooperation for better transportation. But I don't support paying for the same thing twice.
2007-06-01 23:20:18 GMT
Bruce, don't waste your time. The McWhinney's are Loveland's city government. They bought and paid for our Mayor in the last election. Everyone on Council knows they owe their seat to McWhinney contributions in the thousands to their campaigns.
--Jimmy D
2007-06-04 06:13:01 GMT
Jimmy D: Really? Why don't you show us the dollar amounts that the current council members each receieved from the McWhinneys. It's public record. Or are you just blowing hot air?
2007-06-04 12:43:55 GMT
Mayor Larry Walsh received $1,150 from the McWhinneys in his last election and $1,500 from Loveland Commercial (Don Marostica). Ouch, you can access these records from the City Clerk.
--Jimmy D.
2007-06-04 15:32:52 GMT
The more important issue guys is the $50 million the McWhinneys were supposed to pay to improve the I/25 and Highway 34 junction.

If the RTA succeeds, we will all be paying this. I know for a fact most voters in Loveland would impeach this crew on Council if they learned the MFA doesn't really obligate the McWhinneys to pay anything.

Our City Manager who used to run the city's motor pool was out foxed by yhese lads from Southern California. Too bad the Council wasn't awake to see it.
2007-06-04 15:36:35 GMT
Let's see...the mayor makes one. How about the rest? You said all the council.
2007-06-04 20:38:11 GMT
What about the gifts they receive and worked very hard to preserve by exempting themselves from the recent state-wide amendment?
2007-06-05 20:43:58 GMT
Unfortunately, the City of Lvld (unlike Fort Collins) doesn't post campaign finance reports online. No..that'd make it too easy to see just who is buying the Council.
Another point: the McW's only "invest" in campaign contributions where there is a contested seat AND where it is likely to be competetive. Since there have been very few seats so contested, their level of investment hasn't been as high. I heard that they invested $8000 in the recent Fort Collins race to try to install "their" proxies so they'd vote for the RTA.
But there'd be no satisfying "ouch"...I guarantee that he'd excuse such ugly influence by some ridiculous spin suggesting that it's oke that one group or another funds the Mayor and whoever else had a contested race.
2007-06-05 23:38:13 GMT
I can say with certainty that this is an effort to get the taxpayers to pay for interchange improvements at 34 and Crossroads that the McWinneys were obligated construct under the URA tax dollars they were given for the Promenade Shops, so that they can use that money instead to pay for roads internal to their development and the parking structures and choo choo train that Chad wants to build at Grand Station.
Lovelanders are suckers for McWhinney
2007-06-06 05:07:40 GMT
Ouch, you are only half right and so is digger. The money didn't flow to uncontested races but did to the rest.

Loveland Commercial makes money through its influence in city hall and gave THOUSANDS to the various contested races. McWhinney Enterprises DID give Councilman Dave Clark $300, Sleepy Gene took money from an unknown group that sarcastically calls itself "B.I.L.D. On" using a P.O. Box in Windsor likely to hide the identity of the real contributor (a potential violation of state laws). Councilwoman Jan Brown stuffed her campaign with the contributions coming primarily from the Realtor Board (where McWhinney contributes)and Loveland Commercial again.

And lastly, The Black Steer, a local business not previously known to contribute to council campaigns, decided to give Councilman Daryl Klassen money for his bid last year just after they were turned down for a tax waiver by council similar to those provided to Loveland Commercial and McWhinneys. Not missing a beat, the owner of the Black Steer (he is building on a commercial lot on 34) hired Loveland Commercial to represent him and than gave money to Klassen's campaign!

Now a member of the group in-charge, he marched right back to Council with contributions to klassen under one arm and Loveland Commercial in the other and the stooges flipped their votes and said yes to $160,000 in tax waivers.

Too bad he left the corruption of the Middle East to find it here in Loveland! I don't blame the business owner who was shaken down by these creeps. Loveland politics are dirty and smart people are starting to ask questions.

Buying influence on City Council needs to end immediately!
--Art for Bruce (where are you)?
2007-06-06 06:08:04 GMT
You really believe that Mayor Walsh would be swayed for $1,150 in campaign contributions? Or Dave Clark for $300.00?! The fee waivers for the development of the Black Steer owner was approved prior to Klassen taking office. The tapes of the meeting are available at the library.

It must be tuff to blame any vote you disagree with on contributions from special interest groups. There are NO under the table gifts NO behind closed door deals and No votes being bought.

This is small city politics not state or federal where I might tend to agree with you. Talk to your elected city officals and then see if you still believe that their votes can be had for so little. You won't believe me but votes are not bought and sold for a few dollars in campaign contributions. If I thought that were true I would not be living here.

Using your train of thinking, then those who voted for keeping the "triangle" where it was would have been gotten money or gifts from the "art community". Those who voted for the gated community would have received monies from the developer. Those who agreed to a dog park at the new "fairgrounds park", would have got contributions from dog lovers. All who voted to approve a restroom at Benson Park got money from the plumbers. So on and so on. Is Loveland politics dirty when the council votes the way you believe they should?

2007-06-06 13:54:27 GMT
We've obviously touched a sore spot with "Ouch"...methinks he doth protest too much. In answer to his 1st question: The McWhinneys funded a fifth of his campaign...and real estate interests generally, 96%. THat is fact, not speculation. So yes, I think there is a direct relationship between his votes (and agenda-setting) and campaign donations.
And let's not be absurd about this. No one is suggesting that the Council members vote a certain way only because of a campaign contribution (though that certainly translates to influence). Ouch probably realizes full well that is secondary to the ability of money to buy the seat in the first place, for those whose interests and sympathies lie with the campaign funders, predisposing them to grant whatever is asked.
The questions about votes on fairgrounds, placement of art etc. are absurd red herrings; money in politics matters most when there are private profits at stake...such as a $591 Million public subsidy to developers.
2007-06-06 21:33:00 GMT
It's not really a "sore spot", it's just that I've heard all this for years...that anyone in an elected position is corrupt.

"predisposing them to grant whatever is asked"??

Methinks that readers of this blog don't check the voting score contained within.

Walsh voted against the gated community

Peilen voted against eminent domain

Skrowen voted against the gated community and special property tax to subsidize a developer

Clark, Brown, Dozier and Heckel all voted against the special property tax.

Rousey has all thumbs down and he ran unopposed and received no monies. I believe he was the lone NO vote last night regarding the additional residential units at Grand Station.

Where's the logic!!!
2007-06-06 21:55:33 GMT
Ouch, you missed the point. I certainly never made the sweeping statement about officials that you allege. Not ALL officials are corrupt; and not ALL morally bankrupt officials ALWAYS do the wrong thing.
No one suggested that every vote is 9-0. Sometimes individuals wake up and recognize a problem: Rousey has shown courage on a few occasions, (like last night); others have done as well. Still, what I hear from neighbors is that developers, esp. the most well connected ones, get what they want from this Council for the reasons I cited. A development gets to put a gate across a public right of way. The half-billion dollar Centerra giveaway that hasn't even begun to show the harms that bad deal will have caused. Routine amendments to already-bad agreements with the McWhinneys that further the damage. The list goes on.
The central point of my previous comment remains: the real estate industry runs the town, gets to decide who will sit on Council, and regular citizens have no chance against that organized money.

2007-06-06 22:19:14 GMT
Ouch, I give Don Williams credit for helping Don Marostica and the McWinneys "heard the cats" on City Council as Don Williams likes to say in private. His disdain for their opinions or input when it isn't inline with deals he privately struck in advance of the meeting are very clear to the public. Common, he spoke to the newspaper in support of Grand Station before the council every legally discussed the proposal as a group (as required in the sunshine law)

Anyone watching the meeting can easily see the city manager is working for Loveland Commercial and not the citizens of this community.

Yes, even Hugo Chavez would envy Don Williams' record of getting the cats all walking in the same direction so the counil meetings become staged information sessions instead a place to hear real debate and sincere public input.

2007-06-07 03:24:05 GMT
Guys, it doesn't matter at this point. Jan Brown, Walt Skowron and another old guy (can't remember which one -heckel or clark-) have told friends and family they will not run again.

Rumor is Pielin has asked Don Marostica if he can run for state house when Marostica tries to take Steve Johnson's seat when he runs for County Commissioner.

If Don taps Gene on the shoulder, he will announce his intention to step down from City Council so he can try and sleep in meetings at the State Capitol.
2007-06-07 03:31:23 GMT
The Larimer County Republican Party needs to get its political house in order, and the first order of business should be to purgue the party of the likes of Andrew Boucher. But since Boucher is the lapdog of the McWhinneys Ed Haynes won't touch him. What's worse? A con man like Boucher or a coward like Mr. Ed?
2007-06-08 00:22:34 GMT
Tough words. I was glad to see the Ft. Collins City Council send Rich Shannon packing with his McWhinney subsidy plan in the RTA
2007-06-08 03:02:59 GMT
Anyone going to show courage and show up at the council meeting June 12? I hear Jan isn't so mean and sleepy Gene doesn't snore too loudly. Anyone going???
2007-06-12 02:24:40 GMT
It is only a study session - you can watch you just can't speak
2007-06-12 04:03:00 GMT
I just took two hours to read the whole site. Amazing that they are getting away with this-where is our local paper in all this??

Does our City Council even read this website and know just how silly they look? I can't believe they would permit Mchinneys to amend the agreement to get them off the hook after agreeing to give them all the taxes for the next 25 years.

Somebody should call the Denver Post or Coloradoan or Rocky Mountain News. These are independent newspapers and more capable of reporting what the City Council has done.

Thanks for all your coverage. I thought the RTA would be a good thing until I read this site. How can the Mchinneys possibly think they can get away with making taxpayers pay twice for the same projects?

I cannot believe our City Council let them do this. Is anyone else paying attention?
2007-06-12 05:48:17 GMT
The RTA better not pay for ANY McWhinney improvements since they already got that money coming from our taxes. I am really angry about this but i don't know what i can do.
2007-06-12 05:50:16 GMT
Thanks for this important public service. This is really eye-opening. I just wonder why I haven't seen this information in the local paper. It makes me wonder why we've bothered with it (my wife always thought it was a waste of money and I guess she's right even if I hate to admit that!)
2007-06-13 03:17:40 GMT
Don't judge too soon. The Herald article was titled that the wheels are coming off the RTA - I copied the story below with credit provided.
Are wheels coming off RTA?
Concerns, questions troubling to Council

By Cara O’Brien
The Daily Reporter-Herald

Concerns lingered as the room began to clear Tuesday night. There was skepticism this thing would ever begin laying asphalt in the region.
But the regional transportation authority lives on for Loveland, after a three-hour City Council study session Tuesday on a revised proposal.

“I’m still in favor of marching forward with this thing,” said City Councilor Larry Heckel. “But the whole project has become pretty disheartening for me.”

On Tuesday, the council debated the devil of the details with members of the steering committee for the RTA proposal.

Council members grew especially angry when they discovered under the new proposal they might have to cover a higher percentage of improvements to the U.S. 34-Interstate 25 interchange than other municipalities cover of nearby interchanges, because of Loveland’s financing agreement with Centerra.

“It looks to me like this is just a gross overreaction to the comments made by Fort Collins and Larimer County at that meeting,” said City Manager Don Williams.

Coming in 31 days.

Many elements of the RTA proposal changed after last week’s Fort Collins City Council work session, in which a 4-3 vote sent Fort Collins’ involvement in the current RTA proposal to its death.

Without that city’s involvement — and its council may vote formally at their Tuesday, June 19, meeting — the sales tax revenue would be just over $400 million, instead of $650 million with their involvement.

The sales tax would be 0.58 cent for the entire region and an optional local addition of up to 0.42 cent from each municipality for a total maximum 1-cent tax.

The proposal allocates 58 percent of the total revenue from the tax to regional roadways and mass transit and 42 percent back to the municipalities.

Originally the 42 percent was allocated solely by population, but a new algorithm this week includes both origin of revenue and population.

The council was divided Tuesday over how close the proposal is to a ballot question.

“We’re on a good starting role and we shouldn’t lose our enthusiasm,” said City Councilor Walt Skowron. “But the devil’s in the details, and I don’t think we’re ready for a vote just yet.”

The discussion among the municipalities either will result in compromise good enough for an intergovernmental agreement and a ballot question, or it will die around the table. The council agreed to move forward long enough to find out which.

“We have to understand how it will play out for us,” Williams said. “And with me sitting at the table ... I think that will get better.”

As this moves forward, staffs from the involved municipalities will play a greater role in the negotiations, a relief for a steering committee bouncing back and forth between disagreeing cities.

Bouncing like that, councilors worried, may have resulted in the disproportionate funding plan for Loveland on the U.S. 34/I-25 interchange to appease Fort Collins’ fears and issues around the proposal.

“About everything that’s in here now is a compilation of four years of compromise,” Williams said. “And sometimes that’s good, and sometimes that’s not so good.”

But seeking project priority, municipality equality and delineation of more details, Loveland’s staying at the table.

“It’s been a long evening,” Mayor Larry Walsh said at the close of the meeting. “I’m sure there’s more to come on this issue.”

--Donna Kailey
2007-06-13 19:21:13 GMT
I heard the McWhinney's attorney is also on the board of the Coloradoan. Does anyone know if this is true?
2007-06-14 04:52:40 GMT
There's a double reason why the McWinney's are pushing the RTA so hard, it will not only pay for improvements they promised to make in the first tax payer funded Urban Renewal Authority, it will allow them to divert that money toward their new URA tax subsidised development of the Grand Station. They want the tax payers to fund their parking structures and the train to nowwhere which is alone going to cost $1 million. The parking structures go for about $5 million each on money taken from our schools and from sales taxes that pay for local services. Lovelanders need to wake up and smell the McWhinney stink around this entire community.

2007-06-20 03:35:50 GMT
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