NEWS BLOG
LovelandPolitics
Loveland's Independent News Source

Loveland - October 17, 2013

As Loveland's 2013 local election cycle comes to an end the acrimony inside official city council and school
board meetings is at a fever pitch.

Expletives, outburst and even profanity from the public have invaded the otherwise banausic local
governance meetings as candidates and their supporters in the audience shout insults at one another.

Loveland City Council Meeting (October 15, 2013)

Last Tuesday, October 15, the Loveland City Council meeting devolved into acrimony as Councilwoman
Joan Shaffer accused her colleagues of making the downtown
ArtSpace Project next to Loveland's historic
feed and grain building a political football.  The night prior, Loveland's Planning Commission voted
unanimously to reject the project based on a number of factors including inadequate parking.   Unlike the
council meeting, the Planning Commission deliberated extensively Monday night without any of the highly
charged political accusations that dominated the discussion of the matter by Loveland's City Council.  
Council candidates Troy Krenning and Carol Dowding are both members of Loveland's Planning
Commission.  Carol Dowding is challenging Joan Shaffer's seat representing Loveland's Ward II while
Krenning is running in Ward I along with newcomer Irene Fortune.

Shaffer brought the topic up (which was not on the agenda) during a discussion over Mayor Pro Tem
Daryle Klassen's suggestion the city re-allocate a $1 million slush fund set aside in the 2014 budget for
unidentified downtown projects.  Klassen asked that the money instead be made available for gap-funding
of local businesses and individuals impacted by the recent floods.

Mayor Cecil Gutierrez along with Joan Shaffer angrily contested the suggestion implying it was politically
motivated.  Shaffer's landlord and owner of the Loveland Feed and Grain which will get over $1 million of
public money in the ArtSpace Project, stood before the council to complain about the Planning
Commission's decision.  As part of ArtSpace, the owner Barry Floyd will sell the ArtSpace developer the
Feed and Grain building once the property has been improved using certain tax credits.  

Council members Hugh McKean, Chauncey Taylor, Daryle Klassen, John Fogle and Dave Clark voted to
move the $1 million downtown slush fund instead to the flood victims in the city's 2014 budget.  Because
the ArtSpace issue was not on the agenda the council could not take any official action on the matter.  
According to Councilman  Dave Clark, he didn't know the details of the Planning Commission's decision
which he said was a complete surprise.   Councilwoman Joan Shaffer angrily refused to allow anyone to
question her as she dove into the subject of the Planning Commission not approving her landlord's project.

Loveland Council Meeting (October 1, 2013)

Two weeks prior, anti-fracking activists took over the public comment period of the meeting.  One speaker
accused Mayor Pro Tem Klassen of using profanity when speaking about himself which she freely quoted
during the meeting.   An angry Klassen replied, "...liar."  Following public comments Councilman John
Fogle  spoke out regarding a threatening phone call his wife received from an anti-fracking activist he
turned  over to police.  His comments were interrupted by one woman who began yelling from the
audience before she got up and left gesturing to the council using one hand as she exited the meeting.  
Fogle listened to the tirade and Mayor Gutierrez allowed it to go on.  Finally, Gutierrez said he was going "I
am going to call a stop to all of this" implying his colleague was equally wrong as the heckler interrupting
the meeting.

Later during the same meeting, Shaffer interrupted a public speaker on the Mirasol project who Mayor  
Gutierrez also tried to censor on behalf of campaign support Sam Betters who was in the audience.

School Board Meeting Antics (October 16, 2013)

Last Wednesday (October 16) Thompson School Board Member Denise Montagu angrily interrupted a
member of the public with whom she disagreed regarding the board's conflict of interest policies.  
Ironically, she was violating another long standing board policy not to interrupt speakers or comment
during the public's allocated time on the agenda to speak.   Montagu's acrimonious comments and crass
behavior drew jeers and cheers from supporters in the audience providing the ambiance of a Jerry
Springer Show instead of a goverment meeting of locally elected officials.

Held in the Berthoud High School library, the meeting drew a large crowd of over one hundred people.  
Some attended for awards being handed out at the beginning of the meeting while others were
apparently there for the election antics apparent among the board members.

Montagu was defending recently appointed board member now candidate for election, Jeff Berg, after it
was discovered he voted to increase his wife's pay and health benefits without disclosing his wife was
even employed by the Thompson School District to all his colleagues last Spring.  State statute requires
public officials disclose potential conflicts of interest and prohibits them from taking official acts in which
they have a direct and pecuniary interest.  The speaker was simply suggesting board members refrain
from participating in votes where there may have a personal conflict of interest.

The day prior, Montagu called a constituent who made an error in a legal term a "fool" on the Facebook
page "Thompson School District Exposed."  However, Montagu's crass behavior was only the beginning.  
While Janice Marchman attempted to keep the meeting under control, board member Leonard Sherman
began hurling insults at a fellow board member saying he was responsible for the conflict of interest
policy update being on their agenda which he accused his  colleague of staging for political gain.  In fact,
Superintendent Dr. Sheer placed the item on the agenda as what he described as a routine update and
stated such in the board's packet which Leonard Sherman apparently failed to review before their
meeting.

In response, the accused board member Bob Kerrigan yelled back, "
how dare you."   The following day the
Loveland Reporter-Herald reported Kerrigan called his colleague a "
Sissy."  According to Kerrigan he
didn't use the word and says he has a video to prove it.  However, the RH reporter also has a recording
where it is alleged the word is heard during the exchange but Kerrigan says it was not his voice.
Acrimony Hitting
Record Levels in Local Governance
see video clip
"If that is the direction we are
going to go I can guarantee
you I will get my voice heard
early and often"

Mayor Cecil Gutierrez

"You can rest
assured my
panties are not
in a twist"

Councilwoman Joan
Shaffer
"Jacked
around for
another 6
weeks"

Councilwoman Joan
Shaffer
Partisan Divide - Censored Loveland
Reporter-Herald

Councilman John Fogle, who is
registered as unaffiliated and not
currently running for office, sent a letter
to the Loveland Reporter-Herald
regarding the partisan affiliation of his
colleagues and other candidates for
Loveland's City Council.  

Editor Jeff Stahla refused to print the
letter unless Fogle agreed to edits that
would remove the partisan affiliations of
the various candidates and instead use
terms like "conservative" or "liberal."

An important objective of Mayor Cecil
Gutierrez and Councilwoman Joan
Shaffer in their campaigns has been to
promote their Democratic Party
cradentials to like-minded Democrats
while maintaining a bi-partisan
appearance in the general media due to
the large number of Republicans in
Loveland.

While LovelandPolitics agrees with the
sentiment that local elections should be
non-partisan, we cannot agree that the
Editor should try and accomplish that
goal by censoring his readers by refusing
to print the complete and accurate
content of their letters.