The only sure result, so far, of the city’s massive, unprecedented and upfront subsidy of $2.2 million to
Sprout’s super market development on a busy and dangerous corner is the cancellation by Vitamin
Cottage of their investment into Loveland to build a new Natural Grocer right down the same street.
An estimated $5 million private investment by a truly organic grocery chain to redevelop the former
Ferguson High School property into a large natural grocery store was successfully defeated by the
council’s action to subsidize Vitamin Cottage’s competitor only blocks away. This obvious consequence
was also clarified for the city staff in an email by Vitamin Cottage’s developer following the first vote on
November 4, 2014 for the Sprouts subsidy which stated,
“If the sprouts deal was fully approved, we will not be moving forward with the current location.”
Nonetheless, Loveland’s City Council proceeded to later consummate the deal with Sprouts’ without
ever deliberating on the consequences to the Vitamin Cottage investment. Incredibly, those few original
advocates of the Sprouts subsidy on council pretended that Sprouts was the ONLY organic grocer
interested in Loveland thus requiring the subsidy.
To perpetuate staff’s false narrative regarding the need to subsidize a “healthy grocer,” Mayor Cecil
Gutierrez broke a long established city practice by denying Sprout’s competitor, Loveland residents
and anyone else from speaking before the council the night of the final vote on January 6, 2015. Also
absent from the discussion were other external developments that put the city’s “payback” at risk due
to changes in the agreement with the developer not previously made public.
Once decided, those who voted in the affirmative refused to later reconsider their vote once the full
story started unfolding; likely opting for the “I didn’t know when I voted” defense conveniently afforded
So determined was city staff and the Mayor to prevent public comment and allow a legitimate
second vote they were willing to spend $17,000 in court fighting their obligation under the city charter
to allow public comment before the final action on a spending ordinance. Some have boasted they are
“proud” of their actions even describing our decision to dismiss the lawsuit over the matter as a “win.”
Writing for the Sports Journal, psychologist Dr. Steven Aicinena explains ‘Hubristic pride’ in this way,
“Hubristic pride is sinister and dangerous. In the name of pride, sport participants cheat, engage in
violence, and selfishly take advantage of others. Hubristic pride is not to be confused with the
satisfaction one receives from successful performance and positive feedback. Hubristic pride is pride
that has gone wrong. It allows individuals to engage in harmful acts without feeling remorse.”
The city’s state mandated process to appropriate spending is sometimes messy and unpleasant like
running an obstacle course. Similar to a cheating athlete, city staff chose a shortcut by removing the
hurdles of transparency and public comment from the agenda/course when approving the Sprout’s
subsidy. By concealing facts and denying the public its right to speak, Mayor Gutierrez and staff
introduced a more efficient yet fascist approach to local government that would have made Mussolini
proud. A hubristic pride they must feel today for successfully excluding the stake holders and
rewarding an outside special interest with over $2 million in city money while costing the city $5
million new investment.
Those running for re-election in November who voted twice for the subsidy will need to answer a simple
question from voters.
Why did you appropriate $2.2 million of our tax money to subsidize Sprouts when Vitamin Cottage
was already under contract to buy a nearby property and develop an organic Natural Grocer without
the need of any city subsidy?
|Loveland's Independent News Source
|Council's Hubristic Pride Over
June 26, 2015