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Opinion: Ruby Bowman--“Transparency is not just a slogan!”

Rogers road residents Kevin Gallagher and Jim Enright were right when they stated in their 1/10/2020 letter in the Observer that council members Tim Waters and Marcia Martin should recuse themselves from any action concerning the Mountain Brook development.
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This content was originally published by the Longmont Observer and is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Rogers road residents Kevin Gallagher and Jim Enright were right when they stated in their 1/10/2020 letter in the Observer that council members Tim Waters and Marcia Martin should recuse themselves from any action concerning the Mountain Brook development.  At the 7/9/2019 appeal hearing, Waters publicly disclosed that he and Martin met with the Mountain Brook developer on May 29, 2019, the same day Gallagher and Enright submitted their appeal to the city clerk’s office.  This particular meeting, however, was not the only occasion that Tim Waters met with the developer.  Documents of an open records request show that he had repeated contact with the Mountain Brook developer and agreed to meet with the developer on multiple occasions prior to May 29, 2019.

Text messages, going back to May, 2018, and appointment calendar documents indicate that as of 5/29/2019 council member Waters and the developer agreed to meet approximately 20 times. They made arrangements to meet at various places in Longmont, such as at local coffee shops, at a restaurant, at the developer’s office in Longmont or in a nearby town or at other offices in the city.  It became apparent, after reviewing CORA documents, that Tim Waters afforded unlimited access to the Mountain Brook developer to contact him.  These frequent contacts imply more of a collaboration than an interested party providing input to a city council member.  I wonder if Waters spent as much time with the Rogers Road residents listening to their concerns about the proposed Mountain Brook development as he did with the developer supporting the developer’s special interests. 

Council member Tim Waters should have fully disclosed his repeated contacts and meetings with the Mountain Brook developer at the 7/9/2019 appeal hearing and recused himself from city council votes concerning the development.   He should have also disclosed the content of meeting discussions and the documents he received from the developer.  There was one text message in the CORA documents where Waters instructed the Mountain Brook developer to send some documents to Waters’ home address instead of sending them through his city council email address.  Council member Waters likes to talk about the importance of transparency in city government.  He talks the talk, but he doesn’t always walk the walk. 

Residents of our community work very hard to participate in the public process.  They take time from their jobs and families to attend public meetings with the belief that they’ll be given a fair shake in having their opinions heard and considered by city council.  The system, however, does not always work the way it is supposed to.  Sometimes when citizens are up against a developer with considerable influence and access to decision makers, their opinions fall on deaf ears.  As Rogers road residents Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Enright explained in their open letter to city council, they are “ignored, insulted, and dismissed.”

Ruby Bowman
Longmont, CO  80501




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