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Entry for October 17, 2007
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The October 16, 2007 Loveland City Council meeting was an interesting event.  Councilwoman Jan Brown came unhinged and denounced her colleagues and the City Manager for delaying the plan to purchase the "Mr. Neat" store building on 4th street in downtown Loveland.



According to Brown, everyone on Council already agreed to buy the building in closed session so there was no reason to delay the item to the next meeting.  The City Manager also admitted he already signed the purchase contract to buy the building and really wouldn't bring any additional information to their next meeting thus leaving a question as to why it was being delayed.



Brown failed to catch the not so subtle hints from her colleagues that they can only give "direction" to staff for negotiations in closed session while they denied having agreed to buy the building in any non-public forum.  Colorado's Sunshine Law does not allow for a City Council making any appropriation for expenditures from a closed meeting but it certainly appears that this was their intent.



Lastly, the City Manager told the Council the appraisal came in under what he already offered to pay for the property.  He didn't provide any more details as to how much that difference is.



A very short video clip of the meeting is posted on the main page of LovelandPolitics.com



Feel free to post your opinions or comments on the purchase of the building downtown or Brown's tirade in public.
2007-10-17 22:55:24 GMT
Comments (20 total)
Author:Anonymous
How come that wasn't in the paper this morning? You would think these guys all mixing it up like that would at least be covered somewhere other than here. Anyways I don't think our city hall should buy any property without first notifying everyone in the public. We don't have parking downtown as it is so why do we need more open spaces?
--KenE
2007-10-17 23:46:20 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Who is running the city? I think all Jan was trying to do was point out the City Manager was calling the shots and not telling the truth when he said the 5 Councilors requested the purchase of the building be delayed. Jan is just trying to do what is right for downtown but apparently other people behind the scenes are in charge not the city council. Jan was angry as you would be if you were on the council and not told the item was delayed with no good reason.
--KW
2007-10-18 00:03:17 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Thanks for bringing us this. What a riot. She seems really angry and bitchy with the men. As a woman i would like to see better women running for public office who can articulate their ideas.

Jan Brown is just a fish wife who doesn't know what she is doing.
--Ellen
2007-10-18 02:31:54 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Am I the only one reading this who finds it weird that Jan Brown didn't know the two property purchase items were being put off?

I know Ouch (whom we now know as Mr. Rousey) once said she could care less about LovelandPolitics.com. I take him at his word that he probably knows that from her directly.

My advice to Jan is to read LovelandPolitics next time if she wants to know what trick Mr. Williams (our sneaky City Manager) is planning. His staff seem to leak everything.
--Concerned Voter
2007-10-18 05:05:26 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I see this as people who make a deal with the devil. That sign Don Marostica has in his yard for Troy Krenning is a slap in the face to Gene Pielin.

Gene was a good soldier for both Loveland Commercial (Don Marostica) and Chad McWhinney and they rewarded him with healthy campaign contributions.

When he didn't support the Trolley they recruited Troy Krenning instead for Mayor since he wasn't towing their line. As the bible says he who makes a deal with the devil will....you know. It reminds me very much of a story in the Old Testament.

These are ambitious people who will do almost anything for greed of money so Gene Pielin was a disposable friend to them. The devils turned on him as they are now on Jan Brown. May God save them both for what they have done and provide the honest man Ken Morey the wisdom he will need to lead this city as our next Mayor.

I know, what would Jesus do? Would he say mean things on a internet blog? I say he would walk through Loveland city hall like he did the Temple with the money traders. He would knock over Don Williams's desk and that of the Mayor and Council and send them running away in shame and righteous indignation for their moral crimes.

It is time to send the money traders home and turn our city back to the righteous.
--Glen Mowat
<mailto:mowatg23@comcast.net>
2007-10-18 05:31:13 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Wow that is very heavy stuff.
All I want to say is anyone who is thinking of voting for Jan Brown should watch this tape. We brought our neighbors over to see it and LOL they were appalled at her antics. Then I told them it wasn't some old stuff the competition drug up but what she was doin just last night even! They were amazed. In our household we think she is toast in this election. How can anyone say they support these ridicules things she is doin.
--Al
2007-10-18 05:46:30 GMT
Author:Anonymous
The people of this town can turn-over Don Williams' desk and take charge of this city. It is called campaign finance reform and new faces on Council willing to say no to a city manager who runs rough shod over everyone he doesn't agree with. Remember, a phone call from McWhinney or Marostica gets more than a phone call from an elected official to Don Williams.
--Insider
2007-10-18 16:20:43 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I heard McWhinney asked that Council lump the more popular downtown acquisition with their MFA amendment. Remember, they also read LovelandPolitics and know the cat is out of the bag on that midnight meeting crap. They want to throw other items now into the meeting to make it appear less "special" as a meeting just for them. Obviously Jan Brown didn't agree and didn't like being made the fool in public. For a brief and shining moment of her career on Council she demanded to know which "majority" of the council was calling the shots. Since everyone there denied wanting it postponed she was really the only one telling the truth. That is Don was instructed to postpone the "decision" (they really already decided to spend the money in private if you believe Jan)because he got a call from either McWhinney or Marostica.
--One Who Knows
2007-10-18 16:35:01 GMT
Author:Anonymous
It was city council that first brought the possibility of purchasing the land to the city manager. One of the city council members saw a for sale sign on the property and brought it forward to other members. There ended up enough members wishing to explore the idea of buying the land to have an executive session to discuss the purchase.

Prior to this, the posiblility of obtaining land at 402 and I-25 was discussed at the last council retreat (which is open to the public). This was in January/February of 2007.

The city manager, during the executive session, was told to contact the property owner and see if the city may be able to make the purchase with terms that would be agreeable to the council.

There was no vote to purchase the property. It was a majority of members that felt it might be beneficial to the city if the price, terms and conditions were suitable.

Based on our request, this is what the city manager did.

When it was included in the council packet to be discussed and voted on (with public input), it was felt by members of the council that it included too little information to make a sound decision on the purchase. That's why it was posponed until a later date...to have staff obtain more information for council.

Like buying a home through your real estate agent. You see a home you might want to purchase so you send your agent to the sellers or listing agency to find out about price, what's included and any other conditions that might affect the purchase. The agent comes back to with the information you requested and then you decide if you are still interested or not.

In this case, we sent our agent (the city manager) back for addtional information before deciding if we're still interested.

Same thing with the downtown property.

Neither purchase was suggested by the city manager and is not linked to the McWhinneys.

Too long? Sorry.
--ouch/rousey
2007-10-18 19:29:37 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Three questions.

1. Didn't the City Manager sign a contract to purchase the property? You are representing this as nothing more than a price inquiry - do you often put property under contract when inquirying about the price? Do you understand the difference between asking about the price and signing a contract to purchase the property?

2. Jan Brown asked which 5 members wanted the item postponed and nearly everyone said "not me." Who than told the CM to delay the item?

3. Are you saying Jan Brown is lying on the tape when she said many times at the meeting that you (the council) had already agreed to buy the property in closed session? As you know, this would likely be a violation of Sunshine laws.
--Walt
2007-10-18 21:06:45 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Ouch, not too long but just misses the point. Jan told her fellow Councilors that they already all agreed to buy the property. She said it over and over because she didn't realize the Sunshine Law prohibits such desicions to spend money in closed meetings.

She was angry because she couldn't understand why everyone was pretending they didn't yet agree to spend the money and buy the building since they knew a public hearing is required before making such a decision. I am sure she felt terrible when she later calmed down and realized what she had just admitted to in public.

I don't believe - based on her comments - that the others were telling the truth when they pretended such a conversation never took place in closed session. She was angry over them denying the obvious because she didn't know their motives.

You cannot possibly expect us to believe she is just crazy. She was very specific about what was decided and the CIty Attorney's expresion also said a lot.

You guys just got caught doing a lto more than only providing negotiation strategies in closed session. You were caught doing what I have heard about in this city for years - privately planning the outcome of the public meeting in advance during a private meeting.

It is not defensible in anyway in my book. You are not making arguments but instead tryong to rationalize bad acts. Not a good idea.
--Carol
2007-10-18 23:00:24 GMT
Author:Anonymous
The proposed contract for purchase was contingent upon a council vote to accept the terms and conditions that was negotiated by the city manager and to vote for the appropriation of the funding necessary.

The contract was non-binding without a council vote. The vote was posponed due to council wanting additional information.

Walt, I guess you could call in an offer to purchase, but with contingencies that coucil first had to approve it via a vote at the council meeting. All the contract did, in my opinion, was to lock up the property or take it off the market for a certain length of time unitl the counicl could decide to approve the purchase.

Carol: Jan was correct, the majority of council members were willing to buy the property. But only willing after the city manager/staff obtained the necessary information needed for council to make a final decision. A majority of the council felt that there was not enough information so the agenda item to purchase was posponed.

Please believe me when I say that in my six years on counicl, there has never been a vote taken at any executive session.


--ouch/rousey
2007-10-19 13:33:18 GMT
Author:Anonymous
As a postscript: Don, Walt, Carol, anyone wishing to sit down and have a talk over a cup of coffee sometime just give me a call.

I'll be honest and try to answer any questions you may have. I don't want to try to change anyone's thinking...only give you my opinions on whatever things you want to discuss. We may differ but at least you'll know where I'm comming from.

I'll buy the coffee.
--ouch/rousey
2007-10-19 14:08:33 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Ouch, the fact a contract was written on the property was from the City Manager's mouth not mine. I believe you when you say a formal vote wasn't taken in closed session. I also believe Jan Brown when she over and over again says the decision to buy the property was already made in closed session.

Whether or not a formal role call vote was taken in closed session really isn’t the issue. If the Council came to a consensus in closed session to proceed with buying the property and appropriating the money – the law was broken. Especially, if the Council said, “go get it” than clearly you were giving direction to City staff to buy the property and not just negotiate at what price they might sell it for if after the Council deliberates in public you decide to buy the property.

I really believe the Council has been walking so close and sometimes over the line on closed sessions that many members don’t even realize what they are doing is a violation of the law. There have been many instances where the Mayor, City Manager or Attorney quickly restates councilmember’s comments to add they really didn’t make a decision but instead only gave direction on negotiating strategy in closed session.

It reminds me of a doctor and his wife who for many years wrote-off trips to their Vail condo in the winter as a business expense because they claimed they were visiting their rental property. One day the IRS audited them and declared the practice fraudulent. They had an attorney, CPA and accountant who all helped them rationalize their interpretation of the law but in the end they broke the law.

Please appreciate that the public knows the difference between having a meeting in public and staging a public meeting. This council only stages public meetings instead of really having the meeting in public. Whenever a controversy arises (like the Trolley) you guys run into closed session to hide any disagreements from the public.

Democracy is a messy business. Contrarily, most Loveland Council meetings look like bad amateur theater when everyone agrees and the outcome is very predictable.

Thanks for your offer to meet but I have an ulcer and don’t drink coffee or alcohol. In addition, I think everyone benefits if we discuss this in public instead of in private as you and your colleagues seem to prefer.

--Walt
2007-10-19 19:44:21 GMT
Author:Anonymous
This fiasco reflects both how poorly the city is managed and the propensity of the council to make decisions behind door politics rather than sound professional management. The only thing that should have been done in executive session was to initially inform the Council and get a tentative nod to move forward to negotiate a contract to be brought back with a full analysis so that the final decision and direction could be given with complete information for both the council and the public to see and understand. These land purchase items, both the 402 and downtown deal should have been fully vetted from a technical and policy standpoint and the analysis fully available to the public. The purpose of the acquisitions, the benefits, downside, contingencies, alternatives, valuations, projections, process for disposition or development, and support for the actions in either the comprehensive plan or downtown plan (which does not even exist) , etc., all should have been detailed in the staff reports. To have even considered putting these on an agenda without that information to fully inform the council and public reflects the good old boy deal making that threads this entire administration and council. They make deals in the back room not just for political reasons but also because they are inept. Now that there is for the first time in years a small bit of public scrutiny being applied, the good old boy way of doing business in Loveland is finally breaking down, its not pretty, but long over due. What in the hell is council person doing going on to a site like this to back water and explain what did or did not happen? This is ridiculous. Its time for a new council and administration in Loveland.

2007-10-20 04:49:18 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I agree - if you haven't read the Rocky Mountain Chronicle - get it. Here is my favorite summary of our last ten years -

"Ward One challenger Cecil Gutierrez agrees with Solt that council hasn’t listened to the people. They are still tuned into the decade-old agenda of creating retail. Gutierrez, a retired high school band teacher known by former students as Mr. G, says that downtown redevelopment stalled and Hewlett-Packard and Agilent skipped town while council focused on making McWhinney comfortable."

Don't let the Hecklers or Heckel defenders get to you. This is the best blog in Northern Colorado!
--Loyal Reader Infrequent Poster
2007-10-20 05:45:01 GMT
Author:Anonymous
I can't imagined anyone in this town would ever vote the same people who gave the McWhinney's 1/2 billion of future tax dollars. $10 million maybe for 5 years or something like that but never has any town created so much debt for retail in Colorado. It just really makes me sad for our town what it could be like in 15 or 20 years when merchants need to collect taxes to pay for bonds long after any bump in sales was felt and the buildings are older and not very popular etc...
--Tony
2007-10-22 23:36:33 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Isn't that off topic?

Did anyone read the article in the Reporter-Herald about the owner of the property off 402 and I-25? Interesting he is angry the Council is "playing politics" by not completing the purchase as they already agreed.

Has anyone called the Attorney General to report this activity? The City Manger I think is ignoring the law when he and the City Council agree to buy property in private.

Am I alone on this?
--Dave
2007-10-23 05:20:35 GMT
Author:Anonymous
Yes I read it. They are debating the issue tonight. I find it incredible the City Manager admitted he stipulated in the slaes contract that if they don't complete it by November 6 (election day) the contract ends. This is terrible.
--Carl
2007-10-24 04:42:16 GMT
Author:Anonymous
An important issue as others have already noted is whether there was a violation of Sunshine Law. Since no decisions can be made, either there was a statutory violation OR Ms.Brown was lying.
Councilman Rousey should understand that this is PRECISELY why executive sessions should be avoided at all costs and why the City should adhere to both letter and spirit of the law. Otherwise, you expose yourself first to public mistrust OR, should the Press or citizenry ever want to take it further, to lawsuit.
I've seen abuse of the Sundshine law for many years; but in my view it is far more rampant under this Manager and this Council.
--Scoop
2007-10-26 23:15:39 GMT
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