Letters to the editor

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Community’s response to helping others out

I read with interest Chriss Hammerschmidt’s, Ward 1 Candidate, Letter to the Editor (8/29/21), writing “… the more government does, the more taxes you pay and the less that gets done.” Rather Hammerschmidt suggests “… our solution is at our finger tips.” It’s our charitable organizations that can help solve our homeless issue.

Indeed, there are excellent charitable organization providing caring and nurturing services to many individuals. However, I wonder is it not the responsibility of the community of Broomfield through CCOB to meet the basic needs of food and lodging of its citizens when an unexpected situation arises and not expect charitable organizations to do it? Is there not enough wealth in Broomfield to do so? Are we a community that cares about another person when they are “down?” Or is our response … “let someone else do it.”

Paul Brynteson
Broomfield

Groom has temperament , vision to lead Broomfield

On the 60th anniversary of becoming a city and the 20th anniversary of becoming a county, Broomfield is at an inflection point. Broomfield has a critical choice between boldly charting a course into the future on a path built on the solid foundation of all that has made Broomfield the wonderful place we’ve chosen to live or discard the proud history of Broomfield in favor of fickle woke cancel culture that saw the destruction of property in Denver and the nonsensical toppling of a Pro-Union Civil War monument in front of our state capitol.

When I was on Broomfield City Council in 2001-2009, Broomfield was known for big ideas such as becoming a city and county in 2001, creating a 16-week reserve fund utilizing zero-based budgeting, and establishing our own Health & Human services organization. We are now known for recall elections and political protests, including the stoppage of progress on big projects like the completion of the Jefferson Parkway, which would have created Denver Beltway around the entire Metro area.

When I ran successfully for mayor in 2013, campaigns for city council saw spirited and lively debates regarding the issues candidates were passionate about that ultimately motivated them to run for local public office. When the debates were over and the votes counted, we all came together as a community to do the work for the people of Broomfield. That’s the way it had always been in Broomfield. The Broomfield Way was a tradition we could all be proud of. That all changed during the campaign of 2015. That election cycle ushered in a new form of campaigning and a new kind of candidate in Broomfield. Community and collaboration were replaced by ideology and division.

As mayor, I viewed my role as finding ways to work together on complex topics to find common ground and complete the important work of Broomfield. However, my last term as mayor was marred by single-issue activists and community organizers aimed at splitting and dividing our community into two factions: those who were with them and those who were not. There was no compromise, no room for common ground. The rhetoric and discourse that has unfortunately followed has been visceral and imposed long-term damage to our community. The impacts can be felt deep in our community.

To reward themselves for this division, council voted to increase the councilmember pay at a time when the Broomfield community is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. City staff have not seen a merit pay increase in over a year. Morale among the city and county of Broomfield staff is effected and turnover in senior staff indicates a stressful environment for our hardworking city staff. Kimberly Groom was the only councilmember to vote against the pay increase.

Kimberly Groom is the right choice for Broomfield mayor. Groom has the temperament and vision to lead our city into the future. Please join me in voting for Kimberly Groom to heal our community and restore civility and decorum in Broomfield.

Randy Ahrens
Former Broomfield Mayor, 2013-2019

Moving Broomfield forward

I was appointed to City Council in July, so I feel as though I’m in a probationary period at work and seeking a positive review on Nov. 2. I hope I have earned good marks.

If the voters decide to extend my term by four years, my guiding principles for our hometown is to ensure that every resident has

• A safe home in a safe neighborhood;

• A healthy home without fear of what’s in the air or soil;

• A truly affordable home that doesn’t cause financial insecurity;

• A sustainable home that is more energy efficient and helps preserve our planet;

• and a home that is within a 10-minute walk of a park or open space.

Our current council has made strong decisions to move Broomfield in this aspirational direction. For example, it funded 20 more police officers and bolstered community policing, and created a long-overdue independent housing authority to better create affordable housing. A new ordinance requires developers to build homes that households earning 60K and 80K can afford. The city now has sustainability goals for waste and greenhouse gas reductions.

We need to keep this momentum going by making the tough decisions required to continue to prosper. We must restore our pre-pandemic revenue base so we can maintain our current level of city services. We need to recruit more high-wage employers so more people can work and live here too. We need more homes below 350K and many more low-cost apartments. We need to ensure the Town Square development is successful and spurs growth as well as create a true destination for entertainment and community events.

We must not fall for short-sighted impulses that sacrifice the things that make Broomfield special. For instance, calls to consider reducing our 40% open space goal should be dismissed. We are at 35% now, so any goal reduction means no more open space at all. We will have 20,000 more residents in the next decade here. We will need more open space to ensure a livable community for all in the future with space to relax, recreate and enjoy mountain views and nature.

Now, it’s time to decide our hometown’s future course. Vote by 7 p.m. Tuesday. Thank you for the honor of serving as a councilmember.

Todd Cohen
City Council, Ward 5

Quiachon not Leslie for city council

I was intrigued when I received what appeared to be an email blast from a neighbor in support of Bruce Leslie campaign for Ward 4 City Council. What intrigued me was his claim of being “unaffiliated,” followed by endorsements from most of the progressives who swept into office in the last election, turning Broomfield governance into “Boulder East.”

So, I called him and had a delightful and enlightening conversation. He is smooth and able to give you a lot of information that makes it sound like he answered your question when he simply danced around it.

I never found out how he consistently claims to be unaffiliated, and am deeply troubled by someone who claims loudly and proudly to be one thing when he clearly is not.

I asked when he and his wife moved to Broomfield, and once again got a lot if information about visiting here and buying here but never found out how long they have actually resided in Broomfield. Clearly, he does not have the deep roots here that his opponent does.

Leslie spent his entire career spending taxpayer’s money, so I’m sure he would fit right in with our existing Council.

Many of my Anthem Ranch neighbors who I respect are supporting Leslie, but my vote goes to long-time Broomfield resident and business owner Mindy Quiachon. I encourage you to support her as well.

John Neill
Broomfield

A closer look at Broomfield’s campaign financing

In a recent Broomfield Enterprise article, “City Council campaigns see close to $200k in donations, $130k spent,” published Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, one finds interesting and timely information on donors to the Broomfield mayoral campaigns. Let’s take a closer look at campaign contributions to the mayoral candidates.

One reads, “While Castriotta has donors listed with addresses from as far as Rhode Island to California, all but two of Groom’s donations are from Broomfield residents.”

It’s possible that some readers may mistakenly infer that Castriotta’s support is mostly from out-of-state individuals. However, when one peruses the reported list of donors that candidates must provide, one can easily see that the majority of the nearly 300 contributions made to Castriotta’s campaign do come from people who live in Broomfield.

Additionally, one also reads, “Resident Ben Vagher has donated the most amount of money overall, records show, which includes the largest one-time donation of $10,000 he made to Groom’s campaign.” Moreover, the article states, “Kimberly Groom has collected and spent the second largest amount of money, with $32,964.67 collected and $29,682.44 spent, public documents show.”

What is not explicitly stated is that Ben Vagher is Kim Groom’s uncle.

So, doing some simple math: $10,000/$32,965 = 0.3033 or 30.33% of Groom’s contributions come from a single source, her relative. When one adds the Steve Reynolds contribution of $5,000 to Groom’s campaign, one sees that 45.50% of her campaign finances are from only two Broomfield residents. Kim Groom’s financial support among her nearly 140 donors, therefore, is hardly broad-based, which some readers might infer from reading, “all but two of candidate Groom’s donations are from Broomfield residents.”

When one searches for “Candidate and Campaign Information” at the City and County of Broomfield’s website — broomfield.org — one finds under “Campaign Finance Resources” a current list of all the donors to the mayoral and city council campaigns. Candidate Castriotta has two large contributions from local citizens of $4,000 and $5,000, representing about 15.60% of her campaign total of $57,675.

Although the article sincerely attempts to provide transparency about candidate funding, it’s possible that some Enterprise readers may have come away with incomplete knowledge about who is supporting the mayoral campaigns and the distribution of that support among Broomfield residents.

Andy Kramer
Broomfield

The same old politics

In reading Russell Winkler’s letter of Oct. 21, I understood the questionable appointment of Guyleen Castriotta as mayor for Broomfield. It would have been more bipartisan and impartial to appoint Liz Law-Evans since she has served on the City Council longer than Castiotta and also term-limited.

Law-Evans’ offer to serve was rejected; the appointment gave Castiotta a huge political advantage. This type of politics reminds me of the devious campaign tactic used a few years ago when a very negative ad was aired numerous times on TV just prior to election day. Bill Berhens, a former mayor of Broomfield, now our incumbent state legislator was campaigning for reelection. The TV ad strongly implied that candidate Berhens was “in the pocket of big oil and gas.” The narrative and visuals implied that these companies had donated heavily to his campaign. Yes, he had received a check for $25,000 from the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Company. This payment was the prize for scoring a hole-in-one in a recent golf tournament they had sponsored. This golfer’s dream became a political nightmare and cost him the election.

Unfortunately, this latest tactic shows that this same party is still up to ignoring true ethics of campaigning. As the saying goes, “the more some things change, the more they remain the same.”

Caroline Ferrell
Broomfield

In response to the unethical actions of our City Council

I wish to thank Russell Winkler for illustrating the timeline of events of the Broomfield City Council since May of this year. From this timeline, it appears that the City Council followed all the proper procedures and rules, filling two vacancies that arose from the resignation of Mayor Quinn.

Yes, as Mr. Winkler noted we now have two appointed incumbents. Anyone who has not been living under a rock in Broomfield for the past five months is aware of the fact that Ms. Castriotta and Mr. Cohen have about four months of experience in their current positions, and all Broomfield residents of voting age can cast their ballots according to whether they believe these two individuals should continue to hold these positions.

In the carefully laid-out timeline, I fail to see or understand where the unethical behavior lies. Mr. Winkler seems to imply that Ms. Castriotta and Mr. Cohen are each laying false claim to the title “incumbent.” The definition of an incumbent is “the holder of an office or post,” which is what they are, so I see nothing unethical about that.

Was President Ford unethical when he ran for president in 1976 as the incumbent? He had only ever been elected as a U.S. Representative prior to his appointment as vice president to Richard Nixon, replacing Spiro Agnew, and then his assumption of the position of president upon Nixon’s resignation. Was Ford any less the president, or any less the incumbent? One may argue as to Ford’s effectiveness as the president, but one cannot argue whether he attained that position ethically. Are you, Mr. Winkler, holding the Broomfield City Council members to a higher standard?

Kathleen Briscoe-Thompson
Broomfield

We need to give Bruce Leslie a chance

In reflecting on Mr. Setter’s opinion letter in the Oct. 17 Enterprise, it was disheartening to see how he tore down Bruce Leslie as Broomfield City Council candidate, Ward 4, giving only one side of each example of Mr. Leslie’s life experiences, trying to persuade me to vote against Leslie rather than for his candidate.

He provides no evidence his candidate has ever brought any people with disparate opinions together to seek solutions, particularly not large populations where massive amounts of money are involved. From his description, I don’t believe his candidate has ever dealt with massive amounts of money as has Bruce Leslie. Setter implies that simply living in Broomfield for 20 years and the desire to maintain the status quo is qualification enough to choose his preferred candidate over someone who has spent an adult lifetime bringing people to the table for compromise.

I acknowledge that according to both Mr. Setter and Mr. Leslie not everyone left Mr. Leslie’s negotiation tables with everything he or she wanted, but status quo was not an option for Mr. Leslie nor for the people who gave him a job to do. We need to give Bruce Leslie a job to do as Broomfield City Councilmember from Ward 4.

Gena Brooks
Broomfield