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Block to run for mayor

Pierrette J. Shields
The Daily Times-Call

   LONGMONT Marty Block is going to take a shot at the top spot.

       The Longmont Ward 3 councilman, who is only halfway through his first term on the city's governing board, announced to colleagues Thursday that he plans to file for the mayoral position that will be left open, thanks to term limits, by eight-year veteran Leona Stoecker.

       Longtime Councilman Tom McCoy earlier this month squelched rumors that he would run for mayor. Councilmen Roger Lange and Greg Winger also ruled themselves out of the running for the November election.

       McCoy said yesterday that he will be in Block's corner for the run.

       "I think it is excellent," he said. "I am really impressed with Marty's level-headedness, sensitivity to the issues and willingness to question hard issues."

       Lange said he is excited to hear that Block plans to run. "Marty is a pragmatic individual, he's a thoughtful individual, he makes good decisions," Lange said.

      Block is known, in part, for being in favor of controlling the city's growth.

        Block said he waited until McCoy and Lange opted out of the race before deciding on his own candidacy.

        "The reason I decided to run is that I just think that the position of the mayor would really best be served by somebody that was already on the council," he said Friday.

       Block, 52, is the director for Xcel Energy's Fort St. Vrain station. He served six years on the St. Vrain Valley Board of Education before winning his council seat.

      Born in Denver and having lived in Longmont for about 18 years, Block is married and has three children.

       He said that if elected, he would try to pick up with the council's current initiatives such as the community benchmarks and examination of affordable-housing issues.

       He said he would also like to take a look at the council's efficiency and hopes to be a unifying factor.

       "It was something I was weighing back and forth," he said.

      Block won his council seat two years ago in an election in which he bested one-term incumbent Ron Gallegos, who said he's a little surprised at Block's planned run "given his brief time on the council."

       He said he couldn't evaluate what "Mayor Block" would mean to Longmont given the anti-growth vs. pro-growth camps. "Depending on your perspective, it may or may not be good for the community," Gallegos said.

        Gallegos would not rule out the possibility of his own run for mayor.

        Nelson Miner, a local businessman who headed the Citizens for an Affordable Longmont, a pro-growth group, said Block's controlled-growth stance doesn't represent the opinion of city folk. "My belief is that his voting record" is not "representative of the interests or beliefs or desires of the citizens of Longmont," he said.

      Council members serve four-year terms, and the mayor serves two-year terms. The mayor receives a monthly stipend of $1,500, and each council member receives a $1,000 monthly stipend.

      City public information officer Rae Mims said there are no planned adjustments in the stipends for the terms beginning in 2002.

      Actual filing for office won't begin until August.

       Bill Carlson, who also has served two years on the council so far, was surprised to hear about Block's announcement on Friday, but said he believes that Block would do well in the position.

       "Marty is a very balanced man," Carlson said. "I think he's had a very positive response from the community so far with his two years on the council."

       Carlson said he is not considering a run for mayor himself and would feel comfortable supporting Block. Carlson said other than rumors of a McCoy candidacy, he hasn't heard about anyone else who might run. "It has been pretty quiet," he said.

      Planning and Zoning Commission member Julie Pirnack said earlier she is considering a run, but she could not be reached for comment.

Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 273, or by e-mail at pshields@times-call.com.

 








 

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St. Vrain board pares down
November bond

Adam Platt
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT The St. Vrain    Valley Board of Education continued deliberations on the proposed November school bond Friday, making a number of cuts but ultimately raising the package's final dollar amount by just under $1 million.

   The board wrestled with projects and dollar amounts throughout their eight-hour retreat Friday at the Fox Hill Country Club. The board did this in an attempt to get closer to formulating a final number for the proposed school bond.

   The board made cuts totaling as much as $3.6 million. But members also added items with costs outweighing those cuts.

   Victims of the board cuts were a proposed $517,280 reconfiguration for the Sunset Middle School track, a new $620,736 science room at Erie Middle/Senior and a $990,445 weight room addition at Niwot High.

   Also under consideration for the chopping block are a number of additions to Lyons Middle/Senior.

   Board members questioned the need for a new weight room. They felt that the current weight room could continue to be used if restroom facilities were added.

   Members also suggested that an arrangement might be worked out with the town of Lyons to use town athletic fields instead of spending $1,405,000 to buy and develop 10 acres for fields for that school.

   The board also asked district staff to look for alternatives to building a new $699,646 music room at that school.

   Staff had arranged proposed bond projects into a total list based on priority.

   Proposed bond projects were ranked on a scale of one to nine with one representing safety- and code-related improvements and nine for desirable building and site improvements.

   But the board decided to consider only those projects ranked six those for correcting /improving deficient building operations and above for inclusion in the proposed bond. 

   That decision alone cut $37 million from the bond.

   Longmont High School Principal Mary White came to Friday's retreat to argue for a number of improvements for her school.

   The 11 Longmont High School Advocacy Committee proposed projects originally added up to $29.5 million.

   Of those projects, only three survived the board's cut: a remodel of the school's 40-year-old cafeteria, auditorium renovations and a new school lyceum.

   In total, those projects added about $1.5 million to the proposed bond.

   Another notable addition to the proposed bond package was $2 million for Ute Creek Secondary Academy. That money would go toward the construction of a new facility for that school, which is currently housed in a renovated bowling alley.

   Two of the bond's more controversial proposals a $7.3 million swimming pool and a nearly $8 million district stadium, live on after Friday's meeting.

   A recently completed survey of 600 Longmont-area registered voters showed the least public support for those two items.

   Board members also asked district staff to re-evaluate whether the district should be responsible for paying a total of $4.7 million for renovations at the Twin Peaks Charter Academy.

   Adam Platt can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 420, or by e-mail at aplatt@times-call.com.

 

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Woman jailed for having
'offensive property'

Pierrette J. Shields
The Daily Times-Call

   LONGMONT A local woman who has long battled with city officials over the state of her yard was sentenced Thursday to 20 days in jail for keeping an "offensive property."

   Betty Rexroad, 56, of 818 Hubbard Drive was sentenced on her second conviction for violations of the city's junk and debris ordinance. She was still serving a 365-day suspended sentence for her first ticket.

   The maximum sentence for the offense is $999 and/or 180 days in jail.

   "There is a significant history," Longmont prosecuting attorney Rod Rangel said of Rexroad's jail sentence for the littered yard.

   She was booked at the Boulder County Jail at about 10 p.m. Thursday and is scheduled for a July 4 release.

   Senior probation officer Greg Wagner said Rexroad apparently got jail time at least in part because of a comment she made to municipal Judge Diana VanDeHey during the sentencing.

   "She said, 'Judge, just send me to jail,'" Wagner said.

   Rexroad's friend, Ardie Amador, said the junk ordeal is littered with inconsistencies and  city officials have not treated Rexroad fairly. She said Rexroad does not have an attorney because she cannot afford one.

   She said taxpayers are now footing the bill for Rexroad's medical care in jail because of a system she considered corrupt. Rexroad suffers from a neurological disease that limits her mobility.

   "We're paying for that all because this judge has a bent of mind prejudice and has decided to be pissy about it," she said.

   Rexroad's trouble with code violations started in 1996 when her camper was towed by the city.

   Municipal records indicate she was issued an abandoned-vehicle ticket for which she was found guilty. The first offensive premises ticket was issued Nov. 1, 1998, and she was found guilty in that case and given the suspended sentence. The most recent ticket was issued in April 2000. She was found guilty of that offense in April and was  sentenced this week.

   Amador, who said the "junk" in the yard is  usable, and city officials give differing accounts of the history of the violations and attempted abatement.

   The driveway at 818 Hubbard on Friday included, among other things, a wicker shelf and chair, a metal frame that may be for a bed, an overturned table with collapsible legs, a wheelchair, bins for recycling, overgrown weeds, lumber and a camper truck with handicap plates.

   Amador said she expects Rexroad to appeal her sentence.

   Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 273, or by e-mail at pshields@times-call.com.

 

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