LONGMONT — The two District 3 candidates for Boulder County commissioner traded shots Thursday over open space policies, property rights and a controversial cement plant during the Daily Times-Call election forum.
Libertarian Randy Luallin of Louisville attacked his opponent, incumbent Commissioner Tom Mayer, saying the three Democrats on the county board should allow the public more access to taxpayer-owned open space properties.
He also accused the commissioners of violating property owners’ rights with a ream of anti-growth land-use policies.
“For over a decade now, the county has been run by the machine politics of the Democratic Party,” said Luallin, 48. “If we truly want open government, we must demand it.”
Luallin also slammed the sitting commissioners for ignoring air-quality concerns surrounding the Cemex cement plant in Lyons. Residents near the facility routinely complain of dust being released by the factory and want regulators to halt the company’s plans to fuel its kiln with junk tires.
But Mayer said Colorado law requires state regulators, not county leaders, to tackle air-quality issues like the ones raised by Cemex’s neighbors, the 55-year-old Louisville Democrat said.
Mayer, who first won office in 2002, touted the positives of land-use regulations and open space policies. The county preserved 10,000 acres through its open space program over the past decade and is working to make its land-use proceedings more fair and transparent, he said.
“Boulder County is the best place in the state, and it didn’t happen by accident,” Mayer said. “And I want to keep it that way.”
The public is barred from some open space properties to preserve the landscape and protect crops, he noted.
Mayer also pointed to his work to create a Boulder County drug treatment court that would have a judge counsel and coach, rather than incarcerate, convicted addicts.
The District 3 commissioner represents Lafayette, Louisville and Erie on the Boulder County commissioners’ board.
Though county commissioners run for election by district, all county residents vote in the race.
Brad Turner can be reached at 720-494-5420, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.