My Letter to the Editor

Thought I'd share this here since it probably won't make it into the Mountain Merle.

Dear Editor,

As I recall, Mayor LiVecci and city council members Brown, Bowers and Hallett all campaigned for a more transparent city government but have wasted no time becoming possibly the least transparent council ever. Along with attorney Ben Kahn they’ve used closed door meetings to plan the fire sale of a valuable city asset and have refused to make public Mr. Kahn’s $30,000 writings on the subject, calling them “privileged.”

Then, the mayor announced plans to replace the NRCDC board with himself and Hal Brown in order to force the Vandaveer fire sale, yet another step in the CAG agenda to dismantle city government no matter the cost.

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, after all, Hal Brown is/was the head of the local chapter of Americans for Prosperity. For those who don’t know, AFP is a fake grassroots organization funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. The Kochs are well-known for their agenda to undermine government in the name of corporate profit.

Are we to believe it’s a coincidence that Hal Brown is at the heart of this effort to eliminate city employees and NRCDC board members then fire sale valuable city assets? And who would benefit? Some development corporation or corporate big box store, not local citizen or businesses. It certainly appears that Hal Brown has been bought and paid for by the Kochs. At the very least, he’s drunk the Koch Koolaid.

And isn’t it suspicious that the mayor decided to hire Ben Kahn as city attorney when Kahn received some of the lowest rankings from other council members? Kahn apparently provided the legal basis for LiVecci to transform the “weak mayor” statutory government of Salida into a strong mayor “CEO” dictatorship, tossing aside over a century of Salida and Colorado legal precedent. Transparency?

Now we have leaked documents that show Kahn attacking attorneys whose specialties are municipal law, and the judge in the recent mediation said Kahn’s “priveleged” writings don’t even qualify as a legal opinion. I’ve worked with people like this. They attack others to make themselves look better.

Now, after paying Ben Kahn at least $70,000 in taxpayer money, LiVecci has walked out of mediation without answering a single question. He claims he felt “bullied.” That’s almost funny, since he bullied at least two competent city employees out of their jobs. So Mr. mayor, maybe you need to grow up and grow a pair before Trump tries to grab you.

On the bright side, at least we finally know your hidden talent. You're good at walking out. Maybe you should just walk right out the door of the mayor’s office before you and Hal Brown do any more damage to our community.

And btw, Merle Baranczyk, you don’t live in the city and you don’t have a vote. So you should probably just keep your opinions to yourself and your rent-a-cows (you know, the ones that allow you to avoid paying your fair share of county taxes).

Sincerely pissed off,
Cynthia Douthard


  • Cynthia, I don't know you but I sure wish I did. Great letter! Louise Fish

  • Thanks Louise. I don't get out much, but we'll probably run into one another some day.

  • Thank you for writing this, Cynthia. You hit the nail on the head.

  • Preach it, sister!

  • edited December 2016

    As far as transparency, why did one council member (not named by you) insist on removing Section 10 from the original divestiture resolution, a clause that would have required a forensic accounting of how much money the City gave to the NRCDC during the 3 former mayors' tenure?

    I agree with the council member's "let's put the issue to bed and move on" reasoning and am grateful for the way she voted, but let's acknowledge what removal of the forensic accounting clause did. It allowed years' worth of back room shenanigans to remain hidden from the public.

    Now Mayor LiVecchi simply had the integrity, courage and strength to put a halt to the nonsense. The three past mayors claim deprivation of civil rights because an elected body decided differently from what they preferred after properly – noticed City Council meetings. Sure.

    We have a group of other people throwing fits because they cannot differentiate between:

    1) the council not going the way they want it to go during public meeting held after proper notice under the "Open Meeting Act," versus,

    2) actual actions taken without any notice, discussion or disclosure.

    Read Mr. Kahn's 48-page well researched statement of facts (a necessary, helpful and time consuming piece of work with citation to sources. See that the City and the NRCDC are at least $8.3 million into the Vandaveer, not counting expenditures by the City on staff time, meeting time, hiring of contractors / engineers / consultants, building of bridges, marketing meetings, Delphi Technique public meetings, janitorial services, grounds maintenance, etc.

    For years, these expenditures have been kept hidden off-budget and remain hidden.

    But Hannitize away with gripes about lack of transparency.

    While doing so, try and find the resolution (or any record of City Council discussion) that authorized the closure of the in-town RV dump and its transfer to its present location out by the USFS building in 2012 or so, an expense of almost $200,000. I bet you can't find it, because it doesn't exist.

  • On removing the forensic audit section for the divestiture document: Once the city divested itself of the NRCDC, it has no right to audit the NRCDC's book. Also remember that the most current audit ordered and overseen by the current council gave no indication that a forensic audit was needed. I'm glad Eileen proposed the removal of Section 10. I like to think it was due to my public comments at the meeting. As I said at that meeting, the proposal was offensive to NRCDC board members, past and present. If I were on the NRCDC board I would not let the city touch my books after the divestiture.

    On " It allowed years' worth of back room shenanigans to remain hidden from the public.": If matters were hidden from the public, how can you be so sure that anything erroneous happened. Are your comments just another example of saying something often enough, you think it makes it true?

    On "Mr. Kahn's 48-page well researched statement of facts": Hi 48 page document may have been well researched but it was not a legal opinion. (AS I am sure you know.) This is the document that the council cited as their reason for the supposed Tabor violation. BTW - some of the cases cited in the 48 pages occurred prior to Tabor.

    On "closure of the in-town RV dump and its transfer to its present location": I was at meetings where this was discussed. Perhaps the council did not vote on it, but they knew about it. The then council members allowed the then city administrator to do her job just as the current council is allowing the interim administrator to do his job.

  • edited December 2016

    OK, Louise. Happy Holidays.

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