Years of constant campaigning from outside activist groups – we’re looking at you Clean Water Action, Food & Water Watch, 350.org, etc. – are taking a heavy toll in Broomfield. Just ask the members of the Broomfield City Council who are speaking out against the angry and vicious strain of politics these groups have been promoting in local communities in recent years. It’s gotten so bad that even the Broomfield Enterprise – the local edition of the Boulder Daily Camera – conceded in a Sunday front-page headline: “Lack of civility plagues local, oil and gas debate.”
Since 2013, anti-fracking activists have been pushing bans and de facto bans in Broomfield, hoping to move the needle in statewide politics. Over the summer, they even tried to recall the city’s popular mayor pro tem, Greg Stokes, to send a message to local officials across the state: Do what we say or else.
The recall failed spectacularly – Stokes was retained in a two-to-one margin – but the activists have doubled down since then. They are trying to sabotage a new agreement between the city and an oil and gas company, pass an anti-fracking ballot measure, and run a slate of far-left and anti-development candidates for council this November. And they are undercutting the work of a citizen-led oil and gas task force, which spent months developing recommendations for energy development in Broomfield – recommendations that the city council and the oil and gas company are embracing.
Basically, they’re trying to turn Broomfield into Boulder, and bullying anyone who disagrees with their plan into silence. But last Tuesday night, channeling the frustration of their constituents, members of the Broomfield City Council pushed back hard against the tactics used in the fracking debate – threats, using children as political props, and more. Even Broomfield City Councilwoman Martha Derda has had enough:
“I’ve lived in Broomfield for 40 years, and here are some things that I am really disappointed in. Things that people did to divide us; beating us down with excessive e-mails, the same e-mail 40 different times from 40 different people; exploiting children, I do not agree with; threatening us and our families; creating ridiculous action groups; hateful CORA requests.”
See below video highlights from her commentary:
“Somebody said that he hated our guts,” Councilmember Mike Shelton said in response to a public comment from an oil and gas opponent. “The divisive comments, that kind of distracting rhetoric, it’s not been a positive for Broomfield. It’s been a negative for Broomfield.” The anti-fracking activists are talking about oil and gas development like it’s “selling slaves, or putting black people on the back of the bus or something,” Shelton continued. (Of course, those bogus comparisons to slavery and segregation were cooked up by national groups like 350.org and Food & Water Watch, just read the self-described “manifesto” on “climate crimes.”)
The work between citizen members of the task force, city officials and the oil and gas company “has been the most transparent, well thought out decision making process in Broomfield’s history,” Councilmember Elizabeth Law Evans said. “I’m appalled by some of the comments that were made here tonight and some of the other communications I’ve seen. I’d like to point out that telling someone that you hate their guts is literally – very literally – hateful,” Law-Evans said. “It’s just so sad. Is this really what Broomfield has become? It’s just so sad.”
Mayor Pro Tem Greg Stokes, who was targeted by activists for recall even though he’s term-limited, also weighed in: “What we’ve turned into now is not just ‘I disagree with you,’ it’s ‘I disagree with you and I hate you and I’m going to find some way to prove that you’re corrupt.’”
It’s hard to believe Broomfielders have put up with these pressure tactics for so long. But clearly, their patience is running out, and with any luck their frustration with environmental proxy battles will show up in the vote totals on November 7.