The 5-Minute Challenge (scroll down to watch the videos)

5 minute

Barrentine’s behavior on council is obstructive and abrasive. She regularly gets caught in half-truths and contradictions. But don’t take our word for it… watch for yourself.

Here’s the challenge, watch five minutes worth of video from the three videos below. Then vote! Does her behavior reflect the kind of representation you want?

If you want to spend more time on this, please watch the full relevant sections from the council meetings to get more context (links provided below). Or watch any council meeting or study session! Pay attention to her fractured relationships with city staff and fellow council members. Listen for the cutting remarks, interruptions and off-topic filibusters. See for yourself.

Barrentine Obstructed Staff Efforts to Hire an Emergency Manager, Leaving us Unprepared for the Flood:

 

The entire discussion in the study session is worth watching (here). (The relevant section of the video 3:31:20)

Barrentine’s Cloak and Dagger Scandal:

 

The full 31 minute discussion is available at the end of the article here.

14 Former Council Member’s (including 4 former mayors) Endorse Recall:

 

 

From a Concerned Citizen

A note from a concerned citizen:

If you watch just the last 30 minutes of the 8/13 city council meeting, you will see District 3 councilwoman Laurett Barrentine say on two separate occasions that she’s asked more than once for information or for a meeting topic to be added to the Council agenda.

Ladies and gentlemen, Barrentine is the proverbial middle child of the Englewood City Council. Sure, her agenda is often disregarded. Sure, she seldom gets the attention she wants from her peers or from staff. But damn, she’s annoying. She clearly has a chip on her shoulder, and no one wants to work with someone who behaves like she does.

Frequent filibustering. Breathy declarations that her requests are going unanswered. Long explanations on how discussions should take place in public when public discussions have already taken place and the information is documented in the public record. Let’s revisit that issue because I’ve got “some constituents” asking about it, she says.

Barrentine’s influence in Englewood is destructive. She appeals to a crowd of folks who wear their suspicion of and disdain for municipal government on their collective sleeves. It’s OK to be suspicious. It’s not OK to defend your suspicions in the face of facts that disprove those suspicions.

The job of Council is not to micromanage the city. Council pays a city manager to manage the city. Council hires and fires the city manager and city attorney. Council approves large contracts (referred from staff) and sets policy. Council approves the budget and passes ordinances into the municipal code. Council DOES NOT manage city staff (except their Manager and Attorney).

I’m all for a prepared Council. I’m all for elected officials who understand what’s happening in the city. But I stand against elected officials who use the consent process to grandstand and draw attention to themselves. I take a firm stand against the philosophy that leads someone to look under every rock for a conspiracy while her peers wait longer and longer to get the People’s business done. Serving on city council is an opportunity to amplify your voice in your community. Use it to serve the community, not just yourself. Use it to prevent the mistakes of the past from repeating, not to avenge them.

One final note: practice what you preach. When communicating with constituents or city officials, use your official city email, not a personal email account. Honor the spirit and the letter of the Colorado Open Records Act or admit that when it comes to the subject of government transparency, you are a hypocrite.

Barrentine Ignored City Employees’ Warnings, Left us Unprepared for Flood

 

The public has been justifiably upset by the Englewood’s response to the flooding in July. What could have been done to better prepare our city?

Simple: we could have hired a full time staff member for emergency management. In a community of our size, we need one, and the City Manager’s office has recognized the need for some time. On three occasions last spring (April 9, April 23 and May 14), the City Manager’s office recommended that Council approve a mid year budget adjustment to add an emergency manager immediately.

At the May 14 meeting (the third time around), the council received the following in a 6 page report:

  • Staff recommendation
  • Summary of previous council action on this subject
  • Summary of the need for the emergency manager
  • Information from comparable cities emergency management efforts (population, general fund size, Emergency Manager position title)
  • Sample Job Description (based on other cities and FEMA)
  • Financial Implications: how to fund this position in 2018

In order to move forward with the hire, Council needed to reach consensus. This would have been a little unusual: normally the city does not add new positions mid year, but the city manager’s office saw a major danger to the city, and wanted to keep our city safe. Addressing the need immediately (instead of waiting for the next budget cycle) required Council’s cooperation.

As the meeting plays out, it looks like consensus is possible. Wink and Martinez both see this as a critical need and want to move forward with hiring an Emergency Manager. Olson wants to make sure they’ve thought through any other possible hires they would need to add before the end of the year, but by the end of the meeting, she is satisfied that this is the right way to go. Russell is opposed; she thinks it is going to cost too much money. In hindsight, she was wrong about that, but at least she was clear and honest about her reasons.

Then we come to Barrentine. Instead of taking a clear position on it, she delays and filibusters. Take a few minutes and read through the 6 page report before you watch her response in the video below. Remember this is the safety of our city at stake and Barrentine says things like

  • We need to know exactly what it is we’re getting and why we’re doing it and flush (sic) it out a little better before we go spending money
  • There are some very real concerns about how we proceed with this
  • It is imperative that this council knows exactly what we give up for this position
  • we’re not only prioritizing and putting this in a priority slot in 2019, we’re changing the budget for 2018

You can hear the frustration in the assistant city managers voice at the ambiguous request for more information. Clearly the city manager’s office believes this is a major safety concern, but Barentine’s delays derailed the discussion and prevented the hire from coming to a vote.

Was there enough information available to make a decision?

  • Wink thought so: “Thank you for putting [this] together and for comparing with local cities… what the role is, just great information, I am one hundred percent for this.”
  • So did Olson: “I just want to clarify that I did not mean in any way whatsoever that I didn’t think that you gave us enough for the job description, there is more than enough here.”
  • Martinez agreed: “I think this giant list of required tasks and duties further helps me know how much we need it and it did come up in our strategy session, and for me, the trade off is: if we don’t fill this position and we have an emergency, we’re not prepared. And to me that is not worth it.”

As with construction of the new police station and schools Barrentine once again obstructs improvements necessary Englewood’s safety and prosperity, and gives no clear reason why. This is exactly why we cannot afford to wait any longer to remove Barrentine from office.

You can watch the video below for a summary of the meeting on May 14. The entire discussion in the study session is worth watching (here). (The relevant section of the video 3:31:20)

 

 

 

False Accusations: Giving Heart

On February 26, 2018, Ms. Barrentine launched an unprovoked and slanderous attack on Giving Heart, a local nonprofit that assists homeless Englewood residents.

View the Study Session here. Ms. Barrentine’s attack begins around the 2:50:00 mark, and paints a picture of Giving Heart as a public nuisance and a hotbed of criminal activity: drugs, violence, the whole works.

Ms. Barrentine’s claims are lies and distortions throughout. The Englewood Police Department’s assessment of activity around Giving Heart paints a very different picture: “I conclude there is no evidence to substantiate the claim of criminal activity due to Giving Heart being located in this block. Nor is there evidence showing Giving Heart to be deemed a nuisance property.”