Tom Calarco

People still believe the city council is shirking the responsibility

By Tom Calarco

It was a cold, snowy night and Loveland’s finest had braved winter’s gales to support the Loveland Farmers’ Market (LFM).  The crowd spilled out into the lobby, and most of those who came signed my petition to keep the FM downtown.  Seventeen or eighteen people spoke and all but two were in favor, very strongly and passionately in favor.

On the other side sat six councilmembers, the city manager, the city attorney, and the clerk of council.  First up, as part of the agenda, was Tim Canada, owner of Bond Furniture, who spoke longer than anyone and provided an excellent history of the legal foundations of the market. Canada supports the market but wants it [pull_quote_left]People, some like myself who spoke from the heart without preparation and who still believe the city council is shirking the responsibility[/pull_quote_left]moved from the Jackson Street area. Then came the rest, the people, some like myself who spoke from the heart without preparation and who still believe the city council is shirking the responsibility they were entrusted with when we elected them – to serve the wishes of the people.

In a very calculated and disingenuous move, the Council had three comments read that were sent into them by people who didn’t have enough interest to come in person and deliver them. Of course, they all opposed the LFM, and all for personal petty reasons. From the sound of them, they neither go to the LFM nor understand its value. Listening to such ignorant comments by a large crowd that was probably 95 percent in favor of the LFM was insulting.

When it came to the Councilmembers’ comments, they acted stoically, and vice-mayor, Angie Settell, had the gall to say that the issue was now to be decided by the city manager Dave Kennedy and the LFM’s owner, Donna Bednar.

[pull_quote_left]Angie, didn’t you see the crowd, didn’t you hear their plea?[/pull_quote_left]Angie, didn’t you see the crowd, didn’t you hear their plea?  Would you look so stoically at a drowning man shouting for help?  No, Angie, stop passing the buck and putting the onus on Kennedy.  There are lots of options.  Let’s all get to work on them, and I’m talking about the City Council.  You heard the people.  You need to work with Dave to make this work.  At the very least try – give it a one-year probationary period and see how it goes.

I can tell you one thing.  If you don’t acquiesce, you have lost my respect because to get respect, you have to earn it, and to earn it, you need to respect others.  You certainly didn’t show respect to those who came out into the cold and told you how you can do what you were elected to do – represent the wishes of the people.  After all, we’re supposed to be living in a democracy.  History shows that there are people who will try to subvert democracy to further their own ends.  So the price of democracy is constant vigilance.  I don’t know what or why you refuse to listen to the people.  It certainly isn’t what democracy is supposed to be.

Tom Calarco is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland





  1. I’m all for supporting the LFM. That said, I’m also for reasonable arguments that are objectively stated and well-thought through. There are a plethora of reasons someone may not have been at the meeting that have nothing to do with a lack of interest. I, for example, have 2 small babies and could not find a sitter. The fact that those unable to be there even sent in statements at all shows their interest. You complain that the council should not have read these statements while in the same breath stating (repeatedly) that the council must respect the wishes of the people. By your own logic, if these people wanted something read, doesn’t the council owe it to them to read it? But here’s the thing—your logic is faulty. The council does not represent or abide by the wishes of the people. They take them heavily into account, along with other factors, to determine what is best for the city. There are lots of things most people probably want but it’s not council’s job to acquiesce to our every whim just because those are our wishes and they were chosen to represent us. We chose them to listen objectively and weigh all the factors to make a decision that is in the best interest of everyone involved. I’ve read many of the editorials you’ve written and believe if you examined things from a more objective, as opposed to an impassioned, standpoint, you’d have much stronger arguments.

  2. Nobody is arguing about the value of fresh foods in our diets, of education about food sourcing and nutrition, of supporting local farmers and businesses, etc. And I’m sure we all agree that a mother overdosing in her car is tragic for her, her family, and our community. These are important matters, but they (and specific individuals’ knowledge of them) are red herrings that have no place in discussion of the topic at hand: the 2016 location of the LFM.

    The location of the market is first and foremost a logistical matter, though of course there are locations that are considered more and less desirable.

    Here are some facts I have gleaned from the discussions on the topic:
    –To conduct a festival, market, special event, etc. requires submission and approval of a permit.
    –Permit requests such as the FM’s clearly fall within the city manager’s jurisdiction, not the council’s.

    Questions that have been raised about the permit-requesting and -granting process include:
    –What is the process for submitting such a permit to the City of Loveland?
    –What criteria are involved in approving/denying such permits?*
    –What is the appeals process, if any, when a permit request is denied?
    –Is city council in a position to influence or overturn such decisions made by the city manager’s office?
    –If not, what is the purpose/expected outcome of appealing to the council on this topic?

    *The decision to not allow the FM to return to the downtown location this year MUST have taken FACTS into consideration. What are those FACTS? For example:
    1. Number of parking spaces used by the FM shoppers & vendors during market hours on Tuesdays, and by other businesses/customers, LMST users, etc. on other weekdays between 2 and 8 p.m.
    2. Parking spaces available as of May 1, 2016, within reasonable/typical walking distance of the FM/central downtown Loveland
    3. Impact of the FM (good or bad) on existing full-time businesses/customers, other visitors, area residents
    4. Impact of the FM on traffic patterns (factoring in circumstances such as the closure of Branch Hill-Guinea Rd. this spring/summer, additional cars from new residents of 90+ apartments at Loveland Station), etc.
    5. Traffic changes planned by the city to alleviate downtown congestion in general – and when they will be implemented
    6. Safety factors – as I sat in 20-minute quarter-mile traffic jams last year (when Branch Hill Road was closed and Loveland Station was under construction) and on Tuesdays in prior years (when the FM was downtown), I have often wondered what would happen if emergency responders needed to leave the station at the corner of Loveland Ave. & Second St. to attend to a call on the Hamilton County side of the river. Their vehicles are too tall to go through the railroad underpass by Loveland Canoe, so a blocks-long bottleneck on West Loveland Ave. would cause them delay; in this case, even a few minutes can be significant and could result in an avoidable loss of life in a fire or accident.

    Statements by ardent supporters of returning the FM to the Jackson Street Market make it seem that it’s “downtown or nowhere” for the FM. Obviously, things are not so black and white as that. In light of the city’s decision, which doesn’t appear subject to reconsideration, the FM must be forward facing and seek out another location (and is probably already on the job!) I hope that the Donna and the Friends of the LFM will let the community know what help is needed to ensure a successful continuation of our market wherever it finds its home in 2016.

  3. Wow. I agree with Teresa. In fact, my letter was one of the ones read during the session. I could not be there due to a work commitment. To label me as someone that “didn’t have enough interest to come in person” was a broad and irresponsible assumption to make. I would also love to hear an explanation as to how my concerns were “personal and petty”. It appears that if you don’t agree with Mr. Calarco’s opinion, you open yourself up to public personal insults. A Loveland mother overdoses on heroin with her child in the car, and where is the public outcry? Looks like we’re being forced to focus on the LFM, and not the things that should be our first priorities.

  4. I moved to Loveland two years and did go to the Farmers Market when it was downtown, Teresa. I live a block and a half away from City Hall, in one of the new developments. Where did I say anything about feeling the Bern in this article? When I made my comments, I used Bernie as a prop for humor as a contrast to all the serious comments that had been made.

    I think I gave a fair depiction of what happened, and others there have told me so. If truth be told, I think there are hidden reasons why all of this is happening but no one wants to bring the dirt out in the open in respect to the parties involved — just wish they would get over whatever it is. “Forgiveness is the better part of valor.”

    I also think this issue needs to be dramatized — it certainly is dramatic for the people who are personally involved. One of the points I didn’t raise but were raised by a couple speakers was the value of the FM. I don’t believe many people, likely some of the council members, really understand the importance of our diet to our health and how local, especially organic produce, is especially important in an age when our food supply is being tainted by Big Ag and the comglomerate food producers. The Farmers Market is also an educational venue because the organic farmers there are on top of this and are good educators for the public.

  5. Seriously? How dramatic a story…..first of all, Tom, were you even around to place a vote when the council people were elected or is this a forum you have jumped on to put your presence into the Loveland area? Secondly, I attended this meeting and simply did not get the same impressions at all. Seems like the bullying and misinformation is coming from your end. Thirdly, what in the world did “feel the bern” have to do with anything being discussed? It is also my understanding that you do not live in “historic loveland” but in the new development located just outside of Historic Loveland. This is simply a renegotiation of where the farmer’s market is to have a home, not the end of the world as we know it. Really, get down off the cross, someone needs the wood!

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