The City Council gave final approval to the creation of a Creative Sector Development Advisory Commission, which will assist in the retention, creation and attraction of jobs in the creative sector. According to the City, the arts & culture sub-sector is an $8.9 million industry, generating $82 million in payroll dollars annually. The program is a joint venture of the City with Aims Community College. The concept for the program evolved from the 2005 Comprehensive Plan, which identified the creative sector industry as something unique in Loveland worthy of a cluster initiative.
Campaign Finance Discussion Gets Testy: A discussion on prohibiting Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) from making political contributions revealed a deeper philosophical split among City Council members. The Council has been discussing possible revisions to the City’s campaign finance regulations, first passed by the voters in 2007, for about a year after it was discovered that LLCs were exempt from the corporate prohibition on campaign donations. Council member Joan Shaffer, ardent supporter of campaign finance restrictions, argued, “It’s a public perception issue. The public needs to be heard.” Kent Solt agreed, saying, “The people won’t take this sitting down.” Mayor Cecil Gutierrez argued that allowing LLCs to contribute “opens the door for abuse.” They inferred without naming names, that a mayoral candidate in the previous election had used the LLC loophole to finance his campaign.
Other Council members supported Hugh McKean, who said LLCs are generally small businesses that deserve a voice in politics. Those who support limiting donations from LLCs claimed the purpose is to curb influence from out of town or international corporations. Interestingly, Joan Shaffer, who raised the most money during her campaign, revealed that most of her donations came from out of town donors, but argued they were from friends and family. Kent Solt drew the ire of several Council members when he said “it was obvious that there was a five-person voting block against the ordinance, so there was no reason to continue the discussion. A motion to move the ordinance forward failed by a 5-4 vote, with Solt, Shaffer, McEwen and Gutierrez voting yes and McKean, Klassen, Rice, Heckle and Johnson voting no.