I read with interest last week’s guest opinion from City Council candidates Benjamin, Rigler and Grano, who appear perplexed that much of the Boulder community feels threatened by the high-growth policies with which they have been associated. The most pro-development groups in town have endorsed two of them: Engage Boulder, Better Boulder and Open Boulder. And while they each now pledge allegiance to the Blue Line and height restrictions the conversion appears to be more expedient than heartfelt: none of their websites contains a single sentence supporting those policies.
Although the typical Boulder electoral tendency to try to blur policy differences in public with gauzy happy-talk was on full display at three recent PLAN-Boulder fora for Boulder City Council candidates, clear distinctions could nonetheless be discerned between groups of the contenders on the perennial questions of more versus less growth, more versus less transfers of the cost impacts of new development away from developers and onto the general taxpayer, and more versus less control by local residents over development and re-development in their neighborhoods, as well as the recent issue of how far to proceed with the municipal electrical utility. Nearly every candidate concurred on the need for more permanently affordable “low” and “middle-income” housing in the city, but little agreement occurred about how to reach this objective, nor how to pay for it. The three fora were held on August 25, August 30, and September 8 and included all of the 14 […]
Vote no more taxes, renewals, new or otherwise, for anything. Think about it, If City Council and Jane Brautigam, city manager, can find millions of dollars to squander on divorcing Xcel Energy, then they surely can find the money they need to run the city without more taxes. Oh, sure it is nice to put more money into schools and all kinds of programs for the homeless and low-income, but think about it just a moment. Every time you extract more taxes are you not making another person homeless, marginalizing yet another person? Case in point, the gentleman who lost his home, a trailer in a trailer park, because he couldn’t pay his property taxes. Do you remember the story in the Camera?
The open space acquisition happened in Boulder 50 years ago this year, just before our family came to Boulder. It was followed by the Blue Line regulation to prevent development over 5,750 feet, by building height limitations and by the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. Approved by the voters, these restrictions made the city the beautiful place it is. As Professor Charles Wilkinson stated in Ruth Wright’s groundbreaking “Limiting Building Height” thesis: “Boulder’s stirring beauty is largely due to the verticality of the backdrop to town rising sharply up from the plains at the exact base of the Rockies.”
A Boulder pro-growth advocate regularly tweets, “If you love your city, you should build more of it.” The tweeter’s perspective seems at odds with the reality of our finite world. Science everywhere confirms finite limits: resources, the amount of carbon our atmosphere can handle, and the population a bioregion can sustain.
Two unanimous Boulder City Council decisions within two months of each other illuminate a deep-seated ambivalence about city priorities.