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 […]
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.
A steering committee member of “Better Boulder” recently posted on Facebook that a Boulder of 250,000 people (from our current 109,000) “would be awesome.” Many people are very unhappy with the direction this city is going in and want to see balance restored to City Council.
Cha Cha Spinrad: I live in a co-op and strive to have my life entirely encompassed by cooperatives. I also support Jan Burton. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She doesn’t care about maintaining her seat — she cares about positive impact while sitting in it. Last point: Jill Grano rocks.
Michelle Estrella: Burton walks the talk with diversity and will champion our tax dollars. McIntrye will take care of open space and understand small business. Grano is a breath of fresh air and wicked smart about housing. Rigler and Budd will keep our streets safe.
City Council election season is upon us and a boatload of candidates will be vying for your vote. I am not clairvoyant, but I can safely promise that they will all tell you that they favor diversity, inclusivity, affordable housing, resilience, preservation of neighborhoods, creation of walkable neighborhoods, open space is good, etc., etc. You will hear them at debates and meetings, and they will provide you with feel-good statements of intent with as few specifics as possible.
I call this candidate blather “Boulderspeak.” The problem is that many voters have been complicit in this electoral dance, responding positively to expressions of purpose without detail, and making decisions based on superficial information, slogans and buzzwords. This is no way to select our leaders.