Letters to the editor: Dan Williams; Steve Rosenblum; pro-Bedrooms Are For People; anti-Bedrooms; Tara Winer; Lafayette 2C; Ballot issues 2I and 2J; slates

·10 min read

Oct. 19—Lisa Gardner Sweeney: Dan Williams: He supports equity

I have lived in Boulder for 40 years and have never written to this open forum. That should give you an idea of how strongly I feel about my neighbor and friend of 15 years Dan Williams' run for Boulder City Council.

Most importantly Dan cares about our city. He wants to see it flourish. A place where everyone no matter your skin color, economic status, language, work, or how many precious family members you choose to have in your home can thrive. He believes that Boulder can become a diverse and welcoming palette of people. He promises to help create a place where people not only work but live and play with dignity. He will ask the hard questions to make sure we as a community are supporting equity.

I believe that Boulder can become a more diverse and kind place with the help of Dan Williams and the Progressive slate. Please make sure to check out Dan's website Danforboulder.com and don't forget to turn in your ballot on or before Nov. 2.

Lisa Gardner Sweeney

Boulder

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John Spitzer: Steve Rosenblum: Greatest depth of experience

PLAN-Boulder County is pleased that the editorial board endorsed Michael Christy, Mark Wallach, Tara Winer, and Jacques DeCalo; all candidates that we support for Boulder City Council.

PLAN-Boulder has also endorsed Steve Rosenblum. Steve has the greatest depth of experience of any City Council candidate PLAN-Boulder has seen in many years. Rosenblum's expertise in the capital flows that drive the housing market and financial management of municipalities is sorely needed on Council, as Boulder is increasingly impacted by external economic and financial pressures.

Steve has delved deeply into the issues. He listens closely and has spent hundreds of hours talking to voters to learn about their concerns. Steve has an extensive background in affordable and market-rate housing and clearly understands Boulder's need for more diverse types of housing for households of all ages, stages of life, and incomes. As a father of two children, Steve, like so many of us, care deeply about the safety of our shared community and will make sure the City has the services and staff to ensure our safety and resilience, as well as environmental carbon reduction..

PLAN-Boulder County knows Steve will be an exceptional Council member. We urge you to vote for Steve Rosenblum if you care about our current state of affairs and our future. Boulder needs Steve on the next City Council.

John Spitzer

Board Member

PLAN Boulder County

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Elisabeth Patterson: Bedrooms Are For People: Vote yes for housing

Better Boulder stands with 90% of respondents in a recent poll by Bob Drake of Drake Research that building affordable and middle-income housing was "important, very important or extremely important." We also agree with the 75% of voters who responded to the poll supporting what is now ballot measure 300 for increased occupancy, "Bedrooms Are For People." Sierra Club, The Daily Camera, the Boulder Chamber, the Boulder Weekly, BizWest and others have now endorsed the measure.

Dating back to 1970, it has been illegal in most of Boulder for more than three unrelated people to live together, no matter how big the house is, how old the residents are, or even if the owner lives in the home. If passed, the Bedrooms Are For People ballot measure would update Boulder's arbitrary, archaic, and exclusionary occupancy limits by setting limits for unrelated people based on the number of bedrooms in a home. Reforming restrictive housing laws is urgent now because housing insecurity — the number of people spending more than 30% of their income on housing — is at crisis proportions.

Boulder needs more housing. Colorado housing prices rose by 20% in the past year, and Boulder's detached homes reached "a median price of $1,557,500, up 55.74% from the same period a year ago." Boulder's restrictive housing policies have caused this escalation in prices.- Fair housing laws are not the source of investment in housing, and we can't discriminate our way to inclusion. (https://dpo.st/38jx4wq, https://bit.ly/2WlZ8x5)

Boulder is lagging behind its peers in reversing the damage caused by exclusionary policies. Please vote Yes on 300 to increase our community's affordability, diversity, and resilience.

Elisabeth Patterson

Better Boulder

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Emily Reynolds: Bedrooms Are For People: Sardines, anyone?

Sardines, anyone?

Boulder has a housing demand problem. The Progressives and Chamber of Commerce claim it's a supply problem. But CU has long under-funded student housing, relying instead on the city to house their students. This has driven skyrocketing housing demand, decreased supply, increased housing costs, and displacement of middle-income residents.

At root is CU's continually increasing enrollment, without adequate CU housing. Between 2000 and 2019, CU increased enrollment by 9,493 students, while building student housing for only 2458:

2003—Bear Creek Apartments, 994

2011—Williams Village North, 500

2012—Kittredge Central, 264

2019—Williams Village East, 700

Hence, a deficit of 7,035 beds. Thus, students heavily compete with non-student renters for housing.

To understand this shortfall's scale, compare it to several neighborhoods: Martin Acres has 1,307 single-family houses with 4,315 bedrooms. Majestic Heights has 521 houses, with 1,811 bedrooms.

Thus, if all CU's unhoused students were housed in Boulder, it would require 1.6 Martin Acres or 3.9 Majestic Heights neighborhoods. Medium-density would require seven Bear Creek apartments. High-density would require twelve 15-story high-rise towers with 20 two-bedroom units per floor.

When CU unilaterally increases enrollment with minimal attempts to provide housing, the problem worsens. CU has no motivation to change. The CU South negotiations should've gained enrollment concessions, but didn't.

Measure 300 (Bedrooms) would be a huge gift to CU, allowing them to continue kicking the can down the road. Sam Weaver's and Mary Young's Oct. 9 editorial likened public policy to product development: When something goes wrong, you must identify the root cause and 300 does nothing to address housing imbalance causes. It only treats symptoms, like trying to fix a burst pipe with rags and bubble-gum, with devastating results for Boulder neighborhoods. I'm voting No on 300!

Find the publicly available URL source material for this letter at the No on Bedroom$ site: https://noonbedrooms.org/resources/

Emily Reynolds

Boulder

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Peter Ornstein: Tara Winer: Deep curiosity and love for public service

I believe Tara Winer would be an excellent choice for City Council. Tara enjoys working with people, listens to all points of view, and looks for realistic solutions to problems. She is passionate about what matters most in our city: safety, affordability, our environment, and our individual and community wellbeing. The first time I met Tara, she was seeking a way to get involved in fixing a problem with litter. Since then, she has stepped up to fix things by participating in a variety of boards and organizations. Her calm demeanor, even temperament, deep curiosity, love of public service, sense of self, as well as her sense of humor, make her a good choice for City Council.

Peter Ornstein

Boulder

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Alexandra Lynch: Lafayette: Yes of issue 2C

As a long time resident, former Mayor and member of Lafayette City Council, I urge Lafayette voters to vote YES on Lafayette Ballot Issue 2C, adding a .10% sales tax that will generate funds to support mental health and human services non-profits serving Lafayette.

This penny on a $10 purchase will provide much-needed funding that will fund organizations we count on in Lafayette, non-profits supporting kids, families, older adults, people with mental health or substance use issues, people who are other-abled, people experiencing domestic violence or child abuse — the list goes on and on. Our non-profits make Lafayette a safer, stronger, healthier community for us all!

The need for our mental health and human services non-profits is great in Lafayette. Even before COVID families in Lafayette were feeling the pressures of our rapidly increasing cost of living, and our local non-profits served hundreds of our friends, family members and neighbors with minimal financial support from the City. The City of Lafayette doesn't have a human services department or staff, and 2C will support our trusted non-profit heroes in Lafayette, at a time when they are experiencing unprecedented increases in requests for services.

I've lived in Lafayette for nearly 40 years, and I am proud of all the positive changes we have made, but one of the things I am most proud of about Lafayette is that we have stayed a true community, full of people who care. I am confident that this Lafayette, my Lafayette, will do the right thing and vote yes on Lafayette Ballot Issue 2C.

Alexandra Lynch

Lafayette City Council — 2011 — 2018

Mayor of Lafayette — 2019

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Caren Cohen: Ballot issues 2I and 2J: Not sexy, but important

As a long-time, downtown Boulder visitor and then dweller, I love the local Pearl Street Mall and surrounding areas. These areas need to be maintained, developed, and enhanced. It is in this spirit that I write today in support of the upcoming ballot issues 2-I and 2-J. I suspect that sales tax and bond issues might not seem immediately sexy as fellow readers fill out their ballots. And yet, they serve to make our home stronger and better in the years to come.

Ballot Issue 2-I asks Boulder voters whether the city wants to extend a sales and use tax that was first approved in 2014 and renewed (with 82% of the vote) in 2017. We are being asked to renew it again. The amount of the tax is .30% or 3 cents for every $10 purchase, and it is being paid by all buyers of Boulder products — both residents and visitors. This tax will help us to generate about $200 million over the next 15 years to pay for capital projects (including street maintenance, fire station replacements, recreation center renovations, etc.) as well as future capital needs that emerge.

Ballot Issue 2-J walks hand in hand with Ballot Issue 2-I. While 2-I asks voters to extend a sales and use tax to serve capital needs, 2-J asks voters if we can issue bonds (i.e., take on debt) to accelerate our capital projects and pay back that debt with the tax collected from 2-I. I think of 2-J as an enabling mechanism to complete projects faster, presumably at a lower cost (given the way construction costs continue to rise). Ultimately, it will help us keep up with our community's evolution and both resident and visitor needs.

Caren Cohen

Boulder

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Marcus Ogren: Slates: We need proportional representation

In the coming Council election, both the pro-density and slow-growth slates will inevitably see substantial support. What is not inevitable is that each faction will win so much as a single four-year seat. That's because of the winner-take-all nature of our Council elections — if one slate is supported by 51% of the electorate they can win every single seat to the exclusion of other factions. Two years ago, each of the candidates endorsed by PLAN-Boulder County received a vote on over 30% of ballots, but this wasn't enough for them to win any of the four-year terms.

What we need is a voting method that ensures proportional representation, which means having our city council reflect the diversity of the electorate in whichever ways the electorate considers important. Proportional representation ensures that a faction with the support of 30% of voters always wins at least one four-year seat. Two prominent ways of achieving this are proportional STAR voting (in which the voters score the candidates on a 0-5 scale) and proportional ranked-choice voting (in which voters rank the candidates from best to worst).

This year, we don't know which slate will come out on top and which will be at risk of getting shut out the way the slow-growth faction was two years ago. But the stakes shouldn't be this high, and every faction with significant support should be assured of at least some representation. Having the largest faction win the most seats is a proper reflection of the electorate. Having the largest faction win every seat is not.

Marcus Ogren

Boulder

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