County Commissioner Candidates
Elise Jones and Deb Gardner—Although we recognize that valid concerns have been raised about some of the County Commissioners’ decisions since the last election, we commend the incumbents Jones and Gardner for generally good management and policies, particularly in the human services area, as well as their work in leading the County’s recovery from the 2013 Flood. We hope that, if re-elected, they make substantive progress on a County-wide Eco-Pass in their next terms.
County Ballot Issues 1B, 1C and ID
Yes on 1B (authorization of a $30 million bond issue and renewal for 15 years of a 0.125% sales and use tax currently set to expire on December 31, 2015, for open space acquisition, maintenance and management)—Boulder County’s open space acquisitions program has not been completed and on-going funds are needed for maintenance and management. We are persuaded that this ballot issue would provide adequate revenues for those purposes.
Yes on 1C (renewal of a 0.125% sales and use tax for open space purposes currently set to expire on December 31, 2015, re-directed to fund sustainability infrastructure and programs, such as water conservation energy efficiency and renewable energy, and recycling and composting)—While the exact uses of this revenue stream have yet to be determined, the general purposes of the tax are worthy; and we trust that a fair, robust, and transparent public process will be used to allocate the proceeds.
Yes on 1D (extending the maximum allowable, consecutive terms–of four years each– of the Boulder District Attorney from three to four)—This measure would give the officeholder a better chance to recruit– and retain, if re-elected—the prosecutors and other staff members that he or she needs to operate the office. It would also bring the District Attorney’s Office into alignment with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, after Boulder County voters agreed in 2011 to allow the Sheriff to serve four consecutive terms.
City Ballot Issue
No on 302 (an amendment to the Boulder City Charter to impose a lifetime limit of three terms in office on Boulder City Council members)—This ballot issue seems to represent a solution in search of a problem. Although it purports to make Council membership more available to political newcomers by limiting the terms of incumbents, newcomers are already commonly elected to the Council, and very few incumbents have served beyond three terms, anyway. Term-limits in other legislative bodies end up reducing the collective experience of the legislators, making them more susceptible to the influence of lobbyists and special interests. The right way to limit the terms of Boulder City Council incumbents who have stayed too long is simply to vote them out—as happened as recently as 2015.
2016 ANNUAL DINNER
On September 23 PLAN-Boulder members, friends, and interested citizens turned out for a festive 2016 Annual Dinner at the Avalon Ballroom. A tasty meal was catered by Bridge House, and Bridge House executive director Isabelle McDevitt spoke to the group about that organization’s mission.
San Francisco community organizer and affordable housing activist Calvin Welch gave the principal speech. He analyzed the causes of the affordable housing crisis in the Bay Area and elsewhere and, marshalling an extensive array of facts and figures, presented a convincing case that in overheated housing markets, such as San Francisco and Boulder, creating more market-rate housing does not reduce housing prices. [See Blue Line article and video]
The Ricky Weiser Award was presented to Crystal Gray for her four decades of exemplary, volunteer service to the community and her passion for improving the environment, empowering neighborhoods, and promoting good land use planning.
The Jim Crain Award was presented to Karen Hollweg for her major contributions as a citizen to every OSMP department plan since the early 2000’s and for connecting conservationists, educators and scientists to one another to help preserve bio-diversity and native species. .
The 2016 PLAN-Boulder Annual Award went to Bee Safe Boulder for mobilizing neighborhoods in Boulder County since 2014 to protect bees and other pollinators.
At the business meeting, certain by-law amendments were approved and the following officers and Board members were elected for the next term:
Ray Bridge and Allyn Feinberg—co-chairs.
Pat Billig, Pia Gerstle, Paul Glasgow, Dick Harris, Sean Kendall, Leonard May, Peter Mayer, and John Spitzer—board members.
We regret to announce that Sarah McClain resigned from the Board in June due to the time pressures involved in raising two small children and operating her own consulting business. She presided over PLAN-Boulder as its co-chair for more than two years, and provided laudable service in many areas, including transmitting newsletters and maintaining the Website. We miss her presence on the Board.
PLAN-Boulder BOARD POSITIONS ON NON-BALLOT ISSUES
NTSA—In June the Board sent a statement to the City Council advocating that a bike trail to the Joder Ranch open space property be established on the east, rather than the west, side of US 36 in order to protect sensitive eco-systems . The Council subsequently decided to authorize the “North Sky Trail” to the west of the highway, anyway, promising that strict environmental standards will be enforced.
Proposed “co-op” ordinance—On behalf of the Board, co-chair Ray Bridge read a statement to the City Council at its October 4 meeting proposing that only three “equity co-ops” be authorized on a one-year pilot basis in low-density residential areas. Despite this message and testimony from many citizens opposing the current draft of the proposed “co-op” ordinance, the City Council indicated at its October 11 meeting that it remains determined to push ahead with an ordinance that would authorize up to 14 “equity” and “rental co-ops”a year in all residential zones, with a maximum occupancy of 12 unrelated people in a single dwelling unit.
Possible change in land use designation and annexation of the CU South property—At its October meeting the Board passed a motion opposing any change in the land use designation and the annexation of the CU South property until CU’s development plans for the area are publicly presented and have been fully examined in appropriate public processes.
Proposed 3303 Broadway (“People’s Clinic”) development—At its October meeting the Board also adopted a statement opposing the current plan for the development by an out- of-state company of the “People’s Clinic” site on north Broadway in part because it is too dense (50 units on 1.3 acres) and the planning process has yet to adequately consider neighborhood concerns.
On September 30, PLAN-Boulder held a forum for the four candidates for Boulder County Commissioner. View the forum here.
On October 7, PLAN-Boulder sponsored a debate on the merits of CityBallot Issue 302—term limits for City Council members. You can view the video of the debate here.