Published in the Colorado Daily 11/93
AS THE MILLENNIUM TURNS by Evan Ravitz
"This election is nothing less than a battle for the soul
of Boulder."- Macon Cowles, lead environmental attorney
on the Exxon Valdez case, and 1993 Trial Lawyer of the Year.
The Image: The People's Republic of Boulder. A progressive, participatory government run by the pro-choice Mayor Leslie Durgin.
What's Under The Image: The Imperial City of Boulder. The City Council has recently denied the citizens a vote on three critical issues: limits on the NIST-NOAA federal expansion on South Broadway, a policy of no net loss of parking downtown, and Academy Development on University Hill. Many thousands signed petitions asking for these votes. Where are our choices, Madame Mayor?
Dr. Jekyll: The mayor a champion of free speech, suing the Bush administration to break the so called "gag rule" that prevented federally-funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with clients. True enough. Bravo.
Ms. Hyde: The mayor a silencer of speech she doesn't like. On 12/3/91 she stopped me from criticizing the City Attorney. On 3/6/93 she shut down Ruth Blackmore, who had asked shy persons who didn't want to speak but supported the general building Moratorium to stand. "I'm running this meeting, not you!" she yelled. On 3/20/93 she called her fellow Council members "pigheaded" and walked out on the meeting. On 5/4/93 she stopped Duncan Campbell from mentioning information in the public record connected with the Academy development. There are other incidents.
Only Mr. Campbell got an apology. At the last City Council meeting October 19th, when I reminded them of these incidents, the Mayor tried to weasel out of it by saying that she had only "interrupted" Campbell. But as the Daily Camera editorialized 5/7/93: "Surely the mayor and a few other members of the Boulder City Council don't believe that their offices entitle them to censor public participation in council meetings. Do they?" All these incidents are on videotape, and you can see them yourself at the Library (which takes patience) or call us. The Boulder ACLU changed its meeting dates so we can also attend City Council meetings where this danger to liberty exists.
I could go on about the image of Boulder as a cycling town, and the reality that it's three times as dangerous to ride here as is normal for similar-sized towns (Police statistics), about how so much of the alternate transportation money goes into advertising and promotion, paper and plastic, Go Boulder watches, desktop publishing classes, Bike Weeks, Pedestrian Conferences, subsidizing busses that are mostly empty and wasting diesel. etc., etc.
Richard Epstein, President of the Boulder Energy Conservation Center writes that Boulderites create 1 1/2 times as much garbage, own twice as many cars, and recycle less than average. The City spends enormous amounts on Public Relations to keep up the progressive image we deserved in the '70s. With the Mayor being a professional public relations person, a "spin doctor", truth in the whole town is twisted. Very '80s.
It's time we faced up to our failings and turned over a new leaf. As the widow of Dalton Trumbo said at the dedication of the CU fountain to her late husband and free speech: "The moral climate can be changed overnight." For Boulder that night is election night. Vote November 2, 7AM-7PM! Call elections at 441-3516 for your precinct location.
Macon Cowles and I and about 75 others are the Save Boulder Coalition. Save Boulder endorses candidates who: Vote the way they talk, Support free speech as a fundamental right, Don't do "done deals", Ask neighborhoods first, Enforce strict limits on growth, Hold CU and the Feds to the same planning criteria as private developers, etc. These candidates are Anne Fenerty, Bernie Wieder and Allyn Feinberg. I voted for Robert Temple Frost too.
Save Boulder endorses YES votes on Open Space (County question "A") and Voting by Phone (City question "D"), so dear to my heart. Phone voting is the tool for us to vote regularly on important issues, conveniently and inexpensively. Then the personalities of politicians won't matter so much. They will be public servants, not masters. So, one last time, make the effort!
And remember, until our elections are reformed, vote only for the candidates you really want. If you vote for 6 candidates to fill the 6 open seats, you risk having your last choices beat out your favorites.
Evan is the director of the Voting by Phone Foundation, the instigator of both the 13th Street Bike Path now nearing completion downtown and the Free Speech tables now allowed on the Mall, and the tightrope walker "Evan from Heaven". You can call him at 440-6838.