Published in the Colorado Daily, March 10, 1995
AS THE MILLENNIUM TURNS by Evan Ravitz
(Still 5 years ahead of its time)
Boulder's City government is making an all-out assault on our
physical and social environment, before they lose control at this
November's election. My top 10 examples:
*Dumping "biosolids" (sewage sludge, including heavy metals) in the Gunbarrel area, just outside City limits, so neighbors can't vote against or recall the perpetrators. Instead, residents will almost certainly file suit, which will cost all of us. This is just the most literal sludge being shoved down people's throats.
*Pushing for putting the new Lakewood Pipeline in the most environmentally damaging location possible, right in the canyon of North Boulder Creek. This means ripping out 5 miles of streambed and huge trees, and the building of roads into this remote area to bring in heavy equipment. Generations will be deprived of one of the most beautiful areas in the County, including Dream Canyon, which will be a nightmare. They claim this will be less expensive than building it along Sugarloaf Road, or on the rolling land between. Sure, and their Denver counterparts said DIA would only cost $1.3 billion (it's up to almost $5 billion).
*Forcing a mega-Safeway (three times larger than the presently-zoned size limit) down the throat of North Boulder, after wasting a year of the residents' time going thru the pseudo-democratic North Boulder Subcommunity Planning Process. The development also violates the desires of the community as expressed in the City's vaunted $50,000 Integrated Planning Project, and will bring heavy traffic and pollution to a formerly relaxed part of town.
*"Fast-tracking" (what used to be called railroading) the Women of the West Museum (and 78 luxury homes) for the Flatirons Paving Company property in extreme South Boulder, instead of even pretending to go through another Subcommunity Process. This development would also preclude connecting Foothills Parkway to State Highway 93 (to Golden), which might be necessary in order to alleviate increasing regional traffic on Table Mesa Drive. [Citizens let by Slow Growth! candidate Ruth Blackmore have put the brakes on this train.]
*A slew of anti-bicyclist policies and practices ranging from targeting cyclists (and pedestrians) for traffic enforcement- 97% of the tickets in one crackdown according to the 4/27/93 Camera- to the building of medians, neckdowns, roundabouts and other concrete chicanery which violate professional standards for street widths on cycling routes, and force cyclists into the path of cars. The net result is that cycling, which increased rapidly from 9.8% of trips to 12.7% from '90 to '92, by last September decreased to 12.0%. This decrease accounts for more than half the increase in busing, from 2.1% in '92 to 3.3% by September. Transportation Division favors busing because it is far more administration-intensive than cycling. [And especially, money-intensive.]
*On upper University Hill, the City gave the go-ahead to CU for the Academy development, with triple the density allowed to anyone else under existing zoning. The neighbors have filed suit.
[The suit is now on appeal to the CO Supreme Court]
*The students of both CU and Boulder High at public forums clearly expressed their overwhelming desire to get cars off just the 2 main blocks of the University Hill shopping district. Instead the City seems to be siding with a few merchants, working on a prettification design which would keep cars everywhere. Until the students protested, the City planned to hold the City Council public hearing in summer, after most students leave! [They've spent over $40,000 on a 99-page "Sketch Plan" that gives cars better access where they're not wanted, and offers only prettification for the $3 million price tag, which students specifically said wouldn't be worth the trouble.]
*Again serving a few merchants the City this summer adopted a "zero tolerance" policy against young and homeless people, resulting in police violently arresting kids for giving away food and seizing the belongings of the homeless. Street closures and protests resulted, along with the promise of a ballot initiative drive to force a civilian Police Review Board. Council also banned all amplified music from the Mall- no more classical guitar or sitar; lots more drummers and bagpipers, whose volume can't be turned down. [After taking a problem cop off the Mall, confrontations on th Mall are down, but problems remain on University Hill.]
*In spite of attendees at a 2/28/94 Open House voting 54.3% for affordable housing and `mixed use' for the 9th and Canyon site (7.7% for a hotel), and IPP and Municipal Finance Strategy Committee surveys showing a hotel and conference center are citizens' lowest priorities, Council has held out for a hotel, which will draw in more outside traffic. The Mapleton Hill neighborhood is thinking of forcing a citizen initiative to put it to a vote. [The initiative never materialized, but voters should note that incumbent (and longest-playing) councilman Spenser Havlick is the prime mover, the the Council's representative on the Boulder Urban Renewal Authority -BURA.]
*Ignoring Whittier residents' pleas, the City approved the tripling of the size of the Rio Grande restaurant and bar, without any new parking, which has overwhelmed the area. 11 neighbors have filed suit.
When City Manager Tim Honey arrived in '91, at his first public meeting I displayed the signatures of 4000 people whose desire for freedom for Pearl St. Mall entertainers had been thwarted, as were the wishes of 3000 who wanted the mall extended onto 13th St. I asked why we didn't let the people vote on what they wanted the city to do. He said he'd institute a citizens' affairs office instead. The results are clear. Mr. Honey has imported lots of new planners and transportation "experts" to thwart the citizens.
The City Council lacks the guts to fire Honey and his bunch, in spite of his repeated lying to them (and us), most notably about a non-existent scientific justification for the proposed NOAA building being 900 feet long and blocking the view of Enchanted Mesa from Broadway. This November 7th five of the nine Council members are up for re-election. Register now to vote for a better Council. It takes only 5 minutes at the County Courthouse on the Pearl Street Mall. No ID is necessary. Save Boulder or Pave Boulder? It's your call. [YOU CAN REGISTER TO VOTE BY OCTOBER 10 BY MAIL! CALL 441-3516 TO HAVE A REGISTRATION FORM SENT TO YOU.]
Evan was voted "Best Activist" by the readers of
the Boulder Daily Camera in 1992 for his work on
Voting by Phone
and the 13th St. Bike Path. He performs on the tightrope summer
evenings on the Pearl St. Mall as Evan from Heaven. Reach him
at 440-6838 or firstname.lastname@example.org