Boulder Deputy Mayor Ken Wilson raised some good suggestions this week in his memo to fellow city council members in response to the March 18 shooting death on the Hill.
For instance, reviewing the effects of recent police department budget cuts seems reasonable.
But in some ways, Wilson seems to be using this tragedy as an excuse to pursue his own agenda as a Hill resident. Charging fees to bars and restaurants that stay open past 11 p.m., to fund additional police officers needed in the area during the wee hours?
Come on. It’s a bit of a stretch to say that this shooting would have been prevented if only we had more cops standing outside bars and restaurants at closing time. This attempted robbery/homicide happened at 10th and Pennsylvania, not in front of a bar, and it is still not clear what factor alcohol played in the incident, much less where that alcohol was consumed. To suggest that bars and restaurants should be assessed a special police fee because some unstable, troubled kid thought it would be a good idea to rob someone at gunpoint and then pulled the trigger while standing several blocks away from their businesses is a reach.
If, indeed, alcohol contributed to this incident, why punish cash-strapped bars and restaurants alone? Why not punish liquor stores, too, if you’re going down that road? And why punish businesses? Why not hold people responsible for their own behavior?
And we understand that Wilson wants to have his neighborhood look nice, so he’s also taking this opportunity to call for bringing back Hill cleanups. What the hell does litter have to do with the shooting death?
Here’s his explanation, from his memo: “While violence can happen anywhere in a city, there is good evidence from studies in other cities that violence is more likely in neighborhoods where properties are run down and streets and yards are littered and unkempt.”
Tell that to JonBenét Ramsey.
Cleaning up neighborhoods is fine and all, but council members should weed out the Wilson ideas that are not relevant to the incident at hand and not let him use this as an excuse to push through changes that only serve his own agenda, which seems to be taking “university” out of University Hill.
God-apalooza goes to Larimer County
This summer, some 50,000 Christians will not be rocking out to Christian music at Longmont’s Union Reservoir. The news is making some locals say, “Thank God!”
Last year, the reservoir was the site of Heaven Fest, a one-day Christian music festival that Longmont officials hoped would bring as much as $700,000 into city coffers. Indeed, some area hotels and restaurants benefited from the influx of visitors. Despite dire predictions that festival goers would trash the sensitive landscape near Union Reservoir, leaving garbage and
harassing wildlife, the organization that sponsored the event used an army of volunteers to pick up trash over a period of days, leaving the area cleaner than they’d found it.
So they didn’t trash the place. And they brought revenue to local businesses.
Why, then, are some people smirking over the fact that Heaven Fest has chosen to rock out in Larimer County instead of Longmont? It can’t be an aversion to money, so it must be the Christian nature of the event.
Yes, having a “baptismal area” at a rock concert can seem a bit bizarre if you don’t swing on the evangelical side of things. But there’s more to respect about an organization that cleans up after itself than there is in the blatant bigotry of those who talk trash about the event simply because it’s Christian.