In case you missed it | City website under the knife, finally

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City of Boulder officials recently announced that they are asking the community to weigh in on the design of the city’s new website. Turns out that the site, which is expected to launch in early 2013, will feature a new content management system, “an updated aesthetic and new functionality.”

New functionality? Meaning, like, it functions and you can find what you are looking for? What a novel idea.

Those who have attempted to find recordings of city council meeting minutes (hint: click on a Channel 8 link), search council members’ spotty financial disclosures or do a multi-part exposé on a certain city-owned butte on the east side of town can attest to the fact that the current site is, well, not exactly comprehensive.

You’d have better luck cruising down to the city records office in person and requesting what you want, and even then, what you’re looking for will be missing a significant portion of the time.

We’ve heard complaints about missing audio and video recordings of past meetings, broken links, the removal of files and renaming documents with titles unrelated to their content.

So this is, indeed, good news that the city website will undergo an overhaul. Those who want to weigh in on which of three designs to select can cast their vote through the end of the day Oct. 11, at

Looking at the options, it looks like the basic organizational layout is already done, and it’s just a question of how you want your buttons, colorful promotional photos of the Flatirons and fonts to look.

As a wise person once said, “Content is king.” What we’re more interested in is whether you can easily find public records you are looking for.

This better not just be a new coat of paint on a broken-down jalopy.


Oh, the irony. Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall, a Democrat, turning to a Republican secretary of state who has a sordid ethical history for guidance on election integrity.

Yes, folks, as you may remember, it is our very own Secretary of State Scott Gessler who has repeatedly come under fire for things like wanting to moonlight with his former election law firm just after being elected to the office that, um, oversees elections.

Closer to home, and before his SOS term, he was the attorney representing the right-wing group that sued the city of Longmont a few years ago over its campaign transparency regulations aimed at disclosing candidates’ donors. Gessler also represented Western Tradition Partnership, a conservative group that ran attack campaigns against Democrats and bankrolled dirty tactics in the 2009 Longmont City Council race between Katie Witt and Karen Benker.

So now Hall, who we honestly think means well, is in the middle of a spat with election activists over things like how those designated as “watchers” are permitted to monitor pre-election activities.

And it’s Gessler, who himself was targeted with a laundry list of complaints from the state’s clerks this week, who must offer direction and guidance to Hall.

What a sad state of affairs. Hopefully the presidential election doesn’t end up hinging on hanging chads in Colorado, because we could well become the laughingstock of the nation, or the subject of its ire.