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The Republic of … nah

It is becoming increasingly difficult to count the ways that Boulder has changed. No, we’re not talking about development or traffic or population. Those are just outward appearances. We’re talking about the way that the old Republic of Boulder has given way to social conservatism.

In the 1960s and early ’70s, people actually were caught having sex on the courthouse lawn in the middle of the day. Pot was illegally sold up and down Pearl Street in plain sight of any and everyone. There was an old stump on the courthouse lawn where people stood and spoke on any subject of their choosing while other people actually stopped and listened. The Chicano movement, the Weathermen, American Indian Movement and Black Panthers were present here and active. “Hippy” was a positive term. The Colorado Daily wasn’t “Camera Light,” it was a feisty publication being tossed off campus for its radical political views. Students were running for City Council and words like rent control, union, toxics and equality were commonly used in conversations and political campaigns. That is how Boulder became known as the Republic of Boulder. It was a liberal badge of honor for a liberal community.

Flash forward nearly 50 years and you still hear the words Republic of Boulder being tossed around. But what do those words really mean today in a town that routinely assaults its homeless population with illegal laws aimed and enforced only against those least fortunate among us; a town that is consumed with trying to stop college students from being able to drink in bars on the Hill because they are too noisy and open too late; a town that thinks affordable housing is $2,000 a month for an apartment rental but then makes it illegal to share the space with enough folks to really make it affordable; a town that votes for fracking bans for itself and touts its commitment to fighting global warming only to turn around and vote for pretend Democrats committed to the oil and gas industry and overturning such bans; and a town that recently condemned a young woman who consults for the city because she used expletives in her five minute speech at Ignite Boulder. City Manager Jane Brautigan went so far as to put out a release saying the woman didn’t “represent the city’s values.” Kind of makes your skin crawl, right?

There are still remnants of the old Republic around to be sure, but we suspect that they, like us, no longer use the term to describe today’s Boulder out of respect for what the town once represented.

But who knows what the future holds, as long as there are elections there is hope.

The Republic is dead, long live the Republic.

Three cheers for Erie

From the day that Leon Wurl arrived in Erie with his trademark vision to build a roof top to roof top community as far as the eye could see, the town’s leaders have claimed they’ve been forced to say “yes” to every kind of expansion imaginable whether it be homes, oil and gas extraction, sludge spreading or dumps in order to pay down the debt created by Wurl’s vision.

Well folks, there is new leadership in Erie and the town’s trustees just said “no” to Front Range Landfill’s controversial proposal to build a liquid waste solidification operation at its Erie facility. Good on ya’ Erie. Here’s to hoping that the word “no” gets easier to say.