Letters 1/7: On affordable housing

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More context needed on housing issue

In reading this week’s guest column in the Boulder Weekly (Re: “Welcoming more racial diversity through affordable housing,” Dec. 24, 2020), the author seems to be seeing the world through a special lens. Through that lens he is trying to create a narrative that connects the dots between Boulder in the 1800s, the 1920s, to the Greenbelt amendment of the 1960s, all the way to today’s lack of affordable housing in Boulder.

In the author’s narrative there are a couple of data points missing, though. For example, with the opening of NIST in the 1950s, NCAR in the 1960s, as well as large IBM and Ball Aerospace facilities, the Boulder citizens voting for the Greenbelt amendment were not Native American killers and KKK members, as the author suggests, but rather university professors, peace-loving hippies as well as scientists and engineers who had come to Boulder from all over the country and all over the world. In many of the places where all these people came from, urban sprawl had destroyed the natural environment. It was in the spirit of preventing that from happening in their newfound home here in Boulder that they voted for the Greenbelt amendment. 

The other motives that the author is suggesting in his article are simply not based on fact.

Michael Klein/Boulder

More on housing

Regarding the Guest Column, “Welcoming more racial diversity through affordable housing,” I have a few wonders. I wonder what it will take to stop traditionally equating “minorities” with “low income” and needing “affordable housing”? I wonder how we would ensure a racially diverse population will inhabit any additional housing, and that it will actually be “affordable” wherever it is built? I see a lot of residential homes, townhouses, apartments, condos, hotels, etc. being built in Boulder now on land where previous structures have been razed. Why aren’t these places affordable? Rent control and accessory dwelling units are good ideas, and if only we could regulate the greed of landlords and realtors. I also wonder if a solution to absolving Boulder’s racist history, and inviting racial diversity, is really to cover more of the stolen Ute (Arapaho and Cheyenne) land with structures and parking lots (building on Greenbelt or Open Space), or to block the sacred mountain view with taller buildings (exceeding Boulder’s height limit)? I wonder if the Greenbelt was not, as suggested, established to restrict minority and low income residents, but was to simply protect wildlife and prevent the out-of-control, and unsustainable, urban sprawl we are seeing in Colorado now?  

R. Lawrence/Boulder