Letters 10/28/21

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Take a “LEAP” forward for our Latino children

Latino children continue to suffer the academic brunt of this ongoing pandemic. As a former K-12 Educator, I am particularly dismayed at the lack of resources and support for BIPOC students across Colorado. 

This pandemic has laid bare the stark educational inequities and disparities between students of color and their white counterparts. For Latino students, the pandemic has laid a heavier, negative thumb on the socioeconomic playing field that a good education almost always levels.

New 2019-2020 standardized testing results from the Colorado Department of Education showed white students outperformed Hispanic and Black students in math and language arts by more than 30 percentage points. These are core subjects essential to every child’s foundational education.

During the past 18 months, my organization has distributed over $2.1 million to approximately 2,100 families across the Front Range who cannot access public benefits. Not one of these families spent their dollars on educational support for their children. These dollars went to housing, food, clothing, healthcare, and other more pressing needs.

It is now, with a special sense of urgency we can create a new normal as educational resources dwindled during the pandemic and the opportunity gap continued to widen for our students. 

Prop 119, otherwise known as the Learning Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP), will help our kids ‘catch up’ from pandemic-fueled learning loss by providing financial aid so that families can afford after-school learning support such as internet, technology, tutoring.

Prop 119 helps take cost out of the picture by providing $1,500 in annual financial aid per student for out-of-school support, with priority given to those low- and moderate-income families.

Prop 119 is a first-of-its-kind measure that has been developed by education experts from across the state to help our students. It will increase equity and flexibility to help close the learning gaps so that students—particularly those of color and those living in poverty—can advance their learning.

Our Latino community has been hit hard by the pandemic, now is the time to make a positive educational impact that will help our kids, our families, and our future leaders succeed.

Join me and dozens of other supporters of the bipartisan proposition in voting YES on Prop 119.

Rudy Gonzales is the Executive Director at Servicios de La Raza, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing and advocating for culturally responsive, essential human services and opportunities

CU South is the most important measure on the ballot

The most important measure on the Boulder November ballot is 302, which concerns CU South. 302 contains two provisions. First, it requires that any agreement about CU South be submitted to the voters for approval or rejection. Second, it requires that any CU provide specific information about how it will use CU South and that flood mitigation work begin prior to any construction. Contrary to scare-mongering, the passage of 302 would not delay work on flood mitigation.

The actions of the Boulder City Council regarding CU South have been disappointing, to say the least. The council disregarded the vital distinction between who negotiates and who evaluates an agreement. Two council members helped negotiate the agreement and then voted to approve it. The council also disregarded the recommendations of both the City Planning Board and the Open Space Trustees. Even more egregious, the City Council evaded a citizen’s initiative with 4,500 signatures by approving a flawed agreement with CU in an inappropriate emergency session. This is a serious violation of democratic procedure entirely unexpected in Boulder politics.

The agreement with CU approved by the City Council is deficient in many ways. It provides inadequate flood protection. It drastically erodes the character of south Boulder. It would create enormous traffic problems. It destroys a scenic and valuable wetland. A far better agreement regarding the expansion of CU is possible. 

Anyone who cares about democratic procedure, environmental rationality, and the viability of the Boulder community will vote in favor of 302.

Tom Mayer/Boulder

Reasons to vote no on Bedrooms

I am voting no on Bedrooms Are For People for many reasons:

Equality of outcome is not a right: 

In life, there are winners and losers in every situation. When it comes to housing, the people who got there first are the winners. They get to take the land for less cost, develop with less restriction, and set the rules. It sucks when you are the loser, but things not going the way you like them to is not justification for changing the rules. Generally, what people do when faced with rents higher than they are willing or able to pay is to move somewhere more affordable.

Overcrowded neighborhoods = less happy residents: 

The more people you pack in, the lower the happiness of every resident (data here).

BafP would provide only temporary relief to renters at the cost of forever destroying our city. Density in SFH neighbourhoods would double or even triple. Our quality of life would be irreparably harmed. While developers get rich, the residents watch the city devolve. Parking, traffic, and small business closures will turn this wonderful city into a zoo. 

Long term rents will continue to increase because demand will never decrease: 

Boulder is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the US, the mountains are not going anywhere, and CU will continue to grow. Demand to live here is not going away. When we use up all the new bedrooms created under BafP, the new renters will be in the same situation they are now.

Incentivising the family unit is a good thing: 

Our society has long promoted the family as the core social unit through both practice and law. We do this because families make babies which become citizens that participate in our community and economy. Babies born into a home with married parents have drastically better outcomes as members of society than those born into homes with one parent. That is not a dis on people born to single family homes. It’s just the data

Closing thought: 

‘Equity’ is the new code for equality of outcome despite an inequality of effort, ability, luck, timing, etc. I believe strongly in anti-discrimination and equality of opportunity. Equality of outcome, however, is just a way for people to point fingers at someone else instead of taking responsibility for themselves and changing their circumstances.

Lee Buttrill / Boulder

Boulder needs occupancy limits

Long-time residents founded the University Hill Neighborhood League (now known as the University Hill Neighborhood Association) in 1972 to confront the problem of single family residences being converted into profit-making rental properties. 

After a year-long organizing effort by neighbors, the City Council in 1973 unanimously approved down-zoning a large part of the University Hill area from Medium Density Residential (MRE) to Low Density Residential (LR-1 ).

The zoning changes have slowed but not stopped the continuing conversion of family residences into profit-making rentals. This is due in large part because occupancy requirements have proven to be almost completely unenforceable for several reasons.

Measure 300 on your current ballot would radically discard these occupancy limits. Euphemistically named “Bedrooms are for People,” it is rather an unlimited windfall measure in all Boulder neighborhoods that will accelerate profit-making rental conversions. That’s why many people who have carefully researched Measure 300 refer to it as “Bedrooms Are For Profit.”

Imagine your town if it abandons zoning on occupancy in this manner: what happens to the very idea of “Family Resident”—home and “Neighbor”-hood in contrast to Pure Rental-Zone?

Among many negative consequences, rental zones that typically cater to young, college-age persons erode the viability of walk-to neighborhood schools. Instead, they produce a new problem of diminishing enrollment in K-12 schools, with the resultant school demolition, consolidation and more bussing.

What has taken generations to build can be destroyed much more quickly.

Everyone should vote in this election on this momentous decision,

Rolf and Silvia Kjolseth/Boulder