What Safer Boulder wants
My family recently moved to Boulder with our now seven-month-old daughter. In the 1980s I lived here for several years at 4th and Pearl and loved the community and its spectacular natural parks and public spaces. When I returned to Boulder, a brief walk down the Boulder Creek path started to bring up memories of why I left the San Francisco Bay Area and decided never to move to either Los Angeles, Portland, or Seattle. Boulder had become overtaken by “homeless encampments.” Boulder Creek looked more like a slum than a beautiful walking path. Crime and break-ins at local restaurants and homes were at an all-time high; and so were acts of violence against city residents from individuals brandishing knives and machetes while strung out on meth and other drugs.
Shay Castle’s Twitter feed and article in Boulder Weekly, “Who is Safer Boulder? How a shadowy group became a powerful force in Boulder politics,” try to infer some nefarious intent by a group of local Boulder residents who all have children and are concerned about the crime and drug abuse in our city. We are also concerned about the environmental hazards being visited upon our community by a group of individuals who refuse to partake of the services provided by local homeless shelters. Is it wrong for us to suggest that parents should not have to walk down the Boulder Creek path in fear of being accosted by individuals who are completely spaced-out on drugs? Is it wrong of us to be concerned that up until the Boulder Police Department cleared the encampment under the Boulder Library that thousands of drug syringes (YES THOUSANDS!) were littering our parks within feet of children’s playgrounds?
During a presentation this April by Director of Boulder County Parks and Recreation Ali Rhodes and Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold to the Boulder City Council, they showed photos of the hundreds of stolen bicycles and propane tanks and thousands of drug needles that the Boulder Police and Parks Department employees had to clear from these encampments. They spoke of how these efforts were taking a great toll on our city and county employees, as well as presenting both health and wildfire risks. The very diverse Boulder City Council unanimously then voted to support the Boulder Camping Ban as a result of these facts and presentations. Is it wrong for people who share the same desire of most residents to enjoy Boulder’s natural beauty by wading in or tubing in Boulder Creek without the fear of it being used as a mass toilet by the encampments along the way? If Shay’s concerns are sincere for the “displaced” she must also share concern for the law-abiding citizens that want to preserve their environment and public spaces.
I have no doubt that both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans all share a common love for their children and concern for their safety. This is one issue on which we can, and should, unite as a community. So who is “Safer Boulder”? Well, we will tell you: many Boulder families who just want a safer place to live for our neighbors and our children. So why does Shay Castle want to demonize us, including Boulder City Council candidate and father Steven Rosenblum? Some people have even taken up creating false websites attributing quotes to Steve that he has never made. Has the new narrative of the far left become so perverse that we can now demonize families that simply want to take action to protect their children? We all have a responsibility to help our fellow residents who have fallen on hard times with true needs. Many of the people who support Safer Boulder have made donations to the Boulder Homeless Shelter, including myself. But the people we are seeing on our streets and public parks refuse to partake of our community shelters and support because they are committed to continuing their drug use, polluting our environment, and committing crimes against our citizens. Those who have chosen to champion the cause of lawbreakers do not have the right to deprive the vast majority of citizens of their rights to live in a clean, healthy and safe community.