Letters & corrections 9/30/21

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Corrections:

Annexed by emergency vote,” published on 9/9/21, contained the following errors: Councilwoman Mirabai Nagle’s last name was misspelled; two councilmembers were recused and one was absent at the meeting where the annexation agreement was discussed point-by-point; and the Charter Section referred to by Mayor Sam Weaver was Section 50, Emergency measures subject to referendum. Boulder Weekly regrets the errors.

Bedrooms initiative is an amazing step

I’m a Boulder homeowner and I support a yes vote on Ballot Question 300, Bedrooms Are For People. Ending Boulder’s outdated, discriminatory occupancy laws will cost the city nothing, does not require new development, and will decriminalize what’s already happening across the city. Boulder has an ongoing legacy of exclusionary housing, through zoning and restrictive ordinances, and we can see the residual impacts of that in our community today: school enrollment is on the decline; Boulder’s population hovers at around 88% white, which is NOT reflective of the county, the state, or the country’s ethnic diversity; and according to a 2014 study on intercounty commute patterns, greater than half of Boulder County’s low-income workers drive into the county to work.

As to school enrollment: families need to be able to envision building a life here and raising their kids here.

As to our demographics: Black, indigenous, and people of color need to feel that they are welcome here, that there is space for them. 

And as to our forced commuting patterns: workers should have an option to live where they work, especially if we are going to continue being a jobs center. On that note, even as this summer’s horrible, cloudy, hazy fire days recede, we’ll still be dealing with terrible air quality because of those forced commuting patterns and ozone.

I’m not suggesting that the Bedrooms Are For People measure will solve all of these deeply ingrained issues, but it’s going to help. It’ll do that by giving people more options and more flexibility than they have right now by decriminalizing something that should never have been prosecutable. That’s an amazing step for Boulder, for equity, and, frankly, for property rights. Vote yes on Ballot Question 300, Bedrooms Are For People.

Katie Farnan/Boulder

Bedrooms are for profit

Draconian. My pulse quickened; my stomach soured. This sounds bad; we must do something . . . action is required.

Continuing to read the recent Guest Opinion (“Reforming city limits,” Boulder Weekly, 9/9/21) on the topic of Bedrooms are for People (BAFP), I learn of owners who can afford to live in Boulder because they rent out rooms. I learn of warm, deep and enduring relationships that have been built between owners and renters. I re-read the Opinion several times, seeking, yet failing, to find the draconian part. If anything, this Opinion is a testament to how the current regulations support Boulder’s rental market. Since it is, by testimony of this Opinion, working and seemingly well, why does BAFP propose an increase occupancy limits? 

Perhaps an answer to that question is something else I learned from this Opinion. I learn that rental properties are priced “per bedroom”.  That means the more bedrooms, the more a landlord can charge. Current regulations cap the occupancy at 3 or 4 renters, depending on the zoning.  By increasing limits, BAFP gives landlords what they want—higher occupancy limits equals more tenants and more tenants equals more income. Huzzah, great news if you’re a landlord!  With higher income potential, investors can easily outbid families for properties.  Project forward a few years and it’s easy to see that more families will be living in another zip code. But there’s a silver lining . . . there will be fewer families to file those annoying noise, trash, and conduct complaints. Party on!

Voters need not fall for BAFP’s false claims. Nor should they fold when BAFP’s dog whistle of heartless treatment of renters is hurled.  Look beyond the headline; consider the (intended or unintended) consequences. We can work together to make a more affordable and inclusive Boulder while rebuilding our neighborhoods. The journey begins with BAFP’s defeat.

Stuart Walker/Boulder

Back off boosters!

The standard operating procedure of the medical establishment in the U.S. has been to ignore the poor, half-ass and ho-hum, the middle class, and fall over itself to over-serve the rich. I’d hoped the COVID vaccines would escape this pattern.

Alas! It’s not to be. Here we are, not a year out from when the first doses not given in clinical trials were released, and we’re chittering about “boosters.” When I was a child, there was a rule at the table that no one got seconds until all who wanted food got firsts. The same should apply here. 

Not only does having nations left behind allow more variants of COVID to thrive (and possibly beat the vaccine), over-vaccinating can cause its own problems. Between the “if some is good, more must be better” mentality, and the grout-counting, profit-dancing, buck-sucking, I wonder that the medical establishment can “lish” its “estabs”!

The manufacturers know that the U.S. pays more for meds than any other country, except maybe Israel. A “booster” in the arm of a U.S. citizen racks up more bottom-line fat than any shots in Canada or Europe, what to speak of, say, Nicaragua, Nepal, or Nigeria. Pocket first, even in a pandemic. Shameful!

Lora Hansen-Beard/Boulder

Airplane noise! 

We’ve lived in Boulder for 30 years and I don’t recall it ever being this bad. We understand that Boulder Municipal and Rocky Mountain Metro in Broomfield have grown exponentially in recent years with flight school students practicing takeoffs and landings all day between the two airports. Most of them fly low and some even below the FAA guideline of 1,000 feet. Many of the planes are not transiting. They circle overhead numerous times. Glider planes being towed, circle several times before releasing. And other sources of recreational airplane traffic circling our skies all day have made Boulder unlivable for us now. We are leaving! I cannot believe the governing authorities along with our politicians have allowed the quality of life in Boulder to be degraded like this. There is a Facebook group Quiet Skies Boulder that charts the amount of air traffic in our area and it’s astounding. One person charted 4,600 planes flying over her home in one month. That’s 150 per day! We have come to realize that the handful of people with lots of money who own planes have priority over over the 360.000 residents of Boulder County. Their pleasure supersedes our peace and quiet. Adios Boulder, we are heading to Crestone.

David Segal/Boulder