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OCTOBER 2020 ISSUE
Published on the first Monday of each month by Bob Yates, Boulder City Council
 
Subscribers this month: 5,473
  VIEWPOINT 

5 for 5
By Bob Yates

 
That’s right. I will be voting Yes on all five of the Boulder measures on this fall’s ballot. I wouldn’t presume to suggest how you might consider voting. But, enough people ask me each year how I’m voting that I’ve made it a practice every October to share my views. You’ll make up your own mind.
 
Below are my reasons for voting Yes on each of the five Boulder ballot measures, in the order they appear on the ballot. It’s going to be a long ballot this year, with some pretty important federal decisions, no fewer than 11 state measures, and then Boulder’s five measures near the bottom, as 2B through 2F. Regardless of how you decide, I encourage you to take the time and vote all the way down the ballot. It’s important for us to know how you feel about the five questions we’ve posed to the Boulder voters, affecting things as diverse as evictions, municipalization, the arts, and even how we will conduct future elections.
 
Finally, a word about how these five measures ended up on the Boulder portion of the ballot, and others did not. There are two ways for municipal questions to be placed on the ballot: By a majority vote of city council or by a petition signed by a statutorily-determined number of registered voters. This year, there were five sets of ballot petitions circulated; all but one came up short in the number of signatures required, and the one that had enough signatures had a legal issue that needed to be remedied. But, city council placed three of those five propositions on the ballot nonetheless, and the other two are being handled by council legislatively over the coming months. Two other ballot measures were added by council, making five in total. There was a lot of confusion this year about how many signatures are required to get a measure on the ballot, so we will be crystal clear about that for the 2021 petition cycle.
 
Here’s why I’m voting Yes on all five Boulder ballot measures:
 
Measure 2B

What it does: This proposition asks the voters whether there should be a $75-a-year tax on licensed rental units, with the proceeds used to prevent evictions and provide a lawyer for tenants who end up in eviction court. That tax would be imposed once a year on landlords, based on the number of licensed rental units they have in Boulder. It is probably fair to assume that many landlords will pass this tax on to their tenants in the form of higher rents (about $6.25 per month). If you are not a Boulder landlord or tenant, the tax does not affect you. The tax would generate about $2 million a year for eviction prevention and legal representation, to be administered by the city with the help of an advisory board consisting of tenants. 
 
Why I like it: 
When I was in law school, I volunteered for an organization that represented tenants facing eviction from their homes. I saw first-hand how... Read more ☞
  OUR COMMUNITY 

Open Space for the Soul
 
This is the third in a series of articles on how Boulder city departments 
continue to provide services to the community during the coronavirus crisis.
Previous pieces were on
Parks and Transportation

The late art instructor Bob Ross said, “I think that there is an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us.” Up until a few years ago, the city of Boulder didn’t expend a lot of resources to find that artist hidden in each of us, or even to support those who were already practicing art. Prior to 2016, the city’s funding for arts grants was a paltry $225,000 a year, far less than cities of our size, or even smaller. Boulder’s per capita municipal spending on arts was one-fifth of what each Loveland and Fort Collins invested in their communities. And while we had an Arts Commission, we didn’t have dedicated city staff to support them or a comprehensive master plan to guide them. 
All of that changed a few years ago. An intrepid group of community leaders joined the newly-created city Office of Arts+Culture to help write the city’s first arts and culture master plan. It was a diverse group, including the Arts Commission; leaders from major cultural institutions like BMoCA, the Dairy, Chautauqua, and the Museum of Boulder; the Boulder County Arts Alliance; the Chamber and the Convention and Visitors Bureau; the university; and individual artists and arts groups. Together, they created a 140-page Community Cultural Plan to serve as the city’s roadmap for support of arts and culture in Boulder. I am proud that the very first vote I took after being sworn in as a council member on November 17, 2015, was to approve the Community Cultural Plan. 

The person hired to implement that plan was Matt Chasansky, the new manager of the city’s Office of Arts+Culture. Matt came to Boulder after a tenure as the director of arts at the Denver International Airport. At the airport, Matt was involved with the installation of the Blue Mustang (love it or hate it) and those whimsical propellers in the train tunnel. Did you know that there are exactly 5,280 sets of propellers, with a total of 14,440 blades—equal to the height of Mt. Elbert in feet? Matt recalls, “I spent many nights trying to figure out how to keep those propellers spinning.”
 
Matt is understandably proud of the dramatic increase in Boulder’s support for culture and the arts under the 2015 Community Cultural Plan. Funding for arts grants alone has increased from $225,000 in 2015, to $675,000 by 2018, to $925,000 this year. This quadrupling of the budget has allowed the Arts Commission to make sustaining and operating grants to large, facilities-based organizations, like the Dairy, to festivals, like the Boulder International Film Festival, and to individual artists, like Laura Ann Samuelson, who is creating new ways to present performing art in a COVID-impaired world. 

Funding for culture and the arts is not just a nice-to-have. Matt observes that more than three percent of Boulder’s workforce is... 
Read more ☞
Recent Votes & Positions:

Occupancy Enforcement: At the September 15 city council meeting, I joined the council majority in declining a request that the city suspend enforcement of its long-standing residential occupancy limits.  What was I thinking ☞

E-Scooters: At the September 15 city council meeting, I was in the minority in opposing the introduction of rental e-scooters to Boulder.  What was I thinking ☞
In the News:

September 9: Boulder city staff members propose 'conservative' 2021 budget

September 15: Boulder City Council approves land annexation 

September 16: Boulder City Council votes down suspending occupancy limits

September 17: Boulder City Council approves e-scooter pilot program

September 22: Boulder City Council hears update on severe weather shelter plan

September 23:
Boulder City Council hears revisions to police oversight ordinance

City of Boulder Community Newsletter

September 2020 issue on Ranked-Choice Voting here
Find other recent past issues here
Next monthly issue November 2

Council Meetings & Study Sessions

Unless otherwise noted, all council meetings and study sessions and other meetings begin at 6:00 at City Council Chambers, second floor, 1777 Broadway. Information current as of first Monday of the month, but subject to change.
Confirm agendas 
here.

NOTE: UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING WILL BE CLOSED AND COUNCIL MEETINGS WILL BE BROADCAST ON CHANNEL 8 AND STREAMED AT CHANNEL 8 ONLINE.
 
Tuesday, October 6: Council Meeting 
Restaurants during COVID; 2021 city budget; state & federal policy agenda

Tuesday, October 13: Study Session
2021 election preparation; occupancy limits work plan

Tuesday, October 20: Council Meeting  
2021 city budget; Teahouse landmark designation; East Boulder sub-community plan

Tuesday, October 27: Study Session
Bike share; regulation of bikes on sidewalks & paths

Tuesday, November 3: No Council Meeting 
Election Day

Contact Bob 
Email: yatesb@bouldercolorado.gov
Voice Message: 720.310.5829
Office: 1777 Broadway, Boulder (email in advance for appointment)
 
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