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JANUARY 2021 ISSUE
Published on the first Monday of each month by Bob Yates, Boulder City Council
 
Subscribers this month: 6,134
  VIEWPOINT 

Debunking 10 myths on Boulder's camping ban
By Bob Yates
 
Being compassionate for those who are homeless is not mutually-exclusive with keeping our town safe and clean. We can do both. But, in doing so, we should separate the good work being done to help the homeless from the need to enforce our laws and maintain our community standards. 
 
In the past, I have written several articles in the Bulletin about how the city and its nonprofit service providers are addressing homelessness in Boulder. You can find a few of them
here and here and here. I support all of these efforts by the city and its partners to help unhoused people find stable housing and to get them the financial and health assistance they need. The city recently announced that, since Boulder’s revamped approach to homelessness began three years ago, more than 1,000 people in our community have exited homelessness. This is truly something to celebrate. 
 
But, this article is not about homelessness services. Rather, it is about laws that have been on the books in Boulder for many years and which many in our community do not feel are being adequately enforced these days: Boulder’s bans on camping in public spaces. 
 
Like many cities in the United States, Boulder prohibits camping in its parks, on Open Space, and along bike paths and creeks. In addition, it is illegal to be in a city park between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am. And, like many cities in the Mile High Flood District, Boulder prohibits setting up tents in the flood plain. Just two years ago, a transient woman camping along a creek in Lakewood was swept to her death when the waters rose suddenly. And, as Greg Harms, the director of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, observes, of the six homeless people who have died of exposure in Boulder in the last two years, five were “seasoned” campers who had camped in Boulder’s parks for a significant time, notwithstanding the availability of safe shelter. So, not only is camping in public spaces illegal, it can be deadly.
 
Over the last few months, city council and city staff have received emails from hundreds of residents expressing concern about what appears to be an increase in camping on Boulder’s public spaces. The advocacy group SAFER Boulder has delivered to the city a petition signed by more than 8,000 people, demanding that Boulder’s camping ban be enforced.
 
We could have a vigorous community debate about whether camping in Boulder’s parks and along bike paths and creeks should be illegal. Each community establishes its own values and norms for public behavior. There is probably widespread agreement that we don’t want people to...
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  OUR COMMUNITY 

It will come back
 
This is the sixth in a seven-part series on how Boulder city departments 
continue to provide services to the community during the coronavirus crisis.
Previous pieces were on
ParksTransportationArtsOpen Space, and Housing & Human Services
 
To get a sense of how intertwined the Boulder Public Library is with our community, it’s helpful to take a look at the pre-COVID numbers. The main library downtown and its four branches (Meadows, Reynolds, Carnegie, and the North Boulder hub) are custodians for 217,000 paper books and 58,000 e-books. In a town of 100,000 people, there are more than one million annual visits to the library. Nearly two million books are checked out and five million pages are viewed online. More than 4,000 events and programs welcome more than 100,000 kids, families, and seniors. And that was all in 2019 alone.  

Want to get a free copy of the New York Times bestseller? Go to the library. Want story time for a bored preschooler on a rainy Saturday morning? Go to the library. Want to learn how to cook? Go to the library. Want to research your family tree? Go to the library. Coffee with a friend, a discussion on racial equity, a tutorial on how to set up a nonprofit, a gallery displaying locally-created art, a workshop on how to build a birdhouse or a robot? All at the library. If Pearl Street is Boulder’s living room and our Open Space is Boulder’s backyard, the library is our family room: The place where you can settle in, kick off your shoes, and be yourself.
 
None of this happened by accident. Four decades of hard work by long-time director, Marcelee Gralapp—who recently passed away—doubled Boulder’s downtown library and created all of the branches we have today, launching scores of library and arts programs, and procuring tens of thousands of books along the way. 
 
Building on Marcelee’s legacy, we are blessed to have another visionary leading our library, director David Farnan. In his seven years with the Boulder library, David has
...
 Read more ☞
Recent Votes & Positions:

Online Petitions: At the December 15 meeting, I joined a unanimous council in approving the methods and rules for a first-in-the-country online ballot petition system.  What was I thinking ☞

Boulder Valley Comp Plan: At the December 15 meeting, I joined a unanimous council in approving amendments to the 2015 Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan.  What was I thinking ☞
In the News:

December 6: Boulder police continuing work on 'roadmap to reform'

December 8: Boulder Parks and Rec focusing on climate, equitable access in upcoming master plan update

December 11: City shares information on flood mitigation, transportation in CU South briefing

December 12: Housing and land-use policies come into question in Boulder City Council racial equity plan discussion

December 15: Boulder City Council agrees to Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan update

December 16: Online petitioning system gets nod from Boulder City Council


December 17: Boulder says 1,000 have been housed since 2017

December 23: Boulder adds 277 affordable units to housing stock in 2020

December 26: Guest opinion: Kurt Firnhaber: A milestone, with work ahead for homelessness services

City of Boulder Community Newsletter

December 2020 issue on moving forward after the Muni here
Find other recent past issues here
Next monthly issue February 1

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, January 5: Council Meeting  
Macy's re-development; flood mitigation

Tuesday, January 12: Study Session
Annual retreat preparation

Tuesday, January 19: Council Meeting 
Camping ban enforcement; CU COVID plans

Friday, January 22, 4:00-8:00
Saturday, January 23, 8:00-12:00

Annual retreat

Tuesday, January 26: Study Session
Eviction prevention; parking; Alpine-Balsam redevelopment

Tuesday, February 2: Council Meeting
COVID & vaccine update; site review criteria

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