Published on the first Monday of each month by Bob Yates, Boulder City Council

Defund or Define
By Bob Yates

I once worked for a tough boss who would periodically remind me: Efforts are appreciated, but results are rewarded. That may sound harsh, but when you are accountable to someone else, whether company shareholders or community members, it’s what you actually deliver that really matters. This will be particularly true of any reforms of the Boulder Police Department in light of recent events. Expectations of the roles and authority of police have shifted nationally and locally. Our community wants us to not only talk about change, but to actually make it.

Over the past month, in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police officers, the Boulder City Council has received thousands of emails demanding that our own police department be “defunded.” While the vast majority of those emails have come from outside Boulder—from places as diverse as Longmont, Los Angeles, and London—enough have been sent by Boulder residents that we must give these sentiments serious consideration. The demands range from a financial examination of the size of the police department budget, to the partial defunding of the police department, to the complete abolishment of any police or law enforcement services in our community. 
I don’t believe that there is a desire by a majority of Boulder residents to entirely eliminate our police department. But, recent events have prompted a dispassionate evaluation of what we ask our police to do and whether there are better ways to provide some of those services. As my colleague Adam Swetlik observed at a recent city council meeting, we were well-positioned for this community discussion, independent of the Minneapolis incident. That preparation has its origins in a confrontation in March 2019 between an African-American Naropa student and a white Boulder police officer. While the student was not arrested, an investigation determined that the officer violated police department rules, the officer resigned, and a settlement payment was made to the Naropa student.

That March 2019 incident prompted city council to appoint a civilian task force which, in turn, recommended the hiring of an independent, civilian...
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Bands Above
the Bricks

If this were a typical summer, many of us would be spending Wednesday evenings grooving to some tunes on the Pearl Street bricks in front of the Courthouse, enjoying the annual Bands on the Bricks music series. There’d be margaritas from T/ACO and beer from West Flanders in the 21+ alcohol corral. Oldies would be belted out from the stage by cover bands like The Champions and That Eighties Band. There’d be amateur—but enthusiastic—dancing by seniors and toddlers in front of the stage, and gravity-defying break dancing by young people behind the stage. You’d run into a lot of people you know. 
That’s not happening in the summer of 2020. We’re hunkered down in our homes, wondering how long this disruption will last. It hasn’t even been four months and already it feels like four years, with no end in sight. So, even the slightest semblance of normalcy is welcomed and embraced. In an effort to mimic normalcy, the Downtown Boulder Foundation will present Bands on the Bricks in an abbreviated summer schedule this year, with one little change in respect of public health orders: The bands will play above the bricks. 
Since we can’t gather in large groups, the bands will be playing on a roof on top of an undisclosed downtown building, with the music streamed to your computer or home sound system. The first show will be presented on Wednesday, July 15, at 7:00, featuring The Long Run, a local Eagles tribute band. They’ll be followed on successive Wednesday evenings by blues-rock band Foxfeather (July 22) and the ever-popular Hazel Miller & The Collective (July 29), with the series closing on August 5 with 80s cover band The Champions. More information about the line-up can be found

Anna Salim, vice president of Events & Membership for Downtown Boulder, explains how she skinnied down a typical 10-band summer series to four bands for this year’s virtual presentation: “We’ve been presenting Bands on the Bricks since 1997. This is our 24th season. Every single season since the beginning, Hazel Miller has performed for us. We just had to have her back. The other three bands have been consistently among our most popular for Bands on the Bricks in the past. There is diversity in the line-up, with something for everybody.”

Anna realizes that the virtual presentation of Bands Above the Bricks won’t have exactly the vibe of thousands of people dancing and singing together in one place on the Mall. “In a normal summer, we use music to bring people physically together. But, in light of the pandemic, that doesn’t make sense this year,” Anna explains. “But we can still bring people together virtually, allowing them to enjoy the same musical experience at the same time, even if they’re not all in the same place.”

She’s coy about where the bands will actually perform, in part to...
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Recent Votes & Positions:

South Boulder Creek Flood Mitigation: At the June 16 meeting, I joined a unanimous council in approving the design for South Boulder Creek flood mitigation facilities, which will help protect 3,500 downstream residents.  What was I thinking ☞
In the News:

June 1: Boulder announces layoffs for city staffers, extended furloughs as coronavirus fallout keeps striking

June 2: Boulder chief, City Council urge and pledge more local police reform as protests continue rocking the country 

June 3: City, Out Boulder County celebrate Pride this month

June 5: Boulder's long-sought gondola elicits giggles and groans, but study shows it's seriously doable

June 7: Boulder Council moves forward new land use requests with Gunbarrel a focus of controversy

June 9: Police Chief: Some current Boulder departments policies 'fall short' as officials press for, promise reform

June 11: Boulder City Council moving forward with $34.6M in supplemental allocations

June 13: In pursuing balanced budget amid cash crunch, soloed spending limits Boulder's options

June 17: South Boulder Creek flood mitigation moves forward, but hurdles remain

June 19: In Xcel negotiations, city seeks more control of power grid

June 29: PLAN Boulder County seeks ballot measure to define CU South annexation
City of Boulder Community Newsletter

4,891 people subscribe to the Boulder Bulletin. Find recent past issues here.

Next monthly issue August 3

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 

Tuesday, July 7: Council Meeting 
COVID briefing; hemp licensing; dockless bike share; Xcel negotiations

Tuesday, July 14: Study Session 
Financial update; homelessness strategy

Tuesday, July 21: Council Meeting 
Ballot measures; East Boulder subcommunity plan

Tuesday, July 28: Special Council Meeting 
Spine Road concept plan; Xcel negotiations

Tuesday, August 4: Council Meeting 
COVID briefing; land use code changes; senior employee evaluations

Contact Bob 
Voice Message: 720.310.5829
Office: 1777 Broadway, Boulder (email in advance for appointment)
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