Boulder Must Choose To Squelch Or To Embrace New Voices in Public Discourse

For background on this letter to Boulder’s city council and planning boards, please read from Erica Meltzer in the Daily Camera:

“Profane speech at Ignite Boulder lands city consultant in hot water”

The Housing Boulder Process Subcommittee will meet tomorrow to decide how to proceed with the controversy.
*** Update 5/26: Per Erica Meltzer, this topic will not be on the agenda for tomorrow.

If you can attend in person, the meeting information is here:

Wednesday, May 27, from 12 to 1 p.m.
Municipal Building, 1777 West Conference Room (first floor), 1777 Broadway

If you can e-mail on this subject:

Or e-mail all of the city council and planning board members:

Boulder Housing Process Subcommittee:

City Council Members: Lisa Morzel, Andrew Shoemaker, Mary Young
Planning Board Members: Crystal Gray, Leonard May

I ask for the city to reinstate Becky Boone and continue the Code For America contract.

Verbatim from the City of Boulder web site announcing the Code For America partnership:

“This new initiative will harness the entrepreneurial spirit of the Boulder community to develop new approaches and tools that support more inclusive, transparent, collaborative, and interactive community engagement.”

The seven-month project began in January 2015 and will create a variety of ways for community members, particularly underrepresented groups/individuals, to work cooperatively together to address important issues.”

Two important lines from the CFA partnership:

1. To develop new approaches and tools

Becky’s engagement at Ignite Boulder shows an innovative public way to engage existing groups in Boulder that are not traditionally involved in local policy. Her approach used in the talk spoke to young people in the language that would promote reaction and they would understand.

2. [Engage] particularly underrepresented groups/individuals

As the city’s data show, the current processes the city employs on housing particularly under-represent young people and renters. Becky’s target audience at the Ignite Boulder event worked to complement her other approaches like the housing subcommittees and City of Boulder meetings which over-represent homeowners and older demographics.

Councilwoman Mary Young believes that Becky’s work has not maintained a neutral appearance. I reject this notion. The nature of employing any non-traditional methods easily attracts criticism from establishment groups as unfair and biased — but Becky called for action to participate while not taking a viewpoint on the matters themselves.

What was the purpose of the city partnering with Code For America if your intent was to exactly maintain the status quo? Or are you satisfied with only the illusion that you attempted to engage young people and renters, even though the existing methods have not succeeded?

A removal of Becky Boone and end to the Code For America contract will not only declare failure to engage un-engaged people: it will declare that you never desired real change to happen at all.

A new movement in Boulder is growing as we speak. I ask you to listen to these voices who’ve been inspired by Becky’s work, many of whom are participating for the first time, and continue this conversation.

Eric Budd
3025 Broadway St. #38
Boulder, CO 80304

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