Today I was in the middle of writing my thoughts about the importance of this year’s Boulder city council elections. It feels like there is a tipping point about to occur and things could go one way or another. As I started to write I received this wonderful email that reflects my feelings, as well. Instead of writing my own letter I asked my friend if I could reprint her's here. She agreed.
This election is important. Please share. And, more importantly, please vote.
As many of you know, I have been paying close attention to our local city politics in the last few years and every two years I send around my city council election recommendations to friends and colleagues who I think may be interested in the research I've done. After all, it is very hard to really know who the candidates are from their campaign literature, as it all tends to look the same. Add to that that they're all liberal environmentalists (even if they all didn't get the nod from the Sierra Club) and it makes it difficult for the average person to know who would truly represent them.
I am particularly concerned about the council election this year because of a couple of things. First off, three of our progressive yet moderate city council members are retiring – Suzy Ageton, KC Becker and Ken Wilson. We should really think about how we can attain a balance of viewpoints on council when we cast our votes. If we elect more of the same kinds of people that are already on council then we risk losing the diversity that a vibrant, evolving city needs. There was a great editorial in the Sunday newspaper that tells it better than I can: http://www.dailycamera.com/columnists/ci_24340303/laughery-diversify-boulder-city-council?IADID=Search-www.dailycamera.com-www.dailycamera.com
Secondly, remember that all the big decisions about access in Open Space come down to city council. The people we elect for our next city council will be taking up some potentially hot button Open Space issues such as modifying the popular Voice & Sight green tag program, evaluating an on-trail only travel requirement and a night-time curfew, as well as considering our Open Space land's "visitor and resource carrying capacity". These were directives given to OSMP by the current city council that haven't yet been tackled. That's why it's so important that we vote for candidates that will thoughtfully weigh these decisions, balancing natural resource protection and recreational access using sound science, by really listening to community input and then applying common sense and good judgement in their decisions.
Personally, I think it's time for new ideas and open-minded people on council who understand that Boulder’s future is more than the sum of our past accomplishments. We can't freeze our town in the past, we need to evolve to be a vibrant and brilliant community, to truly be that mecca for smart entrepreneurial people who work hard and play hard. I believe it's up to us to shape the future of Boulder by voting for the change we want to see; by voting for a city council that is reflective of this generation of Boulder citizens - a Boulder City Council that looks like us - we're environmentalists, we're for renewable energy, green building and zero-waste, we're employees, we're business owners, we're parents, we're climbers, hikers, bikers, runners, we're dog owners, we're average people who live in Boulder for the outdoor lifestyle it affords, which is largely about Open Space and our access to nature and the outdoors.
With all that said, here are my parameters for selecting city council members – we need common sense and a real-world, pragmatic approach on city council and above all, we need to be sure that the people we vote for are open-minded, independent and really willing to listen to all of the citizens in Boulder – not just the loud and vocal minority who have the free time to show up at every city council meeting and every single OSBT or Planning board meeting. That's why I'm supporting these two candidates for the upcoming election and I urge you to vote for them as well:
VOTE FOR ANDREW SHOEMAKER
Andrew is smart, and he has attracted support from all corners of the Boulder political spectrum – from former Governor Bill Ritter and former County Commissioner/former Mayor Will Toor to Community Cycles Advocacy Director Sue Prant and Boulder Trail Runner Buzz Burrell. These are not folks that always agree, but they all agree that Andrew is a good choice for council, and I agree with them. He is a lawyer, and despite all of the lawyer jokes, I have found lawyers to be incredibly effective because they listen to all arguments and judge them based on their merit. Andrew also has a young family and will bring the perspective of parents raising a young kids to council. Despite his busy schedule as a lawyer, Andrew made a tremendous personal commitment of time (over 500 volunteer hours) to bring the USA Pro Cycling Challenge to Boulder in 2012. For those of you who were not around, this was much more than a pro cycling race – it was a community social event on par with the Bolder Boulder and the Boulder Creek Festival. In the Blue-line questionnaire, he was only one of two candidates who said that supports the Flagstaff finish of the Pro Cycle Challenge for the future. He is also endorsed by FIDOS as a dog-friendly candidate.
VOTE FOR ED BYRNE
Ed is also smart, and has attracted the wide diversity of support that you see with Andrew. He has an open-mindedness and depth of experience to represent all of Boulder, and not just a small subset. Ed was on the editorial board of the Daily Camera for 7 years, so you can search for his opinions on a number of issues. Ed also is an attorney and land use consultant with over 30 years in Boulder. Suffice it to say that Ed has a vision for Boulder’s future that I think will keep our community vibrant, that will attract and retain innovative businesses whose owners and employees share our social and environmental values. He thinks we could be more progressive in how we shape our urban landscape by creating sub-communities of attractive and affordable housing for young professionals and families, as well as older people who want more walkable neighborhoods and safer biking paths, while maintaining our beautiful traditional neighborhoods. In the Blue-line questionnaire, he was the only other candidate who said that he supports the Flagstaff finish of the Pro Cycle Challenge for the future. He is also endorsed by FIDOS as a dog-friendly candidate.
VOTE FOR NO ONE ELSE
While technically you are allowed to vote for 5 candidates, if you vote for others, you will reduce the chances of these two will get elected. This is because your 5th ‘meh’ vote for a candidate is considered just as important as your ‘hell yeah!’ first vote. When all the votes are totaled, your ‘meh’ candidate may very well kick your ‘hell yeah!’ candidate out of the running. In my opinion all of the other candidates have either already served enough time on Boulder city council and need to make room for fresh ideas or they are not experienced and qualified enough to run our city or they are “bought and paid for” by the very people that I think don’t listen to people like you and me.
If what I've said here resonates with you, please forward it to your friends, family and colleagues. This is how we can change our city – by word of mouth.