Livable Boulder Steering Committee would like to publicly thank all our volunteers and supporters for all of their hard work on ballot initiatives 300 (Neighborhoods’ Right to Vote) and 301 (Development Shall Pay Its Own Way). They poured their hearts and souls into this effort, and that is no exaggeration. What started out as a small group of concerned citizens sitting around a dining room table discussing Boulder’s future, grew into a concentrated effort to write ballot initiatives that addressed the development concerns that the residents of our city faced. From there, it ballooned into a small army of around 90 petition gatherers who walked Boulder’s neighborhoods and stood in the parking lots of its shopping centers and libraries to get the signatures required to get on the ballot. New volunteers continued to join us as the campaign unfolded up to the very end. We continually invigorated each other with our unshakable belief in what we were doing, and not a single one of us did it for any financial gain whatsoever.
This is a battle for the future of the city we love, a battle to determine which vision should be handed down to future generations. Our opponents believe that Boulder should be a much denser city, with maxed-out, 55-foot-tall buildings everywhere in our commercial districts subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Eventually, the neighborhoods will be presented with a fait accompli and high-density buildings will be imposed on them as well, as is currently happening in Denver and Seattle. Their allies in this battle are the developers and corporations who benefit from the construction of these buildings, which is why these groups have donated so much money to One Boulder’s campaign. Our opponents have worked very hard on behalf of their vision for Boulder, and for that they deserve credit.
But their vision for our future is vastly different than the vision of Livable Boulder. We don’t believe that Boulder should be looked at as a place where making money is the most important thing, but instead a place where the quality of life for all of its residents remains the primary focus. Making money will always be necessary in our society, but when development degrades our way of life to the point where our city is filled with traffic congestion and pollution, views of the mountains are blotted out by concrete buildings, and resources are taxed beyond their carrying capacity, then it’s time for the citizens to step forward and say enough.
Both of my children have lived in, and moved from San Francisco. The same battle is going on there. People with high-paying jobs are arriving in San Francisco and forcing people out who have lived there for decades. Long-time residents can’t compete for housing with these high-paid employees. We all know that the same thing is happening and will continue to happen in Boulder, as our skyrocketing house prices and rents show. Livable Boulder would like to ask its citizens if that is the future that they want? Because make no mistake about it, if 300 and 301 do not pass, that is where we are headed. Expensive apartments and condominiums will continue to sprout up everywhere. Fifty-five-foot-tall, mixed-use office buildings will continue to replace all of the low-density shopping areas in Boulder. Middle-income people will continue to leave Boulder. There’s just too much money to be made for the situation to be otherwise.
Livable Boulder’s ballot initiatives are the next logical step after the Blue Line, Height Limits, Open Space and the Danish Plan for managed growth. We share the same vision for Boulder that those visionaries did. Our vision is one in which neighborhoods have a say in what happens in their future, not having that future imposed on them by a city council aligned with development interests. Our vision is one in which our quality of life will not be degraded by development, instead ensuring that development is done in a responsible and conscious manner. Our vision is one in which housing will be affordable to all income levels, not just to the very rich. It’s the vision that started many months ago around that dining room table, and it is a vision we want to hand down to future generations. We ask you to join us in that vision and vote yes for 300 and 301.
Allyn Feinberg is a member of the Livable Boulder steering committee.