On Monday, Boulder City Council will meet to decide whether Nablus, Palestine, will become Boulder's eighth sister city. Let's take a look at the future, and the benefits to Boulder in two scenarios: (a) City Council endorses the project, and (b) City Council fails to endorse the project.
City Council Endorses the Project
* Boulder has its eighth sister city. Like all projects, there is not unanimous agreement in the community on it, but the city is tolerant enough to handle differences of opinion.
* The city does not take a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Approving the project is a recognition that the project team has met the criteria of the City Council resolution governing sister cities, nothing more.
* As has happened with the four other Boulder sister cities that experienced opposition, those opposed to the project drop their opposition once the project becomes official. In some cases -- Dushanbe, for example -- those initially opposed benefit, along with the rest of the community, through the generosity of friends in Dushanbe.
* City Council maintains control over the actions of the project team through its annual review to determine compliance with the relevant City Council resolution .
* The city enjoys the vitality of a new sister city group. A new tile is laid in Sister City Plaza -- smiles and photo ops all around.
* Some of those opposed to the project decide to form a sister city relationship with an Israeli city. The Boulder-Nablus project team volunteers to share with them how to go about it.
City Council Fails to Endorse the Project
* The city takes a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That's the only way to oppose a plan that has operated not only within the criteria of the relevant City Council resolution, but within the spirit of it as well.
* The project team continues with its work as a friendship city, which is a sister city without official recognition. In terms of its functioning, this is no different than an official sister city.
* City Council loses control over the project through loss of oversight.
If my analysis is correct, these are the future scenarios facing us. The first scenario seems far more beneficial to our community. If you agree with that, come to the Boulder Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway, at 5 p.m. on Monday to see democracy in action. It should be quite a show!
Guy Benintendi is the Outreach Coordinator for the Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project.