Following outcry from the community, Boulder City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a statement denouncing the comparison of the city’s lethal prairie dog mitigation tactics to the Holocaust that was made in an anonymous postcard sent to councilmembers.
“That comparison was unacceptable and harmful as are any and all endorsements of the views stated in that postcard. We explicitly reject false equivalencies that compare the Holocaust, the largest recorded genocide in modern human history, to other historical or current events,” Councilmember Rachel Friend said on Tuesday, reading the statement in the meeting.
“Importantly, the reflexive use of such harmful comparisons degrades the significance and power of never forgetting,” she added. “We have a collective duty to remember.”
The postcard includes a photo of members of the Boulder City Council sitting in council chambers with the caption “The Boulder C.C. “Nazis” deciding the Fate of the Native Prairie Dogs.” It lists the Council’s agenda item as “humane gassing” and then poses the question: “Isn’t that what the German Nazis called it when they did it to the Jews?”
Councilmember Mirabai Nagle, who frequently calls on the city to use only nonlethal forms of prairie dog management, is pictured with a halo above her head.
Nagle discussed the postcard with Councilmember Mark Wallach prior to the point when last week’s City Council meeting began recording. Wallach expressed anger about the message, while Nagle said she understood the comparison. Both Wallach and Nagle identify as Jewish.
The postcard and subsequent exchange between Nagle and Wallach drew ire from the community, with the mountain states region of the Anti-Defamation League and the Rose Community Foundation releasing statements. This led to Council’s decision to draft its own statement condemning the message.
Nagle, who said she did not receive the postcard herself, apologized on Tuesday for the comments she made last week and to anyone who may have been hurt by the exchange.
“This incomplete conversation, which has now been quoted all over the media, in no way represents my full views on this situation,” she said.
When reached via email last week, Nagle was not interested in speaking on the record other than to reiterate she is Jewish.
“I had no intention to minimize the immense human suffering that resulted from the murders perpetrated during the Holocaust. I regret that my statements caused pain to those listening and to those who read incomplete accounts of them and I am sorry,” Nagle said.
Council scheduled an additional 10-minute discussion of its statement at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, in which Nagle expanded on her perspective and shared her lifelong passion for animals and the environment.
“The bottom line is: Do you value human lives over animal lives? Or do you value all lives equally?” she said. “I believe that all life is precious. How we treat the small and innocent translates to how we treat each other.”