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Letters to the editor: Boulder must not limit voter access; flooding protection necessary today; GOP must work for common good; libraries could charge for cards

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Katie Farnan: Election: Boulder must not limit voter access

As we collectively witness the Supreme Court’s rollback on core protections: abortion, Miranda rights, gun violence prevention, voting and the evaporating line between church and state, it’s important also to look locally and get a lay of the shifting land here in Boulder.

Turns out, a small group of folks in Boulder would like to keep voter access limited by opposing efforts to move local elections to even years, when 40% more Boulder voters participate.

But how, you ask? Every registered voter gets a ballot for every election, right? That means it must be “personal choice” in terms of who chooses not to vote, right? Opponents like Bob Yates have even publicly asserted that supporters of moving local elections to even years are after “quantity over quality” of votes. This concept of “quality” votes has been a standard GOP talking point, and Councilmember Yates should define what he means by it.

The truth is: odd-year elections happen under the radar of the average community member’s purview, especially if that person is busy working to make ends meet, struggling with structural barriers caused by racism, or has moved recently.

Add to that, there is no nationwide Get Out The Vote drive for odd-year elections. Media coverage on local elections lives mostly locked behind paywalls, due to continued divestment in local news. And local candidates can’t ride the larger wave of excitement for bigger races up the ballot. When local elections are held in even years, the data shows that more people participate all the way through the ballot, and more votes are cast on local issues, too. Who decides what a “quality” vote is, anyway? In reality, local opposition to increasing voter turnout via even-year elections isn’t far removed at all from the GOP’s decades-long push to suppress the vote.

Katie Farnan, Boulder


Chris Lessard: CU South: Boulder is no more protected than it was in 2013

Flood protection is essential to the safety and well-being of Boulder residents — and is not a new problem. In fact, the 2013 Colorado floods spanned over 4,500 square miles, resulting in 9 fatalities and $715 million in property damages.

Narrow canyons and steep mountains direct water into heavily populated residential areas of west and north Denver. With dangerous and unpredictable heavy rainfall, it’s no shock that Boulder holds the highest rate of flash flooding than anywhere else in the entire state because of its unique geographical location.

We’ve already seen severe flash flood warnings this year, and we can expect to experience more in the future. Right now, we’re not any more protected from South Boulder Creek flooding than we were prior to the catastrophic flooding in 2013. Boulder is already pushing its luck and there is no benefit to further delaying something that inevitably needs to happen to guarantee Boulder residents’ safety and protection.

We need to get Boulder flood protection in place, and CU South is able to provide a solution with their transfer to the city of 80 acres for use for flood mitigation. The city’s South Boulder Creek mitigation plan will ensure flood protection for 2,300 West Valley residents, many of whom experienced severe flooding in the 2013 floods.

It’s time to take action and have our voices heard. I encourage you to vote no on the initiative to overturn the annexation.

Chris Lessard, Boulder


Madelyn Wynne: Library district: Charging for cards could fund libraries

A more fair way to fund the Boulder Public Library system would be with a charge for an annual library card.

Of course, there would need to be exceptions for lower-income patrons. Colorado Library Law CRS 24-90-101 et seq. from 2016 states that all Colorado Libraries should be free. But this law goes on to allow property tax assessments in its financial section, 24-90-106-3. It appears to me that after this was passed the committee in Boulder got to work to dream up this Library District because they knew they could propose a special property tax. How is this free?

Bldg. 61 duplicates what our VoTech on East Arapahoe exists for, and in my opinion isn’t really what a library is about. Too many similar non-library projects have been added that have caused part of the budget problems. Yes, personnel have been cut, but much more automation has been added to our BPL system in the past few years also.

Adding full collections to Gunbarrel, Niwot (which is currently serviced by Longmont’s library) and Eldorado Springs is a very expensive proposition. If only 1/3 of the non-Boulder users reside in the proposed cities, it appears Boulder city property owners are being asked to fund the expansion outside of Boulder.

I will be voting no for the library district. Our city budget should find a way to adequately fund our city library and figure out an equitable way to get pro-rated funding from the areas outside of Boulder.

Madelyn Wynne, Boulder

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