Janet Lever: Marshall Fire: Boulder County must act proactively
How is Boulder County working to assist families of the Marshall Fire disaster with the exorbitant cost of building permits? The Daily Camera has clearly supported the motto: “One community; share the burden.” The Camera’s excellent reports and editorials have demonstrated a stand against windfalls in Boulder County budgets wherever the county stands to profit from the destruction of nearly 1,100 homes in the Marshall Fire. But to date, there has been little reporting about assisting victims with astronomical building permit fees that could make or break their budgets to rebuild with today’s grossly inflated construction costs. These fees, if collected, would create an ill-gotten windfall for the county.
Various sources tell us that approximately 91% of Marshall Fire victims are underinsured for the cost to rebuild their homes. My sister and brother-in-law lost everything in their Spanish Hills home and are among the overwhelming majority that is “under water” — and they have very good insurance. I understand that advocating for lower permitting fees is among the primary issues being addressed by the volunteer committee for Unincorporated Boulder County.
The rebate of user fees in Superior County provides an excellent model that could also help Boulder victims if permit fees cannot be reduced or waived. Boulder County could act proactively and be a hero to the victims. Waiting just adds to the impediments and invites protests at the downtown County Courthouse on Pearl Street, where the building commissioners meet. The likely media attention would bring shame to your wonderful community for not acting quickly while families are trying to make the critical decision as to whether they can afford to rebuild or not.
Janet Lever, Los Angeles, CA
Waylon Lewis: Downtown: More can be done to make Mall a destination
We all want a downtown that is accessible, popular, fun, relaxing, shaded, and financially and environmentally sustainable.
The Mall is packed. Last weekend I foolishly tried to walk through with my bike. Packed. A lot of conservative retailers were apparently (understandably, then, 50 years ago!) against the Mall when they removed car access there.
West Pearl could be that packed, and without cars, and with trees and seating and water elements and play areas for kids.
It’s sad our city is not thinking boldly through this to both help its bottom line and help Boulder’s liveability. We have the chance to have the best of all worlds: benches, trees for shade (hard to hang out on blacktop in sun with no shade) that make it cooler for the elderly and children. Add a jungle gym, add a play fountain for kiddies, add activities (CU Band, yoga, whatever in that big intersection on Pearl and 10th), add clear access for emergency vehicles and those with disabilities as they’ve solved on the Mall and in 100s of other closed car spaces around the U.S., let alone the world (they’ve done it in Miami). Execute. Make change happen, make it awesome and fun. We can do that. As of now all they really did was close the street and stick some tents on it. Good start, but you have to go all the way to make this really rock.
Instead, as Boulder gets hotter and hotter, we’re prioritizing 63 parking spots when we have two parking garages close by.
Build it, and they will come. Make it easy to bike or walk or bus or Uber or taxi down. Make buses free that we control. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Boulder — literally. Speak up!
Waylon Lewis, Boulder
Wendy Kinal: Election: Junie Joseph cares for all members of our community
I am thrilled that I will be able to vote for Junie Joseph to represent Colorado House District 10. She is dedicated to bringing more diverse voices to our state government and making sure that people from all economic classes are represented in policy decisions.
Colorado has already seen the effects of climate change. I know that Junie Joseph will support policies that ensure that we take the steps necessary to mitigate its damaging effects so that we can all continue to enjoy the beauty of this state that we call home.
I worry about the direction many places in the country have taken with regard to our reproductive rights. With her in office, I know she will continue to guard these rights and help create equitable access to healthcare for all to the best of her ability.
Junie Joseph cares about all of the members of our community, and it shows in the work she has done as a member of the City Council in Boulder. I know she will continue this work as she represents HD 10.
Wendy Kinal, Boulder