Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thoughts on #300 and #301

by Osman Parvez
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In recent years, I've tried to avoid political commentary on this blog but the incredible volume of misinformation that has been spread on ballot #300 and #301 and the importance of these initiatives warrants a response.   

A few weeks ago, organizers and their opponents gave my local Rotary club a short - and very respectful - live debate over these issues. It was very educational. Here are my conclusions. 


I'm voting YES #300.   

The 10% and then 50% threshold is a reasonable mechanism for citizens to weigh-in on a planning process that has disenfranchised the very people who have to live with high density, out of character, out of scale projects in neighborhoods that were never intended for such uses.   If the project is such a great idea, it shouldn't be an impossible threshold for 50% of a neighborhood to agree to it.   

Remember, it's not all projects. It's only the ones that require a zoning change. The idea that it will freeze in amber all development is misinformation spread by people with a vested interest in these large scale projects. #300 will trigger a neighborhood vote only for projects which require a zoning change, and for which 10% or more of the neighborhood organize and object. The voting threshold is 50%, not 10%.  

There are no perfectly crafted pieces of legislation. This one is good enough. If voters want to tweak the thresholds to 20% and 60% down the line, I'm fine with that too. It's time for disenfranchised citizens to have some claw-back over a planning process that appears to be largely out of control. 

Here's the slide deck for #300. It's a very detailed presentation which answers many questions.   




I'm voting NO on #301

This initiative is too vague. It would stop development until the city's hoard of over paid consultants (and eventually the courts) weigh in on the specific fees. That will take a very long time and frankly, it appears to be the real intent. #301 is a wolfy zero growth initiative hiding in sheep clothing.    

I agree with all the ways that proponents say growth impacts quality of life in Boulder but higher fees are not a solution. The only thing that would solve increasing congestion is zero growth and we lack the honesty and political will to slam the doors shut and admit that Boulder is fully built-out.  We also can't stop CU from expanding and it has huge plans to continue doing so into the foreseeable future.

If citizens want zero growth, put it on the ballot. #301 is a dishonest, end-run with the same goals in mind.   

I'm calling ballot #301 what it really is; a bad piece of legislation with a hidden agenda. I'm voting no. I'm not in favor of zero growth. I'm for smarter growth. 

Here's the proponents slide deck on #301.



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