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Ballot initiatives: Let people have their say

By Kurt Nordback. Also published as a "Letter to the Editor" in the Daily Camera on July 28, 2020.


In failing to back up the city’s own words, Boulder City Council last week displayed a shocking disregard for the democratic process and basic fairness.


Two ballot initiatives, “Bedrooms Are For People” and “Our Mayor – Our Choice,” have followed the city’s election guidelines in good faith. In changing the interpretation of conflicting laws, the council moved the goalposts to qualify for November’s ballot and even, in the case of BAFP, declared the game over in the middle of the fourth quarter.


To add insult to injury, one council member disingenuously said that the initiatives should have consulted legal counsel before starting the petition process, and yet the eight or so lawyers in the (virtual) room themselves couldn’t agree on the right way to resolve fundamentally contradictory legal requirements.


By all rights, the city should have simply stuck to its words for this election and ensured that this ambiguity is cleared up before the next election cycle. Instead, the result will be a costly legal battle, with Boulder in the position of defending a largely indefensible violation of democratic norms.


The council majority won’t protect democracy and housing justice, but you can. Please join me in supporting “Bedrooms Are For People.”


— Kurt Nordback

Boulder

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