Denali Hussin: Bedrooms: Opposition stokes fear
By Denali Hussin. Also published a s a letter to the editor in the Daily Camera on October 22, 2021.
"It’s striking to read the letters sent in by those in opposition to ballot measure 300, Bedrooms Are for People, and to see how intensely fear-based they are.
I’ve read letters where people raise fears of loud house parties (students always have and will live in Boulder, a college town. The people impacted by Boulder’s current rules are working professionals, folks on fixed income, and families as much as students). They recount how their neighbors have crazily subdivided homes that pack dozens into squalor (spoilers: this is illegal now and will remain illegal even if this reform passes).
Reading these letters makes me realize that it’s easier to react with fear than to accept that our norm is systemically wrong.
Boulder’s current occupancy laws are exclusionary, make housing inaccessible and overpriced, and force out longtime members of our community. They disproportionately impact people of color, working class folks, and anyone who doesn’t meet a heteronormative definition of family. Updating these laws to improve access, decrease commuter traffic and pollution, and increase equity is hardly setting anarchy loose in our neighborhoods. What it will do is help ensure that Boulder will not become a town where only the wealthy can afford to live and where only the privileged can dictate what they want their neighborhoods to look like. 300 is not about transforming Boulder into something worse than it is; it’s about allowing Boulder to hold onto what makes it great – the people who live in it – and shedding regressive and restrictive laws that enforce homogeneity and inequity.
Our city is our community, and bedrooms are for people."