During a Pandemic, Direct Democracy Comes by Home Delivery
By Kriston Capps. Originally published in Bloomberg CityLab on July 20, 2020.
"This spring, the founders of the Boulder ballot initiative campaign Bedrooms Are for People wanted to drum up support for a measure that would amend the city charter and relax the rules around household occupancy in the Colorado city. Average rents in Boulder jumped 41% between 2011 and 2018, and some YIMBY advocates — those are adherents of the “Yes In My Backyard” movement — targeted a city rule that prevents more than three unrelated people from living together in the same house. The amended city charter would set the occupancy of homes at the number of bedrooms plus one. And as an amendment to the city charter, the rule would be part of Boulder’s constitution.
But Bedrooms Are for People hit a pandemic-related snag on March 24, when Boulder’s stay-at-home order went into effect. The campaign needed to gather thousands of signatures, in the face of motivated opposition, to get the initiative on the ballot in November. Even after a stay-at-home order lifted in early May, Covid-19 pretty much ruled out using the usual signature-gathering tactics of going door-to-door with a clipboard or soliciting supporters at public events."