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Encouraging civility in public comment

By Jane Hummer. Originally published on October 23 as part of an editorial from the Daily Camera's Community Editorial Board.


"The Boulder City Council complaining of incivility during public comment is like Donald Trump telling a reporter who is trying to hold him accountable that he or she has asked 'a nasty question.' Listening to constituents’ concerns and frustrations is part of the job. Elected officials work for the people, not the other way around, and when you don’t do your job well, sometimes your boss chews you out.


Many civically engaged Boulderites are unhappy with the city government right now, and for good reason. For a city that prides itself on progressive values, we are remarkably out of step with the rest of the country’s progressive movements...


...Democrats are fighting to preserve Americans’ right to vote, yet council members refused to support direct democracy by dragging their feet on an online petition system (something voters instructed them to implement two years ago) and then refusing to put the Bedrooms Are For People initiative on the ballot after heroic efforts to gather signatures during the pandemic.


The vitriol that occasionally bubbles up during public comment may appear as unjustified indecorum to those for whom the city government is working well, but to those who are living on the margins, to those whose lives and civil rights are threatened by actions taken by city employees, to those who have fought to make Boulder a better place only to be thwarted every step of the way by a government determined to protect Boulder’s landed gentry at the expense of all others, a few well-placed swear words seem entirely justified."


Read the full editorial on the Daily Camera.

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