What will happen to Boulder’s 2020 citizen initiatives?
First a pandemic threatens signature-gathering, then City officials deliver wrong information
By Emma Athena. Originally published in the Boulder Weekly on July 30, 2020.
"The steed of Susan B. Anthony’s democracy was a steel single-speed. For Chelsea Castellano, it’s an e-bike. One Monday in June, she pedals around South Boulder with a colorful 'Vote! Vote! Vote!' mask strapped across her face. She’s making three stops today, her first destination a quiet house on Toedtli Drive. She steps off the bike, throws out her kickstand, and draws supplies from her pannier bag: a clipboard, hand sanitizer and pens.
She rings the doorbell and takes four steps back. A young guy opens the door, curls his mask around his ears and steps outside. Castellano waves, announcing she’s there to deliver the petitions he’d “ordered” online.
She offers him hand sanitizer, then the clipboard and pen. She’s part of the 'Bedrooms Are For People' (BAFP) campaign petitioning to amend Boulder’s charter to change the City’s home occupancy limits. Also stacked on the clipboard is information about another charter amendment campaign, 'Our Mayor Our Choice' (OMOC), proposing to give constituents the ability to directly elect the mayor. Both are citizen initiatives, where the power of signatures cannot be understated. If the campaigns can gather enough signatures, their initiatives will be guaranteed a spot on the November ballot. If a majority of citizens then vote for the proposed changes, they will alter the City’s charter through direct democracy."