Correction of 8/11/2013 City Council Candidate Article
August 11, 2013
In Sunday’s story on the city council race, Erica Metzger wrote, “(Byrne) said he strongly supports the city’s pursuit of a municipal utility.” Well, not exactly. If forced to choose between the City’s proposed charter amendment and the one from muni opponents, I support the City’s because it allows the staff’s analysis to be completed. When all the facts are in, I want Boulder’s citizens to have one last chance to vote on whether to proceed. That day is years and a few off ramps away. Both of these competing ballot issues are premature, but we may have to vote on them anyway. More’s the pity.
It’s too soon to know whether municipalization is the right answer for Boulder. If the goal is, as it should be, decarbonization of our fuel supply, a hybrid public/private partnership enabling customer choice in a more flexible regulatory environment is the best solution. Some who have wrestled with Xcel concerning this possibility for many years have given up on Xcel. Others have not. I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet. I don’t think Xcel’s last, best offer is on the table, and I’ve seen some promising alternatives.
As I’ve written several times before, I’d rather spend hundreds of millions of dollars on rooftop solar, wind, tighter buildings, better windows and insulation, and reconfiguration of our land use patterns to support walkable neighborhoods and provide housing units for some of our 55,000 in-commuters (the largest contributors to Boulder’s carbon footprint). People need to be able to work, shop and play closer to where they sleep. When we can do that more easily, sustainable lifestyles and a resilient economy become possible. Until then, we can keep rowing, but we’re being swept downstream with everyone else.