November 3, 2012
Tuesday’s Daily Camera cartoon, in which “Frankenstorm” welcomed the candidates to “our presidential debate on science and global warming,” nailed the haunting lack of any mention of climate change during the three other debates. New York’s Governor Cuomo noted with irony that the new normal includes 100-year storms every two years. Nobody’s laughing.
Continue reading Frankenstorm? Meet Climate Change Deniers
September 29, 2012
Don’t boo. VOTE! Negative ads are meant to “disgust,” not persuade. They engender a sort of “pox on both their houses” attitude that doesn’t harm the ad sponsors. Negative ads are paid for by supporters of one candidate, not to get you to vote for them,- but to keep you from voting for their opponent.
Continue reading Byrne on Negative Ads
August 25, 2012
Alcohol is a social lubricant. It also kills indiscriminately. The way young people “learn” how to drink could not be more poorly designed. High schoolers learn from their college peers, who are old enough to acquire alcohol. Collegians develop drinking patterns at private parties, where ids are not checked and the alcohol is often more powerful and usually free. The patterns they establish in college carry forward into their adult years. The U.S. has a drinking problem because most people learn to drink without adult supervision in environments where there are no rules (or even good modeling behavior).
Continue reading Alcohol Rules v. Education and Peer Pressure
August 4, 2012
Douglas Bruce’s anti-government efforts have hogtied the legislature, embarrassed the Republican Party and landed him in jail. He may be the first “Tea Party” philosopher, long before that group even settled on its name. The harm he has caused to our republican form of government has slowly been reversed by communities in Colorado, both counties and cities, that have opted out of – de-Bruced –some of TABOR’s more insidious provisions. The most devastating of them relate not to the “ceiling” (spending caps), but to the “floor” (revenue caps lowered by down economic years),– a poorly-timed automatic austerity plan only a public vote can reverse.
Continue reading TABOR – Our Republic Destroyed by Republicans
June 30, 2012
In 1905, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., graced Boulder with a city master plan that included parks and open spaces for the first time. He suggested further that the Boulder Creek flood plain be preserved as parkland. Now it is the heart of our civic center. The civic area plan will determine the appropriate mix and location of uses downtown near our Creek.
Continue reading Boulder’s Civic Area Plan
May 19, 2012
Following the October study session, council told staff to focus initially on two waste-related ordinances, disposable bags and styrofoam takeout containers. In typical fashion, the presumptive tool is a hammer (municipal fees or an outright ban). What if the problem is not a nail? Is the cost of enforcement – heck, the cost of analyzing the cost of enforcement – worth the ultimate benefit?
Continue reading Paper or Plastic? Wrong Question
April 21, 2012
The beatings will continue until morale improves — or should I say, parking tickets will be issued until we leave our cars at home. Motor vehicles are considered a suspect class in Boulder, so driving disincentives abound. However, our land use patterns require most people to drive almost everywhere to do almost anything.
Continue reading Chautauqua Parking Test Program
February 18, 2012
Boulder’s great, but it could be better. Drive through most older neighborhoods in Boulder and one can’t help but wonder why we don’t have “affordable” housing. More than 50% of Boulder’s dwelling units are for rent. Many owners have little incentive to upgrade while their tenants slowly buy their properties for them. Selling the lot as a scrape-off yields a reliable return.
Continue reading State of the City of Boulder
January 21, 2012
For the vast majority of Boulder’s citizens, the only encounters they are likely to have with the criminal justice system occur in Municipal Court. Justice should be served every day to everyone who appears, without exception. In the words of Alexander Hamilton, “The ordinary administration of criminal and civil justice . . . contributes more than any other circumstance to impressing upon the minds of the people affection, esteem, and reverence towards the government.” The Federalist Papers (No. 17) (1787), at 120.
Continue reading Municipal Court Jury Trials
January 14, 2012
It’s time to dramatically extend our planning horizon to anticipate a future where carbon-based energy resources become so expensive that market-based assumptions are irrevocably altered and to protect ourselves and our beloved community from the negative consequences resulting therefrom. This means more renewable energy sources, better energy storage technologies, more robust year-round agricultural productivity, and strategic primary resource planning.
Continue reading Need for a Longer Planning Horizon (2012 City Council Retreat)