Category Archives: Social Engineering

Nederland Drug Abuse Tragedy

July 13, 2013

My heart aches for both families. My brain can not fathom how a parent survives either circumstance. Wisdom is hard to come by when faced by such a tragedy.

Young adults are fearless when it comes to risky behaviors. They seem drawn to them like moths towards a flame. Although our educational system tries to help with life skills programs ranging from “Just Say No” to recommendations for responsible use, clearly, neither parents nor schools can meet this perennial challenge alone. Society, generally, and our community, specifically, have roles to play, too (it truly “takes a village”), but ultimately our children, when temptation knocks, will be alone and under great pressure to go along.
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Municipal Code Drafting and Interpretation

March 22, 2013

Tussles between private land owners and government representatives fueled the revolution that formed the United States. Boulder County, the City of Boulder, and some Homeowner Associations stir similarly visceral passions when private dreams are thwarted by thoughtless application of burdensome and costly rules and regulations.
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WalMart Comes to Boulder

January 26, 2013

I’m having some difficulty believing that WalMart was not aware of Boulder’s interest in who was rehabilitating the PetSmart/Ross space in the Diagonal Plaza.The inquiries were pretty specific. Playing hide the pea for a while may have been fair game, but even “plausible deniability” has its limits.
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Alcohol Rules v. Education and Peer Pressure

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).
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Aurora Theater Slaughter by Holmes

July 28, 2012

6,000 rounds of ammunition. 2 Glock handguns. 1 pump-action shotgun. An AR-15 (M-16) with a 100-round drum capable of firing 50-60 rounds per minute. All acquired within the past two months. Is there no division at Homeland Security in a position to connect these dots?
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Paper or Plastic? Wrong Question

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?
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Safe Streets Begin Between Your Ears

February 11, 2012

“The last time I should speed is when I’m in a hurry.” “While waiting to make a left turn, it’s not what I see, but what I don’t see that could kill me (look for blind spots, not semi-trailer trucks).” “If I’m on a bicycle, I’m invisible, but if a driver sees me, he may try to kill me (eye contact does not equal awareness).” “If I ride a bike at night without a light, I’m an idiot.” At one time or another, but more frequently towards the end of my career as a prosecutor in Boulder’s municipal court, I often suggested to drivers and bicyclists that the above thoughts just might save their lives some day.
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Menu Food Labeling

August 20, 2011

This feels like creeping incrementalism to me – “nanny state” going one bridge too far. Just because a thing can be required does not mean it should be. Government has to know its limitations. Restaurant owners and chefs can (do) seize this opportunity to distinguish themselves, and the meals they prepare and serve, by sharing such information voluntarily. People can then make responsible choices.
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B-Cycles: A Solution in Search of a Problem?

May 21, 2011

Not long ago, the Boulder Convention and Visitors’ Bureau determined that there are about as many bicycles in Boulder as residents. 7 of 10 residents own a bike, but enough have more than one to reach parity. However, 50-60,000 employees commute into Boulder every work day. Many of them leave their bicycles behind. Therefore, a demand for “rentable” bikes would seem to exist. Creating a critical mass of bike stations and bikes where they are desired – to transport customers where and when they wish to go – is B-cycle’s nonprofit challenge. Will 12 stations and 100 bikes suffice?

Bike renting seems to be working well enough in Denver (and Paris), but it remains to be seen whether Boulder has sufficient demand for point-to-point bicycling in our charming, but not very large or dense downtown. The cost of parking and length of commute cause many downtown Denver employees to leave their cars behind. 400 bicycles and 55 stations increase the likelihood that one-way bike trips between popular destinations in Denver will occur with sufficient frequency to have enough bikes where and when they are needed for round trips.

I want B-cycle to succeed. Many civic-minded supporters have pooled their resources to give it a chance. Will the numbers ever pencil? Time will tell. We buy EcoPasses every year and rarely ride buses. I wonder, though, why some in Boulder want urban amenities and services while opposing changes that might allow Boulder to have enough people living here to sustain them?