Opinions & Position Statements

Boulder’s great. Together, we can make it even better.

Ed ByrneBut we’ll need everyone’s help – all skill-sets invited and welcome – to effectively meet the challenges ahead.

Government must know its limitations, and the private sector must walk its talk. People who embrace positive changes that meet community needs and support walkable neighborhoods will also be creating a more resilient economy that can deliver a more sustainable future.

COMPASSION – We are losing our wisdom and our youth. This is true, in part, because our young and old residents can’t afford to live here anymore. Our land use policies and regulatory burdens tend to make personal wealth a Boulder residency requirement. This is neither ethical nor sustainable. Turning a blind eye towards this reality is not responsible. It is one of the unintended consequences of Boulder’s past growth control efforts that causes more personal harm than any other. For so long as we continue to care, we can make progress in addressing this complex challenge.

RESPECT – With fear and pessimism prevalent in our community debates, we’re scorching the podium and driving reasonable voices out of the room. We should abandon the facile use of labels or stereotypes to create “good guys” and “bad guys” that coarsen the civility of our discourse. We need everyone on board to effectively meet the all-encompassing, many-faceted challenges facing our community, region and only planet we can inhabit in the months, years, decades and generations ahead. No one knows what’s best for you, but working openly with others, we can discover what’s best for all of us.

VISION – Our best ideas have come from true collaboration. In 1905, our forefathers bought the Arapaho Glacier to ensure we would always have water. Five years later, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., created a downtown development plan that could guide our planning choices for the next 100 years. We need that kind of thinking today. In 1959, PLAN-Boulder was formed to protect the Foothills from development with the “Blue Line.” In 1967, Boulder became the first city ever to dedicate a portion of our sales taxes to acquire private land for open space and park purposes, so it could be enjoyed forever by future generations. These visionary policies have made Boulder the wonderful home we enjoy today. We need to put our thinking caps on again, so we can figure out what’s next!

SUSTAINABLE RESILIENCY – PLAN-Boulder’s original vision is close to being realized. We’ve acquired enough open space land to surround and define Boulder’s borders, and we’ve been using the principles found in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan to effectively manage them since 1977. Unfortunately, we have also suffered from the unintended consequences of local residential growth caps that have distorted regional land use patterns. Today, more than 65,000 Boulder employees commute into Boulder every work day even though more than 50% of Boulder’s dwelling units are rental properties. This creates environmental and quality of life impacts that are not sustainable, while it weakens our economy and limits our ability to renew and enhance each of our neighborhoods’ quality of life.

SERVICE – During my 36 years in Boulder, I was an assistant city attorney for the City of Boulder (1982-88), and I chaired the Foothill Elementary School Improvement Team (1994-95), co-chaired the North Boulder Subcommunity Plan Steering Committee (1994-95), chaired the Boulder Chamber’s Community Affairs Council (twice, 1995-96 & 2010-12), served on the board of Downtown Boulder Partnership (2001-17), chaired the First Congregational Church Building Committee (2003), chaired the Boulder County Bar Association’s Real Estate (2000) and original Alternative Dispute Resolution Committees (1987-88). I was an original member of the Daily Camera’s Editorial Advisory Board (2007-17), and I coached ski racing, baseball and soccer for my children. At the state and regional level, I was the Director of Operations for Colorado Ski Country USA from 1988-2004, where I served on Governor Romer’s Colorado Environment 2000 Citizen Advisory Committee (1989), I served on the “No on 1” (anti-TABOR) editorial staff, the US 36 Task Force (1995), the Boulder County Regional Transportation Task Force (1996-98), and I chaired he Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan Review Committee twice (1995-96 and 2010-11).

As you can see, public service matters a great deal to me and, with your support, I hope to serve you on Boulder’s City Council next year.

BOTTOM-LINE – We don’t have blue neighborhoods and red business districts – we have a “green” community: environmentally responsible, economically strong, but also young and inexperienced. Young? Yes. I have a friend from 2,000-year old Barcelona who lives in a 1,000-year old building. Boulder celebrated its 150th anniversary two years ago. We’ve only just begun to realize all that Boulder may one day accomplish for our benefit, for our children and our childrens’ children, and for our planet, which hangs in the balance.