Rick Shepard: School: It doesn’t sound safe
My grandson has been attending distance learning school all last year to be protected from COVID-19. I am alarmed to hear his description of school classes this year. He says the classrooms are very full and the hallways more crowded. This situation doesn’t sound safe. Last year, there were about 11 new cases a week on average in Boulder County at that time. The weekly average is currently in the high 40s. The current Delta variant is more contagious and appears to affect more children than the variants last year.
The BVSD’s policy of pushing students into school seems ill-conceived and dangerous to me. I hope you will reconsider your dealings with this year’s schools.
Gary Urling: Water: Where Does It Come From?
Many residents may believe that Boulder Water’s supply came from Boulder Creek. That is not right. Boulder is also a big user of the water of the Upper Colorado River. In fact, Boulder competes with the water users of Gross Reservoir / South Boulder Creek, who also use the water from the Upper Colorado River.
Let’s say the Boulder City Council maintains a 10% growth target. That means the water supply in Boulder Creek and the Colorado River must increase by 10% every year, or 100% in 10 years.
Or it means that either every user in the city has to reduce water consumption by 100% in 10 years in order to provide water for the additional growth.
Can each of us actually use 10% less water every year?
Do we want to leave our children and future residents a future with 100% less water consumption than ourselves?
Which is more likely: Boulder Creek and Colorado River water supplies are increasing or decreasing 10% each year?
Yes, more residents mean more profit for local businesses. This does not mean that policies to promote growth will help reduce global warming.
What our current city council never disclosed to the public was one of the main reasons behind the original growth control – Boulder’s water supply was unable to support further growth.
Maggie Burrall: Property Tax: Relief for the Elderly
Property tax exemption for the elderly
Your $ 100,000 or 50% tax exemption in 2000 is still worth $ 100,000, but now it’s only 18.5%! When the property tax deferral program for seniors and active military personnel went into effect in 2000, the average valuation for all residential property types in Boulder County was $ 175,500. Fast-forward to 2021, the average valuation of all Boulder County’s residential property has risen to $ 541,000. This $ 100,000 exemption is now reduced from 50% to 18.5%. Make the numbers for your primary residence. At $ 1 million (not uncommon in Boulder County), that 18.5% has already shrunk to 10%.
There are two alternative and fairer ways to exempt seniors with the same parameters for qualifying property tax: 1) freeze the appraised rating in the year the owner qualified, or 2) the exemption with a percentage of the appraised rating , e.g. 25% without a lid. Any of these senior property tax relief methods would work equally for all Colorado counties.
If you agree, please contact your country representative and country senator and make them aware of your concerns.
Blake Cannon: North Boulder Park: The old cruisers are missing
So, I think we have more than one North Boulder Park. Who knew The place where I live used to be the terminus for Thursday night cruises. The sound of bicycle tires on the sidewalk and the low murmur of voices that keep getting louder, we would know they had arrived. People in costume, bicycles decorated with LEDs. A damn strong sound system on a bike would arrive and booming techno music. It would all develop into a crescendo of mostly good clean fun, once with a fire stick twirler. It would then disappear as it arrived, and peace and quiet would be restored. We loved it.
This summer was different, starting on Thursday night at the end of the school year. We knew from the sounds of traffic that they had arrived: cars sped, engines ran, horns, doors slam, car radios roar. Another crowd, screaming and screaming and indifferent to the 11pm curfew. Graffiti tags on at least one tree. It was like the gathering was a relief valve for the pandemic. The following Thursdays were largely the same all summer, but with fireworks.
Perhaps Rick Dyson will be cruising to another North Boulder Park on Open Forum August 16. Sure, there are bikes here, but the car-centric, party-mad atmosphere made us really happy that the police showed up and held things up. Kudos to the park sprinklers for coming! We will be happy to have the old cruisers back one day.
Preston Padden: Masks in Schools: Polis should make them mandatory
It is a national failure that we did not develop a vaccine for young children until we sent them back to school. Worse, sending unvaccinated children back to school without a mask is like sending lambs to be slaughtered – except that these are our children!
In Mississippi, 20,000 school children are already under quarantine and by August 19, five have died. Some governors like Ron DeSantis from Florida and Gregg Abbott from Texas have banned local school districts from protecting children by requiring vaccines and / or masks.
Here in Colorado, our Governor Jared Polis is doing almost as badly. He stands by while counties and school districts prevent schools from ensuring that our young, unvaccinated children’s classmates wear masks. He could save the lives of dozens of our children by issuing a nationwide mask mandate. But that would require him to prioritize our children’s lives over his political career. I hope he will.