Letters: Aug. 24, 2023



Kudos to the Boulder City Council for voting to advance an initiative for this fall’s ballot extending an existing sales tax with an allocation of half of the revenue gathered from this tax to bring much needed funding to arts and heritage organizations without raising taxes.

Contrary to some opinions I’ve read, passing this initiative will not cut funding for existing services in Boulder. Rather, this funding will do two important things:

1) It will begin to close the gap between Boulder and comparable cities when it comes to funding arts and culture. Boulder currently spends 60% less on the arts than comparable cities ($17 per capita vs $43); and

2) It will provide much needed funding to artists and organizations who generate a positive return on investment for city coffers. According to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 Study, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $69.8 million in annual economic activity in Boulder, supporting 1,832 full-time equivalent jobs, and generating $4.6 million in local and state government revenues. Not bad for about $1.8 in current funding from the City of Boulder.

This increased funding will also allow arts organizations to continue providing programming for public schools at little to no cost. For example, the organization I run, Parlando School of Musical Arts, provides outreach for tens of thousands of people every year. This includes providing 3,000 public school music classes with free onsite support. Our colleagues in BVSD have come to rely on this support to make their music programs happen. Some of these colleagues are teaching in three to five different schools every week. They need our help.  

Boulder faces many challenges. Investing in arts organizations to help address some of these challenges leverages additional resources at a relatively small cost. That sounds smART to me.

— Travis V. LaBerge, executive director and founder of Parlando School of Musical Arts


I wonder how many of us realize that Donald Trump was able to enter the West Wing because of an outdated Electoral College system that should have 676 electors, not 538, per the “Wyoming Rule” proposal.

538 was fine in 1929, when Congress froze the number of seats in the House at 435. Today, we have under-represented people everywhere. The most notable problem with the 435 limit is California. Between the 2010 and 2020 census, the state saw a population increase of one million people, yet the state lost one congressional seat (and one elector) because of a 1929 law (The Permanent Apportionment Act). The number of seats in the House (and electors in the Electoral College) should be revised with every census taken. 

— Pete Simon/Arvada


Given our recent abundance of warmth, water, and carbon dioxide, greenery in Boulder is having a banner summer. Emerald ash borers did finally kill a neighbor’s tree, but during the attack, it scattered thousands of seeds, and I have saplings, one 10 feet tall, popping up everywhere in my yard. Also, my golden rain tree is attempting to create a rain tree forest which, with the spread of chokecherries, mahonia, tansy, dock, burdock, cornflowers, et al of the wild world of weeds, has turned my backyard into an aspiring jungle, all without city water. The drought has eased, at least for now, and we have been spared the increasingly frequent climate disasters occurring around the world. We should thank our lucky stars, but must never forget that global warming and climate change will be with us into a yet undetermined offing. 

— Robert Porath / Boulder

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