Letters to the Editor: Nov. 15, 2023

Boulder readers discuss disability issues and local election results


More disability visibility needed

In response to Shay Castle’s invitation for story ideas (“Better Together,” November 9). I would like to see more stories about disability.

Anyone can become disabled at any time, yet nobody seems to talk about disability unless they’re disabled. I didn’t become disabled until I was 33, after I had been married and had a career.

After becoming disabled, I needed help understanding and navigating my new life. Not one able-bodied person knew how to help me. I eventually learned from others with disabilities. They knew how to help because of their own personal experience.

As an able-bodied person, society accepted me. When I became a wheelchair user, I became invisible. I began to see how I was prohibited by accessibility. Able-bodied people don’t see how stairs or curbs or even snow can be a barrier.

When in a large group, it feels very suffocating because everyone is towering over me and talking to each other, ignoring whoever is not in their eye range.

Traveling as a wheelchair user makes one feel like a second-class citizen. And able-bodied individuals are always rushing concerned with their own travel plans, too busy to help.

Since I was not born disabled, I have lived my life as an able-bodied person and as a person who uses a wheelchair. It’s like I have lived two separate lives.

If anyone could become disabled at any time, shouldn’t disability topics be discussed in society as a whole instead of just within the disability community?

— Jennifer Ochs, Boulder, Ms. Wheelchair Colorado 2023 

2A win is our loss

The 2A tax extension will be divided in half to support art instead of its past use to primarily fund essential services. There will actually be a reduction of about $3.6 million per year [on spending for] fire and emergency response services, public safety, human services, homelessness solutions, parks and other general fund purposes. [Editor’s note: City financial projections do not estimate any cuts to services in the first five years of the tax.]

That’s about $72 million over the 20 year life of this tax. The arts are great, but need to stand on their own and not parasitize essential services.  

So why did 2A pass? Probably many reasons, but what the proponents never addressed — because they really couldn’t or wouldn’t — was what we’ve lost now that it has passed. 

Once again, Boulder fiddles while essential services are burning.

 — Patrick Murphy, Boulder

New voting method, same old problems

We have a new format in which we elect our mayor. If your candidate won, you probably like it. I’m sure there are people in Boulder who are griping, bemoaning and chastising it, but it’s what we voted in and what we have. It will take new tact and strategizing to get elected, as well as appealing to a broad segment of our community rather than the traditional constituent bases. 

Post-election, most people are still talking about “public safety.” That term means different things to different people. I grew up in Detroit in the ’80’s while it was the murder capital of the world two years in a row. 

Boulder is nowhere close to those conditions, but we too have a public safety issue, by Boulder standards. There are businesses and individuals experiencing theft or harassment on a daily basis. Just this morning, we had someone trespassing at our office. 

Some concerned citizens’ solution was to put Safe Zones on the ballot. The redundancy of this measure on top of a citywide camping ban will likely render Safe Zones ineffective. 

What’s more interesting is if voters, by supporting Safe Zones, feel like they mandated the Boulder Police Department to spring into constant action. We never heard the police chief’s take on Safe Zones during the election and what she felt about its feasibility and function. 

Many wrote op-eds on it, and some candidates played it up as a wedge issue. But at the end of the day, will it make things safer? It still comes down to enforcement and action. 

I have faith that those on Boulder’s city council will continue to lead us through this. I’m not so sure about what can actually be done until we figure out how to help the sheriff, DA, police and nonprofits to have the correct tools and resources they need to work together collaboratively.  

— Andrea Meneghel, Boulder

Want to talk about elections even more?

The League of Women Voters of Boulder County, a nonpartisan advocacy organization encouraging voting and democracy, is hosting a Community Conversation on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 9:30 a.m. at Rule4 (3002 Bluff St., Boulder). Registration is advised. Learn more and register at https://bit.ly/elex-convo