Voters turned out on Tuesday for city council candidates endorsed by The Coalition and Better Boulder, advocacy groups that are open to denser housing development. This marks a shift from the 2017 election — where Boulder City Council wins largely went to candidates backed by PLAN-Boulder County, a group that promotes slow growth and highly regulated housing development.
Newcomers Rachel Friend and Junie Joseph were elected to four-year terms. Incumbents Bob Yates and Aaron Brockett each earned new four-year terms. All four candidates were supported by The Coalition and Better Boulder.
Mark Wallach and Adam Swetlik won the remaining fifth and sixth seats up for grabs. They will each win two-year terms.
Incumbent councilmember Yates spoke highly of the value of change and promoting a more welcoming, diverse, inclusive Boulder. New councilmember Jones, who has lived in Boulder for just one year after a background at the United Nations in the Central African Republic, represents just part of that change. Jones says she knew she belonged in Boulder the minute she arrived — even when some people told her she didn’t.
Boulder voters approved an innovative proposal to create a middle-income affordable housing program. Crafted by city staff at the direction of councilmembers Bob Yates and Sam Weaver, it’s designed to help those having trouble buying a house in Boulder. Weaver told KGNU It will provide loans backed by the city for up to 200-thousand dollars for applicants trying to get a foot-hold in Boulder’s expensive housing market. The program’s goal is to allow more people who work in Boulder to also live within the city limits.
By a large margin, Boulder voters also voted to tax tobacco vaping products in an effort to reduce the vaping epidemic that has led to multiple deaths across the country. The tax on “electronic smoking devices and related products” is expected to raise two-point-five million dollars per year. Colorado has the highest youth vaping rate in the nation. The goal of the tax is make it prohibitive for teenagers to buy vaping products.
Boulder voters overwhelmingly approved funding for open space yesterday by agreeing to extend a 15-cent transportation sales and use tax set to expire at the end of the year. 91-year old Ruth Wright was celebrating at one of last night’s election parties. Wright is often called the “mother” of Boulder’s open space program after she championed the first successful tax to protect Boulder’s greenbelt in 1965.
In the first year, money from the open space tax will be used to purchase a conservation easement at Long’s Gardens on North Broadway, protecting the popular urban farm property from development.