Headlines August 5, 2020

Headlines August 5, 2020

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Last night the Boulder City Council gave initial approval to place two measures on the November ballot. The first is an agreement with Xcel Energy that will end a decade of effort by city leaders to form a municipally managed and community-owned electric utility. A virtual public hearing on the Xcel measure is scheduled for August 18th.

The council moved a second citizen-initiated measure to the ballot that would provide legal representation for tenants facing eviction.

But a third measure – the measure most callers to the meeting championed–was not addressed. The group Bedrooms Are For People sued the city on Monday after a majority of councilmembers declined to refer the measure to the ballot, despite the city providing inaccurate information on when signatures were due, and how many signatures were necessary.

Anna Seager said the measure had strong community support.

“Volunteers collected and submitted over 7,764 signatures for this ballot proposal; however, council members have bent over backwards to stifle democracy because they personally don’t like the initiative. Council willfully sent volunteers out to collect signatures in a pandemic, gave volunteers false information and when these mistakes were made public, council’s response was to double down and proceed with a lawsuit rather than proceed with council’s existing powers to put this initiative directly on the ballot,” she said.

The lawsuit asks the courts to compel city officials to certify the petition, give it a title and direct it to be placed on the ballot. If voters approve the measure, it would reform Boulder’s strict housing occupancy rule that only allows three unrelated people to live together.

Kanye West today filed paperwork to be on the ballot in Colorado for the 2020 presidential election.

Vice reports that Rachel George, a longtime Republican operative in Colorado, sent an email to at least one other local GOP strategist on Tuesday asking them to sign West’s paperwork so he can appear on the 2020 ballot in Colorado.

Under Colorado law, to get a place on the ballot, presidential campaigns just pay a fee and find nine registered voters to sign a public document pledging to vote for their candidate if they win the Electoral College.

Vice obtained a copy of an email from Rachel George to Republican supporters in the state asking for their support to get West on the ballot. The email said “Thank you for considering this, I get how random it is!  But I also know that you’re in on the joke, so let me know what you think and if you’d be willing to sign the form.”

The deadline for candidates to file paperwork to appear on the Colorado 2020 presidential ballot is today.

Colorado State University has launched an investigation into how the college’s football team has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

University president Joyce McConnell announced today that her office will conduct an immediate investigation of Rams football and the athletic department as a whole.

This is in response to allegations in a report published Tuesday by the Fort Collins Coloradoan which cited statements from 10 anonymous sources within the athletic department that criticized CSU athletics’ handling of positive COVID-19 tests and accused department officials of minimizing and altering coronavirus data.

Sources quoted in the report say coaches threatened to withhold playing time or scholarships for players who report symptoms or are quarantined. One football player in the report, who declined to be identified, described the situation as a “cover-up.

 

Listen here:

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Last night the Boulder City Council gave initial approval to place two measures on the November ballot. The first is an agreement with Xcel Energy that will end a decade of effort by city leaders to form a municipally managed and community-owned electric utility. A virtual public hearing on the Xcel measure is scheduled for August 18th.

The council moved a second citizen-initiated measure to the ballot that would provide legal representation for tenants facing eviction.

But a third measure – the measure most callers to the meeting championed–was not addressed. The group Bedrooms Are For People sued the city on Monday after a majority of councilmembers declined to refer the measure to the ballot, despite the city providing inaccurate information on when signatures were due, and how many signatures were necessary.

Anna Seager said the measure had strong community support.

“Volunteers collected and submitted over 7,764 signatures for this ballot proposal; however, council members have bent over backwards to stifle democracy because they personally don’t like the initiative.  Council willfully sent volunteers out to collect signatures in a pandemic, gave volunteers false information and when these mistakes were made public, council’s response was to double down and proceed with a lawsuit rather than proceed with council’s existing powers to put this initiative directly on the ballot,” she said.

The lawsuit asks the courts to compel city officials to certify the petition, give it a title and direct it to be placed on the ballot. If voters approve the measure, it would reform Boulder’s strict housing occupancy rule that only allows three unrelated people to live together.

Also last night the council was informed of the Boulder Valley School District’s change in plans for the opening of the school year.

Now classes will be 100 percent online for the first month of the fall semester. Boulder Valley’s announcement came just hours after the St. Vrain Valley District said will conduct classes fully online until at least the end of September.

Aurora’s new police chief says the culture at the embattled department has been reset, but acknowledges that both she and her officers face an uphill battle to regain community trust.

The Denver Post reports that on Monday Vanessa Wilson, took the chief position of a department that is facing calls for immediate changes to policing as well as demands to defund the department.

The Aurora Police have been involved in a series incidents that have brought national criticism.

Since the death of Elijah McClain–who was detained by police and injected with ketamine by first responders about a year ago–other incidents in Aurora include an officer who kept his job and was not criminally charged even though he passed out drunk in his police car; another officer was convicted of stealing from a nonprofit; later, officers forcefully dispersed a largely peaceful crowd at a vigil for McClain; and, there’s been a scandal in which officers posed for smiling selfies at the site of McClain’s arrest.

Then this weekend an innocent black family was pulled over as they were driving to get their fingernails done. Children were handcuffed, held at gun point, and made to lie on the ground when officers mistook a license plate on the car for that of a stolen motorcycle.

New police chief Williams has apologized to Brittany Gilliam, the mother and driver of the car who was handcuffed in the back of a cruiser while her children were ordered to lie on the ground and crying.

Gilliam said she has no interest in hearing Aurora’s explanations or apologies. She said that if it had been a white family, it never would have happened.

The new chief said that the bottom line was that the situation was done wrong. Williams said she recognized the officers’ actions were traumatic to the children.

However, the officers involved are not on administrative leave and continue to work their assignments while an internal investigation continues.

Yesterday the University of Colorado Board of Regents and other system leaders discussed diversity, equity and inclusion for nearly two hours during a virtual meeting.

However, the event did not impress some students who watched and raised concerns about whether the leaders are interested in talk or action.

The Daily Camera reports that  President Mark Kennedy told the virtual meeting that there was “leadership from the top” on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Holly Olivarez, a graduate student and organizer of the diversify CU now campaign, wrote in an email that she was frustrated by the administrators’ prepared statements about how much progress is being made when no one she knows has been contacted to participate in those efforts.

Another graduate student said that the few action items Kennedy mentioned have yet to show any real changes in the lives of and trauma to Black, indigenous or students of color on CU campuses.

A proposal in Denver to raise the sales tax to create a city fund to address homelessness is a step closer to landing on the ballot in November.

The City Council’s Finance and Governance Committee forwarded a proposal by at-large member Robin Kniech to the full council. The Denverite reports that it will be presented to voters in November, if the council approves.

The tax increase would fund programs to get people out of homelessness and would raise an estimated $40 million a year.

John Parvensky, the president of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, said the proposed tax is not an act of charity but an act of justice. He said Black Americans and other minorities are disproportionately affected by homelessness as a result of historic and continuing discrimination.