Headlines April 8, 2022
Boulder County Commissioners Delay Decision On Library District
The Boulder County Commission decided yesterday to table its vote on creating a county-wide library district. Boulder City Council has already voted to support it.
The Daily Camera reports the three-member county commission panel could not reach a consensus on a property tax increase for the proposed district and was hesitant to include Niwot in the district’s boundaries. Some residents in Niwot have said they’d rather be part of Longmont’s library system rather than one that includes all of Boulder County.
The Commissioners’ Chief of Staff told The Daily Camera the city and county will try to develop a new proposal but could not say when it would be ready.
Boulder Library Champions, a group that has been advocating for a county-wide district, says it intends to start a petition process to get the measure before the voters. The group began a petition process in 2019 but agreed to withdraw it at the request of the city, which promised a study to identify potential funding sources for the city’s libraries.
Company That Competed For Marshall Fire Debris Removal Program Files Lawsuit
This past week, contractor Ceres Environmental Services sued Boulder County for the second time in recent months. The original suit, which a judge dismissed, contested the county’s decision to award the Marshall Fire debris removal contract to a different company claiming the bidding process was unfair. The judge who dismissed Ceres’ case, said the company could not appeal the court’s dismissal.
Ceres is now suing again. They say they should be able to appeal, and until the court adjourns, the county should continue to halt the Marshall Fire debris removal process. Ceres says Boulder County conducted the bidding process with secrecy, which violated competitive bidding process rules.
Boulder County attorney Ben Pearlman said the new appeal lacks merit and that, “it’s shameful that an out-of-state contractor would push for this suit and halt the cleanup in light of the tragedy.”
Denver To Appeal Jury Verdict Awarded To Racial Justice Protestors
The City of Denver intends to file an appeal challenging a federal jury verdict that awarded $14 million to 12 protestors. The court ruled last month that Denver police violated the protestors’ civil rights during the 2020 racial justice demonstrations.
The jury found the city responsible for the officers’ excessive use of force by not adequately training police, and enabling policies and conduct that led to constitutional violations. The protestors said they each suffered injuries caused by the misuse of less-lethal weapons, which included tear gas, pepper spray, rubber projectiles, and chemical weapons.
According to Axios Denver, the trial was the first in the United States to challenge a police department’s use of force against protestors and marks the first time a jury has held a city liable for violating protesters’ civil rights.
Mayor Michael Hancock told reporters yesterday that although the administration was not perfect in handling the protests, he and other city officials believe there was more to the story saying, “more details are forthcoming.”
Meanwhile, The Denver Post reported yesterday that another protestor has sued the city and its police chief for shooting him with pepper balls and a flash-bang grenade during a May 2020 protest.
Boulder County Board Approves Fire-Resistant Requirements For New Homes In The Eastern Portion Of The County
The Boulder County Board of Review unanimously approved a recommendation by the Community Planning & Permitting Department to update exterior building requirements for all future structures in the unincorporated eastern portion of the county. The update, which was approved by the board Wednesday, seeks to help prevent and slow future fires.
The standards require builders to use more fire-resistant roofing and exterior materials, requirements that are already in place for many structures in mountain and forest regions. Other requirements include mandatory non-combustible fences, retaining walls and a three foot fire-resistant perimeter.
Ron Flax, deputy director of community planning and permitting and chief building official for Boulder County, said the price of these materials is comparable to their alternatives and would not increase the cost of construction by a substantial amount.
The Boulder County Commission will review and vote on the update during its May 12 meeting.
Rally Planned Today At Xcel Energy’s Headquarters In Support Of A Coal-Free Colorado
A coalition of environmental and community groups plans to hold a rally today at the Xcel Energy Colorado headquarters to call attention to the utility’s proposal to burn coal 12 more years at the Pueblo Comanche 3 plant. The utility’s proposal is currently before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
Rally organizers say there is a growing concern the PUC may allow for the plant’s continued burning of coal which will compound the state’s record-breaking climate-related catastrophes. They say the plant will contribute to poor air quality and negate the urgencies to transition away from fossil fuel energy sources.
The groups are seeking the closure of the state’s largest coal plant and are calling for 100% renewable electricity by 2030 or sooner. Among the groups that are co-hosting the event are GreenLatinos, 350 Colorado, Mothers Out Front, Womxn From the Mountain, and Rainforest Action Network.
The rally will start at noon at 1800 Larimer Street, the Denver Headquarters of Xcel, with participants marching to Coors Field at 1 PM.