This forum is a sounding board for a range of issues facing eastern Boulder County. I will prompt discussions with my posts and elected officials can tap into the concerns of citizens here, and explain their rationale on decisions. Follow along with the latest discussion by checking the list of recent comments on the right. You can comment with your name, a nickname or anonymously if you wish. You can become a contributor as well. Thank you for your comments!
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Tuesday, December 04, 2007


And so it comes to an end. 15 months, 416 posts and over 8000 unique daily visitors were part of this blog, and we had countless debates I found fun, enlightening, irritating and thought provoking. Those who have been a part of this since the beginning: Thank you for your invlovement. The best part was hearing behind the scenes from people how they learned something that changed their minds.

I disagree with the recent comments that somehow I should simply endure anonymous comments; that those in power (LOSAC?) should put up with heckling misses the point of what this forum was about. Potshots from the darkness may entertain, or rile, and add spice to a debate, but they also cause people to walk away. We had over a year of people commenting anonymously making their points without the types of messages that recently poisoned the blog.

By the way, I never received any kind of commission check for any ads on the blog; I never hit any threshold of clicks to qualify. This blog wasn't about making money.

While the ants at the picnic may have caused me to pack up from this spot, the great thing is I can be more choosy on my next cyber debate locale with the wisdom of this experience. Those willing to debate in good faith, I'll see you in the blogosphere again.

Friday, November 30, 2007

So Weird...

The comments under New Mayor For Lafayette demonstrate the saddest side of blogging. The open forum combined with anonymity has degenerated to an inane waste of time for all, and driven away the bulk of interesting commenters. To what end? Why bother pushing a debate forum to voluntary extinction? It's just so weird....

Update - I've removed the commenting function from Intense Debate, which removed the last couple weeks' comments completely. If you weren't reading then, you didn't miss anything valuable.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

County Building Regs Coming Around Again

The Boulder County Commissioners will be vetting the details to the new residential remodel/construction regulations next month; the Board of Review discussed the topic last night regarding the BuildSmart program. I support the zero waste aspects that will have deconstructed material reused if possible or otherwise recycled somehow. Homes over 3000 sq feet will need to produce 50% of their energy from on-site renewable energy sources; 5000 sq ft homes will need to produce 100% of their energy from renewable sources within a year (See page 5 here). The energy use standards are measured with the HERS standard.

So, is such an energy use/production requirement a de facto moratorium on large homes? I'm starting to change my mind, as builders describe the possibilities with current technology. But there's still a heavy handed and hence inappropriate feeling I get seeing the government require such aspects of home construction. It's the sense that there's a resentment over the size of the home itself, and the energy efficiency is the secondary but ostensibly primary reason for the rules. This is all just perception based on side comments I hear from supporters of the rules. A "Who needs a house that big?! Make 'em pay, then." kind of sentiment.

A public hearing on BuildSmart will be held at 5 p.m. Dec. 18.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Mayor In Lafayette

Last night the Lafayette City Council elected Chris Cameron as the new MAyor to replace term limited Mayor Chris Berry. David Strungis retained his Pro-Tem spot, after an initial tie with new Councilor Alex Schatz. A strong showing for a brand new Councilor, who was also up against incumbent Jay Ruggeri for the spot. In a three-way vote, Ruggeri received none?

What will Cameron's leadership be like? similar in tone to Berry's; that is I expect a calm respectful tone even in light of challenging topics and rambling public participation screeds.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Swapping Space

Tonight Lafayette's City Council will decide whether or not to approve a lease swapping agreement with the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber would move into vacated space in City Hall left by the Police Dept, and the City will get the Chamber's digs on South Public Road.

When this first was discussed on November 6 (election night) citizen Brian Herzfeld spoke in opposition to the whole deal; the perception of impropriety at least may be a violation of the city's ethics ordinance. I don't think it goes that far, and the City perceives the old town space it would gain as being a new option for community gatherings.

The Council can set up a legal, technically sound agreement. But the relationship with the Chamber will raise eyebrows in a way that may not be worth it politically. The whole set up will be described though the grapevine in less and less accurate, context-less ways: "Did you hear the Council gave the Chamber free rent in City Hall?" and all the presumably nefarious aspects of having business advocates so close to city staff. We'll see if they approve it; I hear that is likely.

Should Chambers of Commerce and a city have such a close relationship? Absolutely, especially in a town of Lafayette's size. Economic development concerns are going to be expressed to city staff and leadership wherever the Chamber is located, the terms of the lease aren't any kind of sweetheart deal, and showing support for the business community's collective efforts via the Chamber is a worthwhile effort. Take a look at the Chamber's membership. Is this a group of companies whose collective motives are at odds with Lafayette's small town feel?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Louisville's New Corporate Citizen Is...?

The speculation over who has purchased the StorageTek/Sun property in Louisville surrounds big high-tech names like Google and Apple. While the price of $60 million for the 440-acre campas seems to be accepted, I'm interested in how the Louisville Comprehensive Plan update process with address the potential of the property. Louisville has made it clear they don't want more residential development, and any commercial redevelopment will hear the screams of growth needing to "pay its own way" (as if residential even comes close to the same premise).

The current Comp Plan identifies the area as potential retail and commercial space, (known as the Southeast Plateau) and the sheer size of the development plus its great location is definitely of concern to Boulder's aging downtown space. To the extent FasTracks can become a factor (bus rapid transit is the option) this area has great potential for the city, if they choose to accept it.
I'm hearing Apple is a good guess. I'm curious if Crocs has an interest in such a location, even though their manufacturing is scattered around the globe. Or, it is some deep-pocketed Class A space developer with a long horizon. Much like Broomfield and Longmont used to pick off Boulder's discards, a Southeast Plateau development can tag onto Broomfield's focused recruitment efforts.

Outgoing and Re-entering

Today's Camera had an interview with outgoing Lafayette Mayor Chris Berry, who has hinted at further political aspirations at the state level. This isn't new info, just a reiteration of his interests in the civic realm. I would expect we will see Chris back in the public eye again within the year, unless the comfort of "regular" life outside elected office is stronger that he anticipated.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Just Testing Ya

Swapping Chamber/City Hall leases in Lafayette.

Revenue Sharing Options narrowed in Boulder County.

Louisville's StorageTek property redevelopment.

Superior's mailbox rules (sorry, the best I could find...)

Erie's impact fees.

Longmont's lodging tax passes this time.

Any ideas? I've brought up the commenting function again; it has some bugs I need to work out. Please comment away!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm Not The Only One Wondering...

I found today's print edition of the Camera's editorial section very interesting, as both attributed and anonymous sources have commented on the issue of whether anonymous blog and other internet postings are helpful or hurtful to public debate.

Given my recent experience with my blog, I found a few articulate defenders of the policy of allowing anonymous posts. I also felt a few people nailed the reasons why on balance such posts are not worthwhile. A few samples:

"I post anonymously because some years ago, in a different online forum, someone took such umbrage at my comments (under my real name) that he figured out where I worked, and attempted to get me in trouble with my employer. None of the accusations he made were true, of course, but I still had to defend myself, take my time, and my supervisor's time, to address his charges. He later gloated that he could make my real life a mess - just because he couldn't successfully debate me online." - moniker: derecho64 .

"EVERYTHING on the INTERNET blogs/comment boards is "anonymous". It's the nature of the media. You'd have to be one deluded fool to believe that just because someone claims to be John Doe online, and asserts that John Doe is their true identity, that said poster really is John Doe." - moniker: Reality_Check.

"Blogging in general is addictive, and anonymity in particular is a crutch. To speak up anonymously is important for those in vulnerable situations such as working for a hostile employer or being targeted by a criminal. Anonymity is the game of the predatory minded when they go sniping — which is to harm someone from a position of cover. But for most, the risk of writing anonymously on a routine basis is to lure oneself into thinking it is done for personal or political “safety.” The ultimate face of anonymity is the hooded jihadist. Few bloggers, named or anonymous, are self disciplined. They give in to the haste that is the hallmark of blogging, and by misstating and then attacking others’ remarks, they put up straw-man arguments that ignite cycles of anger that go round and round. That’s addictive." (Read more by Anne Butterfield, a member of the Camera's editorial advisory Board.)

"The good side of this virtual war of words is stones don’t actually hit bodies. The bad side is that in this virtual world, victims still fall. Heading the list of victims is truth, fairness and civil discourse. Particularly when participants post anonymously but not solely when they do, discourse is much harsher and emotional rather than civil and thoughtful. Rules of decorum in only some places hold off ad hominem attacks, obscenities, lies and the like." (Read more by Shirley Scoville, a member of the Camera's editorial advisory Board.)

The Camera also provides several links to articles about the general topic of the worthiness of anonymity on the internet.

Now it figures with my new blog template I'm having trouble having the comment function re-activated. As I post this I'm going to be working on making this post a "live" debate as in the past with the comments function.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good and Bad in Lafayette

The Lafayette City Council is mulling the SWOT analysis presented by Community Development Director Bonnie Star last week which identified a range of issues affecting the city from an economic point of view. I would add to the Threats/Weaknesses column a point regarding the specific debt items guaranteed to earmark X percentage of the budget going forward in the face of uncertain tax revenue income. (this may be covered under "weak general fund budget", but that's a bit vague).

I like the idea of a SWOT analysis being presented to a "new" Council, although only Alex Schatz is new to the Council, and he's actually up to speed on most issues anyway. So the SWOT analysis should be full of surprises to the Council, and I'm curious to see if any substantial changes in Council goals will result. Outside of Old Town merchants and possibly some eastern edge residents, I don't perceive much concern about the city's future. The election would have been different if there was a rising tide of discontent.