Save SOBO and PLAN Boulder are collecting signatures to “Let Boulder Voters Decide on Annexation of CU South”. If we collect 3,336 valid signatures, this petition will put a measure on the November 2021 ballot requiring that any annexation agreement between the City of Boulder and the University of Colorado-Boulder regarding the CU-South property must be approved by Boulder City voters. The petition specifies that no city services other than a flood mitigation project may be implemented on the property unless and until city voters approve an annexation agreement. Furthermore, the annexation agreement must contain specific details designed to identify, and protect against, expenses and risks the annexation would create for the residents of Boulder.
Please read this FAQ for more information and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for how to sign or volunteer to collect signatures.
Dear Save SOBO Members,
Have you received a postcard that looks like this?
The City of Boulder has created a questionnaire ostensibly to find out how residents feel about the City annexing the “CU South” property and then building a new campus there. You can find the questionnaire at https://ww.beheardboulder.org
But Wait! There’s More.
The questionnaire in its current form is a lot like a push-poll. That is, it’s designed to elicit responses that support a particular agenda, in this case, support for CU’s annexation of the land at CU-South to build a third campus nearly the size of CU’s Main Campus. It isn’t asking for what the public actually thinks. It will be impossible for many of us to respond to the questionnaire authentically.
Here’s a note we received from a Save SOBO member about the questionnaire:
I've opened this survey, and my quick assessment of it is that it is written to obtain a particular answer -- one that agrees that more housing, flood control, and public space access are all great to have. However, it does not address the underlying, fundamental issue that if annexed, the City will have no fallback in determining the future use of the South Campus.
Given this (if you agree), how do you think opponents of South Campus annexation should respond to this survey? Should we simply put "no opinion" on all the questions and insert in the "comments" section why this survey is essentially fraudulent? That's my inclination, but having a lot of people take the same response will be more powerful than a single voice crying out in the wilderness.
Save South Boulder’s co-leader, Margaret LeCompte, PhD, an emerita CU faculty member and research methods expert sent two analyses of the Be Heard Boulder questionnaire draft to the Planning Department staff in December, explaining in detail what the questionnaire’s faults were why it would not provide an accurate assessment of public opinion, and how to fix it. Nonetheless, the final draft, which went live online on January 13, remains biased in favor of annexation and development. On January 14, therefore, we wrote to the city staff, asking them to remove the questionnaire from the website and revise it, or better yet, get a professional expert to rewrite it. As currently written, the questionnaire will only yield results that the City wants to hear.
We do not think the City will re-do the questionnaire. Therefore, Save SOBO is urging Boulder residents to NOT to answer the questions as written. We want to use another tactic that will really tell the City what the public thinks.
Therefore, we suggest the following: Answer the first questions, which ask respondents to rate the “public benefit value” of a variety of topics, like “building housing,” or “creating dog parks” not with a “no opinion,” but with a strong negative. This is because while you might think that “housing” in general is a good idea, you really should respond according to how you feel about building housing at CU-South. Apply your responses just to that property. If you think that the CU-South property is an inappropriate location for housing or dog parks, say “no.” If you also are unsure about what kind of housing or dog parks should or could be built at CU-South, say “no” as well, because the question doesn’t specify what kind. Luxury apartments?? Just for CU students and faculty? Affordable housing? Fenced in on-leash dog parks? Dogs running free dog parks?? You can’t tell. You can then respond in the text comment to explain why you are responding in the negative, calling out their "questionnaire" as biased.
Only the last question asks if people actually oppose annexation and development. Mark the answer that applies to how you feel. Then go to the comment box at the end where you can explain why you think this questionnaire isn’t a legitimate measure of public opinion.
If all of us do this, then we can delegitimize the questionnaire and make it impossible for the City to claim that they actually listened to the public. We don’t want to simply ignore the questionnaire. It is much more important to go ahead and respond, but do it OUR way. Not in a way that makes us complicit in a fraudulent process.
Thank you for your response,
The city has mailed the postcard to 7,000 residents mostly in south Boulder. If you want to email the city in response, please contact Phil Kleisler at KleislerP@bouldercolorado.gov, or Jean Gatza at GatzaJ@bouldercolorado.gov, or Sarah Huntley at HuntleyS@bouldercolorado.gov. It wouldn’t hurt to send copies of your comments to members of the City Council as well, at email@example.com.
Thanks for your continued support!
Harlin Savage and Margaret LeCompte on behalf of Save South Boulder
Dear Save SOBO Members,
This is your chance to ask questions of Phil Kleisler and "a representative of CU" about CU-South annexation issues. These "office hours" will be conducted virtually in groups of ten.
This was just announced on November 29 in the Daily Camera. The information below can be found at https://bouldercolorado.gov/planning/cu-south-annexation-office-hours.
We should all sign up and ASK QUESTIONS!!! See the SOBO (on our website, savesouthboulder.com) and Citizens' Campaign document for an analysis of problems which should be asked about--specifically, how the noted problems are going to be resolved PRIOR to the signing of an annexation agreement. If you can't find that document, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and one will be sent to you.
Please note that the problem of increased traffic in South Bulder as a consequence of CU's proposed new campus is NOT addressed in this document. If you are concerned about this problem, PLEASE ask CU and the staff how they are going to ameliorate it.
For the Citizens' Campaign and Save South Boulder
CU SOUTH ANNEXATION – OFFICE HOURSDrop in to learn and/or ask questions of city planner, Phil Kleisler, and a representative from the University of Colorado Boulder about this annexation application's process, terms, schedule, and/or updates. These office hours are designed for a small group of 10 people or less. Please sign up for only one session, so that all interested community members have an opportunity to participate. Currently, sessions are scheduled:
Contact city planner Phil Kleisler, at KleislerP@bouldercolorado.gov if you have questions about these office hours.
Want to learn more about this project, go to the CU South Annexation webpage.
Since we are about in the initial stages of the public engagement processes for the annexation negotiations over CU-South, the undersigned community members, who represent both Save South Boulder and PLAN-Boulder, felt it important to share with you our concerns that the process outlined is really inadequate, especially given the magnitude of the decision the City needs to make with regard to CU's demans for annexation. We have long been disatisfied with past engagement activities, and we felt we should both outline the bases for that disatisfaction and also make suggestions for how the activities might be improved--especially given the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We do understand that everyone is laboring under extreme difficulties right now; that's why some of our suggestions address those constraints specifically.
Attached is our critique of the public participation process being planned by the City's public engagement staff. It was stimulated by our viewing a diagram outlining the activities and stages in the participation process. That diagram is being used to explain to neighborhood groups how the process works. I am sorry that I can't attach the diagram; I've only seen it in hard copy. If there are other people on the staff that you think should see the document, please let me know.
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