Regina Cowles: Proponents should stick to civil debate

Recently, the proponents of the two anti-growth ballot issues, measures 300 and 301, have taken to spending much of their time attacking those of us who are speaking out against these measures. Much of this is in the form of ad hominem attacks against individuals who write to the newspaper opposing these issues. In addition, much of it has been in the form of claims that the opposition is just developers and their pawns.


As the campaign manager for One Boulder, the coalition working to defeat these damaging ballot issues, I can assure you that these claims are simply untrue. One Boulder is one of the broadest coalitions I have ever seen in Boulder. It unites environmental activists, human services non-profits, affordable housing groups, young people who want to have a place in our community, small businesses, high-tech entrepreneurs, good government types, elected officials, — and, yes, developers too.


It beggars the imagination to hear supporters claim that opponents like Claire Levy, Matt Appelbaum or Bob Morehouse are pawns of big business. Did the Boulder Daily Camera, Boulder’s Human Services Alliance, Attention Homes and Elephant Journal, oppose 300/ 301 because they were bought off by developers? Is that why the Boulder Weekly and the Sierra Club declined to support either 300 or 301? Is that why six mayors have asked the community to consider the severe TABOR-like repercussions of these issues? Perhaps the more rational explanation is that these are divisive, poorly-written ballot issues that would harm our economy, devastate the city budget, hurt our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and largely end any real effort to provide housing affordable to people like teachers and firefighters.


One Boulder has received over 200 contributions, the vast majority under $100, from residents all over Boulder. Now, it is certainly true that there have been some large checks written to support this effort, some from architecture and development firms, some from local small businesses and entrepreneurs. We are grateful for their support in recognizing how destructive these measures are for Boulder. The proponents have had months to get their messages out, yet we have only organized in the last two months, so have had our work cut out for us in getting information and facts out to the community.


The proponents are far better funded than they try to appear. They attacked One Boulder for conducting polling last month — without ever revealing that they conducted very similar polling several months ago, before the issues were formally on the ballot, so they did not have to report this as a political expense. The author of these ballot issues, Steve Pomerance, just sent a letter that appears to have gone to most registered electors, but did this as a personal expense, again avoiding reporting it as a campaign expenditure. The poll and letter cost plenty of money — and were likely paid for by just one wealthy person, but with no public transparency. Perhaps the proponents could put their own house in order before throwing stones, and stick to civil debate on the issues instead of ad hominem attacks?


One Boulder believes that a no vote on these measures is a vote for a vital, flexible Boulder future. Let’s not divide Boulder up into 66 neighborhoods. Let’s not expose Boulder to prolonged and costly lawsuits. Let’s continue to manage our growth responsibly, working together as one community to meet our environmental, housing and transportation goals.


Please visit us at and join us on Facebook and Twitter to check out the growing list of our supporters who are saying vote no on 300 and 301.
Regina Cowles is manager of One Boulder’s campaign against ballot issues 300 and 301.

Originally Published by Daily Camera on October, 24 2015