, 101 tweets, 11 min read
My Authors
Read all threads
Howdy (again) #Boulder: It's a double-dip council week.

Just a study session tonight, to prepare for the upcoming (Jan. 17-18) retreat. Nothing to share around this; I'm still working my way though board and commission feedback. So we'll just learn as we go tonight. Together.
Actually, scratch that. I have photos of all the big, ongoing projects council has on the agenda for 2020.
You'll notice: It's a lot.And members will presumably be adding to this at the retreat with new priorities.

Gonna be a busy year.
Getting started. Mayor Weaver (and Reporter Lounsberry!) are both still absent. It's a Sam-less week. Sad.
I'm actually not sure how much I'll be tweeting tonight, since this is just a planning session for the retreat. But anything interesting, I'll share.
This isn't important, but it amuses me: Council is re-taking their group photo bc they didn't like the first one.
Also, this meeting (and the retreat) is being facilitated by one of my favorite people that I don't actually know, Heather Bergman.
We're starting with "emergenetics" which is basically a form of personality testing, to see how each council member thinks, processes information, etc.
I'm going to be nice bc there's an expert on it yet, but I HATE all of these sorting/profile/personality things. Very little science behind them.
Rolling my eyes SO hard right now.
Apparently Emergenetics has "very good statistical rigor," so maybe I'll reserve my skepticism until I learn more.
Something I didn't know: You need to take a small break from work at least every 90 min bc your brain can't focus for longer than that.
OK I'm really going to stop tweeting now until we get back to actual council stuff.
LOL one council member is shy and reserved; the rest are more gregarious.

Three guesses who... (We don't actually know; the data is anonymous)
Brockett makes a funny: "Surprisingly, politicians like to talk."
3 council members are "forceful and driving"
2 are "easygoing peacekeepers"
and the other 4 are in the middle
Wallach asking a question and I think we know who one of the forceful and driving folks are...
"There isn't a profile that says this is what it takes to be an elected official," emergenetics expert says. "But having a well-rounded profile gives you a better shot."
Bergman adds that she's seen functional and dysfunctional councils with various types.
36% of council members are on the less-flexible side
36% in the middle
27% "welcome change"
OK, forget being nice. I HATE emergenetics, along with every other system that's tried to determine my personality type.

The only sorting quiz I like is for Hogwarts houses. Gryffyndor for life!
Well this doesn't bode well: "We're a group that deals more on ideals than solutions for things," Brockett says, looking at some emergenetics data.
Also not surprising for politicians.
Bergman touching on that a bit now, bc apparently members' list of *new* priorities is mega-long. Several times, folks have joked that it's 12 yrs of work.

She's asking council to think of how staff feels being asked to do all this work.
OK, we're moving on to board and commission feedback. I've actually been writing this story while the emergenetics stuff was going on.
18 groups gave feedback. I pulled out some major themes. Nearly half brought up climate change in some capacity (including the Downtown Management commission)
Several referenced the need to cut expensive and time-consuming red tape (including the Arts Commission)
TAB asked that their charter be amended so they could discuss how land use plays into transportation: "This restriction is part of a system that silos departments and boards, and effectively limits the ability of the city to reach our goals," including on climate change.
Several asked for more funding, obviously. Transportation funding was a big priority.
And a few asked for more authority, either for them or staff: BOZA (Board of Zoning Adjustment) asked that staff be given more discretion so fewer folks had to come to the board for simple projects
HAB wanted to break free of only sticking to council's workplace on housing issues. They want to become the "clearing house" or "filter" between council and the public on all things housing
Design Advisory Board wants to be looped into the concept review process, ideally after Planning Board weighs in.
Not as much drama in this year's letters; as you'll remember from 2019, there was *quite* the kerfuffle over WRAB's takedown of council's CU South flood design decision. boulderbeat.news/2019/01/09/dev…
The Arts Commission had some kind of dramatic language.

I'll let you know if council gets upset over anything shared in this year's letters.
Swetlik made a funny.
But his presentation reminded me of another theme: A couple boards (Uni Hill Commercial group, Parks and Rec Advisory Board, Downtown Mgt. Commission) referenced a need for more homelessness services in light of their impacts in those respective areas.
Young going over HAB recommendations, which included a faster regulatory process for affordable housing, and for small expansions to homes for middle-income families.

BOZA made a similar suggestion, she notes, so we may want to explore that.
Actually, she said: "There was a similar recommendation from BOZA, so I’m wondering how we may be able to extract some data and analyze and conceptualize some possible solutions."
TAB also had some interesting recommendations around parking, (some) shared by the Downtown Mgt. Commission: revamp our parking policies to focus on maximum allowed, not minimum required.

Also: Charge more for parking. Institute vehicle value tax and congestion pricing.
DMC also said we should charge more for parking.
Q from Yates: Anything you hear there that we should add to the workplan?
Young mentioning TAB's suggestion to overhaul EcoPass program. Bill Cowern, who in 5 days will no longer be the transportation director, is handling qs on that.
Many challenges to that after an RTD switch to utilization-based pricing. (Too pricey for just users' fares to support it without city subsidy.) Staff is exploring ways to do that; "longer path is to design city-based alternative" to RTD management.
"Obviously that would have significant financial impacts and be tied into our transportation needs unfunded needs discussion," Cowern says.
Carlos Hernandez will take over that job as of Jan. 13, 2020. There was a meet-and-greet for him today, and he said (roughly): I'm new. Have some patience with me. It will take me awhile to settle in and get things.
Wallach is bringing up the infrastructure needs brought up by WRAB. 100-yr backlog in the water/sewer infrastructure, based on current funding.

They recommended stepping spending up, which would mean even higher water bills. (Boulder has been increasing them for several yrs.)
Brockett jumps on another WRAB point: That there's no prioritization for flood projects in the city given limited funding. Council needs to do that, with an equity focus.
Brockett's other observation: The Arts Commission pretty firm wording about how difficult it is to permit art projects in Boulder. It's caused artists to just give up, the commission said.
"The City of Boulder takes a very long time trying to fit the square “public art” peg into the round “building permits” hole. For example, the latest public art projects have been reviewed as primary dwellings, accessory dwellings, and multi-use nonresidential buildings."
"The result of this surreal situation is that the City of Boulder’s permitting and review process seems to be “value engineering” the city’s public art program."
Direct quote from that letter.
Joseph notes that several groups referenced burdensome city process. Chris Meschuk addressing that: there is an ongoing citywide look at red tape to look for efficiencies.
Lots of time is spent on "resubmittals," he says.

Comprehensive review will take "next few years." But they are looking at art permitting right now.
Brockett: Are we also looking at changing requirements?
Meschuk: Yes. Those are things we've ID'd and we're finding a path. How do other communities handle public art from a regulatory standpoint? When does it require a building permit and when shouldn't it?
Young: Does that relate to the use tables project?
Meschuk: "In the end, it is almost a use. There may be a way to roll it into the project."
Brockett: Planning Board felt we should finish these projects as our highest priority.
Alpine Balsam
CU South
Use Tables
Parking Code/TDM
Community Benefits
East Boulder Area Plan
BVCP Update
"TAB also brought up parking reform. Are we moving forward on that?"
Yes, Meschuk says. "That will be a project that council will see here in 2020."
Gonna move into talking about leftover stuff from last council. It's a lot. Feels like they left so much with little room for anything new. This council *could* decide those aren't priorities (BUT that would probably frustrate staff, who have complained about that in the past.)
See this great story from Sam-era. dailycamera.com/2019/09/27/rep…
"It's a lot of work for staff to do all of these things," Jane Brautigam says. (Of the carryover items)
I think I am the *only* member of the public here. (Unless there's someone I can't see) Not even another reporter!

To be fair, it is a really boring meeting.
It actually makes me feel more like a city hall reporter. In a lot of towns, the reporter would almost always be the only member of the public in the room.
Bergman: You need to think about how much room is there in your schedule for "juicy new things" AND how much time staff has. "We've had this conversation at many retreats, particularly around planning staff." And many carryover projects *are* for planning.
Swetlik: I want staff to be able to answer questions on, if we take XX thing off, how much time will that free up?
Yates: Can we include some of that staff workplan in our materials for the retreat? Overlay it with the council agenda?

Brautigam struggling with that a bit.
But I think we arrived at, yes, we will get adequate analysis on that for the retreat.
Young wants info on how all of these impact the budget. One of the carryover items is a deep-dive into city financials.
Young: Last night I was at a neighborhood meeting. The topic was what to do about the encampment at Mapleton and 30th. Clearly, our strategy hasn't addressed that adequately.

Does our 2020 workplace address "that aspect" she asks, choosing her words carefully.
Include* that aspect, rather.
Kurt Firnhaber was also at that meeting. Damn, shoulda gone. All I did was wallow in sorrow at home.
But I have a two-meeting per week limit.
Firnhaber: "It wasn't intended to have a focus on encampments or on individuals who are coming through the city who are experiencing homelessness."
Young: "There were a lot of ideals thrown out last night. Where could we start? Could that be an additional workplace item?"
Firnhaber: "While we've had a lot of success in homeless strategy work, we haven't had as much success on encampments and folks who are traveling through the city. I think we need to put some more effort toward that."
Suggests a study session specific to that.

WHAT ABOUT ONE ON FAMILY HOMELESSNESS? HOMELESS KIDS? We don't really focus on them, and there are *hundreds* in BoCo.
Disclosure: I'm only aware of this bc of my work with EFAA, who pays me. They obviously advocate for more focus on family homelessness, so be aware I'm being paid to care about it.

I mean, I would care anyways. But I didn't know it was something to care about before.
Brautigam: The policies Swetlik and Friend brought up the other night are significant workplace items. Any focus on encampments is "going to be one of the major staff work items for the next two years," crossing many departments.
"It's fine, but I just want you to know it's going to be a big deal," she says.
Firnhaber: "A study session is one thing. What comes out of that study session can be a lot of things."
Swetlik: We don't want to take something off here that has a lot of sunk cost work. If it's 75% of the way complete and we just want to take it over the line.
Brautigam: "There's really nothing you can take off of there that is going to provide more ability for the homeless issue to do that."
Repeating Swetlik's suggestions for homeless services back to him. "It's just making that topic a bigger topic and including more people in it. If council wants to address that, you would be saying to us this is our signature goal and priority for the next two years."
"We're not going to be adding anything new and this is what we're going to be working on."
Staff is consolidating the list of priorities council members sent in. I didn't get a copy of that, like I did last year. It wasn't in the packet that I downloaded earlier today, sadly.
Yates: With carryover items, how full is our agenda? 60%? 80%? 20%?
Brautigam: 60-75% full
Brautigam: You've got 12 meetings in any given quarter. You've got 6-7 things up there for each quarter.
Apparently some council members have as priorities to not have meetings on fourth Tuesdays and to do a hard stop at 10:30, according to Young.

Brautigam: "Good luck with that."
Brockett: Assuming things that "just come up," we're probably 80% full.
Brautigam: Yes. We already know of a landmarking thing.
Bergman: Part of our retreat discussion is creating criteria for what's important enough in a new thing to bump off priorities.
Swetlik: It might be easy for some of you to lose pay for one meeting a month, a quarter of our pay, but for some of us it's not
Young wants to move it from a per-meeting pay to a per-month pay, which requires a vote of the ppl.
Friend: We should be thinking about the future of ppl who want to serve. "I wouldn't want to do anything that decreases pay and makes it less inviting."
Yates: If we can address the time commitment and the pay, which are two major obstacles, maybe we'll attract a more diverse group. Not that this group isn't, but there are ppl who are not around this table who could be.
Young wants to expand board and commission criteria to allow ppl who have "close ties" to Boulder, rather than *residing IN* Boulder.
To hopefully get more diversity.
When you've got to import diversity to your city boards and commissions, maybe it's a sign your city isn't diverse enough.
Just a thought.
Dang, I think we're adjourned early AGAIN.
This council is KILLING it.
See you next weekend, #Boulder!
oh and @threadreaderapp please unroll. Thanks!
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with Shay Castle

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!