Hoping for a 5-min break between topics but I'm not holding my breath.
Alas, we are moving right along. But to a v interesting topic! Boulder's first racial equity plan: www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/Racial_Eq…
It's important to remember why we're here, says Aimee Kane: "To support people" — specifically, people who have traditionally been shut out of the gov't process.
Race is the current best predictor for disparities today, she says.
For example: In 2015 the median family income for Latino city residents was $33,810. For white families, the median income was $113,920

The high-school graduation rate for white city students is 93.8%, but for Latino students the rate is 77.2%.
Making a point about Equality vs. Equity — with bicycles!
Also something I didn't know, which I learned from the packet: “On May 18, 1932, Boulder County Commissioners passed a resolution funding the deportation of Mexican families to the U.S.-Mexico border.”
The KKK also had a strong presence here around that time.
Many of you might be wondering: Does this plan address Boulder's housing policies? One of the best examples of how a city policy that isn't about race can perpetuate racial inequities.
And yes, it does! It goes over the history a bit.
From the packet: In 1928, Boulder adopted single-family zoning and relocated “obnoxious industries" (read: unskilled labor”) to the outskirts of the city
Also from the packet:
Some ways the city government has strengthened and increased racial inequity include:
Heigh Restrictions "permanently limits the amount of available housing in the city, thus directly harming low-income families."
"The Green Belt – Buying up the open space around Boulder in an effort to preserve nature creates restricted movement in and out of Boulder and drives up cost of housing due to limited residential parcels."
"Zoning – Designating mobile homes to the exterior of the city limits and not providing water results in segregation by income."
"Gentrification – Destruction of some older homes to get rid of unsightly, unkempt buildings to preserve natural landscape, without replacement of housing displaces marginalized communities."
In terms of specific goals or strategies for the plan, housing isn't called out per se, but several strategies include assessing and changing city policies with racial / equity implications / effects
Feedback from the working group / other stakeholders on the plan was, broadly: it looks good, but is Boulder actually going to act on this plan?
A fair question, given that Boulder's work on racial equity stretches back to 2005 at least.
Who were the various stakeholders the city met with?
CU Diversity and Inclusion Summit
Human Relations Commission
Latina Community Members
Leadership Fellows Boulder County
NAACP Boulder County
Nepali Community Members
Recovery Equity Connectors
Sabrina Sideris’ CU Class
SUMA Cultural Brokers
Youth Opportunities Advisory Board
I should amend my previous tweet about housing policy to include land use... some of the examples the city gave for inequitable policies are really those of how we use our land, not specific to housing (like the green belt)
I think from here I'll stick to tweeting the discussion as it happens, throwing in contest as I can. Kinda tricky to cover plans at such a high level.
A "deep sense of respect" is what stands out to me among the member of the racial equity working group, says Nikhil Mankekar, former human relations commission chair.
Maria Murillo, another working group member: "This has been my passion for many years. ... This is so important to me. My children, even though they grew up here, they prefer to live in Europe" bc of the diversity and inclusion.
I couldn't tell if she said it IS or ISN'T city council's job to "make sure every citizen" feels included and acknowledged. But she DID say not every elected official does the right things.
She's inviting all council members to go dancing — when the pandemic is over, of course.

I'd pay to see that.
The first thing I'm going to do post-pandemic is go dancing and HUG EVERYBODY.*

*who wants to be hugged
Murillo: "We understand not everybody is ready to embrace something like this. But they don't have to. ... "We have 20 is plenty"... let's do the same for racial equity.
Let's make it known that this is the way the city of Boulder does business, she says.
Murillo: I think the incident with Zayd Atkinson and the police "was a big wake up call for many." And data like the disparity in median income between white and Latinx residents... people don't know that, she says.
"People who are not affected by that sometimes don't realize that is true," Murillo says. It's like "a call from the doctor" — you didn't know something was wrong, but now you do and you will fix it. Or maybe you won't.
Ingrid Castro-Campos (another working group member) is the latest to touch on cultural brokers: people who are connecting various communities to services, programs, organizations, etc. Often informal and unpaid, but sometimes not.
Boulder County is big on cultural brokers (but by no means perfect). The office of emergency management leans on them quite heavily. And they have been integral to get messaging/info out during the pandemic.
Castro-Campos: It's not only city council; it's every resident of the city who shares the responsibility of doing this work.
As part of this working group, "I was able to experience that hope of a brighter future that a Latina in Boulder County needs. I just need it," Castro-Campos says.
Going over the engagement process right now. What's already been done, not what's coming up.
"To be frank, while we did see that hundreds of community members were viewing the project on Be Heard Boulder, only a handful" were interacting with it, Ryan Hanschen says. (city employee) Small events were more successful.
Going through some of the feedback from stakeholder events was very interesting. One person (none of the comments were attached to names) said that Nepalese residents don't feel included in conversations about race and equity at the city level.
They feel very excluded from the city government, this person said. The city did hold a Nepali-specific feedback session as part of this work. "Many" participants had never interacted with the city before, Hanschen says.
What we heard, Hanschen says, is "that a plan on paper is a good start, but it's only that: A good start."
People want to know how this plan will drive outcomes, he says. "Frankly, some skepticism about translating good intensions into effective, life-changing policy were surfaces."
The big outcome ppl want to see is summed up thusly: "The City of Boulder WILL advance racial equity by
ensuring that its policies, programs and practices are
free from institutional and systemic racism."
Emphasis was the city's, with a bold "will"
I went the all caps route.
One member of the public said a desirable outcome would be "That POC would feel comfortable enough to move to Boulder AND that they could afford to do so."
Emphasis theirs.
To the outcome end, the city has set a series of goals (which then have various strategies to achieve them)
Layers upon layers
Anyway, here's my paraphrasing of the goals
1. Normalize understanding of systemic racism among city staff, council, board and commission members, volunteers

2. “Take action to end racial disparities in city services”

3. Collab with community org, members

4. Build and maintain trust with community members of color
5. Eliminate barriers to participation, build diverse workforce
Feedback on Goal 2 (Actually do something about it) included that the city needs to dedicate funding to these efforts.
Other feedback: It's important that this work not rely on community members of color. Many are "tapped out."
Hanschen on feedback from stakeholders: "Overall, it was really encouragement to slow down. That change happens at the speed of trust."
LOL this anecdote Hanschen shared from a Latina participant. She put "Girl Scout" on her kid's resume (for something). White parents were putting "entrepreneur" or "social manager" experience for being in Girl Scouts.

White parents are too much.
The racial equity plan will return to council Feb. 16 for adoption. Thereafter, it will be updated every ~3 years.
Now we're turning to council discussion, which is where the REAL fun starts.
Swetlik: I think the community did a great job of pointing out we need to see the accountability ... bc otherwise the plan doesn't much matter. ... That's what the community is looking for" — how the plan improves things overall.
(He's on the guiding coalition for this project)
Friend: Where does our unhoused population fall in terms of race? It does tend to be more non-white ppl who are unhoused? (Boulder did maps of race/ethnicity by geographic area.... but only for housed ppl)
To be fair, they used Census data so they're a bit constrained by what they can present. But they can def get some kind of breakdown of race/ethnicity among unhoused residents; even some basic count.
Brockett: The feedback we got was very important about how are we going to tell how we're doing? In the final plan, I'd like to see a more fleshed-out list of how we'll measure how we're being successful... or not being successful.
Castro-Campos: In several of our sessions, measurements came up. A lot of the time, it was that "qualitative data is often under-appreciated." We need quantitative data, but we should compliment it with lived experience.
"Culturally, there are differences in how things can be measured and shared," she says.
Brockett: One of the things driving lack of access among the undocumented or immigrant community is fear that interacting with public health, say, could lead to their information being shared with immigration officials.
He thinks we should add language to the plan that is specific to those factors and inequities.
"That's real in immigrant communities," says Joseph, herself an immigrant from Haiti. They fear it will be used against them in getting a green card, etc.
Joseph asked how to access data of some kind (I missed it) and says she doesn't know.
"We don't have it," Kane says. That's part of this work, is realizing what we're missing. "That's us, not you."
Maybe it was the racial/ethnic makeup of boards and commissions...? That's something I've wanted to know. It's doable; it would just take a TON of time.

I *did* track it for new appointees in 2020, but that's all I know.
I could be wrong, though. Like I said, I missed what exactly Joseph was asking for.
Wallach: "I'm fully supportive of let's say 99% of what you've written in the draft report."
But he has an issue with the calling out of Boulder's policies that drive racial inequity (green belt, height limit, etc.)

Gentrification is not a city program, he says. That's driven by private property owners, he says, and we "gnash our teeth" over it.
He doesn't like the calling out of the height limit and green belt.

"This language was accompanied by no supportive analysis. Is there any?" Or is it just calling out policies that drive up housing prices? he asks.
If the latter is the case, why didn't we call out other policies, like Boulder's being a regional job center? Or our environmental goals? Those add costs.
Wallach: Listing these "implies that we should have a solution." Do you have one? If not "why not?" You're ID'ing these as primary sources of government-caused racial inequity.
"Frankly I find the language to be a bit misplaced and unfortunate and I would urge you to reconsider its placement in this document."
Kane: This is some ways city gov't have exacerbated racial inequity.

"These may not have been intended to create racial inequity as explicitly... but these impacts are shown to limit access to people of color."
"It's an example of good policy that leads to disparate impacts."
Wallach: "I really don't think the language reflects the comment you just made" about it being a good policy that has unfortunate impacts. "I think that would be appropriate."
"I think Boulder can walk and chew gum at the same time." I think it can continue to strive for racial equity on all fronts and stay progressive and ... something else, Wallach says.
"I don't think that language as it exists would be the way to go."
Brockett going to respond to that.
Brockett: "I think it's good to have mention of this in there. I think there's a couple pages of history of the city of Boulder with respect to racial history called out some difficult and negative thing that have happened in the past."
"It's an important to have an acknowledgement that some of the policies the city has implemented while they have been successful in some ways, they have contributed" to racial inequity.
Wallach: "I thought the history of racially inequitable policies in Boulder's history was terrific. Quite comprehensive and a little dismaying, obviously. The issue here is a little bit different, I think."
"Yes there are policies that can raise the cost of housing but there are many values in Boulder. And one of which, has been for 50 years, is that we highly value our open space." (Wallach)
"I think you need to make a distinction between policies that are intended to strengthen racial inequity and policies that raise housing prices." And therefore automatically rises to the level of a policy that drives racial inequity.
"It needs to be accurate and reflective of the reality," Wallach says.
Brockett again: "The document doesn't state it was done with the intent to create racial inequity. Realizing how some well-meaning policies do end up in racial inequity is an important part of acknowledging" that inequity.
Weaver: This is a long-standing debate about what policies raise housing prices and therefore inequity. "What I would say is, we need more on the list, if that's what we're going to do."
Weaver: This history is well-researched and footnoted. Each of these four bullet points reference affordability of housing as its primary negative consequence.
But the increasing number of good-paying jobs is left out, Weaver says. That's a result of a "conscious decision to position ourselves" as a regional job center.
"It's debatable to whether it actually serves" becomes nothing in the actual document addresses land use, Weaver says. If we want to include land use, "we have to be more thorough and balanced."
"If we want to touch that debate," Weaver says, "we need to at least tread with care."
Friend: "The historical context is important. ... It would be good to get this all on the table and have a real dialogue about it."
Young: "Here's my concern with this. As we can see this has sparked quite a debate on council. What I would like to have this document do is bring ppl along ... and unite us around addressing racial inequities."
"If we have a section in the document that is not foot-noted, as is the historical piece ... we run the risk of alienating along the division of this debate and losing the support of a lot of ppl in this community."
"That would be a real sad outcome of including this without adequate research and footnotes," Young said.
"If it turns out this document basically divides us and loses support along the divisions we've experienced for so long, it would be a real missed opportunity," Young says.
So she's not saying pull it... she's saying add research and foot notes. There is PLENTY about how housing/land use policy drives racial inequity.
Mankekar (who's been waiting to speak for awhile) suggests we add to the plan specific concerns about equal access to emergency response. It's a significant issue, he says.
Indeed, we've heard about this in the past when the fire dept updated its master plan, for example. Or in stories of disaster response: Not everyone views police knocking at their door the same, Mankekar points out.
Castro-Campos: "The conversation on housing is so valuable. It's important to look at who is participating in those conversations. .... The foundation work and the history is so important to understanding the consequences and the reality."
Isn't the jobs thing kinda covered by gentrification? That is, higher-earning ppl move in when the high-paying jobs come, and that displaces people...?
Granted, the city only talked about the physical tearing down of spaces, not the gradual (but incredibly steep) increase in housing prices and rent.
The question is if/how economic policies contribute to racial inequity.... and what control Boulder even has over that at a local level. What are you supposed to do... try to encourage a stagnant economy? End capitalism in the city limits? It's unclear to me.
But I'm interested (genuinely) on if that has a place in this discussion, since our economic system was literally built on slavery and exploitation. Of course, that's bigger than Boulder... how do you make that local?
Joseph, going back to the controversy: "That history was hard to read. ... The wording is very important. At the end of the day ... we are trying to bridge a gap."
"We all look at the world through different lenses. We want to acknowledge the past but not in a way that is inflammatory and further divides us. ... I don't think it was difficult bc it was a difficult history. It was difficult bc of the way it was worded."
"What lessons have we learned from these quote-unquote neutral policies? ... I think that's a lesson some are learning. These policies were neutral in some people's eyes" but their impact was disproportionate, Joseph says.
Joseph: You mentioned this history, but you didn't put that into the strategies and goals. You need to say here's what we learned and here's what we're doing to change that.
Yates: I share the concern that these examples were "gratuitous and incomplete."

There's dozens and dozens of land use policy decisions we make ... it was curious these 2-3 were picked out of the area and the others were ignored.
"I think this is a dangerous path to go down. If you really feel strongly you need to call out land use changes, I would do it more generically and say 'land use policies have consequences' without calling out specific ones."
"My vote would be to take it out entirely," Yates says. If you want to say something generic like decisions have consequences, "that's great."
Brockett: "One more statement about this passage. ... I would hope we would find a way to include the substance and the intention ... with some backup and footnoting, etc. etc. "
"A point I want to make when you're dealing with issues of racial inequity ... having some ppl be uncomfortable with where you go should not be a disqualifier. These are tough issues. We've got to be willing to have the hard discussions."
Young: "I still say we run the risk of alienating a lot of members of the community."
"This work is real important to me and I don't want to see it disregarded ... because of this particular section," Young says. Maybe we can "add things in" as the community "gains more understanding."
Young: "Let's add in all of the land use decisions if that's where we're going to go."
Friend: Can we maybe devote work of the guiding coalition to this? (That's Friend, Joseph, Brockett, Swetlik and Young)
I think that's a wrap on this discussion, apart from closing comments. Which will all be in the vein of "aren't we so great" so I'm not really interested.
Actually there wasn't too much of that.
Anyway, that's it for tonight. All the action was at the end. How ever will I get to sleep now??

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More from @shayshinecastle

9 Dec
First regular biz tonight: Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Here's the staff presentation: www-static.bouldercolorado.gov/docs/Boulder_P…
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I know how ya'll love a good planning process.
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Council will OK that profile tonight
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