Shay Castle Profile picture
Jan 27 74 tweets 10 min read
Hey, all, it's about time for the #Boulder city council meeting. Reminder: Tonight council will be voting on the recommended new members for the Police Oversight Panel.
As a recap: Police chief, union and some residents are opposed to two appointees who have been critical of the police in the past, and expressed support for the Defund the Police movement and/or interest in the Abolish the Police movement.
They (police folks) say this makes these 2 ppl biased against police, and therefore incapable of weighing alleged misconduct of individual officers.
Supporters of these appointees (and the appointees themselves) say they are critical of policing and want it to perpetuate less harm on historically impacted communities, but that doesn't mean they hate all individual police officers.
Also: This vote has been delayed 2X, and 2 appointees (not the ones in question) have already withdrawn, forcing 2 folks from the alternate and applicant list to be bumped up.

First delay was to have selection committee reaffirm their choices (they did); 2nd was due to complaint
Complaint by a resident was against the selection committee, alleging they didn't follow the rules in appointing members without bias.

Folks who wrote the rules said that "bias" was meant to cover marginalized groups (racism, sexism, etc.) — not cops.
They also say this amounts to, essentially, the cops choosing who can and cannot oversee them.

In any case, the rules governing the POP will likely need to be written to clear up these conflicts.
They were going to be revisited anyway bc POP members say they're not accomplishing much: they are afraid of retribution (somewhat reasonably, I'd say, given the complaint) and limited by their own founding rules.
Did I get it all?
I did forget something! Council also deciding how to proceed with the investigation into the complaint tonight. They *have* to have it investigated, but it can either be internal to the city org, or independent/outside (I think).
They're going special counsel: Claybourne M. Douglas
He's been used before for outside investigations into city matters.…
I think it would be a conflict for me to investigate this, city attorney Theresa Tate says.
Vote is 7-2 to appoint that person. Joseph against, Speer abstaining. Abstentions count as yes, so technically it's 8-1.

"I was not in favor of holding this meeting tonight" and I'm opposed to this, Joseph says.
"I'm concerned about the intimidation factor of having a complaint like this come in," Speer says. "I don't see protections" for the panel and its appointees; we've already seen another withdrawal. The POP and appointees "are already putting themselves at risk for intimidation."
Now onto the motion to approve (or not) the appointees.
Tate gonna talk about some legal findings related to this: "Given a little more time, I was able to track down a memo" requested by former monitor Lipari and panel co-chairs RE: what constitutes a quorum.
Totally forgot this bit, but if new members aren't approved, POP won't have quorum so can't meet.

There was a question about that last week, but Tate confirms that is the case: they need 6 members, and they won't have that without new ones.
Aimmee Kane, city equity manager and kinda, sorta helps with the POP, giving an update: "I think this delay and lag is starting to lose momentum for folks, as Nicole (Speer) mentioned." That's RE: the second withdrawal of an appointee.
Kane: "We were down to 5 panel members, 2 of whom have withdrawn. We need 6 members to continue the work. We will not meet quorum if this does not go through today."
It's not just about the meetings, Kane says. We need to train new members. "That's a heavy lift."
Mayor Brockett starts by asking: Does anyone want to delay this vote again? No one does.

Current panelists are cycling out Feb. 9
So they're voting. "As we get into that, just a couple of background words. This has been a pretty long road to create the POP," Brockett says, reminding folks of the history. "Clearly we've had some kinks since we started, and I think we as an org" need to "continue to refine."
That work will happen, Brockett says.
New police monitor also coming on in the next 3-4 weeks.
Speer makes a motion to approve the appointees.
It is seconded by Friend.
But first, we have questions.
Speer, starting with a q that is really making a point: Does the POP, or any member thereof, have the authority to eliminate the Boulder Police Dept or affect their budget? Or discipline or remove individual officers?
Kane: No. They make recs only.
Those were 2 separate qs and answers, btw. They have 0 say on police budget or eliminating it. They DO make recommendations on discipline, but the final say is the police chief's.
Shawn Rae, founding member, going over all the criteria for POP members. (You can find some of those in here):…
"We did look at the criteria of bias," Shawn Rae says. "To that point, bias is very challenging to define in terms of police oversight. There is an idea that if you're looking to oversee the police, that you are against the police. That is not necessarily the case."
"There are ppl on the police staff and in the community that would like to have better policing, and better does not mean anti," Shawn Rae says. "We did look at those criteria as well."
Joseph: Will the POP keep doing their work while the complaint is investigated?

Reminder, the complaint is against 2 members of the panel and 2 reps from nonprofits who made up the selection committee (NAACP, El Centro Amistad)
Tate makes that distinction then says the panel will continue its work if it has quorum.
Speer: The POP doesn't have power over its police dept or its employees. They're making suggestions and making complaints. Most of the time, they're suggestions the police chief agrees with.

It's not bias to include ppl on the panel who understand that all of our systems...
... not JUST policing" have historically and systemically harmed certain communities, including people of color, Speer says.
Friend did plan to abstain, but it sounds like that is changing, especially since she seconded it.

"I want to reject the categorizations of pro- and anti-police" beliefs, she says. "I am pro good policing and bad anti policing."
sorry, "anti bad policing"
mixed that one up there.
So correct quote: "I am pro good policing and anti bad policing."
"We can both recognize the need for oversight and appreciate our officers," Friend says. "I think the community issue that is the crux seems to be bias. I really wish that word was not in our ordinance."
When it comes to other groups, we look for bias, Friend says: Pro cycling infrastructure; pro muni, etc. "We all have biases, and the fact that we have those biases can be OK as long as it does not interfere with us acting impartially."
Friend: "I imagine that all panelists we have seated — in the past, in the present, in the future — have biases." I trust these appointees to be fair and impartial.

Again restating her opposition to council being part of the appointment process.
I think this v public controversy has added harm, Friend says. "We need to do several POP fixes, and council not reviewing" these appointees need to be one of them. "It's been humiliating for some applicants and other members of the community."
Friend: "I thought about abstaining from this vote to emphasize how important this point is to me, but I've never ducked out of a hard vote. So I'm a yes."
Wallach: "I happen to agree with a good deal of what Rachel (Friend) said ... although I have come to a different conclusion."

"We have been presented with flawed candidates resulting from a flawed process."
"It's simply impossible to argue" that some of these applicants meet the requirement for absence of bias, Wallach says, given their public statements. "Neither apologists nor those reflexively antagonistic" to the BPD belong on this panel.
Wallach: "Be careful what you wish for. We will diminish the panel in credibility" by voting in these appointees. Their future recommendations will "largely be seen as the biased decisions of a biased panel."
Benjamin: "This is clearly an advisory group, but what has happened recently is really a stress test. ... That shows there are some fractures in the foundation." We need to fix those, "bc it's in all of our best interests" for the POP to succeed.
Benjamin: I hope our new police monitor can "really come quickly with some recommendations ... as soon as humanly possible" to fix the ordinance governing the POP.
"I think we can fly the plane and fix it at the same time," Benjamin says, so he's supporting the appointees.
Winer echoing Benjamin ("sometimes tension is good"; this shows us we have work to do) but reaches a different conclusion. "I believe we need more clarity" around what bias means "before we move further."
The role of the POP is "to ensure that historically excluded communities" have a say in police oversight, Winer says, so it's natural that "we will get people with strong feelings" about the police. The q is: Does that sometimes go too far?
Winer believes the selection committee's deliberations on new members should maybe not be confidential. "Open meetings are a good thing, as I learned this week." (She's talking about the high utilizer meeting that was opened up.)
"I strongly believe we need to fix things first," Winer says, even tho it will delay the work of the POP. "I feel like we need to take the time to fix this ahead of time."
So she's voting no, if that wasn't clear.
Yates: We had high hopes when we set this up in 2020. Some of those have been met, "but unfortunately not everything has gone as expected." There has been a lot of confusion, we've had member resignations and we lost our first monitor.
Forgot to say above RE: Winer's point that deliberations of the selection committee are not public, per city ordinance.
Yates' vote against hinging on the appointees' "real or perceived bias, prejudice or conflict of interest" which is the code language. The selection committee didn't explain how these nominees met that criteria, which council asked for in its first delay.
"To me, the process appears to have failed. The selection committee either did not comply with city law, or they failed to explain how they did so," Yates says.
Repeats Wallach's words about the "diminished stature" of the POP in the eyes of some community members, who will now believe it is inherently biased.
"If it appears to some the deck is stacked, the deck will simply be ignored."
Also calls for clarifying expectations for the POP this year.
Joseph: "I am a little bit troubled by this conversation, from beginning to end. I hear things from both Bob (Yates) and Mark (Wallach)."
Investigating the selection committee, Joseph says, "that whole process is demoralizing. When somebody is being investigated by an employer, they tend to put them on administrative leave, so I just don't know how" the POP can continue its work.
Joseph: "I do believe this whole process will have a chilling effect on members. ... Either this body is independent, or it's not. The way we've engaged on this selection process shows that it is not. It really doesn't have the ability to pick or choose for itself."
"And when it does, anybody can just ... put forward a complaint," Joseph says. "Here we are, some of us are saying, 'Yes we do believe there's a problem, but we're voting yes.' So that's a bit of a conflicting message, for me."
Joseph: "Ultimately, it is the community who suffers."

"It's not about whether we love the police or not; it's about fairness." Was the process fair? And if this body is truly independent, then we trust them and say, OK, it was.
Folkerts: I'm going to focus on the issue of bias, "a difficult thing to judge." It's defined in the dictionary as opposing a person "in an unfair way." Prejudice is defined as an "unfair or unreasonable opinion, especially when informed without enough thought or knowledge."
My job is to determine if these expressions (of the nominees) are unfair or unreasonable, Folkerts says. Given the actions of the police, I don't think these views are unfair or unreasonable. I support the appointees and moving them forward.
Brockett: I'm tempted to say 'ditto' to what Friend said.
So that seems like a 6-3 vote to support the POP appointees. They didn't formally vote yet, but they've expressed their support or opposition, so that's how it will turn out.
Brockett: What we're dealing with tonight is not about the value of the POP or the police dept; it's about these candidates and allowing the oversight panel to continue its work. It's an advisory group, "and that advisory group needs" a range of opinions on it.
It's OK to have strong opinions as long as the panelists can be impartial and fair in evaluating the facts of the case, Brockett says. I do believe these people have the ability to do that.
Brockett: "The panel needs to function; it has important work to do." It can't do that without these members.

Also echoing statements about needing to refine the ordinance governing the POP.
Final, official vote is 6-3, with Yates, Wallach and Winer dissenting. POP appointees are now officially panelists.
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More from @shayshinecastle

Jan 26
I was at the High Utilizer meeting yesterday, the one that initially WAS closed but then open to the public. Every news outlet in town was there, so I'll let them handle the stories. I'll just thread some observations.
Who spoke: BoCo sheriff, DA, BoCo commissioner Claire Levy, city attorney, city HHS head, police chief, staffer from Rep. Neguse's office.

Tara Winer was there, but she didn't sit on the panel.
There were a few more homeless advocate-type folks there, since the meeting was open to the public. And 2, maybe 3 people with lived experience, which is (sadly) pretty typical.
Read 35 tweets
Jan 20
OK, I'm back bc Speer is asking about a meeting happening next week that includes two Boulder city council members (Wallach and Winer) with lots of community members, including many from Safer Boulder, over the issue of "high utilizers"...
that is, unhoused people who frequently "use" the cops, courts, jail and the emergency room.

This is a term from the homelessness world, but the group insists they aren't talking about homelessness: They're talking about folks with criminal records and/or substance use issues...
... specifically, as a subset of the unhoused population.

Anyway, back to the meeting. It's being held at the Chamber (but they are not sponsoring it; just letting their space be used) and the list of attendees has a lot of powerful folks on.
Read 20 tweets
Jan 20
First off, former mayor Matt Appelbaum and longtime library advocate Joni Teter (and former Planning Board member) are donating a house to Boulder's affordable housing program.

Did you know you could do that?…
"We kinda hope this donation doesn't happen for a while," Appelbaum jokes. "We'd like to stick around Boulder for many years."
"We consider ourselves incredibly lucky to be able to do this, and we never thought we would be able to. We both came from humble backgrounds, but I came to Boulder 45 years ago when normal people could get into the housing market. That hasn't been true for some time now."
Read 5 tweets
Jan 20
At Boulder City Council tonight, at least for a little bit. They're going to approve or reject the police oversight panelists tonight.…
They've scheduled 30 min for this discussion, which I think is optimistic. I imagine open comment will also be full of commentary on this.
For folks on Mastodon, I'll try to properly thread this so I don't overwhelm you, but no promises!
Read 89 tweets
Dec 16, 2022
Next: Use tables. Basically, what we're allowed to build/operate where in the city.

Boulder has been updating these rules for, like, at least 3 years now.…
This phase is focusing on industrial zones.
There are essentially 3 of these in Boulder:
- Gunbarrel
- East Boulder
- North Boulder
Basically, updates to these are trying to
1.) Simplify them (they're insanely complicated and hard to follow)
2.) Make them better match Boulder's comp plan policies - which mainly means allowing more housing
Read 44 tweets
Dec 16, 2022
We've got the first speaker on the Police Oversight Panel nominations tonight. Jennifer Rhodes asking that Lisa Sweeney-Miran not be appointed.

Sweeney-Miran is one of 6 applicants chosen by the selection committee.
1. Danielle Aguilar
2. Maria Soledad-Diaz
3. Madelyn Strong Woodley
4. Sam Zhang
5. Lisa Sweeney-Miran
6. Talithia Cason
The selection committee is two nonprofits: El Centro Amistad and the NAACP of Boulder County
Read 45 tweets

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