Big profits for arms control, but the usual business for the unoccupied

Boulder’s $ 3 million plan to eliminate the homeless camp (still) doesn’t work

One year after the approval of $ 2.86 million for new spending on cops, park rangers and a special “cleaning” team, the number of camps and tents on public land continues to grow.

More than 389 camps have been “addressed”, officials wrote to Boulder City Council this week – the update was posted on page 566 of a 613-page package delivered during a week in which elected officials also considered controversial gun control measures – without to make a general difference in the number of people living unprotected.

“After a brief decline in early 2022, camping reports in April and May rose significantly beyond 2021 levels,” officials wrote. “The number of structures (ie tents, tarpaulins) in camps inspected by the cleaning team has also increased in recent months.

This has long been a problem for cities trying to remove people living on the streets who are simply moving elsewhere. In Boulder, the camps are concentrated near the Boulder and Gus streams. It is not clear how many unique personalities were represented in the 389 camps removed from the city; this information was not provided.

The approach is part of an 18-month pilot project designed to test the effectiveness of aggressive law enforcement and the need for continued funding. The city council approved the costs and plans in July 2021. Only two of the six police officers are recruited to the special “camp cleaning team” as the department is struggling with more than two dozen vacancies. Rangers designed to patrol city parks began work this month. There was some success, officials insisted. The in-house cleaning team spends five days a week beautifying the river’s corridors, freeing the short-term maintenance team for other maintenance. But spending on this team exceeded his budget by $ 53,695.

Most of the money allocated to relocations remains unspent: more than $ 1 million, mostly for hired cops.

The city is also facing a lawsuit from the ACLU in Colorado, two non-profit homeless service providers and three homeless people who do not have access to shelter and have received tickets under Boulder’s ban on tents and sleeping in public.

Do not carry your weapons in these cities

Boulder and Louisville underwent a historic set of gun control measures on Tuesday night, followed by Lafayette, Superior, Longmont and Boulder County.

The package of laws in question is similar but not identical in the six municipalities. In Boulder, elected officials unanimously agreed:

• Prohibition of assault weapons, cartridges with 10 or more rounds of ammunition and devices designed to increase the rate of fire;

• Raising the age limit for the purchase of firearms from 18 to 21 years;

• Prohibition of 3D printed weapons without serial numbers;

• Prohibition of open display of weapons in public places (all weapons must be in a locked, opaque box);

• Restrictions on concealed carrying in urban facilities, polling stations and protests, as well as a ban on concealed carrying without the permission of the property owner in places licensed to serve alcohol, hospitals, facilities providing mental health services or substance abuse, places for worship, sports venues, courthouses, financial institutions, day care centers and preschools and grocery stores;

• 10-day waiting period for the purchase of weapons, after inspection

Many members of the public testified to the importance
a waiting period to prevent suicides, which are usually impulsive actions.

State Representative Judy Amabile said her son tried to buy a gun during a mental health crisis. She managed to persuade the arms store not to sell it, but noted that there was no legal mechanism to prevent them from doing so.

“Even if we save a child,” she said, “I think it will be worth it.”

Boulder, in short

The city received a $ 4 million loan from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to help build a housing factory. The facility will build prefabricated houses for residents of Ponderosa Mobile Home Park in northern Boulder, replacing old and obsolete trailers.

The loan will be repaid over 10 years with the help of block subsidies for community development.

See you next Tuesday

Next week, the council will have another discussion on how and when to move local elections to even-numbered years, a proposal that received a majority but not unanimous support last month. There will also be a public hearing on the marking of an entire city block around the historic Glen Huntington Bandshell in the city center.

The last two meetings of Boulder City Council will be on Tuesday, June 14 and 21. The meetings are postponed to Thursday, July 14.

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This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

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