Monthly Archives: July 2018

Reforming Boulder city government

(Submitted as a letter-to-the-editor of the Daily Camera in Boulder, CO.)

There is nothing new in what follows, but I believe it’s useful to keep the hope of real reform in the public eye.

I support these steps to make Boulder city government more responsive to the citizens:

1) Election of city council members by district, perhaps as many as four, with the balance elected at-large. Eight council members total.

2) Direct election of the mayor by voters, not in a backroom deal by city council.

3) Slashing city bureaucracy by half. What has it brought us in recent years, besides the municipalization debacle?

4) Creation of a Boulder Library District, a stand-alone public entity which can end the chronic underfunding of an important public service by city council.

5) Prioritization of basic city services like police and fire protection, and snow removal, in the city budget.

6) An end to the “feel good” policies which make Boulder a transient magnet, to the detriment of everyone else.

Others can add their own ideas; the aim should be to generate a real spirit of reform, leading to substantive actions!

Max R. Weller

Jabba the Hutt placed in solitary confinement at Happy Haven


By Max R. Weller

Yesterday afternoon, as I was sitting in the Colorado Room and playing on the computer, staff at Happy Haven FINALLY moved Jabba the Hutt to his new private room with oversize bed. I enjoyed a quiet, restful night for the first time in over six months. This morning, I completed the process of eradicating all traces of this 320-pound inbred hillbilly by tossing his bedpan and hospital personal belongings bag into the hallway (I believe he put used wipes into that bag, as it was on the floor next to the toilet), then I used a butter knife to scrape off all of the filthy and unsanitary duct tape he’d wrapped around the handrails in the restroom.

NO MORE CNAs answering his call light to change his diaper several times during the night, NO MORE hog-like grunting and groaning and angry, profane muttering against everything and everybody, NO MORE TV turned up loud until 2AM every night, NO MORE Jabba in my room or on my hall, either!

Image result for jabba the hutt  images

In sharp contrast, the new roommate is very laid-back, scarcely making a sound. Anyone in these trying circumstances of living in a long-term care facility deserves at least as much.

My new e-mail address:

‘Boulder rapist Christopher Lawyer could spend rest of life in prison after having parole revoked’


Copied below in its entirety:

By Mitchell Byars

Staff Writer

Convicted rapist Christopher Lawyer is headed back to prison, and could spend the rest of his life there, after officials revoked his parole Monday.

Lawyer, 43, appeared at the Washington County Jail in Akron on Monday morning for a hearing on several alleged parole violations out of California, where the court-designated “sexually violent predator” had moved after unsuccessful attempts to live in Boulder County.

The Parole Board ruled that Lawyer did, in fact, violate the terms of his release, and revoked his parole for the remainder of his term, which originally was an indeterminate sentence of 12 years to life, according to Colorado Department of Corrections spokesman Mark Fairbairn.

Lawyer still will be able to apply for parole, though Fairbairn said he did not know when Lawyer would next be able to apply.

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office wrote a letter recommending Lawyer’s parole be revoked, and Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said he spoke to the parole director and also had a deputy call into the hearing.

“His parole being revoked is the absolute right thing for our community,” Dougherty said. “Given his repeated conduct, he presents a very real danger to the community, and we’re grateful for all the efforts that went into his parole being revoked today.”

Boulder police Chief Greg Testa also attended Monday’s hearing to speak out against Layer’s release.

“Keeping our community safe is the police department’s primary responsibility,” Testa said in a statement after the hearing. “Over the last year, we have listened, provided information and worked to keep our community updated on Christopher Lawyer’s presence in our community. We understood and shared in our community’s concerns. It was out of these concerns that I have met with and written to the parole director on several occasions.

“This morning, I attended Mr. Lawyer’s parole revocation hearing, along with several others who provided input. I appreciate the parole board’s decision to revoke Mr. Lawyer’s parole, which will keep our community safer.”

This is Lawyer’s second parole violation. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail for his previous offense.

Lawyer was deemed a sexually violent predator — a label given by a judge or the parole board to sex offenders convicted of certain crimes and believed to be prone to reoffend — after he pleaded guilty in 2001 to first-degree sexual assault, second-degree assault and misdemeanor menacing in connection with the rape of a newspaper carrier.

Police in 2000 said Lawyer kidnapped a woman who was delivering newspapers at the Gold Run apartments in Boulder, forced her into her vehicle and taped her eyes and mouth shut.

Lawyer drove the woman to another location, raped her for more than an hour at gunpoint and attempted to make casual conversation afterward, saying he viewed it as a “normal date.”

The day before the rape, Lawyer forced his way into a University Hill home and attempted to rape a different woman. That woman was injured, but managed to escape.

He originally was sentenced to 12 years to life in prison, and was paroled in 2016.

Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, or


Kudos to Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa, a man I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, for taking a stance directly opposed to that of the people who run Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. 

Now, will Boulder City Council exert some pressure on BSH to stop sheltering other registered sex offenders, including child molesters, at their 4869 N. Broadway facility? Perhaps cutting off all city taxpayer funding would get the attention of Greg Harms and others:


Snowflakes hit the hot griddle!

Read the do-gooders’ self-absorbed sob story in the Daily Camera here: ‘Boulder wore me down’: They moved here to make the world a better place. Now they’re leaving 

Copied below in its melodramatic entirety:

Xi Wang hugs Zane Selvans as he chats with Boulder City Councilman Aaron Brockett at a going away party for Selvans at the Ingram Co-op in Boulder on

Xi Wang hugs Zane Selvans as he chats with Boulder City Councilman Aaron Brockett at a going away party for Selvans at the Ingram Co-op in Boulder on Thursday evening. Selvans, who long has been politically and civically active in Boulder, is moving away in frustration over the city’s anti-growth faction. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

By Shay Castle

Staff Writer

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify the rent increases during the time it took to pass Boulder’s new co-op ordinance.

It took 16 years to break Zane Selvans.

He moved to Boulder in 2002 after completing his Ph.D., drawn by the desire to fight climate change alongside people as fiercely committed as he to creating a better world.

He got involved in a number of civic and political causes, joined the city’s Transportation Advisory Board and advocated for many measures related to affordable housing.

Surely, he thought, his fellow green-minded citizens would agree that more density and fewer cars were necessary solutions to a global problem, ones that aligned with Boulder’s values.

Sixteen years later, Selvans has come to a different conclusion. “It was this long, stumbling realization that actually the city is full of (expletive).”

Come August, Selvans will no longer be a Boulderite. He’s given up on the People’s Republic and its high ideals of inclusivity and affordability that crumble in the face of a strong anti-growth faction.

Christina Gosnell packs up her bike shrine in her Boulder home on July 16. Gosnell is planning to move to Philadelphia.

Christina Gosnell packs up her bike shrine in her Boulder home on July 16. Gosnell is planning to move to Philadelphia. (Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer)

So has Christina Gosnell, a similarly engaged 10-year resident who was, until recently, a member of the city’s Environmental Advisory Board.

“I used to be very optimistic,” Gosnell said. “Boulder wore me down.”

Both were involved in the long struggle to legalize co-ops. Though the outcomes were positive, the drawn-out process was, for them, the latest in a series of bitter battles over housing that, in the end, only nibbled at the edges of a much larger problem.

In the four-plus years it took to pass the co-op ordinance, rents on average in Boulder County went up by some $500 each year. In 2011, 56.7 percent of residents were rent-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their household income on rent, according to Apartment List. By 2017, 60.3 percent were.

“Even the pro-housing, pro-development folks are not willing to contemplate solutions on the scale that would be required to address the problem we’ve created,” Selvans said. “It’s hopeless. It’s totally hopeless.”

Gosnell “got tired of being called a ploy and a puppet” for developers; tired, too, of watching friends move away when they could no longer afford to live here; tired of watching residents disparage renters, students and the poor in support of policies that slow growth and change — and yet divorce themselves from the real effects of those policies.

“When folks advocate against density in their neighborhood, they’re excluding people they purport to want here: artists and activists and all these people who make Boulder weird,” she said. “There’s a real human cost to saying no. I don’t feel this town actually, structurally wants me here.”

‘Not going to sacrifice my soul’

Gosnell chose Philadelphia from a handful of options because, among other things, one-third of the residents there don’t own a car. She bought a car for the move, to transport her and her partner’s five bikes. After she’s settled in, she’ll sell it.

Selvans is embarking on a global hunt for the perfect dense, walkable city that “doesn’t give a (expletive) about parking (and) where housing isn’t this inaccessible thing.” Zurich is at the top of his list. 

There is much they will miss about Boulder, aside from the strong social and support networks they have built up over a decade-plus. Where else can you take a bus to go mountain biking, or physically walk yourself out of the city and into nature?

They could stay, they admit, if they took higher-paying jobs and sacrificed some of their time now dedicated to advocacy efforts. But both are fiercely committed to remaining active in their respective spheres.

Said Gosnell, “I’m not going to sacrifice my soul to stay here.”

She has wrestled with feeling like she’s giving up on causes she believes in by moving away. But at the end of the day, she couldn’t afford to live here for as long as it would take to make a difference — a challenge her home-owning ideological opponents in the anti-development camp don’t face.

“Boulder is getting more unaffordable every minute we don’t do something about it, and can they afford to wait us out? Yeah. This is a game of attrition. They’re winning.”

‘Not happy to see anyone go’

Leonard May, a former Boulder Planning Board member often at opposite sides of the table from Selvans and Gosnell on development issues, said their active and engaged presence has been a benefit to Boulder.

“They are a productive part of the political landscape,” he said via email. “We don’t always agree on issues, (but) I’m not happy to see anyone go.”

Gosnell is hopeful that others will take up the cause on behalf of the baristas and janitors who can’t leave, but will continue to be pushed farther and farther away from the city they serve. Selvans takes a different view.

To those who want to keep up the fight, he said, move somewhere you might actually do some good. Every city has workers who would benefit by more progressive housing policies; take your talents there, he said.

“The same amount of work and striving and political acumen you would have to pour into this place to (change) even a little bit could do much more in another place,” he said. “Let (Boulder) become Palo Alto — a sterile, horrible place filled with old grumpy hippies and bro-grammers. Go make other cities great.”

Shay Castle: 303-473-1626, or


How can anyone live in the Boulder Bubble for so many years, be actively involved with local powers-that-be, yet fail to understand that this city and county are ALL about protecting the interests of the wealthy white elites? And they have such an inflated view of their self-worth in the Grand Scheme of Things that it boggles the mind! (In that sense, Selvans and Gosnell ARE typical Boulderites.)

Boulder will be better off for their absence . . .