City council on Tuesday delayed a discussion about rising methamphetamine use in Boulder, as well as a controversial request from staff to allocate nearly $1 million to increase removal of homeless encampments.
Citing the lengthy meeting — the night included three public hearings and an update on a situation in which police officers confronted an unarmed black man — City Manager Jane Brautigam around 9:20 p.m. recommended moving the meth/homeless issue to another evening.
“We are hopelessly behind tonight,” Mayor Suzanne Jones said. The discussion would have pushed the meeting past midnight; as it was, it lasted until 11:45.
Some possible dates were suggested but a followup meeting was ultimately not scheduled. Brautigam also suggested that the two issues — meth use and homeless camps — be scheduled as distinct discussions.
“I would like to separate them in the future, because they seem to be really different,” she said. “And we have a lot of public interest in one part and a little less in the other.”
Council did not comment on the merits of that proposal, although members of its agenda committee previously expressed support for that idea, according to staff notes. It fits well with criticism the plan received from homeless advocates and members of the public who spoke Tuesday night, who fear the city is using the meth issue as an excuse to crack down on un-housed residents.
Jamie Morgan called the idea of increased sweeps an “absurd proposal.” “This is a disgusting waste of public funds that only serves to punish people experiencing symptoms of Boulder’s housing crisis,” he said. The $1 million should instead be used for housing, healthcare and food.
“$900,000 would probably buy 90 tiny homes,” added Evan Ravitz, in reference to Denver’s Beloved Community Village for houseless residents (which is now itself struggling to find a home).
A dozen-plus sign-toting members of the community attended Tuesday’s meeting in opposition of more frequent sweeps and infrastructure changes proposed by staff. Many were members of Safe Access for Everyone, a Boulder County group advocating for adequate homeless sheltering.
Council on March 19 will be hearing the first full-year data from the county’s new coordinate entry system. Council member Aaron Brockett, before leaving early due to illness, suggested that any discussion over homeless camps or meth use take place after that update.
There will not be opportunity for public comment during that discussion, but open comment will precede the meeting. Sign-up opens at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 15.
Author’s note: This article has been updated to correct a quote by Evan Ravitz, who said $900,000 would pay for 90 nice tiny homes, not mighty nice tiny homes.
Shay Castle, firstname.lastname@example.org, @shayshinecastle