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Boulder County Commissioners


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District 1: Will Toor (D) over Ralph Shnelvar (L) and Patrick Brophy (R)
District 2: Ben Pearlman (D) over Bo Shaffer (L) and Aaron Hobbs (R)
District 3: Cindy Domenico (D) over Randy Luallin (L) and Dick Murphy (R)

We were inclined to listen to the opposition. Boulder County has a runaway board of commissioners with only their interests in mind, so say the opponents running for three seats this election cycle. The three Libertarians and three Republican candidates—elected at-large from their respective districts—make a good argument: three liberals might not represent a diverse county that mixes rural heritage with city living.

There have been controversial policies considered during the last year-plus. Turning down an application for Rocky Mountain Christian Church to expand massively and curbing the size of homes in unincorporated parts of the county, to name two. But in reality, a majority of county residents favor the final decisions of the commissioners when the dust settles from any controversies that may arise.

That’s why you should re-elect Will Toor and Ben Pearlman and officially elect Cindi Domenico for the first time (she was appointed the seat when Tom Mayer died).

And there’s good reason for this. First, the values of Boulder County residents, regardless of political affiliation, are entrenched in open space preservation. We live here because we love the unique beauty, which, if you read the county’s comprehensive plan, will stay that way for generations to come. Second, the commissioners adjust policy to ease concerns voiced by citizens. That’s not to say they bend over backward to appease everyone; merely that they listen to complaints and figure out what is best for the majority.

Take this year’s home size fiasco. Originally, the commissioners pitched limits on home construction and expansion in the county’s rural areas that were too restrictive. They got beat up pretty good during initial public hearings and, after tweaking the proposal, adopted a much less onerous version that curbs McMansions from popping up in wide open areas while creating a mechanism for those dead set on building an 8,000-square-foot spread to get their wish. Take a straw poll anywhere in the county, and you’ll find most agree with the final outcome.

The three sitting commissioners do, in fact, represent the county’s values to a T. They consistently strive to focus growth in existing cities where services and transportation are more effectively provided, preserve a viable agrarian lifestyle and provide an open space buffer between cities. The Boulder County Commissioners pitch a progressive land use policy that sometimes draws fire, adjusts to ease concerns voiced by citizens, then becomes the envy of other municipalities a few years later. They want the county to be a leader in renewable energy. They are progressive, which is what the county’s voters demand. Sure they take some heat at times, and are mocked regionally after their initial forays into progressive policy are reported in the press. But a few years later, after the desired outcome of such policies are realized, the Boulder County Commissioners inevitably find those mocking naysayers—or at least envious citizens wanting their elected officials to do the same for them—asking for advice on how to pull off the same policy. Let’s keep it that way.

Incumbents denoted by italics

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