Boulder is certainly used to obnoxious behavior. Whether it's drunken college kids rioting on the Hill, homeless kids with dreadlocks harassing people on the Pearl Street Mall, entitled CEOs landing in jail (or just cutting us off in traffic), or the hippie elite lecturing the rest of the world on foreign policy, this city unto itself seems to make headlines -- and embarrass itself -- on a pretty consistent basis. But now Boulder is in the news yet again for trying to eliminate some of its "social misbehavior." Unfortunately, it's not the misbehavior cited above.
Rather, the city council is backing "a suite of measures designed to make the municipal campus, Central Park and the Boulder Public Library less appealing to the people -- many of them homeless -- who hang out there all day, and more accessible to the general public," according to a report last week in the Daily Camera.
In other words, they're tired of begging, drug use, peeing and the general mayhem that seems to take place in areas like the mall, in parks and on campus.
The Boulder County chapter of the ACLU has already expressed misgivings about the city's approach. "The ACLU of Colorado is paying close attention to the deliberations of the Boulder City Council around what it calls 'social misbehavior.' We strongly discourage the Council from adopting any measures that target the vulnerable by redefining otherwise legal behavior as criminal or that attempt to limit access and enjoyment of public spaces to those in the community that the Council deems 'respectable' and worthy of the privilege," the organization says in a statement.
"Transients, panhandlers and people of all types have been part of the Downtown Boulder scene for all of its history. Now the City has proposed new restrictions, ordinances, arrests, prosecutions, jail sentences and exclusion orders targeted directly at an ill-defined population that includes homeless, transient, and other vulnerable individuals on the municipal campus," the ACLU continues.
"The ACLU of Colorado and its Boulder County Chapter oppose new laws that restrict peaceful activity and that provide tools for selective and arbitrary enforcement that threatens the rights of free speech, association and to simply be left alone and enjoy public spaces free of police harassment."
If the city is really going to target social misbehavior, here are three examples we'd like to see it go after first.
Number 3: Entitled CEOs Is there something about Boulder that makes CEOs feel particularly entitled? Perhaps.
In February 2011, Boulder-based Wild Oats Market founder and Sunflower Farmers Markets CEO Michael Gilliland was arrested in Arizona and accused of knowingly soliciting sex from a minor. He was sentenced to thirty days in jail in early 2013.
And in August 2012, Crocs co-founder George Boedecker was busted for DUI after police said they found him passed out by his still-running Porsche. At the time, Boedecker claimed that a "batshit crazy" Taylor Swift had actually been behind the wheel. He told police that Swift was his girlfriend, and that she had run off. He later ranted at two officers, telling them to "go fuck [themselves] in the ass," and called another his "enemy for life."
Number 2: Deviant students Although the University of Colorado would rather we remember all of the famous people who have worked there or graduated from the school, we seem to have a better recollection of the infamous ones. The school, after all, is known more for its mass 4/20 celebrations and its vaunted spot on Playboy's list of the top party schools. Here are just a few of the things that CU students have been accused of/arrested for over the previous couple years: wearing a Joker mask into a theater shortly after the Aurora theater shootings; beating a raccoon to death with a baseball bat; breaking into dorms and stealing underwear; baking pot brownies and serving them to unwitting classmates; riding their bikes drunk; rioting after concerts; being rescued while hiking naked and on drugs.
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Number 1: Boulder regulars And finally, here are a few more examples of social misbehavior we'd like the city to target: wearing patchouli oil; gardening naked; double-parking a Tesla; covering a Subaru with Green Party-candidate bumperstickers; waving Tibetan peace flags; and hiking with a dog off-leash. And then there's the general suckiness of the CU Buffs football team....
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Marijuana: NORML coming up with drug-testing guidance to protect employees."