It’s Friday, Oct. 6, 2023.

Good morning, Boulder. And for those reading in the afternoon, hello.

For today, we’ve got more election goodies and a restaurant story. First off is another set of candidate answers to a question asked by a BRL reader. This one covers transportation. How do we ensure the safety of bikes and pedestrians in a city that, though more bikeable than many, still prioritizes cars?

Then, I provide the main takeaways of a mayoral forum that Empower Our Future hosted on Tuesday. A local environmental group dedicated to bringing clean energy to Boulder, it’s unsurprising many questions Empower asked pertained to Xcel Energy and the franchise agreement Boulder has with the utility. One question explicitly asked whether those running for mayor would put exiting the franchise in 2026 to a vote. None of the candidates explicitly said they would, but they also said that the ability to leave is good leverage to have — leverage that could be used to make sure Xcel is holding up its side of the bargain.

Finally, Jessica Mordacq has a story about a restaurant opening. Getting inspiration from the classic fairytale Alice in Wonderland and filling the owner’s desire for a place to have afternoon tea, Alice and Rose Cafe is a new spot to check out on the Hill. And if tea isn’t your thing, the cafe, located where Innisfree Poetry and Bookstore Cafe once lived, also serves brunch and dinner and cocktails.

I hope your weekend stimulates and relaxes. I’ll see you Monday.

— Tim, reporter

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Guaranteed Income Works: Boulder. Community members are invited to attend a free film screening and roundtable discussion ahead of the launch of Elevate Boulder, the city’s guaranteed income pilot project. Boulder Mayor Aaron Brockett will offer remarks and city and community leaders will participate on Tuesday, 10/10. Register now!

Featured stories

2023 Boulder City Council election: Where the candidates stand on making streets safer for cyclists, walkers and others

“How can we better provide alternatives to cars when existing infrastructure prioritizes cars?” Explore the responses from all 14 Boulder City Council and mayoral candidates. Continue reading…

Climate-focused Boulder mayoral forum puts the heat on Xcel Energy

While the city’s mayoral candidates largely aligned on climate policy, differences emerged in their priorities and areas of emphasis. Continue reading…

Step into Wonderland: Alice and Rose cafe opens its doors on Boulder’s University Hill

What started as an idea for an Alice and Wonderland-themed afternoon tea spot now also boasts a wide range of cocktail, brunch and dinner options in a historic local building. “We’re a really nice mix between fanciful and fine, delicious dining,” said owner Holly Ellis. Continue reading…

Boulder Reporting Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization that empowers our community through non-partisan, locally focused journalism that informs and connects.

In other news

A ‘sweatpants all day’ sort of day

If the forecast is to be believed, temps won’t reach 60 today, instead staying in the mid-50s with ample cloud cover. If you can’t wear sweatpants to work because your employer is a square, wear them in spirit.

Where council candidates stand on the Safe Zones 4 Kids measure

Earlier this week, the 14 candidates running for Boulder City Council and city mayor attended a candidate forum hosted by local cycling advocacy organizations at the Tune Up Tavern and Espresso, a bar attached to the Full Cycle bike shop.

Perhaps the only controversial question was whether the candidates supported the Safe Zones 4 Kids ballot measure. The measure would amend city code to make tents and propane tanks near schools, sidewalks and multi-use paths “subject to prioritized removal.” Regardless of how the measure would be implemented, it has become a proxy for whether candidates want the city to remove more encampments of homeless people.

The supporters include: Terri Brncic, Jacques Decalo, Waylon Lewis, Tina Marquis, Aaron Gabriel Neyer, Jennifer Robins, Tara Winer and Bob Yates.

Under the city manager’s abatement protocol for encampment removals, city officials score encampments on a number of factors before deciding which ones to remove first. These scoring factors include risks to life safety, reports of crime or threats of violence, overall size and proximity to schools. How the ballot measure would change this procedure is unclear. But proponents have suggested it would at least signal to city officials that they should give more weight to school proximity.

The opponents are: Taishya Adams, Aaron Brockett, Ryan Schuchard, and Nicole Speer. (Paul Tweedlie and Silas Atkins were absent from the forum. Atkins, however, opposes the ballot measure.) Read more on BRL.

City council backs county sales tax extension for affordable housing

Councilmembers on Thursday unanimously endorsed a county-wide sales tax reauthorization that would dedicate revenue to “affordable and attainable housing.”

Their backing comes with several requests, however. They want the county to spend the money on expanding permanently supportive affordable housing and transitional (or short-term) housing. They also want the county to implement a proposed program aimed at helping house “high utilizers,” or people who cycle in and out of the county jail and local hospitals.

“We recognize that there is not a single issue that our respective governments deal with in isolation,” states a letter councilmembers sent to county commissioners. “The City of Boulder and Boulder County are intrinsically connected and thus we face the same challenges, we succeed together and thus fail together.”

Earlier this year, Boulder County commissioners referred a measure to the 2023 ballot to reauthorize the sales tax. The tax was first adopted in 2018, generating about $10 million per year to pay for an alternative sentencing facility at the Boulder County Jail.

Dismantling of old community hospital done, carefully

The old Boulder Community Hospital on Broadway and Balsam is now demolished, and the city says that because of its conscientiousness through the dismantling process, 94% of the material contained in the old building has been reused. The salvaged steel is going to build a new fire station, and concrete and brick have been crushed to fill the hole left by the hospital’s removal.

“Deconstruction saves the valuable natural resources and carbon tied up in a building,” said the city’s sustainability policy adviser, Emily Freeman. “Every part of a building creates greenhouse gas emissions; natural resources must be extracted, processed and transported to a construction site. Salvaging materials is not only a critical part of curbing waste, but also reducing emissions and keeping ecosystems intact.”

Go try the new ‘trick jump’ at Valmont bike park

In the glade area of the Valmont Bike Park is a jump that promises to excite the local adrenaline junkies. Finished in July, the six-foot high jump was a collaboration between the city and several other organizations, including “303 Dirt” owner and founder Gurion Blattman, who said the jump “is a place for riders of all ages and skill levels to challenge themselves and have a great time.”

The city assures residents the angle of the jump encourages a safe speed, and the landing area is a soft rubber mulch “in case riders don’t land successfully.”

When I was a kid, my bike jump was a piece of plywood leaned against a stack of firewood in the road. When I didn’t land successfully, I didn’t have some cushy mulch to catch me. Just asphalt. Kids these days, grumble grumble, they don’t know how good they have it.

Boulderthon this Sunday

On Sunday, Oct. 8, the Boulderthon marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K races will be happening in Boulder County between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. The races will mostly be out near the Boulder Reservoir, but some impacts will trickle into the city. Visit the county’s webpage for specific impacts, or look at this handy dandy map.

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2023 Boulder City Council election: Where the candidates stand on homelessness solutions. ‘What do you think are the most promising initiatives for reducing homelessness?’ Explore the responses from all 14 Boulder City Council and mayoral candidates. 

‘Killer views’: Long-awaited Toll Trail opens, paving the way to eventually connect Nederland to Winter Park. The scenic five-mile trail, with a complex history, traverses private land and is currently open for access. However, it will close for winters at the request of Eldora Ski Resort. 

2023 Boulder City Council election: Where the candidates stand on climate change action. ‘We are in a climate emergency. With your leadership, how would Boulder change commensurately?’ Explore the responses from all 14 Boulder City Council and mayoral candidates. 

Boulder City Council eyes ‘safe outdoor space’ for homeless people. The proposal would allow people to legally sleep in a public space and access to certain resources, such as bathrooms. How to pay for it remains an open question.

City of Boulder seeks to expand lethal prairie dog control to most of its farmland. After decades of policies aimed at not disturbing — and at most relocating — prairie dogs, the City of Boulder has firmly shifted to a strategy of lethal control due to surging prairie dog populations affecting local agriculture. 

City of Boulder seeks new location for homeless day services center after Folsom Street property deal falls through. The center is designed to give homeless people a place to go during the day where they can access housing and support services. Separately, the city has bought a home for its new methamphetamine addiction treatment program.

Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other related topics. He is also the lead writer of BRL Today, our morning newsletter. Email: