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pressurepoints High HOA fees are a challenge for affordable homeowners

Angela K. Evans


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High HOA fees are a challenge for affordable homeowners by Angela K. Evans

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Publisher, Fran Zankowski Editor, Matt Cortina Circulation Manager, Cal Winn EDITORIAL Senior Editor, Angela K. Evans Arts and Culture Editor, Caitlin Rockett Editorial intern, Carly Herbert Contributing Writers, Peter Alexander, Dave Anderson, Emma Athena, Will Brendza, Rob Brezsny, Michael J. Casey, Sarah Haas, Jim Hightower, Dave Kirby, John Lehndorff, Rico Moore, Amanda Moutinho, Katie Rhodes, Leland Rucker, Dan Savage, Alan Sculley, Ryan Syrek, Christi Turner, Betsy Welch, Tom Winter, Gary Zeidner SALES AND MARKETING Market Development Manager, Kellie Robinson Account Executives, Matthew Fischer, Sami Wainscott Advertising Coordinator, Corey Basciano Mrs. Boulder Weekly, Mari Nevar PRODUCTION Art Director, Susan France Senior Graphic Designer, Mark Goodman CIRCULATION TEAM Dave Hastie, Dan Hill, George LaRoe, Jeffrey Lohrius, Elizabeth Ouslie, Rick Slama BUSINESS OFFICE Bookkeeper, Regina Campanella Founder/CEO, Stewart Sallo Editor-at-Large, Joel Dyer

June 17, 2021 Volume XXVIII, Number 44 As Boulder County's only independently owned newspaper, Boulder Weekly is dedicated to illuminating truth, advancing justice and protecting the First Amendment through ethical, no-holds-barred journalism and thought-provoking opinion writing. Free every Thursday since 1993, the Weekly also offers the county's most comprehensive arts and entertainment coverage. Read the print version, or visit boulderweekly.com. Boulder Weekly does not accept unsolicited editorial submissions. If you're interested in writing for the paper, please send queries to: editorial@ boulderweekly.com. Any materials sent to Boulder Weekly become the property of the newspaper. 690 South Lashley Lane, Boulder, CO, 80305 p 303.494.5511 f 303.494.2585 editorial@boulderweekly.com www.boulderweekly.com Boulder Weekly is published every Thursday. No portion may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. © 2021 Boulder Weekly, Inc., all rights reserved.

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It’s time to vaccinate the world by Aaron Harber


resident Joe Biden’s commitment to donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses (sufficient to fully vaccinate 250 million people) was great news but, with billions of people in desperate need and some countries not having any access to COVID-19 vaccines, America can and should do far more. With the planet’s nearly 8 billion people needing 12 billion or more doses, providing 4% of that should only be the start of the historic contribution the United States can and should make. The reality is our current efforts are a proverbial “drop in the bucket” and are off by at least one order of magnitude. Just as critical, we are missing an historic opportunity for U.S. global leadership. America’s immediate goal should be to create a path for the production of 10 billion doses so as to provide every human being the opportunity to be vaccinated as



quickly as possible at no cost. The economic, diplomatic and humanitarian benefits of such a planetary endeavor dwarf the costs. And the short- and long-term benefits to the U.S. are multiples of the expense. Proposals to eliminate patent and other intellectual property rights protection as a means to allow other nations to produce vaccines are ill-considered. The same short-term benefits could be achieved via a different path — all without destroying the confidence companies and individuals need to in order to know their work will not be unjustly appropriated. Punishing companies by forcing them to share patented products and processes — a dangerous precedent undermining American ingenuity — is completely unnecessary anyway. This is because the Biden administration simply could use this possibility as leverage to create a “win/win” outcome by negotiating high-volume/low-cost arrangements for the immediate production of billions of doses over the


JUNE 17, 2021



Let’s Go Out! It’s Time...

GUEST COLUMN from Page 7

coming months. criminal efforts to exploit that desWith mass-produced, per-dose peration. This is creating a new health costs currently ranging from $2 to emergency that only the U.S. has the $40, the U.S. likely could contract for resources, ability and compassion to 10 billion doses at an average cost of address. no more than $10 per dose. Assuming With COVID estimated by an average of 1.5 doses per person the International Monetary Fund are needed (i.e., evenly splitting the already to have damaged the global allocation between two- and one-shot economy by $22 trillion, of which regimens), the cost of vaccinating a approximately $5 trillion was person would be attributed to U.S. $15 or less. losses (ignoring This global the additional average cost of nonmonetary fully vaccinating personal losses with sever- suffered by the individuals could easily go down to millions of people al billion people world$10 per person who have died or given AstraZenhave been perwide in need, we could eca’s production manently scarred be shipping 10 million cost of approxplus the impacts imately $2 per on their families doses a day to help the dose (i.e., two and friends), rest of the planet — indoses could cost America’s investunder $5). ment of $100 cluding countries with Aided by the billion to “Vacciwhom we have poor Defense Pronate The World” duction Act, the could generate relations or are even in Biden administraa hundredfold tion — led by vacreturn. cine crisis veteran Just from and Biden Chief a self-serving of Staff Ron Klain economic perspec— could ensure tive, doing “good” vaccine producers have the supplies would rebound to benefit the U.S. and materials as well as the global because vaccinating the world would manufacturing facilities they need to mean more quickly restoring economramp up production to achieve these ic activity for American companies objectives. and workers as well as helping address With U.S. vaccine demand supply chain problems plaguing all lagging and an excess of up to 300 of us. million doses in the pipeline, America Imagine the lives and families already could start shipping vaccines which would be saved, the economies at 10 times the current rate. which would be rescued, and the Desperately COVID-challenged goodwill which would be generated countries such as Brazil and India as vaccines — with each vial bearing need our help right now — not next the American flag — are distributed year. In short order, with several throughout the world. billion people worldwide in need, we Most importantly, the “Vaccinate could be shipping 10 million doses The World” initiative is the right a day to help the rest of the planet thing to do. The good news is it is — including countries with whom not too late for America to act at the we have poor relations or are even in needed scale and be the world leader conflict. the planet desperately needs. The lack of vaccines in some Aaron Harber is the host of The countries (such as on the African Aaron Harber Show, (www.Harcontinent, where only 2% of the berTV.com/Info). Email Aaron@Harpopulation has been vaccinated berTV.com. © Copyright 2019 by Aaron compared to almost 50% of the U.S.) Harber and USA Talk Network, Inc. All has created a huge black market for rights reserved. This column is published fake vaccines. Millions around the with permission from Aaron Harber.  world are desperate for the protection This opinion column does not COVID-19 vaccines can offer and are necessarily reflect the views of Boulder highly susceptible to the organized Weekly.


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THERE IS NO PLACE IN OUR GOVERNMENT FOR THE FILIBUSTER Year after year, we see politicians in Congress make promises about what they can do for constituents like me. And year after year, the progress is usually less than we hoped for. The solution is clear: It’s time to get rid of the filibuster — a Senate rule that allows a minority of senators to block any piece of legislation. Democrats have introduced some great bills that would help a vast majority of Americans. Right now, the Senate is deciding whether to pass the For the People Act, for instance, a big reform bill that addresses everything from making voting more accessible and streamlined to getting rid of corruption in government. But the fate of the For the People Act is uncertain as long as it can be filibustered by senators like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. And that’s only one bill. Imagine all the progress that’s being held up in Congress because the filibuster stands in the way. For me, for my community, and for communities like mine all across America, I’m asking senators to do away with the filibuster once and for all. Brenda Wise/Boulder WHAT IS RCV ANYWAY? A telephone poll in late May asked a wide range of questions about Boulder issues — homelessness, police funding, affordable housing, a library district, CU South, etc. — and included a question asking if Boulderites should use “ranked choice voting” (RCV) to elect their city council. The Voting Methods Team of the League of Women Voters of Boulder County (LWVBC) is excited to have this question in the poll, although the question needs some clarification. The question should clarify which of the many forms of RCV is being proposed. Consider these two good forms, used in different circumstances: • For single-winner elections, instant-runoff voting (IRV) is one possibility. Broomfield is considering IRV to elect its city council — the same form that Boulder voters approved to elect our mayor beginning in 2023. In Broomfield, each council member is elected by voters living in a ward, rather than by the entire city’s electorate. • For multi-winner elections, sin-

gle transferable vote (STV) could be used. Boulder, in contrast to Broomfield, elects its city council members in multi-winner at-large elections. From 1917 to 1947 Boulder conducted STV elections, resulting in a city council that proportionally reflected its electorate according to the important criteria of the day.   The pollster did not know which form of RCV was the focus of the question. If we adopt the single-winner IRV form, then Boulder will have to create districts. If we adopt the multi-winner STV form, then Boulder will get proportional representation. Either way, citizens polled need more information so they can give a more informed opinion. For more information on various forms of ranked voting that are labeled RCV (sometimes incorrectly), please read the article “What Is RCV Anyway?” printed in LWVBC’s May newsletter. Voting Methods Team of the League of Women Voters of Boulder County ‘FISHING’ ON FATHER’S DAY This Sunday is Father’s Day and while most of the country might be celebrating with baseball and burgers, I’m taking a decidedly different approach: I’m going “fishing.” But not the kind of fishing you’re thinking of. Our planet’s oceans and waterways are being stripped through commercial fishing and even “recreational fishing” takes its toll on the environment, not to mention the trauma to marine life. At our current rate, we could see fishless oceans by 2048. This is why, as an ethical vegan and father of two children, I have my own unique approach to “fishing.” Armed with Google image search and fish identification guides, my kids and I go “fishing” in the same way a birder goes birding. We walk the shorelines and countless docks of New York’s Finger Lakes region and “catch” a glimpse of freshwater fish. This past weekend we “caught” a dozen carp, a few bass, several perch, and one very elusive catfish; all logged in our Fishing Journal. As stewards of this planet, we have a unique opportunity to share these moments and nature with the next generation and prove there are more ethical ways to “capture” wildlife. Eric C. Lindstrom/Farm Animal Rights Movement



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Pressure points

High HOA fees are a challenge for affordable homeowners

story by Angela K. Evans photos by John R. Ford HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS, like Holiday, Dakota Ridge, Iris Hollow and Steel Yards often include permanently affordable units. But rising HOA costs call into question just how affordable these homes are.




n the seven years Adam Perry has owned his affordable unit at Iris Hollow, there have been times when his monthly homeowner association (HOA) fees have exceeded his monthly mortgage payments. First the outdoor stairs needed repair. Then the roof needed replacing, and instead of paying the special assessment all at once to cover his portion of it, he paid it over 18 months. Even without the special assessments, his HOA dues have increased steadily since he bought the house, he says. Over time, his HOA fees make his home feel increasingly unaffordable, despite the fact it’s part of the City of Boulder’s Permanently Affordable Homes Program. “The thing I come back to over and over and over is that it’s not called the permanently affordable mortgage program. They call it the permanently affordable homeownership program,” Perry says. “But the home is not affordable; the mortgage is.” As cities and local governments increasingly focus on affordable housing around the state (and country), homeownership units are often a part of neighborhoods and developments within Common Interest Communities, or HOAs. Within associations, there are often competing priorities between market-rate owners, affordable homeowners and, in mixed-use developments, commercial owners, which can lead to disagreements about how the HOA is run. What’s more, with very little regulatory oversight from the state, homeowners don’t have much recourse when issues do arise.

JUNE 17, 2021


Throughout reporting this story, BW heard from several affordable homeowners in Boulder who were frustrated by what they say are unaffordable HOA fees and assessments. Some said their HOA fees and interactions with associations have caused them to question their participation in the affordable homeownership program. A few others also have sold their homes in the program expressly over their concerns and frustrations with rising HOA costs. Most requested anonymity given the personal nature of participation in the City’s program.

A problem for all kinds of homeowners

Although inclusionary housing programs can put restrictions on resale values to keep the homes permanently affordable in the years to come, there’s very little local jurisdictions can do about rising HOA costs, as the associations themselves are private, nonprofit corporations often run by volunteer boards of homeowners. “Under most inclusionary housing programs, I don’t think they address [HOA costs] as an issue,” says Kathy Fedler, Housing and Community Investment division manager for Longmont. “It’s always something we’re concerned about because we have no control over it.” In 2019, Longmont conducted a community survey and found that, on average, HOA fees were $216 for condos, $125 for single-family homes and $196 for townhomes. Since the current iteration of Longmont’s affordable housing program is relatively new BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE

(approved by City Council in 2018), Fedler says there aren’t many units currently under an HOA where rising costs have been an issue. But it’s something Longmont is keeping its eye on. The City of Boulder, however, has long heard about the issue of rising HOA costs for homeowners, not just in its affordable program but in market rate units as well. According to a 2019 survey of registered HOAs in the city, the average monthly HOA fees are $308 per month, up significantly from $177 in 2012, the last time the City looked at HOA costs. In addition, the average cost of special assessments — additional costs that can’t be covered by the HOA reserve fund — was about $3,000 per unit, per year. Rising costs are particularly concerning to Boulder’s affordable homeowners, considering 95% of them live under an HOA. In a separate 2019 survey of affordable homeowners, 65% said that HOA fees were more than expected, with an average cost of $241 per month. The survey also showed this led to dissatisfaction with homes, especially among the half of respondents who also had a lump sum special assessment in the time they’ve owned their home. “Rising HOA fees are across the board (and across the country) as more HOAs are reckoning with deferred maintenance and low HOA fees set by developers to make the initial purchase more attractive,” says Jay Sugnet, senior planner at the City of Boulder’s Housing and Human Services department. The City does review HOA structure and documents when approving permanently affordable units “to make sure that we think it’s going to be successful,” Sugnet says. And the cost of an HOA is factored into qualifying limits for potential affordable homeowners. But, developers are responsible for setting up HOAs with governing documents that determine board structure, fee schedules, basic rules and regulations throughout a complex or neighborhood, and the rights and responsibilities of homeowners. In purchasing a home, the homeowner is essentially signing a contract with the association, one that the City is not involved in. And it’s up to the owner, whether in the affordable program or not, to do their own due diligence

regarding the financial solvency of an association before they buy. In some HOAs, owners pay a flat fee regardless of square footage. Others allocate monthly payments and even special assessments based on size. Regardless, in general, market rate and affordable owners pay the same amount for shared infrastructure — roofs, stairs, sidewalks — or amenities — pool, gym, community room— depending on the association. “Developers oftentimes use a standard set of documents,” says Loura Sanchez, a lawyer and the incoming 2022 Rocky Mountain chapter president

market-rate owners, inclusionary housing units are deed restricted, limiting how much value a home can appreciate. In Boulder, it’s no more than 3% a year. This can cause competing interests when it comes to managing an HOA. “There are people who own market rate units in our community that really do want to continue to improve the buildings, and they are willing to spend $500 a month on an HOA, and that’s something that some of the affordable homeowners can’t stomach, can’t afford,” says Kyle Wolf, an affordable homeowner in Iris Hollow

of the Community Associations Institute (CAI). “And there isn’t a lot of thought that goes into, does it work in this community? Does it work for this particular marketplace?” With about 1,000 members in Colorado, CAI is a trade organization open to everyone involved in community associations, from board members and homeowners to other professionals that serve the community, like property managers, attorneys, landscape companies and pool operators. She says costs may seem high, especially within HOAs that hire professional management companies, but ultimately homeowners are “going to reap the benefits” of paying HOA dues and maintaining shared property. “I think that’s one thing that people forget about associations — one of the primary purposes is to preserve, protect and enhance property values,” Sanchez says. “And that means operating your association fully. And that cost is recouped in the fact that your property values stay strong.” While this may be the goal for

and previous board president of that community’s HOA. “At some point we have to reach a cap where you find the perfect balance between what affordable homeowners can afford and what market-unit homeowners want to pay [so that they’re] getting what they want out of the property,” Wolf says. According to a state database, Boulder has just over 300 HOAs, but that might not be totally accurate according to Brenda Ritenour, neighborhood liaison for the City of Boulder. The state keeps a list of registered HOAs, but while registration is required by state law, it doesn’t have any way to ensure HOAs comply. “In Colorado, there’s actually no regulatory oversight of HOAs or community association managers,” says Geoffrey Salant, HOA Information Officer with Colorado’s Division of Real Estate. According to his office, 45% of Coloradans live in housing governed by an HOA. In 2020, there were approximately 7,500 registered HOAs,



JUNE 17, 2021


and another 2,600 whose registrations expired in the same year, totaling more than 10,000 in the state. “A common misconception about HOAs is that they’re somehow quasigovernmental. They’re not. They’re nonprofit corporations, they’re private corporations,” Salant says. “I think that because you’re dealing with a home, the vast majority of people believe that there’s some sort of regulatory oversight or some sort of safeguard.” HOAs in the state are governed by the Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act, which allows associations to enforce their covenants, collect dues and take out loans, as well as laying out some budget and transparency guidelines. It also requires HOAs to register with the state, providing its size, revenue and location, but providing names of board members and their contact information isn’t required, Salant says. And while his office collects all this information and provides basic information about the rights and responsibilities of homeowners through resource materials and educational forums, it isn’t a central repository of HOA governing documents, nor does it have any regulatory power over HOAs. “What we don’t do, which is really important, is that we do not act as a regulatory program. We do not mediate or arbitrate. We can’t give legal advice. I cannot act as an advocate,” Salant says.“We cannot assess fines or penalties, and we do not enforce an HOA’s failure to register.” When disputes do arise between homeowners and HOAs, there is very little the state or local jurisdictions can do to help. Under a previous state program, certification was required for community association managers and it provided a more robust complaint process, Salant, who worked as an investigator for the program, says. That program ended in 2019, however, after Gov. Jared Polis vetoed a bill to renew it. CAI has a certification program, “as a way to have some type of accountability or oversight of how people show up in the community association realm, particularly in those States that don’t have any regulation like Colorado now,” Sanchez says. Currently, about 350 of CAI members in Colorado have these certifications and designations. see HOA Page 12 11

HOA from Page 11

The state still collects HOA complaints, but it can’t investigate them. In 2020, Colorado’s HOA Information and Resource Center fielded about 1,000 complaints from homeowners, many of whom were surprised the state couldn’t do more to help them. The number one complaint, according to the state report, had to do with the lack of communication between the board and homeowners. Homeowners also complained that their HOAs were not following governing documents and failing to provide maintenance. (Real estate brokers also appealed to the state when they had trouble getting HOA documents during a real estate transaction.) But any dispute between an HOA and a member of an HOA is considered a civil matter, and Salant says all his office can really do is provide homeowners with education and resources about how HOAs function. If necessary, his office can also direct them to alternative dispute resolution or community mediation. “Ultimately,” he says, “if there’s a stalemate and [homeowners] cannot come to a resolution with their HOA, they’re only left with litigation,” Salant says. “Admittedly, when I first bought into the program, even though I was an older adult, I was still pretty naive about HOAs,” says Kathleen Kryczka, who has owned an affordable unit in the Steel Yards neighborhood in East Boulder since 2005. “I just had cursory knowledge of HOAs, and I knew I’d be paying a fee and I sort of trusted the process.” She says for the first 10 years of living in the complex, she really didn’t have any issues, although HOA fees have risen significantly since she bought it. But in the last several years, she alleges, “the services have plummeted and there’s particularly been a lot of health and safety issues that have been neglected,” she says. After months of trying to communicate with her HOA over her concerns, she filed a lawsuit against Steel Yards Condominium Association (SYCA) on June 14. The lawsuit alleges that SYCA failed to enforce its rules and regulations, causing Kryczka harm. Some of the complaints in the lawsuit have to do with neighbors’ behavior, like smoking marijuana in a way prohibited by the community covenant, 12


using charcoal grills on balconies and owners not taking responsibility for renters not following association rules. She also alleges, however, that the HOA and its contracted management company Boom Properties, failed to maintain windows and caulking, allowing moisture and eventually mold to grow, which exacerbates her asthma. The lawsuit also states that Kryczka slipped and fell on ice around the complex twice in 2020, the second time resulting in spinal damage and surgery. In the end, Kryczka alleges SYCA failed in its fiduciary duty to her as a homeowner and is seeking monetary compensation. Her suit also takes issue with a recent harassment policy passed by the board that “prohibits excessive or repeated correspondence and challenging communications.” “They’re behaving in a way that is making it so difficult for people to continue to afford to live there,” she says. “A lot of my fellow homeowners will blame me for causing the HOA fees to go up [because of the lawsuit], but I wish they’d see that it is the HOA board’s and management company’s incompetence that is what’s costing the HOA, not an outspoken owner who simply wants contractual services she pays for.” Given the active lawsuit, SYCA declined to speak with BW.

So what are the solutions?

When it comes to solutions — there aren’t many. “When the only pathway is to litigate, then we’re missing some opportunities there,” Ritenour, the neighborhood liaison, says. Across the board, the focus is on educating homeowners and potential buyers about the function of HOAs and the rights and responsibilities of members, whether in affordable homeownership programs or not. “Particularly first-time homeowners, they don’t understand the reality of how an association is organized, JUNE 17, 2021

what the board’s responsibilities are, what management’s responsibilities are,” Sanchez from CAI says. “They don’t really understand, and so there’s frustration there.” In Boulder, the City has expanded its education programing for potential buyers in the affordable housing program in an attempt to inform people ahead of purchasing the home. “The City can’t remove all risk — every home has risks — what we can do is make sure that people are making informed choices about those risks,” Sugnet says. Inevitably, costs of homeownership are going to increase over time. It’s the same as if you were renting, Sugnet says. Even rates within the City’s affordable rental program increase 1-3% each year, he says. “And it should be the same with owning a home. KATHLEEN KRYCZKA, who lives You shouldn’t expect that your in the Steel Yards, costs are going to be stagnant,” against that HOA, claiming it had failed he says. Additionally, the City has also expanded its educational offerings to HOA board members or officers, with classes on creative financing, assessing HOA loans and reserve planning, among other topics. “One of the things that we’ve been trying to do with these education programs is help [HOA officers] remember that they are beholden to the people that live in that HOA and that their decisions need to be made with the entirety of their community in mind,” Ritenour says, adding the courses have been well received, although the City doesn’t have any data on the effectiveness of such programs. Salant at the state says he also often encourages people, whether in permanently affordable programs or not, to run for a seat on their HOA board if they’re unsatisfied with how it’s being managed. But, “Nine times l

out of 10, however, the response is, ‘I don’t have time for that,’” he says. Wolf, who lives in Iris Hollow, agrees that the best way to deal with rising HOA costs is to be involved. Wolf ran for his HOA board several years ago, when he got a notice in the mail for a special assessment. At the time, he says, he felt there was a lack of transparency from the HOA — especially when it came to times, location and agendas of meetings. So, when he was elected, he made communication a top priority. “To a certain extent, the people who are on the boards need to also ensure that everyone’s involved,” he says. “We can be as clear and communicative as possible and [help people] understand that without raising dues regularly and consistently, then when things come up, we may not have the money to work on a project.” But in Boulder, Sugnet says, many affordable homeowners feel there is a lack of representation on their HOA boards and often affordable owners feel out-voted, especially in mixeduse developments that aren’t just balancing market-rate and affordable residential views, but also commercial owners as well. “Unfortunately, I think it discourages some affordable homeowners from participating in their HOA [because] they feel like they may not be able to effectively advocate for their position,” he says. HOAs could, therefore, reserve at least one board seat for an affordable owner, if not more depending on what proportion of the units in a complex are designated affordable. Melissa Garcia, an attorney with Altitude Law who teaches some of Boulder’s HOA classes, says one association she works with recently discussed including a requirement for an affordable homeowner board seat when updating its covenants. But it was the first time Garcia had heard of the idea and ultimately that board didn’t do it. “I think there’s this fear that all of a sudden this person’s going to be here and all our decisions are going to be driven by this person, because they’re the most dynamic or whatever,” she says. “But it’s only one person — you just need to hear what’s happening with that group.” In the last couple years especially, Garcia says HOA boards she works with have been appointing ambas-


sadors for certain interest groups within an association. So, for example, a rental ambassador could help an HOA minimize issues with renters, many of whom probably aren’t aware of requirements laid out in the association’s covenants. “It’s something that some boards are starting to consider because they know that if they hit the problem right away and they figure out a solution proactively, then they’re not going to have those rental problems,” she says. “I haven’t seen the same thing for HOA affordable programs,” she adds, “but I think that if it arises, it’ll arise in Boulder.” In response to concerns over rising HOA costs, the City of Boulder is in the process of implementing two new programs to hopefully alleviate some of the burden for owners in the affordable program. When it comes to costly special assessments, the City is offering grants, which will come out of the City’s affordable housing fund and go directly to the HOA. In exchange, the owner agrees to lower the resale price of their home by that same amount, effectively repaying the City when they decide to sell. The grant program has yet to distribute any funds, but the hope is it will not only help current homeowners, but that it will also increase the affordability of homes in the future with the lower price at resale. The City also hears concerns from owners that rising HOA costs will make it increasingly difficult to sell their home, given affordable units come with fixed appreciation, Sugnet says. “If that happens, we have the ability to broaden the pool of potential applicants,” he says. “And that has to do with expanding the income levels that are allowed to purchase that home.” While units in the permanently affordable program are restricted to certain qualifying income limits, certain variables — insurance, taxes, HOA costs — are outside the City’s control. Eventually, this could mean the home becomes unaffordable for the people within the program that meet the income limits. If that happens, then on a case-by-case basis, the City can increase the income limit for a unit by 10%, making it available to higher income households, while still

selling it below the market rate. To date, the City has yet to increase the limits on any units based on the new process, which has only been in place for a couple months. “We’re trying to do what we can as a city to help with some of the pressure points. And we think what with these two programs we’re doing that,” Sugnet says. “Beyond that, I’m not sure what the solution is.” What is clear, however, is that HOA costs are going to continue to rise. Electricity costs more every year,



as does water, landscaping and management services. Multiplied by the number of units in an HOA, and the costs add up. So far, it’s hard to judge the efficacy of the City’s solutions, be it more HOA education for buyers and officers, the special assessment grant program or increasing income limits for affordable units. There just isn’t enough information or data to know. Garcia, from Altitude Law, says there’s more that could be done to help mitigate rising costs for both market-rate

JUNE 17, 2021

and affordable homeowners. She says that in recent years, she fielded more requests than ever to amend HOA covenants to better reflect the communities they cover. “A lot of boards just sort of operate on what was happening 10 years ago. It just doesn’t work anymore,” Garcia says. “I think that the rising costs are forcing boards to really look at who their heroes are, who their resources are, how to change their documents to address this, and maybe how to change the services.”



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MERRY WANDERER OF THE STAGE An actor’s journey to the Colorado Shakespeare Festival by Emma Reynolds SCOTT COOPWOOD, known as Coop, will play Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at this year’s Colorado Shakespeare Festival.


t’s 1981 — maybe ’82 — and The Arizona Theatre Company is putting on a performance of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. The crowded Tuscon theater holds its breath as the narrator, Tom Wingfield, steps onto a makeshift fire escape and begins a monologue wherein he struggles between supporting his dysfunctional family and following his own dreams. In the audience is a young man — 15 or 16 — who whispers to himself, “I’m not alone.” As he listens to Tom, the teenager realizes that despite his struggles — his alcoholic parents and chaotic homelife — he was going to be OK. Scott Coopwood, known to many as Coop, recalls the night vividly, like a lightbulb turning on in his teenage mind. In the darkened auditorium he thought to himself, “[I]f I can give the gift that I just received, then that’s what I want to do with my life.” So, at the age of 16, he turned to theater. And it turns out he’s good at it. Really good at it. Before discovering theater, Coop wanted to play baseball professionally. But when he was suspended from the team for getting into a fight with the coach, Coop needed credit hours. His high school was doing a production of M*A*S*H, and he tried out. He was given “this little, teeny part that doesn’t even exist [in the TV program].” But he loved it. The next year, he was invited to take an advanced drama course. While his home life was filled with divorce and alcohol abuse, Coop found a support system at school. He threw himself into theater, and an English teacher took him under his wing and see SHAKESPEARE Page 16



JUNE 17, 2021





Colorado Shakespeare Festival presents ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ June 18-Aug. 15. Performances are sold out, but there is a waitlist: cupresents.org

SHAKESPEARE from Page 15

convinced Coop to join the debate team. These two interests converged in college, where he majored in theater and minored in speech. Pursuing acting at the University of Arizona wasn’t an easy road paved with encouragement. The chair of the theater department told Coop he should learn how to hang lights because he would “never make it” as an actor, Coop remembers. But Coop had made his decision: “I was going to do it no matter what.” He acted in college performances and landed a semester internship with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Coop worked personally for the English classical actor Julian Glover — fetching cigarettes and coffee — who told him late one night, “‘We think you have it, and we think you should take it even more seriously.’” He met other actors in Arizona who saw his talent as well, and landed the role of Mercutio in an Arizona Theater Company production of Romeo and Juliet. It was the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the Bard’s work. Since, Coop has acted in 23 of Shakespeare’s 38 plays. He’s played famous roles ranging from Hamlet and Macbeth to Iago and Brutus. Everyone in the acting world has heard of Shakespeare festivals, where several of the Bard’s plays are performed, traditionally outside during the summer months. A quick Google search yields dozens of results, with performances everywhere from Alabama to Queensland, Australia. The mecca in the United States is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (CSF) isn’t far behind. Coop originally heard of CSF because of Tim Orr. Coop counts Orr as a dear friend, and even officiated Orr’s wedding. The day after Coop married his friends, the couple moved to Colorado so Orr could begin his new job as CSF’s production manager. Coop remembers thinking, “Aw man,



my friends are moving to Colorado, when are we gonna see each other?” So he told Orr that if the festival ever invited actors from out of town, he should let him know. Four years ago, it finally happened. Coop was offered the roles of Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew and Brutus in Julius Caesar. This year will be Coop’s third summer performing in Boulder, and he’s as ready as ever. Reflecting on the pandemic, Coop says “the hardest thing ... was losing tribe.” Tight-knit, hard-working groups have been a part of his life since he first stepped onto the baseball field, and then onto the stage. These have been places “of peace, contentment, joy and security” for Coop. The crew of thespians in the 2021 CSF have already begun their first performances, and tickets are completely sold out (though there is a waitlist). Over the course of the summer, CSF will present three different plays: the middle of June features the premiere of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, July will feature Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of The Odyssey, and August will conclude with two performances of Pericles. Midsummer is a classic for outdoor Shakespeare makes the perfect production for a summer evening. Several plots intertwine as people — along with sprites and one very special donkey — search for love and entertainment. While four Athenian lovers form the romantic backbone of the play, the comedy is made possible by Puck, brought to life in this iteration by Coop. Trusty servant to Oberon, the King of Fairies, Robin “Puck” Goodfellow is a sprite with a hankering for mischief and a soft spot for humans. But be warned: “[I]t ain’t gonna be your mom and dad’s Puck,” Coop says. He’s interested in exploring Puck’s not-so-spritely side. “Even though [Puck] says he’s ‘the merry

JUNE 17, 2021


wanderer of the night,’ I think he’s got a chip on his shoulder.” The opening night of Midsummer on June 18 will be Coop’s first time on stage since December 2019. But he’s been busy using theater in other ways to serve two widely different communities — K-12 students and detectives. Coop runs a Shakespeare program at a private school in San Francisco. In the spring, he teaches Shakespeare at a public high school. When he’s not helping students relate to Shakespeare, he works with the San Francisco Police Acadthat simulates potential scenarios. Just a few months ago, Coop played a hate crime victim. The detectives interviewed him, along with other suspects. While he loves his various theatrical ventures, Coop admits that the life of an actor is a steady grind, and that respect is key. You look for “bigger theaters, better parts, always treating it like a holy thing, never taking it for granted.” At times, the process has moved slower than others. Coop was 30 when his parents finally supported his career in theater. His mom constantly asked, “What are you doing? When are you gonna quit this hobby?” Coop recalls her encouraging him to become a “cop or a postal worker.” Finally, after he acted in summer performances in Vermont, he told her that this was it, and she understood. Then she became her son’s biggest fan. Coop has nothing but gratitude for his journey: “I really think it saved my life... life without theater is unimaginable.” And once he found theater, he never even tried to imagine his life without it. “I’ve never had a backup plan,” he says. “Ever ever ever.”


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Colorado Brazil Fest 2021.

If your organization is planning an event of any kind, please email Caitlin at crockett@boulderweekly.com


Conscious Alliance hosts Grand Opening of National Distribution Center.

4-6 p.m. Thursday, June 17, 3801

Volunteers needed for King Soopers vigil and installation art project.

Conscious Alliance, a Colora-


Colorado Music Hall of Fame Auction.

Soulful Guitar Dads Father’s Day Concert.

Raucous Caucus.

6-8 p.m. Wednesday, June

Boulder Public Library presents Bilingual Poetry Workshop with Alejandro Jimenez.

see EVENTS Page 20



JUNE 17, 2021




EVENTS from Page 19



Local Theater Company presents ‘Discount Ghost Stories: Songs from the Rockies.’

June 25-July 15. 8 p.m. Boulder Bandshell 1212 Canyon Blvd., Boulder. Tickets: $0-$40 After a year of isolation, loss and violence, Local Theater Company (LTC) comes back to live performance with a reprisal of Discount Ghost Stories: Songs from the Rockies. LTC premiered Discount Ghost Stories in 2019 with a series of intimate patio shows at Trident Booksellers and Cafe. This summer, the company for an expanded outdoor performance. Through original songs by Alexander Sage Oyen and a book by Rob Wright and LTC founding artistic director Pesha Rudnick, Discount Ghost Stories weaves together the history of Clara Brown, a former slave turned community organizer; of Look Young, a Chinese immigrant and owner of a Denver-area laundry; and of Tabernash, a member of the Ute Nation. Rudnick knows these stories might track differently with audiences than it did when it premiered two years ago. “In live theater, context is always everything,” she says. “There’s the world when something is presented, versus the world a week later. I think this year, Look Young’s story will resonate on a deep level given the recent acIslanders; recognizing the history of violence again, that it’s not new, that there were whole campaigns built around violence against Asian Americans in the 1800s.” This run of Discount features the original cast — Tony Aidan Vo, Runner Francisco, Jenna Moll Reyes, Faith Angelise Goins-Simmons and Erik Fellenstein — presenting two brand new songs. There will be free Monday night shows on June 28, July 5 and July 12, and sensory-relaxed shows featuring American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation on June 19 and July 13. “I think the umbrella for these ASL and sensory relaxed and free shows dates back to the construction of the Bandshell,” Rudnick says. “The bandshell was erected following the worst depression of our time to bring people together. People were desperate to be in the community. I think our hope, our intention, is to bring back the spirit of the Bandshell and why it was built.” — Caitlin Rockett



JUNE 17, 2021





Butterfly Effect Theatre of Colorado presents ‘(inter)Generations.’

2 p.m. Saturday, June 19. Virtual Event on BETC’s YouTube Live, betc. org/programs/intergen [inter]Generations, a program from

Tara Performing Arts High School presents ‘The Wizard of Oz.’

Streaming starts 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 19, ends 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 20. Tickets: $10, tarahighschool.org/tickets

‘The Importance of Being Earnest.’

Through Sunday, June 20. Jester’s Dinner Theater, 224 Main St. Longmont. Tickets: $15 for just the show or $33 for the show and dinner, jesterstheatre.com

see CALENDAR Page 22



JUNE 17, 2021




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Hazel Miller Band (blues/pop/ gospel). 8 p.m., Friday, June 18. Tickets: $22 in advance on holdmyticket.com and $25 at the door.


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Boulder Theater (2032 14th St., Boulder)

Scarypoolparty (singer-songwriter). June 17 and 18, with two shows each day. An Evening with The Good Kind (jam). 8 p.m. Saturday, June 19. Cordovas with Great Peacock (Americana/rock). 8 p.m. Sunday, June 20.

The Caribou Room (55 Indian Peaks Drive, Nederland)

Jake and the Chaos. 5 p.m. Friday June 18. Tickets: $15 a vehicle, $5 a passenger. Daniel Rodriguez (folk). 5 p.m. Saturday, June 19. Tickets: $50 per vehicle, $25 per passenger

The Gold Hill Inn (401 Main St. Boulder)

The CBD’s (folk/ rock). 5 p.m. Friday, June 18. Coppertail (folk). 5 p.m. Saturday, June 19.

The St. Julien Hotel (900 Walnut St., Boulder)

The Delta Sonics (blues). 6 p.m. Friday, June 18. Adam Bodine (piano/composer). 6 p.m. Saturday, June 19. Elia Garcia Trio (latin jazz). 6 p.m. Sunday, June 20.

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Red Rocks Amphitheatre (18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison)

Umphrey’s McGee (rock/jam). 8 p.m. Friday, June 18 - Sunday, June 20. Tickets: $70 for one day, $300 for three-day pass. Subtronics (dubstep). 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 22. Tickets: $64-$100+.

Stewart Auditorium (400 Quail Road, Longmont)

Tiffany Christopher (folks/blues/Americana). 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 24. Free.

The Louisville Underground (640 Main St., Louisville)

Mad Dog Blues (blues). 8 p.m. Saturday, June 19. Tickets: $10-$80



JUNE 17, 2021




MARCH 21-APRIL 19: Aries playwright Tennessee Williams

was honest about the trickery he engaged in as he composed his entertaining masterpieces. “I don’t want realism,” he exclaimed. “I want magic! Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people.” I fully support you, Aries, if you would like to make that your goal in the next three weeks. In my astrological opinion, you and the people in your life have more than a mild need for magic. Your ability to thrive depends on you all getting big doses of magic.


APRIL 20-MAY 20: On my wall is a poster that says, “Avoid

world of fantasies, infatuations and love poems.” I wouldn’t normally authorize you to share her perspective, but I will now. The astrological omens suggest you have something important to learn from being more enamored and adoring than usual. If you say YES to the deluge of yearning, you’ll gain access to a type of power that will prove very useful to you in the coming months.


SEPT. 23-OCT. 22: Libran author Oscar Wilde disproved

the misconception that Libras are wishy-washy, overly eager to compromise and inclined to overthink everyvivid and daring. He wrote, “There are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, completely — or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands.” I suspect that one of those pivotal moments will soon be coming up for you. Be Wilde-like!

the Tragic Magic Triad: taking things too personally, taking things too seriously, and taking things too literally.” This advice doesn’t refer to important matters, like my


I take those issues very personally, seriously and literally. Rather the motto refers to trivial and transitory issues, like the new dent made in my car by a hit-andrun driver in the Whole Foods parking lot or the bad review of my book on Amazon.com or the $18 that a certain Etsy seller cheated me out of or the joke about the size of my nose that some supposed friend made on Twitter. According to my reading of astrological

the light that falls continually from the sky gives a tree the energy to push powerful roots into the earth. The tree is actually rooted in the sky.” As you bolster your foundations in the coming months, as you deepen your roots, I hope you keep Weil’s brilliant observation in mind. Like a tree, the nourishment that will help you grow the stamina and strength and structure you need will come as you turn to the brightest, warmest, highest sources of inspiration.

itating on things like these that you take too seriously, personally and literally. Here’s Don Miguel Ruiz: “There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.”


MAY 21-JUNE 20: “I remember wishing I could be boiled like water and made pure again,” writes poet Jeffrey McDaniel. Judging from the current astrological omens, Gemini, I think you could be made reasonably pure again without having to endure an ordeal like being boiled like water. Do you have ideas about how to proceed? Here are mine: 1) Spend 15 minutes alone. With your eyes closed, sitting in a comfortable chair, forgive everyone who has hurt you. Do the best you can. Perfection isn’t necessary. 2) Spend another 15 minutes alone, same deal. Forgive yourself of everything you’ve done that you think of as errors. Perfection isn’t required. 3) Spend another 15 minutes alone. Imagine what it would be like to unconditionally love yourself exactly as you are. 4) Spend another 15 minutes alone. Remember 10 amazing moments that you enjoyed


JUNE 21-JULY 22: On June 23, 1940, Wilma Rudolph was born prematurely to a family that already had 19 other children. During her childhood, she suffered from pneumonia, scarlet fever, polio and infant paralysis. The latter two diseases damaged her left leg, and she wore a brace until she was 12 years old. Nevertheless, by the time she was in high school, she had become a very good athlete. Eventually she competed in the Olympics, where she won four medals and earned the title “the fastest woman in history.” I propose that we May she inspire you to overcome and transcend your own personal adversity.


JULY 23-AUG. 22: Leo-born P. L. Travers wrote the children’s books about Mary Poppins, a nanny with magical powers. She was thoroughly familiar with folklore, ancient myths and the occult. The character of Mary Poppins, Travers said, was a version of the Mother Goddess. But in her writing process, she drew inspiration mainly from what she thought of as the vast dark nothingness. She wrote, “I’ve become convinced that the great treasure to possess is the unknown.” To generate her tales, she listened to silence and emptiness. I recommend you emulate her approach as you create the next chapter of your life story.


AUG. 23-SEPT. 22: Virgo poet Melissa Broder writes,

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OCT. 23-NOV. 21: Philosopher Simone Weil wrote, “Only


NOV. 22-DEC. 21: To be in groovy alignment with cosmic rhythms, you won’t merely walk, and you certainly won’t trudge. Rather you will saunter and ramble and promenade. You will strut and rove and prowl. Likewise, you won’t just talk, and you certainly won’t mutter or grumble. Instead you will banter, rhapsodize, improvise, beguile and lyricize. Catch my drift? You won’t simply laugh, but will chortle, cackle and guffaw. In other words, Sagittarius, you are authorized to imbue everything you do with style, panache and imagination.


DEC. 22-JAN. 19: Congratulations on being such a duty-


soon, please know that you will not offend any gods or demons. Nor will you incur a karmic debt. In fact, I believe you have cosmic clearance to dabble with lightheartedness for a while. You should feel free to experiment with fun and games that appeal to your sense of wonder.

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bound, no-nonsense adult. May you continue to ply your dogged persistence and beast-of-burden attitude as long as it gets important tasks done, helps you feel useful and doesn’t make you sick. But if you do get


JAN. 20-FEB. 18: “I can barely conceive of a type of beauty

in which there is no melancholy,” wrote poet Charles Baudelaire. What?! That makes no sense. I’m aware of millions of beautiful things that aren’t tinctured with melancholy. California’s Mount Shasta in the late spring twilight, for example. New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, a gorgeous gleaming building designed by genius architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Marmore waterfalls in central Italy. The gardens of painter Claude Monet in Normandy, France. David Byrne’s gloriously hopeful website, ReasonsToBeCheerful.world. I mention this, Aquarius, because I expect life to bring you Take advantage of this grace to replenish your trust in life.


FEB. 19-MARCH 20: Piscean author César Aira praises

the value of escaping one’s memories. He writes, “Forgetting is like a great alchemy free of secrets, transforming everything to the present.” I’d love to see you enjoy alchemy like that in the coming weeks, dear Pisces. It’s a favorable time to lose at least some of the inhibitions and limitations you think you have to accept because of what happened in the past. As Aira says, forgetting “makes our lives into a visible and tangible thing we hold in our hands, with no folds left hidden in the past.”



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here’s an old story (probably embellished, possibly apocryphal) from Blackboard Jungle’s opening weekend. Not many people remember that 1955 teen drama starring Sidney Poitier and Glenn Ford, but everyone knows the song that made it famous: Bill Hayley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock.” A watershed moment in pop music, if ever there was one, and it motivated a generation to dance. But movie theaters have little space to boogie, so the audience — composed primarily of teenagers


the furniture. Ron Mael wasn’t yet 10 when he saw Blackboard Jungle and probably couldn’t have tossed his seat aside if he tried, but Hayley’s raucous number did have a lasting effect: “Hearing the title music changed my whole DNA.” Ron Mael is the older brother of Russell, the music duo known to the world as Sparks. If those names don’t ring a bell, don’t worry. As the new documentary The Sparks Brothers explains, Sparks might heard of. Part of that is by design. Ron, who writes the songs, and Russell, who sings them, refuse to chase trends. Sometimes Mael brothers are doing, and success follows. Then the industry shifts and Sparks fall out of the limelight, only to come around again. What kind of music do Sparks produce? Art pop, more or less. Most of their songs are intelligent and humorous, which is one reason Sparks was dismissed while

La dolce vita

Having fun with ‘The Sparks Brothers’

by Michael J. Casey ON THE BILL: The Sparks Brothers is in theaters June 18.

on the Mael brothers’ backs. Acts like Kraftwerk, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Gary Numan, Visage and on, owe one hell of a debt to the Maels. Many of them pay tribute here. If they had done so a few decades earlier, it might have lined the Sparks’ coffers more, but you take what you can get. Not that it seems to bother the Maels much: Their satisfaction comes more from the work than the reception. That leaves the cheerleading up to director Edgar Wright, whose enthusiasm is so infectious, so pure, you can’t help but walk away a Sparks fan. The Sparks Brothers he brings the breakneck pace of his narratives to the proceedings. It works wonders for a movie that runs 140 minutes and never drags, repeats or stops to explain the obvious. It helps that Wright brings in a bevy of visual textures: Archival footage, still photography, talking heads interviews (visually reminiscent of George Hurrell portraits), down a bowl of sugary cereal. where Wright refuses to let go. He’s content to talk to these guys, and about these guys, long after the goodbyes.



JUNE 17, 2021



BY DAN SAVAGE Dear Dan: We’re a happily married couple from Europe, longtime readers, both in our 30s, and both interested in having sex sometimes with other people. Before the pandemic we were invited to a private sex party in a major European capital. It was an age- and face-controlled swingers night with background checks

Dear SWAPPED: Hm. I would think an invite-only swingers party with “ageand face-controlled” background checks (meaning: no olds*, no uglies**) would also put a few questions to prospective attendees about sexual health. If the organizers of this party don’t require you to disclose that you have herpes or other sexually-transmitted infections — berience and it was eye-opening, wonderful cause they enforce safer-sex protocols and very sexy, even though we were too that minimize the risk of transmission and/ shy to fool around with anyone else. or they quite rightly assume that anyone But we promised ourselves we would down to sex with 50 strangers in a single return and explore further. evening either already has Then COVID-19 happened ROMAN ROBINSON herpes or at least willing and we couldn’t travel. We to chance it — then I don’t decided to hook up with think you have to disclose. other people locally. We Don’t confuse “don’t had amazing threesomes think you have to” with and foursomes, and it all “don’t think you shouldn’t.” went ridiculously well, up I think you should disclose until the part when we — I think you should keep got herpes from another disclosing — and if discloscouple. This other couple ing gets you scratched off didn’t know they had it or the guest list, SWAPPED, didn’t bother to disclose. you will have other opporHerpes isn’t as tunities to fuck other people common here as in the U.S., as far as my in major European capitals. You’ve been research went, and it was a huge bumdisclosing to couples locally and haven’t mer, but after educating and medicating lacked for opportunities ... even during a ourselves, we decided to continue having pandemic. (People who weren’t worried hookups with others. We tell everyone about catching COVID-19 during the in advance because we believe it’s the pandemic — which isn’t over yet — probright thing to do. Some cut us off, some ably weren’t too worried about catching don’t care, some admit they also have it, herpes.) Yes, some couples ghosted after which always leaves us wondering if they you disclosed but it sounds like just as would have admitted it without us “coming many weren’t scared off and/or already had herpes themselves. It goes without We are still part of the online commu- saying that some of the couples who nity that organized that wonderful party ghosted on you may have already had and, with things opening up here, they herpes — and HPV as well, SWAPPED, are beginning to plan the next event. as both of these very common STIs are We would love to go back. My question easily transmitted through skin-to-skin is: Can we? Should we? Should we tell contact. Anyone who wants to avoid being everybody about the herpes? Or is that exposed and possibly contracting them a risk you take at an orgy involving 50 shouldn’t have multiple sex partners — or or more people? We’ve read a lot about arguably any sex partners at all, considtransmission and know that sometimes ering how common these infections are. skin-to-skin contact is enough. We also (And adults can and should get the HPV know that it’s possible to have herpes vaccine!) and not be aware of it, which means other participants may already have it should disclose — because, like you, I and not know. So what’s the right thing think disclosing is the right thing to do — to do? Should we just pass up this orgy for the rest of our lives? Take the viral with 50 strangers in a European capital, suppressants that weekend and fuck as major or minor, has volunteered for many people as we can without worrying herpes. Send questions to mail@savagelove.net, about it? follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage, and —Sincerely Wondering About visit savagelovecast.com. Post-Pandemic Explicit Disclosures BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE



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NORTH BOULDER’S Tierra Y Fuego is a great spot to grab a bite to eat with friends and family this summer. Its outdoor patio is inviting and lively, with plenty of shade for the hottest of days of the season. Tierra Y Fuego started as a food truck, parked at the owners’ Diaz Farm only a mile or two away, and all of the ingredients at the brick-and-mortar shop are sourced seasonally from the farm, helping create, This is especially true for the smothered burritos, which are well worth the $11 price tag. The platter comes with a generous portion of rice and refried beans, as well as the star of the show, the massive burrito, drizzled with your choice of green or red sauce (or both) and sour cream. Also, be sure to opt for the homemade, thickly cut tortilla chips paired with either a refreshing salsa or a rich guacamole.


1 PRIDE BOL AT WHOLE SOL THIS YEAR, Whole Sol is showing support for Pride Month with a special bowl packed with a tropical, colorful dragon fruit base topped with fresh, organic strawberry, mango, kiwi, blue spirulina chia pudding, and locally produced granola. A mini pride


dollar of every Pride Bol sold in June will go to One Colorado, an advocacy organization that supports LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. The bowl is $5 on Wednesdays, $12.50 the rest of the week. BOULDER COUNTY’S INDEPENDENT VOICE


IF THE DAD in your life likes whiskey and barbecue, West End Tavern’s got him covered this Father’s Day. The restaurant is offering a takeout package that includes pork belly burnt ends with peach barbecue sauce, a smoked dino beef rib (short rib) with bacon Brussels sprouts and twicebaked potatoes, and s’mores brownie sundaes with toasted house-made marshmallows. Plus, you can add bulk cocktails to make it a party. And as End’s Whiskey Club, which includes a free pour of West End Private Barrel Select Breckenridge Bourbon. Meal is $75 for two; order before June 18 at thewestendtavern.com. JUNE 17, 2021



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JUNE 17, 2021



All the best Reflections on eating in Boulder County by Matt Cortina


IGS SNORTING AND SLOPPING in muck somewhere in the distance. Walking through rows of crops with Eric Skokan, picking peppers and his brain. Staying too late at 4580, shooting shit and sipping new whiskeys. Yelling Neil Diamond’s “America” at karaoke night at Outback after many, many Honey Browns. Milling heirloom flour with the Grain Lady at Cure Farm. The same building Alberto Sabbadini taught us how to butcher a pig. The same type of flour I watched Andy Clark fold into a trial batch of bread at Moxie. Sipping a can of Rainier and touring the meat-aging fridge at Blackbelly, sampling slivers along the way. Discovering the effervescent Brillat-Savarin at Mateo, and purchasing a wedge from the cheese counter at Cured a few steps away. Having an everyone-wins, endless barbecue taste test at Wayne’s Smoke Shack and Georgia Boys. Shedding an actual tear over a plate of carpaccio at Frasca. Getting to try great new places: a tomahawk steak at Corrida, pastries at Babettes, flaming drinks at Jungle, spicy ramen at Chimera, a Nicoise salad at Le French Cafe, fry bread at River and Woods, a reuben at Rosenberg’s. Having too many old standbys: Parkway Cafe, Chez Thuy, Buddha Thai, Il Pastaio, Rincon Ar-


gentino, Southern Sun, Your Butcher Franks, The Hungry Toad. Remembering the places gone: Volta, Brasserie Ten Ten, Pupusa’s, The Porch Deli, the Boulder Cafe... and the North Boulder Cafe. What a pleasure it’s all been. What a pleasure to meet and get to know so many people in the local food scene. What a pleasure to grow as a writer by telling the stories, and eating the food, of our local food purveyors. I can’t quite claim to have eaten everywhere in Boulder County while writing about food for Boulder Weekly for the last seven years… but I’ve got to be pretty close. Every restaurant has the potential for greatness here; hidden gems exist everywhere. That potential beats out any cynicism that creeps in about what we don’t have locally. No, you probably can’t get a great slice of pizza for a $1, but, if you’re willing to look in American Legions and strip malls, you can get an unbelievable plate of charred broccoli with sriracha aioli at Gastronauts; a savory, crispy papa rellena at Rosario’s. As I move on from BW, and Boulder County, I’ll miss that feeling that the next great bite of food is just around the corner, hiding in plain sight. Behind all the great food here are great people. Thank you to the chefs, restaurateurs, bartenders, brewers, entrepreneurs and, yes, even the marketing folks for letting me into your world and sharing your stories. Farewell.


JUNE 17, 2021



Tipping the scale

Amazon announces end of employee marijuana screening, pressuring lawmakers and businesses to reform cannabis policy

use marijuana in your time off. “In the past, like many employers,


it makes an announcement of this nature, it’s more than just a message to its employees; it’s a policy change that could motivate other big U.S. businesses to follow suit, Freimann says. Which, in turn, could push lawmak-

Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” Clark wrote. “However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course.” From a business perspective, Freimann says that makes a lot of sense. It will streamline the hiring process, and likely attract more U.S. candidates. It will also reduce the workload on Amazon’s human resources department, without the

legalization. “We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law,” wrote Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer, in a message to the U.S. Operations employees. The announcement is the latest blow to cannabis prohibition in the U.S. — and a heavy one, many experts believe. Amazon employs more than 1.2 million people in states across the U.S. It owns more than 40 subsidiary companies, such as Audible, GoodReads, Twitch, IMDb, Zappos and Whole Foods. It’s a massive, multinational technology and ecommerce company that’s had contracts working with the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense. All of which is to say: Amazon is a powerful business in the U.S. And, when

reform. “As the second largest employer in the U.S, when Amazon makes decisions, it certainly could have a ripple-effect that extends to others throughout the country,” Freimann says. “I think it’s a game changer in this space.” Dropping cannabis screening will affect all of Amazon’s employees, except those whose positions are regulated by the Department of Transportation. Clark’s message also indicates that Amazon will still be conducting impairment checks on the job, and testing for drugs and alcohol after any workplace accident. But otherwise, he says cannabis use will be treated the same as alcohol use: as long as you aren’t intoxicated on the job, you’re free to

screening tests. Perhaps even more signifcant is Amazon’s promise to put the full power of its lobbying team behind the most robust piece of cannabis legislation currently on Capitol Hill. “Because we know that this issue is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will be actively supporting the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act),” Clark wrote. Originally sponsored by Vice President (then-senator) Kamala Harris, the MORE Act passed the House of Representatives in December 2020. It would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records of non-violent cannabis convictions and create social equity programs to invest in communities

by Will Brendza

mazon may have tipped the scale in favor of cannabis legalization this month, which could have green implications for businesses across the country, according to Michael Freimann, a Denver-based law partner at Greenspoon Marder. Earlier in June, Amazon announced it would no longer be screening employees for marijuana use. Simultaneously, it declared that, moving forward, the Amazon “public policy team” would be actively supporting the Marijuana Opportunity and Expungement (MORE) Act — which



JUNE 17, 2021


most heavily impacted by the drug war. The MORE Act has had near-universal support from the marijuana industry and from several senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker. And now, with Amazon’s public policy team backing the legislation, there’s more lobbying power behind it than ever before. That could go a long way in validating the economic potential of cannabis in the eyes of lawmakers, according to Freimann — especially if other, large employers follow Amazon’s lead. “It has the potential to be impactful, not just at Amazon, but for other employers and their employees as well,” Freimann says. While some cannabis-legal states, like Colorado and California, still allow businesses to take disciplinary actions against an employee who fails a drug test, others are starting to pass legislation to protect employees from exactly that. Both New York and New Jersey have recently passed laws protecting employees against cannabis screening; Nevada has declared that it won’t allow employers to take adverse action against employees who test positive for cannabis; and Philadelphia has implemented a similar law. Now, with Amazon publicly voicing support for the end of cannabis prohibition, the business sector is weighing in. And the scale certainly does seem as though it’s in a position to tip. “It’s hard to ignore this kind of statement. Whether it is the underlying catalyst to get lawmakers’ attention in this area remains to be seen, but it’s hard to completely ignore,” Freimann says. “As somesuccessful as Amazon, when they speak, there are certainly people listening.”





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Boulder Weekly 6.17.21  

news, HOA fees, affordable, buzz, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Music Hall of Fame, Brazil Fest, events, theater, music, film, T h...

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news, HOA fees, affordable, buzz, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Music Hall of Fame, Brazil Fest, events, theater, music, film, T h...

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