Archive for September, 2009


Left to right, Madison Mayor Dave Cielewicz; Chris Wilson, professor of Cultural Landscape Studies at University of New Mexico; Phil Keisling, former Oregon secretary of state; and Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland.

BOULDER — Affordable housing,
transportation, town and gown relations and economic worries. Familiar issues
to most of us in Colorado, and certainly here in Boulder.

And on a recent evening, four
leaders from cities with a “kindred” relation to Boulder came here to share
their own political experiences and offer up a bit of advice.

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz (it’s
easier to just call him Mayor Dave than try to pronounce his name – chess LEV
ich); Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland; former Oregon Secretary of State Phil Keisling,
discussing Portland; and Chris Wilson, a professor of Cultural Landscape
Studies at the University of New Mexico with views on Santa Fe joined a public
forum on “Insights from Kindred Communities” as part of Boulder’s
Sesquicentennial celebration.

At the end of an engaging hour and
a half discussion, several points stood out in my mind:

* Portland, in ways Boulder
sometimes tries to emulate, has a national reputation of being a “green” city.
Its urban landscape is easy to navigate with public transportation, and that
attracts a young, mobile population, Keisling said. Unfortunately, many come
looking for jobs. And since the recession hit, the city has had to question its
efforts for economic growth. “Green” has not yet translated to “jobs,” and
Oregon’s unemployment has soared to nearly 12 percent, the second highest in
the U.S. after Michigan. Metro Portand’s jobless ranks have swelled faster than
most major cities.

*  Madison, home to the University of Wisconsin, often draws
comparisons to Boulder, home to the University of Colorado. Also similar to
Boulder, Madison is sometimes called “55 square miles surrounded by reality.” Today,
Madison has expanded to 77 square miles. “Madison is growing, reality is
shrinking,” he said.

* Aspen Mayor Ireland talked about
how many of his city’s wealthy residents “come from a lot of achievement,” and
with his short two-year mayoral term, “It’s difficult to govern.”  How many people does it take to change
a light bulb in Aspen? he asked. 10. One to change the bulb, and nine to
reminisce about how good of a bulb it was.

* Santa Fe’s devotion to
cultivating its identity of historic preservation and maintaining a strong
tourism base with museums and art do have drawbacks, Wilson noted. He said
there is an overriding “ambivalence” to other business development and ideas
that could attract jobs.

At the end of the evening, all four
leaders reluctantly offered up words of caution to the city that  has celebrated its 150th birthday
this past year. Panel moderator Patty Limerick, faculty director for the Center
of the American West, asked the panelists for what advice they could leave.  All seemed impressed by Boulder’s scenic
foothills beauty and devotion to open space policies.

“Respect how important the university
is to you,” Madison Mayor Cieslewicz told the audience. Much like Madison, he
said, “You wouldn’t be Boulder if you didn’t have the university.”

Wilson urged people to consider
that “green” may not be the only factor in “sustainability.” New urban designs,
perhaps more dense but keeping amenities close and allowing residents to get
around without a car, will start to make a lot of sense in the age of “peak

The most urgent opinion came from
Aspen’s Ireland.

“There’s no Western fantasy,” he
said. No one will ride to a city’s rescue for affordable housing. Developers,
he said, are not going to buy $500,000 lots and put in affordable duplexes for

If a city does not have a place for
people to live with median incomes of $40,000, it runs a great danger. “You
will have a university, but will you be a community?”

“Where is the vitality? Where is
the heart?” he said. “You need to confront that.”

And speaking from what is Colorado’s
most expensive city to live, he probably should know.


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Dave Cieslewicz, mayor of Madison.


Chris Wilson, J.B. Jackson professor of Cultural Landscape Studies at University of N.M.


Phil Keisling, executive director of business development at CorSource Technology Group, Portland.


Mick Ireland, mayor of Aspen

BOULDER — Four prominent leaders from Aspen, Colo., Madison, Wis., Portland, Ore. and Sante Fe, N.M. will share their experiences and thoughts in an evening forum, Wednesday, Sept. 23, titled "Separated at Birth: Insights from Kindred Communities."

The free event, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the University of Colorado campus in the Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building, continues the year-long celebrations of the Boulder Sesquicentennial, its 150th anniversary. 

The idea was to bring representatives of cities that share similar values and economic traits to Boulder for a public forum. The room could fill up fast, so I would recommend getting there a little early if you want a good seat. Another Boulder 150 forum in the spring that invited long-time residents of Boulder to reflect on the city was nearly a full house.

The forum is organized by the Boulder Sesquicentennial Celebration, the University of Colorado Center of the American West and the Boulder History Museum. 

All four cities share some interesting ties to Boulder, and panel moderator Patty Limerick, chairwoman of the board of the Center of the American West at CU, will be directing questions on several topics, including:

* How a city's image or "narrative" affects growth both positively and negatively.

* How university cities navigate issues of "town and gown."

* How cities work regionally, integrating community issues within larger growth areas.

* How cities develop sustainable "green" policies.

* How a city's success can lead to an increasing lack of economic diversity.

 Panelists for the forum

Chris Wilson, J.B. Jackson professor
of Cultural Landscape Studies at the University of New Mexico and founding
director of its Historic Preservation and Regionalism Program. He has written
widely on architecture, tourism and the politics of culture in the

Phil Keisling, executive vice president of business development for CorSource
Technology Group. Prior to joining the company in February 2000, Keisling
served 15 years in the public sector and six years as a journalist. His public
sector experience includes nine years as Oregon secretary of state (1991-99);
one term in the Oregon House of Representatives (1989-91), and as a staff
assistant to Oregon House Speaker Vera Katz (1985-88).

Mick Ireland, mayor of Aspen.
He practiced law in Aspen for five years before being appointed to serve as a
Pitkin County commissioner in 1993. He served three terms as a commissioner and
was elected mayor in June 2007. In addition to his two-year term, Mick is an
attorney, consultant and substitute teacher in the Aspen School District.

Dave Cieslewicz, mayor of Madison, Wis. Elected mayor in April 2003 and
re-elected to a second term in April 2007, Cieslewicz has focused primarily on
public safety and provision of quality basic services for Wisconsin's
fastest-growing city. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in
Madison. Name pronounced (chess LEV ich)

Dr. Patty Limerick, panel moderator. Limerick is
faculty director and chairwoman of the board of the Center of the American West
at CU, where she is also a history professor and MacArthur Fellow. Limerick has
dedicated her career to bridging the gap between academics and the general
public and to demonstrating the benefits of applying historical perspective to
contemporary dilemmas and conflicts. 

Categories : Current Affairs
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If you’re reading this column, then you’re officially part
of what Huffington Post founder and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington
calls the “linked-in” economy.

Huffington and this new Denver-based Internet newspaper are
the newest players in the intensely competitive Colorado media wars. This is
Huffington’s third news site after launching in Chicago and New York. Next up is Los Angeles.

 I’ll be as curious as you to see what happens.  According to Wikipedia, the HuffPost as
it is known, has more than 3,000 bloggers.  And all 3,000 of us share at least one thing in common.

 We’re both counting on you, the news consumer, to pass along
news or commentary that you like to someone else. You might post a link on your
Facebook page, you might give me a
friendly tweet on Twitter (and someone
else might retweet), or you could digg this to the social news site, where people link and vote on their
favorite content. If all else fails, you might just copy and paste it into an
e-mail.  But that is so passé these

 The more shared links (six in this post so far), the merrier
for Web traffic numbers of both the Huffington Post, which counts its visitors
in the millions, and my blog, the Boulder
, which counts visitors in … well, let’s just say considerably less
than millions, more like hundreds (and that’s in a month, not a day).

I got several interesting comments (another desirable thing
in the blogging world) to a column I wrote in May called “Will screen staring
be the demise of the printed news?” In it, I said readers might want to look at
the HuffPost to see how blogs and videos can join with news coverage to create
this new brand of journalism. Only four years ago Huffington started combining
her own opinions with “as many interesting voices as possible,” and now
bloggers on the site have included everyone from Barack Obama to TV host Bill
Maher and Colorado’s Gary Hart. You can look at the sites Blogger Index to see who’s
getting the most views.

Colorado’s been no stranger to the fast-paced changes in the
newspaper business, particularly the demise of the Rocky Mountain News and
Scripps’ exit from the Denver
Newspaper Agency
.   That
also resulted in my hometown newspapers, the Boulder Camera and Colorado Daily, moving entirely under
ownership of the MediaNews Group,
owner of the Denver Post.

As a news junkie, having run the Boulder County Business
Report for 18 years, I access news online more than ever but still send out my
Lab every morning to retrieve the Camera, Post and the Wall Street Journal from
my driveway. He would absolutely hate retrieving my laptop. After selling the Business Reports in Boulder, Northern Colorado and Wyoming to Ohio-based Brown Publishing in early 2008, I do
a lot of my writing at the Laughing
, an east Pearl Street coffee house where I also dig into free copies
of the Daily, the Boulder Weekly, Denver’s Westword, Boulder’s Nexus and whatever else happens to catch my

Recently I drove to downtown Denver, where at Common Grounds I got the
chance to meet Katharine Zaleski, senior editor for the HuffPost organization,
and Ethan Axelrod, the new editor of the HuffPost in Denver.  Both were at the end of a long day and still
setting up meetings with Colorado publishers from Grand Junction to Aspen,
explaining how news organizations could “opt-in” to add their content to the
new HuffPost site here. Response, they told me, had been very good.

Much of what they shared with me was strikingly similar to
Huffington’s recent online interviews with Jon Friedman of MarketWatch.

“The future of media,” Huffington said, “is going to be
social media.

“The way to make money now is to follow the consumer … to
embed your product in multiple sites.”

And counter to speeches by many newspaper publishers about
creating more “paid” online content, Huffington says she doesn’t see “content
behind walls succeeding unless you’re offering very specialized content.”

Compare her view to that of MediaNews owner Dean Singleton,
also current chair of the Associated Press board.  In interviews with Westword
and others, he has advocated a business model to lock up much of his
newspapers’ current free online content, giving it instead to only paid

Fewer people accessing that content (the Post has about
254,000 subscribers daily and 704,000 on Sundays), of course, means fewer
“links” — a 180 turn from the linked-economy strategy of the HuffPost.

One thing for sure, the Denver Post is watching closely what
happens with this Internet-only Huffington Post. I don’t think it was a coincidence
that the Denver Post just announced a new advertising campaign called “I want
to know” that will be on billboards, TV, radio and even Facebook and Twitter.

The pay-for-Web content debate is raging online, and it’s
not just newspapers.

Monetization is the word investors and venture capitalists
love to hear.

Google’s YouTube wants
a deal in Hollywood to sell movie downloads right when they’re going to DVD
release.  Facebook and MySpace
are battling for more paid display advertising, with about one of every five
Web display ads now viewed on social networking sites. National ad buys into
the HuffPost sites have included national advertisers like Starbucks and

In her Marketplace interview, Huffington marvels at how fast
her online news venture has made inroads and captured market share. Analysts
believe the company is nearing a “break even” point, not bad in a recession.

“We are lucky that we don’t have to deal with the legacy
costs of an old business,” she says. “And we are lucky that we are the new kid
on the block. We didn’t even exist five years ago. YouTube didn’t exist five
years ago.

“It used to take 20 years to become a brand,” she continues.
“Now you can do it in a year if you tap into a need.”

I’ve been increasing my own time spent on blogging and
social media, but I don’t really expect it to pay my bills.

My blogging competition? Something like 112 million other
blogs according to blog search engine Technorati,
and that number is a year old. China alone has 50 million bloggers, but
fortunately here in Boulder not that many people read Chinese.

I also haven’t collected a dime yet via the Google Adwords
on my own blog, but I’m working on it. I need to go with better display ads,
other bloggers advise.

If I ever make it to page one of the HuffPost, maybe your
“links” will help me out. With an average $3 per cappuccino per column, I’m far
from breaking even. 

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Hill Flea Market in Boulder
Originally uploaded by Jerry W. Lewis

I got my flea market experience early in life, hauled around as a youngster to numerous auctions, junk sales and fleas in Louisville, Ky. by my father. When he visited a few years ago, I took him down to Mile High Flea in Denver.

So when I heard Boulder was actually going to get a flea market, I thought it was a great idea. But despite a nice location and some very organized booths, the new Hill Flea, located between 12th and 13th streets on Pennsylania Avenue, right now lacks a real flea market quality.

That's not to say there isn't potential. Maybe Boulderites are just too attuned to getting rid of their junk at yards sales or just hauling it over to one of several thrift shops.

When I strolled around the Hill Flea on the Labor Day weekend, there were booths for Indian Peaks Springwater (yes, I drink tap water I explained…), some very artful peace symbol t-shirts sold by Peace Together, very cool "upcycled" journals and notebooks designed by BeckyDesigns and, of course, a good selection of pot pipes and accessories (oh yes, they are for tobacco use) from High on the Hill.

But there were only two actually "flea" booths, selling an old desk, a big rug and some assorted items. And that is exactly what a "flea" market is all about.

Boulder has its fill of summer and fall festivals, with hundreds of artists selling jewelry, paintings, wind chimes … you get the drift.

Me? I'm searching for those great finds of vintage 50s pottery, some old golf clubs I can't resist or something that once I get it home, I know I'll need to sell it at next year's yard sale.

Come on you Boulder antique hoarders. I know you're out there. The Hill Flea will be open Sundays through Oct. 25. I don't really need any more organic tomatoes — the Boulder Farmers Market takes care of that.

I need "junk" and "bargains," dirty and dusty, from your grandmother's attic. That's what makes a real flea market.

Categories : Current Affairs
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