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Wednesday August 21st 2019

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City of Boulder Ballot Question 2H: Advisory Commissions


Note: This article is part of a series of 2018 ballot issue analyses written for the Blue Line by author Richard ValentyYou can find coverage of the other 2018 ballot issues here. Ed.

Question 2H would amend Section 130 of the City Charter to accomplish four things:

  • Allow the newly-formed Housing Advisory Board to expand from its current five members to seven
  • Allow the city to set membership for any new board at five or seven members
  • Change references to “sex” of members to “gender identity”
  • Change the definition of what constitutes a majority to accommodate boards of different sizes

According to the city memo on 2H, Council members brought up the idea of having seven members on the Housing Advisory Board, which touched off a discussion on the membership numbers for other boards. The Council did not decide to propose changes to existing boards or commissions, but did place the point about the option of setting membership at five or seven for newly created boards on the ballot.

Current charter language says commission membership shall not be “all of one sex,” to ensure some diversity, and 2H proposes a change from “sex” to “gender identity” to modernize charter language. While the ballot title includes a phrase saying 2H would “change the criteria for what constitutes a majority,” don’t freak out—Boulder still believes in math. All that this language means is that majorities would be based on the pertinent numbers for voting or establishing quorum—for example, a majority vote of a seven-member commission would require four votes, while a five-member commission would need three.

Question 2H Pros and Cons


  •  Adding members to the Housing Advisory Board could increase the number of voices and add broader perspective.
  • Council would have the discretion to decide that new boards should have five or seven members.
  • It’s 2018, and time to catch up with the times by using “gender identity” in our guiding document.


  • Larger board membership might give a Council greater opportunity to appoint more people who are in line with their ideology.
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