A local group called Safer Boulder, which has engaged in transphobic, racist, and violent rhetoric against members of the homeless population, has one of their core members running for council this year. 

Thanks to leaked chat conversations, the public now knows that the members of Safer Boulder directly engaged in dehumanizing language that you’d prefer future city leaders would never condone. 

One Safer Boulder member suggested that bears or mountain lions might help remove the homeless population by attacking them, while also speculating on the use of rubber bullets and fire hoses to disperse them. Another Safer Boulder member repeatedly misgendered a local homeless person and their partner. They also offered the following suggestion to deal with those attempting to stop homeless sweeps by police: “tie the kid up in duct tape and leave him next to a five gallon bucket of feces”. Yet another member referred to the calling out of systemic racist police actions against BIPOC community members as ridiculous, and shifted blame to the victims.

The Safer Boulder member who has filed to run for council this year is Steven Rosenblum*. According to the leaked chats, an account with Steven Rosenblum’s name attached participated in the discussion by referring to transgendered people as “anal wizards.” 

According to the leaked screenshots, an account with Rosenblum’s name attached appears to acknowledge the dehumanizing language being used by others. At one point, the Rosenblum account shared a screenshot of a NextDoor post, ostensibly from an associate to Safer Boulder, in which they ask the general group: “Wasn’t someone supposed to chat with Lisa Brown about word choice?” Lisa’s post included a comparison of unhoused people to rats. 

Group members, including the Rosenblum account, have also spent time singling out sitting councilmember Rachel Friend. The Rosenblum account in particular has called Friend “community-destroying”, “virtue-signalling”, a “social justice warrior”, and a “Russian or Chinese bot trying to sow discord.” That account also wrote that another councilmember, in their characterization, told Friend “to take her rainbow sweater and shove it.”

*It’s important to note that the site linked above contains some screenshots from a Reddit account that Boulder Progressives agrees is not Steven Rosenblum. However, the content of the leaked Slack chats, as well as the public Twitter post, is what the focus of this writing is about. It’s up to the public to determine whether or not Steven Rosenblum wrote these Slack posts and twitter comments, whether he stands by them, and if a candidate with such positions should be elected to city council.

Furthermore, this does raise an important question, did Councilmember Bob Yates do this due diligence last week before he became the first person to endorse Steven Rosenblum for council this year?All of the above materials have been available to the public since they were published twelve months ago, so we’re left wondering how Bob Yates saw fit to dismiss these serious issues and endorse Rosenblum anyway. Does Yates believe that the repeated attacks on his fellow councilmember, and the stigmatizing language against the unhoused, are not factors worth considering in his endorsement process?

Surely there are other candidates who don’t bring with them this kind of divisive baggage.

It is critical to shine daylight on these statements. Boulder voters should go into the election with open eyes. And candidates vying for the city’s top elected seats should run on their real platforms and beliefs. We encourage voters to both support and volunteer for progressive candidates who approach all issues with care and empathy.

Let’s move ahead with a pro-human agenda

The Boulder Progressives are committed to elevating the voices and concerns of underrepresented communities in Boulder County. We advocate for policies that protect human rights, and advance social and environmental justice at the local level. We strongly believe that the electorate will be looking to choose ethical, progressive voices for council at the ballot box this fall. In the near future, we’ll be sharing our candidate endorsements and encouraging our members to help elect the people who embody these values.