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Ex-City Attorney Carr to Become Boulder City Attorney

By Erica C. Barnett May 19, 2010



Former City Attorney Tom Carr will serve as city attorney of Boulder, Colorado.

According to a story in the Boulder Daily Camera being distributed now among city offices, Carr was chosen unanimously by the Boulder City Council.

It's unclear how Carr, widely viewed as a conservative in Seattle, will fit in with the city of Boulder, which deputy mayor Ken Wilson calls—in a substantial understatement—"a very progressive city." He has one advantage, though: He won't have to face election.

Wilson says the council was impressed by Carr's ideas for dealing with homeless people who camp illegally on public land, his support for "Housing First" policies, his tough stance on binge and underage drinking, and his ideas for improving community involvement.

"The law gives cities the ability, in general, to prevent people from camping in public spaces, and he made it pretty clear that as far as he's concerned the law supports the city having the right to make it illegal, in a nondiscriminatory way, on public property," Wilson says. "He talked about Housing First types of ideas, which Denver is looking at a lot, where you try to get homeless people off the streets and into more permanent housing."

Asked about Carr's controversial history of targeting bars and clubs in Seattle, Wilson says that was one reason he, personally, liked Carr as an applicant. "Being a big college town, we have a lot of problems with overconsumption by young people. Frankly, I liked the fact that he was a bit tough on bars," Wilson says. "I live in a neighborhood that has been the most impacted by binge drinking. In fact, the new director at our campus health center said recently that the number one health problem on our campus today is overconsumption of alcohol." Carr told the council he would support changes to licensing but did not specifically propose a license like the one that failed here.

In the Camera story, Carr characterizes his crackdown on bars and clubs as "blown out of proportion." He told the Camera his office had really just "work[ed] with area bars and asked them to help curb service to people who had been drinking too much." That's about 180 degrees from the way club owners viewed Carr's policies in the past.

We have a call in to Carr, who will make $170,000 in his new position.
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