In 2020, news of leaked Slack conversations between Steven Rosenblum and several of his peers reached the media. More than 1000 screenshots of Slack messages between Rosenblum and Safer Boulder members showed disparaging comments and derogatory remarks about citizens and opponents of Safer Boulder’s goals. The topic of these conversations has resurfaced in recent months due to Rosenblum’s current run for city council.
What is Safer Boulder?
Safer Boulder is an organization that aims to bring attention to issues of public safety and works with city officials to address those issues. They also aim to keep residents aware of current events that affect Boulder’s public safety.
What Was Said?
During the course of the leaked Slack conversations, City Council candidate Steven Rosenblum appeared to speak freely and harshly on some of the more serious issues facing Boulder’s residents, including homelessness, subsidized housing, and the workers who place residents in housing.
Several of the Slack conversations focused on the topic of housing. Rosenblum spoke harshly about citizens who protested the removal of homeless encampments in the city, derided sitting city council members who wanted to expand services for the homeless, and accused a sitting councilwoman of organizing one of the protests against encampment removal.
Rosenblum was also quoted speaking negatively about residents who receive subsidized housing and citizens who supported them. In other conversations, he appeared to make derogatory statements about housing residents, and stated a belief that subsidized housing is easy for residents to scam.
The Slack conversations also appeared to show Rosenblum deriding workers who placed residents in subsidized housing. In particular, one message showed evidence he believed case workers would lie in order to get residents placed in a home to pass off responsibility for those individuals. In regard to the clients, in particular, certain messages indicated he felt many of them were criminals or drug addicts.
Rosenblum made a formal apology after the Slack messages were leaked, but he did not deny the content within the messages. However, he made attempts to address the context.
Because the messages were private communications, he felt he could speak more freely. Although he disagreed with much of the more abhorrent language used by other members of the chat, he did not consider correcting them a productive use of time. He also felt the leaked screenshots were misleading because they showed certain messages out of context.
When questioned about his stance on the issues addressed in the chat messages, Rosenblum reiterated his support for affordable housing, an issue that had been a driving one during his campaign. Although he appeared to make negative statements about the homeless, residents receiving housing assistance, and the workers who placed residents, he did not want his words to be seen as disparaging because they were taken out of context.
Although the results of Boulder’s City Council election have not yet been certified, unofficial results show Rosenblum in seventh place. Because there are only five council seats open, he will likely fall just short of winning.
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