Boulder bites back at Barwin

About a week after Oak Park’s village manager took a swipe at Boulder, Colo., citizens of the scenic city are taking their own swipes.

Some Boulderites are calling Barwin bitter. Others joke he’s “clearly intolerant of white people.”

They’re reacting to Barwin’s comments after he came in second for Boulder’s city manager job, when Barwin said he didn’t want the gig anyway. He rattled off a list of reasons why: Boulder lacks diversity. The city council is large and long-winded. Outside of its downtown, Boulder is filled with strip malls.

Boulder’s local newspaper, the Daily Camera, picked up on Barwin’s comments in the Oak Leaves. By Friday, a few days after the story was posted online, the Camera’s site showed a whopping 162 responses.

“It was a mug shot,” he says of the gloomy-looking photo the Camera snapped of him. “I lost my luggage. My plane was canceled. And I couldn’t find a hotel. I was whipped, and they line up and take a picture there for the paper. I was in my third day of the same clothes.”

“After I was adequately insulted,” Barwin says, the comments shift to a conversation on the city itself.

“It just shows you how the Internet and the new media are changing the world-hopefully, most days in good ways,” Barwin says. “But I just think they’re all having a little fun with the situation.”

Why did he suppose something like this would create such a Web firestorm?

“Everybody in Boulder has a computer and they have to do something when they’re eating sushi and drinking lattés,” he said. “What does it take to fire off a nasty e-mail?”

“If I’ve made any mistake here, it’s just being honest,” he said. “That’s what I’ve done for 25 years. Someday, maybe I’ll learn.”

Here are some of the comments. Go to and search “Barwin” to see the rest:

Boulder is diverse. You have people who wear north face and others who wear patagonia. Some people drive subaru wagons while others drive toyota 4 Runners. And don’t even get me started on the iphone vs the blackberry.

it’s so tacky to have a non-Caucasian serving my sushi!!!!

Boulder is full of “rascist escapists.” I know because I am one. … That isn’t why I live here, but at least I’m honest about it. I’ll bet I’m not the only one.

Poor guy probably didn’t even get mugged while he was in town …

You really have to admire the way he’s working the folks in Oak Park after getting caught trying to find a better job elsewhere. His managerial abilities may be so-so but his political skills are pretty good.

Who sent for this guy anyway? He looks like an unemployed insurance salesman that lives in his moms basement.

… folks in Boulder have an amazing sense of entitlement and smugness. Perhaps the lack of racial diversity intensifies the common-worst in the mostly white people who live here.

Sometimes the truth can hurt … This guy is right on the money.

Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out, Barwin.

Double Green, doubly local

When shopping local goes wholesale and the transaction ends up helping people with developmental disabilities, that’s definitely a win-win proposition.

The same day this weekend that we found mention of Oak-Leyden’s Double Green Totes in an e-mail from an Oak Park shop, we spotted an array of the recycled-denim, plastic-sub bags at the street festival on Roosevelt Road.

When asked about their custom-made bags, Oak-Leyden’s Greda Evans said Nzingha Amma Nommo, owner of Afri-Ware, followed up with her just before Christmas after she saw a short story on the totes in Wednesday Journal. Nommo requested a version with the Afri-Ware logo stenciled on. Evans said simplifying the shop logo to a stencil wasn’t easy, but she did it.

And the workers Evans supervises at Oak-Leyden have since been sewing and stenciling away for Afri-Ware, which sells its custom Double Greens at $20 apiece.

You can get a standard Double Green tote from Oak-Leyden for as little as $10 (a denim bag, with the Double Green logo) and for as much as $30 (a denim bag, with the Double Green logo, a stenciled design and added embellishment, such as a name). Oak-Leyden Developmental Services is at 411 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park. Reach Greda Evans at 524-1050 ext. 116 or at

Working for Obama

As the Democratic Convention unfolds in Denver, Oak Parkers continue to work hard for Obama’s campaign. According to Jerry Delaney, 10-20 volunteers have been traveling each Saturday since July 26 to Kalamazoo Mich., to work on voter registration and canvassing and will continue to do so until the November election. Each congressional district, she says, has been assigned a battleground state. Danny Davis’ 7th District was assigned Michigan. They had 28 volunteers lined up this past Saturday when the campaign called and asked them to go to Springfield for the Obama rally with VP choice Joe Biden. There they sat at tables taking names of more Obama supporters willing to travel to the battleground states.

Delaney noted they’re having a Convention Watch Party at FitzGerald’s, Clarence Avenue and Roosevelt Road in Berwyn, tomorrow night to watch Obama’s acceptance speech. It’s not a formal fundraiser, but every dollar, of course, will be happily accepted.

Pass the sugar cane?

School children don’t normally ask to “pass the sugar” at lunch. At District 97, students may have to think twice if they do as that phrase will soon take on a new meaning. The elementary school district this fall will replace its squeaky and un-environmentally friendly Styrofoam trays with ones made from sugarcane. The plastic-looking trays are the latest effort by Dist. 97 to reduce waste, become more environmentally conscious, and save money. Along with being biodegradable, officials insist they’re more cost-effective for the district than their “foamy” cousins. In addition to lunch trays, the sugarcane fiber can be used to make cups, bowls and plates.

Join the discussion on social media!