The lack of affordable housing remains a top concern of Denver residents, and while we commend the city on increasing resources, more needs to be done. If you agree that more resources are needed to support affordable housing, what type of funds and how much are necessary to address this crisis, and how could you achieve this within the next two to three years?
Denver must declare housing as a human right. As mayor, I would overturn the urban camping ban immediately! The city’s in a housing crisis - more people experiencing homelessness died in Denver last year than ever before. There’s enough vacant apartments in Denver to house all of Colorado’s homeless population. I support more land trusts, tiny homes, mandating all developments provide more affordable units prioritizing those who make under 20% AMI and utilizing vacant spaces. If the city + Denver businesses’ spent the same money used to fight the issue, as they did to solve it, we wouldn’t be in the crisis.
Transit and mobility remain a top city priority without a dedicated local source of funding. Would you support creating a dedicated source of annual funding for citywide investments in transit, mobility and Vision Zero safety improvements, and if yes, how much money do you think is needed to properly address this need, how would you allocate these funds and how would you propose to fund this?
I would focus on greater physical and economic access to public transit. Denver’s public transportation is the most expensive in the country, with very limited service. As mayor, I would prioritize accessible public transportation that is affordable to everyone. Funding from public safety can be allocated towards public transportation + funds from charging small fees at park-n-ride lots. I would regulate private transportation services that aren't accessible like Lyft, Uber, Lime, etc pay fees for public transportation. We’ll find creative ways for the city to fund public transportation.
In the November 2018 election, Denver voters approved a sales tax to increase the yearly investment in parks by more than $40 million. How would you ensure that acquiring land for new parks is done in an equitable way and does not compete with other pressing city priorities, such as acquiring land for affordable housing?
The city is prioritizing dogs & squirrels over our increasingly growing population of people experiencing homelessness. Funding for park land increased, but our city made it selectively illegal to sleep, have a blanket, or eat in parks - “for the people” We have an incredible parks’ systems, yet there are much more pressing issues - like housing our people, increasing public transit access, increasing wages and supporting our public education - that Denver needs to put 1st. There’s no need to cut into our green/park space for housing -Denver is sitting on plenty of vacant, city-owned land.
All In Denver was formed to respond to concerns that racial and social inequity is growing in the city. What do you think are the reasons that we have become a less equitable city and what are your priorities for ensuring Denver becomes more equitable in the future?
We’re seeing the vicious cycles of colonization. What began with the colonization of Native people has become a repetitive cycle, as we witness many of Denver’s communities replaced by higher socioeconomic groups., Many of the people discarded by this cycle of displacement are left without shelter, have a disability, have experienced trauma , abuse, and are seen as exploitable and less deserving of land, shelter, and resources; often intersecting with marginalized identities. The city must increase it’s wages, economic opportunities in cannabis industry to people of color, and abolish bail.
Running a city the size of Denver is a massive undertaking with a complex web of services, departments, budgets and trade-offs. From your understanding of the city and how it allocates its resources, are there areas of the city that you’d increase funding and if so, what are they? And likewise, are there areas of the city where you’d decrease funding?
I would begin with a 30% increase for affordable housing for our lowest income community members, + housing the homeless. I will prioritize affordable public transportation to get our working-class folks to their jobs; our kids to school; and our disabled community members and to their care providers/doctors. I will cut all public safety money that is used to criminalize homelessness, allocating those funds to homelessness services. I will cut to all public safety dollars that are used to enforce petty offense violations by youth and allocate those funds to art-based youth supportive services.
Let’s assume that the City of Denver ends the 2019 fiscal year with a budget surplus of $20 million. As a Councilmember or Mayor, please list up to three program priorities on how you would spend this money. Please provide specific line items and budget amounts.
$10M - homeless services and facilities $5M - economic development (workforce development support for Opportunity Youth, incarcerated youth, youth victims of sex and human trafficking, and teens aging out of the foster care system) $5M - public safety (implicit bias, cultural responsiveness, and trauma-informed training for ALL Denver Police Department employees, add trauma first responders)