As we review this November’s ballot questions, we affirm some core values. First, we believe that people come before profits, and the public purse should be spent primarily to improve the quality of life for Denver residents. Secondly, we do not believe that the city government should be in the business of creating revenue streams for private business, and we are against tax-increment financing projects and other cash incentives for developers that redirect tax revenues away from schools and create debt for the people of Denver. We do not believe that socializing risk, while privatizing profit, is sound public policy. Unfortunately, this has been the trend during the Hancock administration. In this light, here are our recommendations for the Denver ballot.

Referred Question 2A (Denver Facilities System Bonds)

DGP recommends a NO vote.

While we recognize the need for new libraries in Westwood and Globeville, 2A does not specify a full slate of projects to be funded. Most alarming is the inclusion of a new auditorium for the Loretto Heights project in southwest Denver. The developer, Westside Investment Partners, purchased the land in 2018 for $16.5M and sold a portion of it for $14.5M to a homebuilder, nearly recouping their initial investment. Now 2A wants Denver residents to earmark money to build an auditorium on the property, making the land more valuable to these private interests while Denverites shoulder the burden of nearly $80M in debt.

This regressive tax amounts to corporate welfare, the cost of which will be hidden in hiked property taxes that make housing even more unaffordable.

Referred Question 2B (Denver Housing and Sheltering System Bonds)

DGP recommends a YES vote

If Denverites are to incur more debt via bonds, our first priority should go to the most vulnerable in our community, first. 2B would provide $38.6 million for housing and shelter projects like building or renovating shelters for the homeless, including the purchase of property that will add 300 more motel rooms to the city’s transitional housing portfolio.

Referred Question 2C (Denver Transportation and Mobility System Bonds)

DGP recommends a NO vote.

The majority of projects listed seem to do more to support future gentrification of areas like Elyria-Swansea and the Morrison Road corridor of Westwood. Current residents demonstrate little need for bike lanes, and instead, these communities would benefit more from increased investment in transportation.

Referred Question 2D (Denver Parks and Recreation System Bonds)

DGP recommends a YES vote.

Again, if Denver is to shoulder more bond debt, our parks system is a good reason to do so. 2D would raise $54 million for parks projects all over the city, including rebuilding the Mestizo-Curtis Park swimming pool, located in Denver’s oldest park, as well as improving park restrooms and other public amenities.

Referred Question 2E (National Western Campus Facilities System Bonds)

DGP recommends a NO vote.

This is absolutely the wrong time to ask Denver to shoulder more debt for a project that does not address the city’s critical needs. Denver needs more low-income housing, transitional housing for homeless residents, and improvements to our parks. We do not need another arena. When nearly 70% of the 2015 National Western bond is still unspent, and when food sales actually will be concessions and not a grocery, these are the signs that a NO vote is the appropriate one on 2E.

Referred Question 2F (Safe and Sound)

DGP recommends a NO vote.

The Denver city council has been weak-willed when it comes to correcting the massive affordable/low-income housing problem, but they at least maintained the desperate housing status quo by recently passing Ordinance 2020-0888, which allows up to five unrelated adults to live in the same residence. The reality is that living with multiple roommates is practically the only way to live affordably in Denver, and we reject the repeal of this bare minimum of ordinances.

Referred Question 2G (Fill Future Vacancies for Independent Monitor)

DGP recommends a YES vote.

We prefer community control of the police, not just mere oversight. The Office of the Independent Monitor is a relatively toothless office, mostly because the monitor is appointed by the police-friendly mayor. This question would put the power of selecting the monitor into the hands of the mayor-appointed Citizen Oversight Board, but with the important check and balance of confirmation by city council. While the OIM is still relegated to mostly making only recommendations regarding police conduct, at least the monitor’s appointment would now undergo a much more democratic process that includes the council members chosen by the people.

Referred Question 2H (Election Day Change)

DGP recommends a NO vote.

This ballot referendum will extend the time period of the runoff election from one month to two months. The consequences of this measure will allow special interest money to flood our local elections and line the pockets of our city council and mayoral candidates. Denver deserves better than two months of negative campaigning that disenfranchises working class candidates. The Denver Green Party says vote no to extending the runoff election and encourages local activists to initiate an initiative to adopt ranked choice voting as an economical alternative to end the runoff election that costs us close to one million dollars.

Initiated Ordinance 300 (Pandemic Research Fund)

DGP recommends a NO vote.

The purported beneficiary of the $7M to be raised by Initiative 300, the CU-Denver CityCenter, did not request this funding. Given this, and given the fact that our federal taxes already fund pandemic research at the National Institutes of Health and the Federal Drug Administration, we feel this is an unnecessary boondoggle.

Initiated Ordinance 301 (Parks and Open Space)

DGP recommends a YES vote.

We like more democracy, especially on questions regarding the public commons and land use for conservation. We opposed the sale of the former Park Hill Golf Course (PHGC), and public land should only be sold off with approval by the public. The former PHGC is still covered by a conservation easement that restricts most development on the land, and the current owners, Westside Investment Partners (of Loretto Heights fame) purchased the land knowing this restriction was in place. While we understand the need for more grocery options in the area, we also need to protect green space in Denver. Because we cannot trust the city government to manage land use properly, we need this important check and balance that 301 would provide.

Initiated Ordinance 302 (Conservation Easement)

DGP recommends a NO vote.

As we stated in our YES on 301 recommendation, Westside Investment Partners purchased the former PHGC with full knowledge that a conservation easement was in place. 302 would remove that easement. A deal is a deal, Westside. We call for the conservation easement to remain in place.

Initiated Ordinance 303 (Let’s Do Better)

DGP recommends a NO vote.

That this measure is proposed by Garrett Flicker, chair of the Denver Republican Party, makes reason enough to vote NO on 303. It would create an even more inhumane situation for Denver’s homeless residents, by allowing only FOUR sanctioned camping sites for the entire homeless population (now estimated at more than 6,000 in 2000) and would require city officials to enforce the camping ban within three days of receiving a complaint. Finally, 303 would allow for lawsuits against the city if it fails to clear up a camp.

Initiated Ordinance 304 (Enough Taxes Already)

DGP recommends a NO vote.

There is a place for sales taxes to fund improvements in the quality of life of Denver’s most vulnerable residents, and this Denver Republican Party sponsored initiative would immediately chop $80M from the city’s budget. While sales taxes are regressive taxes that impact the poorest in a higher proportion, it’s time for the city to fund quality of life programs through recreation and lodging taxes, as well as a higher corporate tax rate.