Here’s the list of questions we’re asking candidates for election as mayor and council person who has made the ballot for the May 5, 2015 election.  These questions were voted on at our March meeting, with input from various progressive allies in Denver.

How did we do?  Did we miss anything? What would you answer, if it were you?

As a reminder, voting members cast official votes on chapter issues such as these, but we take input from everyone. Our meetings are open to the public. Find out how to become a voting member here.

Denver Green Party

2015 Questionnaire for candidates running for Denver municipal offices

Section 1: Affordable housing

Westword recently listed Denver as the fourth highest rising rents in the country, with a 13 percentage rise year over year and a median rental rate for two-bedrooms at $1550. A recent USA Today report of the data collected by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition estimates that minimum-wage workers in Colorado must work 88 hours per week in order to afford two-bedroom housing and utilities. Additionally, while Denver is listed as a top-ten city for job growth, the Denver Business Journal notes that we “led the nation in restaurant job gains.”

Given this data, please answer the following questions:

  • Should Denver be a socioeconomically-diverse city? Why or why not?
  • What specific policy proposals will you advance and support to increase the affordability of housing, utilities and transportation?
  • In which way should Denver support lower-wage workers employed in Denver but who live in the surrounding metro area?
  • What will you do to increase the range of affordable living options in Denver?

Denver City Council passed an inclusionary housing ordinance recently in an effort to combat the stagnation in building new affordable units since the first inception of the ordinance over a decade ago. Currently, builders can opt out of building affordable units by paying a fee or building units in other areas of town.

  • Should builders be allowed to opt out of the inclusionary housing ordinance? Why or why not?
  • What is the role of buyouts in decreasing the economic diversity of neighborhoods?
  • How can certain building incentives like TIF encourage more affordable housing in developments?
  • What steps can be taken to make sure rental units are built for affordability?

Section 2: Updating I-70

C-DOT is currently working on a plan to lower and widen I-70 through the North Denver neighborhoods of Swansea, Elyria and Globeville, which could potentially create disruption and further isolate these communities.

  • What is your opinion of the plan currently proposed by CDOT. Is this a cost effective solution, or will additional lane miles only increase net traffic volumes?
  • Are there any other viable options, in your opinion?
  • Please describe the impact to the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • What do you feel is the role of the office you’re running for in this debate?

Section 3: Use and preservation of public spaces

Over the last few years, there has been significant controversy around the use of public spaces like Hentzell Park, as well as the proposal of private-public partnerships in City Park for the “City Loop” concept. Further, City Park has been slated for use by various music festivals and events.

  • What is your opinion on public land designation?
  • Should Hentzell Park have been designated a park? Why or why not?
  • What is your opinion on public-private partnerships regarding the use of public park land, so designated or otherwise?
  • Chive Fest, held in City Park, created controversy because of noise levels and race-based and sexist obscenity within earshot of people using the park but not attending the event. What is your understanding of the current city ordinance regarding noise levels and obscenity? Is it adequate? Why or why not?
  • Public goods like parks and their maintenance suffer from neglect in Denver. What would you do to protect and maintain public spaces?

Section 4: Tax Increment Funding

Please describe your understanding of Tax-Increment Funding. Do you support this concept? Why or why not? What are some examples of when/how this should be used, if you do support? Should any controls be put on this funding? Which? Should TIFs be made hold harmless for schools, or should the city backfill dollars stripped from schools by TIFs.

Section 5: Urban Camping Ban

Over the last few years, the urban camping ban has been the impetus for controversy, and many Greens and our allies feel that the city has not done enough to address the issues of houselessness, shelter overcrowding and police violence against the homeless.

  • Do you support the repeal of the urban camping ban?
  • What will you do to assert the right of homeless shelter residents to consume legally-obtained cannabis treatment for common health issues that plague this population including veterans and others facing PTSD or cancer?
  • What is your opinion of the area restrictions being requested by the Denver Police to ban certain individuals from the 16th
  • Street Mall, presumably to curb aggressive panhandling, drug use and other “nuisance” issues? Please elaborate.
    What is your plan to address houselessness in Denver?

Section 6: The Denver Police Department

Denver has been rocked by various killings, shootings and beatings of unarmed individuals by the police, and these victims are predominantly working-class people of color, including Ryan Ronquillo, Jessica Hernandez and Sharod Kindell.

  • Do you support the removal of repeat offenders of the police department who accumulate repeated excessive force complaints; most notably, Jeffrey DiManna and Shawn Miller?
  • What policy should the Denver Police follow regarding shoot-to-kill or shoot-to-maim?
  • Should the council use it’s charter-given police powers to investigate police or sheriff misconduct to restore public trust and provide a necessary check on the city administration?
  • What sort of de-escalation training should the Denver Police have to properly address suspects with mental health or emotional issues, especially when the suspect is not armed?
  • Since the release of the DOJ’s report on the Ferguson, MO, police department, and also as the details of the Eric Garner case have unfolded, the country is increasingly aware of how policing is sometimes used to fund city governments via quotas and policies such as “broken windows.” In 2014, Denver collected nearly $58 million in fees and fines. What will you do to ensure that the Denver Police focuses more on public safety?

Section 7: Miscellaneous questions

  • What is your opinion of gentrification?
  • Should Denver officially become a sanctuary city? Why or why not?
  • Do you support a return to a residency requirement for employees of Denver? Why or why not?
  • Are there any unintended consequences of the cannabis taxation levels instituted by city council after the passage of Amendment 64?
  • Do you support the passage of an ordinance to ban fracking within the City and County of Denver?
  • What is your definition of “peaceable protest? How do you intend to protect the First Amendment rights of Denver residents in their efforts to redress grievances? Have restrictions on protests/harm to protesters harmed the political culture of the city?
  • Do you agree with the practice of courtesy zoning ? Why or why not?
  • What is your assessment of snow removal and street repair in Denver? What is your plan to improve it?
  • Will you support a total ban on neonicotinoid pesticide use within the City and County of Denver?
  • Public goods like parking, mobility (absence of traffic congestion), quiet and even street quality are under attack in Denver. What would be your role in protecting public goods from encroachment from private uses. Is the city the trustee of public goods or does the city ‘own’ them?